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  1. For Thomas, life sucked. He was already used to feel like he shouldn’t have been born, but somehow managed to fit his existence in the too neutral, too bland corporate world. The routine of going to a mostly data input job in a company all day pretending to care about his absolutely uninteresting coworkers was already second nature to him. Thankfully, as the time passed, even they found him equally uninteresting as the boring conversations became fewer and shorter. This was especially good because the conversations weren’t just boring, when they weren’t about work, it was always gossip about other people. And even when it was mean spirited gossip, Thomas couldn’t avoid but to think about the lives of the others seemed more eventful than his own.
  2.  
  3. After leaving work, he would usually drive home, eat something, and watch TV.  It’s not like he liked watching TV, be it works of fiction or news, they all seemed equally meaningless to him. It was merely a way to kill time until the next day. He didn’t have to do anything, he could just stay there as passively exist. Maybe there was something wrong about that, but if he was to change, what would he change, where would he even start? That sounded troublesome, and he could end up much worse than he is now. Right now he wasn’t suffering much, sure, he had irritations at work, stress over money (although, thankfully perhaps, he didn’t had children or many hobbies to spend money on anyway), he felt alone sometimes, there was a revolting lack of meaning in everything but… it could be worse. If one was to compare his situation, it was like living months eating the same bland food. Eventually your organism might start to complain, thinking that there is something lacking, to the point of it being almost painful… but as long as you are getting all the nutrients, it’s fine, for Thomas, it was better just to just sit in front of the TV and don’t worry about it.
  4.  
  5. But talking about food, food was a different matter. Food was one of the few things that Thomas could say that he really appreciated in life, from its creation, to its consumption. To take base ingredients and mix them in just the right way to create a flavor and texture that seemed impossible before, for him, it wasn’t an act of preparing or making a dish, but an act of creation. And in the same way, consuming the food, to take what was created and savor it as its existence cease, to feel as his body as his body took that creation back to nothingness, it was truly a magnificent experience. Ah, if all his life could be like that. But don’t misunderstand: it’s not like he was a fat man who ate all the time, precisely because eating was something too especial and too time consuming for him. Each meal had its proper meaning. This minuscule pleasure, this tiny part of the day, was what made that lonely man from going mad.
  6. Until his fucking goddam kitchen was destroyed in a fire, that is.
  7.  
  8. Thomas didn’t know how the fuck that happened. He only knew it had to do with that fucking stupid mark that was itching on his hand. Thankfully the thing stopped to itch now, but it got in a format too peculiar to be random. Thomas, no matter how much he tried, couldn’t remember what he did. Maybe he got drunk to try to sleep? Maybe he got so drunk that he tried to burn the skin of his hand? Maybe that was what caused the fire in the kitchen? He couldn’t tell, he was only too worried to ask the insurance company for something, an investigation might lead him to behind the bars. The money he was saving was gone, he would have to use his nighttime to reform the kitchen and buy new appliances, but most of all, he wouldn’t be able to prepare any food. Bollocks.  
  9. Mad as he could be, after the turn of his shitty job he immediately went to look for some appropriate 24 hours store, there were some things that he couldn’t even wait to arrive after buying them from the internet. It’s also not like he had anything better to do.
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  13. “This is completely and utterly unacceptable!” screamed Rider. “How could nobility such as myself, with a title of khan given by Bogd Khan himself, not be at the top of this tower, closer to God and with a proper view of my future domain?! Explain this immediately, vassal!”.
  14. Verna felt always more divided between finding her servant annoying or hilarious.
  15. <<Oh mighty Khan, I understand your revolt, but you remember how you trashed the place upstairs, right? I say that the most luxurious place is the most adequate for your majesty.>> .Verna couldn’t control her smile.
  16. “Hunf, you might be right, but still, it’s a matter of principle. Life is like a pyramid, and the nobility should be on top, as desired by God. To have us physically below is just… unnatural!”. The wrath of the Khan was visible, if someone had passed between them, they would probably be slashed just for him to give form to his outburst.
  17.  
