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Fate/True Bizarre (JJBA x Fate/Zero) [COMPLETE]

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by JBukharin, Apr 19, 2020.

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  1. Threadmarks: Jotaro Kujo! Arrives in Fuyuki Town, Part 1
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    Chapter 1: Jotaro Kujo! Arrives in Fuyuki Town, Part 1


    Staring from the mirror by his right side, a pair of green eyes blinked impassively at the moving scenery outside of the train.


    Yet, despite the blank composure he had adopted in his lone sitting, Jotaro Kujo was far from calm with how the situation had gone for him and his family.


    This development, the one that had seen him take the first plane back to Japan and a train that was currently leading him to one of the cities in the Kumamoto Prefecture he had never heard about up until now, had come out of nowhere.


    And there was no denying about it, it was still leaving him as pissed as it did back when he was first called about it.


    The specialist had been making plans for some time now to spend the soon to arrive holidays with his wife and daughter.


    Jolyne had missed him a lot, and his work had seriously limited the means to be around at home… and that was ironic considering how annoying it had been back in his own childhood to deal with a barely-present father.


    But while Sadao Kujo was forced to take numerous commission at once to sustain a family of three in which only he was working to support, Jotaro didn’t have the same luxury as even his wife had her own job to keep up with.


    And that’s why, despite the incumbents request from his boss, the young man had been quite keen to make preparations to stay at home for the holidays.


    He was curious to see more about his two-years old daughter, to be there to see if she was now able to walk around home or just not.


    But much to his immense dismay and undeniable annoyance, this event was now delayed upon further notice as he had been called for something that needed his presence.


    The Old Man’s tone had sounded fairly urgent at the phone, and the importance behind some of his words were more than enough to get the young Marine Explorer to comply with the fact he had to be there to check on this particular city.


    The Speedwagon Foundation had been active for some time now in checking for any supernatural event. Anything that could be connected to Vampires, or mostly DIO, was considered top priority that only the most experienced of Stand Users were meant to take upon.


    Jotaro had yet to fight any of those bloodsuckers, but he had plenty of situations where he ended up facing Stand Users in the last seven years.


    It wasn’t something constant, and he had to admit that he had been slacking off a bit with the use of 「Star Platinum」.


    The powerful Stand that had once matched up against Dio’s 「The World」 had slightly weakened in these few years, and worst of it all its unique Time-Stopping ability had lessened with the lack of proper training.


    What once allowed him to stop time for 5 seconds was now only available to him for 2 seconds, 3 if he wanted to put further strain on his fortitude, but 2 was the viable decision for most of the non-threatening circumstances.


    A pity, but there was no reason in his mind to further improve in something that actually didn’t help him much during his daily life. And that was ignoring how busy his life already was with the multiple papers he had to compile, most of those being reports that were all related to the studies he was still in the process of completing.


    Taking a moment to sigh at the infuriating instance that saw him leaving home so suddenly and with little chance of warn his wife, Jotaro mused over what he was actually meant to try and find in this ‘Fuyuki Town’.


    There was a chance that some servants of DIO was acting up to try and bring back their former master, and the proof of it was detected by some instruments that had been created back in the 40s.


    Robert E. O. Speedwagon, the founder of the organization that the Marine Explorer was somehow tied with, had been studying the odd happening within the Japanese city for some years before passing away.


    Something bizarre was indeed happening within the seemingly tranquil town, and the evidence that the old man had sent him via email confirmed to him this little guess.


    In 1934, about sixty years ago, the city endured some difficult and straining months after the massive explosion caused by a gas leak that devastated a considerable amount of Fuyuki.


    While the event was tragic, the real issue was that the extent of the damage wasn’t matching with any previous cases of explosions caused by any leaking from a gas-pipe.


    Suspect had driven for more investigations from the first CEO of the Speedwagon Foundation, and the resulting effort brought up some document recovered from Nazi Germany.


    A battalion of SS troops had been dispatched in Japan in that precise month for mostly unknown reasons.


    Several journals having been recovered and studied over this specific subjects, and some light had been shed over the fact that a possibly ominous event having happened in that year to have led to that much destruction.


    What truly rekindled the investigation had been a couple of letters having arrived to Joseph Joestar, his grandfather.


    Despite the advancing age and the incapacity to now keep up with most of the threats still lurking around, the old man was still a formidable asset in terms of knowledge and planning.


    Decades spent either making mistakes around, sharpening his wit, and winning battles had refined his mind well enough to make him even now an incredible advisor to ask council to.


    The letters themselves lacked any signature, and they didn’t have any other clues that could’ve helped in the process of tracing back the possible sender.


    Consulting some private investigators proved to be a fruitless effort, but still there was the issue connected to the content of the letters and… it was what had driven the old man to actually call his grandson over this very topic.


    There was a plot being executed as of now in Fuyuki Town. Something nefarious, and particularly dangerous if not approached with utmost caution.


    What truly had burned a hint of nervousness within his mind was the fact that the mysterious letter-writer had been fairly explicit in bringing up his own name.


    ‘Jotaro Kujo needs to investigate the situation’.


    Quite straight-forward, but also worth of endless concerns over why he was the one that had to be sent in this specific mission.


    The first theory had been that this was just a big trap waiting for him just to spring in action.


    It was just too blatant and… that was what truly make it easy to dismiss. Having faced numerous enemies with their own unique mindsets over lying some ambushes along the way during his missions, Jotaro was well-aware that simplicity was never something that people were keen to use to this extent.


    There was much more than what the situation looked like, but he was sure that a full-fledged trap having been prepared just for him was unlikely, or at least too sudden.


    Most of the servants that were still loyal to DIO barely knew the identity of the one man that had killed the blond vampire, and there wasn’t a proper connection between them all to try and find out the answer to this ‘horrible question’.


    The Marine Explorer stopped in his thoughts as he noticed that the train had started to slowly come to a full stop.


    They had reached the main station within the city, a small section that seemed to be barely busy as of that moment, and it offered the chance to Jotaro to disembark without having to deal with large crowds.


    His mind slowly tuned out from the direct connection to reality as he took his bags out from the proper compartment where he had left those, his first priority being leaving the stations and make his way right to where his hotel room, the one that had already been paid by the Speedwagon Foundation, was.


    Fuyuki was a good stop for tourists, and that had been discovered in relatively moderate surprise as he continued to read the brochure detailing the town.


    The place had received many subsidies from the government, allowing for the urban scenery to prosper more and develop in a proper modern city.


    Some quarters were still stuck to a style that reminded him of early Showa period architectural style, something back from high school that had survived in the depths of his mind, and this very detail created an oddly pleasant sight over the entirety of the city.


    Not too old, but not too much ‘modern’ as Tokyo or Osaka were.


    Stepping outside the principal building that connected training leaving and coming to the city to Fuyuki proper, Jotaro took a brief moment to give a look around and try to get a proper glimpse of the kind of place he was supposed to stay for a while.


    He had been asked by the old man to stay in this city for two weeks, just enough to verify the truthfulness of the dangers predicted by the letters and, if nothing suspicious happened in these few days, he was allowed to make a quick return to his family and enjoy some holidays with them.


    At this point, there was no reason for the young man to not ask for some peace and calm away from the nuisances created by the long-deceased Dio Brando.


    He was tired of having to clean up the messes left around by the blond bastard, and perhaps he should’ve seriously refused this kind of task.


    As he started to walk towards where his hotel was located, Jotaro reached for the cellphone he had left by the pocket of his long white jacket, quickly composing the number that was connected to the one back home.


    At this time of the day, his wife had to have been at home and he had planned to have some proper conversation now that there wasn’t much of a hurry for him to have.


    He was already in Fuyuki, perhaps he should have been a little more worried about the fact it was starting to get dark now that the night was approaching, but he first needed to talk with her and Jolyne.


    There was silence, with the phone properly establishing contact back to his wife’s but still not offering a mean to talk with her.


    More minutes of silence passed and an irritated Jotaro ended the call that was being left unanswered.


    Maybe he should have expected this by how angry the woman had gotten when they had last called, he couldn’t help but admit that he could have offered some more details before departing from the United States.


    A tired sigh left his lips as he put his phone back to the pocket where he had left it before.


    But just as he did so, he failed to notice the shorter orange-haired fellow walking around the corner.


    Considering the vast difference between the two individuals’ respective sizes, the Marine Explorer merely recoiled a little at the impact, while the other part stumbled backward on the floor.


    “Ouch, why don’t you mind where-” The boisterous remark ended abruptly as the younger fellow stood up from his fallen state. Wide brown eyes stared in a mix of shock, fear, and awe as the fool noticed Jotaro’s height.


    “You’re tall.”


    Green eyes narrowed at the sudden comment, but before the dark-haired man had the chance of reply to it, the young man quickly skipped around him, humming happily as he rushed away from the scene.


    “I’m sorry, pal, but I’m quite late,” The orange-haired moron muttered childishly, rendering the seriousness of that sentence quite void within the context.


    Jotaro gave a look behind, staring at the retreating figure for a while before shaking his head and turning his attention forward and… right onto the small book that had fallen to the floor.


    It wasn’t something from his own possessions.


    The lack of titles related to any piece of literature he liked or that it didn’t seem themed after marine biology were stark clues that this book truly wasn’t his.


    He slowly took up, bringing it up to attention and… the first thing he noticed was the oddly familiar stench coming from it. He had already smelt something this putrid before, his eyes narrowing at the notebook for a moment before actually opening it.


    Soon, realization struck in his widening eyes as he finally got a full glimpse of the horror within this journal.


    The content was written in red ink- no, it was blood. Curiosity drove him to read the first paragraph available, and his face grew ashen-colored at being reminded so much of that diary.


    Demons, summoning and… resurrection.


    His blood boiled as he turned around to track down the possible owner of this dangerous paper, his eyes settling to the still visible silhouette of the young man still running around.


    Even in a full sprint, Jotaro knew that he couldn’t catch up this possible servant to Dio.


    And so, for the first time in months, his eyes hardened as he felt his Stand appear to his side.


    「Star Platinum: The World」!”


    Reinforcing his legs thanks to 「Star Platinum」, the Marine Explorer rushed recklessly across the street and right towards where this young man was going.


    His mind was quick to elaborate the need to actually see where this fool was going, a strong gut feeling telling him that the situation was far worse than just a single bastard on the loose.


    Thus, as the ~Time resumed its course~, the man decided to actually tail the orange-haired teen right up to where he was ‘late’ for.


    It’s been a while since he had to shadow someone around an unfamiliar place, but much to his relief the situation was a little more accommodating compared to Egypt.


    Ten minutes passed silently, his mind keeping full attention over the unsuspecting youth as he finally arrived to the final stop of his wandering thorough the city.


    There was nothing bizarre from the lone figure, just a degree of creepiness born from the overly-childish manner he had while walking around.


    Nobody was paying much attention to him, yet Jotaro couldn’t help but feel even more sure that he had found one of the issues within town.


    And his suspicions were confirmed when the young man carefully forced the lock of entrance door of one of the houses within this part of town.


    Whistling about without a care for the world, he paid little attention to his surroundings as his lockpick finally unlocked the mechanism keeping him from entering the normal house.


    The young biologist blinked at the sight, his pace slowing down to a sluggish one as he carefully waited for the orange-haired man to finally enter inside the house before stepping a little closer.


    There was some silence at first, and 「Star Platinum」 peeked from the opening of the door to see what was going on.


    Tip-toeing across the hall, the intruder smiled eagerly as he looked at the light coming from what seemed to be a kitchen room.


    His smile twitched, his posture tensed up for a moment… and then he lunged inside.


    The silence broke as a loud scream shredded the little veil of quiet, urging Jotaro to move closer and see what was happening.


    A man snarled, his wife standing closely behind him while their son trembled from the table to the side, at first unable to grasp what was happening.


    The attacker was chuckling, pressing even more the knife he had plunged onto the man’s guarding arm and twisting it on his flesh.


    The father of family gritted his teeth in visible pain and the dark-haired Stand User noticed a glint coming from the unoccupied hand of the orange-haired killer.


    Another knife!


    Feeling like this situation required some support from his part, Jotaro didn’t hesitate to project 「Star Platinum」 towards the unaware murderer.


    「Star Platinum: The World」.” A softer activation of his powerful ability, the time stopped before his eyes and enabled his Stand to quickly punch to the wrist holding the unused dagger.


    A swift ‘ORA’ broke that part of the arm before 「Star Platinum」 returned back within himself.


    ~Time resumed its course~, and the effects of that single attack were evident from the mere instant that the time-stop ceased.


    Blood partly exploded by the damaged wrist, forcing the now agonizing attacker to drop his second blade to the floor out of the unconscious instinct created by the sudden pain.


    The distraction was enough to also provide time for the family man to recover, his unharmed arm cocking his fist to the side as he punched the aggressor straight into his face.


    A yelp and a crack, the murderer recoiled in surprise at the turn of things, but the chance of thinking properly over the unlucky twist was interrupted when the lone punch was followed by a brutal beating.


    Having his family threatened by a weirdo, bleeding quite profusely from his arm, and seeing such an infuriating face, the unknown man didn’t hesitate to take revenge at the unwarranted assault.


    Jotaro shook his head at the sight, knowing by the time that the suspected DIO’s follower had fallen to the ground that the police was going to take care of this scumbag.


    He was no Stand User, and thus there was no reason to be worried about prison being unable to properly keep the monster at bay.


    ...Then again, that was if the judge assigned to his trial would offer the orange-haired man actual prison time instead of the capital punishment.


    The lack of hesitation, the overall eagerness behind his actions. It wasn’t a stretch to see that this wasn’t the first crime of this kind he had committed.


    With a quick nod to himself, the Marine Explorer left the premises of the house and the specific district, his mind returning to the fact he had yet to find the hotel he was supposed to stay by.


    Moving swiftly across the sleepy streets of Fuyuki Town, Jotaro quietly managed to make his way to the Hyatt Hotel without much of an issue, quickly gaining access to his temporary room as he prepared to what was going to be a long night for him.


    By having recovered what looked to be something similar to his diary, there was no doubt that he had to call once more the old man to confirm that something strange was happening in town.


    It was just strange that he had met just a follower, unwilling to believe that whatever cell of DIO’s servants was just so limited… especially with the material he had just recovered.


    Yet, as he checked on his phone, the man couldn’t help but scowl at himself at the five unanswered calls displayed within the device. Those were all from his wife.


    "Good grief..."


    Groaning at the unfairness of the situation, Jotaro decided to first focus on contacting his grandfather before trying anything else for now.


    And while Jotaro Kujo settled for what was going to be two odd weeks to spend in this part of Japan, the ‘real event’ happening in the background had already started.


    -----------d-d-d-d----------d-d-d-d-----------d-d-d-d-----------d-d-d-d-----------d-d-d-d---------


    AN


    Yare Yare… I think I’m going outright insane.


    I mean, first a DIO SI, now a JojoXFZ crossover. We’re transcending the heavens at this point and… there is so much that is left willingly unexplained as a first chapter.


    But a quick recap so some people can understand from both series:
    - The Year is 1994, Jotaro Kujo is currently 24, Jolyne is 2, and this story is set about 4 years before Part 4.



    - There is a one-sided correlation between the Magus Association and the Speedwagon Foundation;


    - Caster hasn’t been summoned and there is a Servant Slot available for someone to pick up;


    - Polnareff is currently MIA after departing for an investigation in Italy;
     
  2. Edifier

    Edifier Trusted within thoughts.

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    You madman! You did it! You really did it!
    Fate Jojo crossover.
    I'm having flashbacks to the amazing fate zero lumpin the third crossover.

    I feel like the summoner of Caster was not in fact a DIO cultist. Tho similar.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2020
  3. Threadmarks: Jotaro Kujo! Arrives in Fuyuki Town, Part 2
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    Chapter 2: Jotaro Kujo! Arrives in Fuyuki Town, Part 2


    That night turned out to be a sleepless one for Jotaro Kujo.


    Sitting by one of the chairs within his hotel room and stealing some glances by the large window to the side that offered quite a sight over the night scene of Fuyuki, the man was trying to piece up himself and the few clues of what seemed to be a troublesome mystery.


    While he had been stressed enough that his body would have preferred to rest for a while after having gone through a flight from the USA to his homeland and then a train trip to reach this city, his mind had been active and restless over what had happened a couple of hours earlier.


    The horrible content held within the journal he had recovered from who he had initially presumed to be one of the remaining followers to DIO turned out to be far worse than he had expected it to be.


    This wasn’t a copy to the Diary he had found after beating the dangerous vampire in Egypt, the one he had burned after giving it a brief glance to and mentioning nothing about to nobody else, but something that focused on an objective far more nefarious.


    A demon, or a supernatural being that just transcended the comprehension of human knowledge, summoned via a ritual that made use of… magic.


    The mere mention of the fictitious element within the text was more than enough to finally prompt a call to the old man, his interest in getting some support surpassing his necessity to keep things simple.


    The situation just couldn’t work with simple, especially with ‘demons’ being mentioned so early on.


    Joseph Joestar was quick to show worry about his situation, the grandfather to the Marine Explorer having mentioned already during their trip to Cairo that he had long faced elements a little worse than just vampires in the past.


    But demons? That was something that none of the Hamon users that had once made the bulk of the Speedwagon Foundation’s active group had to ever deal with.


    And while Jotaro had swiftly inquired about the chances of sending the book back in New York for the old Joestar to study through the mail, perhaps with some extra precaution to avoid any curious postal worker from doing anything stupid with it, his proposal was shot down almost immediately.


    You know better than me that we can’t just take that risk, Jotaro,” Joseph reminded quietly. “We still don’t know the extent of the underground working for DIO’s last servants, and we’ve already captured a handful of malicious-intented people trying to enter our respective homes.


    A legitimate concern, the memory of finding out that someone had started to stalk his wife around had his blood already boil in frustration.


    “So, what I’m supposed to do with this?” The follow-up question was a must, he still needed some guidance over what he was supposed to do with this.


    If there were demons already roaming around, it was best to preserve it, but still… he couldn’t help but feel unnerved by having it around.


    I will be sending a group of specialists from the Foundation to try and aid you for the preservation of that paper, but you’ll have to keep it close to you all the time.


    The young man sighed and nodded to himself, almost ready to groan at the annoyance provided by that very unpleasant development.


    The call didn’t continue for much longer after that, the old man promising to contact him once more by the time he had gotten a clear time for when the group of researchers was supposed to arrive in Japan.


    With silence resuming its hold over his hotel room, Jotaro still felt… irritated.


    The restlessness had drained him of his early interest of merely glaring at the seemingly harmless book, and his attention had quickly moved away from it as he decided to spend some time dealing with part of the paperwork he had brought from work.


    With his eyes giving the utmost attention at the content of the reports, the Marine Explorer spent about four hours trying to get through this paper and… he sighed.


    ‘Why things couldn’t just get simpler?’


    It was two in the morning when Jotaro stopped from his session of signing and writing reports, his attention reaching the single TV in the room, prompting him to check for any interesting programs that could have been broadcast right now.


    He sighed when he turned on the device, using the small remote to browse through the various channels there.


    Some where the national ones, while some were limited to the geographical area he was currently staying by.


    In the end, he settled for the local news as a particularly news popped up that got his attention.


    “-Ryuunosuke was confirmed as the responsible for three other cases of multiple murders, all families, and his distinctive pattern was revealed to be a strange pentagram drawn within the scenes of the crimes with the victims’ blood-


    Disgusting. While the young man that was Uryuu Ryuunosuke was confirmed to be a mere murderer, the sheer depravity perpetrated by his contorted mind wasn’t something to scoff at.


    One of those few individuals that just were difficult to suspect about, especially with how ‘hard-working’ this one was.


    A ‘Freeter’, someone that was employed to do only the simplest jobs that were meant to be done quickly, the bastard just looked to be the most innocuous individual possible, and yet the malicious note within the crimes was enough to prove his mental instability.


    Without wasting too much time waddling over this news, Jotaro decided to pick up his phone and move back to his bed, sitting by the mattress as he checked on his contact list.


    He stopped at a particular name, his eyes bearing a degree of nervousness while contemplating whatever it would be correct or not to already call back home.


    In a normal situation, Jotaro would usually answer the phone by the time his wife called… and yet there had been instances where he would find himself busied or distracted by something at work or while doing tasks for the old man.


    The woman was mostly understanding as up until now the activities had never required staying too far from home, and she had already met Joseph Joestar to know how much messy his ‘past’ was.


    But now that he was supposed to work so far from home and having missed a couple of calls from her? He couldn’t deny that the interest to try and contact her himself was intensifying the more he pondered over this matter.


    He sighed, his back leaning back down to the mattress as he stared at the light-gray ceiling.


    “Good grief,” He muttered quietly, his conflicting thoughts making the whole decision even more difficult to take.


    But just as he continued with his efforts to solve this frustrating dilemma, his musing were cut short by the very moment he felt his phone vibrating by his hands.


    Quickly bringing it up, he eyed the display in an effort to understand what kind of notifications it was.


    A message.


    He frowned at the lack of an actual phone number registered as a sender. In a general case, when a phone wasn’t known by the receiver it would just be mentioned as ‘Unknown Number’, and yet the phone had indeed failed to label the sender in this peculiar instance.


    A frown developed by his features as he slowly opened the message and started to read its content.


    Mr Jotaro Kujo,


    You might not know who I am, but I’m distinctly aware that you’re trying to investigate the case regarding the events surrounding Fuyuki City.


    While I can’t provide with any information about how I know about you, nor how I was able to get in contact with you, I can assure you with my utmost honor and respect that my intents towards yours are genuinely for the best.


    Right now, you’ve found a crucial clue that surely got you to adopt an understanding close, but not too much, with the real issue unfolding within Fuyuki.


    But since I can’t myself provide you with further hints over the real problem, I can give you a single unquestionable clue for your next step.


    Visit Fuyuki’s Church.


    With high regards,


    A friendly observer.


    His mind was clear of any thoughts at first as he finished to draw out what he had just read from that message.


    Concern had stirred at the possibility that he was being watched even now, and that the one responsible for this monitoring wasn’t someone affiliated to the old man or anyone at the Speedwagon Foundation.


    Yet the interesting element presented by this ominous message was giving him a degree of interest over the true extent of this situation.


    The book… it was part of the problem, but not the origin of the problem itself. There were perhaps more journals like this, and maybe more people trying to spawn demons within the city.


    But why? To what end?


    The more he thought about this, the more he felt compelled to actually pursue some answers quickly over this troublesome subject.


    Jotaro moved back to his desk, having left there a folded map of the city he had brought by the station, and he started to search where the Church within this city was.


    It was odd to learn that Fuyuki had a Catholic Church, it was even odder that it was one of the few cities with a substantial amount of Christian believers.


    Japan was mostly Shinto-Buddhist, with just a minority of other religious elements to exist along society’s lines.


    Yet the fact that this non-negligible town had a mixed population between Shinto and Catholic… it was quite interesting.


    Despite the late hour, the Marine Biologist didn’t waste time in preparing for a quick trip to personally see if the Church could truly provide him with any answers to his growing questions.


    The streets were deserted at this point, with the entire city still sleeping as just a handful of individuals actually were wandering around the place.


    Jotaro had gotten a proper path to reach his destination, keeping himself by entering the local park and making a large detour through the cities to avoid any ambushes along the ways.


    For some reason, the very idea that some bizarre creature could be already lurking around was enough to keep him attentive for any sign of dangerous situations coming his way.


    He was granted an uneventful walk, and yet the worries were still there as he started to walk up the staircase that led to the large building he had noticed while approaching.


    This wasn’t the first time the young man had to visit a church. With his mother having been born by a family that was inherently Anglican, Jotaro was aware that he himself had been baptized by Christian rite and that some of the teaching expressed by Holly were all connected to the Bible.


    It wasn’t anything outright annoying, and yet some of that knowledge and politeness had persisted even now as he stepped inside the solemn building.


    The light of the candles used to keep the main room illuminated was dim, ominous, and yet lacking of any proper danger to the religious site.


    A lone man was kneeling in front of the podium, his attention directed at where usually a statue of Jesus Christ should be.


    His pace slowed sluggishly down, with his eyes fixed upon the elder priest there as the Marine Explorer continued to approach deeper in the room.


    There was a slight pause that he took once he was close enough, his blue eyes patiently staring as the man seemed to finally notice his presence.


    Getting up from the floor and standing up, the priest slowly turned around and revealed minor surprise at seeing the Marine Biologist.


    “Forgive me, young man,” The elder bowed briefly. “I wasn’t expecting any visitor at this time of the day. I suppose you’re here to pray-”


    “I was told that I would’ve found answers by seeking the Church,” Jotaro interjected with a flat tone, bringing out the journal he had brought with himself and showing it to the surprised priest. “I wish to understand what is happening in this city. I know something strange is going on in Fuyuki.”


    His surprise expanded over this words, and his widened eyes stared at the book now in front of him.


    There was a brief pause, with the elder trying his best to understand what the young man might be talking about, yet the suspect was enough to draw him to make the first move.


    “May I… take a look at that book?” The question was polite, legitimately proposed as he hoped for some more clarity over the matter.


    Jotaro tensed up a little, still showing no change in his impassive expression as he contemplated about handing the book so suddenly… but then again, he had his Stand ready to snatch it away from the elder’s clutches if the worst happened.


    A quick nod and the priest was given the text for him to study.


    By merely opening the first page, the old man felt dread appear on his face as the first thing he noticed was the ‘ink’ used to write the content of the paper.


    Blood, the first sign that this wasn’t a literary piece he was going to be pleased with.


    And indeed he wasn’t. The way the summoning ritual for Servants was described in these pages was outright despicable and hideous, bringing up a degree of evilness that just disgusted the man.


    There was no doubt about the true objective of the tome, and yet the terms used to progress the ritual chant were just dreadful and written with malicious intent.


    The priest closed the book, eyes narrowing with some anger over the journal he had just took notice about.


    “I understand the concerns that drove you to visit the church, young man,” The elder started with a tense voice. “But could you please tell me how did you end up obtaining this dangerous book?”


    Jotaro’s eyes glinted surprise at the change of mood within the man.


    Perhaps this ‘simple’ priest knew more than he had expected… and maybe he was also implied with what was happening in the city.


    Some concerns rouse at the sudden question, but he decided to offer the barest possible.


    “I stopped a criminal from going ahead and follow the instructions there,” He answered calmly. “I still wish to understand what is going on, priest.”


    The pressure starting to get exerted by Jotaro managed to make the elder realize that he wasn’t the one in control of the conversation despite the circumstances favoring him in that very moment.


    The surprising development making him question to whom he was currently speaking about, perhaps a wayward Magus passing by Fuyuki that was unaware of the Holy Grail War.


    “It’s… It’s a rather complicated predicament, young man,” The priest tried to plea. “But if it’s not asking too much, I would like to know about your name.”


    The Marine Explorer sighed. “Good grief, old man, you’re starting to annoy me now. I want to know what is going on with this city and what are those ‘beings’ supposed to represent.”


    There was even more pressure, some sweat now rolling off the elder’s forehead as he pondered over the absurd development he was being subjected first and foremost.


    Gulping nervously, the priest stared back at the fellow with an uneasy look. “I can’t provide any information without being aware of whom I’m talking to, young man.”


    ….


    Jotaro sighed. “Jotaro Kujo.”


    There was a pause, then a perplexed blink from the old man and… the priest nodded.


    “I’m Father Risei Kotomine, and it’s a pleasure to-”


    “Spare me the pleasantries, Kotomine,” The young man interrupted with even more annoyance dripping from his words. “I made a question, I provided you with my name, and I want some answers now.”


    Strong, incredibly irritated, and not someone to trifle with.


    Risei now knew exactly the individual before himself, yet he just couldn’t just imagine how and why the young ‘Joestar’ was sent to investigate the events currently happening here in Fuyuki.


    Jotaro Kujo, the name had been one of the many that had been recognized by the Church as one of the individuals worth to be supported in their missions.


    Despite the lacking connection between the Holy See and the Speedwagon Foundation, the strong bond directed at the Joestar Family stemmed from the deed of Jonathan Joestar himself.


    The gentleman that vanquished Dio Brando the first time, then his grandson and Caesar Zeppeli defeated the threat created by the Pillar Men, beings that were so close to achieve a degree of power that easily transcended the limits of the Dead Apostles and perhaps came close to outright Types.


    Finally there was the man in front of him, the one that properly killed Dio Brando when he was restored to life while he tried to make some attempts to secure a powerbase from the very moment he was freed from his slumber.


    He could still remember the reports of Executors sent to dispose of the vampire. The experienced men sent to the mission quickly murdered in cold blood by their target, creating an outright state of emergency within the Church over this newest threat.


    Jotaro Kujo was the one that ultimately destroyed DIO, the one that brought an end to his brief reign of terror.


    While there was no official confirmation of this, there were some rumors that the pope himself had wanted to offer some medal to praise the bravery and dutifulness displayed by the young man currently in his church, but that the general consensus had opposed this situation to avoid bringing awareness to the Speedwagon Foundation over the activities of the Holy See.


    His mouth dried up at the thought that he could easily become a Master if provided with enough resources and knowledge.


    A worthy opponent to Kirei and Tokiomi, and perhaps one of the best candidates to secure success in the Holy Grail War.


    The signs were all there for him to be allowed to make an attempt to summon a Servant, yet he couldn’t see any telling marks by his hands.


    Maybe the Grail had yet to decide?


    “I suppose I can offer you some… enlightenment over what is happening here in Fuyuki,” Risei allowed with a careful tone, now well-aware that he was threading on some dangerous waters with this young fellow.


    The explanation was quite curt compared to what he was truly aware about, with the elder avoidingto mention the identities of the Masters and their Servants, but offering a full-fledged answer over the Holy Grail War’s rules and circumstances.


    Jotaro was… surprised, confused, and also worried with this newest development.


    Some competition made by some mysterious group, which the priest had been reluctant to provide details about, was trying to acquire the wish-granting power allowed by a ‘Holy Grail’.


    It was outright bizarre for him to learn about this in such a manner, but there was no reason for him to doubt with the proof provided by some documents the priest allowed him to keep.


    Nothing too private, it was all regarding the standard rules of this strange event unfolding here in Fuyuki.


    The murderer he had stopped, that Uryuu bastard, was supposed to become one of the Masters and…


    Now there was a proper reason for him to say and see for this situation to be dealt with swiftly and with the utmost attention.


    If that psychopath had almost managed to enter this foolish competition, there was no way to know how many other crazy individuals were also going to try and acquire this artifact, to make some unknown wishes to come true.


    He almost let a chill down his spine at this part of the discussion, but eventually Jotaro managed to get through it all without much of a big reaction.


    With more clues given and a somewhat trustworthy individual there to ask more about the events in the city, the Marine Explorer left the Church without much of a proper salute, his mind shifting its focus on gaining some rest and contact his grandfather.


    Meanwhile, Risei took a moment to digest what had just happened, almost ignoring the presence of his son approaching him the very moment that the young stranger had left the premises of the building.


    Kirei looked as neutral as possible, yet the priest could see a curious glint unfold by his eyes.


    Father, what should we do about Jotaro Kujo?”


    -------------d-d-d-d--------------d-d-d-d------------d-d-d-d------------d-d-d-d---------


    AN


    First two chapters are purposely short. Yes, the next ones will be far lengthier and more detailed, it’s just that I’m trying to make a little build-up for what is going to be quite the messy war to develop.


    Some quick answers for those readers that have asked this general topics with reviews and comments:


    - Jotaro will have a Servant (I’m still pondering over the fact it will be a Caster or one of the special classes, minus BB); Time-Stop is 3 seconds at best, so don’t expect any insane action thanks to it so he will need some assistance against some High-Tier enemies;


    - The Magus Association is perfectly aware of the Speedwagon Foundation, they have some influence over them, but the Foundation is blissfully unaware of the Moonlit World;


    - The Church sees the Joestars as beacons of hope and human justice because of their deeds, but the situation for Kirei and Risei isn’t just one about which sides to truly follow in this War;


    - Jotaro’s means to summon a Servant without Magic Circuits will be explained next chapter, I don’t plan to use any Plot-hole to justify it, I’m aware of the circumstances around Summoning;


    - The Servant will not be from the JoJoverse. I will let some meme in with some restraint, but bringing too much JoJo would just screw things up for logic itself;


    ...Also, almost 100 followers with just a Chapter. I’m actually happy and glad to know that I’ve so much support about it, and I will be careful to not mess things up. I promise!
     
  4. Edifier

    Edifier Trusted within thoughts.

    Joined:
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    What are the odds that stand arrows turn magic circuits into pretzels much like origin bullets fuck peoples magic circuits and the souls that house them?
    Only it's the soul and the person magic circuits mutated into a shape that's compatible with Gaia, as in a person's magic circuits become the stand. Fighting spirit, soul, their passions. I wonder if here it's something different entirely.
    Manifestation is respected by the personality, by their origin.
    Great sacrifice for greater power, potentially. Yet you'll be cut off from prana and risk death, is the price worth paying?
     
    caspian1a likes this.
  5. Tobi

    Tobi Versed in the lewd.

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    STAND POWER!!!!
     
    caspian1a and JBukharin like this.
  6. Threadmarks: Jotaro Kujo! Arrives in Fuyuki Town, Part 3
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    Chapter 3: Jotaro Kujo! Arrives in Fuyuki Town, Part 3


    Things had gone down a completely unexpected way.


    Her little book should’ve done the trick.


    She had thought that Uryuu would have been more than capable to easily secure the requirements needed to summon someone she trusted to make things interesting in Fuyuki Town.


    Gilles would’ve been the optimal choice, yet any other apprentice could’ve easily fit with her little interest in sowing sorrow and madness within the already-corrupt ritual of the Holy Grail.


    She had noticed, it had been so easy.


    It would’ve been quite embarrassing if she hadn’t considering how absurdly insane the cup was right now.


    It made her giggle, but just briefly.


    There was little to be amused about as she pondered over the curious and, most of all, unexpected turn that the situation had taken.


    Jotaro Kujo.


    The name meant just a little to her, as maybe she had heard it for a reason or another.


    She knew many names, her patience was endless but her attention span wasn’t just going to allow her knowledge to be expressed with much-needed details over this peculiar subject.


    A fascinating man with an even fascinating gift.


    Of all things that could’ve surprised her, it had to be someone that had just began dabbling in the Moonlit World.


    The irony was sweet and delicious, but her curiosity was a gluttonous thing and she was far from satisfied with what she got from such a little glimpse.


    The intrigue had sparked with the gift, a manifestation of one’s soul that actually failed to get attention from Gaia itself.


    The Will of the Planet was known to reject abnormalities, yet this peculiar case had skipped her sight… perhaps even willingly considering the apparent normalcy surrounding such a curious individual.


    She had his appearance memorized like a rigorous scholar, and she got a taste of that mysterious and somewhat endearing personality of his.


    Simple, humble, but terribly good.


    It was a shocker that someone that could get so threatening so suddenly was actually someone that believed in the good of this silly world.


    She wanted to slap him, to call him a dummy, and perhaps extrapolate the Mystery coating his entire being.


    Yes, Francesca Prelati was perhaps running out of coffee, thus her capacity to think had gone down a giggle-worth drain, but that didn’t mean that she was going to let go of such a fine specimen now within her range of action.


    The book had been dormant, enough for the runes to pass unnoticed to both the fascinating human and the snooping priest.


    Enough to leave the young man in a state of security. It was obviously a lie to say he was safe until he kept that book around himself.


    Even his manifestation would’ve failed to contain the magical note imprinted within the pages, and yet she wasn’t just going to torture the blissfully unaware man.


    No, Francesca thought again with a delightful tone, Jotaro-chan needed to be put through a challenge before she truly acted towards him.


    A test to see the full extent of his potential in multiple life-threatening situations.


    A test to confirm the vast array of opportunities that a Living Mystery was offering before her eyes.


    She was almost drooling when the man had gone to sleep, his slumber sounding and seeming so relaxed and so ‘trustful’ of his surroundings.


    A pity that the situation was quite the opposite.


    Her book glowed a little, a soft red light soothingly washing over Jotaro’s face as the complex spell indicted by the Hellish Priestess started to take action.


    The idea was simple, but the practice was going to be a painful process to put through with how complicated her plan was over the delicious mind of one individual.


    The first thing that she could see in that odd pseudo-dream she was trying her best to create was… a dark sky.


    The moon had yet to rise up, and the sun had just disappeared in what she could depict as the perfect dusk.


    What a marvelous sight she was being bestowed with as the rest of the scenery started to get more clear before her giddy eyes.


    The setting was one of a big city, one that had a mix of modern buildings and… Egyptian homes.


    She blinked.


    Egypt? Why would a simple man like Jotaro-chan be in a place so far from home?


    With her curiosity rousing even beyond the little walls she had built over her growing excitement, her eyes scanned all over the general area in which she was yanked into.


    Then she settled to look at the curious scene developing just by her right side, her attention fixing over the familiar young man donning his usual white hat and long jacket.


    He seemed to be rushing towards another individual, this one looking quite old and… frightened.


