AN- once upon a time I wrote a snippet for a potential SI set during the Fifth Holy Grail War. It was meant to be a non-serious writing project- no stress nor care for quality. Purely for fun. I posted on SB and SV... and now 98K words in its a project a little more serious than I had ever expected. So yeah- Congratulations! Rejoice, for Fate Finality is being ported to the system. Yay?
I knew from the moment I awoke, that something was wrong. The ceiling I blinked through half shut eyes was abnormal; the noise of my surroundings different to normal; and my sheets of a different type to that I was used to.
"What the hell?" I murmured, hastily removing my arm from the covers to wipe away at my eyes. Hastily, I tried to think back to the last thing I remembered, and found that I couldn't remember the last evening. I couldn't recall when or where I fell asleep, only that my day had been progressing as normal, and then…
Nothing. A headache, and a mild migraine.
"Welp, let's see exactly where I've found myself then?"
So, I stumbled out of bed, and took in my surroundings a little more. I was in a hotel room- I was pretty sure of that. The room had a very impersonal feel to it- white and neutral, with inoffensive basic decoration. Only a single double bed, and a desk to one side. A door led outside, though it wasn't the door to the corridor, as there was no lock signifying it as the 'front' door.
"If I'm in a hotel room, then why am I here?"
I went over to the desk- perhaps it held answers. Atop it, I saw an envelope with my name across it. I took the cue for what it was, and quite tore it open- ruining it in the process (Because it's literally impossible to open an envelope without destroying it, nowadays). Within were documents: a birth certificate (With blatantly wrong details), my medial history (Successfully up to date), bank statements for places I never remember registering at and finally a letter of introduction welcoming me to a new school.
The last one was the interesting thing- because I had already finished my highschool education, so I had no actual reason to have accidentally enrolled myself at one. Sure, the others were just as suspicious, but for the life of me I just couldn't understand the latter. Hell, I had to wonder why someone else, the person that brought me here, had bothered to enrol me at a school.
Besides which, where the hell was Homuhara Academy meant to be? And why did it sound familiar to me?
"Fuck it all- this situation makes no sense at all." I groaned, collapsing back onto the bed. I looked back to the letter, and the instructions written upon it, demanding I visit the faculty office and register myself for classes.
The question was whether I was going to follow through, if only to see if I could get some answers about what this bizarre situation I was going through actually was, or if I was just going to find the closest phone and ring a friend up for a lift home. There was no reason for me to have to play along with this whole mess. I was a uni student- I had actual lectures to attend, and not the false classes of this academy I was clearly being gestured towards.
"What time is it anyway?"
Answer- half nine. The letter itself asked for my presence by half ten at the very latest, but I just wasn't feeling it. I was kinda leaning towards 'skip' at this point.
That was when I heard a knocking sound at a door. Not the one for this room- further away. I left the room, entering into a moderate living room with television and sofa, and a kitchen unit to the side. Alongside there was the main door, where I heard the knocking repeat,
"Uh- yes?" I called out.
"Room service!" The voice replied. "You asked for a half nine wake-up, with breakfast and the paper."
"I did?" I didn't remember doing so, that was for sure.
"Yes." The voice reiterated.
I checked myself over- I was still in my pyjama's, but I was hardly indecent. With that, I unlocked the door and let in the staff member. He approached with a metal tray stacked with my 'order', placed it on the kitchen-top, then left the room with a pleasant bow and farewell.
The breakfast itself was a traditional English, and I was hungry, so I sat down and tucked in with vigour. By the time I was halfway through my bacon and eggs, I reached for the folded-up paper that had been provided with the meal. I honestly didn't read the news as often as I should have, so taking a brief look over the rest of my meal seemed like a decent idea.
When I read the name of the paper, I almost spat out my half-chewed mouthful.
The Fuyuki Press
Fuyuki- now that was a city I knew, or at least had heard in the past. I considered the likelihood of this being a dream- but since you can't read properly when dreaming, I discounted that. No- this wasn't a dream.
