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 Fate/Zero: Novel. (Prequel To Fate/Stay-Night)

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PostSubject: Fate/Zero: Novel. (Prequel To Fate/Stay-Night)   Mon Jul 23, 2007 3:26 pm

Fate/Zero Has Yet To Be Released As Anything But A Written Novel, And Is Currently Being Translated By Members Of A Forum Called Beast's Lair, And A Group: Project Notices Entitled Byakko, WingZero, Smidge204, ReynardFox, And Is Only Being Hosted On Baka-Tsuki, Until I Copypasta'd.

Note: This Is A Novel, And Has Translators, Meaning Unless You Will Spend The Effort Of Reading And Ignoring The Few Mistakes, Do Not Post In This Topic. Your Comments Will Be Deleted And Even Given Warnings If You Disregard This Message.

I Will Be Posting The Novel Parts In This Topic, And Editing Each Part Every Time There Is A New Update. So Please Bare With The Translators If You Have Been Reading. I Will Check Back On The Project As Often As Possible.

With That Said, Enjoy!

Publishing Dates:
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PostSubject: Re: Fate/Zero: Novel. (Prequel To Fate/Stay-Night)   Mon Jul 23, 2007 3:26 pm

Prologue One: 8 years ago


Let us tell the story of a certain man.

The tale of a man who, more than anyone else, believed in his ideals, and by them was driven into despair.

The dream of that man was pure.

He wanted for everyone in this world to be happy, that was all his wish was about.

It is a childish ideal all young boys grow attached to at least once, but that they abandon when growing accustomed to the mercilessness of reality.

Any happiness requires a sacrifice; all children learn that much when they become adults.

But that man was different.

Maybe he was just the most foolish of all. Maybe he was broken somewhere. Or maybe, he might have been of the kind we call 'Saints', entrusted with God's will, one that common people cannot understand.

He knew that for any existence in this world, the only two alternatives are sacrifice or salvation...

When he understood that he would never be able to empty the scale plates...

From that day on, he set his mind on being the one to tip the scale.

To abate the grief in this world, there was no other, more efficient way.

To save even one life on one side, he had to forsake one life on the other side.

That is, to let the majority of people survive, he had to kill a minority of people.

Therefore, rather than saving people for the sake of saving them, he excelled at the art of killing people.

Again and again, he kept painting his hands the color of blood, but the man definitely never flinched.

Never questioning the righteousness of his acts, nor ever doubting his goal, he forced himself to only faultlessly tip the scale.

Never ever misjudging the value of a life.

With no regard to the humility of one existence, and no regard to its age, all lives weighed evenly. With no discrimination, the man saved lives, and with no discrimination, he killed.

But he realized that too late.

To value everything in equal fairness, that would be the same as not loving anyone uniquely.

Had he carved that inviolable rule into his spirit sooner, he would have attained salvation.

Freezing his young heart into necrosis, achieving his self as a measuring machine with neither blood nor tears, he kept leading a life of sorting those that were to die, those that were to live. There probably wasn't any suffering for him.

But that man was wrong.

Anyone's delighted smile would fill his chest with pride, and anyone's wailing voice would shake his heart.

Anger was added to resentment full of regrets, and his tears of loneliness needed hands reaching out to him.

Even though he was pursuing an ideal beyond reason of the world of men — he was too human.

How many times was the man punished for that contradiction.

He did know friendship. He did know love.

Even when putting that one beloved life, and the countless number of perfect strangers, on the left and right of the scale—

He definitely never made a mistake.

More than loving someone, to judge that life equally to that of the others, he had to value it impartially, and impartially forfeit it.

Even when he was with someone precious to him, he would always seem to be mourning.

And now, the man is being inflicted with the greatest punishment.

Outside the window, a snow storm froze everything. A mid-winter night is congealing the ground of a forest.

The room is in an old castle built on the frozen soil, but it is protected by a gentle flame burning in the fireplace.

In the warmth of that shelter, the man was holding one new existence in his arms.

It was a really small one — a body so tiny it could be ephemeral, and no weight that could tell it was ready.

A delicate response can be dangerous, as with the first snow scooped by hand, which would crumble with a mere jolt.

In frail eagerness, the child preserves her body temperature by sleeping, breathing leniently. That is all that the modest throbbing of the chest can do at the moment.

"Don't worry, she's sleeping."

As he lifts the baby in his arms, the mother, resting her body on the couch, smiles upon them.

From the haggard look of the child, she isn't fine yet, and her complexion isn't perfect, but even though, her beautiful face reminiscent of a jewel doesn't decline in any way.

Above all, the color of bliss brightens her smile and erases the exhaustion that should wear out her gentle look.

"She would always be difficult and cry even with the nurses she should have gotten accustomed to. It's the first time she lets herself be held so quietly... She understands, doesn't she. That it is fine because you are a good man."

"..."

Without answering, dumbfounded, the man compares the mother on the bed with the child in his arms. Had Irisviel's smile ever looked that dazzling?

She originally was a woman of little happiness. Nobody would have thought of giving her that feeling called happiness. She wasn't a creation of Gods, she was created at the hands of men... As a homunculus, such a treatment was normal for that woman. Irisviel had never had any wish.

Created as a puppet, brought up as a puppet, maybe she never even understood the meaning of happiness to begin with.

And now — she is beaming.

"I'm really glad I had this child."

Quietly bringing forth her love, Irisviel von Einsbern speaks, watching over the sleeping child.

"From now on, she will be first and foremost an imitation of a human. It may be tough, and she might hate the mother who gave her such a painful life. But even though, I am happy. This child is lovely, she is splendid."

Her appearance is nothing unusual, and looking at her she is a lovely baby, yet —

While inside the mother's womb, a number of magical treatments were conducted on the unborn body, to rearrange it so that, even more than her mother, she was different from humans. Although it was born, its usefulness was restricted, so that it would be a body that is a mere cluster of magic circuits. This was the true nature of Irisviel's beloved daughter.

Despite such a cruel birth, Irisviel still says, "fine". Giving birth to such a thing, being born as such a thing, she loves this existence, finds pride in it, and smiles.

The reason for that strength, that bracing heart, was that she was, without a doubt, 'a mother'.

The girl who could just be a puppet found love and became a woman, and found an unswayable strength as a mother. That must have had the look of a 'happiness' that nobody could invade. Right then, the bedroom of the mother and child protected by the warmth of the fireplace was indifferent to all despair and sorrow.

But — the man knew better. That to the world he was part of, the snowstorm outside the window was the most appropriate.

"Iri, I — "

By firing one single word, the man's chest felt like it was pierced through by a blade. That blade was the peaceful, sleeping face of the baby, and the dazzling smile of the mother.

"I will be, someday, the plight that will kill you."

As he felt like vomiting blood, Irisviel nodded with a peaceful expression to his declaration.

"I understand. Of course. That is the earnest wish of the Einsberns. That is what I am for."

That was the future that was already decided.

After 6 years had passed, the man took his wife to her dying place. As the one victim to save the world, Irisviel had become the sacrifice devoted to his ideal.

That was a matter that had been discussed several times between the two, and on which they had come to an agreement.

The man had already cried his heart out at that decision, cursed himself for it, and each time, Irisviel had forgiven him, and encouraged him.

"I know your ideals, and I grew attached to your prayers, that's why I am here now. You guided me. You gave me a life that isn't that of a puppet."

For the same ideal, she sacrificed herself. She had become a part of him like that. So was the shape that took the love of the woman Irisviel. Because it was her, the man was able to permit it.

"You don't need to grieve over me. I am already part of you. Enduring only the pain of your own breaking apart is enough."

"... So, what about her?"

The infant's body was light as a plumage, yet a weight of a different dimension made the man's legs shiver.

He couldn't understand yet, nor was prepared to, what he would do when placing that child against the ideal he carried.

Don't judge or forgive such a man's way of life. There isn't the power for that yet.

But, even with such a pure life, his ideal is merciless.

With no regard to the humility of one life, and no regard to age, all regarded evenly —

"I am... Not suited to hold her."

The man squeezed out his voice, despite his sweetness being likely to be crushed in insanity.

One drop of tear falls on the plump, cherry colored cheek of the baby in his arms.

Sobbing silently, the man bends on one knee.

To overthrow the heartlessness in the world, He aspired to a greater heartlessness... And yet, to the man who still had people he loved, that was being finally inflicted the greatest punishment.

his most loved one in this world.

Even if it meant the ruin of the world, he wanted to protect that.

But the man understands. When the time would come when the justice he believed in would demand the sacrifice of such a clean life — what kind of decision would the man called Emiya Kiritsugu make?

Kiritsugu cried, scared of that day that might come, frightened by that one in a thousand chance.

Holding his chest tighter in the warmth of his arms.

Irisviel raises her upper body from the bed, and gently puts her hand on the shoulder of her husband bursting into tears.

"Never forget. Wasn't it your dream? A world where nobody would need to cry like that. Eight more years... And your battle will be over. We will carry out this ideal. I'm sure the Grail will save you."

His wife, fully understanding his agony, caught Kiritsugu's tears as kindly as possible.

"After that day, you must hold that child — Ilyasviel once more. Stick out your chest as one normal father."

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PostSubject: Re: Fate/Zero: Novel. (Prequel To Fate/Stay-Night)   Mon Jul 23, 2007 3:32 pm

Prologue Two: 3 years ago.

When we speak about occultism, theories on dimensions say that there is a 'power' from outside of this world.

Pinpoint the beginning of all happening. That is the dearest wish of all magi, the 'root', Akasha... The place of God, Akashic Records, the beginning and the end of all things, that records everything, that creates everything in this world.

200 years ago, there were those who put into execution experiments on that place 'outside of this world'.

Einsbern, Makiri, Tōsaka. Called the 3 families of the beginning, what they designed is the reproduction of the 'Holy Grail', the subject of many traditions. Expecting that the summoning of the Grail would realize any wish, the three families of magi offered their secret art to finally manifest the 'omnipotent cauldron'.

... However, that Grail could only grant the wish of one person. As soon as that truth was known, the bonds of cooperation were washed in blood by conflicts.

That is the beginning of the 'War of the Holy Grail'.

Henceforth, once every 60 years, the Grail is summoned again in the far-East land of 'Fuyuki'.

Then, the Grail selects 7 magi who have the power to take it, and divides a huge amount of prana distributed among them, to render possible the summoning of heroic spirits, called 'Servants'. The conclusion of a battle to the death decides which of the seven is most suitable to receive the Grail.

—To put it simply, that's what Kotomine Kirei was undergoing.

"The pattern that has appeared on your right hand is called the 'Command Seals'. It is the proof you were chosen by the Grail, and the holy mark that grants you the right to control a Servant."

The person with the smooth but carrying voice who explained this was Tōsaka Tokiomi.

In the room of an elegant villa built atop a small hill in the neatest district in the South of Turin, Italy, 3 men sat in a lounge chair. Kirei and Tokiomi, and the Father who introduced them and mediated the conversation, Kotomine Risei... Kirei's actual father.

For the friend of a Father who would soon reach 80, that Tōsaka was an eccentric Japanese. He did seem to be around the same age as Kirei, settled and with the presence of an expert. From the lineage of an old distinguished family even by Japanese standards, this villa was his secondary residence, as he said. But the most interesting was that he would casually declare himself as a 'magus'.

Being a magus isn't such a strange thing as it may sound. Kirei was, as his father, a clergyman, yet the duty of the father and son greatly differed from what ordinary people know of a 'Father.'

The 'Holy Church' that people like Kirei belonged to had a doctrine that was outside the bounds of miracles and divine mysteries, but would bear the role of exterminating the stigma of heresy, and burying it into oblivion. That would be, taking a standpoint from where they could supervise a blasphemy such as magecraft.

Magi conspire with magi only, and are organized in a self-preserving group that calls itself the 'Association', which presents a threat as a rival to the Holy Church. At the present time, they have both agreed to preserve a temporary tranquility; but even so, a state of affair where a Father from the Holy Church and a magus would gather in the same building for a lecture would be unthinkable.

As for the father's case, Risei, the Tōsaka family was one to which the Church already had old connections, despite being a magus house.

It was the previous night that Kirei had discovered the surfacing pattern shaped in three marks. He had then consulted his father, and Risei had immediately taken his son to Turin the next morning to meet that young magus.

From then, after a hurried greeting, the explanations Tokiomi had given to Kirei in this secret meeting were concerning the same 'War of the Holy Grail'. The meaning behind the mark that had appeared on Kirei's hand... That is, the product of Kirei acquiring the privilege to dispute the chance of getting his desire for a miracle, in the fourth recreation of the Holy Grail that was to happen three years later.

Not that he would refuse fighting. Kirei's duty in the Holy Church was, in essence, direct removal of heresy, meaning he was a fully fledged combatant. You could say that it was his very duty to wager a life and death bet against a magus. Rather, the problem was the contradiction that required Kirei, a clergyman, to participate as a 'magus' in the Holy Grail War that was a dispute between magi.

"Something about the Holy Grail War is that it is a battle that uses Servants as familiars. So, to keep on going forward, the elementary magic for the summoning itself becomes required. ... Essentially, the seven persons who are selected as Masters to the Servants have to be magus. It must be exceptional for someone like you, who doesn't make a living out of magecraft, to be recognized by the Grail at such an early stage."

"Does the Grail have preferred people to select?"

Tokiomi nods to the yet unconvinced Kirei.

"I mentioned the '3 families of the beginning' — for the granting, will be favored the magi related to the Makiri who have now changed their name to Matō, the Einsbern, or the Tōsaka houses. In other words..."

Tokiomi lifted his right hand to show the threefold pattern.

"As the current head of the Tōsaka family, I will participate in the next battle."

Then was this man planning to cross arms with Kirei after having kindly guided him so thoroughly? Although Kirei couldn't comprehend that, he carried on with his numerous questions.

"I wonder about the Servants you mentioned earlier. Heroic spirits summoned and used as familiars, you said..."

"It may be hard to believe, but that is the fact. That could be the one wonder of this Grail."

The legends of great men, supermen who have left their name in history and folklore. They are those who remained in the permanent memory of men, after their death, and were taken out of the category of mankind, promoted even in the spiritual realm; they are 'heroic spirits'. Those are on a whole different status from the vengeful spirits or common evil spirits from nature that the magi usually summon as familiars. So to speak, it is an existence with the spiritual status of a god. Although a part of that power can be brought out and borrowed, it is unthinkable that they would be used as familiars in the present world.

"If you consider that making this impossibility possible is the power of the Grail, you understand how outrageous a treasure it is. In the end, even the summoning of a Servant is but a mere fragment of the power of the Grail."

As if to say that he himself was dumbfounded by what he was saying, Tōsaka Tokiomi sighed deeply and shook his head.

"Heroic spirits from between the ancient age of gods up to at best a century ago can be summoned. Seven heroic spirits follow seven Masters, each protect their own Master, and exterminate the enemy Masters. Heroes from any era and country are summoned in the present era, and meet in a deadly competition for supremacy. That is the Holy Grail War of Fuyuki."

"... Such a monstrosity? In a place where thousands of citizens live?"

All magi follow the common idea of hiding themselves. It's the one obvious way to go in this era that believes that science is the sole universal truth. Considering the Holy Church as well, revealing their existence is definitely impossible.

But with heroic spirit, you have to conceal a power that can bring a catastrophic disaster. Using seven Servants in a conflict between humans in the present era and have them clash together… It is practically the same as ordering a slaughter of massive calibre in a war.

"—Of course, it is implicit that the confrontation must be held in secret. You need a well prepared supervision to make sure of that."

Having remained silent until then, Kirei's father, the priest Risei, came forward and voiced his part.

"The Holy Grail War happens every 60 years, and this time will be the fourth. The civilizing of Japan had already begun when the second war occurred. Even in the most remote places, we cannot ignore people witnessing the spreading of serious damages.

Then, since the third Holy Grail War, an agreement has been made so that we at the Holy Church would dispatch a supervisor. To reduce the disasters from the War to a minimum, we must conceal its existence, and have the magi comply to keeping the feud secret."

"Does the Church serve as a referee in a conflict between magi?"

"Precisely because it is a conflict between magi. In the Magus Association, there is nobody who can be fit as a referee because of political implications. There simply wasn't any way other than having recourse to an external authority such as the Church.

In addition, it was just not possible for our Holy Church to let the name of Holy Grail be used lightly to begin with. We can't ignore the possibility that it really is the cup that received the blood of the son of God, either."

Both Kirei and Risei, father and son, have a place in the section called the Assembly of the 8th Sacrament. A duty of that group in the Holy Church is to recover control of holy relics. The treasure called the Holy Grail appears in many tales and legends, and the importance of the 'Grail' in the doctrine of the Church is particularly large.

"Under such conditions, last time, in the chaos of the World War, at a suitable time of the third Grail War was held a meeting, and I, then a youngster, was appointed an important task. For the next battle, I would proceed to the land of Fuyuki to watch over your fight."

At the words of his father, Kirei could but tilt his head.

"Please wait. Isn't the chosen Church supervisor expected to be fair? It is a problem if a participant is a blood relative..."

"There, there. You would think this is a blind spot of the rules?"

The unusual smile of the stubborn father was implying something that Kirei could not read.

"Kotomine-san, you shouldn't trouble your son. Let's move on to the real question."

Tōsaka Tokiomi explicitly urges to old priest to the point.

"Hm, right. —Kirei, all we have explained was only about the 'outward aspects' of the Grail war. There is another reason I had you meet Mr. Tōsaka today."

"... Which, is?"

"To tell the truth, we have had a positive proof since long ago that the Grail that appeared in Fuyuki was a different one from the holy relic of the 'son of God.' In the end, the battle in the Grail War of Fuyuki is only fought for a treasure that is a mere copy of the omnipotent cauldron, one that opens a way to a utopia. It is in no way related to our Church."

That's how it is. Otherwise, the Holy Church just would not be content with the role of a silent supervisor. If the Grail turned out to be an actual 'Holy Relic', the Church would bypass the cease-fire agreement and plunder it out of the hands of the magi.

"If the final goal of a chalice is only a mean used to reach the Akashic Records, it is none of our Holy Church's concern. Afterall, the craving of magi to find the 'Akasha', the origin, does not necessarily conflict with our doctrine.

—Though, to allow ourselves to leave it alone, we need to pass it to a strong person. If an unwelcome fellow got around it, we don't know what kind of accident might be caused."

"Then, if we eliminate it as a heresy—"

"That is still difficult. The magi who confront for the Grail have an uncommon tenacity. If we were to conduct a frontal trial, a conflict with the Magus Association would be inevitable. And that would create too many victims.

Rather, as the second best plan, there would be nothing more interesting than finding a way to entrust it to a 'desired person'."

"... I see."

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PostSubject: Re: Fate/Zero: Novel. (Prequel To Fate/Stay-Night)   Mon Jul 23, 2007 3:33 pm

Prologue Two, Continued.

Kirei was gradually catching up to the true motive of this interview. Since his father was intermingling with Tōsaka Tokiomi, a magus.

"Since they have been oppressed by the faith of their native land, the Tōsaka family has followed the same doctrine as ours. Knowing Tokiomi-kun's character, he himself is guaranteed to qualify for the use of the Grail."

Tōsaka Tokiomi nodded, then resumed speaking.

"Reaching the 'Akasha'. There is no greater purpose than this one to us Tōsaka. But, sadly, the Einsberns and Matōs, who once shared the same motive, have lost track of it to more worldly matters, and have now totally forgotten their original intention. I won't even mention how they have invited four Masters from the outside, as well. They want the Grail for their despicable lust and nothing else."

