Chapter 3 : Reunion
In the middle of the city, a blond boy with pale skin and blue eyes and a small scar under the left one fought for his life. His name was Leo Wells, and he had never been what one would call normal. Many times during his life he found himself in weird situations, and being attacked by a pink-haired girl wearing a wedding dress and electrodes on her head stood somewhere in the middle of them. To make matters even worse, she wielded a heavy club with a rounded metal head, which he identified as a historical mace.
She was fast, and the boy could barely dodge because of her sloppy, almost drunken movements. He'd found himself at the top of a building along with his Servant a few hours ago. Since the door to the lower floor was closed, he broke it down and went outside from there. He walked for a while until he arrived at a sprawling plaza. His Servant remained silent during their travel, and then he spotted a plain-looking boy who had a brown head of hair, glasses, a dignified white jacket and black pants with matching shoes. The boy looked at him, surprised.
"So there was another one." He sighed. "I'm sorry about this, but... Berserker!"
Without warning the Servant appeared and swung her mace in an attempt to crush his skull. He moved a few steps to the left and managed to avoid the impact. Still, the mace's striking end landing on the floor created a huge shockwave that sent him scrabbling. The girl continued to assail him with attacks, powerful and fast, but he was faster, even if only by a narrow margin. Regardless, at this rate he knew that it wouldn't take long until he found himself flattened beneath her weapon.
Then it happened, he reacted a little too late, and that meant death. Though he had restorative capabilities compared to high speed regeneration, if his head was destroyed he would be unable to recover. Luckily, the mace didn't reach him. Somehow the girl was knocked back and fell right beside the boy wearing glasses.
Leo saw it all. In less than a second his Servant had appeared behind the girl and kicked her using every bit of strength he had.
"And here I thought you would just stand there," he said with a smirk.
"His Servant?" the bespectacled youth questioned as he looked at the man wearing brown-green armor with short, chestnut hair smirk back at his master.
Caules had believed the boy before him didn't have a Servant, as he fought his by himself. That was obviously wrong. He helped Berserker stand while looking at what seemed to be an Archer.
"Well, we managed to trick them, and after that kick I'm pretty sure I can take her, Leo," the Servant said while offering to help his Master stand. "You alright?"
"Yeah, I'm fine, Archer."
Leo took his hand and got up, not completely trustful of the man before him. However, he appreciated that he didn't ask permission all the time and didn't act as if his Master was his owner. Still, he missed his old Servant.
"Telemachus," the Servant said in a whisper as an old bow appeared in his right hand.
Archer raised it, aiming at the pair before he was stopped by an explosion in one of the nearby buildings. He saw a young man with a white shirt and a dark tie and pants coming from the smoking wreckage. By his side was a tall, shirtless man wearing an ornate cloth around his waist. He held a golden blade with a curved edge.
Leo remembered the words the boy had said: "So there was another one."
Elsewhere, the green-haired Servant arrived at the church and wasn't surprised when he found Lancer of Red and his Master inside. Gene was now covered in bandages, cursing like crazy about how he would get the boy wearing the red jacket and that girl in the summer dress, and those two never should have dared do this to him. Seeing him like that almost made Rider forget that he needed to kill his Master for making him retreat.
He hated people like that. The king he had been forced to serve was the same way. He never respected any of his companions and treated them like tools. He had made them fight and die all so he could get his wife back, and even after that he never showed the slightest hint of respect toward any of his generals.
But he didn't see his Master in the room, he only saw the priest with white hair treating the wounds of the blue-haired magus.
"Where is he?" he asked the priest.
"In the back, but it's pointless to talk to him."
"Why?" he said while glaring at the priest.
"Because he surrendered his Command Seals to me," Shirou said with a pleasant expression.
Rider had his spear ready to kill the man before him, but he needed him to answer just one question.
"Who made me retreat?" he asked, though it sounded more like a demand than a question.
"That would be me," the priest answered, still smiling.
