Fate/Zero:Act 11 Part 4
Kayneth hid in the shadows deep inside the abandoned factory and gazed at the situation of the battle outside. The thoughts in his heart, contrary to the incorrupt preparedness of those knights, were only boiling with anxiety.
Since the victor remained long undecided, he was getting more fidgety by the second with those anxious feelings.
Why couldn’t he win?
Although Saber underestimated Lancer so much, why would Lancer’s spear still be unable to hit Saber?
The answer became very clear upon some careful thinking – that is, Lancer is very weak, far more inferior to Saber.
At this moment, he regretted profoundly for not getting the Heroic Spirit Alexander.
It would never have turned out like this had he made the King of Conquerors his Servant as he had previously planned. Having his Holy Relic stolen at the crucial moment, he had to summon Diarmuid as a substitute in a hurry. As long as a first-rate, authentic Master such as himself is present, those small disadvantages can be amended even if the ranks of the Heroic Spirit were lowered. The parts that the Servant lacks in will be amended by his own talent; Lord El-Melloi did indeed have such a fearless attitude.
However, right now, having lost his Magic Circuits, Kayneth had long lost his previous confidence. In order to survive this war with his sole remaining Command Seal and an inferior Servant, he had to be even more prudent than before.
When there is no definite chance of victory, the right thing to do would be to immediately escape with the Master. Although he hadn’t gotten around asking how Lancer managed to lose Gáe Buidhe, the chances of victory against Saber became even more elusive after her left hand had healed.
Right now wasn’t the time to stick to battles; Lancer should have other duties needing to be prioritized over this. It would be impossible for the current Kayneth to search and rescue Sola by himself. It simply cannot be done without ordering his Servant.
But – just how stupid is that Lancer? Can’t he even realize the severity of such a situation?
Fretting, Kayneth scratched his head repetitively. How great would it be if he could use a Command Seal right now! Why did he just have to have only one Command Seal by his hand? It was such a pity for Sola to take away two Command Seals. If only she was able to trust Kayneth…
Right then, Kayneth’s neck suddenly felt an unnatural flow of air.
A piece of paper fluttered down beside him. It was an extremely ordinary piece of notepaper, but Kayneth fixed his eyes on the few concise words on it with a deadly gaze.
“– If you don’t want your beloved one to die, then quietly look behind you –”
Stunned, Kayneth’s eyes widened, and he moved the wheels of the wheelchair to change the direction his body was facing. Deep inside the pitch-black abandoned factory, the light coming in through a skylight illuminated one single place like a spotlight.
The outlines of woman, lying on the floor as if deep asleep, emerged out of the dim and cold light.
Kayneth would never mistake those features no matter how dim the light is or how far the distance becomes.
Although the pain and haggardness on Sola’s steel-grey face showed that something had evidently occurred, the strand of hair beside her mouth quivered as if blown by a breeze. That was the proof of her breathing. She was still alive.
Kayneth forgot the warning on the paper and almost cried out despite himself. Then, like a wraith emerging out of the darkness, a human figure stepped into the weak light and showed himself.
An old coat, those untidy hair and listless whiskers, and only those pair of eyes, different from the gloomy countenance, fierily emitted a razor-sharp light – that unforgettable man, the only one who had cruelly torn apart all the Magic Circuits in Kayneth’s body, that hateful flunky of the Einzberns.
He had probably transported the unconscious Sola in quietly from the back door during the gap formed while Saber and Lancer concentrated in fighting each other. The barrel of the submachine gun in the man’s hand aimed steadily at Sola’s forehead.
“It just has to be… that bastard…”
Kayneth had experience that viper-like cruelty and seamless prudence first-hand. Compared to anger and hatred – a deep despair that far surpassed all other emotions made him hang his head powerlessly.
It really was the worse situation he could think of. The woman he loves was captured by the most difficult enemy that he didn’t even want to imagine.
However, just before he sank into a panic, the voice of reason stopped Kayneth.
There must be some purpose for that man to deliberately show himself and let Kayneth confirm Sola’s wellbeing.
Kayneth turned his head and cast a glance at Lancer, who was fighting with all he had in the abandoned empty area. Judging from the two Servants’ position in battle, Sola’s location was a dead spot that they can’t see. The two of them were both bent on dealing with the strong enemy in front of them, completely ignorant to this new invader.
Kayneth couldn’t guess what the man wanted, so he silently inclined his head, showing his intention of obeying the other’s wish.
The man took a roll of vellum out of his coat and cast it into the air after casually opening it. Although the weight of vellum cannot be compared to the notepaper beforehand, simple manipulations of air was enough to make it fly with the wind. Like a jellyfish, the vellum floated across space slowly and leisurely, and landed on Kayneth’s knees.
