When Assassin of Black, with her right arm hanging torn and limp, returned to the place she used as her dwelling, an hour had passed since she left.
With teary eyes, she showed her right hand to her Master, Rikudou Reika. Even the bone in her hand was visible in the cut cross-section, and her muscle fibers were torn to shreds. If she were a normal human, she wouldn’t be able to use her hand ever again.
With a pale face, Reika frantically tried to search for a first-aid kit, but soon realized that there was no point. Assassin was a Servant who was not of this world. There was no point in applying medical treatment without magecraft. And as an ordinary human, Reika couldn’t use magecraft.
She was helplessly limited to binding the wound with a clean handkerchief. There was nothing else she could do.
“Does it still hurt?”
Reika asked that uneasily, but Assassin shook her head and smiled as if to tell her not to worry.
“No… it’s fine now. More importantly, Mother, we’re hungry.”
“All right. Just wait a bit. I’ll go reheat your hamburger right now.”
Since Assassin couldn’t use her right arm, Reika decided to cut up the reheated hamburger with a fork and feed Assassin piece by piece.
After pestering Reika for the hamburger, Assassin opened her mouth like a small bird. Seeming to have forgotten about her right hand, she smiled happily from the bottom of her heart.
“Does it taste good?”
Thank goodness, thought Reika with relief, but when her thoughts turned to Assassin’s right hand, her expression turned dark.
“Then, Jack. Just how did you get that injury?”
“Ah, yeah. We fought a Servant.”
“Oh my… Servants are people like Jack, right?”
Assassin nodded. Reika had learned about the Holy Grail War in her own way from Jack, and she was able to understand enough to know that the enemies she challenged were considerably strong.
“Did you lose?”
“No… Someone else barged in. They were really cowardly, attacking while we were in the middle of fighting.”
“Yeah. Everyone is thinking of acting all sneaky and cunning because it’s a war. That’s not good, right?”
“Right~,” repeated Assassin with a smile. Then, while continuing to feed her the hamburger, Reika asked a question.
“Hey, Jack. What should we do about that?”
“Our right hand?”
“Yeah. It’s painful to see your pretty hand like that.”
“Ehehe… yeah. A [meal] would probably be the best cure.”
Assassin replied while smiling in embarrassment. Reika had a contract with Assassin, but she couldn’t supply prana to her. So naturally, Assassin had to rely on [eating] to supply herself with prana.
“Yeah, so how about eating the heart of the last Mister Magus?”
“Yeah, let’s do that.”
Reika took out a dark red heart wrapped in film on a white plate from the refrigerator. Unable to wait, Assassin plucked it out of the wrapping film and swallowed it in a single gulp.
The heart of a magus was far richer in prana than that of an ordinary human. Having replenished her depleted prana supply, Assassin felt herself become revitalized. Her town-up right hand was also already regenerating.
“Phew. What a relief.”
“Yeah… But we’re out of hearts now. Mother, what should we do?”
“Hmm, if we stay here, you might get attacked again. Also, the police have started to get noisy. Shall we try heading straight to Trifas next?”
Assassin folded her arms and started to hum to herself in thought… Saber was a formidable enemy, but based on the nature of the Holy Grail War, there wouldn’t be many Servants stronger than that one. Of course, if Saber used her Noble Phantasm, Assassin’s defeat would probably be certain. But Assassin had another certain kill Noble Phantasm of her own, and she hadn’t used it in this battle.
Saber would probably run at and scatter the other Servants with her strength, but there was no way she’d be able to avoid using her Noble Phantasm at some point. If Assassin aimed for that moment—she’d be able to eat her.
“Hmm… yeah. Let’s try going there.”
“Okay. You’re also tired, so let’s leave after taking a nap. Okay, Jack?”
With light footsteps, Assassin jumped onto the bed, and then tore off the sheets. She rolled herself within them into a ball like a bagworm.
Smiling, Reika piled the dishes and brought them to the kitchen. They would be immediately departing when they got up, but it was proper manners to tidy up before they left.
Although, since the men who had lived in this house had been dissected after having their hearts gouged out a short time ago and were now buried underground, there would never again be an opportunity for those dishes to be used.
