Time [00:00:24] February 27th, 2004

The world of Thaumaturgy, as a general rule, was one that grew weaker as time passed on. The loss of old techniques, the dissemination of abilities and techniques amongst the masses, the loss of the Gods and their golden age, and the creation and advancement of technology and science. These were just some of the many reasons that the generalized rule of 'Thaumaturgy will grow weaker with time' came to be a widely, unspoken, agreement amongst those apart of the various supernatural societies around the world.

Of course, like basically any rule in the world, there were always exceptions. People and beings of incredible power that stood out from the general, weakening, populous. Holdovers from the Age of Gods, Magicians, Mystic Codes of incomprehensible creation, and insane monsters that had won the genetic and thaumaturgical lotteries.

Creating even a single construct of the size that Shirou had, even using his insanely refined and efficient methodology for Gradation Air, should have consumed enough Prana to leave even Lorelei Barthomeloi winded. Yet one was not the number he stopped at, and they were not so flimsy as to shatter with one well-placed throwing knife, as most Gradation Air constructs were prone to do.

Shirou Muramasa had long since stepped out of the realms of even a 'regular magus', and this display of raw power proved as such. And for the first time since Enhance had waltzed his way into Fuyuki and assaulted Shirou in his own home, the power of the King of Blades, the Demonic Blacksmith of the Clock Tower, was revealed to the world once more.

Beams of unimaginable heat continued to strike the meteoric blades, changing their orientation, their rotation, and the speed at which they moved but not the speed at which they fell. The seven vanguard blades shielding Shirou and Gray from the raw power of the Ramesseum Tentyris while only making Ozymandias's job harder.

With each blade having the ability to slice through the complex, their current tumbling freefall had turned them from unavoidable dangers to battle-ending missiles that the King of Kings now had to deal with and try to mitigate. Which was only made harder by the three-pronged offensive of the Fuyuki Forces, with the sphinxes' bodies blocking all of the Hanging Gardens attacks and making slow progress towards the Gardens themselves. And Arjuna having to try and break off Bellerophon's charge with a hail of arrows that wouldn't have looked out of place in a grand war with hundreds or thousands of archers, not a single man Demi-God or not.

Shirou had forced Ozymandias to take the defensive position in this conflict and forced him to keep it away from any cities as well, all for this exact moment to come to fruition. An offensive that could only be born from this unique positioning and setup that Ozymandias himself had created and allowed to bloom. But while this opening offensive was powerful, created to cripple the Yggdmillennia forces before they could even amass a proper retaliation, it was hardly the only plan they had for this conflict.

The space between Shirou and Gray bent and distorted, and the two of them knew that the time for their personal retreats had arrived. Neither of the two apex superhumans fought the tugging feeling as Morgan pulled them out of the space that they inhabited, the two of them reappearing on the edge of the flying fortress just in time to watch the flipping and tumbling blades crash into the ground.

Through a last-ditch multi-fire of the Dendera Electric Bulbs, four of the blades avoided hitting the main pyramid of the Ramesseum Tentyris directly, burying themselves deep into the ground. With dull, echoing rings that cracked the earth around the four buried blades, two more blades ricocheted off their four deflected counterparts, chipping through the corners of the pyramid and knocking down portions of the east and west walls surrounding the grand structure.

The seventh blade, flipped and cut an entire corner of the pyramid clean off, blocking any entry into or out of the severed portion through its sheer size as with a titanic screech of metal, it came to rest against two of its deflected compatriots.

Finally, like the last nail in the proverbial coffin, Shirou's eighth and final blade slammed into the Pyramid ramrod straight. The giant blade pierced clean through the north side of the pyramid, about halfway up its length, and buried itself so far into the ground that by the time it came to rest, only twenty meters of the actual blade was still exposed to the midnight air.

Only for the blistering white light of Bellerophon to cut clean through the center of the pyramid and explode out the other side in a cloud of dust and golden chunks. The mythical summon immediately banked to the side to avoid the complex's blast, which melted an instant hole in the ground that it struck.

Time [00:00:31] February 27th, 2004

'Breaking the pyramid in any capacity should weaken its effectiveness.' Medusa thought to herself, looking back and widening her eyes beneath Breaker Gorgon as she caught sight of the four building coalitions of mana.

Medusa and her summon became a blinding white blur in the night sky as they twirled, dove and outran the machine fire of searing heat that left the pyramid. The previously prolonged beams that had engaged the Hanging Gardens and Ig-Alima assault turned into short, rapid bursts of 'bullet' fire that melted the earth, atomized the trees, and evaporated the ocean.

"Rider, it's time." Sakura's voice echoed through their connection, causing Medusa to bank Bellerophon to the side to avoid another blast of condensed heat and start ascending towards the still-firing Hanging Gardens.

It was a shame that she didn't have the time to set up Blood Fort Andromeda around the Ramesseum Tentyris, she'd even floated the idea past the alliance, but the buildup time and setting it up without it being found and shattered beforehand were simply too great a negative to ever grant the idea enough merit to get off the ground.

But now, with the pyramid cracked and broken, the opening siege had come to an end. Now it was time for the far more difficult open-combat section of the fight to arrive.

XXXxxxXXX

Aboard the Hanging Gardens, Throne Room

Time [00:01:02] February 27th, 2004

"Looks like the opening salvo went off without a hitch." Rin smirked as Shirou and Gray walked back into the throne room, getting a simple shake of her boyfriend's head in return.

"It didn't exactly go wrong. But ideally, I would have liked more of the Ig-Alima's to cut through the pyramid."

"Are you complaining with what you got, Sherou?"

"Sorta, yeah." He muttered, getting an amused scoff and roll of Luvia's eyes.

"You're a perfectionist, Sherou."

"Says you. I still remember what it took to create Edelfelt's Kaleidoscope." He shot back with an amused grin, getting a small giggle from Luvia that she hid behind her palm.

"How is your Od looking, Senpai?" Sakura asked, walking up to Shirou as he did a small check over his combat gear.

"Perfectly fine, barely a dent." He muttered, patting himself down for every item that he had on him.

"What's wrong, Onii-chan?"

"…Something is about to happen soon, real soon. It's starting to get to me." He responded after a moment, getting small frowns from all the Masters, many of whom had clocked onto that same feeling in the air by now.

"What do you think it will be?" Gray asked, walking up to Shirou's side.

The ritual concocted by Morgan to fully undo the original ritual performed on Gray had taken a lot out of her, leaving her mostly immobile in the preparation phase of this fight. Yet now that she had recovered, she had a spryness to her step and a generally more open demeanour, even if she was still fairly introverted and quiet without Shirou or Luvia around.

"At this stage, I don't even know. It could be the Yggdmillennia, it could be Morgan, it could even be Julian and whatever he has planned."

At the mention of his name, Rin growled, the young woman still pissed off at having her date ruined by Angelica and Okita Alter.

"Doesn't narrow it down too much…" Olga mumbled, getting a suspicious hum from Illya as the girl noticed the small shuffle towards Shirou that she took.

XXXxxxXXX

Meanwhile, Mount Enzou

Time [00:03:17] February 27th, 2004

Angelica kept her face perfectly emotionless as she watched the ghostly pale, ridiculously shredded, man step out of the shadows of a nearby tree. A self-assured, greasy, smile on his face as he stared at Julian and only Julian.

"We meet again, Keeper." Julian hummed in amusement, only getting a folding of the man's hands behind his back.

"That we do, Darius." Angelica blinked a couple of times in confusion, why was this ghost of a man calling her brother Darius…?

"Oh, come now. At least try to keep the pretense up." Julian chuckled, waving the man off as he began to walk towards the sanctum of the Greater Grail.

