There was something off with the Emperor.

It was an observation mainly thought and dared not spoken if the gloomy expression on the emperor's face was anything to go by. She was utterly silent, adamant to reach Rome's walls as soon as possible by hurrying her steps and forcing the army to match pace.

Where Nero would have been swinging her arms in beat with her triumphal humming, the emperor right now had her arms crossed over her chest, as if cradling her bust. The coattails of her dress billowed in wake of her hurried strides, and the see-through component of her front never looked so alluring.

Different from before, the emperor was being exceedingly conscious of her exposure. The subtle shifts of her body to conceal what couldn't be concealed was cute in that she was forcing a straight face.

Her sword, ordinarily held in her grip was sheathed on her waist, and not on the side which was common for most legion soldiers. Instead, it straddled the upper peaks of her butt, held there forcibly by straps as if she was actively conscious of her exposed rear and sought desperately to cover her shame. At least the front had cloth, but the back had nothing at the top! Consequently, her gait became odd in fear of the sheathed sword slipping from its place.

She was scowling despite their recent victory. There was no hiding it. Nor was there a way to hide the flush working its way up her skin due to the lightness of her complexion. The more people began to look and notice, the more of a tomato she became.


Even her tone sounded deeper and icy, brooking no room for nothing less than obedience.

Many soldiers shrunk their necks into their shoulders, gazes focusing on their feet and taking one step after the other.

Speaking of the strangers that helped during battle-

"Hehhehe, strut those cheeks!"

Many stumbled at the words, but none more so than the emperor herself who oozed with bitter shame, veins popping over her skin as she forcibly restrained herself. Moodley cursing with barely concealed tears of mortification, she motioned for a horse to saddle herself on.

Immediately, the emperor whipped the horse into a steady trot and further increased the pace.

Meanwhile, Jeanne Alter giggled in amusement while the others gave her disapproving stares. Next to her were Shirou and the others.

Nero was posing as Saber Alter supported by Shirou and Ritsuka while Mash and Jeanne Alter walked on their left and right. Nero was wearing Saber Alter's black dress, her currently pale complexion due to injury, adding to the appearance.

Meanwhile, Saber Alter, in Nero's guise, suddenly shifted her horse from a slow trot to a steady gallop. Anything to reduce her public exposure time.

"She does realize the wind blows up her dress, doesn't she?" Mash asked the obvious, cheeks blushing. "Also its…bouncing."


"Haha! Idiot, she didn't think it through!" Jeanne Alter was bending over her stomach.

If the feeling Shirou could infer from his Servant-Master contract was anything to go by, Saber Alter was wailing inside.

The equivalent to sobbing.

-Rome, Italy.

-Nero's palace within the Domus Aurea, or Golden House.


"My thanks," Nero said, grunting as she moved to stand on her own feet.

She nodded at Shirou and Ritsuka for supporting her on the way back and hobbled towards the innermost area of her golden house. The guards and chamberlains that frequented the area were dismissed to help manage affairs in the senate, or were likely just scared off the moment Saber Alter stormed into the building looking for a place to bury herself in a hole.

Honestly, Nero found herself nodding. It was likely Saber Alter's first time in Rome, but she naturally made her way towards the imperial hall that consolidated the emperor's power over the empire. Was it a natural born tendency of a ruler, or was Saber Alter merely attracted by the golden house's prestige and majesty? In any case, she was pleased that the deception was holding in a time where image mattered for the morale of Rome.

The Domus Aurea included an artificial lake that ferried in water from the aqueducts spanning from a wide array of infrastructure originating from natural springs and rivers.

Tile covered the floor, and plated marble and gold decorated the rising columns and inner arches as if in commemoration to the Greeks and their marble structures.

The inside of the palace had a wide atrium where Nero often addressed her subjects when making announcements or lauding her triumphs. Rows of red silken Roman banners were pinned to the walls, and a wide altar was set up on the other side of the room in commemoration to the Gods.

The area was deceptively empty which Nero didn't find odd given the state of her empire. Of course, it wasn't as if it was truly empty. Someone else had long since arrived in this space before Nero and the others even entered.

