Prologue: Lord of a Magical Realm

プロローグ 魔境のあるじ


[You’re in a burning city.]

Mash:

…Sen… pai…?
This… looks like Fuyuki City… But I don’t remember rei-shifting…
In fact, my memories are indistinct. I should have taken my medicine and gone to bed…
But, here I am, armed as a Demi-Servant…

Fou:

Foh, fo-fohh!

Mash:

Fou!? Since when were you hiding my shield’s storage compartment!?

Fou:

Foh, kyu?

Mash:

…I can’t connect to Chaldea’s control room. The Doctor won’t be able to provide analysis or extraction.
It’s… possible that we’re sharing dreams as Servant and Master. I can guess that this is some type of dream, but…

  1. These flames are awfully hot for a dream.
  2. The flames are roaring, yet they aren’t hot.

[1] Mash:

Yes, Senpai. It’s as if the heat is completely real…
This is the Fuyuki that we explored with the Director. But is it literally the same era, or a dream?

[2] Mash:

…? You don’t feel the heat? I’m a Demi-Servant, but you…
I’m a little sad to admit it, but we must be different.

???:

…I see. So that’s how it looks to you.

[A woman appears.]

???:

Your name is known to me, Gudao. And the lass with you is Mash Kyrielight, yes?
The both of you are sharing a dream, reliving the memories of your intense experiences.
A quirk of the system, perhaps? Most intriguing.

Mash:

…Who are you, if I may ask?

From your magical energy, you certainly seem to be a Servant…
But I sense that something is largely different
You’re unlike any Servant we encountered in Fuyuki. On the contrary, you’re nothing like anyone we’ve met… I think. My memories are hazy, though…

  1. You don’t look familiar.
  2. Hmm, haven’t I seen that spear somewhere…

[1] ???:

Hm. But of course.
It has been two millenia since I last showed myself to others. We wouldnae have met before.

[1] ???:

…Hrm. And if I did look familiar to you, that would pose a problem of its own.
You could be a fugitive from my domain. Am I wrong? Might you be a wraith of some kind?

[1] Mash:

We aren’t ghostly monsters. Sorry, you said two thousand years?
In other words, you were alive before the Common Era?

[2] ???:

Hm. What a passionate gaze you have there.
Oh, you were admiring my spear rather than me? It’s fine to be interested in arms at your age.
I hate to disappoint, but this is a mere placeholder. ‘Tis no weapon forged by the hand of Manannán himself.
‘Tis a simple spear, sadly. Little more than a stick I carved from the horn of a sea beast.

Or perhaps I’m the object of your eye, and your admiration of the spear was a ruse?
Heh. Is this your first time seeing a woman of Ulster?

[2] Mash:

Senpai, I understand how you feel but it’s time to focus.
In truth, um… She’s so well-proportioned I can only describe it as the Golden Ratio…

[2] Fou:

Foh!

???:

…Hm. So it has come to this.
Hm. How curious. It seems I must name myself once more.
Warriors who knew my name sought refuge beneath my roof. Slayers of both beasts and gods feared me, and challenged me to battle.
After all, they feared me for what I was.

Ne’ertheless, it has been a long, long time since you- since someone honestly asked for my name without prejudice, as you do.
For this, you deserve an obliging answer.

I am she who dwells on the Outside of the World.
I am she who will forever be. Unaging, undying.
My name is Scathach. It tickles me to speak my true name, as I am the lord of a magical other-realm — the Land of Shadows.

Mash:

……!!!

Fou:

Kyuuuuuuu!?!?

Mash:

Scathach!? The god-slaying superwoman said to be on the level of Divine Spirits!?

  1. Is she someone amazing?
  2. I see, so you’re Scathach…

Mash:

Yes, Senpai! She was a storied figure in the Ulster Cycle of Celtic mythology from the first century!
Scathach was the ruler of a supernatural domain in the afterlife, and an invincible warrior famous for being the master of the great hero Cu Chulainn!
And she was an archmage of her era… But she shouldn’t exist in the Throne of Heroes, so how!?

  1. She doesn’t exist in the Throne of Heroes?
  2. Was she someone who couldn’t become a Heroic Spirit?

Scathach:

Oh, so the lass knows of me after all. You’re correct. I’ll grade your story. Hmm…
Because your delivery was too hasty, I rate it three stars!

Mash:

Eh… Oh, thank you.

Scathach:

Very good. A lass like you is better off telling her stories quietly. Sit on the details, while you burn with silent passion.

…Forgive my habit of rambling. This is no place for a leisurely chat.
As Mash said, I should not be here. I’ve retired from the battlefield, anyway.
I won’t explain why I’ve become a being that can be summoned but–
There is a reason I have shown myself on this occasion. I am here to right the cause behind this dream.

Master of Chaldea and your new Servant. Calm your spirits and open your eyes.
The untoward cause of this aberration approaches.

???:

AAAHHH…

AAAAAAHHHHHH!!!

Mash:

Magic signature detected with visual contact! It’s on a hostile approach, Senpai!

  1. If it’s attacking us, we have to defeat it.
  2. Proceed with caution.

Mash:

Yes! Engaging the enemy now.

