Wednesday, 21 December 2016

1.4 The Princess and her Knight

Upon the Fall of King Arthur at the Battle of Camlann, Prince Gwydre Pendragon, eldest surviving son of King Arthur was supposed to claim the throne of Camelot. Instead, the coward fled from his duty and his younger sister, Princess Ambrosia, who was still a child, was forced to take over as the leader of the Britain.

- Merlin Emrys

***

I didn’t even make it to school before I ran into another Servant. Hades, I didn’t even make into town proper before I encountered her.

The woman is youngish. Not as young as me and clearly has some age to her, but I wouldn’t say that she is more than thirty. Not early or mid-twenties, but late twenties. While most of her body is concealed by her armour, I do get a good look at her face.

She has blonde hair like Father did, the golden locks falling down to her shoulders and no further. Her features aren’t beautiful, but they are rugged and pleasant to look at. In a veteran warrior sort of way. Her hard blue eyes are alert and on the lookout for trouble.

And her clothing is most unusual as well, consisting of only Western armour. She is wearing a chainmail tunic that comes down to the knees, but is parted at the groin to allow for leg movement.

Beneath that, I can vaguely make out a red tunic. On her legs and feet, there is a pair of brown leggings and metal plate boots. Her outfit is completed by the metal armour plates on her right arm, the plate gauntlets and the red cloak that is wrapped around her shoulders and goes down to her ankles.

A wooden round shield with a metal rim and boss is strapped to her right wrist while there is a sword sheathed on the right of her waist and dagger on the left side. Another sword is sheathed in the scabbard strapped to her back.

But out of all of there, what interests me the most is the crest on her cloak, the white dragon.

The crest of Albion House of Pendragon.

I doubt very few people would recognise the crest. Everything to do with the Forbidden Isles and its Fallen Kingdom are, well, forbidden. It is kind of in the name. But Dad got me a few texts regarding that particular subject once I found out about my birth father and kept pestering him. And my dreams are very informative.

I don’t see the harm in it. I’m already breaking other laws such as practicing a forbidden form of magic, using Holy magic and keeping four highly sort after artefacts of immense power hidden away within me. Why not break another?

But there is only one person who this Servant could be with that particular crest. Queen Ambrosia Pendragon, daughter of King Arthur Pendragon and Queen Gwenevere Pendragon, the Last Monarch of Camelot and the Fallen Ruler of Albion.

Oh, this is just so perfect. Just so, so perfect.

Ever since I found out about Sir Galahad de Luc being my birth father and the artefacts within me, I always wanted to become a Knight of the Round Table. Arguably, I can lay claim to being one due to inheriting the title from Father, but it wouldn’t be the real thing and would be technically incorrect. That is because you can’t become a Knight of the Round Table via inheritance. That particular honour can only be earned by merit.

But with the Queen herself here, I can finally make my dreams come true. I can pledge my service to her and help her rebuild the Kingdom of Camelot and the Knights of the Round Table. And then she would lead us to glorious victory over the tyrannical rule of the Magical Affairs and liberate the Nine Earths.

I can’t let this perfect opportunity slip through my fingers. I can’t.

“Your Majesty!” I shout as I run towards her.

The Queen freezes and she turns superhumanly fast to come about to face me. In a single swift motion, the knight draws the sword on her back.

I realise too late that while I am excited beyond belief to see the Queen of Camelot, the Queen herself does not have the same feelings towards me. More likely is that she is wary of anyone who could recognise her. And for good reason.

I begin to come to a halt, but the Queen is already in motion. I doubt she had such superhuman abilities in the past and such skills are the result of being a Servant. I only have time to open my mouth before she runs me through with her sword.

I gape at her as I vaguely note that the blood stains will be hard to get out and the tear hard to fix up. I might just end up having to get rid of this kimono entirely. But I ought to focus on my Queen first before worrying about that stuff.

I try to speak again, but I don’t get the chance before she swings her shield into the side of my head. With such strong force behind it, the metal rim of the shield smashes into flesh and caves in the skull, making the world go black for me.

***

I blink as I looking at the stone gateway standing before me. As I feel a presence behind me, I turn to face it. Before I can fully, I find myself waking.

***

Hiro?

I wake to the sound of Shiraishi’s voice.

Shiraishi? How long has it been?

Umm, five seconds? Why are not you dead? Should that not have killed you? You did just get stabbed in the chest by a sword and a shield did just crush your head right.

I don’t reply straight away, instead noting that the Queen is getting away. I can’t let that happen. I still haven’t formally pledged my service to her yet.

While I might be able to keep up with her and track her down, I can’t take the risk that my Queen might escape. So I pull out three Shikigami dolls and, I quickly create three bird-like Shikigami for the purpose of tracking down the Queen for me.

