"Talking"

'Thinking'

"Master/Servant Link"

Noble Phantasm


Chapter 3: There's something about the girl.

Archer stared at the small girl standing barely a few metres from him, her unemotional gaze fell on them before she looked at Archer in slight confusion.

"Class Card Archer?" She tilted her head and narrowed her eyes.

"Servant Archer." He corrected her, he gestured a thumb over to Rin "Already have the Class card." she nodded but didn't comment further. Seems that was enough for her.

"W-who's that?" Illya whispered behind Archer.

"Oh ho ho ho ho!" An odd laughter cut through the air, Archer merely raised an eyebrow and turned around.

"T-this moronic laugh…!" Rin said in surprise, a scowl already forming on her face.

"How disgraceful." Archer turned around to see a teenage girl with long blonde drill locks of hair and an extravagant blue dress walking up behind them, a smug smile on her face with her eyes closed.

"The moment in which you judge how to land...a...killing...blow…" She trailed off as she opened her eyes and froze as soon as she saw Archer. Her smug smile quickly fading away and her face paling as the Servant stared at her with a slightly raised eyebrow.

"Y-you...you're…" Her eyes went wide and she lifted a shaking finger to point at Archer, who still stared at her impassively.

"Servant Archer" He made a gesture to his body "I'll assume your a magus as well, sent here for the Class Cards along with that small girl over there." he gestured a thumb at the blank faced child "Yes. I'm a proper servant." he cut her off before the tirade of questions could start "Not...whatever those degraded shadows are."

"H-how...w-when?" The woman was still staring at Archer, mouth agape.

Archer sighed "No idea and a day ago."

The woman quickly composed herself, but Archer could see her hurried footsteps as she ran past the trio to join up with the girl.

"E-even with a Servant you couldn't complete the task!" She tried to regain her earlier arrogant attitude, her eyes however kept dancing between Rin and Archer "W-what a clown you are, Tohsaka Rin!"

"Luvia!" Rin spat before cringing "Wait, you survived as well then?"

Luvia did her best to avoid frowning at that, instead her smile became a little more strained that it already was "Of course." she then turned to the girl "Good work, Miyu." and took the card from her.

Luvia attempted to laugh again, only to receive a kick to the side of the head by Rin which floored her. Archer stood next to Illya while to two got into a shouting match.

Ruby sighed "Good grief. Those two just won't grow up."

"Are mages normally like that?" Illya turned to Archer.

"Oh, no." Archer replied with a wave of his hand before giving her a small smile "Normally they're much, much worse."

The two continued to trade fists and insults when the ground suddenly began to shake, Archer looked up to see the sky beginning to fall apart.

"What's happening?" Illya looked about, slightly panicked.

"Now that the card has been removed, the Mirror world is collapsing." Ruby replied calmly "For now we should probably get out of here." she then shouted over to the fighting magi "Hey you two! We're leaving!"

The pair showed no sign they even heard them.

"Man, there hopeless." Ruby sighed "Satan? Could you break them up?"

Archer responded with a scowl and a glare before walking over to the pair.

He gripped the top of their heads and pulled them apart, their feet just off the ground.

"Ordinarily, I would be content with letting you act like fools." Archer spoke, iron in his voice which had the pair staring up at him "However, we aren't in a position to let your stupidity run rampant." he turned to see Miyu walking past him, standing in between Illya and himself.

"Sapphire." she simply said, the Kaleidostick in her hand responded in a more sophisticated voice than Ruby "Yes, Master."

The same spell that brought the group here activated again. This time it brought them back, once they returned Archer unceremoniously dropped the pair he was holding. Ignoring any complaints he walked back up to Illya, who had collapsed in exhaustion.

"Are you alright, Master?" Archer asked and held out a hand to her.

"Y-yeah." Illya replied as she gripped his hand and he pulled her up, the pair turned to see Miyu staring at them. An unreadable expression on her face.

"Well, that was exciting." Ruby chimed in "I guess we're done for tonight though."

Archer didn't say anything, he matched Miyu's stare with one of his own. The two didn't say a word, her amber eyes staring into his steel grey ones.

Archer was the first to break contact, looking back to see Rin and Luvia back to fighting eachother.

"I've been wondering for a while…" Rin spoke through gritted teeth as she literally butted heads with Luvia "But whose that girl you're with. Why does she have Sapphire."