    She could already feel her amusement stirring at the scene, imagining what the elder was running from but, like before, her expectations were-


    「The World」!”


    A powerful energy surge echoed all around her, and she could feel her mind and body coming to a sudden halt as the entire world froze before her eyes.


    Shock filled her brain, her stare fixed forcefully on the scene as she noticed a sole individual moving through the frozen setting.


    The one that chanted the ‘spell’ that ensnared the entirety of time at his will, he moved quietly between the two individuals, smiling before turning his attention to the elder.


    The blond was wearing something very… bizarre considering the current age and mentality, yet the style somehow seemed to fit well with his posture and eager tones.


    And this miasma coming from his life-force? It felt just so… inhuman~!


    “Isn’t this amusing? Once more I got you to watch your beloved grandfather get subjected to the vast power of my Stand,” He glanced back to the furious-looking Jotaro. “How does it feel to be proven wrong? That your mighty 「Star Platinum」 didn’t manage to save someone you care for!”


    A slim knife appeared by his right hand, aiming the throwing dagger at the paralyzed old man as a smile twitched by his lips.


    “Like before… You’re useless!” The blond cackled madly. “Useless! Useless! Useless! Useless! Useless! Useless! Useless! Useless! Useless!-”


    The dagger shifted in his grasp. “USELESS!”


    The knife soared through the air, stopping mere instants from plunging right in the throat of the unaware old man.


    HALT!


    The inhuman being stood quiet for a while, shaking his head before turning once more at Jotaro, staring straight into his light-blue eyes.


    “Do you understand, Jotaro? I’ve gained consciousness over your threatening state, but I know that you’re a far cry of the danger you represented just a couple of years ago,” The blond stated with sheer amusement and intrigue. “And I wonder if your determination has dulled the same way as your usurpation. Please… prove me, DIO, that you still have something within your soul!”


    Gah! Why wasn’t I told that someone this much arrogant and funny was around!


    Francesca was breathing heavily as she felt time finally resume, the knife slamming into the unsuspecting throat of the elder, almost killing him instantly as this ‘DIO’ rushed suddenly at Jotaro.


    “Show me, Jojo! Show me how fast your fists are!”


    She finally saw it, the Gift- there were two of those. Both looked humanoids, yet they seemed to have clear differences that made each other stand out compared to the other.


    Her attention was turned in raw wonder and eagerness as the two titans clashed with impressive ferocity and rapidity.


    A rain of ORAs and MUDAs soon filled the air, her ears enjoying the combination of both ‘melodies’.


    It was pure chaos, and Francesca was absolutely drooling over the endearing sight.


    This was beyond any degree of insanity she had spent time delving into. It was beyond the thirst she held for the curious question that Gilles had in the past inquired him about.


    She wanted to jump in, to embroil more madness to the absolute carnage unfolding in front of her.


    Yet the moment shattered as DIO was suddenly overwhelmed in that struggle, surprise painting over the inhuman being’s face as he was sent careening away.


    A pity that the clash had so little… but maybe it was about time that she seriously moved her attention to her real objective.


    Jotaro Kujo still had to join the Holy Grail War, and she needed to conceptualize two requirements to make his stay here in Fuyuki a healthy and long one… at least long enough to allow her to catch him off-guard when the time was right.


    Within his mind, Francesca could already feel the echoes of his Soul and the connection between him and… his Stand?


    The term sounded so abstract, yet so concrete. Painfully so from the ugly mess that the blond’s face had been turn into.


    A fluctuation, the Mystery itself behind the bond between humanoid and ‘user’. It was there, what she was waiting for right now.


    But it was weak.


    Too weak to allow her to make a little trick with the remaining spot in this War.


    She needed more energy to be produced by such connection before any attempt could be made.


    She needed Jotaro-chan to put a little more effort in his ‘defense’.


    Manipulating a dream required just a small amount of her attention, but soon she managed to ‘boost’ the dangerous opponent to the human.


    The blond stood up, his yellow jacket gone, revealing his black shirt and bulky muscles. His hair were now standing up all at once, his eyes had turned red… and he now had some green lipstick.


    Now, that was an unexpected detail needed to indicate someone’s boost.


    Perhaps her brain was really falling apart with some cup of coffee.


    “Jotaro, your punches- You’ve never faltered, the opposite! You’ve actually improved-” The devilish figure stated in truthful awe. “But now I, Dio, have to ask? Who else became part of your life? Who else do I need to slaughter before your eyes before you to finally prove how futile your attempts are?!”


    The sudden demand was met with an incensed look from the human, the man advancing towards the recovering enemy with a quick-paced rush.


    “Your family expanded? Did you perhaps marry and-” His smile widened, a chill going down Jotaro’s spine. “You’re a father, aren’t you?


    The final question was matched with a degree of fury that didn’t seem truly part of Jotaro’s own personality.


    It stemmed from the calm and collected fellow, gone was the logic as it was being replaced by untold anger.


    And Francesca was more than happy to capitalize upon the opening created by the curious dream version of this monstrous character.


    The bond was flowing with energy, and her hands were trembling in excitement as she finally started to go through the quick process to finalize her desires.


    She now was sure of it. Jotaro had to be in this War- no, he had to be in so many other events.


    The brutality of his soul, the magnitude of his fortitude.


    Gah! I want to break him so badly! I NEED TO TORTURE HIM INTO A PET~!!


    But for now the witch would’ve to keep herself from jumping at the delicious prey, her attention mostly diverted at the important spell that needed to be planned out.


    Summoning was a feeble thing to accomplish after having observed since the First War, yet she wasn’t just going to mess things up right now.


    She couldn’t allow herself to ruin her chances of endless amusement this soon!


    The concept was simple, but terribly difficult to put on reality because of how ‘ideal’ the plan was.


    The bond between Stand and its User.


    Perhaps there was a catalyst, and maybe there was even a correct label for the energy exuding from these metaphysical beings.


    But what truly made the Mystery exist, what made Gaia unable to truly rot away the unnaturalness of such phenomenon… it was producing an absurd amount of magical power.


    It was so sweet, almost like sugar, but she couldn’t just take a greedy dip in that delicious sight.


    She needed to act strong, bravely, and with the best debauchery planned in her mind.


    A giggle, it was finally done.


    She could sense the command seals forming by Jotaro’s hand, the call being issued through the Grail and into the Throne of Heroes.


    A Spirit was going to answer soon, and while Francesca couldn’t stay around to see whom was lucky enough to be picked by the ‘lottery’, she knew a few details that would matter immensely.


    Whoever this spirit was, it had to be as fierce, stubborn… and strong as Jotaro.


    And what a joy it was going to be to see who was the lucky bastard!


    Ah~, a pity that I like to stay in the dark most of the time.


    The dream-world collapsed shortly after, the cackling coming from Francesca being the only thing that truly brought realization in Jotaro’s mind that what had just happened was the resulting effect of a ‘bad night’.


    A pity that the truth is so much worse than he thinks it to be!


    ------d-d-dd-----------d-d-d-d-----------d-d-d-d------------d-d-d-d-----------


    Sweating profusely, Jotaro woke up in a moment of utter panic, stress and complete fright.


    It was rare for the latter emotion to come around and disturb him so early in the morning, and yet that dreadful dream had managed to get him as much agitated as he could.


    His mind flashed the images of both his wife and Jolyne, the very ones that were so close to him and that had been seen as targets by the DIO born in that nightmare.


    Terrifying, shocking and- He wasn’t alone in the room. A figure was standing at the edge of the bed and… she was smiling at him.


    “Good morning, Master!”


    Loud, upbeat and… annoying.


    She had curious purple hat with golden details and a small spike reaching upward. Long dark-brown hair reaching below her waist, her vibrant pink eyes were showing a degree of eagerness that was already rotting his teeth.


    Donning a white robe with orange lines that barely covered for her bikini(?) and underwear, the woman was holding what looked to be a strange staff with a large ring atop of it.


    He frowned, confused by this sudden greeting as he prepared to unleash a furious beating against the intruder.


    How did she get inside his room?


    The door had been closed with some chairs the ‘night’ before as his paranoia had urged him to block the easy entrance with some obstruction. It had been a gut feeling, and yet he couldn’t deny that he truly felt like someone had tailed him down to the place.


    Worry had been a constant feeling to keep him wary, but nothing odd had happened… except right now as he stared at this crazy woman.


    “Who are you.”


    It wasn’t a question, but an order. Many would’ve been offended by the blunt and disrespecting tone, yet the subject of his distrust merely gave him a bigger smile… making him shiver because of it.


    “I’m Xuanzang Sanzang, I will teach you the ways of Enlightenment shown to us by Buddha and...” She paused for a moment in that happy introduction, looking a little nervous for a moment while pondering what to say next. “And I… uhhh- my class is Caster!”


    ...What?


    His brain lost some moment while silence resumed in that room, numerous thoughts rushing around and reminding him of the current ordeal he had been thrown into.


    Holy Grail War, Magi, Servants-


    And now Caster.


    His eyes narrowed at the woman, questioning with his own knowledge about whom this ‘Xuanzang Sanzang’ could be.


    Nothing popped initially, yet he could’ve sworn that he had heard about a name like this before somewhere in his childhood.


    One of the history lessons from Elementary school… which he couldn’t exactly remember as of now.


    But while he had hoped to be granted enough time to make his mind how he was supposed to react to this sudden development, his hopes were dashed away as the ‘Servant’ resumed with her bubbly chatting.


    “Is everything alright, Master? You look like you aren’t feeling that well. Are you sick. or maybe you’re stunned by this introduction? I could’ve presented myself better, I’m sure of that but-” She stopped again, frowning at something before nodding. “By the way, can I call you ‘Disciple’ instead of Master? It sounds quite odd as I relate Master to Teacher and, since I’m generally the teacher I-”


    “Will you calm down already?” He asked with a brief hint of sarcasm, feeling his entire being itching to shut the trap to the annoying Servant in front of him- actually, how she got in there?


    Risei had mentioned that there had to be a ritual to summon, and he had been sleeping up until now.


    “I didn’t summon you. How did you get in there?” The dark-haired man inquired suddenly, sparing little room to deflect the topic of his question.


    Pink eyes widened at the immediate query, yet her smile was still there, having just lessened at the rude attitude used against her.


    “Well, that can’t be, Disciple,” She admitted with some genuine seriousness. “In fact, you’re already sporting the command seals. Those are available only to the ones that summon Servants. In our case, you summoned me.”


    As Caster brought up this last detail, Jotaro’s eyes trailed down to his hands and… there were some red marks on the back of his right hand.


    It was similar to the form of the staff that the woman was currently holding, yet there were some half-circles forming at both sides of the ring.


    Dread surged almost instantly in his chest, realization striking deeply as he came to the fact that he was now part of whatever crazy circus was unfolding in this seemingly normal city.


    “Still, I think you were saying something about being certain that you hadn’t summoned me… which is fairly odd to hear considering the circumstances,” The Servant persisted with her presence in that trail of thought. “Care to elaborate on that, Disciple?”


    “Those seals weren’t there before I went to sleep, and I certainly didn’t make any rituals to summon a Servant,” Jotaro affirmed without much hesitation, yet his tone was slow and careful to deliver the answer to that curious question. “And I don’t remember giving you permission to address me like that.”


    “Well, I can’t certainly accept becoming an ‘apprentice’ when I’m the one that could teach you about the sermons and the mantras,” She rebuked without hesitation. “In fact, what is your current degree of devotion towards Enlightenment.”


    Equal to nothing? It wasn’t like Jotaro wasted too much time pondering over religious issues.


    Especially with the fact that many religious figures were condescending… just like DIO.


    Ignoring that question, his eyes trailed around the room, trying to find any clue for any break-in.


    There was no way that someone had managed to create this situation from afar.


    He had to be present, he had to be there to be ‘bestowed’ with the seals and… yet the room looked just as he had left it the day before.


    The Marine Explorer pondered about this for a while, and despite the fact that he was granted some silence from Caster, he soon found out that more silence didn’t mean outright peace with the upbeat woman.


    The curtains he had set to cover the sunlights from blasting him with blinding effects were yanked aside by the smiling Buddhist, and Jotaro was stunned and annoyed at the same time.


    “Ah! So this is Fuyuki Town, the place where the Holy Grail War is set to happen very soon,” The woman eagerly commented as she gazed over the scenery provided by the window. “Truly a curious location, one that makes me wonder and dread about the various secrets that this place has and-”


    While the Servant was lost in her monologue, the Stand User’s attention was pulled away from the scene as he noticed his phone vibrating by his bedside.


    He reached for it, glancing at the display and sighing in relief at the name there.


    Joseph Joestar.


    Without wasting time in staring at the device, he accepted the call and brought the object near his ear.


    “Old man.”


    Jotaro, you know better than anyone else that I want you to address me as your Grandfather- or even Jiji.


    Jotaro sighed at the reply, realizing that Caster was surprisingly still going with her own speech, starting to mention what to Jotaro seemed to be tales about some ‘journey’ and a… ‘monkey’?


    “The situation has taken a drastic turn,” The young man stated with some hesitation, unsure about how much he should explain to the old man without making things too awkward. “Somehow, I ended up summoning one of these Servants that the priest talked about yesterday.”


    There was some rustling on the other side of the call. “Is that so? Anything that you’re concerned about this kind of familiar or-


    “She’s mostly annoying. Quite a pest than a true threat.”


    She? I hope that you’re not telling me a lie, Jotaro. Did you really end up summoning one of these ‘Servants’, or are you having an affair behind your wife’s back?!


    The irritation from the elderly figure was somehow coated with some curious nervousness.


    Quite an odd combo of emotions coming from someone as calm as the old Joestar.


    “Good grief, as if I would’ve ever consider betraying my wife’s trust, shitty old man,” The Marine Biologist rebuked with incredibly annoyance, even making use of the nickname he had bestowed to Joseph back during their trip to Cairo. “You were there at the wedding, and you know how much I love her.”





    I’m… I’m sorry, Jotaro. I didn’t mean to sound so disrespectful- it’s just that this entire situations sounds-


    “Like some prank- a crappy one to that,” The Stand User concluded with a sigh. “I understand. I feel like this is odd but- Right now I’ve this tattoo on my hand and- actually, can you check on something?”


    Sure, what is it?


    “‘Caster’ mentioned that her name was Xuanzang Sanzang. I wish for you to check on that for more info,” The man provided the curious detail, hopeful that some proper answer would arrive with a research made by the old man. “I wish to know a little more about my new… ally.”


    I understand and- Jotaro, do pay extra attention on your surroundings,” Joseph pointed out with some nervousness. “This situation- I would say that it’s similar if not worse to what had happened in Egypt and-


    “I will pay be on guard for any odd situations from now on,” He agreed with a quick nod. “Also… are there any news about Polnareff?”


    He is still sending some rare reports, but he has mentioned that there are some complications regarding the state of his own investigations,” The old Joestar admitted. “I will try to get in contact with him through phone call. It shouldn’t be that difficult.


    “Understood, I will call if anything new arise.”


    And I will go through the database to look more into the data correlated to your ‘Servant’. Once again, be careful, Jotaro.


    The call ended there and the young man stared at his phone for a while as he pondered over what he was supposed to do from there.


    He stared at the display, now showing nothing but the contact list as he scrolled down to his wife’s phone number.


    “Hey, Disciple?”


    His stare lifted slowly to the annoying woman, she was still smiling.


    “Maybe it’s about time you prepare yourself some breakfast. it’s important that you start the day with a healthy meal,” Caster pointed out, and soon Jotaro found himself thrown inside the bathroom in his hotel room.


    It was ample enough to allow some movements, yet the man decided to stand close to the door as he stared at the display of his cellphone once again.


    Finally, he mustered enough courage to go through with his need to call his wife.


    There was silence, except for the small noise made by the device to try and establish connection with the other phone.


    This time, he was granted relief in the form of a familiar voice.


    Jotaro-kun, is everything alright? You missed the last calls and-


    It’s been a little long since he had called her and… that was starting to become an issue.


    “Everything is… alright. I’m just a little bit tired and going through the jetlag,” He interjected quickly, taking a moment to sigh calmly as she worried over him. “Is everything going well back home?”


    Just the usual workload. Jolyne has been getting quite cranky as her Daddy isn’t around for her to play with,” The lovely woman commented, making the fellow Marine Explorer flinch at the fact that she was bringing up this argument.


    “This work is important. I know that the old man can be a moron, but this time the situation is fairly serious.”


    How much serious? Is everything really alright there, Jotaro-kun?


    He flinched again, knowing that he was so close to mess up with this explanation. He couldn’t just tell her that he had stumbled into some deadly competition, so… he merely hummed.


    “I’m fine, Lena, and the situation is just… messy. Nothing truly worth of concern.”


    And I will still worry until you tell me the truth,” She half-begged. “I know you don’t want to be pushed like this but- I need to know where you’re going and why you can’t give me any answers.


    “As I’ve said, it’s something between me and the old man,” Jotaro replied with some hesitation. “I don’t wish to see you to feel bad about it. It’s nothing that is either dangerous to me.”


    But you need to be there instead of Mr. Joestar.


    “Yes.”





    I suppose you need to end the call,” She muttered with some sadness. “I will resume my shift soon and-


    “I will call back once you’re free,” The Stand User interrupted with a tense smile. “I’m sorry that I couldn’t answer to-”


    I believe when you say that you’re still recovering from the jetlag, just not over-exert yourself too much about it,” She stated with a sigh. “Still, don’t run into anything dangerous. I know you well enough to see your troublesome bad luck shoving you into anything threatening.


    “I see and… see you soon.”


    Another sigh. “See you soon, my lovely dummy.


    There was some silence as the call ended, and Jotaro sighed as he knew that the day had yet to begin and… he was already facing some headaches.


    He could hear Caster’s footsteps just outside the bathroom, probably pacing and waiting for him to be done with his tasks.


    Good grief, what an annoying woman that he ended up partnered with.


    ----------d-d-d-d------------d-d-d-d-----------d-d-d-d-----------


    AN


    To simplify the explanation behind the solution for the lack of Magic Circuits: The nature of a connection between a Stand and its user is a Mystery. While the cause is known, the current nature isn’t. The Mystery itself renders Jotaro ‘beyond’ Gaia’s jurisdiction, and thus capable of attaining control over Magic. Stand’s powers can bend reality, thus real Magic has to be involved in the process to suppress Gaia’s rejection.


    And yes, Xuanzang is here and she is going to work well as a contrast to Jotaro, which works well considering that she doesn’t have a wish to weigh her down… or maybe there is a chance for-


    Also, I’ve plans to make character’s development for both. Of course, I will not ship them as Jotaro is happily married (right now) and he has Jolyne. Plus Xuanzang is quite restrained over romance, and I will not force something beyond her attitude.


    Also… Francesca Prelati. Yes, she is meddling even in this story. What a pest.


    P.S. I decided to give Jotaro’s wife the name ‘Lena’ since it’s the closest to the feminine version of Lenny, correlated to Lenny Kravitz, the artist behind the song ‘American Woman’ which possibly inspired Araki in creating her character.
     
  7. Tobi

    Tobi Versed in the lewd.

    Joined:
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    lol of all the servants that could be summoned it's a certain monk who uses a stand rush technique.
     
    Wheenesss and JBukharin like this.
  8. Threadmarks: First Mantra! The Holy Grail War Begins!
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    Chapter 4: First Mantra! The Holy Grail War Begins!


    Fuyuki wasn’t much different from what he was mostly accustomed to. The place was filled with its own districts like Tokyo, yet those were smaller and more ‘subject-related’. Right now Jotaro Kujo was pacing quietly within the industrial section. The place was filled with the shops, administrative workplaces and buildings assigned to the various trade-based companies that had a hold over the town.


    Yet the reason that drove him to visit various clothes shop was walking behind him with a slower pace. Xuanzang, or Caster, was staring around with awe and naive curiosity. Her wide eyes were trying to take over what was the modern place she was now supposed to be fighting into, and her previous excitement over her new clothes had slightly waned at the new sights bestowed to her.


    He was incredibly relieved when he remembered that the Foundation had given him a pre-paid card to use in case of sudden emergencies, and thus he avoided putting his own resources in acquiring decent clothing for the cheeky individual that was supposed to be ‘his warrior’ for whatever hell this Holy Grail War was going to be.


    She was now donning a white hat, one that offered some cover to her bright eyes away from the sunlights raining so early in the morning. A long yellow coat covered part of her new light-blue shirt that offered just a little opening to her cleavage. A medium-sized red-white striped scarf covered part of her neck, but not enough to help with that little opening. Finally, a pair of dark-violet jeans and some yellow heels to complete her new ‘incognito’ look.


    It was a completely different experience than what she had been wearing up until they had gone to the shop, and there had been plenty of awkward situations. Most of those issues were correlated to her ‘indecorous clothing’, and even the ‘cosplay’ excuse barely helped to assuage some people’s confusion and suspicions.


    It didn’t certainly help that Caster was also fairly fascinated by the entire idea of ‘cosplaying’. While the very idea didn’t garner much appeal from her, the piqued interest was enough to warrant some lengthy discussion about the trend that had been intensifying in the last few years.


    Back when he was younger, Jotaro would’ve just called it ‘dressing like your favorite characters’ and none of that crap. Something that had been there already back when he had changed his school uniform to fit well with his idea of ‘though guy’. The style itself had barely gotten much attention from his peers, but the purchase of the 20,000 yen pants had gained some irritation from his father.


    But back then the then-young Kujo hadn’t given much of a crap over his distant parent’s opinion, yet there had never been much of a problem between the two. The real problem was when his mother, instead of opposing this sudden change of look, seemed to actually support his decisions.


    Something that not only throw him off-guard, but also got him annoyed by the fact he was getting coddled for trying to appear ‘bad’. But then again, it wasn’t something that his mother had done purposely, rather it was a silly flaw of her own mentality as a loving parent.


    In an effort to raise her son to be happy and aware of the familiar care that Jotaro’s Italian grandmother had always shown to her, Holly Kujo was more than elated to even commend her child’s strength when he finally returned from his ‘bizarre summer break’. It didn’t help that 「Star Platinum」 had been helping her around whenever she found herself in need of assistance and he had enough range to act.


    It was an unconscious reaction that slowly crumbled his efforts to appear strong before his mother… and his saving grace had been studying at a college in the US. California had been a curious place where to stay for the last couple of years, but it had slowly become his current home as far as he cared about.


    The place had plenty of nice services, social rules weren’t as tight as in Japan and… his close family was currently living there as he pondered over the hindrances created by the recent development. Speaking of the cheerful pest, the Stand User couldn’t help but find the entire ‘shopping spree’ warranted by the scantily-clad Caster as something that he hadn’t thought to be subjected this suddenly.


    It almost made him sympathize with that poor blonde trying her best to avoid getting ‘played like a doll’ by her older-looking friend. The white-haired woman had looked fairly exotic with her ruby-like eyes, but her giddiness over trying numerous clothes on the poor European-looking girl had swelled within the young man a sense of dread at how long the ‘monk’ was taking in picking some decent clothes.


    Why was it supposed to be this long? Why couldn’t she just pick the thing she found the most comfortable and settle with it?!


    The young woman was the very individual Jotaro wouldn’t have wanted to stick by, especially because of her stupidly loud tones and manners. If there was something that the Marine Biologist had learned to love to the core was silence and quiet. As a scientist, the utmost state of peace was something that was needed to go through the paperwork and the reports of his personal studies.


    And his Servant wasn’t matching him on that kind of mentality. Her idea of peace was… quite the opposite of what he wanted. Where the man would’ve wanted some place where to stay away from the main conflict and strike when needed, the woman preferred to attack the ‘evilest’ bunch, not as a smart thought, but a morally-good one.


    Which was something that Jotaro could get behind, but couldn’t respect because of how risky and reckless this line of thoughts was. He had already seen what happens when a group of ‘strong people’ try to fight some bastard which they have no info about except his name, his unholy charisma, and some of his particular physical features.


    Despite their best efforts to try and beat Dio, the Marine Biologist could hardly consider it a good victory on his belt. Kakyoin had died because of unawareness over the blond vampire’s Stand power and that stain was still there to put a limit within his own brashness.


    Headbutting against evildoers was fine, but running without a good plan and understanding of their enemies was incredibly bad and to avoid at all costs. This is why Jotaro had decided against starting any fights in this ‘first day’ of the War. Things were still so many questions, so many unknowns that lingered around and turned the calm-looking city in a bloody minefield in which he was forced to lurk around.


    Of course Caster was miffed by the fact they weren’t planning any attacks, nor they were going to make huge actions within the first few days of this conflict. Yet she sobered up when the Kujo decided to inquire about her strengths and flaws. They had reached the local park, and both were fairly certain that nobody was around to either eavesdrop or disturb them.


    While Jotaro wasn’t planning anything big, that didn’t mean he was going to stay blind for the rest of this crazy situation. He needed answers, he needed to make contingencies. But most of all, he needed to get to know better his close ally during this unplanned predicament.


    “Well,” The woman muttered quietly. “I suppose my strength is my experience with fighting with my staff and my own connection to the divine. I’m not sure if it’s truly helpful… I tend to also attract much of the enemies attention on myself, but I’m lucky enough to avoid quite the worst situations.”


    I wouldn’t be surprised that this last bit is somehow correlated to her clothes, The man thought impassively, giving her a nod as to gesture her to continue. Seriously, what kind of ‘warrior monk’ made use of such an indecent dress?


    “As for my flaws, I think it’s all about to my capacity to inflict enough damage to be powerful in close range. I’m fairly quick-footed and I have some proficiency with efficiently make use of the energy you’re offering through the bond,” She explained swiftly, but soon her pink eyes narrowed at him with a curious look. “By the way, Disciple, you’ve yet to explain to me how exactly you’re supplying me enough mana to exist.”


    The ‘Joestar’ huffed at the comment, yet he nodded nonetheless. “I guess it’s related to my special ability, my Stand.”


    Just as he mentioned this, 「Star Platinum」 manifested in its full glory right in front of him. The reaction was surprising and instantaneous as Caster’s eyes went wide in shock and… awe. She took a couple of steps closer to the stand, the calm blue eyes of the humanoid following her actions as she studied thoroughly the entirety of his frame.


    “This- This feels odd in our bond,” The young woman muttered, her tone stammering a little as she failed to keep up with the sudden rush of energy going through her body. “It felt revitalizing but… also awkward. It’s a new sensation for sure.”


    Soon, she glanced back to her Master. “What’s his name? Surely, this power is-”


    「Star Platinum」 is a Stand. A manifestation of my fighting will,” He explained without skipping a beat. “I can’t tell you how exactly Stands are created, because I don’t know.”


    “B-But- But you have one!”


    “It wasn’t by normal means. Let’s just say that I had a bizarre adventure of couple of years ago,” He rebuked quietly, “One that saw me going through Egypt to find and kill the cause of my current situation.”


    “But why?!” Xuanzang inquired loudly, her confusion increasing twice as before at the comment.


    “The bastard that got me a Stand also forced my mother to have one,” Jotaro continued without stopping, knowing that the woman hardly seemed the kind of individual prone to betray good people. “She didn’t have a will capable of withstanding a Stand, coming close to dying because of it.”





    “I- I didn’t knew that-”


    “You shouldn’t apologize,” The Marine Biologist interrupted coolly. “You weren’t aware of the situation and right now we shouldn’t be whining about the past.”


    The swift reminder got a serious look from Caster, the young woman nodding as she returned to look at 「Star Platinum」.


    “What is he capable of doing to aid us?”


    「Star Platinum」 is a Close-Range Stand. It can attack with powerful physical attacks, while also enchanting my own body in particular circumstances.”


    The Servant nodded, digesting pretty quickly this new knowledge. “What kind of powerful are you referring to? Any examples about-”


    “Its strongest feat yet is shattering a Diamond in mere seconds,” He interrupted again with a sigh. “And its attacks are pretty quick, I managed to keep up with some large ‘issues’ in the past thanks to its fists.”


    Xuanzang nodded again, this time her head tilting to the side as a pout appeared on her face.


    “Disciple, it’s not nice interrupting,” The Servant flatly commented, gaining an irritated look from the Marine Explorer.


    “I’m not your Disciple, stupid wo-”


    “But still, is this everything you can say about your Stand? Or is there something else that you can add about him?”


    Just as the bratty girl ended that comment, Jotaro felt ready to finally explode at her irking personality… but then a small idea reached in his mind. He restrained himself from genuinely smile as he nodded.


    “Just one last thing,” The man muttered ‘calmly’. “「Star Platinum: The World」!


    The effect was instantaneous as the world froze before his eyes, the Time had stopped just like it was expected from the ability. Three seconds. His Stand was already moving away from him, rushing to get little branches before starting to take steps toward the Servant.


    She seemed to be fixed in her position, but soon the Stand paused as the woman blinked.


    “So, he is capable of picking sticks?” She inquired confused. “I mean, there is nothing wrong in having a silly ability in that much power but-”


    Before she had the chance of concluding that sentence, her stare darted up to a strange fixture mid-air. It was a bird, a small robin that had its wings spread and seemed frozen during his flight.


    The monk stared for a while at the little creature, her mind trying to grasp what she was looking at. Yet her surprise barely matched with Jotaro’s inner shock at this development. He hadn’t thought that his Servant would’ve been capable of ‘flowing within his World’. It had passed his mind up until now, when the phenomenon was happening before his own blue eyes.


    Before anyone could’ve spoken about their mutual confusion, the ability came to an end much to the Joestar’s grimace. A pity that he didn’t have the chance nor the time to enact his little prank.


    ~Time resumed its course~, and the bird resumed with its flight towards his next perching. Xuanzang blinked, her eyes displaying the slow process of realization as she picked up from the blunt hints allowed by the strange scene.


    Soon, her wide-eyed look was directed at her Master. “You can stop Time! And- And I can move through it like you can!”


    Her giddiness had long replaced her confusion, and Jotaro knew that, instead of lessening her upbeat tones, he had intensified those to an unbearable degree.


    “That- That literally will win us the War, Maste-Disciple,”


    The man sighed, knowing that he had messed up big time by hoping that the pest would’ve been unable to move through his World. Still, her eagerness to the battle wasn’t acceptable, especially since she had yet to hear about the flaws within his own ‘victory card’.


    「Star Platinum」 can be powerful, but it’s also limited in Range. It can move only within two meters from me, so I’ve to be close to the battle to aid you,” The Kujo answered with a frown. “And that is while ignoring that any damage inflicted to my Stand will be mirrored into my body.”





    Her excitement finally deflated at this words, but she continued to smile. “Still, it’s a mean to ‘fix’ my own flaws. It can still help win us the War.”


    “We’re not going to fight this early on, Caster,” Jotaro reminded with a sterner tone. “And that’s final.”


    The Servant whined about it a little more, but this point wasn’t unchangeable in the man’s opinion, and nothing was getting him to back away from this stance. He wasn’t going to take some risks because some morons wanted to die this early in this blasted conflict.


    Still, instead of letting the pest nag at him for the remainder of the day about this particular topic, the young man decided to ‘distract her’ by taking her around the city a little more. Knowing her short attention span in keeping up with grudges, his idea seemed to sound good within his mind as he went along with it.


    But then he remembered how much of an active brat she could get in trying out anything new in her range of action. Terrible mistake, he muttered, good grief, he repeated more than once for each happy squeal coming from Caster.


    -------------d-d-d-d-----------d-d-d-d------------d-d-d-d-d------------d-d-d-d----------------


    Taking a bite out of the many Takoyaki within his plate, Jotaro mused over the quality of the food prepared in this restaurant. The place looked nice, but the food was a far cry from the one prepared by either his mother or his wife.


    Both women were legendary by the kitchen, and there was no reason for the Kujo to diminish the impressive delight presented by their dishes. He could still remember trying to get some fire going to prepare something to eat. It was still a mystery to him, and a reason for Lena to tease him about his prowess in cooking, but the strong brawler was able to literally burn some pasta.


    Heck, the kitchen had almost caught on fire if it hadn’t been 「Star Platinum」‘s quick intervention over the matter. It had been quite amusing to explain to the landlord why his room had activated the fire alarm just momentarily, but the chuckles that came out from the truth served both to avoid a quick ejection from the temporary premises of the student’s house, and to highlight the tragic luck he had over the simple housekeeping’s skill.


    He didn’t mind the fact he could suck at something, but the degree of suckery was so high with that specific topic was enough to still irk sometime when his wife would bring up during a talk that very ‘accident’.


    There was nothing wrong in being unable to cook, and that is why, instead of trying his hand at preparing something within the hotel, the man had opted to buy a table at the nearby restaurant and… he wasn’t complaining much about it.


    His Servant looked to be enjoying it if the three empty cups that once contained the white mountains of rice were to be taken into account. She was enjoying the food, not because she needed it within her unique biology, but rather the woman was finding the dishes ‘delectable to her craving palate’. The sight was almost enough to make him stop on his tracks with his own food, yet he was too hungry to actually comply with his own disgust over the matter.


    She was respecting some decorum with her manners. It was the least considering how she was rushing through the cups.


    But while Jotaro would’ve preferred to be eating alone instead of sharing the table with the bubbly personality of the woman in front of him, the situation could’ve gone much worse considering her recent mutterings over some ‘fights’ that were already happening within the city.


    He had explicitly ignored her puppy-eyed efforts to get them to check on the situation from a closer approach, pressing once more for the fact that things could easily end up with them dealing with some unexpected ambush. Possibly even one planned specifically against them.


    The words were logical, and she agreed to those with a begrudging tone, yet her complaints didn’t manage to last for long as food started to roll in and her attention was directed at the ‘delicacies’. It still impressed the man how simple rice could get that much of a reaction out of the ‘ experienced monk’. Maybe it had to do with her historical conditions, the context of her past life maybe having little rice for her to enjoy, thus making it a luxury.


    It was one of the few things the man hadn’t pondered enough about. Which era did Xuanzang came from?


    While his grandfather was working on bringing up enough resources about her full identity, it would be a mistaken idea to imagine that everything the research was going to bring up to attention was either completely correct or even true. There was always a degree of inaccuracy in many clues used to build up history and… he wasn’t imagining to find some books depicting a scantily-clad monk woman with a cheerful attitude at life.


    But while the ‘Joestar’ continued with these thoughts, his attention was slowly but steadily shifting back to reality as his eyes started to get interested about a lone figure that was making his way towards their table.


    He was wearing a curious dark-colored uniform which seemed close to a School uniform… but it lacked some distinctive elements that would make it appear as such. In fact, what truly made it clear that this young man wasn’t a student were the height, the ‘age’, and the necklace with a cross he was currently donning around his neck.


    An impassive stare was enforced in the stranger’s face, yet despite a similarity with Jotaro’s own blank mask, there was something that truly made it stand up. It was the feeling of spent and aimless that was instilled within his features, the lack of artificial unwillingness to display any emotions to the world.


    This man… he just didn’t have any feeling within his body. He looked like a doll moving because of reasons beyond his own free will. Merely staring at the fellow was enough to force Jotaro to push back the instinct of shivering at the unpleasant sight. This… this was quite the awkward predicament he was facing right now.


    “Jotaro-san,” The young man addressed the Kujo as soon as he stopped right by their table. “May I take a seat with you two?”


    A simple request, nothing that should rise any alarm- except that it was coming from a complete stranger that had some familiar red marks by one of his hands. Even Caster had taken notice of this very detail, her posture tensing up as she seemed poised to strike down the uneasy individual.


    “You know, it’s rude to ask to seat when you didn’t even introduce yourself,” The Marine biologist shot back dryly.


    In response to this, the brunet bowed his head a little. “My apologies, Jotaro-san. I’m Kirei Kotomine and-”


    “You’re that old priest’s… son?” The Stand User interrupted with a frown. “I guess you’re here because of your father, right?”


    He tensed up a little bit at the mention of the ‘mediator’ of the War, seemingly surprised at getting identified as a relative of his so quickly. Yet, much to Jotaro’s surprise, the religious fellow merely shook his head.


    “Actually, I’m here by my own accord,” He proclaimed quietly. “In fact, I only wish to discuss about a few topics beyond the war. Nothing too personal, I can assure you of that.”


    Despite the guarantee, the Marine Biologist was unsure over the sudden approach. This all was stinking of some trap, yet he hadn’t perceived any changes within the place, nor Caster had perceived the man’s Servant within the area.


    He had come here unarmed… or at least it seemed to be the case. Jotaro’s guard didn’t falter. Not even for a moment. But he still went ahead to gesture the man to take a seat by picking one of the unused chairs by the other tables. There was silence at first, with the waitress that had taken to help them with the service addressing the newcomer, to inquire to him about if he wanted to order something or not. Much to the two other occupants of the table, Kotomine replied with a nod and mentioned just a few words.


    Mapo Tofu. The dish wasn’t a novelty to the Kujo, yet it’s been ages since he had tried eating that pool of burning soup. He could still remember his mother trying to offer him the dish, hoping to mix perfectly the spicy nature of the spices with the coolness of the tofu. It was a terrible mistake that highlighted Jotaro’s dislike over spicy food.


    But now the dish was offered to the newcomer, the man seemingly bidding his time before actually starting the conversation as he just resumed to speak only after he had sipped off the first spoonful from the steamy soup.


