Fate/Zero:Act 1 Part 3

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-282:14:41[edit]

At the same time, at the far away land of the east across the sea, another person is receiving the same report by the spy in England as Kiritsugu.

Being a legitimate magus, Tōsaka Tokiomi would not resort to using the new technology of the vulgar world like Kiritsugu. He is adept at using the Tōsaka family's exclusive secret technique of communicating over long distances, a jewel magic passed down through the generations.

Towering in Miyama-chou of Fuyuki is the Tōsaka mansion. In Tokiomi's workshop set up below ground, an installment of experimental equipment similar to what is commonly known as the black pendulum was prepared. The difference between common physics experimental equipment and this is that, this pendulum's massive bob contains a magic jewel of the Tōsaka heirloom, and it was constructed so the ink flowing down from the string can moisten the jewel.

The rock paired with the jewel of this pendulum is currently in the possession of Tōsaka's spy. If this rock was placed in front of a roller and start writing, the matching pendulum's jewel would start to undulate, the ink dripping down would write perfect and errorless text on the Rollin paper underneath. That's the type of structure it was.

Right now the jewel on the pendulum and the rock on the other side of the globe in London are undulating in sync, and through watching this strange repetitive motion without a pattern, the reporter's writing began to smoothly and accurately resurface.

Tokiomi, noticing this occurrence, picked up the paper without waiting for the ink to completely dry and began browsing what was recorded on it.

"— No matter how many times I look at this setup it always make me feel like it's unreliable."

Kotomine Kirei, who's been standing guard off to the side all this time, expressed unscrupulous sentiments.

"Oh, so do you think fax is more convenient?

If this method was used, even if the power was out, there won't be any breakdowns. There's also no need to worry about the report being divulged. Without the need to rely on new technology, us magi have long ago possessed apparatus not inferior to modern tools today."

Even so, as Kirei sees it, fax that can be used by anyone is more convenient. 'Anyone' can use it... this inevitability is definitely something that Tokiomi cannot comprehend. It's perfectly reasonable that the techniques and knowledge of aristocrats and commoners are different... even in the present, Tokiomi still bears this outdated mode of thinking; he is truly a legitimate 'magus.'

"The latest report from the 'Clock Tower.' The 'prodigy' Lord El-Melloi seems to have obtained a lost relic. If that's the case, then it is confirmed that he will be participating. Hmph, this is truly a thorny opponent. So it's clear, there are now five Masters including myself..."

"It really makes me worry that there's still two positions empty until even now."

"Why, it simply means that there are no suitable bearers for the Command Seals. When time is running out, the Grail will randomly fill the seven slots regardless of quality. For the sake of having enough people, there should be two small characters. There's no need to be alert."

That's really suited to Tokiomi's optimism. Having been his student for three years, Kirei now understands his master very well. Although he's very thorough in preparation, he has a habit of missing small details once in action, and taking care of these small details in his stead is probably his responsibility; Kirei has long since understood this.

"But speaking of being careful - Kirei, nobody saw you as you entered this house, right? In appearance, we're already enemies."

Completely according to Tōsaka Tokiomi's plan, the reality was twisted and announced. Kirei, who had been chosen by the Grail three years ago, carefully hid the insignia on his right hand according to Tokiomi's order, all the way up until this month before he announced the fact that the Command Seal is present on his hand. From that moment on, he severed his ties with Tokiomi as a contender for the Grail.

"No need to worry. Regardless of being able to see or not, there are no familiars or spells surveying this house. I —"

"— I guarantee that."

The voice of the third person cut in and, at the same time, a black shadow appeared beside Kirei.

The Heroic Spirit that's been accompanying Kirei in spirit form all this time has, at this moment, appeared in front of Tokiomi.

That skinny and tall shadow has a great difference in prana compared to humans. He's 'something inhuman.' A strange one wearing a long black cloak and a white skull-like mask to shield his features.

Yes, he is the first Heroic Spirit to be summoned in the fourth Heaven's Feel, the Servant "Assassin" who made a contract with Kotomine Kirei — Hassan-i Sabbāh.

"No matter what tricks they play, they cannot hide it from my eyes, the eyes of the Heroic Spirit of Subterfuge, Hassan. My Master, Kirei, does not have any aura of being followed by an enemy around him... you can relax."

