Chapter 30: An audience with a King.
Archer stared up at the sky with his usual schooled features, the group waited in the rather expansive garden of the Edelfelt manner as both Ruby and Sapphire completed their final preparations. The calculations to open a doorway to the Mirror World and then purposefully expand it with use of not only a Servant but several Class Card Servants was not something that should ordinarily be rushed.
Archer would make no claim to understanding the mechanics behind the Second Magic and he doubted that either Ruby or Sapphire were personally aware of it either. That did not change the fact they were on a timetable. A very short one as they were already approaching midday they had only a few hours remaining until Gilgamesh would live up to his word and most likely kill Shirou and then just take the Grail himself.
All in all, it was an understandably stressful time. Which was why he was more concerned with Irisviel as of late. Steel eyes trailed down from the skyline and towards the albino woman, she stood stock still next to Sella and Leysritt.
Both of whom had returned to the ruins of the house to grab rather hefty weapons. He wasn't sure where they even stored those but right now he didn't much care. The Einzberns were the best homunculus crafters around - or at least they were - and considering that Leysritt and Sella had been made to act as guardians for Irisviel he assumed they were combat orientated. That at least granted them some more reinforcements.
However, Irisviel remained one of his greater concerns. She was much too invested in this situation and - while perfectly acceptable as a mother of the endangered child in question - that had the potential to end horribly. Especially if she became careless when it mattered most. Not to mention her lack of combat experience. Her role was to grab Shirou and leave using the Assassin Card, which was something he had personally wanted Kiritsugu to do but Irisviel had brow beaten the man into letting her do it.
For now, he would have to trust that she could try and keep herself level headed in her approach.
"How much longer?" Luvia asked as she tapped on the ground, fixing the two Kalediosticks with an impatient frown.
"Luvia-san. We are attempting to locate a gateway which fits the minimum criteria for entry of multiple individuals." Sapphire replied back in a placating tone "If we open a doorway which does not meet our needs, then we run the risk of losing people to the space between our current world and the mirrorworld." she waved her small wings "Please try and be patient, we have narrowed down our findings to approximately seventeen possible doorways."
"Relax Luvia!" Ruby cheered "We'll crack open that door and be into the mirror world before you can say-"
"Just…" Luvia pinched the bridge of her nose, cutting off whatever Ruby was going to say and shaking her head "...Let me know when you've identified it. We need to be prepared at a moments notice."
"...Yeah, I know." Ruby nodded her head in and spoke in an unusually serious tone of voice "But seriously, relax. Your worrying is going to end up worrying Illya-chan and Miyu-chan and that won't end well for anyone."
She got several surprised looks in response.
"What?" Ruby shrugged her wings "I might be a master comedian and have Magical Girl Creation ranked at EX but I know how to be serious when the moment calls for it….just not for very long is all."
"Hmm." Archer grunted in response, crossing his arms and looking away from her. "As long as you keep yourself in check when the actual combat begins."
"Hey, hey!" Ruby whined "What's with this doubtful tone of yours, old grumpy? Don't you trust lil old Ruby-chan?"
"...I refuse to dignify that with an answer." Archer stoically replied with thinly veiled annoyance, shifting his eyes back to Irisviel as she almost glared at the joking Kalediostick before her red eyes trailed away from it and towards Archer. The two stared at each other before Irisviel broke away from her maids and towards him. Archer steeled himself as she approached, stopping just next to him and staring out at the garden.
The two stood next to each other in silence before Archer quietly spoke "We'll get him back."
"Yeah." Irisviel nodded her head "We will." she started to rub her hands together before looking up at the Servant "Arc-...Shirou." Archer flinched slightly but allowed her to use the name "Do…do you think I'm a bad mother?"
He blinked, slowly turning down to look at her "...Where did this come from?"
"It's just that…" She released a hollow chuckle. "In the past month both my children have had numerous near-death encounters and I didn't even know about it…then my son almost dies…" she sniffled "T-then he gets kidnapped and I couldn't do anything." reaching up, she wiped her eyes clean "N-now I'm taking my ten year old daughter into a fight which might get her killed and I can't do anything about it…I-"
"There are - most certainly - worse mothers in the world than you." Archer sighed out "At the end of the day, you do love your children. You might not be the best at it but you were dealt a poor hand to begin with." he let out a small huff "The fact you were able to keep a family like this for ten years when considering both yours and Kiritsugu's background is nothing shy of astounding." uncrossing his arms, he placed his hand on Irisviels head "You did a good job."