  18. <<Such might be my fault great Khan, you surely deserve the topest spot of the top, I have no doubts about it! But you saw the enemy servant, right? He looked like royalty too.  Not compared to you, of course, but his master also looked like the noble type – and I am merely the vassal type, sorry. But look at this way, we let them clean that mess up, and later we can take them down. Pun intended.>> .
  19. The Khan wasn’t happy with the situation, but the argument of his Mas- Vassal, had some sense. The grail war took nobility from all over the world and history, fiction and reality, and he unfortunately was stuck with a mere plebian of a vassal. He could correct this, in time, when the territory of his kingdom engulfed the world, but for now all he could do was to use the plebian he had to show his greatness.
  20.  
  21. “Very well, vassal. But let’s not waste more time and start to look for a suitable place for the heart of my kingdom, we wasted time enough.”
  22. <<Sure thing, I wouldn’t want to keep you waiting more than the necessary, I hope you know this.>>. Verna had a particular mischievous smile. The fact is that she was itching herself to hunt some magi, and looking for a good spot to start the ritual of Rider was just the right excuse to get him moving. Verna concentrated to see how the flow of mana was around the hotel.
  23.  
  24. <<What the fuck->>.
  25.  
  26. It was monumental. It was hard to not notice even if she tried. It was like fireworks in the ocean during the night. Verna, with all her years of hunting magi, never felt something like that before. A magus of such power no doubt would be able to hide his position, but he was acting like he absolutely didn’t care. He was basically calling others for a fight, anywhere, anytime. Confident enough to be able to take a group of enemies or many in sequence. Verna liked that.
  27.  
  28. <<Oh, that’s a bold one~. Things finally got interesting. Rider ->>. She didn’t have time to complete her message.  “I know vassal, such disturbance must be dealt with at once.”. This was weird. Normally masters can feel the presence of other masters, and servants can feel the presence of other servants, but this guy was signaling to both of them. Just what the hell was that? Verna couldn’t wait to discover.
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  31. It was hard to make decent culinary with a microwave, but there wasn’t much else that Thomas could carry to his home alone at this hour. He had to settle for that for now. He had called a cab multiple times, but none seemed to arrive. Fucking stupid shitty city. Not only that, there seemed to be a particularly large crowd of people in the streets now, he could barely walk home with so many people bumping on him. What was the problem with his luck recently? Not only that, his hand seemed to be itching again. AGAIN. Maybe he was cursed or something. Yeah right. He couldn’t shake the feeling that sometimes the world itself hated him. But then, as if it was fate, the crowd just moved, and in front of him there was a single woman. A bit intimidating, but he had been so long out of the dating game that such was true for most women. But more importantly, she was beautiful. She looked right into his eyes and smiled without saying a word. Is it destiny? Was his luck finally changing, everything leading to this moment?
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  33.  
  34. “…And that’s why I would like to have a Buddhist temple as the center of my domain. Although I believe in our lord and savior Jesus Christ, one must admit the merits of the Buddhist religion.” Rider was rambling about his views on politics and the preference of his territory as they approached the subject of their research.
  35.  
  36. <<I mean, yeah, I guess. But I’m surprised that you would hold such belief. You know that Buddha was born in nobility and fought against his destiny of being the Universal Emperor to be a savior to all people and things, or so the saying goes, right?>>
  37.  
  38. “Hunf. It’s precisely that he had such noble authority that he was able to make those decisions. Not that I expect a peasant like you to understand, vassal.”
  39.  
  40. <<Sure. Look majesty, I think we are getting close to our target, just for now, follow my instructions… ahn… suggestions, great Khan. We don’t want our adversary hiding from your mighty presence, do we?>>
  41.  
  42. As laid-back as Verna was, she was still an expert magi killer. She was going to stealthy observe the target, judge the situation, position him where she wants, and then, and only then reveal herself.
  43.  
  44. Jumping from mind to mind in the area, she was giving subtle orders for each one that she saw to crowd the area as she wanted, to see what each person saw and who was best for her to jump her consciousness next, making people not notice her or Rider, and making all the taxis change trajectory. It didn’t took long until she had visual confirmation on the target.