As if understanding Tokiomi's position was higher than that of his own master Kotomine Kirei, Assassin politely reported with a bow.

And then Kirei said,

"As soon as a Grail-summoned Heroic Spirit appears, no matter which Class it belongs to, it would definitely be reported to father accurately and without error."

Father Risei was the supervisor of the Heaven's Feel, appointed as the head priest of and dispatched to the Fuyuki Church. Currently, he is in possession of a magical device known as the "spirit board." It has the function of displaying the attributes of the Heroic Spirits summoned by the Grail.

The identity of Masters can only be confirmed by reports from people, but the quantity and Class of appearing Servants, no matter where they are summoned, will definitely be displayed on the "spirit board," to grant the supervisor better control of the situation.

"According to my father, my Assassin is the only Servant to have been summoned so far. Other magi taking action is still yet to come."

"Yeah. But this is only a matter of timing. Sooner or later, there will be familiars of other Masters coming and going around this room. Because here and the Matō mansion, as well as Einzbern's dwelling, are already confirmed locations of Masters."

Compared to the three imperial families, the advantage of foreign magi is that their place of concealment is unknown to others. Because of this, during the early stages of the Heaven's Feel, no matter what family it is, they will use spies for reconnaissance.

It's not like Kirei distrusts Tokiomi's information network, it's just that they have to be on guard for the possibility that the remaining two mystery Masters are using wise measures to conceal themselves. If facing against an opponent with this kind of strategy, Kirei's Servant Assassin can utilize his powers to the greatest limit.

"You may leave. Assassin, continue keeping watch outside. Be very cautious."

"Understood."

Receiving Kirei's command, Assassin once again assumed spirit form and left the room. For a Servant who is a spiritual entity to begin with, it is possible to shift freely between spirit form and physical form.

Assassin has the special ability of "Presence Concealment" that other Classes do not possess. He is unrivaled in concealed movement and tracking.

To Kirei, whose responsibility is not to pursue victory but to provide backup for Tokiomi, summoning Assassin was the best choice.

That is the battle plan.

First, let Kirei's Assassin go around thoroughly investigating the battle stratagem of other Masters and their Servants' weaknesses. After obtaining a method of certain victory against each enemy in this manner, Tokiomi's Servant will then be used to defeat each one accordingly.

Because of this, Tokiomi must summon a Servant possessing great offensive abilities. As for which Heroic Spirit he has his eye on, Kirei never heard him mention this.

"The holy relic I prepared will arrive tomorrow morning."

As if understanding Kirei's doubts from his expression, Tokiomi said so without waiting for him to ask.

"I found what I was expecting. The Servant I will summon would certainly be advantageous against all of the enemies. If it is a Heroic Spirit, then it will have no chance of victory against this guy."

Tokiomi, being secretly happy in this manner; his face was brimming with the unrivaled confidence he was born with.

"The summoning ceremony will be held tonight -- if no other Masters are spying on us, Kirei, you can be present too, as well as your father."

"Father too?"

"Yes. If 'he' is successfully summoned, then our victory is assured. I want to share this happiness with everyone."

This sort of unconcealed haughty confidence shows what can be said to be Tōsaka Tokiomi's hereditary characteristic. Regarding his oversized ego, Kirei feels somewhat in awe, yet somewhat in admiration too.

Suddenly, Kirei noticed the pendulum's jewel. The jewel's movement on the Rollin paper did not cease, it was continuously writing.

"There seems to be more to come."

"Yeah, ah, this is the investigation regarding another matter. This isn't the latest information - it's probably regarding my request for him to investigate Einzbern's Master.

Information on the Einzbern family who's cut off all contact with the outside world is difficult to obtain even in London's Clock Tower, but Tokiomi has already mentioned before that there was a lead on that Master. Tokiomi rolled up the paper beside him and put it atop the writing table, then picked up the Rollin paper containing new text.

"...This was something that happened nine years ago. The Einzberns who have been proud of their bloodline's purity suddenly found a magus from the outside to be their son-in-law. This has even instigated much debate within the Association at the time, but the only one able to see the truth of this matter, other than me, would be the old head of the Matō household.

The magi of the Einzbern family who only excel in alchemy were not suited to combat since the start. This was also the contributing factor to their losses in the previous Heaven's Feel rituals. These people seem to have finally lost their patience.

