I do not own the Fate Series or Lupin the Third.


Assassin smirked and tossed away his cigarette as Saber approached him.

"Well Arthur-chan, I have to say that I'm a bit disappointed." Assassin said, wagging his finger in a chiding gesture. "Bein' fashionably late doesn't really suit a fine lady like yo-"

Before Assassin could finish, the air to his right whistled as if it was being cut through. He felt something wet run down his cheek, and tasted something metallic in his mouth.

The shallow cut that was on his finger confirmed his suspicions.

"Oh shit."

Assassin jumped back to avoid another invisible slash from Saber. Yelping in panic, Assassin backed up even more as Saber began to slowly but purposefully walk towards him.

"Whoa, Calm down, Arthur-chan! I don't even get a hello? Can't we just have a friendly conversation?"

"No." Came Saber's stone-cold answer.

Assassin's grin faltered for just a second. "Well now… She's really serious."

This could be trouble, on account that Saber was much, much more powerful than him. There was a reason why the Saber class was called the strongest of all the Servant classes in the Holy Grail War. Considering who she was and what he'd seen of her in the War so far, she certainly helped set the example. Sure, throughout the War he'd managed to outsmart Saber a time or two but he had no illusions of how a direct confrontation with her would turn out. Looking into the woman's eyes, Lupin knew he couldn't talk his way out of the situation or mess with her head like he'd been content to do previously.

Luckily, Assassin was able to adapt to any situation.

As Saber took another step, Assassin took out his Walther P-38 and fired. Saber hopped to the side in order to avoid the bullet. Assassin grinned as he simply kept moving, never taking his aim off the Servant as he ducked behind the tree and continued to fire. Saber continued to dodge his bullets, no strain or tension visible on her features. She wasn't worried about getting hit. Dodging his bullets barely required any effort it seemed.

That actually annoyed Assassin a bit.

"Guess I'll have to up my game a bit." Assassin thought as he reloaded his gun. "Ah man, this was so much easier the first time we me-!"

Assassin suddenly dropped into a crouch and peered upward as the tree he was hiding behind shook before falling down.

"Timber…" Assassin muttered as the trunk fell. Luckily the thing was still attached to the stump, and it fell at an angle where it wouldn't crush Assassin or have his head be crumpled into his chest area.

It still hit him pretty damn hard on the head.

Assassin could almost see stars as he stumbled out of his hiding spot. "Awawawa…" Assassin muttered as he nursed the bump on his head. He then froze as he heard something land on top of the trunk behind him. Assassin turned with his gun drawn while stepping back.

Stepping back was what probably saved his head from being sliced in half.

Saber was now in front of him with her blade lowered. Most likely she hopped down from the top of the fallen tree and took his momentary disorientation as an opportunity. However, she was only a centimeter off from gouging out his right eye and leaving a nasty gash on his face.

But hopefully she did not know that.

Saber may know the feeling of her sword cutting through flesh, but one does not exactly notice something like the tip slicing through a person. Considering Excalibur, the sword's tip was as sharp as a scalpel.

With that in mind, Assassin placed his hands over his eye. Saber did not see the little packets he had between his fingers. "Gaaah! You damn broad!" Assassin squeezed his fingers, and red liquid began to seep out.

It was actually ketchup. Homemade, and damn good in Assassin's opinion.

"My eye!" Assassin bent over, at an angle low enough for a certain something to slip from his sleeve into his hand. "Look what you did…" Assassin then thrust his hand out and showed Saber a white eyeball. "To my eye!"

Of course, it wasn't a real eye.

Assassin grinned and shouted, "Psyche!" Before tossing it over to Saber.

Ordinarily, people who fell for this would be too shocked from the show to do anything.

Sort of like how Saber was when they first met, when he sort of made the moves on her.

That did not happen this time.

Instead Saber, like a professional baseball or ping-pong player, simply took the flat of her blade and hit it back at Assassin.

In between them however, the 'eye' burst into a cloud of smoke. The little bugger was a smoke bomb of Assassin's own design. The smoke didn't really cover much of a distance, but it was dense and thick enough to obscure someone's vision in case he needed to catch someone by surprise.

Assassin didn't waste any time. He quickly ran forward to Saber's right, making as little sound as possible, before circling around her, and with his agility was able to place the muzzle of his gun on the back of Saber's neck before she had a chance to recover and react.

"Okay, Arthur-chan…" Assassin said, making the Servant freeze up for a minute. "I'm all for gettin' to the main event, but it's always important to have a bit of forep-"

Saber then did something Assassin didn't expect.

She shot her head back, jumping slightly, and hit Assassin square in the face.

Coincidentally both knocking his gun away from her neck, and breaking his nose.

"Ghhk!" Assassin grunted in surprise as cartilage cracked and blood spewed out from his nostrils. Assassin quickly stumbled back out of Saber's range, holding his nose and gritting his teeth. That hurt. Not as much as a bullet wound, but wow!

Saber rubbed the back of her head, wincing a bit from the blow but managed a cold glare as Assassin stopped the blood flowing from his nose.

"Are… are you out of your mind?!" Assassin shouted, eyes wide with incredulity at the stunt Saber just pulled

A dirty move like that… just wasn't Saber.

He expected her… no, it was in character of her to use her sword. Maybe slice open his foot or use the end of the handle to punch his gut.

But playing dirty with a headbutt of all things?

Saber was impassive to Assassin's words, maintaining her glare as the smoke cleared. Assassin observed the opposing Servant's face as he reassessed the situation. It wasn't a face he was used to seeing… and it was much different from the girl he'd first encountered on that night at the pier when the War had started.

It was a face of someone who had seen countless battles, slain hundreds of men, and ruled a kingdom.

"I am through playing your games, Lupin the Third." Saber said simply, gripping her sword and bringing it to eye level.

Her words echoed in Assassin's ears, and the thief couldn't help but smirk at the girl's fiery response.

"She's finally wised up."

All those little talks, all those little conversations and that final 'debate'… they had finally made Saber realize what she had to do in order to truly become a worthy opponent. She finally understood what she had to do if she wanted to get the best of him.

This was it.

This was the excitement he had been yearning for!

Sure, things were looking pretty bad for him… a Servant like Saber was prepared to use all her strength just to end him, the measly Assassin of the Fourth Holy Grail War…

But he didn't care.

He was just too happy!

Assassin placed his right hand over his heart area while his left gripped his Walther.

"Be still my beating heart…!"

Truly, Arthur Pendragon was one mighty fine lady!


xxXXxx

Emiya Kiritsugu had earned many titles throughout his life.

Husband, father, employee, tool, mercenary, terrorist, monster and a few vulgar ones that the enemies that hated him most had bestowed upon him…

But he wasn't a crude man. No matter what he did, he was a professional. He was efficient.

That said, he was having a hard time keeping his usual cool given the circumstances.

"Damn it." Kiritsugu grit his teeth as he walked down the house's halls. "Damn her!"

