The Old Spider Spins Its Web with Nostalgia

Section 1: A Little City's Tiny War

A:???: ...Everyone has regrets.

A:???: “If it only could be like this.” “If only I'd done that.” Nobody makes it through life without having such thoughts at least once.

A:???: Given that failure is an inevitable part of life, there is no sense dwelling on it.

A:???: But of course, dwell we do, don't we!

A:???: Yours truly is no exception!

A:???: So for today, I would like to spin you a story of regret.

A:???: It's all well and good to have regrets.

A:???: But if you try to rid yourself of them, there will be hell to pay like you cannot even begin to fathom.

A:???: That's the sort of comical fable I have in mind for us today!

A:???: Ah, this does bring back memories, doesn't it, Master!

A:???: That's right, it's me! James Moriarty, everyone's favorite old man from an alternate dimension.

Moriarty: Huh? You want me to take this more seriously? All right, if you insist.

Moriarty: ...My name is James Moriarty. I am also known variously as the Napoleon of crime and the Old Spider.

A:???: Oh, I do beg your pardon. Where are my manners, rambling on in front of a Master I've never met before.

A:???: You don't even know who I am just yet, do you? Hehehe...

A:???: ...My name is James Moriarty. I am also known variously as the Napoleon of crime and the Old Spider.

Moriarty: And now, I am your Servant.

Moriarty: So, now that that's out of the way, you are officially invited on a fun little pleasure trip! Don't worry, the risk of losing your life is almost completely negligible!

Moriarty: Just sit back, relax, and enjoy this stroll down Regret Lane!

Moriarty: Waaahahahaha!

Fujimaru 1: Did I just get forcefully Rayshifted again...!?

Fujimaru 1: What is this place...?

Moriarty: Goood morning!

Fujimaru 1: Not so loooud!

Moriarty: Oh, I do beg your pardon! Hello and good day!

Moriarty: I'm glad to see you in good health, Fujimaru.

Moriarty: I can see, though, that you are wondering where you are.

Moriarty: I'll come right to the point then! We are lost in this Rayshift, you and I!

Moriarty: We have no way to ask for help, nor any means to receive it.

Moriarty: That is to say, we are now on a stealth mission, and all weapons and equipment must be procured on-site!

Fujimaru 1: Where have I heard this before...

Moriarty: Indeed. We now face the same harsh circumstances as an MI6 covert operative. I've heard of wholesale delegation, but this is ridiculous.

Moriarty: But worry not, Master. I know this world, and I recognize the time period in which we find ourselves.

Moriarty: In fact, I believe that is why I am the one who is here with you.

Fujimaru 1: So, we're here because of you, Professor?

Moriarty: Well, uh... I suppose you could say that...

Fujimaru 2: So, we're here because of you, Grandpa?

Moriarty: I will have you know that I am only in my fifties, thank you VERY much! There is nary a grandpa to be found here!

Moriarty: All right, allow me to explain.

Moriarty: We are currently in a mansion found in a certain European city.

Moriarty: It is the late nineteenth century, though without a newspaper, I cannot be certain of the date.

Moriarty: Our cover story is that you and I are bartenders employed at this mansion.

Moriarty: Are you with me so far?

Fujimaru 1: That explains these outfits...

Moriarty: And may I say, they suit us rather well!

Moriarty: Now then... Hehehe, here is the problem we face!

Moriarty: Hmm. On second thought, perhaps it would be better if you see for yourself.

Moriarty: Let's leave the bar for the moment and take a stroll around the mansion itself.

Moriarty: Oh, and as a rule of thumb, I would strongly advise you to keep your voice low and not speak to anyone.

Moriarty: ...At least, for now.

Fujimaru 1: Whoa, this place is fancy!

Moriarty: Yes, this mansion's owner is something of a local legend. He effectively runs this entire city.

Moriarty: And just look around. He must be at the center of any number of deplorably immoral and, dare I say, criminal acts to afford such luxury!

???: Hey now, Mr. Moriarty.

???: I can't speak for my ancestors, but I certainly have no recollection of being involved in anything of the sort.

Fujimaru 1: (This is the mansion's owner...?)

Moriarty: Hahahaha, forgive me. I was just having a bit of fun.

Fujimaru 2: (Sieg!?)

Moriarty: (This is not the Sieg you know from Chaldea. Make sure you speak to him as though he were a complete stranger.)

Moriarty: Fujimaru, this is our employer, Sieg.

Sieg: Nice to meet you, Fujimaru.

Sieg: I'm afraid you won't have much time to get your feet wet. Things are about to get very busy around here.

Sieg: Make sure that you treat all of our guests with the respect they deserve.

Sieg: Whatever you do, do not speak to them as though you are on friendly or familiar terms.

Sieg: As long as you remember that, you're free to handle your responsibilities however you see fit.

Sieg: Oh, and Mr. Moriarty? I'm counting on you to take care of that matter we discussed earlier.

Moriarty: ...And now you have met our employer.

Fujimaru 1: What's Sieg doing here...?

Moriarty: That will become clear once you see the guests we are about to meet.

Fujimaru 2: Who are these guests he mentioned...?

Moriarty: Good question. We will be paying them a visit shortly as well.

Moriarty: At peril of sounding like a broken try to contain your surprise.

Diarmuid: Well, well.

Diarmuid: I'm surprised to see a thug like you here, seeing how the only thing you're good for is guzzling cheap booze.

Diarmuid: It breaks my heart to see Lord Sieg disgrace himself with his poor choice of company.

Izo: Ha. I'm sorry, did you say something, old-timer? I could barely hear you over the sound of your bones creaking.

Izo: If there's anyone who doesn't deserve to be at this mansion, it's the worthless fossil who can't even set foot on a damn boat.

Yan Qing: Whoa, whoa, easy there, fellas.

Yan Qing: Sieg invited us all here, remember?

Yan Qing: So who cares about disgrace or worth! The important thing is, we all have the same qualifications to be here!

Yan Qing: ...Besides, none of us is ready now. Hell, they haven't even gotten here yet, right?

Diarmuid: ...Hmph. And here comes the hyena.

Yan Qing: Ooh, hyena, huh. I like that. They're the ones who always come out on top, seeing how they thrive off dead meat.

Izo: ... ...Tch.

Diarmuid: ...Well, no matter. We still have some time until the auction.

Diarmuid: If I were you, Yan Qing and Izo, I'd think long and hard about what I want to do with my life between now and the auction starting.

Yan Qing: Right on. Thanks for the tip!

Izo: Funny, I was about to tell you the same thing.

Izo: ...But then again, I guess there isn't much point in you thinking about what you want to do with your life.

Izo: At your age, all you've got left to do is pick out a burial plot.

Fujimaru 1: So Diarmuid, Yan Qing, and Izo are all here, too...

Moriarty: Yes, but keep in mind that they are not at all the people you know.

Fujimaru 2: Wait a minute. Is this what I think it is...?

Moriarty: Very astute, Fujimaru. Yes, I believe it's exactly as you suspect.

Moriarty: Perhaps you remember what happened during a similar incident not so long ago? A mystery of sorts at the Kogetsukan, yes?

Moriarty: Back then, I believe your brain substituted figures you were familiar with for those whom you had never met...

Moriarty: as to avoid overwhelming it with new visual information.

Moriarty: This time, the new figures may share their names with the ones you know, but in all other respects, it is the same phenomenon at work.

Fujimaru 1: What do they look like to you then, Moriarty?

Moriarty: Ah, yes. Unfortunately, they appear to be the same Servants to me as well.

Moriarty: But there are some...extenuating circumstances that give me a bit more insight into their true identities.

Moriarty: ...Simply put, these three...ah, gentlemen are gang leaders.

Moriarty: Diarmuid may not look the part, but I trust you can sort of see it with the other two, no?

Fujimaru 1: Well... Yeah, pretty much.

Moriarty: As for Diarmuid, I imagine he was chosen because his looks and attributes are similar to those of the man he's standing in for.

Moriarty: After all, his dapper looks have apparently made him quite the talk of the town as of late.

Fujimaru 1: And they don't get along very well, do they?

Moriarty: Indeed not.

Moriarty: Diarmuid's group has been based in this area for many years now, a gang with a long tradition.

Moriarty: They have their hands in every single one of this city's dark dealings and secrets, but they're also considered a pillar of the community.

Moriarty: Then, about twenty years ago, Yan Qing's gang came along and put paid to that peaceful state of affairs.

Moriarty: As soon as they came into the city, they were very aggressive about taking on whatever dirty work they could find...

Moriarty: ...including the type of jobs that Diarmuid's gang had long refused even to touch.

Moriarty: Naturally, this led to turf war after turf war, with both sides gunning for each other around the city.

Moriarty: That state of affairs continued for several years until about three years ago, when both sides decided to put an end to these killings and came to terms.

Moriarty: That was when Izo's gang of longshore workers came along and complicated things further.

Moriarty: Now, all three of these gangs are in a stalemate, ever at odds with one another.

Moriarty: Oh? You seem puzzled by something. Well, I suppose I can't blame you.

Fujimaru 1: Why couldn't two of the gangs just team up?

Moriarty: Unfortunately, that's easier said than done!

Moriarty: You see, each of the three gangs has something unique holding them back.

Fujimaru 2: How come the weakest gang didn't get wiped out?

Moriarty: Indeed, eliminating the weakest opposition is a classic for a reason.

Moriarty: But in this case, each of the three gangs has something unique keeping them safe, even as it holds them back.

Moriarty: Diarmuid's group has numbers on their side, and they're also the ones most entrenched in the city.

Moriarty: But in this case, that strength is also a weakness.

Moriarty: As long as he remains here, Diarmuid needs to keep up his image of a chivalrous man about town.

Moriarty: That makes his group old and staid, unable to make the bold moves necessary to remove the others.

Moriarty: Whereas Yan Qing's group is the newcomer that arrived in the city long after the status quo had been established.

Moriarty: The people of this city are highly unlikely to ever trust them...

Moriarty: ...but in turn, that gives them the freedom to do whatever they want.

Moriarty: As this city was never theirs, they feel no obligation to restrain themselves on its behalf.

Moriarty: And finally, we have Izo's gang.

Moriarty: They have the fewest numbers, but they also control the docks.

Moriarty: And since this city's industry depends on those docks, the other gangs can't do much to hurt them.

Moriarty: Do you follow me so far?

Fujimaru 1: I think so...

Moriarty: Good. Because it only gets more complicated from here!

Fujimaru 2: This is getting a lot more complicated!

Moriarty: Very well, let's see if we can't make it simpler...

Moriarty: Diarmuid controls the biggest gang, Yan Qing the medium-sized one...

Moriarty: ...and Izo the smallest. That is the key takeaway.

Moriarty: Does that help make it clearer?

Moriarty: Now then, I think we had best adjourn the lecture now in favor of doing our job for a bit.

Fujimaru 1: What is our job, exactly?

Moriarty: On another note!

