Chapter 1035: Ritual

After a seated discussion lasting more than three hours, extending to the point that the group nearly took a ‘break’ for lunch, Vahn and Rin were finally preparing to return to the Tohsaka Manor. Almost as soon as the meeting had ended, however, Luvia blocked their, or, more specifically, Rin’s path before saying, “It pains my heart that you kept Vahn to yourself for the last month, Rin. Tell me, is he the reason for your sudden increase in power?” As she had known Rin for nearly twenty years at this point, Luvia was very aware of her Rival’s strength. They both used a similar fighting style, including a reliance on [Jewel] Magecraft, so she had often been able to gain a small advantage as a result of her more developed physique. Since Rin had been able to land a few solid hits on her the last time they met, something which had never happened before, Luvia believed it was the result of Vahn’s ‘interference’.

In response to Luvia’s accusation, Rin crossed her arms, adorning an annoyed expression as she answered, “I wasn’t ‘keeping’ anyone to myself, Luvia. Vahn is his own person…besides…” When she got this far, Rin shook her head suddenly before changing her words, adding, “It is true that he is helping me grow stronger, but that has nothing to do with you. You wouldn’t be able to last two days under Vahn’s training regimen so don’t even think about pestering me during the Holy Grail War…!”

Though Luvia’s eyes gained a curious glint when Rin fell into a sudden silence, the latter’s words caught her interest even more so she looked towards Vahn and uttered, “Oh~?”, before following it up by asking, “You are helping Rin with her training, Vahn? I wonder what kind of intense physical workout would take place between a fine man like you and this…well, I digress. I must admit that I’m curious about your methods so, if you find yourself wanting to expand your familiarity with this world, please give me a call~.”

At the end of her words, Luvia snapped her fingers with a seductive smile on her face, resulting in a burly man wearing sunglasses to seemingly appear out of nowhere before handing over a gold-encrusted cell phone. Vahn received the device with a somewhat skeptical look, causing Luvia to step a little closer as she whispered, “It isn’t fair if you give Rin all of your attention…that cell phone is pre-programmed with my phone number. Even if its the middle of the night, it should still get through to me. Call me if you ever-” As Luvia had attempted to walk her fingers up his chest, Vahn moved faster than she could even perceive as he snatched her wrist and answered, “It has been a pleasure, Miss Edelfelt. Thank you for your consideration…”

Vahn could tell that Luvia wasn’t actually a bad person, as she had a mellow and calm Earth Elemental mana flowing through her body. There was even a strand of gentle green that ran through her mana circuits, showing that Luvia had an extremely rare ‘Life’ affinity as well. Though it wasn’t impossible for there to be evil and cruel people capable of using the element, the color would be distinctly different, almost as if their nature had polluted their Affinity irreversibly. However, even if Luvia’s true nature made her out to be a gentle and kind soul, Vahn had a ‘practiced’ resistance against anyone with her outward, highly entitled, personality.

Feeling the strength in Vahn’s grip, even though he wasn’t putting enough pressure to hurt her, Luvia didn’t show any discomfort at all. She didn’t seem to mind his dismissive attitude either, maintaining her seductive smile as she giggled and said, “The pleasure is mine, Vahn. I look forward to our longlasting friendship…” With this said, Luvia pulled back her hand before retreating to her room at the penthouse’s far end. Along the way, she put a little bit of effort into her gait, causing her waist to snake noticeably, even though Vahn had already turned away. Surprisingly, instead of being allowed to leave outright, their path was blocked yet again, this time by Gray. This caused Rin to produce a deep frown but, before she was able to make any comments, Gray simply said, “I hope you are able to return home one day…” before bowing politely and walking off.

