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FGO: Destiny Awakenings

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In a bedroom, a raven-haired teen wearing a white T-shirt and dark blue shorts spin from his swivel chair. He pushed the chair towards the orange-haired girl sitting on his bed, examining the flyer she was holding.

With his blue orbs narrowed, he looked at her and questioned, “A recruitment flyer to be a mage?”

“That’s right, Ritsuka!” She grinned at him. A finger pointing at the bottom corner of the paper that showed the word: ‘You’re hired!’. “And, there wasn’t a need for an interview too! I went for a blood test, and they told me I’m in for the job!”

“You’re sure what they say is true, Ritsuko? Not some lady who charmed you by her beauty and complimented you? You remember we need a decent amount of work experience before we graduate from high school, right?” Ritsuka reminded with one of his brows raised.

Ritsuko folded her arms and glared, “I’m not an easy person to get charmed by every woman’s appearance! And, it’s a guy that told me I got the job. You should try, who knows you can get it too! They also said they are a government agency, so it’s ideal for our portfolio!”

At another dubious expression to her grin, Ritsuka pushed himself on the chair back to his laptop and said, “Definitely a con job, Ritsuko. There’s no way, they would accept you in just by taking your blood. Besides, they could be some dangerous organization–!”

His words interrupted when Ritsuko had placed her hands on his shoulder. As he turned around to ask, Ritsuka shook up in surprise at her fearful and pleading face, she shouted, “Please…. Please help me, Onii-chan! I’m begging you, please come with me to their organization!”

“H-Hah?! W-What did you this time?!” Ritsuka yelled back in surprise, not questioned of her abrupt way of addressing him.

“I-I said I got the job, but I didn’t want it too! They were going on about weird things of saving humanity… A-And, I rejected them but they were insistent that I should! They were following me right after I leave that place!”

Knock! Knock!

“T-They are here!” Ritsuko screamed, jumping and clinging to her brother. The sound of knocking came again from below them.

Ritsuka facepalmed and groaned, “They are even worse than the salesperson on the street…! But, I’m still not joining you, Ritsuko. This is your mess, and you will get out of it yourself.”

“N-Not fair! I even submitted your blood to them for the application. There’s no way you will leave me to go with them,” Ritsuko glared back.

“Submitted my what now?! When?!” This time, it was Ritsuka who screamed back at his sister.

“Erm… Remember the night before you got a cut from the knife? While you were cooking dinner? H-Hey, at least you got in too!” Ritsuko replied with a nervous smile. But, it earned a harsher glare from Ritsuka.

Knock! Knock!

The pair flinched and hugged each other in fear at their persistent stalker. Blue orbs met orange orbs hoping that they would give up and turned to leave. Unfortunately for the siblings….

Knock! Knock!

A second of silence later, Ritsuka sighed and conceded, “Fine.”

“Eh?” Ritsuko turned back to her brother with a confused expression.

Ritsuka removed his arms from her and continued, “I’ll try to persuade them into letting us go. Otherwise, I’m coming with you since you already dragged me to this level of hell.”

“R-Really?! Thank you, Ritsuka!” Ritsuko squealed, giving a tight grateful hug to her brother.

Ritsuka sighed and patted her head, “The things I sacrifice for my little sister…”

“But you love me still, Onii-chan.” Ritsuko winked back mischievously.

The older brother rolled his eyes with an amused expression, added, “I’ll love you more if you stop having me to play matchmaking with any of the female colleagues.”

“Deal! And, I’ll help you find the best boyfriend you’ll be on knees for introducing him to you!”

Despite the faint blush on his cheeks, Ritsuka chided, “Leave me and my love life out of this. Come on, we got an irritating stalker to deal with.”

As Ritsuka stood up, Ritsuko removed her arms and laughed at his earlier reaction. He rolled his eyes again and walked out of his room with Ritsuko in tow.

Prologue End

Chapter Text

On top of the snowy mountain, there was a lone white dome-shaped building. Despite it was early morning, the dark clouds and snowstorm covered the blue sky. A pair of footsteps trod hurriedly against the snow towards the door.

The moment they were close, the door opened in their presence. Not wanting to lose any seconds, they made a quick dash into the entrance.

Once the door behind them closed, the pair were breathing heavily. The orange-haired girl wearing a white coat and black pleated skirt, whined while panting, “Oh… My god…. That was close, Ritsuka….!”

“You…. Don't say, Ritsuko…!” The raven-haired male teen panted. He was wearing the same white coat, but with dark-colored pants instead.

Taken her breath back, she glared at Ritsuka and chided, “Well, who was the one who can't wake up when I'm reminded to wake up early?”

“Remind me to have 10 alarm clocks blast beside my ears, Ritsuko,” Ritsuka suggested with a roll from his eyes. Though as she mentioned, he remembered the cause of their lateness.

A dream, a peaceful dream it was. A dream of a tower surrounded by flowers…

“Whatever you say. I'm not at fault if you can't hear them when being buried by books again, Ritsuka.” Ritsuko replied with a snark towards her older brother.

Walked towards the door in front of them, a voice spoke from the surroundings, “---Base sequence confirmed to be human genome. 

“---Spiritual Vessel's attribute confirmed to be Good Neutral. 

“Welcome to the museum of humanity's future. 

“This is the Human Continuation Facility, Chaldea.”

The siblings glanced one another with confusion. 

“Humanity Continuation?” Ritsuko voiced out.

“Maybe it's a group of mages doing a project in understanding human lifespan?” Ritsuka guessed and shrugged. 

He, too, confused as his younger sister of the robotic introduction.

Before them, two panel appeared raised from the ground side by side. On the panel, there was a green-lit up square area with a human palm shown. Saved their questions for later, the siblings went to the respective panel each.

Placed their hand to palm on the screen, a green circular light below them scanned from toe to the head. Followed by that, the same robotic voice called, “Name?”

“Fujimaru Ritsuka.”

“Fujimaru Ritsuko.”

Seconds later, the robotic voice replied to them, “Fingerprint authentication, vocal authentication, and genetic authentication all clear. 

“Magic Circuit measurement…… Completed.

“Registered name matches. You have been acknowledged as a member of the primates. Pleased to meet you. You are today's last visitor. Please have a good time here.”

The panel before them lowered and disappeared into the open hole. Once it closed, the siblings let out a sigh. Ritsuka was the first one to voice out, “Talk about lucky that they still accept us…”

“Maybe they weren’t so strict on lateness, consider the time they have given us.” Ritsuko agreed with a yawn escaped her lips. But, she then tilted her head and pondered, “But calling us primates…”

“You’d wonder if they are trying to mock every new employee to show their status,” Ritsuka suggested. That word didn’t escape from his ears too. It ticked them, but what better way to survive their first day of work was to accept it begrudgingly.

“My apologies,” The robotic voice returned seconds later and informed. “Another 180 seconds are needed to complete the admission procedure.”

“What?” Ritsuka and Ritsuko shouted in unison.

“During that time, please enjoy a mock battle.” As the robotic voice announced, the surrounding room changed. Ritsuka saw a faint blue light surrounded his sister. Ritsuko noticed too and realized her body digitized.

“Ritsuka–!” Ritsuko called out in panic, but her hand outstretched to her brother never reached to him. 

Before Ritsuka could reach for it, only the graze of her fingers touched his before disappearing.

“Ritsuko!” Ritsuka called out for his sister in the midst of the now white room.

The robotic voice announced, “Regulation: Senior Contracted Servants: Saber, Lancer, Archer.” 

Soon the room changes to an open-field with the robotic voice announced again. 

“Your score will not be recorded. Please feel free to enjoy it as you feel like. Booting Heroic Spirit Summoning System - Fate. We hope that you will have a good experience as a Master for these 180 seconds.”

-o-

A large room with a globe lit up with blue light, the blue rectangular holographic screen appeared and disappeared by the command in the room. Inside the room behind the globe, voices of worry and fear echoed.

“The Shiva Lens has detected an abnormality!”

“Coordinates confirmed!”

“Abnormal value rising!”

One after another, workers in turquoise- and orange-colored uniform typing anxiously on the keyboard. 

Their eyes shifted often between the screen and the large globe outside the room.

“Laplace is getting a read on the situation.”

“Hurry!”

In the center, a white long single braided-haired woman wearing a black coat and orange dress stood. She was biting the nails on her thumb, orange orbs focused right at the globe too. Her jaw dropped open, muttered, “The light…”

Behind her, a man dark prune messy long-haired wearing a green top hat and matching coat stood up from his seat. He spoke towards the woman in front of him, “Chaldeas was created from a reproduction of Earth’s soul. If the light of that civilization is extinguished…”

The white-haired woman turned around with a confident posture. “Gather humans who are Master potentials right now! We’ll move from Rayshift experiments to actual use!”

Faced back at the globe, her orange orbs gazed with a determined expression. “Unless we regain the light of Chaldeas, humanity has no future.”

-o-

“My my, what a unique meeting we have, Master. I foresee our meeting would be much later with your sister together. But, this itself is an interesting outcome too.”

“Who on earth…?” Ritsuka wondered in his thought.

Despite his body feeling heavy, Ritsuka tried to open his eyes. His blue orbs only noticed a blur gaze of what seems of flower petals fluttering in the sky. His nose smelled fresh scents from the surrounding flowers.

He remembered coming out of the simulation, and into a hallway. Ritsuka remembered he needed to find his sister who disappeared beside him. Next thing, he realized he was here and…

He focused on the blurred hooded cloak figure standing above him. He was unable to make out the rest of the features, only the serene smile.

The figure once again spoke in a refreshing tone, “Looks like you’re still walking between the line of reality and dream. Perhaps, our formal meeting would be of another time when you dream in your slumber.”

Before Ritsuka could even ask, he found his eyes heavy and drifting back to darkness. The figure crouched down and put their hands over his eyes and chuckled, “I see that my companion is here to wake you. Till we meet again, young Master of Humanity’s hope…. Fujimaru Ritsuka-kun.”

-o-

“Fou……? Kyu…… Kyu?

“Fou! Fuu, Fou!”

“What’s…… That sound… Some… Animal?” Ritsuka thought.

He groaned when he felt something licked his cheek. Opened his blue orbs, he noticed a white squirrel-like creature looking at him. Before he could learn anything, it at once leaped off from him.

Ritsuka shifted his view and found a girl crouched down before him. The girl had pale violet bob hairstyle with her fringe covering her right eye.

She wore a pair of spectacles, white-grey hoodie, and black office dress beneath it. In his eyes, she doesn’t seem like being a staff here. But also, she didn’t seem to be a new employee that just joined too.

“Uhm, it’s neither morning nor nighttime, so please wake up, Senpai.” The girl said to him, noticing Ritsuka was still showing a drowsy expression.

Blinked his eyes twice, her words processed into his mind. Ritsuka tried to sit up but staggered as his body wasn’t fully awake yet. Once in a comfortable person, he asked, “Who are you…?”

“That’s a hard question to ask suddenly. Maybe I’m not important enough for you to know my name?” The girl answered with a polite yet blunt tone.

“Huh?” Ritsuka leaned his head forward, confusion and doubt worn on his face.

Noticed the change in his expression, she corrected, “No, I do have a name. I do have a proper name. But I never had the chance to use it… I’m afraid I don’t leave a good first impression…”

Ritsuka sighed, thought to himself, “There’s more to a first impression than just telling your name…”

With a quick glance of his position, he shook his head to rid of the drowsiness then asked, “Where are we?”

“Right. That’s a simple question. I really appreciate it,” The girl replied. “This is the passageway from the front gate to the Central Command Room, which is in front of the Main Chaldea Gate.”

“Uh huh…” Ritsuka nodded to himself.

“Ahem. Anyway, can I ask you a question, Senpai?” The girl asked again a second later.

“Sure.”

“You were asleep, but I don’t see why you’d sleep in the hall.” The girl wondered.

“Did I sleep here?” Ritsuka repeated her question in his mind. Another glance of the area, he definitely wasn’t at the entrance after thinking with a clearer mind. If that’s true, then the dream of the robed man told him was true.

“Can you not sleep unless you’re on a hard bed?” She asked again with a blunt tone.

As though on instinct, he replied with a snark, “Yes, actually. If it’s not a tatami, I would bother my sister– Ritsuko!”

Remembered his reason for leaving the gate, Ritsuka quickly stood up to resume his search for his sister. But, the sudden drowsiness hit his head.

The girl let out a quiet gasp and reached her arm out to steady him, “Are you alright, Senpai?”

“Fou, fou!” The white squirrel creature squeaked worriedly.

-0-

Escorted Ritsuka further down in the passageway, they stopped at a bench area with a vending machine beside it. Once the young girl set him down, she headed to the machine and pushed for a drink.

Returned with a mineral water bottle, Ritsuka took the handed bottle and mouthed a quiet ‘thanks’ to her. Without ado, he twisted open and gulp it down as though he never drank for days.

In silence as she watched, Ritsuka drank finish the whole bottle and heaved a sigh. She queried to him, “Are you feeling better, Senpai?”

“Yeah, thanks for the help. I appreciate it.” Ritsuka nodded with a smile. But, there was still fatigue within him. His lips showed a tired and weak smile.

“Fou! Kyuuu~! Kao!” The white squirrel creature squeaked and went to its companion.

“I completely forgot. I still haven’t introduced you yet, have I, Fou?” She turned back to Ritsuka and introduced, “This squirrel-like creature is Fou.

“He’s a Privileged Life-Form allowed to walk freely around Chaldea. Fou led me here, and that’s how I ran into you, Senpai.”

With a nod of understanding from Ritsuka, Fou squeaked, “Fou. Mmkyu, Fou!”

Fou jumped off from the girl and ran off to somewhere. As she noticed Ritsuka’s curious expression, she answered, “He ran off somewhere again. He does that sometimes, just walks around.”

“I’ve never seen an animal like that,” Ritsuka said, turning his focus back to her.

“Yes, he normally doesn’t go near anyone aside from me, but he seems to like you, Senpai. Congratulations. Now you shall be the second caretaker of Fou in Chaldea.”

At her smile, Ritsuka returned with a wry smile. “I’m not sure if I’m honored to be a caretaker…. Ah, that’s right!”

His hand outstretched to her, he introduced himself, “I’m Fujimaru Ritsuka. Ritsuka is just fine. I didn’t make a good first impression, but please take care of me.”

Examined his hand for a moment, she looked to see the friendly smile on him. A moment later, she took his hand and smiled, “Please take care of me too, Ritsuka-senpai.”

“Senpai, huh..?” Ritsuka wondered with curiosity after being constantly addressed as that title.

“Come to think of it. Senpai, were you looking for this Ritsuko-senpai earlier?”

“Yes. She’s my sister who came with me together today. She was at the first gate with me earlier but she–!”

“Ritsuka!” A familiar worried and relief voice shouted at him.

As he turned around, a familiar orange-haired girl ran and gave him a brief hug. Ritsuka returned it before his attention focused on the coming footsteps.

Within view, an unknown top green hat man with dark prune long messy haired man and eyes closed approached them. He then said, “Ah, that’s where you were, Mash. That won’t do, you know, wandering around without permission…”

When he noticed Ritsuko and her brother, he spoke, “I see, you’ve found your brother, Ritsuko-kun. You’re……”

“Thank you for bringing my sister here, sir. I’m sorry for the trouble I’ve caused on the first day.” Ritsuka bowed from his sitting position.

The man nodded in understanding, “I see, you’re the rookie who just got assigned here. I’m Lev Lainur. one of the technicians employed here. And your name is?”

“Fujimaru Ritsuka pleased to meet you,” Ritsuka answered.

“Hm, Ritsuka-kun,” Raised his right hand up, the wristwatch on his wrist showed a holographic identity card of Ritsuka. “So you’re the last of the 48 candidates invited here. But, that’s strange…

“Your sister is the 48th candidate… No matter. Welcome to Chaldea. I’m glad you’re here. I heard you and your sister was selected out of many public applicants, how long was the training?

“A year? 6 months? 3 months?” Lev asked.

Despite it’s a polite question he asked with a matching smile, both Ritsuka and Ritsuko flinched in synch. Ritsuko smiled and said, “Well, we’re selected no doubt as you said…”

“But, we got 30 minutes to zero experience. Considering both of us stalked by your staff in pressuring us to join,” Ritsuka thought. A strong temptation he had to give that honest reply.

But, he smiled like his sister and added, “I’ll leave that to your imagination.”

Lev chuckled and raised one of his brows amusedly, “I see that you already know how competitive it is in here. You’re going to hide your info from your rivals?”

“Well…”

Mash’s voice interjected Ritsuka’s words, “Dr. Lev, Ritsuka-senpai, and Ritsuko-senpai training were less than a few hours. I think it’s from their embarrassment.”

With the cat out of the bag, Ritsuka flinched and sigh to concede. Ritsuko nodded and said, “She’s right. We have no experience and lack of training too for this job.”

“Oh? Well, now… I see,” Lev nodded in understanding and explained. “We had an emergency opening for applicants to fill out numbers. So you’re one of them.”

“That’s right,” Ritsuka answered with his sister nodded in agreement.

“So, you two were part of them? Do forgive me, I was inconsiderate,” Lev apologized, but, he showed towards the siblings an assured smile. “But please don’t be discouraged because both of you are a public applicant. We need all of you for this mission.

“38 elite mages, plus 10 talented public applicants… Or, 11 public applicants now. Somehow, we were able to gather all possible candidates. That’s something to rejoice over. This year, 2016, all possible candidates capable of Spiriton Dives were brought to Chaldea.

“If there’s something both of you don’t understand, feel free to ask Mash or myself anytime.”

At that friendly smile, the pair brightened up with a smile. Ritsuko replied, “Thank you very much, Prof. Lev!”

“Thank you for the help, Prof Lev,” Ritsuka replied with a small bow.

“Hmm? Come to think of it, what were you talking about with him, Mash?” Lev now turned his focused on the bespectacled girl, rubbing his chin. “That’s not like you. Did you know each other before?”

“No, I’d never met Ritsuka-senpai before. I saw Ritsuka-senpai sleeping here, so I just…” Mash shook her head.

“Sleeping? Ritsuka-kun was asleep, here?” Lev’s tone laced with complete surprised and astounded.

Ritsuko tugged her brother’s shoulder, repeated, “You’re sleeping here?! And, I ran through the hallways just to find you, Ritsuka!”

“H-Hey! It’s not like I wanted to, you know. That simulation from earlier had worn me, but…” Ritsuka let another yawn escaped his lips. “I didn’t think they’d drained out of most of my energy.”

“And you’re certain it’s not from the lack of sleeping from reading again?” Ritsuko narrowed her eyes, raised her finger up to poke his cheek.

“Yes, I’m certain, Ritsuko,” Ritsuka rolled his eyes.

Realized what they meant, Lev interjected, “Ahh, both of you went through the simulation when you entered, right?”

From the nod of their head, Lev showed an assured smile again, “Spiriton Dives can get to you if you’re not used to them. After the simulation, the gate must’ve opened, and you walked over here before you returned to consciousness. It’s a type of sleep-walking. When you fell, Ritsuka-kun, that was when Mash spoke to you.”

Nodded his head, Ritsuka acknowledged, “Well, that makes sense…”

“Except, for that weird guy. How did he know I was sleep-walking?” Ritsuka wondered in his mind but left that for later. As he stood up, a dizzy spell hit into his head. Before he collapsed to the ground, Ritsuko caught hold both of his shoulders.

“Ritsuka, are you really okay?!” Ritsuko’s asked with a worried tone.

Ritsuka shook his head and smiled, “Yeah. Maybe sitting for too long was a bad idea.”

The pale color of his face and the weak smile didn’t convince anyone. Lev approached Ritsuka and said, “You seem to be fine as you said, but I’d like to take you to the infirmary just in case…”

Before Lev could take Ritsuka’s arm, a beeping alarm sounded from his watch. He raised and look at his watch, and his brows furrowed after what he had read. Lev faced back to the siblings and said, “Sorry, hang in there a little longer. The Director’s orientation is about to start. Both of you should hurry over.”

“Director?” Ritsuka repeated.

“The Director’s the director. The person in charge of Chaldea, and the commander of our special missions. Since you’re a rookie from the public, you may have only seen the pamphlet?” Lev explained.

At their synched nods, Mash nodded in understanding, “It would appear so. Since the Director’s profile hasn’t been made public. Senpais has no connection to the Director. Only mages from families that have been around for a century show respect to the Animusphere names.” 

“Well, whether you know the Director or not, it doesn’t affect your work as a Master, so it’s not a problem. But it’s good to not get on her bad side. If you wish to work in a peaceful environment, better hurry.”

“H-Hang on! What’s this orientation about in the first place?” Ritsuko clarified quickly, noticing both Mash and Lev were about to walk off.

Lev stopped and turned to Ritsuko, explained, “I almost forgot, do forgive me. The orientation is to greet the Master candidates assigned here today like the both of you, Ritsuko-kun, Ritsuka-kun.

“In other words, it’s for the big boss to welcome the careless newbies. Since the Director is not the type to forgive and forget if you show up late, you’ll be on her radar for the entire year. The orientation begins in five minutes in the Central Command Room. Go straight down this hall. Hurry.”

“R-Right, thanks! Can you walk, Ritsuka?” Ritsuko turned to her brother.

Ritsuka gave a weak nod, answered, “Yeah…”

Noticed the worried expression remained on Ritsuko’s face, Mash turned to Lev, “Dr. Lev, do you think I’ll be allowed to sit in on the orientation, too?”

“Hmm? Well, if you stand back way in a corner, I think she’ll look the other way.” Lev answered as a memory flashed in mind, but also gained curiosity at her request, “But why?”

Mash turned her head to the siblings. “I just thought I should help Ritsuko-senpai to bring Ritsuka-senpai to the Command Room. It’s possible she would have trouble that Ritsuka-senpai might fall asleep on the way again.”

The professor brows furrowed with worry. “Hmm… If I leave you alone like this the Director might yell at me… I should tag along, eh?”

Decided to another smile, Lev said, “Well, if that’s what you want to do, Mash, go ahead. You okay with that, Ritsuko-kun?”

“A-Ah, yes!” Ritsuko turned to Mash and bowed her head, “Thank you for the help, Mash-chan!”

“I’ll be in your care then, Mash…” Ritsuka gave a weak smile as thanks to the bespectacled girl.

With a nod, Lev spoke, “Let’s head to the command room, shall we?”

Ritsuko put one of her brother’s arm over her shoulder, while Mash put over the other. The three followed Lev leading them with a brisk walk at a careful pace.

End of Fuyuki Prologue part 1

Chapter Text

Inside the elevator going downwards, the Fujimaru siblings looked at the exterior in awe. 

Ritsuko’s eyes sparkled in amazement, while Ritsuka’s mouth gaped in surprise.

The large globe and holographic technology used were far different from their daily lives. 

But, what amazed them was that there was Chaldea staff levitating and moving objects without physical energy.

Watching them as they reacted and chatted the other with bright smiles, Lev chuckled and called to their attention. “Before we head in, is there anything else you want to know?”

At that question, the pair turned and pondered. But, Ritsuka already had a question he’s been wondering, asked, “Why is Mash calling us Senpai?”

“Now you mentioned, she’s been calling you that. And, me as well!” Ritsuko remembered on being referred as ‘Senpai’ when she bumped into Mash and her brother.

The said culprit remained silence, looking at them with a blank expression. Despite that, there was a faint embarrassed blush on her cheeks. Lev stepped in and assured, “Oh, don’t worry about it. To her, every human your age is her senpai.

“But it’s unusual to hear her actually call someone that. This might be the first time. Actually, I’m intrigued,” Lev turned his head to her and asked, “Say, Mash, why do you call them Senpai?”

“The reason?” Lowered her head, Mash paused for a moment before replying. “Ritsuka-senpai and Ritsuko-senpai are the most human-like person I’ve ever met.”

A surprised reaction shared among Lev and Fujimaru siblings. Lev prodded with more curiosity, “Hmm. Which means?”

Mash glanced at the pair and corrected with a smile, “I don’t feel threatened. So, there’s no reason for me to be hostile.”

“I see, that is important!” Lev gave a nod of understanding and laughed. “People at Chaldea are all a piece of work! I agree with you, Mash. I think you three will get along just fine!”

With a glance at each other, Ritsuko laughed and added, “So, that’s the reason! The only thing to be hostile is when Ritsuka is on his 100% bookworm mode. He could spend 2 nights without sleeping just to read and do his research on historical figures lore.”

“Please. I’m not the one who not only skip classes and spend the nights away for an MMO PVP match. It’s a miracle you could still pass in those major semester,” Ritsuko folded his arms and rolled his eyes.

“You jerk!”

“But, you still love me, sis.” Ritsuka winked in amusement at his sister’s outburst.

As they continued their teasing, Lev laughed to himself at the siblings. Mash, who was in deep thought, spoke, “If you like Senpais Dr. Lev, the Director will probably hate Senpais.”

“Huh?” Ritsuka and Ritsuko stopped their teasings to focused their attention on the bespectacled girl.

Mash turned to them and suggested with a tilt of her head. “Well, why don’t we hide in the restroom to boycott the orientation, then?”

“B-Boycott?!” Ritsuka shook in astonishment, worry also confusion rose within his mind.

Lev gave positive and an assured grin, as he responded, “That will only make the Director’s more upset. We’re going to have to leave it to fate.”

Faced towards the siblings, the smile had hinted now with playfulness in his mood. “Shall we jump into the lions’ den, Ritsuka-kun, Ritsuko-kun? Hey, once you get used to her, she can be a pretty sweet person.”

“Ah… Hah…” Ritsuko exhaled a breath, with one of her eyes twitching. Oh boy, the first day of employment and troubles loomed before it started.

-0-

Inside the place, there was a stage with rows of seats filled up with recruited Master candidates. On the stage, a silvery-haired woman standing and waiting for the last two vacant spots to fill finished.

“Your number, Senpais,” As they arrived, Mash gave a swift glimpse and turned to them. “Single digit, both of you are in the front row. Take an empty seat in the front row.”

With a nod, the siblings mouthed a ‘thanks’ and headed to their seats. But as they were to go, Another dizzy spell strike Ritsuka and faltered before being held up by his sister.

“Ritsuka?!” Ritsuko panicked at her brother’s abrupt change of his condition.

Mash approached him and recognized it too, “Ritsuka-senpai? You’re looking a bit pale…”

Ritsuka shook his head to clear of vertigo, but it merely became worse by his action. “Sorry, I’m starting to space out again…”

 “It’s an aftereffect of the simulator.” 

At Ritsuko’s furrowed eyebrows, Mash explained to her, “It’d be best to bring him to the infirmary…”

Before Ritsuka could persuade them, he felt something jabbed at his back. His blue orbs moved to catch the silvery-haired woman standing on the stage was giving them an annoyed glare.

Noticed this, Lev approached them and told, “No more small talk. See, the orientation’s already begun.”

Without an alternative, Ritsuko aided her brother to their seat while the other two headed to the back.

A glance to examine every seat was occupied, the silvery-haired woman talked, “Well, that wasn’t on time, but looks like we’re all here now. Welcome to Special Organization, Chaldea. I’m the director, Olga Marie Animusphere.

“You have been selected or discovered from each nation for the rare talent you possess. 

“By talent, I mean the potential to do a Spiriton Dive. 

“You possess magical circuits and the qualifications to become a Master.

“That being said, it’s a special talent, but you yourselves are not special people. Make yourselves aware that you are no more than tools whose sole purpose is to protect humankind’s history.”

With no less than a second, gossips chatter among the recruits.

“Geez…”

“Tools?”

“What does that mean?”

The siblings were no exemption as Ritsuko grumbled. “Gee, talk about a bitchy supervisor to have on your first day of duty.”

“She’s apparently the ones who… Are harsh and stubborn on the outside… But,” Another silent yawn escaped Ritsuka’s lips. “Also… The ones who are more bitchy and miserable in… The… Inside…”

Turned over, Ritsuko’s eyes widened at looking at her brother’s head ready to nod away to dreamland. She rocked his shoulder and warned, “O-Oi, Ritsuka! W-We’re still in the orientation!”

“I… Know…” Ritsuka nodded. But, the response he came back had him nodding his head off. He leaned back on the seat and shook his head, “I’m awake? Awake and most attention!”

“Okay then…” She reluctantly gave a nod before shifting back to the front. Though as predicted, Ritsuka found his eyes heavy and ready to shut closed.

In less than a second, Ritsuka’s vision turned black and the voices surrounding drowned into nothingness.

-0-

“Oh dear, Master. This is a disturbing situation now.”

“What on earth?!” Ritsuka awakened with confusion and surveyed his present location. Instead of the command room, he met the familiar view from his dream.

The tall tower stood big in the heart of the flower field. Bright and sunny blue sky in opposition to the gray clouds and snowstorm before he entered Chaldea. With a stride forward, he thought to himself, “Where am I…?”

“A place that your spirits wander freely with comfort, Ritsuka-kun.” The refreshing voice uttered then.

Spun around, there was an obscure male figure wearing a white garment and black-colored pants sitting on top of a boulder. In his grip, there was what showed to be a magic staff leaning against his shoulder.

Ritsuka leaned his head to view the face, but he had worn up his hood the only showed tuff of white-colored hair and his tranquil smile. With a gulp swallowed, he approached the figure and asked, “How did you know my name? And, who are you?”

“I’ve observed you and your sister from the beginning of the universe to the very edge, Ritsuka-kun. If I claim I’m a god, where do you see this place is?” The cloaked figure smiled at him.

Ritsuka narrowed his eyes with doubt and said, “Then you’d be deceiving if you claim yourself a god. Ones who announce themselves that are the Devil in legend–!”

Flinched upon realization, he exclaimed in panic, “I-I-I’m in Hell, no wait, at Hell’s entrance?! I’m absolutely dead?!!”

“And, at a rather young age, indeed. You have died in your slumber while the Director was making her speech… Quite a rebellious and naughty soul, we have.” The hooded figure smiled care freely at his distress.

“H-Hah?! You had to be joking!”

“I don’t make a joke at all, Ritsuka-kun. It’s tragic frankly, your sister bawled in tears and refused to leave your side when she knew.” The hooded figure smiled wider at his outburst.

“No way,” Ritsuka slumped down onto his knees. His hands scratched at the ground as he weakly muttered. “I died… And, Ritsuko was left behind there all alone. Because I died and left her alone…”

“…. Hehehe… Hahaha!”

“What?” Swung his head over, the hooded figure before him laughed out loud while one of his fist gripping his gut.

The laughed soon faded as he grinned at him, “I was jesting as you asserted, Ritsuka-kun. You’re not dead, but rather, you are inside your dream. I spoke of before we would meet again, wouldn’t we?”

Realization dawned on him he was being deceived, Ritsuka stood up and scowled at him. “Thus that would clarify that you recognized from the start I was sleepwalking earlier, didn’t you? Who are you and where precisely is this place?”

The hooded figure rose up and strolled to the side. “To your initial question, I observe everything from the visions of past, present, and future in this world of the island of the farthest islands you’re in.

“As an observer with one of my many visions, we would meet in the future far later that has been set by fate. Hence, it was how I learned your name, Ritsuka-kun. Before the simulation, you showed up last night.

“Your spirit must’ve wandered unconsciously to you here, which shaped both present and future of your fate.”

With an acknowledgment as he understood, he made another glance before inquiring, “But, why here?”

“Hmm,” The hooded figure lifted his finger and set on his chin. “Perhaps, it’s still related to what I had foreseen. The fact your sister discovered that pamphlet bringing you here are tasks I’m to act.”

“And that’s…?”

Turned to face Ritsuka, the hooded figure said in a mysterious tone, “Your paths and mine are not yet to cross, for now, Ritsuka-kun. But perhaps something within you led you here.”

“So, if this fate you did alter the future of our meeting… Then,” He laughed at Ritsuka’s surprise reaction when he appeared behind him. “From this period forth, you’re my pupil and Master, Ritsuka-kun.”

At the stretched-out hand from him, Ritsuka stared at it while thinking, “Apprentice… Master…. Fate… Soul…. Meeting…. Dream….”

“Eh… EHHH?!!!” When he eventually realized what the words meant, Ritsuka instinctively yelled into the sky. He sputtered in his words as he asked, “H-Hold on, why me?! First, you mentioned something led me here, no? What on earth is it and why?!”

The hooded figure chuckled again at his outburst, “Your own subconscious will, Ritsuka-kun. 

“That will must have several times, stimulated your magic circuits and led you here. A special magic circuit that supported you from the magical energy here from being dead too.”

“My wish brought me here? What about my sister?” Ritsuka asked. But, he still unable to fathom of here of all places. Yet, he’s not protesting at the serene environment that soothed his mind.

The hooded figure responded, “Your sister has her own particular magic circuits, Ritsuka-kun. 

“But, her magical energy isn’t like yours which isn’t strong to reach here subconsciously.”

“I understand now…” Ritsuka nodded.

With another enigmatic grin, the hooded figure told Ritsuka, “You don’t have to decide now, Ritsuka. 

“Both of your fates are only a beginning, perhaps at the next slumber, an answer would have arrived at you.”

“How do I know you’re not a villain seeking to get me or my sister?” Ritsuko doubted with his blue orbs narrowed.

“I like the world of humans very much, Ritsuka-kun,” The hooded figured smiled with an answer. But, he raised his finger up and revised in a lighthearted manner. “But when it comes to each of them individually, I’m relatively, look, well, yeah! Okay, I suddenly feel that some things are better left unsaid!”

“Suspicious…” The sole comment Ritsuka gave in his mind at his declaration.

Approached him, the hooded figure laughed, “How about this? Why don’t I give you two homework to work on as your guide before our next encounter, Ritsuka-kun?”

“O-Oi! I didn’t approve that you’re my guide, whoever you are!”

“Now, now, it’s not a difficult task for someone as bright as you,” With a wave of his wand, a cool breeze blew against them. The hooded figure revealed, “But, it’s still challenging for your first exercise, so I shall present you a hint.”

Cleared his throat, the hooded figure same cryptic yet stern tone, “In the turning events, a terrible catastrophe before on you and the world. 

“The tragedy is inevitable, true faces exposed in a sinister light, and a path to a remarkable adventure will arrive before you.

“In that adventure, sorrow with grief and tragic ends will inevitably be there. Yet, as long as you don’t lose sight of the path you’ve determined. The path you’ve walked will be the most extraordinary adventure of your life.

“In the subsequent hours, you and your sister will enter into a contract to turn into a Master, after which you will come back here at the end of the anomality. Until again,” As he spun to Ritsuka, the hooded figure waved his hand to him. “I shall be expecting, Ritsuka-kun.

When he looked at the hooded figure leaving, Ritsuka tried to follow him, “Wait! I understand nothing of it! Please wait–!”

BAM!

At that sudden force, Ritsuka found himself being shoved back into the darkness again. 

-0-

“Ritsuka! Can you hear me, Ritsuka?!” A familiar, worried voice crying out to him.

Another familiar emotionless voice called to him, “Are you all right, Senpai?”

With a sweeping glance from his eyes, Ritsuka noted he had come back to reality with Mash and Ritsuko before him. This wasn’t the Command Room with the Orientation. He was lying on the ground of passageway. Also, there was a fresh stinging pain of a red handprint on his right cheek.

Seconds afterward, he groaned as he realized upon wincing at the red mark from his hand, “Uh-oh…”

“And that’s how you ruin your initial image on the first day 101,” Ritsuko sighed exasperatedly at her brother.

Mash nodded and revealed to the awakened candidate, “It seemed like you were in REM sleep… Anyway, the Director’s slap seemed to wake you up completely. Thank goodness.”

“Now I’m fully awakened, could it be possible to charge her for physical abuse of employees?” Winced again at the pain when he touched it, Ritsuka grumbled. “For someone who grew up wealthy, she clearly doesn’t know how to wake someone up like an ordinary person.”

“I’m pretty confident it would fail on us considering how rich they are. Pieces of evidence we presented would be lies for falsely implicating the director like on TV shows.” Ritsuko mentioned with a shook of her head.

At a sigh heaved to himself, Ritsuka wondered in his head. “Looks like whatever homework given from him, I need to finish before I can pull any answers out of him. There are a lot of questions I need to know of him, us, and this job we’re working at.”

The raven-haired candidate turned to Mash and, “How did the Orientation go, Ritsuko?”

“You’ve been left out of the first mission, Senpai. Ritsuko-senpai and I planned to take you back to your room,” With a smile, she saluted the way with her hand, “Let’s go, Ritsuka-senpai.”

-0-

At a room's entrance in the passageway, Mash walked ahead to bring the Fujimaru siblings to their destination. Once reached, she turned around and announced, “We’ve reached our destination. This is your room, Ritsuka-senpai.”

“Thanks for coming all this way, Mash,” Ritsuka smiled and bowed at her.

As Mash shook her head she acknowledged with a smile, “It’s fine. If you ask me, Senpais, I wouldn’t mind even if it’s treating both of you to lunch.”

As the siblings grinned at her, Ritsuko spun back to him and urged once more, “Ritsuka, are you sure you’ll be fine? I can elect myself out too, you know. I’m worried if something cropped up to you if I’m on a mission…”

“It's fine, Ritsuko,” Ritsuka laughed and rubbed his sister’s head. “If anything, it’s going to be the slap that Director gave swelled up when I wake up from a nap.”

“Gee, you’re exaggerating too much!” Ritsuko laughed at her brother’s cynical antics, a relief his sister had cheered up a little. She moved to Mash and turned to him, “Then I’ll be leaving, okay!”

“Take care!” Ritsuka replied, he turned to Mash and bowed. “I’ll leave my sister in your care then, Mash.”

