Chapter 68: Stocked Chambers
I do not own Fate/Stay Night and stuffs.
o. o. o.
With a tired grunt, Shirou shifted the heavy overcoat over his shoulders, rolling them several times to stretch his muscles and settle them down in just the right spot.
"How do I look?"
"You're dressed in a heavy coat and light combat armor," Kiritsugu stated bluntly from the side with a small smirk, noting the light material his son wore underneath. "So long as you stay away from banks I think you'll be fine."
"Sorry, but the usual suit and tie doesn't work for me. Bazett-nee tried," Shirou scoffed. He really only used that getup for formal occasions.
"Poor girl. She looks like a try hard."
"She's related to Sirius and was sponsored by him at the Tower when she first showed up. She had to be."
"My condolences." Despite not sounding like it, he truly meant it.
Shirou rolled his shoulders again, and made a mental checklist of what he had and was bringing with him to this fight.
He wasn't going light this time.
The pills. The gems. The swords. The phones. Mystic codes.
And that was just all the conventional tricks he usually had on him… speaking of which.
"Where's my belt?" He looked around slightly concerned. The cobbled together mystic code he had made over the years had helped him more than half the explosives he had used on the job. Words could not describe just how much having the extra mana available to work with had saved his ass.
"I have it." Saber came in through the door of the workshop, carrying the strip of leather that appeared to be vastly more compact and sleek than prior. "Rin and Luvia spent a good portion of the day modifying it to be of more use, and less horrifying to lay eyes on. Their words, not mine."
"So long as it works," Father and Son thoughtlessly replied at the exact same time.
"I cannot tell whether I should be more concerned that you two are so in sync about such an important topic, or that I can easily see some of my knights agree with you." The King of Knights shook her head in exasperation.
"I'm more worried that any of your knights were like us at all," Shirou huffed while grabbing the belt and inspecting it…
Rin and Luvia really went out on this one. The mana capacity on it was at least a dozen times higher than the mess he had made. He doubted he'd be able to fill it up to max charge with his usual way of adding prana if he had over a year to work on it. And he was sure they doubted it too. It would certainly take longer to pay them back just for this. More if they also came up for an efficient way for him to charge the damn thing without turning all the gems into mini swords.
His eyes softened as he noted one particular gem embedded into the belt. A peculiar red gem that looked like it belonged more on a necklace than anything.
All the more reason to not fuck this up.
He looked at Assassin. "You remember what to do?"
"I should be asking you that," the Servant scoffed. "How's the coat?"
"Like the weight of the world's on my shoulders." The son matched his dry tone perfectly, rolling said shoulders a third time before putting on his belt and running his mana through it to make sure that he could tap into it at a moment's notice. "Any word from the others?"
"Archer has spotted two suspicious boats arrive at the docks since dusk." Saber nodded.
"The forward party. Just like we predicted." Shirou nodded. "Tell the others to wait till the rest of us are at the pier. We can't tilt our hand just yet. Nothing from Luvia?"
"None. Which hopefully is good news given the task you gave her." Saber's tone turned unamused.
"Better make it up to her after this. From experience." Assassin scoffed.
"I bet you would."
"The German Alps are cold in the winter. And the living room couch in a castle in the Alps isn't much better." Especially when his wife could snuff out the fire in the fireplace whenever she wanted.
"Don't tell Illya that. She'll take it as a personal challenge to torment me at some point." Shirou chuckled to himself, before both men shivered slightly.
She really would.
It was a petty attempt to lighten the mood at best, but it worked.
"This is gonna suck."
"Words that apply to every big job." Assassin nodded with a wry tone. "You should know that by now."
"You never dealt with Ancestors."
"I haven't. That's your thing apparently."
"Boys. If you could focus on the matter at hand? Shirou, you don't have enough time to fight another Servant in some haphazard attempt to destress yourself before the vampire's arrival." Saber wanted this night to be over more than the two Emiyas at that moment, if only to get them to stop bickering like children.
"Pity." Shirou only half meant it this time, shaking his head. He turned his gaze to the whiteboard where he had written down all his notes on what he planned to do that night. Then, he turned to the table where he had the remaining array of tools and ordinance for the night's activities. And next to that was an unusually large pile of bento boxes made for any last second random bullshit gambits. "... Fine then. One last time, from the top. Rin, Bazett and I will wait at the docks with our Servants. Meanwhile Sakura-"
As he recited what was to happen that night, Shirou clenched and unclenched his right hand a few more times. It seemed to have fully recovered in time.
o. o. o.
Magecraft was all about discerning and weaving the mysteries of the world. It was a precise science built upon countless legacies and oceans of blood.
At that moment, Rin couldn't care less about that as she weaved a spell to warm herself up while waiting on the edge of the shipyard in the middle of winter at one in the morning. The bite of the coastal breeze did NOT help matters either.
"Much better." She breathed out hot visible steam in sweet relief.
"You need to update your wardrobe for the weather." Bazett smirked. Her suit was tailored to be more robust not just for combat but for uncomfortable temperatures as well.
"Everyone was on the move during the war to keep warm. Most of the time we spent lurking in one spot was at someone's home." Rin brushed her off. It wasn't her fault that they were stuck waiting in quite possibly the coldest natural location in the damn city.
"Don't look too comfortable." Shirou chuckled, shaking his head already wrapped up in his bandages. "You'd make an easy target."
"Hilarious." Rin rolled her eyes, before an uncomfortable and not temperature related chill ran down her spine. "... You are joking, right?"
"Given the circumstances, you'd make a tempting first hit if I was on the other side of things." Archer mockingly noted through their link. "The enforcer's clearly on guard ready to move, and the idiot's got his back to a wall. You on the other hand are pacing around like you're waiting for Christmas to come."
"It's called being cold, you insensitive ass!" Rin hissed while stomping towards the warehouse that Shirou was leaning against and joined him, cooling down a moment later. "... I don't get it. You said those feeler ships got here hours ago. And yet there's nothing."
"If there was anything big happening behind our backs, Assassin would have told us by now." They all had their phones set to a group text chat to keep themselves updated. Fortunately, Kiritsugu's Tools of the Trade could produce functional cells in addition to weaponry and the occasional piece of armor.
"Think they might be playing with us?" Bazett mused.
"Doubtful." Everyone looked up to see Merem sitting casually off of the ledge of the roof of the warehouse they were next to. "Altrouge is contemptible, but she is also curious and does try to maintain her image as Type Moon's progeny. It would be in poor taste even for her to conduct herself in such a petty fashion. From the start, at least."
"Even vampires have standards, I suppose." Rin shook her head in defeat.
"The elites do. Be careful not to compare us to the common rabble that most associate with the term 'vampire'. We find the analogy… petty," Merem supplied.
"I'll keep that in mind."
"Speaking of petty, if our pirate friend intends to make us wait, we might as well do something to pass the time." Shirou's face was hidden, but there was a mocking tone in his voice that was very reminiscent of a certain Archer's. "Bazett-nee, you know any good local sea shanties?"
"Hah!" Merem couldn't help but let out an amused laugh.
The Enforcer gave him a dead stare. "... You seriously want me to piss off an Apostle Ancestor with bad stereotypical music?"
"Why not? It's not like he's actually here."
For almost ten seconds, the well dressed woman looked like she was going to punch the teen before breathing in deeply and slowly exhaling. "You know what? Fine. I'm already waist deep in this blasted mire as it is. Might as well liven things up while we wait, no pun intended."
"There once was a ship that went to sea, the name of the-"
The woman's slightly off key singing was interrupted by Lancer materializing at her side and deflecting what appeared to be a couple of bullets.
"Couldn't let her get past the first verse and let us have our fun, could you?" The spearman sighed in disappointment.
"Not here my ass." Bazett glared at Shirou accusingly, who in turn purposefully avoided eye contact.
"I'll have to refrain from apologizing, lads and ladies!" Fina called out from the bow of the small luxury yacht half a hundred meters away to their left. "I can only stand the Wellerman being half assed by common folk so many times before my pride gets the better of me!"
"My Master's from the Isles you idiot! She has more right to it than your bloody ass!" Lancer scoffed.
"Then I'll apologize for my ignorance then!" It was as if the ship had materialized through the reflection of the night sea, coming into reality through a fold of distant dark water where the line between the night and ocean was indistinguishable.
Silently and effortlessly, the boat moored itself alongside one of the docks of the pier, allowing the Eighth Apostle Ancestor to walk on the land of Japan once more.
"Three of you this time. Plus rat." Fina nodded, taking note of the three Masters appraisingly before glancing at the blue spearman. "Servant Lancer I presume. And that must make you Ms. MacRemitz then. A pleasure to meet yet another Enforcer."
The unspoken tales of what happened to all the previous Enforcers he had encountered did not go unnoticed.
"I would contest your greetings, given your shoot first approach, but that would be hypocritical given the nature of my Servant. Well met, Lord Svelten." Bazett sighed with crossed arms.
"If you're being like that, I'll just ignore the next bullets sent your way then, Master." Lancer rolled his eyes.
Fina turned his attention to Rin. "And I am afraid you have me at a loss young miss. Given you are here, I can only assume you are another Master?"
"Humph." Rin turned her nose up. "I'll have you know I am the Second Owner of this territory, Rin Tohsaka. And I am none too appreciative of the troubles you have brought on my doorstep. Much less while we are still busy cleaning up the mess that the War has wrought."
Fina tipped his hat respectfully. "Haha. Fair enough, young miss, fair enough. You're right to be rather miffed with these tidings. Dare I ask where your Servant may be? This meeting, these negotiations, are after all intended to be in good faith."
"Archer's around. Like you said, this meeting is intended to be in good faith. Not guaranteed."
"Ah, true, but are there not supposed to be Seven Heroic Spirits running about? Unless there's been some development I am unaware of?"
Technically, he wasn't wrong. Only the number went up, not down.
"As said before, we're still cleaning up after the War. The others are tasked with duties around Fuyuki tonight. Some include ensuring our privacy for tonight." Shirou cut in with a hard tone. "Unless you intended otherwise."
"Don't bite my head off, lad. In case you forgot, it was just us last time. Can't blame me for being curious about where all the extra cannons you have in this city's being aimed at. Truth be told, I'm surprised you were willing to risk telling them all about your new position at all. The Association's still none too big on traitors last I heard."
"Kidnappers of Lords don't appeal to them either. Though that may just be because they don't like outside competition."
"Haha! Too true. Too true. Those noble hypocrites can take a long walk off a short bow as far as I'm concerned." Fina laughed, as though he was not the guilty party in question. "Rest at ease, boy. Your Lord El whatever's still alive and breathing in all the ways that count, not for a lack of trying. Ma'am's taken a strong shine to him. Looks at the poor fool like he's a potential second pet."
"... What," Shirou was the one that asked it, but his dumbfounded expression was more or less the same as Merem's, Rin's, and Bazett's.
The Pirate grimaced in pity. "My thoughts exactly."
While the conversation was going on, Bazett shifted her feet slightly.
"Girls, what's wrong?" Her legs had been acting up ever since the vampire arrived, and it wasn't a biological response.
The vitriol saturated responses from the normally innocent child banshees caught the woman by surprise.
"I can understand Shirou on edge around him, but I didn't expect you two to be caught up in it as well."
"Don't listen to a word it says, mama!" the right leg all but wailed.
"That monster violates so many rules every second it exists. The False Ferryman… every sound it makes is slander against the living and the dead." The more mature left genuinely shivered in anger.
That said, it was the title that the girls had labeled Fina that had all but underscored the problem in its entirety and the overwhelming connotations that it implied.
The False Ferryman.
No wonder virtually every coherent undead and death related entity she had encountered as of late that knew of the Pirate despised the monster on such a personal level.
"We can't kill him. Not today," she apologized to the girls, "He is with ones even scarier tonight. We cannot risk it."
"You mean Primate Murder? He is not fond of the False Ferryman either."
"Yes, I… wait. How do you know…"
The woman froze, as did everyone else as a new guest made itself known.
Slowly, she looked down to see the literal incarnation of the death of all primate beings, the size of a deceptively adorable small white dog squirrel beast, rubbing against her legs.
Enforcers were not ones that scared easily, which only underscored just how overwhelmingly terrifying her current situation was.
"Oh dear. My apologies. I didn't expect Fou to run off like that." A new voice sighed in mixed pity and amusement from the ship. "Although I cannot blame him now that I see why he was so eager. It is not often that he comes across those that can be considered his kin these days. Especially on this side of the world."
Against every fundamental instinct she had, Bazett turned her eyes up along with everyone else to see Altrouge Brunestud standing and smiling cheerfully on the bow of the yacht, as though she had been there the entire time. A seemingly normal and slightly frail looking girl around Saber's apparent physical age with a pale complexion, free flowing midnight black hair, and deep blood crimson pool like eyes that seemed to draw you in the more one looked at them.
