Mistakes Were Made
A Fate/Zero fanfic by
Disclaimer: Peter King recommends this story because it is interesting and weird. He thinks. Call it a 40% chance.
But it's a legitimate 40%.
2: I warned you about Berserkers bro! I told you dog!
The battlefield was silent as Lancer looked back and forth between Saber and the new man, who was apparently Gilgamesh. He had so many misgivings about staying here any longer. His consternation included, but was not strictly limited to, the fact that Saber seemed to know exactly who Gilgamesh was without the man even needing to announce himself, as well as Saber's rather disturbing mockery of Lancer's abilities, including the disturbing quality of the mock Gae Buidhe and Gae Dearg.
He was beginning to realize exactly how deadly a foe Saber was going to be in the Holy Grail War, and he hoped that his Master was coming to the same conclusion.
They would likely need to align themselves with or against Saber if they wanted to last much longer.
For a long moment, Lancer was the only one moving, his head turning back and forth between Saber and Gilgamesh, who seemed to have entirely forgotten that he existed. And then finally, it was Gilgamesh who broke the silence. "Don't you think it's rude to stand above your superiors?"
Lancer blinked, thrown off by his words. He had expected many things of Gilgamesh. Unabashed arrogance as the man who was two-thirds a god, the man who killed the Bull of Heaven, the man who sought (and according to some, found) eternal youth. What he got was something else entirely.
In his life, Lancer had heard the arrogant speak. The tone of arrogance was very distinct. It was not arrogance that he heard in Gilgamesh's voice. It was confidence. Supreme confidence. As though there was nothing he could ask for that he would not receive, as though nothing were beyond his grasp, not because of some imagined superiority, but simply because that was how the world worked.
And unlike the arrogant who were the only ones convinced of their superiority, even Lancer wondered if it might not be true.
His head slowly turned to where Saber stood, still atop the beam. In the dim moonlight, it was hard to read the Servant's expression, but he radiated an interesting mixture of anger and grudging respect. "Well, I'll argue the superior statement, but…" He dropped down, landing easily and strolling toward the other two Servants, allowing the bow and sword-arrow to fade out of existence. "I will stand as your equal."
Gilgamesh raised a brow. "An equal? You presume much."
"Only as much as you."
At this point, Lancer really was beginning to feel like a third wheel, and his pride was starting to sting. "Have you forgotten, Saber, that we were in the middle of a duel?" His speech was clipped, a sign that he was beginning to get irritated.
"Not at all, but now the mood's been ruined. Besides, I think in a moment it won't really matter much whether or not you want a duel."
"What do you mea-" He felt a sudden tug on his consciousness as a Command Spell was used, and then he was in a different location, his body moving automatically, bringing Gae Dearg up to intercept a projectile. "Master?"
"We're under attack." Kayneth hissed. And then to punctuate the statement, a sudden storm of bullets came out of the darkness with a stuttering report. Lancer wove his spears through the air, deflecting them, as he backed up. "We may need to withdraw a little bit early. I appear to have misjudged the quality of Masters in this War."
"Misjudged, my lord?"
"One of these Masters has debased himself by using tools of the modern era. Crude, but I am not adequately prepared to defend myself." Kayneth suddenly swore as one of the bullets ricocheted off Gae Buidhe at an odd angle and buried itself in his left foot. His face screwed up with pain, but sheer force of will pushed it back, and instead he managed snap at Lancer. "Watch what you're doing!"
Lancer grimaced. "I am trying, but it's hard to read the path of the projectiles without much light."
A moment later, the gunfire stopped. Kayneth nodded. "Lancer, we're going to withdraw." When Lancer didn't move, he frowned. "Lancer!"
"Can you feel that?" Lancer said, his voice suddenly soft. A disturbing sensation was working its way up his spine.
After a moment, Kayneth responded. "Yes, I can. Lancer, we really should withdraw." Before that man starts shooting again.
Before Lancer had a chance to agree with Kayneth, a shrill scream cut through the unsteady silence that had descended on the battlefield. "TOKIOMI!"
