Hello there and welcome to another chapter of Avalon Bond.
Now, before we begin, shall we answer one specific review that really got to me in a positive way.
Reddevil142 - Well, since I'm a fan of ShirouxSaber pairing, it would be pointless for me to write a story about UBW and focus on RinxShirou pairing. Many of my choices in this fic revolved around possible theories that I tried exploiting. Of course, it deviates a bit from the Nasuverse and even Arturia's legend (excalibur breaking and Shirou forging a sword based on the remnants of Excalibur). I really wanted to show a scene of Murasama Shirou making her a new sword and for that, I came up with the idea of Excalibur being linked to Arturia's actions like Calibur breaking after her less than chivalrous actions. I know that my choices ended up being heavily criticized. What I liked about your review was the notion of 'telling not showing' bit. I apprecaite it and yes, I tend to do that sometimes. Since reading your reviews, I have researched for tips online on how to change it and I tried applying in this chapter. So, thank you once more. I don't know if you will read this or not, but thanks anyway.
Okay, here is the chapter.
Part II – Fate Grand Order
Chapter 21 – Septem Part II
Beta: Axel Emiya
The team from Chaldea kept on observing the different factions of armies battling each other as well as the peculiar looking blonde that led one of the armies.
"She doesn't appear to be a servant and her appearance does not ring any bells in historical documents." Romani's analysis passed through everyone's ears.
Mash, Jeanne and Ritsuka were all looking in awe at the blonde woman with the red dress taking on the enemy army with vigor and sword grace, defending and attacking like she was making a showdown. Arturia and Shirou, on the other hand, had more professional eyes towards her. A part of Arturia's mind focused on why this woman looked so much like her, at least how she used to look when she was King Arthur. For a great while, Britania was under Romanian Empire's rule, so it begs to reason that perhaps one part of her family had ties with this woman before them.
"Shirou, what can you tell us about the sword? You can tell about her identity through the sword, right?"
The redhead in question turned to his soon to be wife and then looked at the peculiar red sword this woman was using.
Shirou ignored the murmuring from Chaldea's staff, mainly from Da Vinci and Olga, squawking at the revelation of said ability and focused on the sword. Going through the steps necessary to record a sword in his realty marble, Shirou focused on the red scarlet sword being used. He received all sorts of information about the sword composition and history of the weapon.
"Sword is called Aestus Estus, made from meteor metal. Oh, wow…" His flabbergasted response drew everyone's attention as he finished. "…wielded by Emperor Nero Claudius Cesar."
"So, if Shirou's ability is accurate, then she is actually Emperor Nero…great, another historical gender inaccuracy."
Romani's input fell on deaf ears as the team from Chaldea kept observing. Mash then turned to Ritsuka.
"Master, what do we do here? If she is indeed Emperor Nero, then she can provide vital information about this singularity. We should help her…"
The master from Chaldea pondered on his servant's questioning.
"Yeah, though we don't know if she is an ally or foe in the singularity…we could be aiding the enemy and not knowing, Mash."
The lilac shielder looked at Ritsuka and then at Nero, presumably.
"Arturia, Jeanne, what can you tell about her?" The blonde legends of the team turned to Ritsuka and then returned to Nero.
"Personally, I don't believe her to be the enemy in this singularity. The way she fights…she wields that sword with great honor and pride."
Shirou had to smile at her analysis. Jeanne, for her part, focused on her ruler ability.
"Well, she is definitely not a servant or else her identity would be revealed to me. I don't doubt Arturia's words, but I have met plenty of enemy fighters in my war that fought with the same level of conviction."
"Not that I have much experience like Arturia and Jeanne, but anyone facing impossible odds like that can be the enemy."
Everyone turned to Shirou and Ritsuka nodded to his words.
"Okay, everyone, let's aid Emperor Nero and deal with this army, though I believe it's better to use non-lethal weaponry. These are not servants we are fighting." Mash was alright in that regard, since she fought with the shield, but Shirou, Arturia and Jeanne all had spears and swords as their main weapons. In the end, Arturia looked at Shirou with a smile on her face and the redhead servant knew exactly what she wanted him to do. So, Mash positioned her shield over her shoulders, while Shirou traced three shinai for himself, Jeanne and Arturia. Only Jeanne looked at the strange wooden sword in her hand and turned to the one who gave it to her.
