Sorry for the wait. This chapter is extra long to make up for it. Hope you enjoy reading!
Chapter 14 - Enforcing Justice; Part 5
Once upon a time, there was a girl raised to become a warrior.
Born in an isolationist magi family with roots to heroes of the old, the child was raised to fight, trained to be a person worthy of the name Fraga. She was taught their mystic arts and the knowledge they passed down ever since the Age of the Gods, along with the rest of her line.
The girl was a genius; she was talented enough to excel those that were taught to her in the way of a warrior and a mage alike. She was clearly going to become one of the more capable warriors produced by the isolationist family and would shape up to be a great wielder of the weapon they passed down every generation.
But despite all that… the girl felt like there was something wrong.
She was always a dispassionate and obedient child. She always did what she was told to do, living life in accord to the orders of others. It was a simple, if not droning life.
She didn't have a problem with it at first. Emotions weren't something necessary for warriors and soldiers, much more if they were from a family of magi.
But as time went on… it became increasingly clear that she felt empty and alone.
She felt like a leaf drifting endlessly in the wind, without anything to guide her. The feeling was something that bothered her to no end. Living without a purpose in life—it felt as if she was lacking something that the others in her family had.
She wanted to get rid of the feeling, and funnily enough, she managed to. Through a chance encounter that involved an old book of legends of all things, that is.
It was her only solace that she had those days, to read those legends of Ireland's heroes. It seemed strange for a girl like her to take interest in something like stories… but it always felt like when she had read those legends, she could reach out for what she wanted.
To live their life getting glory, fame, defeating evil or for some other reason; those heroes gave their lives meaning that the girl can only be envious of, and reading those legends felt like she was living their life as well.
Those stories shaped the girl as she grew up. Every waking moment in her training did she dream of being like them as well and imitating them. Especially her personal favorite, Cu Chulainn, who had been a great inspiration for her.
Nevertheless, while those legends satiated her at first… the empty feeling inside had only intensified. She had a greater idea of what she wanted, and that only emphasized what she was missing.
And she knew what she had to do.
That was why instead of taking the route her family usually does when she reached the age they deemed her independent, she chose something different instead. She left her family behind, to find a new path.
And so the girl explored the world, searching for a purpose in life that would fill the emptiness in her heart. In her travels, she managed to join an organization for Magi like her, and from there—
"You want to have a purpose? Then simply act in accord with your duty."
The young girl who joined to be an enforcer stared at her superior with wide eyes.
"We all have our duties in life. Duties to others, duties to ourselves. We experience satisfaction from doing things that we ought to do and experience dissatisfaction if we don't. That is how human beings work."
"So if you want to follow a purpose in your life… then doing your duty is enough."
—The girl eventually found her answer.
It made sense, did it not? It was something that she can't argue about. And that answer was something she latched onto in hopes of not letting go, to achieve something that would make her life filled with meaning.
And so, Bazett decided she'll live her life fulfilling the duties that came to her.
…Yet why did it still feel like she still hadn't found what she was looking for?
The full moon shone high up, unimpeded by any clouds as it showed its full pale glory up in the night sky.
Under it, Bazett jumped along the rooftops while holding the kidnapped boy on her shoulders, using reinforcement to be able to jump between the gaps of the buildings. She was following her colleagues who were doing the same thing as they traveled as fast as they could towards their base—so that they can regroup and discuss their next move for their plan.
Their plan to defect from the Association, or at least, the enforcers. Which also included her, apparently, despite not being told about any of this.
"This is pretty cool. So all endorsers can do this, huh? You guys are like ninjas."
Her eye twitched as her baggage commented while looking around without even a hint of worry on his face.
"Emiya-san, was it?" she asked, to which she received a curious look. "If you don't understand the danger your life is in right now, I'd like you to keep quiet. Especially when we could easily fall from a ten-story building if I slipped even once." she requested politely. "And we're enforcers. Not endorsers."
"Ah, is that so? Sorry then."
Bazett held in a sigh as her mind focused once more.
It was hard to do so, especially right now when her thoughts were in complete turmoil. The whole debacle didn't sit right in her—she didn't know how to feel, considering she had no idea what was going on since her entire team apparently went behind her back to do all this.
Before she could ponder more, however, their entire group stopped as they finally arrived in their base—an empty warehouse which they had procured for their equipment and to plan their operations in. Their leader entered first followed by the rest of them.
"Prepare for the next part of the plan." ordered her superior, which was answered by a nod by the others. He then glanced at Bazett. "Get the boy tied up in the other room then meet me after, Bazett. We'll talk then."
She nodded, before doing just that. She secured the hostage in the room next to them with bindings and applied a runic combination that would ensure that he wouldn't get out. After doing so, Bazett returned to her superior, who was standing in front of the table with a sheet of paper sprawled atop of it.
Her eyes narrowed. Is that the floor plans of the Tohsaka Manor?
Sensing Bazett's approach, her superior turned to face her.
"So." he started. "I assume you have plenty of questions."
She did. Many questions were flowing inside her head and she didn't know which one to start with. Her difficulty of trying to voice out what she wanted to ask seemed to be visibly showing in her face as her superior chose to be the one who spoke first.
"Let me preface this by saying that we had no choice in not notifying you of our plan, Bazett." he said. "You must understand. You were planned to be the one who'd be around the magus, and we didn't want her discovering the plan in case you got compromised."
"And what plan is this supposed to be?" Bazett asked sharply. "You just attacked a Second Owner, and you're making me an accomplice to… whatever this is!"
"It may seem that way, but I assure you, the Association wouldn't declare us rogue or anything like that."
Her eyes narrowed. "Because you threatened the Second Owner to not report you, and also because you kidnapped her assistant."
Her superior gave her a flat and irritated look, not appreciating the back-talk. "Calm down. And it's not because of that; the Association wouldn't do that because we're in the right here."
That made Bazett confused. "What?"
