Fate/Zero:Act 1 Part 1
Nobody had ever understood Waver Velvet's talent.
As a magus, he was neither born of a famous family nor lucky enough to meet a good master. Mostly self-taught, he finally got himself accepted to the Clock Tower, the teaching arm of the Magus Association that controlled magi across the world.
Waver always believed this fact to be incomparably honorable, being very proud of his talent. "I am the most capable student of the Clock Tower since its founding. Anyone should have to respect me." At least, Waver himself thought this way. In truth, the magus lineage of the Velvets had only existed for three generations.
As time goes on, the number of Magic Circuits and concentration of Crests constantly increase and expand. Many students that receive scholarships to the Clock Tower are offspring of families with more than six generations of pure magi blood.
The wonders of magecraft could not be completed within one generation; therefore, the results of a whole life of research by parents are passed on to their children... only through this could their magecraft become more refined. The stronger prana of the old magi families is stronger precisely for this reason. Compared to the offspring of well-established magi family, Waver's Crest concentration and Magic Circuit quantity paled by comparison.
Furthermore, because a magi's Magic Circuit count is determined at birth, there are some ancestral magi families that deliberately contrive to increase the amount of Magic Circuits in an offspring, thus distancing themselves from new magi families in this regard. In other words, advantages within the world of magecraft are predetermined even before birth. This is a commonly accepted point of view.
But Waver did not see it that way.
Differences in ancestry could be made up for by increasing experience. Even without exceptional Magic Circuits, the difference between quality caused by birth could be bridged through deep understanding and skilled utilization of magecraft. Waver had always believed that deeply. He believed himself to be an excellent example of that, and had always strived to show off his abilities.
But, the reality was cruel. The workings of the Clock Tower are determined by those who boast of their ancestral bloodline, and those who endlessly fawn over them.
Even the lecturers were no exception, only expecting anything from those with great lineages. To a "pauper" researcher like Waver, they were reluctant to even let him into the library to browse books, let alone teach him magecraft.
Why are the expectations of a magus' future dependent on his lineage?
Why is the credibility of a theory dependent on the experience of one's lineage?
Nobody cared about Waver's questions. The lecturers used flowery language to trick Waver when presented with his research thesis, then acted as if Waver had been convinced otherwise, laughing at it, ignoring it.
It truly is unbelievable. His anxiety drove Waver to take action.
To expose the Magus Association's corrupt system, Waver wrote an exposition, " An Inquiry of Magecraft's Path In the New Century.” The result of three years of conceptualization and one year of writing, it viciously attacked traditional views, was written with painstaking effort, presented clear and intense thought, flawless. If seen by the Inquisitors, it would have definitely caused quite the scandal.
But - The Department of Eulyphis's lecturer tossed it out after casually reading through it just once.
His name was Kayneth El-Melloi Archibald. He was the heir of the Archibald family with nine generations of magus lineage, a very popular man whom everyone called "Lord El-Melloi." Engaged to the daughter of the principal, a lecturer at such a young age, he was the best of the best. He was also the representative of authority that Waver despised.
"A man who gives in to delusions such as yourself is not suited for research, Waver" - lecturer Kayneth said in a condescending manner, without a shred of pity in his voice. Kayneth's ice cold gaze was something Waver would never forget.
In the nineteen years of Waver's life, he had never been humiliated worse.
If Kayneth had the talent to be a lecturer, it should have been impossible for him to not understand Waver's talent. No, he was probably jealous precisely because he understands. He was probably afraid of Waver's hidden talent, becoming jealous of him, treating Waver as a threat to his own position. That is probably why he treated Waver's exposition in such a violent manner. To purposely rip an exposition of gathered wisdom... is this the attitude a scholar should assume?
Unforgivable. His talent, which could cause the world to tremble, was actually arbitrarily written off by an authority. There really is no justice. But not one person sympathized with Waver's frustration. The Magus Association was actually - in Waver's point of view - already corrupt to the core. But... while living these infinitely frustrating days, Waver heard a rumor.
The rumor was that the reputed Lord El-Melloi, for the sake of adding an entry to his resume for his vanity, had decided to join the nearby thaumaturgical competition in the far east.
Waver began researching about the details of this 'Heaven's Feel' overnight; he was deeply mesmerized by the horrific details. With the wish-granting 'Holy Grail,' summoning Heroic Spirits into the present world and commanding them was possible, resulting in a battle to the death among their Masters.
Title, authority, everything lost its value: skill was the only factor.
It truly was a bit barbaric, but also a simple yet fair method of judging superiority. For an unrecognized genius, this was an excellent opportunity, an idealistic stage to exhibit himself. Lady Luck had finally smiled at the excited Waver.
It began with the financial department's negligence. Lecturer Kayneth's requested holy relic from Macedonia was delivered to Waver to give to his teacher along with normal parcels, when it should have been a parcel opened only when Kayneth himself was present.
Waver immediately realized that was a catalyst used to summon Servants in the Heaven's Feel. And so, he received a once in a lifetime opportunity.
