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Student, RPer, videogame and anime fan, movie guy. Also memist, but that's par the course. In other words, your garden-variety nerd. Not much else to say, really.

Yeah, I'm a rather bogstandard individual, sue me.

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’Lancer Prime’

Church Outskirts, Site of the Spear, Shinto


The replacement was swung. Another skeleton fell.

He was a comet, quick and raging and perhaps beautiful in a sense. All who approached were struck down, all who tried to retreat were cut down.

But there was no excitement to be found here. For one, his enemies were not the sort he could have fun with regardless, and the situation was not a fun one either. Anger had given place to grief, rage had given place to mourning.

The spear was a part of it, but at the same time, he mourned for much more. For the memories it held, for what it symbolized, for the incalculable value it possessed, for the friend he had lost, for the friend he had not even been able to speak to, for the irony that the fastest hero was once again too slow.

Always too slow, always a step short, always, at the most critical time. . .

The enemies were different, but this was all too similar, wasn’t it? A slain comrade without him being able to do anything, a lost treasure that only served to remind him of his failure. The faces were not the same, the names were not the same, but even so. . .

Pathetic

—Heroes, it seemed, were destined to repeat their tales no matter what. To Achilles, who hated the idea of fate, the knowledge that came crashing down on him, the fact that his actions — his rage and grief — mirrored those of days long gone. . .

Pathetic.

Was this all there was to it? Doomed to lose, doomed to fail those he cared about, doomed to always have precious things slip through his fingers when he could have stopped it?

Indeed, what a pathetic fate to be bound to. Was there meaning in that struggle, then?

Such were Achilles’ thoughts, though that did not stop his carnage — it had not stopped him in life to begin with. If his tale was to be repeated, at least the perpetrators would die by his hand once again, and then. . .

. . .And then, he would run forward. Even if his regrets caught up to him, even if his grief was the one thing he could not outrun, the hero Achilles would continue to run forward.

”You’re being really pathetic right now, boss.”

A voice whispering at the edge of his consciousness like a half-remembered dream, almost drowned out by the grief that had at last come to swallow him.

”Is this really all the hero Achilles is worth?”

His enemy was running. His spear had broken. But that did not matter.

The obstacles he had placed between them did not matter.

Without delay, he analyzed the sea of bodies between himself and Darius. Without delay, he devised a plan.

To begin with, if it was just a matter of running, no hero could oust him, no matter the skills at their disposal — after all, he was the swiftest.

To begin with, obstacles had been nothing to him in the first place.

To begin with, turning your back on him and trusting an army to stop him was a mistake—!

He jumped, and landed on a skeleton’s head, eyes transfixed not on Darius, but on a point beyond the hulking Berserker, extending his arm outward.

That is right. No hero could beat him in a proper race, and regardless of obstacles, he could close the distance with the same quickness. The army of Darius was not terrifying due to its soldiers alone, but due to their nature as beings who would always get back up, as well as the ways their leader could control it. Individually, a single one would not match a Servant, even like this.

They could not keep up with Achilles if he ran properly, if he found the single instant of an opening between barrages, if he found the moment to strike.

With his arm outstretched, he ran forward, with the speed that might as well have been called teleportation. And with that same speed, avoiding the obstacles in his path he —

Hooked the enemy with that arm in a lariat, and took him on a trip far away from the army.

@Yukitamas

’Lancer Prime’

Church Outskirts, Site of the Spear, Shinto


As he made his way and stepped through the treeline, he could tell something was wrong.

Achilles was not one who possessed instincts that stepped into the realm of precognition, nor someone who could hear the voices of the gods, but nonetheless he could get the general feeling that something very wrong would greet him when he made it to his destination.

He was right, but not in the way he expected. The skeletons plundering the place were not something he had thought to find, but they were summarily ignored.

The giant of a man, too, was ignored, his grumblings — the roar which shook the earth — gone unnoticed. No, what mattered was what was in his hand.

Ah, ah, what are you doing? That is not yours, not yours, return it this instant —!

Achilles could only watch, baffled, as his precious gift was consumed, taken away right before his eyes. He could say nothing, he could not even twitch a muscle, features frozen in an expression of shock.

A heartbeat passed.

There was no rage, no vengeful scream. Darius’ roar of his enemy’s name went unanswered. Achilles shivered.

Then he laughed.

Bringing a hand up to his face, the greatest hero of the Trojan war laughed in the face of the army that gathered before him. He laughed in the face of Darius III, but it was not a kind thing, nor did it carry any amusement.

