Chapter 2: So that's how it is…
Illya awoke rather slowly, she felt as though she had a strange dream last night, weird people appearing out of no where, an odd talking stick, ghosts and not-tarot cards.
Thankfully such a thing was impossible.
"Good morning! Illya-chan!" a high pitched voice shouted out.
'Weird' Illya thought 'For a second that voice sounded like that weird stick from last night…'
"What are you still doing in bed, Illya-chan?" The voice inquired "Don't you know how important it is for magical girls to wake up bright an early!"
Illya's eyes snapped open to see the star shaped object with wings and a long handle from last night dancing in front of her.
"Oh…" She rather dumbly muttered "It wasn't a dream…"
"Aww! Is Illya-chan dreaming of me already? That isn't good! Your dreams should be occupied by your precious Onii-ch-"
"Waaaa!" Illya screamed and reached out, grabbing the stick before it could say anything else "Quiet! I told you it isn't like that!"
"Oh-ho?" Ruby spoke in a knowing tone "You sure were blushing a lot when I-"
"Illya! What are you screaming about?" Sella asked as she burst through the door, a slightly look of concern in her eyes. Ruby instantly hid behind Illya to avoid being seen.
"N-nothing!" Illya shouted, when Sella gave her a look she shifted uncomfortably before thinking of a quick lie "I...er had a nightmare?"
Sella stared at Illya for what seemed like an eternity before sighing "Well, I guess it can't be helped." she looked back up and gave a small smile "I'll be making breakfast soon, get ready and come down."
"Y-yes, Sella." Illya nodded and waitied until Sella left the room before sighing in relief, she then remembered something from last night.
"Archer?" Illya spoke through the mental link.
"Yes, Master?" The reply was instant.
"Are you...still in the room?" She really didn't want to get changed while the ghost was still in the room with her.
"You're dignity is intact Master, I'm currently on your roof."
"Oh…" She thought to herself before realising something "Were you...out there all night?"
"Master...your concern is unwarranted. I do not get cold while in Spirit form."
"That's a relief." She smiled slightly, she didn't like the idea of Archer staying outside all night but she couldn't exactly have him sleeping in the house "Are you going to stay in ghost mode all day?"
"Unless you ask of me otherwise, Master."
Ruby came out from behind Illya "Oh-ho? Why are we so silent now? Thinking of Shir-"
"No!" Illya panicked "I was talking to Archer."
"Oh." Ruby seemed to slump "Why talk to Satan when you have a perfectly good Magical wand to talk to."
Illya narrowed her eyes "Because…" she paused, why did she seem to prefer talking to Archer. There was just something about her that made her feel at ease "...He's reliable." she went with. She'd only known him for at most an hour but he seemed to be someone who would help her the most through this crazy period in her life.
"My poor Illya-chan!" Ruby sighed dramatically "She's been bewitched by the Devil!"
"He's not actually Satan!" Illya pouted "Get out or turn around." she got out of bed "I need to get changed."
"...You know I've already seen you naked." Ruby spoke in a monotone voice.
Illya said nothing, she went bright red and threw a pillow at the Mystic Code while her eyes began to tear up.
Archer had been on the roof until the moment he and Illya finished talking, however he immediately moved when their conversation ended. He had something to check.
This wasn't the house he grew up in, but it was small enough that navigating it was easy.
He came into the main room to find a homunculus, Leysritt, lounging about on a sofa. Archer merely raised an eyebrow at the display, the Einzberns were certainly capable alchemists but he was fairly certain that they wouldn't waste resources to create a 'couch potato' however, he didn't care enough to worry about it.
The object of his investigation was here.
Emiya Shirou, the fool himself.
Currently arguing with Sella about who got to make breakfast, it seemed Shirou was losing the argument. Rather tragically too if his dejected face was any indication as he was shooed out of the kitchen.
"It's not your place to make food, Shirou!" Sella narrowed her eyes "Your Mother and Father entrusted Liz and myself with such duties."
