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The rest of the trial went by in a flash, and true to his word, those who were still fooling around or obstructing the trial were send straight to hell, for to him, they were dead. And yet, Alice’s distorted laugh and subsequent attitude towards it all still caught Max off guard. As much as he wanted to resent her for it, it seemed like there was too much wrong with Alice to take her serious, so he simply ignored it.

But then the blackened was revealed. Mercy; both the victim and the murderer. Many conflicting thoughts raced through his mind as he was watching the execution of a dumb robot which was somehow supposed to satisfy the crowd. Such a coward; to take her own life before ever hoping to be reprimanded. Such an abhorrent monster, to murder Felix, and then don’t even try to get out, letting him die in complete vain. Such a tragedy; that the human mind could be twisted so badly.

Even as Ice lost his temper once again, Max had already lost the adrenaline; the anger; the spark to keep him going. All that was left was a husk of his former self. However; there was one emotion that was left lingering in his heart.

Resentment. Max was no longer going to apprehend Davis for the crimes he had committed. No, the only possible outcome now had Max’s hands gripped tightly around conquests neck, squeezing until the only sound emanating from that mastermind was the pop of his neck. There was no use trying to protect anyone anymore, for it was only a matter of time before they would all turn on each-other, for that was the curse that this place forced on all who entered.

However, seeing Ice and Alice fueled by the same emotion that now Powered Max, he saw an opportunity; a means to an end, and for that, the husk of a man now strolled towards Ice.

“Matthews…Masson-“ He said, his voice so soft it was almost whispering. “If you truly seek revenge,” His eyes peered at those of Ice, something so dark and sinister within them that it could turn his irises the shade of red. “Go to the cave where it all started tomorrow.”

And with that, he walked away.


Between the Church and robbed bank, Shinto town / Hilltop Church





To say that Sofia was annoyed was a bit of an understatement. For a good while she was sprinting at top speed to the bank in town to stop the thieves. She wasn’t exactly out of shape, but running for so long still put a strain on her fitness. But then to watch the culprits fly out of the building just as she was arriving?

“You’re kidding me!?” Sofia groaned, still catching her breath, the thieves left so fast that she didn’t even have the check them out properly; all she noticed was the magical energy emanating from them, they were definitely master and servant. As expected though, Saber was not affected by the short jog in the slightest.

“Master, should I pursue them?” She said as she moved into a chasing position.

“Haha, I don’t have the energy for that, but if you can keep up with them, go for it.” As soon as the words left Sofia's mouth, Saber disappeared in a gust of wind, reaching ever closer to the unaware pair in front of her.

“Your objective is to reclaim their stolen property, so don’t do anything stupid while I’m catching up to you.” Sofia told through their connection as she started jogging after Saber.

Saber already had the culprits in sight and hopped from roof to roof, coming ever closer to her unsuspecting targets. “You worry too much master, they won’t get very-“ She drew her invisible blade and started gathering magical energy in it, before releasing a magical wind slash capable of cutting a tree in half straight towards the thieves. “Far!”

attacking @Reflection@Yukitamas

and


~ Girls’ Sleepover ~


Much of the previous day had gone by uneventfully. Moreover, the two girls had done very little up until the evening. Such was the case of errors in summoning. It annoyed Serafina to no end that they had to waste so much time before evening getting into the bulk of the war, but it was what she got for rushing into things in the first place. If she had thought things over more carefully, they might not have been in the situation they were in at all.

At the very least, she was thankful that the Matou Master was more lenient on their terms than she had expected. “Extenuating Circumstances regarding the Summoning” was the excuse Sera had made for a rearrangement of their meeting, and while it wasn’t far from the truth, “A fuck up on the part of the Master” would have been much more apt. It hurt her pride to be forced into changing the times, but it was the price for her incompetence.

The rest of the evening had been spent sorting things out, both around the Temple and their room. The two narrowly avoided detection by the awakening Monks, brought from slumber by heroes from the past destroying their property. Whether Yoshiki was suspicious of their involvement or not, Sera couldn’t quite tell, but she was thankful he didn’t question them much at all. From that minute onward she spent properly attuning with her Servant, and figuring out just who the hell had come out of that sword.

With that out of the way the two made their preliminary preparations. Cleaned, switched to more appropriate attire for the evening, and continued their minor setups - a couple of bounded fields set around the room, and around the main temple complex, as well as some of the basics for their Workshop. It was far from complete, and the sorry site of a barely even half finished base of operations left Sera in some slight dismay. Still, it was a start, and one they would finish upon returning from the Matou Mansion.

The Matou Mansion, the location they were heading. Three girls, something of a mangy dog, and a beefy, insane hero in spirit form behind them; as much as Sofia had wanted to, the dog was ill allowed with in the temple, and thus its coat had remained the same as it had been that morning. Sera couldn’t say exactly how she thought this would go. In her head, things would go swimmingly, and they’d garner themselves an ally early on with which to utilise as a primary asset, but a part of her wondered if that was merely naive optimism. The Matou Master rejecting the proposition entirely upon arrival was still a very realistic belief to follow.

”You did as I said, right Sophie?” she said, turning towards her sister, who made up the middle of their little entourage, ”It’s important, y’know.”

”Yes Sera, everything; I think.” She said as she raised her hands in front of her face, peering past them to her Saber. “Let’s hope the Hood works.”

Saber tilted her head to look at what appeared to be a familiar, “You will see soon enough.” tugging on her plain clothes, she sighed. “This outfit feels...unnatural though, I don’t get the fashion of these days at all. It’s so...unnecessarily flashy.” because the hood of kismet was still equipped, the current appearance of Saber looked nothing like her true self.

Sera looked over the two walking beside her and smiled.
”I’m pretty sure it’ll be fine. The cloak will work continuously until they can figure out how it works, soooooooo as long as they don’t figure that out, we’ll be good.” her tone was confident, and she looked it, too, ”Just, remember, Saber, do as little talking as you can. We’re going for shy, after all.”

With the Matou Mansion steadily approaching, She turned back to look at the two.
”Just remember what we discussed and we’ll be good. Berserker, you’re waiting outside. On the off chance their Servant is an Achaean, I do not need to deal with that right now.” and with her little quote unquote pep talk, she continued onto the gate of the Mansion.

Within the front yard of the manor, just beyond the girls’ view, a group of worms quietly and efficiently gathered together into a human shape. A perfect likeness of Reiki Matou. Stepping out onto the main path, just behind the gate, it stood in plain view of the approaching group. Although carrying the full appearance of a human girl and even emitting the correct amount of energy, command seals were noticeable missing from its hand and Sofia was able to observe the strange difference in makeup between a continuous set of circuits seen in a normal mage and the large number of separate organisms up the road from them. Before saying a word, it whistled sharply. Shinji, who had seemingly just begun to recognize the neighbourhood around him, perked up, and the small beagle began to run ahead of the group toward the manor.

The familiar-body opened the gate just wide enough for the little dog to dash inside, leaving it ajar as it knelt down to stroke its pet and murmur a few concerned words about the state of his health. Shinji sniffed the body’s hand, but did not lick it. Nonetheless, he seemed more content than he had been even in his most peaceful moments at the temple steps. “Reiki” rose to its feet and gazed upon the trio. ”Good evening.” The simulacrum spoke through the opening in the gate, ”Would you, by any chance be the Whitehalls?”

Serafina, in response to the sight of the woman before the gate, accelerated her pace, if only slightly, as to position herself in front of the other two girls.
”Good evening to you, too.” she began, ”We are indeed, for the most part, the Whitehalls. Might I assume that you are Reiki Matou, then?”

”Essentially, yes.” The puppet nodded, ”But what stands before you now is not my genuine body so much as a form crafted out of familiars while I deal with another associate inside.”

