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OverMaster's Little Crummy Corner of Sub-Par Writing

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by OverMaster, Aug 27, 2018.

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  1. Threadmarks: Rin and Shirou Do Chaldea, Part One
    OverMaster

    OverMaster I'm fed up with everything

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    https://www.fanfiction.net/s/9179688/1/More-than-Fifty-Four-Rin-and-Shirou-Threesomes

    ---

    Five Years Later...

    ---

    A lone figure slowly rose from the bloody mess of butchered flesh and broken bone. He took his head back and howled, more like an animal than a human being. "Tohsssaakaaaaaaa!! Your Pervert Disposal Kit couldn't kill me! I shall have my revenge....!! And you, your threesomes...!!"

    And so he went and founded a ridiculously complex and huge organization to save the world.

    And rope Tohsaka Rin and Emiya Shirou into unfunny threesomes.

    Some men just have skewed priorities like that.

    ---

    Nasu Kinoko and Type-Moon created Fate/Stay Night, Fate Grand Order and everything in between.

    I'm not making any money out of this, but I'm getting lots of sex because of my writing. Okay, that's a lie. The sex part, I mean.

    Small children and animals shouldn't be exposed to this fanfiction piece, mostly because most animals can't read.

    ---

    More than Fifty Four Rin and Shirou Threesomes.

    Chaldea Edition.

    ---

    Rin, Shirou and Olga Marie.

    Tohsaka Rin had lost her sister to political maneuvers she could not or want to understand back then, but she still never questioned them.

    She had then lost her father to the bloody carnage of a Holy Grail War. But she never questioned that either. She always had known such was one of the risks of the Heaven's Feel. A risk her father had tackled willingly, fully knowing about the chances as well. Had she known the full truth, she would have raged, but what good would that have done for her?

    Next she had lost her mother, to long drawn insanity and consuming mania, a victim who had suffered too long before puffing out like a dying candle. Once again, Rin had not protested against the unfairness of it all, and accepted it with the grim resolve of a true Tohsaka.

    Just as she accepted the offer of the Fourth War's winner, despite of what it personally meant for her. But politics once again took precedence, even when it meant working with the son of another survivor of that conflict her father had perished to. Probably the son of the man who had murdered her father. Or perhaps that other girl, haughty and superior in her granted-- not earned-- spot of authority, was the daughter of her father's assassin, instead. That didn't matter, now. Rin forged ahead with what she was supposed to do either way.

    And the days became weeks, and then months, and finally years, and by the time Rin lost Olga Marie as well, to a fiery and cruel fate much worse than that of any of those other loved ones, Rin finally broke down and cried in Emiya's arms, for unlike with the others, nothing had really prepared her for this.

    "I'll never leave you," he promised, hugging her tenderly as Shielder watched on in silence, but by now Rin better. Someday, he would leave her as well.

    In the meanwhile, however, she would cling to him as much as she could.

    And so, she did.

    ---

    Rin, Shirou and Mash.

    "Sempai," she always would call him, and that never failed to sound right.

    "Sempai," she would always call her, and that... never felt quite right, actually.

    But Rin was too proud, and would have felt too embarrassed of asking, "Won't you call me Onee-san instead?" to ever correct that obvious... whatever it was, actually.

    ----

    Rin, Shirou and Saber (Artoria Pendragon).

    Now this, indeed, felt right, correct, fair and harmonious from every angle Rin could think of. And she could tell Emiya felt the same as well, so she thankfully never had to ask him, which would have been too much of a bother, just like asking Mash-chan on the whole Onee-san thing...

    Actually, by this point, shouldn't this be a Rin and Shirou Foursome?

    ---

    Rin, Shirou and Saber (Artoria Pendragon Alter).

    Now, as for this... well... actually, it didn't feel that right, correct, fair and harmonious anymore, and in more than a way it was actually sort of upsettling. But it still was hot, and Mash kind of liked having two Kings to serve, and it was nice at times that Rin could do one and Shirou could do the other, side by side, and whenever the two of them were together, that was so strangely exquisite to behold...

    To hell with what the food suppliers said, this one was staying too.

    Actually, by this point, shouldn't this be a Rin and Shirou Fivesome?

    ---

    Rin, Shirou and Doctor Romani.

    It never came to pass, actually. He always was too distant, as if building an invisible wall between himself and others. Always approchable but never reachable, always affable yet never really bonding, and while Mash suspected he and Leonardo-sama might have connected in a more personal level, well, now that was sort of out of discussion, was not it?

    So after the Timeless Temple, while reflecting back on things, Rin would always feel the pain of the loss of a friend, but also, a small part of her, ribbing at her from the back of her mind, would never stop wondering about what could have been, as well.

    ---

    Rin, Shirou and Caster (Leonardo Da Vinci).

    "How longer?" Rin groaned, standing in the nude by Shirou's side.

    "I'll tell you as soon as we are done," smiled the Mona Lisa, as enigmatically as ever, sitting cross legged as she carefully worked her magic on the canvas, and on her subjects as well, enjoying their strained stillness, but translating it to the painting as the bubbling sensuality eagerly waiting to burst out.

    "I had no idea you would paint naked as well..." Shirou said while clenching his teeth.

    "Only when doing nude portraits," she admitted innocently, unfolding those long legs and then crossing them back the other way. "It establishes more of a connection between author and subject."

    "I'll give you your damned connection as soon as you're done..." Rin threatened, and the smile only grew even more beautiful and infuriating.

    Regardless, the threat worked, as the masterful strokes became both faster and even more inspired.

    Afterwards, they made real art together.

    ---

    Rin, Shirou and Caster (Cu Chulainn).

    "This," Caster finally said, looking at the ceiling while the two mere humans laid panting by his sides, unable to speak for the moment, "would have been better had I been a Lancer, too."

    "I believe," Da Vinci said from where she cuddled with a very quiet and wide eyed Mash at another end of the huge bed, "you did make a remarkable spearing work all night long, regardless."

    Actually, by now, shouldn't this be a Tales of Rin and Shirou's Harem fanfic, instead?

    ---

    Rin, Shirou and Saber (Artoria Pendragon Lily).

    "A-Actually..." Shirou stammered, looking at the nervous, petite Princess of Knights before them, "this isn't that right, correct, fair or harmonious any more, is it...?"

    "No. No, it isn't," Alter declared solemnly. "Which is precisely why we must do it, Master."

    "Please be gentleeeeeee!"

    Shirou never could quite grasp the logic of that, but Rin guessed she kind of could. Although by now it was starting to feel sort of same-y...

    ---

    To be continued.
     
  2. Threadmarks: Rebuild of Unequally Rational and Emotional, Chapter One, Act One
    OverMaster

    OverMaster I'm fed up with everything

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    Mahou Sensei Negima! was created and is owned by Akamatsu Ken and Kodansha.

    Sayonara, Zetsubou Sensei was created and is owned by Kumeta Koji and Kodansha.

    All other franchises and characters featured in this story are the intellectual property of their respective creators.

    ---

    Unequally Rational and Emotional.

    ----

    The Kyoto Protocol.

    ---

    Previously, in Unequally Rational and Emotional:

    Negi Springfield, a prodigy boy mage from Wales, premier graduate of his class, was sent by the supreme spirits of magic to teach classes in Mahora Academy, one of the four most prestigious schools of Japan's Academy City. Why? We only can especulate. Soon after his arrival, Negi was assigned to live with two of his students, Hasegawa Chisame and Hakase Satomi. Chisame was a cranky, socially inept computer enthusiast with a secret perchance for sexy cosplay, while Hakase was a just as socially inept scientific genius in the fields of Robotics and Aerodynamics. Together, they learned Negi's secret; he was a magic user, but if it was revealed his cover was blown, he would be punished through transformation into a small, harmless animal. The girls agreed to keep Negi's secret, a task that might be beyond their reach thanks to seemingly random events transpiring all around Mahora.

    Negi passed his baptism of fire as a teacher through guiding his homeroom class of 2-A past the dangers of Library Island and into academic excellence, and then by fighting Evangeline A.K. Mc Dowell, the infamous 'vampire witch' his father sealed in Mahora fifteen years ago. Now partnered with talking ermine Albert 'Chamo' Chamomile, Chisame, Hakase, nun in training Kasuga Misora, overall Book Dumb tomboy Kagurazaka Asuna, and cheerleaders Kakizaki Misa and Shiina Sakurako, Negi believes himself ready to face any further challenges fate may throw his way during his search for his illustrious father's whereabouts and legacy...

    ---

    "Kyoto?" Negi blinked, somewhat surprised about the choice of a location. Out of all the places he had expected his father would have been tied to, Kyoto would have fated quite low in his mental ranking of guesses.

    Itoshiki Nozomu, sitting across the Starbooks table along Kaga Ai, and facing Negi, Satomi, Chisame, Misa and Misora, nodded very seriously, pulling a small bag of rat poison out of his hakama and then wincing when a frowning Misora snatched it away before he could sprinkle it on his coffee. "You shouldn't have done that. Regardless, indeed, Negi-sensei, your father did have a few claims on Kyoto land and real estate. As I understand, he lived there for around one year or so, shortly after sealing Evangeline-san away and before returning to the Magical World. If you really intend to continue this hopeless quest of yours, perhaps that would be the least likely source of crushing disappointment to look into next."

    "You have really interesting ways of encouraging others," Misa observed.

    "Kyoto, huh..." Negi rubbed his small chin thoughtfully. "Perhaps I should ask for a few days of leave and go look into that..."

    "Oh, actually," Misora said, "I think I have a better idea than that!"

    ---

    "And so, I'd like to propose," Negi offered his brand new Class 3-A the next morning, flashing a large, shiny smile, "for this year's study class trip to have beautiful, scenic Kyoto as its destination!"

    Yukihiro Ayaka promptly broke into cheerful clapping, rising from her seat to second the motion. "Bravo! What a perfectly wonderful suggestion, Negi-sensei! Kyoto, one of our country's greatest cultural capitals! A city as rich in history and tradition as it is in modernism and progress! What an eye for tourism! What a--" Then she noticed than except for herself, Konoka, Misora, Hakase, and a far less enthused Asuna, Misa, Sakurako and Chisame, no one else was clapping at this brightest of ideas. "What is the problem with you, what do you have against Kyoto?!" she told her mostly apathetic classmates.

    "Kyoto, really...?" Akashi Yuuna winced. "I thought we were going to Hawaii this year!"

    "Yeah!" Narutaki Fuuka groaned. "Compared to a tropical paradise, Kyoto sounds just so... old fashioned and boring! I wanted see the volcanos and dance hula in the Maus!"

    "Luaus," Ayase Yue quietly corrected her fellow Baka Ranger. "But, come to think about it, I see the merit on Sensei's proposal. He is a foreigner, so of course he would be more interested on our nation's sites of interest than we are. Besides, Kyoto does have many fascinating sights I would like to see personally, as well. I think it is well worth a shot..."

    "It is!" Konoka nodded rapidly, her large brown eyes shining even moreso than Negi's had moments ago, before sinking into dull depression after witnessing his class' adversion to his genial idea. Konoka, on the other hand, forged on ahead, undeterred. "Kyoto is magnificent, excellent, one of the best places to visit ever! Isn't that right, Setchan?" she asked, turning aside to look at Sakurazaki Setsuna's seat.

    The pale, slim girl she had just addressed merely glanced aside, through the window, with indifference. "I'm not especially eager to ever return to Kyoto," she said with a flat, discouraging tone.

    "Eh?!" Konoka cried. "But why?! We had so much fun there...!"

    "Ah, if Konoka-chan says it's a fun place and Setsuna-san says it's not, then it must be worth a visit after all!" Saotome Haruna said, making Setsuna flinch slightly.

    "I have heard it has a strong theatrical tradition, and even a movie filming district of its own..." Murakami Natsumi mused, soothing to the notion herself.

    "It's a place for adventure and romance...!" Chao Lingshen exhaled, seemingly moved.

    "Yes, yes, that's the spirit!" Ayaka encouraged them. "We must support our country's pride! Enough of visiting foreign destinations for now, let us show Negi-sensei everything that Japan has to offer!"

    "Oh, I'm sure you would like to show him everything Japan has to offer," Asuna muttered, with a cynical look at Ayaka's hip area.

    "Yes, that is what I have just said!" Ayaka said, somewhat annoyed at this pointless interruption. "So, do we all have an agreement? To Kyoto it is, then?"

    "It... It'll be easier to convince my parents to let me go to Kyoto than to Hawaii, I suppose..." Miyazaki Nodoka sheepishly said.

    "It is the same to me, as I won't be going anywhere," Evangeline mumbled, folding her arms on her desk and resting her chin on them.

    "It sounds fun once you think enough about it!" Naba Chizuru smiled. "Let's do it!"

    Zazie Rainyday nodded only once and blandly pumped a fist up, without saying a single word.

    Nagase Kaede hummed. "Now one thinks on the subject, one would not have to step into an airplane to get to Kyoto, so one would prefer Kyoto as a destination after all de gozaru..."

    "Okay, but only because Negi-kun wants it!" Makie said.

    "Oh, come on, Maki-chan, it'll be fun!" Izumi Ako told her. "We always can go to Hawaii next year!"

    "Even better!" Ayaka said. "If we go to Kyoto now, I promise I will take you personally to the Yukihiro Private Resort in the Pacific for the summer break! An island to put Hawaii to shame, oh ho ho! How does that sound, everyone?"

    "Wow, Iinchou went and built her own tropical paradise," Asuna grumbled under her breath. "With blackjack, and hookers..."

    "Alright, that settles it! Never understimate the power of bribery!" Haruna grinned. "Kyoto, here we go! Better lock your boys, women, children, valuables and candy, because Class 3-A is coming to get you!"

    "Yaayyyyyyy!!" several fists were raised at once to second her motion.

    "Girls, thanks for your support!" a relieved Negi smiled. "I'm sure this trip will go much more smoothly than one to Hawaii would have...!"

    "Damn it! You just jinxed it!" Chisame snapped.

    Satomi shrugged. "That hardly matters. The Vacation Law applies every time, no matter where one goes to. That is why I would rather never get apart from my work... although I'm willing to grant Sensei an exception just for this particular case..."

    Negi laughed ligthly. "Aw, come on, don't be like that, Hakase-san. I'm sure you'll enjoy this trip a lot..."

    ---

    "Sorry," Konoe Konoemon said hours later, as he quickly shot Negi's dreams and illusions down from behind the large oak desk of his office, "but you can't go to Kyoto this year..."

    Negi violently fell, face first, against the floor.

    "Oh my, oh dear," Konoemon siad at this. "I really need to remember having that loose plank of the floor fixed, I keep forgetting..."
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2018
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  3. Threadmarks: Rebuild of Unequally Rational and Emotional, Chapter One, Act Two
    OverMaster

    OverMaster I'm fed up with everything

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    "Why can't we go?!" Negi complained, his usual measured respect in the face of Konoemon replaced by a truly childlike, almost whining disappointment as he finally rose from the floor to place his hands on the desk.

    The elder sighed, trying his best to be patient. "It might be dangerous."

    "Dangerous? With all due respect, Sir, how?!" asked Negi. "It's Kyoto, a popular tourist spot for thousands of people every month! Accidents and crimes are not any more frequent than they are here or in Tokyo! I'm afraid I don't understand your point here!"

    "Normally I'd agree with you and pose no objections," Konoemon said, "but the presence of Konoka-chan in your class changes everything. Are you aware the Kansai Magical Association has its headquarters in Kyoto?"

    Negi blinked. "Ah? Y-Yes, I knew that, but... Is there any inconvenience to that? I was under the impression the Kanto and Kansai Magical Associations were under good mutual terms..."

    "Yes, it's true I, as the head of the Kanto Association, and the current elder of Kansai have put an end to decades of cold war between both factions," Konoe nodded. "However, even now, a few schools of thought in Kansai remain opposed to us, even if they won't act on it. Sending Konoka-chan there might be seen as a provoking move from our part."

    "But Konoka-san isn't even aware of your family's legacy!"

    "That's true, but how can we convince those people about it? I'm afraid they would just see her arrival to Kyoto as a likely move from our part to further merge the Associations, and that could get very unpleasant very quickly."

    Negi thought it over, humming to himself. Did he have the right to possibly endanger his students over a personal drive to unlock secrets fromm his father's past? The answer was all too clear. "Then I suppose there's nothing we can do about it. I'll tell the class we'll go to Hawaii instead..."

    "Hawaii?"

    "Yes, that was the destination they had thought of before we settled for Kyoto instead. Most of them were quite enthused about that before... someone convinced them to head over to Kyoto, so there should be no--"

    "Oh, no! No, forbid the thought!" Konoemon quickly waved a hand before himself. "The relationships with the Hawaii Magic Asociation are at an all low point now! It can't be done, it just can't. Listen, I'll grant you the permission to visit Kyoto as long as you promise to keep a low profile and not flaunt Konoka-chan's presence around. If you stick to a normal schedule and don't venture out of the paths other completely... fine, relatively... normal classes will be taking, everything should be okay. With any luck, you will be back without those renegades ever even learning Konoka-chan was ever there."

    "Or," Negi said, "we could just arrange for an excuse to leave Konoka-san here..."

    He then had the impression those tiny, cold eyes were staring directly into his soul from under those bushy white eyebrows, and it chilled him.

    "Like I was about to say, however, Konoka-san has every right to enjoy her trip as much as the rest of students," Negi was hasty to add. "Please trust me, Sir! I swear on my honor Konoka-san and all of the class will be back here within the schedule, and without a single scratch on them!"

    "That's what I wanted to hear," Konoemon approved. Then he pulled an envelope out of a drawer of his desk and held it before a blinking Negi. "Since you're going to be there anyway, I would like to ask you for a favor while you are in Kyoto."

    "Anything, Sensei!"

    "I'm not too sure if I already mentioned you this, actually..." the Dean rubbed his wrinkled forehead for a moment, "But there's a letter I'd like to have delivered to the elder of the Kansai Association. Please, if you ever have a spare second from your priority of making sure the girls are all right, could you give him this?" He finally handed Negi the heavily sealed envelope, full of official stamps and runes. "It concerns an extremely important matter that should be kept absolutely secret. As such, I beg you to make sure it remains completely closed and untouched until it reaches my colleague's hands. Could you do that for us?"

    "Of course I will, Sir!" Negi didn't hesitate a single second, not even stopping to think of the implications of the old man already having that envelope fully ready for his delivery.

    "I thought so. But be very careful. Even if the magic associations aren't in open conflict anymore, there always might be agents of chaos trying to fan the old flames. Trust no one on your way there, boy."

    "Sir, I'll defend this letter, and my students, with my own life!" Negi promised.

    "Ho ho! That's what I like to hear from a teacher! It's good to know you feel so strongly about your students... as long as you don't feel too strongly about them, of course. Which I assume has not come to pass just yet?"

    "... Sir! Absolutely not!" the scandalized boy gasped.

    "Well, in that case, are you free and available for Konoka-chan?"

    "... You are just joking with me there, aren't you, Sensei?"

    Konoemon pondered that in a brief silence. "I'll tell you what. I'm going to answer that question after you get back from your trip, and I have evaluated your performance during it..."
     
  4. Threadmarks: Rebuild of Unequally Rational and Emotional, Chapter One, Act Three
    OverMaster

    OverMaster I'm fed up with everything

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    "Negi-sensei, there's something I'd like to discuss with you," the voice came to him from behind just as he doubled a corner on his way back to the dorms. Carefully, the boy turned around to face the person whose voice he'd recognized just as soon as the words had been spoken, and sure enough, there she stood, not in her usual gear of black leather biking, but in an average Mahora Female High uniform instead.

