'Two more years to go for my curse to end.' Heidi mused, strangely excited as soon, she will age again.
To prepare for year 1996, she began forging records. Living in Mifune City far from Fuyuki, she transformed into a little girl and made sure she was present in class photos and the muggles none the wiser. She also inserted school records into schools she chose for Kindergarten and Elementary, and actually attended Junior High School. She is currently in 3rd year Junior High School for the sake of experiencing life as a teenager that she was denied of.
And Sakura is currently five years old, becoming Sakura Potter. Her hair became black like that of her adoptive mother's. Her shade of sea-blue eyes turned green, and her asian skin became very fair like her mother's. While Magi can physically alter themselves, there's no altering the circuits she was born with. Instead, the Potter Family Genes will manifest through Sakura's child instead.
Sakura was born with great potential and rare natural talent, considered to be a miracle equal to that of her older sister Rin which was the effect of having a Zenjou mother. It surpasses the norm of natural talent or inborn skill possessed by others, and due to that she would be in danger without the protection of a magi house, can be equated to a curse in a way.
While Rin was compatible with the family crest, Sakura was more suited to the Tohsaka Magecraft due to having no elemental affinity that limits her options in learning non-elemental magic, and can use jewelcraft indiscriminately. This also makes her a highly-effective Exorcist suited for Church Work that Heidi mapped out her future.
She saw Heidi as her mother. Unlike her many older half-siblings, grew up a privileged life.
By what Heidi sees as 'privilege', she means growing up with a happy childhood with no obligation weighing down her back. Even in lessons, there was no such pressure.
Sakura learned language, manners, basic math, english and how to write like a mage. Her Magic Circuits already opened and active. She is educated and trained with copious uses of her Time-Turner that enables them to do many tasks for training in one day.
Her fourth year of life was spent getting her accustomed to it so that it gets easier as she grows older to practice Magecraft.
But first things first.
Physical fitness, casting speed training and combat prowess, as well as having deep knowledge of science until she's 12 years old. Learning actual sorcery can wait a bit! Magecraft is re-enacting stuff through their prana after all.
Such was her plans.
However, she got a phone call again. This time from Tokiomi.
'How is Sakura doing, Dai-sosen-sama?' Tokiomi asked Heidi in his sitting room. As a married woman, she wore a purple homongi with cherry blossom flower prints, with a yellow obi and coral-pink obi-age and dark-yellow obi-jime. Her obi was done in taiko-musubi. Her hair is simply worn loose with decorative hairpins.
'She's having a happy childhood.' said Heidi. 'I'm giving her what I never got at her age. The end of the 18th Century and early 19ths is a really crappy life for those who are barely able to make ends meet.' she said, speaking in very old-fashioned Japanese. 'In this era its easy for children to have a happy and carefree childhood, I'm kinda jealous.' she chuckled with a sad smile as she shook her head.
'Does Rin-chan know she has a little sister adopted away?'
'Well, she's better off not knowing. But she knows that we Tohsaka cannot have more than one child as we are not yet powerful enough to protect two children.' Tokiomi put an envelope on the table before her. 'My risk of death in this war is very high. I ask of you to become Rin's Magecraft Tutor and manage the Tohsaka Estates until her coming of age.' he said. 'She is currently at her mother's former home with my wife for safety.' Heidi nodded. 'Will you accept?'
'I will. Besides, those girls can spend time together despite never knowing they're sisters.' Heidi mused thoughtfully as she accepted the envelope that she scanned with psychometry. 'Has Aoi-chan approved?'
'She knows. She's not happy that my death is certain, but such is the fate of being a Master in the Holy Grail War.' said Tokiomi solemnly. 'I'm grateful for your acceptance.'
'Well, I'd best leave unseen and unheard, Tokiomi-kun. And stay positive no matter the circumstances.' said Heidi as she disappeared with a crack sound.
Heidi went back home with the documents she has in hand and waited for the war to end.
She received information from her familiars as to what happened in the aftermath after meeting Tokiomi.
There were six masters, as the rest teamed up to kill the errant master of Caster who was a clueless serial killer who doesn't know the rules of the game, and both enjoyed murder far too much that Fuyuki's many children are suspected to be killed by them while to muggles, they have no idea whodunnit.