    He blinked. “Jotaro-san, forgive me if I ask you this but… do you feel joy in your work?”


    Silence rekindled, yet this time the ball was on Jotaro’s side as he found himself pondering over the query. Was this a trick created by Risei? Or maybe it was just the younger priest that wanted to pester him like this. It was odd to be questioned over his passion for his job.


    He could still remember the efforts put behind to gain a PhD, the blood and sweat that were spent to try and get himself starting with a proper laboratory in California. The meticulous attention to the paperwork, the reports that were highly-detailed to keep up with the requirements imposed by the tight money allowed by this kind of work.


    It was all a cast of flaws that sometime would dishearten the Joestar to the point he would question whenever it was the right choice or not.


    But then, he remembered the original purpose driving him to pursue this career. The world of water and its inhabitants had always intrigued a young Jotaro, starting right from Childhood. The documentaries dedicated to dolphins, to sharks, to starfishes. He would watch those endlessly and quietly.


    The suave quietness of that small yet big world would engross him into inquiring more and more about the topic. This passion thrived even in the strangest of situations, even coming along with him during his voyage with the rest of the Crusaders. The sea was a pleasant place that just fascinated him and… he delved deeper with his studies to try and get a job correlated to it.


    While it wasn’t an easy job, it wasn’t an unforgiving one as many would end up finding themselves dealing with. The pay was decent and the work itself allowed for a lot of plenty of times to be spent outside the laboratory during the production of reports. It gave him the opportunity to go in trips for the Foundation, but also spend time with his family.


    “I do,” Jotaro ultimately commented, deciding to spare the details over the pros and cons of his work. Especially since he couldn’t trust this stranger just yet. “Can I ask you why you need to know about this?”


    “Would it matter?”


    The marine biologist almost groaned. “Yes. Yes it would.”


    Before Kirei had the chance of replying, he tensed up as Caster quietly settled her hand by his shoulder.


    “Are you sure you’re alright, Kotomine-san?”


    The unexpected question drew the attention of the brunet onto the pink-eyed woman.


    “What?”


    “I can feel your Chi being… disgruntled. You aren’t happy with your life,” Xuanzang responded with a calm tone, and it lacked of the previous notes of warmth and cheerfulness. “Is there… something bringing you general discomfort in your life?”


    He blinked. “I’m… I’m fine.”


    “You don’t look sure about it,” Jotaro quipped with a frown. “While I wouldn’t generally pry in other people’s business without a good reason, I think you’ve got plenty to say now that you wanted to talk with me.”


    Finally, a hint of nervousness passed briefly by the impassive mask. Could it be that there was indeed something ‘off’ about this man? That he was hiding something important not only from them, but the one he was trusting the most, his father?


    “I...” Kirei tensely thought well about his words instead of offering a true answer to the woman’s inquiries. But soon, his eyes sported a resolute light and he nodded. “I feel aimless. That I don’t have a purpose in life.”


    Blue eyes showed little interest over this matter, knowing very well that some poor bastards do feel worthless because of how society created and ‘helped’ them.


    Yet while his mind cynically excluded any reason to press him to speak further, his Servants soon showed that she had other plans over the matter.


    “Can you elaborate this sense of… loss that you feel over yourself? Is there a reason that drove you to this?”


    He lowered his stare at his plate, his hand slowly lifting another spoonful to his lips.


    “I was born like this,” He muttered, his eyes losing focus. “A man without compassion. Without a moral compass. Only… impulses.”


    It was in that moment that Jotaro felt panic swelling within his chest. This- This just felt familiar. Somehow. It was like- No, it couldn’t be. While the Diary mentioned a ‘loyal friend’, DIO had no means to reach Japan.


    Yet, the more this ‘confession’ unraveled… the more he felt like he was listening to someone that would’ve fit the role perfectly. Yet, instead of pressing him by himself, the Marine Biologist paused and let Caster continue to work her ‘magic’ on the priest.


    “Every man is born with impulses. Some suffer from those more than others but-”


    “I-I was born with just those. Violent impulses. I- I can’t find other joy but by the suffering of others. By the macabre sight of mangled bodies and-” He stopped before descending further in that madness he was conceiving with his own words. “I’m sorry… I’m not a bad person. I’m trying to-”


    “If you were a bad person, you wouldn’t find this terrible. At least, not enough to warrant your own resistance to it,” Jotaro finally interjected. “If I’ve to be honest, I think you’re just a moron. You’re a low-key sadist, so what about it.”


    … “W-What? No, I’m-”


    “While Ma- Disciple can sound a little too direct about it, I reckon that this might be one of the problems,” Caster interrupted with a nod. “Some people just get a degree of satisfaction in inflicting pain to others. While in large quantities it would lead you into a path of evildoing, I don’t think the situation is as bad as you’re painting it, Kotomine-san.”


    “But it’s the only thing that brings me joy,” He rebuked, almost loudly as if he was feeling frustrated by the odd turn the conversation had taken. It was going beyond the restrictions imposed by his God-loving efforts. It was going beyond his father’s reach to support him. “I- I can find peace in anything else but-”


    “You’re lying.”


    The cold denial made the brunet snap his attention back to the Master, and soon the Stand User was pointing right at… Kotomine’s plate.


    “You’re eating happily that spicy soup. It doesn’t seem to me that you’re disliking the dish, in fact, you love it.”


    The pressure building up muted any chances from Kirei to retort these claims. This time, the accusation was legitimate and genuinely correct. Mapo Tofu… was his favorite food. There was nothing that comes close to its delicious flavor, and he would be lying by saying that it wasn’t the case.


    “But… but what about it? What if I like this specific food?”


    “I think your real issue, Kotomine-san, is that you’ve tried to find a meaning bigger than you’re intended to,” The Servant replied with a small smile. “Many expects grand destinies because of their upbringing, but their grandness doesn’t depend on the impact it has on society itself. The Shakyamuni Buddha was the firstborn of a Chieftain in Nepal, but he grew to appreciate simplicity within the world, to love the small certainties of life. He developed his soul, refined it from meditation and appreciation.”


    At the mention of the Buddha, Kirei’s hand reached for the necklace. Yet Jotaro knew what to say to avoid any unneeded escalation from that brief religious detour.


    “You took too much time trying to get yourself a highly-respected and impactful job. Maybe you actually have a future around the ‘Mapo Tofu’,” He quipped with an annoyed tone, gaining the young priest’s attention. “Have you thought of cooking? Perhaps something based over the cuisine specialized on that kind of food?”


    At first the brunet couldn’t make sense out of these questions, but then he realized something he had long forgotten about his past. They were correct in stating that Mapo Tofu had been an important part of his life, being his favorite dish since his earliest childhood. During the harshest of times studying to become an Executioner, during his other endeavors spent in finding happiness from jobs that would make everyone proud… hardly putting his own selfish happiness upfront.


    What if that was the real issue that shattered his hopes of a good future? What if he had tried to make everyone happy with his own action and so sacrificed his own pursuit for joy in that self-destructive path?


    “That… That sounds...”


    Xuanzang squeezed a little bit more his shoulder. “You should go now. You should seek time alone to meditate and contemplate over this novelty. Don’t let anyone stray you away with other opinions, develop your own perception out of this revelation.”


    He nodded, standing up and… before leaving, he left some yens to compensate for the half-drained soup. “It- It was interesting. Apologies if I reached you so suddenly and-”


    “Just go, Kotomine,” Jotaro interjected bluntly, ignoring the petty glare from his Servant as the young priest merely took this as an order to leave at once.


    Once they were alone again, the Marine explorer dared the irritated pink eyes staring intensely at him with a frown. “What?”


    The kick under the table that reached his shin made it clear that maybe, just maybe, he might have been a little too much ‘honest’ with his own annoyance in dealing with Kirei Kotomine.


    Good grief, why my Servant has to be such a drag.


    -----------d-d-d-d--------------d-d-d-d----------d-d-d-d----------d-d-d-d--


    AN


    Okay, Okay… some explanations are needed about our boi, Kotomine. No, I’m not trying to oust him from the war this suddenly. I have plans for him and Assassin (and both will be smarter and… more volatile than in their Canon selves), but I wanted to push Kirei right into a direction not many have taken about his ‘origins into evil’. Up until now he hasn’t killed out of his impulses. I bet people are gonna bring up Claudia’s Case and… there is something I never understood about it. Why can’t Kirei be taken as an unreliable narrator about certain ‘emotions’ he feels? Especially in Fate Zero? While he is a logical smart guy, he is also deviated and incapable of making sense of his emotions (only in Fate Zero, in FSN he’s a legit jerk priest), so I wouldn’t be surprised that he failed to ‘understand’ why he was really sad when his wife died.


    And yes, I just had both Jotaro and Xuanzang work as some therapists to poor Kirei. How much of an impact it will have on the War? A lot. Kirei is already an oddball, one that cracked under Xuanzang’s pressure, but still one that will bounce a fair lot for the rest of the War.


    Lastly… no, I didn’t skip the Battle at the Docks. It was ‘Assassin’ getting slaughtered by Gilgamesh. But I think I need to make a strong case here as to why Jotaro will not butt heads with people when it will happen. The reasoning? Part 4 and Part 5. Differently from his early self, Jotaro has grown more cautious in approaching a dangerous situation without some backup plans established. Losing so many friends during Part 3 led him to become more careful over what actions to take in a dangerous situation. Jotaro’s more level-headed, and he’s more experienced rather than his version from Part 3. But… no, he will not dodge any fighting. Now the war is on!


    Let’s have fun!

    P.S. Possible Kirei's outcome?
     
  9. Threadmarks: Second Mantra! Docks under the Midnight's Stars!
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    Chapter 5: Second Mantra! Docks under the Midnight’s Stars!


    Xuanzang Sanzang. The name finally made sense to Jotaro after the old man had contacted him back the next morning.


    Better known in Japan as Genjou Sanzou, the renowned Chinese Monk was mostly celebrated as the protagonist of the novel written by Wu Gheng’en, The Journey to the West.


    A legendary tale that depicted a 17 years of overland voyage that took the Buddhist Monk through India in an attempt to bring proof that the view of Buddhism at her time was mistaken, if not purposely mistranslated.


    Her story concluded when she refused the highest of honors at the court of Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty to spend the reminder of her life translating many of the various tomes about Buddha that she had recovered from her trip to Nalanda, one of the most famous temple in India.


    Much like she was described as cheerful and jovial, an optimist through and through, Jotaro couldn’t help but be disheartened that there was no mention of the fact that she was a pain to deal with. But that was, of course, just a minor irritation compared to the current issue he was facing in that very moment.


    Just like the day before, the two had spent the entirety of day wandering around the city. This time their main intention was to get a good look of any suspicious individual that would fit with the elements provided by Kirei about Masters.


    The mark on the hand was the definitive clue of any possible enemy, but there were other ways to discern a Master without getting to close. A large majority of Servants was bound to keep close to their Masters, something that Jotaro had by now learned thanks to the overbearing presence of the pink-eyed woman sticking to him worse than glue.


    Then there was the fact that the binding spell that connected Servants and Masters was constantly leaving a small, and mostly impossible to perceive, amount of magical energy. It would’ve been a negligible detail, except for someone like Caster.


    The brunette was a decent sensor when not distracted with other activities like fighting, which meant that this ability needed to be used everytime they entered a particularly deserted area. Ambushes weren’t something that the Stand User wanted to trigger unless he knew he had the upper hand.


    But while this enlightening discovery had given him the chance of scouting the entire city for any possible foe wandering around during daylight, this very situation left him and his Servant in quite a pickle, especially with how… religious she was.


    Things would’ve fine if she hadn’t discovered that Fuyuki had its own Buddhist Temple.


    After four hours that passed by the Servant praying while her Master was forced in some interesting talking about marine biology with the elder son of the Temple’s owner, the two were once again walking by the streets. Differently from before, Xuanzang was… happily entertaining a one-sided discussion with Jotaro.


    The young man, despite years spent perfecting his resilient and cool mind, was having some trouble keeping himself distracted from the cheerful quips from his Servant while also keeping a watchful eye over where they were going and if there wasn’t anyone worth of investigating within their proximity.


    Sadly enough, nothing eventful happened in that draining patrol. Or at least that was what the Marine Biologist thought when he decided to take a stop by one of the benches nearby.


    “Good grief, seems like this is going to be a peaceful night,” He muttered calmly, getting an interested look from Caster as he continued. “Perhaps it would be best to return to the hotel. I don’t think it will be fruitful continuing thorough night-time.”


    She blinked, but then nodded. “That sounds good. Still, I think you should know that this isn’t a peaceful night. Not at all.”


    He glanced at her, giving an inquisitive look but sparing himself the efforts of verbally asking. The young woman still continued to that


    “From the direction the surge of magical energy it’s coming from, I would say there is a big fight by the Docks,” The Servant added with a sigh. “But I don’t think it would be convenient to join that brawl… at least, not with so many Servants in there.”


    “How many?” He had to ask as the comment had gained his interest over the lack of initiative from the Caster. Up until now, the brunette had whined about engaging in fights against other Servants, but to see her this much hesitant over the matter, it meant that something was quite wrong in that battle.


    “Three. Or maybe Four. There is a dense mass of energy that just makes it difficult to understand if it’s a powerful Servant or two.”


    And now he could see why she was so unwilling to try her luck for that very predicament.


    While her fighting prowess was undeniable, it would be just plain dumb to throw themselves in the most unknown and perhaps incredibly explosive situation unfolding far away from where they were right now.


    “I suppose we should retreat and rest. Maybe plan something while we’re away from any dangerous circumstance,” He commented, already staring at the direction they needed to take to return to the Hotel. “I guess we can start from the Castle. I still don’t understand how the locals know little about it.”


    The place was just too big to be ignored by anyone visiting Fuyuki. Someone had to have inquired about it in the past… but nobody here in this city knew about who owned that fortress, or when it was first built.


    It was a true mystery, but one that Jotaro had already introduced to his grandfather. It was only a matter of hours before he got a proper answer about who lived behind that curtain created by the nearby forests.


    But just as he took the first step, the Stand User froze in sudden dread. It was instantaneous, as if something- no, someone was watching them quite closely. Even Xuanzang tensed up, her eyes widening in surprise as she tried to stare at him for support.


    The light coming from the streetlight started to flicker, then the streetlight itself creaked as if there was a weight pressing onto it. He slowly turned around and stared up, his cold blue eyes quickly finding themselves locked in a pair of bloody pools.


    The entirety of the youthful man just made him frown. The golden armor matched well with the spiky blond hair, but the overall bright shine that was offered by the light being reflected by the protective garb was enough to make Jotaro flinch.


    There was silence at first. A moment graced by the newcomer as the Marine Biologist finally recovered from the unexpected intrusion.


    “To think that the most interesting element in this farce of a competition was a mere mongrel,” The blond muttered with a grimace, the words quickly gaining annoyance from Jotaro. “But I refuse to limit my choices to either see what you truly are… from what is currently happening elsewhere.”


    A snarl built up within the Stand User, but before any foul word could come out of his mouth, a large bright-red circle appeared below both the man and his Servant. Caster looked panicky, rightfully so as the bright red intensified to a point where it was difficult to see through the intensity.


    The world warped around him, and the cool breeze that that up until now been there was now turned in a cruel and cold wind. The light disappeared, but instead of finding themselves back at the small piece of street which both Master and Servant had been standing by, they were now in what looked to be…


    The Docks.


    Jotaro’s shock burned away at the fact that there were more individuals in there, a large majority already staring at them. He could see some people wearing clothes and armors akin to medieval times and… he didn’t hesitate in taking a defensive stance at the suddenness of the situation.


    “Caster, cover my back,” The Stand User ordered swiftly and calmly, 「Star Platinum」 already prepared to manifest in its full might and assist for what was going to be a tough brawl. “I shall take care of our front.”


    Xuanzang complied quickly, her back close to touch Jotaro’s as she took some moments to silently address the elements that were supposedly hers to face in case of immediate conflict. There wasn’t any hesitation in her pink eyes despite the fact this wasn’t going to be an easy fight… if it was one at all.


    The golden-armored Servant was still perched, this time on a new streetlight as he stared down, literally and metaphorically, at the rest of the people in the area.


    “It’s almost risible how right now there are two curs defining themselves kings before my presence,” The blond commented, apparently ‘forgetting’ about what he had just done with the Stand User and his Servant. His attention was now at a burly red-haired man that was greeting the situation with minor surprise and major giddiness.


    “I fail to see where the problem lies,” The charioteer answered calmly, looking rather unfazed by the declaration. “I’m Iskandar, the Legendary King of Conquerors.”


    ...Who?


    Jotaro’s mind was conflicted between frowning at the fact the self-proclaimed King of Conquerors, also a Servant, was so easily giving out his true name and actually thinking about who this ‘Iskandar’ was. Clearly, he wasn’t referencing himself by the common denomination used for his figure, or he was someone that wasn’t studied much about here in Japan.


    Also… why the hell was he giving out his true name? Wasn’t this war meant to have a strong pillar in names being kept a secret from other competitors?


    Still, the Marine Biologist wasn’t saddened by this novelty. In fact, he was glad that he now had a powerful hint about who this possible enemy could be.


    “What nonsense. I’m the true King,” The golden-haired bastard shot back. “All others are mere pretenders. Mongrels that wish to obtain a title that only I am worthy of having.”


    Jotaro snorted, shaking his head and… gaining the two Servants' attention.


    “Do you wish to say otherwise? Do you think that what I said isn’t true? Please, do humor me.”


    “I think the only title that should be bestowed to you is ‘golden bastard’,” The Stand User answered readily, his stare fixed on the blond’s red eyes and showing a coolly but furious glint. “King? I don’t see you being one. Especially with that crappy armor you got.”


    The redhead, the big man that had been speaking before him, offered half a chuckle, while close beside to where the charioteer was a somewhat familiar blonde offered an awkward smile, a mix of uneasiness at the foul words, but an undeniable degree of amusement at the reaction it was getting from the interrupting Servant.


    A slight hue of red started to appear on the arrogant man’s face.


    “What a foolish mongrel! You really think that I will spare you for you despicable and disgusting filthiness? I shall cleanse my kingdom of trash like you!”


    “If you’re so insistent of that claim, then surely you will have no issue in providing your true name,” The big redhead interjected swiftly, drawing the irritated blond’s attention back to him. “No True King should be troubled in offering their real name. Especially not when they are before a challenge.”


    “And so you question me too, pretender?” The question came with a hint of edge, the streetlight creaking even more as its light-bulb was slowly cracked by a sudden pressure from the golden-armored Servant. Various golden-colored portals opened around him, with blades of various kind manifesting halfway through those. Now a conflict was unavoidable.


    But just as the battle seemed ready to explode… here another anomaly happened.


    The cold wind bustled with renewed strength, this time forcing everyone to look as something dark and malicious appeared from several meters behind them all. The figure was covered in black mist, yet its silhouette already presented it as a humanoid.


    Another Servant, Jotaro thought while gritting his teeth.


    This time, the aura it was producing was a miasma that promised brutality and raw rage at everyone in the Docks. Something was wrong with this ‘Hero’, and whatever it was, the young man was sure it wasn’t good for anyone there.


    “This… This is the first time I perceive this much anger and… self-hatred within someone,” Caster commented with a shocked tone. “There’s just something so deviated in his mind. Something that has cursed him to the core. Into this.”


    The words just complimented the Black Knight, the very individual that was rendered visible once the malicious wind had gone by. The dread was still there, but it had been diluted as the red light coming from the Servant’s visor soon stared up and… right at the golden-armored bastard.


    Good Grief, he can works well as a distraction. All that shiny and pompous…


    It’s almost like Dio, but incredibly duller than the Vampire. Something screamed of strength within the Servant’s form, but there was also a non-negligible note of over-confidence in his tone that highlighted more bark than bite.


    “Boy, can you tell me how powerful of a Servant is he?”


    It was at that very question presented by the red-haired Servant, that Jotaro finally noticed that there was someone else in that chariot. The boy had been crouched inside the vehicle, and away from direct staring from those around him.


    He shook his head, a frightened look on his face as he continued to stare at the newcomer.


    “You can’t tell? Aren’t you one of the Masters chosen by the Holy Grail?”


    Could he see it too if he wanted?


    A quick glance to Xuanzang was met with a quick shake of head from the woman.


    “Only Magi,” Caster replied in a quick whisper, knowing to not give away his Master’s status away in such a difficult situation.


    “I can’t tell- I know that he’s a Servant but… I can’t see his parameters,” The boy muttered in a moment of shellshock.


    “It’s clearly a Berserker,” Jotaro finally stated. His certainty got plenty of confused looks which made him sigh in retun. “Aren’t those meant to be crazy and… quite murderous? I don’t think there are other classes that match up with that description.”


    “Plus I think… we’re almost everyone here,” The brunette beside him quipped. “In fact, I think that’s Saber,” She aimed at the young blonde which they had both seen having some trouble with a merciless shopping spree with her Master. “That’s Lancer,” The guy with jet-dark hair and a small mole on his face nodded at the guess. “And I… I think you’re Rider. Am I correct, King of Conquerors?”


    “You are, young lady,” The redhead said, smiling widely and jovially at the Monk’s calm but happy tone. “And I suppose you’re Caster and… the ‘only King’ is Archer.”


    He would’ve been a shitty Assassin with that golden armor.


    The Stand User didn’t mention this very comment, preferring to keep the major focus onto the serious issue. Creating infighting was just begging for some chaotic battle which would be less than ideal for him and Caster.


    But just as he prepared for the fight, his Servant stared at him with a curious look.


    “Master, if I may,” The brunette inquired quietly, getting a slow nod from Jotaro as she sighed and turned her attention at her fellow Servants “I know that it might sound odd but… I think it would be the best if we focused on Berserker and we continue with our own problems later than-”


    “You dare to sully my image by staring at me, filthy mutt?” The irritated blond stated, finally getting irritated by the intense staring of the silent Berserker. “Then I suppose your death will just do to provide me with some meek entertaintment.”


    The portals widened and the blades finally soared. Jotaro was surprised by the speed of those, but his attention was caught by the sudden explosion that erupted once the weapons impacted onto their targets.


    At first he thought the attack had sortied a swift kill, or at least some grave damage. But then he knew deep inside that things weren’t going to be that easy.


    And like he had expected, the monster was still there, looking fine and… now holding a second blade. This one was as dark and corrupted as the original one.


    “For a Madman, he’s quite nimble,” Rider commented with small surprise. “To think that he managed to deflect all the blades by taking over one of those.”


    ...What?


    It took him a moment to fully realize what he had just heard, but then Jotaro realized what happened.


    The blades… he had moved through them. While at first he had thought that Berserker had kept a static defense, the truth was that the Servant had danced around the attacks and took over one of those for himself.


    “You dare to grasp my treasures with your pathetic hold? Do you truly wish for death, cur?”


    More portals, and more blades appeared at the end of that sentence.


    “Let’s see how much can you withstand this cheap parlor trick of yours.”


    The assault resumed, and just like before, the Black Knight moved through the approaching blades and… this time took over two of those. Smoke exploded again, but this time Berserker didn’t keep idle. The blades he had taken, all three of weapons, were soon returned to the sender through the dark curtain of dust.


    Archer jumped quickly away from the streetlight, the pole cleaved in various pieces with what were once his own tools of destruction.


    “You dare-? You think that you can just play around with my swords? Do you know what you’ve just done, you stupid mutt!?” More anger sparked from those words. “This time, I will make sure that you perish.”


    The number of portals and weapons doubled since the previous attempt. Jotaro wasn’t completely sure if Berserker had the speed and reaction time to actually survive that kind of onslaught.


    Despite how well he had fared in the previous barrages, this one looked to be far more destructive than the last ones.


    He was ready to strike again, the ‘King’ looked already smug at the possible outcome of that final attempt. Yet… fate had other things planned than that almost certain victory.


    The portals disappeared, and Archer now had a murderous look on his face as he scowled.


    “Tokiomi, you dare to use a command against me. Me! I can’t believe you would go as far as to displease me to this degree,” The Servant muttered furiously, talking to his… Master?


    Tokiomi. A new name that will be subject of more research once this is all done.


    Seriously, what was with Servants screaming around either their names or their master’s? Did he need to worry for Caster to do something like this? While the bubbly brunette had been quite an irritation to have around, she was keeping a proper stance before the danger-zone they were into.


    A little mercy in that sea of annoyances.


    But despite the angry and unwilling note of his previous words, the golden-haired man closed his eyes and nodded in a display that dignified his recomposed self.


    “I hope that next time you will be ready for a proper fight. One without a filthy mutt to interrupt me in my judgment,” The blond barked loudly, then he turned to look at Jotaro. “And I will make sure you’re properly dealt with, anomaly. I shall… make sure that your death will be a perfect example for those you care for.”


    Now, that was an irritating element to bring up but, before the Marine Biologist could’ve done anything about it, Archer disappeared in a light-blue mist… leaving the rest of the Servants (and two Masters) to face the Berserker.


    Speaking of the Black Knight, the mindless beast had kept a peaceful stance towards the other up until now. It was now that everyone was freed from dealing with Archer that they could now see that the red visor was now aimed at…


    Saber.


    “His anger… it’s increasing,” Caster commented quickly. “Whatever his plight is, I’m fairly sure that it’s connected to you, Saber.”


    The swordswoman looked uneasy for a moment, but her blue-green eyes were directed at the dangerous Servant as it started to… vibrate.


    “Iri, stay back.”


    There wasn’t much notice left for them as Berserker roared and bolted to reach one of the nearby metal poles, tearing it down and turning it in a new weapon. He jumped and dived towards Saber, the blonde ready to intercept the approaching enemy… only for something to swiftly slam into his chest.


    Jotaro stared fiercely at the monster as he harshly slammed to the ground. 「Star Platinum」 had manifested just in time, quickly enough for it to reach one of the pieces of the now broken streetlight and throwing it at the dangerous Servant.


    “Truly an… impressive sight,” Rider commented while looking right at the Stand.


    The Joestar scowled darkly at the fact that was being seen by the Servants. And that precious advantage was rendered useless in mere instants.


    Good grief, this night isn’t truly a nice one to be wandering around the streets.


    “Master of Caster,” The white-haired woman with red-eyes, the one that he was pretty sure was Saber’s Master. “Are… are you going to aid us?”


    He tipped his hat lightly, but not to agree at the comment. Rather to prepare a small speech. Something powerful, something meaningful and-


    “Caster’s proposal is one that I myself accept. Considering the circumstances, I think it’s best we take out that bastard before we leave.”


    “Leave? You don’t wish to stay and fight some more?”


    Jotaro stared at Rider with a dull look. “It’s late, and to be fair I’m not that much invested in this War. Good grief, as if I would willingly sign for a deadly competition.”


    “That sounds like an interesting story, the one that got you to partake in this conflict,” The red-haired Servant commented. “But I suppose you’re not willing to spare any details about your curious ability.”


    The young man didn’t reply, instead returning his attention on Berserker. The Black Knight was standing up, clearly fixed on attacking Saber as he roared again, rushing once more to attack the blonde-


    Only for Lancer to move in and destroy the corrupted half-pole the mindless monster was using as a weapon. That got the resilient bastard to stop, either in surprise or… confusion. Or both.


    “Lancer?” Saber inquired, only for the fellow Knight to smile and nod.


    “I shall assist too in the extermination of this dangerous beast.”


    “Ahah!” Iskandar laughed hard at that. “Then I suppose it’s final! We shall focus on Berserker now that we can, then I assume you two can resume your fight.”


    “Considering what happened tonight?” Lancer pointed out with a rhetorical note before letting out a sigh. “I think it’s best we just delay that for a latter time. At least when we both can have a fair fight.”


    “Master, let’s do this,” Caster said with a giddy tone, pumping a fist up while she prepared her staff for the fight.


    Jotaro merely nodded, his Stand ready to spring in action to aid the brunette when-


    A dark mist appeared around Berserker, consuming it and… leaving nothing behind.





    “H-He just left?” The boy sharing the chariot with Rider asked after about a few seconds of surprised silence.


    “It looks to be the case,” Rider muttered with a sad voice. “A pity. But not an unexpected development considering the odds stacked against him.”


    Four Servants against one? Even someone as ‘powerful’ as Berserker would know that challenging this many people at once was a death warrant on itself. Still, it proved that either the Servant was smart enough to understand that the situations wasn’t a favorable one… or maybe his Master was clever.


    Both were dangerous options, but perhaps it was the best for the Servant to not be the one capable of seeing through the red-taint of madness.


    Jotaro shook his head and started to make his way away from the group of dangerous people there. “Caster, we’re leaving.”


    Pink eyes showed some surprise at the order, yet the brunette nodded in reluctant acceptance at the demand as there wasn’t much to do there. While they could’ve fought there and now, maybe dared the chances of winning there, nobody looked ready to start a fight… and those who dared, would’ve been targeted by the neutral parties.


    Which wasn’t convenient for anyone there, especially for her team.


    Just as Jotaro imagined the happiness that would come for him to softly trip into the comfy bed back at his hotel’s room, he was stopped by some words.


    “Master of Caster,” Saber spoke with a serious tone. “I wish to thank you for-”


    “Spare me the thanks. In this war, we’re all going to fight each other,” The Stand User interrupted with a sigh. “Don’t think of this as an attempt to sound malicious, or outright hateful, but this is the cruel reality. I didn’t ask for this, but I will definitively investigate up until I’m sure this situation is as problematic as I see it as of now or not.”


    “Investigation?” The blonde’s Master inquired with a hint of surprise, but that question fell on deaf ears as Jotaro wasn’t willing to engage in any serious discussion that threatened to delay good rest.


    The paperwork for tomorrow was draining as it could get, and he wasn’t going to waste golden hours of sleep all for the sake of bringing up to the situation possible enemies.


    Caster was quiet as they retreated back to the hotel, yet her pink-eyes couldn’t help but look behind.


    Why she felt like that strange-looking woman was much more than she looked like?


    ------------d-d-d-d--------------d-d-d-d------------d-d-d-d-------------d-d-d-d--------------


    AN


    Battle of the docks… kinda.


    It had something similar to canon, but it pretty much lacked much of a fight.


    Why Berserker retreated? While he’s obsessed with Artoria, Berserkalot has a degree of sanity beyond Mad Enchantment. It’s very small, but enough to show him that ignoring Kariya’s demands to back away from that unfair situations wouldn’t bode well for his revenge. A mutt he might be, but he isn’t 100% Brain-dead.


    Kayneth actually not making a strategic error? The situation was shaping a little beyond his liking. If he decided to side Lancer to Berserker’s side, he knew that it would’ve resulted in his defeat. Which is why now he doesn’t have an annoyed Servant to command properly. Which is bad for other competitors.


    What to do with Kariya? I can say two certain things driven by logic: 1) He will die (His body is beyond recovery. There’s no Crazy Diamond or Golden Experience that could help him with that. I’m not going to Deus-Ex-Machina so he lives.); 2) His death will be… meaningful (Can’t add on that since it’s heavy-spoiler. But it will have a hint of Jojo’s poetic deaths.);


    Servants can see Stands? These are people that have more than once proved to have a fighting soul that could easily bear a Stand. Mind you, I don’t plan to add Stands to Servants as that would make things… terribly complicated.


    What about Irisviel? Will she live? Don’t ask. I can’t reply. It’s spoiler, but I can’t say if it’s good spoiler or bad one.


    Finally… Sakura? I have plans for her… and Chibi Rin. It will all make sense at the end of this story.
     
  10. Threadmarks: Third Mantra! Rest, Remember, Replan!
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

    Joined:
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    Chapter 6: Third Mantra! Rest, Remember, Replan!


    It was truly interesting how a single task as the one at hand was turning in quite the troublesome and time-draining attempt.


    Kiritsugu had faced various cases which forced him to delve deep in dossiers and secret files, all for the sake of giving him a greater understanding of the absurdity that was at hand. It was only natural for an assassin to have a clear sight of his target’s pattern and lifestyle… but this time the situation was far more different.


    The battle at the docks had opened an interesting can of worms that the Magus Killer was still unsure how to properly approach. Irisviel was fine, but Saber had suffered some injuries while facing Lancer in their duel.


    Avalon was slowly mending the injuries, but it would be silly of him to hope for the Servant to be capable of giving her best in the next couple of hours.


    Kayneth El-Melloi was a dangerous element that needed to be dealt with quickly and without hesitation. The man was brilliant, but he was also quite naive in the way he was leading his own war effort.


    The traditional Magus knew only how to elaborate tactical plans, something that would work on the very moment action began. But if modern warfare had taught Kiritsugu an important lesson, it was that long-term damage was better than taking huge risks to score a complete victory early on.


    Which is why the Emiya had seen it fit to prepare a large load of explosives that needed to be invested for the big operation meant to remove such a problematic foe.


    And while morality wasn’t questioned over the extension of his planning because of his careful steps needed to avoid the killing of the rest of the guests in the hotel Kayneth was located, the complicated issue that had him pause over the execution of this ambitious mission… was created by the existence of an anomaly.


    Caster’s Master, the man that had been ‘dragged’ in the docks at Archer’s whims, was a variable he couldn’t help but be worried more about.


    Kiritsugu had faced several enemies before his ten years retirement, but Jotaro Kujo… just didn’t seem to click well within his mind. Something just felt so wrong about the situation surrounding him.


    And it wasn’t like he was hated what the Marine Biologist did, but… the Magus Killer could tell that it was something correlated to the predicament that had pushed such a character in a conflict as deadly as the Holy Grail War.


    While the archives that were ‘borrowed’ by the Church offered an extensive and troublesome description of the man… and his ancestors, the issue stemmed from the personal info he could salvage by the Kujo’s own profile within the government’s documents about him.


    Jotaro Kujo, 24, Marine Biologist. Born in Tokyo from Sadao Kujo, a renowned Jazz Musician, and Holly Joestar, housewife. He was married to Lena Castana and was a father to a 2-years old, Jolyne Kujo.


    His background was actually… bland compared to the deeds addressed by the Church. Up until 17, the man didn’t show any unique trait that could be found in other members of the Joestar Family.


    Hamon wasn’t a detail ever mentioned beyond Joseph Joestar’s bio, but it wasn’t a possibility Kiritsugu was going to exclude in case of fighting. While the ‘Ripple’ was problematic for undead creatures like Apostles, the self-enchanting nature of such ability rendered one capable of absurd feats.


    If Jotaro proved to be having such a power… then the Emiya would need a little more time to plan out a counter against this mystical technique. It wasn’t Magecraft for sure, but the ability… was still connected to Gaia somehow.


    A fascinated subject that ended up shelved for later as the Magus Killer found something else to entertain himself with. Jotaro Kujo was responsible for the killing of a dangerous ‘Type grade’ monstrosity known as Dio Brando.


    The name was mentioned in Jonathan Joestar’s profile, but the being mentioned there was depicted as a High-Tier Apostle. A malicious man that was responsible for quite the supernatural upheaval during the nineteenth century, both from his servants and… the peculiar stone mask that was mentioned as destroyed.


    Still, it was quite a leap in power from ‘High-Tier’ to ‘Type Tier’ for this vampire to be capable of achieving. Especially if said empowerment happened after a century of dormancy had gone by.


    It was only when Kiritsugu gazed over Clocktower’s own report over the matter that he got a better understanding of what Dio once was. While his ‘Time-Stopping’ ability counted as something that easily surpassed a Type’s capacity to influence the world (something that had just been alluded by Noritaka Emiya’s mad notes about time manipulation), the same couldn’t be said about his physical and mental capacity.


    Albeit far stronger from the Church’s best Executor, the vampire would’ve been easy to kill against any Magus specialized in claiming Seal Designations.


    And speaking of the dreadful practice that the Magus Association was known to push for any problematic individual or monster, there was something of a unique case correlated to the Joestar family over this kind of issue.


    It was all because of an edict imposed by the Holy See over the matter, and something that the Clocktower had surprisingly complied to even when Jotaro was found responsible for Dio’s demise.


    The Joestar family, their companions, their loved ones- everyone that is closely associated with the strange family members was to remain untouched. The gravity of such a move was highlighted by the fact that the various Popes up until now had signed the paper and ratified it with the Magus Association.


    It was an absurd paradox for the Church to be imposing this policy to Magi as it was generally the opposite most of the time, but the elements that truly pressed the group located in London to abide by this rule was far easier and far ‘detached’ from any of the deeds committed by the Joestar Family.


    Kischur Zelretch von Schweinorg, the Wizard Marshal himself, had seen it fit to confirm the theories surrounding the ‘invisible hand’ guiding the life-saving mission that all Joestars were known to embark in their lifetimes.


    A dual-edged blade that protected the clan from ever be subjected to any attacks from those ‘within the Domain ruled by Gaia itself’, but also left them subjected to perilous situations every two generations.


    Jotaro, Joseph, and Jonathan. If there was a danger to Earth, like the one represented by a Dio Brando or something like the mysterious ‘Ultimate Being’ mentioned just barely in some papers Maiya had gotten from the Speedwagon Foundation, the family was there to fight the threat and vanquish it.


