Disclaimer: I do not own Rising of the Shield Hero or Fate/Stay Night. Thank you to my co-writer redskin122004 for making this possible.
Walking through a familiar scene once more, I couldn't help but look around me with disinterest. Fuyuki on fire, the cursed mud that set everything and everyone aflame, and in the middle of it all was me. A child once more, helpless to the destruction around me.
Ah, this dream again.
The cries of people surround me as I keep walking, keep moving forward. No matter what I do, the dream will always end the same.
It's been some time since I had this dream.
It was then I heard something, something ahead of me. I looked up and froze as I saw a ball of fire rushing towards me.
The street and buildings shattered as the ball of death flew towards me, the cries of the dying drowned out by the destruction. All I could do was stare at the coming spell, confused at this change. Before I could even try to make a move, a familiar armored figure jumped in front of the spell, shield on his arm as he raised it to meet it head on.
I felt my arm raised, trying to call up my magic circuits. He's not strong enough. He won't make it
The street tore up as the spell closed in, and Naofumi remained in the path, unmoving like a mountain.
The fire was mere moments about to hit when Naofumi turned to look at me, a confident smile on his face before he was engulfed in the flames and burned away.
I bolted awake, sweat covering my face as I held [Bakuya] up to defend myself, [Reinforcement] blazing away as my eyes darted everywhere in the room before settling on the sleeping form of the Shield Hero. I gave a small sigh of relief as I saw still knocked out, still breathing and whole.
And not burning alive before my eyes.
"Get it together, Emiya." I muttered to myself, groaning as I picked myself off the floor and began to stretch. After a few minutes, I began to inspect my defenses, to see if there were any attempts at breaching them in the night. But it appears we were still safe, no sign of anyone trying to force their way into the room happened. I looked over the items that were given to me from the various hunters that scour the field of the dead dogs and wolves, taking note of how well the furs and skins were taken care of. A small box of teeth, claws, even a few wrapped portions of meat and organs were in the pile.
Considering the time period this was closely related to, food must be hard to come by at certain points of the year, so I didn't think too much on the indication of the carefully wrapped meat.
It wouldn't matter anyways, almost all of it was going into the Shield once Naofumi wakes up.
The knocking on the door broke me from my careful analysis of the various animal parts, walking up to the door and found the merchant from last night, carrying a box with him, and looked pretty heavy from the way he was breathing.
"Morn, Sir Emiya!" He breathed out, I held out my arms and he gladly placed the heavy box in my grasp. "Many thanks! The beastie hide was definitely heavier than anyone would have guessed. And Sir Shield Hero?"
My eyes snapped towards him, causing him to flinch back from the look, so I can only guess my eyes held some hostile intent as he slowly raised his hands up.
"Peace, Sir Emiya, meant nothing by it. Not like Sir Iwatani made it much of a secret when he was defending us and lifting the cart off Harold." He said slowly, turning his head down the hall before gently nodding his head. "May I? It is best not to say such things where anyone can hear, aye?"
"Yes, come in." I stiffely move aside to allow him entry, silently cursing at how open Naofumi was with his status of being the Shield Hero, knowing the amount of hatred he has gotten just from the main capital.
"Easy now, no need to be hasty." The merchant stated, slowly taking a seat as he got comfortable, trying to ignore how was minutes away from silencing him. "No worries, Harold won't speak a word either. Not that it matters much."
"Oh? And why is that?" I crossed my arms as I leaned against the wall close to Naofumi's bed, glaring at him. "As far as treatment goes, Naofumi is lucky to have me by his side, who knows what would happen to him if I wasn't here."
"Aye, probably hanged." the merchant scratched his beard in thought before shrugging. "The Three-Heroes Church would probably make his life miserable. The bastards, the whole lot of them to be honest. Only few people in town follow them as deeply as some of them in the Capitol."
"And you don't follow them?"
"Gods no. They are crazy. The Queen herself has stated multiple times that she doesn't like them and wants them purged, unfortunately her hands are bound by the games of royals." He shook his head as he grumbled, sitting back and taking an annoyed look on his face. "And who should suffer but us peasants to their little game."
"Queen?" I asked, a little confused. I was not surprised he knew about the backroom politics that Royals and Church play, considering he is a merchant so there were probably several times he got hit by them due to their dealings. What put me off was the mention of a Queen.
"Hm? Aye, Queen Mirellia Q Melromarc, the leader of of our fair land."
"So who is King Aultcray then?"
"Her Husband, he is nothing more than her bed warming stud if you asked me." The merchant grumbled, "To be honest, I am worried since the Queen has gone to the grand meeting of countries, and yet I find myself in the company of one of the heroes."
"Why is that?" I was a bit alarmed by his words.
"Because she was at that meeting to discuss the distribution of the Holy Heroes and which countries would be under their care." he said, and I felt the world fall out from underneath me.
"Iwatani wasn't supposed to be summoned here, was he?"
"Gods no, why would they summon here? We literally have a Church called the Three-Heroes Church, and they call the Shield Hero a Devil." He waved his arms, clearly understanding why I seemed put off.
