After breakfast and another short discussion about how they would explain his existence, Vahn and Rin made their way toward a rendezvous point within the downtown district, the Shinto region, of Fuyuki. Unlike Miyama town, on the West side of the Mion River, Shinto was filled with tall and densely packed buildings the represented the rapid modernization of the land after it had been reclaimed in the early 1990’s. With more than twenty-four years of development, the region had become a highly developed metropolitan area where the vast majority of people commuted to work. Everywhere you looked, there were colorful lights and signs that were made necessary by the tens-of-thousands of pedestrians that constantly flowed through the City streets like the blood in a person’s body, breathing life into Fuyuki and its surrounding regions.
While walking through the densely packed streets, Rin kept close to Vahn as she muttered, “I hate this place. It feels like a failed attempt to forcefully repress the past as an excuse to drive people towards an uncertain future…” As the Shinto region had been destroyed during the Fourth Holy Grail War, much of the buildings present had been hastily built over a short ten year period. The City Planners had rushed the job, leading to the current situation where the City now looked ‘clumped’ together after newer buildings rose up aside those that had been built previously. Now that twenty years had passed since the ‘Fuyuki City Disaster’, the area had been converted into a central hub where people congregated, completely ignorant to the fact they walked upon grounds that were stained with both the literal corpses of thousands of victims, all tainted by the world’s evil…
Since Fuyuki was Vahn’s only real exposure to a modern City, he didn’t really share Rin’s opinion, even though he also found the way people lived in the present ‘lacking’. The City itself seemed rather charming, with most of the buildings having similar design and layout that made them mesh together, even if they were placed haphazardly. Everywhere he looked, there always seemed to be something new and interesting, giving him the feeling that, even if he explored aimlessly, there would always be something new to find. This was somewhat different from how Orario had been constructed as, though there were some pretty fantastical places to visit, the vast majority of shops and restaurants were similar. Even the way business was conducted was fundamentally different, though Vahn had already seen several overlapping practices that he had considered exploiting in the future…
As they got closer to their destination, Vahn noticed that Rin was now practically bumpings arms with him as she grew increasingly annoyed with the people who had been gawking at them. Since Rin was quite the beauty in her own right, she generally garnered a fair amount of attention wherever she went. Standing next to Vahn, however, the two looked like a pair of Idols making their way to a movie shooting, a scene completed by the fact they both wore high-end clothing while carrying themselves with a natural dignity normal citizens couldn’t match. As a result, they had created a curious phenomenon where people’s heads turned like a wave to catch sight of them, many rudely taking pictures and commenting about the ‘celebrity pairing’ that seemed to be trying to remain incognito.
By the time Vahn and Rin stepped into the Fuyuki City Hyatt Hotel, the largest and most extravagant hotel within the Shinto district, they actually had a small group of people following after them from a distance. Fortunately, though Vahn didn’t exactly agree with the rather high-profile arrangement, the entire Hotel had been reserved while a private security firm kept normal people out. This caused people to speculate that the Hotel had been booked for a movie shooting, causing a group of bored pedestrians to congregate outside as they blindly speculated on the matter. Seeing so many people, seemingly without anything better to do, caused Vahn to shake his head in admonishment once he and Rin passed through the magic formation at the front door…
Rin, sharing many of the same sentiments, released a tired sigh as her shoulders slumped almost as soon as they were out of view. She then looked towards Vahn’s face, almost as if she were appraising him, before saying, “You might want to consider adopting a form that doesn’t stand out so much in the future. I didn’t think about it much before, but it will be difficult for us to walk through the City together with your stupidly handsome face…” Though Vahn had altered his appearance to remain untraceable, he still defaulted into a form that was like eye-candy to the ladies of the modern era.
