Fate/Zero:Act 11 Part 2
To Father Risei, supervisor of the fourth Heaven's Feel, this was truly an extremely tiring night.
This was the second time he had assumed the office of supervisor of the Heaven's Feel, but he had never dreamed that a situation so difficult to deal with would arise.
Precisely because of the large scale of the series of problems that had arisen, in order to eliminate evidence, not only the Holy Church, but even the Magi's Association was also acting in secret. To both sides of these two large groups, the situation had already developed to a point that - rather than quarrelling amongst themselves and defining their respective spheres of influence, they had to prioritize on considering how to pick up the pieces.
On the surface, the strange incident not far from the Mion River was attributed to poisonous gases produced by chemical reactions caused by industrial waste--this report could temporarily deceive the public. The patrolling media truck was also constantly broadcasting that inhaling the toxic fumes could cause hallucinations, and that people living along the shores should hasten to the hospital for treatment. Of course, all the hospitals that could conduct diagnostics at night had already been infiltrated by magi and Executors skilled in brainwashing through the power of suggestion; they were currently anxiously awaiting orders. It should be possible to thus eliminate the majority of witness statements, but not the source of rumors.
The procedure for purchasing two F15 fighter machines from Middle Eastern weapon merchants had just been completed; this was the result of the Clock Tower playing the middle man. Though it was a second-hand C-model plane, at this critical point there really was absolutely no time to take this into account. The two F15s, on which the flag of Japan had been temporarily painted, would be delivered to the fortified air base; all that's left is to take the opportunity to exchange incompatible parts, and then assemble the J-model fighter plane.
The Japanese self-defence force was certainly a group restless with budget. A single fighter plane already cost over a billion yen, and now that a scandal involving losing two fighters simultaneously had occurred, this truth needed to be annihilated no matter what. From this point on, they could only use pre-prepared replacement fighters used as bait for negotiations, and get the self-defence forces to take the responsibility of destroying evidence as well.
It was already late at night when the endless telephone negotiations finally stopped and he could rest for a while, but Risei immediately remembered the guest waiting in the main hall. Sighing, he pulled over a chair and began his work anew, continuing to carry out his duties as supervisor.
"I am truly sorry to have made you wait. I have been rather busy tonight."
In Risei's voice there was an exhaustion that could not be hidden.
From the dimly lit pews came the sound of somewhat artificial laughter.
"That's unavoidable. You have urgent matters to attend to."
A light, metallic squeaking sound of the wheelchair's wheels rolling along accompanied that laughter. The silhouette that emerged from the darkness remained seated.
The silhouette, so wan almost as if he was a completely different person and could not even stand to walk, was actually the once-famous prodigy Kayneth El-Melloi.
Who among those knowing his past circumstances would have thought that he would have been reduced to such a condition? But in his eyes was a strong willpower that could be called obsession from which the stubborn, intolerant personality of the former prodigy magus could be vaguely perceived.
Although Kayneth had sustained great physical injuries that made it almost impossible to re-establish his glory, he had more or less retained the use of his hands through the contacts of the El-Melloi clan, exchanging an astonishing sum of money in gratitude to make a deal with a doll-maker residing in Japan, and through great difficulty had obtained the ability to move freely within the parameters of the wheelchair's mobility. His left little finger, covered in a thick layer of plaster, had also regained its sense of pain.
"Father, regarding my application— what exactly is the judgment?"
In contrast to the solicitous smile on his face, Kayneth's voice contained at least half an undertone of threat. Those drug addicts were probably like this when the effects had worn off and they were demanding drugs from others before they went into withdrawal. Risei gazed steadily at the face of this former magecraft prodigy; his face showed paranoia and confusion that could not be concealed.
That things would reach this point was definitely not what Risei had hoped for. However, a contract was ultimately a contract. Setting aside the consideration of the secret alliance with Tōsaka for the moment, it was necessary to practise what he preached for the honor of the Church.
"… Indeed, in the crusade against Caster, Servant-Lancer played an important role; this has also been verified in the report of the supervisor."
"That is to say, there is no doubt that I am eligible to receive a Command Seal?"
"Though it is like that…"
Father Risei furrowed his brow, and glanced at Kayneth as if feeling something is inconceivable.
