Chapter 1036: Tensions

As much of a surprise as Rin’s ‘transformation’ had been, Vahn wasn’t just going to sit idly by as a ‘wave’ of Mana spread through the surroundings. He could feel what could only be described as ‘Death’ encroaching upon Rin’s workshop so Vahn used his already manifested [Enkidu] to unceremoniously bind the Goddess residing in Rin’s body. Shock immediately found its way to her face before realization dawned upon her as [Enkidu] reflected within her pupils. Though she was virtually powerless under the effect of the chains, she still furrowed her brows deeply while whimpering, “You dog…what are you going to do…?”

Vahn was a little surprised to see the haughty Goddess on the verge of tears, causing him to feel slightly apologetic as he calmly stated, “Relax. It is not my intention to harm you. The body you are inhabiting belongs to my friend. Try to stay calm and see if you can remember why you’re here…” Since ‘Servants’ were supposed to be supplied with information about the modern era as part of the summoning ritual, Vahn was confident she would calm down after sorting through her memories…

Though she didn’t seem to place much value in his words, the Goddess residing within Rin’s body began to look towards ‘nothing’, the same gaze others would use when recalling distant memories. This continued for several minutes before the tension in her body slowly started to ease up, followed by the Goddess looking towards Vahn with a more ‘confident’ expression as she said, “You are Vahn Mason, my kin…” Though she seemed to have calmed down a fair amount, just as things were beginning to become less tense, she exclaimed, “Undo these foul chains at once…if…if you don’t, I will…” Whatever threat was about to leave her lips ultimately fell by the wayside as, just as quickly as her first transformation had been, Rin’s body began to change once again.

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Seeing Rin’s hair transition from blond back to its original black color, Vahn might have been fooled into thinking she was returning to normal. However, even under the bindings of [Enkidu], he could senes the Divinity of a god within Rin’s body as her hair became suffused with a deep purple hue. The previous clothing adorning her body evaporated into nothingness, replaced by garments that would have hardly qualified as underwear. This took on the form of a white cloth, barely covering Rin’s chest, and a pair of black, thong-like, bottoms. Both were adorned with gold, the only thing indicating their intended purpose wasn’t as undergarments, while the crown atop her head changed from having three prongs to a total of seven, each interspaced an even distance as they cascaded outwards like a fan.

When Rin opened her eyes this time, they had become several shades darker than the previous Goddess, this time looking like a red wine of the highest quality. The moment she laid eyes on Vahn, this new Goddess showed a slightly excited smile as she asked, “Do you make a habit of binding women you’ve only just met~? I don’t particularly mind, but you had better be prepared for the consequences if you fail to satisfy me.” As these words left her mouth, the goddess tried to link her left leg with Vahn’s as, prior to Rin’s transformation, Vahn had moved to support her body. Though she could hardly move even a single centimeter, this didn’t stop the newly appeared Goddess from breathing a little heavily as she tried to pull him closer to her body…

Instead of outright resisting, Vahn allowed himself to be drawn closer to the unnamed Goddess but, just as she attempted to seal his lips with a kiss, his right hand touched her exposed abdomen before sending a flood of Source Energy into her body. With eyes as round as saucers, the goddess began to shake violently within [Enkidu]s embrace as Vahn forcefully repressed the invasive energy flowing through Rin’s body. Realizing what was happening, the Goddess strained her throat, shouting, “What do you think you’re doing!? Ahhhn, you bastard. Stooooooooooop iiiiiit~!” Using the same leg she had wrapped around Vahn’s, the Goddess attempted to get into a position to kick him away but was ultimately unable to manage the feat with her limited movement.

Just as the purple began to fade away from Rin’s hair, the wine-red eyes of the Goddess locked gazes with Vahn as she confidently stated, “You…nobody is allowed to treat me in this fashion. Even if you’re a God, I’ll make you beg for my forgiveness before making you into my eternal slave. When I’m done with you, you won’t even be able to breathe without my permission. I swear this oath on my True Name, Ishtar Anu Inanna…you will be mine, Vahn Mason.” With these parting words, Ishtar’s consciousness retreated into the deepest recesses of Rin’s Ego, a place where Vahn had no means to influence her. At the same time, Rin’s hair and eyes regained their natural color while the previous raiment that protected her dignity faded into nothingness…

With a profoundly tired look in her aqua-blue eyes, Rin rested her head against Vahn’s arm as she muttered, “To think I’d be reunited with this vixen a second time…haaaa…” Then, noticing the state of her body, Rin’s face became beet red as she sheepishly said, “Please release me…” while closing her thighs in a desperate attempt at modesty. Vahn loosened the chains around her body before pulling out a mantle and a spare change of clothing before turning his back and asking, “Do you know what happened? The second Goddess introduced herself as Ishtar but I never got the name of the first one…”

