Fate/Zero:Act 5 Part 2
Looking down from the 32nd floor-- the top floor-- of Fuyuki's Hyatt hotel. There is no building taller than this in all of Fuyuki.
This title of the highest building will soon become that of the soon-to-be-completed Shinto shopping center. But because the Shinto shopping center is still under construction, this Hyatt hotel is top for already completed buildings.
Accompanying the unstoppable growth of Shinto, there will be more and more new hotels. But the Hyatt hotel, which has the most advanced facilities and best service standards, will not give up this status to anyone else. It's not only the hotel's managers and staff who think so; even the hotel's customers are amazed by Hyatt's high quality service and management.
But not even living in such a luxurious room, sitting in the real leather sofa by the window, could ease Kayneth Archibald El-Melloi's depression in the slightest.
To him, the items of this room are merely 'a wasteful gathering'. It's merely a somber room, some expensive furniture, and some fancy everyday items. To Kayneth who's been born into aristocracy, there's nothing he can't stand more than originally common things being dressed up in fancy outfits to appear falsely aristocratic. But right now that's exactly what this hotel room is like. There isn't the slightest bit of historical background or cultural heritage to this room. It is merely a pigsty decorated by a luxurious appearance.
But the instigator of this lowly feeling is not limited to just this hotel; this extremely tiny island nation known as Japan is filled with things that leave Kayneth with an unhappy, ugly feeling.
Even the tiny island of Hong Kong can give off a very local, folk-style feeling. But right now Fuyuki's Shinto does not show even a bit of its local culture. Like now, overlooking the city's night scenery from a high spot, there is no way for you to guess exactly in which city of which country you are. Simply gathering the most common items and putting them together-- if he were to be asked what exactly this city is, Kayneth would say it is merely like a mountain of rubbish.
If this easternmost island nation had preserved its original, honest backwater fishing village feeling then it would be much more interesting than it is now... but unfortunately when it comes to the ability to comprehend things like this, a race like the Japanese probably could not do it. This undeveloped country which did not even have a constitution a hundred years ago wants to forge forward and compete with western countries by purely relying on technological science and financial development, as if they wanted to unabashedly force their way into the ranks of the developed countries. It is indeed very difficult to reason with these people.
Kayneth used a finger to gently tap his head, which has a slight headache due to his annoyance, and sighed irately.
In reality, he isn't the type of person to get upset over small things such as these, but something else is the cause of his irritation.
The wide screen TV in front of him suddenly stopped its late night program and began broadcasting urgent news. The newscaster is at the scene, reporting live on an explosion caused by sources unknown on a warehouse street by the coastline of Fuyuki.
According to nearby residents who heard the explosion, firetrucks were on the scene about four hours ago. Although there is no news yet, those police who've already begun their investigation on-site are definitely hiding their findings. How can the ignorant, common people be able to make a correct judgment on something that surpasses their knowledge?
It's not simple being the supervisor in the Holy Church either. To count the time, within 30 minutes after Kayneth canceled the bounded field, all the cover-up tasks had been completed.
Now the entirety of the truth lies solely in the memories of those few who had been present. One of those people was Kayneth, Servant Lancer-- heroic spirit Diarmuid ua Duibhne's Master.
The beginning of the long-awaited Heaven's Feel. And the thoroughly prepared-for first battle. Although the results are different from his expectations.
Even in his youth, Kayneth Archibald had appeared to be more outstanding than other kids. No matter what the problem is, nobody could find a better solution than Kayneth's; an opponent who can win against him in a competition is non-existent.
Yet his effort had not surpassed the normal sense of purpose. Simply believing that his research results would be better than someone else's at some place, some time. That was all.
Because of that, Kayneth had already been seen as a 'prodigy' by others in his youth.
This fact is known by everyone. Nobody had any doubts about his title of 'prodigy', and nothing had ever threatened his position as 'prodigy'. So there was no need for him to be proud or egotistic, he simply enjoyed his deserved title as 'prodigy'.
He has never been in a tight spot, nor has he been extremely frustrated. In the world of the young Kayneth, he was the master of everything. There isn't a need to doubt this in the slightest. He was a talented magus prodigy. He was also the heir of the well-known Archibald family. Not only did he inherit the magic crest passed down through the generations, he himself possessed talent rarely witnessed in this world. All of these 'facts' made all the honors received by Kayneth seem matter-of-fact. So as to believing that there's nothing in this world Kayneth cannot achieve with his power, this kind of self-confidence is not unfounded. This is not a mistake of Kayneth himself, but the common knowledge of all those around him.
Even in the busy Clock Tower amongst the numerous, successful researchers, his crowning to the famous title Lord El-Melloi by a huge lead had made everyone nod approvingly. But to Kayneth who has become used to being called 'prodigy', to him who's always been the target of admiration and jealousy, Kayneth did not feel the slightest feeling of satisfaction or accomplishment. All of this is merely life's 'inevitable result' to him.