The birds take the form of a sparrowhawk with one being white, another black and the third grey. I give them the instructions to keep track of my Queen and off they go.

Hiro, what was that? And how are you still alive?

Magic.

Technically speaking, magic is a perfectly valid answer. What I fail to mention to Shiraishi is that it is because of two different forms of magic that are both highly illegal.

Time to get moving I decide as I Reinforce my body so I can be fast enough to catch up with my Queen. Using my sparrowhawk-Shikigami to stay alert of her location, I set off in pursuit of the Queen of Camelot.

Fortunately for me, the Queen isn’t heading into the town and is instead sticking to the outskirts. Something I am thankful for as I would rather keep things discreet and on the down low.

I scramble though the undergrowth, cursing that fact that I never paid attention to the limited parkour lessons that Dad attempted to give me. I never figured that they would come in handy and now I am paying in my neglect as I attempt to chase a physically superior target.

At least my Queen seems to be equally bad at traversing this terrain as I am. Rather pretend to be subtle and quiet in her movements like I am, she is barraging through everything in her path and leaving an easily followed trail. I don’t even need my sparrowhawk-Shikigami to track her down.

Eventually I corner my Queen at the very edge of the town’s borders, in the middle of a forest. The woman is pounding away at an invisible barrier that is clearly preventing her from going any further.
Given how she reacted to me last time, I decide that I should prepare a little before approaching my Queen. With my body already Reinforced, there is only one thing for me to do.

My Body is Unbreakable Steel,” I chant, using the Chant to summon Durandal, another of the Three Holy Blades, “Durandal.”

The blade forms in my hand as I stride towards Queen Ambrosia Pendragon. Whereas Joyeuse focuses on my attacks, Durandal, the indestructible sword of enduring, renders me impossible to physically harm.

Hearing my Chant, my Queen spins around to face me. Despite her battle posture, her eyes widen as recognises me. It must be shocking for her. After all, she killed mere minutes ago and here I am, no worse for the wear other than the tears in my clothing and blood on chest, head and kimono.

“Who are you?” demands the Queen, “How can you still draw breath?”

Thank you Holy Grail and the Three Holy Blades for having Attributive Languages that I instinctively know. Durandal and Joyeuse grant me knowledge of Old Frankish while the Holy Grails gives me an understanding of both Latin and Hebrew. In this case, Curtana is the most useful as it allows me to understand Common Brittonic, the language which my Queen is speaking to me right now.

As for who I am, there are three different answers that I can give. I am Hiro Oshiro, the Onmyouji that lives amongst the mundanes. I am Dune Griffin, the adopted son who practices limited Magic and is hidden away from the rest of the Worlds.

And I am Amr de Luc, the son of Sir Galahad who desires to be a Knight of the Round Table like my father and grandfather before me. I believe that identity of mine is the most relevant here and that is how I shall answer my Queen.

“I am Amr de Luc,” I answer my Queen, using Common Brittonic like she is, “Son of Sir Galahad and grandson of Sir Lancelot. And as for how I still breathe, my Father placed the Holy Grail within me when I was still a newborn.”

I can’t help, but feel a small bit of pride and satisfaction at the mixture of shock that my Queen is showing.

“Sir-” my Queen starts before stopping as her shock turns to joy and relief, “Sir Galahad still lives?”
I wince. No, he does not. How do I explain to my Queen that the last of her original Knights of the Round Table died almost one and a half decades ago?

It turns out that my reaction is enough for my Queen to piece together what happened as her shoulders slump and the excitement drains how of her.

“He does not,” I tell her and the excitement truly leaves my Queen, “But I do my Queen-dono and I am more than willing to pledge my services to you.”

“I see,” replies my Queen, “And what can you do Amr?”

By Avalon! This is my chance!

“I am a competent self-trained Onmyodo,” I say, my words coming out of my mouth rapidly, “I have also received the most basic of training in Reinforcement and Analysis magic. Beyond that, I have the Holy Grail and the Three Holy Blades hidden away within me. I am also a reasonable good combatant, preferably with swords of the same make as the Three Holy Blades.”

“So you wield magic?” inquires Queen Ambrosia, “And Sir Galahad hid the items that I entrusted to him in you?”

“That is correct my Queen-dono,” I answer eagerly.

“And you are willing to be one of my Knights Amr de Luc?” asks my Queen, “Just as the rest of your family were?”

“Without hesitation,” I reply instantly.

“Normally you would only be a Squire, but in these circumstances, I cannot afford to wait,” says my Queen as she sheathes her sword and draws the one at her side, “As you are willing, I shall skip straight to knighting you as a Knight of a Round Table.”

I let out a gasp of excitement and my Queen smiles down at me.

