Fate/Zero:Act 4 Part 4
A black curtain was drawn across this space.
Not empty darkness, but viscous and condensed. Like fetid decaying matter, this darkness surpassed the limit of black.
The dense, nauseating smell of blood emanated out. The weak moans and cries that can be heard everywhere allowed one to sense the terrifying atmosphere. At the moment, the curtain of darkness that closed off all sight may instead be a screen full of mercy.
In such a darkness, there was a sphere that shone with a white light like the full moon viewed from beneath the water surface.
It was a crystal globe the size of a ball of yarn. The translucent, faint light came from the images floating within it.
Rubbles piled like mountains. A desolate nightscape. Yet this scenario was not present at the beginning. The current image of complete destruction was not present twenty minutes ago as it was simply emptiness. Behind its back, the crystal ball projected and recorded every detail.
Also, the two VIPs who saw all of the fighting. The dim light from the crystal ball illuminated the pair’s faces as both of their visages expressed unusual joy at the sight of destruction.
“Impressive! Truly impressive!!”
A happy demonic killer that stepped into this extraordinary world with an astronomical rarity - Uryū Ryūnosuke. His slanted eyes sparkled with a childishly innocent smile, and began to cheer.
“Sir Bluebeard, everything that happened was real, right? Awesome! This isn’t just some video game platform!”
Due to the random chance of signing a contract with the Servant Caster, Ryūnosuke has since turned away from his daily routine and became ever stranger. He greedily sought excitement and pleasurable entertainment and treated the battle that had just happened as a supreme entertainment feast.
“So, this is the Heaven’s Feel? Sir, will you participate in this battle as well? Will you, sir, like the people we just saw fly in the air and shine?”
Caster did not respond but instead stared at the crystal ball passionately. Within the nightscape displayed in the crystal stood a petite figure. As if a ghost possessed him, Caster gaped blankly at her silhouette.
At the beginning of the monitoring of the battle on the storage street, Caster was in that intense state. He paid no attention to his master Ryūnosuke’s excitement nor did he care about the other Heroic Spirits. Only staring at one person.
Sterling silvery armor covered her fair and slender body; beautiful blonde hair flew like golden sand. The young woman, a Saber class Heroic Spirit invited from among the seven Servants.
Her body is most petite, yet she is the bravest and most majestic. No matter forced into what sort of trouble she showed no fear and firmly confronted her opponents. Caster cannot remove his sight from Saber; it was impossible for him to do so. Because that faraway reminiscent figure and the aura of nobility diffusing from her profile was precisely the illusion that Caster toiled for across time.
Ryūnosuke saw the face of Caster, who was silent from the beginning and lapsed into silence.
It was then he noticed the gaunt, pallid face was stained by tears of pure elation.
“…it has come true..”
Caster, overcame with excitement, whispered gently.
“…Everything has come true. I once thought …it was impossible. Yet the Grail is truly all-powerful…”
“It has come true? What, what?”
What? It was a question Ryūnosuke must ask. Caster’s exulted expression meant that something extraordinary has happened, while the reason for it left him puzzled even after thinking deeply.
“The Grail chose me!”
It was as if Caster cannot see the inquiry within his master’s eyes. He grabbed Ryūnosuke’s hand and shook it fervently, wishing to share with him his happiness.
“We do not need to go through with a battle, but we have already obtained victory. Yes. The Grail is already in our hands.”
“Yet I …I haven’t seen it, nor have I touched this supposed “Grail”!”
“That’s beside the point.”
Caster declared as his eyes widened and he pointed at the young woman reflected within the crystal ball.
“Do you see that? She told me it. That august expression, her divine figure … she must be “her,” the one destined to change my fate!”
Ryūnosuke furrowed his brows, repeatedly studying the figure in the crystal ball. The young man or woman, clad in period-style armour, whether it be a young man or woman has a rare beauty enough to rival Caster in modern Japan.
“…Do you know her?”
“I do know her. She is my light. She guided me forward. She gave me life. She is the purpose of my very existence…”
Caster, choked with emotions, placed his head in his hands and continued.
“She was once abandoned by God, annihilated in disgrace. But now, she has been resurrected. It’s a miracle! It was because of my faithful wishes that allowed her to be reborn!”
Ryūnosuke had no idea what was going on, but he could understand the man whom he admired, Bluebeard’s current state of delight. Also, though he and Blueheard have not been together for very long, Bluebeard can always reveal impressive ideas even at times of great distress. A new challenger to the world, a murderer – the strange man whom Ryūnosuke worshipped was a sadistic artist.
