The Legend of Four Cardinal Weapons.
And the Spear.
A Legend of Four Heroes, well, that was how it was supposed to have had been.
This wasn't the case.
Emerald light illuminated a dark space as circular patterns of various sigils and symbols expanded outwards into a wide diameter.
Frankly speaking, Shirou had no idea what he was doing here. Worse, the summoners themselves who had summoned him from his world into a dim lit room within a tower were looking at him in bafflement.
A side effect?
The reactions that they were giving him were clear indicators that he had only been an add-on or a by-product to this summoning process. A magic circle was beneath his feet, transcribed with runes and markings that he was far from familiar with.
"Oh Heroes, please save our world!"
A man in a priest's garb bowed towards him. More accurately, at the other four individuals behind his back. Each had a certain weapon held in their right arms respectively, a sword, a shield, a bow, and a spear.
Shirou was the odd one out who didn't have anything equipped to his right arm.
He was being ignored because of it.
No one was paying attention to him other than the passing glance that three out of the four others summoned sent his way. The only one who seemed to want to call out to him was the man with the shield, but the situation proceeded too quickly to hold any kind of conversation. More so with how haughty the other three were to immediately demand compensation in order for them to 'save the world,' or become its enemies if their conditions were not met.
"You can't expect us to just work for free, can you?" The man carrying the sword spoke. He had raven-black hair which framed either side of his face and he was wearing a blue sweater and black coloured pants.
"Exactly," The man with the bow was quick to agree. He was wearing a tailored school uniform and had his shaggy blond hair kept short over his head.
Panicked, the priest who had summoned everyone defaulted to handing negotiations to the King.
"If your King knows of a way to send us back, then it doesn't matter who we talk to," the man with a spear spoke soundly. Different from the other two who appeared as if they were still in high-school, the man with the spear seemed college-aged. He wore his long blond hair in a pony-tail and was tall enough that his spear could rest comfortably on his shoulder. "Just guide the way."
Flustered, the priest and his accompanying apprentices hurriedly escorted everyone to the King's chambers.
The Hero of the Spear, Sword, and Bow were quick to follow, but the Hero of the Shield momentarily stood in a daze at the actions of his fellow summoned companions.
"Could these guys be anymore smug?" The Hero of the Shield spoke stiffly.
Shirou looked at the Hero of the Shield's directions and realized that he was being spoken to.
"I guess," Shirou answered lightly. "I can't say much though since I just met them."
Shirou placed a hand under his chin in thought. Ever since he'd been summoned, he'd been ignoring most of the conversation to reflect on how he'd even ended up in this situation. He couldn't think of any reason.
"Hey, are you coming? They look like they're going to leave us." The Hero of the Shield was unlike the other summoned Heroes. At the very least, he was both kind and considerate. His cheerful expression despite being abruptly summoned into the middle of nowhere was admirable.
Shirou put aside his thoughts in order to catch up.
"My name's Naofumi Iwatani by the way," the Hero of the Shield introduced himself while excitedly looking around.
"Shirou Emiya," he replied politely.
Naofumi grinned. "This is really a different world isn't it? Look at the buildings outside. Even the air feels different."
A town could be seen through the bar-like structure of a tower window.
It was definitely a new world, and that was precisely why Shirou couldn't let his guard down.
"Don't you think the two of us are being ignored?" Shirou brought up the first point he'd noticed since he'd been summoned. One would think that a people being oppressed by an imminent danger would pay more attention to those that they had summoned. Clearly this wasn't the case for them.
"Maybe," Naofumi did not deny or agree but he was looking at how attentive the priests and the passing Knights were to the other Heroes. "I guess we just lack presence or charisma."
Still, this was different. Shirou could see it in the eyes of those looking at Naofumi, but there was definitely contempt and enmity hidden within them.
Shirou kept his thoughts to himself. It wouldn't do to carelessly worry Naofumi who seemed like it was his first time experiencing a supernatural event. Besides, the sooner that he met the King, the sooner he could ask for answers as to why he had been summoned.
The priest eventually led everyone to separate rooms before informing everyone that the King would meet them all the next morning.
There was little that Shirou and the others could do but comply. They were not so unreasonable that they couldn't understand that the King could be busy and unable to hold an audience on such short notice. However, while Naofumi and the others were given rooms near each other, Shirou was given a mere supply closet, not that he cared much.
He scratched at the back of his head and soon considered a plan of action.
