Descent into Darkness
Shirou and Arturia had been searching for the better part of half an hour when Arturia realized what had been bothering her this whole time.
"Something hasn't been sitting quite right with me. Didn't Uther seem a bit weak to you?" Arturia asked Rin.
"You're right, there's no way he could've overpowered Sakura on his own, which could mean…" Rin trailed off.
"That this whole thing was nothing more than a distraction. Oh no! The mansion, I'd bet anything that's where they are headed." Arveia panicked, grasping the implications.
"Arveia, go! We'll meet you there!" Arturia yelled.
At this Arveia quickly changed shape and fly off in the direction of the mansion. The rest of the group was about to follow when Arturia suddenly tensed up.
"I don't think we're alone anymore." Arturia warned.
"How right you are! And now that troublesome dragon is out of the way we can easily deal with you." Morgan Le Fay chuckled as she revealed herself.
"Uh, we?" Arturia asked.
"Naturally I wouldn't be stupid enough to face you alone. Oh boys!" Morgan called out.
Suddenly, Shirou found himself with three vastly different swords pointing at him. At the sound of the swords being drawn Arturia turned her head to find the Giglamesh, Assassin and Mordred all had swords trained on Shirou.
"Morgan! What is the meaning of this!? He has nothing to do with this, so why bring him into it?" Arturia raged.
"Well, considering you have a certain… fondness for the boy, I thought it prudent to have insurance against you fleeing your punishment yet again." Morgan leered.
"Do you think so little of me that I would flee an honest duel?" Arturia retorted.
"Since when have I ever been anything that could be confused with honest?" Morgan sneered.
"What do you…" Arturia started…
But at that exact moment Morgan flung a bolt of lightning straight at Arturia. It would've surely killed her on the spot if she had not been quick to bring her sword up to absorb the attack. After this the fight began in earnest. Fatal strikes were deflected by fireballs, spells batted aside by sword strokes and shields were cut through almost as quickly as they were erected. It seemed that neither side would gain an edge and would simply keep on fighting until both of them collapsed of exhaustion. But at this exact moment Morgan reached into her robes and pulled out what appeared to be an ordinary stick. If someone had the time and the inclination to examine it further they would've noticed that its surface was spider-webbed by faintly glowing runes. But there was no time for this as Morgan instantly shattered it and a rumbling came from underneath.
The reason for this rumbling soon became clear as from the cracks that formed in the ground came a small horde of skeletons.
"More skeletons? Is this the best you could come up with? It'll take far more than this to stop me." Arturia taunted.
At least she would have
been if Morgan and Shirou had not disappeared along with her
accomplices. Cursing loudly Arturia jumped off the ground, landed on
a nearby roof and followed Morgan's trail along the rooftops. She
soon sensed that she had stumbled into a trap and was barely able to
Avalon up in time to defend her. As soon as she did Avalon absorbed a massive stream of Mana and shattered.
"That seems to have done the trick, I can't let you have your trump card. It just wouldn't do for you to be immune to all my spells, would it?" Morgan taunted as she stepped out onto the street in front of where Arturia had landed.
"What did you-?" Arturia began.
"Do? Merely overwhelmed Avalon's defensive capability. Avalon is truly formidable but it's true potential can only be fully realized when it is released. I merely attacked Avalon while it was still in it's sealed state since it's power to absorb and redirect mana is severely restricted in that state. I imagine it'll be at least a few hours before it can piece itself back together. More than enough time to deal with you." Morgan explained.
As soon as she finished speaking she started chanting and Arturia attempted to stop her but found herself thrown back by a sphere of highly concentrated mana. She slowly broke her way through with Excalibur but it was too late. Morgan quickly took the glowing sphere that had formed in her hand and slammed it into the ground. From this sphere came a multitude of streams of what appeared to be pure darkness and it all was heading towards Arturia. It took everything Arturia had to avoid them and she barely succeeded. But in this time Morgan started chanting yet another spell.Oh, Servant of Ages Beyond Remembering
Oh Slave of Burning Embers
Your Master Demands Your AidAnswer My Call or Meet My Blade!
At this exact moment both Archer and Rin had finally caught up with Arturia and found Morgan Le Fay writhing in agony in a heap on the ground, helpless before Arturia.
"What, why? Why does he refuse the call?" Morgan screamed.