Therefore, to Ryūnosuke, Caster Bluebeard’s happiness – whatever may have happened to him must be a good thing and certainly worth anticipating.
“For some strange reason, I’m beginning to get excited as well, Sir Bluebeard.”
Caster shook his hair loose as he simultaneously wept and cried. He clasped the crystal tightly with both hands as he pressed his forehead against its icy surface, his frenzied eyes staring at the face of the young woman.
“Oh… maiden, my holy chaste virgin… I will be with you soon. No matter what, please wait for me…”
The wet, snakelike smile lingered in the darkness.
After watching the story unfold, Kotomine Kirei ordered his Assassin to return from the field, and ceased his shared perception.
As Kotomine ceased his ability and stopped the smell of winds blowing over the sea and the sense of assessing the battlefield, he returned to the basement of the church.
Kotomine Risei appeared out of nowhere as he stood next to Kirei. It was as if he was listening to Kirei report to Tokiomi about the battle. As soon as the battle ended, Kirei assumed his position as regulator, rapidly giving orders with his cellphone.
“…Mion district. Yes, the streets and storage next to the sea. Massive damage…Ah, ah. Alright. Mobilize the city rangers to clean up the battlefield…Use Plan D…I’ll be depending on you for the on-site identifications…”
They have previously made arrangements with the police and the local government. Maybe on tomorrow's morning paper a completely distorted and glossed-over report on the tragic scene of the warehouses will appear.
As he eyed his father from a corner of his eye, Kirei begins his analysis of the people who appeared in tonight’s battle.
The Clock Tower’s elite magus, El-Melloi, has lost Alexander’s artifact, of which he once possessed.
Tokiomi’s spy had also once reported this. Alexander entered the Grail war as a Rider-class Servant, and his young Master seemed to be unusually connected with Lancer’s Master.
But – there is no doubt that Lancer’s Master is El-Melloi. After Alexander’s artifact had been stolen by a young man named Waver, he must have obtained the Heroic Spirit Diarmuid’s artifact.
When Matō summoned Berserker, Zōken had reported the event to his father. At the moment, neither Kirei nor Tokiomi paid much attention to it. However, they had not anticipated Servant Berserker’s immense powers or his exceptional ability of harnessing an opponent’s Noble Phantasm. He was a natural opponent for Tokiomi’s Gilgamesh.
In order for the battle to swing in Tokiomi’s favor…The other Servants must first defeat Berserker. This task is best accomplished by Lancer. Diarmond’s Noble Phantasm, Gáe Dearg, is the best artifact to nullify Berserker.
Caster and his Master remains a riddle as they have not yet appeared. But considering the class of Caster, there was nothing surprising. Other than Berserker, all the other Servants have already exposed their true names. In addition, the large threats Saber and Berserker also lost their respective battles. Especially Saber, whose wound will affect latter matches greatly. Gilgamesh displayed his Noble Phantasms with great fanfare and placed himself at a disadvantage, yet he did not expose his true name. Also, no one noticed the fact that Assassin was still alive. Thus, judging from the current situation, Tokiomi was still at a great advantage.
Kirei calmly calculated as he organized, but there was not one shred of excitement within his heart.
According to the wishes of the church, Tōsaka Tokiomi is to obtain the ultimate victory. Kirei’s mission is to help Tokiomi achieve that goal. He does not see many obstacles towards it. It was a mission without any real anticipation. It was also the conclusion of everything in the past three years.
Kirei tensed. A shadow silently came up, next to him. Someone, a woman wearing a skull mask and garbed entirely in black; it was Assassin who was responsible for reconnaissance near the storage street.
“… What is it?”
“Reporting. I have located something strange outside of the church.”
Assassin respectfully handed the corpse of a bat. Though the head has been twisted and broken, it was slightly warm – suggesting it hasn’t died for too long.
“Yes. Though it is outside the bounded field, but it is obvious that it was placed there to monitor the church.”
Assassin’s conclusion was unthinkable. The church is neutral in the Grail war and is not to be challenged. If anyone dares to interfere in the affairs of the church, the regulator can choose to punish them by decrease Command Seals or to temporarily suspend the ability to battle.
There is no reason to risk such a great amount to monitor the church. Unless –
The story that Kirei has lost Assassin and is now under the protection of the church…Already is a Master doubting the validity of the event?