Rather than staying put, he used to the time to gather intel from palace maids and servants. In which case, he soon came to learn that the Kingdom that he was summoned within was known as the Kingdom of Melromarc. The purpose of the summoning itself was intended as a call for aid to combat against disastrous events known as the Waves of Calamity.
Many people had already died, town's destroyed, and populations reduced to zero.
There was much to consider.
He returned to his lodging and lied down on the impromptu bed that he'd made from gathering stuffed pillows and binding them within linen cloth. It was a tad uncomfortable, but it would do for now. Anything was better than sleeping outside without any camping gear.
He stared up at the bright moon that he could see through the window.
A world that needed saving.
It got him thinking about the past.
He raised a hand up and seemed to grasp at something always beyond reach.
Unaware of loss, nor aware of gain.
The world needed Heroes, and perhaps that was enough reason to decide that he wouldn't be so hasty to leave and find a way home.
The next day came quickly, and soon everyone had gathered in a large hall where the King of Melromarc sat on a throne at the center of the room occupied by both guards and high aristocrats. The King was named Aultcray Melromarc, an old aged man wearing a decorated mantle and golden crown.
The Heroes introduced themselves one by one while standing before the King.
"Ren Amaki." Hero of the Sword.
"Itsuki Kawasumi." Hero of the Bow.
"Motoyasu Kitamura." Hero of the Spear.
The King abruptly cut Naofumi off with little interest. "Yes yes, the Hero of the Shield."
Naofumi frowned but could do little else as the King soon focused his attention elsewhere.
"And you would be?"
Aultcray looked directly at Shirou.
"Shirou Emiya. I was summoned here by accident," Shirou gave a curt reply.
Aultcray hummed, a flash of intelligence lingering within his clouded eyes. Years of peace would serve well to dull a man, but sometimes what's left within could still remain the same. Shirou's eyes had shifted towards the staff leaning on Aultcray's throne. Aultcray gave him a look of peculiarity before keeping his staff out of view.
"Moving on," Aultcray coughed into his hand. "I'm certain that all of you have been briefed of the situation within this world and the Waves of Calamity?"
More or less was the general response.
After finding a way to pacify Motoyasu and the other heroes, Aultcray soon moved onto the topic of companions for the Heroes. Of course, Shirou was excluded because he was not a hero from the perspective of the populace.
He was Nameless he supposed.
Still, the way the parties were formed for each individual hero left much to be considered.
Aultcray had gathered a large group of talented individuals to serve as companions for the Heroes. However, it wasn't the heroes that chose the companions, but the companions that chose the Hero.
In which case, the result left little room for imagination.
If Shirou's earlier observations about being neglected were to be taken into account, right now was probably the best evidence.
Ren's party had five.
Motoyasu's party had four.
Itsuki's party had three.
And Naofumi's party had none.
"Hey wait a minute, this isn't fair!" Naofumi was quick to voice out his displeasure.
As it would turn out, there had been rumours that unlike the other three Heroes, the Shield Hero was summoned without even a basic understanding of the world around him. Subsequently, none of the Heroes companions thought him to be reliable enough to follow. Worse, Ren, and the others did not force their followers to aid Naofumi.
Shirou had enough of keeping silent. He'd observed enough.
"Will you let me join your party?" He asked Naofumi with a friendly smile.
"Yes, yes of course," Naofumi was quick to nod his head.
"Still, a party of two isn't exactly the best, isn't it?" Motoyasu was showing a hint of consideration and yet, he wasn't exactly doing anything about it himself.
"Sir Hero, would you allow me to switch parties to the Shield Hero?"
Naofumi looked dazed as a woman who had previously sided with Motoyasu raised her hand and approached him gently. Her expression was warm and endearing, her demeanor charmingly alluring. She was a red-haired adventurer in fanciful leather garb.
Naofumi's face was flushing red and it looked like he was having trouble finding the right words to say.
"A-Are you sure?" Motoyasu looked the most taken aback out of everyone in the room. Most likely, he would have had taken his previous words back if he could.
"Yes, I'm sure," the girl spoke before raising a hand for Naofumi to shake. "My name is Myne Suphia. Will you allow me to accompany you on your journey?"
Naofumi looked transfixed at the hand extended out to him, but just before he could react to Myne's offer, Shirou stood in between them. "Sorry, we'll have to decline," he said.
"W-Wait what?" Naofumi looked like someone had just shot him in the foot. "No wait, hold on that's not," he stumbled for words.
"Trust me," Shirou insisted.
Trust was a hard term to come by, but Naofumi had always been one to believe in the good intentions of others. Maybe there was a reason that Shirou was stopping Myne from joining their party?
