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Update 1

There will be mild F/SN spoilers in this topic, but nothing that'll kill your enjoyment of the anime, manga, or VN. Anyways, this is mostly a parody topic, which I'll be writing as I go. The basic premise is that OT-kun, our protagonist, gets thrown into a Holy Grail War in which the servants are characters from popular anime. Anyways, without further ado:

=====

“WAKE UP, OT-KUN! YOU'LL BE LATE!”

What, Haruhi? You're saying I'm going to be late? But I want to stay here...

”WAKE UP, DAMN IT! YOU'RE LATE!”

Damn it, mom woke me up. I wish I were still asleep. That was a nice dream... I've never gotten so close to doing that in a --

“ANIME AND MANGA: OTHER TITLES, GET OUT OF BED! IT'S 7:40!”

I'm not getting any closer. Might as well get off the bed and start changing.

“Good, you're up. There's toast on the kitchen counter downstairs. Grab it on your way out.”

Only toast? Damn it, what kind of crappy breakfast is –

“Toast's all you have time for, sir. Don't complain.”

I must've looked annoyed. Oh well, at least I don't have to make the toast myself. I'm done changing now, so I'll go ahead and brush my teeth and comb my hair, then get the food.

Since my dad died a couple of years ago, it's just been me and my mom living here. She's a bit harsh, but she does look out for me. It's probably pretty hard on her to support us by herself, too, since her job isn't all that great. (I appreciate it, but like hell I'll ever tell her that.) She's leaving on a business trip today, and won't be back for two weeks. It'll be a pain in the ass making sure I wake up for school with the alarm clock, but she needs the extra money they're giving her for – wait, damn it, that means toast and cereal every morning for the next 14 days! I can't cook... ****, nothing but microwave food for dinner either? That sucks. At least school lunch will be something to look forward to... wait, school lunch? What the hell am I... nevermind that, what time is it now? I don't have time to worry about this. I'm running late and I have to walk to school... 7:50. Not too bad, I guess. School starts at 8:15, so I should be alright if I leave now, and I can eat the toast on my way to school. No worries.

I run down the stairs, grab the toast, yell goodbye to mom, and walk out the door. Now, there are two ways I can go to school --

A) I can go past the library. If I go that way, I'll probably run into YamaChan.

B) I can go past the manga store. If I go that way, I'll probably run into Soshi.

=====
Make your choice, OT!


Update 2

Update time!

===

B) I can go past the manga store. If I go that way, I'll probably run into Soshi.

After a second of thinking, I decided to go towards the manga store. Past the library is shorter, but I'd probably have run into YamaChan – and chances are that twintailed demon would've gotten into an argument with me and beat me up. I don't think I could take that with nothing but toast on my stomach.

Before I realize it, I'm passing in front of the manga store and I see Soshi Strife, a girl from my class, walking down the hill toward the intersection. Although she has decent looks, she used to have a pretty bad reputation for dating this unusual guy from another high school. Everybody thought he was some sort of crooked communist – her parents even called the guy a liberal degenerate behind his back. It's been at least a year since then, though, and everyone's opinion of her is a lot better than it used to be. Now she's generally well regarded for being nice and polite, although she can be a little shy and obsessive at times.

Well, there's no reason to walk to school alone, and it seems like we're both running a bit late. At the very least, I won't be late by myself, which is always embarrassing.

“Hey, Soshi. You want to walk with me to school?”

Seems like she wants to. She's hurriedly shoving what looks like the latest volume of Bleach into her bag, and running over... she must have been reading while walking. I guess that's why she's behind schedule.

“Sure, OT-kun. Uhmm... uhh... how're you this morning, OT-kun?”

“Not too bad, I guess. My mom's leaving today to go on a business trip for a couple of weeks, so I'll have the house to myself for a while. You? Oh, by the way, I'm running kind of late, so do you think we could walk a little faster?”

“Sure, OT-kun.”

We both pick up the pace a little bit.

“Uhm, I guess I'm doing alright. My parents have been pretty nice to me lately.” She takes a pause, then speaks with an unusual amount of conviction. “But, more importantly, it's horrible that your mom's leaving you by yourself. Why would she do that? She knows you can't cook or clean.”

“It's not like she had a choice. The company asked her to, and they were giving off some pretty strong signs that they weren't going to take no for answer. They're also giving her extra pay.”

“Still, that's no reason for her to leave you like that, OT-kun! She could have left you lots of leftovers, or something!”

“Don't you think you're being unreasonable? Theres no way she could have made that much food, and there's definitely no way it'd keep two weeks.”

“Ehh, I guess you're right, OT-kun.” She seemed a little defeated for a second, but then her face lit up. “I know! I'll just have to make you dinner for these two weeks, OT-kun! That'll solve the problem!”

”WHAAAAAAAAT?”

“I'll make dinner for you. Is it really that weird of a proposition?”

“Of-of-of-of-of c-c-c-course it is! I've n-never even had a girlfriend, and now a g-g-girl's asking me to let her c-come over to my house when nobody'll be there but us?!?!?!? NO WAY!”

“You're sure, OT-kun? I promise I'll make you really good meals. I'm excellent at cooking and preparing meat, and my parents will be gone too. Are you sure, OT-kun?”

Wait, her parents will be gone too? Something seems awfully out of place. But I'm not worried about that right now. I have to answer her!

A) No way! I can't have a girl over while no one's home!
B) I guess I could let her cook. Ramen for two weeks wasn't very appealing anyways!


===
Next update might be tonight, or it might be tomorrow. it depends on how I feel. Also, Starks, you'll show up later.


Update 3

Last update of the day.

===

A) No way! I can't have a girl over while no one's home!

I can't possibly accept her offer. It'd just be too awkward.

“Soshi, I know you've got good intentions, and I would appreciate the help, but I just can't accept. It's just wrong to have you over like that.”

Soshi looks crushed. Suddenly, walks a few steps over from me, and starts rummaging through her purse and talking to herself softly. I can barely make out some odds and ends of what she's saying; a “but what if he's my enemy? No, OT-kun would never” here, a “but he could be planning something” there, a “but I trust him” somewhere else, and some noises that sounded suspiciously like knives scraping against each other. Wait, why would I think that? Hmm, looks like she's nodding her head now – sounds like she's saying “I do love that side of him, though, after all.”Ah, she's walking back over. She looks both determined and satisfied. I'm a bit afraid, to be honest. I can't get that metallic sound out of my head, for some reason... oh, she's just pulling out a hairbrush. But a metal hairbrush alone wouldn't make that sound, right? But still, why would she --

“OT-kun.”

Soshi, you interrupted me! Damn it, what was I thinking about? I can't remember anymore. What was it...

“OT-kun!”

Damn, I don't have a choice. I throw away my thoughts, and make eye contact to show her she's got my attention.

“What if I simply bring you dinner, and drop it off? How's that sound?”

Now, I must admit, the idea does get around the problem I had earlier, and I don't want ramen. I can't possibly see any downside; I get good food, and she's happy. I'm worried because of that thing I can't remember, but I think I'd have memorized it if it were important.

“That actually sounds pretty good, Soshi. When do you think you can bring it over?”

“Is seven alright for you? I can bring it earlier if you want... it's not a problem to bring it later either.” Her voice is gradually going back to how it was when we first started talking: soft and a bit shy. “I can even come by an hour after school --”

“That's alright, Soshi. Seven's perfect.”

***

The rest of the way there, Soshi and I talked about Bleach. It wasn't exactly the most pleasant conversation. Like I said earlier, she can be a bit obsessive, and Inoue Orihime happens to be one of the things she's most obsessive over. I eventually managed to steer the conversation away from 'Hime, though; for once, I was glad that Bleach has so many characters.

We made it to class just as the bell chimed. We took our seats just before our homeroom teacher, Mr. Feeny, walked in the door.

Anyways, it's lunchtime now, and for lunch, I'm going to eat –

A) In the cafeteria
B) On the roof
C) In Mr. Feeny's room


===
I have to attend a wedding tomorrow, so I can't make any promises about update times. I will do my best to update tomorrow night, though.


Update 4

Here you go, OT.

===

C) In Mr. Feeny's room

I'll have lunch in Mr. Feeny's room. It should be pretty peaceful, and I haven't had lunch there in a while.

I run to the cafeteria, buy the school lunch, make my way to Mr. Feeny's room, and knock on the door.

“Yes, come in.”

“Hey, Mr. Feeny. Do you mind if I have lunch in here?”

“No, not at all.”

“Thanks.” I take a seat at the desk closest to his worktable.

“So, how're your classes going?”

Our conversation is mostly about my schoolwork. Mr. Feeny's been my neighbor for as long as I can remember, so he looks after me a bit more than his other students. Still, it doesn't mean he grades me easier than everyone else; I honestly think he actually grades me harder. I barely pulled a C- in his class last semester with the types of papers that got everybody else a B or a B+. He's nice, though, and gives good advice.

“Well, OT-kun, you'll have to pardon me. I've got to leave for a staff meeting, but you can stay here until lunch is over, if you'd like.” He packs up a couple of papers, throws them into a briefcase to take with him, and makes his way out the door.

“Thanks, Mr. Feeny.” I take him up on his offer, and decide to stay here and relax for the twenty or so minutes until lunch is over.

Well, I would be relaxing now if someone weren't knocking on the door.

“Who is it?”

