Cosmos in the Lostbelt 3: The Synchronized Intellect Nation - SIN

intro. 3-1

Narration: How long has it been since I left the colony of survivors? I managed to keep a log for the first thirty days, but now it just feels like I've lost the ability to keep track of time. In my defense, it's hard to count the days when we don't have nights anymore. It all blurs together.

I still have no idea how things got to this point, but what I can say for sure is that somehow the sun is shining on every corner of the world at once. With everything bleached white as far as the eye can see, you get numb to time as well as distance. My food and water are starting to run out. Once they do, that'll be it for me. At least my old motorcycle is still purring like a kitten. I never expected this solar generator to work this well or for this long. It proved you can ride an old motorcycle from Australia to North America as long as you have a surface to ride on and a solid engine.

All I drive over seems to be endless white wasteland. No...maybe wasteland isn't the right word. It's more like...pavement without so much as a single crack or seam to be seen. It's nothing like a desert, either. There's just...nothing here. I don't even get that natural sort of austerity wastelands give off.

It's not so much that it seems like life's died out as that it never existed to begin with. Case in point, I've not seen even a single sign of death or decay this whole time. Not a single corpse. No plants. No animals. No insects. Not so much as a microbe. This isn't a dead world. It's an empty one. There's...nothing. Not even bacteria to make food spoil. It feels clean. Too clean.

...Never mind that last bit. I must be more tired than I thought. I'm getting overly sensitive. I can see an unnatural shape just up ahead. Probably more remnants. I think I'll rest there today. Maybe there'll even be some food left, if I'm lucky.

Remnants, in this case, are areas that somehow escaped the reset. Or, well, more places that remained in part despite being reset. The colony I left behind was situated in one such remnant. If any satellites were still intact, we might have even been able to find and connect with other survivors. Not that it would have made us any less powerless to fix all this. After all, if that tree were to attack again,humanity would be well and truly gone. Signs of people having been A single message. No food, sadly, but...any port in a storm. Besides, just seeing artifacts of civilization like this again does wonders for my morale, even if it is gutted ruins from a brutal invasion.



Narration: I shrug my shoulders as I sit down on what used to be a sofa. The shrug is just a desperate ploy to convince myself I'm calm, but strangely, it still helped. I play back the only message data to be found...It is essentially the same as all the others out there.

“I'm scared. ” “I'm scared. ” “I'm scared. ”“Run away. ” “Run away. ” “Run away. ”

“It hurts. ” “It hurts. ” “It hurts. ”“Why? ” “Why? ” “Why? ”

“No. ” “No. ” “No. ”“Help me. ”“Help me. ”“Help me. ”

...“Please, forgive me. ”

There it is again: “Why? ” Why were these people attacked? Why were they erased? ...I did my best to recall that day calmly and objectively. The year when Earth fell to invaders from another world. Truth be told, we had time to prepare. Maybe it was only twelve hours,but it was still time we could have used.

On that New Year's Eve, we lost every satellite around the world in an instant. In consequence, we were not able to observe a single cosmic ray even as the whole world was reduced to a blank, dust gray sphere. I know now that it was a membrane in the sky...a dome of sorts made by the tree's branches that was placed over the entire world... ...but we weren't exactly in a position to sit down and take stock of what happened on that day, not with all the crazy things going on.

Twelve hours later...Armageddon. A total slaughter. A massacre on an unimaginable scale. Uncountable...tree-things descended on the earth,like so many tentacles from space. They crawled across the world, finding and exterminating all forms of life with unerring accuracy and unnerving tenacity, killing almost every human on the planet over the course of three months. After that, the trees just...disappeared, returning to the sky and leaving behind a blank, desolate world.

...Even now, thinking about it makes me tremble. Not at the revelation that aliens really did exist. Not even the realization that our world, our civilization, had been erased and would never return. No, what scared me was those trees' tenacity. The way they extended their branches to destroy a person's heart with a single stab. Upon their death, people would instantly turn to dust, their agonizing screams still echoing around them.