"Oh, these are shinai, aren't they…I remembered using them in a kendo class or two back home."
Jeanne still had a dumb question look on her face as she heard Shirou's explanation.
"Don't worry Jeanne, those are made of sturdy bamboo wood from the forests of Japan…I bet that you won't need much to deal with them, considering your abilities."
The maiden knight then turned to Arturia and sighed upon seeing her smile eagerly. The king of knights was rather pumped to be facing the elite of the Roman army and even more so considering the disability of using a wooden sword. All that left was for one to make the battle cry for the three servants to charge and assist Emperor Nero's army. The Emperor Nero and her army of roman soldiers all turned to the sudden arrival of four peculiar individuals charging and joining the fray in their favor. Right now, there was no time to be asking questions or wondering their identities, the sudden help managed to boost the morale of Nero's army. Shirou paired up with Jeanne and Arturia with Mash.
"Come on troops, let us show them what awaits those who threaten the capital!" The army responded to their leader's boost speech with a scream of support.
Arturia could certainly relate to these kinds of experiences, feeling elated at the invigorating feeling of being a leader and having the respect of your troops as memories of her own army through the Arturian campaigns.
The rest of the battle progressed nicely with the bigger army having the most victims unlike before this strange group's arrival. Nero never questioned the will of the Gods and certainly had the arrogance to presume herself worthy of greatness. As such, the small Emperor considered the sudden arrival of reinforcements as the Gods compensating her for her actions. As such, the grace in which she wielded her sword became more pronounced as she took on more than one enemy soldier at a time. Eventually, the group leader ordered a strategic retreat for now, which only helped boost Nero's army's morale even more.
"Sheathe your swords! It's over." Once more, the army praised Nero as they lifted their sword up in the air in triumph.
Ritsuka soon approached the servants group from Chaldea. Without much to offer, the human master observed his team of servants from afar.
Ritsuka turned to Nero's commanding voice as the Emperor approached the group. They could see steps taken with pride and confidence. However, to Arturia, she found Nero's posture as slightly different than herself. While Arturia would be composed after battle in respect for those who perished in battle, Nero acted as if she alone was responsible for the win and even appeared to give herself a pat on the back for her triumph. Arturia opted to snort slightly at the sight of the fellow king's actions, being different to her own as memories of two other kings in the Fourth Grail War acting similarly to the blonde Roman Emperor.
"Ah Emperor Nero, it's a pleasure to meet your highness!"
Ritsuka began the introduction as he kneeled in respect at the king. The act alone was met with approval by the pompous king.
"Umu! Such fine words, indeed stranger. I do wonder, though, are you reinforcements from the capital?" Based on the way these four were dressed, Nero wouldn't believe so, however she wasted no time waiting for a response. "Well, no matter, I do commend you all. It does not matter if you were once my enemy for as I am merciful, so past mistakes are water under the bridge. More importantly, I praise the way you all fought just now, especially you girl wielding such a big weapon." Mash's eyes widened her eyes at receiving praise from the Roman Emperor.
Still, Nero was far from finished in her speech and Arturia was struggling not to vomit at the memory of Gilgamesh boasting himself just like Nero was doing right now.
"For such a little girl to brandish such weapon…you showed such indescribable, aberrant beauty and thus I shall allow you all to fight by my side; revel in the ultimate honor!"
Shirou and Ritsuka couldn't help but sweat drop at the woman for her actions and Jeanne had to hide her humor upon seeing Arturia's flat smile. The King of Knights was certainly used to pompous nobles both in her time and in her time as servant in Fuyuki, but this was a bit too much. Nero was easily placing both Iskandar and Gilgamesh on the floor in terms of arrogance.
If Nero noticed the ire of the fellow blonde, she wasn't showing it.
The Emperor Nero allowed the group a short reprieve as she turned to observe her leading general check the troops for assistance, before turning to the group once more.
One thing she noticed was that some of this group dressed in most peculiar fashion.
"Say strangers, aren't you showing a little too much? Are you foreigners?"