It was cold. It was cruel, and it perfectly fit Achilles’s expression as his hand lowered, looking straight at his quarry as though the sea of bodies between them meant nothing.

“Oh, you should not have done that.”

A step forward. Not a charge with the divine speed that was the greatest among all heroes, but rather, a single step that nonetheless carried a terrible weight. Achilles’s mutter was nonetheless heard as loudly as though he had shouted the words.

“Madness accompanies the Berserker class, of course, but this is a first. I did not know some idiot would actually summon an outright suicidal fool as a Servant.”

Another step.

“Tell me, do you think this army will protect you, Persian? Do you think that I will be easy pickings just because my weapon is lost to me for now?”

He approached with calm strides, and delivered his words in a matching tone. The Noble Phantasms he had been shown had reduced his identity to but one possibility, and if someone had to define Achilles’s feelings about that fact now. . .

‘Impressed’ would not be one of them.

“So, a loser king of dredges thinks he can get to his enemy though me? You idiot. You could not hold your lands, you could not hold your people, you could not even hold your own family, and you think you will hold on to that spear for long?”

The last step.

“Ah, but I’m willing to give you a shot. If you’re so earnest in your obsession that you will go this far, then I will answer it. Come, king of failures, throw your soldiers at me, swing your weapons with all your might and prove, here and now, the brilliance of your legend.”

And then, he finally acted — a lightning fast punch was his opening move, tearing through one of the soldiers of Darius as he willingly clashed against the enemy lines, an engine of destruction to tear a path through his army like a hot knife through butter, coming for the King himself with no regard for anything else.

And indeed, why should he care?

“And then, I will show you that your blows mean nothing. I will crush and grind every one of your legends to dust, and make you understand that you would need a hundred times this much to have a hope of winning here. Before I take your life, I’m going to make sure you understand the difference between us — and between me and that man you so hate. So come.

Come, I’ll show you the radiance of my own legend.

Come, howl at the moon like the starved wolf you are, unable to ever reach it."

There was no point. To an enemy like this — a Berserker, one who had lost his sanity — the words themselves would not reach him. At least, it was not likely.

But the intent was clear. He should be able to understand that much. And so—

“Come here and die, Loser King.”


@Yukitamas

’Lancer Prime’

Spooky Place, Forest behind the Church, Shinto (Again)


Back again. Achilles sighed and ran a hand through his hair, determined to take it slower this time around. To begin with, perhaps attempting to simply dart around the forest at full speed and hope for the best was not a conductive strategy, and he could not afford to mess this up.

Else Chiron might actually kill him. Or ground him. Either or.

He took a deep breath and concentrated this time, sharp eyes scanning the terrain for any signs that would point him in the right direction. There came an abrupt point, however —

“. . .Huh, someone actually fought here?” He brought a hand down to inspect the tracks left on the earth from the impact of weapons, trees uprooted around him. “Recent, too, from the looks of it. . .”

Something cold dawned on the pit of his stomach, but he ignored the feeling.

It was absolutely fine. His spear would still be around here. Surely.

It couldn’t not be. That was impossible, unthinkable, so there would be no need to fly into (another) homicidal rage. He was calm, he was cool, everything would go smoothly and he would be able to show himself before his teacher without needing to fear for his life. . .much.

He exhaled.

“Right, let’s get to it.”

Ignoring those thoughts for the moment, he concentrated on finding his lost treasure, inspecting the path before him as well as any signs that would paint a clearer picture of what had happened recently.

At the very least, the fact that there was something meant it was automatically better than trying to find his way blind with only nondescript trees for company, so he would take it as a good sign and continued wading deeper into the forest.

“I should also make sure he never learns that all this came about from a botched throw, else. . .I don’t even know what he’d do.”

Perhaps some would consider him foolhardy to walk into potential enemy territory so earnestly and almost distractedly, focusing more on looking for clues than potential attacks even though he was a Lancer that had lost his spear, but he would just say that his Master had offered a fine replacement and there was no point in avoiding it if he suspected his father’s gift was around here.


’Lancer Prime’

DDD Hotsprings, Benita’s Room, Foreigner’s Lowlands


“. . .No need to beat me while I’m down, you know?”

It had been the first thing to come out of his mouth since the previous night, and perhaps an understandable request. Truthfully, the way his head seemed to hang ever since the incident and the aura of depression that seemed to accompany him made even the glow of his armor dim ever so slightly.

