Conflict is never pretty, but one thing that everyone is always wary of in any war or battle were the presence of spies. Calla was no different especially because it was comprised primarily of those who either once delved in violence and were seeking change, or professionals who'd rather lay low.

Of course, to Shirou everyone was just a normal person regardless of their history.

Everyone deserved the chance to change if they made an honest effort, but this was beside the point.

"It's likely that the Empire and Revolutionaries have sent moles into Calla. I need you to help find them."

As soon as he'd returned to Calla, Elaine had caught him and roped him into this newest development. Although he felt tired, and a tad concerned with the clouded expression over Akame's face, he knew that he couldn't refuse.

No matter what plans he had for the future, the presence of internal problems would hamper everything.

He did have the ability to say no, but the responsibility of keeping his people safe was always priority.

Elaine needed a way to draw out these spies, and the way her eyes twinkled while looking at him spoke volumes for what she had planned and the confidence she had in him to execute it.

"You're the leader. Your position is more than enough to draw attention, and if you do find them, take the chance to 'drop' this in front of them."

Shirou fiddled with the palm-sized emblem Elaine had given him. The front and back had identical symmetric designs bearing the motif of a patterned shield enclosed by a slumbering dragon. The image had no relevance to him, but he felt that there was something more about it since Elaine insisted that he let whatever spies he found catch a glimpse of it.

Honestly, he didn't know what she was thinking anymore.

She'd changed somewhat ever since his parents died and he took the active role of leader of Calla. Rather than changed, it was likely more accurate to say that her repressed passions were in full bloom.

Sometimes, he could feel the weight of Elaine's expectations and subtle hints at something more, but they were always closed off a second later due to her neutral expressions.

It wasn't his first time dealing with women, and he should be able to tell if they wanted anything more of him, but even now, women were still difficult to understand. Sometimes they say one thing, but mean another and who was he to assume?

Akame's downtrodden expression suddenly came to mind.

Why was he even thinking about this now?

He shook his head in a bid to focus.

He was on a hunting trip leading a troop of Hunters outside of Calla's walls. Before they'd left, it was made widely known by Calla's inhabitants that he would be tagging along and overseeing the operations.

This expedition was in equal parts a lure for enemy spies, and a genuine venture to drive out the wild Danger Beasts near a basin of a fresh water lake.

Calla was growing by the day, and to meet growing demands for water and food, it had no choice but to expand. On the other hand, new territory also meant new riches.

As the one in charge of the operation, Shirou stood in a place where he could oversee everyone at the center of the formation. Selka and the Hunters led the way at the front, and Raiko's subordinates scoured ahead to alert everyone of any nearby Danger Beasts; not that they had to since he could detect them from the signature of their magic energy. However, he couldn't exactly explain this, and Elaine had taken the opportunity to ask for Raiko's cooperation, hence Jinsoku's presence.

Feeling his tired muscles and metal fatigue from overwork, he trudged on without complaint.

There were things that only he could do, and this was one of them.

Elaine hoped for him to locate any potential spies, and she was right to do so.

He had his means.

If he did locate a spy, Elaine wanted him to put on a show to mislead their information. Not anything too flashy and lose the advantage, but enough to give them a fright and something to think about.

Elaine was being quite shrewd with this matter.

She wanted to give them false information and exploit these preconceived notions on later more relevant battles where he could burst out with unexpected firepower.

The surprise factor would render the enemies unable to react for a short period, giving more than enough opportunity to take the advantage. This meant that he had to be selective about what he would display later.

For the first time, Shirou had to realize that Elaine wasn't just the dutiful book-smart friend who he grew up with. She had her own abilities, thoughts, and aspiration which she showered him with.

A part of him didn't want to let Elaine down, and now that aggression was sure to come, he hardened himself for what the future would bring.

His gaze scanned left, then right, scouring over the would-be Hunters participating in today's excursion. There were around twenty of them, and none of them appeared weak. The number of applicants was relatively small when it was known that they would be apprehending Danger Beasts, but no spy should be able to resist.

