The Assassin was crazy and scary, but the Lancer was definitely a military man. The priorities were set in a heartbeat.
“Shield to Assassin, Saber to Lancer!”
Mash moved like she was skating on the ground, low steps with her feet spread wide for stability and leaving dust trails as she glided over the soil. Her shield flashed into her hand as the wyvern’s diving charge was defeated by her metal bulwark, and then Mash pushed the beast back as a rebound effect.
“Jeanne Tank, Alter Flank!”
Jeanne caught the lunge of the wyvern by horizontally sticking her pole into the beast’s snapping mouth like the bit of a horse. The momentum behind the lunge pushed Jeanne’s planted feet half a meter back, but the girl’s entire strength was put into her defense, so she didn’t flinch a centimeter. Altoria swept by Jeanne on her left side, swinging upwards to decapitate the wyvern and carry on to slice the Lancer. The Lancer had materialized a pole arm with extra blades where there didn’t need to be any and blocked the attack one handed while holding the reins of the dragon that were tied around the base of the creature’s neck.
“Mash, Assassin is using a staff, watch for secondary effects!”
Assassin’s opulently decorated staff that was held aloft for a strike hesitated as the woman glanced at Ritsuka with eyes filled with hate, before she dismissed him and refocused on Mash with a sadistic smile on her face. The wyvern lifted slightly and descended on Mash, looking to crush her with its body weight. The creature landed on Mash’s upturned shield, but she shifted her hips at the last moment and twisted the shield slightly to cause the creature’s impact to slide off to the side.
“That sort of thing- won’t work anymore,” shouted Mash, having adapted a new technique to deal with enemies with a height advantage since her rough time at the fortress gates. As the wyvern experienced it’s unexpected loss of balance, Mash’s planted leg pushed forward to strike her shield into the lizard’s belly, blasting it sideways and back in the direction it came from. The Assassin swung her staff at the counter attacking Mash. Red liquid surged out from the implement, completely covering Ritsuka’s kouhai. It was a perfect surprise counter- if Mash had been looking to press her advantage. Being a Demi-Servant dedicated to defense, Mash had solidified her guard instead of pursuing her enemy. A good thing, too. The red liquid seemed to be corrosive or toxic, as steam rose from where it landed.
Jeanne forcefully pushed the wyvern’s head sideways, throwing its balance off. The creature planted its feet and hopped back upwards to get aerial advantage.
Altoria’s blade grew in size from the massive amount of magical energy she had in her body for the first time in this fight as she swept Lancer’s spear sideways and continued on to slice the wyvern’s leathery wing in half, cutting the bone and leaving the loose scaly flesh hanging limply where the cut was just short of completely severing the limb. The creature flopped back onto the ground as Jeanne struck the creature’s head with a backwards blow of her pole. Lancer used the opening in Altoria’s form to try and stab through her heart. Blocking the blow with the flat of her sword, Altoria was pushed backwards from the strike allowing Lancer to turn his bladed spear in a sweep towards Jeanne.
Jeanne pulled backwards, her head contracting back as the blade of Lancer’s weapon passed through the spot where Jeanne’s eyes had been just one second earlier. Jeanne’s posture was destroyed, and Lancer’s follow up attack directed at Jeanne’s exposed right shoulder-
Jeanne’s back foot planted strongly against the ground as her body twisted through sheer brute force while she spun her pole like a staff, deflecting the thrust to the side while she spun, and a follow up backhand into the wyvern’s nose knocked the beast’s bite away. Altoria was back on Lancer’s flank attacking the man before the rider and mount combination attacks could overwhelm Jeanne. Even though it was two on one, Lancer had one hand keeping the reins of the wyvern, taut and issuing direction to the creature while using his other hand to fend off Altoria.
Mash didn’t need any additional directing. She was holding her position like a brick wall. The wyvern kept snapping at her, while Assassin swung with her staff, raining her scarlet liquid at Mash during potential openings. Mash, however, was fully focused on not dropping her guard. The girl was breathing with focus, but wasn’t tired yet. She’d improved by a large margin over her performance in Fuyuki.
The wyvern clamped a clawed toe onto the edge of Mash’s shield, intending to pry it away. Assassin’s staff was up, ready to strike. Mash grabbed the creature’s toe and twisted it. The hollow sound of breaking bone was quickly accompanied by a howl of dragonic pain. Mash’s movement didn’t end there, as she turned the release of the toe into a grab on the edge of her shield which she rotated in her grip so that the large fin on the bottom spun up and struck the wyvern in the flank with enough force to jar it’s position in mid air. Assassin switched from a poised attack to a desperate grip to prevent being thrown off her mount.
