I see a black orb with an ultraviolet halo.
Then we blink back into existence
WOAH! WHY? NO! HOW? NO? WHEN? WHERE? WHAT! RAGE!…*exasperated gasping*
So we’re here! Here being a place that isn’t death or oblivion and beyond that I don’t know a goddamn thing.
Ok he’s here, we cool. He’s about as disoriented as I am. Ok, ok, ok. We good? We good. Get your bearings. It appears that we are surrounded by stacked metal containers. It is night. We appear to be on a dock of some sort next to a…red bridge over a river.
Oh! We landed in a designated bombing zone.
I desperately try to attune my senses the weave’s presence in this world but I’m still more than a little off. It’s like trying to watch TV through complete static. Even with the heavy interference I can sense two very powerful presences very nearby. They have to be heroic spirits and top tier ones at that for their “signal” to be this strong through the static.
Then Augumon screams as loud as he can as his brain desperately tries to cope with the hell we just experienced.
I clamp his jaw shut as I desperately whisper, “Shush! This place is death considering who we art!”
“Mongrels!” a voice I am terrified to recognize shouts at us.
Up in the sky upon a golden platform, a man in golden armor with gold hair and eyes red like rubies stares down at us with murderous contempt. It is the King of Heroes. He is Gilgamesh.
“How dare you interrupt us!” he bellows at us.
“We’re sorr-“ Augumon starts saying before I clamp his mouth shut again, holding on to it.
I’m not just being mean. I know what’s coming and I won’t have time to grab him again.
“For your insolence you shall die” Gilgamesh says coldly as the heads of three spears appear out of the small portals behind him.
I raise the pointer and middle fingers on my free hand up to my “third-eye” chakra. Barely an instant after I get them in position those spears fire out of those portals as they were missiles. Upon contact they explode like them as well. Fortunately I had successfully teleported Augumon and myself to the top of the containers across the way.
Instantaneous movement can be quite helpful. It’s also worth noting the clarity and focus that the threat of imminent death can provide. From this perch I can see who the other heroic spirit. It is as I expected: wherever Gilgamesh is he is in pursuit of her, the King of Knights, Arturia Pendragon.
For the initiated this is expected. For the uninitiated I imagine there is some confusion. Pardon this terse explanation but it’s the best I can do under present circumstances. King Arthur was woman who pretended to be a man to protect her claim to the throne. I’ll unpack that later when I’m not desperately trying to not die!
“You defy me!” our good King of Heroes bellows.
“Augumon!” I anxiously shout. “Yup!” he shouts equally anxiously. “Mega dino-crazy!” “Mega dino-crazy!”
The distinct sound of a particular whistle is heard and he shines with a luminously bright light as he grows in size. If you know tune to play then play it!
“Wargreymon” he shouts as his metamorphosis completes.
Remember how I once described my little buddy as Superman if he was a t-rex. It would be more accurate to say that he is a 20 ft. tall t-rex Superman with a pair of enormous clawed, dragon bane gauntlets. Aside from the obscene strength, the Superman comparison is apt because he can also fly. Which is precisely what he’s doing now, flying at Gilgamesh whose platform turns out to be some sort of airship and the two engage in epic combat.
Meanwhile I leap down from atop the steel containers so that I may attempt to engage the King of Knights. As I do a thousand questions race through my mind:
Which Royale is this? It looks like the 4th. But if it is the 4th there should be a lot more people here. Who’s the mage that summoned them? Could the 4th have played out on a different path than the one I’m familiar with? Is it the 5th? But the 5th never came here. If it is the 5th maybe Japanese Hermione actually managed to successfully summon her. Maybe it’s the 5th but that one stupid path I avoided. Could it be an as yet unknown to me 6th? 7th? 8th? Or is this a Great Divine Chalice Royale?
And many many more but I got to keep my composure because:
- She’s the perfect hero to take on this quest and I need to make a good impression.
- Can’t let anyone else who may be watching smell my fear.
- If I come off as a threat or weakling she could be provoked to kill me.
“Greetings, your grace” I say summoning all my poise. “So you are a Master?” she asks me.
Panic panic paanic
There is reason for my consternation over that question that does not correlate to my cowardice. For one, I don’t the answer to that question because I haven’t had any goddamn time to figure anything out and that is embarrassing. For two, if I say yes then I am basically proclaiming myself as her enemy but her high honor is likely to prevent her from striking down an unready foe…so long as her summoner doesn’t compel her to kill me.
