Greetings, it is Salvator Tepes again. The first chapter received a few positive reviews so far, that's good. Here is the next chapter, I hope you all enjoy. Of course, a disclaimer is pointless seeing as there is no way I could own Fate/Stay Night, Final Fantasy Advent Children, Katanagatari, Pandora Hearts and Mondaiji-tachi at the same time. Nobody has the creativity or resources to own all that at the same time.
Rin stared at the people in front of her. They stared back, and at each other. None of them were sure how to further interact, seeing as they were not only complete strangers, they also came from different worlds.
"...the tension is killing me a second time." The man in the feathery outfit said. "What I wouldn't do for a dango right now."
"A what?" the silver haired teen with glowing eyes asked.
"Ah, dangos. They are a beautifully delicious treat. Small, cake-like balls with different flavors and some are even filled with jam or cream, skewered on a small stick or toothpick. Absolutely delicious."
"Sounds nice." The pink haired girl with empty eyes stated in monotone.
The last Tohsaka stared at them for a few seconds before deciding to contribute to the conversation. It was better to gain companions early on upon entering an unknown world after all.
"...I've tasted them before." She said, a little hesitantly, remembering a time when she visited Shirou and Sakura and they served dangos.. Suddenly, all eyes were on her (though the feather clad man had his closed.), and she could see the man who brought up the subject begin to look much more relaxed than before.
"Oho? Tasty, were they not? I've always had a liking for the plain ones with powdered white sugar coating them and chocolate stuffing. How about you?" he asked with a smile. Rin began to rack her mind to try and remember exactly what flavor was the dango that Fuyuki's resident master chef made once when she visited.
"It was a long time ago but I think it may have been a green colored one with some sort of minty stuffing in it..."
"...this stuff sounds really nice. I'm kind of getting hungry." The silver haired teen said quietly. Rin caught the feather clad man's smile widening with a certain emotion behind it.
'Hoh, so he deliberately brought this subject up... he must be trying to build a friendly atmosphere between us to make becoming companions much easier... he could be hiding something.' Rin thought before replying to the aquamarine eyed teen. "Yeah, a friend of mine is an amazing chef and when I visited him, he served those up, saying it was a traditional Japanese treat." 'Wait... shit!' Rin exclaimed mentally at the slip-up. These people were probably not from the same world as her, if their different senses of fashion and seemingly similar circumstances as her were any indication.
"Oh! You are Japanese as well! It is good to know that fellow countrymen are here with me." The man with the ever closed eyes said cheerily.
"...I've never heard of 'Japanese' before. Where is it?" the silver haired teen asked.
"Oh? It is a calm and beautiful country in the east. Where do you come from?" feather-man asked.
"A city called Midgar. It's in the middle of a wasteland."
'Midgar? That name sounds archaic.' Rin though off handedly before turning to the pink haired girl. "What about you? Where do you come from?"
"...Sabrie. A city in the west."
'Yet another strange name for a city...' Rin thought. She was pondering on how to continue the conversation until noticing the feather clad man tense. The silver haired teen seemed to tense as well as his eyes narrowed a bit and looked around.
"It seems we are not alone here..."
"I can feel someone hiding close by."
Rin's eyes widened before she narrows them in concentration as she too looks around, reinforcing her eyes a bit to get a better look at her surroundings, until she caught something strange in her peripheral vision.
Something... blue was hiding behind a bush. They looked like... ears?
"Someone is hiding behind that bush." She muttered quietly but loud enough for the other three to hear her. She barely managed to contain a startled 'eep', when suddenly something small and black flew over her shoulder and landed somewhere in the bush, causing whatever was behind it to shriek in surprise. She snapped her head behind her to find the feather clad man lightly tossing a kunai knife in his right palm. 'Huh, what do you know? He IS a ninja.'
"If you don't want the next one to actually hit you, I recommend stepping out of the bushes." The man said in an all too cheerful manner considering that he could have actually badly hurt or even killed the thing hiding in the bush if he had missed.
"E-EEP! H-hold your fire, I'm innocent!" female voice shouted in panic before revealing itself.