Even with her body aching all over, Rin managed to dawn the panties Vahn had handed to her in record time, all while using the cloak to cover herself. In response to Vahn’s question, she answered, “The Grail seems to be more unstable than we expected. Instead of a single Heroic Spirit, I somehow managed to summon the Goddess Ereshkigal as my Servant. As for how Ishtar came attached, I feel like she has some kind of personal grudge against me after what happened last time. Though most Servant’s don’t retain their memories, even if they are summoned multiple times, that isn’t the case for Ishtar. Both she and Ereshkigal have access to my own memories, just as they are able to use my body as a vessel as a means to manifest themselves…”

Rin seemed more than a little depressed at being reunited with Ishtar, causing Vahn to remain silent for a few seconds before asking, “How were you able to separate from her during the previous Holy Grail War? If her existence is going to cause you to suffer, can’t we reverse the summoning and just have you sit out?” Vahn was almost tempted to offer his services as Rin’s ‘unofficial’ Servant, but his mind began to emit a cold sensation almost as soon as the thought crossed his mind. Though it wasn’t impossible for him to play the part, it didn’t seem as if his [Will of the Emperor] was too fond of the idea, even if he was only pretending…

Unexpectedly, Rin shook her head before regaining a bit of confidence in her expression as she explained, “This situation may not be all that bad. Though Ishtar is an Archer-Class Servant, Ereshkigal is a Lancer-Class. They’re both Goddesses as well, meaning I won’t have to just stand on the sidelines while you battle against everyone on your own. Besides, there are very few ways to separate Ereshkigal and Ishtar from my body without completing the Holy Grail War or making use of Noble Phantasms like Medea’s Rule Breaker. I can’t even transfer my Command Seals over to others as that would only put me in a position where I may be forced to abide by the ‘orders’ of someone else…”

As the last sentence left Rin’s lips, her face became a deep shade of red as she glanced over her shoulder to make sure Vahn was still turned away. Since the original plan was to transfer her Command Seals to him, this would put her in a position where he could, quite literally, order her to do anything. Regardless of her own will, she would be completely powerless to resist as even Goddesses like Ishtar were bound by the restrictions of the system. Though she knew Vahn wouldn’t ask her to do anything perverse, Rin’s heart began beating fast just knowing it was a possibility. This was also the main reason she hated being Ishtar’s host as, regardless of how much willpower she possessed, it was impossible to ignore the increased ‘impulses’ within her body…

Remembering how much she had gone through as a result of Ishtar’s nature, Rin’s face was a mix between a deep shade of red and a sickly white. Last time, though she had hated it at first, the only reason she avoided an even worse situation was due to the willingness of Shirou to ‘help’ her out. Since this was no longer the case, Rin’s body began trembling slightly as she began to imagine her future, emotions of fear, trepidation, and excitement boiling up from her abdomen. Fortunately, it seemed that Vahn had the means to temporarily seal away Ishtar as, during the previous Holy Grail War, Rin had been forced to watch as the rampant Goddess did whatever she wanted unless compelled to behave with the use of a Command Seal…

Unaware of the internal struggle Rin was facing, Vahn’s mind was racing with potential solutions that could help prevent Ishtar from coming forward. Ereshkigal seemed a lot easier to deal with so, with Rin wanting to participate, Vahn wanted to provide her with the means of reigning in Ishtar, if not both Goddesses. Unfortunately, the only means he had of constraining Divinity was his [Enkidu] and, if not for the face that Ishtar and Ereshkigal were ‘foreign’ entities within Rin’s body, he wouldn’t have even been able to temporarily bottle them up with his Source Energy. It was only a matter of time until they broke free and, with Ishtar obviously being the more dominant existence, Vahn had no doubt she would make her presence known once again…

With a sudden burst of inspiration, Vahn blinked in surprise before asking, (“Sis, can I use one of the [Spirit Vessel]s to serve as a faux-body for Ishtar and Erishkigal?”) As he had previously humored the idea of lending a [Spirit Vessel] to his own Servant, Vahn was hopeful that he could do the same for Rin’s. Unfortunately, Sis immediately answered, (*It would only be possible if the entity you wish to place into the [Spirit Vessel] was willing. Even if Rin used a Command Seal, that would not change the inner thoughts of Ishtar and Ereshkigal. Unless you convince them to habitate them willingly, there is no means of forcing them into the [Spirit Vessel]s. After all, the Soul cannot be forcibly bound, regardless of how powerful you may become…*)

