The midnight sky illuminated the small patch of uptorn forest, the four –now five– figures stood perfectly still as the sheer surprise of the fifth's actions washed over all of them.

Astraea shifted her feet slightly as she looked between Shirou, Control and Kama, and Ishtar. Her eyes took as much information as possible as she tried to work out the best play in the wake of the sudden dynamic shift. Outside of Shirou's Unlimited Blade Works, she had full access to her Authorities but in that same token, so did Ishtar and Kama.

'However. Launching a point-blank attack is too dangerous given Shirou's current condition…'

Ishtar tried to calm her breathing down as she felt the adrenaline pumping through her system, her gaze sliding constantly back and forth between Kama and Shirou. Her eyes lingered on his gaze whenever she looked at his form as if magnetically attracted to them.

'Focusing is getting difficult, and not just because of my emotions. This "adrenaline" is a frankly ridiculous stimulant, humans had this the entire time? No wonder they continue to pull out last-ditch effort after last-ditch effort. Now what will he do with this exact same feeling flowing through him?'

Shirou just kept himself on one knee as he tried to focus his energy on recovering from the extreme level of combat and damage that he had just taken. Another few drops of sweat dripped from his chin to his forearm as he watched the actions of Kama and Control, realizing what was playing out before him after a second.

'That's a construction of Sakura's Reality Marble. If her soul was shattered it should have- No. Even shattered or consumed, the crystallization of what was already there should be engraved in the body somehow. I think. But if so, how does its will still separate itself from Kama's? There's something I'm missing. A piece of the puzzle.'

And finally, Kama found herself twitching and struggling in the wires and grip of her own summon, her flames unwilling to come to her aid and her Od unable to shut down the established connection between herself and the nearly three-meter-tall nightmare.

'Control isn't just a moniker. It's trying to puppeteer me, and not just in a physical sense!'

A bolt of golden mana flew through Control's head, the sound of stretched piano wire reaching the ears of the three onlookers.

"Well now, aren't you quick." Ishtar grinned; her eyes alight as she saw Control's head snapped 90 degrees back by one of the wires pulling the skin of its head taut to its skull.

"You…lack…control…too."

"Oh, do I now? A construct launches a sneak attack and thinks itself capable of talking back to me now, does it?" Ishtar scoffed, her injury from Shirou's strike completely healed now as she began to take slow steps forward.

"A…Brat..In..A….Kingdom…Of…Malcontent…And…Isolation." Kama made a surprised sound as a few of the wires pierced through her constricted and tugged, forcing her to hold a hand out towards Ishtar; blue flames lighting to life over her palm. "Even…Now..You…Still…Stand…Alone. Despite-"

Blue flames danced in the cool nighttime breeze, soft light illuminating the entire clearing as everyone acted at once. The ground shattered as the spot where Ishtar stood lit up in flames that not even she could ignore- had they actually touched her, of course.

Sparkling lights shone high above the forest, a wave of heat enveloped the entire area, Kama and Control moving in tandem as the skeletal construct used her both as a means of offense and defense.

For all of Control's actions, and its confidence in its ability to keep Kama under wraps in a calm setting, there was no one in the entire clearing more aware of the disparity in power between it and Ishtar than Control.

Except, of course, for Ishtar herself.

Control wasn't a frontline fighter, that wasn't its allotted 'strength' within the uncertain and ever-changing land that it called 'home'. Its strength came not from how hard it could strike or be struck, but rather through what it can bring to fruition through its namesake. How it could manipulate, what it could get a hold of, what it could mould and shape into the perfect scenario that its Queen asked to be created.

It was not gentle, and it was a disgusting thing to see in its truest form, of which its body was formed. It did what was required to bring to fruition its Queen's wanted scene; controlling who needed controlling, manipulating who needed manipulating, and stooping to any level required to craft the perfect set of dominoes to knock over with the slightest tap of its needle.

From the moment of its creation outside its home, it had known that its life would be short and fleeting, but it did not need a long incarnation, so long as it could set up its dominoes properly. An action here, a few words there, prodding for a reaction born of burning emotions, they were all pieces of a larger picture.

Space collapsed on itself and snapped back into place in a fraction of a second. The wide, void-like eyes of Control locked only on those of Ishtar as its upper half, starting from the clavicle, began to fall to the ground.

"Wake…Up…Prince-"

Both legs of Control and its head and arms struck the ground, fading away to black dust as Shirou appeared over Ishtar's head, a blade with an eight-pointed handguard clutched in a death grip already mid-swing.

Its last domino had been placed, now it simply had to wait for the King to knock the first one over and finish its work. It knew that he would, after all the King saved its Queen; what was a repeat performance?

XXXxxxXXX

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

"You-"

Flashes of silver and shockwaves rocked the small patch of forest cleared of all debris by the three fighters. A body struck the ground in fifteen pieces, two pairs of feet struck the ground solidly, a playful giggle echoed through the dust filled clearing.

"Are quite-"

Air trailed after multiple objects and the ground trembled and melted beneath the power of the three figures as two of them threw themselves at the third.

"A unique individual-"

Manannán threw her hands out to the sides as she flew upwards from the force of Illya's strike, Fragarach thinning and stretching into a long cable that stabbed into the ground, allowing her to pull herself back towards the ground. Gray lifted Grim Reaper –currently stuck halfway through the Dead Apostle's torso– up and over her head before slamming Illya into the ground and yanking her weapon back, carving clean through the girl's kidney and back out of her body in a spray of blood and viscera. The boot of Manannán struck the girl's midriff almost before the damage from Gray's weapon reversed itself. The earth cracked and exploded around the two of them, buffeting Gray in heavy winds and waving Manannán's and Illya's hair chaotically, wide grins on both of their faces.