He no longer had a shred of love left for the corrupt Clock Tower. The glory of graduating as a valedictorian was trash compared to the honor brought by Fuyuki's Holy Grail. The moment Waver Velvet became victorious in the war would be the moment when those insignificant members of the Magus Association would grovel at his feet.
That day, Waver left England, heading for the island country in the far east. The Clock Tower immediately realized who stole Kayneth's parcel, but did not chase after him. Nobody knew Waver was interested in the Heaven's Feel.
But there was something Waver didn't know. Everyone thought he did no more than to hide Kayneth's relic in rage. Nobody thought he was on the level to knowingly risk his life to participate in a thaumaturgical competition. In that aspect, the Clock Tower really had underestimated Waver.
In the far eastern village, Fuyuki City, the place that would decide his destiny, Waver hid under the blanket of the bed, desperately trying to hold back his laughter. No, it was impossible to hold back. Illuminated by the dim sunlight coming through the cracks of the curtain, he raised his right hand every few seconds, letting out some muffled laughter.
With the relic in his hands, himself in Fuyuki, and enough quality as a magus... How could the Grail turn a blind eye to someone like that? Indeed, the pattern of the tripartite Command Seal had clearly materialized on Waver's right hand last night, proving that he was a Master, one who can summon a Servant. Even the ruckus made by the roosters in the courtyard near dawn went unnoticed.
"Waver, breakfast time." The voice of the old woman calling him on the stairs sounded different this morning, not as annoying.
To begin this commemorable day, Waver quickly began changing.
Although a backwater place for an island nation, Fuyuki City had a lot of tourists from other places. And precisely because of that, Waver's appearance, obviously different from that of the Japanese, did not attract too much attention. Even so, Waver was cautious and cast a suggestion spell on the old couple who had always lived alone, deceiving them into thinking that Waver was their grandson. He had very successfully used a fake identity to live comfortably here. He didn't need to pay hotel fees; it was like killing two birds with one stone. Things worked out perfectly; Waver began to have more and more admiration for his own ability to adapt.
To fully enjoy this mild morning, Waver descended the stairs to the first floor kitchen. Like any other morning, the plebeian dining room table was decorated with newspapers; the television news and cooking welcomed the freeloader openly.
"Good morning Waver, did you sleep well?"
"Yes, grandpa. I was sound asleep until morning."
Waver answered with a smile while he spread jam thickly on his toast. The soggy bread that cost only a hundred and eighty yen per catty wasn't very pleasant to chew. Usually, that was very unsatisfactory, so it could only be made up for by putting lots of jam on it.
Glen and Martha Mackenzie immigrated to Japan from Canada more than twenty years ago. But their son could not get used to the Japanese lifestyle and went back, creating a family in his home country. Their grandson, raised in Japan until he was ten, also went back. Not a single letter was sent, let alone a visit. Ten years passed in this manner. Discovering that information through hypnosis, Waver decided that that kind of family was ideal for him. Through suggestions, Waver transformed the old couple's impression of their grandson into his own image, successfully becoming their beloved grandson, "Waver Mackenzie."
"But Martha, ever since dawn, I felt that the chickens were very noisy... would you know why this is?"
"We have three chickens. Where exactly did they come from...?"
Hastily making up an excuse, Waver hurriedly swallowed the bread in his mouth.
"Ah, that... I have a friend who sent his pet chickens for us to take care of for a few days. He's going on a trip and won't be home, so they'll be here temporarily. I'm returning them this evening."
"Ah, so that's how it is."
It seems like they didn't really mind, so the two easily believed it. The fact that these two old people were hard of hearing was good for him: the incessant crows of the three chickens nearly annoyed the surrounding neighbors to death that day.
But the most stressed person was Waver. As soon as he found the Command Seals on his hand, Waver excitedly began preparing sacrificial offerings needed for the ceremony.
He never thought finding a chicken farm nearby would be so difficult. He finally found one, but actually catching three chickens wasted nearly an hour. He finally got home just as the sky began to grow bright, covered with chicken droppings, hands pecked bloody.
In the Clock Tower, animals used as sacrificial offerings were always prepared. But here, how can a genius magus such as myself be in such a piteous state for catching merely three chickens? Having this thought, Waver almost cried out in lamentation. But staring at the Command Seals on his right hand, his mood began to gradually brighten.
He decided to hold the ceremony tonight. Those annoying chickens could at most live until then. And, Waver wanted to have the strongest Servant. The relic hidden in the closet of the second floor bedroom... That would be the catalyst for summoning a great Heroic Spirit... Waver already knew that much.
The withering, half decomposed piece of cloth was a piece of the cape that once hung on the shoulder of a king. The legendary "King of Conquerors" who destroyed the Achaemenid Empire of Persia and created the world's first huge empire spanning from Greece to north western India. His Heroic Spirit would descend upon Waver through summoning tonight, to guide him to the glorious Grail.
"... Grandpa, grandma, I'm sending the chickens back to my friend's house tonight, so I might be a bit late. Don't worry about me."
"Okay, be careful. Fuyuki isn't too safe lately."
"As in, that fabled serial killer has appeared once more. This world really is too scary." Eating cheap sliced bread at that long dining table, Waver was surrounded by life's greatest happiness. The noisy cries of those chickens were only slightly grating.
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