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Gaining access to the shrine was easier than Caster anticipated. The Head Priest seemed to buy her story at face value, even though she was more or less sure he somehow saw through her nature as a spiritual being, even if unintentionally. Perhaps, he and his family had some kind of latent psychic ability, or leftover mediumnic power from their bloodline?

At any rate, that didn't matter for Caster at the moment. she would have plenty of time to investigate it later.


Now that she secured a base of operations, she quickly set up a workshop on her guest room. This place was located on some really good spiritual grounds. Bing abe to tap into this land's leylines without fear of giving away her position easily would be quite the advantage.

Right after that, she sent out some scout shikigami, bound to beautifully folded origami cranes, to scout some parts of the city where enemies would be likelier to gather. To her luck, it didn't take long for one of them to find a strangely dressed, but rather well-built, man talking the animals at a park.

Caster couldn't see his armaments, but judging by his build and attire, he was certain to be one of the Knights, or maybe Rider. An excellent opportunity for her to test the mettle of her skills against a qualified warrior.


Moments later, a trio of decrepit ashigaru skeletons, wearing scraps of rotten armor and rusty naginata rose from the shadows close to the other Servant's position. They advanced at a steady and slow pace, trying to intimidate him with cries of terror.

It was time for Caster to take her first move on this Holy Grail War.

Kyrsi Eirisphere

"Ow ow! No need to rush, Saber. I know it took a little longer than expected for me to find these disguises, but we are totally ok to go now," Kyrsi said after an eager Saber threatened to drag her out of her house if she didn't speed up. Kyrsi didn't know about Saber's time, but modern ladies had their priorities. Such as finishing some touches on a pair of yellow raincoats, embroidering some distraction charms to them.

With that said and done, though, Kyrsi was more than happy to comply. Not only that, but she had the perfect idea of where to check first...

"What do you say of checking out the Church first? I heard that someone I know might be staying there. If that's true, we might be able to kill two birds with one stone, maybe literally," Kyrsi said with a radiant smile stamped on her face.

"Will that be fine with you, Saber?"
Before she could get her chance at a counterattack, Clair was disoriented, possessed by a hacking cough that left her unable to do anything but fight back the need to claw at her own throat. The effects of the burning venom ended a moment but their harshness lingered for long enough to cause Clair to stumble to the floor limply after the serpent let her go.

"I—I don't think I'm feeling so well," the blonde thief said painful breaths, laid on the dusty floor with her cheeks flushed in a feverish pink.

It would take some time before Clair would be able to regain her wits. However, someone else in the antique theater was full of both wits and questions after being summoned so abruptly.

"Hey, it's finally my time to shine! We better get done with this soon, so I can go back to Cait and tell her about...So, what exactly are we doing here, again?" Leyna said as soon as her slender elvishness manifested out of the card. She looked around the clearly haunted theater and then, back to Thomas, wondering what she had been called for now that the snakes were no longer in sight.

※ ※ ※

Back at the Count's room, Victoire matched Annabel's grin with one of her own. She knew the Huntress well enough to be sure that she wasn't here just to say hi.

The fact Annabel pretty much confessed to her crimes didn't help her case either. "So, you admit you stole something, just not the book? And here I thought you were looking for a present for that Puppeteer you got so attached to." She said, letting the cat out of the bag.

"At any rate, it seems like we are going to have more unwanted guests very soon. I suggest that you all decide on this issue of who's the thief with haste. Or else, you might not be able to," Victoire said as she noticed the advance of the snakes, wondering what could be their intention, now.


"The practitioners of this era developed a very unusual custom, I see. Nevertheless, you needn't worry. I—This humble Satsuki—am very used to being discrete in all things," Caster answered her Master's in a pleasing voice. Her tone—and indeed her very appearance—changed halfway through her sentence, to something much more fitting of her earlier days as an exiled nun.

"With your permission, I'll depart, then. However—before that—please have this. Place it under your pillow and it shall aid in your expeditious recovery," Caster said, taking her leave after handing a katashiro—a paper doll—bound to a healing shikigami to her Master.