Instead of humoring Rin’s slightly accusatory statement, Vahn adopted a teasing smile before remarking, “I’ll change when you stop wearing makeup and spending a half-hour on your hair before leaving the Manor…” This caused Rin to immediately adopt a pouting expression but, unlike how she would act when they were alone, she kept mum since there were others present. Vahn wanted to point out that this was another way she paid attention to how other people perceived her, as it was obvious her upbringing had accustomed her to ‘expecting’ attention. She didn’t want to stand out but, so long as she was out and about in public, Rin acted prim and proper while going through all the necessary steps to appear like the high-class woman her heritage made her out to be…
After riding the elevator to the penthouse suite located at the very top of the hotel, accessible only by having a special keycard, Vahn and Rin stepped out into a lavish foyer where someone Vahn had previously met awaited. Wearing the same muted grey and black clothing as their first encounter, the ashen-haired woman, named Gray, looked back at Vahn and Rin with her striking blue eyes. When she saw Vahn, Gray gave a small nod, as if to say she now genuinely believed his words about being Rin’s companion. As for Rin, her face formed into a complex expression that was hard to read, causing Vahn to wonder if there were some tensions between her and Gray. Since the latter had almost no reaction to Rin’s presence, other than hanging her head slightly, Vahn felt like it had less to do with her than Rin herself…
With none of the posted security preventing their access, Vahn and Rin entered into the penthouse proper, finding three people seated around an expensive-looking table. In fact, everything in the room seemed ridiculously expensive, causing Vahn to shake his head slightly as, from amongst the group of seated individuals, one showed extreme shock while the other two had curious gazes. Rin seized the initiative while she still could, casually gesturing to Vahn with her thumb before saying, “This is the guy I told you about, Vahn Mason. I know it might be a little late to change our plans at this stage, but I think his support will be instrumental to the success of our mission.”
While the two men seemed to be treating Rin’s words seriously, the drill-haired woman, Luviagelita, who Rin not-so-affectionately referred to as just ‘Luvia’, had already risen to her feet as she walked over with hastened steps. Rin curiously took a ‘defensive’ posture in front of Vahn before reminding, “Are you looking to taste another loss so soon after the last one…?” In response to this, Luvia gave a haughty ‘hmph’ before crossing her arms to accentuate her rather large breasts, saying, “I swear, Rin, you become more barbaric every time we see each other. Worry not, however, as my ‘heart’ is more than big enough to tolerate your childishness. Now, if you would allow me…”
Rin interrupted Luvia’s words by holding up her index finger, forming a small orb of water at the very tip as she muttered, “If you’re that thirsty, I don’t mind help you out, Lu-vi-a~.” This behavior of Rin’s caused Luvia to instinctually take a step back as, compared to their prior meeting, she was currently wearing a white blouse, accented by flowers, atop a long blue dress that extended to her calves. If she ended up getting wet, it could ‘complicate’ things, requiring her to alight to her room for a quick change of clothes to avoid embarrassment.
Though he didn’t mind the ongoing rivalry between Rin and Luvia, Vahn’s expression remained calm and implacable as he sternly reminded, “Rin, do not forget our purpose. We are here to discuss our future cooperation, not pick a fight…besides…” As everyone in the room was listening closely to what he was saying, Vahn gave a polite nod before erecting a soundproof barrier and adding, “I don’t think Fenrir would appreciate it if we kept her waiting back home by herself.” These words were all it took to send a shiver up Rin’s spine, followed by her crossing her arms in a huff and saying, “I know, I know! Jeez…try to see things from my perspective, would you…?”
Rin said the last part of her sentence as a soliloquy so Vahn chose to ‘pretend’ he hadn’t heard it as he ‘waved’ away the soundproof barrier. The casual nature of his actions had caught the attention of everyone in the room, causing the atmosphere to immediately become more serious. Deciding to take advantage of this, Vahn placed his hand atop his heart before giving a polite bow as he said, “Miss Luviagelita Edelfelt, it is a pleasure to make your acquaintance. As Rin had previously stated, my name is Vahn Mason. For the period of our cooperation, feel free to refer to me by name.”
