Is he too late?


Most likely.

But he still runs, racing the stairs upwards, taking one-two-three at a time.

The man knows that he must reach the top; he must reach the ones battling there and stop them.

This is not her fight. This is not where she is truly needed. Her strength, her light, all of it is needed to save the ones he cannot save.

His strength is an illusion.

But he knows that against the golden demon that awaits him, an illusion might just be the key to victory.

A black shape passes him by.

And something enormous cuts through the air with a sound that makes him shudder.


The one-eyed warrior reaches the top moments before Shirou.

And disappears. He made a promise to that little girl. To save that black-haired mage-brat.

The second Shirou sees Gilgamesh and Saber, he slows down.



Gilgamesh's face is gruesome. Rage and utter hatred dance across his features as he glares at the back of Assassin.


Before he can attack the black swordsman, the charging Emiya demands his attention.

Swords shoot out, forcing the man to parry them, destroying the weapons in his hands.

„ Tohsaka and Shinji. I will take care of him."

The words leave her stunned for a moment. Such brazen confidence in the face of the King of Heroes.

„Mongrel, who do you think you are. Only Saber is worthy of tasting my power. All others should just die and disappear like the filth they are."

„Master...this, aren't you too ..."

„It's alright."

His eyes, they are shining. It is as if he knows something she doesn't. A secret, an idea.

Emiya's eyes have been opened.

The boy that dreamed of Fire and Death has died.

All that remains is the man that thinks only of blades. That is all that fills his mind. That is all that fills his entire being.

Before long, Emiya Shirou will become a Hero of Justice. He will become a Super Hero.

That is his fate.

His future.

No Regrets.

Not anymore.

Not ever again.

The dream of justice, shall be forged into reality.

Saber nods.

She doesn't understand, not fully, not wholly.

But she trusts him.

Somehow, she has decided to trust this person that never really touched her.

So she does the unthinkable.

Saber turns her back to her former master and the King of Heroes and charges in the direction of the tainted grail.

„Fool, you have just lost your only chance at victory. Now everything will be cleansed by that tainted mongrel grail."

He is being looked down unto.

That is fine with him.

„Certainly, I'm nothing but a faker. That is all there is to me. I cannot do something as skillful as creating weapons."

The words make Gilgamesh pause.


„All I can do, is put shape to my mind."

Rage again.

The King of Heroes is boiling over with anger as he snarls.

„Of course....two hypocrites like that would be too much of a chance. So you are the same....HAH. Your perfect mongrel self could not defeat me, what makes you think you can...I will crush you like I did to that red-coated Ant."

Gilgamesh has started to laugh as a madman would, trying to catch his breath.

„I am the bone of my sword."

Dozens of Noble Phantasms are released in an instance.

And he pulls the shield out. From the hill of swords.

The shield with such awesome defending power.

It holds.

And yet it tears.

It is not like that of the Heroic Spirit Emiya.

The shield is his body and it resists the damage while slowly being torn apart.

„Steel is my body and fire is my blood."

Gilgamesh is shocked.

If it is from the shield that holds when it should break or by the magical energy that is building up inside of him, Shirou cannot tell.

Not that it matters anymore.

All he must do now is reach that place.

„I have created over a thousand blades. Unaware of loss. Nor aware of gain."

„That shield...why..."

Is it wonder or anger that gives birth to that question?

Gilgamesh realizes that the shield will not fail even under the onslaught of his Noble Phantasms.

And he remembers that world.

And all the while Emiya's body is breaking apart.

From the inside the circuit is filled to the brim, no even more.

The capacity has been breached.

„Withstood pain to create many weapons. Waiting for one's arrival."

His mind tells him that his body is breaking apart, that it cannot take it.


From the very beginning, when all he knew was fire and ashes.

„I have no regrets. This is the only path."

Emiya's body was made for this one magic.

So...there is no way it would not be adequate.

If that single circuit is not enough.

He simply uses those hidden under the darkness.

After all, that which is hidden still exists, no matter how far in the darkness it may be.

„My whole life was Unlimited Blade Works."

The moment the true name is cast, the world is burned away.

X X X X---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It looks like a dark sea when he first sees it.

How strange.

And revolting.

Pure Corruption stains the holy ground and in the middle of that darkness. Rin.

She does not notice him, most likely she cannot. It takes all her concentration to keep the darkness from corruption her. To stop it from killing her.

Assassin comes to a stop. He sees the girl but before he can step into the corruption he hears them.


He knew it.

That much evil, how could they not come.

How could they not gather?

This place reeked of evil, of slaughter and death.

So of course.

The ghosts that hunger for his flesh and blood still, descend.