"Where's Saber?" Ritsuka laughed nervously while scratching at his cheek.

Nero had no answer, but it wasn't the same for the rest. Jeanne Alter had already meandered off, and as if sensing trouble, Mash followed her. Ritsuka's question itself was directed at Shirou who took in a breath, closed his eyes, and then focused on the bond he shared with his Servants.

One thing was exceedingly clear as he shifted his gaze to a corner of the room hidden by shadows cast from light reflecting from a distant plaza.

"She's sulking."

Saber Alter didn't want to see anyone right now, let alone him when she didn't know how to face him without stewing in her shame. It wasn't said, but he could feel it. Unfortunately, he wasn't the only one, as Jeanne Alter was also one of his contracted Servants.

Like a cat stalking towards its prey, Shirou could read Jeanne Alter's intentions like an open book.

While Shirou respected Saber Alter's low mood and chose to remain at a distance, the other wanted to revel in the other's misery and directly approached.

Good thing there was Mash?

Shirou peered through the shadows and saw Saber Alter rested with her knees pulled to her chest, and her arms hugged around her thighs. Mash was trying to console the Tyrant King, but her words and actions were going through one ear, and out the other. Dark storm clouds hung heavily over Saber Alter's head, and Jeanne Alter was content to pester Saber with an annoyingly elated grin. The more Saber Alter craned her neck up and glared to warn Jeanne Alter to fuck off, the wider Jeanne Alter's smile became.

When the two suddenly ignored Mash entirely and started bickering with each other, Shirou could only pretend that they were getting along. If he just changed his perspective regarding the two, it should work out somehow. Besides, he and Ritsuka were pressed under Nero's eagerness to boast. She kept gesturing for them to follow her up to the highest point of the palace where a terrace view of Rome spawned out beyond the hills.

"Take a good look and be struck with awe! This is Rome, a glorious regime that even young women extol!" Nero said despite being weighed down by her injuries. In fact, she'd tried to do a twirl, and nearly coughed out blood for it. Fine. No extraneous movement then.

"A lot of people seem to be smiling." Ritsuka observed candidly.

Shirou had to agree. In this era, Rome was at the center of the world, and it showed in its bustling markets and townspeople.

"Yes, yes! Didn't I tell you?" Nero nodded vigorously, barely respressing the urge to lift her chin up and laugh in delight. "This is the greatest city in the world! First there was Septum Montes, and that's where it all started- Our glorious history beginning from the founding hills declared by our divine ancestors!"

"It's prosperous." Shirou admitted, getting somewhat swept away by Nero's enthusiasm.

Nero's eyes sparkled at the words. Praising Rome was the same as praising her and her efforts to come this far.

"Umu. Once again, I think I like you." A soft smile worked its way across her face before she hummed. "I am still unclear about what you and your group seek to accomplish, but I can tell that you are honest people."

Beep. Chaldea's transmission signal booted to life.

"It's a relief to hear you say that Emperor Nero," Romani said.

For a second, Nero frowned but let it go in the end. "…Well, maybe not the mage, but I give you room to convince me later." She was a gracious ruler!

"How lenient," Romani said flatly, feeling like he always got the short end of the straw. "In any case, it might be best to just think of us as simply a mage and his group of apprentices."

Nero perked up. To be truthful, she was still rather confused with the terminology and matters she'd discussed with Shirou and the others earlier. If the explanation was as simple as saying that it was a distant mage's venture with his apprentices, then that indeed made more sense.

"Very well. Let us forget that confusing talk with Masters and Servants," Nero directly threw out all the confusing things and stated matters in how she viewed them. "You all are a mage's pupils that come from Britannia and a distant land. Hmm, and you said your goal is to aid me?"

Shirou and Ritsuka nodded, Nero feeling her nerves begin to lighten at the affirmation.

"The name of the greatest Empire that rules the world of this era, is Rome." Romani narrated, indirectly brightening Nero's expression further.

"Umu, you do know how to please. I allow it. Speak more!" Nero placed her arms on her hips and couldn't help but puff up her chest.