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This time, Vahn followed Gray’s retreat with his eyes for a few seconds, an appreciative smile on his face as he muttered, “Thank you…” in a voice he was certain could reach her ears. With that said, he and Rin finally left the hotel before venturing back to the Tohsaka Manor. Along the way, she had attempted to confiscate the phone Luvia had given him but, even if he found her character lacking, Vahn wasn’t going to let Rin dispose of a ‘gift’. Ultimately, she settled on having him program her own number into the phone, teaching Vahn how to use the phone in the process. As they had gone back using the train, there was plenty of time for Rin to teach him all of the basics as Vahn kept people from bothering them by releasing a subtle ‘threat’ through his domain…

Upon arriving at the Manor, Rin disabled the proximity barrier surrounding the property as Vahn, already prepared, opened his arms to receive Fenrir. She made sure to properly conceal her ears and tail with transformation magic so, even though there were a few people walking around, none paid too much attention to the Fenrir other than noting how cute she was.

After settling back into the Manor, Vahn prepared lunch for everyone before sitting down with Fenrir and Rin to discuss when she would perform the ritual to summon her Servant. Rin had already been considering the matter since the previous discussion so she quickly answered, “There are still ten days until the Holy Grail War officially begins. I think it would be better to wait until the day leading up to the event so that other Master’s aren’t able to build any momentum. Since they will be waiting for the opportunity to summon Servants of their own, it might disrupt the plans of our enemies if we force them to compete amongst themselves. There is also a chance that we will be targetted once the War begins so I’d like to improve my parameters as much as possible before then.”

Agreeing with Rin’s decision, as it was the suggestion he was intending to make, Vahn smiled approvingly as he said, “You’ve put a lot of thought into this. I’m impressed, Rin.” This caused Rin’s face to form an awkward smile as, even though she wanted to play off his praise as unnecessary, her nature made it impossible for her to let such a compliment just roll off her. Seeing this, Vahn’s own smile broadened before they spent the rest of the meal making casual conversation and simply enjoying the food. After this, Rin and Fenrir took care of the dishes as Vahn pulled out a piece of paper and began writing down a far more intense training menu to match Rin’s convictions…

Eight days after the original plan had been discussed, Rin found herself laying in bed with her entire body feeling as though it was swollen. She had quickly come to regret the strong front she was compelled to maintain as, without showing any form of leniency at all, Vahn had practically turned into a ‘demon’ during their training. Worst of all was the fact that, instead of simply training in the morning, Rin had a menu that lasted the entire day. Her only breaks were during the five scheduled meal times, something she wouldn’t have even considered in the past. Now, however, Rin felt like her stomach was always empty as the training intensity only seemed to increase without ever getting easier…

Rolling over with a groan, Rin looked down at her exposed abdomen before muttering, “Well, I guess it hasn’t been all that bad…” Though she had always been fit before, she found the subtle lines forming her abdominal muscles to be strangely appealing. As even Vahn had complimented her on the development of her body, Rin, who had lamented the idea of becoming a ‘muscle-woman’, was slowly opening up to the idea of pushing her physique to the next level. Vahn assured her that she wouldn’t start to look like a bodybuilder and, as even Luvia’s figure maintained its appeal with her slightly developed muscles, Rin figured she would be able to pull it off without a hitch.

Lifting her head forward a bit, Rin saw her muscles tighten up in response, causing a small smile to spread across her face. This persisted until she relaxed, causing her smile to immediately fade when another wave of pain washed over her body. Following this, Rin quickly corrected her previous thought, muttering aloud, “I take it back…tssss…Vahn needs to learn to treat women with some delicacy…”

Almost immediately following her complaint, Rin was startled by a surprisingly loud knock on her bedroom door. Following this, an ice-cold voice that sent a shiver up her spine plainly stated, “Rin, Master wanted to know if you plan to eat breakfast this morning…” Based on the sound alone, Rin was able to determine that Fenrir had heard her prior words. The latter was always hyper-defensive of her ‘Master’, something Rin was keenly aware of, even though it never seemed to ‘stick’ within the forefront of her mind.

