Let me just say this; I really, really hate Summer.
I swear I can walk out into the dead of winter in nothing but a thong -not that I wear one of course- with it snowing bloody hailstones and not catch a damn thing. But I stand in an air conditioned room in the dead heat of summer, sweating like an asmatic who beat Anorexia ten years in a row by subscribing to the cheese cake diet and suddenly I've become the Chaos god Nurgle; grandpappy of pestilence and disease. I hate being sick, being only moderately sick even moreso. It's like that point where you're sick enough to where it sucks to move around and do things but also not sick enough to be bed ridden and actually HAVE to do things. And it's near constant over spring and summer, especially this year after that freak springboard weather where mother nature was going through her menstrual cycle and couldn't decide whether she was too hot or too fucking cold, everything in nature is flipping the fuck out and dropping it's biological payload early.
And then I had to deal with the digital version of my cold after I somehow got infected with this stupid adware/malware BS something or other. It took me like three days and a mind numbing number of hoops to hop through before I finally was able to get rid of it... and I'm still not certain it's gone, I'm hoping it never rears it's ugly head again since I had to go through every level of my browser settings, my roaming folder, an absurd number of hidden folders, run my AV and Malwarebytes like five times, then dig through my registry like five times because it kept making entries for itself like some obsessive compulsive book keeper. And then I had to make sure everything was good and up to date so that this thing would finally just fucking DIE.
And I still don't know how the fuck it happened since I have just about everything covered when it comes to computer defense. I'm lucky that I was able to manually disconnect (Read as unplug) the damn Internet connection before it fully downloaded itself because I don't even want to know the fucks that this thing wouldn't have given if it had fully integrated itself. So fuck that bullshit, fuck it and the trojan horse it rode in on.
*More bitching and complaining that none of you care about.*
I don't even know why I bother, you leeches just want the funzies that I write, well here you blood suckers are, some O+ chuckles signed, sealed and delivered.
I'm in a bad mood, can't you tell? Fun times!
Disclaimer: I own neither Fate/Stay Night nor do I own Soul Calibur or any of their media.
Chapter 6: Port Town Problems
"What manner of creation is this?" That was Ivy's only reaction to Shirou's car. It wasn't so much fear that caused those words... more like a curiosity and wonder at how such a thing could actually do what Shirou said it would do without a horse to pull it. It figures that she would be interested in something like this.
"It's what we'll be using to get to our next destination." Shirou replied proudly.
Sophitia was muttering to herself, staring at the car and palming her sword handle a bit too much for comfort.
Ivy looked in the window of the vehicle for a moment before something seemed to dawn on her. "Who ride's in the front next to you then?"
Shirou blinked then glanced over his shoulder at the car. "Oh... yeah... um."
"Can I ride up front?" Ivy pouted her lips and ran a finger up and down his chest.
A shiver went up Shirou's spine as the the silver haired woman wrapped her arms around him, clearly not opposed to using her feminine wiles to get him to do things for her. "I suppose it would be alright..." She pressed her breasts against his chest and Shirou mentally swore. Ivy just seemed to exuded massive amounts of sex appeal like it was natural for her. "Just...just get in the car." He sighed. "Ivy's riding in the front this time." Shirou cut that particular argument off before it started, knowing full well that it would lead nowhere fast.
Sophitia who had opened her mouth to argue exactly that, closed it; It was Shirou's car after all. Getting in the trio got comfortable, though Sophitia caught a sly little grin from Shirou out of the corner of her eye. Suppressing a giggle she watched Shirou crank up the car, which got the same amusing reaction from Ivy as it had from her.
Seeing the pair's knowing smirk the silver haired woman glowered at them. "That wasn't funny."
"Yes it was." The blade magus struggled not to snicker as he threw the thing into first gear and rolled down the road.
After almost fifteen minutes of uninterrupted driving, Ivy spoke up again. "You know, now that I think about it... I don't really know all that much about either of you." She glanced over at Shirou then further back to Sophitia. "Not that I'm trying to pry but after what we did last night I think it would be best if we knew a bit more about each other."
Sophitia shrugged. "My life probably isn't that much different than yours; Simple childhood, simple life." Her face darkened. "Then that all changed when I was given the mission to destroy Soul Edge by the god Hephaestus and tracked down Cervantes de Leon, who was the owner of the sword at the time."
Ivy sneered at the mention of her father. "That much I do know, it's been a long time since then hasn't it?"
