The art of molding clay was born from the hands of mankind and used to facilitate culture, construction, and ingenuity. Some legends even tell of primordial Gods that crafted humanity in their image from clay molds.

Clay is malleable, simple to produce, and in essence represented the earth.

As the clanking sound of metal echoed throughout, swords, spears, and daggers formed from rising clay around the newest Heretic God.

Different from the Rune Witch, the androgenous figure with verdant green hair reaching past his ankles carried a presence that naturally seemed to draw the caution of the Campione. It was an instinctual reaction, something on a fundamental level that even had Doni humming in thought.

Nevertheless, Doni could feel his blood begin pumping strongly within him in anticipation of battle. In a single motion, he unsheathed his sword before tossing the sheath aside.

Magic energy burst around him into a flickering torch, reddish purple in colour. The aura itself concentrated over his blade, coating it with the divine Authority of the Heretic God, Tuatha de Danann, that he'd slain.

Everything and anything he wielded would become a peerless sword. Whether it be holy or demonic, he alone could even dictate the sword's properties.

"I hereby swear, I forbid the existence of things I cannot cut!"

This was an Authority that granted a swordsman the means to cut apart anything. Only divine weapons such as Durendal the Peerless could possess an Authority to resist it, but most were no exception.

Watching the adversary before him, Doni was quick to note that this Heretic God wasn't of the talkative type.

A smile played on Doni's lips when he watched the Heretic God immediately step into action.

The clay weapons that were molded from the ground and hovering the air thrummed and rotated until their blades were directed Doni's way.

On a knee with a palm placed over the ground, Shirou prepared himself. Like before, the Authorities that comprised the Heretic God he was impersonating were revolving within him. This world truly was different from his own.

Strength was born not from capability, but through legend and re-enactment.

The weapons of clay Shirou had formed through the use of an Authority not of his own, could only have been realized through the cooperation of the Heretic God this form was tied with.

Was he being aided? It didn't matter.

All that did was what he'd do from here.

In a fight, observation and sounding the opponent out was key. Shirou had no idea about what Authorities Doni possessed, or whether he'd have one that could revere an unfavourable outcome, into a favourable one.

The hand pressing on the ground added pressure, a ripple of sparks shooting up Shirou's arm. In the next second, a little over a tenth of the formed clay weapons shot in Doni's direction.

Don't underestimate these weapons of clay. In battle, they rivaled the various Noble Phantasms of the King of Uruk himself. They would not be destroyed or deflected so easily.

Launching towards Doni, the air rippled from their accelerating velocity, shockwaves reverberating throughout.

"~Ooh is this all?"

A grin spread across Doni's lips, as the aura that enshrouded his sword brightened. His knees bent, his arms chambering back and striking with a horizontal swing.

When sword met hardened clay, the sword directly cut the clay into pieces that harmlessly swiveled past Doni's body. Flourishing his sword by the hilt, Doni stepped left, then right, his sword a blur of movement.

Not only was Doni a Campione, but he'd first achieved the feat of slaying a Heretic God through his path of the sword alone.

Every weapon that struck at him from the initial wave was intercepted, cut, and destroyed without exception.

The light of excitement continued to burn within Doni's eyes, his body warming up. Flicking his wrist, he grabbed a fragment of clay with his left hand and instantly turned it into another peerless sword using Danann's Authority.

With one sword equipped on each hand, the frequency of Doni's swings didn't merely double, but increased exponentially until there were no longer any attacks remaining.

"Is that all you-" Cocking his head back, Doni was just about to pull down his sunglasses sitting over his head when he froze.

Well, that just wasn't nice.

Doni shut his mouth, watching as Shirou immediately fired off the remaining nine-tenths of his clay weapons. This time, their trajectories weren't consistent, and moved to strike Doni simultaneously across all openings.

Doni frowned, knowing intuitively that it was inevitable that one or two of those weapons would make it past his defence. He didn't say it, but he recognized the strength of the clay weapons striking him. If he didn't have a defensive Authority, he could take serious damage.

From his body, a layer of silver light surfaced over his skin.

Honestly, Doni hated using this Authority as if felt like he was wearing a restrictive suit of armour, but wearing it beats having to dodge out of this troublesome hailstorm.

