The corpse was barely recognisable as a corpse. It was in pieces, with it's chest being outright gone, and with a rather large percentage of the rest of the body splattered against the wall hard enough that it became hard to tell what was a leg, and what was an arm.
The fact that this was the most intact body from this string of murders was something you wouldn't suspect just from looking at the corpse.
Armsmaster scanned the area, while remembering what Miss Militia had told him of the victim before he arrived.
Amadi Smith. Twenty-Eight years old. African Refugee, came to America with parents twenty years ago. Not much money. Not much of note. Recently filed a complaint about garbage being thrown across his house, by boys later found to be affiliated with the Empire Eighty-Eight.
One of those boys had claimed that his father was close to Kaiser, when confronted. If he was telling the truth, then that incident may be related to this one. Members of the Empire don't usually approve when the police intervene in a dark-skinned man's favor.
It wasn't something that Armsmaster would suspect, usually. The Empire don't usually kill- Even Hookwolf, who is kept in line by Kaiser- And they didn't seem to have anyone who was capable of such a thing.
With recent event's, however...
"Anything of note?" Armsmaster asked. Behind him, Servant Caster materialized.
"Most likely a Servant." The old man said. "The dates match up. These murders began a few days after what I predict was the first summoning."
Armsmaster nodded. Caster had a nasty habit of going over facts that they already know, but annoying the living legend is not a good idea. Besides, given that he tends to skim over them quickly, he should move onto new observations soon.
"As for which Servant..." Caster continued. "Definitely not Assassin. Far too messy. The furniture has been knocked over, something an Assassin would prevent by killing their target before hand."
Armsmaster nodded. Not Assassin.
"With that logic, we can also assume that it wasn't Saber, Archer or Lancer." He continues. "The three Knight Class's would have been able to kill their target without leaving any signs that they were there, besides a body. That leaves two potentials."
"Berserker and Rider." Armsmaster finished, nodding.
A brief look of annoyance came over Caster, before the old man continued. "Indeed. And of the two, Rider seems less likely- After all, why would someone waste their Prana by manifesting their mount for a simple kill like this?"
Armsmaster took note of what Caster was saying, going over the facts of the situation.
Seven Servants. Saber, Archer, Lancer, Rider, Caster, Berserker and Assassin. Apparently summoned by a 'Holy Grail,' which is claimed to be a wish-granting artifact. Each Servant needs to rely on a 'Master'- Someone who has been 'Chosen' by the Holy Grail, and given means to control their Servants- Such as Armsmaster himself.
The first usage of that term had sparked some confusion in the PRT offices.
According to Caster, an examination on the Grail's 'Magic Signature,' as he called it, shows that it had used great amounts of 'Prana' fives times at this point. Caster believes that each of these represents a Servant summoning, unless one use was to mark people with Command Seals. That meant that there were four or five beings, on the level of a high-ranking Parahuman, running about. Which ones were unknown, besides Caster, and now, apparently, Berserker.
Frankly, had Armsmaster not simply awoken with most of this information when he woke with his Command Seals, he wouldn't have believed it. As it was, he somewhat suspected that a Master-type Parahuman could have faked the information somehow.
Focusing, Armsmaster turned back to Caster. "We weren't sent to just examine the corpse." The Cape reminds the self-proclaimed spellcaster. "Anyone could do that. We're here to see if you can pick up any 'Prana Signatures.'"
Caster nodded. "Yes, yes, I've done that. We're too late, I'm afraid. Not enough Prana used, so the signature faded quickly. I have my demons scouting around for any traces nearby, but don't get you-"
Caster cuts off, looking to the side.
"What is it?" Asked Armsmaster.
"One of my demons just died, few blocks from here. Another was nearby, and saw the attacker. It's a Servant."
Armsmaster needed no further prodding to leap into action.
He couldn't fight the Servant- His brief spar with Caster earlier had shown him how poorly he ranked against a Servant not meant to fight in melee- But if he could just see the Servant, get a picture of them, then the Protectorate would know more then they do now.
And if there were civilians nearby...
Armsmaster shook his head, and turned on his communicator as he ran. "Dauntless, are you there?"
"I'm here." Replied the hero. "What's up?"
"Caster's found a Servant, attacking his creatures."
Before Dauntless replied, Caster broadcasted a thought at Armsmaster. 'Turn left here, then right after a block. You'll see where to go from there.'
A moment passed as Armsmaster ran, calling in backup. Then, Armsmaster arrived.
The blue-haired warrior snarled, surrounded by Caster's dead demons. He held a red spear, which he was in the process of pulling out of a demon's skull.
Then, the man saw Armsmaster, and roared.
The ground around the warrior cracked, dust and dirst being thrown into the air, before Armsmaster suddenly found himself looking at the sky.
Armsmaster took a fraction of a second to realise that one of Caster's demons was lying on top of him, and another to realise that it was missing most of it's body mass.
Did the warrior do that? Armsmaster didn't even have time to see him move, and yet...
He heard a clash, and threw the demon off of him for a better look.
The blue-haired beast of a man had already killed several more of Caster's demons, and the Servant of Magic kept conjuring more.
Armsmaster kept his eye on the fight, the camera in his helmet recording the fight.
After a few moments, the spearman stopped fighting, then disappeared.
Armsmaster blinked, and turned to Caster.
"He's gone." Confirmed the Servant. "Astralised, and leapt away. His Master must have wanted to preserve Prana."
Ah, yes. 'Prana.' The term that Caster used for Magical Energy, which Servants apparently gain from their Masters.
Armsmaser turned back to the street. "We should get back to base." He said. "Go over the footage I got. If I can get enough from it, I might be able to-"
He was cut short by a scream.
Caster vanished- Astralised- Instantly, and Armsmaster began running for the source.
He worked out what had happened as soon as he entered the house.
Furniture knocked over everywhere. Red painting the walls. The sobbing dark-haired girl kneeling by a corpse.
The blue-haired Servant had been here.
Another life had been taken.