The Will to Fight - Chapter 1 - MorgothII (2024)

Chapter Text

With trembling hands, I adjust my baseball hat, indirectly ruffling up my messy brown hair. “Master Candidate Forty-Nine, Jacob Aronson, reporting,” I said nervously. The guard before the entrance to the main hall of the building built in the heights of Antarctica examines my face and what are my credentials that had been provided before I had arrived by the Clock Tower.

“ID confirmed. Welcome to Chaldea’s headquarters. You will be directed to the briefing area for the director’s speech,” she said with an almost bored expression on her face. I mutter a thank you to her and proceed inside, my mind awhirl with thoughts.

Master Candidate for Chaldea. I was one of forty-nine Magi that had been picked to join what was described as ensuring the continuation of humanity. Thirty-eight of the were members of noble Magi families. Ten were civilians who were chosen for their potential. Then there was me, the only American Magus in the program. Though, to be fair, there were very few (almost none) aside from my family tree, American Magus. The only reason why I was a Magus was because my family had left England in the 19th Century, who had a tradition of just letting themselves follow their own paths, having never developed a true Crest. It was a different kind of Magus family, but at least for me, it was a good one.

I had found out about it when a friend of mine recommended me for reasons beyond me. Officially, I was a late volunteer. Unofficially, it was because of my apparently high concentration of Magic Circuits, or so I had been told. Regardless, they gave me good reasons to agree to partake in Chaldea’s project. Promises of financial compensation and paying for the tuition for my choice of university, or even the famed Clock Tower, upon completion of all necessary requirements that Chaldea would have need of me.

For someone who was about to start college anyway but would have to deal with a large amount of debt, it seemed like a dream come true. I was now starting to wonder, though, if it would have been easier to just deal with debt.

After agreeing to join, I had to try out something called a Spiritron Drive and experienced a simulated battle with Servants. Having passed that, I was told about the mission in terms that were only slightly less vague. Something about changes in the past threatening the future of mankind. Even for someone who was a Magus, this seemed a bit far-fetched.

Before I fully realize it, my body on auto-pilot mode had brought me to the room I was supposed to have gone to. In addition to about almost fifty seats, there is some sort of experimental-looking computer and display, along with fifty or so coffin-like devices on either side of the wall.

With almost all the seats taken, I opt for the one near the back. Just as I sit down, a young female magus with white hair and an orange-and-black color scheme enters. Unless I am mistaken, this is Director Olga Marie Animusphere, my new boss. She observes the room with a calculated gaze, and opens her mouth to speak when three more people walk in. A ridiculous-looking man wearing a fur coat and a hat, a girl with pink hair and purple eyes, and a young Japanese Magus, who looks to me like he is more asleep than awake. After the first two briefly talk to the director, she frowned and pursed her lips before dismissing them as the final Master Candidate takes the last available seat in the front row.

The room goes quiet as Director Animusphere begins to describe Chaldea’s mission. How, using a new mixture of science and magic, teams would be sent back to various points of time to find and fix any irregularities that threaten the future of mankind. My attention was split between the director and the sleepy Magus, who was fighting desperately to stay awake. However, he finally gives in, and soon begins to snore rather loudly while the director is still speaking. Even from where I am seated, I can tell she is furious as she stomps over to the offender, blissfully unaware of what he had just caused for himself.

Director Animusphere looked like she was about to dropkick the sleepy Magus out of the room. Fortunately, she instead opts to slap him before telling the girl who had brought him in to get him out of here, and that he was not going to partake in this mission.

The next half-hour or so passes by slowly, as the director explained further how Chaldea would be conducting operations. How we would be broken up into teams, and that I was to be part of the secondary team.

“According to the data we have acquired, the singularity we will be dealing with today occurred in 2004 AD. The location is a town called Fuyuki City. Team A will Rayshift in first, and we shall proceed from there. In the meantime, all Master Candidates who are present will be entering the Coffins, a device to allow for its occupant to safely Rayshift. Are there any questions?”

I reluctantly raise my hand. “Yes?”

“Where are the restrooms?” I ask, trying to not show the embarrassment I feel as I hear the inevitable snickering. Director Animusphere gives me an expression which screams the phrase, ‘are you kidding me?!?’ before answering with a sigh.

