Disclaimer: The works of Type-Moon and Jō Taketsuki are their own despite my most fervent wishes. This is a fan work and if anyone does pay me for it the only thing it will accomplish is to get me into trouble. This is being done purely for fun, constructive criticism is welcome, and flames will be ignored. Please be gentle though, this is the first fanfic I've put on the net.

Okay, I've decided to put my comments here at the top in imitation of the awesome Gabriel Blessing. If you haven't read his stuff then YOU HAVE NOT LIVED!

Anyway this chapter is the result of my sacrificing a very large chunk of my weekend in service to my muse, and will probably mark the end of my rapid updating. I hope you all appreciate this because I was up till 2am writing on Saturday. One thing I've got to say is that I've developed a whole new level of respect for those who manage to pump out updates on a weekly basis. To them I here by salute you.

Anyway, in this chapter we have a fair bit of plot development as well as a bit more explanation of what has happened to Shirou since becoming a Campione. This time there's plenty more dialogue which I hope proves entertaining. I'm afraid writing character dialogue is one of my weak points so any constructive criticism would be appreciated.

SPOILERS

First off I found the image of a Mafioso Illya to be hilarious. I can just imagine her, all in black with sunglasses riding on the shoulder of a Berserker likewise dressed, and wielding a Tommy gun. Weird but funny, still I don't think it will turn up again.

Can anyone guess who Athena's new allies are? I dropped a few clues but I'm not yet revealing anything.

I had to play about a little with the rules on Divine Ancestors as there's nothing about how they can regain their powers, other that sacrificing their eternal youth in order to become snakes or dragons. Also that bit about oaths is something I made up, but I think it should fit in without any problems.

In regards to Perseus, after a bit of research I found that Angra Mainyu was an enemy of Mithra who defeated the serpent Aži Dahāka that the evil god created with the mere sight of his mace. Mithra is one of the gods that makes up Perseus so I thought it made sense for him to seek out what he thinks in his old foe in human form. This chapter also answers why Shirou received more than one Authority from him. In both the anime and the light novels Verethragna not only bore no grudge to Godou but actually heartily approved of him. The way I figure it is that Pandora's ritual can pull Authorities out of vanquished gods, but if they are unwilling then it can only manage one. If the god doesn't fight it but instead approves then it becomes possible to transfer multiple Authorities.

Now a little news on how I hope the story will go further down the line. Stop reading here and go on to the story below now if you don't want to know.

Shirou is going to find a way back home, and when he goes Godou and his harem are going to accidentally be brought along. However before that Shirou will gain at least two more Authorities, but no more than four, and Godou will get at least a couple more as well.

Shirou IS going to end up with his own Harem, but he is not going to cheat on Sakura. The guy was willing to sacrifice his life, his ideals and who knows what else to save her so he's going to stay true. Of course that isn't going to stop the girls from chasing him, but that just means more fun for us. Also while I don't plan for Shirou to poach any of Godou's girls I can reveal that one of his harem will have feelings for both of them which will hopefully lead to some very amusing events.

I've got this story planned to have three general arches. The first will be Shirou in the Campione!verse. The second will be him getting home and Godou's group being pulled along. Seeing how they deal with the somewhat more brutal world of the Nasuverse should be interesting. The third arch will be the Choice of where and how Shirou will now choose to live.

God Slayer Blade Works: Chapter Two

"Neh, Shirou? What are we doing here?"

When Illya had heard that they were going to Tokyo she had been very excited. Growing up her entire life had been confined to the Einzbern manor in which she had lived. The furthest she had ever gone from there had been to walk through the woods, though never beyond the outskirts of the bonded field that had shielded the great house. But since she had known that she would take part in the Holy Grail War she had been raised to be knowledgeable of Japan. After all it would hardly do for the representative of one of the Grail Wars founding families to miss the war due to getting lost because she couldn't read the signs that were in the native language.

But during her studies she had seen so many things about Japan that had struck her as strange and exciting. She wanted to climb Tokyo tower, visit Osaka castle, play in the famous arcades, shop in the infamous otaku stores. These were just some of what she wanted to do when she came to Japan, but hadn't been able to due to the responsibilities heaped on her by her family. Still during the development of her friendship with Shirou she had been able to do one thing she'd always wanted, visit someone else's home.

Now though she didn't have those burdens upon herself, she was free of her families expectation, and right now Shirou could arguably be called the richest man in the world if he so chose. They could be eating in a restaurant where each dish cost more than an average mans weekly salary. They could be at a fun fair riding a rollercoaster like she'd always dreamed of, then eating cotton candy and riding the merry go round. They could be at a cinema, stuffing popcorn into their mouths while watching an exciting film. Illya's face reddened as she realized that all the situations she had just thought of could be considered dates by those who saw them.

The point was that with the resources available to him Shirou could have taken them anywhere he wanted, so why were they here?