"I wouldn't cross the threshold quite yet. Allow the diversion to do its job and divert." The man advised, getting a click of Darius' tongue as he stopped moving mid-step.

"And who are you to-" The 'teen's' words cut off as he turned back to glare at the muscular man, only to cut himself off.

For a brief, shadowed, moment the image of the calm and collected 'keeper' of the Grail crashed down. Glowing red veins stretched over his unnaturally pale skin and his eyes seemed to glow in the shadow of his hairline, a manic grin stretching his features that clearly came not from the host, but from that which resided within their body.

And the next second it was gone, the calm and collected man back in control as his features straightened back out and the veins over his body disappeared.

"Hmph. Fine, fine. I get it. The Witch increased her security once again, did she?"

"Of sorts. Say, what exactly is the desire you hold, Darius?"

'There it is again. Darius. Why is he calling my brother Darius…?' Angelica thought, narrowing her eyes slightly at the two figures.

Almost as if sensing her glare, Darius craned his neck to glare at her in warning. As if to say, "obey or else".

And deep within Okita Souji Alter, as if a capsule opened at just the right moment, a realization hit her.

"Master. This area is too dangerous, you have to leave."

'I'm not just going to leave my brother, Saber.'

"That isn't your brother." Okita Alter said aloud as she materialized, grabbing her Master and stepping back, the both of them disappearing right as Darius clenched a fist towards them.

The shimmering blue squares appeared in the location that they had just been a moment too late. Darius's pupils dilated and his teeth gritted as he could almost physically see his plans beginning to fall around his head.

"Relax, Darius. We don't need either of them here for you to have your wish." Kirei hummed in amusement, his eyes gleaming with cruel satisfaction.

'That activation time…His soul really is a fraction of what it used to be. He won't be much of a feast once he's gone but the weight of his Mystery should offset it. Too bad I couldn't be rid of that Counter Guardian though.'

It was annoying, but the Servant's realization at this exact moment was probably a delayed contingency from Alaya should the Servant themselves have not figured it out by now. Which meant that either the Servant, the girl, or both, were necessary going forward.

But no matter, in the chaos that was to come, once Kirei had completed the task that he wished to, Angra Mainyu could go hunt the both of them down to his heart's content.

"Hmph. You're right. Yes. She's useless. Only I'm necessary." Darius muttered, an insane grin stretching his lips as he prepared himself to wait for 'the distraction' as the Keeper had put it.

XXXxxxXXX

Meanwhile, Ramesseum Tentyris

Time [00:04:46] February 27th, 2004

Artoria coughed a little as she sprinted through the halls alongside Scathach, Percival, and Medusa. The four of them, plus Heracles technically, were the vanguard squad in charge of taking out the Yggdmillennia Servants within the Ramesseum Tentyris.

The only reason that Heracles was not with the group was his insistence on dealing with Arjuna himself, Archer versus Archer and all.

However even without Heracles, the assault group was not a weak force in the slightest, able to crush even the fearsome sphinxes of Ozymandias instantly; not that they had come across any within the Ramesseum Tentyris, oddly enough.

Yet none of them dropped their guard, not trusting this enemy temple in the slightest. So, when Artoria coughed as she did, with no dust or visible particles in the air, all eyes were on her in an instant.

"My King are you- KUHK!" Percival stumbled while covering his mouth, taking his hand back and widening his eyes as he saw the thick, dark, splattering of blood now covering his gauntlet.

"Well, that's hardly a good sign." Scathach muttered, drawing a quick rune as she coughed and Medusa collapsed mid-step, almost vomiting blood rather than coughing it, as Percival had.

She could feel it, now that she was crafting the necessary rune, the cursed poison in the air. Seeping into all of them, sapping their strength and destroying them from the inside. An insidious defense mechanism for a man as open and proud as the King of Kings, but she should have expected no less from the man who had gone against Moses at the cost of even his own people.

Right as Artoria had another coughing fit and Percival fell to a knee as he coughed more blood, Scathach managed to finish her rune, the glowing green energy flowing over the other three Servants. The rune wasn't able to do a full detox of their systems, but it could at least bolster their health to offset the damage that the poison was doing to them.

For Artoria and Percival, it was enough to put them back into fighting form, just with a slight fuzziness in their head and the annoying urge to cough every now and then. For Medusa, it was vital to get her off the ground and back on her feet, the buxom woman swaying a little even while standing still and wiping some blood off her lips and chin.

For probably the first time since she had been summoned, her relatively low Endurance was biting her in the ass, and hard.

"Medusa, will you be able to continue?" Artoria asked, a small frown on her face at the poor state that her ally had been left in.

"I-I can. Just….g-give me a moment." She muttered, trying and failing to put up a strong front as she coughed and wheezed.

Scathach opened her mouth to say something, only to snap it closed and look up as she heard the rapid flapping of wings. Her neck craned and her eyes moved up to locate the source of the sound, only to see a dove dive into the domain of the Ramesseum Tentyris and spiral back into the air. Its wings seized and a weak coo left its beak as its entire body froze and its eyes went milky white in mid-air.

And as if they had been waiting for this, Scathach wasn't stupid enough to think that familiars of Semiramis of all people wouldn't be able to compute at least that much, two more doves dove after their decelerating companion. Each dove grabbed a foot of the corpse and began to fly in tandem up to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

"Hm. Don't worry Medusa, I think our resident poisoner is working on helping us out."

"Oh, thank the Gods." The blindfolded woman groaned, coughing into the crook of her arm once more.

Artoria just frowned at the state that Medusa had been left in thanks to the pyramid complex that they now stood inside. Based on the words of Scathach, it seemed like what may be causing all of this was a poison of some kind, and for it to affect her even through Avalon…

"Let's keep moving, the longer we stay here the-"

The wall to their left exploded in a shower of debris and shining dust as the head of a gigantic crocodile burst through the wall, bloodlust in its eyes and maw widening as it flew towards the group of Servants.

"-sooner this can happen." Artoria finished, her voice falling flat and her expression going dead.

Quicker than any of them could react, especially Medusa, Scathach appeared above the charging beast. The powerful woman's leg cocked back as she spun in the air just enough to slam her leg down onto the tip of its jaw with maximum impact. The force of her strike compressed the air in a shockwave that shattered the hallway they were in, not only slamming the Ammit's jaw shut but also slamming its entire head into the floor so hard that its entire momentum shifted from going forward to going straight down.

"All of you keep going, I'll deal with this." Scathach ordered, making a small shooing motion with her hand as she summoned both of her spears.

"Best of luck to you." Percival nodded, taking off down the hallway.

"I'll be expecting you at the final battle." Artoria warned, following after her loyal knight.

"S-Stay safe…" Medusa muttered, trying her best to suppress another cough as she took off after them.

"Hmmm. A divine beast like this? I'd say about a ten-minute job if I keep my basics in mind." Scathach hummed to herself, hopping back to avoid the air-rending snap of the Ammit's jaws as it made its way back to its feet.

"Lancer, bad news. We've been relocated by The Witch. We aren't in danger but we're no longer anywhere near the fight." Bazett's voice echoed in her mind, getting a small widening of her eyes.

'Relocated? How did that happen?'

"Nevermind that for now. Just know that we won't be there to provide active support. Command Seal or otherwise."

'Understood. I'll make sure to inform you if I need-' Scathach's thought was cut off by the brief wave of Mana that passed over her and the smallest hint of Artoria's voice in the air.

"Lancer? Is everything ok?"

'Everything's fine. I think that Artoria just discovered your relocation, however.'

"Ah. That would do it."