He was, of course, referring to Saber, whose recent independent streak had become a major pain in the ass for him.

"How can she leave us unguarded at a time like this?!" Kiritsugu glanced at the windows and sliding doors. "We may have taken precautions in case of an assault, but that does not mean she can up and leave at a time like this!"

It was near the end of the Holy Grail, and only three Servants remained. It was a miracle that Irisviel hadn't died yet, and was retaining her form rather than just transforming into the Grail.

It was an extremely critical time. Kiritsugu was sure that the two remaining Master and Servant pairs making their preparations to eliminate the rest of the competition. Especially Assassin, who was more than likely to be drooling at the thought of stealing the Holy Grail.

So Saber deciding to go off on her own was not something Kiritsugu was happy about.

He had complicated feelings about his Servant before all this. She was naive to the point of delusional. She held on to and talked about chivalry with pride rather than being an unnecessary complication and weakness. And she was King Arthur, one of the mythical figures that crystallized that unobtainable idea of heroism and helped to glorify war.

Yet he also still admired her to a degree, and was still worried what she would think about his wish.

Now though… She was acting like a rebellious teenager and throwing caution to the wind by going off on her own.

Perhaps it was partially his fault for his attitude towards her…

Kiritsugu then froze. His old instincts began warning him, telling him something was wrong…

And he has long learned to trust his instincts.

Kiritsugu took out the walkie-talkie in his coat pocket and turned it on. "Maiya, are the preparations in order?"

"Yes, save for the sealing of the doors." Maiya then gasped. "Something has…"

"Yeah, I figured…" Kiritsugu took out his Glock 17 and began walking.

Now the only question as where the mystery guest would enter through.

He had booby-trapped all the windows and outside walls from anyone who wanted to sneak in, or make a flashy entrance.

The only (relatively) safe way into the building was through…

Footsteps were then heard in the air. Kiritsugu took in a breath of air and drew his gun before pointing at the end of the hallway.

He watched the most dangerous Master of the war, Kotomine Kirei, walk into view while pulling splinters from his right hand. However, his eyes were on Kiritsugu.

So much for Kiritsugu just shooting the bastard while he was unaware.

The front door was rigged to blow up should someone entering from the outside attempted to enter in the wrong code or touch the door knob.

Kirei must have decided not to even try, punched through the door, and opened from the inside.

Figures that things wouldn't be that easy.

"Emiya Kiritsugu." Kirei drawled as he turned towards him. "We meet at last."

Kiritsugu did not take his aim off of the priest. "Kotomine Kirei."

This was not good. The closest door to Kiritsugu was five feet behind him. And if he moved at all, he gave Kirei the opportunity to strike him and the movement of opening the door would throw off his aim.

Kirei took a step towards Kiritsugu, while Kiritsugu took a step back. The former mercenary had read everything about Kirei. The last thing he wanted or needed was for the priest get close. While Kiritsugu was confident in his hand to hand combat skills, he couldn't hold a candle to a former executor. He relied on weapons and traps and never directly confronted his enemies unless it was absolutely necessary.

"I've been anticipating this moment… the moment when I would finally get to meet you." Kirei said as he approached the Magus Killer. "Reading about you and finding out you were a Master in this War… I can't remember looking forward to something this much."

"Why?"

"I have a question for you, Emiya Kiritsugu." Kirei said, some fervor breaking the monotony in his tone. "And you will answer it."

"A question?" Unexpected. He had expected Kirei to already be trying to gut him like a fish with Black Keys. Still, whatever Kirei wanted answered was probably not in Kiritsugu's best interests. "And if I refuse?"

"You won't." Kirei stated like it was a simple fact. "If you do refuse, I'll break you down until you talk. I'll make you endure great pain. Rest assured, I won't kill you. Not until you give me the answer I seek. I won't be satisfied until then."

"Torture then?"

"I understand that many believe torture to be inefficient, on account that the ones receiving it will tell their torturer anything to make them stop." Kirei admitted without his tone diverging from its usual monotone. "However, I believe we both know from experience how to separate the lies to make torture stop from the truth."

Kiritsugu did not allow his nervousness to show. He knew from his research that Kirei meant every word he said.

Kiritsugu would do the same as well.

"Now you will tell m-"

The sound of a gun cocking forced Kirei to stop and turn before raising his arms as a hail of bullets fired towards him.

"Maiya."

Not wasting any time, Kiritsugu reached for his Thompson

"Time Alter: Double Accel!"

Kiritsugu felt his heart beat faster, and his veins bulge from the influx of pumped blood while he moved at double the ordinary human speed. Everything seemed to be in slow motion while he felt as if he were under water. The Thompson was already loaded with an Origin Round, specifically to reduce time. Kiritsugu took it in his left hand and aimed, cursing at the one second it took to aim properly with it, before beginning to pull the trigger.

Then Kirei did something unexpected.

He took a single step towards Kiritsugu, crossing two meters as the trigger was almost depressed.

Then, Kirei shoved himself to the left.

It was too late for Kiritsugu.

He had already fired the Origin Round.

The mystical bullet containing Kiritsugu's Code missed its target, and Kirei tackled the wall to his left, crashing through it and ignoring the pieces of wood and insulation that scattered everywhere as he went into the now open bathroom.

Kiritsugu clicked his tongue in annoyance and frustration. "Damn."

He had underestimated Kirei's ability to utilize his surroundings to his advantage and his unfortunate gift of multitasking. Kirei never diverted his attention from Kiritsugu, even when trying to make sure he didn't get fatally shot by Maiya. He saw Kiritsugu trade his original firearm for the Thompson Contender. Even while moving at double speed, Kirei had matched his speed and reacted perfectly. Even if Kirei didn't know the specifics, the priest could reason that the bullet was supposed to be Kiritsugu's trump card.

He would do everything in his power to avoid getting shot.

"Luckily…" Kiritsugu and Maiya ran to the hole while taking out two flash bangs from their waists, pulling the pins, and throwing them inside. "That isn't the only way I can kill you, Kotomine Kirei."

Kiritsugu and Maiya jumped away from the hole and turned their heads while covering their ears as the flash bangs went off.


xxXXxx

Saber dodged another rain of bullets as Assassin continued to run deeper into the forest, taking special care to ensure that there was enough distance between him and her.

And for good reason. He knew that if she got close, it would be the death of him.

"I like it when women run to me, but this is ridiculous!" Assassin shouted as he shot once more at her. Saber simply used the flat of Excalibur to block it from reaching her head. "I mean, you aren't even my type!"

"God I wish he would shut up already." Saber did not let her feelings be shown though. If she answered to Assassin's jests or provocations, she would fall into his pace and that would give him the advantage.

No, she needed to remain calm and be prepared for both anything and everything. She wouldn't rise or react to his insults or words. She only needed to keep an eye on him and get close enough to land a fatal blow.

"This would be more fun if you would just talk to me!" Assassin shouted, anger and annoyance now apparent in his voice as he ducked behind yet another tree.