In a cemetery.

"Well, you see Illya," answered Shirou without looking up from the piece of paper he held, except to glance at the names on the headstone they were passing, "the thing is that we've got gold and jewels, but that's it. So far we've been able to get away with just selling a few bits here and there in places that don't ask questions and are probably used to buying from thieves. That's okay once of twice, but sooner or later someone's going to start asking questions. And when they do they'll find that we've got no ID, no records, no documentation of any kind. And if we get noticed by someone official then even you using hypnosis might not be enough.

"So when we stopped at the library earlier I looked through their records to find the grave of someone who might be just what we need. If we can get this guy to agree to be my servant then most of our problems will soon disappear and we can start to focus on the important stuff."

Illya nodded her understanding as she trailed behind her adopted brother. It seemed that he was going to use Rule of the Underworld to try and recruit someone. She really should have thought of it already, why else would they come to a grave yard? But she still wasn't used to thinking of the strange new powers that Shirou had gained since coming to this new world.

The others he had were incredible in there own ways, curses that no magus could have equalled, physical powers equal to strong Servants, the summoning and controlling of a true phantasmal being, such fetes were well outside the reach of even the most advance magus. But it was the ability he had gained by defeating the god Hades that was of special interest to her. The ability to simply materialize true wealth, not illusory or fake but the real thing, out of nowhere and in seemingly endless amounts was something that most magus families would have been willing to sell their heir for. Total liberation from financial concerns as well as being able to purchase the best resources for their research, who could refuse that? But it was the other aspect to it that fascinated her.

The Einzbern family had been desperately trying to recover the lost Third True Magic, Heaven's Feel, for almost a millennium. There every effort had failed and eventually they had invested all their hopes into the creation of the Holy Grail system. However while it should have theoretically worked the change of the system into a war had resulted in them failing to attain the Grail in every single war. Then with their own errors leading to the Grails corruption by Angra Mainyu the resurrection of the True Magic had been placed it even further out of their reach, even though they continued to try. Both her mother and herself had been sacrifices in that mindless pointless search.

And now Shirou had come into possession of an ability that very closely resembled the lost Heaven's Feel. Rule of the Underworld might not allow for the soul transfers that the Third Magic did, nor did it allow for implanting a materialized soul in a new vessel. What it did allow though was for something as close to true resurrection as made no odds, Illya had seen the results and one brought back in such a way as Shirou's best efforts allowed was even closer to fully incarnated than a Servant.

As she skipped along behind the young Campione she amused herself with thoughts of just how her grandfather would react if he ever learnt how close the adopted son of the hated Kiritsugu was so close to that which he so sorely wanted. If he ever found out she guessed it was an even gamble as to whether he'd die of a heart attack from shock or be killed by cardiac arrest caused by extreme rage. Either way she would like to see it. That'd teach the old goat to try to get her to kill her onii-chan.

But she wondered what kind of person would be able to make most of their problems disappear. When she'd had problems the best person she had ever had to deal with them had been Berserker. Just point him at any big problems she had and they soon became a great many small problems in short order. VERY small problems now that she thought about it. Still she doubted that there would be someone of Berserkers class available for recruitment in one of these graves. So maybe Shirou wasn't looking for a Berserker, but more for an Assassin? Maybe some Yakuza killer who could take out targets in the dead of the night, just like in those old books she'd found in her fathers old things.

That made sense in a way, with all his new powers Shirou might have been able to beat Berserker even when he was at his best. But even if he was so strong then he couldn't just use that strength to destroy all who bothered him. So an assassin was called for, someone to take care of things quietly and without fuss. As she thought of this an image rose up in her mind. Shirou dressed in fine black and white Italian clothes reclining in an ornate business chair while another man in black knelt before him. Oddly enough the image of her adopted brother as a young mafia boss had a certain appeal. If things did go that way Illya wondered if she could pull of the look of a black dress and sunglasses. Oh and she'd have a ring so that subordinates of her onii-chan could kiss it when they paid their respects to her. Hmmm, would she get a Tommy gun . . .?

"Ah! Here he is."

Shirou's exclamation of triumph brought her out of her fantasy and back to the present. The red headed teen was standing in front of a medium sized headstone that had been carved into a pattern of surprisingly detailed flowers. On it was a simple epitaph.

Yamada Yusuke

A fine mentor

A good friend

A loved husband

A missed father

1951 – 2008

"That doesn't sound like a Yakuza assassin." Complained Illya, feeling a tad disappointed at having her expectations let down.

"Huh? Yakuza assassin? What do you mean Illya?" asked a perplexed Shirou.

"Well I thought: 'What would be the best way to get rid of all those problems?'. So I thought about Berserker, he always got rid of any problem I had. But then I thought: 'But there can't be any Berserkers here so what's Shirou looking for?'. Then I guessed that if you couldn't get a Berserker then you must be looking for an Assassin, and the only ones you could find here would be Yakuza or Triad or something like that." Illya beamed at him proudly as she explained her flawless logic.