Rider's eyes widened and then suddenly his spear was a few centimeters away from Shirou's face, yet he was stopped by a black-gloved hand. At his left side he saw a woman with long blond hair holding his arm.
"Let me go, Pleiades!" he roared.
The woman didn't answer, but a golden aura began to surround her, and Rider felt that she wasn't a normal Counter Guardian. The reason was that, just by being in her presence, he felt something he hadn't felt in a very long time: fear. It didn't make sense for a Heroic Spirit like him who had entered the Throne of Heroes. In his eyes the Counter Guardians were weaklings who couldn't do anything on their own, so they ended up begging the world for a miracle. But this woman was nothing like that. The atmosphere emanating from her made her presence much like that of another Heroic Spirit. Not only that, her power was such that Lancer and his Master also couldn't move. The only one who seemed not to notice was Shirou.
"Calm down, Pleiades, I'm sure Rider understands that I did it to avoid the risk of losing him in battle." He turned to the green-haired servant. "Right, Rider?" He kept that smile which disgusted Rider to no end.
Still the Servant nodded. Pleiades let go of him and disappeared in a flash of light. Seconds later Gene, who had all his wounds treated, bid goodnight and went to his room inside the church along with Lancer and Rider, not wanting to be alone with the priest around, though he had also disappeared.
"You really need to stop smiling. It creeps me out, Master," a voice spoke.
"Sorry, an old habit, Assassin," he said as he felt a pair of arms wrap around his neck. He moved his head and saw another woman with long black hair, golden eyes, and marble-white skin. His smile wore off as he turned serious.
"I don't trust her," she said.
"Jealous?" he asked, only to earn a glare from his Servant.
"You know what I mean. She isn't just one of Gaia's dogs; she is special."
"I know, but I still need her to realize my plans."
"If you say so."
"She is the one getting the materials for the construction of your Noble Phantasm."
"By the way, how long will it take you to finish?"
"Three days, Master."
He raised his hand and touched her hair. She was the only one he had told about his plans, his real name, and his wish to save humanity from itself. To his surprise she had agreed to help him. However, he didn't touch her hair as a sign of affection. It was merely a game both of them played with each other to obtain a goal, and the nature of those goals didn't matter in their eyes. As she continued to hug him and he continued to caress her hair, he understood how similar they really were.
Back in the city, Leo watched the man with the white shirt and his Servant breathing heavy as he saw yet another man with milky hair and silver armor decorated by a green rune on the chest plate holding a large sword slung over his left shoulder. He recognized the man with the white shirt, as he had been with him in that room when the old man had asked them to fight in this war. He walked up to him while Archer still aimed at Caules and Berserker with his bow. After getting closer, Leo saw he had a lacerated arm and blood dripping from his forehead. His Servant wasn't in better shape and seemed focused on the identity of that silver swordsman.
The name of the man with the dress shirt and black tie was Breno da Rocha, the Master of Rider of the sixth Faction. He had found the silver Servant and Rider attacked, believing him to be easy prey, but no matter where he struck, the swordsman didn't suffer any damage. He didn't even try to dodge, and Rider couldn't understand. He himself was not weak by any means, yet the expression reflected in the face of the man said otherwise. There was only thing written there: disappointment.
Then the swordsman counterattacked. One swipe was all it took to drive them into a corner. But it hadn't been just any swing of the sword, the pressure and the slash behind it was enough to create an explosion inside that building.
"You damn peon, you dare to harm a king?!" Rider hissed.
"I only have one king and that is not you," the swordsman answered.
Angered by his words, Rider rushed at him, but to no avail, since he was intercepted by Berserker of Black and barely able to block her mace with his sword. He lurched back a few meters.
"Saber, be careful! If you destroy anything else you could make other Masters notice we are here," Caules warned.
"My apologies. I will be more careful," Saber answered as he jumped from the building and landed next to Berserker.
Breno hadn't noticed there was another Master-Servant pair, the young man with blond hair and his Archer. The two Servants charged at him but were stopped by a pair of axes which flew their way. Each managed to repel the projectiles, though the attack stalled them badly.