"B-but…" Shirou made to complain but another glare from the maid silenced him.
'Mother and...father?' Archer's thought process ground to a halt.
He watched as Shirou walked past, mumbling under his breath "At least the old man lets me cook once in a while."
If Archer were visible his eyes would have been wide enough to be mistaken for dinner plates. The way in which his younger self spoke made it sound as though Kiritsugu was still alive.
And a mother? He would have to assume that was Illya's mother. He never met or had heard of her but that wasn't the priority right now.
Kiritsugu was alive.
'But...if he's alive...' Archer thought to himself, slowly coming to a realisation 'Then...does...does the fool not…'
He stared at Shirou, this one looked like some mindless idiot.
Nothing new there.
But the way he held himself, the lack of stubbornness that he had in his own youth. The fact Kiritsugu was still alive.
"Then I'll become one for you." A young voice spoke in his mind, the cursed words which defined his whole existence were booming "Just leave it to me, your dream..."
Archer emptied his mind. He didn't know whether to laugh or cry.
'No…' He dismissed whatever thoughts he had 'He still may have that stupid idea in his head.' maybe Kiritsugu had mentioned it in passing, or maybe Shirou saw the same smile he did and lived his whole life wanting to smile like that.
It didn't matter, if Emiya Shirou at any point showed the makings of a 'Hero of Justice' then Archer would be sure to stomp it out before that curse could take root in the world.
'But...if he doesn't have the dream…' Archer shook his head, even if he didn't have the dream that wasn't important right now. He still had an objective aside from dealing with this idiot. These 'Class Cards' the sooner they were dealt with the sooner he could focus on his more pressing objective.
Archer watched as Illya came down in her school uniform and sat at the table as Sella began serving breakfast.
Archer watched them all eat.
Just a regular family eating breakfast. Archer didn't know what to feel, his entire life before becoming a Counter Guardian was still vague but he never recalled anything so...mundane as this.
Looking at this, made him feel sick. It reminded him of what he threw away to pursue that pathetic goal of his, he left the house. He couldn't stomach this anymore.
He would need to wait to check if Shirou knew Magecraft before he rendered final judgement, he would ask Illya if he ever exhibited any signs of such a dream and observe him for any type of magecraft usage.
Some idiot cannibalising his nerves wouldn't really hide that well, if Emiya Shirou went around helping people like he always did then he'd probably use it at some point to help someone. If Shirou knew magecraft then Archer would have to deal with that.
If he didn't then…
Archer left the room. He returned to observing the rest of the town. This was all wrong, no Taiga, no Grail War, Kiritsugu being alive.
'What a cruel joke.' Archer couldn't even laugh at his own bitterness.
"Archer, are you still following me?" Illya asked as she went to her next lesson, it'd been a few hours since she left for school and she hadn't heard him say anything since their conversation this morning.
"Yes...I can leave if you want." Archer replied, there was something about his voice which sounded. Tired. Illya decided that she didn't like that voice.
"Is something wrong Archer?" Illya was slightly worried, he would normally have some tone on the verge of making a joke, but right now he wasn't really showing any emotion.
"…" Archer was silent for a while before speaking up again "What can you tell me about your family?"
Illya stopped and if Archer were visible she would have looked at him in confusion "Why do you want to know?"
"Simple curiosity about my Master…" Something about the way he said that, Illya felt like it wasn't simply curiosity but didn't comment.
"Mama and Papa spend most of their time overseas doing work so that leaves Sella and Liz to take care of Onii-chan and myself." Illya gave a small smile "Onii-chan and Sella often argue about who gets to do the housework and Liz spends most of her time lounging about the house."
"...And your mother and father?"
"Mama is very involved" She chuckled to herself "She spends most of her time hounding Shirou for grandkids, that's Onii-chan by the way, and when papa comes home he takes me to the forest to play walnut."
"Walnut?" Archer inquired, there was a hint on intrigue in his tone.
