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Clarent Blood Arthur: Clarent Blood Arthur: A Fate/Stay Night Fanfiction
Chapter 19: Like a Thief in the Night.
He saw her among a hill of swords.
Shirou's latest glimpse into his Servant's past in the realm of dreams brought him in the midst of a sunset hill where dreams, bodies, and swords lay broken all around her. Even then, the king maintained her quiet dignity. She stood alone, with sword in hand, as she awaited her final foe. The one who brought all this on, and tore down everything she built.
"WHERE IS THE KING OF KNIGHTS?!"
She could hear her; the shriek of unbridled hatred followed by the sickening sound of sword rending through armor, flesh, and bone. Eventually, the traitor came to view, the dimming sunlight making the red in her armor more pronounced.
"Well?! What now, King Arthur?!" The Knight of Treachery, Mordred, growled as she raised both arms to gesture the bloodied battlefield. "This is where your kingdom ends! Face the consequences of not recognizing me as your heir!"
Even in the face of this threat, King Arthur says nary a word. Instead, she raises her famed sword with both hands.
"Is it hate, then?!" Mordred questioned her, glaring beneath her helmet. "Is this because you hate me for being born to a witch?! ANSWER ME, ARTHUR!"
The inevitable happened, as Morded rushed forward with sword raised. Though the King managed to raise her sword in time, the sheer power behind it was enough to knock it aside and force them to jump back from each other.
"I never hated you." The King finally spoke, causing her betrayer to look up. Already in her hand was Rhomghomyniad, her famed lance. It's silver sheen glistened in the setting sun, complimenting it's spiral shaped frame. "If you want to know why I didn't give you the throne," She did not give Mordred time to blink, already coming upon her while rearing her lance back for the kill. "It was because you did not have the capacity to be King."
She thrust her lance through Mordred's chest with brutal efficiency. The weapon pierced through steel and flesh with such force that her foe's helmet shattered. Beneath was a face that mirrored hers, another reminder of her sister's treachery.
"Fa...ther..." Those were the final words she heard before the life left Mordred's eyes. As she watched her foe's body swing her sword to cause the fatal wound before crumpling to the ground, she noted that she felt empty inside when she should've been rejoicing; with the fall of Mordred, the crown's greatest enemy was eliminated.
However, as she looked around the desolate landscape, littered with the broken bodies of friend and foe alike, she began to wonder if this was all truly worth it.
Shirou's eyes slowly opened as the dream came to an end. Like last time, it was yet another glimpse of Saber's past life. Also like last time, it was one that involved Berserker. Considering that he had that talk with the latter before he went to bed last night, this could not be mere coincidence.
"I wonder what this all means?" He shook his head as sat up and looked at his clock. It was seven in the morning, a good time to prepare everyone's breakfast. Seeing as school would still be out, this leaves the rest of the day open. No doubt to prepare for what is to come, of course.
As per usual, Sakura and Taiga dropped by and joined in on breakfast. Shirou had taken the necessary precautions and had extra portions ready. However, the usual cheery atmosphere was absent; Berserker kept glaring at him in between extra servings of rice, eating more vigorously than usual as a result.
"I suppose she's still mad about yesterday..." Shirou thought. "Well, I can't necessarily blame her, even if we have opposing views."
"Oi, Shirou." He wasn't the only one who noticed, as Taiga would be the one to speak up on everyone's behalf. "Did you do something to make Mo-chan mad at you? Like, maybe, walk-in on her while she was changing or-?"
"Where did you get that idea?!" Shirou immediately denied that her claim at the same time Berserker's cheeks turned red, though Saber's brow raised in response.
"Shirou." He turned to see his Servant look quite unamused. "Is that really what happened? Surely, you know better than to walk in on a woman at her most vulnerable."
"That certainly did not happen!" It did not help that Rin, Sakura, and Illya were giving him looks of disdain. He then turned to Berserker. "Help me out here!"
"Ugh...fine." Berserker grunted. "He didn't walk in on me naked or anything like that."
"I see..." Taiga calmed down, as did the other girls.
"So long as you didn't do anything a degenerate would." Saber breathed evenly as she received a incredulous look from Berserker.
"And why would you care?!" Berserker growled.
"Because even if we are...at odds with each other, I still feel that you should not be so loose with men." She took a sip of her tea, then put the cup back down. "Luckily for you, I do not mind if Shirou has intentions for you, because he does not seem the type."
"And where did this come from?!" The red-head looked at Saber incredulously.
"Yeah!" Berserker chimed in. "I mean sure, we were alone with each other last night, but that doesn't mean anything happened!" The fact that they heard this prompted Rin and Sakura to give Shirou and Berserker strange looks.
