Author's Note: Here's the eleventh chapter. It's a two-part set.
Of Relics and Men-Chapter 11
Kirei dreamed of a girl.
From the very start, she didn't know her real name or early memories. Those things had been stripped away from her by the training of the organization. She had lost her sense of self to become a nameless killer who adopted the identity of another.
This was the resolve of the order. To sacrifice their humanity for their beliefs.
Her earliest memories were that of training in the mountain fortress, of going through tests that would have killed an average human. All in the effort to shape a perfect assassination weapon. Watching the girl in his dream, Kirei could only compare the girl's training with his own. Daggers, physical and mental exercises, and other things too.
It was more than honing skills. The organization modified her body. They cut her open and injected her with strange drugs to make her into a lethal existence. It was an effort to reproduce the Visha Kanya of Indian Mythology. The plan succeeded. She became a lump of poison that took the form of a human being. Everything about her became a lethal poison capable of felling humans and beasts. Her hair, mucus, saliva, and nails were all highly toxic.
Indeed she became an existence of death.
When it came time to choose the next generation of Hassan-I-Sabbah, she was the best choice to lead the order. Unlike the previous holders of that title, she did not lose her face. Behind that skull mask, she could assume the appearance of a young girl once more. The western knights had entered the Holy Land from across the sea. In addition to that, other factions within her religion opposed her sect. Other men just posed a danger to the plans of the order. All of these humans were people that must be killed. That was her doctrine, to kill any that opposed her organization.
Kirei then saw her in other places, infiltrating fortresses and palaces to kill generals and kings. He saw her beckon to men and then embrace them, her lethal body killing them in seconds of contact. He saw her disguise herself as a mere girl, entering into people's lives as a fiancée or lover.
He saw this again and again.
While she was indeed an excellent assassin, she felt no happiness at doing this. Time and again she built up a false sense of joy for herself and then stole it away with her own hands. Her most significant strength was also her greatest weakness. Right, she could become a lethal existence, but she was also a human being. She was also a woman. She could not feel the touch of a friend or lover. She could not experience the embrace of other people like normal humans could.
It was unbearable loneliness.
It gnawed at her and drove her into despair.
Then, in the end, she finally died. While the records of the order officially recorded her as being discovered and killed in one of her missions, the truth was much different. In that sense, it could be said that she failed as a Hassan. She had been sent to kill a famous general in the Holy Land. After she had been brought to his tent, she revealed herself as an assassin. To his astonishment, she had begged him to kill her so she could end this miserable existence. He did not do so. Instead, he had his guards take her away instead of killing her.
But in the end, she still died by another's hand.
By the hand of that existence.
The first Hassan, the assassin who was the ultimate executioner, the one to finally come for a Hassan if they failed their duties. She could only remember his terrifying skull-masked features and his fearsome longsword. She could remember the look of judgment in his gaze as he beheaded her.
"So, it is Serenity. What hast thou protected with that body soaked with poison? A loneliness that could not even protect a flower blooming in the wilds? Such idiocy. -Hand over thy head."
Yes, she had died like that and become a Heroic Spirit Candidate that was part of the Hassan-i-Sabbah identity. That was why she answered the call of the Grail this time, to bring some of that happiness to herself and find someone who could touch her.
Kirei woke up in a cold sweat as he rolled over on his bed.
He was resting in the basement of an abandoned warehouse that was protected by a series of Bounded Fields. It wasn't like his father's property at the Church, but it would suffice for a field headquarters. The Executor checked the clock. It was almost dark, and Tokiomi's plan would soon proceed. The priest and Assassin would quickly move out and assist Tokiomi in Lancer's assault on the Einzbern castle. It was time for the Tohsaka camp to take the offensive.
Even then his mind wandered back to the dream he had experienced. It was Assassin's past. The priest had seen everything in her short life, from her training to her death. He had seen all her triumphs and failures. She was a lonely existence, searching for someone who could give her joy. Kirei was disturbed on just how much that was similar to him and yet was entirely different. He tried to love and had failed at it.
She was an existence cursed by her own body to find no happiness.