Saber and Gilgamesh, who had returned to an uneasy standoff after Lancer's sudden disappearance, blanched at the scream. "It seems someone else is joining our party." Gilgamesh frowned. "An uninvited guest spoils the atmosphere, don't you agree?"
Saber shrugged. "Sometimes it makes things more interesting." He was, in fact, grateful for the interruption. He had been more than a little concerned that he was going to have to face off against Gilgamesh early, which doubtless would have forced his hand, and he wanted to keep his best tricks hidden as long as he could.
"Still, it seems that this new guest desires something from my Master, so I do hope you'll forgive the interruption." Gilgamesh gave a weary sigh.
Before either of them could do anything, though, the air warped, the prelude to a Servant materializing. And then, as the Servant appeared, Saber gave a weak grunt at the sudden onset of a sharp headache.
It was in his nature when facing enemies to assess them, and especially to look for another weapon to add to his ever-expanding armory. However, when he beheld the new Servant with his blacksmith's eyes, his mind rebelled at what it saw. He couldn't even begin to explain what he was seeing in words; the only thing that came to his mind was that what he was seeing was wrong.
Gilgamesh did not spare him a look, instead approaching the Servant. He had barely a moment to react when the new Servant, an enormous hulk of armor cloaked in black something suddenly charged him, howling wildly.
Berserker, Saber thought to himself as he willed himself not to close his eyes in order to avoid the pain. And this evening was going so well.
He watched as Berserker pressured Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh had yet to draw any weapon, and his surprised expression had changed to one of amusement, as though keeping away from the rampaging suit of armor was a game; and in all likelihood, it was.
And then Berserker reached down and grabbed at a pipe that was exposed as a result of Saber's missed Hrunting. Berserker tore the pipe free, and Saber resisted the urge to groan again as something happened to the pipe. His mind, out of habit, tried to analyze what it recognized as a noble phantasm, and he could swear he heard something in his head pop. Eventually, he simply had to look away.
Then his gaze was drawn back when he heard the ringing of metal on metal. He immediately recognized the shimmering air behind Gilgamesh; he had unlocked the Gate. He felt, before he heard or saw, the treasured sword Gram landing by his left foot.
The blade was unnaturally warped.
He looked back to Gilgamesh and Berserker, who had stopped its mad charge. Gilgamesh was obviously surprised that a simple pipe had deflected one of his treasures; Saber had no doubt he would have been incensed to discover that it had been damaged.
Saber grit his teeth, and then forced his attention back on Berserker. The wrongness that surrounded the hulking Servant had spread to the pipe, wrapping it in the same layer of corruption as that of the Servant.
He had to ignore it. Fight past the pain and grasp the reality of the situation.
It was pointless. He could read nothing. Every so often, he thought he could catch a flash of what his mind told him was a noble phantasm – a true phantasm, and not the vulgar falsehood that Berserker currently gripped in its hands – but when he tried to examine it, it slipped out of sight again.
"You have an interesting toy there." Gilgamesh called. "I do wonder how well it will protect you though."
And then he gestured, and steel rained down on Berserker. Really, that should have been the end of it, but if Saber knew one thing from experience, it was that Berserkers were cheaters and hated playing by the rules of sense and probability.
Wielding the pipe in the confident, composed way of a well-practiced fighter, Berserker wove the improvised weapon in patterns, catching ancient treasured, priceless weaponry and batting them aside. Saber moved every so often, noting with amusement that Berserker was attempting to send some of the deflected weaponry his way in a roundabout attack. Whoever this Berserker was, it was not so simple-minded as Heracles had been.
Good information to have.
Eventually, as Gilgamesh realized that the spray-and-pray approach was not working, the tide of steel ebbed and then died. For the brief moment that they lingered in the world before being drawn back into the Gate, the littered weaponry formed a wall between Berserker, Saber, and Gilgamesh.
"I can see that this is getting me nowhere." Gilgamesh sighed theatrically. "Well, since there's no reason for me to go any further than this against some mindless dog, I'll be leaving." He gestured vaguely in Saber's direction. "You can play with him."
