Disclaimer: I don't own Fate or anything associated with it.
Thanks like always to Blind_Seer0 for editing this chapter for me.
WARNING: Contains spoilers for Fate/Grand Order's Final Singularity.
Author's Note: Reminder, the only true way to experience Fate/Heroes of Justice is through the original Visual Novel*. Every other way is clearly inferior. (*Visual Novel to be released June 21st, 21XX)
Fate/Heroes of Justice: Child's Play
Chapter 4: Autumn Winds
Sakura sat in the Llamrei Mark III, studying their newest companions. The sleigh was even more cramped now as Mash and Roman had joined them in it. The odd pair seemed to be fitting in with the group quite well, and there had been no question from anyone that they were traveling with them to their next destination. Mordred and Mash sat next to each other, talking like old friends and complimenting the outfits of the other. Roman was chatting with Illya about transformation magic and their different uses of it.
Now that there were no giant monsters to deal with, it was finally time to investigate Einzbern Castle. Sakura had suggested to the group that they head there, but she hadn't yet explained why. Before she could, she needed to get some things out of the way. "Mordred," she said, drawing the Christmas Servant's attention.
"Yeah?" he asked, sounding annoyed. Nothing new. "Need something?"
"Can you protect us from scrying?"
"We already are," he said, gesturing to the sleigh. "The Llamrei Mark III comes with an anti-scrying feature built in. It extends to the interior, area around and to the reindeer."
"Is that a compliment?" asked Heracles, pulling the sleigh once more.
"It is," said Illya. "They're powerful and tough. You don't want to fight one, even if they seem cute on the outside."
"I approve of the comparison then," replied Heracles.
"Are you worried about someone spying on us?" asked Shirou.
Sakura nodded. "Kind of. It's less of a worry and more of a certainty. I've felt it since I arrived here. Medusa and I were hiding under the influence of a spell before we went to help Shirou."
Morded scowled. "That's freakin' important. You didn't want to mention that earlier when we were going around using our true names?"
"It wouldn't have mattered," said Roman. "The enemy leader is a Ruler Class Servant."
"Which means that they can see our Servant's True Names," said Rin. She thought for a moment. "Do we know the identity of this Ruler?"
Roman shook their head. "I don't. We've been tracking her for the past several days. We narrowed it down to Einzbern Castle." They paused for a moment. "This Ruler has somehow taken control of this Holy Grail War's Servants and Masters. She's using the Castle as the base of her operations, but I don't know what she's doing otherwise. It was while Mash and I were scouting that we saw some people fleeing from the castle."
"Us," said Medusa. "And you then followed us. In secret."
Roman looked embarrassed. "Well, yeah. We were unsure of how to approach you or what was going on. You figured it out and gave us the slip though."
"We're very good at that," said Sakura. She turned to her sister and friends. "The first place Medusa and I checked for everyone was the Castle. There we found all the War's Servant's plus Ruler. We quickly ran. When we did, someone followed us." She looked back to Roman. "After you lost us, you waited around, saw the monster, observed it, saw us fighting and helped us, correct?"
"That is correct," said Mash, sounding impressed. "You're like Sherlock Holmes."
Sakura shook her head. "If I was Sherlock Holmes, I would know what Organization it was you worked for, and what you were really doing here."
"Chaldea," said Rin, drawing surprised looks from Roman and Mash. "I recognized the symbol on your clothes."
"What's Chaldea?" asked Shirou.
"A joint project between the Mage's Association and the United Nations," explained Rin. "I'm on the board of directors."
"Wait," said Roman, looking surprised. "I never knew that you were on the board."
Rin shrugged. "It's an anonymous position. Not surprising since it's a secret organization that only those high up or inside of it should know about."
Sakura considered that, running through what she'd just learned, both by what had been said and what hadn't been. "I remember you mentioning that. It's only a year old, right?"
A nod. "Yep. And they don't have the place running yet. It's more like a magical research facility currently under the head of the Animusphere family. Like us, they became more prominent after The Fall. I assisted them with the Fate System."