He was an existence cursed by his own nature to find not happiness.
Kirei almost wanted to laugh bitterly in irony at how it turned out.
He cleared of his mind to that and then opened his mind to Assassin.
''Assassin,'' he called to her.
''Yes Master?'' came the reply from Assassin.
''Go rendezvous with me at the location my teacher had given us. It's time for us to enact that plan,'' he told her.
Kirei moved up and began to prepare himself.
Night fell over the Einzbern castle as Servant Lancer materialized out of spiritual form. Nearby stood Kirei and Assassin who had emerged out of the shadows. This place is located was thirty kilometers west of the Fuyuki city limits.
''Father Kotomine, do you understand your role?'' Lancer glanced at the priest.
''Of course. I will circle out in the back and shadow you with Assassin,'' Kirei nodded mechanically.
The plan was to have Lancer launch a frontal assault on the Einzbern defenses and smash his way through into the castle to challenge Saber. Assassin would maneuver from the rear and try to target any enemy Masters to make things easier for Lancer.
It was a straightforward and bold plan, but Tokiomi had felt he had collected enough information on Saber and Archer to attack. The wind Noble Phantasm that Saber had wasn't nearly enough to defeat Lancer and Tokiomi felt confident ofhis Servant's chances against Archer. Rider had already revealed his trump card and was commanded by an inferior Master.
Of course, there was also an ulterior motive. As far as Tokiomi knew, the Einzbern Grail vessel was also at the castle and acting as Saber's Master. Acquiring her would be a necessary step in materializing the Greater Grail and granting his wish. Before he could do that, Saber had to be defeated. Tokiomi had already issued the appropriate orders to his allies that she was to be taken alive if possible.
Tokiomi did not want to end up in a situation like the last war when the Grail Vessel had been destroyed, and the war had been inconclusive. No, he had planned far too much to fail here, and he would not give up.
''Very well. My Master is also ready. Let us begin,'' the golden-armored demigod told Kirei.
With a curt command from Tokiomi, Lancer set off into the Einzbern forest, triggering the Bounded Field surrounding the place, leaving both Kirei and Assassin alone in the outer clearing at the forest edge.
There was brief silence for a few moments as Assassin studied her Master and wondered what his next move would be.
''Assassin?'' Kirei spoke suddenly to his Servant.
''Master?'' Assassin replied somewhat cautiously.
''Adhere to that plan for now, but your primary task is to keep Servant Saber or the enemy Master from interfering in my progress,'' Kirei responded in a monotone, staring ahead as he did so.
''I understand,'' she said quietly.
''If you encounter the Einzbern homunculus, then simply cut her tendons with your daggers. Do not touch her. I will retrieve her by hand when you disable her,'' Kirei instructed her.
With that, he flexed his arms and watched Assassin disappear into the darkness of the forest. With her operating with her Independent Action skill, Kirei now had full access to his Magic Circuits.
Soon he would encounter Kiritsugu Emiya.
Irisviel doubled over briefly.
''Irisviel?'' Saber looked at her in concern.
Both she and Saber were seated in one of the dining rooms of the Einzbern castle. Kiritsugu and Maiya were also present, making preparations for another sally. Kiritsugu intended to go after Archer and his master, Kayneth, anticipating that they might make a move now that Caster had been defeated.
''I'm fine,'' Irisviel nodded.
It wasn't quite the whole truth. The homunculus woman had been feeling dizzy and weak ever since she had taken in the soul of Caster who had been defeated by Rider. That would be only the start of her gradual loss of humanity. The sharp feeling of sudden shock wasn't related to that. No, it was part of something else in the castle defenses.
''We have intruders. Kiritsugu, they're coming,'' Irisviel gasped out, looking over the crystal ball in the center of the room.
On the ball, it showed the golden form of Servant Lancer heading towards the Einzbern castle. His intentions were unmistakable. With Caster defeated it seemed the Tohsaka camp intended to take the fight to the Einzberns.
''He will not reach the castle,'' promised Saber as he equipped himself with his armor. Without even waiting for a word from Kiritsugu he moved out of the room like the wind, off to challenge Lancer once more.
