Hiiii~ Another chapter is here!

Double update, chapter 19 and 19.5. If either one isn't showing then wait a few minutes as the website is probably slow. And hopefully it doesnt delete the period and show it as chapter 195...

Not much to say other than thank you to my newest patrons: Данил Бирюков, Regretz, DustPrime, Thannatos19, Kevin L, Birthday, ray, r0nind, Ego the Alter, TheDragonKing, Anthony Essex, Alamo9112 and Lifirion. Y'all rock!

Next update is... also Fake Familiar Reborn! Thanks SZL and also best to get the story rolling for the next arc.

I've started working partially on Fate Coiling Sword as well. Hoping to update every story until Broly before the 10th and stabilize my schedule back to normal. I ain't making any promises, learned to not make thay mistake again.

That's all,

Beta read by Shigiya, Paragon of Awesomeness and Maglad.

Beta read by Shigiya, Paragon of Awesomeness and Maglad.




-Kuoh Academy-

"She has a lot of explaining to do." Mumbled Archer as he left the middle of a smoking Kuoh Academy's sports field, looking towards the unconscious Sitri heiress in the distance.

He was smart enough to not go near Sona before she woke up, aware that Rider would almost certainly misinterpret his intentions. He walked with a slight limp to his step, though it was quickly going away. Truly, Rias' mana tanks were no joke, as he could feel himself healing almost as quickly as he would if he was acting as Alaya's enforcer instead. He kept his guard up though, ready for any unexpected 'surprises' or further attacks.

If Sona hadn't used the Command Seal in time and Rider had fully deployed her Noble Phantasm… Archer wasn't sure he could have blocked it. Not without suffering some grievous injuries in the process, because some part of him worried that Rider might have received more than a boost to her base parameters. For all he knew, with a Pillar House heiress as her Master, some of Rider's skills or even her Noble Phantasm had been made more powerful as well. While he had seen nothing that would truly indicate such, he was in no rush to find out, not while he was at risk of being on the receiving end of such power, at least.

If Rider had been akin to a supercar trying to run on an empty tank in most iterations of the fifth Fuyuki Holy Grail War, now she was more akin to an ICBM. A deadly, explosive payload propelled by hundreds of thousands of aerospace-quality fuel.

Regardless, now that she'd been made to stand down, he had to address the unexpected presence of Rias' only Knight. "What are you doing here, Yuuto? I trusted you to escort Rias and everyone else away from this place!"

"I couldn't leave you behind!" The young Knight shouted, frustrated and unwilling to apologize for his decision. "Do you have any idea how worried we all were? Koneko wouldn't stop shaking each time we felt the shockwaves from your fight with that other Servant, and we were all more than a mile away!"

Archer simply shook his head, wanting to remove such a thought process from the boy's mind as soon as possible.

'That is the mindset of a fool, ready to jump into danger against opponents far beyond himself. If it had been any other Servant… no, Rider would also have taken him out if she had perceived him as a threat.'

At that moment, Archer felt strangely grateful for Rider's newly enhanced capabilities, as that may have been exactly why Yuuto didn't even register as a threat in her eyes. Blindfold, whatever.

"It doesn't matter if you were worried or scared. If the other Servant had been even the tiniest bit more merciless, practical, or cruel, she would have targeted you to get to me." He massaged his temples, refraining from being as harsh as he perhaps should be, due to the undeniable fact that Yuuto's actions did end up helping in the end, and he was infinitely better than his idiotic younger self. Instead of jumping between Rider and himself, he took a much smarter option, and forcefully brought Sona here, then pushed her into using a Command Seal to stop the fight.

'Heh, if only my idiot self would have been smart enough to take Illya hostage back then. Perhaps we would have all ended up sipping tea and eating snacks at home together, talking our problems out instead of whatever you'd call the clusterfuck of a tragedy that happened in the end.'

Then again, there was simply no way his incompetent younger self would have been able to actually overpower Illya. Certainly, Rin could have done it, but his younger self? The idea was somewhat amusing to consider, as he was sure Illya would have torn him to shreds.

"We'll talk about this later. Right now, someone else needs to understand the consequences of their reckless actions." He said while gazing towards Sona's group, protectively clustered around the still unconscious heiress. He wondered, what could have pushed the typically levelheaded girl to perform a Servant summoning despite him having previously warned her of the potential downsides and dangers inherent to the ritual? He knew for certain that she did not seek the Grail, having already acknowledged its nature as a Monkey's Paw.

"What should we do about her?" Yuuto asked, subtly nodding towards Rider while taking a defensive stance, sword in hand — the Servant's only acknowledgement of the action being a slight head tilt, as if asking what he intended to actually do with the metal stick he held.

"Don't even think about it," Archer snatched the sword from the boy's grasp and threw it away. "Idiot, never try to confront a Servant unless there's no other option. Begging or running away are preferable alternatives, understood? She could kick your head off your shoulders before you realized you were staring at an afterimage. You already can't keep up with me even when I'm holding back, and her speed and physical strength both outclass my own."

As soon as he heard that, a terrifying chill crawled down Kiba's spine. Their sparring sessions before and during the training camp had ingrained into him just how big the gap between them really was in both skill and power. The admittance that Archer was holding back made his own weakness a harder pill to swallow, but he wasn't dumb enough to stay blind to the facts, even if his pride as a swordsman took a rather humbling hit. Archer was fast enough that even his Knight Piece made no difference at all, forcing him to rely on defensive swordsmanship patterns and educated guesswork to try and parry incoming strikes — which failed more often than not, though Archer had assured him that he was getting better with each spar.

And yet, Archer plain-out admitted that the blindfolded woman before them was even faster than himself. 'Servants… just what kind of terrifying entities are they? They were supposed to have been humans before they became Heroic Spirits, right?'

If Archer was alive and able to fuse with a Knight Piece… would it even have any effect on his overall speed?

"Archer!" Came Rias' frantic shout, and his eyes caught the sight of her and Akeno flying to him at full speed, with Asia, Gasper, Koneko and Issei right behind them. He didn't miss the slight tensing of Rider's posture as she suddenly appeared by Sona's side, positioning herself between her Master and the new arrivals.

As for Archer, he found himself starting to worry as he saw the way Rias and Akeno were glaring at the other Servant. Hopefully he didn't have to worry about any of them doing something outrageously stupid such as atta—

"You'll pay for this!"


Unfortunately for him, his worst fear nearly came to be when his Master screamed at Rider. An orb of Destruction power hovered in midair at the end of Rias' fingers, ready to fly towards the violet-haired servant whose brows seemed to furrow slightly beneath her blindfold.

His eyes widened, his pupils contracted into pinpricks, and cold sweat started pouring off his back as he panicked for the second time today, a brand new experience for the normally stoic Counter Guardian.

"You fool!" Even if he had to be a bit strong-handed and use force, he was determined to do so, as the alternative would be infinitely worse.

As he was about to move and forcefully detain Rias from doing anything else, a certain white-haired Rook got to Rias before he did and latched onto her King, stopping her from doing anything.

"Koneko!?" Rias exclaimed, the sudden action of her adorable Rook taking her completely by surprise.


The sudden action shocked her enough to dismiss the attack. She looked at the trembling young girl, shaking like a leaf, head buried on her chest as a small voice barely managed to speak. "Don't… Don't do it, please… She's dangerous… You'll die…" she whispered with a shaky voice.

Unable to lift her head up to so much as look at Rider, it took all of Koneko's will to follow the group, as every instinct in her body and soul was screaming at her to run away from the area. The mere act of approaching that thing – no, that monster disguised a woman – and knowing that she was being perceived by it, was nearly enough to make her faint. It was a sensation she couldn't recall ever experiencing before in her life. It wasn't just the raw power emanating from this other Servant that frightened her to her very core, but something far more primal. It left her feeling like a quivering mouse that had been cornered by a hungry viper.