Vahn’s formal introduction had caused Luvia to use her gloved hand to touch her lower lip as she remarked, “My, such a gentleman. How ever did such a high-class man come across my dear friend, Rin…?” As soon as these words left Luvia’s lips, Vahn slightly squinted his eyes as an overbearing pressure suddenly weighed down on everyone within the room. With the same smile he had used to introduce himself, Vahn ‘casually’ answered, “Miss Edelfelt, the words I had directed towards Rin were intended for your ears as well. Surely, someone as noble as you seem to be would not pollute the purpose of this meeting with her own personal affairs…?” As Vahn was more than accustomed to dealing with ‘Noble’ ladies, he had decided to make certain that Luvia knew he wasn’t here to pander to her whims…
Feeling the overbearingly powerful aura radiating off of Vahn’s body, Luvia felt her entire body break out in a cold sweat as she barely managed a sheepish, “Yes…you are correct…” At the same time, the two men, who Vahn knew as Lord El-Melloi II and Flat Escardos, had adopted a pseudo-battle ready stance. From behind, Gray and several private security guards entered into the room, creating a tense atmosphere that was on the verge of ‘breaking’ at any moment. In response to this, Vahn continued to steadily increase the pressure he was emitting until it reached the point that the entire penthouse had started vibrating. The only reason anyone was even able to remain standing was due to the fact he wasn’t targeting any of them directly, knowing full-well that the weaker security forces may not be able to survive the experience.
It was at this point that Rin, seemingly unaffected by Vahn’s aura, lightly elbowed him in the ribs before saying, “Cut it out. You’re making everyone nervous.” Then, as if it had never existed in the first place, the pressure completely disappeared in an instant. Vahn returned a small nod to Rin before smiling as he said, “It seems I got wrapped up in the moment and caused one of the very same issues I had wanted to avoid. Please forgive my lack of decorum…this world’s customs are still foreign to me.” Making sure to emphasize the last sentence a little more than his excuse, Vahn garnered a few confused expressions from everyone present before Lord El-Melloi II looked towards the security forces and commanded, “Return to your posts. Gray, you may stay.”
Waiting for everyone else to leave the room, Lord El-Melloi II then turned his gaze upon Rin, asking, “What is this about, Rin? You have some explaining to do…” Immediately following this statement, Flat, Lord El-Melloi II’s rather handsome blond-haired-blue-eyed Magus Apprentice remarked, “I didn’t think we’d have a BOSS-class ally in our party at this stage of the game. Things are really starting to look up, ahahaha~.” This remark earned him a glare from Lord El-Melloi II, something that Flat just laughed off in good spirits before raising his hand and saying, “Hey there, my name is Flat Escardos. I’ll be in your care and look forward to working with you, Vahn.”
Lord El-Melloi II just sighed at his protege’s lack of tension before shaking his head and returning a polite bow of his own before saying, “Greetings, Vahn Mason. I am Lord El-Melloi the Second, a Fes-Class Lecturer within the Clock Tower. I pray my students do not cause you too much trouble in the coming days…” With his own introduction done, Lord El-Melloi II gestured towards Gray but, much to his surprise, she simply stated, “We have already met previously. Vahn is very powerful…I couldn’t do anything at all.” This statement alone caused Lord El-Melloi II, Flat, and Luvia all to express shock as they were all aware of how powerful Gray was. Though not quite at the level of a Heroic Spirit, the only thing she lacked to qualify for the title was a ‘legend’ of her own.
Piggybacking off of Gray’s words, Flat smiled even bigger than before as he said, “Nice. If Gray says you’re strong, that makes you more of a Raid-BOSS. I’m starting to look forward this~!” Seemingly sharing this sentiment, Luvia nodded her head before looking at Vahn with an appraising gaze and remarking, “Rare as it may be, I can’t help but agree with Flat. What we’re trying to accomplish here won’t be well-received by those who desire the Holy Grail for themselves. The more powerful allies we have, the better. To that end, I will be in your care, Vahn. Please take care of me…” Punctuating her sentence with a wink, Luvia then ‘retreated’ to the nearby sofa under the close scrutiny of Rin’s piercing gaze.
