Edited on 8/8/2019 = This took so long to go through and update/fix! Any mistakes… hopefully not but I am only human and my time schedule is strained.
A/N: Alright I forgot about this in the first chapter but hey, I don't own the Fate series. Like at all...
Ritsu really looked like she was having the time of her life. While the flames of war raged across the land, she probably only had one thing on her mind. If Shirou didn't know any better he would have thought that maybe she was fearing for everyone's safety. Except Shirou knew that the only thing she was thinking about was saint quartz. If he could just calm her down then maybe Marie wouldn't be so pissed off.
"My beloved, I know you are not my Shirou but surely you understand that I want you to ride with me and maybe later… I am getting ahead of myself."
Did she just ask him to ride her? Now that he thought about it… It probably would be a great experience- WAIT. Get your mind out of the gutter Shirou, bad thoughts.
"What were you thinking about, hm?"
The Caster just had to embarrass him, he just had to. When Shirou looked him dead on all he could see was the smug face of Caster Cu. This bastard is enjoying himself too much! Why must you be like this?
"It will be personal training of course, I must make him into my ideal partner."
Oh that finally shut Ritsu up. Huh, good job- WAIT. "STOP" Oh no, he panicked.
"Are you saying that you will be improving his fighting ability?"
Even though her claim was way off, Marie didn't look like she was joking. You sweet innocent adult, how in the world did you come up with that idea?
"U-um, Yes I would be honored to teach you some moves Shirou."
Did she just blush? She did, didn't she… Lancer Alter looked straight into his soul with such passion that it made Shirou flinch. Her gaze was piercing and Shirou soon found himself shifting away from the intense stare.
"Don't say a thing Cu, I know what you want to say but let's just get going."
He smirked, he fucking smirked at Shirou!
"Ah senpai! We have contacts!" "Wait Mash… Who did you just call senpai?"
Why was Ritsu so serious about the senpai thing? Didn't Mash address us as such before? He could have sworn that her eyes were filled with uncontained madness. It freaked him out quite a bit.
"A-Ah, I called you senpai?"
Ritsu, her face became quite happy after that. Shirou felt as if he was being choked by the very air around her. Seriously what was wrong with her? It felt as if he was standing next to Heracles. Oh, he was.
"Only me, right?"
The poor innocent soul, she looked so confused that it was almost funny. Mash quickly looked to Shirou for answers, all he could do was shrug.
"Yes, just for you senpai."
Ritsu started to breathe heavily. She had a heavy blush covering the entirety of her face, and she was mumbling about "true heaven". What the hell is wrong with half of the people in this party?
"Mash go get those skellys! I also order you to only call me senpai!" "Y-yes senpai!"
Poor Mash, she is forever chained to her now. He could tell that Ritsu had taken a liking to her, almost a little too much.
"Hey Ritsu, you get attached to things quickly."
Her face held a look of superiority. As if he was below her for not being doing the same.
"Well of course I'd get attached to Mash quickly! She is so adorable, and I really like how she is trying her best even though she just became a servant."
He couldn't believe it, had his own ears deceived him? Did Casters explosive runes do something to his hearing? Did she actually give a good reason?
"What about the saint quartz system?"
Her face became stony, he must have hit a sore spot. In a small voice, one he could hardly hear over the explosions in the background, she spoke.
"I really like gacha games, but luck usually hates me so I spend a lot of money on them…"
She was blushing, as if she had shared one of her most private of secrets. Huh, she looked kinda cute while embarrassed.
"Did you spend a lot of money?"
It was a simple question, but she blushed with shame.
"It was a lot Shirou, just don't tell anyone ok?"
They were doomed then, he had stumbled upon gacha games before and he knew addiction when he saw it. It happened to poor Sakura, an innocent cat game with weird cats in them… She never did recover her thousands of dollars but at least she was happy.
"Shirou I will provide support to the shielder if you wish me to do so."
Shirou looked at the small army of skeletons in the burning city. They clawed their way up the hill, towards the masters. Mash and Cu were handling themselves well, but it was never wrong to help others.
"I'm sure she would appreciate your help Artoria."
