Crawling to the Dawn
a Fate series fanfiction written by The Overlord Bear
Summary: Shirou Emiya ends up summoning a certain treacherous Knight of the Round Table as his Servant for the Fifth Holy Grail War, and said Servant is a somewhat sane Berserker to boot…a Berserker who then ends up wanting to smack some sense into him and a bunch of other people.
WARNING: MATURE CONTENT!
Previous Chapter: And There Was Much Rejoicing?
First Chapter: E-Rank Luck
Chapter 5: Unleashed
Was it that hill again?
It might as well have been yesterday when that battle happened, but…something was different.
She probably didn’t even notice it the first time. Fire reminded her of that hill, after all.
But for one, the fire on that hill was not as hellish as this one. Or perhaps it should be said that it was more similar to the popular image of hell.
In other words, fire was everywhere. It only left a small hole showing a dark sky, all while smoke rose and clouded along.
Had she died?
No, she did not die. She would not die. She will not die. Even if she died and went to Hell, she would simply kill the Devil and dig her way out of there, because she will not die until she has her wish fulfilled.
But just as she prepared to stand up with the rage that would burn hotter than the fires surrounding her…
…there was a cry.
It came from a man she never met before, standing over her, taking her – No, it was his hand, a young hand that was never hers ever since.
Yet why did it pain her so? Why did the sight of an unfamiliar man crying over a dying child give her so much pain?
And then she saw him take out that scabbard.
“No wonder I overhear Issei-kun complaining about you! I thought he was just being ironic!”
“Well, no wonder Emiya-kun has a hard time with you around! And I very much wanted to believe that you were just putting up a front!”
“Oh, you wanna go, Miss Tohsaka?”
“I can break your sword in half with my bare hands, Fujimura-sensei!”
And then Archer slammed their foreheads into each other, making them fall onto their backs from the reactionary force.
Having snuck back in with simple materialization from behind a hallway corner and a removal of his red shroud, Archer moved to stop the two females from causing further destruction in the Emiya Residence.
And it should be said that in no way would the Counter Guardian trust the dumb kid with his Berserker to stop this sort of fight quickly, because the kid would just become another addition to the floor via kowtowing into it.
And speaking of kowtowing, the kid was an upper body away from doing so as he stared past the open doorway of the bedroom.
Well, at least the kid wasn’t doing as bad as he expected.
Now, back to those two…
“I’ll force you both to clean up under my very strict supervision if you don’t control yourselves,” Archer threatened, glaring down at Fuji-nee and Rin.
“But Mr. Archer!”
“Archer, what the hell do you think you’re doing!?”
“I just cleaned up this house,” the man growled, towering over them further, “And do you think that I’ll just take it like some mindless robot if I have to witness it get destroyed again?”
At that, the two immature women shuddered, eyes shrinking back into their whites.
And then the back of Archer’s enraged mind came back to the front, noting how strange it was to see these two women, who overpowered him so much before, shudder and freeze because of him, especially because of something like cleaning.
Sure, there was that sick satisfaction about managing to get his point across to his freeloading big sister figure and his multi-faced Master, but Archer felt like it was still him having gone too far.
“Hey, A-Archer-san…” the kid’s voice entered, “It’s just cleaning…I-I can handle it.”
Archer didn’t give him a look. He just closed his eyes, turned his head, and crossed his arms.
“Fine, you can handle that,” he told the kid. “Though there’s nothing to clean up right now…unless you’re talking about these girls’ personalities…”
“Well, I’ll just…talk with them, then…” the kid agreed, though he had a sweat drop on his forehead and a hesitant smile. “You can watch over…Sammo-san here.”
Looking at where he was now, Archer found that, at the very least, he could hold his own better than the kid ever could in terms of dealing with the unconscious Berserker in the room.
“Alright, then,” the tall and tanned man agreed, walking over to the bedroom to stand beside Berserker. “Now get to it, kid.”