That would mean that the Holy Church would approve of no one else but Tōsaka Tokiomi as the bearer of the Grail. So Kirei understood more about his assignment.

"So you would like me to participate in the next Grail War to let Mr. Tōsaka Tokiomi win?"

"That's it."

Finally, Tōsaka Tokiomi showed the first sign of a smile.

"Of course, we will join forces under the surface against the five remaining Masters, and annihilate them. To increase the chances of victory."

At Tokiomi's words, Father Risei gives an austere nod. The neutrality of the Holy Church as a referee was already turning to a farce. This Grail War must be interesting concerning the original expectations of the Church.

As for that, it was neither good nor wrong to Kirei. If the intentions of the Church were clear, there was only the fulfilling of his task as one devoted executor.

"Kirei-kun, you will be transferred from the Holy Church to the Magus Association, and you will become my apprentice."

Without a break and with a practical tone, Tōsaka Tokiomi hastened his explanations.

"A — transfer ?"

"The exchange has already been made formal, Kirei."

Saying this, Father Risei took out a letter. It was a notification with the joint signatures of both the Holy Church and the Magus Association, and was addressed to Kotomine Kirei. Kirei was more than surprised at the merit of the performance: from the day before to this day, the letter had been taken care of immediately.

In the end, there really were no real purpose of acting up in the matter for Kirei, nor had he any particular reason for taking offense at the discussion. For Kirei had no purpose at all.

"The important thing will be to have you do nothing but practice magecraft in my house in Japan. The next Grail War is in 3 years.

By then, you must have a Servant that obeys you, and become a magus who will participate in the battle as a Master."

"But — is it alright? If I openly study under you, won't there be doubts that we work together?"

Tokiomi gave a cold-hearted smile and shook his head.

"You don't know about magi. If their interests collide, a conflict between a teacher and his student ending in a battle to the death is a common occurrence in our world."

"Aah, I see."

Though Kirei didn't mean to understand about magi, he had a good grasp of the tendencies of the race called magi. He had had countless occasions to compete with 'heretical' magi as an executor. The numbers of people he brought down with his own hands isn't in the tens or twenties.

"So, do you have other questions?"

As Tokiomi requested for a conclusion, Kirei asked the question he had had since the beginning.

"Only one — The Grail that selects the Masters, just what is its purpose?"

Apparently that was really not a question Tokiomi expected. The magus' eybrows gathered in a wrinkle for a short while, then he gave a relaxed reply.

"The Grail will... Of course, it will preferably select Masters who sincerely need it.

As I said earlier, us Tōsaka will be included at the top of that list as one of the original 3 families."

"So, all of the Masters have a reason to want the Grail?"

"It isn't limited to that. The Grail requires 7 persons to show up. If not enough people turn up at the present time, irregular people who would normally not be chosen can carry Command Seals. There might have been such a case in the past, but— Aah, I see."

While speaking, Tokiomi seemed to realize what Kirei was suspicious of.

"Kirei-kun, you think you shouldn't have been selected, don't you?"

Kirei nodded. No matter how hard you would search, there was no reason for a wishing machine to notice him.

"Hm, certainly, it is odd. The only thing that would link you to the Grail would be your father, who was appointed as supervisor, but... No, you could think that's the very reason."

"... Which, means?"

"The Grail might have already anticipated that the Holy Church would support the Tōsaka family. So an executor of the Church who would acquire command Seals would back up the Tōsaka."

Saying this, Tokiomi, feeling satisfied, to end the discussion, added

"In other words, the Grail is giving me, a Tōsaka, two shares of command Seals, and for that, it chose you as a Master.

... How about it? Does this explanation satisfies you?"

So, he gave his conclusion with such a daring tone.

"..."

This arrogant confidence seems to suit the man called Tōsaka Tokiomi. This man holds a dignity that just borders sarcasm.

Certainly, as a magus, he was a man of excellence. And he must have had the self-confidence that came with that excellency. That's why he probably would never doubt his own judgement.

That meant that you would never get any other answer from Tokiomi here and now— That was Kirei's conclusion.

"When do we go to Japan?"

Hiding his inner discouragement, Kirei changed the subject.

"I will visit Great Britain for a bit. I have a small task to do at the Clock Tower.

You will go to Japan a step ahead. I will tell my family."

"Understood. Then, I will go at once."

"Kirei, go ahead first. I need to discuss something with Mr. Tōsaka."

Nodding to his father's words, Kirei stood up from his seat and, after a silent bow, left the room alone.

Remaining in the room, Tōsaka Tokiomi and Father Risei silently watched Kotomine Kirei off.

"That's a reliable son you have, Kotomine-san."

"His strength as an 'Executor' is guaranteed. None of his colleagues are more studious than him during training. I'm the one you should doubt."

"Ho... Is that the exemplary attitude of a defender of the faith?"

"Oh, it shames me to say it, but this Kirei is the only pride of a senile old fool like me."

The old Father was known for his rigor, but, feeling at ease with Tokiomi, he smiled. As his eyes turned to his only son, his trust and love clearly showed up.

"As I still didn't have a child past 50, I had given up on a heir... But now, I am amazed at how far my son has gone."

"Though, he agreed more easily than I thought, hasn't he."

"My son would jump in a fire if that was the will of the Church. That's how far he would go for his faith."

Though Tokiomi didn't mean to doubt the words of the old Father, the impression he had had of Father Risei's son wasn't quite such a 'passionate faith'. The quiet appearance of the man called Kirei felt more nihilistic to him.

"To be honest, that was a disappointment. However I look at him, it seems he was just involved in something that is of no concern to him."

"No... That might really be salvation for him."

Speaking ambiguously, Father Risei started muttering gloomily.

"It is a private matter, but his wife died a few days ago. They hadn't been married for even two years."

"Oh, I—"

Tokiomi was at loss of words under the unexpected circumstances.

"Though it doesn't show, he seems to endure it fairly well. ... He has too many memories in Italy. Maybe, for Kirei, right now, returning to his old fatherland for a new mission could help healing his wounds."

Risei sighing in his speech, Tokiomi kept gazing straight at him.

"Tokiomi-kun, doesn't one's true worth show as hardship increases?"

Tokiomi deeply bowed at the old priest's words.

"I am obliged. My debt toward the Holy Church and both generations of the Kotomine family will be carved as a family precept."

"Not at all, I am only fulfilling my oath for the future generation of Tōsaka. —The rest will be only praying for God's protection until your journey takes you to the 'Root'."

"Yes. My grandfather's regrets, the dearest wish of the Tōsaka, this is what my whole life has ever been for."

Hiding how much his self-confidence was suffocated by the weight of his responsibilities, Tokiomi nodded resolutely.

"This year, I will reach the Grail. I will make sure of that."

At Tokiomi's dignity, Father Risei blessed the memory of his late friend.

'My friend... You too got a good heir.'

The wind of the Mediterranean sea rustling his hair, Kotomine Kirei returned from the villa atop the hill, alone and silent on the narrow, winding path.

Finally, Kirei put in order the many impressions he had had of the man called Tōsaka Tokiomi, whom he had met just then.

Perhaps he had led a hard life. As if pride was proportionally converted to the experienced hardship, he was a man endowed with a firm dignity he could rightfully boast about.

He understands that sort of personality quite well. Kirei's very father was of the same kind as that Tōsaka Tokiomi.

Men who have defined the meaning behind their birth, behind their own existence, and follow it, without doubting it. They definitely never waver, never hesitate.

Forging it into an iron will of acting with a clear objective, vectorized only by the fulfillment of 'something' that was identified as their lifelong goal, in any aspects of their life.

The 'form of this conviction' can be, in the case of Kirei's father, a pious faith; and in Tōsaka Tokiomi's case, perhaps it was the self-confidence of one who was chosen — a privilege not for the plebeians, and the self-consciousness of someone with a responsibility to shoulder. He was one of those remaining 'genuine aristocrats' you would rarely find nowadays.

From then on, the existence of Tōsaka Tokiomi would probably hold important implications for Kirei... But even so, he was of a type that was incompatible with Kirei's kind. That was just the same as saying that he was similar to his father.

Those who see only their ideals can never understand the pain of those unable to have one. People like Tokiomi had a 'sense of purpose' as the base of their convictions, but that was totally absent of Kotomine Kirei's mind. Not once, in over 20 years, had he ever felt such a sensation.


By judging so, he couldn't consider the most noble idea, have comfort in any quest, or find rest in any pleasure. Such a man couldn't have any such thing as a sense of purpose in the first place.

He couldn't even understand how he was so far removed from the sense of values the ordinary world held. Kirei couldn't even figure out a passion to throw himself in about anything.

He still believed there was a God. That there was a supreme existence, although he didn't have the maturity to perceive it.

He lived believing that one day, the holiest word of God would lead him to the supreme truth and save him. Betting on that hope, clinging to it.

But in the depth of his heart, he already knew. That salvation would no longer come from the love of God for a man like him.

Being confronted to such anger and despair drove him to masochism. Under the pretense of penance for moral training, he simply kept wounding himself repeatedly. But those tortures forged Kirei's body like iron, and when he realized, he had risen to the top of the elite of the Holy Church, as an 'Executor', where nobody had followed him.

Everyone called that 'glory.' Kotomine Kirei's self-control and devotion were praised as a model for the clergy. His father Risei was no exception.

Kirei understood very well why Kotomine Risei had so much faith and admiration for his son, but that was a misunderstanding so far off the point; for in reality, his heart was shameful. A whole life would probably not be enough to amend for that misunderstanding.

Till this day, there is no one who has come to understand how much Kirei lacked.

Yes, even the only one woman he was to love—

"..."

Feeling a sense of lightheadedness, Kirei loosened his pace and put his hand to his forehead.

When he tried to remember the wife he had lost, he lost his diffuse thoughts in a rising mist. Feeling like standing in a fog before a precipice. An instinct for survival that told him to not take even one step forward.

When he realized, he had arrived at the bottom of the hill. Kirei stopped and looked back to the faraway villa at the top.

Finally, he still hadn't reached a satisfactory conclusion on his interview with Tōsaka Tokiomi... That was the important problem that concerned Kirei the most.

Why had a miraculous power such as the 'Grail' chosen Kotomine Kirei?

Tokiomi's explanation was a desperate one. If the Grail wanted a supporter to Tokiomi, there must have had as many capable person as you wanted who would be friends with him; not Kirei.

There must have been a reason to his selection for the next Grail's appearance.

Yet... The more he thought about it, the more Kirei found the inconsistency worrying.

He essentially didn't have any 'sense of purpose.' Nor any ideal or aspiration. However you would look at it, he had no reason to be the bearer of a miracle such as an 'almighty wish machine.'

With a gloomy face, Kirei looked at the three symbols that had appeared on the back of his right hand.

They say the Command Seals are a holy mark.

Would he find a pledge to carry, three years from now?

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PostSubject: Re: Fate/Zero: Novel. (Prequel To Fate/Stay-Night)   Mon Jul 23, 2007 3:37 pm

Prologue Three: 1 year ago.

Prologue: 1 year ago
He immediately recognized the woman he was looking for.

In the early holiday afternoon, you can see children playing on the lawn bathed in the peaceful sunlight of the early Autumn, with their parents watching over them, smiling. The plaza around the fountain of the park was overcrowded with the townspeople who brought their family for relaxation.

Even in such a crowd, he didn't lose his track.

No matter how crowded, no matter how far, he was certain he could find her effortlessly. Even though he didn't know if he could even meet her once a month, even though she already had a partner.

Only when he walked up to her, did the woman in the shades of the trees notice his arrival.

"—Hey, long time no see."

"Oh— Kariya-kun."

Showing a modest, courteous smile, she lifted her eyes from the book she was reading.

Worn out— Seeing her like that, Kariya felt seized with a helpless anxiety. Something seemed to be tormenting her.

He immediately wanted to ask about the cause of that trouble, to exert himself to find a solution to this 'something' — but even driven with that impulse, Kariya couldn't bring it up. He wasn't so close that he could devote such an unreserved kindness, that wasn't his place.

"It's been 3 months. This trip has been pretty long this time."

"Ah... Eh, yes."

In his sweet dreams, her smile surely appears. But when he is really in front of her, he doesn't have the courage to face her. It has been so for the past 8 years, and forever after, Kariya will probably never be able to face that smile.

Because she makes him so nervous, he never knows what to talk about after greeting each other, and a subtle blank appears. That too happens everytime.

To break the awkward silence, Kariya looks for the one he can easily talk to.

— There. Playing in the middle of the other kids on the grass, the twintails happily dancing about. Though very young, the girl already shows signs of the beautiful face she has inherited from her mother.

"Rin-chan."

Kariya called, waving a hand. As soon as she notices, the girl he called Rin rushes toward him with a bright smile.

"Welcome back, uncle Kariya! Did you bring me another present?"

"Now, Rin, watch your manners..."

The young girl seems to be oblivious to the voice of her embarrassed mother. Rin's eyes shine with expectation, and Kariya, responding with the same smile, holds out one of the two presents he carries behind his back.

"Waah, beautiful..."

An elaborate brooch made of glass beads of various sizes captures the heart of the girl at the first glance. Though it might seem a bit much for a girl her age, Kariya is well aware that Rin has precocious tastes.

"Uncle, thank you as always. I will take care of it."

"Ha ha, if you like it, uncle is happy too."

Gently stroking Rin's head, Kariya looks for the intended recipient of the other present he brought.

For some reason, she is nowhere to be found in the park..

"Say, so where's Sakura-chan?"

Hearing Kariya's question, Rin’s smile immediately vanished.

Her face looked as if she had stopped thinking at all, the face of a resigned child forced to mindlessly accept reality.

"Sakura, she’s, already gone."

With a blank look, Rin gave a monotonous reply, then as if avoiding Kariya's questions, she ran back to the kids she was playing with earlier.

"..."

Bewildered by Rin's incomprehensible words, Kariya looked at Rin's mother questioningly, suddenly realizing. She turned her eyes away to an empty space with a gloomy look.

"What’s that mean...?"

"Sakura is, neither my daughter, nor Rin's sister, anymore."

Her tone was dry, but more courageous than her daughter Rin's.

'That child, has gone to the Matō family."

Matō—

The name, sounding deeply familiar yet abominable, violently ripped out Kariya’s heart.

"That can't... What the hell does it mean, Aoi-san!?"

"You shouldn't even need to ask, right? Especially you, Kariya-kun."

Crushing Kariya's heart, Rin's mother— Tōsaka Aoi gave a harsh, cold-hearted reply, never looking at him, as if indifferent.

"Of course you of all people should know why the Matōs need a child with wizard ancestry to succeed them, don’t you?"

"How, could you, accept that?"

"That is what he decided. This is the decision of the head of the Tōsaka family, acceding to a request from the old sworn friends, the Matōs. ... My opinion doesn’t matter."

For that reason, mother and child, older sister and younger sister were separated.

Of course she wouldn’t agree. But both Aoi and even the young Rin know well why they cannot but accept it. That is, because this is what it is to live as a magus. Kariya knew that cruel fate all too well.

"... Are you fine with it?"

Aoi replies with a feeble, bitter smile to Kariya's rock hard voice.

"When I decided to marry into the Tōsaka family, when I decided to become the wife of a magus, I was prepared to something like that. When you enter the bloodline of a wizard, it is a mistake to seek for the normal happiness of a family."

And, facing Kariya who tried to speak again, the magus wife gently, but clearly, stopped him—

"This is a matter between the Tōsakas and the Matōs. This is of no concern to you, who turned your back to the world of the magi."

She finished with a slight nod.

With this, Kariya couldn’t move anymore. As if he had turned into one of the trees of the park, his chest felt choking from weakness and helplessness.

Since long ago when she was a girl, then when she became a wife, and even after she had two children, Aoi's attitude toward Kariya never changed. Three years older than him, friend since infancy, she always attended to Kariya, kindly and without constraint, like a real sister to a brother.

This was the first time that she so clearly pointed out their respective position.

"If you are ever able to see Sakura, please treat her kindly. She has always been fond of you, Kariya-kun."

Aoi watching over her, Rin was playing brightly, full of energy, as if to chase her grief away.

As if Rin's very behavior was the reply, pushing back the speechless Kariya beside her, Tōsaka Aoi showed him only the profile of a peaceful mother in holidays.

But Kariya still didn't miss it. There was no way he could miss it.

The firm, serene Tōsaka Aoi who accepted her fate.

She couldn’t even completely conceal the tears gathering at the corner of her eyes.

Kariya hastened through the scenery of the hometown he thought he would never see again.

Everytime he came back to the city of Fuyuki, he would never cross the bridge to Miyama town.

That must have been 10 years. Unlike the Shinto area where business went on everyday, nothing had changed in this neighborhood where time seemed to have stopped.

Quiet streets filled with memories. But not a single pleasant one would come back if he stopped to have a look. Ignoring such a worthless nostalgia, Kariya thought about his dialogue with Aoi from an hour ago.

"... Are you fine with it?"

The thoughtless reprieve Aoi threw at him, turning her eyes away. He hadn't used such a sharp tone in several years.

Don't raise your eyes, don't be a bother... That's how he had lived. Anger, hatred, Kariya had left it all in the desolate streets of Miyama town. After throwing away his hometown, Kariya had never made a fuss over anything. Even the foulest, the ugliest matters were nothing compared to what he had hated in this land.

That's why— yeah. It must have been 8 years since his voice last held such feelings.

That time, wasn't it with the same woman Kariya had used the same tone, the same words?

"Are you fine with it?" —He shot the same question, that time. Turning toward his senior childhood friend, the night before she received the name of Tōsaka.

He never forgot. Her expression at that time.

She had given a small nod, as if she was sorry, as if apologizing, yet still blushing in shyness. Kariya had been defeated by the quiet smile.

"... I was prepared... It is a mistake to seek for the normal happiness of a family..."

Such words were a lie.

That day, 8 years ago, when she was proposed to by the young magus, her smile definitely showed her faith in happiness.

And so, Kariya fully accepted his defeat because he trusted that smile.

Maybe, the man who was marrying Aoi, that man was the only one who could make her happy.

But that was a mistake.

More than anyone else, Kariya should have realized that it was a fatal mistake.

Because he had fully realized how despicable magecraft was, hadn't Kariya rejected his fate and left his family?

Nevertheless, he could forgive that.

Even with him who had turned his back in fear, well aware of how abominable magecraft was... His most important woman had surrendered, of all people, to the man who was the most alike a magus.

What now burns Kariya's chest is, regret.

Not once, but twice, he had chosen the wrong words.

He shouldn't have asked "are you fine with it?", but he should have concluded "you must not do that".

And 8 years ago, if he had restrained Aoi— maybe there could have been a future different from today. If she hadn't bound herself to Tōsaka that day, she would have been out of the cursed doom of a magus, and she could have led a normal life.

And today, if he had reacted differently to the decision between the Tōsakas and the Matōs, this early afternoon in the park— maybe it would have shocked her. She could have rejected the nonsense of an outsider.

But even so, she couldn't blame only herself like that. She didn't have to completely suppress her tears.

Kariya could absolutely not forgive this. Himself who repeated the fault twice. For his punishment, he returned to the place of the days he had left behind.

Certainly, there was, there, a way to atonement. The world he once turned his back to. The fate he had poorly escaped.

But now, he could confront that.

If he thought of the only one woman in the world he didn't want to grieve—

Under the sky where the twilight was nearing, he stopped in front of a towering, luxuriant western-styled house.

