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Thread: Fate/strange fake (Free-Range Spoilers)

  1. #8781
    死徒 Dead Apostle Bugs's Avatar
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    Josuke Richard is somehow fitting.

  2. #8782
    I like how they pretend Hippo is important so far.
    The Adventure of the Velvet Room (Sherlock Holmes/Persona) (SB, FFN, AO3)

  3. #8783
    Sorry this has been so long in coming. I planned to get back to translating FSF in earnest once classes ended in mid-December, but I ended up with a professional LN job that runs into next month, so that's been eating up the lion's share of my time.
    I did manage to get through another 2,000+ words in time for New Year's, though, so I figured I'd post that for now (the post starts at the beginning of the chapter because it's been so long since the last one).
    Once my LN job is done, I'll be mostly free for a few months while I hunt for coding jobs, so I'm hoping to get through FSF 5 (and 6 once it comes out) pretty quickly then.

    FSF 5, Chapter 15: Gold and Lions II, through page 150

    Chapter 15
    Gold and Lions II


    The King of Heroes clad in golden armor—Gilgamesh the "judge"—was still standing where he had started on the roof of the church.
    The church roof was pincushioned with Noble Phantasm and had collapsed in places, but the ward set on it must have been powerful, because it remained barely recognizable as a roof.
    To a casual observer, it looked like a beautiful dance.
    Tine and the other mages actually watching the scene through farseeing spells were captivated by the sight of Saber dancing in the gap between life and death with incredible speed.
    It was a contest between kings, but it was certainly not equal. The golden king stood on high and the other king struggled to supplant him. Taken the other way round, it looked like a greater king passing judgment on a lesser one.
    But that was why he charged. If they were both kings, then which of them was superior would change with time and circumstance. Their battle was a struggle for that height. One might call it the world's smallest-scale "war," waged between the kings' Spirit Origins.
    Of course, one of those kings was armed with the innumerable Noble Phantasms that his subjects had made and he had collected. The other, in contrast, had only seven "supporters."

    The golden king and judge showered Saber with attacks without ever dropping his guard. Nonetheless, the king once said to "have the heart of a lion" kept up his advance, pushing himself to even greater speeds as he narrowly avoided death.
    Superhuman speed.
    It was usual for a battle between Heroic Spirits to appear superhuman. Even taking that into account, however, Saber's swiftness was extraordinary.
    Speed due to his fundamental abilities as a Heroic Spirit.
    Speed boosted through magecraft.
    Speed that could only be attributed to some kind of "divine protection" associated with anecdotes of his exploits and bestowed on him by the Throne.
    By combining all of them, he darted this way and that across the cluster of buildings that had become his battlefield with singular speed even for a Heroic Spirit, circling as he slowly but steadily closed distance.
    The Lionheart's advance, once begun, was like a gale scything across land and sea. The peerless speed of his march was so great that legend had it "only a general blessed with protection against wind had finally succeeded in halting it."
    Incredibly, the Lionheart, said to have raced across the battlefield with three times the speed of an ordinary charge, at last drew close enough for his sword to reach his opponent.
    "So, you have the insolence to stand before me."
    As good as declaring that he had only just begun, the golden king leapt backward while firing his Gate of Babylon in an effort to put more distance between himself and Saber.
    But his efforts gave Saber the perfect opportunity.

    "Ex...calibur!"

    Saber's sword shone, the arc of its swing becoming a massive band of light that flew at the airborne golden Archer.
    "Not so fast!"
    Gilgamesh materialized countless shields in front of him, dispersing the band of light.
    "To think that you would strike at me with a mere imitation of a relic of the planet. Were we not in the middle of your trial, such folly would merit death, mongrel! ....Hm?"
    When the scattered light dissipated and the countless floating shields scattered, Saber was no longer to be seen in front of the golden king.
    As he landed, he sensed immense magical energy from behind him, lower down the slanted roof of the church. The golden Archer turned to look, his eyes narrowed, and saw Saber with his sword poised to strike.

    "Ex...calibur!"

    A second band of light was fired up the slope. It was blocked by the countless shields, as the first had been...but this strike was an order of magnitude more powerful. It pushed the shields back, lifting the golden king several meters into the air.
    "How dare you..."
    The golden king saw through the gaps in his shield wall that Saber was holding one of the Noble Phantasms that he himself had fired.
    "I told you I was going to borrow them, didn't I?"
    Saber, still clutching the long sword, instantaneously slipped in directly underneath his airborne foe and made radiance envelop the blade once more.
    The first time he had released the true name of his Noble Phantasm, the decorative sword he had originally held had shattered with a single strike. The Noble Phantasm shrouded in the aura of the age of the gods, however, remained intact after his second true name release and retained its properties as his Noble Phantasm.
    He unleashed magical energy in a third band of light.
    The golden king deployed shields beneath him and blocked the attack, but he was pushed higher into the air.
    Then came the fourth band of light.
    Saber gave his opponent no time to recover and followed it with a fifth and a sixth slash of light aimed skyward from the church roof.
    Even more frighteningly, the interval between strikes was steadily shrinking. By the time he got past his twentieth slash, they had become a massive, continuous band of light firing from the earth into the night sky.

    As if to say that this, too, was both an infinite series of blows and a never-ending single strike.

    X X

    Several minutes earlier, the hospital's front parking lot

    A short while earlier.
    In the parking lot situated between the hospital and Main Street.
    The area had been cleared of people, so there were hardly any cars parked in the moderately spacious lot and no obstacles up to the hospital entrance that John had been flung into.
    The attack on John had triggered every police officer with strength to spare to spring into action at once. Each of them held a different Noble Phantasm. "Fake" Noble Phantasms—mere relics that had lost their original Mystery and magical energy, but whose legends had been overwritten by Caster.
    It would be fair to say that they attacked with every trick they could think of—feints, sneak attacks from blind spots, and more. It could even be justly said that their teamwork had improved since their battle with Assassin at the police station.
    And yet Archer, having stolen Berserker's Noble Phantasm and gain the power of a demon, did not even make an effort to dodge them or to deflect them with his weapon. He took every blade and projectile aimed at him, but they had no apparent effect.

    "Shit... Is he the same as that Dead Apostle Jester...?" One of the officers ground his teeth.
    Memories of the moment they had been crushed in the police station flashed through their minds. Faced with what was becoming a repeat of that defeat, the members of Clan Calatin never considered fleeing. If they retreated, they would lose their raison d'être called "justice."
    Like John, they carried their chief's nearly-hypnotic words. That said, an honorable death was not what they wanted. They continued to think of ways they might stop the monster confronting them.
    While they thought, the now-grotesque Archer advanced.
    But every attack they aimed at his vitals was stopped by the cloth he wore. When they attacked his exposed arms and sides, in contrast, they felt their attacks connect, but never managed to reach the level of an effective blow.
    On top of the cloth that completely nullified their attacks, his bare body's specs must have been extraordinary as well. Given that he had also absorbed the demon's power—although the police officers did not understand exactly what had happened—they supposed that his endurance and resistance to magical energy must have improved as a result.
    In that case, did the enemy facing them have any weaknesses at all?
    While the words "give up" ran through the officers' heads, the grotesque bowman was steadily advancing step by step.
    "...? Why doesn't he just rush us?" One officer asked.
    "Yeah," another answered, "he could probably knock all of us out of his way in no time..."
    At that, a woman who had been coolly observing the situation from a short distance away—Vera Levitt, the police chief's aide-de-camp and effectively one of the leaders of Clan Calatin—said:
    "He's probably on his guard."
    She was a true mage as well as a police officer.
    Although she had been born the younger daughter of a mage bloodline, her elder sister's Magic Circuits were poor, and so she had been brought up by her mother, who carried on the family's Magic Crest. Her elder sister Amelia worked in Snowfield as a doctor, still ignorant of the world of magecraft.
    Because her lineage had cooperated in running this Holy Grail War, Vera, as the heir, had joined the war having inherited a portion of her mother's Magic Crest. It was an incomplete succession, given that the Crest transplant was not yet complete, but her strength stood out among Clan Calatin and it would be no exaggeration to call her the chief's right hand.
    Her next action was to take a little glass test tube that did not match her modern gear from her belt of equipment. She threw it in front of the enemy bowman and fired at it with the peculiarly decorated revolver she held.
    Her bullet accurately pierced the test tube. A moment later, a smokescreen spread over a wide area.
    And no ordinary smokescreen—a smokescreen charged with magical energy of a randomly shifting nature. Call it jamming for magical energy perception.
    Watching the dense smoke—which naturally also obscured his vision—spread, the bowman muttered in a low voice:
    "...Impudence."
    Then, he moved his enormous body in a great leap, avoiding the smoke.