Releasing an exasperated sigh, Rin rolled to the side of her bed before answering, “I’ll be down in a moment…” in a tired voice. Following this, she could hear the pitter-patter of footsteps as Fenrir left without affirming she had heard her words. Rin produced a wry smile as a result before unsteadily leaving the comfort of her bed and going through the arduous process of dressing herself. It was at times like this that she envied Luvia a bit as, from what she had observed, the latter had an entire wardrobe team to help her prepare for the day. Though they both used [Jewel] Magecraft, which was enough to bankrupt most Magus families, the Edelfelts actually had a surface business that served as a major player in the trade of precious gemstones. The main reason her relationship with Luvia had always been rocky was due to the fact that, as much as she hated the reality, Rin was reliant on her connections with the Edelfelt family to procure more than half her stock of jewels…

After dragging herself all the way to the dining room, Rin found a plate already awaiting her, its contents seeming to be a golden apple that had been arranged like a flower before being baked. The aroma alone was enough to make Rin’s stomach growl audibly, causing a ruddy blush to appear on her face as Vahn stared back at her with an amused smile. It was at moments like this that Rin felt Vahn was a hateful existence as she was almost certain he was trying to make her ‘dependent’ on his delicious food. At this point, she couldn’t even remember what normal food tasted like as her tastebuds had already been conquered by the meals Vahn prepared, even before her training had begun…

While shaking her head to clear such thoughts, Rin walked over to the table before plopping down in her usual chair. She told herself that she could stop eating his food whenever she wanted, even as her body moved on pure muscle memory as she unhesitantly bit into a slice of the baked apple. The moment the flavor spread across her tongue, Rin cupped her cheek with a blissful smile on her face as she intoned a satisfied, ‘Mmmm~’. Any thoughts about the ‘danger’ of Vahn’s food immediately faded from her mind as she quickly finished of the delicious apple, relishing the perfect balance between sweetness, tartness, crunchiness, and juiciness…

Waiting for Rin to finish annihilating the breakfast he had prepared for her, as her eating habits had become somewhat ‘uncouth’ over the last few days, Vahn then asked, “When do you plan to perform the ritual? Though waiting until the last moment might sound like a good idea, the chances of something going wrong increase the longer we wait.” At this point, Vahn was a little bored with just simply clearing out any Magi that were lurking within the Miyama district. After wiping out a group that had set an ‘ambush’ for him three nights ago, there hadn’t been any other incidents so he was growing a little restless.

Now feeling completely reinvigorated, Rin smiled radiantly as she nodded her head in agreement and said, “We can perform the ritual whenever you’re ready. I’ve been preparing a catalyst over the last ten years so there shouldn’t be any problems with the summoning itself. Just promise me that you won’t do anything reckless as soon as the ceremony is over.” With how strenuous her training had been over the last eight days, Rin was more than ready for the ‘reprieve’ that the Holy Grail War would provide. Though her strength and speed had increased by a truly shocking amount over the last few days, causing Rin to wonder if she was becoming something other than human, there was also a fair amount of ‘stress’ building up inside of her as a result.

Knowing what Rin must be thinking, Vahn issued a light chuckle before rising to his feet and saying, “Very well, then. We should get it over with so we can begin preparing for the official start two days from now. Depending on which Servant you acquire, it could impact the plans I have moving forward.” Though this wasn’t guaranteed to be the case, Vahn knew there was a non-negligible chance that actual gods would be summoned during this Holy Grail War. As this would put them at Tier 4, even if they were restricted by the rules of the War itself, Vahn knew they wouldn’t be simple opponents. He was very confident in his own strength, enough that most ‘restricted’ Gods didn’t concern him, but that could change very quickly depending on the circumstances…

Without delaying the event any further, Vahn found himself standing alongside Fenrir as they watched Rin conduct the summoning ritual within her workshop. Over the last few days, Rin had allowed him to enter the area freely so Vahn wasn’t surprised by the complex magic circle that had been inscribed on the workshop’s floor. He had already completely analyzed its structure and, if necessary, had the potential of recreating the entire thing in a short period of time. Though he no longer had the [Pactio] reflected in his status, Vahn’s skill and dexterity made him capable of forming Tier 5 magic circles without any real difficulty.