The person that came out from the bushes' appearance made Tohsaka and the silver haired teen gape.
It was a woman with flowing light blue hair. She was dressed in a strange outfit that resembled a mixture of a maid's outfit and a casino waitress' outfit. She was holding her head in fear as she quivered.
What was most startling was not her clothes, nor her rather sizeable breasts.
It was the two long bunny ears covered in light blue fur that protruded from her head.
They twitched every now and then, alarming Rin that they were NOT ornaments. Those ears were real.
"A-a rabbit person?" the pink haired girl with dull eyes said, with some actual emotion this time, which was surprise.
"B-Black Rabbit is no mere rabbit person! Black Rabbit is-kyaa!" the blue haired girl exclaimed when somehow, the feather clad man managed to sneak up to her and grab one of her ears. He hummed a bit as he fondled and turned over the ear.
"Amazing, several of my clan have animal features but this is the first time I have seen an actual person with real life animal ears! They feel incredibly soft as well!" He said with a smile as he began to stroke the ears even more, causing the blue haired girl to squirm and moan a bit.
"P-please unhand my ears..." Black Rabbit said weakly, her face bright red. The man pouted but let go of the ears anyway before walking back to the side of the other three.
Several moments later, 'Black Rabbit' was clearing her throat and she swung her arm out to a clearing in the forest they were in, which showed a gigantic city in the distance.
"Welcome! To the world of Little Garden!" she declared dramatically.
"Little Garden? How the fuck is that place in any way 'little'!?" the silver haired teen exclaimed as he pointed to the city.
"I-it may have started out as little and things may have gone further from there, Black Rabbit does not know. Either way, we are willing to give you four a chance at participating in the Gift Games!"
"Gift Games?" Rin asked, beginning to worry. 'Please tell me that isn't this world's equivalent of the Holy Grail War.'
"Indeed! That was why you have been called here! For you see, I'm sure it is plainly obvious that none of you here are by any stretch of the word 'Normal'." Black Rabbit said cheerily. "The Little Garden extends invitations to people with certain powers, which were granted to them by gods, demon lords, spirits and even the stars!"
This alarmed Rin as she tensed up. Confusion seemed to etch itself upon the faces of the other three. The bunny girl noticed this and began to explain in more detail.
"Of course, if you have not discovered your hidden power yet, it will be unlocked later as you go through this world! Some powers are dormant for a certain amount of time after all!"
"But what if there are other people like is in where we came from?" the bird-like man asked with curiosity.
"Ah, in those cases the Little Garden's administrators would choose a certain person with unique circumstances, such as certain history, if they became famous or not, if they have certain qualities, that sort of thing!"
'They can access such a degree of information!?' Rin mentally exclaimed. For something to have that much power, it must be at Zelretch's level of strength.
"In any case, Gift Games are competitions which make use of those gifts, sometimes even betting them! This Little Garden has many special stages created for that very purpose! Of course, you do not only need to bet on your own gift! You can bet with the several chips; gifts, money, land, resources, prestige and people!"
"People!? How can you bet with people!?" Rin exclaimed in horror, causing Black Rabbit to flinch and cover her rabbit ears.
"I-in some cases people are betted due to certain circumstances. Not all those circumstances are pleasant but that is the rule of Little Garden."
"I see... forgive me, I did not mean to yell at you." Rin said somberly. Black Rabbit immediately waved her arms and shook her head.
"N-no, it's alright, Black Rabbit understands!"
The bunny girl sighed and cleared her throat as she began to explain again. "Anyway, the higher the value of what you bet, the greater the rewards you can claim. However, to receive a reward, you must clear the conditions a host sets and win the game." She said, her little bunny tail twitching as she lifted a finger in a lecturing manner. "A host by the way is a person who presides over the Gift Game and administers them. Anyone can become a host of a game, so long as you can prepare a prize. That's why you have war gods and store merchants. A Gift Game can range from playful and sporty to bloody and life threatening."
The bunny girl let a short silence sink in to let them absorb the information.
"...I think I understand the gist of it now. But is it possible for you to give a little demonstration? You said a person can become a host if they can prepare a prize, correct?" Rin asked, a calculative look settling over her.
