Chapter 2

The Snowflake's Arrival


"Professor Ozpin, the last pair has been formed sir."

The silver haired bespectacled man briefly glanced over his shoulder at the woman's voice before quickly returning to the tablet in his hand that displayed all the individuals currently participating in the initiation test of Beacon Academy.

"Lie Ren and Nora Valkyrie."

He hummed in acknowledgement. His eyes were glued to the screen to something that was far more interesting that acquired all of his attention. He relegated everything else being told to him to a lower priority status.

"Ah – I see… you've found the poor soul that has somehow made his way into the forest. Would you like me to contact law enforcement and have him detained?"

He didn't respond.

"Sir?" she pressed.

"No."

Her eyebrows furrowed together. "No? Professor Ozpin, please be reasonable. We do not know who this individual is and how he wounded up in our school grounds. I already ran a preliminary background check and nothing came up."

"My decision stands," he said resolutely, "Besides, don't you remember that we're short on our quota this year? We need one more person to make a full team. With him here, he conveniently rounds things out for us."

"You- you can't be serious Ozpin," protested the woman. "This is extremely careless of you. I can understand Miss Belladonna and maybe Miss Rose, but this?"

He held up a single hand. "Don't worry Glynda. Trust me on this one. Have some faith. I have a… feeling he's a special case. I'll deal with him personally after he's completed the task."

She rolled her eyes. "How can he complete a task that he doesn't even know?"

"Well… that's why he has Miss Nikos with him," he quipped cheekily.

She pursed her lips together thinly. Her body language fully projecting her opposition. "I hope you know what you're doing Oz."


Pyrrha Nikos trailed slightly behind her new partner.

Outwardly, she held a pleasant expression that was welcoming to anyone. But behind that perfectly crafted façade, her mind was in a myriad of emotions and thoughts. The first thing that came to mind was that he didn't recognize her.

From the moment she introduced herself. She held her breath and waited for the same pattern whenever she revealed her name. Immediate recognition, followed by the usual ecstatic joy of meeting someone famous and finally the instant expectation that came with her name. It wouldn't be until after they started walking that she finally realized that he didn't recognize her. He treated her as if she were any other person, with no fanfare or theatrics.

When he reached out, she found her emerald green eyes reflected back into golden brown eyes.

The boy who she now knew as Shirou Emiya genuinely did not know who she was.

She wanted to scream. She wanted to jump in joy and yell out in excitement. That she was not wrong or foolish in her decision to leave her home. That she had made the right decision for herself to escape the prison that she had unknowingly built for herself.

So for now, she had settled on wearing a breathtaking smile to herself as she followed along her fellow redhead.

Although curiously enough, she didn't recall seeing him at the grand hall with all the other applicants. That auburn red hair of his would have stuck out like a sore thumb. Not to mention the plain clothes that he wore and lack of weapon on him. Had he accidentally lost his weapon while falling? Or maybe he was late and had simply forgotten it?

In fact, she didn't recall seeing him at the launch pads either.

Curiosity got the best of her and so she asked, "So… how come I didn't see you at the platform?"


The Emerald Forest.

I understood why they called it that since there was nothing but green as far as the eye could see. It reminded me of the forest that surrounded Fuyuki City. Tall lumbering trees that reached for the skies. Birds singing in the background. It was rather peaceful if you didn't mind the fact that there were literal phantasmal shade beasts infesting the place.

For a brief moment, I had actually thought that we were in the Forest of Einnashe. But then again, if that were the case we would be long dead. There was a particular reason why it was ranked the seventh out of the twenty-seven dead apostle ancestors. Nature was scary, and it was even more so when it was controlled by an undead vampire.

"So… how come I didn't see you at the platform?" she said conversationally from behind. "There was only seven of us when we were launched."

"Would you believe me if I said I got lost on the way?"

An amused expression danced on her face. "Well – Beacon Academy is fairly large in comparison to the other academies. So I can certainly believe you," she laughed good-naturedly. "Also, you seem to have had quite the rough landing. Your Aura should have healed some of your minor scrapes by now."

I stared back at her in confusion before masking it by turning back around. Aura? What on earth was Aura? Did she mean to say Od? Or perhaps mistook it for Prana? No – she had definitely said Aura.

"Don't worry about me," I waved her off and changed the subject. "I'll be fine. How much further anyways?"

I had no clue where we were going or what we were supposed to do. The only thing I had to go off of was that we were now partners and that was an initiation test. Geez - what am I getting myself into?

"Hmm, it can't be too far," she mused out loud. "They didn't exactly brief us where the relics were supposed to be. Just a general direction."

"Right…" I drawled. "Let's just hope this is the right way then."

The moment I accepted her hand I tried to acquire a sense of my new environment. I had to avoid being overt or straightforward lest I risked exposing myself. This was unknown territory that I was treading in. Already she casually spoke of terms and words that I had no knowledge of. All I could really do was just play along and nod my head. Just from our short conversation, I was beginning to realize that I was a long ways from home. "A real Alice in Wonderland situation I found myself in…" I muttered quietly.

By my own deduction and reasoning. The Holy Grail must've decided to pick me up along for the journey on a whim. That it somehow heard my own wishes. On one hand, the Grail allowed me a convenient escape from imprisonment and torture. On the other hand, I wondered what price I had to pay as there was hardly any magical energy left by the time I got transported.

I shook my head. That was a problem for future me.