    He smiled approvingly at her. "Good afternoon, Kuga-san. So you didn't skip classes today, that's--"

    "I heard you were taking your class on a study trip to Kyoto," she told him without any pleasantries. "You would do better than rethinking that course of action."

    Negi paused at the unexpected request, then subtly shifted into a posture of preliminary alert. "And why would that be, if I may ask?"

    "Bad things could happen to you should you visit Kyoto," Kuga Natsuki bluntly told him. "And when I say 'you' in speak in the plural."

    "I see," he calmly replied. "And how would you know about that?"

    "I've told you before, my mother was a researcher on your world, your society. To a degree, I have continued her work. And I can tell you no greater good could come from your visiting that city, compared to the risks you would face there."

    "Thank you for the warning," he said, "but perhaps it would help me if I knew exactly what kind of threats are you concerned about in this case."

    "I've told you enough as it is," the black haired young woman said, turning around and away from him. "If you aren't going to listen to this warning, you won't listen to a more detailed explanation either. Just don't tell I didn't ever tell you."

    And with that, she began to walk away briskly. Negi quickly took after her. "Wait!" he called over. "Why are you always like this? If you were just a little bit more open, I'm sure we could help each other! If you're suffering, you don't have to do it alone.I have friends who could--"

    "No, thanks. I don't need any sort of help from any mages or their associates," Natsuki grumbled out a corner of her mouth.

    "But now you've offered help to me twice, despite claiming you hate mages!" Negi said, trying not to speak all that loudly, even if there was nobody else in sight at the time. "It's obvious you still can care about others, so why--"

    "That time my life was as endangered as yours," she interrupted him without turning back, "and now I haven't offered you any help, just a word of caution. If you choose to ignore it then that's your own problem, one I don't care about."

    "Do you know what your problem is, Natsuki-chan?" asked a playful, annoyingly bemused voice from above. "You always are caring too much for a girl who doesn't care about anything."

    Natsuki immediately came to a halt and hissed, her face growing red, even as Negi tilted his head up and looked at a pale boy with white hair, apparently barely any taller and older than himself, sitting on a thick branch of a large tree overlooking the boulevard, with an open book in a hand and his legs dangling back and forth carelessly. He wore black pants and shoes and a simply white shirt, and he smiled in a way that was both good natured and cruelly sardonic at once. Negi thought, for a moment, he looked vaguely familiar.

    "What do you want, now?!" Natsuki spun around to face this strange newcomer, quickly whipping out her small dual handguns and aiming them at him, making Negi yipe in surprise.

    "Me?" the other boy asked innocently, not at all worried about having two guns zeroed on his face. "Why, I was just commenting as you casually passed under my favorite reading spot, of course. It's not like I have any personal stake on your family affairs, Natsuki-chan, as long as you do your job properly. Why don't you let the Professor do his and concentrate on your mission instead? Just a suggestion..."

    "Who... Who are you?" Negi squinted, holding his staff before himself, as he was not liking something about this strange boy at all. His presence felt too much like Klarion's, in a way.

    "Ah, that's right, we haven't been introduced!" the boy easily jumped down to the ground, landing on his feet right before Negi and offering him a hand with a widening smile. When, after a few moments of tense wait, it became obvious Negi was not going to shake his hand, the stranger just made a wounded face and pulled it back, still never minding Natsuki's guns, even as she all but pressed them against his temple, causing Negi to frown at her. Not that she gave signs of caring. "I'm Homura Nagi, how do you do," the offended boy said, now all dry and even contemptful. "You can answer to that at least, can't you? Or will I be forced to change my mind about British manners and the perfect English gentleman?"

    "Na-- Nagi?!" Negi gasped.

    "Oh, that's just a coincidence!" the other boy laughed his shock out, waving a hand at him. "Not everyone named that has to be related to the Thousand Master, right, Natsuki-chan?"

    "For his good, I hope you aren't related to them at all," Natsuki glacially told him, moving her guns around so now they aimed between his eyes. "I'll deal with the Orphans whenever I want and the way I choose to!"

    "Kuga-san," Negi growled. "Lower those weapons right now, please. Or else."

    "No, no, that's okay, let her be, Sensei," Nagi easily said. "Our Natsuki-chan's got a temper, but that's part and parcel of what makes her so special. You would know about that, wouldn't you? From what I've gathered, agressive girls are your type, aren't they?"

    "See?" Natsuki grumbled at Negi. "Now do you understand why I treat him this way?"

    "I might understand the temptation, but not the reaction," Negi said in a strained fashion, trying to keep his cool, even though something about this boy's smirk tested even his affable perchance to see the best on others. "What is your relation to Kuga-san anyway...Nagi-san?"

    Natsuki spoke for him just as Nagi opened his mouth. "He gave me these," she admitted, finally pulling the miniguns up and then sheating them back into what seemingly was subspace, "and he charged me with eradicating the Orphans from Mahora. That's all."

    "That's all?" Nagi questioned. "You make it sound so small, so meaningless! When I gave a sense to your misguided existence, a focus to your lost crusade, a beacon to your wasted youth...!"

    "Do you want me to waste you before wasting the rest of my youth?!" she threatened, already pulling one of the tiny guns back out and shaking it before him, much to Negi's renewed frustration.

    Nagi sighed in mild annoyance at this display, then told Negi, "Listen, I have to go now, I'm a busy man after all, even if I often won't look the part. It's just that I like to relax whenever I get a chance, I have earned it after all. I'm sure Natsuki-chan would love to explain things any further, but if she doesn't, well, if you ever want to see me again, you only have to keep hanging around her..."

    "I'm sure that's an outcome no one but you wants!" Natsuki told him.

    Nagi sighed, finally closing his book and placing it on top of his head and keeping it balanced there as he stuck his hands into his pockets. "I can hear two girls walking down this way towards the dorms. You sure you want to keep this little farce going, guys? For now, at least?"

    Negi frowned and put the staff back behind himself as Natsuki growled and dispelled the gun again. Nagi nodded. "A very wise decision. Well, I take my leave for today then. See you around later! I wish, that is!"

    And, whistling and still keeping the book perfectly balanced on his head, he whimsically marched into the woods, disappearing between the trees only moments before two girls, indeed, came by chatting among themselves, taking a moment to look curiously at Negi and Natsuki standing together, and then sharing a giggle as they hastened their pace down the road.

    "Well," Natsuki stoically said after a moment. "At least they weren't Sawada and Momioka, or Chie and Aoi."

    "Sooner than later, we will have a very serious conversation on all of this, Kuga-san," Negi promised aloud.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2018
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  5. Threadmarks: Rebuild of Unequally Rational and Emotional, Chapter One, Act Four
    OverMaster

    OverMaster I'm fed up with everything

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    "And you just let them go away, just like that?!" a disbelieving Chisame gasped.

    She, Negi, Chamo, Hakase, Asuna, Sakurako and Misa had gathered at the apartment of Negi and roommates to discuss the events of the day, although Misora was unavailable, having work to do at the church.

    "Well, what was I supposed to do?" Negi asked back. "Arresting them? That boy isn't even a student here, I'm pretty sure about that! I have no authority over him! And, and I still owe Kuga-san, and technically she hasn't done anything wrong yet..."

    "You should have squeezed more info out of them!" Chisame said. "Can't you read anyone's thoughts just by touching them?"

    Negi blinked. "That... That is actually far more of a limited skill than you seem to think, Chisame. For starters, you only can read one thought the target is having at the time, all the while keeping flesh to flesh contact with them. And they're both aware of magic, there's no way they'd let me touch them for that long..."

    "I think I speak for everyone when I say you shouldn't be having long physical contact with delinquent older girls or ambiguous mysterious little boys, Sensei," Misa said. "I'm much more worried about the whole Kyoto thing. You sure there's no way we can read what's inside without opening the envelope?"

    Negi shook his head. "I could, if not for all the high level seals placed on it. But even if I could remove them or get around them,I couldn't betray the trust the Headmaster has placed on me. Now he gave me this duty, I can't turn back, no matter what Kuga-san says."

    "Well, yeah, I was all up for this until I learned Konoka might be in danger!" Asuna said. "That must be what that girl warned you about!"

    "That is correct," Satomi nodded solemnly, "Even a Baka Ranger's cerebral power can figure that out..."

    Asuna pouted. "What is this world coming to, when the brainiacs are the ones picking on the athletes?"

    Negi sighed. "There's no way Kuga-san might know more than the Headmaster does, so whatever she is afraid of, it cannot be anything he hasn't calculated yet. I believe, as long as we keep a watchful eye on Konoka-san, we should go through the three days of the trip without any major eventualities. I'll convince Iinchou-san to arrange the groups so we are assigned with Konoka-san, making it easier for us to watch her closely."

    "Right, that makes sense," Chamo said, chewing on the butt of a chocolate cigar while pressing another nicotine patch against his short right forearm. "Asuna-neechan here knows her better than anyone, so she's the ideal choice for her main bodyguard!"

    And Asuna shrugged. "I don't mind, really. I mean, it's basically what I've been doing for her since she arrived to Mahora. And she's always pleasant to be around, so..."

    "She sounds really happy to visit Kyoto again," Sakurako said. "Her parents still live there, don't they?"

    "Yeah, and she hasn't seen them in a few years, actually," Asuna recalled. "They're old fashioned people, so they don't even get to videochat, but they write regularly. Konoka loves her dad dearly, but she doesn't seem too fond of her mom. I once asked her why, but she kinda danced around the subject, so I got the hint..." She gave another shrug. "From what little I understood, she's one of those uppity dame types, maybe?"

    "That sounds just like a typical high society magus matron," the ermine chuckled.

    "Chamo..." Negi said.

    "I'm right and you know it, Bro," the small animal began pacing around, gesturing for emphasis with the chocolate cigar. "The higher you go up the social ranks of the magi, the more entitled and arrogant, and downright unpleasant, they become! Old Man Cucumber Head and the Merdiana Magus are cool exceptions, true, but..."

    "I doubt he'd be so 'cool' anymore if he heard that's the way you call him," Asuna frowned. "Have more respect! That man's practically a saint!"

    "That's funny, Konoka-chan's not the type who was raised by entitled and arrogant rich people," Sakurako observed. "She's always acted like one of us! And if her parents never even told her about the whole magic thing, well, I don't think they'd even want her following on the family business, would they?"

    "That's a very logical train of thought," Negi allowed. "Perhaps they were afraid for her safety, given how some Kansai factions apparently consider her a piece for their power plays. It's up to us, then, to make sure she doesn't get involved in them at all."

    "Are you sure we can't just set the course back for Hawaii?" Chisame groaned.

    "Apparently we are in a Cold War with Hawaii at the time," Negi said.

    "Don't say 'we' when you mean 'we, the wizards'!" Chisame snapped. "Okay, then, what about anywhere else? Okinawa, maybe? Hong Kong? Mol Mol? I'd even take Mol Mol!"

    Misa sighed. "Listen, we already convinced the class on going to Kyoto, Konoka's the most enthusiast about it all, and Negi's been charged with that stupid letter business. I don't like it any more than you do, but don't you think it's a bit too late to go back on it now?"

    "It's... It's not a stupid business..." Negi begged to disagree.

    "Fine, fine!" Chisame gave up. "It's a trip I wasn't going to enjoy anyway, so I don't mind spending it looking after Konoe after all! And that's Kagurazaka's whole life already as she's just admitted and you two seem fine with it too, so whatever! Now, you two will better start thinking how to keep your girlfriend in the dark about us all trip long, because like hell she's going to be left in a different group without growing suspicious on us!"

    "I do have a life beyond Konoka, you know," Asuna objected to this.

    "And Madoka isn't our girlfriend," Sakurako added. "She is our friend, who happens to be a girl."

    "Not that it would be a bad thing if she were," Misa said.

    Asuna, Chisame, Satomi, a confused Negi and an interested Chamo stared at her.

    "What?" Misa asked with a small scowl. "She's cute, she's the best cook out of the three of us, she can run a house on a budget and she looks fine when dressed like a boy. If I ever had to settle for a girlfriend, why to bother looking far from home?"

    "When did she dress like--" Negi began.

    "School play. Last year," Sakurako said. "Never mention it to her, though, she still gets love letters from all the wrong people and she still doesn't get used to it..."
     
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  6. Threadmarks: Rebuild of Unequally Rational and Emotional, Chapter One, Act Five
    OverMaster

    OverMaster I'm fed up with everything

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    "There is a problem with this," Suzushiro Haruka, Vice President for the Student Council, observed the next day, as Negi and Ayaka delivered the papers for the school trip to the student authorities.

    "What?" Ayaka gasped, even as Negi only could gape in baffled silence. "Wh-What is it?"

    The other, bustier and two-years-and-half blonde stared at her, faithful assistant Kikukawa Yukino quietly standing behind her. "Isn't it oblivious? You can't justify the expenses of a trip for a single class, and yours is the only class that has applied for Kyoto this year. Truth be told I can't blame the other classes, since even those born in Kyoto would rather leave it quickly, or so I understand..."

    From where she sat behind her (nowhere as vast as the Principal's, but still fairly respectable and impressive) desk, President Fujino Shizuru moved only an eyebrow, only for a moment, and only very slightly, before elegantly finishing her cup of early morning tea. "What Haruka-san truly means," she calmly expanded then in her thick but pleasant Kyoto accent, "is that, despite her obvious lack of knowledge in what concerns to certain cities of our country, she is well versed enough on school regulations as to know every trip destination needs to have at least three different classes, from any academic level and any of our schools, applied to them as to merit a grant of expenses for the duration of the trip. Otherwise, I'm afraid the monetary investment cannot be supplied by the Council's treasure."

    "Well, the Yukihiro and Naba Zaibatsus will bankroll the trip in that case!" Ayaka huffed.

    "Regrettably, that's not an option either," the shy and meek Yukino practically whispered, "as our school cannot extend terms of leave for study trips unless they are backed up by academic resources. It, it is a matter of campus responsibility on the security and handling of the students..."

    "But, have all classes decided on other destinations already?" Negi asked. "Surely, there must be a few...!"

    Haruka frowned, going through her laptop. "Pretty much everyone already has done the responsible thing and settlered for their respectfulive destinations--"

    "Settled for their respective destinations, Haruka-chan," Yukino respectfully corrected her.

    "--so they wouldn't have to do last minute arrangements. Only two others were this careless, the homeroom classes of Fujimura-sensei, Integrated High 2-C, and of Sugiura-sensei, Integrated High 1-C. Of course, the latter is well known for its abundacity of delinquents and no-goods..."

    Negi noticed Fujino-san's strange eyebrow twitching grew noticeably stronger and more lasting this time around. The tall, light haired young man sitting at the back of the room taking notes on the meeting also flinched visibly.

    "So I guess you could try and convince them to go with you if you hurry up!" Haruka huffed, oblivious to that. "They say strange minds do think unlike, so they might--"

    "Hey, good morning!" grinned a young red-haired and green eyed woman, her tail pulled back into a long ponytail, and wearing an ensemble of blue top, jacket and short skirt, all but slamming the office's door open and briskly walking in, followed by a teenaged girl in a high school uniform, with short black hair and glasses. "How do you do, everyone! Prez, we finally decided on a place! Kyoto is it! Ah, Tate-kun, you work here?!" she interrupted herself, giving the boy with the thick sideburns a surprised, blinking glare.

    "I'm the secretary, I'm pretty sure I told you that several times already, Sensei," Tate Yuuchi groaned.

    The woman Negi knew as Sugiuri Midori from several prior teachers' meetings laughed at that. "Nooo, of course you haven't, I can't have that bad a memory at only seventeen years old!"

    "I'm sixteen, and I'm not misremembering either!" the young man snapped.

    "Ah, but you've got too many things in your mind, being the secretary for the Student Council and all that," Midori smirked, then nodded at Negi. "Right, Sensei? Say, you don't know Harada Chie-chan, our Class Rep, yet, do you?"

    "No, we haven't met personally yet," the girl smiled, shaking Negi's hand as her glasses briefly shone in a way that reminded Negi too much of Haruna's for a moment. But no, it surely had to be a trick of the sunlight coming through the window, and nothing else... "But from what I've heard, our classmate Natsuki has! They've seen her talking with you twice or thrice, right, Sensei?"

    Once again, Fujino seemed to briefly snap from her calm and placid indifference into something resembling interest. "Oh, so you do know each other?"

    "Y-Yes," Negi said somewhat uneasily, especially under Haruka's watchful glare. "I've heard she's perhaps faltering a bit in her attention to studies, so I've been trying to talk her into taking them more seriously..."

    "Well, it must have worked," Chie smiled, pushing the glasses up her nose, "because she's been talking others in the class into picking a trip destination already. Of course, she pulled it off because she's very popular. Ah! If only they respected me as much as they respect her! I wonder how she does it, barely showing up at all..."

    "It may help that we see her in riding leather more often than in uniform, actually," Midori shrugged.

    Tate blinked. "We decided that, when?! I wasn't told about it!"

    "You weren't?" Chie asked innocently. "Ahhh, I assumed someone else, like your friend Takeda-kun, had told you already, so I didn't..."

    "He... He and I aren't all that close, actually," Yuuichi admitted with a small rasp.

    "So you arrangered this decision over the phone or through Internet?" Haruka objected. "Then it isn't valid! It should be a decision reached through a proper meeting, voting included, in your classroom, and--!"

    "Actually," Shizuru said, "all that is needed is a simply majority then confirmed by the homeroom teacher and the Class Representative, no other requirements are necessary, Haruka-han. Article Forty One, Clause Ten, Third Paragraph."

    Haruka bristled at that, and then her head snapped back to look at Yukino, who sheepishly confirmed, "Article Forty One, Clause Ten, Third Paragraph, Haruka-chan..."

    Suzushiro sighed. "Fine! Your solicitrude is accepted, but only will result in an actual trip to Kyoto as long as another class is willing to have Kyoto as their destination as well! So far it's only the two of you, and that just won't cut it! No! No way! Absolutively not! You'll need to talk with--"

    "Taiga-chan, right?" Midori grinned. "She's the only one who is just as flaky with these things as Negi-sensei here and I--"

    Negi groaned, drooping his shoulders, while Ayaka only frowned at the remark. "I still have so much to learn..."

    "Don't worry, I'm seven years older than you and I still make the occasional small mistake here and there," Midori confided, patting him on a shoulder with a wink.

    "No way you're just as old as me!" Haruka protested.

    "No, not just as old, I believe you're a few months older than me..."

    "No, I couldn't passably be!"

    "Possibly, Haruka-chan, possibly...!"
     
  7. Threadmarks: Guild by Association, Chapter One, Act One
    OverMaster

    OverMaster I'm fed up with everything

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    In a land far, far away lies the Kingdom of Fiore, a small, peaceful nation of seventy million, and a place filled with magic. Found in every home, bought and sold in every marketplace. For most, magic is merely a tool, a mundane part of everyday life. For some, however, magic is an art, and they've devoted their lives to its practice. These are the wizards. Banded together into magical guilds, they ply their skills in search of fame and fortune. Many such guilds dot the landscape of Fiore. But there is a certain guild in a certain town that soars high above the rest, one from which countless legends have been born. A guild that will no doubt continue to create legends well into the future. Its name...

    ...is Ala Alba. The White Wings.

