Chapter 14: Clarent
"No, no! No! NO!" a voice screamed.
Caster of Zero couldn't believe it. He and his Master had been working without rest for the last five days, but they couldn't lift the curse on their victims. Partially because they didn't have the power to oppose the World, also because their methods all consisted of different tortures.
They believed that if subjecting them to incredible amounts of pain they would wake up, no matter the spell. This of course didn't make sense. He was the only Caster who would think to break a curse in such a way. Really, nothing more was to be expected from a man who didn't belong in that class.
The only reason both Master and Servant managed to remain "sane" was that they could torture them during the day. They realize this by mere coincidence, as one night they forgot to kill one of the people they had kidnapped and in the morning they woke up and heard him screaming out of pain. The pair had really missed this and brutalized him until nightfall. The answer became clear: kidnap at night and torture during the day.
They could enjoy themselves like always, but they would need self-control. It was a shame neither of them had such restraint. That knowledge filled them with despair. No matter how hard they tried to follow the rules, they couldn't, and they continued to torture the man before nighttime, when the spell reactivated and returned him to a deep slumber. Seeing this only increased their despair, as all the blood and screams from moments ago seemed little more than a memory.
It had come to the point the pair didn't know what else to do. They were simply unable to satisfy their bloodlust. The World had taken from them what they considered their only pleasure, and without it they felt empty.
In their lair, they began to hear footsteps. At first they thought it was just an illusion, but when the sound grew louder, the pair went to the entrance and found a man clad in black stand there, at his side a white dove with a camera around its neck.
"I must admit, that kid did a great job. Being able to find our enemies so easily is great. Don't you agree, Julius?"
They heard a voice that didn't belong to the man. Caster assumed the person in front of him was a Master and the voice belonged to his Servant. A smile appeared on Caster's face. If he captured him, he could torture him to his heart's content, until death.
"I must thank God for such a miracle. When I was about to fall into madness, He sent me this ray of hope. Miracles like this make me want to believe once again."
Julius looked around. He felt nothing but repulsion upon seeing the dead bodies of the people that this Servant had chosen as his playthings.
"I have to agree with you, Master. By killing them we will be doing the world a favor."
They used the program Shinji developed and the small devices Kaus had brought three days ago. After creating an alliance with the Red Faction, both the white doves of Assassin of Red and Julius' crows were released to check the city.
That was how he had managed to find Caster. The dove had detected a great amount of heat coming from underground. Leo had his worries about sending him on his own, but before he could say anything else, Julius left the house. It was his mission to slay his brother's enemies, and, after that, die to allow Leo to get the Grail. That was his resolution.
Caster took out his tome made of human skin and opened it. A purple aura began to surround the book and a great quantity of amphibious demonic familiars appeared and encircled Julius. The assassin looked around with a sigh.
"Don't hold back."
As the horrors closed in, a couple of them exploded. A man with short reddish-orange hair wearing a traditional Chinese outfit appeared, his fist dripping with the blood of the creatures he had just killed.
He dashed at them with great speed, and in a matter of seconds he had killed all the monsters around them. As he bathed in their blood, a smile crossed his face.
"It seems this work won't be a waste of time after all."
Caster saw this and also gave him a mad smile. All of this futile resistance only made it more worthy a prize. Assassin ran at him as more creatures blocked his way. Julius couldn't understand the sick grins the two Servants wore.
Fiore looked at the clock in her room. By this time, the attack on the other bases should have begun. She felt too empty to care. She couldn't take that memory of Caules' eyes from her mind.
"My lady, are you alright?" Archer of Black said, appearing behind her.
"Archer, do you think I did the right thing?" she asked him.
Archer didn't know what to say. Personally he didn't approve, but he also understood her reasons.
"Tell me the truth, Archer. No, Chiron. Did I just make a terrible mistake?"
"I think you did, my lady. Your brother is the kind of person one can rarely find. He considered you so precious to him that he would use his wish to save you. I guess that many times you two only had each other."
Fiore just nodded. She also remembered the look on Berserker's face. As a Servant, she could feel his pain and sadness better than her.
"I inflict so much pain upon him…"
"You did. But I also understand your reasons, my lady. At the same time, I don't think this is the right thing to do. Just like you made your choice, he made his. Instead of pushing him away, stand at his side. Fight together with him so both will survive, so you don't have to make that decision yourself."
He knelt in front of her and wiped the tears that had been falling from her eyes.
"As your Archer, I will make sure you don't have to choose."
At the same time, Edward and Saber were standing outside the room of the kids. Clare was the only one actually inside. When they tried to enter, she had made everyone leave, including Alex. Edward wanted to help the girl, so he had Kousuke, who was passing by with Caster, take care of her brother while he tried to get her out of the room.