He flashed a smile at her for encouragement, even though none was needed. She stiffened in response. Her face held a lovely smile, one that would make even the toughest of men melt.
"I swear you are as bright as the sun, Shirou."
Seeing Artoria look that happy made his heart flutter. He knew that this wasn't his Saber, that was obvious, but seeing her smile again made him a happy man. She then headed into battle, wiping out waves of foes in a single strike. In all honestly Shirou thought she was beautiful and he admired the grace and brutality she had while fighting. Then it hit him. What she said left him in a mess, how could this Artoria be so different yet the same? She was pulling on his heart strings for crying out loud.
It was confusing but Shirou didn't necessarily dislike it. If anything he was glad that he managed to summon a version of Saber. It was a sign that he could summon his Saber, it would hopefully be soon. How many versions are there of her anyway? Surely it wouldn't take long?
"So Shirou, I know that your start at Chaldea has been a rocky one."
Oh really? Has it been? Shirou couldn't suppress his inner Archer.
"But I am glad that you survived, in the right hands both you and your untrained partner will lead us to victory."
Man, this was really unlike Marie. In the time that he had known her to now all Shirou could see was someone who didn't keep people close. She looked lonely and for that reason, he wanted to get to know her.
"Don't get me wrong or anything, I was only praising your skills after all!"
Ah there she is, Marie has turned on her Rin mode. If Shirou had been paying more attention then he would have realized that Marie had a faint blush.
"I just think you will do well is all!" "I thank you Marie, I'm glad that you believe in me and Ritsu."
Her face said it all, she hardly believed in Ritsu. At least it was a start, maybe she wasn't all that bad after all. Just a little stubborn, held her pride close to her chest, and didn't like receiving help from others. Yet again another reminder of someone else he knew.
"Anyway I feel like we are getting close to the end of this journey. Roman has updated me on the Grail's location. We are close but a giant hurdle stands in our way."
Was it just him or did Marie look deathly ill. Doubt clouded her face, it was as if she didn't believe in herself. As if she thought that she would fail to save the human race.
"Hey Marie? You alright? I know it's not much but I believe in you and your ability to guide us back to Chaldea."
Shirou didn't know if he said something wrong but Marie went shock still.
"I'm going to go tell Ritsu about this 'hurdle' you were talking about. I believe in you Marie."
As Shirou walked away he could hear soft sobbing behind him, he wondered if anyone had ever seen her cry. It wasn't his intention of course, but he saw her doubt herself. He couldn't let that stand, for he knew that Marie was just lonely and needed someone that believed in her.
"Hey Ritsu? I think I just made Marie cry."
Not the best way to start a conversation, but it was a start. At first she was confused, tilted her head and just stared at him. She looked like she was happy yet disappointed in him.
"I know that she was mean to me Shirou, like really really mean to me but I don't think you should have made her cry."
Obviously he knew that, and deep down he really felt that Ritsu deserved to be slapped for sleeping during orientation.
"I just told her that I believed in her, I felt that she needed to know."
Her face was priceless, she had a mixture of shock, happiness, and despair? It kinda looked like she was on the verge of crying. Did he say something wrong?
"Shirou I know that one day you will get to me and I will gladly accept it, but you leave Mash out of this! I am her senpai! You will not take her away from me!"
She's raving like a loon again, except this time it's about Mash, not saint quartz. What really made the experience disturbing was her face. If you could put a mixture of terror and fulfillment together then that's what she looked like right now. This girl puts him on edge.
"I don't really understand what you are talking about but please keep it to yourself."
Marie had a radiant smile on her face, as if she had finally seen the light. There were red rings surrounding her eyes but other than that she looked a lot better than before.
"Listen up Shirou! What you saw or heard back there was nothing! You got it, I didn't cry, nope not me." "I never said that you cried Marie. At least not to you, I respect you greatly and we all have our moments."
She looked happy yet she stood deadly still, did he finally say something right? Was this one of those moments that she would never forget? Her smile widened, oh no… It was on of Rin's fake murder smiles.
"Shirou you IDIOT!"
One slap later and the battle was over, no one was hurt and Artoria stood by his side. Everyone looked energized, the end was near and they all knew it.
"So the Grail is close, what's this 'hurdle' that you were talking about?"