Caster arrived at the shrine not that long after leaving her Master's hotel room. Weak as she may be in comparison to the other Classes, this servant body was indeed a very convenient tool for Caster. Not only was it much faster and durable than she ever could dream of, but the ability to enter the realm of the spirits without complex rituals also had a number of priceless applications. Caster could only wonder what she would have been able to do if she mastered such magecraft while she was alive.

Nevertheless, dwelling in the past was pointless.

As she expected, the shrine was built on excellent ground. A perfect workshop for her to stay for the duration of this Holy Grail war. She could even feel the presence of a barrier that rejected spiritual bodies, no doubt erected when fending off youkai and vengeful kami was a daily task for the shrine inhabitants.

Taking back her physical form, Caster approached the shrine on foot. From now on, she wasn't the Caster Class Servant Takiyashahime, but Satsuki, a nun from far away on a pilgrimage to Hokkaido. Even if this was a Shinto shrine instead of a Buddhist temple, gaining entrance to the premises on the pretense of being a weary traveling nun in need of a place to rest her sore feet for a few days wouldn't a hard task. Especially when she had with her a "letter of recommendation written by a friend from Kyushu" to present to the shrine's head priest.

Fire. Fire and blood. A night sky dyed crimson with the grudges of countless warriors. The blood of her father, brother, everyone that she ever cared for.

Those were the last things to be engraved on Caster's mind before she left this world almost a thousand years ago. Despite all of their effort. Despite the peaceful life she left behind to join her brother's attempt at avenging their father's demise, overcoming the Genji oppressors wasn't Taira's fate. Nevertheless, Caster stood with him to the very bitter end. And to this day, she still burned with hatred for those who opposed them and the world they built, trampling on their corpses.

All those feelings run through her mind after answering the summoning ritual. "To think that a modern mage would be brave, or foolish, enough to deal with forces far beyond their comprehension..." Caster thought as she tilted her head and gazed at her Master with emotionless, crimson eyes.

"A foreigner, huh? Perhaps that's for the better," she said after a brief moment of silence when the only sign she wasn't a mirage would be the faint smell of wet earth mixed with higanbana perfume.

"I'm the Caster Class Servant, Takiyashahime of the Taira clan. If that's of your agreement, our contract is formally sealed," Caster introduced herself in an elegant, albeit in an old-fashioned, way.

"If you are not opposed to it, I would like to begin working on a workshop immediately. A temple, or shrine, would do well for that. Especially if it has a cemetery attached to it as became customary in this era," Caster said as she approached her Master and looked him in the eyes. Despite being a more than a head smaller than him, and the fact she was behaving subserviently as befit her position, Caster still exuded the imposing aura of one born and raised to a splendid noble household and wouldn't part with it for as long as this Holy Grail War lasted.
Kyrsi Eirisphere

The Holy Grail War...a ritual to summon Heroic Spirits, powerful figures from throughout human history, from their resting place at the Throne of Heroes, and have them vie for supremacy in battle. The final prize was nothing but the Holy Grail itself—or rather one of the many objects to ever be called by that name—an all-mighty wish-granting device.

"That's an impressive idea, huh?" In Kyrsi's opinion, there was something amiss with this ritual. It all sounded too good to be true, or perhaps, a little incomplete. She decided to take part in it just to see if how false this advertisement was, and maybe learn a thing or two. Most important of all, the part about summoning Heroic Spirits was true!

Kyrsi found that baffling when she finished the summoning ritual and found herself face to face with a...Caster? Yeah, that had to be it. After all, there was no other explanation for what kind of Servant would answer her summons. Of course, Kyrsi would have preferred something more dashing like a Saber or a Rider, but at least she won the cutesy lottery it seems. All that was left to do now, is go out and win this war!

"Hey, Caster, I know you probably want to set a workshop or something like that. But, what do you say about going out and scouting the area personally first?" Kyrsi asked of her Servant while rummaging through a pile of random clothes. "I even have the perfect disguise if you want to remain incognito," she said as she pulled a pair of garish yellow raincoats.
In Tower of Fable 21 days ago Forum: 1x1 Roleplay
"Woah! This party is getting crazier than I thought," Clair declared as all hell broke loose once Thomas and Caprice—or so she thought—joined the fray. She had to admit that the chaotic melee was growing a little dangerous. However, the life of a thief was a life of danger. Clair was more than prepared to face whatever odds were thrown against her.