  45. ‘Dressing as an ordinary human while attracting every enemy for him, huh. What’s up with him? I guess there is only one way to find out~’ Verna thought to herself.
  46.  
  47. Opening the crowd she faced the mysterious magus face to face, smiling to the novelty. It was too interesting to just kill him, she wanted a chat first at least. But no matter how much she concentrated, no matter how much she gaze upon his eyes, she just couldn’t get in his mind. In part it was due to the tremendous amount of Od that circulated through his body, of course, but it wasn’t just that – it was like there was more than one mind there, one that completely rejected her advances. Well, it just made it even more intriguing! If she couldn’t send messages to him at a distance, she would just have to use her Dendrite Link to make direct contact!
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  51. Thomas slowly approached the shy beauty that didn’t utter a word. He was kind of embarrassed by coming to her while carrying the microwave, but this had to be fate, goddamnit!
  52. “So… ahn… crowded huh? I can’t get a single taxi here. Had you any luck? Are you waiting for someone?”
  53. The woman just kept her smile.
  54. “Where are you going? We could walk together to a place of more easy access to public transportation… I was just buying this microwave because my other one broke…. I’m a pretty good cook I guess”.
  55. Thomas wasn’t quite sure what to say, but he guessed he didn’t said anything too much wrong, as the girl just stood looking at his eyes smiling.
  56.  
  57. “Ah, my name is Thomas. Sorry, forgot my manners. You don’t mind if I talk to you while we wait, do you?”
  58. Suddenly he felt an incredibly need to dodge. To dodge what, he couldn’t say, but his instincts were screaming at him. He let the microwave fall on the floor as he jumped back. He couldn’t say if he was more ashamed by acting like that in front of the girl or for the loss of the microwave.
  59.  
  60. “Fuck, sorry, fuck. I don’t know what happened. I guess I will need to buy a new one again, but it should be fast, I will be right back-”.
  61.  Once again he felt the impulse, and this time he jumped far higher than he was used to. Just what the hell was happening? The girl must be thinking he is a madman! Fuck! Why everything had to go wrong every time! This is why he didn’t talk to people, this is why he didn’t date anymore, something always appeared and destroyed everything – but the girl only looked at him with a smile even bigger than before, it looked a bit like… she was enjoying a challenge? Not, it couldn’t be. Could, perhaps, that she found his behavior charming? Today had been a very strange day after all. He was ready to return to talk to her, when a man in anachronistic clothes on top of a horse appeared behind him.
  62.  
  63. “That’s enough, vassal. You played long enough. I will take care of this plebian.”
  64. Thomas was pissed. That man just made him even more pissed.
  65. “ ‘Vassal?’. ‘Plebian?’. Who the fuck you think you are twat, even if you are her boyfriend that gives you no shitty right to talk to me like that wanker, bugger off asshole.”
  66.  
  67. Thomas knew he said something that she shouldn’t. He felt that he had to do something. But it was too late. A slash crossed half of his face and a blade entered his stomach. He couldn’t believe. The shock was greater than the pain. He couldn’t think. He could only run among the crowd while he bled.
  68.  
  69. And how fast did he run. Even in such condition. If wondered that if he knew he had such athletic potential maybe he would have become an athlete instead of working in that fucking company. But he didn’t have much time to think, while he was on foot trying to avoid the pedestrians, the man on the horse was supernaturally fast and just mowed the people in his way as if they were nothing, always getting closer and closer of Thomas just to give on more slash on him to see him increasing despair for what he said. It was all too surreal. If it didn’t hurt so much, he would guess he was dreaming. But somehow, he was always finding inner street to run faster and faster. Was he drugged and having a bad trip? Nothing of it made sense, but he could feel his own body not just bleeding but also burning, giving him power to do what he shouldn’t be able to.
  70.  
  71. Meanwhile, Verna was just thinking that the whole situation was too stupid to not be hilarious as Thomas ran from one side to another while Rider furiously followed him mowing people on his way.