She gave a cautionary look over the thing stood before her, her eyes betraying something of a paranoid nature. It was obvious that she was attempting to gauge the threat a form composed of familiars would pose.
”I have heard minor tellings of your families… unique, shall we say, branch of Magecraft, but seeing it up close and personally truly is something else. I must say I am impressed.” she then turned back to her sister, ”You’ve always had a greater interest, if marginal, around familiars and the like than me. It’s quite remarkable, no?”

“Owh wow.” Sofia’s pure eyes grew brightly as she inspected the familiar. “There’s so many of them! how do you keep them all in that shape so flawlessly?” Although this was one of the three great families of Fuyuki, Sofia did not seem to be on guard much at all; contrary to the shy girl that hid behind her, only peeking out to speak with a soft tone.

“I-I am Mana, these two girls weren’t very familiar with this town, so I’m acting as their guide for the time being.” If the hood did its job, then Saber’s disguise as Mana would be impenetrable.

”Excellent. All of you are welcome to join me in the gazebo.” Reiki’s form cast both gates open wide. ”Although I’d like your Servant in the back to materialise if they’re going to be joining us. Also, before you enter you should know that unless this meeting devolves into a battle I will make no moves against you as you return to Ryuudou Temple regardless of the outcome of our talks. I can join you in person if you’d like, but then I’ll have to insist on my own Servant coming as well. On the other hand, if you’d like to hold our meeting entirely with me in this form, you’ll retain the privilege of being able to destroy this form with your Servant and end the discussion.”

Sera placed a hand to her chin, listening to the quote unquote rules of engagement for the meeting. They were reasonable, as to be expected, and eventually she lowered her hand and smiled.
”You mentioned dealing with another associate at this time, correct? As much as I would prefer to conduct the meeting in person, if your current engagement is pressing I shall settle for this form.” then she looked back, towards the group but somewhat behind them, as Ajax left his spirit form, ”My sister’s Servant is currently stationed back at Ryuudou Temple as a Guard of sorts, and I don’t think Berserker here has particularly good table manners; he will be remaining outside.”

As she began to round off her list of comments, something quickly occurred to her.
”Ah, I should probably make this somewhat clear now.” she took a step over towards Mana, and placed her hand upon her shoulder, ”Mana here is a friend of our family, and while acting as our tour guide she is also a backup Magus for myself and my sister.I hope her joining in with this talk won’t be much of an issue?

”Of course there’s no issue. Anyone who’s a part of your camp for this war is welcome to join the discussion.” The simulacrum stepped to the side while Shinji followed faithfully at its feet. Overhead, a bird, clearly a familiar, flew off into the night while a set of insects suppressing their buzz carried a small object into the grounds. ”It seems this place is quite popular tonight. Well, if we’re all in agreement, then won’t you come in? I’ve prepared some light snacks in the gazebo.” It gestured to a small, well-kept structure a little ways into the grounds lit by candlelight. Even after having been revealed as a fake body, its expressions and movements were absolutely genuine.

This was the moment of truth. The building was old, and most Magus families would have had protection inbuilt. One of the Three Families was no exception. Sera gave their host a warm smile, and continued on through the gate, gesturing for her sister, and Mana, to follow suit. The moment she crossed the threshold of the mansion, the presence of Bounded Fields struck her, though it wasn’t exactly a surprise. No sane Magus would leave their territory unguarded. But as she looked towards Reiki, she noticed something odd.
”The Bounded Fields you have… they’re Rune based, correct?” she turned around, taking in the Mansion as a whole, ”I can see you’ve put a lot of effort into protecting this place. The fields are… remarkable. Truly.” as she looked back, she smiled, and continued on.

“You’re such a nerd.” Sofia jested, as she walked past Sera, and towards the gazebo. It was almost impossible to stay her eyes from the many familiars that littered the place, and thought it struck her as peculiar, it did seem like they were miss Matou’s specialty. Meanwhile, Mana had followed Sofia very sheepishly, only flinching ever slightly upon entering the bounded field. Her shy nature really shone through as her eyes were glued to the ground, and on Sofia.

If Reiki had detected anything related to Mana upon her entry, her familiar body hadn’t reacted. As it led the trio towards the gazebo, Shinji followed at its heels until the door to the manor opened a crack and a whistle sounded from inside, causing him to dash that way. For the moment before Shinji entered the house and the door closed, the girls could make out a woman with dark red hair and eyes with the unmistakable aura of a Servant holding it open. ”Correct, those are Runes. You have sharp senses befitting your house.”

The simulacrum stepped up onto the gazebo, a fine hardwood piece of construction with a small table at the center and five chairs. On the table lay a tray of chocolate chip muffins, a teapot, and five teacups. The worm-built girl climbed the three steps to the gazebo and stood behind the table with a smile on its face. ”Please, seat yourselves and enjoy.”

The Whitehall Family may not have been an especially powerful house, nor was it a Noble group, but it had still been their dream for a long time to become one of true note; this wasn’t the first evening meeting Sera had attended, and it likely wouldn’t be the last. Entering onto the Gazebo, she took a small look around the table, taking in the decor and muffins, before seating herself.
”Five teacups?” she said, taking one of the muffins from the center of the table and taking a small, cautionary, but still sizeable, bit from it, ”Are we to be expecting another guest at our Round Table, of sorts?”

”The fifth seat and cup were prepared for my Servant if you wished to meet my true body.” The false Reiki picked up the teapot and circled the table to stand by Serafina, ”Do you take one lump, or two?”

Sera looked towards Reiki as she approached her with the teapot. All she had to hope was that she could remember her “training”.
”I’ll take two, thank you very much. The flavour of tea without it tends not to agree with me.”

As Sofia took a seat, she was already chewing on a muffin, as soon as the muffin left the table it was already in her stomach; the Matou’s sure knew how to bake their goods. “Excuse me! Could I have some tea too; without sugar.”

“And I’ll take 3 lumps in my tea please.” Mana said with her eyes flickering between Reiki and the floor.

The simulacrum poured each girl a cup of tea with the requested amounts before standing up straight. For a moment, the natural appearance of the face became rigid. ”On the subject of my real body, I’ve just about finished up dealing with another Master I’m working with. If you’re comfortable with me being the only one with a Servant present, we could join you in earnest for the business. My other associate will be staying in the manor and not joining us for this meeting.” The worm-body’s words rang true as the presence of not one but two Servants emanated from the house.

Serafina took a sip of tea. She was right, the flavour wasn’t exactly agreeable. Under normal circumstances, she might have asked for another lump, but instead she let Reiki continue her message, occasionally sipping from the cup as she spoke.
”Is that so? Well, if you’re finished with your business, I would be grateful to meet you in person. I fear the meeting might have observed something of an impersonal touch otherwise, no?” she took a look across the Gazebo, and then smiled at her sister, ”And, rest assured, we have no qualms with you being the only one here with a Servant. Quite honestly, I had been expecting so from the start, and thus it is the potential risk I am willing to take.” although she looked up from the cup towards their host, ”Not that there is any risk involved, right~?”

”Of course. It still stands that I will not trouble you on your return to the temple no matter how our meeting is resolved.” With that, the simulacrum set down the tea set and made for the house, standing aside from the door as it opened and the real Reiki emerged along with the red-haired Servant seen earlier. The Reikis nodded as they passed each other and the clone entered the manor.

Reiki Matou

and
Scáthach


Reiki approached the gazebo and it was hard for the girls to tell if perhaps her hair was a little brighter, her eyes a little more lively. Probably it was nothing more than the psychological effect of knowing what is genuine and what is not. ”Good to see you in person, everyone. Let me introduce my Servant, Lancer.” She entered the gazebo and took a seat while her Servant paused at the entrance, seemingly focused on Mana. ”There is something different about you, compared to the other mages of this time.” She spoke bluntly. It was a rare talent of royalty to not ask questions, but to make statements that demanded answers. At the same time, although it could not be seen through a Master’s clairvoyance, she was cycling through various Skills for the purpose of magical and mental insight to little effect. Nonetheless, she had detected an entirely distinct energy when this girl had entered her runic bounded field.