"I could say the same to you!" Luvia replied "What's with that Servant you've got trailing you around!"

Rin narrowed her eyes "I didn't summon him if that's what you're wondering...but if that girl's got Sapphire...then…"

Luvia broke off the shoving match and made a face of irritation "That's right! I finally catch up to Sapphire and then she's saying 'This girl is my Master now!'"

"Yeah." Rin deadpanned "I figured. Same thing happened to me."

"At any rate!" Luvia turned back around and levelled a finger at Rin, the smug smile back on her face "Even with that Servant you've got, I'll still be the winner! Prepare yourself, Tohsaka Rin!"

Archer turned away from the display and to the girl before speaking "I assume the name of the Mystic Code is Sapphire?"

"That is Correct, Archer-san." The Kaleidostick responded "You seem to be more intelligent than the materialised Class Card."

"Because I'm a properly summoned Heroic Spirit." Archer shrugged "That thing is far weaker than a normal Spirit, I would have certainly never stood a chance at close range if it was a proper Spirit and not some degraded magi experiment."

"I see."

"I already prefer you to the other one." Archer sighed.

"Hey!" Ruby exclaimed "I'm the perfect Mystic Code for everyone's dream Magical Girl!"

"You're a Mystic Con-artist who gets their kicks from tricking girls into accepting scam contacts." Archer scowled back at Ruby.

"Nee-san...did you trick the girl into a contract?"

"N-no! Don't be fooled by Satan's lies!" Ruby cried out.

"...Satan?"

"Ignore her." Archer replied "She's an idiot."

"Miyu." Luvia called out as she walked past, her argument with Rin over "We're leaving."

She laughed an obnoxious laugh as she left, although her quickened pace led on that she wasn't quite as confident as she sounded as she virtually fled the area with Miyu trailing behind her.

"They're gone." Illya remarked, still stunned by the last few minutes.

Rin sighed "That moron is unbelievable." she began walking over to Archer and Illya "What does she think this Card Collecting business is?

"Speaking of which…" Archer remarked as he levelled an unimpressed look on Rin, she flinched slightly before controlling herself.

"W-what?" She asked nervously.

Archer raised an eyebrow.

"O-oh...you're still upset about the Servant thing aren't you?"

"Perhaps you should have informed my Master and myself prior to walking into a combat situation with no warning." Archer frowned "I can make do but to protect you and my Master at the same time is difficult."

"She has Ruby to protect her!" Rin made to argue.

"Would that have protected her from a Noble Phantasm?" Archer narrowed his eyes and Rin elected to remain silent and turn her head away.

"W-well...at least we know better for next time?" Rin awkwardly laughed.

"Wait...next time?" Illya looked surprised "We're not done?"

Rin looked at her as if she said something strange "Of course not. There are still more Cards to collect."

"Wh-wh-what!" Illya cried out and slumped, Archer lightly patted her head "Don't worry, Master. I'll still be here to help you."

Illya smiled slightly "Thanks, Archer." he flashed a small smile before turning back to Rin.

"Well?" he sighed "How many Cards are left?"

Rin looked thoughtful for a moment "We have the Archer, Lancer and Rider cards now…"

"...Which leaves Saber, Berserker, Assassin and Caster." Archer shook his head "Even if they aren't full Heroic Spirits they are still a considerable threat, I still have little doubt that a high class Berserker, even in that weakened state, couldn't overpower me. I don't suppose you know their identities?"

"No…" Rin slumped a bit.

"Great...going in blind." Archer shook his head "We should probably head back home, Master."

"Yeah…" Illya yawned and rubbed her eyes.

"Good work though Illya." Rin nodded encouragingly at her "I'll be counting on you in the future."

"Yay." Illya's rather unenthusiastic cheer was met with a slight chuckle from Archer and a huff from Rin.


Illya was surrounded by Death.

As far as the eye could see, the burning ruins of her home city.

Everywhere she looked, death, people were crying out as they burned alive. Pleas of help went unanswered followed by screams of pain then the silence of a roaring fire cancelled them out.

Illya couldn't breath. This was a nightmare, pure and simple.

She looked around, tears already staining her cheeks until she saw movement in the distance.

She ran to it. She didn't care about anything else.

There was someone here who wasn't dead. That was enough for her.

She stopped when she saw them though, a small boy with auburn hair.