"Y-yes?" Black Rabbit said, her ears twitching in worry as she noticed the raven haired girl's expression.
"Then how about you show us a small example of a gift game, a simple one, the prize being more information about this world?"
Black Rabbit relaxed as she heard that. "That I can do easily! In fact, I was actually going to show you one anyway!" she said as she pulled out a deck of cards from her pocked and began to shuffle it at break neck speeds that only a professional at a Las Vegas casino could do.
"You see, this world has communities, groups of people who band together to play Gift Games. Communities can range from being like a small family, a guild of heroes to an army of demonic warriors! It is difficult for a person to survive in this world without being in a community, nigh impossible in fact! Of course, I would be willing to not only give you more information of this world but also welcome you into the community Black Rabbit is a part of! If you can win this little game of course. Then again, if you don't want to, you can always just decline and try and survive without help." She said with a sly smile. The feather clad man and Tohsaka grinned at Black Rabbits attempt at provoking them.
"You certainly drive a hard bargain don't you, oujou-san?" the ninja said with amusement. Black Rabbit smiled back at the comment, though in her mind, she was in a bit of a panic.
'What am I saying!? If I provoke them, if they get mad and leave, Black Rabbit will be in trouble!'
"What are the rules?" the silver haired teen asked suspiciously. The blue haired bunny girl shivered at the dangerous gleam in his aquamarine eyes. She immediately became alarmed that his pupils were slits like a cat's.
'He looks like he's going to eat Black Rabbit alive!' She thought in horror before clearing her throat again. "S-simple. Choose a face card from the fifty two cards you see here." Black Rabbit stopped shuffling and snapped her fingers, causing a large playing table one would find in a casino to suddenly appear out of thin air and land right in front of her, startling the four.
"W-what the fuck was that!?" the silver haired teen exclaimed.
'D-did she just invoke sorcery!? That table literally appeared out of nothing but thin air!' Rin exclaimed in shock.
The ninja in the avian outfit simply widened his already amused grin. 'Hoo... this is getting even more interesting than I thought.'
The pink haired girl simply stared blankly at the table before turning her head up to Black Rabbit. "How did you do that?"
"Ufufufu, it's a talent." Black Rabbit replied before spreading the cards out, face down, in a long line. "You may pick any of these cards, but you will only get one chance and each person can only pick one card."
"Can we use any method?" Rin asked.
"As long as it does not conflict with the rules. And by the way, Black Rabbit has the ability of Judge Master so you cannot break a single rule with me around! My eyes and ears are connected with Little Gardens central network!" the bunny girl declared with pride.
"So you will be betting information and entry into your community? What should we bet then?" the feather clad ninja asked. Black Rabbit immediately gained a smirk.
"Well, since this is your first time, you don't need to bet chips... but if you want, you can bet with your... pride."
Immediately, Rin's eyes became full of fire the moment pride was mentioned. The silver haired teen's eyes narrowed and the feather clad man's grin turned feral.
'I-I think I just stepped on a land mine...' Black Rabbit whimpered mentally the moment she noticed the trio's expressions.
The pink haired girl stared at the three apparently pride influenced people before speaking up. "Is pride that important?"
"You're damn right it is!" the silver haired teen exclaimed.
"Pride is one of the most important feelings a man can have!" the ninja said.
"Without pride, what honor does a person have? By my pride as a magus, I will win this game!" Tohsaka declared.
The three look at each other and nod once, signaling agreement, while the pink haired girl just shrugs.
'W-what have I done!? I've just made them more riled up!' Black Rabbit exclaimed mentally. She takes a deep breath before lifting her hand and conjuring a bright light which then fades to reveal a tan colored scroll, floating in the air.
"This is a Geass Roll, a contract of sorts pertaining to the game." Black Rabbit noticed the raven haired girl tense and widen her eyes a bit at the mention of 'Geass' but did not comment on it.
The four read the rules on the scroll. Fairly simple, pick a card, the deck gets shuffled and then they have to guess which card is theirs. The rules were simple.
And full of loopholes.
