From a certain perspective, it's kind of funny when you survived a war with real-life mythical heroes but dying from a fall. Granted, it's a fall from 5 kilometers high, but to-may-to, to-mah-to.
Here I thought that my E-rank luck stat ended right before the end of the Fifth Holy Grail War. In an incredible series of events that can never be replicated even by the Immortal asshole Zeltrech.
First of all, they managed to defeat Gilgamesh with a hail mary move by Artoria, taking out Kotomine Kirei as a bonus. Secondly, Rin had managed to cleanse the Holy Grail's, with the help of Archer and Ilya, of Angra Mainyu's taint. Third, Caster and Rider, or rather Medea and Medusa as they want to be called, had managed to heal Ilya and Sakura using their knowledge of Age of God's Magic.
Finally, the hardcore mages, with homunculus creation knowledge from Ilya, have created a prana construct using the prana collected by the Holy Grail to create a body for the remaining Heroic Spirit. After talking it out with the remaining heroic spirit's - Artoria, Medea, Medusa, and Archer - if they want to pull their souls from the Throne of Heroes so they could find a way to make their wish come true while still having a life of their own, Rin activated the Holy Grail and pulled the spirits down to Earth, albeit with great resistance from Gaia.
There's just one thing they forgot. Two souls from the same person, even from different worlds or timelines, would not exist on the same plane. Medea and Medusa had no problem since they're essentially copies. Merging their copies with their souls would only make them feel complete. No longer restricted by their class. However, this is not the case for Artoria, Archer, and myself.
Artoria had fourteen other versions of herself stuffed into one body. It's a good thing that all other versions of herself died either in battle or old age, unlike Saber Artoria, who lived until the present day since she's living in Avalon.
I, on the other hand, felt like my brain would explode. Archer and four other versions who all lived for multiple lifetimes, either being a hero, counter guardian, or just plain villain. It fucked me up good. Guess the new internal monologue thing is just me talking with myself to make sure that I'm not losing myself too much to the personalities developed by the fucked up memories of the other me's, especially the alternate version of Archer.
Long story short, Rin became Zeltrech's apprentice at the Clock Tower, with Ilya helping her. However, Ilya has her own research. Sakura decided to be the caretaker of the group. The former heroic spirits, including myself, almost got into trouble with the Clock Tower. Still, with liberal use of intimidation, bribery, and political connection (Refer to Zeltrech), they were able to wrangle a deal base on their unique They would work as independent enforcers working exclusively with the Clock Tower.
On the personal side of things, I officially entered into a polygamous relationship with all the women in our little group six months after the end of the war. It really isn't even my choice. I just kind of got pulled into it.
Anyway, I got significantly off-topic. The reason why we're falling to our deaths was because of Rin's experiment. She called all of us into her lab for her first peek into a parallel universe. Due to the lack of medium and prana battery like Zeltrech's Gem sword, she had the brilliant idea of using the Holy Grail. It isn't even a bad idea. The grail's function is to gather prana from the ley lines and helping to summon heroic spirits from the Throne of Heroes, which is basically another dimension.
Rin's experiment itself went off without a hitch, showing another world where heroes are fighting off an alien invasion. In anticipation of her sister's success, Sakura prepared some food and drinks to celebrate. That's where my E-rank luck reared its ugly head.
The holy grail activated itself and pulled everyone inside the room into a portal pulling them into God knows where. And now, we're free-falling from five km high. Well more like three and a half kilometers now but who's counting.
"I'm counting! We're all counting Baka-Shirou!" I suddenly heard Rin shouting at me.
"Did I say the last part out loud!?" I saw Ilya nodding her head which basically answers that question. "Nevermind that!" I brushed the embarrassment off and looked around below for the best place to land or crash. Good thing there looks like there are large enough pockets of water in between the trees. The only downside is that the area looks like a swamp. I'll never hear the end of it from Rin. Survival first, whining later. "Medusa! Summon Bellerophon and carry Ilya and Sakura! Rin and Medea! Control mine and Artoria's descent alongside yours but prioritize yourselves!"
