This short story happens after From the Azure to Zero, so finish reading that first.

Disclaimer; I own neither Type-Moon nor Blazblue.

The typical afternoon for Tohsaka Rin involved politely leaving her friends behind to walk alone with a heavy heart toward a place where a sane person would never set foot.

Her destination is the house of God that lies in Shinto.

Most people feel a sense of awe when they climb up the hill to reach the Church, because of its position it appears to rise high above those who journey toward it. However, what feels her every time is a sense of foreboding.

The cause of that feeling is not the building itself, but the priest who awaits her in front.

She has known him for almost as long as she can remember, but he is still a distant figure to her despite their frequent interactions. Part of that distance comes from his disposition, but some of it comes from the sinking feeling in her stomach whenever she sees him.

That priest has taken the place of her father in her education, after stealing the position of apprentice that should have been hers. Even if it is illogical, she cannot bring herself to forget this.

However, letting her feelings get in the way is out of the question, so she forces herself to walk to the Church almost every day.

The education that the priest provides is not one that can be found in schools, it is the study of the art of magecraft that has been passed down the Tohsaka family for generations. Ordinarily only Rin, the heir, would have been allowed to learn from her father, but Kotomine Kirei had become his apprentice as an exception. Though the deepest secrets of the family had remained hidden from him, he had learnt enough to take over the position of Rin's teacher when an incident had rendered her father incapable of continuing it himself.

Normally that would have been all there was to it; she would learn the basics of magecraft from him and continue her family's research on her own afterward. However, Kirei had decided that simply teaching her magecraft would not be enough.

"Rin, even if you learnt all that I know, you would still be less than your father was. As a magus, it will take even someone of your talent years of works to catch up to him and surpass him. I cannot help with this, but I can pass on to you a different strength."

She had naively agreed, and from that day forth had begun a merciless physical regimen to train her body until it could compensate for her lack of experience. Of course the practice never reached a point where she would be seriously hurt, but the priest was utterly merciless in pointing out every flaw and exploiting any weakness that appeared even when he faced a child as young as she had been at the time.

For years, she had only been able to follow his instructions, facing constant defeats whenever it came time to put them into practice.

Until today. Today everything would change, and that was why she walked toward the Church with uncharacteristic enthusiasm. She didn't know if he was hurt or if she had improved more than she thought, but she had almost managed to hit Kirei yesterday.

Today, her fist would reach him and finally pay him back for years of torment.

As she ascended the hill, she spotted the dark silhouette of her target awaiting her like always. If she never showed, would he stand there all night? Maybe she would try it one day.

"Good afternoon, Rin. It's always a pleasure when my student is punctual." The smile on his face sent a shiver down her spine. Kirei never smiled at the beginning of training, only when he spotted a mistake. "I'm sorry for the lack of warning, but I've made some alterations to the curriculum."

Curriculum? Did he even have something like that? She was fairly certain that he just did whatever he wanted. The incomfortable feeling increased tenfold. A change of plan when she had looked forward to punching him so much could only mean one thing.

"Let me guess." Unwilling to admit defeat, she attempted to pass it off as nonchalance. "We're not going to be doing live training today."

It would be just him to deny her the best chance at victory that she'd had in years.

"Oh, no. You will most definitely be continuing your training." His smile widened. "But I fear you'll become complacent if we only follow the routine, so I thought I would take advantage of a passing opportunity."

He always had an excuse, a reasoning that made perfect sense so that she couldn't reject his words.

"Fine." Sighing in exasperation she moved past him to set her bag past the door. "What are we doing then?"

"Since you've admirably grasped the basics, I thought we would move on to a simpler, yet crucial field." Reaching into his coat, he retrieved two items. "Namely, improving your ability to dodge."

Her eyes boggled as she saw the gun that he had produced.

"You're kidding, right? You're going to shoot at me?!"

That was definitely a bad joke. He was creepy, unlikeable and a thief, but he'd never endangered her!

Now deadly serious, his dark eyes found hers.