"What's that do?" asked Illya.
"It's for the summoning of Heroic Spirits," said Mordred. He pointed to Mash. "Like Mash. Although, it's end goal is supposed to be more in line with summoning Spirits like me, not Demi-Servants."
Everyone gave Mordred surprised looks, and he scowled. "What? I helped with it too. It's not like there's anyone more experienced with Heroic Spirits than Rin or I."
"What's the goal of Chaldea?" asked Shirou. "Just magical research?"
Rin shook her head. "Of course not. They're our replacements."
"Wait," said Illya. "Replacements?"
"You created an organization of Justice Rangers?" asked Shirou, sounding excited by the prospect.
"That's the idea. They have the ability to monitor the state of Humanity into the future and can work to prevent any calamities that might present themselves. Agents of Chaldea are intended to be able to go to a danger zone, summon temporary Heroic Spirits and solve the issue. Anything that poses significant threat to our survival."
"It's not like we're going to be alive forever," mused Sakura, following her sister's line of thinking. So, this is what she had been working on over the past year. It made sense, although she still had questions. "Can Chaldea agents time travel?"
"That would be impossible without a True Magic," replied Rin. "They only operate in our realm of reality."
Shirou pointed to Roman and Mash. "Then how are they here?"
Rin frowned. "I don't know."
"We can't tell you that," said Roman.
"Yes, you can," said Sakura, locking eyes with them. "You're clearly from the future, and not just from our time, but further. You're a type of Chaldea agent that doesn't exist in our era, at least, not yet. How far ahead are you?"
Roman frowned, a similar expression to that Rin made. They were quiet for a second before adopting a confused look for some reason. Sakura was curious, but before she could ask, Illya spoke up.
"Who's that you're talking to?" she asked, surprising Roman.
"Uh, what are you talking about?" Roman was as bad of a liar as Rin.
Illya pointed to her ears. "I have enhanced hearing. I heard a woman taking to you. She's been advising you this whole time."
"You have a magical communicator?" asked Rin. "Let us talk to her as well. We need answers."
A moment of resistance, but then a blue hologram appeared in the middle of the Sleigh. A beautiful woman, a bright smile on her face, looked around at them. "Hello Justice Rangers, Caster Leonardo Da Vinci here. You wanted to talk?"
Rin nodded. "We did. I was expecting an Animusphere though."
Da Vinci frowned. "Unfortunately, that's not possible right now, for reasons I'm not sure are safe to divulge. I'm acting director of Chaldea currently, I hope that suffices."
A sigh. "It'll need to," replied Rin. I've got questions, but I'll leave it to the most pressing. What year is it for you?"
"No exact dates," replied Da Vinci. "But somewhere around two decades from your current estimated mental age."
"So," said Illya. "They can time travel? Do they have a True Magic?"
"We don't," said Da Vinci. "It's not quite time travel. Right now, you're in a Singularity. A pocket of space-time that is acting weird due to outside influence and is currently separated from now the normal flow of things. The Chaldea of our day monitors these singularities, sends in agents through a process not yet developed for you, and corrects the errors."
"With only two of you?" asked Shirou. "That's impressive."
"It's not supposed to be just us," replied Roman. "Normally, we're able to set up on a leyline and use Mash's shield as a catalyst to summon Heroic Spirits to fight with us."
"Sorry Senpai," said Mash. "We tried several times, but I failed each time."
"It's not your fault," replied Roman gently. They frowned. "When we arrived two days ago, we tried to summon a Heroic Spirit. It didn't work. That's never happened before."
Subsequent attempts didn't work either," concluded Da Vinci. "It's possible that's because of your presence here. You've all clearly been able to summon your own Heroic Spirits. Your existence might be blocking the summoning. This is your era, so it would make a strange sort of sense if your summoning Servants took priorities over Rit-Roman's summoning attempts."
