Fate/Zero:Act 6 Part 3
Saber sensed the enemy’s intentions after she defeated three monsters.
She didn’t yet know the reason. However, the overly fragile tentacle monsters and Caster’s unnatural degree of confidence triggered Saber’s instinctive alarm.
After defeating ten, Saber finally confirmed the reason for her unsettledness.
The amount of enemies didn’t decrease. No matter how many she defeats, new enemies would emerge. Caster’s summoning magecraft continuously called for reinforcements from other worlds.
Even so, it didn’t matter; Saber silently steeled herself. No matter how big the number of enemies may swell into, all she has to do is to defeat them twice as fast here. Driven by her boiling morale, Saber’s sword sped up in the blink of an eye.
Thirty. Since the enemies didn’t decrease a single bit, a flash of anxiety passed over Saber’s heart.
Fifty. Saber understood that it’s pointless to count anymore. It wasn’t just the hostage children’s flesh and blood that acted as the breeding ground for the demonic monsters – from her peripheral vision Saber realized that new demonic monsters were born from the defeated corpses of other monsters. So that was it, no wonder they didn’t decrease. It’s as if the defeated demonic monsters are able to be reborn indefinitely.
If so, then this is a competition concerning the amount of stored prana. Saber immediately slowed her sword when she realized this is going to be a long battle. She won’t last long if she swings her sword with everything she’s got; she can only use the minimum amount of strength necessary to conduct her hunt.
Caster’s prana should be definite. Repeatedly summoning and resurrecting familiars would eventually exhaust his prana. The question is whether Saber would be able to last until then.
Saber once again felt worried with the fact that she can’t use her left hand. She has to use prana bursts to compensate her lack in strength when she’s only using her right hand to wield her sword. In this situation, any extra spending of prana is a burden heavier than anything else.
Originally, if she could hold the hilt of this sword with both hands – using one blow of Excalibur • the Sword of Promised Victory should completely vaporize this filthy trash.
Saber kept fighting with her sword despite her bitter remorse. Although over a hundred monsters have been defeated, Caster was still smiling with ease while admiring Saber’s struggling battle. Saber looked at her enemy, who didn’t show a single sign of exhaustion, with shock on her part, and once again noticed the extraordinarily dense amount of prana the magecraft book in his hands was releasing.
“Could it be…”
Although it was a most pessimistic guess, but it probably shouldn’t be wrong.
It was summoning magecraft that summoned these countless demonic monsters, resurrected them, and urged them to relentlessly rush towards Saber’s sword. And the one reciting the spell was none other except that book of magecraft.
It isn’t merely a pile of paper which recording spells. That book is probably a prana furnace with an incredible capacity, a ‘monster’ that can use magecraft just by its own power. Caster wasn’t reading the spells from the pages of the book, but just freely manipulating that book which served as a prana source.
Prelati’s Spellbook • The Text of the Spiralled Sunken Citadel – it is indeed a terrifying Noble Phantasm. Had Irisviel been Saber’s proper Master, she should have seen through his abilities the first time she met Caster and recognized that the opponent is an extremely dangerous Servant with an ability to modify the power of his Noble Phantasm. Had she knew of it, Saber would definitely not have fallen so easily into his trap and locked in a dragging battle with Caster even if she’s scorned for being a coward; she might have acted more prudently.
No – regret is a display of weakness.
Saber yelled to herself. A knight that fought for honor and glory can not be allowed to retreat before evils such as Caster. If so, then she would be giving up on the greatest strength and weapon at her disposal – the heart of justice that believes in her holy sword.
“This brings back memories, Jeanne. It’s all just like back then.”
Caster, wearing a trance-like expression as if he was gazing at a holy painting, looked upon Saber’s increasingly miserable battle.
“Even if you’re in a dangerous situation overwhelmed by enemies, you never feared, did not succumb, and your gaze never doubted your own victory. You are indeed the same. That noble vigor, that dignified soul, is undoubtedly evidence of the holy maid Jeanne d’Arc. It’s so obvious…”
Full of nonsense as always, but Saber subdued the anger filling her heart and concentrated on killing the sundry weaklings before her. It would only encourage her enemy if she rebuked him word by word.
“Why? Why have you still not awakened to the truth? Do you still believe in God’s protection? Do you think miracles would arrive to save you in such a desperate situation? – How lamentable! Did you forget the battle of Compiègne? Forgot God’s trap that pushed you down from the zenith of glory to infernal destruction? Do you still consent to remain God’s puppet even after so much humiliation?”