There were no exceptions. Even though these aliens possessed weapons of mass destruction large enough to blot out the sky, they chose not to use them. Instead, they went out of their way to erase billions upon billions of people one at a time. They were like...some kind of twisted artisan burning with perverse passion for their craft. Those of us who did survive, like myself, only managed to do so by being in hidden underground facilities at the time.

...Dizziness starts to overwhelm me. Maybe I've been under a bit more strain than I realized. I'll just rest up here for today. Tomorrow, I'll set back off on my journey of wishful thinking. I may not have much food left, but assuming I've stayed on track, I should be at my destination soon. It's the last place any of our satellites caught on camera. The only place in this whole world that hasn't been wiped clean...An area in southern Nevada.

That's right. My destination is the Air Force base known as Area 51.

Signed, David Bluebook

intro. 3-2

Goredolf: D-d-did we drive into a whole other world when I wasn't looking!? It was nothing but clear skies as far as the eye could see just a moment ago!

Da Vinci: Now, I've got an announcement of my own: I estimate the Border has about an hour until it sinks!

Meunière: Yeah...just one problem! There's no land to go back to! We're smack in the middle of the North Sea!

Holmes: Da Vinci, can we still initiate a Zero Sail here? Surely that must be preferable to sinking to our deaths?

Da Vinci: We can't! The formulas won't be stable enough on water! We'd have to rewrite the software from scratch!

Holmes: ...Hang on. We're getting a call!

Holmes: Go ahead and open up a line, Mr. Meunière! And hurry! Da Vinci's no use to us right now!

Meunière: R-right. On it!

???: CQ, CQ. This is the Wandering Sea's dock. Do you read me?

???: That vessel...that would be Chaldea's ship, right? No, wait, not a ship...Oh, I see! A tank!

???: Rational, yes, very rational! A ship is unnecessary for a Zero Sail. But, I say, you have no sense for design!

???: It might as well be a large metal coffin! Nothing charming there at all!

???: Be honest: you would never have made it back without my Paper Moon, would you?

???: Still, a fine job making it all the way here! Everything is proceeding within my calculations!

Meunière: It's coming from the Wandering Sea! But, WHERE!?

???: Where? Right in front of you! ...Oh, hang on, let me clear the fog. It should be easier to see then.

???: Proceed on your current course, though you may want to reduce your speed. And be sure to give thanks.

???: All right...this will be the first time in over two thousand years that this island has revealed itself on a day other than December 31!

???: Welcome to the primordial magecraft workshop: The Baldanders of the Wandering Sea!

???: My name is Sion. Sion Eltnam Sokaris.

???: I am a Spiritron hacker who escaped to the Wandering Sea when I predicted that the world was about to end. I have been waiting for you.

???: Being the Atlas Institute's last remaining member, the Wandering Sea higher-ups entrusted me with the project of righting this bleached Earth problem.

Fujimaru 1: Okay, I know that was just a minute ago, but...

Fou: Fou, fooou!

Goredolf: Well, we followed the directions that bizarre transmission gave us right to this lump of rock. Now can you tell me what this is about, Da Vinci?

Goredolf: I'm glad the Border isn't bobbing around like a damned cork, but have we been sinking these last few minutes or haven't we!?

Mash: I have the same question.

Mash: It seemed to me like the Border sank underwater before it emerged on the surface...

Meunière: Don't look at me; I didn't do anything. Once we got to those rocks, it felt like the currents kind of carried the Border the rest of the way...

Da Vinci: Looks like. I tried to steer us,but the currents were just much too strong.

Da Vinci: The Border sank about forty meters,but then popped up a good thirty.

Da Vinci: I think we must've gotten into the Wandering Sea from underneath, since I didn't exactly see a front door.

Holmes: Perhaps that is how they go about docking ships here, or how they keep ordinary ships away.

Da Vinci: Sounds right to me. I just wish she'd given us a little heads-up.

Fujimaru 1: Then, does that mean...we can go outside now?

Fujimaru 2: Does this mean we're at the Wandering Sea's docks...?

Holmes: That would appear to be the logical conclusion. The issue at hand, however, is–

Goredolf: Are we sure this is the Wandering Sea? And how do we know it's safe outside!?

