The following story contains spoilers for Fate/Grand Order.
Knowledge of Singularity Babylonia's story is necessary for full appreciation, but this piece is designed to give the general outline of what transpired. Babylonia Singularity remains relatively the same as the original. Almost all of the canon scenes occur, but many are not shown. There will be some obvious changes, but nothing as drastic as Their Guiding Light. Instead, there will be lots of new scenes and different perspectives since this is not a full retelling.
In addition, this is a supplement work for my main series, Fragments of Chaldea, and reading everything up to Fragment 47 is also highly suggested for better comprehension and understanding. Some relations, concepts, and names will not make sense otherwise. Everything that applies to, and has happened over the course of, that collection applies here. It's background/foundation material.
You've been thoroughly warned, and with that, I hope you enjoy the journey ahead.
:¦:ЭЖФЖФЖЄ ( -I- ) ЭЖФЖФЖЄ:¦:
The gods kept hearing their complaints, so
the gods of the heavens implored the Lord of Uruk, Anu,
"You have indeed brought into being a mighty wild bull, head raised!
There is no rival who can raise a weapon against him.
His fellows stand, attentive to his orders,
Gilgamesh does not leave a son to his father,
day and night he arrogantly …
Is he the shepherd of Uruk-Haven?
is he their shepherd...?"
"Bold, eminent, knowing, and wise,
Gilgamesh does not leave a girl to her mother!?"
The daughter of the warrior, the bride of the young man,
Anu listened to their complaints,
and they called out to Aruru.
"It was you, Aruru, who created mankind,
now create a zikru to him.
Let him be equal to his stormy heart,
let them be a match for each other so that Uruk may find peace!"
~ Epic of Gilgamesh, Tablet 1
:¦:ЭЖФЖФЖЄ ( -II- ) ЭЖФЖФЖЄ:¦:
The Summoning Chamber was abuzz with excitement. Though much of the servant population was recovering from sustained injuries, many still formed an audience in the safe zone. It was only on select occasions did anyone come to watch a summoning, and it was always because it was a virtually guaranteed servant; No one wanted to watch a craft coin appear. A catalyst always promised a crowd, and all the eager chatter and banter that came with the pre-ceremony wait.
All sights and sounds were simply ignored by the most eager individual in the room.
With arms loose at his sides, Gilgamesh stood by the control panel of the Summoning Chamber. His clothes were different than his usual Chaldean choices, yet familiar to many thanks to the past few weeks. His golden hair hung loose yet glowed faintly in the dim room. Matching, traditional pants had gold and red accents which complimented the scarlet vest that exposed his well-toned chest. These reacquired possessions from Uruk were far from what he usually wore in Chaldea, but no one questioned it.
It was the day after they returned from the Seventh Singularity, and a grand occasion he would not miss for the world.
As the uniform-clad, orange-haired master checked the system readings nearby, the King of Heroes' red gaze remained focused. A fellow archer, who made glances at him from the other side of the female master, did not garner any angry glares for his peeks. As Tesla quietly adjusted the blue tie on his white dress shirt, he made yet another quick glance. Even as he reached into his dress pants to check his pocket watch's time, thus rustling its chain loudly, it seemed nothing could break the king's calm, quiet contemplation.
It was unusual for many to see Gilgamesh standing so regally, yet with an aura of tranquil anticipation. For the vast majority, the sight of a demeaning, arrogant king in golden armor was an occasional possibility within the walls of Chaldea. After the completion of the seventh singularity, they might have become only memories. Most could tell Chaldea's latest excursion had done much for the King of Heroes, but none could fathom to what degree. Many could only look upon him and wonder what the full extent of this possible change entailed. Some still believed he hadn't changed at all.
Almost everyone still left him alone, as they were conditioned to do so, lest they rouse the anger of the King of Heroes.
Gilgamesh continued to stare at the spot the chipper inventor at one of the podiums in the circular room. Dressed in her favorite renaissance attire, she hummed as she gingerly placed the last saint quartz for the system. Even if her movement enticed attention in his peripheral, his intense gaze could only see the catalyst he had placed himself. Though to many, it was but an elongated, black necklace with a golden tipped end, this was not the case for Gilgamesh. They knew for him, it was a priceless artifact beyond measure…
…but to sacrifice it for the Fate System, would bring back someone far more priceless. Da Vinci stood up. "Everything is in place, Gabrielle~!"
"Thanks, Da Vinci! Let's get this system fired up!" the female master replied. She took a small glance at the King of Heroes beside her, likely wondering, along with many, what could be racing through his mind.
With a hum, though he did not hear it, a chipper engineer returned from the center of the room. The necklace lay at the center, ready to be incinerated upon its acceptance into the system. Da Vinci briefly passed through his sight-line, but he did not move. The inventor and Gabrielle gave him a small glance, but he did not notice. As the caster began flipping the final switches to help the female master, the duo paused in their work to look at the archer. Finally, he stared back, as the gathered audience fell silent.
"Gilgamesh…" Gabrielle addressed before turning at the lone lever. One flip of its biometric switch, and the process would begin. She looked back into those intense, red eyes of the King of Heroes. "He's your friend… You should be the one to throw the lever."
There was a small pause, before Gilgamesh presented a proud yet appreciative smirk. "So it shall be… You have done well, Gabrielle. I will take it from here."
While wearing a pleasant smile, Gabrielle nodded and walked backwards as her side tail swished gently. With calm and regal steps, Gilgamesh stepped onto the small, elevated platform. He turned towards the panel and stared at the biometric lever waiting eagerly for him to do the honors. So many times it had been thrown, but this moment was different. Unlike the countless heroes before, this lever would now summon the only friend the King of Heroes ever had. All that time spent waiting… After everything he'd been forced to endure these past weeks…
Without any words of proclamation, Gilgamesh activated the system.