"Well, now we're curious: What DID you two do last night?" Rin asked with a twitched brow.
"I'm sure it's nothing indecent." What hid beneath Sakura's serene smile was an unsettling aura that scared both Shirou AND Berserker. "Right, Senpai?"
"W-Well..." Shirou found himself getting glared from all sides. Thankfully, it was Illya who came to his rescue.
"Ladies, you can kill him AFTER breakfast." The homunculus sighed as she helped herself to some rice. "In the mean time, can we settle down? You're all ruining a perfectly good meal!"
"Fine." Berserker and the other relented as they settled back to their seats. This gave the chance for Taiga to speak up.
"Yeah, Fuji-nee?" The red-head turned to the brunette.
"Are you, Saber-san, Mo-chan, and Illya-chan free after this?" She asked. "Since school is still out and I have no work today, I was thinking of going to the cemetery today."
"What for?" Illya dared to ask, prompting a tender smile from the older woman.
"We're going to visit Kiritsugu."
Leticia was kneeling on the pew, offering her prayers to the Lord. She prayed for guidance and strength in the coming days ahead, especially with all that has been revealed.
"So you came in person." Just as she had finished her prayer, she looked up to see Kotomine Kirei at the pulpit. He flashed a graceful smile that she knew was practiced, a mask that hid the darkness within.
"So I have." She answered while getting to her feet. "I take it that Lancer has informed you of what has been discussed?"
"Indeed." Kirei nodded. "It comes as no surpise that Matou Zouken decided to interfere with the Holy Grail War, but even I did not think that his machinations would be so blatant."
"Then you understand the importance of making sure he is stopped." Leticia pressed the priest. "If that...abomination is kept unchecked, the entire city will be lost! Hundred, if not thousands, will die!"
"Not to mention that the secrecy of the Grail War and the Magecraft in general will be in jeopardy." Kirei added as if the Ruler's points did little to concern him. "Very well, I will investigate the Matou Clan immediately. In the mean time, I shall have Lancer scout the city for any abnormalities."
"See that you do." Leticia turned to leave, but not before making another statement. "There's one other thing I wished to speak to you about, Father Kotomine."
"And what would that be?" The priest asked.
"It is about that golden Servant who attacked me the other night." She continued without facing back at him. "I will deal with him after the matter with Matou Zouken has been resolved. In the mean time, see if you can contact him and ask for his aid."
"Very well." Kirei bowed. "I will do just that."
Satisfied with his answer, the Ruler began walking out of the chapel, no doubt to prepare for what was to come.
"That woman has nerve," The aforementioned golden Servant, Gilgamesh, manifested in a flash. "To demand an audience with the king."
"Perhaps, but her words have merit." Kirei answered back with a smile. "If that creature were to be left unchecked, it would ruin the festivities, no?"
"She certainly is not wrong." Gilgamesh had to concede to that point. "I will not let this blight taint MY treasures, especially Saber." He then began making his way out of the church. "The Fakers of this War will have my mercy until this foul creature is dealt with. They should consider it an honor that the king will not take his pound of flesh just yet."
Kirei chuckled as he watched the King of Heroes leave. He had grown used to dealing with this tempestuous man, to the point he knew what words to say to placate him. Still, he is the closest thing he had to what can be considered a friend. In fact, he had him to thank for opening his eyes and freeing him from his own restrictive lifestyle.
"Now," Kirei turned to walk towards the back. "I suppose it's time I sent Lancer out tonight..."
Illya, Saber, and Berserker watched as Taiga and Shirou paid their respects.
"So..." Illya thought as she watched the pair. "This is where Papa was laid to rest." This was something of a melancholy sight for her; she still remembered the days when he would take her outside the castle to find walnuts in the snow. Even now, she could not reconcile the two faces of her father; the kind, gentle man who loved her dearly and the ruthless assassin known as the Magus Killer. She couldn't deny that it became easier, after he left all those years ago.
"Hey, Kiritsugu." Taiga looked at the grave with a sad smile. "I brought someone to see you. It's your daughter, Illya-chan. I have so many questions to ask, like why you never mentioned her before, but..." She turned to small homunculus as she and Shirou backed away. "I'm sure she has some words she wants to say of her own."
"M-Me?" Illya seemed to shrink at the prospect, but she felt a hand on her shoulder. She looked up to see Berserker giving her sad smile of her own.
"Go on." The Servant of Madness spoke in a rare somber, gentle tone. "Some things are better NOT left unsaid."
Knowing of her Servant's own regrets, she nodded with a smile.
"Thank you, Berserker." Emboldened by her Servant and friend, Illya stepped forward before kneeling in front of Kiritsugu's gravestone. She felt her heart race in her chest as she stood before the headstone, but she remained firm. For her own sake, she had to see this through.