"By the way onii-chan, when we set up our familia can I call my bodyguard Berserker and dye his skin dark, if it isn't already?"

Shirou simply stood there and blinked at her. Then he blinked again. Then he gave himself a shake and grinned at her.

"Close. Close but not quite right. We do need a crook, you got that dead on, but we don't need a fighter or a killer. What we need is an accountant."

"EEEEEH!" Illya exclamation of confusion caused the smile of her companions face to spread even wider.

"What we need is someone who knows how to play the system, someone who knows who to contact to set us up with all the false documents and history that we'll need to walk into a bank and set up an account without having to worry about anyone noticing something's wrong. Someone who'll know how to get the best price for the treasures he can sell for us and who can manage that money into more resources for us in a legitimate way.

"And Yamada-san here is just who we need. Apparently he managed to keep his best friends company running for six years after it technically went bankrupt. And he even managed to make a profit out of it. It took all kinds of shady backroom deals to pull it off, not to mention some creative bookkeeping that sounds like it was on a par with True Magic. All in all he sounds like just the person we need."

He waved at the grave as he spoke.

"Now, let's give Yamada-san here a call to see if he's up for a new job."

The young Einzbern nodded as she watched Shirou turn back to the burial plot. That made sense she guessed, Shirou wouldn't be sending off some shadowy servant to slay all who opposed him. That just wasn't his style, even after choosing Sakura above everyone he still held onto some of his old dream of being a superhero.

Well now he had the superpowers, maybe she should see about buying him a cape as a joke.

She quickly put such thoughts aside as Shirou began to chant the spell words that were part of his new power. He didn't need to use them, but Shirou said that using them seemed to make it a bit easier.

"Past the jaws of Cerberus, down the twisting path to the kingdoms three, before me lies the domain over which I am monarch. Beneath the earth, beneath the darkness, all within is my possession."

As he spoke Shirou extended his left hand palm outwards towards the grave, as though reaching out to grab something only he could see. Illya strained her own prana senses as far as she could, trying to spot any part of the workings behind the strange and wondrous power.

As she watched faint sparks of power started to gather before the headstone. Slowly but surely the tiny lights met and merged, flowing together until they became the image of a thin man in his early sixties with a neat simply trimmed beard that came to a sharp point under his chin.

"Oh ho, I wondered who it was that had called me up, but I didn't expect it to be a mortal. You shouldn't be able to call me like this, so how are you doing it?" he asked in an amused tone.

"I got told that it's because I managed to kill a god, since I managed that I received some of their power, in this case what I'm doing now."

"Ah, well that's something you don't see every day. Well then why have you called me back? I'll admit it's a nice to have a change of scenery, but I don't think that that's why I'm here."

Illya could see Shirou carefully putting his words together in his head. She knew that it wasn't really his strong suit; he was a direct kind of guy, not really suited to speechifying or rhetoric. Still he was giving it his best.

"I find myself in need of someone like you, someone who knows who you know, who can do what you can do, who can think like you think. I can return you to a close semblance of life, one that-"

"Okay kid, you've got a deal." Yamada-san cut of the rest of Shirou's recruitment pitch with an enthusiastic nod of his head.

"Eh? Don't you want to know what I need from you? What I'm willing to give you in return?" The eighth Campione asked in confusion.

"Kid I can feel this power you're using. You don't have to ask me for anything, you could order me to stand on my head and sing off colour songs about my own mother and I'd have to do it. But you are asking, not ordering, and I know enough about people with power to know that that says something about you. Something good too. Besides I might have played a bit fast and free with the money when I was sucking air, but I never did it to hurt anyone and it was never for myself. That seemed to even out to me going to the Asphodel Meadows, not too bad a place but it gets a bit dull pretty quick. So if you're offering me an alternative then my answers yes."

"Ano," Illya could no longer contain her curiosity and spoke up. "If you're Japanese then why are you in the Greek afterlife?"

"I have absolutely NO idea. One thing I can tell you though is that this . . ." and here he gestured down at himself with his transparent arms, "Is not all of me. No, hold on, that's not quite right. This me is full and complete, but it's not the only me, you know? I don't get quite how it works but there's a me that got judged in the Greek afterlife, but there are other mes out there, and yet at the same time there's only one me. I know that doesn't make a lick of sense but that's the best way I can put it."

Even as he finished speaking Illya's mind was already clicking away trying to analyse what she had heard. Did it mean that the afterlife was divided into multiple realms rather than the wheel of reincarnation and rebirth that she was more familiar with? But by the way he described it is soul seemed to exist in multiple afterlives at once, did that indicate a divided soul? Or perhaps multiple afterlives were all holding the same spiritual location so as to allow a soul to experience them all simultaneously. But if that was the case then what did it mean when Shirou brought one of them back like this, did he then disappear from all the afterlives or just one? AHHHH she just didn't know enough, this world seemed to be constantly out to give her a hard time.