For the next few minutes, he explained in detail how this was a Matriarch-led country, where said Matriarch was, and explained more details in what I was missing when I first arrived. History and culture of the Melromarc was the thing I was lacking the most, as I was generally basing my idea of what to expect on old Britain from my memories of Saber.
After thirty minutes of grilling the merchant, I came to a final conclusion, one that made me feel like I avoided another spear to the heart from the way my chest seemed to tighten up.
"They're trying to kill him." I whispered in horror, looking at the sleeping man in question. "To get back at Silvelt for the war."
"Aye, that would be my first guess. Can't say they did anything to him if he was killed out in the wild." He got up from his chair, slowly placing a hand on my shoulder to shake me from my horror. "Look like he got a good friend to back him though, and it looks like you got him away from the place as well. So, as a friend, I will tell you this. Get as far away from this country as you can. Go to Silvelt, they worship him as God, though you might be in trouble since you are human. So the next best thing would be to go to Shieldfreeden, I hear it's a far better place than Silvelt in any case."
"Thank you… uh?"
"Ah, right. Never gave you my name, did I?" He laughed, "The name's Anderson."
"Thank you Anderson."
"It is no problem. Though I will say this. If you keep heading south and follow the road, you will find yourself in Lurolona village. It was hit pretty bad from the first wave a week ago, and just recently a bunch of survivors came for supplies. It has a port, and I heard many of the ships were out to sea when the wave hit, so you may be able to take a boat and be away from here without issue. Especially if the boat owner is a Demi-human."
"Because Iwatani is the Shield Hero."
"Aye, now you're getting it son." He turned his head to see Naofumi groaning from the bed. "I best be leaving it to you then to inform our hero of what is happening. Do come by for breakfast though, I still owe Sir Iwatani a meal for yesterday's save."
"We will, thank you." I watch him leave, turning to see Naofumi sitting up and holding his head, blinking in the early morning light as he looks around the room in confusion.
"H-hey!" He gave me a relieved smile as he fell back on the bed. "You are alright!"
"I should be saying that." I shook my head as I pushed off the wall and made my way to his side. "That was really foolish, you know?"
"Standing in front of the fireball." I clarified for him, causing his eyes to widen before frowning while staring up at the ceiling.
"I wasn't sure what to do." He said after a moment before looking back at me. "I thought if I said something, you would have jumped out of the way, and the two traders would have got hit by the blast instead."
I wanted to say that I wouldn't do that, that my first priority would be the safety of the people around me. But Naofumi didn't really know how I would react in a moment of surprise, he didn't know that I am…
"You don't have to worry. I am a lot tougher than I look." I reached and pulled one of the flowers in the vase nearby, concentrating as I cast [Reinforcement] on it, before handing it to him. "Here, try and bend it."
Naofumi only stared at the flower before shrugging and tried to bend it with a single hand, only to blink once and began to use both hands, struggling to bend the stalk of the flower with gritted teeth.
"What the hell?!"
"It's magecraft called [Reinforcement]. It enhances the concept of existence to the thing it's applied to. Swords become sharper, more durable, food tastes better, et cetera. I would have used it on a large shield or sword that I can [Trace] to enhance the concept of defense so you wouldn't have gotten hurt."
"Wow, that's…" Naofumi started, staring at me with awe.
"It's just how it is." I said, turning to look at the box full of items, wondering if I should just start handing them over.
Naofumi licked his lips. "Is there a way for me to learn that?"
I gave it some thought. "It will most definitely be painful, but if you have magic circuits then I might be able to teach you how. You'll be practicing on inanimate objects at first though. If you overfill objects with magical energy when you [Reinforce] them, they tend to explode. You'll have to learn [Structural Analysis] first so you can gauge the amount to add…"
Naofumi gulped. "That's dangerous!"
"Well," I started. "The benefits are worth it— [Reinforcement] is a multiplicative magecraft in it's enhancement. But another part of it is the philosophy of magi. To be a magus is to walk with Death. The craft can kill you but at the same time it is a powerful tool". The contents of my talk with him were heavy, so I decided to lighten the topic. "Anyways, we've got some material from that [Two Headed Dog]. You should add it to the shield and see what comes up".
Naofumi nodded at my suggestion. "Thank you for getting the materials after I got knocked unconscious…" He rubbed his head. "To be honest, I'm kind of excited to see what'll be unlocked…"
"So am I."
He moved the bones to the shield and seemed to wait for a result. "Huh, it looks like the Shield is able to work off of just part of the animal." Naofumi sported a large grin. "That means that it'll be easier to hunt animals and then sell the parts that make money— without losing out on its effect".
I was suddenly overcome with an idea. If the shield can extrapolate the image of a shield from the materials given could it replicate Noble Phantasms the same way? Though they're made up of magical energy and not real materials, they are infused with a [Concept of Existence].
If that works… then there was no time to waste. It would be best to unlock it now and have him figure out how to use it as soon as possible.
"Trace On" I muttered out loud, ignoring the questioning look from Naofumi as I held out my hand for this new creation. An interesting item that was within the Unlimited Blade Works, powerful in its own right but far different than the few items of the similar construct.