    What? Were you expecting for something else?




    Mashima Hiro and Kodansha created and own Fairy Tail.

    Akamatsu Ken and Kodansha created and own Mahou Sensei Negima!

    Nasu Kinoko and Type-Moon created and own Fate/Stay Night and Fate Grand Order.

    Yamaguchi Noboru and Media Factory created and own Zero no Tsukaima.

    The Walt Disney Company and Square Enix created and own Kingdom Hearts.

    Sunrise Studios created and own Mai HiME.

    Kumeta Koji and Kodansha created and own Sayonara, Zetsubou Sensei.

    Fujishima Kosuke and Kodansha created and own Aa! Megamisama!




    Guild by Association.




    Chapter One.




    On a White Wing and a Prayer.





    "This is it!" Negi Springfield said, smiling as widely as he spread his arms, stepping out of the train car and gesturing towards the thriving city sprawling beyond the busy train station. "Harujion, one of the fastest developing villages in the West Coast area! Over the last two decades, Harujion has grown exponentially due to an increase in its comercial activity, becoming one of the most important port cities in the country. Virtually anything that can be sold and bought in Mundus Magicus may be found here, Chisame. Isn't this--"

    "Exciting? Thrilling? Pulse pounding, even?" groaned the bespectacled young woman, barely older than fifteen, walking out behind the short, red haired boy and the white ermine perched on his right shoulder. She was wearing a light white shirt and knee lenght shorts, her feet clad in boots and her light brown hair pulled back into a long ponytail. "Oh, you bet it is. Can't you see the obvious giddiness flowing out of me as we speak? If you can't don't worry, it's just that I'm this good an actress. As a matter of fact, I even took lessons from--"

    "Um, excuse me, young sir, ma'am," asked a tall, lean train guard, in his navy blue outfit with shiny golden buttons, as he approached the blinking little boy and the sarcastic young woman from behind. "But, are you just leaving your friend behind, or will you be taking him to the nearest hospital...?"

    The two youngsters and the small animal looked back towards the train car, where a young man, a few years older than the lady, was sprawled all over the floor, on his back, twitching and belching randomly, wearing loose white pants, a long and open black jacket over his bare torso, and a thick, light pink scarf around his neck. A tiny, bipedal blue cat with large round eyes, barely any bigger than the ermine, stood over him, lightly prodding his face with a stick he held in a paw, chuckling dumbly to himself as he did so.

    The girl took a hand to her face. "Oh, for Pete's sake, is this guy for real? Natsu-san!!" she called out angrily. "The train's stopped moving now! Revive already, will you?! We're on a freaking schedule!"

    The younger boy let out a small, apologetic laugh, glancing at the baffled guard with a small drop of sweat attached to a side of his head. "Ah, please don't worry, this is something perfectly normal for him. He gets motion illness rather easily, you'll see..."

    "I'm... Never... Getting into one of these things again!!" complained the other boy, finally pushing himself back up to his wobbly legs with both arms, and then resting against a window, the upper half of his body poking out. He took a hand to his mouth, his cheeks swelling. "Ohhhhh, breakfast was good, but not so much this time around...!"

    "C'mon, c'mon!" the cat giggled, walking to him and patting him on a leg. "You'll feel better as soon as you walk outta here! Glasses is right, we've gotta find that Salamander as soon as possible! After all, how bad will we look if these two find him first...?"

    "Those two...?" the girl sneered loudly at the perceived offense.

    "Two...?!" the ermine shouted as well, a vein bulging through his forehead's fur.

    "Just... Just gimme a sec..." the boy with salmon-colored spiky hair gurgled, head lolling from a side to the other. "Just long enough as to regain my breath, and--"

    Then, however, the train's whistle cut sharply through the air, and the guard jumped back into the car with practiced skill and a sigh, just as the large vehicle, also the slave to a schedule, began quicking moving down the rails, towards its next destination past the green mountains. The boy with the scarf panicked, screaming a startled, "What?! What?! No, no, not again, noooooo...!!"

    The little boy, the girl, the ermine, and the cat who now stood by their side collectively sweatdropped as they watched the train speed away, amidst the begging yells intertwined with sounds of violent barfing from Natsu Dragneel.

    "... we can tell the old man he just got lost along the way, you know," said the girl at last, quietly. "I'm sure he won't mind, and as for Fairy Tail, well, they'll cope with the loss..."

    "Heyyyyy!!" the cat objected at this, his fur sticking up.

    Negi Springfield only breathed a long, heavy sigh, pulling the old bandaged staff secured to his back towards his front and mounting it much like a witch would do to her broom. "This will take just a moment, Chisame. Please don't be that way..."
     
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  8. Threadmarks: Guild by Association, Chapter One, Act Two
    OverMaster

    OverMaster I'm fed up with everything

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    "What?!" asked the rather cute and tall girl with light brown eyes and long light blonde hair, planting her hands on the counter of the store. She wore a light, sleeveless white and blue blouse, a short blue skirt, and high heeled sandals. "Are you seriously telling me that, in all of this city, yours is the only magical shop in existence...?!"

    "Actually, that would seem to be the case indeed, Lucy-san," said the a few years younger but almost as tall and even bustier girl with long, brown hair and a beauty mark under an eye, standing behind her in a light orange summer dress with a third young lady, and consulting a map of Harujion. I can't find any others here, at the very least..."

    The old, scrawny and balding man behind the counter smiled. "Since this is such an active port city, our authorities try and enforce as many restrictions on magic as possible, ma'am," he explained. "After all, we are constantly attacked by pirates, and the last thing the government was is pirates laying their hands on magic. Still, as Harujion's sole supplier for our official magical defenses, I'm always well stocked with the best you could ever ask for! Just look around, you're sure to find something to your liking...!"

    "Um, thank you, but she's the sole mage out of the three of us," said the third girl,who was much smaller- in every sense of the word- than the other two, and wore simple pants and sandals, with a short sleeved light brown blouse complimenting her short and messy hair, her large rounded eyes, and the freckles all over her cheeks. "We're just tagging along with her for this trip..."

    "But, if you would happen to have amulets for love, perhaps we would be interested...?" suggested the bustiest of all three women, smiling at the shopkeeper in a way that was as innocent and bright as insidiously seductive, fingers twiddled together before her voluminous chest.

    The old man swallowed. "Of, of course we have several, although I don't see how such a lovely lady like you might ever need--"

    "Ahhhh!" the blonde was gasping then, grabbing a pearl colored shiny key from a special display and holding it in awe. "I want this one! A White Doggy! I've been looking for one for a while...!"

    "Oh, so you're a Gate Key user?" the shopkeeper said, slightly annoyed from being distracted away from the younger, sexier customer. "If you're experienced at all, you'll know that variety isn't really very powerful..."

    "I know, but I don't care, I still want it!" she smiled. "How much?"

    "20,000 drachma," the shopkeeper said.

    The blonde's smile did not falter, but did crack down a little. "I'm sorry, I'm sure I just misheard your manly, sexy voice stating--"

    "20,000 drachma," the shopkeeper repeated, unfazed.

    Now she did lose her smile, replaced by an angry scowl. "You said it yourself, it isn't very powerful."

    "That doesn't mean it has to be cheap," the shopkeeper remained unsympathetic. "20,000 drachma."

    "Oh, please, come on..." the blonde purred, leaning closer and half-closing her eyes suggestively. "Surely a successful, obviously gifted merchant like you can be generous to a poor little city girl like me...?"

    "19,000 drachma. Take it or leave it," the shopkeeper bluntly said, more out of pity than any arousal.

    "Oh, for the love of--!"

    Then, however, the even bustier girl smiled, subtly pushing Lucy aside with her hips to stand before the counter. She reached over to caress a wrinkled hand and tenderly asked, "Pretty please, dear Sir...? My sisters and I have been down on our luck of late, and sadly our big sister hasn't been that able at looking after us since we lost our parents. All too often, we are at the mercy of strong, capable men such as you..."





    "I can't believe it!!" Lucy Heartfilia was crying out later, as she stomped her way down the sun-filled streets of Harujion, followed by a pleased Chizuru and sweatdropping Natsumi. "He'd discount only 1,000 to me, but 6,000 to you?! 6,000?!"

    "Well, I wasn't going to get it for free, Lucy-san," Naba Chizuru easily said. "A lady must hold to some standards no matter what, after all..."

    "And sisters?!" Lucy was ranting now, gesturing wildly and making passerbys step away from them. "Who ever would believe we are sisters?!"

    "I'm more disturbed," the shortest of the girls admitted, "you killed off your parents, mine, and Lucy-san's father that easily, Chizu-nee..."

    "Oh, Natsumi-chan, I didn't kill them, I only said they weren't alive!" Chizuru laughed daffily at that. "Completely different things!"

    Lucy grumbled some more before her attention was drawn towards a small group of young women excitedly rushing down the street, chattering to themselves about something Natsumi and Chizuru couldn't quite understand. "Hmm?" the blonde approached these strangers. "Excuse me, just a second, but were you just talking about--"

    "Ah!" one of these girls said. "You hadn't heard?! They say Salamander is here, right now!" she pointed the way they were following, making Lucy's eyes light up. "Salamander, the famous fire mage!"

    "No way!" Lucy's mouth hung slightly open, as the other girls went on without them merrily. "Salamander himself?! Maybe this will be a lucky day after all...!"

    Natsumi blinked. "Who's Salamander?"

    "Doesn't sound like a person one should be too excited about meeting," Chizuru opined.

    Lucy gaped at them. "You seriously don't know anything about Salamander?! I know you're from Vetus, but even so--!" She sighed, lowering her tone to explain, "Salamander is a famous fire mage, one of those who don't need incantations or any implements to control an element. Those are rare to find, and among us, they'll always be popular and influential. That's why I've gotta meet him!" she said, dashing after the other girls, chest bouncing up and down in that way that always made Natsumi flinch and wince, just like now. "You wait for me here if you want...!"

    Natsumi and Chizuru looked at each other. "Do you think that guy might know where Ayaka-san might be, Chizu-nee?"

    The taller girl shrugged. "Well, it can't hurt to try and find out, right? Besides, it'll be nice to finally meet a powerful wizard, after spending so log traveling with Lucy-san..."

    The by now tiny figure running away from them finally stopped, furiously spinning back on her heels. "I STILL CAN HEAR YOU FROM HERE, DON'T YOU KNOW?!"

    Chizuru smiled. "Although she has other qualities about her, like those senses always so conveniently sharp..."
     
  9. Threadmarks: Guild by Association, Chapter One, Act Three
    OverMaster

    OverMaster I'm fed up with everything

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    "Okay, so here's a list in progress of people you can't fight at all," Hasegawa Chisame said as she, Happy, Natsu and Negi walked down the main avenue of Harujion. "My sister, Speed Racer, Batman since he always has a large powerful vehicle at hand, the villains from the Speed movies, the cast of Fast and The Furious, Thomas the Tank Engine, most Transformers..."

    "Shut up, will you?" groaned Natsu, rubbing his taut stomach with a hand and still sporting an undisposed expression. "I have no idea what are you talking about, but frankly, I don't care..."

    Since he still was feeling so bad, Negi decided to go easy on him instead of acting the way he usually did whenever anyone told his students to shut up. "Let's forget all of that now we're on solid ground, okay? Our first priority from here on is finding that alleged Salamander and seeing if he is, indeed, the same person we are looking for. It shouldn't be that difficult since he didn't sound like the sort of person who could lie low for long..."

    "It has got to be him!" Natsu huffed, slamming a hand on a palm. "Fellows with the power of a Fire Dragon just can't be found anywhere that easily! Besides, I got a gut hunch it's him!"

    Chisame smirked sardonically. "Are you sure you should trust your gut at all now you emptied it all around the railroads? Anyway, even if that's not Igneel, that's still the same to us. As long as we bring him in, we'll still cash on the bounty all the same!"

    "Like hell you will, if that's Igneel after all!" Natsu warned. "Would I just try and cash on the Thousand Master if there were a bounty on him?"

    "Yes, you would!" Chisame and the ermine said at the same time, making Natsu sweatdrop noticeably.

    "Aye, they're right!" Happy added with a vigorous nod.

    "What, you too, Happy?!" the young man yelled.

    Negi smiled. "I wouldn't be worried even if there were one, Natsu-san, it's not like you could ever stop and apprehend my father anyway..."

    "Remind me telling you that as soon as Igneel's got you under his heel, will you?" Natsu grumbled, sticking his hands into his pockets. "I can't look for anyone on an empty stomach, what if we stop by a restaurant, or a smithy? You owe that much to your consultant, don't you?"

    Then they were caught by surprise by the sight of a large crowd blocking their way, and gathering around a large plaza. Mostly young women, enthusiastically shouting and cheering for someone at the middle of them all. Natsu's face lit up, and Chisame and Negi perked up, as they made sense of the voices.

    "Ahhhh! Mister Salamander!"

    "Please sign my autograph book!"

    "Please sign my shirt!"

    "I'm expecting your baby, Salamander!"

    "Ohhhhh! He's so dreamy...!"

    Among those mesmerized by the tall, muscular, handsome mature man with short dark hair and wearing a long, dark cape around his practical ensemble of tight black leather pants and tighter, form fitting white shirt unbuttoned at the top, stood Lucy and Natsumi, who gaped wide eyed and mouthed at the traveler waving and winking at his admirers. Chizuru, on the other hand, simply remained still and with a neutrally cold expression on her face, folding her arms under her breasts and softly tapping a foot down. "Honestly..." she lowly murmured to herself.

    "Have... Have you ever seen anyone like him...?" Lucy shakily asked Natsumi.

    Natsumi shook her head violently. "N-N-No! I, I mean, there was someone, once, but... But...!"

    Then, suddenly, the man tilted his head around in their direction, and gave a small roguish smirk, winking an eye. Natsumi and Lucy shivered and almost collapsed on their knees, feeling like divine light from above was descending upon them... until, a second later, along everyone else in the crowd, they realized he was actually smirking and winking at Chizuru, who still did not look amused or flattered at all.

    Salamander slow, sensually, walked towards Chizuru, with a casual Casanova sway to his angular hips, and the impiotent young women before her only stepping aside and letting him go his intended way, even as they shared long drawn moans of frustration and more than a bit of envy. Walking right past a frozen and tearful Lucy and Natsumi, he stopped right before the big breasted girl and gallantly offered her a red rose. "Such a lovely face and figure just called at me, even from amidst all other flowers in this garden," he huskily told her.

    She smiled back, with as much steel as politeness. "Oh my, I wonder why would that be? Perhaps the sole reason why my face stood out from all others was because it was the only one not smiling?"

    "You are now, however," he told her. "Which is good, as all ladies are more attractive when in a pleasant mood. And so, now your beauty is multiplied tenfold..."

    "My my, is that really so? Thank you for pointing it out, Mister, so I can keep it in mind for when I find my loved one..."

    Salamander flinched back from this remark, even as most girls in the crowd, Natsumi and Chizuru included, gasped in disbelief and dismay. "Oh... Oh, I see!" he recovered from the blow as best as he could, smirking again in a way that flashed his perfect white teeth under the sun. Again, most of the young women swooned and cooed, but Chizuru remained throughly unimpressed. "What a fortunate man, then. I believe I should meet whoever is that much of a lucky--"

    "Actually," Chizuru plainly remarked, "the person I am looking for is a young lady, as well."

    Salamander further cringed in a way that briedly distorted his captivating beauty, and for a moment several girls watching on blinked, feeling oddly rattled. Is she a--? he thought. But, even so! It should work regardless? Or is she actually a man? No, she cannot be, I'd have noticed it already...!

    And then, to disturb him even further, a loud, annoying male voice brayed from behind him, as someone had the galls to grab him by a shoulder from behind, the cad!

    "Igneel!!" Natsu grinned as he finished pushing his way through the crowd, taking a hand to the shoulder of the man facing away from him. "Hey, it's me, Natsu! You still remember me, don't--!" Then he frowned sudden and bitterly as Salamander turned back to stare at him with eyes filled with burning hatred. "Who the hell are you?"

    As he felt his public's eyes fixed on him, expectantly, Salamander blushed, quickly composed himself back once again, and put on the suave, charming attitude once more. "Why, I'm Salamander, the wandering Mage of Fire, young man. Oh, let me guess. You are a would-be apprentice, are not you? I'm terribly sorry, but right now I can't take on any--"

    "Why the hell should I want to learn anything from you?" Natsu matter of factly interrupted him, making Salamander and his admirers all jawdrop instanly, even as Chizuru only could giggle discreetly from behind a concealing hand. Her bemusement, however, quickly turned into shock, just like Natsumi's earlier bafflement, when he saw one young boy and another girl walking out of the crowd and stop by Natsu's side, the shirtless young man looking back at them and pointing at the still paralyzed Salamander. "Hey, do you know this clown?"

    Negi frowned. "Natsu-san, please have some manners! I don't know what ever gave you the right to-- Ahhh, Chisame, are you okay?" he asked his female companion, who was now gaping and looking across the plaza. At first Salamander thought she had just been snared as well, but then realized, to his ever growing disconcert, she was pointing and gasping at the young beauty who had downright ignored him, and to one of the girls with her.

    "You!" Chisame gasped. "What are you doing here...?!"

    "Oh, good afternoon, Chisame-san," Chizuru casually waved at her, even as Negi and his ermine started looking just as flabbergasted and rattled as Natsumi. "To you as well, naturally, Negi-sensei. Isn't it this a wonderful coincidence, to meet here after so long...?"

    "Well, don't answer if you don't want to, then!" an upset Natsu barked at his younger travel partners before turning to his ever helpful cat. "How about you, Happy, any info on this creep?"

    "Nope," Happy said. "Other than he's not very content at you, maybe?"

    Salamander indeed was boiling up and hissing, rising heated vapor flowing around him, before settling his mood back down rather forcefully, tugging down on his own shirt to control himself. When he smiled again, it was a forced, clenched terrible thing to behold, although still sexy. "It would seem this sunny place of happiness also attracts some uncouth barbarians," he said, "but let be known those won't be welcome at the gala I shall be throwing tonight." Smoothly running a hand back through his hair, he swept a glance through the crowd, snaring most of the females back but the still staring and quiet Chisame, Chizuru and Natsumi. "Yes, tonight at my ship, all of you lovely flowers are invited to a ball I shall be throwing in honor to this evergreen city! Please be there! For I feel love may be in the cards this lovely evening, ha ha!"

    He stomped a foot down, and the heated vapor turned into flames under his feet, and he flew away on them, casually tossing roses down at the girls, most of whom threw themselves at them, madly struggling with each other to pick them; again, except for Chizuru, who had just moved ahead to gently smile at and hug Chisame, Chisame herself, who only facepalmed, Natsumi, who merely deflated with a sigh, and Lucy, who now blinked several times and mumbled to herself, confused, "What... What has he just done here...?"

    The small boy with red hair huffed, folding his arms and frowning at the small spot in the sky, flying towards the port. "What a despicable thing to do. A thrall spell! Truly deplorable...!"

    "A thrall spell!" Lucy gasped, the realization washing over her like icy water and further shaking the fascination out of her. "Of, of course, that explains everything! But... But how do you know that? Who are you?!"

    "He is," Chizuru calmly explained, finally letting go of the embarrassed Chisame, "Negi Springfield, son of Nagi Springfield the Thousand Master. Our former teacher in Japan, Lucy-san."

    "Say whaaaaaaat?!" Lucy exclaimed.
     