"Alright then, here I go."

Shirou's outstretched hand visibly tensed and the glow that came from Yamada Yusuke's transparent form grew in intensity. Brighter and brighter it became until the young Einzbern had to bring up her hands to shield her eyes from it. Then, as though a switch had been flipped, the light went out.

There standing in front of them, on top of his own grave, was the distinctly more solid and fleshy form of Yamada-san. He was dressed in a nice but simple business suit and seemed to be fascinated by the act of touching his new body as though to check that it was in fact real. As she watched he looked down at his gravestone and then started to sway from side to side while waving his arms in opposite time to his hips.

"Err, what are you doing?" asked Shirou, sounding every bit as confused as Illya felt as she tried to work out the man's odd behaviour.

"I'm dancing on my grave. Hah, I wonder how many other people can ever have been able to honestly say they've done that?"

Illya goggled at the mans antics, and then brought her hands to her mouth as she tried to contain a giggle. It looked like her onii-chan had managed to choose a very . . . singular individual to recruit.

Shirou had a grin of his own showing, but waved for the man to come of the burial sight. Yamada-san ceased his gyrations and stepped off the small mound of earth and grass that marked the place his earthly remains had been laid to rest. Then to the surprise of both the other worldly magus' he went down to one knee before the red haired Campione.

"I thought you were some mage or something when you offered to do this to me. But I saw it in your power when you used it. You're a king, a ruler supreme. This Yamada Yusuke acknowledges your sovereignty and pledges his service to you as thanks for my delivery." The words were not mocking and were delivered with quiet seriousness and solemn dignity.

Needless to say Shirou started panicking. Almost wildly flapping his arms he waved for the newly incarnated man to stand up.

"Look I'm no king, I'm no ruler, I'm just someone in over their head that could use your skills. If doing this is the price needed to get them then that's all, I don't need your pledge or anything."

The older man smiled as he got to his feet, but shook his head in a respectful denial.

"You don't know it yet, but I think you will in time. It's written right there into your power, authority, rule, dominion, I could feel them all in there as easily as I can see the sun on a clear summers day. Trust me on this lad, you're a king, you just don't have a throne or crown yet."

Illya watched Shirou with interest. Something like this had happened when they questioned the magus who had been watching the fight the red head had gotten into with the god calling himself Hades. He'd also called Shirou a King, a supreme ruler. The more that she heard about it the more she felt there was more to this being a Campione than either of them was aware of.

Shirou seemed to decide to just ignore the exchange that had just taken place and stepped around his new servant as he traced a small chisel.

"What's that for?" the resurrected man asked in curiosity as he watched his newly of stone of one of the carved flowers of his head stone, then seal the small fragment into a plastic pod the size of his thumb. Once done he pulled out a pen and wrote Yamada-san name on the pod in clear letter.

"Shirou is using his own strength to maintain the body that you're in right now," explained Illya as Shirou put the pod back into the small rucksack he'd taken to carrying around. "Most of the time it's no trouble for him to support you as well as a few more, but if he gets into a fight with someone strong enough for him to need his full strength then he'll have to cut the feed. If that goes on too long then you'll fade back into the afterlife and he'll have to call you again after he wins.

"When he calls someone he needs something connected to them so that he can make the link. Today we used the bones in your grave to do that, but if he has to do it again then it might be difficult to come back here. So onii-chan is taking a piece of your gravestone with him. If we should need to call you back then that should prove to be enough of a link no matter where we are."

"Oh." Was all the answer Yamada-san could give in reply to the comprehensive answer.

"Okay then Yamada-san," Said Shirou as he shouldered his bag once more, "We've got a good hotel room with internet access and a fast courier system available. We've also got just over 250,000 yen in cash. How long do you need to get started?"

"About five minutes longer that it'll take me to get a good computer up and running."

The Campione, the homunculus and the resurrected soul walked out of the graveyard as they happily made plans.


It was early morning in Naples, that time of the day just after the sun has come out, but when everybody else is still doing their level best to stay in bed. A few cars were out as the earliest risers got to work. For the most part thing were quiet.

In Naples there was a square, it wasn't a famous one like Time square or Trafalgar square, it was just a place where a number of large roads met and someone had decided that a small open area with a fountain. It was a quite place, lined with small cafes and restaurants were people came to relax during their lunch breaks or after work.

Only a week ago this square had been the sight of a battle between a famed Heretic God and the youngest to the devil kings.

The square had been sealed of with police tape and had remained so as the investigation was bogged down by the Mage Association working to cover up the details of what had happened. All things considered and given the scale of the powers that had clashed there the damage the square had sustained was surprisingly light. A few craters here and there as though some sticks of dynamite had gone off, a few store fronts smashed by shock waves, a stone fountain cut in two by a sword sharp beyond mortal means, and one big hole blasted into a hotel overlooking the square. Hardly the apocalyptical wastelands that some such battles had left in their wakes in ages past.