Up until now, all his attempts to persuade her had been futile. Saber, who snuck in using spirit form, ended up having a toy thrown at her head.
"That little brat! How dare she attack an emperor?!"
Edward needed all his strength of will to avoid laughing. In that moment, he and the other Masters felt something coming at them.
The first wave of golems slammed into the bounded fields and were promptly disintegrated. The Supervisor of the Sixth Faction looked out from her window and sighed with disappointment.
"Brute force won't work, you know."
And then a more specialized group of golems managed to bring down the outer set of bounded fields and allowed their brethren to enter the mansion grounds.
"Not bad…" she commented as she began changing her clothes. "…Caster of Black's work is first-rate. Let's have some fun, shall we…?"
The golems charged toward the mansion, lights flickering on across the building, only to stop as a second set of bounded fields activated and paralyzed them where they stood. The magic-wielding golems stepped up, only to be blown to bits by blazing purple beams.
"Battles between magi are battles of concepts. Furthermore, the older the concepts, the more powerful they become, or rather, they become more profound. Well, it means the same thing either way," Ginevra du Lac commented as she appeared on the roof, dressed in a white-belted blue dress with white shoes and a snowy cloak trimmed in blue. "Your magecraft is probably eight hundred years old, but mine is approximately three thousand. Enjoy the laser light show."
Ginevra smiled, and the skies above the mansion flashed purple as countless magic circles appeared and fired off a ground-scouring barrage of beams that annihilated the attacking golems and left the ground covered with smoking craters. She smirked, and then she looked up at the sound of beating insect wings. Sure enough, more golems were approaching, their dragonfly-like constructs swarming the mansion.
"I hate bugs."
Her expression fell, and with the wave of a hand blasted the approaching golems with a wind spell that sent them tumbling back several hundred meters.
"Strong…" she admitted as she activated a viewing sphere that showed her the battles raging across the city. "…Hmph… what are those stooges in the Black Faction plotting, I wonder?"
In the Castle of the Faction of Zero, Gilgamesh saw how the golems began to attack and how they broke through the bounded fields both Kayneth and Tokiomi had put up as defense. He saw Saber and Rider stand in front of them, ready to attack, but didn't have any interest in the fight. To eliminate rocks was no job for a king. Those peasants known as Heroic Spirits should be enough to deal with them. At least they would provide him a little amusement.
Saber broke through the first ten golems with ease, as they didn't have any other ability besides brute strength. Simple swings of her black blade were enough to reduce them to shreds. Even when their bodies disintegrated, jewels remained in the pile of dust left behind.
Kiritsugu, along with Tokiomi, noticed this and the two walked toward the remnants of the golem while being spotted by Rider's chariot. Kiritsugu picked up the jewel and gave it to Tokiomi.
"Is it possible?" he asked.
Tokiomi's eyes widen and a smile appeared on his face.
"Yes, this should work just fine to regain our spearman," he said with a grin.
At that very moment, a knight surrounded by a black mist appeared in the battlefield and with a roar took one of the arms of the golems, turning it black, and then joined the fight using the remnants of golems like a mace, while Kirei and Assassin acted as support.
"Kirei-kun, retrieve those jewels," Tokiomi then ordered him.
Looking up as she sensed the return of the flying golems, Ginevra flew into the air and summoned her staff.
"One tactic when it comes to dealing with superior enemy numbers is to attack…" she muttered."…This will turn the enemy's strength against him. However, one must take care not to lose the momentum or the initiative to the enemy, lest one be surrounded and annihilated."
Smiling, Ginevra reinforced her body to Servant-level and then shot forward like a bullet, the sonic boom shattering glass and dislocating objects on the ground below her. More than a few golems moved to intercept, only to be literally crushed as the bow wave of wind before her reduced them to powder, while the displaced air in Ginevra's wake left a trail of flame as the golems' destroyed remains burned as they fell to the ground.
She sensed more coming from the back of the mansion.
"They can't expect me to deal with all of them. They should at least be able to take care of those," she said, but then she realized something. "Isn't that where the kids' room is? …Well, can't be helped."
And she continued with the business in front of her.
Caster of Black couldn't understand how the attack of his creations could be deflected with such ease by that woman alone. But it wasn't only her, the Masters and Servants in all the bases stood their ground as well. From the five factions, three were having a hard battle. Besides Ginevra, a sorceress with purple robes was destroying his golems with the same method. None could see it, but he was smiling. He began to lose all restraint and sent all the remaining golems to the city. He no longer cared about collateral damage. He would wipe them all out.
"I gladly accept your challenge, magician of the age of the gods!"
Caster felt a horrible aura full of violence and blood. He turned and found a helmeted knight clad in red holding the head of one of the golems he had left near the building to protect him.
"And I thought that these pieces of rock would provide me some entertainment, but they are so weak." Saber of Red spoke while crushing the head of the golem. "Tell me that you have something better than this."
