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Thread: Fate/Requiem Master Thread & Translations

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    The Voidmaster Clyton's Avatar
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    Fate/Requiem Master Thread & Translations

    Author: Hoshizora Meteor
    Illustrator: NOCO





    Fate/Requiem Volume 1: The Boy Among the Stars
    Translator: Brokastel





    Fate/Requiem Volume 2: Shinjuku the Nostalgic City
    Translator: Clyton


    Chapter 9
    Chapter 10
    Chapter 11
    Chapter 12
    Chapter 13
    Chapter 14
    Chapter 15
    Chapter 16
    Last edited by Clyton; January 14th, 2021 at 03:41 AM.

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    Fate/Requiem Volume 2: Shinjuku the Nostalgic City





    Chitose
    Chitose

    Manazuru Chitose. Utsumi Erice’s grandmother. The mage who uses Shinjuku as her base. As the winner of the previous Holy Grail War, she was deeply involved with the establishment of Mosaic City. Her alias is “Stigmata”.


    Longinus
    Longinus
    Class: Lancer

    Lucius Longinus, a soldier of the Roman Empire. The spear he holds that pierced the crucified Messiah is known as the “Holy Spear”. He later converted and became Saint Longinus. In the previous Holy Grail War, he was summoned as Manazuru Chitose’s Servant and brought her victory.






    Kuchime
    Kuchime

    A languid street musician. Although he prefers depressing melodies, he definitely has skill in playing the guitar. He has an interest in Akihabara’s traditional otaku hobbies.


    Nzambi
    Nzambi
    Class: Caster

    The Earth Mother Goddess of Congo, Africa, whose name became the root word for zombies, which are moving corpses. Her image was distorted due to the influence of the folklores about her. A self-proclaimed
    Sorcerer
    necromancer
    who hunts for Command Spells and manipulates the dead. Her
    Master
    contractor
    is unknown.






    Makki
    Makki

    A waitress at a Shinjuku café. An agent who is partnered with the City Management AI Caren Himuro and takes responsibility for Anti-Servant disposal. There are many mysteries regarding her personal history.


    The Borgia Siblings
    The Borgia Siblings – Cesare Borgia and Lucrezia Borgia
    Class: Assassin

    The older brother “Cesare” and the younger sister “Lucrezia”. A Servant as a pair of individuals. They work as concierges at a Shinjuku hotel. In reality, they are information brokers whom are well-connected to the underside of society, and they are an influential pair to those in the know.






    Shinjuku the Nostalgic City
    A city with a three-storied structure that was reconstructed in the same way as Akihabara. Each block is called with the name of a town, such as Hanazono, Tsunohazu and Kashiwagi. Having the largest population, it is the current Capital of Mosaic City.
    Last edited by Clyton; December 18th, 2020 at 03:35 AM.

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    Chapter 9
    The stench of death… it won’t go away, sticking to the insides of my nasal cavity.
    Slamming my face while in the showers, only the spilled blood… and pieces of flesh of the deceased… were washed off me.
    The screams of the people that should have been saved echo within my ears.
    The feeling of the last struggles of the Servants who went out of control and were manipulated by Nzambi… remains in these fingertips that reached out to the evil spirits.
    A loss that can no longer be recovered.

    ───I failed. I failed. I terribly failed at my job.


    Regret leans heavily on me, but even if I regret it, I can’t completely do so. I collapsed in my bedroom, not feeling like doing anything.
    As I curled up into a ball in the dark, I felt a tuft of my wet bangs. A Mystic Code app, which is connected to the magic communications network, is inserted into my hair.
    The open line will remain silent and will not have a response. I will not hear that person’s voice anymore.

    “…
    Caren
    Teacher
    …”

    This Mystic Code was something given to me by my teacher when I decided to leave my home in Shinjuku.
    Caren Fujimura – who was my guide the whole time ever since I was aware of the things around me – has died. If I were to borrow the words of her successor, the Spiritron Kernel that composes her has vanished.
    I… should be… awfully sad.
    It should be alright to even sob as much as my voice can bear doing so. Even though I had set aside this time so that I could properly mourn for her───And yet, tears won’t come out.
    As I wrapped myself up in the sheets that I pulled closer to me, I tried to put myself to an idle sleep.
    The stench of death I couldn’t help but smell… it made me remember a distant, murky past as I dozed off.




    ───It was five years ago.
    I was about nine years old when I started living alone in Akihabara.
    I was finally able to manage the small tasks that were sent to me by Caren.
    My work were simple routine tasks that also didn’t make me come into contact with the inhabitants of Mosaic City very much, such as settling the crimes caused by Servants and doing undercover investigations in places that were hard for children to stand out.
    I was desperate in order to live.
    Even in this world that is like paradise, I struggled to the death in order to prove that I’m needed even if I don’t possess a “Holy Grail” or the blessing of immortality. That I can do it even without Chitose’s protection, and even without a partnered Servant, for I want to convince myself that I can properly live alone.
    Luckily, I was possessed by evil spirits.
    I was pleased that I was able to make full use of even a mass of evil spirits that lurked within my blood, managing them as if they were my limbs, and even at times as weapons that were faster than a knife. I was sure in being undoubtedly able to not only protect myself, but even hunt enemy Servants… I was proud of myself like that.


    And then───
    While I was submerged in the muddy waters of self-conceit, I had stepped into a certain incident.
    A single male citizen I happened to meet by chance in a group therapy session had a difficult problem.
    While struggling, this man was also looking for a place where he can belong to as he tried to live within this Mosaic City.
    The man told me that he was a leather craftsman. He made bags and children shoes before selling them wholesale to shops.
    In his quiet workshop where only his hammering can be heard from far away, the man always showed a gentle smile on his face.
    His muscular, toned body that could mistake him for being a Servant was trained by going through ascetic gym work. In some respects, there was a similarity between our situations.
    On no account could we both remove the uncomfortable feeling that followed our lives within this city.
    An anguishing soul is here.
    If so, I can get close to this
    person
    man
    . I can understand him. In addition, by any chance, maybe I could even save this man───I don’t need to turn to Caren, nor Lucius; only to my own power. That’s the most important point.
    Ah, this───is the first real “work” I’ve found. Like that, I quietly shivered in pleasure.
    However… that man was secretly ill mentally since long before I met him.
    It was already so serious, he passed the point of recovery.
    There were even many chances for me to notice it and escape from him. But I was young and foolish.
    I didn’t happen to have the experience to measure the depth of the man’s darkness, and above all, I was largely lacking something important.


    Nearby the leather craftsman, there was always a handsome-looking
    Servant
    Heroic Spirit
    who could give somebody the impression of a white porcelain doll accompanying the man.
    That dreadful child───Louis.
    The Duke of Normandy, “Louis XVII”. The last King of France at the end of the Bourbon Dynasty. The second son of Queen Marie Antoinette, who was put to the guillotine at Paris’ Revolution Square.
    Louis
    He
    was quite chatty, different from his
    Master
    contractor
    who didn’t open his mouth except for the bare minimum.

    “What did you say you were gathering in the city? ‘Fragments of “emotions”’? You said such a thing, right Erice?”
    “Yeah…”
    “That’s unusual, Erice. Even interesting, Erice. Doesn’t that mean you want to be human? That you’re… not human?”
    “… Probably… Still-“
    “I’m positive! A dead person would still be more expressive than you and would at least feel pain. AHAHAH, now, this is getting more and more interesting.”
    “I won’t pinch my cheeks. I… understand pain. I just don’t know much about it, yet.”


    Even in the school class I was in at the time, I was a foreign substance.
    The other students───the new generation of classmates born after the War – everybody was kind, quick to understand things, and appeared happy. Not even a single student tried to do something nonsensical like participating in bullying, and they also didn’t ostentatiously flaunt their partnered Servants.
    Because they were content since birth, it wasn’t especially necessary for them to ingest the drug called ‘a sense of superiority’. I guess even the charity that cared for me – who lacked just about everything – was proud of me.
    As far as I’m concerned, the school was just like a hospital. It was a lifelong ward that kindly wrapped me up with good intentions and thoughtfulness.
    There was a time in my school life when, because of a trouble that started from my misunderstanding, I had a quarrel with a classmate, and that classmate ended up receiving a minor injury from me.
    At that time, the Servant of that classmate promptly materialized, breaking the rule of prohibited manifestation within the school, and they worked to try to dispel my misunderstanding. I wasn’t condemned at all, and even the people around me accepted and consented to that result.
    When the classmate in question – who should be the victim – bowed their head to me for their lack of consideration and even robbed me of a chance in making a shameful apology, it was like I was punched in the face.
    If I try to look back on it now… the Servants, I think they had been sensitive to the fact that I was a dangerous existence to them.