“Go back out into the main hall, and the men’s room is three doors down from here. When you have finished, return here. Does anyone else have to use the restroom, or did they make sure to have taken care of such issues before we started the briefing?” Animusphere pointedly asked with an arched eyebrow.

Before I could be subjected to further ridicule, at least to my face that is, I swiftly walk out of the room to find the bathroom, which thankfully is exactly where it should be. I try to take care of nature’s call as quickly as possible.

As I was washing my hands, I suddenly find myself thrown to the ground, ears ringing. Smoke started to filter into the bathroom. “What the…?” I groaned as I pushed myself up, grabbing the counter to support my body as I did so. There was a warm, somewhat sticky feeling on the right side of my head. I pressed a hand against it, feeling something liquid-like, and bring my palm to my face. My eyes widen slightly at the dark crimson blood, my blood, dripping.

As my hearing returned, I suddenly notice the wailing siren. “What the hell is going on?” I muttered as I stumbled slightly into the hallway. “Oh no…” I gasped, seeing the inferno that was once the Rayshift chamber. The director…the other master candidates…

Then the boy from earlier runs by, heading into the fire.

“sh*t!” I cursed as I ran after him. “Kid, what are you doing?” I shouted, trying to get his attention as his form started to become obscured by the smoke. I raised my right arm to cover my mouth and nose as I forge on. I’m not letting him die.

I hear him shout, and I headed towards the source. The boy, whose name I cannot remember for the life of me, is trying to lift a large piece of rubble off of the pink-haired girl who had come into the room with him earlier. “We gotta hurry,” I said as I ran to the other side of the rubble, trying to help him out. I strain my muscles as I try to push the debris up off her legs, ignoring the automated voices and a sudden red glow.

“Don’t worry, you’ll be fine,” my fellow Magus said as he tries to comfort the badly-injured girl. Sweat starts to drip into my eyes, the salt burning slightly as I continue in vain to free the pinned girl from what is rapidly turning out to be her tomb.

It is then that I feel a weird sensation of my body as a garbled voice starts to countdown, saying something about having found viable forms to Rayshift or something. The last thing I hear before a darkness embraces my vision was a rather heart-breaking request from the girl for the other lad to hold her hand.

Then nothing.

I slowly opened my eyes, groaning in pain. From the way my back is feeling, I’m laying down on something rough and somewhat broken. I prop my body upwards with my elbows into an upright seated position and look around.

Fire.

Fire was everywhere. It was a war zone. The entire city was burning, and there seemed to be no sign of life anywhere. Not even the two people I had been with before the Rayshift occurred. Am I going to be trapped here until I starve? I took a deep breath, calming myself down.

A shrill scream breaks the dead silence. I spun around, my eyes narrowed. It might be one of the others who were supposed to have been Rayshifted! I looked around quickly, finding a decent-sized piece of rebar sticking out of some rubble by the remains of one of the buildings. I picked it up and gave an experiment swing. “It’s no sword, but this should do,” I mutter to myself as I now sprint to the source of the scream.

When I arrive, I see a panicking Olga Marie backing away from about a half-dozen reanimated skeletons, all armed with crude weapons. I run forward, preparing my weapon to be swung as I call out. “Director! Behind you!”

The white-haired magus spins around, orange eyes widening as she steps to the side to avoid being knocked over by my body. “Aronson?!? What are you-“ Director Animusphere started to ask as I ran past her. Before she can finish asking her question, however, I swung my club at the skull of the lead skeleton. The metal end, still coated by a healthy amount of concrete, slams into the bleached bone and shatters it. I don’t have time to celebrate this, however, and I pivot my upper torso slightly to smash the side of the skull of another skeleton. Behind me, I hear more footsteps, and the director calling out.

“Y-you two! What in the world is going on here?”

Then, a large, black metal object slams into one of the skeletons, flinging the undead enemy backwards into a second one. A second and third strike deal with the last two skeletons with ease. A soft, feminine voice speaks up.

“Are you ok?” It’s the girl we tried to rescue earlier. Instead of an almost schoolgirl outfit, however, she is dressed in black armor with purple highlights. Her shoulders, legs, and midriff are exposed, and her right hand holds a shield that is shaped like a cross and is taller than her.

“Confused as hell, but alive. Good to see that the same can be said for you and the other guy.”

“You mean Fujimaru Senpai?”

“That’s his last name? Good to know. We can all exchange proper introductions later, though I would like to know your name.” So that I don’t keep referring to her as ‘the girl’.

