“…Hmm. I thought that destroying that fortress would be slightly difficult, but we were saved the trouble. I thought we would have to use Lancer’s Noble Phantasm as well, but…”
Assassin of Red said that and gazed at her fellow Red Servants who had retreated from the battlefield to the Hanging Gardens.
“Thank you very much for all your efforts, everyone. I can see that your boiling blood is still unsatisfied—but just endure it for a little while longer. The battle will resume very soon.”
Archer of Red shook her head at Assassin’s words.
“I don’t mind—but what do you intend to do by having us approach the fortress like this? Do you want to go kill the Masters directly?”
“It goes without saying. —We’re going to take back the Greater Grail.”
Instantly, all the other Servants there fell silent. Rider and Archer exchanged glances and even Lancer looked at Assassin with a doubtful expression.
“‘Take it back’? No, in the first place… how are we going to do such a thing?’
Assassin of Red pointed at the floor beneath them with a smile.
“—What allows these Hanging Gardens to float is the concept of [inversion]. Plants grow downward and water flows from downstream to upstream here.”
The gardens came to a halt in the skies above the Fortress of Millennia. If any citizens in Trifas were to look up at the night sky, what would they think of these giant gardens that hid even the moon from sight? At the very least, they wouldn’t believe their eyes if they were sober.
“Gaze well upon it, you tiny magi. This is the true territory of a magus.”
Assassin of Red laughed loudly and spread her arms wide as she released a certain spell.
Roaring wind blew out from the bottom of the gardens. Similar to a tornado, it connected to the fortress below like some kind of pipe.
“Hey, hey… You mean you really intend to steal it!?”
At Rider of Red’s words, Assassin of Red nodded and shouted.
“Of course! Because these gardens were designed for the sake of that! Now, come out, Greater Grail! Show us your terrible and beautiful figure that was constructed with god-like magecraft!”
The ground crumbled and flew upwards as it was sucked towards the Hanging Gardens. More than two thirds of the fortress had already been destroyed. The naked bedrock was smashed up and then, at last, the Greater Grail was exposed to the surface’s air.
“That—is the Holy Grail?”
Archer of Red muttered with a dumbfounded expression. With her eyesight that was as good as the eyes of a falcon, she was certainly able to see the Greater Grail below. But that wasn’t what had truly shocked her.
It wasn’t just Archer; Lancer, Rider and even Caster could only stand there dumbfounded. The absolute, eternal and colorless abundant prana that had accumulated continuously for more than six decades swirled around in a vortex.
“That is the Holy Grail…! Excellent! That is far too excellent! Magnificent! Magnificent, magnificent!! Even I can sense that overwhelming prana from here! I even want to jump in and drown within it, become one with it! And yet, it is hideous like a naked human body! Truly [Fair is foul and foul is fair]!”
Caster raised cries of joy.
It was obvious that it was worthy to be called an [almighty wish-granting device], as long as the wish asked of it wasn’t too great. It was only natural that even Servants like them would become excited.
“…Tch, it’s completely bonded to the ley lines. It seems it will take time to tear it out. However, we don’t have the leisure to remain at ease. They’re coming, everyone.”
Even without Assassin of Red saying it, all the Servants there sensed it. In order to prevent the plundering of the Greater Grail, the Black Servants were heading there one by one.
“I have to focus on the Greater Grail for a while. I’ll leave the enemies to you all. If you don’t hold them back here, your wishes will vanish like dew in the morning. Deal with them carefully, understood?”
In response to those words accompanied by a jeering smile, Rider and Archer of Red retorted without hiding their hostility.
“—That goes without saying. I should be saying that to you instead. Make sure not to fail.”
“I’ll do what we have to do. Don’t bother with meticulous instructions like that. You don’t need to tell us.”
But even in the face of that unabashed hostility, Assassin of Red’s composure didn’t collapse.
“Well then, as for me, I’m gushing with inspiration thanks to the Greater Grail, so I’ll take my leave here!”
“…You should help at least a little.”
Ignoring everyone else’s amazed and disgusted expressions, Caster hastily headed towards the workshop made for his personal use—in other worse, his ‘study’.
“Ah, that reminds. There’s one thing I forgot to say. These gardens aren’t within Romania. You should fight while bearing that in mind.”
Assassin of Red left those final words and disappeared. The Greater Grail was moving at a constant dull speed, but it was definitely being torn out from Trifas.
Since the Gardens had approached right beside the fortress, the Black Servants were able to reach this place with a single leap.
“—I’ll take Lancer of Black.”
The Red spearman murmured that and readied his divine spear. Rider of Red naturally chose his teacher, Archer of Black, and Archer of Red decided to aim for Caster, whom she was meeting for the first time.
The offensive and defensive sides had switched. The Black Servants had to take back the Greater Grail before it was stolen. The Red Servants had to protect the Greater Grail until it was completely taken away.
The situation had also reversed along with the offence and defence. The Fortress of Millennia, which should have been an impenetrable stronghold, was now useless rubbish, and the Red camp were the ones with the overwhelming advantage.
But there was one thing that would become problem in this current situation. That was the existence of Ruler, who already was in the midst of heading here. But the only ones who knew that were Assassin and Caster of Red along with their Master Shirou.
The Black camp, Red camp and Ruler all understood that this was a battle against time. In the several minutes it would take for the Greater Grail to be torn out from the ley lines and completely installed inside the Hanging Gardens, they had to fight a desperate battle to the death.