The emperor pointed it out, looking at Shirou and Mash, since both were actually showing some skin in their outfits.
However, the Emperor's dress was rather revealing below the waist. Ritsuka, being the group's spokesmen, made a step forward.
"We are mere reinforcements, just passing by your highness."
Nero's eyes and smile opened at that as she inclined towards Ritsuka, who stood his ground, despite blushing severely.
"Umu, what perfect timing, then. Do you serve Boudica, perhaps? Her moves are beyond shrewd."
Arturia was the only one who knew about this name as she stood straighter. Boudica, a fellow proud member of the country of Britania, and being hailed as the Queen of Victory, she faced the Roman Empire in the 1st century in order to protect Britania. Arturia only knew her from Sir Ector's tales, but she always respected Boudica as a fellow warrior and someone who greatly loved their country. To believe that this very person could be in this singularity made Arturia's head swim in excitement.
"Well, at any rate, this victory belongs to us. I shall reward you all handsomely once we return to the capital. So, then, do follow me!"
Nero then turned, already expecting the group from Chaldea to follow her.
Still, for them to fully understand this singularity, who better to ask questions than the Emperor Nero herself. So, Ritsuka, Mash and Jeanne all followed the tiny Emperor and Shirou was about to move when he turned to Arturia.
"Something's wrong?" Shirou couldn't help but smile at the sigh in dismay from the King of Knights.
"Nothing…it's just that I never thought someone could be even more pompous than Gilgamesh…no, scratch that…there is no way anyone could be more pompous than him!"
Arturia then walked together with the group followed by Shirou, who for his turn, remembered his fight with the King of Uruk.
"Yeah, that guy was indeed infuriating, though I would have to give the prize to Archer, instead." Arturia couldn't help but snort in derision.
"You do realize you're badmouthing yourself, Shirou."
His eyebrows ticked at the memory of being in any shape of form associated with the white-haired servant.
The King of Knights even laughed at the image of a brat-like protest from her fiancée at the comparison. She was aware of course of his dislike to the Counter Guardian Emiya and even more aware that he didn't enjoy the comparison in any shape or form, no matter the fact that Archer was indeed one Shirou Emiya from one specific dimension. Worst of all was that for some time, it was difficult for Shirou to dissociate himself from the Counter Guardian Emiya. It only happened once he came to know that Archer at some point in his future ended up regretting most of his decisions. Still…
"That was a low blow, Arturia." The King of Knights giggled at that and held Shirou's arms with affection.
"I apologize for the jest, Shirou…it won't happen again."
For some reason, he doubted about that, but merely landed a kiss on her forehead as the couple approached Jeanne, who happened to be waiting for them.
Emperor Nero's war campaign all marched back to the capital, followed by the team from Chaldea.
Even if the battle turned out in her favor, it didn't mean that they weren't casualties. The Emperor had a nursery wagon that would take those who survived the onslaught and one Emiya Shirou volunteered to ride along to see where he could help them. Of course, the doctors were not familiar with his method of healing using mage craft. Still, it wasn't like it was a completely foreign ability either. Though, some of the healers couldn't help but whisper condemnable thoughts of witchcraft and devil worshippers. Shirou didn't mind it one bit as he was able to save quite a few of the wounded soldiers doing so.
Even Nero herself commended the redhead for his skills and praised his actions for helping her wounded army.
After that, the murmurings quieted down as no one dared to openly question the Emperor's words.
The rest of the folks from Chaldea were simply content in following the wagons back to the Emperor's capital.
Arturia, Mash and Jeanne were busy conversing amongst each other, and the preferred subject of the conversation was the blonde Emperor, which was seen on top of a brown stallion riding up front of the campaign, presumably without a care in the world. Emperor Nero, then, was seen slowing down her horse until she stood close to the people from Chaldea. Seeing as Ritsuka was the one that did the talking, the Emperor naturally turned to him for conversation throughout the trip back to the capital.
"By the way, you people, I don't doubt that you all are foreigners, but where exactly do you come from?" Then Nero became pensive, not even allowing Ritsuka space to talk. "Surely not Britannia…the far east, doesn't seem likely either." Arturia for her part was holding her own stoicism at the mention of her old country, coming from the Emperor Nero's mouth herself. When Arturia came to be, it was already five centuries ahead, and the Roman Empire was already in decline.