Moriarty: We've got wyverns!

Fujimaru 1: Where'd that come from!?

Moriarty: That was the second most popular line in the “Things I've Always Wanted To Say” portion of the Servant Census.

Moriarty: Da Vinci put it together herself.

Fujimaru 2: Moriarty?

Moriarty: Please don't look at me like that!

Moriarty: In a strange twist of fate, it seems there are wyverns running–or rather, flying, around in this time period!

Moriarty: The little devils apparently like to sneak into this mansion, so Sieg has entrusted us with keeping them out!

Fujimaru 1: That is REALLY strange, you know!

Moriarty: Well, I do have an inkling or two as to how this state of affairs came to be...but for the moment, I think we had best focus on the wyverns at hand!

Moriarty: All right, Master, I'm counting on you for backup!


Fujimaru 1: How were THOSE wyverns!?

Moriarty: Indeed, it seems matters are even stranger than I expected...

Moriarty: Regardless, it does seem the part about them invading this mansion was true.

Moriarty: And it would certainly make things worse to have Demonic Beasts causing trouble now, while the gangs are already at odds with one another.

Moriarty: Good grief... All this, and it still hasn't even begun!

Fujimaru 1: What hasn't begun?

Moriarty: ...Heh heh heh.

Moriarty: The answer to that...will have to wait. Why, you ask?

Moriarty: Hold on, let me just put on my disguise here...

Holmes?: Because!

Holmes?: The time!

Holmes?: Is not yet right!

Moriarty: End of story!

Fujimaru 1: Was the disguise really necessary?

Fujimaru 2: Seems like an awful lot of trouble for so little payoff...

Moriarty: Heh. I'd say it was well worth it just to see you roll your eyes like that, Master.

Moriarty: Incidentally, that line took third place in the aforementioned Servant Census.

Moriarty: Which, once again, was put together by Da Vinci herself.

Moriarty: Boy, that really grinds my gears!

Section 2: Triangle Gang

Gang Member C: Oi, gimme more booze!

Gang Member B: Me too! C'mon, hurry it up!

Fujimaru 1: C-coming!

Fujimaru 2: Be right with you!

Gang Member A: Tch... I see you lot are just as disgraceful as ever.

Gang Member C: Oi, what'd you just say!?

Gang Member B: Keep your goddamn mouth shut if ya know what's good for ya, gramps!

Moriarty: All right, gentlemen, that is quite enough of that.

Moriarty: Let me remind you that it is my employer you would be inconveniencing if you fought here...

Moriarty: ...and that would certainly not be to any of your advantages.

Moriarty: At least, in my humble opinion.

Gang Member A: ...Hmph. Fine, whatever...

Gang Member B: You've got a lotta nerve talkin' to me like that, bartender...

Gang Member C: Hahahaha! Just goes to show how nobody respects you lot!

Moriarty: Fuhahahaha, it's wonderful to see you all enjoying yourselves!

Moriarty: But I must warn you...even I cannot guarantee a happy result should you engage in fisticuffs here.

Gang Members: Ghh...

Moriarty: Phew! Alcohol really is dangerous stuff, isn't it?

Moriarty: Perhaps we should simply close the bar down. Or at least ban them from the premises.

Sieg: Good thinking. In fact, I was just about to ask you to do that myself.

Sieg: Even guys like that should be able to control themselves as long as they stay away from alcohol.

Sieg: So from now on, I'd like you to limit the bar to myself, the different organizations' leaders...

Sieg: ...and the men who will be showing up soon.

Moriarty: You got it, boss.

Fujimaru 1: Understood!

Sieg: Good. I'll leave this in your capable hands then.

Sieg: ...So, this is really happening tomorrow.

Moriarty: I take it you are reluctant to part with it?

Sieg: Of course I am.

Sieg: That relic has been passed down within my family in secret for a thousand years.

Sieg: I never dreamed that I would ever let it go.

Sieg: But now that it's come out that it is in my possession, it could put the whole city at risk.

Sieg: So before word spreads too far, I plan to sell it to the highest bidder...

Sieg: ...and invest the money in helping this city prosper.

Moriarty: That's quite magnanimous of you, sir.

Moriarty: I promise you my cohort and I will do everything in our power to help you see this through.

Sieg: Thank you. I feel better knowing you're here. All right, see you later.

Moriarty: Phew, that was quite the little ordeal. ...Hm? Is something wrong, Master?

Fujimaru 1: What was that about a relic?

Moriarty: All will be clear tomorrow, you'll see. Now, what say we pick up our lecture from where we left off yesterday?

Moriarty: I trust you recall the three organizations' different characteristics now?

Fujimaru 1: All three are different sizes.

Fujimaru 2: All three are in very different positions.

Moriarty: Quite right!

Moriarty: Now then, let's assume each group pursues the best course of action for them to seize control of this city.

Moriarty: Group A, Diarmuid, would ideally like to team up with Izo to take out Yan Qing.

Moriarty: Once that's done, he could take his time folding Izo's small organization into his own.

Moriarty: But that would not be to Izo's interests.

Moriarty: While he may be able to get rid of Yan Qing that way, it would leave him helpless against Diarmuid.

Moriarty: And that, of course, would all but assure his defeat. As such, Izo can never team up with Diarmuid.

Moriarty: So then, you might think Izo could just team up with Yan Qing to take out Diarmuid, but there, too, you would be wrong.

Moriarty: After all, they too are now an inextricable part of the city!

Moriarty: Then, what if Group A, Diarmuid, teams up with Group B, Yan Qing, to take out Group C, Izo, first?

Moriarty: Yes, such a team up would let them take out Izo easily, but also lead to its own rather messy set of problems.

Moriarty: Without enough people working the docks, the city's economy would all but grind to a halt.

Moriarty: More than that, neither group truly NEEDS to team up with the other to take Izo down.

Moriarty: Both A and B would merely hope that their partner ends up bearing the lion's share of the losses in the battle to destroy C.

Moriarty: In summary, there is no viable path forward for any group. Forming an alliance, going on the attack...neither of these are feasible options.

Moriarty: It is quite the stalemate.

Moriarty: And now, something new is being added to the mix.

Moriarty: I trust I don't need to explain what a Holy Grail War is to you, do I, Master?

Sieg: ...Phew. It's almost time...

Sieg: Tomorrow, there's going to be a battle for control of this case. That's just the way it is.

Sieg: This is to help build a better future. I have to accept that there are going to be sacrifices.

Sieg: It won't be easy... But at this point, I see no alternative.

Sieg: We just aren't strong enough to keep this relic safe on our own anymore.

Diarmuid: Just keep cool for now. It all comes down to what happens next.

Diarmuid: We're the ones who'll be taking control of this city.

Diarmuid: We're not going to let these damned outsiders have so much as a scrap.

Diarmuid: As soon as the ritual is over, we're going to kill every last one of them...!

Yan Qing: ...Hehaha.

Yan Qing: I can hear that stuck-up old man yapping away. So much for that chivalrous routine he likes to put on.

Yan Qing: If he's gonna shake his cane at us for being outsiders after we've been here twenty years, we'll just spend two hundred years working our way in until we're a goddamn institution!

Yan Qing: This city wants us to take it over. It's practically begging for us to liven the place up.

Yan Qing: It all comes down to tomorrow. If the others think they can mess with us, they've got another thing coming!

Izo: We live by the sea, and we'll die by the sea.

Izo: Long as we've got this town by its lifeline, it doesn't matter how few of us there are. We're the strongest of them all.

Izo: And once this battle is over...we'll be the biggest, too.

Izo: If the losers refuse to get down on their knees and beg for mercy...

Izo: ...we'll just kill every last one of them!

Fujimaru 1: Did you say a Holy Grail War!?

Moriarty: Yes, but this will be something of a miniature version–a kind known as a Subspecies Holy Grail War.

Moriarty: Three mages are scheduled to arrive here tomorrow.

Moriarty: They will begin by making bids for the relic in question.

Moriarty: It holds considerable power, you see...

Moriarty: of course, the mages taking part in this Holy Grail War all wish to secure it for themselves.

Moriarty: But the real problem...

Moriarty: that each of the three warring gangs has backed a different mage.

Moriarty: In other words, whoever wins this Subspecies Holy Grail War will also win control of the city.

Fujimaru 1: Yikes.

Moriarty: Yikes indeed.

Fujimaru 2: Th-this is awful...

Moriarty: Uh, yes! Indeed it is!

Moriarty: Suffice to say, our role here...

Moriarty: to keep them all in check so as to minimize damage to the city.

Moriarty: Or so I gather.

Fujimaru 1: Okay, but how do we go about doing that?

Moriarty: Good question.

Moriarty: We can't count on backup from Chaldea, and you and I have limited options at best.

Moriarty: But, I can tell from the expression on your face that we must find a way, no matter what.

Moriarty: Very well, but there is little we can do now. At this point, it all comes down to tomorrow.

Moriarty: So tomorrow, let's begin by seeing what course of action each group chooses to pursue!


Fujimaru 1: Morning!

Moriarty: Good morning, Master.

Moriarty: Hehe, tell me, have you ever considered running a bar or a café once you've retired from Mastering?

Moriarty: I bet you would enjoy it quite a bit if you partnered up with the young Ms. Kyrielight!

Fujimaru 1: Running a bar with Mash...

Fujimaru 2: Running a café with Mash...

Mash: Welcome. I'll be your bartender for tonight. My name is Mash Kyrielight.

Mash: And as a bartender, I thought I should suit up for the occasion!

Mash: I can't drink alcohol myself, but I'll do my best with the cocktail shaking!

Mash: Ei! Yah! Hrah!

Fujimaru 1: So cute!

Mash: Welcome to Café Chaldea!

Mash: I'm Mash Kyrielight, your server for today. Please sit back and relax!

Mash: Oh, right. I almost forgot.

Mash: Welcome back, Senpai...♡

Fujimaru 1: I like that...

Fujimaru 2: Wh-what am I thinking? Mash would never say that.

Moriarty: ...All right, I think that's enough daydreaming. It would seem the mages have arrived.

Moriarty: I'm surprised to see all three of them here so early. Perhaps they just couldn't wait any longer!

Fujimaru 1: Me and Mash...

Moriarty: Are you still woolgathering!? Come on! Snap out of it!

Sieg: Good day, everyone. Welcome to my home.

Alexander: Mm, nice location. I'd love to requisition this place, land and all.

Prince of Lan Ling: ...I see you like to waste your time dwelling on trivialities, even when you're about to do battle.

Vlad III: Go ahead and think about whatever you like.

Vlad III: In the end, such thoughts are mere delusions. In a few days, you can waste your time grieving for the treasure you failed to claim.

Moriarty: ...Hmm.

Moriarty: And here I thought we would be seeing Casters show up to represent these mages...

Moriarty: I suppose we can take this as a sign that each of these mages is really quite battle-hungry.

Sieg: Allow me to welcome you all once again. I am honored to have you here in my home.