After all, how else would they be able to verify Calla's battlefield capabilities if they didn't see it for themselves?

If there were no spies in this batch, then there might be a few in the next, or the one after that.

He just had to be ready to find these spies.

His nose began to twitch, and suddenly, his attention shifted to one corner of the expedition where many new applicants were situated.

Without even looking, he could sense something within the unassuming crowd. It gave off a feeling similar to Akame and Leone's Teigu which meant the flute being carried by the blond-haired youth in the crowd must be dangerous in some manner.

Of course, this wouldn't be enough to suspect anything, but the way the youth's eyes constantly maintained vigilance of the others around him rather than the distant trees for danger was telling.

Intuition was a powerful thing.

There didn't have to be much circumstantial evidence, and everything was based on feeling, but as a man who'd once walked on a path of bloodshed, he'd learned to trust his gut.

There. Found one.

He increased his pace and carefully went over what Elaine was asking of him. It didn't seem too hard.


Nyau wasn't having the best experience in this reconnaissance mission.

The innocent smile he had plastered over his face was starting to feel stiff with how long he'd been having to use it, but he was forced to maintain it regardless due to his circumstances. He was in enemy territory, and the enemy had just proved that they were capable enough to kill him if he revealed himself.

The confidence he had in quietly escaping in the occurrence of an emergency had also been rendered moot. Jinsoku ninjas were patrolling around, and the freaks of Heiwa were practically beasts in human skin. They could be dumb at times, but there was no denying that their strength and speed largely outmatched an ordinary human's.

Fortunately, Heiwa was considered a small clan, and Empire intelligence verified that Heiwa had faced some sort of catastrophe recently which reduced their numbers.

Nyau saw things a different way.

The weak members of Heiwa had been culled. All that was left had to be their best Hunters and clansmen. He could tell in their capacity to wield Teigu, as not anyone could wield them. Often, they had a will of their own, and they chose their wielder. Even the weaker Teigu may prove too difficult for the average Empire citizen.

He had to play things carefully here. There was no use gathering information for his general if he couldn't return to report it.

So, he'd smile brilliantly and keep a kind demeanor no matter how long it took.

His cover wasn't just a means to gather information anymore, but a necessary precaution for his own survival.

Now if only he'd chosen another less, nosy group to approach.

Tatsumi, Iyasu, and Sayo were babying him. Of course, this due to his own construed efforts, but ordinarily, people wouldn't care enough about a random stranger to look out for them.

He lied to them and said that he arrived here on a mix up, but in truth, he'd heard talk of the expedition and saw an opportunity to gleam vital intel.

Here he was now.

Initially, he'd approached Tatsumi's group because he assumed that they were the loose-lipped sort.

What did he know? He was right.

He got a bunch of random information about Calla and verification for various speculations he had; however, things just didn't end there no matter how quiet he tried to be to get them to stop talking to him.

You'd think that they'd get the hint before his irritation got the better of him.

"Something wrong, Nyau?" Sayo asked in concern, ever so fretful and compassionate behind her outgoing personality. She was chewing on a sweet bun when she spoke, looking rather sheepish when she finally remembered the concept of manners. However, she grew outraged when Iyasu swiped the bread from her hand and swallowed it before she could protest.

"No," he responded easily, an upward cheer in his tone despite the fact that Sayo was no longer paying attention to him between her shouts of 'I'll kill you,' and 'that was mine' while throttling her friend.

Tatsumi was the one feigned a cough to hide his awkwardness as Sayo began beating Iyasu and lecturing him about stealing in the words of the village elder.

"Sorry," Tatsumi spoke up in his friend's behalf. "Our village elder strictly asked Sayo to keep Iyasu in line so she's been taking it really seriously."

Do I care? Nyau's smile finally faltered, a twitch forming in his brow.