"We go about the forest and compete for who can spot the most walnut buds. I'll beat him one day though!"
Archer chuckled over the link before speaking again "What about Shirou?" there was a slight edge in the question which Illya wasn't paying attention enough to make out.
"Onii-chan's very kind, he always wants to help people, he's also very good at archery, they tried to make him Captain of the club but he turned it down. He's always been a bit shy about being in the limelight."
"Sounds like he's your hero or something."
"Mama sometimes says that Shirou reminds her of Papa when he was younger." Illya's smile was practically beaming at this point.
"What, like being a hero or something?" Archer's voice was almost razer sharp, Illya was too busy thinking of her family.
"E-eh?" Illya made a startled noise in her mind before replying "No, Shirou says he's just fine with helping people if they need it."
"...I...see…" Archer's response sounded somewhat relieved, Illya however was too busy thinking about her brother to notice that, Archer was quiet for a few more moments before speaking again "...Just fine helping people, eh?"
"Archer?" Illya made to ask if something was wrong but Archer cut her off "Sounds like you have a very loving family."
"Yeah! They're great!" Illya almost said that out loud.
"I'll...let you return to your business. I think you're about to be late to your next lesson." Illya could feel the smirk over the mental link before she looked at the clock on the wall.
"Ah! Shoot, I really will be late!" Illya cried out before sprinting down the hall.
Archer watched her run away without an expression on his face.
'Well…' Archer thought to himself, his one chance to remove the curse of Emiya Shirou and his foolish ideals. He get's the wrong Shirou.
Not only that, he gets the Shirou who wasn't burnt away in the aftermath of the Fourth Grail War, who didn't walk through that Hell, never saw that smile on Kiritsugu's face as he was saved, wasn't handed down that curse by his Father.
No. It's an Emiya Shirou with a normal life, a loving family. A future which didn't involve dying alone and making a deal to become a contracted butcher in the afterlife.
'What rotten luck I have.' Archer bitterly remarked, he meant it too. There was no sarcasm in the comment. He didn't care to be here longer than he had to, he would help Illya with the cards and then leave. Return to his duty as a cleaner and leave the girl and his alternate younger self to their lives.
No need for this cleaner to spoil whatever happiness this version of himself had found. Emiya Shirou wasn't going to become a Hero of Justice. Emiya Shirou didn't even know magecraft, if Archer's observations of him throughout the day were any indication, he didn't care what this version of himself did. He found happiness through other means beyond some broken wish to make sure that everyone was saved.
Archer didn't even need to life a finger, there was no chance of Counter Guardian EMIYA being created. In the same token, Archer had no way of releasing himself from his contract. Killing this Shirou wouldn't erase him from existence, it would just be meaningless.
Still, EMIYA had waited one eternity to be sent back to the Fifth Holy Grail War to kill his foolish younger self.
What was one more?
The rest of the school day passed without incident, Archer felt somewhat relieved that the girls life was mundane enough to not require his presence. His master was just a ten year old girl. Nothing more, nothing less.
It did, however, make him hate the sentient Mystic Code a little more, dragging this little girl into the moonlit world.
To walk as a Magus was to walk the path of Death. Most certainly something a Ten year old child was not prepared to do, however she was still an Einzbern. Kiritsugu might still be a 'Magus Killer' so it wasn't like she would be unprotected. It was just the wrong sort of environment for her innocent mentality.
"Hey, Ruby." Illya spoke to the Mystic Code in her bag "Teach me how to use Magic."
Archer frowned, it deepened when the Mystic Code responded "Yeah, I'll do that."
"Master, I would recommend you not do that." Archer spoke and Illya frowned slightly.
"Why?" She asked out loud.
"Hm? Are you talking to Devil-san again Illya-chan?" Ruby asked, that mocking tone in her voice was making Archer consider seeing if Rule Breaker would actually destroy the Mystic Code.
"Yeah." She nodded her head "He says I shouldn't learn Magic."