The next to die was Berserker who died, killed by Saber. However, Saber's Master, her great-grandson Willard von Einzbern was injured afterward trying to fend off Zouken and had to be rescued by Saber, resulting in the Einzberns phoning her to help him out. Hoo, boy. Isn't this cheating?
'Really now, youngster...' Heidi gently chided her great-grandson. 'You should have known better than to try fighting a magus far more cunning.'
'Jeez, if it was you, you could have killed that old bastard.' Willard griped as he was wincing from an operation. 'You're both over 200, right?!'
'I'm a bit younger than that walking mass of worms, child.' Heidi snorted. 'He and two others founded the Holy Grail War 200 years ago. And it truly started when he was an old geezer and I wasn't even born at 1790s. I came to be at the end of the 18th century you know.' she said. 'According to the history of the founding, Zouken was in his late twenties when he, Justeaze and Nagato created this war that officially began at 1800. I was born in 1803 you know. And by that time he was in his late thirties while I'm just a toddler in that time.'
'So he's over 30 years older, big deal.' Willard huffed.
'Sometimes, age and wisdom don't matter.' said Heidi. 'What matters is how you apply your knowledge and abilities for success. Otherwise its just gathering dust in your head if not used well that you can no longer justify the saying 'with age comes wisdom'.' she told him as she atomized the worms on the bowl with a wave of her hand.
'So what is the function of the worms trying to get into Master?' Saber asked Heidi as the pair looked at her.
'Its trying to form a network linking to that old worm as they burrow into your body to make it compatible to his soul for use.' said Heidi grimly. 'He seems to want to make your body his own flesh suit.' Willard sputtered in disbelief.
'For now, lie low as a priority.' Heidi advised. 'In a few days, the established network will fade away. Until then, no going to battle, and ignore blatant attempts to lead you to battle unless you absolutely have no choice.' she warned. 'I'd give it five days minimum.'
'Nearly a week...damn that worm!' Willard growled. 'What, he want eternal youth or something?!'
'Who knows...or perhaps his method of immortality is flawed it required some form of maintenance...my case of perfect immortality came from a curse and has a time limit. I have two more years before I'm mortal again and can become a legal adult after 177 long years. Until then, nothing can kill me.' Heidi shrugged. 'I decapitated myself at the Association once and am still alive.'
'My god...' Saber's eyes widened at the admission of the woman who was stuck as a teenager like herself.
'Well, take care, great-grandson. As a magus we walk with death. Should you die, die a befitting glorious death worthy of an Einzbern, not as insect food.' Heidi chuckled, kissing him on the forehead causing him awkward embarrassment before leaving since he, a man in his twenties is kissed by a woman who's deceptive looks conceal her true age. 'That would really be a lousy way to die.' and she disapparated.
'I sure as hell don't want to die as food granny.' Willard sighed. 'Well, looks like we're on vacation while the network is still on me, Saber. I hear Hyatt Hotel has a good swimming pool in Shinto. Want to come? Kayneth's pretty-much done anyway.'
'Er...Master, we're swimming?' Saber asked awkwardly.
'What of it?'
'I can't swim.'
Zouken fumed as the Cursed Immortal was able to effortlessly remove the worms out of the man's body. She was an unknown factor for years in the Association since being spirited away and she's in Japan?
Having lived nearly 200 years with powerful and plentiful circuits, she's a wild card who certainly has all time in the world to master many arts of magecraft to perfection. He has the same time to master many arts, but he spent his time researching for the ritual, and re-creating, renovating and innovating the Matou Family magics more that his skillset is limited as much as he hates to admit it.
Who has the Cursed Immortal for 175 years now and freed her after her marriage, perhaps?
Perhaps Byakuya still has some hope in him left after that blasted fool Kariya ran off...and she's with the Einzberns, having called the Einzbern Master 'great-grandson'.
The third battle was against Lancer and Lord El-Melloi VS Rider and Waver Velvet. Rider brought out his big guns immediately as his Master is in danger from his teacher. Lord El-Melloi barely survived the Reality Marble and Lancer died trying to protect him. He had to be rescued by his wife who was watching from afar. Rider who barely has enough to stay in the world advised Waver to steer clear of the man until he's strong enough to avoid the man's petty revenge.