"Shouldn't you be cleaning up your own messes?" Saber replied, knowing full well that this situation was quickly becoming grim.
"As if a king would lower himself to cleaning when a servant is around to handle the matter." Gilgamesh waved his hand. "I'll deal with you later; at the very least you'll prove an interesting challenge, rather than an annoying one."
Saber shrugged his shoulders. "Fair enough." Internally, though, he was praying for Kiritsugu to manage something that would pull him out of this situation.
"Don't let Tokiomi's Servant escape!" The shrill voice from earlier called. "Berserker, crush him!"
With a roar, the black Servant charged, flourishing the pipe. It brought the improvised noble phantasm down.
And then it stopped centimeters short of Gilgamesh's head; Berserker was bound tightly by chains extending from multiple entryways in the Gate.
Gilgamesh turned to face Berserker, brushing the pipe away. From where Saber stood, he barely managed to make out what Gilgamesh said to the raging Servant. "I don't appreciate having to call on my friend to handle trash like you. Appreciate the generosity I am showing you now. I will not repeat it. Do not appear before me again; you do not stand any more of a chance than I am willing to give you." And then Gilgamesh pulled back, and his body faded away into the night, the chains slackening and disappearing shortly thereafter.
And now it was just Saber and Berserker.
Saber and a very, very angry Berserker.
Saber, a very, very angry Berserker, and its Master, who was probably not too happy with that previous development.
"Well, if I couldn't get Tokiomi's Servant, I'll settle for getting another one. Berserker, destroy Saber!"
Even before Berserker could move though, Saber had rearmed himself with the bow and summoned Hrunting, nocking the sword-arrow and drawing it back. "Uh-uh. Not letting you get near me." He released the string, and in an immeasurably small fragment of time the weapon cut across the distance between the two Servants.
Berserker stood, Hrunting clasped between both hands, visor flashing red with malice. The blackness crept into the broken phantasm as it reformed into a sword; Saber blinked as Berserker took possession of Hrunting.
He didn't even know how that was possible.
So instead of thinking about it, he drew on his prana, summoning yet another Hrunting. "All right, try this one." He loosed it, and rolled his eyes as Berserker blocked it with its own sword. "Of course." The sword-arrow ricocheted upward and away, before supernaturally righting itself, angling back at Berserker before flashing in again with every bit as much speed as it originally had. Berserk rotated in an instant, blocking it again.
And then Saber fired a third one.
And then he watched in dull disbelief as Berserker practically danced through the onslaught. He kept his aim very carefully on Berserker, allowing his many arrows to home in repeatedly on their target, and yet Berserker had managed to avoid taking a hit.
And then Berserker caught another Hrunting, before hurling the broken phantasm at another one. The two collided, and shattered with a sudden eruption of force. With two strong slashes, Berserker sent the final two into the surrounding warehouses, causing another pair of enormous explosions and buffeting the area with turbulent winds.
And then Berserker turned to Saber, pointing the corrupted Hrunting at him.
And Saber shook his head. "No. This is dumb. You're dumb. I'm done."
Berserker roared and hurled the sword, but Saber had already faded away, and the sword cut through the air where he stood a scant instant before.
"Well." Kiritsugu began. He, Maiya, and Saber sat in his car, parked just outside the Einzbern Castle. The ride back had been silent, owing to the rather confused battle that had taken place shortly beforehand.
"Well." Saber echoed.
"Would you like to talk about what just happened?"
"Pity. You don't get a choice." Kiritsugu turned to face Saber. "You know more than you're telling me."
Saber stared at Kiritsugu, letting the silence stretch out, before he nodded slowly. "Yes, I am."
"You've been undermining my efforts since the beginning."
Saber reared back. "Are you kidding me? Did you see me nearly kill Lancer after I got bored with him? If not for Gilgamesh-" And then his mouth snapped shut.
"Yes, let's talk about Gilgamesh." Kiritsugu's voice was low and toneless. "You seem very well acquainted with him."
