Hiii~ A new story is here!

Or rather, 2 new stories here.

For those who may have noticed, I stopped writing the Harry Potter fic for a while and have been working on a replacement for it for the last three months. So two ideas came to mind, a Cu centered fic in Highschool of the Dead or an Emiya one in Akame ga Kill (Adopted from Paragon of Awesomeness)

People seemed to lean more towards the Akame one and I also want to see all of your opinions as well in both stories. I'll still post the chapter for the Cu centered fic and see the reception. Don't worry, this won't affect or change the update rates of other fics. As this will just take the slot of Eccentric Wizard and l've been working on it for three months without any changes.

So, tell me if you like it or not and we'll see from here.

That's all,

Author NimtheWriter out!

Partially beta read by Paragon of Awesomeness, Shigiya and Fabled Life.

-The Empire-

Amid the desolate expanse of shimmering snow, a dense forest stood sentinel under the pale glow of a moonlit night. The rhythmic thunder of hooves echoed through the frigid air as a formidable procession of men clad in medieval armor surged forward, led by the indomitable figure of an imposing General, with striking silver hair — Nagumo.

"At this pace, we'll make it to the village of Wolfrod soon — keep your senses sharp!" His voice boomed with authority, urging his troops to hasten their pace and steel themselves for the impending confrontation with the enigmatic Danger Beasts that awaited them.

As they traversed the treacherous terrain, the ominous hush of the forest was punctuated by the urgent clatter of armor and the snorts of horses. Nagumo's towering presence instilled a sense of camaraderie among his men, who occasionally exchanged glances laden with determination.

"Steady, lads! We march into the heart of danger tonight but remember, it's the danger that fears us more!" The General's rallying cry was met with fervent nods and resolute expressions before his men answered with a shout of solidarity. The icy breeze seemed to carry their collective resolve as they continued their relentless advance.

The moon cast long, ethereal shadows upon the path ahead, guiding the intrepid battalion toward their ominous destination. Each rustling leaf and distant howl only fueled the mounting tension, underscoring the high-stakes nature of their mission.

Hours passed, and the moon began its slow descent toward the horizon. At last, they emerged from the labyrinthine embrace of the forest, their destination coming into view – a remote village engulfed in chaos. Billowing plumes of smoke painted a grim tapestry against the night sky, and the crackling of flames underscored the urgency of the situation.

Nagumo reined in his horse at the village's edge, his stern gaze sweeping over the scene of devastation. Crumbling structures and smoldering ruins bore witness to a fierce battle, and his heart clenched with a mix of dread and determination. With a commanding gesture, he signaled his troops to halt.

"Prepare yourselves, men! Danger Beasts have left their mark here. We tread where few dare, but we shall face this peril with unyielding courage!" Nagumo's voice carried a mixture of authority and resolve, inspiring his men to dismount and ready their weapons.

The clash of steel and the whisper of armor filled the air as the soldiers braced themselves. As they advanced further into the village's heart, a chilling tableau unfolded before them. The virgin snow had been stained a deep crimson, punctuated by lifeless forms – villagers and beasts alike, their destinies intertwined in a gruesome dance.

"Gods above…" muttered a grizzled veteran as he stared in horror at the carnage, his voice trembling with disbelief. The General's jaw tightened, his eyes narrowing as he absorbed the haunting sight. His grip on his spear tightened, a silent vow forged in the crucible of despair and determination.

But amidst the eerie silence, a sense of urgency tinged with desperation pervaded the scene. "Hurry, men! There may still be survivors!" He barked, his voice cutting through the heaviness in the air. He spurred his horse forward, the steed's powerful hooves crunching over the blood-soaked snow. A blazing brazier cast flickering shadows upon the ground, the flames mirroring the tempestuous emotions raging within Nagumo's heart.

As he reached the center of the carnage, his breath caught in his throat. A lone figure stood amidst the chaos, a child with striking red hair and piercing golden-brown eyes that seemed to hold the weight of ages. The air around the child crackled with an otherworldly energy, an aura of danger that sent shivers down Nagumo's spine.

"By the heavens, who are you?" His voice wavered, an uncharacteristic tremor betraying the depths of his unease. The child's gaze bore into him, a wordless exchange that transcended the bounds of mortal understanding.

With a slow, deliberate movement, the child raised his hand, and a sword materialized, floating in the air beside him. The blade shimmered with an ethereal light, its edge keen and formidable. Nagumo's heart raced as time seemed to slow, his every instinct screaming at him to react.

Before he could even draw a breath, the blade hurtled toward him with alarming speed. Fear gripped his chest, his senses dulled by the weight of impending doom. Yet, fate intervened in a twist of fortune – the blade found its mark not in the General's heart, but in the side of a concealed winged Danger Beast that had been poised to strike from the shadows.

A collective gasp swept through the ranks as the creature let out a guttural screech, its lifeblood staining the snow as it collapsed. The child's arm dropped, the sword dissipating into the air like mist. He swayed, his energy spent, and collapsed onto the crimson-streaked ground.