However despite the odd hour and the police signs declaring the area sealed off three figures were meeting by the devastated fountain. All three were young girls who couldn't be more than thirteen or fourteen, yet all carried themselves with a grace and composure that would have laid most royalty to shame.

The first was a slight pale skinned girl with grey-white hair and purple eyes, dressed in a school uniform with a knit cap on her head. She was the goddess Athena who had recently returned to Italy after her defeat at the hands of the Campione Kusanagi Godou. Since her return she had had the good fortune of stumbling across a large grimoire called the Heraneion during her investigations of what had happened here. She'd broken it open and immediately absorbed the dragon that it had released into herself. As a result the land had lost none of its vitality and she had managed to regain a small portion of her lost power.

However it had been while doing this that she had met her current company. They, like her, had come to investigate both the birth of the new Campione as well as the strange burst of baffling power that had briefly appeared at about the same time. That power had been felt by every Heretic god on the planet, something completely new to even the eldest of them. Most had dismissed it out of hand, choosing to not be bothered by it. Others though had set out to learn more, and that was what had led to this meeting.

Unlike her Athena's companions were not Heretic Gods but rather were Divine Ancestors, great earth goddesses who had been defeated by heroes and lost most of their Divine Power. Though still mightier than mortals could ever hope to be they were so much less than they once were.

For the most part the Heretic Goddess found such beings to be both pitiable and contemptible, or at least she used to. To be vanquished to the point where ones memories were lost and you became the loving bride of your own defeater, the mere thought of it had once made her feel disgust.

Now though she had herself been defeated by Kusanagi Godou and she found that one tiny piece of her wondered what it would have been like if he had elected not to let her go or to kill her, but instead to administer that final defeat, seal her recollections and take her as a loving and willing bride. To both her horror and amazement she found that that tiny part of her didn't find the idea to be too unpleasant.

Banishing the idea from her mind and fighting down a slight blush Athena looked at the two with her once more. Even before her defeat she would have respected these two despite their status. Both had regained their lost memories and were already working towards reclaiming their lost powers. Such will and determination was worth admiration and respect, but she had to be careful not to forget just how dangerous the two could be. Neither of them was above using a fellow goddess as a sacrifice if it meant reacquiring what was lost.

The one on the right spoke first, running a hand through her long strangely coloured red and blue striped hair, the locks of clashing colour making strange waves.

"I still can't believe that HE fell to a child of Pandora not even five days old. And in such an unimpressive battle too. So many years of planning, and then this. It is like a plot development in some mediocre play."

Her companion shook her head causing her own cascade of golden hair to shimmer like a waterfall of riches.

"Is that why you tricked Hades into attacking him? That was unwise, the king of the underworld was powerful, but never a fighter. All you've done is lose a valuable pawn and further strengthened the subject of your ire."

"Don't sound so wise with me!" the first snapped back her sea blue eyes narrowing in anger as they met steel grey, "Not when you did the exact same thing when one of Epimetheus' illegitimate children slew your target. Who was it that you sent to his death? I can't quite remember."

The second broke her gaze with the first and instead turned her eyes upon Athena.

"I know you recently fought the Seventh Campione, honoured Mother, what can you tell us of his strength."

Athena approved of the respectful address, even a fallen goddess like herself stood above these poor crippled divinities, it was only right that they acknowledge her status.

"Strong. Very strong and tenacious. He won't die even if you kill him."

"Aaargh! The sixth would have been problematic enough from what I had heard, but now we've got to deal with the eighth as well. And to top it all off he's made his way to the same city as the Seventh from what my worshippers have told me. So now we have THREE Campione to deal with. THREE! There are days like this that I know that the fates are mocking us."

Athena listened to the Divine Ancestors angered rant with interest. She knew that these two had been working together to regain their full power for some time now. However both had held the method that they would use as a tight secret from even other deities. From the sounds of it the Campione born in recent years had accidentally thrown those plans off by slaying these witches' targets. How interesting.

"I . . . might have some options available to us." Commented the blond hesitantly; as she held out her had which in turn held a softly glowing crystal sphere. "HE will be ready to emerge from his myth soon, and when he does he'll be eager to face the one who defeated him. If we aid him to emerge sooner then perhaps he'll aid us against our own foes. After all they'd serve as excellent practice for him before he goes after his real target."

Athena could recognise the power that emanated from the sphere in golden rays. Yes, he would be eager for his rematch and would be more than happy to grant them a boon if they helped speed that up by as much as even one day.

"Why didn't you mention this before?" demanded the first girl as she gazed at the shining sphere with a calculating look in her eyes.