"That magus was lying. She must be the one who was responsible for these phantasmals." he stated. "And I'm sure you're familiar with the ways a magus can circumvent a truth geass to know that it's possible."
Bazett frowned in thought.
She was aware of it. Creating a geass that makes those who sign the contract to tell the truth is almost impossible—that is, without it being incredibly costly. Geass are used to design contracts which has clearly defined terms and boundaries, and "telling the truth" is simply too vague of a condition. To ensure that a person would say the whole truth would require many clauses to account for each and every possibility.
One can circumvent a geass by saying technical truths, which is why the question should take into account things like that. However, it can also be circumvented before the geass itself through things like self-hypnosis, where memories would be edited to make the speaker believe that they are telling the truth. That method is more dangerous however due to the risks involved.
"Are you saying that the magus manipulated her own memories?" she asked incredulously.
"Magi value their own research over their well-being. It's not surprising that the girl would do so."
Bazett frowned. "...And so what if she lied? It still doesn't prove anything that she did wrong to warrant an attack against her."
"Incorrect, Bazett. It's good enough proof—the fact that she was willing to do such a thing means that she's involved in the appearance of the phantasmal creatures and not whatever reason that she cooked up."
Her superior stared at her straight in the eyes.
"I'm saying that it was her who was responsible for the creation of these phantasmal creatures."
Bazett's eyes widened. "What? That's ridiculous! No one can just 'create' a phantasmal! That's borderline True Magic!"
"See for yourself." the enforcer said, turning to the side.
Bazett followed his gaze to see that her colleagues were bringing… something, that was subdued and trapped inside a cage. Her eyes widened as she realized that it was some sort of creature.
It can only be described as an unholy combination of electronics and pseudo-flesh. The phantasmal was something akin to a cyborg, except that she knew that the material covering it wasn't advanced in any way and was instead made of cheap plastic. And visible under those plastic covering it like armor was wires that were bundled up together in a way that resembled bulging muscles. Combine that with the labeled knob on its torso and the comical-looking circular cage covering a turbine blade as its head…
The phantasmal… it resembled a mundane electronic fan.
"You damn humans!" it shouted in a voice that had the same quality when you talk in front of a fan. "You think you can get away with caging me, Turned On Electric Fan!? You will all pay for this!"
It struggled against its bindings, but was unable to get out of it. Still, Bazett could see the strength it had judging by the visible jostling of the bindings despite the mystic codes preventing it from even doing so.
"This is a phantasmal creature we found inside the city, roaming around. By definition phantasmals are creatures that don't fall inside the purvey of all things possible in conventional biologies of living beings." her superior started to explain. "However, all of them have something in common—those creatures are born from mystery, associated with the thoughts of humans. From werewolves of the west to the youkai of the east, they are conjured according to humanity's perception."
Her superior approached the cage, watching the creature with something akin to fascination.
"But this… this one is different. No monster as ridiculous as this could be possibly brought up to existence. And what's more, it's connected to a modern concept. There just isn't enough mystery present in this age anymore to do such a thing as this… but as you can see, we're seeing it right in front of us now."
"That magus must have stumbled upon a way to create these creatures. It would've been impressive as such a feat is indeed not unlike True Magic, since the Age of the Gods is already over." he continued. "But what does that girl do with it? She releases it all into the city. That breaks the Association's rule of not letting the public know of the supernatural."
He then glanced at Bazett, staring her straight in the eye.
"And that means that it's our duty to stop her, Bazett. That is why we are in the right, and why the Association wouldn't protest this course of action. That Second Owner has gone rogue." he explained. "It's the reason why I prevented her from reporting anything to the Association in the first place, because I'm sure that she'll be painting things in her favor. It'll be a problem if things were to turn like that, after all."
"Do you understand the situation now, Bazett?"
She didn't answer, opting to stay quiet.
Her superior chose to interpret that as her affirming to his question and he turned around, looking back at the floor plans on top of the table. "Good. Now we'll go through with the plan—I'm sure that taking that boy hostage wouldn't be enough for the magus to not report to the Association. So what we'll do is to stage an attack on the magus' manor. We'll plan our assault in two steps…"
As her colleagues listened to their next course of action, Bazett can only slightly pay attention to her superior when he talked since her mind was still reeling from the information given to her.
At first glance, it was a good enough explanation. Sure, as an enforcer it's their duty to prevent magecraft from being revealed to the public. She had executed many magi that terrorized people just for the sake of research. Could it be really that sort of scenario…?
Yes. That must be the case.
She closed her eyes and cleared her mind, before opening it and focusing on the words being spoken by her superior. It was time for her to act in accord to her job. She was given an adequate explanation and she's professional enough to ignore it because all of it was for the sake of the mission.
And so, Bazett listened to their group's plan to attack the magus' manor.
It wasn't her duty to question, after all.
A few hours later after the discussion, they decided that Bazett would be lying in wait at a building in Shinto, far away from the magus' manor.
She found herself without her colleagues once more, with the wind blowing strands of her hair as she stood on the edge of the roof of one of the taller buildings in the district that gave her an incredible view of the bustling night city below. She would've appreciated it more if she wasn't in the middle of a mission.
"It's kinda cold." a voice comments from her side.
Just because she was without her colleagues it doesn't mean that she was alone however, as near her to the side was the boy they took hostage. He was still subdued as he sat down, yet despite his seemingly hopeless situation the boy didn't even look the slightest bit worried. In fact, he still had the same blank look that she had come to associate him with while sitting near her.
"So… what are we doing here?" he asked again. "I mean, the view is cool and all, but I don't really see why we're here. I mean, where are your friends?"
Bazett didn't answer for a few moments, before she suddenly spoke.
"Why are you so calm?"
The boy blinked at her question, before tilting his head. "Huh?"
Bazett glanced at him with a frown. "Why are you so calm? Don't you recognize that you're kidnapped?" she asked. "You're not even worried and you didn't even try to fight when we took you away. Why are you being so oddly accepting of all this?"