“Understood, Ritsuka-senpai.” Mash replied. The pair turned to leave as Ritsuka entered the room.

-0-

“Ritsuko-senpai, do you have questions before we moved to the mission?” Mash asked as she turned to her while going down the corridor.

Closed her eyes for a moment to contemplate, Ritsuko turned to her and replied, “The Director had pointed out about this magic circuit earlier… What is it, really?”

“A simple question, thank you. A magic circuit is a pseudo-nervous system that spreads itself through the human body. This magic circuit is what qualifies a person to be a mage and Master.”

Mash nodded to herself, she went on. “The normal functions are to act as paths that convert Life Force into magical energy, to learn how to control it and use it to perform Magecraft.”

“I see,” Ritsuko nodded as she understood her answer. But, she paused in her tracks which made Mash curious upon why. She grasped hold of Mash’s shoulders and shouted, “Ritsuka and I are capable to perform magic? We’re just ordinary people, how could we be Mages?!”

“Yes, Ritsuko-senpai. In the world of Magecraft, an ability is a given, but lineage says a lot as well.” Mash was unfazed by the astonished reaction of the candidate and went on. “The Director is the head of the Animuspheres, a distinguished family of Mages.

“She indeed has a strong predilection for bloodlines. 

“Many potential Masters were needed after moving the Rayshift’s experimental stage to practical use. 

“But only a handful of Mages had that potential.”

“So that’s why ordinary people like us were so aggressively recruited,” Ritsuko nodded again to herself. But, the distasteful memory of what she told caused her shudder in fear.

Mash’s head bowed down a little, she asked in a quiet tone, “Will you and Ritsuka-senpai leave Chaldea? Because of what Director did…?”

“Eh?” She fluttered her hands fervently as she reassured. “No, no! Well, nothing has decided for sure yet. If it’s Ritsuka, that guy doesn’t take it to heart despite his remarks. She may have gone too far there… But Ritsuka, he isn’t one to give up just because of this.

“Right now, we want to do what we can here. I brought him into this mess here, so he and I would prefer to stick it to the end.”

At her grin, Mash returned a smile back, “I understand, then I’m glad, Ritsuko-senpai.”

Unknown to the bespectacled girl, Ritsuko stared at for a minute before muttering aloud, “Cute…”

“Eh?”

Realized what she murmured, Ritsuko’s cheek tainted with red and corrected, “S-Sorry! T-That was a slip of my tongue, Mash-chan.”

“Mash-chan…?” Mash tilted her head curiously.

“Eh? A-Ah sorry, since you helped my brother and I… And,” With a nervous gulp, she scratched her cheek nervously with a slight hue of red blush. “It makes us friends, right? If you don’t like the suffix, I could always–!”

“No, Ritsuko-senpai.” Mash shook her head, gave her a bright smile. “I’m glad that a Senpai like you would look at me a friend. So, please call me that if you like, Ritsuko-senpai.”

A grin brimmed with delight, Ritsuko grabbed her hand and replied, “Thank you, Mash-chan!”

Before Mash was to add anything, she spun to her right and muttered in surprise. “Oh!”

“Fou!” The white squirrel creature dashing towards them.

As it leaped, Ritsuko shouted at the bespectacled girl, “Watch out!”

Fou landed right on her face. Unlike the shocked reaction, Mash had an emotionless face as she reassured, “No, no, this is normal. No problem at all!”

“O… Kay…” Ritsuka mumbled, viewing the squirrel creature crawled to Mash’s shoulders.

Mash gave a peek to make sure Fou was fully-settled on her shoulders and turned to Ritsuko. “Fou likes to attack my face, slide around my back, and settle on my shoulder.”

“So, you’re used to that, huh?”

“Yes, this squirrel-like beast is Fou.” Mash introduced it to Ritsuko, she lifted one of her fingers and rubbed its cheek. “It’s been a year Fou came to live here.”

“Fou,” Fou squeaked. It shifted to Ritsuko and hopped on her shoulders and squeaked. “Kuuu, Fou! Fou!”

“Hehe, how cute~” Ritsuko giggled and raised one of her fingers to rub its chin too.

As seeing her creature companion enjoyed her touches, Mash smiled at them and said, “Hmm, hmm. Apparently, Fou’s embraced you as one of his own too, Ritsuko-senpai. Congratulations, you’ve become Fou’s third caretaker in Chaldea.”

“I’m guessing Ritsuka was the second one, huh?” Ritsuko laughed. She stopped scratching Fou and shifted to Mash, “Oh yeah, are you the one who named him?”

Despite the abrupt query, Mash beamed and nodded. “That’s right. No special reason, the word ‘Fou’ is the first thing that popped into my mind. I’m impressed you knew, Ritsuko-senpai. I see you’re quite perceptive yourself.”

“Uh-uh,” Ritsuko shook her head, stared at the squirrel creature went to Mash. “I’m not that intuitive, Mash-chan. I couldn’t help but notice Fou showing deep affection to you earlier with that jump. So, I was thinking if you are his owner… Looks like I’m half-correct.”

“Fou. Kuuu, Fou! Fou!” Fou squeaked.

At her words, Mash reflected in her mind before inquiring, “Senpai.”

“Hmm?”

“Fou has taken a liking to you and treat you as one of his own. But can a squirrel who sees humans as rivals exist in this world?” Mash asked with her head tilted to her left.

Ritsuko sweatdropped at her blunt manner and countered, “Don’t look at me, I have no idea, Mash-chan.”

“Well, knowing Fou as I do, I’m sure he’ll forget it by tomorrow,” Mash described.

“What?! How mean!” Ritsuko complained, receiving a smile from Mash.

As they continued walking, Ritsuko and Mash talked on insignificant matters in mission matters and others. One of it being, Ritsuko learning that Mash was on the elite A-Team, while she was on B-Team for their mission.

End of Fuyuki Prologue part 2

Chapter Text

After bidding goodbye to his sister and Mash, Ritsuka entered his room. Taking a brief nap dashed off when he spotted with a deadpan face. The orange pinkish-colored messy ponytail haired man with green orbs stared back at him.

He was sitting on his bed with a laptop sitting on one of his folded legs. One of his white-gloved hands was carrying a half-eaten strawberry cake, the other holding a fork into his mouth. With the tea set, he had made comfortably well on his bed to unwind.

“E-Excuse me…” Ritsuka asked, still struggling to take in the sight he’s looking at. A crew of Chaldea was casually relaxing in his room.

“Yes… Come in…” The orange pinkish-haired man replied.

“Ah… Hah…”

Ritsuka stood there in silence as observing the man turned back to his laptop. The only noise that reverberated in the surrounding was a bright and peppy song with words of ‘Magi*Mari’ recurred.

A minute again, that said man turned back with his orbs widened in panic. He cried while pointed his fork at Ritsuka, “G-G-Guaah! Who are you?!”

The immediate reaction made Ritsuka jumped and landed his rear on the ground with a loud smack. As a groan slipped from his lips, the ponytail haired man proclaimed, “This is my ‘hooky hangout’!”

At much of struggling to sound intimidating, Ritsuka remained impassive and stared at him. As he realized, the ponytail man faced aside with a vexed frown on his lips. “Who gave you the permission to come in?”

“Someone’s that not your supervisor to catch you slacking off the job,” Ritsuka thought as he exhaled a sigh.

He came closer to the bedside and explained in a respectful manner, “I was informed that this was my room…”

“Your room? This place? Oh,” As the ponytail man realized, he lifted his hand that wore a wristwatch in front of Ritsuka. After the holographic identification card showed, he gave himself a face-palm for that outburst. “So, the last kid finally showed up…”

“Well, who are you?” Ritsuka’s eyebrows furrowed as he inquired for the identity of the strange crew.

“Nice to meet you, Fujimaru-kun. Didn’t think I would run into you like this, but,” The ponytail man faced Ritsuka and presented himself. “I’m the head of the medical department, Romani Archaman. For some reason, people just call me Dr. Roman.

“I don’t know why, but it’s easier to pronounce, so go ahead and call me Roman. Fact is, Roman has a nice ring to it, no? It sounds cool and vaguely sweet.”

“Head?!” At the pleasant friendly grin, Ritsuka froze on the spot at how screwed he was. The childish behavior caused him thought otherwise before introducing. But, he bowed. “S-Sorry to bother you when you’re taking a break…!”

“No, not at all. Really, I’m just a run-of-the-mill doctor.” Romani laugh while waving his hands to ensure the young candidate.

At the friendly grin on his face, Ritsuka couldn’t help but noticed the warmth that came out from the doctor. Unconsciously, he uttered in an audible volume, “The fluffy type, huh…”

“Fluffy?” Romani tilted his head.

Realized what he did, a crimson blush of embarrassment colored Ritsuka’s cheek. “S-Sorry, that’s a slip of my tongue there. Just ignore it, Dr. Roman…!”

“It’s fine,” Romani chuckled. He brought a free hand up to stroke his ponytail hair. “If it’s about my hair, I’m normally pretty busy so I just let it grow.”

“I see…” As Ritsuka nodded, he exhaled a relief in his mind. Though that wasn’t what he implied, it’s good the doctor didn’t grab hold of the meaning. Else, he’s digging his own grave in making his first day here worse.

Romani set his plate of cake on the bed and shifted back to Ritsuka. “By the way, isn’t the Rayshift starting soon? I heard all Master candidates were involved with that.”

Ritsuka raised his hand to the back and rubbed his head. “Actually…”

But, a laughter interrupted by the doctor. Romani grabbed a bundle of paper towel headed to the sink to soak it. “A-Anyway, I think get what’s going on. You’re the rookie who just got here then got on the Director’s bad side?”

Recognized that Romani’s green orbs examined at the particular area, Ritsuka realized the stinging pain subsided and put a wry smile, “Yeah…”

Romani approached him and stuck the warm wet towel on his red hand printed cheek. “Here. This should ease the swelling. Apply and leave it for 15 minutes every day, and it should disappear.”

“Thank you, Doctor Roman.” Ritsuka acknowledged and adjusted towel so it covered more of the area.

Romani grinned back and flexed his hand. A chair from opposite the bed pulled over and paused in front of the bed. With the doctor’s gesture, Ritsuka gave another nod and sat.

As the doctor turned to the espresso machine and pick up two cups, he said in a cheery tone, “Then you and I are alike. Just so you know, I got yelled at by her too.”

“Is that so…?”

Romani nodded assuredly and brought a mug to Ritsuka who uttered a ‘thanks’. “Since all the staff has been sent to help out, I had nothing to do. My job is to look after everyone’s health, but the machines are more accurate at reading the vitals of the mages who are in the Coffins.”

“The Director said,” Romani turned to the side and imitated Olga Marie’s posture. “‘When you’re here, Romani, everyone slacks off!’ Then, she threw me out. So I’ve been sulking here.”

The sad pout turned into a lively grin on Romani, spun back to Ritsuka. “But that’s when you showed up. This is what they called a blessing in disguise right. Since we both have nowhere to go. Why don’t we spend some time and deepen our friendship!”

Romani’s eyes closed with a large grin made Ritsuka stared at him for a minute. Seconds later, he laughed and admitted, “Sure, this is my room, so why not?”

“Yeah. So that means I’m visiting a friend’s room! Woo hoo! I’ve made a new friend!” Romani raised his cup and announced, “To a new friendship?”

The infectious smile made Ritsuka beamed and acknowledged, “To our friendship, Dr. Roman.”

Clang

Two cups knocked against each other, Romani pulled his back to down the hot chocolate. As Ritsuka sipped his, a thought came into his mind and asked, “Dr. Roman, may I ask a question?”

“What is it?” Romani returned to Ritsuka’s bed and seated down.

Gripped his mug a little tighter, Ritsuka asked, “They told my sister, and I were qualified to make a contract with a ‘Servant’, so the staff from here invited us. But, what’s Rayshifting?”

Blinked his eyes in shock, Romani queried, “H-Have you come here without knowing what you will do?”

“Well, they were particularly passionate about inviting us here,” Ritsuka chuckled.

“I see,” With a bright, eager grin, Romani began, “I’ll be glad to explain to you! 

“Chaldea is a research facility and observatory that gathers researchers of every stripe, from sorcery to science.

“All for the purpose of continuing the history of mankind long and strong. 

“Our top researchers have developed Chaldea, a global environmental model.”

“Chaldeas?” Ritsuka prodded.

“It was proposed that planet had souls, so this miniature Earth was reproduced to reflect that soul. 

“‘As long as the light of civilization burns in Chaldeas, humanity is guaranteed to last at least for another 100 years.’

“But, the light has begun to die. If the light disappears that means civilization will end. 

“According to our observations, humanity becomes extinct in December 2016,” Romani added.

“What? Humanity will extinct… In 2016?!” Ritsuka repeated with shock laced in his tone.

A grim expression showed on Romani’s face as he went on, “A close investigation of the report has revealed an unusual abnormality. 

“That’s Spatial Singularity F. 

“We determined from 2004 to 2016 CE, there was a rural city in Japan that was an ‘unobservable area’ and did not occur in history.

“Chaldea assumed this causes humanity’s extinction, and propose the Rayshift experiment to the United Nations, which gained approval. 

“Rayshift turns human into Spiritrons and sends them back into the past to intervene certain events.”

“So,” Rubbed his chin thoughtfully, Ritsuka clarified, “It’s like time travel?”

Romani nodded and continued, “By this means, we can transfer to the past and investigate the cause of the future’s disappearance, then destroy it. And that is the idea behind Rayshift, which Chaldea is trying to conduct.”

“So, we were able to join something that incredible?” Ritsuka’s voice astounded by the explanation. But, the mysterious hint from the hooded figure nagged him otherwise.

“Surprised?” Romani smiled.

“Yeah. So, time travel is actually possible now, huh,” Ritsuka nodded to himself.

At another acknowledgment, Romani questioned, “Now you brought up, you mentioned ‘we’… Your sister is here too?”

“Yeah. She’s on the first mission while I’m the one who got the Director’s bad side.” 

Remembered a thought, Ritsuka drew his hand out. “Sorry, I should say previously. I’m Fujimaru Ritsuka, you can call me ‘Ritsuka’ if it’s confusing to you with my sister and me.”

“I look forward to getting to know you then, Ritsuka-kun,” Romani grabbed his hand and shook it. After doing so, he grinned at him. “If you have any more questions of Chaldea, the healthy, diligent and hard-working doctor here will always be happy to answer any of them!”

-0-

30 minutes had occurred since Ritsuka fired endless questions to Romani. It was to kill time while finding out further about their work here. He was glad Romani had been enthusiastic to reveal all he needed to learn.

Romani concluded his explanation, “And so, that’s the structure of Chaldea. 

“An underground workshop built on a snowy top mountain 6,000 meters above sea level–!”

Brrr… Brrr…

Romani’s wristwatch lit up a flickering light. The doctor lifted up to look at the wristwatch flashed a holographic card of the caller ID from Lev and the symbol which read ‘Sound only’.

Lev’s voice said from the holographic, “Romani, we’re going to start the Rayshift soon. Could you come in case there’s an emergency?”

“Did something happen?” 

“A-Team’s in perfect condition, but B-Team on down is less experienced and they are displaying some slight abnormalities.”

With a minor pause, Lev’s voice proceeded, “It probably comes from anxiety. The inside of that Coffin is like a cockpit.”

At Lev’s worried tone, Romani’s eyebrows furrowed. “Hey Lev, I feel bad for them. Why don’t I give them some anesthesia?”

“Yeah, hurry, will you? If you’re in the infirmary, then you can get here in two minutes.”

“Okay!” Romani replied as the holographic vision returned inside his wristwatch.

Ritsuka who had been listening in from the start of the discussion, made a wry smile, “This isn’t the infirmary, is it?”

Romani flinched and raised one of his fingers with a tense smile, “P-Please don’t mention that… It’s gonna take five minutes from here, no matter what. A-And, I won’t get in trouble for being a little late. Besides, it sounds like A-Team isn’t having any issues.”

Determined to turn aside from the awkward topic, Romani mentioned, “Oh, the man I was talking to…”

“Professor Lev, right?” Ritsuka grinned when Romani confirmed his words. “I met him when he was helping my sister to search for me earlier. He said he was an engineer here.”

“An engineer? That was incredibly humble of him,” Romani chuckled. “He’s the mage who created the telescope to observe Chaldeas, the Near-Future Observation Lens, Sheba.

“A telescope used to watch that pseudo-planet, Chaldeas. 

“Sheba not merely observes Chaldeas but also serves as a surveillance system for most of this facility.

“Also, it was the previous director is the one who established the summoning/unsummoning system, which is the foundation of the Rayshift tech.

“To actualize that theory, the Pseudo-Spiritron Calculation—basically a supercomputer—was provided by the Atlas Academy. 

“All these extraordinary talents have been gathered to carry out this mission.”

“A… Amazing…!” Ritsuka uttered in admiration.

Romani grinned at the young candidate reaction and stood. “It’s pointless for an ordinary doctor like me to be there, but if I summoned, I must go, right?”

Shifted his head to Ritsuka, Romani said, “Thanks for chatting with me, Ritsuka-kun!”

“No, thank you too,” Ritsuka said. He stood up on instinct to send Romani off.

As Romani turned his head, he suggested, “When you get settled in, come by the infirmary. Next time, I’ll treat you to some yummy cake–!”

Boom! Click! Clack!

The explosion sound reverberated and lights blacked out.

“What is this?” Romani wary at the abrupt darkness in the room.

Ritsuka examined around and speculated, “A power outage?”

At his words, Romani turned over as he realized, “No, Chaldea shouldn’t have any power outages.”

In the next second, an electronic voice reported, “Emergency. Emergency. A fire has broken out in the Central Power Station and Central Command Room. Central Area’s containment wall will activate in 90 seconds. All staff must evacuate from Gate 2 at once.”

Both Romani and Ritsuka gasped in shock at the notice. 

The latter repeated with astonishment in his tone, “Fires?”

“Command Room…?” Ritsuka muttered and the mug in his hand slipped. The sound of its content spilled out wasn’t his primary attention. He realized as he recalled the two individuals who had gone there for their mission…

“In the turning events, a terrible catastrophe befalls on you and the world,” The hooded figure’s mysterious voice resounded in his thoughts.

“Ritsuko! Mash!” The two names shouted in Ritsuka’s heart. He rushed out without hesitation.

Romani noticed and called out to him, “Hey!”

The doctor too hurried and followed Ritsuka to the same destination they were heading to.

-0-

Footsteps dashed across as quick as their legs could move along the passageway. The evacuating Chaldea staff running out from the two stated location didn’t hinder them. Upon arriving at the gate, they dashed at the point it opened.

When arrived, they were met by the appearance of a war-zone. Rubbles of damaged roofs and walls scattered across the flooded room. As rubbles fallen to the ground, there were still fires blazing in different parts of the room.

“Horrible…” Ritsuka’s voice mustered to mutter at the sight he witnessed.

Swallowed a gulp, Romani tilted his head high and commented, “Only Chaldeas is safe.”

Followed his gaze, Ritsuka tilted his head high to examine the said black-colored globe remained untouched despite the casualties. 

Romani turned his head and surveyed the area, “This was where the explosion originated. 

“This was no accident, it was sabotage.”

“What?” Ritsuka focused his attention to the doctor.

The electronic voice declared, “Generator operation stopped. 

“Power level critical.” 

Both let out a small gasp and gaze at the black globe. Romani turned to the Command Room and exclaimed, “This is bad!”

Turned behind, Ritsuka gazed at the shattered glass broken by the explosion. 

Despite the visible holographic screen running, the announcement continued, “Switch to the backup generator, error. 

“Please make the switch manually.”

Romani turned back to Ritsuka and declared, “I’m heading down to the underground power station.”

As the doctor rushed off, Ritsuka turned and yelled, “Isn’t it dangerous?!”

“We can’t let Chaldea’s light go out,” Romani replied. He shifted to Ritsuka as the gate opened and advised. “Hurry and go back the way we came.”

“Dr. Roman!” Ritsuka yelled in trying to stop him. But, Romani had rushed off to fulfill the task required to do. With the gate sealed, Ritsuka now left alone in the burning room.

“Containment wall will close in 40 seconds. 

“Those remain in Central Area, evacuate immediately–!”

Ignored the announcement, Ritsuka had decided and sprinted forward. Hopped down and climbed up of each large debris, the sound of water splashing from his footsteps echoed the room. Ritsuka scanned from left to right and yelled, “Ritsuko! Mash!”

Rushed past each of the broken glass pods, Ritsuka stopped and spotted a figure inside it. He examined closer and recognized that it was one of the Master candidates like him and his sister. But by the shattered glass and their body position, they were unconscious from the explosion.

Feared for the worst result, Ritsuka dashed again once more but at a swifter pace. His head examined around as he yelled repeatedly, “Ritsuko! Mash! Where are you?!”

Unknown to him, another robotic voice declared, “System switching to the final phase of Rayshift. 

“Coordinates, AD 2004, January, 30th, Fuyuki, Japan.”

Caught his breath, Ritsuka scanned again and cried out, “Ritsuko! Mash!”

“Fou! Fou!” A weak animal squeak echoed the room.

Followed by a recognizable and panicked female voice responding to him, “R… Ritsuka…? R-R-Ritsuka is that you?!”

As Ritsuka turned and rushed to the source of the voice, the electronic voice proceeded, “Laplace’s shifting protection established. 

“Singularity’s additional factor slot secured. 

“Unsummon Program set. 

“Please start final adjustments.”

Stood above the massive debris, Ritsuka catching his breath met the two origins of the voices. Before him, Ritsuko wearing an orange-white fitting outfit trying to remove the large debris. Fou squeaking again and repeatedly to Mash who was trapped underneath a large debris.

“Ritsuko! Mash!” Ritsuka’s voice yelled at them, getting their attention.

“R… Ritsuka-senpai…?” Mash muttered, mustering her energy to move.

Ritsuko stopped her action and caught the sight of her brother moving to them. “R-R-Ritsuka!”

Upon reaching, Ritsuka’s orbs widened at the somewhat swollen eyes from Ritsuko. Her hands and body shivering as though she was to break down soon. He grasped hold of her shoulders lightly and asked, “Are you all right, Ritsuko?! What happened?”

Ritsuko mustered a shaky nod. “I-I’m fine, Ritsuka… We were about to start our mission. A-And, there was an explosion… B-But, Mash. S-She… She took me out of that pod when it happened. A-And, s-she shoved me when that rubble above her…”

Accompanied her gaze, Ritsuka jaw fell and eyes enlarged. The pool of blood beneath her spread, dyeing her clothes in blood red. Also, her torso covered in dust and bruises with her broken glasses.

“Hang in there, I’ll get you out now!” Ritsuka decided with a calm tone, swallowing a gulp.

“No, that’s…” Mash weakly opposed, watching Ritsuka stood up and moved to the debris.

Ritsuko turned back to the debris and settled, “I-I’ll help you too, Ritsuka!”

“Okay, you pick up the other side, Ritsuko!” Ritsuka ordered and knelt down.

As he reached the rubble, a burning pain scorched both his palms. Ritsuka pulled back and grimaced. It earned a worried expression from Ritsuko, “R-Ritsuka!”

“I’m fine,” Ritsuka assured, stretching his sleeves down to protect both his palms.

As Ritsuka grabbed hold of the debris, the siblings made their attempt to remove away from Mash. The attempt in doing so made Mash protested further, “It’s all… right. You can’t… save… me. Don’t mind me, please… Run.”

“And you’re coming with us, Mash!” Ritsuka groaned, focusing all his power on his arms.

Ritsuko nodded and agreed, mustering from her trembling hands to pick up the debris. “That’s right. We will not leave you here like this…! We’ll pull you out of here… And find help….!”

Mash weakly shook her head and insisted once more. “Please… Just run! There’s no–!”

“Forget it! We’re not leaving you here and that’s final!” Ritsuka and Ritsuko objected with a resolved expression. The pair drew a deep breath, and attempt to lift the large rubble again.

While doing so, a robotic voice abruptly announced, “Warning all observation staff. 

“Chaldeas’ state has changed.”

Turned to the globe, Mash gasped as her purple orbs widened. The Chaldea globe changed from earlier charcoal black, to an intense burning red globe. The announcement went on, “Now rewriting Sheba’s near-future prediction data.

“Unable to detect the existence of mankind 100 years in the near-future on Earth. 

“Unable to confirm human survivors. 

“Unable to guarantee mankind’s future.”

“Chaldeas… Has turned bright red,” Mash muttered. She shook her head then said, “No, never mind, that–!”

“Central Area, sealed.”

THUMP! CLICK!

As it announced, the echo of a large shutter landed on the ground accompanied by a click. The announcement followed up thereafter. “180 seconds till internal containment procedure.”

“It closed… The gate, they closed it,” Ritsuko muttered.

“They shut off, the area. Now, we can’t, get out,” Mash bowed her head and murmured, “Senpais… I’m sorry. Because of me…”

“Mash-chan…” Ritsuko turned her head to Mash.

Ritsuka shook his head and came back, “No, it’s…”

“In the subsequent hours, you and your sister will enter into a contract to turn into a Master. After which, you will come back here at the end of the anomality.

“In that adventure, sorrow with grief and tragic ends will inevitably be there. Yet, as long as you don’t lose sight of the path you’ve determined. The path you’ve walked will be the most extraordinary adventure of your life,” The hooded figure’s mysterious voice rang again his mind.

With a wry grin to himself, Ritsuka assured to them both. “We’ll figure it out.”

“Ritsuka…?” Ritsuko stared at her brother.

Sat on the ground before his sister and Mash, Ritsuka asked, “Are you two okay?”

“Yeah…” At her brother’s gentle grin, Ritsuko nodded and returned the same too.

Mash gave a weak nod and smile, “Yes… Thank you…”

The robotic voice announced, “Coffin vitals: Masters. 

“Baseline not reached.”

“Senpais…” Mash muttered with her head bowed down.

“Hm?” Ritsuka moved his orbs to the bespectacled girl.

Ritsuko tilted her head. “What is it, Mash-chan?”

“Mash-chan, huh…? Didn’t expect you move this fast, Ritsuko” Ritsuka turned back to her sister with a now mischievous smirk on his lips.

Rolled her eyes at the hidden meaning, Ritsuko snorted unladylike. “Oh please, we’re simply friends. And besides, she was the one who saved me earlier.”

“I see,” Shifting back to the bespectacled girl, Ritsuka grinned, “Thank you, Mash. I owe you again.”

Mash gave a weak shook of her head and replied, “No. Because Ritsuko-senpai… Is my friend after all… But…”

“We’ll figure this out,” Ritsuka reassured again. Though their present state caused him doubt their chances of getting out alive.

Strangely, the hooded figure showed him the courage to consider otherwise as he thought. “This looks like the perfect time to test the trustworthiness of his words and the fate here.”

Another robotic voice indicated, “Rayshift requirement not met. 

“Searching for qualifying Master…”

“Um… Sen… Pais…?”

At Mash’s call again, the siblings saw both her hands reaching out to them. She showed a shaky beam and requested, “I’m sorry. Would both of you mind…. Holding my hand?”

“Found,” The electronic voice announced.

“Sure,” Ritsuka responded, dusting his hands onto his shirt before grasping lightly of his right hand to her left.

“It’s all right, Mash-chan. We’ll hold them.” Ritsuko grasped both her hands out to hold Mash’s right hand gently.

Unknown to the three, the electronic voice announced, “Candidate No. 48, Fujimaru Ritsuko reset as Master. 

“Candidate No. 48, Fujimaru Ritsuka reset as Master.”

“Kyuu!” Fou squeaked, noticing that the place rumbled.

Rubbles from roof started to fall to the ground. The resounding impact it made didn’t cower them or the electronic voice as it went on, “Unsummon Program, start. Spiritron Conversion, Start. Rayshift starting in 3. 2. 1.

“All procedures clear. 

“First Order, commencing operation.” 

The last words the Fujimaru siblings before their vision went black accompanied by a vortex of blue light.

End of Fuyuki Prologue

Chapter Text

Burning City

Within the blazing fires, an illusion figure kneeled with one knee before Mash. The white-haired man with one hazel orb, whom hair bangs covered his left, wore a purple-silver mantle. Mash peered at the figure weakly.

He reached his hand out to her and told, “You don’t wish to die, do you? You have your Masters you wished to protect, no?”

Mash turned her head both her sides. Both Fujimaru siblings were unconscious on the ground. The immediate impact from earlier had knocked them out. She shifted to the illusion and nodded.

He nodded and said, “I’ll give my abilities and Noble Phantasm to aid you, Mash. In return, I want you to eliminate the cause of the Singularity.”

With no indecision, Mash nodded further and moved her quivering hand out to him…

-0-

“Kyuu… Kyuu…” 

A familiar animal cried calling out to Ritsuka within the darkness. 

“Fou… Fou… Fou…”

“This… Sound…” Ritsuka thought in his mind.

“Ritsuka! Wake up, Ritsuka!” An urgent yet familiar voice called out to him.

Another calm, soft, and recognizable voice said, “He won’t wake up. Maybe I should use the official title… Master Ritsuka, please wake up. If you don’t wake up, I will kill you.”

“Master…? Who?” RItsuka wondered, but he remained in the darkness.

Soon, the urgent voice changed into an annoyed tone and growled, “Ritsuka, wake up. If you don’t, I will wipe out all of your research data on human biography, the historical figures and those videos on your tablet when we get out of here!”

“Oh no, you don’t! Leave my tablet out of this, Ritsuko!” Ritsuka shouted and his view turned aside from the darkness.

Seated upright with his eyes wide opened, Ritsuka greeted by his annoyed sister Mash, and Fou leaping onto his face before moving to his shoulders. Though they were all right, Ritsuka noticed a peculiar change from Mash.

Though Ritsuko wore the same outfit from earlier, Mash’s outfit changed. 

Instead of her glasses and Chaldea’s uniform, she was wearing a black-purple armor with notably showing her abdomen.

Also, there was a shield she was carrying in her right hand. Mash exhaled a sigh and said, “Thank goodness you’re awake now, Ritsuka-senpai! I’m so glad you’re safe.”

“Yeah,” Ritsuka let out a grunt before scowling at Ritsuko, “Supposedly, my hard work data is being threatened in this so I had no choice but to leave my dreamland.”

Ritsuko rolled her eyes and frowned, “It’s not that hard to do it. Your password is ‘Dead man tell no lies’ in alphanumeric. Really? You need to consider better passwords, brother.”

Ritsuka rolled his eyes back at her. But, he recalled and shifted to Mash, “By the way, did you just say, ‘I will kill you?’”

“That came out wrong,” Mash shook her head, then amended, “What I meant to say was, ‘you’re going to be killed.’”

“Huh?” Ritsuka tilted his head with a puzzled expression.

“Um, I was confused because everything happened so quickly,” Mash shook her head again. She made a glimpse of her surroundings as the siblings followed. “As much as I want to gather our thoughts, please look around you.”

While accompanying her eyes, Ritsuka noticed and understood this wasn’t the Command Room anymore. 

Gray sky-high broken buildings, wreckage and debris from destroyed shop-houses and residences, blazing flames that paired the gray-reddish glowing sky.

Before Ritsuka could ask, an ear-piercing shriek caught their awareness, “Gi– GAAAAAAA!”

“What on earth?!” Ritsuka stood up, alarmed by the red-cloak figure with gleaming blue eyes heading to them.

Ritsuko stepped back, and returned, “Obviously not our allies who want us alive!”

Mash stepped forward with a calm expression and determined, “Linguistic communication impossible. 

“Identifying life-form as hostile.”

She changed her gaze to the siblings and asked, “Masters, your orders, please. You and I will overcome this together!”

“Orders, you say?” Ritsuka questioned, turning back to the figure approaching them. One of its bony hand appeared a wooden spear and charged forward.

Ritsuko gasped with fear, “I-It’s coming!”

“Tch,” Ritsuka grunted. He took a swift scan of the field and realized more of the identical cloak figure emerged and approaching them. With a gulp, Ritsuka decided, “I know nothing about orders. But, let’s get rid of them!”

“Understood, Master!” Mash shouted. She charged forward with her shield armed in her grip. The cloak figured thrust its spear forward, solely to have it parried by Mash’s upward swing of her shield.

With the opportunity, Mash gave a rapid and heavy swung of her shield against the cloaked figure. From the blow, it changed into black dust faded into the air. The confident swing and the flexibility of movement against the cloaked figure awed the siblings.

Behind Mash, another cloaked figure lifted its sword to strike at her. She whirled around and drew her shield out against the impending blow. The jolt of striking the broad and powerful shield made the figure staggered backward.

Mash took this moment and assaulted with her shield. She slammed the figure with her shield, sending it flying against the ground. With a loud echo of hitting the ground, it too changed into black dust and faded.

Meanwhile, the Fujimaru siblings watched in shock all the moment of Mash’s action. A surprise to both even she was heavily injured earlier. But, she was now fighting like nothing had transpired. Suddenly, another ear-piercing shriek caught their attention.

Ritsuko was the first to turn her head and eyes widened with fright. “Ritsuka!”

Whirled around, a skeletal figure rushing towards them and stroked its weapon at Ritsuka. In time, Ritsuka dodged but fell backward on the ground by the surprise assault. Ritsuko approached Ritsuka and asked, “Are you fine?!”

“Yeah, a lucky miss right there,” Ritsuka replied, fixating on the skeletal trying to tear its sword out of from the ground. It had noticed them while Mash preoccupied with its comrades, both being opened for an assault on them. 

With a gulp swallowed, Ritsuka showed a tense yet confident smirk after peeking at Mash, “Hey Ritsuko, do you remember the meme you showed me on the zombie apocalypse?”

“Yeah, why?” Ritsuko showed a curious yet suspicious expression to her brother. Soon enough, she understood and made a deadpan expression to him, “How did you recall that for this situation? Those things aren’t even a zombie, you know?!”

Ritsuka examined his surroundings on the ground and recited, “’The first thing on your right is your weapon for a zombie apocalypse.’ Not an apocalypse, but I’m sure we don’t wish to die here. You can boast to them after the holidays of how we literally went through an apocalypse situation ourselves.”

At a broken metal pipe on his right, he picked it up. Ritsuka turned to his sister with a reassured smile, “Besides, you don’t prefer to sit around and do nothing while Mash is struggling too, right? Let’s help her take a few of those down, Ritsuko.”

“I thought I’d be the one who daydreams of fantasy than the logical reality,” Ritsuko rolled her eyes amused. She studied at the skeletal figure and inquired, “What’s your plan, Ritsuka?”

“Find and picked some rocks with you, while I’ll attack that thing,” Ritsuka hold the pipe in a posture of a kendo ready posture. He glimpsed at his sister and continued, “When it’s about to strike, aim at the sword or anything! I’ll smash that skull off when it’s off guard.”

“But–!”

“Hurry!” Ritsuka shouted as he charged forward, ignoring the frustrated groans she did as she moved.

The skeletal figure met the incoming Ritsuka and thwarted his attack. Before Ritsuka could make another, the figure swung its blade. He intercepted it with his own swing, but the sharp blade formed a cut against the pipe.

Deduced he had that limited amount of time before his weapon broke, Ritsuka swung another strike. But, it was thwarted again. The raven-haired wondered to himself, “For a skeleton, it fights better than a normal human.”

At the next strike from the figure, Ritsuka blocked it. But, the power shift from the swing slashed the metal pipe into two. Before he could realize, it charged forward to him.

In a second later, multiple of rocks hit against the skull made it wobbled backward. And instantly, Ritsuko’s voice yelled, “Now, Ritsuka!”

Shifted to one hand, Ritsuka growled as he swung, “Aaarrrggh!!”

WHACK!

The skull from the figure broke off from the force of Ritsuka’s broken pipe. Ritsuka watched it faded away from becoming black dust. Just as he was about to loosen, Ritsuko’s voice exclaimed, “Behind you!”

Whirled around, a skeletal figure charged forward its spear to Ritsuka. Just as it was to thrust forward–

THUNK!

A black edge of the shield slashed at the figure from the rear, Mash’s steady glare at the figure of its surprise strike on her Master.

With the last skeleton shattered into black dust and remains of red-colored bones, Mash set down her shield and sighed, “Phew. I had my worries, but we made it somehow. Are you okay, Senpais? Both of you were fighting earlier… Does your stomach hurt, or does it feel heavy?”

“I’m fine, Mash… Thanks for the saving there,” Ritsuka nodded with the astonished expression from the unforeseen assault.

Ritsuko shook her head and approached Mash to ask, “Mash-chan, you’re that powerful?!”

Mash’s cheeks had a faint pink-colored blush before she shook her head apologetically, “No, in combat training I always had to stay after class. I couldn’t even do a pull-up. The reason I was able to fight like that just now–!”

“It’s fine, Mash-chan.” Ritsuko shook her head and offered a reassuring smile, “Even you’re weren’t great in class… The experience in class and outside are different after all!”

At her beam, Mash nodded and showed a modest grin to her. Ritsuko grinned back before frowning as she said, “But still…”

“What was that?” Ritsuka followed up, approached and picked up the red bones to inspect them.

“I… Don’t know, Ritsuka-senpai,” Mash hesitated. She glimpsed at the bones before coming back to Ritsuka. “Something that doesn’t exist in our era, let alone this era. That was the cause of the Singularity or something like it.”

“The cause of the Singularity?” Ritsuka turned to her.

Mash gave a nod and assumed, “I guess calling it that isn’t too far off, or maybe it is.”

BEEP! BEEP!

The trio focused their attention on Ritsuka’s wristwatch. 