Whoever it is sure doesn't care to answer, because he – no wait, she – flings open the door loudly. Great, it's Yamachan, in her testy, twintailed glory. So much for a peaceful lunchtime.

“Geez, I thought Mr. Feeny'd be in here, but looks like it's just you. I wanted some help with today's homework, but so much for that... no way you'd be able help me.”

Agh, cruel as usual.

“Alright, then. I guess I'll see you later, Yama.” I wave goodbye politely, with an ounce of god-I-hope-you-leave-since-you-look-like-you're-in-a-bad-mood hidden in my gesture.

“Who said anything about leaving? I came all this way from the lunchroom, so I might as well stay.”

Not what I wanted to hear, not what I wanted to hear, NOT WHAT I WANTED TO HEAR! And she's lying too, the lunchroom's not even that far away. Why would she stay in here?

“Why? The lunchroom's hardly a minute's walk, and Feeny isn't here anymore.”

“Yeah, but I told all the people at my table that I'd be here. I can't just go back now.”

“I don't get it. Why not?” I would definitely go back and hang out with my friends in her situation.

“If I did, it'd be like I lied to them.”

“No it wouldn't. That doesn't really even make sense, since you could just tell them he wasn't there. You make it sound like they wouldn't want to see you or something.”

You wouldn't get it anyways, I don't even know why I'm trying to explain.” Damn, she's irritable.

“Wait, did something happen?”

NO!” That no sounds an awful lot like a yes to me. I'm pretty curious. I –

A) Ask her if she's sure nothing happened.
B) Try to change the subject


===
Have at it!


Update 5

Update time, yet again.

===

A) Ask her if she's sure nothing happened.

That no sounds suspiciously like a yes, and I'm really curious at to what'd make a girl hesitant to go near her circle of friends. In a twisted sort of way, this is interesting. I want to know more.

“Are you sure it's nothing, Yamachan? You're even worse than usual.”

“What do you mean by that, OT-kun!?!”

She looks absolutely furious.Uh-oh, accident! Crap crap crap crap.... how do I fix this? Well, I think I can take a really big bite of my sandwich as a stopgap measure, but she'll know I'm avoiding answering her... I need the time though. I'll do it!

I bite into the sandwich. It's unusually wet, and I can feel the delicate folds of the ham with my tongue. I think this is the most pleasurable –

“OT-kun, what's with the look on your face?” Yama's.. laughing? And she's laughing really hard, too. Her face is red, and she's nearly falling out of her chair.

“Wuhcher chu raffing ach, Rama?”

Now she's laughing even harder. I finish chewing and swallow the sandwich.

“Like I said, what're you laughing at, Yama?”

“Your face, it was the best. You the weirdest look on your face while you were eating that sandwich, like, like... like you were really enjoying it.” She keeps laughing, but now her laughter seems more malicious than before.

“W-w-w-what? I wouldn't have EVER made a face like that from a sandwich. I don't even make a face like that when I--”

“Enough, OT-kun, I don't need to know about your personal life.” Her laughter is getting more and more evil.

I can't think of anything to say to that, so I just take another bite of my sandwich, while making sure not to make that embarrassing face.

***

Lunch finished up without incident after that, although Yama's mood really turned around after the sandwich incident. I never did get her to tell me what was wrong. though, which was kind of disappointing – but I did hear a rumor that some guy from her group of friends asked her out, so that must've been it.

Anyways, I'm back at home now. The rest of school went by completely normally, and I walked home by myself. I'm back home in my room, and I'm getting ready to watch some anime, like I do every day after school. I just got the new episode of NEEDLESS, so I opened up MPC, sat back, and relaxed.

24 minutes later, the episode is done, and right as I go to open up the next episode of Endless Eight, the doorbell rings. It can't possibly be Soshi; she said she'd come at around seven, and it's only six. It's getting dark outside, though, and it is dangerous for her to be walking out alone after nightfall. She might have decided to come early to feel safer.

The doorbell is still ringing. I –

A) Go and answer it.
B) Don't answer it.


===
It's a real shame I couldn't have H-scene music start playing for the sandwich.


Update 6

A) Go and answer it.

I'm getting the feeling that something's off, but I still need to answer the door. It'd be wrong to just leave whoever's at the front door there, and it might be Soshi. I can't help feeling a bit uneasy, though, so before answering the door, I grab the shortest knife I can find from the kitchen and put it in my pocket. It's not like I know how to use a knife with any skill – I can't even cook. I just feel safer having it with me.

The doorbell's still ringing. God, this guy is annoying. Oh well, he'll stop when I open the door.

I turn the knob, and pull.

On the front porch stands a man I've never seen before in my life. He's got wavy hair, parted down the center, slightly oversized lips, and blue-green eyes, and he's wearing jeans and a T-shirt. He looks like he should be a kind person. But something's off.

“Hello, sir. What're you here for?”

“Your life.” No hesitation.

Is he serious? No way. Must be a joke, has to be a joke, can't be anything else. In five seconds, my friends will jump out of the bushes, laughing. This is a joke. A joke. Gotta be.

“I was going to wait until you summoned, but there's no point in that... you piss me off too much.
You use the CCCP and Media Player Classic... unforgivable. You will die here.”

“Wait, what? S-summoned? What're you talking about?” I don't even want to think about dying, so I desperately latch onto something else.

“You really don't know? I can't even believe someone like you could even qualify to be a master. What nonsense! Maybe it's better that you die now. I've been watching you... you're far too peaceful for this kind of war.” He takes a breath. “At any rate, prepare to die. Perhaps your fate might have been different if you used MPlayer instead.”

“What? MPlayer? What's that?”

“Ugh, you REALLY piss me off, you know that? Look, you make me sick. Die quietly.”

He pulls a knife out of his pocket. Looking at it, it seems to be the same length as the knife in my pocket. I don't think I stand a chance at all, and to be quite honest, my hands are trembling so badly that I don't think I could hold it. This is bad. Bad. Bad, bad, bad, bad, BAAAAD! I should run away. Running sounds nice. I think I'll run up the stairs. High ground. Wasn't there something in Star Wars about that? I think it's important. Why am I even worrying about that? Just runrunrurnurnrunrun –

“Aren't you even going to beg for your life? Well, I should at least give you credit for knowing when it's hopeless. As a present, let me tell you my name. It's Starks. Don't bother telling me yours.”

****, I haven't even moved. What's my problem? My life's in danger, but I won't even move? Am I that stupid? I'd at least like to think I can run away from a four inch knife. Oh well, maybe I can't. What am I saying? It's four inches. That's nothing, nothing! A turtle could run from that! Well, not really, but I kind of get what I meant. I'm pathetic, useless, worthless –

Wait, screw that. I'm not worthless. Well, that's at least what my counselor told me. But still, I don't want to die.

I take a step back.

“Resisting?”

And another. I don't think he can swing at me from here... and he isn't moving in. Another step back. And anot – ****, there's the wall. Not good. He's raising his knife, like he's going to throw it.

I –

A) Jump left.
B) Jump right.


===
Things are heating up. Careful, OT-kun!


Update 7

For those of you with F/SN installs, I'll start recommending stuff to play in the sound test while reading. For this, it's Breach.

===

A) Jump left.

Just as he releases the knife, I jump left. The knife lands right where my chest would've been if I hadn't have moved.

“Tch. How annoying. I thought I told you to die quietly.”

He pulls a new knife out of his pocket and throws it. In response, I jump right – and the knife misses me by a massive margin.

“Damn it, I was expecting you to jump left again. Oh well.” Another knife. I jump left again, and hear it pass my head.

“What a shame. I thought you'd stay still that time.” He throws, I duck. One more.

Plan, I need a plan. It's obvious this guy's just toying with me – I'm positive he could've killed me by now if he were serious. Can I take advantage of this?

“Hey now, don't get distracted, kid. That's dangerous.” A knife sticks in the ground in front of me. He's definitely screwing with me... but I don't have the instincts to hold him off and think of a plan at the same time. Damn it, damn it, damn it ---

“Might wanna dodge.” He pulls out another one.

Wait, I know.

“Seriously.” Another jump left, another missed knife.

He's a guy. And there's one thing that works against every guy –

“You're lucky, you know?” He reaches for the seventh knife. In response, I pull out my cell phone – possession of every teenager – and make my move.

“I'm well aware!” I throw the cell phone at his crotch.... direct hit! He drops the knife and grabs his balls. While he's vulnerable, I –

A) Take out my own knife and charge.
B) Run upstairs to buy some more time.


===
Next update should be tonight.


Update 8

Same music as before.

===

A) Take out my own knife and charge.

I decide to take out my own knife and charge. There's no room for hesitation. If I don't take this chance, I'll definitely die. He's dropped his knife. I can win. I just have to finish it now...!

I start running towards him from across the room. He's about 16 feet away... 10, 8 , 4, 2... he's in range. I go to plunge the knife into his chest --

“Nice try.” He grabs my hand with his and stops my knife. Bad bad bad badbadbadbadbaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad!!!

“I was surprised, kid. That was a nice move, throwing your phone.” He laughs. “It bought you a few more seconds to live, that's for sure. But you should have used those seconds to run.”

He punches me in the face, making me drop my knife, then kicks me in the crotch with massive force. I drop to my knees in pain.

