Chapter 1: No more hope
Kiritsugu, Saber thought, as she saw him appear in the darkness behind Archer.
Her Master lifted his right hand, making his Command Spells glisten. Steeling herself, Saber took out the blade from her leg without even a grimace and stood up.
Archer smirked widely, not noticing Kiritsugu’s presence. “So you’ve finally made your decision,” he said, while still surrounded by his Gate of Babylon.
The Magus Killer murmured his order, heard only by Saber. “By the name of Emiya Kiritsugu, I order you with my Command Spell.”
Give me the Holy Grail, was Saber’s wild and desperate thought.
“Saber, use your Noble Phantasm… to destroy the Grail.”
Shock appeared in Saber’s eyes, but before she could give voice to her thoughts, the binding enchantment began its effect – and Excalibur materialized in her hand, in all its golden glory.
The King of Heroes, for the first time, was taken aback and stared at her. “Impossible… What are you doing, Saber?!”
“I’m not…!” the King of Knights had the strength to reply, but was unable to elaborate.
Kiritsugu, with his right hand still extended, walked forward. “By my third Command Spell, I order you again.”
Saber’s hands began to raise Excalibur against her will. “Why, Kiritsugu?!” she managed through gritted teeth, desperately trying to resist the inexorable pull from the spell. “You, of all people…” The sword was lifted high over her head. “Why?!”
“Bastard…” Gilgamesh growled. “You dare disturb my wedding ceremony, mongrel?!” He turned to face her Master, pointing his Gate of Babylon at him.
Completely ignoring them both, Kiritsugu finished his last order. “Saber, destroy…”
…Saber screamed in agony, in vain, because she was forced to obey the orders from her Master…
And Saber’s arms lowered Excalibur.
The Noble Phantasm had been pointed at Gilgamesh, because the Grail was right behind him. That was the last thing that Saber saw, as the light of her mighty sword enveloped everything.
Two lonely and unwanted tears of desperation ran across her cheeks. In her anguish, she was blind to everything else.
The King of Heroes was a very proud and strong Heroic Spirit, but he wasn’t foolish enough to try to stand in the path of Excalibur’s power. He had turned away from it to actually confront Kiritsugu, but hadn’t had the time to do so. He had managed to avoid Saber’s Noble Phantasm by moving himself to the side, and from there he could see the torment on the King of Knights’ face.
But he didn’t have the time to be concentrated on it – something else was happening.
The Grail had not disappeared. Excalibur had hit it in a direct attack, vanquishing the building in the process, but perhaps it hadn’t been enough to destroy it without any side effects. There was now a huge dark mass in the visible sky above them. A black-reddish substance similar to mud suddenly erupted from it, and it quickly began to drench everything. There was no escape possible, and the fast-spreading substance was heading towards Saber and himself.
Realizing that the King of Britain was far too gone in her despair to take notice, the King of Heroes acted on a rare instinct impulse – he reached for her form, taking her into his arms.
There was no way to avoid the strange black mud, so Gilgamesh did the only thing he could: he held the woman securely, and glared at the Grail’s product, uttering, “You think you can have us? I will enjoy seeing you try, you… filth!”
And the dark substance soaked both kings completely.
As soon as the strange dark matter submerged him, preventing him from breathing, Gilgamesh found himself in his treasured city – Uruk.
His former life as the half-god ruler of the Babylonian Empire had been full of pleasures and fulfilment… but some dark flashes had been unavoidable. The King of Heroes was forced to look at the saddest moments of his life… and they all included his best – and only – friend… Enkidu.
He rarely felt any emotion that wasn’t boredom or annoyance. Therefore the emotions of sadness, hopelessness and anger were very unwelcome… but he couldn’t avoid them, when watching his best friend being transformed back into clay.
Enkidu had been the only one to understand him – for no one else could.
As a half-god, he was isolated from everyone: both the humans and the gods felt like he didn’t belong to their kind, and Gilgamesh had been alone… until he had found a kindred spirit in Enkidu.
But the gods had taken his only friend from him – to teach him a lesson. Gilgamesh had truly been powerless for the first time in his long life… and had had to watch his best friend die.
Not too long after that, his time-consuming quest for immortality had ended up with a snake eating the secret herb for it… and Gilgamesh had been forced to accept the reality of it all.
Looking back on his kingdom, the arrogant king acknowledged that, by modern standards, he had ruled as a tyrant. The power had been in his hands alone, and he had been alone on top of everything. But he was not concerned about it; after all, who, among those lowly mongrels, could ever hope to understand him, except for his only friend, who was no more?
No… there was someone who maybe could understand.
That tenacious woman with a sword of gold.
The King of Knights had ruled differently from him, putting herself in the service of her people like a saint… but she had known isolation as well.
He was a half-god, therefore superior to any human… but she had pulled the sword from the stone and by doing so, she had given up a part of her humanity. She was a fool for trying to take on burdens far too heavy for a human. Yes, she was a fool… but she was a strong and even admirable one.
As soon as the darkness surrounding him – which seemed to have a consciousness – realized that Gilgamesh was no longer feeling sadness, it tried to show him darker things, outside from his life. Even if the King of Heroes still grieved over his best friend, showing him his memories of him was not going to break him. Therefore, the dark entity showed him all the world’s evils, proving to him how terrible humanity had become.
Gilgamesh’s only reaction, however, was of mild disgust. Tch, mongrels, he thought.
That was when he felt the dark and malicious presence around him. It was powerful, and it was trying… apparently… to ensnare him into its grasp.
Gilgamesh scoffed. Him? That thing had the gall to try to capture him? The King of All Heroes glared at the darkness in front of him with a very haughty expression on his face.
“You think you can win over me, you filth? And by showing me ‘all the evils in the world’? Bring thrice as much if you want to stain me!”
The black entity seemed to hiss at him, only for Gilgamesh to dismiss it by turning his head. The darkness assaulted him, but the king was unconcerned and ignored its presence completely, and felt nothing but annoyance at the fact that that filth dared touch his skin.
Not long after that harsh dismissal, the substance began to disappear from around him. When it was completely gone, Gilgamesh was no longer in his palace in Uruk.
He was back to reality.And he woke up.