The strong pain running through the back of his left hand forcibly brought Sieg back to consciousness.
The pain, like that of a smoldering iron being pushed against his hand, gradually started to abate. It appeared that he was alive. Feeling pain probably meant he was alive.
However, this wasn’t the battlefield he had returned to along with Ruler. He felt the sensation of touching a cold and hard rock surface. It seemed—he had come back to that place he had visited once before.
Perhaps worried about the vivid pain just now, Sieg unconsciously glanced at his left hand.
He shivered. Sieg had been born possessing basic knowledge about the Holy Grail War. Therefore, it was natural that he felt so shocked it blew the pain out of his mind.
“Impossible, these are…!”
On the back of his left hand were three patterns. He naturally understood what they were. These were the proof of being a Master in the Holy Grail War—that is, Command Spells.
No, they were slightly different from normal Command Spells. It was natural for the patterns of the Command Spells to differ depending on the Master, but they should always be dyed a red color. But these ones were black instead.
Standing out on the surface of Sieg’s white skin, the black patterns somehow seemed repulsive.
Suddenly, he felt the presence of a giant creature behind him. He was paralyzed with fear that numbed the tips of his hands and feet. His reason told him that he mustn’t turn around. He tried not to be conscious of the sound and smell of the raw and deep breaths behind him.
But—the thing behind him definitely held malice towards him.
He had to fight it. He had to pick up a sword and fight it. And an ordinary sword was no good. Even the sword he had received from Rider of Black was no good.
What he needed was a magic sword that could even ‘slay a dragon’. A blade so great it was extolled and had carved its name into legend.
—Stupid. Where could you find something like that?
—Stupid. You already have it.
The thoughts that appeared in his mind were easily overturned by a whisper.
…In his right hand was a sword hilt. The blade itself was halfway stuck in the ground. It seemed he had to pull this out. In order to defeat the creature behind him, he had to pull out this sword—
Sieg didn’t hesitate. He gripped the hilt tightly and tried to pull it out at once.
But it wouldn’t budge. Even when he used all his might, it wouldn’t move a single millimeter. It was as if the blade was being held there tightly by someone.
If he didn’t pull it out, he would die. When he saw the repulsive thing that shouldn’t exist in this world, his body would be destroyed and his spirit would die. That would definitely happen if he didn’t obtain the means to oppose it.
—This sword can’t be pulled out by you.
—But, if it’s you, you can do it.
The Command Spells on his left hand flickered ominously… Command Spells contained abundant amounts of prana. They could overturn even the laws of nature and reproduce all possible phenomena with magic, even crossing into a domain close to that of sorcery.
In that case, what power was necessary to pull out this blade?
—The one who it is requested of isn’t you.
—The one who wishes for it isn’t you.
…The answer had already been given to him. The heart he had received, the abundant prana he had obtained when he was revived. And the black Command Spells that had appeared on his hand.
All of it piled up. All of it began to advance in a single direction.
He couldn’t oppose it. He didn’t intend to either. Even if this might be a path that someone else had given him, he didn’t mind.
—This is the path I choose.
—This is the path you chose.
I see. Then…
“…I order this body of mine with a Command Spell.”
One of the Command Spells started shining white. Along with the light that swelled up, Sieg’s body changed. The information of a Heroic Spirit was downloaded into his body. Physical information was expressed, battle experience was stored and accumulated, personal abilities were embodied, and even Noble Phantasms were reproduced.
But even a Command Spell could only reproduce that miracle for a short time.
A hundred and eighty seconds. That was the time limit of reproducing a Heroic Spirit with a Command Spell. After that time limit passed, Siegfried would return to being Sieg.
That’s fine, he thought. Even three minutes is enough if this body can be of use to him, if this body can become the power to save them.
He didn’t have an ounce of hesitation in him. As long as what he needed to hold in his hand was there. He would happily accept even ruin, decay and a miserable death.
What was essential wasn’t putting strength in his right hand, but his will, and so he easily pulled out the sword. He returned to the hell overflowing with light.
Lastly, thinking he should at least see the form of the monster, he turned around—and he saw, for some reason, himself standing still there.
…He decided to leave thinking about this event for later. Right now, there was something he had to do. Sieg stopped thinking and chose to simply advance forward.
It was just a short three minutes. But even if it was just a short three minutes, the reproduction was perfect. In terms of physical abilities, Sieg had been perfectly reproduced as Saber of Black.
On his back was the Phantasmal Greatsword, Balmung. Covering his body here and there was silver armor. His chest had greatly expanded, exposing skin that was dyed brown with the blood of a dragon. That skin was composed of dragon scales that wouldn’t be wounded by any blade or any spell. All except for a single part in the middle of his back…
What accomplished this miracle was the curse of a dragon, and what allowed that transformation was the heart of a dragon. Therefore, their name was Dead Count Shapeshifter: Dragon Revelation Command Spells. A life crystalized in a hundred and eighty seconds, approaching death each time one was used.
Thus, a hero of legend—the ‘dragon-slayer’ returned to stand on the earth.