Saber of Red
Red team headquarters
Red team headquarters
The enemy forces had been thoroughly decimated with a single blow from his Noble Phantasm. Archer’s Master had been forced to use one of the precious Command Mantra alloted to Masters in order to be able to flee for his life as his men died due to his incompetence. Furthermore, the vile creature had been critically injured and had also needed one of its Command Mantra to bring her Servant and another ally in to take her out of the battle.
What was more, the Servant had used his own Noble Phantasm to no effect thanks to one of his current allies fending it off, giving away his identity to them for nothing in return.
Christopher Columbus. Sailor. Explorer. Conqueror. The information flowed into his mind easily, and was combined with what his Master ascertained.
Sheer strength: victory. Toughness of body: match. Speed: overwhelming victory. Magical energy capacity and control: overwhelming victory. Luck: certain loss.
—Clash of Noble Phantasms: certain victory.
...Yeah. Running the potential scenarios in his head, there was not much else to say.
In the circumstance of “a battle of one against one”, Rider of Purple was simply outmatched against Saber of Red in almost every possible situation. The only threat he realistically posed would be as fire support while other Servants that were better suited fought him.
With that knowledge, his mind got to work, and it was added to what was already present for his plans besides.
The beast had been terribly wounded by his Noble Phantasm, putting her on the backfoot in a way that he did not expect to see again in the entirety of her tenure in this war.
The only comrade that could provide them with a measure of ranged support had fled, likely long gone by now.
On this end, his Master was still present, but the “alliance” of Red yet held, and Shielder, if nothing else, had proven that he would be able to protect him from Rider’s Noble Phantasm, to say nothing of the remaining multitude of defenders.
And, they still possessed a ranged component to their offense.
Only the young girl remained an unknown, but Saber could also surmise a few things from what his Master chose to share.
Furthermore, especially for Saber with his specific set of abilities, chasing down this enemy and escaping if things didn't go according to plan was both an obvious and effective course of action.
Taking all this into account—
Saber began to walk forward, lightning still crackling around his sword. Did he intend to use his Noble Phantasm yet again?
Well...in a manner of speaking.
“Archer. Continue as you have and provide supporting fire for as long as your Master will allow. Harrying them in such a manner should prove fruitful.”
Without pausing, he unilaterally devised a plan of action based on what he knew and had seen, and forcefully pushed it on them. One went off ahead, but that was fine, Saber didn’t know what he could do, so including him in the plans was worthless to begin with.
“King of Conquerors, I presume your own mount would not lose out to something like this, either? If you would, making this a battle between mounts and giving them more to worry about besides would be helpful.”
As he spoke, voice still casual and a smile on his face, lightning began to arc across the length of the blade, heading upward.
“Shielder, continue protecting the Masters from his Noble Phantasm. Anyone else, I am not certain of your abilities, so if you believe yourselves capable of contributing, I have no objections.”
A simple plan, but a worthwhile one should all the pieces fall into place. It was not a brilliant stratagem, but it did not need to be — for this moment, the Red team held a clear, overwhelming advantage, and Saber merely thought that they should push it for all it was worth.
“As for myself, I think it’s time I got properly acquainted with the enemy, too.”
The lightning reached his hand.
—and it flowed in.
Certainly, even if another hero had possessed Saber’s Noble Phantasm, this way of using it would not have crossed their minds — even with the most optimistic predictions, the damage received would have been critical.
However — Saber was in possession of a unique burden.
It was neither something honed through battle and experience, nor a talent of the body he had been born with.
It was something deemed inherent to the existence of “the Heroic Spirit, Belisarius”, engraved into his Saint Graph itself and, fundamentally, in his very identity as a hero.
This lightning was the strength of the legions he had commanded and the “power” that had seen his Empire’s borders recover so much within a single lifetime, due to the efforts of one man.
This lightning was his dream. It was Justinian’s dream. Their dreams of conquest and restoration and rebirth. Such was Saber’s sword, colored in such a way to resemble the “light” carried by the Great Ancestor as its proper successor.
This was “Rome”.
And what was Saber, if not a vessel for Rome’s blessings?
The lightning flowed, and Saber’s body could do nothing but accommodate it properly. It wound up tightly within him, suffusing his body of ether in its power.
...If one took the chance to examine Saber, even without knowing his name, they would likely discern that his quality was beyond doubt. After all, Masters would be able to discern that, even if he was not completely overwhelming in a singular area, he still possessed good ability across all of them.
Right now, however, with the power all but flooding his system...well, a singular strike would certainly fall short of the cascade of lightning he had showcased earlier, obviously. But nevertheless, the strength he displayed would have to be considered of a “different magnitude” altogether.
“—Hey, Rider of Purple, I don’t know if you can hear me, but even in these circumstances, I have to admit your Noble Phantasm is an asset, you know?”
It might have seemed like a digression, or some would have used the chance to sneak in a barb, but Saber praised his enemy’s ability without mockery. Even if it would still lose to his own, that Noble Phantasm certainly was nothing to scoff at.
“But, at the same time? It has a very clear weakness, Rider, and we’re in a good position to exploit it. Do you wish to know what that weakness is? I’ll tell you—”
Generally speaking, the mounts of Servants outstrip modern vehicles as a matter of course. However, in most cases, the sheer speed of a Servant would overtake that of the mount — but the difference was fundamentally one of “sustain” versus “burst”. Just because you can run “faster” than something else, it might not be as great if you can’t keep it up for longer, right? Moreso in the circumstances of the Holy Grail War, spending magical energy in such a manner was wasteful for the most part.
At this distance and with Saber’s newly-acquired strength, however…
Forward and upward, in a burst of speed and strength, he jumped towards Rider of Purple’s battleship without even the slightest hesitation, as though he himself were lightning.
“—The disadvantage is effective range, Rider. After all, if I’m on your ship, can you target me with those anchors?”
The Dead Apostle Ancestor was critically injured. Rider of Purple simply could not contest Saber of Red physically, and being robbed of the chance to use his Noble Phantasm only made his utility in the match even worse. That just left him with…
“For what it's worth, young miss, I’m sorry. If you stand aside and let me deliver a proper end to that filth behind you, I do not mind letting you go tonight. But if you do not, then know I will at least make your deaths quick, and that they shall pave the way for the glory of Rome.”
Lunge toward the weakened monster with overwhelming might—!