With the shared confused expression, Ritsuka raised his wristwatch up and a holographic image flashed above the wristwatch. 

From the holographic, a familiar messy ponytail-haired figure appeared sitting before them.

He called out to them, “Right! I finally got through! Hello? This is Chaldea Command Room? Do you read me?”

“Doctor Roman!” Ritsuka answered with surprise laced in his tone.

“Ritsuka-kun, Mash, Ritsuko-kun! So, the three of you did get caught up in that Rayshift.” Romani exhaled a sigh.

“Yes. My companions are Ritsuka-senpai and Ritsuko-senpai.” Mash nodded and answered. 

She went on, “Mind and body both intact. 

“Rayshift compatibility, Master compatibility both satisfactory. 

“Please register Ritsuka-senpai and Ritsuko-senpai as an official researcher.”

“W-Wait, what?!” Ritsuka turned to her.

Ritsuko shouted, “E-Eh?!”

“Not only Ritsuko-kun but Ritsuka-kun got dragged into the Rayshift, huh?” Romani sighed with brows furrowed, made a slight grin to the siblings. “I’m impressed both of you didn’t ‘lose your existence.’ I’m really glad.”

“Also, Mash… Of course, I’m glad you’re safe, too,” Romani shifted to Mash. He did a swift check from head to toe and asked, “But what’s up with that outfit? It’s shameless! I didn’t raise you to dress like that!”

Ritsuko gasped, “Huh?! Raised?!”

Mash had a slight red blush of embarrassment, as she told, “I transformed into this. I couldn’t protect Senpais wearing my Chaldea’s uniform.”

Romani showed a puzzled expression to her, “What do you mean by transformed Mash? Did you hit your head? Or was it that–!”

“Dr. Roman. Please be quiet.” Mash retorted back with a sharp voice, silencing the doctor.

The Fujimaru siblings sweatdropped at their banter, as Ritsuko wondered, “U-Um, Ritsuka… Who?”

“The infirmary doctor of Chaldea, Ritsuko. You can also put it more of surrogate parent-and-offspring in terms of their relationship with that outburst now. From agreeing with your conclusions, a doctor like him can’t be married in the first place,” Ritsuka replied with a tired sigh.

With the sound of throat cleared, Mash requested to Romani, “Please check my condition. I think you’ll understand the situation better.”

“Your physical condition?” As Romani wondered, his fingers typed across the keyboard. A rectangular-shaped hologram appeared before him, and his eyes widened in panic. As he studied further, his jaw dropped, “Wh-Whoa, whoa, whoa, WHOA!”

“Doctor Roman?” Ritsuka wondered.

Romani turned back to them, especially to Mash and exclaimed, “Physical strength, Magical Circuits, everything’s improved! 

“You’re not so much a human, but–!”

“Yes, I’m a Servant.” Mash interrupted again to wind up the information. She nodded and disclosed to the three, “I don’t remember how it happened, but it seems I have survived by fusing with a Servant.”

“To investigate and resolve Singularity F, a Servant was provided in advance at Chaldea. 

“Right before I died, he offered me the contract. 

“In exchange for giving me the abilities of a Heroic Spirit and Noble Phantasm, he wanted me to eliminate the cause of this Singularity.”

“A Heroic Spirit and a human, fused,” Romani mused his mind for a minute. 

He recalled and understood, “A Demi-Servant? That’s Chaldea’s sixth experiment.”

Ritsuko’s orange orbs stared at Mash. 

She wondered despite barely grasp all of what Romani concluded with understanding, “Is that why Mash-chan is so powerful…?”

“Yeah. So it finally succeeded, huh?” Romani nodded to her query, then shifted back to Mash, “Does this Heroic Spirit still have his consciousness?”

Mash shook her head with a frown, “No, he gave me his combat abilities then vanished. He never revealed his True Name even at the end. So I don’t know whose Heroic Spirit I am… Nor what kind of Noble Phantasm I’m holding. At this point there’s too much I don’t know.”

“Hey, look on the bright side. Not every Servant who gets summoned is cooperative. Now that you’re a Servant, this is in our favor. After all, you’re completely trustworthy,” Romani showed an assured beam to the Demi-Servant.

He again focused on the siblings and explained, “Ritsuka-kun, Ritsuko-kun, it looks like you two are the only ones who Rayshifted there safely. Also, I am sorry. Forcing you into this with no explanation.

“I’m sure both of you are full of questions but try not to worry. You’ve already got a powerful weapon. Humanity’s most powerful weapon — Mash.”

As Mash noticed the siblings gazed at her with surprise yet puzzled expression, she shifted to Romani with a deadpan expression. “I don’t know about ‘most powerful.’ I’m the one who gets blamed later.”

“Now, now, as long as those two understands that’s what a Servant is, it’ll be fine,” Romani waved his hand to encourage her. He shifted back to the siblings to return to his explanation, “But you two, while Servants can be reliable allies, they also have a weakness.

“They disappear without their magical energy source. Their Master. I’m still analyzing the data, but it’s still indicating that Mash has become both your Servant.” 

Romani pointed at the back of both Ritsuka’s and Ritsuko’s right hand. They examined to see an unusual blood-red marking that was never there earlier until they Rayshifted here. 

On closer inspection, the two observed that their marking slightly varied from the other despite similar image.

Typing on his keyboard, Romani viewed the result from the projected hologram before nodding to confirm his words, “Meaning that you’re Mash’s Master. She’s the first Heroic Spirit you’ve both shared and entered a contract with. Though… It’s an extraordinary case itself to have two Masters and a Servant…”

“We… We’re Mash’s Masters?” Ritsuko repeated, checking out the back of her right hand again before shifting back to Romani. As the doctor nodded, it merely made Ritsuko more puzzled.

Ritsuka examined the back of his right hand, later shifting back to Romani with his hand raised. “Hold on, Doctor Roman. You’re still confusing me with what you said earlier… What’s these Servants and Master? And, Heroic spirits? Is this associate to whatever that’s going on here?”

From the endless questions, Romani showed a tense smile, “Right, I don’t blame you for being confused, Ritsuka-kun. I never reached the explanation what Masters and Servants are to you, anyway. Now’s a good time, I’ll explain it to you in detail. The current mission has two new goals…”

Bzzt! Bzzt!

Mash noticed the holographic image of Romani distorted with buzz. “Doctor, you’re breaking up. 10 seconds until the connection is lost.”

“Wait, now?!” Ritsuka shouted.

Bzzt! Bzzt!

“Huh, so Sheba’s output is unstable because we switched to the backup generators? Oh well, I’ll brief you later,” Romani sighed. He typed on his keyboard and reflected a map with a blinking dot. “Three of you, I’m getting a strong leyline reading about 2 km from where you are.

“Try to get there somehow. That way, it will stabilize our connection. Listen, don’t do anything reckless, will you? I’ll try to bring the power back up as soon as–!”

BZZT!

“Doctor Roman!” Ritsuka called out. 

The image of Romani vanished, leaving behind a noise output which showed ‘No Signal.’

“The connection… It got cut off,” Ritsuko muttered.

Mash simply breathed a sigh, “Well, that’s the Doctor for you. You can’t rely on him in situations like this.”

Ritsuka put his wristwatch down and turned to her with a grin. “I wouldn’t say he’s unreliable because of an unstable power source of his side. And, he was helpful to get it running again. Also, this place we’re in–!”

As he scanned around his surroundings, Ritsuka saw a glowing bright light rising into the sky and pointed with his finger. “Mash, is that an SOS? Because it seems to head towards where we are.”

Mash spun to look where Ritsuka was witnessing. Her violet orb widened as she recognized and shouted, “Hide behind me now, Senpais!”

No time to question her orders, Ritsuka had sat and concealed behind Mash. Ritsuko stared at their sudden strange movements, demanded worriedly, “What?! What’s going on?!”

As Ritsuko shifted to see, the bright Red light flying towards them at a frightening pace. Before she could even shriek, Ritsuka pulled her in and Mash raised the shield up to protect them.

The crimson light split into thousands of energy rays projectiles and shot at them. The gunshot-like sound hitting the shield and the ground deafened the atmosphere. Black-colored dust and smokes covered the surroundings.

With a trace of courage, Ritsuko faced up from her brother’s grip and stared at Mash holding her shield against the assault. “R-Ritsuka, Mash?! Can one of you answer my questions?”

“Tch,” Ritsuka grunted annoyed at the ceaseless firing. He glanced with one of his blue orbs at Mash and asked, “Is it an enemy? We are being attacked, right?!”

“Yes, Ritsuka-senpai. Please stay down with Ritsuko-senpai,” Mash answered with a glimpse to Ritsuka. Before she could set her shield down, Mash raised it up again when another thousand of crimson energy beams fired repeatedly.

Ritsuka held his sister tighter while Ritsuko buried closer to her brother with Mash’s shield. The temptation to snoop for a second to find out their enemy was there. Yet from the sounds hitting against the shield, it was highly risky to do so.

A while later, the smoke cleared away showed damaged ground with theirs left untouched. Mash finally pulled away once deduced of no signs of assault. She informed them with a reassuring tone, “It looks the enemy has retreated, Senpais.”

As Ritsuka stood and supported his sister up on her feet, he faced Mash and confirmed, “So, it’s safe for now?”

Mash nodded and faced towards the siblings in standing-at-attention posture. “Masters, your orders?”

In a second, a startling expression showed on their faces. Though, Ritsuko faced her brother with a curious yet awaiting of Ritsuka’s coming answer. Back and front at the two, Ritsuka pointed to himself, “Me? Why?!”

“You acted most of the drive in holding us alive so far. So… Commander, what’s your plans?!” Ritsuko showed a cheeky grin.

“Oi, oi, are you serious,” Ritsuka sweatdropped at his given power. He gave a quick scan of the area, his wristwatch, before shifting back to them. “Let’s head to the place where Doctor Roman told us to go. If we stay here any longer, they’ll fire more than what they did.”

As Ritsuko nodded, Mash exhaled a relieved sigh and smiled, “You’re so dependable, Ritsuka-senpai.”

Fou went to Mash and squeaked, “Kyu. Fou, Fooou!”

“That’s right, you’re with us as well, aren’t you Fou? Thank you for cheering us up,” Mash chuckled.

She turned to the siblings and explained at their concern, “Fou Rayshifted here with both of you, Senpais.”

“Ah. But I forgot to let the Doctor know,” Mash frowned as she remembered.

“Wait, he doesn’t know about Fou?” Ritsuka queried.

From Mash’s nod as the answer, Fou squeaked again, “Kyu. Fou, kyaao!”

Ritsuko lifted her hand and tickled Fou’s chin. “He says, ‘don’t worry about that guy.’”

“You’re right. I’ll find the right time to let him know about Fou later.” With a slight grin and nod returned, a stern expression appeared on Mash’s face and declared, “First, let’s head to the coordinates he mentioned. Once we get there, we should be able to set up a base camp.”

“Let’s get going, then.” Ritsuka nodded. The three proceeded towards the area indicated by Romani, in midst of the blazing city in this Singularity.

End of Section 1

Chapter Text

Into the Spirit Meridian

Estimated hours of walking in the burning city, the group had been walking down the wrecked street to their destination.

While walking, Ritsuka examined the rear of his right hand again. The words from the cloaked figure cited, “In the subsequent hours, you and your sister will enter a contract to turn into a Master”

“We turned into a Master now. But, to turn out like this…” Ritsuka thought, eyes narrowed with unease at all had transpired.

Mash recognized the familiar location from the map indicated, signaled to the siblings, “Senpais. We will soon reach the point the Doctor had specified.”

“Really?” Ritsuko heaved a fatigued sigh and whined, “That’s great! I thought we will never get there at all!”

Ritsuka gave a sympathetic grin to his sister, shifted to Mash. “Is that so? But, it’s tough to tell from what we’ve observed so far.”

“There are flames as far as the eye can see,” Mash nodded. “It’s nothing like the Fuyuki in our data. According to our data, it’s an average regional city”

Ritsuko nodded as she probed further. “True, but it looks like a war had happened here…”

“Yes, there’s no record of such a disaster occurring in 2004,” Mash agreed. She moved on with her answer. “The Mana density in the atmosphere is also abnormal. In fact, it’s a lot like ancient Earth…”

“Kyaaaaaaaaaa!!!”

The loud shrieking of a woman’s cry broke their discussion. Ritsuka turned to where the voice came from. “What was that?!”

“I have a bad feeling about this…” Ritsuko hesitated.

“It was a woman’s scream for sure. Let’s hurry over, Senpais!” Mash noticed, and they rushed towards the cry’s origin.

-0-

Inside further Fuyuki city, Olga Marie ran in a panic with a group of skeletal figures chasing after her. 

She panted heavily from the continuous running, a glance at the back forced her noticed they were still persistent.

Faced back to the front, she shouted in frustration, “Wh-Who are these guys, anyway?”

Soon, her limbs gave away and Olga Marie tripped. She sat upright and set her index finger in a gun position. Her index fingertip formed a glowing golden magic circle and shot a golden energy orb at one of the skeletal figures.

The minute it hit, the figure turned into black dust. Its ‘chief’ realized that one of its comrades had died, swung its blade to the front as a command to assault.

Olga Marie gasped when they dashed towards her and fired a repeated shot at them with her magic. Despite each figure changed to black dust, they never wavered in moving towards their target.

“Why do these things keep happening to me?” Olga Marie wondered angrily while shooting.

Within the range of their target, the skeletal figures had a cautious step with their weapons. Before she could fire another shot, Olga Marie heard a cackle above her and tip her head to the source.

Above her, a skeletal figure rose above the lamppost and leaped to strike at her. The Director gasped and shot a charge. But, it whirled to the side with its blade raised up high.

She shifted away and crouched down, “I can’t take it anymore! Come save me, Lev! You were always there for me right?”

THUNK!

The sound of an impact against a metal reached her ears. 

Not knowing when her eyes closed, Olga Marie took bravery to reopen them, embraced at the sight of the violet-haired girl intercepting the strike.

With a sharp breath, she shoved back the figure with her shield and made a powerful swing to incapacitated it. Once gone, she lunged forward towards her the group of skeletal figures as her next target.

Watched the violet-haired girl taking down each target, Olga Marie uttered with bewilderment in her tone, “Mash?”

Smashed the skeletal figure on her right, another figure was to strike her from the rear. 

Mash at once revolved around and struck another few more figure before swinging her shield at the attacker.

Before she could charge at the target ahead, a crowd of skeleton figure was about to pounce on her. But, Mash raised her shield and twirled it rapidly, deflecting and killing the incoming figures.

Mash’s stoic face remained, taking down every enemy with her shield. Later, Ritsuka and Ritsuko who caught up with her stood to draw a deep breath. Ritsuka turned to the seated figure and shouted, “Are you all right?!”

“Director Olga Marie?” Ritsuko gasped, gaining a startling expression from her brother too.

“Y-You two!” Olga Marie turned her head behind to notice their presence.

Up in the air, Mash positioned her shield downwards and crashed against the figure as she fell to the ground. From the powerful impact and dust, a large hole left with nobody but black dust of the enemy.

Leaped up from the crater, Mash put her shield down and approached to Olga Marie. “The battle is over. Are you hurt, Director?”

“What’s going on?” The Director with shock lasted from the assault earlier.

“Director? About my situation,” Mash placed her shield aside to reveal. “I know it’s hard to believe, but the truth is–!”

“A Demi-Servant, right? It’s pretty obvious that you fused with a Servant,” Olga Marie stopped. She stood up with eyes narrowed in annoyance. “What I want to know is why it’s successful now all of a sudden!”

To her back, she scowled at the siblings, or in specific at Ritsuka. “Enough of that. You two! The one from B-Team. And, the civilian who showed up late for my speech. Not only her but you as well! How did you two become a Master?

“Only first-class Mages can enter contracts with Servants! There’s no way you could ever become a Master!” Her fingers out pointing accusingly at Ritsuka and shouted, “What did you do to her to have her do your bidding?!”

“What the hell?! You are way off base!” Ritsuka countered with a glare at her.

Ritsuko stepped in front of her brother and responded, “That’s right. Nothing of that even happened!”

Mash nodded and at once pointed out, “There’s a misunderstanding, Director. 

“I’m the one who actually forced the contract.”

“What did you say?” Olga Marie moved to Mash, her rage now replaced with a mystified look.

The Demi-Servant nodded, “I’ll explain how it happened. That way we can understand each other’s situation better.”

-0-

A moment thereafter, Mash concluded her story, “And that’s how it happened. We were dragged into a Rayshift and teleported here to Fuyuki. No other Master candidates shifted with us. You’re the only human we’ve run into, Director.”

With a heavy breath, Mash continued with a beam, “But this gives me hope. If you’re here, that means there must be other candidates who got teleported here…”

The look on Olga Marie’s face showed a frown as she faced away. “There aren’t, actually. That much I’m certain of.”

“What?” Ritsuko gasped with surprise.

Olga Marie gave a nod as she went on, “I hate to admit, but I know why we were shifted to Fuyuki.”

“So, you understand why we survived?” Mash prodded.

A second of suspension, Olga Marie turned to the three and spelled out, “All of us share a common denominator. Neither me, nor you, nor those two ‘were actually inside the Coffins.’ Though Rayshifting flesh and blood aren’t likely to succeed, it’s not impossible.

“Meanwhile, the Coffins have breakers. When the success rate below 95%, the power’s cut off. So they never actually Rayshifted. We’re the only ones here.”

“I see. That’s why you’re the Director.” Mash nodded with knowing.

As Ritsuko nodded, she realized and queried, “Huh? You weren’t planning to shift, Director?”

“Is that a problem? What commander heads to the front lines? Didn’t I say you were my tools?” Olga Marie retorted, receiving an irritated glare from Ritsuko

“Hmm,” Ritsuka nodded with a remark, “But tools are particularly effective when their commander is reliable. And, you are only reliable when you’re calm, I see.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Olga Marie’s orange orbs glared at Ritsuka. “Are you saying I’m not usually calm?”

“More frequently of a stuck-up bitch that jumps conclusion faster than your thinking…” Ritsuka muttered.

“Huh?”

Ritsuka quickly cleared his throat and faced elsewhere. “No, it’s nothing, Director.”

After glaring at them both for another few more seconds, Olga Marie turned away. “Hmmph, whatever.”

Though unknown to her, Ritsuko was quietly chuckling at her brother’s snide remarks. 

Olga Marie turned back to the siblings with a reluctant sigh.  “I understand the situation now.”

“Fujimaru, since it’s an emergency I’ll approve both of you and Kyrielight’s contract.

“From here on out, you’ll follow my commands. First, let’s set up a base camp.”

“Yes, ma’am” The siblings nodded to accept her words.

Olga Marie nodded and went on, “Listen, this is the time to search for a Leyline Terminal. A place where magical energy converges. There we’ll be able to contact Chaldea. So in this town’s case…”

As Mash noticed Olga Marie moving her head left and right, she cleared her throat to catch her attention. “This is the point, Director. The Ley point is at your feet.”

“Whoa! Oh r-right, I knew that, I knew that, of course!” Olga Marie’s cheek tainted red with embarrassment from the oversight. She spun to Mash and instructed, “Mash, place your shield on the ground. I will set up a summoning circle, with your Noble Phantasm as the catalyst.”

“So, she says,” Mash turned to the siblings and asked, “Are you all right with that, Senpai?”

From Ritsuko’s nod, Ritsuka nodded as well and granted, “Sure, let’s do it.”

“Understood. Now let us begin.” With her shield placed on the ground, Olga Marie moved one step backward with her right hand raised. Muttered an enchantment, a white-bluish magical circle formed beneath the shield.

A brilliant light flare from the ground and transformed its surroundings. The burning city converted into a chamber with shining blue-colored circuits with a glowing orb floating in the heart. The Fujimaru siblings stared in admiration and curiosity by the transformation.

Mash, too, showed a surprise look and muttered, “This is… The same as the experiment summoning experiment chamber at Chaldea.”

The next second, a holographic portrait of Romani appeared from the orb calling out to them. “CQ, CQ. Hello, hello? Okay, the connection’s back! Good job, you secured the connection. Now we can communicate again and even send rations…”

“Huh?! Why are you running the show, Romani?” Olga Marie approached the holographic image and glared at him. “What about Lev? Where’s Lev? Put Lev on!”

“Waaaahhhhhhhhh!” Romani nearly fell out from his seat at the Director’s glare. He swallowed his saliva down and exclaimed with shock in his tone. “D-Director, you’re alive? And you’re unharmed? What the…”

“What’s that supposed to mean? Where’s Lev? What’s the head medic doing in charge?” Olga Marie demanded, both hands resting on her hips.

Romani dropped his head with a distressed sigh, “Don’t ask me why. I’m fully aware that I’m not cut out for this job. But, there’s nobody else, Olga Marie.”

He lifted his head at her with a somber expression. “The surviving full-time staff of Chaldea is less than twenty people, including me. The reason I’m in charge of operations is that there’s no one ranked higher than me who survived.

“Dr. Lev was supervising from the Command Room. There’s no way he could survive that blast.”

From the news told, the other three gasped and showed a mixed look of horror and astonishment. Olga Marie’s jaw dropped and whispered, “No way… Lev…”

The former line of news made Olga Marie shook her head. “No, forget that, wait… Please wait. Less than 20 survivors? What about the Master candidates… the Coffins?”

The doctor shook his head with a somber expression persisted. “47, all in critical condition and we’re short on medical supplies. We might be able to save a few, but all of them might be–!”

“Don’t be ridiculous! 

“Cryopreserve them at once!” 

Olga Marie yelled with a fierce voice. 

She gazed at him with a resolved yet panic expression. “Think about reviving them later. Your top priority is to make sure they don’t die!”

“I forgot the Coffins had those functions! I’ll get on it right away!” Romani leaped off from his chair after acknowledging, presenting a vacant seat to them.

Listening in from the start with her Masters, Mash turned to the Director. “That surprises me. Cryopreservation without prior consent is a crime. Yet you made the decision right away. You put human lives ahead of your own reputation as the Director.”

“Don’t be stupid! As long as they’re not dead, I can explain myself later — why else?” Olga Marie retorted.

The Director turned away with thumb place in her lip to nibble the nail and murmured to herself. “In the first place, 47 lives… There’s no way can I carry that burden! Please don’t die… I’m begging you… If only Lev were here!”

Ritsuka stared at Romani’s vacant seat and reminded of the sight. The people who he went past looking for his sister was worse than its described. He felt a tug on his sleeve and peered to see Ritsuko had her head bowed with a disturbed expression

He lifted his hand and pat her shoulders with a reassuring manner. “They’ll be fine, Ritsuko. Doctor Roman and the others will make sure it.”

-0-

After returned with all 47 candidates in cryopreservation state, Romani had explained his findings from the explosion and reported, “This concludes my report. 

“Chaldea has lost 80% of its functionality. There’s only so much that the remaining staff can do.

“I’m shifting available manpower to Rayshift repairs and maintaining Chaldeas’s and Sheba’s current states. 

“As soon as external communications are back up, we’ll request for supplies and start rebuilding Chaldea.”

“That’s fine,” Olga Marie nodded. “I would’ve done the same if I were there.”

Her orange orbs gave a brief glance at her back, to the Fujimaru siblings. The Director heaved a heavy sigh and declared, “Romani Archaman. I don’t like it, but until I return you’re in charge of Chaldea. Make the Rayshift repairs your top priority.

“We’ll be investigating this town. The Singularity F.”

Romani’s green orbs widened. “Director, you’re not afraid to be at ground zero? Since when did you become so brave?”

“Seriously, you don’t know when to shut up,” Olga Marie groaned. “I’d like nothing better than to go back now, but it will take time till you finish the Rayshift repairs. This town only has low-level monsters, with Mash as a Demi-Servant we’ll be safe.

“Accident or not, we Animuspheres prided ourselves on doing our best in the situations we’re given. 

“I’ll be looking into Singularity F with the Fujimaru siblings and Mash Kyrielight as investigators.”

With another brief glance at the three, Olga Marie shot back with a grunt. “That said, since my field staff is inexperienced, the extent of this mission will be to discover the cause of this anomaly.

“Analysis and eradication will have to wait until after Chaldeas’s restored, and I can send in the second team. You okay with that?”

“Only discover it…?” Ritsuka wondered with a thoughtful expression.

Ritsuko sighed to herself, “That sounds easy to do it…”

Romani nodded and acknowledged, “Roger that. Best of luck to you, Director. We can now communicate in short bursts. Feel free to contact me in an emergency.”

“Even if we sent an SOS, nobody would come to our rescue.” Olga Marie muttered.

Romani tilted his head, “Director?”

“Nothing, I’m cutting off the connection. Go do your job.” The Director snapped back and raised her wristwatch. She pushed the side switch and the holographic image of Romani disappeared back into the glowing orb.

When Olga Marie turned to the three, Mash asked, “Director, are you sure about this? There’s also the choice of waiting here for the rescue.”

“I can’t afford to do that,” Olga Marie gritted her teeth. “After we return to Chaldea, who knows how long it will take to select the next team? A month won’t be enough to gather personnel or funds. Do you know how much the Association will harass me in the meantime?”

She turned away from Mash, rambled in a panic voice. “Worst case, they’ll blame me for mismanagement, and I’ll lose Chaldea to them. If that happened, I’d be toast. I can’t go back empty-handed. I need something that will shut them up!”

“Director?” Ritsuka’s voice called out to her.

As she spun and about to yell, Olga Marie realized they still waited for her next order. She’s the one in charge and with those ‘tools’ that got dragged in. She’s able to bring something back to wash the guilt away.

With the clearing of her throat, Olga Marie announced to the three. “Sorry, but you three are stuck with me, Mash, Fujimaru. Come on, let’s explore this town. The cause of this twisted history must be here somewhere.”

End of Section 2

Chapter Text

Investigate the Bridge

At the bridge in Fuyuki city, the four had agreed by Olga Marie to start their investigation in the heart of the city. 

But, before they could go further, Olga Marie halted and spun to Ritsuka. “Before we start exploring the city, Fujimaru Ritsuka, isn’t there something you want to say?”

“No, nothing in particular, Director,” Ritsuka replied. The blunt tone of his received a vein popped at Olga Marie’s head and a glare to him.

Understood what she meant, Ritsuko went to her brother and nudged him. “Hey, don’t tell me you’ve forgotten?”

Ritsuka turned to his sister and clarified. “Forgotten what?” 

Olga Marie’s voice called out to him, “You’re not very smart, are you? Remember what happened in the Command Room?”

“Huh?”

Mash stopped beside him and whispered, “Ritsuka-senpai, it’s about when you dozed off in the Command Room. It’ll come back to you if you focus. That was, you know–!”

-0-

“We made it in time, Senpais. Your numbers are,” Hours earlier as they arrived, Mash gave a swift glimpse and turned to them. “Single digit, both of you are in the front row. Please take any seats in the front row.”

With a nod, the siblings mouthed a ‘thanks’ and headed to their seats. But as they were to go, Another dizzy spell strike Ritsuka and faltered before being held up by his sister.

“Ritsuka?!” Ritsuko panicked at her brother’s abrupt change of his condition.

Mash approached him and recognized it too, “Ritsuka-senpai? You’re looking a bit pale…”

Ritsuka shook his head to clear of vertigo, but it merely became worse by his action. “Sorry, I’m starting to space out again…”

 “It’s an aftereffect of the simulator.” 

At Ritsuko’s furrowed eyebrows, Mash explained to her, “It’d be best to bring him to the infirmary…”

Before Ritsuka could persuade them, he felt something jabbed at his back. His blue orbs moved to catch the silvery-haired woman standing on the stage was giving them an annoyed glare.

Mash noticed and mumbled, “Right in front of the director, what a bad luck.”

Lev approached them and told, “Let’s cut the chit-chat. It’s about to start.”

Without an alternative, Ritsuko aided her brother to their seat while the other two headed to the back.

A glance to examine every seat was occupied, the silvery-haired woman talked, “Not quite on time, but it looks like everybody’s here. Welcome to Special Organization, Chaldea. I’m the director, Olga Marie Animusphere.

“You have been selected, or discovered from each nation for your rare talents. 

“By talent, I mean your aptitude for Spiritrons. 

“People with magical circuits capable of becoming a Masters. I’m sure you can’t even imagine it, but be sure to keep this in mind. You are about to be reborn as cutting-edge mages, in an unprecedented fusion of magecraft and science.

“That said, although all of you possess special talents, none of you are special. Understand that you all are inexperienced rookies, standing at the same starting point.

“In particular, the mages sent from the Association still seem to be acting like students,” Olga Marie’s orbs shifted to the particular group at her left. “Fix that immediately. Chaldea is my domain. Family heritage and persona achievements have no meaning here.

“Always remember that my orders are absolute. My position is completely different from yours. I won’t allow arguments. You’re all mere tools to protect humanity, nothing more.”

With no less than a second, gossips chatter among the recruits.

“Geez…”

“Tools?”

“What does that mean?”

The siblings were no exemption as Ritsuko grumbled. “Gee, talk about a bitchy supervisor to have on your first day of duty.”

“She’s apparently the ones who… Are harsh and stubborn on the outside… But,” Another silent yawn escaped Ritsuka’s lips. “Also… The ones who are more bitchy and miserable in… The… Inside…”

Olga Marie watching the gossips before her gritted her teeth, called out in an imposing tone. “What’s that commotion? Didn’t I just tell you I wouldn’t allow any arguments?”

“You there,” Olga Marie yelled. Her sharp voice made Ritsuko flinched who was struggling to nudge her brother out from dreamland. With a harsh glare, she approached them and asked, “Do you have a problem with what I just said?”

Ritsuko shook her head as a response. But, Olga Marie remained unhappy at the still-sleeping Ritsuka. She tugged his collar up roughly and murmured to herself, “Am I seeing this right? Maybe my eyes are playing a trick on me?”

Whack!

The Director swung her left hand and slapped with a powerful impact. Ritsuko gasped and drew her brother back behind her with a glare, “Hey, what the hell was that for?!”

Olga Marie had a bewildered expression when glancing back-and-forth between her palm and Ritsuka. “Sleeping while standing… No way, right? Not in a million years…”

Ritsuko turned and realized the Director was right. It’s a miracle Ritsuka was still dead asleep with the stinging red palm on his cheek.

A second afterward, a female voice cried from Ritsuko’s back. “Hey, I didn’t sign up for this! We’re experts who were summoned here because of our skills! We came all this way on your insistence. Absolute obedience? That’s ridiculous!”

Another male voice roared in approval. “She’s right, you’re way overstepping! Lineage is the most important asset for a mage! How can you brush it off?”

More outburst from other candidates voiced out their irritation. Despite the antagonism and irritation from them, Olga Marie bowed her head and gritted her teeth. Soon, she faced up and yelled, “Quiet! No talking! That’s why I say you’re still acting like students!

“I’m only telling you what’s going on right now. If you don’t like it, leave Chaldea at once!” From Olga Marie’s jab, there were a few ready to argue back. But, a smirk graced her lips as she continued, “Not that there are flights to send you home.

“Though if you’re ready to trek down a snowy mountain 6,000 meters above sea level, that would be commendable.”

A silence spread from the hesitated atmosphere among the crowd. With a quick scan from the mellowed candidates, Olga Marie announced, “Very good! Nobody’s dropped out. Seriously, don’t make me waste my time on such matters.”

“I wish you’d realize that how dire our, no, humanity’s situation is now,” Olga Marie warned. She again pointed to the sleeping Ritsuka set back on his seat by his sister. “Look. He is a good example. No argument, no opinion. Good and obedient.”

“You’d better take that last part back once he wakes up, especially once his mouth opens, Director,” Ritsuko muttered to herself.

Olga Marie turned on her heels and headed back to the stage. “Now, then, back to the topic. Are you listening? Today is–!”

-0-

In the present, Ritsuka touched his cloth-covered cheek and murmured, “At least I know how the slap came from…”

“And you blame me for waking you up,” Ritsuko sighed with a deadpan face.

Mash nodded and asked, “Do you remember now, Ritsuka-senpai?”

“Well, no. I got pulled into that strange place, so my body is there but my soul isn’t,” Ritsuka answered inside his mind. But, it would sound preposterous and burdened himself into further trouble.

Chose to share this dream with his sister later, Ritsuka replied to Mash. “In a way, Mash.”

But, Olga Marie wasn’t buying his words and scowled, “Remembered? You weren’t listening after all, were you? Honestly! Sit yourself down!”

Pointed to a nearby debris, Ritsuka sighed inwardly and headed there to grab a seat. Olga Marie stood before him and reproached, “How could you come to a Singularity not knowing the situation or your mission? I’m going to have to explain it to you again–!”

“Director, enemies are incoming!” Mash shouted, her shield armed and raised before her. A troop of skeleton heading towards them at a steady trot.

Ritsuko approached Mash and exhaled a relieved sigh, “Good timing, Mash! Let’s take them down!”

Ritsuka stood up and nodded, “Let’s go–!”

Before he could take off, Ritsuka found himself pulled back to the rubble by no one other than Olga Marie. She asserted, “Not you! Unlike you, that girl who listened to my speech. You’re going to stay here and listen to what I have to say!”

“There’s more than where that came from?!” Ritsuka showed a disbelief expression on her.

“Why, certainly! Fujimaru Ritsuka! Don’t tell me you forgot already!” Olga Marie folded her arms. “I’m only halfway through! In fact, it’s the latter half that’s important! Make yourself remember!”

After peering at the Director for a while, Ritsuka let out a huge sigh and seated back on the debris. He quietly complained to himself. “What a piece of work she is…”

“Now, now, don’t be like that,” Romani’s laughter sounded out from Ritsuka’s wristwatch. He lifted and rested his arm on his lap as the doctor’s voice continued. “Director’s ramblings can be useful, Ritsuka-kun. Why were you Master candidates summoned to Chaldea? This will explain that.”

Ritsuka nodded with a whisper while concentrating on the Director’s lecture. “I suppose so…”

-0-

After coming back to the stage from the commotion, Olga Marie resumed her speech. “Listen up. Today of all days, we at Chaldea will achieve something that will be written in history. The science of learning. The invention of religion. The acquisition of navigation.

“The focus of communication. The voyage into space. Our legacy will be on a par with the ‘Pioneers of the Stars.’ No, it will surpass them. Rather than expanding civilization, we will be the hands of God protecting it.”

Olga Marie gazed remained her right hand raised and clenched. 

“Stabilizing human history, we will transform the future into a solid resolution. 

“The principles of mankind—in other words, to ensure the continuation of humanity. 

“That is Chaldeas’s, and now your only and absolute purpose.”

From the intrigued expression in the audience, Olga Marie gave a satisfied smirk and continued. 

“Chaldea has achieved many results to date. 

“The development of observation Cyber daemon, Laplace. 

“The Global Environment Model, Chaldeas. 

“Completion of the Near-Future Observation Lens, Sheba.

“The Heroic Spirit Summoning System, Fate, and the launch of the Spiritron Calculation Engine, Trismegistus. 

“With these technologies, we at Chaldea have observed humanity’s progress one hundred years into the future.”

As she had signaled her hand, a holographic image flashed beside her. Each slide by a wave of her hand showed each of the achieved equipment completed in the room. Olga Marie went on, “We do not predict the future, but observe it. Like many who had observed celestial bodies, Chaldea has been observing the future.

“Whatever it sees, our job has been to ensure that humanity will survive 100 years in the future. Look up, that is Chaldeas’s proudest achievement–!”

With her hands directing the crowd, she presented to them the glowing blue globe in the middle of the room. “Created with advanced magical theories, the Global Environmental Model, our Chaldeas.

“Planets have been defined as beings with souls. We copied them into this miniature Earth. Because of the difference in scale, we’re unable to read every single human mind. But whatever’s on the surface, the city lights can be seen on land, can be observed through Sheba.”

The holographic image beside Olga Marie zoomed closer to the Chaldeas globe. Small yellow glowing dots were marked on each part of the continents of the Earth. The Director glanced at it before turning back. “Currently, it’s been set to reflect the Earth one hundred years from now. Chaldeas may as well be the future of Earth itself.

“As long as the light of civilization shines within Chaldeas, we can guarantee humans will exist a century further. As long as there’s light people will live in cities and serve as the proof of civilization’s survival. But–!”

Faced to the rear where Lev stood, the Director ordered. “Lev, could you normalize Sheba’s polarization angle?”

With a nod, Lev took out a controller and pushed the few dials on it. The light surrounding Chaldeas globe dulled and dimmed. Its color reduced to a moldy gray-black colored globe, the yellow glowing light faded from the globe.

Olga Marie explained from the crowd’s disturbed reaction. “This is the current state. 

“Starting six months ago, Chaldeas changed color, and it’s become difficult to observe the future. 

“The light of civilization, our beacon till now, has become largely unobservable to us.”

The confusions of worried chatters among themselves, Olga Marie showed a satisfying smile, “Hmph, the right response. Good to see you’ve got some sense. That’s right. The lack of light means that civilization has become extinct.

“This was considered highly classified, but you have the right to know. 

“Our observations indicate that the light of humanity is only visible up to the year 2016. In other words, we’ve observed, no, proved that humanity will become extinct in that year.”

Brows furrowed with a grim expression, the Director amended her words. 

“Obviously, this future is not possible. 

“It cannot happen, and physically, is impossible. 

“There’s neither an economic collapse or some sudden seismic event.

“We can’t explain how humanity would suddenly just disappear. Over the past six months, we’ve found the cause of this strange phenomenon—the disappearance of the future. If the reason is not in the present, then it is in the past.”