"I think… up ahead is the way?" Announced my partner in an unsure tone. "What do you think Shirou?"

In front of us was a dark tunnel at the base of a sheer cliff face.

An opening to a cave system. I gritted my teeth and rolled my eyes. Of course, a cave of all things. I had just gotten out of one and now I was venturing back into another. What was that saying again? Out of the frying pan and into the fire?

"Maybe," I said with a level of caution. "Doesn't look like there's any other way over or around." The two of us couldn't possible scale the cliff in a reasonable amount of time. So that cut down our already short list of alternatives.

"Well it doesn't look too bad," she noted optimistically. "What could go wrong?"

I shot her a blank stare. "By saying something like that."

"Forewarned is forearmed right?" She stopped midstride. "Wait, shouldn't we make a torch or something?"

"No," I continue forward. "Our eyesight will eventually adjust to the darkness as we go. The cave's probably wet and if it goes out, we'll be wasting time fumbling around. Plus, we can use the darkness to our own advantage as well. Just in case if there's anything else down here."

"You seem to know a lot about spelunking down in caves," she said as she matched her step next to me. "I'm guessing you have some experience?"

"I suppose so," I answered with a grimace. "A friendly reminder, but keep your voice down and no sudden movements. Stick close to me, take it slow, and keep calm. We don't know what sort of surprise we'll find down here."

If there were any prior indication with the werewolf-like beasts out in the forest. I'm more than positive that there were ambush-type predators that loved to make dark caves their home. As we ventured deeper into the abyss. I couldn't shake off the feeling that I was going to be proven right sooner or later.


Delving deeper into the cavernous system, the air became incredibly cold just like how it was under Mount Enzo.

I was starting to regret not making a torch like how Pyrrha suggested.

"Hey," she whispered quietly. "Do you feel that in the air? It feels kind of warm doesn't it?"

"Yeah, I feel it too." I slowed my steps barely to a crawl and so did she. Peering in the darkness up ahead, a soft subtle golden glow hummed in the distance. It was tantalizing if not mesmerizing to stare at. Both our feet found themselves walking to it.

Getting closer and close to the foreign object. The luminous golden bulb floated in the air. A sheen of solid gold radiating its warmth for all to bask in its light. And suddenly-

I jerked to a halt and jutted out my arm. She bumped into it and I held fast.

The moment we stopped, the golden light stopped moving as well.

I felt her move forward but I pressed back. I grabbed her arm and made her follow along with my movements. A single step backward and the light followed. We stepped back another step and the light gave chase.

I narrowed my eyes and reinforced my vision.

Further down the path, a hulking monstrosity of some sort laid in the darkness. The beast had been luring us into a trap with its bait like it was some sort of anglerfish. The bulb bounced around some more to entice its prey. The hunter was getting antsy.

When we stayed unmoving from our spot. Scores of angry red glowing eyes opened up to search for its two lost prey. I licked my lips nervously as my eyes got a clearer picture of the beast. The sheer size of the thing was almost as big, if not bigger, than a school bus or small house. With a tail, or stinger in this case, the creature looked like some sort of phantasmal scorpion.

The creature shuffled around in its place and unintentionally allowed some natural sunlight to seep in. It was guarding the exit to the cave. I held my breath and refrained from sighing out in relief.

I feel Pyrrha in my hand move to ready herself for a fight, but I gently pulled her close to me and signaled for her to stand down. This wasn't a good area for us to fight in. Being in a cramped corridor, in the dark, and in its territory left us at a severe disadvantage.

My eyes glanced around and saw that we were at a forked junction. Two paths that led to the only exit. Trusting that this monster mimicked scorpions in their lack of eyesight, I wordlessly traced a small dagger behind my back before bringing it up to my side. Counting down from three, I threw the dagger down the other pathway as far as I could. The dagger pinged noisily against the wall capturing the creature's full attention.

It screeched a horrific sound before giving chase to its intruder down the other path.

The moment it scurried out of the way. I rushed out and dragged Pyrrha with me. The opening gave way to another part of the forest that was considerably less dense than the other side. A tree line was visible to where it cleared up to an open grassy area with a series of ruins out in the far distance.

I hoped that we were almost finished with this initiation.

"Shirou?" She called out to me.

"Yeah?"

"Is this how you take all your girls on their first date?" She directed my sight to our hand still held together. The corners of her lips curled upwards as the realization dawned upon me.

"Yes, I take all of my dates out to spelunking in a forest full of monsters before diving into caves with them." The filter between my brain and mouth was gone. I blamed it on the complete install from the class card; more specifically, EMIYA. "I hope you don't mind that since you're my partner now."

I closed one of my eyes and peered at her from the side.

Pyrrha placed a hand on her hip. "Then I'm looking forward to the next one."

I shook my head in exasperation. Look at me, messing around like a fool when we were supposed to be searching for a relic. "We should get going. There's a ruin I spotted not too far from here." I pointed out to her in the general direction. "I have a hunch that's where our objective us."

Her eyes squinted in concentration. "I can barely make it out. You have some good eyesight Shirou. That's what? A couple kilometers out?"

I shrugged my shoulders. "I guess you can say I ate a lot of carrots."

"Of course, a healthy diet leads to a healthy life. Let's get going shall we?"


My hand flicked away the sweat off my brow.

The physical exhaustion was finally taking its toll. A consequence of being up and active for more than a day was catching up to me. Each step became more difficult than the last. I thought I knew what it felt like to be low on prana, but this was really taking the cake. If I wasn't careful I could risk damaging my circuits.