Rather than simply chop it down though like before, Saber thrust her sword through the trunk. At the low angle, even if Assassin had ducked like the last time she still would have pierced his chest. Conversely, even if he was standing, her sword would have dug into his lower abdomen or his groin. However, Saber didn't hear any howls of pain or strangled gasps of a dying man. Saber knew something was wrong. Saber withdrew her blade and circled around the tree…

Only to see a straw dummy with Assassin's jacket draped over it.

Then, surprisingly, the dummy's right hand raised up. Saber grabbed the offending limb before it could reach her face, and crushed it.

"I liked that one too." Assassin's voice whined out from behind her. "I named him Slappy! Oh and the jacket too. You owe me about two hundred…"

Before Assassin could finish and she could continue her pursuit, Saber heard a hissing sound from the dummy.

"A bomb!"

Saber quickly raised her arms, with her gauntlets facing towards the dummy as she jumped back. It exploded, flame and black smoke erupting outwards. Saber hissed in pain as she caught the edge of the blast, the explosion singeing her clothes and burning parts of her skin that she hadn't managed to completely cover. Saber coughed as she swept her sword around in an attempt to clear away the air around her.

She hadn't managed to get away unharmed, but she was still alive.

"Well, that went off faster than I thought it would." Assassin muttered as the sound of a hammer being cocked back came to Saber's ears.

The smoke was covering her from Assassin's view.

Perfect for her to use.

Gripping Excalibur, Saber turned around and jumped up out of the smoke. Assassin was staring at her wide-eyed in surprise as she came towards him. "HAAH!" She shouted as she began bringing down her sword.

Assassin threw away his gun and took out two short swords from his jacket, bringing them up to guard himself.

"He can't be serious."

She wasn't titled the King of Knights, or put in the Saber class, for nothing.

Saber's blade hit the swords. At the same time, the swords were brought to the left and guided her blade with them.

They then shattered from the force. The pieces were like shrapnel, embedding themselves in Assassin's left shoulder and arm while cutting both of their skin.

But it did the job, and Saber's blade merely sliced through part of his left arm rather than splitting him down the middle.

"Woah! Ow!" Assassin cried out in pain as he stumbled back. "I could keep up with Goemon! How...?"

But as he stepped back, Assassin stepped on something he wasn't supposed to.

Specifically, a long piece of sharp metal from one of his broken swords.

Assassin's eyes widened as his left foot now had a long piece of blood-stained metal sticking out of it. "YYYYAAAAAAAAOOOOWWWWW!" Assassin shouted as he began hopping on his right foot, holding onto his left while talking the metal piece out.

It took all of Saber's composure not to burst out laughing at the ridiculousness of all this.

Still, she allowed herself to have a smirk form on her lips.

Because by God this was satisfying to watch.

Even though she'd abandoned her code and stooped down to Assassin's level, she couldn't deny the results.

Still, this was not time for fun. She wouldn't give Assassin a chance to recover.

Saber rushed at him with her sword drawn. Managing to fish out the metal from his foot, Assassin then tapped the heels of his shoes, and rockets came out of the heels. He began to fly up…

…Only for Saber to cut and disable the rocket in his right shoe.

"Waaaah!" Assassin screamed as he flew erratically into the forest and out of her sight. Saber cursed and followed his smoke trail.

Would it be too much to hope for him to break his neck when he crashed? It would've certainly made Saber's life a bit easier.

She then stopped as she saw Assassin standing up and grinning with his gun aimed at her.

"That wasn't very knightly of you, Arthur-chan."

"That's rich coming from you." Saber muttered.

"Oh! So ya can talk! And make jokes too! Good. These little rivalries are better with a bit of banter." Assassin laughed out while Saber gripped her sword tighter. "Although…"

Saber heard a gun cocking behind her.

"...My worthy opponent should pay attention more to her surround-"

Saber turned her body and sliced her ambusher in half. She saw the form of Assassin with an annoyed expression on his face before he shimmered out of existence. In his place, fluttering in the wind, as translucent cloth hanging from a string tied into a branch overhead. On the ground, now destroyed, was a simple animatronic the size of Assassin with an arm that held a Walther P-38 and a camera for a head. Shining through where it once stood was a beam of light.

"Ya know, it's rude to interrupt someone when they are talkin'." Saber turned and saw that there were now ten Assassins, standing on the ground or on large branches in the trees. "What did ya think I did while waitin' for ya? Sat on my ass and played with myself? I set up traps Arthur-chan. Slappy was one of them, and this is the second one. Got the trick from Pe… Penelope? Was it? Or maybe… Persephone? Pretty sure it starts with a P…"

Saber leapt forward and sliced three Assassin clones at once, all of them not the real thing.

One on the tree continued undisturbed.

"Potato? Poh-tato? Pineapple? I guess it doesn't matter." Assassin snapped his fingers. "Point is, most of these are fakes, and I'm controlling them to shoot you."

All the clones drew their guns and aimed at Saber.

"Have fun." Assassin's voice echoed cheerily around her.

Saber jumped back to avoid a hail of gunfire, and turned to see even more clones. "They're multiplying?" Saber used Excalibur to block several bullets, and her armor ported the vital parts of her body. But her cheek and left side were grazed by a few lucky shots. "No, these were prepared beforehand, and like an amateur I walked right into it!"

Saber jumped up and destroyed another clone, and jumped off as the branch she was turning on was turned into splinters by a hail of gunfire.

She couldn't stay here. She couldn't waste her time avoiding bullets and destroying fake Assassins. One or two bullets she can avoid with ease. It's when there was more than that, a problem arose.

She needed to find Assassin, the real Assassin, and fast.

"But which one is him?" She knew that Assassin was not the honorable sort. It's why she long since given up with facing him in honorable combat.

But what would he do now, with numbers on his side.

It then hit her. "He would sit back and watch the show."

She jumped on another tall tree branch and scanned the surrounding area. There were now thirty Assassin clones, all aiming their guns at her.

Save for one in the back by a tree, who was leaning on it and smirking.

"I have you!" With enough force that sounded like a cannon ball, Saber jumped forward. Almost too fast for the human eye to comprehend, and far too fast for the clones to pull the triggers of their guns, Saber was now past the Assassin clone, with her blade already out as if she had finished swinging. Dirt and grass were blown apart by her feet, showing the intense speed and force of her landing.

But she knew something was wrong.

There was no blood on her blade.

The Assassin she had cut down smirked and laughed before disappearing, and falling into parts.

"Another decoy?!" Had Assassin known she would strike the one clone that didn't look like the others? Yes, most likely. He already knew she wised up to his tricks, so he was planning around what she would do to counteract them.