Sakura took note of the slip up. Like she'd thought, Roman was using an alias. For some reason. Curious. None of the Chaldeans were lying, but they were clearly keeping secrets. Well, she had her own secrets. Maybe divulging what she knew would reveal something.
"I know who the Ruler is," said Sakura, drawing surprised looks from everyone but Medusa. "She's cloaking herself, but that only stops people who don't know her from recognizing her. A simple soul cloak."
Rin groaned. "Please don't say it…"
"Welcome back to my Castle, Justice Rangers," said a voice, ringing loudly through the forest surrounding Einzbern Castle. Sakura recognized the haughty voice very clearly. "And new mystery guests who I couldn't care less about. Are you so eager to die that you would come here to face me directly?"
"IRSS," said Shirou with a grimace. "How's she back?"
"Not sure," said Sakura. "But she's a Ruler now."
"Not Caster?" asked Illya.
"Caster was that creature you just fought," said Da Vinci. "The readings match with Caster Giles De Rais, also known as Bluebeard."
"He never fully materialized in your Fourth Holy Grail War," explained Roman. "I read the records, but it seems like he was replaced by IRSS as Caster for that."
Shirou nodded in understanding. "But since she's the Ruler now, he gained that spot."
"Hey!" yelled IRSS again through the forest. "Can you losers hear me? If you can, answer. Don't just ignore a woman."
"She can't scry us," said Mordred. "She's fishing. There's magic in her words and acknowledging them with an answer will alert her of our presence."
"I believe that we are almost at the Castle," said Heracles. "What's the plan?"
"Rin?" asked Sakura, looking to her sister.
"Hm," said Rin, thinking. She looked to Roman and Mash. "IRSS is definitely related to this Singularity, so that makes her your target, correct?"
Roman nodded. "Yep." He exchanged glances with Mash. "If you'll have us, we would love to work together with you to set things right."
Rin smiled and held out her child sized hand. "Mordred trusts you, that's all I need to hear."
"I never said I trusted them," said Mordred, scowling.
"You never said you didn't either," replied Rin. "That's good enough for me."
Roman took her hand and they shook. There was a bright smile on their face. "This is a dream come true. I get to work with the Justice Rangers."
Mash smiled at Mordred. "And I get to work with you again. Galahad is always happy whenever that happens. And I am as well. This will make the third time."
"I guess Mordred is just that reliable of a Heroic Spirit," said Roman.
Mordred blushed, looking torn between being bashful and happy. "Of course I am," he said. "No matter what body I'm in, I'm always up for a fight."
"We are here," said Heracles.
Sakura looked away from her companions and saw them emerging from the forest into the familiar grounds of the Fuyuki Einzbern Castle. She had spent a lot of her life on these grounds and every bit of it was familiar to her. Standing in front of the castle was a young woman with pale white skin and coal black hair. She had on a blindfold, but there was a clear expression of hatred on her face. Around her neck was a gemstone necklace, four glowing gemstones strung on it. Pearl, ruby, amethyst and citrine.
The woman held out her arms wide. "Welcome Justice Rangers," she yelled as they approached. Massive magical energy started to build up her around her. "Now prepare to die!"
"Brace yourselves!" yelled Mordred, holding up his staff and projecting a barrier. He got it up just in time as a wave of blinding white energy radiated out from IRSS. The energy struck Mordred's shield and engulfed it, and them. The world dissolved around them and Sakura felt her stomach lurch as they were torn from their physical reality to somewhere else. Details came into focus around them and Sakura realized that they were floating in the air above a bizarre, but not unfamiliar, landscape.
"We're going to fall!" yelled Roman, holding on tightly to the sleigh.
"Stop panicking," yelled Mordred. "The Llamrei Mark III is a magical sleigh. Of course it can fly. And that goes for any attached reindeer as well."
"I appreciate that feature," said Heracles as he floated over the landscape, little motes of light underneath his feet.
"Where is this?" asked Mash, peering over the side of the sleigh.
"A reality marble," replied Rin. "IRSS's. I've been here once before, although it was slightly different then.