"We don't have enough power between us to make it work, however if honoured Athena would be willing to lend us her power . . . "

Both of them turned to regard her.

"Well Athena? Would you be willing to join us in this? I'm willing to swear any oath you desire of me that once our own power is restored to its fullness then we will aid you in regaining yours."

That sounded interesting. There were vows that could be made that would bind even a goddess at full strength. With two fully restored Heretic Gods fully committed to her own restoration then she guessed it would not even take her a year to gather the power needed to complete her even without the use of the Gorgoneion.

And there was also the fact that if she aided them she might be able to meet Kusanagi Godou again very soon.

Turning away from them slightly, in order to hide her blush, she looked at the slashed fountain as though considering their words. She'd already made up her mind but she took that chance to school her features back into their customary blankness.

"Agreed. You will both swear upon your own names?"

A powerful oath, that one, to violate it would probably leave them even weaker than they were now even if they first regained their full strength.

"Agreed!" declared the bicolour haired girl immediately.

"Agreed." Followed the steel eyed girl after a slight hesitation.

It was still early in Naples, but something of great import had already taken place.


The attack had come without any sort of warning. One moment Shirou had just been reclining against the wall idly flicking through a book on the sights to see in Naples. The next the wall had exploded behind him throwing him forwards, but before he could fly very far an arm clad in pure white clothe emerged from the smoke, seized the back of his shirt and pulled him back through the newly made hole.

He'd been sent tumbling towards the centre of the square, but had instinctively reinforced his body to absorb the impacts with a skill he hadn't known that he ad possessed. All about him he could hear people crying out in alarm at the sudden eruption of sound and force, running towards it running away from it. And above it all he could hear one voice that rose in triumphant exultation.

"I have found you! I have found you my old foe and now we may battle."

He had scrambled to his feet and cast about for the source of that voice. It had only been after glancing right and left several times before he thought to look up. There standing upon nothing but glowing blue light was a tall blond man dressed in white clothes and a long cape and holding a long slightly curved sword.

As soon as he laid eyes on it Shirou could feel his Reality Marble immediately start to analyse and recreate it. It was a nameless sword, a blade brought into existence not by forges or smiths, but by the sheer steel divinity of. . .

". . . Perseus?"

"So you recognize me. Splendid! Now demon lord let us match our blades as is our karmic destiny!"

That was all the warning Shirou had to move before the god in white attacked. The young magus barely had time to scramble sideways before the swordsman slashed through where he had been just a second before. The dodge had been almost entirely luck rather than skill, but having missed his target Perseus had slashed onwards and instead sliced the stone fountain in the middle of the square in two.

No time for thoughts, a longsword was traced into each hand in the blink of an eye. These were not powerful weapons such as Caliburn or Excalibur, they were simply nameless blades drawn from the knowledge he had assimilated from Archer. E rank Noble Phantasms that could easily be drawn and cost little energy, that's all they were.

Still even if they were low rank they were still legendary weapons possessing power the likes of which conventional arms could not hope to equal. As such it was quite the shock when the blond gods sword severed through one as though it had been made of cheap tin, then brought the sword back to shatter the other with enough force that it sent Shirou tumbling again.

Getting back on his feet as swiftly as he could he faced his foe; fortunately Perseus seemed in no hurry to pursue him. He stood at the centre of the square and struck a heroic pose as he levelled his sword at the red haired teen.

"So you old demon, it seems that you have picked up a few new tricks. Still they shall serve you no better than your old ones for it is always the fate of the villains to fall before the valorous hero!"

"Huh? What are you talking about? Look, I don't know why you attacked me but I've got no reason to fight you." Answered a bewildered Shirou.

"Your lies shall not swerve me from by course old demon. We shall fight until your Defeat!"

Again the white clad deity charged forward, hi sword swinging is wide but powerful arches. Shirou was more prepared this time though, again his hands were filled with swords, but this time the weapons he used were Kanshou and Bakuya. Archers favoured weapons were only C- rank, but they were strong blades and held against the divine weapon brought against them. Shirou lashed out in an immediate repost, but his foe easily dodged back without losing the confident smile on his face.

"I'm no demon damn it!" the Campione shouted at the hero god. "I don't want to fight you. Look, I'll even lay down my swords."

The two Chinese twin swords dissolved into motes of light as Shirou stood with his hands open and free of arms. True the gesture was more symbolic than practical give that he could trace new weapons in an instant. But he was doing all he could to avoid a meaningless fight.

"Shirou?"

Illya's voice caught his attention and dragged it away from his enemy. It seemed that she had rushed down the stairs as fast as she could to see what was happening. On seeing her adopted brother engaged in combat she immediately lashed out with her our mage craft to aid him.