In all honesty he was confused. He had only seen shadow servants and skeletons so far.
"Unlike the shadow servants you guys have been fighting a real one is about to show up. Roman is getting readings that the Grail and the servant are combined. The servant is being powered by the Grail to keep this War, this world like this."
She was deadly serious about this, whatever they were facing would be a challenge. Yet everyone looked at peace, like this was just another day at work.
"So we end the servant, take the Grail, and I get to spend alone time with Shirou? This day just keeps getting better, don't worry Shirou, victory will be ours."
"W-well then, I believe in all of us! We definitely have this in the bag."
As cute as the was Mash not everyone will just shrug that off. Fucking Cu and his stupid smirk. Is EMIYA joining in? That's it!
"Hey Mash, do you know what your Noble Phantasm is?"
Shirou had to quickly divert the conversation to a more important one. He wasn't embarrassed, well maybe a little bit. He just had to avoid the questions and comments he knew were coming.
"I don't know what it is or how to activate it… I'm sorry that I'm such a failure as a servant."
Instantly everyone knew, it was like a survival instinct kicked in. Ritsu the 'normal' girl was furious. If any agreed with Mash, whether it be servant or human, they would suffer.
"Mash I-" "SHIROU! Remember what I said you leave Mash out of your schemes. Though I wouldn't mind taking the fall for her."
Huh? What is she even talking about? Why are EMIYA and Cu laughing? This day was just getting better and better.
"Mash you are not useless and if anyone tries to say you are then they will have to go through me… And the army of servants I will soon obtain!"
She struck a pose, stood on top of a pile of dead skeletons, and looked down at everyone. Her glare was piercing, and Shirou found this whole thing ridiculous. She is crazy, a great motivational support, but she's still crazy. Her eyes went back to swirls of madness. Was he the only one seeing this?
"Anyway Mash, I could tell you quite a bit about that shield, so could Archer but he is hardly helpful."
Archer made an annoyed "Tsk" and just ignored Shirou. He was glad though, at least he didn't have to deal with him right now.
Looking towards Mash all he could see was a beacon of light. She was absolutely beaming with joy, her smile was so bright that it made him close his eyes. How was this possible? Is she just that pure?
"Thank you senpai! I'm so excited, I can finally reach my full potential as a servant!" While Mash was excited Ritsu looked like death. Her cheeks sunken in, eyes hallowed. It was as if all her prana had been drained in an instant. She quite literally looked like she was dying.
"Mash called Shirou senpai-She called him senpai-its already happening-no its too soon…"
As Ritsu fell to the ground in a mumbling mess, I had to tell Mash about Galahad. Even Marie was excited about the prospect of Mash being a fully functioning servant.
"Even though I know that he is a part of the round table, his legend, and what his Noble Phantasm is… I can't reach it yet, at least not its full potential."
She looked disappointed in herself, her smile turned into a frown, and she slowly looked to the ground. It was as if all the lights around them had been snuffed out, as if the fire around him had been quelled, even the stars looked dimmer.
"Mash, I know the feeling of not being able to reach something so close. I know that this looks like a set back, but in reality this will only make you stronger. I know that you can do this, it's only a matter of time until you unlock your Noble Phantasm."
She had teary eyes, but she smiled like the sun. If he was a lesser man he would have fallen for her right there. She looked at peace, like Shirou had cleared away all of her doubts. One thing that kept popping up in his head was why had he made two people cry in such a short time?
"Senpai I'm glad that your here, thank you for assisting me! No one has really believed in me before..."
Her smile had turned solemn, how could anyone not like this girl? How dare they, how could they not believe in her before! It took him a moment but he caught himself. Was Mash cursed? If not then why had he almost acted out like Ritsu? If possible, he might have caught her crazy.
"I'm glad that I could help Mash and don't worry, no heroic spirit has ever mastered their abilities in a day, even if they were passed down."
All of a sudden the hairs on the back of his neck stood up. Ritsu gave him a spine chilling stare, one that would have been funny if it wasn't so disturbing. The position, the way she was looking at him, and just the fact that her face looked like that would have made him laugh. If only she didn't look so dead inside.