I'm really proud of our teamwork. The moment they heard my orders, everybody moved without a moment lost.
-1 minute 30 seconds later-
Spoke too soon. Definitely spoke too soon. Gonna give it to the girls. Their sense of camaraderie is top-notch. Some would think they would be in each other's throats due to our unique relationship status, but nnnoooo. They kinda came into an understanding a few weeks into the relationship that they would rather dogpile on me with pranks than fighting each other over petty squabbles. Of course, I give as good as I get.
That's why I'm currently soaking wet. Rin just dropped me to the swamp water below instead of floating me down to one of the branches like they did with Artoria.
"Dick move, Rin."
Got no choice but to swim towards an exposed root while Rin is laughing in the background. I need to hide my smile, though, since Rin finally learned how to chill out from time to time.
My E-rank luck decided to hit me again just for good measure, and I meant that literally. Because something hard hit me on my head before everything blacked out.
Oh, that was unexpected. To think the Holy Grail came to this world. Its entrance, though, has much to be desired. I mean, how can the Grail hit someone on the head while they are vulnerable after missing the relatively thick canopy of the swamp. Well, as Shirou would say, always look on the bright side. The Holy Grail would be an incredible boon in making our way in this world while also keeping the possibility of returning back to our world.
Now, one would ask how I know that this world we're in is a different one. It's quite simple. The quality and quantity of prana are different from Earth. The prana feels ten times as dense while a hundred times as many. Never have I felt this much prana naturally in the air back on Earth, even during the Age of Gods. It feels as though I'm standing in front of a fully filled and active Holy Grail. Medusa should be able to feel the difference. It looks like Rin and Ilya could feel the difference of prana in the air, but they have nothing they can compare it to, which may be why they look like they're confused.
On the off chance that we couldn't or wouldn't return to Earth for one reason or another, and we need reinforcement, we could use the Holy Grail to summon servants who are willing to go to the same process Medusa, and I went through. Heroes who want another shot at life. The Holy Grail just needed to be filled. It wouldn't even take long. Maybe a month at most.
Oh, it looks like Medusa has finally fished out Shirou and the Grail out of the water. We can get out of this gods forsaken place.
"Let's get out of here. We need shelter before we run out of light. Any suggestions where we should go?" I asked while altering the rocks and roots we're stepping on to be more stable. It would be a shame to fall into the swamp water without a proper change of clothes.
"North..." Medusa replied. She's using a basic fire spell to dry off Shirou while hanging at the back of Bellerophon. "We saw an abandoned castle only a few hours away from here. We can get there faster as long as we don't run out of prana."
"Unlikely though still possible."
"Alright. Artoria, you're the vanguard. Medusa and I will cover the flanks while Medea will bring up the rear..." Rin ordered the group. A sensible order, I must say. The girl is learning and not just magic and sorcery. There was no real way to measure her skill for commanding under stress back on Earth since she's always focusing on her study. "Ilya and Sakura would be support. Concentrate on making the pathway safer and making sure Shirou doesn't fall off Bellerophon."
I was pretty surprised when Dia and Medi told us that we are most likely in a different world. The more surprising thing, however, was that I have no genuine desire to get back to Earth. Everyone important also got pulled into the portal. Senpai, Rin-nee, Ilya-chan, Ria, Medi, Dia. Besides, with our skillset, it's unlikely that anything mortal could pose a threat.
All that matters right now, though, is to make sure Senpai is alright. Medi and Ilya are giving him an in-depth check-out after I gave him some first aid.
It's pretty frustrating sometimes when I think about how my skills are somewhat specialized. It's either housework or using Imaginary Numbers on Prana constructed beings. Though, it's hard to get mad at my Imaginary Numbers skill when it's the reason why we're able to make the derelict castle we're in comfortable and having ingredients to use for food.