"...Huh…" She sniffled "You're getting soft." she joked, poking Archer in the ribs "What happened to that scowly man who walked around and made sarcastic quips?"
Archer shrugged, removing his hand "If it bothers you that much, I suppose I could just ignore you-"
"Nooo." Irisviel whined, grabbing his arm "I'm joking." she exclaimed, letting out a light giggle after a few moments "...Thanks for helping her…" she whispered out.
Archer sighed "...She's my big sister. I'm supposed to."
"Ye-" Irisviel paused, looking up at Archer with wide eyes "What do you mean 'Big Sister'?"
"She was older than me." Archer remarked "By a couple years too."
"You're joking." Irisviel accused with narrowed eyes, releasing his arm and placing her hands on her hips "You're just trying to take my mind off everything."
Archer hummed "Perhaps." he admitted, watching as Irisviel's expression turned triumphant. "But I'm not lying. She was my big sister." the expression vanished "Another difference in worlds, I suppose."
"...You probably should keep that to yourself." Irisviel chuckled, "Illya would probably demand you call her 'Onee-chan'." She giggled "She likes being a little sister but she's never been a big sister before."
"Hmm." Archer hummed in affirmation "...Just remember. Get in, grab Shirou and leave." he reminded her, the amused expression she had gradually faded "I realise you might dislike Gilga-"
"Hate Gilgamesh." Archer corrected himself "But you cannot fight him. Leave that to myself, Berserker and the Enforcer. Once you have Shirou, you just run as fast as you can." he leaned back, crossing his arms "Don't do anything stupid."
"Hm." Irisviel gave him a small hum in response, prompting a very unimpressed look from Archer.
"I am serious." He faced her fully, pointing down at her "Do not pursue Gilgamesh. Stay alive for your children. Once this is over, they'll need their mother more than ever. Do you understand?"
Irisviel nodded her head "...I understand." she mumbled to herself, then gave Archer a faint smile "You're a lot more like Kiritsugu than everyone else thinks. You're very rough on the outside…" she raised her hand and poked him in the chest "But you really do care more than you should."
"..." Archer stared at her in silence before he looked away. "...It's why I'm in this mess to begin with." he casually admitted with a shrug. "Something you should try and pressure Illya into not inheriting."
"Well…" Irisviel rocked on her heels, giving Archer a knowing smile "That depends on whether or not she'll always have her little brother to bail her out." the Servant sighed, moving his right hand up to pinch the bridge of his nose as he shook his head. The defeated posture he had only seemed to fuel Irisviel's mood further.
"Mama seems happy, doesn't she?" Illya idly commented as she stared at the duo of Irisviel and Archer speak, she could feel Archer's resignation through their mental link at her mother's antics. She could at least empathise with him.
"Hmm." Leysritt merely hummed in response as she stared at the Servant with a perfectly blank expression, after a few moments longer she tilted her head slightly and narrowed her eyes just a touch. "Don't see it."
Sella glanced at her out of the corner of her eye "Don't see what?"
"Shirou." Leysritt replied, her head straightening out as she looked back at the other two "Looks more. Mature." her lips thinned "More like. Kiritsugu." she remarked in her ever toneless voice. Sella frowned in response, looking back towards the Servant with a critical eye as she examined his mannerisms and allowed her mind to drift back to the time where the Servant had been staying with them.
Eventually, she nodded her head with great reluctance "That is unsurprising." she admitted after a few moments "Considering who it was who raised him." Archer had been very, very bare bones in describing his past. Through either an unwillingness to share or just not remembering it all that well, however there was a specific type of life he had to have led.
And his confession as he attempted to leave them had painted a rather disturbing picture, one that Kiritsugu had clearly taken to heart, given his lethargy for a few days after it. He was still clearly disturbed by the Servant Shirou's mere existence, no matter how much he tried to hide it. Sella wasn't exactly thrilled by it either.
Nor the way their Shirou was starting to change, if only a little. His eyes losing that little bit of innocence each time she looked at him.
"Is that bad?" Illya asked, looking at Archer with a raised eyebrow "I thought him being mature like papa was a good thing?"
Leysritt's face didn't so much as twitch, Sella's lips however drew themselves into a thin line.