"Are you okay?" she asked, grasping my shoulder.

"Y-Yeah, I'm fine," I waved her off. "Just… more tired than usual."

"Are you sure about that? You look like as if you're about to pass out on your feet."

"Hey, the temple is right there." I pointed out to distract her from fussing over me. "I also see two other people at the steps."

She gave me a concerned look before prying her attention away to the distant figures lazing about at the ruins.

"Oh – I see Yang and Blake have already made it."

Apparently they were friends or acquaintances at the very least. The sight of them caused Pyrrha to pick up her pace to greet them. I followed suit at a more sedated pace. Just the act alone made me feel like I was about to pass out.

"Hey Pyrrha! Is that you?" The one with the vibrant and long blonde hair called out. "Oh ho-! And who do we have here that's following you?" Her lavender eyes roamed from top to bottom multiple times. Did I just get checked out by her? I wasn't sure if I should be flattered or not.

"My partner," she introduced, "Shirou meet Yang," she pointed to the blonde before directing my attention to the black haired girl, "and Blake."

"Shirou huh?" The girl who checked me out did so once again without any shame whatsoever. "You like your fellow redheads don't you Pyrrha? I got to say I'm impressed girl. You got some good taste. Not too bad except…" she squinted her eyes at me. "He could learn how to crack a smile or two. C'mon buddy! You're getting checked out by three totally hot chicks and no reaction?"

I kept my flat stare at her. Of course it was a blonde. It really was an out of a frying pan and into the fire situation. I went from dealing with one blonde to another. At least this one wasn't trying to turn me into a Noble Phantasm pincushion.

"Aww," cooed Yang. "No need to play hard to get! Like what Wonder Girl said, I'm Yang! Yang Xiao Long, nice to meet ya red!" she greeted with a wink.

I snuck in my own glance at her and couldn't help but make the comparison between the two blondes. I huffed a breath of amusement. She had her cleavage out on display and was probably proud of it too. Angelica would murder Yang's self-confidence if they ever met.

"What? Like what ya see red?"

I snorted and rolled my eyes. "It's Shirou, Shirou Emiya. Not red."

"Gotcha red!"

This girl was trying to draw out a reaction so I turned to the black haired girl with the bow.

"Blake."

Simple and straightforward.

There was a disinterested look on her face. As if she was doing her best to keep a low profile. Although with a partner like Yang, I highly doubt that was going to be easy.

The girl named Blake had almost the same color of eyes as me. She tried to maintain an aloof aura that was barely held together by her own eyes constantly sneaking glances every so often. A curious type of person by nature and maybe more. The only thing that made her stand out was the bow on top of her hair. It completed the overall look to her and was sort of cute especially when it… twitched?

A lone eyebrow rose up.

"Yes? Do you need something?" she asked.

I blinked at the fact that I was caught staring. "No," I looked away to my partner that was gathering our relics, "just thought you looked familiar for a moment."

Just by the eye color alone and hair made it look like she was an older Miyu or something. However there were subtle differences like her hair being pitch black instead of a lighter shade. Or that their noses were different as well. Small things that added up as well being an age difference.

"So red!" Yang sauntered over and shouldered up to me. "How come yours truly," she flourished at herself, "didn't see ya at orientation? With hair like that you sorta stick out ya know? Especially with that physique you'd have girls checkin' you out left and right."

This girl had absolutely no shame.

I felt like she was practically undressing me with her eyes. If Angelica looked at me with pure disdain then Yang was looking at me as if I was a cut of prime meat at a butcher's market.

"I was late," I answered succinctly.

"Late" she parroted in disbelief. "And they still let you in? Man red, aren't you a lucky guy?"

"It wasn't my fault," I maintained my composure. "Just some unfortunate events popped up at the last moment that made me late. The instructors assured me that it was ok." Pyrrha was just returning from the ruins with the relics in hand. A pair of white knight chess pieces. I resisted the urge to sigh outwardly at the sight of it. Just one ironic thing after another.

A Knight Piece for a Knight Class Card user.

How poetic.

"Here's yours," she handed the other piece to me.

I hesitated for a brief second before accepting it. "Thanks," I murmured, studying the object. A traditional knight piece in the form of a horse. A plethora of feelings ran through me as the knight symbolized honor, pride, and chivalry. Things that I tossed away for the sake of rescuing my sister and yet here it was handed to me by my partner.

How very poetic.

My hand squeezed the piece as if I could choke the object to death.

Such things were not meant for me. I was the furthest person that deserved it. Maybe in another life in another timeline I would've upheld those ideals to be a Hero of Justice. However – this was not me.

"Something wrong?" quirked Pyrrha. Her eyes drifted to my fisted hand.

"Nothing for you to worry about." I walked over to the steps and took a seat as another wave of exhaustion washed over me. A certain weight settled itself onto my shoulders as I closed my eyes. "So what do we do now?"

"I dunno," replied Yang as she kicked dirt around. "I feel like we're supposed to wait for more people? Hey Pyrrha, Blake. You girls got any clue?"

Blake shook her head while Pyrrha maintained her stare.

"Well I think-"

"WOOHOO! YEE-HAW! GIDDY-UP TEDDY BEAR!"

I took a peek with one eye and witnessed an orange haired girl yelling on top of what looked to be another type of phantasmal beast. This time bearing a strong resemblance to a bear that had bone white protrusions and plating. Correction – she was riding on it until it collapsed in either exhaustion or death.