    Vera had read the situation correctly.
    The grotesque bowman—Alkeides—was wary, not of the police force, but of other factors—Saber, who had appeared without warning, and the King of Heroes, who had entered combat with him. They were fighting each other for the moment, but there was no telling when they might turn their attacks on him. He could also sense another Heroic Spirit's Spirit Origin on Saber's side and the presence of the monster that had stopped his initial attack on the hospital with a "shield of water" had not vanished.
    This was not a duel to be fought honorably; it was a never-ending melee in which one had to outwit one's opponents and could not afford to show even the least opening at one's back.
    Alkeides understood that. He could slaughter the police force spreading out and attacking him in an instant, but he would have to proceed carefully to do it without creating an opening. That was because the police force possessed more than a certain level of power. What they had acquired, the resolve to risk their lives, had not been for nothing.
    There were twenty-five police officers on the scene. The rest remained in the station to guard the chief and to gather information. The bowman's hellhound—Kerberos—had appeared just as they had been about to dispatch an advance team to their target's hospital room, so none of them had reached the hospital room yet.
    "How many do we send to Kuruoka Tsubaki's room?"
    "If the Servant possessing Kuruoka Tsubaki is hostile, a small team will end up dying for nothing," Vera whispered her opinion to a female officer with a bow Noble Phantasm. "I would have liked to send Berserker, who could have dealt with it alone, but..."
    Berserker had suffered serious damage to his spirit origin and had likely withdrawn with the aid of Flat's Command Spells.
    "...If the Servant is capable of understanding that Kuruoka Tsubaki is being targeted, it should take action to protect its Master. The fact that she still hasn't withdrawn from the hospital means that either it hasn't noticed what's happening, doesn't intend to protect her...or is confident that it can protect her without moving."
    Vera, thinking that the latter would be preferable, produced another several test tubes and scattered them around her. No sooner had the tubes, thrown with the aid of magecraft, flown through the air to cover a wide area than bullets shattered all of them, spreading more smoke over the area.
    Vera was about to order someone to scout out the hospital room, taking advantage of the delay, when...

    "A wasted effort."

    The grotesque Archer flapped the demon wings that grew from his back, kicking up a wind charged with dense magical energy around him. The wind carrying sinister magical energy formed a number of small whirlwinds and began to catch the smoke as if devouring it.
    "How are we supposed to deal with this shit...?" One of the officers asked, his cheek twitching.
    Despair began to spread across the officers' faces...when a lone figure dashed through the smokescreen.
    "Stop! It's no use!"
    The officers called out to restrain the figure. They could not see its face clearly through the windstorms and trailing smoke, but they could tell that it wore the same uniform as they did.

    Alkeides judged it to be a reckless charge.
    No matter what sort of attack the approaching police officer attempted, it would have no effect on him. If he struck with his bare fists, the blow would ignore the protection of the Nemean lion's pelt, but in that case the attack would not even scratch him unless it was charged with a great deal of magical energy.
    If he drew his bow, both of his hands would be occupied for an instant. That would obviously present the other Heroic Spirits with an opening. The King of Heroes, in particular, was capable of sending a lethal strike his way even while crossing swords with Saber. Even a "stray shot" could prove fatal if it happened to strike a gap in the Nemean lion's pelt.
    If he only possessed the Noble Phantasm that gave him twelve lives, which had been left before his metamorphosis, he would probably have given little thought to the possibility and drawn his bow with all his might...but his present did not merit leaving such an opening.
    In that case, he decided, he need only brush the attacker aside with one blow of his arm, as he had done to that first brave officer whose neck he had shattered.
    Alkeides raised his arm and waited for the police officer concealed by the darkness and smoke to approach him.

    Then, that instant, he sense immense magical energy swell up behind him.
    "!"
    This magical energy... Saber.
    The Saber who had been fighting with Gilgamesh must have fired some kind of Noble Phantasm. Sensing that its magical energy was aimed not at him, but at the sky, Alkeides did not take his eyes off the small threat closing in on him from the front. It was an action born of his refusal to drop his guard against even the weakest enemy.
    No.
    It was not that he did not look away.
    He could not look away.
    It was an effect produced by his "mind's eye."
    It was not instinct.
    His accumulated skill and experience, his honed senses, and the flesh and blood that comprised him all dominated his spirit and refused to let him look away.
    It was not the other Heroic Spirits he ought to truly be wary of.
    It was the lone police officer closing in on him.
    Everything he had built up told him so.
    The reason why would soon become clear.

    Behind Alkeides, a pillar of light pierced the sky and illuminated the face of the approaching police officer before him. At the sight of that face, which appeared through a tear in the smokescreen created by the whirlwinds, Alkeides muttered:
    "What...?"
    It was unmistakably the face of the man whose neck he had broken and who he had sent flying into the hospital entrance a short while before.
    "Ooooooaaah!"
    The officer let out a wordless roar and kicked the ground.
    His instantaneous acceleration exceeded Alkeides' expectations. His arm moved to block, but before it could reach, the man's slight frame sprang at Alkeides with the force of a bullet...and delivered a flying knee to the bridge of the grotesque Archer's cloth-covered nose with all his might.

    "J-John?!" The police officers shouted in surprise.
    The way John had been sent flying earlier had put the words "instant death" into most of their minds. He might have Magic Circuits, but he lacked the Magic Crest which only one child in a lineage could inherit. If he had had a Crest, which would have performed self-restoration magecraft when he was on the brink of death, it would have been a different story, but no one had imagined that John could survive without one, much less reappear so much stronger that he seemed like a different person.
    But he had.
    He had reappeared shrouded in magical energy that far surpassed that of an ordinary mage and made use of that energy to enhance his body and nerves severalfold.

    John.
    I see. So, this man's name is John.
    Alkeides, despite taking the flying knee and being knocked backwards, coolly noted information about his opponent as he spun in midair and landed feet-first.
    Those feet, however, were swept out from under him by John, who had circled around even farther behind him without his noticing.
    "Oh-ho..."
    Alkeides sounded impressed. He then caught himself with one arm on the ground and used his free arm to block John's follow-up attack. The shock ran through Alkeides' whole body with a creaking of flesh and bone.
    John followed it with a series of bare-handed strikes, continuing to batter Alkeides without giving him a chance to ready his bow.
    What happened? He's like a different man... Or should I say he's matured?
    He had gone beyond the level of ordinary humans, even for a mage. The experience Alkeides had built up over his lifetime warned him that the power surging from the police officer before him rivaled the enemy generals he had fought in ancient Greece in brute strength.
    Is it his Noble Phantasm? Did Caster do something?
    Alkeides noted that his body was being damaged, but it was not enough to make him register danger. Compared to when the Amazon queen had struck him using her Noble Phantasm, the pain was like being punched by a child.
    And yet...he regarded the man before him with the greatest possible caution.
    Why? Alkeides wondered as he fended off the flurry of blows. Why was I wary of this man?
    The vortex of magical energy that had sprung up behind him ought to have concerned him more than strikes like these. And yet everything he had accumulated was telling him not to take his eyes off this human.
    His strength is certainly more than human, but it hasn't reached the level of a warrior Heroic Spirit.
    So why, he wondered as he continued to take blow after blow. His attention was first drawn to the unnaturalness of his opponent's attacks.
    ...Why doesn't he use his right hand?
    Throughout his flurry of unarmed strikes, the police officer called John never attacked with his right hand.
    This difference in his center of gravity... A prosthetic?
    While attacking and defending at split-second intervals, Alkeides instantaneously deduced the truth of his opponent's unnatural movements.
    That being the case, he wondered what that prosthetic hand could be.
    Does it conceal a weapon? If so, it won't penetrate this pelt.
    No, this man should already know that. Should I assume that it conceals magecraft, then?
    Alkeides focused every nerve in his body on John's right arm while evading his close-quarters attacks.
    It must be some kind of—No, is it...?
    He felt a presence. A slight presence—a unique magical energy, or perhaps a curse—was escaping from the man's prosthetic hand. The instant that presence, which retained faint vestiges of the Age of the Gods, tickled Alkeides' nostrils and skin...