He had muttered something or other about ‘Agamemnon laughing wherever he is’, as well as shivered when the bar had been brought up for reasons that — for once — were entirely unrelated to the memories of his youth and more toward how his teacher would react if he so much as. . .loosely implied that he had lost his spear.

His spear. The wedding gift he’d given his father, Peleus, and that had been passed on to Achilles by the man in question. His spear, which he had been taught to care for and always cherish. His spear, that had accompanied him wherever he went, for the better part of his life.

It would not be pretty.

But! That didn’t have to be a problem, right?! That could totally be avoided if he just got it back right?! Teacher did not have to know anything! At all!

He coughed into his free hand, the other holding the ‘gift’ he had received from Benita — a sort of ‘patchwork fix’, if you will, to get him out of sticky situations if he ran into an enemy while searching for his actual weapon. He inspected it for the umpteenth time, and let his eyes go over the messages written in it.

‘Go get them!’

‘You can do it, Achilles!’

‘Do your best!’

. . .It’d break. The length was a bit awkward compared to his usual, as was the weight. In a battle between Servants, it might, might work for a bit but. . .

Still, why did she have to look so damn earnest when she presented it to him? Rejecting it would have been impossible. So instead he had simply praised it as a fantastically cool gift worthy of a hero and said he’d wield it with pride.

He always did have a weakness to things like this. But he had promised, and he could not — would never — back down from a promise.

. . .Besides, he would admit that the name she had come up with was just the tiniest bit cool. Still not as cool as the name of his actual spear, but cool.

“Well, I’ll get going. I can find it and then we can discuss where to go from here.”

Maybe when he got his treasure back he would try dual wielding them? Thinking about the possibilities, he stepped out and ran toward the place he had last seen his spear falling toward.



Forest behind the Church, Shinto. . .?

Detective Achilles Is On The Case


He found. . .trees.

A whole lot of trees.

An amazing number of trees.

Looking around the forest, he scratched the back of his head as he wondered where, exactly, his spear could have fallen. To begin with, he had thrown it with all his strength, so it had to have made a dent on the earth or other, even if whatever the Archer had done to deflect it had lessened the impact force somewhat. Still, he supposed there was only so much ground he could cover, only so many places it could have fallen into, so —

Well, there was always the option of searching the entire place as quickly as possible. It had to be somewhere around here, after all!

So thinking — or perhaps hoping desperately that it was the case, he broke into a run, the rough terrain inconsequential and promptly ignored as he dashed from place to place so that he might catch a glimpse of it.

Nobody said divine speed could not have mundane applications. Hmm, where was another place he had not looked into yet. . .maybe that direction? Again, he broke into a sprint. Again, he stopped so suddenly a normal human body would have been turned to mush from the forces involved. This time, however, the sudden stop had come from the presence of an all-too-odd trench right before him.

“Who’d even take the time to carve this?” He wondered aloud. Something nagged at the back of his head, but he could not tell what it was — instead, he continued on his search and stumbled across a nearby crater.

And the one near that one. And the other one. And the other other one.

. . .Wait.

Wait, wait, wait.

Come to think of it, this place was familiar.

But that couldn’t be right, could it? Although. . .Patroclus had sometimes commented that his sense of direction did the oddest things at times.

But it couldn’t be that bad, could it?!

He turned to the side, and ran to the edge of the treeline, to be met with—

—the complex he had left a little while ago. The very same one that was supposed to be on the other side of the city, past the river.

His head turned almost mechanically to the right — and to the church in the horizon.

A shaking hand was brought up to cover a burning face. He shivered, once then twice.

“WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH ME TODAY?!”

Ah, there he went. Again.

Maybe he should take it slowly next time, hm?

’Lancer Prime’

Ajax’s Grave, Foreigner’s Lowlands


“. . .Very well.”

Last request of a dying woman, even if she was someone he himself hated—what was a man to do in the face of such a thing? Furthermore, as far as he was concerned, she had paid the price for her transgression already.

Therefore, her form asking him for mercy, not for herself, but for someone else, was noted.

“If you must, at least die knowing I will fulfill that—!”

Ah, so that was meant to be her end? He supposed he should expect little else from opportunists like magi.

He supposed he should also have felt empathy for her plight at this moment.

He supposed—he should have felt great anger toward the thing that had robbed her of peace.

However, at most he could only muster a measure of annoyance that he had not been the one to snuff her life out with his own hands. Frowning, he glanced back at the interloper.

“Maybe not. Consider yourself fortunate that these were the circumstances you took her in—otherwise I would have had another target for my ire right about now.”