Sakura studied the landscape and noticed the difference as well. "Einzbern Castle, Tohsaka Manor, a field of flowers, those were all here before." She pointed to one area. It was her home, the compound that her family had lived in since their previous home had been destroyed in the Fourth Holy Grail War. "That wasn't here before."
"No," agreed Rin. "It was a dark void for some reason."
"Maybe it's because IRSS has four gemstones this time?" suggested Illya, drawing curious glances. "Didn't you notice? When I met her before, she had a pearl, a ruby and an amethyst. Now she had a citrine as well."
"She had that when I first met her," said Shirou. "But she lost it at some point."
Sakura thought for a moment, remembering a certain event she rather wouldn't. "When Berserker attacked your home originally, you were injured. Before fleeing, IRSS used her gemstone for something. I think to save your life. When Rin and I visited this place before it was after that event."
"She's made up of bits of all four of you, isn't she?" asked Roman.
Rin nodded. "Yeah. Which means our house represents her Shirou. Somehow?"
"You can figure it out later," snapped Mordred, "We've got incoming!"
Heracles dashed forward, moving them out of the way as several golden swords shot through where they had been. Sakura looked and saw a small golden figure down at the grounds of Tohsaka manor. More swords came their way, but Heracles managed to easily avoid them, running circles across the sky.
"What do we do?" asked Chloe, looking around. "Do we go down there and fight back?"
"It's not just him in here," said Mordred, frowning. "I can sense three powerful enemies. Archer, Saber and Rider. They're each in a different area." He pointed to the Tohsaka manor, the samurai compound and the field of flowers. "Father is down there."
"We can't just stay up here," said Rin. "We'll split up into three groups. Mordred, Sakura, Medusa and I will go down and deal with Archer. Everyone else will deal with Saber."
"No," said Mordred. He clenched his fists. "I want to deal with Saber."
"And I want to fight Saber as well," said Illya and Shirou at the same time, drawing surprised looks from each other.
Rin let out a heavy sigh. She glanced to Sakura. "You want to fight Archer, don't you?"
Sakura shook her head. "Not Archer, but that's where Tokiomi will be."
"And I go wherever Sakura goes," said Medusa.
"I would not mind switching places," said Heracles, bringing them safely out of the way of a spear flying at them. "Mordred can go with Illya, and I will go with Rin. That makes the most sense, since everyone else has somewhere they want to be."
"That sounds good to me," replied Illya. "Mordred?"
"Just great," said Mordred with a smirk, pounding his fist against his palm.
"Then that's what we'll do," concluded Rin.
"And we'll take Rider," said Roman. They pointed to the flower field. "Rider is the most mobile Servant, correct? If we leave him alone, he'll manage to attack one of the groups before the other can defeat their enemy and come back up the first group."
"But if Senpai and I can hold him off, then everyone can come to our rescue," concluded Mash.
"No way," said Mordred. "That's too dangerous."
"I'm a defensive Servant," replied Mash. "This is nothing."
Rin looked at Roman. "Are you sure about this?"
Roman and Mash both nodded. "Of course," they responded. A cocky smile. "Just don't forget to come rescue us."
"Never," replied Rin. Her expression turned serious. "Everyone get ready to jump. We're abandoning the Llamrei Mark III and going in fast."
"I've got this," said Mordred, holding out his candy cane. "Down the chimney!"
Each person was surrounded by a glowing aura that resembled a Christmas ornament. The next moment, the Llamrei Mark III disappeared and the ornaments shot downward. They split off into three groups like planned. Sakura quickly lost sight of the other groups and turned her focus to her landing. Golden swords flew towards her, but the ornaments zigged and zagged to the side, safely dodging.
They struck the ground, shattering like glass and freeing the inhabitants. A sword flew at her, but Medusa was in front out her in an instant, parrying the sword with a swipe of her scythe. Heracles landed and immediately dashed towards the glittering, golden form of Archer. Archer smirked and leapt into the air, golden portals glowing around him.