From a warp of 10 years, Matō Kariya stood before the gate of his home again

Starting at the front door, the small but risky dispute soon carried out inside the Matō residence where Kariya settled down on a sofa of the drawing room.

"I thought I told you never to show your face in front of me again."

Sitting facing Kariya, the small, old man who spat the detestable words is Matō Zōken, head of the family. He was so withered his bald head and limbs looked like he was mummified, yet the light deep in his eyes filled his spirit; both his appearance and personality made him an uncommon, mysterious person.

To tell the truth, even Kariya couldn't determine the exact age of the old man. The aberrant entry in the family register said he was the brother of Kariya's father. But even at his great-grandfather, his ancestor at the third generation, there were records of the old man named Zōken in the family tree. There was no way to figure out for how many generations this man came to reign over the Matō family.

Speaking of repulsive deeds, he was a magus who could be called immortal, stretching and stretching his age. A person at the root of the Matō bloodline with little direct connection with Kariya. He was a genuine specter surviving in the current era.

"I got wind of something inexcusable. About how the Matō house is carrying out some outrageous disgrace."

Kariya had manifold admitted that the magus he was now facing was powerful with an unequaled cruelty. A man who was the personification of everything Kariya had come to hate, despise, scorn throughout his existence. Even if that man were to kill him, Kariya would definitely, severely hate him until the end. With the confrontation 10 years ago, Kariya had faced that strong spirit, and escaped the Matōs, managing to earn his freedom.

"I heard you took in the second daughter of the Tōsakas. Do you want to preserve the Matō lineage of magi that much?"

Zōken scowled at the provoking tone of Kariya's cross-examination.

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PostSubject: Re: Fate/Zero: Novel. (Prequel To Fate/Stay-Night)   Mon Jul 23, 2007 3:37 pm

Prologue Three Continued.

"Do you want to talk about it? Nothing else? Just who do you think is responsible for the downfall of the Matōs?

In the end, the son this Byakuya finally got turned up to be void of Magic Circuits. The pure-blooded Matō line has collapsed with this generation. But, more than your big brother Byakuya, you are the one who has realized the basis of a magus, Kariya. If you had obediently received your inheritance and accessed the secrets of the Matōs, we wouldn't be pressed by the circumstances. And this is all yours..."

But Kariya, with a snort, deflected the threatening attitude of the old man who was heating up with foam on his mouth.

"Stop your comedy, vampire. What's with the fuss over having the Matō line persist? Don't make me laugh. There's nothing wrong for you even if no new Matō generation is produced. The discussion is over since you yourself will continue living for two hundred years or a thousand years, eh?"

As Kariya guessed right, Zōken gave a leery smile, as if the anger up to now was a lie. That was the smile of a monster that doesn't even consider human emotions as splinters.

"As usual, you are a loveless fellow. You speak and behave frankly."

"Whatever, that's how you trained me. I'm not one to beat around the bush."

A wet sound came out of the depth of the old man's throat, as if he was pleasantly laughing.

"That's right. You might probably outlive me in a distant future, more than Byakuya's son.

But even then, it is only a question of how long I can preserve this body from its daily rotting. Even if a Matō heir is unneeded, a Matō magus is required. To gain the Grail, that is."

"... So in the end, that's what your goal is?"

That went well with Kariya's guess. It was immortality that this old magus was firmly chasing after.

The wishing-machine called the "Grail" could fulfill it once completed... What was choking this monster that wouldn't die after centuries, was the hope put in this miracle.

"The return of the 60 year cycle is for the next year. But for the fourth Holy Grail War, there will be no player from the Matōs.

Byakuya doesn’t have the prana level for a Servant. He really doesn't even have the Command Seals.

But even if we must desist for this battle, there is a chance for the one in 60 years. There is no doubt an excellent user can be born from the daughter of the Tōsaka. I have high expectations for this as a good vessel."

The face of Tōsaka Sakura popped out behind Kariya's eyelids.

A late bloomer always behind her sister Rin, a frail-looking girl.

A child way too young to bear the cruel fate of a magus.

Swallowing his seething rage, Kariya feigns a calm attitude.

Right here and now, he is here to negotiate with Zōken. There is nothing to gain from being emotional.

"— If that's what it's about, if you want the Grail, there's no need for Tōsaka Sakura, right?"

Zōken's eyes narrow down, suspicious of the hidden meaning in Kariya's words.

"You, what trick do you have in mind?"

"A deal, Matō Zōken. I’ll bring the Matō name to the next Grail war. In exchange, you'll release Tōsaka Sakura."

Taken aback only for the time of one breath, Zōken then sniggered scornfully.

"Kha, don't be stupid. A failure who never studied anything would be the Master of a Servant in one year?"

"You have the secret for making that possible, don't you. With your worm-using skills you're so proud of, old man."

Kariya jumps straight to the point, staring in the eyes of the old magus head-on.

"Plant your "Crest worms" in me. You can do that, in the flesh and blood of the filthy Matōs. The compatibility should be far better than with the daughter of another house."

Zōken's face changes back from that of a human to that of a magus, all expression vanishing.

"Kariya —Do you want to die?"

"Don't tell me you're worried? 'Uncle'."

Zōken seemed to realize Kariya was serious. Coldly, the magus evaluated Kariya, gazing at him, then took a deep breath.

"I must say I wish more of you than of Byakuya. After expanding your Magic Circuits with the Crest worms, if we can train you thoroughly for one year, maybe the Grail will end up selecting you.

... Even then, I cannot understand. Why would you go so far for one little girl?"

"Just let the Matō tenacity be taken care of by the hands of the Matōs. Don't involve unrelated outsiders."

"Again with your admirable dedication."

As if he was enjoying this, Zōken showed a complacent smile, full of his evil disposition.

"But, Kariya, if your purpose is to not have anybody involved, aren't you a little late?

Do you know how many days it has been since the daughter of Tōsaka came to our family?"

Despair, rushing in, crushed Kariya's chest.

"Old man, you mean—"

"There were terrible cries for the first three days, but by the fourth day, she was silent. Today, she was thrown at dawn in the worm storage to test how well she would last, but, ho ho, she endured it for half a day and is still breathing. What do you know, the Tōsaka material isn't defectuous."

Kariya's shoulders shivered with a murderous intent beyond hatred.

He wanted to seize this evil magus by the neck, strangle him with all his strength, break it off, right this instant—

—That was the impulse that was raging mad inside Kariya.

But Kariya accepted it. Even though he was getting thin to the point of withering, Zōken was a magus. Kariya couldn't even try to kill him off right here. He didn't even have a fragment of the power required for that.

To save Sakura, there was no other way than negotiating.

Seeing through the conflict inside Kariya, Zōken let out a satisfied, gloomy chuckle.

"So, what will you do? The little girl is already broken, filled by the worms from head to toes.

But if you still think you want to save her, well, I won’t think about it twice."

"... No objection. Let’s just do it."

Kariya replied with a chilling voice. Of course he had no other choice.

"Excellent, excellent. Well, we can still train you as much as possible. But, know that I will go on with Sakura's training as long as you don't show any result."

Cackling, the good humor of the old magus was making a fool of Kariya and his rage and despair.

"Rather than reinstating a failure who already betrayed us, the success rate of getting a child from this is far higher. I favor getting the best out of each opportunity one at a time. I am giving up on the Grail War this time, since I already consider it a lost battle.

But, if in one in a million chance, you could get the Grail— I agree. If that happens, naturally I won't have any business with the daughter of Tōsaka. I would be finished with the one thing I am training her for."

"... You’re not double-dealing, are you? Matō Zōken."

"Kariya, if you think you need to be five-faced to speak to me, try enduring the crest worms first.

Yes, try to be the nursery for the worms for a week first. If you haven't died of insanity by then, I will take it you are indeed serious."

Leaning on his cane, rising his back with difficulty, Zōken turned toward Kariya, with an alien smile that fully showed his wickedness.

"Then, Let’s begin the preparations without delay. We will finish the treatment immediately. If you want to reconsider, do it right now."

Simply nodding silently, Kariya threw away his last hesitation.

Once he lets the worms inside his body, he will be Zōken's puppet. With that, there will be no way to rebel against the old magus. If he can even get qualified as a magus, Kariya and his Matō blood will definitely receive the Command Seals.

The Holy Grail War. The only chance of salvation for Tōsaka Sakura. The choice he would never be able to reach with this flesh and blood.

Kariya may lose his life in exchange. Even if he wasn't shot down by the other Masters, bringing up the crest worms for a time as short as a year, Kariya's flesh would be devoured by the worms, and his life expectancy would not be over a few years only.

But that doesn't matter.

Kariya's decision was too slow. If he had had the same determination 10 years ago, Aoi's child would have lived peacefully with her mother. The fate he had refused had been passed around, and had fallen onto a blameless girl.

There is no redemption for that. If there was a path to atonement, it would be none other than give back her normal life to the girl.

In addition, if he had to completely wipe out the remaining six Masters to reach the Grail...

Amongst those who brought tragedy to the girl named Sakura, there was at least one person he could bring a requiem to.

"Tōsaka, Tokiomi..."

As the head of one of the 3 families of the beginning, there is no doubt he would bear the Command Seals.

Different from his sense of crime toward Aoi, and from his hatred toward Zōken, there was a dwelling hatred that had pilled up until this day.

A dark feeling of revenge had quietly started to burn in the depth of Matō Kariya's heart like a banked fire.

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PostSubject: Re: Fate/Zero: Novel. (Prequel To Fate/Stay-Night)   Mon Jul 23, 2007 3:40 pm

Story


Act 1

Nobody has ever understood Waver Velvet's talent.

As a magus, he was neither born of a famous family nor lucky enough to meet a good master. This youth was mostly self-taught, and was finally fortunate enough to have the Magus Association, which controls magi across the world, accept him into its headquarters, the teaching institution in London commonly known as the "Clock Tower". Waver always believed this cause to be incomparably honorable, he deeply believed this without doubt, and was also very proud of his own talent. Only I am the most capable student of the Clock Tower since its founding, anyone would have to respect me, at least Waver himself thought this way.

In truth the magus lineage of the Velvets has only existed for three generations. Compared to the offspring of well-established magi family, Waver's crest concentration and magic circuit quantity pales by comparison, but as time goes on, the number of magic circuits and concentration of crests are also constantly increasing and expanding. Many students that received scholarships in the Clock Tower were offsprings of families having more than six generations of pure magi blood.

The wonders of magecraft cannot be completed within one generation, the results of a whole life of research by parents are passed on to their children, only through this can magecraft be expected to become more and more refined. The prana of those with longer magus lineage being stronger is precisely because of this reason.

Furthermore, although magi's magic circuit quantity are already determined at birth, there are some ancestral magi families that deliberately contrive to increase the amount of magic circuits in an offspring, therefore distancing themselves from new magi families in this regard. In other words, advantages within the world of magecraft are predetermined even before birth... This is a commonly accepted point of view.

But Waver does not see it that way.

Differences in ancestry can be made up for by increasing experience. Even without exceptional magic circuits, through deep understanding of magecraft, and skilled utilization of magecraft the difference between quality caused by birth can be bridged, Waver has always deeply believed that. He believed himself to be an excellent example of that, and thus always strived to show off his abilities.


But, the reality is too cruel. Those students who boast about their ancestral bloodline, and those who endlessly pursue and flatter them; only those people are the mainstream of the Clock Tower, and the workings of the Clock Tower are determined by these guys. Even the lecturers are no exception. Only expectant of students from famous lineages, and to a "pauper" researcher like Waver, they are even reluctant to let him into the library to browse books, let alone teach him magecraft.

Why are expectations of a magus's future dependent on his lineage?

Why is the credibility of a theory dependent on the experience of one's lineage?

Nobody cared about Waver's questions. The lecturers use flowery language to trick Waver when presented with his research thesis, then act as if Waver's been convinced otherwise, laughing at it, ignoring it.

It truly is unbelievable. His anxiety drove Waver to take action.

To expose the Magus Association's corrupt system, Waver wrote an exposition. It was titled "Inquiry of Magecraft's Path In the New Century", the result of three years of conceptualization and one year of writing. Viciously attacking the traditional views, the exposition written with painstaking effort shows clear and intense thoughts, without a single flaw. If seen by the Inquisitors, it would definitely cause a high magnitude of unrest.

But -- The Department of Eulyphis's lecturer tossed it out after casually reading through it just once.

His name is Kayneth El-Melloi Archibald. He is the heir of the Archibald family with nine generations of magus lineage, a very popular man everyone calls Lord El-Melloi. Engaged to the daughter of the principal; a lecturer at such a young age, he is the best of the best. He is also the representative of authority that Waver despises.

"A man who gives in to delusions such as you is not suited to research, Waver" -- lecturer Kayneth said in a condescending manner, without a shred of pity in his voice. Kayneth's ice cold gaze, is something Waver will never forget.

In the nineteen years of Waver's life, he has never been humiliated worse.

If he has the talent to be a lecturer, it was impossible for him to be unable to comprehend why Waver's exposition was exceptional. No, that man is probably jealous precisely because he understands. Afraid of Waver's hidden talent, thus becoming jealous of him, treating Waver as a threat to his own position. That is probably why he treated Waver's exposition in such a violent manner. To purposely rip an exposition of gathered wisdom, is this the attitude a scholar should assume?


Unforgivable. His talent which can cause the world to tremble, is actually arbitrarily written off by an authority, there really is no justice. But not one person sympathized with Waver's frustration. The Magus Association is actually -- using Waver's point of view -- already corrupt to the core.

But... while living these infinitely frustrating days, Waver heard a rumor.

The rumor is that the reputed Lord El-Melloi, for the sake of adding an entry to his resume which grants him vanity, has decided to join the nearby magecraft competition in the far east region.

Waver began researching about the details of that "Holy Grail War" overnight, and was deeply mesmerized by the horrific details.

With the "Holy Grail" that has hidden a huge amount of prana as the stake, summoning heroic spirits in the present world, and through commanding heroic spirits, initiate a death match.

Title, authority, everything loses its value, it relies purely on real skill.

It truly is a bit barbaric, but it's a simple yet fair method of judging superiority. For an unrecognized genius this is an excellent opportunity, an idealistic stage to exhibit himself.

Lady luck has finally smiled at the excited Waver.

It began with the financial department's negligence. Lecturer Kayneth's requested holy relic from Macedonia... was delivered to the student Waver to give to his teacher along with normal parcels, whereas it should have been a parcel opened only when Kayneth himself was present.

Waver immediately realized that was a catalyst used to summon Servants in the Grail War. And so, he received a once in a lifetime opportunity.

He no longer has a shred of love left for the corrupt Clock Tower. The glory of graduating as a valedictorian is trash compared to the honor brought by Fuyuki's Holy Grail. The moment Waver Velvet is victorious in the war, is the moment when those insignificant members of the Magus Association will grovel at his feet.


From that day on Waver left England, heading for the island country in the far east. The Clock Tower immediately realized who stole Kayneth's parcel, but did not chase after him. Nobody knew Waver was interested in the Grail War.


But there was something Waver didn't know. Everyone thought, as far as Waver Velvet's ability was concerned, he did no more than hide Kayneth's relic in rage. Nobody thought that he was on a level to actually knowingly risk his life to participate in a magecraft competition. In this aspect, the Clock Tower really has underestimated Waver.


In the far east village, at the place that decides his destiny -- Fuyuki City, Waver is currently hiding under the blanket of his bed, trying desperately to hold back his repeated laughter. No, it is impossible to hold it back. Illuminated by the dim sunlight coming through the cracks of the curtain, he raised his right hand every few seconds, letting out some muffled laughter.

With the relic in his hands, himself in Fuyuki, and enough quality as a Magus... How can the Grail turn a blind eye to someone like that? Indeed, the pattern of the three fold Command Seals has clearly materialized on Waver's right hand last night, the proof of a Master who can summon a Servant. Even the ruckus made by the roosters in the courtyard nearing the time of dawn went unnoticed.

"Waver, breakfast time."

The voice of the old woman calling him on the stairs sounds different from normal this morning, seems like it's not all that annoying.

To safely begin this commemorable day, Waver quickly began changing.

Although a backwater place for an island nationality, this Fuyuki City place has a lot of tourists from other places. And precisely because of that, Waver's appearance, obviously different from that of a Japanese, did not attract too much attention. Even so Waver was cautious and still cast a spell on the old couple who have always lived alone, hinting to deceive them into thinking Waver was their grandson who has returned from studying abroad. He has very successfully used a fake identity to live comfortably here. Also he doesn't need to pay hotel fees, it's like killing two birds with one stone, things worked out perfectly and Waver began to have more and more admiration for his own ability to adapt.

To fully enjoy this mild morning, Waver descended the stairs to the first floor kitchen and dining room while purposefully filtering the rooster crows from his perception. Like any other morning, the plebian dining room table decorated with newspapers, the television news and cooking welcomed the freeloader openly.


"Good morning, Waver, did you sleep well?"

"Yes, grandpa. I was sound asleep until morning."

Waver answered with a smile while he spread jam thickly on his toast. The soggy bread that costs only a hundred and eighty yen per catty wasn't very pleasant to chew. Usually this is very unsatisfactory, so it can only be made up for by putting lots of jam on it.

Glen and Martha Mackenzie immigrated to Japan from Canada more than twenty years ago. But their son who could not get used to the Japanese lifestyle went back, creating a family in his home country. The grandson that was raised in Japan up until ten years of age also went back. Not a single letter was sent, let alone visiting. Ten years passed in this manner ・the above information was obtained by Waver from the old couple by means of hypnosis. This kind of family was ideal for Waver. Through hints, Waver transformed the old couple's impression of their grandson into his own image, successfully becoming their beloved grandson "Waver Mackenzie".

"But, Martha, ever since dawn I felt that the chickens were very noisy, would you know why this is?"

"We have three chickens. Where exactly did they come from...?"

Hastily making up an excuse, Waver hurriedly swallowed the bread in his mouth.

"Ah, that... I have a friend who sent his pet chickens for us to take care of for a few days. He's going on a trip and won't be home, so they'll be here temporarily. I'm returning them this evening."

"Ah, so that's how it is."

It seems like they don't really mind, so the two easily believed it. The fact that these two old people are have some hearing loss can be said to be a good thing. The incessant crows of the three chickens nearly annoyed the surrounding neighbors to death that day.

But the most stressed person was Waver. As soon as he found the Command Seals on his hand, Waver excitedly began preparing sacrificial offerings needed for the ceremony.

He never thought finding a chicken farm nearby would be so difficult. He finally found a small chicken farm, but catching three chickens actually wasted nearly an hour. He finally got home just as the sky began to grow bright; covered with chicken droppings and hands pecked bloody.


In the Clock Tower animals used as sacrificial offerings were always prepared. But here, how can a genius magus such as myself be in such a piteous state for catching merely three chickens? Having this thought, Waver almost cried out of lamentation. But staring at the Command Seals on his right hand until morning, his mood began to gradually brighten.

He decided to hold the ceremony tonight. Those annoying chickens can at most live until then.

And then Waver wanted to have the strongest Servant. The relic hidden in the closet of the second floor bedroom... That will be the catalyst for summoning a great heroic spirit, Waver already knew that much.

The withering, half decomposed piece of cloth was a piece of the cape that once hung on the shoulder of a king. The legendary "King of Conquerors" who destroyed the Achaemenid Empire of Persia and created the world's first huge empire spanning from Greece to north western India. His heroic spirit will descend upon Waver through summoning tonight, to guide him to the glorious Grail.

"... Grandpa, grandma, I'm sending the chickens back to my friend's house tonight, so I might be a bit late, don't worry about me."