It was honestly worrying to see the boy act like this. His entire behavior was unnatural—there weren't even the slightest traces of fear or panic. Was this caused by the magus? It seemed strange that the magus had a civilian assistant, was she seeing the reason why?
He blinked. "Hm? That's a lot of questions, but…" he frowned in thought. "I guess… I didn't want Tohsaka getting hurt in the fight? There's plenty of you and one of me in a small room after all."
Bazett gave him an incredulous look.
What is he saying? Is he thinking that he can take them all?
She opened her mouth to tell him that, no, a civilian wouldn't be able to take on enforcers, but she found herself stopping as the boy's blank face disappeared in favor of this serious look.
"Then…" he said, brows furrowing. "There's also that."
"...That?" Bazett found herself asking, curious as to what thing the boy could be so serious of—
"I have free time."
"F-Free," she stuttered out incredulously. "Free time?"
"Yeah, I had some free time… plenty, actually. So I figured, what's the harm with going with you guys? It's not like I'll do anything after this." he explained in a manner as if it made complete sense.
Bazett stared at the boy.
She didn't… couldn't even understand what he was thinking.
"Are you an idiot?"
And involuntarily, from seeing that show of idiocy, she found herself releasing her frustrations on him.
That made the boy look at her with his usual blank, absent-minded looking face. "Uh, what?"
Her brows furrowed at his ignorance.
"Do you even understand the situation you're in right now? This isn't a game. You're kidnapped, and you're probably going to be killed later because you're related to that magus." she scolded harshly, trying to drill in his brain just how hopeless things are for him. "There's a good chance—no, an almost certain chance that you're going to die here!"
"Why don't you understand that?"
…She didn't know why she was concerned for him. Maybe because he was a mundane civilian—someone who wasn't supposed to be involved in all of this. Maybe because of the undercurrent of feelings that she buried inside her as she tried to focus on the mission. She didn't know.
Bazett glared at the blank-faced boy… whose face then turned confused once more.
"Why would I be worried?" he asked her back. "I mean, you seem like a good person."
Bazett's mind turned blank at that.
The boy shrugged as much as he could through his bindings.
"Well, it's just that I have this feeling that you're a good person." he explained, with a tone and expression like he wasn't quite sure how to explain it. "So I'm not really worried about having to fight you or anything."
What was he even saying?
However, before she could even try to parse out what exactly the boy was trying to say and her feelings about it, she froze as her phone started ringing inside her pocket. And in that moment clarity returned to her mind as she focused on what she needed to do.
She took a deep breath to center herself before glaring at the boy. "You clearly don't understand what you're talking about. Now keep quiet."
She brought out the phone and saw that a message was sent from her superior, indicating that it was already time. Bazett sent a reply giving out an affirmative before pocketing the phone.
It was time for her to do her part.
The plan was to create a situation in which the magus wouldn't expect an attack. Bazett would be separated from the others as her superior leads the others to the magus' manor. In short, she serves as a distraction for the magus while the rest accomplish the mission.
And that distraction would require a large amount of collateral, because with that signal given—
"HAHAHA! Foolish humans, you believe a mere cage can contain me! This electric fan is Turned On!"
—The phantasmal creature they had captured would be set free and be allowed to roam around the city.
With reinforced eyesight and hearing, Bazett watched below as the mystic codes of the bindings deactivated from her superior's behest, making the monster situated in the cage at the alley below her break out. The electric fan phantasmal would cause chaos in the city and it was Bazett's role to wait for the magus to come here and deal with it.
Because for some reason, her superior had said that the magus has the tendency to go and deal with monsters that cause chaos such as this one. And when the girl arrives here, Bazett would deal with her while she was distracted with the phantasmal.
"Hey, is that a monster? Shouldn't you go deal with that?" the boy said beside her in surprise, looking down as he watched the phantasmal walk around.
"I told you to keep quiet, didn't I?" she chastised the boy.
"This city shall suffer my wrath!"
The monster walked out of the alley they had put its cage in. And there, it walked out into the street, startling the people who were still outside. The monster was twice as tall as normal people and she saw that it was strong enough to stop a car barrelling towards it with just a hand.
Bazett watched the creature below emotionlessly, not caring as it started to terrorize the people in the street causing them to run.
"Take this, you weaklings! Behold my power!" the monster twisted the knob on its chest as it settled into a stance. "Turned On Electric Fan! Level 1!"
She saw its fan head starting to whirl, producing a strong gust of wind that toppled cars and blew people away. The screams of the terrified people and the sound of some of the cars bursting into flames as they blew up from crashes and being toppled echoed up to where they were, accompanied by the malevolent laughter of the phantasmal creature.
"Hey… it's destroying the street now."
"...I said be quiet."
The monster continued terrorizing everything around it, the flames being fanned by the winds turning the previous street into a burning hellscape.
Bazett could feel the boy's gaze at her, quietly staring as she simply stood there watching the phantasmal destroy everything in its path. For a few moments there was only silence, broken only by the wind flowing in the night sky.
"…Are you really not going to stop it?" the boy asked eventually, looking away.
Bazett closed her eyes. "…No."
It was simple.
The boy got the idea that she was a good person here. And seeing how she was going to get rid of the magus, that description might be correct. Nevertheless it's a naive mindset to have seeing as he doesn't worry about himself being hurt by them at all.
The boy thinks that as a good person, she'd stop the phantasmal because of it.
That couldn't be more wrong.
The world that they lived in was gray. All actions lead to consequences, with a singular act neither being truly good or bad. Sometimes, doing the right choice now is wrong, and doing the wrong choice now would eventually be right. It was her job to look at things in the greater picture. After all—getting rid of the magus would remove the phantasmal problem wholesale.
And so, she stayed her hand and watched. Because…
—A young girl standing in front of her superior.
—Words that spoke of sense and truth, and the desperate latching onto that fact for some meaning in her life.
"Because it's my duty." she answered. "It's my purpose."