"We've met." Saber responded hesitantly.
Kiritsugu sighed, and then faced forward, allowing his forehead to strike the steering wheel. "Is there any chance of me getting a straight answer from you without using a command spell?"
"Until I have a chance to actually confirm things? No."
"I can't tell you until I've confirmed it." Saber shrugged.
"I haven't had an argument this tautological since Ilyasviel asked me to bring her here." Kiritsugu shook his head. "When will you be able to confirm whatever this is?"
"I have no idea."
"You know what you really have no idea about? How close I am to actually using one of these spells to force an answer out of you."
"And you won't, because to do so would crippling so early in the war. You got Lancer's Master to burn one, but that advantage would be lost and you'd be down in comparison to the others. You're not brash enough to throw something so valuable away." Saber responded.
"One day, I am going to pay you back for all of this."
"You'll try, at least."
"I don't try, Saber."
"...I suppose that much is true." Kirei had told him as much, so long ago.
"I'll just bide my time for now, and...oh what now?" At that moment, the door of the mansion opened, and Irisviel jogged outside and toward the car. Kiritsugu opened his door, and Maiya and Saber took that as a cue to exit the car as well. Irisviel stopped a bit short of the group, a hesitant smile on her lips. "Iri, what's the matter?"
"Welcome home. Um, not too long ago we got a call from the family. Whoever it was was quite irate. I couldn't really make out too much of what they said, but apparently the part of the estate that we lived on got blown up somehow?"
Kiritsugu stared for a second, before nodding. "Oh. That makes sense."
"...it does?" Irisviel blinked.
"Yes. When we left, I set a large number of traps for anyone who might think of trying to get their hands on either you or Ilyasviel. That's why I left her with the Einzbern and brought you here myself." Kiritsugu closed the door and began to move toward the mansion. "From the sound of it, someone did exactly what I figured they were doing. And if I had to guess..."
"Kotomine?" Maiya asked.
Kiritsugu shook his head. "Tohsaka, actually. From what we know, he's barricaded himself so far in his manse that attacking him would be a serious inconvenience, to put it lightly, but his wife and daughter continue to live in the main house. To me, it seems like he's baiting someone into trying to get at his family to get to him; if he's using his family like that, it seems quite natural to think he'd use similar tactics against other Masters."
Saber frowned, the mention of Tohsaka and his family sparking a rogue thought. Daughter? Shouldn't it be daughters? And then his mind connected all the dots, and he had to fight to control his reaction. Well, there's another thing to take care of.
Irisviel, on the other hand, paled at the thought of such mercilessness being leveled at her daughter. "Are you sure Ilyasviel is safe?"
Kiritsugu smiled slightly. "She's as safe as the Einzbern can make her. Tohsaka's arm is not so long that he can pluck her from where she's hiding." He glanced at Saber. "We're not nearly done with our conversation, but it'll have to stop for now. I want a check on all of the arrangements made in the forest."
Saber, glad to have an escape from the conversation, even if only temporarily, nodded. "As you wish, Master." He turned and dashed off into the forest.
"I've just heard the most intriguing report." Tohsaka Tokiomi spoke in even tones, his eyes tracing a map of Fuyuki marked with six pins. The advantages of having well-connected contacts in the Church and the Tower gave him near-complete knowledge of his adversaries for the game. Only one Master/Servant pair escaped his informants: Caster. Tokiomi was not overly concerned; with Gilgamesh at his side, no matter who Caster was or when the Servant decided to appear, he would have no problem handling the nuisance.
"A report?" Kotomine Kirei's voice came back across the link.
"From field operatives. Operatives that I sent to hunt down and secure the vessel of the Holy Grail, and her daughter."
"...I see." Kirei responded. "Were they successful?"
"Well, as it turns out, they never got a chance to try. Another group of individuals with likeminded aims were killed and the wing of the mansion that they invaded completely destroyed by Emiya's handiwork." Tokiomi paused. "A group of individuals who were reportedly working for the Church."
Kirei didn't respond.