'Indeed it would.'

Time [00:06:01] February 27th, 2004

XXXxxxXXX

A minute earlier, Hanging Gardens of Babylon

"Archer has started to fight; I can feel the drain on my Od." Illya informed the group of masters.

Of course, to her, such a drain was almost less than the rate at which she naturally recovered her Od thanks to the supercharged Grail, but that specificity didn't quite matter as much as informing them of the fight beginning.

"Good to know. From now on we'll have to rely on the familiars and scrying of Caster and Semiramis to give support." Bazett hummed, her glare joining a few others in pinning down both Shirou and Gray.

Regardless of exactly how powerful the two were, they weren't invincible and everyone in the congregate knew it too.

"Relax. I trust Artoria and the others. I'm just worried about whatever is going to happen." Shirou replied, waving off the glares easily, his eyes snapping over to the side.

'The light bent? No.'

Bazett, being the closest to the phenomenon, was the fastest to act. Runes lit up her glove as she spun back to put as much force into a backhand as she possibly could. However, while her proximity and reflexes may have made her the first to act, it did not make her the only one to act.

In bursts of air, both Shirou and Gray appeared on either side of the distortion in space, blades forming in their hands as they aimed to cut down the intruder before they could even fire a spell. The familiar burning sensation on his shoulder clued Shirou into exactly who had dared to invade the Hanging Gardens so brazenly.

"Too late~" Morgan le Fay's voice echoed throughout the hall, appearing out of the special disturbance about a tenth of a second after all of the congregated masters, plus Gray disappeared from the Hanging Gardens entirely.

Not before the violently whipping winds from the three converging strikes died down, however. A small bead of blood rolled down her cheek from a paper-thin cut that appeared the instant that she fully materialized. Her thumb came up to wipe it off as a dark smirk stretched her lips.

"For a schemer, this is rather open." Pendragon hummed, a frown on her face and a sharp glare locked onto her counterpart as she pulled apart the proceeding second in her mind.

'No wonder the teleportation was so slow compared to how we normally do it. She linked the space without coming through right away so that she could include its area in a teleportation spell to be rid of the masters. The coordinates were decided ahead of time and uniform across the entire spell, so she didn't split them. Was it an estimate on how closely grouped they would be or was it something else that let her pick the right radius?'

"Oh, I wouldn't quite think so. Compared to what's about to happen everywhere else I'd say that this is rather in the shadows, wouldn't you?"

"Interesting wording." Pendragon commented, narrowing her eyes a little more at the widening of Le Fay's grin.

"Morgan, we're all fine. Not quite sure where we've been dropped but there's nothing set up here" Luvia's voice echoed in her mind.

'Great. Once Le Fay is dealt with, I'll work on finding you all.'

"Best of luck to you."

"Isn't it just? Now, it's time to get rid of some annoyances." Le Fay growled, her staff appearing in her hand.

"You think you can take on the both of us?" Pendragon asked, summoning her own staff.

"Oh please. Semiramis is a little preoccupied with her little aerial war at the moment, we both know that." Le Fay rolled her eyes, a fireball blooming to life between the two of them in an instant.

XXXxxxXXX

Ramesseum Tentyris, Artoria and co.

Time [00:07:30] February 27th, 2004

Ozymandias hummed in amusement as the last of the rubble and debris, that had been the doors to his throne room a mere three seconds ago, finally fell to a standstill on his once perfectly polished floor. The dust cleared with a small hand signal and a wave of Sphinx Wehem-Mesut's wing.

"Well, well. For so many of you to have reached my inner sanctum looking so hearty, a welcome surprise I must say." The King of Kings began to speak, his eyes gazing over the group of Artoria, Percival, and the slightly pale and unsteady Medusa.

Meanwhile, atop his throne and its raised platform, sat the form of Ozymandias, Xuanzang, Hessian Lobo, and the gigantic, cosmologically skinned, Sphinx Wehem-Mesut itself.

To the side of the room sat all of the Yggdmillennia Masters, many of whom were beginning to grow a little worried about just what was about to go down inside this throne room within the next minute or so.

"If you expected this to be easy, King of Kings, you clearly didn't understand who your opponents were."

"Oh no. I clearly understand. I never expected a clean sweep, after all, that would have bored me. And if there's one thing your King of Blades has yet to do, that's bore me."

The Pharaoh's eyes snapped to the side as Hessian Lobo and Medusa clashed. One of the Gorgon Queen's unnamed weapons was trapped in the jaws of the fearsome King of Currumpaw with the lethally sharp tip only a few centimeters away from piercing straight into Darnic's skull.

"Hmph. And with that, I suppose we shall let the games begin!" Ozymandias crowed, raising his arms high.

Only for the entire pyramid to shake and the fist of Xuanzang to strike the ribs of Ozymandias, flinging him off his throne and into the wall with a crack of bone and whatever bankrupting material formed the Ramesseum Tentyris. The buxom Buddhist immediately flung herself off the raised platform to avoid being crushed under the giant paw of Wehem-Mesut, flipping and twirling in the air until she landed beside Artoria and Percival with all the grace and daintiness expected of a woman of her prowess.

Peeling off the cracked wall, Ozymandias hit the ground feet first, his knees not even bending as he kept his gaze locked onto Xuanzang. His expression was unreadable as he took a few steps forward.

"Xuanzang Sanzang. You understand what you just did. Do you not?"

"I do, Ozymandias." Xuanzang nodded, her khakkhara staff appearing in her right hand.

"I see… I see. Hah! What a wonderful experience this is turning out to be! You're truly on the side of the King of Blades?"

"I truly am, he is a fellow believer of the Lord Buddha." The way that Ozymandias smirked clearly showed that he knew there was more to it than her words, but he didn't push, instead only pointing his staff at her.

"Then I shall strike you down alongside your new allies, apologies."

"No apology needed, Ozymandias." Xuanzang smiled before raising her left hand into a prayer motion with her right arm out to the side and her right leg raised off the ground and curled so that her heel nearly rested against her behind.

"I, Xuanzang Sanzang, declare this location, Vihara."

XXXxxxXXX

Time [00:08:03] February 27th, 2004

Heracles lodged the edge of his bow into a groove in the exterior of the Ramesseum Tentyris, created by a stray arrow of Arjuna's, and spun himself around in midair. The small behemoth of a Servant flung himself back at Arjuna as an arrow found its way back into his fingertips. Both demi-gods fired subsonic arrows at each other as Heracles rapidly closed in on the Indian archer. The arrow of Heracles was destroyed in its entirety as it met the ignition-propelled projectile of his opponent. However it didn't need to survive, it only needed to divert the flight of Arjuna's arrow, which it did beautifully.

A singular brown eye of Arjuna's widened between the gaps in Heracles's fingers as the man closed the distance between them and grabbed him by the head. His momentum suddenly dragged Arjuna along for the ride as they went halfway down the pyramid's side before he slammed the back of Arjuna's head into the smooth surface.

In an instant their flight came to a halt, the entire face of the pyramid cracking under the force that Heracles had slammed his opponent down with. A force so powerful that it seemed to shake the very complex down to its foundations. Though Heracles wasn't able to notice any other effects of the pyramid as Arjuna's leg lodged itself deep into his stomach and flung him clear off the dark-skinned archer.

Another three arrows met mid-air and exploded into shrapnel as both Archers fired at each other amidst Heracles's flight back to the tip of the Pyramid, where the largest Dendera Electric Bulb continued its anti-air assault on the Hanging Gardens.

'Arjuna was able to fire even with a posture as bad as that? That's even more skill than I got to see a week ago.' Heracles thought, flipping in the air and stabbing his fingers into the shining exterior of the Ramesseum Tentyris to grind himself to a halt before he struck the Dendera Electric Bulb head-on.