"Rome is the center of the present world and the world itself. An Empire that greatly influenced later generations. If I'm right, this era's singularity is probably the existence of the Roman empire."

Nero made a face, her features scrunching as she realized from Shirou and Ritsuka's expressions that she was the only one not following along. She pursed her lips, less than pleased and closer to vexed. Far from dumb or slow witted, she was actually quite prudent with most things.

"Mm, mn Mn…Do continue but sorry." Nero coughed awkwardly, a pout over her face. She had thought that they were agreed. So why say things that went over her head? "Please speak a bit more in range of my understanding, mage."

"Sorry, the doctor can be a bit too theoretical. I'll explain." Mash intervened, having been kicked aside by the alters and forced into a retreat. She slinked back to join Shirou and Ritsuka, her head hung in defeat while Ritsuka patted her shoulder in consolation. Shaking her head, she focused on Nero. "We seek something called the Holy Grail, an item of great use and power. It's presence alone may be causing great disturbances, and the odds are high that it's what's eating away at the stability of your Rome."

An unlucky artifact made by mages then.

"Ah, I see." Nero nodded in thought. "So some ornate cup is damaging my Rome?"

"It must sound astounding, but-"

"It's neither far-fetched nor weird." Nero shook her head to show that she wasn't being skeptical. It was just that something else was on her mind. "Strangely, it just worries me that…forget it. It's just a needless concern of mine from some childish nightmare. Right, we are in my abode. Let us talk freely."

Nero took in a breath and grew solemn. Sensing this, Shirou, Ritsuka, and Mash glanced at each other, and nodded in preparation of what was to come.

"My Rome is currently endangered," Nero reluctantly admitted, her lips quivering. "My territories are now, vexingly enough, torn apart and scattered all over. On one hand, there's the true Roman Empire that I rule, the area centered around the capital, Rome. Then there's the alliance of 'Emperors' that suddenly appeared out of nowhere that divided my nation's people."

Shirou, Ritsuka, and Mash glanced at each other once more. None of what Nero was saying corresponded to known human history and denoted the stark change in timeline.

"The United Roman Empire. That's what they declared themselves as before they stole half my Empire." Looking out across the terrace view and towards the city of Rome, Nero grew wistful, shoulders drooping. "The composition of the enemy alliance is still a mystery including their base of power they declared as their new capitals. No scouts sent have ever returned."

Ritsuka coughed, hoping that Nero could be more specific. "Emperors?" He asked.

Nero's eyes flickered with a shadow of self doubt, but she focused on continuing it and believing in herself. "That's right. In my view, they're no different from treacherous bandits. Even if they…no. It's not worth mentioning when they are nothing but rebels spreading vicious lies. They call themselves emperors, but they're just pretenders!"

"You looked troubled," Shirou pointed out.

Nero flinched, jaw locking as she bowed her head and focused on her feet. She was uncertain whether this was the right thing to say or not, but her eyes did not deceive her in the prior battles Rome had already waged on the field against the United Roman Empire.

"Caligula." Nero whispered out, hands trembling as she used them to awkwardly rub warmth into her arms. "The man who single-handedly slaughtered my forces before your arrival. He's one of the traitors who calls himself 'emperor.'"

Mash's eyes widened at the name, her well read knowledge picking up on the oddity. "Caligula? Isn't that-"

"My uncle." Nero tucked her neck in, features downcast.

Ah. So that's what it was. As an emperor who came after them who carried their own achievement to Rome, it was no wonder Nero was wary of the United Roman Empire. Caligula was one thing as he supposedly went mad in his rule, but what if other more worthy Roman emperors existed in the alliance?

"Shouldn't Caligula be dead?" Romani asked the obvious.

Nero sucked in a breath and put aside her personal feelings.

"That is correct, but he somehow lives. He even managed to kill my court mage," she brooded, demeanor growing frail. "He was an old goof. A master of spells who shouldn't have died, but broke his promise and left me alone anyway..."

"To beat a mage from this era, this Caligula is likely a Servant. And if he's an 'emperor,' the others may be Servants as well," Romani mused.