“I can see that you are eager to serve,” says Queen Ambrosia fondly as I kneel on one knee before her, “Do you, Amr de Luc, son of Sir Galahad de Luc, pledge yourself, body and soul, to the service of the House of Pendragon and the Kingdom of Camelot?”

“I do,” I reply.

“And do you agree to act as is expected of a Knight of the Round Table?” continues my Queen, “With honour and bravery? With courage and loyalty? With honesty and virtue?”

“I do,” I say again.

“Then, I, Queen Ambrosia Pendragon of Camelot, knight you, Amr de Luc as one of my Knights of the Round Table,” finishes my Queen as she taps my left shoulder with her sword followed by my right shoulder, “You may rise Sir Amr de Luc.”

“Thank you my Queen-dono,” I say as I get back to my feet and let Durandal materialise and return to inside me, “It is an honour to serve you.”

Sheathing her sword again, Queen Ambrosia holds out her hand for me and I clasp it firmly. What happens next is something that neither of us were expecting. As we hold the other’s hand firmly, there is a brief glow and I feel a volt of magic flow through my body.

“What was that?” asks my Queen as she looks at me curiously.

“I have no idea,” I admit.

“Regardless of what that was, I know little of my situation beyond the fact that I am in a completely foreign land, I am, was alone, there is a magical barrier preventing me from leaving this town and I am being hunted by soldiers of the Invaders,” says my Queen, “Can you bring me up to speed my Knight?”

“That I can do my Queen-dono,” I promise her, “Shall we go to my home? The place is isolated and highly fortified with my magics.”

“Yes, we shall,” agrees Queen Ambrosia.

1.3 The Knight and his Sword - Part 2

Mundanes are a lesser form of human compared to a Magician, incapable of wielding magic and much weaker and inherently inferior as a result. While treated appropriately in the eyes of the law, far too many of our kind forget that mundanes are still human and all that comes with that.
- Prince Louis of the Magical Affairs

***

It doesn’t take me long to return to my home on the outskirts of the town. A traditional Japanese home, I am the only one who lives there. Beyond the times when Dad shows up, it is only I that uses the building.

Alright, let’s see what I got to do. Secure the building and get some rest. And in that order too.

My Reinforcement and Analysis magic won’t be any help with making my home safer, but my Onmyodo is highly effective for it. Not that I am sure on how effective it will be against conventional magic. Still, it should be better than nothing.

And with only a quarter of my magical power reserves remaining, I’ll won’t be able to get too much done. Even if I got some Onmyodo set up alright, they aren’t much. Just a few paper dolls to create some Shikigami with and some Ofuda here and there.

Plopping Shiraishi against the wall of my bedroom, I gather up my Onmyodo supplies from through their various places. Nineteen Shikigami dolls and about fifty blank Ofuda. I can work with that.

For the Shikigami, I create a dozen of them and place on in each room of my home. Not putting too much power into them, they are non-intelligent humanoid creatures that physically match a fit human. Attach to each Shikigami doll is an Ofuda set to trigger the Shikigami once it detects an intruder or remotely by me.

Otherwise I use my remaining Ofuda to seal the house against spirits and to dispel magic with hostile intent that doesn’t belong to me. A weak protective ward is placed at each of the entrances to the building and to my bedroom.

As I finish putting out the last Ofuda, I yawn. My magical reserves are pretty much empty now and the day is catching up with me. I really need to get to bed. So time to call it quits for the night.

Despite the defences I have set being weak, I am pleased with them. The Shikigami will make a decent warning system and set of reinforcements while the various Ofuda should give a much needed edge against any magical attackers.

Now, is there anything else I need to deal with before I get some much needed sleep? Ah, yes, Shiraishi.

Wearily walking over to the girl-turned-sword, I pick her up.

Shiraishi?

Yes Hiro?

I am going to bed now. I will explain things more in the morning.

Yes Hiro.

Okay, that submissive attitude is really making feel guilty.

Shiraishi?

Yes Hiro?

Treat me as your equal and not as your master.

I let myself have a small grin as I feel the twinge of humour from the sword as she recognises the hypocriticalness of order.

With that sorted, I place Shiraishi on Dad’s bed before going to my own and collapsing on it.

***

I wake up the next morning feeling well rested, as I always do due to the Holy Grail. And not only am I physical rested, but my magical reserves have fully recovered. Technically close enough to that to point it doesn’t matter.

And my defences are all as I left them. So no intruders or even any signs of them. That is such a relief. One of my worries was that I would get disturbed in my sleep by the Magicians or some of their friends looking for payback. My improvised defences won’t have held up long against anybody with some real magical training.

Now I just have to strength my defences, sort out Shiraishi and go to school.