These people were too happy-go-lucky, a far cry from what he was used to in a battlefield or the Empire's capital, and it was draining him to keep up the act of an ignorant youth.

He scoffed inwardly. He could kill all three of these people and they wouldn't even realize how dangerous and cruel this world was.

The twitch of irritation from his brows was misinterpreted as something else.

"Hey, there's no need to be scared, we'll cover you," Tatsumi said in consideration, patting Nyau's shoulder.

A vein popped over Nyau's forehead, but his bangs framing his face covered it.

He was being belittled. That's never happened in a long time.

"Then I'll have to thank you." Nyau glanced around. The Hunters of Heiwa were still in the lead, but the Ninjas of Jinsoku may still be around unseen. He had to keep a low profile.

"I'm a musician," he answered after a while of thinking. "I don't know much about fighting."

This was for the best.

He could hide himself well, but the muscle memory from numerous battles and confrontations were too ingrained in him. The moment that a battle started; he may give himself away if his body acted too experienced. He could never be too careful.

"In that case, you can hide behind us," Iyasu boldly declared. "Your features look too soft and fair to be used to battle. To be honest, you resemble this little kid I know back home always getting into trouble."

Did he just get compared to a little brat? Endure it. Endure it. It's not worth it.

A cold light flashed across Nyau's features, stunning Iyasu for a moment before Iyasu blinked and Nyau was smiling radiantly again.

Iyasu scratched his head, and directly took three steps away from Sayo who was still glaring at him for his earlier actions.

Nyau could only sigh while his hands balled into fists to contain his frustration.

Night Raid's activities have been strangely quiet as of late, almost absent if he were being truthful, and this was what caused him to be deployed to investigate Calla. He had two other colleagues, but neither of them was too suited for this role, especially his captain, Liver.

Liver had been a general of the Empire and his face was too well known in recent years. There was no way he could undergo a proper reconnaissance mission.

Nyau on the other hand was different. No one really knew him since he preferred to stay out of large-scale battles and handle things his way.

In any case, beyond Tatsumi, Sayo, and Iyasu, Nyau noted that things were getting interesting.

"Is that him, the leader of Calla?" He pointed out at the only redhead in the group ahead.

Said redhead had called out to the Heiwa Hunters and the female Hunter quickly arrived by the red-haired youth's side.

"Yup, that's Shirou," Tatsumi said in good spirit when he noticed. There was not one resident in Calla who didn't have good feelings for its young lord.

"Hey, don't you think he looks a little serious today?" Iyasu hummed in thought.

Nyau felt a tad left out. He had no comparison about Shirou in his mind. All that he could see was someone that carried a steady air, and was respected by Heiwa's Hunters, and even the ninjas of Jinsoku if they were allowing him to lead them.

It was an interesting development, and could bode ill for the Empire.

Thinking about things now, Heiwa and Jinsoku weren't the only clans of Wakoku he'd glimpsed or heard about in Calla.

Who was this Shirou in order to bid the respect of Wakoku's clans whose arrogance could know no bounds?

"He's looking at us, wave now. We can't leave a bad impression." Sayo shout snapped him out of his contemplative stupor.

Sayo enthusiastically waved her hands before elbowing both Iyasu and Tatsumi to do the same. The both of them smiled wryly, but eventually did as instructed.

When Sayo's gaze fell on Nyau, a feeling of utter mortification struck him.

Was she really implying he do what he thought she was implying?

A chill travelled down his back, and it wasn't because he was cold in the short-shorts he was wearing.

He scowled inwardly, cursing this actual bitch.

Daidara and Liver would never let this down if they found out.

Against his will, he grudgingly waved like an excited school girl trying to get the attention of their crush.

This humiliations is…

The urge to rip off this girl's face and make her eat it had never been so strong.

Nyau of the Three Beasts, one of the most respected positions in the army, and he was reduced to this?

"C'mon! Put more effort into it!" Sayo encouraged, the vicious glare he leveled her way would have terrified anyone if they noticed, but no one did.