“Agreed, and it’s Mash” she replied, before turning to the director and Fujimaru. “The battle is over. Are you alright director?”

“…what’s going on?” I sigh softly, shaking my head. That’s the million-dollar question right now, isn’t it?

“Director? About my situation. I know it’s hard to believe, but the truth is-“ Mash began before Director Animusphere interrupts her.

“A demi-servant, right?” ‘A what-now?’ “It’s pretty obvious that you fused with a Servant.” ’You can do that?!?!?’ “What I want to know is why it’s successful now all of a sudden! Enough of that. You!” She shouted, stabbing a finger towards Fujimaru. “The civilian who showed up late to my speech!”

“Huh?!” ‘I feel you,’ I think to myself.

“How did you become a Master? Only first-class Mages can enter contracts with Servants! There’s no way you could ever become a Master! What did you do to her to have her do your bidding?” She demanded, her face red with anger. I step forward between the two parties.

“You are way off base!” Fujimaru responded before I spoke up.

“Ok, ok, ok! That’s enough! Something clearly has gone wrong back at Chaldea. We should re-establish communications with Chaldea after we get to that Leyline. We’re not doing this,” I emphasized by pointing at the fuming director and the offended youth. “We are not going to do this. We are not going to go bouncing off the walls for ten minutes!” I growl. I take a deep breath. Gotta keep it together.

“Look, Director Animusphere, with all due respect, he is correct about you going too far. He was chosen for the program, just like me. I am sure this is a misunderstanding, right Mash?” Mash nodded her head to confirm my statement.

“He’s correct. I’m actually the one who forced the contract.”

“What did you say?” Director Animusphere asked, sharing the confusion I have been having. Thankfully, Mash takes the next few minutes to explain all that has happened during the Rayshift. I took yet another deep breath before exhaling through my nose slowly.

“No other Master candidates shifted with us. You and Jacob are the only two humans we’ve run into, Director. But that gives me hope. If you’re here, that means there must be other candidates who got teleported here..” Mash finished explaining. For the briefest of moments, I felt a faint glimmer of hope. That whatever the hell happened only minutes ago, or so it felt at least, in Chaldea wasn’t doomed despite the fires and explosion. The look of hesitation on Animusphere told me that it would have been better for that hope to have never been kindled.

“…There aren’t, actually. That’s one of the few things I am certain about in this situation.”

“Then why are we,” I gesture at our small group, “here?”

“I have an idea,” Director Animusphere admitted. “We all share a common denominator it seems. None of the four of us were inside the Coffins. While Rayshifting flesh and blood is dangerous, it’s not impossible for it to succeed. Meanwhile, Chaldea’s systems must have gotten readings for the Coffins that their chances of successfully Rayshifting their occupants were below 95%. The breakers installed would have then cut off all power, aborting the attempt in order to save the occupants.”

“Meaning we’re essentially on our own?” I asked.

“Correct.”

“I see,” Mash said. “That’s why you’re the director.”

“You can be reliable when you’re calm, I see,” I heard Fujimaru mutter under his breath. Unfortunately, it didn’t go unheard. The director visibly bristles.

“What’s that supposed to mean?!? Are you saying I’m not usually calm?” Animusphere demanded. “Hmmph, whatever,” she said, crossing her arms as she glares at my colleague. “I understand the situation now. Fujimaru, since it’s an emergency, I’ll approve you and Kyrielight’s contract,” she admitted grudgingly. “From here on out, you’ll follow my commands.” Animusphere paused before suddenly turning to me, jabbing a finger at me.

“And you! Aronson, I believe. What the hell were you thinking?”

“That someone was in trouble and that I should help?”

“T-that’s not the point! We have to presume that we now have only one master and one potential master active in this Singularity! Chaldea cannot afford the loss of either of you! We’re going to that Leyline, you are going to summon a servant, and you will not go charging into any more battles like that! Am I understood?”

“Crystal clear, Director Animusphere,” I replied, forcing myself to not shout back. Yes, she had a point, but it wasn’t like I had too many options at the moment.

“Now that we have those matters settled, let’s focus. First, we need to set up a base camp. That means that this is the time for us to fin a Leyline Terminal. From there, we’ll be able to contact Chaldea. So in this town’s case..” Director Animusphere started to say before Mash interrupted with a polite cough.