"BOOP!" Her hammer smashed into its skull before it shortly disappeared like dust in the wind. "Aww, had to retire the ol' Ursa-mobile."

I closed my eye and turned away. I feared if I stared any longer the sheer lunacy of the situation would infect me.

"Ooh! Ren, look! A white knight! It's…" I felt the wind rush pass my body. "MINE! It's a little horsey! Aww~ isn't that just so gosh darned cute?"

"NORA!" A different voice cried out.

"Hehe, I'm coming Renny!" The now named Nora rushed passed me again.

The aforementioned girl dashed back to the male's voice with a skip in her step.

"Um… excuse me? Are you serious? Did that girl just ride in on a… Ursa?!" pointed an incredulous Yang.

"Uh… I think so?" shrugged Blake.

I sighed softly to myself as I opened my eyes to the skies.

"Feeling any better?" Pyrrha cozied herself up next to me. "I think we're almost done with our initiation."

"Somewhat." A speck in the sky moved. My eyes narrowed in response. "Hey… Pyrrha, is that a person falling towards us?" Towards me?

"I… I believe you're correct."

"Err, hey Yang," Blake elbowed her partner, "I think that's your sister falling towards us. Along with… Weiss."

"AHHHHHH! HEADS UP EVERYONE!"

"Guh-!" I jumped up to catch the girl roughly in my arms in the nick of time. The moment I arrested her momentum I dropped her to catch the second girl that followed suit. The girl in white forced me to my knees as her weight met my waiting arms. A solid thud could be heard as the stone cracked underneath my feet. Immediately after I dropped her, it left her stunned momentarily like the other girl.

"Thank you- oof! Hey you brute! What was that for?!" The girl with white hair glared at me. "How rude! Do you know who I am? How dare you just drop me like that?!" I shot her a bored look that masked how much that took out of me.

The brief reinforcement took what little I had left in the tank. "You're welcome."

"Hmph," she sneered before patting the dirt off her dress and walking off.

"Great!" Yang clapped happily. "The gang's all here plus the new guy! Psst – hey, I bet they were quite… the catch eh?"

I blinked at how horrible that pun was. Angelica and Yang would definitely not get along at all. "You're terrible," I bluntly stated.

"Hey everyone – I don't want to be the bearer of bad news and all, but Ruby and Weiss brought a Nevermore that's encircling above us right now," pointed out Blake.

A bloodcurdling screech ran out from the skies to reinforce her statement.

Weiss pocketed her relic as she addressed the group. "Well everyone has their relics correct? Then we shouldn't dilly-dally any further when we're close to finishing our initiation. All we have to do is make it to the exfiltration point and we're home free."

I rolled my eyes.

As if that phantasmal flying beast would let us get away so easily. By a simple glance of everyone's armaments. They didn't have anything to shoot down that overgrown crow. As long as that thing was in the air, we weren't going anywhere.

"Weiss is right," agreed her partner. "We got our relics and now it's time to high tail on out."

They all held hopeful smiles on their faces as if we were all in the clear. I kept my mouth shut and nodded along. I needed to see more before I made my own decision to deal with the problem myself.

"It's time we leave," ushered the boy in oriental garments.


"Ha-! Ha-!"

I panted laboriously and threw all modesty out the window. Sweat poured down my face as it took every fiber of my being to not collapse onto the ground. Even in my weakened state, the battle intuition ingrained upon me sensed the danger that came rushing towards my partner.

"GAH-!"

I leapt and tackled Pyrrha to the side that sent us sprawling to the ground that ended up with me landing on top of her roughly.

A shower of feathers peppered the area she was just in. The hardened earth ruptured violently that left quakes rushing throughout the area.

"Thanks for the save." My partner said as we picked ourselves up and caught up with the rest of the group.

They were huddled up in near the walls of another set of ruins. The cliffs where our supposed exfiltration was right in front of us. We were so close to freedom except for this damn bird following us.

I attributed it to my poor luck with how dead set this Nevermore was trying to kill everyone. It flapped its wings hovering in the air momentarily before perching itself atop of a central tower. It screeched and cawed forcing everyone to cover their ears. Its wings flapped gale force winds throughout the complex.

"Well ain't that just peachy!" commented Yang. "What do we do now?"

My back slid down the wall as my heart felt like it was about to explode. I closed my eyes and envisioned my magical circuits along with my reserves. It was still pathetically low from the fight with Angelica. If our situation hadn't deteriorated terribly I would've cautioned myself nor do anything insane.

However – our situation was becoming rather dire and I was too tired to be considered sane at the moment.

I steeled my resolve.

"Alright," I huffed out. "All of you listen up. I'm going to tell you this once." I got up and used the wall for support. My eyebrows knotted together as I reigned in my gasps. "I need you all to distract the bird. I need three of you to swing to the right while the other three swing to the left. Spread out, use the ruins as cover, and keep your distance. The last person will engage up the central causeway and be my safety net just in case."

"Ooh-! So does this mean I get to smash the birdy with Magnhild?" asked the overtly eager orange haired girl.

I blinked at her exuberant personality in such a dire situation. "Yes," I said simply.

"WOOHOO! COME ON RENNY! LET'S GET'EM!"

"Wait, WAIT-WAIT! NORAAAAAAAA!"

His voice died out as he was literally pulled by the collar.

