Chapter 1030: History

When Rin finally returned home, she was in much higher spirits than when she had left earlier in the day. As she entered the dining room, she had a large grin on her face while humming a happy tune to herself. Upon seeing Vahn, Rin gave him a sudden thumbs-up before saying, “Thanks for the boost, Vahn. You should have seen the look on that hateful woman’s face when she realized the difference in our power~.” Though she recognized her actions were a bit petty, Rin had always been on ‘rocky’ terms with Luvia, primarily due to their intense rivalry that had been present since they were both young. They had always proactively competed against each other, something that had persisted through their days in the Clock Tower and even further beyond.

Vahn returned a smile to Rin before waving his hand and setting out a few light dishes for her consumption. He knew she wouldn’t be in the mood to eat later so, before breaking the news, Vahn wanted Rin to enjoy her dinner. Though she seemed to ‘sense’ something, Rin was in a great mood so she decided to let Vahn think whatever he wanted as she happily chowed down on her food. It wasn’t until she was nearly finished eating that she looked around at the table and asked, “Where is Fenrir…?”, her voice mixed with confusion and just a tinge of concern. In response, Vahn casually replied, “She is currently practicing a unique technique in order to refine the Water, Ice, and Yin Elemental Energy in her body. With her constitution, she needs to spend a few hours meditating each day to make sure her ‘hunger’ doesn’t act up…”

Rin listened to Vahn’s explanation with her fork dangling from her mouth, savoring a small piece of foreign fish she didn’t even know the name of. She couldn’t tell if Vahn was telling her the truth or not but, considering he had never shown any signs of trying to harm her, she gave him the benefit of the doubt. Part of her was happy to have a bit of time with just the two of them as, even though Fenrir had only been around for a little more than a day, Rin found it hard to be around her at times. Seeing her cling to Vahn was a serious mood killer and, though she had used her Magecraft to deal with most of the pain, her thighs and legs were still sore from the morning. Strangely, Rin also felt as if her butt was a bit tender, almost as if there was a phantom sensation pressing into her muscles. She explained this away as simply being unaccustomed to the ‘undergarments’ Vahn had given her…

Once Rin was finished eating, Vahn gestured to stop her from clearing away the plates before saying, “You had a visitor today…a woman by the name of Sakura Matou.” Rin had been wondering why Vahn had been acting so strangely but, hearing the name of her estranged sister, her mood instantly did a 180 as a complex frown marred her face. In a voice filled the deep emotions, sounding dry and pained, Rin asked, “What did she want…” Even though she already had several ideas, Rin wanted to know what Vahn had heard as, based on the fact he knew her name, they had obviously talked.

Seeing the complex emotions Rin was showing, Vahn knew that something serious had happened between the two sisters in the past. Instead of prying into it directly, however, Vahn answered, “She claimed the reason for her visit was to discuss an important matter and try to reconnect with you…” These words were outside of Rin’s expectations, causing a glimmer of hope to flash across her aqua-blue eyes until Vahn added, “She then called me a Servant, asking for my name and trying to inquire about my strength…”

As if she was riding an intense rollercoaster of emotions, Rin’s expression changed with almost everything Vahn said. Though she knew the game was up, she tried to play things off by saying, “She must have thought I hired you to look after the house…” Since Vahn’s expression didn’t change in the slightest, Rin followed her words with a long and tired sigh. Vahn used this opportunity to squint his eyes, adopting a serious tone as he said, “You aren’t a foolish woman, Rin. Even if you came up with a multi-layered scheme to try and divert my attention elsewhere, you can’t honestly expect that I would just ignore the rapidly changing situation outside the Manor. I’ve been able to sense a shift in the flow of Fuyuki’s Mana and, though they have been careful to avoid getting too close, there have been numerous Magi lingering around the area recently…”

Knowing full-well how ‘overprotective’ Vahn could be, Rin knew she would no longer be able to convince him to go stay with her friend, especially after accepting his crest to grow stronger. Though it felt like there was a vast gulf between them, she also knew that their relationship was actually much closer than simple acquaintances. Vahn would never allow anyone he cared about to be in danger, especially since he had such an extreme amount of power at his disposal. Even if she tried to cut ties with him, Rin knew he was the type of ‘idiot’ that would still linger around to make sure she was able to tide through the coming dangers…

Supporting her forehead with her left hand, as she suddenly felt extremely tired, Rin muttered, “You know, you can be a pain in the ass, Vahn…” In response to this, though it may not have been the best time, Vahn offhandedly remarked, “If you continue to stretch on a daily basis, you won’t have to worry about things like that…” This caused Rin to look up at him with a profoundly confused expression, mouth slightly agape as a result of her inability to find words. Vahn just smiled in turn, adding, “You don’t have to tell me everything, but I want to know the basics. With my ability to change shape and form, you won’t find a better ally in whatever you have planned. Besides, even if I’m no longer a god, you can’t expect me to just sit on my hands as my one and only Disciple goes off to battle…right?”