Goredolf: Meunière! Fire up every sensor we've got! I want to know everything going on outside the Border!

Meunière: Roger! But I've, uh, already been doing that. I'm not picking up anything at all. Not a damn thing!

???: Ahh, testing, testing. Can you hear me over there?

???: I am afraid the Wandering Sea cannot be observed by any means created by or relying upon science. Not even partially!

???: I would give up on trying to see what is going on outside that hunk of metal you have been riding around in. None of your sensors will see anything here.

???: Besides, danger is a no-no here! And there's no-no way there would be anything wrong with my calculations!

???: Right now, this is the most peaceful, happiest, scariest island in the whole world!

Fujimaru 1: That's the voice we heard earlier...

Fujimaru 2: How can it be peaceful and scary...?

???: At any rate, come on out, visitors!

???: I did not open up my darling secret base today just so you could hole up in that big metal box of yours!

Mash: W-well...What should we do now, everyone?

Meunière: Since our sensors are blind, someone's gonna have to take one for the team and poke their head outside. I nominate Holmes.

Goredolf: Agreed. You can always use your baritsu if things get dicey.

Holmes: Unfortunately, I'm afraid I actually can't use baritsu just yet! At this point, I daresay you could outfight me, Director!

Mash: G-good point. Holmes is going to need more time to recover from the injury he sustained in Scandinavia.

Mash: S-so the only combat-ready Servant here,I should be the one to–

Fujimaru 1: Let's go say hi together, Mash.

Fujimaru 2: I think we'll be okay, Mash. Come on, let's go!

Mash: ...Right! I was just thinking the same thing, Master!

Fou: Fou, fooou!

Da Vinci: Well, then I'm coming too. I'm way too curious to just stay on the Border!

Da Vinci: Friend or foe, the Wandering Sea is still a Mystic among Mystics.

Da Vinci: No way would I pass up a chance to check out the place that still has Mystics from the Age of Gods!

Meunière: You're better off not getting mixed up with those places if you ask me. They even say the Clock Tower's an inhospitable hell when you get right down to it...

Goredolf: Hmm, I see you plebs know your place,in your own way. You're quite right, Meunière.

Goredolf: One should never move past one's station to peer into the secrets of magecraft or the organizations that keep them.

Goredolf: The moment you do, you'll be so shocked by how vastly they overpower you that you may find yourself bedridden and half mad for a month.

Goredolf: It's all risk and no reward. Curiosity isn't what killed the cat; it was fear.

Goredolf: However, as we humans are not cats, it is possible to overcome those fears, much like I did.

Goredolf: Mash Kyrielight. Fujimaru.

Goredolf: I hereby authorize the two of you to investigate whatever lies outside. Once you're certain that there's no danger, call for me right away.

Goredolf: Oh, and try to stick close to the Border, would you? You should be no more than a five-second sprint from here at the most.

Fujimaru 1: Roger that!

Mash: All right, I'm going to open the Border's port hatch now. Are you ready, Master?

Da Vinci: All set here! I've got your backs! I may not be much use in a fight, but I can make damn sure nothing gets by my defenses!

Mash: Thank you, Da Vinci! Opening the!

Mash: It's...

Fujimaru 1: It's–

Da Vinci: It's incredible! Wow! This place is AMAZING!

Da Vinci: Look, Mash! Look, Fujimaru!

Da Vinci: Oh this is, like, top-shelf secret base stuff! It's like a picture book come to life! Whoever designed this must have been such a dummy!

I:???: Thanks for the kind words.

I:???: I must be doing pretty well if the great Leonardo da Vinci, famous genius and notorious problem child, would speak like that about me.

G:???: ...Wait.... Is that really Da Vinci?

G:???: Isn't she a little off? Too girly? Just a little too high spec?

G:???: Hey, you there. Master Fujimaru.

G:???: Is that girl there really and truly Leonardo da Vinci?

Da Vinci: I sure am. I'm a Da Vinci backup unit made by the one and only Leonardo da Vinci herself.

Da Vinci: What about you? Are you the girl who contacted us?

???: Oh, right. I was so surprised by Girlvinci here that I forgot my manners! Cut! Aaand take two!

