[LV 46 - 37.500/45.000]
[HP: 3800][MP: 35][MC: 27][ST: 920][SP: 5]
[STR: 50][DEX: 50][INT: 50][WIS: 50][CHR: 102]
[ATK: 100] [DEF:100]
The half disk of the sun peeking above the horizon casted its light across the ocean surface. The sea creatures that made their homes upon the shores of Onigashima roamed its sands peacefully, completely unaware that they were being watched from the treelines.
Golden eyes stared intently, while two small hands readied an arrow to strike. The bow tensed, far beyond what it would have been able to achieve without aid from its wielder. The arrow too possessed a supernatural luster, almost crackling with unshed energy.
The bowman's eyes narrowed momentarily and with a final stretch of the bowstring, he released the arrow. The life-seeking projectile soared through the air, crossing several hundred meters in the blink of an eye, aimed squarely towards a shelled creature the size of a small car.
The speed and force behind the arrow was such that it went through its steel like carapace cleanly, but with enough pressure to cause its content to burst out from both the entry and exit hole. The creature was dead before it even knew what had killed it, and it slumped down lifelessly on the sand.
Alarmed by is sudden and seemingly inexplicable death, its brethren chose the better part of valor and broke off in a hasty escape towards the water, disappearing under the surface
[Exp Gained: 1500]
Shirou dismissed the prompt with a mental command and got out from behind the trees, making his way towards his prey. Sneaking was still very much outside of the scope of his abilities and likely would always be. However, attacking from outside a target's perception range didn't count as such, it seemed, and therefore Shirou was still capable of exploiting the greatest advantage of ranged combat, that is to say killing the opponent before it can retaliate.
Not that these overgrown sea creatures were all that strong on their own. Their individual levels were inferior to Shirou's, as it reflected in the amount of EXP they gave him. However, they had the advantage of numbers and the proximity to a territory whereupon they had the advantage.
Shirou had no intention of being dragged into the water and end up as food for the fishes, hence he chose to be extra careful while hunting these creatures for food, killing them from afar rather than engaging in close quarter combat. Not that there was much hunting to be done. His current prey would last for days, even with all the mouths he had to feed.
Provided, of course, that its meat was edible at all. Something on this island had to be, considering that there were human beings living on it. They would probably know better than him how to cook this creature.
Now that it was dead, he tossed it into his Inventory and quickly retreated from the shore. Just in time too, because no longer after he had disappeared behind the trees again several dozen shelled creatures came bursting out of the water, looking hellbent to get revenge for their fallen brethren. However, both its killer and its corpse had already disappeared completely, and after searching around for a while, they went back into the water.
"Ah, there you are, Emiya," said Waver upon his return. "How did the hunt go?"
In response, he summoned the corpse out of his Inventory right in front of the other Magus, who barely arched an eyebrow at seeing something appear out of thin air. The little surprise he displayed was caused by Shirou's willingness to casually show a portion of what Waver attributed to Magecraft, rather than the feat itself. He did not comment on it, however.
"Can this thing even be consumed?" he chose to ask.
"The locals would know better than I do," he replied. "How are they holding up?"
"They are wary of me, even with your introduction," Waver said.
"Magi are not quite paragons of trustworthiness."
"Hm. Point. Nevertheless, their knowledge of this island is crucial to our efforts. It was a wise move for you to rescue them from the Oni."
Shirou did not say that he didn't put a single thought about tactical advantages when he charged into the Oni camp, but there was no need for Waver to know. He was acutely aware that his predisposition to help people could be easily used against him, and since he had no intention of stopping, at the very least he would not advertise it.
"True," he agreed. "I shall ask them about everything of use they might have to share and if this thing is edible, the issue of food will be temporarily resolved as well."
"I'll leave that up to you, since you clearly have a better relationship. In the meantime, I wish to explore the cave a bit. The minerals inside the rocks seem to have some unusual properties."
"Research at a time like this?" Shirou asked.
"There's no way of knowing what will help and what won't. More importantly, I don't plan on ever returning to this place after we leave, therefore it's better if I do this sooner rather than later."
"Eh, alright. Let me know if you find something interesting."
Waver did not answer that, of course. As a Magus, if he found something worthwhile he would share it only if there was no other alternative. For his part, Shirou just headed toward the islanders, who after a night of full rest looked already much better.
Of course they were far from doing well. It would take a long time for them to recover from what they had been through, if they ever did. However, they had improved a lot, physically. They were still emaciated, but they were clearly on the road to recovery.