The soldiers' breaths hung heavy with a mixture of awe and terror. Nagumo dismounted, his heart pounding in his chest as he approached the fallen child. Kneeling beside him, he felt a torrent of conflicting emotions – curiosity, fear, and an overwhelming sense of responsibility.

"What… what manner of sorcery is this?" He whispered, his voice laden with both trepidation and wonder. The child's chest rose and fell in shallow breaths, his eyes fluttering as if on the brink of wakefulness. Nagumo's calloused hand hovered over the child's brow, his hesitation a testament to the unprecedented mystery that had unfolded before him.

The frigid night air seemed to hold its breath as if the very universe awaited the child's awakening. The flames of the brazier danced and flickered, casting long, wavering shadows that seemed to mirror the uncertainty and anticipation that gripped both the village and its enigmatic savior.


(Imperial Year 1024)

Impatience tinged the voice of one of one half of a pair of men, his gaze fixed on the enormous city that had been in sight for the past three hours. "How much longer?"

Calmly, the other man responded, his eyes focused ahead. "We are almost there, the gates should come into view any moment now."

The scene unfolded along a winding road that cut through the serene countryside, leading toward the grandeur of the Imperial Capital that loomed distantly. A solitary horse toiled to pull a modest merchant's wagon, its contents precariously stacked. At the wagon's front sat two men, one gripping the reins with a firm hold. As they continued their journey, a segment of the road ahead began to exhibit signs of stress, cracking, and swelling, as if some hidden force struggled to break free.

The subtle but ominous bulges in the road went unnoticed by the travelers, their senses dulled by the days of arduous travel that had taken a toll on their collective consciousness. Their attention remained fixed on the path ahead, the diligent progress of the horse, and the encircling woods, ever vigilant for signs of the perilous Danger Beasts.

"Hm?" Only belatedly did their gazes catch on to the abnormality as the ground ruptured with a violent burst, accompanied by a deep and earth-shaking roar. Emerging from the breach was a colossal creature — a Class-1 Danger Beast, to be precise — an earth dragon.

"An... an earth dragon!" The driver stammered, fear and shock paralyzing everything but his mouth. Unnoticed, his horse broke free of its harness and galloped away in a frenzy of panic, its terror mirroring that of its human companions. The monstrous presence of the beast cast a blanket of fear over every living thing in its proximity. "How did it get so close to the highway?" wondered his companion with a heavy sense of dread, both men transfixed by the massive threat that towered over them. It wasn't until the earth dragon released a deafening bellow that they were shaken from their horrified stupor.

"Run!" His voice cracked as he screamed, though his plea was futile. Even if they had reacted the moment the beast emerged, their efforts would have been in vain — there was no outpacing this colossal creature. With their fates seemingly sealed, the earth dragon lunged forward, intent on consuming its unfortunate prey.


A sudden silence descended, and the monster's roar was abruptly silenced.

The tranquility of the moment was shattered by a deafening crash that reverberated through the stillness, causing the merchants to whip around in confusion and alarm. Their eyes widened as they were confronted with a scene that defied their understanding – the colossal earth dragon lay sprawled backward on the ground, the very base of an arrow protruding grotesquely from its skull. Stunned disbelief held them captive for a moment until one of the men found his voice, his bewilderment evident.

"What in the world… just happened?" The words slipped from his lips, a mix of astonishment and puzzlement. "W-Where did that arrow come from?"

His companion, equally confounded, shook his head in a futile attempt to clear the fog of incredulity.

A quick survey of their surroundings revealed no gallant saviors or allies in sight, only the two merchants, their beleaguered cart, the lifeless form of the earth dragon, and the looming shadows of the surrounding woods.

A hint of skepticism crept into the driver's voice as he tentatively suggested, "Maybe it had a heart attack? Or perhaps a brain aneurysm?" His suggestion earned him a hearty smack to the back of his head from his perturbed companion.

His friend scoffed, his exasperation palpable. "Since when did you ever hear of a Danger Beast having a bloody brain aneurysm or heart attack? And seriously, do your eyes not work or something? There's an arrow sticking out of its skull!"

"Ah, I didn't even catch that, guess the shock has gotten to me." the second man admitted with a shade of embarrassment. "I guess my mind is still struggling to accept that we actually survived that attack. I was fully prepared to lose a limb, or worse. Also, mind your tone, young man! That's no way to speak to your elder."

The driver's retort was immediate. "Elder? Who are you trying to kid here, you're what, three years older than me, if that? But if that's how you really want to play it, know that I'm not above smacking the elderly around if they're trying to fuck with me. Anyway, where on earth did this arrow come from? Last I checked, the Capital didn't have any soldiers stationed this far out."

The second merchant shrugged nonchalantly. "Who knows? Let me check the carcass for any valuable materials, it's still a Danger Beast with intact fur." With that, he started moving toward the fallen beast, casting a remark over his shoulder as he did so. "I'll take a closer look at the corpse. Meanwhile, see if you can track down our runaway horse. I'd rather not have to haul our goods on foot until we can procure a new one. And frankly, I'd rather not spend our profits on a replacement horse to begin with, especially with all the damages to the cart we'll already have to repair."