Sion: I am Sion Eltnam Sokaris, an alchemist here to mess with you guys on behalf of the Atlas Institute.

Sion: Oh, I also made Trismegistus and the Paper Moon you were manhandling just a few minutes ago.

Sion: So, I am here to collect damages you owe me for copyright infringement! Hmm, it totals to about seven hundred and ninety million dollars. Sooo...

Sion: Yeah, you guys are boned! Whatever human rights you think you had are gone.

Sion: Do you know what this means, Fujimaru? It means I own you! Lock, stock, and barrel, baby!

Sion: So, mind just signing this contract here for me?

Sion: “I hereby confess to using Ms. Sion's intellectual property without express permission. I also absolutely saw the end of humanity and such. ”

Sion: “Therefore, until repayment of said aforementioned unrepayable debt, I, Fujimaru, do hereby offer up the following...”

Sion: “ body, my soul, and each and every one of my worldly possessions, past present and future, throughout the universe, to Sion. ”

I:Sion: There you go! Mind just signing here, here, here, here, and here? Initial there, too. Say, mind being modded?

I:Sion: Are you into mecha? Bioengineering? A mixture of both? Aw, what the heck! We can just throw them all in! Do not worry, it will not hurt at all!

Fujimaru 1: Wait–

Fujimaru 1: I–

Fujimaru 1: Whaaa!?

Sion: Juuust kidding! You do not owe me anything! I was only messing with you!

Sion: Besides, I was using old Zimbabwean dollar values,so you could totally have paid it back anyway!

Fou: ...Fou, fooou...

Sion: Sorry, I might have gotten a little carried away there. You will have to forgive me. I have never actually done this before.

Sion: ...I know I sort of struck first, so to speak,when I contacted you earlier...

Sion: I was being all formal to try and put you at ease.

Sion: But as you can see, I am not really like that! Just your everyday, mild-mannered alchemist, here!

Mash: Th-that makes sense. You spoke so fast I didn't realize it right away...

Mash: ...but there's no way anyone from the Atlas Institute would be so quick to pull out a contract.

Mash: I see, an advanced technique designed to better break the ice during our first encounter.

Fujimaru 1: (I don't know about that...)

Fujimaru 2: (I get the feeling she's not one for lying...)

Sion: All right, let me introduce myself again. My name is Sion. Welcome to the Wandering Sea, Chaldeans.

Sion: Leonardo da Vinci. Mash Kyrielight.

Sion: Fujimaru. And...

Sion: (I did not see that animal mentioned in any of our data...I wonder if he is someone's familiar...)

Sion: (...I can sense a modicum of intelligence from it. Like an AI that just started learning. )

Sion: Oh well, no problem. Ahem, I already have a pretty good idea of who you guys are.

Sion: I have not seen what has become of the outside world myself, but I do know what happened to Chaldea on the first day of 2020.

Mash: You haven't seen the outside...? Does that mean you have no immunity to the atmosphere?

Sion: Oh no, I am completely healthy. You have to be in good shape to use Memory Partition at a halfway decent level, after all.

Sion: I just meant I did not have a need to go outside. Sorry for the misunderstanding, Mash.

Sion: So who is in charge right now?

Sion: From what information I have, it should be Da Vinci here, but given she has the whole kid thing going on, I assume that is no longer the case?

Sion: I must have a gap in my information somewhere. Better get that sorted.

???: Heh. I'm impressed you picked up on that. You look like a girl, and it would seem that you are, in fact, something of a girl.

???: Indeed, the Master-slash-amateur mage, the Demi-Servant girl, and the capable technical advisor are merely my subordinates.

???: Who am I? Why, you surely need not ask.

Goredolf: I am Chaldea's new director, and the man who will one day resurrect the golden age of the prestigious Musik estate...Goredolf Musik!

Goredolf: I see you're surprised that I'm still alive.

Goredolf: I know that crest, and that uniform. It would seem you truly are a mage of the Atlas Institute.

Goredolf: That means it should have been absolutely trivial for you to predict the terrible tragedy that befell my Chaldea with your fancy Parallel Thought Acceleration.