"Well, I was just going to have off with your head but now I'm genuinely interested. Who is it you were trying to call forth, dear sister?" Arturia asked with a sarcastic sneer.
"You blind fool, you have no idea of the power I am capable of controlling and you dare mock me? She who can command the oldest and most powerful beast magic has ever known? Master of Arvleg the Accursed?" Morgan spat out arrogantly.
"This is rich, all that power and you don't realize what you just tried to do, do you? You tried to bring a dragon through time? Did you not even stop to think why time travel was forbidden? You're lucky you didn't die in the attempt." Rin cut in.
Morgan attempted to shoot back a retort but was cut short by another wave of immense pain.
"It seems you are doomed regardless. I shall bring an end to your suffering, though it is more than you deserve." Arturia said as she lifted her sword.
"Fool, I may be as good as dead but my death will not come without a price. Bring him out!" Morgan ordered.
At this Mordred came out dragging Shirou with a sword across his neck.
"What are you doing? He has nothing to do with this!" Arturia pleaded.
"Does he? And yet by killing him I can not only eliminate the most powerful Faker the world has ever known but I can also eliminate the most powerful Counter Guardian in existence. Two threats eliminated in one swift stroke." Morgan sneered.
"How did you-?" Rin started.
"You think I wouldn't notice? That the boy would one day become the very servant who is standing next to you? It's really a no-brainer, why wouldn't I kill him if I would be eliminating two threats to my master? The fact that the two of you are love in with them is an added bonus, oh how I will enjoy this. Kill him and make sure there is no mistake this time!" Morgan ordered.
"With pleasure." Mordred replied as she moved to comply.
"NOOOOOOOOO!!!" Arturia screamed as she raced towards Mordred to stop her.
But she was too late as Shirou was beheaded before her very eyes. She watched in horror as Shirou slumped forward and she caught him and simply hugged him close, not caring about the blood seeping into her armor. Rin lost all strength in her legs at seeing her best friend beheaded before her very eyes and was caught by Archer. If she was surprised that Archer had not disappeared she didn't show it. Arturia, meanwhile simply stayed where she was not moving or stirring.
"NOW! Kill her while she's vulnerable!" Mordred ordered.
Mordred, Assassin and Giglamesh all went on the attack aiming for her head. They were completely caught off-guard when their weapons were stopped in mid-air being stopped by an invisible force. At this exact moment Arturia looked up with a murderous gleam in her eyes. She soon went on the offensive with little to no regard for her own safety.
"Why even fight, mother? The one man you ever cared about is dead and there's nothing you can do about it!" Mordred taunted her in the hopes of making her give into despair.
At this Arturia stopped her assault and the three Servants quickly put some between them and her.
"You're right! He is dead and there is nothing I can do about it! NOTHING EXCEPT SEE TO IT THAT YOU PAY FOR IT WITH YOUR LIVES, THAT IS!" Arturia raged.
At this moment a noticeable change came about in Arturia. The pupils in her eyes narrowed into vertical slits, her teeth sharpened into fangs. And her fingernails became sharper than daggers. At this moment Excalibur shimmered out of existence. Arturia let out an inhuman roar and started swiping at the first target she could see.
Assassin didn't have enough time to react to this sudden attack and was helpless as Arturia's nails shredded his jugular leaving him clutching his throat in agony as he slowly died. His body soon evaporated out of existence leaving Arturia with two very unnerved opponents. Suddenly, Arturia lunged and swiped at Giglamesh, tearing a set of parallel gashes in his armor but not doing any physical harm to him. Mordred and Giglamesh were extremely relieved to see a portal appear behind them and they wasted no time jumping through it. Arturia attempted to follow them but only flew through air.
"DAMN YOU! THIS IS FAR FROM OVER! I WILL FIND YOU AND ONLY YOUR ROTTING CORPSE WILL BE ABLE TO STOP ME!" Arturia raged into the sky.
Arturia attempted to run off in a seemingly random direction when she found herself blocked by Rin and Archer.
"And where do you think you're going?" Rin asked.
"I'm putting an end to this! They all have signed their death sentences and I'm the executioner! Their pitiful lives end tonight!" Arturia roared back in a monstrous voice.
"You don't stand a chance! Kotomine will destroy before you even set foot within 100 feet of him!" Rin retorted.
"Don't get in my way!" Arturia growled as she started to storm off.