While Tatsumi and Iyasu reluctantly waved harder under Sayo's instruction, Nyau shrunk in on himself and tried to hide behind them rather than endure this embarrassment.

Still, Nyau frowned when Shirou nodded at them and his eyes coincidently locked with Nyau's.

Nyau suddenly felt exposed under Shirou's gaze, but Shirou turned away too quickly to have noticed him. It was more of a cursory glance, all the signs pointed to it.

Forget it.

One of the worst mistakes any infiltrator could make was overestimation.

If he panicked and acted like he was caught even when he wasn't, that was only exposing himself on his own assumptions.

The group was nearing the basin of the lake as described in the meeting, and the Heiwa Hunters specified that they'd reach the area in under an hour if they kept up their pace.

"We'll split up into groups."

Nyau listened closely as Shirou called for a stop and began making announcements.

"I'll lead one team, and the rest can be led by other Hunters in four-man cells," Shirou instructed.

Nyau watched patiently while everyone was organized into group. The fact that he was grouped with Tatsumi, Sayo, Iyasu, and Shirou as group leader sent alarm bells ringing in his mind.

Was he being singled out? This was dangerous.

At the same time, this could actually be just a coincidence. For example, there was no way Shirou wouldn't have noticed how enthusiastic Sayo was being due to all her waving accompanied by Tatsumi and Iyasu. The fact that he'd waved as well may have garnered appreciating or goodwill from Shirou which caused him to pick them in a group.

Regardless, wasn't this a good thing?

In the case that he wasn't discovered, he would be able to effectively sound out Calla's leader.

"It's a pleasure to meet and work with you," Shirou approached after all the other groups were sorted.

Sayo became bashful, not noticing the intensity of the silent stare Selka was leveling their way from another group.

"We've met before," Iyasu rubbed his nose and grinned.

"You saved us, actually," Tatsumi inclined his head. "You know, from that time with Wakoku?"

What time with Wakoku? Nyau's ears preened intently, but Shirou didn't elaborate before nodding at Tatsumi and the other with recognition.

Sayo abruptly pulled Tatsumi and Iyasu over while whispering solemnly.

Nyau wondered whether she was divulging anything confidential and listened in, but it was just a waste of time.

"You see that? He remembers us! We have to leave a good impression for the sake of our village and I feel as if we're one step closer," Sayo stared Tatsumi and Iyasu in the eyes while pinching their cheeks. "Act natural."

"You're the one who's not acting natu-"

"Shut up. Don't make a scene." Sayo pinched Iyasu's cheek harder.

A waste of time. Nyau glowered darkly, officially giving up on any thought that Tatsumi and the others could provide anything useful.

He would rely on himself and his own observations from here on.

Subtly, he directed all of his focus on Shirou who didn't seem phased at all that Sayo had abruptly dragged Tatsumi and Iyasu in for a last-minute discussion.

This was a man that wasn't easily shaken. He had fortitude. At least, Nyau believed so.

It was an achievement for upstanding men not to get affected by the antics of idiots. This was bad though, because it meant that he was dealing with someone capable. More to consider.

"I'm Nyau," he offered his hand towards Shirou.

Although Nyau didn't say much, his muscles were tense, and he was actively scrutinizing Shirou for any sign of movement out of precaution.

He didn't know if he was exposed yet, so the best maneuver was to feign ignorance and see how things go. If things went bad, then he'd run without a second thought.

Even if he would likely die if he was found out, it was better to try escaping than not.

"Shirou," Shirou spoke candidly, giving Nyau's hand a firm shake that alieved much of Nyau's suspicions due to how amiable Shirou was.

"I'll be leading you all from now on," Shirou said curtly.

Nyau merely nodded back in relief. His current position was perfect for his given role.

He had a burning curiosity about the Teigu the Hunters of Heiwa wielded, but he was no amateur. Being direct while fishing for information would be way too bold of any spy. Instead, he sought to lower Shirou's guard by raising affability.