The past was like that, and the future will definitely be like that. This is a sacred and inviolable 'agreement of life'; to Kayneth there is no doubt about that.
Because of that, to he who can already predict the entire world-- if a very rare, to the point of impossible, 'accident' occurred, then that is the chaos Kayneth absolutely cannot tolerate; it is an insult and blasphemy to God's order.
The Servant, Saber, who had clearly been caught in his palm, escaping so very easily. Such an unspeakable inconceivability.
"—Yes, awaiting orders."
As soon as the words left his mouth, the handsome Heroic Sprit appeared obediently and respectfully in front of Kayneth, stooped in a bow. To Kayneth who is the main lecturer on spirit conjuring, speaking directly with the spiritual form poses no trouble, and is in fact very familiar. But a conversation like this face-to-face is very rare.
At least, if his Servant is face to face with him, Kayneth can observe the most minute changes in his expression while conversing with him. As for calling this type of activity a conversation-- it might be more fitting to call it an interrogation instead.
"Thanks for your hard work tonight. I was able to witness very well the might of Diarmuid ua Duibhne's twin spears."
"Thank you, Master."
Lancer replied simply and frankly. He did not feel proud upon hearing the compliment, nor did he show telltale signs of happiness, nor did he seem dissatisfied. He only accepted it with the stringent humility of a knight.
But to the eyes of Kayneth, this definitely was not Lancer's normal expression-- he's hiding something.
"Ah, please answer my question honestly. ... You, what do you plan on doing?"
"... You, what do you mean?"
Even faced with Kayneth's sudden question with an air of interrogation, Lancer still kept his very cautious attitude.
"Lancer, you swore to me as a Servant. To do everything in your power to help me attain victory in the Heaven's Feel. Right?"
"Yes, that is correct."
"Then why are you not serious about this?"
Even being scolded so by Kayneth, Lancer did not show the faintest expressions of anger or guilt, he only kept his head lowered with a serious face. Perhaps he had long been prepared for this interrogation.
"... I only did it for the Knight's honor. Not for viewing the battle as a game."
"Oh? Not admitting it?"
Kayneth made a disdainful grunting sound, then continued the questions.
"Then, let me ask you, why did you let Saber go?"
"You had the overwhelming advantage more than once, but both times you did not strike; do you really want me to control you with a Command Mantra?"
Lancer had no response this time, he only held his silence.
"I'll say it again. I witnessed all of tonight's battle. Only thus am I able to ask these questions. Lancer, do you feel that battles are 'fun'?"
Looking at the silent knight with his head lowered, Kayneth sneered and continued.
"Are you that happy? To fight with Saber. To the point of not being able to bring yourself to finish her off?"
To a bystander, they might praise Lancer's bravery and finesse in battle. But from the Master, Kayneth's point of view, bravery and finesse without any results-- this enrages him.
The original relic prepared to summon his preferred heroic spirit Alexander had been stolen by his ungrateful student, Waver Velvet. But this Waver's power does not match at all with that of Alexander's, in the end being unable to control his own Servant and causing Alexander to go on a rampage. Because of Waver's uselessness, the situation then descended into a chaotic status, destroying Kayneth's Lancer's chance at victory... Kayneth has never had so much bad luck. And the cause of all of this is Waver alone, but being angry at a person not in front of him is pointless. He can only store this anger inside of him, waiting for his time to face Waver in battle when he could dispel all this anger at him. Regarding this sort of 'external anger', Kayneth is very realistic, calm, and brutal.
But, conversely, Kayneth has no method of controlling his 'internal anger'. To Kayneth who has led a life of being admired, who has never had any contact with defeat his entire life, whether himself or a subordinate, anything that does not meet his expectations-- even if only a little bit-- is definitely not allowed. For he who has been successful all his life, who has never faced any setbacks, is very weak against defeat.
So, to Kayneth, right now, between the enemy Waver who obstructed his obtaining of victory and Lancer who was unable to bring him victory, the latter enrages him more.
"...I'm honestly very sorry. Master."
Noticing Kayneth's anger, Lancer bowed his head deeply and apologized in a serious tone.
"I swear on my reputation as a knight; I will bring you Saber's head. Please believe me, no matter what."
"There's no need to swear to me again! That is only the natural result!"
Kayneth, who had gradually became excited, used an angry voice to suppress Lancer's apologies.
"You already swore to me. That you would bring me, Kayneth El-Melloi, the Holy Grail! In other words, you will destroy the six other Servants; they mean to do the same thing. This is the entire battle's premise.
But what you are saying now... is that oath aimed at victory against Saber alone? This falls far short of the agreement at the start. What's wrong with you?"
"-- I think you're the one that has something wrong with him, Kayneth El-Melloi."
It's neither Lancer nor Kayneth, but the voice of a third person. Nobody knows when the woman who emerged from the bedroom had begun to hear the Servant and Master's conversation.