"Now aren't you, girl!?"

"Illya! How are you doing!?" Gray yelled, lowering her arm from her eyes as the winds died down and the God leapt off Illya's stomach in another crunch of bone and landed beside the grey-haired girl with a small backflip.

"I'm feeling way, waayyyy better!" The girl giggled, rocketing to her feet in a crunch of stone and a 'fwoom' that sucked in the dust behind her ascent like a jet stream.

"Better in what way?" Manannán questioned, a hand on her hip and an eyebrow raised in amusement.

"Like myself but…different." Illya hummed, tapping a finger on her chin. "I wanna keep fighting but now it's sorta because I wanna see what I can do? Like you two have crunched my bones and cut me up so bad I just wanna even the score a little." Her grin took on a quality a little more bloodthirsty, her prana seeming to swell as it did so.

"It seems that her sensibilities may be back, but perhaps just a tad intertwined with the malice inlaid in her particular strand of the curse." Manannán snorted, clearly a bit amused by the situation even as her body tensed and shifted on pure instinct.

"Then let's go help Shirou!" Gray griped, gesturing with her head towards where their battlefield had just started back up for the first time in fifteen minutes.

"A solid idea, but I don't think that she's going to let us leave." The God hummed, realizing now just why his host saw the Dead Apostles as such threats.

Illya was an anomaly, that much was true, but at the rate she was going she was going to cap out at the rank of a Superior Dead Apostle, and she was giving the two of them quite a bit of trouble already. If this state of battle-lust leads to some further kind of awakening…Well despite his brevity, Manannán absolutely didn't want to see what kind of unique ability the Emiya girl developed.

"'Course not!" Illya laughed, standing between the two of them even as they both leapt away, metal wires stretching out from her fingers and just barely missing the two superhumans.

"This feeling is great! Besides, if anyone can deal with everything going on over there it's Onii-chan! You two should have some trust!" Illya whipped both of her arms down, her metal wires cutting into the earth below the three of them, chunks of earth dislodging and launching themselves high into the air with a burst of air and a laugh of sadistic, pre-teen glee.

XXXxxxXXX

Shirou breathed a quick hiss as his form blurred back across the ground, hundreds of golden bolts of mana exploding around him. A wave of blue fire surged across the ground, leading him –predictably– into the air where the Goddess of War herself was already waiting.

Every cell in Shirou's body felt like it was firing on full blast as he crossed his arms in a futile attempt to defend himself. Her leg swung through the air so fast he was almost surprised it didn't ignite on contact.

However, whether or not he wanted to accept it Shirou did have an ally in this fight. A burst of bright light in the shape of a constellation, not too dissimilar to a flashbang, exploded between the two. A surprised sound left the lips of the Sumerian goddess as she felt two hands grip her calf and wrench it up and away from her intended target.

"What interesting instincts!" Astraea yelled, flipping forward over Ishtar's floating form and tightening her grip on the other woman's leg.

Almost instantly, in mild horror, Ishtar's eyes widened. The feeling of centrifugal force tugging on her stomach and head at the same time. But alas, at the speed that they were moving at she had no hope of fighting the movement; her body lifting up and over Astraea fast enough to send her stomach into her throat and her body hurtling into the earth fast enough to crack it like glass.

Slabs of earth shattered to pebbles and sand, the winds roared and swirled, and the blue flames of Kama disintegrated beneath the force of the shockwave.

Shirou, having leapt off the ground with the least force, was the first to touch the ground. His body folded to kneel on one knee in one smooth motion as he unclipped the smithing hammer from his side, his Od surging into the ground beneath him and forming a tuning for-

"Ah ah."

The teen froze –not because he wanted to– as a hand gripped his wrist from behind and a pair of breasts pressed against his back; warm breath against his ear and another arm curled around the front of his chest almost possessively.

"It's not fair to deny us like that, Shirou." Kama purred in his ear, fading away into harmless sparks of flame as a familiar red spear burst from the earth beneath her.

"After all-" Shirou launched himself back on pure instinct, a lotus flower bursting out of the arrow that had just struck his position. "-You got your time to show yourself at your strongest. It's not fair for your wives not to do the same, hm?"

Fire roared to life in the blacksmith's eyes, his body tensing so much the Indian Goddess could practically see every blood vessel in his upper body.

A meteor of gold and stars struck the ground, missing Kama by only a hair's width as the silver-haired goddess jumped backward, her movements faster than anything she had done within his Reality Marble.

'Actually, all of them are moving faster than in Unlimited Blade Works. Why is- oh. Of course-'

The ground blurred beneath the red-haired teen, shards of his blade exploding out of his back and arms even as he rocketed across the absolutely decimated landscape. Browns and greens gave way to midnight-darkened sea blue, the sound of churning water and harsh gale winds reaching his ears even through the vapor cone that surrounded him.

'Unlimited Blade Works shut down or limited a lot of their Authorities, of course, it would do the same to the most basic power baked into their DNA.' He scowled, his right arm reaching out behind him as he curved towards the ocean, Ishtar soaring through the air above him with her bow already drawn and charging.