Though it was a different matter of binding the ‘Ego’, the Soul was something that was beyond the Tier system as, without the Soul to serve as a basis, Tiers would even exist. Vahn could force the Ego of Ishtar and Ereshkigal to submit to him but, even if they outwardly appeared loyal to him, their Souls may resist any attempts at being bound to a vessel they hadn’t chosen for themselves. As Goddesses like Ishtar had existed for an exorbitant amount of time, the only way she could be convinced to enter a [Spirit Vessel] was if you managed to win her trust. Even then, there was still a chance of failure since she may not truly mean it, regardless of how she feels in the moment…

As Vahn’s mind continued mulling over various ideas, Rin had finished changing into her new clothes, surprised that they fit her body perfectly. Since she could ‘feel’ that Vahn was thinking about how best to help her, Rin managed a genuine smile before saying, “Don’t worry about it too much, Vahn. The Holy Grail War usually doesn’t even last more than a week so I’ll be fine, even if Ishtar ends up taking over my body. She still has to follow the rules set by the Greater Grail so she won’t be that easy for her to cause trouble. If she does something too ridiculous, I can use one of my Command Spells to reign her in. Fortunately, Ereshkigal seems far more agreeable than her sister so I won’t be powerless, even if Ishtar gets put in time out…”

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Just as they had access to her memories, Rin was given brief tidbits of information pertaining to Ishtar and Ereshkigal as, even though they would be in full control during battles, she was still their Master. During the previous Holy Grail War, she had managed to prevent Ishtar from trying to use her body to ‘sample’ the men of the current era. Though this caused her own urges to eventually reach a point where she needed ‘assistance’, Shirou’s overbearing desire to ‘save’ everyone meant he was easy to convince. This eventually blossomed into a far more intimate relationship as they continued to fight as allies, at least up until Gilgamesh appeared and ruined everything with his plot to secure the Grail and steal Shirou’s Servant, Artoria, in an effort to make her into his bride…

Seeing the conviction in Rin’s eyes, Vahn gave an approving nod before saying, “I will look into solutions to help your control Ishtar, even without having to use a Command Seal. For the time being, I can keep her suppressed so we can still move forward with our plan to make others think Fenrir is your Servant.” As there was no way Fenrir would be satisfied with sitting out during the fighting, Vahn had convinced her to play the part of Rin’s Servant. This was accomplished by having Rin promise she would never require Fenrir to refer to her as Master, combined with a promise to grant Fenrir’s ‘wish’ when the Holy Grail War came to a conclusion. Since this was likely something he would have to give her ‘directly’, Vahn was actually looking forward to wrapping things up to see what Fenrir had in mind…

As her own thoughts were in line with Vahn’s proposition, Rin nodded her head before almost immediately asking, “Are you going to try and summon a Servant now? If we wait too long, there is a chance the other Master’s will beat you to it. Though I’m cerrtain you would be able to acquire a set of Command Seals for yourself, being forced to rely on the Servant summoned by another is never a good thing. The Grail tries to make sure every Servant summoned has a matching affinity with their respective Master. Shitty people usually end up with equally shitty Servants so I would recommend securing one of your own as soon as possible…”

Vahn was a little surprised with how quickly Rin had ‘recovered’, especially since she had seemed so depressed before getting dressed. However, he couldn’t help but agree with her assessment of the situation so, placing the issue of Ishtar on the back-burner, Vahn nodded his head before saying, “I’ll go ahead and summon my Servant now. If your words are true, I’m curious to know what kind of Servant the Holy Grail has determined is suitable for me…” As these words left his lips, a premonition overcame Vahn that caused a sinking feeling in his stomach. This was similar to the feeling he had when imagining what kind of Goddess Amaterasu would be, causing Vahn a sense of impending dread, even as he accepted what seemed to be a ‘quirk’ of his fate…

Without brooding over the issue, Vahn set about conducting his own summoning ceremony, choosing to forgo an incantation since he was fully prepared to fight without relying on his Servant at all. As for a catalyst, Vahn surprised Rin a bit by cutting a thin line across his wrist and allowing his blood to drip onto the magic circle. Since the Servant was supposed to be tied to the Master, Vahn was curious about how the system would interpret his blood. He didn’t believe it would be able to sense the Source Energy contained within, but that wouldn’t stop it from misconstruing the energy as ‘Divine’ in origin, as the Record seemed to jump to the conclusion that his energy was the highest possible form within the Record itself.