I won’t use up too much of my magical reserves. While the Holy Grail speeds up the rate at which they recover, that simply means a few hours instead of a few days like normal Magicians would have to wait for.

Strengthening the Onmyodo defences in my home only takes half an hour of my time and half of my reserves.

Using my old supplies and new ones made from paper lying around the house, I strengthen the wards and seals whilst placing stronger protective wards in each room and doorway. And I make another three Shikigami as well.

These three are different from the ones I made last night. Slim, black humanoids, these Shikigami are supernaturally tough ad have limited intelligence. Just enough smarts so they have limited knowledge of tactics so they will operate more effectively in battle. Especially if I’m not around.

And I still have enough magical energy to defend myself even I don’t have...oh darn it! I forgot I needed all of my power to heal Shiraishi. I can’t do that with only half of my power. At the very least, I would need three quarters of my reserves. No, I would need all of it. One quarter to turn her human and the remaining three quarters in order to heal her fatal injury.

I hope she won’t mind waiting a bit longer. Even if I did remember about her, I probably would have still chosen increased defences over her anyway.

At this point, I need to get things in order. When I and the rest of the town were informed of the Hunt of Servants being undertaken here, two days ago, I didn’t take much notice of it. After all, I didn’t see how that would affect me. All I had to do is stay out of the way and I wouldn’t get involved at all.
Oh, how foolish I was.

Unfortunately, past me didn’t pay much attention so I don’t know much beyond the most basic details. First of which is that twenty or so Servants got released into town and confined to its boundaries. Second is that various Magician students can come into town to hunt them down.

And that is it.

I really need to get more information. I really need to.

But first I should check on Shiraishi. The girl spent the entire night alone and I’m not sure if she is able to sleep in her new form or if she spent the night awake and alone.

“Shiraishi?” I say as I enter the bedroom in which I left her.

The white sword lying on the bed doesn’t respond. That makes sense I guess. It might actually be Shiraishi, but she is a sword right now and swords don’t talk. Unless they have been enchanted to do that.

Shiraishi? I ask as I pick up the white sword.

Hiro?

Hey Shiraishi. How was your night?

Good. I did not get to sleep or anything, but I did get to rest. Kinda. At least I felt rested and I feel rested right now.

That is good. I was concerned that you might have had a poor night if you could not get to sleep and were unable to physically do anything.

No, I had a good night. I did worry about how my family is going to react to my situation, but I am sure that they will be fine with my service being to you Hiro.

About that, I do not have enough power right now to turn you back to human and successfully heal you. I will do it this afternoon if circumstances permit.

Do not worry about Hiro. As I have told you before, I am fine with my situation.

Well I am not. Still, there is something I would like to test.

Go head.

Checking my grip on Shiraishi, I give her a few swings.

How did that feel Shiraishi?

It tickled. And...it felt good honestly. It was enjoyable. What did you do Hiro? I am fairly certain that I was moving.

I swung you a few times. I want to see if you could be used as an actual sword.

That sounds like fun. Actually being used instead of just lying around.

Yeah, I guess I can use you until I restore you to human.

Thank you Hiro.

You are welcome.

With our conversation over, I sheathe Shiraishi in my kimono. It looks a bit odd, but I haven’t got any other way to carry her about with me and I’m not just going to leave her lying around at home alone while I’m not for the day.

Grabbing half a dozen unused Shikigami dolls and a score of blank Ofuda, I head out for the day.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

1.3 The Knight and his Sword - Part 1

Soul-Forging is more advanced version of normal Transfiguring. Generally only found as part of a Speciality, Soul-Forging changes the targets form using their Soul as a basis for their new form rather than just physically changing them into a pre-set new form like normal Transfiguration.
- What are Specialities and understanding them

***

With the battle won, I look at Shiraishi, where the older girl is lying against the wall. The raven haired girl is gasping for breath with her chest slashed open. Blood is leaking from the wound, soaking her white kimono and the ground.

I release Joyeuse, returning it to within me and stop Reinforcing my body. No longer using my magic, I take a close look at Shiraishi’s wounds.

Judging from her current state, I am both not too late and too late at the same time. Not too late as Shiraishi is still alive, but at the same time, I’m not sure if it is within my abilities to save her.

Yes, the Holy Grail can heal pretty much anything, but it is within me and unlike the Three Holy Blades, I haven’t been able to summon the Holy Grail to the physical world. The only thing that would work be using the healing properties of the Holy Grail in a spell, but between the fighting, my refilling of the pantry and the severity of Shiraishi’s injuries, I don’t think I have enough power left to save her.