"I'm not much of a fighter, but I promise I won't drag you down," Nyau said politely.

If Shirou heard any sincerity from Nyau's words, he didn't show it. Instead, Shirou's gaze was drawn elsewhere towards a towering behemoth-sized mantis in the distance. Beyond it was the lake basin where smaller mammal-like Danger Beasts were grazing by the basin's meadows.

"We're getting close. Wait here for a second," Shirou instructed.

Shirou wasn't the only one to instruct their group to wait because soon Nyau watched as the other Hunters from Heiwa did the same.

Nyau watched as Shirou cocked a fist back, and toppled a tall tree in the direction of the basin, providing a line of sight.

"Is this guy a monster, or what?" Iyasu whispered heatedly on the side until Sayo shushed him by whacking him over the head.

"Quiet, are you an idiot? He's right there. Be respectful and don't tarnish the reputation of our village." Sayo looked a tad panicked. "Remember, we need sponsorship and good relations, so stop dragging us down and disappointing the village elder."

"You didn't have to hit me…"

Sayo raised her hand towards Iyasu again.

Nyau coudnl't be bothered with them anymore. Instead, his eyes narrowed in confusion.

Even he was surprised by what he saw.

Shirou clearly wasn't from Heiwa, but it was like he possessed the same strength. There were practically stars in the Heiwa Hunters eyes, the most obvious of which was the female Hunter who had a flush working up over her cheeks.

Not to be outdone, the rest of Heiwa's Hunters followed after Shirou's example and toppled the nearby trees to give a better line of sight towards the basin and the Danger Beasts.

Nyau couldn't see the point in this sort of preparation.

"Five groups follow Selka and spread out to the left, the others should flank to the right. I'll keep the big one occupied, but wait for my signal before leaving."

Shirou's words stunned Nyau who couldn't make sense of Shirou's intentions.

When a black bow taller than Shirou was high and oddly shaped arrows were brought over to Shirou by the female Hunter, Nyau got his answer.

A Teigu?

Nyau could feel a deep that there was something unique about this unknown Teigu, yet he couldn't help but ridicule Shirou in his mind.

The size of the Danger Beast Shirou intended to occupy far outstripped him in size. It was taller than several buildings stacked over each other.

Nyau felt that he could count of the number of Teigu he knew on hand that could possibly deal with such a large monster, but only the Captain's Teigu came to mind.

A derisive grin came over his features. In his heart and mind, there was no one that could compare to his captain's power and capabilities.

Shirou notched his bow under the attention of all.

"Get ready!" One of the Hunters called in anticipation.

Nyau shook his head ruefully. From the way they were acting, it was like something miraculous was going to occur.

Tatsumi, Sayo, Iyasu, and many others who volunteered for the days mission got into ready stances, but Nyau was different. As a military man, he'd seen many things and nothing could really surprise him anymore.

The winds began to blow, brushing fiercely over his skin.

He blinked, the hairs on the back of his neck rising all at once.

W-What was this?

He stared down at his own hands and realized that there was an incomprehensible tremble in his fingers.

It was cold, the sound of rustling leaves the only noise in the silence as the black bow was drawn back to its full length.

Nyau's eyes dilated; staring down at his feet, he could feel subtle tremors racing through the ground.

He looked towards Shirou again in disbelief as Shirou aimed and prepared to fire.

As if such a small bow and arrow could do any-

The force of a hurricane blinded him all at once, forcing him to raise his arms and shield his face.

W-What was going on!

He forced himself to preen his eyes open, and what entered his gaze was a ball of fire so bright it felt like his eyes were searing.

Unlike everyone else who'd braced themselves as instructed, Nyau had stood carelessly straight, his arms leveled by his side.

The heat of an explosion from a rising mushroom cloud took him off guard and forced him off his feet.

"!"