Humming at resonating frequencies, the saint quartz were absorbed into the pedestals and the process accelerated. Gilgamesh slowly stepped off the platform as the absorbed energy shot through the channels in the floor. The central sphere of energy formed, as did the Chaldean summoning circle on the floor. The archer walked before the console and stopped at the limits of the ritual, just as the orbs in the outer circle formed. Silence and stillness seized control as the system processed the final step.
Gilgamesh watched as the corded necklace, the mutual symbol of their friendship, was absorbed into the system. If there was any regret, it did not show on his face as the system reacted accordingly several seconds later. Excited murmurs came from the crowd as the orbs turned into a rainbow hue, signifying a servant's signature had been acquired. The orbs accelerated into their familiar dance, reflecting in the eyes of the archer as the sides of his mouth twitched.
Faster and faster the ritual spun. As the noise of its process turned deafening, the crescendo was played. The orbs collapsed into the center, ending the ritual and filling the room with blinding white light. Though a fair number closed their eyes, even if used to the occurrence, Gilgamesh was not one. His eyes remained focused at the center, where the orbs had only recently collapsed. There was nothing to see in the blinding light, but still he stared as the ritual completed. Several more seconds still needed to pass before the light faded, but it was clear he would not wait.
With a smile filled not with pride, but promise, the King of Heroes walked forward into the blinding light.
"Your majesty! Please return at once!" "Your majesty!" "Zakiti, have you seen where his majesty has vanished!?" "King Gilgamesh!"
With a tiny chuckle, the golden-haired king ran out of the bright interior of his palace into the warm, Babylonian night. A golden necklace of radial design adorned the top of his bare chest as the warm air brushed his pristine skin. The luxurious fabric of his khaki, regal wrap flapped as it occasionally clung to his running legs. Cuneiform text and golden accents raced along its edges, reflecting brighter than the rest of his garb in the bright night. Though he ran at speed, his sandals made little noise against the brick of the palace's upper balcony.
Though the young Gilgamesh's terraced home was leagues taller than most structures in his kingdom, it was made of roughly the same materials. The carefully sculpted brick and stone formed the flat edges of the countless buildings in Uruk. Square in design, the structures were easy to make for his people. Though some had aesthetic variation, like cloths, awnings, or several floors, they were simplistic and served their primary purpose. Everything under his rule had purpose to be followed, but he always permitted room for some freedom.
Even the child king himself loved to escape from his own responsibilities to enjoy himself. "Where does he always go!?" "Guards! Find the king!"
After a few key turns, jumps, and climbs, he had finally reached his personal perch. He sat casually atop one of the tallest support columns for his terraced palace, but out of prying eyes from all except the far away temple. With a smile, he continued to catch his breath as he brushed some of his loose, unspoiled hair to the side. Quietly, and with a content smile, he gazed around him at the kingdom he owned as it began to tuck in for the night. Under the glistening stars of the heavens, the night would soon fall quiet and the sea of torchlights would extinguish.
Many lights would remain, including his palace, but not enough to hinder his view at night. He slowed his breathing and fell quiet, allowing himself to fall back onto the flat brick of the roof. His breathing slowed, and his smile remained, while he appreciated the warm brick against his back. Quietly, he stared up at the night sky towards his favorite object to gaze upon. With a smile, he liked to pretend that the moon was smiling back down at him. Even as footsteps walked around the tower's balcony around him in a hurried search, he relaxed quietly.
"He's not here! Check the throne room once more!" "Why does he love playing these games at night?" "Your majesty? Where are you?"
There was plenty of room for him and several others to lounge, but he never thought to invite anyone to his secret spot. This was his own personal escape where he could appreciate the moon and stars of the heavens. It calmed him, and gave him a sense of tranquility he relished. To lie beneath the stars, with the gods likely watching, was a daily occurrence for the youthful king. Out here, among the countless stars that twinkled above, he could relax and wind down for the night.
Its only drawback was how lonely it made him feel.
Within the throne room or among his people who loved and served him, he was constantly in good company. The people of Uruk were hardworking and brave, and he was happy to be their king. Though he was often surrounded by many, it only served as a small distraction, and an occasional reminder, of how isolated he was. He ruled with efficiency and kindness, and they praised him for it, but no one truly understood him. Gilgamesh stood above them all as king, part human, and mostly divine. He ruled as he saw fit, but he also did it alone.
There was never anyone who could truly listen or understand him, and he wished for that to change.
With a sigh, as his smile had faded with the solemn thoughts, Gilgamesh stared up at the moon. Its fullness reflected in his red eyes, and he felt himself drawn to its simple existence among the stars. It was larger and brighter than the sprinkles of light that surrounded it, and its majesty was undoubted in the celestial sea. He was drawn to it far more than he thought, as he sent a soft smile its way. Slowly, he lifted one hand off of the warm roof, causing some of his golden bangles to clink together. His smile grew sad and yearnful, but his arm only raised further.
That small hand reached out towards the moon, with a small, hushed wish upon his lips.
:¦:ЭЖФЖФЖЄ ( -IV- ) ЭЖФЖФЖЄ:¦:
"Stop squandering my time!"
With his armored arm fully outstretched, two more blades rocketed from the portals of Gilgamesh's endless treasury towards their target. The large, dog-like beast of garnet and flaxen fur charged with a savage growl. Its primordial visage was enhanced with its viciously swiping tail, rune-like patterns, and maw of extraordinary fangs. Rippling with muscle, it only continued on its rampaging path towards its chosen victim, but the mouth would only taste its own blood. Pupil-less eyes reflected no concern, worry, or fear of death as the two swords sliced into its flank.
The Uridimmu would breath its last breathe in the amber light of the early morning sun.