He doesn't turn around.

Does not dare to turn around.

Because the ghosts are not ghosts anymore.

More and more are coming and if they feel the grail...then the grail feels them too.

Corruption meets Regrets.

And hate and envy.

The first shape that rises from the soup is nothing more than a crude human-shaped puppet.

But it moves fast, faster than it should and it charges at Assassin while screeching, voice filled by the rage, hate and fear of a lost soul.

A swing of his dragonslayer sees the spirit and the slime separated again.

Till they spirit touches another part of the grail's corruption.

And rises anew.

„What...Assassin...what are those...creatures."

He still doesn't turn around.

„That girl can you see her?...And that idiot.. he should be at the center..right?"

„Yes, that is what Ilya said."

Assassin grins as more and more spirits arise, slowly creating a circle around him.

„You think you can get there? Cause I will be taking care of those puppets."

The Dragonslayer is raised high. Black Iron reflects no sun. Only darkness. And the ever present blood-lust that the sword coils around itself.

„Come on you freaks, ain't a single one of you that is going to enjoy this."

Saber watches him only for a second.

The giant blade disappears as does Assassin.

A dance of death, not poetry in motion, but enough brutality and sheer power to awe any observer.

A moan here, a scream there.

And Assassin, single eye glowing as he moves faster than the eye can follow. His sword cutting apart their very essence even as the grail tries to use the broken spirits again and again.

Saber charges forward.

Two shapes rise.

A slash and a stab is enough to finish them. The moment the holy sword touches them, the evil spirit start to burn, agony overcoming their small minds.

Such purity is more than they can handle.

Even with the power of the grail, no, more like because of the power of the grail.

Evil stays evil.

In the face of goodness it must burn to ashes and disappear.

But before she can set a foot within the grail.


Rin's voice.


„ touch it...that's it. I will...get that idiot Matou and then you will destroy this thing. Do you understand?"

Rin's voice is strained.

As expected.

„Yes master."

Trust again. She must trust her master, because if she cannot even do is too late to worry about that. She dodges to her side as a slimy paw strikes at her.

Excalibur cuts the spirit apart before it can come closer.

Grasping her sword tighter Saber stands firm as more and more shapes rise around her now too.

Assassin is still fighting after all.

As King of Knights.

It would be a shame to lose now.

A burst of prana and the shadows continue to fall.


Die. DieDieDieDieDieDieDieDieDieDieDieDieDieDieDieDieDieDieDieDieDieDieDieDieDieDieDieDieDieDieDieDieDieD

Damn that grail.

Who needed such a bothersome thing anyway?

Rin moves forward. Ever forward.

Because if she stops moving even for a second she will stumble.

And fall.

And die.

That is what the sensation of her smoldering skin tells her.

It is trying to wiggle its way inside her head.

Trying to pervert her mind, body and soul.

She winces but keeps on moving.

Stupid grail. Stupid Archer. Stupid Shirou.

Why is she of all people right here, in the middle of this corruption, trying to save that coward Shinji?

„You're surprisingly soft."

Those words.

Those damn sweet, stupid, moronic sweet words.

She is a mage.

To kill or be killed. A killer and murderer.

So why is she doing this again?

A memory.

A smile.

A kiss.

A.....Rin blushes even at the memory.

Damn you Shirou.

X X X X------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

There is nothing around them.

Nothing but swords.

That which makes up Emiya.

The world he forged out of his dream, out of that beautiful lie he was granted back then.

Gilgamesh stares at him, he is furious.

„That damn hill, Mongrel. Who do you think you are?"

Shirou doesn't smile.

„I tore this world apart before low-life, I will do it again."

Shirou moves, taking a single step forward while taking a sword out of the earth right in front of him.

„You defeated Archer? Is that what you think King of Heroes? But we're not the same, Heroic Spirit Emiya and Emiya Shirou."

Gilgamesh laughs at those words.

„A mongrel will always be a mongrel. Nothing can change the nature of a man."

Shirou looks bored as he stares at Gilgamesh.

„Say what you will King of Heroes, but you should ask yourself only one thing."

The King of Heroes raises an eyebrow.

„Oh...there is no answer I do not have mongrel, so why should I bother to ask."

„Is that so...well then tell me King of Heroes...."

Emiya charges but his words are not a battle cry...more of a whisper, carried by the sound of a thousand swords.

„Do you have enough swords in stock?"


Gilgamesh's furious attack is countered.

A hail of weapons deflected by those fakes.


The boy surpasses him.

The sword in his hand cuts one of the flying swords apart before it reaches its double, forcing Gilgamesh to dodge the un-countered copy that is sent his way.