"Okay, be careful. Fuyuki isn't too safe lately."

"As in, that fabled serial killer has appeared once more. This world really is too scary."

Eating cheap sliced bread at that long dining table, Waver is currently surrounded by life's greatest happiness. The noisy cries of those chickens, were only slightly grating.

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PostSubject: Re: Fate/Zero: Novel. (Prequel To Fate/Stay-Night)   Mon Jul 23, 2007 3:44 pm

Act 1: Part 2

That darkness was surrounded by the ambition accumulated for a thousand years.

Emiya Kiritsugu and Irisviel answered the summons of the head of the Einsbern family, rushing to Einsbern's old castle sealed off by ice, the most grandiose yet dark place -- the Einsbern Castle's ceremony chamber.

This place is definitely not for praising the favor of Gods or letting the spirit find peace. For a castle inhibited by magi, the so called 'praying room' is the room used for execution of magecraft ceremonies by ways of sacrificial offerings.

Because of this the colorful glass overhead contains not a portrait of any saint, but rather of the Einsbern's long history of pursuing the Grail.

Out of the "three initiate families", the Einsbern family spent the most time on the Grail.

Enclosing themselves in the deep, icy mountains, stubbornly severing all ties with the outside world, they began seeking the miracles of the Grail almost a thousand years ago. But their search was filled with setbacks and humiliation, as well as suffering and opposition. Searching in this condition, there wasn't any result.

Finally despairing at the method of seeking the Grail alone, they reluctantly agreed to a cooperation pact with the outsider Tohsaka and Matou families two hundred years ago.

In the Grail Wars that followed, they never won due to the abilities of their Master always falling short -- the final solution was to hire magi apt at fighting from the outside: this decision was made nine years ago.

It can be said that Emiya Kiritsugu is the trump card of the Einsbern family who've always been proud of the purity of their bloodline; because of him they even changed their family creed for the second time.

Passing the halls, Kiritsugu's sight unintentionally found a relatively new painting on the colorful window.

Drawn there was the Einsbern family's "Lady Winter" Lizleihi Justizia and two magi waiting on her to her left and right. All three of them extended their hands to the Grail in the sky. It's easy to tell from this painting's composition and balance of the design how very badly the Einsbern family looked down upon the Tohsaka and Matou families two hundred years ago and their humiliation at having to rely on them for help. This painting communicates all of those things.


If he was lucky enough to win and survive the upcoming war -- Kiritsugu gave a bitter laugh inside with a low, sarcastic voice -- his own image would probably be portrayed against his will on a window in this model.

The old magus who was the king of this wintery castle awaited Kiritsugu and Irisviel in front of the sacrificial altar.

Jubstacheit von Einsbern. Known as "Acht" after he became the eighth head of the Einsbern family. Through continuously prolonging his life, he lived for nearly two centuries now; leading the Einsbern family ever since they changed from "seeking" the Grail to the Grail "War".

He doesn't know of the Justizia era, but ever since the second Grail War began, old man Acht has suffered more than once the pain of defeat. To him, the anxiety of facing the third opportunity is definitely extraordinary. Nine years ago, welcoming this ill-reputed "Magus Killer" Emiya Kiritsugu into the Einsbern family was a decision made by this old magus, for no other reason than Kiritsugu's amazing skills.

"The holy relic we requested people to find in Cornwall finally arrived this morning."

While stroking his white beard which makes people think of a frozen waterfall, old man Acht stared at Kiritsugu with an astute light emitted from within his deep eye sockets, this light within his eyes made it impossible to see his senility. Living in this old castle for a long time, Kiritsugu can never tolerate the feeling of biased pressure from the family head's eyes everytime he meets him.

In the direction signaled by the old family head's hand the sacrificial altar has a very large charcoal coloured box tied ridiculously tight atop it.

"Using this as a catalyst, it's probably possible to summon the strongest Servant of the 'Saber class'. Kiritsugu, count this as the Einsbern family's greatest aid to you."

"I am deeply grateful, dear head of family."

Pretending to be expressionless, Kiritsugu bowed deeply.

The Einsbern family breaking the rule set since its founding and inducing external blood into the family, the Grail seems to have accepted without opposition. The command spell appeared on Kiritsugu's right hand three years ago. Soon he will shoulder the thousand-year-old zealous wish of the Einsbern family and participate in the upcoming fourth Holy Grail War.


The old head of family turned his eyes to Irisviel who's facing downwards respectfully.

"Irisviel, what's the status of the vessel?"

"No problems. Even in Fuyuki, it will function normally."

Irisviel answered fluently.

The wish granting machine "omnipotent chalice" is only a spiritual entity and does not possess a physical form, so to allow its "Holy Grail" form to descend a "Holy Grail vessel" must be prepared. Because of this, the war by the seven Servants surrounding the Holy Grail can be called a spiritual evocation ritual.

The mission of preparing a man-made Grail vessel, ever since the beginning of the Grail War, has always been carried out by the Einsbern family. The mission of creating a "vessel" for this fourth Grail War is the responsibility of Irisviel. Therefore she must leave for Fuyuki with Kiritsugu, she must be at the battlefield.

Old man Acht, eyes shining with insane strength, nodded seriously.

"This time... no one must survive! Kill the six Servants, this time we must acquire the Third Magic, the Holy Grail."

"Yes sir!"

Hearing the old head of family's command spoken with a hidden burning fervor, magus and homunculus, the spouses bearing the same fate, answered simultaneously.

But in his heart, Kiritsugu could care less about this old head of family's rigid desire.

Achievement... Einsbern's head of family has condensed all emotions into this one word, contained within it infinite interpretations. Come to think of it, Einsbern's spirit probably only has this rigidity towards "achievement" left.

The materialization of the spirit is a miracle. A thousand years seeking this lost miracle... in this long and arduous journey, they have long since lost their method and purpose.

Only to prove that their thousand year journey was not wasted, only for confirmation that "it does exist", the Einsbern family fight with their lives to obtain the Grail. But to them, what the Grail would be used for once it's been summoned; this sense of purpose has long since disappeared from within their scope of consideration.


"It doesn't matter. As per your expectations, through my hands I will grant you your sought-after Holy Grail."

As to not lose to old man Acht's enthusiasm, Emiya Kiritsugu said so in his mind.

"But, that's not all. I will use that omnipotent chalice to grant my own deepest wish..."

X X
Kiritsugu and Irisviel went back to their own rooms, opened the long box entrusted to them by the head of family, and were mesmerized by its contents.

"Who would've thought, they were actually able to find this thing..."

The usually composed Kiritsugu right now seems deeply impressed.

A scabbard.

Made of gold and decorated with dazzling blue enamel; this sort of luxurious equipment should be called a treasure to show dignity and nobility like a crown or a scepter as opposed to a weapon. Engraved into the middle is an inscription of the long lost fairy language, proving this scabbard is not a work of man.

"... Why isn't there the slightest flaw? Is this really the genuine relic made from an era over a thousand five hundred years ago?"

"This thing is a type of conceptual weapon. It definitely won't deteriorate physically, not mentioning that it's a holy relic that will be used as a catalyst. This treasure lies in the realm of magic."

Irisviel took out the golden scabbard from the box with an inside lining carefully, holding it in her hands.

"Legend says keeping this scabbard on one's body will heal the wounds of its possessor and can stop aging... of course, the mentioned facts are magical powers provided by its 'original owner'."

"Meaning as long as the heroic spirit summoned is functional, this thing itself can be used as a 'Master's Noble Phantasm'."

The scabbard’s one of a kind ingenious design and exceptional beauty entranced Kiritsugu, but in just a few moments, his train of thought immediately changed to the direction of how to use it as a "tool" of pragmatism. Watching Kiritsugu, Irisviel can't help but let out a small bitter smile.


"That's really your style. A tool is a tool no matter what, right?"

"If you say it like that, even Servants are the same. No matter how famous the hero, as long as it is summoned as a Servant, to the Master he is a tool... it is impossible for a person who has unrealistic fantasies about a Servant to win this war."

Not as a father or husband, but when showing the attitude of a soldier, Emiya Kiritsugu's profile becomes extremely callous. Before, when she still didn't understand her husband, Irisviel was really afraid of Kiritsugu when he was like that.

"Only someone like you is worthy of this scabbard -- this is grandfather's judgement."

"Is that really how it is?"

Kiritsugu's expression shows obvious unsatisfaction. If old man Achat knew the reaction of his hired son-in-law to the holy relic he spent so much effort finding, he would certainly be unable to speak from the rage.

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PostSubject: Re: Fate/Zero: Novel. (Prequel To Fate/Stay-Night)   Mon Jul 23, 2007 3:44 pm

Act 1: Part 2 Continued.

"Are you unsatisfied about grandfather's present?"

Irisviel did not blame Kiritsugu at all for wanting to make impertinent remarks, but only thought that asking that question would be amusing.

"How can that be? He has done more than enough for us. There cannot possibly be another Master who got a trump card as good as this."

"Then what are you so unsatisfied about?"

"With such a perfect holy relic, the summoned heroic spirit will definitely be the one we want. But his and mine personalities are too vastly different.

Originally, about the summoning of a Servant, the nature of the summoned heroic spirit will be largely affected by the Master's personality. Theoretically, all summoned heroic spirits have similar personalities as their Masters. However the holy relic takes precedence in priority. The more explicit the origin of the holy relic, the more likely that the summoned heroic spirit will be locked as a certain someone."

"... Meaning that you are uneasy about the contract with the 'King of Knights', right?"

"Of course. There probably isn't anyone in the world who is more incompatible with the ways of the knight."


Half jokingly, Kiritsugu's lips curled in a slight smile.

"A head-to-head battle is not my style; especially in a death match. If I am to attack then it should be from behind while the enemy is asleep. Not caring about the time or place, just for the purpose of eliminating the enemy most efficiently using the method with the greatest probability of success. ... You think that prestigious knight would aide me in such battles?"

Irisviel became silent, focusing on staring at the shiny scabbard.

Without a doubt Kiritsugu was that type of soldier. Attaining victory using whatever means necessary. There is no need to test it, the personalities of Kiritsugu and the owner of the scabbard would definitely clash.

"... But don't you think it's a waste? The owner of 'The Golden Sword of Promised Victory' is without a doubt the strongest of the Saber class."

That is right.

Only this glory-radiating scabbard is fit to pair that supreme sword. This is definitely the relic of that King of Knights whose tale has been passed down in legends since medieval times -- King Arthur.

"That's right. 'Saber' was already the strongest of the seven classes conjured by the Holy Grail. And if this King of Knights occupied this position... I've obtained a virtually invincible Servant.

But the key here is the question of how to use this strongest battle force effectively. To be honest if only the factor of being easy to control was considered, 'Caster' and 'Assassin' are actually more fitting to my style."

Then -- clashing with the nandi flame style extravagant decor of the room, a light electronic sound interrupted the two's conversation.

"Ah, finally here."

On the heavy black sandalwood table was a randomly placed notebook computer; the marvelous combination was like that of a stitching machine on an operating table. Magus lineages with long histories have never found the convinience of technology, the Einsbern family is not an exception. The small electronic device that looks strange beyond compare to Irisviel is a personal item brought in by Kiritsugu. A magus who does not feel repulsed from using such machines is very rare, Kiritsugu was one of them. When he requested that a telephone line and power generator be installed, he had a huge argument with the old head of family.


"...That sound, what is it?"

"The report sent from the fellow that infiltrated the London Clock Tower. I asked him to investigate the status of the participating Masters in this grail war."

Kiritsugu sat in front of the machine and began operating the keyboard in a skilled manner. The LCD monitor displays that there is one new mail. That is the new technology commonly known as the "Internet" in the cities, the explanation about this Irisviel has already heard from Kiritsugu. But her patience towards her husband shows that she cannot comprehend a bit of it.

"...Oh, there's information on the identities of four Masters."

The Tohsaka participant is obviously the head of family Tohsaka Tokiomi. A thorny person of “fire” attribute who specializes in jewel spells.

The Matou family seems to have forced that failure who couldn't succeed as the head of family into being a Master, what nonsense... but the old fogy of that family is exerting great effort to gain the grail.

As for the magi coming from out of town, first of all there's the first rate lecturer from the Clock Tower Kayneth El-Melloi Archibald.

Ah, he knows about this guy. Having both "wind" and "water" attributes, an expert who is proficient in spiritual evocation, summoning, and alchemy. He is currently the most renowned magus in the Association. How troublesome.

And there's a man sent by the Holy Church... Kotomine Kirei. Originally the representative of the "Assembly of the 8th Sacrament", he is the son of the one who fulfills the role of supervisor - Kotomine Risei. Sent to Tohsaka Tokiomi to learn magecraft three years ago, and then broke away from his teacher after being granted the Command Seals. Hmph, a fellow filled with the smell of gunpowder.

Kiritsugu moved the screen with the mouse while browsing the detailed contents of the investigation; watching her husband as thus, Irisviel was extremely bored. Suddenly she noticed that, without realizing when, the Kiritsugu who has been staring at the screen all this time had a very serious and tense expression.

"...What's wrong?"

"This son of Father Kotomine. Even his past has been cleaned--"

Irisviel stood behind Kiritsugu and looked at the LCD monitor, following the direction pointed by his finger. To Irisviel looking at text not on paper was very difficult, but looking at her husband's serious expression she did not complain.


"...Kotomine Kirei. Born in 1967, accompanying his father Risei to the holy grounds since youth, graduating in '81 from the Theological College of Manresa St. Ignacio... skipping two grades, and was the student council president; he seems to be quite an accomplished man."

Kiritsugu nodded unhappily.

"Following this tendency he could've definitely reached the position of cardinal minister, but he willingly abandoned this outstanding opportunity to join the Holy Church. In fact he had lots of choices, so why did he choose to dedicate himself to such an inside organization of the church?"

"Perhaps he was influenced by his father? Kotomine Risei is part of the Holy Church too, right?"

"If that's the case, then he should have had the goal of retrieving lost holy relics like his father all along. Indeed Kirei did join the same department as his father in the end, but before that he was transferred three times, and was once chosen as an 'executor'. He was only ten-something years old then too. This job cannot be done without a certain amount of willpower."

That was the Holy Church's bloodiest department, called the Shura's Den for its responsibility of punishing heresys. To be able to gain the title of "executor" would mean that he is a first rate murderer, signifying that he has passed brutal and pious training to become mankind's weapon.

"Perhaps he is a faith fanatic. The younger the purer; such a thing as having a fanatic love for belief surpassing certain limits exists."

Even after hearing Irisviel's opinion, Kiritsugu still shook his head.

"It's not like that... if it was, then this guy's situation of the past three years cannot be explained.

If his faith was chaste, it would be impossible for him to transfer into the Magus Association; it seems to be an order from the Holy Church, or it's possible that he was more faithful to the religious doctrine than the organization. But even this cannot explain it, because there is no necessity to train in magecraft this seriously.

-- Look, Tohsaka Tokiomi's report about Kirei given to the Association. The scope of training includes alchemy, spiritual evocation, summoning, divination... he is even more adept at healing magic than Tohsaka Tokiomi. What exactly is the reason for this enthusiasm?"

Irisviel continued reading the document, all the way to the end where Kotomine Kirei's ability summary was.


"...I say, this Kirei really is kind of strange, but is it worth it for you to scrutinize to this degree? Although he seems to be very talented, he's not really a cut above other people."

"Ah, that's what I find strange."

Looking at the uncomprehending Irisviel, Kiritsugu patiently explained.

"No matter what this man does he cannot reach the "first rate" level. When it comes down to it, he's not some sort of genius, just a normal man. But his achievement of quick results through complete and total effort is indeed scary. Certainly he has to exert 10 or 20 times more effort than other people to achieve this level. But, he actually stops when there's only one step left, and then without any lingering love transfers into another region. All the things he raised laboriously all along are tossed out like trash."

"..."

"He clearly chose a lifestyle many times more exciting than that of others, but in this man's life, he has never let others feel 'affection'. This guy -- is definitely a dangerous man."

Kiritsugu concluded as thus. Irisviel understood the meaning contained within his words.

When he says "troublesome", although the opponent is very thorny, he actually is not seeing the opponent as a threat. The method of dealing with this type of opponent and the chance of success, Kiritsugu is already eighty percent assured. But when he uses the rating of "dangerous"... Emiya Kiritsugu only uses this rating against opponents he need to fight whole-heartedly.

"This man certainly does not believe anything. Only continuously seeking answers, that's why he experienced so much. The result is he still did not find anything... he is that kind of morally void man. If I had to say what this guy's heart contains, then it's probably only anger and despair."

"...You are saying, to you this executor is a more powerful foe than Tohsaka Tokiomi and Archibald?"

Pausing for a while, Kiritsugu nodded resolutely.

"...A terrifying man.

Indeed Tohsaka and Lord El-Melloi are strong adversaries. But I think Kotomine Kirei's 'way of existence' is more fearful."

"Way of existence?"


"This man's heart is thoroughly void. He has nothing that can be called a wish. But why would a man like this bet his life to fight for the Grail?"

"...Is this not the intent of the Holy Church? Supposedly those guys mistakenly believed Fuyuki's Grail is the real relic and targetted it because of this, isn't that right?"

"No, only with that level of motivation, the Grail will not grant Command Seals. This man was chosen by the Grail as a Master. He must have some reason to obtain the Grail. What really is this reason, precisely because it cannot be seen that's what makes this point terrifying."

Kiritsugu sighed deeply, looking at the monitor drearily. Attempting to find something more from the character of Kotomine Kirei fabricated by dull text.

"What do you think would happen if this kind of void, desireless man obtained the Grail? This man's whole life was built by despair. The power of the wish-granting machine Holy Grail might be tainted by the color of his despair."

Kiritsugu was being too indulgent of his sadness, and for the purpose of advising him, Irisviel shook her head strongly.

"What's stored within me, the vessel of the Grail, I will not give to anyone. When the Grail is filled, the one who has the privilege of owning it -- it's only you, Kiritsugu."

The elders of the Einsbern only wish for the completion of the Grail; that is their sole desire... but this young couple, after this they still have wishes that need realization. Dreams that need realization.

Kiritsugu shut the lid of the notebook computer, and hugged Irisviel tightly.

"No matter what, we can't lose."

For his wife; right now compared to her family's desire, Irisviel cares more about her and her husband's ambition. This fact deeply moved Kiritsugu.

"...I got it. The way to use the strongest Servant's power to the maximum limit."

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PostSubject: Re: Fate/Zero: Novel. (Prequel To Fate/Stay-Night)   Mon Jul 23, 2007 3:46 pm

(%42)


Act 1: Part 3

At the same time, at the far away land of the east across the sea; another person is receiving the same report by the spy in England as Kiritsugu.

Being a legitimate magus Tokiomi Tohsaka would not resort to using the new technology of the vulgar world like Kiritsugu. He is adept at using the Tohsaka family's exclusive secret technique of communicating over long distances, a jewel magic passed down through the generations.

Towering in Miyamachou of Fuyuki is the Tohsaka mansion. In Tokiomi's workshop set up below ground, an installment of experimental equipment similar to what is commonly known as the black pendulum was prepared. The difference between common physics experimental equipment and this is that this pendulum's massive bob contains a magic jewel of the Tohsaka heirloom, and it was constructed so the ink flowing down from the string can moisten the jewel.

The rock paired with the jewel of this pendulum is currently in the possession of Tohsaka's spy. If this rock was placed in front of a roller and start writing, the matching pendulum's jewel would start to undulate, the ink dripping down would write perfect and errorless text on the Rollin paper underneath. That's the type of structure it was.

