Table of Contents Final, re-revised version is found on Fanfiction.net at: Deviate's Fish : The Third Magic Chapter 1 Chapter 1a Chapter 1b Chapter 1c Chapter 2 Chapter 2a Chapter 2b - Edited Chapter 3 Chapter 3a - Updated 5/3/2011 Chapter 3b - Omake Chapter 4 Chapter 4a Chapter 4b Hello, I'm new to this forum and unsure how this works, but I hope for constructive criticism and perhaps some ideas on where to take this... or if I should continue this at all. I'm not very good with writing and this stuff but would like comments and opinions that would help. Thanks for your time and I hope what little I write is enjoyable. AlfheimWanderer is credit to the team. The Third Magic Chapter 1a The soft splatter of her blood upon cold stone echoed only in her mind, as the ichor that tied her to this plane of existence hemorrhaged from her body, her pleas for help dying unspoken on her lips. Her mouth moved very slightly in an attempt to say something pithy or meaningful, yet her attempt at defying the certain end failed, with only a wordless bubble of blood gurgling up from within. So this was it... after a meaninglessness existence where she had endured great pains, only to see everything slip through her fingers, she would die, her soul returning to Akasha to be torn apart and recycled -- probably for use in the next generation Justica model. Even now her consciousness was fast fading, her last tethers to this material world escaping her grasp all too quickly. She didn't want to die. But she didn't have a choice, as her… murderer… stood above her, looking down upon her with something akin to a mix of disdain and curiosity. Why did he not strike the killing blow, she wondered? Was it because he wanted to prolong her torment, to make her wish that he would just end her existence? Was it because the King of Heroes wanted to taunt her with the hope that she might still live? Was it because he wanted to use her suffering to torment the adopted son of Kiritsugu? She didn't know. All she knew was that his cold red eyes shone in the moonlit night, and in her dying moments, reflected that this must have been how her victims had felt as the light drained from their eyes, as hope faded and defiance sputtered out, till the end came with a whimper, not a bang. Her last gasps where upon her, her lungs failing as they, ironically, were deprived of oxygen and the prana flow that had kept her stable. It hurt just to breathe. And then even the pain stopped, with the man in the golden armor, the oldest of humanity's so-called "heroes", smirking before disappearing into the night, unseen and unheard by her numbed senses. Why did she still cling to this world? Her heart was gone; her body crumbling, and yet some long-forgotten remnant of self fought to keep on living, even though it was futile. But why? Her father had left her. Berserker was gone. Even her Onii-chan didn't care about her. She had nothing left to live for, nothing in this world. …I beg of you… A presence of some kind, an odd voice echoing deep within the emptiness of her soul, a light that slowed the inevitable approach of the end It felt old... almost immeasurably so, older than even the roots of her family's magecraft, yet it was definitely a spell crafted by something human, or at least close. It probed her, sending tendrils of arcane force through her vessels, nerves and burnt out circuits till it reached her core, as if in a last, desperate attempt to fan the dying embers of her soul into a raging inferno once more. So much had been repressed. Curiosity, hope, whimsy, faith and more - everything had been dampened, eroded, worn away by long "education" and training. Her role was over but... wasn't there anything she could do? She wanted to live more. She wanted to love. She wanted not to be alone. She wanted... well, she wanted simply to be able to move! But right now, even trying to muster up the force of will to twitch a finger cost her soul unbearable pain, hastening its deterioration. She couldn't even summon forth the magic to heal herself or recreate her body--not without her heart or the energy to do such things. There was so much need burning inside her breast, but nowhere for it to go, as desire became regret as the darkness closed in. …somewhere in the universe! An odd feeling - the foreign presence again, reaching into her with an unknown intent, a power she could not reject, as her life was nearly gone. It pulsed, seeming to wax and wane, disappearing and reappearing like the signal of an old, broken radio--or a heartbeat. Something odd and alien, affixing itself to her, twining itself with her nerves--which was simple enough, as her body became but a husk. Her last breath was all but done. Oh sacred, beautiful and strong… spirit! Ba-dump. A sharp, white heat pulsed through her body for a fraction of a second, as her life flashed before her eyes. What was the point of living when she was anything but sacred, when she was a tainted, dark thing, unnatural to humanity? When she was a mere vessel