"Ah, Shirou-sama," greeted Mikoto. "Has the hunt gone well?"
"I was hoping you would tell me that. I got something, but I'm unsure whether it can be eaten or not. Would you mind helping me with that?"
"Of course, Shirou-sama. Whatever you require."
He took her to the carcass of his prey and noticed that her eyes shone with delight at the sight of it.
"Oh my. You have certainly got a big haul this time."
"I take that this thing is good, then?"
"Oh, yes. Its flesh is absolutely delicious if a bit hard. However, I know of a few ways it can be softened."
"I'll leave it up to your people, then," he said. "Just do me a favor and set aside all the parts that can't be eaten. I might have a use for them later."
"Understood. It's going to be a feast, today. Girls, come on. There is work to be done."
Six of the girls in better conditions approached, and together they started to take apart the dead crustacean while Shirou watched them work for a little while.
"Ah, Shirou-sama, is Matsumoto-san doing fine?" asked Mikoto. "She's still in her futon."
"... she's a bit tired from keeping guard all night long. Just let her rest and she'll be fine."
Or at least, he hoped so.
After their previous night transaction, Shirou put her into her futon, before waking up the girls, introducing Waver to them and going out to hunt. There should have been no reason why Matsumoto shouldn't be fine after some rest, however considering how things had gone, Shirou didn't feel all too sure about that.
"Ah! Ah! Ah!"
Rangiku moaned as she bounced up and down above Shirou, who was laying underneath her upon the haphazard pile of futons. Her huge breast swung up and down erotically in rhythm with her movements, while she was having a hard time from keeping sheer ecstasy from showing on her face.
'Why does he feel so good? How can he possibly be like this?' she wondered.
She couldn't recall a time when she had such an intense sexual experience. After years of working in the sex industry, the physical aspect of fucking had lost a great deal of its luster. However, she was having the greatest experience of her life with a wet-behind-the-ears Magus who by all rights should have been putty in her hands.
Instead she was the one who was being slowly molded by him. Her pussy, wet to the point of melting, was squeezing his slender cock for all it was worth, clinging to it as if her life depended on it. Every time she impaled herself upon his length, he scratched a hitch inside her, only for another one to crop up as soon as she pulled out, stronger than the previous, making the need to have him inside her too strong to resist.
She had lost track of time and lost count of how many times she had reached an orgasm.
Yet, it was clear that he was nowhere close to being done with her. His cock was throbbing hard within her womanhood, beckoning her. Even though her body was aching from exhaustion, she found that she couldn't resist that call.
That she couldn't resist him.
The moment she understood this, it seemed that he realized it as well, because he suddenly wasn't content with just laying there and letting her do all of the work. Despite his much smaller frame, he exhibited his superior strength by grabbing her thick thighs and lifting her up. A moment later, she was laying on her side, where he used to be, while he held one of her legs at his side and the other over his shoulder.
That's when she realized that she had completely underestimated him. When his small hips started thrusting his cock into her, she truly understood what he was capable of.
Unadulterated pleasure shot across her skin from where they bodies met, to the point that she had to bite on her lower lips to prevent a lustful moan to escape her throat. She had to take hold of a bunch of futon to hold herself steady, while her vision started to blur from the sensory overload.
'Oh my God. He's incredible. He's so fucking good at this. At this rate I… '
"Rangiku-san! Rangiku-san, you feel so good," he cried.
Rangiku couldn't trust her voice to answer him, but her traitorous body did by tightening hard around his cock, intensifying the experience for the both of them.
'Oooohh. I'm going to lose it. If he keeps fucking me like this I'm going to become totally addicted to his cock. I need to stop this. I need to stop it now.'
She tried to gather her wits, to tell him she needed a break, but it took all of her focus just to not let out unintelligible sounds when she opened her mouth, so she didn't think of what she'd say exactly, and thus she ended up expressing her feelings, rather than her rationale.
"Shi… Shirou. Shirou, ple… please."
"Do… do it harder! Fuck me hardeeeerrr!"
Her eyes widened briefly, as her brain processed what her mouth had said. Then they both rolled in the back of her head, as Shirou acquiesced to her despotic demand. She didn't know who much he had been holding back right until he wasn't anymore.
She thought she knew about the intricacies of sex and carnal pleasure, but she realized with the last of her rational mind that she really didn't know the first thing about it. Then, her brain was overtaken by pleasure and she descended into an animalistic state.
From there onward, there were just flashes of lucidity in between orgams.
