Chapter 2: Siren's Song
One should always know their own limitations.
A thing I had come to understand during my time as the last Master of Humanity was my own weakness, as well as the difference between a Servant and a human being.
A Servant might have been human once, but once they have been recorded in the Throne of Heroes, they change.
They become something different, something more.
A Servant transcended humankind, they become faster and stronger, even more than when they were still alive. They become capable of defying the laws of the world, they become capable of miracles.
That's why the sole idea of a human facing a Servant is ridiculous.
Utterly and entirely ridiculous.
And even knowing all that, why was I once again facing a being that seems to surpass humanity? Why was I again in a position where my life may be suddenly forfeit without me being able to do anything?
Maybe it was fate, the same fate that brought me to Chaldea all those years ago.
Whatever the case was, I didn't plan on dying to this Siren thing. Just like the last time, I was going to live.
And to live, meant knowing your own limitations.
I dashed against the door of my apartment, the already broken door didn't reduce my running speed that much, and what awaited me on the other side was an empty corridor.
Hoping that none of my neighbors will decide to go outside, I ran towards the stairs.
From behind, the sound of the drones drew near. The vibration of them floating in the air was suddenly overcome by an energy cannon being shot; a strange energy bullet went in my direction.
I quickly moved Lord Camelot behind me back to block the attack. Thankfully the bullet disappeared as soon as it touched the shield.
It wasn't like I doubted Lord Camelot durability, but it would a lie if I said I wasn't worried about how those thing's attacks would react to a Noble Phantasm.
I had no idea what these "Sirens" were, but they didn't seem magical, rather, I would say that they are the complete opposite. The drones she was using were mechanical looking, so could it be that their power came from technology, rather than mystery?
I could hear the same sound again, as another shot impacted on the shield, with little to no effect.
I would have time to think about the nature of the enemy later, for now…
I felt Od rushing through my magic circuits, a black and red sphere of magical energy appeared on my left hand.
I stopped running, and turned to face the drones. Covering myself using the shield of my right hand, I moved my other hand pointing towards the nearest drone.
The Gandr was shot; however, the machine easily dodged it and without losing a second, the drone responded firing once again.
Their energy bullets weren't doing anything to Lord Camelot, but I was clearly on the losing side of the conflict if I could do nothing but defend and run.
I resumed my running through the corridors, shielding my back from the barrage of energy bullets. The stairs to the floor below were near, I just had to-
Suddenly, as I was about to turn a corner, another drone appeared just in front of me.
Shit! I won't make it in time to block it with Lord Camelot!
Without another choice, I shouted my aria of reinforcement; green lines appeared on my legs, followed by an unnatural feeling of strength.
The drone shoot, I could have tried to evade its attack and pass beneath it, but I didn't have that much confidence in my ability.
Instead, I hit the ground and threw myself to the side, crashing with a closed window.
Breaking the glass hurt, but I managed to fall safely outside the building; never in my life had I been more thankful to live on a second floor, a couple of meters more and I would have probably broken my legs, reinforced or not.
All this just to evade a drone, if only I had my old Mystic Code then fighting these things wouldn't be this difficult. Sadly the Mage Association wasn't kind enough of returning it.
Obviously, the drones followed me.
"Why can't they just give up!?" I cursed internally as I continue running for my life.
A few hundred meters away, standing perfectly still on top of a radio tower, was a woman in a maid costume, her amber eyes studied carefully the events that just took place.
"The Siren is moving! What are you doing prototype number 05!? Why have you not engaged with the target yet!?" A furious voice spoke on her left ear.
The maid ignored the woman's shouts, and just stood where she was. What was happening below her was far more important than some vermin's cries.
"Can you hear me, prototype 05!? Engage with the Siren right n-" The maid took the communicator from her ear, and smashed it.
"Belfast, are you there?" Then she spoke, as if another person was there next to her.
"Sheffield." The head maid answered, her voice spoke directly to her head without any need for a device. "That was not very nice of you, the Commander is mad now."
"I see, tell her that I am deeply sorry, my hand slipped and I broke the communicator." Sheffield said in a neutral tone what was obviously a lie. "More importantly, Belfast. The situation here has changed, can we talk?"
"No…." Belfast made a small pause. "I told you, Sheffield, you have to follow the Siren now."
"…If you can't talk but can hear, then repeat yes two times."
"Yes, yes, it's an order from the Commander."