of the Grail to be discarded when her purpose was fulfilled? Was she beautiful when even her father had shunned her for… him? Was she strong, to have her Servant destroyed without being able to do a thing to stop it -- and to be killed herself by some rogue Servant, which by all means should have obeyed her as the Grail? Her spirit broke, sadness filling her as she released her last breath, surrendering the last vestiges of her life in this world, accepting her fate, wherever it might lead. …Here I plead… Answer my guidance! There was no strength left to struggle. Her will was depleted and her body destroyed. What would come would come, for the life of Illyasviel von Einzbern, Master in the Fifth Holy Grail War, was over. She just hoped that whatever awaited her, perhaps she might be more than just a homunculus, a tool to be made and used and wasted… -o-o-o-o-o- A world away, a young girl faced a rite of passage hardly as bad as the precipice between life and death. Some called her Louise Françoise Le Blanc de La Vallière. Some called her "Miss." Some called her sister or daughter. Most called her Zero, the talentless mage whose temper was as fierce as her magic was unusable. It shouldn't have been that way, as the strawberry blonde was of the highest ranks of the peerage, with a pedigree eclipsed only by the royals of her land. Her parents were mighty in the ways of magic, the blood of mage-kings (the same as that in the veins of the princess of Tristain) ran through hers, and she had been drilled in the knowledge of the Craft since she was in the cradle--yet none of that mattered now. Despite her background, she had failed, and quite consistently at that. Today was her last chance and failure was not an option. Besides being the most important point in her academic career, the Springtime Familiar Summoning was her once in a lifetime chance to prove herself to her peers, to show that she was not a commoner putting on airs of nobility. At least that had been how she had had started the day, filled to the brim with bravado and bluster, wishing to prove to those of her peers who mocked her that she was just as good as them. But once-twice-three times, she had failed the summoning, and now she suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous taunts and torments, powerless to respond. No one would defend a failure, not even the gentle, bookish professor who normally kept order -- he just stood aside and looked at her pityingly as the others did their worst, their words like lashes on her back, forcing her to bow her head. In response, she tried to reach deep inside of her, to suppress the molten core of anger bubbling and boiling within her heart, fueled by the fears and insecurities she had. This inner darkness was the only thing she could count on, her sole source of strength at the Academy, her only reassurance that she would show them... she would show them all. Such a thought was half-cried, half-snarled, as unladylike as it seemed. Blinking back unshed tears and channeling that grief, like so many unspoken others in her many years, deep inside her, Louise raised her wand with all the grace drilled into her by her mother's harsh discipline. Her eyes closed instinctively as they did whenever she was about to cast, a lesson learned years ago after debris from the first great explosion she had conjured nearly blinded her, but she forced them open. She wanted to see the moment of her victory, when at last, her efforts was vindicated and her rivals shamed - when she proved that she wasn't worthless. The Vallière was quite capable, at least as far as theory was concerned, able to recall knowledge and analyze treatises in a way few others could. She had studied this ritual extensively, taken exhaustive notes, and pestered her professors for tips. She couldn't fail now, not if she wanted to be more than just a Zero. “I beg of you,” the strawberry blonde began, her voice trembling in anxiety as she uttered the ancient words of rite. As she spoke, she seemed to calm, her words steadying as she let power flow through her. “My slave who lives somewhere in the universe, oh sacred, beautiful and strong familiar spirit, I desire and here I plead with my heart… answer my guidance!” Once more, silence reigned, as nothing happened. Not a whisper of magic, not a faint shimmer of light, not even the sound of rushing wind. Nothing save the snorts and chuckles of her so-called peers beginning anew, a sound that drove her to near berserker rage. She thought she had prepared herself for the worst, but she hadn't expected this, hadn't expected even more jeers from yet another failure that pushed her past her limits. No. Enough of this. She was done being a Zero. She would summon something far beyond anything they could possibly imagine! Something that could do the impossible, kick reason to the curb and overwhelm her doubters with power, an unyielding spirit of beauty and strength that would show them all. She’ll show them all. Rage flowed, molten and