"That…" She spoke out slowly "Is very much a matter of perspective." she looked back at the girl, frowning at the thought of Illya going off into battle at all. Not that they had much choice left to them now. This entire situation was just an incredibly unfortunate situation.
"Hmmm." Illya merely hummed in response, looking between Sella and Archer with a hint of suspicion before she just shrugged, giving a faint smile "Well…he's still Onii-chan." she asserted confidently, pointing at him "He's even doing that head scratching thing."
"Oh." Leysritt nodded "So he. Is."
Sella followed the pair's line of sight back to Archer, sure enough he was scratching the back of his head in a manner which was very reminiscent of Shirou whenever he was faced with something he wasn't entirely sure how to deal with. The maid's lip twitched upwards slightly, it would seem there were some personal quirks he would never quite lose.
"How long now, Ruby?" Illya asked as she looked back down at the Kaleidostick, the wand let out a hefty sigh before turning towards its Master.
"I would like you to try not to rush me, Illya-chan but to be honest we're almost done!" Her tone shifted between tired and excited midway through the sentence and happily waved her wings around "Just need to make a couple final calculations and we'll be all set to send everyone into the mirror world…more or less in one piece too!"
"That's gre-" Illya paused, her expression shifting from relief to puzzlement and then finally to trepidation "Um…m-more or less?"
"Hey, we're working with multiple mirror worlds here." Ruby huffed, crossing her 'arms' "A little margin for error is to be expected."
"Can't you do better?" Luiva sent her a slight frown, crossing her arms and narrowing her eyes.
"If we had more time, Luiva-san." Sapphire answered this time "However, unfortunately we have been forced to speed up the process and take short term measures to attempt to ensure the safest route we can discover within the fastest time frame." she paused, her body turning more anxious "...This is the best result we can manage under these restrictions."
"Fine." Luvia huffed, biting her thumb "Then we shall have to do it…" she looked around at the others, noticing them all preparing themselves as they approached "You said you are ready?"
"I am." She nodded her head in response, then turned her body towards Archer "It means the time has come for Berserker to-"
"Baaaaaa." Lancelot manifested in a cloud of black smoke, the red visor bearing down on the sentient Mystic code before it slowly turned expectantly towards the Archer Servant. The tanned man stared back at the Berserker before he raised his right hand and flashed in the ornamental dagger in a brief sparkle of light.
Twisting the dagger around, he pointed it - handle first - towards the Berserker.
Lancelot stared at the weapon for a few moments before his left arm slowly raised itself up, clawed gauntlet hesitantly reaching for the weapon as if afraid it was going to shock him the moment he touched it. When his palm was but a milimetre away from Carnwennan it lashed out and clamped itself around the blade, the red lines swiftly crossing the surface with Archer feeling his connection with the projection cut off entirely.
Berserker raised the dagger slowly towards his visor, the red light seemed to dim as he continued to examine the weapon "Arrrr…thurrr…" the voice came out as a much softer growl than before, eventually he lowered his arm back to his side with the dagger still gripped in his hand.
"Berserker." Miyu called out to him, then nodded her head. Lancelot stared back before he raised the dagger and pressed it sideways against his chest.
"Carn…wennan." His body started to flicker and become transparent, Archer noted the magical presence of the Berserker began to vanish until it was barely detectable at all. Still there and if one looked close enough they'd notice another Servant but unless they were actually looking for them, he wouldn't notice it. For a Presence Concealment skill, it wouldn't be anything higher than D rank but it was enough for the time being.
"Now that Berserker is concealed, you will need to make your way to the Greater Grail." Archer began, crossing his arms and looking down at Miyu with a brief flicker of discomfort "I assume you know the way?"
Miyu nodded her head wordlessly.
"...Very well." Archer replied before he looked at Sapphire and Ruby "Then you two can make yourselves useful and send us to the Mirror world."
"We will need everyone in their Class Cards."
"And you'll need me there." The collective group turned as one to the voice, Chloe marching towards them making a noticeable effort to hide the slight limp in her step. Although it did nothing to alter the rather determined expression she had on her face. "More Class Cards, the better, right?"
"Chloe you are not-"
"Yes I am." Chloe cut Irisviel off before she could get any more words in, halting next to them and crossing her arms "And - quite frankly - the only way you're keeping me here is by knocking me out."
"And in your injured state?" Archer gave her a raised eyebrow "You're a liability more than an asset."