"Leave Shirou alone!" She shouted as a bird of fine glowing blue wires threw itself at the white clad swordsman. It was a spell similar to the one used by her mother in her short conflict with Kirei. This version was deadlier using razor wire instead. Illya had not had any real opportunity to use it in the Grail War since when she had had Berserker he had been far more effective as a weapon. After Berserker had fallen she had never encountered an enemy against whom it could be successfully employed.

Unfortunately that remained the case as a mere flick of his sword allowed Perseus to destroy the shining construct and completely negate its thaumaturgy.

"Those are eastern blades that you carry my old foe. Is that where you have been hiding? Where you have learnt your new tricks? It's not where this fine young maiden has come from though; she looks more of a northerner to me."

Once more he struck a pose, this time with his sword brandished above his head, and levelled a smile that seemed to be entirely too familiar at the young Einzbern.

"Very well! I shall defeat the demon lord and rescue the imperilled maiden! After all that is the role of the hero. It has been quite some time since I took a bride, perhaps now's a good time . . ."

That last sentence had been spoken more to himself than it had been to anyone else, but with his body as reinforced as he could safely manage Shirou's hearing was sharp enough to catch it.

Ice ran through his veins at the thought. Illya being taken, and him helpless to stop it, Illya being the helpless sacrifice and him unable to do a thing.

Now he had a reason to fight.

Deep within him something stirred, responding to the resolve to fight this god.

"Touch her and I'll kill you." The words ground themselves from his lips, like blades scraping against each other.

"Oho? So you have found your spirit my foe, well then let us drink the wine of war together!"

"Illya, get back inside. I swear he won't lay a finger on you. Not one."

As the white haired girl nodded and retreated to safety both the combatants charged at teach other.

Traced versions of Kanshou and Bakuya met the divine blade of their foe. The fake Phantasms would hold for one or two blows but would then shatter under the pressure. That was no problem; as soon as a blade broke Shirou would abandon the hilt and immediately trace a new one. The ring of blades and the clash of steel rang throughout the now deserted square in a rapid staccato beat of violence. The young magus had never managed to fight this well before, tracing was placing no burden on his, his magic circuits weren't even getting warm and his body was accepting the reinforcement with ease. But it wasn't enough, Perseus' smile never changed and his sword never seemed to miss, to be too slow, to be too weak. Shirou was throwing everything he had into this assault and it just wasn't enough.

Again the hero god struck at him and the teen barely managed get both the blades crossed over his chest in time to block the blow. Both swords disintegrated back into prana fragments and Shirou was once again sent flying back opening distance between them.

"Splendid, truly magnificent my old enemy!" The white clad god's compliments rang across the square. "I do not know what happened to you in the east, but this is a fine improvement. Gone are your endless curse and instead you now wield such fine steel. How truly glorious!"

As he spoke his sword disappeared and was replaced by a large golden bow. Shirou didn't even bother thinking about his action, he simply moved. His wild dive to the side took him just far enough to escape the explosion that erupted from where the gods burning blue arrow struck, but its force still sent him rolling. As he struggled back to his feet he idly noted that he seemed to be spending a lot of his time today tumbling all over the place.

Still, no time to think about that now. Frantically he dodged again evading another arrow and just keeping ahead of its blast. The next one though was coming too fast desperately Shirou flung out a hand and traced the sturdiest shield he could manage. It didn't come quite as naturally as a sword but an exceptionally thick roman scutum shield materialized in time to protect him.

As he knelt in the smoke his lips curled into a frustrated grimace. If things kept going like this then he knew that his only chance to win would be to start tracing the strongest Noble Phantasms he could. The problem was that nothing weaker than an A class would be enough to bring this guy down. He had seen the strength of his divinity when he analysed his sword the likes of Nine Lives Blade Works or Gae Bolg just didn't have the power needed to drive him back. The problem was that using the likes of Excalibur here would end up levelling a good portion of the city if he made the slightest mistake. He needed something else, something more.

Within him something answered his need.

The words came unbidden to his lips as he charged at his foe once more.

"A mother who sees her child die, a soldier who gazes on his killer, the beggar in the gutter who stares at the palace. From them I take their bile, their hate, their curses."

One of his swords swung at his foes blade; damn that blade if it were just a bit weaker then he could break it.

Weakness

Something moved within him, something that made him think of a maddened diseased dog, one foaming at the mouth and straining at its leash as it tried to lash out at the world. The feeling ran from his chest, through his arm and into Bakuya just as it struck his foes blade.

Both weapons exploded in a shockwave strong enough to break the glass in all the windows around the square. But both combatants were more than human and so were undaunted by the eruption. What did take Perseus back was the sudden destruction of his weapon.

Shirou didn't hesitate but moved solely on instinct. His other hand dropped its copy of Kanshou and traced a nameless sword, not even a Noble Phantasm, in its place. The power went into it as it flowed from his centre. He had to slow his foe down enough to beat him.

Fatigue.