He turned and recognized the young man who had been in the same room as him.
"You. What's your name?" Breno asked.
"It's Leo. You?"
"Breno da Rocha."
They didn't say more as they turned to face the two Servants coming at them.
"Archer will help Rider against that one, and we will take care of Berserker."
His Servant looked at him oddly. He had just said something pretty crazy, but still he decided to believe in the boy. The enemy rushed at Rider, who was barely able to stop the blade, and swung his bow as if it were a club at Saber's face. He didn't move, and the moment it hit him he retreated a few steps but without a trace of the blow.
"Are you mad that we can't beat a Servant?" Breno asked as Leo pushed him away so they wouldn't be crushed by Berserker.
"We don't have any other choice. If your Servant fights one-on-one against Saber, he would lose."
Breno knew he was right, but what they were doing was still insane. He looked at the Servant coming at him and even thought it seemed crazy he began to think about Berserker's identity. He had only one way to be sure of it.
His hands were wrapped by flames and before Berserker could reach him he shot them out. The fire wasn't strong enough to harm Berserker, but there was a certain fear of it she had been born with, so by pure instinct she leapt back. Leo saw this and lunged at her. Even while guarding herself with her mace, the strength behind Leo's fist had been enough to send her flying. She was able to stand up as if nothing happened, but Leo wondered why she had so violently avoided the flames.
"So I was right," Breno said at last, breaking the silence.
"What do you mean?"
"I know the identity of this Berserker."
"It sounds weird, but I think she's the legendary monster Frankenstein."
Leo's eyes widened. He didn't expect this at all. The stories described Frankenstein as a monster that was ugly beyond comparison, but the Servant before him was a very beautiful girl.
"You're kidding, right?"
"I wish. Maybe those rumors about Victor Frankenstein being crazy were true after all."
When those words left Breno's mouth and reached Berserker, she lost control. She dashed at them, but before she got too close she was stopped by the sound of a gun being fired and the scream of pain of a voice she recognized very well.
At the same time Edward and the rest were walking through the city while searching for a way they could better navigate around. Kirsche went in front so in case they found a Counter Guardian she could face him. Edward and Kousuke walked behind her, and Atosaki trailed behind them all. Their Servants traveled in spirit form. After the fight, Edward had turned his arm back to normal, his eyes as well, but he hated that each time he morphed his arm, it destroyed the left sleeve of his jacket.
He felt the old man on the other side of the city and walking there wasn't an option, but he sensed something else. Another three of his ghost fires were at the halfway point.
"Guys, I think I found the other ones," he said, stopping short.
The other three stopped too and looked at him, a little surprised by the suddenness.
"Those people who were inside that white room with us, right?" Atosaki asked.
"Yeah, let me focus a little."
He closed his eyes and saw two of them. They were fighting against a pair of Servants, though he couldn't find the third one. He opened his eyes and looked at the others.
"They're in trouble. There's a fight against some Servants, and I think they're losing." He said.
"So?" Kirsche asked.
"Kirsche-san, we need to help them!" said Atosaki.
"Why? Even if they were in that room with us, they are Masters we will need to fight eventually. What's the point of saving them now?" she said coldly.
"Because they are Masters like us." Edward said.
Kirsche wanted to speak but was interrupted by Kousuke.
"There are thirty-five Masters besides us, so we need all the help we can get. If in the end we have to fight between us, let it be in an honorable way."
"Do as you please," she huffed.
"Then we'd better hurry." Edward said as he stuck his hand inside his right pocket.
"How do we reach them in time?" Atosaki asked.
Edward didn't answer, but he took a red jewel and black one from his pocket. The crystals were suddenly surrounded by crimson and ebony flames. He threw them into the air and from them a white lion and silver wolf came forth and landed in front of the Masters.
"Let me introduce you my little friends, Kyrph and Cerberus."
Atosaki had a gleam in her eyes as walked toward the silver wolf and began to pat him on the head.
"He is so cute!"