"This must be what's causing the singularity. One of the 'emperors' must have gotten hold of the Holy Grail," Mash translated to Nero.

Nero didn't speak a word for a moment. Violent battles were occurring all over, and her people were suffering. She'd already dispatched all her serving viceroys and generals, and even threw nearly all of her troops at the United Empire, but their power remained undiminished.

She hated to say it, but recent developments had shown her that the situation was beyond her ability.

"Muoh! I hate it, but I order- no I implore you as members of Britannia and capable foreigners, become my generals!" Nero blurted out, moving to clasp Shirou and Ritsuka's hands in her own. Her grip was weak, uneasy despite the composure she was putting on her face. "In exchange, Rome and I will assist you in recovering this Holy Grail!"

Was there even a need to ask this?

"It seems we have a common cause." Romani sounded like he was smiling.

"Let's cooperate," Shirou and Ritsuka readily agreed.

"Umu. I'm pleased." Nero said, relief causing her to let out a breath she didn't know that she'd been holding. "Rest well for today before we plan our strategies," she then suggested.

It was something that everyone could agree with. Especially while Romani ran a diagnostic to locate a suitable leyline to start spiritron summons. This would be essential in summoning the Servants already registered in Chaldea or bidding forth new Servants to aid them on the Grand Order.

Seeing that Shirou, Ritsuka, and Mash were agreeable, Nero decided to make arrangements.

"I shall personally order for suitable quarters to be prepared," she boldly declared, only to falter when she staggered on her steps. Right. Can't be too extraneous. "…That is if I wasn't so injured."

Her eyes lit up a second later before she focused back on where Saber Alter was putting Jeanne Alter into a headlock.

As expected. Nero had her suspicions, but that form and appearance that resembled a lion subduing its prey was all too similar to that of her own!

Good form.

The features do not lie.

Nero called out. "Cousi- I mean, Saber, was it? If you would beckon the chamberlains outside and have them-"

"Your Majesty!"

A sudden shout had all eyes focus on the unarmed scout that barged into the palace, huffing for breath. At first, Nero was ready to hear a report, but grew embarrassed when the scout moved past her and took a knee in front of Saber Alter. Saber Alter blinked, Jeanne Alter cussing within Saber's sleeper hold.

"You may speak," Saber Alter said, defaulting to her ruling habits and shifting into a commanding tone.

If the scout was momentarily stunned at the near identical appearance of Nero, Saber Alter, and Jeanne Alter all present in the room, he still focused on his priorities and shook his head out of his daze.

"The eastern city gate is under attack by a mid-sized unit of United Empire forces! They don't seem to be remnants of the prior expeditionary force, but the ones sighted near Gaul!"

An enemy attack? Now?

The mood immediately shifted, tension filling the air as Saber Alter nodded, and the scout hurriedly returned to his position manning the walls. Nero groaned as she made to move, but Mash shook her head at her.

Nero was in no position to act even if she wanted to. "Leave this to us," she said.

"I guess there's no choice. I'll put my trust in you." Nero clenched her teeth and sighed while Shirou and the others mobilized.

Saber Alter let Jeanne Alter free, and the two patted themselves off as they considered the situation.

"Careful." Romani warned in the meantime. "It won't be unusual if a Servant shows up to be leading the enemy forc- oh wait, let me just run a scan."

A transmission noise echoed, signaling the start of Romani's periphery probe.

In the meantime, Mash helped Nero to her quarters where she laid the emperor down on the bed to rest while Shirou, Ritsuka, Saber, and Jeanne began running to the frontlines.

"Anytime now Romani," Shirou asked for confirmation before running in headlong.

"Two Servant signals are confirmed. Be careful." Romani advised, eyes darting left and right as he processed the data presented to him. "The enemy forces are split in two. One is at the east gate, but the other is circling around to the south. The recommended plan of defense is to split your forces."