    A chill of fear ran down Alkeides' spine.

    Having noticed it, his instincts as a Heroic Spirit made him freeze in shock for just an instant.
    No matter how much his Spirit Origin changed, it had a special meaning for him. It was because he knew its dangers better than anyone, because he knew the terror of it better than anyone, that he himself had soaked his special arrowheads in it.
    "Damn you...!"
    The instant Alkeides shouted, John's right arm shone darkly...and a peculiarly shaped blade appeared from it, forming the back of his hand.

    A black liquid writhed around the prosthetic blade like a curse with a will of its own. It was one of the greatest calamities and most awful curses of the Age of the Gods, one that had killed countless heroes and even driven a certain great hero to take his own life—Hydra venom.

    The blade coiled in that incomparably fiendish toxin closed in on a gap in Alkeides' cloth.
    Impossible!
    Has it survived into this era?! That water snake shouldn't be able to exist on the surface anymore!
    He felt keenly how naïve his thinking had been.
    The mages of this era could not hold a candle to those of the Age of the Gods, but they were intelligent enough to wield its remnants. Considering that his own Master likewise harbored the toxic, cursed mud in his body, he should have considered the possibility that his enemies possessed Hydra venom.
    Faced with a weapon capable of killing him, Alkeides gripped his bow and leapt backward with all his might.

    "...! Hurry! To the hospital!" John shouted to his nearby fellow officers once he was sure Alkeides had distanced himself. "I'll buy as much time as I can! Secure the target while I do!"
    "John... What happened to you?!"
    "I don't really understand myself...but it looks like Mr. Caster pulled something off for me!"
    John then made to dash off, as if to say that they could talk later...when a chill ran through his body this time, causing him to stop in his tracks in spite of himself.
    "...?"
    John strained his eyes, his whole body breaking out in a cold sweat.
    The grotesque bowman stood over twenty meters ahead of him. The intimidating air rising from him had magnified severalfold.
    John had no difficulty figuring out why—the bowman had nocked an arrow to his bow.
    He had fired arrows several times before, but this was different. He was serious.
    The grotesque bowman spoke, paying his respects to John, who was trying to advance in spite of the chill.
    "You who possess the means to kill me,

    "I acknowledge you as my foe."

    X X

    Crystal Hill, top floor

    "Lord Gilgamesh!"
    Tine, on the top floor of Crystal Hill, viewed the king who was her Servant, not through a farseeing spell, but with her naked eyes.
    Gilgamesh was being forced upward to the height of their base on the building's top floor. His golden armor was completely engulfed in an even more radiant band of light and it was no longer possible to perceive his figure.
    Not only Tine, but also the other nearby members of her tribe were wide-eyed.
    The pillar of light that grew into the heavens from the church roof had ascended so high that its end could not be seen.
    Not even the King of Heroes could be engulfed in that torrent of power and emerge unscathed.
    Tine, sensing that, was on the verge of using a Command Spell to recall him... when she sensed Gilgamesh's magical energy swell within the pillar of light.
    It might be more accurate to say that massive concentrations of magical energy had appeared around him.

    It was the same thing that he had been doing all along.
    Merely firing Noble Phantasms from his treasury out of empty space.
    Only... the natures of the Noble Phantasms he deployed were a little different.

    The myriad Noble Phantasms, although each shrouded in immense magical energy, formed a single, titanic surge that coiled around the torrent of light itself, dispersing the light by brute force.
    The Noble Phantasms that he had so far fired monotonously now displayed complex movements like a gigantic serpent.
    But Gilgamesh was not using magical energy to control his armaments—golden chains that reached out of thin air on all sides were entangling the swarms of Noble Phantasms and forcefully adjusting their trajectories.
    Gilgamesh emerged from the dispersed light and, by gathering together the rain of Noble Phantasms, transformed them into a waterfall that plummeted earthward accompanied by a furious surge.
    It was like a great, golden dragon devouring the light Saber unleashed as it advanced.

    X X

    The Church

    Saber, who was continuing to fire his Noble Phantasm from the roof of the church, sensed that the magical energy he unleashed was being driven back.
    Then, seeing the compressed swarm of Noble Phantasms bearing down on him, he could not keep sweat from beading on his forehead.
    Gazing up at the oncoming dragon of Noble Phantasms, Saber closed his eyes for a moment... and, forcing an intrepid grin, poured his magical energy into his next strike.

    X X

    "What? What's going on...?"
    Meanwhile, directly beneath Saber...
    His Master, Ayaka, was inside the church, voicing her confusion.
    As far as she could see out the windows, it looked like something on the church roof was glowing, but Ayaka, who was not a mage, had no way to make sure of what was taking place outside.
    "Are you feeling all right, miss?" The overseer priest asked her quizzically.
    "Huh...? Oh, now that you mention it, I do feel a little tired..."
    "A little. I see..."
    After a pause for thought, Hansa said:
    "What are you, miss?"
    "What?"
    "The ability to provide a Heroic Spirit with that much magical energy isn't normal. At the very least, anyone short of a first-rate mage should have run dry by now, but you..."
    "I don't know what you mean... I don't even really know what this 'magical energy' stuff is..."
    Ayaka frowned, looking troubled. Hansa was observing her with great interest, when:
    "No, we haven't got time for questions. You'd better get farther inside."
    "...Why?"
    "I'm strengthening the wards," the priest answered, staring up at the church's high ceiling, "but the roof is about to cave in."
    "?!"
    The next instant, a portion of the roof gave way and a figure dropped through the opening it left.
    Ayaka narrowly avoided a direct hit from the rubble thanks to Hansa's yanking her arm.
    Before the situation could penetrate her brain, however, a haughty man's voice rang out through the hole in the roof.

    "I had intended to obliterate you along with the church. I suppose I should praise you for stopping me."
    It was a man in golden armor.
    His armor was cracked in places, but his arms were crossed imperturbably and he was looking down at the center of the rubble piled in the middle of the church.
    "What...?"
    The instant Ayaka laid eyes on the man, she felt as if her brain had just received a violent jolt.
    The instant she laid eyes on his face, to be precise.
    She had a feeling that she had seen a similar face years before.
    And in a church like that one.
    When she tried to remember, noise ran through her thoughts.
    Her brain buzzed... the noise was even in her vision. And in the gaps it made, a girl in a red hood appeared.
    "Eee..."
    Ayaka tried to clutch her head, but then she realized.
    Why had the man in golden armor been speaking to the center of the rubble?
    "I suppose I should praise you for stopping me."
    Who had stopped him?
    Ayaka tried to think, but the answer came to her at once.
    She had recognized the thing in the center of the rubble.
    For an instant, Ayaka had mistaken the figure with numerous swords and spears sprouting from its body for part of the rubble. It was unquestionably... Saber, who had so recently walked beside her, making friendly conversation.
    While his heart and head were intact, his stomach, shoulders, and thighs were impaled by a number of weapons—enough to kill an ordinary human.
    "Sa...ber...?"
    The instant she recognized him, both the noise and the red-hooded girl vanished from her sight.
    She nearly sank to the floor, but caught herself at the last moment and attempted to approach Saber.
    She was tripped up by the rubble, however, and fell.
    The man on the roof, seemingly oblivious to Ayaka, continued to address Saber.
    "You could have avoided those wounds, had you dodged. Did you intend to protect this church? I ought to execute you for your hubris, but you did succeed in cancelling out a single strike. For the moment, you have my praise."
    At that, Saber, who had thus far remained motionless, moved sluggishly and twisted his lips into a grin as he answered the man on the roof.
    "You...honor me," Saber said, still breathing feebly and looking up at the golden Heroic Spirit. "I can't believe you'd destroy a church. Don't blame me if God has something to say about it."
    "Absurd. I had my fill of the wrath of the god long ago."
    "Gods... I see, you're a polytheist... And the way you talk... Ha ha. So, you... No, you two are the 'primordial travelers'..."
    Saber laughed, blood trickling from the corners of his mouth.
    "Mongrel...what do you hold within you?" The golden Heroic Spirit looked at him and asked haughtily, without anger or disdain.
    "...? What...do you mean?"
    "I do not mean your retinue. I mean the foundation of your Spirit Origin."
    The man on the roof continued to speak dispassionately to the feebly-breathing Saber.
    "In any case, it seems you still lack a reason to fight. To challenge me with that attitude is the height of hubris, mongrel. If dubious desires are all you can muster in the face of my treasure, then perish while all you harbor within you rots."
    He did not even uncross his arms, but ripples formed in the space above him.
    "I will deliver my verdict. Have you any last words?"
    "...I'd like to say no...but yes... The girl who shared her magical energy with me isn't my Master... I just drained her energy..."
    Ayaka had staggered to her feet. Saber's words made her eyes widen. She realized what he was going to say next.
    Stop.
    Don't say it.
    She tried to speak, but he throat refused to function.
    She was breathing raggedly and on the verge of falling again when Saber said, with a smile:
    "She hasn't opposed you...so don't be harsh on her."
    "Very well, but do not forget that I will only grant her consideration. If she turns out to be worthless, I will simply blow her away, just like the other rabble."
    Then, the armored man slowly raised his hand and made to conclude his words to Saber.
    "Mongrel, I judge you—"