All the Assassin clones, rather than fire on her, simply laughed all at once. "Bravo! Bravo Arthur!" They all then clapped, and Saber grit her teeth at the mocking gesture. "You're startin' to think like me! This is really, truly excitin'! You've definitely put my boredom on its knees, and shot it dead before throwin' it in a ditch!" Then they all stopped clapping. "But I knew I couldn't face you one on one like this. I'm allergic to gettin' sliced and diced ya see. So I just decided to head over to your place while you were having fun with my clones and get myself a drink…"

Saber's eyes widened when she realized what he was suggesting.

"Damn!"

Assassin had distracted her, and now she was in Irisviel and her Master's residence! Saber began running.

"Care to join me for a gla-?"

She cut in half one Assassin clone as she ran before jumping out of the forest.

She heard Assassin's voice sigh faintly in her ear.

"Coulda just said no…"


xxXXxx

Kirei gave a pained grunt as he lifted himself from the rubble of the bathtub he had hidden himself in. It really was a stroke of luck that the room he went into was the bathroom.

But the flashbangs still did their job. Parts of the ceramic were broken and cracked, Kirei's ears were ringing, he was seeing spots, and on top of that what he could hear over the ringing sounded as if it was being muffled by cotton balls.

Not a good situation to be in.

Kirei then got up. While there was strategic value in remaining in the small room, it also put him in a disadvantage. He needed to get out before they decided to throw in live grenades and cause even more damage.

As his vision began to clear, Kirei spotted a small bit of black outside the hole he had crashed through.

Most likely either Emiya Kiritsugu or the woman that had shot at him.

Either way, it was perfect.

Kirei then grabbed a piece of fallen ceramic and threw it out of the hole. It struck the person that was outside, and based on the grunt of pain it was definitely Emiya Kiritsugu. Not wasting any time, Kirei jumped through the hole himself.

It was best to get between his two attackers than having to face them both down in the same direction.

Hearing the sound of a knife slicing through air, Kirei stamped both his feet down in order to make a solid stance and turned to his left in order to stop a knife from being stabbed through his neck. Turning to the woman, Kirei glared and grabbed the base of the blade with his left hand. Reinforcement ensured he didn't get his fingers sliced off. Kirei then grabbed the woman by the front of her shirt before using his right leg to sweep her off her feet. He slammed her down hard onto the ground, and threw the knife to the side before raising his left fist.

This woman was not Emiya Kiritsugu.

Thus her life was of no importance.

But before he could do that, Kirei jumped to the left to avoid the bullets from Kiritsugu's gun. Kirei glared at Kiritsugu, who had his more traditional firearm raised with his left hand while the other single-shot Thompson was holstered to his left hip.

Kirei had no idea what Kiritsugu had in that gun, but it was most assuredly not an ordinary bullet.

Otherwise, why would he abandon the more traditional Glock when they first met and fired at him with the Thompson?

"He's so insistent on tagging me with that gun in particular… he believes he can kill me if he gets in one shot." Kirei reached into his pockets and took out three Black Keys for each hand. "Which means all I must do is prevent him from using it."

With that, Kirei rushed forward. Kiritsugu shot at him several more times, but Kirei sliced through the bullets or simply let his kevlar-woven robes take the ones he missed. Kirei ignored the pain that the bullets put on him. While his robes helped to prevent gunshot wounds, they did little to prevent bruises and bleeding.

Nothing a bit of healing Magecraft couldn't fix at a later date.

Kirei threw the Black Key in his right hand. Kiritsugu ducked in order to avoid receiving mortal gashes and cuts along his have and neck. Which was just what Kirei wanted.

After all, it got the man to stop shooting at him.

Kirei was in front of him within the span of a second, his arm muscles clenched and ready to strike. "Should I break the arms or the legs first?" Kiritsugu dropped his gun. He was planning something. "Arms it is then." As Kirei's right arm shot forward, something amazing happened.

Kiritsugu went faster a man his age or build should.

He circled around Kirei, completely avoiding the priest's strike, and continued to run "How…?!" Kirei thought as he turned his head to see Kiritsugu run past the woman, grab her Calico, and then moved away to the end of the hallway before firing at Kirei.

Kirei cursed as he turned and raised his arms. He was quick enough to prevent his face being filled with lead by having his right forearm still covered in his robes take the bullets aimed there.

Then Kirei blinked as he saw white petals float by his face. "What are those...?"

He didn't notice any flowers nearby the area. Nor a flowering tree of any kind.

Unfortunately due to this distraction his left hand wasn't so lucky as the rest of his body. As the hand was raising up, a bullet shot through it, leaving a gaping hole.

He also received grazes in the top of his head, chin, and neck.

Thankfully no arteries were hit.

"Was that what Assassin was warning about?" Kirei saw Kiritsugu's confused expression as Kirei lowered his arms. "No, unimportant right now. I must focus." Kirei's mind was racing, but he remained calm. "I see… Emiya Kiritsugu has time manipulation Magecraft. He slows down his own perception of time, and his heart pumps more blood so that he can operate faster. However, going at more than three times the normal speed of a human would make his heart burst." Kirei then noticed the gunfire stopped. "I must adjust my speed accordingly." Kirei pushed all of his strength into his legs and leaped forward, Kiritsugu was already abandoning the Calico and reloading the Thompson.

It was time to test a theory.

Kirei stopped himself as the Magus Killer loaded the new round and aimed.

Stopped right before the woman.

Kirei picked her up and ignored her pained gasps as he used her like a human shield.

"Do i-!" The woman shouted out, but was interrupted by the sound of Kiritsugu firing.

As expected, the man did not hesitate.

That was just what Kirei wanted.

Kirei ducked but threw the woman's body up and at Kiritsugu. It happened so fast neither person realized what happened. The bullet ripped through the woman's abdomen, spraying blood all over Kirei.

Kirei's lips quirked upward when the woman cried out in pain.

She fell to the floor, and screamed while holding her gut. It was certainly a powerful gun. Rather, the bullets, not the gun itself, were the real threat. Kirei then began activating one of the Command Seals, and felt a rush of otherworldly energy go into him.

"This should be a sufficient counter."

Kiritsugu was already loading a new round at double the normal human's speed.

Kirei simply moved at triple speed.

Kiritsugu finished reloading the Thompson Contender and aimed his gun forward again, but was shocked when he found Kirei's face right in front of his. The priest's hand shot forward, striking Kiritsugu's wrist and sending the Thompson Contender flying from his grip. Kiritsugu's eyes widened as his legs were kicked out from underneath him and as he began to fall, Kirei knee shot forward and buried itself in his stomach. As the air from his lungs was forcibly expelled, Kiritsugu didn't even have a chance to inhale as a strong hand closed around his throat and slammed him into the wall.

Kiritsugu coughed as he struggled in Kirei's grip. Kirei remained impassive as Kiritsugu tried to free himself, catching Kiritsugu's right wrist while the Magus Killer's left hand closed around the hand that was holding his throat.

"No struggling."

Kiritsugu gave a choked gasp as Kirei broke his wrist. Given Kirei's strength and the fact that he only hand one hand functional now there was no way he could break out of the hold Kirei had him in. He was at the priest's mercy. Still, in spite of the situation and the danger he was in, Kiritsugu glared defiantly at the man who had managed to best him.