Years ago, she'd been left frozen by the sight of her sister's unfettered brutality. Kuroka had grinned and laughed as she killed her King and fellow peerage members, drenched in their blood and giving off a bloodlust so thick it may as well have been a physical cloak draped over her shoulders. Unlike then however, there wasn't a lick of bloodlust coming from the lilac-haired Servant before her — it instead felt like it was merely a natural aspect of what she was, and it was so thick that Koneko felt as if she'd drown it it if she went any closer than she already was.

And there was one other thing that stood out to her, now that she was closer. Her nose was absolutely overwhelmed with the scent of scales and sinew… no, with musk and snakes.

"Koneko…" Seeing her precious Rook like this, Rias calmed down, overcome with the need to comfort and protect her. Archer on the other hand sighed in relief, and quickly went to Rias' side to further calm his Master down, making sure the redhead wouldn't get overly excited and make herself appear like she intended to attack Rider or worse, Sona.

"I know you're shaken, but be assured that I have a very durable body and know a thing or two about dodging. It takes more than a couple of hits to knock me down, let alone kill me. So just don't do anything rash, okay?" He doubted that whatever attack Rias might throw at Rider, if by some miracle it even reached her, would do any substantial damage in the first place.

Not because the woman had rather high Magic Resistance, or even decent Endurance. It was simply acknowledging the reality that Rias' powers in general hadn't reached a high enough level to pose an actual threat to even an average Servant, let alone a strong one.

"B-But she-… I-I… She tried to kill you!" argued Rias, the sight of what happened when Archer left the Occult Research Club seared into her mind like a fire that wouldn't die. For the first time, she'd genuinely feared for his life. That uncertainty of his ability to emerge as the victor had nearly scared her to death.

This enemy he called Rider was no ordinary opponent, but a proper Heroic Spirit, someone who was comparable to her Archer.

"Because she is a Servant. Hers was the proper response in protecting her Master, even if it was ultimately wrong in this particular situation. You must remember, she had no way to know the only other Servant in the vicinity was an ally of her Master, Rias," Archer explained as calmly as he could. "To begin with, alliances between Masters are extremely rare, so now that Sona ordered her to stand down, it's better to wait for her to wake up and clear the air between us so this doesn't happen again." The only reason Archer covered for Rider in the first place was mostly to de-escalate the situation. "I would have reacted just the same in her place."

He had to convince them to avoid any kind of conflict here with Rider — especially when they had willingly positioned themselves in such a vulnerable position — in a manner that would not escalate tensions more than they already were. Much like Rias, Akeno was also ready to attack before Koneko jumped in to stop Rias, with small lightning arcs dancing between her fingers and body. These fools would get themselves killed long before they'd even be able to launch a single spell if Rider decided to get serious. Without giving them a second look, Archer turned towards the blindfolded Servant who hadn't budged from her initial space.

"Rider, your Master and mine are allies and close friends. They're not trying to kill each other and this fight between us was nothing but a misunderstanding. If I had known you were Sona's Servant, I wouldn't have rushed in the way I did. We really have no need to kill each other, and I'd prefer if you refrained from doing anything until your Master wakes up and you two talk things out, alright?" He said while calmly approaching her, stopping once he felt there remained a respectable distance between them. His hands were up to showcase that he didn't have any weapons or intentions to attack. "I am sure that by now you must have noticed something odd about the environment around us, haven't you?"

She nodded slowly after a few moments of consideration. "…The Mana in the air. It's much more dense and abundant than I expected."

"Exactly. This will sound strange, but we have been summoned into a timeline so distant from our own that it may as well be an entirely different world, by a system that as far as I can tell, unsuccessfully tried to ape the summoning system of Holy Grail Wars. These two uncovered the summoning ritual and used it to summon me, thinking that it was a simple familiar summoning ritual. There is no Holy Grail to grant our wishes, so forcing ourselves to kill each other is pointless." Despite her rather quiet nature, Archer felt he knew her well enough to be certain she would refrain from acting without carefully thinking about his words. Unlike other Heroic Spirits, this Servant did not wish for senseless violence or the thrill of battle.

So, he hoped she would cooperate for now, and wait for Sona to wake up without making things more complicated than they had to be.

All the same, his heart beat like a drum inside his chest while his mind ran through countless possibilities, all depending on her response. His face remained calm as he tried to keep her gaze on him, admittedly a tricky situation when her blindfold came into the picture, while everyone stood in a silence so deep. It wasn't hard for everyone to hear the sound of the breeze amongst the leaves of what few nearby trees survived their fight.


Out of the corner of his eye, Archer spotted Sona's peerage beginning to approach, a good majority of them with bruises and minor cuts, most likely from Yuuto's blade. Archer thought he had a good grasp on the boy's personality, so he was honestly surprised by the realization he'd gone to such extremes against those who likely considered him a friend, even in a rather extreme scenario such as this.

As Rider saw them, he felt her frown at him from behind the blindfold before her attention went to Rias and her peerage, all of whom flinched as they felt her examine them, with poor Koneko turning even paler. The little girl looked like she was about to faint if Rider kept focusing on her.

"These people… none of them are human." Rider observed.

As expected from the monster that slayed hundreds of heroes during the Age of Gods, Medusa's senses were extremely sharp. He highly doubted she recognized them as Devils because to be honest, they're just too different from the conceptual entities acknowledged as devils in their original timeline, let alone the monsters she coexisted with during her lifetime. Archer was all too happy to leave that particular conversation for Sona to deal with once she woke up.

"Correct, though that's something your Master should explain to you, as you already have little reason to trust me, and the truth is so out there it would be best if you heard it directly from her lips. Your confusion is understandable though, as I also had many questions upon my summoning." He looks at Rias and her peerage, and decides they are suitably distracted, or at least too shaken to focus on their conversation. All the same, he lowers his voice to a point he's sure Rider's supernatural senses would have no issue on picking up. "You didn't receive any information about the modern world upon your summoning, did you?" She shook her head again. "I thought as much. Perhaps you could talk with your Master's other subordinates, as my Master also needs to speak with her about her decision to summon you."

Before she could protest, he continued. "Rest assured, my Master is of no threat to yours. They two of them are close allies and have been friends since childhood. However, she does need to explain herself for causing this conflict in the first place, and be educated about the dangers of leaving your allies in the dark to mess with half-baked, barely working rituals. It's for her own good, and it'll benefit you as well."

"…Fine," she answered, releasing some of the tension in the air. Raising her arm, she pointed at Sona's peerage, the latter group hesitating to approach their King. "Are they the subordinates of my Master you spoke of?"

"Indeed, they are the members of her peerage."


"They'll explain it better than I could. In any event, this place isn't exactly ideal for such a conversation." Not only were they out in the open, they also needed to clean and repair the school grounds as soon as possible, as even the densest student would have questions about the collapsed walls and cratered sports field.

"You can rest assured, these people will take care of Sona. She is their King and they are fiercely loyal to her. I'll leave you to acquaint yourself with them, now. We can talk another time."

With no confirmation or even a nod, Rider's body dematerialized before everyone's eyes. He took it as her agreeing.


As soon as she disappeared, Sona's peerage rushed in and went to check on her. Tsubasa picked her up gently as the two Bishops of their group checked their King for any wounds. Saji on the other hand rubbed his neck where Yuuto's blade touched his skin before, sweat dripping down his face as he glanced over at the Gremory Knight — the latter no longer paying them any attention.