    When I disclosed such a story to him while feeling ashamed, he kept silent for a little while, before saying:

    “… Wisdom that can’t be learned at school, huh? I suppose there are even… several things like that. But I also wanted to receive education and try to savour things like freedom and equality that naturally comes with it. Well, Erice? Is something like emotions necessary in this city where one can live even without doing anything? What’s the point in trying to understand things like the suffering and sadness of another person?”
    “They’re necessary. For a citizen of Mosaic City, and for the sake of continuing to live within this city. Because emotions are something that I, who doesn’t possess a Servant nor a Holy Grail, can obtain. I… want to be wanted by everyone. I want them to accept me by saying, “It’s fine for you to stay here.””
    “… Is that so? Well, it seems that’s a very important thing to you. Well then, at any rate, it’s fine if you stay here. At this
    Atelier Quill
    leather workshop
    . I’ll never particularly care if you do, and I’ll still be bored like before too.”

    “What’s… alright for me to call you by? Prince… Charles…?”
    “Yuck───Call me Louis. I’m the last Louis.”

    I became friends with
    Louis
    him
    . My first friend of around the same age. My young self had believed that it was a chance meeting. Even… a fateful one. I didn’t know anything.


    After that, I often visited the workshop where the leather craftsman and Louis were.
    The Mosaic City Servants are loyal partners of their
    Masters
    contractors
    . They protect their Masters and lend their powers to them for the sake of promoting their partners’ self-actualization within this complex society.
    I even believed in such a thing… the whole time.
    However, the truth is different from that.

    ───Servants also… have “desires”… they want to fulfill.
    The Holy Grail System, which created Mosaic City, surmises the latent aspirations of individual citizens before matching them with Servants that are most compatible to them.
    The Holy Grail isn’t omnipotent.
    To those who truly hold no desires, and to those who completely refuse to follow around others, Servants were nothing more than meddlesome targets of their disgust.
    Even group therapy, which I had been partially forced to attend, was a measure for
    Caren
    City Management AIs
    to try to provide care for those sorts of people. Many of the therapy users were also people who were deeply scarred emotionally by the prior War.


    Mixed into the therapy users, there… were citizens who desired the complete ruin of their very own selves.
    The Holy Grail allocates Servants to properly heal such Masters.
    He… the monster called Avenger Louis XVII… was awakened from the land of the dead and was released into this world again.
    That’s a bug of the Holy Grail that even Chitose didn’t intend for.
    It was an exposure of the carelessness and limits in changing and entrusting the act of measuring the people’s hearts… to magecraft.
    The
    Censors
    moral prosecutors
    of Mosaic City were once again reminded that, at the root of humanity, there’s no distinction between good and evil.

    ───The first murder case… occurred in Tama, one of the cities of Mosaic City.
    The criminal had expanded their scope of activities to Shibuya and Shinjuku without having their movements caught.
    Because the whereabouts of the victims were unknown for a long period of time, each murder incident wasn’t recognized to be correlated to each other, and chances of that state of affairs being discovered were slowly disappearing.
    The victims… were either people who avoided manifesting their own Servants for some kind of reason, or people where manifesting Servants is effectively impossible for them.
    A typical case would be focused on a patient who has Servantphobia where they bore a psychological trauma as a result of a Servant killing their family before their very eyes during the War.
    There was also a clever camouflage where traces of the victims’ disappearance were purposely left behind so that people would misread the disappearance as a voluntary act of the victims.


    They didn’t disappear.
    Each and every single victim was taken to a prison.
    They were physically and magically isolated due to Louis’ unique Noble Phantasm,
    La Grosse Tour
    There is Salvation of Death in the Prison of Mud
    .
    Once they were caught in the Noble Phantasm’s area of effect, it was impossible for them to seek help from the outside.
    The leather craftsman… processed them while carefully preserving their vital activities. They had brass tacks nailed into them, were meticulously tanned with chromium sulfate, and were sewn together with needles and threads.
    They were made out into a work that expresses the anguish of idly staying alive.
    Several months after the first disappearance, a work of his was discovered in a quiet park in Shinjuku. Forty-five minutes after its installation, there was not even an uproar about the work, and it was so delicately finished that it was recognized by passersby as avant-garde art.
    This provocative act was projected as a great threat to the people of Mosaic City, who were trying to break free from the disorder of the postwar period and regain their peaceful daily lives little by little.
    Authorities also responded promptly, spreading out a dragnet for this theatrical crime. Arrest was now a matter of time since Servants and personnel that were renowned in the fields of criminology and detective work were mobilized to take the lead in the investigation and come to grips with a solution to this case.
    Since that has happened, arrest was now indeed a matter of time. The criminal’s profile was narrowed down, and the dragnet had also steadily contracted.
    … However, since it already reached this stage, the culprit wasn’t really thinking about successfully escaping. I know that well. Even inviting the investigators closer to him was something done to meet the desires of the leather craftsman.


    At that time, I was also aware that the pros that looked after the public order of Mosaic City – whom have a connection to Caren and Chitose – were hurriedly making every effort in dealing with the incident.
    Nevertheless, I only remember a faint sense of anxiety and alienation, and never felt a sense of danger. Even despite being in the middle of the incident at that moment.

    ───That was the last conversation I had with him, before realizing the leather craftsman’s true character. Looking back, it was the day I exchanged the most words with that man.
    At that day, with just the two of us in the workshop, I stared at the leather craftsman’s delicate working manner.

    “───Utsumi. Listen. I want to have a talk with you.”
    “Erice. E-ri-ce───Remember the name, Mr. Craftsman.”
    “… Listen. Don’t come to this workshop anymore, Utsumi.”
    “Louis isn’t here just for today… So why do you say such a thing?”
    “That guy made me expend my Command Spells so that he could go out to the other cities.
    I’m sorry, but I’ll never see you again.”

    “Why is that,
    Meister
    Craftsman
    ? You said it’s fine for me to come visit this workshop at any time. Besides, you promised that you’ll teach me how to use a knife. Were they all lies? Look, even these
    moccasins
    deerskin shoes
    you’re still making them.”
    “I’ll be busy. If there’s something you want, you can take them as you please.”

    “… Are you going to close the workshop, and leave the city… or something? I wonder if you’ll then say ‘I’m going to run away at night.’ Because it sounds a little like that from the way you’re talking. But you shouldn’t run away. The leathercraft made by the Craftsman is something truly wonderful. Louis looked proud while saying, “Both the sacoche and baby shoes sold out instantly when I went to sell them to the stores.””
    “………”

    As he stared intensely at the workbench, the leather craftsman won’t reply with anything.
    The sitting man – who shrugged his shoulders that have their deltoid muscles completely developed – has no spirit. He was like a puppy who was scolded by their master and didn’t try to face their gaze. Even though he was a large man who also has about twice the height on me.

    “Is that… perhaps, my fault? Did someone catch sight of me going to this workshop and reported it as a good publicity stunt, or something? I wonder if they said something that didn’t need to be said to inflate their absurd delusions? That sort of person is what I call a citizen with ‘self-proclaimed good intentions’. If that’s the case, then I’ll even directly negotiate with that person and persuade-“
    “───That’s not it. That sort of problem didn’t happen. You’re good at conducting yourself so that you don’t have the public gaze sticking on you. You’re also always watchful so that you don’t have others tailing you.”
    “Yeah, but… Then, why in the world…”

    I tried to look like I’m only unhappy, putting on a brave front as much as possible, but I’m actually shocked.
    I couldn’t endure in completely losing this cozy place.
    I didn’t have to worry about who I am when I can be here, in this corner of the city where only a little light of the world shone through a small dormer window of the semi-basement workshop… Even though it was such an important place.
    I can’t even see Louis’ clear face, who frankly doesn’t mince matters in making fun of me. I was extremely unlikely to stand with that kind of treatment.
    More than anything, I───haven’t accomplished this work yet.
    I haven’t determined… what was tormenting this man’s soul.
    I’ve never revealed to the leather craftsman and Louis that I’m somebody who has a connection to Caren. To say nothing of the information that would make someone hold something like prejudice towards the grandchild of Minazuru Chitose; that also has been concealed from everyone. Even if someone looked me up in the
    Network
    city’s information network
    , work was also being performed on the main database so that they would be going over dummy information.
    However… it seems that the child’s crafty secrets were entirely found out by that man from the beginning. And yet, he still had me closely by his side because he was surely even willing to let all that come to light to him if it was through me.
    The man looked at me.
    His dark gaze that soon approached me… was crazed and bloodshot.