A lifeless look on his face, his clothes already burnt away revealing major burns on his skin. What should have caused agonised screams was met only with a muted silence and barely any acknowledgement from the boy as he kept marching forward.

There was no aim in his direction. He was simply walking for the sake of walking.

What disturbed Illya though, was the face of the young boy. She knew who it was, even so young she could never forget that face.

"S-Shirou…" She called out.

Ȋ̶̜̚ ̷̳̐͝a̵̛̒̾ͅm̵̲͠ ̵̤̩̀t̶̢̪̗̒h̷̰̺̱̋e̴͔̯̤̔̆̏ ̵̳̏̉͠Ḃ̶͎͆o̸̫̜̓͠ǹ̵̺̗͝e̸̝̠͕͆ ̸͎̤́́ͅo̸̻͔͎̓f̷̠̙̼̏̆͠ ̸͈̼͂͒M̷̡̫͉͗͒y̵̠̿ ̶̫̱̋̃̕S̴̭̓̽̍ẅ̷̨̜͓ő̸̯͘r̴̦̬͒̂d̸̮̚

A voice echoed out in the dream.


Illya woke with a start. She was sweating heavily, he's frenzied from what she'd just seen. She looked around her room to confirm where she was before breathing out in relief.

'It's not real…' She told herself 'Onii-chan is fine.'

She shook her head before sitting up.

"What's wrong, Illya-chan?" Ruby floated in front of her, an unusual tone of concern in her voice.

"N-nothing." Illya stuttered over the first word before flashing a shaky smile "J-just a bad dream is all, Ruby."

"Hmmm." Ruby sounded suspicious for a moment before flying away "Oh well…"

Archer however had heard what she had said.

'Dream cycle…' He sighed in spirit form, he'd forgotten about it. Finding the Cards and leaving before Illya figured out his true name was paramount.

He didn't care about some little competitive spat between Luvia and Rin, as far as he was concerned the sooner they found the remaining four cards the better. The problem was getting this done without Sella and Liz finding out.

They find out Illya is a magical girl then they call Kiritsugu and Irisviel, then they come back and find out Illya has a servant.

Worse than that is if they are aware of how a true Heroic Spirit summoning goes, they'd no doubt have knowledge of the dream cycle and inform Illya. It wouldn't take the girl long to put two and two together at that point.

While he wasn't Emiya Shirou the girl wouldn't care, she'd see her older brother regardless and no doubt would be horrified once the dreams entered his phase as a Counter Guardian, that innocent personality of hers would probably convince her she could somehow 'help' him.

It would be a pointless endeavour and only serve to crush the spirit of the young girl.

'A race against time then.' Archer thought to himself 'This is going to have to be a very quick Holy Grail War.'

Archer stayed outside until Illya left for school. He couldn't stomach being in the same room as his younger self.

Seeing that carefree smile on his face. It looked so alien.


Illya left the house, still looking a little shaken from her dream. Archer couldn't blame her, it was a little too horrible for the young girl.

"Master, you seem a little distracted this morning." Archer spoke through the link, Illya jumped slightly before responding "I-it's nothing Archer...just a bad dream is all…"

"I'm sure the dreams won't last, Master. You'll probably be fine soon enough."

"Y-yeah!" Illya smiled slightly, it was a little strained but it was better than the rather shaky expression she had on moments ago.

"Archer?" She spoke again as she entered the school "Do you think I should learn Magecraft?"

He was silent for a few moments "...It is ultimately your choice, Master. However...it is not for the faint of heart and very difficult without a proper teacher. Before you ask, no. I am not a proper teacher." If she kept pushing he would have to acquiesce, although best case scenario is that the Class Card fiasco would be resolved and Ruby would return with Rin, leaving Illya alone.

Even if something did come up, she was still the daughter of the Einzberns and the 'Magus Killer', it wasn't like she was being hung out to dry.

Illya walked into her classroom and slumped on her desk, she hadn't gotten much sleep last night. Between the class card and the nightmare, she felt she was running on fumes.

Taiga walked while calling out "Alright everyone, take your seats." she sat the register on her desk before shouting in an exaggerated manner "This comes suddenly, but 'Bam!' we have a new transfer student today!" there were a few murmurs in the classroom and Taiga turned to the door "You can come in now."

A small girl walked in, with short black hair and amber eyes, Illya dragged her face off her desk and almost chocked in surprise.