"Oi Mash, I'm your senpai. I'm your senpai. I'm your senpai you said I was. Don't leave me Mash, it's dark and cold, I need my underling to help me…"
She is still like that? Is she crawling on the ground? Wait, no stop crawling towards him.
Yea she is crazy and that is a fact. That or maybe she was abandoned before. She liked to grab at him or others, and she easily attached herself to people. It was almost creepy the way she had instantly clinged to Mash, as if she would die without her presence.
A while later and Shirou has a fully functioning team. Everyone was walking into the unknown, what servant would they be facing? Who would they have to defeat? And the greatest question of all, why had Berserker been so quiet. It's weird how he hasn't roared yet.
They soon entered a cave, one that down right looked sinister. The edges of the cave were jagged, sharp, and threatening. It was silent, all that could be heard was the soft breathing of himself and the others.
"This totally isn't a trap, right guys?"
No one said a thing to Ritsu, all that could be heard was a facepalm. Marie? If it was any other time then he would have answered. But it was obvious, of course this was a trap why would they be waiting other wise. They all knew that this servant would give them one hell of a fight, especially while in close quarters like this. Nevertheless they carried on with the task at hand.
At the end of the line Shirou saw something that broke his heart. Fate was laughing at him. It hurt him to know that another version of his Saber had caused this madness. She looked exactly like the Artoria he knew. Once they got closer he knew that this was never his Saber at least not in his timeline.
"I welcome you servants and masters, to make it this far you must have…"
Her sentence died on her lips. She looked confused, as if what was happening wasn't real. All of a sudden she calmed herself, she gave a small smile aimed towards himself. Did she recognize him? It was as if she had an epiphany, like what she was doing was wrong.
"I know the bad guys like to gloat or whatever but why did you stop?"
Ritsu now is not the time.
"Shirou Emiya, that is you correct? Step closer and come alone."
Her voice was commanding and held a certain coldness that only a king could muster. It reminded him of the dreams he used to get during the Grail War. When his sweet Saber was a king that had to trap her very own emotions. He hated those dreams, but it showed him what he had freed her from.
"What is it to you scum? Do you wish to try and slay him right in front of me? I'll gouge out your eyes and feed them to my horse before I ever let that happen."
Oh? Well this is a very dangerous situation. Anger alone could not describe Lancer Alter right now.
"I wish to know if you are Shirou Emiya, I fear that you are a part of my imagination."
At least this time it didn't sound like he was about to face an execution. She actually sounded a bit sad. Her face was downcast, but he could see her determination rising.
"Artoria I want you to be close to me and I ask for your trust and that goes for all of you. I feel that this is something that only I can do."
Artoria looked conflicted and had to speak her mind.
"Shirou, I feel that this is dangerous even for you."
She was sincere and pleading him to rethink this. He could tell that all she cared about was his own safety.
"Come on now when have you ever disobeyed a command from me?"
Shirou actually had no idea what overtook him right there, it was almost like another version of himself manifested for a second. He was still in control of his own body but that was… He should talk to Marie about it later.
"~Ha~ I'd never think about disobeying you Master Shirou, only if I want to be punished."
Did she just get turned on? Wait, was Shirou a sadist? Oh…
"I'm gonna go and continue with my plan now. I'll expect you all to back me up."
He quickly ran away from the lust crazed Lancer. Even if she was an Artoria he had his own morals! He would not be swooned so easily. She also made him a bit uncomfortable...
Once more into the breach Shirou, you got this, just don't get stabbed by the alternate version of your Saber. Easy right?
A/N: Next time we begin with another Saber! (My favorite alright I had to include her man) I need to stress this now, I don't know Japanese or any of the honorifics so it will either be first names or last names. Also I used senpai because that it a key part of Mash, how could I not? Anyway, I made a reference to Battle Cats because why not? I hardly play it but it was a fun game, I just didn't like the reliance on the cat food system and how much you had to pay to get something cool. (Free to play player by the way) I also included the Archer not helping out Mash with her Noble Phantasm. Like I said before I got him during my playthrough and while Mash and Ritsu have no idea EMIYA could help out… I did, I knew he could solve the problem like that but hey, not everyone pulls EMIYA.