Written in the Stars
Shirou walked through the streets looking at the barred windows fitted to every shop and no small amount of homes either, to discourage thieves. Other buildings were burned and yet some were still huddled inside having nowhere else to go. Buff men and women stood in the shadows of alleys while larger groups wandered through the streets cackling amongst themselves.
Sometimes it was truly hard to believe 's stories of Orario in days past. How it was a happy yet sometimes difficult place.
The crashing of a window brought his attention to where the gang had stopped. They were pulling armor and knives through the bars. He glared balefully at the gang, no matter how much he knew better he still wanted to race over there and stop them. To bring them to justice.
But if he did, he wasn't sure if they had back up waited, either because they feared the Astraea familia would come or they were planning to ambush that same familia. If either was the case then even he might have some issues. From what he'd learned of the Levels of adventurers, the way he stood, there was little to nothing he could do.
Even with the fact that he'd managed to get another few of his circuits going again over the last week.
There was only one answer he could come up with, join a familia. But which one? With Zeus and Hera gone, Freya and Loki's familia were the strongest, but something told Shirou that he wouldn't fit with either of them. Hephaestus's familia wasn't out of the question but most of them stayed in the forges and the ones who didn't weren't doing much of anything to help.
Lord Miach's Familia was an option, they were going out on a daily basis and helping whoever they could and he'd already been offered a place, but as loathe as he was to admit it, he wasn't built to work the magic that healed even if they were potions.
Shirou was nearly knocked from his feet by the force of the explosion. He searched the sky following the billowing smoke to its tail like a trail that looked a few streets off from him, near Daedelus street. A stone fell into his stomach as something dawned on him, Daedelus street was near Mrs. Kane's home.
His magic surged to his muscles filling them, making them stronger, more flexible, better and Shirou took off. All along the streets, shutters were being slammed closed and people hurried into buildings. Shirou cut up a staircase leading to Daedelus street where the air was thick with the scent of the fire.
"'Ey, Kid, hic" a drunken man slurred from his stoop. "Whash yer -hic- 'urry"
Shirou didn't even look his way as he sped by, focused instead on the smoke and flames billowing above the buildings. He slowed about nine houses down from the man where there looked to be a store at one point that had long since been boarded up. Beside it was a storage area that looked equally boarded up, to those in the know was just another stairway to the next street. A fact which Shirou would admit if he knew most of Orario probably did as well. He kicked through the door and took the stairs three at a time.
Then there it was, a blazing fire that was quickly reducing the ruins of the building the bomb had been placed in and three others around it, to cinders. One of those buildings happened to be the one he'd spent a bit of his free time fixing up, one that belonged to Mrs. Kane.
People were already starting a bucket line to put out the fire while others were chanting spells and conjuring a stream of water or frozen winds. Shirou blew right past them and slammed his way through Mrs. Kanes door. The fire had looked like it had been contained to the upper level but the bottom hadn't managed to escape danger. Parts of the ceiling had collapsed and the smoke had created a thick haze that left him coughing.
His first stop was the parlor, where she spent most of her time, working or minding her own things or just whiling away the hours doing nothing whatsoever. As he entered the room he thought he saw her sitting there in the armchair a hand-knitted blanket wrapped about her shoulders fast asleep but she was gone as soon as he'd moved.
The kitchen was his next guess and there too, he found no one. The sunroom, the dining room, the room she insisted they use when he'd completed something that she called the entertainment room. She was in none of them. The icy grip that had been holding so tight to him began to relax its hold, after all, it was likely someone had gone and gotten the wizened woman out.
As he moved to the back mudroom that led to her garden, it returned with a vengeance. There she was, twitching as she grasped part of the porch beam that pinned her gasping for whatever breath she could manage.
She fell slack before he reached her and as he knelt beside her he looked at the beam, it was half his width and taller than his knees, it's weight was likely the reason she'd lasted as long as she had and if he removed it he had no idea the damage it would do. Still, there was no way he could save her if it remained.
Searching for a pulse, Shirou found none. Using Structural Analysis, even before the information reached him, he knew there was nothing he was going to be able to do, and he was right. Six crushed ribs, one of which punctured her lung, massive internal bleeding spread throughout her system. There was nothing he could do.
