Chapter 4: Twin Spears
The two Lancers stood before one another, neither noticing that a black crow observed everything, the reason different for each of them. The black spearman didn't because of the man before him, an existence created by tainting his name, a monster that held neither virtues nor honor. He was the most bizarre and horrible version of Vlad III. On the other hand, the blood-coated spearman failed to notice the crow for a more simple reason: he didn't care. He only focused on the enemy. Things like strategy and information were meaningless in his eyes; he only wanted to fight.
The two sides of Vlad III were both in a way real, but at the same time they denied the existence of the other since two of a kind could never exist at once. The fact that they even met was something only possible in a war like this.
Leonardo B. Harwey observed from the room in the house he had been transported to, doing so using the familiars of his brother. He lay on his bed with his Servant standing at his side. It was a room with white walls, a few framed paintings and a desk. The lights were off, making everything appear soiled with darkness. Never did Leo expect that ordering his brother to have a familiar go after that Master would bring such results. But the only reason he recognized the woman as "her" was because her very Lancer claimed she was his wife.
He could not have anticipated them entering a conflict against another Master so fast, along with discovering the location of one of the enemy bases. The result of the battle between Servants wasn't as important as the big picture itself, as either way he would win. If the Lancer of his faction was defeated, he would gain additional knowledge of the enemy Servant, and in the case of victory, the other faction would lose a Servant.
Another presence appeared inside the room so suddenly that his Servant readied himself to fight.
"Calm down Gawain, it's only the supervisor," said Leo, turning to the Servant.
He was a tall man with short, sand-colored hair wearing silver and blue armor. At the words of his Master he lowered his blade.
"I'm sorry, Master," Gawain said while bowing before Leo.
"It is okay, Gawain," he said to him while smiling. He then looked at the door. "So what do you need, Kaus?"
In the door was a man with white hair and blue eyes wearing black armor with the crest of a dragon on his chest. He held a black helmet sculpted to resemble a dragon's head.
"Following the orders given by our lord Alaya in aiding Gaia with her wish, I have made arrangements for the members of your faction to receive all necessary tools so they can fight to their heart's content."
"Drop the act, slave of the world. Toward your kind I feel nothing but hate, and I'm pretty sure you feel the same toward all of us," Leo said as his smile dissipated.
The knight looked at him and chortled.
"I guess I can be a little honest, then. I curse Zelretch for giving you humans this opportunity. None of you magi deserve this world. To me you are all pests that need to be destroyed. Especially you, Leo," he said with a sadistic smile.
"You dare insult my king?" Gawain roared as he dashed at him with his sword in hand.
He swung at the dragon knight but was stopped by the blade of a black scythe.
"You are lucky that I'm now allowed to kill you or your Master," he said as he pushed Gawain back with ease.
He was about to charge at him again when he was stopped by Leo.
"That's enough, Gawain. You know you can't fight with full power at night."
Gawain halted, glaring at the black knight.
"Also, Kaus," continued Leo, "I'm sure you didn't just come to fight."
"As I was saying, I only came here to report," he said as he disappeared inside the shadows of the room.
Leo hated that man above all the other Counter Guardians. He had grown up hearing the tales of how they carried out the purge and how many people they killed in order to erase magic. Even if that act had helped his family take control of things, he couldn't agree with such killing. After all, he was the king of that world, and for his people to be slaughtered was unacceptable. Yes, it was a twisted reason, but a reason nonetheless.
The spears clashed with each other, with neither of the spearmen backing down even as the floor beneath them began to crack as they exchanged blows. Even with the power behind each attack, it was quite a simple battle. In a situation like this, neither tricks nor strategies would work. They were battling their reflections.
The two Servants separated from each other. One was smiling, rather enjoying the fight, while the other was completely serious and feeling repulsed by the grin of this second self. Then the silence was broken by the laugh of the bloody spearman.
"Wonderful! Really wonderful! You shall be a great present for my wife," he said while pointing at the person in the clown costume.
Lancer of Black continued to glare at him, trying his best to keep his cool, but it was hard. Was that really how people saw him—a brutal killer that didn't any values or respect for life? It was true that he had done many questionable things while alive, but that was in order to protect his kingdom, to protect his people. How could his noble intentions be distorted by others, making him a monster?