Sophitia nodded. "Seven years. Seven years I had to deal with that damnable shard in my chest, tainting any happiness I gained." She sighed. "My husband brought home another shard of Soul Edge only a few years after we were married and my children started fighting over it. I knew that the cursed sword was still out there, still causing trouble, so I went in search for the blade to hopefully destroy it once and for all."
A grimace passed over the alchemists face. "Let me guess, something terrible happened while you were away?"
The Athenian's teeth clenched painfully. "Tira... that green ringblade wielding bitch killed my husband and sun, spiriting away my daughter to become the plaything of Soul Edge."
A humorless snort escaped the silverette. "I hate it when I'm right... At least your daughter has the chance of saving..." Her eyes grew distant. "My father was, is and forever shall remain a monster; He murdered his crew, destroyed his beloved city, stole the souls of everything within it and has caused nothing but death and destruction ever since." She let out a bitter chuckle. "It's because of him that most of my soul is gone. The only thing that's keeping me alive is an artificial soul I created that's keeping my body in a suspended state. And then there's the fact that soul edge mutated my body with it's corruption to force me into a state of agelessness... hmph, most would call it immortality but this hollow existence isn't worthy of such a name.
A slight jolt from the car brought both women's attention to Shirou who's hands were clenching the steering wheel tight enough to turn them white.
"Sorry." He mumbled, relaxing his grip on the wheel. "Hearing both of your stories reminded me a bit about my own." Seeing their curiosity he elaborated. "If you're that interested in my tale... well, I guess it all really started when I was five years old..." He then described the fire that had destroyed any semblance of his old life, the flames that had washed away his entire existence to leave what was now known as Shirou Emiya behind.
To Sophitia, a tragic event such as that seemed like a waste of life, a horrible and traumatic experience that would stay with a person for the rest of their life. For Ivy, it was something to pity, to imagine such loss of life didn't phase her much, the wasted potential however was what truly angered her.
Shirou then described his father: Kiritsugu Emiya, the man who had saved him and imparted to him his life's greatest dream.
To be a Hero of Justice.
The girls chuckled somewhat as such a title was rather humorous though their mirth was tempered somewhat by the solemn tone of their lover. He then described his early days under his father's tutelage and then subsequent death, his time alone and his self study of magecraft; he covered it all until the time of his first death.
The way he described the rather vivid encounter with Lancer elicited a gasp from Sophitia while Ivy's eye's sharpened, remembering the angry red scar on her lover's chest and back. Shirou then noted that if it hadn't been for Rin Tohsaka he would have stayed dead as he ran headfirst into the the hell known as the Holy grail war. He then pointed out what the Holy Grail War actually was along with the masters and servants of said war, including Arturia Pendragon: his servant and the summoned Saber of the war.
What followed was two weeks of death, betrayal and pain.
The death of Ilya, his then unknown sister. Gilgamesh; the previous war's archer having ripped her heart out and stuck it in his former best friend to turn him into the container for the holy grail.
The betrayal of Archer and the subsequent loss of Saber to Caster as she had used her Noble Phantasm to steal his command seals away, if it hadn't been for the timely intervention of the very same Lancer that had almost killed him, things would have been drastically different.
The pain of fighting Archer, who had revealed himself to be a future version of Shirou, who tried his utmost best to utterly crush the teen's dreams, all because his future self had been betrayed by the ideals his past self lived by.
But in the end, through some small miracle, he had conquered his future self's broken world view.
And then Gilgamesh had destroyed everything, gravely wounding Archer and forcing Shirou and his comrades to flee. It was later that his final battle between he and Gilgamesh would prove himself the victor after he had unconsciously tapped into the budding power he had learned from the Archer as well as a small bit of help from the servant himself. He had learned to utilize his most powerful spell that day and it had only grown in power since.
After the war, he had spoken of his time with Rin and Saber, who shared his role as a familiar to the tsundere Tohsaka. And then he mentioned briefly the wonderful days and even more wonderful nights he had shared with them during Rin's education at the Clock Tower: the cutthroat academic organization of magi.
The two women deadpanned. You never talk about the sex life of you and your ex's to your current lovers. It was a very, very bad idea but the two women were starting to understand, at least from the way he described his life; Shirou was kind of an idiot.