Unlike how Rin’s ‘light’ had invaded her body, Vahn watched as Fate and Time danced around each other before coalescing into a small figure. He inhaled deeply before deciding that he wouldn’t blame his Servant, regardless of what form they took. At least, this was the manta Vahn told himself as he watched a figure adorned in red rise to its feet. By the time his Servant was standing at their full height, the chrysanthemum crest on their hat barely reached Vahn’s clavicle. Since it was a rather tall and broad hat, Vahn guessed their height was around 153cm tall, giving them a petite figure that caused him to sigh internally…

Looking up with blood-red eyes, set in a confident expression that seemed to pierce through everything, Vahn’s Servant asked, “Are you the fool who thinks himself worthy of being my Master…?” Then, without waiting for an answer, Vahn’s Servant showed an expression of mild surprise before answering their own question, musing, “Oh? Not bad. I thought you sleight-of-hand types were all weak and scholarly. This is starting to look pretty exciting…!” With this said, Vahn’s servant suddenly unsheathed their sword before stabbing towards his neck with lethal intent.

With his tired expression immediately transitioning into a cold and serious look, Vahn deflected the blade with the back of his hand before instinctually striking forward with his right fist. Though this wasn’t his maximum speed, it still caught his Servant by surprise as his fist stopped only one centimeter from her face, blowing her hat away in the process. This caused a veritable torrent of hair to fall from the woman’s head, followed by her laughing loudly before shouting, “Nice! Even if I still need to observe you for a while, I can tell you’ve got some backbone, kid. You won’t find me calling you Master, but I don’t mind following your orders…assuming you’re not some kind of idiot, that is.”

Seeing that his Servant didn’t show any discernible signs of fear after nearly taking a strike to the face, combined with their manner of speaking, Vahn figured they were the type to fearlessly throw themselves into battle without a second thought. This made him feel embarrassed internally as, even if he didn’t want to admit it, his personality wasn’t all that dissimilar. With that in mind, Vahn got a better look at his Servant, noticing she was wearing black military garb that didn’t seem to hail from the distant past. Completing the outfit, she had a blood-red cloak that cascaded down to her ankles while her calves and feet were adorned with peculiar golden greaves that had black gemstones embedded into the knees.

Much like the cap she had worn, these gemstones were surrounded by a chrysanthemum motif that was evidence that she had close ties to Japan, even though that could have been easily ascertained by her basic build and face structure. She also had long black hair, which extended past her hips, possessing a somewhat wild quality to it, even though it seemed sleek at the same time. At the same time, it glowed with a subtle red sheen, almost as if it had been washed with blood if the ‘aura’ radiating from her was to be believed. This, combined with her sharp eyes that practically screamed ‘confidence’, gave Vahn the impression that his Servant was a force to be reckoned with. His only real complaint, not that it mattered in the grand scheme of things, was that she had the appearance of a young woman, even if her figure was marginally more developed than Fenrir…

Much like he was evaluating her, Vahn’s Servant continued to eye him with an appraising gaze that seemed to penetrate deep into his flesh. The longer she looked at him, the larger her grin grew, causing two prominent canines to appear when she showed her teeth. Then, at a speed much faster than she had drawn her sword, Vahn’s Servant pulled out what appeared to be a musket-pistol before pointing it towards his head and pulling the trigger. Instead of a normal bullet, a reddish-black laser, much like Rin’s [Gandr], attempted to pierce through Vahn’s skull before he casually moved his head aside to evade. In the same motion, Vahn stepped forward before flicking his Servant directly on her forehead and saying, “Stop trying to test me…” in a stern tone.

While rubbing her forehead with a gloved hand, his Servant laughed in a tone eerily reminiscent of Kali before saying, “Relax, I’m just trying to keep you on your toes. If you couldn’t dodge attacks like this, you wouldn’t be qualified to be my Master. I don’t give a damn about the Holy Grail so it doesn’t matter to me if I get sent back because you were too weak to pass muster. If my actions upset you, feel free to use a Command Seal to force me to abide by your will. Until then, I’ll act as I please, thanks.” With that said, Vahn’s Servant disappeared into thin air, turning into her Spirit form that was able to pass through all obstacles unimpeded. This was a way Servants could conserve their Mana when outside of combat or, in this example, a means in which they could move about when and wherever they pleased…

As the presence of his Servant disappeared from Rin’s workshop, Vahn heard her voice within his mind, almost like a darker version of Sis as she mused, (“By the way, kid. The names Oda Nobunaga, the Devil King of the Sixth Heaven. Looks like you summoned me as an Archer-Class Servant so don’t expect me to fight on the frontlines unless you’re there alongside me. Don’t worry, I’ll make sure not to shoot you in the back if you want to take to the frontlines yourself, kukukuku~.”)

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Vessel of the Twin Goddesses…!’,’Rin’s best quality is her ability to bounce back almost instantly from anything…’,’So Vahn’s Servant is an Archer that specializes in Anti-Divine combat, all while having the heart of a conquer who pushes the world towards their version of a better future…xD’)

(A/N: Vahn’s Servant in a swimsuit: https://bit.ly/32nONOy )

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