Kiritsugu didn't respond to his Servant's rapid exit but instead turned to Maiya.
''If Lancer is here then that means that Tohsaka will soon be unguarded,'' Kiritsugu nodded.
''We can try to move quickly and take him out while his Servant is occupied,'' Maiya realized.
''What about Kotomine?'' Maiya put forth her opinion. She knew very what that Kiritsugu had his doubts over Kotomine's alleged fallout with his teacher Tokiomi. If he was present with Assassin at the Tohsaka house, then they had to be very careful.
The Magus Killer paused.
''We'll deal with that when it comes,'' Kiritsugu nodded.
He put on a mask of ice when he said that, but inside he was filled with trepidation. That man might be coming to the battlefield, the man who must not be allowed to meet with Kiritsugu. In other words, the only Master that Kiritsugu feared.
It was a coincidence that Berserker spotted the form of multiple Servants in the forest.
Initially, he had arrived at the Einzbern forest to spy on Saber and his Master. Then the Bounded Field surrounding the castle had been breached by the arrival of another Servant and Berserker had discreetly followed.
Master, I detect many other Servants here. Berserker reported over his mental link to his Master. Kariya was somewhere in the city limits, hidden safely away.
Saber should be here. If Tokiomi's Servant here? Is Tokiomi here? Kariya asked him.
I don't know about the latter. I believe Saber and Lancer are here, Berserker admitted.
There was silence over the mental link.
Do you want me to remain silent and merely observe Master? Berserker asked again.
No. this situation looks to be chaotic, but we might be able to take down an enemy Servant or a Master if you attack after they've exhausted their magical energy from fighting the others. Kariya noted.
As a member of the Matou clan, he was aware of the Einzbern family and their role as one of the Three Families of the Beginning. At the very least, they would be a formidable obstacle in his quest to gain the Holy Grail and to free Sakura.
Wait for a bit and then use your Noble Phantasm to go on a rampage. Hyde won't follow orders after you transform. I'll try and guide his rampage with my Command Spells. Kariya ordered his Servant.
''Very well,'' Berserker nodded to himself.
The silver lining at least was that there would be a minimal chance of collateral damage in this deserted forest. So he could unleash Hyde without having to worry about any bystanders nearby. The situation up ahead was chaotic, but there was also a good chance of victory for Berserker, especially if Kariya could use his Command Spells to strengthen Berserker's abilities for a killing blow. If he attacked from behind, taking out Saber or Archer wasn't a fantasy.
Berserker paused as he glanced at the tall form of the Einzbern Castle that was illuminated by the moonlight. In the back of his mind, he could feel Hyde stirring with anticipation of the violence to come. The madman yearned to be let out.
''Not yet,'' he murmured as he withdrew his Noble Phantasm from his coat.
He thought back to that young girl Sakura who was being horrifically abused in the basement of the Matou house. Even if Berserker was torn apart by his insanity, also if his Master Kariya fell into hatred and jealousy, the blonde-haired youth felt at the very least he should fight for that girl Sakura. Secretly, Berserker wanted to ask his old friend Sherlock Holmes what to do. The great detective could always find a situation to any dilemma or problem no matter how arcane or complicated it was. The detective's wise words had comforted Berserker during his lifetime.
If he was here now, then Berserker felt confident everything could be resolved.
But he wasn't, and now Berserker had to proceed to the battlefield.
Lancer moved through the Einzbern forest quickly, running past the trees with swift and elegant movements. Up ahead he could see the tall form of the Einzbern castle rise above the forest. Its windows were dark, but that it didn't necessarily mean that nobody was at home. It was a towering stately construction that would have been more at home in the forests of Europe than in the woods of a backwater Japanese city. Even so, Lancer thought it had an imposing presence to it. He detected the presence of a Servant not far off.
From his Master's words, Lancer understood that he had already passed through the detection barrier that the Einzberns had put into place around the castle, so the Einzbern Master most likely knew that he was coming.