"Altrouge, Brunestud." Rin swallowed, feeling as though the world around her grew heavier by the second.
All of a sudden, Shirou's ridiculous plan felt simultaneously and exponentially more and less insane than it had all night. It was an impossible idea to comprehend pulling off, yet infinitely more likely to come to pass than any other idea she could come up with at that moment.
"Lady Brunestud." Shirou nodded politely.
"Shirou Emiya. I've heard many tales about you as of late. You are quite a curious and audacious child. I haven't laughed so hard at a youngling's creative attempt to force my hand in over a century."
"My apologies for the rushed approach, but as you can tell I am in a rather peculiar situation. I had to make do with what I had available to not be simply swept up by your party or another. Yours and Primate Murder's reputations are particularly notable, and I was not given much time to prepare a more welcoming or accommodating greeting to your attention," Shirou replied with just as much sincerity. "And seeing as I would receive your attention one way or another, despite my efforts, I determined I might as well do something to warrant it to make it worth your while once obtained."
"Fufu. It's been a while since I've spoken to someone so blatantly cheeky yet aware of his own position. No wonder Solomon deemed you worthy to stick his neck out for once. You're far too much of a curiosity to fall quietly by the wayside so quickly." The Vampire's eyes darted down at the docks, just a few feet away from where she stood. "Although I suppose some concessions will have to be made. We certainly do not wish for my sister to interrupt the discussions tonight."
"Don't you have some useful Caster, boy? Couldn't they have set up something more accommodating for the lady?" Fina frowned slightly.
"Please do not pretend I am not here. You may have come for Shirou, but Fuyuki is still my family'sterritory and responsibility," Rin stepped in, having regained her composure. Under any other circumstance it would be suicidal to interrupt the conversation, but she did have a role to play and a position to fulfil that could not be ignored. "It is bad enough that Solomon has deemed my permission to enter and leave superfluous at best over the years. Shirou is a story and a half on his own. If you don't mind, I would much prefer my territory does not become some convenient hub for Apostle Ancestor activity."
"My condolences. I apologize for the poor representation that Solomon has unsurprisingly given the rest of our kind. I will try to rectify that."
Shirou genuinely had to bite his tongue to refrain from making a comment about pots and kettles.
"I'm not the one that kidnapped a lord of the Clocktower to make a petty point." Merem rolled his eyes from his perch. "Speaking of, where is the surprisingly popular Lord El Melloi II? I hope you didn't kill the poor man. From what I've heard he's had it difficult enough being a reasonable human at the Clocktower."
"So I've heard. He's actually a well of curious stories and entertainment regarding what the latest generation of Magi are up to when unsupervised. It was quite amusing." Altrouge laughed softly as though recalling an interesting tale. "Rest assured, our guest has been treated with nothing but care and respect since our departure. I was honestly surprised that a Lord of the Clocktower could be so fragile, and even more so at the way his viper like tongue and wit seems to navigate him out of any situation. I'm almost inclined to believe such a skill is a mystery in itself."
"Please refrain from making such comments in the open if possible, madam. I can list a dozen of my peers that would use it as an excuse to rip my tongue from my head for research, if only to silence me for good." With a tired drawl, Waver drew attention to himself as he walked onto the boat's deck, dressed in suit and tie and notably not a vampire.
"My offer is still open," Altrouge cheekily supplied.
"And my many reasons for turning it down still remain." The Lord of the Clocktower shook his head with some bemusement before looking at those still on land. "Shirou. Bazett. Rin. My apologies for the circumstances."
"I don't know if I should be relieved or not, Lord El Melloi II. You look awfully calm for someone that's been kidnapped by an Apostle Ancestor," Rin scoffed.
"Though it is not something I am proud of, this is far from the first time I have been accosted against my will." Waver shrugged.
"It's true. I should show you all his case files some time. It genuinely is a miracle he hasn't been killed yet given his low capacity for magecraft." Bazett's lips twitched in amusement.
"Wonderful, now I'm itchin' to find out what this stick's been up to as well," Fina huffed.
Before the conversation could devolve any further, Saber stepped up and cleared her voice, much to everyone's mild surprise. "If everyone could please grant me just a moment. There is a matter I must address before we can properly resume negotiations."
"Oh?" Altrouge hummed curiously, noting Shirou's confused glance. "And what matter might that be?"
Saber rested the tip of her invisible blade on the ground and rested her hands on the crossguard, standing upright with the proper poise that only a King could have.
Altrouge's and Fina's amused smiles dropped instantly as Saber spoke Primate Murder's true name.
The small dog/squirrel-like creature sitting by Bazett in contrast didn't seem too miffed, its tail swaying left and right lazily while it turned to look at Saber with some mild curiosity. "Fou?"
"I wish to verify if our accord regarding Merlin is still in effect."
It was instantaneous.
The concrete of the dock cracked.
A tsunami of murderous intent smothered virtually everyone there and hit as hard as a sledgehammer.
A vicious growl rumbled and shook the entire area as though a localized earthquake was taking place.
The red highlights of Beast's fur began to glow maliciously, and its eyes turned into blank pits of rage.
Lancer was on guard.
Archer had his bow trained on the monster.
Shirou was ready to move at a moment's notice.
Waver, Bazett, and Rin were halfway between running and passing out right then and there.
Even Altrouge and Fina looked like they were prepared to take some form of action.
And Saber… was completely unfettered.
"This city is my current domain, Cath Palug." The King of Knights stated firmly, her impassive expression not faltering at all. "And my Master possesses the potential to provide some headway into fulfilling the accord. Do you wish to resume what was agreed upon?"
The earthquake-like rumpling resumed as the monster slowly turned its attention to the flatfooted Shirou, who had absolutely no idea what his Servant was doing. It didn't help that she wasn't giving him any advice through their link either.
"I, uh, if Saber claims I can help with whatever it is regarding Mer-" The growling intensity increased viciously, "The Mage of Flowers, then it must be true."
It was like staring into the abyss, no. That wasn't right. It was akin to staring into an abyss specifically tailored for humanity. A culling pit that would suck in all of mankind and thresh it into a meaningless substance that possessed absolutely no semblance of the species it once consisted of.
This was Primate Murder? This was what humanity was facing? Shirou didn't notice the sweat quickly weeping from his face and trailing down his skin. How in the ever loving hell did humankind manage to hold back such a disaster until now?
"... Pfft." And through the madness, another sound was heard. "Pfffahahahahahahahahahaha!"
Everyone turned to see Altrouge Brunestud laughing hysterically at the unforeseen turn of events.
"Ridiculous! Absolutely absurd! Not once but twice now a half hearted accord of all things made behind my back is being used to stay my hand! Hahahaha!" The young woman bellowed as though it was the most hilarious thing she had ever heard.
Her unusual display was so unexpected that even Primate Murder's anger was mildly stemmed as all turned to look at her with anticipation and caution.
"Haha! Haaaa. Truly, this impulsive outing is proving to be more entertaining and enlightening than I ever would have expected. Fou, no, Cath Palug. Why did you not ever inform me that you had prior agreements?"
Despite all logic, the small beast's fur stood on end and somehow managed to blush in embarrassment beneath its white fur. The series of grumbles and what appeared to be a pout did not seem to make it look any better as the oppressive murderous intent slowly lightented on all there.
"Come now. You should know better that death has little meaning for me. Especially when it comes to notable figures like the King of Knights." Altrouge shook her head in exasperation before turning to the Servant in question, "My apologies, Your Majesty. I was unaware that Fou here had prior arrangements with you… oh. Fufu."
Shirou frowned as the vampire took a greater interest in Saber. He didn't like that tone.
The black haired girl's widened into something more predatory. "How fortunate for you. Had you been a conventional Heroic Spirit, I may have debated the validity of your arrangement, but you are truly yourself. What a truly enlightening night this is turning out to be. Do tell, what were the conditions of your stance with my dear familiar?"
Shirou had been afraid of that. Altrouge had noticed Saber's contract with the world and her irregular condition. He had been wary of it before, but it had been the right move to keep Archer out of sight, lest she peg him for a Counter Guardian as well.
Fortunately, Saber seemed to not be bothered by the reveal in the slightest. "It was merely a non-hostility pact forged shortly after my court mage's disappearance. A pact to reveal to the other the means to reach and access the fool once discovered so we can both… express our displeasure at his prior acts and behavior. I would not interfere with his, and he mine. And should the opportunity provide itself, we would reestablish such lines upon meeting once more to confirm our commitment."
"Hmmm. A simple enough contract. Though I am surprised that one forged of displeasure would be made by such a noble and upright individual like yourself. It is quite a revelation. No doubt further proof of the embellishment of mankind's myths," Altrouge teased.
"Merlin vacated his duties at a critical time. My reaction, while poor, was not unwarranted. Or would you claim to do anything less?" Saber didn't so much as twitch at the insult to her integrity.
"I wouldn't have to. Had something like that taken place, the contracts I weave and enact with all my subordinates would have been enacted without any further effort. 'Betrayal' is synonymous with 'foregone conclusion' in my vernacular." Altrouge brushed aside the challenge before glancing at the Beast again, "That said, it does not hurt to show caution. Tell me, are there any other accords that I should be aware of, Fou?"
It would have been uncomfortably adorable seeing the small creature grumble and shift as though it was a child caught stealing cookies… had said creature not been capable of killing all of them at a moment's notice.
"What am I going to do with you?" The girl shook her head like an exasperated mother. "Come here. Better to keep you close and sort these new oversights later than allow another slipup to take place."
"Fouuuuu." With a sulky pout, Primate Murder left Bazett's side and bounded towards the yacht to sit at its master's side.
Bazett would be the first to tell everyone how relieved she was at this new development. And last to tell anyone that Primate Murder had spent the last two minutes rubbing against her legs.
"Awww. But puppy…" the girls moaned in disappointment, much to her chagrin.
"Not. Now. Girls."
"Well then, now that we have that curious turn of events addressed momentarily, are there any other revelations that you wish to get out of the way before we proceed with the main events of the night?" Altrouge sighed languidly before glancing at Lancer. "Perhaps you have made an unfortunate Geas that is relevant to tonight's events, Cu Culaiin?"
Lancer's eye twitched. He didn't bother to pretend she was wrong. "Not particularly. Closest I have have to do with the dead. Not your kind in particular. What gave me away?"
"Fufu," the monster princess laughed, her crimson eyes glowing like unreadable dark pools, "Don't be so on guard. You said yourself earlier you were from the Isles. And there's only one foolish spearman that could have made it to the Throne that is as ensnared with as many vows and Geass as you."
Lancer let out an annoyed grunt, clearly ticked that his Geass bindings had betrayed him in yet another way.
Shirou coughed, somewhat unsettled by Saber's unexpected move. "Actually, I do have one more matter to discuss beforehand. Unless…"
"My prior arrangements with Cath Palug were all I intended to address for tonight's meeting." Saber firmly stated.
The teen nodded slowly before looking back at Rin and Bazet. "Do you two have anything to contribute that I may want to know about?"
"Even if I did, I would much rather not risk being a toy for Primate Murder in any capacity more than I already have for tonight. Or ever," Bazett managed to grunt out without stammering.
"I'm more concerned about what your current itinerary is, Emiya." Rin smiled sweetly in a way that promised pain later for not informing her of what he was going to do, regardless of what it was.
Shirou nodded before looking up. "Merem?"
"I am merely supervising this meeting. Unless matters devolve poorly, or I am addressed personally, I intend to have as little role in negotiations as you desire. As agreed," the Twentieth Ancestor stated clinically.
"... Alright. Then, if that's the case. Everyone, if you will grant me a moment." Shirou sighed heavily and took out a cell phone and dialed a number on it.
Rin, Bazett, Waver, and Fina all stiffened in alarm as he pressed the button, very much expecting something very close by to explode right then and there.
Altrouge merely blinked in curiosity.
Nothing interesting happened though, as he simply brought the device to his ear.
"You there? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, he's here too. No, still human. I can tell. No, that was Saber actually. Unresolved history and a mutual grudge apparently. No, I actually didn't plan that. I know. No, nothing yet. You can come over. Tha-" Shirou paused as the line cut off before he could finish talking and shook his head before returning it to his pocket.
"Another guest? I thought this was to be a private affair," Altrouge mused out loud, glancing at Rin and Bazett absently.
"Unfortunately, additional steps and measures needed to be taken when you took liberties with Lord El Melloi II." Shirou pocketed his phone. "My personal circumstances and plans were disturbed far more than you likely expected from your recent actions. As such I was forced to… adapt."