Saber rushed at him as three more golems appeared. She dodged their fists and hacked them to bits with ease. Caster couldn't even move as he saw her sword come at him, so fast, so strong. Right as the blade was about to reach him, the three golems combined into another one and punched Saber of Red to one side.
Saber was really surprised how its strength and speed had tripled, but this only made everything more worthwhile.
At the mansion of the Blue Faction, they managed to get rid of almost all the golems that came in the first wave. Thanks to Caster's bounded field and her abilities, she was able to destroy them, aided by the other Servants.
"That seems to be the last," Lancer said as he dislodged his spear from the floor.
The Servants saw another wave coming at them.
"You and your big mouth, Lancer," Archer said, tracing his swords.
Edward heard the sound of a window shattering from inside the bedroom. Saber broke down the door and they both saw a girl with short blond hair wearing a purple dress standing still as a monster made of rock was about to smash her. Saber moved at amazing speed and cut him down before he could lower his fist.
Edward was shocked. The girl hadn't shown any emotion or response at the attack. It was as if she didn't care she was about to get killed.
He walked up to her and saw her eyes. They were dead. Those were the eyes of someone who had lost something important. He couldn't blame the girl, as his eyes were the same when he survived that fire in his world.
"You want to die?" he asked.
"I do. I don't have anything left. If I die, I might be able to see Mom again."
Many times he had thought the same things in his childhood. Many times he had just wanted to die and let everything end. But he had been saved, so he couldn't let this girl be lost either.
"Death is never the answer."
The girl snapped.
"Don't talk like you know what I'm feeling! She's gone! My parents are gone! I don't have a reason to live!"
He knelt in front of her and hugged her.
"Live in their place then. Live while remembering each of them. Live because they can't. You survived thanks to your mother. Your life is no longer yours, but hers as well."
She began to cry on his shoulder.
"It hurts too much to remember them."
"Clare!" They heard a voice behind them.
A boy with dark hair wearing a t-shirt and jeans stood along with Kousuke at the door with an expression full of concern. Edward saw this and smiled at the girl.
"See? There is still someone who will be sad if you were gone. Clare, you are not alone. I know it hurts to remember, but never forget. Remember them until it doesn't hurt anymore. And until that moment, I will protect you," he said with a smile as he let the girl go to her brother.
Kousuke looked at him approvingly.
"There are more coming, Edward-kun."
When Kairi arrived at the top of the building where his Servant was fighting, he found her on the floor being beaten by Caster's golem. But instead of feeling worried, he just sighed.
"You done playing?"
Saber suddenly stopped the golem's fist with her bare hands.
"Yep, I wanted to see if he could get stronger, but it seems I was wrong."
She tightened her grip, destroying the hand.
"It seems that no matter how many times I destroy him, he comes back," she said before taking off her helmet.
Mordred, the "son" of King Arthur, revealed herself as her sword began to shine, wrapped in a crimson glow. A twisted smile appeared on her face as she raised it.
Caster couldn't move. The pressure she exuded was enough to freeze him on the spot, and either way he didn't have a way to escape. He couldn't blame anyone but himself, being so focused on wiping out the two sorcerers he had forgotten about the swordsman behind him. But his defeat didn't matter. He had unleashed it, his greatest creation, the supreme Golem Adam.
Laughter filled the air as the sword fired a crimson beam at the magician and turned both him and his golem to dust. As his mask faded and his real face was revealed, he allowed himself a smile as he thought about that boy he had been with the last two months. He taught him all he could. It would take him a little more time, but he was now able to create golems on his own. As he continued to vanish, he gave his creations a final order.
"That wasn't so boring," Saber exclaimed as she looked at the sky.
She had seen it three days ago, the light which could only come from that holy sword. Her "father" was in the city. She would find her and she would finally make her hand over the right to be king. She felt a small tremor and when she walked to the edge of the roof, she saw how the golems were going berserk. She just smiled.
"This is getting interesting."
A whirlwind erupted outwards as Ginevra came to a halt, the magus dispersing the collected force of passage around her. Magic circles simultaneously sprung to life and fired off a fresh barrage of beams, destroying the few remaining flying golems around her.
She then realized some of the golems stopped coming at her, deciding instead to destroy the city. It wasn't something she really concerned herself about, since she was almost certain that the Masters of her faction would do something about it.
"They all have great talent. It's a shame some of them are goody two-shoes."
She saw the Masters of Archer, Saber and Caster leave the house along with their Servants to stop the golems.
"Indiscriminate fire approved…" she whispered with a sadistic smirk, and a barrage of beams rained down across the city. The beams left devastation in their wake, leveling buildings and ripping glowing gashes across the ground as they annihilated golems by the dozen. "…This is boring. No different from playing at an arcade…!"