  10. Threadmarks: Guild by Association, Chapter One, Act Four
    OverMaster

    OverMaster I'm fed up with everything

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    "You... You might choke, if you keep doing that..." Natsumi, pale and sweaty, warned while watching, in subdued horror, how Natsu stuffed large amounts of food down his throat, then chugged them down with just as ridiculously huge gulps of drink from a gigantic jar, sitting across her, Chizuru and Lucy, at the table they had been given in the small, cozy nearby restaurant. Negi-sensei and Chisame sat by Natsu's side, with Happy and Chamo sitting aside on the table itself, merrily wolfing down decent sized plates of their own.

    "We wish!" Chisame snorted, trying her best not to look as Natsu shoved a large piece of fish and a whole chicken breast down his mouth at once, his teeth avidly crushing them before the result laboriously worked its way down his throat. "At least we don't have to worry about his bill, we'll just put in on his guild's tab..."

    "Oh!" Lucy blinked. "You are in a Magic Guild?!"

    The salmon haired boy nodded energetically, then began coughing with violence as the large bump going down his neck briefly became stuck, with a sighing Chisame patting his back. Negi explained things for him. "Yes, since our arrival on Mundus Magicus, we have established a guild of our own, and we have allied ourselves with Natsu-san's guild , who have been very gracious with us so far. That is why we are taking on this assignment together..."

    "Huh, I always thought pretty much all Guilds were always at odds with each other," Lucy commented. "And you say you used to be Natsumi and Chizuru's teacher?"

    Negi nodded. "As you know, in Mundus Vetus, mages are supposed to keep our magecraft a secret from most of the population. Most often, we are to take jobs that would serve as a facade for our magical activities, and mine was to be a teacher in Japan, at the Far East of Earth. I was immensely fortunate to teach Class 2-A, later 3-A, as their homeroom and English instructor. However, one of our students conspired to reveal magic to the world at large, and while she failed, the scandal was large enough to force me to resign. Disgraced, I had to flee here, to Mundus Magicus, but several of my students chose to come with me..."

    "The students you had allowed to know about your magic in the first place, Sensei," Chizuru gently chided him. "You could have at least let us know on the whole situation as well before leaving, so we could make our own decisions on the subject..."

    Negi's tone grew very serious and even stubborn. "That was not my call to make. It never was, and I don't regret not telling you, for your own sake. To the very end, I tried my best to make sure as many of you as possible were spared from the dangers of my lifestyle."

    "And yet, here we are," Chizuru simply told him. Lucy looked curiously back and forth between them, trying to make full sense of their shared backstory. "How is Ayaka?"

    "Oh, she's happy as a clam, you didn't have to worry about her," Chisame answered while Natsu went back to wolfing down like a desperate man. "What about Yotsuba? Ookuchi? Izumi?"

    Chizuru shrugged. "All as well as they could under the circumstances, I suppose. Izumi-san really wanted to come with us, to see Akashi-san and Sasaki-san again, but we convinced her her family couldn't bear seeing her leave. Satsuki-san will always be Satsuki-san, and she's hired new employees to serve the restaurant along Chachamaru-san and Ku-san. Akira-san is still busy with... that thing she has going on with Aino-san and her friends, Sensei," she enigmatically added, making Lucy really wonder.

    "Oh," Negi said. "So you even learned about that..."

    "Yes, we did," Chizuru nodded. "Life goes on for everyone else, too. Tatsumiya-san, President Fujino, the Narutaki twins and Kaede-san... They all send their best regards, naturally."

    Negi smiled warmly, moved. "Thank you so very much, Chizuru-san, Natsumi-san..."

    "Y-You are welcome, Sensei!" Natsumi stammered "You also should thank Lucy-san, she's looked after us almost the whole time we've been here..."

    "Yes, that's me!" Lucy smiled proudly, reaching over and shaking Negi's hand. "Wow, so you really are... that man's son, then?! I'm impressed! Many impostors and frauds claim that a few times a year, but you really look like the pictures of him! You must be very proud of your legacy!"

    "Well, yeah, about legacies," Natsu said, finally taking a moment off his voracious devouring. "That guy calling himself Salamander, he's staining my family's with his boasting and his parading around, so we're going to kick his ass and cash on a bounty for him! You after the reward, too?"

    "What? I... No!!" Lucy said. "I, I don't even belong to a Guild yet, how could I?!"

    "So what?" Natsu snorted, taking a whole tomato into his mouth, chewing it up, and swallowing it almost just as soon. "You don't have to belong to a guild to hunt for bounties, just ask Lina Inverse..."

    "W-W-Why would you compare me to Lina Inverse?!" Lucy protested, sounding like someone who has just been compared to an alien bloodsucking gorilla. "Listen, I want to do things by the book. I'm looking for a good Guild to join, and during that search I ran into Chizuru and Natsumi! Since they were lost and needed a guide, I've been helping them around, but now they've found you, Professor Negi, I guess they won't be needing me anymore..."

    "Thank you so much for everything, Lucy-san," Natsumi bowed very respectfully to her. "Without you, who knows where would we be now?"

    "I shudder just by thinking of it..." Chisame confessed. "Didn't you read enough on this world before coming? They can turn you into a slave for years over a mere debt!"

    "I see you are a reliable person, Lucy-san," Negi smiled, "so, if you are looking for a guild, why not joining ours? Ala Alba is still a new, untested guild, but if you are willing to accept us, I'm sure our Director won't object to--"

    "Are you kidding me?!" Lucy cried out, making a few heads in the neighboring tables turn around. "Being in the same guild as the Thousand Master's son?! Of course I'd love that...!"

    Then a shocked, rattled silence fell over the rest of the restaurant.

    Negi shrank down on his seat, uneasily. "Um, Lucy-san. Normally, going around saying aloud you're related to Nagi Springfield is not that good an idea, actually..."

    Lucy blinked. "Why is that?"

    As if on cue, three large, smirking rough looking men with the salty smell of seawater and sweat and bandanas wrapped aroud their heads approached the table, already drawing out huge clubs and long sharp swords. The other patrons began leaving quickly out the front door, and the waiters and the owner wisely retreated through the back door in a discreet silence, hastily huddling together.

    "Hey, kiddo," one of the suspicious looking sailors said, "Your Negi Springfield, aren't you? Say, didn't use ta be a reward on yer head a while ago...?"

    Negi sighed, reaching back to take hold of his staff while Natsu grinned widely and mashed his knuckles together. "Gentlemen, the reward was recalled more than one month ago. All charges against us have been dropped, so there's no reason to--"

    "Other than ta be be the guy who aced the Thousand Master's son!" one of the pirates howled happily, lashing out ahead with his blade, making Lucy and Natsumi shriek, and all hell to break loose.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2018
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  11. Threadmarks: Guild by Association, Chapter One, Act Five
    OverMaster

    OverMaster I'm fed up with everything

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    It was early evening by now, and yet Lucy still couldn't tear her eyes apart from the ruins of the restaurant she could see from her vantage point on the high road overlooking most of the city. "Don't you think that was overkill, just to deal with a few uppity pirates...?"

    "Hey," grunted Natsu, from where he watched over the opposite direction, staring down at the port with Happy sitting on his shoulder. "I wouldn't have bothered if those two punks' friends hadn't rushed in right after Negi pummeled them down!"

    "Then you should've let him handle those as well!" Lucy snapped, spinning on her heels and back towards him. "He was doing fine by himself without blowing half of the place up!"

    Negi, who stood by Natsu and along Chisame keeping watch on one of the largest boats in sight through binoculars, sighed. "Please don't dwell on that anymore, Miss Heartfilia. No one was seriously hurt, and Ala Alba and Fairy Tail will cover all damage, you can be sure of that."

    "Yeah," Lucy argued, "but even if Fairy Tail is a big and powerful guild with tons of experience on collateral damage, that still doesn't make it right to-- Say whaaaaat?!" Lucy cried. "Fairy Tail?!"

    Chisame nodded. "This idiot is part of Fairy Tail, the guild we are allied with. Oh, we hadn't mentioned that yet, had we?"

    "No, you hadn't!" Lucy said. "Fairy Tail, my gosh! The official wrecking crew of the magical guilds! The reckless humanoid tornados second only to Lina Inverse! It's a miracle the town still stands, how many of you are here?!"

    "Just the two of us!" Happy said.

    "We aren't that bad, a lot of that is just bad publicity..." Natsu groaned. "Hey, Negi, are your girls in there yet?"

    "They're not 'my girls', Natsu-san, they are my st-- My friends," Negi corrected him and himself. "And yes, they have just gotten onboard. I shouldn't have allowed this. Using them as bait, how could I fall this low...!"

    "Hey, it was Naba's idea!" Chisame reminded him. "Look at it this way, we couldn't let any harm befall any of those other airheads in that ship either, so it's still the same thing after all. Isn't it?"

    "I guess so," Negi allowed, "but still, this only makes it much more personal..."

    "And so much easier for you to focus on doing the job no matter what," said the ermine sitting into his breast pocket. "You've always worked better under personal pressure, Brother..."

    Lucy sweatdropped. "That's... kind of a callous way to approach the problem, isn't it? Both towards him and towards your friends?"

    "It works both ways, though," Chamo observed. "Whatever his ultimate purpose is, that fake Salamander has all those girls trapped in there for more than a simple mass sacrifice. Otherwise, with his kind of power, it'd be much easier for him just to torch several city blocks at once. He must want to keep them alive as much as we do, at least for now, so the more of them there are in the boat, the more restrained he'll be to fight us when we crash his little party!"

    "Let's just do it already," Natsu hissed. "I don't think I'll be able to pull it off if that stinking fancy bath tub starts sailing away!"

    "Eh?!" Lucy gasped. "You're coming along too?! No way! You're Fairy Tail, you'll sink it as soon as you set a foot on it!"

    "Who do you think I am, Groo the Wanderer?!" protested Natsu.

    "Maybe you're right, Natsu-san," Negi nodded thoughtfully, "I have a bad feeling about this, like-- we're being watched!" he said, quickly leaping up in a way that made him look more like he had just blinked out and back, reappearing several feet above and slamming his hands on something very small, then to reappear among the others seconds afterwards. He opened his hands and frowned at the tiny, deformed dead firefly squashed between his palms, "Just like I suspected, it's a spy familiar! We've been spotted!"

    Lucy gasped as she leaned closer to get a better look, just like Chisame and Natsu. "That creep is smarter than he lets on! He's been expecting for an ambush the whole time?!"

    "Well, he must know there's a bounty on him," Negi said, his now steely gaze darting downwards, for the ship that was started drifting away from the docks, leaving a few, startled young ladies attired in elegant dresses stuck at the waterfront, gulping and shouting at the unexpected departure. "Too late! He's getting away!"

    "Damn that impostor!" Natsu roared. "Like hell I'm letting him go!"

    "But, your motion sickness!" Negi warned, even as he mounted his staff again, Chisame sitting down behind him and hugging his waist.

    "It's okay, I'm too mad to get dizzy!" Natsu huffed, grabbing onto Happy's short legs as the cat deployed a pair of wide, white feathery wings from his back, flapping over to hover above the youg man, whom he begun to lift without apparent effort. "Let's go, Happy!"

    "Aye!" the feline nodded.

    Lucy gasped and pointed up. "Wha-What in the world?! Why do you have wings and fly?!"

    Happy took a second to look down at her. "Because I'm a cat," he plainly explained.

    "That doesn't explain it!" Lucy screeched. "As a matter of fact, it's the whole opposite! Even talking cats aren't supposed to have wings, much less fly with them!"

    "Listen, can we leave the Zoology discussions for later?" the annoyed Chisame asked as she and Negi began gaining height on his staff. "Are you coming or not?"

    Lucy blinked. "With you... or with them?" she blandly asked then, too baffled to say anything else.

    "I'd rather have you go with them," Happy confessed. "You look heavy!"

    "Even a baby should be heavy for you, you're barely bigger than my fist!" Lucy growled, hopping up to land on her butt right behind Chisame, quickly latching her arms around her and supporting herself on her. "Um, is it okay, like this?" the blonde doubted. "This is my first time riding a staff!"

    Happy chuckled, an upper paw lightly placed before his mouth. "Sure thing, let's go with that..."

    "Okay, you're going to pay for that later!" Lucy promised.

    Negi blinked. "I don't get it. Why would you be mad about that?"

    "Neither do I," Natsu confessed. "Who the heck cares, let's just rush over there already!" he said, just as Happy began flying him down and towards the sea. "The closer he is to the coast, the better!"

    Chisame only flinched slightly, feeling her front pressing against Negi's back while, from behind, Lucy's voluminous chest was tightly mashed against her back instead. Think of hacking, think of hacking... she repeated in her mind as they followed Natsu and Happy towards the slowly drifting ship, under two huge, full silver moons.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2018
  12. Threadmarks: Rebuild of Unequally Rational and Emotional, Chapter One, Act Six
    OverMaster

    OverMaster I'm fed up with everything

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    "Kyoto, huh? Yeah, Kyoto will be fine, whatever," Fujimura Taiga shrugged, not even stopping grading papers or bothering to look up at the baffled Negi and Midori who stood before the small desk of her cramped office, decorated with all sorts of kendo trophies and signed swords on display cases. Plus the occasional tiger figurine. "I'll tell the kids tomorrow and that should be it."

    "It's... that easy, really?" Negi doubted for a moment. "Are you sure that's okay with you?"

    "Why wouldn't it be?" Taiga said. "I mean, I could use some practice for my English, I actually like the language, but long trips are such a pain. I'd rather go somewhere in Japan, and really, I don't think the school should waste so much money on overseas trips either. So okay, why not? Kyoto it is! I'm sure the kids will like the idea too."

    "Wow," Midori ended up saying quietly. "Your students sure are understanding. What I wouldn't do for them to do anything I say..."

    "They know what's best for them," Taiga grunted softly, finishing with a stack of tests and starting with another. "Well, all but the Matou boy anyway. Believe me, if they've taken this long to decide it's not because anyone was fighting over the destination, but the complete opposite. Nobody wanted to bother and suggest a place, because by default that would mean taking the responsibility over the trip, and while my kids are overall responsible enough, that's only once you've actually given them a task. Before that? A total lack of initiative, I tell you..."

    "Don't they have a Class Rep to direct the trip?" Midori rethorically asked.

    "Of course, nominally they chose Tohsaka, but the thing is they respect her so much they won't even charge her with doing anything, and she kinda takes advantage of that," the slightly older woman with much shorter and lighter hair noted. "At the end of the day, it's Ryuudou-kun who takes care of pretty much everything, but he isn't much of a trip person either. Doesn't matter, my grandpa has friends in Kyoto. I can book us a hotel as long as you deliver on the designated driver and the guide, because those friends' drivers and guides... well, they really aren't the type you want introduced to teenagers," she had to admit.

    "Oh, I can find a reliable driver, I'm sure!" Negi smiled and nodded.

    "And I know of a great guide for the occasion!" Midori grinned. "We have a deal then, don't we, Tiger?"

    "No we don't, if you ever call me Tiger again," Fujimura warned.

    "Tigger, then?"

    "Just get outta my office already, before I bounce you back to the 100 Acres, Pooh."

    ---

    "Ah ha ha ha, see, that was a piece of cake!" Midori laughed as they walked towards the dorms, guiding him down a certain detour Negi couldn't help but noticing to his growing uneasiness. He was so troubled by this he didn't even think back of how she had been adamant Taiga wouldn't cooperate all the way to her office. "She's a paper tiger after all, what an easily swayed woman!"

    "Hmm, Sensei?" Negi finally asked, as they passed under the shade of a gigantic old tree, and he had to look up for a moment, sure he'd just seen strange serpentine eyes briefly flickering amidst the foliage."Are you aware we have taken the scenic route?"

    "Yeah, of course I have," Midori nodded carelessly. "I wanted to talk with you about something important, in private, once we had taken that matter outta our back."

    The usual signs of danger Nekane had often warned him about blared in the back of Negi's mind, but his formal politeness remained in top form. "I'd be glad to answer any doubts you would have, as long as they are--"

    "Last night," she said, sounding a bit more serious now, "I was visited by a recent acquaitance of mine, who told me he'd been talking to you and Kuga Natsuki, earlier that afternoon. Was he lying?"

    Negi frowned. This topic had not been the one he had been dreading, but it was not a welcome one either way. "Oh, you mean Nagi-san."

    "Yeah," she nodded, her tone even more humorless now. "I can't believe it, that little punk promised me he'd never pull anyone but HiMEs into this first time we met, so what's his game now?"

    "I believe," Negi ventured, "if you were to ask him he'd say I've involved myself into this... whatever it is, myself, through association with Kuga-san. Of course, our association still isn't deep enough she would have trusted me with anything but the barest basics on what her current ordeal is."

    "Naturally," Midori said. "Natsuki-chan is just that secretive."

    "But I trust you are not, so now we are all alone, perhaps you might explain to me what are you two... or rather three, I imagine... immersed into at the time. Just so I know whether I should help you or stay out of your way, as she would seem to prefer me to do."

    "And maybe she is right," the woman said, "but so are you, and you have the right to know. You're already aware I'm versed on what's going on with the world of magic, right?"

    Negi nodded. "Itoshiki-sensei has told me that much, but not anything else about you."

    "No surprise there either, since that's all he should know on me," she said. "Just like Natsuki-chan, I'm a HiME, Highly Advanced Materializing Equipment. And just like her, I got my powers from Nagi, who charged me with hunting the Orphans haunting the four schools. There's supposed to be twelve of us, but looks like so far only the two of us have been branded." She pulled her top up a bit, and Negi leapt back with a yelp of surprise, only to calm down when he saw she had pulled only enough as to show a small mark on the flesh over her right ribs. It was reddish and shaped like a small circle with an even slammer dot at its middle. "This is the proof of what I've become, and the powers I now wield. But, just to be a tad more precise, and since an image says more than a thousand words..."

    She breathed deeply, closed her eyes, and stretched her right arm ahead. Her hand also outstretched and suddenly, much to Negi's surprise, a sharp labrys, almost as long as she was tall, appeared between her fingers as she began singing in a low, unfazed tone.

    "At the sea where no one else is, I wanted to make certain of your love. I slipped in your arms, running through the radiant waters, until we could no longer breathe. Hurry and embrace me tightly. My beloved one..."

    The ground under her seemed to burst forth and explode around her as raw power flowed out of her body, further startling Negi, dirt flying around in all directions. She smirked again, her hand tightening around the gigantic bladed weapon, and continued singing on, even clearer and louder, nearly defiant, making Negi wonder again.

    "O lonely sea, confirming our romance! Nestled into your arms, we ran breathlessly along...! Through the dazzling beach, come, embrace me again! That's what I love about you...!"

    And then she wasn't singing, but shouting, at something or someone past beyond Negi's line of sight, moving him to look wildly all around, to one side and the other. "I can feel you squirming already, little child! So why don't you show up already? You know you want to! Why to leave this for later?!"

    "S-Sensei?" Negi doubted. "This person you are addressing, would that be a-- Ohhhhh, dear..." he swallowed, seeing the ground crack and shatter before them, a huge gorge breaking open and cutting their path. And from it, as if the earth itself was giving birth to a monstruous titan of yore, rose a creature six meters tall, a bipedal humanoid with a robust build and thick, gray rocky skin, plus a face with no visible features but two bright, red eyes that quickly fixed down on them, even as the aberration flexed the four arms attached to its strong, bulky torso and the roared madly. "Mother of everything that is holy!"