His fingers graced the salinized water of the Pacific Ocean, snap freezing a massive circle around him, jets of fire blasting out of his feet; his own spell hurling him across the icy landscape of his own creation as the giant bolt of mana crashed into the center. Cracking glass echoed through the atmosphere as the winds roared like the shattered scream of awoken titans and the waves churned and swirled like their might revived through her arrow.

'Divine strength. That which is denser, stronger, and faster than that of a human. Outside of Unlimited Blade Works, I can't-'

"Well now, what's this? Missing a kill shot like that?" Rin's mocking purr in the back of her mind got the slightest twitch of Ishtar's eye as they traced the ascending form of her opponent; launched into the air by the titanic slab of ice he was on tipping up like the world's largest seesaw.

'Keep your comments to yourself.'

"Awww, what's wrong Princess? Too afraid to kill the man you now love?"

A bow appeared in Shirou's grip, flames exploding out of his back and legs in a shockwave of light and heat. The bow fizzled out of existence a split second before the flames did, a –now uncomfortably familiar– blade appearing in his grip as a sphere of blood red energy cocooned out of him with the sound of a heartbeat.

'I can still get Boundary out because its activation is basically instant-' Shirou swung his blade, stopping short of his target as Ishtar surged forward and blocked with her spear, the both of them staring into each other's eyes as they struggled against each other for a moment.

'But it doesn't have that same debuff as Territory is bound to create! I can't get the upper hand with just this. And what's with Ishtar? She caught onto the trick far too quick.'

'This field of blood is treated as an extension of Shirou's blade. Whatever movement it makes, unless he wishes it most likely, is extended to the very edge of the Bounded Field.' The Goddess surmised, grabbing onto Shirou when his momentum died out completely, her legs locking around his waist as the both of them began to fall out of the sky.

"Those eyes." Shirou's struggle diminished for a moment in confusion, the teen actually taking a split second to see the look on the goddess's face as she looked into his eyes. "That's more like it, Shirou. Show me more defiance. Show me more fire."

When she had, internally, called him the greatest specimen of humanity at the start of the fight she had meant it as an insult. The Goddess had called him the greatest culmination of all of humanity's worst traits, but now that statement didn't have anywhere near the same meaning. Shirou had elevated himself in her eyes, even without the potential corruption from her host factoring into it, and that look in his eyes cemented it.

Shirou was the best that humanity had to offer, not because he exemplified everything wrong with the species, but because he refused to give up on anything that he set his mind to. Because he had the strength, both literally and figuratively, to look a goddess in the eyes and refuse to back down in pure spite for what she had 'done' to that which he cared about. Shirou was humanity's will to survive and thrive personified, with all the good and bad that came along with it.

And Ishtar, as the spoilt Princess that she was, just couldn't help herself from wanting the best of the best, no matter what it was.

Flipping herself midair, Ishtar released her leg-lock on him and flicked both of them out, hurling him against the ice of his own creation, shattering the iceberg that he struck in a million cracks of ice and a surge of seawater as she landed daintily on another iceberg of her choosing, a pleased, almost lustful, grin on her features as she watched the sea.

And, rather fittingly, the first sign of Shirou came not from him climbing back onto a chunk of ice, but rather through the iceberg that she herself stood on twisting and curling to try and skewer her eight times over. But, of course, Shirou made the mistake of using something that she could affect as well.

And no matter how much prana he had pumped into this iceberg to transmute it, she could match it in a second.

Supernaturally cooled winds rustled the hair of both Ishtar and Shirou as the iceberg split in two with a brief glow of golden energy. Ishtar's red eyes stared smugly down at the tired, yet still defiant, eyes of her opponent. The sea not even able to fill the sudden gap before Shirou disappeared in a golden light that bounced off the iceberg's sides and the sea's surface.

"A constellation…" Ishtar muttered in distaste, zooming across the shattered iceberg and churning ocean to the edge of the beach in a shockwave that rattled the beach and sent sand hurtling into Astraea, Kama, and Shirou like she was trying to sandblast them all.

She opened her mouth to say something, only to pause when she saw the state that Shirou was in, collapsed on one knee with skin almost as bright as his hair and each breath letting out puffs of vapor that Ishtar could only liken to steam.

She supposed that it shouldn't have been surprising, Shirou had been trying to split his attention between three Goddesses and support a Servant at the same time. Even he was bound to hit his limit far before any of the Goddesses got close to theirs. Especially with something as energy intensive as a pseudo-reality on the level of a Reality Marble was bound to be.

"Shirou, I know you may not believe me. But hope isn't lost." Astraea muttered to the teen, patting him comfortingly on the shoulder before she herself stood up and began to walk toward Kama and Ishtar. "Your girlfriends aren't gone, just tired. They'll come back, that I swear to you."

"Oh? Not going to try and refute?"

'Silence before I end this here and now.'

"You'd never. Because we both know what you feel for him now."

"You know, I'm starting to get pretty jealous of how close you keep getting to Shirou. Mind switching?" Kama suggested, leaning forward with a finger pointed loosely at Astraea who only let out a long breath and levelled a flat stare on the both of them.

"You two have changed since the start of this, but I still can't allow what's happened to go unanswered."

Ishtar's eyes narrowed at the exact wording of the Greek goddess's words. Her eyes widened and her pupils thinned as she tried to launch herself away from the blonde as fast as she possibly could.

"KAMA! HER AUTHO-"

But she was too late.

"I call the court to session."