Archer merely raised an eyebrow in Spirit form 'Little cliché isn't it?'

"I am Miyu Edelfelt." The girl introduced herself, a rather detached tone in her voice. There were already some sounds of surprise and a few conversations starting as Taiga wrote Miyu's name on the board.

"Hush everyone." She quietened down the class "Miyu-chan transferred back here from Finland, I'm sure she'll have a lot of questions. So please help her out."

"Okay." The class called out, except Illya who was still in a state of shock.

Archer however wasn't paying attention, there was something strange about this girl. She was mos definitely not from Finland, her entire being was...strange. She was human, no doubts there, but he felt there was something more.

Not like he could just ask her and perhaps it didn't matter in the end but if he had the opportunity to find out, he would.

"As for your desk…" Taiga narrowed her eyes and looked about the room, she widened and pointed in a general direction "That one behind Illya-chan will do!"

"Eh?" Illya made a small noise of surprise and froze when Miyu walked past her and sat down without saying a word.

"Now for first perio-ack!" Taiga shouted in surprise "I forgot the handouts!"

Archer felt the strange desire to facepalm, he didn't know why though.

"My well behaved students...please do some self studying for a while." She nervously spoke before throwing the door open and sprinting down the corridor.

There was a complete lack of self studying going on, everyone immediately went into their own friendship groups. A few of the students going over to talk to Miyu.

Talk in the loosest term possible, they simply spoke at her and she would reply in one or two word sentences.

Illya dismissed herself by saying she had to go to the bathroom, a rather obvious lie so Archer followed her. She slumped on the windowsill in the hallway.

"Man, talk about clichéd!" Ruby came out from behind Illya.

Illya sighed "A mysterious transfer student, huh?"

"You see this a lot in magical girl series." a new voice spoke out, startling Illya slightly. Archer recognised it as the other Kaleidostick from last night, or this morning, whichever it was.

"Oh! Hey Sapphire-chan!" Ruby turned and cheered.

"It was nice to see you last night, Nee-san."

Illya looked between the two in confusion "N-nee-san?"

"Perhaps we shouldn't have this conversation in the open." Sapphire explained.

"Oh? Worried someone will see us Sapphire-chan?" Ruby teased.

"Master, is it too late to swap Mystic codes?" Archer joked in Illya's head, said girl laughed slightly before talking out loud "Don't be mean Archer. Ruby is just…"

"A nuisance?"

"...Excitable." Illya sighed before turning to the two Kaleidosticks "We can go up to the roof, that's normally free. We can also have Archer join us."

"Ewww." Ruby huffed and turned away.

"Nee-san…" Sapphire said in an authoritative tone and Ruby eventually sighed "Fine...Grumpy can join us on the roof."

Archer went ahead and was on the roof before them, the trio joined him a minute later.

"Archer, are you here?" Illya looked about.

Archer returned to physical form, sitting cross-legged on the ground "I'm here, Master." he gave her a small nod.

"It's horrible, Illya-chan!" Ruby exclaimed "Archer is still ugly!"

Archer's lips twisted into a nasty smirk "I could always return you to Rin…"

"W-wait! Don't!" Ruby backtracked quickly after the threat.

"Nee-san…" Sapphire sighed before turning to Illya "I shall introduce myself. Nice to meet you, my name is Sapphire."

Ruby gestured to Illya "This is my new Master, Illya-chan!" the pointed at Archer "And the parasite over there feeding on her magical energy is Satan."

"Oi." Archer frowned.

Sapphire didn't comment on the trading of jabs "Thank you both for taking care of my Sister."

"O-oh!" Illya jumped slightly before bowing "I'm the one whose indebted."

"She's so well mannered." She accidentality thought over the link, Archer replied.

"I know." She jumped slightly and pouted at Archers knowing smirk.

Completely unaware of the mental conversation going on Ruby continued "Sapphire-chan and I were created at the same time, which makes us Sisters!"

"Oh?" Illya tilted her head "So there are more of you?"

"By the way, Sapphire-chan…" Ruby began.

"Yes, Miyu-sama, correct?" Sapphire replied "She's my new Master. I met her after we parted ways."

"I thought so!" Ruby cheered.

"Do you just exist to trick little girls into bogus contracts or something?" Archer scowled, any good will he had with the Kaleidostick gradually disappearing.