Oblivious as always to the possible female dangers around him, Shirou wrapped up his story by pointing out that all good things eventually come to an end sooner or later and he still had his dream to fulfil. So, he had set out on a journey of discovery and self reflection so that he could become that which he had always wanted to be and make sure he would never turn out the same way as Archer... though, he admitted with no small amount of guilt, he had come somewhat close to ending up the same way as the wayward servant. If it hadn't been for that meddlesome old man Zelretch he might have truly lost himself that day...
Shirou blinked, coming out of his story induced haze to see Sophitia and Ivy looking rather perturbed at him. "What?" He turned his head lightly in confusion while keeping one eye on the road.
"You left two beautiful women who were perfectly happy and willing to spend the rest of their lives doing hot and kinky things with you whenever you desired... simply to become a... hero?" Ivy stared at Shirou as if he had grown a second head.
"I did have quite a few adventures during that time." Shirou replied weakly, put that way he could see the reasoning behind his girl's rather irritated expressions. "And I became a competent warrior on my trip, which I would have been incapable of locked up in the Clock Tower all day and night.
Ivy's eyebrow twitched. "Hot and Kinky things Shirou, and did you ever consider their feelings? Did you ever consider that you might have hurt them, the people you care about most going off on your own to lord knows where?"
Shirou grimaced but turned back to the road. "I might have realized that after the fact... eventually. However, I would rather they move on and live their lives without me causing trouble in it... I've had so much happen to me after I left, there was no reason to get them involved in my problems."
Sophitia and Ivy shared a glance along with a slight groan of annoyance, the former of which used as foothold into the conversation.
"You are such an idiot." The Athenian sighed, slapping the magus on the back of the head. "Did you ever consider that they would have rather dealt with the trouble if it meant being with you? And If that's the case then why is now different? Why are we allowed to follow you when you wouldn't even let your first lovers go with you?" She gave him a flat look. "Lover's who sound like they are far more competent fighters than ourselves might I add."
Shirou, who had been rather sheepish before, slowly pulled back into the seat. "I screwed up again... didn't I?"
The two women rolled their eyes, speaking, in perfect unison. "Yes, yes you did." Sophitia sighed. "Though I do suppose that if it hadn't been for your screw up we wouldn't have met such a wonderful man." Her eyes hardened. "But if you ever think of leaving us behind like that..." She let her words trail away, the open threat left unspoken.
A grimace crossed Shirou's face as he turned back to the road. "Even if it means protecting you?" He couldn't help it really, it was in his nature to want to help people, even if it ended up hurting them in the end.
"Shirou." This time it was Ivy's own tone of warning that met him and the blade users stricken look deepened. "If you so much as attempt to try something as stupid as that... I will be inclined to do something unspeakable to your manhood... no matter how much I enjoy it's usefulness."
The blade magus gulped audibly. "I-I'll keep that in mind."
"Oh." Ivy wriggled her nose in annoyance as she looked down the end of it at Shirou. "And whether they accept you again or you reject them is none of my business, but I expect you to apologize to your previous lovers for such a grave insult the next time you see them."
Shirou opened his mouth to deny such a statement when Ivy's gaze sharpened, her silver eyes boring into Shirou's, whom closed his mouth with an audible click. "Duly noted." He mumbled, returning his attention back to the road.
The rest of the ride remained silent and uneventful.
A huff of breath and a drip of sweat echoed out as one of the thuggish hired hands hoisted a box of books up into the wagon their employer had paid handsomely to rent out. It would take several trips and plenty more coin to grease the wheels as it were but they would be able to make a hefty penny off this job and live the next year on good quality meals and even better quality women.
"So what yah gunna do wit yer share of da gold?" The taller of the two muscle bound men asked with a rough accent, spirits high as he tossed, rather carelessly mind, a box of rare books on top of the ones they had already pitched in there. "I'll be payin da silver ladies rather then settlin for da coppa whores
The shorter of the duo glanced up from the stack he had dropped into another box, a rough, nearly toothless grin on his face. "I rekon I'll be livin like a baron myself; Fine wine, finer women and maybe even get myself one a those fancy hats a there's.
The two bent over, barely keeping themselves from falling to the ground in laughter. The taller of the two men came up first still laughing and unable to see the giant shadow behind him, the smaller one came up just in time to see a giant axe blade descending before everything went dark. The taller thug paled as his partner was cleaved in half from head to pelvis, bisecting the man's body into equal, gory parts. He turned slowly to stare up at the giant bulk above him at the same time a giant fist of granite clamped around his neck and hoisted him two feet off the ground.