Sieg: ...But then, I guess there's no need to stand on ceremony, is there?

Sieg: You're all here for something I own. I'm aware of that.

Sieg: You also know that multiple sources are ninety percent sure that it's the genuine article.

Sieg: I expect, then, that you are all here to verify that last ten percent in person?

Alexander: Yeah, pretty much.

Alexander: None of us would be amused if we came all this way only to have it turn out to be counterfeit.

Prince of Lan Ling: Agreed. I don't wish to sound demanding, but I would indeed like to see it for myself.

Prince of Lan Ling: Naturally, I wouldn't dream of trying to kill the others at this time.

Prince of Lan Ling: And neither would you, Count Vlad, correct?

Vlad III: Of course not.

Vlad III: No true mage would be so foolish as to throw away their honor here. That would be an act of beasts, not men.

Vlad III: I would never do anything to disturb this peace while the item's owner shows us such hospitality.

Sieg: Thank you. All right then, you may go and see it for yourselves.

Sieg: This is the relic that has been passed down in my family for generations.

Sieg: The linden leaf that stuck to the back of a heroic dragon slayer.

Alexander: ...!

Alexander: It's... It's real! This is definitely the genuine article!

Alexander: I may not have been a mage for very long, but I can still recognize the real thing when I see it!

Prince of Lan Ling: Indeed. I can tell it is indeed what our host claims with merely a single look at its magnificence!

Prince of Lan Ling: Now I have no doubt that with this in hand I would win this Subspecies Holy Grail War!

Vlad III: ...I see.

Vlad III: So, this relic can serve as a catalyst with which to summon a powerful Servant.

Vlad III: Given that most such artifacts, such as the snakeskin to summon the King of Heroes, and the Gordian Knot to summon the King of Conquerors, have fallen into the Association's hands...

Vlad III: ...this could well be the last of its kind in the entire world.

Vlad III: For a relic like this, I would gladly take part in a Holy Grail War.

Sieg: ...I'm glad to see you all understand.

Sieg: I must ask you all to pay richly for a chance to own this relic...

Sieg: ...but I think you will agree that it is well worth it.

Sieg: As I'm sure you all know, this leaf is a powerful catalyst that can be used to summon the great hero Siegfried.

Sieg: Using this catalyst, your chances of summoning anyone else are negligible.

Sieg: It cannot be divided among you, however, as its effectiveness as a catalyst would be greatly compromised by the damage such division would cause.

Sieg: So only one of you may claim this relic.

Sieg: But no one need be hurt to do so. That is certainly not what I want.

Sieg: That is why I will be holding the auction.

Sieg: I have faith that you're all able and willing to pay what this relic is worth.

Mages: ... ...

Moriarty: (Very nice. Do you understand, Master?)

Moriarty: (All any of them care about is getting a jump on the others. Naturally, they're not afraid to get their hands dirty if it means gaining an edge.)

Moriarty: (Depending on how things go, there may not even be an auction at all.)

Fujimaru 1: (Isn't that dangerous?)

Moriarty: (Absolutely.)

Moriarty: (Now then, how should we go about this...)

Fujimaru 2: (What should we do?)

Moriarty: (An excellent question.)

Moriarty: (None of these mages, nor the gangs backing them...)

Moriarty: (...can afford to let anyone else have this relic.)

Alexander: ... ...Only one of us, huh.

Alexander: I'd love to resolve this peacefully if we could.

Prince of Lan Ling: As would I. But, that is easier said than done.

Prince of Lan Ling: Isn't that right, Count Vlad?

Vlad III: Izo.

Izo: What?

Vlad III: I need your entire fortune. That relic there is worth every penny of it.

Izo: A-are you nuts!? You want my entire fortune...

Izo: ...just to buy a damn leaf!?

Vlad III: Silence.

Vlad III: I don't mind letting you pretend to run the show in public.

Vlad III: But if I fail to acquire that leaf, you will spend the rest of your life paying me back.

Izo: Ghh...!

Alexander: ...Hmm.

Alexander: (Looks like I've got a real shot at this.)

Prince of Lan Ling: (So in the end it all comes down to money...)

Prince of Lan Ling: (Well, these are small-timers. They'll have to scrounge up every penny they can just to have a chance.)

Vlad III: (Normally, a catalyst of this quality would be forever beyond our reach. Only those ranked Pride or higher would even get to see it.)

Vlad III: (But since the only other mages here have loose ties to the Association, that opens up a wealth of options...)

Sieg: I'll be holding the auction tomorrow.

Sieg: The only ones who will be allowed to bid are Alexander, Prince of Lan Ling, and Vlad III.

Sieg: No exceptions.

Sieg: Even if any other mages should catch wind of this auction, and enter a bid higher than one of yours...

Sieg: ...we have no plans to alter the arrangement.

Vlad III: (Perfect!)

Sieg: All right, that's all for today. Please feel free to relax and enjoy yourselves until tomorrow.

Sieg: Of course, you are also free to take this time to put together as much money as you can, if you wish.

Sieg: ...Phew.

Sieg: Mr. Moriarty and...Fujimaru was it?

Sieg: Tomorrow is when your work really begins. I'm counting on you.

Moriarty: Understood.

Sieg: Great. Okay, see you later.

Moriarty: Well, we certainly have our work cut out for us, but for now, why don't we focus on the task at hand?

Fujimaru 1: Wyvern control?

Moriarty: You got it!

Fujimaru 2: Komodo dragon control?

Moriarty: It's supposed to be wyvern control, but never mind that now!

Section 3: My Fleeting Fate!

Moriarty: They say good wine makes good blood, but it can also be just as good at making bad blood.

Moriarty: How many times have we heard of someone committing an egregious breach of etiquette while under the influence?

Moriarty: I've heard mages have a way of neutralizing alcohol's effects...but I expect that only applies to the dangers of extreme overconsumption.

Moriarty: Once they are intoxicated, they are surely just as likely to loosen their lips as anyone else...

Moriarty: ...especially when speaking to ordinary bartenders like us.

Moriarty: So, why don't we start by bringing Alexander in here and seeing what we can learn from him?

Moriarty: ...Though I would like to ask that you do the talking, if you don't mind.

Moriarty: I'll stick to the occasional interjection.

Fujimaru 1: Why's that?

Moriarty: Well, my young friend, once you reach a certain age, it becomes extremely difficult not to always appear shady, particularly in younger company...

Fujimaru 2: I'll give it a shot!

Moriarty: Okeydokey!

Moriarty: ...Sorry. Spur of the moment.

Alexander: Alcohol?

Alexander: I'm not sure I understand. You want me to have a drink now, under these circumstances?

Alexander: ...Well, okay. They have a saying for this in China: “You can't catch a tiger cub without going into a tiger's den.”

Alexander: In other words, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Those other two have been mages a lot longer than me.

Alexander: So if I want to get ahead, I've just got to leap in without fear.

Alexander: Besides, I'm sure you two have some useful info of your own.

Moriarty: Here you go.

Alexander: (No sign of magical energy, let alone poison. But, I guess that's to be expected.)

Alexander: So, what do you call this?

Moriarty: That is a dry martini, the king of cocktails.

Moriarty: Seeing how you have an air of royalty about you, I thought it would be fitting.

Alexander: Huh, never heard of it.

Moriarty: (That's because it has yet to be invented.)

Alexander: Hey, that's pretty good...

Fujimaru 1: It's okay for you to drink, right?

Alexander: You're saying I look underage?

Alexander: Don't worry, I'm not. I'm just doing what I can to keep the ravages of time at bay.

Alexander: Though of course, I don't expect any other mages would take it easy on me just 'cause I look like a kid.

Fujimaru 1: Do you think you've got a good shot at the auction?

Alexander: That's what I came here to find out. Can I get another of these?

Moriarty: (Use the information I gave you earlier, Master.)

Fujimaru 1: Well, Yan Qing's organization is...

Fujimaru 2: Well, Izo's organization is...

Alexander: ...Now I see. So all three groups are dancing on a razor's edge.

Alexander: Well damn, now what do I do.

Alexander: I originally contacted Diarmuid's group because I heard they were the biggest player here...

Alexander: ...but if they're that closely tied to the city, that's really gonna hold me back.

Alexander: Not to mention that between the three of us mages, my family's got the shortest history.

Fujimaru 1: Does that mean you're the weakest?

Alexander: You don't mince words, do you!

Alexander: But, you're not wrong.

Fujimaru 2: Is there a problem with that?

Alexander: Mages are all about passing power down through generations. My family's only been at it for three hundred years.

Alexander: But those two have families that go back five hundred and seven hundred years.

Alexander: ...That said, my magecraft is pretty well-suited to combat, so that could tip the scales in my favor.

Fujimaru 1: Well-suited to combat!

Alexander: Yup. You know about centaurs, right?

Alexander: The legendary half-human, half-horse creatures?

Fujimaru 1: Yeah, sure do!

Alexander: I'm sure they were incredibly fast, but that's not the only reason they were so strong.

Alexander: No, they were strong because they focused all of their attention on pinpoint precision with their arrows, even while running at those incredible speeds.

Alexander: Concentration is key. Not just in magecraft, but in everything.

Alexander: If people could concentrate like a centaur, it would improve their abilities tenfold across the board.

Alexander: Even if you don't have a lot of magical energy to work with, if you focus, you could squeeze every last drop you have right into your magical circuits.

Fujimaru 1: You mean, like an energy-efficient battery?

Alexander: “Battery”?

Moriarty: Think of it as a kind of energy engine.

Moriarty: So, you use your body so efficiently that you're able to boost not just combat abilities, but all abilities.

Moriarty: Quite the superhuman training regimen.

Fujimaru 2: I don't know what you're talking about, but it sounds impressive.

Alexander: Ahaha, don't worry, you'll see soon enough.

Alexander: Anyway, you're going to pump the other mages for information too, right?

Alexander: I sure would appreciate it if you let me in on what you learn, too!

Moriarty: A mage who tries his hardest to compensate for being the weakest, hm. That's an admirable attitude with which to go into battle...

Moriarty: ...but it would seem to make him something of a poor ally for Diarmuid.

Fujimaru 1: How so?

Moriarty: Left to his own devices, Alexander would surely do whatever it takes to win...

Moriarty: ...but Diarmuid is more concerned with playing by the rules and winning fairly and honorably.

Moriarty: It may not be an issue in the beginning, but by the end, the disparity in their methods could very well spell their doom.

Moriarty: Now then, why don't we see what Prince of Lan Ling has to say!

Prince of Lan Ling: Alcohol, huh.

Prince of Lan Ling: ...I see nothing to fear.

Prince of Lan Ling: I would have no trouble breaking alcohol down with one hand tied behind my back, after all.

Prince of Lan Ling: I am happy to drink this if it will help me acquire information.

Moriarty: Coming right up, sir.

Moriarty: Here's your cocktail. This is called a silver bullet.

