Chapter 9: A Sword's crack

EMIYA's POV

'Old soul, are you sure about this course of action?'

No, I wasn't sure about it.

That feeling of hopelessness, of crashing surety of uselessness when he was touched.

A quickening of my breath.

Not completely, at the very least. While I was sure that Medusa was far weaker than her Servant counterpart, and so much easier to at least take down, what he had to do would be harder.

'You could have just killed her. No one would be aware of that.'

He grunted at that, but he knew that it hadn't been the best course of action.

Perseus, one of the greatest heroes of the Greek myths, had to use five Noble Phantasm to take down Medusa in single fight.

And Medusa, in his world at least, was sleeping at the moment of the execution.

And I couldn't kill her

Of despair and anguish and lack of different ways to act.

A missed heartbeat.

I instead had the experience of dying many times against a maddened Medusa, a cheap version of his mantle that only gave a bare protection against Medusa's glare, and even then that's debatable, my own knowledge about curse and how not to die or become a statue for the first minute of fighting, and him being a Demigod, so curses were a bit weaker.

And even then, only the fact that she wasn't a Servant gave me the barest of chances.

Which is why I found her weakness…almost disappointing.

Medusa, the one I knew, was either a monster of speed, able to summon her child and overwhelm you, or a monster in general, able to overwhelm you with power.

This one…wasn't.

Oh, she was fast, and she was strong.

But she was inexperienced, and she didn't really want to fight.

And I couldn't kill her.

Of continuous fight and endless slaughter of both innocent and guilty.

A twitch of my mouth.

I had taken Rule Breaker in case I was overtaken by the curse of her eyes.

This was the only reason I had it.

But when I saw her, crying while smiling at the prospect of dying, and taunting me into killing her, I moved without thinking.

And used Rule Breaker on her.

'I could, but I didn't.'

And I really could have acted in any other way.

I really should have acted in any other way.

The smell of iron, and of burnt chicken, and of salt.

My arm almost slipped.

But now it wasn't the time to think about it, we needed to move fast.

'And that pair of glasses you traced to help her control her curse was to move fast as well, old soul, I take.'

'Now it's not the time for sarcasm, do you have any idea?'

The voice remained silent at that, but I could feel the amusement oozing from it, alongside some kind of smug satisfaction.

This left me with an injured brat, my circuits burning, very possibly having pissed of a goddess and blown my cover, and having only another child as help, who I sent in the parking lot to find and start a car, alongside our bags.

Don't you see it, don't you remember it?

For I moment I saw a pool of blood, only for it to be water.

Our own personal little chauffeur, hopefully the police won't find out about that and arrest us for child labor.

'You are trying to shift the argument.'

And no one would ever be able to see it, so I was quite sure I wouldn't be noticed at that.

To aid in that, I even started some small talk:

"So, brat, what made you think that taking on one of the most dangerous foes created by our dear family was a good idea?"

This was small talk for a budding hero, at least from my own vast experience.

And the ungrateful brat simply moaned while I was taking a brisk jog towards the parking lot, making sure to be as much of a dead weight as possible so to make me work more.

Ungrateful, truly ungrateful.

Do you remember the contract you did, that you pledged you to?

"Because, after all, Perseus was older, stronger and had better weapons than you."

"Ye'wepn gud nouf." She muttered through my shirt, and I had to avoid shaking her at that.

She almost didn't take a Noble Phantasm in all but name because of that thinking.

"No, they aren't "that good", not in a million years! Now, what were you thinking?"

She didn't answer, and became even more of a dead weight.

Damn it.

"Oi, boy! I am here!" the other brat shouted, the rain now falling heavily all around, beside a very beat up and, if my eyes didn't deceive me, reddened by rust pick up, which looked like a Toyota.

And I couldn't even be angry at the brat, it was the only thing there that could move.

At least, that we could see.

"Why didn't you start it?" I asked, and I could be annoyed at the brat for that.

After all, she was a demigod, they were pretty infamous for that, so for her to be the one bad at stealing with magecraft, really, it was a bad look on the whole group.

"What do you mean "didn't start it"?! How should I be able to open it, even start it?!" She looked at me, the rain probably not helping her mood.

We do, and we will make sure that you pay for that.

I looked at her for a moment then, while having a heavy brat on my shoulder, I Analyzed the car lock and, after putting my open palm on the lock, I traced its key inside the lock and mentally turned it.

Then, after that, I opened it in the driest way possible, rising a brow to show my utter contempt for the lack of knowledge that this prepared demigod ought to have.

She was just agape, her hair now having glued on her face, while the bags were continuing to get wet, and I could start feeling water starting to filter inside the pink jacket I had on.

So I moved the brat in, much to her own annoyance and, after finally being able to see that her wounds had already closed, I made the other girl enter.

The inside weren't much better, with the leather cracked and pieces missing, alongside an obnoxious smell of pine.