    His sentence, however, was never finished.

    An instant later, the Heroic Spirit in golden armor was...

    X X

    Several minutes earlier, on Main Street

    "Is that...John?"
    The man who had appeared and saved them was their colleague who, moments before, had been sent flying with a broken neck.
    His sudden display of superhuman activity seemed to declare that he had truly been "reborn." The members of Clan Calatin were seized by confusion.
    Vera's clear, ringing voice cut through their hesitation.
    "Front line, fall back and shield the rear line! Rear line, support John with everything you've got!"
    The barked orders from the normally quiet Vera snapped them back to awareness.
    The officers each readied their own Noble Phantasm and surrounded John and the grotesque bowman in the positions she had ordered.
    Far from support, those with close-ranged weapons would only be a hindrance against the bowman.
    So, the officers judged that they ought to leave it to the long-ranged attackers in the rear line to serve as a distraction. And if that really was John, he ought to know how to coordinate with the rear line.
    They planned to support John, and in the meantime find an opportunity to send half of their number inside the hospital as he wished...but several arrows launched by their enemy shattered their formation in an instant.

    A burly officer a large shield Noble Phantasm tried to block one, but the instant the arrow struck, a shock like a blast from an adhesive grenade ran through the surface of the shield and launched him backward.
    And the bowstring had not even been pulled fully taut.
    The arrow had been just one of several diversionary shots fired without leaving an opening.
    The officers were painfully aware that the only reason they, along with the city around them, had not been reduced to scraps of meat was that the Heroic Spirit had reason and, either by his Master's order or on his own initiative, was making some effort to maintain the Concealment of Mystery.
    When he had first arrived with Kerberos, they had assumed he was a marauder without an ounce of concern for such things, but he was actually the opposite.
    As far as that Heroic Spirit was concerned, using a beast like Kerberos to simply devour his enemies' flesh did more to preserve the Concealment of Mystery than fighting seriously himself would.
    "Doesn't he have any weaknesses?!" One of the officers shouted.
    It was true that John was moving on par with a Heroic Spirit, but his opponent's strength far exceeded their expectations of Heroic Spirits.
    They had assumed that such strength must be unique to Gilgamesh and possibly the other Heroic Spirit—thought to be Lancer—who had clashed with the King of Heroes on the first day, but they were realizing too late that they had been naïve.
    Still, they had known from the beginning that their abilities would not measure up to a Heroic Spirit's.
    They needed to support John—who was likewise outside their calculations—and at least force the bowman to retreat.
    The bowman must realize that wiping out the officers would not allow him to attack their Master or Servant directly.
    In which case, at minimum, they only needed to convince him that it would not be worth it to continue.
    Those were the thoughts running through the minds of more than a few officers...

    When they realized that there was another police officer, apart from John, behind the grotesque bowman.
    "!"
    The officers wanted to shout at him to follow Vera's orders, but raising their voices would only alert their enemy.
    When they focused their attention on the officer to see who was ignoring orders...they realized.
    Before they knew it, the one officer behind the bowman had become two, who then soon became four.
    It was not one of them.
    It was none other than the Heroic Spirit who had been battling the archer in the guise of a police officer shortly before—the Servant Berserker.

    Berserker—Jack the Ripper—had become a swarm of police officers.
    Those officers, whose ranks had swelled noiselessly to sixteen, attempted to launch a surprise attack on their enemy's rear to support John.
    But they were easily scattered.
    Without turning to face them, the bowman twisted the grotesque wings that sprouted from his back and sliced through the first several Jacks who sprang at him.
    "...So, you can still move."
    The bowman spoke without looking behind him, in a tone that was equal parts admiration and exasperation.
    While he spoke, he continued to fend off John's attacks with his bow.
    The superhuman sense that had allowed him to deal with Jack approaching silently from behind him was truly worthy of the name "Mind's Eye," one of the remaining Jacks thought and called out:
    "I'm impressed that you can use your newly stolen wings so well."
    Other Jack's lunged at the bowman as he spoke.
    The new Jacks no longer even had the appearance of police officers. They were an assortment of ordinary townspeople, doctors, the young and old, men and women.
    Possibly Jack could no longer afford the effort to keep his appearances uniform. The Jacks looked like a pitiful human crowd gathered to assault a demon out of legend, or else to throw themselves on its mercy.
    "Absurd."
    Ultimately, Jack's power was not even what it had been earlier. Their movements were sluggish.
    The bowman seemed to realize that, because he kept the majority of his attention on the human police officer in front of him.
    An instant later, however, his assessment changed completely.
    Countless black arms grew from Jack's shadows and wrapped around the bowman's body.

  4. #8784
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors
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    Real life comes first. Thank you for continuing and the update.

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    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors
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    Quote Originally Posted by OtherSideofSky View Post
    Sorry this has been so long in coming. I planned to get back to translating FSF in earnest once classes ended in mid-December, but I ended up with a professional LN job that runs into next month, so that's been eating up the lion's share of my time.
    I did manage to get through another 2,000+ words in time for New Year's, though, so I figured I'd post that for now (the post starts at the beginning of the chapter because it's been so long since the last one).
    Once my LN job is done, I'll be mostly free for a few months while I hunt for coding jobs, so I'm hoping to get through FSF 5 (and 6 once it comes out) pretty quickly then.

    FSF 5, Chapter 15: Gold and Lions II, through page 150

    Chapter 15
    Gold and Lions II


    The King of Heroes clad in golden armor—Gilgamesh the "judge"—was still standing where he had started on the roof of the church.
    The church roof was pincushioned with Noble Phantasm and had collapsed in places, but the ward set on it must have been powerful, because it remained barely recognizable as a roof.
    To a casual observer, it looked like a beautiful dance.
    Tine and the other mages actually watching the scene through farseeing spells were captivated by the sight of Saber dancing in the gap between life and death with incredible speed.
    It was a contest between kings, but it was certainly not equal. The golden king stood on high and the other king struggled to supplant him. Taken the other way round, it looked like a greater king passing judgment on a lesser one.
    But that was why he charged. If they were both kings, then which of them was superior would change with time and circumstance. Their battle was a struggle for that height. One might call it the world's smallest-scale "war," waged between the kings' Spirit Origins.
    Of course, one of those kings was armed with the innumerable Noble Phantasms that his subjects had made and he had collected. The other, in contrast, had only seven "supporters."