Shirou, fucking her from behind while he pulled her blonde hair like the bridles of a breeding mare with one hand and groping her juicy ass with the other.
Shirou, holding her entire weight up as he rammed her pussy while standing, with both of her legs over his shoulders.
Shirou, fucking her cow-tits as she laid on her back, shooting thick ropes of cum all over her chest, face and hair.
He mercilessly burned his presence into her mind just as his cock carved its shape into her cunt.
The last thing she recalled was of herself, tenderly licking his cock clean with the last of her strength, before exhaustion truly took over and she fell into a blissful slumber.
Matsumoto laid in her futon with her eyes wide open. She had been going through the events of the previous night ever since waking up. Her body was still reeling from what had been done to it. To her.
She had been fucked. Totally had utterly. What should have been the easiest job of her career had turned out in a sound defeat.
It should have been like stealing candies from a baby sleeping inside his crib, except that she found herself bent over said crib, being spanked like a naughty little girl by daddy dearest and loving every minute of it.
Now that the haze of orgasmic bliss had faded from her mind, leaving only her body to twitch every now and then, Rangiku could clearly go over the series of events, over and over again.
She had been defeated, there were no other ways to put it. Actually, there were worse ways. She had been completely obliterated. She had only barely managed to stay sane through the process. A woman with less experience would have lost her mind and would have become completely hooked.
She had had sex with more people than she cared to count, some of which were quite skilled. Yet none of them could have held a candle to this guy, whether in skills, stamina or staying power. He was still hard as a rock when she finally passed out.
Rangiku had been a professional whore for years now, and knew all too well how to manipulate her body and that of her partners to speed up or slow down things, but that was barely enough to get her through the night.
She would have never believed that someone so much younger could be so much better than her.
It was absolutely insulting.
Yes, she was a glorified prostitute, which wasn't exactly something to brag about, but she was quite good at what she did and definitely took pride in her skills. Being so completely outclassed by someone her junior was an insult that she couldn't stand to suffer.
She needed to get back at him somehow, turn the tables on him. It was abnormal how good he was, so perhaps there were some supernatural effects at play.
He did mention being under a curse as his reason for wanting to have sex with her. She was reluctant to believe it at first, but enhanced libido and sexual prowess did sound like the counterpart of a curse that forced him to have sex. The upside, so to speak.
However, that only made things worse for Rangiku. Her skills were hard earned, even if they were just those of a whore.
She had stopped caring about her reputation as a woman when she decided to make a living as a hooker even after it was no longer financially necessary. However, she would not accept losing in the field to anyone, especially not a brat who still reeked of his mother's milk.
A fire had been set ablaze within her. She would catch up to Shirou's level, surpass him and have him in the same position he had her before.
Of course, that would have to wait until they left this godforsaken island, but that didn't mean she would forget about it.
For the time being, since he was cursed to have sex daily or suffer a penalty, she could fight him every night. Surely, the more she did it with him, the more terrain she'd gain on him.
'Practice makes perfect,' she told herself. Even if Shirou had a supernatural flat boost in skills, she knew she had what it takes to get there.
It was a shame that she had no idea that he surpassed her not just in her current skills, but also outsripped her in how fast he improved. For every new figurative level she achieved, he would literally improve by ten.
However, it is to be said that even if she did know, she would have gone through with it all the same, though she would have gone about it a different way, perhaps.
Whether that was bravery or foolishness, it remained to be seen.
Waver examined the rock walls of the cave with an attentive eye. Being dragged in this weird place was definitely something he would have avoided, but now that he was here, he could also see the opportunities that came with it.
From a research standpoint, being in this place was like having gone back a few thousand years, which if he had to be honest made little to no sense.
A place like this should have been so close to the Age of Gods that the saturation of Mana should have caused him to burst into flame from the inside out, while it was barely higher than normal.
If he didn't know any better, he would assume it was all a dream, or an elaborate illusion. Since he was confident it was neither, there was only one possible explanation left.
"Found something interesting?" Asked Emiya as he approached.
"I found additional questions to the many I already had," he replied. "But I did find an answer too."
"What do you think is the nature of this island? A first generation as you might be, you must have realized that a place like this should not exist, correct?"
Emiya nodded. "The ambient Mana is too low for a layer of the Reverse Side deep enough to host Phantasmal Beasts."
"Precisely. Therefore, I speculate that we are not in the Reverse Side at all."
"Wait, what? Being in the real world would make even less sense."
"I believe that this is a Singularity."