Heracles snapped his head to the side to avoid an arrow aimed right at his mouth, three arrows of his own materializing into his hand as he pulled all three back at once and fired. The arrows barely began their curve towards Arjuna before the Greek Demi-God had pulled another three and fired them all dead-straight at his opponent in rapid succession.

Arjuna was quick to snipe all of them out of the air in order of how dangerous they were to him at the current moment, but it had put him squarely on the back foot. A tiny bead of sweat formed on his temple as his lips stretched ever so slightly into a grin.

'Heracles of Greece, what an opponent. Will I even have the time to build up Pashupata? Would it even work on a man like this? I want to know; I want to see.'

"Come, Heracles of Greece. Show me your resolve."

XXXxxxXXX

Time [00:09:17] February 27th, 2004

"Holy Grail! I hereby proclaim my wish! Bring humanity back to its prime!" Darius shouted, his arms outstretched and held above his head, his grin manic and his eyes wide as he finally got to see over two thousand year's worth of buildup pay-

As the violent, malevolent, wave of mana passed over his body, the hand of the Grail's Keeper, the body of Kirei Kotomine, violently burst out of the front of his chest from behind. The muscular, superhuman, limb soaked in the thick, viscous, life-fluid, and slimy organ tissue of Darius.

"Y-You bast- agh! -A-ard…." The ancient man, a fraction of what he had once been after so many years imperfectly avoiding death, choked out.

Weakly, and in a rather unstable, jittering, motion the ancient man in a teen's body held a hand out toward Kirei. Prana began to coalesce in the air around the man's midsection as he started to activate Flash Air.

"Oh, I think not." The ex-priest's arm tensed and thick, tar-like black ooze seeped out of his arm and into the flesh and blood of Darius, making him scream out in pain.

That Magecraft of his was rather annoying now that he'd been able to get a closer look at it. While it may have been useful it was also too aggravating to be left in the world. It took barely a fraction of a second's distraction from corrupting the man's soul, to avoid him escaping his fate, to corrode his connection to the artifact they used to activate their mutated technique in the first place.

'Hm. A container of Imaginary Space? Clever, but useless.'

Darius sucked in a breath to continue screaming as the deep, dark red veins crawled up his neck, only for Kirei to flick his arm to the side and hurl the teen's body into an awaited coagulation of black mud.

"I'll keep you alive for a little while longer before I consume you for your Mystery. I wish for you to see the godforsaken gift you have granted to your species."

Whatever Darius was going to say was cut off by a tendril of black mud that covered his mouth, his eyes bulging as he tried to scream, only to be met with Kirei signing a Christian cross in the air and clapping his hands together in prayer.

"Oh, Father who art in Heaven. Forgive us, cleanse us, of our sins-"

XXXxxxXXX

A moment earlier, Fuyuki Masters

A blackened pulse of mana ripped through the thick forest that the eight humans found themselves teleported into. Small and weak leaves withered and fell from the trees that they previously hung from, adding another layer to an already foreboding feeling that clawed at each of them.

They all knew that the tension in the air that had been building all week was finally coming to a head, and it began with this pulse of mana. As the wave passed over Sakura, her right eye turned red and the right half of her hair turned white, a sharp gasp leaving her lips as she hunched over in pain.

"Sakura!" Rin was the first at her side, with Luvia and Olga shortly after.

Shirou, Bazett, and Gray had not moved from their positions, as much as they were worried for Sakura, simply because their bodies wouldn't allow them to.

Their instincts, born of their experiences and the thaumaturgical oddities that gave rise to these three superhumans, forced their entire bodies to lock up as they subconsciously searched for whatever the next, biggest, threat would be.

And the titanic, overwhelming, and unstoppable wave of magic that followed the corrupted ripple was evidently the trigger that was needed. Everyone's gaze snapped to the west as they watched the air, the very fabric of space itself tear.

"PARTNER! MYTHOS!"

Time [00:09:25] February 27th, 2004

Gray didn't hesitate for even a single second, grabbing Add with such force and speed that she completely shattered the small birdcage at her side, both Shirou and Bazett rocketing to her side.

Perhaps it was instincts of Add's own, or the fact that he wasn't truly human and housed the legendary Rhongomyniad, thus allowing him a deeper understanding into that which the human mind struggled to. But the personality construct knew the moment he had felt the wave of mana what the cause was and for once, and only once, in his entire life, Add prepared to gamble his life on something that he knew had to be done.

"Pseudo-personality suspended. Magical energy yield exceeds regulation. Second stage restraint rescinded. Seal Thirteen. Decision, start."

The crack in reality, which had started at a couple hundred meters in length, had already expanded to over seven hundred meters from end to end and dipped low into the sea and high into the sky in a vaguely ovoid shape.

The enemy is greater than oneself. Approved.

The trees began to sway and creak, the clouds overhead growing thicker and darker, and the sound of the crashing waves could be heard even from their current position.

The enemy is not an elemental. Approved.

The tear in reality grew larger, already over a kilometer and a half in length as the mana in the air began to thicken.

The battle must be one against evil. Approved.

Olga began to breathe heavily as the mana in the air began to press down on her, creating an almost phantom pain along her body that she couldn't ignore, no matter how much she tried.

The battle is not one of personal gain. Approved.

Birds began to fall out of the air and people began to fall unconscious in the nearby town, lightning arcing through the disturbed clouds overhead.

The battle is not one against Humanity. Approved.

'Faster! Please go faster!' Gray begged the lance in her mind, gritting her teeth as she watched the tear in reality grow evermore present and overbearing on the reality which they sat upon.

The battle is not inhumane. Approved.

Time [00:09:53] February 27th, 2004

XXXxxxXXX

"Status!" Lorelei snapped, marching into the central hub of her brigade, blinking only on instinct as another apparatus nearby exploded into small shards of glass and fragile metal.

"The mana readings off the coast of Japan have skyrocketed Lady Barthomeloi! It's overloading all of our equipment."

"Fuyuki?"

"No ma'am, even further west than Fuyuki!"

'Muramasa. What is happening over there?'

XXXxxxXXX

The battle is one to live. Approved.

Time [00:10:00] February 27th, 2004

XXXxxxXXX

"Hah! HAHAHA!"

"And what have you so ecstatic, my lady?" Rizo-Waal Strout asked, arms held behind his back as he looked over at Altrouge as she clutched the railing of one of her castle's many balconies, her gaze locked on the horizon.

"Can't you feel it, Rizo? This mana, its quantity, and its quality!"

"Of course, I can, it would be impossible not to." Rizo snorted, looking at the distance himself.

"It's the Age of Gods all over again!"

XXXxxxXXX

The battle is to defend the Human Order. Approved.

The crack was growing even larger, now beginning to create a stinging sensation over even the Fuyuki natives, leaving Olga in an immense pain that was only counteracted, if at all, by flaring her Od as much as she humanly could.

One's comrades-in-arms are courageous. Approved.

Time [00:10:08] February 27th, 2004

"Gray!"

"It's nearly there! Please hold on!" Gray screamed over the gale-force winds, her expression twisted into one of pure concentration and wrath, aimed squarely at the tear in reality.

The battle is not against one pure of heart. Approved.

XXXxxxXXX

The three Chelon Canticle Brigade members within Fuyuki stared at the distance with wide, unbelieving expressions. Unable to comprehend the sight of the tear in reality that was only growing larger and larger with each passing second.