The one that had perfected it and the one that uses it for the first time.

The key to victory lies in the simple-minded charge.

He does not even think of using his swords to open a way.

He cuts and slashes open his own way, putting his body at risk, making his arms hurt every time he cuts through a Noble Phantasm.

And Gilgamesh must retreat.

Victory is the sweetest poison.

The difference between the boy he cannot match and heroic spirit he defeated becomes clear.

The one he cannot defeat, is of course, the one that carries Emiya's will.

„Damn KID. Don't overestimate yourself."

Ea is called upon.

The distance is right.

This battle could still find its end like the one before.

„It's alright."

The words he said. The promise he made.

He cannot allow himself to break it.

So when faced with the sword that can cut the world....Emiya calls upon that he feared.

It is there, of course, right in front of him, as if it had been waiting for it.

Waiting for its chance to spill divine blood.

Shirou's hand closes around the hilt of the Dragon Slayer.

His mind drowns the instant he touches the black iron.

He will tear, rend, cut, slash, slaughter, kill and murder, he wants to...

A scream tears from his throat as he charges forward, Dragonslayer raising high.

He cannot tell if it is his own scream or that of the sword.

But he accepts it.

Right here, right now.

In the face of annihilation, in the face of ultimate power.

He accepts that all he feels is his own anger, his own hate.

But he will not give in.

It is a part of him, not the other way around.

If that part must rage...then it can do that...within that slab of iron he calls a sword.

Ea charges and Gilgamesh scream of rage nearly manages to drown it out.

He remembers that sword.

He will crush it.

Emiya is too slow; to attack like that...he will not survive.

Shirou doesn't stop.

Doesn't slow down.

And the Dragonslayer howls in glee as man and sword are air born.

He is flying, fast, faster, the sword demands blood.

Ea's power becomes a maelstrom poised to annihilate everything.

X X X X--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

He is grinning from ear to ear.

The black swordsman and the Dragonslayer in his hand are buried in a sea of darkness.

A moving, kicking, hitting, slashing sea of spirits.

He is bleeding from a dozen wounds, his body is burning from everywhere those spirits have touched him but he keeps on grinning.

He slides between two, crushes a head with his mechanical fist while slicing three of them apart in a flash of black iron.

A strike is dodged sidewise, the next one by rolling under it.

Knee-deep in corruption, surrounded by spirits out for his blood he thinks he is going crazy but he feels at home.

More so than anywhere else.

He laughs as he cuts through two more.

A battle for his life, with no regrets or anger wasted on his enemies.

The dragonslayer sings a song of devastation through the bodies of his opponents.

A moment's notice and he jumps, trusting his instincts as a strike shatters the ground where he stood.

Behind him a behemoth of a spirit towers. Thrice as high as he is, the abomination is nothing more than darkness held together by dozens spirits, their faces growing, stretching tearing through the exterior of the beast.

Guts charges, swinging the giant blade with one hand, severing a leg and using his own momentum to dodge two smaller spirits.

A quick jump brings him the other side of the fallen...thing....and he continues to carve into hit.

His laugh is raspy and rough.

And his single eye continues to burn with malice.

X X X X----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Saber is still unsullied.

Beast after Beast falls before her, yet her armor remains pristine.

That is the purity of the King of Knights.

Excalibur is still hidden behind the wind and every now and then she throws a look at her masters back, as Rin makes her way to Shinji.

Another burst of prana, half a dozen beasts screech at her from the sudden onslaught of light and before they can react she cuts them all apart.

In the distance she can see Assassin, fighting in way not unlike Berserker, tearing, slashing and crushing his enemies, two-three-four at a time.

She narrows her eyes only for a moment.

She will not judge him.

Not like this, not while they are fighting for their lives.

And after that...who knows what will happen then.

She side-steps almost lazily and stabs through another beasts, sending it back screeching and falling apart.

Then a pulse.

A wave of...corruption.

It forces her to stop for a moment; her body goes rigid at the sheer evil in it.

And the she hears the roar.

A wave of black has risen near Assassin.

She wants to warn him, but instead is forced to strike down two spirits as they attack from behind. Before they can stop screaming, she has already turned back again.

For a moment time freezes. She sees Assassin, sword held high, as if to cut even that wall of evil. The spirits around him are screaming in agony.

Then the blackness crashes into Assassin, carrying him away, drowning him in its sea of corruption.

And for a moment she thinks she can still hear Assassin laugh.

X X X X-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

What can change fate?

If one challenges the power that withstood all that came after, what can you hope for?

What could possibly be gained by defeating that which is supposed to be undefeatable?

There is no answer.

There never is.

In the end, the only answer one can find is a simple one.