Years of experience prevented him from screaming out, but he still smacked his back against the trunk of a tree and groaned.

"Let's hurry and go!"

Tatsumi appeared in front of him, an apologetic smile over his face even as the boy reeled from the sight ahead of them.

"R-Right," Nyau answered stiffly.

It's the first time he's ever stuttered in his life.

Perhaps knowing about the scope of Shirou's attack, but the Hunters of Heiwa were quick to order everyone to move as organized.

The scent of ash and smoke pervaded the air, and when Nyau saw the Danger Beasts, only half-a-body was left of the large mantis who toppled over, carapace scorched black.

The other Danger Beasts nearby were being apprehended by the formed groups, but a few of the moderately sized ones had been able to break the encirclement.

Nyau watched as Shirou notched another projectile, and it felt as if a cold hand was grasping his heart.

One of the Danger Beasts had aerial capabilities and was now far off in the distance. While near the basin, this particular Danger Beast had been the size of a small building, but now it only looked like a dot.

Shirou aimed.

This was utterly ridiculous.

Nyau calculated the range Shirou was trying to fire at, and his mind practically stalled.

No. No it wasn't possible. discounting the level of destruction and power one arrow could harness, just imagining the range from high-ground was alarming.

He must have been showing a bizarre expression because his groupmates ended up calling out to him while they navigated ahead to stop some of the smaller fleeing Danger Beasts.

"Nyau, don't worry, we got you!" Iyasu called out to him. Sayo and Tatsumi called out their agreement while demonstrating their own skill as warriors of their village by working as a team to corner their prey.

Nyau could care less.

Shut up.

All his attention was focused on one place. He reeled as Shirou fired a second arrow and a shockwave of wind blew out violently.

This time Nyau was prepared and braced his legs, allowing him to watch as the second arrow soared in an instant towards the flying Danger Beast.

It ripped through the air, the roar of shockwaves deafening the ears.

There was hardly a delay from release until impact.

One moment the Danger Beast was soaring, and then a miniature sun illuminated the horizon.

His eyes dilated, his mouth going dry. This was when the impact of the explosion reached him, and a warm heat enveloped him.

Ashes drifted in the wind, embers giving way to the blackened corpse of what was once a mighty beast.

Nyau couldn't speak for a long moment, his thought unable to be retained in his mind.

Hurriedly, he focused on Shirou and saw that he was out of arrows, and finally he had a sense of normalcy to quell the adrenaline pumping through him.

For all the power those arrows contained, he was relieved that it had its limitation in terms of ammunition.

Just when Nyau was consoling himself, his breath hitched in his throat. W-Was no one else seeing this?!

The Hunters of Heiwa didn't react, and only those who'd just signed up for this expedition were stunned.

Shirou raised his left hand with his palm facing upwards, and an identical arrow from before manifested in a crackle of electricity. Rather than magic, Nyau thought of a different and intended possibility.

The arrows could return once fired?

That's just too much!

What sort of Teigu was that?

Nyau furiously began pulling up all the information he had of the Empire's remaining Teigu, and divided them into different categories. The categories were Nation Ending, War Changing, and Assassination.

There was not a shadow of a doubt about where the Teigu Shirou was using was classified. Shirou wouldn't even half to approach the Empire to destroy it. All that was required would be a line of sight.

The thought was chilling. For a moment, Nyau almost put Shirou's danger level on the same playing field as his Captain, Esdeath. However, the application of their abilities differed depending on the situation. At range, the bow would pose a problem, but at close quarters, the captain would destroy everything.

All the more reason this information has to get out.

If Shirou were involved in a battle, he would have to be considered a priority target for assassination before anything.

Nyau felt his scalp tingle in apprehension.

With Shirou's distraction, the other panicking Danger Beasts were easy pickings for Heiwa's Hunters and the other participants.

With the excuse Nyau had made from the beginning, he didn't have to lift a finger as Sayo and the others did the work. Perhaps at another time he would have grudgingly admitted that Sayo, Tatsumi, and Iyasu had skill, but as he was now, he was too absentminded.