"Excuse me, a what now?"
"A Singularity. A bubble, so to speak, that exists between worlds with its own, independent timeline, disconnected from everything else."
"Hold up. If that's the case we couldn't have gotten here without doing Second Magic."
"A reasonable objection, but a mistaken one. There is more to the Operation of Parallel Worlds than moving through dimensions. In fact, it is largely considered the lesser aspect of it."
"Largely considered?" asked Emiya "Are the workings of the Second Magic widely known?"
"Unlike Magecraft, True Magic has always had a single owner. Regardless of how many people know of its intricacies, none but its rightful wielder can truly make use of it. Furthermore, knowing what it entails and knowing how it works are two different things altogether."
"Oh. Good to know. Thanks."
"There is nothing to thank me about. Things like this are the basics of basics for a Magus. I can see that your education has been less than exceptional."
"Yeah, dad wasn't really keen on me learning Magecraft."
"Yes, I recall he was a very unorthodox Magus."
"You knew him? Personally, I mean."
"I never had the pleasure of meeting him face to face, which is probably why I still live to this day. We were, however, fellow competitors in the Fourth Grail War."
"Wait, you were also part of that mess?"
"Indeed. It is a miracle that I came out of it with both life and limbs, considering how many others lost either one or the other."
"Do you know what happened? How did Fuyuki get destroyed?"
"Unfortunately, I have no clue as to that. I lost my Ki… Heroic Spirit shortly before the end and I did not linger around, for obvious reasons. Why did you wish to know?"
"My birth family died in the fire, along with hundreds of other people."
"I see. You have my condolences," he said casually.
"Thanks, uh… It's weird. You are not that bad for a man who wants me dead."
"I don't want you dead, Emiya. I need you dead. There is a difference."
"Yeah, about that. Do you mind explaining it to me?"
Waver sighed. "Whereas I got out of the war without so much as a scratch, a Magus to which I'm greatly indebted to did not. Your father managed to nearly kill Lord El-Melloi, but succeeded in destroying his family Crest along with his ability to perform Magecraft."
"Oh. Oh, damn."
"Indeed. To be a Magus is to walk with death. If Lord El-Melloi had simply been killed, the grudge would have likely died along with your father. However, since he saw fit to destroy the cumulative effort of generations upon generations of Magi, their grudge carries over to the next of kin."
"You are telling me they are never going to drop this matter."
"Pretty much so. I have been given orders to not return until you die, and I have been forced to make a geas in that sense. I cannot simply pretend to have killed you. If I wish to return to the Clock Tower, you must cease to live, one way or another."
"You know I'm not going to just roll over and die."
"I did not expect you to. However, that is a matter for another day. Our dispute can wait until we have safely returned back to our world."
"Agreed. By the way, do you have any idea how we're going to do that?"
"Something got us here, and I don't mean the ritual itself. That merely provided the required energy."
"I'm not sure what you mean," the younger Magus admitted.
"As I said before, a Singularity is an independent world, disconnected from everything else. We cannot have gotten here by a fluke. Probabilistically it would be like shooting towards the sky and hitting a passing meteorite. A catalyst must have been present. Something with a connection with this place. We need to find it, if we ever hope to return."
"Are you certain that something like that even exists, and that has been transported here with us? In Japanese folklore, the island of Megijima and Onigashima are considered the same place. Couldn't it be that the island itself acted as a catalyst?"
"Are you experiencing any sort of negative effect since coming to this place?" he asked.
"None that have anything to do with being here," Emiya replied. "Why? Were you expecting me to have any?"
"For all intents and purposes we are extraneous entities to this place. The effects of Magecraft fade just like they do in our world, therefore the same corrective force is at play. Yet we are not being pushed out as we should."
"I'm not sure I follow," Emiya admitted.
"You don't have any experience with spiritual summoning, do you?"
"Can't say I do."
"Look, when invoking an external entity, regardless of their nature, three things are necessary. A suitable ritual, a source of energy and lastly something native to the plane of destination to act as an anchor.
"We took care of the ritual on our end," Emiya deduced,
"And since we are living beings, we generate our own energy, unlike things like Servants. The only thing missing from the equation is the Anchor. If we found and destroyed it, we should naturally be pushed out given time."
"Being removed from this singularity doesn't equal going back home, does it?"
"It doesn't. Worst case scenario we would be stuck in the timeless void between worlds. We would cease to exist in any way that matters, strictly speaking."
"So much for that plan then."