"That's because he's Satan! He doesn't want you to learn magic to protect yourself from his evil!" Ruby exclaimed. Archer assumed there was some low level Hypnosis spell going on considering no one seemed to notice the shouting stick.
"He's not…" Illya sighed as she reached her locker "I just figured that if I'm in this situation I may as well enjoy it."
"See Satan! Illya-chan rejects your evil!" Ruby made a big show of pride and making exaggerated movements.
"I won't stop you from learning magecraft Master...but I'd rather I teach you than this...thing." Archer reluctantly spoke, if she was going to be adamant on learning he could at least teach her what he knew before she made one of the mistakes of his youth.
"Thanks Archer." Illya replied to him before turning back to Ruby as she opened her locker "Archer said he'd help, so you and him ca-hm?" she froze as soon as she looked in her locker.
There on her shoes was a pink envelope. She reached in and picked it up, a slightly questioning look on her face "What is this?"
"Oh! Is that what I think it is?" Ruby flew out of Illya's bag and danced in front of the envelope.
"What do you…" Illya began before her eyes widened and her cheeks flushed "N-no way!"
"Yes way!" Ruby rapidly floated up and down to simulate nodding "It's a love you-know-what!" she flew into the girls bright red face "Come on Illya-chan! Open it up and read it!"
"C-calm down, Ruby…" Illya nervously began as she went to open the envelope "W-we need to stay calm in these situations." she slowly drew the letter out of the envelope.
Archer leaned over to read it alongside the two.
Bring Archer and come to the Highschool Courtyard at midnight, otherwise I'll K̶i̶l̶l̶ come get you.
Archer would have raised an eyebrow if he were visible.
"Try not to feel so down Master...I'm sure there next time." Archer tried in vain to comfort the sullen girl, whose face looked lifeless.
"Shall we go home, Illya-san?" Ruby spoke, her usual quirkiness replaced with a tone of disappointment.
"Yeah." Illya's voice was as depressed as her face.
Ruby tried to cheer her up by putting more life into her tone and speaking again "Always be positive!"
Archer figured he would have to talk with Rin about how to deliver news in a way which didn't play with a young girls heart.
"Well it's time to teach you magic!" Ruby danced about, Archer materialised and sat cross-legged on the floor.
Illya had a look of pure innocence on her face as she clapped, Archer had a sneaking suspicion this was another scam.
"Archer? Do you want to go first?" Illya turned to him.
"It's fine, Master." Archer waved her off "Despite this...things personality-"
"Hey!" Ruby called out.
"-It's still a high quality Mystic Code created by a True Magician, it might teach you better than I."
"See, Illya-chan? Even Satan here-"
"-Recognises my genius!"
Illya said nothing as the two traded insults "In that case, Ruby, what will you teach me first?"
"Let's see…" Ruby used one of her 'limbs' to adopt a thinking pose "First we shall teach you how to use your weapon properly!"
'Smart…' Archer thought, although he couldn't shake the feeling something was going to go wrong here.
"Illya-chan! Please do a twirl, place your fingers on your cheeks and smile!"
"Huh?" Illya looked puzzled "Why?"
"A magical girl must do that in order to use her weapon!" Ruby said in a knowing tone, Archer was already staring at the stick in confusion "Now, give it a try!"
"Ummm…" Illya did a small twirl and gave an awkward smile "L-like this?"
"Yes! Very nice, very nice!" Ruby cheered and twirled on the spot.
"Stop…" Archer brought there attention over to him, he was sitting down with his hand almost surgically attacked to his face in a classic facepalm "..Just...stop."
"Eh?" Illya looked surprised and tilted her head "W-what's wrong Archer?"
Archer looked up and gave a small look of pity at Illya before rounding a glare at Ruby "You're a consistent source of disappointment aren't you?"
"What does he mean Ruby?" Illya turned to the Mystic code.
"Don't listen to him Illya-chan! You were doing it perfectly."