"Yeah, yeah," grumbled the first merchant, pivoting on his heel and calling out for their missing equine companion. It took only a minute for him to realize something. 'Wait a minute, that jerk just pawned off the harder task on me!'

Meanwhile, the second merchant moved around the earth dragon's immense form, his gaze a mix of intrigue and determination as he scrutinized every inch of the creature. Eventually, his perusal brought him to its head, where a gruesome sight awaited him – a sizable pool of blood surrounding its skull, a stark testament to the creature's violent end.

With that little piece of information discovered, he clambered onto the Danger Beast's massive arm, ascending its colossal frame until he stood atop its head. There, as he continued to check the monster's pelt, a strange sight occured — the black arrow which stuck to its forehead slowly broke down and disappeared into motes of, leaving a gaping hole in its forehead. "What the… Could it actually have been a Teigu?"

Was his lack of sleep creating hallucinations about a random arrow? No, that wouldn't explain how his partner also bore witness to the killing of the beast…

A voice broke through his thoughts, pulling him from his examination. "You lazy son of a bitch!" Startled, he turned to see his irritated companion marching toward him whilst pulling an unwilling horse with all his strength, anger etched across his features. "Leaving me to search for the horse by myself while you play appraiser, huh? Nice try, but we can solve this mystery after you help me calm down this mare!"

Understanding the cause of his friend's ire, he shook his head with a wry smile. "Relax, man. I just got curious about the monster's pelt and the quality, though the arrows disappeared which is odd."

The driver's frustration morphed into curiosity, his irritation momentarily forgotten. "Was it a Teigu then?"


The driver's whistle echoed through the air. "Could have been a new kind of weapon, or probably a Teigu user nearby, though I don't know why someone would help us without asking for anything in return. Even the guards lately have been asking for protection tax to every caravan that passes through the gates, those slimy thieves."

"Exactly," the second merchant nodded as he hopped down from his vantage point. "Never mind, let's not turn back a gift such as this, we might end up regretting it."

The driver's irritation returned with a vengeance. "Well, that's all very fascinating, but right now, we need to find our horse and get out of here. After this little escapade, I'd much prefer the safety of the nearest town."

"You're not curious who might have saved us?"

"I am of course, but I very much prefer to reach the capital before sundown with my life intact. I don't think our mysterious benefactor will protect us against a hoard of beasts.

And so, the two merchants resolved to salvage what they could of their situation, their minds buzzing with the mystery that surrounded the fallen earth dragon and the enigma of its untimely demise.

"That seems like a good idea to me."

And so with that being said, the two merchants began to look for their missing mare. But the entire time they did so, there was a question on both their minds, a question that would continue to gnaw away at them every time they would remember this incident.

Who had saved them? And why?

"You know, for all we know, our lucky stars must have aligned with one in a million chance that we stumbled upon a passing hero with a heart of gold who set aside his own matters and came to our rescue by killing the beast with a single attack of some sort of Teigu and ask nothing in return… not a single coin even if we insisted." The second merchant whispered to his friend while they both continued their voyage.



"Pf-HAHAHAHAHAHA!" Out of nowhere, both burst out laughing uncontrollably while clutching their stomachs.

"Right and the Emperor is a generous ruler who wants everyone to live a good life without experiencing any starvation or poverty ever again." The driver joked, earning another laugh from his friend. "Anyways, we probably did get lucky, or unlucky depending on how you look at it to stumble upon a beast who's been targeted by a group of hunters since the beginning — we just happened at the wrong place at the wrong time. It's better if we don't linger for long, these people can ask us for compensation if they change their mind."

"Right, let's not waste time then." Both nodded, grateful for whoever saved them but also apprehensive at the same time. After all, this was the Capital, the land of snakes and true monsters disguised as humans — where trusting anyone could lead to an early death or a lifetime of misery. An act of heroism or selflessness did not exist here, that was an indisputable fact from their experience.




Within the shadow of the foliage behind where the beast's body lay, a man holding a black bow walked out and looked at the merchants in the distance. Having heard their conversation he couldn't help but chuckle slightly.

"Yeah, I don't blame them."


-The Imperial Capital-

As the sun dipped below the horizon, casting its warm glow across the sky, a young man on the cusp of his twentieth year emerged from the city gates. Draped in a gray cloak that blended him in with the background, a rugged supply bag slung over his shoulder, he embarked on his inaugural journey into the Capital. The events of the day had left him contemplating the recent increasing numbers of monsters in the surrounding roads leading to the Capital — one more thing for travellers and nearby villages would need to worry about… not that he could do much aside from help out whenever he was near. From rescuing a pair of merchants from an earth dragon's clutches to sharing his coin with an orphanage run by the Path of Peace.

The man himself wasn't a follower of the new religion that was making waves throughout the Empire; in fact he'd never really been all that big on faith in general. But that didn't stop him from appreciating the good that churches such as the one he'd just visited did, so he was willing to help out.

The priest at the church had been insistent on doing something to repay him for his generosity, so he'd taken the opportunity to have a bath and get himself cleaned up, as well as allow them to give him some dried food in addition to refilling his waterskin. When they'd asked him for his name, his answer had been the same as it had been every other time he'd been asked that sort of question over the last seven years.