"O mark of divine protection," Doni intoned, giving up all form of defence. "Become a wall of black steel!"

The invincible body of Siegfried was invoked.

Man of steel was the Authority's name, carrying the aspect of the Heretic God, Siegfried's, legendary invulnerability. Under its influence, Doni's body was akin to a walking steel fortress. Not only this, but in this state, he could achieve a form of immortality where he need not eat or drink. Wounds sustained would even begin to seal in order to preserve his life.

A second later, and the endless din of raining steel sounded in the center of the colosseum. A shower of dust and dirt settled into the air, forming a thick cloud that only gradually abated when the last clay weapon faded back into the ground.

Revealed through the dust, Doni's clothing had been ripped into shreds, leaving nothing but his jeans cut into make-shift shorts. His chest was bare, his arms and legs blemish free. There was not a scratch on him, his Man of Steel Authority even protecting his flowing blond hair.

Doni grunted as even his favorite pair of sunglasses broke in half.

For the most part though, Doni was still grinning, while stretching his arms as if this was all just another warm up until the main event.

In a way, it could be considered like this, but in Shirou's current guise, his eyes flashed with efficient battlefield calculation.

"I see. Then pelting you into submission will serve no purpose," Shirou muttered, taking matters into his own hands and stepping forward.

"~Haha, got it in one!" Doni brandished his sword in front of him, not noticing a peculiarity in the manner Shirou was now carrying himself.

Indeed, Shirou was inwardly struggling from an influx of a foreign presence watching the world through his eyes.

"Against a former human who has forsaken the potential of man, I have no plans to drag this on."

If Doni now noticed a change in the speaking patterns, he probably didn't care. "~You make it sound like you have the choice?"

"That arrogance speaks of your transgression."

Eyes narrowed sharply.

"Having forsaken humanity to usurp Authority, you no longer possess the qualification of man. This is your sole and greatest mistake to fall into the machinations of a Goddess who calls herself a surrogate mother. Nothing is ever free. Man turned away from the ancient Gods not to simply crawl back into their graces, let alone emulate them to stand above the masses."

Shirou was feeling some form of personal involvement here, but the words were out of his controls. He was just thankful that it was only words coming out this time, and not a momentary takeover of his body.

"~For someone who didn't talk a lot before, you sure are chatty?!"

Doni appeared by Shirou's side, Godspeed making his movement practically instantaneous. The following sword had even bisected Shirou from the waist, the top and bottom halves separating.

"NOOOO-!" Athena muffled Arturia's scream before she could draw even more attention to herself by showing concern for a Heretic God.

Nonetheless, Athena couldn't understand where Arturia was coming from. From her perspective, this was far from a killing blow.

That body…is made of clay.

Indeed, back in the center of the colosseum's arena, the two separated halves of Shirou's body turned viscous and reattached themselves as Doni backed away and whistled.

The expression on Shirou's face was muted, lacking any form of emotion. Without a word, Shirou's arms raised on either side, palms facing the sky.

Doni braced himself, ready to react at a moment's notice and assuming that the enemy before him would make an even larger number of clay constructs to attack him.

In a way, Doni wasn't wrong, just that it wasn't fully what he expected.

Rather than just weapons, this time, what emerged was different.

The echo of clinking metal reverberated throughout.

Chains?

Doni only had a second to think before he frowned heavily.

With a rustling of his sleeves blown in the wind, interlocking chains tinged with golden hues began to drop down from within the white robe the Heretic God was wearing. Clinking over the ground, several feet of chains could be seen growing enmass.

The feeling of suppression Doni and many of the other Campione felt prior to the start of this bout, returned once more- only this time, Doni would personally understand why.

Without warning, chains shot out from the ground directly beneath Doni's feet. The sight of the chains spilling out of his adversary's clothes, a elaborate ruse to ensnare him in place.

Yet, could mere clay chains bind him?

At first, Doni thought the concept ridiculous, but in the next moment, he found himself utterly unable to break free. He could hardly take a step let alone shatter the chains that wound and wound around him, sealing all movement.

Unfeeling eyes stared across at Doni's struggle, useless voices of exclamation from the stands ignored by the strongest weapon.

"Only through the strength of man alone will these chains be shattered."