With a blood curdling howl, the beast's body was torn asunder. As its blood sprayed into the air along with several shreds of fur and pieces, it disintegrated into the mana-rich air. The shower of golden dust gently floated into the air as it faded, only for another of the monster's kind to tear through the cloud of spiritual dust to charge at their quarry. It opened its mouth to roar, which allowed a golden lance to skewer it for a brief moment. Not a second later, the weapon detonated to kill the primordial entity instantly.
"Die quicker!" Gilgamesh roared as he turned to yet another Uridimmu among the ruins. Before he could open another portal, the beast turned its attention elsewhere and disappeared within the broken brick structures. With a frustrated growl, Gilgamesh narrowed his eyes. "You damned…"
The distant ambiance of combat echoed through the broken environment as his eyes scanned the ruins once more. No further beasts currently had the gall to approach him, but he could still sense many maneuvering through the desolate ruins. As Iskandar's retainer had predicted, the team's loud, widely scattered, and unpredicted entry had gathered much more attention than intended; Exiting leyshift nearly half a kilometer in the air tended to cause most to panic. It didn't help Helena had quickly summoned her unusual flying contraption to safely gather most of the team.
Besides him, there were some that didn't need the assistance. A crack of prana-infused lightning surged from a nearby structure's foundation to reveal the location of one such member. The beast's corpse tore through the last standing wall before dissipating into dust mid-flight. With a loud neigh, the giant warhorse followed after as its passenger sheathed his blade. No scratch marred his leather armor, and the small grin showcased he was more than just fine.
With his cape fluttering behind him, Iskandar turned to Gilgamesh and ushered his horse forward. As Bucephalus continued its calm trot, a beast burst from a nearby wall. Void of any hesitation or concern, Iskandar drew his blade again to cleanly slice the monster's neck. With his free hand, he redirected its momentum, forcing the beast on a new course over the King of Conquerors. It landed in a heap by a ruined wall across the street. The rest of his approach was peaceful.
"No plan survives first contact," Iskandar noted with a shake of his head while his horse stopped before Gilgamesh. He scratched his beard with a sigh. "Roman should have known it wouldn't be as simple as teleporting us into Uruk."
"The physician was wrong to assume. I should have words with him later about disappointing me, but it shall pass this time..."
Iskandar smirked. "Because you're back in your time."
Gilgamesh huffed as a portal appeared behind him, but paid no attention to its target. As the blade soared from the golden barrier, the King of Heroes narrowed his eyes and contemplated the situation around them. Considering this is the first time they've leyshifted this far back in time, mistakes were possible, but no landing team had ever found themselves in midair. It was clear something had intercepted them, and he wondered if it was that damned King of Magic again.
"I realize this is not Uruk, judging by your calm demeanor…" Iskandar began once more, but Gilgamesh only paid slight heed. "Do you know what town this is?"
He presented a slight scowl and huff, but he did not answer. Of course, he knew where they were. From the dense, mana-filled air to the small glimpses of what rested nearby, they were definitely somewhere in the vicinity. Though he did not travel far from Uruk, he still recognized the many tall landmarks such as the grand mountains and sprawling flatland of the Fertile Crescent. There were glimpses of things he did not recognize, like the vast rain forest or what appeared to be a massive wall. However, there was no mistaking the layout of this city he visited during his time…
"These derelict husks were supposed to be Babylon," Gilgamesh noted, making Iskandar tense.
"Then the King of Magic has already-" A portal opened, sending a lance past Iskandar to impale a charging beast. It quickly breathed its last.
Gilgamesh narrowed his eyes. "Uruk would not have fallen as easily."
His statement was absolute and without room for argument, but it voiced all the tension he held. These monsters were not like anything he had dealt with in his time, and he was aware even several warriors could not take them. Even his citizens could not last against these, and that's where his silent concern rested. Babylon had fallen, and there could be countless other Sumerian cities to have succumbed to the same fate. It was possible Uruk may be among them, or in danger of becoming one, but he refused to believe that.
For one, there were usually servants on both sides involved, not counting powerful individuals living in this time. He was among them, and hopefully, so was his dear friend. He was beyond eager to meet him once more, but they had to deal with this rabble first. It was likely they were also surrounding his kingdom if these numbers were any indication. His equal would undoubtedly be helping defend Uruk with his living self, and while he was curious about what dealing with the latter was like, it was a secondary thought.
There was much to be done, and an important reunion awaited. Time should not be wasted. "We will find Gudao and make haste to my city. I know the way from here."
Iskandar nodded simply as he watched a fireball slam into a distant beast. They began walking in that direction. "Is it far?"
"A day's travel, but far less by air. We will not sightsee." Without facing the final roving beast, he skewered it using a portal beneath its path.
There were no more discernible beasts nearby, so their walk would be undisturbed. "You can give me the tour of your kingdom after we've got our bearings."
The King of Heroes huffed. "I didn't need you to tell me that."
Silently and subtly, the pair glanced in the distant woods to what appeared to be a powerful signature, yet it did not feel like a servant. It was moving casually, even with these beasts roaming about, and was too far to read specifics. Whether it was hostile or not was uncertain, but it kept its distance for now. If it was a servant present, then there could be allied ones already defending whatever remained of humanity in this time. Hopefully the ones in Uruk were of passable quality for whatever situation was-
There was loud yelling nearly a kilometer in front of them, though barely a whisper even with their enhanced senses. "It's coming in fast!" "Move! Move!" "Senpai, hold on!"
Gilgamesh and Iskandar looked forward just as a comet slammed into the ruins in the distance, but any apprehension was temporary. The signal from their master's signature was still strong, so there was no need for concern. The other servant signatures of the landing team were also undisturbed, though the new arrival's own seemed troubled. It was strong, and definitely a servant, but the first landing team was just as mighty. With the King of Heroes present, they were indomitable.
"Oho? Maybe that newcomer is friendly."
"If not, I will not permit any further waste of time," Gilgamesh growled with narrowed eyes.
:¦:ЭЖФЖФЖЄ ( -V- ) ЭЖФЖФЖЄ:¦:
The control room was abuzz.