“Don't beg, it's not proper.” He kicks me up from my hunched position while laughing. “Take it like a man. Everyone's got to die someday. Just looks like you pulled a pretty short straw.” He starts pulling out his next weapon... he going to stab me. He's going to stab me. I'm gonna die. Dying's bad. Why would I want to die? To hell with that, I'm not dying now --

“**** THAT!” I take everything I've got left, pick up the knife I dropped, and jam my knife into his thigh.

“AAAGH! You little *****!” He staggers back a bit – just enough so that I'm not in his range – and grabs his leg. I take the opportunity to stand up.

He pulls out my knife. “Damn it, you're playing dirty. That's not nice.” He starts to walk forward... but he's limping. Good, that makes things easier.

“Oh, you're smiling?”

“I guess. I just thought that it's more even now that you can't walk.”

“I wouldn't be so sure. I'm better at throwing knives to begin with!” With that, he throws my own knife back at me. I jump left – and get hit in the chest.

“What?” I saw the knife go past me. I dodged it. I dodged it. I dodged it, so whywhywhywhy!?!?

“Isn't it simple? I threw a knife to make you dodge, and one where I thought you'd dodge. It's a simple trick. You've only been concentrating on dodging one knife, so I knew you wouldn't expect a second. Well, it's not like I knew for sure where you'd dodge, but I got lucky.”

He pulls out his last knife, throws it into the ground, and starts walking towards me. I start backing up, even though I know it's over. What do I do, what, what, what? I'm dead. I'm dead. Dead! Deader than a doornail. Dead, dead, dead dead dead dead dead –

Wall.

I backed into the wall.

“You weren't too bad, kid. Well, this is it. Maybe you'll do better in the afterlife.”

He pulls the knife out of my chest, and swiftly slits my throat.

BAD END

===
I'll write B later tonight.


Update 9

Clashing Souls when the fight starts.

===

<Load save 7, 8/2/2009 9:54:09 PM>

B) Run upstairs to buy some more time.

I run upstairs to buy myself some more time. I definitely can't beat him the way I am now, so I've got to at least try to create a plan... and this'll give me a little bit of time.

I run into my room and lock the door. Locking the door obviously isn't going to help, but it'll at least make me feel better. Now, is there anything in here that can help me? Bed, laptop, pencils, a cup, games, consoles, a TV, my dresser, some books... damn, none of this is useful. I guess I could jump out the window, but it's an awfully long way down -- I'd probably break my leg or something, and that'd be really counterproductive. I can't really fight him head-on, either; that much is certain. I can't think of any plans, either, at least none that would work.

You still have the knife.

This is hopeless. I'm going to die.

You still have the knife.

I can't possibly win.

You still have the knife.

Wait.

That's right. I still have my knife. And I don't have a choice – either I beat him, or I die. I've got to face him and beat him. I can't give up now. I've got to end this. Who cares if I don't have a chance of winning? If my other option is death, it doesn't matter. I'll fight until it's over for one of us, and I won't let it be me.

I pull out my knife, open the door, and walk out into the hallway.

He's standing at the other end. “Ready to die now?”

I answer by charging down the hallway towards him.

“Heh, seems like you're not.”

He pulls out and throws knife eight. This is a narrow hallway, so he definitely has an advantage. But I don't care. That knife doesn't go in an arc. It's like a dart – it can only hit one small place. As long as I'm not there, it doesn't matter – and I simply turn my body, letting the knife pass by.

“Tch.”

By the time he's pulled out another knife, I'm already in range. I go to slash – and he punches me, sending me reeling back half the distance of the hallway.

He throws. It's a short distance, and I'm still off balance. There's no way it could miss... but no one said it can't be blocked...!

I swing my knife in an arc in front of my chest, and deflect the incoming blade. I was lucky... but I don't have time to care. I come again, and slash.

He must be off guard, still surprised by the fact that I deflected his knife. He should be; I'd call it a miracle myself. He only realizes I'm slashing when it's too late for him to avoid fully, and I manage to cut his upper right arm. It's not deep, but it's there. It's progress.

“Damn, you're a lucky son of a *****. But can you keep that luck up?” He kicks me this time, and throws another knife as followup. I pull the same trick as last time, somehow, and run towards him. This is obviously an advantageous battle for him; it's a difficult offense against a simple defense. Or is it?

He's at the top of stairs. So if he falls backwards...

I switch my knife to my left hand. He takes a second to try to figure out why, but it was one second too much -- I punch him in the chest with all the force I have, and he doesn't notice in time to block or prepare. He tries to regain his balance by putting his right foot back a bit to brace himself, but that's the worst mistake he could have made; he steps onto air, and loses whatever balance he had and falls down the stairs. I –

A) Run downstairs
B) Keep my position


===
I'll make sure to end the fight in the next update.


Update 10

Same.

===

A) Run downstairs

I'm going to go after him. He's flat on his back, a foot or two away from the bottom of the stairs. He's open – and I'm going to take advantage of it.

I run down the stairs, and jump at him, knife poised, while he's still trying to get back up. I've got you now, you conceited bas --

Or not. He kicks me in the stomach while I'm in mid-jump, causing me to flip and hit the floor on my back. Our positions are reversed. This is not what I wanted! No, no, no, nononnono!!!

“Not bad. You sure got a lot better since you went into your room. Hell, I'd almost say I'm impressed.” He's standing back up now, and I'm still down. “But this fight ends now.” He pulls out another knife, different from the last 10. “This is my last blade, and this one isn't meant to be thrown.”

It's a very plain looking weapon, but it's definitely dangerous. There's no way this mere kitchen knife could go against it; it's at least twice as long, and it's made to kill, unlike what I've got. This is when I should give up, I just know it. My gut tells me that I'm screwed like this. I can't win against that thing, not with what I have.

Wait. We're in the living room right now. The kitchen is only maybe 15 feet from here, and there's a butcher knife in the kitchen. That might just stand a chance against this thing!

I get up, and start running towards the kitchen. Luckily for me, he seems to be out of throwing knives, and I'm closer to the kitchen than he is. If I can grab the butcher knife before he gets to me, I should be fine. If I can't... well, I already told myself I'd win. Now's not the time to think about losing!

“Running? I thought you knew that wouldn't work.” I ignore him and keep going.

I'm there. I throw the short knife down, and pull the butcher knife out of the knife block. When I turn around, he's starting to slash. I knock it aside, and give him a hard left. With the time I just got, I jump over the counter and get out of the more-enclosed kitchen to get back to the living room. He runs through the opening between the counter and the wall instead, and comes in for another slash.

“THIS IS” block “FOR NOT” dodge “USING” sidestep “MPLAYER!”

I block his last slice with my butcher knife – but it couldn't hold up to the strain. The blade breaks from the handle. Damndamndamndamn!!!!!!

“Looks like it's over for you now, kid.” He punches me square in the sternum, and sends me flying back a few feet. I slam into the wall and fall to the ground – I must have been backing up earlier. He readies his knife to stab me in the chest.

Damn it, it's over. I'm gonna die. But I said I wasn't gonna die. Why am I dying? That's pointless. I said I wasn't going to lose. Losing? Dying? **** that. Screw that. No way, I didn't come out here to lose, I came out here to win...!

Slamming my fist into the ground --

“I'M...

NOT

GONNA

LOSE!”

Something happens. The floor lights up. A blinding flash. And then, I see a tall man in a tattered black coat standing in front of me, holding my assailant's wrist.

HEIRASSHAI!

===
No choice this time. Next update will probably be tonight.


Update 11

Into the Night (the title screen music). FMA SPOILERS AND NEEDLESS SPOILERS RELEVANT TO ADAM AND LUST WILL NOW START OCCURRING.

===

At the same time as the flash of light, I feel something like a hot iron searing the back of my right hand. In the same place as the pain, I see a symbol forming:

http://img242.imageshack.us/img242/5199/cspl.jpg

What the hell is this thi --

“Attacking a defenseless kid?! What the hell kind of man are you, anyways?” The guy in front of me gives Starks a hard right, and sends him flying through the open door and out into the street.

“What... no, who the hell are you?” I ask.

“Archer. We'll talk later. Right now, it's time to pass down judgment!”

This guy looks strangely familiar. And where did he come from? One second, I was about to die, and the next second, this guy's in front of me, saving my life. This doesn't make any sense.

“Follow me, uhm... what's your name?”

“OT-kun.”

“Follow me, OT-kun. That guy isn't done for yet.”

He runs out, and I follow, grabbing my phone off the ground as I leave.

“Just as I thought. You're a master too, you unmanly bastard!”

Starks is seemingly unharmed, and now, a voluptuous woman with dark hair in a black dress is standing beside him. I think I've seen her somewhere before... but I can't quite place her.

Starks brushes off his shoulders. “Thanks for catching me, Lancer.”

Lancer? Almost sounds like she's related to this Archer guy.

“Let's go somewhere a bit less crowded.” Starks and Lancer start running towards the city park. It's now past nightfall, so the park will be closed. Does he want no witnesses or something?

“Running away? You're even less of a man than I thought you were!” Archer yells. He starts running after them. Looks like I don't have a choice... I follow them.

After a few minutes, we arrive in the nearby park. Starks and Lancer stop running in the middle of the soccer field, which is roughly in the center of the park – and definitely far away from any people. No one will see us here, that's for sure.

Starks surveys his surroundings. “Alright, this is a good place.” His eyes fix their gaze on me. “Seems like I can't handle this runt by myself anymore. Lancer, kill him, would you?”