“O-owh ,there is? I could leave the settlement if my presence is unsettling.” Mana said with her eyes plastered to the table. Her shyness turned into anxiety as she was not used to these situations; Being singled out by a heroic spirit was a scary thing after all.

To see the two Matou Master’s side by side was an interesting experience, to say the least. Sera watched intently as the two passed, and the former, the Ersatz Reiki, left, leaving her eyes to settle upon her true form, and her Servant. Masters Clairvoyance was the first thing she initiated, just to do a little light reading on the woman.
”Pleasure to meet you too, Reiki Matou. And Lancer.” she nodded to both of them in turn, as the Master of the two took their seat.

However, she continued to eye the Servant curiously. Not only did they not take their seat, but they addressed Mana of all people. A minor note of disappointment sparked within Sera, realising that their cover may well have been blown. Except it wasn’t.
”I must apologise, in that case. I didn’t properly explain the situation, and for that, I am sorry.” she started, looking towards Mana, ”Mana here came to be a friend of our family due to her extenuating circumstances. I suppose in some cases, one could call it a Sorcery Trait, although I might liken it closer to a Curse. Her Magic Circuits are unable to properly process and produce Mana, and so her internal systems tend to… while I hate to say malfunction, I would suppose it is the closest descriptor.” despite the lie, the look she gave towards the girl was sympathetic, ”She was brought to my family to see if we could assist in remedying it. We’ve been friends for many years. I do apologise.”

Lancer remained in the gazebo doorway. Mana was inscrutable, but she detected something off about Sera’s response. As she opened her mouth, it seemed likely that she was about to encourage Mana in her offer to leave when Reiki interjected. ”Lancer, please don’t interrogate our guests. Come and have a seat, won’t you?” There was no sigh, nod, or hesitation as Lancer moved to the last empty chair. At the same time, it was obvious from the very atmosphere that not a mite of her suspicion had lifted. ”Now, it’s about time we got down to business and the matter of our alliance in this war.” She smiled as she poured herself a cup of tea with two lumps, and unlike Lancer who radiated suspicion, it was difficult to identify how in touch Reiki was with the situation.

”I think that would be for the best, yes.” Sera sipped from her own cup, and addressed the table, ”I can tell that Lancer here has some… reservation, regarding us. I hope we can iron those out.” as she spoke, her gaze drifted to the door of the gazebo, and the mansion itself, ”Your duplicate referenced a second Servant on the premises. Considering your own Servant, my sisters, and Berserker, does that make this a four-man coalition?”

“We’ll be unstoppable!”

”That’s exactly right. As far as I can tell throughout the city, there is no group larger than this one would be if we joined forces. With that said, I assume you have noticed the exceedingly large number of participants in this war.” Reiki set down her teacup and leaned forward in her chair. ”It’s my understanding that the cap on Servants summoned and Masters given command seals have completely vanished. With that in mind, have you considered having Mana attempt to summon?” Was that a vicious flash in her eyes as she cornered their deception? No, she looked honestly at the trio with a question on her face.

“Well, as Miss Serafina told you, my magic circuits don’t work as intended. Even if I wanted it with all my heart,” Although she looked timid before, her posture now turned into something entirely obedient. “There is no way that I could summon anything at all.”

Sera simply watched as Mana explained herself as best she could, though what she said left a lot to be desired. She couldn’t help but give a small sigh.
”The fluctuations in her Magical Energy levels would make summoning a Servant dangerous. Sometimes her levels can be high, while other times they can be dangerously low.” she cast a glance towards Lancer, ”I’m not one to risk the lives of my friends just so they can help further my progress. Mana’s life would be at risk if she attempted to summon a Servant, and as her friend I shant allow that to happen.” the eyes with which she scanned both her host and their Servant betrayed a thin line between sympathy and a cold stare. She wasn’t messing around.

The expressions of the two facing the trio couldn’t have been more different. Reiki seemed to express that she had made a grave mistake in implying Sera would endanger a friend’s life. Meanwhile, Lancer’s gaze seemed to say unsatisfactory deception. The question, in that case, was how much information was passing between the two telepathically.

Reiki gave a small cough to lighten the mood before speaking up. ”I’m sorry. Four will be more than enough, you’re right not to endanger your friend. But I’ve gotten ahead of myself in talking about how we should work together. We need to determine if we can work together.” She picked up a cookie and took the smallest bite before setting it down. ”To that end, I’d like to know both of your wishes for the Grail.”

As if on cue, Sofia’s entire posture changed when Reiki asked the question. Slowly, she put a half eaten muffin on the table before peering at Reiki with determined eyes. Completely contrasting her laid-back attitude this entire time.

“I am going to remove the necessity for bloodlines in magi...For as long as I can remember, heritage and family was the most important thing a mage could ever cherish, it defined their future and their past.” Her words rang heavy with a grudge as she spoke. “Well when I get my hands on the grail, I am going to eradicate that concept, so no more children would be thrown away or mistreated by their family.” And as soon as it came, her determined look faded away, leaving her cheery self behind. “Though I’d be okay with Sera winning as well.” She beamed at her sister.

Watching her sister act all confident and determined forced a break in character for Sera, dissipating the serious demeanour she was using for the meeting in favour of a light chuckle.
”You’re funny sometimes, Sophie.” was all she said, before she turned back to Reiki, ”Our family wasn’t kind to Sofia. Honestly, I… No wish I could think of amounted to the same thing she would desire. She deserves the Grail more than anyone I know - her wish is my command.”

A series of short, light nods from Reiki as she looked back and forth between the two girls. ”Entirely respectable. I have no problem with that. My own goal for the grail is the salvation of humanity along with the end of all evil and suffering. Technically, the suffering of those in the situations you’ve described should be included as well, but I expect you’d want to do it yourself to be doubly sure.” Her face fell a bit. ”That’s important to note. Our alliance is to help each other reach the final stages of this grail war before splitting apart. You should be aware that the other Master I’ve allied with is more directly in my service and has pledged to deliver the Grail to me. Moreover, my other intent in our alliance is to eliminate the more unruly participants in the war, such as those who would wish for mass death, chaos, or their own tyranny.” Her expression brightened a bit. ”But as long as your wishes aren’t evil and you don’t expect the Grail from me, I’m more or less ready to discuss terms and plans.” She looked out expectantly at the trio.

”So a two versus two scenario, is what you’re saying? It sounds interesting. Of course, we also want to whittle down the number of potential candidates as quickly and efficiently as possible.” she smiled as she spoke, taking another sip of her tea, ”Do you have any terms you’d like to set out immediately, before any kind of forum begins. I think it would be best if we were to all input into this - including you, Mana - as we’re all members of the same coalition. That way our outcome will be much more agreeable between the four, or five, of us, depending on whether you have anything to input, Lancer.”

”That’s essentially correct. I’d like to end the war just among us, and in the meantime a term I’d like to impose is a certain amount of morali-”

”There is something more pressing.” Lancer stood from her seat. Reiki seemed to deflate and give a slight sigh in a way that indicated she had been communicating with her Servant on the subject to some extent. ”While Mana herself seems quite honest, I am, at this point, quite confident that the previous excuse for her strange aura by Ms. Serafina here was a falsehood.” There was no spear in her hand, but she radiated restrained hostility. At the same time, she was preparing to engage the gazebo’s defences and using Clairvoyance to watch for the slightest danger.