Although others would only perceive this as some meaningless figures and well-made patterns the things recorded on it was, for Kayneth, a perfect magecraft document written in a format that he was familiar with.
– Only that the content was very rarely seen.
Binding magecraft: Target – Emiya Kiritsugu
The Crests of the Emiya family hereby command: Provided that the following conditions are met, this oath shall become a commandment and bind the target without exception.
To the fifth head of the Emiya house, Kiritsugu, son of Noritaka: regarding both Kayneth El-Melloi Archibald and Sola-Ui Nuada-Re Sophia-Ri, all intentions and actions to kill and harm shall be forbidden for all eternity.
Self-Geis Scroll – one of the most merciless contract magecrafts that would only be used in the treacherous society of magi when a contract that absolutely cannot be disobeyed was to be made.
It is an enforced curse that forcibly uses the functions of one’s own Magic Crests upon oneself. Theoretically, it has a power that cannot be erased by any method. Even if the caster lost his life, the Magic Crests would bind the soul of the dead man and would not pass down the generations. It is a very dangerous magecraft. For magi, a parley that involves offering such a declaration would in fact mean a maximal concession.
Although it wasn’t something Kayneth often saw, it was indeed proper in the way it was written, with no loopholes. The signature made with the blood of the declarer himself was evidently pulsing with prana, showing that the spell was already established and was currently working.
That is to say – when the conditions recorded in the bottom half of the declaration is fulfilled, that man – Emiya Kiritsugu will give up a part of his free will, and the contract will be confirmed as an unbreakable curse.
Holding the vellum with shaking hands, Kayneth read the conditions to establish the contract over and over. As if hoping the contents would change the next time he reads it, he stubbornly contemplated those words repeatedly. He bent his entire will to consider if the contents left any gaps that may form contradictions.
However, different from Kayneth’s wavering thoughts, the most logical part of his heart had already accepted his own yielding. The possibility that his beloved woman and himself may return to their homeland alive – at this moment, isn’t that his greatest wish?
If he hesitated a few more moments, Emiya Kiritsugu would probably pull the trigger. After the first bullet took away Sola’s life, the barrel would definitely point at Kayneth himself. There were no choices for him. Whether to lose everything or to regard that declaration as his last hope of life… that was the only difference.
With a dim and blank look as if he was an empty shell, he looked at the final Command Seal on his right hand and then gave the final unbreakable command as Lancer’s Master.
Without a sign, without a reason – brilliant vermillion scattered all over the earth.
Everyone appeared to be equally shocked. Saber, Irisviel, and even Lancer himself widened their eyes at this overly abrupt end – Lancer’s own shock should probably be the most intense, since he had not a sliver of expectation or preparedness for that agony and despair.
Dazed, Lancer gazed at the crimson flowers that dripped from the red spear shaft to the ground. No matter how, he could not believe that it was all his own blood.
His own beloved spear pierced his heart. It was no one else’s but his own two hands that forcibly stabbed the spear tip into his own body.
Of course, it wasn’t his intention, nor was it his wish. What his crimson spear was supposed to pierce was Saber’s heart, and what was supposed to pierce his own heart should have been Saber’s holy sword.
Able to rob everything away from him at a whim, regardless of his fighting spirit or beliefs – no such great power exists apart from Command Seals.
Because Lancer was overly focused on the duel with Saber, he did not notice the treaty secretly sealed in the dim abandoned factory beside him until the end.
“Use up all the Command Seals, and let the Servant finish himself’” – that was the required condition within the Self-Geis Scroll Emiya Kiritsugu brought up. He demanded Kayneth to use up all the Command Seals and completely destroy the Servant – a total retreat from the Holy Grail War.
Crimson tears flew out of Lancer’s wide eyes.
For him, it was already the second time to be murdered by his lord. It was precisely because Diarmuid ua Duibhne was bent on overcoming that unhappy end that he wished so strongly to return to this world from the Throne of Heroes. However, the end that he received was a replay of that tragedy – he only experienced that despair and sorrow once again.
The Heroic Spirit looked behind him with eyes wet with blood and tears. Just then, two Masters walked out of the abandoned factory to witness his end. They were Kayneth, sitting on his wheelchair with an empty and dazed expression and another man, who stood and carried Sola’s comatose body in his hands. He was the anonymous true Master of Saber that he saw at Einzbern castle.
“Do you… so…”
Kneeling in a pool of his own blood, Lancer tried his best to speak with a hoarse and low sound.