Kirei for his part merely observed the man known as the Magus Killer as he held him against the wall. This was it. This was the moment he'd been waiting for since he had agreed to Tokiomi and his father's request to take part in the Holy Grail War. This was his long awaited meeting with Emiya Kiritsugu…

…And yet, Kirei realized that he wasn't as enthusiastic about it as he had used to be. Granted, he felt a certain amount of exhilaration now that he'd finally reached his goal… but after everything he'd experienced… after spending so much time with his Servant.

"…It won't hurt to see this through to the end." Kirei muttered to himself.

Which answer would be more satisfying? Kiritsugu's or Assassin's?

"Now then…"

Kirei threw Kiritsugu to the ground. The mercenary gave a few wracking coughs, massaging his throat as he tried to recover from the beating he'd received. He was forced down when Kirei brought his foot down on his back, hissing in pain as the priest applied pressure to keep him pinned.

"Emiya Kiritsugu… when this war started, you were all I could think about. I researched and gathered information regarding all the potential Masters taking part in this competition, but you were the one I was most interested in. The reason for that was because I considered us to be kindred spirits."

Kiritsugu glanced up at the priest, his confusion apparent as he listened to Kirei's words. What was he talked about? Kindred spirits? What did that even mean?

"…You're confused. I admit, it's difficult to explain myself." Kirei went on. "You see, throughout my life I have constantly searched for a purpose. No matter what I've done or what goal I pursued, I could never find any worth or fulfillment. Nothing I did made me happy. No matter how much I wished for it, no matter what I experienced, the emptiness I felt… it never went away."

Kiritsugu frowned. He'd had his own questions about the erratic way the priest had lived after researching him. Now, after he'd been defeated, he was hearing the reason? Excelling in everything he did then abandoning the path he had previously been on… the reason for Kirei's actions throughout his life was an attempt to discover some sense of self-worth?

"…That said, there are some things that I've managed to find joy in." Kirei admitted. "Though my feelings regarding that, the happiness I feel when I look upon others when they're… no…"

Kirei trailed off, shaking his head.

"Rather, I was ashamed of the feelings certain deeds inspired from me. Acts that would bring me joy… a normal man wouldn't feel joy from them. I was desperate to find something to absolve me of the guilt I feel. Before the Holy Grail War began, I thought that you were the only one who could help me do this. However, it was only after summoning my Servant that I began to see things from another perspective…"

Assassin, his Servant, Lupin the Third… he had given some unexpected answers in response to Kirei's troubles.

"Feeling joy from seeing others suffer… I still believe this to be a sinful thing. The way I was raised, the way I was taught… I really can't see it as something I should be happy with. However, Assassin… Lupin, helped me come to terms with my nature as a sinner, somewhat. No man is completely devoid of sin, and no matter who you are everyone has something that makes them happy, no matter how strange or unique it may be."

Lupin the Third was someone who found happiness in the thrill of a good heist. The danger, the mystery, the intrigue, the adventure, running from the police, evading arrest, barely getting away with his life… those were the spices of Assassin's life. The man selfishly and unhesitatingly did whatever he wanted in order to live life to the fullest. In his own way, Lupin the Third squeezed whatever fun he could out of whatever situation he landed himself. Staging heists and living life how he wanted was how he attained happiness.

Kirei was actually grateful that he'd been able to get a glimpse into Assassin's world. Kirei had tried many things in his pursuit of happiness, but until entering the Holy Grail War had never done any of the things Lupin had managed to rope him into. He'd been content to follow along whatever path his father had mapped out for him, and when that proved fruitless he had tried making his own goals for himself based on what he thought a normal man would find fulfilling all in an attempt to fill the void within himself.

Now, as he had the Magus Killer pinned to the floor, Kirei couldn't help but reflect on everything he had done throughout the War. Starting from when Assassin had pretended to threaten to shoot him after he had sent his Servant to be killed by Archer, Kirei had done many things. He'd aided in a heist, he'd acted as Assassin's getaway driver, withheld certain truths from his father and Tokiomi in order to cover his and Assassin's tracks, saved a girl, killed an ancient magus, and so much more. While dealing with all of that, there were times where he had forgotten his obsession with Kiritsugu, becoming far more interested in Assassin's actions and what he had to say about Kirei's own feelings and troubles.

With Assassin's help, Kirei actually began to feel like he was getting close to something approaching an answer to the question he'd been asking himself since he was a child… about what it was that made him happy. While Kirei was still uncertain, especially regarding topics concerning his daughter and what specifically about the heists and seeing those who deserved pain suffer, Kirei didn't feel as hopeless as he did before.

Of course… after giving Kiritsugu so much focus, Kirei wasn't ready to completely invest in Assassin's methods just yet.

Which was what brought him here today.

Kiritsugu grunted as Kirei suddenly kicked him over so that he was lying on his back. Giving a pained hissed as Kirei's right foot pressed down on his broken wrist while his left knee dug into the Magus Killer's chest and kept him pinned to the ground, Kiritsugu narrowed his eyes at Kirei who crouched over him.

"With that in mind, Emiya Kiritsugu, I'd like to know… what is it that makes you happy?"

The question threw Kiritsugu for a loop.

"What…?"

"What makes you happy?" Kirei repeated. "I thought we were similar because of the way you lived before being taken in by the Einzbern family. For years, you drifted from battlefield to battlefield taking one bloody job after another. Yet, something changed when you were accepted by the Einzberns. After numerous battles and leaving a countless number of corpses in your wake you suddenly stopped. You washed your hands of the bloody work you'd immersed yourself in, disappearing for years before finally reappearing to participate in the Holy Grail War. Why? What did you find with the Einzbern that made you stop? Or… is there something in the War that you seek? Tell me. I must know."

"Why… is it so important to you?" Kiritsugu asked, inhaling sharply when Kirei's boot pressed down harder on his broken wrist.

"Because I'm not ready to turn away from you yet. While I've realized that there are other avenues I've yet to explore, your answer may finally satisfy me. Right here, right now, I can find a way to obtain the happiness I've sought. I won't have to wait any longer."

Assassin had presented Kirei with a sort of half-answer, Kirei wasn't completely satisfied. Assassin had made his case, but the priest had yet to give up on his original goal which was to hear for himself what Kiritsugu's answer was.

What was it that made Kiritsugu happy?

"Answer me." Kirei demanded, frowning at Kiritsugu's continued silence. "Answer me or I'll break you down. If you still refuse after I implement all the techniques I have in my disposal, I will kill you."

Kirei gave his ultimatum. After everything, he was prepared to do it too. While killing Kiritsugu would frustrate him, no doubt that the lack of an answer would nag at him for years to come, the Magus Killer wasn't the only one who Kirei believed could provide him with the answers he sought anymore.

Seeing the look in the priest's eyes, Kiritsugu realized that he couldn't afford to keep his silence.