Courage is its own reward after all.

What remains?

Victory or Defeat.

Emiya Shirou is screaming. As is the Dragonslayer in his hands. A roar of anger, madness and fury.

Yet, the man's voice holds more than mere insanity.

There is hope hidden behind madness.

Emiya Shirou is flying and so is the sword in his hand.

He cannot reach the King of Heroes in time.

He should not be able to.

But the cursed sword demands blood.

So it tears and cuts and slashes at the space between them, it slices through the distance between its edge and the divine blood it so desires.

It has tasted that blood before.

Just a few drops.

Now it will drink deeply.

Gilgamesh sees it coming. His eyes are so full of hate, but just for a moment they show fear.

And then the sword hits, cutting through space and distance, cutting through everything in its way.

Gilgamesh has no time to scream.

The slab of iron called Dragonslayer tears him apart instantly. It rips through the flesh it was denied before. This is what it is meant to do after all. To violate. To destroy.

The Beast has tasted gods before.

It will not be denied.

Emiya Shirou screams together with the sword even in bloody victory.

X X X X----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

She is shaking, her whole body is hurting, but she moves still onward.

As the head of the Tohsaka line she will not allow herself to falter.

The last meters between her and the boy she is trying to save are pure agony. The darkness is making her skin burn and her mind churn. Death is trying to print itself all over her ego. The curses never stop. There is no getting used to it. No growing immune to it.

This is hate. Pure and simple.

When she reaches the boy she allows herself a moment of rest. He has a strange crown on his head, made of thorns and making him bleed even as he lies unconscious.

„A mocking crown for a false king." She realizes with a start. Truly, that servant has all treasures at his disposal.

She does not dare to take it off. She tries to wake him, but the boy continues to lie there, as if dead, only his irregular breathing tells her that he is still alive. Grumbling to herself she tries to lift him and nearly falls down.

His weight is too much for her already trained body.

To return with that load, she won't manage.

So...this is it.

The end.

The end of the Tohsaka Line. The end of hundreds of years of ambition. The dream of her ancestors...would die today.

She could scream at the injustice of it all...but that wouldn't be fair.

She is a Tohsaka after all. She knew exactly what she did when she agreed to do this.

There would be no regrets, no childish tantrum.

If her end would come today, she would face it with pride and do her name justice.

„Tch...Still, to die while saving your worthless hide....what a scam. I feel like demanding a refund. Emiya owes me big time for this."

The darkness is rising again, her safe place will be swallowed and she can see why.

Assassin has been taken down.

Swallowed by the corruption.

And now it rages, thousands of souls are streaming together, spirits of all kinds are gathering, to feast on the black swordsman's life.

„Damn it....why like this..."

The screams and moans threaten to make her deaf.

Glaring Rin stands up.

If this the end...she will face it on her legs.

She drags Shinji's body up, somehow making him stand.

„Stand up, you, at least show some courage NOW."

This is the end.

When the darkness explodes into a storm for a moment she thinks the sound truly made her deaf.

There are no screams anymore.

Only a single sound remains.

Her head nearly splits apart at the nightmarish sound.

When she falls to her knees and presses her hands to her ears she still cannot block it out.

And somehow she understands.

Let loose the Hound of War.

The Howling is only the beginning.

X X X X-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

When the darkness explodes, the BEAST does not even pause.

It is a shadow, a dream, a mirage.

A nightmare that never ends.

Brutality given form.

Rage given freedom

Hate manifested.

The hound rages, devouring every spirit it can catch in its jaw, moving in ways not completely natural anymore as it jumps not from the ground but from empty air.

And where it touches the corruption it devours it, sending the darkness slithering away.

And always the howling, the sound that drives itself into your head, bites around and leaves behind only agony and rage.

Blind Carnage is all it desires.

Never-ending battle.




That is the truth it bears in its soul.

The nightmare from which it can never awaken.

Not that it wants to.

It is an animal after all.

So if because of its raging the darkness retreats far enough to open a path for that Tohsaka girl and the boy....that is certainly just by chance....Right?

X X X X---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

When Shirou finally arrives, he first finds Saber, standing at the edge of the darkness and keeping several spirits at bay at once.

All around them hell is set loose.

Spirits scream.

Ghosts race around moaning.

And the Hound of War still rages in the middle of it all.


Hearing Rin's voice he moves forward, closing the distance between himself and Saber. The Servant of the Sword throws him a single look, showing her gratefulness for keeping his promise before they move closer to Rin, keeping the spirits from attacking them.

The boy on her side is not awake yet, yet Rin holds them both up, marching over the ground that has been sucked dry by the corruption.

„Tohsaka, are you alright?"