Lancer was slowly being pushed back, and the wyvern he rode was accumulating blunt force wounds from Jeanne’s attacks. While Jeanne handled her flagpole well, it was a far cry from Cu Caster’s movements in Fuyuki. There was less finesse and more force in her combat style. Jeanne d’Arc was, surprisingly, something of a brute. The wyvern was beginning to get punch drunk, and was wavering on its feet.
Now that’s an idea…
“Alter,” called Ritsuka, waiting for the timing to be right. “Foot!”
After a lateral strike from Jeanne to knock the wyvern’s head away once more, Lancer was swayed just a little bit away from Altoria. A perfect opportunity; Altoria’s black blade came down and cut the weight bearing foot of the wyvern in half. The creature could no longer maintain its balance as it tried to veer back onto both legs and toppled over, screeching. The Lancer calmly shifted his footing and back stepped to remain standing on the rolling lizard to maintain his height advantage over Altoria. Considering the man was pretty tall, he already had started with a noticeable advantage in the first place comparing to Altoria’s conservative height.
Is it my imagination or did Altoria shoot a quick glare at me?
Assassin squinted towards her companion’s battlefield and swung her staff. A geyser of crimson spewed out towards the unprotected back of Lancer. Jeanne had just planted her flagpole into the skull of the crippled wyvern so she pulled backwards in a hurry. The jet of toxic liquid just barely passed her by as it consumed Lancer and continued on towards Altoria, who swung her power surrounded sword to split the liquid so it splashed to either side of her. Lancer’s remains, however, could not be-
The flicker of solidifying mist to Ritsuka’s right pulled his attention, and he moved to dodge the reaching hand of Lancer as the man seemingly teleported to Ritsuka’s side. Ritsuka, however, was not nearly fast enough to avoid the Servant. The fingers of the pale man wrapped tightly around Ritsuka’s throat, and lifted him upwards. Ritsuka suddenly felt that horrendous pain of having his entire body weight supported by his spine, and wrapped his hands around Lancer’s wrist to try and support himself. Chokes and croaks came from his throat, but no sounds of agony or surprise could make it past the vice like grip of the Lancer, let alone air.
Ritsuka’s eyes flicked towards the battle, all three of his team were looking his way, terror and surprise in their eyes. Assassin had an eyebrow up, what could be seen of her face suggesting surprised acceptance, tinged with boredom. Ritsuka looked back at the Lancer. The Lancer’s eyes had been pointed in the same direction, and came back to meet Ritsuka’s as the man said loud enough for all present to hear, “I suggest you all stop-”
[Altoria,] thought Ritsuka directly to his Servant. [Mana Burst.]
A slight tinge of wonder touched the eyes of Lancer as he gazed into Ritsuka’s own pair of baby blues. Then Lancer’s eyes flicked down towards the blur of black that was swiftly approaching his arm. He disappeared into mist again to reappear near Assassin and her injured mount a detached distance from the battle and near the Dark Jeanne and her crew. Ritsuka fell to the ground, and when he looked up, his throat convulsing from freedom, he saw the Lancer inspecting his left arm, the one that had been holding Ritsuka by the throat. There was a gash one third of the way through it. A little more and it would have been severed entirely.
“Ritsuka, are you injured,” asked Altoria from her guard position beside him.
“Hurrk, ‘m good,” uttered Ritsuka after clearing his throat. He then proceeded to stand back up, picking up the burlap sack he’d previously dropped in the process, though he had to focus more on his balance than he usually did. “Looks like I can’t hang back this time.”
Ritsuka began striding forward to join the two girls currently holding the vanguard against the five Servants and their pet wyverns. In that short amount of time, the two pale Servants were already laying into each other with their venomous tongues.
“Three children and you couldn’t finish any of them off,” asked the Assassin in melodious sarcasm. “I wonder if you felt sympathy for them. Kindness doesn’t suit you. It’s not very monster-like, Dracul.”
“Dracul,” uttered Mash. “No way.”
“The greatest hero of Romania’s history, Vlad Tepes the Third. Also known as Vlad the Impaler,” said Jeanne, quoting historical fact.
[And the person used as the basis for the character Dracula, the most famous vampire of all time.]
“Which would explain how he can turn into mist, if he’s assumed that mantle in this incarnation,” observed Altoria.