Edward and Kousuke laughed awkwardly. The former noted that Atosaki's hands were shaking. He didn't need to wonder about the reason since the air was so brisk. Before she could notice, he had put his red jacket around her shoulders.
"Sorry, I know this is missing a sleeve, but it should help with the cold."
"Thanks," she managed to say.
Edward just waved his hand, but he could feel Lance glaring at him even while in spirit form, and the worst was that Saber wasn't happy about it.
"Why?" she asked, pointing at the jacket.
"I wanted to be nice?"
"You sure that's the reason?"
"I thought you liked it when I was kind."
"Yes, but it feels weird when that kindness isnt directed only at me!"
"Well excuse me, princess! You're quite the tyrant."
Kousuke, who had been watching all this unfold, could barely contain his laughter. Even though he couldn't see it, he could hear it in Edward's voice, and he pretty much understood the situation.
In the end, as each beast could carry two people, they paired off: Edward and Kirsche on Kyrph, the white lion, while Kousuke and Atosaki rode on Cerberus, the silver wolf. In a matter of seconds, red and black flames erupted around the beasts' paws as they rose to the sky and flew toward the other three Masters.
Edward was still talking with Saber and Kirsche rolled her eyes at the inane chatter. But there was another thing that was on her mind, the boy in front of her had been kicked by a Servant, she had seen it all just —she saw it all, just like he implied—but he was fine. His neck should have been broken, but there wasn't even a sign of damage. Also, she knew that he hadn't used all his power and she felt something very familiar coming from his flames. Something evil.
"Hellhound, what are you?" she thought.
Berserker turned to where her Master was, finding him lying on the ground and a young man with a black coat and a gun in hand looming over to him. Berserker's eyes rounded when she saw him like that, and no one had expected what she did next.
At the same time the gun went off, Saber stopped attacking for a second, which both Rider and Archer thanked since even in the first few minutes of battle they seemed close to defeat. Now they had a fighting chance.
"Hear me, my people!" Rider yelled. "Bring me my horses and chariot, so that I may turn this foul man into a blood stain on the sands of Kadesh!"
The swordsman was blinded by shining light and struck hard enough by a horse-drawn golden chariot to be sent soaring. Saber now felt pain for the first time in a long while. While in mid-air he was able to recognize the two-wheeled vehicle.
"The Chariot of Kadesh," he murmured before being hit by a rain of axes.
The reason Archer sent them up wasn't because he actually thought they would do damage, but because he wanted the swordsman to stay airborne and give Rider a chance to beat him. It worked, too. Saber had been so busy blocking the axes that he didn't notice Rider charging a second time, and the moment he did he was being thrown into concrete by a seal brown steed.
Rider moved out of the way a few seconds before the crash and looked from the sky to the knight buried in the floor. He was breathing heavily. This Saber was by far the strongest he had fought. Then, much to his displeasure, the knight stood up and looked at him mockingly, as if to ask, "Is that all you've got?" Rider felt angry about this, but even more so at the fact he didn't know how to beat him.
Then sounded a scream which almost made the Pharaoh lose control of his horses. Archer cupped his hands over his ears to ease the pain on his eardrums and looked at Berserker, who with her yell repelled Leo, Breno and a young man with a black coat.
After seeing her Master lying on the ground, she dashed at the boy with the black coat but was stopped by a blade-like shadow. She heard a voice behind the young man say something.
"King-Killer: The Future Death of the Monarch."
She broke wildly through the shadows as the young man jumped behind her while shooting with two 9mm pistols. Using her mace she deflected the bullets, and he landed near the other Masters, who wondered what had happened. She lifted her Master and even when she couldn't say anything she didn't like what she saw.
"Ber…serker…" she heard her Master whisper and saw that a bullet had caught him in the chest. Her white dress was now soaked with his blood.