"I believe I made it well-known that you were not to act without my permission. This is a delicate performance, Kotomine Kirei. I wish you had not tried to act of your own accord. Although I suppose you did save me having to purchase an entire new unit for operations here in Fuyuki."
"It was not my intention to usurp your position, or endanger your plans." Kirei finally replied. "I simply wished to make certain that the grail vessel was in proper hands for the duration of the war."
Your hands, no doubt, Tokiomi thought. "Regardless, what's done is done. The operation was a complete failure. For the time being, we must assume that both the vessel and her daughter are out of reach. Emiya has concealed his vitals quite cleverly, for the moment."
"As I guessed he would."
Of course you did. Your obsession with the man borders on outright frightening. "This leaves us with...Lord El-Melloi, his rebellious student, and my dear, dear friend Kariya, plus our enigmatic final Master."
"Short of turning the Clock Tower against El-Melloi, his position is unassailable. He has no weaknesses to speak of; he is utterly consumed by the thought of obtaining the grail, to the point where any external threat is pointless. His student, on the other hand, is living with an elderly couple who believe him to be their grandson. Pressure can be applied through that avenue. As for Matou Kariya..."
"My own family, of course. Nothing would please him more than to take Aoi and Rin from me." Tokiomi snorted. And then took a moment before he continued. "But we also have the option of working him through Sakura."
"Sakura is still family, is she not?"
Tokiomi frowned, looking at the picture of his daughters pinned to the wall. "She bears the name Matou now, doesn't she? So long as Aoi never hears of my involvement, what happens to the child is inconsequential. She has served her purpose, and if she can serve me yet again, so much the better."
"Continue your surveillance. Continue searching for Caster. The fewer variables in play, the better chance our plan stands."
"Speaking of variables," Kirei ventured, "what about Emiya Kiritsugu's Servant?"
Tokiomi shrugged, though of course Kirei could not see that. "I see nothing worth discussing. He recognized my Servant; Gilgamesh would have no doubt revealed his own name given half a chance."
"His abilities in the fight against Lancer were quite unusual."
"Quite worthless, if I do say so myself. A Servant, a Saber no less, whose entire gimmick is projection? He may have some martial skill, but it will amount to nothing before Gilgamesh's arsenal."
"...as you say."
Good boy, listen to your betters. Tokiomi waved his hand as though brushing the subject aside. "With that, I believe we are at an end for today's discussion. Do remember not to act without consulting me first next time."
"One final question." Kirei cut in. "You mentioned operations in Fuyuki."
"My dear Kotomine," Tokiomi smiled, "you'll find out in good time."
There was a long pause, before Kirei finally responded. "I understand."
"Good. Report back to me when you have discovered Caster." Tokiomi waved his hand again, and this time the connection cut. He sank into his chair, looking over the map of Fuyuki. It would be another twelve hours before his men were back, and daytime was not a time for hunting Servants, so it would be even longer before anything relevant to his interests occurred.
"So we'll all go a-hunting today." He intoned softly.
Kotomine Kirei sat in a pew of the church, his hands folded under his chin. One of Assassin's personas sat nearby, silent as ever, awaiting an order. Kirei had none to give. There was no change in operations, just a reminder of who exactly as in charge. He did feel mildly embarrassed for not going through Tokiomi; the idea of the operation being redundant annoyed him beyond a simple failure. There was no value in the lost lives of those men; he didn't particularly care about the lost life, but they hadn't accomplished anything beyond confirming that Kiritsugu was a genius. Which was something he'd known for some time now.
How many steps ahead was Kiritsugu in the war? He was now impervious to anything but a frontal assault by any reckoning. Unless he slipped up in the field and left an opening at least, but acting on hope was never something that Kirei did.
Kirei felt his body shiver with anticipation. A nemesis worth his while. Someone who could stand toe to toe with Kirei for all the small cruelties that the priest could dish out. Someone whose mind worked on the same wavelengths as his own. His palms were sweaty, and a tentative smile crossed his lips.
"Kirei?" He looked up, and saw his father looking at him. "What did Lord Tohsaka want?"
