Part 363: Death of a saint
Music: Whirlpool of Fate 2
"You completely eradicated the magus, Executor. Did you know he was just a collection of worms?"
He turns to the voice.
Assassin is no longer there.
The only things on the tree are the Black Keys and a small trace of blood.
" I've known him for a long time. I knew he was a spirit that used worms to tamper with this world. It would do no good to rip his body to pieces. If one were to kill him, one would have to completely eliminate his body, or "
"Attack the spirit itself, as you did, eh?
I see. The magus had a strong binding to the world, but he's vulnerable to the holy words of the Bible.
Exorcist, eh? One might say you were Matou Zouken's natural enemy."
The priest doesn't answer, but checks on his wounded body.
The bleeding has stopped.
He's out of weapons, but he suffered no fatal wounds, and his strength should return once he rests for a few minutes.
"So, what are you going to do, Assassin? Your Master is gone. My holy words should have an effect on you now that your source of magical energy is gone."
" I would assume so. My body will soon disappear. Without a Master, I am no different from the wandering spirits in this forest. My body will degrade to that of a lowly spirit within a day, and I shall disappear from this world."
"You must mean how your Zabaniya failed.
I believe you obtained your arm from Shaytaan, but it will have no effect on me as long as it bears the name of the fallen angel.
That arm punishes humans, so it cannot curse one of its own kind. As my heart is not human, it is strong against such a curse."
"I thought so. Your heart was the same as that girl's.
You must already be tainted."
The priest doesn't answer.
He merely smiles ironically.
" But how did you know? You could not act as you did unless you knew my arm would have no effect on you.
Your intention was to have me use my Noble Phantasm, correct?"
"Yes. I already knew about your arm, Assassin.
A cursed arm that creates an image of the target's heart and swaps it with the real heart.
That's how you killed my Servant."
" So he went to look for another Master.
I'd assume his next Master would be Matou Sakura"
That's not a problem for the priest.
It's fine as long as Matou Zouken doesn't kill Matou Sakura.
Zouken's wish is immortality.
He can achieve his wish by having Sakura's body turn into the Holy Grail.
The curse in the Holy Grail will not hatch if the old man is alive.
It's meaningless if Sakura becomes his tool.
She needs to remain a Master.
He gets dizzy.
It must be because of the fatigue and loss of blood.
The priest leans against the wall and closes his eyes.
Music: Ever-present Feeling
'Defective from birth'
The man did everything he could after accepting the fact.
He couldn't understand morals, but had common sense. So his teenage years were spent trying to overcome his defect.
But it never happened.
The man's purgatories and sufferings were entirely useless.
And his final attempt was a woman.
Let's just get the obvious gay joke out of the way early here. In fact, I think that'll do.
It's a simple story.
Every human wishes to love one of the opposite sex, have a family, and die peacefully.
Even if one may detest the peace, one can only dream about it.
This man is no exception.
He wished for such a thing, even though he felt no fascination in it.
He loved a woman, trying to earn ordinary happiness.
The man chose a woman with no future.
She was terminally ill, only expected to live for a few years.
Did he choose her because of that, or was that his only choice?
He still doesn't know.
The contradiction didn't make the man suffer. He doesn't even know if he suffered.
But the more the woman tried to cure him, the more he wanted to see her grieve.
The woman was a saint. She was sickly, but she was still a saint for him.
It need not be said how faithful she was or how deeply she understood his anger.
That's why the man was in despair.
No human will ever understand him and try to heal him to her degree. And this woman still could not fill the void within him.
Thenthere was no need to live and question right and wrong.
He was born defective.
His birth was some kind of mistake.
He concluded that if his existence was a mistake, it was best to disappear. And he went to bid goodbye to the woman before he died.
He made her his wife as an experiment, so it's his natural duty to go tell her of his end.
The woman loved Kotomine.
Kotomine tried to love the woman.
That's all there is to this story.
More below, but the short version is that she actually says, "no, you love me."
There was no way to stop her, and stopping her was meaningless.
The woman had a fatal disease. She would eventually die. He knew that when he chose her.
The woman, covered in blood, looked up at the man and smiled.
"See. You're crying."
He wasn't crying, of course.
It's just that the woman saw it that way.
The woman used her death to prove to him that he could love, and that he deserved to live.
The man silently left the room and broke away from the teachings of God.
It happened long ago.
He can't remember her voice or her face.
But sometimes he thinks,
'I wanted to kill her.'
Is that for his pleasure, or
Is it grief over wanting to kill the one he loved with his own hands?
He cuts off his thought process whenever the answer flickers in his head.
It's something that should be hidden forever.
The woman's death was meaningless.
Her devotion couldn't change him.
But the man didn't want to consider her death to be worthless.
So he stopped searching for answers.
Is interrupted by a girl.
Music: Church on the Hill
She has completely changed.
Her black outfit is her shadow.
She's covering her body with her own dark magical energy.
The amount and the presence of her magical energy is beyond human capabilities.
She's at the same level as pure heroic spirits, the Counter Guardians.
" You are completely tainted, Matou Sakura.
You cannot change to that degree unless your mind is attuned to the curse.
So you've accepted the fact that you're a human-eating monster."
Even though the priest wished for it, he still criticizes the girl.
As if to blame her for being intoxicated with her power.
It can't be helped.
Everyone picked on me too much. I think I would've endured it longer if everyone was nicer to me."
"Oh. Endure what?"
I finally understand now. I hate this world.