"No." Sapphire shook her head "It was actually Miyu-sama who suggested the contract, once she found out about the Cards she was adamant about helping."

Archer frowned by said nothing, something was strange about that.

"See, grumpy!" Ruby said in a smug tone of voice "Every girl dreams of being a magical girl!" She then turned to Sapphire "But to be able to use the cards power already! She's so talented!"

"Yes. I was very surprised myself." Sapphire replied "I did not expect her to be able to do it so easily."

"Hey, Ruby?" Illya spoke up "What do you mean the Cards power?"

"Wait a minute, Nee-san. Have you not explained anything to Illya-san yet?"

"Oh! You're right! I haven't really told her anything yet." Ruby commented absent-mindedly.

"Great...I have to do everything don't I?" Archer scowled before turning to Illya "Do you recall what I said about the Cards?"

Illya looked thoughtful for a second before replying "You said they contained a portion of a Heroic Spirits power?"

Archer nodded "It would seem that, from the display last night with Miyu, an individual can utilise the power of the Heroic Spirit stored in the Card. Miyu used the Lancer card, thus she gained access to Gae Bolg the Spear of Cu Chulainn and incited his Noble Phantasm."

"Noble...Phantasm?" She looked on in confusion.

"The crystallization of a Heroic Spirits power. Their 'trump card' so to speak. Think of King Arthur, what would you imagine their Noble Phantasm would be?"

"Excalibur!" Illya called out, she smiled when Archer nodded.

"Noble Phantasms fall into different categories but the most common are 'Anti-unit', 'Anti-army' and 'Anit-fortress'. From what I can gather the Noble Phantasm you gain access to is slightly weaker, as in conjunction with it being only a portion of a Heroic Spirits power."

"What makes you say that?"

"Miyu had to physically stab Rider."

"Eh?" Illya looked confused

"Gae Bolg, when used against a single person, can be activated from a range of two to four metres. From what I saw, Miyu had to get closer than the actual Heroic Spirit would have in order to trigger the Phantasm." Archer shook his head "That's less important though, even a weakened Noble Phantasm is still a powerful weapon, leagues above any Mystic Code a modern Magus can create."

"Isn't that great, Illya-chan!" Ruby cheered "You get to use all these powerful weapons!"

"There is nothing 'Great' about it." Archer frowned "Having some ten year old girl swinging around a spear which causes injuries that can never be healed is just asking for trouble."

"Archer…" Illya began, looking slightly nervous "Do you have a...Noble Phantasm?"

Archer remained quiet for a moment before talking "I'm afraid I don't, Master. However I am the Servant of Illyasviel Von Einzbern." Archer smirked "Even without a Noble Phantasm, I can't be anything less than the Strongest Servant."

"Illya-chan!" Ruby called to her "Remember, Archer said the card used his power as a Heroic Spirit! Why don't you learn how to use that one!"

Archer however frowned heavily "I'd much rather you didn't. That would negate the purpose of me. Besides…" He shook his head "Illya isn't really the type for my style of combat."

'Also I'd rather not see if she had access to my Reality Marble.' He thought to himself as a side note.

"He's a party pooper, Illya-chan!" Ruby shouted "Don't listen to him!"

"Illya-san, Archer-san" Sapphire cut through the argument about to start "Until all the cards are collected, I would ask that you please work with Miyu-sam-"

"Sapphire." A voice called out from the far end of the roof, the group turned to see Miyu in the entrance to the roof staring at them "You shouldn't be out in the open."

"My apologies, Miyu-sama." Sapphire floated away from them and back over to her "I simply thought to introduce myself to Illya-san."

Miyu said nothing as she stared at the trio, her eyes wandering from Illya to Ruby and then to Archer.

He said nothing as the girl stared at her, his face remained blank. She seemed to narrow her eyes at something before shaking her head and leaving with Sapphire.

"I shall return to Spirit Form, Master." Archer said after a moment.

"U-uh…yeah." Illya replied, still staring at the door Miyu left through.

Archer disappeared in motes of light and Illya was left alone with Ruby.

"She...doesn't seem very talkative, does she?" Ruby turned to Illya.

"Yeah."


Archer remained in Spirit form for the rest of the day. He would have probably left for a walk around town were it not for something which caught his attention.

Miyu.

Once again, something about the girl surprised Archer, her intelligence. Solving a basic maths problem with integrals and formulas. It wasn't just that she was good at academics. She was unnaturally talented.