Right now the jewel on the pendulum and the rock on the other side of the globe in London are undulating in sync, and through watching this strange repetitive motion without a pattern, the reporter's writing began to smoothly and accurately resurface.

Tokiomi, noticing this occurence, picked up the paper without waiting for the ink to completely dry and began browsing what was recorded on it.

"--No matter how many times I look at this setup it always make me feel like it's unreliable."

The Kotomine Kirei who's been standing guard off to the side all this time expressed unscrupulous sentiments.

"Oh, so do you think fax is more convenient?

If this method was used it would not matter even if the power was out, there won't be any breakdowns. There's also no need to worry about the report being divulged. Without need to rely on new technology, us magi have long ago possessed apparatus not inferior to modern tools today."

Even so, as Kirei sees it fax that can be used by anyone is more convenient. "Anyone" can use it, this inevitability is definitely something that Tokiomi cannot comprehend. It's perfectly reasonable that the techniques and knowledge of aristocrats and commoners are different... even in the present, Tokiomi still bears this outdated mode of thinking, he is truly a legitimate "magus".


"The newest report from the "Clock Tower". The "genius" Lord El-Melloi seems to have obtained a lost relic. If that's the case then it's confirmed that he will be participating. Hmph, this is truly a thorny opponent. So it's clear, there are now five Masters including myself..."

"It really makes me worry that there's still two positions empty until even now."

"Why, it simply means there are no suitable bearers for the Command Seals. When time is running out, the Grail will randomly fill the seven slots regardless of quality. For the sake of having enough people, there should be two small characters. There's no need to be alert."

That's really suited to Tokiomi's optimism. Having been his student for three years; Kirei now understands his master very well. Although he's very thorough in preparation, he has a habit of missing small details once in action, and taking care of these small details in his stead is probably his responsibility, Kirei has long since understood this.

"But speaking of being careful--Kirei, nobody saw you as you entered this house, right? In appearance, we're already enemies."

Completely according to Tohsaka Tokiomi's plan, the reality was twisted and announced. The Kirei who's been chosen by the Grail three years ago; according to Tokiomi's order carefully hid the insignia on his right hand, all the way up until this month before he announced the fact that the Command Seal is present on his hand. From that moment on, he severed his ties with Tokiomi as a contender for the Grail.

"No need to worry. Regardless of being able to see or not, there are no familiars or spells surveying this house. I--"

"--I guarantee that."

The voice of the third person cut in, and at the same time a black shadow appeared beside Kirei.

The heroic spirit that's been accompanying Kirei in spirit form all this time, has at this moment appeared in front of Tokiomi.

That skinny and tall shadow has a great difference in prana compared to humans. He's "something inhuman". A weirdo wearing a long black cloak and a white skull-like mask to shield his features.

Yes, he is the first heroic spirit to be summoned in the fourth Grail War, the Servant Assassin who made a contract with Kotomine Kirei--Hassan Sabaha.


"No matter what tricks they play, they cannot hide it from my -- the heroic spirit of the spy Hassan's eyes. My Master, Kirei does not have any aura of being followed by an enemy around him... you can relax."

As if understanding Tokiomi's position was higher than that of his own master Kotomine Kirei; Assassin politely reported with a bow.

And then Kirei said.

"As soon as a Grail-summoned heroic spirit appears, no matter which class the heroic spirit belongs to, it would definitely be reported to father accurately and without error."

Father Risei was the supervisor of the Grail War, appointed as the head priest of and dispatched to the Fuyuki Church. Currently he is in possession of a magical device known as the "spirit board". It has the function of displaying the attributes of the heroic spirits summoned by the Grail.

The identity of Masters can only be confirmed by reports from people, but the quantity and class of appearing Servants, no matter where they are summoned; will definitely be displayed on the "spirit board", to grant the supervisor better control of the situation.

"According to my father, my Assassin is the only Servant to have been summoned so far. Other magi taking action is still yet to come."

"Yeah. But this is only a matter of timing. Sooner or later there will be familiars of other Masters coming and going around this room. Because here and the Matou mansion, as well as Einsbern's dwelling are already confirmed locations of Masters."

Compared to the three imperial families, the advantage of foreign magi is that their place of concealment is unknown to others. Because of this, during the early stages of the Grail War, no matter what family it is they will use spies for reconnaissance.

It's not like Kirei distrusts Tokiomi's information network, it's just that they have to be on guard for the possibility that the remaining two mystery Masters are using wise measures to conceal themselves. If facing against an opponent with this kind of strategy, Kirei's Servant Assassin can utilize his powers to the greatest limit.

"You may leave. Assassin, continue keeping watch outside. Be very cautious."

"Understood."


Receiving Kirei's command, Assassin once again assumed spirit form and left the room. For a Servant who is a spiritual entity to begin with, it is possible to transform freely between spirit form and physical form.

Assassin has the special ability of "presence concealment" that other classes of heroic spirits do not have. He is unrivalled in being able to move undetected.

To Kirei whose responsibility is not to pursue victory but to provide backup for Tokiomi, summoning Assassin was the best choice.

That is the battle plan.

First let Kirei's Assassin go around thoroughly investigating the battle stratagem of other Masters and their Servants' weaknesses. After obtaining a method of certain victory against each enemy in this manner then Tokiomi's Servant will be used to defeat each one accordingly.

Because of this Tokiomi must summon a Servant possessing great offensive abilities. As for which heroic spirit he has his eye on, Kirei never heard him mention this.

"The holy relic I prepared will arrive tomorrow morning."

As if understanding Kirei's doubts from his expression, Tokiomi said so without waiting for him to ask.

"I found what I was expecting. The Servant I will summon would certainly be advantageous against all of the enemies'. If it is a heroic spirit, then it will have no chance of victory against this guy."

Tokiomi being secretly happy in this manner, his face was brimming with the unrivalled confidence he was born with.

"The summoning ceremony will be held tonight -- if no other Masters are spying on us, Kirei, you can be present too, as well as your father."

"Father too?"

"Yes. If 'he' is successfully summoned, then our victory is assured. I want to share this happiness with everyone."

This sort of haughty confidence can unconcealedly show what can be said to be Tohsaka Tokiomi's hereditary characteristic. Regarding his oversized ego, Kirei feels somewhat in awe yet somewhat in admiration too.

Suddenly Kirei noticed the pendulum's jewel. The jewel's movement on the Rollin paper did not cease, it was continuously writing.

"There seems to be more to come."


"Yeah, ah, this is the investigation regarding another matter. This isn't the newest information -- it's probably regarding my request for him to investigate Einsbern's Master.

Information on the Einsbern family who's cut off all contact with the outside world is difficult to obtain even in London's Clock Tower. But Tokiomi has already said before there was a lead on that Master. Tokiomi rolled up the paper beside him and put it atop the writing table, then picked up the Rollin paper containing new text.

"...This was something that happened nine years ago. The Einsberns who have been proud of their bloodline's purity suddenly found a magus from the outside to be their son-in-law. This has even instigated much debate within the Association at the time, but to be able to see the truth of this matter, other than me, would only be the old head of the Matou household.

The magi of the Einsbern family who only excel in alchemy were not suited to combat since the start. This was also the contributing factor to their losses in the previous Grail Wars. These people seem to have finally lost their patience.

This magus they found seems to really 'fit the requirements'."

After browsing through the paper quickly while talking, Tokiomi passed the paper to Kirei. After seeing "Investigation report: Emiya Kiritsugu" as the title, Kirei's eyes narrowed slightly.

"This name... I've heard it somewhere before. Supposedly this is a dangerous person."

"Oh, does the Holy Church also know of this? The 'Magus Killer' Emiya was really notorious at the time. Not belonging to the Association in appearance, but in fact was the Association's higher ups' killing tool."

"So in the words of the church he would be a sort of executor, right?"

"Even worse than that in nature. He is a freelancing assassin who underwent special training to kill magi. Because only magi are most comprehensive of other magi, he will use methods most incompatible with the rules of magi to kill other magi... he is the sort of man who will utilize despicable measures non-chalantly.

There was obvious hatred in Tokiomi's voice, yet Kirei began to bear interest for this man Emiya Kiritsugu. He did hear rumors about this man, it seems he has opposed the Holy Church in the past, and there have been people who told Kirei to be very careful of this man.

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PostSubject: Re: Fate/Zero: Novel. (Prequel To Fate/Stay-Night)   Mon Jul 23, 2007 3:55 pm

Act 1: Part 4.

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PostSubject: Re: Fate/Zero: Novel. (Prequel To Fate/Stay-Night)   Mon Jul 23, 2007 3:56 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Fate/Zero: Novel. (Prequel To Fate/Stay-Night)   Mon Jul 23, 2007 3:56 pm

Act 1: Part 5.

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PostSubject: Re: Fate/Zero: Novel. (Prequel To Fate/Stay-Night)   Mon Jul 23, 2007 3:56 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Fate/Zero: Novel. (Prequel To Fate/Stay-Night)   Mon Jul 23, 2007 3:57 pm

Act 2

Waver had expected the day to end at the peak of triumph with a successful summoning.

After the previous night spent in a fierce battle with the cackling chickens, he had studied in his bed this night, satisfied with the pleasant weariness of accomplishment.

And—

"... How, did this happen?"

A dry wind blowing strongly over the public park of the Shinto area, Waver sat on the bench, curling in the lonely coldness. He still couldn't understand, just how on Earth did my plan go wrong?

The summoning was a success. That was a satisfactory response.

Along with the successful summoning, the status of the invited Servant was still imprinted in Waver's consciousness. He was of the Rider class. Although that isn't one of the three major knights, his basic abilities still were at a more than average level. Without a doubt, he was a powerful Servant.

The moment he saw the silhouette of the big frame slowly rising from the summoning circle, behind the white smoke. Waver was so exalted he almost came in his pants.

... Thinking about it, the situation had turned for the worse at around that point.

From Waver's knowledge, a "familiar" is the puppet of its summoner.

An existence that can barely survive in the present world by relying on the prana supplied by the magus.

A wooden doll that can be used as the practitioner pleases. That's what a familiar is, essentially. So he had guessed a Servant would be basically the same, more or less.

But that thing that came out of the summoning circle—


Right from the start, Waver's soul was overtaken by the sharpness of the eyes, glowing like a blaze.

The instant the eye contact was made, he had instinctively sensed that the Servant was a mighty one, overwhelmed like a small animal.

The overwhelming presence of the giant blocking his view. From the body odor he picked up, the fragrant of the muscular stature, Waver understood. Nevermind the quibble about him being a ghost or a familiar, he sure is a HUGE guy.

Waver knew that the Heroic Spirits invited by the Grail are not only free spirits, they gain a material "body" to exist in the present world. But, the cluster of massive muscles that was the actual entity, not a virtual image or a shadow, the feeling of impending threat, was beyond Waver's imagination.

No matter what, Waver hated the great man.

It's not just that Waver was, still, a bit shorter than an average person. Certainly, his body tended to be frail, because he had done nothing but study in his childhood, and had had little time to forge his body, but he didn’t think it was a weakness. Rather, Waver had pride in polishing up his intellect.

But, the truth of such an obvious thing, wouldn't get through the big man's muscles. No matter what, the time lag before such a game with a rock for a soul would lift his fist and swing it down is way too short. There is no time to expand into a discussion however brief, and there is also no future in using magecraft.

That is— once he is approached by the fist of that pack of muscles.

"... So, I'm asking you. You must be my Master, right?"

"Hah?"

That was the big man's second question. A booming voice that could shake up the Earth.

He had been overpowered beyond his senses from the first question asked with a voice you couldn't fail to hear.

"Ah— Yes! I-I-I-I'm, I mean, I am! I am your Master, I'm called Wa, Waver Velvet! I mean, that's my name! I'm your Master!!"

Though it really was useless in more than one way, Waver stuck to bluffing with all his might to stand up to the muscles in front of him. ... Even so, he felt dominated already by the physique of the unaware giant.

"Hm, then the contract is complete. So, boy, can you lead me to some archives immediately?"

"Hah?"

Waver was blown out of his mind for the second time.

"Some books, I'm saying! Books."

The giant Servant repeated himself gloomily, leaning toward Waver, stretching a strong arm that looked like the root of a pine tree.

I'm going to be killed— Waver immediately thought, feeling like he was floating. The giant had seized his neck and carelessly lifted him. Waver hadn't noticed until then that he had fallen flat on the ground. He realized that was the reason his interlocutor had, mid-way, started looking even more like a giant.

"If you are one of those magi, you should be able to provide some archive? Now, show me around. We need to prepare for war."

"W, war... ?"

Now that the giant mentioned it, Waver simply had totally forgotten about the Holy Grail war.


Having lived as a blatant freeloader in a private house, Waver had no kind of archive, and reluctantly led Rider to the library.

The central library of the city of Fuyuki was in the public park in the Shinto area still under construction. Frankly, it felt awkward to walk through the city in the middle of the night —with the recent strange murder case, the police frequently announced a state of emergency— Waver felt that what the big muscles in front of him could do was a bigger crisis than being questioned by the patrolling police.

Fortunately, as soon as they came out of the grove, the giant turned invisible.

That must be an ability the Servants have, to go into spirit form. Waver felt relieved as he wouldn't look suspicious walking along a big man with armored cloth, but he still felt the pressure of being followed by that overbearing presence.

Luckily, they didn't meet anyone when crossing the big bridge of Fuyuki into the Shinto area; reaching the public park, Waver pointed at the modern architecture in the back.

"There should be as many books as you want over there."

Then, the oppression that was weighing on Waver softly went away. Apparently, Rider was entering the building in spirit form.

―And so, it had been 30 minutes since he had been left behind. Released from the threat he didn’t comprehend, he was finally able to calmly sort his thoughts.

"... How, did this happen?"

Waver buried his head in his hands, remembering his shameful behavior from earlier. However powerful, the Servant is his contractor. As the Master, Waver is the one who has to seize leadership.

The Servant Waver had summoned definitely was strong. That was a given, considering the history of the relic he had stolen from Kayneth.

Heroic spirit Iskandar. Also known as Alexander or Alexandros.

The reason he was known under several names depending on the pronunciation of the land, was that he was the heroic "King of conquerors". Succeeding to the throne of Macedonia at only 20, leading the ancient Greece in an invasion on Persia, then through Egypt, up to western India during the great "eastern campaigns", reaching the success of a great hero in barely 10 years. He literally is the "great king" who built the era known as the Hellenistic civilization.

Even though he is such a great man amongst great men, once he is summoned as a Servant, he cannot oppose his Master. The first reason to this is that in the present world, he depends on Waver. If Waver ever stops supplying him with prana for him to remain in the present era, he will have no choice but to disappear.

There is a reason why all Servants answer the summoning of a Master― that is, why they participate in the Holy Grail War alongside their Master. Namely, just like the Masters, they want the Grail. Hoping to get that wish-granting machine, they also have to fight until only one remains, so that they will obtain the grace of the Grail along with the Master they accompany. In other words, the cooperation between the Master and the Servant is natural.

Furthermore, the Masters also hold the trump card that are the Command Seals.

All three seals can be used one by one for 3 absolute orders. That is what defines the relationship between the Servant and the Master. The Servant cannot oppose an order from the Command Seals, even if it is something as unreasonable as an order to self-destruct. That is the central point of the contract system made up by one of the "three families of the beginning", the Makiris.

On the other hand, the Master who uses up all 3 of his Command Seals is exposed to the danger of rebellion from his Servant; but it is a risk that can be avoided if the Master acts carefully.

Yes, as long as the Command Seals are carved on this hand― suppressing the irritation in his stomach, Waver, in a trance, stared at his right hand, chuckling― he might be a huge mass of muscles, but he has no reason to oppose the magus Waver Velvet.

As soon as that Servant comes back, I must tell that inviolable rule to his face...

Suddenly, while Waver was thinking, a breaking sound heartily roared.

"Hih!?"

Jumping out of surprise, he turned around as the closed shutter of the library hall were being distorded and torn off. The one who was calmly walking there, materialized under the moonlight, was none other than Waver's Servant, Rider.

With how dark the forest had been, this was actually the first time he could clearly see how he looked in this light.

His height easily exceeded 2 meters. His unprotected arms and thighs spread out from his bronze armor, and from the size of the muscles all over his body, he looked like he could kill a bear with his bare hands. On his sternly chiseled features, there were eyes with a dazzling glow, and burning red hair and beard. The thick mantle dyed in a similar red, with fringes like his cuffs, was luxuriously decorated, looking just like a curtain wrapping the stage of a theater.

The magnificent posture of that big man in front of the modern library made a somewhat funny combination, but Waver took no interest in that as the alarms resounding like a shrill got him ready to flee.

"Idiot! Stupid, stupid, stupid! What were you thinking, kicking the shutters like that! Why aren't you in spirit form like when you entered!?"

Rider strangely smiled out of good humor, holding out two books at the defiant Waver.

"I couldn't pick up this when in spirit form, could I."

The books were one with a thick hardcover and a thin one. Apparently Rider had taken them from the library. But his Master couldn't afford to disturb public order for something so trivial.

"Don't be slow! Run! We have to run!"

"How unsightly to be that flustered. You look like a thief or something."

"What thief, what's wrong with you!"

Rider was astonished by the threat in Waver's yell.

"You're greatly misunderstanding. Those who run away under cover of the night are night burglars. Walking away victoriously is what the king of conquerors does after looting."

You just can't discuss with him, Waver thought, scratching at his head madly. At any rate, Rider apparently wanted to parade through the night with those two books, looking like a suspicious cosplayer, with no intention of turning back to spirit form.

At the end of his wits, Waver rushed to Rider, picking the two books from his hand.

"You're done, now, right!? Now disappear! Disappear right now! Disappear immediately!"

"Ooh, then I'll leave this to you. You don't have to repeat yourself like that."

Satisfied, Rider nodded then became invisible again.

But Waver still couldn't feel relieved. The alarm of the library had to reach some security firm. You wouldn't know how long it would take for security guards to rush in.

Oh, what the heck, who cares.

"Aah, damn― How― did this happen, man!?"

Waver didn't know how many times he had lamented like that this night, but he just ran like hell.

When he reached the promenade on the border of the broad bridge of Fuyuki, he felt he had run enough to be safe.

"Ha―, ha―, ha―, ..."

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PostSubject: Re: Fate/Zero: Novel. (Prequel To Fate/Stay-Night)   Mon Jul 23, 2007 3:57 pm

Act 2: Part 1 Continued.

As someone who usually neglected himself, Waver felt his heart was on the verge of bursting from running such a hellish distance. Without the strength to even stand up, he kneels on the roadside― and takes another look at the books Rider took from the library.

"... An anthology of Homer's poetry? And... A world map? Why?"

The luxurious book in a hardcover was from the famous poet of the ancient Greece. The other thin book was a color print you would use for school.

From behind a puzzled Waver, a stern arm suddenly stretched out to pick the atlas by the fingertips.

Once again with a physical body, Rider heavily sat down cross-legged on the road, and, in a clatter, started to turn the pages of the atlas taken back from Waver.

"Hey Rider, when you mentioned preparations for war..."

"You can't start a war without a map. Isn't it obvious?"

Apparently pleased, Rider's face opens in a grin, and he stares at the content of the atlas.

"Apparently the end of the world has been discovered, and it even rolls up in a sphere... I see, that's what we have when we draw the round Earth on paper..."

As far as Waver knows, when a heroic spirit is summoned as a Servant by the Grail, they receive the minimum information so that their knowledge doesn't conflict with the current era. That means that even this ancient one should understand that the Earth is round. So Waver couldn't quite understand why Rider had acted like a thief to get something like a map.