    “Have you never thought about… wanting to change this city, Utsumi?”
    “…… The… city?”

    I was taken aback.
    Even though it was I who wanted to change it despite not knowing it back then. Rather, it was this man before my very eyes who, on the verge of insanity, wanted to change everything about this world.

    “I don’t know what you mean.”
    “It was just about… when you were born. That War… came to an end.”
    “Yeah… I wasn’t present for the War. I sometimes hear stories about it from people.”

    Even if I’m not part of the new breed of humans who possesses a “Holy Grail”, there’s no mistake that I’m still a human of the new generation of humanity.

    “───The form of the world has been like this since the time I was born. I’ve never thought about changing this world, just trying to familiarize myself with it the best I can instead. Though, I’m aware there are such thoughts.”

    The leather craftsman urges me to continue while his gaze remains fixed at me.

    “In therapy, one old man had said───’I didn’t want something like immortality from the beginning. I just wanted to live, and die, naturally. The ‘Holy Grail’ it was not something good to obtain at all if there is not even a compensation for me in return. That does not recompense the lot who had died in the War. What the heck is the so-called difference between those people and us? There is no difference’… So he said.”
    “That’s the “emotion” you learned, huh? However, that’s wrong. That’s the feeling you’re telling to yourself.”

    The man’s fingers grabbed both my shoulders.

    “That elder he wants to go to the side of his family who died in the War. The “Holy Grail”… it does not try to grant that wish by any means. It just merely soothes him.”
    “He doesn’t do that… because he can’t kill himself? It’s a very scary thing, and the Servants will stop him if he tries. Automatically.”
    “Do those guys have such a right? This… This is the land of humanity! IT’S THE LAND OF HUMANITY! Why is it necessary to borrow the power of ghosts? Even if the outside of the city is a hell where humans can’t live in even now, the reason we’re receiving a treatment like this───”

    I wasn’t bothered by his fingers digging into my shoulders so tightly that it left marks on them.
    I was surprised by the fact that the man… has such strong emotions towards Servants.
    That’s still a mystery to me that I’ve noticed… during our meager exchange. It was supposed to be an opportunity for me to know what kind of hope he’s trying to entrust to his Servant, Louis.
    … However, the man stepped back like he was in dismay when I stared right back straight at him.

    “Ah… Sorry… I’m sorry…”

    The leather craftsman – who spoke so fervently – averted his gaze, put some distance from me, and returned to silence again.
    I wanted to hear more of the man’s talk.
    His hidden emotions can’t be recited into words. What he personally felt in his heart… It seemed to me that the man wanted to convey such emotions to me at that time. That was a terrible mistake.

    Meister
    Craftsman
    . Do you hate this city? Do you think about wanting to destroy it completely, or something like that?”

    “This city… I… love it. I want to save it. From the bottom of my heart.”

    His empty words reverberate.

    “Nevertheless, I’m still intending to go away.”
    “Ah…”

    I haven’t changed in the slightest as of now; still a child, and still foolish.
    Emotions… can only be expressed as actions. A true wish can’t be fulfilled just by believing.
    The people, the cities, and the world… can only be changed by shedding blood.


    A few days have passed after that.
    I nervously came in contact with the Borgia Siblings, buying information from them that was circulating through the underside of society for my work. During that course, I became aware that the search area for the aforementioned grotesque incident was narrowed down to the Akihabara District.
    Regarding the works once again… the remains of who was once known as the victim was discovered, the surveillance network has left a blurred image of the suspect – who slipped past the heightened emergency state, and moreover, people have also noticed that a new missing person has been announced.
    I was feeling suspicious of the leather craftsman and Louis, but I couldn’t really get used to having a doubtful mental attitude towards them. Somewhere in my heart, I categorized them as ones whom would stand with the side of the victims of Mosaic City, and I couldn’t throw away that assumption.
    Even after the serious conversation with the leather craftsman, I visited the workshop without expectation.
    Every time I saw the door of the workshop having its shutter down, I shrugged my shoulders.


    I also met Louis – who was alone downtown – by chance. Although I was relieved to know that the craftsman has yet to leave the city, the words I emitted to him – who has the same attitude as usual – couldn’t somewhat get to the point I wanted to make. While exchanging words with him, it soon became a little quarrel between us, and we awkwardly separated from each other.
    Servants can disappear if they feel like doing so. He probably… let me find him on purpose. And yet, I overlooked the signs he was showing to me.
    Something was different that day.
    The closure of the workshop’s shutter was incomplete, and the lock had traces of being picked from the outside.
    There was no prior foreboding, or unpleasant hunch, or anything like that.
    But suddenly───my body’s spiritual affliction spread out, and dark red blood seeped from my wounds.
    The evil spirits were actively noisy and notified me of something abnormal.
    Somebody died in the immediate vicinity of the workshop.

    “… Aah… Hii… Guu…”

    I groaned in disgust and discomfort. One more. And another───
    While enduring the pain, I crept into the completely silent workshop, and saw an unknown man collapsed on the floor face down in a pool of blood.
    He was an investigator with the authorities. A half moon-shaped round knife pierced deeply into his throat, having ended his life.
    There were no signs of the investigator’s Servant being here in the surroundings. But on the other hand, I caught with my eyes the door of a hidden passageway on an unexpected wall of the workshop having an open gap, showing me a view of some traces of blood that were scattered in drops, all heading towards the basement.
    From the basement, a muffled and sorrowful cry, and a cheerful voice singing in French, were resoundingly leaking out.

    “Louis───”

    Having my attention caught by the lord’s voice, and trying to get into the passage, I didn’t notice that the criminal who caused this tragedy got behind me before I became aware of him.


    And───


    Coming to my senses, I was pinned under the man’s large frame, who didn’t move at all.
    After dozens of tense seconds have passed by, the workshop was in a terrible condition due to the damage caused during the life-or-death struggle.
    The damage caused to me was also no less as awful as the workshop’s condition. One of my shoulder joints was dislocated, leaving that one arm with no strength at all, and my ribs that were struck by a hammer appeared to be broken, the ribs on the verge of cracking.
    I was crushed and couldn’t breathe as I am currently, but I somehow pushed the man aside so that I could crawl out from underneath his arm, before standing up as I staggered. I’m the only one alive in this workshop. One of my eyes was out of focus from being struck, and while I scolded that eye, I headed for the basement once again.


    Rather than calling it a basement… it was more like the dungeon itself.
    An unrealistic space where jails, furnished with evenly spaced iron bars, lined up left and right of the passage. It was also as dark as the night of a new moon, and the smell of filth hung in the air.
    There were also traces of a violent conflict engraved into this place.
    At the center of the intersecting passageways, in the middle of a pool of blood belonging to the victims that had turned into corpses and were scattered about, was
    Louis
    him
    , blending in with the corpses.
    His upper body was smeared with bright red blood, and he was kneeling on the ground without any strength, humming that song with his hoarse voice.

    “… Louis?”

    While I felt a powerful magical energy, simultaneously, I felt an enormous flow of magical energy continuing to disperse from this place, the energy rapidly fading away.
    A Servant who lost his
    Master
    contractor
    .
    The magical energy produced in compensation for the blasphemous abuse of life where the citizens are used as sacrifices is being directly supplied to Louis, allowing this space to be maintained. However, even the
    lost time
    remaining time
    given should only be a short one.
    Surveying each jail, there were people who were captured and were bound to become the next work of art. I fear that they were administered a drug, being forced to a listless and relaxed state. I’m not even sure if they’re alive or dead.