Up ahead he saw the gates of the majestic stone castle, and he promptly smashed them open with one mighty blow from his lance, splintering the entrance into fragments of wood. Moving into the main hall, he was abruptly blindsided by an explosion. Shrapnel and steel filled the air as a trap was triggered by Lancer's forceful entry. Of course, such measures were worthless against a Servant, let alone a first-rate Servant like Lancer. Instead, this was a measure intended against enemy Masters
What did that say about Saber's Master? Lancer wondered briefly before his thoughts were interrupted by the arrival of another Servant.
Saber descended from the upper balcony with one swift movement, already fully armored and ready to meet Lancer. The winds billowed around his invisible sword in a fierce gale, sending tables and ornaments flying over the place.
''Saber. I see you detected me,'' Lancer's gaze spotted the silver knight.
''Lancer! Your advance stops here!'' Saber told him with a resolute look on his face, bringing his invisible sword around for a strike.
An immense amount of mana filled the air, signaling Saber's intent to use his Noble Phantasm. Like a dragon's roar, the wind of Saber's blade filled the entrance way. Lancer moved forward, his divine spear at the ready.
''Strike Air!'' Saber roared, activating his Noble Phantasm. Invisible Air: Hammer of the Wind King.
Like a burning comet, Lancer met the blade of wind head-on. He activated his Prana Burst, shrouding himself in flames as he accelerated the speed of his charge to try and get a quick blow on Saber. The cyclone of air would be a useful attack against a regular Servant, but against Lancer it merely served to knock him to the side and into one of the walls without doing any real damage.
Lancer rebounded, spear in hand, when he moved to meet Saber, who was standing resolutely in the middle of the room with his sword glowing.
''Ah, I see who you are now,'' the golden spearmen commented, feasting his eyes on the glowing holy sword in front of him.
That particular sword was much too famous and no Heroic Spirit worth their legend could mistake its divine radiance for anything other than the blade that stood at the apex of holy swords. In other words, this was the Noble Phantasm, Excalibur, the symbol of King Arthur.
While they had lived in different lands and in different times, Lancer understood the story of King Arthur from the knowledge he had gained in the Throne of Heroes. Anecdotes of the dragon-bodied King of Knights who had fought in many great battles and met a tragic downfall. Very likely this was the most famous hero of England that was standing before him.
''That was reckless of you King Arthur, to expose your true Noble Phantasm so quickly,'' Lancer commented.
''Perhaps, but against an opponent like you, it's the only prudent option,'' Saber commented, bringing up his sword that was now glowing gold from a torrent of magical energy. With that Lancer could only nod in affirmation. That was the correct move to display the sword's true power against an opponent like Lancer. With that the solar demigod launched forward, his lance stabbing forward to match Saber's blade as the two engaged in their second duel of the war. Sword and spear intertwined as Lancer pressed forward his attack with the intent of killing the silver warrior before him.
Anyone seeing the sight would have been in awe at the mighty clash of the Heroic Spirits before him. Saber leaped back up the stairs as Lancer drove him back step by step and into the upper corridors of the Einzbern Castle. Debris and fragments of stone flew everywhere from the sheer aftermath of their strikes against one another.
Irisviel took another gasp of air, trying to push her body to move along.
True she had absorbed a Servant so far, but with Avalon's support, she was able to keep on moving despite having Caster within her. Though if things kept up for this long, she might experience additional strain on her body's physiology.
Irisviel and Maiya were moving up north from the Einzbern castle, away from the direction where Lancer had arrived. Kiritsugu had already issued orders for them to get away from the castle while Kiritsugu deployed on the battlefield. Once Maiya was able to ensure Irisviel's safety, she would loop back and rejoin Kiritsugu on the battlefield. Just the thought of her husband entering the battlefield filled Irisviel's heart with worry. Undoubtedly there would be enemy Masters nearby. She had barely time to witness Saber leave to fight Lancer before she had to go. It had her wondering what other foes were out there.
As if to answer her question, someone else appeared.
''Saber's Master I presume?'' a young girl's voice filled the forest.