The kid looked like he wanted to say something, but Archer didn’t give him the chance to capitalize on that, so he slid the door shut in front the younger one’s face.
Nobody bothered to go against that sliding of the door, so Archer walked back, sighing as he stood by the other Servant.
Indeed, today was another ongoing disaster.
If that encounter with Arturia (in a skimpy maid outfit for some reason he couldn’t fathom) and Illya hadn’t happened, then the Counter Guardian probably would’ve still been able to banter with Mordred. He didn’t have much doubt that the Knight of Treachery just broke her Master’s hold on her Mad Enhancement because of that encounter and outburst.
And then there was that fake priest. That guy was bad news, and even worse with what he apparently knew now. Rin’s recent emotional tangles didn’t help there, so Archer felt the need to be more vigilant as he stayed closer to wherever his Master was.
As for Sakura…she left the house, but Archer didn’t bother following her. As much as he wanted to help her, he hid secrets too many and too dark to be helpful, while she had complicated relationships on top of having a complicated personality. Along with all that, self-loathing and helplessness are things he was no stranger to, so much that he could probably call them his best friends already. They would need deal with her later, though.
Anyway, Archer needed to prepare as much as he could for the possible damages he could see so far.
If his knowledge of Arthurian legend still had that sharpness, then he would need to negotiate and maybe even work with the Berserker, if she could be reasoned with in her Mad Enhanced state. If reasoning with her won’t work, then he would need to kill the kid and make sure that she would only cause minimal damage. Not an easy choice, but he wasn’t going to take any chances. Besides, maybe he’d even die and never come back if he killed the kid with his own too stained hands.
But on the chance that he could reason with Mordred, he would need to get her to Arturia and Illya without too much blood shed and property wrecked. Having the kid and Rin brought along as well was also probable, and since that chase and escape by the Saber and the Einzbern didn’t show murderous intent from them (if it were about that maid outfit, though, then it didn’t count in this case), perhaps the only one they should be worried about there was the Berserker.
Oh, and there was also Kotomine. Nicer Illya may be in this timeline, but that man’s scent still reeked as much as Archer could remember. If the fake priest accompanied Shirou Emiya’s little sister wannabe of an adoptive older sister, then he would need to watch out for an ambush or several later on, especially by that blue and battle-hungry Lancer. A possible three-on-one certainly made dealing with the Irish hero easier, but the ambush possibility was a crucial factor. There was also that golden bastard with a very strange but still dangerous ego, and although the chances of that one showing up were lower, safely appealing to his ego should be put in consideration…
As for the Matou camp, Sakura shouldn’t get forced help. Rider would be the first wall to deal with, though, unless there was a chance where Shinji could be disposed of without much hindrance from the Matou Servant. As for the old worm…Perhaps Illya knew how to deal with him?
“Don’t move, fool.”
Suddenly, there was a sword underneath his neck.
Looks like he would need to review and revise his plans on the go, then.
Damn E-Rank Luck.
“Oh yeah, I forgot to ask…Who was the bastard that knocked me out this morning?”
Shirou saw Tohsaka’s eyes widen as her body tensed, though it was barely noticeable.
“Huh?” the school idol then went, eyes narrowing.
And then the school brownie realized that they had done something stupid and forgot to prevent it early on.
“I know somebody hit me in the head,” Fuji-nee raved, fists clenched and shoulders hunched towards Tohsaka, “And I know that Shirou-kun and Sakura-chan don’t have the guts to do that!”
Shirou felt himself still at the rising tension, though Rin put a hand on her hip, chin lifted up some as she locked eyes with Fuji-nee.
“Okay…” Tohsaka went, “How about you go take a nap for an hour or two and forget about this, then, Fujimura-sensei?”
“Huh?” Fuji-nee blinked. “A nap? Well…” And then she yawned. “Maybe…maybe you’re right…” And then she swayed. “I’ll take your…your room…Shi…rou…”
By the time he realized what Tohsaka just did to Fuji-nee, Shirou still managed to rush quickly enough to catch his big sister figure with his arms before she hit the floor.