"She was embarrassing herself perfectly you mean." Archer scowled as he stood up "If you aren't going to teach her Magecraft properly, then I will."
"Y-you mean I wasn't doing magic?" Illya looked slightly betrayed and a little embarrassed.
"No...you weren't." Archer sighed before looking at her again "Magecraft requires the use of Magical Circuits. I felt that you had the potential to have a surplus of magical energy...but I don't know how many Circuits you have."
"So you can actually teach me magic?" Illya asked with a hopeful expression, Archer winced and turned away.
"I...was only a third-rate Magus in life…" He eventually spoke out.
"Ha! The devil is a chump!" Ruby cheered from the side but when silent when Archer glared at her.
"I...can…" Archer hesitantly said "I'll need to see how many Circuits you have." He extended a hand "If you would give me your arm."
Illya lent over her arm, Archer gripped it gently as if it were a piece of glass before placing his other hand on the limb.
"You'll feel a slightly tingling sensation" He spoke before whispering just under his breath "Trace On" Illya widened her eyes and winced slightly as a bright pattern glowed over her limb and up her arm all over her body.
Archer's eyes widened slightly before he took his hand away "It seems I was right about your aptitude as a Master…" He looked at her with a serious expression "I'd say at least 70% of your body have magic circuits running through it."
"W-wait, what!" Ruby made a noise of surprise and Illya looked between the pair in confusion.
"What does that mean?"
"It means, your a first class mage. However some of your circuits have begun to degrade slightly, they've never been used before so when you open them it's going to feel a little strange." Archer shrugged "We won't be doing that tonight though…"
"Huh?" Illya titled her head in confusion "Why?"
"Because it's a very exhausting process, after opening them you'll be out for at least a day." He then made a thoughtful expression "Maybe more considering how many circuits you have, either way. Even without Ruby you'll have tremendous amounts of Magical Energy."
"S-so when can I open my...circuits?" She looked at him with a hopeful expression.
"That...isn't something I can really teach you."
"Eh!" Illya tilted her head slightly slightly "W-why?"
"My way of doing it when I was younger was...stupid. Very, very stupid. I never learnt the proper way of doing it. You'll have to visualise your Circuits and then think of a Trigger to activate them. Rin or the Mystic Code would be better for the actual starting process."
"Trigger?" The confusion on her face was obvious.
"Yes, when I activate my circuits I think of the hammer of a gun firing but whatever works best for you." His face turned serious "However to be magus is...very dangerous."
"H-how so?" Illya's face turned slightly worried.
"Most magus will find their own experiments dangerous to them, there's also the possibility of...less than savoury magi. To be a magus is to invite danger." He then glared at Ruby "Which is why the idea that this...thing, dragging you into the moonlit world doesn't quite sit well with me." He then scowled rather heavily "And making her do embarrassing poses is not magecraft!"
"What are you talking about?" Ruby huffed "A magical girls cuteness is her best weapon! Besides, she doesn't need to learn magic if she had me."
Archer merely raised an eyebrow "And if she loses you?"
There was a telling silence before Archer sighed and returned his attention to Illya "Regardless… the topic of magecraft would be best discussed with someone like Rin. She is still a better Magus than I, although if you still decide on opening your circuits I would be able to teach you some basic spells."
Illya looked slightly nervous after Archer finishes before she spoke again "W-we'll wait shall we."
Archer gave her a small smile "Yeah. We'll wait." he said before turning back to Ruby "What kind of Mystic code made by Zelretch can't teach Magecraft?"
"I can teach it! It's just with me she doesn't need it."
Archer scoffed "Regardless, I'll be here until this mess is sorted." He pointed at Ruby "And the second it is, you'll be going back with Rin. I will sever that contract."
"Y-your threats don't scare me!" Ruby proclaimed, her shaking however wasn't very convincing.
Archer shook his head before looking at the clock next to Illya's bed "We have a few hours before Rin wanted us there." he turned back to Illya "Have any idea how to pass the time, Master?"
