Thanks to Koto for posting the original.
Trippy-est and most-annoying-to-translate moon runes for me, ever. Feedback greatly appreciated, as usual.
Work in (slow) progress.
When reading dialogues, please follow this format to see who said what. Example:
X sighed, and spoke softly.
"This part is what X said".
Y smiled, and said slowly.
"This part is what Y said".
A city emerging from the darkness of wilderness, “a crenel” was really the only precise way to describe it.
“Clear borders” such as day and night, light and darkness did not exist here; what did exist were unified “harmonised borders”. These were the characteristics of this city called Snowfield.
It was a watershed that divided. However, it was not a grand one that divided Magic and Sorcery, but one that separated out strange beings more alien than a man was to a beast.
To put it in words, it was a zone of uncertainty produced by mixing the colours of dawn and dusk. Rather than attempting to separate the parts, it was better to express it as the black central dot produced by mixing all the colours of the palette.
For example, it could be imagined as a puddle of amorphous mud that existed on the border of city and country, nature and man, man and city, and dream and sleep.
This was the western parts of the Americas.
Around this city that was just north of Las Vegas, existed lands that could strike this strange balance.
There were giant ravines in the north that could easily make the observer imagine the Grand Canyon. Thick forests grew in the west, which was uncharacteristic of this dry region. The east was covered by swamps, while the south was a arid, great desert.
The lands were unsuitable for farming, but lands of such nature covered all four directions, making the city at the centre an alien existence that stuck out like a sore thumb.
It had been called a new city that balanced the natural and artificial, and set its sights on the future. In reality the city showed a great sense of arrogance that one could occasionally catch a glimpse.
The peripheries were surrounded by natural environment. The crenel—this city – located at the centre spot where all the colours converged and mixed, could be called the tuner of nature. In other words, it gave the same impression as a “black pedestal” that placed everything in the surrounding onto a balance.
In the early 20th century, there was nothing in the record of this land but sparse settlements of Aboriginals.
However, after the rapid development of the 70’s, the city had transformed into a metropolis of 800,000 today in the 21st century.
“Rapid development is something quite common. However, if such a city is the target of investigation, then it is only natural to cast a suspicious eye on its origin.”
An old man in black robe mumbled thus.
It was going to rain at any moment, so the night is starless.
The old man watched with binoculars through the sparse trees outside of the forest that surrounded the west side of the city. He seemed to be rambling at the lights of the skyscrapers on the other side of the lens.
“But… the binocular nowadays are really convenient. You can adjust the focus with the press of a button. This is so much better than releasing familiars one by one, those were the rough days.”
The old man who was muttering to himself said to the young pupil standing behind him.
“Don’t you think so, Fardius?”
Then, the youth called Fardius, still leaning on a tree about 2m from the old man, replied with another question in a sceptical tone.
“More importantly, do we really need to put so much effort into this? For that um… Holy Grail War?”
Assassin (Section Complete)
In a certain country, there was a particular faithful one.
This was a story, merely a story.
This pious one with convictions beyond the norm was labelled by others as a “zealot”.
Even others who worshiped the same God still called her thus with despise.
However, the zealot did not hate others.
She thought maybe she was despised because she was immature.
Her conviction was not firm. That was all.
The zealot continued her mad pursuit of self-improvement incessantly.
She sought the miracles that were achieved by her predecessors, and recreated them one by one.
However, it was not enough.
“Still not enough”, the World seemed to shout at the zealot without pause.
All the faithfuls began to shun the zealot.
In the end, the zealot did not fulfill anything. She merely lived as a zealot, and was not even allowed to be martyred for her faith. She spent her life meaninglessly until the end.
However, the zealot bore the World no hatred.
She was ashamed of her immaturity, and again dove into the whirlpool of faith.
The zealot had no emotions such as grudge. She only despised the false idols of infidels.
This was a zealot that no normal man could redeem.
This was the story.
And the story should have ended here.
---- Until that instant when the zealot become the False Grail’s chosen.
Night, Eastern Snow Field, Lake Region
A few clear lakes scattered about the Lake Region surrounding the east side of the city.
Between the lakes, there were several swamps. Paths extended between the swamps, separating them like fissures.
Although this region could be called a zone of rapid development surrounding the city, it was still only dotted by sparse luxury villas and fishing spots.
In a corner of the villa area, a Boundary Field was deployed.
Even if a normal person sensed something was off, he would not “pay attention” to the humongous villa.
It was certainly not a benevolent structure. Compared to the other mansions built on the western bank, it was quite Gothic with its black and grey hues.
Underground, several magi were finishing conducting the Summoning Ritual.
Materialization of the Servant was a success.
After that, the Contract would be completed by answering the “Question” asked by the Servant.
The magus who summoned the Servant, Jester Calture, stared at the Heroic Spirit in astonishment.
He was surrounded by about ten pupils.
In the middle of the Summoning Circle, stood a figure projecting a different aura comparing to the magi.