Speak of the devil, too. . .

The new arrivals were welcome enemies, but at this point, Achilles’ main worry laid with his Master, and so, he turned to break into a full sprint in her direction, and not a moment too soon. At the very least, he was confident in his ability to make it.

Achilles’ divine speed, which stood at the top of all heroes, was now employed toward the purpose of reaching his Master before it was too late for her.

Luckily, his fight with Saber had not drained him, and she was close by that, for all the difference it made, it might as well have been the teleportation that could be accomplished by a Command Mantra. Picking her up, taking note of the bruises and wounds, he decided—it was not time to continue fighting. At least not for now.

So he ran forward, out of the line of fire of the mortars that had been shot against them, lowering his speed to something still inhuman, but not able to turn Benita to mush from the velocity alone. Run, run, pass by the one who already is, the girl that had been his Master’s opponent thus far—and presumably the girl that was the late Saber’s Master, in a run of her own.

The odd thing was, how had a human managed to reach that sort of speed? Though it was not too pressing a matter at the moment. She was fast, but he was still faster so—

To begin with, passing her by, he was thankful for the small frame of his Master (though he would never say it to her face), since it allowed him to hold her easily with one arm, and use the other to get a hold of the girl he had sworn would see to safety.

He always was a sucker for dying requests.

“Don’t mind if I drop you both nearby, do you?”

And so, completely unphased by the two bodies, he continued on his path, reaching the edge of their base before leaving them both on the ground, gently enough in Benita’s case.

He frowned at the wounds once again, but his angry glare passed right over Sophia and was directed toward the church on the hill.

He was not someone that possessed the Clairvoyance Skill—but the quality of his eyesight was top notch, and he did not need to be able to count the number of cracks on the wall to make out the form of a stationary building.

“Play nice for a second, will you? I have something to do.”

Materializing his spear, he twirled it, holding it in a reverse grip instead of the stances he had used previously.

If Saber’s Master had listened to her dying moments, at least she should know he had agreed to the request, so he himself would not harm her unless she made to attack Benita again. No, this was meant for someone else.

“I’d try to find an appropriate line to use for the situation, but the truth is, my imagination’s running a bit dry.”

One step, two steps back.

“You see, my Master needs to get to bed, and this girl is someone that is under my protection right now, so what you just tried to do is in my list of things I take issue with.”

Holding his weapon parallel to the ground in his right—

“I’m in a terribly foul mood right now, all considered. So, Archer, I take it?”

—He broke into a sprint forward, faster than the eye could follow, reaching the highest speed before digging his feet into the ground and transferring all the momentum to the spear.

Fuck off.”

It left his hand with the crack of the sound barrier, the black spear followed a direct path right toward the source of the mortar shots.

Turning, he shot a glance toward his Master.

“Right. We are getting you into bed, by the way,” Almost absentmindedly, he gestured at Sophia. “You can come with, too. . .

. . .But you’ll need a hard hat.”

@phonic @addamas

’Lancer Prime’

Ajax’s Grave, Foreigner’s Lowlands


Some would call it a bet. Others a prayer. Others still would deride it as a cornered rat lashing out.

Achilles would do nothing of the sort. His enemy had chosen to place her life on the line and commit to her course fully, with no hesitation, looking at the end of the road and facing him head on.

His blood boiled, and he hated that he had to show this to the killer before him, but, begrudgingly. . .

Even if it was to escape, even if she had killed his cousin, even if she was an enemy he absolutely cannot forgive, he would not mock that determination. Rather, in her last moments, he would acknowledge it and answer on his own.

To have held off his hundred blows.

To have evaded his killing strike by a hair’s breadth.

To possess the determination to trudge forward.

I will acknowledge you, then. The determination in those eyes, the gleam of one who strives to live just for one more second, the commitment to one’s path. I will respond to it in the only manner I am allowed to now.

It is the only gift I can give — to an enemy I hate, but that I will not disrespect, to an enemy that is about to die, this is my farewell.

I will answer your every attempt and absolutely—

“—Shatter them all right before your eyes.”

Saber had managed to avoid death once again. That, in itself, was commendable and something that spoke highly of her abilities as a warrior. But she had made one fatal mistake.

To begin with, Achilles had nothing to fear even if she did get close for a variety of reasons. Beyond even his confidence in his skills, the fact was that close range was where ‘Achilles absolutely held the advantage’.