Rin again tried to stop her and Arturia swiped at her with her claw-like nails and only Archer hauling her back saved her from being slashed open.
"Did she just-?" Rin gasped, scarcely believing what just happened.
"You aren't imagining things, it's clear that she isn't herself. I'm not sure we can stop her on our own. We're going to need help." Archer confirmed.
"You're right as always but what are we going to do about Shirou's body? We can't leave him here. I have an idea, but you aren't going to like it. I'm going to need you to carry him." Rin promised.
"I can't say I'm exactly thrilled by having to carry my own corpse around but its not like we have much choice." Archer grumbled.
"At least you won't have to carry it around for long. I'd been wondering how Kotomine had been creating such a stable portal so quickly and I'm pretty sure I've got it figured out. Here goes!" Rin said as she smashed a gem into the ground and muttered a quick incantation.
If Archer was surprised that it worked he said nothing and the two of them stepped through the created portal. They emerged to find that the kitchen was in pieces, almost literally in some cases. It was the same thing throughout the rest of the house until Rin jumped at a sound from behind her.
"Oh, it's you! I was worried they were back." Arveia greeted them as she stepped over the remains of the door she was standing on.
"They?" Rin asked.
"Those damn skeletons were here and they tore the place apart looking for something. Came out of nowhere and tried to ambush me almost as soon as I arrived." Arveia explained.
"What could they be… Oh no! Illya!" Rin started to run off to look.
"Don't worry, she's fine. I figured she was what they were after and made sure they didn't manage to grab her." Arveia revealed as Illya timidly peaked out from behind her.
"ONII-SAN!" Illya screamed upon seeing Shirou's body and ran over to it.
Illya curled up next to the body and became a senseless, crying mass until she slowly fell silent.
"Illya? Just now you called Shirou Onii-san, how is that possible?" Rin asked, confused.
By this time Illya was barely recovered but still managed to answer.
"You see, I didn't quite believe it myself and my parents, such as they were, actually tried to hide it from me. But you know that in order to create a homunculus you need a father to gather DNA from, and the person they chose was Kiritsusgu Emiya. Making Shirou my brother, even though I wasn't even aware of it at the time until I learned Kiritsugu had adopted him." Illya explained.
"So, the reason you wanted to be the one to defeat and kill him was…" Rin trailed off.
"I was angry, Kiritsugu promised that he would come back to get me so the two of us could live like a real family. He never did and I though he had just abandoned me and Shirou was my replacement. But now I know that he had planned to use the Grail to get me out until he learned it was tainted, I can't feel angry at him anymore for trying to destroy even if he did leave me behind. But even then I had my brother, until now." Illya finished before breaking down again.
At this time the Grail walked in and muttered, "Oh crap."
"Crap? CRAP!? SHIROU IS DEAD AND ALL YOU HAVE TO SAY IS CRAP!? THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT AND THAT'S ALL YOU HAVE FOR YOURSELF!?" Rin raged.
"You think I like this? Being the cause of another person dying? Do you know what it's like to be forced to suffer through the deaths of every single person to be killed over the course of the Grail Wars? It was enough to drive me nearly insane and the only thing that allowed me to retain what was left of my sanity was emotionally distancing myself from every single person I chose to participate in these bloody wars! SO DON'T YOU EVEN START ON ME!" He raged in response.
"I guess not." Rin meekly replied.
"Hey, where is Arturia?" Arveia asked to break the tension.
"We need to talk about that. We don't know." Rin replied.
"What do you mean?" Arveia asked with a cursory glance.
"You see… She, well…" Rin stuttered.
"You're not making sense. Just spit it…" Arveia started until seeing the state Shirou's body was in, "Where's Excalibur right now?"
"That's the thing it just disappeared, quite literally vanished into thin air." Rin explained.
"Did she suddenly grow fangs and did her nails suddenly change after this happened?" Arveia asked.
"I'll say, the three of them attacked her at once and suddenly hit an invisible shield of some sort. Then she used the nails on her left hand to rip out Assassin's throat and cut a huge hole in Giglamesh's armor with the nails on the other." Rin answered, "You know something, don't you?"
"Yes, and you're in for a bit of a shock." Arveia confirmed.
"Well, how bad could it be?" Rin aked, not knowing she was tempting fate.
"The truth is I am Arturia's mother." Arveia revealed.