untrammeled, from her inner core, pulsing white-hot through her veins and nerves as she called upon every shred of power she had, every scrap of fear, anger, hatred, a river of force that tore from her, howled in an explosion of light and heat that threatened to consume her where she stood, burning her to ashes. I will not die a failure. The well of power roared, winds bidding defiance to the binds of logic as a maelstrom erupted from her body and tore through everything in its path. Air, ground, water--the fabric of worlds--time and space itself - the surge ripped through all of these with a shriek of despair, reaching, reaching, and reaching for the familiar that would best suit her. Around her, the field shook, her peers literally bowled over by the merest leaking of the unexpected display of might, as an eerie song of power hummed in the air, resonating in every nerve, every pore, every bit of skin of those present. It was like watching a legend being forged in that moment, as impossible amounts of energy spiraled from the girl, crashing forth and surrounding everything with her color. A spark flared to life before the girl within the heart of the storm, bare meters from her being. Swirls of energy and circles of some unknown magic shot forth like a beacon, with all--even Louise--flinching away from the utter intensity of it. Then as fast as it had begun, the display of power - light, wind, heat and all - simply ceased to be, leaving in its place a lone figure as naked as any child might be when born into the world, save for some thin scraps of fabric that might have once been a dress. Rubbing the leakage from her eyes (and telling herself that it wasn't tears - for why should she cry), Louise took a moment to study her newly summoned familiar as disappointment, only for her brow to knit in puzzlement. What? What is this?! She knew not to expect a griffon, manticore, or dragon, but this…? After tapping into her last reserve, this was what she had summoned? A girl, younger even than her, who couldn't even afford proper clothing - leaving almost nothing to the imagination? Louise did not often judge any person by their outward appearance after more than one lesson on politics from her father, but this was ridiculous! Only the fair, snow-like hair of this summoned girl stopped Louise from outright stomping in misery, as she had never seen hair that color except on those much older than she. Then, a moment later, Louise had another oddity to focus on, as the familiar opened her eyes, revealing to all a pair of eyes the color of fresh-spilt blood. I've never seen anyone with those eyes before... The young mage-in training blinked, turning to her professor to demand yet another chance, but her protests died as she saw how raptly the man was looking at the girl, naked curiosity burning in his eyes. Such a display of emotion disgusted the strawberry blonde - perhaps the professor would want to trade familiars, if he was so keen on staring at her obviously female familiar? Or maybe it had just been too long since he-- Louise hastily dismissed that train of thought before any awkward mental pictures could form, and looked back to her summon, only to see the other girl eying her almost appraisingly, almost as if judging the skills of an equal? An equal? Rubbish... By now, the jeers had started up again, having disregarded the "Zero's" display of power as just a fluke, but Louise simply ignored them, letting the lingering vestiges of the molten fury from before serve as a shield against their hurled insults. It was done now, though perhaps if she had finished on the first attempt, she could have avoided this seemingly ceaseless barrage of unsavory comments calling her pride, heritage and image into question. Now she was tired, wishing that the idiots would simply pick up their wands and float away, leaving her to her business. She didn't need them now, or their approval. Ah, there they go now. Now that she had a familiar, she would never be alone… At the thought, tiny, pink lips curled upwards ever so slightly as Louise walked forward with deliberate slowness, almost stalking towards her new familiar and cupping the girl's face, making sure the other was real, that this wasn't some fever dream. In a tone honed from many hours of emulating her mother, Louise spoke her incantation. “My name is Louise Françoise Le Blanc de La Vallière. Pentagon of the Five Elemental Powers; grant your blessings upon this humble being, and make her my familiar!” The white-haired girl had just enough time to display a moment of shock, as Louise closed the distance between them and leaned forward just enough to capture the familiar’s lips with her own in the time-honored ritual. Perhaps she allowed her lips to linger a few seconds longer than strictly necessary, but...that was just to be sure it worked. B-b-because it would be embarrassing if she had to repeat that part of the ritual over and over. The mage in training had just pulled back from the other girl, without even time