Tackling an enemy is not a strategy that will work if you cannot make them so much as budge from their spot. Her mistake had been attempting this against someone that was as an unyielding wall, right before her.

The key of the matter was in Achilles’ divine armor, the greatest work of the Olympian blacksmith, Hephaestus, that was doubtlessly one of the many proofs of how beloved by the gods he had been during his lifetime. Beyond even the unfair effect it had working alongside his immortal body, the quality and protections built into the craftsmanship made it an absolute first-rate Noble Phantasm worthy of the second greatest hero of Greece. In terms of pure defense, it outweighed even the skin of a certain hero from Germany that had bathed in dragon’s blood.

Furthermore, the mistake had only been made worse by the fact that what she was attempting counted, for all intents and purposes, as the appropriate situation to trigger its second passive effect of enhancing the abilities of someone that was already a first-rate hero to their absolute limit.

Defenses that even the Rank of A would fail against.

Strength that approached that of monsters absolutely beyond man.

The bravery to try such a course of action without flinching, confident to the point of absurdity.

What she had attempted to tackle could not be said to be a man anymore — rather, the more fitting term would be ‘moving fortress’. And so, crashing against him, Achilles’ free arm came to envelop without so much as budging backwards, trapping her.

“Come to think of it.”

Ah, so this is it, then?

“When you killed my cousin he could not even move to escape his death, could he?”

The arm pressed—

“I guess it’s only fair, then.”

—and pressed—

“Now, stay silent, and enjoy the sunset. This is your requiem.”

—and pressed

“I’d normally go for something more dramatic, you know? But as it is, well, I’m really angry right now, so this is the best you’ll get. Maybe if the circumstances were different. . .”

—and pressed.

“Maybe then we could have had a fun fight. But, sorry. This is an execution, you see.”

And Yamato Takeru, Saber of the Second Holy Grail War, died.

@addamas

’Lancer Prime’

Ajax’s Grave, Foreigner’s Lowlands


If he weren’t so focused on slaying this enemy, perhaps he might have smiled at a display of ability enough to hold his strikes off. Being someone that liked to fight, someone that thrived in battlefields against challenging enemies, it would have been baffling to see Achilles sport such a serious expression while locked in combat.

Ah, why? We could have so much fun killing each other, so why is there absolutely nothing?

Because—

Now isn’t the time to have fun. Now isn’t the time to smile. Now isn’t the time to laugh.

Those who do not enjoy life will not know how to enjoy Elysium when they reach it. He had always held to that belief, and so he tried to make the most out of his run, that is why he had faced all that came his way with a smile on his face and joy in his heart.

But now it is time for duty. Now it is time to mourn. now it is time to earnestly, with no hesitation, with no mercy—

kill.

Ah, ah, ah, such memories. It is just like back then.

Wordlessly, he threw himself into the dance of death once again, observing as his enemy prepares herself as she wheathered his strikes. Certainly, any one of the blows of the hero Achilles would be enough to be called a fatal wound—even with her own quick reactions, skill and instinct, his spear still found its mark, and the number of nicks would only go up while he remained out of reach. He could see the gears in her mind turning—or rather, he imagined that to be the case. Looking for an opening, an opportunity—it is what he would do in her shoes. Defense alone would not win a battle, and in a protracted fight he held all the advantages, so her only choice if she wanted victory would be to—

—Advance.

Logical.

A spear’s advantage against a sword always lies in the distance. A sword cannot effectively counter if the rebuffs fall short or worse, they are too strong and they leave themselves open, while the spearman only needs to match the footwork, retract his weapon and thrust again.

At the same time, the basis of all combat is to ‘kill the enemy while they are at the wrong range’, something Achilles had been exploiting thus far. Advancing against him was, ironically, the potentially safest route if accomplished.

—However.

The greatest hero of the Trojan War was not someone that had just coasted by life with no opposition, either. He had been trained by the greatest teacher, true, but, at the same time, a hero can only get so far with training alone.

A warrior who stagnated was a dead warrior. Training was the start, but the true measure of their skill was in the challenges they faced along the way, and the answer they reached at the end of their path. Achilles might not have possessed abilities such as precognition, the sharpest mind of the ancient world or a connection to the voices of the gods, but—

—He was still a great hero that had survived the beaches of Troy. He was still a top class warrior that had thrived before the walls of Troy. He was still a man who had pierced the hearts of many in Troy. That was his ‘proof’.

There were heroes who had made their name with singular acts of valor. There were heroes who had forged their legend with great contributions to humanity’s history. There were heroes that had become enshrined fables by killing ‘that which was beyond humanity’.