"Good, then I will proceed to tell you what just happened. One of these vermin- I mean humans, was fighting against the Siren directly, he had what appears to be some kind of shield capable of withstanding her attacks. At this moment, he is escaping from her at an unnaturally high speed. Did you hear all that?"
There was a longer silence this time until Belfast could answer.
"Yes…we talked about this. You have to follow the Commander's order."
"Alright, I don't know what this is all about. It could be just another Siren trap to lure us…or the humans could be hiding information from us again. There was no mention of anyone working with the United Kingdom's government to fight the Sirens, and last time I checked, we were supposed to be the only ones capable of fighting them. Either way, the situation is fishy, what should I do?"
"Think about the Queen…she wouldn't like you to disobey our allies."
"Understood. Tell the Commander I am going to pursue the Siren now but make no mention of the human with the shield. I'll be communicating with them through you."
Sheffield then broke the mental link and began jumping between buildings, following the man.
"Think about the Queen….." She repeated Belfast words. How would the Queen want her to resolve the situation? What course of action would benefit the Royal Navy the most?
After a few seconds, she reached a conclusion.
"The Siren must be taken care of, as for that human…"
If the shield he wields is powerful enough to stand against a Siren, then it's a matter of time until the humans manage to develop weapons that work on them too.
If that comes to happen, then the delicate balance between the Royal Navy and the United Kingdom's government may be disrupted against them.
The Queen wouldn't allow that.
She couldn't allow that.
"If he turns out to be a threat to us, then he will be eliminated as well."
After quite some time of running like a madman, I turned back to see that the drones were nowhere to be found. It seemed like at some point in my escape, I managed to lose them.
Feeling how the fatigue was starting to affect me, I walked to the nearest alley and hid myself next to a garbage container. After making sure that the enemy wasn't coming, I finally sat down.
"Ahh…ahh…" I was panting; I needed some time to recover. "I just…I just hope that nobody saw me running using magecraft. That would be troublesome in more than a few ways. "
Will the mage association come for me if I get caught using magic? It's not like I had another choice, if it wasn't for the reinforcement spell, they would have surely caught me up.
It was a few hours into the night and I didn't notice anyone in the streets, but I couldn't say for sure if someone had spotted me from his house, for example.
I deeply sighed.
Either I get killed by those drones or the clock tower locks me up again, my future wasn't hopeful.
While I was recovering, I looked at the shield in my right hand.
Lord Camelot still looked as strong and sturdy as the first time I saw Mashu using it, those energy bullets didn't leave a single scratch on its surface.
"Mashu…" Even if she was no longer here, she was still protecting me. "I'll be sure to survive this, I promise."
"Who is Mashu?"
I froze. A girl's voice came from above me.
My breathing accelerated again, as I slowly lifted my head.
The Siren was there, sitting on top of the garbage container, looking at me with a smile of complacency.
I quickly stood up, trying to put some distance between us.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you."
"…!" I stopped my steps as four black drones blocked my path, their cannons pointing at me.
"Now, I wonder if you can move your shield fast enough to block all the shots. Care to try, Fujimaru Ritsuka?"
I didn't even try, I knew I couldn't. By the time I moved my right hand, I would be already dead.
I took a deep breath with resignation, as I turned to look at the Siren.
I was at her mercy now.
"Are you going to kill me?" The best I could do was trying to make time until I could find a gap to use my reinforcement and escape.
"Kill you? Oh no, you misunderstand us." He abandoned the container with a small jump and began approaching me. "I was going to bring you to our base, cut you open and then study every part of your organism with love and care."
This thing...so sadistic…
"But where would be the fun in that? Also, I don't want Observer Alfa or Tester Beta to ruin our fun..."She said, with a progressive lower tone, but immediately went back to her usual self. "So let's play a game, shall we?"
"…it's not like I have a choice, right?"
"That's the spirit!" Her cheerfulness could have been cute if she wasn't trying to kill me. "So this is how it's going to be, I am going to ask you questions, and if you lie to me or I don't like the answer, I'll be cutting one of your limbs, simple, right?"
"What, you don't like it?"
Nobody likes to get their limbs cut out, but as she doesn't seem to understand reason, I tried a different approach.
"…How is that a game…if you are the only one having fun?"
"Hmmmmm." She appeared to really be thinking about it. "Then let's do this. For every satisfactory answer you give, I let you ask a question. Won't that be more fun to you?"
"But how can I know if you are honest?"
"It's up to you if you want to believe me or not."
I wanted to say how unjust it was that I couldn't lie but she could, however, I didn't want to test my luck, so I accepted those unreasonable rules.