Ritsuka, for his part, had doubted that saying the truth would be in any shape or form believable. However, this was a singularity in the end and not the exact timeline they were in right now. Plus, getting the Emperor's trust was paramount for them to know more about the singularity.
"We are actually from the future, your highness."
The Emperor, however, merely frowned her eyebrows in surprise and even jumped from her horse in front of Ritsuka. The boy was blushing madly as Nero inclined her body to stand inches from his face and even display her not so covered assets to Ritsuka, much to Mash's silent fury at the forwardness. Arturia and Jeanne found it amusing that the lilac girl was visibly fuming while at the same time embarrassed at the display. Arturia, for her part, was actually glad that her fiancée wasn't a target this time around.
"Well, you guys have my sympathies. You all must have hit your head somehow…or fall down the stairs maybe."
Nero went even overboard and placed a hand on Ritsuka's forehead to check for fever.
"Ah, but it's true, uh…" Ritsuka's mumblings fell on death ears as the group suddenly found themselves ambushed by another group of the enemy army.
"Damn those restless United Empire fools…how dare they interrupt my conversation."
Arturia saw the same scarlet sword being brandished in Nero's hands and released a sigh. Taking a step forward, swallowing her pride and bowing to the Emperor, Arturia unleashed her sword from the scabbard.
"Allow me and my consort to deal with them, your highness, there is no need to trouble thyself with them."
If Emperor Nero noticed the use of archaic language, she wasn't acting on it. The Emperor looked to her leading general and then at the blonde knight in front of her.
"It's approved noble warrior; thus I shall order you to deal with the army as you see fit." Arturia withheld a curse at being ordered when she had volunteered, but questioning a king in front of her army was not something she would do anytime soon. So, Arturia merely screamed for Shirou's name, before everyone witnessed the redhead servant emerge from the nursery wagon with his katana in hand. In zero to one second, Shirou stood by Arturia's side as they saw the army descend from the hills in a battle cry.
"Ah Arturia-taichou, do you need our help?" The King of Knights turned to Jeanne and Mash and then specifically at Mash, before nodding at the shielder servant.
"Yes, Mash…Jeanne, we shall treat them like a herd of horses." Jeanne being a country girl and used to dealing with wild horses, nodded at their servant commander. Mash looked in question at Arturia. "You and Jeanne shall attack those at the opposite sides, forcing the rest of the army to stand closely together in the middle like scared horses. Leave those at the center to me and Shirou…and don't worry Ritsuka, we won't kill them." Emperor Nero and her leading general looked at the tall blonde knight in awe at her battle strategy, none the wiser that it was Nero's rule over the Roman Empire and her special taste for improving diplomatic relations with Britannia that gave birth to King Arthur five centuries later.
With the orders given, the servants from Chaldea implemented Arturia's battle plan.
Mash with her shield and Jeanne with her spear strategically incapacitated the army's sides, forcing the rest to stand closer to one another to defend themselves against the enemy's vicious attacks. They were so focused on Mash and Jeanne that neither saw the Saber couple charge straight towards them, using force, agility and skill with a sword.
Nero and her army stood in attention at the skill and dexterity of the blonde knight and her consort the redhead wearing black pants and nothing to cover his seasoned warrior-like chest except an orange sleeve and a white cape. Arturia with one wooden sword and Shirou with two…plus ten others hovering over him. It was quite a sight for Nero's army to see the hovering swords battling the opposing army like they were sentient beings. Truth was that with Shirou's improved sight, he could anticipate the army's movements and coordinate the swords to battle the army. And even if one sword breaks, he would just trace another one.
Arturia, for her time, slammed her wooden sword on the army's unprotected shoulders.
The Roman Army's armor covered their entire upper body and they used their skill to block the more vulnerable spots, namely arms and shoulders.