After that, with the keys still in my hand, I took the driver seat.

Naturally seatbelts were an optional.

So, after having taken the most uncomfortable seat in some time, I started to move my arms towards the wheel and my legs to the…

I was too short for the pedals.

Í could feel the amusement from the being connected to my mind, but luckily the only thing I had to do was to scoot much more forward than I should normally.

Truly, a splendid day indeed.

"Feel the weight of your sins and drown in them, Emiya Shirou" I saw that figure rise his sword, and lash.

Inhale.

Exhale.

The traced key went into the slot of the beatdown Toyota, and I turned it.

A sputtering, then a dying gasp.

Another turn.

A few more sputtering, almost an ignition, then more nothing, the sound of the rain battering over us the only sound that I could hear in that car.

A rustbucket through and through.

"Hammerhead, please start driving!" the other brat voice came from the right, while she was nervously looking at where Medusa was in, starting to bite her thumbnail all the while: "I know you took care somehow of the monster in there, but can we not stay here for more than necessary? I would like to not be here when monsters start swarming!"

Now-

Not now.

Structural analysis.

Spark plugs? Alright.

Fuel filter and fuel? Present and clean, relatively.

Starter motor? It works.

Ah. Almost dead battery.

Reinforcing the battery to make it squeeze the last of its energy…

A turn of key.

One rumbling, two rumbling, three rumblings…

Then the engine started, its rumbling as glorious as the return of kings and generals at the time they were most needed, and its radio starting as well, for some unknown reason probably connected to the will of the machine itself having its own will.

The, with practiced moves, I started moving the rust bucket to the close street, while something resembling rock on the radio.

The quick blonde brat took her bag and rummaged for the map, while I started moving away from the very bad place we were admittedly in, until we were on the equivalent of a provincial road, the original brat having fallen asleep while the new brat was directing me.

That is, until the song ended and a far too jolly radio operator started, and voiced this:

"Now, onto less good news than the new album of our favorites emos, there is still no new about the children that ran away from the bus attacked by evil grannies from hell. Naturally we ask to the listeners to be on the look out for a black haired, a blonde haired and a…white haired? Child, and to call the police if they find about them."

What.

I turned towards the new brat, and I could feel my own annoyance rising when she hid badly behind her map, trying to not look conspicuous.

'Well, this escalated quickly.'

'I don't want to hear about this from you, nor do I want any kind of reference!'

What in the name of Gaia, Alaya and all the world's gods did these children do?!

"The first testimonies have been kind of rad, all in all. Some say that the old bats attacked the children, at least one of the children, and a little chipmunk, armed with a fire extinguisher, beat her before she could do more! There are even photos of that, if you go to facebook at least before the feds get you!"

The feeling of whip hitting his back at the very touch of the winged figure.

I almost hit the brakes at that phrase, but all I could think about was one: That this Mist was good and Magus would have killed for it;

'Almost definitely, knowing what I know and you know'

And that he would need to train the word "restraint" to the brat, or make her die trying;

'Those are two things, and it's quite grimm'

And that now they could have the police behind them, and also they would be talking to the Kajiyas.

'That's quite grave indeed. The Mist should have taken care of some things, and you were attacked, but, if the version given by the radio-man is truthful, the situation would be considered nebulous by the mortal law enforcement'

That was a big problem indeed, above all considering the need for them to move across the whole country to reach what may be, due to a prophecy and some words of nosy gods, where the weapon of a man-child, who is at the same time the king of said gods, was.

*Snore*.

Alongside two brats who were woefully unprepared for this trip.

So, when we reached a void part of this sub-county road, which was going towards the I-80 from what the blonde brat, still hiding from my own disappointment at her action, I stopped the car, keeping it on to avoid the battery, still quite dead, to charge up as much as the very beat up alternator could do.

The terrain squelched while I walked on it, the rain barely stopped by the trees we were under, my shoes almost sinking in when I walked to the left window, tracing a scalpel and a small hammer.

Now, what kind of-

"How did you do that?!" The blonde was already beside me, pointing at the objects I Traced, her tone accusing and her eyes wide.

I turned my head slowly and said, without adding any inflection:

"Magic."

Then I went again at the runes.

Well, the starting point would have to be an Isa; while reversed Mannaz was useful to avoid to give attention in the first place, photos and videos wouldn't be affected in the-

"But that's not a blessing that your father could give! Making tools, I have seen, them being better, yeah, but not making them appear through the Mist!"

The starting point was Isa, but then how to power it?

'Fehu? From what I know, it would work better'

'that...may work. Maybe make it pass through a reversed Uruz to help the Isa? I would need a third-'

"Hey, I know that you heard me! It doesn't make sense what you do!"

I sighed, but didn't answer.

Maybe if I didn't say more, she would go away.

'That doesn't work with children, and you know it'

'Hope is the last to die, now, what about reversed Sowilo?'