All monitors were filled with leyshift staff or programmed robots gathering data on the singularity now that vision had been established. Most were figuring out what had caused the mishap, while others were using the overhead scans to get the bigger picture of the area for strategic intel. They would also analyze any new monsters as soon as communication lines were solidified.
Roman paced back and forth nervously at the head console. His coat flapped gently as he walked, though Da Vinci paid the concerned man no heed. With determined eyes, her gloved fingers raced across the keys to find data for her own curiosities. The staff were handling the main issue fine, but there were many sights from the overhead scans that did not make any sense. This was hardly the first time there had been unusual developments in a singularity; They were anomalies, after all, and things were bound to get crazy.
Chaldea had opted for a staggered deployment in case something far worse happened, but they were at least on the ground and safe. Gabrielle's team, who was waiting in the Deployment Room to be shifted, would be sent as soon as the coast was clear. This included finding out what servant they had encountered once communication and more detailed visual observation was established. At the very least, this newcomer wasn't attacking them from what the overhead scans are showing.
Roman sighed. "Anishka! Has your team found out what happened?"
The dark-haired employee quickly nodded behind her console as her fingers continued to dance across the keyboard. "Acting Director Roman. The observation lenses are picking up a powerful shield surrounding Uruk. We presume this was the cause, but we're looking into it."
"Thank god Gudao loves having servants with flight capabilities…" Roman whispered as he flexed the fingers of one hand to calm himself. His fidgeting made Da Vinci pinch him. "Sorry… Thank you, Anishka. Ophelia, have you gathered enough data to figure out if-"
"Communication link zero-zero-two-alpha established on line seven," a robot interrupted as its three eyes shifted across its monitor.
Static broke through the speakers, drowning out the purr of thrusters, hum of electricity, and typing fingers. All eyes shot to the main monitor as the blue-tinted image of the master's face slowly appeared from the static wall. With every passing second, it grew exponentially more stable and vivid. "…R… Doc- …R-Ro… R-Roman! Doctor Roman!"
"Gudao!" Roman breathed in relief as the leyshift staff began clapping in relief. "You landed safely! I'm glad you're all okay!"
"The drop was a nice surprise…" Gudao chuckled with amusement before shaking his head. "There's a small break in the beast's assault. Mashu is setting up her shield to bring Gabby's team in safely, so I can help describe the encounter in the meantime."
"That can wait, Gudao, unless you forgot about the more pressing concern~!" Da Vinci smiled. "Like that servant that just landed at your location?"
Gudao looked off screen before looking back with slight hesitation. "Right. Ishtar's currently, um… talking… with that servant."
By the subtle sounds coming over his mic, it was clearly closer to bickering. But something was off… Roman folded his arms. "Do you have a possible identification?"
An indiscernible, female voice screamed something in the background. Gudao sighed, "… It's another Ishtar."
The staff began murmuring among themselves as Da Vinci giggled. Roman sighed and scratched the back of his head. "I see… Is she as friendly as ours?"
"… Um, partially?"
:¦:ЭЖФЖФЖЄ ( -VI- ) ЭЖФЖФЖЄ:¦:
"Silence! I just said you can't be me! I'm me, not you!" "Then you should be able to tell I'm just as divine as you!"
Brushing a bang of hair behind her ear, Mashu sighed in exasperation at the two arguing goddesses. Gudao sat behind her as he discussed with Roman, brushing parts of his now dusty master uniform with one hand. In front of the armored girl was her large shield, laid upon the ground in preparation to act as a landing beacon. Their new location within the crumbled walls of a former, large home served to keep them out of sight. The servants of their team, save for their Ishtar, were standing guard.
With a slow exhale, Lord El-Melloi II released the cigar smoke from his mouth. His red and gold coat waved gently as he stood watch on a ruined column. His eyes occasionally glanced towards Iskandar and Gilgamesh making their way towards the group with haste. They were still several hundred meters out, but the situation had calmed down considerably; A few choice attacks from the guarding servants ensured the current lull.
On another nearby column, the white-haired lancer kept watch in the opposing direction. Gudao and Mashu's shelter was the central point between Karna's post and the caster's, ensuring their safety while providing lines of sight across the sprawling, ruined city. With his golden lance calmly gripped in one hand, his eyes continued to scan every nook and cranny. His golden armor and pink accents should draw attention to him first, which was the idea; Any monsters attacking Karna weren't attacking Gudao.
"Just go fly off somewhere! It's not like we need you with me here!" "How dare you! Who are you to order me around!?"
It was hard to decide if the sight of Karna would draw their attention, or the arguing goddesses outside the ruined home. Helena leaned against its outer wall with crossed arms over her closed, black coat, clearly contemplating whether to intervene in the squabble. Despite countless experiences pulling apart Edison and Tesla, goddesses were on a whole different scale for the caster. She merely sighed and shook her head as her automata familiars gently floated nearby.
Helena looked dryly at the two. "Ishtar. It'd be better if we could get some info from her kindly before you shoo her away."
"Who are you to speak to a goddess like that!?" one twin-tailed goddess, who was clearly not theirs, spat with narrowed eyes.
"I was trying, Helena, until this insufferable copycat so rudely interrupted me!"
The opposing goddess scoffed with an angry glare. "Unbelievable! To think some aspect of me would overlook such an offense against the divine!"
With their foreheads now nearly touching, the Chaldean equivalent growled. "They treat me with respect and pay tribute with wonderful gifts!"
"Fallen to petty bribery too!?" she spat back, making Helena groan. "What miserable excu-"
A loud roar stopped her statement, swiftly followed by the approaching signature of the last Chaldean servant. She yelled loudly, "More beasts incoming!"