An oppressive air radiated from the person ----
A “girl”, in a black robe.
She seemed quite young, but it was difficult to discern because she was facing the floor.
However, Jester felt an intense sense of uneasiness.
---- Although I should have summoned Assassin, but….
Normally, the Class of a Servant could not be selected.
However, there were exceptions.
The Assassin and Berserker Classes, due to their special properties, could be summoned specifically by altering the Summoning Spell and making particular preparations.
Jester had proceeded according to the rules, and summoned “Assassin”.
The Servant of assassination, because of its special nature, naturally could only be summoned from one type of Hero. At first glance, one would have thought this Heroic Spirit was such a Hero, but----
----According to rumours, they all wore white skull masks….
Those Heroic Spirits with the title of Assassins all wore black robes, and bore white skull masks that hid their faces. Jester had thoroughly investigated all of these through his intelligence-gathering.
This girl in black before him was not wearing a white mask. One could see glimpses of her face through her hood.
---It’s better to find out myself…
This was the first time Jester participated in a Holy Grail War. It was also his first time fighting for a False Grail. It was hard to predict what kind of difference this War would produce, compared to the one in Japan.
Speaking of which, it was kind of strange that the “Initiator” of this Holy Grail War still had not surfaced at this stage. From the immense scale of the preparation, Jester deduced it must be a Great House on the calibre of the Einzberns. Yet, no presence of such magi was felt.
Were they just hiding really well, or were they expecting to reap the profit after the others tore each other up?
Jester suppressed the questions and doubts, and continued to observe the Servant before him.
Finally---- The girl in black slowly raised her head, her cornea reflected Jester’s figure.
“I ask of you…”
She issued a flawless piercing gaze that was pitch-black, emitting the same oppressive aura as before.
The magus gulped. He smiled and waited for the girl to continue.
“Art thou… the magus who summoned me… to fight for the Grail…?”
The girl spoke through the hood in a smooth and wispy voice.
Jester felt relieved that the key question was finally asked. He took a step forward with a satisfied look, and said with welcoming, open arms.
“Yes, of course. I am -----“
“…Zabaniya - Delusional Heartbeat…”
With the girl’s murmur, time stopped.
Thump. A sensation of something making contact with his chest. Jester could not help himself but look down.
Then--- A lump of something red appeared before his chest. He noticed it was beating, and then realized it was his own heart---
Jester collapsed onto the floor, without even raising his lowered head.
Seeing their Master on the floor without a movement, the pupils were in a state of confusion and panic.
A third crimson arm suddenly extended from the girl’s back --- reaching directly to the Master. It seemed to have touched his chest----
Then, a heart appeared in the red hand, and was crushed without mercy.
In the next instant, the torso of Jester shook, and then he fell on the floor.
“What did you do to Master Jester!?”
“Aren’t you a Servant!?”
The pupils shouted in chaos. They armed themselves while cutting off their prana.
The girl in black said one sentence while gazing at the pupils emotionlessly.
She murmured in the same wispy voice.
“Our God… has no Holy Grail…”
It was not clear if the pupil heard what she said, but a man who seemed to possess some special powers leapt at the girl without making a sound. The short sword in his hand was aimed at the back of the girl.
In an instant ----
Gurgle. A strange, wet sound resonated. The left arm of the girl was distorted.
Her left hand reached behind her at a strange angle, and gently caressed the man’s head----
“…Zabaniya - Cyber Phantasy…”
The man’s head became a bomb and detonated. His entire body shattered in a fiery explosion.
The flare and shockwave paralyzed the other pupils in fear.
In a blink of an eye, two individuals were slain --- The pupils realized that the one before them was a genuine Servant. They stood no chance.
“Eliminating… Heretical magi…”
She whispered in a wispy voice and gave an opening of a few seconds.
It seemed as if she was waiting for the pupils to escape--- but the pupils did not do that. They all leapt back, choosing instead to make room for spellcasting.
Seeing this, the Servant in black nodded at the pupils with a hint of sadness and sympathy---
Still, she mercilessly uttered the words of power.
“…Zabaniya - Ichor of Reverie…”
Silence descended upon the room.
The Servant in black was surrounded by corpses of the magi.
The pupils who attempted to unleash their spells on her all seemed to have fallen on to the floor, after somehow incinerating themselves.
Only the Servant knew what really happened. She silently climbed up the stairs.
She dematerialized her body.
In an invisible state, she dashed into the darkness of the night. She seemed aimless, but her goal was clear.
What the zealot sought was to prove herself.
To prove that she was faithful, and to prove that she was a true believer of God.
She realized long ago that the goal she sought was childish.
When she was young, she underwent intense training to earn herself a name, and to prove her faith.
In order to become the sect’s leader, she must acquire the power which could be called Divine Miracles.
However, the Miracles had some unique specifications.
These Miracles must all quickly and reliably snuff out the lives of heretics and infidels.