If this is the 4th and she has the same summoner then he’s definitely going to have her kill me.
“Must we use that term? I find it so gosh. I prefer Boss” I bluff like a son of a bitch. “Very well then, Boss” she responds with a faint grin, “you seem to have me at a disadvantage.”
I introduce myself. Normally that would the stupidest thing you could do during one of these things but since I didn’t exist in this world less than five minutes, I think I’m good. Besides, I stand to gain far more with obliging the courtesy; her good will.
“I imagine that is your Servant” she says as she points toward Wargreymon still engaged in epic combat with the King of Heroes.
Wargreymon keeps in pursuit of his target as they soar over the river’s surface. He deflects and dodges the projectiles shot as closes the distance to slice his enemy, but as he tries Gilgamesh evades him and zooms high above him to begin firing at range. Opening fifty portals he fires the projectiles in rapid succession. The assault forces Wargreymon to break out his shield and pins him down.
“No. He’s my friend” I tell her, “Any chance I could persuade you to assist him in knocking that pompous ass out of the sky?”
“I hear your treachery, Mongrel!” he turns his full attention to shout at me, giving Wargreymon time to break free and start chasing him again.
With a soft smile and a hearty compliment to him, she politely declines. She asks me, “So what of your Servant?” “Oh, I uh, haven’t summoned one yet” I stammer feigning bravado. “You are aware how advantageous it would be for me to prevent you from doing so?” “Indeed it would. But what if I don’t need one?” not feigning nothing. “Then you would be a fool.” “Or maybe I’m just bold, good King of Knights.” “Is that a challenge?” “Yes your grace, I do believe it is.” “You are too bold, sir. Stand down now and I shall not hold you to it.” “With all due respect your grace, what manner of man would I be if I did?” “Fare thee well then” she says as the Sword of Promised Victory shines not unlike my saber.
Excellent, I’ve kept her talking long enough to get my powers ready. I can sense a faint joy she has in and respect of me. Now all I have to do to build upon this foundation is not die. I think, I hope I can manage that. I call for a significant portion of my ADF as I ignite my amethyst blade, knowing that I’m going to need it to keep up with her speed and strength.
At first it goes slow. Right off the bat I learn that Excalibur, or at least when it’s empowered by her legend, can in fact block a star saber. I suspect that I should suspect as much from all legendary weapons wielded by heroic spirits. Next I discover that she likes to press an advantage and then back off. She’s clearly studying my form. When the battle gets up to speed that will be my only chance at victory.
After dancing around one another for a bit she creates some distance and holds her blade perfectly still in a high guard. This fight is about to get real. For a very brief moment I see the flash of combat in my mind. She’ll lunge forward attempting to drive her blade through my face. If I sidestep she’ll reverse the grip on her blade and run me trough my back. I must deflect he blade up and away.
With that she lunges forward and she is far faster than I anticipated. I have to dodge as I can’t get my blade up to make the block. As she slides forward to make the backward thrust I sweep out her leg. She pirouettes on her back foot into a whirling power sweep. I duck underneath. As she raises the blade and slams into the ground I roll out of the impact.
When she swings with power then there is no point in me trying to block it, she’s far too strong. I could try to out maneuver her but she grounds herself too well and her defense is too tight. With a good feint I might be able work inside her guard if bites but that won’t work. Her instincts are otherworldly.
Bar none she is the greatest swordsman I’ve ever encountered. Crossing blades is going to be my doom but then again I was never anticipating holding a candle to her. All I need is to lull her into a false sense of certainty and break out the energy manipulation techniques. Let her bind my blade and as she twists it out my hands and that’ll leave me free to telekinetically push her back and follow up with an energy attack.
She attacks, binds my blade, and swings high to force it out of my hand. She’s open and I initiate the tk push but she doesn’t go nearly as far as I hoped. My energy blasts winds up being used as a makeshift shield against her return until after a few blows it dissipates. If she doesn’t declare victory now and end the fight I’m going to have to unlock my full ADF and at that point I won’t have anything left to help Wargreymon against Gilgamesh, if I win.
“Well fought” she says and I breathe a sigh of relief. “So you’re just going to let live to fight you another day?” I ask. “You never intended to kill me, so it only seems fair.”