Seeing that the boy was utterly helpless, Heidi rolled her eyes and took the boy in to learn from her instead of the Tower.
'How'd I end up here?!' he gasped as he appeared in a tea room before a girl in a kimono.
'Rider is right. You are no match for Lord El-Melloi as you are now.' said Heidi. 'Are you still studying in Clock Tower?'
'Uhm, yes.' said Waver.
'You can never go back there ever again.'
'His family is powerful and influential. And for a family head, he's vindictively petty.' said Heidi. 'He'll either sabotage your education or have even your school seatmate or dormmate assassinate you in return for a reward. You'll die in England, you know?' Waver choked from fear at that. 'The safest place for you now, is Japan. I have taken care of the memories of the couple you're staying with and retrieved your belongings with my servants' help. Until the war ends, its best if he thinks you're murdered.' she chirped light-heartedly.
'M-murdered?!' Waver sputtered before looking resigned. 'He'll really do it. I know he will.'
'I have met men like him before. Only, he is far stronger than them.' said Heidi softly. 'They would have died in his hands in a mere second. Well, I'll have to send the Church a letter to help things along. Hopefully they cooperate, otherwise it'll take a while before you can leave my house.'
Four Servants dead.
Caster, Berserker, Lancer and Rider are down.
All that's left is Saber, Archer and Assassin.
Heidi kept watching.
As far as she knows, Archer is the most dangerous Servant in the war in terms of power.
She wondered who will survive at the end.
But there's a shocking twist.
After Archer killed Assassin, he became the Servant of Assassin's Master after killing Tokiomi. Then they fought the Einzbern Team like hell was after them. Servants aside, the battle of two masters were vicious.
'Holy cow...aren't Einzberns known for being hopeless in fights?! But look at this guy now! Toe to toe with a Church guy!' Waver exclaimed, his eyes bulging as they watched through a mirror.
'Kotomine Kirei, a child prodigy and currently an Executor. Then there's Willard von Einzbern, a typical Einzbern. But they changed since being traditionalists got them losing a lot in the past.' Heidi snorted. 'However...with matter at his disposal, the victor is clear.' she said as after a long and harrowing battle, Willard succumbed from injury, and giving his remaining mana to Saber to survive Archer.
She decided to pay Saber a visit as its clear who won.
'So, our family has won.' said Heidi, appearing behind Saber as she picked up her great-grandson. 'What is your wish?'
'I...I wanted to change the selection of the King.' said Saber. 'I was a failure as a King. I failed to understand my people leading to our ruin.'
'That's good and all, but won't that destroy what your knights worked so hard for, for your sake? Their history will change too if it was possible to go back in time without the help of a powerful entity.' Heidi told her. 'You need a god-class help to go back to your era. Do you seriously think a Grail containing 240 years' worth of prana can help you since three wars has no winner so far? At most, you can only go back to the middle ages, not to your era. If I were you I'd chose a wish that makes the most sense.'
'No way...' Saber choked out. 'Even if I won, I still lost?' she cried in dismay.
'I'm afraid so.' said Heidi softly. 'Make a wish that makes most sense, Saber. Wish for your happiness for a change. You are clearly similar to me, forced to live according to what everyone wants, not truly living for yourself. Why not incarnate here? Gain a body, and live as a mortal once more? Learn how to be happy, Saber. Its what those who truly love you would want despite how you feel.'
'T-there's no way I can do that!' Saber cried in protest in tears.
'I see...only option, take that grail back home to my family then.' Heidi sighed. This girl sure is darn stubborn. 'I have no use for it.' she stated as someone came.
It was a blonde woman clad in armor carrying a banner that also doubles as a Lance.
She is extremely powerful beyond compare and they can feel it.
'Saber, a Counter-Guardian!' Heidi cried in alarm, eyes wide. 'Run!'
'A what?!' Saber gasped, just as horrified as Heidi was as they turned tail to run but before they can take the first step, she spoke.
'Don't worry, only one person will die today.' she said, getting her sword ready. 'And that's not either of you.' and she drew her sword.