"Adapt?" Merem frowned, as did many of the others, and for once getting a sinking feeling in his stomach that he had not experienced in some time. He knew Shirou. Whenever the boy was purposefully vague like this in the face of such extreme circumstances, it was because he had done something particularly outlandish that everyone would not react particularly well to, to put it mildly.
"Rin, there's a car coming. I can sense Caster in it." Archer informed as he briefly glanced to where the oncoming vehicle was before returning his attention to the bigger problems at hand.
"Shirou, would this adaptation involve Caster and her Master's current approach in a car?" Rin asked with some concern.
"It does." He confirmed, but didn't say anything else. If anything that only raised more red flags.
"Oh dear. I know that tone." Waver shook his head with a grimace.
"Ooh. Now I'm getting excited." Altrouge nearly bounced on her feet like a child. "What do you think it could be, Fina?"
"Humph. From what I've seen of the boy, something that's bound to tick all of us off. He's a gift for pressing his luck." The Pirate shrugged helplessly.
"What luck?" Merem, Waver, Rin, Lancer, Saber and Shirou asked in perfect unison. Archer probably would have joined in too if he hadn't been out of earshot.
Altrouge could only let out a few more giggles of amusement before the aforementioned vehicle, an expensive looking foreign black car with tinted windows turned a corner a bit behind Shirou's side and made its way towards the group before stopping twenty meters short.
"Like they said. Just one Servant." Fina hummed curiously as Caster materialized outside the secondary doors and dutifully opened it wordlessly like a maid rather than a princess.
More than a few sunned inhales were heard as Lorelei Barthomelloi stepped out imperiously.
"Oh. Ohohohohooo. I stand corrected." Fina laughed darkly as he laid eyes on the one human that any Apostle worth their title would recognize on sight. "The boy clearly plans to die tonight after all. In as spectacular a way as possible, no doubt."
"L-Lady Barthomeloi?" Bazett all but squeaked, standing at attention as though Primate Murder was rubbing itself against her legs again.
"So that's the head bitch huh?" Lancer's gaze hardened as he sized the woman like he would any other opponent. He was not disappointed. "... Not bad."
"Barthomeloi… Shirou, of all the times to continue to surpass expectations," Merem whispered, absolutely dumbfounded by the turn of events.
"Shirou? Explain. Now," Rin demanded while unable to take her eyes away from the unforeseen guest, completely ignoring Luvia exiting the vehicle on the other side.
Altrouge on the other hand, remained quiet. Eerily so.
Shirou merely turned to his employer directly and bowed politely. "I hope the accommodations during your wait were satisfactory."
"They sufficed." The woman completely ignored the three monsters that any other day she would already be in the process of executing personally to address the annoyance that had brought her here in the first place. Her tone and demeanor betrayed absolutely none of her thoughts as she inspected the dog in front of her.
Whatever they may have further discussed was interrupted by a slow clap.
All eyes turned to Altrouge Brunestud, smiling, clapping, and with an eerie glow in her crimson eyes.
"... Seven Servants. Five Ancestors. And Two lords of the Clocktower, one of which is the famed Lorelei Barthomelloi." The young looking girl counted off the main powers that existed in Fuyuki at that very moment. "Such a peculiar gathering does not take place often. Much less for what was to be a simple discussion. There are not many capable of amassing such a setting so quickly. Less so from those with such a meager background as yourself. Neither Lord, nor King, nor Disaster. It is doubtful the resources you possess even compare to Enhance's. I came to be entertained, Shirou Emiya. But now? Now, you have earned my attention. Tell me, did you intend to lure in my sister in tonight's events as well?"
"Ah hell, he did, isn't he the reckless brat." Fina cursed under his breath.
Shirou allowed himself to scoff, pretending to be more confident than he really was, with all eyes on him. "Not unless you desire it, Altrouge Brunestud. My current situation as you already stated is a peculiar affair to put it mildly. Rather than procrastinate the matter with all parties involved and risk a pointless chain of misconceptions, I decided that it be succinct to address them all at once to prevent any further embarrassment. We are all very busy individuals after all with more important things to do."
"I presume you are aware much of this farce could be simply addressed by offering your head." Lorelei bluntly stated, ignoring the stares she received.
"It is far too late for that to serve as a solution to the issue regarding your name, Lady Vice Director," Merem advised from his perch. "Shirou has already been recognized as the Tenth. Death or not, the fact remains, as does the knowledge that your prized subordinate was an Apostle. It is this particular issue that our friend was particularly adamant about addressing since this unexpected trial reared its ugly head. And, no doubt, the underlying reason why you were invited to tonight's discussions."
"You misunderstand, Solomon. I am not here to participate or defend this fool. Should he die by another's hand, it would be of no consequence to me. I am merely present to observe and judge what transpires." Lorelei's words hung in the air like the Sword of Damocles, hovering over whose head though, none could determine just as of yet.
"Caster and I have been entrusted to the Vice Director's safety, should it be necessary." Luvia walked next to the woman and crossed her arms. "We will not be participating in any activities that deviate from that task. We will not support or protect Shirou Emiya, Second Owner Tohsaka, or the territory at all unless it parallels our assignment. Should matters escalate beyond control, we will teleport only her to a secure location."
"Of all the times to-" Rin hissed under her breath.
"That's fine," Shirou cut in impassively, much to her surprise. "Please ensure that you do."
Luvia merely scoffed as a reply, not bothering to say anything further to him.
"Oh my. You didn't bother to inform your allies of the Vice Director?" Altrouge pondered almost innocently, her gaze turning from Bazett to Rin to Merem.
"This discussion is to be dictated between you and I. No traps. No war. Both of us have more important tasks to allocate our time and resources to in the next few years, do we not?" Shirou asked calmly. "Dedicating them to one another feels wasteful."
"Fufu. And what a discussion it's turning out to be." Altrouge leaned forward, her crimson eyes peering into Shirou's silver. "... My, what a meticulously perverse gaze you have. Not that of a monster that hunts but one that habitually picks apart everything around him. You're quite rude, staring at a girl like that. Some people might get the wrong impression."
"Let them." His tone cut through the night air effortlessly. "You would rather not deal with a small army of Servants hounding you while you bother with Ortenrosse. And I would rather finish my high school education without being stuck in another reality altering war or some ludicrous international potential world ending scheme."
"Really? And here I assumed you were just ahead of the curve," the vampire joked.
"I'm a slightly above average student at best. I just happen to be overspecialized in the right fields." Shirou shrugged helplessly. "If I truly was that exceptional, I would have graduated by now. By magus standards, I'm below the median compared to all the other Masters in terms of thaumaturgy."
"Exceptionality can take many forms. If conventional education was that significant, I wouldn't have taken in Fina here. He never even finished the equivalent of middle school when he was human."
The identified middle school dropout coughed with a slight blush of embarrassment, "If you could please steer away from my personal history, ma'am."
"Exceptional or not, I'd prefer a resolution that addresses conflicts and concerns of interests, if you would not mind. For all parties involved." Shirou shook his head.
"Fufu. You claim to desire to live like a human, but you certainly are greedy enough to be an Apostle."
"I merely have an exceptional fondness of things not being on fire around me. And not hearing the screams of countless people in the background. Regardless of who started it," the teen deadpanned. "I suppose I'm greedy like that."
"Oh do relax. You're far from irregular for wanting to retain your humanity. Rather from what I've heard, you have managed to retain it far better than your peers. I've been informed you don't even need to feed. Is that right?"
Shirou could feel the piercing gaze of a certain Vice Director on the back of his head. He was getting into dangerous territory now. "No. I don't. It might change in the future for all we know, seeing as I am still only seventeen. The most my diet's changed is a stronger hunger for meat in general, and a preference for it to be on the rare side, but that's it."
"Is that so? Ah. You wouldn't mind if I had a small blood sample, would you? For inspection?" She stared at him hungrily.
"I'll have to respectfully decline. Your reputation and what you can do with that small sample aren't worth the risk."
"Humph. No doubt Solomon polluted your impression of me."
"You speak as though there is anything left of you to pollute, usurper," Merem scoffed.
"Hmmm." The young looking woman leaned on the railing of the boat and pondered the sight before her. "... Tell me, what is it that you intend to truly gain from this, boy? You are interesting, but as a passing curiosity. You have power, but it is fleeting. What concessions do you intend to request from me, and what value do you intend to entice me for them?"
Shirou looked at Altrouge for several long seconds, contemplating what to say, before apparently giving up with a tired sigh. "Aaah. This is getting me nowhere."
Everyone stared at the teen skeptically.
His stance relaxed and a hand went back to scratch the back of his head, decorum completely abandoned. "Altrouge Brunestud. To be quite frank, I don't really care one bit about you, Ortenrosse, Apostles, Ancestors, or any of this internal power struggle nonsense. Much less the Church or the Association's role in it for that matter. Hell, I've lost count of the number of times Merem's invited himself over my house over the past five years and bummed off of my hospitality."
"I'm not apologizing," said bum stated without shame. The Church's fare was terrible and the budget for food was just as bad. Curry Vampire be damned.
"The point is that under most other situations, I wouldn't have minded hosting a more civil and hospitable conversation with you so long as the same courtesy was returned." The teen continued, completely ignoring Merem. "And for not being able to do that now, I do sincerely apologize."
The atmosphere seemed to darken and lose color as the teen turned to Fina with a dispassionate gaze of apathy. "Your choice in representatives has unfortunately left much to be desired. His less than ideal behavior during his last visit aside, his very existence grates on me for some reason. To be quite honest, until I laid eyes on him, I believed I could only hold this sort of animosity towards certain other select individuals that I have rather personal grievances against."
"Fina. I thought you informed me that your last visit here transpired with little fanfare." Altrouge's tone was difficult to decipher. It was a peculiar mix of amused teasing, annoyed inquiry, and hungry curiosity.
"It did, ma'am. Didn't take a single soul on this island. The boy's just havin' a tantrum," the Pirate scoffed, not once turning his own dangerous glare away from his accuser.
"Anyone would when rotten planks of debris carrying vermin shores up on their territory."
"Is that to be an insult comin' from the hypocrite child that already feeds rats from the Church like they were pets?"
Saber coughed loudly, allowing Shirou to remember his current situation and his composure.
He turned back to Altrouge, who was clearly amused and entertained with this turn of events, as opposed to Waver standing next to her, who was very much terrified and confused.
Shirou breathed out slowly to regain himself. "Currently, you possess Lord El Melloi II, the knowledge of my being the Tenth, and a still to be determined opinion of my position in the world. I, on the other hand, possess Servant Saber, a Geass Scroll that on my death dedicates six other Servants to Ortenrosse's cause, a still unknown array of abilities that Merem Solomon has deemed at the least notable enough to earn the title of Ancestor, without my knowing, unknown allegiances, and by sheer dumb chance a peculiar Apostle disposition that may or may not lead to a breed that does not require feasting on blood for immortality."
"He's never going to let that go, is he?" Merem chuckled to himself, shaking his head.
"That is quite a spread of irregular and peculiar traits and trinkets on display." Altrouge hummed. "Is it your intention to bargain and barter with me?"
"No." The small twitch on Shirou's lips and tone of confidence was not missed by any. "It would be an insult and a waste of time to dedicate such a unique and bizarre meeting like this with a mere exchange. A dull passing that would not be of interest to any Apostle Ancestor worth their station. Merem's taught me at least that much. What we both desire will not be offered as means for trade, but wages and down payments."
"Wages?" Lorelei frowned, allowing the topic to distract her from the fact that the dog had almost allocated six servants to Ortenrosse's control.
"Oh? It appears Solomon's education was not as paltry as I had feared." Altrouge's eyes sparkled with interest. "Or did he sneak you off to Van Fem for remedial marketing tactics at some point?"
"Truthfully? It was on my to-do list," Merem admitted shamelessly. The underworld tycoon would have found no end of entertainment in educating the boy in exchange for some of his unique services.
"The Geass Scroll, Lord El Melloi II's safe, immediate, and unaltered return, and your silence on Shirou Emiya, the currently tentative representative of Lorelei Barthomelloi, being an Apostle and Ancestor, will be the down payments of the wager." Shirou continued calmly.
"Two for one? Not much of a bargain." Fina huffed.
"Some would consider it two for six. Although I agree, it is a detrimental exchange." Saber calmly pointed out.
Altrouge ignored the banter. "And the gamble?"
"A bout, and demonstration, of sorts. With conditions. To finally put at ease some confusion and concern about the title that was thrust on me that I truly couldn't care less about. The Tenth, vs The Eighth."
Even the waves of the sea seemed to be struck silent by the declaration.