I take a moment to check my power reserves. Using the techniques taught to me by my Dad, I look into the inner pool of magical energy. Due to my birth parents, I inherited a large amount of natural magical power. Furthermore, the presence of the Holy Grail and the Three Holy Blades within my body has slowly increased my reserves of magical power over time as their Essence merged with my Soul.

Something I take great pride in as only the Aurelius family, the rulers of the Magical Affairs itself, are the only other people known to have achieved that particular feat of increasing my magic reserves.

That said, I can’t help, but wonder if other people have done such as a thing as well. It would make sense and I know for a fact that the Magical Affairs cover up things that don’t fit their narrative.

But as I suspected, I only have about half of my magical reserves remaining and it would take me at least three quarters to safely stabilise Shiraishi.

By Hades! I did not just fight and win a battle against two Servants just to watch Shiraishi die because I was helpless to save her.

And yet there is nothing that I can...no, wait a moment. I still have my Speciality and enough power to use it.

Still...well, it’s just that due to the laws against killing people, the lesser laws on transformation and the lack of laws protecting mundanes, Magicians regularly transfigure mundanes. And as the logical result, the mundanes...have certain taboos and cultural expectations when it comes to human transformation.

The situation is the same with mental alterations, but that is a different subject if similar.

And as someone who has lived amongst mundanes their entire life, gone to school with them, laughs with them, helps them and all the other stuff, it just feels wrong to even think about using my speciality on Shiraishi.

Even if it the only thing that can save her life.

Oh Hades. I’ll just give Shiraishi the choice. I’ll turn her into a sword if she wants me to save her. But if she would rather die, I will let that happen instead.

But I can’t just let her die. What to do? Argh! I’ll just give her the choice and if she says yes, great! If she says no, I’ll just do it anyway and save her life regardless of what she wants.

With a heavy sigh, I decide to not waste any more valuable time as I go Shiraishi and kneel down at her side.

“Shiraishi,” I say gently and the dying girl turns her head to look at me and I look her in her fearful brown eyes.

“H-Hiro?” asks Shiraishi weakly.

“Yes,” I reply before deciding to get straight to the point, “You are dying.”

“I figured as much,” mutters Shiraishi, “T-thank you for being here for m-me Hiro.”

“I am a Magician,” I tell her bluntly, ignoring her look of shock as her eyes widen, “I fought off the others and their Servants.”

“Oh,” says Shiraishi as her eyes dart about.

“I can save you,” I tell her softly, “But it means transforming your body into a form that isn’t dying.”

Shiraishi is silent for a moment and I worry that she might not be live any longer, making the decision to cast the spell. As I reach for my Speciality and reserves of magical power, my fellow students begins to speak again.

“I cannot believe I am saying this, but okay Hiro,” replies Shiraishi as I continue with the spell, “I trust you. With my life.”

I nod solemnly before casting the spell with her permission. Not that I needed it I admit to myself guiltily.

The girl gasps her the magic flows into her body reshapes into a sword. I can’t help, but feel a sense of pride as I use my Speciality for the first time. Due to its nature and my own morals, I haven’t had the opportunity to use it before.

Speaking of that, I should use this opportunity to see how much of my power it costs me to use my Speciality. Let’s see, hmm, I got about a quarter left.

With the spell done, I bend down to look at the sword that is Shiraishi. The first thing I notice is the white blade, something that just feels like it fits to me. What also stands out to me is the similarities in the design to the Three Holy Blades.

The blade has a length of thirty two and a half inches and a width of one and three quarters inches at the base. The overall length of the sword is thirty eight inches and the weapon is ordinary looking with no engravings or anything of the like to it.

Gently, I pick up the weapon with my left hand and give it a couple of swings. It feels good.

Hey that tickles!

I blink at the voice in my mind, recognising as I have heard it a fair few times before.

Shiraishi?

Hiro?

Yes.

I feel so weird. I can hear and feel stuff, but I cannot see anyway. And my sense of smell and taste are messed up. I can barely recognise them.

That makes sense. A sword would have different senses than a person.

A sword? You mentioned something about transforming my form. Am I a sword now?

That would be correct. Sorry, but it was the only way to save you. I will try and sort things out as soon as possible. But I do not know how long that will take.

It is alright Hiro. This is not what I expected, but all of us mundanes serve Magician eventually. It is just a matter of who and when. If I must serve you, I am okay with that. You are a much better person than most Magicians if I am honest with you. I hope you do not mind me speaking my mind.

Maybe, but I am not really a Magician. I have limited training in magic and both my birth and adoptive family are Magicians. Most Magicians wouldn’t consider me one of their own.

That explains why a Magician would live amongst mundanes like you have.

Yeah, while I am capable of using magic, I am a mundane otherwise. Anyway, we should get going. I want to get home and prepare.

Okay Hiro.