Shirou turned on his heel, there'd be no one else in the house and there were more buildings still on fire.
As he reached the streets, Shirou toyed with the idea of trying to trace a noble phantasm, something that might have been able to douse the fire, Forsetti's axe wasn't an option, while it could create water it wouldn't create it fast enough and Echoed Depth, amazing as it was as a mystic code it could only gather and direct the water that was already available.
Ignition Point, however, Echoed Depth's fiery counterpart might just do the job. Now that he had a plan he needed a way in, a fact made much more difficult by the lines of people with buckets. He scanned the building and though there were several entrances not one of them was out of sight giving him three options. One, go in anyway and see if he couldn't slip out without anyone noticing. Two, make his way to the other side of the building and see if he could find an access point there and if not, make one of his own, a risky proposition if for no other reason that there might be people there anyways. Three, create a large enough distraction that he could by all rights walk through the front door without anyone noticing, such things usually involved explosions or pain and it wasn't something Shirou would ever be willing to do.
So option one it was.
Shirou sprinted forward, using his small size to slip between the arms of the people, and made a b-line for the front door. He could hear the shouts from behind him and even a flash of purple from the periphery of his vision before he knocked down the front door.
"Trace... On." He said, uncaring of the smoke, the serrated blade was a vibrant orange and red with a handle black as coal. The failed tool of a magus obsessed with recreating the effects of a Marble Phantasm, it had been used all of three times. The first when no fire was present to see if it could be used to create flames, it could not. The second with flames present and the dagger absorbed every bit of it and at the magus's command spewed the fire out as if it were being sprayed from a fire hose. The third use involved nothing more than cooking the magus's dinner, however, the spewing fire couldn't be lessened as such the toast was burned, and overall it was dubbed a failure.
That was fine with Shirou, it would do what he needed it to. Holding up the blade Shirou activated it by pressing his magical energy into its waiting system and it began to glow as cinders and embers sped for it like asteroids caught in the field of a black hole. He would have been content to stand there in the building absorbing the flames as they came but that plan went out the proverbial window as Shirou heard the squeaking of the door.
Down the stairways, between the floorboards, through keyholes and cracks, it came, a swirling mass of amber and cherry flame, all of it funneling into the dagger in his hand. As the dagger began spitting sparks. Shirou clutched at the air with his free hand another copy of Ignition Point erupted into existence falling into his palm and the first fake faded into nothingness as the second picked up the slack. Step by step he moved through the building, up the stairs, and through the halls trailing a curtain of fire behind him. He burst out onto the roof as the second dagger began throwing sparks like the first and with a single push at the image in his mind, ripples broke the image, and the Ignition Point in his hand shattered as if it had never existed.
The fire that followed on the other hand. That didn't disappear. An instant later, the image had been reforged and Shirou held two copies of Ignition Point. At that moment he knew his chances to remain inconspicuous had shattered. Fire came from the other buildings like ribbons.
The door to the roof slammed open and Shirou turned, there at the door was Lyra and a young woman with bright red hair, no doubt another member of the Astraea Familia. They stared at him or at least at his hands and what they were holding or the redhead was. Lyra seemed to be in some kind of loop where she'd look at him and move back to the daggers and the fire flowing toward them before looking back to him.
"Well, I've never seen a magic sword that absorbs fire." The Redhead said and it seemed to break Lyra from her shock.
Shirou readied himself as she opened her mouth. "Dammit, kid! Don't you get that it's dangerous doing these things? Fire isn't like some thief ya know?"
"Lyra you know this child?"
"He's the kid I mentioned. The one that tried to bring in the bandits."
Shirou's attention shifted as the sparks fell in front of his face and he threw the dagger into the air even as he reached behind his back and traced another. Lyra was a good person and if the young lady with her was a part of her familia, chances were she'd be at least somewhat reliable. But as far as he'd heard from Mrs. Kane, only elves had latent magic.
"Oh, I remember you mentioning him. Isn't he the one living wi-" The fact that the pink-haired Pallum covered the woman's mouth caught Shirou's attention? Was the Astraea familia looking to add a member from the ranks of the orphanage? It would make someone's day. Though he didn't notice any of the girls practicing any form of combat. He'd have to pay a bit more attention.