"So... Hey boy, where are Macedonia and Persia?"

"..."

Waver felt discouraged at Rider's usual arrogance in calling his Master "boy" instead of saying his name; still, he pointed his finger at a part of the Atlas. At that moment―



"Wahhahhahaha!!"

Waver was again dumbstruck by Rider's excited burst of laughter.

"Hahahah! That's small! Only that on such a big Earth! Hm, good! I was worried by an era where there is no unknown land anymore... But if it's that big, then I'm fine!"

Suitable for his big frame, Rider's laughing voice was grand. Waver felt he'd rather face an earthquake or a tornado than oppose a man of that size.

"Good, good! I'm excited! ... And us, boy, where are we on this map?"

Nervously, Waver pointed Japan at the far East. Rider gave a groan of admiration, and,

"Hoho―h, at the opposite of the round Earth... Hm. That too is very pleasing. Our objective is even clearer, then."

Grimly stroking his chin, he gave a satisfied nod.

"... Objective?"

"First we go halfway around the globe. Westward, straight west. We take over all the countries on the way. Upon my triumphal return in Macedonia, I will make all the people in my land celebrate my revival. Fufhuhu. How do you like that?"

Dumbstruck for a moment, Waver roared still dizzy from anger.

"What the hell did you come here for! The Grail War, the Grail!"

Rider sighed, bored by Waver's threatening attitude.

"But that’s just the outset. What's the fuss about―"

Rider sounded as if it had only just now occurred to him.

"Right, the Grail, I should have asked about that first. Boy, what would you do of the Grail?"

Unable to read Rider's slow tone, Waver felt a chill he couldn’t describe.

"... Why the change? Why do you ask?"

"I need to make sure of it. In case you too want to conquer the world, then that'll make you my enemy, right? There is no need for two supreme rulers."

It was highly unreasonable of the Servant to say that so carelessly over his shoulder, almost turning his back to the Master and his Command Seals; yet Waver shuddered violently from the hints of cruelty in the big man's audacious voice. The overwhelming fear made him forget his fundamental superiority as a Master.

"Th, that's stupid! The world, I don't..."

Choking until then, Waver suddenly remembers the necessity of keeping his dignity.

"Conquering the world― Fuh, I have no interest in such a vulgar goal!"

"Hoh?"

Rider’s expression completely changed, staring at Waver with great interest.

"Do you mean that there is an aspiration greater than wanting the world for a young man? That's interesting. Do tell me."

Waver sneered, then, with all his courage, started speaking haughtily.

"I... What I wish for, is only to be judged equitably. To renew the impression of my colleagues at the Clock Tower, who never acknowledged my talent―"

Before he could finish speaking, an unequalled shock hit Waver.

Roughly at the same time, he heard Rider roar in his loud voice "That's small!", but the shock and the roar were so equally strong that Waver couldn't tell the difference.

In fact, Rider hadn't particularly put more strength than for slapping a mosquito; but that was too strong for the short and fragile magus, and Waver spun like a top then collapsed on the ground.

"Small! That's puny! Ridiculous! Is that all the ambition you would risk your life in battle for? And you're my Master? That’s really sad!"

As if he couldn't accept it, Rider proclaimed so to the magus with an amazed expression, far from anger but practically lamenting.

"a― uh―"

Waver had never been confronted with such straightforwardness and violence. Being hit by the truth struck Waver's pride even more than the pain of his cheek.

Waver's lips shook with rage, the color drained from his face, but Rider didn't give it any consideration at all.

"If you want respect from others so much, right... I'll tell you boy, use the power of the Grail to grow by a good 30 centimeters. When you'll have a higher view over things, yeah, you will be looking at most people from above."

"You... you... u"

That was the greatest humiliation to him. More than rage, Waver felt dizzy as if suffering from anaemia, his whole body trembling.

Unforgivable. That was plainly unforgivable.

That big man, a Servant, nothing more than an attendant, had completely denied Waver's pride and got away with it. Even a god wouldn't forgive such an insult. To Waver's dignity—

On Waver's right hand, clenched so tightly his nails could tear his palm— power flowed into the three seals carved on the back.

'By these Command Spells — guardian of the order of the Grail — may that man, my Servant —'

May Rider... make him, what exactly?

Of course he hadn't forgotten. Why he left the Clock Tower, why he came in this remote countryside in the far East.

It was all to gain the Grail. That's why he summoned a Servant. Such a crisis with that heroic spirit he bounded with may happen twice. After the third time— the Command Seals are gone. That means a decisive defeat as a Master.

The first of these serious situations could not be right now, could it? Not even one hour after the summoning?

Ashamed, Waver looked downward and breathed deeply, several times; then by natural reasoning and calculation, he shut down the irritation in his heart.

Impatience leads nowhere. Certainly, Rider's attitude is hardly forgivable; but the Servant hasn't opposed his Master yet, nor has he disregarded any order.

Waver can brandish his whip only three times to hit this wild beast. Isn't it careless to use it when only barked at?

Having regained his composure, Waver finally looked up again. Rider is still sitting on the ground, disparaging his Master; or rather, having even forgotten his Master's existence, he is reading the atlas. Waver spoke at his incredibly wide back.

"If you can just get the Grail, then I have no complaint. I don't care what you will do after that. You can fly wherever you want, Macedonia or South Pole."

Fu—m. Rider breathed dispiritedly —or indifferently, you couldn't tell with his nasal breathing.

"... Anyway. You're sure you have your priorities right? You will seriously participate in the Grail War?"

"Ah, I got it already, yeah."

Rider lifted his face from the atlas and looked at Waver from over his shoulder, with a depressed grumble.

"The first thing is to beat 6 heroic spirits, right? That sounds troublesome, but certainly, without the Grail, I can't start anything. Rest assured. I'll get that treasure."

"..."

His speech was calm and composed, but Waver was not completely convinced.

Of course, that heroic spirit was not a deception. As far as Waver can grasp by being a Master, the Servant he had been granted has outstanding abilities.

But in a conflict, Servants don't only compete on skills. The Grail War isn't something so nice that you can move on with big muscles.

"You seem very confident, but what are your chances of victory?"

With a daring provocation, Waver put forth all his bluff to scowl at Rider. I'm a Master, of course I can afford a high-handed attitude; that's what he is thinking.

"So, you say you want to see my power?"

Catching his glance, Rider changed to a quiet tone that somehow made Waver uneasy.

"Yes, that's right. Isn't it obvious? I need proof that I can trust you."

Laughing from his nose, the giant Servant pulled his sword from the scabbard at his waist. It was a valuable sword splendidly arranged, but it didn't feel like it had the prana of a Noble Phantasm in itself. Yet, when Rider took the sword, the dangerous atmosphere slowly made Waver uneasy. He can't be thinking of murdering me for my loud mouth... ?

Without noticing his Master trembling violently, Rider lifted his naked sword overhead,

"By this one strike, I, Iskandar, King of Conquerors, claim for supremacy!"

Having loudly called out to the empty sky, he violently swung down his blade at the empty space.

Just then, a thundering roar and a tremor shook the riverbed at night like a thunderbolt, in a magnificent shock.

His guts turned around, Waver lost balance and tumbled on the ground for the second time. If Rider's blade wasn't striking at anything, just what did it cut―

Waver saw. The empty space torn apart, like a gaping mouth, the absurdly powerful thing that appeared there.

And, Waver remembers just what a Servant is.

In the legend of a hero, there is not only the man that the hero was, but the anecdotes about him, his arms and weapons: all of this is the "symbol" of his existence. Those "symbols" are the ultimate mysteries that the Servant, the embodiment of the heroic spirit, carries as a trump card. Those are the deadly weapons commonly called "Noble Phantasms".

Thus― there is no mistake. That which appeared at the empty space struck by Rider, that must be, without a doubt, his Noble Phantasm. Hidden in this existence, the density of the outrageous magical power outside of normality: Waver can grasp that. That was a miracle that had transcended humanity, transcended magecraft.

"That's how I struck the shaft and got this. The offering to Zeus from the king Gordias. ... It must be because the reputation of this that I landed the Rider class."

With a smile glowing with pride in front of that weapon, Rider didn't even sound like he was boasting; that must be the proof he has used it regularly, putting an immense faith in it.

"So, that here was only the beginning. The Noble Phantasm I really rely on is yet something else. Well, when the opportunity appears, I'll show you. If I meet a formidable opponent worthy of it, that is."

In awe, Waver viewed Rider in a new light. Precisely because he is a magus, he understands the destructive power of the Noble Phantasm in front of him. Compared to a modern day weapon, that would rival a strategic bomber. He would transform the whole Shinto area into scorched earth if he was left wild for not even an hour.

There is no doubt left. Rider here is the strongest Servant Waver wished for. His might already surpasses Waver's imagination. If there is an enemy this man can not defeat, then it has to be an existence that cannot be taken down even by divine punishment.

"Hey there boy, what's with the pale face, I haven't even begun yet."

Feeling malicious, Rider speaks to the fallen Master.

"If you want the Grail quickly, we should locate one or two heroic spirits rapidly. I'll immediately trample them. ... In the meantime, I can look at the atlas to kill boredom, you're fine with that, right?"

His soul having left his face, Waver slowly nodded.

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PostSubject: Re: Fate/Zero: Novel. (Prequel To Fate/Stay-Night)   Mon Jul 23, 2007 4:00 pm

Act 2: Part 2.

Sealed in ice, the Einsbern castle at the farthest end.

That day, the old castle deep in the mountains, where people do not go, quietly preserving the lives of ancient magi, was released from the snowstorm.

It can't be reached until the sky cleared up, but it is remarkably brighter than the days the sky whitens up in snow. There is no flying birds or green plants on the soil of winter, but plenty of light.

On those days, however busy or tired the father is, they go out together in the forest outside the castle. That was the first unwritten rule between Ilyasviel von Einsbern and Emiya Kiritsugu.

"Alright, today, I will not lose!"

Saying so, the exulting Ilyasviel quickly moves into the forest before her father. She is pitiful with her small boots in the thick snow, but her fidgety eyes don't miss anything of the surrounding trees, not careless for one minute. Right now, the girl was in the midst of a fierce battle with her father.

"Oh, here's one. The first for today."

Hearing the triumphing Kiritsugu behind her, the eyes of the surprised Ilyasviel changed into the color of anger as she turned around.

"No way! Where? I can't have missed it!"

Returning a bold smile to his beloved daughter red with vexation, Kiritsugu pointed at a twig above his head. From a frost branch of walnut, a humble winter sprout was sticking out.

"Fuhhuhu, I get the first point. Let’'s keep that rhythm."

"I won't lose! I swear I won't lose today!"

The open competition between the father and the daughter in the winter forest is the search for the first walnut sprouts in winter. This year's score for Ilya is 12 victories, 9 defeats, one tie. The total count for Ilya is 427, against 374 for Kiritsugu. The champion was under a heavy pressure.

Ilyasviel had to hurry. Watching over her, Kiritsugu couldn't stop smiling bitterly. Checking one by one which winter sprout her father found, the girl can see her impending death for today. Apparently, today is the day she will have to reveal her skills.

"Ah, here. Ilya found one too~"

Kiritsugu giggled wickedly from behind the merry Ilya.

"Fuhuhu, daddy found a second one too."

This time, Ilya sprang like a sprayed cat.

"Show me! Show me!?"

This time, her girlish pride is at stake if she wants to claim she doesn't miss anything. Actually, she didn't miss any. Only the one she is up against is childishly cunning.

Ilya's expected reaction, 10 seconds later, had Kiritsugu suppress his laughter as he pointed at what he said was his "second" winter bud.

"Eh— ? That branch doesn't have walnuts, right?"

What Kiritsugu pointed at is a branch Ilya hadn't considered it to be her target until then.

"No no, Ilya, this branch is a wingnut, a variety of walnut. So that too is the winter bud of a walnut."

As if she had been tricked by a fox, Ilyasviel remained silent for 2 or 3 seconds, then she shouted, her cheeks all red.

"Not fair, not fair not fair not fair! Kiritsugu, that was mean!"

As a matter of fact, he was indeed unfair. Since before the last time, Kiritsugu was counting the wingnuts with the walnuts. Not only was it fake, it was indeed a foul play.

"Oh, but if daddy doesn't do that, he'll never win."

"You can't! It doesn't count if it's a walnut only Kiritsugu knows!"

An extremely angry Ilyasviel starts pounding on her father's knees.

"Hahaha, but, Ilya, isn't it a new opportunity to learn something? In fact, wingnuts aren't edible like walnuts, remember that."

Ilyasviel growls at him, not caring about it at all.

"If you are so unfair, then Ilya won't play with you, Kiritsugu!"

"That bothers me— sorry, sorry, I apologize."

From the ultimatum, Kiritsugu apologized obediently. With that, Ilysviel gradually regains her good humor.

"You won't cheat again, you promise?"

"I swear, I swear. The wingnuts are gone."

But I still have the field nuts... Kiritsugu snickered silently.

Ilyasviel, who didn't know how to distrust people yet, threw out her chest in pride, nodding with satisfaction at her incorrigible father.

"Fine. Then I'll challenge you again. The champion must always accept a challenge."

"Yes. You honor me, princess."

In sign of allegiance, for today's walnut hunt, Kiritsugu then played the horse.

"Ahahah! That's high!"

Riding on her father's shoulders was by far what Ilyasviel liked best. Kiritsugu's long legs can even cross the deep snow Ilyasviel can't walk in. With a higher point of view, she could also hunt walnuts more efficiently.

"He~re we go!"

"Yawohl!"

Kiritsugu comes out of a grove, his daughter straddling on his neck. The thrill makes Ilyasviel kick up and laugh merrily.

Such disdain for her father's shoulders made him sad.

Having no experience in raising children before Ilyasviel, Kiritsugu doesn't know how they grow up. But he understands that it isn't normal for his daughter, who turns 8 this year, to weigh 15 kilos.

Perhaps, the absurd adjustments she received at birth are the reason. To Kiritsugu and Irisviel, it was obvious she would be late in reaching adulthood. Will her body turn into that of an adult as years pass or not?

No, rather, they had no hope. As a magus, Kiritsugu has already closed his ruthless diagnosis. There is 80 to 90% chances that Ilyasviel's growth will stop before her secondary sex characteristic appear.

Even so, rather than seeing her future as bad luck, she must have plenty of happiness— that wish is only the parents' ego. Yet, the pain of that thought drilling his chest was proof of the love of the man named Kiritsugu.

From a window of the castle, a pair of jade eyes were watching over the small figures of the father and daughter, playing at the entrance of the forest.

The young woman standing at the window is far from being weak or transient. She has blonde hair visibly light and soft, and wears an old styled dress wrapping her slender physique; that evidently suits a young woman secluded in her room, but the atmosphere surrounding her stiffens the air in the room by her just standing there, with her intense rigor. Although, rather than the coldness of ice, she has the coolness of a clear pure stream. She was one that somehow doesn't fit the winter scenery of the melancholic Einsbern castle.

"What are you looking at, Saber?"

As Irisviel called her from behind, the young woman at the window — Saber turned around.

"... Kiritsugu and your daughter are playing in the forest, outside."

Doubtful, perplexed, frowning a little with a stiff expression, her beautiful look isn't impaired. More than the humor floating on a smile, the slackless serenity of her strained look suits her: she is that sort of rare beauty.

Can you believe that her young and vivacious presence is that of a materialized heroic spirit? But she definitely is 'Saber'... She was one of the seven heroic spirits invited by the Grail, with the class of the strongest sword, a full-fledged Servant.

At her side, Irisviel looks through the window. That was the moment Kiritsugu rushed into the forest carrying Ilyasviel on his back.

"You are surprised to see Kiritsugu like that, aren't you?"

Saber nods honestly to the smiling Irisviel.

From her position, afterall, she couldn't see the girl's face, and barely saw the silver hair inherited from her mother; but the shrilling voice she heard just before they left her field of vision was, certainly, overflowing with joy. Just that was enough to guess the harmony between the frolicking father and daughter.

"To be honest. I was under the impression that my Master was a more coldhearted person."

At Saber's word, Irisviel gave an embarrassed smile.

"Well, this isn't without reason."

Since her summoning, Saber hadn't received a word from her Master Kiritsugu.

In the end, Servants are only a tool to serve the Masters, and that was definitely how a magus would treat them. Nevertheless, Kiritsugu's attitude toward Saber was too much. Not even speaking to her, ignoring her questions, barely looking at her, Kiritsugu kept pushing away the heroic spirit he had summoned himself.

Although she wouldn't show any of it, Saber was definitely highly dissatisfied with the attitude of that man. Obviously, the Kiritsugu she had been attached to was far different from the man playing with his daughter outside the castle.

"If this is Kiritsugu's true face, then I must have fallen in great disgrace with my Master..."

As Saber muttered, Irisviel unintentionally chuckled: her pained face showed her true motives that were normally hidden on a handsome profile. Saber was even more unsettled.

"This isn't so funny, Irisviel."

"... I'm sorry. I was wondering if you were still holding a grudge from when you were summoned."

"A little. ... I understand that my appearance is different from what anyone would expect. But that shouldn't be something that would surprise the both of you so much."

Despite her gallant dignity, Saber truly looked like a girl not even past her teens. When she appeared in the glowing summoning circle, both Kiritsugu and Irisviel had been struck speechless.

That was to be expected. The heroic spirit Kiritsugu was summoning had been recorded in history as a man.

The owner of the golden scabbard from Cornwall, that is, the one known as the sole bearer of the holy sword Excalibur; nobody could have guessed the true identity of the heroic spirit Arthur Pendragon was a young girl.

"Certainly I have acted as a man, and have wished that that lie was carried over through history... But it is discomforting that one would doubt I am the owner of this scabbard."

"You may say this, but that's inevitable. Your legend is very well known, and it has been dramatized for 1500 years. That's quite a gap with the image we had of the King Arthur."

As Irisviel smiles uncomfortably, Saber gives a dissatisfied sigh.

"Of course you would wonder about my appearance, somehow. The instant I drew the sword of contract from the stone, I stopped aging through its magic, keeping my apparent youth. My people didn't even question my appearance at that time to begin with, as I was king. The only thing I was asked to do is fulfil my duty as a king."

How harsh a youth had that been?

The kingdom of Britain exposed by the invasion of pagans, thrown on the verge of destruction. Following the predictions of a magus, the young king, "incarnation of a dragon", was burdened with the duty of the savior, invincible through ten, twelve years of battling.

In spite of these feats, this was the ill fated ruler whose throne was finally taken over by his own blood, betrayed, never forgiven for ending their glory.

The truth that such a delicate girl was burdened with a so violent, painful fate, weighs on Irisviel's heart.

"Does Kiritsugu... Hate me for my womanhood? Because I am not worthy of a sword?"

Saber muttered in a dry voice, watching Kiritsugu disappear into the forest afar, touching Irisviel's feelings.

"That's wrong. He understands your power. That man isn't so stupid as to misjudge a heroic spirit who was placed into the Saber class. ... There must be another reason, if he got angry."

"To get angry?"

Saber reacts to what she hears.

"Do you mean I made Kiritsugu angry? I cannot understand that. I still haven't spoken to him even once."

"Then it could be something unrelated to you. What he is angry at must be the legend of the King Arthur that was transmitted to us."

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PostSubject: Re: Fate/Zero: Novel. (Prequel To Fate/Stay-Night)   Mon Jul 23, 2007 4:00 pm

Act 2: Part 2 Continued

If the heroic spirit Kiritsugu summoned had been the "grown man" King Arthur that the legend told of, then he probably wouldn't have rejected his Servant so much. Simply, for him who kept his feelings from mixing up, discussions were best kept at the required minimum. Then, in the end, his daring "disregard" was the direct result of a highly emotional response.