Scathach:

I have indeed crossed the ages. You have commendable reflexes, and rousing spirit.
Hm… I’d resigned myself to an easy retirement, but I cannae remain calm in the face of such fightin’ passion.

Hup!

Mash:

Whoa, Scathach…!?

Scathach:

I’ll be joining you, Mash. Gudao! Prepare an extra seat for me!
It’s a battle! First, we shall fight. Fight before you think. The time for reflection comes after the brawl — ’tis a right reserved for the victor.
Thus, you must fight. Fight, and triumph! Such is the Celtic way!

  1. The Celts are really something, huh?
  2. AWWWWWWW YEEAAAAAHH!!!

[1] Mash:

Y-Yes. You could say violence is one of their core values…

[2] Mash:

Senpai!?

[battle]

Scathach:

There was hardly any fight in that rabble. Good grief, no challenge at all.

Still, what say you, Gudao? Have you any thoughts on their appearance?

Mash:

They were enemies we’ve fought many times before… Did you notice something else about them, Scathach?

Scathach:

‘Twas but a hunch. To me, they were little more than paper dolls.
In any case, not once did I forsee their deaths.

Fou:

Fo-foh, foh?

Mash:

Death…?

Scathach:

Indeed. For these to symbolize anything in your dreams, they must be manifestations of your memories. They are not things that were originally within you, these pitiable ruins of death. If I were to put it more specifically, hmm. They are the ruins of that which have been abandoned by Death. That is true for this burning landscape, as well as the foes we fought. They are the ruins of the death you have witnessed while fighting to protect humanity.

There were a great many of them milling about earlier, these ten thousand rattling skeletons and walking corpses, but never mind that.
I have quite had my fill of chopping up such creatures. They aren’t even fit for practice.

Mash:

T-Ten thousand!?

Scathach:

Ha ha ha. Your surprise flatters me, lass, but ’tis a silly thing.
Numbers are a wee trifle to a Celtic warrior.
We are all fools who fight until either we or the enemy is dead, after all!

  1. You mean when death comes for you?
  2. I don’t get it.

[1] Scathach:

No, no. That’s not right. Not at all.

[2] Scathach:

Right. That’s fine. You know little of Death and its nature.

Scathach:

This place is overflowing with dregs that have been abandoned by Death.

Mash:

This is our dream, right? Why would it be full of such things?
I don’t think that the Heroic Spirit whose power I inherited had any qualities that interfere with death…

Scathach:

Right. A Heroic Spirit that beckons Death dinnae suit you. This phenomenon takes place within you, but its cause is external. Unreasonable, yes. But it cannae be helped.

After all, there’s nothing reasonable about the incineration of all human history.

Death floods after a proper demise. Souls overflow back to Purgatory, the Underworld, and other such destinations.
But this is different. The incineration of humanity is a great endeavor that burned not only lives, but deaths as well.

Fou:

Foh… Foohh….

Mash:

It’s an… endeavor? That incinerated death?

Scathach:

Certainly. Humans employ the miracles we call magics, rituals, sacraments, and curses.
Above this is the Authority wielded by the gods, but even that cannae effect the incineration of humanity.
Thus, it is an endeavor. A work of man, surpassing godly Authority.
…Though, I must say that its exact nature is a complete mystery to me.

Nevertheless, this flood of refuse denied death was caused by nothing other than the burning of the ages.
And some of those dregs are leaking out, as you have seen.

Mash:

You don’t mean they’re leaking… into Chaldea, do you?

Scathach:

That is both right and wrong, in a sense. They are much closer to home.

Mash:

Um, what do you-

Scathach:

Here. Put your hand here.

Mash:

…On my chest?

Scathach:

Yes. But not your Mashmallows. Rather, your warm heart, beating with the rhythm of life.

Mash:

……!!
D-Do you mean to say that we’re already being eroded by these death ruins!?
Is that what it means? Senpai and I suddenly found ourselves in these flames, after all…

  1. I don’t think we have to worry.
  2. We’ll figure it out. Let’s make it back to Chaldea together.

Mash:

…Yes, Senpai. You’re right.

Scathach:

Heh. You grasped hope when I thought you would tremble in fear. Simple, but all the stronger for its clarity.
Gudao, I shall judge both your progressive outlook and Mash’s retrospection.

Ye fragile humans have nae changed these past millenia, yet still manage to respect and love one another.
Now, let us be off. Join me.

Mash:

Y-Yes, ma’am. Wait, just where are we going!?

Scathach:

We go to destroy all the unburied dregs within you, of course.
Normally, there would be no reason to fight wraiths abandoned by the cycle of rebirth. We are not in my Land of Shadows.
But, ‘twould not do to overlook this flood.
…I know well the the helplessness of being unable to die even if one wishes for death.
If the gods cannot save them, I- …Then, the task falls to me. I never turn down a challenge, anyway.

  1. So this is the Celtic way!
  2. AWWWWWWW YEEAAAAAHH!!!

[1] Mash:

Y-Yes, Senpai. Is savage yet reliable strength what it means to be a Celt…?

[2] Mash:

Senpai!? A-Are the Celtic ways already rubbing off on you!?