Seeing this, she lost all control and cried out, her scream paralyzing all present except Saber. That was one of her most deadly skills, Scream of the False Life Form. None of the three Masters could move; they even had trouble breathing since the screeching had been so strong that they couldn't think or respond. Rider and Archer found themselves unable to move as well, Archer being unable to cover his ears long enough. The only one unaffected was Saber, and that was because he had been ready for it. He knew this might happen after hearing the gunfire. Caules had warned about this before they left the base of the Black Faction to check on the city. The moment she screamed he blocked up his ears and waited until it ended. Saber looked around. All the enemies would be incapacitated for a few minutes, and that would be time enough to finish them up.
Saber jumped and kicked the Pharaoh in the face with enough force to make him and his chariot crash into the floor like they had done to him a moment ago. He raised his blade, ready to decapitate Rider.
Leo tried to stand, but his body felt numb, and he could saw how Breno was fighting to remain conscious, and the third one did likewise. Berserker placed her Master down and ran at them, ready to bash in their skulls.
Kage, the boy with the black coat, didn't expect this when he moved from his hideout. He had been watching the fight and the moment he saw the two Servants leave their Masters unguarded, it seemed like the perfect chance. He planned on taking them down with the help of Assassin before escaping. Normally he would have used a rifle and killed him from afar, but after he was transported from that white room he didn't have any of his equipment. Only a few knives were still strapped to his wrists and a couple of guns remained in their holsters. He made a grievous mistake, having never expected that a Berserker could have such a power. Even Assassin, who was hiding in shadows, could not move.
The raging bride was coming at him. Of course he'd gone after her Master, since he could be considered the most dangerous of them all. However, the deadly blow never come.
"Reppa Fūjin!" he heard a voice say, and a golden tornado blew Berserker back. Before the three of them appeared an impressive man clad in a faintly glowing black bodysuit with a red spear.
On the other side, Saber was stopped by the blade of a red swordswoman with blonde hair and then hit by a hammer wrapped in lighting, sending him crashing into a building. He peeled himself from the wall and after realizing there were another four Servants, he decided it would be foolish to keep going.
"Berserker, we are leaving," he said with no emotion, but he felt something dripping from his forehead. He touched it, and on his fingertips was a vivid liquid; he was bleeding and he couldn't be happier about it. Still, the boy would die at this rate, so it was better to retreat. The bride grabbed her Master with care and the two Servants disappeared.
The three Masters turned back to see four figures standing before them.
"You guys alright?" asked one with black hair and a katana.
"A little dizzy, but yeah." Leo answered.
Deep within the confines of an obsidian-walled castle was a grand room that resembled a study. Darnic Prestone Yggdmillenia sat in front of the fireplace of this domicile to which he and the members of his Faction had been transported. Drinking a cup of tea, he waited for Caules to return and find out if he had managed to locate any of the enemy bases. He didn't expect anything from the kid, but surely he couldn't be completely useless. Saber had also been sent along with him, but only because Fiore has asked him to, in case something unexpected happened. He took another sip of some tea and wondered how his granddaughter could worry so much about him. Nothing more was to be expected from a man who didn't recognize family ties and only saw others as objects.
There was a small tremor, and he knew it came from the front door. Using one of his familiars, a crystal owl waiting at the entrance, he decided to look at the cause. He observed a pair of figures and assumed they were intruders. It couldn't be helped, as they hadn't been able to put all their defenses in during the two hours that had passed since they had arrived and summoned their Servants. It was good that the supervisor of his Faction had arranged for many of his homunculi to be inside the castle. It was one of them who made his tea.
His mind returned to the intruder and he was shocked to see who was. There was a middle-aged man with short white hair wearing black-plated armor stained with blood. At his side stood someone else, their gender obscured, wearing a strange costume. He didn't care about them being dressed so ridiculously, but there was something so familiar about the Servant that the moment his own Lancer appeared, he knew what that was.
"Darnic, I will eliminate the intruder."
"Do as you please. After all, this is personal business, right?"
The Servant simply nodded and disappeared, reappearing in front of the two at the door. The intruders' eyes widened when they saw the man with white hair and skin wearing dark noble's garments. He wore an expression full of hate toward the man who had the same face as him.
"Today I take the first step toward cleaning my name, monster!" he yelled out.