Here we are, chapter 2. Let's hope that I can build a bit of momentum for this story while I still can. Also I'm running out of chapter title ideas and I'm scared. BEGIN!
"Saber, are you absolutely sure about this? I know that you said you could adapt to most situations but going into a battle against multiple servants is foolhardy." Kiritsugu asked for confirmation from his servant. From his vantage point on top of a nearby crane he could see the enemy servant for himself. A lancer if his weapons weren't some kind of trick.
'Of course master, I'm not the type to enter a battle half-cocked. My opponent is a dangerous one but he is a known danger. So long as I have that knowledge he won't be able to touch me.' Shirou answered mentally through the master/servant link blatantly lying about his battle tendencies. Lord knows how reckless he was as a teenager, though he wasn't lying about the known element part. His opponent's weapons filling in the blanks of what Waver could provide in his old life.
"Finally, an honorable opponent makes their appearance. All the others were so busy hiding in their little holes that I was worried I'd never get the chance for a proper duel. As you could probably guess I am the servant Lancer, who are you?" Diarmuid introduced himself by his class as a courtesy, hating the fact that he couldn't do so properly due to the war.
Shirou, who had been silent the entire time with Irisviel behind him chose to answer physically, knowing how an honorable knight would react to such an unprovoked attack. Summoning a simple nameless shortsword he ran towards Lancer at a relatively sedate pace, similar to his Archer counterpart's speed. Of course to an opponent with an A+ rank in Agility it was rather pathetic.
Blocking Shirou's initial downward slash with his sealed Gae Dearg Diarmuid further deflected the strike with an annoyed expression on his face as he counterattacked with Buidhe, only to have Shirou dodge his strike by mere centimeters before continuing his attack.
"How rude, do you know not how to introduce yourself properly? Don't tell me you're the mad dog Berserker?" Lancer was very close to yelling as he dodged the surprisingly dexterous strikes of his opponent. For someone so slow his strikes were still swift enough to give him a challenge.
"Of course not Lancer, this servant's statistics are rather pitiful for a berserker. He's barely better than an assassin in terms of physical ability. Finish him, we should not waste our time with this welp, use your noble phantasm." What could only be Lancer's master said from a distance, his voice echoing across the battlefield from seemingly everywhere.
"Very well, as you command my master." Diarmuid said as he threw his shorter spear to the side, unwrapping Gae Dearg from its bindings and charging at his opponent once again. And to his surprise the enemy servant in red answered in kind, not even a hint of fear in his expression.
And to his major surprise, Gae Dearg slid right through his enemies weapon like a hot knife through butter. 'A magical construct!' Lancer thought as his strike went long, leaving him wide open for a secondary blade to plunge into his thigh as the two warriors ran past each other.
"Gah!" Diarmuid spit out while trying to keep his distance, dagger still in his body as his opponent took a breath, never once taking his eyes off him. "What are you?! Assassin? No that's impossible, he's already dead. Caster? A caster that fights in melee?" Diarmuid's mind tried to keep up with the current situation, not to say that the rest of the people watching were doing much better.
With Kirei Kotomine
"Kotomine-san, what do you see? Who are the enemy combatants?" Tokiomi asked through his magical equivalent of a phone while Kirei just stood there, eyes closed and dumbfounded by what he was seeing.
Taking a moment to parse through everything he decided to just be blunt. "The two combatants appear to be the servant Lancer and...I have no idea who his opponent might be. At first I thought it was Saber, since he went into direct combat with Lancer using a shortsword however." He paused to collect his thoughts once again.
"It would appear that this servant has some knowledge of magecraft. Projection magic if what I see is correct. He is proficient enough in the art to craft weapons that could take several hits from Lancer's spear however it seems like they fall short of a true Noble Phantasm." The servant also seemed to have a variety of blades that he could summon, truly an interesting opponent.
"Projection? That useless skill? So we're either dealing with an extremely unorthodox caster servant or an irregular Saber. How interesting. Keep watching, I'd like a play by play of how the fight is going, information is our greatest tool after all." Tokiomi ordered before going silent, presumably speaking to Archer. Kirei simply nodded and did as asked.
Back to the fight
'Confused, distracted, injured, vulnerable. Now would be the perfect time to strike, however-' Shirou thought to himself as a third presence made itself known on the battlefield. A flash of lightning, the boom of thunder, and a burst of equally booming laughter that came alongside it. It's source, the King of Conquerors himself, Iskander the Great. Waver's servant, along with a younger version of Shirou's own teacher that was trying his best to keep his head down.