The ribbons of fire were growing thinner and a glance toward the other buildings reassured Shirou, it wasn't just because the other buildings were out of the weapons radius. When the tendrils of fire had finally ended, Shirou took a step, and blinked as the world around him began swimming.
He hadn't so much as taken a step back to correct his balance when the redhead was there to put a hand on his shoulder. "Are you okay?"
It was a good question, reinforcement should have minimized the effects of the smoke on his lungs, and the heat from the fire on his clothes and skin. Still, he passed his structural analysis over himself nonetheless. The answer was confusing, there was absolutely nothing wrong with him.
"I'm fine thanks," Shirou said, trying to move away from her. "I've got to go, though; I have a few errands to run."
Specifically to the guild, perhaps they'd know what to do with Mrs. Kane. If they didn't, well Shirou knew he'd figure it out from there.
"Not yet pipsqueak," Lyra said as she moved into his path.
Shirou sighed, he knew it wasn't going to go easily but motioned her to continue anyway.
"Where'd you get that magic sword?" The Pallum girl asked
Looking down at his hand Shirou found that he was indeed still holding the final copy of the mystic code and quickly tucked it into his shirt fracturing the image in his mind as he went, reducing the weapon back into magical energy. If they searched him, they'd find nothing, which might lead to more questions but without the blade, they wouldn't be able to get how his magecraft worked at all.
"What magic sword?" He asked as he pulled his hand away.
The red-head actually laughed. "Lyra, you. Look. So. Angry." She gasped out between breaths.
"Alise! The magic sword!?" Lyra said and continued on, but Shirou had stopped paying attention. He was currently wondering if he were to throw himself off the side of the building if he'd have the remotest chance of outrunning them. An idea that he quickly abandoned. Even if he did succeed, which he doubted he would, he did rely on the Astraea Familia to pick up and deal with the people in town that he took care of.
Not to mention they seemed to know where he lived. Knowing Lyra, that information wasn't enough and she took it a step further learning where he slept.
"So where did you get the magic sword Shrimp"
"I found it in the secret lair of a psycho who wanted to control nature along with seven others. The guy wanted to control the elements and wanted to use this one to cut bread and toast it at the same time." Shirou said.
He began counting down from three in his head and as he reached zero, the two of them began laughing. An odd feeling came over Shirou along with a memory of Rin, one hand on her hip as she poked him in the chest with the other.
'Don't you get it you block-head? If you tell the truth, I doubt any of them would believe you. Truth is often stranger than fiction after all.'
Turning his attention back to the ladies, Shirou weighed his options. There was no way he'd be able to outrun them, the blessing they received from their goddess was no joke, he'd have a better chance fighting and he wasn't about to do that unless they straight up attacked him.
Something he was fairly certain wasn't going to happen.
The redhead suddenly tapped her chin and turned to Lyra, "You know, Lyra, there's not too many smiths who can make magic swords of any kind in the first place and a weapon that absorbs fire instead of launching it."
The pallum girl nodded, "It won't be hard to find out who's bought them recently."
Shirou smiled, "I told you where I got them," he said and started for the door behind them.
"Where do you think you're going, Shrimpy?" Lyra asked as he drew even with them.
"I figured if you were going to detain me you would have and as I'm pretty sure I haven't broken any laws, I've got a few places I have to be."
After he bid the two of them a good day he moved on. Though as the door closed behind him he heard Lyra call, "Don't think we're going to drop this Shrimp!"
He'd figured they wouldn't.
He would've asked about who was responsible for the bombing, but everyone already knew the answer. Evilus. A group of gods and their familia thinking that because they were viewed as personifications of evil during their time in heaven that they should be evil in the mortal realm. No, the problem wasn't through identifying them by picking out which adventurer was a member, but the problem itself was twofold in finding where they are. Somehow they had managed to avoid all attempts at having their base and others from being discovered in some way, while the Freya and Loki Familia were officially the most powerful in Orario, Evilus had a large following and most of them kept below the radar.
So Shirou had taken to watching the entrance of Babel tower in hopes of spotting a weapon that would give him some clue to a member of Evilus. There was a veritable horde of people entering it every morning but none of the weapons he saw had any history with the organization. What caught his eye, however, was the number of people with large canvas packs strapped to their backs calling out to adventurers. Supporters. He never figured so many would-bes without parties, they couldn't all be new...