The League of Assassins, it could be called a company of fanatics.
However, even amongst fanatics, she was still labelled as a “zealot”.
The leaders in the past obtained their titles by achieving numerous miracles worthy of bearing the name of the Fallen Angel.
They stared in surprise.
No one could believe what happened.
This girl, she -----
She achieved the miracles of all eighteen leaders in the past.
It was her proof, soaked in blood and sweat.
She knew better than everyone what it really took to reach here.
However, no one in the sect acknowledged her right to inherit the leadership.
“What you achieved is no different from making copies of old tomes. You have not achieved your own Miracle, because there is still immaturity within you.”
She truly had great abilities.
In order to learn all the ancient techniques, she paid the price in blood. The pain of dismembering her body and reassembling it, she swallowed without regret. In other words, she had the ability to accomplish her goals at all cost. However, she did not teach herself the ability to innovate, the ability to create new techniques.
This was merely half the reason. Each of these techniques was a “monumental work” that took a leader an entire lifetime to perfect. It was no wonder that everyone feared the zealot, for she learned all of these techniques in the span of a few years.
“You are still too young. We cannot have someone like you bearing the title of our leader.”
Although the reason given was filled with nothing but excuses, she obeyed without question.
---- Ah, my faith was insufficient?
-----How juvenile am I, to have defiled the secret techniques of our past leaders?
She did not blame anyone, but continued the quest for her own secret technique.
When “The Hundred-Faced One” became the new leader-----
He was a man capable of resolving every single situation masterfully. The zealot recognized that it was indeed an ability she did not have. She did not envy this leader, but was actually ashamed of her own immaturity.
She did not receive any acknowledgement, but merely disappeared into the abyss of history as another zealot.
This was supposed to be the end----
Maybe it was a prank played by Fate, she was summoned by a man called Jester. From the knowledge granted by the Holy Grail, she instantly learned her change in Fate.
Her wish upon the Grail was simply to destroy this proof of heresy.
At the same time, she learned that numerous past leaders also sought this Holy Grail ----
She was saddened by this fact.
However, she did not hate these leaders, nor did she look upon them with scorn.
She still believed they were more faithful. Even now, she should pay them respect.
What she hated was the existence of these “Holy Grail Wars”, which led these leaders astray.
She slashed open the darkness of the night and dashed onto the path of pursuing the Holy Grail, with the goal of destroying it personally.
After killing the magus, the supply of prana would immediately stop.
Although there was still some prana flowing into her, it was but some residual trickles.
When the supply stopped, she would disappear.
It could happen in days, hours, or seconds. However, time mattered not to her.
She would fight until the last second.
It did not matter that this body was only a temporary illusion.
The nameless Assassin had no doubt for her course of action.
She believed in her own existence, and she believed that she owed the faithfuls to do what she was about to do.
Without hesitation, she decided to wage war against this entire Holy Grail War.
In the basement of the villa on the river bank, where the nameless Heroic Spirit was summoned.
The room was filled with nothing but corpses.
And the previous statement had gotten more literal after Assassin left.
Innocent laughter resounded within the room.
However, nothing changed within the room.
There was nothing here but corpses.
The laughter was like that of a child’s. It originated from pure joy at the depth of the heart, with a hint of twistedness.
However, nothing changed within the room.
There was nothing here but corpses.
“Ah, that surprised me! Holy Grail, you summoned some unexpected heretic again!”
The man leapt up like a windup puppet. His right hand shone with the light of the Command Spells.
--- Although he wanted to wake up the Spider with the power of the Holy Grail, and die with this boring World, but…. (Translator's Note: If you did not catch the hint, the "Spider" is very likely ORT.)
----This is unexpected; I still have these grounds of humanity called “excitement”. Although the man was shaking with excitement ---- nothing changed in this room.
There was nothing here but corpses.
It was no doubt that Jester Calture was a corpse right now.
“Lovely, or beautiful? Sultry, serene, trim, perfect, cute. Ahhh, with all this time, I should have expanded my poetic vocabulary. I cannot find an appropriate adjective to describe her!”
Jester allowed the joy of surprise ran wild in his heart, and ignored the rolling “dead bodies” around him. He ripped open his shirt, and exposed something entirely different from Command Spells: tattoos laden with a sense of magic.
His body was like the cylinder of a revolver, with six red crest arranged in a circular pattern.
However, one of them, the crest on his left thorax, had turned pitch black.
“My conceptual core as a magus was crushed so easily! I was too careless! But it’s all meaningless! Even existences much stronger than me will be return to nothingness if I use that technique.”
Jester put his fingers on the black crest, and the tips sunk under his skin. Amazingly, not a drop of blood was shed. It was as if his hand sunk into a flesh-coloured swamp. He began to stir his insides noisily.
“My soul as a magus has died.”
The crests seemed to be slowly moving, turning like a cogwheel, or a cylinder of a revolver. The black crest moved to his left abdomen, and a new red crest filled his left thorax.