The only thing evident in Clair's move's—and so she thought Rose's too—was that she didn't intend to truly harm the snake. It was merely a dumb animal, after all, Clair was sure they could subjugate it without resorting to lethal blows. Her concentration was broken when Thomas delivered what looked like a fatal wound to the snake. "What!?" Clair had a guilty look on her face for a moment. But, before she could say anything, the four of them got literally entangled in an explosion of purples and blacks, bound by snake-like coils of dark matter that looked like they were cut from the very fabric of space-time itself.

"Eww!" Was all Clair said when she saw what happened to Rose after being bound. Even if their fearless Captain got a pretty nice look thanks to her card, the idea of becoming a living mass of bugs creeped Clair to no end. Once again, she would have no time to focus on those thoughts, though. "Argh! What do you think you are doing? Ahhh!" she let out once the snake sunk its fangs on her throat. Clair could feel her flesh and blood burning from whatever poison the creature was injecting on her but no matter what she did, she was way too weak to wrestle herself away from its grip.

"Get away from me, ahhh! I'm not gonna turn into snake food," She said as she tried to grab a hold of her weapon and possibly use a magic trick or two to free herself.

※ ※ ※

"Well now, this is getting spicy. Allow me to—" Victoire's comments on the comedy unfolding before her eyes were cut short by none other than Kanbaru trying to get a little too howdy, prompting Victoire to temporarily turn into a swarm of shadow bats to avoid the strike. "I should have expected someone like you to be a ruffian. The smell of your blood doesn't lie, after all," the Vampire said as she took back her physical shape, only to find that she had a wet throne to sit on now.

"Do as you wish, but I can't guarantee that your friends won't drag you in. In fact, it would be quite enjoyable to see that," Victoire had a dark grim on her face as she answered Akiko's question. "Well, it seems like the issue is going to come to an end soon, what a terrible shame," she added in a disappointed voice once Kabaru and Amy ganged up on Riku.

Just as the confrontation between the girls—or should it be the cat-fight?—was about to come to a conclusion, another interloper invaded Victoire's space. "Hi there, Annabel. It has been a long time has it not?" The vampire said in a rather casual manner as she gazed at the huntress. "What brings you here? I don't think I've done anything worth being hunted, so... Oh, I see it now," she spoke more to herself than to the other woman after witnessing Annabel's actions.

"Seems like you have an ally now too, Princess. This fight isn't going to be as one-sided as it looked. Just be sure to ask about her prices first, I suppose," Victoire said to Riku.

"By the way, you don't happen to know anything about stolen books, do you?" Victoire asked Annabel. Even though she had figured the answer to her own question by now.

Not long after both the Hunters and Demons began to arrive at their destination, a strange buzz could be heard in the wind on the lakeside. It seemed that the prey the Hunters looked for was about to show itself. Without regard for those of its kind, a group of insectoid demons had gathered in the woods around the lake, seeking the allure of the dark stones.

Whether they had been sent here by the Envoy or not was not of importance. What they sought now was to collect the stones and kill those who disturbed their peace. Sensing the Hunters' intentions was enough to send them in a frenzy, rushing to main and devour.

※ ※ ※

As for the Shrine, an eerie aura of stillness hovered over the place. The sealing stones had yet to be further disturbed, but the signs of the presence of the black stones were everywhere around the temple grounds and the trail leading further up the mountain.

An even larger sealing stone blocked the entrance of a cave at the end of the trail, probably being the reason this temple existed in the first place.

Any Hunters or Demons willing to search the premises would find not only the dark stones littering the temple grounds haphazardly but also what looked like signs of scales. Almost like a snake's shed skin. What they could represent and the reason behind their presence would likely be a mystery to the Hunters, but likely not to the Demons.

However, until any of the two sides decided to engage in action, the true source behind this mystery was unlikely to show itself.

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