    "This isn't your first time fighting an Orphan, is it?" Midori kept on smirking tensely, readying the colossal labrys. "If so, just stay behind me at all times and do everything I tell you..."

    "N-No, but I'd never seen one this big!" Negi gulped, also preparing his staff and chanting his spell activation under his breath.

    "Oh," Midori said. "In that case.. Stay behind me at all times and do everything I tell you!" she warned, leaping aside as the surprisingly fast behemoth lashed ahead for them, only managing to hit the ground where they'd stood seconds ago with two fists, and pulverizing it into tiny pieces that crumbled down, swallowed by the new abyss it had just opened.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2018
  13. Threadmarks: Rebuild of Unequally Rational and Emotional, Chapter One, Act Seven
    OverMaster

    OverMaster I'm fed up with everything

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    "Negi!" Midori shouted as she threw the labrys towards the throat of the gorilla-like towering being. "Cover me as long as I'm unarmed, will you?!"

    "O-Okay!" Negi gulped, grabbing her by a side and throwing themselves back as the weapon hit against the middle section of the monster's neck, only for its cutting surface to merely leave a dent there, then to fly back into Midori's hands before the Orphan could swat it off the air. She easily caught it by the long handle, narrowing her eyes as the Orphan took a second to ran thick fingers over the slight wound bleeding in gray.

    "Shit," she said. "As strong as he looks, huh! Gotta admit, this is the biggest one I've faced so far, too..."

    "Septendecim spiritus aeriales, coeuntes. Sagitta Magica, Series Fulguralis! Sagitta Magica, Convergentia Fulguralis!" Negi shouted, shooting several arrows of lightning that briefly immobilized the giant, making it thrash in place on its oversized feet. Then he followed with more of them squarely aimed at its chest, which exploded onto contact and raised a huge cloud all around it, seemingly out of material literally ripped apart from its torax cavity. Negi, while hating to see any living being suffer, still had to smile. "That... That should have done it..."

    "I don't think so," Midori disagreed. "Nothing but a HiME can slay an Orphan!"

    "I've seen Tatsumiya-san and Munakata-san annihilate one before," Negi pointed out.

    "Well, then at least one of them must be a HiME without knowing it," Midori insisted. Before Negi could object on the obvious ridiculousness of this claim, the massive Orphan just stepped out of the cloud, waving its six arms and howling in anger. "See, whatever I told you?!"

    "I have hurt him, though!" Negi pointed at the large chunks of stony flesh dangling from the creature's flesh, along thick and blobbing gray substance. "We can do this if we keep on hitting!"

    "Yeah, maybe, but we're just human, and we tire far faster than them," Midori instructed, waving her weapon ahead and sending several large swats of compressed air, actually forming blasting projectiles vaguely shaped like boomerangs rippling through and over, simmering into a semblance of view until they hit the Orphan's knees, keeping it back. "With Orphans, the key is killing them as fast as we can! Maybe if you called your little friends along?"

    "My... how did you...?!" Negi gasped, amazed she already would know about his Pactio partners, which naturally he didn't want to involve into this.

    "You just mentioned them, didn't you?!" she shouted. "Tatsumiya Mana and her apprentice!"

    "Oh! Oh, them!" Negi breathed out. "Well... I'm afraid I couldn't summon them here quickly enough, sorry..."

    "Yeah. Figured out that much." The redhead snorted, darted out ahead, and swung at the golem-like abominations' heels with her labrys, spinning around it and, again, barely inconveniencing it. Negi swallowed hard, taking aim for another shot but unwilling to do so until Midori had stepped out of the way. Then he heard someone chuckling from above him, and he looked up to see a familiar face of late sitting on a branch above him, short legs dangling back and forth.

    "Nagi-san?!" the boy teacher said.

    "Well, who else would it be? My twin sister?" the albino smiled, calmly reading from another small book he kept open in a hand. "Well, aren't you a ladykiller? Literally, since you keep dragging them into deadly danger. Just yesterday you were flirting with Natsuki-chan, and now with such an older woman, what a shame, really, Negi-sensei..."

    "I'm only seventeen years old...!" Midori lied again, all but dancing from one side to another and dodging the hammering blows of the Orphan.

    "Sensei!" Negi shouted at her. "Come here, I'll fly you out!"

    "No, we can't escape!" she said, slashing at the fists once they were at her reach, but again only leaving surface cuts. "If you try and escape, Orphans only chase you no matter where you go! Sooner or later, we'd lead this clown into a populated area!"

    Nagi nodded. "She talks from hard-earned experience, too. Her first time, she got so scared she ran away like a little--"

    "No time for that right now, Nagi, you fucker!" Midori cursed, again having to resort to back away for her life as the Orphan advanced on her.

    "There is, however, a trump card you may resort to now!" Nagi happily said, finally closing the book and holding a pointer finger up. "Besides the Elements I have blessed them with, each HiME may eventually access a Child of her own to combat Orphans!"

    "Fulguratio Albicans!" Negi yelled, shooting at the Orphan's head and forcing him to stop momentarily. Then he asked Nagi, "What use is a child for in a situation like this, seriously?!"

    "..." Nagi glared down at him, frowning. "... you of all people really shouldn't be asking that, as you know. Well, to answer your question, in my business' lingo, Childs-- not Children, there's an important distinction there-- are creatures akin to Orphans, but who are bound to HiMEs and obey to them. Of course, unlike the Elements, Childs have to be gained through a contract with a subject known as the HiME's 'Key'..."

    "I've been meaning to ask, what's an 'Element'?" Negi asked.

    Nagi frowned again, and pointed at the labrys Midori was laboriously slamming onto the Orphan's stomach now that Negi had briefly stunned it.

    "Oh, you mean her Artifact!" Negi said.

    Nagi sighed. "Okay, yes, I suppose it is sort of the equivalent to a Ministra's Artifact. But so is the Child," he grinned, "as that is the result of an union between the contractor HiME and the individual who will lend their added mana for the substeinance of the Child. You will see, those handy creatures need a certain investment to remain in this world..."

    It was Negi's turn to frown. "Oh, so you're now trying to sell me into a Pactio of sorts. Sorry, but I already have six and a Pactio broker I'm bound in exclusivity to..."

    "Not exactly the same thing!!" Nagi said, springing up to outright stand on the branch, and then to point at the struggling Midori. "What in the world, do you really want to see Midori-chan killed?!"

    "Of course not!" Negi answered angrily, "but I highly doubt this Orphan will give us the time to--!"

    "Tsk, tsk, it isn't like that, what do you think I am, some kind of dealer on child prostitution?" Nagi asked, shaking his head and a finger. "The proccess for this is far simpler than a kiss and a drawn circle! Just get close, let her touch you with her Element, and really wish for it, with all of your hearts! Clicking your heels together might also help," he admitted as if an afterthought.

    "What is 'prostitution'?" Negi asked, with very tiny and black round eyes.

    "You have a very warped sense of priorities on how to gather which kind of knowledge, did you know that?" Nagi flatly asked him.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2018
  14. Threadmarks: Ala Alba OVA, Part One
    OverMaster

    OverMaster I'm fed up with everything

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    On the plus side, it had been the most successful Mahorafest ever. It even had brought illustrious visitors from overseas.

    As Bruce Wayne rested on his back on a rooftop, barely able to move and looking up at the nocturnal sky, his costume reduced to black tatters and half a mask, his usually bright and highly strategic mind only could think of how zeppelins were much cooler in Gotham. Dark gray, sleek police zeppelins patroling the skies, a far cry from the lime-green extravagant monstrosity floating high above him and the rest of the school, with a bold 'CHAO BAO ZI' written in huge red characters on its sides.

    "It's funny, huh?" Evangeline Mc Dowell mused, sitting at his battered, fallen form's side on the rooftop. "You come all the way from America, once again, to meddle into the affairs of a community you detest..."

    "... I don't detest... the Japanese... You are... projecting..." the Dark Knight grunted.

    "I'm talking about the magical community," Eva huffed, waving a hand in a circle. "And all of it for what? For once, you've been out-gambited, and now the fate of your precious world rests in the hands of a simple boy... whom Yours Truly happened to train into what he is now, mind..."

    "Good. So whatever happens next is your fault," he grunted, vainly trying to get up once more.

    "I guess it is," Evangeline said, her green eyes fixed on the zeppelin.




    "It's truly amusing, in a way!" the petite but fit and athletic black haired girl with fair skin and rosy cheeks laughed softly, suspended in the nocturnal air charged with electricity, as if she lacked any weight. "Before this, I had never truly known a single moment of peace. Now that I stand on the edge of losing everything for good, however, I feel finally at ease, as if nothing of what drove me before mattered that much anymore. Except because it does, but now I can see that for what it is, with a clear mind. Thank you helping me realize that, Negi-bouzou."

    Standing on the top of the zeppelin, with a long gray coat wrapped toghtly around her and her long black hait flapping on the furious winds, occassionally slapping her back on the face, Skuld shouted angrily at her. "Chao, stop toying with him already, will you?! You still can stop him, if you put all of your power into a decisive attack! Don't hold back anymore!!"

    "The last two years have been fun," Chao told Negi Sprinfield, stoically blocking Skuld's demands with a small bitter smile, "but it's all a faint dream to me now. And I'm waking up."

    The boy floating before her, standing on his wooden staff, said nothing.

    This seemed to piss her off, for once. Her unflappable smirk was replaced by a dark frown. "So, the discussion is over. Fine with me, then." She raised her hands and chanted, "Last Tale My Magic Scir Magister! Heed our contract and serve me, tyrant of flame!"

    "Ras Tel Ma Scir Magister!" Negi shouted. "Come, O wind spirits of lightning!" Gesturing violently with both hands, electricity crackled around his fingers.

    Chao clenched her teeth. And a massive ball of fire came to be between her hands. "Come, flame of purification, yer fiery broadsword!" Jumping up into the sky, she tossed the flames down at him. "Fire and brimstone, surge forth!"

    "Let the southern storm blow with lightning!" Negi screamed, just as dramatically, and the ray flew up from him, directly towards her.

    "Sodom ablaze, to the dust of death with the sinners ye cast!"

    "Jovis Tempestas Fulguriens!"

    "Ouraniā Phlogōsis!"

    And their respective spells collided in mid-air, illuminating the night as much as the Sun would have for a moment, causing a lot of panic and awe across the campus that waited expectantly under them. There was a deafening boom, and both fighters were sent reeling back across the air, yet they promply regained their pose almost instantly, before they could plummet to their dooms. Negi had to latch onto his father's staff right at the last instant, but as soon as his hand had a firm grasp on it, he threw himself back on it, quickly reaching the necessary balance once again. He breathed heavily, however, and the long drawn battle's toll was finally evident on his hunchbacked, bruised figure.

    Chao, suspended in the middle of the clouds like a limping doll, her clothes badly shredded, her long braids undone and letting ebony hair cascade over her bleeding face and shoulders, smiled sweet, vacantly at him. "You win. Negi-bouzou," she fondly said before closing her eyes and allowing herself to fall.

    She had failed. No matter how much, how hard she had tried, she had failed. Again. But at least, this would be the last time. Now she would rest from her ultimately pointless, insane self imposed Sissyphean task. And the cold air hitting her face as she spiraled down felt actually nice, like harsh caresses.

    Then she was reminded Springfields weren't supposed to be quitters. And all it took was that small, yet steely hand tightly closing around hers, stopping her freefall. Chao cringed as the whiplash of the abrupt stop sent a massive wave of pain through her neck, but both she and Negi knew that wouldn't be nearly enough to kill her. Crashing down on the grass from that height might have done the trick, though. Not that she would get to learn that that night.

    She opened her large, round, now utterly sad eyes again to stare at the battered boy floating right above her, and holding for her as much if not more as he held to life itself. "So," he dryly rasped, interrupted by a short fit of cough, "I get to choose my prize, then. And that will never be your death, Chao-chan."

    She cracked a smile that was literally painful for her. "... chan?"

    He smiled back, pretty much the same way.




    Akamatsu Ken created Negima and Kodansha owns it, but you already know that.

    Others created the other things mentioned here. I don't own or make any moolah from any of those other things either.




    Unequally Rational and Emotional Special.





    Where There Was Fire...





    Once again, the Mahora night was decorated by beautiful lights, but now the atmosphere was peaceful and sedate, contemplative even, as Ala Alba and their allies gathered near the World Tree, to see Chao Lingshen slowly ascend towards the colorful lights, in a perfect vertical line, with a small, sad, lingering smile.

    "So long, Negi-sensei, everyone," she softly said.

    "Chao!" Negi said, now suddenly running towards her, startling Satomi and Skuld, who had been standing at each side of him.

    "Let's meet again!" she added, waving a hand up.

    "Chao!" he cried, trying to reach up into the light, for her. "I've changed my mind! I do have something to tell you!"

    The raw emotion in his voice further shocked Ayaka, Haruka, Misa, Chisame, Mami, Touko, Yue and Natsumi, long enough for a sighing Asuna, shaking her head to herself, to be able to take a hold of the alleged Linsghen Family Tree they had been fighting for, and for her to throw it into the lingering fire of some nearby battle rubble.

    "Chao, I need to confess this!" Negi screamed at the top of his lungs. "I l--!"

    Then he was as surprised as everyone else when someone fell from the middle of the lights, from far above Chao, landing on her head with a sharp heel and keeping her other long leg doubled, presumably to spare Chao the pain of having yet another heel trying to puncture her skull. How kind of her. "--CHAO!" Negi yelled.

    Chao, who was now on her stomach on the grass, rubbed the small fresh wound on her head with a hand. "Owie owie owie, what was the big idea, you--!" Then, as she lifted her face to get a good look of the seething woman standing over her, holding a very long staff, she actually grinned widely. "Ah? Ritsuko-san! What are you doing here?"

    "And why wouldn't I be!? You were just about to slip away to break even more laws of continuum preservation, enough is enough already!" the angry woman with short, blonde hair in a Sailor Senshi uniform who had just dropped onto Chao grabbed her by the collar and began rattling her back and forth, only making Chao lugh dumbly. "And stop giving my identity away, will you?!" the woman yelled at her. "Haven't you had enough with all the times you've changed the timestream? Do you have any idea how many times I've nearly been erased out of existence nd replaced by the elders because of that?! What do you have against me?! Why do you want to ruin my job and my life so much?!"

    "Erased out of existence, you say?" asked Itoshiki-sensei, blinking in interest.

    Chao chuckled, a major drop of sweat on her head. "Come on, you know I was sorry, I had been sorry, I am sorry, I have been sorry, I will be sorry, and all the other verbal times they haven't invented yet... But I obviously haven't changed the timeline enough, so you're still alive and rocking at your job, and it all ended up more or less okay, right? Well, except for my future, so I'm the only real loser at the end of all of this, but who cares about that anyway, right--?"

    "No more, Chao Lingshen, I said no more!" Akagi Ritsuko, Sailor Pluto, growled on her face, her ever-present cold and calculating attitude replaced by sheer anger born from stress and despair, a quite ugly purplish vein protuding from a temple of pale delicate skin. "Starting now, you're forbidden from traveling through the timestream again, are you listening? You will have to sleep on the bed you've made! Stop trying to fix what wasn't broken in the first place! And then making it broken! We don't want any more of your timequakes around!"

    "... you're aware Future Me will find a way around that, right?" Chao asked. "Also, if I didn't have enough of a good reason to believe the future wasn't broken, I wouldn't have--"

    "FINE, SO YOU CAN'T GO BACK TO THAT FUTURE, SO YOU WON'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT IT ANYMORE! HAPPY NOW!?"

    Ookuchi Akira walked closer to the duo, calmly greeting the older woman. "Good evening, Pluto-san. Nice to meet you again, but please unhand my classmate before I am forced to strike at you."

    Chao blinked, genuinely moved. "Ahhhh! Would you really hit her for me, even after all I did?"

    Akira nodded sedately. "I might end up accidentally hitting you as well in the proccess, but that wouldn't be because of any grudges I might hold against you. All the same, Pluto-san, if you left her in this time period, wouldn't that end up causing more paradoxes than simply letting her go?"

    "THAT'S CLASSIFIED INFORMATION! Ahem, I mean, sorry, I meant that's Classified Information, how do you do," Pluto said, acknowledging Akira's presence with a small nod, and lowering her voice, although not Chao, in respect. "All I can say is it would be far less problematic to address any further damage this troublemaker could cause from the future than keeping her in a les advanced era."

    Chao smiled. "Or is it that I've changed the future after all? Oh, my timeline doesn't even exist anymore, neh? That's so good to hear, and you even saved me from heading into a void...!"

    Sailor Pluto glared darkly at her. "If I had just done that, which I'm not saying I just did, I would be inwardly kicking myself like no woman has ever done right here and now," she icily told the time fugitive.

    "It is greatly appreciated," Akira said, "but, what truly worries me is not so much Chao-san's presence, but that I'm afraid our friends won't stop pressuring her on the topic of things they really should not learn yet."

    "..." said Ala Alba.

    "I'm sorry," Akira quietly told them. "But you have all but tried to kill each other over a simple family tree of Sensei."

    "Killing is too strong a term," Chisame groaned, "crippling is probably more accurate, and some of us had no interest on the stupid thing itself but on--"

    "What Chisame-san is trying to say," Ayaka interrupted, forcefully stepping between her and the others, and raising her voice over Chisame's, "is that we only wanted to calm our companions' spirits through judicious application of strenght, but should Chao-san stay for any long after this, we would all be mature enough as to respect her secrets and the reasons behind them! We all would understand the need to allow events run their course naturally, and we already know who is the woman fated for Negi-sensei anyway..."

    "They will have me tortured and quartered in a mad bid for info before a single week is over," Chao matter-of-factly told Ritsuko. "If this is your idea of ensuring my demise with the addition of untold pain and suffering, congratulations, it has worked out much better than abandoning me to a void."

    Negi embraced her tight and protectively then. "No, I won't let them do anything to you, Chao!"

    "Hey, why are you hugging her, now?!" Misa demanded. "She's our granddaughter, remember?!"

    While Skuld sighed and facepalmed, and a giggling Ku Fei ran past Negi to tightly hug Chao after Sailor Pluto finally dropped her into Negi's arms, Batman appeared right behind the perplexed Chisame and Tsunetsuki Matoi. "Hnh," he said. "I suppose I can tell Booster everything worked out, then..."

    "AH!" Matoi gasped. "You were there?!"

    "Yes, always."

    "... okay, that's not cute at all when it's a grown man in black body armor doing it..."
     
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  15. Threadmarks: Ala Alba OVA, Part Two
    OverMaster

    OverMaster I'm fed up with everything

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    And that was how the School Festival ended.




    "-- and that's why she must stay over at Master's until we can figure out what else to do," Negi finished explaining, as they stood in one of the many elevated platforms of Colonel Sanders' resort, with Chamo, Chisame, Satomi, Chao and Matoi standing shortly behind him. A nearby waterfall roared, but not loud enough as to make Negi's words difficult to listen to. "Unless you could do something else to help with her situation, and you wouldn't mind doing so, which is why she's here..."

    "No, it's why you brought me here against my knowing best he won't do absolutely anything about it," Chao sighed, folding her arms and shaking her head.

    "I see," standing with his back to them, quietly watching over the majestic underground landscape, the man also known as Imma Albireo smiled faintly. "Yes, the Magic Associations don't forgive easily, and I think I know a few things on the subject. I'm surprised Kitty-chan allowed her to stay at her home, however."