“And I should start using another face.”
Then, somehow---with the change of the crest, his face and body began to pulse, morphing into a shape different from the man just a moment ago.
He retracted his fingers, and caressed the black crest on his abdomen with a dazed appearance.
“This conceptual core was shielded by several layers of magical defense, yet that arm brushed all that away, and reached for the core of my being… what a direct and vicious hand it was! However, this is why it is beautiful! This is what you can call a Noble Phantasm!”
He continued talking without pause to the rolling corpses around him. Naturally, they did not react.
“She used those terrifying skills repeatedly without hesitation. Only I could have sustained her. The prana pools of any lesser magi would have already been depleted, eh?”
The man exposed sharp canines. As if enthralled, he let his soliloquy resound over the altar formed by corpses.
“It seemed I should not be bored of this World… I shall grind down the existence, and the faith of this beautiful assassin until they fade!”
It was something only a person who knew her memories could say.
After establishing a Path for transmitting prana, Masters could learn the thoughts, past, and memories of Servants through dreams and other methods.
“No! That would be such a waste, and no one would acknowledge that!”
If that were true, Jester would simply die watching her dreams and belief----
“I shall bestow upon you a name! I will taint, molest, demean, dominate, and befoul your beauty, your soul, your strength, your faith! Where else would I find such pleasure!”
He laughed mockingly. His laughter tainted with evil.
“Joyful! Dreamy! Beautiful! I shall make that beautiful Servant submit, and savour her expression while I crush her faith and drain her strength!”
With his powerful pulse, the shadow between his feet lengthened.
A completely red shadow. It was the same colour as the tattoo on the man’s body.
The red shadow seemed to be entangling the scattered corpses of his pupils. Suddenly, the shadow separated from the floor and swallowed the many corpses like a red tide.
In an instant, the shadow returned to the body of Jester. However, the colour of the shadow brightened.
He felt no remorse for the corpses that were turned to bones within seconds.
“Holy Grail? End of the World? I admit they are beautiful! However, they are but worthless dust compared to the despair of the girl!”
This was a living corpse, a member of the “Vampiric Race”. His dead eyes shimmered with life, and he reached a frenzy imagining the taste of a Servant’s blood.
“Since we are both heretics in this country, let’s be friends! Ha…. Ahahahahahahahahahahaha!”
Thus, not even a formal contract was forged between the two ----
Assassin and her Master drenched this Holy Grail War in black venom.
End of Assassin
Caster (Section Complete)
A dim room.
Only the crevice between the curtains allowed for a glimpse of the peak of the skyscraper outside.
From the view, it was apparent that this room was at a location with high elevation in Snowfield.
Outside, the stars shone brightly.
The faint starlight illuminated the room, which looked like a modern office.
Several desks were placed side by side, with personal computers placed on top. There were air conditioners installed within the ceiling. The décor almost made one forget that the room was part of the battleground of the Holy Grail War.
The owner of the room spoke in a commanding voice. The lights remained turned off, and his voice filled the dim room.
The city itself had plunged fully into the Holy Grail War, long past the point of no return.
“So… it seems like the other five Servants have materialised.”
A deep masculine voice filled with reverence came from the dark part of the room.
“Yes. Currently, only the identity of one Master has been confirmed: Teene Cherke, who follows the King of Heroes. We have also lost contact with the Tsubakis, who offered to ally with us. Although several other magi have entered the city… it is difficult to determine who have inherited the Command Spells.”
“I see. The monitoring system that watches the entire city has proven to be surprisingly useless.”
The informant continued his report flatly. The man listened without hiding his disappointment.
“There was this one man who began a summoning ritual at a park in broad daylight. I managed to spot the magus’ Command Spells… but I was only able to see some strange shadows rather than the Servant. I lost track of him while he was bathing in the sun. Although he looks like an idiot, he seems to be a powerful magus.”
“It is impossible to discern the nature of the Heroic Spirit?”
“Yes. It was impossible to observe his form, especially with the Heroic Spirit managing to avoid our eyes in the city after being summoned for the first time. It is certain that a Heroic Spirit was summoned, but we do not know what happened after that point.”
“Mmmm… It is the fault of those working with the government; doing unnecessary things and making others become aware of the Grail War.”
He was referring to what occurred between Langel and Fardius a few days prior.
However, the informant shook his head and replied.
“No, the materialisation of the Servant was almost simultaneous with the ‘public event’ between Fardius and Langel.”
“… If that is the case, then it is most likely that the Heroic Spirit was one summoned by the Tsubakis.”
The man quietly straightened his back, and continued to speak with a sour face.
“Anyways, no matter which path we take, the King of Heroes will be our greatest obstacle. It is best for us to be rid of him.”
Silence began to descend upon the room, but it was instantly shattered by the ringing of the phone on the desk beside the window.
The owner of the room picked up the receiver and began to spoke in a very formal tone.
