Fate/Zero:Act 10 Part 1
No matter what, the ones who perceived the presence of the strange sorcery weren't Waver and Rider alone.
The spell-like waves emitted from the surrounding of Mion River were close to the multiple aria of the ritual magecraft class, something which could not be activated without at least 10 people. Certainly, every magus in Fuyuki city―namely, all the masters participating in the Holy Grail War, would have sensed that at once.
Sola-Ui Nuada-Re Sophia-Ri who had newly acquired the rights to be a Master, and Lancer, were at that moment, looking for their enemy from a high place in Shinto best suited for a broad view, which was the rooftop of the under construction Fuyuki Centre building. Tonight, mist of a somewhat strange amount seethed from the Mion River, causing their field of vision to thin extremely. With the eyesight of human beings, only the blur figure of the illuminated Fuyuki bridge could be seen.
“―Can you see what's going on? Lancer.”
At Sola's question, Lancer who was looking through the mist with his super eyesight as a Servant, nodded.
“It really is Caster. Looks like something has set up a camp at the center of the river. As for the details, I'm afraid I can't see it.”
As usual, completely lacking any notion to conceal himself, it was the improper defencelessness as a magus. Caster was simultaneously turned into the target by many other Servants due to the supervisor's arrangement, and yet he was still not aware of it?
“If we want to bring him down, now's the best chance right?”
“Yes. Whatever he is doing, before he delivers his result, it would be wise to kill him first.”
Naturally, that was not all―Looking down at the Command Seals engraved on the back of her hand, which she had plundered from her fiance, Kayneth El-Melloi, she thought. I'm sure other Masters would have sensed Caster's appearance. If I'm aiming for the reward from the supervisor, the supplementary Command Seals, I have to go ahead of the other rivals and defeat Caster immediately.
If they managed to seize Caster's head successfully, these Command Seals which lacked a stroke due to Kayneth's idiocy, would be complete again. Three strokes of Command Seals, the originally ideal form―Her flawless bond with heroic spirit Diarmuid would be regained back. By merely thinking of that, Sola could not suppress her violently throbbing heart.
“I will go out and attack. Sola-sama, please stay here and observe my fighting.”
“No way! Now I am a Master. I'll back you up from your side.”
At those pleading-like eyes, Lancer shook his head determinedly.
“That cannot be done. With all due respect, my lady does not have the battle knowledge like Kayneth-dono does. That riverbank will become a place of death. Even for me, a battle in which I would have to protect my lady, whose defence cannot match up; is almost impossible. Please, please understand.”
Although she was told that, for Sola right now, merely parting from Lancer's side for a short while was a hardship beyond forlornness.
“Or else―Sola-sama, do you suspect dullness in my spear point? That I am fooling about in this selfish fight?”
At Lancer who had narrowed his eyes and asked her that, Sola shook her head hastily. Adding to the humiliation Kayneth “bestowed” towards Lancer was out of the question. By all means, Sola had to make Lancer who still swore allegiance to Kayneth, to understand that Sola was the Master truly worthy of his loyalty.
“Lancer, I will leave the judgments at the battlefield to you. Please fight this battle freely, without any regret.”
“I am indebted to you.”
After lowering his head quietly, Lancer kicked hard at his steel-framed foothold, and leaped towards the light at the street under his eyes.
Looking at the back of that Servant who leaped from one roof to another on the close-up buildings, earnestly focused on the river, Sola saw him off with bitter, painful feelings.
Ever since substituting Kayneth as Master―that heroic spirit had never smiled at her; not even once.
From the base Kiritsugu prepared to Mion River which was the source of the abnormal magecraft, Saber needed just a few more minutes to cover that distance with the Mercedes she was driving.
Logically thinking, since the streets of Miyama town were narrow and complicated, the time required would easily exceed 30 minutes. Nevertheless, the Riding skill of this Servant achieved the miracle of overthrowing this reasoning. The speed of the silver automobile which rushed through the narrow lanes and curves with bumps and close-shaves, had already achieved the preposterousness of making one doubt even the laws of nature.
Springing off from the road onto the path along the riverside, the automobile stopped after it landed with an elegant spin turn. Without waiting even for the car wing door to open, Saber leaped out, and ran up the bank. The fog was thick enough to block the vision of ordinary humans, but it did not block Servants' eyesight.
Sure enough, her bitter enemy was right in front of her, calmly standing still at the center of the river, which was 200 meters wide. Alighting from the passenger seat onto the top of the bank, Irisviel ascertained the figure in the mist with her magecraft-strengthened eyesight, and frowned with an irritated-looking expression.
“Just as I thought, it's Caster.”
