—Thus, the day of the final battle arrived with gentle rays of sunlight.
Right after dawn, Fiore, Caules and Archer of Black boarded a limousine along with a homunculus driver.
“Then, Gordes-oji-sama, please take care of things here while we’re gone.”
The one to see them off was the only remaining magus at the Fortress of Millennia, Gordes Musik Yggdmillennia. He was in charge of looking after the castle in their absence and conducting negotiations with various organizations in order to find a way for Yggdmillennia to survive after this war. It could only be described as the miserable job of dealing with the aftermath of defeat, but oddly enough, Gordes was most skilled in those kinds of negotiations.
“Yeah… Well, err, you know. Come back alive, all right?”
Gordes’ farewell was quite half-baked. The impression that stood out the most about him was the fact that his stubble and loosely hanging bangs had become frayed and messy in the last few days. However, for some reason, Caules actually felt that that Gordes was more likable like this.
“Yes, returning alive is the major premise of this mission. Please take care of the homunculi here as well.”
“Don’t dump these guys on my lap. They’re already living quite fine on their own as they please.”
“—Fiore-sama, don’t worry. No matter what he may say, Gordes-sama is a man with a generous and kind heart who saved us all.”
Next to Gordes, Tool spoke while emphasizing the “sama”. Gordes turned and glared at Tool bitterly, but she feigned innocence.
“Ufufu. In that case, we’ll be off.”
“See ya, Gordes-ossan. Try not to argue with the homunculi too much.”
“Fool, who would start an argument they’re clearly going to lose? Just go already!”
Lastly, Archer of Black bowed his head courteously, and then the limousine departed. As Gordes watched it leave, he had a sudden thought.
—The Holy Grail War is beyond the means of us magi.
An omnipotent wish-granting device… A parasitic magical tool that connects to the leylines and continuously absorbs vast amounts of mana. However, to put it another way, it was the same as the nuclear weapons made by those who’d been drunk on science. Moreover, it was uncertain whether it could even be properly controlled. It couldn’t even be activated without conducting the ritual of the Holy Grail War. And to finish the ritual, you had to take down six pairs of incredibly strong Masters and Servants—
The whole setup had too many holes to count. Yet even as he thought that, Gordes was self-aware enough to acknowledge that he lacked talent. Not talent as a magus—perhaps it would be better to say he lacked the resourcefulness to fight and win.
He didn’t think that he lacked skill as a magus. But he hadn’t sincerely tried to deal with things like strategy and tactics.
It was too late for him to regret it now. He knew that. He knew that, but—
“Hey, what are you moping over? We don’t have the time to slack off here, remember?”
“I know, damn it. I know already.”
Gordes drowned out those pointless thoughts. That’s right, it was already too late. No matter who won or lost next, and regardless of whether or not humanity was saved, none of it had anything to do with Gordes.
Those were things for saints and heroes to think about. Right now, Gordes had several problems that he had to deal with as soon as possible.
The first thing he had to do—was notify the entire clan that they had effectively lost in the Great Holy Grail War and then send a message of surrender to the Association in order to try and bring an end to the conflict with minimal sacrifices.
The whole prospect of it was depressing, but he convinced himself by saying it was better than dying. Gordes was used to receiving insults, ridicule and scorn, and he had tasted humiliation several times in just the past few days.
Bowing his head in shame and apologizing to their sworn enemy the Association was practically nothing for him at this point. However, he had far too few advantageous cards to bring to the negotiation table.
This negotiation might drag on for a long while—
“Hey, what are you daydreaming around for? Hurry up, we’re starting the castle repairs today.”
Recalling that particular matter thanks to Tool’s words, Gordes changed his plans. First, he would start with the work that was right in front of him… It wasn’t like he wanted to push off the unpleasant work for later. Not at all.