"Just call me Archer."

As he began trekking through the Capital's streets, the man made sure to keep his guard up, as he always did. Big cities such as this were notorious for being dangerous at night, and in the Capital that rule applied tenfold; so unsurprisingly people in this city rarely ventured out when it was dark unless they were armed or in groups. Preferably both.

In fact, the only other people that the traveller could see were the occasional guards, always with at least one partner to watch their backs. He had to give the captain of the Imperial Guard at least a little credit for being smart enough to assign all his men a partner. However, the dozen or so guards he'd seen so far were far too amateurish in their behavior for his liking. Sure they were all careful to always keep one of their comrades in their line of sight, which was good, but they seemed to be paying more attention to each other than their surroundings. It was as if these so-called soldiers were afraid that if they took their eyes off their partner for one second, they would disappear, leaving them alone to be swallowed up by the darkness.

Furthermore, none of the guards ever strayed more than a few meters from any of the street lamps, guaranteeing that none of them would have very good night vision for the duration of their watch. Of course, the archer fully realized that the dark could be terrifying, especially to the inexperienced, but honestly, that was why soldiers went through training.

"Ah, excuse me," He stopped in his tracks, meeting the gaze of a young brown-haired boy before him. "Um, do you perhaps know a place where I can stay for the night?"

"Hm?" From a single glance, he could tell that this person was not from here. Aside from the travel bags and his clothing, his face alone gave him enough details. Innocent, too innocent for a place like this, most likely a young soul who had just arrived in the Capital, hoping to find an opportunity for a better future — just like thousands before him and thousands more who would follow, he was but a mouse in a hole filled with snakes. "There is the Emerald Inn down the road this way. The price is reasonable and the owner is a nice lady from what I've heard so long as you don't cause any trouble," he answered, nodding his head in the direction he was going.

The boy looked awkwardly around before sighing, "I… I can't afford to pay, someone stole all my money and I don't have anything else on me…"

Hah, so he already fell victim to the thieves of the street. He was quite unlucky… feeling pity for the boy who might just have all of his possessions stolen if he slept in the street, or end up dead by the next morning, Archer decided to aid him. "You, what's your name?"


"Right, Tatsumi, fair warning, don't trust anyone in the Capital so easily or you'll lose something in the end — as proven by your current state. There is an orphanage I know, the owner will let you sleep for one night if you tell her my name and that's about it, you're on your own after that."

"That's great! I can group up with my friends tomorrow! Don't know where they are, but it will be much easier like that." He said, making Archer nearly sigh again at how naive and trusting this person was. "Ah, what's your name again?"

"I never told you in the first place… It's Archer."

Tatsumi bowed, the bag nearly falling off his back. "Thank you for your help! I'll be sure to repay you somehow in the future!"

"You can repay me by hauling ass out of the Capital come morning, and not letting yourself end up on the streets or in a ditch the next time we cross paths."

"Sorry, I can do that. I have to become a soldier to earn money for my village." His eyes burned with determination, making it obvious that no amount of persuasion would change his mind. In the end, some people wouldn't listen and walk towards their death no matter how hard anyone tried to talk sense into them. In cases like thos, all he could really do was leave them to suffer the consequences of their own lack of caution.

"I see… Then so be it."

After that, they parted ways.

After several more minutes of walking, he noticed a couple of armed shady-looking characters hanging around the corner of an alley, the skinnier one grinning maliciously when he caught sight of the hooded wanderer, thinking he couldn't see them. The young man didn't even bother stopping to deal with the muggers, instead, he merely shifted his cloak as he passed them, giving the pair of thugs a glimpse at the weapons he carried, along with giving them a brief yet intense glare out of the corner of his eye. He was rewarded with the fat member of the pair actually flinching and warily taking a step back before he and his friend slunk back into the shadows.

'It's always the same with these people.'

As he continued walking, the archer noticed that many of the buildings around him had become shops and restaurants — all closed now of course — so it seemed that he'd found his way to one of the city's commercial districts. That worked out well for him, as that meant the Emerald Inn wouldn't be too far off either, but he stopped as he took a moment to consider how little money he actually had at the moment. Should he use it to spend the night in a warm bed, or just tough it out as he had for so long and save the coin for something more important?

Before he could come to a decision, his sharp hearing picked up the sound of a horse pulling a wagon.

However he was no threat to the wagon, and as a result, didn't consider them a threat to him, and quickly returned to deciding whether he'd spend the night in an actual bed or not. Going over how much food and water he had again in his mind, the traveller figured that his current supplies should last him for another five days – a week if it was rationed properly – so he was reasonably certain that he could afford to spend at least one night sleeping on something soft. Plus it would be a shame to get his clothes dirtied from sleeping on the ground again right after they had been cleaned.

As he started walking again, he noticed the wagon he'd heard earlier round the corner and saw that it was actually a carriage – one that looked like it belonged to a noble. Well, that would certainly explain the fact that both the driver and navigator were well-armed and armored. Not wanting to risk getting caught up in an unnecessary confrontation with some conceited highborn, the archer politely stepped out of the carriage's way. As he passed it though, a young voice rang out.