"I just need to take out his portals at a distance, right?" Chloe pointed out instantly, giving a half shrug "I can manage that easily enough. As long as you can all keep him busy." she huffed "Besides, I'm not that injured."
"Archer." Chloe stared up at him with burning golden eyes "I'm going."
Archer stared back at her before he shifted his attention to Irisviel "...Well?"
The woman pursed her lips, rolling her jaw in obvious discomfort at the idea however the simple truth was that they were pressed for help as it was. That and trying to keep Chloe here was more trouble than it was worth considering it was just as likely she'd go the long way to get to them anyway.
"...Fine." She eventually relented through gritted teeth before stabbing a finger towards the girl "But you do not go anyway near Gilgamesh!" her eyes narrowed "I mean it."
"Well…I wasn't planning on getting close again." She nursed her jaw as a phantom pain shot through her face "I've already figured he packs a mean backhand."
"Amusing as this is, we are wasting time." Archer cut whatever remark Irisviel was going to make and from what he could tell, amusing it was not going to be. "We should get ready to go."
Irisviel looked at him out of the corner of her eye before nodding her head, Illya handing over the Assassin card to her whilst Bazett took the Lancer card. The way in which her eyes seemed to gleam slightly with clear reverence - almost as if a kid in a sweet shop - was something that was barely noticed by anyone. Much to her obvious gratitude.
"The question remains." Luiva wondered as she crossed her arms "How will we know when exactly to leave the Mirror world and join you?" She looked around at the others "Miyu cannot go with Sapphire present as that would most likely set off Gilgamesh that something was wrong."
"Simple." Irisviel curtly replied, then looked at her "I will install the Assassin card and take her with the presence concealment. After which she will communicate with Ruby to attack."
Archer blinked at her, his expression somewhat dumbfounded for a few moments before it returned to its usual sternness. Irisviel noticed it regardless, giving the Archer a slight frown. "Hey…I spent a lot of time with Kiri as well!" she pouted "I know how to make plans!"
"...Somewhat fortunate for us then." Archer let out a mirthful scoff before shaking his head "And will he be joining us?"
"No." Irisviel shook her head in response "There weren't many Cards he could use and I already pushed myself to use the Assassin card…that and…" she trailed off, looking away "If something were to happen to me…I'd rather that-"
"Nothing will happen to you." Archer cut her off, frowning "Certainly not as long as you stop thinking like that." he released a breath, shaking his head "Honestly…how am I one of the least defeatist individuals present?" he grumbled to himself before coughing into his hand and looking down at the group "Well, Master?" he gave Illya a faint grin "We're waiting for your word."
Illya stared up at Archer before she gave a determined nod "Alright everyone!" she raised Ruby above her head "Let's go save Onii-chan!"
"Nice battle cry, Illya-chan!" Ruby exclaimed jubilantly "Like a proper Magical girl!"
Miyu was aware - on some level - that Irisviel was following behind her as she continued on her walk towards the mountain. She knew that and beyond that simple face, she knew that Berserker was still behind her as well.
That didn't stop her feeling a sliver of doubt enter her mind at the battle that was inevitable about to occur.
'Because of you.'
Try as she might, that accusatory voice just wouldn't leave her alone. Even after everything Archer had said to her the night before, it didn't change the simple fact that if she hadn't been here then none of this would happen in the first place.
She let out a long and shaky breath as she continued to walk down the streets, it was virtually deserted as she continued her trek towards Mountain. That was to be expected as it was virtually midnight but it made it more foreboding for her. Even with the knowledge that she had her friends to support her…
That was a new thing for her to consider. Friends. She hadn't had friends before and she didn't know if she would have them after this. She wouldn't blame Illya if the girl wanted nothing more to do with her after they rescued Shirou, considering she was the reason he had been in danger in the first place.
The worst part was she knew that Illya would probably try to forgive her, she just couldn't imagine the girl holding any form of grudge against her for what occurred, even if she was the one responsible for it.
Which wasn't fair, it was her fault and she didn't deserve to be forgiven for it.
If it hadn't been for her-
She jolted as some strange feeling flooded the back of her mind, her link with Berserker acting up as the Servant seemingly transmitted some manner of thought towards her. It was neither coherent nor understandable, yet the base trait was still felt by her. Some manner of empathy towards her guilt.