Luminescent red lights, signifying eyes on the rocky head of the creature, narrowed to slits as the creature spoke, it's gravely voice sending shivers up the thugs quickly straightening spine. "Talk quickly human, where is the man who lives here?"
Through a choking rasp the man quickly gurgled out a response. "Ah, Ah d- urk dunno!" He clenched his hands into the rocky crevices of the beasts arm, digits small in comparison to the rocky boulder holding him in the air. "We was jus paid to- hrk" The creature tightened his grip for a moment before loosening it enough for the man to quickly speak. "We was jus paid tah move dis crap to dis big ol castle to da wess! Dah guy said he ada change a heart or somtin; Somtin to do with dis odd fella who 'Per-ey-fied' im."
A scowl crossed the creatures face as it's grip tightened. "Which way did this 'odd fellow' go?" It growled.
"I dunno!" He gasped clawing at the tightening hand "Bu I erd a few hours ago der was dis strange cart ting headin nort to dah coast. Da guards wer talking bout a man an a coupla lasses tha wer in it!" The man let out a strangled gasp. "Das all I- *cough* -All I know, now could yah lemme go!"
The giant rock creature stared at the struggling man for a moment before letting out a rocky "No." And a sickening crack filled the air.
Astaroth tossed the body to the side, his mouth opened in a ferocious snarl. "Damn, just missed them." His eyes turned north, brooding at the closeness of his target. If the 'odd fellow' that purified Raphael was the same one that had purified Sophitia, then the bastard was out to stop Soul Edge's plans. If he wanted to do that, then the next stop on the list would have to be Wilhelmshaven; a pirate infested port town that was one of the main sources of Nightmare's malfested slaves. Losing that town would be a major blow to recruitment.
"Just you wait." Asteroth grumbled, the stony rattle revealing his irritation as he disappeared into the night, heading to the north at a tireless pace.
A howl pierced the night as the inhuman voice of Nightmare rattled the stones of Ostrheinsburg, having felt the loss of two more puppets several hours ago, the sentient suit of armor had torn through the castle, grabbing slaves by the head and ripping their souls from their bodies to have the unquenchable thirst of it's blade drink from their very essence.
"I will enjoy destroying your soul mortal!" The creature howled again using soul edge to crush the head of an unfortunate lizardman who hadn't made it quite far enough to get out of range of the blade. "You and everything you love shall die by my hands!"
Apparently, the creature took theft of it's possessions very seriously...
"Mark my words!" Another poor soul was snuffed out by the creatures rage, simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. "There will be a reckoning!"
It would be several hours a small mountain of bodies before the beast had settled and a cold fury roared within the armor's chest, the creature plotting and planning for the sweet revenge it would visit upon the fool who would dare steal from it.
"What the hell are you?" A man gurgled as he hit the ground, clutching at his groin in pain.
"Doesn't matter." The tip of a rod bounced off the man's face. "Maybe next time you'll think about who you try to rob." The man holding the rod spun it deftly before laying it across his shoulder.
"Don't you think that was a bit much Kilik...?" A woman walked up beside him carrying a jian sword dripping slightly with blood."
The man raised an eyebrow at the half dozen thieves sprawled across the road, four of which the woman had dispatched by herself. "Like you're one to talk Xianghua. Besides, you're the one who suggested we come this way."
Xianghua grimaced, pain filling her eyes. "We both know that he's already in the country... and if he's anywhere right now it's probably by the sea."
Kilik glanced away, hand clenching hard on the weapon in his hands. "Yeah..." It was silent for a moment, the quiet only broken by the groaning thieves at their feet. Kilik turned then, walking further down the road. "We'll stop him... I know we will."
Xianghua sighed, whispering quietly as she followed along behind her friend, "You and I both know he won't give up on the sword until he's avenged them..."
Shirou stared up looming gates of Wilhelmshaven, the ragged wood and stone palisade looking worn from years of damage from the salt laden wind and rain water. As he walked over the threshold a bone deep shiver passed down his spine and the insides of his nose threatened to induce a sneezing fit.
Sophitia, who had watched the strange reaction, looked at her love oddly. "What's the matter?"
The blade magus turned his head and grimaced as if someone had ran fingernails over a chalkboard. "There's... something very wrong with this town." He took a shallow breath, as if he didn't want to inhale something foul. "It's all around us, a dark miasma... it's similar to a bounded field. The moment I stepped into the city, it felt like something had tried to drag me further in."