"I want to ask you something," he said with no emotion.
The other spearman just looked at him, and he used his silence to speak.
"Why do you fight?"
After hearing that question, the blood-covered spearman's smile disappeared and for a moment they shared the same serious expression, devoid of feeling, as if he had returned to his senses after being confronted by his counterpart.
"Do I need a reason?"
At these words Lancer of Black's eyes widened.
"A sinner like me can only fight and pray that at the end he can find some meaning."
Lancer of Black couldn't deny the truth in his words. He was indeed a sinner, but he still couldn't accept that his other self would choose a life without meaning."
"I guess we are different people then." He thrust his black spear into the ground. "Your words are those of a coward that couldn't stand his own actions and believed he was beyond salvation. I want to clear my name. I am a sinner, I know that very well, but I sinned so my people would live and be free. I'm not asking for forgiveness or to be worshipped. I only want the world to know the truth about me. If after all I am still treated like a monster, I shall bear those sins!"
The other Lancer smiled after hearing his words and thrust his red spear into the floor in front of him as well. Both became surrounded by a dark aura as they yelled the name of the spears they held.
"Kazikli Bey!" When called in unison, countless red and black spears began to spring forth from the ground and clash with themselves, trying to pierce the enemy as they navigated the battlefield.
In one of the rooms of the church, Gene was lying atop his bed, Karna at his side. Neither spoke but their thoughts were about a certain man: Kotomine Shirou. It was strange enough that he had such an odd relation with the supervisor, but everything became even stranger as the other Masters began to surrender their Command Spells to him. He had met a couple of them and none seemed the type who would submit so easily. According to earlier, four of the other Masters had already handed over their Command Seals, and it had only been a couple hours since the beginning of the war. But then there was still one Master missing. That was the Master of Saber.
"Where is Kairi when I he's needed?" he asked no one in particular as he tried to sleep.
Unbeknownst to Gene, Kairi was walking through the streets with a silver and crimson-clad knight walking at his side.
"Really, you sure you don't want to turn into spirit form, Saber?" he asked for the third time, just to hear the same answer.
"There is no one in this city, Master. I also like to feel the ground under my feet."
They arrived at a destroyed street.
"Well, it seems the war has already begun," Saber said after taking off the helmet, revealing a gorgeous blond young woman with emerald green eyes.
"Yep, but are you completely sure there is no one in the city, Saber?" he asked her.
"What do you mean?"
"I know you still sense remnants of power from those who fought here, but don't you think there is something strange?"
"No, the street is completely destroyed and so are the hous—"
She didn't finish as she realized that the houses around were still intact. The entrances of some of them were destroyed, but compared to the state of destruction in the streets it didn't make sense.
"They held back, or at least one of them did."
"Yeah, I can think up two sensible reasons for that. One is that he's a nasty guy who likes to look down on others, or he's a goody two-shoes who doesn't like killing innocents."
After hearing his words, Saber broke down the door of one of the houses and began to search for anyone inside, finding the same that Atosaki and the others had found: people being forced to sleep. She too knew that a bad move could mean their deaths.
Her Master, who had followed her, looked on and casually lit a cigarette.
"This war is going to get nasty."
Kairi was right. It was just a matter of time before the others realized this. Many Masters would exploit these people to supply mana to their Servants. It was a very good strategy, but he didn't like it. He was actually a necromancer but still had some respect for innocent people. He wouldn't try to kill them, but if they died it couldn't be helped. He finished his cigarette and began to walk away. Saber put her helmet back on and followed him.
The moment they took one step out the house, Saber felt a presence and jumped toward it. In one second she was already on a roof. She didn't see anything across the way but still swung her blade. Blood was spilled on the shingles, revealing a swarthy man wearing a white skull mask with black daggers in his hands.
"Assassin," she whispered as she jumped down to join her Master.
At the base of the Faction of Zero, Kirei stayed completely still after witnessing the death of one of his Servants. Kiritsugu, along with Tokiomi, had decided they wouldn't do anything before knowing where they were. Assassin was perfect for exploring at high speeds. One of them watched the fight between the two Vlad IIIs from afar. Another had observed the fight between a group of Masters in the plaza.
"So Kirei-kun, did you find out anything about that Saber?" asked Tokiomi, who sat near him.