to congratulate the newly minted familiar on what honor she has been given to taste a noble's lips, when a pale blue light rose from her familiar’s forehead, hissing as it built, searing dark runes into the forehead of the snow-haired girl. Illya hissed in pain as the ancient runes carved into her heretofore immaculate skin, with a pain not unlike the training she had undergone with Berserker in the forest. Her knees shook, her hands clenched, and her teeth grit... but her eyes remained open the entire time, continuing to watch, to observe, to judge. Long seconds later, the glow dimmed as the eldritch powers finished their work, the pain fading, leaving behind the dim, blue glow of the arcane runes. Her eyes clearly asked Louise what the mage had done, yet instead of voicing her query, the homunculus simply crossed her legs and performed what might have been a curtsy. It was hard to tell, given that she was not exactly wearing a dress. “I greet you, Louise Françoise Le Blanc de La Vallière,” the red-eyed girl intoned, and for a moment, Louise thought even her familiar's voice glowed; it was not quite angelic, but it seemed oddly close. “My name is Illyasviel von Einzbern.” “…von Einzbern? Are... are you Germanian?” As soon as the words left her lips, Louise regretted them. But as a noble, society demanded that she take pride in her words and never take them back for a commoner... which her familiar had to be, right? Though the "von" seemed to belie that... "My family has roots in Germany, yes," Illyasviel acknowledged with a slight nod, her halo-like hair fluttering with her every move. “But most recently, I come from Japan. Might I inquire where we are?” Germany? Is that an archaic way of saying Germania? And... “Jaa-pahn?” Louise thought of herself as well-read, but she has never heard of such a place or read of it in any of the books or lore she studied. She quirked an eyebrow at her familiar as if to question further, but decided against it. A noble couldn't afford to look ignorant, and a Tristanian certainly couldn't afford to in front of a Germanian. It was time to apply the first lesson her mother instilled into her: that she must impress her will upon anyone she commanded to let them know who was in charge. Louise grimaced inwardly, noticing how her familiar seemed about her age, height and size, how it was almost like looking into a mirror. If the tables were turned--if, Brimir forbid, she had been called by some talentless mage at the Vindobona Magical Academy, would she allow herself be summoned and controlled like this? But such concerns were not something she could worry about, as she needed to push aside personal desire and worries in favor of the needs of the moment. “We are at Tristan’s esteemed Academy of Magic," the Vallière scion condescended to explain. After a pause, however, she figured that that might not be quite enough information, and so added a bit more a beat later. "I have summoned you today as my familiar.” In response, the snow-haired girl, this Illyasviel simply cocked her head. “A familiar? Not a Servant?” she inquired, raising an eyebrow. "Well, I suppose I would have made a bad Caster anyway, but I can’t really play any other class." A small smirk, confusing Louise as to what this meant. Servant implied lower class, but Caster...as in a spell-caster? "No, a familiar,” Louise affirmed, looking Illyasviel’s body up and down for a moment with a slight frown, as the homunculus blinked at this. “And you need more clothing.” Illyasviel blinked at her ‘master’s' declaration, more out of curiosity than anything else. Perhaps this would be an interesting experience, she decided, her mind probing her body, which had not so long ago been on the verge of death. She felt different. A tad weaker, to be sure, less in tune with her magic circuits, almost as if this was a puppet body, though she knew otherwise, given that she had dealt with those before. Still, the strange prana source pressed into her forehead prevented degradation and removed the need to eat - something that she'd have to study later to better understand its limitations--and how it was constructed. Was it perhaps some kind of prana conversion matrix drawing from the greater source to refill her od faster than her circuits could allow? Something that contained power on its own? Though she was skilled at crafting things of Alchemy, and the memories of the Winter Saint within her indicated how certain rituals might be done, she didn't have as much experience with storing power in any form other than her body. At least my power seems to flow smoothly enough, and I have good control over my magecraft… albeit with a hint of resistance, as if the world egg I was drawing from is different. Throughout this time of thought, Illya remained silent, and seeing this, Louise was pleased, thinking that her familiar was at least obedient. The Vallière girl would have to ask the unknown about her background later in her room, though she profoundly hoped she hadn't ripped this