Fate/Zero:Act 14 Part 2
Emiya Kiritsugu was very sensitive to the scent of Death.
Perhaps it was because he had witnessed the deaths of others countless times. Death could not be seen, nor could it be heard. Nonetheless, he could still sense the silent descent of something unknown at the moment when life was waiting to disappear from the corporal body.
The times when he felt the ‘joy’ of that thing were definitely times when he must watch, helplessly, someone else’s final moments, with their lives already beyond saving.
Therefore, Kiritsugu felt despair and gave up the moment he stood in the silent underground storage.
He would definitely be witnessing someone else’s death again at this place.
Holding on to the gun tucked in at his waist, he carefully crept into the underground storage, its iron doors already smashed. There was no killing intent or any other scent of danger. There was only the air with the stench of blood permeating through it; the heat of battle had already cooled down.
There was a little figure curled up on the floor; the sound of her breathing was almost too faint to be heard. Unmoving, its gradually cooling body temperature was surprisingly nostalgic.
Because he had always known this scene would appear sooner or later.
He had saved this girl’s life, but her heart had already been dead the moment she met Kiritsugu. This girl, who had fortunately remained alive after her baptism of bullets and gunpowder, felt not happy, but confused at her good luck.
She could no longer feel any meaning or joy in the fact that she was living as a human again.
So she would return the life that had been saved to the master who gave this gift of life to her – with her eyes closed, it almost seemed the girl was telling Kiritsugu that. It was a meeting eleven years ago.
Kiritsugu also accepted her conclusion as such.
He had known with a certain premonition that this girl would die in the near future. Kiritsugu had killed his own father and foster mother with his own hands. Therefore, he knew clearly that this girl standing beside him would soon also step onto the road of no return.
But even so, the more tools he could use the better. One day she would lose her value and be discarded; it would be a rather happy ending if she could actually manage to save the lives of two or more people… Kiritsugu gifted this girl with a name, a nationality, and taught her the skills and knowledge he possessed. That was the first beginning of Hisau Maiya, this person whose final destiny had already been decided.
Therefore, there was no need to sigh or feel loss here – this was the logical, unquestionable end.
He took Maiya’s body into his arms. Slowly, she opened her eyes. Her empty gaze wandered around until she recognized Kiritsugu’s face.
Not knowing what to say to her, Kiritsugu bit his lip in confusion.
Words of gratitude or comfort have no real effect. If he were to say anything with meaning to her at this moment, it would be to tell her the conclusion, ‘you will die here’.
Tell her that she has no tasks left, no need to be troubled any more.
If he simply regarded her as a tool to be used, Kiritsugu would definitely be able to say those things.
However, no sound could come out of his dry throat. He just stood there dazedly, his lips spasming.
“… No. You can’t cry…”
Kiritsugu didn’t notice the tears welling up in his eyes, threatening to fall out of the corners until Maiya pointed them out.
“You… need to save your tears for madam… if you cry here. No… you, are really weak. If you… start to cry now. No way…”
He must have made some fatal error; Kiritsugu only felt that acutely now.
Functioning as a tool, thinking that even such a fate was acceptable at the end – just as Emiya Kiritsugu had always done, he had always thought the same of Hisau Maiya.
However, towards such a Kiritsugu, she spoke these words.
Shouldn’t there have been other ways for her to live or die?
“This morning. You finally… returned to the Kiritsugu of the past… if you waver over such a small matter. No…”
True. At this same place, he had embraced a different woman and understood the path he should walk in his life.
Just a moment’s wavering could overturn his belief.
The correct method could achieve an impossible miracle.
He reminded himself thus. It had been only half a day.
“ – Maiya, rest assured.”
Kiritsugu said in a suppressed voice as he stared into Maiya’s eyes, which were gradually losing their light.
“Trust Saber with everything. Maiya, your task… is complete.”
Although she had lost her value, the machine that was Emiya Kiritsugu still needed to keep functioning without error. Kiritsugu promised her that.
So there was no need for her to keep holding on.
No need to keep suffering pain, no need to keep thinking; she could let everything go.
Hearing this incompatibly cold declaration, Hisau Maiya softly nodded her head.
No words of correction or refusal would ever be voiced again. What lay in Kiritsugu’s arms was already an ice-cold corpse.
Rider’s escape was evidently in Shinto’s direction.
Saber kept seeing Rider’s back appearing on top of apartment buildings and billboards; perhaps it was because the latter was jumping from one vantage point to another. Maybe he did not deliberately hide his movements due to his total disregard for Saber’s pursuing speed on foot.
If so, then he had excessively underestimated his enemy.
With completely opened throttle valves and Saber’s rising fighting spirit, the ferocious two-wheeled beast let out a courageous roar. The rumbling of the V-style four-cylinder 1400cc engine was like that of an iron-cast lion – the crazed bellowing of the giant carnivore violently shook the silence of the night.