Both the horse and the cloaked man halted in their tracks, the latter turning to face the stagecoach, where he saw the one guard who was without a full-face helmet glancing back at him while he spoke to the young noble inside.

"Are we really doing this again, milady?" The guard asked, looking at the archer with his voice and eyes both filled with exasperation as well as a hint of… pity?

"You know I can't help it!" the noble girl inside responded, slightly indignant at being questioned by her own bodyguard as the other one opened the door for her. "This is simply the way I am." She then exited her carriage, allowing the nomadic archer to get a clear look at her.

As her voice indicated, she was young, probably thirteen or fourteen at most, and seemed like she would grow up into a real beauty. This privileged girl also had flowing blonde hair that reached just past the top of her shoulders, as well as bright blue round eyes that shone with the eagerness often seen in youth when they were happy or excited. As for clothing, she had a white shirt underneath a light blue dress with a black midsection, expensive boots made from white leather, all topped off by a bow around her neck, and a fluffy hair accessory, both of them the same color as her dress.

The girl gave a small smile as she skipped over to the hooded stranger she'd just encountered. "Umm, excuse me," she said while giving the man a soft smile. "I don't usually see a lot of people outside this late at night, plus you look like you're not from the Capital. Would I be correct in assuming that you don't have a place to stay tonight?"

The cloaked man nodded in confirmation, wearing a blank face as he did so, given the hood concealed the top half of his face. "I am." Simple question which he provided with a simple question, finding no need to delve into any further details.

"Well in that case," the girl said, visibly perking up, "why don't you come and spend the night at my place?"

'Hm, so that's how she sets the hook… This would only ever work on newcomers who don't know a thing about this city.' The man considered her words briefly before saying "Before I accept, young lady, you should know that it is highly unlikely that I will be able to give you proper recompense for your hospitality."

The young lady giggled at his words. "Oh please, that's hardly an issue."

At that moment, the guard whose face was visible chose to step forward to add his two coppers to the conversation. "Lady Aria has a bit of a weakness for helping those in need," he explained, almost earning an eye roll from Archer.

"You really should accept her generosity." his helmeted partner called out.

'Already cutting off any escape route by standing behind me like that, most wouldn't notice given how polite and charitable they act. The guards ignore them, some even recognize them, meaning this is probably at least somewhat regular.' He calmly analyzed the environment around him, giving away no sign of anger, distrust, or hostility in his eyes while facing them.

"Pretty please?" the girl now identified as Aria said, blinking up at the wanderer with those big blue eyes of hers.

Allowing his face to visibly relax, the travelling bowman brought up his left hand to comb it back through his hair into his preferred style, removing his hood in the process and revealing his face to the girl. Said face was further decorated by tanned skin, hair that used to be red in the past but now lost most of its coloring turning almost pure white, and eyes that were once a golden-brown now seemingly made of steel. All this served to give the nineteen-year-old male a very exotic look as he offered Aria a disarming smile.

"Well, far be it for me to reject the kindness of a lovely young lady such as yourself." He then figured that since the girl was a noble, it wouldn't hurt to add on a bit of theatrics, and so brought his right hand up against his heart with his left arm splayed out to the side, and bowed at the waist. Playing along like this tended to make these people believe him and lower their guards. "I will be in your care, Lady Aria."

He made sure to keep his head bowed, but he still easily caught a glance of the girl's cheeks blushing before she quickly shook her head. "Ah- yes! Wonderful!" Turning around, she skipped back to her carriage, she hurriedly added "Come on! I want to get home quickly so I can introduce you to my parents!"





The ride back to Aria's home was both pleasant and uneventful, with the young lady happily chatting with the handsome stranger she'd just met. She was so excited that by the time they made it through the gate leading to her family's mansion, she was practically jumping up and down in her seat, and she barely even waited for the guards to open the door for her. The young man followed closely behind, his long legs allowing him to easily keep up with her quick pace.

"Now listen, my dad's an earl," Aria warned her guest as they made their way to the main living room. "So no matter what, remember to be on your best behavior!"

"But of course, that is only to be expected. I am a guest, after all."

As the pair arrived at their destination, he was greeted by the pleasant feeling of a warm fire, along with the sight of a beautiful blonde-haired woman wearing a delicate white dress who seemed to be the spitting image of Aria, only in her early thirties, who had been preoccupied with reading a book until they entered the room. To her left was a rather portly man with a full head of grey hair accompanied by a mustache, who was nursing an expensive-looking pipe.

The man, no doubt Aria's father, glanced in their direction as the doors opened, a smile coming to his lips as his daughter walked in, though when the archer entered his field of view his eyes lit up in surprise. And anticipation.

"Oh, now what's this?" he asked. "Has my dear little Aria brought home another guest?"

"My my, how many does that make now?" her mother added with a smile. "What a habit our daughter has."

"Ahem," the girl cleared her throat so as to distract her parents from their banter. "Mom, Dad, I'd like to introduce my guest. This is… ehm…" The girl began to blush furiously as she realized she had no idea what her guest's name was, so eager had she been to invite him into her home.