"…My family."

Kirei stared down at the man, processing his answer.

"…Your family?" Kirei muttered.

The thing that made Emiya Kiritsugu happy was his family? To Kirei's knowledge, the Magus Killer had no living blood relatives. Did he mean the Einzberns? Even then, why enter the War? And family had already proven to be a dead end for Kirei…

"No…"

Kiritsugu choked when Kirei's hand closed around his throat again.

"That isn't it." Kirei stated like it was a fact. "You bear Command Seals so you have a wish. The Einzbern gave you the opportunity to compete so there is something you're still not telling me. What is your true desire? Emiya Kiritsugu… tell me your wish!"

Even as Kirei's fingers tightened around his windpipe, Kiritsugu was still able to choke out an answer.

"I… will save… the world!"

Kirei's eyes widened.

"Save… the world?"

His grip around Kiritsugu's throat loosened.

"That's right…" Kiritsugu replied hoarsely. "I want to use the Grail… to wish for a world without conflict. I want to bring about a miracle that will make everyone happy."

Kirei stared down at Kiritsugu. Looking into his eyes, he saw not a trace of mockery or deceit. Only resolve and pure determination. Kiritsugu glared up at the priest as he remained silent.

"Well? Satisfied?" Kiritsugu asked, a hint of irritation in his tone.

In response to Kiritsugu's words, Kirei let out a few chuckles.

A few seconds passed before Kirei began to laugh.

So this was it… this was what this path had led him to. This was Emiya Kiritsugu's answer.

Kirei had been so sure that Kiritsugu would provide him with the answers he sought. In spite of his certainty, he had speculated a time or two about how he might react if he hadn't found Kiritsugu's answer satisfactory. Given that Kiritsugu was his last option, Kirei honestly thought that if it came down to it he would just put an end to his miserable existence.

Of course, now Kiritsugu wasn't his only option.

How did he feel? Sad? No. Angry? Not quite. He was certainly disappointed. Another path he'd pursued in an attempt to answer his greatest question had amounted to nothing just like all others before it. Still, he didn't feel hopeless. No, there was still another path available that might yield answers. One he had just decided to fully invest in.

"A wish like that…" Kirei said as his laughter began to die down. "It's too foolish for me to understand."

What a childish wish. Given everything Kiritsugu had done and the atrocities he'd committed, Kirei was floored by how idealistic and delusional the man was. Chasing that kind of dream, wishing for something like that…

He no longer had to put any faith into Kiritsugu. Instead, it was time to devote his faith to another… one who had already shown him results.

Emiya Kiritsugu didn't matter anymore.

"A wish like that… that's not something that will ever come true." Kirei said. "Not when men like me exist."

And certainly not with men like Assassin running around.

Kirei's words elicited an angry expression from the Magus Killer.

Kirei only smirked in response to Kiritsugu's glare.

While he still felt disappointment… he also felt amusement. Joy.

Kirei savored it.

The priest grunted when he felt something pierce his right shoulder. Kirei stood to his feet and he looked over his shoulder to see a bowie knife lodged in it. Clicking his tongue in annoyance, Kirei took it out and narrowed his eyes at the person who had thrown it.

He saw the downed woman, Kiritsugu's partner, panting in pain with her right arm outstretched. Her veins around her eyes were bulging and blood was spreading out from beneath her. The bullet wound she'd received was clearly causing her great agony.

"So you still have energy to try and protect him." Kirei muttered as he took a step towards her. "Tell me, is your wish as foolish as his?"

Kirei thought briefly about killing her just to make Kiritsugu feel some more pain, and perhaps so that Kirei could give himself some catharsis for all the time and energy he wasted obsessing over Kiritsugu.

But he stopped when the woman passed out.

No, not like this.

Rather, what would Assassin do if he were here?

Well, he might try something inappropriate with the woman, knowing him… but more than anything, he'd do whatever would make things more interesting.

Kirei kneeled down in front of the woman, taking out the bullet within her stomach and carefully applying healing Magecraft. While she had lost a lot of blood, the bullet had hit anything vital and no matter how grievous the wound seemed it wasn't something beyond what Kirei could heal. The Mana being used was not her own, so the properties of the bullet should not affect her.

But if she were to use Magecraft again, then she would end up in a fate worse than death.

But that was not Kirei's concern.

After ensuring that the woman would not die from blood loss, Kirei turned to Kiritsugu and saw that he was gone.

No doubt the man used his time-manipulation Magecraft to make a hasty exit.

Kirei's lips quirked upward in a small smile. He was actually a little happy Kiritsugu had gotten away.

Yes, he didn't need to kill Kiritsugu or his assistant. Things were likely to be more entertaining if he was kept alive.

"Get ready, Emiya Kiritsugu." Kirei smirked. "It's almost time for the main event."


xxXXxx

Saber turned around and saw that the front entrance was now blocked by a metal shutter. Kiritsugu had set it up several days ago for security reasons, should the original trap be rendered useless. "But surely he knows that I, and Assassin for that matter, can blow it apart like tissue paper ri-?"

Saber hissed in pain as her right pinky felt as if it was engulfed in fire. She lifted it up, and stared in shock as she saw a portion of her finger crushed. Just above the knuckle, on top of crushed bone and pierced skin while blood spewed out around it, was a piece of metal.

"You should pay more attention, Arthur-chan!" Assassin called out mockingly, and Saber had to leap back as he fired another bullet. It missed her head, thankfully.

But what caught her by surprise was the fact that he cursed under his breath at missing her.

Normally, ammunition seemed to be of no concern to Assassin. He could pull out resources from what appeared to be nowhere, ranging from the practical to the ridiculous.

However, something about the bullet was special.

Saber reached down and pulled out the now crushed bullet. Her armor was magical, and thus stopped the thing one it blown through her finger.

Other than the golden tip, nothing about it seemed out of the ordinary…

"Wait…" Saber looked down. She could not feel her finger healing at all, or even begin the process of healing. Servants could take tons of damage, received several blows that should be life threatening but still operate.

But her finger wasn't healing.

It was a minor wound, a small appendage.

"Something is wrong."

"Noticed huh?" Saber turned her head back to Assassin, who was grinning as he held two Walther P-38s, one for each hand. "Those little babies have tips that are, in fact, made from Gae Buidhe. I had extra from when we took down Goldie, so I melted down the extra sniper rounds and made these. Have about eighteen left now, which is coincidentally double the amount my Walther carries and I would like to not waste them. But…" Assassin pointed both guns at Saber. "Only one of these is loaded with the bullets."

Saber glared at Assassin and had her sword dissipate from view. With her left hand, she carefully took out her pinky from underneath the finger's armor.

"It does not matter." Saber flicked the finger to the ground, and had Excalibur return to her. "That will be the only shot you will land on me."

Assassin let out a dark chuckle as he cocked back the gun's hammers. "Don't make promises you can't keep."