    The golden king and judge showered Saber with attacks without ever dropping his guard. Nonetheless, the king once said to "have the heart of a lion" kept up his advance, pushing himself to even greater speeds as he narrowly avoided death.
    Superhuman speed.
    It was usual for a battle between Heroic Spirits to appear superhuman. Even taking that into account, however, Saber's swiftness was extraordinary.
    Speed due to his fundamental abilities as a Heroic Spirit.
    Speed boosted through magecraft.
    Speed that could only be attributed to some kind of "divine protection" associated with anecdotes of his exploits and bestowed on him by the Throne.
    By combining all of them, he darted this way and that across the cluster of buildings that had become his battlefield with singular speed even for a Heroic Spirit, circling as he slowly but steadily closed distance.
    The Lionheart's advance, once begun, was like a gale scything across land and sea. The peerless speed of his march was so great that legend had it "only a general blessed with protection against wind had finally succeeded in halting it."
    Incredibly, the Lionheart, said to have raced across the battlefield with three times the speed of an ordinary charge, at last drew close enough for his sword to reach his opponent.
    "So, you have the insolence to stand before me."
    As good as declaring that he had only just begun, the golden king leapt backward while firing his Gate of Babylon in an effort to put more distance between himself and Saber.
    But his efforts gave Saber the perfect opportunity.

    "Ex...calibur!"

    Saber's sword shone, the arc of its swing becoming a massive band of light that flew at the airborne golden Archer.
    "Not so fast!"
    Gilgamesh materialized countless shields in front of him, dispersing the band of light.
    "To think that you would strike at me with a mere imitation of a relic of the planet. Were we not in the middle of your trial, such folly would merit death, mongrel! ....Hm?"
    When the scattered light dissipated and the countless floating shields scattered, Saber was no longer to be seen in front of the golden king.
    As he landed, he sensed immense magical energy from behind him, lower down the slanted roof of the church. The golden Archer turned to look, his eyes narrowed, and saw Saber with his sword poised to strike.

    "Ex...calibur!"

    A second band of light was fired up the slope. It was blocked by the countless shields, as the first had been...but this strike was an order of magnitude more powerful. It pushed the shields back, lifting the golden king several meters into the air.
    "How dare you..."
    The golden king saw through the gaps in his shield wall that Saber was holding one of the Noble Phantasms that he himself had fired.
    "I told you I was going to borrow them, didn't I?"
    Saber, still clutching the long sword, instantaneously slipped in directly underneath his airborne foe and made radiance envelop the blade once more.
    The first time he had released the true name of his Noble Phantasm, the decorative sword he had originally held had shattered with a single strike. The Noble Phantasm shrouded in the aura of the age of the gods, however, remained intact after his second true name release and retained its properties as his Noble Phantasm.
    He unleashed magical energy in a third band of light.
    The golden king deployed shields beneath him and blocked the attack, but he was pushed higher into the air.
    Then came the fourth band of light.
    Saber gave his opponent no time to recover and followed it with a fifth and a sixth slash of light aimed skyward from the church roof.
    Even more frighteningly, the interval between strikes was steadily shrinking. By the time he got past his twentieth slash, they had become a massive, continuous band of light firing from the earth into the night sky.

    As if to say that this, too, was both an infinite series of blows and a never-ending single strike.

    X X

    Several minutes earlier, the hospital's front parking lot

    A short while earlier.
    In the parking lot situated between the hospital and Main Street.
    The area had been cleared of people, so there were hardly any cars parked in the moderately spacious lot and no obstacles up to the hospital entrance that John had been flung into.
    The attack on John had triggered every police officer with strength to spare to spring into action at once. Each of them held a different Noble Phantasm. "Fake" Noble Phantasms—mere relics that had lost their original Mystery and magical energy, but whose legends had been overwritten by Caster.
    It would be fair to say that they attacked with every trick they could think of—feints, sneak attacks from blind spots, and more. It could even be justly said that their teamwork had improved since their battle with Assassin at the police station.
    And yet Archer, having stolen Berserker's Noble Phantasm and gain the power of a demon, did not even make an effort to dodge them or to deflect them with his weapon. He took every blade and projectile aimed at him, but they had no apparent effect.

    "Shit... Is he the same as that Dead Apostle Jester...?" One of the officers ground his teeth.
    Memories of the moment they had been crushed in the police station flashed through their minds. Faced with what was becoming a repeat of that defeat, the members of Clan Calatin never considered fleeing. If they retreated, they would lose their raison d'être called "justice."
    Like John, they carried their chief's nearly-hypnotic words. That said, an honorable death was not what they wanted. They continued to think of ways they might stop the monster confronting them.
    While they thought, the now-grotesque Archer advanced.
    But every attack they aimed at his vitals was stopped by the cloth he wore. When they attacked his exposed arms and sides, in contrast, they felt their attacks connect, but never managed to reach the level of an effective blow.
    On top of the cloth that completely nullified their attacks, his bare body's specs must have been extraordinary as well. Given that he had also absorbed the demon's power—although the police officers did not understand exactly what had happened—they supposed that his endurance and resistance to magical energy must have improved as a result.
    In that case, did the enemy facing them have any weaknesses at all?
    While the words "give up" ran through the officers' heads, the grotesque bowman was steadily advancing step by step.
    "...? Why doesn't he just rush us?" One officer asked.
    "Yeah," another answered, "he could probably knock all of us out of his way in no time..."
    At that, a woman who had been coolly observing the situation from a short distance away—Vera Levitt, the police chief's aide-de-camp and effectively one of the leaders of Clan Calatin—said:
    "He's probably on his guard."
    She was a true mage as well as a police officer.
    Although she had been born the younger daughter of a mage bloodline, her elder sister's Magic Circuits were poor, and so she had been brought up by her mother, who carried on the family's Magic Crest. Her elder sister Amelia worked in Snowfield as a doctor, still ignorant of the world of magecraft.
    Because her lineage had cooperated in running this Holy Grail War, Vera, as the heir, had joined the war having inherited a portion of her mother's Magic Crest. It was an incomplete succession, given that the Crest transplant was not yet complete, but her strength stood out among Clan Calatin and it would be no exaggeration to call her the chief's right hand.
    Her next action was to take a little glass test tube that did not match her modern gear from her belt of equipment. She threw it in front of the enemy bowman and fired at it with the peculiarly decorated revolver she held.
    Her bullet accurately pierced the test tube. A moment later, a smokescreen spread over a wide area.
    And no ordinary smokescreen—a smokescreen charged with magical energy of a randomly shifting nature. Call it jamming for magical energy perception.
    Watching the dense smoke—which naturally also obscured his vision—spread, the bowman muttered in a low voice:
    "...Impudence."
    Then, he moved his enormous body in a great leap, avoiding the smoke.

    Vera had read the situation correctly.
    The grotesque bowman—Alkeides—was wary, not of the police force, but of other factors—Saber, who had appeared without warning, and the King of Heroes, who had entered combat with him. They were fighting each other for the moment, but there was no telling when they might turn their attacks on him. He could also sense another Heroic Spirit's Spirit Origin on Saber's side and the presence of the monster that had stopped his initial attack on the hospital with a "shield of water" had not vanished.
    This was not a duel to be fought honorably; it was a never-ending melee in which one had to outwit one's opponents and could not afford to show even the least opening at one's back.
    Alkeides understood that. He could slaughter the police force spreading out and attacking him in an instant, but he would have to proceed carefully to do it without creating an opening. That was because the police force possessed more than a certain level of power. What they had acquired, the resolve to risk their lives, had not been for nothing.
    There were twenty-five police officers on the scene. The rest remained in the station to guard the chief and to gather information. The bowman's hellhound—Kerberos—had appeared just as they had been about to dispatch an advance team to their target's hospital room, so none of them had reached the hospital room yet.
    "How many do we send to Kuruoka Tsubaki's room?"
    "If the Servant possessing Kuruoka Tsubaki is hostile, a small team will end up dying for nothing," Vera whispered her opinion to a female officer with a bow Noble Phantasm. "I would have liked to send Berserker, who could have dealt with it alone, but..."
    Berserker had suffered serious damage to his spirit origin and had likely withdrawn with the aid of Flat's Command Spells.
    "...If the Servant is capable of understanding that Kuruoka Tsubaki is being targeted, it should take action to protect its Master. The fact that she still hasn't withdrawn from the hospital means that either it hasn't noticed what's happening, doesn't intend to protect her...or is confident that it can protect her without moving."
    Vera, thinking that the latter would be preferable, produced another several test tubes and scattered them around her. No sooner had the tubes, thrown with the aid of magecraft, flown through the air to cover a wide area than bullets shattered all of them, spreading more smoke over the area.
    Vera was about to order someone to scout out the hospital room, taking advantage of the delay, when...