"And what are you going to be doing huh?" asked Weiss with her arms crossed. "I'm not sure if you noticed, but you're the only one that doesn't have a weapon. And if I'm being quite honest, that doesn't instill confidence in me with your plan."

"That's for me to worry, not you," I brushed her off. "Stick to the plan and get going." I left no room for argument.

"Alright princess! Let's just trust in red's plan! I'm sure he's got something in store for everyone." Yang smashed her fist into an open palm. "We got a game plan and that's all I need!"

Yang took to the left flank with Blake and a skeptical Weiss. The girl with the red hood meanwhile dashed off to the right flank leaving Pyrrha to take up the central position.

"Don't worry Shirou," she turned her head around with a smile. "I believe in you. After all, we have another date to go on."

Leave it to my partner of people to crack a joke in this situation. Something that girl was making me trip over my own feet.

When they all left to their positions and were out of earshot. I traced a matte black longbow that I used a crutch to lean against. The bow felt a lot heavier than usual. I chalked it up to the sheer fatigue I was experiencing.

I dragged myself over to the firing position and dropped to my knees. I was running on fumes now and didn't have anything left to keep myself upright.

"Trace, on."

A pitch-black weapon, with a few small edges that coiled around a thin central core hovered in the air for a second before it dropped into my hand. The Noble Phantasm was a strange sight to see as it was a sword even though it resembled a spear more than anything else.

I knocked the weapon and pulled the string back. The bow creaked in protest at the weight being forced at the arms. I aimed my sights at the center mass of the beast's body. The bird was too distracted by everyone to realize that it was being corralled into a trap.

"Go into the red plans…"

The monster pumped its wings to gain altitude and buffet everyone away in its vicinity. While everyone's attacks weren't doing any significant damage. It kept its eyes off me and allowed me to gather any magical energy I had left into this one attack.

I pumped whatever prana I had left into the weapon. The Noble Phantasm broke as the point bled red. Now no matter what it did or where it went, the action was futile.

"Hrunting!"


Pyrrha Nikos felt something itch at the back of her head.

The years of combat she accrued allowed her to develop a sixth sense of sorts. Her battle intuition whispered for her to turn around. Trust in her instincts, she raised her shield and turned her head around.

By fortune, or timing, she caught the sight just in time.

"Hrunting!"

A mere instant, not even a fraction of a second. He yelled out its name and released the projectile. It flew so fast that it looked more like a beam attack than an arrow. When she tried to follow its path, the action of doing such a thing almost gave her whiplash.

"-!?"

The angry crimson projectile slammed straight into the chest of the Nevermore. It plucked it out of the sky and punched a hole that continued into the cliff. It squawked pitifully in its death throes as it fell down into the ravine below and out of sight.

Silence befell the temple ruins.

When she returned her gaze to her partner. She caught sight of his bow disappearing in his hands before he collapsed onto the ground.

Pyrrha stowed her weapons away and rushed to her partner.

A plethora of questions ran through her head. However they would have to be saved for later as his well-being took precedence.

"Shirou!"


My eyes blearily cracked open.

The soft rhythmic tone of a heart rate monitor beeping slowly filtered into my ears.

"W-Where… am I?"

I blinked a couple of times to clear the blurriness of my vision. The medical equipment in my room told me I was in a hospital. It was rather sparse with having only the necessities needed for any medical personnel to work on a patient. I glanced down at myself and saw that I was in a hospital gown with an I.V. hooked up to me.

The sight registered something in me and I licked my lips. They were dry and cracked in some places. My throat felt like it was a desert. And over at the counter was a pitcher of water that was out of my reach.

The door to my room opened.

A plain looking nurse stepped in and glanced up from her tablet. She blinked a couple of times before tapping at profusely at the device and left.

Soon after she was gone. A middle aged man with tousled silver, or was it white, hair and light brown eyes stepped into the room. He wore shaded glasses, carried a cane, and dressed rather casually in an unzipped black suit and green dress shirt. My nose picked up the smell of coffee wafting strongly from him.

Then a woman, of possibly similar age or younger, with light-blonde hair tied into a bun followed suit. Like him, she too wore glasses that were ovular in design. She was dressed in a white long-sleeved, pleated top, black high-waist pencil skirt, black boots with heels, and interestingly enough a cape of all things.

They booth stood at the foot of my bed.

"Hello there," the man greeted. "I'm glad to see that you are alright. The doctors said all you suffered from was dehydration, a bad case of physical exhaustion, and low Aura."

I glanced back to the pitcher as he talked.

"Ah, a little parched I see. Glynda, would you kindly please?" She pulled out a riding crop from her side and pointed it at the pitcher and an empty cup. IT floated to me as the pitcher tipped into the cup and hovered in front of my face. With care, I gratefully accepted the cup and downed the drink. The empty cup was soon levitated out of my hands and back to the counter. "Feeling better?" he smiled.

"Thanks…"

He stared into my eyes for brief moment.

"May I ask you… do you know who I am?"

I blinked and shook my head no.

"What about my friend here? Do you know her?"

Same thing, I had no clue as to who she was.

"Then how about where you are? Recognize the place you are currently at?" He pointed out the window that overlooked the ocean and what I could guess was the rest of the campus.

"No."

"Does the name Vale ring a bell? Or perhaps Beacon Academy? Any of those seem familiar to you?"

"No," I repeated once more.