“I don't know, Starks. This servant doesn't even have any weapons on him, it seems kind of suspicious. Are you sure you want me to just jump in?”

“Ignore the servant and kill the master. We're not here to play games, we're here to win.”

“You know that won't work. Do you really think the servant is just going to --”

DAMN RIGHT, I'M NOT JUST GOING TO!” This Archer guy has a book pulled out... with a grenade in it?!?

He pulls the pin and throws it towards Lancer. Lancer pushes back Starks... and jumps on top of the grenade, covering it with her body. It explodes, obliterating Lancer.

“Couldn't you have just pulled me away and ran? That's a life wasted, you know.” Starks sounds annoyed. That doesn't make any sense. This Lancer woman just died in front of him. Shouldn't he be more distraught?

Then I look back.

Lancer is regenerating. From what's left of her body, veins, muscles, and bone grow outward and intertwine back into the form of the woman that exploded, finally covering themselves over with skin. I feel acid covering the back of my throat... I think I'm going to throw up. This is disgusting. It's like she's being flayed in reverse. What the hell is this? What kind of monster can do that? She's returned to normal, even after being torn apart by a grenade. Who is she, who doesn't die, even when she's killed?

I lose the contents of my stomach.

“I wouldn't call it a waste. They know what they're dealing with now.” Lancer seems pleased at my reaction.

I take one more glance at this abomination of an existence, and notice one, single distinctive mark below her neck.

An Ouroboros.

Everything clicks. A voluptuous woman with black hair and a twisted smile. Regeneration, even after death. A red tattoo of a snake, eating its own tail. This woman is...!

“Lust.” I choke out the word, my throat still burning.

Starks's eyes widen.

“What did you say?”

“Lust. That woman is Lust.” I spit out the words again.

My mind is reeling. I can't comprehend it. This is impossible. Lust is a completely fictional character. She doesn't exist, except in the pages of a manga. But if she's not real, then why is she here in front of me? I know I'm not dreaming right now. This has got to be reality. And it's not like the rest of the situation I'm in right now makes sense, either. A mysterious man saved me from death during a flash of blinding light, is now fighting two people he doesn't seem to have met and's dragging me along? That's absurd. But that's happening right now, too. I've got to accept it.

And you've always wanted something like this to happen, right?

“What the hell are you saying, “lust”? She's not attractive at all!” Archer doesn't seem to get it.

“That's her name, Archer.”

Silence. Then --

“LANCER, KILL HIM! NOW!”

===
I did a repost to add spoiler warnings (in case of angry mods) and one detail that'll be critical to the next update. I'll start working on the next update after I grab some food.


Update 12

Into the Night until Archer lets loose, then the instrument version of This Illusion.

===

I look over at Archer. Another realization hits me: this man is Adam Blade. The coat, the muscular build, the hair, the sunglasses... everything fits perfectly. This man is real now too? I guess it's not so hard to believe, after everything else I've seen.

Lust is charging towards him. If he loses, I die – looks like it's not time to give up that attitude from earlier. I'd better give all the help I can, without getting in the way.

And you don't want to die this early in the adventure, do you?

“Archer, her power is called 'the ultimate spear.' She can extend her fingers into lances of ridiculous length extremely quickly. Keep your distance to give you time to dodge, and keep her away from me. I'm going to come up with a plan to win, or at least drive them off.”

“Fine. Plans aren't my thing, but we don't have a choice, do we?” He goes off to hold back Lust.

I rack my brain for everything from FMA that might even be least bit helpful, and I come to one thing that might at least scare her off. It's a long shot, and I don't think it'll even be decent beyond a bluff. After all, FMA's alchemy shouldn't work in this universe... although it might work on her, since that's where she's originally from. I can't count on that, though. Still, this is all I've got. I need to find a picture of the transmutation circle with the cross, and the serpent – the one the took the life out of Greed in the first anime.

I pull out my phone and search. I find it on an FMA fansite.

http://img149.imageshack.us/img149/9637/600pxbindingtransmutati.png

However, underneath it, it talks about something else – the remains of the person who was failed to be resurrected are necessary, too. Damn it, damn it, damn it, damn it! That's not available at all! What the hell am I supposed to do? She's probably got more lives than I can count. This is bad. I can't even bluff now. She'll know it's worthless. What the hell am I supposed to do?

As a sort of procrastination, I look over. Seems like Archer's not doing too badly. He's successfully dodged every last one of Lust's attacks, even though the ground is littered with holes from her Ultimate Spear. However, it doesn't look like he's got a hit in. I did tell him to just hold her off, though.
Wait, what am I doing, making plans? My partner is Adam Blade. Plans won't work. I shouldn't have even thought about trying to use a plan in a situation like this, anyways. I know what to do now...!

“ARCHER!” He looks back at me and nods, to show that I've got his attention. “I've got a plan. We'll kick her ass until she can't get back up!”

NOW THAT SOUNDS LIKE A PLAN!” he roars.

Archer runs in, evading Lust's attacks. A left roll, a jump, a sidestep – he evades all the spears with little trouble. But he's getting closer... the time to dodge will start becoming exponentially shorter. He's going to have to do something, or else –

KANDATA STRING!” Purple threads fly out from his left hand and entangle themselves around Lust, stopping her movements and tying her arms, her only real weapons, to her side. Archer keeps getting closer and closer. He's almost in punching range, and now, his fist is burning. His fist is burning?

LITTLE BOY!” He unleashes a viciously powerful flaming uppercut on Lust square in the stomach, sending her flying back... but she's caught by the strings and pulled back in...!

VULCAN IGNITION!” He fires off a massive fireball at Lust, who's still trapped, and's forced to take it. Then, her body still recovering from being burned to death, Archer lets go of the strings and jumps back into the air.

TEMPEST... SHREEEEEEEEED!” He fires off his greatest attack. Millions of the tiny strings he used to bind Lust earlier repeatedly attack her in a massive onslaught, and she's driven into the ground from the sheer force of the attack. This alone would be enough to kill a normal person at least 20 times over, but combined with his other attacks... this might have killed her 25 times. This match is decided. Archer can keep giving out these attacks, but Lancer can't take them. She's lost.

Suddenly, Starks yells “LUST! RETURN!” She disappears after another flash of light, this one coming from Starks's right hand. After that, Starks begins to run away, screaming something about avenging the injustice of being beaten by an MPC user.

“Archer, what just happened?”

“We kicked their asses!” He sounds pretty proud.

“No, I mean --”

A) What just happened to Lust?
B) Why did that guy attack me to begin with?
C) Why are you here?


===
There you guys go. = )


Update 13

Whirlpool of Fate 2. MASSIVE update, commence!

===

C) Why are you here?

“Why are you here?”

Now that I'm safe, I'd like to know just what the hell is going on – starting with why Adam Blade is real and saving me.

“I was summoned by you, to kick ass and win the Holy Grail. Why're you asking? If you summoned me, you should already know.”

Win the Holy Grail?

This was an odd situation to begin with. Manga and anime characters made real, fighting to the death. A man mysteriously coming to my door to kill me, calling me a Master. But this... this takes the cake. The Holy Grail? The legendary cup that Jesus drank from at the Last Supper? This is too much.

Archer seems to notice the confused expression on my face. “You don't know what's going on?”

I shake my head.

“Damn it, this is bad. So you summoned me on accident?”

I'm not quite sure how I got him here, but I sure didn't do it on purpose.

“Yeah. I don't know what happened. One second I was about to be stabbed by this Starks guy, and the next second you'd punched him out my door.”

“Oh.” Archer looks disappointed, somehow. “Well, let's go find a seat. I'll tell you what I know.”

We walk to the edge of the field, and get ready to sit down on a park bench. However, there's someone else sitting there already, in black priest's robes. Archer tenses up a bit.

“Hello, Archer's Master, Archer. I'd like to introduce myself. My name is Xenoserphia, and I'm the supervisor of this Holy Grail War.”

Where'd this guy come from? Had he been watching us fight Starks? And “supervisor of this Holy Grail War?” Just who the hell is this guy?

“I couldn't help but overhear your conversation, and it seems like you got into this ritual on accident. I'd been making a point of going to see each Master after they've summoned their Servant, to make sure that an incident like this hadn't occurred.” He sighs. “Everything was going so well, too... but now's not the time for such worries. I take it you'd like an explanation of what's going on?”

I take a look at Archer. He's still tense, but seems a little relieved that he won't be the one telling me.I think I understand, though. He doesn't seem like he'd be good at such things anyways. But more importantly...

“Yeah, I'd like an explanation. But first... how'd you know where we were? And how do I know that you're not another guy who's trying to kill me?”
“First, as the supervisor, I can tell both when and where a Servant is summoned. When Archer was summoned, I drove to your house, to meet with you – but you were gone, the door was open, and there were a few bloodstains on the carpets and several knives stuck into the walls and floor. I guessed that you'd been in fight with another Master when you summoned, and had to take the fight elsewhere after getting a Servant. Since the rules of the war prohibit witnesses, I went to the place nearest by that'd have the least people. That'd be here.”


Makes sense, I guess. The no witnesses thing also fits with why Lancer and Starks chose here to fight.

“Secondly, were I going to kill you, I would've done it while Archer was fighting Lancer.”

He's got a point. But wait – he's been here this long?

“Now that those questions are out of the way, would you like to know what's happening?”

“Yeah.”