Lancer decided to interrupt the proceedings. Sera was aware that she was suspicious, that much was evidenced by the way she had acted at the beginning of the meeting. That said, she had hoped for things to go on a little longer before she had to intervene. As the Servant stood and confronted her friend, she simply crossed her legs, sighed, and sat back in her chair.
”We’re going to be allies, y’know, Lancer? We can’t exactly be doing with you accusing us of lying every five minutes, we’d never get anything done.” her eyes drifted to Reiki, ”You look like you agree with that sentiment. Why don’t we hear it from Mana, though, eh? I’d sure to love to hear about a supposed liar hiding within my group.” she turned to the girl, with a small smile, ”Well Mana? Got something to say for yourself?”

“I w-well, I’ve been befriended to Sofia and Serafina for years...D-do you remember when I tripped on the balcony of your manor, and Sofia tried to catch me but ended up tumbling over with me!?”

“I did! We were both strapped in bandages for the entire week.” Sofia laughed.

”Okay, you two, that’s enough.” Sera finally said, ”You’re really not convincing anyone with that.” she took another sip of tea, and turned her attention back towards Reiki and Lancer, activating a single Mannaz Rune on her body, ”Therefore I suppose it comes to down to who believes who. We can’t really have a coalition where nobody trusts each other, right Lancer? I don’t want us to fight.” her smile was warm and confident, although her eyes betrayed a certain curious look to them as they watched the Servant, as though waiting for some kind of signal or action.

“Wrong, this coalition could provide stability and safety for Sofia and Serafina, and I won’t allow that opportunity to pass by.” Mana said as she adjusted her stature from a shy girl to a bold stance, revealing her real attitude. “I am Sofia’s servant Saber, and though my intent was to stay hidden, I feel that switching that advantage for this alliance will be worth it.” Saber took a step towards Scathach. “Lancer, your ability to notice me is nothing short of remarkable, and I commend you for acting on it; although my intentions were not hostile, I understand your eagerness to protect your master.” Saber took a seat once more, gesturing for the meeting to continue.

“Saber…” Sofia seemed a bit surprised at Saber’s sudden reveal, but quickly regained her composure. “Well I’m actually kinda relieved, subterfuge and secrets are fun and all, but building an alliance really only works with truth and trust, don’t you think Reiki?” She smiled.

Reiki, it seemed, had fallen into something of a grim acceptance as the alliance seemingly crumbled around her. Once the Saber was revealed, however, she brightened up quite extremely. ”Yes, I think that’s right. I appreciate you revealing yourself, Saber, and I promise we won’t share this information with anyone outside our faction. Right, Lancer?” She looked up to her Servant.

Lancer, for her part, seemed to have relaxed somewhat. A thousand potential deceptions had turned into one concrete fact before her. There was still a chance Saber had lied to her, but the response of her Master seemed entirely genuine. The eyes that fell on Saber were unmistakably those of one warrior judging another. ”Indeed. With that, I have no further terms for the moment.” She returned to her seat.

”Well, that didn’t go to plan…” Sera sighed, giving something of a half hearted comment as she slid back into her chair, only to quickly sit back up, ”Ah well, can’t fault a girl for trying. Gotta keep your purse at least partially secret, right?” she smiled and laughed at Reiki, as though she hadn’t just tried to deceive her on a massive scale, ”So, where were we on the whole terms thing?”

~


Later, information had been exchanged and terms agreed upon. The candles of the Gazebo burned low as the Masters and Servants exchanged goodbyes.

“Alright then, I’ll head into town immediately; we can’t let that thief run around doing whatever he pleases.” Sofia said as she stood up from her chair, and started walking towards the exit with Saber in tow. “See ya.” She waved to Reiki and Scatach as she left the compound, giving a small smile to Berserker as she passed by.

Sera stood back, watching and waving as her sister left Servant in tow. As she exited, she turned back to Reiki.
”I think we can all agree that that went well.” she smiled, ”I’ll let her deal with that problem. I think some reconnaissance is due. This is the first night of the war, after all. There’s bound to be some interesting battles on going.” and with that, she turned to walk away, ”Later.”

As the last of her visitors left the manor grounds, Reiki closed and locked the gates behind them. Purely for visual effect, of course, as the real protections could not be seen so much as felt. ”That was a great outcome, actually.” She looked pleased as she turned back to Lancer and the two began to make their way inside.

”That girl made a good point at the end, Master.” Lancer opened the door and held it open for Reiki, ”This is the first night of the war, and therefore no time to be lounging around.”

”Good point. We’ll discuss moves with Benita inside once we’ve filled those two in on the new alliance.” The door closed behind the pair, and the candles in the gazebo were snuffed out, leaving the yard dark and quiet.





While everyone around him moved on, Max never left his motionless position, his eyes still locked on the corpse of Felix. They were all discussing things like normal…while there’s a fucking corpse in the room, the corpse of a friend. Not every word went over his head however, and when he heard of a potential blackened, something snapped; something special, something…important to his being.

”I didn't do it! Words that he had heard a countless times.

”I didn't do it! More than he could ever bare to hear.

”You're going to kill us all! Liar.


Even though Max could have said a hundred things, only one came to mind as everyone spoke.

“Look I…I’m sorry.”

Bliss huffed.”My story hasn't changed, I got some medicine for Caora's fever. You can ask him if you don't believe me.”

“I wasn't able to focus.” Emily twiddled her thumbs. “I've actually been treating my depression with medication for a few days now, if you must know.”

Caora, Braden, and Mary all had similar stories to Bliss, Max, Noel, Calvin, and Ice. They were in their rooms with no other witnesses.

”Hmmm...” Lucy looked at all of her notes carefully. ”So if we look only at the time Mercy was gassed, Bliss, Noel, Max, Calvin, Ice, Caora, Braden, and Mary are the only ones who could have done it.” She lifted up another piece of paper. ” Bliss, Noel, and Mary couldn't have done it though. If Mundinol was the poison, none of them were around mercy. Noel was, but she was with Thomas and Denis. And... I don't think Denis took his eyes off of her for a second.”

”Denis watch all pretty lady.” he scratched the back of his head. ”But Thomas also do so, with less respect!”

”But regardless of how I look at the remaining lists, someone didn't have access to Max's badge, the books, or they didn't have access to the pharmacy where the chemical was kept.” Lucy was cut off by Jezebel's giggling. ”Yes?”

”Hmmm?” Jezebel tipped her head.

”Did you have something to say?”

”Totally!” Jezebel folded her arms. ”I went on a little stealth mission this morning. ”

”Yes yes.” Lucy waved her hand. ”We're on a time limit, so the sooner the better.”

”If you must know, I totally picked the lock to the pharmacy and grabbed a bunch of stuff.” Jezebel folded her arms. ”And I totally remember picking up Litonix!”

Lucy gasped. ”What!? Why would you do something like that?”

”Number uno, I needed some junk for #1 Baldwin's eye.” She stuck out a second finger. ”Number duo, I totally wanted to see the look on Cyrus's face once he figured it out. Tres, Mercy asked me to.”

”And you just gave her access to dangerous chemicals like that?” Lucy growled. ”She could be dead because of what you did! Now anyone could have access to that poison.”

”Nah, nurse Betty was tre smart about it.” Jezebel was grinning ear to ear. ”She stashed everything in the quarantine room.”

Lucy's eyes were squinted shut. ”Just... Did you take all the poison?”

”Nope! Like, I didn't want anyone to know I was there, so I took very small samples of everything and junk. Betty was quiet about the details too. She was working on something with someone. Dunno who it was.”

”If we survive this trial, you and I are going to have a talk!” Lucy turned to everyone else. ”Alright, so which of you had access to the carnage sister's room? Don't make me stri-”

Monokuma pointed at the free runner.”Felix.”

”Waaahhh!” Lucy turned to everyone else. ”You just told us like that?”

Monokuma folded his arms behind his back.”I don't want a repeat of the first trial. This is a christian killing game and I refuse to let people show their knickers to each other again. So yes! Felix has the handbook.”