"You dare try to touch me, mongrel?" asked Gilgamesh, King of Heroes. Weapon tips pointed out from the portals. "You will regret that decision."
The weapons shot out towards Heracles. He dodged and ducked several before twisting around, grabbing ahold of one of the swords and throwing it back at Gilgamesh. The weapon was intercepted by another sword, but it also caused the barrage to halt as Gilgamesh scowled at him. "You will pay for that."
"I do not fear you," said Heracles. "You may be powerful, but I am more than a match for you."
Medusa leapt to Heracles side, brandishing her scythe. "I will be joining as well."
Heracles smiled. "I will gladly fight besides you."
"Archer!" yelled an aristocratic voice. A man in a red suit stepped out from behind a statue in the manor courtyard. Sakura's heart beat wildly as she recognized him. "Finish off these fools quickly. Do so and Ruler will grant us our wishes."
"Do not try to order me around, Tokiomi," growled Gilgamesh. "I do what I want, how I want. Why do you not just stand back and stay out of my way? Or better yet, make yourself useful and remove those children from my sight."
Tokiomi looked directly at Rin and Sakura, his gaze cool. Rin took a step forward. "Father, it's me, Rin. I've brought Sakura."
"Ah," said Tokiomi. "The escaped Matou child. Unfortunately, you do not have a mage family to return to anymore since those fools all died. Truly a waste of mage blood. Maybe someone else will adopt you some day."
Sakura felt the words like a knife through her heart. She hadn't expected any words from this man to be able to hurt her anymore. He wasn't her father and hadn't been for a long time, but still, she felt every word squeezing tight around her.
Rin moved to stand between Sakura and Tokiomi. "Why would you say that to your own daughter?"
"She is not my daughter," replied Tokiomi. He frowned in disappointment at Rin. "And if you do not obey me and give up your Servant to Ruler, then you will not be as well."
Tokiomi held his hands out to either side of him in a grandiose motion. "The Tohsaka family's dream has been to reach the Root, and finally, that is within my grasp. By using the Holy Grail under the supervision of Ruler, I can achieve this dream. And all I need to do is remove any obstacles."
"Reaching the Root isn't worth giving up on your family!" yelled Rin. "You have a chance at a happy life, with mother, Sakura and I. Will you just throw that away?"
"Family is just a means to an end for a mage family," replied Tokiomi. "Have you failed to learn anything as basic as that? Reaching the Root takes time and many generations. It is important to keep the bloodline strong and to pass on the teachings needed to thrive. Sacrifices must be made, because to balk at such an opportunity is to dishonor those who sacrificed themselves for this dream."
"I refuse to accept that as a way of life!"
"Stop being such a child!" ordered Tokiomi. "This is what being a mage is. There is no other way about it. Either you have the resolve, or you fail like that fool Kariya."
"Uncle Kariya has more resolve than you could ever understand," said Sakura, breaking into the conversation. She moved to stand side by side with Rin and looking Tokiomi dead in the eye. "He ran from his family not out of fear, but out of an understanding of what they really were. You were so blinded by your ideals of what a mage family was, and your disgust at Uncle that you failed to consider what it might mean if he was right. You gave me away to the Matous, and for that year my life was hell…"
Rin's hand reached out and took Sakura's, squeezing it comfortingly. Sakura took a deep breath and continued. "I know that you did what you thought was best. Based on what it meant to be a traditional mage, that must have seemed like the only way for you. An ideal solution to a second daughter. But it wasn't. You ruined many lives. And you know what? You deserve the death you got. Killed by your own apprentice and betrayed by your Servant. Your ambitions crushed. I can understand you, but that doesn't mean I need to ever forgive you!"
"I don't need forgiveness from someone like you!" yelled Tokiomi, his eyes going wide with madness. "The Root is right in front of me. When I have it, the Tohsaka's long dream will come to completion and the happiness and prosperity of my family line will be assured!"
"Father," said Rin, softly but forcefully, drawing his attention. "Just because you're correct, doesn't mean that you're right. If you continue down this path, then I'll be your enemy as well."