Goredolf: I am keenly aware of how I fell for Koyanskaya's devious scheme, and so inadvertently allowed the Crypters to carry out their plan.

Goredolf: No doubt I was the first one to be killed off in Atlas's prognostications.

Goredolf: The quickest way to ensure a plan's success is to take out your opposition's genius commander, after all!

Goredolf: But! As you can see, I survived!

Goredolf: For no matter how poor the road conditions, how dire the weather, or how far behind I may be, I will never retire before the race is over!

Sion: Ah, you are Goredolf, right? I am not surprised you are still alive, given your specs.

Goredolf: Huh? You're not?

Sion: Your odds were not great, but they were also not zero. I figured you would make it out of there as long as you had solid help and backup.

Sion: No, it was the Servant behind you that surprised me. Would you mind telling me your name?

Holmes: Ah yes, I do beg your pardon. I was preoccupied with keeping our new director safe, since he insisted on venturing out to see what was going on for himself.

Holmes: I am Sherlock Holmes, a Ruler.

Holmes: As you are the successor to the great Atlas Institute,I trust that is all the introduction you need.

Sion: Wait, you already know who I am? Even for a famed detective, it seems just a little suspicious that you already know that much about me.

Holmes: Elementary, my dear Ms. Sion. Your middle name, Eltnam, tells me all that I need to know.

Holmes: From there, all I need do is contrast your behavior with our current situation, and the answer all but presents itsel–

Fujimaru 1: BS. You're just quoting from her file.

Fujimaru 2: You touched Tri-Hermes when you snuck into Atlas.

Holmes: Now, now...Don't go giving the game away,[♂ Mr. /♀ Ms. ] Fujimaru!

Sion: You touched Tri-Hermes...? Ah, now I see. This must have been during the Sixth Singularity!

Sion: I read about that in the report to the Mage's Association.

Sion: managed to touch Tri-Hermes directly without losing your mind, huh...Hmm...Really now...

Sion: No wonder you are the pinnacle of intelligence among Servants! You and I are going to get along just fine!

H:???: ...Come on, Sion. How much time are you going to waste talking?

H:???: You want me to give this ship a tune-up, right? Hurry up and get the crew off it already.

Fujimaru 1: ...(Staaare)

H:???: ...What? Do I have something on my face? You're kind of rude, aren't you?

Fujimaru 1: O-oh, right. Sorry about that.

H:???: ...You don't have to apologize. I already know humans are rude. It's in your nature.

Fujimaru 2: H-hello. Nice to meet you.

H:???: ...

Goredolf: All that magical energy...Are you a Servant? Does this mean the Wandering Sea is also capable of summoning Servants!?

Sion: Yeah. I snuck a peek at Chaldea's system, came up with my own take on it, and somehow managed to summon a single Servant.

Sion: I needed someone who could watch my back...and also make sure I would not break it.

Sion: I mean, I could draw up blueprints all day on my own, but what good is that if nobody actually builds any of it, right?

Mash: I'm still amazed that you managed to summon a Heroic Spirit somewhere besides Chaldea...

Mash: Hello there, Servant from the Wandering Sea. My name is Mash Kyrielight.

Mash: May I ask who you are? You don't have to tell me your True Name...

H:???: ...

H:???: ...I'm no one. I don't have a name. If you have to call me something, just call me Nameless.

H:???: Now get everyone out of here, Sion. I can't call everyone else with all these people in the way.

H:???: ...This is painful to look at. It's worse than watching coral reefs die.

H:???: What happened to this ship? I can hear it crying in pain. I need to fix it now, before I go insane.

Sion: Whoops, looks like someone got up on the wrong side of bed today, huh, Captain? Oh well, guess I am unable to blame you, since you are even shier than me!

Captain: Captain...? Is that some sort of joke? Are you mocking me?

Sion: Well what else can we call you? Would you prefer Prince?

Captain: ...Fine, I guess Captain works since we have more guests now. At least it's better than Prince.

Holmes: ...It would seem you added something to that Servant's Spirit Origin. Am I correct, Ms. Sion?