girl away from a noble life, even if it had been like hers. It didn't matter that the strawberry blonde enjoyed her life less with each passing day, almost wishing that she could disappear. Louise could not imagine any other kind of life, at least not that she would find acceptable. “Alright then, follow me. There should be spare uniforms in the Academy for servants. You could use one.” Illyasviel raised a finger to her lips, as if to question cutely, “Why don’t you just fly, like your friends?” Louise twitched. Louise twitched again. She almost exploded, but she quickly reminded herself that this girl did not know her and from the way her forehead glowed, she was not hired by one of the students to taunt her. “I… I am not proficient in that type of magic,” she growled out, almost like she was a starving dog being forced to give a bone away. Inside, Louise reminded herself again that the Rule of Steel was harsh… but fair. “Ah, lead the way then, Miss Vallière!” -o-o-o-o-o- Out of all the things to be impressed by, it was the sheer size of the castle that caught Illyasviel’s attention. Louise felt more than a little smug at the delight that shone in the other girl’s eyes--or was it a sense of familiarity and comfort? But as they walked past both the older and younger classes her familiar’s eyes drooped. When they passed one of the third years concentrating on practicing fire-spells the crimson-eyed girl actually yawned, as if magic was a bore to her, something routine. ...that's not possible. Commoners are supposed to be overawed by our might, as we are as beyond them as they are beyond such animals as cows. And commoner she had to be, though the fact that the girl had named herself "von Einzbern" suggested otherwise in a way that made Louise distinctly uncomfortable. Seeing that she had to take the initiative, Louise tried to start a conversation. She had little practice at it in the castle as she had no one to talk to, yet it had still been one of the things her tutors had tried to instruct her in, so she had to try. “So tell me about where you are from, Illyasviel. I have never heard of Japan, is it in the far east of Germania?” Her familiar stilled mid-step, with Illyasviel’s eyes growing cold and dimmed, as if thinking of something unpleasant, a moment of tension visible in the younger girl's frame as blue rune upon her forehead glowed brighter. But after a moment, she forced herself to relax, giving a small smile. “You may call me Illya," she said at last. "And no, Japan is on the other side of the world from Germany. It's almost another world." “Another...world?" Louise repeated, blinking as she looked at the white-haired girl. "That is hard to believe, familiar. So it is to the East?” Such was unimportant really. The binds of the ritual had been completed, and could not be taken back, so wherever this familiar was from, she was bound to service the Vallière girl's needs. But Louise would strive to be a good master, even if the other were not a dragon, griffon or manticore. “In the future, please address me as master, familiar.” Illyasviel raised a curious eyebrow for a moment and then nodded her head. “If you say so, master,” she replied with a neutral expression. “Might I ask you a question, master?” Louise nodded; she was glad that at least her familiar was compliant. She had thought that the other might be more resistant to acknowledging her as a master, and that she'd be forced to make the other obey. Yet the other had acknowledged her, so she supposed she could be generous. “Of course, familiar.” “How did you summon me?” A serious question on a face with a smile that...was not quite a smile, but something else entirely, as red eyes bore into purplish, as if testing her. Were these words mockery of some sort, or...? “I… the Springtime Familiar Summoning ritual is a sacred rite," Louise explained imperiously, instructing a lesser in something she obviously knew little about. "It has been a tradition for all mages since the beginning of magic, a rite of passage passed down by the Founder himself!” “A familiar? I see…” Her familiar giggled and hopped ahead of her. She turned around, now facing Louise with a quirk of her lips, “I suppose I could be a familiar.” “You suppose? You have been given an honor, to chosen as my familiar! A commoner given such an honor is something unheard of!” Louise said, the words flying from her lips in an undignified outburst. It made her angry - both at her familiar, for being so odd, and at herself, as the arrogance she displayed seemed like something Kirche would say to her. “And what would constitute a commoner?" This... Illya asked, not quite so innocent now, her eyes sharp. "Where I come from, most would consider me nobility.” Louise tripped, nearly falling on her face before she recovered, reeling. “Y-you’re a mage?” Her voice was oddly weak as she looked at the familiar, blanching as she considered what it would mean to take away the rights of a noble. A commoner was one thing, but... by the holy