Kirei stood. He was in the living room of the castle along with Tokiomi. The others had retired to their bedchambers. Aldebaran had made arrangements so that there would be some workers inside the house to take care of any menial work.
During their earlier conversation, Tokiomi told Kirei to let Assassin be seen so Saber would attack him and then reveal some information. Kirei saw nothing. He knew she was fast and strong, but he couldn't pick out many facts from that or how she finished his Servant with one blow. The fact that all his Assassins shared their minds should have given him something. With his body, the Servant was able to learn the enemy's strength and speed, and that information was passed to the others and thus to Kirei, but that wasn't the case this time.
"Sorry, Master, I couldn't find anything."
Tokiomi seemed surprised, but then it hit him.
"No, Kirei-kun, you got a very valuable piece of information."
"I beg your pardon?"
"That Servant has the power to hide all its abilities."
Sparks flew from the two clashing spears. In a battlefield full of weapons, the two warriors continued trying to kill each other. Each of them attacked and blocked the other's spear while dodging the spearheads under them. Neither dared to retreat; neither moved his eyes from the man in front of him as they went on fighting.
Another wave of black and crimson spears popped up from under them and broke each other. Kazikli Bei was a Noble Phantasm that generated spears inside a territory designated by its user. That territory range depended on the strength of the user and his mana supply. In this case, where the two territories clashed, the winner would be decided by will alone. The spearman whose concentration wavered first would lose.
They finally backed away. Each of them had cuts across their bodies. Both were standing in pools of their own blood. The two had already reached their limits and the only thing keeping them going was the need to crush the other. Lancer of Black's clothes had been reduced to shreds, almost exposing his bare chest. On the other hand, the blood-soaked spearman's armor was completely destroyed, the mantel he wore over his left shoulder long gone.
Both spearmen had been fighting for what seemed to them like hours, when in truth only thirty minutes had passed. The woman in the clown costume had been watching the fight between the two, completely silent. Even someone as twisted as her understood that no one could intervene. Saber and Berserker of Black had felt the same when they saw the two fighting each other. Normally they wouldn't intrude, but there was no other entrance and Caules was dying. They passed by quickly and Saber of Black's eyes widened when neither noticed their presence.
Both were so fixated on each other that they couldn't notice anything beyond themselves. The bloody spearman sent another wave of crimson spears at Lancer of Black. The latter didn't manage to react in time and was struck by them.
The black spearman roared in pain as the tips of the spears exited his body, soaked in what remained of his blood.
The other Lancer began to laugh as he walked toward him.
"Accept this offering, my wife!" he shouted as he stabbed through Lancer of Black's heart.
The battle was over. The bloodied spearman had won, he had defeated his other self, but while savoring his victory he didn't notice the smile which formed on the face of Lancer of Black.
"Is that all you got?" the impaled Servant asked, making the red-soaked spearman take a step back.
Lancer of Black's body turned into shadows which easily moved through the spears. His weapon was gone and in those dark shapes the only thing the other Lancer could see was a pair of golden eyes. He managed to hear him murmur three words.
"Legend of Dracula."
Before he could even move, his left arm was blow off along with his spear. The spearman fell to his knees as his Noble Phantasm began to fade. The shadows began to congregate and from them emerged the very spearman he had fought, appearing as if nothing had happened.
Something actually did happen; something seemed different. The aura around him was more evil. His clothes were transformed. He looked like a vicious count and walked toward Lancer with a fiendish smile on his face. This was his final Noble Phantasm, "Legend of Dracula," the manifestation of his distorted legend. He was no longer Vlad Tepes, rather, a vampire: a Dead Apostle.
It was ironic that he used the very myth he wanted to erase to achieve victory, but it didn't matter to him anymore. As his hands turned into claws he heard his other self yell out. The shadow around Lancer of Black began to surround him, paralyzing him. His cries were drowned by the darkness.
Back at the plaza, the seven Masters had already introduced themselves to each other. They remained still for a while as they waited for Leo and the other two to recover from Berserker of Black's scream. All the Servants had turned back to spirit form. Kirsche and Atosaki sat atop Kyrph while the others were seated on the floor.
"Hey Saber, any idea who that guy was?" Edward asked his Servant.