Irisviel and Maiya stopped to see a white skull seemingly floating in the trees ahead of him. Though she had not seen the Servant in person before, Irisviel could readily identify that this was Servant Assassin. The white skull mask made it obvious. The form of a slender young girl emerged from the darkness, a pair of daggers held in each of her hands. She tilted her head quizzically as she regarded Irisviel and her bodyguard. Maiya stood between them, her assault rifle raised in defiance.
''Aren't you going to call for Saber with a Command Spell?'' Assassin interjected.
She had deliberately revealed herself and confronted them. Otherwise, neither Irisviel or Maiya would have been able to locate Assassin who possessed the Presence Concealment ability. If she had wanted to kill Irisviel, she could have done so.
Irisviel didn't reply to Assassin's question. Instead, the only reply was from Maiya's gun.
Maiya understood that this was a hopeless battle for her. Her weapons couldn't hurt a Servant, and even she or Kiritsugu couldn't handle a Servant in combat. To attack Assassin was therefore much the same as committing suicide. However Kiritsugu had charged her with Irisviel's protection, and she would not betray his trust like that.
The muzzle flash of the Calico M950 lit up the night as the bullets sped towards Assassin.
A second later and Maiya's severed hand dropped to the ground, the finger still squeezing the trigger of her assault rifle, sending bullets out to impact the undergrowth. Neither Maiya or Irisviel could comprehend the speed of Assassin's attack as she moved forward across the clearing at an extreme dash and promptly severed Maiya's hand with one swift movement from the white dagger in her hand.
Maiya's scream of pain filled the air as she dropped to her knees, the agony of her injury overriding any other feeling. Assassin paused to look at her for a moment, regarding her with that skull white mask as she registered Maiya's injury. Most likely Assassin could have easily killed Maiya with her dagger, just by going for the throat or heart instead of her hand. For some reason, Assassin held off on shooting Maiya she did not regard Maiya as a threat?
''I would like to restrict collateral damage for now. The next time I will kill you. If you hurry you might be able to survive with that wound,'' Assassin commented in a dispassionate tone as she turned her attention to Irisviel.
Then Assassin felt a dull impact on her back. She glanced behind her to see that Maiya had stabbed a combat knife into her back, trying to take her out. It was a futile gesture against a Servant. Conversely, it had instead spelled Maiya's death.
''That was foolish. You should have run away,'' Assassin said softly to her assailant.
''Ahh...'' a gasp of pain escaped from the mercenary woman's mouth as she stumbled.
Not only was she bleeding out from her wound, but she had also been exposed to the virulent toxins of Assassin's body. Maiya's corpse crumpled to the ground. A mask of concern and fear had plastered itself over Irisviel's face as she took a step back, watching Assassin warily. On the other end of the exchange, Assassin moved silently, but slowly, regarding Irisviel with interest.
''I'll ask you again, where's Saber? Shouldn't you as his Master…'' Assassin wondered.
The white skull mask paused and looked her over.
''You aren't Saber's Master,'' Assassin noted after a moment. If Irisviel was Saber's Master than Saber would already be here, called forth by the thaumaturgical miracle of the Command Spells. Surely that would be the rational course of action to take for a Master. That had not occurred.
The homunculus did not respond to that. Instead, she drew forth her alchemic wires and brought forth an instant construct of wires.
''I might not be skilled in battle, but I know a few tricks!'' Irisviel responded with a false smile of confidence on her face. A fake smile to mask her inner terror. Around her, she shaped the birds of prey with artificial beaks and talons. This was the magecraft foundation that she had inherited from Justeaze, the ability to create and manipulate matter.
''Shape ist Lieben!'' she chanted.
Of course, even this too was a farce. The Einzberns were not skilled in combat and Irisviel would be unlikely to beat an experienced mage at a fight, let alone a Servant like Assassin. So it was that when the birds dove in, Assassin hardly bothered to react. With slight movements, Assassin quickly dodged the first two birds with utter ease. Swaying in the night, she avoided another strike, and then another when Irisviel reconfigured the birds into swords and tried to attack her again.