I was in Fuyuki City, according to the paper, and was enrolled at Homuhara Academy. And this was in Japan, because I had suddenly realised that all the items I'd read today hadn't actually been in English, but that I had somehow learned a new language overnight and hadn't even realised the difference.
This scenario was strange. I woke up in a hotel room I never booked, with documents I never filled in, with no memory of how I got there. I have somehow magically learned a new language, and have noted the uncanny familiarity of these names.
Mind you, there was a slim chance that these were all coincidences, or I was insane, or still dreaming somehow. Either way- there was a good eighty percent chance that the idea I was considering was correct, no matter how ridiculous or unreal it seemed.
I, James Branson, was not just in an unfamiliar city. Instead, I had probably (Though hopefully not) been dropped into another world entirely. A world of Magic and mystery, where there were far too many overpowered people.
The Nasuverse. I was stuck in the Nasuverse, in Fuyuki City, and was probably enrolled for just before the Holy Grail War would begin, because naturally my luck could only be that bad.
"Fuck. My. Life." I groaned, before sparking to action. I had a sudden feeling of urgency within me- a desperate need to move. Sure, I was probably stuck in a city on the verge of war, and enrolled at a school likely to become a warzone… but who said I had to stay here.
I'd been given a bank statement, ergo I had a bank account, therefore money. Hell, even if it was a really small fund, it was better than nothing.
"Hah- I'm getting the fuck out of dodge."
With that, I changed into the only clean set of clothes in the room (A school uniform), and carefully collected all my documents. I was gonna take some money out of the bank, and then I was going to get the hell out of Fuyuki, as quickly as I could.
"Don't curse me, curse your bad luck." The provocative women with violet hair told me sadly, as she prepared to devour me whole.
"Fuuuuuck." I hissed. It was just my bad luck that on the walk up to the train station I'd take a wrong turn down a dead-end alleyway and stumble into the Servant Rider, Medusa, looking for a quick Prana snack. "Don't suppose you could let me go, and we could both go merrily along our way?"
The Gorgon said nothing- I was surprised she hadn't already murdered me already, actually, considering her inhuman speed. Perhaps she was humouring me?
"Figured so." And then I threw a nearby trash can lid at the woman, and tried to sprint past her. My feeble attempt at an attack was cut in half with her bare hands, and then she lashed out like a snake, pinning me against the wall with a loud thud- hard enough for blood to be drawn as I skidded against the surface.
I was terrified. Pants shittingly terrified. I didn't want any part in the Grail War- not really. I hadn't expected to be a Self Insert, and didn't want to get involved at all- because I would die. I had no illusions about myself- I had no magical training and no Servant. Why the hell would I want to get involved in a scenario like this, when I could just leave and escape the danger altogether?
Except danger followed me, and I was currently mixed up in events anyway.
Either way- I was going to die. I was going to be murdered, my soul drained for energy, and my body discarded when it had no more purpose. I was gonna die!
And I didn't want to die.
A flash of red- a gleaming, almost searing light that blinded me. Rider reacted to the light too- releasing me and leaping back to dodge the blade that was almost shoved through her neck. By this point, I had fallen to the floor and was clutching my bruised throat with one hand, looking on in awe as a Deus Ex Machina took place to deliver me from danger.
Before me stood my saviour- a proud woman with short red hair, armed with shield and sword, and dressed in little else. She wore a long-sleeved shirt with everything missing from the bust downwards, while her lower body was covered by long boots and topped off with panties. I might have blushed at her beauty if I wasn't, y'know, one bad move away from certain death.
The redhead moved faster than I could perceive, and aimed to cut down the Servant that stood before her. Medusa was faster that the newcomer, and was easily able to jump backwards out of reach of the swing. She was even able to dodge the barrage of glowing mana bullets that fired from my saviours blade as she swung downwards in a clear arc.
There was a lull in the action, a momentary pause as the two fighters sized each other up (With myself, still splayed against the wall). I knew any second the two would come to blows again, and would fight until one died.
And then the moment ended. With hesitation, Medusa dipped her head, then vanished into particles of light- she entered into her Astral form, and fled the field of battle.