A spot of light blinked to life between Astraea and Kama, and then one between her and Ishtar, and then another, and another, and another. A hundred, a thousand- million-billion spots of light appeared and overlapped each other, swallowing the three goddesses whole.

Plink!

And with the soft sound of a lightbulb going out, they all disappeared, and so too had Astraea, Kama, and Ishtar. Leaving Shirou all alone on the beach –panting, sweaty, and so utterly confused.

Time [00:35:16] February 27th, 2004

XXXxxxXXX

Seawater sprayed over Artoria's face as the boat that she sat in hit the choppy sea once more, her gaze focused on nothing but the horizon as they launched themselves clear past yet another fishing vessel. Her gauntlet-clad hands gripping the edge of the vehicle with an iron grip likely only matched by that of Heracles at her side.

"Anything yet?" She questioned, her eyes moving over to her silver-haired sister currently hunkered down to try and not get flung out of the boat.

A lucky break that they had found it moored near the island, hopefully the actual owner wasn't too worried about it.

"Not yet! The mana in the air is still far too chaotic. A spacial displacement at this distance is only going to throw us off course!" She called out, all the vehicle occupants beginning to rise in the air slightly as they ramped off a larger than average wave and left the ocean's surface entirely.

A small grunt left Scathach as she placed a hand on the back of Morgan to stop her from going flying, her other hand holding onto a seat that she elected not to use.

"Rider! Please be careful! This craft can't handle going this fast without Caster's assistance!"

The six occupants all tensed as the boat hit the sea once more and regained the speed it had lost through its brief attempt to become an airplane.

"There's only so much I can do about these conditions, Scathach." Medusa called back, her once again covered eyes locked on the sea further ahead unwaveringly. "If we want to get to our masters as fast as possible then some roughness is expected."

"Just continue doing your best, Medusa. We'll all be fine." Heracles called out, his legs bent and moving along with the floor of the boat to keep his upper body as stable as possible.

Not too dissimilar to a gyroscope.

"If anything can you speed up?" Artoria questioned, getting the slightest paling of Morgan's face at the idea.

"If the waves calm down I could!"

Artoria just gritted her teeth, completely unaware of the gaze that Percival was giving her.

'I've never seen My King like this before. She really, truly does care for her Master…'

'Shirou….Please, rest and cool yourself off. Just keep a cool head and survive until we can get there.'

XXXxxxXXX

Sweat dripped onto the sand beneath him as Shirou panted, desperate for enough air intake to replace what he had used.

'Breathe properly, this panting is useless. I need to recover as much as I can while they're all gone. Stupid body, just breathe properly!' One of his hands whipped up to pound into his chest, trying to tamp down on his instincts and start breathing properly.

He was far from a master of breathing and never claimed to be such, but he knew enough to at least speed up his recovery; both in a physical and thaumaturgical nature.

Supposedly a true master of breathing was next to impossible to beat in a contest of stamina, Shirou wondered what that was like.

"They're alive. They're….they're still here." He muttered to himself, a light reappearing in his eyes that he had thought to be gone forever.

A part of him was still hesitant to believe the words of the Goddess, but clues and anomalies, previously left forgotten, began to fit themselves together in his mind.

The first domino fell.

The way that the Goddesses would seem to zone out for fractions of a second occasionally, the way that they would react to nothing in particular, the change in their personalities –subtle or otherwise–, and of course the denizen of Sakura's incomplete Reality Marble.

As much as he didn't want to be suckered into believing a possible lie, he knew in his heart of hearts that such things couldn't simply be ignored. He knew that, regardless of the actual health of their souls, they still existed somewhere in the goddesses.

Now the only question became how to bring them back to the forefront. It had been over half an hour since their possession and, to Shirou at least, they appeared no closer to rising to the surface than they had seconds after being taken over.

He had a couple of ideas but none of them were viable. His killing edge had let him keep up before and during the activation of Unlimited Blade Works but now that it was over, with their power fully returned and his diminished and in drastic need of recovery, he had no chance of keeping up unless he was trying to kill them.

He'd tried to kill his girlfriends. He was terrible, he was scum.

Sure, he could release Territory right now, but he had no idea when they were going to come back, and he needed to regain as much energy as he could. However, the issue then became that if –when– they reappeared, the chances that he would have enough time to actually use Territory without one of them stopping him was basically null.

He needed something, something new, something faster, something more than what he had right now. What was he meant to do? How was he meant to just pull something like that out of his ass? He wasn't some shitty anime protagonist! He didn't have the ability to just make up a new super ability that would magically let him win the fight and save the girl(s) too!

XXXxxxXXX

Crouched atop a tree on the very edge of the beachfront, Okita Alter watched the form of Shirou silently. Her breathing silent and her eyes entirely unblinking, a breeze ruffling her hair and clothes.

It was here, her chance.

Slowly, Okita Alter's eyes began to change, taking on a bluer hue as small, lazily snaking tendrils of energy began to spill from her irises, ghosting over the ridges of her eyes like the tentacles of an octopus.

XXXxxxXXX

He- He couldn't do this. He didn't have the energy capacity or efficiency, or the raw strength, or the necessary strength of will to make his decision, he just couldn't.

Shirou Muramasa-Emiya's mindset and strength of will had been solidified and strengthened ever since his encounter with Cath Palug all those years ago. Every struggle and every adversary since then only served to straighten the 'edge' of his mind and sharpen it too. Yet following the realization that he not only tried to kill his girlfriends but also now had no way to save said girlfriends, his mind began to bend and creak. The teen crushing himself under the weight of his own failures, catching himself in loop after loop of failed simulations on how to bring his girlfriends back.