After agreeing, the four picked up cards and looked at them before they each settled on one card. Once the cards were chosen, Black Rabbit shuffled them again and spread them out once more.
"Well, who shall go first?" the feather clad man asked politely.
"I will." Rin said with a determined look in her eyes.
The next few minutes were spent with her standing in front of the table with a calculative gaze. The tension in the air was thick.
"Well then..." Rin started, her eyes locking on to one card. 'Time to expose a loophole.' "I choose this one!"
To Black Rabbit's surprise and shock, Rin slammed her hand down on one card, causing the rest to fly up in the air, most ending up with their faces up.
"Ah, that's my card there."
"Mine." The other three stated as they picked their revealed cards.
"W-wait, hang on!" Black Rabbit stammered.
"Ah, pardon me, my hand slipped." Rin stated bluntly in monotone.
"Slipped!?" the bunny girl exclaimed in dismay, causing the ninja to burst out laughing.
"Hahahaha, what a wonderful way to expose a loophole!"
"Oh? I have no idea what you are talking about." Rin said calmly. "After all, this is not against the rules. The rules simply said to choose a face card from the cards on the table, one card per person. It said nothing about exactly 'how' we guess our cards."
"T-that's..." Black Rabbit trailed off as her ear began to twitch. "Uguuu... I just got confirmation from the Little Garden's central net that your method was valid... ah, BUT! You still cannot be sure that the card you have chosen is indeed yours!" she exclaimed and pointed at Rin's hand.
"Oh? Are you sure? Because I am very sure that I indeed picked out..." Rin lifts her hand up and flips the card. "The Ace of Spades!" 'What do you know? Shirou was right. Structural Grasping is useful after all.'
Black Rabbit practically deflated at this. "Y-you have all cleared the conditions... victory is yours."
"Shouldn't you be a bit happier? I mean, weren't you trying to recruit us?" the silver haired teen asked with confusion.
"Yes... but I can't believe I forgot about such a large loophole in the Geass... as a Judge Master, this is a large blow to my OWN pride..."
"There there." The ninja said soothingly as he patted her back, before turning his head to look at the others. "Come to think of it, the four of us are no longer strangers now, since we are entering a community together. We have not even introduced ourselves to each other."
"It took more than an hour just for us to get each other's names..." the pink haired girl observed.
"Then why don't you introduce yourself first, ninja-san." Black Rabbit said as she stood up. The man smiled and nodded before placing a hand over his chest and bowing a bit.
"Hajimemashite. My name is Maniwa Houou of the Maniwa ninja corps clan. I like dango, kebabs and keeping oaths. I dislike being deceived and getting my feathers wet. Pleasure to be of your acquaintance."
"I'm Kadaj, no last name. I don't really like anything other than my mother and fighting challenging opponents. I hate being used for someone else's goals and... those who disregard family, I guess." The silver haired teen announced after the ninja introduced himself. He turns his head to the pink haired girl with an expectant look, which she notices.
"I'm Echo. No '-san' or '-chan'. Just Echo. No last name. I like cakes and friendly people, I hate puppets."
With her introduction done, they turn their gaze upon Rin, who clears her throat before putting a hand on her chest elegantly and taking a lady-like stance. "My name is Tohsaka Rin, last of the Tohsaka clan of magi. I like tea, valuable gemstones and, forgive me if this sounds a bit greedy, money. I dislike people who waste their wealth, hypocritical fools and... idiots who keep pushing on with a stupid grin on their face..." she trailed off a bit, her minding conjuring up a picture of Shirou.
Black Rabbit smiles brightly, seeing that the introductions were over, before she hopped a bit further to the clearing and beckoning them to follow her. Shortly, they arrived at a hill with no trees, revealing a marvelous sight.
A gigantic, no, gigantic was a severe understatement, a TITANIC city was sitting in the distance. It had hundreds of sections and glass domes covering various types of biomes. Forests, jungles, deserts, volcanic wastelands, ruined cities, lakes, and cities and villages with various different cultural designs, such as European castles, oriental temples and the like.
"I... wow... I have no words for this sight..." Rin said in awe as she stared at the not-so-little-garden.
