The Importance of Proper Communication
The two men stared each other down, as the world ended around them.
The water glowed a pale, sickly violet from the blood of the abomination Caster had called forth. The sky flared with the light from the conflict between the ancient holy airship of Gilgamesh and the corrupted, demonic fighter jet commanded by Berserker. And yet, Kariya Matou could not tear his eyes from the man in front of him; the one person he loathed more than any other being in the world.
"Tokiomi Tohsaka…" He growled, the expression on his face a bizarre mixture of a mad smile and a growl, the utter opposite of Tokiomi's composure. "I have a question for you! Why did you give Sakura to Zouken?"
Tokiomi's eyes were calm, his tone one of cool politeness. "Is this really the time to be asking that?"
"Answer me!" Kariya snarled, flecks of spittle flying from his mouth as he practically bit off the words.
Tokiomi sighed. "Very well. I simply wished my daughter to have a bright future."
"Any Magus with two children must face a dilemma. Only one may inherit the family secrets. The other must join the rabble." Tokiomi said softly. "My wife's womb was too bountiful. Both Rin and Sakura were born with rare potential. To deny the possibilities of one, to allow the other to bloom… what father would desire that? The Matou family's request was like a blessing from Heaven."
The relationship between Kariya Matou and Tokiomi Tohsaka was a unique one. The multiverse was theoretically infinite, a place of endless variety. Yet, in every universe in which these two men existed, they loathed one another. The circumstances may have been different, but that hatred always existed in some form or another. And in nearly every universe in which these two men had this conversation, at this time… it ended in violence. The debate fell apart, their fundamentally different philosophies leading them to make bloody war upon one another.
Nearly every universe. But in this one, Kariya Matou broke that nigh-omnipresent universal cycle with a simple sentence.
"… He's not actually teaching her any magic, you idiot." Kariya said.
"And that is the path of a Magus, the power of the blood and… … … wait, what?" Tokiomi said.
"You sent her to learn magic. He's not teaching her any. He just kinda throws her in a pit of rape-worms all day."
"A… wait, a pit of what?"
"Like… like… they're worms that have been raped?"
"Oh, I wish that's what it meant." Kariya muttered.
"But… are you saying the worms… Zouken's worms that he has following him everywhere… they're for…"
"And they're doing that to…"
"But… I mean…"
"What did you think he kept a giant flock of horrible penis-shaped hell worms for?"
"He told me they were happiness worms!"
"… … …" Kariya said. "You… did you… he told you that? And you listened?"
"He… seemed trustworthy." Tokiomi said.
"… you have met him, right?"
"Lovely man. I really respect his scholarly dedication!"
"And his dedication to demonic rapist insects? Because he has a lot of that."
"… in my defense, he looked like a perfectly normal decrepit old man with hideous black eyes and a remorseless killer's smile and a horde of terrifying crawling things following him around." Tokiomi said.
"… think about that for a minute." Kariya suggested.
"… … oooooooooooooooooooooooooh." Tokiomi said, his tone one of sudden enlightenment.
In the skies, the King chuckled as his holy ship sliced through the clouds, the Black Knight in pursuit. Gilgamesh turned his head to offer Berserker a mocking smirk as the fighter jet, coated in black, twisted prana, followed on his tail, its weapons blazing. "Hahahaha! I admit, you're a tenacious beast… but a dog like you should not cast his gaze upon the heavens!"
"Raaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar!" Berserker said.
"Hmmmph! Try all you like but your pitiful vessel cannot compare to the Vimana, the true king's chariot of the clouds! Though you may provide me an amusing diversion, know that I shall cut you down in the end, without fail, insect!" Gilgamesh said.
"Raaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar!" Berserker said.
"Grrrrrrrr… stop that! All you do is roar like a dog! The King demands a true response to his witty commentary!" Gilgamesh snapped.
"Raaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar!" Berserker said.
"For the… at least try to offer some better mid-fight banter. Question my kingship? Threaten me, that's a classic. Maybe you could brag about your feeble accomplishments, that I might humble you! Yes, do that."
"Raaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar!" Berserker said.
"Erm… how about… a joke! Yes, royal humor. Um… how many Servants does it take to have a Holy Grail War? Seven. One to be me, and the rest to die." Gilgamesh said hopefully. "Funny, yes?"
