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Imperial Privilege

A Stitch in Time

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I posted in the Fanfic Crossover Thread (or Idea Thread?) that Fate/Grand Order isn't even out yet, and I'm brainstorming ways to cross it with other Fate properties. At the time, I was cooking up something about Rin and Shirou at the Clock Tower getting pulled into Chaldea as Zouken or Darnic show up as a surprise benefactor and not-so-surprise antagonist. Then I decided that was a weak idea and got the ball rolling on this front instead.

He had not walked these halls in ten years.

And it had ten years again before that. He wondered if this was the beginning of a trend.

Thought not as sensitive to the ebb and flow of the land as its Second Owners, he had come to know Fuyuki and all of her quirks quite intimately. It was upon her that his hopes rested.

But time had been a teacher to Zouken Matou. He was not content to bet everything on a single roll of the dice, as he had learned when Neoptolemus ran him through. He made a note to begin dispersing the familiars of his flesh across the city thereafter. It was this same failure that compelled him to redouble his efforts on the Command Seals, and a failure again sixty years later that sent him looking abroad for promise and possibility.

He had already invested too much in Fuyuki to abandon her entirely. In a world of magi, where names and words carried as much as weight as Atlas himself, he had burned himself to the ground twice over now. No longer Zolgen. No longer Makiri. So he would clutch that city closely to his chest.

And it was in that city that he had detected the telltale swell again. And it was coming fifty years too early for the second time. Or perhaps this was the new regular?

It didn't much matter. He had yet to harvest anything of note from the Tohsaka castoff and would likely allow the farce to pass him by again without an eager sacrifice like Kariya or Shinji. A pity, really. How they amused him.

No, the Grail War would come and go for the sixth time, and he would be no poorer for it.

But Fuyuki and her peculiarities needn't be the only thing near and dear to his squirming heart.

Oh, no, there were contingencies, like the one half a world away as a dandy of a magus lead him on an impromptu tour of the facilities no small part of his personal fortune had erected. He privately relished the swell of panic and burst of energy that accompanied his irregular visits. He politely declined a young mundane's offer to give him a physical. It was painfully clear he sickened the young Roman with his pallor and his almost palpable putrescence and the man was only trying to lead him to an examination room to buy time.

They weren't expecting him.

Better yet, they weren't lying to him.

There hadn't been time enough to dress up the distress seething just below the surface. Chaldea had changed since his last visit in the months before the Fifth. That much he expected. But that alone did not explain the sea of fretting interns and frowning senior staff who tried and failed to smooth their features into sickening smiles.

Something was amiss in Chaldea, and he aimed to discover why. But it was so much more delightful to give them just enough rope to hang themselves.

And speaking of, who could that be but dear, dependable, glad-handing, trusting Oswald's daughter cutting a path through the chaos in his direction?

"Matou," Olga Marie said by way of greeting. He smiled.

No Mister? No Master? She had her father's coloring and none of his diplomacy. She was every bit the spitfire her mother had been.

"Lady Animusphere," he said, not bothering to bow or to extend a hand. "A pleasure that you would personally greet me on this, the day of my visit."

"It's an unexpected visit, but that needn't be a bad thing."

Zouken almost smiled wider. He had considered any number of pieces of information he wanted to extract from her with subtle ploys and leading questions. What had become of dear Master Four? Just who was that fascinating young woman and why did she smell like a Ghost Liner? Why the hustle and bustle? How comes the FATE system?

And yet good fortune had smiled on him to put Olga Marie in a perfect position that she was likely to give him all that and more with nary a prodding on his part.

"Is there any way I can help? If it's about the FATE system, I may be able to offer some insight."

"That's what we're counting on. There's been a situation, and our Master candidates are in short supply. As a co-designer of the FATE system and an archmagus with experience in the realm of Heroic Spirits, you are singularly qualified to help us deal with it."

Zouken Matou was a magnanimous man.

"Tell me more, dear girl."

Updated May 7th, 2015 at 11:33 AM by Imperial



  1. Petrikow's Avatar
    So turns out Stich is actually a word, but I don't think it's the one you intended to use!
  2. Imperial's Avatar
    Thanks for the catch. I typed this up in the dead of night, and I'm seeing a lot of little errors now that I go back and reread it.

    I'm still kind of partial to the idea of Fate/Grand Zouken, though.
  3. Rafflesiac's Avatar
    I thought it was a play on Lich, to be honest.