Turning around, she squinted her eyes towards the dark street in the general direction that she sensed Berserker through her link. She continued to stare at empty space as the thoughts flooded her mind. It was like finding common ground with someone.
'If only they hadn't forgiven me.'
Shivering as a cool breeze swept over her, clutching her arms to her body, Miyu turned back around and continued to walk down the empty streets with only the moon shining above her head as any sort of lighting, illuminating her shadow as she moved as silently as possible. Left alone only with her thoughts and the strange emotions of Berserker.
"Are you alright?" She jolted, letting out a small squeak of surprise as a concerned voice entered her mind, she turned towards the sound and paled at the sight of a large figure cloaked in black with only a white skull mask as their only discerning feature.
"Ah!" The feminine voice of Irisviel gasped out as a pale hand came out from underneath the cloak and pulled the mask aside "Sorry." the woman apologised with a slightly embarrassed expression "I probably scared you a little bit there, didn't I?"
"Being suddenly approached by a figure cloaked in black in the middle of the night would be concerning for anyone, Irisviel-sama." Sapphire spoke out with a flat voice, the stick wasn't visible although Miyu could instinctively feel the Mystic code turn its attention onto her "Miyu-sama, her point remains valid. Are you experiencing discomfort?"
Miyu remained silent before she shook her head, giving out a faint grunt as she did so. Irisviel levelled her with a thoroughly incredulous expression before she sighed and crouched down to be eye level with the young girl.
"Don't worry." Irisivel gave her the best reassuring smile she could muster "We're going to save Shirou and then all be home before you can blink." she rested a hand on her shoulder "You don't need to do anything else…leave everything to us."
Miyu froze, biting her lower lip before she looked Irisviel in the eye "N-no…" she shakily got out, taking in a deep breath "No." affirming again, she gave the woman a determined expression. "I want to do this."
Irisviel pursed her lips before giggling slightly "...Alright. You looked a little cool by the way." she informed the girl as she patted her head "...But you really should leave it up to the grownups." she spoke in a quieter tone as she stood back up "It's why we're here." she moved back up to the mask and slid it over her face.
Her lip shook before she eventually got out the words she wanted to ask "Do you think Illya will forgive me?"
The skull mask stared down at her in silence before it inclined itself slightly "Forgive?" Irisviel spoke in a confused voice "I don't think there's anything to forgive as there isn't any blame to rest on you." the woman smiled behind the mask "There was never a moment - even with all that happened - where I once blamed you."
Miyu looked down at her feet, unwilling to look the woman in the eyes.
"Come on." Irisviel faded away, her voice echoing out as she vanished "Just a little more distance to cover."
Archer stared up at the sky, the fragmented stars and shattered moon were quite the peculiar sight although he supposed he had seen a stranger. Not to mention this was getting to be a familiar sight, given his repeated excursions in the Mirror world.
He turned away from the copy of the Edelfelt manner and towards the assembled group, Ruby was glowing brightly as she continued to take readings before she let out a hum and turned towards the rest of the group.
"Alright. The Mirror world extends far enough that we can get to Mount Enzou." The Mystic code informed them "I have a link with Sapphire-chan, so she'll tell us when Operation 'Kick Golden Ass' is a go."
"Operation 'Kick Golden Ass'." Archer parroted back with a raised eyebrow and a flat voice, Ruby merely shrugged her shoulders.
"Short, sweet and to the point." The Stick replied before turning to the Servant "Why?"
"Nothing." Archer grunted, looking around "Is there anything we should be aware of while within this Mirror World for an extended period of time?"
"Not too much." Ruby replied "With you, Luiva-chan, Bazette-chan, Illya-chan and Chloe-chan then we should be more than capable of solidifying this world long enough for our purpose of navigation." she looked around before giggling "Although I must say…I approve!"
"I don't!" Luvia hissed back with an affronted expression as she glared at the Stick before looking down at her outfit "What is with this shameful attire?" the black dress and leggings tightly clung to the woman's body with the purple metal visor stretched across the front of her face, covering her eyes "And what is with this mask?" Luiva huffed, reaching for it "I can't see-"
"Whoah!" Ruby squawked out "Don't you go lifting that up! We don't need you flashing mystic eyes at everyone!"
Luvia paused, "...Mystic eyes?"
