Fate/Zero:Act 10 Part 4
Although Archer had somewhat enjoyed this original game for a while, he soon grew bored of the aerial battle after the third, then fourth exchange of the endless Holy Phantasms and missiles.
Finally, in this repetitive dogfight, Archer's Vimana was in a position pursuing Berserker's F15. If he reduced the distance between them a bit more, he would be in a perfect position to attack. Aware of this, Berserker pulled further from his pursuer, pushing his craft to full throttle, then using the acceleration from his descent to perform what is known as a full vertical descent.
“Stop your useless struggle...”
Archer accelerated the Vimana while chuckling, and was once again in Berserker's tail effortlessly. In the blink of an eye, the two shot through the clouds, falling back down to the flickering lights of Fuyuki.
“I might as well plunge you headlong into the dirt. How does that sound, mongrel?”
Archer arranged his prepared Noble Phantasms into a torus shape, restraining Berserker in every direction and sealing off his path of retreat. Due to this, the only route Berserker could take was straight down, towards the Mion river - on a collision course with Caster's sea monster, which was creeping towards the river bank.
As if trying to soften the impact of the inevitable collision, even by a little, the F15 opened all its flaps. Clawing at the atmosphere, it tried for maximum deceleration.
It was at that instant that that huge lump of meat disappeared.
At point-blank range, Rider shouted and activated . Archer and Berserker knew not the reason behind the fact that Rider and his subordinate Servants drew in the gigantic sea monster within the expanded Reality Marble. Nevertheless, not wanting them to be stained by another drop of mud, Archer foresaw the timing of the collision, and dematerialized his Noble Phantasms. With no intent of missing this chance, the demonic F15 twisted its nose upwards just before it touched the surface of the water, and escaped the crash with an almost-perpendicular course.
Causing curtains of water to rise up on both sides due to the shockwave, the black F15 glided on the river, almost touching the water, and passed by the Servants observing the progress from the riverbank. At that moment, the shining figure of the knight, coated in silver and azure armor, was clearly burned into the mad dark knight's eyes.
Within that black helmet, the pair of eyes which brimmed with stagnant hatred, fiercely burned like a crimson blaze.
Based on Tōsaka Tokiomi’s standards, this is too crude to be called a battle of magecraft - it was nothing but a comical farce.
Tokiomi was just disinterestedly maintaining his defensive boundary, having not yet executed a move that could be considered an attack. In spite of that his opponent, Matō Kariya, was already at the verge of death.
It was complete self-destruction. For Kariya right now, the act of using magecraft is itself a self-inflicted fatal injury. Even though Kariya himself must realize this, he foolishly continued using magecraft beyond his limit without hesitation. As a result, he had no choice but to pay the obvious price.
Even with a glance one could tell he was in a dire state. The capillaries all over his body were continually rupturing, and even now, they incessantly splashed out blood. He could not stand straight, and his staggering figure was like someone drowning clumsily in a bloody mist. With his eyes stretched wide open due to intense pain, one could not tell if there was still any sense left in him.
You were raging so passionately just now... and when the lid is opened, this is your condition?
The saddest thing above all else was that, despite utilizing such prana that it shaved off his own life, Kariya’s attacks did not scathe even a hair on Tokiomi.
The summer insects which flew into the fire – they were like the proverbial stage show. The swarms of beetles simply charged endlessly straight into Tokiomi's incendiary boundaries, without even one breaking through and all of them scorched to ashes. To begin with, the act of challenging the flames directly in a frontal assault is exceedingly stupid for a bug user. Yet, Kariya did not slow his assault. Reducing his own lifespan, he fruitlessly spurred on the insects, turning them to cinders.
This was beyond laughable. At this utterly powerless enemy, Tokiomi had surpassed disdain and now felt pity. Before long, the flames will burn away all of Kariya's insects. At that point, Kariya would probably die wretchedly, unable to withstand the agony. Tokiomi merely had to focus on maintaining his craft while calmly observing him. This fight will end within this impregnable fortress.
