Part 317: To the center / Shadow swallowing the castleMusic: Nightmare
"Then stay behind me. I'll let Archer lead the way. That way you won't get cut down the moment we get there."
Tohsaka starts running.
Archer takes form, gives me a single glance, and takes the lead.
"Please be all right, Ilya !"
I clench the wooden sword in my hand and run after them at full speed.
Music: Footsteps of Destruction
Danger is approaching.
The girl was the first one to sense the unavoidable fact.
The "enemy" is approaching the castle.
Because she felt that the enemy is a great one, she maximized the castle's defense and woke up the giant in anticipation of the enemy.
The giant of steel, Berserker.
Personification of destruction who has his sanity taken away and only obeys the girl.
With her bodyguard and the castle's protection, she has nothing to fear.
She tells herself this, suppressing her unease.
When the enemy drew near, her giant said
Even the one with no reason left understood that he could not beat the approaching foe.
The girl started running at that instant.
She knows that.
She already knew that.
The thing that reached the outer wall is not something they can match.
The ominous shadow expands with the sun behind it, and it becomes a great shadow to easily climb over the outer wall.
They will lose.
With her aside, Berserker cannot beat that thing.
He will lose if he fights it, and Berserker will not be her Servant anymore.
That is the root of her uneasiness.
She ran away from the castle not in fear of her own defeat, but in fear of losing her Servant.
The girl vaguely understands that she cannot get away from this uneasiness and fearand the black giant stops.
In front of them is a withered magus.
Next to him is Assassin, wearing a white skull mask.
She figures out right away he is the magus of Makiri that she was informed of when she left her home country.
Music: Whirlpool of Fate
"Matou Zouken. So a person that's not chosen by the Holy Grail is acting like a Master?"
The girl jumps to the ground and confronts the old man.
There is no fear in her eyes.
The enemy before her is not the terrifying one she sensed.
"Hah, chosen by the Holy Grail? Do not speak such nonsense. The Holy Grail does not choose the Masters. The Holy Grail is just a vessel. Are you poisoned by the church, saying that it has a mind and that it consecrates?"
The girl coldly glares at him as he laughs.
The Holy Grail does not choose, just like the old man says.
Masters are chosen by the Holy Grail, Servants are given form with the Holy Grail's power, and they stay in this world with the help of the Masters.
The rules are intentionally distorted and spread around.
The girl knows that the purpose of the Holy Grail War is actually the other way around.
" Hah. Aren't you the one who got your mind poisoned?
The Holy Grail that becomes the container has no will, but the Great Holy Grail that chooses the Masters does. You people tried to fill the Holy Grail by summoning heroic spirits because the prototype is here, in this land.
Well, I'm sure the Makiri blood declined because you, the person concerned, forgot about such a thing."
Her voice is cold.
The old man accepts her scorn with a laugh.
"Oh, there is no need to worry. Makiri's decline will end now. The matter is about to be completed. The plan was to take part in the next ritual, but I was blessed with good game pieces. My earnest desire is about to come true."
"I see. Then do as you wish. I'm not interested in you. I don't like having vessels besides myself, but you're going to fail anyway. I won't bother you, so why don't you go back to the pit where you belong?"
"You do not need to tell me. The sunlight is tough on this old body of mine, so I'll return to my nest once my business is done.
ButI get rather uneasy when things run too smoothly like this. I shall take your body just in case. My dearest wish is virtually complete if I can seize you here."
It's obvious why.
The white-masked assassin is overawed by the giant who's protecting the girl.
He has no chance to defeat such a foe.
He will be cut in half with one blow if he steps in
The assassin does not move because he is sure of that fact.
" Heh. Your Servant's a coward, just like his Master. He doesn't have to fight if he's so scared of dying. Do you two value your lives so much?"
There's no reply.
Assassin does not speak, but his master laughs in his place.
"Of course I value my life! My wish is immortality. His wish is for his name to remain forever. We struggle on together for our same goal."
" Are you mad? You desire the Holy Grail to grant you immortality?"
Hatred shows in the girl's eyes.
His grin widens still further.
It's as if he was waiting for that scornful reaction.
"Of course. Look at this body. It rots by the second, reeking of decay, melts my flesh and bones, and my brain deteriorates and loses its knowledge.
This pain. Do you understand the pain of rotting alive?"
" That's your own fault. A human body cannot endure a hundred years of life. Compensation is needed if you want to surpass that. If it's painful, you can be at ease if you die."
The old body trembles.
The magus shakes, as if wracked by coughing, and
"Kaka, kakakakaka ! I thought so, Einzbern! You people have had the same thought processes for a thousand years! You are just a puppet, after all! You will never know what it means to be human!"
He laughs from the bottom of his heart.
" What did you say?"
"Fool. Listen closely, daughter of winter.
For people, there is no regret greater than death. The pain of my rotten flesh becoming the nest for worms is like a pus in my brain compared to death.
The sole escape from the pain is to keep myself alive. Saying you will be freed from the pain if you die is proof that you are not alive.
That is why you are a mere puppet. Your hurriedly constructed body should not last for another year. A short-lived artificial product cannot understand human passion !"
"Right, I don't understand. You're an exception even within the humans. You can't accept your life span even though you've lived for that long. I can only think that you're crazy.
Do you want not to die that bad?"
"Of course not. I cannot die. I do not want to die. I have to stay in this world and live on. But I am at my limit. What I need now is a vessel that will last forever without decay.
That is why "
"That's why you want to obtain the Holy Grail? You seek the Holy Grail because you're afraid of death?"
"Hah, is there anyone that does not fear death?
Understand, it matters little what conclusions you come to in your life. You cannot overcome the collapse of your body or the end of the world.
Let this be a lesson to you. If there is a way to prolong your life and if it is within reachhumans are creatures that will obtain it, even at the cost of the world itself !"
"You will not care if the world dies because of your actions.
Isn't it natural? Throughout history, humanity has expanded, grown, prospered, and nourished in this way.
There is no space for chain reaction now. If humans are going to eventually die off, nobody will care even if I do not act in concert !"
The old man speaks happily.
After looking at him in surprise
"I'm utterly amazed. You lost your way to that extent?"
The girl speaks in a voice not her own.
" Wh at?"
"Recall where our desire for a miracle came from.
Why we are particular about having human form, and why we are trying to reach an inhuman place while keeping our human form."
His laugh stops.
The old magus squints, as if peering into the distant sky.
"Hah, well said for a puppet. So Justicia's mimicry is already imprinted in you."
He distorts his face in hatred and glares at the white girl.
"Enough talk. The time for play is over. I need your body, but I do not need your mind. I, Makiri Zouken, will take the Einzbern's Holy Grail."
The old man's shadow creeps across the ground.
With that, the pressure on the girl increases.
The black giant enters battle without waiting for the girl's order.
"No ! Come back, Berserker !"
The girl's voice does not reach him.
The black giant, accompanied by a whirlwind, mows down the pressing shadow, but