'I've never seen him make that kind of face before…' thought Saji Genshirou. For as long as he could remember, the Prince of Kuoh always had that damned smile on his face that made all the girls swoon anytime they saw it. But the cold indifference coupled with traces of rage that he showed this night made it feel as if he was facing an entirely different person. "This guy is nuts."

As the Sitri Pawn joined the others, keeping watch over his King and Tsubasa, Archer spoke on her condition.

"Don't worry, she's not injured in the slightest. The summoning must have exhausted her Magic Energy reserves, and using the Command Seal so soon on after that must have pushed her to the limit. She'll be fine after some rest" He informed the group, their emotions complicated with traces of guilt in some and anger in others. "Just go, I don't have the energy to start lecturing you all at the moment. Just focus on getting this mess cleaned up."

They hesitated before leaving quietly, it was clear they wanted to say something but couldn't bring themselves to do it.

"A-Archer," though one of them at least managed to gather the will to speak. Tsubaki, with her head down, called out to him. She had something at the tip of her tongue that she wished to convey.

"I know that look, you're feeling guilty or something?"

Tsubaki took a deep breath, "We… We've been planning this for a while." She admitted with a soft whisper full of shame. Only Archer heard her speak. "I-It wasn't supposed to go like this… Kaichou never wanted to hurt y—"

"Hold it right there," he stopped her before she could finish her sentence. "I think I know where you're going with this, and you're wrong. While I am disappointed that you, out of everyone, allowed such a thing to happen without informing me — I know this wasn't to target me. All of this is an accident, but a grievous one that could have been avoided, so someone needs to face the consequences."

Tsubaki didn't say anything, just nodding in acceptance before joining the rest of her group, leaving Rias and the others to deal with the rest.

Koneko calmed down as soon as she felt Rider's presence disappear, and grew calmer still as Sona's group left. Akeno and Asia approached Archer, the former nun immediately using her Twilight Healing on him. "I-I'll heal you right away, so please tell me where it hurts!"

He chuckled at her determined face, seeing her as serious as during the training camp. Letting her Sacred Gear work its magic on him, he was genuinely impressed about its effects, as every little cut and bruise on him disappeared right before his eyes, fast enough it looked like regeneration instead of healing. That's because it wasn't just fast, but because the process didn't leave so much as a single trace of his wounds. 'Interesting, her Sacred Gear also works on Servants. That's good to know, but it's obviously slower on my spiritual body compared to how fast it works on living beings. I'll look into it later.'

"Hm?" He barely had enough time to dismiss his shroud before he was wrapped by Rias' slim, feminine arms and her face pressing into his shoulder. "My my, it seems that I have worried my Master a bit too much. That or you're becoming more needy by the day."

Rias scoffed at his poor jest. "Shut up and let me have this."

Aah, he could already say with certainty that the woman wouldn't loosen up her hold on him anytime soon, and would even continue to do so when she went to sleep. Archer wondered how someone like her would have fared in a Holy Grail War back in Fuyuki. If just a few scratches evoked such an emotional reaction from her, he feared how distraught the Gremory heiress would become if she saw some of the injuries he'd sustained from his fights against various Servants.

"I can't believe Sona would do such a thing. She's not one to take risky actions like these without thinking things through a dozen times over." Rias commented, frowning as she pondered the actions of her rival. "Accident or not, I'm going to teach her a lesson for hurting my precious Servant. This'll be a punishment that she will never forget until the day she dies!" Genuine anger filled her voice as she stomped her foot into the ground. "And why are you so calm, Archer? You don't even seem bothered by the whole thing! "

"I believe you are wrong there, Master, I do have my own thoughts and opinions of what happened today. There's just no need to waste time with accusations and blaming when that can be done at a time when Sona is able to actually hear and respond to them. What we need to worry about right now though is cleaning his place up before sunrise. I don't know much about the powers of Devils, but I don't suspect it involves fixing up an entire building within the span of a few hours?"

As Archer stepped away from his Master, he glanced at one of the taller buildings far away from the school grounds, one that none of the Devils present seemed to have noticed. 'I recognized only Grayfia. That man next to her must have been Rias' brother, thus Lucifer… As for those next to him, were they also the other Satans I've heard about?'

Hard to tell. But they were all having far too much fun watching him fight with Rider, so he sent a small warning their way, destroying the phone that a small woman had been holding to record their battle.

The bowman jumped up to what remained of a classroom on the second floor –his classroom – pushing away the rubble as he walked over to what remained of his desk.

"…Well color me surprised, I guess miracles can happen to me after all, occasionally." He said with an amused smile, standing next to his desk, which had been ruined. Half of it had been crushed under a piece of the ceiling, and a couple of his blades were sticking out from the wooden frame.

Yet that was not what caught his attention. On the half that remained intact, he found his laptop. The device, opposite to all his expectations, was in pristine condition. No scratches, broken glass or cracked chassis visible anywhere. This strange phenomenon left Archer flabbergasted, more so than the fact that Sona somehow made the summoning work. His hesitant hands grabbed onto the device and used Structural Analysis on it just to make sure he wasn't hallucinating the entire thing. He opened it, and with the single press of a button, the device turned on and booted up as usual, showing him all his files and saved documents. "At least I won't have to start everything all over again."

And as he looked next to where he kept the laptop, he saw the equally intact glasses that he'd received as a gift from Koneko the day Rias imposed this job on him.

The biggest irony he felt since his summoning is in this world, was how in the beginning he hated the idea of becoming part of the staff at Kuoh Academy. Believing that such a role was nothing but a waste of time and demonstrated a terrible lack of insight from his Master who basically created a weakness in her defense as she prevented her Servant from always present next to her in the event of an attack. Sure in the event of such an emergency, teleportation through the use of a Command Seal remained an option — but that was far too wasteful for his liking.

He had treated it like a chore, an activity that he was going to get over and done with as quickly as possible before returning to his regular duties as a summoned Heroic Spirit. As the days passed though, Archer found himself getting more and more involved with his quote-unquote job. It had started small with assigning more detailed homework to the students, investing more hours into preparing his next classes, and eventually going so far as to worry whether his students would do well on their exams or not by the end of the term.

It was a new feeling, and an experience he never went through at any point in his past. He had never been made to assume the role of a teacher, and thus never had the chance to understand the kind of sensation it came with. So a part of him was glad that his computer, along with all the work he'd stored on it, remained intact. He had poured a lot of effort into each lesson even after Yuuto helped him with it — not that he was ever going to admit it to anyone. Humph, he could already hear his Rin laugh, and picture the girl holding her stomach as she couldn't stop laughing, while the annoyance by her side gave him a weird look.

In the end he blamed Rias. She was the one who made him take on the duties of a teacher and any kind of issues he would experience in the future, he was more than willing to pin the blame on her.

"How long will it take to clean everything up?" He asked while taking the laptop and glasses with him. Just in case the school was going to get attacked again by some other entity and forcing him to bombard his swords through the building once again. He turned his attention to Akeno as the lady hummed in contemplation, having followed him.

"It shouldn't take long at all. Apart from this building and the club building, the only other places that sustained any damage were the trees outside where you fought. If I call Grayfia, then we could have this place fixed with time to spare before the school opens up."

What he said earlier concerning the ridiculous convenience of Devil magic had been intended as a joke. But no, it turned out they really could fix this entire place up in a matter of a few hours. Even the Magi in his world would not be able to restore so much damage in such a small amount of time without at least a hundred of them working in conjunction. Archer looked around, seeing that in this classroom alone there were easily dozens of his swords having pierced the wall. Plenty more of them were littered all around the school, and he sure wasn't going to let anyone else so much as touch them, let alone potentially gather them and conduct some form of research on his Magecraft.