Sion: Yeah! A Phantom Spirit. One cannot summon a decent Heroic Spirit without Mash's shield, you understand?

Sion: Since I was missing powerful holy relics like that, I had to make do with whatever I could scrounge together to make his Spirit Origin.

Sion: But do not ask me to reveal his True Name. That is something a Servant should choose to do.

Sion: Once Captain trusts you guys,I am certain his identity will become clear.

Fou: Kyu. Fou, fou.

Sion: Anyway, right now, it is just me and Captain here.

Sion: I promise there is nobody else around, so feel free to bring the rest of the Shadow Border's crew along.

Sion: I have prepared a room for the staff where they can relax and rest up, but I am afraid I will have to ask all of you to join me for a little longer.

Sion: I can imagine how exhausted you must be and would love to sleep in a proper bed, but that must wait.

Sion: This is just the entrance, see! Come on, I will take you to the Command Room.

Da Vinci: Whoa.

Fou: Fooou...

Mash: It's...

Fujimaru 1: Chaldea's Command Room...!?

Sion: Yeah, I see how you could make that mistake,Fujimaru, but a mistake it would be!

Sion: Chaldea's Command Room was actually modeled after this place.

Sion: This is the masterpiece I have been assembling day and night for the last three months, ever since I first came to the Wandering Sea!

Sion: I call it...Spiritron Calculation Engine Trismegistus II!

Sion: A perfect reproduction of the Trismegistus I lent to Chaldea, and the new brains of your operation!

Da Vinci: Hmm, you don't say. You said you've been assembling it, so that must mean you brought the necessary materials along with you when you came here.

Da Vinci: Between the Paper Moon and all this groundwork you've been laying, you're obviously no ordinary mage.

Da Vinci: Sion Eltnam Sokaris...

Da Vinci: It looks to me like you know even more about Chaldea than we do.

I:Sion: Yeah. A lot of what I know comes before Chaldea really even got off the ground.

I:Sion: As you know, the Pseudo-Spiritron Calculation Engine Tri-Hermes is the heart of the Atlas Institute.

I:Sion: My father, the head of Atlas at the time, was supposed to create Tri-Hermes' sister unit, Trismegistus, before its development was handed off to me.

I:Sion: I proposed using Paper Moon-based Zero Sails as a method for sending people into the past–well, into Singularities anyway...

I:Sion: ...but Chaldea's first director, Marisbury,had a different idea for a more reliable method.

I:Sion: His proposal was a process he called Rayshifting that involved transmitting physical bodies as Spiritrons.

I:Sion: It was a more proactive approach, given that it was closer to the Atlas Institute's prognostication.

I:Sion: Not exactly the most cautious proposal, all told, but the fact that a mage like him was willing to reveal his most secret arts like that spoke volumes.

I:Sion: I mean, if word had gotten out that the Animusphere family, one of the twelve Clock Tower Lords, was sharing technology with Atlas...

I:Sion: would have meant war with the other Lords, leading ultimately to the end of the Animuspheres.

I:Sion: Director Marisbury understood the seriousness of the risks, and chose to act anyway.

I:Sion: So the Atlas Institute decided to accept Chaldea's request, out of respect for the risks he took.

I:Sion: Of course, none of the other Lords ever did figure out what Marisbury was up to, so it ended up not really being a thing.

I:Sion: Anyway, you all know what happened next.

I:Sion: We provided Chaldea with Trismegistus,which enabled Chaldea to complete Chaldeas...

I:Sion: ...and the Chaldea Security Organization went on to do what it was intended to.

I:Sion: I am certain you all know more about Chaldea's actual exploits than I do. We were just the ones who gave you the tools to get things rolling.

Holmes: Indeed, we do know about Chaldea's connection to the Atlas Institute. We do not, however, know about you.

Holmes: How did you survive the reset of the world? And why were you waiting for us here in the Wandering Sea?

Fujimaru 1: Took the words right out of my mouth.

Sion: You have a thing for asking questions you already know the answers to, huh Sherlock? Are you obliged to? Will you die otherwise?

Sion: I suppose since you are being so meticulous and all,I can go ahead and tell you what you already know.