As the power touched it the blade changed. Its sleek lines became jagged and serrated, no longer a sword for fighting but rather it was now a sword designed to inflict pain. Before the white clad god could react the sword was thrust into his side. The next instant Shirou had abandoned the blade and jumped back.

Within him the power changed now that it no longer had a target, where before it had been a rabid dog now it felt like an abused but still affectionate puppy, one gaunt with hunger and marked with scars, yet still eager to be patted and told it was a good boy.

Shaking his head the Campione focused back on his foe. To a human such a wound would be debilitating, maybe even fatal, but to a god it was nothing more than an uncommonly painful splinter. The god opened his mouth to speak, but Shirou gave him no chance. Two more nameless blades appeared in his hands and the power surged within him. He was vaguely aware of his weapons changing as he altered his stance to accommodate them, but it was unimportant. All his focus was on the foe before him.

He was slower now, it was only a fraction but it was enough. One of his blades slipped past his defence as scored a scratch on his left arm.

Misfortune.

It was just a thin cut barely enough to draw blood, but the surprise of it caused him to stumble back. As he did so a small piece of rubble moved under his foot making him stumble. Again it was a small thing, but just enough to let Shirou score another shallow wound, this time on his right leg.

Confusion.

His defences were showing more holes now, as though he didn't understand what was happening and was getting rattled by it. More small wounds were scored.

Ruin.

Failure.

Incompetence.

And now they seemed to be falling apart. The blond god was still so fast, so strong, but Shirou's attacks were getting through now and the wounds were becoming deeper and more serious.

Mistakes.

Fear.

Panic.

Doubt.

He just had to do a bit more, just one more attack, just one more . . .

Defeat.

It came to the young magus as a complete surprise when his last thrust seemed to go right through his foes and effectively nail him right through just below his heart. This was a killing blow, why had he used it? He hadn't wanted to kill this deity; he only wanted to drive him off.

As both he and the god fell to their knees Shirou tried to verbalize his confusion and guilt.

"I'm sorry, I . . . I don't, I didn't, I'm . . . I'm so sorry."

"Ah I see," the voice from the god lacked it previous pride and confidence but was strangely calm, almost gentle. "Those are not the eyes and words of my old foe, I was so eager to battle him that I didn't realize. You've already slain him, and by the grace of Pandora his power is now yours.

"Oh what magnificent foolishness, that I would ride here all set to play the role of the hero only to bumble my way into the part of the villain. Well you have indeed killed me now, but do not let your grief overburden you. Gods do not die as mortals do, in time I shall return and we'll battle once more, this time with both of us in our correct roles."

The hero god was cracking now, as though he were a statue crimson cracks were running from where the sword impaled him and were slowly spreading. His hand came up and grasped Shirou's shoulder.

"I hold no grudge, your victory was without any grace or elegance and yet it was as grand as a lions roar. Take my Authority young Campione, take it and become strong, stronger than any. Then when we meet once more our battle shall be the like from which legends are born."

With a sound like rushing sand the slayer of Medusa collapsed into a mass of sparkling motes that faded into the air.

There was a sudden odd sensation, like something burrowing into him, becoming part of him, but not causing any pain or damage. It was such a surprise that Shirou released the power he had unconsciously been holding.

Pain swallowed his world. Pain pain painpainpainpainPAAAAIIIN! So much pain and yet he couldn't even cry out. His body felt as though it had turned to rubber, nothing worked and he couldn't move. Hell, it was all he could do to breath.

As he collapsed to the ground he could distantly hear the sound of Illya's voice calling to him. Looked like she'd be lumbered with having to haul him about again.

Wasn't it the guy who was supposed to carry of the fainting damsel damn it!

Shirou sat up in his bed and inhaled deeply. It was that damned dream again, him killing Perseus even though he didn't mean to. He knew now that when gods were slain like that then they simply returned to their myths, but for some reason that just didn't seem to get rid of his guilt.

Hearing a soft murmur of protest from his side he glanced down. Yep, there was Illya dressed in her Super Samurai pyjamas that she'd brow beaten him into buying her. It didn't matter that she had her own room n this hotel suite that he was hiring; she kept on sleep walking to his bed where she treated him as her own favourite teddy bear. The first two times he'd tried to send her back to her own room, but eventually he'd just given up. Illya would do what Illya wanted to do, and woes betide anyone who tried to get in her way.

Deciding he just didn't have the energy to worry about it right now the eighth Campione lay back on his bed and relaxed as the white haired girl snuggled into his side. He wondered if this was what it was like to have a little sister, it was nice.

As his eyes drifted shut he wondered what tomorrow would bring. Tomorrow was when his plans with Yamada-san would kick into high gear. Serious money was going to start moving around and the false identities they'd had set up would be tested by scrutiny.

So much to do tomorrow, and still even more to do further down the line. Like trying to contact the local mystic community. Like trying to get a handle of just what it meant to be a Campione.

So much.

Well, at least things weren't going to be boring.