"Then so be it," said Tokiomi. He held up his staff and the gem on it started to glow. A fireball flew from the staff towards Rin and Sakura.
Gathering up her mana, Sakura used her magecraft to form a shield that protected them from the inferno. Rin raised up her hand and fired several magical bolts, forcing Tokiomi to bring up a shield of his own. Sakura stomped her foot onto the ground, sending magecraft into the earth. Small foot long spikes shot up around Tokiomi's feet, threatening to impale them. He leapt upwards and hardened the air under his feet, creating a platform. As soon as it was created though he found himself defending from yet another barrage of magical bolts. At no point in the fight did Rin and Sakura release their clasped hands.
Their Servants weren't sitting around idle either. As soon as the conversation had broken down, all three had launched into action. Golden portals formed behind Gilgamesh and more weapons shot out of them. Lancer leapt up onto Assassin's shoulder's and held on with her legs while her hands wielded her scythe. The blade of the scythe flew to meet the first few weapons, directed by the chain still attached to the haft. It cut through two of the weapons and knocked another into a fourth.
While she cleared a path, Assassin charged forward, dodging easily around weapons. He once again grabbed a weapon, but instead of throwing it immediately, he kept ahold of it. He used it to destroy a spear and deflect an ax, all while steam rose up from the weapon trying to reject the foreign owner.
Gilgamesh scowled and portals opened behind the Servant pair. The weapons that flew out found themselves colliding with a sturdy wall of earth that rose up to intercept. Lancer's free hand glowed with earthen based magecraft. The moment bought by that defense was all they needed to close the gap. Heracles was just mere inches away from Gilgamesh, striking out with a powerful unarmed attack.
Chains shot out from portals that appeared around Assassin, halting his movements right before his attack could land. They also caught Lancer, chaining her to her companion. A sneer formed on the golden Archer's face. "Did you Mongrels really think that you could ever touch me?"
He started to circle the chained pair, ranting as he did so. "My chains can hold anyone still, especially those with divinity. I was not sure at first, because your origins are so ramshackle, but you are both divine beings, are you not?"
Gilgamesh pointed to Lancer. "Especially you. An earth goddess, not yet fallen into becoming something sad and pitiful. Neither of you will ever again move that spot. At least, not while alive."
Dozens of portals opened around them, surrounding them in a dome. "Any last words?"
"Behind you," said Assassin, appearing right where he said he was. Gilgamesh was forced to summon a sword into his own hand and use the flat of it to block a brutal kick from Assassin that sent him flying backwards regardless. He flew through his chained foes, finding them both earthen replicas that shattered against his golden armor. His chains fell to the ground in a heap as they had nothing to hold on to.
With quick agility, Gilgamesh righted himself and landed on his feet, blocking a follow-up strike. This time he managed to hold his ground, but his teeth were grit in a combination of effort and fury. "How?" he demanded.
"I am an Assassin," replied Assassin simply. "It was easy enough."
"Easy?" asked Gilgamesh, sounding infuriated. "You will not get away with this insult!"
Gold portals surrounded Assassin, trapping him yet again. Before they could fire though, Gilgamesh felt a rush of air, and he had a moment to look at his feet and see the small form of Lancer, scythe in hand. She swung upward, bisecting him. He had a fleeting moment of consciousness to notice Tokiomi being tackled to the ground by his brats before he faded away, pulled towards the Holy Grail.
How could this ever happen to me…
Illya braced herself as the ornament she was riding in struck the ground around the samurai compound. Her brother, Chloe and Mordred all landed as well, unmolested by any attacks like what was happening to Rin and the others. In front of them, she saw two calm figures. A familiar knight in an armored blue dress and a man in a black trench coat smoking a cigarette.
"Dad?" asked Chloe, surprised. She looked to Shirou. "What's my dad doing here?"
"Kiritsugu Emiya," said Shirou. "The Mage Killer and Master of Saber in the Fourth Holy Grail War."