She really wants to block that mouth which is blabbering nonsense. She really wants to let him know just what judgment would be passed onto the sin that he’s committed, robbing the lives of children due to his boring vain hopes – but even as she thought that, her sword can’t touch him at all. Saber was stopped by the wall of demonic monsters that overwhelmed her tenfold and twentyfold. Her distance from Caster was too great.
Saber leapt into a slight gap but a tentacle behind her wrapped itself around her head. Although she reflexively stretched out her hand to grab it before it wrapped around her, her left hand, with its thumb completely out of her control, slipped powerlessly across the skin of the tentacle.
And as soon as Saber stopped, all of her field of view was completely covered by the wall of tentacles. She can only use a prana burst to blow them apart. But this many of them…
In the blink of an eye, a golden red lightning flashed past, and pushed back that alien horde.
In front of Saber, who was gasping after her bondage were taken off, a tall figure dressed in teal armor entered her sight.
“How unsightly, Saber. If your swordplay can’t get anymore awe-inspiring, then the title of the King of Knights would cry out for help.”
This handsome man, whose beauty is almost a sin, gave a stunning look to Saber standing dumbly aside. Only because of her magic resistance ability can she endure this alluring gaze. Contrary to the burning brilliance of his two spears, Diarmuid ua Duibhne’s smile seemed incomparably sweet and refreshing.
But Caster’s surprise was much greater than Saber’s.
“Who are you!? Who gave you the permission to dare disturb me!”
“That’s what I was going to say, heretic devil.”
Lancer stared coolly at the provoked Caster, and pointed the top of the short spear in his left hand towards him.
“It’s because you are so insolent; Saber’s head is destined to be the medal hung beneath my spear. Your act of stealing my fruit of victory is an impudent and despicable thing to do on the battlefield.”
“Nonsense! Nonsense nonsense nonsense --!!”
Caster clawed his head, bulged out his eyes, and made weird sounds in his throat.
“My prayers! My Holy Grail! They were all to let that woman reawaken! She is mine… every piece of flesh, every drop of blood, and even that soul are all mine!!”
But Lancer wasn’t overwhelmed by Caster at all; he shrugged his shoulders and took a deep sigh.
“You listening? I’m the one who wounded Saber’s left hand. Only I have the right to exploit her single-handed disadvantage.”
Slowly, Lancer lifted up the tips of the twin spears by his sides, and took his unique double-spear stance. Standing in front of Saber, it was as if he shielded the King of Knights behind his back.
“Oi, Caster, I’m not meddling in your love affair. If you are set to make Saber succumb to you and take her away, feel free to do it. Only that –”
A burning and yet desolate resolution filled the handsome soldier’s eyes as he proclaimed.
“Don’t even think about putting aside Diarmuid. I won’t ever allow you to defeat the single-handed Saber! If you don’t back down, then from now on my spears would act as Saber’s left hand.”
Now that she thought about it, this is the second time that Saber looked at the spearman’s back in this fashion. Last night, as she faced Berserker’s furious attacks, Lancer also intervened in this way. Is all this just to finish all of his business with her, who once crossed swords with him?
“Don’t get me wrong, Saber.”
Lancer’s sharp glance stopped Saber from continuing.
“My Master’s commands for me today are only about defeating Caster. There are no orders concerning you. Because of that, I deduced that the best thing to do would be fighting together. What do you think?”
Lancer’s words aren’t exactly an explanation of why he arrived to help out Saber’s crisis. This spearman didn’t need to do this. He could have chosen the moment when Caster is completely engrossed in dealing with Saber, and looped around to Caster’s back to launch a surprise attack.
Saber didn’t question him why. She just nodded at Lancer, who had a hint of a smile on the corners of his mouth, and stood at his right.
Saber no longer paid any attention towards the left, but held her sword and faced her right. Right now, she has the most trustworthy left arm.
“I’ll just get this clear – Lancer, just my left hand alone would be able to defeat a hundred such small fries.”
“Huh, that’d be easy. You can just be left-handed for today.”
The two Heroic Spirits joked with each other and sprang toward the gathered demonic monsters. The holy sword and two demonic spears cleaved apart the mass of tentacles that stretched towards them from all directions.
“Unforgivable… enough with your boasts, puny man!”
The magecraft book in Caster’s hand throbbed weirdly as if reinforcing his roar; pages flipped by themselves continuously. All of sudden, the amount of demonic monsters that emerged doubled. The mass of tentacles that looked as if they will drown out the forest surged towards Saber and Lancer.
The fiercer, more tragic second act of the battle began.
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