So I guess that means she was taking it easy on me.
“Your friend is in trouble” she tells me as points towards the other combatants.
Indeed he is. Gilgamesh has Wargreymon bound by the Chain of Heaven. My partner struggles mightily and his strength keeps the King of Heroes preoccupied enough to keep him from striking the decisive blow.
“Cease your squirming you wretched beast!” he shouts.
I teleport behind Gilgamesh, one of his portals opens directly above my head.
“Goodbye, Mongrel” he says to me as the spear passes through my image and it vanishes into smoke, “an illusion!”
Dark sorcery is a beautiful thing if you know what you’re doing. Metal chain, metal armor; hmmm…I wonder what trick I got up my sleeve? He is far away and very powerful so the lighting doesn’t do much, but it is enough for him to loosen his grip and have Wargreymon break free. Once free he takes the chain wrapped around his arm and cracks Gilgamesh in the face with it like a bull whip. The King of Heroes crashes into the bridge with tremendous force.
“You…you dare!” he howls like savage beast.
He pulls a sword that looks more like a lance out of his gate. It’s his ultimate weapon, Enuma Elish. Gilgamesh points it to the sky and cries its name aloud. The blade spins and a great red beam fires up from its tip into the sky. Tectonic plates begin to shift.
Wargreymon flies high above his enemy, raising his great claws above his head and calling for the “Terra Nova!” As he does he gathers a great fireball a hundred times more massive than himself.
The two seem prepared to annihilate everything around them to win this battle. Arturia and I can’t allow that. She runs across the surface of the river and demands that Gilgamesh cease. I fly over and perch myself on top of Wargreymon’s head and tell him to “chill”. With those small gestures they relent, not because of what was said but who was saying it.
“This is not over you feral lizard!” Gilgamesh threatens as Arturia rests him upon her shoulder and they vanish into golden sparkles.
Once they’re gone Wargreymon devolves back to Augumon and is utterly spent. I hold on to him as I fly us toward the city center. He’s beat up pretty bad. It’s going to be a little bit before he’s back up to speed.
Through pained breaths he tells me, “Ok. This time we need a place with room service.” “Alright bud, I know just the place.” “So I guess the secret’s out, huh?” “Nope.” “Wha?” “You see that fog over the city?” “Yeah” “There’s some benefit to having major magical organizations overseeing this affair.” “But that fog isn’t thick enough.” “Brother, no. It’s a memory charm.” “Oh ok. That makes a lot more sense.”
It’s not long before we’re in the heart of this Japanese metropolis. This bag might be the best idea I’ve ever had. ID, credit cards, a non-conspicuous change of clothes, and a large dog kennel to pass Augumon off as one. No small town. No shitty motel. We’re staying in a five star suite.
As I talk to the concierge she says that they don’t accept dogs. I wave my hand in a small circle and ask her if she can make an exception. She agrees to make an exception. She asks kind of what breed it is. I wave my hand in a small circle and tell that I don’t have a dog, this is my suitcase. She agrees and so does everyone else, all thirteen of them, who asks.
We setup shop and settle in. Augumon wraps five different ice packs around his bruised body and utterly devours a cart full of room service. After that he starts becoming more like his cheerful, inquisitive usual self.
“So how do we know if you’ve been chosen?” he asks. “I will receive a special series of markings that will allow me to summon a heroic spirit after I prepare the ritual and deliver the invocation.” “What does it look like?” “Usually some artfully cryptic design, typically an old magic rune.” “Does it look like that?” he asks he pricks one his claws into the back of my neck.
I go to the bathroom and yup. That is definitely a summoning seal. Weird place for it though. We rest that night. Augumon is going to have to take it easy for the next couple days but in the late morning…ok, early afternoon…I get up and get the ritual ready. Later that evening everything is ready (thank you bag).
You know what? Despite a very fast start, things are actually going pretty good. Depending on who I summon the three us will actually be in a good position to win this thing. If I can keep Arturia’s favor throughout this conflict then we’ll be in an excellent position to our larger purpose. Things are going good.
I speak the invocation and the arcane might of the Chalice courses through the summoning circle through. There at the foot of the beds in that suite a heroic spirit returns from the veil of death. Whether it’s the distinct armor or the fact that she’s the spitting image of her “father” there can be no mistake. I have summoned Mordred.