Though she continued to look at him with a befuddled expression for several seconds, Rin eventually smiled before crossing her arms and releasing yet another sigh. Then, tilting her head back to look up at the roof, Rin said, “Sakura and I…we are sisters. When she was just a little girl, she was adopted by another Magus family, the Matou’s, as a result of them lacking a successor of their own. With how much time has passed, she is probably the Head of the family by now…” As she spoke, Vahn could hear melancholy, frustration, and even a bit of envy contained within Rin’s voice. This came as a surprise to him as, regardless of how he looked at Sakura, she didn’t seem to be in an enviable situation at all…

As if to explain away his confusion, Rin added, “Our father died shortly after Sakura was adopted by the Matou’s. After that…well, our mother also ended up dying. I was left under the guardianship of a member of the Holy Church, a reprehensible man named Kirei Kotomine…” When she mentioned the named Kirei Kotomine, Vahn could practically feel the rage radiating off Rin’s body. However, she didn’t let the emotions persist too long, taking a deep breath before saying, “While I was left alone in this large Manor, Sakura was given the chance to live in a large family, treated like a princess that would eventually the Patriarch, Zouken Matou, as the family Head…”

Hearing what she had said, Vahn was able to understand why Rin might have felt envy towards Sakura, at least if he ignored the fact that those evil worms resided in the latter’s body. He couldn’t imagine Rin would have wanted to trade places with her, meaning there was a good chance she was unaware of Sakura’s actual situation. Since now wasn’t the best time to broach the subject, Vahn decided to remain silent as he listened to Rin hesitantly explain, “She and I…we both ended up falling in love with the same boy…an idiotic boy named Shirou Emiya. You see…I…” When she got to this point, Rin’s expression became a mask of pain before she finally squeezed out, “Emiya and I eventually became lovers. Sakura was devastated, accusing me of stealing the only thing she ever cared about. After that, Emiya and I became members of the Clock Tower before he…”

With tears beginning to build in her eyes, Rin wasn’t able to finish her words before hanging her head and falling silent. When she finally spoke once again, she had completely glossed over the topic, moving on to the more ‘important’ issue, the Holy Grail War. With a flicker of determination in her eyes, Rin looked directly at him as she said, “I once participated in a massive ritual known as the Holy Grail War. One of the longest-held desires that has been passed down through the Tohsaka family line for generations is the goal of reaching the Root. In order to meet that goal, my family allied with other prestigious Magus families to conduct a ritual called Heaven’s Feel. Do to greed and infighting, however, it quickly evolved into an even that is currently known within Magus society as the Holy Grail War…”

Pulling out a few gemstones from her purse, Rin placed fifteen on the table as she explained, “The Holy Grail War is a battle that is fought between competing Masters, each being assigned a Servant through the power of the Grail itself. These Servants each have a unique designation, consisting of the Saber, Archer, Lancer, Caster, Assasin, Rider, and Berserker classes. As for the form these Servants take, they most often take on the appearance of various Heroics Spirits that have been recorded on what Magi refer to as the Throne of Heroes. It records the various tales and legends for all Heroic figures that have existed in the past. On occasion, there are exceptions to this rule…but they are very rare…”

Not wanting to recount her experience sharing a body with Ishtar, Rin did her best to clear her thoughts before explaining, “I was a participant in the Fifth Holy Grail War nearly ten years ago. Though it normally takes a period between fifty and sixty years for the ritual to cycle, the previous two Holy Grail Wars have concluded before anyone was able to reach the Greater Grail and have their wish granted. I was able to get close but there was external interference that nearly resulted in me losing my life. Ultimately, the Lesser Grail managed to appear but, without any Servants left to claim it, the ritual completed without anyone gaining access to the Greater Grail…”

Though he could tell there was a lot that Rin wasn’t telling him, Vahn knew it couldn’t be easy for her to recall her past trauma. With how ‘peaceful’ this world seemed, it must have been difficult for her to fight for her life against other powerful Magi that wanted to claim the Grail for themselves. Since she had grown up alone, envying the lives of others, Rin’s personal trial in obtaining the Grail meant she would have had to make several sacrifices along the way. Though it seemed she had allies of her own, most likely in the form of the boy named Shirou Emiya, she had now lost even him. Vahn didn’t know exactly when Emiya had died but, based on how Rin behaved, it wasn’t a distant memory…

After explaining the basics of the Holy Grail War, Rin’s mood had improved considerably, taking the form of a confident and determined gaze as she explained, “With the last Holy Grail War ending without a victor, the cycle was reduced to just under ten years. Now, the Sixth Holy Grail War is about to begin, causing another barbaric struggle between Magi to have their wishes granted. This time around, however, myself and several former Masters, each having personally experienced the horrors of the Holy Grail War, intend to ally together to bring an end to it. My goal this time around is to reach the Greater Grail, not to make my wish, but to dismantle it in its entirety…!”