"It seems that our mission was redundant and a failure." Kirei replied. "He was not happy that we moved without clearing it with him."
Kotomine Risei sighed. "All we wanted to do was ensure that the grail could be summoned on our terms."
"I believe he has doubts of our loyalty. He seems a bit stretched thin as of late."
"We will do all we can to assure him of our loyalty then. Finding and reporting Caster's location would be an excellent start."
"Agreed." Kirei turned to Assassin. "Have you noticed any pattern in the killings in Fuyuki?"
"I've examined it through several Facets," the Command Facet responded. "I have narrowed it down to a number of small neighborhoods. I have Facets investigating each. Infiltration is currently nearing the first target, and the others are not far behind. By noon tomorrow at the latest, I'll have confirmation."
"Didn't you use Infiltration setting up the ruse for your death?" Risei asked.
"Of course not. Using one of my primary Facets for a suicide mission would be a waste of resources. Indoctrination was the Facet that died to Archer. A useful Facet, to be sure, but not exactly necessary under these restrictions. As you ordered from the beginning, I have kept Facets Infiltration, Capture, and Torture at a safe distance from serious engagements."
"Good work." Kirei nodded. "Alert me as soon as you have confirmation."
"Understood, Master." Command Facet closed its eyes and entered communion.
Risei stayed a moment, seeming to want to say something, before excusing himself. Kirei resumed his original position. Soon, Kiritsugu. Soon.
Saber had long ago finished his perimeter check. The forest was rigged against all manners of intruder. He had to hand it to Kiritsugu: the man was incredibly imaginative when it came to multi-tier traps designed to work against a broad spectrum of enemies. Then again, he couldn't expect much less. Everything he had heard about his foster father suggested Kiritsugu was nothing if not thorough.
He was currently ghosting through late-night Fuyuki, revisiting familiar sites. There were two places he had to visit. The first was the Matou mansion. He stopped a fair distance off, feeling the presence of the boundary. Even without being corporeal, the second he crossed that threshold Zouken would know someone was coming.
Just the memory of the old man was enough to make Saber sneer. He'd get his. The hatred Saber held for Matou Zouken was, at minimum, some three decades old, and possibly immeasurably older given the odd way time worked when a Counter Guardian was involved.
But he knew when to pick his fights. Most of the time, at least. And he was not in any way ready to make an assault on the Matou stronghold.
All he could do was pray that Sakura was all right. It left a bitter taste in his mouth. It was the same helplessness he'd felt all those years earlier. Even with all the power he held at his fingertips, he still couldn't do the impossible.
So he turned his heart to stone and turned away from the mansion. He still had one more place to go.
The second was the scene of the fire. Or well, it would be. At the moment it was completely fine. He saw a row of houses. He wondered which house was his. He moved toward them, but stopped. He could feel the discomfort in his chest. Even if this was his objective, the reality was still somewhat unsettling.
Perhaps he would wait a day or two. Get used to the idea. And then he could go ahead with it.
He wasn't too pressed for time. Even a week was more than enough time.
Kayneth hissed in pain as Sola-Ui tightened the bandage wrapping his foot. "Careful, damn you!"
She shot a caustic look at him, and then set the bandage, before backing away. "That's the best I can do. You're being very stubborn about not going to the hospital."
"As if I could afford a hospital visit right now." Kayneth rolled his eyes. "The grail war isn't going to go on hiatus because I got shot in the foot. If I had a healer here..."
"Excuse me for not being capable of doing every single thing." Sola-Ui snapped. "You shouldn't have even been shot, hiding back like the coward you are."
"Enough." Lancer's voice, cold and crisp, cut the tension between the two. Sola-Ui blanched. "Our opponent, as you can tell, is using rather unorthodox methods in combat. Lord El-Melloi could not have predicted that he would be facing someone so well-armed."
"I...well..." Her voice fell off.