Founder! What would her parents think? Would they... would they disown her if they found out? “Well yes, I could perform magecraft if I wished, master.” Her familiar said casually, as if such a thing were but a bagatelle. Oddly, the white-haired girl didn't seem smug, nor seemed to show offense at being summoned? But... why? “However, given my odd change of surroundings and the fact that I recently had a near-death experience, I would like to try my powers before exerting myself. I am impressed by your rune though; it is a rather fascinating way to channel prana to your familiar.” Prana? Rune? Magecraft? Only then did Louise focus on her familiar’s forehead and the odd glyphs that had been carved there. “I did not craft it,” Louise said, honestly, but wondering what was happening. “If you are a mage, then…” The Holy Brimir had obviously approved of this but... how could a mage take another mage as a familiar? “Well, maybe I am of the Caster class after all!” Illyasviel giggled cutely, putting a finger to her lips in thought as a cruel smile stole over her face. “Then I should go grab Berserker!” An ominous feeling overtook Louise, and suddenly, the strawberry blonde felt that maybe it would have been better had the mage-familiar just thrown a fit and gotten her into trouble. -o-o-o-o-o- Illyasviel laughed inwardly as she dragged the pinkette along to her room. The conflicted and confused look on her summoner’s face was enough to keep her from killing the other girl and running off to do whatever she wished - though another part of the reason was the rune on her forehead, which had apparently helped to rebuild her from pure prana, stabilizing her soul in a way she thought only the Third Magic was capable of. Further, the well of knowledge within her could not sense any Greater Grail in her surroundings, and the gate to the Origin seemed distant, almost as if she were worlds away. ...this is Zelretch's fault, isn't it? The only other alternative was that the Tohsaka heiress had succeeded where only the Wizard Marshal had before, a thought the homunculus did not find quite palatable. Either way, she took stock of her surroundings, particularly of how the constant feed of prana through the rune on her forehead made her feel invincible. Or in her case, perhaps more invincible than she felt before, but Illyasviel knew that the she in the past had believed a falsehood, as she had already been destroyed once. She would not allow that to happen again, and so she had to call forth her guardian. As a homunculus, she had jaw-dropping amounts of prana, so it should be possible, given that the Throne was universal... “Come along, master,” Illyasviel teased as she drew the circle. In a different world, she would need all the privacy she could garner. If Berserker was seen, she would probably be in trouble. “You want to see a real Servant, right? Well, let me show you what a true summoning is like...” “I-a true summoning?" Louise was taken aback by this... Germanian's audacious claim. So even a familiar would mock a master, eh? Well, this couldn't-- Gworrhhaa! --the growling of her stomach interrupted any brewing tirade, much to her embarrassment if the blush on her face was any indication. Dinner was in less than two hours, but her growing teenage body needed more food! “A guardian, a protector to serve as shield and sword,” Illya explained patiently, as if to a small child. Or perhaps she was talking to a smaller child. “I am but a magus, and fighting in the melee is below one such as me.” Louise's expression scrunched up once more, as she prepared to protest... but by then, the circle was complete, and the silver-haired girl had begun to chant, a drop or two of her blood falling into the center of the circle. "Ye first, O silver, O iron O stone of the foundation, O Archduke of the Contract ..." -o-o-o-o-o- He had served her faithfully. "...Hear me in the name of our great teacher, the Archmagus Lizleihi..." He yearned for nothing, not anymore. In his haze of black rage, nothing was left standing and everything in ruins. No loved one left, not even the gods truly helped him. Then he met her, his little master. She was so fragile, so… pure, like the snow that she stood in as she took him as hers. After the days and weeks under her service, he found himself wanting to protect her more than out of his contorted sense of duty. He had come to love her. "...Let the descending winds be as a wall..." Like a father protecting a daughter, a brother to a sister, or even a husband to a wife, he never left her side. He could, but would not, influence her decisions. He was tainted, evil, by his own choices and actions, but she had an innocence he had long since forgotten. And he would protect that, even if it meant the destruction of his body and soul in an infinite cycle of pain. "...Let the gates in all directions be shut, rising above the crown, and let the three-forked roads to the Kingdom revolve ..." Now he heard the call once more. "....Shut. Shut. Shut. Shut. Shut. Five