“Alright.” He takes a breath. “You've just gotten yourself into a dangerous ritual, called the Holy Grail War, in which seven designated people, Masters, fight each other using things called Servants to win the ownership of the Holy Grail. Are you with me so far?”

“I... I guess I'm following you.”

“Alright. So to go more in depth, it works like this. The Holy Grail comes into existence – it is a naturally occurring phenomena -- and chooses a set of seven people to be Masters. Those people, aided by the power of the Holy Grail, are given the ability to summon seven entities known as Servants, who are powerful fictional beings brought to life for the single purpose of fighting for their Master to obtain the Grail. Still good?”

Not really. Well, I understand what he said, but things just keep getting more and more ridiculous... I don't know how many more of these revelations I can take before I'm forced to abandon my sanity. I don't really feel like I'm in the same world anymore.

Just like you always wanted.

What he said sort of explains Lust and Archer, though, so I go ahead and nod.

“However, the Holy Grail is only near omnipotent. It can't bring just anyone to life – they have to fit into certain pre-existing classes. Those classes are as follows:

Saber, sword specialist.

Lancer, lance and spear specialist.

Archer, ranged specialist.

Rider, mounted combat specialist.

Caster, magic specialist.

Assassin, stealth specialist.

And, lastly, Berserker, insane warrior.

One Master gets one class, and one of each class must be summoned. As you have drawn the card of Archer, so has Starks drawn the card of Lancer, and five others the remaining Servants.” He pauses. “Also, before you ask, the Holy Grail cannot be obtained until six Servants have suffered defeat, at which time the Holy Grail will appear before the victor of the war. As I said earlier, this is a ritual – a ritual, held by the Grail itself, to determine who is best suited for its ownership.”

“Something doesn't seem right. The Holy Grail is, well, holy. Why would a war be held by a holy relic? And the Holy Grail isn't a phenomena – it's an object.”

“You're right. Perhaps this isn't the real Holy Grail. Maybe it is a fake. But does that really matter? This Holy Grail is capable of bringing forth the extremely powerful Servants. Is that not enough proof of its worth? And even if it were not, this Holy Grail is capable of granting any one wish that you should desire – ostensibly the real reason the Masters even agree to participate. After all, their lives are on the line.”

“Wait, what do you mean? If all that needs to happen is the loss of six Servants, why are the Masters in danger?”

“Well, you see, Servants and Masters are connected. Servants' lives are dependent on the lives of their Master. And, since Servants are powerful, superhuman beings, is it not objectively easier to kill the Master and wait for the Servant to die as a result?”

He is right. But that feels... cheap. Like you're taking the easy way out. And... I don't think I could do that, to be quite honest.

“Anyways, that's about it. Any questions?”

“Nope.”

I can basically understand it. I'm in a war where I fight other peoples' Servants to come out on top, and win the Grail – and it'll grant any wish I might possibly have. But in exchange, I have to risk my life fighting with Archer.
This'll be fun. An adventure.


“One last thing, before I leave. As the supervisor of the War, I have the ability to let you relinquish your right to be a Master, and leave this War. Should you do so, you can carry on as though tonight never happened.”

“No thanks.”

I answered before I had even thought. But I guess... I guess.. I don't know. It's dangerous, possibly lethal, to be in this. I don't even really have a wish that I'd want granted by the Grail. But, somehow, I don't want to give this up. Something's not right with me. Any normal person would've backed out of this after nearly being killed. But, inexplicably, I want to be in this war.

Is it really so unexplainable? It's something special, something unimaginable -- a once in a lifetime chance to finally do something out of the ordinary. Why would you ever give that up?

“Should you ever wish to exit this war, I'll be in the Catholic church on the outskirts of town. However, don't bother seeing me otherwise.” He walks towards the parking lot, and, after a minute or two, I hear a car start and drive away.

Now, I need to figure out what to do now. I'll –

A) Go back to my house. Soshi's waiting.
B) Take a walk. I need to take this all in.


===
Some of the explanation is being saved for later, or out right simplified, as a note to you F/SN fans.


Update 14

No music, then Midnight Interval when the walk begins.

===

A) Go back to my house. Soshi's waiting.

Now that Xenoserphia's left the park, I take a seat on the bench where he was sitting, and pull out my phone to check the time.

6:40 PM

Oh god, this is bad. Soshi's supposed to be at my house at seven, and this park is about twenty minutes away walking normally. It only took about five or six to get here running, but I don't think I can pull that again – I'm exhausted from everything I just went through.

“Come on Archer, let's go back to my house.”

“Alright.”

I try to walk a little faster than usual. I definitely can't sprint back – I'm too tired -- but I can't let Soshi see the house the way it is now. I'll have to keep her from coming inside, and tell Archer to hide. I'd rather not have someone else worrying about me, and explaining what happened would just be a pain in the ass.

More like you don't want anyone stopping you from being in this war.

I'm about a quarter of the way there. I check the time.

6:45 PM

I'm going to need to speed up a little more if I'm going to get there before Soshi.

She'll definitely be there at seven sharp. Although I thought she might've come early when the doorbell was ringing, that'd honestly never happen. Soshi's really shy and withdrawn, and doesn't like to impose on people. Because of that, I really can't see her ever being late or early. She'd probably wait a block away for a few minutes if she were running ahead – she wouldn't go ahead and come despite the fact that she'd be welcome, or even wait outside the doorstep and knock when the time came. I think she'd see being early as being an unplanned nuisance for her host, and even her host finding her on the doorstep at 6:59 and inviting her in would likely be unacceptable. It's really pathetic, in it's own way. She's extremely introverted, but she's the kind of introvert that centers her life around other people instead herself. I guess it's a bit of a miserable paradox that makes her who she is.

6:50 PM

Good, I'm two-thirds of the way there. I can get there before her at this rate.

6:54 PM

I'm home.

“Archer, go up the stairs and into my room. Someone's coming, and it'll be impossible to explain to her why you're here.”

“Her? Is she cute? I'll never forgive you if she's super moe and you don't let me meet her. I may have been summoned for this war, but nobody said I can't --”

“Go upstairs! She'll be here any minute!”
“Fine, fine. But I'll want pictures!” He walks up the stairs, looking pretty annoyed.


Alright, 2 more minutes. I shut all the blinds on the downstairs windows, and go sit on the front porch. I check my phone one more time.

7:00 PM

Just as I expected, she's coming up the walkway now. Looks like she's got several covered dishes, 3 or 4... please say I'm imagining this. She'd better not have walked all the way here carrying those.

“I hope you weren't waiting on me, OT-kun.”

“No, not at all.”

She's got a full pan of baked macaroni and cheese, a bowl of mashed potatoes (homemade, no less), another bowl of green beans, and something that looks like roast beef. What the hell is this? I agreed to dinner, not a homecooked meal worthy of Thanksgiving.

“Isn't that a little much, Soshi? You didn't have to make all that.”

“No, it's alright.” She looks at the ground. “Do you not like what I made?”

“No, it looks delicious.” Is she that insecure? “But I don't think we'll both be able to eat all that.”

“Really? I was afraid I hadn't fixed enough.” You can't be serious.

“Anyways, OT-kun, can we go inside? The food's probably getting cold.” No it's not. It's still steaming, and you brought it here in insulated bags. What are you saying?

“Honestly, I was thinking we'd eat outside. It's a nice night, and I'd hate to waste it.”

“If that's what you want, OT-kun.” She sounds disappointed.

We walk around to the backyard, and take a seat at the outdoor table. “I'll go inside and get two plates and some silverware. Hold on for a second.”

I go inside, opening the door as little as possible, get the utensils and plates, and go back out.

“OT-kun, you were right. This really is a nice night.” She doesn't sound entirely convinced, somehow, but she's not as disappointed sounding as before. “Uhm... OT-kun...”

“Yeah?”

“Why is there blood on your shirt? You didn't hurt yourself, did you?”

You've got to be kidding me. All that, and I didn't even check my own clothes? Christ, what the hell was I thinking? I'm an idiot! It must've happened when I got that hit in on Starks. I can't tell her about what happened.... I've got to respond, though. I'll –

A) Lie outright
B) Lie slightly


===
How will you respond, OT-kun?


Update 15

Same.

===

B) Lie slightly

“There's blood on my shirt?” I try to react as calmly as possible, to keep her from noticing I'm hiding something. Not letting her in the house and having bloodstains on my clothes are pretty damn suspicious in and of themselves, but if I act oddly, it's game over. I don't want her finding out about this.

I search my shirt for the stain. It's on the bottom-left-front.

“Oh.” Come on, think. “I guess it must have happened when this guy tried to mug me after school. He pulled a knife on me and asked me for my money, and I was pretty scared – but I refused and pulled out my own pocket knife from my left pocket.” Details make it sound more believable. “He try to stab me, but I managed to get a hit in on him, and he ran off scared.” That's not good enough, ****. I said it though, so I'd better keep up with this story. “I guess the bloodstain is from when I cut him.”

“But OT-kun, there wasn't anything in your left pocket this morning.”

How the hell could she notice something like that? That's ridiculous. And to remember it all day? It's disturbing. It's practically impossible. But she sounds so confident that she's right. She's bluffing or something.

“But I had my knife with me all day.”

“B-but OT-kun...” She seems to be gathering up courage, like when she asked about this dinner. “Why are you lying? It's like... it's like you don't trust me.”