“… Yes, it is me”
“YOOOO WASSSUP BRO!”
The man frowned sharply after hearing the voice in the phone, and replied: “Caster… something you need?”
“Don’t be a stranger, man! Look look! I just saw on the TV! Is it true you can get some great chicks for a night with a few million yen?”
“… What if it is true?”
“Help a brother out, and get me one for tonight.”
The blatant words of the man on the other side of the phone made the face of the room’s owner twitch.
“I don’t remember ever being a brother to you.”
“What? You already forgot how we vowed to be brothers over a ‘bonding drink’? ‘Bonding drink’ is such a great word. I have seen it on the Internet; it seems Asians love using this word. I like it!”
“… You and I formed a contract between a Servant and a Master. There is nothing more to it.”
The man gripped the receiver tightly while trying to keep his cool.
On the back of his hand, Command Spells with a chain-like pattern began to emerge.
In other words, the man on the other end of the phone was his Servant. However, there seemed to be a strange sense of distance in the act of a Servant contacting his Master through a telephone.
After murmuring “I don’t understand”, the Servant began to speak with his Master with the vigour of a blasting machine gun.
“Don’t misunderstand. My job is creating Heroes. I am not a Hero myself. However, I am cool with being worshipped as a Hero. Give me women, and I will be content. In fact, give me a hundred women and I would have a thousand babies. It can’t be helped that I have to be treated as a Hero with an unpopular man!”
“Quit boasting about such nonsense. If you have time to weave such extravagant lies, get back to work.”
“C’mon! More work? Can you be more considerate of my convenience! Alright? I don’t have a wish that requires the Holy Grail to grant. As long as I have good food and beautiful women, I am content. How this war will develop, what kind of conclusion will result, are none of my concern. I am just here to spectate. Do you want me to go nuts from overwork before seeing the end of this War!?”
The Master sighed, and tried to console the Servant who was complaining loudly.
“Beautiful women and delicacies, I will provide you in abundance. Now get back to your work, and continue with you ‘Sublimation’.”
“Alright alright, you are such a boring dude. Speaking of which, why are you making me do all these work that are outside of my forte? If you want to produce forgeries, there are more appropriate candidates. Yesterday, I saw this guy called Elmyr de Hory on the Internet! It was said he could produce an infinite number of forgeries with powerful magecraft. You heard about all that?”
“Pure forgeries are meaningless. If we cannot exceed the Original, we are powerless before the King of Heroes.”
“Of course! Are you evaluating my power to rearrange and rewrite old stories? I am moved to tears! Now go die in a ditch! Aaaaaaa, if we are going to do this, then don’t go cracking jokes like ‘compared to the Original, my creations are more interesting’, when my forgeries cause a commotion. I would never have imagined, after centuries, I was dragged out of my happy place where I sleep with Cleopatra and Yang Guifei for this kind of slavery. I will never fall for this kind of joke again.”
Against a Servant who was full of complaints and able to instantly discern his lies, the Master could only suppress his emotions and continue to speak with the Servant.
“Make no mistake. I chose you not because of those rumours. I chose you purely because I believe you can give birth to legends that are even greater than the Original, and you have the ability to make these powers real. That’s all.”
“Ya! A praise from a man does not cheer me up. You can go write down what you just said into a script and read it to your wife. And of course, you will be finding her in my bed. Ah, and before then, hand me the script first. Compared to legend, I am better at editing bad scripts -----“
Before Caster could finish, the man hanged up the receiver.
After the conversation receded, silence returned to the room.
The owner of the room continued his dialogue with the man in the darkness, as if the conversation with Caster never happened.
“Gilgamesh, the King of Heroes… I heard the most troublesome Noble Phantasms he has are the Nameless Sword and Gate of Babylon.”
The man stood up from the chair, and stepped back and forth in the room with his hands behind his back.
“In that case, we must overwhelm him with the number of people we have, before he is able to draw his sword. We must find an opening by all means, be it honourable or underhanded.”
He took a step, then another. A sense of intimidation radiated from the man, even the darkness surrounding him seemed to grow restless.
“However, we cannot achieve victory solely by numbers. First of all, Heroic Spirits are immune to physical attacks, and in terms of pure strength, they can overwhelm even the best athletes. However, Caster is different. I am afraid even I can beat him in… well, this is not terribly relevant.”
Feeling he had spoken too much, the man rolled his eyes. He then started to step about the room again.
“But… Conversely, what will happen if a human can master a Noble Phantasm?”
Noble Phantasms were the trump cards of the Heroes fighting in the Holy Grail War. They were nothing short of miraculous. Just like the Kusanagi in the Legend of Yamato Takeru, Noble Phantasms were symbols of Heroes, and they were capable of maximising the power of each individual Hero.
The summoning of Servant could be considered the “summoning of Noble Phantasms”--- the presence of Noble Phantasms can dictate the direction of battles to such a degree.