"This is no joke, Rin. You will have to learn quickly, or..." Pointing the weapon at a belt that his other hand had retrieved, he pulled the trigger.

"You are dead."

The mechanical voice that replaced the loud noise that she had expected caused her to sigh in reassurance and embarassment.

It was just a toy. Not even a magical one, as far as she could tell.

"I would hope that you would have more faith in me by now." Perfectly concealing the amusement that he must have felt, the priest showed disappointment. "You may be an impertinent and ungrateful student, but you are also the daughter of my teacher. You will face no danger in my training. Now, put this on."

There was no choice but to resign herself to playing his game, it seemed. The plastic belt looked quite silly when combined with her school uniform, but she couldn't complain; it was probably meant to be worn alongside other accessories of the same kind.

"So I just have to keep moving while you shoot me?"

She had learned early on to always make sure that the rules were clear, it wouldn't be the first time that he deliberately misled her to make a dry comment about the danger of making assumptions.

"Simply dodging is insufficient to win a battle; in order to win, you need to be able to counterattack. In this case, reaching the shooter will be a sufficient goal." Emotionlessly stating the conditions, Kirei knocked at a nearby door. "However as I am inexperienced with firearms and would be a poor opponent, so I have enlisted help."

So there was at least one thing that the fake priest was bad at. No, more importantly...

"Hey, don't tell me that you brought some stranger! I don't recall agreeing to that. You can't just do whatever you-"

Her voice caught in her throat when Kirei's visitor showed herself. Standing next to the darkly dressed priest, the girl's bright blue clothes stood out.

"I'm pleased to meet you." Despite being Rin's senior by several years going by appearance, she shyly bowed her head. "I am Noel Vermillion."

"Ah. I'm... Rin, Tohsaka." Foreigners began with their first name, if she remembered correctly. As the land's second owner, she had to act as the host even if the guest hadn't been invited. "The pleasure is mine."

An awkward silence emerged for several seconds until the priest interceded.

"Well with the introductions out of the way, let us hurry and make up for lost time." Brushing off the matter with serenity, he held out the toy toward the newcomer. "She will be the one testing you."

That girl? She certainly didn't look the part.

No. Now that Rin thought about it, that just meant that she had to be even more careful. If she was an acquaintance of Kirei, there was no way she was a normal person.

Noel took a step back from the frowning teenager that eyed her suspiciously.

"You don't have to take it so seriously, really."

"Humph." Turning back to her instructor, Rin shrugged. "Well, I just have to reach her, then? Easy."

"You are dead."

As the metallic voice rang out for what seemed like the hundredth time, Rin's patience ran out.

"This isn't even possible!"

The rules of the game were simple. She could start as far away she wanted from her target, with a minimum distance of ten meters, and the game would begin when she took the first step.

She had yet to manage a third.

"Hum, I'm sorry?"

The fact that the source of her frustration appeared more confused than anything else did nothing to calm her.

"It's your own fault for being overconfident, Rin."

The priest who hadn't moved since the exercise began spoke accusingly without even trying to hide his amusement.

"No it isn't! All she does is wave that thing toward-"

Thinking about it, had Noel even succeeded in pointing the gun at her this time?

No. Rin was certain that she had managed to avoid it.

"You bastard. This is a trick, isn't it?"

"Indeed." Without missing a beat, the priest admitted his treachery. "No matter where it is aimed, pressing the trigger will cause the belt to activate. To be honest, I am disappointed that it took you over an hour to notice."

If she could just get a hand on-

No, she was the heir. She was better than that.

Taking a deep breath, she forcibly calmed herself.

"What was the point, then?"

"Fights aren't always fair." Unexpectedly, the answer came from the girl in blue. "If your opponent is using a trick, then you need to notice it quickly."

"That is so." With an approving nod, Kirei continued. "This goes double for you, Rin. Anyone likely to oppose you will not be an ordinary person. First, you must know that there is a problem before you can solve it."

Argh, he was doing it again, making sense to deny her even righteous indignation. If he was only playing his part as her teacher, she couldn't take offense no matter how infuriatingly unfair he was.