"Makes sense. Since she needed to harvest stray souls for power, I'd assume that she is still under the false control of Shinji Matou. Thus, her true stats are lowered. Plus, Shinji was still at school. She hadn't expected this fight- had only really been looking for a meal. Better to retreat and return under better circumstances."
"Whooo- I'm glad that I managed to fight her off." The woman cheerfully exclaimed, vanishing her blade as she turned back to me. "It was lucky that you summoned me, otherwise you would have been a goner."
"You don't say." I grumbled, rising to my feet. "To be honest, I hadn't expected to be drawn into the Holy Grail War. Hell, I was leaving specifically so I wouldn't."
At this, she frowned slightly. "Then I'm sorry that you have been pulled in then, though I am glad to have saved your life."
Speaking of which… "Oh yeah! Thanks for saving me back then, by the way. Saber, I assume?"
Most of the players were already here and summoned- I think the only two free slots that I could feasibly summon from would be taking Caster's Assassin, or usurping Shirou and claiming a Saber. And this beautiful redhead did not look the part of an Assassin.
"Fufufu. Sorry, I am Servant Rider." She introduced herself, bowing slightly. "I ask of you, are you my Master?"
Rider. She's a Rider. Except that we already HAVE a Rider. "Motherfucker." I hissed.
She arched an eyebrow. Dangerously so. "Excuse me?"
"Nonononono!" I protested, waving my arms. "I was talking to myself, not you. Realised something. We're pretty fucked."
"How so, Master?" She titled her head cutely.
"Well, if I'm not mistaken, the Servant you faced WAS Servant Rider." I said.
"How sure are you?"
"Eighty percent sure she's a Rider." I mean, this COULD be a freaky AU where she was a Lancer or something, but I doubted it. "So, either I'm wrong, or we're in for a whole 'nother level of fucked."
"Have no fear. I cannot promise you Victory, but I will protect you." She vowed confidently. "Perhaps you should explain?"
"My guess is that either I accidentally summoned an Eighth Servant, resulting in there being two Servants of the same class, or this is a goddamn Apocrypha scenario."
A finger came to her chin in confusion. "I'm sorry, but I don't understand what the latter term is."
"It's failsafe of the Grail War that kicks in if someone fucks with the Grail System." I hurriedly explained, my mind already elsewhere and considering the consequences of if it WAS an Apocrypha. "Basically, a scenario where instead of the standard seven Servants, fourteen duke it out instead."
"I suppose that is quite dangerous. Twice as many enemies to deal with." She contemplated. I debated explaining further, in that there was still technically only seven enemies as it was a team game, and that the real risk to me there would be that at least half (If not more) of the combatants would be unknown to me, rendering my Self Insert knowledge largely useless, but I decided against it. I lacked information. I didn't know if this was the canon War or not, or what my role here was, or why.
For now, my priority was getting to safety, and maybe escaping from this mess unharmed. I mean, if Rider really wanted the Grail, perhaps I could head out of town and just let her fight alone? I mean really, just how much damage could single butterfly cause? Maybe Shirou would still get lucky and stop the incoming apocalypse? (Unlikely, because he's a useless mess nine times out of ten if all his Dead Ends are evidence, but still).
Then, I looked down to the aching, bleeding hand that had formerly been pressed against my throat.
Or more accurately, what was atop it.
"Shit!" I cursed, not even trying to hide my distress. I approached a nearby trash can and kicked it hard- not even minding the pain.
"Master!" Rider exclaimed, rushing over to me with worry in your tone. "What's wrong? Are you okay?"
"No. I'm not." I said, my voice shaking. Without another word, I displayed my hand to her- or more accurately, I removed my school blazer and pulled up my shirt, to display my arm.
Because along it there were not the standard three Command Seals.
Sure, there was a set of Command Seals on the back of my hand: three crossed blades of crimson. But it wasn't alone. Two more sets of Seals ran along my forearm and another two were on my upper arm. By pulling my shirt across more, I could see a sixth set of Seals on my shoulder, and a final set at the base of my neck.
Seven. I had SEVEN sets of Command Seals.
I think even Rider understood just what had gotten me so upset. "Oh, fuck." She eloquently, put it.