Olga Marie waved her hand to produce the holographic image slide to a figure of timeline chart. “Using Laplace and the Trismegistus, we’ve reviewed all data for the past 2000 years. We tried to find something that didn’t exist in history or was on Earth until this point in time. As a result, we finally found something new. It’s this–!”

Another wave of her hand, the hologram projected photographs of a city and worldview of Japan with a red dot on a specific part of the country. Olga Marie placed her finger on the exact dot and illustrated. “Spatial Singularity F, a city in the Japanese countryside in 2004.

“We discovered an ‘unobservable zone’ that did not exist in history up to the year 2015. 

“Chaldea hypothesizes that this is the cause of humanity’s extinction. 

“We proposed the Rayshift experiment to the U.N. and received approval.”

The holographic image shifted then to a diagram of an individual and a coffin-like tube as she went on. “The Rayshift process transforms a human into spiritrons, sending them into the past and allowing them to alter it. Simply put, it’s time travel. But not everyone can do it.

“Only people with exceptional magical circuits and the ability to become a Master can be transformed.”

As Olga Marie pushed aside the hologram to fade, she shot back to the audience to discuss. “Now—I’m sure that cleared things up. Your task is the investigation of Singularity F. You’ll travel 14 years into the past, find Singularity F, and destroy it.

“We are now entering unknown territory. There’s no telling what you might find there. But you’re selected from among people all over the world. You can do this, and we have high expectations for you.”

The earlier commotion mellowed and changed to complete silence from her words. Olga Marie ordered in a decisive tone. “The higher-ups want to know the cause of this at once. We don’t have time to waste.

“We’ll be performing the first Rayshift experiment in an hour. I’m sure you’ve all had enough training. For the first experiment, we’ll send A-Team, the top 8 scorers, to Singularity F.”

Olga Marie pulled up another hologram at her side. It revealed 8 other people of 3 girls and 5 guys under the heading of Team A. “I haven’t told the later groups. But they’re Master candidates who have been chosen from Chaldea. A-Team has been active for a month now.

“You can call them trained warriors. 

“A-Team will go on ahead and set up a base camp at Singularity F, guaranteeing your safety. 

“B-Team and below will watch their situation and prepare for the next experiment.”

Another slide switched by the Director’s hand, she described with the model of a Coffin shown beside her. “Let’s register your information with the Klein Coffins, the arks that will send you to the past as spiritrons.

“There’s one for each person, and there are no spares. Be very careful with them. B-Team through D will be on standby, in case of trouble with A-Team.”

Yet again, commotions restarted from the crowd. Olga Marie frowned at them from their worried expressions and reminded. “What are you doing? I told you what you have to do. You were brought here as a potential Master. You’re practically a soldier now.

“You will obey orders and be ready for a fight. Do not make me repeat myself. Or do you have more questions? Hey you, the one who was late with him!” Olga’s Marie sharp tone made Ritsuko flinched while she was focusing on the image of the Coffin.

The Director’s sharp orbs stared right at her and demanded, “You look confused. I’ll give you the chance to ask one question.”

From a small gulp, Ritsuko pondered in her mind. She then raised her hand and inquired the one which had remained on her mind. “Is it safe to change the past, Director?”

Eyes twitched with a vexed expression, Olga Marie glowered at her slowness in learning. 

“Does the word ‘Singularity’ means nothing to you? 

“The singularity we found doesn’t exist in any of our observation records.

“It’s like a hole that just appeared out of nowhere. The hole itself is cut off from the temporal axis. The 2004 singularity exists apart from the past and future. There’s no need to connect it to our present. It’s more stable than regular time travel, and whatever happens, the timeline can still repair itself.

“Singularity F is like a tiny stain on the dress that is human history. It ruins beauty just by its presence. Your job is to extract it. That’s what will return humanity to its proper, observed course of history.”

Turned her head elsewhere, Olga Marie grumbled to herself. “What is the Association thinking sending me someone who doesn’t know basic space-time theory? I told them this plan was a Grand Order, the highest possible duty in the world of magecraft…”

“Well, it doesn’t matter,” Shifted her head back to Ritsuko, she inquired. “What team are you with? Show me your ID.”

The Director raised her wristwatch with Ritsuko’s and Ritsuka’s ID flashed after the other. Orange orbs widened with rage, she yelled, “What? You two are in the wrong spot! A civilian, and with no combat or training experience? Chaldea is much too important to be wasting valuable slots on people like you!”

Ritsuko glared and clenched her fist. She had been enduring from the beginning of her insult to them, and the slap against her brother. But now, this had was too much even if she’s a Director. Before she could rebut, Olga Marie’s sharp voice yelled, “Lev! Lev Lainur!”

“I’m right here, Director. Why the yelling? Is there a problem?” Lev walked in from behind and stopped beside Olga Marie.

Olga Marie shifted to him and answered, “There’re problems everywhere! Just get this two amateur out of my sight!”

“Oh… So, that’s it?” Nodded thoughtfully, Lev replied in a calm tone, “Director, they are chosen Master candidates.”

“Having an inexperienced amateur here is a problem!” Olga Marie responded, “What if something happens to my Chaldeas?”

Hummed to himself, Lev turned to Ritsuko looking both at them with an impassive expression. But, beneath under was her well-hidden glare towards the Director. With a beam, he turned back to the Director. “Sure they lack experience, but it’s inappropriate to be that rude. Ritsuko-kun has been listening to your speeches even if she lacks the skill.”

As Olga Marie to quip back, Lev gave a charming and convincing grin to her. A second afterward, she angrily huffed and replied before stomped off. “Fine! She can stay but get that other out of here! Let Romani handle him! At least get some basic training in!”

Observed her leaving, Lev sighed before turning back, “Hmm, I don’t think she likes both of you. All right, orders are orders.”

The Professor lifted his hand and signaled Mash to come over. Once she reached, he requested to her. “Mash, show Ritsuko-kun where Ritsuka-kun’s room is.”

“All right, understood,” Mash nodded. “I just need to take Ritsuko-senpai to Ritsuka-senpai’s room, right?”

“Yes, thanks,” Lev replied with a grin. “I’m busy with the Rayshift experiment and can’t leave here.”

He spun towards Ritsuko and assured, “Don’t worry. This experiment will be over in 2 hours. We’ll drop by to your brother’s room then.”

With a relived breath heaved out, Ritsuko grinned and bowed. “Thank you very much, Prof Lev.”

“No need to thank me. You and your brother are really lucky after all.” Lev smiled back.

Mash nodded and gestured to Ritsuko. “Come this way. I’ll show you to Ritsuka-senpai’s room.”

Ritsuko nodded and brought one of Ritsuka’s arms over her shoulder and followed Mash out of the room…

-0-

“And that’s how you were removed from the Command Room. Remember?”

“Ah, welcome back, you two,” Turned to where the voice was, Ritsuka greeted them. He nodded to Mash approaching him with Ritsuko. “And not that I remember… At least I know how and why I'm removed from the room.”

Turned to Olga Marie, she fumed with a glare at Ritsuka. “You little… You look quiet, but you’ve got some nerve, don’t you?”

“Haven’t you ever hear of watching out for the quiet ones, Director?” Ritsuka thought.

Cleared her throat, Olga Marie put her attention at the Fujimaru siblings. “Anyway! Do you finally know how much of a mess you made at that critical moment?”

“Um, Director Marie? I think that’s going a little too far…” Romani’s voice pointed out from Ritsuka’s wristwatch.

“Uh… You weren’t planning to dive, so I’m not sure you needed your suit.” Mash nodded in agreement and pointed out too.

“I did! I most certainly did!” Olga Marie cried, her feet stomped on the ground. “I had a special Mystic Code made for this mission.”

“But Director, you mentioned. ‘Is that a problem? What commander heads to the front lines? Didn’t I tell you that you were my tools?’, why would you dive when your ‘tools’ here are on the front lines?” Ritsuka mentioned with a smirk, her calm tone mixed with smugness.

As Ritsuka nodded, Olga Marie couldn’t find words to rebut by her own remarks. Instead, she settled with a grumble. “Jeez, I didn’t even get to wear it once…

“Well, it doesn’t matter.” The Director shifted her gaze to the siblings. 

“Anyway, you understand your responsibilities and duties as a Master candidate now, right?”

By their nod, Olga Marie turned to Ritsuka. “Very well, Fujimaru Ritsuka. I’m ordering you to be my bodyguard. Mash had complimented your abilities to deal with those monsters. Work hard.”

A minute later, Ritsuka questioned with a skeptical expression. “Are you trying to be someone you’re not?”

“This is who I am! I was just in a hurry back there!” But when Ritsuka rolled his orbs at her, Olga Marie shouted. “Once we get back to Chaldea, you’re in for it.”

“Aye aye, oh ‘great Director’!” Ritsuka replied with sarcasm laced. He ignored the crimson blush appeared on her face and moved to the debris.

With a relieved grin, Mash said, “Good to see you three getting along. Let’s move before more enemies show up.”

“I’m not even sure if this relationship lasts before we’re fired,” Ritsuko shook her head tiredly.

Once Ritsuka had drawn out a sturdier metallic pole within the rubble, the group continued walking towards their destination.

End of Section 3 Part 1

Chapter Text

Investigate the Bridge

At the edge of the bridge, Olga Marie stopped in her tracks and spun to the siblings. “By the way, the type of being we called Servants, you know what they are, don’t you?”

With no lesser than a second, Ritsuko shook her head while her brother replied, “We have no idea.”

“Just as I thought,” The Director heaved a heavy sigh. “It can’t be helped, I’ll tell you as we move.”

When they resumed walking, Olga Marie described with a clear explanation. 

“Think of a Servant as the highest-ranked familiar in the magical world.”

“Various historical heroes. 

“Noble acts. 

“They’re all summoned as spiritual bodies.”

At that statement, Ritsuka’s orbs widened. Ritsuko nudged his arm and gossiped with an elated tone, “You get your dream come true in meeting them instead of viewing it from books, brother!”

“Then, I’d be getting ready as a journalist to note down the actual story from the horse’s mouth.” Ritsuka returned with a pleased yet excited grin on his lips.

Olga Marie, but, rolled their eyes at their childish naivety. 

“To summon a Heroic Spirit is to convert information stored on this planet into something for the good of mankind.

“People today have the right to use legacies of the past, and with that right, the duty to leave behind a future.”

Whirled around, the Director pointed at the red markings on the back of their right hand. “Do you see? What you both made your contract with is greater than a human and yet is a tool to serve humans.

“That’s why they are called Servants. Even if they’re gods, they exist only to serve their Masters. And, not something of your childish thinking that they are your friends and playmates.”

By the last line, both siblings frowned at her remarks. Ritsuka’s orbs narrowed with irritation at the phrase ‘tool’ described to them. An insult to him that individuals who built up mankind history and performed as a tool. They were once beings who had experienced a life so who was she to call them that.

Before he could voice his displeasure, Mash interjected and voiced her own. “Director. Your line of thinking may be extreme. My cells are disagreeing with what you just said.”

“Hmph. Meaning the Servant, you fused with must be an Earth-type Heroic Spirit,” Olga Marie retorted. She whirled back and resumed walking. “Anyway, Servants are heroes of the past made into familiars. Those who enter into a contract with them and use them are Masters.

“There are seven classes of Servants, which vary depending on Servant’s legends and abilities. 

“It’s incredibly difficult to copy a Heroic Spirit entirely. 

“Human mages do not have enough resources or memory to achieve such a feat.

“That’s why only one aspect of a Heroic Spirit is fixed in our world, resulting in seven classes,” 

Olga Marie lifted her hand up with each finger closed as she spoke. “Saber, Lancer, Archer, Rider, Caster, Berserker, and Assassin.

“Every Heroic Spirit will manifest as one of these classes. That’s the true nature of Servants,” Shifted to face them again, Olga Marie continued. “It’s also a way to hide their true name.  They hide their names because they are famous. Take Achilles from Greek Mythology.

“Achilles is an invincible Heroic Spirit, but his weakness is extremely famous, right?” At their nod of understanding what she meant, the Director explained. “When a Heroic Spirit returns, their weakness returns with them. That’s why Servants hide their names behind their class names.

“If you don’t know their identity, it’s harder to figure out their past or weakness, right?” The Fujimaru siblings nodded again. Olga Marie raised one of her fingers up to go on. “That’s not all. There’s another reason for hiding one’s True Name.”

“And that’s…?” Ritsuka prodded.

“A Servant has a secret weapon worthy of their legend,” Olga Marie replied. 

“The crystallization of that Heroic Spirit’s miracle and existence.”

Before she could move on, Mash stepped in with her shield lifted up. “Director, sorry to interrupt you while you’re having fun but we’ve detected hostiles. Entering combat.”

The siblings turned over to see another army of skeleton warriors surrounding them. Olga Marie shrieked and dashed to the back behind a rubble. “What! T-Take them out right now! I’ll be hiding over here!”

“Masters, orders!”

As Mash shouted, Ritsuka armed his iron pipe up and ordered, “Eliminate them! Ritsuko, same plan as before!”

“Understood!” Ritsuko spun and headed off to a position in the range of her target.

The two charged forward in synch with the skeleton army. Ritsuka blocked the strike with his pipe, his enemy screeched at him in fury. Mash swung her shield down at the incoming skeleton before plunging it upwards at the other.

Pulled back his pipe to attack, the skeleton raised its blade too. Before it could strike, few rocks were thrown towards its skull and hitting off its sword. Ritsuka charged forward and beheaded his enemy with a single swing.

As it turned to black dust, Olga Marie’s voice yelled from his back, “Behind you!”

Whirled around, Ritsuka blocked the strike from the incoming spear with a groan. While struggled to deflect the attack, he suddenly heard Olga Marie shouted again. “What are you standing there for? Hurry and kill it!”

“I’m… Try… Ing!” Mustered all his energy, Ritsuka knocked off the skeleton away with a shove. As it swung its spear, he parried it with a high swing of his pipe. Then with a mighty strike, Ritsuka whacked the skull off from the enemy.

Ritsuka shifted his head and grimaced inwardly. Olga Marie hiding behind a debris glaring at him and Ritsuko with a vexed frown on her lips. He shifted away and groaned to himself. “A tough boss to satisfy indeed…”

“I can feel the tension across the screen,” Romani’s voice emitted out from Ritsuka’s wristwatch. “The Director is grumpy as usual.”

“She’s not just grumpy, she’s a total crank.” 

Ritsuko approached her brother with an irritated reply to Romani.

The raven-haired Master gave an annoyed sigh, “Please tell us there’s a reason she is always so mad.”

“Well, I can feel some sympathy for the Director’s ill temper,” Mash replied. She approached the siblings and spoke with a calm tone. “Excuse me, but Ritsuka-senpai and Ritsuko-senpai, there’s too much about Chaldea you don’t know.”

“Fair enough,” Ritsuka nodded in agreement. He stuck his pipe on the ground before shifting to the violet-haired Servant. “We both came here clueless since the one who invited us here didn’t even give a proper explanation.”

Mash sighed from Ritsuko’s nod as confirmation, her brows furrowed in concern. “I really don’t know what to do with both of you. It’s like both of you are a lost little kitten.”

The violet-haired Servant then shook her head. “Well, not that I’m any different. It’s been about two years since I started here, and I still don’t get it. I kind of sneaked in here. Almost like an alligator.”

“I-Is that right, Mash-chan?!” Ritsuko’s orbs widened

“True, even alligators have no clue,” Ritsuka rubbed his chin.

“Yes, I’ve learned as much as I can from the database,” Mash nodded to Ritsuko’s query. “But I’ll share it with you. Chaldea Security Organization. 

“Or more accurately, the Security Organization for the Preservation of Humanity, Fenis Chaldea.

“A research observatory with the purpose of continuing and strengthening human history, with researchers, scholars, and mages from all around the world.”

As the trio engaged in Mash’s explanation, they were deaf to the footsteps sounds reaching them. Yet, Mash continued sharing her discoveries. “They watched a world that magecraft couldn’t observe, and science couldn’t measure. 

“We’re a special organization with national support, created to prevent humanity from reaching a ‘bad end.’”

“Yeah, I figured as much,” Ritsuka nodded. Together with the cloaked figure words, he had gotten an understanding for one of his two homework. Though, the other homework still had him struggling to figure out.

Ritsuko nodded too and replied, “You sure know a lot, Mash-chan.”

Mash blushed at her compliment and returned. “Anyway, that’s pretty much it.”

“Fou!” Fou leaped to Ritsuko’s shoulder.

The violet-haired Servant glanced at Olga Marie. 

“It’s true that Chaldea receives financial support from across the globe. 

“But, the majority of that comes from the Mage’s Association in London—From the Animusphere family. 

“Director Olga Marie’s family. 

“Chaldea is a research organization, but due to its importance, it operates on a military level. 

“There are extremely strict rules and punishments for everything, so the Director’s attitude is actually reserved.”

By the growing sound of footsteps, the three remained ignorant. Mash simply went on. “The Director isn’t a villain, but she is evil. She’ll get rid of any staff she doesn’t like. Well, I’m not sure if it’s okay to call someone who’s got a bad attitude, evil.”

“The Director has her reasoning to be serious,” Ritsuka took a peeved glance at Olga Marie before turning back. “If she doesn’t put so much of her feelings and bias to do her job.”

As Ritsuko shook her head, Mash bowed her head with a frown. “Sorry, but I wanted to give both of you some encouragement, but I’m not used to cheery words.”

“It’s all right, actually. At least, we understand now.” Ritsuka showed a reassured grin to her.

Ritsuko grinned and patted her shoulder. “That’s right! There’s nothing to worry about, Mash-chan. We understand your concern that’s why–!”

“Kyu, Kyu, Kyu!” Fou squeaked as though growling what’s in front of him.

Olga Marie’s voice urged them in panic. “Hey! What are you guys doing? Behind you, behind you! The e-enemy’s found us! Prepare for battle!”

Ritsuka examined Mash’s back and yelled, “Ritsuko!”

Whirled around, Mash placed herself between Ritsuko and the skeleton’s strike onto the former. A gash wound formed from the sharp blade at her upper left arm. Ritsuko gasped “M-Mash-chan!”

“This is nothing, Ritsuko-senpai,” Mash answered. She pulled her shield up before striking and killing off her attacker.

Realized at once, another group of skeleton approached closer within their range of combat. With their weapons armed, Mash gave a thorough glance. “They’re so close! Senpai, give me your orders!”

As Ritsuka made a sweeping glance, he caught one particular skeleton among the four using its blade to command them forward. With a deep breath, he requested. “Mash take down their leader wielding a sword and protect Ritsuko while she assists you.

“Ritsuko, do the same for her earlier. Find an opening and hit it off guard so she could take it down.”

“Understood, Master Ritsuka!” Mash nodded.

Ritsuko looked at her brother. “What about you?”

“I’ll hold them back! Go!” Ritsuka charged forward and swung his pipe to battle against the skeleton warrior.

Before Ritsuko could rebut, Mash grabbed her hand. “We’ll come back for Ritsuka-senpai later. Stay behind me, Ritsuko-senpai.”

“A-All right…” Ritsuko nodded, glimpsed at her brother one last time before following Mash leading her.

-0-

Followed closely behind Mash, her Servant swung and slammed her shield against each skeleton to black dust. Once reached close to its leader, Mash stepped forward with her shield armed forward. “Senpai, please give me the order to strike when it’s fatal. I’ll hold it back as long as I can!”

“W-Wait, Mash-chan!” Ritsuko shouted for her, but the violet-haired Servant charged ahead.

Mash swung her shield forward to the leader. But, it jumped backward before charging forward with its sword lifted. Her shield pulled in front of her to stop the strike, Mash then launched it forward to slam it back.

As Ritsuko stood there, she stared in fear yet wary of Mash’s combat. She moved her gaze to Ritsuka, busying engaging in combat with now three skeleton warriors. The orange-haired Master clenched her fist and recalled Ritsuka’s earlier words. “No way, I will do nothing…”

Orange orbs darted left to right on the ground, Ritsuko found a size of the ball-shaped rock and picked it up into her hand. Heaved a deep breath, she arranged herself in resting on her left toe and right foot forward.

Gripped tight of the rock, Ritsuko saw that Mash had just hit back the skeleton leader before charging ahead. The moment it raised its sword, Ritsuko shouted in her head. “Now!”

Moved her weight back to her left, Ritsuko extended her right arm past her hip and kicked her left foot forward. With a rapid and strong jerk of her right wrist forward, she aimed and hurled the rock.

Meanwhile, before Mash could block the strike, the rock flew past her and smacked the bony hand wielding the sword off. Like an indirect signal, Mash shouted, “Hiiiyaaah!”

Bashed her shield ahead as the leader turned startled, Mash pulled back her weapon before raising it up and swung it down at its neck. The shield thrust against the ribs, it snapped and turned the skeleton leader to black dust.

Mash spun to Ritsuko and beamed, “That was a nice shot, Ritsuko-senpai!”

“Hehe, being the main pitcher for softball and captain in Archery paid it off well!” Ritsuko grinned back, suddenly frowned as she recalled. “Come on, let’s go help Ritsuka!”

-0-

“Kill them already!” Olga Marie’s voice growled.

Ritsuka breathing heavily with blue orbs narrowed at his opponent. Their leader killed and only two left behind. The two skeletons circled around him from a distance, and the one in front charged.

Lowered his body to swing his pipe high, Ritsuka knocked the spear aside before turning up and hit a strong swing across the ribs. A screech escaped from his destroyed enemies, Ritsuka heaved a tired breath.

Thunk!

Whirled around, Mash taken down the forgotten enemy behind him. She set her shield away and looked at him. “Senpai, you mustn’t let your guard down until all your enemies are gone.”

“My bad, Mash…” Ritsuka nodded.

Mash leaned her head forward a little to inspect. “Are you alright, Senpai?”

Ritsuka showed a small beam. “Yeah, and you?”

“I’m completely fine, Senpai.” Mash smiled.

Came out from the debris upon examining all enemies perished, Olga Marie approached them with a sigh, “Please keep an eye on your surroundings. 

“Even if Romani is monitoring us, this is a Singularity. 

“There’s no telling what might happen.”

Once reached where Mash stood, Olga Marie ordered, “Come here, Kyrielight. You’re hurt, aren’t you? I can heal something like that.”

“Oh… Right,” Mash remembered the wound on her upper left arm. She moved closer to the Director and nodded. “Thank you very much, Director Olga Marie.”

“You all right, Ritsuko?” Ritsuka asked his sister approaching him.

As she nodded, Ritsuko asked, “You?”

“Yeah. Taking down four experienced soldiers at a time calls for further training at my current level.” Ritsuka nodded.

A holographic image of Romani appeared behind the siblings. 

They observed the magic circle appeared beneath her palm healing the wound in golden light. Romani commented. “Really, now. When the Director is calm, she can be dependable…”

“If only she could stay that way always, we’d be able to progress our mission quickly,” Ritsuko grunted.

“Well,” Cleared his throat to capture their attention, Romani spoke. 

“Ritsuko-kun, Ritsuka-kun, you both should know… The Director is in a complicated situation as well. 

“Initially, Marie was like you all, a Master Candidate.”

“Is that so?” Ritsuka glimpsed at the Director before coming back with a confused look.

Romani nodded to affirm his words. “Three years ago, the previous Director, her father, passed away, and she had to take over Chaldea when she was just a student. Since then, it’s been a tense one day after another. She had to take over as head of the Animusphere family.”

“It was all she could do to keep Chaldea running,” While the doctor went on, the siblings followed his orbs staring at Olga Marie. The Director’s grim face with furrowed orbs examining Mash’s wounds as its healing with her magic.

Romani’s voice added, “Around that time, an anomaly was found in Chaldeas. We could no longer see into the promised future of 100 years from now. There was huge criticism from the Association and our sponsors.

“She was ordered to get the situation back to normal as soon as possible. To make the matters worse, they found that she had no aptitude to be a Master.”

“Wait, what?!” Ritsuko’s jaw dropped.

Ritsuka questioned with bewilderment. “Even though… She’s a mage herself? And she could Mash’s wound earlier…?”

Nodded with furrowed brows, Romani confessed with a grim tone. “Yeah. The noble Animusphere family, one of the Twelve Lords, the dominating faculty of Astronomy at the Mage’s Association. Oh the scandal that would occur if the head of such a family was found unfit to become a Master.

“You can imagine the level of gossip happening behind the scenes. I’m sure those rumors reached Marie too.” Before them, Olga Marie now chattering with Mash as the latter listened.

Romani sighed heavily as he got reminded about the Director’s plight. “She still worked her absolute best as Director. This last half-year, she’s just barely hanging on. She’s worked herself so hard, I’d like her to come for counseling, but with how things are…

“In any event, she’s been emotionally stretched to the limit. She doesn’t hate both of you or anything like that.”

At the weak nervous assurance to them, Ritsuka smiled, “I understand what you mean, Doctor Roman. Director isn’t a bad person.”

“Ritsuka…” Ritsuko stared in amaze at her brother’s answer.

“I’m glad you think so, Ritsuka-kun,” Romani grinned. “But you know she is evil, right? The Director wasn’t allowed to go out much growing up, so everything she says is honest and innocent. But, make sure you don’t say in front of her. She’ll just hate you more.”

The raven-haired Master chuckled. “I agree with the latter, but you probably shouldn’t say that to incur more of her wrath too, Doctor Roman.”

“You have a point there,” Romani laughed. He gave the two a reassuring grin. “But, she isn’t cruel, nefarious, and dishonest, that I can promise you both. She’s just a rather serious person. Anyhow, you’re the only four I can trust right now. I want you to continue investigating without fighting.”

“Understood.”

As the two responded, the holographic image returned to Ritsuka’s wristwatch. While he exhaled a breath, he noticed Ritsuko staring at him. As he raised his brows at her, Ritsuko asked, “I didn’t think you’d agree with the Doctor without sarcasm about the Director.”

“As much as how we both can’t stand her,” He moved his glance to the Director with a distant look. “It’s tough enough for her when she knew despite having everything with an influential standing, she can’t get the one she craved the most.”

“Ritsuka…” Ritsuko’s eyebrows furrowed at her brother’s expression. She recalled the only occasions he displayed such expression was the situation like now. Despite being siblings for years, it’s generally like this she still can’t tell what’s going on in his mind.

While he looked at them, Ritsuka heard a snicker and shifted back to Ritsuko. Instantaneously, a frown appeared on his lips as he prodded, “Yeah?”

“Nope, it’s nothing. I suppose you feel like that because you’re offering your heart to her huh, brother?” Ritsuko’s orbs glinted with amusement.

Rolled his eyes, Ritsuka folded his arms and scoffed. “That’s stupid. She’s our Director and supervisor in charge. And even if she’s a guy you’re thinking, she isn’t my type from the start.”

“True, I don’t even want her as an in-law in our family. Mom and Dad would even protest at the minute she opened that mouth of hers,” Ritsuko hummed to herself. A realization dawned on her and she smirked, “Don’t tell me your type of guy is–!”

“You’re free to think what you like, Ritsuko,” Ritsuka rolled his eyes and whirled around as he walked away. “While I have to figure out how to resolve this Singularity and keeping us alive in this misery.”

With her disbelief expression, Ritsuko gave chase to her brother and exclaimed, “Hey, wait! Is it true?! What happened while I’m gone? Answer me, Fujimaru Ritsuka!”

End of Section 3

Chapter Text

Investigate Port Ruin

THWACK!

With her shield slashed against the skeleton, Mash observed it reduced to black dust before dissolving away. The Fujimaru siblings approached and Ritsuka asked, “We have dealt finished on our end, Mash.”

Mash nodded and reported. “The hostile life-form has been removed here too.”

“I didn’t know what would happen with that monster, but,” Olga Marie walked out from her hiding spot as usual when they faced in combat. She approached Mash with a proud grin. “I expected nothing less of a Servant’s body. Such power.”

“Not that it makes them look any less scary,” Mash frowned at her words displeased at the compliment. She set her shield aside on her right. “Director, I have a question for you. The Fuyuki in our data and this Fuyuki are just too different.

“What happened in this city, exactly? What are your thoughts, Director?”

“Let’s see, history must’ve been slightly disrupted. That’s the only reason I could think of,” Olga Marie replied. With their eyes and attention fixated on her, she shifted to them back. “Mash, Fujimaru, I’m only going to say this once, so listen up.

“Chaldea observes the future through an Earth model called Chaldeas. 

“At the same time, a familiar called Laplace compiles past records. 

“You can say Laplace job to gather data on history that wasn’t made public and information that was buried in the darkness that no one knows.”

The group went down again while tuning in to the Director’s explanation. 

“According to Laplace’s observations, an unusual Holy Grail War was confirmed in this city in 2004.”

Mash’s single violet orb widened. “Holy Grail War? You mean the Holy Grail of legend? The magical chalice that is the root of all magecraft, the one that is said to grant its holder’s wishes?”

“Eh? Is it actually that powerful?” Ritsuko widened her orbs in the revelation too.

“From what myths said, the Holy Grail was claimed to be a golden chalice containing Christ’s blood. It’s a chalice used by Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in his Last Supper. And, to collect the blood of Christ upon his crucifixion.

Ritsuka explained to his sister. “With the Grail containing Christ’s blood, it’s undeniably the most powerful source of magic. 

“They not only showed up in Celtics and Arthurian legends. 

“But many other legends and myths heroes were pursuing it too.” 

Olga Marie nodded. “Yes, that’s the one.”

“So, that’s why those Masters were searching for the Grail… A most powerful artifact by the son of God’s blood.” Ritsuko muttered to herself.

“Mages in Fuyuki city competed for the Grail, and in order to activate it summoned seven Heroic Spirits,” Followed by a grim expression, the Director resumed. 

“That was the start of the Holy Grail War. Unknown to anyone, Servants were summoned to this town.

“The Fuyuki Holy Grail War is simple. Seven Masters fight each other. The last one standing gets the Grail. Chaldea learned about this in 2010. My father,” Olga Marie shook her head and amended. “I mean, the previous director used this data to build the Summoning System.

“That’s what makes up Chaldeas’s Heroic Spirit Summoning System, Fate. 

“Our third invention after Laplace and Chaldeas.”

While the sibling’s pair nodded, Mash noticed and inquired, “Third? Isn’t that the Near-Future Observation Lens, Sheba?”

“That was created by Professor Lev. Well, I guess you can say we both worked on it,” Olga Marie showed a proud beam at the memories. “Anyway, this is where Servants come from. Seven Servants fought here, and in the end, Saber was victorious.

“The town wasn’t destroyed, and the Servants shouldn’t have been noticed by anyone, but,” Another sweeping scan of the city, Olga Marie decided. “Now this is happening. We should assume that the outcome changed due to this Singularity.

“The anomaly in 2004 brought about an alteration to human history and as a result, we’re no longer able to see 100 years in the future. That’s why it’s our job to repair this anomaly. Somewhere here is the reason history has been disturbed.

“Once we analyze and eliminate it, that will complete our mission. All of us will be able to return to the present,” Finished her explanation, the Director shifted her attention to Ritsuka who had raised his hand.

He put his hand back down and asked, “Was there any Heroic Spirits summoned at Chaldea?”

“Of course. But it didn’t go well, there weren’t many successes,” Olga Marie shook her head with a disappointed expression. “According to the data, three were summoned, but I only know of two.”

Three fingers lifted up from her hand, her index finger slightly pulled apart from the other two as she revealed. “The previous Director summoned the first. Second and third arrived after I became Director.”

“The second fused with Mash,” Olga Marie’s orange orbs directed at the violet-haired Servant. She suddenly let out an irritated sigh, “And, well, you know, the third. The weirdo lives in Chaldea. Leonardo da Vinci.”

A second passed, Ritsuka tried to process what the Director mentioned before yelling in shock. 

“Did…. Did you say…. Leonardo da Vinci?!!”

“GuOOOOOOO!!!!!” A familiar ear-piercing screech caught their attention. Their head turned to the front to meet a familiar group of armed skeletons heading to them.

“Not these guys again! Get rid of them, Mash, Fujimaru!” 

Olga Marie ran off at once to find a shelter from the battlefield.

Ritsuka swept his head to the running Director. “Hold on, is it that Leonardo da Vinci? The same da Vinci that painted Mona Lisa?!”

“Damn it, Ritsuka. 

“Save your fanboying of historical people later! 

“We got murderous boneheads coming for us!” 

Ritsuko dragged her brother’s right arm along as Mash had charged ahead into the battlefield.

Ritsuka stood firm as he tried to pull his arm back. “But, it’s Da Vinci! The one who painted The Vitruvian Man, Mona Lisa, and The Last Supper painting, and invented early flying machines!” 

Ritsuko rolled her eyes and pointed at the army of skeletons. “War is hell, Onii-chan. Now let’s kill those things or we have a dead body of our Director to bury later.”

As Ritsuko signaled to him of Mash taking down their enemies alone. Ritsuka huffed with his pipe armed. “Fine, let’s kill these morons first.”

-0-

A moment later, Mash set down her shield with a heavy sigh, “Phew, the battlefield is over, Masters. I’m relieved that we pulled through again.”

“Good work, Mash,” Ritsuka grinned, setting his pipe on the ground with a huff.

Ritsuko patted her back and smiled, “Yeah, thank you, Mash!”

Mash showed a faint blush at their compliments and acknowledged, “Yes. I am happy that I can be useful to you, Senpais.”

As they beamed at each other, Olga Marie’s voice approached them with concern. “Hey, Mash. Is it possible that you can’t use your Noble Phantasm?”

“Noble Phantasm?” 

Ritsuka repeated with a curious expression.

The violet-haired Servant nodded with a frown. “Apparently, I don’t even know which Heroic Spirit fused with me…”

She glanced at her shield and added. “And, I’m unable to use the power of its Special Arts, the Heroic Spirits’s secret weapon—known as a Noble Phantasm.”

“Mash-chan?”

On cue from Ritsuko’s voice, Mash shifted to them with her head nodded. “Ritsuko-senpai, Ritsuka-senpai, I’m sorry for explaining this so late. Servants are equipped with a unique skill called a Noble Phantasm. It’s derived from each hero’s legend and great deeds and is a secret weapon.

“But, I am unable to wield my Noble Phantasm.” With another glimpse at her shield, Mash turned her gaze back to the siblings. “I can somehow use it as a weapon, but its output is decreased. I can’t even release its True Name. In fact, I don’t even know what the origins of this weapon of mine might be.”

While Olga Marie remained silent, Ritsuko turned to her brother. 

“Any idea of mythical heroes using a shield as a weapon?”

“Not that I can tell,” Ritsuka narrowed his orbs and leaned his head to check out the shield. “Or at least, from what I remember, Ritsuko. My tablet may or not have documents I’ve downloaded on this. Other than that, I don’t recognize this shield anywhere.”

“I see…” Ritsuko nodded solemnly.

“In any case, you can think of me as a failed Servant,” Mash then corrected. “Or maybe just a capable kouhai* that can get even stronger. I have no leads on the Heroic Spirit that fused with me too, but with both of you as my Masters, I will figure it out as I grow.”

“Mash…” Ritsuka stared at with surprise at her faith to them.

Olga Marie nodded in agreement. “That’s true. 

“Masters have the ability to analyze their Servants parameters, skills, and matrixes.”

The Director shifted her gaze at the siblings and went on. “Fujimaru Ritsuka, Fujimaru Ritsuko… As a Master, once you both become good enough, you should be able to analyze Mash’s Servant data.

“Any Servants you make a contract with from this point should be the same. First, you need to learn their True Name and Noble Phantasm. As your trust with them grows, your Servant’s power will grow too.”

Turned her head aside, Olga Marie let out a scoff. “Well, it’s not like you both have that much potential in you. The fact that you two can’t use Mash that well shows that. Once we get Chaldea’s Rayshift capability back online, we will shift a first-class Master here.

“Then you both are fired,” The Director with her index finger lifted and pointing at the Fujimaru Siblings. 

“Newbies with no combat experience can spend their time terrified in some corner in Chaldea.”

“Wasn’t that you who kept hiding like a coward while we do all the dirty work?” Ritsuka and Ritsuko thought in synch with a glare on their faces.

But, a thought stuck in Ritsuko’s mind. As she remembered from Romani’s words about Olga Marie, Ritsuko asked with a curious expression. “Could it be that you’re worried about us?”

Knowingly she struck the spot, Olga Marie’s face turned red and flustered. “O-Of course! Y-You and your brother especially are only out fighting force here! If you and he gets taken out, who’s going to fight?”

“Hmm, in other words,” Ritsuka picked up his pipe and lay across his shoulders. One of his eyebrows raised as he questioned, “Weren’t you the one scared and spending quality time ‘terrified in some corner’?”

“I wasn’t! Not in the least!” Olga Marie’s orange orbs glared at Ritsuka. Though, it simply caused her glare less taken seriously to the raven-haired Master. She reminded with a yell. “You should be respectful to your elders!”

“Anyway, I’m glad you three understand each other better now.” 

Mash stepped in to prevent any further escalation into an argument, “Let’s move before any more of them show up.”

While the Fujimaru siblings nodded to agree, Olga Marie stormed ahead as she grumbled to herself. As they walked off, the siblings grinned at each other while following the Director from behind.

End of Section 4

Chapter Text

Investigate the Church Ruins

Arrived at a building, the group had split off with Olga Marie who moved further investigating alone. The burnt benches, cracked glasses of windows and mirrors, Olga Marie headed towards the damaged podium. “Everything’s burnt down far as the eye can see…”

Another sweeping scan of the area, the Director’s orange orbs narrowed at the ash-colored powder on the ground and shelves with a closer investigation. “There aren’t any traces of residents either. What happened here?