Rin’s eyes were blazing with resolve by the end of exclamation, causing Vahn to nod in appreciation before saying, “No matter how powerful the other Masters and their Servants end up being, they’re in for a surprise if they think I’ll just watch from the sidelines. Now that you have told me your ‘wish’, it is my duty as your Master to make sure you are able to achieve your goals.” Though he lacked even a fragment of Rin’s resolve, primarily due to the fact he fully expected to participate in several Holy Grail Wars, Vahn was more than willing to help her out. After all, one of his optional objectives actually involved interfering with the ritual so, by helping Rin, he was also completing one of his own tasks…

Hearing Vahn’s words, Rin managed a gratified smile, even though it faded away rather quickly when she muttered, “The problem is Sakura…if she came here, there is a good chance she intends to participate in the Holy Grail War this time around. Though we haven’t been on speaking terms for several years, I’d rather not have to fight her…even if she is an adopted daughter of the Matou family, she is also my only living relative. Damn it all…” Though her desire to bring an end to the Holy Grail War was still burning strong, Rin didn’t want to face her own sister on the field of battle. If possible, she too would like to reconnect with Sakura, even though she knew the latter probably hated her even more after Shirou’s death…

Seeing the conflict in Rin’s eyes, Vahn was positive that she wasn’t actually aware of the kind of life that Sakura had lived at the Matou’s. Compared to Rin’s sincere desire to rekindle her relationship with Sakura, Vahn could only see negative emotions swirling around within the latter. If she was afforded the opportunity, it was easy to imagine there would be little hesitation on Sakura’s part if she was given the chance to make Rin suffer. Now, Vahn had to make a choice about whether or not he should divulge Sakura’s ‘secret’, placing even more stress on Rin, or if he should deal with the matter without her knowledge. This was turning into the type of situation where it might be better for Rin’s mental wellness if she was never made aware of what her sister was forced to suffer through…

Aware that Vahn was thinking ‘something’ regarding her, Rin gave him a questioning gaze that caused an awkward tension to permeate through the atmosphere. This caused Vahn to release a muted sigh before he looked directly into Rin’s eyes and asked, “If you could…” Even without asking his question, Vahn’s smile widened because he knew, without a doubt, Rin was the type that would do whatever it took to help friends and family. Though her disposition caused her to act in a peculiar manner, she was, at the very core of her existence, a girl who simply wanted a family. She had been alone for a large portion of her life and, though he had read several versions of History where she was happily married, there was no way of knowing if her current path led towards a happy end. After all, not every story that managed to become a Record was even intended to have a fairy tale ending…

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Before Rin could question him, Vahn stood up from the table and said, “Make sure you rest properly, Rin. Tomorrow’s training will be far more intense than what you experienced this morning. Also, though I won’t interfere with what you’re currently doing, I’ll be taking a few actions of my own in the following days. If anything important happens, I’ll make sure to bring it to your attention immediately. For the time being, my priority will simply be scouting around the City and trying to determine the power and composition of enemy forces. I imagine your group is already working on something similar, but I doubt they have means that can match my own…” With this said, Vahn turned around and began walking towards the hallway without further comment. Rini was left with a confused expression on her face, knowing Vahn was up to ‘something’ while also being aware that there was little she could do to stop him…

Once Vahn had left the dining room completely, Rin rested her head on the table before falling into a long period of silence. Now that she had exposed her intentions, it suddenly felt like a heavy weight had been removed from her heart. With Vahn’s power, any doubt she had about the success of her mission seemed to fly out the window. At the same time, however, Rin felt that she had now become the ‘bystander’ that Vahn intended to avoid becoming. With him taking action, Rin felt that she would be relegated to a support role by default. After all, regardless of her prior experience with the Holy Grail War, Rin couldn’t imagine anything truly getting in Vahn’s way. If she helped him become a Master, it was almost guaranteed that the final victor would be Vahn and his Servant…

Though the thought of gaining an easy victory was rather ‘pleasant’, as it was always better than a hard-fought battle where sacrifices were required, Rin felt a strange ’emptiness’ where her convictions had previously resided. The situation was quickly developing into one where Vahn was doing several things for her, all while she barely managed to provide support in the rear. Though she could become much stronger under his tutelage, Rin felt various complex emotions knowing that, one day, perhaps in the near future, Vahn would move beyond her. Even though she harbored no desire to keep him ‘anchored’ to her, Rin felt ‘small’ when she thought about the larger stage Vahn would one day tread, all while she continued to fumble around amongst a community she hated interacting with…

As her thoughts continued to spiral around within her chaotic mind, Rin lamented the fact that she couldn’t help comparing Vahn to Shirou, the only man she had ever loved. They both had the type of personality that made them give their all to others, rarely expecting anything in return. Also, just like Shirou, Rin knew that Vahn wasn’t the type to just sit around for long periods of time without taking action. Her intuition told her that, when he finally started moving, there would be few things that could ever stop Vahn’s momentum. Though it was almost impossible to imagine him dying off in some foreign country, Rin knew that even the most powerful people could become a victim of circumstances. Just as Shirou had been betrayed by people that were supposed to be his comrades, there was a non-negligible chance that Vahn would share the same fate. Imagining this, Rin clenched her teeth as she buried her face into her arms and muttered, “Why do I waste my time with idiots like this…dammit…”

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘That’s a nice day you’re having there…would be a shame if…’,’I wonder how Rin would react if she knew the truth about Sakura at this point…?’,’Some say that the tears of a Tsundere are a rare and precious commodity for Magecraft…’)

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