I ignored if she has a way of telling if I was lying or not. I could always just answer with half-truths but…I didn't doubt that she would really cut one of my limbs if I mess up.
"Then it's question time!" She raised one arm in the air like an excited kid. "Who is this "Mashu" person?"
Of all the things you could ask…it had to be that…
"…Are you sure you want to know that?" My voice came out dejected."Weren't you more interested in-"
"What would you rather lose, your left arm or your left leg?" She asked, with a smile.
"Alright, alright, I understand." I tried to calm her. "Mashu is…was an important friend of mine, someone how helped me when I needed it the most, my partner, my companion, my guide…she passed away a few years ago."
"Uh…" Purifier tided her head. "Then why do you call your shield "Mashu"?"
"This is not my shield…" I looked at Lord Camelot, it was still on my right hand. "This was her shield; she used it to protect me."
She continued looking at me, as if wasn't answering her question."
"That's why sometimes it reminds me of her." I forced a more precise answer. "That's why I call her name sometimes."
"Ohhh. And how did she die?"
"…You said I could ask questions too." I looked with an accusing stare. "I have already answered two times."
In reality, I just wanted to change the topic.
She gave me a bored expression.
"Alright, ask away." Her tone became uninterested.
"Then tell me, what exactly are the "Sirens"?"
"Ships from the future. Next question."
Did she just say something incredible like it was nothing?
"Next question." She now was impatient.
Focus, Ritsuka. Understanding her nature could wait, what was important now is getting all the information I can get.
"What is your objective, and what it has to do with me?"
"Fufufu…those are two questions. But I let it slide just for you, aren't I a good girl?"
No, you were certainly not.
"We, the Sirens, want just one thing: evolution."
"As for you…." She didn't elaborate and continued talking. "You are mysterious. We lack a lot of information about your existence, and whenever we try to track you in the timeline, we can't find anything beyond 6 years ago."
"This is not the first time this has happened, sometimes, even perfect machines have errors, you know?." She continued explaining. "We call it a false positive or a bug, kill it and call it a day but..."
She approached me even more, and started walking around me as if studying me, her eyes were full of curiosity.
"Imagine our surprise when even when we go looking for you in other worlds, we can't find you."
"You aren't present in other worlds. For some inexplicable reason, you are unique to this one. The fact that we weren't informed of such an important event means that you aren't part of the Creator's plan..."
I did no longer hear her, those words still echoed in my head like a whisper.
Different worlds, parallel worlds.
Worlds where certain things didn't happen, worlds where certain things went in another direction.
Worlds where things can be changed.
"Hey." I put a hand on her shoulder.
"Huh?" She was startled; maybe she didn't expect me to actually touch her.
"Can you…send me to another world?"
"If you can travel to other worlds like nothing, then you can also send me to another world, is that right?" My tone was starting to lose its calmness.
Her surprised expression was quickly replaced with a mischievous smile.
"So that's what you really want, huh?" She slowly moved her hand to touch my cheek "The light in your eyes has changed, now all I see is desire, a deep and strong desire."
"Can you do it or not!?" My voice sounded desperate.
I needed to know, I needed to know if there was still a possibility...!
"Fufufufufu" She laughed, and put her arms around me."Let's see…maybe we can reach an agreement...?
Her bright golden eyes looked at me with expectation.
I still didn't know what this Siren wanted, but if she could send me back…if she could send me to Chaldea…I…
I was about to respond when a series of loud explosions occurred behind me. A quick glance revealed that the drones behind me had been destroyed, all four of them now rested on fire on the floor.
Before I could react, a barrage of bullets came in my direction.
"Tch…It seems like we have company!" Purifier separated from me, and with a swift move she intercepted the bullets with both arms, protecting me."And when we were about to get into the best part."
Apart from sounding annoyed, I noticed that for the first time, she showed a true pained expression, those bullets actually hurt her.
"Seems like someone forgot to take out the garbage." A new voice could be heard from above us. Then a person fell from the sky, the ground broke once her high silver boots stepped on it.
She was wearing a maid uniform with a pretty long black dress and white motifs. One amber eye observed us with a neutral expression, while the other was hidden behind her short brown hair. To complete the strange outfit, a steel collar was on her neck, and from it, an inverted Christian cross was connected with a chain.
"Ah, but don't worry."On her hands appeared two pistols, which she quickly pointed at us. "It's a maid's duty to take care of the cleaning."
END OF CHAPTER 2
AN: updates may be irregular since I am entering exam week.