This state of absentmindedness lasted all the way up until the operation ended and the group was gathering up again to make the trip back. However, they first had to clean the battlefield. There was no point in killing the Danger Beasts if they left the corpses around and attracted new Danger Beasts into the area.

"You go ahead Nyau," Tatsumi offered kindly. "We'll clean up here."

Nyau could only nod before absently making his way back to Shirou, his group leader who had placed the bow aside and let out a breath of exhaustion.

Sweat matted Shirou's brows, but Nyau could tell that at most, Shirou looked like he'd only experienced a minor workout.

Just how many of those arrows could he actually shoot?

After arriving by Shirou's side, Nyau displayed equal amounts caution, and apprehension. However, Shirou merely smiled at him before turning his back to hunch over and recuperate.

Shirou Emiya…he was too carefree, Nyau observed.

Should he just kill him and eliminate a future threat?

Nyau judged that he could likely snap the young lord's neck right now, but of course Nyau would probably die on the spot right after.

He had to consider whether it was worth it, and right now, he was leaning towards 'worth it.'

This man was far too dangerous to keep alive.

Gradually, he eased closer to Shirou such that he could reach him if he stretched his hands out. His flute appeared in his hands, but its appearance could be deceiving. This was a Teigu with unique abilities. It may not be combat oriented, but it was made of tough metal and could easily bludgeon after a good shot to the head.

Just when he was about to commit himself, Shirou changed posture and a medallion-like emblem 'fell' from his hunting leathers.

If Nyau found this odd, he didn't say anything because he froze after catching a glimpse of the emblem.

No. That can't be right.

Slowly, switched priority and dropped his arms before picking up the emblem. He turned it over in his palm as it began to glow a dull red. It burned him, causing him to involuntarily drop it in shock.

His mouth shut tight, his teeth grinding.

Other than Liver, the leader of his elite squad, he was perhaps the most well read.

This emblem displayed the royal seal of the Empire.

Once there was a time in the Empire's history where magic was said to be freely welded, or at least a method existed. This was directly tied into the creation of the Teigu and the rise of the Empire.

The first Emperor was selfish. To protect his own progeny and uphold the rule of the Empire, the Emperor's seal served to identify those of royal blood. There was an identical emblem in Empire's capital which verified the current Emperor's right to the Empire. This was why Honest couldn't directly take power for himself because this emblem was proof of the highest order.

Nyau theorized that there may even be something special about it, like it a key to a secret of the Empire. Perhaps even…the method to create new Teigu?

Once Nyau's thoughts reached here, he immediately recalled Tatsumi's words about equipping all Hunters with a Teigu.

He furrowed his brows, unease flickering over his features for a fraction of a second.

It seems that things were going to get a lot more complicated in his report.

"Something wrong?" Shirou turned back to face him.

Nyau glanced from Shirou to the emblem on the ground, and quickly put on a disarming smile.

"No, you just dropped this." He pointed towards the emblem. "I can't seem to pick it up though." He involuntarily hid the burn on his palm by reflex.

Shirou frowned, evidently not knowing the emblem's significance. "I don't see any reason why you can't pick it up," Shirou spoke absently.

Under Nyau's gaze, Shirou then picked up the emblem. Instantly, Nyau's expression hardened.

A dull red glow shone over the emblem, and Shirou didn't even notice it, but Nyau did.

He wasn't burned.

The observation left Nyau's insides lurching at the implications.

A genuine blood relative of the Imperial Family.

Well fuck.


Meanwhile, in Shirou's mind while he eyed the emblem and mused over Elain's intentions:

What's the point of this thing?


Thanks for reading!

I have a new novel out and the link is below for Survivor's Log: Reflections. Samples can be read at Fiction Press, and the Paper back is also available now.

Next update: Huntsman V2

P a treon. com (slash) Parcasious

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