"Hey kid," someone called. Shirou turned and found himself looking up at a tall extremely muscled man wearing only a loincloth. "Are you waiting for someone or something like that?"
Shirou shook his head, "Not really just watching."
"You should probably get home then, best not to be out and about without your parents these days." He said with a grimace
When the man reached out, no doubt to ruffle Shirou's hair, Shirou took a step away. The man didn't look surprised by it. If anything he seemed pleased.
"I appreciate the warning, but I can't head home yet," Shirou replied, it was vague but his tone was hard enough the man nodded and started back on his way towards the dungeon.
"Be careful then kid. You seem to have a good head on your shoulders, be sure to use it." He called over his shoulder.
Before Shirou could respond, a shiver ran through him and he took a step forward, turning to face the attacker he knew was there, reinforcement spreading through his system. What faced Shirou wasn't an adventurer turned kidnapper but a kid holding a long dagger.
The weapon was named Justice. An odd copper blade belonging to Hach Duran. It had ended a number of monsters but knew nothing of battle. Used only against the monster after it was incapable of fighting back, an executioner's blade.
"Listen here you little brat." He sneered as he inched closer. "Pickings are slim enough without a sewer flea like you taking my spot."
It was clear to Shirou as the man spoke, for it was a man and not a child, that the holder of Justice was a Pallum. A very angry Pallum.
Holding his hands out to the side palms open, Shirou took a step forward, the blade was already extended giving Shirou his possible enemy's range and showing off Hach's general lack of experience. To attack, he'd be limited in either trying to lunge forward or would need to pull the weapon away and begin a new strike. No threat whatsoever. "I didn't realize it was your spot. And I'm not after your business," Shirou said.
He watched as the Pallum's brows knit before he shook his head. "Don't care if you're a looky-loo or a supporter, get lost."
"Fine, but can I ask why so many supporters are partyless?"
Hach's nostrils flared. "Where the hell have you been? Nobody wants a supporter outside their familia these days. Supporters have been guiding their teams into traps using fake maps." He turned and spat on to the ground.
"Bastards can all rot."
Shirou took another look at the supporters hanging around trying to get the attention of the adventurers. None of them were really trying any harder than any of the others and the few dagger's he spotted were much the same as Hach's, used on nothing but mostly dead monsters. Shirou sighed, he couldn't believe he never thought of the supporters as being exactly what he needed, or that they could very well be the dangerous ones.
It was pretty common for most supporters to be at level one or not have a falna at all making them easy to overlook. It also made them some of the best people to gather information without being noticed or get to things others would be watched too heavily to do. One didn't need to be a level four to place a bomb or set it off after all.
Until well into the afternoon, he watched as adventurers trekked into and out of the dungeon through the ones going in seemed to already have a supporter and the ones going rarely chose one of the lingering few. In fact the longer the day went on, the less the supporters remained in the vicinity, likely choosing to see if they couldn't better their fortune trying something else.
Though he wanted to wait until he got a lead of some kind, Shirou set off down the road, he had a few things that needed doing before he headed back to the orphanage for the night. After glancing toward the descending sun, he bit back a curse and doubled his pace, there was no way he was going to be late.
Shirou moved as fast as he could manage to make his way down Daedalus street until he reached his destination. A croquette stall. When he had passed by the week before, the stall was about as desolate as possible and one look at what they were trying to pass off as croquettes, it wasn't surprising. Shirou wasn't sure what they were using as breading but the meat was rat meat. Worse, that was their best option.
The overly thin man whose most defining feature was the dead fish-like look in his eyes looked at him with relief as he approached. "Shirou! I ran out of the batter." He hollered as if it was the end of the world. Though it was possible the man actually saw it that way.
Each day the line grew longer and now typically managed to round the corner before it came to a stop. Add that to the fact that Jerg was now working around eight hours a day and the man looked just as dead on his feet as when Shirou first met him, though this time it had nothing to do with the alcohol he'd been drinking. Narrowing his eyes at the man, Shirou amended the thought. It didn't have as much to do with his drinking.
"I'll get right onto that, Jerg." Shirou said, moving to the stall behind the cart and setting everything up.