    “Louis───your
    Meister
    Craftsman
    died. I… killed him. If he had let go of his weapon, I wouldn’t have killed him… because I’m weak…”


    Even when I addressed to him my words of apology, he had no response. Nothing will reach his ears or eyes anymore.
    He was about to be released from his contract and return to the “Throne of Heroes”. His transient life bestowed by the Holy Grail will disappear. That’s the death of a Servant.
    What did he gain by being a supporting actor of this unprecedented grotesque crime that occurred after the postwar disorder period? What did he desired as a hero, or as an anti-hero?
    Although the leather craftsman tried to change the world, it was just a failed attempt to spread death in the end, and wasn’t
    Louis
    he
    merely a victim of the Revolution?
    Would he jokingly say: ‘I’m a Servant of the “Avenger” Class’? Did he desired to be released from prison… and escape to the outside?
    A tragedy that wouldn’t occur… if neither the “Holy Grail” nor Servants exist.

    (Is the War… still going on…?)

    I tried to digest the unwavering facts as I was overcome with surprise.
    If the
    Master
    contractor
    dies, then the Servant disappears. Even if I understood that, I couldn’t understand the true significance of it. What the heck can I do… if I don’t have the qualifications to be a Master?
    ───The usual song… stopped.

    “Who’s there…?” He muttered, perhaps perceiving my body temperature as I was standing stock still.
    He… was no longer a beautiful boy who looked like a doll. He looked like he was starving and haggard, his cheeks are thin, and his limbs have shriveled as if he was an old person.

    “Ah… The Grim Reaper, huuh… Fine, take it… I’m… a little worn out…”
    “Louis.”

    When he collapsed onto his back, I rushed over and supported him. I held his head with my knees as a substitute for a pillow, and peered into his hollow eyes that didn’t look at anything even when they were wide open.
    He, who became faint, may not recognize who I am anymore.
    I couldn’t tell ‘It’s me, it’s Erice’ to him. I wanted him to hear my apology.
    But───gasping, I was at a loss for words, speechless before my quivering lips. As I was in front of him – who was dying – I thought that I just didn’t want to get my feelings hurt like that; nothing more than my awful selfishness.
    I tightly grasped his bony fingertips, just trying to see him with my own eyes in silence.
    He let out a deep, long breath, as if he was relieved.

    Mère
    Mother
    …”


    ───That was his last word before he vanished.


    Soaked in the pool of blood, I hugged the empty space where he was before.
    I writhed in regret and disgrace as I tightly closed my eyelids.
    … Someone asked me a question. Without even any kind of advanced notice. And in a very astonished tone.

    “Hey, aren't… you moved to tears?”

    When I raised my face───right in front of my eyes, there was a terrifying appearance like that of a devil.
    It was a dragon… no, that’s not it; it was a dinosaur. An ancient organism of the carnivorous – and especially ferocious – type, and a creature that shouldn’t exist in the modern era───

    “───Or, are your tear glands suddenly broken? That person who returned to the Throne just now, wasn’t he someone special to you?”

    I unconsciously flinched.
    With that, the scene of the prison that had surrounded me and the dinosaur faded away.
    The lighting returned, illuminating the empty, undressed-concrete room. This is the original view of the basement. The effects of the Noble Phantasm of the vengeful Louis have worn off.
    The abducted victims have collapsed and were scattered along the walls.
    The dinosaur before my very eyes still has its huge body, its head looking like it was scraping against the ceiling.

    “Is this entity… a Servant?”
    “It’s Momi.”

    A girl suddenly makes her appearance from the dinosaur’s shadow.
    Her age range is the same as mines. Her hair is short, and her height is a little tall. She has a boyish style with the Sukajan and short leather pants she’s wearing. At that time, she still had a small build and had a contrastive form compared to me who grew out my hair long. If I didn’t hear her voice, I thought I would’ve mistaken her for a young man. Nonetheless, her tone is quite rude.
    Yeah, it was her, and not the dinosaur, who addressed me. It was likely that her Servant was staring at us while being silent.

    “───It’s ok to cry. He just died. Although it was that guy’s partner who kidnapped me, wasn’t he a special person to you?”
    “… I don’t know… how to cry… I’m just… ashamed… I’m almost dead.”

    She embraced me, who was crouched and battered, from the front, like she was covering me with a shroud.

    “I see. That guy was unmanageable.”

    Good grief. I’ve never been right in the middle of a mayhem.
    A murderous urge that can’t be suppressed. The death of a friend. A strange child with a sense of distance. And a dinosaur.

    “Aah, you’re tattered and bloody, huh? You’re painful to look at, aren’t you. Hey, I’m glad that you’re living though. Well, I didn’t take a bath yet, so we’re similar in that we’re both dirty.”
    “…… Yeah.”
    “Hahah.”

    As I received her baffling embrace, I became a listener to her story that I didn’t even ask for.
    I had confirmed that the magic communication line has already been restored and that reinforcements from the authorities are heading towards here. There’s nothing I can do but wait quietly, and reluctantly go along with her story.


    As expected, the girl was a victim abducted by the leather craftsman, and she eventually became one of the few survivors of the incident.
    She was abducted while visiting Akihabara and was made unconscious through some chemicals. As a matter of fact, she was in the middle of running away from her home, and her family may not have submitted a missing person report.
    So far, no child was included in the list of missing people. But in the end, I can’t deny that the man was impatient enough to even target children, just like when he came to attack me. However, she wasn’t kidnapped indiscriminately.
    She previously participated in some therapy session at her parents’ recommendation. It appears she was marked by the leather craftsman at that occasion.

    “You’ve… never summoned a Servant...? You too?”
    “Too?” The girl tilted her head to the side in response. “Karin. That’s my name.”
    “… Karin… Then that dinosaur is your Servant?”
    “Yeah! It’s my first time too. Today is my first time that I’ve met Momi! Although it’s not what I had imagined at all───”

    Her face lit up with excitement.

    “───But, it’s unbelievably cute! Right!?”

    Her cohort… the dinosaur growled lowly. Did she smile?
    The True Name of the strange-looking Servant will eventually be identified as the Berserker, Kijyo Kouyou.
    Karin was raised in a household where the summoning of Servants is strictly prohibited, so she has never attempted to
    do that
    summon one
    , save for an accidental case where she was concerned about the preservation of her own life.

    “I’m secretly chatting with Momi in my house while keeping this a secret from my family. Well, rather than say, chatting, or a hazy feeling being transmitted to me, it’s more like a feeling where we exchange messages and emoji? Do you dig?”
    “… I can’t imagine, not at all.”

    The master and servant relationship between Karin and Kouyou is a unique case, different from the traumas and phobias.
    It seems that ever since she was born, she had heard a “voice” that spoke only to her. Kijyo Kouyou… was always at her side, watching over her.

    “Uhh… Karen…?”
    “It’s Karin, not Karen. What’s your name?”
    “I’m… Erice, Utsumi Erice.”

    That was the encounter between me, Karin and Kijyo Kouyou.




    After the incident, I was severely scolded by my teacher… Caren.
    It was a reprimand that criticized my reckless moves.
    However, the thing I was most afraid of───was that I didn’t care enough when it came to killing a citizen and having their Servant disappear.
    She dealt with that indifferently by saying “It is legitimate self-defense. If it was something done by me as the City Management AI, it would be a huge legal and ethical problem, but Ms. Erice is a citizen who holds citizenship of Mosaic City.
    I once again remembered that the AI is something like this, and that perhaps the person who was the model for Caren has a fairly lighthearted character at their foundation.


    Chitose, my original guardian, was admonishing me at every opportunity about me living by myself up to the time of this incident, but it appears that the incident has made her refrain from interfering at every chance she got.
    I was coldly informed by her, “If you can live your life, then you must be undoubtedly an adult by now, so congratulations.
    It looked like she even felt proud that I was able to personally deal with the incident, although imperfect, as there was a victim in the form of the investigator and his tragic death. I remember the chills from Chitose’s way of thinking, and I still strongly feel that it was correct to leave the Manazuru household.
    She also said, “In the end, I have no choice but to confront the approaching danger by myself, as it was a situation that was eventually going to happen.” The meaning of that… I don’t understand it well even now.


    For the sake of surviving, I’ll kill any enemy that comes to me───
    Even if that karmic reply was normally used everyday in times of war, the heavy responsibility within me didn’t disappear.
    Really… I wonder if they were enemies, or if they were victims, and that kind of doubt stuck to my chest forever.
    It was not
    Chitose
    a human
    , nor
    Caren
    an AI
    , but the Servant Lucius who got close to me as I was vexed about that matter.
    At the time of my childhood, I was strictly trained in the art of self-defense and in violence-dealing skills by him, and I naturally understood that it was because of him that those became weapons that would save my own life and take away the lives of others.
    That’s why he didn’t try to condemn me, nor try to comfort me with words.
    He merely took his spear and once again gave me training, even during a time when there was a long silence between us for some time ever since I left my home.
    In a spare time during training, he told me this sort of story that he was reminiscing about.

