Lancer was outmatched. That much could be said. The opponent standing before her was Rider; her first opponent, and in some twist of fate, her final opponent.
They didn’t see eye to eye. Figuratively, this was because they were competing to be the sole victor of the Holy Grail War. Literally, this was because Rider sat entombed with his Master within an enormous red suit of armour that towered over Lancer. Under normal circumstances, any Servant should have trembled with fear, but Lancer didn’t. She had experience with beings like this one.
Lancer waited at the peak of Mount Enzou for Saber to arrive. In addition to her Master’s written invitation, she had stated her intent to Saber by choosing to eliminate Caster instead of him—or, more drastically, as well as him. Really, he should ascend the mountain and prostrate himself before her in gratitude.
Such a sense of familiarity. That was the sensation Saber felt as he made his way through Homurahara Academy to fight the Servant that had taken up residence there. This familiarity was not for his own high school, however; if that was to be the case, he would have to be visiting one of the more modern schools situated in the Shinto district. Rather, Homurahara reminded Saber of another place he frequented in life—particularly during the years that made him who he was now—which was a school and yet wasn’t.
‘That’s not something you see every day,’ Rider said, flatly.
His Master agreed, face pale. The scene before them definitely wasn’t something one saw every day. In fact, it was likely that few people had ever seen something like this, period. Rider’s Master tried to turn away, but Rider caught his shoulder, holding him in place.
‘Don’t. We’re gonna have to fight that thing. I need you to have my back.’
Faster. Archer had to run faster. Any moment now the savage, wild animal behind her would catch up. She had to make sure that, when it did, she and her Master were in a suitable battlefield, unlike the dense forest that presently surrounded them. The mass of trees made it very difficult for an Archer-class Servant to do battle, especially when those obstacles were themselves of little consequence to the opposing Berserker, who, by the sound of things, was smashing through them as if they were twigs.
Though the majority of the Shinto district was only developed in recent decades, the parts nearest to the Mion River—in particular, the area surrounding the harbour—have been around much longer. The first major modernisation of Fuyuki began shortly after the Great War, due to strong trade and investment interest from the Western world. Some of the richer arrivals built lavish mansions in Miyama, while others constructed higher-density housing and industrial estates along the river. As such, there lies a relatively small borough of buildings designed in the time’s European style. It was in one of these buildings, situated at the fork of a ‘Y’-shaped intersection, which Assassin’s Master had taken up residence.
Fuyuki City is serviced with three high schools. East of the Mion River, one can find Kitakou High School and Misakihara High School, the latter of which also operates as a middle school. Both facilities, being part of the recently redeveloped Shinto district of Fuyuki, are high-end and modern. West of the Mion River, one can find Homurahara Academy, an establishment that has endured for decades. Consequently, it possesses a classic design that can inspire nostalgia among many Japanese, even if they never attended the school themselves. Perhaps it was for this reason that two Master-Servant pairs currently occupied Homurahara.
I don’t even turn to look at Caprice, instead continuing to half-heartedly throw stale bread at the ducks circling the edge of the pond in front of us. I can see in my peripheral vision, though, that she’s long since given up that activity and is now swinging her legs impatiently at something that I’m sure exceeds the speed of light.