Following Luvia’s example, everyone else took a seat around the table, leading to the situation where Vahn was flanked by the two beauties as Lord El-Melloi II and Flat sat opposite them. Gray took up a position standing behind the sofa, causing Vahn to wonder whether or not she was treated fairly by the group since she seemed a little ‘too demure’ for someone possessing the power she had at her disposal. Now wasn’t the time to look into such things, however, as the purpose of this meeting was to discuss their future cooperation. To that end, Vahn preempted the obvious questions by plainly stating, “I will not keep it a secret. As we will be allies in the future, you should have at least a basic understanding of my capabilities. Though I will not go into too many details, it is enough for you to know that I have the power to rival a Pseudo-Divine Spirit. As for my identity, I will allow you to know that I originate from another world, one on a completely separate time axis than your own. How I came to reside in this world is unimportant, as the less you know regarding the truth, the better off everyone will be.”
Vahn and Rin had decided to ‘nerf’ his capabilities a fair amount as, if his true power were known, there was no guarantee that the situation wouldn’t escalate faster than they could control. Even being compared to a Pseudo-Divine Spirit elevated him to a point most people couldn’t even fathom, however, resulting in everyone else showing expressions of shock and disbelief. Gray was actually the first to speak, providing some unexpected support as she said, “That is how you were able to block Add with your bare hand…you possess an immortal body?” As it was nearly impossible to harm a Divine Spirit, regardless of how powerful an individual may be, Vahn’s ‘revelation’ provided an answer to the matter that had been concerning Gray since their previous meeting.
Using Gray’s words to his advantage, Vahn gave a curt nod before adding, “My reason for helping you, as I’m certain you are curious, is because Rin helped me when I first fell into this world. In order to repay the debt I owe her, you can count on my support in completing the task you have set out to accomplish. Know that, while I harbor the desire to return to my world, I am already aware that the Greater Grail lacks the power to grant my wish. As the thought of people squabbling like children to have their wish granted displeases me, I am more than willing to ensure the Grail’s destruction.” To avoid any kind of misunderstandings, Vahn had decided to be forthright about his feelings regarding the Grail. Everything he said was very close to the truth so, even if they might suspect something, it was impossible to see through the story he had concocted with Rin beforehand.
Hearing Vahn’s words, Lord El-Melloi II gave an understanding nod before saying, “I won’t deny that I have some misgivings about working alongside someone who purports to come from another world. However, as there are several historical accounts of similar incidents, I will choose to trust in Rin’s judgment. Having someone with your power on our side will greatly increase our chances of successfully destroying the Grail. Though I am a bit later than the others, allow me to express my appreciation for your assistance. I look forward to working alongside you, Vahn Mason. Perhaps, once this incident is behind us, you will be more willing to divulge the finer details of your situation. Though I may not have means beyond even the power of the Greater Grail, I will do my best to help you return to your world after we complete our current mission.”
Of everything Vahn had said, the most obvious ‘truth’ mentioned, something everyone had picked up on, was that he wished to return home. Even though Vahn had become exceedingly proficient at masking his emotions, it was hard to hide the ‘longing’ contained within his eyes when he briefly mentioned ‘home’. It was primarily because of this that Lord El-Melloi II chose to trust Vahn, even if he still had several concerns regarding what exactly could have happened to allow a Pseudo-Divine Spirit to be thrown into their world. After all, this meant Vahn’s existence was near the same level as a True Ancestor, placing him very near the pinnacle of power according to his current understanding of the world…
(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Vahn got that celebrity swagger’,’How big is your power level? ‘Cause mine’s pretty big…’,’Imagine if Vahn introduced himself as ‘Type Omega’ xD…’)
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