A light gust of wind blew across the roof as silence fell once more.
The boy's face was blank, his gaze looking at the city below.
"Duty as your purpose, huh. I guess I can understand it a bit." he muttered. "But, if that duty is so important to you…"
He stared straight at her.
"...Then, why do you sound unsure when you say that?"
She didn't know.
She didn't know that at some point in her justifications, she found herself biting her lip and clenching her fists. She didn't know why she felt the indecision that she tried so hard to bury underneath the guise of professional behavior was sprouting out of her. Those traitorous thoughts, those doubts that ravaged her mind even after her superior's explanation—they all appeared in the forefront of her mind.
If the magus really let these phantasmals out, why would she try to get rid of them like this distraction hinges on?
Why do they need to destroy their manor when they can go straight to subdue the magus? Why do they need to do all these steps?
If they release the phantasmal in public just to do that… then wouldn't that make them the same as the magus as well?
Those thoughts, those little details and doubts that poked holes in her superior's explanation—it all revealed itself. It made her skeptical. It made her suspicious about what they're really trying to do and what her role in all of this was.
All of those thoughts, leading to a single doubt.
Are we… are we really in the right here?
…She should've gagged the boy, she realized.
Bazett watched down below as the monster terrorized the street, mind swirling in thoughts. She tried not to listen to it, trying to not let it affect her mission.
"Oh? And what do we have here? A woman?"
But somehow, it turned out that there was one unfortunate civilian who wasn't able to run away when the monster attacked and had instead chosen to hide. It was a young woman who was behind a toppled-over car, and the monster took notice of her.
She watched as it walked towards a young woman scared out of wits as the monster approached her in lumbering steps. The woman tried to run, but ended up tripping on some debris making her fall down to the ground, effectively sealing her fate.
She tried to reason that it was a necessary sacrifice for the sake of defeating the magus.
"Now, now. Don't run away. Don't tell me you don't like electric fans?"
She watched as the monster stopped in front of her, glaring down its non-existent eyes at the woman as it loomed menacingly. The woman whimpered as she could only stay rooted in fear, looking at the monster in absolute terror.
She tried to reason that it's only one victim.
"Yes, yes. You definitely look like a spoiled brat that enjoys AC's instead. Let's change that shall we?"
The monster reared its arm up, bulging pseudo-muscles made from wires tensing.
She tried to justify it all.
Try as she might though, the next thing she noticed…
…Her body moved on its own.
Bazett jumped off the building much to the shocked voice of the boy beside her. With great expertise, she maneuvered herself midair in the right moment to kick off the building's walls with reinforced strength, cracking the concrete and canceling all the momentum from her fall while transferring her trajectory towards the monster.
And with that, she managed to get between the woman and the monster and blocked the attack with her arms. Even when reinforced, she flinched in pain from the sheer force of the attack and she gritted her teeth to make herself stay upright.
"Hm?" the monster intoned in confusion.
Her head whipped to the woman with an urgent look. "Go!"
The woman looked shaken, but she nodded her head before immediately standing up and ran away as fast as she could. With her gone, Bazett put all her focus on the monster—who was now looking at her curiously.
"...Hoh, to think that a human was able to block my attack. You must be no normal… person…" the monster trailed off. "No, wait, I recognize you…!"
Bazett grunted as the monster suddenly exerted significant force on his fist blocked by her arm which pushed her off a few meters away, to which she landed gracefully on her feet as she slid backwards from the momentum.
"You… you're one of the humans who had the gall to try and capture me, weren't you!?" the monster shouted, recognizing her. "I knew it was strange that you just left me in that alley!"
The monster had triggered something fierce and it started to rage at her, shouting threats to her and her colleagues… but as it did so, she found herself occupied with her mind instead of listening to it.
I… I really messed up now, didn't I?
Bazett had now effectively disobeyed her orders. This was the first in her entire career as an enforcer that she acted this way, and it might be the last. This wasn't some mission that had plenty of leeway after all—this was an important operation where a single wrong decision can lead to a horrible death.
She was reckless and impulsive.
Her musings were interrupted though when she realized that the monster had stopped threatening her and was instead talking about something else.
"—Do you really think that you humans can take me!? Last time was a fluke, just because you captured me doesn't prove anything! After all, you humans have no idea who I am!"
Bazett was silent as she then regarded her foe in front of her. The electronic-looking phantasmal creature pointed at itself while puffing itself up, roaring in its odd tone of voice that sounded like speaking in front of a fan.
"Let me give you an idea then—I am Turned On Electric Fan! I used to be a man, but now I have transformed into an electric fan and gained the powers of one!"
She blinked at that piece of information.
The fan monster clenched his fist in front of him as he started to speak.
"You see, I used to live in a small dingy apartment—I was poor and was getting by just because of my dead-end job that I'm always overworked at, working six to nine every single day and was paid very little despite it! I was at the bottom end of the unforgiving machine that is society, and it almost feels like everyday I'll have to kill myself slowly just to continue living in that bottom-feeder existence!"
"But in those days… in those days, there was only one thing that had been with me. Through the hardest of times, through the most painful of failures—my precious electric fan, the only furniture in that small dingy apartment—had come to comfort me with its gentle, accepting breeze!"
"I love my electric fan so much that one day, after I returned from work and started playing with my fan by making voices in front of it like I was some sort of robot, I fell asleep in exhaustion and woke up with the fan on my head! That was when I realized that my body transformed!"
The phantasmal creature's fan-head started spinning as it continued.
"It's a sign, a sign that my fan has returned my love, and it has given me the opportunity to do my utmost desire—that is, to blow down society with my blades! Now all will be given a taste of my very own suffering!"
The phantasmal creature then pointed at Bazett, and even if its face wasn't visible anymore, she could imagine the glower it was giving off as it stared at her.
"You think someone like you, who wears those suits and acts all fancy just because you have high-paying jobs, can manage to defeat me—one who has experienced suffering and transformed to become the Messiah of Blessed Winds!?" it shouted. "Well, do you!?"