The tone was cold, frigid.

The stronger one's divinity, the stronger the resistance; such was the purpose of these chains.

A sigh escaped Shirou's lips at this moment, like he'd feared, it was happening again.

Steadily, Shirou began to float higher and higher through the air, long tresses of green hair levitating wildly behind him as spell words of power evoked the descent of divine Authority.

"In life, fear of loss is engraved into every deed."

The winds began to stir, dark clouds sweeping in from the horizon.

"Humans create their own paradise, staying true to their origin."

Peering down from above, the gaze of a deity seemed to stare through all mystery and walks of life.

"I am a weapon, the strongest of its kind that walked together with humanity into hell itself."

Memories glimpsed from the history of a weapon filled Shirou's thoughts. Memories of struggle, hardship, loss, and finally realization. Wide and long, the memories encompassed the beginning and the end of a weapon forged and turned on its creators through the mistake of its own sentience.

"Having gained the joy of friendship, I will sing a song of the paradise crafted from human hands!"

The day of parting between man and Gods had long since passed.

"Hear of it, and know of the unending perseverance of mankind's departure!"

Twisting and breaking through the dirt, roots pushed past the gravel and took hold. A deep rumbling spread across not only Fort Andromeda, but from the planet below, crying out in reminiscence to the miracles of an ancient era.

"That which spreads life."

Flowers began to sprout and bloom from the roots, their leaves unfurling and reaching for the clouds.

"That which fought mankind's fears, spinning stories upon a dying fire."

The crackle of lightning writhed in the growing storm; arcing and twisting, they singed the ground and forced the audience members to erect magic barriers that did little to alleviate their worries.

"From the past to the future."

Energy began to rise from the trees, the rocks, and the wildlife, all answering the call.

"From the future to eternity."

Athena found herself standing up, lips slightly parting.

The planet was crying out; the verdant energy tied with Mother Earth Goddesses gathering together in one place. Athena's own ties as a Mother Earth Goddess stirring her into action when she involuntary realized that she was resonating with the gathering energy.

T-This was impossible, and yet…

Her wisdom knew of only one being born and adored fully by the planet.

That child of Clay.

Enkidu.

"The land together with the sea, all look towards the distant sky."

It was not the star of creation that split heaven and earth, but its equal.

The gathered energy formed the illusory image symbolic to ancient Mesopotamia.

The ultimate weapon was aimed and ready to deploy.

"I am the Chain that binds the Heavens!"

Your Authority.

Your Divinity.

Focused eyes locked onto Doni.

"The breadth of the stars points to the arrogance of the Gods above!"

Let it be shackled and sealed away!

"Enuuma-"

The song of the planet will sing!

"-Elishhh!"

The light of Authority shone.


.

.

.

A burst of light blinded all who bore witness. In an instant, a current of turbulent wind rapidly blew out across the entire expanse of Fort Andromeda, congregating over the colosseum and soon fading out in the form of an interlocking seal.

Many raised their arms over their faces in an instinctive maneuver, but many more tried to keep their eyes open in order to peer at the results before them to no avail. The light was too bright, the indistinct figures of two people's shadows all that could be seen.

Athena narrowed her eyes, and hummed in thought.

Not many else had Athena's level of composure.

The various members of the worlds magic organizations scrambled to understand present developments. To them, this wasn't merely a duel between Heretic God and Campione, but a matter that directly reflected mankind's ability to resist against the heavens. The loss of even a single Campione was on a level beyond an international disaster, and directly towards existentiality. Only the God Salyers could safeguard humanity against the whims of the Gods.

"What happened? What happened, I can't see? What's going on in the arena?" Arturia squinted, her hands reaching in front of her while trying to recall Athena's general direction and failing when she bumped into a pillar by the stands. Hissing, she rubbed at her forehead until the throbbing went away.

Glancing at her Master, Athena resisted the urge to snort in amusement before she snapped her fingers and extended her Authority over to Arturia. Owls were famed for their ocular prowess, and as Athena's spirit animal, this directly correlated to a level of insight. Her grey eyes possessed the Authority of wisdom to peer across any veil. She simply granted access to this Authority to Arturia, instantly allowing Arturia to see through the brightness as if she were wearing sunglasses. God knows it was the only reason Athena was ever able to look at Apollo streaking with the light of his sun hiding all else…if her Olympian step-brother thought that she didn't know his secret, then he had yet to know how sisters control their brothers through their weaknesses.