“Tohsaka…What did you do?” he asked her, eyes narrowed at the complicated girl he found having a crush on little ol’ him. It was nice to put a stop to the danger, but it felt a little too rude for his liking.
“Well, I hypnotized her, if it wasn’t obvious enough,” Tohsaka replied, arms crossed and chin raised. “Or are you just that dumb about magecraft that you don’t even know how to hypnotize someone for a short while?”
It was jarring to face such cold condescension from her, but then Shirou had to remember that despite the ridiculous quarreling he saw them have lots so far, she wasn’t the school idol and Archer’s Master for nothing. He already faced her angry recently, sure, and he already faced her being aloof as well at school a lot, but none of them included this air of self-importance that seemed willing to even kill just to get what she wanted.
Indeed, she was much like her Servant with that attitude, and it made Shirou start fearing the risk of the breakdown of their alliance.
“Seriously,” Tohsaka continued, “Our teacher’s life is in danger with your Berserker now back to being a ticking time-bomb, and considering what I know about Fujimura-sensei, we’re just delaying the inevitable demands for information she’ll be doing once she gets back up.”
That, Shirou could not refute, so he didn’t say anything in reply there.
“And I hope that outburst your Berserker had in front of those two from a while ago gave you even just a shred of a hint you can understand about how much danger we’re in now, Emiya-kun,” the partner Master added.
“Wait, those two girls were Master and Servant?” Shirou spoke up, confusion about that rising once again. “Huh, I guess that’s why they looked and felt so strange…”
“Of course they were strange,” Tohsaka shot back. “They seem to be from the Einzbern, too, though the Master’s interest in you makes me wonder if you know her.”
“I don’t know her, Tohsaka. I’ve never met her before.”
“Honest. I was surprised when she hugged me. But I don’t mind making friends with her and her Servant. They seem pretty friendly. Maybe they can be convinced into making sure that the Grail doesn’t fall into evil hands!”
“Alright,” the school idol sighed, “Let’s assume that they can be convinced about that, then. Will your Servant be able to help you there, though, considering how she probably will be after she wakes up?”
Fuji-nee’s weight felt heavier as Shirou thought about that.
“I think you should put our idiot English teacher in a bedroom first, though, Emiya-kun,” the school idol then told him. “For our convenience and her safety, however much we’ll be able to have right now.”
If Tohsaka’s earlier mask breakdowns were, dare he say it, cute and cool despite their awkwardness, then this one was cold and callous despite its sensibility.
Really, with how much they spun his mind around, Shirou wondered which parts he saw were her masks and which parts were her true self.
Still, Shirou followed Tohsaka’s suggestion-toned command and brought Fuji-nee to one of the guestrooms. He did manage to lay Fuji-nee down and tuck her under a blanket, and he was even surprised by how she quickly rolled on her side and started drooling into the pillow right after that.
And when he came back…
“Okay, all of you shall help me find my father today, or I might as well take you all with me on a trip to the Grim Reaper. Understood?”
…plans broke down just as fast.
Meanwhile, the Einzbern stronghold in the Fuyuki Forest stood whole and repaired.
“How unsightly and impractical,” Sella commented, though.
After all, a nearby part of the forest where said stronghold was situated told a different story. Trees lay whole on the ground, thick roots fully exposed with clinging bits and chunks of loam. Some of them were cleanly cut into parts, their smooth tree rings shown, while others were crushed into uneven shapes and sizes, looking as rough as the bark that served as their skins. The grass and the weeds were also scattered among them, and the varying mix of green and brown also had shades of burnt black here and there, too. Along with that, there were also a few small animal corpses that, unfortunately, became part of the ruins.
The causes of all that stood in the irregularly round and barren clearing they made, each of them having one foot forward and two fists clenched.
“So…fully reminded of Papa, Saber?” taunted the cause named Illyasviel von Einzbern, who flicked her hair back and held some strands in place.