Problem lied in the fact that they were battling a servant, with up rankings in strength, power and skill. Thus, none actually managed to land a threatening hit against the servants. Close to five minutes later, the opposing army declared once more a strategic retreat. With the threat gone, the four servants returned to Ritsuka as they turned to face the gawking Nero and her roman army. The Emperor, for her part, could feel the positive rumors in her army and obviously capitalized politically.
"Behold troops, once more we achieve victory because of my leadership…"
Arturia at least could sympathize with the need to boost the army's morale, but that was getting ridiculous.
Nero then turned to the servants, waving her arms like she was rehearsing a play.
"You all are to be praised as members of my army…when we return to Rome, I shall reward everyone quite handsomely. Now, let us march back to the capital!"
Shirou was looking at Nero's back, wondering how someone could look so much like Saber and behave the complete opposite from her. Meanwhile, Jeanne and Arturia were busy talking amongst themselves about the pompous emperor. Jeanne's experience with nobility was rather limited, having only met King Charles VII briefly throughout the One Hundred Years War and her friend Gilles di Rais, who was a proud member of France's aristocracy. But, unlike Arturia, her experience with these types of people were quite limited, indeed.
"I seriously hope that none of my subjects even thought of me like that…"
Jeanne giggled at the irritated look Arturia was showing at this point and giggled, much to Arturia's slight irritation.
"I'd imagine King Arthur to be more used to dealing with these types of people." Arturia sighed at that and reminisced on her days.
"Yeah, I have met my fair share of politicians and noble family heirs who behaved quite like her." Even some of her knights got embroiled in the dirty world of politics. "That imbecile, no good Merlin tried educating me on the subject, but to this day I still struggle…having to unite the countries forced me to deal with plenty of those…but most of the time, I would place one of my trusted knights to deal with them…" When Arturia remembered Agravain's actions, she stood corrected. "well, used to be one of my most trusted, but that's a story for another time."
Still, it was invigorating to talk about one who betrayed her in the past without feeling remorse about it, which showed how she managed to move on from her past traumas.
"And you're saying that Merlin wasn't of much help either…" The sudden growl alerted Arturia that her moving on excluded the memory of the mage of flowers.
"Despite him being the most powerful mage, I have ever met, he was quite undependable. He was focused more on philandering around Camelot and playing pranks to me and my knights, than actually performing his duty." Just the image of that mischievous smile on his face was enough to sour her mood for good and Arturia shivered at the possibility that she gets to see him once more in one of these time singularities.
The group at this point were already seeing the city approaching as Jeanne and Arturia finished their conversation.
The majestic city of Rome in modern times is quite a sight to behold with plenty of millennial churches and monuments.
Back in the 1st century, during Nero's rule, it was surprising to see that it wasn't much different. Except that instead of cars and motorcycles, people roamed in horses and wagons. Also, instead of roads and sidewalks, they were only dirt paths and paving stones. When Nero's entourage proudly rode inside the city, the citizens all gathered around them, praising them, cheering for them. Nero, for her part, kept on waving at her citizens proudly. It couldn't be said that the Emperor was impervious to those cheering for her, in fact she demonstrated quite the enthusiasm and pride at being at the front of the entourage.
The members from the Chaldea stood close to Rome's leader, so some of them ended up receiving the praises as well.
Within minutes, the army all marched towards somewhere else, while Nero and the team from Chaldea walked towards what appeared to be a gigantic castle built with Greek pillars and golden designs sprawled around it.
"Like I said, you are to be rewarded for your help. As such, you are all my guests for the duration of your stay here in Rome."
The flabbergasted look from Mash and Jeanne was evidence enough of Nero's generosity.
Ritsuka, showing surprising dexterity in dealing with royalty, bowed and smiled as he addressed the Emperor.
"We are delighted to accept your hospitality your highness, please lead the way." Shirou and the rest saw the Emperor's delight at Ritsuka's words in appeasing her.
"Umu! Then we shall feast in everything that Rome has to offer my foreign friend, please come!"
Nero even went as far as to grab Ritsuka's hand and drag him inside the castle.
"Firstly, there is nothing more important than taking a bath after a huge battle like that…so you shall join me and take a bath together!" Ritsuka's dexterity wasn't enough to keep him from blushing furiously at what he just heard from the tiny blonde that dragged him inside the castle, followed by the angry Mash, the understanding Arturia at Mash's behavior, the surprised Jeanne and Shirou at Nero's forwardness.