The Athenian looked around at the buildings and few sparse populous that milled about the city, then turned back to Shirou with a look of confusion on her face. "I don't feel anything, maybe it's just the salt air that's-"
"No." Ivy interrupted her and coming to a stop, her companions doing the same. Taking a deep breath of the air, Ivy's eyes lit up. "He's right, there's definitely a trace of Soul Edge in the air, something or someone is releasing a concentration of it's tainted magic to contaminate the air." She frowned and concentrated on the space in front of her for a moment, likely scanning the energy she herself was felling. "From what I can tell, it's continually draining a small amount of energy out of the people here." A twitch of her lips silently flashed her irritation. "But what's most startling is that this magic isn't new, by my estimation... it's been here at least several months... If whoever's doing this has had this long to consolidate the latent magical energy of an entire town of human's..." She left the threat of such a thing hanging, it was readily apparent to Shirou and Sophitia that a servant of the sword was here.
"Then..." Sophitia asked quietly, sending a discrete glance at a nearby man who had deep set eyes and dark rings around them. "Is it draining us right now?" The though sickened her, that they were being violated in such a way.
Shirou shook his head at her question. "No, or I would have felt it by now; likely Ivy and I have an acceptable resistance to magic that allows us to shrug off the worst of the bounded field, while you..." Here his eyes narrowed and he stared at her, particularly her weapons. "Your weapons and divine blessings protect you from most evil magical interference, barring a few powerful exceptions, which is most likely why you weren't physically or mentally corrupted by the shard that used to be inside of you; it would take actually holding Soul Edge or a large number of it's shards to truly corrupt you."
Reassured, the two women nodded their heads and continued walking. Unseen by either of them, Shirou's face had darkened considerably while Archer's memories of Blood Fort Andromeda made him extremely uncomfortable with the environment he was in. At any moment he expected the world to turn red and people to start melting into puddles of blood... That whoever had set this up had months to perfect it made this entire city seem more like a trap than anything else. Now even more on edge than before, the magus loaded a dozen nameless blades up in his mind, prepared to fire them at professional fastball speeds at anything that even remotely looked insidious or evil.
After almost an hour of walking, it was clear that he would probably not need them as the trio walked into a somewhat rundown tavern, Shirou thankful now more than ever that he had traced a pair of cloaks to hide his lover's bodies before they had entered the city, especially with Ivy and her clothing... or severe lack thereof.
The trio sat down at a table and a sullen looking waitress approached. "What do you want?" Well, that was a rather abrasive way to start a conversation.
Well it was a port town and this was dinner time, so perhaps something aquatic was in order? "I'm assuming you have some kind of fish available?" Shirou noted the girls rather sunken in eyes as she blinked once then nodded, mumbling something about smoked fish. "Three orders of that, a loaf of whatever bread you have and some cheese if you have it. We'd also like a room for the night, one large bed if you have it." He then fished into one of his pockets and pulled out a small metal bar around the size of domino tile with a pair of crossed swords imprinted on it.
The bar also happened to be solid gold.
Jewels were all well and good but in a place this far from the major cities where gems would be all but worthless to the poor majority, it just wasn't practical to give a barmaid a gemstone that would require a specialized customer to sell it to when gold was a commodity that was traded wholesale across the world. And just as well, since during one of his exploits in South Africa, he had inadvertently saved a wealthy landowners daughter from one of the many militant groups that plagued that area of the world. Shirou later walked away from the man's estate with a briefcase full of gold bars ranging from the chocolate mint sized 10 oz trade bars to smart phone sized kilogram ingots.
As it turned out, the land owner happened to own the nearby gold mine, which was why his daughter had been kidnapped in the first place as ransom. Shirou, in a rare moment of tact had chosen to keep the money, stashing most of it away in different locations around the world for use as emergency funds in case he found himself in a place that wouldn't take his magecraft reinforced gemstones, he only carried a handful of the trade bars on him at any one time but that was enough to get the job done. After all, there was no better way to grease the palms of a someone in a town full of criminals than to rub it liberally with cold hard cash.