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  75. Thomas ran too much for too long. The muscles on his legs were all ripped. He had cuts all over his body, he had no idea how much blood he had loss. The man in the horse was coming closer. At least there were no more other people around him. So this was the end, huh? He regretted all the bad thoughts he had about his monotonic life until then. Killed by a crazy psycho that he didn’t even know. And considering how many other people died, he was probably just going to be another statistic, not even this absurd death would give him fame. If nothing else, at least he was impressed with himself. He should have died a long time ago, he shouldn’t have been able to run this long. Maybe even if only he knew, his life was, in the very end, exceptional. The darkness start to surround his vision. His consciousness to fade. What a shit end. All because of that fucking stupid motherfucking mark on his hand. He couldn’t think anymore, as he saw the man coming with his sword, he closed his eyes and lost all his thought.
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  79. Rider was still furious, but slashing that plebian bit by bit was the kind of fun he enjoyed the most. He was surprised by how long that plebian lasted, he had fought many warriors and never one managed to last so long, but this only made his hunting game more fun. The man was fallen, it was time to take his head. After it, he could return to his vassal and they could return to the important matters of his kingdom. But as he was about to end the chase, the man got up and opened his eyes, looking directly at him, without any fear.
  80.  
  81. “Roman Fyodorovich Ungern-Sternberg, Rider class. Responsible for the destruction of the timeline in about 25% of the branches. No, that’s wrong, a failure like you would never be responsible for anything. You are just a conduct to him, as Thomas here is just a conduct to me.”
  82.  
  83. Rider didn’t know how the man knew who he was, he didn’t know why he didn’t show fear now, but being called a failure by a dirty commoner who could only ran and not even fight as a warrior was enough to bring his fury back, but before he could shop the man’s head off, that strange commoner uttered a single word and all his wounds were gone. He finally acted as a magus. And as much as Rider hated to admit, that magecraft ability far exceed his own. That human continued to utter words faster than the khan could comprehend, and by the end of it, somehow that man felt much stronger and menacing than before.
  84. It didn’t matter, and the Khan charged for the assault. Unfortunately for him, the man crushed the horse he was in with his bare fist. Falling of the horse the Khan wasn’t more motivated by reason or fury, but pure indignation. He didn’t care much for animals, having killed many in his youth for pleasure, but a commoner destroying his property and making him fall of his own horse like an amateur? Intolerable.
  85.  
  86. “I will use your bones to make my throne.”
  87. The threat fell in deaf ears.
  88. “It’s a good thing I can take you out of the game so early, it really simplify things.”
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  91.  
  92. Thomas awoke. He could feel a fading though “Not now, I’m almost getting him!”, but he had no idea what that was about. His clothes were all slashed, he was in the place he remembered, but not a single wound was in his body. For fuck’s sake, was he getting schizophrenic?
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  96. Verna could only await as her servant returned, but when he did, oh how it was worth it. Rider was all bloody, beaten to a pulp, oh, if only she could have witnessed that. Part of her always found him hilarious, but part of her also wanted to do exactly that to him. It seems that the magus wasn’t just a show off after all. Interesting~.
  97. “VASSAL, THIS IS YOUR FAULT!” Shouted the Khan. “I CAN ONLY GET SO MUCH MANA FROM YOU, AND THAT BLASPHEMOUS INSECT HAD AS MUCH AS THE PLAINS OF MONGOLIA ARE VAST. FOR YOUR INCOMPETENCE, TO MAKE UP FOR YOUR INEDAQUACIES, WE NEED TO START MY TERRITORY IMMEDIATELY, ALL THIS PEOPLE SHOULD BE UNDER MY DIVINE RIGHT AS MONARCH, AND THEY ALL HAVE THEIR LIFE ENERGY DUE TO ME. WE WILL CORRECT THIS EVEN IF IT TAKES THE LIVES OF EVERYSINGLE MISERABLE COMMONER HERE!”.
  98. Verna had to control her laugher so, so hard. She never saw the khan so furious. With luck that would teach him some humility, but she doubted. More importantly, after his show of mowing people down, she could only contain the knowledge of the incident so much. No doubt the other magi would be pissed about what happened. This was great; she could use it to her advantage. The two returned to investigate the best possible place to start the Khans domain.
  99.  
  100. No word about what happened to his horse was given.
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