"Hey, Papa. It's me." The Einzbern Master began. "Your daughter, Illya. I'm a lot bigger than I was when you left all those years ago. I'm not as pretty as Mama yet, but I'm getting there." She took a deep breath took calm her nerves before she continued. "Grandpa told me that you abandoned me after Mama died all those years ago, especially after you found Oniichan. It's part of why I'm here today, actually." Small beads of tears formed in the corner of the small girl's eyes, her cheerful facade cracking before them. "Why?" Her voice grew hoarse as the dam burst. "Why did you leave me alone? Was I not a good girl? Did you not love me anymore?"
They all felt their hearts break as the girl was reduced to sobs. Taiga immediately went forward and took the girl in her arms.
"It's going to be okay, Illya-chan." The older woman attempted to reassure the inconsolable girl. "It's all gonna be okay..."
Saber then noticed that Berserker stepped away to get some space at the opposite end of the cemetery. She knew that it was a bad idea to follow her, but she did so anyway.
"...Don't go and pretend to act like a concerned parent now." Berserker muttered, her back still to the Servant of the Sword as they both stopped in place.
"I know better than to. Not everything that happened." Saber conceded. "Though, if it is any consolation, I was never fond of Emiya Kiritsugu either. While his intentions were noble, I could never abide by the methods he used."
"Oh, it's his ideals I have a problem with." Berserker then turned to Saber while her eyes were narrowing in a glare. "Considering that they're the same as your own."
"What are you-?" Saber was interruped by Berserker.
"'The king never understood the hearts of men.' That's what Sir Tristan said of you." The Servant of Madness growled. "You focus too much on upholding an impossible standard, that you didn't give a damn about the people who were trying to follow that standard!"
Saber was taken aback at what she had heard. So much, that Berserker continued without issue.
"You were focused on trying to uphold your ideal, you didn't care WHAT price you paid! Your humanity, your people, your...your family." Berserker continued venting her anger. "And that Kiritsugu...he was the same way. He didn't care what he had to do, so long as he can 'save the world.' She laughed humorlessly. "And just like you, it was at the cost of his own family; his wife is dead, he left his daughter alone, and planted those same ideas in his adoptive son's head."
Saber closed her eyes and was unable to say a word, because she knew it to be true; she herself lost so much in her own quest. She knew this to be true, as it is why she was participating in the Holy Grail War in the first place.
"...You are right." Saber admitted aloud, much to Berserker's surprise.
"All you have said is true. Because I couldn't understand my people, I failed Camelot. I failed my people, my knights...and you." She opened her eyes, a cold resolve in them that Berserker didn't see before. "It's why this is my chance to make things right."
"What do you mean?" It was Berserker's turn to be taken aback as Saber took command of the conversation.
"This is I must win the Grail War." Saber said as she began to walk away. "To undo my decision to draw the sword from the stone, so that Camelot would get the king it deserves."
Berserker was flabbergasted at what she had just heard. She stayed where she stood to ruminate on Saber's revelation after she had left. She couldn't believe it; King Arthur, the perfect king, saw herself as a failure? That she actually agreed with everything she had just said? She saw bits of this back when they were in the park those days ago, but for her to outright confirm it, as well as her own wish to undo her reign...
She honestly didn't know what to feel about that, and that just made her angrier.
"Dammit." She spat out as she clenched her fists. "This is so messed up..."
Fuyuki Harbor, Shinto. Later that evening...
True Assassin was overlooking the sea of cargo crates per his orders from his Master. As if awaiting the arrival of someone...
He turned around at the loud noise of steel meeting steel, followed by the rasp of metal being dragged into the ground. Sure enough, he saw that both sources belonged to Lancer, his blood red eyes gazing into him with a neutral expression on his face as he dragged his spear's edge along the ground.
"Well, well, well." The Hound of Chulainn spoke evenly as he addressed his foe. "What have we here?"
Chapter 19 End.
A/N: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to another Clarent Blood Arthur! Yes, this story isn't dead yet!
Anyways, this small chapter is a pretty small one that sets up yet another leg in the Holy Grail War. However, that doesn't mean that nothing goes on in this chapter. The pieces are slowly moving into place, Illya gets some much needed time to confront her feelings for her father, and Saber and Berserker have a heart-to-heart where the latter follows her own advice to Illya. Thankfully, but sadly, this is rewarded with Berserker learning of Saber's wish. Needless to say, she's not to happy about it. Expect next chapter to be quite action packed compared to this one, though!
That's pretty much all I gotta say on this one. Please leave and review if you liked this one! Until next time, this is the King of Beasts, signing off!
Next time on Clarent Blood Arthur: Road Rage!