Then, when Assassin had become sufficiently bored with the fight, she tossed a pair of dirks at the homunculus, cutting the tendons on her hands with one practiced movement. With a cry of pain, Irisviel disengaged her magecraft. Then another pair of dirks followed, and Irisviel fell to the ground, the tendons on her legs cut. With all of her limbs disabled, she was easy prey for Assassin.
The skull mask loomed over her.
''Do not worry homunculus. You are the Grail Vessel, and I would prefer to take you alive until I need to manifest the Grail,'' Assassin told Irisviel, recalling her orders.
She stood over Irisviel, a dagger raised in her hands. She could not touch Irisviel, but she would immobilize her for Kirei to capture later.
''Of course, if you don't have limbs anymore, that's also fine by me,''
Before Assassin could do anything else, a silver streak darted through the night. Twisting around, Assassin barely avoided the arrow that would have struck her spiritual core. Instead, it tore through her side. Poisonous blood spilled to the earth below.
In a purple flash, Assassin landed several feet away as she and Irisviel stared at the figure who had entered the battlefield.
''Servant Assassin I see. I'm glad I found you,'' Archer gave a smile as he prepared to nock another arrow in his bow.
Kirei proceeded on foot outside the Einzbern castle. In the distance, he could detect the sounds of battle, the faint rumbling as if from some explosion that had been set off from inside the castle. Doubtlessly anyone outside of the Einzbern's Bounded Fields wouldn't have noticed it. If his guess was accurate, then Kiritusgu Emiya would be escorting the Einzbern Master. Doubtlessly the Einzbern Master recognized the danger that Lancer presented. Here Kirei hoped to catch Kiritsugu and submit to him the questions he needed to be answered.
Of course, Kirei's thoughts were interrupted by a blade of wind.
''Ariel!'' a voice cried out in the nice.
Only Kirei Kotomine well-honed battle instincts that saved him from being sliced in half. The wind-spell, a one-line aria, sliced through the tree trunk behind him in a single gust. As Kirei felt the backdraft, he pulled out his Black Keys, three in each hand, and got ready.
''I see, it's the dog of the Church. I was hoping for the Einzbern woman, or Tokiomi Tohsaka,'' the voice continued as a figure stepped forward. Kirei recognized the pale, pointed features of Kayneth Archibald as he stepped into the moonlight. Of course, Kayneth had cast the wind spell. Lord Archibald specialized in wind and water magecraft.
Kirei had never actually met Kayneth before, but Tokiomi's overseas spies and Assassin's observations had yielded a wealth of information on the blue-suited magus. He was probably the most powerful magus in this contest. His teacher Tokiomi considered him a threat in a duel of magecraft, but that was the only natural considered how well El-Melloi's water magecraft countered Tokiomi's fire element.
The Lord El-Melloi had chosen this night to attack the Einzbern castle, and in doing so, he had inevitably crossed paths with the priest who was also on the prowl outside the Castle. Kayneth had also dispatched Archer to run interference against enemy Servants while he engaged the Masters in duels of magecraft. Of course, Kirei had no interest in Kayneth nor did he especially desire to fight him but to reach Kiritsugu Emiya he had to go through Archibald first.
''Still, I suppose you're better than no prey at all,'' the blue-suited magus noted, pouring down a vial of liquid from his hand.
''Fervor, mei sanguis,'' he smirked, casting another aria.
Kirei saw the liquid mercury flow and reform into a new shape around Kayneth. In a moment Kirei realized that this was Kayneth's Mystic Code, some liquid mercury weapon that he was controlling via magecraft.
''Now scalp!'' Kayneth smirked as he commanded his Mystic Code to launch forward.
A silver blade moved in the moonlight to slice Kirei in half, but he avoided it and then launched a pair of Black Keys at Kayneth. Like two bullets, the sacraments reached Kayneth only to be halted against a solid silver wall as Kayneth's Mystic Code reformed to protect against those blades. Volumen Hydrargyrum: Marrow of the Moon Spirit, a fantastic weapon capable of both excellent offense and defense. If Kirei was guessing right, this was the pinnacle of El-Melloi's magecraft.
To be perfectly frank, Kirei had never faced anything like it before.