This magus they found seems to really 'fit the requirements.'"

After browsing through the paper quickly while talking, Tokiomi passed the paper to Kirei. After seeing "Investigation report: Emiya Kiritsugu" as the title, Kirei's eyes narrowed slightly.

"This name... I've heard it somewhere before. Supposedly, this is a dangerous person."

"Oh, does the Holy Church also know of this? The 'Magus Killer' Emiya was really notorious at the time. Not belonging to the Association in appearance, but in fact was the Association's higher ups' killing tool."

"So in the words of the church, he would be a sort of Executor, right?"

"Even worse than that in nature. He is a freelancing assassin who underwent special training to kill magi. Because only magi are most comprehensive of other magi, he will use methods most incompatible with the rules of magi to kill other magi... he is the sort of man who will utilize despicable measures nonchalantly."

There was obvious hatred in Tokiomi's voice, yet Kirei began to bear interest for this man called Emiya Kiritsugu. He did hear rumors about this man; it seems he has opposed the Holy Church in the past, and there have been people who told Kirei to be very careful of this man.

Kirei began reading the information passed on to him. Most of what was recorded was an investigation regarding Emiya Kiritsugu's battle strategy - the cases of missing persons and accidents believed to be magi he killed; but mainly, it was an analysis of his methodology. While reading, Kirei began to gradually understand why Tokiomi hates this man. Ambush and assassination was only the tip of the iceberg.

Planting a bomb in public, striking down an airplane with many passengers on board; these were the type of unbelievable cases reported. It is also extrapolated that the tragedies of the past reported as major acts of terrorism were in fact the criminal acts of Emiya Kiritsugu for the sake of killing one magus. Although there is no convictive evidence, looking at the information given, it is a very believable story.

Assassin; that word is very befitting. Magi opposing each other to the point of killing each other, these scenarios are common. However, it is purely a competition of magecraft and usually decided through a series of processes that abide certain combat regulations. Saying it like that, the Heaven's Feel also belongs in this category; although called a 'war,' it is not a chaotic death match, but rather a series of strict rules and regulations exist.

There isn't even a single line of text recording Kiritsugu having undergone a battle like this, using the 'regulations of magi'.

"The thing called magus exists outside of human law to begin with, and that's all the more reason to strictly obey the rules of our own world."

Tokiomi said so, his calm voice seething with anger.

"But this man Emiya completely ignores all rules. He does not have a bit of pride as a magus. This kind of man is unforgivable."

"What you said was... pride?"

"Yes. Even this man surely underwent strict training as a magus.

If that's the case, then he certainly has the faith to overcome and surmount difficulties. It is impossible to forget his original intent and desire, even after attaining success."

"..."

What Tokiomi said is wrong. Submitting oneself to brutal training even without any intent whatsoever, this kind of idiot exists in this world. Regarding this, Kirei understands better than anyone.

"— So why did this Emiya Kiritsugu become a killing tool?"

"That... it's probably because of money. After going into the Einzbern family, he's washed himself clean. He's already obtained enough money as to not worry about it for the rest of his life, so that is only reasonable - it should be written on that report, that guy did more than just assassinations. He seems to have done other stuff around the world any chance he gets for some extra money."

It's just as Tokiomi says, nearing the end of the report, other than magi related incidents, there are lots of other experiences of Emiya Kiritsugu. So that's how it is, Kiritsugu can be placed in most of the conflicts going on around the world; he's not only a killing tool, but also did a lot of work as a mercenary.

"...This document, can I borrow it to read in detail?"

"Ah, sure. If you can analyze it in detail for me, then it would be a huge help. I'm still busy preparing for the summoning ritual tonight."


※※※※※


Kirei left the workshop in the basement and returned to the ground floor. In the hallway, he ran into a young girl battling with oversized luggage.

"Good afternoon, Rin."

Not wanting to especially entertain her, but merely greeting her normally. The girl stopped in her tracks and stared at Kirei with wide eyes. He has been in contact with Rin in this house for three years, yet the suspicion in the girl's eyes while regarding Kirei has not diminished.

"...Good afternoon. Kirei."