    Now… the issue was a little more complicated than just planning how to kill swiftly and without much of a ruckus the Marine biologist. No, the problem stemmed by two unpleasant discoveries, with one he had found out about when Irisviel and Saber had returned to the castle.


    “Master, I wish to make it clear that I refuse to lift my blade against Caster’s Master,” Artoria had muttered, leaving no space for protest at the sudden reluctance. “As a King, it’s only rightful of me to not slander the proper alliance created by the man, and I can see how his ancestor live through him by the way he acts and moves. I will not commit myself to murder a member of that clan.”


    While the first reason was acceptable for Kiritsugu, especially since it sounded convenient to have more firepower to throw at Berserker, the Emiya had some skeptical thoughts over why the King of Knights would outright denounce the chances of battling with Caster and her Master.


    “Why?” He had asked himself as his voice fell deaf to the blonde’s hearing.


    Quite the concerning development, but one that was better explained by the very documents recovered from the Speedwagon Foundation.


    It was labeled as ‘baseless tales recovered from a naive and slightly-senile founder’, but considering the truthfulness of King Arthur’s legend, there was no reason to not give serious thought to such story.


    Artoria might have been a chivalrous individual now, but there was a time when her temper would be a dangerous variable to her knighthood. It was early during her reign, when she hadn’t consolidated her domains just yet that she ended up being challenged by an unusual knight.


    Josiah Joestar was but a landless knight when he first approached King Arthur. A man of virtue that had gained large popularity among the Lothians, someone that had appeared as a legitimate issue to Arthur’s own sister, Morgan, all because of his sway with the people she had long used to kill her ‘brother’.


    There was no genuine recounting of the conversation that saw the two accept a deadly challenge with live iron, but the results were far different than Kiritsugu would’ve expected.


    Artoria lost. Soundly so from the way the defeat was narrated. But what just made things worse for her was the humiliating stain she herself landed by striking his victorious opponent while he was turned around.


    It was in a fit of anger, but the sword that had once represented her right to the throne of Britons was tainted in the blood of the stronger knight.


    The tale then made echoes with Artoria’s own redemption conquered through some deeds committed after she had seen fit to destroy Caliburn.


    Excalibur was her materialistic reward, but it was the ‘better person’ that she turned into from abandoning her childish temper that truly represented an absolute act of forgiveness from the Joestar.


    With this new information now in his possession, Kiritsugu knew that in order to kill Caster and her Master, he would’ve to resort to subtler but more effective means to take him out instead of relying on his Servant. Either that or tempt King Arthur’s patience through the usage of the Command Seal.


    The relationship between him and Saber was already strained on an ideological perspective… it would just hurt his chances of keeping a stable chance of winning if he poked too hard at the uneasy nature of their connection.


    It was just outright complicated how everything was stacked against him by the very moment he looked at the chances of him ‘removing’ Jotaro Kujo from the big picture.


    Kiritsugu sighed as he noticed a smiling Iri entering his office, bringing to the table a warm cup of coffee.


    Maybe a pause was needed now more than ever. Maybe he could work things out by wasting the remainder of the night with a quick rest and-


    “Good morning,” His wife finally greeted, bringing his calm to a shocked and chilling halt.


    Morning? Did he seriously waste this many hours just to address such a problem?


    While it was just correct for him to show any inclination toward a target, it was just so odd that he had wasted the entire night over it.


    Perhaps was the tension he was feeling from this complex competition, or maybe he was starting to feel the toll after wasting so many years keeping inactive- rusty.


    It had to be it. He needed to be sharp and careful enough to go through the sacrifices needed to have his wish granted.


    It was his only chance to save humanity… and he couldn’t let himself ruining it all for the sake of his greedy emotions and affection for loving woman that had decided to take a seat beside him and help him organize the papers.


    This was going to be the most difficult of jobs… maybe even worse than the last one with Natalia.


    ------------d-d-d-d---------------d-d-d-d-------------d-d-d-d------------d-d-d-d----------d-d-d-d----


    “I see that you’re still busy here.”


    Kirei blinked in brief surprise at the unexpected intrusion, but he nodded as his father advanced toward the small table he was using to conclude hours of preparations for the unique dish.


    At first sight, one could easily mistake the food as a simple plate filled with Mapo Tofu. Same appearance, same aroma, same heat…


    But there was a twist. A unique one that had taken the young priest plenty of his time, making him skip a meeting with Tokiomi about what happened at the docks.


    “Father, I hope Tohsaka-san wasn’t annoyed by my inability to join him,” Kirei hummed quietly, only to be graced by a tired sigh from his only parent.


    “Tokiomi hardly minded that, Kirei. His relationship with his Servant... is turning problematic,” Risei admitted with a grimace. “Perhaps I was correct when I assumed that Gilgamesh was someone that couldn’t just be controlled properly.”


    The younger Kotomine frowned. “You never mentioned this.”


    “It was a simple thought that I had held ever since I saw the first interaction Archer had with Tokiomi,” The elder answered readily. “I preferred to keep quiet… but I worry that things might grow unstable if action isn’t taken about Gilgamesh’s rebellious attitude.”


    Kirei nodded, but his attention blankly returned at the steamy plate.


    “Father… I do advise caution about the word you use towards Archer,” The former Executor mentioned. “He can… see if someone is being against his decisions.”


    Risei frowned. “See?”


    There was no answer to it, and the old man took it as a reason to ponder more about the possible allusion his son was making. It didn’t took him much to connect dots and… pale at the realization waiting around the corner.


    “I… I guess that I will be a little more careful about my words.”


    A distracted nod came from his heir, making the priest frown.


    “You still haven’t told me what you were trying to do in the kitchen,” Risei pointed out. “Are you interested in something in particular?”


    Kirei finally offered a more visible nod. “It’s an idea. A mere thought that is shaping in the form of… this.”





    “A plate of Mapo Tofu?” His father guessed with a degree of uncertainty, forcing the younger priest to shake his head at the suggestion.


    “It’s different,” He commented, taking a simple spoon and getting some of the reddish liquid in it. “Please, give it a try.”


    Risei sighed, some nervousness rising in his expression. “Kirei-kun, you know that I don’t like Mapo Tofu anymore...”


    “You used to enjoy it,” Kirei mused calmly. “What changed, father?”


    The room grew quieter as the older priest seemed to ponder whatever or not he should be relenting this kind of answer. In the end, he conceded to the odd situation and just spoke out what he had in his mind.


    “Your mother died,” Risei curtly answered, giving out the answer as crudely as he could. “And with that, so did my interest in trying out anything that reminded me of her.”





    Kirei gave a slow nod, still staring at his creation.


    “So… if I asked you to try this… you wouldn’t accept it-” The brunet started to inquire carefully. “Because mother used to cook Mapo Tofu?”


    He sighed. “Your mother was someone that shared much of your tastes, dear son,” The elder answered blankly. “In fact, I sometimes wonder if she would’ve done a better work raising you than I did...”


    Kirei actually paused at that, perplexed by the curious ‘what if’ that his father had just brought up for him to consider.


    His mother was never a topic he had ever stopped around for long. He didn’t have a reason to truly ask, especially when he didn’t have any emotional bond to her.


    Sure, he was born thanks to her and her sacrifice as she died during his conception, but he didn’t felt the same degree of affection a normal boy would’ve to a living parent.


    But now that his father was bringing up new information of such a ‘taboo’ subject to even allude to during conversations, Kirei knew that he needed to dig a little more about his past.


    The deep discussion with Caster and Jotaro-san had opened to him a small door. A door that could easily end in the umpteenth failure for him to tank. Which is why, despite not having a stronger reason behind this curiosity, the priest pressed on for some more.


    “How… how did she look like?”


    He needed to start from small details. He needed to coax his father in a proper conversation about her by reminding him of the good rather than push him for more concrete info.


    “She was a beauty,” Risei said while sighing longingly at that fleeting memory. “I was so stunned back when I first met her. It was during a visit in Rome, I had been called by a group of cardinals to offer my reports over the Third Holy Grail War.”


    The elder shivered at the mere mentioning of that experience. While his father had been rather unwilling to previously offer more insight over the woman responsible for his presence here today, the same wasn’t over the haunting time spent in Fuyuki.


    1934 was truly a year that many wanted to forget. One that just saw so much blood getting spilled for one reason or another.


    “I was grumbling by the streets, having decided to take some time off for myself to be a tourist in the city after talking thoroughly to my hosts… and I found her,” The older priest hummed. “She was alone by the Trevi Fountain, looking around with that saddened look and… unhappy heart.”


    His eyes closed. “The sight back then was… tragic. Someone that had lost her own family because of an unexpected occurrence,” The elder continued with a quieter tone. “She wanted to lash out and blame everything, even the Lord, for the dreadful ordeal.”


    She hated God? That sounded like a person Kirei’s father would’ve hardly paid attention to.


    And yet… he did.


    “I inquired about her plight, feeling rather conflicted over her foul words toward God… and her tears disproving that hatred,” He continued without a pause. “She was easy to convince, and soon I was given the chance of listening to her tale.”


    “I led her by the nearby Church and, after asking permission to the local priest, I took it up to myself to give her a chance of confess to God and… ask for forgiveness.”


    “And did she accept?”


    Kirei’s words were met with a snort.


    “She screamed at me at the mere idea. Almost scratching at me for even bringing this choice up to her,” Risei answered dryly, making his own son frown.


    “Then why you went through with that task?”





    Risei’s stare lowered to the table, his eyes following the slow clockwise rotation within the plate of Mapo Tofu.


    “I… I didn’t,” The priest admitted.





    “What?”


    “With the young woman inconsolable as she was, I decided against pushing her harshly towards the Lord,” Risei explained. “Our God is one of mercy and love, and his will would’ve been betrayed if I persisted and forced the lady to go through with my demands.”


    “And what did you do then?” Kirei felt like this was quite the unusual approach from his father to a ‘stray sheep’. It was… almost as if that wasn’t the Risei he had known since birth.


    “We talked. No confession, no attempt to make her repent for painting God as the cause of her bad news,” The elder replied with a nod. “I decided to coax her to calm down, and to regain bearing of her thoughts instead of abusing of her weakened understanding of things.”





    “We ended up learning about each other. We knew our names, what we liked and… I finally asked her if she was free to talk some more by the next morning once I realized that it was getting too late.”


    She accepted. They would eventually spend a couple of days together and the hangouts would be quite restrained at first.


    But the more Kirei’s mother spent time with the ‘strange priest’, the more she would break through the self-imposed shell hiding her true self.


    The woman was an individual driven by curiosity, someone that just craved for the interesting topics brought up by the fascinating fellow that was Risei.


    They would end up deepening that bond after a month had passed, and she would ultimately accept coming with Risei back in Fuyuki. The little Japanese city proved to be quite a challenge for the lady, as she was hardly acknowledged to have a proper fluency with Japanese, but in the end they managed to settle down by the little church within town.


    Months passed, and they were both back in Italy, this time with the lovely lady having long accepted Risei’s marriage proposal and have gone through the ceremony meant to seal their love.


    Now the reason that saw them back in the ‘boot of Europe’ was the swelled belly that the woman had. Kirei was due to arrive at the end of that very month, and his mother had requested to conceive back in her hometown.


    Risei had agreed, happily so, as he knew that it was only legitimate for her to ask such a wish. The conception day came and… things didn’t develop well for the couple.


    The doctors were trying their best to manage the complicated pregnancy, and the risk of losing both his wife and his son were high enough to put a genuine worry in the now-elderly figure.


    He prayed. And prayed.


    A miracle happened in the form of Kirei being born without developing any sickness or illnesses correlated to the troubled conception… but the price was the death of his wife.


    Things were now clear to the brunet as he could now see why his father had been so reluctant to even keep pictures of the woman.


    The odd ‘exchange’ of lives just made the entire idea that this had been God’s own machination truly an unpleasant thought for a God-worshiping man like Risei a dreadful experience to remember on a daily basis.


    By merely glancing at Kirei, the old man was constantly reminded of what happened that difficult night and… that would explain why there was such a lack of support from him during Kirei’s first years of education.


    No gratification, no praising beyond the simple politeness an individual should shown before the success of another.


    But the realization, albeit the truth that just explained this kind of behavior, didn’t help much Kirei in understanding the sharp and searing ‘stab-like sensation’ that had enveloped his chest.


    He merely sighed, nodding. He couldn’t show this kind of attitude before his father… and soon he was reminded of the first question that sparked this convoluted discussion.


    “I remember you mentioning when I was much younger, father, that attaching actions, things and sights to person we’ve lost along the way is unhealthy,” Kirei muttered calmly. “Do you think that mother would be happy if she noticed you doing the same?”


    Just as he finished saying this, the brunet paused in confusion at the strange note he had unconsciously let out in that final question. It sounded malicious, but not in the cruel or inhuman manner.


    It felt just… right to the situation.


    Risei’s stare was low and fixed on the table. There wasn’t much hesitation, only a grimace before the sudden query.


    “No. No, she wouldn’t.”





    “Kirei-kun, I’ve… a question or two for you too,” The elder continued after a while. “It’s… something that has to do with your wife and daughter.”


    An attempt to come back at him? Could his father be truly that petty about this pressure?


    He couldn’t back away now, and so Kirei braced for whatever was waiting around the corner.


    “Sure.”


    Risei nodded. “Do you hate yourself… for not being there when Claudia killed herself?”


    ...Mostly yes. But the reasoning behind that situation was more difficult to contain in proper words. Even now, after that discussion with Caster and Jotaro-san, his mindset was unable to properly discern the kind of emotions that had drove him to despise that very memory.


    “Yes.”


    The elder hummed. “Do you think you could’ve stopped it by yourself? Maybe save her?”


    He could’ve done that. But would he have wanted that? That was a mystery too.


    Still, he offered a nod, abusing the way the queries were worded to avoid adding more than a curt answer.


    “Yes.”


    Risei sighed, eyes closing for a moment as he pondered over what to say next. This was turning more in a chore than a proper conversation. Kirei could see it in his growing tired expression.


    “Kirei-kun, are you afraid to hurt little Caren because of it?”


    ...What?


    That he missed the death of his wife? That he couldn’t be there to see and… act, either by doing good or… bad?


    “I don’t understand.”


    “I will not lie to you, because I think it’s just correct now that I tell you the whole truth,” The elder started to explain. “When I first saw you, just a crying newborn being shown to me in front of your dying mother… I…”





    “I couldn’t help myself, but hate you, Kirei,” He finally confessed, shame filling his features. “But not because of what you did, or how you looked like… it was all connected to what your existence dignified in that scene.”


    The fact that he had been the prime cause of killing his own mother. The accusation was actually hurtful to hear, but he could find the logic somehow… familiar.


    “I will never consider myself a model father. I’ve done plenty of slights against you out of personal and foolish spite. I’ve condemned you to an unfair situation on a constant basis,” The elder continued. “I would set up an overly-ambitious bar for you to reach… and deny you the proper affection parents should offer to their own children.”





    “And while I will never be forgiven, nor redeemed with the way I treated you… I wish for you to know that you’re not me in that regard.”


    “What?” Kirei almost blurted out, surprise from the early explanation catching up on his current state of mind. What was his father referring to?


    “I might not know what you’re thinking right now, nor I will have the gall and assumption to understand how you look at life itself… but I know one thing that I’m blindly sure of,” Risei said while nodding. “You, Kirei Kotomine, are afraid of hurting your own daughter. Which is why, despite my assurances that you would’ve done a fine job as a parent, you left her to the care of her mother’s family.”


    I… I can’t understand. What was he talking about? What about Caren? And… afraid of hurting her?


    “Father-”


    “You’re not going to hurt her,” The old priest pressed on. “When you first heard of Claudia’s death, you were there to cradling her close to you, almost protectively.”


    He could… remember. His mind had been focusing mostly on his wife’s suicide, morbidly pondering over the strange sadness that had rouse up from such a sight. And while his thoughts centered over the tragic event, he could still remember the careful hold he had over his crying child, and the hand that was so cautiously caressing her scalp.


    Why did I forget this? Why…


    “I can’t tell if you hate me, or just hold me with silent contempt… but I want you to know that, despite the aftermath this War might take, and despite the confusing life you had...” Risei sighed, eyes closing again. “I’m proud of you. I’m proud of your achievements, I’m proud of your respect of the Church’s rules...”


    He paused, his attention shifting back at the spoon filled with some of the red soup and he moved to pick it off from Kirei’s tense hold.


    The brunet blinked in surprise at the sudden action, but allowed his father to try out the dish he had created.


    Silence domineered for a while, with Risei carefully analyzing the strange taste of the Mapo Tofu.


    “The spice… it’s not that strong,” The old man pointed out.


    “You once told me that you detested overly-spicy food. I decided to try my hand in creating a ‘softer’ version of the dish, while also working on preserving the flavor without diluting it too much with the newer ingredients.”


    Risei nodded, a smile appearing on his face. “This is delicious, Kirei. I didn’t know that you were natural in cooking.”


    The brunet blinked at the compliment. Natural? This was the second try for today and… maybe Gilgamesh’s limited praises over the first attempt before he took it for himself were as truthful as those had sounded the first time around.


    And that smile, despite having seen the king smile maliciously and furiously at Kotomine, was indeed a content one as he initially thought it to be.


    “May I… take this?” His father finally asked, and Kirei nodded.


    “You may. I will just try some other recipes before turning my attention on my duties as Tokiomi’s ally.”


    Risei nodded, his smile widening just a fraction as he took the plate and the spoon with him away from the small kitchen.


    The Master of Assassin sighed as he was once more left alone, this time to ponder over the revelations he had gotten out from his father.


    Before he truly shifted his attention back to the cooking counter, he called upon Assassin and had them seek something he was now interested to find.


    A picture of his mother. Surely, there was a photo saved by Fuyuki Town’s administrative branch. And hopefully… this curiosity of his could finally be sated with it.


    But for the time being, Kirei returned to his cooking while his mind thought more about Risei’s words and what he could really do with a question that he had delayed for so long. What was he supposed to do with his daughter?


    --------------d-d-d-d--------------d-d-d-d-------------d-d-d-d---------------d-d-d-d------------------


    Jotaro huffed as he finished loading the last of the luggage that he had been asked to put in the trunk of the taxi.


    It had come out as a surprise that the way his grandfather had decided to ‘call him back with new information’ was by directly taking a flight to Fuyuki Town.


    Joseph Joestar, now a 76-years old elder, had a massive grin plastered on his face as he walked out of the local train station with a small group of people giving chase to him. The squad deployed by the Speedwagon Foundation was at least moderated with their greetings, instead of following the rambunctious old man that quickly demanded a hug from him once he saw him waiting.


    It didn’t help that Caster seemed to hit it off pretty well with the older Joestar, her bubbly personality finding a match in the overly-giddy mood of the Star Crusader.


    “So these Pillar Men- they were aliens or-”


    “Oh, those were some strange cavemen,” Joseph interjected eagerly, finding it a blessing that the young woman had been curious to know more about his past adventures. “They were like vampires… but also not. It’s quite difficult to explain without some papers.”


    “Oh, I can understand. I remember having trouble myself in understanding some of the obstacles along my path,” Xuanzang assured with a bright smile. “But still, I’m interested about this… Hamon. I think I’ve heard of something like this when I visited Tibet.”


    “It was there that it was studied and preserved when the first Ripple Clans were destroyed by the Pillar Men,” The old Joestar pointed out. “My grandfather, Jonathan, learned through William Zeppeli, which had studied by the old Tibetan master Tonpetty.”


    “This is so fascinating, Joseph-san,” Caster commented with genuine interest. “To think that there was so much of the mystical that I had yet to uncover. By the way, is Master capable of using the Ripple?”


    Jotaro tensed up a little at that sudden question, but Joseph merely sighed. “Let’s just say that there wasn’t a reason for him to study. The Ripple can only be developed properly by those that have faced tragedy in their lives, and Jotaro isn’t someone that had the chances of experiencing this degree of pain until we were traveling to hunt down DIO.”


    “So he could technically learn it?”


    “He could,” The elder admitted readily. “But I don’t think he wouldn’t want to. He has a proper job that takes most of his time, and while he could technically bring this as a training for when he’s at home, I don’t wish to burden him even more than he is now.”


    At least he could agree on this very point. It was hard enough to keep things away from his close family, to even think of starting to study some mystical crap to push him even more in the bizarre.


    Good grief, he was still human and he needed some breaks away from the insanity from time to time.


    Plus he didn’t want to offer the very lifestyle to his daughter once she grew up. It would be infuriating if she ends up dealing with any of the crap he is forced to face on a monthly basis.


    “I still don’t understand this. If there was someone like Dio, then why the Magus Association or the Church intervene against him?”


    Xuanzang’s query was met with a grimace from Joseph.


    “That’s because the Church did try to subdue him when he was spotted in Italy,” The old Joestar answered with a sigh. “But his Stand and his cunning mind ended up making mincemeat of anyone sent to kill him.”


    As Caster nodded at this info, the elder glanced back at his grandson.


    “Speaking of the Magus Association, I think I should tell you to be wary of Tokiomi Tohsaka and Kayneth El-Melloi, the Masters of Archer and Lancer respectively,” He addressed with a more serious tone. “We’ve got quite the dossiers about these fellows, and both sounds quite dangerous to face directly.”


    Jotaro frowned. “I thought that the Foundation had no means to get info on Magi-”


    “That was before we had a chance of getting informants from within the Association. People that were more than happy to offer information over these two men just for the sake of weakening their roles within the politics of Clocktower.”


    “Clock...tower?”


    “It’s another name given to the Association. They are set in London, and their headquarters’ entrance is inside the basement of the British Museum,” Joseph continued to explain. “We managed to get a couple of details that could help, especially against Tohsaka-san.”


    “Why him specifically?” The marine biologist inquired with a hint of confusion.


    “Because I would dare to say that this Tokiomi is the worst scumbag,” The old Joestar mentioned with a dark scowl. “He is the father of two children, but decided to give away his youngest daughter away to another family in town. The Matou Clan.”


    He blinked, remembering the early information about the ‘three main families’ that the old man had passed to him.


    He had met several of the Masters up until now, but he hadn’t seen who Berserker’s controller was… and the Matou candidate.


    These three families wouldn’t hesitate to send their candidates for the competition, and he had already seen the Einzbern candidate, the Tohsaka candidate was Archer’s Master… which left the best suspect to be Berserker’s Master one of the Matou.


    “Do we have some insight over the Matou Clan?” Jotaro inquired curtly, getting an uneasy look from his grandfather.


    “Of all things we’ve managed to dig into, we didn’t found much about the family,” Joseph confessed with a hint of embarrassment. “Only that the head of the clan is one Zouken Matou, and that they adopted young Sakura Tohsaka as the current heiress of the clan. They seem to be declining steadily, and their might is determined by their previous association to the construction of the Holy Grail.”





    “Jotaro-kun, I think I’ve to tell you this out of worry rather than certainty,” The elder pressed on. “I don’t like the kind of anonymity that the Matou have. Their past records are mostly blank, but the things that are in there for people to look at seems rather suspicious.”


    “I think I will focus on them first, yes,” Jotaro said while nodding. “If Matou is indeed Berserker’s Master, then I should focus first on them before complicating our situation even further.”


    “Which is why I will join you for that mission-”


    “Old man, you’re hardly in shape to walk around properly,” The Marine biologist interrupted bluntly. “You would be more of a burden than else.”


    “Now Master, that was cruel-”


    “But kind of true, I guess,” Joseph interjected with a sheepish look. “I guess I’m becoming more of an old relic the more years pass and… perhaps I should stay behind for a while.”





    “Ahahahah, AHAHAHAHAHAHA!


    Jotaro tensed up but groaned at the sight of Joseph laughing madly like that.


    “Joseph-san?” Caster inquired quietly, her pink eyes wide open in shock at that sudden mood swing.


    “That sounds absolutely rubbish! I think you know better than me that I just don’t stay behind, especially if someone is in grave danger,” The old Joestar exclaimed. “Are you perhaps the one going senile with that much work about dolphins and starfishes, Jotaro?”


    The grandson snorted. “Good grief, shitty old man.”


    “M-Master!” Xuanzang half-shouted in a moment of shock at her Master’s crass language.


    “It’s alright, Caster,” Joseph quickly said. “It’s Jotaro-kun way to interact with those he cares a lot for. But I guess that has lessened a little bit since he was seventeen.”


    The brunette still frowned sternly at Jotaro, holding back from properly chiding him for the use of foul words like that… but she restrained herself after listening to Joseph’s explanation about it.


    The conversation didn’t drag for much longer as the elder had to lead the rest of the Foundation’s group back to their temporary headquarters that were now located in an abandoned mansion by the city’s outskirts.


    It would take a while for the equipment they had brought with them to be set up properly, but once the preparations were concluded, Jotaro knew that he would find himself in a better position in this strange war.


    But while his mood was pleasantly calm, the same couldn’t be said about Xuanzang as the woman saw it fit to remain irritated at him for the remainder of the day. Something that was positive for the Kujo since he was left untouched by any nagging from her, but also frustrated him over the fact that his Servant could get this much prissy for so little.


    Good grief, what is it with women and swearing nowadays…


    ----------d-d-d-d---------------d-d-d-d-------------d-d-d-d---------------d-d-d-d-------------d-d-d-d-----


    AN


    It’s not a single perspective, it’s not two- IT’S THREE!


    AND OH MY GOD IT’S JOSEFU JOSUTA!!


    I could technically speak a little more about the stuff highlighted in there, but I think I did my best in explaining what it needed to be explained in this chapter.


    Next chapter will see a genuine brawl, and it will be hilarious since… the bald worm is going to die~!
     
  11. Threadmarks: Fourth Mantra! Hopeless but Determined!
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    Chapter 7: Fourth Mantra! Hopeless but Determined!


    Hours had passed smoothly after Jotaro had helped his grandfather and the specialists from the Speedwagon Foundation to reach their current headquarters.


    The place they were going to stay by was modest-sized and slightly bigger compared to the hotel room he was forced to share with his Servant, but it was mostly occupied by the various machinery that the experts had brought to the city. Devices that were mostly meant to analyze, study, and classify the phenomenon known as Magecraft.


    Many within the board of the organization had grown wary about a possible breach of interests at the chance of Magi having infiltrated the inner circle, and some of the main contributors to the Foundation saw it fit to create a commission meant to focus on this new element from the supernatural world.


    Nobody knew that Joseph had came with this retinue, and nobody would expect the jovial and grandfatherly Joestar to be there in Fuyuki for nothing more than just assist his grandson in this deadly scenario.


    But despite the best of mindset having been taken by Jotaro as they prepared for their assault, he couldn’t help but remember how he had grown into hating these large manors.


    It wasn’t truly something born from mere prejudice, but rather something born from two experiences.


    The first one was correlated to Enya the Hag. The disgusting woman had turned the entire place in a trap for the rest of the crusaders, and things had been saved all thanks to some mere suspicions he had developed before entering the place. If he hadn’t spotted on the short individual the sliver of maliciousness that was so common in all followers to DIO, things would’ve turned quite complicated.


    The last experience, and perhaps the one that confirmed within the Marine Biologist his distaste over this kind of buildings, was the one connected to DIO’s palace.


    The place had been a deceitful maze that was used by the vampire’s minions to attack relentlessly at the Joestar Group. Iggy and Avdol had perished in that encounter.


    Still, there wasn’t much he could say about the planned siege. This time they had the element of surprise by their side as their target was blissfully unaware of the hell that was soon going to fall upon him.


    Zouken Matou was the main objective, but Jotaro didn’t consider the old timer to be the Master of Berserker.


    Further research made by Joseph confirmed that two viable candidates lived within the building.


    Byakuya Matou was the oldest son to Zouken, but the chances of him being the real controller of the mad Servant were dimmed by the fact that he was a known alcoholic.


    His visits at the local pub were seldom knowledge for those living in the area, and the fact he was an angry drunk meant that he couldn’t have the mental capacity to properly order around the black knight.


    The second candidate was Kariya Matou.


    The man had been absent from Fuyuki Town for several years. He was a simple report writer from what could be noticed in his resume. He didn’t make anything worth of notice, but he was visibly healthier and craftier compared to his older sibling because of his ‘oversea’ experience.


    Looking even deeper in the documents from the administrative branch of the government here in the city also highlighted two strange occurrences that left Jotaro incredibly… perplexed. Enough for him to grow even more disappointed with the stuff he was learning about these Magi.


    The death certificate about Byakuya’s wife confirmed that the woman had died of natural health. But no illness, nor any genetic issue were listed as prime factors that lessened her life span to that point.


    In fact, there was no indication that the woman had any reason to die. She was healthy from some medical checkup she had to go through after ‘tripping’ down a flight of stairs back home.


    Considering her husband’s hobby, it wasn’t difficult for Jotaro to realize the true motivation behind these injuries reported by the nurses and the extent of the depravity running rampant within the family.


    And while this formed quite the dreadful perspective over the Matou Clan, the worst manifested in the form of how a single individual ‘became a Matou’.


    Sakura Matou was a five years-old girl that had ‘magically’ appeared in various documents of her family. She was listed as the younger sister to Shinji Matou, Byakuya’s firstborn son, and that she was kept indoors because of a fragile immune system.


    While her birth certificate and other recent medical checkups confirmed her as part of the Matou and supported the reasons why she was never seen before outdoors, the real proof that this was all a large lie was a curious issue with Fuyuki Hospital’s own papers.


    Sakura Matou wasn’t listed there. In fact, there was no Matou being born in the date mentioned by her birth certificate.


    But there was another match with that name and that birthdate. Someone that was ‘surprisingly enough’ similar to Sakura Matou in terms of medical details.


    Sakura Tohsaka was the youngest daughter to Tokiomi and Aoi Tohsaka. This girl was fairly healthy from early checkups when she was but just a toddler and there were plenty of pictures showing both her and her older sister, Rin, playing around Fuyuki’s local park.


    Any suspicions of these two individuals being the same person sounded even more truthful when Sakura Tohsaka ‘vanished’ from any recorded picture of the rich couple visiting the park.


    Rin was the only child around, and there had been no explanations whatsoever provided by the Tohsaka family that motivated the young girl’s sudden disappearance.


    With this much information now available to them, they could visualize what they will probably end up finding inside the place once they broke through the external layer of the building.


    Caster was incredibly irked by the revelations, and Jotaro couldn’t help but be surprised by how serious she appeared over the matter. While he could understand the reasoning behind her annoyed attitude, at the same time he was impressed by her lack of distractions for this very operation.


    But maybe the mere fact that Joseph himself wasn’t looking so prone to joke around should’ve already settled for an outright serious situation.


    Zouken Matou, albeit not as close to DIO in terms of maliciousness and depravity, was still scum that needed to be erased from the planet with some proper punches from his Stand.


    When the planned hour struck, the trio proceeded to rush at the half-open gate. There was already a sense of uneasiness enveloping their minds as they walked inside the private property, with Joseph swiftly rushing to the side of the building.


    The old man was supposed to infiltrate by the backdoor as to lessen the chances of the Master of Berserker to prepare any good defenses.


    Just as the elder disappeared around the corner, Jotaro continued to pace up to the entrance of the large house… only to stop when he took notice of a noticeable shadow jumping off the roof and towards them.


    Xuanzang had noticed much earlier than her Master, and the brunette had already taken stance as Berserker dived to attack them. But before the armored Servant had the chance to take a swing at them both, Jotaro moved to get the first hits on it.


    「Star Platinum: The World」!


    The command was instantaneous, and time was brought to stillness as both Caster and Master acted upon this very advantage.


    ORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAAH!


    The sheer brutality of this swift barrage of punches, coupled with Xuanzang’s own punches managed to create various cracks over the dark curaisse donned by the malicious man.


    The Caster was slightly slower than the Stand, but she was offering her best performance as she punched as quickly and as harder as she could in that golden chance.


    While both had wished to deal more heavy damage thanks to the opportunity offered by the Time-Stop, the ability came to its limit way before they had the chance of decimate Berserker.


    Jotaro was… surprised by how sturdy the armor felt on 「Star Platinum」‘s fists. Something about it made it slightly stronger than simple diamond from the way it resisted that powerful combo.


    Time was restored, and with it a confused Berserker trying to make sense in the first moments of his ‘action’ why both of his enemies had ‘moved’ away from their initial position without him noticing.


    His confusion was suddenly replaced by agony as the combined result of the attacks delivered during the time-stop finally pressed onto Berserker.


    A loud growl echoed as the dark knight was sent soaring. The Servant slammed onto the large section of old wall behind it, making it collapse on himself before it started to disappear like last time.


    There was silence at first, but it was in that very moment that the Marine Biologist realized something. The damage inflicted wasn’t enough to kill the Servant, but it had been enough to make it beat a hasty retreat from the close encounters.


    They needed to press the advantage.


    “Let’s go,” Jotaro muttered, picking up the pace again as he rushed towards the door. If the Servant was forced to retreat, then his Master was rendered vulnerable to them.


    The brunette kept up with him just a little bit behind, nursing a little bit her hands as she had a few cuts on them.


    He now realized that her fists weren’t as strong as 「Star Platinum」‘s, and that was going to be important if he really wanted to make sure she wasn’t put in a serious disadvantage in any future battles.


    But for now, their real target was still wandering around and in a completely defenseless instance.


    There was no time to waste in there. Good grief, hopefully the old man is having an easier time than us.


    -------------d-d-d-d----------d-d-d-d------------d-d-d-d---------


    ~Joseph’s POV~


    Maybe I should’ve brought something to help this stupid backdoor.


    He wasn’t as strong as a couple of years ago, and his prosthesis had yet to be upgraded with the sturdiest material available.


    Cracking the door took an embarrassing amount of time, and it was something that reminded him once again how he should’ve listened to Lisa Lisa when she had ordered him to keep up with his Hamon Training.


    Things would’ve been smoother if he had. Maybe it would’ve been helpful while they were still fighting against DIO-


    No. He shouldn’t be thinking about that time. Suzy had already sounded incredibly serious when she had mentioned about how he needed a therapist with how ‘obsessed’ he was about the matter.


    The guilt wasn’t just something that had vanished after that much time had gone by, and every single time he found himself thinking about fighting-related stuff, he would regret his past choices.


    Sighing for a moment, he turned his focus back on the current predicament. He couldn’t let the past push him down now that the situation demanded his full attention on it.


    The old Joestar took the first few steps inside, looking around to his surroundings as he soon found himself in… kitchen?


    There was silence at first, but then his sight snapped at the noise of something made of glass crashing down on the ground. The bottle filled with wine came down and splintered in various shards that bolted across the floor. The liquid splattered widely over the ground as a result.


    A yelp soon followed as a young boy was forced to crouch down.


    “L-Look at what you did-” A man’s voice sternly addressed the dark-blue-haired boy. “Spilling this fine liquor all because you can keep sight of where you’re going.”


    From the expression set on the terrified boy’s face, Joseph didn’t need any proper explanation to know that the child was innocent of whatever crap the drunk man was spitting about.


    So, instead of keeping quiet and find out if this was a trap or not, what was left of the brazen Joestar pushed him forward and into the scene.


    “Hey, what do you think you’re doing with the kid, punk?” The annoyed old man inquired rhetorically. “Did anyone ever teach you about being a respectable individual around children? I can see that it’s not the case!”


    The drunk man, which Joseph slowly realized was Byakuya Matou, stood up from his chair. He was trembling a little, but it wasn’t visible if this was from fright or because his body was dealing poorly with the alcohol.


    “Y-You- Who are you? Why are you in my house and-” Byakuya stopped for a moment in his fury, clarity replacing his irritation as he thought about something. “An intruder? If I kill you and bring your carcass to the old man, surely he would allow me to go at the pub!”


    A crazed chuckle left the man’s lips as he took two steps toward Joseph.


    “You made a- A serious mistake to come here, shitty old man!!”


    Then the Matou bolted towards what looked to him an easy prey, unable to perceive the muscle difference between himself and the ‘shitty old man’.


    Joseph was well-aware and that resulted in him offering a merciless sucker punch at the approaching aggressor.


    Byakuya’s giddiness vanished in a moment of utter shock as he felt his back slam on the nearby wall, his dreadful discovery sinking in at the same pace his body slid down to the ground.


    “Y-You- what- how? HOW DARE YOU STRIKE THE HEIR TO THE-”


    Before the ‘proud heir to the Matou Clan’ had the chance of genuinely making an arrogant stand for himself, Joseph decided to regal the man with a murderous look.


    “If you think that I give a dime about this empty air you’re throwing left and right, then I can assure you that you’re severely mistaken!” The Joestar interrupted furiously. “First using a child as a servant, and then attacking me for some favors? Do you have any shame, you scumbag?!”


    Byakuya was now trembling at the horrifying sight before him. He hadn’t expected for the old intruder to be this strong.


    He had expected to be met with some weary moron that had just wandered off at the wrong place at the wrong time… but now he was realizing that he was the moron in this very situation and this stranger didn’t look in the mood to spare him after what he ad tried to do.


    He was scared, but his attention was once more on the intruder as the old man crouched down a little bit to look closer at him.


    “Listen up, punk. I don’t care what happens to you, I want to know where Zouken Matou is!”