“Do you want victory so much!? Do you want to win the Holy Grail so much? Even … willing to trample on my only true wish… you, don’t you feel ashamed!?”
His beauty twisted with blood and tears, changing into a completely different countenance akin to a demon’s. Lancer, forgetting everything except hatred, no longer distinguished between friend and foe. Thinking of Kiritsugu, Saber, and everything in the world, he roared out a growl of vengeance that tore at his heart.
“Unforgivable… I’ll never forgive you! You dead men who are slaved by fame, and desecrated the glory of knights… let my blood stain that dream! I curse the Holy Grail! I curse that your wishes will become disasters! When you fall into the burning pits of hell, do not forget my, Diarmuid’s, anger!”
While he gradually lost his material body and crumpled as a hazy shade, he screamed curses until the final moment when he disappeared. There was no longer the glorious figure of a Heroic Spirit, but only an evil spirit roaring with resentment. Servant Lancer had finally been completely eliminated.
As if at a loss, Kayneth gazed at the blank space left by Lancer’s disappearance. Casually, Kiritsugu placed Sola, who was still deep asleep, on his knees. As Kayneth softly caressed the haggard sleeping face of his beloved, he asked Kiritsugu with a weak voice.
“… Then your enforcement has been…?”
“Ahh, it’s established. It’s already impossible to kill you…”
Kiritsugu slowly moved back as he took out a cigarette from his pocket and lit it – maybe that was the signal.
“For me, that is.”
While Kayneth mumbled in a low voice Hisau Maiya, who witnessed everything in the shadows far away, silently pulled the trigger of the Steyr AUG assault rifle.
Kayneth and Sola were captured by the aim of the night vision scope and were mercilessly exposed to a rain of automatically-fired bullets. For the two of them, who have lost the protection of Volumen Hydragyrum and had no Servants left in service, the 5.56mm high-speed bullet rain of baptism was an inescapable gale of death. In the savage power of the bullets that they had so despised in the past, the magus and his fiancée’s bodies were torn in pieces and fell to the concrete ground.
He only doubted if the magecraft of the Self-Geis Scroll was tempered with, but missed the trap hidden behind the meaning of the important contract. That finally took away the fate of the genius magus.
Perhaps Sola, who died from the bullets without pain, was the luckier one. Tragically, even after he was transformed into a sieve and fell down from the wheelchair, Kayneth still remained breathing. He had been dealt many fatal wounds all over his body and had no more hope of surviving. However, even if he had only seconds left to live, it would be a cruelly long time if it were to be passed by enduring the pain and agony of death.
“… Ahhh… Kill… Kill me…”
“Sorry, that is a contract I can’t fulfill.”
Kiritsugu ignored the weak entreating sounds beside his feet, and replied with a nonchalant voice as he exhaled the purple smoke that he had breathed in.
The sound that sobbed with pain didn’t go on. Saber couldn’t bear to keep watching and used her sword to cut off Kayneth’s head, ending his pain.
At the end, the King of Knight’s sword did not fulfil the promise made with Lancer. On the contrary, it ended up far from faith and glory, and was stained with the blood of ending the pain of someone already wounded without hope.
“Emiya, Kiritsugu –”
The azure irises burned with a cold fire. They were not eyes used to look at friends, nor was it a sight used to face comrades in a broader sense. Identical to when she faced Caster’s madness and Archer’s arrogance, it was a look sharp as a blade used to pierce those that she had recognized as enemies.
“I finally understand it now; you’re a man without morals. I had originally thought that even if our paths differ, our goals are the same; but I was far too foolish…”
Kiritsugu still remained silent. There was already no need to answer. It was because the actions that Saber just witnessed were absolutely ‘evil’.
“Up till now, I’ve believed in Irisviel’s words and never doubted your character. However, even if a man like you now says that you’ll save the world with the Holy Grail, I won’t believe a word of it anymore.
Answer me, Kiritsugu! Did you deceive even your wife? Just what is the true reason that you seek the omnipotent wish-granting vessel?!”
Kiritsugu – although his eyes stared at Saber as if irritated, the mouth that held a cigarette still didn’t speak a word. It was a gaze used to look out at a wildly barking stray dog. It merely contained a decisive separation that gave up trying to understand each other using words from the start.
Within Saber’s heart, there was already a calm and resolute decision that almost said ‘he must be killed’.
Maybe, at the end, the only thing left between her and this master would be to face him with her sword. Even if that will be prohibited by the Command Seals, this obvious enmity cannot be changed. This might be the largest fracture in their camp during the War of the Holy Grail. However, no matter what, as long as she’s with Emiya Kiritsugu, it is very probable that she won’t be able to obtain the Holy Grail that she truly wishes for.