So with a single mental command, Archer had all of his constructs around him break down. At least half a thousand of nameless Noble Phantasms turned into blue and white motes of light as they drifted through the air in an almost picturesque manner before fading into nothing.

Though he quickly came to understand that he'd made one grave mistake with this action.

"Kya!" He heard Rias scream in shock, with Koneko also letting out a small squeal of dread. Turning his attention towards them, the man groaned as he came to the realization that he'd made a critical oversight in dismissing all of his creations aside from his own clothes. Perhaps it was due to the arrival of another Servant preoccupying his mind, but evidently the knowledge that some of his other constructs — unrelated to combat — were being used by others had completely slipped his train of thoughts. Such as the clothes that his Master and Koneko had been wearing at that very moment.

"Archer!" A shout of panic came from behind, the Servant resisting the urge to facepalm. He told her on many occasions to not wear his clothes in public so much, as his constructs would disappear with even the slightest damage. Or in this case if he were to accidentally dismiss them himself.

"What happened? Why did my clothes disappear? Are you feeling okay!?" The Gremory heiress shouted, showing no sign of embarrassment whatsoever as she flew to him and started fussing over him while completely naked. Archer meanwhile was left speechless at how unconcerned his Master was about suddenly losing her clothes. Koneko on the other hand having a more appropriate reaction, as she scooped up behind the remains of a tattered curtain and wrapped them around herself while looking at him with a small frown on her face,


Nope, he refused to let the blame for this be placed solely on him. "Am I really the pervert when I specifically warned you both how fragile my constructs are, or how easily this kind of scenario could occur? I understand being irritated, but don't pretend that you didn't also play a part by not wearing actual clothes. Just be glad that we aren't in public, or else this would have been much worse."

"It's not that bad," Rias commented, continuing to behave as she usually did, uncaring that she was in the buff. Archer figured he should have expected as much from a nudist like her. "But are you sure you're feeling alright, Archer? Even if I wasn't there to see it, this fight clearly pushed you a lot harder than your encounter with Grayfia. It's probably best if we go back home and rest. You used a lot of energy today and even got injured. Let me help you feel better, I can transfer my energy to you more efficiently if we lie in bed together naked while embracing each other. I've been practicing every night!"

"Master, you're just a nudist."

At that, Issei — who'd been enjoying the visual treat of seeing Rias naked for the first time in his life — felt the part of his brain that processed auditory stimuli go haywire. He quickly grew torn between wanting to continue staring at Rias, or glaring at the handsome bastard who apparently got to sleep in her bed with her and see her naked body every single night!

'Dammit! Why can't that be me instead!'

Rias didn't notice her Pawn's fuming at all though, as she was still thinking about the sensation she felt right toward the end of that fight with the other Servant, Rider, when she felt large swaths of her Demonic Energy being siphoned to fuel Archer's power. Far more than he used even when he ended the Rating Game or when he faced Grayfia. She had no idea what he had been about to use back then, but it had surpassed the energy he'd required to cause explosions capable of burning members of House Phenex or even injuring Grayfia of all people.

"As much as I appreciate your care, Master, it seems I must inform you that there is no need to baby a literal Heroic Spirit. I'll be fine "

Akeno took a moment to contact Grayfia, and once the maid assured them she'd be there soon to repair the academy, they all decided it would be best to return to their respective abodes. Even so, it quickly became clear that Rias was far from the only one worried about him after his fight with Rider. Akeno had asked her King if it would be better if he stayed over at her place and allowed Asia to see to his condition for the night. Surprisingly, it was a genuine suggestion that was put forth out of concern rather than another one of her mischievous pranks. Unfortunately for her, Rias instantly denied that request, sounding a tad bit possessive as she gave her refusal.

"I-It's my duty as the King and Archer's Master to take care of my Servant! I-I can manage on my own!" She said with a slight blush on her face, dragging him along by the arm as a Gremory teleportation circle formed beneath her feet.

'Quite a strange time to get jealous,' the Servant mused before the circle brought them home.



It felt peculiar; every time she returned, it seemed as if she delved deeper into a blurry past. Some of what she'd see would offer answers to a few or her questions, yet all too often a dozen more would be raised. Nonetheless, the raging flames she recalled from the last time she saw the young boy were now replaced by a serene view of a father and son sitting together on a wooden patio, enjoying the quiet and comforting atmosphere of moon gazing. Even as she looked around, it seemed somewhat ethereal, with shadows creeping in from the back, contradictory to the tranquil scene before her.

The duo before her was familiar; a small tuft of red hair belonging to a boy she'd last seen walking through hell, now sitting serenely under the glow of the moonlight. And beside him, a man whose presence differed greatly from the tear filled face showing unrivaled joy when he stumbled upon the little boy whose life he saved when he pulled him out of the fire.

No sensations of dread tainted the picture before her. Rias allowed herself to enjoy the atmosphere she was spectating, devoid of any sadness or extreme emotions — quiet as the seconds ticked by with only a nearly full moon on a cloudless night offering any illumination.

The stark change in scenery from the last time Rias could remember seeing these two felt… difficult to grasp. And her knowledge pertaining to the future of the man she remembered holding as she went to sleep barely helped. Or rather, it did not ease her worries for the challenges that he'd face later in life.

The blurry scenery, where greenery and structure seemingly blended together as if viewed through a small bubble, with nothing having a clearly defined image aside from the celestial body in the sky. Perhaps a sign that even he could not recall perfectly some events of his past. Having happened many years ago, some details were lost even to the greatest of minds.

And yet, the older man's features remained as perfectly detailed as if it had happened just that day. His smile had always been a source of hope for the young boy, a radiant one that gave him a strong enough will to push on and continue living. Seeing it had birthed the desire to one day experience the same feeling as him, to smile with so much joy even in the depths of hell. He wanted to experience that same joy, and find the answer to how he could do so like the man who'd saved him.

"Hey, old man! If you're gonna sleep, then do it in your bed."

Even when the version of Archer she met behaved as one of the most mature people she'd ever met — rivaled only by Grayfia herself — the tone from the child made her realize that perhaps some aspects remained unchanged even after decades. Though he preferred to use a more formal approach with his words today, Rias saw that the intent and attitude behind his way of speaking remained the same now as it did then.

"Hmm? No, I'm fine." the man shook himself awake. "…Did you know, when I was little, I really wanted to be a Hero of Justice? An old dream of mine."

A dream… everyone had one. Rias herself had mentioned on many occasions to Archer her dream of becoming the new champion of the Rating Games, and to make a name for herself that Devils everywhere would acknowledge her.

"You wanted to be one?" The boy asked, looking at the man who saved his life, confused at the way he worded the phrase. "What do you mean that you 'wanted' to become one?" he spoke, sounding slightly angry at those words. "Did you just give up?"

Anger, different to the kind he showed her, where the concept of being a hero was always accompanied by mockery and dismissal. A stark contrast to the emotions and clear interest expressed by his younger self.

"Yeah. Being a hero, it turns out, is a limited-time thing. When you grow up, it's hard to call yourself one… I should have realized that earlier."

Was being a hero truly that hard? What even did it mean to be a hero? Did one have to save lives beyond counting, to sacrifice oneself, or to face down impossible odds without giving up? Heroes of all kinds of races had distinguished themselves throughout history, from the Great War between the three biblical factions to the Devil Civil War. Many of these heroes remained unbeknownst to the annals of human history, yet they were revered by Devils and the whole of the supernatural. Did a lack of having a legend told by humanity diminish these accomplishments? Did the man who dived into a burning hellscape to save the life of a child not get to call himself a hero simply because it was not a story that would be remembered? These were questions that she held no answer to, as her world and Archer's clearly differed a great deal, as did her understanding of the bigger questions in life.