    Around when he himself was still a boy, he was attacked by a robber in the suburbs of Rome. He bravely opposed the robber alone with a dagger in hand. Lucius narrowly repelled the robber, but due to an injury that he received from Lucius, the robber became unable to walk and turned to begging.
    Every time he passed by the highway, Lucius was grieved at heart whenever he saw that beggar. It is said that before long, that beggar fell ill, threw away his faith in the Roman gods at the time when he was receiving care, and became a devout believer in monotheism while the amount of believers of that religion was increasing during those days. Unexpectedly, he became a believer before Lucius.
    On the battlefield, Lucius killed enemies that numbered up to hundreds with his own hands as a soldier who held a single spear, further gave orders as a centurion who commanded a corps, and snatched away the lives of thousands of barbarians, but he’ll never forget the fear that he felt when he was attacked by the robber and the sensation of stabbing a person for the first time… Such was the story he told me.


    Last edited by Clyton; January 13th, 2021 at 01:51 AM.

  4. #4
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
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    21
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    Female
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clyton View Post
    Chapter 9
    The stench of death… it won’t go away, sticking to the insides of my nasal cavity.
    Slamming my face while in the showers, only the spilled blood… and pieces of flesh of the deceased… were washed off me.
    The screams of the people that should have been saved echo within my ears.
    The feeling of the last struggles of the Servants who went out of control and were manipulated by Nzambi… remains in these fingertips that reached out to the evil spirits.
    A loss that can no longer be recovered.
    ───I failed. I failed. I terribly failed at my job.


    Regret leans heavily on me, but even if I regret it, I cannot completely do so. I collapsed in my bedroom, not feeling like doing anything.
    As I curled up into a ball in the dark, I felt a tuft of my wet bangs. A Mystic Code app, which is connected to the magic communications network, is inserted into my hair.
    The open line will remain silent and will not have a response. I will not hear that person’s voice anymore.

    “…
    Caren
    Teacher
    …”

    This Mystic Code was something given to me by my teacher when I decided to leave my home in Shinjuku.
    Caren Fujimura – who was my guide the whole time ever since I was aware of the things around me – has died. If I were to borrow the words of her successor, the Spiritron Kernel that composes her has vanished.
    I… should be… awfully sad.
    It should be alright to even sob as much as my voice can bear doing so. Even though I had set aside this time so that I could properly mourn for her───And yet, tears won’t come out.
    As I wrapped myself up in the sheets that I pulled closer to me, I tried to put myself to an idle sleep.
    The stench of death I couldn’t help but smell… it made me remember a distant, murky past as I dozed off.




    ───It was five years ago.
    I was about nine years old when I started living alone in Akihabara.
    I was finally able to manage the small tasks that were sent to me by Caren.
    My work were simple routine tasks that also did not make me come into contact with the inhabitants of Mosaic City very much, such as settling the crimes caused by Servants and doing undercover investigations in places that were hard for children to stand out.
    I was desperate in order to live.
    Even in this world that is like paradise, I struggled to the death in order to prove that I am needed even if I do not possess a “Holy Grail” or the blessing of immortality. That I can do it even without Chitose’s protection, and even without a partnered Servant, for I want to convince myself that I can properly live alone.
    Luckily, I was possessed by evil spirits.
    I was pleased that I was able to make full use of even a mass of evil spirits that lurked within my blood, managing them as if they were my limbs, and even at times as weapons that were faster than a knife. I was sure in being able to not only undoubtedly protect myself, but even hunt enemy Servants… I was proud of myself like that.


    And then───
    While I was submerged in the muddy waters of self-conceit, I had stepped into a certain incident.
    A single male citizen I happened to meet by chance in a group therapy had a difficult problem.
    While struggling, this man was also looking for a place where he can belong to as he tried to live within this Mosaic City.
    The man told me that he was a leather craftsman. He made bags and children shoes before selling them wholesale to shops.
    In his quiet workshop where only his hammering can be heard from far away, the man always showed a gentle smile on his face.
    His muscular, toned body that could mistake him for being a Servant was trained by going through ascetic gym work. In some respects, there was a similarity between our situations.
    On no account could we both remove the uncomfortable feeling that followed our lives within this city.
    An anguishing soul is here.
    If so, I can get close to this
    person
    man
    . I can understand him. In addition, by any chance, maybe I could even save this man───I don’t need to turn to Caren, nor Lucius; only to my own power. That’s the most important point.
    Ah, this───is the first real “work” I’ve found. Like that, I quietly shivered in pleasure.
    However… that man was secretly mentally ill since long before I met him.
    It was already so serious, he passed the point of recovery.
    There were even many chances for me to notice it and escape from him. But I was young and foolish.
    I did not happen to have the experience to measure the depth of the man’s darkness, and above all, I was largely lacking something important.


    Nearby the leather craftsman, there was always a handsome-looking
    Servant
    Heroic Spirit
    who could give somebody the impression of a white porcelain doll accompanying the man.
    That dreadful child───Louis.
    The Duke of Normandy, “Louis XVII”. The last King of France at the end of the Bourbon Dynasty. The second son of Queen Marie Antoinette, who was put to the guillotine at Paris’ Revolution Square.
    Louis
    He
    was quite chatty, different from his
    Master
    contractor
    who didn’t open his mouth except for the bare minimum.

    “What did you say you were gathering in the city? ‘Fragments of “emotions”’? You said such a thing, right Erice?”
    “Yeah…”
    “That’s unusual, Erice. Even interesting, Erice. Doesn’t that mean you want to be human? That you’re… not human?”
    “… Probably… Still-“
    “I’m positive! A dead person would still be more expressive than you and would at least feel pain. AHAHAH, now, this is getting more and more interesting.”
    “I won’t pinch my cheeks. I… understand pain. I just don’t know much about it, yet.”


    Even in the school class I was in at the time, I was a foreign substance.
    The other students───the new generation of classmates born after the War – everybody was kind, quick to understand things, and appeared happy. Not even a single student tried to do something nonsensical like participating in bullying, and they also didn’t ostentatiously flaunt their partnered Servants.
    Because they were content since birth, it wasn’t necessary for them especially to ingest the drug called ‘a sense of superiority’. I guess even the charity that cared for me, who lacked just about everything, was proud of me.
    As far as I’m concerned, the school was just like a hospital. It was a lifelong ward that kindly wrapped me up with good intentions and thoughtfulness.
    There was a time in my school life when, because of a trouble that started from my misunderstanding, I had a quarrel with a classmate, and that classmate ended up receiving a minor injury from me.
    At that time, the Servant of that classmate promptly materialized, breaking the rule of prohibited manifestation within the school, and they worked to try to dispel my misunderstanding. I was not condemned at all, and even the people around me accepted and consented to that result.
    When the classmate in question – who should be the victim – bowed their head to me for their lack of consideration and even robbed me of a chance in making a shameful apology, it was like I was punched in the face.
    If I try to look back on it now… the Servants, I think they had been sensitive to the fact that I was a dangerous existence to them.


    When I disclosed such a story to him while feeling ashamed, he kept silent for a little while, before saying:

    “… Wisdom that can’t be learned at school, huh? I suppose there are even… several things like that. But I also wanted to receive education and try to savour things like freedom and equality that naturally comes with it. Well, Erice? Is something like emotions necessary in this city where one can live even without doing anything? What’s the point in trying to understand things like the suffering and sadness of another person?”
    “They’re necessary. For a citizen of Mosaic City, and for the sake of continuing to live within this town. Because emotions are something that I, who doesn’t possess a Servant nor a Holy Grail, can obtain. I… want to be wanted by everyone. I want them to accept me by saying, “It’s fine for you to stay here.””
    “… Is that so? Well, it seems that’s a very important thing to you. Well then, at any rate, it’s fine if you stay here. At this
    Atelier Quill
    leather workshop
    . I’ll never particularly care if you do, and I’ll still be bored like before too.”

    “What’s… alright for me to call you by? Prince… Charles…?”
    “Yuck───Call me Louis. I’m the last Louis.”

    I became friends with
    Louis
    him
    . My first friend of around the same age. My young self had believed that it was a chance meeting. Even… a fateful one. I didn’t know anything.