    And hopefully there are no traps in this house. Right now I can sense any on my proximity.


    “A-As if I’m- I’m afraid of you! The Matou Clan is- is-”


    Seems like he is a little tougher than expected. Time to switch to Plan B.


    Raising his artificial hand, Joseph stared down at the downed man. Byakuya thought that this was the prelude for another punch, bracing in a moment of brief terror as he waited for the hit.


    But there was no pain that erupted from the following action. Instead, the Matou found the scene even more terrifying.


    The fingers in the intruder’s hand… started to twist and rotate in an irregular and inhuman pattern. A clickety noise chirping at each tiny action, as if the bones were cracking and mending each time.


    It was in that moment his brain provided him a possible answer as to how the display before his eyes was possible.


    A magus. Someone from a rival family had decided to infiltrate the household and steal the old man’s secrets.


    If it had been a normal human, then things would’ve felt less troublesome… but this was well-beyond his capacities. It was beyond the limits created by his worthless bravado and… Byakuya did the only sensible thing a spineless drunk man like him could’ve done.


    He fainted, passing out in front of an irritated Joseph as the Joestar tried to wake the younger man by shaking him back and forth.


    “Are you kidding?” He exclaimed with a whiny tone. “Sure, ‘Clickety fingers’ can be quite frightening this closely, but that shouldn’t have- Goddammit.”


    Groaning, the elder stood up from the floor and started to think about what to do about the unconscious body. He couldn’t certainly leave him around like this. What if he wakes up and become a problem later on?


    Just as he contemplated about this matter, soft footsteps approached and… soon the young boy was tugging at his sleeve. The child had been staring at the absurd scene for some time now, and he had been awed by how quickly his father had been taken out by the older fellow and… by the strange hand’s unnaturalness displayed so clearly to his eyes.


    Shinji Matou couldn’t help but be awed at such an individual. He had to be a strong Magus to have dealt with his father so quickly!


    “Are you going to kill him?”


    Joseph was stomped by the question. His blue eyes widened in shock at hearing a child ask about this kind of stuff.


    “No,” He blurted without thinking about it, and he tensed up even more at the disappointed look appearing on young Shinji’s face.


    For the abuse to have been this much extensive to bring a child to ask for their parent’s death…


    This very instance not only confirmed his worries that things here really needed his presence. It also reinforced his determination in helping Jotaro with the insanity that was surrounding this simple Japanese city.


    “How about you show me where your grandfather is, Shinji-kun?” He ultimately asked, drawing a surprised glance from the child at the fact that the ‘stranger’ knew about him.


    “Are you going to tell him about what I asked for father?”


    “Your grandfather has done bad things,” Joseph answered calmly. “Which is why I’m here to make sure he pays for what he has done.”


    The boy nodded, looking fairly confused at the motivation, but soon pondering over the matter.


    “I think Grandfather is… training Sakura right now.”


    Without wasting further time, Joseph followed young Shinji through the halls of that desolate home. But just as the two were well away from the kitchen, a small thing crawled in clear sight by the counter, looking right at the doorstep vaulted by the Joestar.


    The old Worm is now aware of what is going on in his own domain. And things sure are going to grow tedious for the Joestar group.


    -----------d-d-d-d--------------d-d-d-d---------


    ~Jotaro’s POV~


    Kariya was rather quick. The trail of blood that he was leaving because of some injury caused during the chase was still offering the Master-Servant duo the chance of keeping up with a swift pursuit of the running Matou.


    The hallways of the house looked similar to each other, creating an unnerving sensation as they continued to keep up the pace towards the path left by the blood.


    They turned the counter, and found themselves staring at Berserker. The black knight wasn’t attacking, merely standing between them and his Master as the white-haired man tried to get some air in his lungs.


    He looked dreadful. Not only his hair had grayed out because of the stress caused by the ‘upkeep’ such a Servant would need, but his body had grew slimmer and… drained.


    There was something wrong with his left eyes… the vein around it suggesting that something different than the simple upkeep was hurting him.


    Could it be that… Zouken was actually forcing Kariya into this?


    “Y-You- You will never-” Kariya tried to say, breathing painfully as he tried to catch up some more rest. “You will never- never get Sakura!”


    “What are you talking about, Kariya Matou?” Jotaro inquired placidly. “We’re here to kill Berserker and Zouken.”


    He cackled at these words, his eyes widening at the ‘absurd’ words he was listening to.


    “You- You wish to kill the old worm? Nobody can kill the bastard and-GHH!!” He paused for a moment, tensing up as a sudden bout of pain enveloped his body. Caster looked concerned about this development, but she remained put because of the dangerous Servant standing in her way. “It’s impossible. He can’t be killed… and- and I don’t trust you! You could be lying!”


    Berserker roared, finally rushing at the Marine Biologist and the brunette.


    「Star Platinum」 swiftly intercepted the blade in the black knight’s hold with a punch, leaving plenty of openings for Xuanzang to strike into. The attacks were clearly weaker than his Stand’s, but the damage was non-negligible as more parts of the Servant’s armor cracked.


    One last punch slammed fiercely onto the Knight’s helmet, bending it a little bit inwardly and forcing Berserker to finally back away from the confrontation.


    While the monster had pushed Jotaro to put considerable strength in his Stand’s hold, the results were good enough that they knew they needed to press this advantage.


    But Kariya was already running, taking the distraction caused by his Servant to cover a greater distance.


    And the more the chase continued, the less patient Jotaro felt about this confusing matter. While he was surprised at the possibility that he was fighting an unwilling enemy, the fact that this brawl was dragging for so long in that stupid pursuit, the more he felt less regretful at just planting a quick punch in that walking corpse.


    Several minutes passed by as Kariya managed to keep up with a speed that matched up well with both Caster’s and his. They descended from the first floor, down to a flight of stairs that seemed to lead to an underground section of the place and… soon the noises of a fight started to reach their ears.


    “Joestar-san, please keep up with this pace,” A bald figure gloated as he stared giddily at the uneasy circumstance Joseph had been put into. “To think someone your age would have your nimbleness.”


    The Marine Biologist almost tripped at the massive basement they had arrived to, but he still held up a proper composure as he and his Servant arrived at the bottom of the stairs and got a proper look of the situation.


    The old Joestar was pacing quickly through the large area, with his teeth gritting as he continued to pump Hamon through his arms to deflect the waves of worms away from his proximity.


    The scene was surreal to even look at, but not enough to distract the Kujo from the direct threats.


    Berserker returned, but this time his helmet was gone. His long hair were unruly, some of his dark locks covering his face as to try and hide the glowing red eyes locking onto Caster.


    Xuanzang didn’t seem particularly fazed by the sight, but Jotaro could see some uneasiness as she glanced over how Joseph was holding against the worms.


    “I see that you’ve brought here the rest of our unwanted guests, Kariya-kun,” The bald bastard, Zouken, muttered with a gleeful tone. “I guess the Joestar family will find its conclusion here by my own hands. Now, that sound like something… endearing.”


    Kariya didn’t reply at first, merely glaring at Jotaro for a few solid seconds.


    There was silence for a while. There was no true brawl between the two Master-Servant Teams and… Jotaro frowned at the strange expression that suddenly appeared on the younger Matou’s face before he turned around to look at the head of the family.


    Zouken was distracted by trying to kill Joseph, growing frustrated as the Ripple was making quick work of his familiars, but he felt something wrong was approaching him.


    The old Matou turned his head to the side to glance behind, freezing up in surprise as he noticed Berserker rushing at him. Eyes going wide, the surprise persisted even as the large dark sword of the mad Servant bisected the elder’s body.


    But this wasn’t the only thing Berserker did.


    Reaching down for a small puddle of worms settled beside Zouken, the dark Knight pulled out from that wriggling mess a tiny body. The child within it looked surprised, but she had little time to react that she was thrown right at a confused Jotaro.


    The marine biologist managed to catch the child thanks to 「Star Platinum」’s rapid intervention.


    He got a glimpse below to the shivering kid, and he felt dread as he realized that it was Sakura Matou. The child didn’t have any clothes on herself, she looked incredibly distressed, and- how long has she been in that place?!


    “Traitorous spawn of mine!”


    Kariya yelped in pain and suddenly fell on the floor. His entire body trembling as if Zouken was responsible for the attack.


    The elder looked furious, and it didn’t help that his body had yet to properly reform in a proper human form.


    “To think that I believed that you really wanted to save little Sakura,” The bald old man exclaimed. “And yet now, you’re helping them to kidnap her. How stupid can you get when-”


    “I know that you lied to me,” The white-haired man muttered tiredly, trying but failing to stand up. “Joseph Joestar… he can kill you. That’s why you’re afraid of him.”


    Just as the man said this, his body once again tensed up in agony and he started to scream loudly at the atrocious torture developing at that point.


    “As if I would ever fear some American idiot!” Zouken rebuked. “You really think you’re winning by doing this? That you will give a chance to your little mean to reach your love interest’s attention?”





    “No.”


    Jotaro noticed a faint glow coming from Kariya’s hand. He was using his Command Seals and soon Berserker went still and… lifted his sword up, turning its tip towards his chest before plunging it deep in his torso.


    The Servant trashed around, trying to fight back the order but it was too late. The attack was deadly enough to draw the last breaths out of the black knight as it growled and gnawed at his Master as the man stared impassively at the shocked Zouken.


    “W-What have you done?!”


    “I’ve long accepted that… I might not live through this,” The former Master admitted. “If things had gone differently, maybe I would’ve been able to be with Aoi… but it would be stupid of me to hope for the unattainable. While I can’t have her love… I will make sure that someone that deserves true happiness lives through this.”


    “The child is mine!”


    “No,” Kariya refused sternly. “I will not let you hurt her ever again.”


    The man slowly turned his head toward Jotaro’s direction.


    “Kujo-san… please keep watch over her for me. I’ve heard good- good things about you. I know you care for your… your family. Please don’t let her suffer again,” The young Matou started to have trouble speaking properly.


    “O-Ojiisan?”


    A soft feminine voice questioned with a confused tone. Sakura had turned to glance at her uncle, her violet eyes wide open at the scene as the man regaled her with a kind but tired smile.


    “Sakura-chan… promise me… to live.”


    His body tensed up again as the elder let out another furious roar, finally getting the former Master’s body to explode in gore and blood.


    “That was your last insult, you foolish son of mine!” The old Matou vehemently stated, soon turning his sight at Jotaro. “And now, I shall take back what was once mine!”


    The Kujo merely blinked as he noticed the old man rush at him with innatural speed, a large mass of worms pushing him around and towards him and Caster.


    “Your demise shall be here, Joestar-!”


    「Star Platinum: The World」!”


    The time stop ensued as usual, and the world freeze around them.


    Caster huffed. “Master, let’s destroy this monster at once!”


    And for the first time in a long while, Jotaro smiled at his Servant’s affirmation.


    ORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAAH!


    One of the longest beatings he had ever offered to someone that wasn’t DIO. It felt nice to finally let out this much stress in the form of furious punches.


    「Star Platinum」 looked quite happy with the situation, his speed picking up more than usual as he pummeled the entirety of the close old bastard.


    A final punch was delivered and… Xuanzang decided to finally add her own signature on their opponent. Her attacks didn’t have any battlecry, but she was nonetheless merciless as she barraged Zouken with a flurry of deadly punches.


    Surprise swelled in Jotaro’s mind as he noticed that he managed to hold time a little longer than usual.


    Keeping his surprise away from the moment, the Stand User proceeded to finally let go of the ability and ~time resumed its course~.


    Zouken’s eagerness vanished within a single moment, right as his shattered body and worms were sent flying on the other side of the basement… where a certain old Joestar was waiting with his own Stand.


    “And now I shall finish this scumbag of a monster!”


    Hamon crackled within 「Hermit Purple」’s vines, the tendrils quickly rushing over the soaring pieces that once were the single entity known as Zouken Matou.


    Electricity-like energy burned into the various sections, eliciting a loud agony-filled scream from the old Matou as his entire being was swiftly purged by the Ripple.


    The scene lasted for a couple of minutes as Joseph carefully went through to destroy with his Stand what was left of Zouken’s body.


    Jotaro sighed tiredly, shaking his head as he thought that one of the competitors for the Holy Grail War was finally done for.


    But just as he savored this victory, his entire body went rigid as he felt little Sakura shaking in his hold.


    The girl had her eyes closed, her face scrunching up in utter pain as her tiny palms rushed at her chest, as if trying to claw out something hurting from within.


    “CASTER!”


    Gone was the first few layers of his composure at such a sight, and the brunette was already checking onto the child to see what was going on with her.


    Pink eyes narrowed as her serious expression returned back for one last time.


    “Something from within is causing her pain. I can feel it’s alive,” Xuanzang answered curtly. “There are multiple of those, but the real issue is created by the one closest to her heart. I can delay its actions but I can’t remove it because it’s too close to the organ.”


    Worms. The old bastard had implanted some of its disgusting critters within the child.


    Jotaro frowned at Sakura’s torso, remembering that there is something he could actually try to do in this circumstance but-


    “If it wasn’t close to her heart, could it be possible to remove it?”


    Caster gave an unfocused nod. That was more than enough for Jotaro to go through with his plan.


    「Star Platinum」 formed before his eyes, and the Stand carefully hovered his left hand over the girl’s chest. The palm went intangible, slowly lowering itself through Sakura’s rib cage and right near to the heart.


    Pausing at the sensation of an unexpected object within the section of the child’s body, 「Star Platinum」 made his hand tangible once again and reached for the worm in there, pushing it away from the Major organs before carefully leaving the place.


    During this entire operation, Caster stared in pure disbelief at what was happening. While she couldn’t see what her Master was doing with his Stand, she could feel the worm being pushed away from harm’s zone.


    Soon Jotaro nodded as his Servant, letting the brunette act quickly over the opportunity provided by her Master.


    The process was tense but soon the plum-haired girl was freed from Zouken’s last bits of influence within her body.


    She finally released her tense form, easing up until she looked ready to pass out. The Kujo proceeded to remove his long jacked and place it over her strained body, offering her some warmth through the cloth before lifting her hug close to his chest.


    “Master, that was- what you just did was-”


    “SO COOL!”


    The Master-Servant duo turned to look at the one behind the interruption, noticing Joseph groaning as he was holding up a wide-eyed young boy with light-blue hair.


    Good Grief, at least the worst is now over.


    -------------d-d-d-d-------------d-d-d-d-------------d-d-d-d----------


    AN


    A few things before I go out in a BLAST!


    Kariya knows about Jotaro? His work made it possible to learn about Jotaro as a renowned professor and family man. Gossip is quite important when you work as a freelancer for many groups.


    Kariya is actually not simping over Aoi? I guess it can be taken as a surprise, but I think Kariya could’ve been given some character development where he ends up actually trying to save Sakura… for the sake of just saving Sakura. Maybe the pain fueling his mind into regret for turning such a desperate child as a mean to gain affection from Aoi. And this is the case in this story. Not much of a character development since I’ve decided to not make it his first intentions.


    Lancelot died the dog way? To be fair, I love Lancelot… until he decided to not only being a dick to Galahad, but also go after Guinevere. While I can understand the whole ‘Artoria forgave him because she would have not be able to love Guinevere properly’, I take offense in the overall offense caused by this character’s actions. I still do have a soft spot for him, which is shown in Tales of Two Kings with how importance I’m giving his character, but I do dislike the moron bits of him.


    Shinji is here… why is he here? In canon, Shinji was sent oversea to study. But in this story Zouken made the ultimate decision to not send him anywhere. The reason for this change of Earth is correlated to the fact that Tokiomi could’ve tried to send someone to kidnap him and put pressure on the Matou.


    How to kill a Worm: Many will surely inquire how is it possible that Zouken dies like this. There was no massive brawl that leveled Fuyuki, and no major efforts to remove the worms. The thing is that many forget that Zouken as a simple weakpoint not many fanfics point at. Sakura’s worm (the one close to her heart, and the one that after Fate/Zero gets the Grail Shards) is actually Zouken’s main worm. If it dies, Zouken dies with it.


    And… nothing else. I mean, I did try a little pilot in FFN and QQ with the story ‘The Unwanted Visitor’. It’s a soft-core Horror story, not much blood having been spilled just yet and… It’s set in Satellite City. Yeah, I love FENNAH’s work and I’m really waiting for his upcoming book, ‘The August Few’.
     
  12. nick012000

    nick012000 Experienced.

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    So, uh, how are they planning on keeping Sakura's heart beating with Zouken's worm killed? It replaced the nerves that normally do so, after all. Using the Ripple while they rush her to the hospital for an emergency pacemaker surgery?

    It'd also provide enough justification for Sakura to start learning to use the Ripple, if you wanted to. She's certainly undergone enough hardship in her life for that to be possible.
     
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  13. JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    I don't think the worm actually replaced her heart before the end of the Fourth Holy Grail War. I think that became a thing when Zouken implanted the grail shards in it and wanted a greater guarantee that he could get control over Sakura in case she snapped against him.

    That's highly probable. But for now I think I will focus on another kind of scene for Sakura. Something that will forge her attitude from this point onward in this different timeline.
     
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  14. Edifier

    Edifier Trusted within thoughts.

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    Sakura feels like Jotaros mom, the one who was being killed by her own stand.
     
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  15. Threadmarks: Fifth Mantra! The Right Path is never the Easier Path!
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    Chapter 8: Fifth Mantra! The Right Path is never the Easier Path!


    Jotaro leaned tiredly by the lone chair in the room, his attention directed at the desk as he settled the last document for today’s work.


    Paperwork for today was done despite having made plans to get it done a while after this moment meant to be spent sleeping.


    But his mind was too worked up to actually find some rest. Kariya’s words had stuck around after the conclusion of that messy assault.


    No one was genuinely injured during the attack, with the lone exception of Caster now requiring some rest to allow her energy to fix her minor wounds by her hands.


    All in all, it was a successful win for his position within this deadly competition. Maybe things weren’t meant to be difficult this early on.


    Sure, there was a noticeable roster of people seeking his ultimate demise, but for now none actually came close to genuinely harm him.


    The episode by the docks was a singular event that reminded him that things could change without a warning, but ever since he started paying more attention to his surrounding and sharpened his reaction time to fit with the high-paced battles that were going to ensue from now on, Jotaro couldn’t help but feel like this War wasn’t just a conflict.


    Something… something about it just didn’t sit well with him. It was still absurd to consider how nobody had managed to win this kind of long-term competition.


    Mysteries that would’ve to wait considering the unpleasant lack of information over some of the elements about the competition.


    Maybe, just maybe, this was all a scam. A trick created to fool any greed Magus that desired to take over the world.


    And for some reason, this possibility felt incredibly feasible considering the kind of people that was part of this Holy Grail War.


    Still, while his night was restless, he managed to achieve blissful peace when, much to his surprise and immense relief, his Servant decided to fall asleep.


    He would’ve expected for Xuanzang to keep awake so that she could maintain a vigilant watch over the young girl currently resting her head by her lap.


    Sakura Matou, one of the children saved by the Matou Family, was soundlessly sleeping. Her tiny body was covered with several sheets as they didn’t have the time to recover any of her clothes by her former ‘house’.


    Which is why Joseph and the loud nuisance known as Shinji were quick to go for a shopping spree to buy some clothes for both children. It was impressive for a boy like Sakura’s brother to be an extrovert in spite of the toxic environment he had been forced to grow by, but at least he didn’t keep any visible malicious intent from his drunkard father.


    Byakuya Matou was arrested shortly after they had left the manor, with Joseph himself having tipped the police about the mysterious passing of Shinji’s mother. For the time being, the scumbag was going to be kept in jail until a proper trial could be created out of the proof that was appearing slowly but steadily.


    Surprisingly enough the situation made it to the local news, with a couple of the reporters going as far as making theories over the mysterious disappearances of both Sakura, Shinji, and the decrepit Zouken.


    An attempt to kill everyone and then himself?


    The public loved the sensationalism born from the journalists, and thus the rumors of Byakuya being a murderer further incensed the police to find all the proof they needed to end the investigation and seal the violent drunkard’s fate for a lifelong sentence spent in prison.


    Jotaro was glad that justice here in Fuyuki Town worked swiftly and efficiently, but he was still curious to see if the authorities were tied with Magi or not. It just sounded so odd that the law enforcement failed to catch these situations every since the ‘deadly tradition’ started.


    Maybe there was indeed a connection, and maybe this is why nobody ever had the chance of questioning the ‘strange events’ that tended to happen in the city every few decades.


    Just as he continued with this musing, with his eyelids finally dropping low at the lack of a reason to stay awake, his attention was sharply taken away from the desk by a sudden loud noise coming from the door leading to the bathroom.


    His head turned quickly, and Jotaro’s alerted look ended up finding a tense-looking child with her hand still by the doorhandle.


    Sakura looked… uneasy. Now displaying some shivering over her entire body and blanket she was using to cover herself, the girl slowly turned to glance right up to the marine biologist.


    Did she… go to the bathroom without me noticing?


    The thought painted up surprised, but not as much as he felt when she took a couple of steps towards him. He kept quiet, curious to see what the girl was trying to accomplish.


    She stopped, her blank stare now exuding just a glint of embarrassment, and then she spoke.


    “I’m sorry.”


    At first Jotaro failed to register the simple apology. The child’s voice was incredibly soft, and while there was nothing making sound or creating some sound barrier between him and the girl, he still had some trouble in getting it right the first time around.


    “What?”


    Her stare slowly lowered to the floor.


    “I’m… sorry.”


    This time her tone was louder, just enough to reach the man’s ears and get him to frown at the apology.


    In his mind, there was nothing that the girl had done to him to warrant such a behavior.


    Did she mess up something in the bathroom?


    Sakura was quite young, maybe she was never taught how to use the toilet. It wouldn’t be a surprise considering the disgusting state that the Matou family had forced her into for a full year now.


    Jotaro blinked. “Why are you apologizing?”


    He decided to not be too direct. The child looked frightened enough already, and he knew that a tiny bit of tact was needed to avoid an unending situation of trying to get an answer out of her.


    The girl looked slightly surprised at the question, but her stare remained directed at the floor, like a child being scolded by their parents.


    “I… I went to the bathroom without asking,” She replied softly. “Aren’t you going to be mad because of it?”





    “No,” He replied calmly, allowing for more confusing silence to surround their odd conversation.


    “No?”


    He sighed. “I didn’t stutter.”


    Sakura blinked once, ultimately giving a slow nod at that confirmation.


    “Then it’s… the kind lady going to be mad?”


    Now, the interaction was turning annoying.


    “No.”





    Now her confusion was perfectly represented by the particularly cute frown on her face.


    “Why… no?”


    “Why should we be mad you needed to go to the bathroom?” The adult inquired back, failing to hold back part of the irritation created by this senseless situation.


    Sakura quickly noticed this, and swiftly shut her lips up instead of providing a proper answer.


    Biting down a groan at that unneeded reluctance, Jotaro waited patiently for the girl to drop the little uneasiness. But instead of keeping waiting any longer and hope for his chances to resume the discussion to increase, the man paused in minor realization as he took notice of a worrying detail.


    The plum-haired child was still shivering, despite her panic having subsided well enough for the trembling to stop, she was still doing it.


    A concerned thought erupted at the sight and the question was blurted out without him thinking too much about it.


    “Are you feeling cold?”


    A blink, and then… she finally looked up from the floor.


    “A little,” She replied curtly. “I’m… sorry.”


    He was half-tempted to say that there was no need to be sorry. Again. But then Jotaro realized that if he rebuked her on that point, there was a risk of the child closing up again to him.


    And so, holding himself from pointing that out, the man merely patted at his right leg.


    “Come closer.”


    The request sounded stern, but there was a hint of softness that was added just to not make it sound like an order.


    Sakura looked perplexed at the two words. Her uncertainty played much with her indecision for a little while, but she ended up complying.


    Once she approached him close enough, the marine biologist leaned forward a little bit so that his arms had the best chance of lifting her up from the floor and allowing her by his lap. He could tell that his suspicions were correct from the way she felt so cold to his own body.


    The girl tensed up suddenly, caught off-guard by the sudden physical interaction, but doing nothing that could’ve complicated the little plan conceived by Jotaro’s tired mind.


    Since he was dealing with a kid, maybe he should approach the matter on a simpler and less ‘threatening’ way. Sakura’s wide eyes swiftly turned to match in front of her as the man carefully turned the chair back in front of the desk.


    With her sight stuck in the shock-induced look over the furniture’s smooth surface, Jotaro reached for one of the empty papers that he would use on a normal instance to make calculations about his reports.


    The girl’s attention was quick to turn at the simple piece of paper.


    “Do you know how to read Kanji?”


    Silence was his answer, either because the child was still digesting the swift series of events that saw her now sitting by his lap or because she didn’t know how to do it.


    Sighing, he started to write on the paper and he decided to test something he had once heard his wife talking about when mentioning how the two were supposed to raise little Jolyne. Education was important, and Jotaro wholeheartedly wanted only the best for his young daughter.


    Children tended to be interested when something they were aware about was mentioned through new manners. Like writing one’s name on a paper and letting the girl inquire about the result before her eyes.


    The pen started to leave ink on the paper as he quietly wrote a single kanji on the paper. Sakura watched the action with a mix of interest and confusion, her eyes gaining a higher emotional degree compared to before.


    Once the man was done with the writing, he moved the pen away and he waited for a reaction from the kid.





    “What is… that?” In a single moment of pure curiosity, Sakura’s monotonous tone cracked in a more child-like tune.


    Jotaro blinked, hoping that he wasn’t wrong about this despite the noticeable step forward.


    “That’s the kanji for your name, Sakura,” The marine biologist replied calmly. “Do you know what it means?”


    She hummed, seemingly gaining more interest over the sight. “It’s… the cherry tree? The one with the pink leaves?”


    “That’s correct,” He commented positively. “I suppose it was your uncle, Kariya, that told you about this.”


    A nod, her humming increasing as she thought about this.


    “He said that my name represented me. That I was as pretty as the leaves of the cherry tree.”


    “I can see that. I can tell he was telling the truth,” Jotaro admitted flatly, quickly gaining a sudden look from Sakura as the girl turned around in his lap to stare up at him.


    “R-Really?”


    He nodded, staring down and locking gaze with the child for a while. In the end Sakura offered a nod, and Jotaro was half-sure the girl flashed a smile before returning her attention on the paper.


    “What… is your name, sir?”


    A blink, then two and… he answered the question by writing down the Kanji for his name.


    承太郎


    “Uh?” She huffed, her slight annoyance bringing more life out of the previously reserved girl. “What… does that mean?”


    A small smile appeared on his face, and his left hand unconsciously reached for the top of her head. A pat, then two. She didn’t shy away from the touch.


    “That’s my name. Jotaro.”


    Sakura nodded, keeping quiet for a couple of seconds as she leaned back and allowed her shoulders to reach his shoulder, a hum building up at the suave head-patting she was being subjected to.





    “Jo-ta-ro,” She spelled softly, pondering over the name.


    He sighed happily, glad that this kid wasn’t as obnoxious as her older brother.


    “How about we draw something?” The marine biologist proposed. “Do you know what a starfish is?”


    The girl shook her head. “What is it?”


    And in that very moment, Jotaro felt like there was a chance of bringing some good culture to a young child. The kind of culture he had long learned to love and turn in his own work.


    But while he was distracted in that simple activity with little Sakura, a certain Servant had been awake to see the entire interaction unfold.


    With a smirk settled on her beautiful face, Caster started to make plan to finally give the poor girl a loving family in the form of her Master’s own.


    And with that, she was sure that her Master was going to learn how to properly become a parent too!


    ------------d-d-d-d------------d-d-d-d------------d-d-d-d--------------d-d-d-d----


    This is unacceptable!


    A loud slam echoed through the large workshop as Kirei continued to watch silently the furious man that was Tokiomi Tohsaka.


    While the head of the renowned clan was known for his self-restraint, the news that had just reached them ended up stirring an unpleasant mood out of the elegant aristocrat.


    The fate of the Matou family itself wasn’t something that truly mattered to Tokiomi, nor did the fact that Berserker was now destroyed. In fact, this last detail was taken in with glee from the dark-haired Magus.


    The real issue was connected to a tiny change of hand between the now-dead rival family and the Master of Caster. Little Sakura was now under the care of one Jotaro Kujo.


    Up until now, the presence of the ‘foolish researcher’ has been regarded by the Master of Archer as nothing more but a simple nuisance that his Servant could’ve easily dealt with.


    Not a lie, but also an incorrect statement to regard Gilgamesh as his puppet to lead around. Especially when the King of Uruk was unrestrained in his lording over Tokiomi’s plans and own orders.


    Kirei was also aware that Jotaro Kujo and his Servant were far more troublesome than just a couple of rookies, even beyond the simple information the Holy See had over the marine biologist’s family.


    The fact that the ‘foolish’ man managed to destroy something that has been regarded by the head of the Tohsaka clan as ‘a group of people that were far too entrenched to be eradicated’, mostly because of the guarantees set by Zouken through his favors within Clocktower’s society blocking any political power play against the Matou Clan, was a clear alarm for Tokiomi to take and analyze in proper quiet.


    Sadly enough, said logical development wasn’t followed at all. The emotional outburst the young priest was forced to listen to together with his father was the telling sign that Tokiomi didn’t learn from his mistakes.


    In a conflict as complicated as the Holy Grail War, it was best to keep any close bonds away from the reach of other competitors.


    Just like the man had done by sending Aoi and little Rin to live by the woman’s parents until things were War was over.


    But now that a ‘sore spot’ was revealed by the newest guardian Sakura now had, Tokiomi had little to hold back the growing hatred he was feeling towards Jotaro Kujo.


    “Surely there has to be a mean for us to press charge against him,” The Tohsaka inquired at Risei, his tone still keeping part of the outburst that preceded this conversation. “He stole my daughter-”


    “One that you’ve freely given up by allowing Zouken to adopt her as the Matou heiress,” The older priest rebuked. “What happens to her after that point is concern only to the Matou Clan… or ‘was’ considering the recent events.”


    “And that is while ignoring what Zouken turned out to be,” Kirei added with a blank voice. “He was a monster, one that you decided to leave a child under its care for a full year.”


    “I really hope you have an explanation to offer to Aoi once she learn about this,” The older representative mentioned. “Because I know she will not bow her head once the truth comes out.”


    The dark-haired Magus gritted his teeth at the dual assault, unable to formulate a response to what was indeed going to be a troublesome conversation with his wife. The only reason Aoi had been accepting of parting with their youngest daughter was because it was normal for Magus families to offer children that aren’t meant to become heirs to the clan to be sent to other families.


    But the very moment she discovered that Sakura wasn’t learning any magecraft and about the inhumane conditions the little girl was subjected for twelve months…


    He truly dreaded that encounter.


    “Still, stole a child capable of magecraft,” Tokiomi resumed vehemently. “And we both know that neither the Church nor Clocktower will care whatever deed he committed in the past. He still threatens our livelihood if he delves further into-”


    “The world of supernatural? The Mystery of Magecraft?” Risei interjected dryly, almost ridiculing the obvious obsessiveness born from that simple development. “What you might be ignoring, Tokiomi, is that the Joestar Family is already part of the Moonlit World. It has been since the first fall of Dio Brando at the hands of Jonathan Joestar.”


    “But Dio wasn’t an Apostle,” Kirei commented with a hint of curiosity. “Does it still count as connection to our world?”


    Instead of providing a quick answer, the overseer of the Holy Grail War merely smirked.


    “I don’t recall ever saying that it was Dio that tied the Joestar Family to us all,” He pointed out mirthfully. “In fact, I think what you’re both forgetting is… that the Joestar Family was once a Magus Family centuries ago.”





    “Surely you jest, Risei,” Tokiomi rebutted sternly. “I’m quite sure that every single Magus family born in England still hold considerable influence and influence in Clocktower. Why would they cease to make use of Magecraft?”


    “I suppose it’s because the case itself is controversial for Clocktower,” The priest explained with a nod. “The decision itself to turn to a more ‘non-magical’ path of life was one made out of family’s interests. Joel Joestar was the one that decided to take a drastic route to secure his house’s full survival, well away from the deadly politics of the Clocktower.”


    “And why wasn’t this information given earlier, Risei?”


    “That’s because I wasn’t aware of it until a day ago, Tokiomi-san.”


    Kirei noticed the little barb over the honorific, realizing that his father was growing impatient with how childish the Master of Archer was being in that very moment.


    Maybe he had been incorrect earlier on. Tokiomi was indeed leaving an irritating disposition over both blank-looking church members despite their best efforts to not be influenced by this impatience.


    “So this Jotaro Kujo… you think he was able to summon a Servant through this connection? It’s preposterous but-”


    “No, I think there is much more to it than we currently now,” Risei admitted with a nod. “My contacts are digging as much as possible without getting noticed. The registry of the Joestar family was divided and scattered in various sections of the Holy See’s own archives. It will take a long time before we get all of it revealed to us.”


    The archives in Rome were massive, but the ones spread all over Italy? The combined effort should’ve taken month if the request had been one with normal priority.


    But since Kirei’s father had mustered a couple of favors to speed up this operation, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to believe that ‘enough’ was going to get unveiled well before the end of the competition.


    In the end, this situation didn’t truly leave much of an impression on Kirei himself. As of now, Jotaro Kujo wasn’t an enemy of his despite how much hatred Tokiomi now harbored for the man.


    In his eyes, the ‘simple man’ lived by ethics and ideals that sounded as idyllic as reachable in due time.


    Sure, the process of finding his own peace wasn’t going to wrap up with how ‘short’ this War was going to be, but the foundation of a serious effort were going to be laid down in these important days.


    Experimenting by the kitchen broadened a route he had once thought about pursuing, but never did out of the humbleness of the work. It didn’t fit with the ‘elevated’ nature of his lifestyle, not as the son of someone as influential as Risei.


    But now that his father showed support for this attempt, Kirei didn’t have much of a reason to not give his best in this good chance of finding happiness beyond inflicting pain to others.


    Cooking was drawing a strange emotion out of him, especially with the comments regaled to him by either his father, Assassin herself, or even Gilgamesh himself. It was… pleasant, but at the same time fleeting.


    It pushed him to seek deeper, to delve further over what seems to be the tip of a monumental iceberg that just waited for him to unravel.


    Time was still on his side if he managed to survive this competition. And maybe… he could ask for a leave for Italy once he was done with his job here in Fuyuki.


    Maybe see if he could actually live with his own demons while taking care of his daughter. A life without causing violence… maybe some violence could be condoned if he decided to try some extra-spicy recipes.


    “But enough with this… ranting,” Tokiomi stated with a calmer voice. “I’m sorry for having subjected you both to… my frustrations. This war is taking an unexpected turn after another.”


    “It’s understandable to feel irritated by plans failing to realize,” Risei replied with a polite nod. “But please, in future occasions, I wish to remind you that we’re not minions to your wish. We agree to it, and we will support it- but never as subordinate of yours. This is an alliance of equals.”


    It was a stern chiding, one that the Tohsaka couldn’t help but merely nod at as he knew that it was just the truth being reminded to him.


    The alliance was built on his simple wish of bringing prosperity for both the Church and his family. The moment he showed interest in ruining the Church, it was going to be the moment the alliance is off. and hostilities were to be established between the Clan and the Holy See.


    Once this conversation was over, both Kirei and Risei walked out of Tokiomi’s workshop, their way mostly the same until the former took a different turn to his father’s route.


    “Have fun cooking,” The older priest wished happily, ignoring that his son wasn’t actually aiming at that just yet.


    He still had some important work to do before genuinely delving back in his ‘self-studies’.


    Once he was away from any eavesdroppers, he sighed and stopped in his steps.


    “Assassin.”


    The violet-haired woman with dark-black skin appeared beside him, bowing at him for a while before standing up.


    “I suppose you’re done with the task I’ve given you.”


    She nodded. “We got eyes on Rider and Lancer, both with their respective Masters.”


    “What about Caster?”


    “We know where they are, but we decided against getting close enough to spy on their actions. They are in a place that doesn’t allow us to spy well from afar.”


    A minor pity, but one that wouldn’t matter to him since his priority was elsewhere.


    “And… Kiritsugu Emiya?”


    “The castle is a fortress with numerous detection fields by its walls. But nothing that prevented us from installing some eyes over the paths that lead to the city.”


    So he will have the means to know if Kiritsugu is wandering around in the city or not. It wasn’t the best situation since Kirei had pondered over knowing what was happening within that large building, but his interest lied on making sure he had eyes over the Magus Killer’s actions while he was out of his lair.


    Initially, his plan was to see what kind of man Kiritsugu Emiya was. To see if he could really relate to the plight the man suffered on his own.


    But then, he ended up finding enlightenment through a simple conversation with both Jotaro Kujo and his Servant. Both had acted against the basic rules of not offering advice to an enemy, going as far as give him a chance to become a better man.


    With this development, his early plan was shelved away as he considered it superfluous and risky… instead contemplating over the aftermath of a proper encounter between Jotaro and Kiritsugu.


    Both had different upbringings, both faced loss in different ways, but the two Masters were also fathers of small families.