With our conversation over, I stick Shiraishi in my kimono before heading back home. There will still be fallout tomorrow when people come to school to find the blood and Shiraishi missing.

And there is something that is bothering me about this turn of events. Shiraishi is very accepting of the fact that I turned her into a sword. Personally, I feel she should be more upset about it and more eager to get back to normal.

But then again, mundanes have it differently to me. I have four powerful Holy artefacts in me and while I’m not that good at conventional magic, I do practice two different types and I am pretty good at what I do know.

The majority of people, like Shiraishi, don’t have that luxury. Instead, they will ultimately end up serving a Magician in some fashion. As Shiraishi said herself, it is just a matter of who and when. And what I suppose.

While they might act as conventional help such as a maid, chef or guard, they can also serve other uses. After all, if I was a conventional Magician, many would use my abilities to get weapons and armour with special properties using ‘expendable’ mundanes in their service. Something that is furthered by the fact that transformed mundanes don’t count towards the amount of mundanes in your service.

So Shiraishi would have ended up in the service of a Magician one way or another. And while she is a mere weapon rather than a person like she should be, she is glad that her servitude belongs to someone like me who will treat her well.

Which I will. Treat her well that is. And I’ll get her back to human too. The idea of using a person, someone with their own unique hopes and dreams, as a mere object absolutely disgusts me.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

1.2 Three Magicians plus a Pirate and a Cowboy - Part 2

Accursed guns. Of all the weapons that these fiendish Magicians bring against me, guns are both the most annoying and the most wondrous.
- Sir Galahad de Luc of the Round Table

***

“Nothing personal buckaroo,” says the Servant in a strange accent as he looks down solemnly at me.

I take the opportunity to Analyse his weapon. And I am baffled by the results.

It is made of steel and wood, but beyond that, it is utterly baffling and terribly inconsistent. I can’t make heads or tails of it.

It takes me a moment to realise the problem. It isn’t my magic that is faulty. No, I am Analysing the weapon just fine, but I simply don’t understand what I am seeing. It makes sense I suppose. I do have no idea on what the weapon is so it stands to reason that I would be unable to understand how it works.

Unfortunately for me, that moment it takes me to work out what happened is enough for the Servant to attack me again. One, two, three of the small metal projectiles slam into my chest, burying their way into my flesh.

I cry out in pain as my skin and muscle is broken by these attacks, the metal projectiles being stopped only by my Reinforced Ribs.

This is one of those times that while I am extremely grateful for the Holy Grail healing any wounds or sickness that I suffer, I really wish it also prevented me from feeling pain as well.

At least it still stop me from dying to these wounds, something which no mundane and most Magicians would be incapable of avoiding.

Time to show these guys what I can do.

Leaping off of the ground, I Reinforce one of my knives and slash at the weapon pointed at me, even as I begin to Chant.

“My Hands take!” I begin as knife in my hand tears though the metal weapon wielded by the Servant and I throw my other knife at the Servant’s shoulder.

The Servant jolts back as the Magicians behind all gasp or let out exclamations of their shock. I grin. It is so satisfying to show up these foolish Magicians. While the Servant loses one of his weapons, my thrown knife misses it mark.

Oh well, I suppose that was to be expected. This is my first time throwing a knife.

“Joy in Duty!” I continue as I draw back my hands for another attack on the Servant.

The Servant kicks me in the chest, sending me flying backwards into the group of Magicians.

“Joyeuse!” I finish and the Holy Blade materialises in my empty hand.

I might have been separated from my original target, but I am surrounded by new ones. I slash at the legs of a Witch in red and gold before swing Joyeuse up at the arm of the Witch in blue and silver.

Both witches scream in pain as one of their limbs is detached from their body. I ignore them as I spin around, gripping Joyeuse in both hands, ready to stab the Warlock in the chest.

I don’t a chance as I hear a bang and another of the metal projectiles slams into my side. I’m knocked off my feet and thrown to the side by the impact.

Hades, I completely forgot about the other Servant.

Unlike the previous times, the bullet doesn’t break my skin, merely bruising it instead. When I summon one of the Three Holy Blades, my body partially takes on its aspects. A result of the fact that I carried them over the years, they have become one with my soul.

While it primarily manifests as sharpness in my strikes, Joyeuse does strength my body. And combined with my Reinforcement, it is apparently enough to resist the might of these metal projectiles.

As I get to my feet, I hear another bang before another of the metal projectiles slams into my chest. The shot staggers me and I fall over once again, landing on my buttocks.

I grunt in annoyance. This fight isn’t going well. Sure I’m winning and all, but that is only because I don’t die when I’m killed. If I was, I would have died before I even got a single attack in.

At least in this battle, being outclassed isn’t going to be defeat for me.

