Rikudou Reika used the Command Spell because the fog had cleared away. The fog dissipating meant that Jack’s power had considerably weakened. It was easy for Reika to imagine that she had fallen into a dangerous situation.
As Assassin of Black cowered in pain, Reika quickly lifted her up. Though she was a Servant, her weight was the same as that of a young girl. Assassin was extremely light, so much that it made Reika wonder if she was completely empty inside.
“Don’t talk. Now, go to sleep.”
Reika began walking hurriedly as she spoke. They had to withdraw from here. Luckily, their hideout was nearby.
“Mother… what should we do next…?”
“Let’s think about it after you’ve healed your injuries. For now, you should rest.”
While saying that, Reika kept thinking. They wanted to obtain the Holy Grail, and those people they had fought were an obstacle to that, but eliminating them would be even more difficulty after this. Perhaps the two of them should give thought to a drawn-out war and withdraw from Trifas.
Fortunately, there would be no trouble obtaining information as long as there were magi around. No matter where in the world the Holy Grail was, they should definitely be able to track it.
“…Hey, hey, Mother. I want to hear, the piano, again…”
Hearing that childish request suddenly come from Jack’s mouth, Reika giggled. Though she was in pain, Jack whined charmingly while smiling.
“All right, I will.”
Prioritizing Jack’s words was more important than thinking of a battle plan to Reika right now.
Seeing Jack smile despite the pain made Reika feel relieved. The fog had literally vanished like mist. If they didn’t hurry, they might be found again—
Reika was hurrying down a narrow street only wide enough for a single car to pass through. There were people collapsed on the ground here and there, but she ignored every single one of them. Her heart felt nothing for them, merely discarding them with the thought ‘They were unlucky’. Right now, giving her daughter in her arms the chance to rest was prioritized over everything else for her.
One of the street lamps, which had just come back on, illuminated the glass window of a shop she happened to be passing by.
By the chance, the reflection of the light showed that to Reika. A human form, wearing strange clothes that clearly looked like those of someone from an entirely different era. And that person had nocked an arrow on a bow and was aiming it in her direction—it was unmistakably an enemy, and the target of the arrow was Reika and Jack in her arms.
She was forced to choose. At this rate, that arrow would definitely pierce through both her and Jack. She didn’t know about Jack, but she at least would experience near instant death. Relying on luck was useless here.
She couldn’t escape, and fighting would be difficult as well. There was no way the enemy would show mercy.
In other words, she had no means of stopping it. Therefore, there was no meaning in what she was about to do now
“…Yeah, it can’t be helped.”
There truly was no meaning in doing it. But I have to do it, thought Rikudou Reika.
Any further thought ended at exactly that instant for her.
Reika suddenly spun around and released Jack from her arms. Naturally, Jack fell on her back onto the stone pavement. Having suddenly been thrown away, Jack looked at Reika with a dumbfounded expression—and froze.
She felt sharp pain for an instant, but even so, Reika managed to understand instinctively.
I can’t be saved.
—From the beginning, it was a battle with slim chances of victory. Since the Assassin class itself only showed its true worth in a battle royal, Jack was unable to fight fair and square no matter how much she struggled.
Killing the Masters was also difficult considering how they were holed up in the fortress. Furthermore, her Master Reika wasn’t a magus and couldn’t supply prana, the source of a Servant’s power.
That’s why, from the start, they were at an overwhelming disadvantage. If Reika knew who was managing this whole affair, she would have seriously lodged a complaint against them.
But Reika hadn’t minded at all.
She didn’t mind killing people. She had killed both the sinful and the innocent alike, but she still didn’t worry herself over it—she felt some pity for the victims, but that was all.
There were only two important points for her.
Jack the Ripper had saved Rikudou Reika. She had granted Reika’s wish to live.
And, though it was only for a short time, she had enjoyed the days she spent with Jack more than anything else in her entire life.
No matter how bloody, no matter how cruel Jack was—
Rikudou Reika had enjoyed being with her from the bottom of her heart.
A little girl had called her that with an innocent voice. No matter what her true identity was, Reika didn’t care. Just that alone made her happy. Just that alone made those days together so wonderful.
The happy dream ended.
She had a mountain of regrets—but there was no use regretting.
It was a happy dream.
While her thoughts were still clear, Reika murmured that in her mind.
As she fell to the ground face-up, Jack frantically approached her.
Reika put a hand on Jack’s cheek—she had enough time and strength left to do that at least. She smiled—she somehow managed to do that much. As for final words—that was pointless. There was something more important she needed to say right now.
She had two things to say.
“I order you with two Command Spells. [Even if I’m not here anymore], [you’ll be fine]… Jack.”
It was useless to keep these Command Spells at this point.
She used up her remaining two and tried to boost Jack’s chances of survival even a little. As always, she didn’t understand magecraft very well.
She didn’t understand it, so she used it as a stand-in for a good luck charm. Like how a mother reassures her fearful daughter, Reika used her remaining Command Spells.
“No, don’t go, don’t go, Mother! No, no, no…!”
You’re a smart daughter, thought Reika.
She was losing consciousness and drifting away from the world—she closed her eyes. Her hearing was faltering, and she couldn’t even squeeze back the hand that held hers.
She could no long feel or even think anything.
At that moment, Rikudou Reika merely wore an expression that somehow seemed to fit the situation… a smile.