Bazett, hearing all of this, can only look stunned.
Because what she heard right now…
It can only be described as the most ridiculous thing that she'd heard her entire life.
"You're fucking with me." she said with wide eyes, unable to hold in her disbelief. "There is no way a phantasmal creature as dumb as this exists. That's just so stupid."
With that comment, the Electric Fan Monster stopped pointing at her and just stared at her blankly.
Bazett's eyes widened as the monster suddenly appeared right in front of her with a burst of speed, an arm raised up to bring down its fist—
"...will die painfully!" it declared with rage.
—And Bazett barely had her arms up before the monster's fist blurred at her, and she found herself grunting painfully as the pain exploded in her gut courtesy of the fist burying deep through it. Her breath left her lungs, and she found herself being tossed in the air from the sheer strength of the hit, before landing on the ground roughly.
She coughed as she quickly stood back up, undeterred by the hit. But when she looked at the direction where the monster was she quickly found that it was gone. Her eyes widened as she felt an errant gust of wind at her side, and she bunched up her hand into fists and threw a haymaker in that direction.
Her fist met the monster's arm, hitting the manufactured plastic armor covering it and parrying the blow to the ground instead, asphalt breaking from the sheer impact.
Bazett didn't waste the opportunity.
She activated the rune stitched in her glove, making it glow as her strength was multiplied along with reinforcement. Her fist snaked past the monster's arms, smashing her fist deep into its gut much like it did earlier to her. She quickly followed it with her other fist, exploiting the opening to give in more hits.
The result was that she was ruthlessly beating down the monster with a flurry of attacks.
Bazett was effectively pummeling the monster, not giving it a chance to attack her with its superior strength with her pure martial skill. She grunted as she kept hitting it with enough force to shatter concrete and dent steel, but despite that…
She held in the flinch of pain as she hit the monster's armor with her fist. Even with the large amount of force and the armor looking like cheap plastic—it barely even dented it.
Just how tough is this thing!? Is it stronger than steel!?
She threw another punch, but then this time, the fan monster's hand went up and caught it.
Bazett's eyes widened. "Wha—!"
The fan monster, who had its fan-head turned to the side from her punch to its face, slowly turned to gaze at her as she tried to struggle out of its grip with gritted teeth.
"I thought I told you…" it started, fan starting to whirl. "Don't think you're stronger than me just because you guys captured me!"
The monster dragged her up with her arm then threw her away, and Bazett crashed hard on a building's wall near them. Spittle flew out of her as she was buried under concrete, and she would've been dead if it weren't for the defensive mystic codes on her clothes and her reinforcement on her body.
Still, she was left dizzy after that attack as she extracted herself from the wall. She shook it off and tensed as she saw the large figure approaching towards her.
"Don't underestimate me now. You and your friends cheated by tying me up with those weird bindings that you have. If it weren't for me being surprised then I'd have destroyed them all!" it shouted. "Let me show you just how strong I can blow!"
The monster stopped near her, settling on a stance as it turned the knob on its chest. For a moment Bazett was confused at what it was doing, but then the fan on its head started to whirl faster and faster.
Her instincts screamed.
"Take this! Turned On Electric Fan…!" the monster shouted.
Bazett immediately applied reinforcement to the maximum to throw herself out of the way as fast as she could—
—And it proved to be the right decision as a rush of intensely pressurized wind passed through her previous position, blowing things on its way and everything else in its general vicinity—even managing to briefly extinguish the flames burning around the street. The wind also managed to kick up a cloud of dust and debris from the sheer destruction it caused.
Bazett's eyes were already wide at the attack itself, but when the cloud dissipated… her eyes became wider.
The general direction where the monster attacked was shredded, like a large projectile and not a gale of wind passed by. The trail of destruction reached the other side of the block with the path of the winds visible due to the distinct tears through the asphalt and all the cars that got caught in the attack.
"You've got to be kidding me…" she muttered, eyes disbelieving.
"Hahaha! Surprised? As you can see, the winds of an electric fan is deadly!" the monster laughed malevolently. "It would be very easy to end your life with that single attack, but…"
The monster clenched its fists as it shook in rage.
"You and your friends have angered me, so a death like that would be too merciful! And I won't allow you the honor of being killed by the fan's blessed winds either!" it shouted. "Instead… I'll beat you slowly into a pulp with my very hands!"
Bazett grit her teeth and settled into a stance as the monster started to run towards her, arm rearing back. Despite the fear in her heart, she tempered it down with experience and focused on fighting. There was no more holding back—she used every bit of runic mystic code that she had to increase her strength along with reinforcement, making her fist glow.
"Take this, you human!"
Roaring, the monster's arm blurred to take her head off with a punch. Bazett dodged the telegraphed attack by stepping to the side, then counter-attacked with her own. Her fist hit the monster's torso—managing to crack it this time—and following with another jab to the side.
"Ow! That hurt!"
She didn't expect the unconscious backhand from the monster that smacked her on the side. Even if involuntary the hit still hurt her, but Bazett managed to stay upright by planting her foot down on the ground hard enough to crack it.
Then she roared and attacked once more.
She and the monster exchanged hits, with Bazett managing to hold off on her own by using her exceptional martial skill to prevent herself from being overwhelmed by the monster's superior strength and turning that same strength back into it. Still, it was taking her all to not die due to the sheer power of the monster she was fighting.
It was definitely the most dangerous fight in her life. She never had been pushed this far.
Yet despite all the action, despite the mortal danger she found herself in… she found herself thinking about her own thoughts and actions.
…It really does look like I made the wrong choice, after all.
Maybe she shouldn't have doubted and became so concerned about being right. That way, things wouldn't have led to this sort of hopeless situation.
She had her duty and she broke it.
…That's right, her duty. Duty was the very reason why she was here. It was the very reason why she had joined the Mage's Association and became an enforcer in the first place. And now, she broke it. And for what reason? Just because she was fighting for what she thought was good?