    "A wasted effort."

    The grotesque Archer flapped the demon wings that grew from his back, kicking up a wind charged with dense magical energy around him. The wind carrying sinister magical energy formed a number of small whirlwinds and began to catch the smoke as if devouring it.
    "How are we supposed to deal with this shit...?" One of the officers asked, his cheek twitching.
    Despair began to spread across the officers' faces...when a lone figure dashed through the smokescreen.
    "Stop! It's no use!"
    The officers called out to restrain the figure. They could not see its face clearly through the windstorms and trailing smoke, but they could tell that it wore the same uniform as they did.

    Alkeides judged it to be a reckless charge.
    No matter what sort of attack the approaching police officer attempted, it would have no effect on him. If he struck with his bare fists, the blow would ignore the protection of the Nemean lion's pelt, but in that case the attack would not even scratch him unless it was charged with a great deal of magical energy.
    If he drew his bow, both of his hands would be occupied for an instant. That would obviously present the other Heroic Spirits with an opening. The King of Heroes, in particular, was capable of sending a lethal strike his way even while crossing swords with Saber. Even a "stray shot" could prove fatal if it happened to strike a gap in the Nemean lion's pelt.
    If he only possessed the Noble Phantasm that gave him twelve lives, which had been left before his metamorphosis, he would probably have given little thought to the possibility and drawn his bow with all his might...but his present did not merit leaving such an opening.
    In that case, he decided, he need only brush the attacker aside with one blow of his arm, as he had done to that first brave officer whose neck he had shattered.
    Alkeides raised his arm and waited for the police officer concealed by the darkness and smoke to approach him.

    Then, that instant, he sense immense magical energy swell up behind him.
    "!"
    This magical energy... Saber.
    The Saber who had been fighting with Gilgamesh must have fired some kind of Noble Phantasm. Sensing that its magical energy was aimed not at him, but at the sky, Alkeides did not take his eyes off the small threat closing in on him from the front. It was an action born of his refusal to drop his guard against even the weakest enemy.
    No.
    It was not that he did not look away.
    He could not look away.
    It was an effect produced by his "mind's eye."
    It was not instinct.
    His accumulated skill and experience, his honed senses, and the flesh and blood that comprised him all dominated his spirit and refused to let him look away.
    It was not the other Heroic Spirits he ought to truly be wary of.
    It was the lone police officer closing in on him.
    Everything he had built up told him so.
    The reason why would soon become clear.

    Behind Alkeides, a pillar of light pierced the sky and illuminated the face of the approaching police officer before him. At the sight of that face, which appeared through a tear in the smokescreen created by the whirlwinds, Alkeides muttered:
    "What...?"
    It was unmistakably the face of the man whose neck he had broken and who he had sent flying into the hospital entrance a short while before.
    "Ooooooaaah!"
    The officer let out a wordless roar and kicked the ground.
    His instantaneous acceleration exceeded Alkeides' expectations. His arm moved to block, but before it could reach, the man's slight frame sprang at Alkeides with the force of a bullet...and delivered a flying knee to the bridge of the grotesque Archer's cloth-covered nose with all his might.

    "J-John?!" The police officers shouted in surprise.
    The way John had been sent flying earlier had put the words "instant death" into most of their minds. He might have Magic Circuits, but he lacked the Magic Crest which only one child in a lineage could inherit. If he had had a Crest, which would have performed self-restoration magecraft when he was on the brink of death, it would have been a different story, but no one had imagined that John could survive without one, much less reappear so much stronger that he seemed like a different person.
    But he had.
    He had reappeared shrouded in magical energy that far surpassed that of an ordinary mage and made use of that energy to enhance his body and nerves severalfold.

    John.
    I see. So, this man's name is John.
    Alkeides, despite taking the flying knee and being knocked backwards, coolly noted information about his opponent as he spun in midair and landed feet-first.
    Those feet, however, were swept out from under him by John, who had circled around even farther behind him without his noticing.
    "Oh-ho..."
    Alkeides sounded impressed. He then caught himself with one arm on the ground and used his free arm to block John's follow-up attack. The shock ran through Alkeides' whole body with a creaking of flesh and bone.
    John followed it with a series of bare-handed strikes, continuing to batter Alkeides without giving him a chance to ready his bow.
    What happened? He's like a different man... Or should I say he's matured?
    He had gone beyond the level of ordinary humans, even for a mage. The experience Alkeides had built up over his lifetime warned him that the power surging from the police officer before him rivaled the enemy generals he had fought in ancient Greece in brute strength.
    Is it his Noble Phantasm? Did Caster do something?
    Alkeides noted that his body was being damaged, but it was not enough to make him register danger. Compared to when the Amazon queen had struck him using her Noble Phantasm, the pain was like being punched by a child.
    And yet...he regarded the man before him with the greatest possible caution.
    Why? Alkeides wondered as he fended off the flurry of blows. Why was I wary of this man?
    The vortex of magical energy that had sprung up behind him ought to have concerned him more than strikes like these. And yet everything he had accumulated was telling him not to take his eyes off this human.
    His strength is certainly more than human, but it hasn't reached the level of a warrior Heroic Spirit.
    So why, he wondered as he continued to take blow after blow. His attention was first drawn to the unnaturalness of his opponent's attacks.
    ...Why doesn't he use his right hand?
    Throughout his flurry of unarmed strikes, the police officer called John never attacked with his right hand.
    This difference in his center of gravity... A prosthetic?
    While attacking and defending at split-second intervals, Alkeides instantaneously deduced the truth of his opponent's unnatural movements.
    That being the case, he wondered what that prosthetic hand could be.
    Does it conceal a weapon? If so, it won't penetrate this pelt.
    No, this man should already know that. Should I assume that it conceals magecraft, then?
    Alkeides focused every nerve in his body on John's right arm while evading his close-quarters attacks.
    It must be some kind of—No, is it...?
    He felt a presence. A slight presence—a unique magical energy, or perhaps a curse—was escaping from the man's prosthetic hand. The instant that presence, which retained faint vestiges of the Age of the Gods, tickled Alkeides' nostrils and skin...

    A chill of fear ran down Alkeides' spine.

    Having noticed it, his instincts as a Heroic Spirit made him freeze in shock for just an instant.
    No matter how much his Spirit Origin changed, it had a special meaning for him. It was because he knew its dangers better than anyone, because he knew the terror of it better than anyone, that he himself had soaked his special arrowheads in it.
    "Damn you...!"
    The instant Alkeides shouted, John's right arm shone darkly...and a peculiarly shaped blade appeared from it, forming the back of his hand.

    A black liquid writhed around the prosthetic blade like a curse with a will of its own. It was one of the greatest calamities and most awful curses of the Age of the Gods, one that had killed countless heroes and even driven a certain great hero to take his own life—Hydra venom.

    The blade coiled in that incomparably fiendish toxin closed in on a gap in Alkeides' cloth.
    Impossible!
    Has it survived into this era?! That water snake shouldn't be able to exist on the surface anymore!
    He felt keenly how naïve his thinking had been.
    The mages of this era could not hold a candle to those of the Age of the Gods, but they were intelligent enough to wield its remnants. Considering that his own Master likewise harbored the toxic, cursed mud in his body, he should have considered the possibility that his enemies possessed Hydra venom.
    Faced with a weapon capable of killing him, Alkeides gripped his bow and leapt backward with all his might.