However, Achilles was not one of that sort. He was not a ‘hero that killed monsters’, such as some of his older counterparts in Greek mythology. That was not part of his legend.

What he had learned in the Trojan war—the attribute that separated him from such heroes, beyond even specs, skills or Noble Phantasms. In the ‘premise’ of the Holy Grail War, it was that attribute that made him even more attractive as a Servant.

He had not devoted his life to learn how to slay monsters beyond man.

Achilles was someone that had honed his skill for the purpose of ‘slaying men themselves’. He was ‘a hero that killed heroes’.

Therefore—

It was true that avoiding a thrust was possible if one possessed enough dexterity, quickness and recognized the direction even if they were not just as fast — after all it is still a straight line. It was also true that advancing so suddenly against one might leave the spearman open. It was true that pulling back in a panic would give away the spearman’s advantage, it was true that in closer quarters, a sword would be superior.

But, Saber, did you think it was anything novel?

The moment she had retracted the barrier, the moment she had focused on advancing, the moment she had chosen to hold her sword in so awkward a manner, the moment she thought to be able to hold back an opponent that was stronger than her if it came to it by grabbing his weapon, the moment she had chosen to attack half-heartedly against a man that had expressed his absolute desire to see her dead. Even if she succeeded, what did he have to fear, wearing his godly armor?

Mistake, mistake, mistake. Which one was the first?

. . .Perhaps, the moment she had seemingly fallen under the impression that the Heroic Spirit of the Spear would adhere to normal limitations — it was a flawed foundation to build a plan upon. To begin with, he only had that title because he could defy what should be ‘possible’ with a spear.

The momentum of the thrust stopped dead in its tracks the very instant Saber made her choice to advance and sacrificed her shoulder, only to begin its movement anew, this time to the side as Achilles swung it.

Recognize. Plan. Execute.

Saber was fast, but Achilles was ever a step faster.

Accelerating to top speed in less than an instant, the spear which Saber had allowed to slide over her shoulder now—

Collided against her head and caved in her skull like overripe fruit.

@addamas

’Lancer Prime’

Foreigner’s Lowlands


“A likely story.”

His words cut through the air, sharper than any sword. There was a hunger in his eyes, and the chill that it produced would have been enough to drive an army with their tail between their legs. He seemed to forget about the outside world entirely, paying no mind to observers.

Only one thing mattered now.

The blood staining the head of his spear dripped down in rivulets as he held it still, not moving from his stance even after Saber had dashed away. Gone were the playful jabs or the joy for a strong enemy that would not die to his hero-slaying thrusts as a matter of course. His gaze, intense and deadly, met Saber’s eyes and carried a sense of complete mercilessness.

“Let me regale you with another option.”

He shook his spear to get the blood off, staining the earth—ah, that’s not enough, not enough, it is the farthest thing from enough—and turned to face her.

“I see before me an opportunistic wretch that, seeing a chance to take two Servants out, decided to take it. I see before me someone that slayed my cousin while claiming to be his ally, which might as well mean you’re either lying to my face or a traitor, but do you want to know the best part? After that, you tell me to worry about the city, you tell me you are on my side, and you expect me to believe you and join forces with the one who killed my kin right before me, just like that.”

The world froze as he pulled his armament back. It was not the release of Prana predating the usage of a Noble Phantasm—the killing intent coming off the man was just that strong.

“Tell me, Saber, what would you believe in my position? In fact, let me tell you another thing.”

Through it all, his voice did not raise a decibel above casual, as if talking to an acquaintance about the weather.

“I absolutely suck at fighting allies, you know?” He made his odd confession, as though the fact were relevant to the situation at hand. “Once I’ve accepted them like that, once I’ve accepted them as friends, I really can’t bring myself to fight at full strength. Maybe I really am childish, like some people I met would say, but it’s something I’ll never get over, even if others can. But tell me, Saber, when I attacked you just now—did you feel any hesitation in that thrust?”

He finally smiled, a grim thing completely at odds with the cocksure disposition he usually displayed, and perhaps it would have been better if he had kept his expression neutral.

“I don’t acknowledge you as an ‘ally’, Saber. Much less a friend, or someone I would entrust my back to. So that means there’s going to be no regrets, there’s going to be no hesitation and there’s going to be no mercy. Get ready to play for keeps.”