“I'm not lying, though, Soshi.” I try to avoid a harsh denial, so that I sound less suspicious.

“OT-kun, what are you hiding from me?” She's speaking firmly now. “You wouldn't let me in the house, even though it'd have been quicker to go to the backyard that way. All the blinds are down. You went into the door really cautiously when you got the plates and stuff, and made sure not to open it more than halfway. The light's still on in your room, even though you're not inside, but you didn't forget to turn off any of the other lights. And you're lying to me. OT-kun, what's going on?”

I've been annihilated. It'll be impossible to keep this up. I –

A) Admit her I'm lying, but don't tell her what's going on. This has to be a secret.
B) Admit I'm lying, but only tell her about getting attacked. That should end her questions.
C) Admit I'm lying, and tell her everything. She won't believe it anyways.


===
Shorter update, but there's hope for another update later. It's still pretty early.


Update 16

Whirlpool of Fate.

===

C) Admit I'm lying, and tell her everything. She won't believe it anyways.

I've been outwitted. I've got to admit to her that I'm lying... so while I'm at it, I might as well have some fun. If she wants the truth, she can have it – every last unbelievable drop.

“Soshi, you want the truth?”

“Of course, OT-kun. I'm worried.”

“Fine, then. You're the one who asked for it.”

I take a breath.

“A man came for my life today.” Soshi's listening attentively, but her expression doesn't change when she hears this. Doesn't this sort of statement usually garner some reaction? “He spouted a bunch of nonsense about something, and we had a serious fight. He was really good at using throwing knives, but I managed to dodge the ten he had, and even got a hit on him once using a kitchen knife. I think that's where the blood on my shirt came from.” Still no change. “After that, though, he pulled out this dagger, and started attacking me with it. I managed to run to the kitchen and get a butcher knife, but it couldn't hold up, and broke. I got cornered, and was about to get killed.” Her expression turns a bit more serious at that. “However, right when he was about to kill me, there was a bright flash of light, and this tall guy with a black coat and white hair came out of nowhere and stopped him.” She's getting a look that shows both understanding and vehement denial. “He punched the guy attacking me out into the street, and told me to follow him outside. When we got there, there was some woman with him who called herself Lancer.” Soshi's conflictedness goes away, and gets replaced with depression. She had been eating up until now, but she just dropped her fork. “Lancer and the guy who attacked me started running towards the park, but the guy who saved me – he said his name was Archer – told me to follow them.” When Soshi heard the word Archer, she lost all the color in her face. “When we arrived there, Archer and Lancer got into a fight. Lancer could regenerate, but Archer just kept beating her down until they retreated. After they ran away, we ran into this guy, who told me that I had gotten involved in this thing called the Holy Gra --”

Soshi shuts me up with a kiss.

“T-t-that's enough.” She's crying. She genuinely looks like her parents just died or something. “I-I-I w-was afraid s-s-something like th-this would h-h-h-happen, b-but I never act-t-tually thought it-t would...” She's choking out the words through her tears, and hugging me as hard as she can. This wasn't at all what I was expecting. I thought she'd get angry at me for telling such an outrageous story, and leave. But instead, she's more worried than anybody I've ever seen.

“It-t-t's n-n-not f-fair. W-w-w-why OT-T-T-kun?”

“Soshi?”

She can't seem to stop crying.

“W-w-w-why w-w-hy w-why? W-w-why OT-k-kun?”

I don't know what to do. I've never really cared for her that much before... she was just an acquaintance, someone to talk to if I was bored or couldn't find anyone better. But seeing her like this – seeing her like this is torturing me. I guess... I guess I'll comfort her. What else should I do? I can't leave her crying like this.

I hug her back, and put my head on her shoulder.

“It'll be okay.” Empty words, a hollow promise. But what else can I tell her? I don't know what she's thinking. Maybe she really understands what's going on. Maybe she doesn't. But she seems scared. She needs this.

“Don't l-lie.”

“I'm not lying.” I probably am.

She wipes her tears and looks at me.

“You p-p-promise?”

“I promise.”

She hugs me again, even harder than before.

“Let's go inside. Come on.”

We leave the half-eaten food, and go inside my house.

===
No choice this time. Look forward to the next update. = )


Update 17

Ever-Present Feeling is better than what I had before. MUCH better. So I'm reposting, just for this change.

===

We take a seat on the couch in the living room. Considering the knives in the wall and the floor, it's not exactly the most comforting place, but it's better than a plastic table.

Soshi just leans on me; she doesn't say a word. Instead, she keeps crying, and I hold her. I don't love her, but I've lied for her already tonight, and I might as well see this lie through.

I give her a kiss on the forehead. Nothing too special: simple, feigned affection. But her tears seem to back off for that one second. I pull her closer, hold her tighter; slowly, the tears begin to subside. Another kiss, on the cheek; slowly, they stop falling. One last kiss, on the lips; slowly, the water in her eyes goes away.

“Are you better?”

She nods.

I know why she cried. It's a simple, obvious answer, one that explains every last one of her reactions. Part of it is definitely that she loves me – that's so obvious now that it'd be pure idiocy to imagine otherwise. But for her to react so specifically to my words, to go into absolute despair at the mere mention of my companion being named Archer, to silence me when she did... she knows about the war. And given how secretive the nature of this battle is, there's only one logical conclusion.

She's a master too.

Great. Just great. This is a battle to be the last one standing. To her, we're in the worst possible situation. Not only is her love in a fight where his life is constantly in danger, she now can't win this war without trampling over him. Well, nevermind, I doubt she wants to be in this in the first place... she was probably going to try to ignore the war, I'd guess. To her, it's probably more like she's an obstacle to me – that's more in line with how she seems to think.

There's only one thing to do, then.

“Soshi, do you want to form an alliance?”

She tightens her hold into a hug, and, after a minute, I feel her head move up and down across my shoulder. A nod.

“Good. This way, we don't have to be enemies, right?”

A harder hug, eyes beginning to water again. I lean in and kiss her on the lips.

“This seals the contract.” Damn it, she's starting to cry again. These are different tears, though. “As a gesture of trust, I'll show you Archer, and you can show me your servant.” The same feeling of her head rubbing against my skin. “But we don't need to do that now. Let's just stay here a little while longer.” I lay down, and she lays down beside me... and we kiss again.

***

I failed. I couldn't protect him. I should have come earlier. But he trusts me. He asked me to be his partner. He loves me. He cares. The next time... the next time, I'll definitely be the one to save him.

And this is all she can think.

===
As your choice, I need you all to vote for who should be summoned to Soshi as Berserker. Servants should match their masters in several aspects of personality. My vote goes to Yuno Gasai.


Update 18

Into the Sunlight.

===

DAY TWO

A yawn.

It smells like bacon... augh, my neck hurts. What the hell? It's the same as when I fall asleep on the couch.

Oh, I am on the couch.

“Breakfa~st!” Is that Soshi's voice? That's right, we both fell asleep on the sofa last night. That was almost... romantic.

Wait, I fell asleep with a woman beside me? If silk boxers can cause that, then having a woman beside me has got to be an insta – oh god no, no, no! PLEASE NO! I haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaate that! I don't feel anything, but I might as well check.

Thank god, nothing. Whew. That was a close call. That would have been embarrassing. Wait, she wouldn't have been able to tell. But still, that'd be an awkward situation. I don't know if I'd have been able to keep a straight face in front of her if that had happened while I was sleeping next to her.

“OT-kun, come on! The food's getting cold!”

I walk over to the kitchen, and take a seat on a stool in front of the counter. Damn, Soshi went all out. There's bacon, eggs, toast... I normally only get a breakfast like this on the weekends. She really didn't have to do something like this.

Soshi hands me a plate with two eggs and a strip of bacon, arranged to make a smiley face. You've got to be kidding me. This is sickeningly cute. I can't help but smile.

“OT-kun, uhm... not to intrude or anything, but do you mind if I take the seat beside you?”

“Nope, it's no problem.”

She takes the seat pretty eagerly, and we eat a nice, peaceful breakfast. Soshi seems unusually happy; she's smiling left and right. Well, I guess she has a right to be in a good mood. If she's like I think she is, this is practically fantasy made reality overnight.

Well, I suppose it would be a fantasy, if it weren't for how this all happened. And just as I think about that, Archer comes down the stairs.

“Geez, OT-kun, what the hell were you thinking? You forgot about me up there, damn it! Leaving me behind for women, I'll never forgive you!”

He keeps ranting on, and then he makes his way into the kitchen. And when he does, the expression on his face changes from anger to shock. He looks at me, then at Soshi, then at me again.

“W-w-what the hell is going on here?!”

“Archer, this is Soshi. She'll be our ally as long we're in this war. Soshi, this is that Archer guy I was telling you about.”

“Allies? That doesn't make sense. There can only be one man left standing, and that'll be me!” Archer sounds confident. Then again, I get the feeling he always sounds confident.

But wait. Archer brought up an important point. What if we ARE the last two masters left in the war? This is bad. I completely forgot about a scenario like that, and that's practically what an alliance like this is aiming for. We're going to have to get this out of the way sooner or later. Might as well do it now.

“Soshi, what Archer said made me realize something. There can only be one winner in this war, and, well, our alliance is aiming for two. What're we going to do? This is a serious problem.”

Soshi thinks for a second, and then simply says this:

“I'll quit.”

What?

“Seriously?”