Reluctant as he was, it was Shirou who had stepped up to help him first when no one else would.
"Sorry," Naofumi said to Myne while smiling wryly. "Maybe some other time."
"Uhm, yes sure," Myne looked put off, and if anything, it caused Naofumi to stare at Shirou in depression.
Soon enough Aultcray dismissed everyone after giving each Hero a war chest of goods and money to purchase better equipment.
As Naofumi's party only consisted of two, he received two-hundred silver coins more compared to the others who received six-hundred.
Still, Naofumi looked bitter while looking at Ren, Motoyasu, and Itsuki's parties leave.
"Buck up Naofumi," Shirou patted Naofumi on the back. "Sometimes numbers don't matter much in terms of efficiency. The other Heroes may have more allies, but you have me, don't you?"
"Does that even make a difference?" Naofumi's voice lacked spirit. "We would have had three people in the party if you didn't refuse. Besides, Myne seemed kind." Naofumi scratched his cheek with his index finger entranced with the image of Myne in his mind.
Shirou grimaced in response. He didn't know how to explain to Naofumi that he could 'detect' a certain type of scent from Myne and it wasn't of the common sort. It smelled of withered grass and decay that no amount of perfume could ever mask away.
Something about her was just entirely off and Shirou trusted his senses. More so when one considered that he could detect traces of magic through smell.
Myne smelled like a 'Magus' not only because she specialized probably in spells, but because she seemed the sort to smile even when ruthlessly stabbing someone in the back. Plenty of magi in his former world were like that, and he'd learned to be cautious in his trade as a mercenary.
He was twenty-three and had already been out working on the field on his own. His talent as a Third-Rate Magus had been too low to continue studying in the Clock Tower by Rin's side any longer.
Rin had tried to persuade him to stay, but once the atrophy of his twenty-seven magic circuits had been discovered, there wasn't much that Rin could do to promote his presence in magical theory classes any longer. Just as any muscle or organ deteriorates through time, his atrophied magic circuits were his fault due to numerous years of disuse. Worse, Magic Circuits were key to the success of a magus. They were what allowed a magus to utilize their mysteries and the quality of one's magic circuits generally dictated the potential of a magus. It was why House Barthomeloi of the Blue Blood ruled as one of the strongest noble houses in the Clock Tower. Their Magic Circuits were both incredibly potent and efficient.
Shirou's in comparison was garbage in their current condition.
He said atrophied, but it was more like he was still unused to them. At best, each of his magic circuits could barely handle ten units of magical energy each.
In short, he was a waste of resources.
And so, he started his life as a wandering Nameless Hero and Mercenary: Not that it mattered much to him because it allowed him to pursue his dream.
Moving on, Shirou had to find a way to get Naofumi's mind off of the other Heroes. The difference in treatment was too stark a contrast and Shirou didn't want it to negatively effect Naofumi's condition.
"It does make a difference," Shirou said referring back to Naofumi's response.
Naofumi glanced up and saw Shirou staring at him in all seriousness.
"In this world, you won't find anyone else like me. So, cheer up. If I understand it correctly, the other Heroes are leaving to go leveling or whatever. I don't know what the purpose of leveling is, but are you just going to let the other Heroes get further ahead of you?"
"Well, no. I guess you're right." Naofumi remained positive despite the indifferent gazes of those around him. Apparently, the Shield Hero was the weakest of all Heroes and as such, people were already judging Naofumi as a waste. "Let's go."
Naofumi sucked in a breath and followed in the direction that the other Heroes had gone towards.
Melromarc was a large Kingdom with many buildings built with cobblestone and wood. Merchants lined the streets and hawked their wares in hopes of garnering any of the passing citizens interests.
Naofumi was a prime candidate to swindle or obtain easy money from, but fortunately, Naofumi wasn't stupid. He was merely browsing through the offered items on the road while making his way towards the 'beginner training ground' that Motoyasu and the others seemed to know of already.
Once Shirou and Naofumi arrived on the training ground, Naofumi quickly made the decision to farm for EXP away from them. He felt like he'd only regret it more if he could see Myne in the distance in Motoyasu's party. However, in his haste, Naofumi wasn't paying attention to the way that Ren was shaking his head at him in consideration.
As it would turn out, the direction that Naofumi was heading towards was a higher-level training ground. Worse, Naofumi was definitely going in unprepared.
Ren didn't bother giving a warning. It was Naofumi's fault for not noticing his good intentions.
Finding an isolated location, Naofumi quickly sent Shirou a party invite which Shirou accepted.