However, for Tokiomi who followed the noble path of magecraft, the disgraceful behavior of a corrupted magus who has fallen - and worse, having it displayed in front of him - was too unpleasant for him.
Responding to the two-line spell, the flames of the defensive boundary curled like a snake, stretching towards Kariya. To begin with, whether or not this instant-made magus knows the correct principles to counter an offensive spell is itself a subject of doubt.
"I... I'LL KILL YOU... TOKIOMI... ZŌ-KE-N..."
Despite being burned alive, Kariya did not scream; in its place, he merely repeated an endless murmur of curses. With his body been devoured from the inside by worms, it's possible that he no longer had a sense of pain to feel the heat with.
As he writhed with flames enveloping his body, he broke through the fence, stepped over the edge of the roof, and dropped into the darkness of the alley below.
Finally, after cleanly sweeping away all the remaining bugs there with his conflagration, Tokiomi undid his craft and sighed, fixing his collar.
The corpse - will not need a confirmation. Even if there was still breath in him, he would not last long. After this, he only had to wait for the annihilation of Berserker to come naturally from losing his contractor.
At first, Tokiomi only expected that the Matō would resign and let pass the Heaven's Feel of this cycle. He could not understand at all the intention behind sending the disinherited outcast Kariya as an improvised Master. In the end, Tokiomi did not understand what Kariya had wanted that caused him to hasten and join the war.
A victory without any sense of achievement, and trailed by a bitter taste; without sparing another worrying thought, Tokiomi turned towards the river, and began examining the battles that raged around Caster.
Thanks to Rider's clever scheme, the gigantic sea monster had disappeared without a trace from the water's surface. However, although its form was nowhere to be seen, the Servants and magi gathered there could clearly perceive the presence of the monster raging within the plane-divergent bounded field.
"... What should we do?"
Unable to withstand the creeping weight of the silence, Waver opened his mouth.
"He said he was buying time, but if we don't think of something in the meanwhile, we'll end up where we started. Hey, Einzbern, don't you have any ideas?!"
"Even if you say that..."
From Irisviel's chest, an out-of-place, frivolous electronic sound started beeping. Irisviel herself was taken aback, and she hastily took out the source of that sound.
Her mobile phone. It was something she received from Kiritsugu in case of emergencies. Obviously, there was no need to guess who the caller was. Nevertheless, as a situation where they would use this to converse was considered impossible, due to the urgency, Irisviel temporarily forgot the method of usage she was supposed to have remembered.
"Ummm, ah... What, should I do with this?"
She could only ask Waver, who was standing next to her. Irritated at the interruption to their conversation, Waver snatched the noisy phone from Irisviel's hand, pressed the Receive button and held it to his ear. Although he was a magus, Waver came from a family which did not adhere to formalities, and he was competent with machines to the degree of an ordinary person.
Now it was Waver's turn at confusion, as a low male voice came from the other side of the conversation. He had wanted to return it to the owner after receiving the call, but ended up answering it instead.
"Er, no, I'm..."
"Hm? ...I see, Rider's Master, huh. Just as well. I need to talk to you."
"W-Who are you?"
"It doesn't matter. Caster disappearing, that was your Servant's handiwork, right?"
"Then I have a question. When Rider releases the Reality Marble, can he drop the contents at a specific place?"
It was a question without a clear purpose, but it was a race against time, and there wasn't time to ask the questioner's motives. Waver racked his brain for the fundamental laws governing Reality Marbles that he had learnt at the Clock Tower, put it together with the properties of which he had witnessed only once, and gave a cautious reply.
"It should be possible, to a certain extent, probably 100 meters at most. The prerogative for their reappearance lies with Rider."
"That will do. After this, I will choose a time and send up signal flares. Release Caster directly under it. Can you do that?"
The problem now was communicating this to Rider within the bounded field, but come to think of it, Rider had said that he would send a messenger afterward. Rider is probably still conscious of the link between the inside and outside of the field.
"I can... I think. Probably."
Even so, who is he talking with? He is likely someone from Einzbern's side, but from the way he talked, Waver had no choice but to conclude that he was watching from somewhere nearby.