"I have never been more thankful for the personality traits Shirou picked up from alternate versions of himself..." Rin-nee commented while smelling the food I'm cooking. "I mean, sure, it's weird to imagine what he is before to what he is now. But that paranoia of his coupled with your Imaginary Numbers skill, we got multiple mansions worth of furniture and appliances complete with years worth of supplies."
"Onii-chan just wants to cover all bases. You know how fickle the Clockwork Tower is. They can turn on us on a dime..." Ilya joined in. Even though Ilya's appearance finally caught up with her age, she just can't seem to get rid of her mannerisms. I can't complain too much, though, since I can't stop calling Senpai Senpai. "Anyway, Onii-chan seems to be alright. He just got a bit of a concussion from the hit. Thank the Root for his passive reinforcement. The Holy Grail could have dealt some severe damage from that height."
That's excellent news. I just hope Senpai wakes up soon.
"Rin-nee. Can you check up on Dia if she's finished setting up the bounded field? If she's done, call her and Ria over so we can have dinner."
"Sure thing. I'll check on the grail while I'm at it."
That's another thing. Dia already explained the possibility of using the grail to call other heroic spirits. It's a good thing. Great thing, even as long as we can ensure that heroic spirits summoned would like to be brought back and would willingly work with the group.
One and a half years. One and a half years of pain and suffering. We have lost so much. Father, Brandon, and Lyanna. So much blood spilled with nothing to show for it. The whole point for the North's entry into the war was to avenge Father and Brandon and save Lyanna from Rhaegar. Now I'm riding home with an angry wife, a few moons old son, and a nephew who I claimed as my bastard. Looking back, it would've been better to claim him as Brandon's bastard, but it felt wrong to besmirch the name of the dead.
I can see the people marching alongside me through the King's Road back home. But even with this many people, I can't help but feel alone. Only Wylla, Jon's wetnurse, and Howland, who split off a few days ago, know the truth about Jon's parentage. For his safety, no one else can find out about it. Maybe the guilt and loneliness would be the Old Gods' punishment for failing my family.
I was so deep in thought that I almost failed to hear somebody calling for me.
"My lord. Riders from the south. Moving fast. It looks to be Lord Reed based on the banner." Jory Cassel informed me.
That snapped me out of my thoughts. Something important must have happened. Most probably news from the south that came through the raven.
"Lord Manderly! You're in charge. Don't stop the column. I'll send a messenger if needed."
"Yes, My Lord." Wyman replied with a bow.
"Jory, take twenty men and follow me..." I said before leaving towards My lady wife's carriage. She may be cross with me, but I have a responsibility to her. I knocked on the door and waited for her to open the door. "Lord Reed is chasing after the column. I'll meet with him at the rear guard."
"Very well, my lord. Stay safe." She replied, still with that cold tone, before closing the door.
I inadvertently released a sigh before moving to the back of the column. It didn't take long for Jory and the twenty House guards to catch up at near full gallop.
It took ten minutes to reach the end of the column and another five minutes to get past the supply train. There at the end are fifteen Reed men, including Howland itself. It may be rude to think about it, but it's pretty uncanny to see crannogmen riding a horse.
"Howland, not that I'm unhappy to see you so soon, but I can't help but feel concerned."
"Ned. There's something to know as the Great Lord of the North, but how much I tell you depends on the answer to my question..." Howland said with so much intensity that I glossed over the slightly treasonous statement. "Can I trust you?"
"Yes." I replied immediately without hesitation. I literally put the life of one of the most important people in my life in his hands. I was practically asking him to commit treason by hiding Jon's parentage. How can I not do the same?
"Very well. I'll explain along the way. We need to get to Moat Cailin. We'll meet with the rest of my men there." Howland replied after a few seconds of silence., probably assessing the veracity of my reply.
I sent back a messenger just as I promised, asking for fifty more men with enough supplies to last for a week and instructing the rest of the forces to continue north. After the arrival of the men and supplies and regrouping, we left for Moat Cailin.
ANTrying something new! My first foray into First person perspective.
I already have my list of Heroic Spirit Summons, so yeah. Leave a Review!