Although sporting red hair like burning flame, she gives off the feeling of an extraordinarily cold, icy beauty. She looks to be a bit younger than Kayneth, a high-class lady perhaps only around twenty years of age. One can tell at a glance that she's a sentimental and prestigious aristocrat. And the temperamental authority emanating from her severe eyes make her seem like an empress.
Her eyes that look as if they are scolding a subordinate are looking at only one person-- Kayneth.
"Lancer has done very well. It's you who are misjudging the situation."
"Sola, what are you saying..."
Considering Kayneth's personality, his not exploding in anger at this point is unfathomable. But this is all because that this woman is a very special being to him.
Sola-Ui Nuada-Re Sophia-Ri. Kayneth's teacher-- the department head of the Department of Eulyphis's daughter. She is also the goddess of victory that will complete Kayneth's glory-- that is to say, she is Kayneth's fiancee.
The marriage of the two renowned families Archibald and Sophia-Ri, the union of the prodigy and the department head's daughter, this was a popular topic in the Clock Tower. Although Sophia-Ri's family crest has been passed on to the first son, so Sola doesn't have too high of a place as a magus.
But through her veins flows the ancestral magus blood of the Sophia-Ris. The union between Sola, who has magic circuits many magnitudes above the average person, and the 'prodigy' Kayneth will definitely bring about an even more excellent next generation.
But-- the glorious future seen by the bystanders may not necessarily be that happy for the people involved.
Sola who's glaring at her fiance and Kayneth who has a horrible expression because he feels humiliated-- no matter how you look at it, those two do not give off a feeling of harmonious love.
"Kayneth, if you ask me, in that situation Lancer's decision was correct. In order to contend with Berserker, he had no choice but to team up with Saber."
Although she hadn't been present to watch the battle on the warehouse street, Sola had used her own familiar to report everything that happened there. Not for the sake of entertainment. Although she has no magic crest, she's still a member of the Sophia-Ris and thus had been nurtured in the ways of magecraft since youth. Regarding a battle between magi such as the Heaven's Feel, her own knowledge is not any less than a Master such as Kayneth.
No, it's rather that from her point of view regarding the battle, the actions of Kayneth as a Master were decidedly lacking.
"Lancer's Gáe Dearg is a very effective noble phantasm against Berserker. Coupled with Saber's aid, it would be a simple matter to defeat that black Servant. This is a very good opportunity to destroy the enemy."
"... That is because you don't know how terrifying Saber is."
Kayneth, who was grinding his teeth because he could not vent his anger, rebutted in a hoarse voice.
Although Kayneth's fiancee has a very sharp eye for analysis, in the end Sola is not his master and not his commander. As Master, Kayneth had been determined to fight by relying on his own decisions since the start. Also, as a man being scolded by his own fiancee, Kayneth's dignity was hurt even more.
"I used the ability of the Master's Perspective to understand Saber's ability. She is a very strong Servant. Her comprehensive ability completely overrides Diarmuid's. A very good opportunity to defeat her was lost!"
"You... do you really understand the specialty of your Servant?"
Sola made a cold, nasal grunt towards the stubborn Kayneth as she said this.
"Do you think Gáe Buidhe is only for looking good? In comparison to Saber who has already received incurably critical damage, wouldn't Berserker, whose identity is unknown, be more of a threat?"
Although he wanted to argue more, Kayneth could not say even a word of rebuttal.
Towards Sola's offensive manner, Kayneth became reluctantly intimidated.
"Firstly, if you really consider Saber very dangerous--"
During Kayneth's silence, Sola continued on.
"Then why did you leave Saber's Master? That completely defenseless Einzbern woman standing to the side. When Lancer occupied Saber's attention and they were in the midst of battle, why did you not attack the opposing Master? But what you did instead was... hide on the sidelines and watch until the end? You're the one who's in the wrong."
Watching Sola sigh deeply, Kayneth felt as if he was burning with anger at this humiliation, but still he could only watch her in silence, not saying a word.
If it was any other person, Kayneth would've put an end to this humiliation long ago. Even if he had to put the title of Lord El-Melloi on the line, he would have definitely inflicted many times the humiliation back at the person.
But there's only one person in this world, only Sola-Ui Nuada-Re Sophia-Ri, who is the exception to this.
Not only because she's the daughter of Kayneth's teacher, but also because she's Kayneth's fiancee; his marriage with her would bring Kayneth even more honor and prestige and the future he's always been pursuing.
This proud as a gem, intelligent lady is the only woman Kayneth, as a man, loves in the entire world.
The first time they met, even before exchanging a single word, Kayneth's heart had already been captured by this woman.
Perhaps noticing Kayneth's depression, Sola's tone relented a bit and she continued on with less derision:
"Kayneth. Compared to other Masters, do you know where your advantage lies? That's you yourself."
"Adding your own designs onto the original contract system, you really are a prodigy. You deserve being called the greatest prodigy in Eulyphis."
Even though Kayneth was completely sick of hearing words of compliment, he wouldn't mind hearing these words come out of Sola's mouth no matter how many times she says them.