"I…I can't do this." He muttered to himself; another couple drops of sweat falling from his chin to the sand below him. "I'm not enough."

XXXxxxXXX

Labored breaths left the lips of Olga as she sprinted through the overgrowth of the Japanese countryside, dashing towards the beach with as much power as she could muster, utterly uncaring of her Od efficiency.

Constellations burnt like solar flares in her eyes and sweat stuck to her uncomfortably; she didn't care in the slightest.

"Please let me be on time! Please let me be on time! Please let me be on time!"

Olga didn't know what it was, why it was happening now, or even how she managed to overpower a spell to this extent but when she had used her ability of foresight she had seen one thing, and one thing only.

Her ability, activated to keep her safe from who-knows-what as she tried to meet up with either Shirou or Gray, had shown her only a single scene for the first twenty seconds of its activation.

Shirou accepting a deal that he absolutely should not ever accept.

She couldn't let her big brother take that deal! She couldn't! She couldn't let him go through with the backlash of that deal. She couldn't let him lose himself and be shattered by that deal!

"Some of my contemporaries agree with me, so let me give you a push."

The words were like whispers in the wind, impossible to hear yet impossible to ignore, coming from seemingly nothing yet all around her at the same time.

It sounded, oddly, like the voice of Morgan.

Power unlike anything that Olga had ever felt in her life welled up inside her, her next step flinging her through the forest and her step after that hitting the ground with far too much force, launching her high, high, into the air and above the beach with a terrified cry.

"BIG BROTHERRRRR!"

XXXxxxXXX

Shirou felt something in his mind creaking, on the verge of fracturing entirely as he beat himself down over and over like one of his own failed blades. Unable to find even a single way that he could possibly come out on top in this situation.

'This is it…the end.'

Behind him and to the left, the dark-skinned puppet of a Servant prepared to move, but before she could, something else acted first.

A cooling sensation shot through his body, originating from both of his forearms and seeming to repress the heat in his body to something far more tolerable. An old, aged laugh echoed in his ears as he felt the phantom touch of a hand press against his back.

"Come now, Shirou. Are you going to disappoint me like that?"

The crests on both of his forearms began to glow brighter and brighter as if reacting to the words of the figure that Shirou couldn't see. His eyes were wide and glued strictly to the sand beneath him.

He could move, he could look and see who –what– this was originating from. But he felt like he would be ruining something if he did, shattering this careful equilibrium of events before it could reach its zenith. His instincts, honed to an obsidian edge, forced him to see this situation out to its proper conclusion.

"After so many generations someone to match me has finally risen up! Are you just going to let yourself be stymied by what other mages consider normal? Come now, we both know you're better than that!"

'This hand is so strong…so calloused. They're used to hard work, they've done it their whole life.' It was…comforting in a way that Shirou genuinely didn't know that it could be.

"Be weird! Be confident! You're the 19th Heir to the Muramasa Clan after all! Never back down! Beat that metal into submission even if you have to fold it a million times over! And never forget, unlike me, you're more than just a simple smith. You're the heart of the forge, kid. You're never alone."

"BIG BROTHERRRRR!"

The scream of Olga snapped Shirou out of his trance, his body moving before he'd even thought about it to catch her. The girl looked over him frantically with constellations glowing like small hearths in her eyes.

"Big Brother! You're, ok? You didn't make any deals, did you? Please don't!" She babbled, clutching his shoulders with tears in her eyes.

"Wha- No! No, I didn't accept any kind of deals, why?" He said, his attention focused on her and only her, missing the figure in the treetops above them that disappeared with a click of their tongue.

Their one chance in this entire event to make a contract with the Muramasa heir, ruined.

"I just- You just- I-It just would have been bad." She muttered, rolling out of his arms to stand on her own two feet with an embarrassed expression.

"I'll take your word for it." He chuckled, patting her on the head and getting a small, satisfied hum in return from the girl.

"Big Brother, where are…they?" Olga muttered nervously, looking around for any sign of the three Goddesses.

"A pseudo-reality, I think. Astraea called a court to session, one of her Authorities, I assume." Shirou mumbled, his eyes scanning the beach himself for any-

"Olga."

"On it!" The girl cried, launching herself away from Shirou and towards the forest as reality itself seemed to shatter, leaving the three Goddesses back in the proper layer of reality in a shockwave of golden mana.

The first to react was Astraea, her gaze turned towards where Shirou had been before they left, only to see the empty beach. Her body jolted at the exact same moment as Kama locked eyes with Shirou, having reappeared in the perfect position to already be looking directly at him.

"Shirou, oh Shirou. How I want you…" She purred, launching herself past Astraea and Ishtar and towards him.

She was slower than before, her presence less intimidating and less overbearing than previously. Both Goddesses were startled, chasing after the silver-haired goddess at differing speeds.

Shirou's hair whipped and waved over his face chaotically, his eyes wide and his expression slack. His mind ran a mile a minute, the slower form of Kama and the golden shockwave of mana from Astraea's collapsed pseudo-reality overlapping in his mind.

'That's it!'

The teen reached for the sheathed form of Gilgamesh at his side, his heartbeat echoing in his ears and the sand rippling beneath his feet.

XXXxxxXXX

Shirou's flames of desperation had made him malleable, removing the rigidity of his beliefs.