“Seriously, OT-kun.”

You've got to be kidding me. She's saying something like that so easily. It's ridiculous. She probably didn't even want to be in the war in the first place, true, but with an alliance, she could very well win. The goal of this war is an object that will grant any wish... but she's giving it up just like that?
“But Soshi, you're giving up --”


“It's okay. Starting this morning, I don't have a wish anymore.” She seems scarily content.

She doesn't have a wish anymore? No way, THIS is her wish? For things to be the way they are now?

“That's nice and good, but don't you think there's a problem with that?” Archer speaks up. “Your Servant wants the Grail too, you know.”

Huh? That Xenoserphia guy didn't tell me about this.

“Uhm, I don't think that'll be a problem. Archer. I think my servant's an exception, and she'll probably sympathize with me.”

“There's no way there's a servant who would just give up on the Grail. You're being naïve.”

“Would you like to meet her?” Soshi's voice is soft, but certain.

“Of course! There's no such Servant!”

“Fine then. Berserker, would you come out?”

Before I can blink, another servant materializes in front of me. She's got long, pink hair, and she's wearing a Japanese school uniform. No way, that's definitely Yuno Ga–

Thud.

Archer's passed out on the floor.

“Too... moe...”

***

A couple of minutes later, all four of us are sitting in the living room. We managed to get Archer to regain consciousness, although it was pretty hard to keep him from proposing to Yuno.

“Do you trust me now?”

Berserker just confirmed that, although she'd rather not, she'd be willing to give up the Grail as long as this alliance lasts. Not too surprising, considering she'd kill herself to let her own love win a somewhat similar tournament in her manga. She definitely understands Soshi's situation.

“I'll believe anything she says~!”Archer sure is different around Berserker.

“Alright then, it's settled. We've got a flawless alliance.” I'm pretty satisfied.

However, there's still a few questions the stuff that happened at breakfast brought up, so I'll –

A) Ask about why Servants want the Grail
B) Ask how Berserker came out of thin air
C) Ask Soshi if she's sure about giving up her wish


===
Have at it. Pics of Yuno, for reference, shall be forthcoming.


http://img513.imageshack.us/img513/5484/94052128.jpg -- not good for displaying the cuteness, but meh.


Update 19

The music switched over to Tender Scenery after the asterisk break in the last post.

===

A) Ask about why Servants want the Grail

“I've still got a few questions for you guys, though. Archer, you said something about Servants wanting the Grail. Why's that?”

“Well, the Grail grants one wish of its owner. However, as your Servant and partner in this, I'm also a joint owner of the Holy Grail if you win, and I get a wish granted, too. Who wouldn't want something like that?”

“Yeah, you have a point. But you're a fictional character. What could you possibly want?”

“Well, two things. First off would be a real life. I'm not real to begin with, but now that I am, don't you think it'd be awfully depressing to give that up?”

“True.”

“And second... I want a cute, innocent moe waifu~!”

You're kidding. No. Just no. How can someone this badass be so creepy at the same time?

But wait, that's two wishes.

“Archer, you can only have one wish granted. Can you count?”

“Yeah. However, a servant can get a normal life, separate from his master, by drinking the contents of the Holy Grail – so in this case, two wishes isn't really a problem. Besides, what good would a wish do a fictional character? Without drinking from the Grail, I'll disappear when it's gone – it's only around from when the war starts to when the last master gets his wish, and I'm only around because of it in the first place. There's no point in getting a wish if I won't be around to have it granted.”

True again.

Well, that's that. And his wish isn't too bad. Hell, I can't even think of a wish, so he's already one step ahead. I've still got one more question, though.

A) Ask how Berserker came out of thin air
B) Ask Soshi if she's sure about giving up her wish


===
Sorry for the short length. : /


Update 20

Same again.

===

B) Ask Soshi if she's sure about giving up her wish

“Soshi, are you sure you want to give up your wish?”

“As long as things stay like this, then I'll have no problem giving it up. After all, there's no use for wishing for something you already have.” She smiles shyly, and looks at me.

This could be bad. I wasn't doing any of that because I loved her. She just looked like she really needed some comforting, and I couldn't let her stay the way she was -- it would've been cruel. But she thinks that I really do love her. Oh god, I'm screwed. Either I'm losing an alliance, or falling in love with her damn quick. Disaster. I've just created a disaster.

This

is

BAD.

“Uhm, OT-kun, you look kind of pale. Do you want some more warm tea?”

“Sure, sure. That'd be great.” I definitely said that way too quickly, like I was covering up something.

She's coming back out of the kitchen with the tea.

“There you go. Be careful, it's still a little hot.”

“Thanks.”

I accept the cup, take a sip, and... OUUUUUUUUUUUUUCHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

“I told you it was hot, OT-kun.”

You said it was a little hot. A LITTLE hot. You didn't say it'd annihilate every tastebud on my tongue! Damn it Archer, stop laughing. This isn't funny.

“Anyways, OT-kun, are those all of your questions?”

“Yup.”

“Okay. Is it alright if we try to talk about us – I mean, our plans – I mean, some strategy?”

“That's fine by me, but shouldn't we get ready for school or something?” I just glanced at the clock: it's 7:20, about 25 minutes before I normally leave. If I don't shower now, I'll definitely be late.

“OT-kun, school probably isn't safe. Anybody there could be a Master. It'd be better if you stayed here with me.”

“Soshi, school's definitely safe. Nobody would attack us with all those people around.”

“But OT-kun, it could be dangerous! Why can't you stay with me at your house?”

A) Fine, I'll stay.
B) No way, Soshi. School's important, like it or not.


===
There you guys go. Late as hell, but I hope you can forgive my lazy ass.


Update 21

A) In Mr. Feeny's room, like yesterday.

I think I'll eat in Mr. Feeny's room, like yesterday. I don't really feel like eating with everybody in the cafeteria, but I don't feel like eating alone on the rooftop, either. Mr. Feeny's room sounds like a good compromise.

I run by the cafeteria, grab a lunch, and go to Mr. Feeny's room.

“Hey, Mr. Feeny. Do you mind if I eat lunch in here again?”

“That'd be no problem at all.”

We have another conversation, this time about what I'm going to do in the future.

“Well, I don't really know what I wanna do after I graduate. I'll definitely go to college – you're pretty much screwed if you don't -- but I'm not really sure what I'd wanna major in, or what kinda job I'd try to get afterwards. I've basically got no real plans.”

“That's okay for now, but you might want to think about it some more. Eventually, you'll need to make a choice about what to do with your life, and that's not a decision to be made rashly. Don't any of your hobbies lend themselves to some sort of a career? There's nothing better than a career in something you enjoy, of course.”

“Well, video games are really fun, but I don't think I could write the stories, or program the games. I like movies a lot too, but it's pretty much the same – I couldn't write a script, and I don't think I could direct. I play guitar a little bit, but there's no way I can make a career out of that, even if I do love playing – I'm just not good enough. And I really like manga and comics, but I can't draw at all.”

“You don't find any of your classes interesting, either?”

“History's neat, but I suck at names and dates, so that's pretty much out of the question. I'm not all that great at math. I'm pretty good at English, but I don't really have any fun writing papers or reading the books. I do like science, I'll admit, but upper-level science just takes too much math.”

“OT-kun, it just sounds like you're unmotivated. You don't want to put forth the kind of effort you need to do anything you might like.”

“You're probably right. I've never been a particularly motivated guy – if someone rated how much effort I put into stuff, the only thing I'd get an A in is procrastination.”

“That's a serious shame, OT-kun. I know you can do well when you try.”

“But trying takes effort.”

“Oh well.” He looks at the clock. “I've got another teacher's meeting to attend today, so I'd best be going. See you, OT-kun.”

“Later, Mr. Feeny.”

***

Once he's gone, I start on my lunch – a ham sandwich, with potato chips, an apple, and a bottle of water. It's odd – the meat on this sandwich is really moist, and it's folded unusually delicately for something made by the school. Suffice it to say, eating this sandwich is probably the most pleasurable thing I've done in a while. Hold on, this seems kind of familiar –

WAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAA!

That laughter... damn it!

“I came by to get help from Feeny again, but it seems like he's not here today either. I was pretty annoyed -- but then I saw your face. Priceless. I'll have to try one of those sandwiches soon... they must be pretty good, huh?”

I got sliced to pieces by Yama's razor-sharp tongue again. Damn, this had better not become a daily thing.

“What about you, Yama? Run away from your lunch table today, too?” I might as well retaliate.

“That's not it at all! I just needed to ask Mr. Feeny about that project that's coming up.”

“There's a project coming up? I'm in your class, and I haven't heard about any projects.”

“You know, the one that... uhm... uhmm... you know, the one with the... the, uh... the really long paper! That's the one! He told us about it at the beginning of the year!” She's standing there, acting like it was the most obvious thing in the world.

“Yama, that's our final exam. It's not due for almost seven months. He hasn't even handed out instructions.”

“I just wanted to get an early start! Geez, is that so unbelievable?”

“...Kinda.”

“No, it's not! I'm just being a responsible student!”

“Whatever you say.”

“Augh! Look, I just wanted a head start! It's supposed to be a reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaally long paper! Who wouldn't try to get it done now?!”

Me.”

“You can't even trust a woman? You're hopeless! I'm not lying at all!!!”

“Suuuure.”