The Tohsaka family that threw me away. Nee-san, who lived without any troubles. My scary grandfather and my pitiful brother. The people living peacefully without knowing about my pain."
"I can't allow such things now.
I know I'm just taking my anger out on others. I know it's wrong, but I still think this way.
I wonder what kind of face the people who haven't helped me will make when they realize I exist."
The girl smiles, as if it's a sacred pleasure.
The priest doesn't change his expression.
He keeps staring at the girl as if regarding something foul.
"You have changed, Matou Sakura. I see, your darkness was one of the qualities to adapt."
"Yes, I've changed. I'm not the old Matou Sakura. That weak girl doesn't exist anymore.
Yes. Everyone tormented me until now. So I'm just getting back at them. The me who sat there and endured is gone."
The original Matou Sakura disappeared, and the other personality surfaced.
That's the only logical reason for her change.
"What are you talking about? You don't need to hide it, Matou Sakura."
The priest quickly denies it.
"WWhat do you mean?"
"I said there's no need to hide it.
You are not another personality. You were swallowed by the mud and have become addicted to violence, but you are still Matou Sakura. You don't need to prepare another personality to excuse yourself."
Her face stiffens.
He's absolutely right.
The girl grits her teeth and glares back at the priest.
"What are you saying!? You're the one who made me like this !"
The girl's shadow reacts to her hateful voice.
A blazing infringement.
The shadow covers the ground in an instant.
"I won't deny it. I kept you alive so that you would remain its Master. You measured up to my expectations, and you are about to give birth to Avenger.
You have easily accomplished what I could not."
"It wasn't easy at all ! You don't know how painful it was, how much pain I'm going through right now !"
"I don't know, and there's no need to know. I'm not so mad as to listen to a girl's complaint."
"! I see.
You're right. I don't want you to know.
I won't let you feel compassion. I'm in a position where I can make anyone realize whatever I want."
She smiles cruelly.
Video: Heart of a Saint (mirror)
The priest retreats with one jump.
She may have vast magical energy, but she's still inexperienced.
She has no experience with battle, and she's unskilled as a magus. It's easy for him to retreat.
"How does it feel to have someone grab hold of your heart? Your life's under my control, no matter where you are."
"You died ten years ago. Emiya Kiritsugu shot your heart and you died. But you stayed alive because of one reason."
"You're that hmm, who was it? It's the Servant I ate before, but I guess his name doesn't matter.
Oh, I see. Above is that "I can't believe I ate the whole thing" look.
That gold person was showered with the contents of the Holy Grail, which connected him to it. But it couldn't taint that man, so it flowed into you, his Master. Right?
And you were resurrected.
Avenger. Your life was saved because Angra Manyu supplied you with magical energy."
"HaI see. Then this is "
"Yes. You're connected to Angra Manyu. But I'm Angra Manyu.
So I squashed it. I destroyed the fake heart that kept you alive.
I can squash your organs too if you want.
I can pull out your insides, no matter where you are."
She raises her hand.
How can she say 'if you want'?
The girl has no intention of keeping him alive.
No matter how much he may beg for his life, she'll laugh as she kills him.
He'll give her back his fake life.
Because it's hers.
Even if it's just a speck next to her total magical energy, there's no reason for her to let the priest keep it.
She grasps her slender fingers together as if to twist apart an invisible doll.
A crushing sound.
The priest's body is squeezed like a rag.
One more twist.
The priest will die in the next second.
But right before that
"Kuit hurts, no don't come in!"
The shadow expands.
What happened? The shadow on her body expands, then slowly shrinks back to the original size.
" No way Berserker lost ?"
There's no other explanation.
Berserker was defeated.
He died, dissolved into pure magical energy, and was consumed by her, the Holy Grail.
Her mind distorts.
The personality called Matou Sakura is pushed even further into a corner now.
She can't move any farther, but the great soul pushes her against the wall.
Matou Sakura will disappear.
"Before that "
She thinks of killing the priest, looks up, and is annoyed by her failure to follow through.
As they became an organization, they used "assassination" as their political measure. Assassins under him used drugs to enhance their mental state, and accomplished tasks exceeding human capabilities. The nickname of these secret killers, Assassin, comes from these drugs. The person that made the group so extreme was the old man of the mountain, Hassan Sabbah. He occupied a castle in the mountain, and using it as a base, he built a complete religious organization. The "assassination agency" that exists to this day is a cogwheel that Hassan Sabbah has created, and it is said that the "Old Man of the Mountain" continued to exist in the sect, no matter how many years passed since its formation.
Their works were precise and unparalleled, and their name was known even in distant countries. Hiding in the mountains, they never showed themselves, and killed those who opposed the god. Their way of being became a perfect subject for the European poets. Hassan's story was dramatized, but nonetheless he became a legend. After a while, Assassin acquired a new meaning as "secret killer". Their existence was exaggerated as time passed, and now they have established themselves as an illusion that is no way inferior to the legendary heroes.
The old man of the mountains that appears in many stories, Hassan Sabbah. He was the boss of the unidentified assassins, and it is said that everyone who became the leader of the organization imitated his name and appearance. Rather, it should be said that no other way of being was permitted. In the Holy Grail War in this game, every summoned Servant Assassin has been this "Old Man of the Mountains". Hassan Sabbah is born every time the role is succeeded. One of the many leaders is summoned to the present as Hassan. ...Their real name and appearance before they became an assassin, before they became Hassan, is still lost.