“Furthermore, what if the weapons wielded by these humans are stronger even than the Originals?”
The man walked into the depth of darkness, and stopped in front of the wall---
He extended his right hand, which bore the Command Spells, and flicked the switch which turned on the light within the room.
What appeared in the suddenly illuminated room was ----
A large crew lined the left and right sides of the room, wearing black uniforms.
The black uniforms were not those of magi, but ones that symbolised authority, with weapons around the waist.
It was a police force consisted of around thirty people, a mix of men and women.
They wore prim and intimidating uniforms, and in their hands ---- they each held a different weapon.
What a strange sight this was.
The uniformed officers were all expressionless, and they solemnly held items such as sword, bow, shield, spear, chain, scythe, and staff. Yet, they still wore handcuffs and pistols at their waists. The juxtaposition was beyond mere mismatch, but treading into the territory of ridiculous. Among them, there seemed to be one bearing a musket. It all gave the impression as if the police officers were going to the local Renaissance Fair.
However, if any magi worth his salt saw this scene, he would probably faint rather than laugh.
The weapons in their hand radiated the power of magic and heroism. It could be said the atmosphere in the room was being corroded by these weapons.
These Noble Phantasms, they were all forgeries.
However, their powers were greater than what were told in legends.
“--- ‘The Twenty-eight Monsters’ ---“
“Once upon a time, this was the name of the warriors who fought against Cu Chulainn in Celtic legends. From this day forward, it will be your codename.”
The man inspected the officers at his sides with great satisfaction, even though they seemed odd with their weapons. He was the Chief of the Snowfield Police Department.
He opened his arms and declared:
“Although the words seem cheap, but I guarantee you as the Police Chief, and I vow to you as a magus…”
“You are the force of justice.”
After hearing these words, the officers stomped their feet and saluted the Police Chief, who was also their Master, in flawless unison.
Just from this simple act, those observant enough could discern that these were not regular police officers. They were a force which had undergone some type of special training.
The Police Department had opened a physical “web” over the city.
They relied on the Servant, the tamed magus, merely for the “creation of Noble Phantasms”.
In other words, they---
They had chosen the path that would shake the very foundation of the Holy Grail War: to defeat Heroic Spirits with the power of humans.
What conclusion awaited them----?
The man who was summoned as Caster still had not finished this story.
End of Caster
Lancer (Section Complete)
The forest was deep as the abyss –
Running within it was almost like falling into a bottomless swamp.
–Sprint –Sprint –Spint
Tearing through the wind, he dashed within the forest in the darkness of the night.
Why was he running? He did not even know himself.
Although “escape” was a simple concept that could be conveyed through one sentence, he did not have the capacity to realise this while running.
There was meaning in the act of “escape”.
In other words, it was traversing the earth beneath you with all your might, for the sole purpose of “to survive”.
It was not a product of thoughts, but instinct.
It was not the result of reason, but impulse.
He did not even know where he was running towards. He merely threw his body forward without pause.
How long had it been?
His feet shrieked with every step. The pain radiated throughout his body without remorse.
Even so, he did not stop. Neither body nor mind sought to halt this mad dash.
He must have consumed all the endorphins in his brain, as only pain assaulted his body –
It was truly a testament to his bestial instincts, as he was able to endure such pain.
The trees bowed as if to meet a gust of wind. He almost became the wind itself while traversing this forest in the darkness, but -----
The gust of wind was struck down by a bullet infused with magical energy.
What hit him first was not pain, but the force of the bullet’s impact.
The forward momentum was not lost, so his body crashed onto the ground. As if to punish his relentless kicking and dashing just a moment ago, the ground bashed against his body like a weapon.
A silent cry.
The spasm assaulting his body prevented him from getting up even if he tried.
While the shrieks of pain from his body reverberated within his skull, a calm voice reached his ears.
“….. This is troublesome indeed.”
Even though the voice was that of reason, the rage hidden behind the cool tone was apparent.
The magus-looking man lowered his ornate pistol, and slowly stamped on the abdomen of the fugitive --- then he stabbed at the bullet wound on the fugitive’s foot with a still hot gun barrel.
The sound of searing and the odour of charred flesh began to spread within the forest.
The fugitive opened his mouth beyond its limit, and moist air came from the depth of his throat.
“Even you received the Command Spells…. What kind of nonsense is this!?”
The fugitive’s body convulsed with its silent scream. On his body, Command Spells seemed to emerge as a chain-like pattern.
“Think about why did I create you against all odds? Think about why did I ‘expand’ your Magic Circuits to the limit? Think about why did I let you live until now?”
The magus shook his head coldly, and kicked the head of the fugitive like a ball.
“… In order to achieve victory in the Holy Grail War, one must acquire an existence that transcends Heroes.”
He walked close to the fugitive, and gave him another kick in the face.
“If one failed to acquire a ‘God’ that transcends Heroes, then one cannot expect to defeat Heroes who were ‘Kings’.”