“Mother, hurry up!”
Bunched up like a bagworm on top of the bed, Assassin kicked her legs about. While saying “Yes, yes” with a wry smile, Reika quickly finished washing the dishes and headed over to the bed.
The instant Reika lay down on the bed after taking off her clothes, Assassin covered her with the sheets wrapped around herself. Smiling innocently, Assassin hugged Reika’s naked body and buried her face in her abdomen.
She murmured in a somehow slow, frightened manner. Reika embraced her closely and patted her head to comfort her.
Assassin behaved like a spoiled child, but Reika didn’t find that strange. She didn’t know about the Holy Grail War, Masters and Servants. Servants were Heroic Spirits, elevated due to the belief of the people, and were always summoned in the form of their heyday.
So there were hardly any that were summoned as children. Assassin of Black—Jack the Ripper wasn’t like this because of a failure of the mind or soul, but was a genuine child.
…In the first place, Jack wasn’t a [human] when she was alive.
In 1888, there were tens of thousands of prostitutes in London. The abortion methods back then were too unskilled and rough, and the children who should have been born were treated like trash. Their corpses were discarded into the river that flowed through the East End district where the prostitutes lived, and their hatred and grudges accumulated in the stagnant river.
The grudges of the tens of thousands of children who were denied even the right to be born gradually started to take human form. Eventually, a very young girl who couldn’t even be called a prostitute wandered the streets of East End without knowing why. Why she was born, why she was sad, why she was cold—she didn’t know anything. She didn’t know, but she at least understood that she wanted something.
In such a state, she happened to meet a woman.
When she walked towards the woman and unconsciously called out [Mother], Jack was terribly abused. Getting abused was hard, painful and only left her sad. So she killed the woman.
Killing her was unexpectedly easy. The organs she took out of her after dismembering her were warm, as if they were a sign of love.
The next day, there was a huge ruckus when the woman’s corpse was discovered.
She killed a second woman and then a third. And as she did so, she was given a name by the people.
Jack the Ripper—It made her happy. Because she hadn’t known her own name either until then.
When rumors went around saying that ‘Jack must be a doctor based on his dissection technique’, she was delighted. The people she hated the most in this world were doctors—because they were the ones who kept killing children like her.
After killing several prostitutes, she then died. It wasn’t due to any significant reason. A certain magus merely noticed that the bizarre murders were crimes done by a demonic being and promptly dealt with her.
After that, the murders stopped and Jack the Ripper disappeared into the darkness… But his murders were too bizarre, too incomprehensible, and too mysterious.
Born due to the fear that persisted even after her death, a serial killer Anti-Heroic Spirit—that was who this girl was.
While Reika repeatedly sang a lullaby several times, Jack seemed to have completely fallen asleep. Seeing that, Rikudou Reika also felt relieved and closed her eyes.
Rikudou Reika had been offered as a sacrifice for a Servant summoning ritual by an Yggdmillennia magus, Sagara z Hyouma, but instead became a Master due to Assassin’s betrayal of him. Until that time, she had simply lived by drifting through life aimlessly.
No, she might be doing so now as well. She might be just going with the flow of this unrealistic situation and vaguely seeking the Holy Grail. She wanted to be happy. That was the only reason she sought the Grail. But she should be able to find plenty of ways to accomplish that just by living. So why had she refused that simple life and purposefully agreed to take part in a war… and even kept killing people to use as nourishment?
“It’s probably because I was bored.”
What a horrible woman I am, she thought in self-mockery. But she had no intention to stop killing. Because it was absolutely necessary as food for the girl sleeping before her eyes. Because it was necessary in order to live.
To Reika, Jack was her own child. So she rejected every single ethical view. If it was for the sake of her child, a mother would gladly become the demon Hariti1.
(1) Here, it says “Hariti” in furigana, while the kanji beneath translates as “yaksa”, Buddhist guardian deities sometimes depicted as demonic warriors. “Hariti” is a demon/ogress in Bactrian mythology that symbolized the protection of children and was described as having hundreds of children who she loved and doted upon, but to feed them, she would abduct and kill the children of others.