"I see… then introductions are in order. My name is Ozpin," he gestured to himself, "and this is my longtime friend and partner Glynda Goodwitch." He then motioned to the woman at his side. "You are currently residing in the medical wing of Beacon Academy. You've been out cold for almost two days before you finally came to."

"I see…"

"We are the administrators of this academy. I am its headmaster and she is its deputy headmistress in addition to being a professor."

This was rather a lot to take in so suddenly.

"I see that you are rather overwhelmed. Please, take all the time you need."

I rubbed at my eyebrows. Heroic Spirit EMIYA's luck had to be rubbing off on me in more ways than one. How in the world did I managed to get myself into this situation?

"Shirou," I greeted. "My name is Shirou Emiya."

"Hello Mister Emiya," he greeted congenially.

"Hello," said the woman tersely. She seemed to be a rather straight, by-the-books type of person from her stern expression and voice.

"Hmm… young man. Would you like to attend my school?" he offered out of nowhere.

I blinked a couple of times and stared at him. My mouth opened before it quickly shut. Was this déjà vu? I suddenly felt like I was a child again sitting my hospital bed with Kiritsugu asking me if I would like to be adopted by him.

The man waited patiently for my answer.

I laughed.

It was just one irony after another. Here I was being offered another chance at life. Just how many chances was I going to be offered? My luck sure does love to swing from one extremity to another.

"Was there something amusing?" he asked curiously.

"No, sorry," I apologized. "It's just… this isn't the first time I was offered a life changing experience in a hospital bed before."

He chuckled along with me. "I suppose you'd call that irony. So what do you say? Care to take up my offer?"

I crossed my arms while being mindful of the noodle in my arm.

Kiritsugu's paranoia danced at the edges of my mind. Years of following under the Magus Killer's tutelage rubbed off on me. They reminded me to not so hastily rush into an offer and to do my best to know the ins and outs of such things. That if I was going to accept I had better prepare myself for the consequences of doing so.

"Even if I accept your invitation. I don't exactly have the money to pay for the tuition. And looking out from my window. I would have to say the price tag to this academy of yours is rather pricey," I explained myself.

"Not to worry," he grinned. "We offer full ride scholarships to exceptional individuals who manage to catch our eyes. And I have to say Mister Emiya. You have certainly more than impressed me."

"Still hard to believe such an offer," I murmured skeptically to myself.

Now it was his turn to laugh.

"Is it? Is it so hard to believe that there are people that simply want to help people? That only have the best intentions for others? I admit that my charity and penchant to help people that are in need often net me suspicion. But at the end of the day, nothing feels more fulfilling than when I can help people."

I winced at how familiar that sounded. It felt like I had just listened to a recording of myself. If I could empathize with the man in front of me. "I suppose so…"

He kept his grin. "You share the same sentiments as I don't you?"

That man saw right through me in an instant. My silence was its own answer.

"See? All the more reason to accept my offer. We are birds of a feather who flock together Mister Emiya."

This man was adamantly pushing for me to accept his invitation. The persistence alone flattered me.

"We watched you with great earnest from the moment you showed up on our cameras. From what I and my colleague observed. You have all the qualities we look for in students. The ability to take leadership, making plans and executing decisive action, and a rather peculiar ability we've never seen before." He motioned for the woman to bring up her tablet. She played the footage of my projecting my bow and Noble Phantasm. The video stopped the moment I fired. "Conjuring weapons? Quite a fascinating power you have there."

He was just buttering me up. Trying to stroke my ego into accepting. He really was pulling out all the stops. Well – if he was this borderline desperate, I might as well use this to my own advantage. The worst thing that could say was no.

"Before I accept, there's one thing I'd like to request."

"Well if it is within my means and is reasonable then ask away."

"I have a younger sister," I started off. "We were separated not too long ago and I've been searching for her ever since. If it were at all possible. Would you be able to help me finder?"

The woman's stern features softened. "A lost sibling you say?"

"Yes," I responded softly.

Ozpin adjusted his glasses. "I can certainly do that young man, but a word of caution. Searching for someone will be like a needle in a haystack. It'll require time and patience to find anything fruitful."

"That's fine by me. Any help that you can provide is more than enough."

Searching for Miyu would be a monumental task. Was I even in the right world with her? Was I in the correct timeline? World lines got extraordinarily complicated on a grand scale. I just hoped that my luck also swung favorably to my side.

"I'll need a complete description and documentation of her. Age, appearance, anything that you may think that will be useful in tracking her down. It will expedite the process more quickly," informed Glynda.

"I can do that."

"Then does that mean you accept Mister Emiya?" Ozpin inquired leaning on his cane.

I breathed in. I closed one of my eyes and looked at him with the one that was still open.

"Yes."

"I'm glad to hear that you're on board with us!" He clapped his hands together. "I'm sure you'll come to appreciate what our scholarship entails for you."

"Provided that he keeps his grades up to our standards that is," she minded the headmaster.

I sighed out and leaned back into my bed.

"Remember Mister Emiya. Sometimes all a person needs is for someone to extend a helping hand. And while it won't necessarily change the world. I know for certain it will change the world for that one person."

I understood that more than anyone else. "Of course…"

Ozpin turned to his deputy headmistress. "Glynda would you please assemble the paperwork?"

"Yes sir."


"I still strongly believe that we should contact James about this," said Glynda in a hushed tone to Ozpin.

He tapped on his cane as the elevator climbed up into his office.