    After that, I often visited the workshop where the leather craftsman and Louis were.
    The Mosaic City Servants are loyal partners of their
    Masters
    contractors
    . They protect their Masters and lend their powers to them for the sake of promoting their partners’ self-actualization within this complex society.
    I even believed in such a thing… the whole time.
    However, the truth is different from that.
    ───Servants also… have “desires”… they want to fulfill.
    The Holy Grail System, which created Mosaic City, surmises the latent aspirations of individual citizens before matching them with Servants that are most compatible to them.
    The Holy Grail is not omnipotent.
    To those who truly hold no desires, and to those who completely refuses to follow around others, Servants were nothing more than meddlesome targets of their disgust.
    Even group therapy, which I had been partially forced to attend, was a measure for
    Caren
    City Management AI
    to try to provide care for those sorts of people. Many of the therapy users were also people who were deeply scarred emotionally by the prior War.


    Mixed into the therapy users, there… were citizens who desired the complete ruin of their very own selves.
    The Holy Grail allocates Servants to properly heal such Masters.
    He… the monster called Avenger Louis XVII… was awakened from the land of the dead and was released into this world again.
    That’s a bug of the Holy Grail that even Chitose didn’t intend for.
    It was an exposure of the carelessness and limits in changing and entrusting the act of measuring the people’s hearts… to magecraft.
    The
    Censors
    moral prosecutors
    of Mosaic City were once again reminded that, at the root of humanity, there is no distinction between good and evil.
    ───The first murder case… occurred in Tama, one of the cities of Mosaic City.
    The criminal had expanded their scope of activities to Shibuya and Shinjuku without having their movements caught.
    Because the whereabouts of the victims were unknown for a long period of time, each murder incident were not recognized to be correlated to each other, and chances of that state of affairs being discovered were slowly disappearing.
    The victims… were either people who avoided manifesting their own Servants for some kind of reason, or people where manifesting Servants is effectively impossible for them.
    A typical case would be focused on a patient who has Servantphobia where they bore a psychological trauma as a result of a Servant killing their family before their very eyes during the War.
    There was also a clever camouflage where traces of the victims’ disappearance were purposely left behind so that people will misread the disappearance as a voluntary act of the victims.


    They didn’t disappear.
    Each and every single victim was taken to a prison.
    They were physically and magically isolated due to Louis’ unique Noble Phantasm,
    La Grosse Tour
    There is Salvation of Death in the Prison of Mud
    .
    Once they were caught in the Noble Phantasm’s area of effect, it was impossible for them to seek help from the outside.
    The leather craftsman… processed them while carefully preserving their vital activities. They had brass tacks nailed into them, were meticulously tanned with chromium sulfate, and were sewn together with needles and threads.
    They were made out into a work that expresses the anguish of idly staying alive.
    Several months after the first disappearance, a work of his was discovered in a quiet park in Shinjuku. Forty-five minutes after its installation, there was not even an uproar about the work, and it was so delicately finished that it was recognized by passersby as avant-garde art.
    This provocative act was projected as a great threat to the people of Mosaic City, who were trying to break free from the disorder of the postwar period and regain their peaceful daily lives little by little.
    Authorities also responded promptly, spreading out a dragnet for this theatrical crime. Arrest was now a matter of time since Servants and personnel that were renowned in the fields of criminology and detective work were mobilized to take the lead in the investigation and come to grips with a solution to this case.
    Since that has happened, arrest was now indeed a matter of time. The criminal’s profile was narrowed down, and the dragnet had also steadily contracted.
    … However, since it already reached this stage, the culprit wasn’t really thinking about successfully escaping. I know that well. Even inviting the investigators closer to him was something done to meet the desires of the leather craftsman.


    At that time, I was also aware that the pros that looked after the public order of Mosaic City – whom have a connection to Caren and Chitose – were hurriedly making every effort in dealing with the incident.
    Nevertheless, I only remember a faint sense of anxiety and alienation, and never felt a sense of danger. Even despite being in the middle of the incident at that moment.
    ───That was the last conversation I had with him, before realizing the leather craftsman’s true character. Looking back, it was the day I exchanged the most words with that man.
    At that day, with just the two of us in the workshop, I stared at the leather craftsman’s delicate working manner.

    “───Utsumi. Listen. I want to have a talk with you.”
    “Erice. E-ri-ce───Remember the name, Mr. Craftsman.”
    “… Listen. Don’t come to this workshop anymore, Utsumi.”
    “Louis isn’t here just for today… So why do you say such a thing?”
    “That guy made me expend my Command Spells so that he could go out to the other towns.
    I’m sorry, but I’ll never see you again.”

    “Why is that,
    Meister
    Craftsman
    ? You said it’s fine for me to come visit this workshop at any time. Besides, you promised that you’ll teach me how to use a knife. Were they all lies? Look, even these
    moccasins
    deerskin shoes
    , you’re still making them.”
    “I’ll be busy. If there’s something you want, you can take them as you please.”

    “… Are you going to close the workshop, and leave the town… or something? I wonder if you’ll then say ‘I’m going to run away at night.’ Because it sounds a little like that from the way you’re talking. But you shouldn’t run away. The leathercraft made by the Craftsman is something truly wonderful. Louis looked proud while saying, “Both the sacoche and baby shoes sold out instantly when I went to sell them to the stores.””
    “………”

    As he stared intensely at the workbench, the leather craftsman won’t reply with anything.
    The sitting man, shrugging his shoulders that have their deltoid muscles completely developed, has no spirit. He was like a puppy who was scolded by their master and didn’t try to face their gaze. Even though he was a large man who also has about twice the height on me.

    “Is that… perhaps, my fault? Did someone catch sight of me going to this workshop and reported it as a good publicity stunt, or something? I wonder if they said something that didn’t need to be said to inflate their absurd delusions? That sort of person is what I call a citizen with ‘self-proclaimed good intentions’. If that’s the case, then I’ll even directly negotiate with that person and persuade-“
    “───That’s not it. That sort of problem didn’t happen. You’re good at conducting yourself so that you don’t have the public gaze sticking on you. You’re also always watchful so that you don’t have others tailing you.”
    “Yeah, but… Then, why in the world…”

    I tried to look like I’m only unhappy, putting on a brave front as much as possible, but I’m actually shocked.
    I couldn’t endure in completely losing this cozy place.
    I didn’t have to worry about who I am when I can be here, in this corner of the town where only a little light of the world shone through a small dormer window of the semi-basement workshop… Even though it was such an important place.
    I can’t even see Louis’ clear face, who frankly doesn’t mince matters in making fun of me. I was extremely unlikely to stand with that kind of treatment.
    More than anything, I───haven’t accomplished this work yet.
    I haven’t determined… what was tormenting this man’s soul.
    I’ve never revealed to the leather craftsman and Louis that I’m somebody who has a connection to Caren. To say nothing of the information that would make someone hold something like prejudice towards the grandchild of Minazuru Chitose; that also has been concealed from everyone. Even if someone looked me up in the
    Network
    city's information network
    , work was also being performed on the main database so that they would be going over dummy information.
    However… it seems that the child’s crafty secrets were entirely found out by that man from the beginning. And yet, he still had me closely by his side because he was surely even willing to let all that come to light to him if it was through me.
    The man looked at me.
    His dark gaze that soon approached me… was crazed and bloodshot.

    “Have you never thought about… wanting to change this town, Utsumi?”
    “…… The… town?”

    I was taken aback.
    Even though it was I who wanted to change it despite not knowing it back then. Rather, it was this man before my very eyes who, on the verge of insanity, wanted to change everything about this world.

    “I don’t know what you mean.”
    “It was just about… when you were born. That War… came to an end.”
    “Yeah… I wasn’t present for the War. I sometimes hear stories about it from people.”

    Even if I’m not part of the new breed of humans who possesses a “Holy Grail”, there’s no mistake that I’m still a human of the new generation of humanity.

    “───The form of the world was like this since the time I was born. I’ve never thought about changing this world, just trying to familiarize myself with it the best I can instead. Though, I’m aware there are such thoughts.”

    The leather craftsman urges me to continue while his gaze remains fixed at me.

    “In therapy, one old man had said───’I didn’t want something like immortality from the beginning. I just wanted to live, and die, naturally. The ‘Holy Grail’, it was not something good at all to obtain if there is not even a compensation for me in return. That does not recompense the lot who had died in the War. What the heck is the so-called difference between those people and us? There is no difference’… So he said.”
    “That’s the “emotion” you learned, huh? However, that’s wrong. That’s the feeling you’re telling to yourself.”