For all she knew, she was wrong for doubting her superior. And it wasn't worth doing all of this either—because at the end of the day, if she did survive this, she's going to be labeled a rogue. That in itself is a death sentence as everyone will hunt for her.
By making what she thought was the right choice, she's going to face the entire might of the Mage's Association, maybe even the rest of the other world-spanning supernatural organizations. She might as well face the entire world.
Perhaps she could stop. It might still be salvageable, after all.
But despite all that…
—She breathed hard as she felt blood dripping down from a gash on her head. She gritted her teeth, before forcing herself to move and attack.
…Why is she still fighting?
—Bazett roared as her glowing fist and hit the monster right on its fan-head, the cage-like cover rattling as the monster toppled backwards from the sheer force of the attack.
Why is she still risking her life?
—The monster grabbed her midair before it hurled her away at great speed. Thankfully it wasn't straight down as Bazett was sent tumbling on the still-burning street, before she managed to land on her feet and bleed off the momentum. She quickly got up and ran towards the monster again.
As she continues to fight the monster in front of her… Why…
Why does it feel like there was something being filled inside her heart?
Both of them reared back their arms and roared as they swung. Bazett's and the monster's fist met, producing a shockwave that displaced the air around them.
That move proved to be a mistake for her though as she felt something in her arm break, overpowered by the monster's strength. But she held in the scream of pain, gritting her teeth and instead adjusting her stance slightly to use her other fist to fight.
Why does it—?
An image of a warrior appeared in her mind; An indomitable human spirit that carved its name into legends as they showed their feats of valor and courage. These men—they were fighting for something in a battle that they would never hope to win against, yet still do.
They were fighting for something besides their survival. Fighting for something beyond them.
Fighting for their purpose.
That's… that's right.
It was so similar, what was happening. To those legends she used to always want to live back as a kid.
This sensation of resolve, the understanding of the stakes, the feeling that one would rather die than surrender and lose something far more important than oneself…
This… this was what she was looking for her entire life!
"Enough! Always dodging and dodging like a fly—you're annoying me!" the monster shouted in rage. "Fine, if you're going to do that then you leave me no choice, human!"
"What happened to not giving me the honor?" she quipped.
That seemed to enrage the monster even more. "Shut up and die!"
With that, the monster turned the knob on its chest and Bazett tensed as she realized that it was set on the maximum setting. It looks like it really got pissed at her thanks to her big mouth.
That quickly led her focus sharpening though, as she realized just what this meant for her.
The monster's fan started whirling, spinning so fast that a vortex of air was visibly getting sucked in the fan and she could hear an intense ear-piercing noise similar to that of a jet turbine. The 'Level 2' was already so destructive and she didn't want to know just how much stronger this one is.
So Bazett immediately activated her trump card that she held—Her family's Noble Phantasm that was given to them during the Age of the Gods and passed down to generations.
A shimmering wisp of energy appeared in her fist as her sorcery trait activated, the mana coalescing into an orb that marked the summoning of the legendary mystic code.
"Sword of the War God; One That Which Comes Later Cuts First; Retaliate, Answerer—!"
"Turn on, Electric Fan! Level—!"
The two unleashed their attacks.
Swirling energy of mana burst out of her as she swung her hand, and simultaneously, the monster's ultimate attack manifested as intensely pressured wind resembling a white wave of destruction headed straight towards her.
On any other occasion, it would be Bazett's loss. The monster's attack looked like it would envelop the paltry sword that launched towards it at great speed and destroy it. However, this was not the case.
The noble phantasm was the greatest counter-attack to any ultimate attack out there. It was able to break causality, allowing it to strike first and remove the event of the enemy using their ultimate attack in the first place.
And as such, between that sword and that wave of destruction—
—The sword won, and the monster found its heart being pierced by the noble phantasm.
The wave headed towards Bazett also disappeared without a trace before it could truly reach her, erased from the events of the proper timeline and preventing it from ever happening.
"W-What…?" the monster muttered in shock, clutching the new hole on its chest… before falling to the ground.
Bazett breathed hard, clutching her broken arm as she looked at the monster's body.
I… I won?
She… she did it. She got lucky with the monster allowing her the opportunity to use Fragarach by unleashing its ultimate attack, and the result definitely wouldn't have been the same if it decided to not do so—but she still managed to beat the monster.
Bazett held her hand to her chest, feeling her beating heart while closing her eyes. She savored the rush of euphoria she felt winning against the monster—something she had never felt before in any battle her entire life.
Did she make the right choice by defeating the monster? She doesn't know.
But what she does know is that she'll stick with her decision to save that woman and stop the monster from hurting others, because that is what she believes is right.
She thought her duty was her purpose, but saving others… to fight for what is supposed to be just…
…It's not a bad feeling at all.
Bazett took a deep breath and smiled. Then, she turned around—
"Y-You dirty, cheating, human…! How dare you interrupt my attack!"
—Before freezing as dread crawled up her spine, as she heard the monster speak once more. She whipped her head around, and there, her eyes widened as she saw it.
The monster indeed still had a hole on its torso, but it still managed to force itself back up without even a hint of difficulty. It was shaking, but it wasn't a shake of weakness—no, it was shaking in rage.
"B-But, how!? Your heart was supposed to have been pierced!" Bazett can't help but shout.
"Oh, so that was your trick huh!? Well it didn't work! After all, an Electric Fan has no heart—because instead, I have batteries!" with a hand, it opened its own torso. "And your little magic trick broke one of them!"
As the monster's insides were opened she could see that, indeed, it was a square chamber with three comically large batteries placed on it complete with large lightning symbols slapped on it. And in one of the batteries, there was indeed a hole in it courtesy of her noble phantasm, with two still remaining functional.
Bazett can only look at that in disbelief, unable to say anything in the face of something that ridiculous.