The mechanical tool Emiya Kiritsugu had prepared wasn’t four-wheeled, but two-wheeled, perhaps to maximize Saber’s Riding skill. Compared to ‘controllable’ automobiles, which had the driver in a seat while constrained by safety belts, it was easier to control balance if the driver became a part of the vehicle itself. A Servant’s reinforced skills could only be maximized by ‘Riding’ a motorcycle, with the driver’s body exposed to the elements outside.
Of course, provided that it would be used by a Servant, an existence beyond ordinary humans, it wouldn’t matter if the motorcycle’s functions ignored the limits of normal drivers. It was originally a ridiculously impractical and hypothetical motorcycle design, but Kiritsugu actually managed to make this design a reality.
The basic body of the motorcycle was the Yamaha V-Max, the most powerful in the modern world. The characteristics of the original 1200cc 140 Horsepower engine, which could already work near its limits, were strengthened again. Moreover, the acceleration system had been completely reinforced, making it a monstrous abnormality with an output equal to 250 Horsepower. That was the silver stallion Saber was now riding.
Of course, the two-wheeled design could no longer be expected to function properly after various extreme reinforcements. The wheels had too much torque and could not generate enough friction with the road; they could only keep turning. The front wheel would jump up whenever the brakes were applied and could throw off the driver immediately.
Saber was steering this monstrous, physically uncontrollable steed perfectly and galloping at full speed. The secret to controlling this motorcycle so willfully lay in her battle skills, which she always took pride in, and the enormous power of her prana bursts. The prana burst throbbing out of Saber’s back urged the crazed vehicle to race along the road, using its entire horsepower on acceleration.
Rather than using skill, it was more like using even more power to overwhelm the vicious beast. For Saber, who was short in stature, she could only control this 300-odd-kilogram, super heavily reinforced motorcycle in a precarious driving position. Saber was practically lying flat on top of the engine, which was covered by a plastic turbopump, and was forced to bear the powerful vibrations of the large engine while she held onto the steering. The pose was like a child desperately clinging onto the back of a beast.
However, this trial wasn’t particularly painful for Saber. The more untameable this iron beast, the more excited and vigorous she felt.
The feeling she had when driving the Mercedes-Benz was nothing compared to this current feeling of breakneck gallop. Yes. This really felt like riding a horse.
Although she was driving a creation of modern technology, her spirit had already returned to memorable battlefields of the past – she had regained the spirit of chivalry from a time when she had held her lance and charged towards the enemy formation.
“If I keep up this speed, then maybe –”
The distance between her and Rider became larger. That was the difference between the paths of jumping on top of buildings and merely driving on roads.
However, there was no need to feel anxious. It was true that a Servant’s dexterity was far above that of the V-Max in terms of maximum acceleration and maximum speed. However, this iron beast could maintain its speed as long as there was fuel left. If she was expecting a drawn-out pursuit, then the motorcycle would be very advantageous.
The streets of Miyama-chou were huge obstacles for the party pursuing on land. Moreover, this V-max, which had been completely revamped to achieve the ultimate acceleration, was not any different from those cars modified to compete in high-speed short and straight courses; it had almost no dexterity. However, a Servant’s superior skills overturned even the physical rule of ‘vehicles can’t turn corners at high speed’. This rule had no meaning before her.
Saber had completely mastered the machine’s characteristics. She didn’t slow down when she turned, but instead opened the throttle valves and poured all the excess torque into the back wheel. The moment the front wheel drifted up due to the intense acceleration and threatened to topple the turning vehicle sideways, Saber used the explosive force of prana bursts to forcibly tilt the vehicle to the side and complete the turn. It was like she was using a mighty and overwhelming blow to twist the direction of the vehicle.
Rider seemed to have passed Mion River and entered Shinto, and she couldn’t see his figure anymore. However, Saber did not panic, looking out over the night sky to search for the other’s whereabouts.
Rider should have known that Saber, who was already chasing him, wouldn’t give up easily. He currently could not turn into spiritual form to hide – not with Irisviel in his arms. There were only two choices for Rider once he entered Shinto. One was to hide somewhere to avoid Saber’s pursuit, and the other was to drag out the distance between himself and Saber using . Based on Rider’s personality, Saber believed he would choose the latter option. Therefore, she didn’t need to be anxious about losing him for the moment. The flying Noble Phantasm, , would emit large amounts of prana, and therefore wouldn't pass undetected by Saber.
"The problem is that it’s disadvantageous to follow on ground –”
It would be better if she could predict his destination as soon as she spotted and get there before him. Rather than a competition of driving skills, this was in fact a test of the pursuer’s sensitivity and hunting skills.