Saber nodded, and observed the enemy Servant painstakingly. Alone and not accompanied by his Master as usual, he was standing straight on the sandbar-less river center, as if standing on the water surface. Upon a close look, the thing which was turning into his foothold, was grotesque shadows gathering beneath the water surface. Looks like the swarm of creatures she battled at the forest the other day, had gathered under Caster's feet, forming a “sandbar”.
From the abnormal emission of prana. there was doubt that Caster was performing some sort of large-scale magecraft. The outset of this strange fog which centered about the river, was probably an aftermath due to this as well. Not showing even the expression of him focusing on his incantations, he was merely standing relaxingly― The vortex of raging prana overflowed from the grimoire in his hands, distorting even the space around it.
An extraordinary prana furnace, a Noble Phantasm which compiles the monologic procedures......Falling into the hands of a lunatic, there were no weapons as dangerous as this.
“Welcome, holy maiden. It is my utmost delight to be able to meet you again.”
At Caster who gave a bow in his usual courteous way, Saber's eyes flared with anger.
“You're incorrigible......Heretic, what's your plan tonight!!”
“I'm very sorry, Jeanne. This evening, the guest of honor is not my lady.”
His face twisted with a sinister laughter which could make one shiver. Although he would reveal a madness which did not exist before, Caster responded.
“―In spite of that, to be honored by my lady's presence again is a supreme joy to me. Please enjoy to the fullest, the banquet of death and degeneration this unworthy Gilles de Rais prepared.”
Under the feet of Caster's who was laughing out loud, the dark surface started shaking. The countless creatures which had gathered under the summoner's feet, protruded their innumerable tentacles simultaneously―weren't they swallowing down Caster who was standing on their heads, receiving them?
At the first look, Caster appeared to have been assaulted by the familiars which had betrayed him. However, with his entire body covered by the tentacles, Caster proudly raised the voice of his mad, ringing laughter further up a tone, which was already similar to a strange shriek.
“Now, once again we'll wave the salvation flag! It's good that the abandoned had gathered. Great that the condemned had gathered as well. I am the leader! I am the commander! The resentments towards us, the oppressed ones, surely would have reached even “God”! Oooh the Lord of heavens! I receive the condemnation and offer up my body!!”
The bubbling surface swelled up, and pushed up Caster who was still being swallowed by the tentacles. Before one knows, the number of the creatures becoming his foothold increased. If one considers the depth of the river, that number was already more terrifying than imagined.
“Caster is......being absorbed??”
In front of the eyes of the horrified Saber, the amount of creatures crowding at the summoner's body itself kept swelling. The summons of had to be of an inexhaustible supply. The countless tentacles entwined among each other and fused together, and was already becoming a lump of meat.
The glittering, filthy mucus which could make one nauseous, was pretty much a sandbar of meat; an island of meat. Yet, as if that was still not enough, the assembly of creatures swelled continuously.
Even Caster's figure had disappeared. Only his voice reverberated like the cry of victory.
“O you proud “God”! O you cruel “God”! We'll drag you down from your heavenly seat! O Lamb loved by God! O humans who take after the image of God! At this very moment, scorn, insult, rip apart to your heart's content! We will ride on the guffaws of the rebels, to the lamentations and shrieks of God's children, and strike the gates of heaven!”
The dirty lump of meat had already swelled to the size of a sphere. No, maybe this is the real form of the diabolic underworld. All the familiars Caster had employed until today had to be but the bits and pieces of this; small fries which would not exceed this.
A grotesque shadow rising with darkness as its background. At that disgusting and yet overwhelming majesty, Saber held her breath.
Even the champions of the deep seas- whales and giant squids, could not boast of such large size. A nightmare which governs the ocean in the realm that is outside this world. Without a doubt, that aquatic giant fits the name of a “sea demon”.
It was fortunate that no one was standing with Irisviel at the river bank, but at the other shore of the river, residences had already turned their lights on. In spite the fact that it was late at night, the mad sounds would be transported by the wind there. Naturally, such an obvious mystery would be exposed to the eyes of the public. At the very least, due to the thick night fog which shrouded visions, those able to witness the monster would be limited. The residents' panic would be confined into a restricted area.
In any case, the unspoken agreement that the Holy Grail war should be conducted in secret, was completely violated.
“I have underestimated this fellow......Summoning such a monster!”
“No, no matter how strong a Servant is, the “form” of the familiar they can summon and use should be limited. However, if we were to ignore “using”, there should be no limit to it...”
The supposedly stout-hearted Irisviel revealed her awe through her voice this time.
“Neglecting the controls after the summoning, if it is just “inviting”......no matter how powerful the monsters are, logically, it is still possible. As long as he has the prana and technique to just open the door.”