They had, over their tenure as a member of Lorelei's brigade, seen many things that even the average Magus could never dream of witnessing with their own two eyes. Yet this, in its entirety, eclipsed anything that they had ever seen before by an order of magnitude.

"This is….impossible."

XXXxxxXXX

The battle must be an honourable one. Approved.

Eleven of Thirteen Seals rescinded, third stage restraint rescinded.

"DO IT NOW!" Shirou shouted, Gray's eyes narrowing and the lance in her grip mutating and transforming.

"RHONGO-"

A scream tore its way out of her lips, her left foot stomped forward and her right arm threw itself forward, pointing the tip of her lance at the dead center of the growing tear.

"-MYNIAD"

Everything in the vicinity seemed to almost freeze in time, as if suspended in place by something outside of the occupants' understanding. Everyone was able to exhale and suck in deep breaths on pure instinct as for this split second, even the pain wracking their bodies seemed to cease.

"MYTHOS!"

Time [00:10:14] February 27th, 2004

Time Elapsed: 49 Seconds

A light unlike anything that had graced the earth in centuries exploded out of the legendary lance, blinding everyone in the immediate vicinity and shining like a beacon even over the horizon where their location couldn't even be seen. A pillar of light leapt from the beacon of light that was Rhongomyniad and struck the tear in reality before anything could even hope to react.

The tear in reality, created by Angra Mainyu and the Greater Grail in an attempt to peel the Texture of the Age of Man off the face of the planet, versus Rhongomyniad Mythos: Tower of Dreams Founding the Ends of the World. The Greater Grail may have been supercharged, and utilizing a 'wish' made upon it, but even utilizing every loophole that Angra Mainyu could get away with the Greater Grail still couldn't utilize every last drop of energy available to it for this purpose. There were still Servants to be upheld, after all.

This conundrum, met head-on by the unrelenting power and Authority of the legendary lance of King Arthur, could never have won, not entirely. Yet, it didn't entirely lose either.

Had Rhongomyniad Mythos been able to rescind all thirteen seals, this issue would have been concluded already, that was the pure, raw, power that it held. With twelve of the thirteen seals rescinded it could have completely sealed the tear in Textures with only the slightest difficulty and some time spent focusing on nothing else but that, by Gray. However, with only eleven of the thirteen seals rescinded, Rhongomyniad Mythos was unable to entirely close the tear in Textures, instead doing the best that it could.

The tear in reality grew smaller and smaller, shrinking from tens of kilometers in length to only a few kilometers, its height going from insurmountably tall and unfathomably deep to only a mere kilometer and a half in total height. Yet, that was where it stopped, the raw power and Authority of Rhongomyniad, and the almost illegal act of breaching the Texture in the first place by Angra Mainyu, allowing the situation to 'stabilize' in a way that was almost worse than just allowing the outer Texture of Earth to crumble away to dust.

The tear between Textures did not entirely close, nor did it grow and grow until the entire thing unraveled like a poorly made suit. Instead, the Textures stabilized, as best as possible, in their torn state.

And with its stabilization, that which had left this land long ago, which could not stand the pressure of existing under the weight of the human subconscious, could once more walk among the top Texture.

Or to be more accurate, invade.

It was the bellow of a gigantic beast that heralded the invasion of more than just Mana from the Reverse Side of the World. The scaled exterior and large, spined, wings truly clued everyone into the scale of devastation that they would soon be dealing with. A true, healthy, dragon.

And right behind it, like a fountain of pure energy, hundreds, thousands of spirits began to exit the tear in reality. Pouring into the night sky, lighting it up with thousands of weak lights as every single spirit seemed to release an ethereal glow almost passively.

And as they poured over the world a small congregation turned in midair and began to charge towards the Fuyuki Alliance. Twelve among them were more powerful than the rest, and it was those twelve that immediately kicked Shirou from prepared to high gear. A small army of anti-spiritual weapons crackled into existence in the air around him as his two-toned lightning sparked off his limbs and hair.

"Sword Barrel. Open."

The wind cracked under the sudden kick-off of the prepared blades, whipping furiously around the gathered Masters as Shirou kept his gaze locked squarely on the approaching spirits and nothing more.

Three spirits fell to his blades, and then another four. More and more fell to the fired weaponry with each second that passed until suddenly the kill rate began to drastically drop. Shirou wasn't surprised by this however, he could see the way that all of the spirits tried to move to avoid his blades, only to be too slow, or unable to in the first place, with a few notable exceptions.

If he had to guess, he would say that none of them were prepared for the laws inlaid within the Texture of Man to affect them to the level that it did, trusting the tear in Textures to grant them nothing but their strength on the Reverse Side.

As they got within three hundred meters of the allied humans, Shirou was able to trace their flight patterns and notice a distinct splitting of the spirits. Three towards himself, three towards Illya, two towards Rin, two towards Sakura, one towards Luvia, and finally one towards Bazett.

At the speed they were going, and the distance between them, Shirou himself couldn't intercept all of them. He could get half of the twelve spirits that had survived his long-range assault if he was smart. So, he went for the two highest congregations of spirits, those aiming for him and Illya. He trusted his girlfriends and Bazett to be able to handle themselves, but protecting himself was a must and Illya had an equal three aiming towards her as well, it was only natural.

For a reason that he didn't fully understand, he found himself firing copies of Gilgamesh at the six spirits almost before he'd even realized he had created them. The spirits moved to avoid them, only to seemingly slow down the moment that Gilgamesh got close enough, popping like balloons of nothing but pure, condensed, Mana the moment that the edge of the blade struck them.

"!"

The world seemed to grind itself to a halt as Shirou whirled around, the ground cracking and grinding to pebbles and sand beneath his feet as the four screams of his girlfriends and Bazett reached his ears. The spirits disappeared beneath their clothes and skin as they screamed out in pain, having not moved despite their clear preparation for something.

The reason for their lack of action didn't matter at the moment though, only stopping whatever those spirits were doing. Four copies of Gilgamesh crackling to life so quickly Shirou wasn't even sure if he'd just made them or if he had forgotten to fire them in his earlier volley. The sharpened edge of all four blades sliced through skin and muscle as if it wasn't even there as they buried to the hilt in all four women's thighs. The shockwaves only comprehended in Shirou's mind as all four of them dropped to the ground silently, like puppets with their strings cut and Shirou's senses returned to normal.

"Shirou! Are they ok!?" Gray asked, running over to him while panting slightly.

She may have gained a Mana Core right before Morgan had cut the connection between her and King Arthur, but that didn't mean that using Rhongomyniad Mythos on a level as grand as this wasn't at least a little draining.

"I-I don't know. Why didn't they avoid them? They didn't move. I don't- I don't get it." Shirou muttered, eyes wide and breathing heavily as he struggled to understand the inaction from his loved ones.

"Shirou. I don't think they could see them." Gray muttered; her own eyebrows scrunched up in confusion.

"Big Brother!"

"Onii-chan!"

Both Illya and Olga ran over to Shirou and Gray with worried expressions, looking between the expression of realization on Shirou's face and the seemingly unconscious young woman on the floor nearby.

'Of course. My eyes. Gray could 'see' them as a gravekeeper and I could see them through my Fairy Eyes but none of the girls could comprehend anything. Shit.'

"I'm fine." Shirou managed to, half-heartedly, assure both of the young girls as he stared at his girlfriends, his instincts still keeping him far too wired to calm down.

This wasn't over, something else was going to happen.

Almost as if sensing his thoughts, Gray turned to look at the tear in Textures at the exact same time as Shirou did, with Olga, never wanting to be left out, following their gazes with a worried and somewhat anxious expression.

However, one among them did not follow the same trend, with Illyasviel slowly making her way over the unconscious girls when she noticed movement from all of them.