Art class was another surprise. Being told to draw freely, the girl then made a piece in cubism. Archer was no art critic but for a ten year old girl to have a clear understanding of cubism as an art form wasn't right.

It would have been a little strange but nothing noteworthy, if it wasn't combined with her intelligence. Something was very wrong here.

It only got worse.

The food tech class was probably the one that stuck out to Archer the most.

Making a hamburg steak, a simple enough matter.

Not for Miyu though.

As she began working, Archer paid special attention to the way she cooked. Her skills, movements and technique. They were all...hauntingly familiar to him. Someone had taught her how to cook and from the way she did it, that someone did it in such a way that it was almost a copy of how Archer cooked. He hadn't cooked in a long, long time but the movements were ingrained into him. He suspected he would be a little rusty going into a Kitchen but this girl. She was good, this talent of hers was more...personal to him than the others.

The final nail in the coffin was PE.

Miyu was fast, not incredibly fast. Faster than a girl her age should be though. She wasn't just good at everything she did.

She was unnaturally good at everything she did. It wasn't some case of 'Geniuses exist' it was a case of this child being perfect. As if she was engineered to be so. She wasn't a homunculus. She was human.

She wasn't natural though. Everything about that girl wreaked of a magical experiment, what kind though. Archer couldn't place, he'd need to actually analyse her for that and he suspected she would probably bolt or fight back if he attempted such a thing.

The girl was no longer some idle curiosity which Archer could ignore, some stray experiment wondering the streets. Unlikely.

The girl was far too suspicious. For now he would leave her be, see what came of it. But he would keep a very close eye on Miyu. It wasn't just her seemingly superhuman skills today, being around the girl herself made Archer uncomfortable. He didn't like the way she had looked at him this morning.

It was like for a brief moment she wasn't looking at Archer but at someone else, someone she shouldn't know.

Regardless, the Class Cards came first. Then the mystery of the girl.


Illya was sulking in the park, it didn't matter what she would say. She was sulking. Archer knew it and Ruby knew it.

"Isn't that enough sulking, Illya-chan?" Ruby tried to cheer her up.

"I'm not sulking." Illya answered quickly. Too quickly "It's just she made me realise that hard work can only get you so far."

"Don't worry too much, Master." Archer spoke in her head "I'm only a third-rate magus, there will always be better Magi than me, but I focus on what I can do well."

"So...focus on my talents?" Illya replied, still looking slightly down

"Yes, Master. I'm sure if you focus on your talents you can eventually overcome natural ability."

Illya smiled to herself "Thanks Archer."

"I couldn't leave my cute little Master sulking in a park now could I?" The smirk was obvious over the link and Illya sputtered and pouted.

"I'm not sulking!"

"Of course, Master. It must this Servants over active imagination."

"Archer!" Illya's pout got worse and she almost whined out loud.

"What are you doing?" A voice called out from across the park, Illya turned to see Miyu staring at her.

"Oh? Miyu-san!" Ruby called out and waved her small arms, Miyu began walking up to them. An unreadable expression on her face.

Illya panicked slightly before bowing slightly and rubbing the back of her head "G-good day, and apologies for such a display…"

Archer would have pinched his nose if he had hands and Ruby sighed.

"Might you be heading home presently, your highness?" Illya finished her awkward greeting.

"That might have been a little too much, Master." Archer sighed over the mental link and Ruby got in Illya's face "That's way too much respect!"

Illya shrugged slightly "I-I didn't mean too…"

"Geez, Miyu-san's a magical girl just like you, and your companion!" Ruby said in an exasperated voice.

"Oh, yeah." Illya nodded "I suppose your right." she gave a nervous laugh before being interrupted by Miyu.

"Why are you even collecting the cards?" The girls expression gave nothing away.

"W-well it just kind of happened and I didn't have a choice…" Illya nervously replied while shrugging "I kind of got tricked…"

"I see." Miyu nodded "Then why do you fight?"

Illya blinked in surprise "What do you mean?"

"You were simply dragged into this, no?" Her eyes narrowed slightly "You have no duty or responsibility to fight."

"T-that's because Ruby…" lllya began only to be cut off again.

"If you were serious about declining, Ruby would have given up." Miyu shot down her counter argument instantly.