    It was almost poetic, and the match up just resonated better in his mind than his first idea did. It was enough to prompt him to drop all activities and set up a careful plot with Assassin.


    Creating a large chessboard for him to manipulate without risking himself and his Servant… that was the truest potential of Assassin. One that would’ve surely been wasted if they had been subordinated to Tokiomi’s whims and foolish plans.


    “What about… the other task?”


    The Servant nodded again. “It took us a while to get in contact with people that could’ve been contracted without exposing our identities, but we managed to get the pictures you asked.”


    He blinked, reaching for the thin folder presented by the Servant.


    Kirei didn’t say anything else, merely opening the container to pull out a handful of photos. All of those had a single individual standing out to the others caught in the frame, and that individual was the priest’s own curiosity for now.


    Shoulder-length white hair, a calm yellow color shining through her eyes...


    Caren looked… fragile. Not outright sickly as her mother had been, but enough to urge interest in Kirei about her lack of a genuine uneasiness over the bandages by her legs.


    A blank stare was on her face, almost a moment away in becoming a scowl as the little girl merely stared at the ‘focus’ of the situation. Sometimes it was a group of children, sometimes it was her grandparents sharing a conversation with elevated members of the Roman noble class.


    It was a curious sight that got him not only perplexed, but his mind started to switch her form with another child. This one was a simple boy trying to understand how things worked with children as he stared from afar, or even when his father, Risei, was busy discussing with other Church representatives.


    Could it be that he had somehow pushed his daughter into his own route?


    He would’ve expected for Claudia’s parents to be more present in her life. They had been when their daughter was going through the painful months that preceded her passing.


    Maybe the emotional pain had left them blind before the obvious.


    Caren was being partly neglected because of this. While the child was taken care about properly in a sustainable way, she was still being left emotionally detached from the rest of those around her.





    This had to be solved once he was done with the Holy Grail War, maybe by using these very pictures to force the staunch nobles to let go of his daughter.


    It would be suicidal to go now and risk antagonizing the Church by dropping his duties for this occasion. Time was still on his side, but it didn’t mean that he wasn’t furious about this development.


    Kirei ‘let go’ of Caren with the hopes of sparing her from him, but he wasn’t going to allow her to become just like he was. Twisted, corrupted… aimless.


    Sighing, he glanced at Assassin with a quizzical look.


    “I suppose you will also join me to the kitchen,” The man muttered politely. “I wouldn’t mind some company today.”


    The Servant tensed up a little bit at his words.


    Was it surprise? It was quite curious to see one of the most renowned killers become so flustered before a humble offer of food-tasting.


    She merely nodded, ignoring her Master’s look as they both proceeded to walk towards the kitchen for a couple of hours spent cooking and testing the recipes.


    Meanwhile Gilgamesh looked at the two retreat from his little perch by the glass ceiling of the large room the Master-Servant Duo had been speaking to. In his mind, this was slowly becoming far more entertaining than anything he could’ve done with his own intervention.


    ---------------d-d-d-d----------------d-d-d-d--------------d-d-d-d-


    AN


    I’m kind of sad there’s not many fanarts of Chibi Caren. There are a couple with other characters in their kid form, but none where she is actually alone and cute. Also, to help with imagination, Caren Hortensia is currently as old as Sakura.


    Lastly, little thought over those that questioned how Sakura got her worms purged: I remind you all that Star Platinum is a Stand, a Manifestation of an individual’s fighting spirit, and thus has a resemblance to its user soul. What Jotaro can do with it is similar to Kirei’s Spiritual Healing, opening a ‘wound’ between the Circuits and the Worms, and tearing away harmlessly the worms from committing any harm to their host.
     
  16. nick012000

    nick012000 Experienced.

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    I wonder how Kiritsugu would react to shooting his guns at Jotaro and Jotaro just catching all the bullets out of mid-air with his Stand.
     
    Lenderman likes this.
  17. Extras: Interlude 1: Calm Day! It's all about the hat!
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    Interlude 1: Calm Day! It’s all about the hat!


    Sakura looked fairly uneasy as Jotaro led her around the city. Considering the height differences, the tall man had decided to pick her up and keep her in his arms while they were all out wandering Fuyuki’s streets.


    The plum-haired girl still held a degree of appreciation from the gesture, which was shown with how quiet she was while her head rested on the marine biologist’s chest.


    The simple dark-blue dress looked nice on her, and Jotaro was blunt enough to point this out. The compliment was taken as calmly as it was given by the child, but a tiny smile had erupted out at hearing the flattering words.


    Joseph and little Shinji had left for their temporary homes, with the elder taking time to tell stories of his youth to the annoying brat. The boy was loud, but at least it was a normal trait for a kid his age to have.


    But Sakura was not of the same note. The girl was quiet most of the time, and would only talk when an input was directed at her. Plus, she wouldn’t leave Jotaro’s side, going as far as to keep waiting by the doorstep as the man went through his morning routine.


    Caster was deeply amused by this situation, and her comments of comparing the two to father and daughter got plenty of stern glances from Jotaro, and confused looks from the former Matou.


    The reactions only incensed the pink-eyed woman to press them on over the matter and driving a wedge over any attempt to make serious conversation with her.


    The Kujoh was once against reminded that his Servant was a pest when she wanted, but she was at least restraining herself from going overboard since the girl in his hold wasn’t prepared for the sheer madness Xuanzang was showing to have to her Master.


    Things in Fuyuki were unsurprisingly calm by this hour, and the man thought that the lack of any enemy was related to the fact it was still daytime.


    None of the Masters would blatantly risk the revelation of Magecraft to the rest of the normal people, thus his guard was mostly at ease as he decided to check on a few places before returning back on the flat.


    One of the things Joseph had mentioned before leaving was the need to buy some emergency resources in case some smartass decided to attack the hotel. One can never be prepared well enough to avoid facing this kind of situations and thus the first stop was buying some groceries.


    Picking up cheap food like instant Ramen and then shifting half of the funds set for this little task to buy water bottles, Jotaro decided to also buy some first aid equipment in case anyone got injured during one of the attacks.


    As of now, it was pure lack that the damage reported was minimal and suffered by those that could recover in due time thanks to some passive healing factor. And that wasn’t going to last forever considering the roster of people aiming to kill him right now.


    “Oh? I suppose this lovely girl is your daughter, sir and ma’am,” The clerk set by the entrance said as she continued to scan through the products pulled out of their cart and on the counter.


    Caster giggled, shaking her head at the affirmation. “We’re not married.”


    “Apologies, ma’am. But still, truly a cute child, sir.”


    Jotaro held back a grimace as the annoying woman still thought that he was the father of little Sakura.


    The plum-haired kid glanced up with a calm look, yet a hint of curiosity passed through as the marine biologist merely ignored the irritating comments from the clerk.


    Once all products were paid, Jotaro hoped to be freed from this scene and be allowed out of that shop at once… yet he was forced to stop as the shopkeeper reached for the girl with a tiny lollipop.


    “Here. A little gift for a little cutie.”


    The former Matou stared at the offering with a confused look, but instead of making a decision there, she once more looked up to the Stand User for guidance.


    Since he really wanted to leave the place as quickly as possible, the Kujo nodded at the child and Sakura picked the offer as swiftly as she received the answer.


    “T-Thank you.”


    The soft reply got a squeal out of the frustrating lady, but the trio was already out of the shop by the time the woman had recovered from that adorable response.


    After this little situation was dealt with, Jotaro’s next step in his small plan was to check on the clothes shop Joseph had told him about. If the hotel was attacked, most of his clothes would have to be ditched as those weren’t worth risking death over.


    And even though he had plans to save his hats from getting destroyed in the process, there was no reason for the marine biologist to not prepare some spare clothes in the worst case scenario.


    Once they were inside the shop, the Stand User started to approach the shopkeepers and check if there were any scientist coats that he could buy already instead of checking on more specialized shops.


    In this instance Sakura was finally allowed down, her eyes gazing around in a curious manner as to get the entire appearance of the shop memorized. The clothes, from formal ones to common ones.


    Jotaro left Caster to check on the girl while he went around to get his list fulfilled as fast as possible, getting only a bored huff by the brunette before completely ignoring his Servant’s reaction to his order.


    Still, the child’s stare kept on trailing all around until she eventually locked her sight onto the small metallic casket holding a specific category of apparels that she found herself interested too.


    Hats of various kind. Her interest piqued the more she searched for anything truly worth checking on.


    It was a tiny wish of her, one that had been sparked by the oddly endearing white hat that her new guardian always had on himself.


    Quietly hummed as she kept on looking around, Sakura barely noticed that Xuanzang’s curious glance was locked on her actions. She watched as the young girl approached the casket and dug a little bit through the multiple hats available there as something caught the child’s attention.


    Soon she pulled out a simple baseball hat. It wasn’t one with marks of a specific team, but it had quite the curious color theme on it.


    A dark purple as a main, while the cap was black. Sakura stared at it for a little while, studying it while she held onto it for some time.


    Then she donned it for a moment and silently approached the nearby mirror and give a look to it as she wore it.


    Despite the clear interest to buy it, the child eventually went back to the casket and left it atop the others before returning near the counter.


    Caster frowned at this scene, biting her lips with a perplexed look as her sight turned back and forth between the plum-haired girl and the hat. Eventually, she decided to do something drastic but perhaps much important.


    She could feel that it was needed! A must of sort!


    Taking hold of the hat by the cap, the brunette threw it up well above Sakura’s line of sight and soon the apparel silently fell onto Jotaro’s basket that had been left on the counter of the shop.


    Time passed smoothly and soon the marine biologist was back to pay for the three discounted coats he found thanks to the clerks.


    Just as the duo started to list down the products that he had to pay for, his attention was caught when he was notified of the mysterious hat that was now his to properly buy.


    He would’ve remembered that he had planned to buy something like it, and yet he knew he hadn’t.


    Looking at the rest of his entourage, he noticed Sakura’s wide-eyed expression at the curious product and Caster giving a nervous hint that this might have been all part of her plan.


    The brunette turned her eyes away as he looked with more intensity, expecting her to talk up but… she refused to admit to the deed.


    Instead, he picked the hat in his hands and glanced at Sakura. The kid looked back, her blank stare allowed a hint of hopefulness over the simple thing.


    But why would he be interesting in something like this. Then it hit him when he saw her briefly looked slightly above his eyes and… to his own hat.


    Did she want one to copy him? It wasn’t unusual for children to copy their parents but… he wasn’t her father. So why was she interested in this right now?


    Just as he pondered over it, an old memory from a past before his dangerous life emerged to remind him of how his interest for hats started.


    -----------d-d-d-d-------------d-d-d-d--------------d-d-d-d--------


    Flashback...


    Scrambling around in his room to find a way to fix the hideous mess that was his current hairstyle.


    A younger Jotaro huffed as he searched for any gel that could help him fix the unruly strands falling over his eyes, and yet he couldn’t find anything of the kind.


    Skipping the barber’s appointment twice had led to an unfortunate growth of his hair, which in turn led him to worry about making a terrible impression now that he was starting Junior High.


    People had already belittled him for being taller than his peers, some even joking that he was just brawn and no brain. To add more insult to the current injury was just begging to be mocked and annoyed for the rest of his school life.


    Yet the more he failed to find a solution to this issue, the more his irritation continued to grow within his mind.


    A huff, then another groan, and his mindless search ended up drawing the attention of the second occupant of the house.


    Holly Kujo took a moment to peek from the doorstep at the extent of her son’s little crusading, sighing tiredly as she noticed the disaster the distracted boy was leaving on his wake.


    “Jotaro-kun, what’s wrong?” She finally asked before entering the room. Her voice quickly garnered the young man’s attention, and Jotaro snapped out of his dread-induced rampage. “Why are you making a mess of your room? Shouldn’t you be preparing to leave for your first day?”


    He blinked, glancing around and slowly realizing at the chaos he had created in his distracted task.


    “S-Sorry, mom. I will clean everything up before leaving...” He said before sighing. “It’s just that I’m trying to find a mean to fix my hair. It’s… it’s hideous.”


    The kind woman smiled calmly at her child as she approached him. “Now, now, there’s no need to make a tragedy out of a messy hairstyle.”


    “But… I want to try and make the best out of this year. I know my height already makes things difficult, but I… I don’t want to be make any bad impressions.”


    “And you will not,” The blonde responded with a nod. “You’re a handsome and smart young man with a big, golden heart.”


    Jotaro cracked a smile at that response, but his happy reaction was dampened by the still-gloomy mood.


    “Still...”


    “You really want to fix your hair so desperately?” Holly inquired with a teasing tone, soon sobering up and nodding at her son. “I think I might have a… solution to this. But you might not like it.”


    He frowned at the latter bit. “If it can solve this, then it will do.”


    The woman gave another slow nod. “Then… please, follow me.”


    The two left the boy’s room and walked up to a specific room that hadn’t seen much activity for a couple of months now.


    Jotaro tensed a little bit as his mother led him inside his father’s musical office, the place where he kept the various saxophones the old timer had recovered in the last decade.


    But Holly’s interest wasn’t directed at what was already in display, but rather a tiny box that had been hidden away behind the first saxophone his father ever used.


    The wood in there looked quite odd, and when his mother opened it to reveal the content, he was stunned by the cloud of dust that greeted them both.


    It took them a couple of seconds to cough away the dust, but soon the content was revealed to them and… Jotaro’s eyes widened in surprise.


    A hat, it looked to be made with the same material used for the uniform he was currently wearing. His eyes were mesmerized by the golden button in it, the curious symbol there catching his attention… but then he noticed the tiny envelop on the side and he was prompted to check on it.


    The paper looked weary, but the ink in there looked of good quality. The kanji was readable and soon Jotaro started to give it a thorough look.


    Sadao-kun, I’m sorry that I couldn’t make it for your first day of Junior High.


    Your father is a busy man, but still a man that honors the achievements of a proud member of the Kujo Clan. While I can’t tell this personally as I’m taken by a business trip, I wish for you to know that, while you’re seeking a different path from the family’s old work, I still support your passion and your determination.


    Your music shall resonate in people’s heart, just like you made me happy of calling you my son.


    Your busy father, Johei Kujo.


    “This is… grandfather’s hat?”


    “Sadao-kun told me that he felt nervous during his first day, and that when he first received the letter and the hat, he found courage by wearing it,” Holly explained with a fond smile. “Now, this is yours to take. Your father would’ve wanted to be there to give it to your personally but-”


    “He’s busy,” Jotaro muttered. “It’s alright, I… I know that he doesn’t have a choice about it.”





    “But I think… this will work,” The boy said while looking back at the hat, taking it in his own hands and putting it on his head. “It feels… nice.”


    The blonde giggled. “I’m sure it does. But now you should get your room cleaned or else you might turn out late for your first day.”


    Jotaro’s eyes widened in panic at that reminder, and he almost rushed out of the room to comply to the order… but he stopped for a moment near to his mother to deliver a quick peck on her cheek.


    “Thank you, mom!”


    Bolting away from the room, he could only hear the faint notes of his mother’s giggles while he started to fix everything back to normal in his room.


    Today, he will make her proud of calling him her son!


    -------------d-d-d-d-----------d-d-d-d-----------d-d-d-d---------


    Sakura’s eyes widened in surprise as she felt the soft fabric of the hat she wanted to have now settling over her head. Giving a quick but careful pat over her head, Jotaro turned his attention to the clerks and nodded.


    “How much for this hat?”


    The girl couldn’t just believe it as these words left the man’s mouth, and yet money was given to formalize the acquisition of the object.


    Quiet moments passed as Sakura was once more picked up by the marine biologist, and she carefully adjusted herself in his hold as the trio started to make their way back to the hotel since their tasks for today were done.


    “Do you like it?” Caster inquired with a kind tone, getting the child’s attention on herself.


    “It… It feels nice.”


    For some reason, Jotaro smiled at that comment, reaching for the girl’s head and giving it another pat.


    “That’s good to hear.”


    Gawking at this response, Xuanzang felt the need to press for more details over this strange response from her Master.


    It was absurd to believe him able to melt away under the presence of the adorable child, and yet… the Servant held herself back from doing that.


    Something about the sight of seeing both individuals look so happy, with Sakura joining in the heartwarming scene with a tentative tiny smile as she enjoyed the little victory and the closeness to her savior.


    That very moment cemented within Caster’s mind the idea that these two were meant to be father and daughter. And she found enlightenment out of that blessed scene.


    -----------d-d-d-d-----------d-d-d-d-


    AN


    I had considered making this part of a chapter, but then I realized that it was way too fluffy for what I planned to add to the next chapter. Thus this stands alone as the first of a few interlude.


    Kind of a fluffy omake, if anyone knows me from Absolute Divinity you might know that I can pull some sweet scenes… but this is part of canon.


    Sakura-chan got the hat… and I gave a backstory to Jotaro’s interest with hats. How many people tried to actually do the latter?

    Also, inspiration behind the backstory: Link.
     
    CodeZerone, Tobi, Quarrel and 8 others like this.
  18. Threadmarks: Sixth Mantra! The Evil of the World lurks once more!
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    Chapter 9: Sixth Mantra! The Evil of the World lurks once more!


    Fuyuki was quite a beauty to explore, and the reddish light created by the late afternoon just emphasized the natural appearance of the town.


    The thought was just a fleeting one as Waver quickly returned to face the current topic of his conversation with his Servants.


    “I-I still don’t like this.”


    Rider merely smiled as he addressed the nervous look on his Master’s face, and Waver couldn’t help but feel his resolve cracking a little before the burly man’s confidence and determination.


    “Well, it’s alright to be wary of any deception. The individual we’re seeking isn’t certainly someone we can learn about,” The Servant agreed with a nod. “But this War seems more complicated than the usual deed committed in a battlefield. There are many Masters that wish to win the Grail through trickery.”


    “A-And how would allying to someone fix things out?”


    The young Magus wasn’t being a pessimist by testing the grounds of the plan. Iskandar was a great conqueror, and he sure didn’t shy away from listening and learning from his mistakes.


    This very detail made things a tiny bit easy for the student, rendering his capacity to communicate with the Servant somewhat possible. The real issue was the way Rider answered to his Master’ reluctance and unwillingness to be in the spotlight during a conflict.


    It was clear that the redhead just wanted for his ‘friend’ to be capable of standing up on his own, especially in a situation that required the capacity of handling important decisions without cracking under the pressure.


    Waver knew this himself, and didn’t need to genuinely press his Servant to realize that he was being a coward when he needed to at least be neutral. The bravado that had led him out of Clocktower to partake in the War had slightly faded away at the realization that he was now meant to fight against his annoying Mentor.


    Kayneth was an arrogant jerk, but he was still a Magus from an old lineage.


    Experience, resources, and an arsenal of spells. All those elements were advantages that the young Magus lacked, which is why the possibility of facing the man in a direct confrontation was fuel for his recent nightmares.


    He just couldn’t get himself over the fact that his former teacher had deemed it right to issue an ultimatum and a promise of torture. The simple notion and reminder was frightening as it was, but not as much as the other Masters were much to his growing disbelief.


    At first he thought that Kayneth would’ve been the only big name among the other contenders of the Holy Grail War, but then people like Tokiomi Tohsaka and the Magus Killer started to pile up in a list of individuals that were pretty much untouchable by the inexperienced Magus.


    Rider was his only key of success, and the Servant was more than happy to use this as a leverage to help him around through the most complicated decisions. Waver was generally not a pushover, and yet the burly man was moving him around as if he was his puppet.


    Truly annoying, but not overly problematic. The idea of betrayal played in his mind early on when he first got to know his Servant, but the mere thought was shattered when he felt the genuineness of that irking airheadedness.


    “Well, they seem to be good folks,” Iskandar replied with a determined hum. “Plus, I think they will accept our offer.”


    “What if they ask for something in return?” Waver pushed back, only for his Servant to shrug.


    “Then we will offer something to them,” Rider rebuked. “I could offer them some good beer. I bet they will appreciate it.”


    “The beer you stole?”


    “I think you mean ‘put it to better use instead of letting it be forgotten’, Master.”


    And now he had to deal with that sass. Not only the young Magus had to face the fact he had to hypnotize a couple of elders to get free shelter and meals, but he had to cope with the idea that his Servant wasn’t bound by common sense and laws.


    This was an utter disaster!


    But that didn’t deter Rider from reaching out for an alliance with Caster and her Master.


    The concept was ideal- no, it was idyllic considering how much of a powerhouse a Caster/Rider combo would be. The duo would be unstoppable against Kayneth and his Lancer, and maybe even become serious trouble for Archer and his Master.


    Nonetheless, the thought sounded more of a pipe dream than else.


    Jotaro Kujo was someone that was easy to find on some magazines about marine biology, but the few interviews available with the man confirmed a presumption Waver had been feeling about ever since he first saw him.


    The researcher was a stern guy with little to no interest in playing around, especially in serious situations.


    The mere possibility of an alliance to be forged out of a diplomatic meeting were as slim as those could be, with the chance of success close to zero.


    Despite that, Rider was completely sure of this plan of action, and there wasn’t much to do when the burly man was interested in something.


    The walk around Fuyuki was uneventful, and he was glad that at least the rule of keeping peace during daytime was being upheld by the rest of the Masters. It would’ve been nightmarish to face fights without any break.


    But the day was starting to settle, and their time away from the War was growing less the more they aimlessly wandered around.


    “Also, where are you taking me? Do you even know where we are going?”


    The redhead merely grinned, but soon he provided a nod and an explanation.


    “Well, while this Kujo guy might appear as a minor individual in this conflict, there are some of the local newspapers that have taken interest on the matter,” Rider explained, carefully pulling out from the back pocket of his pants a rolled up newspaper he was keeping with himself. “Here, give it a look.”


    And so Waver did as a mean to satisfy his curiosity.


    Chances of a marine biology treatise made in Fuyuki?






    The article was particularly long, but it was easy for the young man to get an understanding of what was going on. While Jotaro wasn’t being tracked by the media, his grandfather was.


    As a Real Estate Agent, Joseph Joestar was a celebrity back in New York, and that fame ended up leaving a trail for Japanese reporters to follow as they addressed his return in Japan.


    Many suspected that it was just a visit of courtesy to check on his grandson, which was spotted with the elder as they both loaded a car with few equipment. The discovery that Jotaro Kujo, marine biologist, had decided to move back to Japan with some unknown equipment was seen as a possible effort of the man to conclude some new report about his work.


    And while Waver wasn’t someone that cared much about marine biology, the fact that this man seemed really passionate about the topic painted one of his adversaries with a more humane color.


    Until that very revelation, the young Magus had felt as the only ‘sane’ person in this horrible conflict. That he had fallen under the misconception that this was going to be a good way to prove his worth when in the end the Holy Grail War felt more of a childish competition for power that could or could not be true.


    Jotaro Kujo was someone that wasn’t a Magus, but that wasn’t also driven to the Grail for the wish.


    In fact, it was rather confusing how someone like the stern researcher had deemed it proper to visit the city now that the event was unfolding… and it also opened a large question over how the man had managed to become a Master considering his lack of Circuit.


    It was a baffling development that Waver hoped to solve maybe through that diplomatic encounter. Maybe.


    Continuing to read the paper, the young man finally noticed the info that helped them track down where Caster’s Master was.


    Some of the reporters ended up following the vehicles containing the biologist’s equipment to a large warehouse that had lacked owners for some time now. So the chances of Jotaro Kujo having his base there were pretty high, and now he could see why Iskandar was so confident about this matter.


    Once the paper was returned to the grinning man, the rest of the walk proceeded smoothly and without much of an issue.


    Eventually they turn up at the address mentioned by the newspaper, finding themselves in front of the main entrance of the building, with a couple of lights coming from the window.


    Rider decided that he wasn’t going to be the one to ring the doorbell, pushing his Master towards it while gesturing to him to go ahead and press it.


    Gulping nervously after realizing that there was no way he could turn back from this, the young Magus reached for the tiny doorbell and pressed it.


    The noise was mostly muffled, but he could notice how loud it had to be inside for it to reach outside with a noticeable pitch.


    The waiting proved to be the worst part as his mind used this opportunity to remind him of what he might end up finding on the other side.


    Both Joseph Joestar and Jotaro Kujo were tall men. With both being 6’5, he braced for a close up of a tall and possibly intimidating figure coming up to answer the door.


    He could feel his face paling a little bit as a sense of cold settled on his body as time went on and-


    The door finally opened.


    But instead of finding himself in front of either of the two known individuals, Waver slowly turned his stare low to where the face of the young boy was. The boy looked back at him, his eyes narrowing at the uneasy-looking Magus and for a moment there was just a state of silence.


    But much like the rest of any other situation, Iskandar decided to make his presence known by pulling Waver on the side and giving a bright smile at the kid.


    “Hello, is anyone home?” The burly man started to say. “We’re friends of Joseph-san.”





    “You’re lying,” The boy replied without hesitation, his stare gaining a degree of irritation at the faux claim. “Ojii-san said nothing about friends passing by.”


    “Well, it was a surprise visit. Plus, I bet your Ojii-san will be annoyed if we didn’t come and greet him before we go.”


    The child looked barely convinced of that stunt, and Waver was ready to call off the entire thing. There was just something off about the boy, and he could tell that whatever it was, it wasn’t something he really wanted to be aware of.


    But Rider wasn’t budging from his spot, trying to muster everything he got to appear as convincing as possible, and yet the kid just didn’t seem to hesitate on his stubborn stance.


    The tension was easy to perceive, and while part of him wanted to push his Servant to leave this troublesome place, his own instincts held him still as he realized that the boy wasn’t alone.


    The confirmation came when a hand carefully settled atop the child’s head, affectionately ruffling the boy’s head and pulling his attention away from the redhead as another individual finally appeared by the entrance.


    Joseph Joestar looked more confused than else, his eyes narrowing first at Waver and then to the young man’s Servant.


    “May I ask who are you two?”


    The query was met with two distinct reactions. Rider smiled in a silent victory, while his Master grimly addressed the fact that now there was no turning back for real.


    It was either make or break.


    ----------d-d-d-d------------d-d-d-d---------


    Irisviel quietly tapped at the desk her husband has been sitting by for the last few hours.


    With Maiya gone for a reconnaissance mission to try and get a glimpse the full extent of Assassin’s spy network over Fuyuki, the Magus Killer had decided to spent the rest of the day in his little office, handling a few papers concerning his plans over a specific Master that was turning out quite troublesome.


    Not for them, at least not in the direct way as one would consider a real problem, but rather the kind of ramifications some of this individual’s actions might have caused within Clocktower’s society.


    The eradication of the Matou family was… an unexpected development considering how active the group had been in the Holy Grail Wars. It was almost a surprise for the Lesser Grail how tragic the news of their end was perceived by the London-based community, with many sounding either sorry or just ‘saddened’ by the departure of the once illustrious clan.


    Shouldn’t it have been clear to many of the aristocrats that the chance of full elimination was one of the many possibilities those that attempted to gain the Grail were meant to take under consideration?


    It was one of the reasons why the Einzbern clan never saw it fit to move to Japan. To make sure that the nature of the competition wouldn’t put their survival at risk, especially with how important their standing was in Europe.


    And yet the Matou had decided to settle there and kept on biting off the Tohsaka clan for some petty squabbling that started one-sided.


    Irisviel herself wasn’t exactly sure of the truthfulness of her ancestor’s memories, and yet the idea that the former head of the clan, Zolgen Makiri, was someone shallow and more interested in fame and power sounded half-true.


    There was just a note of ‘lie’ that stemmed from this thought, something that seemed to grow intense when she thought back to when her ‘grandfather’ had told her about the odd relationship Justeaze had for the founder of the Makiri Clan.


    While she didn’t hate the man, they were mostly seen debating and taking turns in roasting each other.


    There was only a topic they would find common ground and… that information was unknown to the current Lesser Grail.


    Some of the memories were laid for her to explore whenever she wanted, but this control wasn’t true to the rest of the precious knowledge source that was Justeaze’s copied mind.


    Ah, the hassle of having half the knowledge needed to make an opinion out of someone…


    Despite the lack of Justeaze’s certainty over the matter, Irisviel was still given quite the unpleasant news when Risei Kotomine himself confirmed the horrible deeds committed by the old Zouken Matou before perishing.


    The old man had been alive for several decades, if not centuries, and the reason behind his delayed aging was behind the presence of several dead Crest Worms found around the Matou’s property.


    The novelty was horrifying, with many Magi refusing to believe this degree of atrocity was ever made.


    Still, the damage was done and the Matou’s reputation was quick to sink down in a state of doubt among the high members of Clocktower.


    The reaction was mostly mixed, with just a few voices standing out and making some compelling points.


    What killed the old ‘worm’?


    The answer was hidden behind the veil of secrecy created by the topic surrounding the working of the Holy Grail War.


    What happened to the rest of the family?


    That response was a little more complicated, and less interesting compared to the one before.


    Kariya was confirmed as deceased. The man had been Berserker’s Master and was killed by the attacking force that was behind the Matou’s eradication.


    His older brother, Byakuya, was arrested by the Fuyuki Police as the probable suspect behind the death of his father and younger sibling. The scheduled trial was meant to happen a month later, to a time when the competition was finally concluded.


    Little Sakura and Shinji were taken away by Caster’s Master, and part of her was glad that the enigmatic individual that was Jotaro Kujo had decided to take the two children to safety.


    She just felt trusting of the marine biologist, but her good opinion of him wasn’t based on mere assumptions from the dossiers recovered by Kiritsugu.


    The man could’ve easily allowed Berserker to attack Saber and her, and yet he had moved out of his way to stop the mad Servant from commencing a fight with the blonde.


    While Iri was certain that the swordswoman was more than capable of holding his own in normal circumstances, the damage inflicted by Lancer had proved to be a disadvantageous development that was going to stay for the remainder of the Grail War.


    If that fight would’ve happened, then the young mother was unsure how things would have fared for their team. She could’ve offered some support, but in the end Irisviel wasn’t meant to be employed in a direct confrontation.


    The act itself was selfless in nature despite the cold nature displayed by the stern man, but there was a degree of pleasant familiarity she could feel out of that attitude.


    It reminded her of her husband, with his severe but good ways and his interest in protecting those that were in trouble.


    This very thought soothed any ill thought born from any worry she could feel for the two orphaned children.


    Well ‘orphaned’ as far as their situation was considering how their parents were never going to get close to them ever again. At least in Shinji’s case.


    “Do you think Jotaro-san will adopt Sakura?”


    The question was picked out of the many others that lingered within her mind at the moment, her red-eyed stare quickly turning to Kiritsugu as she waited for a response.


    Her husband paused in his quiet reading, his dark eyes matching with her for a couple of seconds before he decided to offer her a nod.


    “It’s possible,” The Magus Killer conceded. “Kujo-san is someone that is known to be fond for his family, and I can see him correlating his daughter with young Sakura.”


    Irisviel hummed in agreement, pleased with the fact that she had predicted the right course of action for the Master of Caster.


    Her silent amusement lasted for a while as a stray set of thoughts started to leave her unhappy.


    A sigh finally left her lips and this ended up catching Kiritsugu’s attention.


    “I know this might sound too paranoid of me but… do you have any plans if we end up failing?”


    The question struck like a truck, and Irisviel took notice of it when her husband outright stopped with his work. Surprise and confusion mixing in a strange frown in his face.


    “What?”


    “It’s just a silly thought but… but what if we fail? What happens if we fail and grandfather decides to banish us?”


    The more she spoke, the more her husband looked quite alarmed by the words he was listening to.


    “Is… is there a reason why you feel uncertain of our endeavor?”


    The Einzbern shook her head. “Not truly, no. I… I just feel like we should still prepare a plan about it.”


    “We will not fail.”


    “And what if we do?” The woman pressed on, leaving the Magus Killer even more perplexed by the sudden development.


    “We… will think of something.”


    “Grandfather will not let us take Illya if we fail.”


    The mere sentence left a bitter taste on Irisviel’s mouth. It just felt possible for the stern elder to make that kind of decision for the ‘betterment of the Einzbern family’.


    Illya was a substitute to her mother, and if they were to fail, there were more guarantees that their little girl was going to be turned in a new lesser grail.


    The concept was possible, and that very idea frightened her now as she pondered about it.


    “He will not dare.”


    The rebuttal was met with a shake of head from his wife. “He would. Illya is… leverage against us.”


    “Illya would never forgive him. She wouldn’t comply with-”


    “If she was told lies about it while we’re banished, she could end up believing him.”


    The thought stung her so much. It just felt so much what her Grandfather would do.


    And the fact that Justeaze’s memories seemed to agree with her understanding was as jarring as horrifying.


    Her baby daughter, her prinzessin, forced to take on the same role as her mama has.


    A shiver went down her spine at this simple notion. This was barbaric and cruel, but there wasn’t much to do about it right now as they were focusing on the Holy Grail War.


    If they decided to move now that they were monitored by the Castle’s servants… things wouldn’t do well for them and any plans to get their daughter out of Grandfather’s clutches.


    “I will not allow him to do it.”


    A smile finally adorned her face. “I know you will do your best to protect our daughter… but I wish to ask you a single favor.”


    The man was listening with utter attention, and Irisviel sighed.


    “If we don’t succeed, please make sure she is spared from this.”


    Kiritsugu lingered on the request for a little more, taking under consideration the uneasy look on his wife’s face.


    They were alone, with Saber having taken her leave to explore the castle for a little while.


    Instead of giving her a simple nod or a curt response, the man stood up from his chair and gave her a sudden hug.


    Surprise lasted just for a handful of seconds, with the young woman allowing some mirthful giggles as she returned the embrace herself. They kept in each other’s hold for a few minutes, until Irisviel decided to apologize for sounding so… ‘sad’ without notice.


    The apology was ‘accepted’ by Kiritsugu and soon the conversation turned to something a little less problematic.


    But while that topic finished there, the thought behind it continued to persist in their minds as both realized how things could go wrong whenever they won or not.


    If Kiritsugu managed to get his wish accepted… there was no assurance that his daughter was going to be spared by Acht as a piece of a possible game between him and the Magus Killer.


    The night that soon followed proved to be one of uncertainty and nightmares.


    But from there an interest to cover their base was born, and the intention of creating guarantees was shared by both concerned parents.


    -------------d-d-d-d-------------d-d-d-d--------


    The chilling and deafening silence that existed in this place just felt sublime to listen.


    A happy sigh left the lips of the sole living being inside Fuyuki Graveyard. The place was mostly forbidden to visit during nighttime and yet the devious player that was soon going to make a change to this war had managed well enough in persuading the keeper of the place in letting her inside.


    At least, that’s what she could tell from the way his horrified face could tell as his corpse lingered beneath her feet.


    Ah, the tragedy of being a quirky person with murderous tendencies.


    Today was going to be a good day for Francesca Prelati. Especially with how her plans were meant to go by if she played her cards as efficiently as possible.


    And there was no way she was going to waste this opportunity to finally get some action going with Zouken now dead and his Boundary Field gone. The chance created by her limited manipulation to include a wild card as a Master ended up favoring her in the long-term, and now she could do much more than just wait and see how things unfolded.


    There was nothing that could hold her from entering the city and finally meddle with the Holy Grail War. A giggle left her lips as she tapped at the massive coffin in front of her with her closed umbrella.


    “I wonder why they never disposed of this,” She pondered out loud, genuinely surprised how the silly Speedwagon Foundation hadn’t done anything to destroy the ‘little’ catalyst she had recovered through some carefully-aimed bribes.


    Getting ownership over the empty object proved way easier than she had expected, but she wasn’t in the mood to outright spit at her lucky hand. No, this was just perfect with what she had in mind.


    She was already fawning over the daydream she was mesmerized by, her face a bright red at the mere thought of seeing that beauty of violence unfolding once more.


    Another giggle, this time she tapped the coffin twice before stepping off the grave she had been sitting on.


    Humming as she walked around the magical circle she had created thanks to the blood of the former keeper of this place, she knew that the Servant she was aiming for had to be strong enough to fit with her ‘narrative’. She wanted a story to unravel, and she didn’t want to be disappointed with some meek or weaker versions of what she wanted.


    No, she was aiming at something so grandiose and ambitiously powerful.


    A sigh, then she stopped and her stare lingered over the three golden letters plastered on the side of the coffin.


    “I hope you will not make me unhappy. I want you to be a fighter, not a hindrance.”


    Jotaro has been so much of a sweetheart to kill Zolgen, and it would just be ungrateful from her part if she didn’t give him a proper challenge about this war. The thrill of facing a nightmare once again, this time fueled by the magic she was bestowed with… Francesca almost wobbled in excitement at the brilliant scenes that were to happen in a couple of days now.


    “But let’s not linger any further. It’s time to start the process at once~!”


    She spread her arm open wide, more than ready to let out the proper chant for this monumental event.


    “Let silver and steel be the core.


    Let stone and the archduke of contracts be the base


    Let Gold the colour I pay tribute to


    Let rise a barrier against the wind that shall end


    Let the four cardinal gates close.


    Let the three-forked road from the crown reaching unto the Kingdom switch.






    I thus declare.


    Your body shall serve to entertain me.


    My amusement shall be your duty.


    Submit to the beckoning of the Holy Grail


    If you will submit to this will and this reason…Then answer!