The girl's eyes widened at the gold, which narrowed almost immediately afterward, a greedy gleam in them. Shirou smiled ruefully, some thing's never changed no matter where in the multiverse you were. "I would also like information from your boss about any of the ships coming in or already docked that have a cargo-" He looked around the room secretly as if searching for prying eyes, this was just an act to get the barmaid to play along. "-That's a bit more alive, if you understand my meaning." He finished that off by sliding his hand across the table, allowing the girl to place her hand over his and secretly pull the gold away. "If I find his information satisfactory there will be more where that came from for the both of you." And there's the bait. The girl hesitated for a moment before nodding lightly and walking over to the supposed owner. A few seconds later the owner glanced over at Shirou's table and let out a small, imperceptible nod.
Hook, line and sinker.
Shirou turned back to see the two women watching him silently strange look on their faces. "What?" He raised an eyebrow at the duo.
Ivy shook her head in slowly. "You were just talking about being a hero of justice not an hour ago and just now you made a shady under the table deal of questionable legality with people who're likely criminals..." She deadpanned. "I'm sorry but the disconnect there is rather jarring."
Shirou shrugged. "I don't really have a problem with thieves as long as they're not physically harming people to get what they want. I've found that most thieves are only stealing because they have no other choice; It's either rob someone or watch themselves or their family suffer."
The table was silent a moment only to be broken by a rough swallow and light grimace from Sophitia. "When you put it that way, I kind of feel bad for killing the occasional bandit that found it's way towards Ostrheinsburg."
"Don't be." Shirou pulled her hand into his own comfortingly. "They chose a profession that is inherently dangerous. Much like soldiers they understand the consequences of their actions and you were well within your right to defend yourself.
"I bet the villains you've fought say the same thing about themselves." Ivy snarked, grabbing his other hand possessively. "Moving away from that topic for a moment, are we really going to sleep in this city?" A shiver went up her spine, even now she could feel the oppressive stink of Soul Edge's powers sticking to her clothing.
Shirou's mood darkened slightly as he idly rubbed his thumbs on their point of contact with his lover's hands. "I don't like it either but we need a base of operations and this is about as good as any." A subtle twitch of the nose and a glance around the room later, Shirou let out a rather lengthy sigh. "With so much prana floating around in the air I can't pinpoint where the Malfested is so we'll have to do this the old fashioned way." He was silent for a few more minutes as the barmaid brought them their food, a somewhat chewy but flavorful smoked fish and a dark bread that mixed well with the hard cheddar that came with it.
"If you're that worried about it..." Shirou mused after the meal, thumbing through a small notebook that he had pulled from one of the many hidden pockets he had about his person, one of the few additions he had made to his clothing that Archer had lacked during the grail war. "I'm not the best when it comes to bounded fields but I know enough to set up a rudimentary one that can shut out most of this interference as well as act as an alarm if need be."
"Is this bounded field like a barrier?" Ivy asked, at Shirou's nod the woman relaxed, releasing a long sigh. "That's good, my talent in barrier magic has always been breaking them rather than making them."
Shirou sent a long glance through the room, noting that several of the patrons were eyeing them with dark eyes and they're hands were twitching slightly, likely they were the few who had subtly noticed the exchange of gold and were the greedy sort willing to take what they wanted. "No time like the present." He muttered quietly. "I'd like to be able to sleep peacefully tonight without getting a knife in the back."
The two women nodded, the trio retired quickly to their room, noting which of the few followed their steps up the stairs. As soon as they were all in the room Shirou locked the door behind them and placed a hand against the wood.
"Trace on." Shirou mouthed, pouring prana into wood and metal of the door and surrounding wall to reinforce it. Once that was finished, he walked across the room to the windows and did the same thing, locking them after he was finished. Repeating the same action on the other two side walls, ceiling and floor, the magus then etched a single rune into each surface, finishing with the door. Running prana through the rune produced a light hum for a moment before the array lit up with a dull glow.
Almost immediately the oppression in the air surrounding them lessened, as if they had been deep under water and had finally broken through the surface to breathe in fresh air.
Shirou took a quick sniff of the air, testing the magic. "Much better, it's not perfect but it'll do." With a sigh he slumped onto the bed and finally relaxed. "It's been a long day..." A slight shifting of the mattress beside him reveled that his lovers had joined him on the bed. "...Can we just cuddle?" A tinge of hopefulness entered his voice, which was dashed moments later when the girls climbed on top of him. "I'm beginning to think that my crest is doing this on purpose... that or Zelretch- hrrm" Whatever else he was going to say was muffled by a pair of lips.
Well there's another chapter down.
Not much to this chapter but some character development, a bit of fluff and the groundwork for the next few chapters. Expect quite a few background characters from the series to make an appearance here pretty soon.