The 'hammer' known as the Goddess Ishtar had forced him to layer himself, improving on skills already present.

The 'oil' known as Goddess Astraea had given him time to cool, to crystallize that which he already had –and had gained– and to reaffirm his resolve, with some assistance.

And the 'whetstone' known as Goddess Kama had sharpened him to a deadly point through her intense, grating presence.

Forged through intense battle and strife, the living blade known as Shirou Muramasa-Emiya reached a new high, a supreme edge.

XXXxxxXXX

The Bounded Field of blood-red energy exploded out of Shirou in a shockwave once more, Kama's entire body jerking as she tried to bury her feet into the sand to slow herself down.

Tunk!

Three pairs of eyes widened in horror/amazement as the implications of what Shirou had just done hit the three goddesses all at the same time.

"Give my girlfriend back." The teen appeared before Kama in a crack of air and a shower of sparks, Gilgamesh biting into her side with a burn that she hadn't felt since her last meeting with Shiva.

"But I want you far more!" Her left hand snapped down to grab his leading wrist, grounding his swing to a halt with the blade still buried deep in her, a look halfway between thrill and longing in her eyes as blue flames flickered off her hair.

Shirou had used the activation of his Boundary, a manifestation of the Idea Blood of 'Sword' in the form of a Bounded Field, to drag out a manifestation of his Territory as well, a partial manifestation via superimposition of his Reality Marble. Something only possible due to the synergy between the two abilities and the teen's own knowledge of Bounded Fields and their compositions.

Bounded Territory, an ability inhuman in its activation time and attack potency. Shirou's second greatest weapon in this battle of monsters and the final piece of his attack strategy; his winning weapon made manifest.

Shirou's wide, unblinking, Glam Eyes stared directly into Kama's own, the fairy letters frozen in place for the first time in the entire fight. His presence seemed to weigh over her like a mountain before a small sand dune, imposing and oh so immovable.

The Goddess felt a chill go up her spine all the way from her hips to the nape of her neck, an excited smile lighting up her features.

"Switch." His arms crossed as his trailing hand struck out at the goddess, grabbing her by the neck with his vice-like, unbeatable grip.

"H-Harder." She moaned, a blush spreading across her cheeks.

An identical blush spread across Astraea's face as her shoulder collided with Ishtar's amidst their crossing into Shirou's Bounded Territory, although for an entirely separate reason to Kama's.

The metal ground beneath their feet shattered as Shirou slammed the goddess into it, his power diminished by the odd position his body had been put in but the message was more than clear.

Golden chains burst from the ground beneath Kama, curling to wrap around her limbs only to sink harmlessly back into the ground as she burst into blue flames once more.

A quick hiss left Shirou's lips as the flames flash burned the entire front of his torso and arms, though he didn't have the time to worry about that for long.

"Round Two, Shirou Muramasa!" Ishtar crowed, digging her foot into the metallic earth beneath her feet and summoning Maanna to her side, Astraea clicking her tongue as she buried her own feet into the ground.

The distance between them was negligible, able to be made back up in a second, but that was a lot of time to a goddess.

"Sherou! Their strength has been penalized! It won't last forever!" The goddess of justice fished for a gemstone out of one of the many hidden pockets of Luvia's dress.

The teen's eyes widened as his 'ally' launched herself forward, her palm strike impacting an identical strike from the war goddess. A condensed shockwave of wind whipped through the clearing.

With a low-pitched groan, the Boat of Heaven fired its charged bolt, striking the gently thrown gemstone of the Greek goddess and flinging off high into the air where it exploded in millions of motes of golden light.

"You truly are so annoying!" Ishtar spat, jumping and kicking three times at Astraea's head in rapid succession.

Her strikes hit nothing but the goddess's guard, of course, but the impact was enough to fling her back and into the form of Kama.

A high-pitched squeal pierced the chaos of the four monsters' combat. Illyasviel Emiya breached the tree line in an explosion of dust and wood chips, hitting the beach hard. The dust blew away from her as her prana surged around her, her eyes wide with a crazed, malice-filled, battle-lust unlike anything that Shirou had ever seen on his sister's face before.

"Shirou! You're ok!"

BONG!

Gray's shout was silenced not even a full second later as she crashed into the white-haired dead apostle, her weapon transformed into its shield variant and trapped beneath her feet as she drop-kicked her best friend's sister.

"You've held on this long, Muramasa! Well, done!" Manannán crowed, a runic shield of water defending herself from three lengths of metal wire that tore through the beach on their way to the god.

It was only for a second, a fraction of a moment within the chaos of three new combatants, but Ishtar's attention left Shirou in his entirety. The blacksmith did not let such an opportunity go to waste.

The sound of a footstep and purple lightning was Ishtar's only warning of Shirou's sudden appearance behind her, the Goddess jumping high into the sky to avoid the slash at her back. Flipping and twirling lazily to right herself back out, her re-blue– red eyes locked squarely back on the boyfriend of her host as she did so.

'Based on the size of its output, that blade's stockpiled power is pretty much used up entirely now. I won't need to worry about any warping or "skipped" slashes anymore. But his exhaustion is prevalent for all to see, he likely has one last big attack in him at the rate he's burning through his Prana.'

"Shirou! It's time for the two of us to end this once and for all! Wouldn't you agree?" Ishtar grinned, her Maanna appearing back at her side and starting to charge mana at a pace that, quite frankly, shouldn't have been allowed.