    "It was just a favor to Chachamaru," Chao shrugged. "So you won't do anything about it, ne?"

    "Well, I could offer you a place here, but it would be so scandalous for a lovely young girl to live all alone with an old bachelor like me...!" Albireo chuckled slightly, in a way that was so... not traditionally virile... it would have made anyone feel safe leaving a young girl with him.

    Chao glanced aside at Negi. "I told you so!"

    ""You know," Satomi told her in turn, "the longer you spend out of what I now realize was your emotional comfort zone, the more I suspect Chisame is your femle ancestor."

    Chisame made a face. "Whether that was meant as praise or insult for either, please don't ever say it again!"

    'Colonel Sanders' chuckled as he turned back to face them. "I imagine, then, you are ready for your answers now, aren't you, Negi-kun?"

    He blinked. "Ah? But... but the terms were that, if I won...!"

    "The terms were," the robed man interrupted, "if you won, I'd tell you about your father. But I never mentioned anything about not telling you if you didn't win."

    Negi's face lit up. "Colonel!"

    The delicately handsome man pulled a Pactio card with his figure and name out of one of his wide white sleeves. "Yes, Negi, your father is still alive. Or else the proof of our contract wouldn't stand, as it clearly does."

    "... that was a Pactio of blood, wasn't it?" Chamo asked.

    "No," Albireo smoothly contested, making Chamo collapse into gags and chokes of disgust, a paw on his stomach. Negi was too startled to really care or even register that point, though. Matoi primly wiped the blood of her nose with a tissue. "As for further information, it would probably be a good idea to return to Wales. And checking around its gate to the Magical World."

    "The Magical World...!" Negi repeated.

    "Phooey," the ermine grunted. "So, we had the answer right there, so close to us, the whole time?!"

    "Are you implying," Satomi asked, "the whole trip here and Negi's stint as a teacher was a waste of your time?"

    He pouted. "I never said that! I'm sure the Bro wouldn't have gathered such a fine host of hotties around him had he stayed at Wales! Although... there was that blond girl in Merdiana who was really cute... and of course there's Anya-sis... and..."

    Chisame absently crushed him under a heel.

    "ANIMAL ABUSE!!"

    Chao cringed at took a hand to the bandage on her head. "Could you please not stomp on others' heads while I'm around? I can't believe even Konoka-chan couldn't heal this... Ritsuko-san is a truly fearsome person..."





    Negi stopped by the end of the hallway, right before stepping down the first step of the stairs, and so Chisame came to a halt of her own behind him.

    "I can't stop myself anymore than Chao could," the boy said after a moment of contemplative pause, his head hanging down. "The one thing I cannot do is stopping myself from going after him. I know you won't approve of this. And I am genuinely sorry to disappoint you like this. But--"

    "No," she calmly interrupted him. "It can't be a disappointment, since I wouldn't have expected for anything else from you. None of us would have."

    "I will return to Wales," Negi said with an air of quiet finality to him, "but I expect to return, of course. Although nothing is ever certain, and so I hope you realize..."

    He could not finish the sentence, but he kept his eyes firmly on Chisame's.

    Eventually, she only sighed, her shoulders drooping. "Okay, fine, I'll go with you."

    "That isn't what I was asking for," Negi said. "I only was asking for your understanding in--"

    "Look, we both know that, if you had really wanted to keep your purpose a secret, not that you could have after what Kentucky Fried told you under the island, you'd have tried to sneak away without telling anyone," Chisame said. "Not that it could have worked either, as by now Haruna and Debochin-sempai have an Anti-Negi Escape surveillance net all around Mahora..."

    "They do?!" he gasped. "How?!"

    "That's not important, you idiot!" she told him. "It beats going with Sora, Kobato and Kodaka to meet Uncle for the vacation, so alright, I'll go make sure you don't get yourself killed. Again!"

    "No," he said.

    "Yes," she said.

    "No!" he insisted, actually frowning at her.

    "Are you actually going to challenge us on this matter?! Haven't you learned anything about picking your fights by now, snot?!" she shot back.

    They stared into each other's eyes fiercely, in a true duel of wills, both standing their ground at the top of the stairs.

    Kotegawa Yui stopped before them in her way down, waiting for them to either stop staring or start kissing, at which point she actually could shout at them for their indecency. However, as the moments passed and they just remained there, not even blinking despite of how red their eyes were turning, she had to take a fist to her mouth and cough delicately. "A-hem. Sensei, Hasegawa-sensei, you are blocking the way for those of us who have things to do..."

    They gulped and instantly backed away in opposite directions.

    "Thank you," Yui coldly said, walking down the steps. Then she gave a look back over her shoulder. "By the way, what was that about, anyway?"

    "We're going to Wales for the summer vacation," Chisame answered.

    Negi found himself nodding, and only then realized he was nodding. He also realized Chisame smirking down at him, in a harsh and triumphant fashion.

    And he knew he had lost. Yet again.
     
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  16. Threadmarks: Ala Alba OVA, Part Three
    OverMaster

    OverMaster I'm fed up with everything

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    Evangeline's Resort:

    "I... I know this is going to sound very bad, but..." Asuna doubted, scratching herself on a cheek, "but I'm not that sure I'm going. I mean, not like I have anything against spending time with any of you guys but that single person, but I was looking forward to spending some time with Takahata-sensei..."

    "He already rejected you, however," Ayaka reminded her.

    "That's why you're that single person!" Asuna growled at her. "And karma's going to bite you back in a big way over telling me that, mark my words!"

    "Would you rather have me feeding you with false hopes?" Ayaka asked her.

    "I'd rather not having you feed me with anything, it might be poisoned!" Asuna shot back.

    "I think," Negi said, "Takamichi is going to be sent away for two weeks in a mission for the Headmaster, but if you still want to stay I'll fully respect your decision, Asuna, it's--"

    "Oh, is that so?" Asuna huffed. "Bummer! Never mind then, if that's the case I'm going! If I'm not around you guys fold down like a castle of cards as soon as anything magical is thrown your way!"

    "Seriously, Asuna-san," Ayaka coldly said, "if you are absent, whatever will happen to your very important paper route...?"

    "Print newspaper is a dying medium, who cares!" Asuna finally acknowledged the truth with a flippant wave of a hand. "I'm sure they can replace me with anyone for a week or two without much of a hassle!"

    "Alright then! Let's do it!" Haruna pumped a fist up.

    "YEAH!" said Sakurako, Misa, Haruka, Sora, Misora, Satomi, Konoka, Setsuna, Asuna, Kotaro, Yuuna, Makie, Skuld, Keiichi, Chao and Ayaka all at once, pumping their fists as well.

    "... yeahhhh," Cocone said a moment later, tiny brown fist slowly rising.

    Ayaka then looked at Chao. "... and, may I ask why are you inviting yourself as well?"

    "Because I'll be safer at Mundus Magicus than here?" Chao asked back.

    "Now, now," Negi said, "as long as you are under the Master's protection, no one will come for you..."

    "No, I mean it," Chao said. "Chachamaru-chan or not, each day that I pass here it's one step closer to the edge for me," she added, pointing towards the end of the floating platform they were on.

    "I push whenever I'm pushed, and a certain person's presence has already been pushing me for quite a while," Evangeline commented, from where she sat at a distance quietly sipping on the tea her favorite servant was pouring for her.




    "Hey, Setsuna-san," Asuna rasped, in between furious and fast flurries of her harisen against Setsuna's sword. Both girls were sparring together under a scorching artificial sun, and had been doing so for the best part of a hour now. "About what I said earlier, about you being no good with magic if I'm not close..."

    "You only were saying it for Negi-sensei and Iinchou, I know," her trainer nodded, skillfullly dodging another of Asuna's swings and countering with a successful slash at her shoulder, cleanly slicing off the single short sleeve Asuna had left on without touching the flesh. Asuna groaned to herself, annoyed at having another perfectly good shirt ruined. They all had been losing a lot of clothing articles that way, ever since starting training under Eva. "I'm aware you didn't mean to slight any of us."

    "Right!" Asuna smiled, blocking against Setsuna's friendly barrage of rapid thrusts. "I'm glad you understand me so well! I didn't mean to offend anyone but Iinchou, not even Negi, really. It's not like I'm super necessary or anything..."

    "Don't say that," Setsuna smiled, kicking her in the stomach to push her back and buy herself more time and room to try another approach. "You improve surprisingly fast, day by day. I've trained others before, and you are the pupil who has developed the fastest under my watch. Even Tsukuyomi's development rate can't compare!"

    "Eh? Are you serious?!" Asuna beamed, blushing a little while Setsuna lunged at her and she flipped aside out of her direct way. "W-Well, thank you, I've had the best teacher after all!"

    "That may be true," Setsuna admitted without the self deprecating modesty she would show around Konoka, putting added pressure on Asuna's less skilled left side, "But your own capacities are not to be understimated. Your own effort is the main reason behind your improvement, Asuna-san, and I'm sure Eva-san feels that way too. Don't tell anyone, especially not her, but she's told me to keep a particular focus on your formation as a fighter. Even if she won't say it, I'm sure she has an interest on you second only to that she has on Sensei."

    "Oboy. I'm so not sure how I feel about that. Aaaaaand speaking of the devil!" Asuna said right then, head briefly tilting aside, towards one of the entrances to the outdoors squared circle.

    "Kagurazaka Asuna," Evangeline said while stepping into the resort's main arena, making Setsuna and Asuna slow down in their sword practice. "Stop that immediately. I have a special test for you."

    Asuna did as told, and a moment later was whacked down to her knees by Setsuna's wooden sword. "Hey! Setsuna-san, why did you do that?!"

    "My apologies. You were told to stop, I wasn't," Setsuna bowed deeply, lowering the bokken. "I'm afraid the instincts of fighting for real, taking advantage of every opening and chance, are still too strong in me..."

    "Those aren't bad instincts to teach, so you shouldn't apologize," Evangeline then asked her, "What's your performance assesment on this girl, Sakurazaki?"

    Setsuna straightened up. "Her rate of progress is certainly impressive. Almost as much if not more as Negi-sensei's. Not only she caught on the Kanka Takahata-sensei taught her almost immediately, but her understanding of battle strategy is surprisingly far better than her understanding of any other subject..."

    "I'm good at Arts too!" Baka Red protested.

    "Combining all of that with her natural speed and keen senses, I think she has the potential to become the strongest of us eventually," Setsuna added.

    "Eh?! Really, I do?!" Asuna gasped.

    "That isn't saying much, considering your team is lacking true powerhouses like Tatsumiya, Nagase or even Ku Fei," Evangeline scowled, pushing her glasses up her nose.

    "Why are you wearing glasses?" Asuna belatedly realized.

    "They make me look as smart as I am," Evangeline muttered. "Fine, if your mettle is as good as Sakurazaki says, then I'll have to put you through a test unfit any of the others, even Boya..."

    Asuna blinked, her bells ringing like alarm signs. "W-What do you mean?!"

    Evangeline smirked.





    "W-W-Wait a moment here... WHERE THE HECK I AM?!" Asuna yelled to the icy wastelands.

    "Do you like it?" Evangeline smirked, sitting on a gigantic boulder that towered over Asuna. Even the furious winds that hit the redhead with incredible ferocity were barely moving the vampire's hair. "It's my lovely special training course for you. I based it on the Himalaya mountains, have I ever mentioned to you geography is one of my many cultural hobbies?"

    "W-What kind of test is this, a test t-to see how fast you can kill me?!" Asuna protested, hugging her upper body and falling on her knees into the thick snow. "And wh-why didn't tell me to bring winter clothes?!"

    "Oh, don't be such a baby," Eva snorted. "You can use Kanka, so all you have to do is combining it with your Chi to warm yourself up."

    "I can do that?!" Asuna gasped, before realizing it was worth a try. Closing her eyes, she concentrated on gathering Kanka in a hand and Chi in the other, and then brought them together under Evangeline's attent supervision. "Hey, I can!" Asuna cheered, opening her eyes. "I feel so much better now! Thanks for the tip, Eva-chan! So I passed the test, right?"

    "Of course not, you idiot," Eva muttered. "You realize you can't keep doing that indefinitely, don't you? If your Kanka and Chi keep leaking out at that rate, you'll collapse in... around thirty minutes or so, I estimate. Then hypothermia will kill you in another thirty, more or less..."

    "I THOUGHT YOU WANTED CHAO OUT OF YOUR LIFE, NOT ME!"

    "There's a big cave up the mountain, which will be your new home," Evangeline said, pointing uphill with a thumb. "If you use your kanka and chi wisely while you are there, you might just survive for a week."

    "ONE FULL WEEK?!"

    "That's as long as you have to stay in this habitat to pass the test," Eva nodded. "Otherwise, I'm kicking you out... well, I guess I can't kick you out of Boya's stupid club, but I certainly won't be admitting you at my home anymore."

    "Gah," Asuna said, before looking up.

    WAY up.

    Oboy.

    "Do I have to climb all the way...?" she asked.

    "If you've learned how to fly, I won't have any objections on your flying up there," Evangeline shrugged. "I left matches and wood in the cave, so you can cook your meals. But I'd advise against keeping yourself warm with them, as the reserves are limited. There's also a small lake at the bottom of it, so you can have something to drink. Any questions?"

    "What will I eat?!"

    "I'll bring you a meal for you to cook each time you can survive my attacks."

    "Which attacks?!"

    "These attacks," Eva answered, bringing her hands up. "MALLEUS AQUILONIS!"

    And she tossed a collossal sphere of magical energy at her. As the sphere rolled across the ground in pursuit of a screaming and flailing Asuna, it amassed a thick layer of snow and ice around it, until Asuna leaped aside and the ball rolled down a cliff.

    Asuna panted and wheezed, shaking in terror and cold, before rage kicked in. "What if I had died?!"

    "Well, you have no relatives, so I'd arrange your funerals and burial..."

    "That's not what I was talking about!"
     
  17. Threadmarks: Ala Alba OVA, Part Four
    OverMaster

    OverMaster I'm fed up with everything

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    "And I told her 'Why, those are the thanks I get for taking care of your funeral arrangements?' and threw an avalanche at her. Then I flew away and took the best damn hot bath of my life," Evangeline finished, sitting at the head of the large dinner table and sipping from a cup of expensive wine. "Can you believe the nerve of that stupid girl?"

    The members of Ala Alba arranged around the table all stared at her in a wide eyed show of pure, pale naked horror and shock, except for Negi, who was too busy doing a spittake of his juice all over the mantle. He choked briefly as Chachamaru moved behind him and patted his back, then cried at Evangeline, "And you simply left her there?!"

    "I've just said that's exactly what I did, haven't I?" his teacher/student glared at him condescendingly.

    Ayaka slammed both hands on the table. "Evangeline-san, how could you! You must take us there immediately! With some luck, Asuna-san won't be dead yet...!"

    "How, how will we be able to explain this?!" Misora waved her arms around, eyes spiralling. "There'll be an inquiry! The Headmaster will be mad! Sister Shakti, too!"

    Evangeline rolled her eyes back. "Please, she'll be just fine! The reputation of kanka as 'the ultimate art' is overblown, sure, but it's not completely unfounded. Just by activating it, the user gets granted a bonus on strenght, endurance, magical defense, stamina, and resistance against poisons and cold! If she makes a smart use of it, combined with what I left for her, she should be okay. I'll go check on her in a few hours anyway."

    "Oh, so it's like the Kaio-ken?" Konoka asked, briefly putting the Drag On Ball manga she had been reading after finishing her meal down.

    "We're talking about Asuna-san, it's impossible she could give a smart use to anything!" Ayaka despaired. "How could you put her in a situation where her survival depends on her intelligence!"

    "Iinchou, please don't understimate Asuna-san," Setsuna told her. "Her fighting and survival instincts are much sharper than you give her credit for. In all honesty, other than her academic grades, she is an actually fairly intelligent girl."

    "It's true she's got common sense," Misa allowed, "but..."

    "Common sense isn't worth anything against deep freeze temperatures!" Madoka completed the idea for her. "One day, maybe, but SEVEN?!"

    Kotaro rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "Yeah, it's true Neesan is the strongest of all you guys but Setsuna-san, but even so, this seems kinda excessive for her... 'Sides, I'm offended! Why wasn't I given the same treatment, old witch?!" he angrily pointed at Evangeline.

    The vampire raised an eyebrow. "Oh? You only had to ask if you wanted to be abused and thrown onto the cold. That's the only thing mutts are good for."

    "Master," Chachamaru said, "if they don't get to see Asuna-san is fine, they'll never have an easy mind, and they won't be able to train properly all week long. Don't you think you should, just to put their minds at ease...?"

    "No! I know them well!" Eva growled. "If I take them there, they'll start trying to make things easier for her, and the idea is for this to be a test she has to take alone!"

    "Master!" Negi gasped, taking a hand to his chest. "Do you take me for a cheater?!"

    "Well," Keiichi said, "you are the type who will take shortcuts to any possible solution. Not that I'm saying that's a bad thing, it's better than Kotaro's mindset, but..."

    "Hey, I thought you and I were friends!" Kotaro snapped.

    "Besides," Makie pointed out, "Negi-kun's just got too much of a tender heart to let anyone suffer..."

    Evangeline nodded. "Right, right. If he goes there he'll only get back even more antsy and unable to perform properly!"

    "Then take me!" Ayaka said. "Um, seeing me there to, ah, mock and taunt on her misery will only crush Asuna-san even further, isn't that right what you want?!"

    "No, are you stupid?" Eva asked back. "You'll just start crying, hug her, and refuse to let go! You love her even more than Boya does!"

    "No, that's a lie...!" Ayaka wailed. "I'll be bad to her, I swear...!"

    Konoka closed the manga with a sigh. "Eva-chan, you have overlooked an important part of Asuna's training. It is imperative you take us to her, since from what you told us, you neglected something nobody should spend a week without, and we must deliver it to her."

    Evangeline sneered. "Oh, don't tell me! What could ever be as important as to--"

    "You forgot the toilet paper, Eva-chan," Konoka evenly reminded her.

    Evangeline blinked. "Oh... Yes, that would be right. Even one as evil as I should not go quite that far..."





    Kotaro sniffed the footprints on the snow leading towards the mouth of the cave. "Yeah, this her, definitely. Fresh enough, too, she can't have gotten there more than one hour ago..."

    "What do you mean with 'it's her?'!" Evangeline angrily demanded, standing behind him with Konoka, Setsuna, Ayaka and Negi, all in thick winter fatigues and hooded coats."Who else could it be, Mrs. Bigfoot?!"

    "Asuna-chaaaaaan!" Konoka called out, walking into the cave with Setsuna hanging shortly behind. "We brought you toilet paper, mittens, wool socks, and a thermos with hot cocoa...!"

    "It is the first and last hot cocoa you will be allowed during the duration of the test, and I already drank more than half of it, Kagurazaka!" Eva entered after them, with the two boys closing the formation, and a fearful Ayaka rushing from the back to the forefront, aiming a hand lamp in all directions and squinting. "Where are you, moron? Don't tell me your body gave up this soon!"

    "I'm... here...!" came a voice from the end of the cave, trembling and accompanied by the chattering of teeth, and Ayaka ran in that direction, making the figure sitting in the darkness, before a tiny fire, gasp, "Iinchou! You came here to laugh at my misery?!"

    "Of, of course I did!" Ayaka bawled, dropping to her knees next to a slightly blueish-skinned, shivering Asuna, and tightly hugging her against herself, as if never wanting to let go. "You, you know I'd never miss a chance to enjoy your humil-- Oh my God, you poor sweet thing, you're so COLD! Evangeline-san, you MONSTER!"