“What could even turn Chaldea gray in the first place? If we can’t see the future, that means humanity will vanish,” Olga Marie lifted her hand to chew on her thumb fingernail. “Could that mean the Counter Force doesn’t work in a Singularity? Then this place is like a Bolt…

“The fatal choice of destruction scattered throughout human history… When your choices become mistakes, this is what happens.”

As the separate three watched her rambled on, Romani’s holographic image appeared beside them. He saw the Director mumbling and let out an exhale, “Looks like the Director is talking to herself. This could take a while.”

With a swift inspection of their area and his data on another screen, he turned to Ritsuka. “Hey, looks like it’s safe over there, Ritsuka-kun. Why don’t both of you rest a bit?”

“Really?” Ritsuka turned his head to the Doctor.

“I agree with you, Doctor,” Mash nodded. “Senpais, would you like some rations?”

“Yes! Thank you, Mash-chan!” Ritsuko raised her hand eagerly.

Mash returned with a happy beam and escorted the siblings to sit on a bench that stood unbroken. As she handed over to the siblings a pair of water bottles, Ritsuko gulped down as fast as she did.

Ritsuka took a hefty gulp down and breathed out a satisfied breath before shifting to Mash. “Thanks. But, aren’t you tired, Mash?”

“Tired? Are you asking if I’ve been having any problems since I became a Servant?” Mash clarified with a perplexed expression.

Ritsuko shifted their attention to them when her brother nodded. Mash took a slow pause before answering, “Well, for the most part. It’s scary to fight, but I’m doing fine otherwise.”

As Ritsuka nodded with understanding, Ritsuko tilted her body sideways a little to get a better view of Mash. “Then, is there any complaints since you’ve become a Servant?”

A faint embarrassed blush appeared on Mash’s cheeks. She bowed her head and admitted with a reluctant expression, “It’s hard to explain. Imagine yourself becoming a jet fighter, Ritsuko-senpai. You might be able to fly around in the sky, but you can’t do your own maintenance.

“No matter how strong you might be, essentially depends on having a Master,” The violet-haired Servant continued as she recalled the dangerous encounter they’ve been through. “The risk and reward make sense here. But I can’t be too happy when I think of the burden I’m putting on both of you.”

“Then, are you okay with us being your Masters?” Ritsuko interjected her unpleasant thoughts from entering into the Servant’s head.

“Eh?” Mash turned her head to stare at Ritsuko.

Ritsuko straightened up and rubbed the back of her neck. “Well, we both are inexperienced or at worst, ignorant to everything of what’s the work like here. Ritsuka and I feel we dragged you down.

“I mean, wouldn’t you prefer a more competent person or Master in knowing how they do their things? It’d be better if we know what we are doing, or things here would be…”

Ritsuko tilted her head towards the sky with a sorry grin on her lips. Mash’s orbs widened before shaking her head with a reassured smile, “That’s not the case at all, Ritsuko-senpai.”

“Really?”

Once Ritsuko faced at her, Ritsuka turned to see Mash smiling a satisfied and confident grin to them. “I think both of you might’ve been the best Master this summer. That’s why–!”

Suddenly, Romani’s holographic image appeared beside them and shouted to the four of them with a panic tone. “That’s enough rest! We got incoming!”

The familiar screeches made the three turned their head to the back. With the usual group of skeletons, Mash leaped with her shield set in front of her. “Masters, your commands, please!”

A side glance from Ritsuka’s blue orbs on seeing Olga Marie hiding behind a shelf on instinct, Ritsuka turned back and shouted. “Let’s get rid of them!”

-0-

On the roof of a skyscraper building, a youthful man with a muscular physique stood with his bow equipped in his hand. His gaze fixated on the Demi-Servant using her shield engaging in combat with the leader.

He later turned to the Fujimaru siblings assisting each other in taking down the minions. As he stared Ritsuka’s pipe clashed against the skeleton’s sword, he murmured to himself. “Well, well…”

His right hand at the back emerged a metallic sword by the red light. He placed the blade on the bow in his left hand, and a glow of red-black light transformed its shape to a projectile.

As he took aim and to launch at his mark, he ceased and darted to his right as a dark purple orb directed towards him. With his mind shifted from them, he jumped elsewhere as it collided with the building creating smoke and dust.

Unknown to him, another obscure figure on the sheltered ground level viewed the mysterious bowman leaving before turning and disappearing into thin air.

-0-

Stabbed the pipe onto the ground, Ritsuka heaved a huge relief breath before crashing on the ground. Ritsuko dropped to the ground and groaned, “Finally! Can we have our break now?!”

Mash set her shield down and let out a tired sigh, “Phew! Thank goodness, we managed it yet again Masters.”

“I see you’re getting used to being a Servant,” Olga Marie walked out from her hiding again and approached Mash. With a satisfying grin, she went on. “Is it because now you know what we’re up against, you’re not afraid anymore?”

“I don’t know about that,” Mash’s eyebrows furrowed. “No matter how good I am with my weapon when it comes to the battle itself…”

Before Olga Marie could say anything, she heard the recognizable ‘beep’ that irritated her. 

She turned to where Romani’s holographic appeared and grunted. “You’re being annoying! What do you–!”

“Sorry, let’s talk later!” Romani’s urgent tone stopped the Director’s scolding. “The four of you need to get out of there now! I’m still picking up something! And this is–!”

Chains shot out from nowhere and circled the perimeter of their area, setting up an enclosed trap. 

As they peeked around the surroundings, a mysterious veiled woman came before them from a violet light.

“An unknown Servant and two unknown Masters,” The veiled woman giggled. 

Despite her features being hidden by the black veil, she had notable long purple hair and well-endowed figure.

Olga Marie gulped and sputtered in fear. “Wha–! Is that…”

“A Servant is there!” Romani exclaimed, green orbs widened in fright at the unknown Servant before them.

The purple-haired Servant examined each of them with a predatory gaze and smirked. “How young and fresh…”

“What the heck? What’s a Servant doing here?!” Ritsuko’s orbs widened, rose and strode a step backward from the unknown Servant.

“But I don’t see her Master!” Mash replied, standing in front of the three with her shield in her grip.

Olga Marie lifted her hand out in a gun position and pointed out. “This world has already gone mad. A Servant without a Master doesn’t surprise me.”

Ritsuka gritted his teeth. Before he could add anything, Romani’s voice cried out, “Don’t fight it, Ritsuka-kun, Ritsuko-kun, Mash! It’s too soon for you to fight a Servant!”

“Even so, we can’t escape!” Olga Marie’s orbs glanced back at the surrounding chains that ambushed them. She turned back to Mash and ordered, “Mash, prepare for battle! It’s a Servant, you can do something about it, right?”

“Yes, I will do my best!” Mash gritted her teeth anxiously but took a brave step forward towards the enemy Servant.

“Oh, how bold. How fresh,” The purple-haired Servant mused. “Is this your first time fighting as a Servant?”

With a stride forward too, the enemy Servant pulled out a pair of a chained nail-shaped dagger from her back. “Then, as your senpai, I’ll teach you. Be careful of what you say and do. For once the word ‘fight’ passes your lips, it has already begun.”

Dissolved in a black fog, Mash’s shocked expression lasted for a second before she came back with her nail-dagger raised to strike. She hastily lifted her shield to block it. The spark generated from her nail-dagger clashed against her shield.

The violet-haired Servant at once raised her shield again to intercept another strike. Each strike hitting against her shield, Mash struggled to maintain her ground. At her determined gaze, the enemy Servant cackled, “You’re desperate. Excellent. But be careful.”

Vanished again, Mash pulled her shield back and scanned around. The distant echo of metal clinking against each other, she glanced skyward and caught the pair of dagger homing towards her.

As she leaped backward, the purple-haired Servant landed onto her chained gate. “Interesting. You’re able to dodge my dagger that restricted and immobilize your movements. But the slightest mistake, you’ll be a failure of a Servant for the rest of your life!”

Fired a nail-dagger towards her, Mash ducked her head and charged forward. “Yaargh!!”

Taken by surprise as Mash’s shield clashed against her, the impact produced a storm of sand towards the back. As Ritsuka, Ritsuko and Olga Marie used their arms to cover against the dust, the enemy Servant leaped up untouched.

Back on her chained gate, the enemy Servant hummed to herself. “Being too fresh can grate on the nerves.”

Her hands moved to the back brushed out her long purple hair towards them. As it reached outwards, the hair changes from snakes for a moment to metallic chains at them.

“Watch out!” Olga Marie reached both of her hands out and grasped both Fujimaru’s shirt collar. With a powerful tug, Olga Marie pulled them back while Mash stepped forward. Her shield swung both left and right to deflect the incoming chains.

“Interesting… I will entangle you all with my hair,” The enemy Servant chuckled.

Ritsuka murmured with his blue orbs widened. “Her hair…”

“Be careful, Ritsuka-kun! If anything were to happen to one of you, Mash’s mana will weaken. Both of you are her Masters, so she’s relying on you two for support.” Romani’s distressed voice amplified out from Ritsuka’s wristwatch.

Ritsuko glimpsed at the entrapped area by the chains. “E-Even if you say that, we don’t know what’s the strength and weakness of our enemy!”

“Oi, Romani! Don’t you have an analysis of the Servant?” Olga Marie shouted.

“R-Right, I did!” A second afterward, Romani’s voice reported. “The enemy class is a Rider-type Servant. Even if her strength and endurance are average, watch out for her agility!”

“Her True Name?” One of Olga Marie’s orbs glanced at Ritsuka’s wristwatch.

“I-It’s–!”

Before Romani could announce, the enemy Servant was to gaze at them revealing her gray orbs with squarish pupils. Mash raised her shield to avert her gaze towards them, but she felt an electrifying tingle surged through her nerves.

As Mash flinched, Ritsuko shouted with a concerned tone. “M-Mash-chan!”

Raised to intercept another attack, Mash gritted her teeth as the enemy Servant chuckled at her struggle. With a strike to slam her backward, Mash reassured back. “I’m fine, Ritsuko-senpai…”

“That eye and hair…” Ritsuka muttered to himself. 

Familiar images and studies he did on history and mythology recalled in his mind. 

He declared upon knowing, “That’s Medusa, one of the three Gorgon sisters…!”

“Medusa?!” Olga Marie gasped in dread. “Mash is fighting with such monster…?!”

“W-Wait, how bad is Mash’s situation from this?!” Ritsuko demanded.

Ritsuka’s wristwatch blinked its light again as Romani spoke. 

“Medusa is the youngest among the Gorgon sisters that resided in the Shapeless Isle, Ritsuko-kun. 

“She was formerly a beautiful aboriginal Earth Mother deity like her sisters.

“But, the goddess Athena was jealous of their beauty. She cursed Medusa alone to what humans have recognized for her as the snake-haired monster now. As Ritsuka-kun had recognized, anybody who gazed into her eyes will be petrified and turned anyone into a stone statue.”

Moved her gaze, Ritsuko watched Mash blocking another attack before swinging her shield at Medusa. She shifted back to them and pleaded, “Director, you said before they would have a weakness, right?!”

As they turned back, Medusa cackled as she used her dagger to smack her shield away. Lunged at the violet-haired Servant, Mash jumped high and raised her shield to deter against the gliding chains being knocked upwards.

Swallowed a gulp, Ritsuko turned back and went on. “Then, shouldn’t there be something of how she died or something in history!”

“That’s right! I-I mean, yeah, there is a weakness!” Olga Marie cleared her throat nervously. “Her weakness was–!”

“I’ve got a plan!” Ritsuka’s intrusion of her words acquired a glare from Olga Marie.

Ritsuko shifted to her brother with an uneasy expression. “Please tell me you got an idea how to kill her, bro…”

“Well…”

Ritsuka leaned into his sister’s ears and whispered to her. After nodding for a while, her eyes widened and screamed. “Are you crazy–?!”

He leaned back to her ears and murmured in an emotionless tone. “Pick your poison, do you want to die here, and should I say Mash will die too. Or at least die at a later age with her alive and able to, you know? I’m backing you as a wingman with no objections this time.”

“You–! Ugh, fine! You owe me big time, brother,” Ritsuko glared at him after he rolled his eyes at her. Reluctantly, she turned to Olga Marie. As the Director shot her a suspicious look, Ritsuka forced herself to put a charming grin. “Oh, great Director! I need your help!”

“W-What?!” As predicted, Olga Marie blushed beet red and sputtered. “Flattery won’t get you anywhere, Fujimaru! W-What do you want?!”

Rolled her eyes sardonically, Ritsuko grabbed hold of her arm. “I have an idea to kill her. Come on!”

“H-Hey, hold on!” Olga Marie, struggling to pull arm away and keeping up with her pace.

Once they entered the building, Ritsuka shifted back to where Mash was. Despite her fatigue the prolonged battle with Medusa, she maintained her shield firm and resolute.

Just before Mash steady her shield against Medusa’s next attack, rocks appeared and fired at the enemy Servant. Medusa hissed and twisted to where it came from. “Who?!”

“How about choosing someone your own size, Rider-class Servant?” Ritsuka’s pipe armed in his grip and glared at her.

“Senpai!” Mash shouted.

Ritsuka commanded without facing her. “Mash, go into the building now!”

“But, Senpai, that’s a Servant–!”

Ritsuka turned to stare at her and ordered with a resolute tone. “I know that! Now, go!”

Before Mash was to counter back, she stopped and noticed what Ritsuka had hinted. She acknowledged his message with a knowing expression. “As you command, Master Ritsuka!”

As Medusa watched Mash rushing into the building, she shifted back to Ritsuka and laughed. “So, you’ve volunteered as a tribute to my prey? You have courage. But, a bravery of a fool blindly walking into death.”

“Maybe,” Ritsuka gulped and threw back a nervous smirk. “I’m not cut out to be a hero, so might as well settle for something fitting.”

“That’s fine with me. I’ll take you while you’re still flesh and blood!” Medusa threw one of her nail-dagger towards him.

Ritsuka swung his pipe to hit it aside and tried to strike at her. Before he could swing his pipe, Medusa appeared before him and strike at him. He quickly blocked with his pipe. “Tch!”

Medusa pulled back one of her nail-dagger and strike at him. “For a first time fighting a Servant, you’re not bad.”

She bent down and swung her leg to kick him, solely for Ritsuka to dodge with his body bent backward. “But all you can do is nothing but to block my strikes!”

Ritsuka blocked another of her attacks and retorted, “When you have a sister being captain of Archery and Ace pitcher on the softball team. You’d be yanked around as target practice regularly to evade and fight back.”

“So, you will not use a Command Seal either?” Medusa turned her lead foot and crouch down to lift both her legs.

Ritsuka jumped backward and panted. “I would if someone could teach me. But, I’d agree I volunteer as tribute for your meal, right?”

Medusa’s lips formed a thin line as she threw one of her nail-dagger towards him. When Ritsuka raised and smacked it away with one hand gripping his pipe, another thrown and bound around the said hand.

“Shit–!”

Ritsuka at once closed his eyes and found himself pulled towards Medusa by her chains. Within the range, there was a particular pressure around his eyes forcing them to open. But, he struggled in closing and pulling himself free.

Soon, he halted when he felt a sharp object poking at his neck. Medusa’s voice chuckle when he ceased moving. “This is what you get for opening your big mouth. And, this happens when you express your intentions.”

As she moved her head towards him, Ritsuka struggled in getting his eyes remained closed. “Put those eyes of yours…. To this! Now, Ritsuko!”

Ritsuka slammed his forehead against hers and bent downwards. Before she could draw her target back, Medusa saw Ritsuko had stepped out offering a huge cracked mirror before her.

Medusa realized she was staring back in the mirror at her gaze and howled. “Ugh! Why, you!”

Olga Marie immediately discharged a golden glowing orb at her before she could charge at Ritsuko. 

As Medusa staggered back to evade, the Director commanded, “Do it, Mash!”

Realized that she now sensed a familiar presence of a Servant, Medusa was about to swing behind to attack. But, Mash’s shield already lifted up, and she swung it down towards her neck. “Argh!”

The strong and swift movement of her shield beheaded Medusa’s head from her body. Her hands gripping the chains dropped and freed Ritsuka from them.

With a thump on the ground, Medusa’s decapitated head and body dissolved and perished in a golden light. Mash set her shield steady on the ground to recover her breath. “Okay—okay—We won…”

“Yeah… We… Definitely did…!” Ritsuka panting heavily, his hands once removed from the chains rested on his knees.

Ritsuko nodded in agreement and panted, “Y-Yeah… Y-You did it, Mash-chan! Ritsuka’s insane idea worked…!”

“At least… Now, I appreciate,” Ritsuka panted. “Why Master should be at the rear commanding… And, yeah! Definitely should be in the back role next time!”

Mash shook her head while still recovering her breath. “I was sure I didn’t stand a chance, but we actually won–!”

“Sorry, there’s no time to rest Mash, you two,” Romani’s concerned tone interrupted them. He glimpsed at his other holographic image before turning back to the four. “‘A similar signal as before’ is heading that way. I don’t have to tell you what you need to do, right?”

Panic and tense expression flashed across the violet-haired Servant’s face. “What—Same signal? No way–!”

“Wait… There’re more Servants than her?!” Ritsuko stared at the Doctor with eyes widened.

As though on cue, two shadowy figures found from afar in Olga Marie’s view. Ritsuka noticed it too and raised his pipe back in his hand. But, the Director’s voice stopped his next action. “Fujimaru! Retreat! We’ve got to get out of here now!”

“Tch! Let’s hurry!” Ritsuka grunted. As he pulled his sister along, the four ran with all their might as the two shadowy figures gave chase to them.

End of Section 5

Chapter Text

"What about mango flavor?" Ritsuka asked. He unbuttoned a few of his school coat with a tired breath from the warm Spring. 

Ritsuko shook her head standing beside outside the bakery shop's cake display. "Mom hates mango, remember? But, at this point..."

Ritsuka sighed as he shook his head. "Either mango or mocha chocolate that's left."

The orange-haired girl stomped on her foot and grumbled. "Man, why are these two the only flavor left?! How badly is a Mother’s Day cake needed for it left behind only these two?!!"

"Either people that truly wish to celebrate for their mom," Ritsuka raised his hand and pointed at a couple of girls beside him. "Or, those with just huge appetites for sweets."

Breathed out a heavy sigh, Ritsuko muttered. "And, this is the last place after searching the entire town..."

He patted her shoulder and reassured, "I'm sure she would understand the effort we put in."

"Easy for you to say since you already prepared a present for her!" Ritsuko pouted.

When she spun back to study at the cakes to choose, her eyes squinted and turned back to Ritsuka. "Come to think of it, you didn't celebrate with your Mom before, did you? Not my mom, but your mom. You were terrified as hell when you showed her your first present after they got married."

"My mom, huh?" Ritsuka showed a dumbfounded expression.

Seeing her nod, he turned upwards in trying to recall. "Hmm... As much as I remember, it's true we didn't. Dad is often overtime in his office, so we didn't have the chance to get anything for her."

"Then, your mom?"

"She–!" His mouth stopped moving and shortly a thin line formed on his lips. Just as it earned a concerned look, he chuckled and assured. "Relax, will you? She's just busy like Dad was. So we never actually got to do it. The irony, that's one of the reasons Dad divorced her."

"I see..." Ritsuko nodded with hesitation at his answer.

Ritsuka soon stretched his arms tiredly. "Hey, hurry and choose one! I had homework to finish you know."

"Homework?" Ritsuko scoffed at his declaration. "You finished them before the school's over! You wanted to watch that peppy idol's recent video update with them, don't you?"

"Don't call her that, mind you!" Ritsuka glared with his arms folded. "It's rude to call your brother's idol 'that peppy idol' when she's a famous and beautiful idol. And, my one and only love!"

"Whatever," Ritsuko rolled her eyes. "I want to go home too since I got a PVP match tonight, so come on, help me choose one!"

"Fine, fine!" Ritsuka retorted as he bent his body with his sister to check out the two cakes before deciding.

Chapter Text

“Why does everything seem and feel like a dream?” Ritsuka muttered to himself.

White pages with black written words he last saw turned into something strange before he realized it. The dark hotel room shared with his sister changed into an open field with blue skies and multicolored blossoms.

A scent of flowers whiffed in the air as a gentle breeze blew past him. As he strolled further down, Ritsuka sighed and murmured. “Yep, definitely a dream. This is nowhere a reality…”

“Well, do you think dreaming?” A calm voice chuckled at his perplexed position.

Alerted by the abrupt response, Ritsuka examined around for any surprise visitor. Yet, there’s only him solely in this field of flowers and a solitary standing tower behind him.

With a sigh, he rested his right hand on his hips and rebutted, “If this were really a dream then I wouldn’t be talking to you, maybe my therapist, in fact.”

“But, you don’t need one, do you?” The voice laughed again. “You’re just a child who is particularly conscious of the world of dream and reality. A very cute and lost child, truly.”

“Funny, that I am,” Ritsuka rolled his eyes. He folded his arms and glared pointedly at the tower. “Now, are you going to tell me how to get out of here or we’re going to continue this chit-chat?”

“Now, now, there’s no need to rush, Ritsuka-kun,” The voice assured in a light-hearted way. “You should’ve been sleeping instead of staying up late to read. A body that’s not well rested would give many troubles in the latter days.”

“I’m perfectly fine the next day when I—You knew my name… Who are you?!” Ritsuka realized when the strange voice called his name.

“Oh dear… A slip of my tongue I’ve done,” A hint of panic laced in the mysterious voice. It went on before Ritsuka could allege any further. “Since you’ve caught me, you deserve a reward! I shall tell you how to leave here, Ritsuka-kun.”

“Really?” Ritsuka hesitated, blue orbs narrowing with skepticism at the tower.

“Yes! After all, I’m the Master of this very land in your terms, Ritsuka-kun,” The voice happily acknowledged. “Turn around and walk straight. Never stop to turn around, continue walking and you’ll arrive at a gate build in stone circles. Stand right in the heart with your eyes closed, and you’ll leave.”

Blue orbs blinked with surprise, Ritsuka turned behind him at the seemingly limitless field of flowers. With a sigh, Ritsuka made up to trust its direction provided. He bowed to the tower and shouted, “Thanks for the direction! And sorry for being rude back there too. I’ll take my leave now!”

Turned around and headed towards the indicated direction, a sole figure from the tower’s window watched Ritsuka moving further from its view. “Hmm… A dream that drifted from the human’s collective unconscious. A shame he won’t remember this conversation, but…”

An expecting smile curved on its lips as it hummed to itself, “He is Humanity’s hope with his sister too. Perhaps, things would become interesting, very soon. Now then, a cup of warm choco should keep me filled at the impending entertainment.”

Stood and whirled around, the figure left the room with flower petals drifting out from the window of its room…

-0-

“Come on, you idiot bro! We’ve got 10 minutes left hurry!” Ritsuko yelled at him, her feet stomping quickly in a haste to leave their hotel room.

Ritsuka zipping up the white coat and buckling its belt. “Can’t you see my hands moving already? Why the heck you didn’t wake me up in the first place?!”

“I did, you moron! I’m not the one who fell asleep like lifeless bodies,” Ritsuko countered. She pointed at the clock on the bedside table and warned. “Come on, they already delivered our luggage to the headquarters. They will shut us out if we went passed their 15 minutes grace period!”

“Argh!” Forcefully shove his foot into the black loafer, Ritsuka rose up and yanked opened the door strong enough that the hinge nearly tore. “I’m done, let’s go!”

“H-Hey, wait for me too!” Ritsuko panicked as her brother ran and left without her. Now, it’s her turn to wear her pumps on swiftly and raced after Ritsuka to report to their first day of work. 

Chapter Text

Shadow Servant

Back at the bridge, the four continued on their heels in getting a safe place away from the enemy Servants. While running, Olga Marie yelled in frustration. “Okay–Oh for God’s sake, what is happening? Why are Servants here?”

“I see… A Holy Grail War?” Romani’s voice shouted as though he discovered something. His voice soon proclaimed to them upon realization. “A Holy Grail War was going on in that town!”

“What?!” Ritsuka raised his wristwatch to peer at blinking lights whenever Romani spoke.

The Doctor’s voice confirmed his earlier remarks. 

“Normally, it would be a battle royale amongst the Seven Servants summoned in Fuyuki. 

“But something’s gone terribly wrong.

“I’m not surprised there’s a Servant without a Master.” Romani reminded them of their earlier near-death battle with Medusa. 

“It’s natural for Servants to target other Servants.”

“Then as long as I’m here, we’ll be targeted by other Servants?” Mash glanced behind at Ritsuka’s wristwatch.

“But Mash has nothing to do with the Grail! That’s just a wandering phantom gone mad!” Olga Marie cried.

“It doesn’t change they are still coming at us—They’re here!” At Ritsuko’s shriek, the four stopped in their tracks at the figure before them. 

The figure was a tall, frail, dark man with his right arm bandaged. His face wore a skull resembling the mask with its skin and nose shaved off. He let out a cackled at the dread showed on their faces. “I found it. New prey. The Grail shall be mine!”

“Servant signal confirmed, it’s an Assassin-class Servant!” Romani’s voice announced.

Mash swung her shield forward and called out. “I can fight! Senpais, please give me your orders!”

“All right, let’s win this no matter what!” Ritsuka answered.

Ritsuko nodded in agreement. “Sorry, just bear with us a little longer, Mash-chan!”

“Okay,” Mash nodded. “I’ll bring both of you victory, Masters!”

The Assassin Servant moved and threw daggers towards her. Mash knocked it away with her shield and charged forward. Assassin Servant rushed ahead and fired his dagger at the same time.

Another swing to hit the dagger away, Mash leaped into the air and slammed her shield against the enemy Servant onto the ground. The said Servant leaped aside from her strike. Before he could proceed to throw more daggers, Mash appeared before him.

“All right—How about that!” Another swung of her shield, Mash sent the Assassin Servant flying back against the ground.

The Assassin Servant positioned himself backward and was to charge ahead. But, he halted in his tracks and let out a growl. “This is a waste of time. I could have handled this on my own.”

“What does that mean?” Ritsuko’s eyebrows furrowed.

Ritsuka, however, understood what he meant and turned to the violet-haired Servant. “Mash, fall back!”

“Eh?!” Ritsuko looked at her brother.

Romani’s voice immediately disclosed to her confused face. “Ritsuko-kun, they’ve caught up! There’s one more, that’s their main force!”

“No wonder it’s strange only one of them came up when we saw two!” Ritsuka gripped his pipe tightly. 

Into their view, a man wearing a brown-colored headscarf, brown-yellow armor with his fist holding a naginata walked to his comrade. Olga Marie jaw fell and paled in panic. “No way… We’re losing to one already, and now there’s one more on the way?”

“Ah–!” Mash armed her shield on seeing the Assassin Servant armed back his dagger. 

As his comrade stood beside him, the Assassin Servant declared, “Let’s finish this, Lancer. I don’t know what kind of Heroic Spirit that is, but I will have her head.”

Dark laughter broke out from both enemy Servants. Olga Marie and Ritsuko froze in fear while Mash gripped the handle of her shield tighter. Romani’s voice yelled from Ritsuka’s wristwatch. “Director, Mash, hang in there! You got to keep moving!”

“Fou! Fou!” Despite Fou’s squeaking, the two stood frozen at their spot. 

“Ritsuko-kun!” Romani’s voice cried out to the young orange-haired Master.

Ritsuko gulped and shivered from the sinister smirk on their faces. With a faint grunt, Romani’s voice shifted to Ritsuka. “Dammit, the three of them let fear get to them… Give your orders, Ritsuka-kun! You’re the only calm one now!”

“Tch,” With a swift glance to his enemies, Ritsuka moved to where Mash was and stood beside her. “We have no choice but to fight!”

“Senpai, this–!” Mash turned her head to him. 

Ritsuko shouted while struggling to her paralyzed legs going. “Idiot, what are you doing?!”

“I know this idiot had said to stand behind commanding, Ritsuko,” Ritsuka replied. “But, right now two against one is too much for Mash. At least, let’s break an opening and get out of here!”

A bewildered expression appeared on Mash’s face for a moment. She swung her head back and acknowledged. “Understood, there’s no other option!”

Ritsuka swung his pipe and glared at the front. It earned another dark laughter from the Assassin Servant. “Ha! Futile! Fight, then you die. Run, and you still die. The demise of the futile, oh so miserable.”

“Hey, I don’t feel like dying without trying to get out of here!” Ritsuka retorted. 

Lancer Servant chuckled at Ritsuka’s outburst, “Go ahead and struggle. 

“Miserable people are ever so entertaining.”

“F-Fight? Are you serious? We don’t stand a chance against something like that, right?!” Olga Marie reminded.

Mash gulped and responded, “Even so, we must fight. I will find a way for us to get out of this alive!”

Another laughter escaped from the Assassin Servant. “Ha! You’ve just killed yourself, girl!”

Before the Assassin could throw his dagger, an unfamiliar male voice interjected them. “I thought you were just some girl, but it looks like you’ve got some fight in you. Then I can’t leave you like this.”

Two fireballs launched from the side blasted at the enemy Servants creating a cloud of smoke. The group shifted their eyes aside from the smoke as the two Servant leaped away from their spot. With a groan, the Assassin growled, “Ugh! Who are you?”

“What do you mean? Can’t you tell?” Everyone’s gazes turned to the side where the voice was. A blue light emerged from the ground revealing a blue-cloaked figure with his hood up, holding a wooden staff in his grip. “Don’t tell me the mud got in your eyes too?”

Recognized the voice’s identity, the Assassin growled, “Curse you, Caster!”

Pulled his hood down, it revealed a man with blue long and spiky mullet haircut. The Lancer glared back at the Caster’s red orbs. “Why are you siding with a Wanderer, Caster?”

“Huh? Because it’s better than siding with you guys!” Caster answered as though it’s the most obvious fact in the world. He walked and stood in front of Mash with a confident smirk. “And hey, I don’t mind brats with some potential.”

Prepared with his staff in front, the Caster spoke, “Young lady, be ready for a fight. Don’t worry, you’re good. You can turn this around if you pay attention.”

A startled expression surfaced on Mash’s face for a second before turning back to the front. “R-Right, I’ll do my best!”

“Hey kid, are you her Master?” The Caster asked.

With a glance at his sister who stared at them, Ritsuka nodded and answered, “Ritsuko and I are her Masters.”

“Hmm,” His red orbs glanced at both the black-haired and orange-haired Masters thoughtfully at their Command Seals. Caster turned back to the front and went on. “Then, I’m leaving the orders to you. 

“I’m a Caster-class Servant. They don’t really like me right now. Not like the enemy of my enemy is my friend, but for now, you can trust me.”

Ritsuko reached her hand out and interjected. “But–!”

“If you are her Master, steel yourself!” Caster’s sharp yell shook Ritsuko in surprise. With reluctance, Ritsuko nodded faintly and clenched her fist.

The two enemy Servants armed their weapons as the Caster added. “In honor of the brave young lady there, I’ll form a temporary contract with you and fight as your Servant!”

A second later, the Lancer smirked at the Caster. “That’s fine with me. It means we can kill you earlier than planned.”

“The Holy Grail is ours!” As the Assassin declared, daggers threw at once towards the Caster. Mash stepped in and intercepted it with her shield before charging at him. 

Caster glanced over and lifted his staff to block at Lancer’s incoming halberd. Lancer’s grin widened before drawing back to swing down his halberd. Caster leaped backward and jumped to the side as the Lancer followed him.

While the remaining three stood and watch, Olga Marie realized and shot to Ritsuka.

“What are you standing there for, Fujimaru Ritsuka?!”

“H-Huh? Me?!”

As Ritsuka gave Olga Marie a bewildered look, she groaned and scowled. “Be grateful, you’re getting me to teach you how to make a contract with that Caster. He had appointed you to be his Master, and he requires more mana against that Lancer.”

Blue orbs shifted back to the front, Ritsuka watched the Caster jumping left and right aside from the swing. He spun back to Olga Marie and asked, “Okay. How do I pass mana to him?”

“Ugh! That Romani must’ve not explained to you anything at all,” Olga Marie groaned. She indicated in her mind to lecture the said Doctor when they returned to Chaldea. The Director then continued, “You’ll repeat after me with your right hand raised. And it’s important you get this in your head.”

“Understood, Director…” Ritsuka sighed.

Cleared her throat, Olga Marie took a deep breath and recited, “Heed my words.”

Ritsuka gulped and repeated. “Heed my words.”

The familiar incantation caught the four Servants’ attention. 

Olga Marie remained unfazed as she proceeded, “My will creates your body, and your sword creates my destiny.”

The raven-haired Master nodded and continued with a more confident tone. “My will creates your body, and your sword creates my destiny.”

“If you heed the Grail’s call and obey my will and reason…”

Recited in synch, a bright crimson light glowed from Ritsuka’s command seal. The two enemy Servants realized what was to take place and charged to stop them. But, Mash stepped in and swung her shield.

The two jumped backward with their eyes lingering on Ritsuka. Caster had now directed his attention to the said raven-haired Master as he continued. “Then answer me. Do so and I will entrust my destiny to your sword!”

A feral arrogant grin emerged on the Caster’s lips. He pointed his staff at Ritsuka and declared. “I accept your oath on my pride as a Caster. I accept you as my Master with your offering as my flesh, Fujimaru Ritsuka!”

As Ritsuka nodded, a bright blue light burst from Ritsuka’s command seal. It exploded and enveloped into Caster with a glowing light. By that distraction from the ritual, Assassin leaped over the shield and charged at the unarmed Masters. Before he could reach, Caster spun and swiped his hand across the air that formed runic words. “Ansuz!” 

Multiple of fireballs shot out from each runic word at the Assassin, forming a black cloud from the impact. The Lancer Servant dashed out from the smoke and twirled his halberd at Caster. Caster swung his staff to deflect before leaping to the side.

As daggers thrown towards him, Caster leaped away to sidestep and hopped backward away from them. Unknown to the two, Mash and the remaining three stealthily followed Caster from his back.

-0-

Though focusing on the swinging halberd from Lancer, Caster’s red orbs remained fixated on the Assassin throwing knives from Lancer’s back. The halberd’s blade slashed and shattered debris and lamppost.

Leaped up into the air, the Lancer taunted at him. “All you can do is nothing but to run away! It seems you don’t even have time to cast a spell, right?”

Once landed in the midst of the street, the two enemy Servants followed along. They rose up with weapons raised as mouth crooked into a sinister grin. The Assassin stepped forward and mocked. “It’s over, Caster. With you gone, we’ll have the Holy Grail in our hands!”

Just as the Lancer were to swing his halberd, Caster’s lips formed a large grin that gained a surprised reaction from the two. He suddenly shouted in a knowing tone. “Young lady!”

Mash stepped in between and whirled her shield forward against the halberd. Lancer’s orbs widened as he hopped to his original spot with a wary expression. 

Caster stepped out from Mash’s back and retorted. “I don’t need to chant a spell to use Runes. Go back to school, you dimwits!”

Brought his hand out, the enemy Servant wondered for a second before shifting to the ground. A pair of runic words before them illuminated with an orange flare. It blew up a burst of fire from the ground, charring them into flames.

“GUAAAH!” The painful cry that escaped from the enemy Servants. Minutes later after charring, the flames turned to black smoke. 

The black smoke dispersed revealing burnt bodies of the two enemy Servants. Before they could strike back, Caster swiped his hand across in the air to form runic words. The familiar runic words roared out fireballs at them and broke out into a barrage of flames.

As the breeze blew the black smokes away, it exposed the severely burned Lancer and Assassin. Their bodies slowly disappearing into golden light and they howled in unison. “Ugh—Curse you, with the Holy Grail, before my eyes–!”

“And, that’s two down,” Caster watched them fade away. He spun on hearing footsteps approaching him. 

The young violet-haired Servant showed a modest smile and bowed, “Thank you very much, for saving us from danger…”

“Hey, good work. You don’t owe me for this, so don’t worry about it,” The Caster grinned. He placed his arm around her shoulder and pointed out. “You should be more worried about your body. That damn Assassin kept targeting your butt like a pest!”

“Oh!” Mash gasped with a delicate blush when the Caster rubbed her shoulder.

With a bright grin, Caster commented, “Hey, you look fragile but you have a pretty nice body! The icing on the cake! I have no idea what class you are, but you’re pretty sturdy… Maybe Saber? No, you don’t have a sword.”

“Hey, hey, keep your hands off her!” Ritsuko stepped in between the two and pushed Caster away from Mash. While she stood in front of Mash with a glare, Fou on her shoulder hissed at the unwelcome action.

Despite the stares he gained, Caster laughed loudly, “Hahaha! Quite a protective Master you have!”

Olga Marie standing with Ritsuka asked as they had seen the entire scene. “Hey, Fujimaru Ritsuka, what do you think of that?”

“Without a doubt, he’s an old pervert!” Ritsuko declared without a beat.

Fou nodded and let out another hiss in agreement. Ritsuka heaved an exasperated sigh at his sister’s conclusions and Fou’s hissing. “Pervert at worst… But, he’s an ally, maybe?”

Romani’s holographic image materialized in between Olga Marie and Ritsuka while he nodded in agreement.

“For now, let’s get some information. He seems to be a decent Heroic Spirit.”

“Oh, so someone who wants to cut to the chase,” Caster said. He turned with an intrigued yet excited expression and pointed at the holographic form. “What is this? Some means of communication through magecraft?”

Romani nodded and bowed. “Well met, Caster Servant. I don’t know which Heroic Spirit you are, but we have nothing but respect and awe for you.”