Shirou took the words in and considered the approach that should be taken. Ritsuka and Mash were still fairly inexperienced, and without having set up the Servant Summoning circle, they couldn't draw from the wisdom of the Servants they recruited in Orleans. Just in case, he decided that it would be best for him to stay with them. Still, that left the east. If it was Saber, she should be able to handle Jeanne Alter well enough...

"Saber, Jeanne," Shirou called out, his two Servants perking up. "Cover the east. Ritsuka, Mash, and I will start in the south, and then circle our way to you."

Saber Alter looked like she'd swallowed a fly, but this time, Jeanne Alter also wasn't amused. To Jeanne Alter, the Human Order, the Grand Order, and all that was worth far less than Shirou to her.

"I trust you," but those words sealed the deal for Jeanne who changed her mind in the face of the earnest expression directed at her.

"W-Whatever. Nothing a little fire can't handle."

Fool. Saber Alter scoffed at Jeanne Alter's ramblings.

The words obviously referred to her.

The operation began in earnest.

Taking in a breath, Saber Alter assessed the situation before her on the eastern gates of Rome. Screams filled the air, and the roaring of ballista fire echoed in her ears. Her nose twitched, the scent of iron wafting through thick pools of blood growing stronger and stronger as she approached with Jeanne Alter trailing behind her.

The smell of the battlefield never changes.

Clashing steel and the audible thumping of shields echoed amidst the chaos.

Roman Legionaries that Nero had stationed to man the east gate were furiously pelting the invading side with arrows and stones. Beneath the gate, vats of oil were heated and then poured over the advancing enemy battering team. Skin bubbled and melted off. Others weren't so lucky and had the metal of their armour fused to their flesh from the heat.

The sight before Saber Alter was nothing new. This was an era before even her own, but the violence she could see was no reason for the defending Romans to be hard pressed on the defence. They had fortifications, terrain advantage, and ample support and supplies from Rome which they defended.

So then why were they getting pushed back?

As the battering ram was moments away from being set up by the invading side, a mana burst shattered the entire structure and killed the battering team in a torrent of black light.

All turned to stare to the one place that the black light had come from.

Standing tall in a red dress, Rome's 'Emperor' oversaw eastern walls.

"You're all a mess," Saber Alter's voice echoed with authority, announce her arrival and judgement.

Every defender was startled when they heard her words, the din of the battlefield coming to a halt in their perspective.

Regardless, Saber Alter's appearance immediately roused the spirits of Rome's soldiers as she immediately took charge.

A commanding officer of the east hurriedly ran to Saber Alter for instruction, the emperor's authority overriding his own.

"Orders, your majesty?!" The officer grunted with a salute.

Several thoughts flickered through Saber Alter's mind, but the experience of her kingship brought her back to the days campaigning against the invasion of the barbarian. Defensive battle was one of her fortés.

"First, send all the injured to the barracks. They're useless on these walls," she ordered without sympathy. If you were useless, you were useless. Better to live than to die doing what you couldn't and endangering others by protecting you.

The injured defenders and legion members flinched, but all they could do was bow their heads and let themselves be escorted off or hobble away on their own.

"Then, except for the ballista crews who will continue aiming at distant targets, the rest of you with me." Saber Alter pulled out Nero's sword, Aestus Estus. It wasn't her Excalibur, but her skills as a sword master and Saber meant she could use it nonetheless. "We will push them back from the gates."

"W-With just us?" The nervous commander asked the obvious.

Saber Alter glanced over, and then assessed the number of remining able bodied men in her command. In the end, she frowned when she recognized some faces from before. In a situation like this, she couldn't expect them to fight properly when they had just survived a skirmish mere hours ago.

However, her thoughts differed from her words.

"Do you doubt your emperor?"

Her eyes narrowed, pulses of dark magic energy swelling around her. Rather than Nero's courageous valor, what Saber Alter displayed was a tyrannical momentum. In her, her soldiers would never see hesitation under her lead.

"No!" Struck by Saber Alter's words, fire reignited in the commander's eyes.

"Then rally with me."

Shudders travelled down the commander's neck at Saber Alter's words.