Her jump had cleared her of the edge of Shirou's Bounded Territory, granting her flight back to her once more and the power that Shirou's Reality Marble naturally denied.

Even if the denial itself was far weaker when overlapped with the territory of Gaia.

"Senpai!" Kama's shout, a worried –instinctual– response only lit Shirou's soul ablaze, an idea coming to mind that, quite simply, never once should have been attempted.

Though, in all fairness, only Shirou could have ever attempted such a thing.

Two weapons that Shirou, regularly, cannot use as properly intended conjoined together to make an attack that he could never hope to handle. The desperate gamble of a man low on energy and lower on viable options, a truly last-ditch weapon that only the mind of the truly insane could have ever conceived.

But, of course, Shirou was the greatest heir to the Muramasa lineage since Sengo Muramasa himself. If anyone in his family cared about the backlash or insane origins of their creations, they never would have made it to him, and he was no exception to this rule.

Agni Gandiva: The Flame God's Roar, a bow that was never meant to reach the hands of a mortal even in Agni's wildest dreams. A bow that Shirou physically could not hold without beginning to burn up, even with the 'authority to wield' granted to him by his Reality Marble and the regeneration of Avalon.

Sul-sagana: The Horizon of Dawn that Purifies the Seas, a blade only ever used by Gilgamesh as a projectile due to its sheer size. A blade altered to a size manageable to Shirou and altered further to the vague shape of an arrow at the exact same time as Shirou, himself, created it. Its shaft made of igneous rock and its tip a collection of flames held in a five-tipped arrowhead, one for each of its 'spikes' present in its true form.

The ground beneath Shirou began to belt and slag, bubbles of molten metal broiling to life and bursting in splashes of multi-thousand-degree alloys. A ring of fire burst to life around him and began to whip the wind into a frenzy that swirled the flames around him.

It is estimated that a professional archer can draw and fire an arrow in an average of 3.5 seconds, twice as long when aiming has to be factored into the calculation. A truly legendary archer such as Heracles or Arjuna could do such an action in half a second maximum, aiming included.

The moment that Shirou summoned both of his weapons simultaneously, the clock was ticking down on how long he could handle the both of them at once. Had he had both weapons in his grasp for even a full two seconds, his arms would have been incinerated to the elbow; his hands reduced to naught but charred, blackened stubs ending at the wrist.

Everything and everyone else ground to a halt, eyes wide, emotions chaotic and prana surging as the flames around Shirou swirled like a tornado of pure chaos and destruction.

"SHIROU!"

"SHEROU!"

"SENPAI!"

"ONII-CHAN!"

Ishtar's bolt of golden mana, the size of a bus, fired with enough force to throw the sea back at itself even from her position 103 meters above the surface.

Shirou's unnamed attack of disgusting firepower fired in a surge of flame and a scattering of prana motes as his bow shattered, the action completed in a personal best record of 0.9 seconds.

Ishtar's overcharged bolt of mana and Shirou's imperfectly replicated and altered blade –fired from an equally imperfectly created bow– neared each other. The air between them superheating and vibrating with a frequency high enough to instantly reduce the space between them to pure plasma.

Shirou's arrow, the ultimate expression of pure, brute force –and nothing else– that he could create in this current moment touched Ishtar's bolt of divine energy.

And the world. Went. White.

XXXxxxXXX

"How much longer!?" Artoria griped, the group of Servants sprinting through the Japanese countryside.

Their boat was buried about 150 meters inland with a gouge in the ground behind it that the King of Knights could only describe as 'crater-esque'.

"I don't know! I know that we're clo-" Morgan's explanation was cut off by a pillar of fire and golden energy only outclassed by the final strike of Ozymandias and Excalibur.

Night turned to day and any sense of reservedness died a quick, cruel death. The Servant's 'blood' turned to ice in their veins.

"MOR-"

"I got it! I can use that pillar as a beacon for a teleport!" a circle of magic flared to life beneath her feet, and the other five figures of legend dived for the legendary mage with all the urgency that they had, all of them disappeared in a twist of space and a burst of heated air that managed to get through the opposite end.

XXXxxxXXX

Shirou coughed as he stumbled across the cratered, half-glass, and half-slag ex-beach. Gray reached out for him blindly as she also coughed into her sleeve and rubbed her eyes to deal with the smoke and soot that got into them, her shield forgotten at her feet as smoke wafted off of its front.

Shirou couldn't feel his legs, or his hands, maybe his whole arms too, it was hard to tell. Everything hurt and he didn't have the energy to try and do a physical evaluation of his injuries at this moment; it was taking everything he had just to stay on his feet.

A massive gust of wind that made him sway dangerously cleared out a good part, maybe about 60%, of the dust and smoke around them, showing the three figures of the goddesses up ahead.

Shirou should have known that they would have made it out of such an explosion just fine. It was idiocy to try and play Ishtar at her own game, the outcome was set from the beginning.

Silver turned to purple. Red turned to blue. Blue turned to blonde.

"Sh-Shirou?..." Ishtar's- No, Rin's expression looked so heartbroken –her voice sounded so weak.

She was back. They all, all three of them, were really, really back.

Shirou felt a 'pop' of mana behind him, heard the crunch of melted sand and cracked glass, and the sharp inhales. But he genuinely couldn't find it in himself to care.

"You're all ok…" He tried to give his girlfriends the best smile that he could; he didn't know if he succeeded– his face felt numb, and his vision was going black.

"SHIROU!"