"Since it would benefit neither of us if your pirate ride did expire and leave you in Japan, and my continued living is still of some interest to me, it would be first to force the other to forfeit or incapacitate. Permanent injury is allowed. But no killing." Shirou went on, ignoring the looks he was getting. "No including the city or spectators. No Servants. If I win, you and those under your influence will no longer harass those under mine without due cause and vice versa. Future exchanges and dialogues would still be possible. You win? You get me under your banner, but you still have to leave without causing any trouble here."
"What?!" Rin balked.
"Shirou, you failed to mention that particular bit during the plans," Bazett hissed.
The Black Princess didn't bother to hide her hungry smile. "And to think I presumed this excursion would be dull."
Surprisingly, Fina was the one that killed the fun. "Wait a moment, ma'am. Don't fall for it just yet. The boy's a snake if I've ever seen one. There's no way someone tainted by Solomon's on the up and up. That can't be all the conditions he's planning on slapping on this farce."
Shirou shrugged. "True, you're not wrong about that."
"More rules? How annoying." The girl's excitement dulled. "I hope you intend to keep things interesting."
"They are none too extreme." The teen shook his head and started counting on his fingers, "No fully manifested Reality Marbles. No excessive or intentional damage to Fuyuki or targeting the locals. The fighting stops immediately once the victor is decided. No cheap shots afterwards… oh, although, given the large disparity between my far more experienced sempai and myself, I will have to request a few minor handicaps."
"And there it is." Fina snorted. "Barring the idea that a child like you can fully manifest your Reality Marble, what are these supposed crutches you're requesting?"
Shirou smiled softly, and turned his attention not to any of the vampires or the audience, but to the open water expanding to the sea. "Nothing significant. Only that I request to make the first attack, and that you fight me in your entirety."
The Pirate's response caught his superior by genuine surprise. "Oh? Something I should know of Fina?"
"You haven't seen it, but that personal sword of his is a nasty piece." The Captain crossed his arms, and while his demeanor appeared calm, his eyes were alight with rage and anticipation. "There's no way I'm risking a free nick from something that twisted. It would take decades of scrubbing to get the stain out."
"Don't worry. I had something else in mind." Shirou waved him off. "Besides, considering what you have, I surely deserve a notable handicap of my own, right? After all, you're technically one of the older Ancestors still around. Right?"
Nobody missed how he stressed that one word, but only a handful knew what he was alluding to.
And judging from his scowl, Fina didn't take it particularly well. "Don't push your luck, brat."
Shirou smirked, and then, against his better judgment, decided to follow a bit of random advice that Archer had told him before he left.
"Or else what? I thought you pirates were supposed to enjoy risks. Like Blackbeard."
"Don't you dare put me in the same sentence as that twisted bastard!"
Any and every notable seafaring name from the age of Pirates hated Edward Teach with a passion, and despised being compared to him even more.
Especially the women.
Apparently he was a bit of a perverted creep.
"Fufu. Oh dear. Now I have to go through with this charade. Fina takes forever to settle down whenever he's compared to that deviant." Altrouge giggled in mock concern. "Although I would like to add an addendum to the wager and rules."
"Go ahead. Nothing's agreed upon yet."
"Nothing too outlandish, I assure you. I only desire two changes." She held up the first finger. "First, your word that regardless of the outcome, you will not not or take measures to indirectly expose any of our kind's more safeguarded secrets to those that would do us harm. Solomon is enough of a security risk as it is, but leaving you in a Barthomelloi's hands can be another headache in itself. She no doubt will be getting quite the eyefull tonight as is."
Shirou grimaced as said Barthomelloi stared holes into the back of his head. "Reasonable enough. Though I won't be held responsible for what is learned by our guests tonight." He genuinely believed that task to be more life threatening than fighting Fina, but he had to play it risky to get anywhere.
Altrouge held up her second finger. "Second, I request that your Servant comes with you under the circumstances that Fina wins."
That, on the other hand, was something that made him throw up in his mouth just hearing.
"I accept under the additional addendum that Shirou remains my Master afterwards." Saber cut in before Shirou could finish his rejection. "I have vowed to be his sword upon my summoning, and I will not have my word tarnished. Neither by you nor him."
"That will suffice."
"Saber, what are you doing?!"
"Ensuring this bout you fool. Or have you lost confidence in yourself?"
"There is a difference between confidence and recklessness! This is a gamble for a reason!"
"And I am gambling on you as much as you are gambling on yourself. Just as we have since we have met."
Shirou scrunched his face in frustration and tried to come up with a suitable argument only to come up flat. "You… I… HATE… your Charisma skill." Truly, he felt as though it only became relevant whenever she was using it on him ever since she was summoned.
"Indeed. Now I believe you have negotiations to resume."
"I presume you have finished your private discussion?" Altrouge grinned, clearly amused by their small argument.
"Very." In contrast, he wasn't amused, already trying to come up with a way to put matters in his favor again. "We'll accept your modified second addendum on the condition of our own."
"Which would be?"
"In the case of my victory, should Ortenrosse or a third party of Apostles antagonize me and mine with the intent to force me to join them, you and yours have to support my party's independence on call."
Merem inhaled sharply, genuinely not expecting that turn of events. "Oh Shirou. My foolish friend, you have no idea what sort of reckless game you just started."
Everyone there felt it before it happened. It was as though a switch had been triggered in Altrouge, and a wave of madness seemed to pour from her very being.
Red bloodlust flooded from her very gaze, and her smile widened into something truly malicious. "I seemed to have gotten soft in this era. Did a mere child truly demand that I become his personal babysitter? Did being around Solomon leave that poor impression of our kind on you?"
To his credit, Shirou held his ground without flinching. His own gaze and demeanor enabled him to cut through and divide the wave of malice effortlessly. "It's called a wager for a reason. Or am I to risk myself and the King of Knights becoming your own pets for mere bragging rights? Have you gotten too used to playing as the House to remember that? Higher stakes come with higher risks. I don't see what the big deal is. After all, if such conditions ever do kick in, we'd still be sticking it to Ortenrosse together regardless. I meant what I said earlier. If everyone leaves me be, I'll keep to myself. I have no intention or desire to kick a hornet's nest, but I will burn down one being made on my territory without hesitation the second I see it."
"Hah! And now you have the gall to compare that dusty old bastard to an insect? I thought you were supposed to be humble." The Vampire Princess turned to the Queen of the Clocktower. "I am disappointed, Barthomelloi. You have been remiss in properly training your pets."
"So I have come to realize as of late. I am tempted to allow you to take him off my hands regardless of what transpires," Lorelei scoffed before turning a cold gaze to the difficult pet in question, "That said, I have decided to postpone my decision until after I witness what else he has been hiding from me firsthand."
Altrouge's mad smile widened. "Is that right? Well then, Fina? Your thoughts?"
"We can always ditch them and haul ourselves out of here," the Pirate suggested apathetically.
"And leave the Geass issue unaddressed? And me to Barthomelloi? With barely any questions answered?" Shirou mocked. "Don't play the fool, Svelten. Lady Brunestud has said it herself. I have your attention now. As fleeting as it is, there's no way you'd just walk away now. Let us know what you really feel."
"... Hah. Fine then. If the child wants to play…" Fina's aloof and borderline approachable demeanor flipped on a coin, and a wave of murderous intent flooded the area. It was akin to being rammed with the point of a bow of a ship loaded to the brim with a bloodthirsty army, all focused on him.
"Ma'am. Permission to maim the rude little welp."
To his credit, Shirou looked slightly unsettled by the sudden overwhelming display of malice, standing his ground firmly with little reaction other than a mild flinch and some minor cold sweat. His stint against Gilgamesh had prepared him well.
"Fufu. Now now, Fina. Do remember, our host has organized an order to tonight's madness. We are not savages." If anything, Altrouge's murderous intent in the background was even greater than Fina's. "What was it again? A down payment? Lord El Melloi II for the Geass scroll?"
"And your sworn silence on Shirou Emiya, Barthomelloi's 'Silver Dog' being an Apostle in any way, yes." Shirou nodded, slowly reaching into his coat to pull out the magical document. "And for the record, there are no additional contracts made that would circumvent the purpose of its destruction. Nor will there be afterwards."
"You certainly are putting an effort to address any discrepancies. It's almost admirable in a child your age." Altrouge turned to Waver, who was currently pale and gripping the railings of the boat so hard his hands were white. "I enjoyed our conversations, Lord El Melloi II. Hopefully we can resume them at another date under more amicable conditions."
Her words seemed to snap Waver out of his delirium as he shakily turned to his host as though remembering she was there. "I… yes. Of course m'lady. I apologize. Tonight is turning out far more informative and eventful than I had anticipated."
The Princess' features softened into one of mixed pity and understanding. "I believe that is a sentiment that all present can share. Now then, I believe you are expected."
"... Right. Thank you, Altrouge Brunestud." With an unsteady nod, Waver slowly was escorted off of the yacht, and a minute later he was wordlessly standing next to Lorelei Barthomelloi, giving Shirou a range of concerned looks.
Shirou ignored them all, nodding acceptingly at the development, and taking out the Geas Scroll. "Do I have your word that you and yours will keep all information regarding Shirou Emiya being an Apostle silent and confidential upon termination of this contract?"
"So long as the contract in question is the aforementioned Geass dedicating the recently summoned Servants and Masters to Ortenrosse's cause, I do."
"It is." Without a second of hesitation, Shirou deconstructed the document in his hand, reducing it to little more than slivers of paper and ash in a matter of seconds.
Altrouge nodded, feeling the 'agreement' be validated. "So it is. Well then. Since you seem to be eager and committed to making a fool of yourself, shall we proceed to the exciting part?"
All eyes turned to Lorelei Bathomelloi.
"I believed you claimed to be nought but a spectator for this discussion, Vice Director." Altrouge asked curiously.
"I could care less about participating in this disaster," the woman bluntly dismissed the inquiry. "However there is a minor chore that needs to be addressed before you mistakes proceed to tear one another apart."
"Oh? How disappointing, Shirou Emiya. To leave your former master to deal with unresolved tasks." Altrouge grinned.
"To be frank, I don't know what you are referring to, Ma'am." Shirou frowned, ignoring the teasing.
Lorelei held his gaze for a few seconds before she barked out an order. "Servant. The case."
To her credit, Caster did not falter as she traveled to the trunk of the vehicle they traveled in and withdrew a long case from it.
Judging from the confused look on Shirou's face, he was just as oblivious to what was going on as everyone else.
At least until Barthomelloi opened it up, and revealed the two swords in it.
"Those are…" He muttered under his breath in genuine surprise.
"McGinty claimed you were needed to complete them."
Shirou frowned and looked at the ivory white swords in black lacquered sheathes. "It shouldn't take more than a second each."
"Is there something you failed to inform us of, Shirou Emiya? Those swords look rather important." Altrouge called from the boat.
"Just an unexpected development, Altrouge Brunestud. Those swords were a long term project of someone I know. They were on the backburner for so long I honestly forgot they were a thing."
"Oh? Sounds awfully convenient."
"I don't blame you. They were still a work in progress last I heard. I doubted they'd be completed anytime soon." Shirou chuckled lightly under his breath. "That old bastard really is a pain to keep track of sometimes."
"Archer?" Rin asked through their link. "What are they?"
"I barely caught a glimpse of them from this angle, but they're made from the idiot's bone and blood. They're called Kaseki. Fossils. Conceptual weapons." The Servant explained as he watched Saber move to take the case from Caster and brought them to Shirou.
"Then by completing them, she really means…" Rin's words faltered as Shirou took up the first sword, withdrew it from its sheath to expose its ivory white edge to the world, and ran it against a palm to draw a faint amount of blood that seemed to be absorbed into the irregular metal a moment later.
He lifted the sword over his head and swung down testingly.
By the time the blade stopped, it was no longer an ivory short sword, but a copy of Kanshou.
Each transition was effortless and without a single blip of mana to indicate the shift from one state to the next.
Shirou nodded in satisfaction, and the sword was once more a bleached white, but otherwise unimpressive tool being slid back into its scabbard.
He then repeated the process with the second blade.
A nameless Noble Phantasm.
Rider's nameless nail.
Berserker's axe-cleaver slammed into the asphalt, cracking the ground effortlessly.
And then another dull white tool returned to its holster.
"Hoooh?" Altrouge did not miss the significance of the diverse weapons Shirou had just displayed. And judging from Fina's sharp gaze, neither did he.
"Will that be all, Lady Barthomelloi?" Shirou asked as he was about to place the second sword back into the case.
"Keep that one. It is yours, according to McGinty." Lorelei's words cut in just as he was about to let go of the tool.
"Is that right?" Shirou looked at the blade with some thought, as though mentally debating whether or not he'd have a use for it at all, before finally coming to a conclusion with a small nod and taking it out again. "... Alright. Yeah, I guess I can work with it. Saber?"