Lucy locked eyes with Felix. ”Alright, butler.” She was breathless. ”You can explain how you came in contact with that handbook, but I really need to know if you shared it with anyone. I know Mercy had it, but at this point it seems safe to say she had the books and the Litonix with her too. So it's important that I know everyone who had access to that handbook.”

“I...” Felix anxiously looked at his feet, a clear sense of dread taking hold of his body. He was quiet for half a minute before finally looking towards Max. “I only ever gave two people access, and one of them is...dead. the other...” He said as he pointed towards Max.

”Alright, thank you.” Lucy wrote a few more names on her papers. ”Max, you had access to the poison used to make Mundinol, as well as a book that explains how to make it. You were seen with mercy around the time she would have needed to be poisoned, and the badge definitely spent some time in your possession. You also have no alibi for the time the mask was put on her face.” Lucy put her fists on her hips. ”Fwahwahwahwa! I'm blowing this case wide open! Regardless of how you look at it, the only person who could have possibly murdered Mercy evergreen is you! The evidence just doesn't work for anyone else!”

“Is that what you think?” Max placed a hand on his forehead and sighed cumbersomely deep. “I really screwed up this time, didn’t I...Even I, as a the ultimate cop came to the same conclusion as you. No matter how much I ponder and think, Nobody but me could have done it...”

It became eerily quiet in the court as Max did not offer a rebuttal or a defense of any sort, which felt like it went on for an eternity.

”No!” But then a single voice broke the silence.

”I refuse to accept that, be-because Max couldn’t have done it, a-and I have proof!”

“Is that right? Then tell me.”

“Well...It’s cuz uhh.” Felix slowly lowered his head. Maybe it was because of the adrenaline shooting through his veins, but his feet became blurrier by the second. But could adrenaline cause you to lose your balance? The freerunner looked up again, only to see Max with a terrified look aimed at...him? Why did he look like he’d seen a ghost just now. Why was his face becoming blurrier and blurrier, turning a shade of red. And w.y w.s ..ery...ng rot.t..n.

Before anybody could react, Felix fell to the ground, hemorrhaging and vomiting blood until his body stopped moving.

”FELIX”

The room was eerily silent. In the following seconds, many of the infinites reacted by recoiling in horror or shouting. But not the bear. He sighed, seemingly relieved by the turn out.

” Oh, phew!” Monokuma wiped some sweat off of his forehead. ”I was worried we might actually get through the third case without a second killing. That would have broken tradition!” Killgood looked at his watch. ”Alright, time for monokuma file 3.5!”

Monokuma file 3.5:


Victim: Felix Garfield

Time of death: 8:30

cause of death: Unclear. Victim was throwing up blood before they expired. Thier lower back also appears to have been pricked by something.

”And for anyone wondering, yes, Felix's stab wound is consistent with the one on Mercy's hand.”

”But Felix wasn't near mercy when she was giving everyone a checkup. Does that mean Max poisoned Mercy and then came back to finish off Felix?” Lucy scratched her chin. ”Did Max do anything weird when he came back?”

”He didn't come back!” Bliss practically shouted. ”Around three he left and we all started to set up. If mundinol was used to kill both of them, it couldn't have been Max!”

“No…”

Max’s eyes were locked onto Felix’s corpse, a glassy almost mindless expression on his face. His entire body was stale and motionless, and he didn’t respond to any of the comments made by monokuma or anyone else; the infinite cop was in complete shock.

Jezebel turned to look at Faith. ”Still think Mercy poisoned herself with the badge?” She grinned.

”The badge is starting to not look like the murder weapon.” Lucy placed her hands on her podium and looked at everyone. ”Felix was stabbed in the back with something. I want everyone to think back to the party, was there any time Felix's back could have landed on something sharp?”





Felix grew restless when Jezebel accused someone of lying, it was bad enough that everyone was running in circles, but to think that somebody may be intentionally causing it…

“If we can clear this up by stating our alibi’s, I think we should all do it.” Felix looked at everyone before turning to Jez. “At 4:30 I was setting up the party with everyone, and an hour later I started inviting people. Bliss did leave around 4:30 though; saying she felt weak I think. Max left soon after too.” He said as he curiously looked towards Max.

“Yes that sounds about right. I went to my room at 4:30 to change and relax a bit before the party started.”

and

And Special Guest….

Lesser Ruler: Longinus

~ Serafina and Sofia’s Room, Ryuudou Temple ~
~ Close Encounters ~


It had barely been three hours since the two had arrived in Fuyuki. They had ventured from the boat, and made a beeline for the Temple, making sure to avoid the less populated areas in case an already prepared Master recognised them as seekers for the Grail. They hadn’t even had a chance to bathe from their long journey from England, and yet here they were about to go out and summon Heroes from the past. As much as Sera was love to have said she “couldn’t believe this was happening”, she very much could, and was all the more glad for it. Such an opportunity came once in a lifetime.

All that was left was to find a suitable location within the forest to summon their Servants, and the war would be in full swing. Sofia hadn’t been able to attain a Catalyst, which was the only thing that worried her. Her sheer lack of experience in Magecraft was a red light, and what kind of Servant she would summon was completely up in the air. On top of that, and while she hated to use the word, Sofia was… “defective”, as mages went - a low amount of circuits only made up for by the quality the Whitehall Family was beholden to. In these thoughts, Sera grasped the handle on the door and pulled it open, ruminating on what level of power Sofia could even handle.

And the moment she did, something appeared. It wasn’t standing there a second ago, nor did it approach randomly. It was waiting. Instinct took over and she leapt back, boosted by a burst of speed from an Uruz Rune. How had she not sensed a Servant nearby?! As quickly as she dodged backwards, the room became charged with a certain electricity, as though static was being built up around them, being charged and focused into a single point - Serafina. There was no way for her to take on a Servant one on one, but at the very least she could do was give Sofia a chance to run. The three Runes inscribed just below her back, the most powerful ones on her body, had flared to life - the Body of the Thunder God.

Upon seeing the visibly more prodigious mage of the two leap back and prepare for an attack, the Ruler-class servant did not even flinch in the face of things. Rather, his eyes coolly observed the woman’s actions, both of the women’s actions at that. Such was the power of a Ruler, even that of a servant, to unflinchingly look into the face of such actions without blinking back. Not that any servant with Magic Resistance had to worry about Magecraft to some degree or another.

And then they stopped.
”The… Ruler?” she paused for a second, releasing her stance and looking him over, ”You’re the… mediator of the war… Jesus, I thought someone had found us before we could even summon our Servants.” a drawn in breath found itself released from her tight lungs as she spoke, relieving a tiny amount of tension that had built up inside her.

Slowly and carefully, Sofia peeked from behind Serafina, a look of consideration on her face ”A catalyst?” Sofia peered at Sera, unsure if they should answer Ruler truthfully.

Sera looked back towards her suitcase, then the girl behind her.
”My sister doesn’t have a Catalyst. I, however, have brought with me a sword once belonging to the great Trojan hero, Hector - they are the Servant I seek to summon.” she explained, before addressing the cautious look Sofia gave her, ”It’s fine, sis. The Ruler exists to maintain the war - they don’t belong to anyone and they don’t want the Grail.” her gaze then drew back to Longinus, with a slightly suspicious glance, ”We can trust them.”

Such suspicious eyes, but Ruler could understand the look and the sentiment. Though mages, a cautious and dark breed as they could be, were seemingly easily startled into actions. Were he a more mischievous sort, he might have found this “entertaining”, though instead had let his words sink in instead of taking further action. Were this woman to attack one of the Rulers of this war, he would’ve had to debate action, potential punishment since he had informed them of his status immediately after appearing. Though it was not like he blamed the one for powering up an attack, ready to attack and ask questions later if need be. This city itself was to become a massive battleground, after all.