Everyone on the road was staring at this roaming V-Max that kept overtaking vehicles before it with a stunning speed. Saber completely ignored their looks and focused all of her concentration on the nemesis above her. She could detect obstacles blocking her path through changes in air flow. She wouldn’t hit anything even if she closed her eyes.
“– Found him!”
Saber’s senses, like the keen sight of a wild beast, detected the prana disturbances in the sky. As if to avoid being noticed by ordinary humans, did not emit its thunderous noise, and its speed also appeared to have slowed. However, this feeling was undoubtedly caused by the prana disturbances created by Rider’s Noble Phantasm.
The location was towards the east. He may have been planning to escape from Fuyuki through Shinto.
Saber thought he was probably pushing his luck. If so, she could fully exploit the machine’s acceleration using the broad national highway.
After passing through the bridge in one go and arriving on the six-lane road, Saber bravely opened the throttle valves even wider and urged the V-max forwards.
Thanks to this reckless driver, the tachometer was already indicating over 6000 revolutions per minute – at that moment, the engine gave out a surprising sound.
The low rumbling sound of the engine, like that of angry waves, suddenly changed into a deafening and violent high-pitched noise. The sound was even madder, ferociously ripping apart the quietness of the night sky. The acceleration from just a moment ago was incomparable to what it was now.
The near-flight speed turned Saber and her motorcycle into a soaring bullet, and the surrounding night scene whooshed past like comets.
That was the moment when the true prana hiding within that iron beast woke. Being a design that utilized the most advanced modern technology, the structure of the V-style propelling mechanism, the four-cylinder design could immediately start to work as a two-cylinder design when the limit of engine rotation was reached and increase the amount of air sucked in to achieve an ultimate acceleration. This was the unique design of the V-max. Originally, a machine using two cylinders would never have such a structure, but this design had already completely surpassed the limits of a motorcycle.
As she endured the air friction that was starting to approach the force of water pressure, Saber hung on to the body of the motorcycle with all her strength - and yet couldn’t help but give a peerless smile.
This motorcycle had already surpassed the basic rule of a machine; that is, the limit of ‘machines are tools of men’. This was an alien creation born through advanced modern technology. That loneliness and sadness made her feel a similarity that surpassed sympathy.
Only an inhuman Servant could let this machine show its true worth. This motorcycle must have obtained life just for Saber to ride it that night.
“– Alright, then you can gallop until you burn yourself out!”
Saber roared loudly in the bellowing wind, and opened the throttle valves even wider.
The speedometer was already over 300 kilometers per hour, and it was still increasing slowly.
The brilliance of the flood lights no longer seemed like a light that belonged to the ground; it could almost illuminate the sky.
“Rider. Hey, she… couldn’t have caught up with us, right?”
Waver was the first to notice the situation and pointed under the driver’s seat with his hand. Rider gave a downward glance towards the direction his Master was pointing at and lifted his eyebrows, rather surprised.
“Huh? I was just wondering who it might be, and it turned out to be Saber. Then I can be saved of the trouble of finding her… Say, kid, are those motorcycles things that fast?”
“That’s… a motorcycle??”
Waver’s sight only registered it as a bright dot. That didn’t seem like the kind of motorcycle speed he could comprehend with his normal logic, even if he exhausted his entire brain.
“No, that’s impossible… however, it is definitely possible through Saber’s skills. If we think this way, then perhaps…”
“Hmph, she dares to challenge me, who possesses the mighty title of Rider.”
Rider gave off a ferocious smile as if satisfied.
“Haha, this is so interesting. Since she’s caught up with us, we don’t need to go into that weird forest anymore… If this is the case, then I’ll have one heck of a good fight with her.”
Rider grasped the divine bulls’ reins and suddenly slowed the war chariot’s speed.
“Hey, are we landing?!”
“I changed my mind. I have decided to battle that little girl with ordinary ‘wheels’. There’s still a long way to go to get through the forest in front of us, right? This will be the most ideal battleground!”
Waver originally wanted to complain about why he would want to give away his positional advantage in the sky and fall into Saber's trap. However, Waver remembered the power of he had seen the day before yesterday. Based on the characteristics of Saber’s Noble Phantasm, the further away they were from her, the more dangerous it would get. It would probably be safer to have a close-range melee battle that could limit the destructive power of the enemy’s Noble Phantasm.
“Alright, then that’s decided. You should be careful!”
“Hahaha! Kid, you’ve finally understood the exquisite taste of battle. Don’t worry! Nothing in heaven and on earth can hinder me in my path!”
Fortunately, there were no ordinary vehicles on the national highway at the moment. Although the meandering tarmac mountain road wasn’t very suitable for battle, they didn’t need to worry about hurting innocent bystanders.
finally landed 200 meters in front of Saber, who was coming nearer and nearer, and proudly proceeded on the road to prepare for the ensuing attack from its challenger.
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