"You children know quite a bit," commented Kiritsugu, taking another drag. He breathed out slowly, dropped the cigarette to the ground, and then crushed it against the dirt with his shoe. "Unfortunately for you, you're my next job. Bad luck kids."
"Dad…," said Chloe sadly.
Arturia held up her arm and the glowing golden form of Excalibur appeared in her hand, pointed right at them. "I will set right what I broke. I will not allow anyone, be they monster or child, from getting in my way. If your death will help save thousands, then that will be the path I choose."
"Finally," said Kiritsugu. "Something you've said that I can agree with." He pulled out a gun from his coat and pointed it at them as well. "For the good of the many, it only makes sense to sacrifice the few."
"Father/Papa!" yelled Mordred and Illya at the same time. They paused, glanced to each other and nodded. They each took a deep breath and continued. "Stop being such an idiot!"
Both fathers looked very surprised and confused. So did Chloe, but Shirou had a smile on his face. Illya glanced to Mordred again, and he gestured for her to go first. She glared at Kiritsugu. "Your dream is to create the ideal world, right?"
"To undo all of the mistakes you've made," continued Mordred, glaring at Arturia. She was stony faced as he spoke, as if trying to not acknowledge his existence. "But that's never going to happen."
"Dreams are a great thing."
"But completing one doesn't erase what happened on the path towards it."
"You can't just erase the past. Your mistakes will stay, and the price you paid for that dream will always be there."
"Our actions have consequences," said Mordred sadly. "But our choices also have value."
"Because we made them," said Illya, brightening. "It's easy to regret what we've done, harder to accept and make amends."
Mordred gestured to their companions. "And that means relying on others, and not just yourself."
Shirou took a few steps towards the pair. "Thank you, both of you, for everything you've done for us. The sacrifices you've made, and the guidance you've given us has been invaluable. Thank you for raising us, in your own ways."
"But we're not going to let you stop us from moving forward," yelled Mordred.
"And we have something we need to correct," said Illya. She looked to her father. "Papa, you gave me a future and risked your life to save me. Thank you." She then turned her gaze to Arturia. "You taught me everything I know about magic and combat. Even when I didn't want to learn and didn't want to have anything to do with you. You kept doing your best with the life you had been given and that I think that was the greatest lesson you ever taught me. To me, you were the best father I could have ever hoped for."
"Hey," said Mordred to Chloe. "You got anything to say to either of them?"
"Um," said Chloe, thinking for a moment. She pointed to Kiritsugu, a frown on her face. "When I get back, I'm going to yell at you for never being home! Stay awhile and spend some time with your kids for once!"
"I don't know what any of you are talking about," said Kiritsugu. Like Illya had feared, none of their words had reached him. "But this nonsense ends now. Saber, finish them quickly."
Arturia shifted her sword to rest in both her hands. "For the sake of my people, I will gladly do so." A large mass of mana burst out from her, threatening to knock over the children just from the pressure. "I will make this quick! Excalibur!"
In an instant, Chloe was leaping in front of the group and holding out her hand, massive magical energy collecting around her. "The seven petals of heaven, Rho Aias Alternative!" A violet seven petaled flower spread out before Chloe. Excalibur's blast struck the shield and the ground around them shook from the collision. Cracks appeared and the very earth around them was in an upheaval. Four petals broke on immediate contact, with a fifth breaking seconds later as the powerful Noble Phantasm attempted to engulf them.
But still, the little Servant held strong. Her feet dug into the ground as she projected the shield in front of her, connected by invisible magic. Her whole body shook as the sixth petal broke apart, leaving just one between them and the coming death. Chloe was starting to be pushed back, tracks being dug into the ground. Illya and Shirou sprung forward together, putting their hands on the girl's back and bracing her, pushing back against the force of the blast. Mordred joined them, the tiny Servant turning around, putting his back against hers and digging his feet into the ground.
"Don't let them win!" yelled Mordred.
"You can do this!" yelled Illya.
"Chloe," said Shirou gently. "Show them who the strongest Servant in this War is."