“Even if my sword does win the Holy Grail, if I am to entrust the Grail to you, then I…”
That sunset over Camlann flashed past Saber’s eyes. The wish hidden in her heart made her words blur at the end.
A sound from behind her interrupted that painful pause.
“Answer me, Kiritsugu. No matter what, this time you have the obligation to explain.”
Even Irisviel, who trusted her husband completely, couldn’t help but raise her voice in her question.
Different from Saber, she fully knew the way her husband thinks and understood him. However, there was a vast difference between the beliefs expressed in words and the stunning real actions before her eyes.
She already had a cold premonition that said ‘could it be…?’ in her heart when Lancer questioned her about Lord El-Melloi’s fiancée back then. However, the conscience in her heart denied that probability. No matter what, for him to do something of that degree…
At the end, even as his wife, Irisviel had underestimated Kiritsugu’s ruthlessness.
“– Speaking of, this is the first time you witnessed my ‘method of killing’, Iri.”
Changing from the silence that he’s maintained until know, Kiritsugu answered with a dry voice. The dim and cold look that he gave to Saber shrank back shyly with shame as he turned to Irisviel.
“Nah, Kiritsugu. Don’t speak to me, speak to Saber. She needs to talk to you.”
“No, I’ve got nothing to speak with that Servant. There’s nothing to be said to a killer controlled by glory and honor.”
He fearlessly spoke words that insulted Saber while maintaining a front of speaking to Irisviel. Of course Saber would not leave it alone.
“Don’t you dare to humiliate chivalry in front of me, you beast!”
Even if faced with the angry yells of the King of Knights, who raised her brows in rage, Kiritsugu stayed steady as a rock. He still paid no attention to Saber, fixing his gaze on his wife instead. However, at this time, he finally started to spill his words out endlessly.
“Chivalry cannot save the world. It was so in past histories, and it will be so in the future. Those people promoted the idea that there is a difference of good and evil when it comes to the method of battle, and acted on the battlefield as if they have pride. Just because all the heroes of the ages were cloaked with that illusion, how many youths do you think were deceived by the glory of such courage and finally bled to their deaths?”
“That’s not an illusion! Even if it’s a matter of life or death, as long as it is the action of humans it must have rules and beliefs that allow no violation. Righteousness must not be lost! Otherwise, the endless flames of war will once again turn this world into hell at the end!”
Saber rebuked righteously. However, Kiritsugu snorted in derision.
“See, just like so – just like you said, Iri. This great Heroic Spirit dares to think that the battlefield is better than hell.
What a joke! No matter in what era, the battlefield has always been a veritable hell. In the battlefield, there is no place for hope. What lies there is only cold despair and a sin called victory, built on the pain of the defeated.
All those people who met there have wholeheartedly admitted the evil and foolishness of this act called ‘war’. As long as people don’t repent and don’t regard it as the most evil taboo, then hell would endlessly reappear in the world.”
For Saber, who only knew the utterly cruel, emotionless Kiritsugu, it was the first time she saw Emiya Kiritsugu’s other side – a man almost crushed by endless anguish and sorrow, his monologue that was close to lamentation.
“However, humans did not realize that truth no matter how high they staked their mountains of corpses. That’s because in no matter what era the courageous and fearless great heroes have always bedazzled the eyes of the multitude with their splendid heroic legends. Because of the wistful actions of those idiots and their refusal to admit that bloodshed is by itself evil, the essence of humans has stayed on the same spot since the Stone Age!”
Just who was the target of the rage filling those pair of eyes – that was already clear without the need to clarify.
Ever since the day that the flames of war started on the land of Fuyuki, Kiritsugu had probably began looking at the shining figures of the Heroic Spirits before him, those who prided in courage and resolution, with that unendurable rage in his heart.
Those who left such heroism, and those who longed for such heroism; the anger directed at them and with nowhere to let out… it was a hatred toward the overall concept of ‘Heroic Spirits’ that was created due to the prayers of men.
“– then Kiritsugu, your humiliation of Saber… was it because of your hatred towards Heroic Spirits?”
“How could it be? I’d never mix in such personal emotions into it. I need to win the Holy Grail and save the world. I am only using the most suitable method in the processing of fighting for that goal.”
If he had fought as he had planned before, and if he didn’t capture Sola but killed her immediately, then Lancer, whose supply of prana would be completely stopped, would naturally disappear. However, what Kiritsugu employed was a strategy that completely removed the possibility of a Servant, having lost his master, forming a contract with someone else and returning to the battlefield. Based on the result of the battle against Caster he predicted that Kayneth, who was protected by the Fuyuki Church, may obtain extra Command Seals. Therefore, he prepared such a twisting and complicated trap.