'Ah, Artoria's here too…'

"Thank…god." There was a crunch of glass and what was left of his vision dropped to be about equal with his girlfriends' stomachs before blacking out entirely.

'Ah, there I go…'

The last thing that Shirou Muramasa-Emiya registered before his whole body shut down was a pair of arms wrapping around him from behind and a multitude of screams for his name.

Time [00:42:00] February 27th, 2004

XXXxxxXXX

Omake: Internal Conflict

Shirou growled as he and Ishtar began to fall out of the sky, her legs locked around him tightly to make sure that he didn't escape.

He had to think of a way out of this, he had to- Oh, Leg lock. That gave him an idea.

"I-If you wanted s-sex that badly you just had to ask." He ground out, his teeth grit but his lips spread into a wide smirk.

"Huh?" Ishtar couldn't help but blink owlishly in surprise, not understanding the sudden turn in conversation.

"O-Once we hit the ground. Whoever's in charge of the body is who I'm fucking." Shirou ground out once more, trying not to wince as he felt her legs tighten around him even more.

An excited giggle left Ishtar's lips, a blush across her cheeks as she gripped his shoulders and leaned in close.

"Really? Well there's a good-"

It happened in an instant, one blink from the goddess and one of her eyes shifted from red to aqua, one of her hands whipping up from Shirou's shoulder and clutching her own neck with enough force that he could see a vein throbbing on the back of her palm.

"Hey, bitch." Shirou's grin only widened at the words that came out of Ishtar's own mouth, an expression of shock working its way over her features at her own words. "Time's up."

XXXxxxXXX

That omake is brought to you by one of my beta's so you can all thank him for that.

OHHHH MYYYYY GOOOOOOOOD! This fight (and arc) are fiiinally over!

Hallelujah! Thank the great kangaroo in the sky! To commemorate I shall now roll on one of the current FGO banners!

.

I only got a Holy King of Twilight, a Trigger Off, and a Gem Magecraft: Antumbra.

I don't know what I was expecting, RNG-esus and I hate each other.

Anyways, its finally the end and I can honestly say, thank fucking god. The whole fight, starting from the attack on the Ramesseum Tentyris has been a Novella, or real short Novel, in its own right. Which is fucking insane to me and I don't know how people like Third Fang so consistently write such long chapters.

This entire fight has been a learning experience in many aspects of writing, I won't lie. But while I can say it was incredibly painful and I'm glad that it's finally over, I don't hate it either. I think I had some good ideas, I think I had some good execution, but there are also parts that I look at and find myself dissatisfied. But perfection is the enemy of good so I'm not going to get hung up on it.

How did all of you enjoy this fight? There were honestly a lot of changes to the originally planned ending but I can genuinely say that I enjoy this ending a lot more.

In other words, the next arc (some of you may be happy to hear this) is going to be a downtime (mostly) arc. My discord has thrown around the arc name "Fallout" which is honestly my favourite idea so far, so the next arc may be the Fallout arc following the Great Holy Grail War arc. Though it won't be coming out until July because I'm taking June off from writing for this fic.

Moving to other topics, job hunt is still slow going but I've finally had at least a few nibbles. They went nowhere but that was to be expected anyways. Also, my original story Young Swordmaster's Journey is doing great, it just cracked 4000 views! And its now in the top 9000 stories on the site in terms of ranking, so I'm super stoked about that.

Now it is finally time to sell out:

Discord: ctMzhq3 OR plasmaassassin

Royal Road: Young Swordmaster's Journey

And now
ITS TIME FOR THE REVIEW REPLIES PEOPLE! (Even though 's email notif's are

still fucked)

581: Thank you very much, it's always nice to be reminded.

Antagonistic Writer: Thank you very much.

Zensored: You're welcome!

Halberd101: No. No she is not.

WooHyeon: Not the only thing that it implies but yes, I suppose that's one of them XD

Genesis Draconian: Thank you very much.

Baumbarth: Not a bad idea, I know for a fact that I already have a few people in the discord that have managed to miss some details.

Peace456: I will neither confirm nor deny.

Axelm94: Thank you. It's greatly appreciated.

Adro-Sama: I mean its just the way that human's work. Most people will take what they see and experience over what they've heard when it comes to dealing with people.

Greyfox2: I'm honestly happy to hear that, and I have a lot more insanity planned. Just you wait.

Tyracus: Hey! I warned you all, not my fault you forgot. And yes, this was an insane arc to write and I genuinely bit off way more than I could chew. That'll teach me to stay in my lane, huh? XD

Primordial Inscriptor Z-09: I'm glad you got the same feeling from the scenes that I was hoping! That's pretty much what I was aiming for with Ozy's and Morgan's deaths, so it makes me happy to see that I managed to convey it properly.

Zukafew119: Hello once again! I legitimately thought that you wouldn't make it in time for the next chapter but here you are. Good job. Not much to say other than I really enjoyed this review as usual but I did want to say that yes, Eros exists in fate as one of the gods making up Amour in FGO. Caren specifically ignores Eros unless they're deliberately brought up. And I'm really glad you enjoyed the end of the chapter, it was quite a nice ending in my opinion. I hope you enjoy this chapter and I'll see you at the end of the month once more!

AAAAAND THAT'S THE END OF THE REVIEW REPLIES!

All of you stay safe, make sure to enjoy life, and remember-

This entire shitshow came into fruition because I wanted to write a version of Shirou that actually knew what the fuck he was doing.