"Are you ok-"

Ba-dum.

Shirou's head whipped over to Illya so fast that he felt and distantly heard his neck crack. The dangerous tension in the air skyrocketed to a point where he felt like he was about to puke.

The knife hand of Rin pierced straight through Illyasviel's heart, splattering blood over the forest floor and a nearby tree. A choked gasp left the white-haired girl as she grasped her arm with a weakening hand.

Ba-dum.

"R…in….-O…nee-chan…"

"RIN!?"

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?"

Both Gray's and Olga's shouts went unheard by Shirou as his heart began to beat in his ears and his blood began to heat. His breathing grew heavier and his pupils narrowed until they were barely visible in his eyes that began to glow brighter and more ominously.

Ba-dum.

In an almost uncaring manner, Rin flicked her arm to the side and threw Illya's body off her limb, letting her hit the side of a tree dead on with a sickening crack and splat of blood.

"O-Onii….C-Cha-…."

"Who are you?" Shirou's question was met with the ruby red eyes of his 'girlfriend' and the raising of the other three young women.

His voice was cold and taut, the teen barely able to hold himself back from going all out, consequences be damned.

"You made this, did you?" 'Rin' scowled, ripping Gilgamesh out of her thigh and shattering it in her grip, turning and firing magical bullets at the other three copies before turning back to face Shirou. "I would expect nothing less from 'his' successor."

And in a shockwave that shattered the earth beneath them and began to topple trees, the leg of 'Rin' pressed down heavily on the summoned and raised blade of Shirou. The teen's eyes finally allowed him to discover who was before him as the results 'stabilized', so to speak. The edge of his blade flashed out and forcing her to back off, lest she lose either of her legs as Shirou's teeth grit and his eyes became just the slightest bit bloodshot.

Ba-dum.

"Ishtar."

"That's Lady Ishtar to you, mortal."

Sparks of metal and prana exploded in the space between the two as fired blades met bullets of pure prana, Shirou's expression darkening with every second that Ishtar continued to fend off his offense.

"KICK HER ASS SHIROU!"

'Will you shut up already?' Ishtar growled in her mind, her anger making her miss a blade and forcing her to hop to the side to avoid any injuries.

"How about you come in here and make me, Body Stealer." Rin Tohsaka taunted, trapped within her own mind alongside a copy of herself with blonde hair and red eyes, much the same shade as Ishtar's own.

'Oh, believe me. I'd love nothing mo-' The Goddess's retort was broken off as Shirou flickered into view in front of her, his eyes trained on her with a killing intent she hadn't felt since Enkidu still walked the earth.

"Give Rin back." His hand reached up for her throat, given this chance only by the efforts of his girlfriend, unbeknownst to him.

PONG!

The echoing ring of metal on metal shattered the ground around them and blew Ishtar back, Shirou crashing through three trees before Gray caught him and helped him back to his feet. The gravekeeper was not even surprised to see the look of equal parts betrayal and hatred on his face as she turned her attention back to the new addition to the fight, who lowered her floral bow with a disappointed expression on her face.

"You blocked it, a well done I guess." 'Sakura' spoke, almost seductively, with her hair a brilliant white that seemed to sparkle with constellations in the shadows and eyes a deep, sparkling red.

"Shirou?"

"Kama." He answered Gray's unspoken question, pulling the true Gilgamesh from his side.

Yet he couldn't act yet, as an explosion of mana from Ishtar paused both of them in their tracks. The resplendent Goddess touched her fingers softly to her neck where small friction burns could be seen from Shirou's near-miss at grabbing her.

"You, Indian Goddess. You agree, don't you?" Ishtar spoke, getting a suspicious narrowing of Shirou and Gray's eyes.

"Hm. If we're thinking about the same thing, I'd say we do." Kama responded, somewhat dispassionately, as another arrow with the head of a flower found its way into her fingers.

"If you so much as touch a hair on Senpai-"

"Sakura! Sakura! Please calm down! Your soul is still fragile after our intrusion, trying to fight for control right now could self-destruct your being."

'Please keep our host under wraps, Parvati. I wish to see what kind of misery I can bring this man.' Kama spoke internally, secretly more than a little amused at being able to shove such a job on the Goddess that she was now forced to share a body with.

But, if stopping the soul of their host from self-destructing meant that she got to bring more misery to the loveable young man in front of her then she'd let Parvati continue for as long as necessary, regardless of the inner annoyance.

The arrow of Kama, and the magical bullets of Ishtar, fired at the two superhumans without warning, Gilgamesh and Grim Reaper slicing through and deflecting all of them as the two charged forwards, clearly aiming to make this a battle of melee against the two Goddesses.

But of course, Ishtar had been cunning even in the beginning moments of her control, where the blade had still been stabbed into her and the connection was tenuous at best. Because the Goddesses, while kept separate from the souls of the hosts by Gilgamesh to avoid a complete erasure or amalgamation, weren't stopped from receiving every single memory that their hosts had. And the heart of Illyasviel Emiya was special in a way that even a regular human's heart was not.

In a blur of motion and a shockwave of air, Kama and Ishtar collided. The two Goddesses were flung off into the forest and gave Shirou just enough breathing room to look over at his side and freeze.

Gold and blue Fairy Eyes met with the bloodthirsty, almost blank and animalistic, red eyes of his sister. Her suddenly sharp-clawed fingers a mere few centimeters from Gray's neck, kept away only by the iron grip of Bazett on her arm.

"I-Illya…" Gray and Olga flinched at the weakness in Shirou's tone, his expression almost slack as he realized what had happened to her, as he sensed the curse running rampant in her body.

"Shirou, are you ok?"

"Luv-" Shirou wanted to be excited, he wanted to be happy that at least one of his girlfriends was still in control of himself.

But he should have known better by now.

If the golden eyes, as opposed to her usual light-honey, and the shade of blue that her drill-tails transitioned into towards the ends, wasn't enough to clue him into what had happened to Luvia, then the name that his eyes gave him as he structurally grasped her and everything on her, was.

A quick glance over at 'Bazett' proved to give him much the same result, only making his expression sour once more and his fists clenched so tight he was surprised he hadn't drawn blood yet.

"No. I'm sorry. It's not my host. I'm-"

"Astraea. I'm aware." Shirou bit out, only seeming to get angrier at the calm look of understanding that crossed her face instead of some prideful or juvenile outburst of anger.

In his head, he could almost picture a coin being flipped.

Heads: Fight to kill his loved ones to keep his dream alive.

Tails: Fight to save his loved ones and maybe die alongside his dream.

He couldn't decide, he didn't know what the right choice was. He knew, logically, that he couldn't fight a goddess, let alone two, by himself and expect to come out on top. But at the same time if he killed them, and killed his girlfriends alongside them…

Shirou turned his gaze to his sister, thrashing around now in the grip of Manannán mac Lir as her prana output only continued to rise. His grip on Gilgamesh tightened, only for his eyes to meet the blank, animalistic eyes of his sister once more and all the strength to leave his hand.

Quickly, Gray's eyes dipped down and back up, her gaze moving to Astraea who only nodded silently, getting a firm look of warning from the grey-haired girl before her eyes dropped to the floor.

'I can't let Shirou fight his family….'

A practical tidal wave of mana bullets shone over the canopy of the forest, wiping out every tree in their way as they careened toward the congregation of humans and gods. Clearly the next of Ishtar's salvos, with the addition of Kama no less present with the hundreds of floral arrows that rained from the sky at the same time.

Time [00:12:48] February 27th, 2004

The ground exploded as four entities all acted at once.