"I'm surprised, Barthomelloi. Receiving a gift from an Apostle like that," Fina mocked, saying what was on the mind of not just Altrouge but Merem as well while Saber returned the remaining sword back to the Vice Director.
"As far as I'm concerned, this tool was crafted and bestowed by a drunk old man with too much time on his hands and foul words on his tongue. Where the materials came from are of no importance to me," Lorelei scoffed as she received her gift and affixed it to her waist without so much as a thought. "So long as it is as immaculate as my name and serves its purpose, I do not see why I should not claim it."
"This night just continues to grow more and more eventful and ridiculous." Altrouge laughed. "I doubt anyone would believe me even if I told them what transpired!"
"All the better then." Shirou shook his head with a depressed chuckle knowing this light hearted moment was but a bad joke that would soon give away to nothing but absurd madness and violence. "Does anyone else have anything to add before we can resume with tonight's events?"
"Shirou, I just want to take this moment to say that I'm going to kill you when this is all over." Rin stated simply in front of everyone, finally reaching her limits and donning the smile that she usually wore right before she exacted vengeance on someone.
"Get in line, girl. He's mine first." Fina walked out into the open, rolling his shoulders and suddenly surrounded by at least fifty men and women all decked in military garb and weaponry from what looked like the past fifty years all in a defensive position around him.
Shirou wasn't impressed. Only fifty? He was being underestimated.
Not that it mattered. His first target was somewhere else.
Thirty meters from Altrouge's boat. Another thirty to where the others were.
He would have preferred it if there was more space, but this would have to do.
"Well?" the Pirate smirked as though he wasn't in any danger, puffing his chest out proudly.. "Let's get this nonsense over with then. You wanted the first shot? Well here I am…"
"I thought I told you, this is a fight between the Tenth and Eighth. Not Shirou Emiya and Fina Blood Svelton." The teen interrupted calmly, nodding to the ocean. "Stop hiding more than you already are."
The cocky smile on the captain slowly stretched and warped into what could only be considered a gash with teeth trying to imitate a grin. As did the smiles on those of all his familiars there.
"You sure about that, brat? I was trying to give you an easy way out."
The red shirt around Shirou's chest slowly twisted and morphed, traveling up his neck until it wrapped around his head, leaving the armor on his chest exposed and only his glowing silver eyes visible underneath. The minor shift in cloth and clothing seemed to warp his image from a young warrior into an ominous specter like individual."I said come out already, you coward. And be something that can take a hit. I don't want you bitching about taking it easy on me later."
"... I'm going to enjoy this far more than I should."
"Merem, I do hope you didn't help the boy more than appropriate. We do have a code of ethics for a reason." Altrouge chided with an unreadable tone.
"One I doubt you bothered to read more than a few lines of," Merem scoffed. "Do try to train your pets better, Usurper. All I informed Shirou of was some common knowledge of your White Knight. The rest he discerned on his own. It was your underling's fault for playing around too much around another Reality Marble user like the fool that he is. His exposure was all but guaranteed eventually, with or without my input."
That said, despite his confidence, he wasn't exactly sure how Shirou was going to pull this off himself. The boy was talented, yes, but his greatest strength in high level combat so far was being able to properly plan and utilize the strength of others to control and navigate his enemies to his advantage. In terms of raw firepower capacity, Shirou himself was still underwhelming. Certainly not to the level that he'd pose a threat to Fina's real body at this distance.
Unless… there had been a new development he was unaware of?
Shirou didn't seem to pay attention as dozens of guns were pointed right at him, instead more interested in the ocean, and the large seventeenth century battleship that had seemingly materialized about two hundred meters offshore.
And he frowned underneath the shroud.
"I said stop toying with me, Svelton, and don the form of something that can actually take a hit. If I'm going to put up with the bullshit of being the Tenth, I might as well be treated like I am dangerous enough for the title."
"Fina, don't be rude. If our host desires to be treated as one of us, then it is only polite to reply in kind." Altrouge's words hung ominously in the night, as though they held countless unspoken layers of meaning that would drive a normal human mad.
"... Haaaah." The tanned seafaring man looked like he wanted to put up an argument before sighing dejectedly, as though losing an argument with himself. "Child, I hope you realize just how far you are taking this. Killing you tonight, may truly be a blessing should you be nothing more than a disappointment."
The ocean at night shimmered and pooled in itself, as though the night sky and deep sea merged and became one great mirage of black, obscuring and swallowing everything in the undefined boundary.
The ship that was the Eighth's main body was swallowed in its expanse…
And in its place, a greater monstrosity made itself known.
"Wh-what the hell?" Rin paled.
"This was never in the reports…" Bazett fared no better.
"Shero, you idiot." Luvia grit her teeth tightly.
"Oh dear." Merem for once appeared to be concerned.
"..." Lorelei frowned.
Seventy meters above the water. Fifty wide. A body of pure stone littered with windows, portcullis, spikes, and weaponry. Four titanic column-like legs that sunk into the ocean below. Two equally massive arms that appeared to be more akin to repurposed towers than limbs. And a stout crown-like head with a glowing "eye" every fifteen degrees, making it appear to gaze in every direction at once.
"That's… not a ship." Lancer stated bluntly.
Fina smirked. "What's a ship, but a mobile fortress?"
"Shirou," Saber glanced at her master warily.
The teen though, didn't seem to be intimidated at all as he stared down the titanic monstrosity… no, the mobile fortress turned golem.
The Fourteenth Ancestor's Fifth Demonic Castle Fortress, Matri.
o. o. o.
Sakura and Rider stopped walking aimlessly throughout the residential streets near Shirou's home to look at the coast in the distance.
"It's starting." Rider stated calmly, still incorporeal and invisible to the naked eye.
"Mmm." Sakura nodded. If she could feel the disturbance from here even through Bazett's bounded field, then the night was bound to only get more concerning from here. "I have a feeling it's going to be more chaotic than predicted."
"Do you have any familiars watching?"
"No. They're made up of my element. Can't risk exposing me just yet." If any of the vampires saw her adorable paper thin constructs… well… there was no point in revealing her hand this early. "Did you find anyone?"
"Of course." The Servant almost purred. "You forget, Sakura, when I was alive and confined to the Shapeless Isle, warriors and heroes alike came from all over to claim my head. The land may be different, and the soldiers as well. But the game? That has not changed at all."
"Fufu. someone's eager." The Master of Medusa giggled, as though hearing an amusing joke. "Very well then, since you are the veteran, I suppose it is only sporting to give them a five minute grace period once the game has started."
"But of course. My tale is a twisted tragedy, but I am nothing but sporting."
"You, or your sisters?" Sakura teased.
"What of yours?" Rider riposted.
The two women joked in good nature, as they waited for the silence of the night to be violated.
o. o. o.
"Archer? Please tell me there's a reasonable way that this will all end." Rin tried and failed to keep a straight face while looking at the little castle stare down on all of them.
"I only see two paths that idiot can actually come out on top in this lopsided matchup." She could hear her Servant grimace at his counterpart's prospects. "Either he manages to hit Fina himself with something nasty enough to force him to retreat, or he displays enough curious abilities that Altrouge pities him a victory. Essentially aiming for the head of one snake, or pandering heavily to the head of the bigger one. Both are unlikely."
"So actually fighting isn't an option."
"If it was just the army I'd say he'd have a shot, but with that castle turned vampire, even I'd be hesitant with my odds, even with a free hit. And the kid doesn't have the mana capacity to pull off Broken Phantasms. The Reality Marble Restriction only makes it worse. It's like the vampire's a Rider-class Servant with his vastly above average Noble Phantasm out from the get go. Or a Caster class Servant with a mobile workshop that acts like a fortress."
"Damn it, Shirou. You figured out that he was literally part WARSHIP from the start? Why the hell did you think provoking him was a good idea?"
"Who knows at this point? Should be interesting to watch though."
"Actually, I think that's the point." The Counter Guardian pointed out factually. "The oldest vampires are all about keeping things 'interesting'. I think our idiot's trying to check all of the boxes on his list at once while wowing the audience, but that would mean that he'd be able to pull it off in the first place. Altrouge Brunestud is an ancient monster with Primate Murder as her pet. She does not impress easily. At best, I'd get an amused chuckle out of her if I was put on the spot."
"Well fixing your personality certainly could help…" Rin absently noted, only half meaning it. "So what? Shirou plans on being an idiot to win this?"
"Not exactly how I'd phrase it, but more or less. The only question now is how stupid is he going to get?"
"How stupid did you get?"
"I'm a Counter Guardian." His flat reply was an answer in itself. "That said, even I never tried to go toe to toe with an Apostle Ancestor or their counterparts by myself. Conventional holy blades and mystic codes tend to fall short when dealing with them."
"So all he's left with is the unconventional… at least he has that going for him."
"Well brat?" Fina scoffed as he stepped forward, protected and surrounded on all sides by his army of men, women, werewolves, soldiers, monsters, and miscellaneous combatants from various origins. The Geass scroll had been burned. Waver was safe. All that was left, was to make his point. "I'm waiting. Hope you're done clenching up."
Shirou sighed under his shroud, and pretended that everyone's attention was not all on him.
He hadn't even started and he was already tired of this nonsense.
Slowly, his left hand reached for the sleeve of his right, and began rolling it up to expose his arm. "Merem!"
The Twentieth blinked in some curiosity. "Yes?"
"Just to be sure, is Van-Fem going to annoy the hell out of me if I total his castle and he gets word of it?"
"Hoh? So there was more to the reports," Lorelei hummed curiously, as though looking at the castle in a new light.
Merem couldn't help but let out an incredulous bark of laughter. "I'm quite certain he will grant you some leeway if you do so in order to humiliate Fina."
The pirate scoffed in a less amused tone. "You? Boy, it took me the better part of a night grabbing that mark from the miser. I highly doubt a greenhorn like you'd be able to do better, regardless of what Noble Phantasm you manage to muster up this past month. You should know better that only the original Heroic Spirits using them will have any real effect on us."
Fina was right. Apostles were entities that rejected the logic of "man". Noble Phantasms used by anyone other than Heroic Spirits and Gods wouldn't have any effect save for a few exceptions beyond exceptions…
"Counterpoint." Shirou finished rolling up his sleeve up to his elbow. "Why was Louvre so desperate for the Mace of Odo three years ago?"
The docks grew ominously silent. Even the waves seemed to be rendered mute by the question.
"You don't think he's suggesting…" Bazett slowly suggested.
"That Apostles that can get their hands on Noble Phantasms get around that rule? And if Shirou's an Apostle…" Rin balked before noticing something off. "Wait, what's that on his arm?"
Indeed, there was something amiss with the underside of Shirou's right forearm now that he had it exposed to the world. Between his radius and ulna was a thick and distinct incision like gouge running a couple of inches from his wrist to his elbow. Now that mana was running through his flesh, peculiar thin scriptures could be seen glowing alongside the cut, invoking a mystery that was still unknown to the majority of the audience.
Shirou lifted his left hand up over his head, fingers splayed wide open.
My body is made of blades.
My flesh is my territory. My skin my border.
And my Kingdom is in my hand.
"Noble Phantasm selected. Altered."
He grit his teeth, and slammed down his left hand on top of the joint of his elbow just below where the incision ended.
In a burst of gore and blood, the twisted hilt of an elaborate and large sword burst from the incision in his arm, shooting out only about half a foot before it stopped and remained lodged in his own body. Its ornate gold and ebony frame and handle were twisted from its original state in its entirety, and the crossguard itself was further contorted up the blade length while twisting in line with what was still lodged in his flesh.
"Hnngh." Barely failing to hold back his grunt of pain and ignoring the mixed looks of curiosity and horror he was getting from all that were watching, he grabbed onto the weapon and slowly pulled it out from his limb.
God he hated this part.
It hurt beyond what words could possibly describe. Every second of it was blindingly excruciating to the point that it felt like he'd rather cut off his arm or black out from the pain.
It was like manually pulling free a broken third major bone out of his arm from between the radius and ulna, all while his nerves and blood vessels were attached, ripping apart, and screaming in protest the entire time. A torture that a Magus would have to try to conjure a suitable procedure to surpass. Every centimeter of progress made him want to scream at the top of his lungs, throw up, and pass out. Not in any particular order either.
It didn't help that the weapon he was pulling out was long enough that he could barely pull it out in a single go in the first place. He actually had to modify it to be shorter to make that happen. Unlike the first time he attempted this macabre of a procedure.
It was a crippling ordeal. Literally.
The sound wasn't much better. A nauseating chorus of flesh and steel grating against one another in a wet cacophony that sounded more like someone in armor getting run through slowly than a blade being extracted from flesh.