A information screen appeared in Naofumi's gaze while Shirou stared quizzically at him.
What the hell? Naofumi blinked in confusion. Other than not being able to clearly see a level, what sort of status did 'Sword' mean? Better yet, what kind of life did Shirou lead to possess a class known as Nameless?
"Something wrong?" Shirou asked.
"Uhm, no, but do you know how to access your stats?" Naofumi was speaking in gaming terms.
"Stats?" Shirou was clueless.
Magi were generally out of touch with modern day inventions, so even Shirou who knew how to operate a TV and DVD was confused.
Naofumi didn't have time to elaborate.
Monsters were coming in the form of harmless looking orange balls known literally as 'balloons.'
They were a common monster in Melromarc and being that Naofumi was only at the base level, the single EXP point that they gave was more than enough to get him to level after he and Shirou killed off over a dozen of them.
Naofumi had to strike the monster several times with his fist before it died, but Shirou seemed to have little trouble striking the monsters down with the basic sword that Aultcray had provided for him.
Naofumi stared at the small status window that popped up at the edge of vision and felt a wave of energy swell from within him which increased his base attributes. He didn't think much of it because he was somewhat of an Otaku back in Japan and was used to such videogame mechanics, but Shirou stiffened entirely.
After Naofumi had officially entered Shirou into his party with an invite, Shirou could suddenly see personal notification bars in his periphery; a certain sequence of which left him dumbfounded.
[Magic Circuits: (-) 27 (Atrophied)]
[Magic Circuits: (+) 1]
[Magic Circuits: (-) 26 (Atrophied)]
[Grade C Magic Circuit acquired]
[Grade C Magic Circuits: (+) 1]
Sihrou's eyes appeared bloodshot while surveying the monsters around him and muttering to himself in a daze. This 'leveling' concept wasn't just about farming anymore. His capabilities directly correlated to the amount of people that he could save both now and in the future. How could he possibly keep still? Moreover, does the amount of this EXP thing change based on the monster? The balloon monsters only seemed to be giving a single EXP point.
His nose suddenly detected a new scent in the air.
"Is something wrong, Shirou?" Naofumi looked over in concern. Shirou was just standing there entirely frozen. "I don't do enough damage to farm these things on my own so if you're tired, we can stop now?"
Wait, where was Shirou looking at right now?
Naofumi paled while staring off into the distance. It was a pack of fierce black-wolves. Different from the standard wolf, their size was almost double, their paws leaving deep imprints over the earth as they stalked forward.
The level displayed over the monster's heads was a crimsons red.
[Baskerfield Hounds: lvl 30]
[Naofumi Iwatani: lvl 2]
Naofumi steadily began backing away. It hadn't been long since he left the area where the others Heroes were and maybe if he ran back there, the Melromarc guards could help.
On his and Shirou's own, there was no way that they could defeat this monster at their current level, but the way that Shirou was eyeing the Baskerfield Hounds made Naofumi feel uneasy.
Something in the air had changed.
Mundane weapons would be enough. A horde of them.
Space began to ripple as tendrils of magical energy arced over the ground and singed the grass black.
Icons flashed over Naofumi's view as he used an arm to cover his face from the sudden wind.
Sword? What sword? Naofumi was forced to close his eyes.
A voice resounded, quiet, yet strong.
A thrum resounded outwards, followed by obscure shadows blotting out the light in the area.
Naofumi looked up and felt his breath hitch in his throat, his mouth drying.
Dozens of them.
It would be hard not to notice, but from the moment that they had formed, they were fired, causing tremors to spread through the ground.
Naofumi could hear the other heroes and companions running over to his direction, but all that he could see before his eyes was the man in front of him.
[Title: Hero of Wrought Iron]
He was a mystery. A man summoned inadvertently, and yet-
Naofumi fell on his butt while looking at the area filled entirely with smoking craters and mottled with holes. He was dumbstruck. Motoyasu and the others were much the same when they saw the scene before them, however unlike Naofumi, they had not seen the cause.
"What kind of monster did you run into?" Ren and the others asked in a daze. Their companions shivered at the sheer scale of the damage.
He's standing right in front of you.
Naofumi held his tongue, excitement bubbling from within him as he noticed the jump in his current level.
Shirou had been right, there really was no one else like him.
Thanks for Reading!
This was the prologue for the A-Tier story vote which I ended up getting done first.
Nanoha's update coming in a few hours
Disclaimer: I don't own Fate or Rising of the Shield Hero
P a treon. com (slash) Parcasious