"Of course, in accordance to the agreement it is necessary to give the Master of Lancer a fitting reward… Mr. Kayneth, do you think I can regard you as a Master??"
A look of hatred momentarily appeared in Kayneth's eyes, but he immediately recovered his demeanor that's cautious enough to be called gentlemanly.
"Regarding the contract with Lancer, I established it in the form that it would be jointly borne by me and my fiancée Sola. I certainly do not have the intention of proclaiming myself a Master. The two of us, Sola and I, are one Master."
"But now, are not both the supply of prana and the management of the Command Seals the undertaking of Miss Sola alone?"
Kayneth's grimacing expression was truly difficult to explain away as a gracious smile.
"Because of consideration for strategy, the Command Seals have now been temporarily passed to Sola for safekeeping. But the control over the contract with Lancer is still mine. If you are suspicious, you may ask Lancer directly for confirmation. And most importantly, the signature on the application submitted to the Church is mine alone."
Father Risei sighed. Even if he were to dig deep into the matter, make objections on the grounds of small and unimportant points, it would be meaningless. The true source of Risei’s headache was this unexpected situation of having to pass out Command Seals to a Master other than Tokiomi Tosaka. At this time, even if he were unwilling to add the Command Seal to Kayneth, at the end it would not be possible not to pass the Command Seals that he's reluctant to part with to his fiancée. Even if Father Risei were to interfere in the internal conflict of the Archibald faction, it would be of no benefit to him.
"——All right. I acknowledge your status as a Master. Come, sir Kayneth, please hold out your hand."
With practised skill Risei traced the faded marks on Kayneth's outstretched right hand, transferring one of the Command Seals accumulated on his right wrist to Kayneth's hand. There was not even any pain; the entire process was concluded in only a few minutes.
"Then please continue to fight glorious battles as a Master——"
"That is most certain."
Kayneth nodded, all smiles, then took out a handgun that had been hidden in the seat of his wheelchair, and aimed at the priest who had already turned away.
The dry sound of a gun firing broke the silence of the Hall of God.
Kayneth did not even spare another glance for the old priest who had slumped down, and stared transfixed at the picture of the Command Seal carved on the back of his right hand.
Things had progressed to this point but he had only one… compared to the opponents who had not used their Command Seals, he was already in a disadvantaged position. And the Masters of Saber and Rider had already obtained new Command Seals; these circumstances definitely could not be ignored.
The assassination of the supervisor would undoubtedly cause a stir, but in this Heaven's Feel, there were magi other than himself who liked to use small props such as handguns. The primary suspect would thus be the filthy rat employed by the Einzberns.
Kayneth could not suppress the satisfied laugh that flooded forth from deep in his throat. He was immersed in the ecstasy of regaining his status as a Master. For the assassination of the supervisor, an action that made the dignity and pride of Lord El-Melloi plummet down to the floor, he had no intention of self-reproach.
Immediately upon stepping into the chapel, Kirei felt the presence of death.
A faint stench of blood, and the remaining, even fainter odor of smoke. Certainly there had been someone who had committed an unforgivably wicked deed in this house of God.
Though he did not sense any danger, Kirei still walked in very carefully, passing through the pews - upon arriving at the altar, he discovered the silhouette lying at the side.
The cry that rose from his lips was weak. At the same time as discovering the silhouette of Father Risei, the trained and keenly observant eyes of an Executor noticed the bullet hole in his back and the pool of blood on the ground.
Kirei, in a state of complete mental torpor, carefully examined the corpse of his father.
He pulled up the right sleeve, checking the number of the Command Seals his father had managed. As expected, there was one less. Risei had given one of the Command Seals under his management to someone, and had presumably been murdered by this person soon after. One of the Masters that had won merit in the process of the crusade against Caster had been dissatisfied with sharing the credit with the others he had fought alongside, and had therefore committed such a crime. There was essentially no need for analysis to be able to determine the entire sequence of events.
But even a magus could not seize all the Command Seals from the hands of the dead elderly priest. The Command Seals managed by the supervisor were protected by holy prayers. Without his permission, it is not possible to seize them through the use of thaumaturgy. Father Risei, the only one who knew the secret holy words, was already dead; the Command Seals of previous Grail Wars preserved to this day could no longer be used.