Had his arm not been mangled and warped from his battle with Gilgamesh. Had he not had Avalon and his connection to Saber. Had he not requested Caster to make the incision in his arm with the explicit intention to turn it into a direct tap into his Reality Marble, he was certain that this maneuver would if not permanently cripple, then temporarily paralyze his arm for an extended period of time.
As it was though, he could manage go through this torture twice a day and hold reasonable expectations that he'd regain feeling and functionality in it again after an extended period of rest.
According to Caster at least, the third attempt would without question render his arm useless permanently. With or without Avalon.
"HAAAH!" He shouted out in pain as he yanked the remaining foot of the modified Noble Phantasm from his body, splashing the concrete in front of him with some residual blood in the process. He would never get used to this agonizing feeling, and he hoped he never would.
"The hell…?" Rin whispered, pale and ill looking. She thought that she had seen and heard all there was to Shirou's powers, but she had clearly been horrifically wrong.
"I take it that this grotesque display is unexpected," Lorelei hummed, the only one from the Magus side that did not appear to be disturbed or ill at the sight of what had just transpired.
Some more than others.
"Anything you wish to divulge, Edelfelt?"
Luvia was merely slightly disturbed as opposed to horrified and sickened like her peers.
"... Shortly after the Pirate first left, he came to Caster and I to request that we make that incision in his arm. To minimize the disparity between his Reality Marble and the world. A fissure between the two." She relented.
"That was your doing?" Waver looked at her appalled before turning back to Shirou. "No. Don't get distracted. Focus on the whydunnit."
Shirou should be able to manifest nearly any Noble Phantasm he has stored in Unlimited Blade Works at a moment's notice with just Tracing. There shouldn't be a need for this overly grotesque display to arm himself properly.
Not unless there was some trait of the tool that he couldn't properly manifest utilizing Tracing, but naturally existed within his Reality Marble.
"Which Noble Phantasm is that?" He asked, "He wouldn't have gone through all this trouble for any weapon. I don't recognize it. The fact that it's altered and coiled as it is doesn't make it any easier to identify."
"It's Balmung. The sword of Seigfreid. Or at least, the version that was within the vault." Luvia replied while making a point to avoid mentioning Gilgamesh's name just in case.
"Balmung?" Waver frowned. Why did Shirou risk so much on manifesting a dragon slaying blade against a castle? Unless there was some other trait to it that they were unaware of?
"Balmung?" Archer echoed to Rin. "But the only other thing interesting about that sword other than its dragon slaying properties and the fact it can be a holy or demonic blade is… SHIT!"
Rin staggered at the sudden curse and break of composure from her Servant. "Archer? What's wrong?"
"Are you done trying to show off yet kid?" Fina scoffed, not impressed by the bloody display as Shirou panted to regain his composure. To his credit, he had seen similar Apostles do much worse with their bodies over the years. Nero Chaos could literally tear half his body out of himself to produce some nasty looking beasts if pushed into a corner back when he was still alive.
"Give me a sec. I'm still getting used to this trick." The teen's voice shook in tempo with his twitching right arm. The gash in his under arm was already semi healing itself back to its original state while the greek inscription glowed to perform whatever residual mysteries Caster had added as a safety precaution.
His hand opened. Then closed. Then opened. Then closed.
Good. There wasn't nearly as much nerve damage as last time. He'd regain near full motor function in his hand in just a little bit.
"Ugh. I can't believe we're pandering to such a greenhorn."
"That idiot! Rin! Get away from the coast now!"
"Edelfelt, if you are aware of what's going on, then I assume that you and Caster are prepared to deal with the fallout." Rin asked warily, getting ready to move at a moment's notice. "Because Archer's being rather incandescent about our poor choice in current location."
Lorelei glanced at Rin momentarily. So Archer is familiar with Balmung. A fellow German Servant then?
"Wonderful." Bazett grimaced, also preparing to bolt the second things looked too dicy.
"Caster, so help me if you make us move from these seats…" Lancer's violent warning did little to tear him away from Shirou. He came to see what the kid was truly made of and he would be pissed if he was forced back for petty reasons now.
Caster sighed and rolled her eyes. "I'm surrounded by children. Calm yourselves, all of you. My bounded fields are more than sufficient to deal with the aftershocks and exposure to the mysteries of this bout at this distance."
Nobody missed that last bit tagged on at the end.
Shirou breathed out heavily and straightened himself out again. "Sorry for the wait. We can get started now."
"About time." Fina gruffed as several of his men laughed menacingly. "Don't see what's the point about giving us the show brat. We already know you can make those Noble Phantasm copies of yours from scratch."
"You're right. Normally I wouldn't bother putting myself through that nonsense." Shirou nodded as a large ebony bow as tall as he was materialized in his right hand.
To those with sharp eyes, they would have noticed it was slightly bigger and robust looking than the one he normally used for combat.
Quietly, he tested his grip to make sure everything was in order. The echoes and residual pains of pulling a three foot long sword turned arrow from his arm wasn't something that could be ignored or go away within four minutes, but it had died down enough that he could manage to use his bow again for a few big shots.
Fortunately, he had a big target.
He slowly turned his body to face the mobile castle bearing down on him. Even at half a kilometer away and its legs half submerged into the water, it was a monstrous existence that seemed to dwarf everything nearby. Even the titanic cranes on the docks looked pathetic in comparison.
"Too late to have second thoughts, lad. You asked for this." Fina all but growled, his small army raising their weapons to point right at the lone kid.
No. He did not ask to be an Apostle or Ancestor. This fight was merely what he chose to deal with it.
And they were the ones that accepted it.
Time to show the audience what they've won.
Gripping the immaculate sword turned arrow near the bottom of the grip, Shirou whipped out his left hand.
The momentum forced the seamless fissure in the weapon's handle to shift and open with a loud crack, exposing a magnificent gem to the world…
And letting loose the power that was stored in it to flood out like a tsunami.
Fina's confidence shattered as he was hit with something that he did not expect to encounter during his trip, let alone against the novice child that he had been itching to put in his place for weeks now. "The hell!? Is that-!?"
"True Ether? And in such quantity." Altrouge was clearly more interested in what was to come than she had just moments beforehand. Ether ran through the blood of virtually all Apostles which enabled them to manifest their more diverse array of powers, but True Ether was a substance that only naturally existed in the Age of Gods and currently preserved in select undisclosed environments around the world.
In modern day layman's terms, it was the good shit. The really good shit.
Occasional samples of it did sprout up every now and then, like wells of untapped valuable resources that were fought heavily for on all sides, but for a boy of not even twenty years to outright pull it from his body…
"I get it now." Waver grimaced as he braced himself against the deluge of power. He felt like he was back in the Fourth War again, standing in the vicinity of a Servant about to unleash their full power.
"Explain then." Lorelei ordered, nowhere near as physically disturbed by the sudden revelation, but distinctively frowning more than before.
"That sword, Balmung, comes with a battery." Lord El Melloi II summed it up as quickly as he could, never turning away as Shirou nocked the literally radiating weapon into his bow. "Tracing swords is easy enough for him, but the power they contain is another matter entirely. A charged battery will cost more to produce than a dead one. He can't copy "power" with tracing at a cheap cost, even if it's recorded at full charge in his Reality Marble. That gash in his arm, he didn't trace the sword. He outright pulled it from his inner world so it would come at full power. He…"
"Spat in the face of the rules of thermodynamics, producing a major, if temporary, source of energy from nowhere. Much like those that study alternate realities and dimensions harness resources from them." Luvia cut in emotionlessly while Shirou drew back the string, surrounded in a swirling pillar of raw power. Truth be told, she couldn't even fathom how he could stand being in the center of that madness so calmly. By all rights his body should be torn apart from the exposure. "That's more or less what he said when he first requested Caster and my assistance. In exchange, the Edelfelt family has been granted exclusive monopoly and rights to examine samples of the gem and the power it produces."
"He what?" Rin balked.
"Resourceful," Lorelei evenly stated, not showing any emotion at all as the boy took aim.
The presentation needed work.
But in the end… All that mattered were the results.
Shirou breathed out slowly in the localized disaster. His hands and arms felt like they were burning off from the exposure to the True Ether, and his face fared no better with the string drawn back to his head. The holy shroud was really earning its keep providing even the barest protections, otherwise the skin on his face would probably have been torn off already. His ears were popping and protesting from the violent pressure, and it hurt to keep his eyes open in the madness.
He didn't pay any of it any mind.
It was a series of mysteries that originated only partially from his own branch of Structural Grasping.
Analyze key gem structure and sword function.
True Ether was a tyrant of an energy. There was no hope of trying to put the genie back in the lamp once released. And even less hope of trying to tame it in the first place. Siegfried could manage it with his absurd body and exposure to dragons. It was a pedigree that put Shirou's own unique and absurd disposition to shame. There was no contest between the two.
Reduce key integrity limiters by Seventy, Eighty. Eighty-five. Eighty-seven percent. Critical threshold reached.
So he didn't bother to control it. The sword had contained all this power since before it became a legend, so it would do it now until it was unleashed. The original use of this Noble Phantasm displayed itself as a pillar of sky blue light that could reach the stratosphere, and a focused arc of power that could overwhelm a Dragon. His use had the discharge swirl around the blade, and more pool and rage around himself to the point that he appeared to be standing in the middle of a twister, holding another more concentrated one in his hand. It was less for appearances and more just to manage the passive discharge. If he focused it all on the blade, he'd probably have lost his hands by now.
Primary gem stability at subcritical state and threshold.
This was the complete opposite.
Noble Phantasm purpose, direction, focus, intention, integrity, conductivity, mystery. Identified. Altered.
Not the harnessing and focusing of a well of power, but the sudden destabilizing and first signs of the explosive release of it. If the normal use of the Noble Phantasm was stably pressurizing and controlling the release of a container through a specialized output, Shirou's approach was to make several critical faults in the container itself so that when he gave it the final push it would explode everything at once in the direction he wanted.
It was an approach founded not in the Tracing magecraft that he had studied and perfected under his Father, Waver and Sirius, but the Jewel Magecraft he has barely managed to scrape by under Rin Tohsaka.
He could barely store mana in them with any efficiency. He couldn't inscribe any spells in them. The best he could normally utilize them for alone were as batteries for himself or for bounded fields.
But if there was one thing he did learn about utilizing gems in magecraft after perpetually failing with them for almost half a decade, it was all about the universal do's, don't's, and how's of using the damn thing so that they wouldn't blow up in his face, and what specifically made them explode worse.
Not that he'd tell Rin that. She'd hold it over his head until the day either of them died.
Break Noble Phantasm.
Now all he had to do was make sure this one blew up in that bastard vampire's ship castle face thing.
The Noble Phantasm's frame splintered, unable to handle the wild release of all its power at once as it morphed into a Broken Phantasm under its own weight.
"The Dragon is dead. Shine, roar, and rend the twilight on the far side of the world into light and dark."
True Ether. Full Discharge.
The release of the beam of light went off like a bomb in a bright blue flash that put a bolt of lightning to shame.
If left unobstructed, the charge of Pure Ether truly would have reached the unidentified far side of the world where the land of Man gave way to the Far Side. Where mystery still reigned supreme. The super dense True Ether in a world with little mystery turned the self propelled projectile into a rocket with zero resistance in the current environment.
But if something did happen to be in the way…
"SHIT!" Fina paled just as the attack was released, and the castle braced itself, unleashing countless floating automated golems to defend itself.
Layers upon layers of bounded fields enforced by dozens of mana generators within the mobile Castle sprung to existence, turning the artificial entity into a mystery itself that could barely be considered of this world.
And it was nearly overwhelmed the moment it came in contact with a force that originated from the world that predated the current.
It was an unstoppable force against an immovable object. The two titanic powers erupted against one another with such might that the ocean around the castle was blasted away in every direction, leaving the unprepared and abused seabed underneath to take the full brunt of the chaos.
"ATTACK!" Fina somehow managed to roar above the madness that blinded the world around them, ordering his men to take down the one responsible for it all.
Guns, weapons, and mystic codes were all leveled at Shirou, while a dozen werewolves charged at him at speeds that made performance cars look like toys.
Shirou didn't even pay them any mind, and just scoffed.
Initiate mass production of still blades. Grid pattern D Four to G Four. Set. Forge.
Before the attacks and monsters could even make it halfway to their target, a literal wall of small floating daggers materialized in their paths almost to the docks all the way to the nearest warehouse, and fifteen meters high.
The offending party scoffed. It was just a single layer of unremarkable daggers. It would barely manage to last half a second under the onslaught.
The bullets ricochet against the wall.
The spells exploded yielding no results.
The warriors barged into it.
The bullets were repelled.