"Fine." With a sigh, she resigned herself to the inevitable. "So this was just to teach me that lesson? Seems a bit of a waste."

"Oh no, I was quite serious about your training." Retrieving the toy from Noel, Kirei produced an almost identical one. "This time, you will be dodging for real."

Moments later, she found herself back in her previous position.

With a friendly smile, her opponent twirled the laser gun in her hand.

"Are you ready?"

"Of course."

She definitely would win now. Kirei had managed to throw her off with his mind game, but she would take her revenge by winning on the first fair contest. For that reason, she has already applied the enchantment that would let her run faster than what is considered possible.

Without warning, she started the dash that would allow her to reach the opponent from an angle-

"You are dead."

"No way."

Her brain couldn't even fully process the movement she witnessed. Before the second step was completed, the barrel had already been pointed toward the belt with unfailing accuracy.

As the exhausted figure of Tohsaka Rin walked away from the Church, Noel Vermillion sighed.

"That's really mean, Kirei."

"Oh?" With false incomprehension, the priest turned to her. "I thought it was a valuable lesson."

"I wasn't talking about the trick." Exasperated, she waved the toy toward him. "Even if we repeated this for a year, she won't be able to cross two meters. You gave her a completely impossible task."

"Indeed. As an instructor, this does not please me either." The reply was utterly emotionless. "However, this is necessary since Rin was overly blessed by her birth."


"Ordinarily, one will come across a field in which they have no talent. The difference in how difficult it is to learn diverse field will allow them to develop a sense of superiority or inferiority compared to others. However, Rin is a genius who can simultaneously attend school, study magecraft and receive my physical program without losing efficiency in any of those fields.

It is something to be admired, but if I allowed her to wallow in success she might become complacent. People become strong when they face adversity, someone who is allowed to only cruise by on natural talent will shatter when they encounter defeat for the first time. Therefore I will have her face a task in which she cannot succeed through conventional means to prepare her for that inevitability."

"Alright, I get it." If she didn't interrupt him, he might start to discuss the underlying philosphy behind it. It wouldn't be the first time. "I don't like it much but since it's for her own good, I guess I'll have to do it."

The following month was the most frustrating time in Rin's life. The merciless repetition of "You are dead." echoed into her mind countless times.

Defying all expectations, she had managed to avoid the first shot after only week. However, it seemed that that was her limit. No matter what, she would be shot the moment she turned to approach her target.

Kirei's dry comments were infuriating, but the thing that bothered her the most was the kind smile and apologies from the one who defeated her over and over. Her young ego could only see it as a deliberate attempt to mock her.

Even worse, the time limit imposed on the exercise was fast approaching; today was the final day before Noel would leave to wherever it was that Kirei had taken her from. In the previous week, she had been forced to admit that she definitely wouldn't be able to close the distance; the older girl was just too quick.

But Rin had prepared a trap in the past few days. She would win today no matter what, otherwisethe failure would haunt her dreams for years.


"Of course."

The moment the words that signaled the beginning of the match rang, she fired at Noel's feet.

Not with a toy naturally, but with her magecraft. The specially placed vegetation on the ground ignited in a veil of black smoke.


The moment the surprised exclamation came, Rin charged with all her strength.

She couldn't hope to outspeed Noel's aim, and even with a distraction she didn't think she could close the distance by surprise.

True to her expection, the gun was steadied before her fourth step and rose toward her.

But when the trigger was pulled, the belt didn't respond.

An instant later, Rin reached through the smoke and succeeded in grabbing the blue coat's sleeve for the first time.

"I-I lost? Why?"

In response to the flabbergasted girl, Rin smiled victoriously.

"The stupid laser that it sends to the belt couldn't get through the smoke."

"Oh." Was she expressing disappointment or just acceptance? Rin couldn't tell before Noel turned toward the watching Kirei. "Is that really alright? It feels like cheating."

Rin had already expected that. Before Kirei could reply, she took her turn.

"If the opponent can use a trick that I have to figure out, it's no problem if I win with my own trick, right?"

Beaten by his own logic, the priest could only nod in approval.