“Oh, spare me your remarks. I’m sick of hearing them,” Caster waved his hand and glared at Romani. “State your business, weakling. Isn’t that what you are good at?”

“Uh… I-I see. All right then,” Romani bowed his head and murmured with a disheartened tone. “I got called a weakling from someone I’ve met for the first time…”

Ritsuka face-palmed and grumbled to himself. “A sexual harassment and arrogant remarks. Perfect, just what we needed in this misery for an ally…”

-0-

Once the group advanced towards underneath the bridge. The Fujimaru siblings rested on debris as they listened with the rest of Romani’s brief summary to Caster. 

The doctor concluded, “And, that’s the current situation in Chaldea. 

“Presently, both Ritsuka-kun and Ritsuko-kun are the acting Masters and in the middle of field research. Let me confirm something. You’re a Servant from the Holy Grail War that broke out in this city and sole survivor?”

“If by that you mean I haven’t lost,” Caster corrected. “Our Holy Grail War changed to something else along the way. I don’t know how it happened either.”

“Switched?” Olga Marie prodded.

“The city was engulfed in flames, and the humans vanished. Only the Servants remained.” Caster nodded. “Saber was the first to resume the Holy Grail War. That chap began rampaging like a tiger released from a cage. Archer, Lancer, Rider, Berserker, and Assassin were all defeated by Saber.”

Olga Marie rubbed her chin. “The survival of the Seven Servants… That rule of the Holy Grail War was broken here…”

“And you won, Caster,” Mash queried. “Or rather, you’re the Servant who survived.”

“Yes,” Caster nodded. “Any Servant defeated by Saber became like those two, corrupted by the black mud.”

“It would explain with the Rider Servant,” Ritsuka muttered.

“They, and the monsters which sprung up like maggots, started looking for something together,” Caster continued. “The troublesome part is I’m one thing they’re looking for. You see, the Holy Grail War won’t end until I’m killed.”

“You and Saber are the only surviving Servants,” Romani summarized. 

“So if you defeat Saber…”

Caster nodded again. “Yes, it would probably end the Holy Grail War here. But I don’t know whether things would return to normal.”

“I see. You helped us, but in the end,” Olga Marie shot a distrustful look at Caster. “It was for your own sake, huh? You want to defeat Saber, but don’t stand a chance doing it alone. That’s why you zeroed in on us… Right?”

“That’s right. But, it’s not a bad deal, isn’t it?” Caster smirked.

Ritsuko narrowed her eyes. “How convenient of you to help us save your own skin.”

“There’ll be no end to these guys if you have that Young lady alone as your Servant,” Caster glanced at Mash. He then came back to Ritsuko. “Besides, there’s nothing better than having allies now!”

Caster sighed and studied at his staff. “If I’d been summoned as a Lancer, I could’ve finished Saber with one strike. Man, Caster is just not for me. I don’t like being a Caster in a Holy Grail War like this.”

“Wait, what do you mean ‘if you were a Lancer’?” Ritsuka perked up with confusion at Caster.

“It’s been known to happen, Ritsuka-senpai,” Mash answered, getting his attention. 

“Some Heroic Spirits have the attributes of multiple classes. 

“He is not just a spear-wielder, but a high-level Heroic Spirit with qualifications to be a mage.”

“I see…” Ritsuka muttered with an appreciative grin curved on Caster’s lips.

Mash hummed for a moment. “I’m only speculating, but he must be one of the top Servants. The kind that’s featured in the magazine Vivian.”

“Magazine?” Ritsuka stared at her with newfound confusion.

But before Mash replied, Caster interrupted them and brought up. 

“Ahh right, you said you were Masters of an organization called Chaldea…”

“That’s right,” Romani nodded.

“Hmm,” Caster hummed to himself and went on. “I guess that’s all I need to know. Servants tend not to get overly involved in problems outside their own time period. We ultimately only cooperate as weapons.

“Your goal is to investigate this anomaly. My goal is to put an end to the Holy Grail War. We share mutual interests. So how about we join forces?”

The five looked at each other for a moment at Caster’s words. Olga Marie, the first to turn back gave a nod. “That is a rational proposition. But if we do that, who will be your Master?”

“Well, that kid over there who made the contract, of course,” Caster gestured to Ritsuka. “I would have picked that young lady with him since she has slightly better circuits than him. But, you, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to have the aptitude to be a Master.”

Shifting back to Olga Marie, Caster raised one of his eyebrows and pointed out. “I mean you possess high-quality magical circuits, yet you don’t have the aptitude to be a Master. Is it a curse?”

“Oh, shut up! What do you care?” Olga Marie growled then shot a harsh expression at Ritsuka. “Fujimaru Ritsuka, he’s in your hands. Use him wisely.”

“Then, it’s settled,” Caster shifted to Ritsuka and grinned. “The contract is only temporary, but I’m counting on ya.”

“If you don’t mind me as your Master then.” Ritsuka nodded.

With another bright grin at him, Caster’s expression showed a thoughtful look. “That leaves one last thing, your goal. What you’re looking for is probably the Greater Grail.”

“Greater Grail? I’m not familiar with that. What is it?” Romani asked.

Caster turned his head to Romani. “The land’s true ‘heart.’ If there is a Singularity, it has to be that. But Saber is lingering around the Greater Grail. The remaining Servants she contaminated, too.”

“Berserker and Archer are the ones left?” As Caster nodded to her question, Olga Marie went on, “What are those two like? Are they strong?”

“Well, Archer can be dealt with if I’m with you,” Caster shrugged. “Berserker is the problem. Even Saber had trouble with that monster. But, he won’t attack unless you get close to him, so ignoring is one option.”

“We understand the situation now. We’ll team up with Mr. Caster to obtain the Greater Grail,” Romani nodded to the group and turned back to Caster. “Mr. Caster, would you show us the way?”

“Skip the ‘Mister.’ I’ll take you there.” Caster then spun back to Ritsuka and continued. “The kid here will decide when to make our move.”

“Much obliged,” Romani bowed. He shifted back to Ritsuka and added, “Then shall we resume the search? I’m counting on you, Ritsuka-kun.”

After Romani’s holographic image disappeared, the Fujimaru siblings and Olga Marie stood up again. 

Ritsuka turned to Caster and asked, “Do you know a route where we could avoid encountering Berserker?”

“That monster only lingered around that area a distance from the Grail, so the way I’m leading will be far from him.” As Caster turned around, he signaled. “This way, Master.”

Ritsuka nodded and replied, “Understood, Caster-san.”

“Huh?!” Caster stopped and turned around to shot him an incredulous look. 

Ritsuko stopped in her track and shot her brother ‘are-you-fucking-kidding-me’ look. “‘Caster-san’?!”

Ritsuka’s blue orbs noticing Mash and Olga Marie giving him weird faces. 

He returned with a deadpan expression and rebutted. 

“Well, sorry for actually having manners like a proper human being, people. 

“Come on, let’s follow ‘Caster’ before anything comes and kills us!”

With a snicker escaping from his lips, Caster gestured again. “Right. This way, ‘Master-san’ and everyone.”

As another tired sigh left his lips, Ritsuka followed Caster with Mash, Ritsuko and Olga Marie following from behind.

End of Section 6

Chapter Text

Mash's Training

“Hey, Fujimaru, it’s pretty obvious that Kyrielight’s looking depressed.” Olga Marie called out to them. Ritsuka stopped kneading the side of his head from a burning headache to stare at Mash. Ritsuko stopped in her steps too with her brother and spun around.

Mash had her head lowered with a grimace on her lips though it had been there the hour they followed Caster. Her violet orbs gazing downwards as she continued walking. Olga Marie nudged Ritsuka’s shoulders. “You both are her Masters, aren’t you? Do something to cheer her up!”

“We’d even do it as her friend without being Masters,” Ritsuka mumbled to himself. 

“Mash?”

Ritsuka stopped beside the violet-haired Servant. 

Mash remained walking with his call fallen deaf in her ears. Brows furrowed with worry, Ritsuko nodded and attempted this time. “Hey, Mash-chan.”

Ignored again, Ritsuko this time stood in front of her. “Mash-chan!”

The violet-haired Servant shook up with a startled face. “Y-Yes?!”

“S-Sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you, Mash-chan,” Ritsuko showed a satisfied grin at her. As Ritsuka approached them, she asked, “You had that upset look on your face. Is there something wrong?”

“No! There’s nothing different, Ritsuko-senpai,”  Mash replied a little too quickly than normal earning more doubts from them. 

“I’m operating perfectly!” Mash tried to assure them again, but they were unconvinced.

As she frowned, Ritsuka remembered and confirmed with Mash. “Hey, Mash. Could it be that…?”

“Yes, that’s the problem, nothing’s different,” Mash answered. Her violet orbs gestured to her shield. “Under your command Senpais, I have gained enough experience… And yet… I’m still unable to unleash my Noble Phantasm. I don’t even know how to unleash it… I’m like a defective Servant.”

“Fou…” A sad whine escaped from Fou.

“Oh, so that’s what was bothering you. You have such a strong sense of responsibility, Mash,” Romani’s voice extended from Ritsuka’s wristwatch. “But I don’t think that can settled overnight. After all, it’s a Noble Phantasm.

“If a Heroic Spirit’s secret weapon can be mastered within a day or two, then Servants wouldn’t be that special anymore.”

“Of course we can master something like that at once,” Shifted their gaze to Caster he approached them, he proceeded. “After all, Heroic Spirits and Noble Phantasms are the same things. 

“If the young Lady here can fight as a Servant, that means at that moment you can use your Noble Phantasm. And yet you can’t, which means your magical energy is not circulating right.

“Let’s see, maybe enthusiasm?” Caster leaned forward as he inspected Mash, then shook his head. “No, perhaps too reserved? Anyway, I’m sure it’s because you don’t yell out when you practice.”

“Really?” With a deep breathed heaved in, Mash yelled at the top of her lungs. “R-E-A-L-L-Y?!”

As the pair shook in surprise, Fou squeaked in a deafening high-pitch tone. “Faaaaaaaaaaa?”

“Hey, don’t go yelling all of a sudden! You’re going to burst my eardrums, seriously!” Olga Marie winced in pain with her ears covered by her hands.

An apologetic expression displayed on Mash’s face. 

“Sorry Director. But Caster said we should shout…”

“No, that was a metaphor,” Caster corrected her words with a guilty expression. “Well, at any rate, I see you have enthusiasm.”

He turned to Ritsuka and offered, “Kid, you heard the young lady. Do you mind if we take a quick detour?”

“Detour? What kind?” 

Ritsuka’s raised one of his eyebrows with skepticism. 

Ritsuko narrowed her eyes. “Don’t tease Mash-chan. She’s an innocent girl.”

At their faces, Caster laughed about their worries running through their brain. “What? I’m just talking about special training. I’m a Caster right now, so leave the healing to me. First, let me inscribe some protection runes…”

Approached where Olga Marie stood, he tugged and pulled her black coat as his finger moved. Olga Marie gasped and struggled in his hold. “Huh? What are you doing? Why are you inscribing runes on my coat?”

“Even if something targets you, that rune will protect you. Besides, you can protect yourself, right?” With a shrug, he signaled with his head at what appeared before them. “And look, here they come.”

“Grrr… Zuaaa!” The skeleton mobs and charged forward, to where Olga Marie stood.

“Eep! Help me!” The Director shrieked and sprinted as fast as she could away from them.

“D-Director!” Mash tried to rush to the crowds of skeletons to intercept.

But, the Caster grabbed her shoulder and pointed out. “Oh no, you don’t have to worry protecting her, young lady.”

While it earned curiosity from the trio, they recognized the rune on Olga Marie’s coat glowed and projected fireballs towards them. 

Each skeleton turning to black dust one by one, but it increased more of them from surrounding area.

“All right, that should be enough,” At his proud grin, he spelled out at their now puzzled expression. “That young lady’s yelling garnered their attention. So, it’d be a problem if they interfere before the training begins. So, she could be useful in distracting them!”

“That isn’t useful, that’s an extreme measure of getting rid of interference!” Ritsuko exclaimed.

The cocky grin remained on Caster’s lips. “Hey, I’m still a genius in getting rid of them!”

“How about you’re just being an idiot instead?” 

Ritsuka deadpanned as he watched Olga Marie screaming and running from the angry skeletons.

“Anyway, before we begin,” Getting their attention back, Caster explained. “A Noble Phantasm is part of Heroic Spirit’s instinct. It’s hard to use it if you think too much. That earlier battle with Assassin and Lancer… You got nothing at all?”

“That was rather a testing of my Will… But, please teach me solid theories instead,” Mash requested.

“Hmm… Sure, then I shall be your opponent. You don’t have to hold back because we’re allies,” Caster decided. With narrowed orbs, he pointed his finger at Ritsuko. “Because I’m not gonna hold back when I killed that lady first then the kid.”

Eyes widened and jaws dropped from the declaration, Mash gritted her teeth. “Wh–!”

“What are you talking about? Are you crazy?” Olga Marie ran back to them. She panted and scowled at Caster. “What does those two have to do with this?”

“Zuuaaaa!”

Olga Marie shrieked in a high-pitch voice upon seeing at once they were right behind her. “Hiiieee! Not again!” 

She at once fled at a frightening pace away from a larger horde of skeletons.

Romani’s image appeared where Olga Marie stood. “That’s right! Aren’t they your Master too? Why are you targeting them both?!”

“A Servant’s problems are the Master’s problems. Didn’t I mentioned that they share the same fate?” Caster shifted his orbs to Ritsuka. “You’ve had the same thought right, kid? When the young lady can’t stand anymore, it’s both of your death.”

“You…!” Ritsuka glared at him.

Mash quickly stood in front of Ritsuka. “Master Ritsuka, please, stand back!”

“Mash!” Ritsuka turned towards the violet-haired Servant.

She gripped her shield tightly and declared in a firm voice. “I—won’t be a hindrance to Senpais… I won’t!”

“That’s what I like to hear,” A smirk graced on Caster’s lips. He spun his staff and pointed towards Mash, “All right, let’s have a real Servant battle.”

“Mash-chan, wait!!”

Watched Ritsuko rushing over to Mash, Caster smirked and wrote a rune in the air. “Isa!”

From the vivid green-colored glow, tree vines grown from the ground and wrapped around Ritsuko’s legs firmly. Ritsuko struggled and brought her head down to see. “What?!”

“Ritsuko–!” Ritsuka tried to head to where Ritsuko was. But, he too looked at his legs as well bound by the same tree vines around Ritsuko’s legs. He used the pipe in his grip to pull the vine away while Ritsuko squatted down to tear it off.

But, despite their struggles in doing so, the vines had a solid grasp on their legs. While pulling, Ritsuko’s head inclined to the front and cried to her brother. “Behind you!”

The raven-haired Master stopped his movements and spun his head to his back. Behind him, multiple fireballs launched towards them. Before it could reach them, Mash stood in presence of them and blocked with her shield.

The impact of each fireball hitting her shield pushed her leg back little by little, drawing a groan from her lips. “Guh!”

Waved her shield to slash away the fireball, Mash dashed forward and twirled her shield at Caster. Though, Caster smirked at her assault while raising his staff to block. “That’s more like it! Beroc!”

A large green runic word emerged on the ground. It sprouted a tree vine towards her, and Mash swung her shield to knock it elsewhere. Yet as she managed so, a large drill-shaped tree branch zoomed towards them.

The violet-haired Servant stood before and struck her shield down to seize. But, the powerful force pushed Mash back, stumbled and slide back against the ground. Abrasion appeared on her limbs and upper arms from the grazing.

“Mash!” Ritsuka shouted while working to tug away from the vine. He looked at her stood up with a heavy breath exhaled, using her shield to pull herself to her feet. He grunted and glared back at the ground. “Damn it…!”

As Mash moved towards Caster, he lifted his hand in a zigzag formation that established a line of runic words. “Ansuz!” 

A torrent of flamethrower fired from the runic words. Ritsuka turned his head in front and later to the back when he recognized where it headed. “Ritsuko!!” 

“Kyaah!!”

When Ritsuko turned away as she yelped, Mash stood before with her shield in front to defend her. Yet again, the powerful force from the flamethrower knocked her sliding against the ground. The orange-haired Master whirled her head to Mash and gasped. “M-Mash-chan…” 

“I’m fine… I’ll protect Ritsuko-senpai and everyone…!” As Mash reassured her, she charged forward again to Caster.

Shield and staff collided when Mash and Caster swung their weapons. Ritsuka pulling the vine off his leg, observed them engaged in combat. “Damn it…” 

“D-Did you find out anything?” Ritsuko asked her brother. 

“Not yet, still trying…!” Ritsuka grunted, coming back to both his struggle and identity of the Caster. The Runes he recognized were from Norse Runes, likely a hero from German-Celtic legend. But, a Caster who fought like a Lancer as he mentioned had left him baffled. 

Before he could speculate further, Caster’s fierce voice broke their conversation. “You can forget about finding out my True Name, kid!”

“What?!”

Ritsuka turned his head to see Caster’s red orbs staring back at him. He twirled his staff to knock away Mash’s shield and continued. “I’ve been observing your fight with that Rider earlier. It may be a fluke that her True Name was something you remembered.”

Again, as she charged, Caster swung his staff and knocked Mash back, earning a groan from her. “Guh!” 

“But, by the time you find out my True Name,” A cold glare from the red orbs shot back at Ritsuka’s blue orbs. “I’ll make sure all of you be burned to ashes, completely.”

“Bastard…!” Ritsuka glared back.

“He’s right, Ritsuka-kun,” Romani’s voice uttered from his wristwatch and pointed out. “Even if I’m able to retrieve his True Name, Mash’s strength isn’t able to defeat him at her current level.”

“Still, there should be a weakness or else…!” Ritsuka replied with an annoyed tone. With Caster remained unharmed or tired, Mash would completely give way to her fatigue, eventually.

Pulled herself up with the shield, Mash panted heavily from the weariness. Despite her shivering hands, she clutched tight of her shield before Ritsuka. Before he could mutter a word, Caster pointed his staff forward again. “Ok, it’s ti“Raidho!” With a swing of his staff, the ground behind Caster glowed another runic word. It then turned into a large glowing crimson magic circle as Caster chanted. “My spell is the coffin of flames, a giant of verdant thorn. Retribution, the forest that will purify misery–

“Befall the Wicker Man! And behold, as both good and evil bite the dust–!” Caster twirled his staff once more and pointed to them as it blazed. “Burn them completely, the giant of all trees ― Wicker Man!”

A colossal giant made of the tree branch emerged from the ground with flames burning its body. The intense heat emitted from the giant had the three choked by its heat. Sweat droplets forming and falling down their faces.

Romani’s voice emitted from Ritsuka’s wristwatch. “You need to get out of there, Ritsuka-kun, Mash! The three of you will get killed you at this rate!”

“R-Ritsuka-kun!” Ritsuko’s panic voice cried out.

A vain effort Ritsuka made by outstretching his hand to protect his sister behind him. Mash gulped at the tree giant took its steps towards them. “Haa…. Haa…”

“I must protect… I must unleash it, or everyone will—

“Even if it’s fake, even if it’s just for now…” Mash’s thoughts echoed in her heart, as her enemy stood before them.

Its arm reached out as tree branches spread out to seize hold. As her orbs closed in dread, Ritsuko yelled at her loudest cry. “Ritsuka, Mash-chan, NOOOOO!!”

“I have to unleash it properly or Ritsuko-senpai… Ritsuka-senpai… Everyone will disappear!” At that thought she gazed back at the giant with a determined look, Mash raised her shield high into the air. “Ahhhhh—!”

THUNK!

She slammed her shield down with a deafening boom. A brilliant light burst on the ground, and a large green magical circle formed like a giant dome around them. Soon, the white light blinded everything in their view as the Wicker Man disappeared into the light…

-0-

“Ritsuka! Ritsuka, are you okay?!”

Ritsuko’s voice called out to him from the blackness. As he brought down his arm which shielded away from the intense light, Ritsuko stood beside him with her legs freed. He gave a nod before shifting back to the front. “Yeah, what happened to the giant?”

“No idea, but when it’s over,” She turned her head to the front and continued. “That thing was no longer there…”

“I see,” With another nod, the two approached where Mash stood. Ritsuko placed her hand on her shoulder. “Mash-chan?”

“Oh… I,” Snapped out of her thoughts, Mash spun to them with a dumbfounded expression. “Did I, manage to unleash my Noble… Phantasm…?”

“T-That’s a Noble Phantasm?” Ritsuka’s mouth agape.

“Whew, I knew you’d survive that,” The three turned their head to Caster who wandered out unscathed from the blinding light to them. “But I never thought you and your two Masters would walk out without a scratch.”

Stood beside Mash, Caster gave a gentle pat on her back and grinned. “Be happy, wait, no… Praise her, you two. That young lady there is without a question, a first-rate Heroic Spirit.”

His words answered the questions in their mind, Mash at once turned back to with the brightest beam on her face. “Senpais, I… Just now!”

“That’s right. Congratulations, Mash!” Ritsuka grinned and patted her head.

Ritsuko put her arms around Mash and squealed in an upbeat tone, “Yeah. That was amazing, Mash-chan! You really did it!”

With her violet orb sparkled, Mash nodded and replied. “Yes!”

“Fou, fooooouuuu!” Fou squeaked as though he too praised her for the performance she made.

Romani’s holographic image returned beside the three with a relaxed sigh, “That was surprising. I didn’t expect her to unleash her Noble Phantasm that soon. Mash was never someone with a strong will…”

“That’s because you got her all wrong,” Caster snorted. His red orbs directed to Mash and corrected. “You may call the young lady here, a protector. There’s no point in teaching a bird to swim, is there? You have to teach a bird how to fly high. Although…”

With a glance from top to bottom, Caster mentioned as-a-matter-of-fact tone. “She didn’t get to obtain its True Name.”

“Right,” Mash acknowledged with a nod. Her violet orb stared at her shield and replied. “Even though I can unleash my Noble Phantasm now, I still don’t know its True Name, nor the True Name of the Heroic Spirit…”

“That’s fine, even if you are inexperienced… Even if you are only temporary,” Olga Marie walked with her feet shuffled back to where they were. She huffed out a deep breath then presented a proud smile. “Your very wish unleashed your Noble Phantasm.”

With a blank face maintained, Ritsuko whispered to her brother. “It’s a wonder that the Director is alive from those hordes of skeleton…”

“As they say, when putting people in a near-death situation, she’s really reliable,” Ritsuka nodded with a whisper.

“You didn’t have the slightest desire to obtain a True Name. To become one of the chosen—To become a true Heroic Spirit,” Olga Marie nodded to herself in encouragement. “That’s why your Noble Phantasm responded. Ahh, what an inspiring story. Just like a fairy tale.”

“Um, Director…” Mash tried to cut off as the Director as usual rambled to herself.

Olga Marie laughed and assured, “Don’t mind me, I’m just teasing. I’m pleased that you’re able to use your Noble Phantasm now. But, it’s inconvenient to use it without a True Name, right? I’ll think of a good spell for you.”

Her finger tapping on her chin, Olga Marie hummed thoughtfully. “Since it’s a pseudo-deployment of Noble Phantasm… Let me see…”

Orange orbs lit up with her fingers snapped, the Director pointed at the shield and declared. “Yes, let’s call it ‘Lord Chaldeas.’ Chaldea is a name that has meaning for you too. So, to activate your Spirit Origin, that’s a good spell for you, right?”

“Y-Yes,” Mash beamed back and bowed. “Thank you, Director!”

“Lord Chaldeas… Yes, I like it,” Romani grinned and nodded. “That fits you perfectly, Mash!”

“I think it definitely suits you too, Mash-chan!” Ritsuko grinned.

“And the desire to try it out after getting it is only human nature,” Turned to Caster, Romani requested. “Caster, would you be Mash’s sparring partner?”

“Yes, of course. I was holding back before, but her defense was impeccable,” Caster shifted to Mash. “As someone with more experience, I’ll hammer the basics of Noble Phantasms into your head. 

“You should realize by now they are about instinct. If something happens that calls upon instinct…” Caster’s finger pointed to Ritsuko who shook up in shock and dread. He continued with a grim tone. “It will awaken naturally.”

With a stepped backward, Ritsuka stood in front of his sister with both arms raised and glared at Caster. Mash stood before him with her shield protectively placed in front of the two. Olga Marie placed herself in front of the three with her arms raised.

Eyes entered a staring contest at readied to whatever attacks Caster thrown to them. Romani’s holographic image appeared in front of Olga Marie. “H-Hold on, I say Mash is your sparring partner alone. Ritsuko-kun and Ritsuka-kun have no involvement in this!”

Caster snorted and set his hand down with a smirk. “Of course, it’s going to be that young lady and me this time. So, young lady, you two, are you ready?”

Glanced at each other once more, Ritsuka nodded and Mash answered. “Yes, please!”

End of Section 7

Chapter Text

The Dark Cave

“Stars, cosmos, gods, animus…”

Inside a cave, Olga Marie squatted down and planted small pieces of rock in the heart of the glowing magic circle. After deemed that Mash had adequate training, they made their move into the cave leading to the grail.

Decided they required a 10-minute break before pushing on, Olga Marie cast spells for their own defense at their enemies. The siblings and Mash sat on the ground with Romani’s voice guiding them. 

The Director wrote another symbol on another piece of rock she took while chanting. 

“Hollow, void, anima, Animusphere…”

Once the symbol glowed and went into the rock, she continued the renewed process. Caster manifested behind her and his head peered over at the magic circle. “You’re working hard.”

“Better than nothing, right?” Olga Marie answered without glancing at him. 

“Hmm,” Hummed himself with a smile, Caster casually picked up a few of the rock pieces into his hand. 

Spun her head upwards, Olga Marie glared. “Hey, don’t touch without permission!”

As Olga Marie stood up to retrieve her rocks back, the Fujimaru siblings stared at the data presented on Ritsuka’s projected holographic image from his wristwatch. Romani’s voice ended. “And, that’s how you can find the Servants origin list and Noble Phantasm.”

“I see,” Ritsuka nodded as he used his finger to scroll through the information. He paused for a moment to pinch the bridge of his nose from a headache before continuing. “A defensive-type of skill and Noble Phantasm…”

“This is the data that have collected from Caster’s training,” Romani explained. “Even though her agility is weak with the heavy shield, Mash can carry on with her Rank A endurance at any attacks hurled at her.”

“Her mana strength is great too,” Ritsuko pointed at the Rank B MP bar on the image. “You say she’s able to cast her skills quite well, no?”

“Yes, but it’ll take a moment before she could use it again normally,” Romani added.

Her violet orb examined at both, Mash tilted her head. “Senpai, did my training with Caster improve?”

Ritsuka’s orbs focused on the subject matter under the Noble Phantasm heading and murmured, “So, when it unleashed… It nullified any attacks thrown at her, including Noble Phantasm. 

“Also…”

“Senpai?”

“Y-Yeah?” Ritsuka moved his head and spotted that Mash still awaited for her answer. 

“After what the Doctor said, analyzed and what we’ve seen,” Ritsuka tilt his head to her and grinned. “You definitely did, Mash.”

“You improve a lot when we first arrived here,” Ritsuko raised thumbs-up from her hand and grinned too. “Good work, Mash-chan!”

Mash’s face lit up with a happy beam and bowed. “Yes, thank you very much, Senpais. I’ll work harder to make both of you proud!”

“Just don’t push yourself too hard, okay?” Ritsuko went over to Mash and patted her shoulders.

Eventually, Caster and Olga Marie moved over and the siblings stood up as they approached. Caster then said once they reached close to them. “The Greater Grail is back here. It’s a little further back, so stick close.”

With an agreed nod, the four followed Caster from behind deeply into the cave.

-0-

The natural dark cavern shape caught Mash’s attention as they continued walking. She shifted to the front and pointed out. “This place looks like a natural cave… Did this always exist in Fuyuki City?”

“Probably, it’s half-natural, half man-made. 

“It’s the underground workshop expanded by mages over several years.” 

Olga Marie explained. 

She suddenly changed her gaze towards Caster. “Anyway, Caster. I forgot to ask you something important.”

Seeing that one of his red orbs glanced at her, the Director went on. “Do you know Saber’s True Name? It sounded like you’d fought several times.”

“Yes, I notice it,” Caster nodded and his lips set into a straight and thin line. “Anyone who gets hit by Saber’s Noble Phantasm will find out that bastard’s True Name…. The other Servants were all defeated because Saber’s Noble Phantasm was that powerful.”

“A powerful Noble Phantasm, is it? What was it like?” Mash prodded.

“The sister sword of the Sword in the Stone. It’s the most famous sacred sword in your time. Its name…”

Before Caster could reply finished, an unfamiliar masculine voice interrupted him. 

“The Sword of Promised Victory, Excalibur. Wielded by King Arthur, the proud King of Knights.”

Fou stood up on Mash’s shoulders and growled at the figure before them. Ritsuko’s orange orbs widened at the surprise of the strange intruder before them. Ritsuka stood in front of his sister and wondered, “An enemy Servant?!”

Before them at the exit of an open field in the tunnel, a mysterious man stood in the middle. It was a youthful man in his mid-twenties with a muscular build. He had short white hair, gray eyes, and tanned skin color.

He put on a black body armor, which comprised a black tight and a sleeveless shirt. And black pants that had two black straps on his thighs, and another two strapped around his shins separate from each other. The said man also wore black metal plated shoes, which appear tied to his trousers.

“Archer!” Olga Marie deduced the identity of the enemy Servant.

Caster expressed a peeved look and glared at Archer. “Ah, speak of the devil. Or shall I say, the faithful follower? As always, I see you’re still the loyal knight.”

“Hmph, I don’t remember becoming a follower of anybody,” Archer replied. His hand manifested a black metallic bow and continued. “I’m just here to chase away unwanted visitors.”

“In other words, you’re the gatekeeper,” Caster stated. His staff raised and pointed at Archer while continued. “I don’t know why you’re protecting Saber, but let’s end this here. Isn’t a game that never ends boring? For better or worse, we need to move the pieces forward.”

“From the way you talk, I think you understand the circumstances. Yet you are still absorbed by your own desires,” Archer’s hand manifested a blade and converted a drill-shaped arrow.

He lifted and drew it back with his bow. “You still haven’t changed despite being a mage now. In that case, I will knock some sense into you.”

“Ha, big talk for a mere Archer,” Caster scoffed. One of his red orbs shifted to Mash and warned. “Hey, why are you standing there, young lady? He’s an Archer. Without your shield, I won’t have the time to cast my spells.”

“Ah… R-Right!” Mash shook up after pulling her attention back to the reality from their bantering. She stood beside Caster with her shield armed. “Sorry, I was out for a second there. But no problem, I can do this. For guarding, leave it to me!”

Gray orbs narrowed, Archer pulled back the bowstring and fired the projectile towards the two Masters. Before it was a quarter of its course towards them, Caster chanted. “Eihwaz!”

Flames came from the tip of the projectile and ignited into fires. 

Archer remained unfazed and summoned another sword into his right hand. 

As he placed the sword-turned-drill-shaped arrow, Caster grinned at him, “What’s wrong? Don’t tell me you don’t have the confidence to take two Servants on?”

Swiped his hand swiftly across in the air, a line of runic words emerged and launched out fireballs towards Archer. Flying towards him, Archer gritted his teeth, “Tch!”

The fireballs collided with him and exploded with thick black smoke covering their area. But as the blast of wind blew the smoke elsewhere, Archer jumped out from the smoke and discharged another shot to Caster. Mash intercepted by moving to Caster’s front and intercepted it with her shield. 

Caster raised and spun his staff before tapping it onto the ground, “Ansuz!”

A runic word appeared beneath the staff on the ground. It glowed crimson as a burst of flame flared up and glided towards Archer. But, Archer leaped up into the air much to Caster’s chagrin. 

With another drill-shaped arrow attached to the bowstring, Archer pulled it back and exclaimed. “You’re wide open!”

“Young lady!” Caster’s red orbs glanced to the violet-haired Servant. 

“Right!” Mash again stood before Caster and raised her shield against the streaming energy bolt. 

Caster twirled his staff and tapped it on the ground. “Beroc!” 

Tree roots erupted from the ground and ascended towards Archer. It slammed Archer against the rocky cliff, receiving a painful groan from the enemy Servant. Despite the bruises, Archer raised its bow with his projectile and shot at them. 

Caster shot a startled expression before pushing Mash to where her two Master stood. Ritsuko caught hold of her, “Mash-chan!”

The four now stared at a large blue bolt of energy heading towards them. As fear showed on their faces, Caster now showed a confident smirk at Archer. Soon, Ritsuka heard Caster’s voice in his head. “Look away, kid!”

The raven-haired gave a brief confused expression at Caster before shouting and turning his head away. “Everyone, close your eyes now!”

“U-Understood, Ritsuka!” Ritsuko replied with confusion mixed in her tone while closing her eyes. 

Mash nodded and shut her eyes too while Olga Marie closed her eyes and lifted her hands to shield away whatever that’s coming in front. 

Noticed at the sudden awkward movement before him, Archer shot a wary expression before realization dawned upon him. With the smirk remained, Caster shouted while his staff traced the ground behind him in a crescent formation. “Here we go, grand-scale! Ath nGabla!”

With a loud tapping from his hand that slammed the ground, three runes appeared behind him and glowed in a brilliant bluish light. Multiple magical circles appeared on the ground in front of him and the sides around him and Archer. 

With a sword manifested, Archer slashed away the tree roots and leaped up to escape. But, he got knocked down to the ground with a powerful impact by the rune above in the air behind him.

Another painful groan emitted from his lips, Archer slowly pulled up and threw an accusing expression at Caster. “You put Runes in the air!”

“Yeah, my mentor had a spell that summoned the Gate of the Underworld. I ripped her off, basically. It won’t do any good to shoot each other at long-distance,” Caster twirled his staff and maintained in a position like holding a spear and declared. “From here, let’s go all out and do our usual fight between you and me!”

“From a Caster class?” A pair of black and white swords manifested in Archer’s hands and he smirked back at him. “Maybe you’ve become smarter than usual.”

“Heh!” Shot a grin back at Archer, Caster charged forward as Archer raised his sword readied. Once in front, Caster retorted before swinging his staff high. “One’s cleverness and tastes are two different things!”

Archer swung one of his swords forward to block. The other raised and whirled towards Caster. Caster tilted his head aside but the sharp blade of the sword slashed across his face with a small laceration. 

Letting out an irritated grunt, Caster shouted. “Tch! Eihwaz!”

The wooden staff set aflame by his command. Archer jumped out of the hole at once before Caster swung the burning staff at him. The blue-haired leaped out too and his staff at Archer. 

Moved his arm to swing and deflect the blazing staff, Archer grunted from the scorching pain he got on his arm when the Caster moved his staff. In revenge, the Archer knocked the staff away and swung his blade down. 

Another bleeding cut made on Caster’s face, earning an irritated growl from him. Burning flames from the staff and sparks from the blades exchanged against each other. Burnt marks and cut wounds appeared as the further they waved their weapons. 

“Anything about that Archer?” Ritsuko turned her eyes aside from them to her brother. 

Ritsuka among the four had his mind focused a while on the projected holographic screen. He shook his head while his blue orbs moving left to right at the data he’s reading. “Definitely nothing about that guy, Ritsuko. There’s nothing about an Archer who could dual-wield and use a bow too.” 

“E-Eh?! Then, what is he?!” Ritsuko gasped. 

“Who knows, But…” Ritsuka replied off-handedly while his hand motioning to scroll through the data. 

Ritsuko gulped with her eyebrows furrowed, “Caster is still hanging on. That Archer too even when they are about the same state as each other…”

Turned her view to the front, Caster swung his blazing staff quickly and smacked the black sword away into the air. The enemy Servant looked at his empty hand and grunted, “Tch!” 

He turned his head high and saw Caster leaped up into the air and whirled his staff down. The impact from the swing produced a puff of smoke that absorbed them into it. It soon blew off revealing Archer using his remaining weapon to intercept. 

Ritsuka had darted up to view before shifting back to the screen and murmured to himself. “There should be something else for the Noble Phantasm other than protecting when it hits us…”

Nevertheless, his blue orbs widened as Caster’s earlier words evoked in his mind. “Without your shield, I won’t have the time to cast my spells.”

An idea brightened up his mind as he scrolled back and paused a certain part of the information. “Unless–!”

“Game over. I think you’ve gotten rusty,” Caster taunted, pressing his staff down against the blade. 

Archer narrowed his orbs and quipped with a smirk. “You’ve come this far, and you’re worried about someone else.”

Followed his gray orbs, Caster’s red orbs glanced behind and recognized the white sword he knocked away spinning in the air towards them. As it zoomed towards them like a boomerang, into a glowing blue energy. 

Ritsuko followed and whirled around to spot the sword. “Director!”

“Kya!” Olga Marie turned and dashed from the spot she stood. 

Ritsuka had realized it too and ordered, “Mash, deploy your Noble Phantasm now! 

Ritsuko stared at her brother in disbelief. “But, isn’t it–!” 

“True Name, Pseudo Register. I can do this!” Mash nodded and rushed to the spot Olga Marie stood. 

Though as Caster turned around ready to deflect the energy bolt, he didn’t look the growing smirk on Archer’s lips. Mash raised her shield high in the air and recited, “Deploying Noble Phantasm! Lord Chaldeas!”

With a powerful slam onto the ground, a white magic circle constructed in the air above with green light showering to them and Caster. The blue bolt clashed with the magic circle and the power surrounding sword disappeared after it swerved away.