“......That monster is not under Caster's control?”
“No doubt about it.”
Irisviel's state of being shaken was probably because of the terror she was able to comprehend as a magus. Nevertheless, Saber did not have any pains at grasping the gravity of the situation.
“Magecraft is “the art of flipping through evil”. But THAT is a genuine “evil” which does not apply to the reasoning of those minions. The incarnation of something which have the craving desire of endlessly devouring with thorough greediness. To summon such a thing; that act itself is neither an “art” nor anything else!”
Whilst tightening her fists in anger, Saber considered the magus' madness.
“Well then, that creature is not challenging anyone to a fight.....?”
“That's right. It was just invited to eat. A city like this takes only a few hours to be completely consumed.”
Caster did not even have the recognition of what a battle or a victory is. That demented Servant probably planned to wreck the “Holy Grail War”- the conduct itself; and to send it back, idle. Together with all the lives in this city.
At familiar peals of thunder, Saber turned around. At the open space of the park where it was just the two of them, the shining chariot of god's authority had just landed. Holding the bridles, the gigantic Servant shot an insolent smile at the person ahead of him.
“Yo, King of Knights. What a fine night...is what I wanted to say, but looks like now's not the time for genteel greetings.”
“King of Conquerors......You're still incorrigible. Did you come again to make some jokes?”
As if evading Saber who alertly put herself on guard, Rider calmly raised his hands.
“C'mon, c'mon. Tonight's the only truce. If that HUGE FELLA is left alone, I can't do any killings in peace.
Since just now, I have been going around calling the other Servants. Lancer had agreed. He should have caught up by now.”
“......The other Servants?”
“I have squashed Assassin to death, and Berserker is out of the question. As for Archer...merely calling him is useless. He's the type which would respond to collusions.”
Saber nodded, and with a serious expression, hit her breastplate with her gauntlet hand.
“Understood. I have no objection to cooperating too. King of Conquerors, although it is just a brief alliance, let's swear our loyalty together.”
“Huhu, it's good that we have understanding when it comes to battles......Hmm? What's wrong? You Masters not happy?”
Naturally, it was not that they were unhappy. Irisviel was just somewhat daunted at Rider and Saber's practical-minded sportsmanship, having placed their past grudge on the shelves. As for Waver, he did not even try to hide his wariness, as he peeked timidly from the driver's seat of Rider's chariot, not trying to get down at all.
Be it killing the enemy, or forming alliances, for those who live in battlefields, they definitely have no space for personal feelings, and have to make cold-hearted judgements- both of them probably had the same perspective in this matter. This is the spirit which could not be shared had they not gone through similarly troubled times.
Nonetheless, whatever they were to disregard now, Caster's recklessness had to be stopped. If an oath is something good enough for trust, the most prudent decision now would be to join forces here.
“I don't mind. Einzbern accepts the truce. Rider's Master, is that okay with you?”
At Irisviel's call, Waver nodded reluctantly.
“......Einzbern, what's your plan? I heard from Lancer just now that this is not your first time fighting with Caster himself?”
Indeed. For Saber, this could be called the return match of that fight in their forest. They had barely managed to fight off Caster with Lancer's help, but having acquired incomparable battle powers, Caster had come to fight back. Nevertheless, this time Lancer was not here, and they had formed an alliance with Rider. From the way things are going, it was still not entirely gloomy.
“―Anyway, we have to defeat him swiftly. Right now that monster is probably still being maintained in this world by prana provision from Caster, but once THAT THING acquires independent provisions and starts supporting itself, things would get out of our hands. To stop Caster before that...”
Satisfied, Saber nodded.
“His grimoire right?”
The autonomic summon prana kiln, . That extraordinary Noble Phantasm was now buried with Caster's body inside the sea monster's heart.
“Indeed. We have to settle this before before that guy gets up the shore to begin his meal. But...”
Frowning in displeasure, Rider gazed at that dark green giant which coiled round and round.
“Caster is at the depths of that massive meat. Well, what should we do?”
“Drag him out. Can't do anything else.”
At Rider's grumble, a new voice from the darkness behind responded. Under the street lights, the resplendent silhouette of the twin lances appeared. Slightly later than the chariot which dashes across the skies, it was Lancer. Finally, the three-Servant anti-Caster alliance had assembled.
“If he would just show his Noble Phantasm, I can destroy his technique with a blow from my ......Naturally, I don't think that guy would easily allow that to happen.”
“Lancer, you can hit Caster's Noble Phantasm from the river side by hurling the lance?”
At Saber's question, Lancer laughed audaciously.