Illya adopted a thoughtful expression before her eyes widened and she smiled "I know! Tell me about yourself, Archer!"
Archer froze. He didn't let his frown show.
"I'm sorry, Master." Archer shook his head "It seems my unusual summoning has robbed me of most of my memories. I can't tell you much about my life before becoming a Heroic Spirit." He shrugged "Can't even remember my name."
"T-that's…" Illya looked at Archer with pity "...really sad Archer…"
"It's fine, Master." Archer shook his head slightly "A memory or name isn't necessary for completing my objective."
"Still…" Illya didn't look convinced, Archer gave her a small smile "It's fine, really Master."
Illya went to speak again before she let out a little laugh at something, Archer merely raised an eyebrow.
"Something about me being an amnesiac amuses you, Master?" he smirked as she stuttered before she waved him off frantically.
"N-no! It's just the way you were trying to tell me everything is okay. You reminded me of Onii-chan when he doesn't want to cause people trouble."
Archer's face remained deceptively blank after that comment before he spoke in an emotionless voice "I'll return to Spirit form until you need me Master, get some rest." without waiting for a reply he vanished into thin air.
"Rude." Ruby spoke up "Honestly, Illya-chan. Your better off not associating with evil people."
Illya frowned "Archer's not evil. He's just...really serious." before her face adopted a more sombre tone "Still...it's kind of sad he can't remember his own name."
She then widened her eyes "That's it!"
"What's it Illya-chan?" Ruby tilted her body to indicate confusion.
"Archer said that card is part of his power as a historical figure right? So we'll have Rin help us find out Archer's name! Then we can call him something else."
"As expected of Illya-chan! She's so nice even to Mr Grumpy." Ruby cheered slightly.
"We'll keep it a secret to surprise Archer." She smiled "Imagine how happy he'll be when we tell him what his name is!"
It was close to Midnight when Illya, Ruby and Archer left the house and ventured off in the direction of the school.
Archer maintained Spirit form but never strayed far from Illya, letting a young girl wander the streets unsupervised was a terrible idea in his books.
They arrived in the courtyard to find Rin already waiting, she was in a casual outfit with a light grey hoodie and a black skirt.
She turned to them "Ah, you're here then." then looked around "I assume Archer is nearby?"
Said servant materialised after she said that "Yes, now I assume this is important if it required both my Master and myself?" he said with a raised eyebrow.
Rin nodded "But first, you'll probably want to transform, Illya."
Illya nodded and slowly dragged herself away from the pair "Yeah…"
Both Rin and Archer looked as she disappeared into a nearby outhouse, there was a quick flash of light before she walked back out.
"Why did you leave to get changed?" Rin asked.
Illya flushed "Because it's embarrassing…"
Archer said nothing as he scratched he cheek and Rin smiled knowingly before shaking her head "Anyway, we'll start collecting Class Cards tonight."
"I assume it has something to do with the magical disturbance just a few feet from us." Archer said as he gestured to the seemingly empty courtyard.
Illya looked over the nothing being pointed at before looking back at Rin who was busy nodding at Archer's statement.
"Ummm" Illya began "T-there's nothing there though…"
"Yes." Rin nodded "Nothing in this world anyway."
Archer nodded his head "I wondered by it was called a Kaleidostick…" he turned to Ruby and raised an eyebrow "Some sort of enclosed mirror dimension?"
Rin nodded before turning to Illya "Are you ready?" when Illya nodded and adopted as serious an expression as she could, give the circumstances, Rin turned to Ruby "Ready?"
"Yes!" Ruby cheered before the trio were engulfed in a bubble of magic.
"Adding imaginary numerical axis to the fifth instrumental variable." The space they occupied began to reflect, Archer imagined this was some scaled down version of second Magic. He'd never seen it before so it was certainly a unique experience "Preparing inversion. Confirming existence of multiple spaces. Fixation of centre co-ordinates complete. Forming reflective path within radius of two metres." a pattern formed beneath their feet "Performing partial inversion of Mirror world connection."