Illya shifted on the spot before flushing in embarrassment "To be honest. I did dream of doing this sort of thing." she turned and gave a small smile to Miyu "I mean doesn't it feel like an anime or a game?"

"A...game." Miyu replied slowly, Archer saw a hint of something in her eyes.

"Yeah! We use magic to fight enemies in some Bizarre world." She gave a small chuckle "It all feels like a joke, but it's kind of exciting." she shrugged "So I figured I may as well enjoy this card collection game thing…"

"That's enough." Miyu cut her off "So it's all just a game to you?" Archer could now see the barest hints or anger and...sadness?

She hid her emotions well, yet apparently this hit a little too close to home for her.

"What about Archer?" Miyu said "Do you think this is a game for him?"

"W-well...I haven't really asked him….he said he would help…" Illya shifted on the spot, shrinking slightly under Miyu's stare.

The girl turned around and began walking off "U-uh...Miyu-sa-"

"Don't bother fighting." Miyu cut her off "I'll collect the cards on my own." she left Illya alone in the park.

Illya was silent for a minute after Miyu left before activating the mental link "Archer...why are you helping me with the cards?"

"Because if I don't you will die." He replied easily "To be a magus is to walk the path of death. I've seen nothing so far to tell me that doesn't ring true for Magical Girls." Illya looked down slightly at being spoken to by Archer's stern tone "I've been kind enough to avoid this directly, but Miyu is right. If you treat this as a game you will die. Therefore I must ask you. Why are you fighting, Illya?"

"…"

"...You don't need to answer right now. However, I suggest you find a reason. If not, then a battlefield is the last place you should be."

Illya walked home in silence after that. She didn't talk to Ruby or Archer.

When she came back to her house she found Sella standing out the front staring at something.

"Sella?" Illya tilted her head in confusion "What is it?"

"Oh? Welcome back Illya-san." Sella nodded to her before frowning slightly "Well…" she then pointed at the opposite side of the street.

"Hmm?" Illya turned her head and promptly went wide eyed as she was greeted to the sight of large iron gates leading to a giant mansion which hadn't been there when she left for school.

"Wha-!" Illya exclaimed as she stared at the recent addition to the neighbourhood "That's huge! What's with this Mansion?! I don't remember seeing it opposite out house!"

"Construction began this morning and suddenly a mansion stood there before I knew it." Sella shrugged in confusion.

"Huh?" Illya turned to the side to see Miyu staring at her, a hint of surprise on her face before she composed herself and continued walking.

Miyu walked up and pushed the gate open "Wait! I-is this mansion your home, Miyu-san?" Illya exclaimed in surprise. Miyu turned around and gave her a sideways glance "Well, you can say that." the gates closed and she continued on her way.

"Well...that was a rather interesting encounter, Master."

"Illya-san, was that...your friend?" Sella asked, slight puzzlement on her face.

"W-we...know eachother…" Illya sighed out before heading back inside.


"Master." Archer spoke to Illya as he picked up the note next to her bed "It seems Rin wants us at the bridge at Midnight."

He turned to the small girl, who slumped slightly "No sleep again…"

Archer let out a small breath and gave the girl a slight smile "Don't worry, Master. As your Servant I shall deal with this quickly and allow you a good nights rest."

"Yeah, Illya-chan!" Ruby cheered out "As a Magical Girl you'll be able to deal with this easily now that you know how to use you powers!"

"Y-yeah!" Illya cheered slightly, although still looked a little irritated at being dragged out so late at night.

"Think of it this way, Master. As soon as we deal with this card we'll only have three left." He nodded "Then this mess will be behind you."

"I suppose." Illya nodded before turning to Archer "What will you do when this is over?"

"I'll return to the Throne." Archer said "No need to stick around."

Illya's face turned a little sad "I think I'll miss you."

"Oh? Is my Master going to feel defenceless without me?" Archer smirked, Illya pouted "Nevermind. You're a bully."

"I told you, Illya-chan!" Ruby pointed at Archer "He's Satan! Look how he's mean to such a young girl!"

Archer shook his head, inwardly he was glad this would be over soon. It wouldn't take him long to find out about the Miyu girl, then he would leave. It meant there was less chance of something troublesome happening.


AN: Yeah...nothing troublesome will happen will it Archer.

Oh? Illya thinking about Magecraft?

Will she learn it? Who knows.

Maybe when Irisviel comes back...

But when will that be? Find out next time on Dragon Ball Z!