The wound Saber had received was not deep, but in a battle between Servants, every single nick mattered, it was still a sign that first blood went to him, and against Achilles, who was the swiftest hero of them all and boasted of the skills and specs of a first-rate Servant, who would pounce and capitalize on any weakness, a single misstep would mean death.

“Maniacs that can’t control their greed, huh? Yeah, yeah I agree, I’ll save the city just like you want—and starting with the one in front of me, I’ll use my full power—”

Again, he took a single step toward Saber, and again, his form would have appeared to even the most acute eyes as ‘having teleported’. Even for the Lancer class, which usually boasted of fighters with high mobility and agility, the speed of his legs was baffling.

The Noble Phantasm, Comet Form, that was only confirmation of was Achilles’ standing as the fastest whether in this War or any other, a continuously-active type that was the source of his divine speed that stood at the undisputed top of Heroic Spirits. Things like building distance or running away we’re only as effective as one’s own speed was when compared to the opponent, and unfortunately for Saber, there were none faster than him.

“—I’ll use all my strength and right here, right now, end her life.”

The spear darted forward. A sturdy thing, he clearly knew how to use it well—in the Trojan war, it had pierced the hearts of many heroes, and the skill and speed Achilles wielded it with certainly reached a category of its own. There might have been those who matched or exceeded that skill, but combined with his natural ability, he was no less of a ‘monster’ for it.

Gouge the head. Pierce the throat. Impale the chest, stab the heart, puncture the lungs, slash away at her upper extremities.

Certainly, in the span between heartbeats, Achilles could doubtlessly exchange more than a hundred blows, all of them lethal or crippling. Furthermore, the distance between him and Saber was just enough to remain out of reach of her sword while he could pick and prod and kill at his leisure with his own weapon, and she would have to defend and retreat only to be followed, or try to advance and open herself up if she made a mistake.

Furthermore, even if she avoided a lethal blow, even if she avoided being crippled, every single wound he scored would be another to his advantage, and not something that the enemy would be able to recover from quickly, or at all if he had any say in it.

After all, if summoned as a Lancer, his spear also gained the property of ‘dealing cursed wounds’. How long until she could no longer hold her ground?

@addamas

’Lancer Prime’

Foreigner’s Lowlands


The hero of the Trojan War continued to run throughout the city as fast as his legs could carry him, uncaring about any buildings destroyed in his wake, concerned only with reaching his Master’s current base of operations quickly so that he could discuss just why she had not thought to tell him about his teacher, and just how he would be able to deal with him.

Trauma or no, hellish training or no, Chiron was someone ‘dear to Achilles’ heart’. That was an undeniable fact, and he could not bring himself to raise his spear against the man, even if he had thrown his lot in with whoever had called forth Troy. The fact of the matter was — he had always been the kind of idiot that absolutely could not fight those he had already deemed as ‘friends’. Perhaps some would be able to kill that feeling, but the bonds he had formed were not something so easily ignored.

And that was without mentioning the rush of suppressed memories that would have him staring at the ceiling for quite a while following his return. At this point, he just wanted to get back.

However, something caught his attention, and the ‘comet’ shifted its course ever so slightly to pass by the two Servants having a battle so near their base. Perhaps one of those his Master had mentioned, allied to the Matou, or just simple coincidence? Regardless, he did not have time to—

For the second time in the same day, Achilles forgot how to breathe.

That shield.

His legs came to an abrupt stop, the force of the sudden deceleration enough to crush a man, yet not even phasing the greatest Achaean as he beheld a macabre spectacle.

He knew that shield. He knew the man holding it. He had laughed beside that man. He had trained beside that man. He had fought and bled and killed and cried beside that man.

He had been friends with that man.

His cousin, Ajax — another of the great heroes of that War, who had distinguished himself as much as the other, whose name still echoed in eternity as that of a great hero.

He knew that man, and now he was seeing him bisected by the sword of an enemy, his faithful shield powerless to stop it. His grip on his own spear tightened, but that was nothing compared to what came after — the flash that signaled the arrival of a new Servant, and the release of another Noble Phantasm.

His cousin had died, right before his eyes, before he had even known he was here, too stunned to try to save him, too baffled to try to stop them, too absorbed in his own worries to act promptly, too—

—too late to save anyone, again. But that’s a theme with you, isn’t it? Always losing sight of the most important things—

“—And nothing but regrets to show for it.” He muttered, taking a step forward, gaze fixed on the woman that had turned his cousin to ash.

In some dark manner, it must have been amusing. He, the fastest of all heroes, always too late to help those that needed it, always too slow to save those that mattered, always a step short from being able to protect what he loved.

