Ashwatthama didn't know why there were wasting time like this. He huffed in irritation as he crossed his arms, foot tapping impatiently on the floor. The servants placed around him as a security measure were ready to jump at the slightest provocation.
"-No provocation. No concern for the safety of those around-"
All this pomp and ceremony was nothing but a charade, they had already made his decision. So why were they taking so long?"
"Are you even listening?" The irritated voice of the woman at the center of the semicircular long desk demanded.
The retort came instinctively to his lips. "Fuc-"
His head vibrated from the impact created by the tuning-fork shaped incarnation of Shiva's sacred weapon. Parvati huffed and glared at him with immense disappointment.
"Tch…" He rubbed his sore head in an attempt to stop the throbbing pain.
Da Vinci let out a long sigh, leaning back on her seat as she rubbed the bridge of his nose.
"Do you even care, Ashwatthama?" Vishnu's seventh Avatar, acting as advisory ambassador to the Council, sternly asked.
Fucking damn it, despite the completely different disposition in personality, the guy smelled just like Krishna. Brought too many memories that were just pissing him off even further.
"He's too much of a liability" Lord El-Melloi II spoke up. "Command seals had no effect on him. And we've all seen his skills. He is rage incarnate, I doubt even the most furious Berserker could even be capable of that much level of anger and unpredictability."
"We could have had a repeat of the Penthesilea incident in our hands" Nightingale said, "And I am very unsure of there is any way to safely seal away that rage, or even calm him with a Phantasm or Skill"
"This Council would perhaps give you a chance, Ashwatthama, if you actually bothered to show any sort of remorse" Rama added with a glare, hoping to prompt the rage fueled warrior to at least defend himself.
He did not.
"Ashwatthama" Karna, damn bleeding heart, softly spoke to him. "Be true to yourself, is this truly what you want?"
The Brahmin warrior snorted and looked away.
The Council members looked at each other, some with disappointment, while others looked like their minds were made up. It was time to cast their judgement.
"Ashwatthama" Da Vinci spoke up with authority. "We will deliberate on what to do with you. But I will warn you it doesn't look like the odds are in your favor. If there is anything you'd like to say, do it now"
His yellow eyes glared at them, "It's a damn no-brainer, what the hell is taking you people so long?"
"…Very well" She said. "Escort him out, the Council will now deliberate"
He was taken to another chamber, a sort of holding cell made up of reinforced material that even a servant with high level strength would have trouble breaking through without the use of a Phantasm, and the surge of mana would alert everyone. Layered with multiple seals and hexes weaved into the material to make phasing through the walls impossible.
Ashwatthama had to give it to them, for such a seemingly peaceful place they took no half measures.
He respect how despite being placed on this room, there were still half a dozen powerful servants all ready to skewer him should they get the chance. And what an impressive lineup it was; Scathach the Witch of Shadows (gods what he'd give to test himself against a fucking divine slayer). Saint George who was an absolute beast of defensive prowess. A Hashashin who no doubt possessed an assassination technique that would quickly kill him when given the opportunity. Penthesilea the amazon queen (who had some killer abs), armed with weapons designed to pulverize her opponents. The owner of the gods-damned Excalibur (they had to emphasize he was the 'male' King Arthur. Bah, the multiverse was weird). And the carrot-topped guy he whose nose he had broken.
"You didn't beat me, alright?" Achilles stated with fire in his eyes. Prompting the other Servants around him to either roll their eyes. "I held back! You are not allowed to go all out inside this place!"
"Whatever helps you sleep at night, pal" He replied with a wild grin.
The Hero of the Trojan war growled in return.
"As amusing as it is to see Achilles lose his cool like that" Penthesilea said, "The fact you're so ready to antagonize others is the reason why you're likely going to be expelled. Don't you have any regrets?" There was something in her tone she couldn't quite place.
"Yeah, that I didn't get to kill that asshole"
She sighed, and Arthur spoke up then. "I understand there is too much bad blood between the two of you, but so there was between many other people here. Chaldea is devoted to a greater purpose than the squabbles of our old lives. We put them aside for the protection of humanity"
The half-incarnation of Shiva crossed his arms, "So you're telling me if your Morgan were to arrive, you'd just let bygones be bygones?"
"I would" He said earnestly, "Though I know it wouldn't be easy of anyone. Least of all the two of us, ours was always a complicated relationship"
"'Complicated'" Ashwatthama snorted. "That what they called fucking your own sister in your time?"
His crass insult made more than a few eyes widen and turn to the King of Knights with worry and concern. Arthur closed his eyes and took a deep breath, "What does antagonizing us really gets you?"
"A fast way outta here" The archer replied. "If I can't settle the score with Arjuna, then what's the point?"
"Honoring a contract with our masters, perhaps?" Scathach pointed out.
"Well, you know my legend, which should tell you how much I honor oaths"
Parvati's voice made him stand at attention. The others bemusedly noted how much his attitude shifted so swiftly when in her presence. The goddess presented a truly matronly figure as she stood at the entrance.
He once more stood before the Council. He had no idea how they would kick him out, sever his contract and cut off his supply of mana, let him dematerialize on his own or just a plain old execution?
He wouldn't be finding out however.
"The fuck?!" He blurted out in shock and outrage.
"Indeed. This council has decided not to banish you"
"WHY?!" His eyes almost turned red.
"Testimony" She cheerfully said with a wide smile, as if enjoying his reactions.
"From who-?!" Ashwatthama suddenly stopped and turned to glare at the impassive Karna. "Oh of fucking course…"
"This is not the way, Ashwatthama"
Fucking Karna and his fucking ability to read people like a book, he just went and told them…
"His wasn't the only one" David said, waving a hand.
The action prompted a sudden signature to appear. Arjuna astralized into the room.
Ashwatthama felt his rage spike instantly, but was quickly calmed down with a touch on his arm from Parvati. Shit, he was always going to cave to that disappointed glare of hers, was he?
"…Why the hell did you speak in my favor?"
"Because you're not the only one who did horrible things in that war" His soft words were just pissing him off. "And I want to make amends for my mistakes" His taking a few steps towards him made all the servants acting as security to tense. "We were friends once, Ashwatthama. I know you might never forgive me for what I did, just as I can't ignore the things you did… but we're all to blame, and I can't ignore my own guilt any longer. I want us to start over again"
He sounded so earnest.
He did remember a time, when they were all just children training under his father Drona. There was no war, no oaths keeping them on opposite sides, no honorless and vile tactics that kept making the wedge between them growing further.
…But Arjuna wasn't the only person who deserved his rage.
"Tch" He clicked his tongue once more, choosing to neither acknowledge nor reply to his words. "Whatever"
Arjuna let out a soft sigh in disappointment, he most likely expected that response. But there was a part of him who hoped he'd give it a chance.
"Very well" Da Vinci spoke once more. "Until further notice you're not allowed to walk around without escort. Arthur and Karna will monitor your behavior, Penthesilea has also offered to shadow you"
Karna, Goody-goods King and Abs Queen? Well there were worse prison guards…
"Great" He drawled, "Now where the hell is my room?"
"Take him away" El-Melloi said.
Ashwatthama didn't even bother giving Arjuna even a last glare before he was escorted out.
"You really think this is gonna work?" Rama asked the third Pandava.
"Chaldea is a place of second chances isn't it?" He retorted.
So long as Ashwatthama felt he had to keep punishing himself, he'd never truly atone.