“In other words… I must summon something more ancient than the Origin of Heroes ---- an existence Egyptians called ‘God’.”
“Your purpose is a Catalyst! Why deny the honour to be the Catalyst for summoning a God!? You return my kindness with spite.”
The fugitive could not even scream. His sight was stained with blood and darkness.
Even when breathing had become a torture ---
He swallowed the blood rushed up into his throat, and stood up.
Seeing the tenacity of the fugitive, the magus gasped---
He placed his foot on the fugitive’s spine, and mercilessly bore down with all his weight.
“That will do it. I have prepared other substitutes… You will die after I extract the Command Spells. You will never be free. I will toss you back into the furnace, and make new lab rats from you.”
The man’s right hand reached for the Command Spells.
However, to the fugitive, the Command Spells were meaningless.
Let alone the meaning of “Holy Grail War”, he did not even know his name.
He was merely a creature that followed the instinct that boiled within him.
Furthermore, this impulse had not waned a bit, even now.
---Survive. Survive. Survive.
And he only knew this much.
--- Survive. Survive. Survive. Survive. Survive. Survive. Survive.
--- Survive. Survive. Survive. Survive. Survive. Survive. Survive.
It was not “I do not want to die”.
And it was also different from “I want to live”.
It was not a wish, but something purely born out of instinct.
It was merely a desire to “survive”.
Did he even know the difference? ----
No. It was questionable that he even understood the sentence “I do not want to die”.
His dying body---
His dying body screamed for survival. The bellow was louder and stronger than any creature in this land called Snowfield.
However, the meaning of this “scream” was not something the magus could understand ---thus, he did not sense it.
In that instant, the “Ritual” was complete.
This scream which no one else could mimic, was his magecraft and summoning spell.
The magus did not know.
Just a moment ago, the fifth Servant was summoned in the valley up north---
The False Grail wished for the materialisation of the sixth Servant, even through brutal force.
Really, from the summoning of Rider, one could see that the definition of “Summoning Rituals” in this Holy Grail War was vague at best.
Regardless, at that very instant ---
The sixth Servant finally descended in the forest of Snowfield.
Dazzling light pierced the forest, whirlwind shook the surrounding trees.
The magus was blown away by the wind for several meters, and raised his gun without a second thought. In that instant, he felt an overwhelming amount of magical energy which paralysed the magical circuits that coursed through his body.
A person appeared before the magus --- wearing a plain tunic.
Such an overwhelming amount of magical energy could only mean one thing: “that” was a Heroic Spirit.
However, something was still not quite right.
This person appeared too unremarkable to be called a Heroic Spirit.
He was not equipped with any items, and his clothing did not look like anything valuable. Although a Hero’s worth was not determined by his wealth, it was still strange for one to appear completely barehanded.
The magus calmly surveyed the Heroic Spirit.
---No, no, a man…? Which is it….?
The face of the Servant seemed androgynous, yet it was definitely beautiful and elegant no matter which sex it belonged to.
--- Wait… hold on… is this thing even human?
Sensing the strange and uncomfortable atmosphere, the magus felt intimidated.
The face of the Servant definitely looked human, but somehow, it also appeared inhuman in a way that could not be put to words. Was it because it was too perfect? It was not immediately apparent to the eye, but the Servant evoked a similar feeling in the observer as a mannequin or --- a “puppet” constructed by a magus.
Due to the loose garment, the physique of the Servant was not visible. This further obscured the sex of the Servant, and even made it difficult to discern whether he was human at all.
The Heroic Spirit appeared to blend into the forest behind him. The lingering breeze caressed his beautiful hair---.
He approached the wounded fugitive lying before him and asked:
“Are you… the Master who summoned me?”
His tone was really soft.
Even his voice was neutral; the magus could not tell who or what this Heroic Spirit really was.
Although the fugitive was knocked down by the sudden light and wind, he was able to immediately recognise this presence before him.
--- This person was not an enemy.
The fugitive suppressed the impulse to escape and stared at his saviour.
It was a penetrating gaze that seemed to read the heart of the other person.
The Heroic Spirit returned the gaze, and calmly kneeled down to lower himself to the same level as the fugitive, who was struggling to stand up ----
“----- ---- -----“
The Heroic Spirit spoke in a language the magus could not understand.
After hearing the sentence, the fugitive quietly replied:
The Heroic Spirit then calmly reached out his hands, and held up the battered body of the fugitive.
“Thank you. The Contract is now complete.”
As if hearing the words of an old friend, the fugitive finally felt relieved.
He was allowed to live. His heart was filled with content.
The fugitive relaxed after realising he no longer had to escape.
“This is stupid… stupid! What the hell is this!”
The magus could not understand what just happened before him. He raised his gun as he shouted.
“You expect me to accept this foolishness?!”
The magus screamed as he pointed the gun barrel forward.
A wolf held up by the Heroic Spirit, his silver fur stained by blood and dirt.