Instead of answering Rin simply lets herself fall, letting go of Shinji and tries to regain her strength.

„Rin..where is Assassin, what is that thing?"

The girl doesn't answer. Can't answer as she suddenly clings to Shirou's shirt and pulls herself up.

„He is in that ...thing...master."

Saber's words shake Shirou out of his stupor.

„That thing? But...I don't understand...we have to take care of the grail what..."

He stops.

As does everything around them.

The Hound, the BEAST that kept on raging is gone now.

In its place stands the black swordsman once more.

The Dragonslayer is stuck in the ground before him and before their eyes Assassin falls to his knees.

„ASSASSIN. Get up, we need to take it down NOW!"

Guts does not rise.

He only stares blankly at the darkness slowly pooling up again.


A black gloved hand tightens around the hilt of the Dragonslayer and slowly tears it out of the burned earth.

Yet he still does not stand up.

They cannot see it but Assassin is smiling sadly.

The grail has been hurt.

It has felt pain.

It remembers that feeling.

The curse floods out again, straight at Assassin.

„OI, girl, why don't you get out that shiny sword of yours?"

Saber gapes at that.

Using Excalibur with him in front of the grail.

„Don't be an idiot Assassin. Ilya expects you to return."

The giant on the ground stiffens.

His answer is but a whisper.

„Yeah...I guess...I just suck at that stuff, returning ain't never been my specialty."

Raising his sword while on his knees Guts smirks.

„Sorry, I can't seem to get up again, so come on GIRL, get out that golden sword of yours and give me a little push, will ya?"

The darkness has finally reached Assassin.

A scream escapes him before he clams up.


Saber hesitates only for a second.

The sword of promised victory is revealed.

As if sensing its approaching doom the grail's darkness tries to rise once more.

Too late.


This is the end.

Assassin's smirk changes into honest to god smile.

The curse is already trying to paint his mind black.

Death is coursing through his veins. Hate. Feat, Anger. Regret.

He snorts.

„Screw you, it was fun!"


The beam of light cuts through the darkness.

For but a moment Assassin feels the light behind him, tries to rise and truly, manages to stands.

In the light of absolute victory the black swordsman laughs and charges into death once more.

So ends the battle.

And what comes after is another story by itself.

X X X X--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Her voice isn't even shaking.

Ilya is strong after all.

She has to be.

That is what she was created for after all, bearing any pain and marching onwards.

She does not cry when she hears how it ended and how he died.

Of course not, he killed her servant after all.

And somehow she knew.

Knew that that man wouldn't return.

That is the way he was.

His home had been somewhere else.

So when Shirou asks her how she feels she can only think of one thing.

„Assassin...he was really strong..wasn't he?"

After that...she doesn't care anymore.

Maybe she is crying, maybe she is not. The story is over.

If she is crying no one will see the tears shed into Shirou's shirt.

She is puppet born for the purpose of the Holy Grail.

Grieving for her two dead guardians....

Her „makers" would be furious.

She doesn't know if she should laugh or cry because of that.

X X X X---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Where do people go when they die?


Nah...he was pretty sure killing god's precious hand was a big no-no in that regard.


He had been there, done that. He doubted they still wanted him.

So where was he now?

He didn't have a clue.

His hand was still gripping the Dragonslayer tightly. That grip was important. Never let go of your weapon. That was the main rule.

And damn it all to hell and back he was hurting all over, what kind of shitty after-live was that anyway?

He couldn't see shit either.

But something was putting some awful pressure on his chest and neck.


Something warm.


And he knew that smell from somewhere.


Every instinct in his body screamed at him to kill whatever was clinging to him.

To let himself enter that precious rage that has kept him alive for so many years.

He knew that smell for sure.

To tear them open and cut them all apart.

Yeah, he knew it.

The hand with the Dragonslayer was raised.

The HOUND howled.

The sword hit the ground with clang.

The hand rose up and gently touched the head that was pressed against his chest.

Small arms tensed as the touch was noticed.


Ah, yes he knew that smell.

That smell of woods and earth. Some spice and a bit of fire too.

His voice was no more than a rasp.


„Please don't die...Please Guts."

Heh, that panicked voice...that's definitely his little witch.

„..I ...had a really shitty dream, ya know?"

Heh, it was finally over.

He wanted to laugh but that would have hurt.

„Don't speak, just rest, please Guts, just rest. You were gone so long...and now....please don't die."

Her voice is breaking so he gently touches her chin.


Its peaceful.

He never knew he could experience something like that.

„We really thought you were dead!"

He smirks.

The dream of war was finally over.

He was home again.

„Well..I guess this means this is what you call a miracle?"