But in fact, Sola's opinion of him was not solely flattery. The secret technique Kayneth prepared for this Heaven's Feel had completely overwritten the rules of the war that had been designated by the 'three original families'.
Originally, there is a cause and effect line between Servant and Master. A technique to separate the right of Command Mantras and the right of supplying prana, letting two separate summoners control one each... by way of Kayneth's prodigious ability, this impossible technique was made possible.
Kayneth is the magus who owns the Command Mantras, yet the one to supply the Servant with prana is none other than... Sola. They can be said to be a two-person team Master.
"-- But, Kayneth, although you are first-rate as a magus, as a soldier you are merely second-rate. Going through all that trouble to complete your preparations, but on the battlefield you were unable to make proper use of them, right?"
"Hey, why do you think I supply prana for Lancer? This is originally what you should be responsible for, so why should I commit to it? Isn't this for the sake of your battles going well, for the sake of letting you attain victory in Heaven's Feel? Compared to those Masters who have to supply prana to their Servants, you already have a crushing advantage. You can fully utilize your prana to execute various actions."
"But... the war's just started, it's better to be cautious..."
"Oh, really? Then why do you demand results so hastily from Lancer?"
Although Sola's tone is softer than it was at the start, there is still the implicit meaning outside her words mocking Kayneth's cowardice. Kayneth's expression became even worse.
"So before you blame Lancer, you should first do some self-reflection. Kayneth, tonight you--"
"Sola-sama, please stop here."
A sudden, low-toned voice interrupted Sola.
It's Lancer. It's unknown when he raised his head, looking straight at Sola.
"If you continue to humiliate my Master, then as a knight I cannot tolerate it any longer."
"No, that wasn't my intent... I apologize. I crossed the line."
Sola, who up until a moment ago had the dignity of an empress, apologized and lowered her eyes as if in shame after one sentence from Lancer. No matter who looks at this transformation, it's way too sudden.
In Kayneth's heart, the scene before him left a very negative impact. Sola has always nagged at him incessantly, and has never listened to him even once. He, who is to become her husband soon. Sola, who is to become his wife soon. Why do the words of a Servant have more weight than those of her future husband?
And since the start, Sola had been arguing with him to protect Lancer. Perhaps she could not stand watching Lancer being scolded?
Kayneth watched Sola's eyes, which were fixated on Lancer, and saw some emotion in his fiancee's eyes that he has never before witnessed before. And then he shifted his eyes towards Lancer--
The scintillating mole under Lancer's left eye caught his attention. Is that the fabled "tear mole" of Diarmuid ua Duibhne that attracted females?
No, baseless suspicion is stupid. Even a commoner would know that Sola was the daughter of the renowned Sophia-Ri family. Even though she does not possess a magic crest, she still has very strong resistance against this type of charm spell.
Unless, she herself does not willingly resist this type of charm, then--
Just as Kayneth was lost in thought, the fire alarm went off without warning, interrupting his train of thought.
"...What? What's happening?"
Sola mumbled confusedly, and at the same time the telephone in the room began to ring. The call display shows that it's from the lobby.
Kayneth calmly lifted up the receiver to listen to the receptionist. When he finished, Kayneth's gaze once again regained the sharpness unique to magi.
"It seems like there's a fire somewhere downstairs; the management is telling us to evacuate."
Kayneth said to Sola as he hung up the phone.
"Although the fire is not too severe, the places that caught fire are very scattered. It looks like arson."
"Yeah, I think it's definitely not coincidental."
Kayneth made a disdainful sound. The restlessness and worries that had been in his heart earlier quickly disappeared completely.
"This is a plan to disperse the crowd. The opponent must be a magus. Looks like he doesn't want to do battle in a building with too many bystanders."
Sola speaks with a tense expression.
"Then-- an ambush?"
"I'm afraid so. It might be that guy from the warehouse street who wants to play some more.
Interesting. That's exactly what we want, right Lancer?"
Lancer nodded definitively, as if preparing to battle with the enemy. Out of all seven Masters, there is only one person who would be in such a rush to attack Kayneth-- that is the Master of Saber, whose Servant had been hit by Gáe Buidhe. He must want to dispel this curse as soon as possible.
"Lancer, go to the floor below to meet them. But don't disperse them too quickly."
At Kayneth's hidden intents within the words, Lancer only nodded:
"Understood. Cut off the attackers' path of retreat, then chase them here, is that it?"
"Yes. Since we have visitors, then why not let them take a good look at Kayneth El-Melloi's magic atelier?"
This hotel, as Kayneth's stronghold, must have undergone complete renovation. Not the material type of renovation, but a fortification through magecraft. In this building totaling thirty-two floors, Kayneth's bounded field covers twenty-four floors. This place can be called a castle of magecraft. In addition, there are three magical furnaces for Kayneth's exclusive use, and in place of hounds there have been summoned ten-odd evil spirits and apparitions. There isn't even a flaw in the drainage pipes; Kayneth completely covered the area underneath the hall with his bounded field.