“You damnable creature! A chimera without special power can become a Master just like that!? Let’s stop this farce!”
Even though the magus kept his gun trained on the Heroic Spirit with trembling hands, the Heroic Spirit spoke serenely.
“Please lower your weapon. My Master wishes you no harm.”
Although the polite manner surprised him, what was said shook him more.
“Nonsense! All nonsense…”
“I can understand their language… What you have done to my Master, I can imagine by just looking at him.”
The magus was about to mock the Servant for what was said, but the Servant continued in a serious tone---
“However, my Master holds no malice against you. …. I hope you understand this.”
With that said, the Servant turned his back against the magus and slowly walked into the depth of the forest.
“Wait, wait a moment. You too wish for the Holy Grail, right?! Don’t you think you would have a better shot at the Holy Grail teaming up with me, rather than that mongrel?”
The Heroic Spirit suddenly stopped after hearing what the magus said.
He turned his head.
And he only did that.
“Yiiiiip….”. The magus squealed and ran out of the forest in the opposite direction as the Heroic Spirit and the beast.
The eyes of the Heroic Spirit were trained on the magus --- and they were saturated with a crushing sense of “rejection”.
After making sure the magus was gone, the Heroic Spirit instantly dissolved the malice in his eyes. He walked towards the river in order to treat his Master.
There was no sound of water, nor was there any water visible ---
However, he absolutely felt the “presence” of water from that direction, how it caressed the land ----
Gently cradling the beast in his arms, the Heroic Spirit leaped amongst the trees with the speed of a falcon.
The Hero certainly had the form of a human being.
However, he was not human.
In the ancient past, he descended onto the earth as a mud puppet sculpted by the Gods. He was neither male nor female, but merely a monster made of mud that appeared in the forest.
He did not have the intelligence of man, and only played with the creatures in the forest.
However, his might was beyond human comprehension. Rumour had it that when he unleashed his wrath, he was more powerful than the Hero who ruled the nation.
The King dismissed this entirely. He considered “having a contest of strength with a beast” to be complete nonsense.
The King had absolute faith in his own might, and was certain that no one was stronger than he. Because of this, he merely laughed at the rumour.
However --- after the encounter between the divine harlot and this beast, the fate of everyone was altered.
The asexual lump of clay fell for the beauty of the woman, which transcended the bound between man and woman.
During the six days and seven nights they spent together, the mud puppet slowly allowed his form to approximate that of a human.
His form seemed to become that of the beautiful harlot, who shared his food and bed.
Finally, the puppet who acquired the form and wisdom of a human stood before the great King.
After an epic melee that shook the heaven and earth, they became friends.
The Golden King and the mud puppet. Although the views of the two could not be more different, they became inseparable friends. The duo went on innumerable adventures, and shared each other’s joy and sorrow.
Those were the golden days of the past.
It seemed fate, was about to be altered once again ---.
The Heroic Spirit and beast reached a small river after travelling ten kilometers. After administrating minimal treatment, the Heroic Spirit allowed the silver wolf, his Master, to lay on the field of grass.
“Hmm… that’s a relief. Although the world is covered by cities like Uruk, it is still beautiful as ever.”
He spoke to his Master in “animal language” before the magnificent natural landscape.
The wolf did not reply. He seemed to be sleeping soundly.
The Heroic Spirit smiled, and quietly sat down. For now, he allowed himself to enjoy the song of the river---
Suddenly he shifted his sight to the north west.
His special ability – the highest rank of “Presence Detection” altered him of a familiar presence to the north, far away.
It was the Heroic Spirit in the golden armour, exiting the cave that was covered by a magus’ Bounded Field.
“Could it be –“
He calmly opened his eyes, could not believe this turn in fate---
“Is it really… you?”
He slowly stood up. The Heroic Spirit was certain that the presence in the north was his King.
A brief silence.
At the same time, what was this feeling rampaging in his breast?
Confusion. Frustration. And finally, overwhelming joy.
It was destiny that he and the King would battle once again in this Holy Grail War.
The tapestry woven between Enkidu and his King would not tear just because a fight or two.
No. It would remain as strong as ever, even after a thousand melees.
The Heroic Spirit smiled, and silently opened his arms –
“Let us continued the duel on that plaza once again… Let us relive that joy.”
He opened his arms, as if to bear his heart to the world ---
With his soft voice, he began to sing.
The Hero Enkidu.
His song shook the earth --- the beautiful landscape resonated to his song. The entire land of Snowfield sung with him.
This was the proof that the Servants had assembled ---
It was also the signal that the War had begun.
The magi and Heroic Spirits had assembled on this false stage.
Although they knew this was a false Holy Grail War, they would continue to dance to this tune.
Authenticity mattered little in the face of earnest desires.
They were fighting not for the Holy Grail, but for their very own beliefs.
This, was their Holy Grail War.
The curtain had risen.
End of Lancer