"I see. That's too bad then."

"Indeed," his voice continued to weaken by the second, yet he managed to let out a small laugh. "Yeah, it couldn't be helped."

Couldn't be helped, he said. Yet the very child that sat next to him went on to earn that title. He became such a hero that his accomplishments had immortalized him within the Throne of Heroes. Joy, disbelief or even shock — what emotions would best describe his expression if this boy were to have learned of the future that awaited him?

"…It really is a nice moon tonight."

Rias' curiosity made her want to know more about the man who had become so jaded and cynical about the viewpoint of a hero despite having become a Heroic Spirit himself. She'd seen glimpses of said reason before, the letter having given her clues with his words, but one that did not paint a beautiful picture. It was obvious to the redhead that there existed more behind the story that he hid, one that she was determined to find out.

"Fine," the child nodded, the surroundings growing more out of focus, seeming to concentrate around the pair even further as the next words were spoken. "Since you can't do it, I'll become a hero for you."

Words that sounded so innocent, and yet they conveyed the child's gratitude for how his life had been saved, and his desire to fulfill the beautiful dream that had slipped through his father's fingers.

Rias once again wondered who the people before her actually were. It was quite clear that the man sitting before her had played a major role in Archer's life, inspiring him to take the path to become a hero. What had started out as a simple moment of silent bonding between the two before the man's waning strength deserted him completely, had turned into a passing of the torch.


"Since you're an adult now, you can't do it anymore — but I can."

Holding conviction born out of a child's admiration of their father, to chase an end goal someone else desired. The very start of his journey in a way, the first step of a long road that slowly molded this boy into the Archer she knew now.

Yet no matter how she looked at it, all of it seemed odd. There existed a heartfelt desire behind the previously broken eyes of the child, whereas the very hero he became showed only contempt for these same ideals. The fire that turned into cold detachment which in turn became scorn for the mere mention of it. The contrast, it was far too great for it to foreshadow a good end for this boy. The path he would walk would be one filled with regret and misery.

Did… did Archer hate this man for having inspired him into such a life? Could she even share the sentiment of her precious Archer in the first place?

She… she couldn't say, regardless, as her consciousness pulled her away. Rias felt the closer she got to the truth, the more uncertain her beliefs of Archer's past started to become. This wasn't the tale of a gallant swordsman or a heroic archer…

…It honestly started to resemble the start of a tragic life and a cursed existence.

"Leave it to me… your dream."

Opening her eyes, a headache clouded her mind, though thankfully it quickly began to fade. The ceiling greeted her eyes, bathed in gentle moonlight, as she grappled with the remnants of her latest dream. Blurry images coalesced, revealing the same young boy on a porch alongside the man who passed his dream of being a hero onto him. Emotions swirled within her, grappling with the significance of this memory in her Servant's life.

Archer, who as a child had cherished and idolized the concept of becoming a hero, now despised it. The question echoed in her mind — what changed in his journey? The quest for answers grew ever more urgent in her mind, the lack of them leaving her frustrated and upset. It felt like she had seen, much yet still made so little progress in truly understanding the man she'd summoned and formed a pact with.

Amidst her tangled thoughts, she sensed warmth, shifting her attention to the white-haired Heroic Spirit who lay beside her, shirtless. Before she fell asleep and throughout, she had sought comfort, holding his arm against her body and crossing her legs with his, a subconscious response to the fear of nearly losing him the previous day. Watching him breathe rhythmically, she grappled his nature as a spirit with the tangible reality of what she felt at this moment. Despite him having told her that his body was made entirely of Mana, he nonetheless gave off the warmth and feeling of having a real, flesh and blood body.

"It's not like you to wake up in the middle of the night so early, Master," Archer remarked, eyes still closed. "Judging from the amount of sweat on your body and the expressions you made while dreaming, I assume it was perhaps another tragic scene from my past that you were made to experience via the dream cycle." He said calmly.

"You weren't sleeping?"

"I'm a light sleeper."

Of course he was, she wouldn't have been surprised if he said that he never slept the entire time and always meditated until morning or some other ridiculous response like that.

Rias tilted her head, acknowledging that she had wanted to discuss this matter since their training for the Rating Game. However, finding the right moment during that time had proven challenging. And as she lay next to him, having just experienced another dream, she realized it hadn't just been a matter of staying focused; she had been avoiding the topic, fearing the potential reaction that Archer might have if she were to bring up the tragic memories of his life.

Recent events, however, had pushed her to confront this curiosity that could no longer be contained. "…Yes, I had another dream of you as a child," she admitted, feeling a sense of urgency to address this before the details faded away. The struggle to recall her dream intensified, with the features of both the boy and the man becoming blurrier by the second. "Can… can I ask you something, Archer"

"Hm, I don't mind answering any questions you might have, Master. But remember, the answer I give may not be the one you want to hear, or one you will find satisfying," Archer warned, one that Rias knew he would give her.

"Do you regret being a hero?" She remembered asking this question once before, but the answer she had gotten now felt far too reserved and even lacking. "The boy I saw held great aspiration, he was happy and excited to one day achieve his dream of becoming one. Yet… yet to me, it seems like you've given up on that dream and even grew to hate it. I… I don't know what you went through, but I honestly believe you deserve the title of being called a true hero."

"His dream huh. I guess that's one way of looking at it." The man chuckled mirthlessly. Rias frowned as she saw how he treated those words with amusement and mockery. "A boy once said, 'I don't want to watch people die.' He thought that if people can be saved, could it be possible to save every person that is suffering? So with his blade in hand, he set out to do just that. What the boy didn't realize was that the thing he was trying to cut down was himself. He wielded his sword for what he came to believe in, not realizing that with such an impossible goal in his heart there was no longer a path in which his battle would ever end, nor could he turn back. However, he did get his answer. And once he did, he found regrets that he would carry for the rest of his days. Countless times, he wished to do it all over. This fate, long set in stone, is one I have cursed for as long as I can remember."


"As for the question of whether it was wrong or not, frankly it no longer matters. The conclusion I came to will only earn me a moment of peace before doubt settles in once more. All that remains for me to do is to keep walking, to maintain a steady grip on my sword and perform my duties as a… hero. After all, no matter what I try, I can't undo the actions of the past, or escape where my path led me." That last part held more scorn than hope, and laden with regret he held for the path chosen. For it had not led to where he wanted, yet all he could do was continue onward.

With her head resting on top of his shoulders with her face almost pressed against his neck, the redhead let her hand rest upon his chest where she felt his heartbeat. "I don't agree with your view."

"Oh?" He commented curiously.

"Call me selfish, but I don't believe the path you chose is wrong. The decisions you made led you to me, for better or worse, and for that I'm infinitely grateful. Believe me when I say that you have every reason to be proud of the hero you are, and that I couldn't ask for a better Servant. It might not happen tomorrow, or anytime in the near future, but as your Master, I will find a way to make you change your mind about the way you view yourself. I may not know who you were in life, Archer, but I know that you're an amazing man, I want to have you stay with me forever. And I intend to make you want the very same."

Rias swore that whatever it took, she would make her Archer happy. Whether she had to find a way to fulfill a wish of his whether there was a Holy Grail or not, or something that she had to work on every day for the rest of her life, she would give Archer the happiness he deserved.

"Humph, you say strange things, Master. But if it helps you sleep then I won't argue otherwise."

She knew her words alone would not be enough to convey her will to the man she held. She would not allow him to dismiss her promise to him as her getting emotional, only the conversation to be forgotten and their affairs to carry on as they had before once the sun rose.

Perhaps her next action was also driven by her own desire to calm down her racing heart, to finally act on the feelings that had been building within her for weeks now, and as of this night she was fully free to do so.