The spells detonated before reaching their targets.
The monsters tore their flesh and claws against the blades, or in some cases shorn apart as they tried to ram through with their very bodies.
And the daggers remained, unmarred, unmoving, and unchanged.
The grid-like bounded fields that Shirou set all over the docks were at first glance, the barest of the bare. They did not enact any mystery themselves, only outlining where a future mystery would take place. At best they could be considered akin to drawn lines in the sand, useless and ineffective by themselves.
In the basement of a warehouse three blocks over though, was a small master formalcraft array powered by a small pile of charged gems he had set up ahead of time.
And at the ends of each line of the grid, buried under the asphalt were traced copies of altered timeless blades.
All he had to do was identify what lines of the grid he wanted to activate, and the bounded field would enact a mass casting of Gradient Parallel to produce a nigh indestructible wall of dirt cheap, copied daggers. In an instant. With next to no cost on Shirou's part.
In a contest of brute force, it was literally an immovable object, as moving by very definition was a function of time.
If it was good enough against Berserker for a while, it could hold its own against a small vampire army.
Of course this array was not infallible. Far from it. Any magus or entity far enough from reality could shatter it apart with childish ease once they realized what was going on. Even a student from the Clocktower wouldn't be held back by it for long.
Too bad "not for long" was all Shirou needed.
The remaining charge of the swell of Pure Ether erupted violently as though a nuclear weapon went off, blinding and deafening all there regardless of whatever mysteries and constitutions they had that would normally reduce the impact. The shockwave from the blast itself was already cataclysmic, and would throw any normal human off their feet instantly without some sort of support or mystery to ground them. Regardless, at least four buildings on the docks collapsed from the initial explosion alone.
What water wasn't immediately converted into steam and plasma flew in every direction like bullets, assaulting the docks with mana charged projectiles so vicious that it would be enough to destroy lesser monsters and individuals just by being there, only halted by a last second bounded field generated by Caster to protect the audience. Shirou did something similar, producing a bounded field anchored by a sword with the concept of water removed from it, preventing any drops from hitting him.
It would also not be surprising if portions of Fuyuki were damaged by "unexplained Tsunamis" generated from the madness as well. Whether it was due to Fina's, Altrouge's, or Caster's efforts was up in the air, but it was fortunate nonetheless. The last thing they needed was the Black Princess to be thrown onto shore by accident.
And yet, even before the steam generated from the superheated water turning the ocean into a hazy realm of mystery started to thin, and everyone's eyes readjusted to the night again…
… The vampire made golem castle still loomed over them all ominously, its numerous eyes piercing through the dark and mist like an ancient giant of old.
"Haaah. You hit harder than I expected, kid. I'll admit it, you gave me a bit of a scare for a second," Fina chuckled, hiding his own nervousness. Shirou's attack had done more damage than he let on. The castle itself remained unmarred, but the strain the blast of Pure Ether had put on its defenses and resources was another matter entirely. Fina had to give Van-Fem credit where it was due, to be able to construct a golem that could tank a blast of raw Pure Ether like that took more than money, resources, talent and ingenuity.
One of the tower-like arms moved to point at the docs, and began to open up.
"But this is the end of your luck. I'm not going to-"
Unfortunately for Fina, that was when his luck ran out, and learned a very painful lesson about dealing with an Emiya.
Instead of acknowledging his opponent on the other side of the wall of swords, Shirou flipped the back of his trenchcoat up and reached to the back of his belt…
Where two more copies of the warped arrow he just fired were resting.
Talking was never a free action.
The world seemed to freeze and go mute for everyone.
In slow motion, the teen's burnt and bruised left hand grabbed one of the warped arrows, and in a single fluid movement and loud crack,whipped his arm out in a wide arc, snapping open the handle to unleash another massive torrent of Pure Ether, and notched his bow.
"HE HAD MORE OF THEM?!"
Fina was not the only one that was blatantly horrified and dumbstruck by the revelation and subsequent realization that they had all just been played. Shirou's grotesque display earlier removing the original blade from his arm was just a ruse. A dramatic gorey showing to put them all under the false assumption that he'd need well over a couple of minutes to repeat the disastrous attack, when in reality all he needed was a few seconds at the most.
All for his opponent to drop his guard and go on the attack in a false sense of confidence.
Had anyone bothered to pay attention or care, they would have heard Merem laughing hysterically from the bottom of his stomach in the background as though he had just witnessed the funniest thing ever in his life.
Automating Balmung Priming sequence. Optimizing and streamlining procedure.
Shirou did not so much as blink at the pain going through his arms as he exposed himself to the overwhelming power again, assaulting his flesh and bone as he put inhuman effort into pulling back the string. He could feel his blood literally boiling under his flesh as the physical and magical pressure punished his very being.
Warning, strain on physical body and magic circuits exceeding threshold and Avalon's healing capacity. Recommend accommodating with additional support Noble Phantasm. Converting right arm into Balm- correction. More appropriate Noble Phantasm identified for user support.
Shirou's lips twitched at the irony, and familiar words were whispered. "My body is made of blades."
Rippling like water, the flesh of his right arm rippled into a tainted pitch black scale like armor of the fae.
Arondight. A weapon that enhanced the user's parameters, and like Balmung, also a dragonslaying blade of lore, enabling a higher synergy with the soon to be projectile.
In an instant, the overwhelming otherworldly crippling weight in his very being lightened to merely that of a truck. Not something he'd be able to stand for longer than a few seconds, but no longer guaranteed to destroy him.
The Castle Matri's tower arm radiated with power of its own, accumulating an entire facility's payload into a single attack that would without question level the docks and probably the entire district of Fuyuki should it be unleashed without interruption for at most four more seconds. It was an attack that was at the very least on par with A to A+ Rank Noble Phantasms.
The sword turned arrow in the teen's hands splintered and twisted, a sign that it had become a Broken Phantasm.
Unfortunately for the Castle, while its charge time clearly was an impressive feat, and something to commend Van-Fem's ingenuity for, Shirou's attack was done in less than half that.
Balmung in its original state was an A to A+ ranked Noble Phantasm. A traced copy was degraded to B to B+, and breaking it would make the jump back to the A's.
However this Noble Phantasm worked under slightly different conditions compared to its peers. Its raw power came from the weapon itself, rather than actualizing a mystery to convert power from the user into a devastating effect. It was quite literally built differently. Pure Ether was Pure Ether, and the damage from setting off a gem stuffed with it was cataclysmic under the best of circumstances.
Had this been the original blade, rupturing and setting off its core would have elevated the weapon to an EX ranked nuke of the Anti-Fortress variety. Not on the level of Ea, but still far beyond the standard scale of measurement.
As it was…
He'd have to settle for the lower end of the A++ tier. Not as powerful as Excalibur, but it would do.
Nobody could tell if the second blast was stronger or louder than the first, as the standard human eardrum was not designed to take in violently chaotic sounds at this range, but it struck hard all the same.
This time however, instead of hammering into the castle golem's defenses, it slammed into the last instant emergency unleashing of its attack, resulting in a clash between two beams of power. One sky blue, the other an irregular mx of crimson red and golden bolts of lightning.
It lasted for all of two seconds before the red and gold completely gave way to the sky blue and obliterated anything behind it, setting off another cataclysmic explosion that would wreak havoc on the local marine environment, had anything survived from the first.
"You cocky little rat!" Whatever formality Fina had before was thrown out the window as his eyes glowed red and all his teeth turned into fangs. All around him, the men and women he had surrounded himself with seemed to fade in and out of reality, warping into inhuman monsters and "I was trying to play nice earlier, but since you're being so incessant on being a pretentious little shit, I'll oblige in tearing you asunder!"
The mages of the Chelon Cantle Brigade that he had taken materialized, along with three other groups of accomplished magi. Alongside his army of eighty strong, he'd blast through that brat's wall and overwhelm him inst-
All the floating daggers between the army and the teen stood straight up.
In one motion, they all repositioned themselves at the offending party.
Nobody needed an explanation as to what was going to happen next.
Set predetermined constant velocity.
"Oh that dirty shi-"
As though another cannon had gone off, the hundreds of physically indestructible daggers fired off en masse like a spiked wall and tore into man and monster alike indiscriminately. While the tools had little mass to them, the time thaumaturgy imposed on them forced every sharp implement to move at a constant speed regardless of external factors, and the internal conceptual removal of time meant that they would not stop or break apart even if they hit a target in the first place. Rather than an onslaught of knives, it would be more accurate for the assault to be compared to a wall of spears that ran through everything indiscriminately…
So long as they did not encounter anything that disrupted the mana that sustained them at least.
While a good half of the legions that Fina had manifested had been rendered into little more than ground meat, the other half had enough time to regain composure to counterattack with vigor. Spells and mystic codes and claws pulsing with mana tore apart the daggers, shattering them like glass effortlessly.
"He uses projection magic!" Shouted one former underling of Lorelei as he wove his mana and began to cast bounded fields. "They are all fabrications! All you have to do is disrupt the mana in them and they will fa-"
BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!
The man couldn't say any more as the moment the army found any reprisals they were bombarded by a salvo of nameless Noble Phantasms. Weapons of vastly higher pedigree than mere daggers, ones that would not simply shatter when encountering some greater mystical force.
Of course that alone was still not enough to overwhelm the remaining forces. In fact, in the scant moments after the initial half had been torn apart by daggers, they had all but reformed and taken position once again.
But it had all been more than enough.
A game of endurance was never the plan. Even literally blown up, Fina's main body probably had more mana stocked and stored for the long haul than Shirou could personally gather in a decade. It had to be quality over quantity otherwise the fight would turn against him eventually without question.
Ten meters in the air, Shirou was crouching on another temporally modified sword the size of a surfboard (courtesy of Sirius) as a static platform.
Arondight did wonders for his high jumping potential.
That said, his opponents did not need a Noble Phantasm to reach him.
Bullets, spells, and monsters all rose up. It was like a wave of pure chaos and destruction were surging from the ground just to tear him apart. The moment he got lost in the swell, there would be no coming back.
The rotating chambers of the revolver in his head mechanically shifted to the next slot, where the next bullet was already primed and ready.
Preset anti-magus bombardment. Load. Preset anti-mid-tier phantasmal bombardment. Load.
The hammer of the revolver clicked back.
Shirou held his hand out and materialized a specific sword. A large fireball and several claws were less than a meter from his feet now.
His chest grew hot.
Shirou bent his legs.
The hammer of the second smaller Nine millimeter pistol next to it clicked back as well.
"Time Alter. Triple Accel."
The surging tsunami-like army of the vampire's was devastated and slammed back down to earth as an aggregation of anti-thaumaturgy and nameless C class Noble Phantasms bombarded the entirety of the docks, penetrating and obliterating whatever defenses were set up and counter attacks that were mounted.
It was almost enough to distract Fina from the teen that shot himself like an arrow over said small army, and crashed right into him with unexpected speed. The mere collision of the two threw back his personal guard by some meters, and the force of impact resulted in Fina being plowed through the asphalt almost all the way back to where Altrouge was watching with clear interest.
"Argh." Fina let out a stereotypical pirate grunt as he registered the sword impaled in his chest and the teen all but mounted on him. "Ha. Ha. Hahaha. Not bad. Not bad at all. You hit harder than I thought, I'll give you that. And here I thought I'd have to wait till after this farce of a fight before we got to the fun part."
Shirou's silver eyes narrowed.
And then he slowly backed off, releasing some of the pressure of Fina's claw like hand pressing into where his heart was. Only the elongated nails of the offending appendage had penetrated both the thick coat and armor he wore, but the pressure and impact of the blow was still enough to cause severe discomfort and bruising. The minor scratches and blemishes would heal and vanish within a few seconds.
"That's some interesting armor you have there. Spiffy coat too, staying together like that."
"Tools of the Trade," the teen scoffed lightly as though it was some inside joke, standing up over his opponent.
Several dozen broadswords three meters long and nearly one thick (courtesy of Sirius) impaled the asphalt around them to make a cage. An instant later, the sounds of bullets and spells hammering into them echoed around the pair.
Neither paid the distraction any mind.
"Balmung. Those swords you showed off earlier. Then that nonsense from before. They were all Noble Phantasms. Far far more than seven." Fina's eyes began to glow an ominous and hungry gold. Mystic eyes of some sort. "You've been holding out on us, you naughty lad."
"I take it you won't surrender then." Hovering above Shirou's head, several copies of Kiritsugu materialized, dangling over the vampire like the blade of a guillotine. It was blatantly clear that he wasn't going to play along.
Again Fina couldn't help but involuntarily shiver slightly. He stood by his statement earlier. Whatever curses and mysteries that weapon had were nasty as hell, and he'd much rather not experience firsthand what they could do.