Once everything was prepared, Rin began a long chant that, while not necessary for the ritual, increased the ‘connection’ between Master and Servant. For her catalyst, she used the same rainbow-colored gemstone she had nearly thrown at him during their first meeting. According to Rin, it had nearly ten years of her accumulated magic power. Since it was also crystallized using a complex process and several rare materials, it was the most powerful jewel in her possession. If placed on the market, it was even purported to be worth more than thirty-two-billion Japanese Yen, an impressive fortune going by this world’s standards. It also served as Rin’s trump card, capable of rivaling an S-Ranked Magic Spell, meaning even he wouldn’t have come out unscathed if she had used it against him…

While watching the ritual, Vahn kept his [Eyes of Truth] active, doing his best to try and comprehend exactly how Heroic Spirits were manifested. Unfortunately, though he was able to see the flow of Mana, Vahn wasn’t able to make any sense of the ritual other than the fact it seemed to bend Time and ‘Fate’ within the confines of the magic circle. Since there wasn’t anything within the ‘formula’ that should have allowed such functionality, Vahn ultimately ended up more confused by the time Rin had completed her incantation than he had been before she started. Even so, now that he had witnessed it, Vahn had all the time in the world to study the phenomenon within his mind to try and make sense of what exactly went into making the summoning ritual function…

The last part of Rin’s incantation had her loudly exclaim, “Come forth, my Servant. Become my blade so that I may cut down my enemies…!” Since Rin specifically wanted to summon the Saber-Class Servant, as it was purported to be the strongest of them all, she had included several verses related to blades, knights, and chivalry. In response to her completed incantation, the magic circle beneath her feet began to radiate an intense magical light as the various overlapping energies began to intertwine into a single stream. Vahn found this phenomenon rather curious but Rin, having experienced this ‘anamoly’ once before, showed a fretful expression as she cursed, “You’ve got to be kidding me…!”

Hearing Rin’s exclamation, Vahn knew something had gone wrong so he immediately moved to protect Rin while using [Enkidu] in an attempt to prevent the ritual’s completion. Though he had moved almost instantly after Rin’s shout, this ultimately proved too slow as Rin’s body had started to radiate with a pink light that spread from her heart and quickly encompassed her from head to toe. At the same time, her clothes ‘literally’ exploded as a red crest, forming a circular shape with three distinct segments appeared beneath her clavicle. Then, just as Vahn had begun to probe Rin’s body for further anomalies, her black hair began to change color, starting from the roots. Like a gradient shift, it quickly transitioned into a natural-looking blond as mystical light began to wrap around Rin’s body in several black bands…

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Though it felt like the process had taken a long time, Rin’s transformation had actually only taken ten seconds before she looked like an almost completely different person. Instead of her former casual clothes, she now had a skin-tight black bodysuit that was accented with actual gold. Overtop this, she had what looked like the upper half of a dress that had the actual dress part removed, revealing Rin’s soft thighs and long legs ending in two ornate shoes that, much like the rest of her outfit, were adorned with gold. Her right leg had a peculiar black legging of the same design as a maroon tattoo, shaped like two teardrops, glimmered like gemstones above her knee. Completing the outfit, Rin had a maroon mantle that was covered with a layer of fur that had a texture similar to velvet. Atop her head, a black crown seemed to grow from her skull while her previously black ribbons had now turned the same maroon as her mantle. With various other golden accessories complimenting her appearance, Vahn couldn’t help but sigh as he was already aware of what had happened based on the familiar aura radiating from Rin’s body…

After laying still for an additional twenty seconds, Rin’s eyelids began to twitch before slowly opening. Instead of their original aqua-blue, her eyes were now a few shades lighter than wine-red while a subtle golden light radiated from their depths. For several seconds after she opened her eyes, she just stared back at Vahn in silence before drawing a slow and audible breath. Vahn already knew what was about to happen so he covered his ears with a soundproof barrier just as ‘Rin’ shouted, “Unhand me, you scoundrel! You dare lay your hands upon this Goddess!? I will ensure that your soul is imprisoned for all eternity within the deepest depths of the Underworld…!”

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Rin is not simply RIP, but RIPPED’,’It’s too late girl, your stomach is already within Vahn’s grasp…’,’A Goddess descends…!’)

(A/N: Some people already know whats going on but, for the unitiated, this is Rin’s current appearance: https://bit.ly/2MMypDq)

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