So after the last chapter was uploaded, a bunch of people wrote reviews complaining about neck injury due to POV whiplash.
And yeah, you guys were right. I didn't really notice due to writing each scene individually but looking back at it - rather than grabbing the reader's attention, all those rapid POV and location changes were accomplishing was making it seem like the cameraman had ADHD. Sorry about that.
With that being said, I've decided to split the last chapter in two, with all the stuff out of the main focus of the plot self-contained within it's own chapter.
"I am the bone of my sword"
The first words of my Aria echo through the yard as the sun begins to peek over the horizon.
"Steel is my body and fire is my blood"
My aura surges as I continue, my world slowly taking shape in my mind. It still feels strange to me - everything about Remnant is foreign to me, and yet... there's a strange amount of elements that are remarkably similar. Has there been some kind of cross-dimensional drift or something?
"I have created over a thousand weapons"
Alternatively, it could always be some sort of convergent evolution. Perhaps humanity will always build up similar values. Or maybe I was just thrown into a world very similar to my own.
I pause, the aria holding. It seems the first few lines of my incantation are still the same - I can feel Unlimited Blade Works humming in response to my call.
"Unaware of loss-"
A splitting headache interrupts my chant as a few blades rip through the skin of my left arm. That's definitely the line causing trouble. It may be a bit before I can figure out a good replacement...
In any case, I still need to have a talk with Gilgamesh. That child king still seems so confident, despite the strange situation we've found ourselves in. It could just be his natural confidence, but it could also be he knows more about our situation than me.
I notice the sun has now fully risen. I suppose it's time to start breakfast.
A few weeks have passed with little of note happening. Qrow probably is't the best possible parent, but considering my only comparisons are the memories of my interactions with Taiga during the Holy Grail War and my first few days with Kiritsugu… he wasn't too different.
Again, I don't remember most of my time with Kiritsugu. But I do remember talking a bit about it to Rin during the war, and as far as I can tell, there's not much difference between his parenting and Qrow's.
I stop musing for a bit and place the last pancake on the plate.
"Qrow, breakfast is done!"
"Haven't I told you, kid? Serve it up first, then I'll come in. I won't let this semblance of mine break another plate."
...right, I forgot again. Qrow's semblance is a real piece of work. I really wish I had some item like the Shroud of Martin at my disposal. It would certainly make things easier on the man. Still, the Shroud was not a weapon, even if I severely stretched the definition. There was no possible way for me to duplicate it.
I serve breakfast on the table and Qrow comes in to eat. There are few accidents that can occur at breakfast that can harm someone with aura, so this, at least, is safe.
"So are we meeting with Taiyang for dinner again?" I ask. It's become a bit of a...tradition? Can you call something that has only been occurring a few weeks a tradition? In any case, Qrow and I have been having dinner on the weekends with the Xiao-Long-Rose family.
"Nah. Today's the anniversary of Summer's death. Tai's not gonna be able to make dinner, since he'll probably be drunk off his ass. Last year I had to make dinner and no one had a good time, so this year the plan was to send the girls over to a friend's house for the day. Tai won't eat anything anyway." I grimace a bit at his reply. He goes to take a swig from his flask, and a copy of Torashinai is fired and knocks it out of his hand.
"It's 8 AM, Qrow. You shouldn't be drinking this early."
"It's just water, kid."
"Liar. I can smell it from here."
"...well, Vodka is Mantlean for water."
My palm meets my face with a loud smack.
I stir the diced shallots in with the sherry and flour until the drink evaporates. After that, I pour in the beef broth and begin stirring.
French dip sandwiches aren't a very well known dish in Japan, but Archer picked it up during his stay in the Clock Tower.
I dip Roast Beef slices in the sauce, place them on bread, and then pour the sauce itself into small cups.
"Dinner is ready!" I call out, placing the plates on the table.
Ruby and Yang join Qrow and myself at the table. I offered to cook for them, and Qrow agreed, so they wound up joining us. I watch as they take their first bites, judging their reaction aaaand Yang just drank some of the dipping sauce. I guess I should have explained first.
"Ugh! This stuff tastes nasty!"
I chuckle a bit. "You're not supposed to drink it. You're supposed to dip the sandwich in it."
Ruby takes her first bite and stops moving. Chew. Chew. Swallow.
"Shirou! Ditch Uncle Qrow and live with us! This is way better than Dad's food!"
"I think that's a bit extreme…"
Qrow smiles. "Seriously, Shirou. This is good stuff. Worth using some of my alcohol on it."
Ruby starts coughing. Yang's pace of eating increases. "This has alcohol in it!? We're not allowed to drink that stuff, it's bad for us!"
"Don't worry about it. The actual alcohol is cooked out, so it's just another flavoring."
A simultaneous "Oh." comes from both girls. Oi, Yang, how come you sound disappointed…?
It's a few days later that I manage to find Gilgamesh again.
"Oi. King of Heroes. I've got a few questions, if you don't mind."
He smiles back at me, and it's a surprisingly pleasing sight. I suppose his A-rank charisma isn't just for show.
"Emiya. How can I help you?"
I pause, trying to think of a way to phrase it.
"Do you have any idea what happened? After the grail pulled us in, I mean. How did we end up here?"
His expression twists into a grimace.
"I'm afraid I might know even less than you. I know that I am Gilgamesh of Uruk. I know the information the grail provided me with upon being summoned. However, Remnant is completely different from the information provided by the grail. I don't have any knowledge of my older self's actions from his summoning up to this point. I don't know if that is due to the youth potion or some other force but... honestly, I had no idea you were related to the grail war until you told me."
"I suppose you having all the answers would be too easy," I reply, sighing.
"...Still," he continues, "If we were both pulled into the grail, then neither of us should be standing here. I would have been broken down into mana, and you would have been converted into it's core..."
I know that, dammit! None of this makes any sense!
"To be frank, until you mentioned it to me, I assumed that my older self had wished to be reborn into this world after winning the grail, and then used the Elixir of Youth to fool around up until the present era. Now that you mention the kaleidoscope, though... that might make more sense."
I grunt in affirmation. Well, that's one possible lead gone.
Oh hey look there's some extra stuff tacked on because the chapter would have been too short otherwise.
In any case, there have also been some worries about the cast becoming too bloated. I'm not sure if it helps or not, but "Cynthia" and "Shuu" will be the last Type-Moon characters introduced for a while. I promise I'm not just throwing them in for no reason. They have a purpose in this story, but it may take a bit to get there.
As far as POV swaps go, I think I may have learned my lesson after that last fiasco. I'll probably be sticking to one or two POVs per chapter from here on out, without swapping rapidly back and forth between scenes like a whirlwind with ADHD.