Prince of Lan Ling: Silver bullet?

Moriarty: Indeed. That is what you use when slaying monsters, is it not?

Prince of Lan Ling: Hmm. So it's a good luck charm, is it?

Prince of Lan Ling: ...Well, I suppose I'll need all the help I can get. Alexander I can handle, but Vlad is a formidable opponent.

Fujimaru 1: What if you and Alexander teamed up?

Prince of Lan Ling: ...That's a good idea.

Prince of Lan Ling: And I'm sure Alexander would also prefer to go up against me rather than Vlad.

Prince of Lan Ling: But I don't think Yan Qing would go for that... Then again, I suppose if I want to know, I'll have to ask.

Prince of Lan Ling: And he does need to understand that Vlad III is our greatest threat...

Fujimaru 1: What's Count Vlad like as a mage?

Prince of Lan Ling: Well, the rumor is that he uses blood as a catalyst for his magecraft.

Prince of Lan Ling: Whether that's true or not, I do know that both his magical crest and his magical circuits are stellar.

Prince of Lan Ling: His magecraft may not be focused on combat, but I doubt he will have any trouble keeping up.

Prince of Lan Ling: As for Alexander... Oho, imitating the centaurs, huh?

Prince of Lan Ling: If that's true, it would seem to have very narrow applications, but I suppose it would also be rather difficult to predict.

Prince of Lan Ling: Thank you for the drink. It was delicious. I think I will go see if Alexander would be amenable to working together.

Prince of Lan Ling: Hm? What is my magecraft like? Hehe, how silly to think I would tell you that.

Prince of Lan Ling: The very basis of magecraft is secrecy. That is as true today as it was in ancient times.

Prince of Lan Ling: That said, it would not be difficult to figure out if you examined my magical lineage.

Prince of Lan Ling: I hope tomorrow's auction goes smoothly... for all our sakes.

Moriarty: All right, that just leaves Count Vlad...though who knows if he'll actually come.

Vlad III: I have come.

Moriarty: You have!?

Moriarty: How in the world did you convince him?

Vlad III: It's simple, bartender.

Vlad III: Your pupil there was unfailingly polite when [♂ he /♀ she] expressed [♂ his /♀ her] wish to entertain me.

Vlad III: It was clear that [♂ he /♀ she] meant every word, and I intuited no signs of malice whatsoever.

Vlad III: And so it is only proper that I accept [♂ his /♀ her] invitation, lest it reflect poorly on me as a mage.

Vlad III: Now, come and celebrate my victory, bartender.

Moriarty: ...Very well. May I suggest a Bloody Mary?

Vlad III: You may. I know nothing of alcohol and its intricacies in any case.

Vlad III: I see. So that bastard Prince of Lan Ling told you about my magecraft, did he?

Vlad III: Even if he did avoid going into detail, I can't say I enjoy having someone else share my secrets.

Vlad III: Not to mention it seems a tad unfair that he insists on keeping his own magecraft a secret.

Vlad III: So go ahead and tell Alexander this:

Vlad III: Prince of Lan Ling's magecraft is based on beauty. He uses curses to entrance his targets and bring about their downfall.

Vlad III: However, while that may work on ordinary men, it will have no effect on me.

Vlad III: If anything, it is Alexander who may hope to stand against me.

Vlad III: All that remains is to see how much money Izo is able and willing to pony up. But these men are no fools.

Vlad III: They are willing to make great sacrifices if it means gaining control of this city.

Vlad III: ...Hmm. I still don't know much about alcohol, but I do like this brilliant red color.

Vlad III: Once I've obtained the catalyst for myself, I think I'll celebrate with another of these Bloody Marys.

Moriarty: ...Well, he was certainly the most imposing, wasn't he? Though he also seems not so much guarded as...oblivious?

Fujimaru 1: Yeah, I'll go with oblivious.

Moriarty: All right, now that we've got more information to work with, let's see if we can't make some sense of it.

Moriarty: First of all, while these mages share a name, body, and personality with the Servants they appear to be...

Moriarty: ...they are not actually those Servants. I trust you already understand that?

Moriarty: The Vlad III we spoke to may sound like the same one we know...

Moriarty: ...but in reality, he may speak completely differently. Even boorishly.

Moriarty: For that matter, Prince of Lan Ling may not even be from China.

Moriarty: But we perceive them as the Servants we know, and thus hear their words in a way matching that perception.

Moriarty: The same thing happens whenever we speak to them. Before our words can reach their brains, they are processed to fall in line with their perceptions.

Moriarty: That is why we can address an ordinary mage as Vlad III without causing any problems.

Fujimaru 1: This is getting confusing...

Fujimaru 2: I don't know how I'm gonna keep this all straight...

Moriarty: If you think that's confusing, wait till you hear this next part!

Moriarty: Since each of the three gangs are working with one of the mages, you might think there are only three factions at play here...

Moriarty: ...but in actuality, there are six!

Moriarty: Each faction is trying to obtain power and treasure to realize their own ambitions.

Moriarty: And we–

Fujimaru 1: Are gonna swoop in at the end and take it all for ourselves?

Moriarty: My, you are just a cunning devil after my own heart, Master. But no.

Fujimaru 2: Are gonna make sure none of them succeed?

Moriarty: Exactly!

Moriarty: As for our exact plan of action, I think that can wait until tomorrow.

Moriarty: If I've read the situation correctly, something will happen at the auction.

Moriarty: For the time being we had best take the opportunity to rest while we can to prepare for tomorrow!

Moriarty: Well, good night.

Fujimaru 1: ...I can't sleep...

Moriarty: Oh, up already? It's not even daybreak yet.

Fujimaru 1: I just couldn't seem to fall asleep...

Moriarty: I see. Hmm. In that case...

Moriarty: ...perhaps it would help if I told you a story from my own admittedly checkered past?

Fujimaru 1: I'd love to hear any story you're willing to tell!

Fujimaru 2: (This feels a little weird, but) sure!

Moriarty: Heh.

Moriarty: In truth, much of my life was actually quite dull.

Moriarty: What's that? Is it because I'm a fictional character? I'm not so sure.

Moriarty: AM I a fictional character?

Moriarty: Or did James Moriarty truly exist at some point?

Moriarty: Did the events that make up my past truly happen?

Moriarty: ...At this point, that is really not so important a distinction as you might think.

Moriarty: All that really matters is that I'm here now.

Narration: ...My childhood memories are all rather hazy.

Narration: There is only one thing that I remember from them: equations.

Narration: I remember their cleanliness. The beauty inherent in their structure. How gentle they could be...and how terrifying.

Narration: It is thanks to equations that one can determine precisely where a ball will land once thrown.

Narration: ...I think, back when I was just a boy, I would often ponder why no one else seemed to realize their appeal.

Narration: Once I had reached what most would consider an adult age, I wrote a book:

Narration: “The Dynamics of an Asteroid”...

Narration: But it never saw the light of day, thanks to the mathematicians who saw it buried before it took off.

Narration: But honestly, I can't say I was surprised.

Narration: I knew all too well how petty and guarded people could be.

Narration: All the more so once they realized the terrifying implications of my book.

Narration: Still, despite my lack of surprise, I was at a loss as to how to respond. How, then, was I to verify the equation therein?

Narration: I remember cocking my head and thinking to myself, “Now what am I going to do?”

Narration: I didn't want to go my whole life without ever knowing if that equation was correct or not.

Narration: This may make me sound like a petulant child...but I simply did not like that idea. Not one bit.

Narration: I was sure I could prove my equation was correct. I HAD to prove it was correct.

Narration: So I decided to turn to evil.

Fujimaru 1: ...Why?

Moriarty: Hmm, I suppose I cannot possibly expect you to understand that part, no.

Moriarty: I wanted to prove beyond all doubt how beautiful and terrifying my equation was.

Moriarty: So I swore I would do whatever I must to make that happen, and eliminate anyone who stood in my way.

Moriarty: From there, I devoted myself solely to calculating one thing:

Moriarty: How could I go about proving this equation to the world at large?

Moriarty: And the conclusion I reached was that I must turn to evil.

Moriarty: As an evil man, I would use this equation to wreak destruction upon the world.

Moriarty: My next step was to form an organization.

Moriarty: I mixed intricate schemes into evil that typically tended toward straightforward simplicity.

Moriarty: I provided wisdom and intelligence to evil that typically resorted to brute strength and violence.

Moriarty: I piled up evil deeds upon evil deeds, until one day...

Moriarty: ...that accursed detective brought me to justice.

Fujimaru 1: What did you expect?

Moriarty: ...A fair point!

Moriarty: From my perspective, I thought I was just advising everyone to take notice of me.

Moriarty: But once they started calling me “genius,” “scum,” “morally bankrupt,” “monster,” and “the Napoleon of crime”...

Moriarty: ...well, I suppose I let all of that go to my head.

Moriarty: But regardless, Fujimaru, even with all that said...

Moriarty: ...I don't regret my decision to turn to a life of evil.

Moriarty: There is one–no, two reasons for that.

Moriarty: I enjoyed myself immensely. Yes, I admit it: I truly AM morally bankrupt.

Moriarty: But in spite of that, or perhaps because of it, I can say without a doubt that few have enjoyed their lives so thoroughly as I enjoyed mine.

Moriarty: It was grand fun to see people playing into my hands, and even more fun to see them falling into my traps.

Moriarty: Watching them stumble off a cliff, or trip on a pebble, or have a vase come crashing down on them, were some of the greatest moments of hilarity I ever witnessed!

Fujimaru 1: Talk about Chaotic-Evil...!

Moriarty: Indeed.

Fujimaru 2: That doesn't sound fun to me at all.

Moriarty: ...I'm impressed you can look me right in the eye when you say that.

Moriarty: Of course, it isn't as though I was riding high for the rest of my life.

Moriarty: I met my end tumbling down the Reichenbach Falls.

Moriarty: It was a miserable end, but properly befitting a criminal like myself. And to make matters worse, the man I tried to drag down with me ended up surviving.

Moriarty: I remember how ashy gray the sky was that day, at a time that was neither morning nor evening. How the icy cold waters seemed to scream like machine-gun fire.

Moriarty: It's quite strange, really. Why in the world did I challenge him to a fistfight?

Moriarty: If I am merely fictional, then I'm sure I did so purely to satisfy the demands of the plot. But if I did actually exist, then I think I understand.

Moriarty: ...I must have wanted to show him what a villain like me is truly made of.

Moriarty: All right, back to bed with you! Surely you must be bored enough now to drift right off.

Fujimaru 1: Wait. What about the other reason?

Fujimaru 2: What's the second reason you don't regret your choice?

Moriarty: Oh come now, do I really have to spell it out?

Moriarty: Because if it wasn't for my life of crime, I would never have gotten to meet you!

Moriarty: Hahaha, now, now, don't be bashful. Even aged gentlemen like me are, at times, prone to sentiment.

Moriarty: All right, that's quite enough. Off to bed with you! Good night!