Saber materialized but just looked at him. He understood she was angry, even now.
"Are you really still mad about me lending my jacket?" he said, and the only answer was a pout from the red swordswoman.
Edward really missed her. She hadn't changed at all since the last time he saw her. He stood and walked over. Feeling him close, she decided to speak.
"Praetor, I don't…."
She didn't get to finish. He kissed her on the lips. The others who saw it remained silent for many different reasons.
Kage didn't care.
Atosaki was left speechless.
Kirsche found it impolite to interrupt them
Leo found it interesting and wanted to continue watching.
Kousuke was wondering what Caster would do after seeing this.
Breno just thought it was stupid.
On the other hand, Saber's mind was completely blank. At that moment, Caster materialized and kissed her Master before he could even protest. Atosaki found Lance at her side with a curious look that make her blush even more.
Edward separated from Saber with a grin on his face.
"So am I forgiven?"
"That was low, Praetor," she said, turning beet red.
"I will take that as a yes."
A clap was heard as Kirsche stood from Kyrph with a serious expression.
"Alright Hellhound, playtime is over."
"Why did you help us?" Breno asked.
"We were all in that room and we know there are a great amount of other Masters. We need to work together for now in order to survive," Kousuke said after breaking off from Caster's kiss.
"I don't need help," said Breno as he stood up.
"Breno, we just saved your life, and I think you need help," Edward said.
The only answer he got was a torrent of flames aimed at him. Edward raised his left arm. As it turned into a claw, the fire was halted and compressed into a ball before being absorbed.
"Calm down. It's the cold hard truth that there are many powerful Servants out there. One person can't do everything alone."
"Shut up!" Breno was about to unleash another surge, but he was prevented from doing so by a silver wire wrapped around his arm.
"If you want to kill each other, then do it outside." Kirsche said softly, but all the more striking given the icy calm it was spoken with.
Edward turned his arm back to normal and Breno put down his flames.
"Breno," said Edward, "I know where the old man who brought us here is."
Breno, Leo and Kage looked at him in disbelief.
"We need answers. We know that this is a war and that he needs us to save the world, but this war is different. Plus, we don't have even the slightest idea where are we."
Breno sighed and then lowered his fist.
"Lead the way."
Edward smiled at his words as the group began to walk where Zelretch was waiting for them. None of them noticed that a man clad in red and a woman with long purple hair had been watching them from afar.
"Rider, you know who that girl is, right?"
"Yes. Even though her appearance is a little different, I know it's her."
"Another Sakura," said the man.
"Yes, but that doesn't matter. I will only fight for the one who summoned me."
"That's not what I meant. She is by far more powerful that the one we know. Not only that, I feel that the boy with the weird arm and the one holding a katana are both powerful enough to fight us on even ground."
Rider knew what he was talking about.
"Let's go back, Archer."
"Yeah," he said before looking back at Kirsche one last time.
"What happened to you, Sakura?" the two Servants thought before disappearing.
Saber of Black walked to the entrance. He felt the battle was over and wanted to make sure of the winner. He saw Lancer of Black standing with his clothes turn to shreds but without wounds. In front of him was the dead body of Lancer of White's Master and the remnants of the armor the Servant wore.
"You alright?" he asked.
"Yes, I have taken care of the enemy. How was everything on your way?"
"We found a couple of Masters and were about to kill them when they got help."
"So, they were weaklings?"
"I don't know. They probably didn't get to show all their powers because of Berserker's skill."
"I see," said Lancer of Black as the two retreated into the castle.
The seven arrived at a large house on a dead-end street. The door was unlocked and they entered. The moment they did, the lights flickered on and they saw a very beautiful living area. It had golden chandeliers, beautiful portraits on the walls and a floor made of marble.
"It took you all some time," said a voice they all knew very well.
They found Zelretch seated on one of the couches with a big smile on his face.
"I'm glad all of you managed to make it here. I had my doubts."
The seven walked to where the old man was sitting.
"We came here for answers," Kousuke said.
The old man's seemingly happy expression faded and he turned serious.
"Take a seat. This could take a while."
They all did as they were told and sat in the empty chairs and sofas.
"Then here's what you need to know."
Master Remaining : 37
Servants Remaining : 41