    An oath shall be sworn here!


    I shall have dominion over all evils of all of Hell and beyond!


    From the Last Infernal Circle, attended to by three greet words of power,


    Come forth from the ring of restraints,


    Destroyer of the Holy Order!”


    The ground trembled as if an earthquake was created by the powerful summoning chant, altered for the sake of best representing the nature of the bond she wanted from her Servant.


    The circle burned red, with some fire spreading over the nearby grass as the soul she needed was brought forth from a place beyond the Throne of Heroes.


    The Grail was surely straining, just enough to restrain it from intervening against her devious play.


    Dust exploded from the coffin, with its lid swiftly thrown up and above as a single individual slept in there with a pleased smile. Golden eyes opened to stare at the pale moon up above, and a devious twist to his lips defined the intrigued mentality that was now displayed for her to see.


    He stood up, his clothes looking the same as the one he had been donning back when he had yet to fight his final fight against his ultimate enemies. His smirk grew more pronounced and his posture tilted in a curious manner.


    Then, he started to bend backward, his grin becoming a full-fledged smile as he prepared to unleash his first act after returning to the fief he had long considered his to rule alone and with divine justice.


    Tension grasped at his body, but it wasn’t nervousness doing this. It was giddiness. And it just felt euphoric to Francesca to feel from that distance.


    “WRYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!”


    The surreal noise cracked at the ominous silence, and Francesca started to vibrate in excitement at the gorgeous display of eagerness as the new Command Seals on her hand burned just softly on it.


    The contract was mostly done, and it would take her just a couple of seconds to cement this little intervention she had planned to go for in the last few weeks.


    He slowly adjusted himself, his stare turning at her as he addressed his Master with a mix of curiosity, amusement, and slight annoyance. Perhaps he was angry at being bound to someone he didn’t know much about.


    Yet the Hellish Priestess didn’t mind, for this development was the final proof that this competition was going to bring a new degree of fun to this world. A degree of fun that was as deadly as exciting!


    But the Servant had yet to introduce himself, and the girl was so excited by the first words her newest minion was going to tell her.


    “Speak, my powerful Servant, who am I looking at?”


    His smile returned, but this time the amusement was gone to make way to pride and undeniable might.


    “Avenger-class Servant, I’m the strongest being,” The blond answered with smugness. “For I, DIO, have long conquered 「The World」!”


    The proclamation was a confirmation of something horrible unfolding in this Holy Grail War, with the evil unleashed by DIO once again posed to fester upon humanity in a bloodbath that was just steps away from completely devouring Japan and the rest of Earth.


    But what many would see it as such, to Francesca this all looked differently. To her, it was all-


    So cool~!”


    ----------d-d-d-d-------------d-d-d-d------------d-d-d-d-----------


    AN


    As I’ve mentioned in the interlude’s AN, this up above is why I didn’t leave that fun story inside this chapter. Too… sugarish to stand well with DIO’s return.


    But a couple of things before I go: DIO is a Vampire, thus he will not be able to do much during daylight. He will be active in this war, but he will also behave ‘ slightly differently’ from SC. Why? Let’s just say that it’s related to some canon answers I read Araki gave about his character. It’s going to be fun.


    Also, about Crazy Diamond: Quick reminder that CD’s power is to revert things/people to a previous state, and it’s not ‘healing’ as many confuse it as.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2020
  19. Umbra99

    Umbra99 We Could All Use Some Good Civilization

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    Avenger Class DIO is a collection of words even Speedwagon would be afraid of.
     
  20. AlexFilhoaqw

    AlexFilhoaqw Know what you're doing yet?

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    Well it could have been worse...
    Ruler Dio with [The World Over Heaven]
     
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  21. nick012000

    nick012000 Experienced.

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    This is a prequel to the Prisma Illya timeline, isn’t it?
     
  22. JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    The Prillya timeline doesn't have the Fourth Holy Grail War, Illya is younger than Shirou and Caren is as old as Taiga. The timeline that will come out from this story will be more peaceful than the FSN one, yes.
     
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  23. nick012000

    nick012000 Experienced.

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    Fair enough, though a thought occurs to me: when Dio Brando became a Servant, it’s entirely likely that his Stand was elevated to a Noble Phantasm: The World Over Heaven, and even if it hasn’t, he should know how to perform the Heaven Ascension Ritual used to evolve his Stand into it - and with Francisca’s help, he’d doubtlessly be able to perform it unless he gets stopped first.

    I’m not sure if referring to a single resulting timeline would be accurate, as a result - though maybe the Stardust Crusaders would wind up becoming the Grand Order Crusaders after they team up with Chaldeas, because this is the sort of thing that they’d get mixed up in, even a few timelines over.
     
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  24. Konami-kun

    Konami-kun Know what you're doing yet?

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    I can't wait for Dio and Gilgamesh to meet. Will Gil hate Dio or are they BFF just like Ozy?
     
  25. JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    'Dio has no equals.' Plus he would hate Gil because of the same reason he hated Jonathan since Day One. Rich, spoiled, and pampered, which equates to the worst trash possible in Dio's mind.
     
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  26. Threadmarks: Seventh Mantra! A Devious Laughter across the night!
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    Chapter 10: Seventh Mantra! A Devious Laughter across the night!


    It was late in the evening when a tired Stand User received a call. Still drained and unwilling to part so easily from his bed, Jotaro was ultimately convinced by Joseph to pass by the temporary headquarters of the SWF.


    “So, these two wants to make an alliance or something like that?”


    The researcher was hardly someone that cared about this kind of stuff. Tracing back to the journey to reach Cairo, it was always either his grandfather or Avdol that took care of the sensitive topics like this one.


    Not that he was shy to talk to some unexpected punks, but Jotaro knew it wasn’t his strongest point. He did improve in the last few years with his social skills, but it was mostly because his wife wanted him to socialize a little more with his colleagues.


    ‘You will never be able to get everything done if you try to do all the work yourself. You need help from time to time.’


    As much as that mere sentence got him annoyed the first time he heard about it, there was just a stupidly easy logic in it that was undeniable even if it was frustrating.


    And the Marine Biologist wasn’t one that wished to drown in the often unbearable paperwork that waited by his desk from the first hours of every morning.


    Still, it wasn’t surreal for a Master and their Servant to seek strength in numbers, but it was odd that this was happening so ‘late’ from the beginning of the Holy Grail War.


    And the bright smile the red-haired giant that was Rider was offering around as if it was Christmas did little to soothe the possibility of this being a trap of sorts.


    The little punk, the big guy’s Master, that was trying and failing to fend off the smug ‘attacks’ of the brat Joseph had decided to take care of. He was nervous, unhappy with how outnumbered they were, and he had plenty of reasons to be worried if they were somehow lying.


    It wouldn’t be the first time someone approached them with seemingly good intentions, only to trick them in an ambush or something even worse.


    His instincts were still sharp enough to pick up reasons to be distrustful of this kind of situation, but this was somehow mellowed by a simple comment coming from his own Servant.


    “They feel genuine.”


    The affirmation opened a broad selection of confusing thoughts to handle. Sure, the Marine Biologist had been thinking of the possibility that Caster was capable of perceiving emotions and discern their truthfulness, but for the pink-eyed woman to be this certain of this very predicament was… slightly jarring.


    Not that he didn’t trust her, quite the contrary. But the subsequent question was: how much could she see out of him?


    How much did the chirpy Servant through his usual neutral facade?


    It was infuriating for a moment, but… there wasn’t much to do about it. She was still an ally, and one that couldn’t exactly backstab them for no reason.


    A sigh escaped his lips as he continued to calmly ignore the diplomatic exchange between the old Joestar and the young Master of Rider, deciding to keep his attention on the only individual that somehow didn’t offer him much trouble.


    Sakura yawned briefly and quietly, adjusting herself on his lap as they both sat by the only single couch that was present in that ‘living room’.


    The warehouse was hardly structured like a proper house, but Joseph had the decency to create a few sections dedicated to house-related functions.


    Silently listening to the unfolding conversation, the young plum-haired child seemed partially interested by the strange combination created by Rider and his Master.


    It was just plain odd to see these two acting together, with their physical and psychological differences surprisingly working well with one another.


    For a child of her age, it was just the dynamic that was endearing, but for Jotaro the fascination lied elsewhere.


    Despite Masters being the leading figures of the competition, it would seem erroneous to believe that this mindset was as absolute as he thought of it earlier on.


    Archer and Rider were examples of the opposite from what he could see from recent events.


    But while the blond prick was just unruly and his Master a pushover, the burly redhead was far from that. In fact, this Servant was rather determined to get his Master to grow a backbone as quickly as possible.


    A bizarre sight for sure considering their size-related difference, but Rider’s jovial nature wasn’t lost to Jotaro.


    Despite how much he tried to push back the memories, it reminded him of how Polnareff would behave from time to time.


    The Frenchman was the one that wanted to get both him and Kakyoin to spend time around to have fun instead of focusing only on their main mission.


    Sometimes that worked on them, but with how frequently these activities would be ambushed by enemy Stand Users, the interest to try new things out slowly disappeared into nothingness.


    “Why are you annoyed?” A quiet whisper reached his ears


    Just as he had expected, his mood did eventually get noticed by the young child that was now staring at him. Sakura was receptive, but not very vocal about her discoveries as much as many other children her age were.


    It was a blessing most of the time, but just like this rare case, there were also moments he was quite surprised by the girl’s curiosity.


    “This whole meeting seems sudden. I don’t know if these two are trustworthy.”


    The child merely nodded at first, looking back at the distracted duo. Silence resumed for a little less than a minute… and then the former Matou spoke up again.


    “The tall one is… desperate.”


    Tall one? Was she referring to Rider?


    “How can you tell?”


    Sakura hummed. “He is… moving his hands a lot.”


    “Gesticulating?” The man suggested and she nodded.


    “Yes.”


    “And how does that make him look… desperate?”


    “He is leaning near to his friend. And he looks at the door sometimes.”


    Which would hint that he was making an escape plan if things go south anytime soon. But that didn’t exactly paint a pleasant picture for Jotaro to be calm about. In fact, it did the exact opposite.


    “Do you think they still mean it?”





    “Maybe?”


    He held back a sigh. For him to trust this much to a young girl… maybe he really was missing some sleeping hours and-


    “The tall one is rubbing his leg close to the short one.”


    …?


    Now that the researcher looked closer to the scene, he could see the Servant keeping rather attached to his Master despite how ample the sofa they were using was.


    And it all seemed like… he was trying to coax the boy to be a little less reluctant with his own interventions.


    A curious behavior, but one that hinted to the fact they were putting a noticeable effort with these talks.


    And for this to be a trap, it sure looked like the duo was acting foolish about making it legitimately suspicious.


    Maybe he was giving it too much weight? He sure was feeling tired and maybe his mind was thinking too much about the treacherous trip he had to go through when he was younger.


    Despite this lack of interest to give his own input on the matter, Jotaro soon took notice of something strange happening with the two Servants in the large room.


    Caster was the first one to tense and look up, her pink eyes wide open in a mix of nervousness and annoyance.


    A shadow loomed briefly over Jotaro and Sakura, and then Rider looked up at this development to see what caught the monk’s attention first.


    The figure was swift, and it rushed away from the skylight right above their heads, with only a tiny object fluttering down towards the Master and the young girl.


    Sakura almost jumped in immediate surprise as the small envelope quietly settled on her skirt, allowing for the researcher to reach for it and see what it was all about.


    “What was that, Jotaro?” Joseph asked, the old man dividing his attention between the spot previously occupied by the mysterious shadow and his grandson.


    “Assassin,” Caster muttered without hesitation. “I barely sensed it.”


    “I didn’t expect for that sneaky Servant to be still alive. I guess this is truly a cumbersome war as I thought it to be from the beginning.”


    But Jotaro ignored all the commotion as he focused on reading the content of the unexpected letter.


    The message was written in a clean calligraphy, and he quickly realized who sent it from the fact it was written up above.


    Kotomine had contacted him and… the news relayed through the paper were less than optimal, if not atrocious considering the implications forwarded by the fellow Master about the recent development.


    “What- What is wrong, Jotaro?”


    The Marine Biologist sighed, lowering the paper down as he turned his attention to his grandfather.


    “Someone attacked the local graveyard and… there has been a summoning,”


    Rider frowned at the news, while the boy beside him looked shocked.


    “A-A summoning? I thought all Servants had been summoned already.”


    “And that’s the case,” Caster calmly assured, looking at her Master. “But I suppose this isn’t the worst news.”


    Jotaro didn’t know how the woman knew that, but he blamed the whole ‘feeling detector’ ability she had displayed just a couple of minutes earlier.


    “The graveyard itself… it was emptied of the corpses buried in there,” The Stand User revealed with a tense voice. “And from the way the coffins were found open, it would seem it wasn’t from outside of those.”


    “T-That’s ridiculous-” Rider’s Master blurted in shock, squirming as quickly as he noticed all the stares were now on him. “I-I mean, this is bad but… resurrecting the dead shouldn’t be doable through Magecraft. There are limits about it and-”


    “What if it was the work of the newest Servant, kid?”


    “It would still leave out what kind of Heroic Spirit would manage to accomplish such a feat,” Joseph pointed out with a grim look. “The chances of this being a dangerous new opponent are concerning. We will have to be cautious nonetheless this discussion ends with an alliance or not.”


    Jotaro huffed before standing up, picking Sakura up with his left hand while his right hand continued to hold the piece of paper.


    “We will give it a proper look tomorrow morning. The one that sent me the message has… expressed interest to discuss the matter.”


    “Isn’t that… suspicious?” Caster asked, for the first time ever since the beginning of the war looking concerned.


    “Not really. The anomalous summoning was seen by the Supervisor as an illegal aggression and the breaking of numerous rules,” The researcher pointed out. “The War might be put on a pause until the rule-breakers are dealt with. Which means that for now there is a truce with all Masters and Servants.”


    “R-Really?” Master’s Rider looked relieved by the news, and the nod coming from Jotaro completed the process of relaxation. “Then that’s… good.”


    “Yes. But that also means that this new Servant is worrying enough to put the entire competition to an halt,” Rider said, breaking the illusion that this was just a positive news.


    “And if that was the case then… it’s best we all keep an eye out for anything out of the ordinary… or even worse,” Joseph muttered quietly, dreading the chances of this whole event becoming even deadlier than expected.


    But for Jotaro, something about this development felt… familiar.


    The ‘why’ and the ‘how’ were not there in his mind, but he could sense it.


    Something bad was coming their way.


    -----------d-d-d-d-------------d-d-d-d-----------


    Kayneth El-Melloi Archibald, Head of the El-Melloi Faction, Lord of the Mineralogy Department, and Euryphis Lecturer in the department of Spiritual Evocation.


    All those titles were all entitled to him mostly because of his undeniably excellent pedigree as a Magus. He was the best among those that had been blessed with this kind of life, and he was smart enough to understand that luck was to thank over his origins.


    The rest? It was all taken through feats and displays of power. His magical talent was one of the greatest in the Magus Association, and that made him both an influential teacher of thaumaturgy and an important political player within Clocktower’s ambitious battlegrounds.


    Attention, planning, and dedication to what was for him the most righteous of understanding of how magecraft was given to those within the Moonlit World.


    The need of preservation, of prosperity- of bringing improvement to his family with every available means possible.


    It was all so easy, and yet so… distastefully complicated.


    When he first arrived in Fuyuki, the man had expected for the Holy Grail War to be akin to the petty duels and competitions that were common sight in London.


    Nothing beyond the safety of magically-preserved settings, nothing that was under the possible scrutiny of any non-Magus.


    The idea was simple, it made sense to him as it prevented things to be so disgustingly difficult to accomplish.


    Then again, it was obvious that an event like the Holy Grail War would’ve needed a setting way greater than anything available in this foreign city. And that would’ve easily attracted unwanted attention on the handling of the challenge.


    No, no. This situation was way more troublesome that he had hoped and wanted out of this trip.


    Sure, the malicious rebuttals from his fiance were something of an expected source of frustration, but the fact he had lost the chance of fielding a Servant as strong as Iskandar was… the beginning of many headaches for the Lord El-Melloi.


    The treachery of his student cemented the need of removing the brat out of the competition. The War offered him the chance of eliminating the upstart from making any other issues for him to clean up without having to deal with any unneeded foul comments from the Association.


    The idea was simple, but the planning and execution were both far from being completed. Not only they couldn’t find where the infuriating student had been hiding, but now they were supposed to handle individuals like the Magus Killer and Tokiomi Tohsaka.


    The competitors were nothing to scoff at, even though Kiritsugu Emiya lacked tremendously in his magical potential. The man was still a killer, one that preferred to destroy his targets from afar rather than engage in personal confrontations.


    And that kind of tactic was as dishonorable as problematic to handle considering how strong the fool’s Servant was.


    Saber managed to hold a proper fight against his Lancer, but there were doubts in his mind that Diarmuid was ready to take on the blond swordsman without failing to match up with the fellow ‘knightly individual’.


    The concept of dueling had long changed over the past centuries, and it was clear to him that relying on fairness on a 1v1 battle would only damage his group in the long term.


    Which is why, against the wishes of his fiance, that he decided against going for an attack.


    He couldn’t see a reason to expose himself to the harm when they hardly knew the full potential of their opponents, the extent of their respective reach around the city, and their capacity to strike them the moment they left their safe hideout.


    Paranoia was another worry, but one that hardly matched the sense of being careful with how this deadly competition was set to unfold.


    There had to be a reason why many failed to win it, and why the Third Holy Grail War was deemed one of the greatest tragedies in modern Thaumaturgical History. And Kayneth wasn’t planning to discover it by becoming a victim of his vicious new enemies.


    He needed to play smart… or at least he needed to put an effort to appear so.


    Ever since they reached Fuyuki, Kayneth’s own perception of being prepared for the worst had slowly faltered into a state of uneasiness at how novel some of his recent discoveries were.


    Sure, he had thought of the chances of some surprises to appear before his eyes, but to imagine that a mere non-Magus had somehow been able to enter the War made him doubt the integrity of the conflict.


    The competition was made by Magi for Magi, so why was a barbarian allowed to take part in that conflict despite the numerous rules that were solely created to restrain Magi from trying and ruining the secrecy of their work all for the sake of getting a wish out of the Grail.


    It was truly a sad day to be reminded that the Association was filled with so many unworthy individuals that would risk everything all for the sake of power and immortality.


    And yet, despite the frustrations keeping on piling up, nothing had him prepared for what happened in that dark night.


    The first hint that something was indeed wrong was when a large set of explosions made the entire building shake as the electrical grid was disconnected from most of the hotel’s rooms.


    Panic swelled for a brief moment before the Lord El-Melloi took initiative in personally hunting down the only Master that would try to attack in such a disgusting manner.


    Lancer was quick to stand beside him, and the blond decided against bringing his own fiance to the dangerous battle that waited for them to happen.


    The plan was simple and the morale was high. But then something odd happened before their eyes.


    The room’s temperature started to drop the moment the Magus reached for the door’s handle, forcing him to pause as he took notice of the instantaneous development.


    Confusion appeared on his face as he turned the handle to unlock the device, but as soon as he let go of it… the world around him warped before his eyes.


    A blink and… he found himself sitting on the couch he had been sitting on right before the sudden blackout.


    Lancer was back on his original spot near Sola-Ui, the woman looked confused as much as the man and the Servant were about the absurd phenomenon.


    What had happened, and why he felt like… he had faced death for a moment?


    His confusion was finally quenched when he turned back to stare at the doors that were now open wide to reveal who was just outside the room.


    Cold mist reached from the corners of the new opening, turning the whole room quiet and chilling as the only figure there silently waited for their attention to turn to him.


    The dark yellow that made most of his clothes entered in clear contrast with the inner dark shirt and the green details. The sight was confusing, if not increasing the suspension of reality itself as the figure finally spoke.


    “Sola-Ui Nuada-Re Sophia-Ri, I wish to recruit you to help me create a better world.”


    The proclamation took the trio by utter shock. The voice of this mysterious stranger was incredibly alluring despite the fact they couldn’t see his face properly. There was a beauty in his frame that was unexplainable, as if the individual wasn’t human… but divine.


    Despite the early hesitation to handle this intruder, the silence was disrupted by Sola-Ui herself.


    “W-What?”


    “Your role right now is demeaning for an individual of your state and rank. You’ve been turned into cattle whose main purpose is to breed for the sake of an arranged union,” The stranger spoke once again. “Yet I know that despite what your brother might have tried to accomplish by lessening the blow to your pride, you still believe that there has to be something more- something better to strive for.”


    “W-Who are you- how dare you to-”


    Be quiet.


    The tremendous fright that came while listening to such a stern change of voice paralyzed Kayneth to his seat. Gone was the fury and the irritation at such a visit, his bravado vanishing in a mere instant as he was left pulled down by a sense of outrageous fear over this enemy.


    It had to be an enemy, a dangerous one with how easily he was controlling the room with his mere appearance only.


    A Servant? He was sure that none matched with the flamboyant disposition of this absurd character.


    So who were they facing? And why did Lord El-Melloi feel a sliver of dread at being subjected to this kind of… abuse?


    Something about it just spelled doom, and at the same time a promise of a long and prolonged punishment.


    The paradoxical twist at this insane encounter driving more fright within his mind.


    “As I was saying, I understand that you mistrust those that offer you something as precious as freedom of will. A reward offered only with the completion of a work that you might find troubling, if not filled with deadly hardships that would require your utmost commitment to the cause, to my cause,” The blond continued with his calm but seductive voice. “I wish to bring peace in this world by rallying behind me those that wish to not be subjected to any imposition, to be ready to accept my world, DIO’s World, as the only solution to their plights.”


    “I… but… I’m not-”


    “Your worth isn’t one dictated by what kind of abilities you have, or by your position within your family. I, DIO, value a person from the way they handle the adversities and adapt in harsh situations,” The mysterious figure interrupted with a suave and tempting tone. “You gained my interest because of your stubbornness and dream of freedom.”


    Malicious thoughts started to storm Kayneth’s mind as he found himself subjected to the flagrant attempt of stealing his fiance from him. He knew that the woman didn’t like him, that there hadn’t been enough time to form at least a formal bond between each other to prevent someone like him from coming around and try to turn her against the Lord El-Melloi.


    Gritting his teeth, the Magus could see a single viable option to end the mostly successful attempt of this intruder to kidnap Sola-Ui.


    And he wasn’t going to allow his name to be tarnished by some deplorable no-name nobody like the one standing by the door.


    “L-Lancer, by my Command Seal-!!”


    Kayneth paused in shock as he found his challenging stare matched by two unholy golden orbs. This ‘DIO’, this scum- he was staring back at him.


    He wasn’t attacking, nor had he moved much with that brief outburst of his, and yet the Magus stopped from giving the order to his Servant to strike.


    Something about these eyes… they were daring him to go ahead with this action. But why? And why did it feel like he was missing something important about this very situation.





    He couldn’t stop anymore. Not when he was being emasculated in front of his fiance.


    “Lancer, by my Command Seal- ATTACK THE INTRUDER WITHOUT ANY RESTRAINTS!”


    With the Seal enchanting Lancer to assault the figure, the Servant didn’t waste any time to jump in action and… activate his Noble Phantasms.


    Gae Buidhe, a spear that could leave injuries that couldn’t be healed.


    Gae Dearg, a spear that ignored magical defenses by piercing through mana.


    In their individual forms, both weapons were powerful- but Diarmuid used both at the same time, creating a devastating combo that no Servant could easily ignore. Not even Saber.


    A green blur that glowed blue and red for a brief moment… and then he wasn’t no more.


    That should technically mean that his attack was successful, but Kayneth wasn’t gloating. No, his face was twisted in full panic as his only means to handle the war was easily dispatched off before his own eyes.


    Diarmuid stopped a couple steps behind his target, the Servant coughing blood as he slowly realized the extent of his wounds.


    Both his spears had been plunged deep in his upper chest, pushed deep through his skin as they were active. The worst part of the scene… was that his now detached arms were still tightly holding onto both blades, swiftly limping as reality struck the entire sight.


    The Servant crumbled forward in a horrible scene of lifelessness, shattering any hopes of this battle to result in his victory.


    Kayneth’s resolve wavered even more, and his perception of his reality collapsed as abruptly as his Servant had.


    What was going on? Why was he losing this badly? Who was DIO?


    This last question reminded him that the monstrous being had killed an individual his fiance had been fond of. Surely that should’ve been more than enough to dissuade her from abandoning him.


    Yes, that had to be it. There was no other way for things to turn well for him.


    Yet Sola-Ui’s glare wasn’t directed at the intruder. No, it was aimed at the fellow Magus.


    But why? His mind couldn’t comprehend that confusing scenario. He couldn’t grasp over the fact that the woman was capable enough to recognize how Kayneth had sent Lancer to his death all because he didn’t want to make a stand for himself. For them.


    For Kayneth El-Melloi was a man that believed in pedigree and privileges since birth. And he was born in the right family.


    ...Right now that entitlement didn’t matter. His ultimate weapon wasn’t near for him to recover without being slayed on the spot, nor was his mind ready to face a battle as dangerous as the one waiting for him to happen.


    He gulped nervously, shivering as he tried to formulate a plan and… failing as DIO was now staring at him.


    Gone was the calm that had given a sense of mercy, now replaced by a bitter sternness that completely deprived the former Master of the proper capacities to make thoughts about the situation.


    His mind was blank, unable to go ahead with the next needed step. With his brain failing to do something, it was the turn of instincts to try something.


    And that something was to rush at the trouble while using the best spells in his arsenal.


    He barely stood up from his chair that he was pushed back onto it, this time the cause of this refusal being beyond his control.


    Numerous knives were now pressing deep on the left side of his body, from his foot up to head. His left eye stopped working, and his lungs felt drained of all air that was once available to him. The blankness faded away to reveal a collection of memories.


    Memories of all the harsh retributions that he had suffered as a child. The need to sharpen his body and mind before the integrity of the family, to make a good heir out of the snot-nosed brat he once was.


    But while that remembrance distracted him from the surreal aspect of the situation, soon the reason behind this immediate recollection made itself present in his mind.


    The world… burned. The searing sensation of numerous sharp objects turning in his flesh broke through any past pain he had suffered about.


    A shrill yell echoed, yet it wasn’t his lips that were releasing it. No… it was the woman on the ground floor that had spotted his head, now detached from his body and then forced to fall down out of the room’s window.


    The tale of Kayneth El-Melloi came to an end in that precise realization, with the last ounce of life now gone and his soul leaving the butchered remains that DIO saw fit to dispose in such a cruel manner.


    But the scene back in that room was far from over.


    “Do you regret having taken a stand for yourself, Sola-Ui?”


    The question drew the redhead out of that horror-induced look aimed at the broken window. The young woman offered an uncertain glance at the blond.


    “N-No.”


    The vampire smiled. “That’s good to hear. And I wish to offer you a particularly simple job now that you’re deprived of any limitations condemning your stay here.”





    “A job?”


    “Right now here in Fuyuki, there is a man that I consider particularly dangerous. The prime threat that could jeopardize my chances of saving those that, just like you, have been condemned by society and cast away as worthless cheap tools,” DIO explained with a calm nod. “I want you to spy on him, and report personally to me about what you can learn from his attitude and pattern.”


    It sounded incredibly easy. An exchange that extremely favored the woman in the long term. So she asked, curious to learn who she was supposed to look for.


    “His name is particularly known as of recently, mostly because of his mundane work,” The vampire answered with a surprisingly serious tone. Far more serious than any word she could’ve imagined leaving his mouth. “I want you to keep an eye on Jotaro Kujo. And I want you to deliver him a message when I tell you to.”


    And with that plan established, DIO hid a smile at how easy things were even though he was now limited by his Servant Status. His Stand wasn’t as effective as it had been before… but his vampiric abilities would do just enough to deal with the pests snooping for him.


    This time, he had the element of surprise as his prime advantage. And he planned to use this element as a means to get the revenge he dutifully craved for.


    Jotaro, I shall put an end to the Joestar Dynasty and all those you care for.


    ------------d-d-d-d------------d-d-d-d------------d-d-d-d-----


    AN


    So… people actually adding DIO was a cliché.


    Well, I guess there is no longer any tact in modern generations.


    Also, I started to play JJBA the Seventh Crusader. Cool game, I ended up having Miracles as my Stand and… I might have something planned about some characters in a future JJBA story. But I can’t tell much about it just yet.


    Lastly,
    True Name: Dio Brando/DIO
    Class: Avenger
    Master: Francesca Prelati
    Noble Phantasm: 「The World」 (5 Seconds)

    Stats
    Strength: A
    Endurance: B+
    Agility: B
    Magic: D
    Luck: C+


    Class Skills
    Avenger: A+
    Oblivion Correction: B
    Self-Replenishment (NP) : B+


    Personal Skills
    Charisma: A+
    Vampirism: A-
    Villain Creation: A+
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2020
  27. Delta333

    Delta333 Δ (´༎ຶོρ༎ຶོ`) Δ

    Joined:
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    I’m honestly surprised this story hasn’t already have a ton of replies, it’s very well structured.
     
    lars likes this.
  28. Threadmarks: Eight Mantra! The Pure and the Soulless!
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2019
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    Chapter 10: Eight Mantra! The Pure and the Soulless!


    The morning of a new day brought a couple of strange occurrences up to the Supervisor’s attention.


    And Kirei by relation was well aware of what was happening in just a single day.


    First the unexpected exhumation of most of the corpses within the Fuyuki Graveyard, then the attack at the Hyatt Hotel.


    The latter predicament should’ve been less surprising than it sounded, especially with the fact that Assassin reported early on during the assault that the attacker was none other than Kiritsugu Emiya.


    The Magus Killer had struck without mercy, going as quick as he could to deprive a legitimate concern to the conflict. Lancer was a target that could be killed with adequate preparation and equipment, and thus the professional killer set his eyes to take down Kayneth El Melloi.


    The idea was fitting, and there was no reason to expect any less from Kiritsugu.


    The real problem happened to be how Lancer and his Master died. Because, while the Magus Killer did create the distraction that was supposed to allow him to slip inside without much of an issue, the one that butchered the Master/Servant Duo was neither the mercenary, nor Saber.


    The ‘man’ behind it was something of a force well beyond his understanding. Assassin was terrified when one of her Personalities saw him act.


    So quick, so ruthless, so uncaring. That was not only the distinct tone of a cold murderer, but also of someone that had little to no grip to humanity.


    His Servant recognized the being as a fellow Servant, but other than that the chances of studying the monster proved to be well beyond achievable.


    The detail confirmed the identity of the irregular summoning, but also created a new fear for Risei to handle.


    It had to be DIO.


    Somehow the infamous vampire had been resurrected, prompting both men to believe that the identity of his Master to be one of his loyal supporters.


    The theory was as quick to come to their mind as it was to leave, all because no known Magus would ever dare to support a vampire.


    Which meant that… someone was plotting from the shadow.


    And said malicious individual was also behind the bizarre occurrence the young priest was now supposed to handle with the small group that had rallied in that area.


    Kirei blinked as he silently took a few steps around the main scene.


    With Joseph crouching down to analyze one of the many empty graves within the graveyard, the only interesting detail he could find was Jotaro’s annoyed look.


    It was confusing to see the marine biologist behave so… emotionally. There was indeed something unsettling from that glare, even though it was clear that the man was blissfully unaware of the suspicions both Rise and his son were both trying to keep a secret.


    The motivation behind this decision was surprisingly simple.


    While it could be that they were dealing with Dio Brando, the chances offered by this situation allowed them to call upon some favors from the church.


    Many had wanted the vampire dead back when he was still around in the late 80s, and now that it existed as an ‘illegal’ Servant, it was going to be easy to call upon some scrutiny over the Grail itself.


    It had been a rising concern within the Supervisor that something was wrong about the magical construct. That something might have happened In the past to alter the main function of it.


    Tokiomi had heard of this possibility, but he had been rather adamant that he wasn’t believing any of that.


    He was so convinced that his Ancestor’s legendary work would never fail against anything short of magic, that he tastelessly denied any attempt to study the leylines passing by the Tohsaka Manor.


    A foolish action that got someone as stoic as Kirei to groan at the sheer idiocy he was forced to listen to.


    One thing was to be certain of personal achievements. Humanity was entitled to be arrogant about individualistic pride, but nothing entitled humans to accept the truthfulness of a long-deceased ancestor.


    If that was the case, then many old versions of the Bible would be taken seriously instead of the ‘modern’ take that had been taken just at the beginning of the century.


    “We should place something to ward off any malicious return,” Caster pointed out sternly. “Those responsible for this heinous deed shall be punished for interrupting the peaceful rest of those that lied upon down below this ground.”


    “Do you have anything that could work on the occasion?” Jotaro asked distractedly, his attention fixed on some scratches that were visible on some rocks.


    “I believe I have some special seals. But it will take a while to get all those properly placed-” The woman paused, her pink eyes turning to look at Assassin as the fellow Servant stood beside Kirei. “Unless Assassin-san offers me some assistance. It will be quick work!”


    The priest nodded, and his Servant complied with his acceptance. It wasn’t like he was against the mere act. He could tell that among those within the site, Caster was the angriest by the horrible ordeal unfolding just a day ago.


    From the way she reacted to the way she was eagerly pushing for this, the young Kotomine could tell that there was no ill intent with that task, and thus no reason to think unwell of the Servant’s initiative.


    Instead, Kirei turned his sight on Jotaro, this time prepared for a proper interaction.


    “I suppose you’re already suspecting something.”


    The glacial eyes of the marine biologist turned to regard the priest.


    “I do. But it’s only a baseless conclusion.”


    A perplexed look adorned Kirei’s face. “Baseless?”


    “The old man says that this ordeal is akin to a vampire’s attack. One of those monsters created by the Stone Masks the Foundation had already destroyed a long time ago,” The fellow Master started to explain. “Which would mean that one of the masks somehow survived and allowed some freak to be created and… do this.”





    “This isn’t your conclusion,” The priest was sure of it, especially from how frustrated Jotaro looked.


    And with that affirmation, the marine biologist decided to reveal his thoughts.


    “You and your father. You’ve mentioned that Servants can’t be made by villainous souls since the Grail has rules that prevent it, right?”


    That detail had been one of the major foundations of the known rules of the Grail. With the Hassans recognized as neutral entities without a genuine malicious denotation, it was common knowledge to believe that simple concept.


    Yet there were already some bizarre instances happening from the appearance of Berserker. While it would’ve been stupid to define the Servant evil at first sight, the nature of his attacks and the way he seemed to have little restrains available made the entire character suspicious.


    With Dio’s entry, the rule was completely disproved and thus leaving both Kirei and Risei baffled at this circumstance.


    If this rule could be broken, how many others could suffer the same fate before the emergency system within the Greater Grail was activated.


    How much will it take for a Ruler Servant to be forced upon the Holy Grail War?


    “It is indeed the case, but there have been… doubts regarding the stability of the Grail.”





    “What?”


    Kirei sighed. “Since the previous competition, my father has started to believe that someone or something might have tampered with the Grail. That some strange developments just are well-beyond what is expected for the construct to achieve.”


    “So you’re saying there's a chance for-”


    “It’s possible, but I wouldn’t be quick to assume anything from this possibility alone.”


    It took the young Kotomine a moment to realize his mistake.


    He had interrupted Jotaro, showing a degree of impatience to what he knew was going to be an interesting take on the case.


    He had expected the Master of Caster to consider the chances of Dio’s revival, but not for him to be so swift in handing out such a certainty.


    But now that Kirei had spoken so abruptly, a shadow of suspicion hovered over his head.


    At first there was silence, a cautious pause that just preceded the approaching storm.


    “Kirei, you know something we don’t. Something important.”





    “I know many things, Jotaro-san-”


    “And I’m referring to the summoning you’ve mentioned in your message.”





    “Just ask the questions. And I will answer the best I can.”


    A slight concession, one to create a softer impact for the revelation. One that didn’t see him with a bloody nose, that is.


    “The summoning, do you know who was behind it?”


    “We have a couple of suspects. The primary one is the one behind your acquisition of the spellbook responsible for your forced entry,” Kirei replied in detail. “But there is a chance that the individual could also be an unknown party of Magi. Maybe from the United States.”


    It wouldn’t be the first time ‘foreigners’ tried to get hold of all information regarding the Grail. The Americans were the most ambitious of the various groups, and they had to be stopped on multiple occasions when the War had yet to begin, with their last attempt happening mere months ago.


    “The book has been hidden away,” Joseph quipped with a nod, standing up from his crouched position. “If the responsible was indeed the one behind that ‘gift’, then they will find a nasty surprise if they try to recover it.”


    At least some good news-


    “But now there is a question I really want to ask,” Jotaro jumped in with a cold tone of voice. “The new Servant, could it be that the one that had been summoned was… Dio?”





    “There is a good chance, yes,” Kirei admitted. “Especially with the mysterious figure that was spotted killing Lancer and his Master yesterday night.”


    “Lancer has been eliminated?” Jotaro inquired. “I suppose that this group is hunting down the legitimate Servants and Masters. And if it is Dio… then things might be even more difficult than we’re prepared to handle.”