Instead of attacking enemy territory, it's much better to perfect one's own territory. As for the challenger who dares set foot in here, Kayneth will make him realize the real terror of Lord El-Melloi.
"Since all the other customers are already gone, there won't be anything to worry about. You can both use your full power to fight."
The irrepressible sound of laughter spilled out from Kayneth's throat. And the knight who had not been able to stop trembling in excitement also rushed out.
To Kayneth right now, the only thing that is needed is action. Only action and results can dispel the humiliation inflicted upon him by Sola. Right now, the only thing to do is to make full use of his own potential, that which had made others call him a prodigy, to prove his capabilities.
Yes, Kayneth right now desires blood. The dark anger that has been bottled up inside him must be offset by somebody's blood. The unfortunate enemy who coincidentally showed up to attack right now is about to become the perfect offering.
"You said I was a second rate-soldier; I'm about to make you take those words back. Sola."
"Okay. I'll be waiting."
Kayneth's fiancee who's usually always criticizing him, only at this moment did she watch him with a smiling face. Kayneth's fighting spirit heightened even more--
The fear and drowsiness of the customers, who had been awakened by the fire alarm in the midst of their dreams and herded outside to the parking lot, combined with the cold outside, caused them to wear difficult expressions. Amidst these people, the employees of the hotel scurried about busily.
"...Mr. Archibald! Kayneth El-Melloi Archibald! Are you here?"
Of all the names recorded on the customer list, there is only one person whose presence has not been confirmed; the bellhop called him in a frantic voice. Everyone regarded this largesse customer who had reserved the entire top floor of the hotel very highly. On some level, this is the person they least want to be in danger.
"Mr. Archibald! Are you here?"
"-- I am here. Do not worry."
A resonant voice came from behind the bellhop, but as the bellhop turned around he became confused. The person speaking to him was a Japanese male wearing an old-styled coat.
This kind of joke is too much. The angry bellhop was about to yell at him-- but he was captivated by the man's eyes.
That man's eyes held an indescribable, mysterious force of attraction; the bellhop was unable to avoid his eyes, and was not able to even speak.
"I am Kayneth El-Melloi Archibald. My wife Sola is with me."
This unknown Japanese male stated in a clear voice. And the bellhop accepted this without any suspicion as if hypnotized.
"...Is that so? Ah, yes. That's it."
After the bellhop checked off a spot on the 'escaped' section of his list, finally confirming that all the customers were safe, he exhaled a long breath. All of his suspicions while speaking to Archibald earlier and his feelings that something was wrong had disappeared without a trace.
Watching the employee continue on to tend to other customers, Emiya Kiritsugu left the chaotic crowd. His earlier hypnotic suggestion, to a commoner with no magic resistance whatsoever, would not be broken in a short period of time.
After walking to a shady, dark area some distance away from the hotel, Kiritsugu pulled out the cellphone in his pocket as he scanned the surroundings to ensure no one was watching him. Cellphones were very common amongst the people, and has given Kiritsugu great help. It is a simple yet useful wireless apparatus for communication and holding it will not draw any suspicion from anyone.
First he has to contact Maiya, who was positioned for surveillance.
"Everything set on your end?"
"No irregularities. Ready."
Maiya's position is a tall building still under construction diagonally across Fuyuki's Hyatt hotel. From there it's possible to clearly see Kayneth's room, that was the position Kiritsugu designated.
Kiritsugu sighed lightly, reaching for his cigarette box with one hand, dialing a set of numbers on the cellphone with the other.
Kiritsugu dialed an empty number. But there was no response whatsoever from his cellphone. The modified communication loops were connecting not to an analog signal, but to the trigger of a C4 bomb.
The bomb only caused a very small explosion, to the point where the sound of the explosion cannot even be heard outside the hotel.
But what resounded in the night was the horrifying sound of reinforced concrete splintering and collapsing.
The evacuees who had noticed something was wrong saw the sudden change in the towering building and began to shout in panic.
"The hotel, the hotel is collapsing!"
The hotel, towering at a hundred and fifty some meters in height, kept its upright posture but collapsed as if being sucked into the ground. Because all the outside walls collapsed inward, not a shard of debris flew outward and only the dust created by the collapse spread towards the surrounding streets. Precision blasting-- a highly advanced blasting technique used primarily to demolish tall buildings. Due to the destruction of load bearing walls and key support structures, the building collapses downward and inward on its own weight. Using the least amount of explosives to obtain the result of total destruction. To Emiya Kiritsugu who's familiar with all blasting techniques from past to present, there's a very special appreciation for this type of art of destruction.
All of the buildings acting as the bases of magi in Fuyuki City are listed on Emiya Kiritsugu's destruction list. And Fuyuki's Hyatt hotel is one of the list's entries. Kiritsugu obtained the building's blueprints beforehand and determined the points at which to place explosives. As long as the preparations are all complete, the actual execution requires less than an hour.