"Stop ignoring me."
"So, what have we learned?" Kariya asked.
"It is inappropriate to sell your daughter to clearly evil old worm-men." Tokiomi said.
"Good. And when is it appropriate to sell your daughter?"
"… when you want her to take over the family business, and…"
"When you… want her… to… be… more…"
"… … … never?"
"Correct! It is never appropriate to sell your daughter, you insufferable jackass." Kariya said.
"What if the man I'm selling her to promises to let her have Happiness Worms?" Tokiomi asked.
Kariya's eye twitched involuntarily. For a solid minute. Something nasty and vein-y crawled under his skin. "Do I look like the worms have made me happy?"
"… a bit, yes. Your mouth is curling up on the side, there, and it looks a little like you're smiling, so…"
"That's because the worms have given me brain damage and I don't have fine motor control!" Kariya roared.
"Well, I didn't know that." Tokiomi said primly. "Though I suppose you wouldn't be happy, what with being all deformed and dying and hideous and uneducated and your family hates you and I stole your one true love."
"I… that… I… you… that…" Kariya sputtered. "You are the worst person in the world."
"But I tried so hard to make sure my daughter had plenty of Happiness Worms."
"Happiness Worms are not a thing!" Kariya snarled.
"But Zouken said…"
Ancient swords and demonically enhanced missiles clashed in an explosion of light and sound.
"This would be so much more fun if you weren't such a lousy conversationalist." Gilgamesh murmured.
"Yes, yes, 'rar'. I'm sure that in 'stupid growling idiot language' that's practically an academic dissertation." Gilgamesh said. "Honestly, I wish you were Saber. She's at least pretty. She could ride on my 'Vimana' any day if you know what I mean."
"… of course you don't." Gilgamesh said. "Honestly, I'm a little disappointed all of this. You, of course, because you're scum, but Vimana isn't exactly shining either. I kind of thought it would have lost you by now. I swear, I never should have bought this thing. It was a ripoff. And you know? I never even wanted it. It was totally Enkidu's idea. We found it at the ancient spaceship lot, and he's all excited. Said it would be fun to go on camping trips in it. And then, of course, we never go, and he leaves the stupid thing in my castle all the time!"
"I know." Gilgamesh said. "And I didn't even get to name it. He insisted on that part! 'Vimana'. What does that even mean? I bet it's not even a word. Now if I'd had my way, I would have called it the 'GilgaFlyer 2000'! Now that is a name you can be confident in!"
"You know, you have a point. He's gone, why should I let his opinions hold me back? I'm totally renaming this thing." Gilgamesh said, taking the GilgaFlyer 2000 into a dive to avoid another stream of bullets. "You know, I'm glad I finally got this off my chest. These are things that needed to be said."
"You're a pretty good listener." Gilgamesh said, his ancient blades cutting down another missile. "You know, maybe you're not so horrible after all."
Kariya held up the picture of Zouken. "Now… say it with me: 'This man is evil, and selling children to him is bad'."
"No buts." Kariya said firmly. "Say it!"
"… this man is evil, and selling children to him is bad."
"Right. Why is it bad?"
"Because he goes back on his word and doesn't teach them any magecr—"
"NO! Because selling children at all is bad!" Kariya snapped. "For the love of… I really should not have to explain this to you more than once!"
"Well, it's just that magi tend to, y'know, do that…"
"That's because Magi all rely on the same… psychotic moon-logic that you do!" Kariya said. "Honestly, now… what did Aoi ever see in you…"
"I'm really amazing in bed." Tokiomi said helpfully. "She can't get enough. You have no idea. I mean, Magi aren't supposed to have more than one kid, right, so we went to a lot of effort to not have a second. But damn if it didn't happen like… right away! Have you ever had a girl like th—ha, ha, what am I saying? You're… well. You haven't. We all know that."
"…. I hate you more than you can possibly imagine."
"Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!" Gilgamesh said. "Oh, Gods, I'm so unhappy! Waaaaaaaaaaaah!"