The one who pulled the sword stuck in the stone was a young girl; that truth Kiritsugu had just learned was the source of his open indignation at the legend of the King Arthur.

"He must be angry at the people who surrounded you in your era. At the cruelty of those who forced the duty of a king on a small girl."

"That wasn't the case. I was prepared ever since I pulled the sword from the stone."

Saber says so without reserve, her expression still cool and clear. Troubled, Irisviel gives a short nod.

"... The fact that you accepted that fate like that is all the more provoking. Perhaps it is on that point he is angry at you, the girl named Arturia."

"..."

Saber briefly lowered her eyes, unable to answer. But when she immediately looked up again, her eyes were still as obstinate.

"This is being too emotional. There was nobody who would complain to those who made the decision, in my era."

"And that's why he remains silent."

With Irisviel's fast answer, Saber can only falter this time.

"Emiya Kiritsugu and the heroic spirit Arturia are definitely incompatible— that's what I will leave it at. If we are to talk, we will only deny each other."

Irisviel could but agree on that. If Kiritsugu was to spend time with this proud heroic spirit, he would always feel like their mind are too different from each other's.

Irisviel could understand each other's complaint, and had as much compassion for each of them. So, the fact that these two would never agree was, again, Irisviel's resigned conclusion.

"... I thank you, Irisviel. Without a woman like you, I might have lost this Grail War without even fighting."

"The same to you. I want my husband to be the one to reach the Grail."

Fearing that compatibility with the heroic spirit Arturia, Kiritsugu had come up with an unthinkable solution to this deadlock.

Servant and Master will act completely apart.

To begin with, there is no range limit for the contract between the two. Whatever the distance, a Command Spell can control the Servant, and prana can still be supplied as well unless the Master faints. But Master and Servant actually staying together is solely a mutual understanding. Prudence dictates that battle decisions aren't just left to the Servant. The Master needs to remain on the battle scene to control the Servant.

If Kiritsugu moves independently without knowing about Saber's actions, of course that doesn't mean he trusts her completely. Kiritsugu entrusts to Irisviel the duty of being his agent to oversee Saber’s actions.

That's not something so reckless at all. For example, if Kiritsugu's Servant were to act rebellious, there is no fear she would want to kill Irisviel as long as she wants the Grail. Without Irisviel, then even if Saber defeats all the other Servants, she won't be able to reach the Grail. The "vessel of the Grail" that Irisviel carries is absolutely necessary for the Grail of Fuyuki to materialize. Therefore, Saber will need to defend Irisviel from the other Masters.

That irregular team formation was solely due to Kiritsugu and Saber's respective battle tactics. The heroic spirit of the knight of Saber is a fighter that has Servant abilities and Noble Phantasm properties fully geared toward a "full frontal battle". Her mindset would never consent to any makeshift that doesn't fit with that. On the other hand, her Master Emiya Kiritsugu is essentially a hitman who plans out clever schemes, and there is no possibility for the two of them to arrange for anything more than average.

Rather, as far as affinities go, Kiritsugu evaluated that Irisviel would fit much better as Saber's partner. His wife is definitely a homunculus outcast, but she still is of the noble Einsbern family, and as such, she has a natural elegance and dignity. Irisviel definitely is the kind of lady a knight would devote his loyalty to.

In fact, past a few days of living together after the summoning, Irisviel and Saber have both developed a mutual understanding and respect. The natural air of nobility Irisviel held was similar to that of a "princess" of Saber's own era, and Saber's nobility was a perfect match with Irisviel's well breeding.

Therefore, the contractual Master Kiritsugu proposed that his wife Irisviel acted as a "substitute Master" in his stead, which Saber easily accepted. Her problem really was that she felt uneasiness in cooperating with Kiritsugu, and more than letting her swing her sword freely, Irisviel was indeed more appropriate; that much was agreed on. So, the two of them were under a master and servant relationship in accordance to the oath of a knight, different from the Servant contract; and this is how they are now preparing for the Grail War.

"Irisviel, what kind of person do you view Kiritsugu as?"

"A guide as well as a husband. The one who gave a meaning to my life. —But that's not what you want to know about, is it?"

Saber nods. What she wants to know isn't about Irisviel's subjectivity, but about the side of Emiya Kiritsugu Saber doesn't know.

"To say the truth, he is a kind person. Only, because he was too nice, he couldn't forgive the cruelty of the world. He chose to be even more coldhearted to fight against that."

"I can understand such a determination. With a standpoint any lower, one would have to throw away his human sensitivity."

Saying this, you can't think that Kiritsugu and Saber are any alike. Perhaps Kiritsugu's disgust toward the heroic spirit of the king Arthur was of the same kind.

"To save the world with the power of the Grail— is that what you are saying? What your and Kiritsugu's wish is."

"Yes. Mine is only a reflection of his wish, though. But I do think it is something worth risking your life for."

At Irisviel's words, Saber nods, her eyes set ablaze as well.

"The wish I have for the Grail is also similar. I want to help the Britain I couldn't save by myself. I think what you and Kiritsugu want is right. It is a path to be proud of."

"Right..."

Smiling, Irisviel replies ambiguously.

Pride— that precisely is the problem.

Her husband's words come back in Irisviel's mind. The true reason why Kiritsugu and Saber behave so differently.

'The two of you will be flowers on the battleground. Never running away or hiding, shine so that nobody will look away from the Servant Saber.

Because those who will look at Saber will be turning their back to me.'

Kiritsugu has no intention of leaving the battle to Irisviel and Saber. Rather, he intends to actively transform the progress of the war by his own means. He will be an assassin sneaking up from behind the enemy, and Saber has the role of the lure that will make his trap certain, no more than a feint.

Irisviel couldn't say anything, but it was clear what methods Kiritsugu would adopt once the war starts. What will the proud and honest knight think after that... thinking of it, Irisviel is worried about it.

"Irisviel, you have a deep understanding of your husband Kiritsugu, and have much faith in him."

Unaware of Irisviel's melancholy, Saber watches the harmony between the father and daughter through the window.

"Looking at it that way, the two of you appear to be a pretty normal couple looking for happiness.

But if Kiritsugu thinks that I too should have looked for happiness as a person and not as a king the same way... Both are the same wish one can't help having."

"... So, you don't have a grudge against him anymore?"

"Of course, I don't."

With a delicate face, Saber nodded, and Irisviel felt like she was betraying the Servant.

"But— Irisviel, is it alright? To tell me about something like that."

"Eh?"

Asking again, Saber's eyes seemed to want to tell more.

"I mean— you will need to accept leaving your daughter, like Kiritsugu. Tomorrow... Won't we fly over to Japan for the Grail?"

"Ah, that. —It's fine. There is no need for me and my child to part."

Irisviel smiled peacefully to show gratitude toward Saber’s anxiety; but somehow, the lonely hollowness of that smile troubled her.

"If I am to cease to exist as Irisviel, it doesn't mean I will disappear. When she grows up, I am sure she will understand. Because she is an Einsbern woman like me."

"..."

She couldn't grasp the enigmatic words of Irisviel, but Saber's face stiffened at the sinister omen she could feel hidden inside them.

"Irisviel, you will definitely survive. I will protect you until the end. I swear it on the pride of my sword."

The knight's solemn statement made Irisviel smile brightly.

"Saber, get the Grail. For yourself, and for your Master. Then the Einsberns will reach their 1000 year desire, and me and my daughter will be freed from our destiny. —We rely only on you, Arturia."

Again, Saber couldn't comprehend the meaning of Irisviel's anxious smile. Her hair glittering like snow, and her radiant beauty, that woman filled with a warm kindness, just what fate was she born tied to? —For the knight to know the complete truth, is a revelation that has yet to come.

The fair hunt for winter buds of wingnuts ended with Ilyasviel's victory, ending a series of 3 consecutive defeats for the champion. Also, no field nut trees were found in the Einsbern forest.

After the battle, the two casually walk back. Because they walked deep into the forest, the majesty of the Einsbern castle has become a silhouette in the haze.

"The next time will be when you come back from Japan, Kiritsugu."

Having fulfilled her revenge, Ilyasviel looks up with a large smile at her father. Unable to look straight at her, Kiritsugu feigned serenity as best as he could.

"Yes... Next time, daddy won't lose."

"Uhuhu, if you don't do better, we will soon be a hundred points apart, you know?"

The smile of his beloved daughter was becoming too much of a burden for the man.

Just how should he tell her. Until the end, maybe that will be the one thing he will think of.

This is the worst struggle for Kiritsugu. But, by all means, he must win. For that purpose, he can't afford to give up his life.

So― the promise to his daughter to play again in the winter forest is only a small victory.

Save everything. Abandon everything for that.

To the man who swore to do that, love could only be a thorn.

Whenever he loved someone, it was a curse to have to be ready to keep it hidden in his heart.

This was the fate that burdened Emiya Kiritsugu in exchange for his ideal. Love was a torture that could not be healed.

Then why― is he questioning himself when he looks at the frozen white sky and earth.

Why did he love so much one woman and the child he shares his blood with.

"Kiritsugu, how long will your work with mother last? When will you be back?"

Unaware of her father’s suffering, Ilyasviel asks with a lively voice.

"Daddy will come back in a couple of weeks, probably. ―For mom, that should be, much longer, I think..."

"Yeah. Mother told Ilya. That we will part forever."

Hearing her reply without a shadow on her face was the finishing blow for Kiritsugu. His knees lose the strength to push through the snow-covered path.

His wife was ready. His daughter was prepared.

For the truth that Emiya Kiritsugu was snatching her mother away from this young girl.

"Mother told me that even if we wouldn't see each other anymore, she will always be by my side. I don't have to be sad, she has been telling me, before going to bed. So Ilya will always be with mother."

"... I see..."

At that point, Kiritsugu felt aware of the blood dyeing his hands crimson red.

He didn't know how many people he had killed, how impure his arms were. For you to hold a child as a father, that is definitely unforgivable― he told himself.

But wasn't that warning the same as running away?

This child will never be embraced by her mother ever again already. And if her father Kiritsugu abandons that duty as well... Who will be holding Ilyasviel again.

"―Hey, Ilya."

Kiritsugu stopped his daughter walking beside him, dropped down and wrapped his arms around the girl.

"... Kiritsugu?"

In 8 years, everytime he held that small body in his arms, Kiritsugu doubted his fatherhood, deep inside. Disgusted by his acting as a father, he could only scorn at himself for being unable to do otherwise.

But this too is reaching an end. As this child's only father, he must hold her in the warmth of his arms. Without running away, without lying.

"Will you wait for me, Ilya? Can you stand to be alone until daddy comes back?"

"Yes! I will bear it. I'll wait for you with mother, Kiritsugu."

Memories of this day will probably fill Ilyasviel with joy until the end. Her cheerful voice holds no grief.

"... Then daddy will promise you something too. I won't make you wait. Daddy will definitely come back quickly."

Emiya Kiritsugu took on another heavy burden.

Enduring the thorn that is love that pierced his whole body, he tightly embraced his child for an eternity.

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PostSubject: Re: Fate/Zero: Novel. (Prequel To Fate/Stay-Night)   Mon Jul 23, 2007 4:03 pm

Act 2: Part 3.

Uryuu Ryuunosuke disliked splatter movies. He did understand the necessity for that kind of amusement in itself, though.

Not just horror, but war movies, panic movies, and all the way to adventure movies and dramas; why does fiction keep painting man's death tirelessly?

That may be, because the spectators can minimize their fear of death by observing a fictitious imitation of "death".

Humans find pride in "wisdom" and dread "ignorance". Hence if they can "experience" and "comprehend" a given fear, then it is a victory that resembles the overcoming of that fear.

However, "death" is merely... something that you can't experience while you live. Therefore it is impossible to understand its true meaning. That's why humans can only guess the essence of death by observing other people's death, and make up a virtual experience.

Indeed, for the civilized society to respect human life, this virtual experience cannot but rely on fiction. Yet, where war makes your neighbor minced meat with bombing and land mines, nobody watches horror movies.

Similarly, it is important to be entertained by fictional physical pain, mental stress or any kind of sorrow. When experiencing bodily sensations by yourself becomes too risky, you can overcome and remove uneasiness by observing those who do taste those sensations. ―That's why a silver screen or a cathode-ray tube bring tears of screams, grief and anguish.

That is good. That's understandable. Once, Ryuunosuke feared "death" like any ordinary person. He could have been an amateur of horror movies, if death could have been minimized and fear, conquered, by looking at the special make-ups of slaughtered bodies, the red ink of blood splashes and the realist acting reproducing a screaming "stale death".

Depiction of cruelty in fiction has a bad influence on young people, that much can be said; but to Uryuu Ryuunosuke, this is highly ridiculous nonsense. Because if blood and screams in splatter horror had been at least a little more realistic, he wouldn't have become a homicidal maniac.

This is, really, nothing but the result of an earnest curiosity. Ryuunosuke just had to know what "death" was. The vivid red of the haemorrhagic artery, the touch and the warmth of what was inside the abdominal cavity. The agony of the victim getting these pulled out until death, the musical tone of the screams. There really was nothing that could beat that.

People say murder is a crime. But let's think about it. Aren't there 5 billions of humans crowding on this Earth? Ryuunosuke knows well how outrageous a number that is. Because he counted the gravels in the park when he was a kid. Of course he got discouraged after ten thousands, but he doesn't forget the frustration he felt that time. There are five hundred thousand times that many humans. Furthermore, it is said that the number of births and deaths everyday can be counted by the tens of thousands. What weight can Ryuunosuke have by becoming a murderer? Beside, by killing people one by one, Ryuunosuke can perfect each of their death thoroughly. Occasionally, he enjoys making sure the "process of death" takes up to half a day. With this incentive and experience, the information volume brought by one death can be much more important, compared to what you can get by living a too short life. From Uryuu Ryuunosuke's reasoning, can't you say that homicide is a more productive action?

With that creed, Ryuunosuke wandered around in various places, accumulating murders. He didn't fear the law. The feeling of being imprisoned and handcuffed ―however many men it would actually require for that― was something he definitely "understood" to the point of not fearing it; he had "observed" enough deaths by hanging or on the electric chair for that. But his reason for escaping the law was, simply, because there is nothing to gain from being taken away from freedom and life in prison; hence he considered that living a life seeking everyday pleasure was better, that it was the right choice for a healthy man.

He is satisfied by squeezing the best out of the lifeforce of those he kills, of feelings such as the attachment for human life, anger and affection. To let his victims know the exact time and circumstances of their death, that in itself had a deep meaning as rich as a miniaturized life.

When on the verge of death, very common people will behave strangely, and on the other hand, people seen as exceptional will die in an extremely banal way― observing such patterns in humans, Ryuunosuke pursued death; and while being an expert in death, he greatly studied its complete opposite, life. The more he killed people, the more he understood the lives he took.

That knowledge, that discernment in itself was a kind of dignity, a style.

Although Ryuunosuke couldn't find the words to accurately explain why he had that power― if he really had to sum it up, it would be all with the expression "be cool".

To make a comparison, it's like sprinkles in a bar or crags spraying around. Unable to get used to such a playground, loosening without knowing one's place, and not understanding one's amusement. But if it is about accumulating experience and adopting a rule of conduct, then he is a welcome regular customer in a place where he can control the mood into intimacy. That's what it is to be cool as a way of life.

So to speak, Ryuunosuke was a genuine player when it comes to be familiar with the comfort of the stool that is human life. Like that, he could look for victims savouring a cocktail of new methods, appreciating the taste of satisfaction.

This isn't some sort of metaphor; in the town, at night, Ryuunosuke's pleasure was his excellency to attract victims like light traps for insects, with a certain interest in the opposite sex. Moreover, women were, certainly, charmed by the composure and dignity that emerged from his enigmatic posture. After seduction, he would always enjoy some alcohol, and the girls he really got into always ended as a blood-stained piece of meat.

The town at night would always be Ryuunosuke's hunting ground, and the prey would never notice the menace that is Ryuunosuke.

Once, he saw a leopard in some animal program, and was enchanted by its elegance. He felt a connection with the brilliant modus operandi of the hunt. The leopard was the beast with a cool way of life that became his model, literally.

Since then, Ryuunosuke ended up self-conscious of his image of a leopard. He was always wearing clothes with something from a leopard. Jacket or pants, shoes or hat, or if that was too showy, he even had socks or underwear, handkerchief or gloves. He had an amber-colored cat's-eye ring, always in his pocket even when he couldn't slip it on his middle finger, and he would always carry on himself a pendant made with a real fang.

So, this murderer named Uryuu Ryuunosuke has just recently started feeling down with a serious loss of motivation.

After some 30 victims, his methods for execution and torture has started losing its freshness as they all look the same. Testing all the techniques he can come up with, even when Ryuunosuke witnesses their dying agony, teasing his preys has already lost the taste of excitement and stimulation.


Deciding to return to the place of his origin, Ryuunosuke came home after some 5 years, breaking into the backyard storehouse as his parents had fallen asleep in this late night. It was in this storehouse that he had taken his first victim, and it was now crumbling, abandoned.

Meeting again after 5 years, his sister's body had completely changed, but she waited for her brother at the place Ryuunosuke would hide. His sister remained silent, and none of her disappointment showed as Ryuunosuke's visit was only a fool's errand; but she picked up a rotten book from the mountain of junk crammed in the warehouse.

The thin worm-eaten book was not a printed copy but an individual note. The postscript says ninth year of the Keiō era. This writing is more than a hundred year old, dating back to the end of the Bakumatsu.

Having occasionally tapped into Chinese books during his students day, Ryuunosuke could actually read the notes without much difficulty. But the problem was the content itself. The incoherent writing of thin characters was preposterous nonsense about some kind of dark magic. Moreover, the inscriptions involved Christianity and Satan, apparently it was about some western occults. Offering human sacrifices to otherworldly demons to invoke spirits, that was definitely fiction.

In the death hours of the era of Edo, studying western knowledge was a genre of heresy. While a book about occult, the most heretic of heresy, could only be a prank, Ryuunosuke had some admiration for it, and he cared little about its authenticity. It was already quite cool and funky to keep just the old book on occult from the storehouse. That was enough of a stimulus to renew his inspiration as a homicidal maniac.

At once, Ryuunosuke made the place a "spiritual ground" as described in the notes, then resumed his night time reading. He didn't know just what meaning the land now called the town of Fuyuki had, but Ryuunosuke was setting up the important points of the mood for new killings; he followed the instructions of the old book as faithfully as possible.

When he first sacrificed a girl who had run off to play at night in an abandoned factory, the stimulus was more interesting than expected. The style of the sacrificial ritual totally captivated Ryuunosuke despite his inexperience. He became infatuated with the method, and after three failed attempts, the peaceful provincial city was struck with fear.


Like that, Uryuu Ryuunosuke broke into the house of a four person family for the fourth crime; he was by then completely intoxicated with ecstasy in the midst of the crime, and of course he started cooling off after repeating the same crime for the fourth time. The voice of reason in his head started whispering in his ears.

Ryuunosuke had accumulated crimes as he wandered all over the country. He never killed twice on the same spot, and always disposed scrupulously of the body. Most of Ryuunosuke's victims are, even now, being searched as missing persons.