perfections for each repetition. And now, let the filled sigils be annihilated in my stead! Set. " He would protect her, once more with feeling. He of such titanic might, that even a single errant twitch from him might break her. In a world that was but cardboard to him, she was just a single small scrap of white parchment, so frail that even his breath could destroy her. Yet she kept him so close, against even his judgment. "Let thy body rest under my dominion, let my fate rest in thy blade. If thou submittest to my call and if thou wilt obey this mind, this reason, then thou shalt respond. I make my oath here. I am that person who is to become the virtue of all Heavens. I am that person who is covered with the evil of all Hades. Thou seven heavens, clad in a trinity of words, come past thy restraining rings, and be thou the hands that protect the balance-!" Her grasp over his soul and heart was stronger than any binding of prana, even of an amount as near infinite as her own. She had his love. That was a loyalty even his rage could not break. Now the calming song of her power called to him once more, grasping his soul and materializing his might into a physical realm far from her origins. He worried for her, of the pain he would cause her simply by existing, but his will to protect her was infinitely greater. As his eyes opened once more, he scanned the area. As his senses took in the high-class medieval room, his inner senses knew the changes within his being. Now his master had an even more powerful seal than the Command sigils to dominate of his soul and body, something older to bind his will to hers. The blue runes that glowed on her head called to him… There is another? He turned to the other presence in the room. Someone had bound his master, with the same seals? She moved, as if to stop him from hurting that which bound even her soul to this foreign plane. But he knew better, he knew that the tiny pink thing was no threat. This pink-thing was different, but not an enemy. It was not his instincts about her that told him to stay his hand, but his instincts of his little master. Within his dark, black heart, he felt something warm grow. To see his little girl grow, to have someone to protect and love, to have a friend… his happiness for his master grew exponentially. But all he could do to show his love and happiness was to growl deeply and allow his eye to glow... even though he was no longer bound as a mindless Berserker. And perhaps, his master might even find happiness… …though some things still had to be observed. "Are you my Master?" the greatest hero of Greece asked, bending a knee to the snowy girl, his deep voice felt more than heard, rumbling like distant thunder. "Who else would suffice?" Illya countered, clapping her hands together. Perhaps it was not the best action; the little pink thing let out an “eep!” and fainted. If he could, Heracles would have rolled his eyes. Mortals were so damnably fragile sometimes. -o-o-o-o-o- Louise looked up at the giant that was summoned into her room, thinking that he looked more powerful than a dragon...and far more terrifying! Immediately, her eyes rolled to the back of her head as she fainted; the hunger for dinner forgotten. Illyasviel gasped as her Servant caught her fainting master with one hand, smirking to see the other's reaction to the Heroic Spirit which served her. “Oh my!” she murmured. “Now then… I wonder what exactly you've done to me, you pretty, little witch?” The rune on her head flared as tendrils of arcane powers stretched out, grasping across space and time at the root of all things. She felt empty. “Hello again, Berserker,” Illyasviel said brightly at her servant, all acts of naïve innocence gone, her eyes immediately going to the great bow on the Servant's back. “I wonder… what a strange world I’ve landed myself in? And what is that bow?" "I seem to be an Archer now, actually," the adamantine giant rumbled, looking intently at the homunculus before him as he set the pinkette down on the floor. Illya grimaced...her Servant was now the same class as her killer, and the same as that...strange Servant of Tohsaka's? "I seem to be sane again...though I don't think I received a second chance at life from the Grail." "Think of it as something similar," Illya noted, looking around. "It is a world like a past, one where magic seems to be a little stronger, for I was able to summon you while so far from Fuyuki. But… it’s odd, you came even when not bound by the Grail." "Of course I did," the massive Archer intoned, straightening to his full height - and just barely fitting inside the room. "You called, and I answered." “Then, I think this will be rather fun!” She giggled, twirling and dancing joyously within Louise de la Vallière’s room. "Won't it... Archer?" The great hero of Greece simply grunted his assent, wondering what this second chance would grant him, now that he was not robbed of reason. And in the moonlight, one could almost see a soft shimmer in his blood-red eye.