Although the evacuees were already as far as possible from the collapsing building and outside the range of flying debris, they were showered with the dust sent flying by the collapse and mired into a state of panic. While watching the disturbance in the crowd, Kiritsugu looked for a gap with weaker wind and lit the cigarette in his hand.
"Maiya, how are things on your end?"
"Up until the end there was no activity on the thirty-second floor. The target has not escaped from the building."
In other words-- Kiritsugu thought with some satisfaction as he looked at the ashes of the ruins of Fuyuki's Hyatt hotel-- the one called 'Lord El-Melloi' Kayneth-sama is now most certainly keeping the rubble company.
The thirty-second floor that Kayneth was on, due to the chain reaction caused by the precision blasting, had lost its support and practically freefallen a hundred and fifty meters to the ground. No matter how well it is defended by a bounded field, in the face of such destructive force it probably cannot protect the people inside the rooms.
Suddenly there came the sound of a child crying and Kiritsugu's attention was stolen from the ruins.
The child's mother walked past Kiritsugu holding a child who would not stop crying due to fear. Both were wearing only pajamas and covered head to toe with white ash, appearing so miserable it was hard to watch.
Kiritsugu kept watching the backs of the parent and child... up until his hand was singed by the burning tip of the cigarette, when he snapped back to attention. Kiritsugu tossed the mostly-burnt-up cigarette to the floor and stamped it out with his foot.
Emiya Kiritsugu felt a little confused; sentimentality is definitely unacceptable for him. These kinds of weak feelings would directly threaten his life. But, regarding his failure, he cannot face it with a composed attitude no matter what.
Yes. Even if he did not want to admit it, the reality was this—Kiritsugu saw the figures of Irisviel and Ilyasviel in the receding figures of the parent and child.
Emiya Kiritsugu once believed that there was no differentiation in sacrifice. All life was equal, so choosing the path that led to a smaller sacrifice was okay. In this manner of judgment, the lives of women and children do not receive any special treatment.
The Holy Grail could be used to save the world. And Kayneth is a target that must be eliminated in order to obtain the Holy Grail. There are a thousand-some people in the Fuyuki Hyatt hotel, but the Holy Grail could save at least five billion people. Kiritsugu could completely eradicate these tenants along with Kayneth if there was the necessity to do so.
Then why did he need to set a fire beforehand to cause this disturbance?
In the beginning, he thought that this had been the obvious tactic. Kayneth specifically set many traps in order to defend against an ambush; as for the tactic against his strategic defense, this one has definitely yielded effective results. That prodigy magus held his iron wall as his pride, but he never thought that the entire castle would be destroyed so he remained inside.
But, was his real intent really just limited to this?
His sentimental hope that the innocent tenants would escape in time, is it really showing just now unconsciously?
This really is a fatal romanticism. If he was on the battlefield, this sort of sentiment would definitely lead to his death.
To steady the shaky feelings in his heart, Kiritsugu once again lit a cigarette.
He's degraded. Although he doesn't know how much weaker he is, the Emiya Kiritsugu today has definitely degraded from the one nine years ago. If this continued then he might not be able to successfully obtain victory in the Holy Grail War. No matter what, not restoring the cold manner of judgment from before is unacceptable-- the faster the better.
The neighborhood disturbed by the late-night incident has at last begun to stir. Watching the crowd gather in the street, Kiritsugu inhaled deeply and took out his cellphone to give Maiya the signal to retreat.
The sound that reached his ears was not the voice of his subordinate, but the roar of two metallic entities colliding.
The not yet named metallic lookout. Nearing its completion, it's temporarily called the Fuyuki shopping center's thirty-eighth floor.
The construction is already more than half done, only the exterior left incomplete. This high-rise building will soon become a shopping center and the symbol of Fuyuki Shinto, but right now it is only an empty skeleton of reinforced concrete, buffeted by the strong gales of the night.
Whether it is the streetlights on the ground or the stars in the sky, everything seems distant and bleak. It is in this void that Hisau Maiya knelt, unmoving, supporting on her shoulder the AUG assault rifle that had night vision equipped. The muzzle was propped on her upright left knee.
If magus Kayneth noticed Kiritsugu's plan and escaped from the window, Hisau Maiya who was waiting here would ambush him. But the result is that this preparation had been completely unnecessary.
"Maiya, what's the situation there?"
From Hisau Maiya's earphones came the questioning voice of Kiritsugu on ground level. Having needed both hands to support her rifle, Maiya switched the cellphone to earphone mode to free her hands.
"Up until the end there was no activity on the thirty-second floor. The target has not escaped from the hotel."
Maiya spoke into the microphone beside her mouth and gave Kiritsugu a brief summary of her surveillance. Although she has just witnessed a devastating destruction, her voice did not contain even a bit of excitement.
Her surveillance mission here is over. Maiya retrieved the bullets, which had not had a chance to be of use before the mission was over, from the gun, put them into a case, and then slung the assault rifle over her shoulder and stood up to head for the stairs.
At that moment, she noticed a trace of abnormality.