He had never been a hero that saved people. His legend had been built on the corpses of his enemies and his loved ones. However, before he could wander down that path, a memory assaulted him.

A moment, shared on those beaches during a quiet night.

”You’re thinking of what?”

“Hey, Rules Fifteen and Thirty-one, cousin. Besides, it’s not like you can talk about how we use our equipment. I really believe this can work.”

“. . .I suppose. You always did live up to expectations, as well.”

“Heh, well, gotta come up with my own way of keeping up. Teacher’s training can take us far, but what makes or breaks a hero comes afterward, Ach. It’s in what we live, and what we reach at the end of the road. But we’ll manage it. After all—”


“—Rules One-Hundred and One-Hundred and One: Rise, Strive.”

The hellish memories associated with each one were oddly absent — or rather, something he had dismissed as a matter of course due to the situation. How could he afford to care about such petty things now? How could he live with himself if he let that get to him right at this moment?

The answer was that there was no way. Plain and simple. He had failed him, he had failed plenty of people but—

That just meant he would have to fight for what he had left all the harder. That just meant he would have to treasure those memories all the more. That just meant he would have to honor them as best as he was able.

The hero named Achilles was never one that looked at the past, he was not one that pondered about the what-ifs and sighed while endlessly thinking about missing opportunities. He would do what he had always done, the swiftest hero in the world would run forward at full speed, looking at the future.

There was no cocky smirk, there were no taunts. His mouth was set in a thin line, and his gaze was firm, focused and ready.

The traumas would not overcome him. The pain of loss would not hold him back. His regrets would not drown him. His anger would not cloud his mind.

They were things that did not matter. Thus—

“Rule number Ninety-Five: Concentrate.”

What did he have left?

The gifts of the gods.

The skills he had been taught by the greatest teacher in the entire world.

The abilities he had refined over the course of ten years of war.

And a body forged for victory.

Plenty to work with.

A single breath, the eternity between heartbeats, and Achilles had moved. There was no warning, and he offered no quarter — almost as if he had teleported, he had appeared right by the side of the Saber — Yamato Takeru — spear poised to gouge her side with all the quickness that the fastest among heroes could muster.

@addamas

’Lancer Prime’

Edge of Shinto Town, in front of Troy


Again, he spoke of those rules. Again, Achilles felt odd, like remembering a half-forgotten dream. He brought a hand to his face and rubbed the bridge of his nose, feeling his heart start to ache as whispers he could not quite make out and scenes he could not quite connect flashes in his mind.

Mental interference?

. . .No. To begin with, even without his armor, Achilles was one who possessed the skill, Bravery of the highest caliber, and compounded with his other abilities, it meant that he should be able to shrug off that sort of attacks without much issue. Besides, it felt different, more like he was trying to remember something that. . .

That. . .

Stop you moron, you don’t want to—

But then, Archer waved the bottle in front of him, and Achilles suddenly found his gaze transfixed in its form.

Ah. I have seen that before, indeed.

I wish I had not.

The dam broke, and it all rushed back in.

“Best way ta learn Pankration is hands-on, Ach.”

“Now, then, hand eye coordination by catching whatever arrows I fire at ya, for the next twenty-four hours. Fail once and we start all over, no breaks~”

“Oh, you’re taking a dip in those nearby whirlpools, objective’s ta escape before ya die. Eh? The chains? Well, you never know when ya have to escape stuff like this. Ya know there are always weirdos with a penchant for nonsensical executions.”

“Ey Ach, got Dio to lend me those mares of his! Time to work that cardio!”

“Now then, getting into the obstacle course, the arrow wall was gettin’ old, so I added a tightrope walk over the volcano and reduced the allotted time to five seconds.”

“Ach? Ach? Ah, damn, again? You’re lucky I trained Asclepius ya wuss.”


The color had already drained from his face entirely. Ignoring the bottle crashing against him, his eyes, wide like saucers, simply stared at Archer as though he were seeing him for the first time. He opened his mouth, then closed it again.

“Get into the cave, Ach. Just like old times.”


A response finally arose from him, but rather than words it manifested in a full-body spasm following the word ‘cave’. His legs started to tremble, and he opened his mouth again.

The following instant, the hero’s figure had once again turned into that of a comet, but this time he ran at full speed from the direction he had come from.

“—AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA—!”

Oh, had he managed to outrun his own shout this time?

Smashing against and through the wall of the building in his way, the hero made his gallant retreat toward Miyama.
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