The young woman lifted her head and moved her hand to his cheek, turning his face towards her, their gazes meeting for a brief moment before she leaned down and gently touched her lips to his.

Archer's eyes blinked at the kiss, even as he made no effort to avoid it. Once Rias pulled back a moment later, Archer raised an eyebrow. "What was that for?" he asked.

"Think of it as my way of letting you know I'm serious, Archer." Rias declared, a massive smile on her face. "You don't get to disregard me any longer, because I meant every word I said."


-Kuoh Academy-

(Next day, evening)

Just as expected from Grayfia, she managed to repair the entire academy with time to spare before the first staff members or students came anywhere near the building. Archer was surprised to find that not only had his class been repaired in its entirety, but even included minor imperfections such as small chips in the desks, a crack in the paint at the corner of a wall, a random sharpie mark at the edge of the whiteboard, and other examples. A perfect copy of how the school had been the last time any human saw it, down to the smallest detail.

He started his classes in what was becoming an increasingly familiar affair. As always, several of his students behaved a bit weirdly any time he asked them a question. And in this crowd, that was saying something. Murayama and Katase once again demonstrated themselves as being the most levelheaded of all his students, conducting themselves politely and turning in all assigned homework without any excuses or teenage drama.

Then on the opposite end of the spectrum, there was Kiryuu Aika. The girl who seemed to single handedly serve as the feminine counter to the Perverted Trio, she never stopped trying to elicit a reaction from him with an endless variety of innuendos, double entendres, and outright perverted comments that would have landed her in detention if he didn't have something more pressing scheduled after class.

The final student who stood out in his mind and was not a Devil was Abe Kiyome. Strangely enough she had been far less talkative today than he knew her to be, and instead he had felt her gaze being oddly focused on him for much of the day. It continued every time he encountered her, from the entirety of their class, to passing each other in the hallways. All too often, she would be there, watching him while trying to blend into the background. Rias had told him that Kiyome came from a family of magical beast tamers and was familiar with the supernatural, so he could understand if he stood out to the girl. Still, she should know better than to stick her nose into certain things, and if she didn't stop on her own he might have to be a bit heavy handed in enforcing boundaries.

As the sun descended, more and more students left the school as they finished their classes for the day. Archer remained at his desk for a bit longer, looking over a couple of documents while studying different types of lessons he would be giving over the next few weeks. As the last student left and the gates shut, he left his classroom and headed straight for the Occult Research Club. The door opened to reveal the bespectacled Sitri heiress waiting on the other side, her face far less enthusiastic than she'd been for their last conversation, and she lacked her usual confidence.

"Alright, I hope you are ready for your first ever detention now, Sona. Normally this would occur in my classroom, but I think we can all agree that this building is more suited to the conversation we'll be having." By that he meant that the old school building was the most secure part of Kuoh Academy with the number of bounded fields surrounding it.

After the little fight between him and Rider, which ended up with Sona having to use one of her precious Command Seals to prevent her Servant from deploying her Noble Phantasm against him. Regardless, the entirety of the Student Council was now being punished by order of Rias — especially Sona, as she was the mastermind behind the whole thing.

The young girl had always prided herself on her pristine school record, an achievement that Rias knew held a great amount of meaning for her childhood rival/friend.

Which was why Rias, as her punitive measure, aimed directly at Sona's Achilles' heel. Aware that her rival cherished her spotless academic record, Rias opted to tarnish that record. The decision was a calculated strike, knowing that Sona's aspirations of opening a school for lower-class devils back home hinged on her academic achievements.

The revelation of Sona having summoned a Servant behind Rias' back, left Rias contemplating the idea of shunning her childhood rival. It perplexed her that someone she regarded as so intelligent would go through with something so dangerous, and setting the stage for an unforeseen clash between their Servants that nearly reduced the whole academy to rubble, and could have even destroyed much of the city if either Servant had unleashed their Noble Phantasm.


Rider appeared next to Sona, the new Master tensing slightly at the woman's appearance. She was evidently not yet accustomed to that trick.



Both Heroic Spirits silently acknowledged one another, the battle from yesterday already behind them. "Have you had the chance to speak with your Master or anyone from her peerage yet?" He asked, curious to see if the Sitri King or her Queenhad taken the time to converse with the woman and educate her on the nature of the world she'd been summoned into. Though it seemed this was not the case as Rider shook her head gently.

"…She spent the entire day sleeping to recover her reserves, and only awoke an hour ago. I remained in spirit form during that time to minimize my energy consumption and hasten her recovery."

Sona's Demonic Energy reserves, while deep, were not nearly as plentiful as Rias'. According to his Master, though her rival held more power than the average Devil, her stores did not surpass that of many other Pillar house Devils such as Riser. Sona shined with her outstanding talent in magical control and skill, emphasizing quality rather than sheer quantity.

In a way, it was a miracle that she managed to recover completely with just half a day's rest.

Archer nodded. "Understandable, but we have our own conversation that needs to be had. Before we get into that though… Sona, I will ask you one question, and I want you to answer me truthfully, understand?" He said, and she agreed with a small nod. "Why did you feel the need to summon a Servant? This isn't just a small matter about having a powerful Heroic Spirit obey your commands; this is about pushing yourself into a trap. For all we know a Holy Grail War might actually be on the horizon and is simply waiting for enough Servants to be summoned. If the Servants are ever compelled to fight one another, no possibility exists but battling and killing other Masters and Servants as each seeks to win the 'final prize.'"

Her body froze up at the picture Archer was painting of her and Rias potentially being mortal enemies, and she still couldn't look him in the eyes. And Archer just continued, "We haven't even learned who or what is behind the creation of the summoning ritual in this world or what is helping maintain our existence. Whether there is even a Greater Grail acting as a source of power for us, or what the conditions imposed on the Masters in this world might be. There are so many unknown factors at play here, and here you've gone and gotten yourself mixed up in the thick of it. This isn't like you, Sona. So why did you, of all people, do it?"

Disappointment, the emotion that occupied his mind the most when looking at the young girl before him.

Sona grasped the back of her left hand, which he now knew bore her two remaining Command Seals, gathering herself before she opened her mouth. "Because… I could not bear the thought of falling behind Rias," she confessed.


"Do you… have any idea how it feels to watch the person you considered your lifelong rival suddenly waltz up to you and reveal that out of nowhere she formed a contract with someone like you? You wield power that allows you to take on some of the strongest Ultimate Class Devils in the Underworld. You might even be a match for a Satan for all I know.. All of Devilkind looked at you in awe as you casually defeated a rising star among the younger generation of the Pillar houses, and they all praised Rias for how far she came. With your existence alone, Rias was suddenly so far ahead of me that anything but being left in the dust was impossible, and I hated that."

"Sona…" A complicated expression showed on Rias' face, but that soon got overpowered with a frown, as she still wasn't going to let go of what happened last night so easily.

"I couldn't stand the thought of being left behind. Of being… irrelevant. I would have been a complete failure as a rival. It felt unfair that she was the one who got a Servant, how she, despite only having a vague idea of what she was doing and not even having a catalyst, still managed to get you and come as far as she did because of your wisdom and power. I'll admit, I was jealous. Jealous enough that I decided to even the scales and summon a Servant of my own."

At that, Sona shifted her attention to the blindfolded woman who'd been observing her this entire time, and bowed her head, slightly surprising the Servant.

"Thank you for answering my summoning, Rider. I hope we can work well together, and that you find me to be a worthy Master."

Rider answered with a slight nod. "I am yours to command, Master. I shall endeavor to live up to your expectations."

Archer took a seat behind Rias' desk next to her, tapping his finger against the desk while the pair straightened and turned back to him and his Master.