“I bear no desire for the Grail, but i will enforce its rules and codes accordingly,” the Saint said, charismatic tone filled with a sense of reassurance, whether it worked or not to allay the sisters’ suspicions and worries it did not matter to him despite his good intentions.

From there, Sera walked back to the suitcase, and pulled the cloth and sword out from the bottom.
”If the Ruler found us, other people might have found us too… as defensive as the Temple is we don’t exactly have time to scout around. We’ll do the summoning immediately, sis; bring your bag.” sword in hand she stood from the floor, and approached the door once again, ”Say, Ruler, while you’re here, why not watch our summoning? Then you can find out the Servant my sister here summons, as well.”

“I must check in with the others, so I cannot stay I’m afraid. But I shall give you both two warnings for preparing to summon your servants. First, take to the woods north of the temple’s location for your summoning, where none shall be watching you,” the Lesser Ruler said, pushing off of the wall before his eyes glanced upon the catalyst the older of the two female magi still under it’s cloth shield, until he looked away and back towards her, “Second….take great care with just whom that catalyst could call forth, and whom your sister might also call forth as well as a result of this. This is all I shall give, and good luck in your pursuit of the Grail.”

With that, the saint’s form disappeared once more from view, entering spiritual form before he swiftly left the premises of the temple as quickly as he had come.

Sofia slowly let her guard down as ruler disappeared, walking in front of Sera and facing her. “Are we gonna listen to him? I thought we wouldn’t waste any more time.”

Sera waited for a few moments as the Saint took his leave, waiting by the door looking over the sword she held. The Ruler was, in theory, an impartial adviser to the Masters of the War, and the upholder of the rules established for them. Whatever information he gave was more than likely valuable, however his cryptic, final message left much to be desired. What did he mean, “Be careful”? Was the sword she held not close enough to her chosen Hero to summon them?

Nonsense. She had picked the Catalyst herself, and made sure of its past. The sword in cloth mere millimetres from her skin was one owned by Hector, Prince of Troy. There was no doubt in that fact. Maybe the warning was simply one of “Be careful who you both summon, as they may end up at odds.” If that was the case, all she could do was pray that would not be so. Their sibling coalition would break down quickly, or they’d be forced to use their precious Command Seals.

”Yeah, we’ll listen to him. North of the Temple… sounds good enough to me.” she left out a small sigh, relieving some more of the still pent up tension from the encounter, then looked back to her sister, with a small smile, ”Ready to go?”

Sofia confidently smiled at Serafina, taking a few steps ahead of her before spinning on her heels. “I’ve been ready for a while.” She span once more for good measure, before skipping through the halls, heading north, her actions lacking the dread a typical person might have expressed on the advent of a war, “We don’t have all day sis, pick up the pace!”

The only indication of a response Sera gave was a small smile to the back of her sister, as she pranced along the halls to the exit of the compound. Watching her, one might have thought things were ordinary: just two siblings staying at the residence of family friends. Any indication that a War of any kind was lost in the moment, as she followed on behind her.
”Don’t get too far away; we both know how bad you are with directions.”

~ The Forest, Mt Enzou ~


The two had made their way North from the Temple, past the lake that bordered the compound and into the forest, a short ways down the mountain. The Anti-Spirit Bounded Field surrounding it made for a great location, especially within the Grail War, but Sera wasn’t explicitly sure how it would effect the Servant summoning; if she was right, only those crossing the Boundary Line would be affected, though she didn’t have the firmest of grasps on how exactly the field operated.

They had found a small clearing, mostly flat despite the incline of the mountain. Two large mats lay spread out across the ground, weighted with nearby debris to keep them from folding up or blowing away in any morning breezes that might have come by. The process had been somewhat arduous, but after a little while, they were finished.

Two Summoning Circles sat atop the mats. Sera had little information on more complex rituals, but if the circle seemed complex to her, she couldn’t imagine how they looked to Sofia. That said, she was curious just how such a simple array - a single circle, nevermind its complexities - could be used to bring about a Heroic Spirit, one with the power to destroy buildings and modern structures in seconds. From what she understood of the process, the Grail did most of the work, but even then, she found herself intrigued by the concept.

To the North of one, on a makeshift altar, was her chosen Catalyst: a bright, sharp blade, glinting in the morning light, its incredible edge obvious even at a distance. Sera had taken great care and effort to restore the blade to its once and former glory, and she had to say she was pleased with the outcome. It was a blade worthy of belonging to a famous Hero.

”Alright then, Sophie…” her gaze trailed over to her sister, stood before her own Summoning Circle, though without a Catalyst to speak of, ”You go first. Remember how we practised? Stand outside the circle, dominant hand outstretched with your palm open, using your weaker hand to support it. Do you remember the incantation?”

“Of course; I did my homework. Geez Sera, you don’t have to fret so much over me, i’ll be just fine.” Sofia pouted, stretching her left hand as she should. With a deep breath she relaxed her body, and focused her mind.

“Let silver and steel be the essence.
Let stone and the archduke of contracts be the foundation.
Let rise a wall against the wind that shall fall.
Let the four cardinal gates close.
Let the three-forked road from the crown reaching unto the Kingdom rotate.

Let it be declared now;
your flesh shall serve under me, and my fate shall be with your sword.
Submit to the beckoning of the Holy Grail.
Answer, if you would submit to this will and this truth.

An oath shall be sworn here.
I shall attain all virtues of all of Heaven;
I shall have dominion over all evils of all of Hell.

From the Seventh Heaven, attended to by three great words of power,
come forth from the ring of restraint, protector of the holy balance!”


Serafina watched closely as her sister began the ritual, as the circle before her began to glow, and as the wind around them picked up in speed. The circle didn’t just glow, though - instead its light spilled out from the lines drawn on the mat to fill every space around them, igniting the nearby wood in a glorious display, drowning out even the sunlight. A tremendous gale picked up around them, shaking the trees to their roots, forcing their hair to whip back and force, and drag down leaves from above them to create a rain of amber foliage.

The volatility of the Ritual was far from what she was expecting. Considering the Grail did most of the work, she almost anticipated it to be relatively calm, but this? This was on an entirely different level. From the center of the circle, and all around it, it felt like a hurricane, that would rip the two from their positions and drag them into the depths of whatever hole the Grail was opening to bring about a Heroic Spirit.

And then everything subsided; the wind stopped, the light died out, and the Ritual came to a close. Except one detail was wrong with the picture. The circle was empty. No Heroic Spirit, no deformed amalgamation of body parts resembling an eldritch abhorrence - there was simply nothing there. As quickly as she began to think, Sera looked over towards her sister, and specifically her hand.

The red marks were there. Her Command Seals, designating her as a Master in the Holy Grail War. Had the Summoning worked then? Where was the Servant? What was going on? And then an idea struck her.
”Hey Sophie?” she walked up and wrapped her arm around her shoulder, ”You might wanna go find your Servant. They probably knew it was you who summoned them and ran away~”

In response, all that Sofia could do was blink out of sheer confusion. “W-what? You’re kidding me!? They can do that?” And then it dawned on her, causing the single most extreme pout she ever released. “Owh ha...ha, you're such a comedian. Well I’ll just go and find my servant then. Go ahead and summon yours, I’ll be back soon.” With a single wave she turned around and ran towards the back of the temple, a small chuckle escaping her lips.

Of course what she said was a complete lie. At the very least, she didn’t want her sister to feel like she had failed at something else, but in truth, she didn’t have a clue as to what caused the error in the Summoning. Sofia had Command Seals, so there was no doubt a Servant had successfully been Summoned by her, but… what had caused them to spawn in an entirely different location? And where, anyway, were they?!

She turned back towards her own circle, eyeing the sword just a short distance from it. There wasn’t much she could do, except chalk it down to Sofia’s general ineptitude in Magecraft. Maybe her faulty Circuits just caused an issue of some kind? At this point, all she was doing was spit-balling. Without a clear indication of what the problem was, there was no way to diagnose the issue. All that was left to do, in that case, was Summon her own Servant.