With several quick leaps, the mithril armor of the incoming lancer came into view. The Ishtars stopped their squabbling to gaze upon Brynhildr as she landed near them, her flowing white hair cascading around her. The opposing Ishtar stared a little longer at the Valkyrie, but the lancer had already spun in place in preparation to defend. With a quick glance, she eyed Karna as he leapt down to join her at the front, while Helena took her place in Karna's previous position.
"Mashu! Keep the shield set up! Roman! Get Gabby's team shifted in!" Gudao yelled from within the shelter.
"We'll finish this later…" the Chaldean Ishtar noted with a huff as the blue and gold curves of the Heavenly Boat Maanna took form beside her. The other Ishtar followed suit, but quickly grasped onto it in preparation for flight. Looking back at her counterpart, she gawked upon seeing the returning glare. "What are you doing!?"
"Leaving you all behind. I'm just going to forget any of this actually transpired, and I suggest you do too! One word of anything that happened to anyone, and I'll make all you weaklings disappear! So forget any of this occurred, and preferably die to the beasts!"
"Who are you calling weak!? We're the same ser-" With a giant burst of prana, the other Ishtar soared into the sky, leaving the Chaldean counterpart to stare incredulously at the quickly disappearing dot. "Y-You intolerable goddess! Was I really like you!?"
Brynhildr tossed a sympathetic smile towards the archer, but Karna remained resolute beside her. "Ishtar…"
The goddess growled. "Forget her! I'll just take my anger out on these annoying enemies! Six or seven should do!"
On cue, nearly forty burst from the forest ahead, charging at speeds much faster than the ones before it; There were still more pouring from the trees. Brynhildr and Karna's eyes widened momentarily in surprise, and far more controlled than Ishtar's shocked expression. "H-Hey! I said six or seven!"
:¦:ЭЖФЖФЖЄ ( -VII- ) ЭЖФЖФЖЄ:¦:
The beast's pincer maneuver was meaningless. "You worthless beasts! You dare charge at the king!? To waste my treasures on your filth!?"
There were many enemies, but it was pointless. No matter the number, they were but mice before the King of Heroes as his portals spewed weapon after weapon. One Uridimmu was speared by two lances, while another exploded as an axe impacted its torso. There were many, but their numbers were thinning fast before his onslaught. They did not die as fast as his patience.
Gilgamesh growled with arms folded over the front of his golden armor. There was temporary pride and satisfaction from Gudao's recent telepathic message, only for it to be dashed by the beasts' decision to attack only moments later; Uruk was well protected and safe, but these monsters still tried his patience. He was already growing tired of that irredeemable caster's handiwork, which these ravaging beasts clearly were.
As an Uridimmu turned a corner behind him, it was pinned to the ground by a halberd shot from a portal above it. Gilgamesh spared no glance.
They dared to ransack across the lands of his era and threaten his kingdom, worsening his far recently irritable mood. His mind had already been overflowing with irritable memories from his childhood that bristled with newfound clarity; He regretted grabbing that memorial essence. He was far too naïve back then, and the memories served very little save for reminding him of treasures long forgotten within the vault. Those newfound tools were of little compensation for the headaches caused by that damn orb.
The sooner the two were done with these beasts, the faster they could be on their way to Uruk. The quicker they arrived... the earlier he might be able to see his friend again. He was not worried for him, since he could easily hold his own against something as petty as this, but he did not wish to delay. All urgency for his kingdom's safety was replaced with the eagerness of possibly seeing his equal soon.
As the rider appeared from a nearby alley, Iskandar cleaved an incoming beast with his sword, sending its severed halves to the ground below. He braced himself as Bucephalus landed hard on another, shattering its spine with an audible crunch. While the two began to dissipate, three more charged at him. He simply grinned as Gilgamesh passed a glance his way.
Lifting his sword to the sky, the blade charged with lightning. His steed dropped its head as he swept the blade horizontally, slicing the air to send a surge of vicious lightning hurdling towards his opponents. Stunned by the currents coursing through their bodies, they were helpless as his steed charged. While he slashed the first Uridimmu and began to gut the second, a portal opened near his position. The King of Conquerors merely stabbed the third as a golden axe hurdled from the portal to cleave an ambushing beast in half before it leapt on the rider.
As the four disappeared, and Gilgamesh finished off another pair, Iskandar chuckled. "Thanks, Goldie."
"You were expecting me to kill it for you. Do not be so presumptuous of the king's assistance."
"But you did," Iskandar dared to point out with a grin, earning a scowl as another nearby Uridimmu was skewered like a shish kebab by a golden spear.
Gilgamesh said nothing as he gazed towards the master's known position. There had been a bright flash earlier, signifying the arrival of Gabrielle's second team. More beasts had charged towards them than the pair, but they had far more servants to cope. If they were to fall to a negligible hundred Uridimmu, then they were not worthy of even being in the King of Heroes' presence, let alone receive any recognition. At least they saved him the effort of dealing with more crude beasts.
As the next wave of Uridimmu came into view, Gilgamesh scowled. "We will continue our stroll, Iskandar. Do not linger further."
:¦:ЭЖФЖФЖЄ ( -VIII- ) ЭЖФЖФЖЄ:¦:
Ishtar hovered in the air, safe above the chaos in the plaza below, but kept a keen eye on the situation as it unfolded.
She checked on the orange and black-haired masters who stood with uniforms touching, back to back, as the servants battled further away. Fou stood curiously on the female's shoulder, gazing upon the battlefield in expectation. Mashu stood to one side with her shield at the ready, carefully eyeing any that may break through. On the opposite side, Scathach stood ready with two lances of the prototype Gae-Bolg in her hands. Her narrowed eyes scanned her side for anything missed by her allies, her muscles primed and taut beneath her skin-tight armor.
A surge of energy flowed through her, and she felt her senses sharpen; Lord El-Melloi II had provided an offensive boost to the surrounding servants before continuing his attack.