"And I disagree. You know that James already has enough on his plate as is. He's worried enough about our special guest that he hounds me on a daily basis for updates. Not to mention he has to deal with his own council, his own pet projects, and security with the Vytal Festival Tournament that's right around the corner. Between you and me? I'd like to keep this one between us until we know more about Mister Emiya. If it gets out of hand, we'll bring in James and Qrow if need be."

"But this is something we've never encountered before. A boy who simply appeared out of thin air with no records or background is going to raise a lot of questions Oz. Especially since he's teamed up with that girl Pyrrha Nikos. It's just going to attract a lot of unnecessary attention that we-"

"Oh my." Ozpin blinked and interrupted her mid-sentence. "It seems we forgot something Glynda."

"Oh, oh dear…" Realization slowly dawned on Glynda's face as she covered her mouth with her hand. "I… we forgot to inform him about his team. I was so caught up in the paperwork that it left my mind."

"Mmm – he'll be fine," shrugged Ozpin. "His team should be visiting him shortly after. I'm sure they can give him the news."

"Now that just sounds highly irresponsible of us."

He waved her off. "Don't worry, I'm positive it will all work out in the end. Besides we have our own work that needs to get started on."

Glynda pursed her lips. "Did you ever find a color for their team?"

He coughed to the side to hide his embarrassment. "As you can imagine, finding a color that's abbreviated for SNPR was rather… difficult."

"So it's just… blank?"

"…" He took a moment before he answered, "Yes."

She sighed as the elevator opened.

"I suppose it will have to work until something comes up."

Walking into his office, they assumed their respective positions with Ozpin in his chair and Glynda to his side.

"So… how about coffee?"

"How about tea? The last four times we've had coffee. You need some variety in life."

He begrudgingly accepted with a grunt. "Fine, I suppose so…"

"The usual?" she smirked victoriously.

"The usual Glynda."


The view outside of my room was picturesque.

A perfect view of the bay that led out to the ocean. Right along the coast line was a walled in city that had airships flying in and out of its airport constantly. "Miyu would've loved to have seen this…"

My hand massaged at my brow.

"Really, just what on earth have I gotten myself into?" A question that I had been asking myself repeatedly since arriving her. What sort of rabbit hole did I fell into? I really was in the sticks this time. I wasn't just in another continent across the ocean, but in a whole new world. I was still trying to process that fact myself.

A better question yet; how did I even get here?

The Holy Grail had already been whisked away to another world line. I distinctly remember the magical connection being disconnected. So in its entirety, the system was gone and the ley line underneath Fuyuki City drained.

"Ah damn it, I'm completely out of my depth here."

I scratched at my head in frustration. Damn Kiritsugu for ingraining his sense of paranoia and skepticism in me. And damn that fake priest for instilling that methodology of his.

I sighed loudly, leaned back, and closed my eyes. "Wait and hope."

"SHIROU!"

My eyes snapped open towards the entrance of the room. The door was violently kicked open by an orange haired girl; Nora if I remembered correctly. And after her, a group of people filed into the room. I immediately recognized my partner, Pyrrha, who followed in shortly after. Along with her, everyone that was at the end of the initiation test was here as well.

"Nora! Not so loud!" chastised Ren. "We're in the medical wing so we need to keep it down or we'll get kicked out." He then turned to me. "Sorry about that."

My only response was to raise an eyebrow. "So what brought you all here?"

"We came to visit you dear leader!" saluted Nora.

I blinked and shook my head. "Excuse me?"

"Since all four us," Ren gestured to himself, Nora, Pyrrha, and me, "gathered the same knight pieces. The four us form the team with you as its leader Shirou."

"I… see," was all I could muster up. It would have been nice if those two instructors had informed me of such a thing. Oh well, beggars couldn't be choosers. "Leader huh?"

The total experience or exposure to any type of leadership role I had was leading the archery club and helping Julian with the student council duties. However seeing as how the school was barely held together with any students or teachers. It was mostly the two of us that dealt with club budgets and maintaining the school.

I took a deep breath before going with it. "Well it's nice to meet you all. I look forward to working together with the three of you. This is a bit of a new experience for me being a leader and all, but I promise to do my best."

My new team smiled together, graciously accepted, and formally recognized me as their leader.

"Lookin' forward to workin' with ya leader!" Nora gave an enthusiastic salute.

"As do I – Shirou," succinctly followed Ren.

Pyrrha held her beaming smile. "Here's to our team, SNPR!"

"SNPR?" I tested the name out. "Is that supposed to mean something?"

The abbreviation using the first letter in our first name was obvious, but I didn't know if it meant anything else other than a short way to represent the team.

"We were supposed to receive a color designation," informed Pyrrha. "But apparently the professors had a rather difficult time assigning one to us. So for the time being we're just SNPR."

"Indeed," followed up Ren, "The codename is dictated by the team leader's first initial and the other members follow suit to form the name. That's how you get a team like RWBY. Ruby here," he pointed to the girl with the red hood, "is the team's leader. And coincidentally her name is the color."

"I see," I rubbed my chin.

An interesting concept and simple premise. A quick and easy way to foster camaraderie and teamwork for the members. Everyone united under a single banner made it easy to maintain morale and identity.

"Hi!" A chipper voice grabbed my attention. "Nice to meet ya!"

"Likewise," I responded evenly.