“Be careful not to look him in the eyes. He may have other vampiric powers as well,” said Ritsuka, shifting his own point of focus at the necks and shoulders of his opponents down the way. As an unavoidable consequence, Ritsuka’s eyes ended up getting good looks at the Assassin’s very open cleavage. It was unavoidable. Really, it was.
Seemingly having overheard the Chaldea group’s discussion, Vlad turned his scowl towards Assassin and said with a hint of a growl, “Who knew that you’d reveal my True Name in front of others. I’m extremely displeased.”
“Oh? What’s wrong, Vlad? I myself would rather be remembered by a bad name than not at all,” said the woman in harping cheerfulness. “Besides… I prefer to be called by my True Name. Dread and despair, faintly spiced with hope. The ones with the best cries are the little squirrels who think,’I can escape,’” said Assassin while looking hungrily at Jeanne.
“But in the end, you were driven to ruin by the hands of those who actually escaped, Elisabeth Bathory,” said Vlad, making sure to pronounce her True Name loud and clear to repay her for her previous frivolity with his own. “Otherwise known as Carmilla. How humorous your tragic end was.”
“How boorish,” petulantly countered the white haired Assassin, known in fiction as a vampire queen who bathed in blood. “That’s why I don’t like your kind. Even as a vampire, you still cling to your noble ‘heart.’”
Vlad took a half turning step to face the Assassin, his grip on the polearm in his right hand tightened. He said low and dangerous, “You mean to say that I cling to my faith even now?”
“Stop this instant,” came the voice of the Dark Jeanne from the back lines, clamping down on her minions. “I told you that you could devour freely, but do not forget who is friend and who is foe.”
[Wow. They’re really fighting amongst themselves. It’s a bad work environment over there…]
“Now step back, the both of you,” ordered Dark Jeanne. “While the two of you are crueler than the others, that also makes you playful. The three of us will deal with this garbage.”
“Wait, Carmilla and I can still fight. The saint’s blood belongs to us,” said Vlad with a hint of desperation and fervor in his voice, even as the fangs of a vampire slid gently into place for predation.
“Saint’s blood is valuable. No woman would let go of a gem placed before her,” hissed Carmilla as she turned around and planted a metallic high heel on her resting wyvern’s back.
“As if I would allow mere executioners who know nothing of the radiance of blood, the grandeur of blood, to take-”
“Shut up. Know your place, Vlad Tepes,” interrupted the Dragon Witch. “No matter how much authority you may have had in life, you’re all equals as Servants. You wanted so badly to suck her blood that you were unconsciously holding back against her. I hate people like that. Stay out of it this time, okay?”
There was a surge of magical power that Ritsuka could see clearly even without concentrating from the body of Dark Jeanne, and an oppressive atmosphere descended on the area.
[These readings, are all three of these signatures coming at once!? W-w-w-what do we do!? Any ideas? Anyone at all!?!]
“Really not the time for this Dr. Roman,” snapped Ritsuka.
[Email! Where’s my email! Magi*Mari, my favorite internet idol will know what to do!]
“Doctor, please calm down. You’re starting to make me panic, too,” called out Mash.
[“Help me Magi*Mari! We’re being attacked by three powerful Servants. What should we do?” Okay, sent.]
“Wait, you seriously have internet access,” retorted Ritsuka. “Why is this the first I’m hearing about it!?”
[Ah, a response! “I guess you’ll just die and be reborn!” …Wow, internet idols are HARSH! She doesn’t know how I feeeeeeel!]
“…He actually got a response…”
Ritsuka felt like his brain just broke. He was called back to the present by a slap upside his head from Altoria. The gauntlets hurt.
“Concentrate, Ritsuka. We are running out of time. If we’re going to use that plan, we’ll have to do it soon.”
Ritsuka’s mind went back to calculating means of survival, and the results were not good. The Dragon Witch was the big threat here, and she was preparing to fight. Her guard was up. Altoria’s Noble Phantasm was powerful and had a large range of destruction, but there was a lead up to it. If the enemy saw that and took action, then the entire point of using the attack as a means of slipping away would be lost. But, there would not be an opening to exploit if the battle turned three versus three. The timing was bad, but it was just going to get worse. As Ritsuka readied himself to give the order and drain the outermost of his three Command Seals, Jeanne spoke.
“All of you, please go. I will hold them here,” stated Jeanne with firm determination as Dark Jeanne’s wyvern waddled forward and began stretching its wings.
Ritsuka was delayed from giving Altoria clearance to use her Noble Phantasm to try and talk sense into Jeanne.