Bursts of wind, fire, and light flew from the high columns as Gudao's two casters rained supporting fire on the distant enemies. An Uridimmu sought to attack Helena's backside, but was quickly skewered by Brynhildr's swift interception. With Karna's assistance, they had the rear covered well, though Gilgamesh and Iskandar were decimating most of its reinforcements further away. With no worries about that, she eyed the frontline team as it held firm against the wave of beasts.
Her makeshift bow primed a shot, taking in scores of mana from the air. She quickly molded her od as the bow hummed with energy, its rope pulled back to strike. It was as simple as breathing for her, but the strike would be more potent than most. With a smile, and a gun-shaped hand extended towards a clustered group, she fired. The bow rocked forward, releasing its torrent of energy in a beam of deadly light.
It struck her intended targets, vaporizing the afflicted portions of their bodies. Four Uridimmu dissipated from the fatal blow, saving her dear friend on the ground from extra hassle. The goddess looked down at the blonde saber with gleaming, silver armor and smiled. Arturia smiled back before the blue saber quickly retook a fighting stance beside her male counterpart. Arthur, with Excalibur poised and ready to receive the three charging beasts, quickly glanced to his adopted little sister and nodded.
They both smiled before stabbing their blades forward, releasing a combined torrent of vicious wind to tear down the street. The beasts caught in the blast were sliced from all angles and sent toppling backwards from the attack. They knocked into the next line of Uridimmu, though some simply leapt out of the way; It was only a minor setback. Ishtar turned her attention away from the two as the sabers gripped their blades and charged forward.
She spotted more attempting to sneak attack, and prepped her bow to fire. "Gudao. More beasts are coming from the right flank. I'm opening fire."
"Many thanks, Ishtar!" She could practically see his typical, gracious smile. "Have you seen Gilgamesh and Iskandar?"
The goddess grumbled over the telepathic link. "They're delayed by their own problems, but they're fine."
She quickly opened fire on the opposing enemies, timing her attacks with the assisting caster. Though she remained out of danger, Nitocris stood atop a ruined roof with her staff raised. Portals to the netherworld opened beneath several charging enemies. Groaning mummies reached from the darkness beneath, ensnaring the limbs and holding them prey to the torrents of the world below; They made for wonderful static targets for the goddess.
With a pleased smile as she fired, she watched as Gabrielle's two berserkers charged in to secure the flank. Nightingale quickly drew her pistol from within her red coat, taking shots at opportune targets with surgical precision. She let the shirtless berserker behind her slam his ebony blade through the torso of an ambushing Uridimmu in order to keep her momentum. With a smirk and a shake of his head, Beowulf quickly followed after her as his chain rattled with every leap.
Ishtar continued to provide support for those two sections, a little for the rear, and only sparring glances to the right flank. Judging by the beams of light that fell from the sky, and the accompanying proud laughter, that flank was not even an issue. Every time she looked, Ozymandias' white cape merely fluttered with every movement of his staff as lethal strikes were dealt to any beasts in his area. Even if the monsters were stronger than most, it was honestly a trivial manner for this powerful landing force…
Still, the sheer numbers were beyond aggravating. "There's another cluster coming from the Woodline, Gudao… how many of these dumb beasts are the-"
Ishtar fell silent as the beasts closest to the forest howled in agony. Silver chains shot from the woods, tearing through each and curving in midair to strike more. The brutal efficiency was cutting the numbers down substantially, and she cursed herself for not realizing there had been an unusual yet distinct signature among the masses of beasts. Fortunately, that oversight was not damning, as the apparent ally shattered nearly half of the visible beasts single-handedly with their first strike.
The attack was familiar… but she couldn't recall why it was so recognizable. It bothered her. "Ishtar! Ishtar, what do you see from up there?"
It sewed confusion into the ranks of the remaining ones, allowing the Chaldean force to quickly tear through the closest adversaries. The dozen chains made short work of the remainder, before swiftly returning to the forest. Though their landing teams had been trying to conserve magical energy, it was still rather embarrassing, for Ishtar at least, to have been outdone so easily by one… thing. If this was not a servant, it was likely a powerful figure of the time.
Why couldn't she recall why it was familiar? "Ishtar! Are you alright!?"
"Sorry, Gudao… I was surprised by what just happened. We appear to have a new ally."
:¦:ЭЖФЖФЖЄ ( -IX- ) ЭЖФЖФЖЄ:¦:
"Oho? Looks like we have the only beasts left."
Gilgamesh passed a fleeting glance to personally confirm. "If they took longer, I would have had some choice words to air."
Bucephalus, reared up on its hind legs, slammed its hooves into an approaching beast's head. It collapsed to the ground as Iskandar lopped the leg of another with ease. It, and several others, were finished instantaneously by several flying weapons. The golden portals quickly vanished as the remaining enemies turned tail instead of pressing the futile assault. Without paying them any attention, Gilgamesh briskly walked to catch up with Iskandar.
The rider tossed him a quick glance, noting how different the King of Heroes was acting. Though his mood had been fouled, it was the battle style that spoke volumes louder. Usually he would stick to putting the minimum effort unless it came to self-defense; Their fight with the Lion King had been a rare show of prideful force. Here, once more in his lands, he was already showing far more interest and resolve.
As they walked to the teams, only a scant few hundred meters away now, Iskandar chuckled. Gilgamesh raised an eyebrow. "What is it?"
"Don't mind me," the King of Conquerors shrugged. "I'm just enjoying all of this."
:¦:ЭЖФЖФЖЄ ( -X- ) ЭЖФЖФЖЄ:¦:
"Had fun, Ishtar?" Gabrielle smiled as the goddess landed beside her and Scathach in the ruined plaza.
With a smile, she nodded. "A touch. Mostly from being back than these annoying cretins. Glad you could join us, Gabby."
"Me too! This is already much more tolerable than the Sixth Singularity!"