    "...! Hurry! To the hospital!" John shouted to his nearby fellow officers once he was sure Alkeides had distanced himself. "I'll buy as much time as I can! Secure the target while I do!"
    "John... What happened to you?!"
    "I don't really understand myself...but it looks like Mr. Caster pulled something off for me!"
    John then made to dash off, as if to say that they could talk later...when a chill ran through his body this time, causing him to stop in his tracks in spite of himself.
    "...?"
    John strained his eyes, his whole body breaking out in a cold sweat.
    The grotesque bowman stood over twenty meters ahead of him. The intimidating air rising from him had magnified severalfold.
    John had no difficulty figuring out why—the bowman had nocked an arrow to his bow.
    He had fired arrows several times before, but this was different. He was serious.
    The grotesque bowman spoke, paying his respects to John, who was trying to advance in spite of the chill.
    "You who possess the means to kill me,

    "I acknowledge you as my foe."

    X X

    Crystal Hill, top floor

    "Lord Gilgamesh!"
    Tine, on the top floor of Crystal Hill, viewed the king who was her Servant, not through a farseeing spell, but with her naked eyes.
    Gilgamesh was being forced upward to the height of their base on the building's top floor. His golden armor was completely engulfed in an even more radiant band of light and it was no longer possible to perceive his figure.
    Not only Tine, but also the other nearby members of her tribe were wide-eyed.
    The pillar of light that grew into the heavens from the church roof had ascended so high that its end could not be seen.
    Not even the King of Heroes could be engulfed in that torrent of power and emerge unscathed.
    Tine, sensing that, was on the verge of using a Command Spell to recall him... when she sensed Gilgamesh's magical energy swell within the pillar of light.
    It might be more accurate to say that massive concentrations of magical energy had appeared around him.

    It was the same thing that he had been doing all along.
    Merely firing Noble Phantasms from his treasury out of empty space.
    Only... the natures of the Noble Phantasms he deployed were a little different.

    The myriad Noble Phantasms, although each shrouded in immense magical energy, formed a single, titanic surge that coiled around the torrent of light itself, dispersing the light by brute force.
    The Noble Phantasms that he had so far fired monotonously now displayed complex movements like a gigantic serpent.
    But Gilgamesh was not using magical energy to control his armaments—golden chains that reached out of thin air on all sides were entangling the swarms of Noble Phantasms and forcefully adjusting their trajectories.
    Gilgamesh emerged from the dispersed light and, by gathering together the rain of Noble Phantasms, transformed them into a waterfall that plummeted earthward accompanied by a furious surge.
    It was like a great, golden dragon devouring the light Saber unleashed as it advanced.

    X X

    The Church

    Saber, who was continuing to fire his Noble Phantasm from the roof of the church, sensed that the magical energy he unleashed was being driven back.
    Then, seeing the compressed swarm of Noble Phantasms bearing down on him, he could not keep sweat from beading on his forehead.
    Gazing up at the oncoming dragon of Noble Phantasms, Saber closed his eyes for a moment... and, forcing an intrepid grin, poured his magical energy into his next strike.

    X X

    "What? What's going on...?"
    Meanwhile, directly beneath Saber...
    His Master, Ayaka, was inside the church, voicing her confusion.
    As far as she could see out the windows, it looked like something on the church roof was glowing, but Ayaka, who was not a mage, had no way to make sure of what was taking place outside.
    "Are you feeling all right, miss?" The overseer priest asked her quizzically.
    "Huh...? Oh, now that you mention it, I do feel a little tired..."
    "A little. I see..."
    After a pause for thought, Hansa said:
    "What are you, miss?"
    "What?"
    "The ability to provide a Heroic Spirit with that much magical energy isn't normal. At the very least, anyone short of a first-rate mage should have run dry by now, but you..."
    "I don't know what you mean... I don't even really know what this 'magical energy' stuff is..."
    Ayaka frowned, looking troubled. Hansa was observing her with great interest, when:
    "No, we haven't got time for questions. You'd better get farther inside."
    "...Why?"
    "I'm strengthening the wards," the priest answered, staring up at the church's high ceiling, "but the roof is about to cave in."
    "?!"
    The next instant, a portion of the roof gave way and a figure dropped through the opening it left.
    Ayaka narrowly avoided a direct hit from the rubble thanks to Hansa's yanking her arm.
    Before the situation could penetrate her brain, however, a haughty man's voice rang out through the hole in the roof.

    "I had intended to obliterate you along with the church. I suppose I should praise you for stopping me."
    It was a man in golden armor.
    His armor was cracked in places, but his arms were crossed imperturbably and he was looking down at the center of the rubble piled in the middle of the church.
    "What...?"
    The instant Ayaka laid eyes on the man, she felt as if her brain had just received a violent jolt.
    The instant she laid eyes on his face, to be precise.
    She had a feeling that she had seen a similar face years before.
    And in a church like that one.
    When she tried to remember, noise ran through her thoughts.
    Her brain buzzed... the noise was even in her vision. And in the gaps it made, a girl in a red hood appeared.
    "Eee..."
    Ayaka tried to clutch her head, but then she realized.
    Why had the man in golden armor been speaking to the center of the rubble?
    "I suppose I should praise you for stopping me."
    Who had stopped him?
    Ayaka tried to think, but the answer came to her at once.
    She had recognized the thing in the center of the rubble.
    For an instant, Ayaka had mistaken the figure with numerous swords and spears sprouting from its body for part of the rubble. It was unquestionably... Saber, who had so recently walked beside her, making friendly conversation.
    While his heart and head were intact, his stomach, shoulders, and thighs were impaled by a number of weapons—enough to kill an ordinary human.
    "Sa...ber...?"
    The instant she recognized him, both the noise and the red-hooded girl vanished from her sight.
    She nearly sank to the floor, but caught herself at the last moment and attempted to approach Saber.
    She was tripped up by the rubble, however, and fell.
    The man on the roof, seemingly oblivious to Ayaka, continued to address Saber.
    "You could have avoided those wounds, had you dodged. Did you intend to protect this church? I ought to execute you for your hubris, but you did succeed in cancelling out a single strike. For the moment, you have my praise."
    At that, Saber, who had thus far remained motionless, moved sluggishly and twisted his lips into a grin as he answered the man on the roof.
    "You...honor me," Saber said, still breathing feebly and looking up at the golden Heroic Spirit. "I can't believe you'd destroy a church. Don't blame me if God has something to say about it."
    "Absurd. I had my fill of the wrath of the god long ago."
    "Gods... I see, you're a polytheist... And the way you talk... Ha ha. So, you... No, you two are the 'primordial travelers'..."
    Saber laughed, blood trickling from the corners of his mouth.
    "Mongrel...what do you hold within you?" The golden Heroic Spirit looked at him and asked haughtily, without anger or disdain.
    "...? What...do you mean?"
    "I do not mean your retinue. I mean the foundation of your Spirit Origin."
    The man on the roof continued to speak dispassionately to the feebly-breathing Saber.
    "In any case, it seems you still lack a reason to fight. To challenge me with that attitude is the height of hubris, mongrel. If dubious desires are all you can muster in the face of my treasure, then perish while all you harbor within you rots."
    He did not even uncross his arms, but ripples formed in the space above him.
    "I will deliver my verdict. Have you any last words?"
    "...I'd like to say no...but yes... The girl who shared her magical energy with me isn't my Master... I just drained her energy..."
    Ayaka had staggered to her feet. Saber's words made her eyes widen. She realized what he was going to say next.
    Stop.
    Don't say it.
    She tried to speak, but he throat refused to function.
    She was breathing raggedly and on the verge of falling again when Saber said, with a smile:
    "She hasn't opposed you...so don't be harsh on her."
    "Very well, but do not forget that I will only grant her consideration. If she turns out to be worthless, I will simply blow her away, just like the other rabble."
    Then, the armored man slowly raised his hand and made to conclude his words to Saber.
    "Mongrel, I judge you—"

    His sentence, however, was never finished.

    An instant later, the Heroic Spirit in golden armor was...