"It's the Class card for Medusa." Archer informed her "I assume you are aware of that much and while I doubt it has granted you genuine mystic eyes it would likely have granted you an approximation of them." the woman turned towards him, tilting her head slightly. "So I agree with the Stick, it would be wise for you to keep the visor on until we have need of it."
"A-ah…I see." Luiva nodded her head, reaching up and touching the Breaker Gorgon with her lips drawn into a thin line. "Mystic Eyes of Petrification…" she muttered out and looked to Archer "What effect would they have on a Servant?"
"It would depend upon the Servant." Archer shrugged "I have rather poor Magic Resistance so it would be rather effective against myself in stunning me. For the King of Heroes…I do not know." he shrugged "At the very least, looking you in the eye would prove troublesome for him."
Luiva nodded and frowned, rolling her shoulder "It seems this Servant prefers kicks and chains…" she sighed "It is a manner of fighting I am ill-suited for."
Archer merely shrugged and looked towards Bazette.
The woman was still staring at the crimson lance in her hand with a giddy expression. Completely ignoring the fact that she was wearing bright blue spandex with steel shoulder pads. Eventually she sensed someone looking and gazed towards him, frowning slightly.
"Is there some issue?" She asked, tilting her head. Archer merely shook his head in response before his gaze rested on the twins.
Chloe still looked slightly injured - given how she was clearly holding back a grimace - while Illya had an oddly determined aura about herself.
"I assume you are prepared, Master?" Archer called out to her as he crossed his arms, Illya jolted and turned towards him with wide eyes before they narrowed, her lips drew themselves into a thin line before she gave a single resolved nod.
"...Very well then." Archer turned around and started to walk in the direction of the exit of the mansion's lands "Then we shall make haste. Ruby, keep constant communication with Sapphire and inform her of our position at all times. I doubt I need to explain our roles once we have crossed back into the real world."
"You and Berserker deal with Gilgamesh's Noble Phantasm while myself and Edelfelt operate on a flanking maneuver to keep his attention away from the Einzbern as she rescues her adopted son." Bazette rattled off the commands in a monotone voice "The Archer-Class Card and the Mystic Code wielder are to aid you and Berserker from a distance."
Archer merely hummed in response as he picked up the pace, moving faster than a normal human could keep up with although not at his top speed as the Class Card users and Illya effortlessly kept up with him as they moved through the barren mirror world.
"Master, once Irisviel grabs Shirou, you and Chloe will keep them safe and ensure Miyu escapes without Gilgamesh taking notice of her."
"Okay!" Illya called back in affirmation.
Archer however knew that there was a difference between talking about besting the King of Heroes and actually achieving something so grand. The difference between before was that Gilgamesh wasn't taking him seriously, at this point while it was unlikely to change the Golden King would most definitely not hold back to the same extent as he had done.
Everything about their plan was contingent on beating the arrogant blonde ass before he could pull out that sword or just unleash enough Noble Phantasms to bring the ceiling down on their heads while they were still in the chamber.
Gilgamesh wasn't considered the most powerful Heroic Spirit for little to no reason.
Miyu came to a halt at the entrance to the mountain. The dark cave where she had exited from upon her first arrival into this world.
It felt like a lifetime ago for her and she was suddenly back where she had started.
Taking a deep breath, she took one final look at the city skyline behind her before she descended into the darkness. The cold bit at her exposed arms and legs as she continued to walk through the cave network. She shivered slightly, suddenly wishing that she had the sense to bring a coat with her.
It was still more than a few hours before the deadline would be reached but she couldn't help but be nervous. Thoughts of Shirou just being killed the moment she arrived played again and again in her head.
It was an ugly thought that she couldn't quite shake from her person, no matter how hard she tried.
Without any source of light, she was working off memory from her first time navigating through the caves. Fortunately for her, the route was relatively simple as it was nothing but a singular path straight towards the centre of the mountain. She came to a stop as she entered the large chamber before the chasm.
Squinting her eyes, she could just about make out the entrance on the other side of the chasm, sighing she moved down. Watching her step so as to avoid tripping and falling. She sent another mental message to Berserker, telling him not to try and help her. Him revealing his position would just cause Gilgamesh to detect him and ruin everything.
Taking in another shaky breath, she started to climb up the embankment on the opposite side of the chasm once she reached it. Digging her fingers into stone and pulling herself up with a grunt of exertion, eventually succeeding in climbing onto the next path towards the centre of the mountain and the spot where the Grail lied.