“This is the point, Director. The Ley point is at your feet.” Animusphere’s face expression becomes flustered.

“What? Oh, r-right, I knew that, I knew that, of course!” I resisted the urge to shake my head or roll my eyes. “Mash, place your shield on the ground. I’m going to set up a summoning circle for Jacob, using your Noble Phantasm as the catalyst,” she explained. Mash turns to Fujimaru.

“…So she says. Are you all right with that, Senpai?” She asked her Master. He shrugs.

“Sure, go ahead and do it,” he said. Mash nods, her expression becoming a resolute one.

“…Understood. Now, let’s begin,” Mash said to the director, placing her massive shield on the ground where the Magus had been standing while lecturing at us only moments ago.

While the two girls are working, I place my free hand lightly on Fujimaru’s shoulder. He jumps slightly, but I quickly speak. “Glad you are alive. Both of you,” I said, nodding at Mash’s form. “We should introduce each other quickly, seeing as we may be working together for some time after this. I’m Jacob. Jacob Aronson.” I remove my hand from his shoulder and then offer it to him.

“Ritsuka Fujimaru,” Ritsuka introduces himself, accepting the handshake offer.

“Nice to meet you. That was very brave of you, risking your life for someone I assume you had only just met. I look forward to working alongside you.” I release my grip as the area around us begins to shift. I let out a low whistle, amazed at what I am beholding.

“This is…the same as the summoning experiment chamber at Chaldea,” Mash said, sharing in our awe. Before Animusphere can reply, a beeping sound is heard. I turn to Fujimaru as a fuzzy holographic display of a man in doctor clothing appears.

CQ, CQ. Hello, hello? Okay, the connection’s back!” The man says, relief plain in his voice. “Good job, you secured the connection. Now we can communicate again, and even send rations..”

“Huh?!?” Animusphere interrupted, an incredulous expression with a tint of worry and confusion on her face. “Why are you running the show, Romani? What about Lev? Where’s Lev? Put Lev on!” I let out another mental sigh, tuning out the apparent vaudeville.

At least one person from Chaldea is ok. That’s good. That’s great actually. That means that surely some of the other Master candidates are ok.

“Less than 20 survivors?” Olga Marie Animusphere’s question grabs my attention, her brow furled in worry. “What about the Master candidates…the Coffins?” She asked. Romani paused for a moment before answering. A sinking feeling in my gut forms.

“…Forty-seven, all in critical condition and we’re short on medical supplies. We might be able to save a few, but all of them might be-“

“Don’t be ridiculous! Cryopreserve them immediately! Think about reviving them later. Your top priority is to make sure that they don’t die!” Director Animusphere ordered, acting like she should. A leader capable of making the tough choices on her own.

“Consider it done!” Romani responded

“Cryopreservation without prior consent is a crime,” Mash stated, possibly to make sure that her Master and I were aware of what the director just did. “Yet you made the decision right away, putting human lives before maintaining your reputation as the director for Chaldea.” A look of respect glimmers in Mash’s purple eyes, a sentiment that I also feel.

“Don’t be stupid,” the director snapped. “As long as they’re not dead, I can explain myself later. Why else? In the first place, forty-seven lives…there’s no way I can carry such a burden.” An expression I am all too familiar with appears on the director’s face as she bit her lower lip slightly. She appears to be saying something else to herself. I try to see if I can hear what it is, but to no avail. What I do notice is that she seems to be trying her best to keep her head above water.

Thankfully, the awkward moment is broken once Romani returned. He proceeds to deliver a report on the status of Chaldea since the explosion. 80% of the facility’s functionality has been lost along with all but twenty or so other staff members. Repairs had begun on fixing the Rayshift machinery while stabilizing both Chaldea and Sheba.

“Good. That’s exactly what I would have done if I were there. As much as I hate the very thought of it, I am entrusting you to run Chaldea as Acting Director Romani Archaman, until I get back,” the director said grudgingly. “Your top priority is to complete the Rayshift repairs necessary. Seeing as there is not other option, we will take care of solving Singularity F.”

“Director, you’re not afraid of being at ground zero? Since when did you become so brave?” Wow, Romani. I know that things are tough, and that I barely know you, but that was one of the last things you should have possibly thought about saying. The fact that Director Animusphere’s teeth were gritting together reinforces my opinion.