    "See?!" an upset Eva told Negi. "I just knew this would come to pass!"

    Negi blinked, looking at all the fresh graphitti on the walls of the cave. "Wow, you really are good at artistic drawing, Asuna. Fast too, since you haven't been here all that long yet. But I have to question why Takamichi is wearing so little in the way of clothes, in all of these..."

    "W-W-Well, I had to keep myself hot, somehow!" Asuna answered, her cheeks flushed bright as she allowed her head be nestled between the breasts of a cooing, shoulder-patting Ayaka,
     
  18. Threadmarks: Too Many Fates, Preview
    OverMaster

    OverMaster I'm fed up with everything

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    Type-Moon and Nasu Kinoko created and own Fate Grand Order.

    All other characters and franchises mentioned here belong to their respective copyright owners.




    She had been one of the first to be summoned, for a War nobody knew how long would last, much less her, and back then, the facilities had looked so large, so sterile, so eerie. So empty.

    Most of the staff, she had been told, had been decimated shortly before her arrival. That left a dramatically understaffed organization inhabiting a building the effective size of a small village, and the whole site now seemed much bigger and overwhelming than it really was-- and that had been plenty in the first place.

    In what concerned to Servants, there was the Caster, of course, and the half-Servant. Shortly after his arrival, the Master had also summoned the other Caster, and now, of course, there was she as well. The petite, lithe Servant who now was making her way around the complex with no apparent weight or sound to her, like a living shadow moving across the shiny, antiseptic surfaces of the areas that had been repaired already, and a random passerby would not have been able to detect her presence at all until it was too late for them.

    Of course, Hassan of Serenity was not on the prowl for murder this time. The Master had been adamant she should treat everyone in the complex as allies and friends, and she had agreed like a good subordinate. She was, after all, well used to the trapings of working within an organization, even if the last one had been so much better manned than this one, which obviously had been dealt a decisive blow before her arrival-- one so large, it seemed, she doubted they could ever recover even before they really started fighting.

    However, the Beautiful Assassin prided herself on being a good, dutiful soldier, and since she had been summoned, she would follow her instructions to the letter even if it was for a doomed cause. So when she had asked Master what were his first instructions, and she had just smiled and kindly told her, "Just make yourself at home, Assassin," she had simply gone to do exactly that.

    To feel at ease anywhere, the first thing she had to do was getting to know the grounds she would be inhabiting.Not to mention those she would be sharing them with. So far, the Assassin's impressions on the subject were clear; there was much empty ground to cover, and precious little in the way of allies and comrades to be found anywhere. On the plus side, she guessed, that also meant there would be less people around to be threatened and harmed by her presence.

    This was the mindset of Hassan of Serenity that early morning, trapped within a subworld where the concept of days of the week had ceased to have any real importance along the rest of the world that had disappeared outside.

    This was the relatively carefree mindset she had right before getting to know the other Assassin.




    Too Many Fates.





    Chapter One: The Zealot and The Lawless.
     
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  19. Threadmarks: History Lessons, Chapter One, Part One
    OverMaster

    OverMaster I'm fed up with everything

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    After a brief attempt to do a fully different AU that was posted somewhere else here in Questionable Questing, something another poster wrote made me realize I was going to flop and instead I just chose to do this: a series of interrelated oneshots, each starring a Servant and how each works their way through a Grail War, whether an Apocrypha, Stay Night, EXTRA, Prototype, Strange/Fake one, or even a GO singularity.

    All stories make use of crossover elements while still keeping the main focus on Fate. A few might even use Servants from other sources of fiction, but fighting for Nasuverse Masters or slotted into Singularities or Lostbelts. In the end, all these stories come together in a single large tale of sorts.

    ---

    Fate Grand Order, Fate Prototype, Fate Zero, Fate Stay Night, Fate EXTRA, Fate Extella, Fate Apocrypha, Fate Strange Fake, Fate Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya, Fate Requiem and Fate School Life are the creations and intellectual properties of Nasu Kinoko and Type-Moon.

    All other characters and franchises mentioned are the intellectual properties of their respective copyright holders.

    ---

    History Lessons.

    Path One: Saber.

    ---

    Emiya Shirou gasped from his awkward prone position on the old shed's floor, staring up at the figure that had just appeared standing over him. It was the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen, with a delicate and fair face that was nonetheless cold and devoid of feelings. Her eyes were large, round and light green, and her hair a pale shade of golden blonde, pulled back into a small bun. She wore a long dress of regal blue cloth, along with a metal chestplate and armored gauntlets and boots. In a hand she held the sturdy handle of a sword, apparently unattached to any blade.

    "I am Servant Saber," she told him, bathed from behind by the silver moonlight filtered through the large hole in the wall, with a calm and aloof voice. "I ask of you, are you my Master?"

    "Geh…!" Shirou stuttered, too shocked to say anything else. "Geh…!"

    She nodded. "I'll assume that's a yes, then. Negatives are usually conveyed as 'Gah!'…"

    But then, zooming across the air, the maniac in blue tights who had been chasing Shirou around from school broke into the shed, waving that long spear of his, and this 'Saber' immediately spun around, swinging her hilt with both hands, and just as soon, there was a thundering boom and the man was swatted by some invisible force, directly back out of the shed and onto the Emiya house's backyard.

    ---

    Saber and the spearman faced each other on the lawn of Shirou's backyard now, under the gibbous fullness of a silver-white moon. She frowned at the intruder while he flashed a shark's grin at her, almost crouched down with the weapon at the ready.

    "Please, whatever you do, don't ruin the roses over there," Shirou asked them, standing aside.

    "Heh…" the man in tights chuckled. "That was a nice blow you dealt there, little sister. The Saber, I suppose?"

    "What is it to you?" she huffed. "Am I as obvious as you… Lancer?"

    Shirou blinked. "No, seriously, are you guys roleplaying, or what? Don't you think this has gone far enough already?"

    Lancer clucked his tongue, ignoring Shirou and focusing on the blonde. "Tsk! I'd really love to have a good fight with you, but sadly my Master told me to go all out if I was found out by another Servant. A pity…"

    "You aren't going all out, you're just standing there and talking," the woman pointed out.

    "What's this nonsense about servants?" Shirou asked them. "Does she look like she's my maid to you?! Hey, stop ignoring me now! This is my house! Should I call the police?"

    "I see," Lancer said grimly, taking a quick step back from Saber, and readying his spear, power from long gone ages flowing into it for the final blow. He had always hated and avoided hurting women in the battlefield, going as far as to spare the woman who had brought nothing but ruin to himself and his country.

    However, just like Saber herself, he understood it was folly to think of the blonde before him as anything but another warrior, a living weapon... and then, living only according some definitions of the word by human standards.

    Just like himself.

    It makes no sense to fear for an identity reveal when you are not going to leave any witnesses behind afterwards. Better to go for all already. The next battle waited as eagerly as he waited for it.

    "Gae..."

    Saber frowned and stood still at the middle of the backyard, looking directly at the Lancer's face. As if daring him in silence.

    Shirou jerked forward, lifting a hand and yelling a warning that was muted by Lancer's deep intonation, his voice booming across the whole block...

    "BOLG!"

    And the power was unleashed, and the air seemed to hum to deafening degrees, as the spear darted forward, with unerring accuracy, towards its intended goal.

    Lancer smirked almost psychotically as his favored weapon, unerring and accurate as ever, flew directly through the woman's chest, piercing her all the way through, and coming out his hard, wide back amidst an explosion of gore that splattered all across the yard. Shirou gasped in horror, shaking wildly as the young lady's petite frame hit the grass, causing no sound, not even that of her final choke.

    And that shock in her face rattled him even more than Berserker's death itself.

    "It is done, thusly," Lancer said, stepping back as Saber's body grew still.

    "Oh my God! You just killed Saber-san!" Shirou screamed, horrified at the gratuitous display of violence against a girl. "You aren't human!"

    "Well, she did ask for it," Lancer argued in his defense, shrugging his wide shoulders.

    "No, she didn't! And even if she did, you shouldn't take mentally ill people's words on those things! The hell's wrong with you?!"

    Lancer sighed wearily. "I swear, the more I get to know people from this era… Say, wasn't I about to kill you?" he casually asked, training his spear back on the gulping Shirou. "Stay quiet already so we both can call it an early night…"

    "On second thought," Shirou told him, "you can go back to ignoring me now."

    There was a rustle of cloth and a clang of metal, and Saber groggily pulled herself up from the red-caked grass, supported on the invisible force projected from her hilt, and bleeding all over.

    "Excuse me," she told Lancer. "I don't mean to tell you how to do your job, but… you should finish killing an enemy before moving onto another."

    "Saber-san!" Shirou gasped.

    Lancer's eyes widened dramatically. "That's…impossible!"

    "From your legend you should know that there's nothing truly impossible… Cu Chulainn of Connacht," Saber told him, quietly fixing another icy stare on him.

    Lancer absorbed this with a mild start, then chuckled again, threw his sharp polearm around his shoulders, and said, "Well, this is a night of surprises! Master told me to disengage if any Servant managed to survive this unbound spear of mine, so… Farewell for now, I guess."

    And he suddenly disappeared into the night like a ghost, further startling Shirou.

    Saber kept on staring at the spot where Lancer had stood moments ago. "I liked the other Irish Lancer hellbent on killing me better," she finally decided, talking to herself.

    "Saber-san!" Shirou gasped, running to her side. "Stay down! I'll call an ambulance! You shouldn't even be talking…!"

    "'Tis only a flesh wound," she rebuffed his help, keeping him at arm's length. Placing a hand on her breastplate, she gestured for Shirou to see she wasn't bleeding anymore, and even the cracks on her armor had repaired themselves. "I survived that blow thanks to a convenient combination of my Magic Resistance, my high Luck stat, and Sabers having the Class advantage against Lancers."

    "The hell you say!" the red-haired young man protested. "I just saw him kill you! Why aren't you dead?! People should die when they are killed! Um, not that I'm not glad you're alive, of course, but…!"

    She blandly looked at him. "What is your name?"

    "My… My name?" he repeated. "Ah, it's Shirou… Emiya Shirou, how do you do. Nice to meet you."

    "E… Emiya?" she showed her first true sign of emotion, almost recoiling.

    He nodded. "That's what I said, yes."

    "And… And you have a father? Named Emiya?"

    "Well, that would be obvious, now, wouldn't it?"

    "Emiya Kiritsugu?!" she outright cried out, as lights finally started being turned on in the neighboring houses, faces peeking out their windows to catch on what was happening.

    Shirou pulled back, surprised, before breaking into a very wide smile. "Ah! You knew Dad…?!"

    Saber winced, bit sharply on her pale lower lip, and then took a hand to her face, starting to mutter quite foul words in a foreign language to himself.

    Shirou lost his smile. "Ah, yeah, well, don't feel too bad. That's not that an uncommon reaction when I tell people about him, actually…"

    ---

    "The reason behind my presence here," Saber explained, sitting across Shirou's dinner table after dispatching three large bowls of meat buns in a row, claiming a need to 'recharge mana', whatever that was, "is the Holy Grail War, an ancient conflict between seven magi and their Servants, Heroic Spirits from yore bound to them, such as myself. Your people, I've been told, call it the Heaven's Feel ritual."

    Shirou frowned. "'My People', huh?"

    "I… I mean Magi!" Saber quickly clarified. "I have nothing whatsoever against the Japanese!"

    "Right."

    "Right!" she nodded. "There are seven Classes of Servants. The first three are known as the Knight Classes. I am one of the Sabers, that most balanced of all Classes. Paladins, crusaders and swordsmen, we cannot be defeated in close quarters. For ages, we have been charged with slaying warlocks, dragons, Witches, suspicious shady men in black trenchcoats, the faithless, religious zealots and fanatics, tentacle monsters, the vile Frenchmen, tyrants and despots, trolls, black knights, goblins, Gremlins, football hooligans, evil giants, evil midgets, those possessed by the Seven Enemies of Mankind, the disenfranchised, demons, vampires, lycanthropes, and other similar threats to all the good people and the status quo."

    "I see."

    "Then we have Archers. They are the masters of long range warfare. Bowmen, snipers, projectile users in general. I've even fought one who did nothing but throwing his old junk at others, so the standards of access for the Class cannot be terribly high."

    "Nice," Shirou flatly approved.

    She reached over for a large bottle of Soder Cola and eagerly drank it down. Shirou was reminded of Taiga's table manners. Then she already put the bottle down and continued, "You already know one of the Lancers. They fight with polearms and spears, and mostly rely on their velocity and agility. This one, Cu Chulainn, is a fierce enemy to fear, if his myth is to be believed. I don't think I could survive another strike of his Gae Bolg."

    "Why must we fight each other anyway, what's the point of-?"

    "Riders," she interrupted him, "are Legendary Spirits specialized on vehicles or animal mounts. On foot, they theoretically lose a lot of their advantage, although that is not an ironclad rule. We do battle to obtain the Holy Grail the War is named after, of course. Shouldn't you know at least this already?"

    "Why should I?!" Shirou protested. "I had no idea being a magus involved any of this, I thought you only had to learn-!"

    "A magus cannot consider themselves as such if they don't fully devote their lives to their craft," Saber frowned at him. "The Caster Class embodies that principle to its ultimate consequences. They are astute plotters and schemers, using the tools of sorcery to bend reality to their favor. When confronted directly, past their tricks and traps, they rarely are dangerous for a Knight Servant, but they still easily outclass any living magic user of this era."

    "That sounds awful, what kind of person would ever use magic to play dirty and cheat?"

    Saber gritted her teeth subtly. "You are in dire need of history lessons, Shirou. Family history, most especially."

    "What's that even supposed to mean?!"

    "Berserkers," she moved on with a strained tone, taking a loud big chomp out of a Snickers bar Shirou'd been keeping by the kitchen, "are rampaging savages. Their insanity renders them fearless and greatly increases their strength in battle. That gift is called 'Mad Enhancement', yet is also a curse, as Berserkers tend to be so irrational, they easily turn on their Masters. Not to mention their consumption of prana is disproportionate."

    Shirou tried to remember a few of Kiritsugu's reluctant lessons on magic. "Prana, that is some kind of magical energy that empowers all living beings, isn't it? The World Tree is supposed to be a huge source of prana, I think, is that why you're here?"

    "I don't know anything about World Trees," she admitted. "Will you let me finish already? Finally, we have the Assassin Class. Most of them are physically weak for the standards of other Heroic Spirits, so they rely on subterfuge and stealth. They are backstabbers, murderers who hide in the shadows. Their favored tactic is killing the rival Masters, as we depend on you for prana to anchor us to the World. Without a Master, a Servant will soon disappear, that you are both our main asset and our most blaring weak point."

    "Wow," Shirou said. "Thank you, that was very enlightening!"

    "You're welcome."

    "Okay, so tell me… From where do you know my father anyway?"

    "Hnnnn... Is that man all you really care about?!"

    ---

    "So, what do we do now?" Shirou asked.

    "It's easy enough," Saber said. "We find the other Masters and kill their Servants."

    "Saber! We can't do that! It's inhuman!"

    "I'm not even arguing for killing the Masters, just the Servants! It's okay, Shirou, we don't have human rights!"

    "In that case," he replied, extending a hand over, "give my bag of chips back, since you have no rights to be fed."

    She fiercely hugged the open, half-eaten bag of potato chips against her chest. "Make me!"

    The young man sighed. "Okay, what was the first thing my dad made you do during the last War?"

    "We filed the proper procedure of registering ourselves for the Heaven's Feel before the Catholic church," Saber reminisced. "Of course, we pretended I was the Servant of Kiritsugu's wife, so I was registered under her name. In hindsight, it wasn't a 'proper' procedure either, then... Huh! Damn that man."

    "You're eating chips paid by that man's heritage," Shirou told her, then asked, "Wait, so the Catholic church does that?! You mean you can just walk up to a nun and ask her to register you as a Master or Servant?!"

    Saber pondered that question briefly before shrugging. "Back in my day, the Church blessed us warriors to kill in the name of the Lord, so... times haven't changed that much, I would suppose? I'm not sure, the Grail gives us some information on the current times, but..."

    Shirou steeled himself with grim resolve. "Okay! Heroically filing a register form with a nun. That, I can do..."

    ---

    "Excuse me, please," Shirou said the next afternoon, approaching the gates of the local Mary Magdalene church, with a disguised Saber coming shortly behind him. She was wearing a sports ensemble of baseball cap, blue zipped up jacket, tight black shorts, and golden ponytail that only made her all the more conspicuous, especially under the broad daylight. "Is it here where you file in for, you know... that thing?"

    One of the two apprentices who had been sweeping the front steps of the church with their brooms, a thin, short fourteen years old girl with short and spiky light brown hair, paused in her chores and looked curiously at him. "Are you here to get married?"

    "To get- N-NO!" Shirou gasped, pulling back and blushing madly. "It's, it's nothing like that! It's about that other thing you do here!"

    "Do you come to negotiate funeral arrangements?" very quietly asked the other apprentice, a little girl of dark skin and long black hair. "The House of the Lord will gladly handle your final rest..." she flatly delivered obviously memorized lines.

    "It's something like that, actually," Saber admitted while Shirou facepalmed. Eventually, he lowered the hand off his face and lowered his voice as well, leaning towards the younger girls.

    "You'll see, recently this young lady came to me, telling me she's here for one of those business that happen every sixty years, except because the last one was only ten years ago," he explained, "and we were wondering if you could point us to someone who could help us, discreetly, with that..."

    The older apprentice looked completely baffled out of her mind. "...?"

    Shirou exhaled. "Forget it, this obviously is a totally normal church for a totally normal school, and you must be thinking we're complete weirdos if not outright perverts. Sorry, we'll be going away right now..."

    "Ah, it's a Grail War," deadpanned the little girl, going back to sweeping indifferently. "For that, you want Father Kotomine."

    Shirou's jaw fell off its hinges and hung loose.

    "Ah, that's right," Saber mused aloud with airs of enlightment. "Now I remember, the priest who spoke with Irisviel and me was named Kotomine Risei..."

    The little girl nodded, now turning her back to them as she swept. "That was Father Kirei's father."

    "Since when Catholic priests can have children who become priests themselves?!" Shirou protested. "He was adopted, right?"

    "Ad what's wrong with that? You seem to have a lot of misconceptions about our church, Sempai. I hope to marry my homeroom teacher someday," shared the older apprentice. "Of course, I'm no priest, but the principle is the same..."

    Shirou winced, recalling some rumors he'd heard around the school. "Wait a sec, are you one of those students of that child teacher, Negi-sensei...?"

    "A-yep!" she grinned, flipping a salute. "How do you do, I'm Kasuga Misora and this is Cocone-chan! What's a Grail War, by the way? Some practical exercise of faith I haven't been told about yet? I'm still a novice after all, even if extremely promising and bright and humble and everything..."
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2019
  20. Threadmarks: History Lessons, Chapter One, Part Two
    OverMaster

    OverMaster I'm fed up with everything

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    "Well, like Sugiura-sensei would say, that could have gone better," a rattled Shirou said, walking back home with Saber as the night fell around them.

    "I don't know what else you were expecting for," Saber was calmly telling him. "It's got the word 'War' right in its name, would you expect for it to be settled peacefully?"

    "Well, it's also got 'Holy' in the name!" Shirou argued. "Plus, all wars eventually end up with a treaty or armistice, not when everyone but two guys are dead!"