Section 4: Triangle Magus

Fujimaru 1: Time for the auction, huh...

Moriarty: All right, let's see what happens toda–

Sieg: C-come quick!

Sieg: The relic's been stolen!!!

Moriarty: D-did you say stolen!?

All: ... ...

Fujimaru 1: (It's scary, seeing them all on edge like this.)

Moriarty: (Not one word. Anything could set them off right now...)

Fujimaru 2: (This is SO not good...)

Moriarty: (One little push is all it would take to have them at each other's throats. As we'd be caught in the cross fire, I'd rather not see that happen.)

Sieg: ...As you can see...

Sieg: ...the linden leaf, the perfect catalyst with which to summon Siegfried the Dragon Slayer, has been stolen.

Diarmuid: ...What sort of security measures did you have in place?

Sieg: As I demonstrated to all six of you yesterday, I didn't leave it anywhere that an ordinary thief could have taken it.

Alexander: True. But that wouldn't be much help if the thief was a skilled mage.

Vlad III: ...Oho. I'm surprised to hear you so willingly giving voice to your own ineptitude.

Vlad III: That aside, I can say from what I saw yesterday that the catalyst's defenses focused on alerts.

Izo: What's that mean?

Vlad III: It means that we should have heard an alarm blaring throughout the mansion, no matter how it was stolen.

Sieg: That security spell has been passed down in my family for generations.

Sieg: But I am not a mage, so I have no real idea of how it works.

Vlad III: You two. As mages yourselves, surely you understand.

Vlad III: Magecraft may be capable of anything, but it is far from perfect.

Vlad III: To steal the catalyst without setting off the alarm...

Vlad III: ...would require two skilled mages working together.

Vlad III: Even I could not do this alone.

Alexander: So what, you're saying the two of us are in cahoots?

Alexander: If you ask me, I think it's way more likely that the owner faked this theft so he could keep his heirloom for himself.

Sieg: ...I can only say that I would never do such a thing.

Sieg: I have no reason to want to keep it for myself. It's nothing but a burden for me.

Sieg: As it plays such a valuable part in Holy Grail Wars, there are no end of people who have designs on it.

Sieg: Trust me, I have no irrational attachment to it just because it happens to be a family heirloom.

Prince of Lan Ling: Well then...who DID steal it?

Diarmuid: ...Now what do we do? This is quite the pretty pickle.

Yan Qing: ... ...

Diarmuid: Yan Qing.

Diarmuid: Given that the blame for this theft lies with Sieg, I suggest we–

Yan Qing: Now I see. It was you.

Diarmuid: ...Oho, interesting. Care to repeat that?

Yan Qing: No, no, it's okay, you don't have to hide it. I mean, you and Sieg go way back, right?

Yan Qing: It makes perfect sense for you to cut a deal ahead of time.

Diarmuid: ...How dare you!?

Izo: Yeah, yeah, act offended all you want. Doesn't change the fact that you're still the most likely suspect.

Diarmuid: ...Well, well.

Diarmuid: I knew not to expect much in the way of manners from a man of the sea...

Diarmuid: ...but if you're willing to goad us into a fight, you have more guts than I thought.

Alexander: ...Just so we're clear, I didn't steal it.

Alexander: If anything, I had a better chance in the auction.

Alexander: It wouldn't make sense for me to go to the trouble of stealing it.

Prince of Lan Ling: I did not steal it either. If anyone here would have a motive to steal it...

Prince of Lan Ling: ...wouldn't that be the skilled mage with the least money to spend?

Vlad III: ...Oh?

Alexander: Makes sense to me.

Alexander: Your family might have a long history, but they haven't done well keeping up with the times.

Alexander: The whole reason you're taking part in this Subspecies Holy Grail War is because you need money, right?

Alexander: Prince of Lan Ling and I both have money to spare, so there's no reason for either of us to assume the risks involved with stealing it.

Vlad III: That sounds like a challenge to me.

Alexander: ...!

Sieg: Wait! Please, wait! I'm begging you, don't fight here!

Sieg: ...I have a suggestion.

Sieg: Everyone here, human and mage alike, has their own possible motives, and their own reasons to be suspected.

Sieg: So I say we at least let everyone make their case to someone impartial, without any stake in this outcome.

Fujimaru 1: (I don't like where this is going...!)

Moriarty: (Indeed, you have every reason not to.)

Sieg: Mr. Moriarty. Fujimaru.

Sieg: I'd like you two to be the judges. I do not, however, want you selecting suspects.

Sieg: I only want you to determine who we can rule out. Once we know that, we should be able to resolve this.

Fujimaru 1: I'll do my best.

Sieg: Thank you...!

Fujimaru 2: What do you think, Moriarty?

Moriarty: ...That's fine with me, of course.

Moriarty: However, we have one condition.

Sieg: What is it...?

Moriarty: It's simple.

Moriarty: We can't leave ourselves open to accusations of bribery, or this will all be for naught.

Moriarty: So I would like a mage from an opposing faction to be present during our questioning.

Moriarty: For example, when we speak to Alexander, I would request that either Count Vlad or Prince of Lan Ling be present.

Moriarty: Though of course, I will also insist that they refrain from comment during the proceedings.

Sieg: That sounds safe and reasonable. I trust all of you are okay with that?

Vlad III: ...Fine with me.

Vlad III: Then I shall go first. One of you, come with me.

Alexander: ...All right, I'll go.

Vlad III: The thief is almost certainly Prince of Lan Ling.

Fujimaru 1: How can you be so sure?

Vlad III: I know that I did not steal it.

Vlad III: And Alexander has the least reason to steal it himself. Thus, by the process of elimination, it must be Prince of Lan Ling.

Vlad III: He is the only mage here whose power is ill-suited to fighting a Holy Grail War.

Vlad III: And if he wished to resell it, he would not want to waste his own money in an auction.

Moriarty: Hmm.

Vlad III: Furthermore, Prince of Lan Ling's magecraft is particularly well-suited to thievery.

Vlad III: He could have easily used his beauty to manipulate others into doing his bidding–

Moriarty: But let us not forget, Count Vlad, that you have just as much of a motive as he does.

Fujimaru 1: They did say you've been having some financial difficulties...

Vlad III: ... ...

Vlad III: ...That is true. But, I was also quite confident in my chances at victory.

Vlad III: I would never resort to petty larceny to acquire what I desire.

Vlad III: And so I believe the guilty party is Prince of Lan Ling, and ask that you proceed accordingly.

Vlad III: That is all I have to say.

Prince of Lan Ling: Hmm. So Count Vlad will be keeping an eye on me, huh.

Prince of Lan Ling: ...I think it was Alexander, though.

Fujimaru 1: Why's that?

Prince of Lan Ling: From where I stand, he is the most suspicious of those present, by far.

Prince of Lan Ling: Yes, on the surface, it may seem like he has the least motive. He is certainly the richest of us, thanks to his dealings with legitimate businesses.

Prince of Lan Ling: But if you consider it from a different angle, wealth is all he has.

Prince of Lan Ling: He has no connections to the Mage's Association, so taking part in this Subspecies Holy Grail War is the only hope he has to advance.

Prince of Lan Ling: If he failed to win the auction, he would have nothing left at all.

Moriarty: Hm?

Moriarty: I'm not sure I follow. How would losing the auction leave him off any worse than before, then?

Prince of Lan Ling: You mean you didn't know?

Prince of Lan Ling: We each had to pay an enormous fee just for the opportunity to bid.

Prince of Lan Ling: And we don't get it back if we lose.

Prince of Lan Ling: So if, by some chance, he did end up losing the auction, he would then be no more than a penniless third-rate mage.

Prince of Lan Ling: Whereas Count Vlad and I both have our legacies to fall back on.

Prince of Lan Ling: Seems to me that the ability, or lack thereof, to pick one's self up again after a setback would be a substantial motive. Don't you agree?

Alexander: Hmm. Whatever the others might say, I know I didn't take it.

Alexander: So I can only guess it was Count Vlad.

Alexander: I'm pretty sure Prince of Lan Ling has enough money to go toe to toe with me in an auction, after all.

Alexander: ...Of course, if push came to shove, he could have always resorted to trying to take it by force...

Alexander: ...but if that was his plan, he could have just waited until after the auction was over.

Alexander: So yeah, I think I have to go with Count Vlad here.

Fujimaru 1: I'm pretty sure the Count has thought up some kind of plan...

Alexander: I'm sure he was just bluffing.

Alexander: He might be a talented mage, but it still would've been risky for him to come under the spotlight there.

Alexander: Not to mention Izo's gang doesn't seem like they'd be much help.

Alexander: Oh, hey, I just remembered we had a deal, didn't we? Did you find out anything useful?

Fujimaru 1: Prince of Lan Ling uses, uh...

Prince of Lan Ling: I don't mind you sharing what you know.

Prince of Lan Ling: Information that basic will come to light soon enough anyway.

Alexander: Hmm. Magecraft that charms targets with beauty, huh...

Alexander: I'm sure it has its uses, but he'd be the first to die in a Holy Grail War unless he had a powerful Servant.

Prince of Lan Ling: ...Hmph.

Fujimaru 2: Count Vlad uses...

Alexander: Blood magecraft?

Alexander: ...Blood is definitely an important catalyst for magecraft.

Alexander: And if his family's been developing it for hundreds of years...

Alexander: could be something miraculous, combat-oriented or not.

Alexander: But anyway, figuring out which of them stole it isn't automatically going to bring it back.

Alexander: Wait, hang on. I just had a thought.

Alexander: Maybe someone in one of this city's gangs got greedy.

Alexander: That relic is damn near priceless, after all.

Alexander: Somebody might've gotten in touch with another mage to try and sell it for an even higher price.

Alexander: Anyway, that's all I've got to say.

Moriarty: ...Care for a drink?

Moriarty: For you, we've got water and dihydrogen monoxide. Which would you prefer?

Fujimaru 1: That's just water!

Moriarty: Hahaha, you know I can't go letting you have alcohol. Anyway, I'd say we've learned some rather interesting tidbits so far.

Moriarty: Every one of them insisted they had not committed the theft.

Moriarty: And they all named someone different for the culprit.

Moriarty: Money, skill in magecraft, timing...

Moriarty: All three of them enjoy success in one area, but none of them have it all.

Fujimaru 1: So, now what do we do?

Fujimaru 2: Then how are we supposed to tell who did it?

Moriarty: A good question, to be sure.

Moriarty: Each of them is suspicious, each had motive, and certainly each had opportunity.

Moriarty: And on top of all that, not a one of them has an alibi.

Moriarty: A wonderfully convenient state of affairs for whoever is behind this, wouldn't you agree?

Fujimaru 1: What do you mean by that...?

Moriarty: Oh come now, don't tell me you've forgotten?

Moriarty: This all took place in the past, so I happen to know what occurs next.