Kayneth sighed, rubbing at his temples. "It is true that I failed to anticipate that the infamous Magus Killer would be working in such close coordination with his Servant." He ignored the surprised look Sola-Ui gave him at his admission of failure. "That being said, now we have a better grasp on Saber and his Master." He looked at Lancer. "I'd like to hear your conclusions."
"I have no idea who he was, but he was toying with me. That much was completely obvious. Even a moment slower and I'd have been killed by whatever that arrow was. And the other servants that appeared...I worry that I am somewhat outclassed." Lancer grit his teeth. "As much as it pains me to say, our best bet is to align ourselves with or against Saber."
Sola-Ui snorted, but then frowned when Kayneth nodded. "I agree. It seems like the best bet is to align ourselves against Saber, but our options are...limited in that regard."
"Why not align with Saber?" Lancer looked at Kayneth. "If the objective is to survive to the end of the war, he seems as good a bet as any."
"At this point," Kayneth growled, "I'll take the first offer I get. I don't want to get knocked out of the competition this early."
"Well, we still don't know about Caster and Rider, right?" Sola-Ui interrupted. "What if we ally with them?"
"Ally with Caster?" Kayneth had the grace to look offended. "It's rather obvious that Caster and its Master are behind the recent rash of murders. If we align ourselves with Caster, then when the lunatic inevitably goes out of control, we become a target as well. Not to mention that the idea of aligning with a murderer is offensive in and of itself."
Sola-Ui flushed with anger, but before she could say anything Kayneth continued. "As for Rider, though I may be in dire straits, I am not going to apologize, nor is Waver Velvet going to retract his own beliefs. This is the battleground we have been given for that particular argument. No, our options are between Saber, Archer, and Berserker."
"Saber and Archer," Lancer corrected. "The feeling I got from Berserker...I don't want to be anywhere near that."
"You will endure what you have to." Kayneth responded sharply. "We don't have the luxury of choice." Lancer looked hesitant, but nodded. "For now, we will fortify our position here and wait for the other masters to move. I dislike being passive, but right now we lack the option of being aggressive."
"What do you know about this Magus Killer?" Sola-Ui asked. Kayneth looked at her in surprise. "If you expect them to come here, you need to be prepared. Your gunshot wound suggests he doesn't play by your rules, so you need to think like he does."
Kayneth frowned thoughtfully. "You make a good point. But I don't know enough about modern technology to know what he would use. Something to take out the entire floor, I suppose, to make sure that there was nowhere for me..." He trailed off. "Sola-Ui, I do believe you've just saved me a good deal of inconvenience." He looked at her, and for once there was none of the disdain and irritation that tinted his dealings with her since the grail war had begun. "Thank you."
Apparently caught off-guard by his expression, she took a moment to reply. "Of course. You are my fiancé after all."
"Well then." Kayneth rose, wincing as he put weight onto his wounded foot. "Time to get to work."
In a neighborhood a few streets south of Fuyuki's neighborhood, Assassination Facet stole into a home with customary stealth. Its eyes traced the contours of the home. It had felt something strange about the building after laying eyes on it. As the Facet snuck about the house's first floor, it quickly came to a realization: the interior of this building was too small.
Something was very wrong.
Narrowing its eyes, the Facet began to look for the obvious tricks. Practiced hands glided over the wooden walls. Assassination Facet could tell with a touch where the hollows were, and very quickly it was beginning to doubt that it was something as simple as a hidden entryway. It continued around the room until suddenly its fingers dipped into the wall. The Facet stared, fascinated, before realizing that this may have been what it was looking for.
It pressed a finger in again, and the wall to the left rippled slightly. It nodded. Not a hidden entryway at all; an illusion. It would need to be careful of not being detected, having taken a risk already in confirming what it had seen before.
At least that was the thought that went through the Facet's mind before the wall rippled again, tens of shadowy black hands shooting out and snaring the Facet.
And then a head emerged from the wall. The face, a bizarre pseudo-human looking thing with too-big eyes placed too far apart, split into a wicked grin. "My oh my. What do we have here?"
The illusionary wall dropped, unneeded for the moment, and Assassination Facet, in its final moments of existence, was able to send back what it saw.