“Seriously, you don’t know when to shut up. As you just reported, until the Rayshift repairs are completed, we can’t leave. This is the only feasible option, regardless of if I want to be in the middle of it or not. Besides, it seems that this town has only low-level monsters. With Mash as a Demi-Servant, and the Servant that Master Candidate Aronson is about to summon, we’ll be completely safe,” she said confidently. God, I hope you are right, and didn’t just jinx us.

“Accident or not, we Animuspheres pride ourselves on doing our best in the situations we’re given. I’ll be looking into Singularity F with Fujimaru Ritsuka, Mash Kyrielight, and Jacob Aronson as investigators. With that being said, since my field staff is inexperienced, the extent of this mission will be to discover the cause of this anomaly. Analysis and eradication will have to wait until after Chaldea’s restored, and I can send in a second team. Is that understood?’

“Just discovery?” I asked, nervous. Aside from not dying, this day hasn’t exactly been sunshine and rainbows. That’s not to say that I am upset at only being scouts essentially. Rather, I am worried about if that will be what actually happens. Director Animusphere doesn’t respond to my question.

“Roger that. Best of luck to you, Director. We can communicate in short bursts. Feel free to contact me in an emergency,” Romani said. I scoff quietly, a sentiment that the director clearly shares with me.

“Ha! Even if we sent out a distress call to you, there’s nobody who could be sent to our rescue,” she muttered. Apparently, I was the only one to have heard her clearly, as a puzzled expression appears on the acting director’s face.

“Director?”

“Nothing, I’m cutting off the connection so Aronson can summon his Servant. Go do your job,” Director Animusphere instructed before ending the call.

“Are you sure this is the only option, Director? It appears we have the option of holding here while waiting for our rescue.”

“I can’t afford to do that,” the director responded, shaking her head slightly. “After we return to Chaldea, who knows how long it will take to select the next team? That would be over a month before we could even possibly have acquired anywhere near the proper amount of either personal or funds. In the meantime, I will still have to deal with the Association. Do you have any idea of how much they will be harassing me?” Animusphere threw her hands up into the air in exasperation as she continued her rant. “Worst case scenario, they will blame me for mismanagement and take Chaldea away from me. If that happens, I’d be toast. I can’t go back empty-handed. I need something that will shut them up!” She shouted. Taking a deep breath and exhaling, the white-haired Magus turns to me.

“Sorry. Let’s summon your Servant, Aronson. Do you remember the chant?” I swallow the lump in my throat as I nod my head. Stay calm, Jacob. You can do this. “Good. Fujimaru, step back. Kyrielight, leave your shield there in the summoning circle. Good luck, Aronson.”

I take in a deep breath, standing alone in the chamber. I can do this. No, I will do this, and succeed. I will not let myself down! I begin to chant. I speak slowly and carefully.

“Let silver and steel be the essence. Let stone and the archduke of contracts be the foundation. Let the will to fight all be the tribute I pay. Let rise a wall against the wind that shall fall. Let the four cardinal gates close…” As I continue to chant the first half, with my own little addition I had found when reading about summoning rituals, rings of magical energy appear, three to be precise. They begin to spin slowly at first, then faster and faster. White lighting tinged with what appears to be gold dust starts to appear, as a burning sensation erupts against the back of my outstretched right hand. I don’t falter however, as I approach the second half.

“Heed my words! My will creates your body, and your sword creates my destiny! If you heed the Grail’s call, and obey my will and reason, then answer my summoning! I hereby swear that I will be all the good in the world. That I shall defeat all evil in the world!” The burning sensation becomes a bit more intense as an arcane set of patterns begins to form. Command Seals. White light causes me to squint fiercely as the circles spin faster, the summoning circle radiant in brightness.

“Seventh heaven clad, and the great words of power, come forth from the circle of bindings, Guardian of the Scales!” I finished, closing my eyes as the light seems to consume all before me. Then, the light fades, and I feel the presence of someone before me. I did it!

I slowly open my eyes to see the form of an armored knight, their silver armor trimmed with bright red markings. With the tip pointed towards the ground, a massive sword with a similar color scheme as the armor denotes that almost certain possibility that whoever I summoned belongs to the Saber class.

I gaze at the horned helmet covering the face as they speak.

“I am Saber, name’s Mordred. I ask this of you. Are you my Master?”

The Will to Fight - Chapter 1 - MorgothII (2024)
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