Moriarty: With each side's agent suspecting the other, the three gangs will wage a battle so fierce that it envelops the entire city, resulting in tremendous loss of life.

Moriarty: At least that is the outcome as I heard it.

Fujimaru 1: Now that you mention it...

Moriarty: But, we still have to stop that from happening, don't we?

Fujimaru 2: Sorry, I forgot.

Moriarty: Well, I can't blame you for that. I almost forgot, too.

Moriarty: ...Now then.

Moriarty: Given what we already know and just learned, I did some digging of my own.

Moriarty: Eavesdropping on the various gang members' conversations, stealing a glance at their ledgers... That sort of thing.

Moriarty: And as it turns out...

Fujimaru 1: Well, I know a lot more now than I did before, but–

Diarmuid: Oh, if it isn't the apprentice bartender.

Fujimaru 1: Good evening.

Diarmuid: You shouldn't be wandering around so late at night, not with this mansion's security being so lax.

Fujimaru 1: (It's kind of refreshing, hearing him talk like this...)

Diarmuid: I was born in this city, you know. I plan to die here as well.

Diarmuid: That may not mean much to you since you're not from here, but for me, there could be no better end.

Diarmuid: But with each year that passes, that seems less and less likely.

Diarmuid: Between all these telegrams and now ships circling the globe, the world just keeps getting smaller.

Diarmuid: And while I've never seen one myself, they say they even have ships that can fly nowadays.

Diarmuid: Ships have allowed this city to flourish, and now, everyone wants a share of the profit for themselves.

Diarmuid: I just hoped to prevent that desire for profit from breaking out into a war.

Fujimaru 1: Are you thinking about retiring?

Diarmuid: How did you know that?

Diarmuid: ...Yes, I am. I think I have been in this game as long as I can stand.

Diarmuid: Anyway, I'd better be on my way. This wind is absolutely freezing.

Izo: ...Tch, so the geezer's finally acting his age.

Izo: You hear that, apprentice? The old man wants to retire, huh?

Izo: What a joke. Once he retires, that'll be it. This city'll become one big battleground.

Izo: Me and Yan Qing'll be fighting each other tooth and nail for control of the place.

Izo: And in the end, some outsider'll just come waltzing in and take it all for themselves.

Izo: ...This city's only going to get bigger and bigger. We can't go closing it off to the outside world.

Izo: I can't blame Yan Qing's gang for going wild sometimes.

Izo: Frankly, people have even started complaining about them to me.

Izo: They say they see them being rowdy at restaurants, or getting drunk, and all kinds of petty stuff like that.

Fujimaru 1: Are you sure you don't want to reconcile with him?

Izo: Believe me, I wish it were that simple.

Izo: People in our business don't take the peaceful approach seriously. That's just the way of the world.

Izo: ...By the way, that bartender friend of yours is pretty strong, isn't he?

Izo: From the looks of it, I'd say he's... Nah, never mind.

Izo: You don't seem the bloody sort. Nothing wrong with that.

Izo: (Sigh)... If only the world was a little simpler...

Yan Qing: Oh hey, it's the apprentice kid. You figure out who the thief is?

Yan Qing: ...On second thought, don't tell me. I think it'd only complicate things if I found out now.

Yan Qing: I saw Izo grumbling. Did something happen?

Yan Qing: Sounds like he's got it rough.

Yan Qing: And of course, his men are all brutes. He's the only one in that gang who actually thinks before he acts.

Yan Qing: Still, I know what he means when he says he wishes the world were simpler.

Yan Qing: It's been twenty years since me and my crew wound up in this city, but they still refuse to accept us.

Yan Qing: It's hard not to get a bit depressed when you can't even go out for a meal and not have it be a big deal for people to bitch about.

Yan Qing: So I decided to bring everyone together...

Yan Qing: make the city admit they needed us.

Yan Qing: But now, we've got mages involved, and we're all fighting for control of some weird relic.

Yan Qing: ...I don't even know what to make of it. Life is freakin' bizarre, and there's no knowing what's what you know?

Fujimaru 1: Sounds like you've got it rough, too...

Yan Qing: Some things, you just have to suffer for. At least, that's what I want to think.

Yan Qing: Though honestly, I'd rather be living on easy street. I mean, who wouldn't?

Yan Qing: So don't go making the same mistake I did, kid. Make sure you choose a fun life, not a hard one.

Fujimaru 1: That's what I'm trying to do...

Fujimaru 2: Easier said than done...

Yan Qing: Hahaha, tell you what. If you ever decide to settle down in this city, that's when I'll listen to your sob story.

Yan Qing: But anyway, I probably shouldn't be seen talking with you for too long.

Yan Qing: So, see you tomorrow.

Fujimaru 1: Good night.

Moriarty: I can't say I approve of you going off on these nighttime walks without a Servant.

Moriarty: But then, there are guards from all three gangs keeping an eye on things.

Moriarty: I suppose the odds of something dangerous happening are–

Moriarty: Well now, how is THAT for timing!?

Moriarty: But what could they possibly be thinking, going after us?

Moriarty: I'm not sure whether they're out to make a show of their incompetence or to actually take out their rivals.

Moriarty: In the end, it won't matter if they manage to take us out or not.

Moriarty: Just the fact that they tried is an egregious violation of trust!

Moriarty: As for why they would go to such deplorable lengths...

Moriarty: Ah, but I'm getting ahead of myself. Once again, now is not the time!

Fujimaru 1: Come on, we need to fight!

Moriarty: Right you are.

Moriarty: That they all have firearms trained on us would seem to be a clear expression of hostile intent.

Moriarty: So I have no compunction against crushing this lot.

Moriarty: Oh, and by the way, this may come as a surprise to you, but I am QUITE potent in a fight!

Moriarty: All right then, let's show these goons what for, my young bartender Master!


Diarmuid: What's all the commotion?

Yan Qing: ...Huh?

Izo: I thought I heard gunshots...

Moriarty: Oh, don't worry, everything's under control! Just a slight misunderstanding!

Moriarty: I assure you we're quite all right. Now go on, get out of here!

Moriarty: Listen to me.

Moriarty: If you three get mixed up in this now, it will only make the situation worse!

All Three: ... ...

Diarmuid: ...All right. Yan Qing, Izo, I trust you're both okay with that, too?

Yan Qing: ...Fine by me.

Izo: I'm going to bed. I've had enough of this shit for one day.

Moriarty: ...There we go.

Moriarty: I don't think we would have gained any pertinent information from questioning them anyway.

Moriarty: Now then, tell me, Master: Who do you think sent those thugs after us?

Moriarty: Diarmuid? Yan Qing? Izo? Alexander? Prince of Lan Ling? Vlad III?

Moriarty: Every one of them is a viable suspect. They all have motive, opportunity, and the money with which to hire the thugs we've just dispatched.

Moriarty: However...

Moriarty: Just because they had motive, opportunity, and money to send people after us, does it necessarily follow that they did so?

Moriarty: What do you think?

Fujimaru 1: I don't think any of them are the type to go after someone like me.

Moriarty: Yes, exactly! The rules for these kind of skirmishes don't apply to you.

Fujimaru 2: They're not exactly good people, but...

Moriarty: That's true. They are most certainly not good people.

Moriarty: But, neither are they so evil that they would readily order the murder of an innocent young [♂ man /♀ lady].

Moriarty: They are, of course, citizens of the underworld and mages, respectively.

Moriarty: Were it truly necessary to achieve their goals, I have no doubt they would kill us.

Moriarty: But by that same token, they would not go out of their way to kill us when there is no pressing need to do so.

Moriarty: Anyway, tonight is the final night, making tomorrow the final morning.

Moriarty: The morning when everyone shall draw the losing straw, and lose something precious to them.

Moriarty: All right, Master, let's bring this case to a neat, tidy close!

Section 5: Old Spider

Sieg: All right, Mr. Moriarty, tell us what you found out.

Moriarty: Very well. May I have everyone's attention, please?

Moriarty: As you know, a priceless relic was stolen from this estate.

Moriarty: Yesterday, my apprentice and I talked to all of you on behalf of our employer, Mr. Sieg, to make sure nothing had been overlooked.

Moriarty: To leap ahead somewhat and begin with the conclusion, each of you has your own reasons for being a perfectly viable suspect.

Moriarty: Mr. Diarmuid is on the brink of retirement. Mr. Yan Qing is worried about his subordinates' future.

Moriarty: Mr. Izo is concerned with how the growing marine transport industry will encroach on his business.

Moriarty: But the one thing you all have in that none of you can throw caution to the wind.

Moriarty: Should one of you step out of line, the others will devour you. So, you wait.

Moriarty: Then one day, Mr. Sieg shows up offering to let you bid on an invaluable relic. No doubt the news nearly gave you heart palpitations.

Moriarty: Surely, this would be the chance you have been waiting for; a chance for something to change. Am I correct so far?

Diarmuid: ...I'd say so. Yan Qing and Izo probably already realized this, but yes, I have been thinking of retiring.

Diarmuid: Though of course, I would never do so while leaving my work unfinished.

Moriarty: And that brings us to my first point.

Moriarty: You wish to break this stalemate, so you mean to acquire the relic.

Moriarty: This is, however, far from the true equation.

Moriarty: While the three mages see it as their ticket to a surefire victory, and each wishes to get his hands on it no matter the cost...

Moriarty: ...the three gang leaders don't care who gets it, for the stalemate will be broken regardless.

Moriarty: Thus, none of them have any motive to steal it. In fact, they have a clear motive NOT to.

Yan Qing: ...Okay, since it sounds like you've taken me off the suspect list, I'm just gonna ask: What is this motive?

Moriarty: Tell me, what would you think if one organization suddenly came into a great deal of money under these circumstances?

Yan Qing: Well, I'd probably suspect they stole the relic and sold it.

Yan Qing: ...Ah. Got it.

Moriarty: There you are. In essence, as long as the current state of affairs continues...

Moriarty: ...none of you are free to move any large sums around, whether from selling the relic or anything else.

Moriarty: I imagine that would be quite a serious problem for an organization, no? Especially yours, Mr. Izo.

Izo: ...Well, I wasn't planning on keeping this secret, but I am expecting a nice bit of cash in the near future.

Izo: If I stole that relic, you'd all only have more reason to suspect me.

Moriarty: Precisely. All of this is to say that the three gang leaders each have their own reasons for wanting the auction to go ahead.

Moriarty: Even if Mr. Diarmuid had lost, it would give him a perfect excuse to retire, to gracefully bow out.

Moriarty: After all, Mr. Yan Qing's goal was only ever to ensure his subordinates would be accepted by this city.

Moriarty: But if either party had stolen the relic, that would cause problems that no amount of money could resolve.

Moriarty: As for Mr. Izo's reasons, well, we just went over those mere moments ago.

Moriarty: We would seem to be left with one of the mages, but this is just as implausible.

Vlad III: Why is that?

Fujimaru 1: Because the auction's results were far from a foregone conclusion.

Moriarty: Exactly!