“Get us out of here!” shouts the Warlock as the Witches laying at his feet, cry out in pain.

Scrambling to my feet, I charge at the Servant standing by Shiraishi as she pulls out another of her strange weapons.

While the Servants are still the biggest threat to me here, I still need to remember why I am fighting this battle. I need to save Shiraishi before she bleeds to death. And to do that, I will need to beat this sword-wielding Servant.

Scrambling to my feet, I grip Joyeuse in both hands and charge at the Servant. She aims at her weapon at me and fires a metal projectile at me with a bang, but this time I am actually ready for it.

While I’m not fast enough to dodge it entirely, I am able to move quickly enough so that it only glances off of my arm, leaving nothing more than a slight bruise. And it doesn’t slow me down in the slightest.

I swing at the Servant and she raises her own weapon to block. Our weapons clang as the two blades clash and both are knocked away by the force of our strikes. But I quickly recover and bring Joyeuse down on the Servant’s shoulder.

The blade of the Holy weapon cuts through the flesh and I pull the blade out. The Servant’s sword comes flying down at me, but I block it with my arm. I flinch as the steel blade cuts into the flesh of my arm, but the wound is light. While by all rights it should have cut my lower arm in two, Joyeuse and my Reinforcement have prevented the blow from being anything more than minor.

With my opponent’s sword arm occupied and the other arm disabled, I move in for the kill. I stab forward with Joyeuse using my free hand. The silver blade pierces the chest of the Servant.

I grin at the shocked Servant and she staggers back as I yank Joyeuse out and her own weapon exits the flesh of my arm. With the weapon no longer in my body, the Holy Grail gets to work, using its Holy power to heal minor cut in my arm.

I am starting to enjoy this. Who knew battle could be so thrilling?

“Servant!” shouts the Warlock from afar, “We are leaving!”

Despite the fatal injury in her chest and the less fatal injury in her shoulder, the Servant jumps up onto the roof of the building. I pause and glare up at her.

By all rights, that Servant should be dead by now. But that is rather hypocritical of me considering that I should have died at least half-a-dozen times myself.

The Servant pulls out one of her weapons that shoots the metal projectiles. She aims it at me, but doesn’t pull the trigger.

“Servant!” shouts the Warlock again and this time, I look around for him, but he, the other Servant or the injured Witches aren’t in sight, “Now!”

“We’ll meet again,” spits the Servant standing above me, glowering at me as she holsters her weapons, “Make no mistake about that boy.”

I ignore her as I turn my attention to Shiraishi, the whole reason that I fought this battle.

Friday, 2 December 2016

1.2 Three Magicians plus a Pirate and a Cowboy - Part 1

Servants. Beings forged from Magic and given life with a Soul, Servants are one of the greatest creations of the Magical Affairs with each one easily being twice or thrice as powerful as an ordinary Magician.
- Magical Affairs Standard Textbook for Beginners in Witchcraft

***

I was alerted to the battle by the explosion on the other side of the courtyard. In the process of creating another fruit, I ceased that spell in an instant, instead directing my magical energy to Reinforcing my body.

I might have no idea of what I am up against, but strengthening my battle would be a good move in almost any situation that I can think of.

Otherwise, I do nothing else magic wise. While I do have good reserve of Shiki and Ofuda at home, I don’t exactly go around carrying them with me. It isn’t like I have truly needed them before and carrying such things would easily blow my cover.

Not to mention how dangerous it would be to be caught with such things on me. While there are many Warlocks out there, Onmyodo is an effectively non-existence art and is punished by death at the very minimum.

So yeah, keeping such things on me would be stupid and dangerous. Of course, that same could be said of not having them on me, but it isn’t like I actually have had any need for them before.

And as for the Three Holy Blades?

Like I’m going to summon so those casually. I want to save those ancient, holy weapons for when I need them. No revealing my trump cards earlier than necessary.

Now, time to do something reckless.

Moving at normal human speeds as to avoid giving away my Reinforced body since I may need advantage to be hidden, I run out the pantry and to the door leading out into the courtyard.

As I reach the door, I hesitate as I spot a couple of knives laying out on a work surface. Some lazy idiot must have left those out, but it is to my luck for I now have a pair of mundane weapons available to me.

I turn and grab the two blades quickly before heading to the exit again. I hear the swish of a sword followed by a cry of pain and some cruel, haughty laughter. I hope arming myself has not cause a death of an innocent.

I almost pause as I recognise the voice that the cry of pain belongs to. The girl is an older student at the school, a raven haired girl with two years of age on me called Shiraishi Shizuka.

Too easily I pieced together what has happened. Some young Magicians here for the Hunt of Servants have decided to drop by the school in their search and encountered Shiraishi. From there, they must have felt like having some fun with the mundane.