As she made for the tunnel, she paused as she noticed something odd. A source of light up ahead, it was tinged with a faint red hue but compared to the blackness which had been her previous companion, it was as if someone had suddenly switched on the sun.
However, she couldn't stop herself shivering as the light washed over her. There was something off-putting about it which just set her nerves on end.
The feeling got worse the closer she got to the source of light as it shone from the end of the tunnel.
The moment she crossed into the main chamber, she halted. She could see where the altar for the Grail had been when she was last here, however now it had been ripped apart. An ominous red glow erupted from the ground in faint beams of light as it seemingly stretched up towards the sky, clashing with the faint rays of blue moonlight falling down from the throat of the mountain.
"You can feel it, can you not?" She paused at the arrogant voice echoing out across the chamber, her head snapped around as it seemingly came from every direction "That disgusting scent of perversion." the voice snapped out with clear irritation.
"To think that this is what occurs when a King looks away from his treasures for but an instant." The voice of Gilgamesh continued to echo out around her "A desecration of one of his treasures at the hands of presumptuous mongrels who dared to believe themselves worthy of even laying eyes upon one of the King's possessions, let alone the right to touch it."
The voice sounded much closer now.
"However, if it is the wish of mongrels to poison a King's chalice for their own amusement, then perhaps I can show them the true magnanimity of a King...and have them drink from it."
Miyu gulped as the voice seemingly closed in.
"Would you not agree, Vessel?" She spun around as the voice came from right behind her, eyes wide and staring at the blonde haired servant as he grinned down at her with his sharp crimson eyes.
The smile remained on his face for a few moments more before it vanished back into a bored frown "I have been waiting her for longer than I would have deemed acceptable." he looked away from her, his armour clanking loudly as he stepped around the girl "I gifted you the time of sunset with the belief you would come post hence upon having my message received." he glared down at the girl out of the corner of his eye "Having me wait until dawn is boldness unbecoming of you."
He turned away from her and gazed back at the altar "I should take his legs as recompense for this insult-"
Gilgamesh paused "...Interrupt me again, and I shall return his body to you in pieces." he replied slowly without facing her "Your mongrel thief remains alive only because he held a small use for his King." he turned around to face her, crossing his arms in front of himself "However, since you are here, I will uphold a King's word and relinquish him to you."
With a snap of his fingers, a flash of golden light soon was soon followed by a thud and a dull groan. Miyu looked towards the direction, seeing Shirou lying face down on the ground with most of his wounds scabbed over and what looked like an entry would upon his leg from some manner of spear.
Gilgamesh watched with an amused smirk as Miyu rushed towards the downed boy and seemingly paused as she remained unsure of how best to help him.
"Well…what do you intend to do for the thief now, doll?" Gilgamesh asked aloud, smiling to himself at some hidden joke as Miyu turned back towards him with a scowl.
"As amusing as whatever excuse you have is, Vessel. You need not waste your breath." Gilgamesh cut her off, his eyes scanning the room. "Because I was not speaking to you."
Miyu felt her heart stop and her eyes widen in alarm.
"I wonder how much of the blame for the mongrel's crime truly lies with him…" Gilgamesh asked aloud as he casually strode away from Miyu "...Considering theft seems to run in his adopted bloodline."
Gilgamesh stopped, then stared towards the corner of the cavern behind Miyu before he smiled and raised a simple glowing rock between his fingers. "I shall grant you the opportunity to reveal yourself now, Doll…else I will simply kill the boy here and now."
Irisviels assassin form flashed into existence.
"Hmph." Giving a mirthful huff, Gilgamesh tossed the glowing stone back into a small golden portal "Did you truly believe such feeble tricks could deceive me?" his lip curled "Your resolve as a mother is only overshadowed by your ignorance."
A single portal glowed into existence above his shoulder.
"For this intrude, I shall deliver you a quick dea-"
"Berserker!" Miyu shouted out, Gilgamesh's red eyes snapped to his side.
"Aaaahhhhaaa!" Lancelot's pitch black armour rocketed towards the Golden King, black claws extended out towards his face.
AN: Hey…been a while, huh?
Well…I was working a lot on other stories and stuff so this took a bit of time to write out.
Although I wonder if it is a rite of passage for fanfic writers to just avoid updating a fic for ages only to get back to it out of nowhere.
Either way…here we go again!
As for when my next upload will be? I don't know.