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Chapter 34: Sparring Themselves
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Miyu and Illya were both standing in front of me as I was graciously 'allowed' to use the large courtyard in front of the new Edelfelt Manor to train the duo.
Both girls had their own share of unease and curiosity, but both seemed quite aware that this was not going to be anything dreadful as an experience. After all, this was my own personal touch to do something important- get them to understand their current strengths and weaknesses, and work to solve those together.
"First thing first, you are not facing mere 'monsters'. Heroic Spirits are, as the name may partially entail, entities that once were seen as heroes- Yes, Miyu?" I turned to the girl as she raised her hand.
"Medusa was not an hero."
"That's..." I paused a bit, tilting my head left and right. "Kind of true, but also not. To be specific, Medusa, as many know her through the tale of Perseus, was a monster, but the circumstances behind her origin are quite promiscuous and individuals that are not exactly good are defined as heroes. In the specific, Medusa has four known forms- her young form, two adult forms which represent her primal instinct of murder and the regret that came after, and finally the Gorgon."
I saw Illya's hand up and I nodded.
"What version did I fight?"
"You fought her 'Regret Adult' form, her 'Rider Class'."
Miyu's hand shot up again. "How can we tell Servants' Classes apart from one another?"
"There are two ways- one is through recognition of their names. If you are to face King Arthur, you know through the myth of Excalibur that she is a Saber."
Miyu nodded- and Illya looked confused.
"Uh, sensei. Is... Is King Arthur a girl?"
Both girls looked surprised, and I decided to elaborate.
"When King Uther wanted a heir, he thought he would have gotten after Morgan, but he ended up with 'Artoria'. What ended up happening was that she claimed Caliburn and then Excalibur at a young age, making it easy to then crossdress and pass as a boy."
"What about Mordred?" Miyu inquired softly, unsure of the situation. "If King Arthur was a girl, then-"
"Mordred was an oddity as she was an Homunculus created through Artoria's DNA and Morgan's manipulation of it through magic," I interrupted with that half-true half-wrong explanation. I decided against mentioning Merlin as that was an headache to endure. "Still yes, while most of the stuff about heroes are right in some books, the truth is that some details have been left out or just not known to Historians of the time."
"What about the other way, sensei?" Illya asked and I hummed.
"The other way is through the way Servants fight or take a stance. The easy three are Sabers for their swordsmanship, Archers for their use of long-ranged weapons- this means also things that are not bow and arrows, and Lancers are... either Lance- or Spear-wielders."
They both nodded at this.
"The other four Classes are slightly more difficult to identify. There's Caster that, in most circumstances, include individuals that are blessed with incredible magical power and some of those may have lived in a time where magic was abundant, making them a dangerous opponent if allowed to use some spells; then there is Assassin and it's mostly individuals that focus on means to gain swift victory through rapid execution and precise killing. There's some nasty Servants in that class and... there are also some that are purposely meant to look harmless but will be the worst to face."
"Finally, the Berserker Class. Now, there is a common misconception of this Class. Most Servants in this Class have a unique skill called 'Mad Enhancement' which gives them incredible physical might at the expense of their mind. A notable example of this is Herakles- known to many as the Greatest Hero, he is afflicted by one of the most severe version of it in his Berserker Class. Alas, that doesn't mean the Servant is unruly, only that they can't be set up to do major complex operations without either forgetting, getting distracted in violent outbursts or just being unable to grasp that big of a goal."
"Are there Berserkers that don't... Berserk, Sensei?"
I held back a smile at that confused query from Miyu.
"There are. Which is why the Class is very unpredictable. The best approach is through 'overkill'. If you are facing a Berserker, you will both have to use your best skills to overpower it at all costs."
I took a moment to lean back and sigh. "While your 'tutors' have a clear understanding of who most of the cards are, the truth is that some of those are unknown to them. So, this isn't a theoretical class only. You will also learn how to handle Servants while in your transformed form."
"How do you plan to do that, Sensei?" Illya asked, and I clapped my hands once.
"Since Quartz had the chance to study the cards' inner working for a while, he is able to create some through some careful planning. Hence why it took so long for a proper lesson and why this will be an interesting way for you two to learn- you will not fight me."
I nodded. "These two are individuals that, in their ups and downs, still identify as heroes and that have much to teach you in combat. Worry not, however- you should be able to trust them to a greater extent than others would."
As I said this, I retrieved the two Cards. One was an Assassin-Class, the other... a special surprise.
I placed them on the ground and- "Summon!"
Mana produced by Quartz reached into the cards and unveiled the Heroes those could produce. I already Summoned them before hand, and while within the card those two could remember their orders.
"Oh- Oh! Is it now, Master! Worry not, we will not disappoint!" A jovial voice promised, then giggled while patting the side of her Polar Bear.
"Now? I... I guess I can do it now," A less enthusiastic girl muttered, giving a quick look to her ninja arsenal.
Both Miyu and Illya looked baffled by the development, each now facing fellow girls that shared faces with them.
"Illya and Miyu, I introduce you to Sitonai and Mochizuki Chiyome. These two shall be your sparring buddies, so keep an eye out and listen to their advice."
Illya promptly raised a hand. "Sensei, what?!"
"Hm? Oh, I suppose I can tell you. Sitonai is a Composite Servant, someone that combines numerous spirits in a single body- this one being from a Illyasviel von Einzbern from another universe," I mentioned while gesturing to the white-haired girl, "Meanwhile Chiyome is... I think she's an indirect ancestor to Miyu."
"It's nice to meet you all! Shirou and I will not show you any mercy, Illya-chan!"
"Why is that Polar Bear called like that? That's my brother's name?!"
Sitonai looked stunned. "Really!? I guess that's why it came to mind like that. I always thought it was just because his face screamed of 'Shirou'!"
"So... you are my descendant?"
"I think so... Mochizuki-san."
"Chiyome is fine... Miyu?"
Both nodded, clearly awkward in regard to each other.
"Well, you four can start sparring once you are all ready. I will be the referee to make sure this doesn't get out of hand."
It got out of hand very fast. Especially with how creative Illya and Sitonai were in their own explosive sparring... while Miyu and Chiyome ended up finishing early and just staring at their 'allies' just scuffle in one of the flashiest, loudest and clearly 'standard Mahou Shoujo'est spars yet!
Illya and Miyu can actually 'Install' both Servants in future fights to bolster their skills. Considering the Heroic Spirits are aware and willing to give them their powers, it means that they don't face any worry in regard to a 'Mind Invasion' from them.
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