With a hardened voice, but still with the proper attitude, Rin returned Kirei's greeting. Although young, Rin already acts similar to her mother, her actions refined and ladylike. She's not just anyone, but rather Tōsaka Tokiomi's daughter. Being different from other students her age was perfectly natural.

"Going out? That luggage is huge."

"Yes. Starting today, we will go to grandpa's house for a bit. I'm even taking the cable car from that side to go to school."

Because the Heaven's Feel was imminent, Tokiomi decided to let his family temporarily live in the neighboring district--his mother-in-law's house.

The mother and daughter cannot be exposed to the battlefield, that is too dangerous. Of course these are reasonable arrangements.

But his daughter Rin seems to be very unsatisfied about this. Although her features are fine, her cute little mouth is puffed up, showing that she's unhappy. Although she's to be a future lady, no matter what, she's still just a kid. She can't be expected to totally act to that point.

"Kirei, you're staying with father to help him fight, right?"

"Yes, as his apprentice, this is what I should be doing."

Rin is not a clueless child. As the Tōsaka magi's successor, she has already received Tokiomi's expert teaching. Regarding the imminent Fuyuki Heaven's Feel, she is equipped with some degree of knowledge.

As to why she has to go to her grandpa's house, she can understand the legitimate reason. But, what she's unsatisfied about is--after she's gone, Kirei's the only one left in the Tōsaka house and could do whatever he wants.

Rin has extraordinary respect for her father Tokiomi. Precisely for this reason, as the successor, Rin's dislike for Kirei is probably because he became Tokiomi's student first, learning magecraft from him.

"Kirei, can I trust you? Will you protect father to the end? Will you promise me that?"

"That is impossible. If this war was benign enough for me to promise you that, then there would be no reason for you and your mother to get out of harm's way, right?"

Kirei is unwilling to speak empty words to comfort her, and thus plainly spoke the truth. But Rin's eyes became fiercer, glaring at her impudent and shameless apprentice elder.

"...As I thought, I don't like you one bit."

Only when speaking upsetting words befitting her age, that's when Kirei has a favorable impression of this girl.

"Rin, don't ever speak such impolite words in front of others again. Otherwise, you will put the moral character of your father in suspect."

"This has nothing to do with father!"

Seeing as even father has been pulled out as a shield; Rin's anger caused her face to turn a profuse red. This is exactly what Kirei hoped to see.

"Listen up Kirei! If father is hurt because of your errors, I will definitely not forgive you! I —"

At that moment, with what can be said to be the best possible timing, Aoi's shadow appeared. Already done with her preparations, but because Rin didn't come, she came to check out the situation.

"Rin! What are you doing? With such a loud voice!"

"— Ah, that is, I —"

"Before her departure, she came to give me encouragement, lady."

Kirei pretended to be calm and purposely helped Rin, but Rin became even angrier. But she can't say anything in front of her mother, so she turned to leave.

"I'll help you with the luggage. Rin, that case is way too heavy for you."

"No! I can do it myself!"

Rin pulled at the box even more vigorously than before, and because of this mired into an even fiercer battle with the case, but despite everything, finally got it out the door. Kirei knows that acting this way would be very unlike a mature adult, but he still wanted to laugh at Rin whenever he had the chance to.

Aoi, who remained, gave Kirei a very respectful bow.

"Kotomine-san, I'll leave my husband in your hands. Please help him realize his wish."

"I will do my best, please don't worry."

The way Kirei sees it, Tōsaka Aoi is the perfect wife. Solemn and discreet, meticulous, understanding of her husband and never interfering, regarding loyalty as higher than love and has respect for duty - in short, she's the model of the perfect wife and mother from older times. In an era where the feminist movement has begun to soak through society, she's like a character carved from stone. Tokiomi has really picked a person most compatible with himself as his spouse.

Kirei stood at the door to see the mother and daughter off with his eyes, leaving not with a taxi, but a private car with Aoi at the steering wheel. Not only the chauffeur, but even all the servants, starting last week, have all been laid off. It is done to prevent from bringing harm to the innocent, and also as a kind of careful tactic against espionage. Tokiomi wasn't cautious enough to keep up his guard even against his servants; this suggestion was Kirei's, and Tokiomi was half forced to carry out this act.

