The Let's Play Archive

Fate/stay night

by seorin

Part 208: Lance of sure hit, shield of no loss

Video: Lance of Sure Hit (mirror)

Music: Clashing Souls

Even Lancer makes no exceptions.
Even though he told Tohsaka Rin, his ally, that he would "go easy", that becomes secondary once the battle starts.
It merely means that if his lance happens to miss Archer's heart and if it does not kill him instantly, he will refrain from finishing Archer off on the spot.
Even in that case, his enemy will die in due time, but Lancer just needs to drag him to Tohsaka Rin before that happens.
Lancer does not care what happens after that.

It is only natural.
This is their second battle.
Lancer was under the Command Spell's bind.
To learn his enemies' strengths, his Master told Lancer,
"Fight against everyone. But do not defeat them. Survive your first battle against any opponent."
That is the only order he was given.
He has followed such an unreasonable command, and this is his first "battle without any binds".

Therefore, it cannot be like the last battle.
There is nothing binding Lancer, and Archer is now forced to fight the fastest heroic spirit.

A strained voice escapes Archer's mouth.
Even his hawk-like eyes cannot follow Lancer's spear.
The lance's movement is a point to start with.
And it is a flash of light now.
He cannot discern the lance coming at him.
Even Lancer's movements are becoming invisible now.

He has been able to block such attacks until now because he had experienced them in a previous battle.
He is doing what he canusing his inferiority as a weapon to block Lancer's furious onslaught.
He is controlling where the attacks come.
The knight in red limits the oncoming attacks by leaving fatal openings.

Of course, he will die if he does not dodge the attacks.
But if he can choose between instant death and getting slowly cut up, he prefers to risk instant death.
Otherwise, it all will have been for nothing.
Fortunately, Lancer is still taking Archer lightly.
Or rather, he is lost in the joy of battle.
If they are to keep on assaulting each other like this, he can think of another thirty ways to "show an opening".

Prediction using the information obtained. Planning using cultivated battle experience.
Those are the nerves of steel, the "mind's eye" that one obtains through training.
This is nothing extraordinary.
This is the only skill he possesses.
It is not innate like Saber's "instinct", but it is a simple weapon that anyone can gain through hard work.

Lancer backs off and stops for a bit.
He looks the red archer over, as though dissatisfied.

It is obvious who is going to win.
Archer has no chance of victory in hand-to-hand combat.
No, that has been obvious from the start.
If Archer is an "archer" like his name states, this cannot be a match unless he's shooting from a long range.
But still, he blocked the attacks.
He is inferior and should not last a few more blows, but he blocked Lancer's full-force attacks.

Butit is unthinkable for Lancer to be going easy.
The first attack was aimed at the neck to chop his head off.
The second attack was aimed at the heart to destroy his body.
He cannot be going easy.
He shouldn't be, but
It is certainly true that he wasn't trying to kill Archer.

How does one know that this sort of fight is serious?
A battle between Servants is a battle between Noble Phantasms.
The fact that he is fighting Archer without using his is proof that he is going easy on him.
The reason behind it…
…Must be the "thanks" he heard earlier.
"Damn. Are you kidding me!?"

They are about five meters apart.
It is a distance Lancer can close in an instant.

Music: Stop

Video: Pride of a Hero (mirror)

"I don't get it."
The spearman in blue murmurs.

Lancer stops emitting murderous intent, but there's no opening in his stance.
At that, Archer smiles a bit.

"I'm surprised. You're still saying such things?
Lancer. I chose the path that has the highest possibility of victory. I do not care what Rin thinks, but I am sure there is no better plan than this."
He speaks confidently, with no sign of guilt.
The knight in red shows no regret about betraying his master.

Archer agrees.
Lancer snorts and slowly raises the tip of his lance.

But that is not the right way. Your swords are lacking in pride."
His fighting spirit roars up.
Even faced with this, the archer in red still smiles.

"Fortunately, I do not have any pride.
But what about it? Will the name of the hero be disgraced? Hah, do not make me laugh, Lancer. You can wash away disgrace with results.
You can feed your meaningless pride to the dogs."

In an instant.
The slightly relaxed atmosphere changes.

The air freezes.
The magical energy to disturb the order of the world, the demonic lance that inverts cause and effect, is raised.

The blue-armored spearman growls in a voice that could drive the crows from a battlefield.

"Yes, Cu Chulainn. If you have pride as a hero, you should get rid of it right now."
"Well said. Then you can die first."