The once-great king then introduced himself, completely taking away what little composure Lancer and his master had with the blatant disregard for the rules and traditions of the grail war. Even more so when the huge man had the audacity to ask the other servants to join him in his grand army, even offering compensation for doing so, as if a servant had any material needs.
"An honorless mystery servant and now an insane Rider. What's next, an Archer that shoots swords?!" as if the gods themselves were listening several golden blades rocketed across the skies, nearly skewering Lancer where he stood. If it were not for his Eye of the Mind skill he would have surely perished.
"And what exactly would be so strange about that, zashuu." Shirou's hair stood on end as he heard the voice of an old enemy once again. This was tonight's true danger, a heroic spirit with no equal who could end their lives in an instant if given the motivation. Thankfully the King of Heroes had no motivation to speak of.
"So this is the so-called King of Heroes. Should we retreat?" Kiritsugu asked through their shared connection, 'No. Doing so right now would cause more problems in the future, we need to wait for Berserker to make his appearance before we can act.' Waver talked about this moment in great detail when he finally decided to open up. Partially out of the sheer dumbfoundedness of the fact that I'd fought the golden monster and lived to talk about it.
"And what of you? Mongrel with inferior weapons, do you know of my majestic identity? Or are you as uneducated as the rest of these flee ridden dogs?" Gilgamesh asked Shirou, who for the first time since the fighting started spoke his thoughts.
"Of course I do, but my business isn't with you right now, Archer." It felt strange to use that title on anyone other than himself(which itself was a strange sentence even in his own mind) But he couldn't exactly give out the man's identity just yet. The mere fact that he knew it in the first place was a huge advantage in the eyes of the other participants after all.
"You wish to finish your squabble with the other mongrel, very well. Perhaps one of your deaths shall provide me with some modicum of entertainment." Gilgamesh allowed it as he crouched down on his streetlamp, summoning a jug of wine to go with the upcoming gladiator match.
"...Did that seriously just work? What even is this grail war?" Kayneth couldn't help but say from his position atop a nearby warehouse. And honestly Kiritsugu was in full agreement, even knowing what might happen ahead of time this was just surreal.
"...I'm just going to go ahead and kill you now. Is that alright with you mystery man?" Not waiting for an answer Lancer picked up his second spear, unwrapping it as he charged at his currently unarmed opponent, never looking away from his hands.
'How unfortunate that I don't need my hands to do this.' Shirou thought before muttering the words "Trace on", summoning a new blade from behind his charging opponent, launching it with a wordless command at Lancers exposed back.
Even with his mind's eye and his extremely high-speed Diarmuid could not hope to fully dodge or block his opponent's move. The only warning he even got that an attack was coming was the short, nearly inaudible incantation from his opponent's mouth and the tell-tale smell of ozone which signified the use of one's circuits.
"By the power of my command seal! Lancer, retreat!" Kayneth ordered from his location as Lancer disappeared from view with a red flash of light. The blade that was about to pierce his backstabbing into the concrete where he once stood.
"So the mongrel's master chose to flee. While never even showing his face? What cowardice." Gilgamesh glowered, displeased by Lancer's master's actions.
"Indeed, and to think that he would have been my master if not for young Waver's interference...Waver. Waver are you not going to introduce yourself to our worthy adversaries?!" Rider spoke to the clearly distraught Waver who was trying in vain to get out of Iskander's grip as he was lifted up and shown to the world Lion King style.
"Uh...H-Hello." The scene was about as awkward as you could imagine...And hilarious to the point where Shirou and Gilgamesh finally agreed on something and burst out laughing in unison at the sight of the scrawny master getting manhandled by his servant.
"You've amused me, false king, I shall let you live past today for that. As for you Saber, I will forgive your use of such pathetic weapons only because you managed to send that cowardly mongrel running, but don't you dare use them again within my sight, a hero should not rely on such flimsy things." Gilgamesh threatened, likely knowing his class due to some Noble Phantasm that he made use of on a whim.
"I'll take that under consideration, Archer." Shirou responded, completely honest in this regard. His little ruse was bound to be found out sooner or later anyway. "As for you Rider I-" Shirou was caught off guard by a new, potent source of killing intent which made itself known a few meters away from everyone else. The sudden appearance of a figure completely cloaked in shadows momentarily spooked the humans that were still present.
"!" The creature moaned before charging at Gilgamesh with reckless abandon, presumably by its master's orders.
"You dare raise your hand against the king of this world?! Taste death you filthy mad dog!" Golden portals began to appear around Gilgamesh as time seemed to slow down for everyone involved.
Next Time! Archer vs Berserker! Will Shirou choose a side? Is Waver going to jump in with Rider? Can Kayneth's jaw drop any further? Will Lancer catch a break? Not likely! But who knows? Find out next time on False King!