"One more thing. Tell Lancer this: Saber's left hand contains an anti-fortress noble phantasm."
Increasingly confused, Waver returned a question, but the conversation was quickly cut, leaving only static.
Feeling the meaningful gaze from Waver, Lancer asked him with suspicion.
"Um... there's a message for you. 'Saber's left hand is an anti-fortress noble phantasm' or something..."
Lancer's expression changed to astonishment as Saber's simultaneously changed to awkwardness.
"Is that true, Saber?"
She wanted to avoid bringing up this topic here, but there's no use hiding it now. Dropping her face, Saber nodded silently.
"And... it can bring down Caster's monster in one blow?"
"It is possible. But..."
Nodding again, Saber stared straight at the Servant of the Spear with unwavering eyes, and continued.
"Lancer, the weight of my sword is the weight of my pride. My injury from the fight with you is an honor, not a chain.
It is as you said in the forest. If I am backed by Diarmuid O'Duibhine as a substitute for my left hand, that alone is worth tens of thousands of men."
No good will come from making Lancer feel guilt at the point. As a comrade in the conducts of chivalry, in the end, Saber wanted Lancer to welcome the conclusion without unnecessary binds.
Silent, as though he was looking through at the figures of Rider's army and the sea monster at the other side separate from this plane, Lancer squinted, staring at the river.
"... Hey Saber, I cannot forgive that Caster."
His low reply came softly. On the contrary, his bewitchingly beautiful eyes shone with determination.
"He treats other's despair as righteousness, and rejoices at the propagation of fear. On my oath as a knight, that is an 'evil' which I cannot overlook."
Thrusting the red lance in his right hand into the ground and releasing it, Lancer tightly gripped the remaining yellow lance in the middle with both his hands. At that moment, realizing and rejecting what the proud spearman was intending to do, Saber stared and shouted.
"Now, which is the one who must win? Is it Saber? Or Lancer? No, it is neither. The one thing that must claim victory here, is the 'chivalry' we serve - isn't that right, heroic spirit Artoria?"
After boasting with a nonchalant smile - Lancer divided the dual spears that make up his noble phantasms, and broke it neatly in half without hesitation.
The enormous curse contained withingushed out in a whirlwind, and scattered before their eyes into nothingness. If one thought of it as a noble phantasm that was legend taken form, its figure disappeared far too swiftly.
Who would have thought that a Servant would destroy his own noble phantasm, his trump card to absolute victory, with his own hands? It wasn't just Saber, but also Irisviel and Waver who were struck speechless by Lancer's actions.
"I entrust my vow of victory in the King of Knight's stroke. I'm counting on you, Saber."
The feelings in her heart took form as Saber tightened her 'left hand', firmly and strongly. Released from the curse of mortality, the arm of the King of Knights recovered instantly, answering with unmistakable strength.
"It's a deal, Lancer... Right now, I swear upon victory by my sword!"
The Barrier of the Wind King unveiled. Blowing up torrents of wind, a golden sword revealed itself. As though congratulating the promised victory, the shining blade illuminated the darkness brilliantly.
"That's, from King Arthur's legend..."
Finally witnessing the sacred crown-jeweled sword in front of his eyes, Waver whispered, dumbfounded.
As if seeing the dawning light at the end of the long night, the impatience and anxiety lurking in their hearts were gently swept away by the radiance.
Yes- this is truly the knight's ideal.
It was the crystallization of everything etched in the hearts of those who were scattered at the radiance; those who were placed on the bloody hell called a battlefield, fully exposed to the fear of death and despair, and whom still cling to a desire: "to be exalted."
"We can win..."
Trembling with joy, Irisviel whispered ecstatically.
However, as though raising an objection to such a hope, a roar of repulsive malediction shook the night sky, and spread. No, the screaming, which was unlike a voice, could be none other than an explosive turbofan.
Looking up to the sky, Saber saw hatred incarnate. Riding on the steel bird tainted with jet black prana, the mad heroic spirit once again bared his fangs at the King of Knights.
Together with Berserker's bloodcurdling roar, flames spouted from the six barrels of the 20mm Vulcan autocannon.
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