"…During the training period, I remember you asking me about Heroic Spirits of divine lineage. Am I correct to assume that you've been planning this since then, if not longer?"

Sona had been in this room numerous times to catch up with her friend and rival over some tea and perhaps a nice game of chess. But with the room's current atmosphere, it felt no different from being held within a claustrophobic interrogation room with but a single source of light over her head illuminating the surroundings. Suffocating and stressful, the sensation of having the man she'd wanted to look at her as a dependable and trustworthy ally now exuded an aura of disappointment that crushed her soul.

"P-Partially. I… I also wanted to try and find what clues I could regarding your true identity in my talks with you." At that, Rider's face turned ever so slightly to stare at Archer, evidently having some interest in that particular topic herself. "And yes, it was my objective to summon a demigod Servant. So before the summoning I gathered all of my resources to find an appropriate catalyst."

"Hah, well I've already I don't have so much as a trace of divinity in my blood, unlike the Servant you've summoned. So I suppose you can give yourself a pat on the back in that sense."

Sona felt her frustration start to bubble at that, but it fizzled out just as quickly. Instead she closed her eyes and let out a sigh of defeat. "Your praise for my so-called achievement is wasted on me, Archer. While I may indeed have summoned an undeniably powerful Servant, seeing as Rider was able to push even you as hard as she did, the truth is that I failed to summon the Heroic Spirit that I had set my sights on."

As soon as she woke up, Sona had gotten the full story about what happened following the summoning ritual being completed from Tsubaki. And from all that she heard, while the raw power of her Servant was beyond questioning, one fact became evident to her mind — she had failed to summon Perseus.

If the simple fact that the Heroic Spirit she'd summoned was a woman wasn't proof enough, the rest of what Tsubaki had told her about her new Servant had cemented her failure in her mind. While it might have been feasible that Perseus would use a blindfold to avoid looking into Medusa's eyes, Rider's weapon of choice being a chain with heavy nails on the end instead of a scythe or sword sealed the deal in Sona's mind. She didn't need to hear any of Archer's sarcastic comments to realize that all of her preparations were for naught.

She'd succeeded in summoning a powerful Servant, but it had been in spite of all her careful planning, not because of it. As someone who prided herself on her intelligence and preparing for everything, this success felt unearned, and had even endangered those she cared about.

On the other side, Archer's eyes widened slightly as he realized his own minor slip up. He'd just admitted that he knew Rider held at least some degree of divinity, even if her monstrous nature far overshadowed it. Sure enough, the Servant of the mount's gaze upon him had intensified. Neither Rias nor Sona had noticed, but even though she wore a blindfold, he could tell the woman was staring right at him.

"Wait… who did you try to summon, then?" Rias asked. Given Sona most likely wanted to summon someone capable of countering Archer's magic, it made sense for her to choose a specific hero who was also a powerful demigod in this case. No names came to mind for Rias when she tried to think of a particular demigod capable of defeating Archer… Perhaps Heracles? Achilles might also be an option, as both were renowned as some of the greatest heroes across the entire world.

"I was attempting to summon Perseus. That's why I acquired a Pegasus feather as a catalyst."



Two vastly different reactions came from Archer and Rider separately. The former stared in disbelief at the Devil before him, resisting the urge to facepalm at the Heroic Spirit this girl had chosen, while Rider tensed up, her hands clenched into fists as a monstrous aura emanated from her for a heartbeat before she regained control of herself. Clearly, she was not happy to hear that her Master had sought to summon the man who killed her.

"You fool," Archer commented while rubbing the bridge of his nose. "You have no idea how lucky you are that Rider here was summoned instead of him."

"Eh?" Sona looked at him and the bone chilling sensation she got from her Servant. "Wha-what do you mean?"

"I'll admit that your desire to seek out that particular Heroic Spirit can be understandable as someone who only knows of Perseus from his legend, given he does have a rather impressive one," Archer began. "But all too often, what is passed down through legend rarely depicts the true nature of the person in question. Perseus is an excellent example of this, for while his deeds themselves cannot be disputed, the man ultimately did it all for the sake of personal glory, even his supposedly valiant rescue of the princess Andromeda. Plenty of Heroic Spirits have some hidden dark side to them that the legends intentionally leave out since those who wrote of them felt it would have detracted from the story. And that's before one gets into all the cultural or political biases that might be at play. There are plenty of so-called 'heroes' that have been known to go on to become just as bad as the very monsters they were renowned for slaying."

He actually recalled one summoning where he met Perseus. Which was why he knew from personal experience that the man was an exceptional liar, something Archer himself knew a thing or two about. And once the stubborn, two-faced bastard had made up his mind about something there was no dissuading him, even if he felt accomplishing his objective meant violating every principle that had originally motivated it in the first place. Sona had no idea how fortunate she was that the catalyst she used had connected to Medusa instead.

As for Rider, she was still clearly somewhat miffed that her Master had been trying to summon the person who killed her, but that was for them to sort out.

"I… I did not know." She said quietly.

"Of course you didn't, just be glad that you had the luck of the Devil and summoned a Servant who seems to value loyalty. Your Command Seals can only serve as a failsafe three times, and beyond that you're doomed — and you've already had to use one." At his comment, she gazed at the back of her palm where the outermost of the three symbols that had formed a segmented version of her family's crest had almost entirely faded.

"I'm sorry…"

"Sorry isn't going to cut it after the danger you nearly placed everyone in. And I don't even want to think of what might have happened if you'd actually summoned that arrogant, self-righteous ponce. I understand you probably feel bad about what happened. But if you had only decided to discuss such matters with us from the beginning rather than let your jealousy and emotions take control of you…" Archer sighed, feeling he'd gotten the point across. "I've said enough. Now comes the matter of your punishment, but that isn't up to me. I am merely a Servant summoned at the behest of my Master, and Rias Gremory is the one who you've wronged most, as your rival and friend. She's decided to not do anything drastic for your punishment, but this detention, while it will be a mark on your academic record, barely amounts to a light slap on the wrist. Which is why my Master here and her Queen have also decided to… hugh… spank you a hundred times."

"Rias!?" A heavy blush appeared on Sona's face as she looked in disbelief at her friend. Rider as well was caught off guard by the punishment her Master was about to get. "Are you serious!?"

"Don't pretend you don't deserve way worse Sona! Besides, I had to do something, and this was the least drastic of all of Akeno's ideas!"

"Right, well, while my Master will be doing… that, I should tell you that I have my own form of punishment for you." Sona froze, now fearful of what idea Archer must have had in mind. Memories of their training period emerging and the absolutely hellish conditions they had been put through ran through her mind.

Archer felt the temptation to let out a huff of air through his nose at whatever nonsense Sona was imagining, able to read the girl like an open book.

"Going forward, I won't be aiding your group with any training exercises, or aiding you in sharpening your skills. You now have a Servant of your own, so consider our previous arrangement annulled; it makes no sense for me to help a possible opponent."

Unbeknownst to Sona though, Archer still intended to remain in regular contact with Tsubaki, as he still had other plans which she could be useful for. Besides, Sona and her peerage would still be close allies to his Master along with joint overseers of Kuoh, so it wasn't wise to completely cut all ties with the other group. Additionally, he hoped to have Tsubaki act as a link that would allow him to stay informed of Sona's actions going forward even after they went back to being on friendly terms. With Rider now part of the picture, he needed to keep a closer eye on the Sitri heiress going forward.

Though the thought of using Rule Breaker did occur to him, though it would have only severed the contract. He did not have Medea's mastery over magic to steal the contract or force a new one, so Rider would have basically been able to choose her own Master by that point regardless. Putting aside how he also needed to be able to pierce her in the first place, the woman wouldn't let him do it without a fight — the fallout of said action would easily come to involve the Satans themselves and cause needless trouble.