Fortunately for her, the man in question stepped forward. "A pleasure to meet you sir, madam. I just arrived in the Capital and your daughter was kind enough to offer me a place to rest my head for the time being."

The father chuckled. "Well, that certainly sounds like my Aria. My name is Maxwell Kalrenn and this lovely lady is my wife Valria. Now then, what should I call you? It seems that my daughter was so eager to have you over that she forgot to even ask you your name." His teasing earned him a pout from Aria.

"You may find my name a bit weird to be honest," the guest replied, causing the family to blink in surprise. "It's Archer."

"Wait," Aria said, eyes slowly widening. "You don't mean the Archer, do you? The famous Danger Beast slayer and bounty hunter?"

"Hmm, I wouldn't know, I have slain quite a few beasts here and there, but I highly doubt it's to the extent of earning myself such a reputation. May you elaborate on this matter for me?"

"Are you kidding?!" Aria nearly screamed. "People all over the Empire talk about the Archer! They say he's killed ten thousand Danger Beasts by himself, including a dozen Super Class ones! Was that really all you?!"

"Aria, please, where are your manners?" her father interjected. "Let our guest at least have a seat before you interrogate him."

Archer sat himself at the chair across from Earl Kalrenn, while Aria sat beside her mother, at which point the head of the household spoke again. "Now that we're all comfortable, please continue, Archer. I must admit, I'm rather interested, myself. Did you really do all those things that the people say you did?"

Archer put on what could be called a half-smile. "Not that many, the numbers have been exaggerated for obvious reasons. Most of the time I just tend to travel and explore the world rather than truly dedicate my time to hunting any and all Danger Beasts in a given area." Aria seemed disappointed at that admission, and would have voiced it had he not continued. "As for killing Super Class Danger Beasts, only exceptional individuals armed with a Teigu can hope to accomplish something like that, and sadly I have no such weapon on me. At most, I probably aided a group in killing one or two."

He gestured to himself, showing the weapons on his belt to be a regular bow and pair of swords with nothing special.

"Well, even if the number was exaggerated, for you to have even participated in a fight against a single Super Class Danger Beast, let alone two, is still quite impressive." Valria commented. "I've heard that those creatures have been capable of single-handedly decimating entire fortresses and small armies, so just surviving an encounter with them is a testament to your skill. Now tell me, what brings you to the Capital?"

"Nothing specific for that matter, I'm just here to visit some old… friends."

"You came to participate in the upcoming tournament season." Valria said, surprised. "The occasion consists of competitions in various martial arts with the main event being a bracket-system tournament. Varying amounts of prize money are offered to all the winners and some of the runner-ups. It attracts warriors from across the Empire and even some from beyond its borders, and those who perform well are sometimes offered a place in the military. Supposedly though, the whole thing began when some of the Empire's generals took notice of your accomplishments and wished to have you serve the Empire in a more official capacity. But when they failed to track you down, they set up the tournament hoping it would attract you to them instead. With your identity, it should be quiet to secure a spot with the best of the best."

"I see," the bowman muttered as he placed his elbows on the armrest. "Well, thank you for telling me about the tournament, Lady Kalrenn." He'll be sure to be out of the Capital while that was going on. He never particularly enjoyed crowds and being the center of attention even less. Though his main reason stemmed from something else…

Maxwell blinked twice before letting out a lighthearted chuckle. "Well, this is certainly turning out to be a surprising evening. My daughter brings home something of a legend in the making, and I find out he's unexpectedly modest in addition to being polite."

"Before I became Archer, I grew up in a rather prominent family." the bowman explained. "I may have been young when I left my home, but I was still old enough to have learned proper courtesy."

"Huh?" Aria gaped at him. "But if you had a good life, why would you leave it? Was your family mean to you or something?"

"I have nothing but good memories of the time I spent with my old family," Archer replied. "I had my reasons."

Valria smiled, "We understand, it's not good not to pry into private matters. Well, it's certainly nice to meet such a forthright person like yourself, Archer. Please, feel free to stay here for as long as you are comfortable."

"Indeed," her husband added. "But it's getting late now, and my wife and daughter need their beauty sleep. Archer, one of my guards will escort you to one of the guest rooms. Please make yourself comfortable, and know that you are welcome to remain here for as long as you wish."

Archer graciously lowered his head. "You honor me with your generosity, Earl Kalrenn. Rest assured though, once I'm well rested I will be on my way. As much as I enjoy your company, I'm afraid I do have business elsewhere. Besides, I'm sure you have your hands full with all your other guests, let alone your actual responsibilities as an earl."

Aria had a puzzled look at Archer's words. "What do you mean, Archer? We don't have any guests here aside from you."

"…Ah. My mistake, Lady Aria," said the bowman after a brief hesitation. "From what your parents said, it was my understanding that you have brought many others with no place to call home into your family's mansion, and thus assumed that you were hosting a fair number of guests."

"It's fine, it's fine," Maxwell said, waving a hand assuredly. "Anyone could've made the same mistake. I have to say though, I'm a little surprised that the thought of others being here even crossed your mind, Archer." the earl admitted. "Most people that Aria invites over don't even spare a moment's thought to who else we might be hosting."