Ritsuka stared the white magic circle faded away and sighed in relief. “What a way to verify this analyzed data of her Noble Phantasm…”

Olga Marie rose and scowled at Ritsuka. “Hey, you wasted Mash’s mana for a small attack like this!”

“Hold on Director! I have a good reason to do so–!”

Before Ritsuka could explain finished, Archer’s smug voice stopped them. “It looks like this is the end.”

Swung their attention to Ritsuka’s back, Archer now holding Caster with one blade pointing at his neck and the other at his gut from behind. The earlier diversion of the sword had Archer retrieved back into his hand. Ritsuka’s blue orbs widened and exclaimed, “Caster!”

“So, It’s a trap after all!” Ritsuko glared at the Archer along with Mash who shared the same wary gaze at the enemy Servant. 

“Hmph,” Caster, but, offered an unconcerned expression and stared at Mash’s shield. “What do you think? Will that shield resist the sword? Or will that sword pierce the shield?”

Puzzled expressions shot at Caster while Archer hummed for a minute before responding. “A long time ago, I heard something like that.” 

“Yeah? And, what was the answer?” Caster asked.

Archer replied without a beat, “The answer was ‘a paradox.’ 

“Only a contradiction is produced.”

Caster snorted and snickered, “Hah, I don’t know about that. I always think the same thing about that story. If both things are equal, then isn’t it all down to the skill of those wielding them? Or let me put it another way.

“If you’re losing because of the weapon’s performance,” Lifted one of his hand up with a piece of rock, Caster continued. “Then it’s humans that compensate with wisdom, yes?”

He flipped the rock into Archer’s view and it exploded into an intense light before detonating. Olga Marie noticed and shouted accusingly. “Hey, that’s one of mine!”

Caster elbowed into Archer’s rib cage as the latter being paralyzed by the bright light and released himself. But, before he could move further, the noise of stabbing rang in everybody’s ears. Despite being blinded, Archer went to stab both his swords into Caster’s back. 

“Caster!” Ritsuko’s shocked voice yelled as Mash and Olga Marie gasped at the sight before them. 

Ritsuka paled and inhaled in fear while Archer produced a triumphant smirk to the predicted outcome. But instead, Caster’s proud voice spoke instead. “You did a good job, kid. Witty of you to draw the young lady’s Noble Phantasm out.”

“Huh?” Before he realized it, Archer found both of his arms entangled by the tree root growing out from Caster’s back. Struggled to tear away, his movement gave him to catch a familiar magic circle glowing in the green light. “That’s from the Servant’s Noble Phantasm earlier…!”

The memory of the earlier unleashed of Mash’s Noble Phantasm dawned upon him. Despite his sword thrust inwards, the green magic circle prevented it from plunging into the body. The body of Caster turned to a wooden statue, and he emerged out completely unharmed.

Caster leaped aside and proclaimed with a loud snarl. “Don’t underestimate the Sage of the Forest!”

As the Caster wooden statue transformed into an intense light, Archer pulled his arm with all his energy and leaped away before it exploded. He touched down on a safe spot and studied his surroundings for that blue-haired Servant. 

“Sorry. This is all new to me,” Caster landed on a tree branch behind Archer. As the white-haired Servant turned around, Caster twirled and pointed his staff as it glowed crimson. 

A flame circle ignited and encircled Archer and a familiar large wooden hand that the four recognized grabbed hold of Archer into its grip. While it soared high from the flaming circle, Archer tried to move his arms to break open the wooden hand. “Guuh!”

The wooden hand then slammed onto the ground with an enormous puff of smoke as it diffuses away. It dissolved in golden light revealed critically wounded Archer on the ground. 

The white-haired Servant shot a glare at Caster who tossed the Olga Marie’s pieces of rock in his hand. “I guess it’s better than nothing at all.”

As he scoffed weakly, Archer glanced over at Ritsuka and congratulated with a proud grin. “Well done, Mages of Flowers’s Apprentice-Master! Who knew her Noble Phantasm could be used that way!”

Ritsuko expressed a bewildered look and shot to her brother. “Mages of Flower?”

“I’m just as confused as you, sis,” Ritsuka rubbed his chin to contemplate.

As Archer disappeared in golden light, Caster yelled at him. “Hey, it’s time for you to take a hike! The young lady and I will take down the Sacred Sword!”

Once Archer disappeared, Mash heaved a sigh of satisfaction and shifted to Caster. “I’m glad you trust me, but do you think I can guard against it?”

Her brows furrowed and the violet-haired Servant continued, “I’ve heard about the Sword of King Arthur. My fingers are trembling, it seems too much for me…”

“Well, you’ll just have to overcome it with courage,” Caster answered in a forthright tone. He turned to Mash and reassured her. “But from where I stand, you seem to be perfect for the job. 

“That shield will never shatter, if you were to lose, it would be because the young lady messed it up. If you let go of that shield, your two Masters behind it will evaporate instantly. Listen, don’t think about beating the Sword. All you need to think about is to protect your Master. That’s right up your alley, no?”

From her nod, the Caster showed a pleasant grin to her. “Well, anyway. Leave it to me to finish off Saber and just do what you need to do.”

A period of silence later, Mash finally nodded and smiled back, “Right. That advice will be great of help.”

Olga Marie’s body lax as she breathed a sigh, “Before we do that, let’s rest up ahead. I’m tired. And, I’d like you to return what was mine!”

“Right,” Mash nodded and followed Caster whom ignored the annoyed Director going after him. 

As Ritsuko followed too, Ritsuka followed behind as well while pondering. “Mages of Flowers… I didn’t become no one’s apprentice. Wait, unless it’s that guy–!”

But as he picked another step forward, a giddy spell strike him and caused him nearly tripped over nothing. Ritsuko spun around to see what had happened, but Ritsuka quickly reassured. “I’m okay, just trip over a rock.”

Watched her sister nodded at him, she turned back and proceeded walking. Ritsuka looked at his Command Seal and assumed to himself. “There’s nobody other than him who offered that role, to begin with. But, only one way to find out his identity and confirm is to hear it from King Arthur himself.”

With another deep breath, he continued walking again before picking up his pace to catch up with them.

End of Section 8

Chapter Text

Facing the Greater Grail

“Uruz!” A gentle green circular light shone beneath Mash’s legs from Caster’s chant. The wounds and cuts on Mash’s arms and legs from the earlier encounter with shady creatures disappeared. 

With a huff of breath, Caster set his staff down and shot to Ritsuka. “Time for the Greater Grail. This will be our last break. Is there anything you’ve left undone?”

From Mash then to his sister who returned with a shook of her head, Ritsuka returned and made a brief shook his head with a slight smile. “No, we’re ready.”

“That’s good to hear. I dislike Masters who can’t make up their minds when push comes to shove,” Caster grinned back. “You two are still a rookie, but you’ve got the most important thing a pioneer can have.

“The divine luck to grasp fate, and the ability to make decisions. Don’t forget how to be reckless. People like that are the ones who’ll get blessed by the stars.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Olga Marie approached to the two men with a scoff escaped from her lips. “Whether we forge ahead or go back, we need to rest first.”

When she swung her head, Olga Marie’s orange orbs narrowed and inquired, “Doctor, are you checking vitals? The two of them looks paler than usual. Especially Fujimaru–!”

Before Olga Marie finished her words, Ritsuka fell forward only to be caught by Ritsuko grabbing hold of him in front. Despite her pale face, Ritsuko tried to ease her brother down onto the ground. “Ritsuka?! Ritsuka?!!”

“I’m fine…” Ritsuka weakly replied. He attempted a feeble grin to his sister. “I didn’t think it would be as bad as you, Ritsuko.”

“That’s bullshit, you know better you’re worse than me. You can’t even stand upright now!” Ritsuko scolded back. 

Mash turned to the holographic screen of Romani. “Doctor!”

Romani nodded back as his green orbs scanned the analyzed data. “Yeah, this doesn’t look very good. It’s because of the unexpected Servant contract, the other contract with Caster for Ritsuka-kun. 

“It’s putting the stress on their brains. Your brother and you never used your Magic Circuits and now they’re running at full capacity–!” Romani cut his own words as his eyes grew at what he saw. “This is…!”

“Ugh…” Ritsuka covered his mouth with his hand and angled his head aside. “I’m going to hurl…!”

“W-WHAT?!” Ritsuko, Mash, Romani and Olga Marie exclaimed in panic at Ritsuka’s confession. 

Though a few moments later, Ritsuka heaved out a deep breath and responded in a weak monotonous voice. “I’m just kidding. Should I be throwing up…?”

“No, please don’t… You’d be in a worse condition than now if you do, Ritsuka-kun,” Romani sweatdropped with an exasperated sigh slipped from his lips.

Mash’s brows furrowed and sighed too. “Senpai, this isn’t such a time to be making a joke about yourself.”

“It’s humor, Mash… Everyone loves and need to make fun of themselves at some point,” Ritsuka muttered.

Ritsuko sat beside her brother and smacked his arm lightly. “At least your snarky mouth is still energetic alright.”

The Doctor shifted to the worried Mash and instructed. “Mash, set up a camp. It’s time to make warm tea with plenty of honey.”

“Got it, Doctor. I think tea time is a good idea,” Mash nodded and headed to the side to prepare.

While Mash retrieved the ingredients brought out from her shield, Caster turned around back to them. “Oh, feeding yourselves before the final battle? Then maybe I’ll go hunting for some wild boars.”

As Caster headed to the exit, Olga Marie called out to him. “I’m sure there aren’t around here. Besides, forget about meat, if you must get something, make it fruit.”

-0-

“Here you go, Senpais.” Mash handed a pair of warm honey tea to the two. 

Ritsuka nodded and grabbed hold of his cup. “Thank you, Mash.”

As Ritsuko took hold of hers and sipped carefully down, Mash stared at the two for a minute before asking. “Are the both of you feeling a little better?”

The orange-haired Master showed a small beam and nodded. “Yes. Sorry to make you worry, Mash-chan.”

“No, I’m just glad you’re better that’s all,” Mash smiled back. As she turned her head skywards, her violet orbs stared towards the sky earning interest from the siblings. 

“Is there something wrong?” Ritsuka asked, his head swung towards the burning red sky too. 

“No, Ritsuka-senpai. It’s just…” Mash’s violet orbs remained fixated on the sky and went on. “As high as we are above the ground back in Chaldea, we can’t see one bit of blue sky.”

“Blue sky, huh?” Ritsuka muttered as he recalled the grey blizzard clouds before entering Chaldea. And, the sky they noticed now was blood-red with dark clouds. 

Ritsuko had turned her head to stare at the sky and nodded. “If you spend two years up here, I guess you wouldn’t see it, huh?”

A second later, Mash wondered aloud. “Was there a blue sky here, too?”

“Definitely, I’m sure there was in this city,” Ritsuka answered as his sister nodded in agreement.

“Now I think about it,” Mash turned her head to them a second again and tilted her head. “Senpais, both of you are siblings, right? Is there a reason both of you don’t resemble each other?”

“Hm?” As they glimpsed each other, Ritsuka chuckled while Ritsuko grinned at her. “That’s because we’re step-siblings, Mash-chan.”

“Step-siblings?” Mash wondered. 

Ritsuka nodded and explained. “Yeah. We both are children of previous marriages. My dad married her mom when I was 11.”

“His dad divorced with his wife while my dad disappeared on us when I was still a baby,” A brief sad smile emerged on Ritsuko for a moment. As Ritsuka ruffled her head, she continued. “But, it was when I was 10 my mom fell in love with his dad at their workplace and we became step-siblings.”

“I understand, it tells why both of you are close to each other,” Mash smiled. 

Ritsuka scoffed with a relieved grin. “Well, she’s my responsibility since we’re stuck here. And, she owes me for dragging me here.”

“Hey, it’s better than being under the hot sun in that crazy summer,” Ritsuko laughed while rolling her eyes.

At their antics, Mash let out a soft chuckled and beamed. “As I thought, Senpais are human after all.”

“Is that so?” The Fujimaru siblings stared at her and showed a curious expression. 

“Kyrielight! Could you come over and help me? I need you to bring these fruits to them,” Olga Marie’s voice called out from the other end.

“Understood!” Mash replied. She then turned to the siblings and bowed to leave. “Please stay and wait, Senpais.”

-0-

A moment later, at the small circle of 4 individuals had done eating varied dried fruits from the brought makeshift leaves plate. Ritsuko let out a contented sigh from the filled stomach while Ritsuka gulped finished his second cup of honey tea. 

Mash also let out a satisfied sigh and nodded. “I’m stuffed. I can’t believe you had dried fruits with you, Director. Again, your level of preparation astonishes me.”

“I just happened to have them,” Olga Marie shrugged. Though it was further the fact she requested Romani to bring more dried fruits to supply for 4 people. “Citrus is effective against headaches. But that aside–!”

As she swung to the siblings, Ritsuko shot a curious expression while Ritsuka ate the remaining dried fruits he took. While chewing, he shifted to see Olga Marie staring at him and offered a few dried citruses. “Would you like seconds, Director?”

From his blunt yet ignorant tone, Olga Marie twitched in annoyance. “No, I’m full! But from now on, remember that I like coffee more than tea!”

Despite her words, Olga Marie snatched the dried fruits from Ritsuka and stuffed herself to them. Realized what she did, she set aside the dried fruits. “N-No, that’s not it. That’s not what I wanted to… Oh, forget it!”

With crimson red blush glowed on her cheeks, the Director turned back to the siblings with a huff. “Th-The work you’ve done so far has been passable. As the Director of Chaldea, I have to give you two credits.”

Puzzled expression shared with the siblings as they faced each other. They later spun to the Director with a lit-up bright grin and bowed in unison. “Thank you very much, Director!”

Olga Marie turned away with blush remained and sneered. “Hmph. What’s that look for? I’m sure it’s a fluke, but right now you two are all we’ve got.” 

As harsh as she sounded, Olga Marie twitched in irritation at their disbelief expression shot at her. “What I’m saying is, keep it up and you might hear praise from me yet. I know a third-rater can do first-rate work.”

Much to Olga Marie’s further anger, Romani’s holographic image appeared beside Ritsuka and grinned. 

“Well, well, admitting that Ritsuka-kun and Ritsuko-kun did a solid job. Have you eaten something sweet?”

The Director glared at Romani and rebutted, “Romani. If you’ve got time to be flapping your gums, use it to send these two a supply or two instead. I would feel bad if someone failed because they were ill-equipped. Especially, when they have been doing their best.”

“What’s this? ‘Feel bad?’,” Romani gasped before revealing a bright smile to her. “How kind of you. Director, does this mean you’re finally opening your heart?”

“Idio…” Realized what she nearly said, Olga Marie, turned bright red and amended. “I-I mean pitiful! Pathetic! You couldn’t even tell that?”

As he joined Fujimaru’s siblings chuckling, Romani answered. “Well, I never grow tired of watching a young man and women interact. Although, for young women, Director, you’re not really…”

“Is that right?” Mash stared at the Director for a moment before responding with a small beam. “The Director is older, but I feel we have similar tastes. I feel affection for her.”

“I suppose age doesn’t matter, regardless! The Director is still a woman, Doctor,” Ritsuko nodded with a grin too. 

Seeing the Doctor nodded in understanding at their words, Olga Marie jaw dropped and twitched. “What are you going on about? I told you before that you’re all just tools to me!”

“Zur, zur!”

Olga Marie nodded at the inhuman growl and included. “There, see? Even this shadowy-like monster-thing agrees with me!”

Oblivious to her, the four paled at the sight of the skeleton monster crouching beside her at ease. Mash gulped as she nervously pointed out, “Um, Director…”

“A-About that shadowy-like monster…” Romani gulped and lifted his trembling finger to the monster beside her. 

“Huh?” Curious and puzzled expressed on her faces at the four reactions. 

Olga Marie turned to where Romani pointed and gawked at the skeleton monster cheerfully waving its bony hand at her. 

Face turned pale in that instant, the Director’s lip quivered in fright. With a shaky sigh, she shrieked at the top of lungs that echoed through the cave. “Eeeeek! Mash, hurry up and get rid of it! It’s gonna eat me! It’s gonna eat me!”

-0-

“What gives? I thought you two supposed to be resting,” Caster raised one of his eyebrows at the sight in his view.

Olga Marie crouching and shivering behind a large tree, her mouth muttering ‘please don’t let them eat me’ over and over.

Romani’s face buried onto the desk with dark clouds hovering over him. His shoulders sagged tiredly refusing to budge an inch for a while after that chaotic turmoil.

Mash and Ritsuko lied their bodies over the large uneven tree roots. 

Their faces showed a dull and exhausted expression after getting rid of the unforeseen assault from the said skeleton and its army.

Last, Ritsuka lay down on the ground with face planted in the dirt. After breaking every single bone and executing each of them, the energy he gained back from resting used up in that instant.

Ritsuko let out a dull groan and replied, “The craziest party you’re missing out just happened.”

“Yeah,” Ritsuka replied but his voice was being muffled by the ground. “The greatest party of all time. Uninvited skeleton army and all-out brawling match those damn things.”

-0-

With Caster having his fill from his hunger, the group continued walking and entered the cave beneath the giant tree. Once inside, it comprised a series of seals carved around above 50 feet of barren rock.

“What is that…?!” Ritsuko stared at the interior with confusion and horror.

The eerie purple light shining behind the barren rock made Olga Marie gulped as her eyes widened. 

“This is the Greater Grail… It’s an ultra-superior Magical Reactor… What’s it doing on this island nation in the Far East?”

“According to our data, it was built by an eminent family of alchemists called the Einzberns,” Romani’s voice explained from Olga Marie’s wristwatch. 

“Though, they didn’t belong to the Mage’s Association, and were solely made of homunculi.”

As Olga Marie’s mouth opened to speak, Caster interrupted and turned his head to gesture above them. “Sorry, that’s it for the chitchat. The lady has noticed us.”

Followed Caster’s gaze, a young woman with platinum-blonde haired tied in a bun, pale slender physique and impassive golden orbs stared down at them. A black sword rested in front of her with both hands settling on the hilt.

The chilling gaze from her silence made both siblings and Olga Marie gulped in fear. Mash gulped at the sight and murmured, “Unbelievable magical output… Is that really King Arthur?”

“No question,” Romani’s holographic image appeared beside Mash and nodded to affirm. 

“She seems to have changed somehow, but she’s the King of Britain, Arthur, wielder of the Sacred Sword. 

“Her gender’s different from the legend, but she had her reasons for dressing like a man in Camelot. I mean, you can’t assume the throne unless you’re a man, right? She must’ve had to pretend to be a guy for family reasons.”

With an annoyed sigh, Romani’s eyebrows furrowed and continued, “I have an idea who’s behind that. 

“It’s mentioned in the legends, but Merlin really has a terrible taste.”

“Huh? Ah, you’re right.” Mash’s violet orb widened after understanding what Romani had said and stared back at her. “I thought that person was a man, but it’s a woman.”

“Eh? Then, the King Arthur right now before us is a woman?!” Ritsuko’s orbs widened in shock and leaned her head to examine closer to affirm Romani’s words.

“Wait, Merlin?” Ritsuka’s blue orbs widened after viewing closer, but he swung to Romani and asked. “You mean that Merlin who’s the trusted advisor, mentor and parental figure to King Arthur? That same Merlin who is the most powerful warlock in Arthurian legend?!”

“Yeah, the one and only,” Romani nodded and sighed.

Caster swung his staff forward and reminded with a steely voice. “Don’t be fooled by her appearance. She’s a monster. Her power is not of muscle, but a ridiculous amount of magical energy. 

“Every single strike is massive. If you’re not paying attention, the top half of your body will go flying.”

“Basically, just think of her like a human rocket,” Mash nodded and whirled her shield forward. “Understood, I’ll fight back with everything I’ve got.”

“Good.” Caster nodded with a smirk. “If you defeat her, the anomaly in this town will disappear. Listen, that includes both me and her. After that, it’s your job. I don’t know what will happen but do the best you can.”

Nodded again, Mash gazed back at the black Saber above them. Teeth gritted and saliva gulped down their throats as they prepared whatever attacks she fired at them. 

Instead, a small amused smile curled on Saber’s lips and she hummed. “I see. You’ve got an interesting Servant with you.” 

“What! You could talk? You were just maintaining your silence all this time?” Caster shouted with complete bewilderment at the words she uttered.

Saber beamed wider and replied. “Yes, and you were being watched the whole time you were chatting. I merely acted as a scarecrow.”

With a stride forward, she grasped the black sword with her. Saber leaped off from her spot and landed on the ground with black armor remained intact from the jump. 

She strode a few steps forward with apathy at their alert expression. “But—it’s interesting. I’m curious about that Noble Phantasm.”

Within reach, golden orbs stared intently at the dark-colored shield, Saber prodded. “A shield, is it? Be ready, strange girl. This sword shall test the truth of your shield.”

The black sword swung forward pointing at both Servants, Caster shouted with a determined glare. “Get ready, Masters, young lady!”

“Here she comes—Masters!” Mash shouted.

Blue and orange orbs glanced at each other, a fixed answer made between the siblings. Ritsuka nodded and commanded, “Yeah, let’s fight together!”

“No way are we gonna lose this! Mash-chan, Caster!” Ritsuko shouted too.

“Yes! Mash Kyrielight, here I come!”

When violet and red orbs gazed back at Saber’s golden, the latter gripped hold of her sword and lunged forward towards them. Caster raised and swiped his hand in the air with a yell, “Ansuz!”

Fireballs fired out from the rows of runic words, all homing towards Saber. But, Saber effortlessly dodged with ease, turning and slashing each that came towards her. An irritated grunt escaped Caster’s lips, he spun and tapped his staff onto the ground.

Multiples of magic circle appeared on the ground as one occurred before Saber. 

The minute she entered, the magic circle glowed and erupted into a huge fire pillar. Relieved and amazed faces expressed on Ritsuko and Ritsuka.

But, a black energy wave sliced off the pillar revealing an unharmed Saber. She soon charged forward further and another magic circle erupted a fire pillar. But, it too got extinguished with a stroke of her sword that cut it down.

With the last of the fire pillar erupted, Saber emerged out unscathed and tried to strike at Caster. But, Mash stepped in between them while Caster jumped backward. Her shield gripped before her against the striking sword.

The black sword against the metal plate of the shield, sparks formed from the clashing. As they drew back, Mash raised her shield up again to stop the incoming strike. The blue-haired Servant waved his staff and summoned tree vines from the ground.

Raised her weapon, Saber maintained her ground despite being pushed by the tree vines. When the tree vines slammed her against the rock wall, Saber jumped out from the dust cloud and sprinted towards them.

When the black sword clashed with Mash’s shield again, rocks burst out shooting from the ground by the immense pressure. While the siblings shield the rocks coming to them, Olga Marie stepped forward as her arm twitched with a piece of rocks fall to her hand.

She then flung it onto the ground and it exploded into a bright light. A second later, a luminous yellow magic circle formed before the three deflecting away from the incoming rock.

Saber leaped back when a flamethrower blasted at her by Caster. As she charged to strike, Mash once again deflected the attack with her shield. The black knight swung her sword against the violet-haired Servant that sought to stand her ground. 

Each repeated swinging of the black sword, Mash hold her shield firmly against the beating. While swinging, Saber asked with a challenging tone. “What’s wrong? Won’t you come forward?”

From the next powerful swing, Mash held her shield against it. Yet, the great pressure made her flinched. “Ugh!” 

“Mash-chan!” Ritsuko gasped with both her hands raised to her mouth. 

Ritsuka muttered with his fists clenched. “Damn it…” 

The equally furrowed eyebrows and narrowed orbs expressed worried and fear on the siblings’ faces. Despite noticing it, Olga Marie shot a swift glance before shifting her view to the front. At the front, a magic circle formed beneath Caster while Mash shielded another of Saber’s strike.

When Saber pulled back her sword, instead of striking above, she swung it against the ground. The powerful and quick swung of her black sword knocked Mash back flying with her shield thrown away.

At another collected gasps, Caster growled and whirled his staff. “Tch! Ansuz!”

Kindled his staff into flames, Caster charged ahead and stroked his staff against the black sword. While it clashed, Ritsuko and Ritsuka looked at each other with a small nod. 

Before they could dash over, Olga Marie drew her hand out to them. “If you two intend to go help her, you’ll only be in the way.” 

She then took a deep breath and continued, “No, worse than that.” 

Ritsuko turned to Olga Marie and demanded, “But Mash-chan is…!” 

“Prepare your resolve,” The Director’s comments cut her, her orange orbs suggesting them to shift back in front.

“Mash…” Ritsuka mumbled, shifting to where she was. On the ground, Mash slowly lifted her head to watch Caster fending off Saber. The torn coat and the bleeding cut on his face didn’t deter Caster from the injury. 

Mash’s violet orb gazed resolutely at their fight with a steadfast expression. Her hand propped on the ground to push herself up with her enduring strength. 

Despite the impassive expression on her face, Olga Marie’s calmer voice assured to them. “I understand how you two feel. Painfully so…”

Ritsuka shot to her with a frustrated and restless expression. “Then, are we going to just–!” 

Olga Marie cut them off with her sharp tone, “Both of you are that girl’s Masters. That girl is your Servant.” 

Her shield reached into her hand, Mash grabbed and dragged it close to her. With her shield set on the ground, she gradually got herself stood on the ground. But as she stood up, Caster swung his staff at Saber. 

Saber moved her body to the side to dodge and whirled her sword against the ground. The swinging movement created shock waves from the ground and sent both Caster and Mash flying back. 

“Guah!” Caster landed and skidded against the ground with a heavy thud. The blue coat ripped and his torso covered in both abrasion and dust. 

“Ugh!” Mash got knocked further back and crashed into the rock wall. 

The awful sight before them had their eyes swelled in horror. Ritsuko’s mouth trembled to cry out her violet-haired Servant’s name. But, the fear consumed her as she turned her eyes away shut from whatever may take place next. 

“Fou…?” A concerned squeak escaped from Fou as he stared at the orange-haired Master with a concerned expression. 

“Do not look away!”

Olga Marie’s sharp and harsh voice made Ritsuko snapped her eyes opened. She faced at the Director whose gaze remained fixated at the two Servants. Olga Marie continued reminding her. “Face straight ahead! Hold your head high! What should you really be doing as a Master?”

Pulling himself up with the staff, one of Caster’s red orbs glanced over to where the commotion he heard. Towards Ritsuko, a startled expression shown on her face. She realized how cowardly she had done. 

As though she made up in her mind, Ritsuko nodded with understanding and faced back to the front. Ritsuka had peered at his sister and turned back to the front after watching her determined face. 

As once more, Mash reached for her shield and stood back up. Despite the ragged breath leaving her lips, her gaze remained rigid at Saber who stared down at them. The black knight heaved a deep sigh and gripped her sword. 

A sudden eruption of purple aura shrouded around Saber. Ritsuka’s wristwatch beeped with Romani’s warning voice exclaimed, “It’s coming!”

“I shall answer those eyes,” Black soil and sands from the ground circled around Saber like a whirlwind. With her cold golden orbs, Saber decided with a yell, “And to the heart, that means to protect its Master!”

Another outbreak of energy burst from Saber, and the purple aura soon twisted into a dark-colored light transmitted to the sword. The channeled energy created a broad sword-shape around the black blade. 

Before the three could react, Mash stepped right before Saber in a distance. Her shield stood rigid while she gritted her teeth at the incoming attack. Ritsuka’s blue orbs widened and called out, “Mash!” 

“Young lady!” Caster shouted. 

Olga Marie gasped with a complete worried expression displayed on her face, “Please endure it, Mash!” 

Without hesitation, Ritsuko narrowed her orbs and hurried towards where Mash stood. Ritsuka noticed and tried to follow. But, Olga Marie caught his hand as he was about to go. “Wait!”

“Director, you asked what we should do as her Master right?” 

At the sudden question from Ritsuka, Olga Marie stared at him in bewilderment. Ritsuka continued without glancing back. “Even if we’re just going to be a burden… More than anything, we want to be there by her side, together and fight.” 

“That’s a Servant you’re going against! There’s no way you two will stand a chance against Saber. Mash is your Servant that’s why–!”

“Then, go to hell with the Servant and Master you guys decided for us!” Ritsuka’s sharp yelling made her flinch in shock. He shifted behind to confront her with frustration, anger and yet, determined expressions. 

The raven-haired Master continued with his strong blue orbs staring back into her orange. “Before a Master and that crap… That’s our friend struggling with her life risking for us to get out of here. And as her Master you keep asserting, we’ll fight together right by her side!”

His hand moved to hers that gripped his arm, Ritsuka pulled it off from her and hustled off to follow his sister. Olga Marie snapped out from her stupor and shrieked at him, “F-Fujimaru!”

But, the two siblings ignored her screams and continued heading to the violet-haired Servant. As Mash stood there, she gulped at the immense pressure growing from Saber. Her grip on the shield’s handle tightened and braced the coming blow. 

“Iron Hammer of the Hollow King. 

“Overturn the aurora. 

“Swallow the light!” Raising her weapon high, the energy around the blade turned bigger. The whirlwind around Saber whirled stronger and faster. 

With another sharp breath, she suddenly yelled with a resolute tone, “Excalibur Morgan!”

End of Section 9 pt.1

Chapter Text

Facing the Greater Grail

“Excalibur Morgan!”

A powerful and violent swing of her black sword from above, a blazing red-black-purple flame blasted from the blade. The blast of dark energy flame headed towards where Mash stood. Her eyes sealed and exhaled a deep breath, quickly shot opened with a determined expression.

She lifted her shield high and shouted, “Deploying Noble Phantasm! Yaaa!!”

THUNK!

A large magical circle glowing in green light appearing before her, safeguarding those behind like a dome. 

The dark energy clashed against the barrier, generating sparks and the black flames diverted surrounding the dome.

Also, the strong pressure from the flames produced a powerful current to the back. While rushing to Mash, Ritsuko nearly fell and shoved back from the wind. Ritsuka quickly grabbed her into his arms right behind her. “Ritsuko! Guh!”

Not solely the two bracing against the strong breeze, Mash held onto her shield against the energy wave. The consistent strong pressure threatened to lose her ground against Saber.

Saber, but, stared at her with an impassive expression at her attempt. Olga Marie and Fou stared with uncertainty and distressed at the lone Servant withstanding all. Caster narrowed his red orbs at them and peered back at his staff.

Mash gritted her teeth as she realized fatigue crept into her. Her body collapsed onto the ground and the magic circle of her Noble Phantasm slowly dissolving. Mash’s violet orb stared at the ground, darkness enveloping her sight.

Despite the desire to protect her Masters, the weary feeling and hopelessness drowned her thoughts. As her hands were to let go, a familiar warmth held above them. Mash gasped and spun her gaze in surprise to meet two familiar right hands onto her hand and left shoulder.

She turned to her right to see Ritsuko putting her right hand over hers while her other hand settled around her waist. To her left, Ritsuka placed his right hand over her shoulder and the other holding onto the grip of the shield.

Both siblings shared the same expression of unwavering conviction in holding her Noble Phantasm against Saber’s own. 

The surprise soon turned relieved as a joyful beam surfaced on Mash’s lips, “Senpais…”

Ritsuko returned an assured grin and acknowledged, “We believe in you, Mash-chan.”

“You’re not alone, Mash. Together, we’ll protect the Director and everyone.” Ritsuka added with a satisfied grin of his own as Mash looked over.

“… Yes!” Mash nodded.

With a nod from the two Masters, the Command Seals on both their hand glowed bright red. Mash noticed that her body glowed in a gentle white light as though it erased her fatigue and renewed with a newfound strength.

Breathing in and out deeply, Mash stared back in front and rose back on her foot. “Please watch me, Masters.”

The earlier white light transmitted into the shield as the trio gripped the shield and its handle tighter. 

White magic circle radiated brighter and resolute against the dark energy, earning surprise reaction from Saber and Olga Marie.

“The Noble Phantasm…” Olga Marie gasped with surprise.

The magic circle projected a white energy shape of Mash’s shield behind. Both left and right formed a giant white brick castle wall that stood as a barrier. Deep breath sucked in and breathed out, the Fujimaru siblings and Mash yelled in synch. “Yaargh!!” 

Golden orbs widened in shock, Saber gasped with her mouth agape. “That shield is…!”

The diverted energy of the black flame turned and reflected Saber in a single blast. Black smoke and specks of dust from the ground mushroomed and swallowed where Saber stood. When it dissolved, Saber’s armor and face covered in bruises and dirt from the flame’s blaze.

The black knight’s golden orbs glared at them with teeth bared and gritting. Both siblings’ eyes widened and mouths dropped at Saber remained standing. But, they noticed Mash’s head dropped with her eyes barely able to keep them open.

“Mash-chan!” Ritsuko grabbed hold of the violet-haired Servant as she gave way. The white brick wall before them fading from the weakened Servant.

“Excalibur!” But, it wasn’t over as Saber raised her sword again with dark energy circulating around her.

Mash heaved in a sharp breath and reassured in a weak voice. “I’m fine. It’s not over yet…”

“Mash…” Ritsuka stared at her with his eyebrows furrowed. He shifted back to see Saber more resolved than ever to unleash her Noble Phantasm at her again.

Familiar dark purple energy moving up and channeling towards the blade, a black-purplish energy sword-shaped charged and generated bigger than before. 

However, Caster’s voice entered his familiar chant. “My spell is the coffin of flames, a giant of verdant thorn. 

“Retribution, the forest that will purify misery―

“Befall the Wicker Man! And behold, as both good and evil bite the dust–!” Caster rushed from the back towards Saber. But as he reached towards them, he muttered them in an assured tone. “I’m proud you guys have held out this long.”

Watched Caster stood in front of the barricade, he whirled his staff and continued his chanting. “Burn them completely, the giant of all trees― Wicker Man!”

Waved his staff forward, a bright crimson light glowed from the staff. A flaming circle formed surrounding Saber and emerged out a familiar tree giant from beneath her. Saber leaped off from its head and moved to the side as it sought to grab her. 

Landed onto its arm, Saber tried to swing and strike at the tree giant. But, its other arm caught hold of her, drawing a shocked gasp from her lips. 

Its free hand opened the steel gate and threw Saber inside its body. With a clicking noise of the gate sealed, the Wicker man slowly fell towards the burning circle along with Saber sliding towards inside.

BOOM!

The flame combusted the Wicker Man in a deafening thud. Black smoke mushroomed with a strong gale of wind burst into the surroundings. Olga Marie used her arms to shield against the strong current while the separate three lowered themselves behind Mash’s shield. 

The fire arose forming a figure of a man before shooting high into the sky. The Wicker Man dispersed away revealing Saber with her armor and face burned from the fire. She stared at them with a detached expression. “Victory for the power that protects? I see…”

Her golden orbs focused on Mash’s shield that withstood and continued. “Such like that innocent one…”

“Innocent…?” 

Ritsuka repeated with surprise laced in his voice. “You know the identity of the Servant?”

Saber showed a satisfied grin and turned her head aside. “Hmph. Unbeknownst to me, my power has weakened. I stayed my hand at the last moment. I was going to defend the Holy Grail to the end, but I lost because my tenacity wavered.”

Gazed upwards to the sky, Saber mumbled to herself in an enigmatic tone. “Ultimately, no matter how my fate changes, I will always meet the same end if I’m alone.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Caster narrowed his eyes and demanded with a vexed tone. “Bastard, what do you know?”

“Eventually, you too will realize it, Ireland’s Child of Light,” Saber turned back and faced Caster. “Grand Order—the battle to obtain the Holy Grail has only begun.”

Saber’s body shone in a golden light as her body slowly dissolved from the light below. Ritsuka stretched his hand out and exclaimed, “Hold on, who is the Servant that Mash contracted with her? You know the true identity, don’t you?!”

“That shall be something you’ll figure out soon with your intelligence and resourcefulness, Magus of Flower’s apprentice,” Saber answered without a beat.

As Saber noticed Ritsuka’s blue orbs widened in shock, she threw one last smirk at him. “You’ve met him in that land of Utopia, haven’t you? That troublesome parent you deemed as the strongest warlock.”

Ritsuka stared at her and repeated to himself, “The land of Utopia…?”

Caster gritted his teeth in irritation as the King of Knights ignored his question. “Hey, wait! What do you mean by—Woah!”

Switching their attention to Caster, they looked at his body fading in the same golden light as Saber. Caster raised his fist up and grunted, “Oh crap, I am getting sent back too?”

“Dammit! I don’t like this, but whatever,” Caster turned to the two Masters and shouted. “Kid, Lady, I’m leaving the rest to you!”

“Caster!” Ritsuko tried to reach her hand out to him. 

The blue-haired Servant smirked and rested his staff over his shoulder as he glanced elsewhere. “If there’s a next time, try to summon me as a Lancer!”

Caster’s final words echoed in the atmospheres with the golden dissolving their body, leaving behind nobody but a golden crystal from Saber’s spot onto the ground. Watched where they stood quietly, Mash soon spoke from the tranquil silence. “Confirming both Saber and Caster have vanished. 

“… Does this mean we’ve won?” Mash turned towards her two Masters. 

“Yes, you did a fine job, Mash, Ritsuka-kun, and Ritsuko-kun!” Romani’s cheery voice chirped out from Ritsuka’s wristwatch. “It looks like I can’t get any visuals from there, so I can’t see your happy faces.”

Relaxed and bright grins bloomed on the three of their faces, they looked at each other and grinned wider at their achievement. Romani’s voice went on, “The Director must be so pleased… Now we don’t have to worry about Singularity F. Hey, where’s the Director?”

Eyes examining around, they soon settled on Olga Marie who stayed at her spot with her head lowered. Her brows furrowed as she muttered to herself in a concerned voice, “Grand Order… How did that Servant know that name?”