As he worked, Shirou allowed his mind to wander. There were too many supporters for him to follow around at any given moment, and going every day to watch hoping for a weapon to lead him to a portion of Evilus was pointless. There wasn't even any proof as far as he knew that the group was even affiliated with the Supporters turncoat ways. He'd have a better chance going to the guild and bumping into everyone to see if he could get a look at the hilts. Something the guild members wouldn't allow.
He could try and lure them out he supposed but the idea was only slightly less ludicrous than the previous two. There was no way he could guarantee that he'd be able to stop an attack like that once it had started and that could lead to people getting hurt.
He could attempt to follow around Alise from the Astraea Familia, she apparently had run-ins with the group or at least its members on a fairly regular basis.
Of course, there was the option to pay another familia to figure out what he needed. Too bad he didn't have the valis to even really make that into an option.
Shirou sighed, each idea was worse than the last, and yet, he was already making a plan to split tomorrow into three spots; the dungeon entrance, the guild, and begin following Alise around. Bad options no matter how bad they are, were good options when he didn't have any others.
As Shirou moved to dice more of the onions he found himself with nothing left to chop, in fact, the batter was finished.
"I can't believe you wanted to leave Mama Mia's to come to a food cart!"
Shirou jerked to look at the speaker, it was a tall curvy woman clad in grey armor and a black cloak, she was looking at her shorter friend. The girl didn't look any older than fourteen and pouted.
"The croquettes are really good, you know? Plus the lines were longer earlier."
"Nyaa, now lookie here Tina-honey. The last place you had us go to that was better than the Hostess of Fertility was in a village outside the city. My tummy was messed up for days!" A dark-haired cat girl responded.
There was a snort from the first girl, "Bindi, don't go thinking anyone here didn't have the same 'tummy troubles' you did! We were all stuck in the dungeon together you know."
Shirou immediately turned his attention away from the girls who looked like they were going to fall into an argument at any moment. Making to return his focus to the task at hand, Shirou froze as for a moment he locked eyes between the crowd with a girl with blond hair and blue eyes. Warmth spread through him, making him feel almost lighter. Then it vanished, and though Shirou stepped away from the stall and even reinforced his eyes he didn't see her. A tall muscular man with white hair and wolf-like ears, and a green-haired elf woman wearing an equally green cloak, yes. But, no blond-haired blue-eyed girl. Still, he couldn't stop the word that tumbled from his lips.
"Saber what? Nevermind! Shirou I need that batter and some more cheese would be nice!"
Shirou jumped his attention, turning back to the crowd all of whom seemed perfectly content to stare at him as if he were the cause of all the delays in getting their food. Shirou nearly kicked himself as he realized it was nearly true.
He grabbed the prepared batter, the potatoes because he was fairly sure the man was going to need those, and the prepared cheese and headed over toward the cart. "Coming right up Jerg." He said.
Any thoughts about how he might have seen her would have to wait. He had a job to do and plenty of hungry kids waiting for him. The faster he got the crowd fed, the faster he could get food in their stomachs.
It was well after nightfall when Shirou returned to the orphanage basket on one arm, he tied the basket to a rope tied on the far side window, the only one in the dorms just so happened to open and headed into the building, readying himself for a massive blowout from the matron. The lecture didn't come.
He could hear the matron on the other side of the house demanding to know what was to be done about something or another and Shirou wasn't going to let the chance go to waste. He filled a pitcher with water and doubled timed it up the stairs.
At some point, Shirou's eyes fluttered shut and his breathing deepened as he passed into a mostly calm sleep as she dreamed of something he had dreamed of so vividly in years. Swords and battle, but they were not his own, they belonged to a young King of Britain. The king of knights herself, Arturia Pendragon. His Saber.
Shirou awoke to a crash and thunder of footsteps. He threw the thin blanket off of him scanning the room. The other children were all awake save for Klause. The boy could sleep through a literal stampede. Still, there were no intruders in the room, and from the numerous pounding steps they were still on the lower floors.
"To the back of the room," Shirou said, and though he wasn't the oldest of them, nor the biggest, yet not one of them hesitated to follow his instructions. Shirou himself grabbed Klause and heaved the larger boy off the bed and dragged him into the corner furthest from the door. Then he set himself between the two forward beds and took a deep breath.