——That wasn't right; would Father Risei have permitted such a thing to happen?
Kirei lifted his father's right hand, discovering that there were unnatural bloodstains on the fingertips. They seemed to be marks made with abrasions. The dying Father Risei had immersed his finger in the pool of blood, and must have left clues somewhere.
Since he had understood this, it was relatively easy to find the words in blood.
On the floor, the final will in red-black writing was "jn424"-- one not of Christian faith might think this to be a secret message of unknown meaning. But to Kirei, who had inherited Risei's pious faith, the significance of this cipher was very obvious.
John 4:24. Without missing a word, Kirei recited those holy words stored in his memory.
"God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth——"
As if in response, on the already cold right wrist of Father Risei, all the Command Seals simultaneously gave off a faint light.
Accompanying a burst of dull pain, the Command Seals were transferred one by one onto Kirei's arm. Speechless, Kirei stared at the light of the Command Seals.
Undoubtedly, that was the faith a father had entrusted to his son.
Father Risei had believed that the first person to discover his corpse would definitely be his son. Only so did he write down in blood a code that only one of the clergy could understand. He had entrusted all the important duties of the supervisor—managing the Command Seals, guarding the Grail, guiding the Heaven's Feel in the right direction—to his son. He had truly believed that his son was one who could bear these responsibilities; even in death, he had no doubt of this.
He did not know that Kirei had concealed his newly-obtained Command Seals, and had already gained the right to be a Master——
He did not know that his son had, on an impulse, sown the seeds of disaster for his benefactor Tokiomi——
Suddenly feeling the tears falling from his cheeks, Kirei pressed his hands to his face, stunned.
To shed tears in front of his father's corpse and last wishes… … as a person, this was natural.
Even thus, at that time Kirei had been mired in terror and confusion, as if almost falling into the abyss of hell.
He must face all this directly——in his heart there was an authoritative voice telling him thus.
The feelings flooding up from your heart now, Kotomine Kirei—you must understand all of this, must accept all of this. That is because——
When was the last time he had shed tears? Now he still clearly remembered that it had been three years ago. Using a hand to scoop up the falling tears, that woman had once said this: "You love me." ——
The intrinsic ability in his heart to conceal oneself was staunchly blocking recollection.
He cannot turn back. He cannot reflect. The tears shed that day, the feelings held that time, needed to be tossed into the abyss of forgetting.
The answer he had once understood.
The truth he had painstakingly come to realize.
If it was because he had not faced this with an open heart and had thus adopted the method of avoidance that allowed him to maintain his current condition --
He could not comprehend the tears that flowed once more at all. The same feelings as at that time were crying out to the sentiments that had been sealed away and sought for understanding.
But heedless of these rational warnings, memories seeped continuously forth from the gaps between the seals.
This time was very far from the ending he had expected -- he had thought thus then.
At the bedside of the frail, dying woman, had Kirei not come to realize the thing which his consciousness desired?
Wanting to ■ ■ ■ ■ this woman——
Wanting to see this woman even more ■ ■ ■ ■ ——
In deeply loving Kotomine Kirei and trusting him——in this aspect, his father, and this woman, did have something in common.
They are also the same in absolutely misunderstanding the nature of the person that is Kirei.
Precisely because of this, three years ago Kirei had constantly prayed like this in his heart…
In the moments before his father’s death, let him sample once again the joy of the greatest ■ ■ ■ ■ of the mortal world—
"Just like those beasts who chase the scent of blood—— The soul pursues pleasure——"
As if the ruby-like eyes that had been latent in the bottom of his heart, accompanied by that sinister laugh, were quietly whispering.
Only pleasure is the form of the soul-did he not speak thus? The nature of Kotomine Kirei is also like this——
"…O Lord… hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."
The familiar prayer he had to recite every day instantly spewed forth from his mouth; this might have been an instinct of self-preservation. In this way he returned to his role as a clergyman, tightly binding a soul that was close to falling to pieces.
“Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us… and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil… Amen.”
He sealed the cursed truth of the tears falling uninterrupted from his face to forgetfulness's other shore. Kirei prayed for his father's fortunes in the next life, and made the sign of the cross on his chest.
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