"What!? Y-You can't! We agreed on it!" She tried to protest, but he wasn't going to budge on this matter.

"That was before you had your own Servant, so deal with it. For now I think it's time that Rider and I had a discussion between us Heroic Spirits. So if you don't mind, we'll leave you to your spanking session. Such a… spectacle isn't really to my tastes, you see, so I'd rather not be here for it if it's all the same to you."

As soon as he said that, a teleportation circle appeared on the ground, and Akeno emerged with a terrifying smile on her face.

"Ara Ara, you called me before I could finish spanking everyone in Sona's peerage, Rias~! But rest assured, Koneko is fully capable of finishing what I started. And I do have to admit that I've been waiting for this all day, fufufufu~!" the voluptuous Queen giggled, a large magic circle forming over her palm with sparks crackling along its surface as she approached Sona, only to halt in her tracks when Rider stepped between them.

Sona blinked. "…Rider?" To which her Servant glanced back at her slightly, not budging from her place. Archer leaned forward in his chair as he carefully watched the other Servant.

A soft smile formed on Sona's face as she realized her Servant's intent. "I thank you for wanting to protect me but… the reality is I deserve this, even as it pains me to say it. You go on and have that talk with Archer. I'll… deal with this, I guess."

Rider nodded, and with that, Archer stood from his seat, and the two Servants both disappeared as they each shifted into their spiritual form — leaving the Devils alone to deal with their own matters, causing Akeno's smile to return.

"Well, now that we have the room to ourselves… Sona, would you be so kind as to bend over Buchou's desk and stick out your butt for me? If not, I'd be happy to force you over my knee instead~!"

Sona groaned even as she reluctantly moved to do as Akeno said. 'Why does she have to always use lightning in everything she does?'




On the rooftop of the main Kuoh Academy building, Archer and Rider appeared, with the former taking a seat at the edge of the building. He rubbed his eyes as his ears picked up the sound of smacking and moaning from the Occult Research Club room not far away. With the latter sounding… far more erotic that he would have guessed.

"These Devils… they are vastly different from the creatures of our world who went by that name." Rider said, to which he chuckled, but stopped as soon as another moan cut through the air. "…Very different indeed."

"So you figured it out."

"The wings your Master and her companions had when they appeared were the first thing that began to help me narrow down what they are… And while I may have been in spirit form for much of the day, I was still able to hear my Master's own… peerage, as you said, discuss several topics amongst themselves, and with my Master directly once she awakened."

If he had to guess, then Archer would bet on her biggest source of information being Saji followed by Tsubaki. That boy had a real tendency to run his mouth according to Tsubaki, and he had no doubt that Sona's Queen had done her best to bring her King up to speed on all she could before they had to report for their own punishments. Though he pushed such unimportant matters to the back of his mind. At least now he had less to explain, which should make his task at least a little easier.

"Indeed, they are Devils. You're probably wary of them, but you don't need to worry. They don't consume human souls, practice blood rituals, or have sacrificial altars anywhere. Think of these people as regular human mages with an overabundance of Demonic Energy and wings. Hell, most of the ones here actually used to be human. But I'll admit, my experience with their kind only really applies to the two groups living in this town. I can't claim to speak for the rest of their kind."

"I see… Have there been other summons?"

"You're the only other Servant I know of so far, but frankly your question is wasted on me seeing as I'm not a Caster. I can, however, tell you that this system is imperfect and in some ways incomplete, even if we seem to have manifested with more power than most systems would provide. There is no guarantee that there hasn't been a Servant roaming around for any number of years prior to us showing up, nor can we be certain about there being any rules regulating how many Heroic Spirits can be summoned in the first place. All we really have to go on right now is speculation." Archer admitted.

"The way I see it, our best bet is to keep our Masters safe while doing what we can to make sense of whatever scraps of information we come across in the hope that it will allow us to see the bigger picture down the line." Even after having been summoned for a couple of months, he still barely accumulated anything concrete about how this world had the knowledge to summon Heroic Spirits. "I can also tell you that it doesn't feel at all like a Greater Grail, but something powerful is working to make it possible for us to remain here."

"So, that pull I've been feeling…"

"I believe so. We aren't supposed to even be here, and are constantly being pulled back into the Throne. Whatever is behind this is off-putting this pull with its own Mana and keeping us anchored. Again, take my words with a grain of salt, I'm no Caster."

"Then why even remain here if there is no wish to be granted?"

Why? Even he wasn't so certain about his answer. He did not have any particular dissatisfaction from having been summoned into this world. He wasn't forced to ally himself with an idiotic boy with delusions of becoming a hero, forced to constantly save him whenever the fool threw his idiotic self into some life-threatening scenario because his Master wouldn't stop yelling at him to do so, or be made to deal with a battle maniac of a Lancer always trying to face him at every possible moment. No corrupted Grail either, so far at least, and no fake priest or Golden King with an Anti-World Noble Phantasm.

"I guess you could say it's… out of curiosity. Some part of me wants to see where this will all lead to in the end." He answered, seeing Rider tilt her head in confusion. "This world is strange, it is still in the Age of Gods with entities like Devils, Angels and Fallen Angels commonly roaming around. The same applies to youkai, monsters, spirits, fae, and more. Despite all of this… I still find it strangely peaceful here. And I have to admit, I managed to land myself a pretty good Master. Besides, I never had any interest in the Holy Grail to begin with."


"You'll get a better idea of what I mean the more time you spend here. Sona, despite her actions recently, is a very diligent and smart young lady. She can help bring you up to date and answer any questions you have. All you really need to know for the moment is that we are not enemies, and thus there's no reason we should be at each other's throats." As Archer finished speaking, he noticed that the moans had stopped, meaning Akeno must have finished up. "Sounds like they're finally done in there. Guess we should be heading back."



Out of nowhere, he heard Rias' rage filled voice echo all through the school. It startled him for a second before he remembered a particular detail.

'On top of all those clothes, Rias has also been making frequent use of a pen I created for her to fill in her paperwork. But when I dismissed all of my creations the previous night, the pen was included in that. Which means even the ink has…'


Why did this have to happen right when he'd been reflecting on the peaceful nature of this world? With a mental groan, the man got up and decided it would be best to join his Master before she started having a mental breakdown from all the work that had been lost.

"Right," an awkward chuckle escaped his mouth. "If you have any questions then feel free to as—!"

Archer stopped just in time from one of Rider's spikes to pierce the wall close enough to his face that he could feel the chains shaking against him, blocking his path as he turned to find the woman standing a bit too close for his liking.

"What is it?" Was all he could ask, befuddled at her action and wondering if he accidentally caused some misunderstanding between them with his explanation. 'I didn't offend her, that's for certain. And she's not exactly the hotheaded type either.'

"We aren't done with our conversation yet." She said with a deeper voice, stepping in closer and further blocking any path from him.

"What do you want, then? And can you perhaps convey it in a way that doesn't violate personal space?" Better to stay calm, if he acted hostile then it would just worsen the situation.

Closing in on his face, her voice carried an edge that made Archer's skin crawl even as he remained stone-faced.

"You definitely know who I am. Who are you… and what is your connection with Perseus?"

The next 5 chapters of Snafu, and my other Fate fics (Fate Coiling Sword with 3 chapters, A Fake Familiar Reborn with 3 chapters, Steel Eyed Faker soon to be 3 chapters, Hound having 1 and To love a sword having 4 chapters) are already available on my P treon. With 4 more Broly chapters at /NimtheWriter. Also, I post commissioned arts on each story, already posted a few on an Archer's Promise, Broly and Snafu.