Not a typical abnormality, but a hard-to-detect subtle change of atmosphere. To an experienced soldier, it is an easy matter to clearly detect this kind of killing intent.
"-- Your senses are sharp, miss."
From behind the now still Maiya came a low, cold male voice. The voice echoed in the empty building of reinforced concrete, making it impossible to determine from whence it came.
Maiya did not respond or ask questions. She only calmly used her sharp intuition to determine the enemy's location and pulled out the 9mm-caliber handgun from her belt.
As for the other person in this place, the person who discovered Maiya's existence-- no matter who it is, this reason alone is sufficient for him to become Maiya's target.
"-- Hmm, it's also nice to have this kind of preparation."
The man hidden in the shadows said so in a mocking voice.
At that moment, something was tossed at Maiya's feet from the shadow of some pillar.
Maiya immediately aimed her gun at the object and after making sure it was not dangerous, she pointed her gun back towards the place where the object was tossed from. But even so, Maiya still used her peripheral vision to watch the object that was tossed out.
The corpse of a small animal.
A bat. And judging from the CCD camera on the bat's abdomen, this is definitely the bat familiar Maiya sent out. This is the one that was placed by the Fuyuki church that she had lost communication with.
Then, without doubt, the one who deliberately tossed out the corpse of the bat can only be him. And the opponent seems to have no interest in concealing himself any longer. Slowly walking out from behind the pillar where he was hiding, he exposed himself to Maiya's line of sight and line of fire.
The man in front of him seemed filled with authority and pressure, wearing a pitch black frock. Maiya knows him.
"Oh? This should be the first time we've met. So how do you know who I am? Is it perhaps your precognition?"
Maiya, realizing her mistake, regretted it.
Kirei did not show the slightest bit of discomfort at facing Maiya's gun and continued on calmly.
"If that's so, then you should definitely know about a lot of other things too, right? This is a prime location for spying on Fuyuki Hyatt hotel's thirty-second floor; perhaps some very important person lives there?"
This time it was Maiya's turn to be silent. But her mind was filled with suspicion: as a Master... Kotomine Kirei should carefully hide himself, so why would he choose to show up here? What is his real intention?
On the other side, Kirei diverged his sight slightly outwards-- landing on the position where the Fuyuki Hyatt hotel is now a pile of rubble. He stared intently for a while, then heaved a long sigh.
"Even so--was it really necessary to destroy the building too? To use this kind of tactics, can he still be called a magus? Or rather, maybe he shouldn't have been considered a magus to begin with?"
This man-- Maiya was suddenly surprised-- he knows. He knows all about Emiya Kiritsugu. Just like how Emiya Kiritsugu knows Kotomine Kirei.
"Look at me rambling on and on here, miss. Why don't you say something-- where is the man who should be here in your place right now?"
After being asked that, Maiya made a new judgment regarding Kotomine Kirei. This man in front of him must be killed.
The sound of Maiya's rapid fire rang out. Although the 9mm-caliber called the military bullet has a good ability to inflict damage, it is still not powerful enough. So in order to effectively kill the opponent, the key is to shoot the abdominal region three times consecutively. Compared to the small fatal point that can instantly cause death, attacking the position where it is easy to hit and inflict heavy damage seems more effective. This is the rule of killing by shooting.
Even so, Maiya's bullets did not strike the organs beneath the frock, but rather the hard concrete floor.
Even if Kotomine Kirei's evasive actions were of an unbelievable speed, they cannot be faster than the speed of sound of the bullets. But he determined Maiya's thoughts before she pulled the trigger and acted beforehand. What's amazing is Kotomine Kirei's judgment on tactics.
Predicting the moment of Maiya firing, and thus dodging the bullets. Even in the field of thaumaturgy, this is beyond the ability of the average person.
Not only that--
In that instant the person who turned to hide was not Kirei but Maiya. Her right hand was stained with blood, and the handgun that was supposed to be clutched in her hand fell to the ground with a metallic noise. And her surprise-filled eyes stared at the pillar she had been propping her back against. The keen edge that is suddenly sticking out from that pillar glints with a cold light.
The thin blade, longer than a meter, made one think of the weapons used in fencing; as a sword the hilt was very short. This is the projectile weapon used specifically by the executors in the Holy Church, called the "Black Key". Just now, this is what cut the back of Maiya's hand and made her drop her handgun. Kirei had simultaneously thrown this weapon and avoided the bullet.
Although it is a hand-tossed weapon, it had enough power to penetrate reinforced concrete. Even so, it only made Maiya drop her gun and did not contain the intent to take her life. To use such force on purpose, he probably wants to take away the opponent's weapon and at the same time destroy her morale. It's best to capture the other alive-- after all, Maiya had not yet answered Kirei's question.
"Your movements aren't bad. Very sharp."
Kirei, who's holding the position of initiative after completely reversing the situation of attack and defense, spoke and walked over leisurely. And once again a Black Key appeared in his hands. The long blade of the Black Key is a semi-solid formed by prana, so while carrying it just holding the small hilt is sufficient. Nobody knows exactly how many Black Keys are hidden under Kirei's loose frock.