"When you spend your life hunting monsters and chasing down dangerous criminals, you typically don't last very long if you have no idea how to mind your surroundings." the Danger Beast slayer explained. "Now with your permission, I believe I'll take my leave for the night in that guest room you mentioned, Earl Kalrenn. I've been on the road for longer than I care to admit, and I must confess, I'm looking forward to resting my head on something soft again."

"Of course Archer. We're more than happy to host such a reputable guest like yourself. Please have a pleasant night's rest." the earl replied.


The longer he stayed here, the more rotten this place felt.

The family certainly seemed hospitable enough outwardly. In fact, they were polite and welcoming to the point where Archer was tempted to say their manners were unmatched. Yet in the end, lies could only get so far against someone like him who dealt with countless similar individuals. Having known about the type of people most nobles were, the nice ones were always the most suspicious and bore heavy scrutiny from his end.

They were trying to lower his guard apparently. To add to that, just because the family may have been good actors, didn't mean their guards were, and the wandering hero hadn't forgotten the look of pity that Aria's carriage driver had given him on the road earlier that night. Combine that with the fact that he was the Kalrenns' only guest in spite of the fact that they apparently took in people without a bed of their own to rest all the time in the Imperial Capital of all places, where Archer knew there was no shortage of poverty and strife.

This whole theater play couldn't be any worse.

Carefully prying open the window so as to not alert the guards, Archer easily hopped down to the grounds below and landed with barely a sound. A twisted dagger surrounded by an ominous aura appeared in his grasp, as he nicked both the walls of the manor and the storehouse located at the back of the Kalrenns' property, concealed from the rest of the city behind tall stone walls.


Being cautious never hurt anyone, then again, no one would notice him with the presence of a secondary dagger. A strange mirage formed around his body before his presence diminished considerably, invisible to the outside world as he marched on.

These obstructing walls presented a stark contrast to the warm, open, and welcoming feeling that the frontal view of their mansion provided.

Not wanting to break the doors down as doing so would undoubtedly attract attention, Archer used his Structural Analysis on the lock to the storehouse; a swift slash from either of the weapons guaranteed for the metal to slice into two pieces. After all, the pieces of metal possessed no mystery within them, allowing even his weakest blades to easily cut through them without much resistance.

"This is worse than I thought…"

What he found inside was a scene taken right out of a nightmare.

Blood, bodies, body parts, filth, and all kinds of instruments of torture could be spotted everywhere the bowman set his hawk-like gaze. There were those who'd had parts of their bodies gouged out hanging from hooks the same way butchers hung cow carcasses. He spotted spiked chairs, torture racks, iron maidens, and breaking wheels, all with decaying corpses still strapped to them, and it was obvious that the victims had died screaming; their agony was etched onto their faces even long after their deaths. The knives and cleavers that had been used to eviscerate, lacerate, dismember, disembowel, or even flay these people all still had blood on them, and Archer even spotted an ice pick that had a rotting eyeball still impaled on the blade.

The worst part of it all for the bowman was the fact that his nature as a Faker – one that created weapons at that – forced him to know everything about these devices, from how they were forged to their very purpose. If it could be defined as a blade, then Archer understood everything about it to the point that a part of him felt like he had been the one doing all of this. Despite only knowing the history of the blades themselves, the state of his surroundings gave him a clear picture of how they were used and for what.

Their design alone was meant to not only cut, but inflict as much internal damage when pulled out. From twisted blades to those having serrated edges with bits of dried off flesh still stuck upon them.

The smell alone made it obvious they were left to fester in their filth, no measures taken to make them live longer or at least attempt to keep the barn clean.

Archer then caught movement off to the side, and his head snapped over to see that there were a few poor souls who had still managed to cling to life, held in steel cages. But to the bowman's dismay, the people in those cages were beyond the point of help. Some cowered in the farthest corner, growling at him, the same way a beaten-down dog whimpers and snarls at the sight of its abusive master. Others simply sat or stood in the same position they had held before he entered, their blank eyes staring at nothing. Dead in every way that mattered. One woman could even be seen gnawing on one of the feces-coated bones that were left of her cell's previous occupant, muttering something to herself about a glorious feast.

There was no saving these people.

For all the horrors before him, Archer remained calm, his heart beating steadily while walking through the room and gazing at each dead body with a numb expression. It wasn't that he felt no emotions from this sight or indifferent. He knew that feeling angry or sorrowful wouldn't save them or anyone else — the best he could do was to steel himself and bring an end to this hell as soon as possible.

But for better or worse, Archer's past duties with the Mage's Association and as a Counter Guardian for Alaya had long since acclimatized him to this sort of pointless suffering. And it was for that reason that he gave no physical indication at all of how the sight of this place or the history of its blades affected him.

However, he did make sure to cast those very blades off to the farthest, darkest depths of his inner world. Having no desire to call upon those weapons anytime soon. Blades whose only purpose was to be used for something so utterly meaningless… humph, how oddly fitting.

That was truly the only word that the former Guardian could use to describe what had been done here: meaningless.

