I just got off 8 days of work in a row, so I don’t have creative juices right now. Besides, I’m busy unlocking voices Valentine scenes, and the current event in Girls Frontline. The Grind Is Real! And speaking of Grind, if there are people looking for a pretty easy, but deceptively deep cell game, I suggest Romancing Saga; Re UniverSe. The current Gacha reroll target is Byunei, which is a meta character that will last long into the future. The game has the best sound track out there (I’d actually say it ties with the symphonic versions of Fate’s soundtracks) and a story line that is entertaining for me in multiple different ways. New versions of characters you already got inherit their stats, making things a LOT easier with Power Creep. I highly rate it.
With Chaldea officially closed and no more dangers left to be fought to protect humanity, Ritsuka and Mash found themselves out in the world again.
“It really is huge, Senpai,” said Mash in wonder.
“Yeah,” responded Ritsuka, also with a feeling of wonder as he looked on the finally completed complex he’d built int he Japanese countryside he’d been assigned ownership of as a mage by the Clock Tower. The multiple buildings were a combined residence, training facility, dormitory, mini-office park, vehicle hanger, and everything else Ritsuka could think that would be needed. Da Vinci and Holmes had presented the requested blueprints proudly at their final farewell. And it had taken 10 months for the compound that Ritsuka’s massive accumulated paychecks had paid for to be completed.
“Shall we step inside,” asked Ritsuka. Fou already dashed in and was enjoying the open space by skitting everywhere it wanted. Ritsuka and Mash followed him in, and began exploring the empty, lonely, structure. The first inspection was quick, as the two now 20 something couple couldn’t deal with the oppressive atmosphere of emptiness, despite the fact that there was furniture already in place. The two eventually found their way to a surprisingly comfy couch, and the two nodded to each other. With that, Ritsuka spoke to the air.
“Alaya. I want to make a deal.”
If it had been almost anyone else, nothing at all would have happened. But since it was the multi-savior of the world and other worlds who was calling-
A red tear in reality that fomented and fluctuated appeared, with a voice coming out of it.
“What type of deal do you wish to make with the collective will of humanity itself? What form of power do you seek in order to become one of my Guardians.“
Mash clasped Ritsuka’s hand while Fou’s back hair bristled. Ritsuka feigned calm as he said, “That’s not the kind of deal I’m offering.”
The tear in reality was silent for a moment before saying, “Speak.“
“My world’s dimension is safe, at least for now. But I know from experience that there are any number of worlds on the brink of disaster. Often times from the power of Grails. Mash, Fou, and I are offering to solve those problems for you; our way. And for every one of your problems we solve… you will allow us to return with one of our Heroic Spirit friends, incarnated as a human. But there will be conditions.”
“And who are you to give conditions to me,” asked the Collective Will of Humanity.
“I think my track record speaks for itself,” said Ritsuka, pretending to be braver than he actually was. It seemed to work, because the tear in reality did not explode, but merely said, “State these conditions.“
Ritsuka breathed a sigh internally, and started on his list.
“First, we will be returned here, to our home and base of operations after every excursion. Second, any physical damage we receive in these excursions will be completely healed on our being returned, including death. Third, the Heroic Spirits who are incarnated will carry all the memories of our time together working with Chaldea; because we’re doing this for the sake of our friends, not strangers who wear the same face. Fourth, those incarnated will have the bodies that they wish for; this is especially important for people like Serenity who longs to live without a body of poison. Fifth, we will be returned to the same time as when we departed on each excursion and we will not be aged by however much time we were on the excursion, so that we do not have to retire from our missions due to excessive aging. And finally…
“We decide when we’re done going on these excursions to save worlds. Not you.”
It as a pretty tall order of requests. It was effectively putting zero risk on Ritsuka and Mash, while placing great burden on Alaya to twist time and space to their needs. But apparently, it wasn’t a dealbreaker.
“Your conditions are acceptable, however, there are counter conditions. One; the Servants who are incarnated must be the ones who are summoned and aid you in your task at the battlefields you are sent to. Two; if the Servant perishes in the battlefield, they cannot be incarnated, at least from that ‘excursion.’ Three, I will be the one selecting the battlefields you travel to. Four, I am not required to explain that which needs to be done at each battlefield. Five, any of my Guardians who incarnate as a human… will return to service after their lifespan comes to an end. Six, should you befriend more Heroic Spirits who are your opponents, you cannot incarnate them without having them summoned as an ally in a later ‘excursion.’ Are these conditions acceptable?“
The counter conditions were harsh, no doubt about it. The sixth one practically guaranteed that Ritsuka and Mash would be fighting far longer than they anticipated, it was going to be impossible for them to not make new friends along the way. With a quick check, Mash nodded in determination to Ritsuka’s glance.
“We accept your conditions on the clarification of your first condition. You said, the Servants we fight alongside. Plural. Meaning that depending on our performance, we can incarnate multiple Heroic Spirits as a reward for victory?”
“Yes, that is so.“
“Heh. Dangling a carrot already?”
“As the Collective Will of Humanity, I understand that incentives provide greater work quality. Are the two of you ready to depart?“
“Yes,” said the couple in unison, with the animal chiming in with a ‘Fou.’ The tear in space widened, and the scene of a metropolitan city with a skyscrapers dominating the sky played out on the other side. As Ritsuka and Mash stepped through, Alaya said, “Welcome to your first Grail War as part-time Counter-Force Guardians.“