His magical energy spread through his system like wildfire, before it had finished, the sounds of the steps were accompanied by words. "We've got one of them, captain, she was trying to make a run for it out the back."
The nerves that'd been building in Shirou eased, the raid had come.
Still, he wasn't going to stand down. Children were often used as shields by those trying to escape the guardsmen, he wasn't going to let one of those under his care fall to that fate. Especially since one in eight survived.
The door flew open and the matron Hirk scrambled into the room with a cleaver in her hand. Shirou did the first thing he could think of, he grabbed the bed frame on his right and swung it toward the woman. A blur slammed into the matron taking her out of the beds' flight path, it continued through the air for the briefest of moments before hitting the wall where it shattered to pieces suffusing the billowing dust with splinters.
Shirou threw himself backward as a spiked mace buried itself into the floor where he'd been standing. Forged by the hands of a member of the Hephaestus familia it was a weapon of a twisted balance, a foul duality. For it was a Hero's weapon, it had saved the lives of countless young adventurers on the upper floors, had crushed a knuckle of a monster called Goliath into paste, but it was also the tool of a villain. In the dark enclosed chambers where the man had hidden his soon-to-be victims, it had pounded, torn, and ripped apart, man, woman, and child alike. Its owner, a tall burly man with a clean-shaven head and bearing two crossing scars that met between his mouth and nose, Lucian Bart, held its handle a wicked smile plastered to his face.
His heart thundered in his chest as the man heaved a dagger from his side and flung it toward the children. The weapon was nothing special, it had no memories whatsoever save for its making. Without hesitating, he reached out a hand calling to the inner world waiting inside of him and glowing blue outlines raced for the throne blade. The knife coalesced just before impacting and the two sped away from one another, and the children.
His act of magic seemed to throw the man for a loop. Not that it lasted long as he heaved his weapon into the air again. "What familia you in, kid? I need to know where to send the body!" He said and charged forward with a roar not waiting for an answer.
If any of the other children were in Shirou's place, perhaps even Klause, they might have wet themselves. For Shirou, it was the situation he'd been expecting since he'd found himself back on his feet. The opponent was stronger than him, faster than him, at least while he wasn't reinforced, and while he had several spiked clubs, he'd never much call to use them.
By all rights, even if it wasn't much, the odds were against him.
"Trace... On." Shirou said.
Light lanced down his forearms and began swirling around his hands, it stretched formed until he was holding two swords mirrored in shape and opposite in color, one claiming a white mirror-like sheen with clouds, the other pitch black with a red tortoise shell-like pattern down its length.
"Stop right there Lucian Bart!" The shout came with heavy footfalls as six guards came racing into the room pinning the brute between them. Shirou watched Bart tense and he opened his mouth to yell for them to run but it was too late. The large man had already begun his spin.
The spiked weapon bashed into the first guard puncturing his armor as if it were made out of tissue paper, blood filled his mouth faster than his scream leaving him to gargle his pain to the world as he was smashed into his cohorts.
Shirou darted forward as Bart completed the swing, leaping into the air he crossed the swords in front of him stopping the spikes from making him look like the victim of the world's meanest porcupine. He curled into a ball allowing himself to be pushed toward the low ceiling and stabbed the mirror-like blade into the beam.
The world slowed and Shirou waited as the milliseconds ticked down with the adventurer getting his bearings. The distance was a meter and a half, Lucian Bart lifted his club in a jab as Shirou dropped toward him. The spikes raced to impale him and Shirou brought Bakuya around to meet it. Phantasm met steel and the steel gave the head, splitting in its wake. Shirou twisted away as a dagger cleaved through the air toward him. He lashed out with Kanshou severing Lucian's fingers at the knuckle.
There was no scream or overt reaction of pain and Shirou grunted as a foot struck him in the side sending him careening through the wall. He buried the twin blades into the wooden floor as quickly as he could arresting his momentum in the middle of the room. His side pulsed with pain and Shirou quickly pushed it to the back of his mind and rushed back through the hole he'd made in the wall. Bart was waiting.
Shirou ducked low avoiding a swing of what remained of the mace and caught the follow-up kick with the flat of Bakuya blade and even as he was pushed back, Shirou attacked, his sword cut through the man's skin at the shoulder until the mans raised arm fell limply at his side, the bloody fingers he was set to use to slam into Shirou's head now dropped heavily at his side.