“Would you stop it already? I can't believe you're acting so childish!” You're the one acting childish, Yama.

“Look, Yama. If you want to eat here, then –”

“But I don't want to eat here! All I wanted to do was talk to Feeny about the project!”

“Just sit down and eat already, okay?”

“No way! That's – not – why – I'm – here!

“Fine.”

“Good. Nice to see you understand.” She starts searching the top of Mr. Feeny's desk. “I'll just see if there's an instruction sheet here or anything, and leave.”

“Yama, there isn't one there. I would have seen it when I was talking to him.”

“They might be in his desk drawers! How would you know then? See? You don't!” She starts violently rummaging through all the private drawers.

“Isn't searching his desk a little.... nevermind, Yama.” It'd be best not to interrupt.

“Nothing... how disappointing. Alright. I guess I'll leave, then. Goodbye, OT-kun.”

“Later.”

She slams the door shut, and leaves.
Wait, something was odd about Yama. I didn't really think about it when she was in here, since she was being so stubborn, but I think she was wearing a coat and gloves... inside the building? Wonder why she'd do something like that? Oh well, it's Yamachan. I can't even begin to guess what a woman like that'd be thinking.

Anyways, as I finish up my lunch, I take the last potato chip and eat it, then toss the bag into the trash.

***
Afternoon classes went pretty smoothly. Now I'm grabbing my stuff out of my locker, and getting ready to walk back home.

Update 22

A) Check out the burned-down house

I think I'll check out the burned-down house. Something's strangely coincidental about the timing of this house burning to the ground.

I walk uphill towards the building. As I get closer, I notice that there're news crews lined up all around the house. Strange – normally, a burned-down house wouldn't get too much coverage. I think I'll get a bit closer to the reporters, and see what's going on.

Sounds like this was the house of some government official, which'd explain all the media attention. But something's off.

The walkway to the house has the word ”JUSTICE” smeared across it in something that looks like blood.

The reporters are saying that the owner of the house appears to have died in the fire; his body was found in his bed, singed beyond recognition, along with his wife's charred corpse. The only survivor was a 2 year old child, who was apparently found on the sidewalk, well out of the reach of the blaze, when the firefighters came. Arson is certain.

I guess I'll be watching the news tonight.

***

I make my way back to my house. After visiting the burned-down house, it was a rather uneventful walk.

As soon as I get to the front step, Soshi opens the door and greets me with a hug.

“OT-kun! What took you so long? School ended forty minutes ago, and you only took 25 minutes or so to get there this morning. Is everything okay?”

She paid that much attention?

“Yeah, everything's fine. I just took a detour on the way back, that's all.”

“Nothing dangerous? You promised.”

“Nothing dangerous.”

“Ah, thank goodness...” She rests her head on my shoulder for a minute. “I was worried sick. I should've gone to school too, or had Berserker follow you, or...”
“There's no need. I'm fine.” Really, there's no need for something as creepy as having Berserker trail me. REALLY.

“You're sure? You could've been attacked at any time on the way back from school, or even in the middle of class. You didn't eat lunch alone or anything, did you?”

“I ate it with Mr. Feeny.” Half-lie.

She sighs with relief, and kisses me.

“Welcome back home, OT-kun. I really, really missed you.” Another kiss.

It's only been half a day since she saw me last. What've I gotten myself into?

“It's... nice to be back.”
I think.

Update 23

Dinnertime again.

Compared to last night, the atmosphere is much less tense. Then again, that's to be expected when I don't have to try to come up with quick-witted lies every five seconds.

The food's just as spectacular, though; there's baked chicken, scalloped potatoes, broccoli, baked apples, and even homemade cheesecake for dessert. Damn. Was this what she did all day while I was gone?

“School went alright, then, OT-kun?”

“Yeah. Pretty normal day – walked there, sat in class bored, talked to Feeny, sat in class bored, then walked back here.”

Wait... there was something decidedly abnormal about today's trip back.

“Soshi, do you mind if I turn on the TV? I'd like to watch the news.”

“I'd rather talk to you than watch the news, OT-kun. Do you have to?”

“It'll only be for a minute. There's something specific I'd like to see.”

“I guess that's okay.” She sure sighed pretty heavily after that.

Anyways, I turn on the small TV on the counter in the kitchen, and tune it to channel four. Since it's about six, the news should on any time now.

“What do you want to see so badly, OT-kun?”

“You'll see in a second.”

Aaaaaaaaaand... bingo.

“Now, for today's biggest local news: Mayor Chaum Berkeley was found dead inside his house this morning. There are several strange details related to this case...”

I listen to the rest, and cut it off.

“Sorry about that, Soshi. Just curious.”

“OT-kun, was your 'detour' this afternoon somehow related to this? You don't have to tell me, but I'd like to know, if you don't mind. If you do, then that's okay, but --”

“Yeah, it was. I just saw that a house had burned down in one of the neighborhoods I pass on the way to school, and got curious. That was the house.”

“Oh.”

“What, is there something wrong?”

“No... no, nothing wrong.” She seems to be thinking pretty hard. “Nothing's wrong, unless, well...”

“Well... what?”

“Well, OT-kun, it's... it's possible that his death and this war are related.”

What?

“You see, OT-kun... uhm... it's possible that a master killed him, to help make his servant stronger. It's -- it's not unheard of.”

WHAT?

“Well, OT-kun... you see, servants are, well, sort of like engines. They need fuel to run.”

“Uhm... okay.”

“Normally, the master gives them that fuel. It's called mana, and it's used for performing magic.”

This sounds like an RPG. Wait, magic?

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tICKoZ18zHk)

“What do you mean, magic? There's no such thing as magic! Something like that can't possibly exist!”

“Explain Archer, then!!!”

“<em><b>Archer is obviously a cosplayer! He's using special effects to make it seem like he's magical!</b>”

Magic exists, and Archer is a magical existence! Just try to do something about that, OT-kuuuuuuuuuuun! KYAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!</em>”

(end http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tICKoZ18zHk)

Well, I got shut down awful quick. Then again, I'd kinda be an idiot to not accept magic after everything I've seen.

“Uhm, anyways, OT-kun... uhm, where was I?”

“Something about mana.”

“That's right. OT-kun, mana is the gasoline servants run on, and servants are normally 'filled up' by their master. Servants use mana to exist and fight. If they run out of mana, they die – so killing a master generally kills a servant, since servants will eventually 'go dry' without mana from their master. You've probably felt an odd weight or something on you since you summoned Archer, right?”

“No, actually. Wait, how the hell do I even have mana? I'm not a wizard or anything.”

“Everyone has some amount of mana. You'd need to have a lot to summon a servant though, OT-kun, even on accident. You must have a magus in your bloodline.”

“Magus?”

“I guess it'd just be best to explain it like you said – a wizard.” Pause. “Uhm, OT-kun, did anybody in your family ever mysteriously disappear, die odd ways, or have anything just.. weird happen to them?”

“My dad died a few years ago, in a fire in the office building where he worked. He was the only one who was killed, but I guess that's not too weird.”

“Anything else?”

“He used to be out of the house a whole lot. He went on business trips pretty frequently, although they always came up on short notice – only a day or two.”

“Your dad might have been a magus. It'd be a wild guess, OT-kun, but it'd explain you summoning Archer. It might be true. Dying randomly like that, going away often on a whim – it all sounds right for a magus.”

“I... guess.”

That's not the easiest idea to swallow. My dad... a magus? It kinda fits, but... he was my dad. I don't want to think of him as anything else.

But that'd mean you were never normal to begin with. Haven't you always wanted that?

Anyways, there are more important things that I could be worrying about right now. Well, maybe not, but I'd rather not think about this right now.

“Let's back up a bit. You said Archer needs mana, right?”

“Probably, OT-kun. He's been through one fight already. He might not need it immediately, but if he gets into another fight like the one you told me about, it'll be necessary.”

“Well, how can I give it to him?”

“Well, uhm... right now, I don't think you can.”

“What do you mean?”

“I think you should've established a mana flow when he was summoned, but you didn't. You'll probably have to recontract him, or something.”

“And how do I do that?”

“Since you can't cast spells or use magic, I don't know. In the meantime, I guess Archer should probably rest. He does regenerate a little bit of mana if he does nothing. Mind you, it isn't a lot – but something is better than nothing.”

“Makes sense.”

“Anyways, OT-kun, we really got sidetracked. Where did we start?”

“You said that the murder on TV might've been related to the war, and then we somehow got into this.”

“That's right... well, remember how I told you how everyone has some mana, OT-kun? Servants can take mana from anybody – at the cost of the other person's life. It's one way some masters try to get an advantage in the war; they'll take mana from civilians, and use it to supplement the mana the give their servants. This gives them an edge, and makes their servant stronger. Really, OT-kun, Archer could kill some civilians and be perfectly fine... but I don't think you'd want that. I wouldn't either – there's no reason to kill somebody who hasn't hurt you.”

“You're right... I wouldn't want that.”

“Anyways, OT-kun, there's something else I need to talk to you about.”

“Yeah?”

“OT-kun, this war's dangerous for you, especially since Archer can't just stay with you and protect you if he wants to avoid using up his mana. You need to learn how to defend yourself.”

I guess that's good logic. But how am I going to learn that in only a few days?

“OT-kun, I'm going to teach you. Any objections?”

She empties her purse onto the table, and knives of all kinds spill out.
“...None, Soshi.”

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