“Orders please, Director Marie,” Ritsuko requested, addressing her with Mash and Ritsuka behind her.

Noticed that Olga Marie didn’t budge to face up, Ritsuka took a stride closer and leaned his head and probed. “Is something the matter?”

“Huh? O-Oh right,” Olga Marie snapped her head upwards to look at the three of them awaiting her next order. She cleared her throat and made a proud yet well-hidden strained beam. “Well done Fujimaru, Mash. Several points are unclear, but let’s call this mission complete.”

The trio’s face lit up with their grin surfaced as they glanced at each other. As they nodded, Olga Marie nodded too and instructed next. “First, let’s retrieve that crystal. It’s the reason Saber became abnormal… It’s the reason Fuyuki City became a Singularity.”

“Yes,” Mash nodded, “An immediate retrieval—What?”

A slow clapping sound reverberated in the tranquil atmosphere. Shock and attentive expression shown on the four faces as they searched around for the origin. The clapping sound picked up its pace adopted by an uncanny calm yet familiar voice, “Well, I didn’t expect you’d get this far.”

With the clapping sound ceased, they gazed their head high to the top of the rock wall where a familiar figure wearing a top hat stood. They tucked their arms behind them and admitted, “Beyond my plan’s expectations and my own tolerances.

“Master Candidate #48 Fujimaru Ritsuko… And you, Fujimaru Ritsuka. 

“It was my mistake naively to overlook both of you as an improbable child.”

With a more distinct view of the figure, Ritsuka widened his eyes and his mouth agape. “You’re…!”

“Professor Lev?” Mash’s orb widened upon realizing. She let out a faint breath of relief slipped from her lips. 

“I-It really is him!” Ritsuko raised her hands to put against her lip at the recognition too. 

Ritsuka’s wristwatch blinked as Romani’s surprised voice shouted, “Lev–? Professor Lev, you say? He’s there?”

“Hm, is that Romani I hear? So, you survived,” Lev stared down at the four. “I told you to come to the command room at once, but it seems you didn’t listen. Honestly–!”

“Lev…?” Romani’s puzzled voice emitted from the wristwatch. 

Lev’s eyes shot opened revealing black beady and silted eyes glared at them in a disdainful expression. “Trash who can’t even follow orders. Just the mere sight of it makes me want to throw up. Why is it humans always try to avoid their preordained fates?”

“Professor… Lev?” Ritsuko weakly mumbled in bewilderment. 

Ritsuka merely stared at him in shock at what he uttered. Romani let out a noise of an astonished gasp from the wristwatch. Neither them, Mash nor Romani could fathom what Lev spoke. 

But, Mash’s orbs widened upon noticing something and shifted to both her Masters. “Masters, fall back! Fall back, please!”

“Mash, what’s wrong?” Ritsuka’s puzzled expression from the earlier turned towards Mash’s insistence. He didn’t understand the reason of her words or the fear expression worn on her face now. 

The violet-haired Servant’s eyebrows furrowed and her teeth gritted. “That person is dangerous… Th… That isn’t Professor Lev we know!”

“What did you say?!” Ritsuko dropped her hand and gawked at Mash’s declaration. 

“But, that’s–!” As Ritsuka turned his head back at Lev, his blue orbs narrowed to stare back at the man. No questions that the familiar appearance was Lev that he remembered and talked to hours before. 

But with Mash’s declaration, Ritsuka felt there’s a weird vibe coming from him. Instead of the amiable and welcoming vibe, an eerie and malicious vibe emitting from Lev. 

Unknown to them, Olga Marie hadn’t listened to Mash’s declaration let out a relieved sigh. Tears formed and rolled down from her eyes, the Director’s face bloomed a beam on her lips. “Lev… Oh, Lev! Lev! You’re alive! Thank goodness!”

Her limbs moved and made a hasty dash as Olga Marie exclaimed with her overwhelmed relief of her assistant. “Without you, I don’t know how I could protect Chaldea!”

“Director don’t! That man is…!”

Mash’s words fallen deaf to her ears as Olga Marie remained running towards Lev. Once closer, Olga Marie paused to take a deep breath. The Professor only smiled and answered in the familiar composed tone, “Hi, Olga. You seem well. Looks like you had a rough time, too.”

“Yes, yes, that’s right, Lev!” Olga Marie nodded and went on with the grin remained on her face. “The command room blew up, the city’s in ruins, and I can’t return to Chaldea! I’m going crazy about all these unforeseen complications! 

“But it’s okay, as long as you’re here we’ll be fine, right? That’s how it’s always been, right? You’ll help me this time too, won’t you?”

“Yes. Honestly, all these complications have irritated me,” Despite the familiar grin, the tone laced in his voice was anything but complying with Olga Marie. 

“And the biggest complication is you, Olga.”

Unfazed by the shocked expression on the Director’s face, Lev confessed bluntly. “I set the bomb right under your feet, yet you still live.”

Behind Olga Marie, the three widened their eyes as their mouth dropped significantly from the revelation. She staggered back and weakly murmured, “What? L-Lev? Um, wh-what’s that supposed to mean?”

“Sorry, you’re not actually alive,” Lev’s grin flashed his razor-sharp teeth with his grin twisted into a delighted smirk. His black beady eyes looked down at the horrified Director and continued, “You’re already dead. Your body, at least, long ago.”

“The… Director is dead…? No… No way…” 

Ritsuko repeated his words, orange orbs stared at the equally horrified Director on the exact truth.

Lev went on with his words as his grin broadened at Olga Marie’s reaction. “Trismegistus thoughtfully transferred you into this land after you’d become residual thoughts. You had no aptitude for Rayshift while alive, right? You can’t teleport while you have a physical body.”

“Lies…” Olga Marie uttered in a weak voice.

“Understand? You only gained the aptitude you so desired after you died. That’s why you can’t return to Chaldea. The moment you do, your consciousness will vanish.”

“Wh-What? I’ll vanish?” Olga Marie weakly repeated his remarks. “Wait… I can’t return to Chaldea?”

“Indeed. But that’s too sad of a story for you,” Lev stretched his right hand outwards. “Let me show you the fate of the Chaldea that you devoted your entire life to.”

Orange orbs turned to her left, Olga Marie followed the golden crystal that Saber dropped flew towards Lev’s hand. Once in his grip, Lev lifted his hand and the golden crystal turned into a glowing orb. It absorbed into his palm and he lifted another hand up to snap his fingers.

Behind him, a violet light burst into an enormous circle which revealed the familiar command room in ruins. 

However, the enormous circle showed the familiar glowing crimson globe floating in the midst of the room. 

Tilted her head skyward, Olga Marie’s lip trembled to express at the sight she saw. “Wh-What is that? Chaldeas is bright red? It’s a lie, right? It’s just an illusion, right, Lev?”

“No, it’s real. I’ve connected the dimensions for you,” Lev replied in an unconcerned tone. “Having the Holy Grail allows me to do so.”

Collected gasps heard not merely from the three but faintly at the command room where Romani and the rest of the Chaldea staff were. A chuckle slipped from Lev’s lips as he proclaimed, “Now behold, the descendant of Animusphere. Behold your folly!

“Not a sliver of blue representing human survival remains. Nothing but a burning, bright, red. That is the outcome of this mission. Isn’t it wonderful, Marie?” Lev laughed aloud before them. “Once again, your incompetence has brought forth tragedy!”

As Lev continued to laugh, the three who stood shocked, Ritsuko repeated Lev’s declaration. “This is the outcome…? All of it had led to the destruction of humanity… Because of what we had done?!”

“No, that can’t be,” Ritsuka gritted his teeth. “There’s no way, this is the truth–!”

“Don’t—Don’t be absurd!”

Jerked his head to the front, Olga Marie gritted her teeth and glared fiercely at Lev. “I’m not responsible! I didn’t fail! I’m not dead! Who are you? What have you done to my Chaldeas!”

“It isn’t ‘yours.’ Honestly,” Annoyance flashed across Lev’s face, he swung his hand outwards in a golden glowing light. “What an annoying girl you are!”

The same golden light illuminated Olga Marie’s body. She floated high into the air and pulled towards to the front. The Director struggled as panic now overwhelmed her. “Wha… Something’s pulling—my body across space–!”

“I told you. It now connects that place with Chaldea,” Lev set his hand back down and smirked at her. “I could kill you now, but there’s no grace to that. I will grant you your final wish, instead. Go ahead and lay your hands on your treasure. Think of it as benevolence on my part.”

“Wait—What do you mean, Lev? My treasure… You mean Chaldeas?” Met at the burning red globe reaching close to her that drew her in, Olga Marie screamed as she struggled harder than before. “No, stop, please! Chaldeas? A high-density body of data? A territory of a dimensional anomaly?” 

“Yes. No different from a black hole. Or perhaps a sun. Well, either way,” Lev answered with an unconcerned tone. “A human touching it would be a hellish disintegration on the molecular level. By all means, have a taste of infinite living death!”

Mouth letting a terrified gasp, Ritsuka tried to rush over, “Director!”

Mash quickly seized hold of Ritsuka’s arm to stop him, “No, Ritsuka-senpai!”

“No—No, no! Someone help me! Help! I… I don’t want to die here!”

Turned their head back to Olga Marie, she remained screaming as her body drew closer to the Chaldeas globe. “Because I’ve never been praised… I’ve never been praised by anyone! Why? Why does this always happen to me?!”

Tears flowed down her pale terrified face, Olga Marie wept and pleaded to hope for a miracle took place for her. “No one ever valued me! Everyone hated me! No! Stop! No, no, no, no, no… I haven’t even accomplished anything yet!

“From the moment I was born, I’ve never been accepted by anyone–!”

“Director!!” Ritsuka struggled to remove his arm away from Mash.

Ritsuko grabbed hold of his shoulder and reminded, “It’s too late! We won’t make it–!”

“Noooooo!”

Before their view, Olga Marie’s body turned as her back landed against the globe. Electrics sparks emitted from the globe and electrocuted her body. The sparks melted her torso against the globe in a liquid state as she continued to scream.

Her painful cries slowly diminished as her eyes shut tight, her body disappearing into one with the globe. As the sparks continued electrocuting her, Olga Marie’s soul extinguished before the three.

When the electrical sparks disappeared, the three stood still. 

Memories of Olga Marie flashed through in their mind, her laughter, her anger, her stubborn dishonesty. 

And last, her appreciative grin and compliments to them for achieving their mission.

Those brief hours with her on this journey despite the bouts of disputes. Anger and grief swelled in their heart. Stood there in silence as Ritsuko remembered, orange orbs narrowed in fury at the man before them.

Her teeth gritted with fury and with a low growl escaped, Ritsuko tried to charge forward, “YOU FUCKING BASTARD!!!”

Ritsuka stood before her and grasped her arm before she left. “Stop it, Ritsuko! We know how you feel, but you go there right now is just an ambush set at you!”

“But–!”

Mash placed her hand onto her shoulder and directed her eyes at the globe to remind Ritsuko of Olga’s demise. “Don’t do it, Senpai! If you approach that man, you’ll die the same way!”

Hearing the agitation, Lev turned his attention to them. But, Mash’s nerves jolted with dread and wary as her orbs shrunk. “Oh, no!”

Quickly stood before the two, Mash slammed her shield onto the ground before them protectively. Ritsuka at once pulled his sister closer to him as he glowered in wary of his later action.

But, Lev merely smirked at them or Mash particular and complimented. “Oh? Impressive, for a Demi-Servant. You sense I am a fundamentally different life form. Shall I reintroduce myself? My name is Lev Lainur Flauros…”

He brought one hand to his back, the other planted on his chest and gave a courteous bow. “In charge of the year 2016 sent to dispose of you humans. Are you listening, Dr. Romani?”

As Ritsuka raised his wristwatch up, Lev declared in an unwavering tone. “As a friend who studied magecraft with you, let me give you the final advice. Chaldea is finished. You humans have reached the moment of your destruction.”

A faint audible buzz emanated from Ritsuka’s wristwatch before Romani’s wary voice answered, “Professor Lev. No, Lev Lainur. What do you mean? Is it related to being unable to see 2018?”

“It’s not ‘related.’ It’s the reality that this is the end,” Lev laughed with the sneer on his face grew wider. “Unable to see the future, you babbled that it had ‘disappeared.’ That was truly wishful thinking. The future didn’t disappear. It was incinerated.

“The moment it dyed Chaldeas crimson. 

“Your end is certain. 

“Your era no longer exists. 

“Chaldeas’ magnetic field may be protecting Chaldea, but anyone outside will face the same as Fuyuki City.”

“… So, that was it,” Romani’s voice acknowledged. He went on with a knowing tone after comprehending Lev’s declaration. “We didn’t lose contact with the outside world due to interference, we lost the outside world itself.”

Ritsuka and Ritsuko gasped in terror after hearing what Romani explained. 

Eyes widened upon realizing the truth of how much worse it came from the moment Chaldea Headquarters caught in the explosion.

Lev frowned and grunted in a vexed tone. “Hmph, you really are perceptive. A shame I didn’t kill you at once.”

A smirk returned on Lev’s lips and announced, “But that too is futile resistance. If the time within Chaldea passes 2017, it will be wiped from this universe. No one can change the outcome now. This is a rejection of humanity by human history.

“You didn’t perish because of your inability to evolve, nor did you perish due to war with foreign species.” Dark laughter escaped Lev’s lips together with a decisive declaration. “Rather, it was your own foolishness! Your incompetence! Because you lost the grace of our King! Like a bunch of worthless scrap paper, you’ll be burned away without a trace!”

GURA GURA!

The ground shook fiercely, causing the trio nearly losing their footing. 

Ritsuko scanned the area and wondered, “An earthquake?!”

After checking around, Mash shook her head and corrected, “No… This is…!”

Debris from the ceiling collapsed from the rocking, the ground forming fissure as the shock continued. Water sloshed from the top of the rock wall where Lev stood, he stared it calmly before turning upwards. “Ah, is this singularity at its limit?”

A slight frown appeared on Lev’s lips and he recalled, “Cursed Saber. If you’d just obeyed, you could have lived. Even when given the Holy Grail, she caused trouble by wanting to sustain this era.”

“Farewell, Romani. And you Mash, Candidate #48… Also, Fujimaru Ritsuka,” Lev turned back to them with his beady eyes tightened at them. “Believe it or not, I have other things to do. My enjoyment of your destruction ends here.”

He flew high in mid-air and bid, “Now, be swallowed by the dimensional warp. But I’m not that evil, I’ll allow you to say a final prayer.”

“Bastard!!”

At Ritsuka’s furious yelling, Lev gave them one last smirk before fleeing into the large circle. The large circle shrunk and disappeared, leaving stronger tremor from the current earthquake. Mash put her shield over her to cover against the rocks as the siblings crouched close to her.

The violet-haired Servant peeked at the side and watched larger rocks descending to the ground. “The underground cavern’s collapsing! No, the cavern wasn’t stable in the first place!”

“Doctor! Perform an emergency Rayshift!” Mash turned to Ritsuka’s wristwatch. “At any rate, we can at least save both Senpais!”

“Understood! I’m already doing it!” Romani’s voice responded. “But I’m sorry, it may collapse faster than I can fix it! Just hang on to your consciousness! If we don’t lose that, I might salvage–!”

Bzzt!

The sudden buzz cut off Romani’s words, leaving the wristwatch’s light stopped flickering. Ritsuka stared at his watch and exclaimed, “Doctor?!”

The ground beneath broke and flung them high into the air. Ritsuka stretched his hand out as he swung to his sister. “Ritsuko!”

Ritsuko quickly stretched her hand out and gripped tight of Ritsuka’s. She then shifted to Mash and drew her other hand out too. “Mash-chan, your hand!”

“Senpai!”

Mash tried to reach for her hand, but they were too far apart. Ritsuka stretched out his other free hand and yelled, “Mash, this way!”

“Senpais, your hand!”

Hands swiping and thrusting forward to get for the other. The two Masters gritted and propelled themselves closer to their friend. With both hand stretched forward from every ounce of strength, they caught hold of Mash’s hand firmly once their fingertips grazed against the latex gloves.

But, as they grasped hold of Mash’s arms, the vision before changed into complete darkness. The last thing they picked up was the loud continuous of the rocks tumbling from above…

End of Section 9

Chapter Text

The Grand Order

“Ah, the hero has awakened. There, there, that’s how the main character should be,” The familiar relaxed voice chuckled then reminded. “But, this isn’t the place you should wake up to, Ritsuka-kun.”

“This voice…”

Opening his eyes, Ritsuka’s view greeted by a familiar bright blue sky and the white-hooded figure giving him a lap pillow. 

He beamed at his confused expression, “Good morning, Ritsuka-kun.”

“Just as I thought,” Ritsuka tried to shift his body up before the figure gently nudged him back down. 

“Now, now, though this is our second time we’ve spoken like this,” The hooded figure chuckled. “But, we’ll talk later. Somebody’s waiting for you, return to the reality, Ritsuka-kun.”

“Is it my sister and Mash?” Ritsuka asked with a sleepy voice, his body finding itself drifting back to slumber. 

The figure nodded and stroke his head. “Yes. Well, there is someone too, but he’s definitely a worthless person after all. But, he may be important to you, so he’s waiting for you too.”

From the perplexed expression, the figure chuckled, “Guess, you’re still not used to being the main character yet. Come on, time to wake up, Ritsuka-kun. From here on, you’ll be the center of this story. 

“The choices you made with your sister will probably save all of humanity.  Just like the multitudes of brave souls who weren’t remembered by history as they saved humanity.” The figure’s tone now spoke with a cryptic tone. 

“You’ve been given a role to fight, neither a king nor a hero, but as a human walking a path that was preordained by the stars. No… A path that is yours, to begin with, that defies destiny. Now, awaken to the destiny you choose. I shall wait here in your next slumber… My lord.”

And then, darkness shrouded in his view before an intense light gradually entering into his view…

-0-

“Haah!” Flinched at the sudden bright light, Ritsuka seated up and stared around the area. He was back at his room where Mash brought him to rest from the orientation. While looking around, he recalled and stared back at his right hand. 

It clearly wasn’t a dream, one of the red markings of the Command Seal turned into a beige-pinkish color. The hand helped Mash to prevent Saber’s Noble Phantasm from killing them all. Also, the hand he grasped for his sister while the other–

“Fou?”

Turned to the familiar squeak, Fou rested on the chair with his white coat draped above. Ritsuka stared at it and wondered. “What’s wrong?”

It hopped from the chair and headed to the door. Fou spun around and squeaked at the raven-haired Master to follow along. 

Nodded to the instruction, Ritsuka got off from the bed and picked up his coat with him to follow where Fou had wanted to bring him to.

-0-

Inside the familiar Command Room when he entered, Ritsuka stopped and made a swift scan. Except for the blaze orange flames and human bodies, the room was still the same as before. Debris and broken Coffins scattered around in the room. 

Ritsuka watched and followed Fou as it scurried further forwards in front. As soon as he arrived, two familiar figures swelled his heart with relief. Mash bending down to carry Fou onto her shoulder, while Ritsuko in her white coat uniform chuckled at its attempt to seat properly. 

The two spun around when sounds of footsteps approached them. 

Ritsuko’s face brightened and grinned, “Good morning, Ritsuka!”

“Good morning, Ritsuka-senpai,” Mash smiled too. “I am glad to see you’re okay too.”

“Ahh… Good morning, both of you,” Ritsuka beamed in response. He went towards them and wrapped both of his arms around Mash and Ritsuko. 

“Se-Senpai?” Mash stared at Ritsuka’s strange movements.

Ritsuko had brought one of her arms around him and wondered, “H-Hey, is there something wrong?”

The raven-haired Master merely shook his head and responded, “No, there isn’t. I’m just glad you both are you okay… Thank you for being all right, you two.”

Orange and violet orb glanced at each other, Ritsuko returned with a reassured smile. “You idiot, of course, we’ll be all right. You worked your ass off to save us both. I’m also glad you’re fine too, Onii-chan…”

“Ritsuko-senpai is right,” Mash returned too as well with a relieved beam. She raised both of her arms and wrapped both siblings. “I should thank both of you. I was able to stay conscious, thanks to you two.”

Silence enveloped between the three that shared a grateful moment they were still here together alive. But, it had interrupted from the clearing of a throat. “Ahem. I’m all for your reunion, but could you bring your attention here, please?”

Withdrawing their hands at once, Ritsuka turned and noticed Romani standing behind them. He let out a relaxed sigh and greeted with a bright grin. “Good morning, Doctor!”

“Good morning, Ritsuka-kun, and you two.” Romani smiled to the three, “First, congratulations on surviving and completing your mission, Ritsuka-kun, Ritsuko-kun.”

As the two siblings gave a proud grin to each other, Romani continued, “While the situation forced on both of you gradually, you bravely faced the challenges and overcame it. That earned my respect and appreciation. Thanks to you two, Mash and Chaldea were saved.”

But, a somber expression appeared on Romani’s face and included. “It’s a shame about the Director, but we’ve no time to hold a service. All we can do is grieve.” 

“If I survived, then maybe the Director…!”

Despite Ritsuka’s hopeful face, a solemn and grim expression lingered on the three’s faces. Before Ritsuka could express again, he felt a tug from his coat’s sleeve. Blue orbs shifted to see Ritsuko shaking her head, telling him that this was the truth.

Olga Marie’s death before them three wasn’t a dream as he recalled. 

Neither, the fact Lev betrayed Chaldea and wiped out all of humanity was a dream too. 

Eventually, Ritsuka bowed his head and showed the same solemn expression.

Romani soon spoke again but in a milder and assuring tone, “Listen. We must defend humanity in the Director’s place. That’s how we pay the tribute.”

His expression shifted to a more severe expression and informed, “I got the report about the crystal from Mash, and what Lev said. From Chaldea’s state, what Lev said was true. We can’t contact the outside world. The staff who left Chaldea haven’t returned. I fear humanity has already been destroyed.

“Chaldea seems to be the only place outside the normal timeline. Perhaps it’s hanging on the timeline right before the collapse. Think of it like a colony floating in space. The outside world is dead until we do something about this situation.”

“Is there something we can do?!” Ritsuka and Ritsuko questioned in synch with a now refreshed determined face.

It received a shock reaction from Mash and Romani before the latter nodded to them. “Of course. First, I want you two to see this. We tried scanning Earth with the resurrected Sheba. It’s Earth of the past, not the future. The Fuyuki Singularity was destroyed, thanks to both of you.

“But we hypothesize that the future was unchanged due to another cause. The result is–!”

Followed Romani’s head directing to Chaldeas globe, a blue nebula-like light glowed in the middle of the room. It showed 7 bright bluish-white dots on each other parts of the globe. Romani then continued his report, “This distorted world map.

“A newly discovered dimensional disturbance against which Fuyuki pales in comparison. 

“They say changing the past changes the future, but you can’t overthrow the future by modifying the past. 

“History has the power to heal itself. You might save a person or two…

“But the end of that era—Will still end up with its definitive result unchanged. But these singularities are different. These are humanity’s turning points.

“‘What if this war didn’t end?’

“‘If this naval voyage wasn’t successful?’

“‘Maybe this discovery was wrong?’

“‘Or even if this nation couldn’t become independent?’

“The ultimate decision point to determine the current state of humanity. 

“Destroying them is like causing the foundation of human history to crumble. 

“That’s what these seven singularities are. 

“It had already decided the future when these seven singularities formed.

“As Lev said, humanity doesn’t make it to 2018.” Romani turned back to the three with a grim look and reminded, “But, we’re different. Chaldea has yet to reach that future. Do you understand? Only we can fix this mistake. Now we have a chance to return the singularities to normal.”

Shifted to the siblings, the Doctor proposed, “So here’s the deal. Rayshift into these seven singularities and get history back on track. It’s the only way to save Humanity. But, we are still powerless.

“All other Master candidates are frozen,” He turned to Mash who showed a stoic yet troubled expression and went on. “Mash is the only Servant we have.”

Returned to siblings, Romani heaved a deep breath and stared at them. “I realize both of you are being forced into this situation. Even so, I’ll still say it. Master Candidate #48, Fujimaru Ritsuko… And you, Fujimaru Ritsuka. If both of you wish to save Humanity… 

“If you wish to have a future beyond 2017. Then the two of you together alone must face these seven singularities in human history. Are you prepared to do this? Can you shoulder the burden of Chaldea and Humanity’s future?”

Despite the calmness, both could understand the severity in Romani’s words. The heaviest burden tasked to them in bringing back Humanity. Both were mere children who became caught up in this chaos for their own future too.

There’s an option to run away which was equal to the decision of accepting Lev’s words and allowing their home to be gone. Blue and orange orbs glanced at each other one more time, they then nodded to Romani and Ritsuko answered with a resolute voice. “Of course.”

“If it’s something we can do, Doctor,” Ritsuka added with a determined tone.

With their expressions, Romani and Mash both illuminated with a grateful and relieved look. Romani smiled to both and nodded, “Thank you. With those words, we have decided our fate.”

He later turned upwards to face the staff in the command room, declaring with an unyielding tone. 

“We will now carry out the Preservation of Humanity as laid out by Olga Marie Animusphere, former director of Chaldea. 

“The main goal is the protection and recovery of human history.

“Search target will be each era’s relic and Grail. Our opponent is history itself. Many great Heroic Spirits and legends will stand against you. Challenging them is an act of blasphemy against the past. To save Humanity, we must defy history.

“But this is the only way to survive. No, the only way to take back the future,” Romani closed his eyes and took a deep breath before resuming. “No matter what sort of end awaits us. To show our determination, we shall abandon the original mission name, First Order.

“This is now Chaldea’s last yet original mission. The Grand Order! In the name of the magical world’s highest Order. We will take back the future!”

-0-

“Anything from Mom and Dad?” Ritsuka asked while resting on his bed and scrolling through his tablet.

Ritsuko sitting on the chair beside the bed shook her head and sighed, “No. It’s still the same as yesterday. Mom reminding us to request a week break two weeks later to go to Okinawa for a holiday before our break ends. Since it was the particular week Dad would be free from work.”

“I see…” Ritsuka nodded idly while his eyes remained focusing on his tablet.

The orange-haired Master turned and rolled her eyes. She rose up and crossed her arms at her brother. “Aren’t you supposed to be resting like what the Doctor told us? What are you exactly doing?”

“That’s for you to rest, Ritsuko,” Ritsuka replied bluntly. “Well, I got work to do. I still need to find out the identity of the Servant Mash contracted with.”

“I think you meant, it’s you who required to rest,” Ritsuko snatched the tablet from him, ignoring the frown from Ritsuka. “You’re the one who still looks pale after everything as Doctor Roman said. So, you should be resting up before he calls in on us for the first mission.”

Rolled his eyes too, Ritsuka folded his arms back and assured, “I’m really fine. You guys are over-thinking this thing too much. Besides…”

A big yawn escaped his lips, it earned him from Ritsuko who raised one of her eyebrows at him. He breathed another yawn and mended, “Okay fine, I’m just sleepy. It’s been a long day for both of us. After a light reading, I’ll go for a quick nap, okay?”

“Fine,” The orange-haired Master reluctantly handed over his tablet to him. 

“Just remember to follow the Doctor’s instruction, okay?”

“Yeah. I’ll find him after I wake up for a quick check-up,” Ritsuka let out another heaved of sigh. Instead of hearing footsteps leaving the room, Ritsuka noticed his sister was still here.

He lifted one of his eyebrows curiously when he noted she had been staring at him, “What’s wrong?” 

“It’s nothing, Ritsuka. Just that,” Ritsuko shook her head and returned with a sad grin. “Do you think Mom and Dad will be all right? We will able to see them again, right? After we solve this whole problem.”

Beneath the sad grin, it’s clear the fear and worry lace in her tone. After staring at her for a while, Ritsuka stood and went to her. He drew his hand out to pat his sister’s head and gave a small grin.

At her dumbfounded expression, Ritsuka rested his forehead against hers. “Hey, it’s all right, Ritsuko. I’m here, I’m glad I followed you here. I promised you we’ll fix this and take back our home together. We’ll definitely be able to meet Mom and Dad again.”

“…… Just don’t come bitching about this hell we’re in, brother,” A relieved and wry grin surfaced on Ritsuko’s face.

Once he pulled away, Ritsuko spun and headed for the door. “Then, I’ll help Mash-chan in their admin duties. We still have another round of orientation to continue since we’re going to be here for a very long time.”

“Don’t use those cheesy lines of yours when you’re making a move. I’m not cleaning your ass when there’re awkward occasions.”

“Whatever, brother!” Ritsuko rolled her eyes and groaned. “Hurry and knock yourself out too, will you?!”

As she stepped out with the door sliding closed behind her, Ritsuka found himself alone in the tranquil silence. He exhaled another breath and murmured, “You’ll need more than cheesy line if you go after someone like Mash.”

One hand gripping his tablet, the other with his finger scrolled through the block of texts presented on the tablet. His blue orbs moving as he studied at the data he researched. “Knights who used a shield… A shield… A knight who must have served King Arthur–!”

“That shall be something you’ll figure out soon with your intelligence and resourcefulness, Magus of Flower’s apprentice.” Saber’s voice resounded in his head.

Her smirk recalled in his mind when she included. “You’ve met him in that land of Utopia, haven’t you? That troublesome parent you deemed as the strongest warlock.”

“Warlock…” The raven-haired Master recited at the exact word. His index finger flicked and place onto the tablet when it passed a specific page. “As I thought, that warlock both that Archer and Saber…”

Another yawn escaped from his lips. Ritsuka raised his hand to rub his eye, but a yawn breathed out from his lips. He shook his head and tried to concentrate his attention back at his tablet. “The name and information of that warlock…”

-0-

“Welcome back, Master. You’ve worked hard for the day, and hence, a well-deserved rest rewarded to you!”

The familiar voice he heard, Ritsuka recognized he had fallen to slumber into his dreamland. Spun around, the familiar white hood figure sat on the same rock when he first met him. He approached him and nodded. “Yeah, guess my body can’t keep being awake any further.”

“That Singularity has worn you out, Ritsuka-kun,” The cloaked figure smiled. “But, you have done an excellent job for the first homework.”

“Didn’t think we made through without your foretelling,” Ritsuka shook his head. 

The cloaked figure chuckled then, “Yet, you did.”

“The King of Knights was a tremendous opponent for your two Servants, especially the young Demi-Servant herself.”

“It was lucky since the one who trains her the sword was–!” Ritsuka halted his words and gazed at the figure.

He could see the cloaked figure grinning at him and nudged. “Go on, Ritsuka-kun.”

With a wary gaze, he had recalled the last homework left to report. Ritsuka confessed with a calm tone. “Before Artoria Pendragon’s birth, there was a child born from a human mother and an incubus. He supported King Vortigern in raising a tower that always collapses. 

“Also, he aided Uther Pendragon from developing into a King to an adviser who helped fostered his young daughter that grows into the King of Britain.”

His blue orbs narrowed a little and Ritsuka finally admitted. “And, when she became King, he turned into a trusted adviser to her and the Knight of the Round Table. Until he fooled around with a witch and trapped himself here in Avalon. Am I right, Merlinus Ambrosius?”

“... Fufu, a detailed and direct answer you’ve come with. Also, Merlin is fine, Ritsuka-kun.” With that answered, Merlin, pulled his hood off of his head. It exposed his youthful face of white messy-haired with violet orbs and silted pupils gazing back at Ritsuka.

The raven-haired stood in silence, mouth agape at the beauty and charisma coming from him. Merlin tilted his head and smirked, “Oh my, did you got yourself charmed, Ritsuka-kun? I’m pleased that my appearance is to my apprentice’s liking.”

Ritsuka realized he had been staring for quite a while and narrowed his eyes to mask his embarrassment. “Please. I expected an old wise sage but your present voice doesn’t even fit that image.”

“You’re right. In one of the many tales, humans had written, I’m reputed to be an old Druid from my shape-shifting abilities as you wonder. But,” Merlin rested his hand on his chest and smiled, “I prefer this form as of now.”

“I see,” Ritsuka gave a modest nod. He threw an attentive gaze and asked, “Can I check with you something?”

“Please do, my pupil.” Merlin grinned.

“Am I dead or this is a dream? It’s no way possible I’m speaking to you like this without being in Avalon! And to go there, I need to be dead, don’t I?”

The Magus of Flower laughed at Ritsuka’s panic expression. “Now, now, calm down. I can assure you’re alive and asleep. I’m just visiting you in your dreams as you’re aware of it.

“You have drifted into Avalon subconsciously by your Will. Twice, in fact. But, as of when and why you acted, that will be a discussion of another day. 

“It’s only fortunate your Magic Circuits kept you alive when you turned up and remained there for short moments. Any longer you had stayed, your death will occur as you expected.”

“So, we’re in my dreams?” Ritsuka repeated.

With a nod from the Magus of Flower, Merlin reminded with a now mysterious grin. “Now you’re here, have you decided an answer to my question? And of yours now too?”

Ritsuka pondered for a while and came closer to where Merlin sat. “I... If Lev declares that our destiny as humans to extinct because we’re insignificant, then it’s the destiny we’ll create a path to make our own future.”

“Is that so?” Merlin stared back at his blue orbs.

The raven-haired Master nodded with his fist clenched. “No one other than us should determine our future. It was the Director’s last wish to make certain we would survive as long as we could. That’s why I embrace my destiny to build the path where we take back our future.”

“Even if the world goes against both of you? Knowing you and your sister won’t be acknowledged by anyone for your efforts of saving humanity? Also, even knowing the consequences of your decision will taint you as a villain in the world?”

Another firm nod, Ritsuka showed a fixed expression. “Yeah, my answer will not change. We’ll restore our history, prevent humanity from extinction, and to take back our home.”

A moment of silence thereafter, Merlin made a warm beam to him. “Then if this shall be the path you choose, I shall go with you to the very end, Master.”

“I’m still extremely far to be your Master, Merlin-san,” Ritsuka showed a light-hearted grin. “Rather than Master-Apprentice, I think it’s better as friends since people understand more things from their companions than a teacher.”

As his right hand outstretched, Ritsuka introduced. “I’m Fujimaru Ritsuka, Ritsuka is fine. Looks like I’ll be in care whenever we meet in my dreams.”

“A companion, you say? Not a teacher?” Merlin quoted his remarks with an amused tone. 

“I presume you’re my teacher if you’re planning to teach me Magic, sword-fighting or life lessons,” Ritsuka replied. He stretched his hand closer to Merlin. “But, you gave me that prophecy that allowed me to save both my sister and myself when the command room exploded. 

“At least after meeting twice, I trust you meant no harm despite your teasings back then. That’s why, I’d like to believe further that you’re my friend, Merlin-san.”

Gazed at him and his hand with a dumbfounded expression for a few seconds, Merlin’s lips curved a small grin and murmured to himself. “As I thought... You really are an interesting human, Ritsuka-kun.”

“Huh?” Ritsuka raised one of his eyebrows at him.

“A habit of mine with no meaning, I reassure you,” Merlin laughed. He took Ritsuka’s right hand with a gentle and firm hold. “I shall reintroduce myself. My real name is Merlinus Ambrosius. People call me the Magus of Flowers. But you can just call me Merlin. I don’t do well with formalities.

“I’ve been watching from far away, but from now on I will journey together with you. I want you to rely on me. Especially concerning love, you are always welcome to receive my consultation.”

“I’m not sure of your consultation on love affairs, but,” Ritsuka gave a firm grasp back and grinned. “I’ll be in your care then, Merlin.”

End of Section 10
End of Singularity F

Chapter Text

Welcome to Chaldeas Daily Digest

What is Chaldea Daily Digest?

Also known in short form, CDD, daily newsletter (short stories, interludes, events) involving the daily happenings in the HQ at Antarctica where they are out of our human historical timeline.

How often is it published?

Depending on what I can think of for short stories prompt. Interludes may varied from weekly or depending on what I could think of, as it depends on how long each different Servants interlude are.

For in-game events, they will be out in the same schedule as the main story once I do touch on them.

Rules of Chaldeas:

  1. NO RUNNING, FOOD FIGHT AND ARGUMENTS IN MY DINING HALL AND KITCHEN by courtesy of Emiya. ****
  2. NO RELEASING OF NOBLE PHANTASM IN CHALDEA literally by all staff and masters of Chaldea *****
  3. ANY REQUEST OF MANA TRANSFER ARE TO MAKE APPOINTMENT A WEEK BEFORE. IF YOU ARE TO APPEAR IN THE MASTER’S ROOM POSING AND DRESSING SHAMELESSLY, TAKE THAT FULLY CHARGED DILDO AND GO FUCK YOURSELF WITH IT by Ritsuka *
  4. NO SNACKS OR SWEETS TO BE EATEN AN HOUR BEFORE A MEAL. THAT SPECIFICALLY MEANS YOU, DOCTOR! by Emiya **
  5. EVERY SERVANTS ARE TO FOLLOWING THE GIVEN ROUTINE IN ASSISTING HOUSEHOLD CHORES ***
  6. ALL MASTERS ARE TO BE ASLEEP BY 12 MIDNIGHT FOR A WELL-RESTED NIGHT. AND THAT MEANS NO LATE NIGHT MAGI*MARI, MASTER! by Emiya **

Despite the following given rules above, the number of asterisk number symbolize the importance or rather how many would actually give a fuck to the situation.

Credits to:

Photographer: Gregoris

Writer/Journalist: Hans Christian Anderson

Ethics Maven: Waver Velvet

Editor: William Shakespeare

Publisher: The Chaldea Headquarters