'H-huh?' the two women turned to see her stab the grail with her sword and she closed her eyes.
'You should run.'
Heidi dragged Saber away and disapparated fast.
Just in time too, as the woman spoke the fateful words,
'O' Lord, I entrust this body to you.'
And flames consumed both her, and the Grail, causing a massive pillar of flames to be seen by not just all of Fuyuki as a portion of the city was wiped off the map, but by also surrounding towns, causing Clock Tower to work in a frenzy upon getting wind from the El-Melloi Faction what was just seen, and felt.
Because no Magus can do THAT.
'That, would take one hell of a cover up.' Waver shuddered, watching it all with horror in his eyes. 'I don't envy those uppity magi one bit!' he said as Heidi and Saber appeared back home. 'Heidi! Look!' the two immortals turned to see a massive pillar of fire.
'Holy mother-fucking shit!' Heidi squawked, eyes popping out of her sockets. 'At least she didn't burn all of Fuyuki away...normally Counter-Guardians make massive clean-up sprees or maybe that one was nice?'
'Probably...we should be thankful!' said Waver. 'But how are they going to clean this up? Its probably in TV by now and all of Japan panicking, thinking someone attacked them with a WMD or something...'
'Well, World War II is still ripe in their minds.' said Heidi wryly. 'The US bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki with an atomic bomb and this kinda explosion if seen from afar will cause Japan to go into hysterics.'
'But what now? Nobody clearly won.' said Waver.
'Man, and I'm the one explaining to the Association...' Heidi groaned.
Einzbern Castle, Germany...
Acht received a report from the Immortal Bride.
Jubstacheit, the massive pillar is caused by a Counter-Guardian
who came for the Holy Grail before Saber could make a wish on
it. The winner is Willard, but he died from his wounds courtesy
of Kirei Kotomine who stole Archer from his master Tokiomi
Tohsaka after losing his servant Assassin. Willard gave his remaining
prana for Saber's upkeep to give her time to make a wish.
The Counter-Guardian destroyed the Grail quite literally in massive
flames. Maybe something happened to the Grail that 'it' decided it
must be destroyed? I'll check the Greater Grail within Mt. Enzo and
see if it too, went up in smoke. Looks like there won't be any more
Holy Grail Wars...unless you make a new one. And 'they' have
better hurry up lest the Japanese think some country chucked
another atomic bomb at them again! 1945 is still fresh.
I'll send you events of what happened after Caster's deaths soon.
And somebody investigate the Church as Kotomime killed Tohsaka
for his Servant to continue fighting for the Grail. I'll handle Saber
for now until she disappears. And send someone to bring my great-
grandson's body home for a proper funeral, won't you?
He too, would do his own investigation. Heads will roll, quite literally!
For now, he contacted the Association.
The Mage's Association literally became a madhouse, upon getting wind from the Einzberns that a Counter-Guardian appeared in Fuyuki because something happened to the Lesser and Greater Grails that Alaya decided it must be destroyed.
And the Einzberns having one of their greatest works destroyed without knowing why pissed the family off.
Not only that, an interesting topic was put up that an inquiry must be made.
'Hummm...I was thinking the Greater Grail would be...you know, more fancy.' Waver spoke in utter deadpan as the Greater Grail is in fact, a carved rock with various formulas he doesn't understand.
'Well, they're not exactly artistic when they carved this thing.' Heidi snarked as they studied with her Homunculi and Saber was a bodyguard while taking in mana from the air to support her existence. 'And if you imagine a giant golden beautiful cup, that would have made the three families poorer than beggars in the streets, you know.' Waver looked sheepish at that. 'Now then...since I know about this thing when I married into the Einzberns once...' she effectively scanned it with a lot of assistants.
'Master, something lived in here once.' one of the homunculi, Calla reported. 'And its not Justeaze.'
'Yeah, something big that that Counter-Guardian snuffed out.' said Heidi. 'Must have gotten big enough to warrant that one hell of a visit...but in any case, 1/2 of its mana is gone and its clean again. This is normally enough to contact Justeaze with an Einzbern Homonculus of Justeaze-Models as only she knows what the hell happened.'