The goddess passed a glance to Gudao who was organizing a small perimeter with the present servants. By the movement of their signatures, Gilgamesh and Iskandar would arrive within the next few minutes, but the approaching, unknown individual was nearly there. She glanced up at Helena, whose eyes were cautiously locked onto the approaching figure. Her book was casually held in one hand, signifying no immediate danger; Whoever it was, they did just help them with a migraine.
Gudao was finishing up the last tasks. "Nightingale and Beowulf, please retake watch on the flanks. Ozymandias, Nitocris, Mashu… let's greet this newcomer."
"To bask in my presence! Well thought, Gudao! A perfect way to show the benefits of an alliance!" the olive-skinned rider boasted. "Let us go, Nitocris! We pharaohs shall make the perfect entourage!"
Ishtar sighed at his usual antics, all the while readying her bow in case of the worst. Scathach casually stood beside her as Gabrielle skipped over to join her best friend's greeting party, though they remained silent. They were on fair terms, but not enough to make anything more than small talk. That right was reserved for a select few for the goddess, and one of them calmly stood guard nearby with her male counterpart.
Both of the sabers' eyes stared through the obstacles, presumably at the approaching individual. Gudao's little group had stopped in the center of the road the newcomer would appear in only a few moments. Judging from their lack of response, it wasn't anyone they knew, but she still couldn't see from her angle. This aura of the person, which grew far stronger now that he was closer, was becoming recognizable. It definitely wasn't a servant, but it also felt void of-
'Chains and this presence… This has to be…!' As the figure appeared, she could have slapped herself for not realizing it sooner.
"You should be more careful, travelers. These lands have become dangerous."
Ishtar gasped audibly as Gudao waved, drawing Scathach's attention to her. The newcomer stopped in their tracks, staring towards Ishtar in equal surprise. It caused the others to look between them curiously. Having another Ishtar crash into the ground was one thing, and she honestly should have expected to meet herself too, but this was far different. As discussed before deploying, there were a few the group presumed they might encounter, but to find him already…
"Ishtar? Who is this?" Scathach asked curiously as she kept a scrutinizing look locked onto the green-haired individual. It was likely hard for the lancer to tell whether this person was male or female judging by the ambiguous looks, and the goddess couldn't blame her. This effeminate looking man with the loose, white garb could not be mistaken for anyone by her or that arrogant king. As she stared into his green eyes, and he stared back, she felt relieved at the likely results of having met him so early.
The androgynous person asked hesitantly, and even cautiously, in a serene voice. "Heavenly Goddess Inanna… So even you are among the saviors of humanity."
"You know who we are?" Gabrielle asked quickly. She turned to her best friend with a mixed expression. "It's like Camelot again."
"Except we don't know if they're friend or foe yet..." Gudao reminded cautiously as Mashu gripped her shield tighter by his side.
"Gudao! He's most certainly an ally!" Ishtar quickly yelled out, catching the groups attention and the newcomer's relieved gaze. "This man is Enkidu!"
"Enkidu!" Gabrielle exclaimed as all eyes shot back to the newcomer. The androgynous man bowed lightly to them.
"That is my given name, yes," he responded with a pleasant smile. "I'm glad you know who I am. It saves us some time. The King of Magic's grail has corrupted this instance."
With a static pulse, the upper bodies of Roman and Da Vinci appeared on a blue-tinted, holographic screen. "Enkidu! We have a lot of questions we'd like to ask! We also need info but- Oh wow! It's Enkidu! The only one who could match Gilgamesh! He has a heart of gold and- OW! Da Vinci!"
"I'll pinch you again if you don't calm down. Act like a grown man," the inventor scolded lightly with a smile. "As he said, Enkidu. It's an honor to meet you, but we need as much info as you are willing to present. Time is ticking. The more we know, the faster we can help fix the timeline."
He nodded, but Ishtar couldn't help but feel something was not… right. "I shall give what I can. Gilgamesh has sent me to meet you."
"I see! So there's a still living Gilgamesh too!" Roman pulled out a notepad and began scribbling. "I wonder how he'll react to Chaldea's Gilgamesh?"
"Chaldea's… He is here?" Enkidu started as his eyes barely dilated. Ishtar fell into confusion, but continued to eye him carefully with Scathach. The two masters were too busy falling into a tangent with Roman and Da Vinci to notice, but even Ozymandias was now looking curiously at the newcomer. Surprise is a usual emotion to feel when encountering a familiar servant… but the look in his eyes was clearly hesitation and concern.
That didn't make sense. She spoke up. "Is something the matter, Enkidu?"
"I… Yes. Everything is fi-" the man, whose eyes had only widened further, stared past the confused masters and hologram.
Slowly, Ishtar turned to look, but she knew what she would find. As expected, the towering figure of Iskandar on his horse stood beside the golden-armored king. They remained at the entrance to the small plaza, and though the rider looked curious, the archer was practically frozen. It was to be expected from the King of Heroes, who likely felt time had suddenly stopped. She would have felt happy for him, had she not found him so exponentially insufferable as of late.
His eyes reflected a surprise she had seen so rarely from the arrogant man, and not once within Chaldea's walls. Those usual glaring eyes of red were filled with a subtle warmth and even excitement as they remained locked with Enkidu's. She would have at least smiled at the rather touching moment, even if she did dislike both of them, were it not for her growing doubt; That lingering uncertainty of what Gilgamesh clearly did not see in his blind appreciation for this reunion.
A slight skepticism that held even as the King of Heroes took a step forward with mouth slightly open. "Enkidu… you are here..."
She turned to the green-haired individual, and felt that hesitation increase. There was no similar reaction from the man, rather, he had one eye shut and was clutching at his head. The other eye winced, and the clinks of Gilgamesh's armor could be heard as he started to approach faster. "Enkidu… What is the matter? Has something managed to harm you!?"