But this time, a series of crimes without hiding the remains would warn people quickly; this definitely was folly. Obsessed with the method, he had completely forgotten about his usual prudence. This one was particularly bad. For the three previous ones, he had tried to draw the magic circle with blood, and mistakes made him short on blood, so this time, to draw a perfect circle, he had decided to kill a little more than usual; but really, slaughtering a whole sleeping family might be a little too sensational. The police will be in a frenzy, and everyone in the region will be increasingly wary. Going into hiding is definitely not the style of a "leopard".

Ryuunosuke finally decided ― for the time being, let's leave the city of Fuyuki quiet. He will stick with the black mass as he quite liked the result, but he would have to reduce the number from 3 to 1 at a time for safety purpose.

After sorting up his feelings, a renewed Ryuunosuke decided to concentrate on the ritual again.

"♪ Fill, fill, filling, fill. With each repetition, four times― eh, five times? Err, only when it's full, break it up... Is it? Yeah."

Reciting the summoning chant, Ryuunosuke draws on the wooden floor of the living room with his bloody brush. The ceremony really is some serious business, that ambiance isn't Ryuunosuke's style at all. The serious mood was for his personal satisfaction afterall, what's important is the feeling.

Having practiced the magic circle all night, he finished it in one go. There was no need for reserves anymore, then. Even though he had killed the parents and the eldest daughter to draw their blood.

"♪ Fill, fill, filling, filling, fill, there. That's five times alright. Okay?"

The leftover blood seemed suitable for some fine art on the walls of the room. Waiting for a reaction, he turned toward the last survivor rolled up in the corner― a grade school boy gagged with a rope. The young kid was crying, his eyes swollen, looking at his torn up sister and parents.

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PostSubject: Re: Fate/Zero: Novel. (Prequel To Fate/Stay-Night)   Mon Jul 23, 2007 4:03 pm

Act 2: Part 3 Continued.

"Say― boy, do you believe in demons?"

Asking the shivering kid, Ryuunosuke tilted his head in a dramatic act. Obviously, he wasn't expecting a reply: with his mouth gagged, all the kid could do was tremble in fear.

"You know, newspapers and magazines keep calling me a demon. But ain't it weird? A single stick of dynamite would do more victims at once than me."

Kids are nice. Ryuunosuke liked kids. Frightened adults cry and scream, so on that part, kids really are better. You can just laugh it off when they get incontinent.

"Nah, it’s fine. I'm kind of a demon. But if there were real demons beside me, I'd like to try to talk a little with them. Now that'd be nice. " 'Sup, name's Uryuu Ryuunosuke, I'm a demon!" how does that sound for an introduction? That should be a good opportunity to make sure of it. If real demons exist or not..."

His good humor improving, Ryuunosuke tested his charm on the trembling kid. Normally, talking was annoying, but looking at blood― and standing in front of someone on the verge of death, he seemed to change and started getting loquacious.

The blood of 3 people was enough, and that was his only reason for letting the youngest child live. Though he did think he'd take the time to enjoy killing him later, after the completion of the ceremony―

"Anyway. If by any chance, a demon really comes out, wouldn't it be stupid to not have anything to drink and chat? So, boy... If Mr. Demon here does pay me a visit, how about a little killing?"

"...!"

The young kid could understand well enough Ryuunosuke's idea. Ryuunosuke beamed when the kid, his eyes wide open, started twisting and struggling around without a scream.

"I wonder how it is to be killed by a demon. Will it go zip or splash, that gotta be some fun to watch. Not something you see everyday― ah ouch!"

The unexpected sting was like a cold shower on Ryuunosuke's frenzy.

That was the back of his right hand. He felt an intense pain as if he had bathed his hand in a powerful poison. As soon as the pain started, the swelling calmed down and stuck on the surface of his skin.

"... What the, hell? This..."

Somehow, a pattern like a tattoo was there on his pained right hand, and he had no idea why.

"... Eeh."

Rather than feeling anxious, Ryuunosuke reacted dandily. That incomprehensible pattern of three intertwined snakes resembled some tribal tattoo, which didn’t look half bad.

But his foppishness lasted only a moment; Ryuunosuke turned around in surprise when he felt the air move behind him.

The air grows hot. A current that shouldn't be possible indoor. Soon, the breeze changes into a whirlwind blowing in the living room.

Ryuunosuke stares at the magic circle drawn on the floor with fresh blood, as it unbelievably starts emitting a phosphorescent light.

He did expect some sort of abnormality to occur, but― such a blatant phenomenon was beyond his anticipation. Something big, just like in the horror movies Ryuunosuke despised. These childish effects were so laughable it wasn't funny, but it was definitely real.

The violent gust is now trampling the room, blowing off the TV, the flower vase and other furniture. In the center of the magic circle, a mist starts rising, and sparks scatter. The scene was otherworldly, but Uryuu Ryuunosuke was definitely not scared, he was he child staring at a magic trick, his chest dancing from expectation.

Fascination for the unknown―

The enchantment once discovered in the marvel called "death". The radiance that disappeared unnoticed when he grew tired of accumulating murder, right now―

A flash. Then a roaring sound like a thunderbolt.

The impact ran past Ryuunosuke's body. The feeling was like being fried by a high-tension current.

The strange power once passed through the Uryuu family. Now forgotten by its descendants, but still carried through their blood uninterrupted, the 'Magic Circuits' had been sleeping until this day inside Ryuunosuke; that inherited mystery was now unleashed like a tidal wave. And that "alien power" flowing in Ryuunosuke has just now started running in him, then streaming back outside to the thing invited from the underworld.

―So to speak, this was an exception amongst exceptions.

To begin with, the Grail of Fuyuki itself requires seven Servants. It isn't the capable ones who summon Servants and try to become Masters. The Grail will pick appropriate persons until the count reaches seven.

The summoning of a Servant is also fundamental for the Grail. The hard work magi put into the ritual is only a precaution to create a bond with a perfect, reliable Servant. Even with an unskilled summoning circle and without chanting the spell, if a human has a catalyst, the requirements for the Grail can be met...

"―I ask of you"

From inside the enveloping haze, a soft yet strangely carrying voice called out.

The wind had stopped unnoticed. The light has left the magic circle, the radiance is disappearing, and the circle drawn on the floor with fresh blood is blackened as if burned up. And from inside the fading mist, the owner of the voice earlier suddenly showed his figure to Ryuunosuke.

A young face without a single crease yet. A pair of large, hulling eyes and greasy cheeks. Along with the deathly pallor of his face, he reminded Ryuunosuke of a painting from Munch.

His garments too is quite odd. His figure tall enough to reach the clouds is wrapped in a robe largely folded, decorated with luxurious latches made of precious metals; his whole style looks exactly like some "evil magician" from a manga.

"You who called me, you who requested for me, summoning the spirit of the Caster class... I ask for your name. Who are you?"

"..."

Ryuunosuke gave a small response. The one who had come out of the summoning circle with great flashes and smokes― was an ordinary human, that was definitely not what he had expected. No exaggerated monster, just a perfectly normal human? Ryuunosuke was puzzled. His clothes were definitely queer, but did that mean this man was a real demon?

Scratching his head for a moment, Ryuunosuke took his decision.

"Uh, name's Uryuu Ryuunosuke. I'm a freelancer. My hobby is murder in general. I like kids and young women. Recently I'm back to sharpening my basis again."

The man in robe nodded. Apparently he had ignored everything beside the name.

"Very well. The contract is complete. Your desire for the Holy Grail is my desire as well. We shall make the cauldron of heaven ours."

"Holy― Grail ?"

On the moment, Ryuunosuke didn't get what it was about. Right, thinking again, didn't the old book found in the storehouse mention something like that? And he had skipped it because the passage was dull.

"... Yeah well, let's save the troublesome talk for later."

Ryuunosuke waved his hand lightly, before pointing with his chin at the kid rolled up in the corner.

"For now, let's talk over a drink. Won't you eat that?"

The other man, with a face as expressionless as a mask, gauged the tied kid and Ryuunosuke. Feeling anxious, Ryuunosuke couldn't tell by the silence if his words and intentions had hit home. Maybe that was asking for too much. Afterall, who decided that demons eat children.

Silently, the man picked a book from a pocket of his robe. The bulky book appeared to be an antique treasure from an ancient era. No doubt it was some gadget of the demon.

Ryuunosuke noticed in one glance what hide the cover was made of.

"Ah, cool! That's human skin, right?"

Ryuunosuke can recognize it because he once tried to put up a lamp shade with human skin pelt off a victim. Eventually, he got discouraged at his poor handicraft midway, but he can't help but respect an elder who has achieved a similar work through the end.

The man, casting only a glance at Ryuunosuke, ignored his compliment and gently opened the book, his hand rapidly flipping through the pages; he then muttered one or two words that made no sense, and as if it was enough, closed the book before putting it back in his pocket.

"... ?"

Leaving the helpless Ryuunosuke, the man walked toward the boy rolled up on the floor. At the strange events that had kept happening, the boy winced harder as if death was inevitable, trying to crawl away from the man.

Looking at the child in such a state, the man seemed suddenly full of compassion and kindness, which startled Ryuunosuke. What does that mean?

"― You have nothing to be afraid of, my boy."

Unlike what his odd appearance suggested, the strange man gently spoke to the boy. The imprisoned kid gradually notices his warmth, and looks at the man questioningly.

As a reply, the man gives a smiling nod, bending toward the boy and extending his hand at him― gently untying his ropes and gag.

"Can you stand?"

As an encouragement, the man patted the boy on the back, helping him up.

Of course, Ryuunosuke had no doubt the man was a devil, but he was really dissatisfied with how he was treating the child. Is he actually going to let him live?

Anyway, no matter how you looked at him, the man is queer. When silent, his features would look dreadful like the face of a corpse, but when smiling without any apparent maliciousness, he would seem as pure as a saint.

"Now, my boy, the door over there will lead you out of this room. Don't look around, walk straight forward by yourself. Can you do that by yourself?"

"... Yes..."

At the boy's brave nod, the man responded with a bright smile, softly pushing his back.

The boy started running lightly across the bloodstained living room, as he avoided looking at the corpses of both his parents and his sister as instructed.

"Hum, hey..."

Of course Ryuunosuke couldn't ignore it all and spoke, but the man quickly interrupted him with a hand sign. Overpowered, Ryuunosuke helplessly watched the kid escape.

The boy opens the door and steps into the corridor. In front of him is the entranceway. His eyes drowned in fear until then are now shinning again in hope and relief.

The climax came the next instant.

The boy was leaving the stairs behind him, facing the entranceway. From the second floor, invisible from the living room, something suddenly fell down in an avalanche on the young boy. A bundle of heavy ropes ― no, a flock of countless snakes ― an indescribable life form, or rather, a living creature twined around the boy's whole body, and with an otherworldly force, took away the young body up to the second floor.

Then― a soul-rending scream. The clicking tongues of an infinite number of creatures, and the echo of small bones crushed. The rashness of whatever was happening on the upper floor easily stimulated imagination even without witnessing it.

The strange man closed his eyes and raised his face, listening the nightmarish sound, drunk in attention. His hand shivers. Apparently he is deeply moved.

But the emotion was just as great for Ryuunosuke... No, as he didn't expect something like that to happen, the catharsis is far more intense for him.

"There is a certain freshness in fear."

The lingering memory of the horror he had himself planned out hadn't drawn out yet ―there now was no remaining doubt he was a devil― when he started speaking, and his voice sounded like he was entranced in a dream.

"Fright is about the feeling that you will die. The true meaning of terror doesn't lie in a static condition, but in a change― this is the instant when hope is turned into despair.

How was it? The smell of fresh fear and death."

"― Kh ―"

Ryuunosuke was at loss of words.

The 'thing' that was feasting on the kid's remains upstairs was, apparently, the man's doing. He was the one who had appeared from the bloody magic circle, afterall. There was no possible doubt something had happened when he had opened his book with the binding made out of human skin.

The method was nerve-racking, but that is what is splendid in this philosophy. Ryuunosuke was no match for the creativity and perfect aesthetics of such evilness. Him who held such a vivid and moving "aesthetics of death" deserved the greatest praises.

"Cool! That's wicked! Man, that was super cool!"

Feeling like dancing with joy, Ryuunosuke grabbed the man's hand and shook it. Making friends with this strange man was no less moving than meeting a celebrity. The mass murderer Uryuu Ryuunosuke finally felt adoration and respect from the depth of his heart for someone in this boring world.

"Okay! I don't know about this Grail thing, but I'll follow you! I'll help you in whatever you want. We'll kill more. There are plenty of sacrifices. Show me more of your cool killings!"

"You are a pleasant fellow."

Understanding of Ryuunosuke's emotion, the man replied gently to his violent handshake with a pure smile.

"Ryuunosuke, was it. It is a good omen I got a Master as understanding as you. This is developing more and more into an ideal situation for my aspirations."

When a summoning is made without a catalyst, the heroic spirit will be one that has a similar mindset as the Master. The one summoned by the vicious murderer was one who had left his name on extremely cruel acts; he was a heroic spirit with a taste for true tyranny. Or rather, based on that nature, it would be more suitable to call him a vengeful spirit instead of a heroic spirit.

"Ah―, right, I didn't get to hear your name."

Remembering about the important parts, Ryuunosuke started acting more familiarly.

"My name, yes. Indeed. For this era, you could call me..."

The man put a finger to his lips, then after thinking a little,

"... Then, for now, you can call me "Bluebeard". Pleased to meet you."

He replied familiarly with an angelic smile.

Thus, for the last position of the fourth Holy Grail War ― the Master and his Servant 'Caster' completed the contract. This is how, without knowing the meaning of the Grail War or his nature of magus, the casual murderer received Command Spells and a Servant.

For a trick of fate, this may be the foulest play.

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PostSubject: Re: Fate/Zero: Novel. (Prequel To Fate/Stay-Night)   Mon Jul 23, 2007 4:04 pm

(%22)


Act 2: Part 4.

The saying about the hour when even trees sleep doesn't apply to magi and Servants.

The heroic spirit of the shadows, Assassin, has a better grasp than anyone on the complexity of being prepared in the darkness of the night.

Moreso since the magi gathered in the city of Fuyuki have a double interest. Standing on the hill of the Miyama town, neither of the western-styled houses of Matō and Tōsaka are left behind in term of splendor.

Masters aiming for the Grail, the two landlords are using, lately, some low-grade familiars to patrol left and right, day and night around their visible castles. Naturally, the master of the mansion must be ready, and stretch around a multitude of bounded fields for detection and defense even inside the mansion; it must be a stronghold in the magical sense of the term.

Stepping unauthorized into the bounded fields is all but safe, all the more for the large mass of prana that is a Servant. Essentially, regardless if it is a spiritual body, it should be just about impossible to slip through the bounded fields of the fortress undetected.

However, the impossible can always be made possible. That is the presence concealment skill of the Assassin class. While he does not excel in battle power, Assassin can suppress his prana emission until it reaches zero to creep in the shadow and reach his target.

Additionally, for the Assassin of this time, Kotomine Kirei's Servant, this night's infiltration operation was especially easy. The garden he is now sneaking in isn't the one of the Matō mansion that has been considered enemy territory for a some time. It is the mansion of Tōsaka Tokiomi, who was his Master Kirei's ally until just yesterday. Of course, Assassin too has agreed with Kirei and Tokiomi to deceive the other Masters and remain undercover. Obeying that secret agreement, he has undertaken the guarding of the Tōsaka mansion on countless occasions. Knowing all about the disposition of the bounded fields, he is naturally aware of the blind spot.

In his spiritual form, Assassin progressed through the many alarm fields without a problem, laughing at the ironic fate of Tōsaka Tokiomi. That arrogant magus has placed a considerable faith in his protégé Kirei, but can't imagine he might be bitten by his dog.

Kirei's order to murder Tokiomi has reached Assassin not an hour ago. He is unsure of what urged Kirei to change his mind, but Tokiomi's summoning of a Servant a few days ago must be when it began. Tokiomi seems to have summoned the Servant Archer, but apparently, that heroic spirit must be weaker than Kirei expected. And as the merit of the cooperation with Tokiomi fades away, he agrees with the decision Kirei took this night.

"Vain prudence is unnecessary. Have no fear of facing Archer. You need to obliterate Tōsaka Tokiomi quickly."

That was the order of his Master Kirei. Against the despised, weakest fighter Assassin, he won't be afraid and won't hurry― it should be easy to betray the miscalculations of the heroic spirit Archer summoned by Tōsaka Tokiomi.

Halfway through the garden, the blind spot of the bounded field you could just pass through vanished. From there on, the barrier has to be destroyed by physical mean, and you need to progress while removing it. It is impossible to proceed while invisible in spirit form.

Leaning over the shadow of the vegetation, Assassin came back from spirit form to physical form, exposing his bony mask and tall, lean figure. He can feel many "eyes" all over him from afar, different from the bounded field of the Tōsaka residence. The familiars of other Masters must be observing the Tōsaka residence from outside the barriers. As long as he remains unnoticed from Tokiomi himself, there is no need to worry about any Peeping Toms. Tokiomi's rivals disputing the Grail would never warn him of Assassin's infiltration. If one competitor drops, the others should remain unconcerned spectators.

Snickering without a sound, Assassin extends his hand at the first keystone that binds the barri―

The next instant, that hand was pierced through by a spear flying from above, shining like a flash of lightning.

"... h!?"

An intense pain, terror, and above all, shock. The simple spear strike was completely unexpected, and Assassin swung his head upward, looking for the pitcher.

No, there is no need to search.

On top of the roof of the Tōsaka residence, a golden shadow stood magnificently. That divine radiance even steals the dignity of the starlit sky and puts the moon to shame.

The rage of being wounded made Assassin forgot the pain, but he could only fear the overwhelming coercion.

"You worm crawling on the ground, who's pardon are you looking for?"

The golden man asks indifferently to the Assassin hidden on the ground, looking down at him with a pair of disdainful, burning crimson eyes.

"You can't look at me. Worms can only look at the ground when they die, like the worms they are."

Around the golden shadow, even more glows appeared up to a countless number. Suddenly coming out in mid-air were swords, halberds, not twice the same, all of them treasured weapons with dazzling ornaments. And all of them were turned at Assassin.

I can't win. Without even thinking, Assassin realized it instinctively.

Winning against him is impossible. It's stupid to even think about facing him.

If he is able to hit Assassin, a Servant, it means that golden shadow is definitely a Servant. And if he is stopping an invasion into the Tōsaka mansion, then the Master is Tokiomi― in other words, he must be the heroic spirit Archer.

There's no need to fear *that*?

In his pledge to his Master, Assassin knew there was no contradiction in Kirei's words.

In front of such an overwhelming enemy, fear is― yes, there is no place for fear―

There can only be despair and abandon.

Slashing through the air in a howl, an infinity of shining blades started raining down on Assassin.

Assassin felt the eyes. The familiars observing from outside the place. The first Servant to fall in the fourth War of the Holy Grail meets an unsightly end without even a retort, witnessed by the other Masters.

And at the last moment, Assassin understood. The true intention of his Master, Kotomine Kirei, and... of the leader, Tōsaka Tokiomi.

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PostSubject: Re: Fate/Zero: Novel. (Prequel To Fate/Stay-Night)   Mon Jul 23, 2007 4:04 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Fate/Zero: Novel. (Prequel To Fate/Stay-Night)   Mon Jul 23, 2007 4:05 pm

Act 3

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PostSubject: Re: Fate/Zero: Novel. (Prequel To Fate/Stay-Night)   Mon Jul 23, 2007 4:05 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Fate/Zero: Novel. (Prequel To Fate/Stay-Night)   Mon Jul 23, 2007 4:06 pm

Act 3: Part 2

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