'It would be like repeating "misdirected misdirected" and it would defeat the purpose of an array, even if simple, no? Reversed Laguz?'

'Eh, it can wor-'

"I know you are ignoring me, but you can't do so for long! I need to know!" The brat continued to shout beside me, and even went so far as to grab my right arm before I could start the incision, almost scratching the rust on the vehicle.

The feeling of the knots around your wrist, you remember them.

I tugged away, like I was scalded with hot water, and I jumped away by Reinforcing my legs, and I could feel my hand open and my mind go into tracing Kanshou and Byakuya and my eyes trying to find a way to fight as fa-

'Old soul, stop!'

Then I was called into order, and I closed my eyes and let my Circuits cool off.

I inhaled, and exhaled, and inhaled, and exhaled.

Then I explained, my eyes still closed:

"It's a simply trick, similar to forging, that I randomly got through both luck and single-minded stubbornness."

It was very close to the truth, and she would arrive at the wrong conclusion by herself.

Then, without looking at her, I turned again towards the driver's window with the scalpel, and I was going to start chipping on the upper part, when a cough was heard beside me.

I rose my eyes to the sky and asked, my tone betraying the annoyance I was feeling in that exact rainy moment:

"What do you want?"

The questions immediately followed, without almost a break from the question:

"When did you learn to do it? How does it work? How does it feel? I know they are strong, you were able to fight off Medusa with them, but how strong? How-"

I rose a hand to stop her, and, making her notice the rain, I bartered:

"If you want to talk about it, we will speak when I am done, not before. We need this to at least be able to go through the cities and cameras without being stopped by mortals, and so slowed down in the very few weeks we have to reach our objective."

And so, I moved my scalpel in position, but again I felt the ground tremble beside me, and I felt the shadow beside me becoming darker, and I could hear a muffled breath now watching me intently.

I didn't start, for a moment, but then started working.

First, the Isa.

Illusions, not simply being seen as "unworthy of attentions".

Fehu, to be connected with this vehicle, and to give it a certain remain of magic,

Reversed Uruz would give the opposite of strength, a certain overconfidence that people get when they think they are right, reinforced just beside it by a Laguz, that would give the means for it to work.

Now, if only there wasn't a shadow hanging beside me!

"Well…this is new, really new. Where did you find about this?" the tone was finally not haughty, but I was already going for the one on the front window, and I would need to make seven.

No even number, and five is…not good.

And three would leave the back window without anything, something that I wouldn't stomach.

Then, when I was finishing the second rune array, I saw her almost touching the first one, a look of wonder on her face.

Before she touched it I warned, not rising my face to look at her:

"If you wish to lose that finger, then go ahead, do that before I am finished. But if you want to hear an explanation for what they are, wait."

The brat stopped and put her hands behind her, looking somewhat sheepish in all of that, but also smiling widely and openly.

'See, I told it doesn't work'

'I truly should have listened to you'.

How does it feel to fail so much?

I was able to rise the scalpel before I made a scratch that shouldn't have been done, and let myself inhale, and exhale, and inhale and exhale.

The blonde brat was staring at me like a deer, while my brat was still sleeping.

Good. Nothing happened.

I returned to my work.

'Old soul, we should-'

'No, we shouldn't talk.'

And so, I continued to work, the reminder of my sins, past and future if I didn't die, continuing to haunt me, while the work was done and the brat got on, beside the sleeping one.

I pushed a bit of magical energy in the array, and they activated, possibly showing just three normal, and boring, and unassuming people on the car, and so I started moving, not a word from the brat who took the map and didn't utter a word, due to also the street being so unimportant to not have so many ways to turn towards.

It was a silent trip for the next few miles and, when we reached the intersection for a more arterial road, the silence didn't stop, but the presence of two police cars where the intersection was did make the blonde brat stiffen.

They stopped the car before us, and I could start smelling the slight fear, and sweat, and I could also see that she had taken out her hat.

It was strikingly similar to the cape I had used against Medusa, and when I saw it the first time, well-

Knock, knock.

Good evenings were exchanged.

A traced driver's license, with a face that was unremarkable and that the array would just make myself look like to the policemen.

A lot of sweat from the passenger on the right.

Thank yous, have a good trips from the policeman.

And going away.

Trained and prepared at the art of killing fellow mortals, liar to the bone, and unable to be trusted.

I had the experience for that, after all.

I had made sure of that with my own stupidity.

AN

Done this in less than five days, that was… good.

Hopefully, it's also entertaining.

EMIYA was kinda needed for this chapter, and I do like remembering how I wrote him before.

And I think I did a good job here

P a treon . com (slash) Manram

Ko-fi . com (slash) manram

Next chapter will probably be in two weeks. If I don't do another miracle, while next week will be sword of the imperium.

Thanks for reading, please follow, favourite and review and if you want, join the alongside the other 9 who joined (which I still won't name before an explicit ok by them)

Now, have a good weekend and stay safe.