The monster snarled as it closed the compartment back. "Now, where was I…? Oh, right, killing you! Now I won't get interrupted with your tricks, human!"
Oh, you have to be kidding me!
Bazett tensed at that, mustering every bit of strength remaining inside her and settled on a stance. That failed miserably however, as somehow she found her legs unable to support her, making her fall down kneeling on the ground.
…It doesn't look like she can do this anymore. She couldn't fight back.
She was going to die.
"Turned On Electric Fan—!"
But even so… somehow, she has no problem with that.
She didn't care if she was labeled as a rogue magus.
She didn't care if she was disobeying her superior.
She didn't care if she broke her own duty.
She fought for what she believed was right and stood by her choice, risking her life for it. That alone was enough for her to not die in regret.
It was most possibly the most meaningful point in her life more than everything else combined… and at least, she was fortunate enough that she managed to feel living a life of purpose at the very end.
It's such a shame that she wouldn't die standing like her favorite hero did, though.
And so Bazett smiled as the fan whirled to what was about to become her impending demise.
…Or at least, what she thought was her impending demise.
"You did a great job. Nice fight."
Because of all the things that would happen, Bazett never would've expected that someone would put themselves in front of her in a parody of the same thing that she did with the woman earlier. And for that someone to be familiar at that.
"—Now leave the rest to me."
It was the boy that they captured, who was somehow out of his bindings.
Bazett's eyes widened. "Wha—!"
She wasn't able to finish what she was saying as the beam of destruction that doesn't even look like wind suddenly burst forth out of the monster's head, destroying everything in its way and heading towards the,.
And what happened after was something that she would never forget the rest of her life.
Because the boy in front of her reared back his hand—
"Get lost!" he shouted.
—Then punched it, head on.
Bazett gaped as she saw the unbelievable scene of the attack dispersing into light gales of wind, punching a hole straight through it and creating its own shockwave that hit the monster straight on. She watched as that shockwave destroyed it into a mess of wires and circuitry, then everything else beyond that, reaching to the very end of the street.
And that same shockwave was strong enough that the fires that were everywhere on the street around them disappeared. But unlike the monster's attack earlier, this time, the fire didn't return, completely extinguished.
And so, with that attack, everything went into silence, with the only thing left of the monster was the wire and plastic junk left on where it used to be.
The boy took a deep breath and exhaled. Then, he looked at Bazett.
"You okay?" he asked, face as blank as ever.
…Bazett could only dumbly nod her head.
Bazett sat down leaning on a wall in the sidewalk as she held her injuries, while the boy stood in front of her. All around them was the leftover destruction caused by the monster, Bazett's fight with it… and the boy's attack.
It was mostly the boy's attack though.
"Man, you really surprised me earlier when you jumped down on the building. I ran as fast as I could down the stairs but it still took a long time because it was so high up… it's a good thing that I managed to arrive before things went really bad."
Bazett stared at the boy who scratched his head awkwardly. The boy that she thought was nothing but a civilian. The boy that somehow managed to destroy the monster's attack and the monster in just a single punch.
She didn't know how to feel.
"Sorry that I didn't arrive before you got hurt. That monster looks like one of the weaker ones so I could've easily beat it if I was there." he said apologetically, scratching the back of his head. "Er, you did a great job fighting it though! Saw you do your magic move earlier. It was really flashy!"
…No, she definitely knew what to feel. It just didn't register until now.
This boy right in front of her was definitely a major threat. He just casually spoke of how weak the monster was, implying that punch probably wasn't something he put effort in doing.
W-Was this the reason why that magus had him around? Does that mean he let himself get captured? Does this mean he could've ended them at any time? Ended her at any time?
Does this mean… all of this was some sort of joke…?
"Haha…" Bazett let out a hollow laugh. "So we've been dancing on that magus' tune the entire time, huh…?"
The boy blinked. "Hm?"
"I see… If that was the case, then I must have been wrong with my choice then." she looked down, a defeated feeling rising inside her. "I should've listened to them. That magus… that magus definitely must've something to do with creating those phantasmals if you're that powerful."
That was the only explanation, because there was no way beside the True Magics can make someone that powerful. The magus must have done something to the boy that—
"—Are you talking about the monsters? No, we don't have anything to do with that. They just appear in the city for some reason."
Bazett blinked and she glanced up to the boy, who was looking at her in confusion.
"What?" she asked.
"I'm telling you that we don't have anything to do with the monsters appearing here. I mean, we're the ones dealing with them so that they don't hurt people." he elaborated. "Why the hell would we fight them if that was the case?"
Bazett stared at him, before sighing.
"...Please, I've had enough of all these deceptions. I've been lied to pretty much this entire night and as you can see that led me to this." she said self-deprecatingly, gesturing her injured body. Then, she frowned. "...If I may ask, why even save me? You could've easily just let me get killed."
She knew that she should've been at least more respectful to the person that managed to defeat that monster in one hit and kill her just as easily, but frankly, she was going to die either way and she couldn't just muster the energy to care anymore.
"I'm not lying though." the boy insisted.
She frowned. Why does he think that he can trick her at this point—?
She and the boy paused as the sound of her phone's ringtone suddenly rang in her suit's pockets. For a moment no one moved, but as the ringing went on Bazett took a look at the boy. There, she saw the curious look directed at her.
"...You're not gonna pick that up?" he asked.
For a moment Bazett hesitated, thinking that she could just not pick it up… but she eventually came to a decision. She took out her miraculously working phone and answered the call.
However, the voice that answered on the other side was not the one belonging to her superior like she expected. No, who she heard was the last one that she expected, considering their entire plan.
"Hello. Bazett Fraga McRemitz, was it?" the magus' voice said on the other side of the line.
"W-Wha…" Bazett stuttered out in surprise. "How…?"
"Now I'm sure that you must have not expected me talking to you right now. After all, it's your little plan to make me go to your distraction, correct?" she guessed. "Well, I'm sorry to say that you have failed miserably, as you can hear now."