'Ain't that the truth...' Waver sighed. 'Well, in the end all we got is a hint and possible way to talk to the core herself. But how do we explain Saber?' he asked as they looked at Saber.
'Well, at this point as she has no Master, what keeps her sustained is the bracelet pair I crafted so she can take a specific amount of mana from me without Command Seals and the Mana Pathways of the Master-Servant bond. And because Willard was her Master, her parameters was based on his aptitude as a Master. I can easily support Saber effortlessly until Saber decides she wants to retire.'
'Well...I don't know what awaits me should I disappear.' said Saber. 'I made a contract with the World for the sake of finding the Holy Grail to save my country.'
'Then that means if you disappear...you end up back to your era.' Waver croaked out.
'Yes...a war-torn world...' Saber moped. 'I had been fatally-stabbed by Mordred. If I disappear and end up back there, I will be dying.'
'According to your legend, you are an immortal king, but your sheath was stolen and hidden away so you became mortal.' said Heidi. 'Willard still has the scabbard. Its in his body which is how he survived Kotomine but his heart and spine are pierced. What really killed him was him sending his mana to you for the sake of the family's wish, Heaven's Feel and without mana, the scabbard can't work as it works by Willard sending you mana and being close to you the Avalon can take mana from its owner in order to function as an EX-Class Noble Phantasm only Saber can use and the person she chose to protect, but Willard deliberately gave all he got to Saber to give her time. It doesn't matter who invokes it as long as its anyone from the Einzbern Faction. Well, we would have won if not for the thing the Counter-Force came for, sheesh. We were so close too.' she harrumphed. 'I can only imagine old Acht's reaction now...'
'Yes...really close.' Saber mumbled unhappily. It turns out the Grail can't give her what she wants but rather by her death here, she goes back to her era. But taking an infected grail back when Merlin disappeared and she may end up unleashing what the Counter-Force came for...yikes.
'I better write a written report. We'll take up space in the Einzbern Castle after I take Waver and Aster back home because someone has to look after Sakura.'
Next day...around nighttime...
Magi poured into Fuyuki City.
They went for the Einzbern Castle first.
'Well, for the bigwigs, they might take up space here so I came prepared...good thing I did.' Heidi muttered as she prepared a lot of convenient-to-eat foods for meals.
'And for you to be here, where have you been all this time?' Zelretch asked her. 'I miss the chaos you caused a century ago.'
'Ah, shaddap.' Heidi snarked good-naturedly. 'Well, I married the guy who spirited me away, is all.' she said. She's wearing a casual dress any girl her body would wear.'
'Were you happy?'
'I never was.' said Heidi softly. 'I was a means to an end after all. Only my genetics are wanted, not me myself. No wedding bliss about that.' she sighed. 'My heart has been frozen for over a century just to keep the pain away. Its only my morals and the hell called my life that kept me going. No child of mine will live the life I did if I could help it. But I wish that one day a man would love me for who I am not what I am.' she admitted. 'In two more years my curse will be gone and I'll be mortal again. Immortality isn't all its cracked up to be when you have to hide from nearly the whole world, huh?'
'A lot of people older than you can sympathize, but time made us dead to the pains of longevity.' said Zelretch. 'Most magi would welcome immortality as they can research all they want with impunity in their workshops.'
'Ugh...in Japan, I believe they call that hikikomori, right?'
He looked ready to crack up.
'Haha, yeah!' he cackled. 'What a befitting comparison! So what have you found out?'
'The thing the Counter-Force came for is completely gone, but traces remain of its power, not its self.' Heidi took out a small capsule with a sample. 'It has been feeding and growing within the Greater Grail that making a wish would mean letting whatever this is out, so Alaya sent one of her guardians. And now the Greater Grail is half-empty, a good condition to reach Justeaze through a Justeaze-Model. Only she knows what happened to the Grail.'
'That would mean Jubstacheit will have to coin a Homunculus here. We wait until its born for talking purposes. But half the mana gone? It must have eaten it.'
'Probably...this means in thirty years, there will be the Fifth Grail War. The Einzberns are lucky Mt. Enzo wasn't blown-up too or you, the Einzbern and that old worm will have to make a new one. The last Tohsaka is just a little girl.'
Zelretch balked at having to make another one.
'That would be bad.'