“Not an option. We stayed behind to make sure you don’t sacrifice yourself, Jeanne. We’re all getting out together. Understand?”
Jeanne said nothing in response, her jaw just clamped harder. Dark Jeanne began drawing the fencing sword at her hip. Just a small span of steel was unsheathed, and a fire leapt up from it, burning up and towards the hand that held the weapon, completely without any control. Jeanne’s eyes stretched at that moment, as though she’d seen something beyond her ability to believe, when-
The wyvern shuddered and seized up under Dark Jeanne’s feet.
“Hmm? What’s wrong with you, we haven’t even started yet,” asked the Dragon Witch.
“Oh, I think something is growing out of it’s head,” said Ritsuka as intentionally lamely as possible, like a joke character in a variety show. There were all kinds of ways to deal with stress after all.
Dark Jeanne went, “Hmm,” sheathed her sword, and bent down to pluck the object that had taken root in the lizard’s skull. The creature grunted in pain as the object came free and Dark Jeanne observed aloud, “A glass… rose?”
“It’s not elegant,” said the voice that seemed to come from nowhere and everywhere. “Not the ruin. Not the fighting. Nor your philosophy and principles. You’re so beautiful, yet you shroud yourself in blood and hatred.”
“Who’s there,” demanded the Dragon Witch, upset at the new intruder upstaging her massacre.
“For good or for evil, shouldn’t a human try to be more free?”
“Show and name yourself, Servant,” demanded Dark Jeanne, settling her attention in the direction of a ruined building.
Ritsuka looked in the same direction, as did all the others present. Even Dr. Roman called for the observation angle to take in that building’s rooftop. And standing there was a petite teen with long ash blond hair and fetching blue eyes in a red party dress with frills and an enormously oversized poof of a hat. She was standing dynamically with one hand holding the non-existent brim of her hat while the other threw back a cape that she didn’t have.
“Take heart, Saint Jeanne, for the soul of a warrior dwells within you,” she said, imitating a debonair man’s voice. All the people and lizards present were silent in confusion. Then the girl broke her stance and with a bit of a squee, said “I’m so happy I got to do this! After all, this is what it means to announce oneself as a hero of justice!”
While the girl was wiggle dancing in celebration, Dr. Roman said, [Oh! It’s a Tuxedo Mask reference!]
The voices of several members of the control room staff were heard going “ooooooh,” and Ritsuka said, “Yeah, I think you’re right. Though with the twin tails she’d be a better fit for a Sailor Moon reference.”
“Oh,” asked the girl on the roof. Who then put a thoughtful finger to her chin, and having decided something, spun in place, and planted a foot while pointing at Dark Jeanne. “I am the pretty Queen who fights for love and justice! I am Beauty Rider! And now, in the name of France, I shall punish you!”
The unidentified girl closed her pointing hand into a V sign next to her eye, and winked through it. She held the pose while everyone else was stunned and confused. Ritsuka validated the impression with some light applause. The girl carried on her Sailor Moon activity.
“I know who you are,” she said to the Dragon Witch. “I also know how powerful and terrifying you are. To be honest, I have to confess that I’ve never trembled in fear more before anyone else. Yet still, if you intend to invade this nation, then I shall face you even if I have to tear apart my dress.”
“You are-” uttered the fashionable knight that had advanced alongside Dark Jeanne.
“Saber, who is she,” demanded Dark Jeanne. When the knight hesitated to respond, she pressed harder with, “Answer me.”
“I can tell who she is, even with this murderous rage burning in my heart. Her beauty is unmistakable. The one called the Flower of Versailles. She is Marie Antoinette.”
“The ‘let them eat cake,’ lady,” asked Ritsuka.
“Yes, but no, Master,” said Mash. “That quote was made up.”
“That’s right! Thank you for saying my name,” called the girl in jubilation. “And as long as that name exists, I will play my role, no matter how foolish it may be. You! Dragon Witch who’s torching my country. It might be pointless, but I will ask you anyway. Are you evil enough to perform your wicked deeds in my very presence? Will you declare yourself a greater fool than I, the queen who failed to stop the revolution?”
“Silence, interloper! You who led a life of luxury in a palace, and died in ignorance. You have no right to participate in this battle. There’s no way you could understand the hatred of Jeanne d’Arc!”