Moriarty: If one of them were to engage in foul play, he would still need to wait for the auction's results first.

Fujimaru 2: Because nobody knows for sure how this is all going to unfold.

Moriarty: Indeed. After all, nobody here could be certain that they would get to keep the relic for themselves!

Moriarty: Between his and Mr. Diarmuid's funds, Mr. Alexander was quite confident in his chances at winning the auction.

Moriarty: Prince of Lan Ling was less sure in his bidding prospects, but he also believed he had a chance at charming the relic off of whoever did win.

Moriarty: As for Count Vlad, if he ended up losing the auction, he had every intention of seizing the relic by force.

Vlad III: Of course. Any true mage must be willing to get his hands dirty when necessary.

Vlad III: But, that willingness to use violence does not come at the expense of my good sense.

Vlad III: And employing that sense suggests there is nothing to be gained in stealing the relic. As such, I would never do so.

Diarmuid: Hold on. How is seizing the relic any different from stealing it?

Vlad III: Stealing is an act of thievery. Seizing it by force is simply a noble doing what he must.

Vlad III: That is the crucial difference.

Moriarty: There you have it.

Moriarty: Every one of our guests, be they mage or gang member, had their honor on the line.

Moriarty: But the culprit feared letting the relic go more than he did its theft.

Moriarty: If he were to let it get away from him even once, everything his family had passed down for generations would be lost.

Moriarty: That would remain the case even if he managed to steal it back later.

Moriarty: Thus, the relic leaving his possession was the one thing the culprit simply couldn't bear.

Fujimaru 1: Isn't that right, Sieg?

Fujimaru 2: Well, Sieg?

Sieg: ...Yeah, that's true.

Sieg: I'm the only one here with something I need to protect, even if it means reducing myself to thievery.

Sieg: The relic my family has kept safe for generations had been...tainted by the Subspecies Holy Grail War.

Sieg: It became a catalyst meant for summoning Siegfried.

Prince of Lan Ling: ...Isn't that a great honor?

Sieg: My family respects the true Siegfried. We have no interest in a pale imitation.

Diarmuid: Then, you planned this whole thing!

Sieg: Yes. This was my intention right from the start.

Sieg: I had hoped your suspicions of one another would be strong enough to prompt you to wipe each other out.

Sieg: There was plenty of fuel for that fire, after all.

Sieg: Though my...criminal consultant did warn me not to take matters that far.

Fujimaru 1: You don't say...

Fujimaru 2: A criminal consultant, huh...

Moriarty: (Whistling innocently)

Sieg: Once the mages and the leaders of all three gangs were dead...

Sieg: ...the gang members would rampage about, killing anyone who even looked like a potential rival.

Sieg: At that point, nobody would stop to wonder where I went, and it would be all but impossible for anyone to track down the linden leaf.

Yan Qing: (Psst, Izo.)

Izo: (Right.)

Izo: ... ...!

Sieg: And there's one more thing I was lying about. I'm a mage, too.

Izo: What just happened...!?

Yan Qing: Izo!

Sieg: ...!

Diarmuid: Dammit, he jumped out the window! After him!

Sieg: ... ...

Yan Qing: What? Don't tell me you're giving up already?

Sieg: I'm not. I just didn't want to wreck my home with my magecraft.

Sieg: I have quite the collection of precious artifacts and books inside. You understand.

Diarmuid: You and I have been good friends for a long time...

Diarmuid: But no more. Fire!

Gang Member: Die!

Sieg: Sorry, but guns won't work on me.

Gang Member: Gaaah!

Diarmuid: Tch... Fine then, close combat it is–

Yan Qing: Get a hold of yourself, Diarmuid! He's a mage!

Yan Qing: If bullets didn't faze him, what good do you think swords will do!?

Izo: Yan Qing's right! Calm down!

Diarmuid: Ghh... I can't believe he had us all fooled this whole time!

Alexander: Stand back! We'll handle this!

Vlad III: Very well then, the winner of this battle shall claim the relic. Are we agreed?

Prince of Lan Ling: You sneaky bastard! All right, then!

Alexander: Fine with me!

Moriarty: (Just as I planned!)

Moriarty: Step aside, my good gang leaders!

Moriarty: All right, Master. I trust you know what to do?

Fujimaru 1: Of course.

Fujimaru 2: Ready your weapon, Archer.

Moriarty: Very good! Let's get the opening battle of this Subspecies Holy Grail War started!


Sieg: ... ...

Sieg: Dammit... I had countermeasures ready for the three mages...

Sieg: But I never expected you to join in the fray, Moriarty...

Moriarty: Back when I was alive, or perhaps in one of my secret made-up stories–not that the distinction is an important one anyway...

Moriarty: ...the aftermath of this incident always left something of a foul taste in my mouth.

Moriarty: No, let me be more precise.

Moriarty: Overlooking you as a key variable made the situation vastly worse.

Moriarty: This city, which should have flourished in a burgeoning era of maritime trade was instead obliterated.

Moriarty: So I think it's best for all involved if you hand that linden leaf over to me.

Sieg: I didn't...mean for things to go this far... Well, no, maybe I did...

Sieg: As far as I'm concerned...this relic is the greatest treasure in the world...

Sieg: I couldn't possibly...let it be taken...for some stupid...Subspecies Holy Grail War...

Moriarty: Well that's no way to live.

Moriarty: If Siegfried were here now, I have no doubt he would say something to the effect of...

Moriarty: “I am happy to answer any summons with an eye towards the future.”

Moriarty: That does, of course, mean he may end up serving wicked people at times, but that's just part of the deal.

Moriarty: More than anything, Siegfried, as a Heroic Spirit, would be thrilled to help bring about a brighter future.

Moriarty: He was a good man, and a true hero. Surely anyone who thought well of him could respect that wish.

Fujimaru 1: (True, I do think he'd love that...)

Sieg: You expect believe that...?

Sieg: That he would degrade himself in the service of others...?

Moriarty: Believe what you will, but I can guarantee you that I am right about this.

Moriarty: How's that for convincing?

Sieg: ...What a devious con man you are.

Sieg: I knew I shouldn't have trusted a man styling himself as a criminal consultant...

Diarmuid: Is he...dead?

Moriarty: Something like that.

Alexander: Ow ow ow... How're you feeling, Prince of Lan Ling?

Prince of Lan Ling: I can't even move. How pathetic... This means the winner is–

Vlad III: Curse you, bartender... How in the world did you get so strong...?

Moriarty: Trade secret!

Moriarty: Now then, it would seem we have ourselves a clear winner, no?

Moriarty: As I've defeated the duplicitous fourth mage, I believe that makes me, Moriarty the bartender, the winner.

Diarmuid: ...Wait, wait, wait! Wait just a damn minute! This isn't what we agreed on!

Moriarty: Think about it. Now that you don't need to spend a fortune on the auction, doesn't this put you at an advantage?

Moriarty: And while I'm at it, don't you think it's about time that the three of you had a serious talk?

Moriarty: This business of the three of you deadlocked as you are may keep the peace, but you are all vulnerable to outside forces in consequence.

Moriarty: I could suck this city dry in just a few days if I wanted to, you know.

Moriarty: I could spin my web as any spider would, and have this city trapped and helpless in my grasp in no time.

Diarmuid: I... That's...

Yan Qing: ...Yeah, I guess you've got a point.

Izo: Hey, Yan Qing, Diarmuid. C'mere a sec.

Izo: ...I'm sure you guys are just as sick of this stalemate crap as I am.

Izo: The old man is right. 'Bout time we put our honor aside.

Diarmuid: But how will our gangs survive without honor?

Izo: Maybe they won't. But you know what?

Izo: At least that's better than all of us getting killed.

Diarmuid: That's...

Diarmuid: ... ...I can't argue with that.

Izo: Honestly, I wish we'd done this sooner.

Izo: Guess I lost the moment I let myself be seduced by the comfort of the status quo.

Gang Member C: I-I'm not goin' along with this! These bastards've been–

Gang Member C: Yeow! B-boss!? What's the big idea!?

Izo: One more word out of you idiots, and your heads come tumbling from your necks.

Yan Qing: ...Yeah, all right.

Yan Qing: I don't have to tell you what my condition is. And you'll do everything you can to make it happen, eh?

Yan Qing: We want to be full citizens of this city. That's the one thing I'm not budging on.

Diarmuid: ...I understand.

Diarmuid: There's bound to be some pushback with this change of direction, but I promise I'll keep it in line.

Diarmuid: In exchange, I'll sell my hideout and other property, and make sure to appoint a levelheaded man as my successor.

Diarmuid: As for my men who went out of their way to make your guys' lives hell...

Diarmuid: ...I'll send you a list of their names and tell their families they're away on business.

Yan Qing: Sounds good!

Fujimaru 1: (This is the scariest business talk I've ever heard...!)

Moriarty: That's just how it is with them. They're still villains at heart, after all.

Moriarty: They can never hope to coexist in prosperity, nor can only one of their gangs hope to flourish without drawing the others' ire.

Moriarty: So if they can't coexist in prosperity, they can at least coexist in adversity.

Moriarty: They'll all suffer in turn, but they'll also all continue to survive.

Moriarty: Not, perhaps, an ideal lifestyle, but it comes with the assurance that they will get to die peacefully in bed.

Alexander: (Sigh) Well that's just great. We've got nothing at all to show for our efforts.

Prince of Lan Ling: ...If anything, I'd say we're slightly worse off than we were before.

Prince of Lan Ling: All that running around I did for the auction, wasted... Good grief...

Vlad III: Bartender.

Vlad III: Tell me, what do you plan to do with that linden leaf?

Moriarty: You're better off not knowing that, Count Vlad.

Moriarty: I might be amenable to sharing that knowledge for a price, but I sense such an arrangement would not be to your tastes.

Moriarty: Not to mention one wrong move, and you could end up being pumped for information yourselves in less than savory ways.

Vlad III: Hmm.

Vlad III: ...Yes, I suppose you're right. I should just accept my defeat, and begin searching for my next opportunity.

Alexander: Damn... I was really set on getting that catalyst and winning the Subspecific Holy Grail War with it.

Alexander: Looks like it's back to square one in my search for a catalyst.

Prince of Lan Ling: ...Well, at least I will not be leaving completely empty-handed.

Prince of Lan Ling: We will meet again one day, Sir Moriarty.

Vlad III: James Moriarty. I'll remember that name.

Moriarty: Why thank you.

Moriarty: I'm always glad to make connections with new mages.

Vlad III: ...You're a shrewd one, aren't you.

Diarmuid: All right, we're going to head back to our respective organizations now. What about you two?

Fujimaru 1: We're going home.

Diarmuid: I see.

Izo: Go on then, get out of here.

Izo: If I never see magecraft again, it'll be too damn soon.

Fujimaru 2: I did what I came here to do, so...

Yan Qing: Going home, huh? Glad to hear it.

Diarmuid: ...Sir Moriarty.