Mimicking her sisters previous position, she stood face on to the circle, right hand outstretched, with her left hand supporting. She had drilled her own chant into her head since she decided to partake in the War, and now she was finally getting a chance to use it. A shot of nervous excitement flooded through her, despite her typical calm disposition, and she began to speak.

”For the essence, silver and steel.
The archduke of contracts, and stone for the foundation.
A wall shall rise against the falling winds,
and the four cardinal gates shall close.
Let the three-forked road from the crown reaching unto the Kingdom rotate.

Know this now:
Under me you shall serve, and to you I pledge my fate
Submit yourself to the call of the Holy grail and answer,
If you would give yourself to this truth and reason.

This oath I swear to you:
Of the Heavens I shall attain every value;
Over Hell, and the evils within, I shall hold every dominion.

Attended by the three words of power, and from the Seventh Heaven,
come forth from the ring of restraint, protector of the holy balance!”


Once again, a violent whirlwind ripped through the forest, tearing at the girls clothes, and forcing her to shield herself against it. The glorious and incandescent glow blinded her for a brief moment, before everything went still again, and her eyes were able to open, only to be greeted by a sight she never thought she would see. The kind of sight she dreaded to think of seeing.

Nothing. No Servant. Her eyes flicked to her and, observing the Command Spells she possessed, and then back to the circle. The same thing had happened. Had the Summoning failed? Had she messed up? Just where the hell was her Servant?! Where was Sofia’s?! Something was desperately wrong with what had happened, but she couldn’t for the life of her figure it out. There had to be some kind of explanation, there just had to be.

Her mind raced with different possibilities in the few moments she had to stand and ponder the situation. It wasn’t a case of the talent of the Magus, since neither of their Servants had Summoned in their respective circles. It couldn’t be due to their incantations, either; they had used different ones. So what was it? The Catalysts didn’t change anything, so was it environmental?

And then it hit her. The Anti-Spirit Bounded Field. Trying to Summon a Spirit into the Bounded Field was the exact same as having them cross it. The Field would reject their Spiritual Core, and the Summoning wouldn’t function properly, so the Grail had to place them outside of the Field. For example… in the Temple. An explosion and scream from behind her, back towards the temple, confirmed that hypothesis for her.

That was far from good.

Multiple scenarios flashed through Sera’s mind as she ran towards the circle, grabbing the sword before turning back to face the way they had come. Vitality and vigour flushed her system on top of the adrenaline that had begun to pump through her veins, as a multitude of Uruz Runes sprung to life across her body. She crouched down low, digging into the dirt of the forest, before leaping off, kicking up dust as she sped through the woods at an unnatural, magic enhanced speed.

It didn’t even take half a minute to arrive at her destination, and her eyes locked onto the scene. Sofia was stood outside the wall of the Temple, looking in through a demolished section of the structure, at two figures. One wore a huge set of armour, and rose into the sky at at least seven feet tall, gripping a shield and a spear, which was currently locked with the second figure. But she couldn’t tell who the second figure was. The only visible thing they wore was a cloak, but even looking at them, Sera found difficult, as though they weren’t really there at all. Their hands, too, appeared clutched around something, though nothing was present, and with it they were blocking the spear.

Servants. They must have been, and from the looks of things one was a Berserker. That was… Her Berserker. She had summoned a Berserker..? But that was…
”That’s not Hector…” she said aloud, to no one in particular, as the behemoth of a man raised his shield to strike the other figure across the head.

Yet in a nimble move, the hooded figure dodged to the side and ran out the building, moving past Sofia and Serafina in a flash, as if to avoid them and the monks getting involved.

The two Servants moved in a flash, their speed faster than their anxious eyesight could process as they chased each other round the outskirts of the compound. The moment Sera saw the hooded figure run towards them, though, she took initiative, and grabbed her sister by the hand, dragging her to the side to get away from them.

“That hooded person called me master, I think it’s my servant.” Sofia anxiously said, before running after the two servants. ”But as soon as she did, that beast attacked us; I only barely dodged it with the help of my servant.“ Sofia looked behind her to see if Sera was following her, before asking, “But where’s your servant?”

Despite her preconceptions, if the hooded figure really did belong to Sofia, then there was no doubt in the matter.
That there, is my Servant. The Berserker Class Servant… Evidently not Hector, I guess... “ it was obvious that Serafina was lost in thought, her sentences disjointed and uncertain as she considered possibilities as to who she Summoned, how they had been Summoned, and everything in between, ”we, um… we need to calm him down, like now.”

As she spoke, the giant Servant leapt past them, rushing towards the hooded figure to strike at them, spear held close and just behind the shield for added protection against any swings.

As Berserker moved in, the hooded figure stopped and faced him, wielding the invisible weapon and bracing for the impact. But upon hearing Serafinas' words, she lost her attention, even if for only a split-second; it caused her to lose her footing, and although she managed to block the attack, Berserkers' overwhelming strength send her flying several feet against a tree.

The tree splintered on impact, sending shards of bark across the field as Berserker prepared for another strike, launching himself at the tree to catch the winded and mysterious figure before him. He gripped the spear once again, charging towards the tree, leaving small craters in the dirt as he ran.

And already could Serafina hear the sounds of the Monks waking up, no doubt to check what the sounds had been. Things were getting worse by the second: people would find the Servants, would find her and Sofia, and to top it all off Berserker was going to kill the Servant of her own sister. She glanced around, unsure what exactly to do, until an idea struck her.

”Of course, the Bounded Field.” she turned back Sofia, with something of a smile on her face, ”Sophie, I need you to get your Servant and lure Berserker through the Bounded Field. It’ll weaken them both, and I can get him to calm down. Got it?”

“Uhh, yeah sure.” Sofia was a bit confused and concerned, but trusted her sister; whatever she had in mind was going to work. “Servant! Go south until you reach a barrier. Moving through it will weaken Berserker!”

As Sofia spoke, her servant had just barely dodged Berserkers' last attack . She gave a nod to Sofia before zigzagging south between the trees.

As the unknown Servant fled, Berserker kept up his charge, smashing through the tree in a single blow. As it fell, he gave chase to the person, ignoring the obliterated tree as it collapsed to the ground with a massive crash. The chase didn’t take too long, though, as the two breached the Bounded Field. In a split second the effects hit the both of them, dropping their parameters by several stages.

It was clear Berserker wasn’t happy with that. His grip on the spear tightened, and the ground below his feet collapsed further into craters. At first, the tip of the spear seemed to crackle slightly, like some small electrical discharge, but in the next second the thing lit up a strange, incandescent blue ripple, which pulsated down the shaft and up his arm, which hoisted the spear above his head, as though prepared to throw it.

The moment the two Servants had crossed the field, though, Sera had run in with them, commanding Sofia to stay behind. She locked eyes with her Servant, and his spear, and the realisation hit her. That was a Noble Phantasm being prepared. At first she had plans to solve things more peacefully, but it appeared she had no choice left. Her fists clenched, and she raised her right hand into the air, her palm facing towards her Servant.

”In the name of Serafina Whitehall, and through the powers bestowed upon my by Command Seal, I order you, Berserker, to calm down immediately!”


A wave of red spread out from her glowing Command Seals, striking Berserker from behind, immediately halting his spear throw, and forcing his assault to end. She lowered her hand, only to watch the two circles in the center of the tattoo like emblem dissipate into her skin, leaving behind an ugly, purple bruise as the only evidence they ever existed.

2/3


Soon after, Sofia caught up to Serafina, cautiously observing Berserker. “Did it work?”