"Yes, well… on its own it's not the solution to our problems, but we still need to break the hold this world has upon us if we wish to go back. Furthermore, like with every puzzle, each new piece we acquire will make it easier to see the whole picture. It's also the only thing that we can look for right now."
"Hmm… it definitely beats fiddling with our thumbs hoping for something to happen on its own, but where do we start from?"
"From ourselves, I daresay. There's a good chance that the Catalyst turned Anchor was something we had on our persons. Even a small, seemingly irrelevant object could be the source of our problems."
"That… might be a problem then."
"Hm? Why would it be? Did you bring a lot of things with you?"
"... you should probably give me some space," said Emiya. "I'm going to bring everything out."
A few minutes later, Shirou had emptied the contents of his Inventory on the floor of the cave. Waver stared at the pile of assorted junk with a disbelieving eye.
"Where… where did you keep all of this stuff? A pocket dimension? It has to be. This is a very advanced Magecraft. How does a first generation Magus like you know how to do something of this sort?"
Shirou shrugged. "You assume that I'm a first generation just because I was adopted by Kiritsugu, but do you have any knowledge of who my birth family was?"
This was complete bullshit, of course. Shirou himself didn't know who his biological parents were, but neither did anyone else for that matter. With an unknowable past, he had a convenient excuse for his Gamer powers. Who could prove otherwise?
The downside was that people would underestimate him less, but the danger would be so much higher if the truth of his Mystic Eyes was disclosed.
Waver seemed to reconsider the threat he represented in light of this new information, however he did not comment on it.
"Let's… let's just go through all of these things," he said, still shocked.
The entire morning was spent shifting through the contents of Shirou's Inventory, returning everything into it as it was excluded from the list of possible catalysts.
"Nothing," concluded Velvet. "None of these things is the Catalyst."
"Yes, I didn't think so either. For starters I'm not sure that anything inside my storage could react with anything happening outside of it."
"But you weren't sure?" the older Magus asked.
"No, of course not. It's why I left…." he trailed off.
"What is it?"
"I had an object. An old sake cup that has been given to me by a person for the express purpose of bringing it to this island."
"What? Who is this person and why did they give you such a task?"
"I think… I think I might have been set up. This is exactly what she expected to happen. But… that can't be. I left it at the inn precisely because I didn't trust to keep it on myself during the ritual."
"Then it cannot be it. It's too far from the location of the ritual to have influenced it."
"Unless someone took it along without my knowledge," Shirou deduced.
"Are you saying that Miss Mikado had this object on her person? That… that would make an inordinate amount of sense. If the catalyst is something with a connection to the entity controlling her body, it would go a long way to explain why she became possessed."
"Would it?" asked Shirou.
"Yes. If she had the Catalyst on her, Miss Mikado was at the centre of the reverse summoning that brought us here. It could be said that she materialized on this plane around the entity that now controls her body. It would explain everything."
"Yes… yes it would," agreed Shirou. "It would also mean that Anchor is with that super-powerful thing out there."
"... shit," said Waver.
"Wait. Wait… this isn't all that bad. Actually… that might be a great thing."
"Why? What do you mean?"
"She cannot hurt you, can she? The two of you don't have to fight. Disparity in power is not a concern. Our objective is only getting that cup."
"It's not like she's going to hand it over just because I ask."
"Of course not. I don't expect things to be so easy or straightforward. However, the conditions of victory have changed. Furthermore, there is a strong possibility that destroying the object would release Miss Mikado from the possession."
"Which would mean that the entity would be able to kill us all."
"That's… that's a problem that needs to be addressed, yes," Velvet concurred. "However, we have at least broken down a bigger problem into smaller ones. We just have to figure out how to solve each one. That's progress."
Shirou sighed. "I wish I could share your optimism, Velvet-san. I'm a hands-on kind of person. I'm not sure how I'll fare at finding solutions to complex situations that do not include fighting."
"Considering your age, it's already surprising that you have dealt with these circumstances as well as you did. In any event, our first effort should be finding out more about this entity. What is it? What does it want? Once we discover its motives, we might figure a way to control it just enough to make our escape."
"That means we're going to have to look for this information all around the island," said Shirou.
"That's unavoidable, I'm afraid. We won't find any answer by turtling ourselves in here."
"That's what I thought. Alright, let's discuss how to go about this. We can't afford to make a single mistake."
"A Magus never can," agreed Velvet.
They now knew what they needed in order to return home. However, knowing the direction and actually getting there were two very different matters altogether, as they would find out soon enough.
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