If Nero was a beacon of light that encouraged her people, then Saber Alter was the steel that would cut all of Rome's adversaries down. The emperor had changed for the sake of the people and the empire…then all efforts to the emperor who'd make such a personal sacrifice!

"Go, spread the order!"

"I hear, and obey!" The commander took off running, screaming for the attention of his men all the while.

Standing next to Saber Alter, Jeanne Alter snorted. If it was just yelling at people and telling them what to do, she could do that too. Saber Alter's quick instruction and initiative weren't that great. Saber just spoke up before Jeanne could. That was all.

Jeanne leered at the attacking enemies from atop the wall considering what she wanted to do, but Saber Alter would never let a random variable run amuck in her battlefield.

The eyes of the two alters met, and it was abundantly clear to each other what each was thinking.

Saber opened her mouth. "French cow-"

"Bitch, I don't listen to you!" Jeanne Alter rebutted.

Saber Alter didn't care, and just continued with her instructions. Jeanne Alter was no commander, or ruler. "Make yourself useful and try to circle around the enemy."


Did she just ask that?

Saber Alter would make her personal assessment clear then. "Your French presence ruins everything. Better for you be in the enemy side. In fact, why don't you turn coat?"

That wasn't true. Jeanne Alter bristled. Not at all. She revels in the misfortune of others, but if her entire existence ruins everything then why did Shirou call out to her? Saber Alter was wrong! She knew nothing! Embers smoldered around Jeanne, veins popping over her skin in her fury. "You fucking piece of shit-"

"See?" Saber Alter pointed mercilessly as Jeanne's smoldering embers set the nearest ballista on fire. There goes a heavy artillery. "You ruin everything. I'd rather you do that over there."


'I'm gonna kill her. I'm gonna skewer her on a stake.' Jeanne Alter took deep breath, features twisting into a dirty scowl. 'No. No. Hold it in. If you explode from just this, what will Shirou think of you? This English Bitch won't be laughing when she's cucked.'

Achievements. Jeanne Alter would show her worth there.

Huffing, Jeanne leapt off the wall and towards the enemies. Let's get things straight. It wasn't that she was convinced, it was that she was just irritated and wanted something to vent on. Flames flickered over her skin, trickling down to her weapons and setting them alight.

From there, Saber Alter no longer paid Jeanne any more attention. The officer she'd spoken to had returned after rallying the troops to stand by her commands.

"Your orders, your Majesty?" The crowd echoed.

There was only one.

"With me!"

Saber Alter raised her blade, pointed, and charged at the next wave of enemies that came to test eastern Rome's heavy gates. The sight of them left many worn-out soldiers despondent at their odds, but as if to spit on that sort of resolve, Saber Alter slashed out with her sword.

"They're coming! Get into your positions or die like fodder! Phalanx and hold, block the way!"

Blood splattered over her expressionless face and soaked into her dress as the armies made contact. Her sword shifted into a flurry of strikes that severed limbs and punctured hearts. From time to time, she'd let enemies through her assault. Weakened and bleeding from her attacks, the ones she let go were easy prey for those that awaited behind her.

Through this method, she built a rapport with the eastern defenders to restore morale, but at the same time, she mercilessly chastised all mistakes.

"Ballista men, what are you doing?!" She shouted towards the distant walls. "Hurry and fire! Separate their vanguard from the rear!"

A wave of volleying arrows followed the command, none daring to raise opposing opinions.

"Throw your javelins! You won't need them in close quarters!"

Spears were tossed, littering the ground before the gate with sharp edges and splintered wood that the enemy would have to traverse through. When they did, the true battle began in a traditional melee.

"Legionaries be useful or off yourselves!" Saber Alter hissed in annoyance, dazing an enemy by the helmet, and then executing them with a stab. "Raise your damn shields! Brace! Then stab at the gaps with your gladius!"

It was utter mayhem. Yet through it, the black rose blooming became clearer and clearer.

The sight of their emperor covered in the blood of the enemy and still chastising them through it all with an indomitable gaze, struck them at their cores. Through hardship, pressure, and death the rambunctious leader of Rome had turned from a blooming crimson flower, into the black flower of farewell.