"You won't kill me boy, or go overboard with your little toys, even if you wanted to. You're too afraid of the Lady and that damned pet of hers, just like everyone else," the pirate scoffed. "All this? Getting to me was a desperate play to try and end this joke early. Anyone can tell that."
He looked at Shirou's hands, which were only almost recovered despite how long it had been from handling those two monstrous blasts of True Ether. Even now they were shaking slightly despite being under no strain. "That lightshow tears apart your body something fierce, dunnit? You heal slower than us. It's all just flash and bang, and then nothing. Impressive at first, but you burn yourself out far too quickly to be a real problem. Regardless of what tricks and trinkets you may have. Hahaha."
Shirou didn't seem to react to the taunting. Fina was right to an extent. He couldn't fight all out forever. His body was too human. Even with the gems, support and preparations he had made beforehand, he would without question run out of steam before his enemy.
The copies of Kiritsugu overhead vanished.
"You seem to misunderstand something. Getting to you wasn't my end goal." Shirou's emotionless voice clinically corrected his opponent. "This? Right here? It's simply just step four of this nonsense. You've been playing along quite conveniently so far."
"Oh? And now he thinks he's some proper magus pulling a twenty part plan from his puckered hole. Make up your mind on what you are, why don't you?" Fina laughed, pushing himself up and grasping the grip of the blade embedded in his chest. "Fine then kid. I'll bite. Do tell what's your end…"
The monster trailed off as he failed to remove the weapon, his amused smirk slowly giving way to a frown of confusion and some irritation.
"... What's this nasty piece you stuck me with?"
A Black Key materialized from nowhere and slammed into Fina, forcing him back to the ground and pinning him there. For all of ten seconds at best, but it would serve its purpose.
In the next moment, the massive swords facing the ocean faded away, revealing the silhouette of the vampire's current main body hunched over in the sea.
"You seem to misunderstand something, Svelton. I don't miss."
At least a third of its upper body was gone, torn and exploded off of it alongside its right arm. The damage was extreme, and the massive difference in weight had the monster leaning heavily on one side to the point that its remaining arm was too preoccupied supporting it to do anything else.
The second explosion had more than enough potential to do more damage. To reduce the castle into a dilapidated and non functioning heap of stone and broken down mysteries. But instead it had only viciously crippled the monstrosity with overwhelming power.
It was horrifically convenient that Balmung could qualify as a Holy or Demonic blade depending on who used it. The former was clearly at work since the monstrosity seemed to be incapable of recovering or healing itself despite being a vampire with normally limitless regeneration properties. Fortunately, despite being an Ancestor in name, Shirou wasn't that far gone yet.
"Here's what's going to happen next. You…" With a soft flick of the hand, Shirou harshly pushed down the first sword embedded in the vampire, forcing the pirate down on his back with a pained grunt. Due to being run through to the hilt, the monster didn't see the ebony black blade with vein, almost circuit like patterns traveling up the sides.
The Blade of Binding, Miya.
"... the captain, are going to stay right here. Useless and watching. Whereas I…"
It was only then that Fina noticed the faint glint of gold flickering behind the teen. Like a string in the wind that seemed to connect the boy right… back… to…
The light rattling of chains reached his ears.
"Oh, you crafty little urgh!" Fina tried to get up, only to realize that he was still painfully pinned to the earth.
"Am going to destroy your insides, your ship, until you plead for mercy in front of everyone like the thieving bitch you are." In a rare moment of unrestrained rage, the teen's silver eyes seemed to glow from behind his crimson shroud like molten metal straight from the kiln, appearing more like a specter of wrath than vampire.
And then the moment was gone, and he was calm once again.
Killing Fina, even permanently, wouldn't do any good. Any child that got into the pirate craze knew that a captain could be usurped at any point in time via mutiny. First Mate. Cabin boy. It didn't matter. The role itself could easily be replaced. Killing the "Captain" of the Tenth Ancestor, the conceptual embodiment of a pirate ship and crew, would yield no results.
No, if he truly wanted to hurt the monster, he'd have to do it at the source. And in bulk.
Calling Fina Blood Svelton one of the weakest of the Apostle Ancestors was like saying one of the heads of the Yamata no Orochi was the weakest of all the mythical dragons. There was no point in smacking one head around if he wanted to make a statement.
"Saber!" With an imperious shout, the swords around the two monsters shattered, and the Tenth Apostle Ancestor looked at his Servant just as the golden chains tethered to his back finally materialized in full.
Despite not being able to see one another due the wall of swords in the way, the King of Knights, still standing at the ready with her invisible sword on the ground and her hands resting on the hilt, nodded. "Your orders, Master."
Shirou didn't so much as blink as he looked down at the seething Pirate. "Let me know when he's had enough."
And with a massive pull, Shirou was thrown over the ocean to where his literally biggest opponent was glaring at him.
He could still hear Merem laughing his ass off in the background, and for once, he welcomed it.
o. o. o.
Omake: New Heights:
Shifting side to side to get the last kinks out of his body, Shirou stretched in the middle of the school field.
The school had just conducted the last of its physical fitness tests that year, his senior year, and due to his absurd disposition, he had scored high marks on nearly everything.
Afterwards, Ayako had pulled him aside to teach the latest generation of the archery club to try and get some of his "absurd Emiya greatness" to rub off on them.
If that was ever possible, he was pretty sure that Barthomelloi would kill him just to ensure that she wouldn't have any more "absurd Emiya greatness" headaches than he already caused.
And so, one thing led to another, he had decided to clean up after everyone left as their senior, getting a small lecture from Saber in the back of his head in the process, and he was pretty much the last person on the school grounds. Again.
Looking around, he saw that none of the teachers had bothered to put away the track and field equipment. They were probably going to do it tomorrow morning, but…
His eyes leered at the high jump, set up silently as though it was mocking him.
"We meet again, high jump."
He had not managed to clear his self imposed goal the last time…
The skin on his right arm turned pitch black and metallic.
o. o. o.
"I SAW HIM FIRST!" Altrouge pulled on his right arm.
"HE'S ON MY TERRITORY! Get your own!" Arcueid yanked on his left so hard it nearly dislocated.
"Um. Saber?" Shirou pleaded to his Servant, who was sitting at a randomly placed table, eating rice crackers and sipping tea alongside some black haired boy with glasses.
"You brought this on yourself, Shirou." She dismissed his request without any hesitation.
"I should be pissed… but dude. The hell did you do to get abs like that?" The fellow teen, Shiki, asked skeptically.
"What does that have to do with anything?" Shirou hissed, only to get yanked to the side again.
"Guys like breasts and butts. Girls like pecs and cut abs." Shiki stated as if it was the most obvious thing in the world, completely missing Saber blushing and pretending not to pay attention to the statement. "You high jumping thirty feet in the air and flashing the world with your literally sweating ten pack in the summer sunset might as well have been a flashing light to every woman this side of Japan."
He should be angry, but after spending extensive time with Arcueid, Shiki learned it was best to just go with whatever nonsense she had in mind and roll with it. At least when it wasn't actually important. It was safer and less painful that way.
They all turned to the side where Illya, Sakura, and Rin were duking out with what appeared to be at least one Aozaki, some brown haired Dead Apostle girl in japanese high school clothes, and Luvia, while even further away Taiga and Otoko (Call me Neko) Hotaruzuka were wrestling on the ground screaming something about older sisters.
"Get your own!"
Pop. Ah. His arm did dislocate that time. Ow.
"You have your own! He's literally right there watching us!"
"And you have a literal army of pirates and seamen to play with!"
"Fina's gay! And he's not my type to begin with!"
"Ladies, ladies, please. If you could, don't bring me into this." Said gay pirate grinned all too happily watching Shirou's suffering. "There is no need to fight. You could always share him. Or take turns."
"I WILL FUCKING KILL YOU!" Shirou shouted in both rage and horror. The idea of being taken by just one of the two vampire princesses was terrifying enough. Both in any capacity went past a mere death sentence and jumped straight to the 'annihilation of his very being' territory.
"Not today you won't kid." The monster cracked open a can of beer.
"I respectfully decline Master." Saber sipped her tea. "If you recall, I do not have the greatest of histories when it comes to complex extramarital relationships such as this."
It was at that point that the school track and field area split in half. Quite literally.
"Shiki! I told you not to use your eyes!"
"It wasn't me!"
"Holy crap who's that crazy woman with the knife!?"
"Give me the abs." Shiki Ryougi walked forward menacingly, knife in one hand.
Haagen Dazs ice cream in the other.
"Oh my god she has Ice Cream! Run!"
Shirou didn't know what exactly happened after that.
All he knew was that he woke up on the heavily damaged roof of some highrise building in the city the next morning without his shirt, covered in melted ice cream, and a newly kindled fear of taking off his shirt in front of others.
o. o. o.
Thanks as always Wayfarer for betaing. And congrats on getting married.
Yup. Halfway point. Sorry and a bit corny to say it, but the REAL fighting happens next chapter. Shirou's been hamstrung by his goals up until this point, but against an opponent he doesn't care about, with minimal interference and repercussions? My friends, he's about to go FULL Magus Killer, and it is going to be glorious and brutal.
Fina having Van Fem's castle as a ship/body was something I had in mind near the start when designing his character here. I always thought that the bit about him taking Van Fem's golem castle was an odd side comment, and it was too interesting to not use. I'm not wharfing it either with the fact that it was put down by two hits by Shirou. The damn thing took two fucking A++ Anti Fortress NP's head on and is still standing. That's some quality craftsmanship right there.
And when it comes to Balmung, honestly? It doesn't get enough hype and credit as it deserves. Mostly because Sumanai isn't that inspiring of a character. If you delve deep into its lore, Balmung is simply busted as far as NP's go. No divine history. No godly nonsense or touch of the fairies. Someone literally just went and made a sword with the most jacked up magical battery they could find and went fucking nuts. If it weren't for the fact that Excalibur has half a dozen sub functions and traits that normally aren't applied to it when used as the A++ beam blast that it is, I'd say that something was horrifically wrong with how it was designed.
All that hype said, I genuinely believe that Caladbolg II would have done the job better in this particular fight. Or at least to cripple the Castle.
If I were comparing missiles, Balmung is essentially a very potent yet slightly unstable nuke, while Caladbolg is a more finely designed Bunker Buster. One is designed to wipe out everything in the area, while the other is tailored for tearing through hard defenses, and then wipe out everything behind said defenses. Both are ridiculously overpowered that enable Shirou and Archer to hit far above their weight class, but they excel in different areas in the end.
That said though, the Balmung Arrow is essentially made with FFD Shirou in mind. It is a trick that EMIYA outright cannot pull off outside of UBW, and even then its extremely risky for him to even attempt due to his near nonexistent experience with jewelcraft to properly break Balmung without it going off in his face. Again, a normal Broken Phantasm is overcharging the weapon with your own power, but Balmung is the opposite, weakening and destabilizing it to make the quite frankly absurd levels of power it already possesses run rampant.
If you want to know what I'm getting at, I'm not referring to Fate Apocrypha. There's a manga out for FGO that tells a slightly altered version of the story called Fate/Grand Order Turas Realta. It's good shit and it seriously fleshes out the original singularities of the game. Ritsuka uses a command Seal to bump up Seigfried using Balmung, and there's quite literally a part where Fafnir has a "it was that moment where he realized, he fucked up" moment.
In other news… yeah. Two months for only the intro of the long awaited fight. I wish I could go into detail, but it's a bit private. Lets just say, rl hit me HARD these past couple of months. Several things happened back to back, and in poor taste at that. It ate up a good part of my time and held me back a bit.
I'm not in any trouble. There's no need to worry about me. I'm fine and healthy and unhurt. But other people… not so much.
Anyways, on the brighter side of things, my birthday just passed, and my sister got me a massive lego technic 1500 piece Ford GT for my birthday. Took me 2 days to make (was in my pajamas the entire time I was putting it together, as God intended). The skin on my fingers was peeling, and my hands and back were aching by the end of it. And Jesus FUCKING CHRIST I missed that feeling. Haven't put together a solid lego set in years.
Haaah. Not much else to rant about otherwise. Support me on my Pa-eon, as usual. Search Third Fang and all that.
And I sell some random shirts/designs on teepublic. Just go to the website and tack on "/user/thirdfang-s-stuff" at the end of the . com part. Hopefully that works.
Anyways thats it for now. I'm already working on the next chapter of "how to make a pirate vampire cry like a bitch". Look forward to it.
SO REVIEW! WORSHIP THE LOG! SHIROU IS BANNED FROM HIGH JUMPING WITH ARONDIGHT FOR NATIONAL SECURITY REASONS! AND REVIEW AGAIN!