“It seems so.” The hooded figure spoke, a somewhat gentle woman’s voice emanating from under the cowl. She took a few steps towards Berserker, watching him closely, and then walked towards Sofia and Serafina. “That was reckless, you have already wasted a command spell, to protect a servant not your own no less...Though I admire your dedication to your...sister?”

Serafina sighed, looking towards her sister as she ran up to her. Then her eyes trailed on the nameless Servant that approached her, and began to criticise her decision.
”The Grail gives you information of the War, right?” she started, half glaring at the figure behind the cloak, ”Then you should understand that Berserkers are people clouded by insanity. They don’t use rational logic. That, coupled with the fact that the Anti-Spirit Bounded Field messed up our Summoning, means I don’t have time to wait until our connection stabilises and I can order him around.”

She started walking towards her own Servant, looking him over as she did so.
”Your cloak… it’s a Noble Phantasm, right?” she looked back, activating her Masters Clairvoyance, only to find it useless. ”I can’t even sense you as a Servant, let alone read your parameters… so that cloak can mask your presence entirely?” though before the person could reply, she continued, ”And let’s get this straight. Me and my sister are in this war, together. Which means you answer to both of us. This is our coalition, and you’re gonna help us win this war. You and… Berserker, are the Combat Force, while me and Sophie here are the Backup Force. Comprende?”

“Come on sis, don’t antagonise her, she’s a heroic spirit.” She clasped her hands together as she looked at the servant. “I’m sorry, my sister intends well.” She looked at the hood closer, but not even her pure eyes of the moon could spot anything. “So uhm, who are you?”

“You can call me Saber.” she said as she lowered the cowl of the hood, revealing her face, which looked upon Berserker and Sera. “For as long as Sofia is your ally, so am I. But a coalition goes both ways, and you are not the only one with a wish. While I know us servants rely on our masters to exist in this world, it would not harm you to listen to us occasionally; We are heroic spirits for a reason, after all.” As she spoke, there was a proud undertone in her voice, albeit with a bit of cockiness.

Saber then put the cowl back on, hiding her face again, though this time, Sera and Sofia could identify her clearly. “The hood of Kismet, it completely masks the wearers identity by replacing it with a fictional one; however, it has no effect on those who know what it does, like you do now.” She lowered the cowl once more. “But rest assured, it is not my only weapon.” She said as she tapped the scabbard tied around her waist.

Serafina nodded slowly to each of the things the Servant said, listening intently as she spoke, likely due to the side effects of the still lingering Adrenaline.
”A cloak that can mask the existence of a Servant… I can make use of that.” she said, turning back to Berserker, ”And of course, I will listen to you. Your input will be valuable. And rest assured, you’ll get your wish, as long as you win the… Grail..?”

Her voice trailed off, only to be drowned out by the sound of… buzzing. Her gaze drifted towards the sound, only to see a group of winged insects flying towards them, wielding a sealed envelope between them. She had heard of the Matou’s odd magic before, however witnessing it first hand was something else entirely. As they came to her, Sera took hold of the envelope, and the insects dispersed, no doubt returning to the Matou Mansion.

She broke the seal, and swiftly opened it, taking care to read it thoroughly.
”We’re in luck.” she said, smiling, and looking towards Sofia, ”We’ve been invited to tea.” but as quickly as she spoke, she realised something, ”Christ, okay, um, the Monks are all awake now. We’re gotta get back to our room, Sophie. Can you, like… put Saber into Spirit Form or something?”

“Owh no, the monks! Uhmm uhh yeah I think I can.” Sofia hastily looked at Saber, who was already dissipating. “What about Berserker?”

”It might take a little bit before Berserker can… our connection hasn’t fully established. Let’s just head back, get out of this Bounded Field, and see what we can do, okay? We’ve gotta get ready for half past two, including washing.” she looked back towards the direction they summoned their Servants, and then back to Sofia, ”You go ahead, okay? I’m gonna get our stuff, then meet you back at the room.” and then with a short wave, she started walking, Berserker in tow, back the way she had come.





As Snow hid behind a tree, an ugly, somewhat disturbing mechanical teddy bear showed its face out of nowhere. It not only surprised Snow; but it made her uneasy, which was worsened by the weird manner in which the bear spoke. As she listened to it, she started observing the crowd that had gathered, some of which familiar. They looked to be around her age, but that gave rise to even more questions.

Why were they all kids?

Where they hostages liker her?

If they were, why would they need that many kids?

As she thought of possible scenarios, her mind started to get foggy and her heart filled with dread. It was Aurel who snapped her out of it. Or more like the sight of Aurel not hiding anymore as he was not where he was supposed to be. Was he crazy? Walking in between everyone with no care in the world. And yet…nobody seemed to notice him…at all. It surprised Snow so much that she almost missed the most important part that the bear had to say. But alas, even if she would want to, she could never miss those words.

“All you have to do is kill somebody!”

In a fraction of a second, the mood in the air turned from uneasy to absolutely frightful. This felt like a really bad joke, but she knew it wasn’t. Multiple people were kidnapped, lost their memories, and were imprisoned here. This was reality, and it was not a happy one.

But by taking it serious, it immediately caused her to distrust everyone who was stuck here, not even aurel was safe from her judgment. If anyone wanted to get out, they’d have to kill, and with her low expectations of humanity, it would only be fitting that they’d stoop so low in her mind. This situation required a very delicate strategy, but luckily, Snow had already thought of a first move.

But first, she would need address Aurel, who had kindly brought a pda to her. Upon skimming through it, she was a bit surprised at finding out that they were all shsl students, and how much they knew about all of them. But figuring out what it all meant had to wait, because Aurel was right in front of her.

“You’ve heard the teddy right? Before long, bodies will drop…Unless we stop them.” Snow slowly walked away from the tree and towards the crowd. “I don’t care for these people, they will definitely murder if given the chance.” She turned to face Aurel with an almost frightening seriousness. “So let’s remove that chance.” With that, she walked among the crowd, not looking anyone in the eye, until she did.

“Listen up, because I’m not wasting my time saying this twice!” She shouted, looking everyone in the eye with that same seriousness, albeit with a bit of prejudice mixed in.

“I know what you’re all thinking right now, and I warn you. Let it be known that I don’t trust any of you; if anybody tries to hurt me, I will make you regret it. That said, I won’t allow anyone else to be murdered as well, so from now on, everyone will be in groups of three or more people. Those who don’t abide by this rule are allowing murder to occur…But don’t mistake my words for compassion; my only goal is getting out of here.”

At the end of her ‘speech’ her demeanor slowly turned from hostile and serious to a somewhat more approachable stance.

“Got all that? Good, then I am going to ask you all something. Somebody found an exit with me, but said exit is electrically charged; safe to say we won’t be going through there. So I want to know; has anybody here found an exit or ways of escape?”
there is one for sure, the first OOC post has a link ^-^





Max’s face visibly contorted at Jezebel’s words. “God, how could I be such an idiot. So we can assume that the puncture wound on Mercy’s hand came from the mundinol-poisoned tip of my badge…shit.” A face palm was the last of the mental punishment that Max would receive for he was now focusing solely on the trial.

“Yes Lucy, I encountered a number of people; though forgive me for not remembering the exact times.” He looked upon Thomas. “I was working with Felix and Faith for the entire time while setting up the party, but soon after I had, Thomas showed up to have a…discussion about the last Night of Carnage, which Cyrus joined for a bit as well.” After giving a slightly annoyed glance towards the two he moved his eyes to Alice and Ice. “shortly after, Alice came to me, looking for Ice; I didn’t know where he would be so I turned her away.” Lastly, his eyes settled on Noel. “Jezebel showed up too for, you know. But the last people I’ve seen were Noel, and Denis, who just wanted to talk.”

Max scratched the back of his head, trying to remember anything that might help, but faced Lucy with a puzzled face. “I’m sorry, but I don’t remember any of them acting strange.”
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