"Shïrou?" Naofumi seems kind of worried, but considering that he has yet to see all my little tricks I have, I feel like it should be best to give him an idea, and if everything works out, he has many more options to have in hand.
"Just a minute Naofumi, I have an idea".
Judging the concept of creation
A shield that functions as a boat that would protect the King.
Hypothesizing the basic structure
A shield in the shape of a circle from which the four points of a cross appear.
Duplicating the composition material
Wood made from the Round Table, the Place Where Heroes Gather.
Initiating the skill of it's making
Only the finest of blacksmiths were qualified to make the weaponry of the Knights of the Round Table.
Sympathizing with the experience of its growth
It was a shield that had faced countless attacks in the service of the King
Reproducing the accumulated years
It had aged since the time it was first made, but never broken
Excelling every manufacturing process
"Whoa!" Naofumi took a step back as he stared at the large cross shield in my hand, gently setting it down onto the floor due to the weight. It was much lighter than it appears, but still pretty hefty to lug around.
"Trace Off" Satisfied, I looked over my work. It was flawed, as are all objects created with my magecraft, but it was still leagues ahead of ordinary materials. If Naofumi could get better at defending others while I attacked them, that would only prove to our advantage.
"A shield?" Naofumi couldn't help but utter, a small smirk forming on my face as I held it out to him.
"Yeah… Can you see if you can unlock something with it?" Grinning, Naofumi held out the small shield to it, in an attempt to absorb the much larger shield into itself, but the only thing that happened was a bright green glow and Naofumi's eyes glazing over as something appeared before him that only he could see.
As he looked it over, his eyes dramatically widened. "Prydwen.." He murmured. "I feel like I've heard that name before but I don't recall where… It converts some of my defense stats to attack stats?! Finally! I am no longer limited to an attack stat of one!"
He smiled at me so brightly at that moment, as though my gift was worth a lot to him. It wasn't though, being only ever a fake. Then he frowned a bit as he kept reading, looking quite surprised as he finished up. "Holy… Shirou this shield is amazing! I mean, if you gave this to me early on, I wouldn't be able to use it, but now that I am beyond level ten, I have access to it. Though, it looks like there is more to this shield than you know."
"Well, the more I use it, the stronger it gets. Has nothing to do with my levels either." Naofumi explained, staring at the massive shield in awe. "Later down the line it will increase my attack ability, and I have this nifty spell that comes with it. Weird name though, but it increases the defense of everyone in my party. It has a pretty long cool down, but it will be good to have."
"So using it more often will be better in the long run."
"Yeah, but I have the feeling that unlocking more shields will give me more to work with. So just relying on this shield, though pretty strong, will not work out if the situation doesn't call for it. I've got the feeling the shield is more of a crowd control than an actual tool of destruction."
I nodded my head, glad that Naofumi has shown to be pretty tactical in his thinking. He was taking to this as a duck to water, watching as he continued to look over the information with apparent glee.
"Anyways," I added a bit late, "We have to leave soon. We've already been here a little longer than I like since we aren't that far out of Melromarc's capital."
Naofumi's grin broke. "Yeah, I remember. I guess my unconsciousness delayed us a lot."
"It's fine… It's not your fault you fell unconscious".
"Naofumi, there's nothing you should have done differently, except maybe have me defend against that dog".
"But then you would have gotten hurt!"
I thought back to that first night, how Lancer's spear obliterated my heart. "I've been hurt much worse before and I could have blocked it…"
"My defensive power is higher than yours though, and I don't know how to heal the same way that you do. So, I'll function as the party's tank. Besides, with Prydwen, things should be easier".
Looking into his eyes at that moment, I knew that he would not bend or break, his convictions would not falter. It was the same look I saw in the mirror every day, after all. There was only one thing to do, I relented. "Fine."
We continued to talk as Naofumi added the remaining materials to the shield, frowning somewhat at the lack of attack stats, but impressed with the improved [Dog Bite] skill with the various wolf and dog teeth, which would make whoever was on the receiving end to be trapped by the shield.
At his house we enjoyed a light meal of slightly bitter crepes— I suspected that sugar wasn't all that common— with an assortment of fruits and berries, but we couldn't stay long, we had already long overstayed our welcome so close to the capital.
We set off right after, leaving on the road towards Lulorona village.
New abilities: Naofumi
Two-headed Black Dog Shield: Equip Bonus: Alert Shield (lets Naofumi know when enemies enter twenty meter radius around him), Special Effect: Dog Bite
Dog Bite (immobilization skill, two bite down on a target and hold it in place)
Currently: provides when active a 10% conversion of defense to attack stats, 1% passive conversion ( though defensive stats remain at 100% as well, it is just that attack stats get a boost)
Transient Wall of Snowflakes- Currently improves parties defenses up to 10%
Noble Phantasm: (Locked, Mastery Required)
A/n: It's been a while, sorry for the hiatus. We took some information from Naofumi's Stat Boosts and Shields Documented Up to Episode 20, Volume 4 in the Light Novels by u/Astalano on Reddit as well as the FGO wiki entry on everyone's favorite shielder.