"It's all posturing! You think I enjoy being a jerk to everyone? That's just how people expect the king to be! They all complain about you when you're being mean, but they expect you to be a douche! I never wanted to be king… I always just wanted to knit!" Gilgamesh moaned. "I wanted to knit so much… pretty socks, and sweaters with puppies on them! I wanted to knit scarves with little hearts on them and give them to young lovers in the park! I wanted to knit mittens for all the orphans!"
"Raaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar!" Berserker said, launching another spread of missiles in an attempt to silence the thing.
"And these!" Gilgamesh said as his Noble Phantasms cut the missiles out of the air. "You think I like these? These… stupid damn swords? I literally have over ten thousand swords. Nobody needs that many swords, man! I would have been happy with like, five, but people kept giving them to me! I bought one sword, and suddenly the only present that anyone will give me is a sword! Ever! You think I enjoy cataloguing all of this crap? You have any idea how big my treasure vault has to be to hold all of these swords? I am paying rental fees like you cannot imagine."
"But… I guess there's some good points too." Gilgamesh admitted. "I got a great palace. I had some awesome pet lions. People would always bow to me and make me feasts. And my bed? Made of real feathers, from a goddamn griffon! How cool is that? Oh, and the sex. Kings? Get laid. All the time kings get laid. I had more girls in a week than most guys have their entire lives. And I did it on the awesome bed!"
"Hey, you know… thanks. I'm really glad we had this talk. I feel like a weight was lifted off my chest." Gilgamesh said, wiping a tear from his eye. "Yeah, it's hard being the most awesome person on Earth. But… it's the only way I know how to live. And really, who else could do it but me?"
"Nobody, that's who. Nobody." Gilgamesh said, his resolve restored. "Thank you, Berserker. You're an okay guy."
Kariya sipped his coffee. "And then he just went out to farm worms and left us all alone, with no food. For a week."
Tokiomi blinked, picking up a donut. "But you were only three years old."
"And it was Christmas."
"That's… really awful."
"… what did you eat?"
"Worms." Kariya said. "We ate worms, because there was nothing but worms."
"But… but I thought he was going out to farm worms…"
"Oh, he was."
"Well… from his perspective, you really can't have too many worms. Like, have you seen our basement? Worm city, man."
"Are… are any of them…"
"Happiness worms are not a thing."
"I was afraid of that." Tokiomi said sadly. "Um… did he at least get you a Christmas present?"
Kariya sighed. "A worm farm."
"… …. …. But…"
"A miniature one. For my room. Because clearly we didn't have enough goddamn worms in our house."
"Man, that… sucks." Tokiomi said.
"No. Ya think?"
"All right, all right. I… admit I may have sold Sakura to the wrong family."
"You really shouldn't have sold her at all, but I'll take what victory I can get." Kariya said. "So… what are you going to do?"
"Well, I guess I could take my invincible God-king to your house and take Sakura back, but I don't know if he would agree to do i-"
Tokiomi was cut off, then, by a golden and black streak slamming into the ground with enough force to rattle his teeth. From the wreckage, Gilgamesh stood proudly. "Tokiomi! I shall require yarn!"
"… … … what."
"Yarn, fool! For knitting!"
Tokiomi blinked a few times, not quite sure if he had heard what he thought he heard. "Um… I need to make a stop and kind of save my daughter…"
"Fine! I shall accomplish this menial task. In return, you shall acquire me the finest yarn, in every color of the rainbow! I shall knit your daughter… a hat!"
"Um… … … sure?"
Kariya blinked, himself not quite sure he was seeing what he thought he was seeing. It had been a surreal night already but this was… "Berserker, what happened up there?"
"… … right."
As Caster's immortal demon monster slowly oozed toward the land, Saber gasped for air. "This… this thing regenerates from anything we do! Is there no end to it?"
"I honestly can't believe we're still out here alone. I saw Archer on his… flying… thingie. Why didn't he stick around?" Rider asked, his tone indicating a certain level of hurt that his new buddy hadn't come to this awesome party he was having.
"Wherever he went, Berserker followed him. And Lancer is useless." Saber said.
"I heard that!" Lancer said from his position on shore where he was being useless… I mean, guarding Iri.
"And Caster is in the center of that giant tentacle demon pudding and unable to help us!" Rider said.
"… why would he help us kill himself?"
"You never know until you ask him. He struck me as an odd fellow." Rider said.
"… oh, just shut up and fight the monster." Saber said, charging.