Once inside and not what everyone was expecting, everyone got inside the enormous bath facility inside the castle.
There was a rose petal shaped fountain in the middle that expelled heated water and red roses sprawled around Nero's private bathing area. The same Greek pillars from outside were also found in these chambers. The humid atmosphere made it for a huge sauna and the pool was actually quite large to allow each sex group to stand in far sides with Shirou and Ritsuka to the right and the women to the left. Arturia, Jeanne and Mash were actually enjoying these sensations, while their host had yet to arrive.
Ritsuka and Shirou were busy on the other side with their eyes closed and because of the heavy fog. It reminded both japanese men of their country's onsen. Ritsuka simply alllowed himself to relax and close his eyes, while Shirou did the same.
When Nero walked inside the chambers and walked towards the women side, it was evident that she lacked any modesty in her steps.
Despite her modest height, everything else about her body was like an oiled painting with the right size of curves and breast size.
"Oh, please don't shy away from idolizing this beauty before you…even if you're women, there is no shame in admiring a female body in its splendor!"
Nero even got into a modelling pose for the women to gaze at.
In fact, Mash was the only one who looked at her competition sort of speak and deflated below water. Both Jeanne and Arturia were so gorgeous, and their bodies were finely shaped from years of battles. Mash was actually counting on Nero having a more modest body to compare to, but Mash couldn't help but stare at the Emperor's breasts and deflate even more. Mash was even more down as Nero's breasts stayed afloat the water surface…just like Jeanne and Arturia's.
"So, this is the time that you all explained just what brought to my land…what goal awaits you all at the end of your fine quest? However, first, at least tell me your names."
Mash exchanged brief glances at her partners, before turning to the Emperor.
Being from a time even before the legends, Nero wouldn't know them based on simple names, but it would be best to keep it this way for the time being.
"My name is Mash Kyrielight and these are Arturia Pendragon and Jeanne D'Arc."
Nero nodded and bowed showing respect as the castle's host even using the flip of the hand as reverence.
"Emperor Nero Claudius Cesar Augustus Germanicus...at your service. And the names of the fine male warriors that have yet to gaze at my magnificent body."
"Our master, the brunette, is called Ritsuka Fujimaru and my fiancée's name is Emiya Shirou and he's off limits."
Emperor Nero was surprised at the sudden presentation from the blonde knight, before smiling coyly at the King of Knights.
"Oh, my apologies…I completely understand and empathize, miss Arturia." Arturia kept on looking calculatedly, while Nero turned to the male part of the pool, looking at the taller frame. "Once in the possession of a fine treasury, one must make the statement of property quite evident, especially here in Rome." Nero smiled seductively when she then addressed the King of Knights. "After all, you couldn't blame him if he suddenly found himself in the arms of another if the opportunity arises."
Both Jeanne and Mash unconsciously backed off as they both knew how possessive Arturia tended to be when Shirou was concerned, especially upon said threat.
"First of all, your highness…" The anger was palpable in her tone of voice, like a metaphorical sword that is posed to strike at any time. "Emiya Shirou is not a treasure for me to take possession of." Surprised to hear another king mentioning about a human being as a treasury, Arturia continued much to Nero's never-ending delight. Arturia was unaware, but she was actually playing well within Nero's trap. "Also, please refrain from believing that this hospitality of yours gives you any sort of freedom to have liberties with my consort." Usually, Arturia was more collected than this, but like with Gilgamesh, she found herself transparent about the buttons pressed to unsettle her.
Jeanne and Mash now feared the worst, just like Romani, Olga and the technician from Chaldea.
While Arturia certainly played within her rights to act against said threat, antagonizing the Roman Emperor wouldn't be a good strategy right now, especially since they are yet due to understand what happened to this singularity.
"Such fierceness…" Nero then smiled at Arturia, showing nothing but respect. "I already liked you seeing your prowess in the battlefield, but now I like you even more. Such passion…such drive…for the man you love." Even now, the eyes in which Arturia focused on Nero made her believe to be trapped inside a cage facing a lioness. Right now, she was even mumbling to herself, instead of openly conversing.
