—Rider of Black by no means had a tough or sturdy body. His stamina was just as could be imagined from his showy appearance.
Even so, he wasn’t all that wounded by the damage from the fall and blasts of prana. That was probably because of—the immense effect of his Noble Phantasm Luna Break Manual: Universal Magic Guide (Temporary Name).
“—Ah man, I give up. What should I do now?”
His hippogriff wasn’t dead. It had been injured, but since he sent it back right away, it would be able to recover. But he wouldn’t be able to use it again in this battle.
When he thought back on it, he couldn’t deny that he’d been a bit too impatient. If he had completely released his hippogriff’s power, he definitely could have gotten through that magic attack.
The reason he wasn’t able to do that—was because he had decided not to.
He scratched his head. Had he hesitated and wavered this much during his life as well? He understood, at least in theory. He truly did understand that they had to win this battle. But his body wouldn’t listen to what he said no matter what.
—Ah, damn it. I really give up.
The image that faintly arose in his mind was that feeble hand seeking help. That person’s voice had been thin and fleeting like a mayfly, trembling so frailly.
—Because we are grave sinners who fatten ourselves by eating the weak like that.
The words ‘It’s too late for that’ floated to his mind. Yes, it truly was too late for such sentiments. He was a monster who consumed prana just by manifesting. That was his true form. Who knew how many homunculi might have already died for his sake?
It truly was too late to start thinking like this. But even so, he wouldn’t do it. He had decided that and resolved himself not to do it.
“…For now, let’s look for the others.”
He wanted the Holy Grail, and he wanted to exert himself for the sake of his comrades—that much was fine. But the question of whether or not he could do that while following his heart had become a problem, obstructing his path.
Claaaaaaang—Rider frantically turned around at the high-pitched metallic sound. With bloodstains and dents here and there over its red frame, a conventional American sports car, a Chevrolet Corvette, plunged towards Rider while dodging golems and sending Dragon Tooth Warriors and homunculi flying.
Though he was shocked at the appearance of such an overly mismatched intruder on this traditional battlefield, Rider was still a Servant, and so he immediately took evasive maneuvers. Passing right by him, the Corvette’s steering wheel was apparently spun with absurd force, as it came to a halt while spinning around as if it were swung by a giant.
As Rider watched the car in mute amazement, a clattering sound came from the driver’s seat. The driver seemed to be trying to open the door, but perhaps due to having hit something, it appeared to be completely bent shut.
“Gah, how irritating!”
Along with those words, the door was blown off.
Slender feet stepped out from the driver’s seat. A girl, with her face dirtied black here and there, came out and hit the roof of the car with obvious displeasure. She wore a vivid red leather jacket and tube-top on her upper body, and cut jeans that exposed her thighs on her lower body. The door of the front passenger’s seat was also similarly blown off a moment later, and a man slowly crawled out from the car. He was a giant of a man who wore black boots with black trousers, and his overall appearance truly made it seem like he lived a showy and destructive life totally unconnected to that of a proper and respectable person.
“Hey, Master, American cars aren’t very sturdy, are they?”
“…The only vehicle that could withstand your driving is a tank. Rather, do you really have B rank in the Riding skill? Do you actually know how to drive? No, it’s fine. There’s no need to answer. This is just your nature. Yeah.”
The man replied with a tired expression… In other words, she was a Servant, then? Rider of Black stiffened. It wasn’t that he was surprised by the car. It was because he could tell that the Servant in front of him was incredibly powerful.
In response to Rider’s murmur, Saber of Red flashed a fearless smile.
“Yo. You’re a Black Servant… right?”
“Based on the profiles we were given, he’s probably Rider. Now then, Saber. I leave the rest to you. I’m outta here.”
“What’s with that attitude, Master? Won’t you stay and watch my valorous figure with your own eyes?”
“I would watch to my heart’s content if we weren’t in the middle of a battlefield…”
The large man looked over their surroundings while sighing. Not only were there Dragon Tooth Warriors, homunculi and golems everywhere, but he also caught glimpses of clashes emitting absurd amounts of prana between Servants here and there.
“Tch, it can’t be helped. Go on, hurry up and run away!”
“Roger that. Then, well, make sure to come back alive.”
Saber’s Master headed over to the driver’s seat, and leaving the door unattached, he forcibly drove off in the Chevrolet Corvette.
“Good grief. Going off to fight without me, there’s a limit even to joking around… Well, whatever. The lead actor arriving late on stage and the king joining the battle leisurely are part of how the world works.”
“—Huh, you’re a king?”
“Correct. If you surrender, I’ll finish you with a quick and easy decapitation.”
“…No, that’s a bit…”
Rider had already regained his footing after dodging the car. As he held his lance and prepared himself to fight, Saber of Red looked at him with a doubtful expression.
“Hey, hey, Rider. What about the steed you’re supposed to be riding?”
“Ah, I’m having it rest for a little bit.”
Saber of Red’s expression suddenly became filled with killing intent. It appeared she couldn’t hold herself back at the way Rider’s attitude seemed to make light of her.
“Aaah? What can a Rider do without riding a steed? That just makes you an amateur on top of being a weak warrior.”
“—Well, I can’t deny that, but…”
“No, you should deny it.”
“No, no, I’m a really honest guy, you see. Being forced to desperately kill the enemy is the role of a Servant, though.”
“Tch… can’t be helped then. By the way, Rider. Is it true that Saber of Black has fallen?”
“It’s true, it’s true, it’s seriously true.”
“What was the cause?”
“Hmm…… From an outsider’s perspective, it would look like internal dissent. From his perspective, he just stuck to his beliefs, I guess?”
“Uwah, that’s so archaic. Was Saber of Black some kind of knight from the sticks? He kicked the bucket because he stuck to his beliefs? How ridiculous and stupid!”
At those words, the atmosphere over the area completely changed. The one who changed was Rider of Black, and Saber of Red’s expression also tightened in response.
“—I won’t deny that either, you know? I won’t deny it, but don’t you dare talk about him like that. A swordswoman that looks like a delinquent at best has no right to talk about him!”
“Hoh, you howl quite well. In that case—”
Saber of Red’s appearance changed. The enormous amount of prana hidden inside her was released, and her clothing was exchanged for her armor and helm. In her hand was the wide and broad sword of a knight. It was truly a splendid outfit and equipment worthy of one called Saber.
“—The chatting ends here. I’ll turn you into sword rust, you damn steed-less Rider!”
“My, my, how scary~…”
The situation was unfavorable for him, and he was also overwhelmingly inferior to her in terms of sheer power as a Heroic Spirit. But even so, a fight between them was unavoidable.
—Ah, this is bad. I might just die here.
That was his intuition as a knight rather than as a Heroic Spirit. The image of him dying easily and in obscurity if he fought her arose in his mind.
Even in the face of such a despairing reality, Rider of Black’s expression and countenance didn’t change at all. He prepared his stance with the lance he had pilfered from the knight Argalia in the past, and readied himself to tackle this all-or-nothing battle.