“If only he would just show that thing, there won't be any trouble at all. You looking down on us lance-wielding heroic spirits?”
“Okay. So Rider and I will cover the forefront. Is that all right, King of Conquerors?”
“I don't mind, but......Even if my chariot doesn't need road to travel on, Saber, how do you plan to attack the enemy in the river?”
Being asked thus by Rider, this time it was Saber's turn to grin.
“This body of mine has received divine protection from the Lady of the Lake. Whatever the water is, there is nothing which can stop my advance.”
“Oh? That's something quite rare......I really want you to join my men.”
At Rider's self-centered comment, Saber whose beautiful eyebrows would usually ruffle, ignored him with a sharp glare instead.
“You will pay the price of that careless remark another time. Now, digging Caster out of the inside of the monster is the top priority.”
“Haha, aye! Well then, let me strike the first blow.”
Together with his roar of laughter, Rider lashed at the oxen of his chariot, and dashed up to the empty sky with clapping thunders. Not caring at all about Waver's shrieks who apparently hadn't made the mental preparation, the King of Conquerors' galloping Noble Phantasm started the straight-on charge towards that gargantuan sea monster.
“Saber, good luck!”
Nodding at Irisviel who called out to her, the King of Knights leaped from the bank into the river again.
The shiny greaves hit the water surface, and silver splashes scattered in brilliance. But, the tips of her toes did not sink. With hardness identical to a ground, the water Saber stepped on accepted her sprint. It was just the miracle which could happen to the king due to the blessing of the Lady of the Lake.
As she got closer, the figure of the sea monster grew all the more. As if bending over towards Saber, it overwhelmed her with its odious dignity.
Like a group of snakes, the curvy tentacles which extended all over freely, stretched out to intercept the approaching King of Knights.
Nevertheless, neither its strangeness nor its odiousness could hinder her sprint. Right now, fear and impatience were the same in Saber's heart.
“Let's settle this, Caster!”
The beheading strike of the Barrier of the Wind King which was swung over her head with renewed fighting spirit, first hit the sea monster with a merciless stroke.
Somewhere far away, within the thunderclouds of high altitudes at which not even birds fly, the voices of whispers being exchanged over digitally encrypted wireless radios could be heard.
“Control to Diablo I, come in!”
“This is Diablo I, loud and clear. Anything?”
“Request from Fuyuki city police for disaster relief operation. Stop patrolling immediately, get there now.”
“Disaster relief operation?” Hearing those words from the headphone, First Class Lieutenant Ōgi doubted his ears.
If it were helicopters or P3C, he could still understand. But a “disaster” which could call back an F15 fighter from its maritime border patrol, what on earth could it be?
“Control, clarifying order contents. What happened?”
At the other side of the wireless radio, there was a brief, awkward silence.
“......Ah, okay, don't laugh. Over there......a monster had appeared.”
To hear that in the cockpit of a subsonic cruising speed, it could be said to be a first-rate joke. Not laughing was an absurd request.
“That's the best! It was worthwhile for me to sign up for the air defense.”
“Anyway it is an official order. Diablo I, observe and report the situation at Mion River.”
“......It's a joke right. Oi?”
“Diablo I, repeat.”
The irritated voice of the controller told him that he was dragged into this ridiculous prank too. Sighing, Captain Ōgi gave a fixed reply monotonously.
“Diablo I, roger that. This plane is on its way to Mion river mouth for scouting. Over!”
Despite that, Captain Ōgi had suddenly become inclined to believe the content of the conversation just now. When the thought that such absurd conversation might be recorded in the voice recorder crossed his mind, he felt an awkwardness as if he wanted to run away.
“......Diablo II, just like what was said. Turn back. Let's go back!”
“Roger. But......is that all right?”
The pilot of the consort plane, Diablo II- Third Class Lieutenant Kobayashi said that in a tone which did not hide his suspicion towards that absurd order.
Nonetheless, whether it was true or false, he had no choice but to carry out the orders relayed to him. At least, the only consolation was that his destination, Fuyuki city was on the air way back to his base. He didn't know who on earth would take responsibility for it, but for now. at least the jet fuel wasting due to needless loitering would be kept to a minimum.
“If there really is a monster, you'll give us the permission to fight?”
At Third Class Lieutenant Kobayashi's semi-desperate words, First Class Lieutenant Ōgi snorted again.
“If this is a monster film, we are surely the roles which will be killed. The underdogs from Ultraman.”
“That's not funny.”
In the navigators' hearts, with the thunderous roar of the afterburner, turning its silver wings over, the figure of the F15J was as gallant as usual.
|Back to Act 9, Part 5||Return to Main Page||Forward to Act 10, Part 2|