"W-what are you doing?" Illya looked around in confusion, Rin calmly replied "We're going to where the cards are found."
"A world where the cards are found?" She froze when she looked around and saw her surroundings being reflected, the ground reflected the surface and the sky was split into multiple mirrors.
Rin continued "Opposing mirrors result in an infinite number of reflections. If we make our world one of those reflections, then this world would become the world of the mirror surface itself. The mirror world is where the cards are found."
"Co-ordinates stable." Ruby spoke with a cheer "Transportation complete!"
Archer made to speak before his expression turned serious, he fixed a stare in front of him.
He gripped Illya and pushed her behind him "A-Archer? What are you-?"
"Stay behind me, Master." He spoke with finality which Illya hadn't witnessed, she looked ahead and her eyes went wide.
A dark cloud began to manifest a few metres from them.
"Rin…" Archer spoke with a serious tone.
"It's as the reports confirmed…" Rin didn't reply to him "The class card is materialising."
"Materialising?" Archer raised his brows "You mean a Servant is coming here!?"
"Y-you mean there's more to cards than simply collecting them?" Illya was shaking as the black cloud began to grow.
"I'm afraid so." Rin replied "You'll have to defeat that thing to collect it's card."
A female figure with a single eye on it's forehead and long purple hair clawed it's way out of the cloud, Archer immediately got in front of the pair.
"Why didn't you mention there'd be Servants?" He didn't look back at Rin, his hands already outstretched to project his weapons.
"Huh?" Rin looked genuinely confused "I...didn't mention that?"
"No!" Illya shouted, eyes wide with clear terror on her face.
Archer scowled "Great, sending children to fight Heroic Spirits. I'm not even surprised."
"H-hey, what's that supposed to mean!" Rin shouted, slightly offended.
When the Servant jumped, Archer turned around and grabbed Illya and jumped away while Rin did the same.
The corrupted Servant crashed into the ground where the trio last stood, kicking up a large cloud of dust and small portions of debris.
"Stay behind me, Master." Archer turned back around, Kanshou and Bakuya forming in his hands.
He held them up just in time to block a spiked chain aimed at his chest.
He scanned the weapons, eyes widening as he figured out their owner. He kicked the servant away before shouting to the other two "It's Medusa! Don't let her use her eyes!"
Archer was somewhat thankful though, good news is that she didn't seem to be as strong as a regular servant. She also seemed to lack her complete whits, simply working off brute strength and what little she could remember of her combat training.
He went of the offensive, she narrowly dodged the strike aimed for her neck and held up the spike to block the one aimed at her abdomen. The impact staggered her slightly while Archer continued the offensive.
Illya was watching him go toe-to-toe with the weird thing when she heard Rin shout "What are you waiting for? Help him!"
"E-eh!?" Illya turned back to Rin "Y-you want me to attack that!"
"It'll be fine, Illya-chan!" Ruby spoke "Besides we can't let Archer do the work of a Magical girl!"
"A-are you sure?" Illya raised a nervous eyebrow "I think he's doing fi-"
She looked up just in time to see Archer get drop kicked across a field and land in an explosion of dust.
"She's taking him more seriously now, seems Archer wasn't expecting that burst of speed…" Ruby said in a more serious tone of voice before going back to her cheer "See, Illya-chan? This is where a magical girl comes to the rescue!"
Illya growled "Mou! I don't care anymore!" she swung the stick and released a beam of light.
The servant, still focused on Archer, didn't see the beam until it hit her. The explosion knocking her away.
Illya stared wide-eyed at the display as Archer jumped back out of the cloud of dust.
"I would tell you it's a Servants job to fight!" Archer shouted over to her, his face looking slightly cross before it turned a little softer "But I suppose you aren't as incapable as most Masters."
"Eh?" Illya tilted her head in confusion.
"Nice work, Illya!" Rin shouted over from behind a bush "Now support Archer and keep throwing mana attacks!"