Lucian roared a battle cry and lunged toward Shirou who stepped forward and turned to allow the charge to just miss him with the edge of Bakuya nicking Lucian Bart's leg and the man fell to the ground.
"You little bastard! When I'm done, they'll be sending you back to your familia by messenger bird!" Lucian Bart bellowed as he flailed for a moment, dropping the club and grasping at the bandoleer of daggers on his chest.
Shirou batted the knife, angling it so it would bury itself into the ceiling above, and drove the edge of Kanshou into the joint of the other hand, leaving him with a single operating limb.
"Just stop, you've lost," Shirou said, adjusting his position to look around the room for any other potential threats. There were none. At least none that wanted to harm him or the other children. A blonde elf stood beside the red-headed woman he saw earlier in the day. The one with Lyra.
Miss Alise, the captain of the Astraea Familia.
"Kiddo, you're coming with us."
First, this chapter is dedicated to my patrons: A. Marteddu, F. Ebering, J. Zinkan, T. Arambula Biktur. If you'd like to become a patron just look me up on pat-reon at swryder.
You can also join my discord (https:)(/)discord. (gg/hN3eEHq)
Second Thanks to my beta's False Entity and B
Third major thanks to Pocket Rat for coming up with the name Justice for Hach's Dagger. I was having a bit of a problem coming up with a fitting name. Along with General Shyguy, EndDragon, and Dagaz for helping as sounding boards.
As always I hope you enjoyed the chapter.
Omake as suggested by J. Zinkan: The many deaths of Shirou Emiya Scene 2.
Shirou rolled over in bed reveling in the warmth it provided. It had been nearly a full week since he'd returned to the clock tower and while his body was once again in full working order thanks to Avalon he could still feel the scratches and bruises he'd received in the battle with Nlth.
Shirou looked over at his clock, an antique clockwork piece that had been donated by a member of the faculty who wanted rid of it after it had stopped working. It had taken all of twelve minutes to get it working again. Five o' Eight, he'd a few minutes left before he was set to begin his day before at least one of the girls would barge their way into his room demanding food.
He sat up stretching slightly and quickly pulled a shirt on before making his way into the kitchen a small smile on his face. It would be good to surprise them with a little something when they walked in.
As he tied on his apron one that had the slogan "Hunger is the enemy" printed on it in bold lettering, Shirou ran over the menu. While he missed his homelands cooking and would more likely than not, make the standard, Rin had been pushing for more variety in their meals.
Today, he was making frittatas, scones, eggs, and sliced fruit. Nothing too difficult but enough variety that no one would find anything to complain about.
Twenty minutes later, everything was nearly ready and Shirou guided a slice of the frittata into his mouth and jumped as the door handle began to jiggle. The food, though unchewed, slipped into his throat and he found himself unable to breathe.
Before he thought it over he'd traced two implements, one is a knife and the other a slender rod. He stared at them for a moment and heaved them away wondering what in the hell he was thinking and folded his hands into each other and began trying to perform the Heimlich maneuver on himself. But no matter how hard he struck himself, even though the last strike impacted hard enough he felt his ribs crack beneath the pressure, the bite-sized piece remained firmly lodged inside of him.
His vision slowly began fading to black as he couldn't get any oxygen and he felt his arms turn to jelly and went crashing down onto the floor.
He could feel a pair of arms wrap around him struggling to lift him and Shirou forced his eyes open to see that Rin had managed to lift him to eye level to the counter and in front of him was the Frittata.
As his eyes closed again, he wondered, had someone managed to put a curse on him or if somehow, in some way he'd managed to offend one of the most important things in his life. His cooking. Perhaps it was when he tried the squid ink in the curry. But it wasn't like anyone but he had tasted it!
Then came the blackness.
When Shirou opened his eyes he found himself in a white box-like room on a rather plush cushion across from a very wizened old woman with more than her fair share of liver spots on her face. She looked at him and glanced down at a file she had on the table.
"It was when you decided to put pineapples and chicken liver on the pizza you made a few weeks ago." She droned.
Shirou couldn't help it, he hung his head.
Food had truly betrayed him, and maybe he had deserved it...