Farewell to her people that died.

Farewell to naivety.

And farewell to the innocence of her smile.

As the potency of Saber Alter's mana began to taint her dress, the regal red began to turn into a shade of black, the petal-like tips remaining white.

The men realized it now. Not once even as the battle lulled did their emperor smile with encouragement. There was only a stony solitude that bid them to remain firm.

"For the Emperor!" the shouts came unbidden.

Saber clicked her tongue. "You bastards. Cheer for me later. The battle is just beginning!"

Admonished, several grew sheepish, but even more were encouraged to fight on through their fatigue.

"Aim for the lightly padded joints! Target their weakness not their strengths!"

"Idiot! Are my words water?!"

"If you get hurt, then step back and rotate with your allies behind!"

Order after order, the instruction that so brutally tore down at one's self-confidence with each mistake led to many lives being saved and indebted to their leader.

Like a steel bastion, the legion under Saber Alter acted as a meat grinder, churning flesh through alternating blades of steel until there was nothing left. More accurately, until no one dared approach, cautiously watching them in apprehension.

Many were winded, but Saber Alter was only breathing in a practiced pace.

"When will additional troops arrive?" She asked while keeping track of the enemy's movements.

The officer helping to pass orders down to the defending legion hesitated, but still spoke anyway. "We don't have any…"

Saber Alter grunted. It was a result she expected, which meant they couldn't last a protracted battle. It was different for her.

"Alright, you will protect this gate until I return then. I will move to end things here."

Saber Alter cut off the commander's response by directly acting. Through battle, she'd finally spotted the enemy Servant overseeing the attacking force.

Mana swelling around her, she stepped on air itself and propelled herself directly towards him. The air expanded rapidly, pushing away all that blocked her path. Soldiers, armaments, and batteries went flying as she landed before her adversary. The man was rotund, wore a laurel crown, and had fitted roman armour that straddled the vestments on his person.

Seeing Saber Alter suddenly appear, the man appeared to recognize her if only for a moment before showing doubt.

"You…are different somehow, Nero," the man spoke.

His name was Gaius Julius Caesar, a Saber Class Servant and a member of the United Empire. Originally stationed in Gaul, circumstances led to his current reconnaissance of Nero and her new allies on the orders of the thing that summoned him.

Saber Alter grimaced at the comparison between her and Nero. Honestly, it was just the face.

"Indeed. I'm different." She readied herself for combat by entering a low stance. "I'm your nightmare."

Caesar mused that Nero was well known to be a showman, but he didn't know she was also a comedian? Well, he could indulge her if only because she resembled more of a 'happy' kind of dream.

"Nightmare?" Caesar echoed, his eyes naturally drawn to Saber Alter's exposed thighs and rear. He swallowed, Cleopatra would skin him, but she wasn't here. He grew bolder. "I beg to differ."

Saber Alter immediately bristled when she was keenly aware of what Caesar was implying.

"Nightmare!" She insisted.

"Do a twirl for me would you?"

Caesar knew that Nero was rather eccentric, but her newest ploy, well, he found himself rather taken by it. The sudden gap moe from boisterous and cheerful in the reports to pragmatic and ruthless had to be some sort of new inspiration for her.

Saber Alter was on the verge of snapping, her shoulders quaking in rage.

"What do you take me for, right now?!"


"A whore." Caesar readily admitted.


Scary thought, Caesar hummed as his cunning knew no bounds: An army of whores? No military could ever stand up to it or its sway to infiltrate and destabilize. Nero, how devious to adopt it herself!

Saber Alter's mouth locked shut. For the first time in her life-!

This was why she didn't want to wear such attire. She could already hear Jeanne Alter wheezing somewhere in the background, bitch bloody giving herself away. Jeanne Alter's pincer maneuver was an obvious failure at this point, giving her no choice but to block the army while Saber dealt with Caesar.

Saber was not opposed to the arrangement.

They wanted the Alters to hold the eastern front?

Fine. Gladly.

Saber Alter advanced towards Caesar amidst a backdrop of flames.

"…I'm going to gut you."

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