Story: The Sword and the Staff (chapter 15)

Authors: bleeding.blade

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Chapter 15

Title: Chapter 14

It had taken almost a week since leaving the town, but Rin could now feel the change in the mood of the land. Although she had prepared for the contrary, they had encountered fewer and fewer villages in the last several days. It was easy enough to understand why—there was something mournful in the air about them, a sense of desolation about the land.

It was as if they were crossing a vast memorial, and loss hung about the trees, the hedges, the meadows and the hills.

"Do you recognize anything?" Rin asked Saber.

The blonde shook her head. "You never find Avalon or the Lake—Avalon and the Lake find you. Neither is recognizable through the signs of terrain or geography." After a brief pause, she added. "But even if the land looks unfamiliar, it doesn't feel that way. I feel as if...I've been here before."

The Mage nodded. "Then we're close."

When they finally saw the lake, the suddenness of its appearance caught them both by surprise.

 Rin dismounted and approached the water.

She couldn't detect the slightest trace of enchantment. Even simple cairns emanated more power than this.

But she was sure the Land hadn't lied to her. Either the magic of the Lake had truly died—and that was why the land was filled with so much grief; or it was being masked—in which case she was dealing with an extremely formidable power.

There was only one way to find out. Closing her eyes, Rin stretched out her staff—and plunged it into the water.


She felt the shock of the violationfelt the surprise of a Land and a Water that had remained undisturbed for so long. It had been ages since a presence had risen worthy of their reception.

Her mind reached out to inspect the intrusion. The aura she felt doubled her shock.

She hadn't encountered his presence in ages. She had sealed him with his own magic. He should have remained trapped for eternity.

Yet here was his presence all over again.

She began to marshal her energiesif she had defeated him once she could defeat him again. At the moment when she was about to unleash the spell, the figure moved its face over the Water, and the Sorceress gasped.

It was a girl.

She was remarkably beautifuland thoroughly foreign. But her sapphire blue eyes and her aura of power were familiar enough to the Mistress of the Lake.

There was no mistaking it. The child in front of her was of Merlin's blood.


It had been ages since she'd last felt it, but Saber recognized it immediately: the surge of power that always foreshadowed the appearance of the Lady of the Lake.

The Sorceress stood on the waters, facing Rin, an unreadable expression on her face. Saber moved forward then, and it was only at that moment that the Lady registered her presence.

It stunned the Mistress of the Lake momentarily. Then she recovered herself and smiled.

"It seems there's no end to the day's surprises. Greetings, Arturia Pendragon. It's been a very, very long time."

Saber bowed briefly before the figure then returned the smile. "Greetings, Lady Viviane. It's good to see you again—more than I can possibly express."

The Lady turned to Rin.

"And you are?"

Rin bowed briefly. "Tohsaka Rin, Mage and...current guardian of Arturia. It's an honor to meet you, my Lady."

"And what brings the King and her Guardian to the Lake of Avalon?"

Saber replied, "The Sword, my Lady. I've returned to ask for the Sword once again."


"But why bring Excalibur back when it can remain lost in this time?"

They were seated in one of the Lady's meeting chambers, down in the depths of the Lake.

Rin shook her head, "We would leave it here, Lady Viviane, only our enemies may have Time Stones at their disposal as well. As rare as the fragments are, a number of them nonetheless exist. If the Council does not retrieve the Sword first, our enemies will."

The Lady nodded slowly, before glancing somberly at Saber.

"You know I would never refuse you the Sword. Excalibur is as much a part of you as Avalon is a part of me. But," she sighed then, "giving you the Sword now will have consequences for the Lake..." She remained quiet for several long moments, before finally looking at her guests yet again.

"Will you give me some time to consider how best to proceed?"

"Of course," Rin nodded emphatically. "While our mission is urgent, we can spare more than a few days."

"Good," the Lady smiled, "It's been quite a while since I've entertained visitors, and I'd like to make the most of this opportunity."

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