Saber gripped her sword. She needed to close the gap between them, fast. While the application of Strike Air would land a long-distance blow, there was the chance Assassin had set up precautions. He had seen her ability already used on Caster, after all.

"Less heavy-handed approach it is then." With that, Saber launched herself forward. Assassin fired with the gun in his left hand, and Saber blocked it with her sword. He took a step back.

Something clicked from the floor.

"Shi-!"

That was all Assassin could say before a large explosion erupted from under the floorboards. Normally such a thing would turn a man into bloody and burnt chunks, but Assassin was not an ordinary man, or human for that matter. With that in mind, Saber continued forward into the explosion with her sword raised overhead. "HAA-!"

She did not expect the head of Assassin to launch out from the fire and smoke, hit her in the abdomen section of her armor, and make her fly back with it.

"What?!" Saber looked down and saw a replica of Assassin's head. It had the texture and look of a giant and heavy cannonball painted with Assassin's head and a black wig.

And it had a rocket strapped to it.

Saber didn't know whether to consider this situation comedic or embarrassing.

She then saw the real Assassin's face in the smoke, smirking as he pointed his guns at her.

Saber, rather than dwell anymore on the situation, simply sliced the rocket off. She then used her right foot to kick the head right back at Assassin. His eyes widened as he quickly dropped his guns, reached into his pocket, and pulled out a remote before pressing a button. A cushion then popped out, and the bowling ball landed on it but the force made it continue on, crashing into Assassin's chest and flinging him into the wall behind him.

Payback was sweet, if Saber had to say so herself.

However while all this was happening, the speed Saber was going at along with the fact that she was off her feet caused her to crash through a wall and fall into a room. Saber shook her head, and ducked as bullets flew over her head.

"Oh Arthur-chan~!" Assassin called out mockingly. ""Come out to play~!"

"He recovered quickly." Saber did not rise to the provocation and moved herself out of sight. "Assassin cannot see me. He's firing blindly." Saber narrowed her eyes as she heard footsteps. "He knows I will not stay hidden for long. Sooner or later I will have to act, and when I return to his sight he'll use his special bullets."

She needed to act, but needed to do something that would catch Assassin completely off guard.

"This was what I've been dreamin' about!" Assassin declared glee. "Fightin' you like this… where ya wised up and fought my way! Not demandin' chivalry or nothin' like Lancer… ya know not to demand something that isn't there to begin with!"

Saber then felt something metallic underneath her foot and looked down.

"This will do."

"You are one mighty fine lady, Saber! One of the best dames I ever had the pleasure of crossing paths with! A real worthy opponent!" The footsteps drew closer. "Which is goin' to make stealin' Excalibur and the Grail from you all the sweeter!" Assassin kicked open the door to the room, most likely just to make an impressive and showy entrance. "Remember though, I promised to take that sword from you sooner or-!"

Assassin's eyes widened in shock, and he lowered his guns.

Saber aimed Kiritsugu's minigun at him, the barrel already beginning to spin.

"Now that just ain't fair." Assassin muttered out helplessly.

Saber, fed up with everything Assassin had put her through, responded appropriately.

"Please, shut up."

With that, Saber let the bullets fly.

Assassin leaped out of the way, but the bullets still hit a mark. His right leg was turned into… Splinters? "Wooden fake limb." Saber continued to fire to the left.

"Crapcrapcrapcrap!" Assassin shouted with the bullets just behind him, and Saber saw through the hole she entered in the his right leg was fine. "Fuck!" Assassin hissed out in pain as one bullet entered his left leg and exited through the other side, blood shooting out as he jumped out of the way.

"That was not a fake limb." Assassin could only escape death, or any mortal wound, once per person. The explosion was from Kiritsugu and not directly her doing. The bullets were from her, and thus he was able to escape having his limb turned to a bloody pulp. "He's vulnerable now."

The house had become quiet again, and Assassin was not making any boasts or jests. Saber could hear some quoting sounds of battle in another hallway, but the gunshots were not Assassin's. "I need to focus on Lupin."

Saber set down the minigun and took soft steps out of the room. With her action, Assassin was now keeping his distance. He has no idea how good she was with a gun, and thus he would stay hidden.

He was probably enjoying himself with these recent developments.

But she would not play his game.

Saber swung open the door to her left, and took heavy steps inside. Loud enough for Assassin to hear, but not deliberate enough for him to suspect anything.

Saber walked over to the right wall and put her ear to it.

Behind it was the hallway that lead to the left.

She heard quiet yet heavy breathing.

Not wasting any time Saber raised her sword, pointed at the wall, and said in a firm voice, "Strike Air."

Compressed air and prana shot forward like a wrecking ball, destroying the wall utterly and causing its pieces to fly forward. Assassin screamed as he was thrown back and pieces of the wall hit his body.

Saber leapt forward and swung her sword. Cloth was torn and flesh was cut open as a deep gash was born on Assassin's right side. His eyes widened in pain as blood came out from the wound. Saber did not waste any time and prepared to swing right again, only this time to cut the Servant in half.

However, Assassin was quick as well and kicked with his injured leg. The foot stomped down on Saber's wrists, hitting them against the wall to her right. The force caused Saber to drop Excalibur.

But rather than pick it up, Saber grabbed Assassin's foot with her right hand. She put all her strength into it, and snapped the limb like a twig.

"Tell me Lupin the Third…" Saber saw the pain and now apparent fury in Assassin's eyes at the action as he brought up his right gun. Saber swatted the thing away with her left hand. "Did you think I spent the time before I was King of Camelot sitting on a horse or throne while my Knights bled and died on my behalf?" Saber's left hand clenched into a fist. "Before I became the king of anything… Before I became anything close to a knight… Before I took my oath to uphold the code of chivalry..." Saber's fist shot forward while her right dragged Assassin's body closer to her. Her fist impacted with Assassin's face. "I learned how to fight."

Spittle, blood, and a few teeth flew out of Assassin's mouth. She did not relent as she landed blow after blow, not letting go of her opponent. A punch to the fight arm, to the ribs, to the face again… Each powerful, each would kill a normal human being.

Each one from her to the Servant who made a fool of her during their first meeting and had her doubting herself after each of their subsequent encounters that had followed.

"Perhaps it's true that I was too inflexible and if I had been willing to compromise my values earlier things would have been different…" Saber glared at Assassin. "But that does not make me weak or helpless, or naive." Assassin was still reeling from her blows, and blood along with spit was drooling from his mouth. "The King of Knights… that is my title. I earned it through my struggles. But you? 'Emperor of Thieves'... A self-proclaimed title. One more suited for your grandfather. I hope you remember this. I hope you're realizing something right now." Saber reached down and grabbed her sword. "You're a hundred years too early to think you can treat me as a simple distraction or a foolish girl, you little punk."

Saber then gasped as she felt something hard press against the right side of her waist, in the opening of her armor.

"Shoulda knocked the gun in my left hand." Assassin wheezed out with a grin before firing.