"Midgar is practically a kids' playground compared to the size of this place..." Kadaj said with a flicker of excitement in his voice and eyes.
He was, after all, a kid on the inside. Sometimes even more than his brothers.
"Welcome, to the Little Garden! Black Rabbit guarantees that you will have a very interesting time here!" the blue haired bunny girl exclaimed with pride.
As the group walked down the hill and to one of Little Garden's entrances, somebody was watching them. A figure wearing a black cloak with red clouds on it stood above one of the domes, his single showing eye watching the group before he vanished in a swirling vortex.
Inside Little Garden, someone sat in a closed room. The room was designed with Japanese themes, as was the state of the person's dress. She was short, almost the size of a 10 year old child, with shockingly white hair, luminous yellow eyes and wore a black kimono. A number of candles sat on a table behind her. She was sitting there, idly flipping her oriental fan open and closed, before noticing a spiraling vortex appear at the other end of the room.
"Ara? That's not like you to enter discreetly like that. Have you been a bad boy?" She asked teasingly. The figure at the other end of the room let out a small chuckle, his upper half shrouded by shadows.
"Of course not, I'm always a good boy. I just noticed something very interesting outside, Shiroyasha." The figure spoke with humor at first before switching into a serious tone. The white haired girl noticed this and her gaze sharpened.
"And what was it that was so interesting that you decided to tell discreetly?"
"Black Rabbit has recruited four newcomers into her community."
Shiroyasha's eyes widened a bit before returning to normal. "Interesting indeed, for her to recruit so many newcomers at once. But I don't think that was the interesting part now, was it?"
"I believe they were invited by accident."
Shiroyasha's eyes narrowed this time. "The Black Letter."
"Yes. The central net of Little Garden detected a disturbance. Something entered this world without an invite and it triggered the Black Letters."
"Just like you and those other two all those years ago... well then, why hasn't Black Rabbit been informed that one of them might be an uninvited guest?"
"Most likely the same reason why Little Garden hasn't kicked me out yet. Somebody is pulling strings in Little Garden to keep that from happening. Now that it has happened again, I should be able to investigate further into who is playing the Chess master here but I will need your support." The man said with a light bow.
"Aww, you know you are always welcome on my doorstep! And... in my bed." Shiroyasha said with a sultry smirk.
Appearance be damned, this girl was MUCH older then you could believe.
"I may need to introduce myself to those four, see if I can root out which one triggered the Black Letters. I should go for now though, I will let you know if I find anything worth mentioning in the central net." The cloaked man said, stepping back further into the shadows before triggering his transportation technique.
"Of course, take care now." Shiroyasha said with a smile. The last thing she saw of the man was in the center of that spiraling vortex, a glowing red eye with three tomoe surrounding a pupil peering out of the hole of an orange mask.
Yes, I just did that.
If you could not take a hint, this fanfic will have several characters from different series in the Little Garden. No, I won't be taking requests on who to put in it. This crossover won't be a massive one, just less than ten characters from different works of fiction.
The canon storyline of Mondaiji will be altered, with these strange Black Letters and a hidden manipulator behind the scenes. One powerful and cunning enough to fool the entire Little Garden's central net and even the masked man in the black cloak, whom I'm sure you all know well.
The next chapter will have more character interaction and some of them telling about the world they came from. Rin of course, being a magus, will try to keep minimal details about her abilities and magecraft, so it doesn't come back to bite her in the ass one day if she accidentally gave out too many details.
I am immensely enjoying typing this story so far. I have even thought up what would be its anime opening and ending.
I have seen a few fanfics that employ and anime opening or ending, some even going as far as describing exactly what the anime opening's scenes would have, if it were a real animation.
I don't know if I will go that far but be prepared with your imagination in case I try something like that.
The opening theme of this story is 'sprinter' by Kalafina.
The ending theme is 'Disillusion' by Tainaka Sachi.
Rin: Diary of Jane by Breaking Benjamin.
Houou: Karasu by One Ok Rock.
Echo: Frozen by Within Temptation
Kadaj: Faint by Linkin Park.
In case you wonder why I decided on those to be their theme songs? I haven't the faintest idea. I just decided on a whim.