Diarmuid: It would seem you are a far more devious villain than we mere thugs could ever hope to be.

Moriarty: Why, whatever do you mean?

Diarmuid: We may have suffered some losses, but at least they weren't fatal.

Diarmuid: I'll take that over the whole city being destroyed any day of the week.

Moriarty: I advise you all to live modestly from here on, gentlemen.

Moriarty: A spider cannot weave its web when darkness covers all.

Moriarty: As villains, it's your job to ensure that light and shadow come and go in equal measure.

Diarmuid: Thank you for the advice. Personally, I hope I never see you again.

Izo: Damn straight.

Yan Qing: You sure you want to stick with this guy, kid? I'd bail now if I were you.

Fujimaru 1: Believe me, I wish I could.

Moriarty: Hey, even a shady old man like me has feelings, you know!

Fujimaru 2: I'm happy with the way things turned out here.

Moriarty: Right? You had fun, didn't you?

Moriarty: ...Now then.

Moriarty: All that remains is to erase Sieg's memories and strip him of his magecraft.

Moriarty: That should make sure he gives up on trying to get the linden leaf back.

Fujimaru 1: ...So this happened in your time too, Moriarty?

Fujimaru 2: You had a Holy Grail War back in your time?

Moriarty: Well, no, not exactly.

Moriarty: The fact that the gang leaders and mages looked and acted like Servants means that this is only a dream.

Moriarty: The events of the Subspecies Holy Grail War no doubt happened differently, and in an another world entirely.

Moriarty: This little dilemma of ours was a fusion of two separate occasions.

Moriarty: The first, a time when a partnership I struck with mages destroyed this city. The second, a time when a Subspecies Holy Grail War took place...somewhere.

Fujimaru 1: Did this turn out the way you hoped?

Moriarty: ...A fair question.

Moriarty: The man I met with requested my help in protecting a treasure that had been in his family for generations.

Moriarty: I offered him several pieces of advice.

Moriarty: ...Once you've fanned the flames between the gangs as much as you can, fake your own death.

Moriarty: Convince the gangs that the relic is up for grabs now that you're dead, and that owning it will be their key to riches.

Moriarty: After that, all you need to do is take their thugs out whenever it's convenient.

Moriarty: But I didn't know he was a mage when I told him that...and as a result, the city quickly declined and ultimately faded away.

Moriarty: ...Of course, as a criminal mastermind, my role in these events did not trouble my conscience.

Moriarty: But now that I'm your Servant, it's been eating away at me!

Moriarty: I swear, young [♂ man /♀ lady], you have no idea how difficult it is to be an evil Servant in the service of such a very GOOD Master!

Moriarty: ...At any rate, when I looked back on this outcome...I chalked it up to a careless mistake.

Moriarty: An awful turn of events, brought about by a few miscalculations.

Moriarty: Of course, even now that we've changed the past, this remains firmly in the realm of the hypothetical.

Moriarty: History remains the same, as does its outcome. What we partook in here was merely an illusion...purely for my own gratification.

Moriarty: I assure you, I'm well aware of that.

Moriarty: ...Yet even so, I needed to be certain this error was affixed permanently in my memory.

Moriarty: I needed to remind myself that a bright future such as this...

Moriarty: ...can come to a sudden, cruel end with but a single mistake.

Moriarty: ...Even if I should parse the records upon waking up, that still won't change what really happened.

Moriarty: All I can do is cast my mind back and wonder uselessly about what might have been.

Fujimaru 1: I can think of something else you can do.

Moriarty: Oh? And what's that?

Fujimaru 1: Next time, make sure to get it right.

Moriarty: ... ...

Moriarty: ...Indeed, indeed!

Moriarty: Humanity is currently in the midst of an unprecedented crisis. One mistake on our part could lead to the extinction of the human race.

Moriarty: So next time...

Moriarty: can be damned sure I won't miscarry so much as a single integer!

Moriarty: I can promise you that both as your Servant, and as your trusty partner!

Moriarty: Well then, it seems our time in this world is up.

Moriarty: Tell you what. Once we get home, I'll mix you a drink to make up for dragging you into this!


...A few days later.

Fujimaru 1: I see my room has been redecorated without my permission... Again...

Moriarty: Really? I thought I was the first to do so. Do you mean this sort of thing happens often?

Moriarty: Hmm, so the king Servants and princess Servants renovate your room however they like, hm?

Moriarty: ...Well, I'm glad to see you're enjoying yourself.

Moriarty: Now then, allow me to treat you to the drink of your life.

Moriarty: First we mix these together, shake it all up, and...

Moriarty: Here's your cocktail, young [♂ man /♀ lady].

Fujimaru 1: Th-thank you.

Moriarty: I guarantee you'll like it.

Fujimaru 2: (This is kind of nerve-wracking...)

Moriarty: ...So, what do you think?

Fujimaru 1: This is really good!

Fujimaru 2: It went down a lot easier than I thought!

Moriarty: Right? Right? Welcome to the adult world!

Fujimaru 1: Adult...

Holmes: ...Don't be so quick to fall for his trickery, [♂ Mr. /♀ Ms.] Fujimaru.

Moriarty: Blast! Holmes!

Holmes: That “cocktail” contains not a drop of alcohol.

Holmes: It is merely fruit juice mixed together so as to taste more like a genuine cocktail–a mocktail, to use modern parlance.

Holmes: Though I suppose I can't blame you for being taken in, given the atmosphere...

Moriarty: Grr... Dammit, man! Can you not tell that we were having a moment!?

Moriarty: Uh, ahem, ahem. Listen, Master.

Moriarty: Alcohol really isn't very good for you, you know? Take it from an old man who's been there and done that.

Fujimaru 1: You tricked me!

Holmes: Well, I certainly can't approve of you becoming inebriated, [♂ Mr. /♀ Ms.] Fujimaru.

Holmes: Still, I hope you can accept Moriarty's good fatherly intentions. Though of course, in his case–

Moriarty: If you so much as breathe the word “grandfatherly,” I will post a list of your many failings and eccentricities on the bulletin board faster than you can say “stop!”

Holmes: ...

Fujimaru 1: THAT'S what got you to shut up!?

Moriarty: Anyway, don't worry.

Moriarty: Once you really have grown up, I'll be the first to mix you a real drink!

Holmes: I would very much like to be present for that.

Moriarty: Of course. I'll make sure to serve you my finest glass of mud.

Holmes: Hahaha, so you're not even capable of tossing your enemies the merest of bones, are you?

Moriarty: Hahaha, why don't you put that mouth of yours to use for once and go kiss an oncoming train?

Fujimaru 1: ...You know, I think I am feeling a little drunk...

Moriarty: Huh? But I really didn't put any alcohol in it.

Moriarty: ... ...You're drunk on the atmosphere!?

Alexander: Hey! Is it true you had some crazy stuff go down recently!?

Sieg: I heard I was a bad guy. That sounds fascinating! You have to tell me all about it!

Sieg: What was I like? Was I trying to take over the world?

Sieg: Did I have a scar on the side of my face?

Prince of Lan Ling: What's this...? Master is showing signs of intoxication!

Vlad III: ...Hmm. What do you have to say for yourself, Moriarty?

Moriarty: But I didn't do it!

Diarmuid: Master! Are you all right!?

Yan Qing: 'Sup! I heard there was something fun happening here, so I came to check it out!

Izo: Same.

Alexander: Hmm. I guess we could start by stringing up Moriarty?

Holmes: There you go. That's the ticket.

Moriarty: I can kick you all out, you know!

Fujimaru 1: Uh, this is my room, so...

Moriarty: That's right! It is, isn't it!

Yan Qing: Okay guys, how 'bout this?

Alexander: Yeah. There's one thing I'm pretty sure we can agree on...

Everyone: Let's all have a drink!

Sieg: I've never had alcohol before, Master. I can't wait to try it!

Fujimaru 1: You're in the same boat as me, Sieg.

Fujimaru 2: You will be sticking to mocktails Sieg.

Sieg: Aww.

Moriarty: All right, all right, one at a time! Now then...

Moriarty: What can I get for you, my good [♂ sir /♀ lady]?

Narration: ...The fact is...

Narration: is very difficult for any Master to understand a truly evil man.

Narration: One so wicked he has no qualms about destroying the world, and so meticulous he would risk his life to correct a miscalculation.

Narration: Indeed, this old spider's web extends farther than anyone can see, catching good, evil, order, and chaos alike.

Narration: And even now, he continues to spin new threads...

Good Night☆Talk

Fou: Foun, fou, fooou! (Special Translation: Orange! Cassis! Orange!)

Bartender: Oh, hello there. Just you and Sir Fou today? Can I get you your usual Black Beast Grease mix?

Fujimaru 1: (...Oh, uh... I have a bunch already...)

Fujimaru 2: (...Sometimes, I just need to kick back and relax...)

Fou: Fou, fooou... (Special Translation: I hear you... That grease is addictive...)

Fujimaru 1: The hell!?

Fujimaru 2: Where'd this Holy Grail pop up from!?

Fujimaru 1: What's going on here, barkeep!?

Bartender: Courtesy of that customer over there.

C:That Customer Over There: Mmm, I loved that reaction of yours! It's so nice to be able to take video so easily these days!

C:That Customer Over There: Oh, don't worry, it's on me. Go ahead, take it!

Fou: Merfooou! (Special Translation: You grand good-for-nothing! How are you still alive!?)

C:That Customer Over There: Hahahaha, you might want to cut that out...erm, Fou, before you get yourself banned!

C:That Customer Over There: Hahahaha, you might want to cut that out, Cath Palug, before you get yourself banned!

Fujimaru 1: Y-you're...

Fujimaru 2: (That's weird. I can't think of his name...)

C:That Customer Over There: Well sure. You're still dreaming, so of course your mind is a bit hazy.

C:That Customer Over There: As for me, I'm the greatest Caster that ever was or will be. Please, call me Mister Sheep.

Mister Sheep: I have to say, though... That was a great show.

Mister Sheep: Regrets from the youthful days he can never go back to... Repentance in his twilight years... Homesickness...

Mister Sheep: Mmm, talk about hard-boiled. I'd love to try playing that sort of grizzled old man type myself someday!

Fou: Golfou. Dofooou. (Special Translation: Well, you've got the “scum of the earth” part down pat.)

Mister Sheep: Anyway, consider that cocktail there my payment for the show I just attended.

Mister Sheep: Hm? A Holy Grail's way too much, you say?

Mister Sheep: Ah, what's the harm? There's plenty more where that came from, right? Why not just go ahead and use them all on me?

Mister Sheep: Whoops, it looks like you're about to wake up. All right, see you later, then!

Mister Sheep: Hopefully we'll meet again at the next Golden Heroic Spirit Theater!

Mister Sheep: Personally, I'm hoping for an Altria harem next time. Farewell, au revoir, and good night!

Fou: Fou, fooou! (Special Translation: This prick never changes!)