Ginevra's eyes widened as she felt danger, and she quickly realigned her bombardment array to face the new threat. Several glowing projectiles flew toward her at supersonic speeds, only to be blown apart by precisely-aimed beams. The resulting explosions merely confirmed her suspicions.
"Broken Phantasms…?" she grumbled as her gaze narrowed. "There's only one person who would use those indiscriminately… EMIYA!"
A counter-barrage lit up the sky around her, the concentrated artillery fire of her beams immolating the target area–collateral damage and casualties notwithstanding–but Ginevra was sure that the Counter Guardian was already moving to a new position. And another threat was approaching, a silver, comet-like object streaking across the sky towards her.
"No way…" Ginevra whispered in disbelief as the comet slowed, pure white wings beating majestically as it approached. "…A Pegasus…!"
Kirsche looked from afar at the destruction her counterpart created while standing on top of a building. She didn't like senseless destruction, but she didn't have any reason to stop her either. She left the house before the attack, after that conversation with Edward, and she never expected to find such a reckless group of Masters who would attack during the day.
The behavior of her Servant was even weirder. Berserker had begun to deflect some of the beams that were aimed at the buildings in a futile effort to stop the destruction.
She sighed. It was something that was part of his soul. Even in his madness he couldn't forget his love for humans. According to the legends, he always wished for humanity to survive. That was why he fought so desperately to stop Ragnarök, but in the end it was useless.
As she continued to look at her Servant, she saw a golden arc in the sky coming at her.
"Berserker, come back," she ordered, and the giant returned to her side the very moment the King of Heroes appeared in front of them.
"I found you, god of thunder," he said, looking at the mad warrior. "My punishment of this world shall continue with your death."
"You're forgetting about me, King of Heroes?" she said with a smirk.
He looked at her carefully and then he realized something.
"You resemble Tokiomi, but your power is too great to be related to someone as pathetic as him. May I ask your name?"
"I am Kirsche von Einzbern…" she said with a polite bow. "…the First Princess of the Clock Tower."
"A princess you say? I shall test your claim once your Servant is…!"
He couldn't finish, as he needed to summon a couple of swords to block the lightning-wrapped hammer flying at him, and even when he managed to stop it, the strength of the thunder god was enough to break the swords and push him back.
"Insolent mongrel!" he yelled as portals appeared at his side.
Leo and Odysseus continued to battle the golems in the city. He didn't want innocent people to die because of the madness of some Servant.
He ran toward one and jumped over its head to slam it face-first into the floor. He moved to another and continued to attack. He couldn't break them, so he distracted them long enough for his Servant to kill them with one swift shot an arrow.
He continued on until he had to dodge a golem hurtling at him. It crashed into a lamppost, and in the direction it came from walked a woman wearing a suit along with a man who resembled Atosaki's Servant.
In the next second, Leo saw a crimson spear slash the air inches from his face.
"Damn, he's fast!" He moved quickly to avoid its path.
The spearman was about to press forward, and then he moved his spear to his right side to block the bowman's kick.
"Not bad." Lancer said, smirking.
"Well, I can't let you kill him just yet."
Leo rolled to one side as Bazett stood in front of him, ready to fight.
"I can't catch a break!" he cried in exasperation as he prepared for the attack of the enforcer.
After seeing the destruction created by Ginevra, Shirou and the rest of his faction decided to leave the defense of the base to Ilya and Caster while they took out the golems destroying the city.
They left Sakura there too, Shirou worried about her getting hurt, and along with Saber he began to eliminate the golems. He suddenly saw a pillar of crimson flames. Without thinking, his body moved toward its source.
When he got there, he saw a young man with a red jacket missing a sleeve and a claw instead an arm, along with a Servant who resembled his own. Normally he would be shocked by this, but when he saw the flames, he knew immediately this was the one responsible for that hell three days ago. The flames danced around him, and Shirou could only see the burned bodies of those poor people.
"You bastard!" he said as he dashed at him.
"Shirou!" Saber yelled, trying to stop him, but her warning fell on deaf ears.
The red Saber was the first to turn and got her sword ready to protect her Master, but a blue version of herself attacked her, leaving the way free for Shirou to get at the flame magus.
Shirou traced his blades and prepared to attack the man in front of him, but hearing his Saber, Edward summoned a spectral hand to stop Shirou mid-assault.
"Who the hell are you?" he asked.
"You burned those people!" Shirou yelled.
Edward's eyes widen surprised, as he believed no one but his own group had seen that.
"Yes, so what? You expect me to leave them there as if nothing had happened?"
Shirou couldn't control himself. He dashed at him once again. Edward called upon his fire blades and in the middle of that chaos, in the middle of that city infested by golems, a man made of swords and a man made of flames clashed as their Servants did.
Servants Remaining: 40
Masters Remaining: 37