"No…" the man practically whispered as Ishtar's eyes filled with confusion. "No! T-This wasn't-! Home… Home! Away! I must-"
"Home…?" Ishtar mumbled to herself with narrowing eyes.
With a burst of prana, Enkidu leapt away from the group. It was an unrefined move, but it served well as an escape. Ishtar turned to Gilgamesh as his armor clinked loudly. He was running, and the King of Heroes never ran. "Enkidu!"
"Gilgamesh, wait!" Ishtar cried out, but it was pointless; When did he ever listen to her?
With a giant leap of his own, Gilgamesh fell into pursuit of Enkidu. It stunned many, who gaped at the sight of the golden king actually committing energy to physical feats. For Ishtar, she guessed they never realized how much Enkidu actually meant to him. A friend was just a simple title, but it was far more than they could understand. It was sometimes even more than she could fathom, but there was plenty she did know.
That individual Gilgamesh pursued was far too suspicious. He looked like Enkidu and sounded like Enkidu, but how he acted just now was not the famed Chains of Heaven she remembered. He would have been overjoyed at any sight of Gilgamesh, even if a servant version. Instead, this one had bolted in a rough and wasteful manner that did not define him, and fled in a direction that solidified her distrust.
"Gudao! Gabrielle! We will chase after them immediately!" Ishtar commanded loudly, snapping all attention to her. "Something is different about Enkidu!"
Without question, Gudao immediately started sending the telepathic messages to regroup, but Gabrielle looked at her with growing stress. "What's going on!?"
Ishtar narrowed her eyes and faced to the north, where the two powerful individuals were quickly growing distant. "…Uruk is to the East."
:¦:ЭЖФЖФЖЄ ( -XI- ) ЭЖФЖФЖЄ:¦:
"Enkidu! Where are you running!?" he yelled as they sped through the cedar trees. There was no response.
It had been a long time since Gilgamesh had felt such a wild maelstrom of emotions.
To lay his gaze once more upon his one, true friend had frozen him solid, leaving Iskandar's light conversation to falter. He did not care, for in that instance he had felt true joy once more. The unmistakable sight of the shimmering, waterfall of lime hair and the matching eyes... He was frozen and thawed in those seconds. Nothing could have snapped him from his blissful trance, save for the pained expression that formed on Enkidu's face.
Concern filled him instantly, and anger boiled beneath. The last time he had seen such anguish, Enkidu was days from death's door. It was an image he never wanted to see again, yet it marred the face of his only friend. He fell to nonsensical statements and fled, sending the king's anger to the depths as his concern sky rocketed. Was some ailment trying to take his friend already when they only reunited? That could not be allowed.
From branch to branch, they continued the run through the woodland. "Enkidu! Answer me, my friend!"
With growing confusion, he continued to follow the blurry figure several dozen meters ahead of him. They weaved between the many trees, towards the distant, destroyed grove they felled Humbaba together. They could have reminisced, but instead he only pursued his friend through the sunbeams of the forest. Enkidu was always fast, but his movements were never this sluggish or reckless. There was wasted energy in every move from tree to tree, and whatever was ailing his dear friend was certainly showing its influence as they ran.
It boiled his anger. Profound hatred for Solomon grew with every passing second. This time, it was likely his entire fault, and likely not the damned gods unless they too were aligned with the scheme. They would have much information to gather after this wild pursuit ended, but that would come later.
For now, he chased. Gilgamesh followed in hopes that he could do something. Anything. Whatever he could possibly manage for Enkidu, he would go three dozen extra miles. There reunion should be joyous and proud, not this wild chase to the north of-
Suddenly, Enkidu jumped from the last branch to a small clearing in the forest. His eyes softened slightly in recognition of a spot they took a break before encountering Humbaba. Even through his apparent affliction, Enkidu wanted the grassy clearing with blooming flowers to be the sight for their proper reunion; There were better choices, but it was at least meaningful for both. A small, proud smirk graced his features as he leapt towards the center to join him.
The birds chirped, and the sun shined down brightly upon them as Gilgamesh landed. With slow steps, he walked towards his friend, whose back faced him. Enkidu's hands were at his side, calm like the surrounding, waving grass in the gentle breeze. His hair waved gently, but he did not turn around as Gilgamesh approached. Only a dozen meters and closing, the King of Heroes slowed his steps.
A proud yet joyful smile, the likes of which only his friend and people have seen, graced his face. "Enkidu. Though something troubles you, I'm glad that you-"
"…I'm suddenly glad you followed me."
There was no time to react; He wouldn't have through his own confusion. Gilgamesh's eyes widened at the sound of the familiar chains before they seized his limbs. Arm and leg alike were immobilized by the binding, clinking metal that shot from his friend's loose sleeves. Enkidu's head was down, and eyes closed, making no contact after having spun to face the King of Heroes. The chains held fast, even as they disconnected from the unseen source beneath the androgynous individual's clothes.
Gilgamesh could not muster the strength to move. Whether it was from the sheer shock and confusion or the absolute bind by the divine chains was debatable. All Gilgamesh knew… All his mind could understand was that he had suddenly been betrayed as new chains flew from Enkidu's sleeves. While the two new chains ripped through his golden breastplate, the king's cries of agony sent the birds flying to the heavens in fear. Already he could feel the blood pooling in his armor while it dripped from the outside.
"Enkidu…!" He managed to gasp out. All the emotions swirled within him, but he could only feel confusion and despair.
His only friend had just turned against him, and Enkidu's only response was to face him with the most chaotic and deranged face he had ever seen. It was a visage that was not fit for his friend. It was savage and cruel by definition, only matched by the cruel action of ripping the two chains back out of the king's chest without care. Gilgamesh yelled out once more in torment as Enkidu raised his arms again to deliver the true, fatal blow; Two hits to the lower abdomen would not devastate the King of Heroes.
Though, it was clear, the outright betrayal did. Enkidu sneered. "This… is where you die, Gilgamesh."