"Roger!" said Chloe. She started screaming at the top of her lungs and petals started reforming. One, two, four, six and with a flickering the seventh petal reformed. As it did, the blast from Excalibur was halted in place. "I am Chloe von fucking Einzbern, and no one will hurt my friends!"
And as quickly as it had started, the struggle ended. Exaclibur and Rho Aias faded simultaneously, leaving the battlefield scarred and torn up. Chloe and Arturia both stood gasping for breath and staring each other down. Arturia had a look of surprise on her face, Chloe had a look of well-earned pride. As Illya tried to catch her own breath, she realized that there was something missing though.
"Look out!" yelled Illya, summoning a miniaturized Excalibur copy into her hand. She brought it up and around, protecting Shirou just in time as a pistol shot rang out. The bullet struck the sword, shattering it's form completely. Illya was thrown backwards, falling to the ground. As she did, she saw her father, smoking gun in hand and a determined expression on his face. He took aim at Shirou once more.
"Don't even think about it!" yelled Mordred, appearing next to Kiritsugu in an instant and swinging with his candy cane. The staff hit the grown man in the shins and sent him reeling forward. Mordred reached out and touched Kiritsugu's head. "Holy Night Slumber!"
An unconscious Kiritsugu struck the ground. As he did, Arturia let out a vicious cry and charged towards them. Chloe summoned her twin swords and charged to meet her. It was all the smaller Servant could do to duck and dodge the vicious barrage of sword strikes. She tried several times to attack back, but Arturia was too skilled, parrying easily and returning with her own strikes. Each attack carried the very real threat of death, pushing Chloe to her limits.
Luckily for her, a Justice Ranger never fought alone. As Chloe's next attack was repelled by Arturia, an arrow zipped through the spot that she had been. The arrow struck Arturia, exploding. The attack didn't do a lot of damage, but it did throw her off for a moment as Chloe leapt back to make some distance. Shirou shot a second arrow, but Arturia deflected it easily.
"Stop making this so difficult for yourselves, you fools," yelled Arturia angrily.
"We'll never go down easily," replied Chloe. She threw her swords in mirrored arcing patterns towards Arturia. Chloe disappeared, teleporting with the weapons. Arturia reacted quickly, closing her eyes and holding her sword out before her. As the weapons moved towards her, time seemed to slow.
"A simple trick," muttered Arturia. She opened her eyes and swiftly ducked under the path of the twin blades. As she did so she twisted around, swinging her sword in a low arc. Chloe appeared right in the path of the attack and barely managed to create a weapon to block the attack, the projected weapon barely formed before it shattered. Chloe went flying backwards, Arturia preparing to give chase.
She was interrupted though as Mordred dashed towards her, firing a string of snow balls. Arturia blocked that by bringing her sword around and then slashed out at the small Christmas Servant. Mordred leapt into the air and did an overhead strike with his candy cane. Arturia dodged to the side to avoid the attack.
"Too slow," she said, rolling to her feet.
"Think again, old man," said Mordred, smiling wickedly.
"Caladbolg III," yelled Chloe, releasing her hold on the special spiral arrow that she had made from twisting a projected sword. The arrow closed the distance between them in an instant, piercing through Arturia. There was a look of strange contentment on her face as her form broke apart and dissipated into motes of light.
"We did it!" yelled Chloe, collapsing onto the ground and holding up a victory sign.
"Of course we did," gasped Mordred, using his candy cane to prop himself up. "Who do you think you're dealing with?"
"Good work," said Shirou. "Both of you."
"Thanks for the arrows, Master," said Chloe.
"We should head over to help Mash and her Master," said Mordred, sounding worried.
"Right," said Illya, standing up. She glanced over to her father, lying unconscious on the ground. She walked over, knelt by him and whispered into his ear. "I love you. Stay safe." With that done, she stood up and smiled at her companions. "Let's get going. We have work to do."
Author's Note: I really like Mordred's Father. I wish someone would make an anime about her.