The girl, Marie Antoinette, placed her finger on her chin again and admitted, “I suppose I can’t know that. But that just makes me want to know all the more. What I don’t know, I learn. That’s my policy. And that’s why I can’t bear to look at you like this, beloved saint of France!. All I can see is you taking your rage out on the innocent. And I’ve not the slightest idea why. Everything’s disappearing into a haze, like a girl going for a Sunday walk. While I have no words for you, what I do know is this. Along with the other Jeanne d’Arc over there, I’m going to make your heart and body mine!”
Dark Jeanne cringed slightly, covering her body up. Jeanne blushed and fidgeted uncomfortably. Mash gasped like she was watching a tv drama. Ritsuka whistled quietly, but in the stillness it sounded loud enough. The fashionable blonde knight sighed and cradled their head, saying, “She didn’t mean it in that way.”
Realizing her mistake, Marie blushed down to her neck and began correcting herself.
“D-don’t misunderstand me. I just meant that as a Queen, I’m going to bring you to your knees.”
So an S&M play?
“You’re just making it worse,” groaned the knight.
[It’s falling apart… My image of Marie Antoinette is falling apart…]
“Enough of this farce,” shouted Dark Jeanne in frustration, while still covering her body. “Very well then, you are now my enemy! Servants, take care of that annoying queen first! Then the others!”
“Oh? I thought you ordered us to hold back,” asked Vlad with a slightly malicious, though melodic tone. “Weren’t you going to crush them all yourself?”
“Shut up! There are reason’s I’m sending you instead! Just shut up and follow my orders!”
“Altoria,” whispered Ritsuka. The enemy ranks were reorganizing and they were distracted. There was no better time than now. Altoria nodded and began drawing in power from Ritsuka to help fuel her Noble Phantasm, and Ritsuka began his mental preparations to shunt his Command Seal into his link with Altoria. Marie on the building away from them seemed to understand their coordination and shouted, “Thank you for waiting, Amadeus! You can let loose!”
[There’s another signature, powering up rapidly!]
The blast of sound came like a tropical wind. It was a discordant burst of coordinated spite for all who heard it, and was unpleasant to listen to. But the effect seemed far worse for those who seemed to be designated as enemies to the one using what Ritsuka could only assume as being an auditory Noble Phantasm. The wyverns cried in pain and fell from the sky. The Servants winced and covered their ears. Carmilla however, was entranced by the agonizing sound, and bobbed her head in captive rapture.
“Now,” called Ritsuka as he drained the magical power of his Command Spell into raw energy. Altoria’s sword sucked that power up like a sponge, a great corona of power enveloped the black and red blade as Altoria swung it without needing to perform the incantation.
The flash of weaponized darkness distorted shadow and light as it launched into the disorganized enemy ranks. The wyverns caught in the blast were instantly vaporized, but Ritsuka wasn’t going to wait around to see if the attack hit home. If the Servants were dead, all well and good. Otherwise, it was GTFO time, without exception.
While the blast of energy was receding and Altoria was recovering her stance, Ritsuka shouted at Jeanne over the temporary deafness of the energy shockwave.
“We’re getting out of here, Jeanne! Start running!”
“I’m sorry, but I have to stay,” shouted Jeanne back. “I have to finish it now before more-”
Ritsuka was partially anticipating this. Jeanne had a real bad habit of headstrong self-sacrifice. So he played dirty. Grabbing Jeanne by the shoulder to force her attention, Ritsuka continued his half-deaf shout.
“Jeanne, if you stay, then I stay! And if I stay, I’ll die! Choose, Jeanne! Now!”
Jeanne’s eyes went round in shock and she looked away a half beat later. The weight of sacrificing someone else for her decision was too much, and she nodded her head. In response, Marie’s cheerful voice cried, “Good job,” and something materialized under Ritsuka and Jeanne. A graceful stallion made of living glass appeared between the two teenagers’ legs and swiftly rose up. Before Ritsuka or Jeanne could respond, they were in the saddle, with Jeanne facing forward and Ritsuka facing the back.
The sudden forward momentum sent Ritsuka shooting into Jeanne’s body. The girl grabbed onto Ritsuka in a one handed embrace while her other hand grabbed onto the saddlehorn behind him for dear life. Ritsuka’s senses told him three important things. The first was that the glass horse was intensely slippery, and that he was in great danger of falling off at a full gallop; so he hugged Jeanne back for dear life. The second was that the glass horse was really hard; so Ritsuka shifted his hips to prevent anything precious being crushed. The third was that there were a pair of incredibly soft somethings pressing against him; so his mind started memorizing the feeling despite the circumstances.