Shirou and Astraea used their respective skill sets to work through the quick but intense attacks of the two goddesses and defend themselves from harm.

Gray and Manannán threw the feral, dead apostle, Illya far to the side so that they could deal with her away from Shirou and the personal struggle that fighting his possessed girlfriends already was.

Gray didn't know how Shirou was going to handle this situation. She truly couldn't fathom anyone going through what he was going through at the moment, but she had faith that, if nothing else, Shirou could make it through.

Whether he was still fundamentally Shirou, by the time he came out the other side, however. Even Gray didn't know the answer to that.

XXXxxxXXX

Meanwhile, Shirou

"Tyranny." Ishtar yelped a little as her mana bullets suddenly halved in size and speed, allowing Shirou to easily close the gap between them and slash at her with that aggravating sword of his.

The slightest graze seemed to burn unlike anything she'd ever felt before and the insistent, unyielding, assault that Shirou had begun on her was nothing short of infuriating to the Goddess.

A stray arrow from Kama and Astraea's fight forced Shirou to slide on his knees to avoid being struck, giving Ishtar the perfect opportunity to kick off the ground and begin floating. The goddess was able to catch the briefest glimpse of what her 'ally' was up to, only to blink in surprise as she watched the Greek goddess grab one of the trees upturned by their opening salvo and use it as a bat of all things. Shattering on contact with the Indian goddess and shredding another five trees with the force of the shrapnel alone.

"Get down here." Shirou snapped slapping his hand on the ground and pulsing his prana, five golden chains that were intimately familiar to the Mesopotamian goddess firing out of the ground and heading straight towards her.

It was child's play to knock them all off course with her attacks, of course, but the issue with these particular chains was never how easy or how hard they were to knock off course. Rather the issue with these chains, as she knew, was what would occur if they managed to catch her.

"I would have thought that, that man would pick someone exactly like himself!" She exclaimed, flinging three gemstones down at the teen and taking a sadistic glee in the expression that crossed his face right before they exploded into fireballs that put anything that Rin Tohsaka could do to shame.

The shockwave cracked and toppled yet another few trees. Turning the thick forest into a slowly widening plain the longer that the fight went on, and based on the way that the chains came after her with renewed vigor, that was going to continue to be the case.

Dropping low to the ground she raced through, under and over the eternally lengthening chains as she kept her sights on the smoke cloud that covered her opponent. A man who was not only the successor to the Gilgamesh, but also reminded her an uncomfortable amount of Enkidu as well, a combination made in hell if you asked her.

A bright golden light lit up the growing clearing as a giant spear, maybe the size of a bus if Ishtar had to use her newly gained knowledge, crashed into Astraea and her golden sword, shattering the entire clearing and a large portion of the surrounding forest under the impact of the two goddesses' clash.

Though that clash did give Ishtar an idea. She couldn't truly go all out right this very moment, but her existence had been on this Texture for long enough that she could afford to kick it up a notch now without having to worry about repercussions.

So, clearly, it was time to do so.

With a small grin, the goddess's speed increased once more, forcing the chains chasing after her to move even faster as Shirou's eyes tracked her unflinchingly, blades beginning to materialize and fire at a rate that almost matched that of Gilgamesh.

Almost.

Whatever the teen had done with that accursed blade was messing with her Magecraft, even when she brought it to a higher plane of casting with her own Authority it still felt weaker than it should have been. But that didn't mean that it was ineffective against him, merely that it wasn't as effective as it could have been.

Blades and chains tore the forest apart as they chased after the cold-hearted goddess, countered by gemstones and projectiles of pure prana that shattered the ground with each impact that they made. Arrows of flowers and a gigantic spear carving through the native trees and digging deep trenches in the ground as trees and boulders went flying like siege weaponry and a golden blade cut through anything that found itself on the wrong end of its edge. Whether that be the arrows themselves or even the immaterial projectiles of prana that punched through stone like it was wet tissue paper.

Astraea blocked an arrow, flying back from the sheer force of the strike, hitting one of the chains chasing Ishtar feet first and launching herself back, only a hair's breadth away from being caught in it as it instinctually curled back around to catch her.

The coin in Shirou's head continued to flip, unable to find a resolution.

Heads: Fight to kill his loved ones to keep his dream alive.

Tails: Fight to save his loved ones and maybe die alongside his dream.

Ishtar dove under a small hail of blades only to come face to fist with Astraea, spinning in midair and slamming her palm into the ground to fling herself up and over the backhand that was aimed at her, with Astraea herself pouncing out of the way of the oncoming blades to allow Kama to deal with them. The gigantic spear slamming itself into the ground telekinetically to act as a makeshift shield.

The coin in Shirou's head began to flip slower, the ground coming into reach as Tails slowly flipped to face up.

Heads: Fight to kill his loved ones to keep his dream alive.

Tails: Fight to save his loved ones and maybe die alongside his dream.

Every single chain and bladed projectile disappeared at once, bringing the battlefield to a brief, unwitting, pause as they wondered what had caused the blacksmith to bring his assault to a close. Only for a sharpened wave of pure pressure to explode out of the teen as he swung for Ishtar even from his own position, leaving the goddess with no choice but to swerve to the side so violently that she flipped in the air and landed on the ground, a small cut on her arm beginning to slowly trickle blood.

'That's. It. How do I break this little human? This game is coming to a close, regardless of what anybody wants.'

"If you do anything to Shirou-"

'You'll sit there and watch like a good human should. We are not the same, do not think yourself in a position to bargain. But thank you for a wonderful idea~' Ishtar thought to herself, a dark grin stretching her lips as she ignored the worried questioning of both her host and her sister in her head.

"Does it feel nice, Successor of Gilgamesh? To injure me so? To have spent all that effort and only gotten this in response?"

Both Astraea and Kama split apart, sensing a shift in the fight and preparing to act at a moment's notice.

"It'll feel nice when I get you out of my girlfriend's body." Shirou spat, his grip on Gilgamesh tightening.

"Oh, and that's the issue now, isn't it? That you still think such a thing is possible~"

Both Astraea and Kama's eyes widened as they realized what Ishtar was doing, the gigantic spear of Kama crashing down on Astraea to stop her from interfering with the misery to come.

"You don't mean-"

"Oh, but I do! They're gone, little blacksmith. Do you really think that a human's soul could handle inhabiting the same body as a Goddess? Oh, you could be forgiven for thinking as such for the two from Greece and Ireland. But did you truly think that they're anything compared to the weight of my existence? Come now, I thought Gil had picked someone smart to succeed him."

The tip of Gilgamesh slowly began to tilt lower until it tapped gently against the shattered and upturned earth beneath his feet, the oppressive feeling that had left the blade since the teens activation of it cutting out entirely. A blank, unreadable expression on Shirou's face as….everything just seemed to drain out of him at the Goddesses words.

The ground beside Kama's spear exploded upwards, a dirty but mostly unharmed Astraea launching herself out with a panicked and frantic expression.

"Shirou you can't believe-" Both Ishtar and Kama turned to fire projectiles at the Greek goddess, shutting her up as she had no choice but to focus on fending off the projectiles.

With a theatric swing of her arms, Ishtar turned back towards the object of her hatred, a wide mocking grin on her face and a sadistic twinkle in her eyes.

"That's right, Shirou Muramasa Emiya! Your girlfriends are gone! They died to facilitate our rebirths! What a touching gift, wouldn't you agree?"

(Recommended music: Unalloyed Blade Works)

Within Shirou's mind, everything went up in flame, half of the coin melting blank as it flipped and finally, decisively, landed.

Heads: Kill them all.

Tails: Fight to save his loved ones and maybe die alongside his dream.