He picked up the corpse of the bat from Assassin’s hand. Kirei fixed his sight on a strange object as he noticed that on the stomach of the bat there were small electronic parts taped onto it. A button-sized battery and … seemingly wireless CCD miniature camera.
If the bat was a familiar from a magus, it must have been a strange combination. Kirei knew that most magi scorned and ignored the worldly technologies. His teacher right now, Tokiomi, was one such man. This magus, on the other hand, not only uses magical sight but also uses machines to record everything. This is not something that a normal magus will even consider.
“… completely indiscriminating in their methods. Completely unaware of the pride as a magus…”
Like a lightning bolt, Tokiomi’s words flashed in the mind of Kotomine Kirei as he remembered his mentor’s words.
Kirei cannot deduct the magus who did this, or why he might have done this. He stared at the body of the little animal for a long time. In his heart, the answer to this riddle was more meaningful than tonight’s battle between five Servants.
Lift the iron top of the entrance, move it aside – such simple affairs also required almost an hour. To the haggard Matō Kariya, it was tenuous work even if he put all of his strength into it.
At last, Kariya pried a crack as the lid slide aside and the refreshing air flowed into the disgusting sewers. During this short moment, Kariya felt reinvigorated. Utilizing all of his strength, he pushed the manhole cover aside and slowly crawled up like a caterpillar. There was not a single person on the streets. In the silence of the night, no one noticed Kariya’s shadow.
It was the same street that the Servants battled over. It was only three streets away from the four-lane road.
Kariya was different from the other magi. He was only a skimmer magus – lacking the formal training and learning of a real magus, he was like a student who just went to cram school. He was not like the others and does not share their arrogance or their carelessness. On the other hand, however, he does not have the confidence when confronting other magi. Add the fact that his Servant was Berserker…even if he wanted to command Berserker at his side…
Berserker will never listen to his commands.
Thus, it was probably better to allow Berserker to wildly lob bombs at his opponents. Let him rage. Kariya decided to first protect himself as he observed the events from a safe location.
Kariya detected the scent of Lancer as he chased the Heroic Spirit to that location. As the battle began, he decided to not expose himself. Sending out “sight worms” obtained from Zōken, he hid in the sewers and observed the battle from underground.
Trying for a long time to stabilize his breathing, Kariya collapsed on his back on the freezing asphalt.
Blood covered his body. Most of his capillaries have exploded. Blood slowly flowed non-stop from the cracked parts of his skin.
A long time ago, Kariya once saw the victim of a nuclear power plant explosion struggle against disease. Right now, his appearance and situation was no different than the victim prior to his death. His body of flesh has already been destroyed. But there are Crest Worms spread across Kariya’s body. Its magecraft extended his lifespan and allowed him to wiggle.
Kariya cannot believe that his body was reduced to this state. When he supplied prana to Berserker, he felt as if the worms had already devoured his entire body.
Merely one battle and he has turned into this.
The backlash and responsibility for controlling Berserker was far beyond what Kariya can handle. In addition, Berserker is completely ignorant of Kariya’s orders – he was like a bloodthirsty beast.
As soon as he lets go, Berserker will butcher everything it sees, and it will not stop until all of its prana is spent. If the battle had continued for much longer, all would have been lost. Kariya would be drained into a dry husk by the worms as he would have been forced to supply more prana – more than his body would ever be able to handle.
To Kariya, the battle among Servants was truly risky. If he couldn’t endure to his limits and stop Berserker, the only thing that’s waiting for him is his own destruction.
Kariya thought about the various aspects of battle. He sighed deeply and cannot help but to think that the future was grim.
In order to defeat Tōsaka Tokiomi, there was still a long way to go.
Then, to defeat everything else and obtain the Grail…that future was even further away.
Yet to save Sakura, he must overcome all of his obstacles.
There is only pressing on. He cannot fall. Even if it costs him every last drop of his blood and every inch of his flesh, Matō Kariya must reach that far distant shore. If he cannot succeed, then all would have lost meaning.
Kariya forced his extremely weakened body to rise as he unsteadily stood up. He cannot slumber here forever.
Berserker has been hit by Rider’s Noble Phantasm. The damage was enormous. Without question, in order for it to fully heal it would take a great amount of time.
And prana. The prana Berserker requires to repair its body can only be obtained from the worms in Kariya’s body.
Kariya needs to rest.
He leaned against the wall. Struggling, Kariya’s body was incapable of standing alone as his and his wavering gait disappeared into the night.
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