    The man’s fingers grabbed both my shoulders.

    “That elder, he wants to go to the side of his family who died in the War. The “Holy Grail”… it does not try to grant that wish by any means. It just merely soothes him.”
    “He doesn’t do that… because he can’t kill himself? It’s a very scary thing, and the Servants will stop him if he tries. Automatically.”
    “Do those guys have such a right? This… This is the land of humanity! IT’S THE LAND OF HUMANITY! Why is it necessary to borrow the power of ghosts? Even if the outside of the town is a hell humans can’t live in even now, the reason we’re receiving a treatment like this───”

    I wasn’t bothered by his fingers digging into my shoulders so tightly that it left marks on them.
    I was surprised by the fact that the man… has such strong emotions towards Servants.
    That’s still a mystery to me that I’ve noticed… during our meager exchange. It was supposed to be an opportunity for me to know what kind of hope he’s trying to entrust to his Servant, Louis.
    … However, the man stepped back like he was in dismay when I stared back straight at him.

    “Ah… Sorry… I’m sorry…”

    The leather craftsman – who spoke so fervently – averted his gaze, put some distance from me, and returned to silence again.
    I wanted to hear more of the man’s talk.
    His hidden emotions can’t be recited into words. What he personally felt in his heart… It seemed to me that the man wanted to convey such emotions to me at that time. That was a terrible mistake.

    Meister
    Craftsman
    . Do you hate this town? Do you think about wanting to destroy it completely, or something that?”

    “This town… I… love it. I want to save it. From the bottom of my heart.”

    His empty words reverberate.

    “Nevertheless, I’m still intending to go away.”
    “Ah…”

    I haven’t changed in the slightest as of now; still a child, and still foolish.
    Emotions… can only be expressed as actions. A true wish can’t be fulfilled just by believing.
    The people, the towns, and the world… can only be changed by shedding blood.


    A few days have passed after that.
    I nervously came in contact with the Borgia Siblings, buying information from them that was circulating through the underside of society for my work. During that course, I became aware that the search area for the aforementioned grotesque incident was narrowed down to the Akihabara district.
    Regarding the works once again… the remains of who was once known as the victim was discovered, the surveillance network has left a blurred image of the suspect – who slipped past the heightened emergency state, and moreover, people have also noticed that a new missing person has been announced.
    I was feeling suspicious of the leather craftsman and Louis, but I couldn’t really get used to having a doubtful mental attitude towards them. Somewhere in my heart, I categorized them as ones whom would stand with the side of the victims of Mosaic City, and I couldn’t throw away that assumption.
    Even after the serious conversation with the leather craftsman, I visited the workshop without expectation.
    Every time I saw the door of the workshop having its shutter down, I shrugged my shoulders.


    I also met Louis by chance, who was alone downtown. Although I was relieved to know that the craftsman has yet to leave the town, the words I emitted to him – who has the same attitude as usual – couldn’t somewhat get to the point I wanted to make. While exchanging words with him, it soon became a little quarrel between us, and we awkwardly separated from each other.
    Servants can disappear if they feel like doing so. He probably… let me find him on purpose. And yet, I overlooked the signs he was showing to me.
    Something was different that day.
    The closure of the workshop’s shutter was incomplete, and the lock had traces of being picked from the outside.
    There was no prior foreboding, or unpleasant hunch, or anything like that.
    But suddenly───my body’s spiritual affliction spread out, and dark red blood seeped from my wounds.
    The evil spirits were actively noisy and notified me of something abnormal.
    Somebody died in the immediate vicinity of the workshop.

    “… Aah… Hii… Guu…”

    I groaned in disgust and discomfort. One more. And another───
    While enduring the pain, I crept into the completely silent workshop, and saw an unknown man collapsed on the floor face down in a pool of blood.
    He was an investigator with the authorities. A half moon-shaped round knife pierced deeply into his throat, having ended his life.
    There were no signs of the investigator’s Servant being here in the surroundings. But on the other hand, I caught with my eyes the door of a hidden passageway on an unexpected wall of the workshop having an open gap, showing me a view of some traces of blood that were scattered in drops, all heading towards the basement.
    From the basement, a muffled and sorrowful cry, and a cheerful voice singing in French, were resoundingly leaking out.

    “Louis───”

    Having my attention caught by the lord’s voice, and trying to get into the passage, I didn’t notice that the criminal who caused this tragedy got behind me before I became aware of him.


    And───


    Coming to my senses, I was pinned under the man’s large frame, who didn’t move at all.
    After dozens of tense seconds have passed by, the workshop was in a terrible condition due to the damage caused during the life-or-death struggle.
    The damage caused to me was also no less as awful as the workshop’s condition. One of my shoulder joints was dislocated, leaving that one arm with no strength at all, and my ribs that were struck by a hammer appeared to be broken, the ribs on the verge of cracking.
    I was crushed and couldn’t breathe as I am currently, but I somehow pushed the man aside so that I could crawl out from underneath his arm, before standing up as I staggered. I’m the only one alive in this workshop. One of my eyes was out of focus from being struck, and while I scolded that eye, I headed for the basement once again.


    Rather than calling it a basement… it was more like the dungeon itself.
    An unrealistic space where jails, furnished with evenly spaced iron bars, lined up left and right of the passage. It was also as dark as the night of the new moon, and the smell of filth hanged in the air.
    There were also traces of a violent conflict engraved into this place.
    At the center of the intersecting passageways, in the middle of a pool of blood belonging to the victims that had turned into corpses and were scattered about, was
    Louis
    him
    , blending in with the corpses.
    His upper body was smeared with bright red blood, and he was kneeling on the ground without any strength, humming that song with his hoarse voice.

    “… Louis?”

    While I felt a powerful magical energy, simultaneously, I felt an enormous flow of magical energy continuing to disperse from this place, the energy rapidly fading away.
    A Servant who lost his
    Master
    contractor
    .
    The magical energy produced in compensation for the blasphemous abuse of life where the citizens are used as sacrifices is being directly supplied to Louis, allowing this space to be maintained. However, even the
    lost time
    remaining time
    given should only be a short one.
    Surveying each jail, there were people who were captured and were bound to become the next work of art. I fear that they were administered a drug, being forced to a listless and relaxed state. I’m not even sure if they’re alive or dead.

    “Louis───your
    Meister
    Craftsman
    died. I… killed him. If he had let go of his weapon, I wouldn’t have killed him… because I’m weak…”


    Even when I addressed to him my words of apology, he had no response. Nothing will reach his ears or eyes anymore.
    He was about to be released from his contract and return to the “Throne of Heroes”. His transient life bestowed by the Holy Grail will disappear. That’s the death of a Servant.
    What did he gain by being a supporting actor of this unprecedented grotesque crime that occurred after the postwar disorder period? What did he desired as a hero, or as an anti-hero?
    Although the leather craftsman tried to change the world, it was just a failed attempted to spread death in the end, and wasn’t
    Louis
    he
    merely a victim of the Revolution?
    Would he jokingly speak: ‘I’m a Servant of the “Avenger” Class’? Did he desired to be released from prison… and escape to the outside?
    A tragedy that wouldn’t occur… if neither the “Holy Grail” nor Servants exist.

    (Is the War… still going on…?)

    I tried to digest the unwavering facts as I was overcome with surprise.
    If the
    Master
    contractor
    dies, then the Servant disappears. Even if I understood that, I couldn’t understand the true significance of it. What the heck can I do… if I do not have the qualifications to be a Master?
    ───The usual song… stopped.

    “Who’s there…?” He muttered, perhaps perceiving my body temperature as I was standing stock still.
    He… was no longer a beautiful boy who looked like a doll. He looked like he was starving and haggard, his cheeks are thin, and his limbs has shrivelled as if he was an old person.

    “Ah… The Grim Reaper, huuh… Fine, take it… I’m… a little worn out…”
    “Louis.”

    When he collapsed onto his back, I rushed over and supported him. I held his head with my knees as a substitute for a pillow, and peered into his hollow eyes that didn’t look at anything even when they were wide open.
    He, who became faint, may not recognize who I am anymore.
    I couldn’t tell ‘It’s me, it’s Erice’ to him. I wanted him to hear my apology.
    But───gasping, I was at a loss for words, speechless before my quivering lips. As I was in front of him who was dying, I just didn’t want to get my feelings hurt like that; nothing more than my awful selfishness.
    I tightly grasped his bony fingertips, just trying to see him with my own eyes in silence.
    He let out a deep, long breath, as if he was relieved.