Time to show them exactly who I am and I am able and willing to do.

I burst out into the courtyard and it takes me less than a second to realise how badly I have misjudged the situation.
The scene that awaits me isn’t just a few Magicians picking on Shiraishi, but three Magicians and two Servants. And a dying Shiraishi with her chest slashed wide open.

As much as I want to worry about Shiraishi and the bloody mess that she is currently in, the two Servants are a much higher priority right now.

I don’t know much about Servants, but I picked up a little from my adoptive father and filled in most of the blanks with what knowledge is known by the mundanes.

Servants are magical warriors that serve a Magician and bound to obey the commands of their Master. While they can be mundanes, most Servants are usual powerful and dangerous as a Magician doesn’t want a useless tool.

And they grow stronger over time as well. So not only do they start off more powerful than a mundane, but they will ultimately surpass all, but the strongest Magicians as their strength grows.

Beyond that I don’t know much other than some rumours about some Servants and that knowledge is only applicable to those particular individual Servants.

Not giving the three Magicians a second look, I take in the appearances of the two Servants. The one by Shiraishi is female and wearing brown leggings, leather boots, a scarlet shirt and a strip of red fabric is wrapped around her head, which holds back her fizzy light brown hair.

But what interests me is the unusual weapons and the lack of any armour. She has two belts strapped across her chest, each one with two open poaches containing an object made of steel and wood inside.

And the sword in her hand. I can’t forget that part. The weapon has a slightly curved blade, sharpened on the cutting edge while the hilt has a solid cup guard to it. Without a doubt, the blood on its blade belongs to Shiraishi.

The other Servant is the closer, standing between me and the others. This time a male, he has a stubbly beard and short dark brown hair. A tallish, rimmed leather hat rests on his head while he has some dark, long fabric worn like a cloak and more red fabric is tied around his neck, resting loosely at the bottom. As for his actual clothes, the Servant is wearing brown leggings and a dark blue buttoned shirt.

Two freaking Servants. If I could, I wouldn’t fight this battle. But with Shiraishi laying there, bleeding to death, I can’t just abandon her fate to this Magicians. Not if I wish to lay claim to being a Knight of the Round Table like my father and grandfather before me. Not if I have any legitimacy of being a hero.

And so I charge at the closest of the two Servants, both of my knives held firmly in my hands. With my Reinforced body, I am boosted roughly by about thirty percent. Not too much, but is a noticeable upgrade. Still, I have no idea how I will match up against both of the Servants.

Both the Magicians and the Servants stare at me as I come rushing across the courtyard. I can only imagine how I must appear to them.

A half-Japanese/half-British boy of above average height with good muscles, a slim and lean build, short grey hair and golden eyes. Wearing a black kimono, I am armed with two ordinary knives and I am charging straight at them.

In case you’re wondering, the grey hair is due the Three Holy Blades within me. The gold eyes are a result of the Holy Grail and the holiness of the swords. Or at least I think that is the case. I might have just been born looking that unusual or maybe Dad altered my features with magic. Or some other Magician did.

Regardless of the truth, I like my explanation the best.

One of the Magicians, a black haired lad of reasonable height and width in red and gold robes, is the first to recover from the shock of my actions.

“Servant!” yells the boy, “Shoot this pretentious mun!”

The Servant facing me whips out two objects like the ones stored in the belts of the other Servant, only these two are of a different design. Whereas the ones belong to the female consist primarily of wood with some metal, these ones are primarily metal with some wood. As I close the distance, several small projectiles are fired from the objects in succession, along with quite a bit of smoke.

Most of the projectiles go wide, but one slams into my left shoulder. I cry out in pain as it tears into my body, half-lodged in my flesh. My Reinforced body did nothing to protect me.

I don’t have time to recover before a second one of the metal projectiles hits my gut, tearing into the flesh. Letting out a small cry of pain, I tumble, falling to the ground whilst surrounding by smoke.

Still clutching the knives tightly in my hands, I Analyse the smoke, only to be unable to find anything unusual about it. Nothing that will inform me about what the Hades was that.

As they are ejected from by body by the Holy Grail due the ancient artefact going to work and healing my wounds, I use my Analysis magic on the projectiles that struck me.

And they turn out to be nothing more than shaped metal. Essentially nothing different from an arrowhead or spearhead.

So what was that weapon then? I can’t think of any weapon like it. Except for a bow. A super strange and miniature bow that shoots multiple miniature weirdly shaped arrowheads at once.

Yeah, I don’t know of any weapons like that.

As the smoke begins to clear, I can hear the Magicians laugh at me. The poor Oriental mundane. How I am going to die for daring to attack my superiors.

I glance up at the Servant as he aims one of the strange items at me.