"W-wow!" Illya was busy staring at Ruby "I can shoot this kind of stuff?"
"Master!" Archer's call brought her out of her trance, she looked up to see a spike racing towards her chest.
Illya cried out in shock and dove to the side, the spike impacting the dirt behind her and creating a small blast.
"Keep your focus, Master!" Archer shouted as he jumped back to Illya's side.
"Y-yeah!" Illya was still slightly shaken from her near death experience.
"I can engage her at close range, I'll stagger her enough for you to use your mana blasts."
"R-right." She shook herself out of her stupor and refocused on the Servant as it withdrew it's chain back.
Archer charged forward at the same time as the Servant, they clashed with a loud clang as blades met chains.
Archer scowled, the Servant was stronger than before. It still wasn't close enough to a full servant but it was enough to be a bigger hassle than it was previously.
Archer removed Kanshou from the chain and went for the head, Rider tilted her head to the side to avoid the blade and at the same time repositioned the spike to block Bakuya while the chain wrapped around Archer's arm.
Archer however smirked, he ducked down and swept Rider's legs out from under her. While she was in the air he kicked up at her side, she was sent skyward where he then called out to Illya "Now, Master!"
"R-right! Ruby!" Illya shouted back, seconds later Archer saw a beam of light strike Rider. Hand still caught in the chain he gripped it and pulled downwards. Rider was sent crashing into the ground, a rather sizeable cloud of dust kicked up by the impact.
The chain went lax and Archer shook it off.
"Good work, Master." Archer called back, hearing a small cheer from Illya.
Their celebration was short lived however, when the smoke began clearing Archer's eyes widened.
Rider made a magical symbol out of her blood.
"Thats!" Rin shouted out, Archer already knew what it was though.
"Damn!" He could charge her, she hadn't yet-
"Bellro-" She began and Archer instantly raced backwards to where his Master and Rin where.
His only hope was that the Noble Phantasm was also degraded. If he could block it, then he could strike while she was weakened.
"Stay behind me!" he grabbed the pair of them while turning around and holding a hand out.
"Lancer: Include." He heard a hushed whisper behind him.
He turned his head slightly to see another young girl, around Illya's age with short black hair, wearing a strange blue version of Illya's outfit.
What caught his attention though, was the blood red spear she was holding. Gae Bolg, the spear of Cu Chulainn, evidently these class cards seemed to mirror the powers of the Servants from his Holy Grail war, so far anyway.
The girl rushed forwards at impressive speeds towards Rider.
"Gae…" She drew the spear back and Rider made an expression of surprise "Bolg!" the lance was thrust forward and through Riders chest.
The Servant sputtered slightly before collapsing, her body disappearing into motes of light. Leaving only a Card titled 'Rider'.
"Lancer: Uninclude." The girl spoke again, a detached emotionless voice "Target defeated." she walked forwards and picked up the floating card "Class Card Rider has been collected."
Archer raised an eyebrow as the girl turned around. She was definitely Illya's age.
"It's never ending surprises isn't it…" Archer sighed to himself.
AN: Well, we've already hit some minor changes so far.
Archer teaching Illya Magecraft? Hm. I wonder if that will lead somewhere.
For those wondering '70%' that's some BS, I just looked at the Wiki okay?
Remember, Illya was modified before birth as well as after. Assuming that remained the same in this timeline the amount of magic circuits she has never changed although they weren't experimented on to the same extent as in the aftermath of the fourth grail war. The amount hasn't changed but she wasn't specifically engineered to be the Grails vessel so they weren't heavily modified at the cost of her own life.
We've also arrived at Miyu now, for those wondering "Will she know Archer is EMIYA" remember that she never actually saw her Shirou do any of his Projection Magecraft or saw his skin begin to tan.
Also yeah, Illya wanting to 'Surprise Archer with finding his name' yikes.
And yes...we'll be hitting a dream cycle, although Illya at first won't know what it will mean.