Before the car left, Rin was shielded from her mother's eyes and stuck out her tongue at Kirei, making a face. Kirei laughed bitterly and saw them off with his eyes, then returned to the now empty mansion.


※※※※※


Tokiomi has not yet left the basement workshop. Kirei, being the sole occupant of the otherwise empty living room, began to thoroughly read through the report regarding Emiya Kiritsugu.

He didn't understand why he had such intense interest in this strange magus he didn't even know. Perhaps it's because he derives some sort of feeling of pleasure from the loathing placed onto this man by his teacher Tokiomi.

The relationship of teacher and student maintained for three years in this house has always had a sense of satire about it.

As a teacher, Tokiomi cannot nitpick on Kirei's concentration in learning and speedy comprehension; originally a holy servant who detests magecraft, yet he has immense interest in all thaumaturgical fields. Kirei's use of what can be called 'a greedy desire for knowledge' to learn everything makes Tokiomi happy. Now Tokiomi's trust for Kirei is completely unshakable, even to the point of making his only daughter Rin show respect for Kirei as an elder apprentice.

But compared to Tokiomi's increasingly profound friendship, Kirei's heart became more and more desolate.

For Kirei, he's not studying magecraft because he likes it. Leading a long, pious life in the church, yet ending up with nothing in return; because of that, Kirei bet all his hopes on the new study which has exact opposite values to that of the church, that is all. But the result was a complete disaster. In the world of pursuing magecraft, Kirei did not find any enjoyment, nor did he gain any satiety. Quite the opposite, it seems to have lengthened the radius of the empty hole in his heart.

Tokiomi doesn't seem to have noticed Kirei's disappointment at all. The assessment of 'the same type of person as my father Risei' is completely correct. Tokiomi's appraisal of and trust for Kirei is exactly the same as Risei's.


There's always an uncrossable line between himself and people like his father and Tokiomi. Kirei understood this completely, and so that's probably why he has such interest for a character Tokiomi detests.

He thought, maybe this man Emiya Kiritsugu exists on 'the other side of the line.'.

Tokiomi's caution against Emiya Kiritsugu seems to be purely against his title of 'Magus Killer', so this investigation report created at the request of Tokiomi focused on 'his personal history of battles against magi', any other record not on this topic was rather simplistic.

But, looking at this man Kiritsugu's experiences in chronological order, Kirei began to gradually gain a belief.

This man's actions contain a high level of risk.

In the era of freelancing assassination before he was taken in by the Einzberns as their son-in-law, Kiritsugu expertly completed countless missions. But the pause between missions was clearly too short. Considering the time he has for preparation and accepting missions, the only possible conclusion is that he is simultaneously executing several plans. And these plans are all parallel; he appears in the conflicts of various areas, and always when the conflict is the most heated, at the point of destruction.

As if he was suicidal, as if he had some sort of sickness driving him... the principle behind his actions is clearly self-destruction.

This can be said without question. This man Kiritsugu does not have a selfish heart, the risks of his actions and profiting from them do not match. It's impossible that he's the kind of freelancing assassin with money as the intent.

Then — what does he seek?

"..."

Unconsciously, Kirei put the report aside, propped his lower jaw on his hand, and sunk into deep thought. This man Emiya Kiritsugu has a turbulent life inconceivable by others, but Kirei doesn't see it as unrelated to himself.

A magus without pride, a man who lost his belief, Tokiomi assessed him as thus.

If that's the truth, Kiritsugu's intense experiences, as if seeking destruction... or can it be said as a journey of seeking a long lost answer?

Then, the curtain on Kiritsugu's continuous battles fell suddenly nine years ago. That's because through continuous searching, he met with the Einzbern magi seeking victory in the Heaven's Feel in the northern lands.

That is to say, at that moment, he obtained his 'answer.'

Right now, Kirei anxiously anticipates his meeting with Emiya Kiritsugu. He has finally found the significance of his participation in the Fuyuki battle.

Even now, he has no interest in the Grail. But, if Kiritsugu broke a nine-year silence for it, Kirei has just gained the significance of coming here to participate in this fight which can dispel all difficulties.

He must ask this man. 'What is it that you are seeking that you would participate in this battle... what do you obtain from it in the end?'

Kotomine Kirei will confront Emiya Kiritsugu no matter what. Even if it's on a battlefield where both sides wager life and death.


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