Nevertheless, the moment Arturia was able to see, she gave Athena a grateful nod, only to immediately turn her attention back on Shirou. Athena would have accused Arturia with playing favorites here if not for the fact that her actions mirrored everyone else's including Athena herself.

As the light of binding gradually dimmed, Shirou reeled in the Authority of the Chains of Heaven, an altogether different ability than the Noble Phantasm that Shirou had intended. The one he'd tried to enact was the action of molding a body of clay into the sharpened tip of a massive chain, the true Divine Weapon constructed by the ancient Gods.

He'd intended on using the true Divine Weapon to act as a stronger deterrent for the other Campione, but he'd reconsidered when he felt as if doing so would cause an immediate backlash.

"A tool does not need its own thoughts. I'd assumed you knew. You are a 'Sword,' as I am a 'Chain.' Nothing more. Nothing less."

A distant voice whispered in chastisement.

Shirou had made it his task to supress the Campione before him for his Master's sake, and that was all the Heretic God, 'Enkidu,' would allow him to do. A weapon should only be pointed in the direction of the wielder's intent. So, if Shirou was emulating that weapon, then he too was a weapon in the use of Arturia. He would neither underperform, nor overperform past the prerequisites required.

Shirou inwardly cringed.

This combination of concealing Authorities with Athena's Cap of Invisibility and his Tracing was going to be troublesome in the future. He was likely going to have to be mindful of the personalities of those he sought to imitate.

In any case, it wasn't as if 'Enkidu's' Authority wasn't just as effective as the destructive variant.

Across from Shirou, Doni blinked in confusion, shifting his body left and right.

If one were paying close attention, the prior chains that bound Doni were now easily shrugged off as he moved left and right while inspecting himself.

Finally, when Doni seemed to find nothing wrong with his body's condition aside from a couple marking that weren't there before, he rolled his shoulders, tightened his grip on his sword, and grinned eagerly.

"Was it not supposed to hurt?" Doni asked, giving his weapon a couple test swings before positioning himself fifteen feet away from Shirou, ready to resume. "~I think you missed?" He taunted.

Shirou did not share Doni's sentiment and shook his head lightly under the gazes of the crowd.

"I did not." Shirou announced, drawing back the long chains into his white robe and dismissing the clay weapons scattered across the ground. "This bout is over."

Doni's smile grew strained, his eyes narrowing. "You looking down on me?"

A wry expression flickered across Shirou's face. It would seem that if he wasn't specific enough, he wasn't going to get through this sword fanatic.

"Aside from the durability of your body, your Authorities that make you a Campione have been sealed. This match is over."

"…"

A deathly silence filled the entire colosseum at the declaration, disbelief following quickly after. Many thought that they'd heard wrong, but many others with keener senses and good eyes spotted an anomaly over Doni.

The markings over Doni's body which he had at first dismissed, were now at the crux of the matter. Like tattoos, they were in the form of interlocking chains from his arms, legs, and back, that joined together and formed a brand directly over his sternum.

Doni's mouth shut as the gravity of the situation weighed into the rationality in his mind. Yet, could he really just take the words of an enemy at face value?

Without warning, Doni dashed in and swung down with his sword that could cut anything.

In response, Shirou didn't even bother to mount a proper defence.

-CLANG

"!?"

"You no longer have the strength to cut me." Shirou shrugged off the blade trying to cut into his shoulder, pulling it loose by pinching it between his fingers before he turned his back on a stunned Doni and walked away.

Left standing frozen like a statue, Doni's jaw was utterly clenched.

Clap. Clap. Clap.

Athena was the only one applauding. For once, nothing seemed to be going wrong. She very much approved. Nothing was as elating as a plan coming together, light glinting in her eyes.

('Furious clapping noises.')

(Arturia distancing herself from Athena)

Shirou's brow twitched, but he still stared towards the other Campione ushered into silence in the stands.

Unlike the Rune Witch, he showed no intention of departing the arena.

"Next."

That single word was deafening.


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