Relying on the Command Seal of the rival Master to eliminate the Servant, and then take out the Master, a complete removal of the obstacle… during that time, what he demanded from Saber was not to win over Lancer but to distract Lancer’s attention while Kiritsugu convinced Kayneth, acting only as a decoy.
“The world as it is, the human nature as always, it is impossible to eliminate battles. In the end, killing is necessarily evil. If so, it is best to end them in the maximum efficiency and at the least cost, least time. If you want to slander that as foul and demean that as nasty, then do as you wish. Justice cannot save the world. I have no interest in things like that.”
Saber recalled Lancer’s final, disappearing eyes filled of anger. Then, she stared at the tragic remains of the man and woman, collapsed in a puddle of blood, and the expression of anguish carved on their faces, and spoke.
“Even so, you –”
As Saber was about to speak her thoughts, she suddenly found that her own voice was lower and calmer than she thought it would be. She had just realized that her complicated emotions towards Kiritsugu was no longer her previous anger, but had to changed to some kind of pity.
That’s right; maybe he is a man that should be pitied.
Isn’t he himself that needed salvation, not this world?
“– Emiya Kiritsugu, I don’t know what kind of betrayal you were subjected to in the past and why you despaired. But that rage, that lament, are undoubtedly things that those who pursued justice possesses. Kiritsugu, in your youth you should have wanted to be ‘a hero of justice’. You should have believed in and wanted to become a hero who saves the world more than anyone else – isn’t that so?”
Until now, the only attitudes Kiritsugu had shown to Saber were complete ignorance and cold scorn. But now, Kiritsugu, having heard Saber’s quiet questioning – the eyes that he fixed on his Servant showed other emotions for the first time.
It was a rage seemingly close to boiling over.
The sound of car exhaust disturbed the silence of dawn. Then, the small truck that Hisau Maiya drove entered the yard of the abandoned factory with bright headlights on. She should be here to take Kiritsugu back to Shinto after concluding her duty as a sniper.
Kiritsugu took his eyes off Saber and walked towards the small truck, not even turning around, and opened the passenger side door. Saber was still speaking to his back. There was something that she had to say no matter what.
“Kiritsugu… do you understand? If you commit evil due to your hatred of evil, at the end all that’s left will be evil. The rage and hatred that sprouted forth there will cause new wars once again.”
Faced with Saber’s heavy words, it was as if Kiritsugu had the intention to reply for the first time and wanted to turn around – however, he changed his mind at last, and said while staring at the empty air.
“I will stop the endless cycles. That’s why I need the Holy Grail.”
Indeed, as if talking to himself, he said loudly.
“I’ll use this miracle to complete the revolution of this world, the revolution of all human souls. I will make the blood shed within Fuyuki city as the final bloodshed of all human beings.
For that, even if I am to carry ‘all the evils of this world’ – it won’t matter. If that can save the world, then I’d gladly accept it.”
Kiritsugu spoke the decision in his heart with such a calmness and evenness that even Saber could not find any words to reply to him.
Even if his method and path were unendurably evil – his faith in seeking the Holy Grail was pure and selfless. She had to admit that if there was a Master in the war worthy of obtaining the Holy Grail, then he would undoubtedly be Emiya Kiritsugu.
Wordlessly, Saber watched the departure of the small truck that Kiritsugu rode. The first ray of dawn shone beside her. The dark night that made Fuyuki into a demonic realm had departed, and the streets once again put on the mask of ‘ordinary’ beneath the sunlight.
“Is Kiritsugu… gone already?”
Since Saber had the time to think about the oddities in the question, she was unable to immediately detect Irisviel’s strangeness.
That empty and wondering gaze, the pallid face, and the sweat pouring down from her forehead like a waterfall…
She was probably just forcing herself while she was beside her husband and pretended that there was nothing wrong. Irisviel fainted as soon as she relaxed, and collapsed as if she was a puppet cut loose from her strings.
Although Saber immediately moved up and held her, the strange heat coming from the slender body in her arms made her realize that Irisviel was already in a critical condition.
“Irisviel!? Hang on!”
From the resolute and bold way that Emiya Kiritsugu declared his determination so loudly that morning, it could be seen that they were truly words from his heart without any falsity.
But just what those incredible, ominous words meant at the end – Kiritsugu finally understood it clearly a few days later.
In a despair even deeper than despair.
In a regret even deeper than regret.
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