“Irisviel makes it difficult to call you a fully unholy spawn, Illyasviel,” replied the other caused named Arturia Pendragon, holding her wind-concealed sword back and shifting her weight down to her legs.
“But Mama loved Papa,” Illya shot back with faux innocence, complete with an index finger under her chin, “So what does that make her?”
“Grgh…” Saber grunted in response, knowing that giving her honest opinion on that would mean another bombing from her Master…though she had some struggles with resisting the urge to bring up Irisviel’s horrendous driving skills.
And then there was more tense silence, weapons at the ready as the two homunculus maids watched on from the castle steps with resignation.
“At least we shall not need to worry so much about covering this up…” Sella sighed, putting a hand to her forehead, “And at least the castle itself did not have to suffer any damage again…”
“At. Least Sella. Is not. So noisy,” Leysritt added, drawing out another sigh from her more straitlaced partner.
Fortunately, Saber opened her hands and let her shaped wind disperse along with her hidden sword, straightening her posture as she also let out a sigh.
“This is nonsense,” the Servant stated. “And we have not yet even discussed about my…’son’ being an adversary of ours in this War.”
“Finally, you came to your senses, Your Majesty,” Illya relaxed, smiling and straightening up as well as she gave her hair one last flick.
“Such an innocent mask…” Saber muttered to the side at the thinly veiled patronizing.
“Did you say something, Saber?” the Master asked, eyes closed and one leg on tiptoe with that mocking smile.
“Nothing of relevance, Master,” the Servant answered, turning her lips more horizontal.
“My, quite a courteous maid I have.”
And Illya even dared to add that, reminding Saber about how she wore that frankly humiliating maid outfit. It was destroyed in the instantaneous clothing transformation which Servants can do, but still, having to run around with that still was something the woman known as King Arthur did not want to go back to.
“Thank you, Master…”
Unfortunately, Illya made sure to have a closet full of those outfits just for her Servant, so Saber gave that reply through gritted teeth.
If this was the price she had to pay for cursing her parents, then Saber could say that it could have been worse, at least.
Still, Saber had a question.
It was the serious question beneath all the foolish fighting they just had, and it was never answered by their raging back-and-forth over how much respect should have been given to the most intriguing figure of their quarrel.
“What happened to Kiritsugu Emiya?”
It was a bittersweet sight.
That much young Illyasviel von Einzbern understood as she hid a distance behind Jubstacheit, the cold man whom she called Grandfather, colder than the poor Japanese man crawling on thick and piling German snow.
When she heard him call her name, the little girl ran towards him, ignoring the indifferent gazes around her.
Pale and white-covered forms surrounded the father and daughter. Majority of them also wielded humongous constructs of sharp and blunt gray. Dots and streaks of red also stained said whites and grays, and although they were like the eyes of the more numerous humanoids in the scene, none of them held as much life as those red stains did.
None of them were as important as her weakened father.
In his hands was something blue and gold, which she pushed away in favor of her warmth…warmth which met growing cold.
His eyes were so empty and dark, as if they could not see how much life he had just scattered. His clothes were in tatters, black burnt even blacker, and he reeked of a scent so noxious to her magical senses.
Still, Illya embraced her Papa, for he clearly fought his way back and never gave up.
After all, she always knew that he would come back for her. Maybe he had taken another child into his care out there, and maybe Mama had died in the War, but she knew that he was a fighter, she knew that he was a hero…
…and this was proof enough for all that and his enduring love for her.
Yes, Kiritsugu Emiya lived and died a hero.
That was his daughter’s unwavering belief.
Author’s Note: Battle scenes are coming, and they shall be written with the best of my abilities despite my low confidence in writing such scenes.
Also, Her Royal Snarkiness seems to have touched some hearts deep. Amazement and gratitude goes to those fellow nuts of mine, then.
Still, honest constructive feedback is highly encouraged and will be highly appreciated, even if you don’t think my output is great.
Next Chapter: -in the works-