The Black Key, as one of the staple equipments of the Holy Church's executors, has great power but is also very difficult to use. Someone who is able to use its power so skillfully must be a very strong expert. And Maiya seems to have encountered such a rare expert now.
Maiya is not a warrior, only a soldier. So to her there is no combat record worth boasting of, only the analysis of combat. The combat ability of Kotomine Kirei very obviously surpasses her own. In this situation where she has no equipment or advantageous terrain or tactics, admitting her defeat is wiser.
"What is it, Maiya? What happened?"
Kiritsugu's voice sounded in the earphones. It seems like the cellphone in her pocket is still keeping her in contact with Kiritsugu. But-- Maiya now cannot respond. He can hear Maiya's voice. That horrifying executor's real goal is not Maiya but Kiritsugu. Kirei's judgment that Maiya was Kiritsugu's subordinate, carrying out every action based on Kiritsugu's instructions, was verified completely here.
"What's wrong? Not calling for help? Emiya Kiritsugu is nearby, right?"
Kirei no longer had a bit of doubt left when he said this name, because he is convinced that his judgment is correct. If Kiritsugu wants the Holy Grail, then he would definitely act tonight.
The effect of the curse of Diarmuid's Gáe Buidhe is easy to see. They have been mired into a very unfavorable situation with one of Saber's arms sealed off while the six remaining Servants are still in good condition. To the Einzbern camp, the most pressing matter is to eliminate the origin of the curse, Lancer, as soon as possible.
So Kirei set up his net near Kayneth's dwelling, calmly awaiting the arrival of the ambushers.
But in the end he found not Emiya Kiritsugu but someone else. Yet Kotomine Kirei is certain that this person is acting based on Kiritsugu's instructions. So this woman he is facing right now is definitely the key to finding Emiya Kiritsugu.
He can't kill her; it's best to capture her alive. As long as he can make her talk, it's fine.
Even if he had to break her arms and legs.
After making a cruel judgment in his heart, Kotomine Kirei approached the woman's hiding place slowly. The opponent should be unarmed. The already disassembled assault rifle cannot be reassembled quick enough, and the dropped pistol is far away. This match has already been decided.
But what stopped Kotomine Kirei was an impediment beyond his expectations.
Suddenly a veil of white smoke appeared between him and the prey, completely obscuring his vision, and with it an irritating smell of chemical reactions rushed into his nostrils.
What suddenly appeared in front of Kotomine Kirei was a smokescreen released by a military-use smoke dispersion bomb.
And in that instant when Kirei's sight was obscured by the smokescreen, Maiya escaped with haste.
Although Kotomine Kirei tossed a Black Key in the direction of the noise, he did not hit the target. The instinct of an executor who's been through countless battles told him that he could not move carelessly in the current predicament.
Kotomine Kirei held Black Keys in both hands, not daring to let his guard down the slightest, and surveyed his surroundings while waiting for the smoke to disperse. In this building exposed to strong winds, the thick smoke only took several seconds to dissipate-- but, that woman managed to escape in these mere seconds.
Only he was left. Realizing he was the only person left in this empty building, Kirei grunted and put away his Black Keys. He did not have any intention of pursuit.
Kirei picked up the smoke dispersion bomb, now empty of all smoke, from the ground and began to inspect it. It's an American grenade model. There isn't anything special about it; it's simply something that anyone can get if they had the right connections.
It wasn't tossed by that woman, because if he had found that she had moved in the slightest then he would've thrown a Black Key to stop her. This had been tossed in front of him by someone else to help that woman escape.
Of course, there shouldn't be anyone else inside this building. If that's the case, then the smoke grenade should have been tossed in from outside the building.
Kirei walked to the edge of the building-- ignoring the wind tugging at his frock-- and looked down.
Around the rubble of the former Fuyuki Hyatt hotel, there aren't any buildings that can stand shoulder to shoulder with this one. The distance from ground level to this position is at least a hundred and fifty meters. It'd be hard to aim at this position precisely even with a long range weapon. Not to mention a hand tossed smoke grenade. It's a cosmic farce for someone to toss that up from ground level.
But Kirei was, after all, an executor who has hunted many strange magi before. He was already thoroughly used to facing enemies who were beyond common sense. To him, this level of strangeness didn't have anything that was worth being surprised over.
Somewhere below him existed the magus who stopped him.
As long as this was confirmed, then he has gained something tonight.
At the same time, Kirei felt the breath of the strange form concealed beside him.
"Yes, it is me."
Assassin, who was sporting a long pitch-black gown, materialized kneeling in front of Kirei. This Assassin is one among the three who were spying on Irisviel and Saber in the forest, who had been charged to bring over the obtained information.
"Didn't I tell you not to materialize indoors?"
"I'm terribly sorry, but I have a very urgent report to make..."
|Back to Act 5, Part 1||Return to Main Page||Forward to Act 5, Part 3|