"Such passion indeed, must I cower in the presence of love inside the confines of my castle. Fear not, miss Arturia for as I wouldn't dare to do anything to antagonize you. I very much value my own life at this point." Arturia grunted but kept her mouth shut, opting to merely nod at the emperor's words, placing her metaphorical sword inside the sheathe for the time being.
"Now, I'm still due to understand what is that you're doing here…"
Mash was visibly more relaxed now that the tension subsided somewhat and turned to explain their mission to the Emperor.
The Shielder servant then turned to explain everything related to where they were from, including the moonlit world and their mission here in the Septem Singularity. Nero listened to all of it intently, frowning at the pieces where Mash recited Romani`s words about the changes made to the era because of the Grail. By the end of her explanation, Emperor Nero was truly and unequivocally at a loss for words maybe for the first time in her life, not since she found her own mother trying to poison her.
"Mm...Mm...Mmm, I see…" Mash sweat dropped at the look of complete loss from the Emperor.
"Uh I'm sorry…I ended up getting all technical…ah we seek something called the Holy Grail, a magical item with special powers. We believe that it's causing many disturbances just by being here. For instance, I don wonder about the army that battled against you, your highness. Perhaps, that is due to the Grail's interference."
Nero then turned into a thinking pose as she observed Mash.
"So, this Holy Grail is damaging my Rome. It all makes sense now. If what you said is true, then this Holy Grails is the reason my great empire's territories are now ripped apart and scattered all over. That army you spoke of is the United Roman Empire". Mash looked at both Arturia and Jeanne, before turning to the Emperor. "It's an alliance controlled by multiple 'emperors' that suddenly appeared out of nowhere. They stole half of my empire. But no matter how many scouts we send out, none ever return, so they remain a mystery. Even the location of their capital is unknown to us." The so called 'emperors' got everyone's attention at the possibility of them being servants, though this unity could only be possible with someone else pulling the strings.
"Well, your highness, you look like you could use our help and we could use your help as well in securing the grail." Jeanne replied and Nero turned to her at attention. "We could aid you in defeating the United Roman Empire and retrieve the Holy Grail from these Emperors." Nero at first beamed at the offer, but then looked down. The offer is all well and good, but...
"Honestly, the United Empire is very strong. Violent battles are occurring all over and the people are suffering. I've dispatched all my serving viceroys and generals and thrown nearly every troop at them. And until today, we had et to win a battle and that only changed because of your appearance and help, which I am most thankful for." She then sighed and considered her lack of options in this manner. Truth is that if some magical item is tearing her empire apart, then she could use these teams to even the odds. Still, not counting on her troops and generals for aid in this manner could lower her morale and make her lose many of the achievements she had acquired since taking the chair of Rome.
Arturia, for her part, saw the emperor deep in thought and moved in for the kill.
"You already know that you can't win this without us, Emperor Nero Claudius. I understand that you have an army to count on for this manner, but none of them could win against servants. You need our help and we need your help to fix this timeline. In my mind, this is a fair trade". The Emperor backed off slightly as Arturia stood up in all her majesty and looked at Nero's eyes, with her arms crossed below her sizable chest, one monarch to another. Arturia may not be well versed in politics, but she knew how to exercise her authority as King.
"Hm, once more you show me another attribute, miss Arturia, if I didn't know any better, I would say you have a knack for leadership."
Arturia said nothing at fist but certainly stood tall in her position. Meanwhile, Mash and Jeanne exchanged a knowing look at Nero's comment.
"You could say that…"
On the inside, Arturia was actually basking at being praised by a Roman Emperor. Certainly, she would have liked to be respected like this when she was King and reached out to Rome in her time. Nero now recovered her spunk as the odds turned in her Empire's favor.
"Well, then…please join me in my chambers for supper and then I shall accommodate you all in quarters to sleep in. Tomorrow, you shall accompany me to a expedition in Gaul. Perhaps, these servants you speak of may be there."
"You can count on us, your highness." Mash spoke on behalf of Chaldea.
After their bath, everyone got together for a small dinner, before going to sleep for tomorrow.
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