"I am the bone of my sword."

A hundred blades blinked into existence at once, shocking all three goddesses at the sudden ramp-up in abilities from the red-haired teen. The blades fired off towards them without warning or pre-amble.

"Alloy is my body, and fire is my blood."

The blades were random, without choice or decision in how they were spawned or who they went after, even Astraea unprotected from their merciless barrage.

"Again and again, I have created every manner of blade."

The speed and quantity of the fired blades began to increase, forcing all three Goddesses to truly begin treating the human teen as a threat, dust flying high in the night sky and the sparks of clashing noble phantasms lighting up the clearing. The desperate explanations of Astraea went unheard over the screech of metal and explosions of prana.

"Never once satisfied."

"Only seeking perfection."

The assault only grew thicker and heavier, forcing even the infighting of the goddesses to halt in the face of protecting themselves on the weapons whose forms grew more stable, whose Mystery grew heavier, whose quantity increased as if Shirou truly had no end to his arsenal.

"Hammering the anvil on this hill of metal, striving for the Ultimate Sword."

Ishtar hated Shirou Muramasa. She hated him for more reasons than she usually had to hate anything in the entire world. He was the successor to Gilgamesh, embodied Enkidu to a disgusting degree, touched her body –newly acquired or not– without her permission, and even tried to stop her rebirth from ever occurring. She hated him more than she could even understand, yet it was probably because of that, that she understood. Shirou wasn't the fastest human, or the strongest human, or the most durable, or the most magically inclined. Yet…

"This is my purpose, my only path, I needed no other reason to live."

Shirou's blank, unreadable expression turned on Ishtar and, like a river with a floodgate newly opened, began to fill with emotion. One particular emotion that turned the souls of all three of his girlfriends cold.

Pure, unadulterated hatred.

Yet to Ishtar, at this exact moment in time, Shirou in all his emotional, quick-to-act, short-sighted glory was nothing less than the pinnacle of Humanity.

Time [00:15:00] February 27th, 2004

"My whole life shall be, Unlimited Blade Works."

XXXxxxXXX

Omake: Within the Throne

"HAH! YES! SUCK ON THAT YOU TWO-FACED BITCH!" Gilgamesh yelled, fist-pumping before pointing an accusatory finger at the holographic display of Shirou and the reincarnated Goddesses.

"Gil, a King shouldn't speak with such language." Enkidu tried to sooth his friend, placing a comforting hand on his upper arm.

"You of all people are siding with Ishtar?" Gil snorted, turning his gaze on his first, and greatest, friend.

"Oh. Not in the slightest." The air around Enkidu seemed to chill and his green eyes took on a more golden hue. "In fact I'm already in contact with Alaya."

"Hoh-ho? Not a moment wasted with you, when it comes to her is there?"

"Of course not. After all, when a cancer is found, the safest way to get rid of it is to cut it out early."

Somehow, the innocent smile that Enkidu had on his face didn't diminish the threatening aura around him in the slightest, in fact it only seemed to amplify it.

"Hah! There's the Enkidu I know." Gilgamesh chortled, sitting once more and crossing one leg over the other.

"Of course. After all, Ishtar isn't something that can live alongside nature, nor humanity."

"No, you are corr- YES! CRUSH HER WITH YOUR REALITY MARBLE, SHIROU!" Gilgamesh shot to his feet once more and pointed commandingly at the hologram.

At his side, Enkidu just sighed fondly and shook his head. Acting as if he wasn't currently arguing with Alaya in his head at this exact moment. Truly, all was well in the Throne of Heroes.

XXXxxxXXX

: )

Hello one! Hello all! Welcome to the chapter that I know is going to absolutely fuck with all of you for a multitude of reasons, I'm certain.

I have been waiting for this chapter to come around since for-fucking-ever I stg. I think, comparatively to the time that's passed, this event has been in the works just as long as Gil's death was. And by this event, I mean the Goddesses appearing and the Texture tearing like worn pants XD

Also, fun fact. When I first started planning this fic. I was planning to kill off one or two of the harem members. One of my beta's talked me out of it, but if he hadn't, this is probably where it would have happened. On the flip side, another beta, specifically my lore guy, has been begging to have me delete Sakura specifically so he'd probably be itching for Kama to get herself/Sakura killed.

In other words, I've finished university fully, I graduate officially in April, and already my life is hell thanks to my parents. I legitimately can't talk to them without getting interrogated about if I've been applying for jobs and saving money to buy a house. Its exhausting.

Though I'm sure none of you really care about an update as depressing as that XD So in some good news, I'm now making some money off of my original story, Young Swordmaster's Journey (found on Royal Road, go check it out)! It's not much, admittedly, but I'm super excited about actually getting to have some income from writing. One of my discord admins keeps trying to get me to post chapters of this fic early for people that pay but I'm really not sold on doing so because I've already gotten bonked by Ao3 and been told about actual court cases.

Anyway, enough about shilling, time to shill!

Discord code: ctMzhq3 OR plasmaassassin

AND ONTO REVIEW REPLIES!
hnh058513: Huh. I didn't actually know any of that. That's pretty cool actually, thanks for letting me know.

Shairetdin: Yeah, I can understand that. I've done it myself a few times actually XD.

Conner Kumiai: You are absolutely correct, the destruction that will be undergone on that poor island will be positively massive.

Neyl Boo: Honestly the Gray scene is great because it made me feel things again, and I nearly forgot to even add it into the chapter because I was moving scenes around constantly. And that final line was Darius.

Greyfox2: XD whatever you say. Also, I'm glad you were hyped. I'm always happy to hear so.

Sickboy398: Man, poor Rin. Hopefully nothing worse happens to her in the near future…. : )

AnimeFan13579: Yeah, that title really puts a hamper on the ability to keep things secret, especially considering the 'modern' day and age that they live in. At least they only have to worry about keeping it contained to one isl- oh god the sky is tearing itself apart.

Dimihd: That's what the FGO sequel is for.

Zero1734: You haven't seen shit yet, bucko.

ShadowAF: That's a wonderful alternative line. But unfortunately, I wasn't making a Yugioh reference.

Kamori I'm The Infinity: Oh yeah, there's no such thing as overkill in this war and that's only going to be proven more and more going forward.

Adro-Sama: I'm truly in awe of your reading instincts.

Baumbarth: OH MY GOD THANK YOU! That review was so kind, yet fair, that I've read it multiple times by now. You actually helped my story get in the top 10,000 on the website with that review you sent. I truly appreciate it.

Zukafew119: Hello once again, you almost didn't make it this month XD Once again I appreciate your review as always and only have a few things to say. One, Rin's gandr didn't send him flying, Luvia did. Two, Ozy doesn't use his authority over monarchs or anything, he uses the rules of the Battle of Kings to put Morgan into a position where if she attacks anyone on either side before the battle starts, she'll be hunted by both sides combines. Third, Touko couldn't be sent in not because Shirou's body would be too damaged, but because Lorelei is worried about Touko taking Shirou's corpse and turning it into a masterwork puppet. Fourth, yes Gray no longer has Magic Circuits but instead has a Magic Core and yes it still allows her to use Magecraft. It just means that she now has FAR more Od than before. Thank you once again for taking the time to write such a massive review and I'll see you later this month at some stage xP

AAAAND REVIEW REPLIES DONE!

I hope you all have a fun day, continue fighting for democracy (Playing Helldivers 2), and remember that Rin-face Ishtar may be hot as hell, but this is not FGO Ishtar they're dealing with, it's the equivalent (sorta) to SF Ishtar.

Also, if something for SF drops in the next week I'm dropping this story I stfg.