To Saber, it felt like her right side was on fire. She couldn't tell what but something important was shot inside of her. She coughed out blood. Yes, it was definitely something important. But it was no matter. Assassin was already digging in the gun and aiming higher. If he was quick enough, he could make an even more fatal wound.

Saber gripped Excalibur and swung, aiming to separate Assassin's head from his neck.

But something happened before her blade reached Assassin's throat.

She saw white petals.

"No…!" Colors began to form, the room began to mix around. Her arms felt like putty and Assassin's head turned into an Owl's. "Damn you… Kiritsugu…!"

With that, Saber felt back and fell into not-so-blissful unconsciousness.


xxXXxx

Kiritsugu let out a half sigh and half pained wheeze of relief through his gas mask. "Lucky. Lucky amateur…" Kiritsugu thought to himself as he watched on the monitors both Assassin and Saber drop on the floor, their blood beginning to spread on the wooden floor. On the camera which observed the hallway leading to the monitor room, Kirei himself fell onto the floor.

All the while the Fräulein Eule flew throughout the building.

This was his real trump card. Rigging the vents with the drug so that, at the push of a button, the powerful drug could incapacitate anyone who entered.

Especially if they were Servants.

"I need to hurry." Kiritsugu ignored the pain of his broken right wrist, sore throat, and bruised ribs and abdomen. "A single Origin Round to the head…" Kiritsugu opened the door. "I can still use my left hand. Point blank range should do it. I just need to put one in Kotomine Kirei's head, and make sure he doesn't come back!"

Then, the Grail was his.

The only opponent he would have left would be Waver Velvet.

But he was nowhere near as dangerous as Kotomine Kirei.

Kiritsugu opened the door…

And felt something hard, heavy, and metallic whack him upside the head.

"Ghk!" Kiritsugu grunted as his brain shook and his head cry out in pain as he fell to the floor. His vision was getting blurry and he was seeing double. "H-How…?!"

Kiritsugu turned himself over, and saw the heavily injured and bleeding, but still conscious forms of Assassin and Kirei.

"Come on, kid." Assassin grinned. "Fräulein Eule? Really? Ya didn't think I wouldn't have been keepin' an eye on you and learned about it?" Assassin then tapped his nose. "Or that I wouldn't bring along nose filters just in case of a situation like this? I learn from my experiences, and getting blasted by this stuff in the sixties taught me two things. One" Assassin held up his index finger. "Cut back on all the stuff I was takin'. I don't need drugs to have a mighty good time. And two…" Assassin grinned more viciously. "To always expect that someone will try the exact same thing."

Kiritsugu grit his teeth. He should have known Assassin was spying on him! He had hoped the Owls would ensure the secrecy of his purchase, but apparently they were less reliable than they let on.

"Should we acquire what we came for?" Kirei asked. He had a glare full of disappointment.

But he was also smirking.

As if he was truly happy, like a kid in a candy store or a teen receiving their first car.

"Oh yeah, totally." Assassin waved his hand. "But he looks tired s-"

Before Assassin could finish, Kirei raised his foot and stomped down on Kiritsugu's head.

Before Kiritsugu's world went black, he heard Assassin whine out, "Come on, let me finish man!"


xxXXxx

Kiritsugu's eyes blearily opened as he felt his body shake. "-itsugu! Kir-!" Kiritsugu shook his head, and his vision cleared to see Maiya on the ground shaking him, her mask off which showed her eyes filled with worry despite the veins by her eyes bulging and dry blood on her mouth and chin.

"M-Maiya…" She was alive. There was that at least.

"Thank G-" Maiya's eyes widened and she let out a scream of pain as she clutched her stomach. Kiritsugu lifted himself up and saw the trail of blood on the floor, mixing with the white flakes of the Fräulein Eule that had fallen and melting them.

"I need to work fast." Kiritsugu reached for the small combat first aid kit he always had on him. "I need to stop the blee-!"

He then saw that where the Origin Round had pierced was not a gaping hole, but a sick-looking scar.

Seemed as if Kotomine Kirei had actually healed Maiya. "But why? Why would he…?"

Then he remembered.

"Maiya." Kiritsugu shook his lover and partner. "Stay with me. What happened to Assassin and Kotomine Kirei?" Kiritsugu bit his lip. "And Saber?" He added.

Maiya's eyes fluttered as she winced in pain. "Saber… I heard h-her leave… broke through a wall… screaming and crying nonsense as she swung her sword…"

Kiritsugu sighed. Perfect, just perfect. His Servant was now out God knows where going through a bad trip, drugged out of her mind.

"Wait… sword?"

Why would she still have her sword?

"Assassin and Kirei…" Maiya's eyes then began closing. "They took… Madam Irisviel.."

Maiya then passed out from the pain and blood loss.

But Kiritsugu's eyes widened in horror.

All of this… This assault… It wasn't to steal Excalibur from Saber.

Assassin can do that at his leisure.

It was to steal the Grail's container.

Assassin had stolen Irisviel.

"Damn…!" Kiritsugu cursed himself as he laid Maiya down and set aside the kit.

He needed to get Saber to return to him.

He needed Maiya to heal as soon as possible.

Now… They were really waging war on Assassin.

Unknown to Kiritsugu, a mechanical lens on top of a snake-like device with suction cups for feet zoomed in on him.


xxXXxx

Inside a seemingly ordinary white van parked a block away from the house, Zenigata and Daisuke held the controllers for the remote-controlled video drones loosely in their hands while their mouths were agape with shock.

They had been surveying the area for a bit through basic patrols, when Zenigata had decided that they needed a closer look. It took some doing, sneaking in the cameras into the sewers and having them travel up the pipes and into the household, but it was worth it.

However, they did not expect the recent events to occur.

Daisuke was the one to break the hour-long silence.

"Inspector?"

"Yeah?"

"I think we saw something we weren't supposed to."

"Yeah, no shit."


To Be Continued...


Note: New chapter out now with special thanks to Kiiam for his help!

Kiiam really helped me out with the Kiritsugu-Kirei parts. Because I've been away from Kirei for so long, I was completely rusty with him. Thankfully Kiiam was there to help me steer the scenes to be more true to Kirei's character. Though I'm a bit disappointed with how the fight scene turned out, on account that I couldn't exactly do anything new with it.

Saber and Assassin's fight though, I am completely happy about! I had it in my mind that Saber and Assassin's fight would be kind of like a Tom and Jerry cartoon. Only Tom and Jerry are in a death match, and the roles switch from time to time, and each are doing their damnedest to kill each other. I might have also been reading too many Warren Ellis comics (His James Bond for one), hence Saber's sense of humor.

Also re-reading Berserk helped me with how Saber fought. Normally she's more graceful in her fights on account to fighting with the Code of Chivalry in mind, but is still totally powerful and can dominate a fight. Here she's fighting without honor, which as a result makes her ten times as scary and pretty much put Lupin on the run.

Please check out the TV Tropes page and add whatever you find appropriate.

Please leave constructive criticism.