Lancer jumps back a great distance.
It is no longer a matter of thrusting his lance.
There are over a hundred meters between them now.
Lancer leapt back to the entrance of the clearing and crouches on all fours like a beast.

Archer's senses freeze.
Is it fear or awe?
Either way, Archer understands right away…
The meaning of Lancer's retreat.
He knows that his enemy's next attack is literally a fatal attack.

"You know about Gae Bolg's ability, right?"
Lancer, with his limbs on the ground, raises his waist.
It's just like a sprinter waiting for the signal gun.

Archer has no reply to spare.
The knight in red throws away his swords and immerses himself in his own mind.
But will he make it?
Lancer's posture…
If his demonic lance is just like the legend, a Noble Phantasm to block it cannot be anything superficial.

"Here I come. Take this attack as your farewell gift…!"
The blue panther runs.
Even his after-image is a blur. Lancer speeds to Archer like a whirlwind.

There are a hundred meters between them.
Lancer is not going to thrust his lance using that whole distance to gain speed.
The blue figure crouches.
After running fifty meters in an instant, the spearman suddenly leaps up from the ground.

Video: Shield of No Loss (mirror)

Music: Sword of Promised Victory

He holds the demonic lance, said to always pierce the heart once it is thrust, over his head.

Space distorts.
According to legend…

That lance scatters numerous spearheads once it is released.
In other words…

The lance of causality joins with the words to form a tapestry of action.
The spearman in blue arches his back as if drawing a bow…

…And he smashes down the attack with a roar

…This Noble Phantasm is a throwing attack by nature.
A lance that never misses the heart.
A cursed Noble Phantasm that cannot be avoided and will attack the enemy even if it misses.
That is Gae Bolg, lance of destruction possessed by the hero that never lost in his lifetime.
As it is hurled using all of Lancer's magical energy, it can be neither dodged nor blocked.

Therefore, it is fatal.
There is no way for anyone to survive once they are targeted by the demonic lance…!!

The lance crashes into the shield.
The lance of death that penetrates every wall and outmaneuvers any evasion.
That lance has been stopped.
Radiating a storm of heat, the lance of sure kill is stopped by Archer's "Noble Phantasm".
The seven flower petals appear from empty space and shield Archer from the demonic bullet!

This shield is Aius. The only shield said to have repelled the javelin of the great hero in the Trojan War.
There are seven barriers shaped like flower petals, and each layer is as strong as a castle wall.
It is a boundary field Noble Phantasm that is said to be invincible against projectile weapons.

A thrown lance will be defeated by this shield without penetrating even one of the petals.
At the very least, Archer does not know of a lance that can penetrate this shield.

The sixth petal is destroyed.
Only one remains.
The demonic lance reaches the seventh layer that has never been broken.

The unstoppable thorn of the demonic lance.
In the face of that power…

With a roaring spirit, Archer puts all his magical energy into the Noble Phantasm!

Music: Stop

"I'm surprised. I did not think there was a weapon that could penetrate the Aius.
Your lance is stronger than the original Gungnir."
The knight in red praises the spearman in blue from the bottom of his heart.

But Lancer does not hear him.
His strongest attack.
The attack that made him a hero has been blocked.
He is so angry that his glare should be able to kill someone.

But the anger is almost erased by his wonder.
…This is too strange.
It is true that Archer is a mysterious Servant.
His identity is unknown, he carries twin swords even though he's an archer, and now he shows a shield that can even block Lancer's strongest attack.
It is absurd.
There is no such hero on this planet.

"I'm just an archer. Your analysis was not incorrect."
"Bullshit. An archer would not have a shield to block a Noble Phantasm."
"I guess you can, under the right circumstances.
But this is the result. I used up most of my magical energy, one of my arms is destroyed, and Aius is shattered.
…Man, that was the greatest protection I had."

Lancer only glares at Archer.
"More importantly, have you noticed, Lancer?
It seems Caster is in trouble. She is no longer supervising us."
Archer raises both his hands as if in surrender.

"…I see. I knew it. That was your intention from the start, huh?"
"Of course. I told you, right? I will only take the route with the greatest chance of success."
"Heh. I really do hate you."

Saying so, Lancer turns his back to Archer.
…His work is done.
His role of keeping Archer busy is meaningless now.
There is no more need for him to side with Tohsaka Rin.

The damage and form both come close to that of "Brionac, the Roaring Five Stars" possessed by Lugh, the Celtic God of Light, but its ability of "striking an opponent no matter how many times it is dodged" makes it closer to the chief god of Northern Europe, Odin's "Gungnir, Declaration of Great God".