There were noises of rustling she could hear on the other side, followed by heavy thuds and groans. She could recognize the voices there.
"Cursed… upstart…" she heard the faint voice of her superior mutter.
"Upstart? And what does that make you, someone who got defeated by said upstart, huh?" the magus taunted darkly. "You're lucky that I left you in one piece. I was very, very frustrated with your stunt a few hours earlier, after all."
Bazett found herself in disbelief once more, as she realized that her superior and colleagues were defeated in the hands of the magus. She knew their abilities were great enough that she'd have a hard time saying that she can do the same.
Just how much did the magus sandbag earlier when her superior acted like they had cornered her?
"Y-You think you could get away with this? The Association wouldn't allow you to keep creating phantasmals—!"
"Are you still going about that? We all know that paper thin excuse wouldn't work on anyone." the magus said, the roll of her eyes audible from her tone. "So why do all this? It's because you probably wanted something else, right?"
"W-What are you—"
"The geass I forced you to sign is still in effect. Tell the truth or your heart will stop right this instant." the magus said darkly.
"Grk!" her superior grunted in pain. Then, in a tone belying great hesitation, he forced his words out. "W-We… we wanted your research on true magic!"
Bazett's eyes widened.
"W-What!?" the magus shouted, somehow mirroring her shock. "True magic!? Just how did you get to that—you know what? I'll get back into that."
She exhaled. "Now, onto more important matters—McRemitz, I believe that you have what you took from me." her voice gained an edge to it. "If you have the slightest value in your life, then it is in your best interest to return him to me, safe and sound… though it's not like you could hurt him anyways."
In the corner of her vision, Bazett noticed that the boy was approaching her, making her stiffen up. He gave her a look that was as if he was asking for permission, and Bazett reluctantly handed the phone to him.
"Heed my warning enforcer. Even if you fancy yourself deadly, you are no match for my assistant. So you better make sure that—"
"—Uh, hey. It's me, Tohsaka." the boy interrupted. "No worries, everything is cool."
There was silence for a few moments.
"...Emiya-kun. Why are you answering the phone?"
"Well the thing is everything went weird after they took me. Bazett, uhh… took me on top of the big buildings in Shinto and then there was this monster near us. Me and Bazett took care of it." he answered. "And uhh… Don't worry about Bazett. She's a good person, you know?"
"...What are you talking about, destroying the monster together? Why would the enforcer fight the monster that was supposed to be the distraction for me?"
"It was for you? Well, Bazett fought it when it started rampaging. She was about to get her ass kicked though, but luckily I arrived on time."
"Are you an idiot!? Why did you save the enforcer!? She's the one who kidnapped you!" there was a pause. "Wait, you revealed your strength to her!?"
"E-Er…" the boy looked sheepish at that. "I-I mean… I kinda… did? T-There was this monster, so…"
"What!? That doesn't mean that you should—!"
The magus and the boy argued on her phone, and Bazett recognized that what she was seeing was similar to the one the two had when she had drove them in the car just a few hours prior. Bazett looked at the scene with realization in her eyes.
"You… you were telling the truth the whole time, weren't you?" she breathed out.
All this time, she was wrong for thinking that the magus wasn't genuine with the way she acted. Even if there may have been some things omitted, the girl truthfully acted like a decent human being not unlike other magi.
The boy glanced at her. "Well, yeah. That's what I said, isn't it? Tohsaka is a good person. Just like you are."
Yes, she does recall him saying something like that yesterday, didn't she?
"W-Wha, What are you saying all of a sudden!?" the magus shrieked on the other side of the line. "D-Don't think I'll ignore things just with flattery!"
"Ah, no, Tohsaka. I was talking to—"
The boy devolved into hysterics, and Bazett can only watch as the boy who Bazett knew was leagues stronger than her got verbally lambasted by someone weaker than she was. It was a ridiculous sight.
Just as ridiculous as believing everything that happened as true, really.
A phantasmal creature, one that was based on an electric fan? A civilian boy that can end her in a blink of an eye? Her superior and colleagues betraying the Association, just to achieve glory for themselves?
Yes, today had been entirely too ridiculous.
But, despite all that…
She found herself glancing at the boy—Emiya—who was looking at her with the phone away from his head. The boy didn't look as blank-faced as he usually was, and was this time actually looking at her with a slight smile.
"I'm glad. Unlike earlier, you look pretty sure now." he said. "Did you find out what you were looking for?"
She blinked, unable to respond at what the boy had said for a few moments…
Then, Bazett gave a soft smile.
…She supposed that she wouldn't have things any other way.
Wanted to get this out already so some parts aren't as polished to my standards. So as per standard author's note I'll give a brief summary on what happened this chapter to make things clear:
Bazett, as a child, felt like she lived a life of no purpose and she thought that duty was her answer, and on this occasion she found her sense of justice conflicting with that same duty. Saitama pushed her to the point that she broke that duty and fought the monster no matter how grave the consequences, and in that process, discovered that fighting despite it gave the purposefulness that she wanted so badly. Then it turns out that she was correct in doubting the other enforcers as the bad guys, as they thought Tohsaka had True Magic and wanted to get it, and everything gets a happily ever after.
Frankly, I interpreted Bazett's character a bit differently than what is said in the wiki. In there it states that she thinks that her purpose was to summon Cu Chulainn and "save" him or whatever, which in my opinion sounds childish and flat. But what was important was that it implied that Bazett was emptily living a life without purpose before even encountering Irish myths.
Maybe that was why she hit it off with Kirei, being empty people and all that.
Anyway, it was fun writing Bazett's reaction to how ridiculous things are in OPM. This marks the end of the Enforcer arc and a start of a new one after a bit of downtime so I can think of the new arc, ahem, I mean to flesh out characters.
Also I just realized that there are people who read this story and messaged me in my inbox. Sorry if I ignored you for the past few months since I never read those.
But, ah, as always leave a review if you have criticisms or something. Thank you for reading!