Jeanne’s incredibly confused and flustered face was pressing against his chest, and looking up since his body was blocking her ability to see where they were going. Following up behind like cavalry in formation were Mash and Altoria on a horse each, both capable and riding their horses properly. Marie swept up beside them, flawlessly riding her own horse while it was bareback and sitting side saddle. The Rider gripped her hands girlishly and happily cried out, “We’re all going to be such good friends!”
* * * * *
Rider’s great mount had taken the impact of the attack, it’s scales and back smoldering with burns induced by the powerful burst of energy. But the mount had held. And all five of the Servants that had used it for cover were intact. The Rider knelt next to her mount, praying for it’s comfort and health. As she did so, the burns and damage to her loyal friend were being healed at a steady pace.
Lancer held back and away from the others as his “Master” ordered the Berserk Rider to chase and observe their prey. Lancer had no part in the conversation and was glad for the moment of silence.
The entire war party had nearly been wiped out.
The Servants were the only ones who’d had the reflexes to react, and only Rider had been able to materialize a defense in time, her very own mount. Without that women, Vlad may very well have been vaporized by the attack, even in a mist form. That young Master had constructed a great many hurried plans in their short combat against one another, and he’d executed them all with perfect timing. The one factor that had decided the outcome of the battle was definitely the quality of the Masters involved. Which was why Vlad had dishonorably decided to remove the boy, to remove the tactical pillar that supported his opponents.
Vlad recalled the young man’s eyes as he’d held him aloft. Just a slight twitch and the child’s neck would have broken in his grasp. Certain death and terror awaited the child. But his eyes were determined, they could see a way to victory. Recognizing that look was the only reason Vlad still had his arm attached, warning him that a counterattack was coming his way.
And the wound still had not closed.
There was something about that sword. It was twisted and dark, but holiness resided in it as well. A natural enemy for his vampire cursed form.
The thought of fighting that boy and that girl filled Vlad’s mind, and he smiled once more, despite Assassin crooning over the loss of that vile noise from before. It just solidified Vlad’s opinion that there was something decidedly wrong with her taste in music. In hopes of sparing those children from death just long enough for him to be the one to destroy them, Vlad asked, “Ruler… Do you think Rider alone is enough to handle them all?”
The note of his volunteering to go after them was in the question, but the girl discarded it.
“It will be fine. Rider’s Noble Phantasm is perfect for destroying them. But I suppose you are correct. I’ll return and begin preparations to summon additional Servants. Feel free to cause as much trouble as you like. If you’re lucky enough to find them, slay them. After all, you’re not going to be beaten by a queen who never left her castle, are you?”
Assassin and Saber then proceeded to bicker amongst themselves while their collective Master mounted the last surviving Wyvern, chastised the two of them for their vitriolic nattering, and departed from the field. After the girl was removed from earshot, the unpleasant woman, Assassin, began her venomous gossip.
“She just flew off, just like that? ‘Dragon Witch’ is certainly the right name for her.”
The Saber, however, was more introspective.
“The woman we just faced was the real Jeanne d’Arc, wasn’t she?”
“What of it,” asked Lancer. “Our Jeanne d’Arc is not a fake either. And we are Servants, in search of blood. Though… you may not be, even in this state, Berserk Saber. Chevalier d’Eon, the Noble Dragoon.”
Not falling for the manipulation, Saber simply stated, “I will obey my Master. If she wishes to end the world, I will help her. And I too, am under Madness Enhancement. Do not anger me.”
Vlad saw his attempt to draw out the Saber’s true thoughts backfired. Being the courtly noble he was, he admitted to his mistake while bowing at the waist.
“Heh. My apologies.”
The Chevalier’s eyes were conflicted about whether to accept the apology, or give into madness and simply attack. But in the end, the androgynous Saber simply walked away. Upon the Saber’s departure, Carmilla approached Vlad and began to engage him in conversation.
“It’s hard not to feel pity,” she said, as though the two were close enough for confiding in one another. Perhaps because they both were in need of blood? The fact that Vlad was a man and not someone to be competed against in terms of frivolous beauty? Women were always a mystery, even before being distorted and fueled with unrelenting power. “The Queen they respected, who sent them a dress, is now her enemy. But that is the nature of the Holy Grail War. …Lancer, let us go. We must search for the next city. We are vampires, who must drink the blood of the living. Finding our next meal is a matter of life and death.”
After a moment of thought, of regret, of recognizing the inherent self defeating madness of murdering all the humans that he required for sustenance; Vlad said, “Indeed. None of these meals are satisfactory. But I’ll take what I can get.”
The two paced off, following the next guidepost pointing towards a town to the north.