    X X

    Several minutes earlier, on Main Street

    "Is that...John?"
    The man who had appeared and saved them was their colleague who, moments before, had been sent flying with a broken neck.
    His sudden display of superhuman activity seemed to declare that he had truly been "reborn." The members of Clan Calatin were seized by confusion.
    Vera's clear, ringing voice cut through their hesitation.
    "Front line, fall back and shield the rear line! Rear line, support John with everything you've got!"
    The barked orders from the normally quiet Vera snapped them back to awareness.
    The officers each readied their own Noble Phantasm and surrounded John and the grotesque bowman in the positions she had ordered.
    Far from support, those with close-ranged weapons would only be a hindrance against the bowman.
    So, the officers judged that they ought to leave it to the long-ranged attackers in the rear line to serve as a distraction. And if that really was John, he ought to know how to coordinate with the rear line.
    They planned to support John, and in the meantime find an opportunity to send half of their number inside the hospital as he wished...but several arrows launched by their enemy shattered their formation in an instant.

    A burly officer a large shield Noble Phantasm tried to block one, but the instant the arrow struck, a shock like a blast from an adhesive grenade ran through the surface of the shield and launched him backward.
    And the bowstring had not even been pulled fully taut.
    The arrow had been just one of several diversionary shots fired without leaving an opening.
    The officers were painfully aware that the only reason they, along with the city around them, had not been reduced to scraps of meat was that the Heroic Spirit had reason and, either by his Master's order or on his own initiative, was making some effort to maintain the Concealment of Mystery.
    When he had first arrived with Kerberos, they had assumed he was a marauder without an ounce of concern for such things, but he was actually the opposite.
    As far as that Heroic Spirit was concerned, using a beast like Kerberos to simply devour his enemies' flesh did more to preserve the Concealment of Mystery than fighting seriously himself would.
    "Doesn't he have any weaknesses?!" One of the officers shouted.
    It was true that John was moving on par with a Heroic Spirit, but his opponent's strength far exceeded their expectations of Heroic Spirits.
    They had assumed that such strength must be unique to Gilgamesh and possibly the other Heroic Spirit—thought to be Lancer—who had clashed with the King of Heroes on the first day, but they were realizing too late that they had been naïve.
    Still, they had known from the beginning that their abilities would not measure up to a Heroic Spirit's.
    They needed to support John—who was likewise outside their calculations—and at least force the bowman to retreat.
    The bowman must realize that wiping out the officers would not allow him to attack their Master or Servant directly.
    In which case, at minimum, they only needed to convince him that it would not be worth it to continue.
    Those were the thoughts running through the minds of more than a few officers...

    When they realized that there was another police officer, apart from John, behind the grotesque bowman.
    "!"
    The officers wanted to shout at him to follow Vera's orders, but raising their voices would only alert their enemy.
    When they focused their attention on the officer to see who was ignoring orders...they realized.
    Before they knew it, the one officer behind the bowman had become two, who then soon became four.
    It was not one of them.
    It was none other than the Heroic Spirit who had been battling the archer in the guise of a police officer shortly before—the Servant Berserker.

    Berserker—Jack the Ripper—had become a swarm of police officers.
    Those officers, whose ranks had swelled noiselessly to sixteen, attempted to launch a surprise attack on their enemy's rear to support John.
    But they were easily scattered.
    Without turning to face them, the bowman twisted the grotesque wings that sprouted from his back and sliced through the first several Jacks who sprang at him.
    "...So, you can still move."
    The bowman spoke without looking behind him, in a tone that was equal parts admiration and exasperation.
    While he spoke, he continued to fend off John's attacks with his bow.
    The superhuman sense that had allowed him to deal with Jack approaching silently from behind him was truly worthy of the name "Mind's Eye," one of the remaining Jacks thought and called out:
    "I'm impressed that you can use your newly stolen wings so well."
    Other Jack's lunged at the bowman as he spoke.
    The new Jacks no longer even had the appearance of police officers. They were an assortment of ordinary townspeople, doctors, the young and old, men and women.
    Possibly Jack could no longer afford the effort to keep his appearances uniform. The Jacks looked like a pitiful human crowd gathered to assault a demon out of legend, or else to throw themselves on its mercy.
    "Absurd."
    Ultimately, Jack's power was not even what it had been earlier. Their movements were sluggish.
    The bowman seemed to realize that, because he kept the majority of his attention on the human police officer in front of him.
    An instant later, however, his assessment changed completely.
    Countless black arms grew from Jack's shadows and wrapped around the bowman's body.
    Thanks for your hard work despite how busy you are! And every time I think I can't fall more in love with Richard Narita proves me wrong. I know this is a war and I already wanted him dead but after this I really don't care what happens to Gil. Still, what showed up? And looks like Jack's back in the fight!

  9. #8789
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors
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    Also really, what is Ayaka? She's a huge mana battery despite being human and while its unsurprising since we knew she met Kirie, she meet Gil too, what did they do to her...

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    死徒 Dead Apostle Bugs's Avatar
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    Well I should hope she remembers Gil, being in one of the previous wars together and what not.

    Or is Ayaka really being Manaka still some kind of secret.

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    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors
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    There hasn't really been any hint of her being Manaka though, so I don't see how that would even be a secret. Sure her memories have been tampered with and she's definitely not a normal human, but I don't see how that leads to Manaka
    Last edited by mami-kouga; January 1st, 2020 at 06:11 AM.

  12. #8792
    死徒 Dead Apostle Bugs's Avatar
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    Did you possibly forget that there is already another Ayaka in Romania currently.
    She also just funded like 20 Richardcalibur's and barely felt it.

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    The Greatest Cool Reign's Avatar
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    She's definitely not the real Ayaka but I don't see the jump from that to Manaka either.

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    死徒 Dead Apostle jennajayfeather's Avatar
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    I doubt she has anything to do with Manaka. Remember there's also Zelretch shenanigans going on with her in "Character Creation." If she was just Manaka, that takes away from being the "Fake." Plus her hair is dyed. Not to mention she doesn't even act like her.

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    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bugs View Post
    Did you possibly forget that there is already another Ayaka in Romania currently.
    She also just funded like 20 Richardcalibur's and barely felt it.
    Its not her abnormality, its specifically her being Manaka that there haven't been any real indication of.

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    死徒 Dead Apostle Bugs's Avatar
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    Very likely I'm just reading too much into it.

    That being said, cap this post.

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    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors
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    Sure sure.

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    Thanks for the update and Happy New years!
    Quote Originally Posted by mami-kouga View Post
    Thanks for your hard work despite how busy you are! And every time I think I can't fall more in love with Richard Narita proves me wrong. I know this is a war and I already wanted him dead but after this I really don't care what happens to Gil. Still, what showed up? And looks like Jack's back in the fight!
    I kind of agree with this, even though I like Gil a lot. Narita's depiction of him, while accurate, is pretty stale. Everything he does is predictable Gilgamesh, so he doesn't bring much to the story other than power levels. I wouldn't mind a different version like Ko-Gil if he has to stick around.

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    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six asterism42's Avatar
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    I think it's funny that the pitch seems to have been 'Enkidu makes Gil a better person with his presence', but that's just how Gil is these days.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sandstorm77 View Post
    He's just putting the bone of his sword into other people until it explodes and lets out parts of him inside them.
    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerEmiya View Post
    Genderswaps are terrible, but I think I and other people would hate them less if Fate didn't keep ignoring actual heroines throughout history and folklore. Like, why bother turning Francis Drake into a woman when Ching Shih and Grace O'Malley exist?
    Quote Originally Posted by Five_X View Post
    Fate Zero is just Fate Stay Night for people who think Shirou is too girly

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    Cats are awesome RCM9698's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OtherSideofSky View Post
    Sorry this has been so long in coming. I planned to get back to translating FSF in earnest once classes ended in mid-December, but I ended up with a professional LN job that runs into next month, so that's been eating up the lion's share of my time.
    I did manage to get through another 2,000+ words in time for New Year's, though, so I figured I'd post that for now (the post starts at the beginning of the chapter because it's been so long since the last one).
    Once my LN job is done, I'll be mostly free for a few months while I hunt for coding jobs, so I'm hoping to get through FSF 5 (and 6 once it comes out) pretty quickly then.
    Thank you so much for the translation as always! Have a great New Years!

    Question: Does anyone know what Narita plans to do next?
    Last edited by RCM9698; January 1st, 2020 at 03:25 PM.

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