True, regarding pure magecraft, Kayneth as far superior as a mage. Conversely, Kirei was an Executor, an assassin trained to fight and kill mages. Even with such a fantastic weapon at his command, this was still within the parameters of Kirei's expectations. He would be running into Lord El-Melloi's battle array of magecraft, but that was something he could anticipate.
''Impudent fool!'' the mage before him snarled as another silver whip sliced through the forest at Kirei, who dodged again, the tree trunk beside him separating into two pieces. With inhuman speed, he charged forward, Black Keys held at a ready.
A trio of Black Keys tore through the air as the mercury blob around Kayneth reformed in response. A shell of silver metal now protected the noble from Kirei's attack. That was what the priest expected as he closed within striking distance of El-Melloi. Inches before his fist would have hit the mercury shell around the magus; blades pushed out from the metal shell, the blonde man beneath the armored barrier shaping the mercury blob into a spiked shell to repel his attacker. Spikes pierced Kirei's knuckles as he hastily retreated.
''Scalp!'' Kayneth commanded once more as the blob reconfigured into a horizontal buzzsaw and whipped out, something that Kirei avoided by leaping into the air, the silver blades shaving a few hairs from his head.
He landed five meters away from El-Melloi, his Executor training keeping the pain of his mutilated fist at bay. Without changing his expression, he threw another pair of Black Keys at Kayneth, forcing him to shift his attention to his defense. Then Kirei turned his attention to his wounded and bleeding arm, casting healing magecraft on it to reknit the broken bones and close the wounded flesh before him. It would take a bit before he could use that arm to its full functionality.
His attack had been foiled, but that too was fine, all he had to do was adjust his speed. The priest pushed his perfectly trained body to the limit. What he merely needed to do is adapt his next attack to try to surpass Volumen Hydrargyrum and open up a single opening to strike at Kayneth.
His next series of attacks should prove to be the final ones on the blue-suited Master.
Another pair of silver blades whipped through the air, tearing up the ground as Kayneth tried to kill Kirei once more. Without missing a beat, the priest dodged one and then roundhouse kicked the other silver tentacle away with a Bajiquan technique. Kayneth stood dumbfounded at the absurd physical prowess of the priest before him. It was true that he had never fought Executors before, but even still he was confident in his ability to quickly end this. Matching wits against a dog of the Church had been one of his hopes in life, as another dash of battlefield glory to add to his prestige.
It seemed the Church's killers lived up to their fearsome reputation, he mused.
For a moment he considered using a Command Spell to call Archer to his side and kill the priest before him. Even an Executor couldn't survive against a powerful Servant like Archer in combat. He quickly dismissed the idea. That would defeat the entire point of why he entered the Holy Grail War in the first place, to prove his superior magecraft abilities on the battlefield.
Kayneth's Magic Circuits burned at maximum in his body as he shifted all his magical energy to maximize Volumen Hydrargyrum's next attack to kill the insolent priest in front of him. Right now for him, everything was being pushed to their maximum.
That was what ended him.
The noble lord didn't even feel the bullet enter his skull and exit from his temple, spraying his brain matter all over the ground. After a moment the Mercury blob fell apart and splashed the ground as Kayneth's swaying corpse soon followed. The liquid mercury of Volumen Hydrargyrum did try to block the shot, but the bullet that had been fired was no ordinary bullet. Instead, it was a Conceptual Weapon, a weapon crafted from one's Origin and fired against a magecraft defense. It went through a weak point as Kayneth focused everything on the priest in front of him.
With a mixture of astonishment and hope, Kirei beheld the figure of Kiritsugu Emiya standing before Kayneth's corpse, a smoking Thompson Contender held in one hand and a grim look on his face.
Kirei had finally achieved his true objective here.
Author's Note: So Kayneth and Maiya are dead, and Kiritsugu and Kirei confront each other.
I took a bit of liberty in Serenity's past, as we don't know much about how she became what she was, so I tried to make it as vague as possible. The line in her flashback is King Hassan's line to her in Grand Order if you have them both. It's heavily implied that King Hassan was the one to execute her in life.