There was absolutely no doubt in Archer's mind that the Kalrenns were guilty. He had seen in the way that the knives in this place had been used when he had instinctively sympathized with the experiences of their growth and reproduced the accumulated years – not only were they directly used by the Earl and his family, but their only excuse for all of this was that they enjoyed it. It served no purpose, proved no point, and made no sense. The family of this land simply enjoyed tormenting those less fortunate than themselves.

This family was even worse than the Danger Beasts he hunted down. Aggressive as the creatures were, at least when they killed it was either for food or to protect their territory.

But the Kalrenns? They were just monsters.


Archer's head snapped over to the left, where he saw a prisoner of this hellhole who, despite all odds, had somehow managed to hold onto his sanity and even still had the strength to stand.

He must not have been here for very long.

Archer rushed to the side of the cage, wanting to assess the condition of the boy who seemed like he was at least a few years younger than even Archer was. But as soon as he came near him, the boy backed up fearfully.

Archer instantly realized what the boy was thinking, and quickly took a couple steps back. "Relax," he told him. "I'm not one of the people who hurt you."

As the kid stared back with a mixture of fear, skepticism, and hope, Archer raked his eyes over the prisoner. He'd obviously endured extensive torture and was covered in filth like all the others, but there was still hope for him. It wouldn't be easy, but if Archer could get him to a doctor soon, the kid might just have a chance of surviving.

"I didn't fully trust the people here when they invited me in and decided to investigate to see if they were hiding anything nefarious," Archer explained. "Of course, this is far worse than anything I expected."

After a few seconds, the boy seemed to accept that Archer was telling him the truth. His shoulders began to tremble, and then it was followed by laughter.

…At least, until the kid started coughing up blood.

When the boy collapsed on the floor, Archer darted forward and Reinforced his muscles, tearing the door to the cage off its hinges and tossing it aside; not caring for the noise it made when there was an innocent life on the line.

"Hey, stay with me!" Archer told the kid, taking him into his arms. "Just hold on a little longer and I'll get you to a doctor." Not for the first time in this new life of his, the former Guardian cursed his lack of talents in the healing arts… or any other magecraft for that matter.

"…Sorry," the kid whispered. "No… good. These people… they infected me… Diseases… they're incurable."

Archer felt the urge to sigh intensify, having suspected the case from the beginning.

"…That's not for you to decide," he eventually said, the chances of his survival were almost nonexistent. If this were any other time then he would have given this boy a swift death… but just like a certain redheaded fool and the conversation with his former stubborn Master — he had to at least try like he promised. "What is your name?"

"…Ieyasu." came the response. "My name's Ieyasu."

"Alright then Ieyasu, do you have… just hang on, I won't promise that you'll survive but… we can at least try." Archer nearly scoffed at his own words, pushing back the common sense within his mind hammering the fact that trying to save this person would be a lost endeavor. He was no hero, having no way to achieve a miracle, but in the end, he wanted to do more for himself rather than save this person. A twisted reason as absurd as it could get, but one he wanted to try just to avoid adding another regret to his never-ending pile.

"It's hopeless…my friend over there she…," with a shaking hand, Ieyasu slowly pointed at the flayed body of a young girl with long straight black hair hanging from the ceiling by a pair of meat hooks embedded deep into her back. The sight was gruesome enough to have anyone vomit out of horror, Archer walked over and cut the chains without removing the hooks.

"There is still a pulse, faint and almost gone, but it's still there." Removing them would just end up killing her for good. Archer's gaze was unflinching. "Let's get out of here."

He then watched as Ieyasu's cheeky grin morphed into a full-fledged smile. Tears spilled from his closed eyes. "We… won't live… you're wasti—"

"I know," the white-haired bowman cut him off with an edge to his voice. "I am fully aware of how stupid and nonsensical my actions are right now. It would have been easier and kinder to give you two a quick death with my blade."

"Then why…"

Looking over the moon, Archer closed his eyes and calmed his nerves and anger rising due to what he was attempting. "Because I'm still a fool. Just put up with my stupidity for a while longer, I'll bury you two together if I fail, I can promise you that at least."

"...Thank you."

The idea of just wordlessly projecting a plain dagger and plunging into them to avoid any prolonged suffering grew stronger by the second. Just why was he doing this? Why copy the actions of Emiya Shirou when he knew fully well what would happen in the end?

A quick jab, plunging the dagger in between Ieyasu's and the girl's ribs and hearts. That was all it would take, yet here he was letting his damned stubbornness take over and walk straight for a wall.

His gaze went to the manor in the distance and the forest around them, his ears twitching with his guts telling him that someone was approaching. But he ignored it for now, walking deeper until his figure carrying both people disappeared. Cursing himself for the hundredth time, laughing and ridiculing his actions — Emiya knew that he couldn't let this family live for another day regardless.

This manor… this whole area needed to be gone from the face of this world, consumed by flames and smoke. In the end, he was a Counter Guardian and such measures were not foreign to him.




Within the darkness, the sound of screeching metal echoed with an ominous wave of crimson wisps of energy wafting from the trees.

At that moment, every single being within the area felt a horrifying sensation of death looming over them.

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.