    There was a hint of worry within his tone that just felt uncharacteristic. It was unusual for someone like the marine biologist to be this tense, and yet the researcher just looked shaken by the possibility that DIO was back.


    But why?


    Kirei’s mind had trouble finding a reason at first, but then he realized two details that had eluded the brainstorming he had engaged with his father just a couple hours earlier.


    The first issue was that DIO was a Servant now. While this would normally weaken someone that wasn’t considered a Hero and was much stronger than what the body provided by the grail would offer, it was also true that the might unleashed by Servants was also dependent by their ‘following’.


    And DIO had a large cult when he first died, with no hints of this dwindling down to nothingness.


    The second, and perhaps most alarming, problem was that Jotaro didn’t look battle-ready.


    Could he fight? Yes. There was no doubt in his mind that the man could easily tear apart many strong opponents.


    But could he face DIO again? That very question was difficult to answer.


    Was Jotaro stronger than he had been when he fought against Dio? He believed so, and yet he could tell that the fellow Master wasn’t someone that put much thought behind keeping on training, focusing more on his family and his work.


    “If Dio is back, then we shall make sure he is sent back to hell once more,” Joseph remarked fiercely. “We… There are people that have sacrificed their lives to keep the bastard away from harming the world. We can’t allow their deaths to go in vain.”


    That promise, one that sounded so empty to Kirei as it held little meaning to him, seemed to be enough to renew Jotaro’s determination to go through this new task.


    Was it that simple? To remember and be revitalized by the sacrifice of those that perished?


    Kirei thought back at Claudia. Once more, he was reminded that he still had some responsibility to go through once this was all over.


    The first contact with the Hortensia family had been positive. Or at least it felt like it had been a pleasant victory.


    They were willing to talk about Caren, but they seemed to have intentionally excluded any interest to discuss guardianship during that first call.


    It was going to be the first of many conversations, all for the sake of ‘fixing’ something he hoped that could be fixed.


    Could he really find absolution by being there for his daughter? Could it be that she was the final key to a life away from the capricious shell of his maliciousness?


    He needed to know, and to do so, he needed to gamble some aspects of his reputation.


    At least his father was on his side. Maybe his presence will do much more other than moderate the tones from his deceased wife’s family...


    ----------d-d-d-d---------------d-d-d-d-------------d-d-d-d--------


    Within the dark room of that creaky old house, a quiet young girl tried her best to not succumb to the tears.


    If someone had asked little Rin why would she want to venture inside that seemingly abandoned building, her answer would shock many adults as it was both incredibly brave… but also terribly stupid.


    It wasn’t something absurd to believe that a child would go on an adventure away from their family’s protection. But for this adventure to be one as deadly as it turned out for Rin? It just showed that something was indeed wrong with the Tohsaka.


    Or rather, that there was something wrong with the Tohsaka trusting the Zenjou clan to keep a watchful eye over the heiress to the important family they were tied to.


    It took Aoi a moment to be distracted by some affairs, and for Rin’s grandmother to grow tired and sleepy for the little girl to make an ambitious and untested plan to save someone that she cared about.


    Children were dying. The news was heard by the young Tohsaka through the strange box that her grandparents had set in the living room. The absurd construct, which was explained to her wasn’t the fruit of magecraft, was capable of displaying many things.


    And among the many awe-striking channels available through the tiny remote, one of those was dedicated to show the news of the local area.


    Children had gone missing, that headline gained her attention as soon as it was read out loud by the ‘anchorwoman’. Numerous pictures were shown to support the extent of the service, and among the photos in display, Rin noticed a familiar face.


    Kotone, her mind screeched to a halt at the realization that her friend was in danger.


    Embarking in what had looked to be a dutiful task at the beginning of that departure, Rin kept her mind steeled over the matter.


    It was going to be weird, it was going to be cold- but she needed to make a trip back in the city and find where her friend was.


    She could do it, after all she was a young Magus. That mere thought emboldened her to go through the first half of that tragic campaign.


    The journey was indeed more difficult than expected. Adults tried to apprehend her as soon as they realized that she wasn’t accompanied by an adult.


    Sadly for them, Rin’s legs were pretty fast and her smaller form allowed her to move through large blocks of people with ease.


    It was almost funny, to run away from these silly adults trying to stop her. It reminded her of the times when she used to chase around the park with-


    Someone.


    Yes. Someone.


    She couldn’t think of her. Both father and mother had been rather clear about this matter.


    Despite this little bump, reaching Fuyuki was just the first of many steps she had to take to save Kotone.


    Tracing her steps to the park, she reached one of the ‘safe spots’ she had created with a couple of friends. One of the many tiny clearings that held a couple of small boxes they had left for emergencies.


    Candies, pieces of papers, pens, bandaids- everything that could become useful in case someone was hurt, attacked, or even kidnapped.


    Even a single binocular was left by one of the richer kids, all in the hope to be used if they could’ve managed to sneak out of their homes to watch the stars when they were older.


    It sounded so cool, and yet she knew that her father would’ve never approved of such a deed.


    ...Then again, he would’ve surely been disappointed if he knew what she was doing away from her grandparents’ house.


    Sneaking around, avoiding detection from those that wanted to bring her back home…


    She couldn’t do it! She had a friend to save.


    And thus, Rin started to plan out something. She needed to find places that would usually be considered feared by children.


    Places that would frighten and terrify her peers.


    Because those locations had to be prime candidates for the kind of bad guy that was behind these horrible attacks. Or bad girl, she wasn’t going to exclude that it could’ve been a scary lady behind all of this.


    Once she had set some of the spots she knew weren’t meant to be visited by kids on one of the few maps of Fuyuki kept in the safe spot, Rin resumed her journey to find her friend.


    The trip wasn’t as linear as it had been up until now. Backtracking became a must the moment she realized that some of those places were shrouded in darkness despite it being so early in the morning.


    After recovering a flashlight and two batteries, the young Tohsaka was back on her adventure, shedding some light over the villainous shadows.


    She almost giggled as she thought that, quickly recomposing herself as she eventually ended up wandering inside an old house by the edge of Fuyuki.


    It was considered an abandoned house, and the kids in the area were quite nervous to speak about it since ‘scary things’ had been seen unfolding in the last few days.


    Strange lights, some mad cackling, and children disappearing the most in this specific quarter.


    It was a bigger chance than the last two spots she had to check on, and she knew that it had to be in that very place.


    With her father’s past praises keeping her morale up, Rin ventured inside the unnerving shack in complete silence.


    Her blue eyes seemed to shine in the dark, something that was attenuated by her flashlight keeping on waving around some brightness over the unknown, feeding more into her sense of security.


    Maybe she had arrived at a time where the meanie was in there. Yes, that sounded like a brilliant possibility, one that she hoped was indeed true.


    She wandered around, expecting to find some clues that would confirm that this was the place of the heinous deeds.


    All noises were taken in account with utmost attention, all the creaking and the groaning from the old wood keeping her tense and unable to think beyond that situation.


    Where was Kotone? Was this the place she was trying to find?


    The young Tohsaka almost started to hum in an effort to soothe her worries, but as soon as she thought of doing so, her panic exploded as wood started to creak underneath something heavy. Something nearby.


    Eventually the girl arrived at what she easily recognized as a kitchen. Stoves, a sink, a few cupboards in the upper section of the room and… a strange fridge.


    Actually, it wasn’t the fridge itself that looked strange, but the unknown thing that was wrapped around it.


    It looked like a squid, or a starfish. It was a creature that reminded Rin of a seafaring animal, and yet there was something odd about it.


    Something bad, she could tell from a closer look.


    As soon as she took four to five steps toward the fridge to study the unexpected creature latched on it, her eyes widened as she saw the being slowly dislodging itself off the appliance.


    Backing away quickly from the alive monster, a sliver of fear slowly gained purchase on her brain. She was trembling a little as the horrible sight was well-beyond what she had expected to find.


    Rin turned around and started to run away from the kitchen, her heart jumping to her throat as she felt the creature quickly bolting after her, in an effort to catch up to the girl.


    A yelp left her lips as she unconsciously tripped because of the uneven floor, dread filled her mind as she saw the monster loom closer to her downed position, eager to jump on her and hurt her.


    Fear peaked and for a moment Rin knew that no words from her father would’ve been enough to calm her down.


    She almost screamed as she couldn’t think of a way to fend off the swift assault and, as she braced for impact, her teary eyes widened again as something absurd unfolded before her.


    The monster… it was no longer there.


    Sure, its agonizing form was rolling around the floor, trying to survive through what looked to be some painful attacks that had caused it to bleed a lot. Green liquid poured without limitation out of its wounds, and soon… it wasn’t rolling anymore.


    It would twitch once in a while but… Rin could tell it was dead.


    The sight was horrifying. Even though the fiend had been trying to hurt her, to see something ‘with thoughts’ die like this left her afraid.


    Within the dark room of that creaky old house, a quiet young girl tried her best to not succumb to the tears.


    What happened? She tried to think of an explanation but… nothing felt right with what just happened.


    Her mind couldn’t give her any answer, and she wasn’t certain of what happened.


    Instead, her attention was stolen away by a melody coming from the second floor. The sound… she recognized it as something only a piano would produce.


    Gulping nervously, and beating down her fearful thoughts, Rin stood up and slowly started to make her way to the origin of that melody.


    It was suave, it was calm- it was alluring.


    A trap? If so, was the trapper behind the death of that monster?


    Her mind was just overflowing with questions about the recent events, and she felt that a solution was soon going to be provided.


    Her rise through the staircase was uneventful. Nothing in there suggested another monster, and so she didn’t wait too long to arrive at the room where the mysterious figure was playing the piano.


    The door opened, revealing said figure giving his back to her.


    The room was particularly dark, but not enough to completely obscure her sight.


    The windows were closed shut, preventing any sunlight from coming inside that room.


    The man, the one that was still sounding the piano, seemed highly distracted by the activity. The blond was wearing a sleeveless dark shirt, and a pair of yellow pants. A pair of shoes and a yellow shirt the same shade as the pants were properly set near to the bed.


    As soon as she was done staring, Rin noticed that the man was no longer playing the piano.


    “You know, it's rude to enter someone’s domain uninvited.”


    His tone was commanding, and she knew that he could move fast enough to catch her if she tried to run away.


    “...Sorry?”


    That would certainly work, she thought quickly. It did work with other individuals, so why wouldn’t in this case?


    “Are you sorry for being an unruly scoundrel, or are you sorry that you got caught by me?”


    Indeed, which of the two instances was it?


    Rin knew it, but instead of being truthful, she decided to play a safe card and hope for the best.


    “Yes.”





    “HahahahahahahahahaHAHAHAHAHA!


    There was something wrong with this person. Maybe he was some lunatic hobo, or maybe this one was the bad guy behind Kotone’s kidnapping.


    “W-Who are you?!”


    The girl demanded imperiously, allowing her anger to reinforce her current determination.


    The half-question stole the strange man from his own laugh, and she found herself staring at his judging golden eyes as he turned to address her properly.


    “I’m DIO, you unruly child. And I will give you just five seconds to tell me your name and why you’re here.”


    He couldn’t be serious. She didn’t trust him enough to-


    “Five, four-”


    “I-I’m Rin. Rin Tohsaka,” She instinctively replied, feeling the awkwardness of how similar it just felt to be reminded of the very same tactic being used by her mother.


    “Three, two-”


    He was still going? B-but-


    “One-”


    “I- I’m searching for a friend that- that went missing!”








    “Is that so? And you believe that invading a property just like this will shed some light over your friend’s disappearance?”


    She wanted to say yes. To be brave and determined against such a mean adult… and yet her resolve faltered before his cold eyes.


    Those just felt so inhuman and terrifying. This felt more like one of the horror stories her mother used to tell her during Halloween.


    A shiver went down her spine as the man stood up from his small chair, making just two steps towards the child.


    “Rin Tohsaka, I’ve asked you a question. Consider this a mercy, I will allow you to choose your answer, but only if you will not delay the thinking too much.”


    She blinked, finally regaining control of her emotions.


    “Y-Yes.”


    A smirk adorned Dio’s face, and the tall man crouched down close to her level.


    “Many lesser beings would’ve faltered at my voice, I wonder if this means something,” The blond contemplated thoughtfully. “I assume you know that trespassing is a crime.”





    “No?”


    His lips twitched, a tiny hint of amusement flashing in his eyes before the man addressed her with a scowl.


    “Aren’t you an unruly brat? I suppose your parents never taught you how to be respectful of others-”


    “Y-You don’t know them! You don’t know me!”





    “I believe you’re overstepping your boundaries, thus I will give you a fair chance,” Dio replied calmly. “Leave the room now, and I will make sure no harm falls over you as you leave. Advance towards me, and I will consider it a sign that you want to stay.”


    Rin frowned, feeling like the deal was just too dumb to be true. What kind of game was this dummy playing?





    Instead of thinking too much about it, the young Tohsaka turned around and started to run out of the room…


    Only for her to find herself a step closer to the bizarre man.


    “W-What?”


    “What’s wrong? You did approach me-”


    “I did not!” Rin refused heatedly. “You did something?”


    He blinked. “And what did I do? Call my ‘cheat’ out if you believe I tricked you.”


    She wanted to, she really wanted to. But her mind failed to grasp at the absurd situation.


    What did just happen? How did he get her to make a step forward when she was clearly trying to run away moments earlier?


    Hypnosis? Something about warping space around her?


    Rin tried to go through the previous attempt once more, with the result being pretty much the same as before.


    She went through this for a while, going well beyond ten times the same effort, with all attempts ending in a resounding failure.


    She paused the moment her breath started to get difficult to control.


    “What’s wrong, are you tired?”


    A furious pout appeared on the child’s face. “N-No!”


    His amusement only increased at that response, and he seemed prepared to see her try again and fail at that futile effort.


    Yet, despite that simple expectation he had built on her previous trial, Dio appeared surprised when, instead of running out of the door, Rin rushed towards him and, before he had a chance to move out of the way, his face was struck by… a soft punch.


    The girl was incredibly furious, yet the blond didn’t look anywhere as scared as the young Tohsaka would’ve wanted.


    “I suppose… you’re willing to stay,” The man said while grinning deviously.


    Once again, Rin felt a chill go down her spine and… this time, she knew she made herself a problem.


    A problem that was mostly caused by a bored Vampire that was seeking some rational individual to talk to.


    -----------d-d-d-d-------------d-d-d-d------------


    AN


    If it isn’t Gilles, it’s Francesca.


    And now Dio, a vampire that is glooming over the fact he doesn’t have a mansion to use for malicious intent, tries to get himself someone to talk to that isn’t as insane as his monster.


    The question is: will Rin play along and live through this, or will something horrible happen?
     
    Ajlove, Franklin Bush, Bruh and 5 others like this.
  29. Umbra99

    Umbra99 We Could All Use Some Good Civilization

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    I suppose even DIO would get tired of Francesca eventually. I was not expecting Rin of all people to end up stuck with DIO, though.
     
    lars and JBukharin like this.
  30. Threadmarks: Ninth Mantra! Progress in Understanding!
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    Chapter 11: Ninth Mantra! Progress in Understanding!


    I still don’t understand- why did this girl become your concern, dear?


    This discussion was as difficult as he had expected. Maybe more if Jotaro realized how awkward it had to sound to someone that didn’t know the full context of the situation he was presenting.


    While his wife was someone that would give him absolute trust when he pressed on a matter, there was always a sliver of doubt that would come up and turn things complicated for him. Not because the woman was in the wrong with her concerns, but rather he was unable to express the truth without putting his close family in harm’s way.


    Especially now that DIO was back as a Servant, his paranoia was going through an all-high in an effort to get secondary issues solved as quickly as possible before he focused his entire attention on the troublesome threat.


    “While working with Gramps, I found out that the child was being abused,” Jotaro finally replied with a quiet voice, trying his best to keep the discussion away from Sakura. With the child currently busy drawing things together with Caster, it was only for the best to not drag her in so soon. First, he needed to make his wife accept this sudden development, and that was no easy feat in itself.


    Abused? You mean that she was-


    “Yes,” He cut her before she could have finished that question. “While I understand your concerns, I wish to make it clear that I wouldn’t have taken this idea without a serious thought behind it.”


    I know, but I… I want to understand why you think adopting her would be the best option.


    A sigh, then his stare moved away from the Servant and the child.


    “She was originally sold to the family that abused her. Her original family is still there, and they own enough wealth to take her back from the local orphanage if they wanted,” The Stand User elaborated, trying to give most of the truth while stripping it of any supernatural event or precise detail his wife could’ve used to to trace people and locations through a research. “Her brother, the one that was actually from the abusive family, will be taken in by the old man. I don’t think I need to remind you that-”


    Grandmother dearest would love to take in a young boy to pamper and spoil. I remember your mother being rather fussy about it since it sounded like her own mother would’ve preferred a male child.


    “She didn’t let go of that grudge until Gramps decided to invite them both out for a ‘date’. I swear that was the-”


    Most adorable and hilarious thing Joseph could’ve done,” Lena interrupted before he could’ve offered something less flattering. “I don’t want to poke at it once again, but maybe you should really ask your grandfather how he managed his family when-


    “I will,” Jotaro replied curtly, really unhappy of being reminded of the fact that, while he was clueless how to schedule work, secret work, and private life without messing one or all of them, his grandfather had successfully worked through this issue for decades.


    It wasn’t anything he had about the old man, but the younger man really didn’t want to be reminded how inexperienced and deadbeat he was going to sound by asking that kind of question.


    I sure hope you will give it a try, dear. I really want you to put aside some of your concerns and give it a shot,” The woman scolded softly. “Do it for Jolyne and… this girl.


    He restrained himself from flinching at that, knowing full well that he couldn’t say no to this now that his daughter was brought up. And there was also now his new charge to take under consideration about this delicate matter.


    Sakura was still suffering from her experience at the Matou, and it would’ve been foolish of him to not pay more attention to her now that he was considering taking her in. The child deserved some happiness, and not just from the likes of a mother or a sibling. She also needed a father. The girl needed a full family experience to grow out of that trauma.


    “I understand,” He replied with a little more determination, blinking as his wife sighed in relief.


    Now I feel at ease in knowing that now you will pay more attention to it,” Lena commented mirthfully. “But now that we have settled about this subject, I was actually thinking of talking with the girl. Her name is Sakura, right?


    “Yes,” Jotaro muttered. “If you want I can get her on the phone now. She is currently drawing-”


    Please do, dear.


    Sighing before turning once more to look at the two other occupants of the room, the man decided to approach the child instead of actually snapping her out of her happy moments that suddenly. The girl tensed up just a little as he tapped at her shoulder, soon looking away from her half-done drawing and offering her the phone.


    “There is someone that wishes to know you. She is… nice.”


    The plum-haired child blinked at the curt explanation, but she nodded at it before taking the phone in her hands and bringing it to her right ear.


    “Hello?”


    Hi, I’m Lenna. Are you little Sakura?


    The kid frowned at the feminine voice, nodding to herself at the unexpected question.


    “Yes.”


    The woman sighed mirthfully. “Nice to meet you, dear. Jotaro told me that you are a pretty girl.


    An awed look replaced the confused one on Sakura’s face.


    “Am I?”


    I’m quite sure of it, sweetie. In fact, when I saw a picture of you I almost exclaimed at how pretty you looked.


    Her lips twitched, and her legs kicked a little at hearing those nice words. It reminded her of a time when she was happier and things weren’t that… unpleasant. But now the time with the Matou was over and her new caretaker wasn’t someone that she was unhappy about. Quite the opposite if she had to be genuinely honest.


    “Thank you,” Sakura replied politely.


    Aw, and polite too. Can I ask you a few simple questions, Sakura-chan?


    The girl frowned at the request, but until now she had no reason to doubt the good-will displayed by the kind lady. Plus, Jotaro had said she was nice and… he had been telling her only the truth until now.


    “Yes.”


    Okay then. Jotaro told me that you were drawing something, can you tell me what it is?


    Relief washed over her little worry. The questions weren’t as private as she had expected and… she was actually interested in knowing the perspective from someone else that wasn’t Caster. While the brunette was nice too, she was also… too energetic, and quite simplistic with her answers.


    “I was drawing a… Koinobori.”


    Really? That’s a pretty fish, and one that can be colored in many beautiful ways. Did you know that?


    ...Was color also important? Was there a set of rules to follow about it?


    These were the questions that suddenly erupted at that simple query. It was her first time she drew something like that. Usually it was cat-faces or cute puppies, but ever since Jotaro had given her a book about fishes, Sakura had decided to try drawing some of those.


    The starfish was easy, but the result was nonetheless satisfying to see. There were so many creatures to try her hand with, but the koinobori was something that she could remember from her… early childhood. It was indeed a pretty fish like Lena had told her being, but the girl never understood why it was the case.


    “I’m still drawing it.”


    Oh really? Are you making sure it looks the prettiest?” The woman inquired once again.


    “Yes.” She started to hum happily after saying that, a tiny smile appearing on her face as she was growing happier with the way the conversation was going. While it was confusingly difficult to get the proper outline of the carp’s body, the fins, the eye and the mouth were coming along quite well.


    It was definitely more complex to what she had tried to draw before… and the child was glad that Caster was there to cheer her up whenever she needed to go back and fix any mistakes she had left behind for a time.


    By the way, sweetie, did Jotaro tell you about… what happens once he is done there in Fuyuki?


    The question was more important than the previous ones, but still far from becoming a reason of concern for the girl.


    “He said that… I was going to live with him and his family,” Sakura replied, completely clueless of the fact that the man wasn’t planning to keep her just as a ward.


    This ignorance wasn’t born just by the Stand User’s lack of a proper explanation on the matter, but also by the child’s own unwillingness to even consider the chances of her being adopted as his daughter. It would’ve been nice, but surely she wasn’t going to be taken in like that, especially with how much of a burden she had been so early on.


    Yes. I’m sure Jolyne is going to love growing with a polite and nice big sister.


    Sakura stopped doing other things beyond listening to Lena’s words the moment she realized what she had just heard. Her full focus slowly shifted away from the mostly-done drawing as she found herself perplexed by that bizarre claim.


    “Big… sister?”


    Didn’t Jotaro tell you that… I believe you should ask him that, actually.” Lena pointed out quietly. “Wouldn’t be nice for him to be let off the hook for not explaining the full context to you, honey.


    Sakura followed her comment, turning her stare to look at the tall man’s face in an effort to gain some understanding of that absurd possibility. Jotaro looked down with a surprised but unsure look, and she knew that something was indeed off about the matter. But what was she missing in this situation, and why did she feel a strange squeeze around her heart at what she had yet to learn about.


    Ultimately, the marine biologist sighed and nodded to her. “When I said that you were coming to live with my family, I meant that I’m planning to adopt you as my daughter.”





    What?


    “B-But I’m… I’m not...”


    Her eyes felt blurry, and soon her stare rushed to the floor as she tried to reach out with her closed palm. Tears, she was crying. But why was she crying if… if this was just a simple decision.


    Why did she feel the need to tremble at the news and… allow the nice man to lift her up and pull her in a warm hug. Burrowing her face onto his white coat, Sakura let out a couple of sniffles as the man started to pat and caress behind her head.


    There were no words, just a pleasant silence that allowed her to think even more about what was happening. Why was she crying when… she should be feeling happy?


    Something pounded within her mind, some forgotten memories that were forcibly pushed away when those became synonymous to the fact her parents had… left her at the hand of the horrible grandfather.


    Now she was no longer fearing what kind of terrible torture she had to go through. And she cried at the chance of finally realizing that now there was no possible way for her to be hurt like that once more. Not when there was Jotaro around. Not when she was going to leave this place once this ‘work’ was over.


    And as that realization finally drove her poor mind to exhaustion, making her slowly go limp within the embrace, Sakura’s eyes fluttered open just for a couple of seconds while her consciousness faltered into oblivion.


    It was just enough to see something like a spirit float over the man’s head. Hair flowing backward as if hit by a constant wind, the strange spirit had a light-blue skin with a couple of light-violet and green sections all over his face. The only element that really got her full attention as she succumbed to mental exhaustion was… the kind blue eyes that she had seen in only a single person until that moment.


    A yawn, through the shaking, and soon Sakura fell asleep with the thought of a guardian angel standing above her and… her new father.


    And with the child slumping on him, Jotaro sighed in relief as he felt incredibly worried for a moment at that sudden reaction. At first he thought she was feeling sick, but the way she behaved was more of a starving person being finally given some good food to eat, but purer and more intense in nature.


    Picking the phone that had been dropped on the table, the man sighed as he heard some shuffling on the other side of the call.


    “Lena.”


    J-Jotaro, what happened? I heard sobbing, the phone falling and-


    “Little Sakura was… overwhelmed by the news,” The marine biologist explained, trying to reassure his worried wife. “Right now she is in my arms, asleep and… still crying a little bit.”


    Poor dear, I wasn’t expecting her to react this strongly to it,” The woman replied. “Are the bastards behind this behind the bars? Did you get the cops to act and-


    “They will not harm anyone ever again,” Jotaro guaranteed with a calm voice. “I made sure of it myself.”


    I’m glad to hear that. Still, I hope you’re going to return soon and bring her out of that place. While I can tell you’re doing well right now with her, I don’t want her to be hurt by staying for too long in that city,” The concerned mother added. “When will you be done with your job?


    “I think I will be back in less than a week. I’m quite certain it will be over by that time,” The Stand User answered with a sigh. “I will make sure to deal with any nuisances that could delay that expectation by even a single minute.”


    Understood. I will contact Joseph to see if he needs my signature to confirm the paperwork about Sakura.


    “So, you are certain of-”


    That child deserves a family. While I’m still confused by many things, I can recognize a girl in need if I hear one. She is not only starving for attention, but also suffering from whatever ordeal she had to go through.


    “I will see for the old man to have the proper documentation ready as soon as possible.”


    The call ended after a little while, with both Caster and her Master taking a seat by the bed while letting Sakura rest some more through that emotional breakdown. Pink eyes were shining warmly onto the unconscious child, and Jotaro soon allowed for the Servant to take the girl on her arms.


    The day was still long and… he had to kill that effeminate vampire once again. Why the hell couldn’t his life be spared by the madness that was Dio Brando for once?


    With these annoying thoughts in mind, the Marine Biologist went to check on his grandfather for any news. Father Kotomine had yet to contact them, but his son had mentioned that a truce was now made official against the intrusion of DIO’s Master.


    Whoever they were, Jotaro was not going to spare anything in making sure they didn’t go through with whatever madness they were trying to go through with. Not until he was capable of breathing and punching.


    -----------d-d-d-d------------d-d-d-d-----------


    “You should hand her over to me,” Francesca muttered as she distractedly worked on the umpteenth carcass she was trying to prepare for the important ritual. “Her Soul is strong and will make a fine asset for our plans.”


    DIO ignored his Master, just like he had done in the last few hours without any grand action ever since he was allowed to slaughter Lancer and his Master. Boredom had been rising to an all-time high, and it would be a lie to say that he was happy of being confined in the most decrepit place in the entire city.


    He was in Japan and… he could barely move around to gain info on his nemesis. Jotaro was certainly learning of his return, and the blond vampire knew that it was just a matter of when the man was going to strike at him during a step in his ambitious plan. Or rather Francesca’s plan.


    As much as DIO wanted to kill Jotaro, the fact that this opportunity was offered after being enslaved to a deranged and untrustworthy individual made the entire situation less apetible than it should have been.


    Her insanity was well beyond any of his loyal supporters, which was the reason why he had lied to her about the presence of cells from his cult within this nation. His men were all around the world, but were rendered useless, if not a set of unpleasant pawns to have with the possibility of being stolen from his clutches by the devious witch.


    If DIO had met Francesca years ago, things would’ve been less amiable between the two.


    Too unstable, and driven by twisted emotions rather than a degree of logic. While it was true that many of his servants had served him loyally and sometimes even fanatically, the vampire would have never allowed such a troublesome element in his circle. And now that he had finally found something for him to pass time with, the man was growing even more impatient at her childish effort to gain control of his… jester.


    “Little Rin is my… guest. And I will not allow her to be treated as cattle for you to use with your pets, Master.”


    Francesca pouted in annoyance, muttering something that sounded a lot like ‘for their abs’ or something like that. Meanwhile a certain little girl was frowning at him as she sat down on the ground right in front of his chair.


    Rin Tohsaka. She was barely seven when she reached upon his simple hideout. She was a stubborn child, particularly infuriating at times, but overall an amusing plaything to use for comedic purposes when the urge to be entertained came to ring at his head. She had a temper that reminded him so closely of a younger version of himself, but she was a far cry from the legitimate fury that burned him into taking this arduous path to reach the Heavens.


    With the creation of monstrosities between animals and humans not satisfying him as much as it had been back when he was ‘younger’, the little girl quickly became someone that reminded him of a younger Jonathan if the pathetic man had been a woman.


    Jojo had been arrogant when they first met. He also used to be quick to jump the gun, to strike without planning, but worst of it all spoiled rotten by a society that had favored him to have the greatest of lives without having to put any hard work into it.


    His first ambition of stealing the Joestar’s fortune was terribly materialistic, and the ultimate proof that his truest weakness was the humanity he had disposed of when consumed by the stone mask. Less morality, more power, and more ambition.


    DIO was set to become the greatest being on the planet… or that was what he thought at the time when he was blissfully unaware of this ‘secret layer’ of magical beings and users. Magecraft was a concept as absurd as fascinating, and for once DIO felt the need to expand his knowledge on the matter.


    The chances of improving his Made in Heaven Ritual sounded as enticing as plausible. Considering that the main elements of his original plan stemmed from the application of universal logic through the creation of a Stand capable of achieving such a feat through a set of numerous tasks and requirements, it was only legitimate for the man to study and hope for a simplification of the dangerously-lengthy ritual that Pucci was meant to go through.


    The priest wasn’t going to fail him. He had educated him well enough to not mess things up in the ritual. The stakes were claimed, the strength was displayed, and he knew that it was just a short amount of time before his friend noticed his resurface.


    He just was too attentive to miss any telling signs of vampirism, and with the local news showing the desecration of the graves in Fuyuki, surely he was going to come and assist him against the Joestars… and Francesca herself.


    While he was glad to be back, he was also irked by what the young woman had planned to go through. It felt too ‘flashy’ and incredibly dangerous for them to deal with, and while she was absolutely certain of her success, DIO decided to trust more his reading on some tarot cards to check how their luck was than his master’s confidence on the matter.


    Speaking of cards, the Avenger Servant took immense pleasure in ‘reading’ little Rin’s future about the situation.


    He wasn’t going as far as to call out only deadly scenarios, knowing that if he ended up breaking her mind with his malicious personality, then he was going to need to find someone as hilarious if not more than her. And that wasn’t the kind of thing the man wanted to waste his time on. He was a mastermind, not someone that could allow himself to walk around to fish funny jesters for him to be amused about.


    So by displaying just the proper amount of despair, DIO managed to get the reaction he wanted to see out of that poor brat. A sense of determination that seemed to transcend the mere interest of saving a friend, or to go back to her family.


    Rin Tohsaka was a battery of amusing reactions that reached out a sense of twisted amusement within himself. A toy that he was just chewing softly on, knowing that the noise it was doing with so little activity was more than enough to soothe his attentive ears.


    And that was if he ignored the frequent efforts to get close to him and attack him again. The punch had been born from surprise as he thought the child was capable of making up a simple plan of actions to get through that simple loop. Yet she proved him wrong by striking him, albeit without results.


    She was too weak, and he was the strongest. It was like a tiny fly slamming against a massive boulder, with her silly antics failing to even come closer to become dangerous for him to be afraid of. In fact, he was mostly endeared by her drive.


    What pushed her to be this much of a pest? Could it be that, despite her snappy personality compared to Jonathan, she was compelled by the same sense of morality like him? Would she lose it if the ‘only’ reason that had driven her was gone before her eyes?


    That last question had happened in his mind when he managed to find this ‘Kotone’. The little girl, which had no magical potential, was long dead as her soul was quickly used by Francesca to fuel one of the many monstrous creatures she was creating from the corpses recovered at the graveyard.


    The logic behind this devious plan was more akin to Frankenstein’s own ordeal rather than his personal experiments in reanimating ‘improved’ monsters. The souls of the children were tainted with bits of her own essence, put through some ‘degradation’, and finally shoved inside the older bodies.


    An army of loyal zombies that were meant to work as their cannon fodders for the little siege they were planning to get going quite soon. An attack to demolish the castle that held the Lesser Grail, a particular tool in the completion of the Holy Grail War.


    When DIO asked what Francesca’s wish was, her answer got him to snarl and look at her with a greater glare than before.


    I want DIO to fight against Jotaro. Forever… eternally~! For your wills to burn and be replaced by senseless thoughts of fighting, without a reason known to both!


    The prospect was far from pleasant, but still the Grail should’ve been powerful enough for him to make his own wish when the time came to express it. His chances of success depended how he was handling the suspicious elements he was throwing at Francesca, and how quickly he could muster his Stand to stop her from ruining his chances to be brought back.


    Pucci was going to ascend and gain the ultimate Stand… only for DIO to take that powerful instrument of the heavens and allow it to give his own Stand the capacity to do even more than planned. To become one with the endless flow of dimension.


    To go beyond the natural limits of a single soul.


    Just as he thought about that peculiar topic, Rin decided to go for another attempt at hurting him. He was distracted, and quite unwilling to spare much interest in what the child was trying to accomplish through that foolish endeavor.


    Preparing her kick to deliver the umpteenth attack, when she struck DIO actually felt something. Pain.


    The suddenness of the emotion almost made him jump, with his mind forcefully pulled out of that deep state of mind. His right leg jolted, the sensation swiftly spreading all over the limb the moment the hit connected.


    Rin backed away as soon as he reacted, a shocked look on her face disproving that this was actually something she had planned to happen and… in the panic, she dropped a tiny yellow stone that she had been holding on her red palm.


    Eyes widening in a mix of curiosity and confusion, his Stand swiftly materialized to get hold of that simple stone. A sizzling sound soon ensued, with his fingers slowly suffering some burning effect as 「The World」’s own digits were enduring that kind of sensation first because of the… gem.


    Master, I have a question.”


    Francesca hummed. “Can it wait? This dear is a little feisty-”


    “Can gems be used to store sunlight?” He asked nonetheless. “Or perhaps replicate the effects of it?”


    The white-haired woman stopped, actually giving him a look before noticing the little smoke coming from the tiny stone her Servant’s Stand was holding.


    “Technically yes. It’s rare and limited… but I guess Rin-tan’s family specializes in Jewelcraft.”


    He blinked, the pain soon forgotten as 「The World」 shattered the stone with a single ‘MUDA’. With tiny shards falling to the ground, Rin’s jaws dropped some more as she felt the vampire’s attention on herself too.


    “You tried to do it again,” The man lamented, but there was no annoyance in his voice. “You feinted weakness to strike me while I was the most vulnerable, lulled in the fake chance of you being harmless.”





    “Speak the truth. Or else I will be more than happy to let Francesca make use of your magical prowess for our plans.”


    A nervous gulp later, the child decided to speak up.


    “...Yes.”


    His lips twitched, his mind marveling over the fact he had been tricked twice with the same trick. And by a young girl that didn’t seem much on first impressions because of her interesting personality. What a peculiar discovery.


    “And do you feel like you accomplished something out of this flimsy effort?”





    She gave a tiny smile, one that had DIO looking incredibly fascinated.


    “Yes.”


    He blinked. “How?”





    “You yelped.”


    The vampire frowned. “A bold claim-”


    “You actually did that, Lord DIO-sama,” Francesca remarked. “In fact, I almost started to chuckle at that lovely noise.”


    Gritting his teeth, the blond refused to address his Master any further for today. Still, he had to deal with Rin and her successful attack, and how it would’ve killed him if she had decided to strike him on his face instead of leg.


    The limb was slowly recovering, replacing the dying skin with newly-made one through his regeneration. It would take a while, but at least he hadn’t lost his leg just like last time.


    Rin’s blue eyes were flashing a frightened sense of understanding, the girl perhaps realizing just now how fruitless bothered her plan and her response were compared to the Servant’s might. But instead of exploiting this chance to cruelly punish her ‘misbehaving’, DIO decided that this was a sign that he should be aiming to do something else with the child. Something less dreadful than anything he had come up until now.


    “Little Rin… where do you want to eat dinner?”


    … “W-What?”


    Francesca’s amused howling echoed across the hideout, leaving a confused Rin to make sense of that absurdly positive outcome from her assassination attempt on the vampire.


    --------d-d-d-d-----------d-d-d-d-------------d-d-d-d----------


    AN


    Sakura can now see Stands because her ‘burden’, the one thing that restrained her freedom of soul is now gone. The trauma persists, but the bright light of a better future now helps her to see clearly what’s up ahead and what she has to do to ‘preserve it’.


    DIO’s real weakness is being cocky. Having a formidable Stand, he is unable to take seriously most of the threats ahead of him. But when Jotaro appears, he will have to face two possible choices during that encounter. One of which is more amusing than the other.
     
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