    "Leaving aside the fact your concept of warfare in these modern times obviously is quite different from the norm in my era," Saber said, "you still didn't have to take the name so literally."

    "You were the one taking it literally in the first place!"

    Then, while doubling around a solitary street corner near an abandoned lot, she tensed up. "Master, beware! I can feel another Servant near us!"

    "What!" he said. "Is it Lancer again, or--!?"

    In a flash, she'd jumped away, her clothes dissolving in a blaze of golden light, and reforming themselves into her blue gown and armor. The invisible sword came back to her hand, and she swung it down forcefully, slashing down into a man just as soon as she reached the rooftop of an old, seemingly empty house across the street. Shirou shouted in horror, as blood flew everywhere out of the gash Saber had just cut through the other man's torso, faster than he could react.

    He was, Shirou saw, very tall and well muscled, even moreso than the lean and vibrant Lancer, but still not bulky as such. He was clothed in black and red, with tall dark boots, and a long, open scarlet coat all over the ensemble, contrasting with his tan skin and short, cropped white hair. He thrusted two short blades up, blocking Saber's next strike with difficulty, and then she only growled, punted him upwards across the stomach, and sent him flying away from her, so he fell aside and rolled across to the edge.

    Shirou squinted, and could see Saber rushing next towards a girl who'd been standing behind this man, raising her weapon at her. He thought he recognized her, and this only shocked him even more.

    "Saber, no!" he begged.

    Saber paid him no mind, even as the girl of dark hair made into twintails moved a hand up, several shining objects flashing between her fingers. She threw these at Saber, projecting some manner of glowing shield between them, but Saber just destroyed it easily with another blow of the unseen sword, causing the other female to recoil in surprise, now clearly afraid for her life.

    The blonde paused for the slightest of moments. "Congratulations," she told her. "That would have stalled any Servant but a Saber. However, you didn't choose the correct target for your ambush."

    "S-Saber...!" Shirou could hear the girl say, a tingling, nearly fangirlish affection now tinting her voice.

    "Die," Saber mercilessly said, swinging at her again.

    "NO! SABER, STOP!" Shirou screamed.

    He felt an extremely painful burning sensation all over the back of his right hand, as one of the red marks on it glowed as they had not since Saber was summoned. And then it puffed out of his flesh, leaving a searing but quickly healing scar on its place. And Saber grinded to a sudden halt, her eyes growing as wide as those of the other girl, while her sword stopped itself scarce milimeters from her head.

    Saber's head spun back violently. "Master! What was that for?! She's an enemy Master and must be disposed of!"

    "You said we didn't have to kill the Masters!" he yelled back at her from the sidewalk.

    "That's something one can allow oneself to say in a strategic meeting, but not always in the heat of battle!"

    "No fighting, no fighting!" Shirou kept on scolding her from below. "Saber, they hadn't even attacked us yet! You can't go around killing others as soon as you see them, are you one of those Berserkers?! What if she's a pacifist Master!?"

    Saber blinked. "A pacifist-- Wha-What kind of absurd notion is that!?" she yelled at him. "A pacifist Master, who's ever heard of anything like that!?"

    "I am one!" Shirou reminded her, even as the no longer bleeding man in red and black struggled back to his feet. He made the first signs of getting ready to attack Saber, but the blonde briefly stared figurative swords in his direction.

    "Don't even try it," she warned, then told Shirou, "Lightning surely cannot strike twice in the same War! You're such an outrageous, strange exception, there's no way this woman could be like you at all!"

    "I'll take that as praise, so thank you," the girl flatly said, gesturing at her Servant to lower his blades, which he reluctantly did.

    "No, no, you aren't getting it!" Shirou kept telling Saber. "I know that girl from school, there's no way she could be a killer, and even if she were, do you want to get me jailed!?"

    Saber pouted. "I'd break you out! Besides, there are ways of disposing of bodies..."

    "And you said I was the sneaky one," the tanned man dryly told his Master, who just smiled and walked past him and Saber, stopping by the edge of the rooftop.

    "So!" she called down haughtily. "Emiya Shirou, son of Magus Killer Kiritsugu! Seeing what transpired ten years ago, it's just fitting you'd face now in--!"

    "Tohsaka," the boy interrupted her, somewhat awkwardly.

    "Yes, Emiya-kun? Do you want start negotiating for mercy already?"

    "You really should step back. Your panties can be seen from here," he sheepishly told her, pointing up her very short black skirt.

    Tohsaka Rin, Mahora Academy's top idol student, yelped, and quickly backed away, pulling her skirt back against her legs while blushing.

    The white haired man sighed deeply. "How do you do, I'm Archer," he presented himself to Saber. "Is this Idiotic Master Season, or what...?"
     
  21. Threadmarks: History Lessons, Chapter One, Part Three
    OverMaster

    OverMaster I'm fed up with everything

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    “You know, last night, I was having the weirdest dream of all,” Shirou thoughtfully said while cleaning the breakfast table, after Taiga had left off in a hurry to get to classes before her students did. “I dreamed of you.”

    Saber gave him a bland but very pointed glare.

    “H-Hey, don’t start giving me weird looks!” the boy blushed. “It was a dream about you on a battlefield, and everybody was dead…”

    “Ah, that,” she said. “It’s no big deal. Servants and Masters often share dreams of each other’s past, through the binds that link us. Nothing to worry about.”

    “Oh, I see,” Shirou said, taking the plates to the dishwasher and turning it on. “Sorry anyway, I didn’t mean to, and I don’t remember much of it, so I didn’t learn anything too private or that tipped me of your real name. You’ll tell me when you’re ready, I suppose.”

    “Thank you, Shirou,” she sincerely said. “Don’t believe I distrust you, please, it’s just… I’d rather keep a distance on these matters unless absolutely necessary, just in case. For both of our sakes.”

    Shirou had no idea exactly what did she mean with this, but chose not pressing her further on the subject. “That’s fine…”

    After a moment of doubt, she softly told him, “If you’d like, you could call me for the nickname they gave me during my childhood. My enemies wouldn’t know about that.”

    “Sure thing, that’d be nice! What is it?”

    “Wart.”

    “…” Shirou said.

    “I could even kill my enemies while they’re either stunned or laughing idiotically over you calling me that,” Saber thought out loud. “Yes, that is it, what a great strategic genius you are, Wart…”

    Shirou cringed. “Let’s… just save it for a grand last resource card like it deserves, okay?”

    ---

    “How many times do I have to tell you? I’m not leading you into a trap!” Rin insisted, clenching fists and teeth alike as she stomped up the green mountain past twilight, along Archer, Shirou and Saber.

    “That,” Saber said, “is right what someone leading us into a trap would say, which only makes you even more suspicious.”

    “Saber…” her Master groaned. “You don’t know Tohsaka like I do. She wouldn’t have asked for our help, or anyone else’s, if she didn’t need it!”

    “Exactly!” Rin nodded firmly, never looking back. “If I really wanted you dead, I’d just have Archer shoot Emiya-kun from afar long ago! I even know where you live, for Pete’s sake!”

    “There’s still time, you know. Just say the word,” Archer said, mimicking a finger gun on the annoyed Shirou’s temple, while Saber glared at him. “Seriously, Rin, I can take care of this on my own…”

    Rin looked up, at the massive World Tree on the top of the hill, overlooking the whole Mahora area. “No. After what happened to Fuyuki, I won’t take any chances concerning the safety of a hometown under the Tohsaka jurisdiction,” she decided. “All clues on the recent life energy thefts and ‘gas leaks’ lead here, and it’s about time you make yourself useful as the hero you fancy yourself to be, Emiya.”

    Shirou frowned, nodding and gripping the reinforced Boken in his right hand. “Of course! I’m not going to back away on this!”

    “Even if it’s a trap…” Saber agreed before tensing up, stopping and blocking Shirou’s way with an outstretched arm. One moment later, Archer also stopped and forced Rin back and behind him, pulling her by a shoulder. “Another Servant,” the blonde said. “And no, it’s not Lancer.”

    “Wonder what became of that jolly fellow,” Archer bitterly snarked, flashing his dual short blades out. “Never mind, we always can pin after him later…”

    Like a ghost, a man, not as tall as Archer but slightly taller than Lancer, appeared up the hillside, standing on their way. He wore the elegant traditional robes of a classic samurai and held a katana. His face was delicately handsome, and his hair a deep shade of purple, tied back into a long ponytail. He smiled faintly, only causing the others to scowl.

    “Looks like the woman was correct after all, and someone figured it out,” the stranger said with great aplomb. “All the same, I am thankful to you. The chore of looking after this tree was growing quite boring indeed.”

    “Who are you?” Saber asked, advancing despite Shirou’s attempts to hold her back, her Invisible Air at the ready.

    “Nothing but a humble groundskeeper. Call me Assassin,” this man said, assuming a battle stance Taiga would have envied. “I’ve been asked to stop Masters and Servants from approaching this holy tree, so I ask you: will you fight me one on one, or will you give my blade a real challenge?”

    “I fight my duels by myself,” Saber promised, running up and waving her weapon in a graceful and wide swatting arc. “And you should have stuck to your shadows, Assassin!”

    “Saberrrrrr!” Shirou called out after her.

    Smirking to himself, the samurai ran down to meet her in mid-way, and her swords collided in an explosion of power.
     
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  22. Threadmarks: History Lessons, Chapter One, Part Four
    OverMaster

    OverMaster I'm fed up with everything

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    Saber sat before the TV (at the proper distance advised by the standard Japanese warnings, since she was Lawful Good) late at night, watching Monty Python and the Holy Grail in a movie channel. “It is amazing,” she stoically mused at one point, “only these chaps have remembered poor Sir Robin ever existed…”

    Moments later, someone rang the door. “I’ll go,” Shirou said, reaching the door even before Saber could finish bolting upwards to do it herself, just in case. How does he keep doing it?! she wondered. Much to her relief, it only was the boy teacher, along with the pockmarked girl with glasses, the ermine and the smaller bespectacled girl. “Oh, good evening, Sensei, Hasegawa-san, Hakase-san! Um, you do realize you’re out way past the junior high curfew, don’t you…?”

    “Emiya-san,” Negi said very seriously, handing him a handwritten note. “We’ve got a grave problem we’ll need Saber-san’s help with. It seems someone got the impression, perhaps based on my father’s fame, I might be a Master for this Grail War of yours, and, w-well...”

    “They’ve gone and kidnapped one of our classmates as bait for Sensei,” Chisame finished for him as Negi was obviously choking up like the child he was after all. “But you said only a Servant can beat another Servant, so…”

    Saber now stood valiantly by Shirou’s side, startling him, fully clad in battle regalia already. “I’ll answer the call, naturally,” she told the visitors. “Rescuing fair maidens in distress is a duty any half-worth knight will gladly oblige to.”

    “Actually, she isn’t a fair maiden, she’s’ Saotome Haruna from the manga club,” Chisame started, “but… never mind, there’s no reason why you should know. Actually, there’s a fifty-fifty chance you’ll have to rescue the kidnappers from her instead.”

    “Not your favorite person in the world, huh?” Shirou guessed.

    “Let’s just say there are some reasons why neither Chisame nor I are exactly panicking at the moment, Sempai,” Hakase detachedly answered while Negi facepalmed.

    ---

    Negi held Haruna in his arms as they, Chisame, Satomi, Chamo, Shirou and Saber watched helplessly how, from the half flooded ruins of the old observatory, a gigantic battleship began rising. Floating up from the stank waters that had swallowed the collapsed structure, like a ghost from swashbuckling epics, the massive pirate galleon ascended, hovering above them and training two whole rows of large cannons down at the youngsters, the ermine, and the knight.

    “Heavy Firepower Animal Abuse…!” Chamo wailed hysterically.

    Haruna’s eyes shone and grew downright huge, as she balled her fists under her chin. “This is soooooo freaking cooooool!-!-!”

    Somewhere in the Throne of Heroes, Gilles de Rais sneezed.

    Standing proudly on the ship for all to see, with a coughing and soaked Matou Shinji clinging to her legs, Rider laughed thunderously, her breasts bouncing up and down in a way that mesmerized Chamo and Haruna, and made Chisame and Satomi wince in primal envy. Negi and Shirou only could stand in awe of the man-of-war itself.

    “Oh ho ho ho!” Rider boasted. “Behold, the ultimate scourge of all seven seas! You are fortunate, for you’ll be wiped by none but the Golden Hind, the pride and joy of my peerless campaigns! It’s been a damn good time, lads and lasses! I’ll thank you forever…!”

    “… so, she is…?” Chisame gulped, really wishing she hadn’t come along. “F-For some reason I’m drawing blanks, must be the terror of impending death…!”

    “Sir Francis Drake,” Negi said between grinding teeth.

    Saber smiled faintly and stepped ahead of them. “Saber, don’t you dare…” Shirou gulped as the cannons were prepared to fire, mostly zeroed in on her. There was no way they’d miss her—no, them—and as soon as they fired, they’d be blown up to dust and bits, no doubts about that. Even the best of swordsmen surely had to be powerless against something like that.

    Chisame was projecting an electric barrier around them with her heart-topped scepter, and Negi was chanting to add a magical shield of his own, but Shirou knew in his gut that wouldn’t be enough. “Saber, just run away!” he yelled at her. “Contract someone else, you still can escape…!”

    “This isn’t even the worst menace from the sea I have obliterated in a Grail War. Calm down, Shirou, Professor, girls. Have faith,” she said, lifting her invisible sword and aiming it squarely at Rider herself.

    “Tch,” Rider huffed, pointing her hand down while Shinji looked on eagerly, with manic excitement. “FIRE!”

    The cannons shook and rumbled, and then roared, drowning Saber’s words as she shouted them. Negi, wide eyed, could see the cannonballs being shot downwards, flying towards them, and he drew Chisame violently into the protective embrace he’d been sharing with Haruna, pressing them against himself, whispering an apology, just as he heard Saber’s final exclamation, somehow managing to rise over the cannons. Her blade finally grew visible in all its golden glory, with a blinding burst of light that flew upwards, vaporizing the cannonballs in its blazing wake, and zooming past them and directly into Drake and her ship.

    “EXCALIBUR!”

    Rider managed to blink yet, truly astonished of a sudden. ”Oh,” she quietly said. “What have I been doing? This is being a bad subject for the Cr—“

    And then everything around her blew up.
     
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  23. Threadmarks: Overflowing, Part One
    OverMaster

    OverMaster I'm fed up with everything

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    Ten Years Ago:

    "Saber," Emiya Kiritsugu said at last, unclenching his teeth but still holding his unconscious wife in his arms just as dearly as before. "Destroy the Grail!"

    The small, battered blonde woman in the long blue dress still hesitated, even as she watched the writhing mass of oozing black tendrils urging upwards from the ruins of the temple. In the middle of it all, another petite female figure spasmed in the throes of a monstrous transformation, arms growing longer, hands turning into sharp twisted claws.

    The sky stretching over the burning city was redder than ever, and it was Hell on Earth as far as the human eye went.

    "But…" the Saber faintly said, her green eyes fixed on the column of darkness surging from the ruptured, overflowing mockery of a cup, now more like a torn large cocoon vomiting its curses upon the world. "My wish…"

    Kiritsugu, cursing inwardly, tightened his wife against his chest with an arm, as he balled his other bleeding hand into a fist. The last crimson mark on the hand's back glowed. "Destroy the Grail, Saber!" he shouted, and the blonde's form instantly jerked upwards, her hands squeezing around the ornate handle of her golden sword.

    "No..." she hissed, trying to resist, sweat pouring down her forehead. But she could not help herself. Stiffly, she aimed the weapon up, at the shrieking storm of flying evils, and realizing what had to be done, she exhaled sadly, surrendering herself to her duty.

    "Excalibur," she said, with the last shreds of vigor remaining in her.

    "No. No!" the even smaller blonde caught in the black mud said, reaching over with a hand towards her, but it was far too late for that. For the energy blew from the blade, in a single, massive projectile of holy light, rippling across the air and then piercing her through, across the chest, exploding a large hole into her delicate torso. Sajyou Manaka screamed horribly, shaking as that hole began collapsing onto itself, swallowing the blackness that surrounded her. Hungrily devouring it all the way from the bottom. "No! NO! NOOOO! Y-You can't do this to me!-!-!"

    Saber closed her eyes and breathed out, letting herself go as her world burned around her, a second time around.

    "I'm sorry," she whispered while vanishing in the heat, like so much faint vapor, or a dream when you wake up.




    That was the last time Emiya Kiritsugu ever saw his Servant, and he only hoped she had returned to the Throne of Heroes with a clear mind and conscience. For all the differences between the two, he'd tried to give his family the kind of life Saber would have wanted for them since that fateful day.

    He'd snatched Illyasviel from Castle Einzbern with Konoe Eishun's help, in a bizarre assault involving Acht riding some sort of Berser-Car and putting them through insane minigames. Even after having lived there for years, Kiritsugu had no honest idea the Castle ever had that kind of defenses. Afterwards, regardless, the three of them- Kiritsugu, Iri and Illya- had relocated to Academy City along with the boy Kiritsugu had rescued from the Fuyuki fires, soon after the city's destruction. Nowadays he was repaying his debts to the Konoe clan by running errands for them, of a lower profile than those he used to carry through back in the day, but still filling the niche of Black Ops Takamichi was morally unwilling to tackle.

    In exchange, the Kanto Association kept him and his loved ones safe from Clock Tower and the Einzberns. It was a good life, all in all. Even if he barely could spend much time with them anymore.

    "Kiri..." his wife sighed through the phone line as soon as he picked her current long distance call up. Yet another long distance.

    He smiled for her, even though he knew she couldn't see it. Lighting a cigarette up, he took a first puff from it while standing over the mangled, bullet ridden bodies of the half human monstrosities littering the floors of the miserable cabin in the arid mountains. "Sorry for taking so long, just finished right now," he told her. "How are the kids doing?"

    "Are you smoking, Kiri?" she gently asked him instead of answering his question outright.

    "Of course not," he affably lied, putting the cigarette aside. "I hope to be home before month's end, probably even before the Festival. Tell Illya and Shirou I miss them."

    "Will do!" her silky voice promised, even as he began pouring the can of gasoline all over the corpses. "I think Shirou-kun's falling in love too, with one of the Tohsaka girls, can you believe it? You wouldn't have a problem with that, would you?"

    He shook his head, now standing by the front door and throwing the lit cigarette on the drenched bodies. "You know I have no interest on continuing yesterday's grudges, Iri-chan. I'd just rather let them burn out."

    Heh, he thought as he quietly watched the cabin burn, standing on the rocky hillside. He'd just made a funny.

    Then he felt the back of his left hand burn, and he winced, believing he had been careless and hurt himself. When he looked at it, however, he only paused and paled, looking at the familiar red marks flaring back to life onto his flesh.

    "Huh," he muttered to himself. "Looks like the joke's on me after all..."




    "Aaaahhh, now this is more like it!" sighed Illyasviel von Einzbern-Emiya, sinking to her milky white collarbone into the warm water of her bath tub, two whole continents and a sea away. The little naked albino closed her eyes and relaxed, going over the day's events in her mind. "I wonder what was with that weird girl today…?"

    "Oh?" came her brother's voice from the kitchen, where he was cooking dinner. "What was that, Illya-chan?"

    "Ah, that's right, I hadn't told you yet, Onii-chan," the silver-haired girl recalled. "You'll see, as I was coming home earlier…"
     
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