"Um… so uh, I hope you don't mind me asking. But what kind of weapon did you use?" She muscled her way into the side of my bed. "All I saw was like a red beam and next thing I know that Nevermore had a giant hole in its chest! Did you use some sort of portable gauss rifle? Or maybe like a handy-dandy particle accelerator rifle? Everyone uses Dust and I have never seen Dust be used like that before! And if you did use Dust what'd you do to make it combust like that? All I ever get is boring projectiles!"

I blinked owlishly.

Half of the things she said completely went over my head.

Dust? What was that? Some kind of special thaumaturgical element? It sounded like it was rather important to their weapons. Maybe some kind of special type of gunpowder?

This girl was something else.

"Hey come sis, relax a little bit will you?" Yang ruffled Ruby's hair. "Sorry about that red, my little sister here is a bit of a weapon nut. She loves all things bladed, rifled, and Dust; even more so when you combine all three."

I cocked up an eyebrow. "You two are sisters?"

"Yep, different moms, but same dad."

"Ah…"

"Aww, hey come on Yang! I just wanna know!" Ruby struggled underneath her older sister's grip. "Hey Shirou! You wanna see my super cool, ultra-awesome scythe that I made with my uncle? It'll totally knock your socks off!"

This girl was really something else.

I chuckled softly as Yang pulled her sister away and began tussling with her in the back. When I looked away and glanced over to the right. The black haired girl with the bow in her hair stared intently at me. "Need something?"

"Sorry," she said unapologetically. "It's just that I'm trying to remember if I saw you at the platform before we were all sent into the forest. I could've swore that I was the last person to be sent."

I maintained my façade and shrugged. "I already told Pyrrha this, but I arrived late. So that's probably why you didn't see me."

"Really? Red hair like yours tends to stick out you know."

"Yes really," I sighed tiredly.

The barrage of questions was unending. Blake seemed to be the most skeptical out of everyone in this group. And she seemed like she wasn't the type to leave no stone unturned.

Her amber colored eyes stared momentarily before her shoulders shrugged.

"You know," announced Weiss. "Maybe I was wrong that you were a rude jerk for dropping me. I can see you have some sense of manners and a modicum of decorum. I think I would've at least tolerated you as my leader instead of having her," she glanced behind her to Ruby. "You hear that Ruby? I expect this level of composure that Shirou has from you."

"H-Hey! What the heck's that supposed to mean? My introduction was totally awesome and badass! Right Yang?"

"Hell yeah Rubes!" Agreed her sister. They had finally stopped their shenanigans and united against a common foe. "Don't let Weiss-cream over here make you all square and boring like Shirou."

I rolled my eyes, but held my tongue.

"Hey, by the way, you still haven't answered me Shirou!" Ruby was rather persistent for her answer.

"Ah sorry, if you really want to know then I'll tell you." She leaned in excitement. "The weapon I used was…" Her eyes widened in anticipation. "Magic."

And her face promptly fell as she tipped backwards. "Aww come on! That's totally not cool! That's such a dad joke I could hear my dad actually saying that! Ugh-!"

I grinned in self-satisfaction at her reaction. My answer wasn't wrong, but what she didn't know didn't hurt her. It was an answer disguised as a joke. "I appreciate all of you for visiting by the way."

It was a nice gesture that they didn't have to do. To know that there were people that cared about you was wholesome. I only had one person that cared about me like that and she was no longer here.

"Oh don't worry red. It was Pyrrha's idea actually!" Yang walked over to the girl and wrapped an arm around her shoulders. "See girl? Your partner's totally fine so you can stop worrying about him like an overly concerned girlfriend."

Pyrrha's cheeks flushed at the straightforwardness of Yang. "I was just concerned for him as my partner!"

Sensing an easy target, Yang pressed on, "Oh you don't have to hide it from me girl," the blonde held her insufferable teasing smirk. "You were just extra concerned about him with how you kept bothering the people at the reception desk." Yang's eyes peeked at me to gauge my reaction, but found none.

"Oh dude come on, you have one mean poker face. Not even a speck of pink in your cheeks even when you got a smokin' hot girl like Pyrrha crushing on you."

"Because you're absolutely insufferable," I bluntly told to her face.

"Damn, that's harsh red." She looked hurt momentarily before shrugging it off. "Oh well, better luck next time I guess! You and me red? We got four more years together! I'll get you to crack eventually."

Pyrrha chose this moment to intervene by coughing into her hand. "I think it's about time we leave and allow Shirou to get some rest." It looked like she wanted to escape the embarrassment Yang was causing her.

"Aww okay Pyrrha." Nora gave her a thumbs up. "Bye Shirou! Get well soon so we can start kicking butts and taking names!"

I crossed my arms and closed my left eye. "Of course, don't go causing too much of a ruckus while I'm gone."

Everyone soon began shuffling out of the room one by one until Pyrrha was the last one left that stood in the doorway. "Shirou?"

"Yes?"

"I really do look forward to working with you. We're partners now so if there's anything that you need help with. Please, don't hesitate to ask. I'll be there for you."

I gave her the same look I gave to Nora. "Thank you and hey," I stopped her just before she closed the door. "Thanks for the save back in the forest."

Her smile was so vibrant that it lit up the room. "Anytime, rest well Shirou."

The door closed with a soft shut and click.

I exhaled heavily as I sunk back into the bed.

Perhaps this time around, these hands that were never able to hold anything would finally have something to cherish…

"Wait and hope."


Author's Note:

This chapter was updated on 3/22/19.

Word count before A/N: 9,202.

Proofread/Edited by: Stiama