    Mère
    Mother
    …”


    ───That was his last word before he vanished.


    Soaked in the pool of blood, I hugged the empty space where he was before.
    I writhed in regret and disgrace as I tightly closed my eyelids.
    … Someone asked me a question. Without even any kind of advanced notice. And in a very astonished tone.

    “Hey, you… aren’t moved to tears?”

    When I raised my face───right in front of my eyes, there was a terrifying appearance like that of a devil.
    It was a dragon… no, that’s not it; it was a dinosaur. An ancient organism of the carnivorous – and especially ferocious – type, and a creature that shouldn’t exist in the modern era───

    “───Or, are your tear glands suddenly broken? That person who returned to the Throne just now, wasn’t he someone special to you?”

    I unconsciously flinched.
    With that, the scene of the prison that had surrounded me and the dinosaur faded away.
    The lighting returned, illuminating the empty, undressed-concrete room. This is the original view of the basement. The effects of the vengeful Louis’ Noble Phantasm have worn off.
    The abducted victims have collapsed and were scattered along the walls.
    The dinosaur before my very eyes still has its huge body, its head looking like it was scraping against the ceiling.

    “Is this entity… a Servant?”
    “It’s Momi.”

    A girl suddenly makes her appearance from the dinosaur’s shadow.
    Her age range is the same as mines. Her hair is short, and her height is a little tall. She has a boyish style with the Sukajan and short leather pants she’s wearing. At that time, she still had a small build and had a contrastive form compared to me who grew out my hair long. If I didn’t hear her voice, I thought I would’ve mistaken her for a young man. Nonetheless, her tone is quite rude.
    Yeah, it was her, and not the dinosaur, who addressed me. It was likely that her Servant was staring at us while being silent.

    “───It’s ok to cry. He just died. Although it was that guy’s partner who kidnapped me, wasn’t he a special person to you?”
    “… I don’t know… how to cry… I’m just… ashamed… I’m almost dead.”

    She embraced me, who was crouched and battered, from the front, like she was covering me with a shroud.

    “I see. That guy was unmanageable.”

    Good grief. I’ve never been right in the middle of a mayhem.
    A murderous urge that can’t be suppressed. The death of a friend. A strange child with a sense of distance. And a dinosaur.

    “Aah, you’re tattered and bloody, huh? You’re painful to look at, aren’t you. Hey, I’m glad that you’re living. Well, I didn’t take a bath yet, so we’re similar in that we’re both dirty.”
    “…… Yeah.”
    “Hahah.”

    As I received her baffling embrace, I became a listener to her story that I didn’t even ask for.
    I had confirmed that the magic communication line has already been restored and that reinforcements from the authorities are heading towards here. There’s nothing I can do but wait quietly, and reluctantly go along with her story.


    As expected, the girl was a victim abducted by the leather craftsman, and she eventually became one of the few survivors of the incident.
    She was abducted while visiting Akihabara and was made unconscious through some chemicals. As a matter of fact, she was in the middle of running away from her home, and her family may not have submitted a missing person report.
    So far, no child was included in the list of missing people. But in the end, I can’t deny that the man was impatient enough to even target children, just like when he came to attack me. However, she wasn’t kidnapped indiscriminately.
    She previously participated in some therapy at her parents’ recommendation. It appears she was marked by the leather craftsman at that occasion.

    “You’ve… never summoned a Servant...? You too?”
    “Too?” The girl tilted her head to the side. “Karin. That’s my name.”
    “… Karin… Then that dinosaur is your Servant?”
    “Yeah! It’s my first time. Today is my first time that I’ve met Momi! Although it’s not what I had imagined at all───”

    Her face lit up with excitement.

    “───But, it’s unbelievably cute! Right!?”

    Her cohort… the dinosaur growled lowly. Did she smile?
    The True Name of the strange-looking Servant will eventually be identified as the Berserker, Kijyo Kouyou.
    Karin was raised in a household where the summoning of Servants is strictly prohibited, so she has never attempted to
    do that
    summon one
    , save for an accidental case where she was concerned about the preservation of her own life.

    “I’m secretly chatting with Momi in my house while keeping this a secret from my family. Well, rather than say, chatting, or a hazy feeling being transmitted to me, it’s more like a feeling where we exchange messages and emoji? Do you dig?”
    “… I can’t imagine, not at all.”

    The master and servant relationship between Karin and Kouyou is a unique case, different from the traumas and phobias.
    It seems that ever since she was born, she had heard a “voice” that spoke only to her. Kijyo Kouyou… was always at her side watching over her.

    “Uhh… Karen…?”
    “It’s Karin, not Karen. What’s your name?”
    “I’m… Erice, Utsumi Erice.”

    That was the encounter between me, Karin and Kijyo Kouyou.




    After the incident, I was severely scolded by my teacher… Caren.
    It was a reprimand that criticized my reckless moves.
    However, the thing I was most afraid of───was that I didn’t care enough when it comes to killing a citizen and having their Servant disappear.
    She dealt with that indifferently by saying “It is legitimate self-defence. If it was something done by me as the City Management AI, it would be a huge legal and ethical problem, but Ms. Erice is a citizen who holds citizenship of Mosaic City.
    I once again remembered that the AI is something like this, and that perhaps the person who was the model for Caren has a fairly lighthearted character as their foundation.


    Chitose, my original guardian, was admonishing me at every opportunity about me living by myself up to the time of this incident, but it appears that the incident has made her refrain from interfering at every chance she got.
    I was coldly informed by her, “If you can live your life, then you must be undoubtedly an adult by now, so congratulations.
    It looked like she even felt proud that I was able to personally deal with the incident, though imperfect as there was a victim in the form of the investigator and his tragic death. I remember the chills from Chitose’s way of thinking, and I still strongly felt that it was correct to leave the Manazuru household.
    She also said, “In the end, I have no choice but to confront the approaching danger by myself, as it was a situation that was eventually going to happen.” The meaning of that… I don’t understand it well even now.


    For the sake of surviving, I’ll kill any enemy that comes to me───
    Even if that karmic reply was normally used everyday in times of war, the heavy responsibility within me didn’t disappear.
    Really… I wonder if they were enemies, or if they were victims, and that kind of doubt stuck to my chest forever.
    It was not
    Chitose
    a human
    , nor
    Caren
    an AI
    , but the Servant Lucius who got close to me as I was vexed about that matter.
    At the time of my childhood, I was strictly trained in the art of self-defence and in skills that deal with violence by him, and I naturally understood that it was because of him that those became weapons that would save my own life and take away the lives of others.
    That’s why he didn’t try to condemn me, or try to comfort me with words.
    He merely took his spear and once again gave me training, even when there was a long silence between us for some time ever since I left my home.
    In a spare time during training, he told me this sort of story that he was reminiscing about.

    Around when he himself was still a boy, he was attacked by a robber in the suburbs of Rome. He bravely opposed the robber alone with a dagger in hand. Lucius narrowly repelled the robber, but due to an injury that he received from Lucius, the robber became unable to walk and turned to begging.
    Every time he passed by the highway, Lucius was grieved at heart whenever he saw that beggar. It is said that before long, that beggar fell ill, threw away his faith in the Roman gods at the time when he was receiving care, and became a devout believer in monotheism while the amount of believers of that religion was increasing during those days. Unexpectedly, he became a believer before Lucius.
    On the battlefield, Lucius killed enemies that numbered up to hundreds with his own hands as a soldier that held a single spear, further gave orders as a centurion who commanded a corps, and snatched away the lives of thousands of barbarians, but he’ll never forget the fear that he felt when he was attacked by the robber and the sensation of stabbing a person for the first time… Such was the story he told me.


    Thank you so much! And boi dats a lot of trauma. I'd advise therapy, but that didn't seem to really work out...

    That said, I'm actually a bit sad that this is just a flashback, because I find her interactions with the craftsman and especially with Louis more interesting than anything I saw in the last volume. The fact that despite their insanity, they still had a strange sort of concern for her.

    Also Chitose is an awful guardian. But I guess that's typical of mages

  5. #5
    太陽神の子 Lamp's Avatar
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    It's gonna be a long while isn't it?

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