Sion: Answer the first: I escaped the reset because I was in the Wandering Sea.

Sion: The Wandering Sea is like its own little Singularity. It is always drifting between the world's textures.

Sion: That kept it safe even while the world was being wiped clean.

Sion: Answer the second: I came to the Wandering Sea because I predicted this future.

Sion: Tri-Hermes collects, organizes, and makes records of a ton of data about Earth, just like Chaldeas.

Sion: It is like a huge sea of information, all there for the taking. For alchemists like us, it might as well be our own primordial soup.

Sion: I was just taking a little dip in that sea–without my father knowing, of course–when I ended up arriving at that prediction.

Sion: In short, I was not sure how,but I knew the world would cease to exist in 2020.

Sion: It was the biggest dilemma of my life,to say the least.

Sion: I knew I had to do something,so I told my father about my prediction.

Sion: But that theater reject excuse for a fath–I mean, great head of Atlas told me was:

Sion: “I see humanity ending every day. Don't waste my time with trivialities like this. ”

Sion: “Besides, you discovered this problem, my darling Sion. Don't you think you should be the one to solve it? ”

Sion: And that was when it really hit me just how understaffed the Atlas Institute really was.

Sion: Every person there had their hands full stopping some version of the end of the world that THEY had seen!

Sion: While I am at it, have a little bonus! Answer the third: the moment I made my decision.

Sion: “I know. I will go to the Wandering Sea. ”

Sion: So I took the parts I was using to make Trismegistus II and used them to build a Hermes instead, then knocked on the Wandering Sea's front door.

Sion: By doing so, I secured a safe haven for both myself and future collaborators. Two birds, one stone.

Sion: I was certain that no matter how things unfolded, Chaldea was going to get knocked out of commission. It would be too important for our unknown invader.

Sion: There are pretty much two ways the world can end: gradually and suddenly.

Sion: Usually things would go gradually, progressing in stages until the lights go out, so to speak.

Sion: There are leaders all around the world doing their best to identify those scenarios and keep them at bay.

Sion: Meanwhile, the sudden types are more like traffic accidents, where everything happens all at once. Nothing much one can do, no matter how smart.

Sion: For that sort of thing, Rayshifting was all we had to fight back.

Sion: And what is happening right now, with the world bleached white thanks to invaders from outer space, is no exception.

Sion: Thus...

Sion: ...anyone meticulous enough to put together a plan like this would never overlook Chaldea, seeing as you were the only ones capable of Rayshifting.

Sion: I certainly would not. If I were trying to destroy Earth, Chaldea would be right at the top of my hit list. In fact, taking it out would be my opening move.

Mash: ...

Sion: Sorry, I should have kept that to myself.

Sion: So, even though I had a base to fight back from,there still was not anything I could do on my own.

Sion: I mean, I did not know who was attacking,or how they would do it.

Sion: So really the only thing I could do was put my trust in you guys.

Sion: If these invader things saw you as that big of a threat,I was sure you could prove there was a reason for that.

Sion: I knew you would survive, and you would not give up, no matter how bad things got.

Sion: So, knowing that you would fight back,my task got a lot simpler.

Sion: I would make you a new base! I would create a second Chaldea for you and keep it ready and waiting.

Sion: That was really the only answer I could come up with at the time.

Sion: And now, even though you had no idea about any of this, you made it here.

Sion: And that is all I have! Thanks for listening!

Fujimaru 1: So, you really believed in us...

Fujimaru 2: So, you really have been waiting for us...

Da Vinci: Aw stop, you're gonna make me blush. But thanks, Sion.

Da Vinci: This is probably where the last version of me would say you should've actually gotten in contact with us ahead of time, but–

Sion: Are you CRAZY!? I am far too shy for that!

Sion: Besides, if you tell people their future–

Da Vinci: You end up changing that future and having to come up with a whole new plan from scratch.

Sion: Exactly. It would have taken time to recalculate,and we almost certainly did not have any to spare.

Sion: So I decided this was the best course of action.

Da Vinci: Okay, that makes sense. But that still doesn't explain some things.

Da Vinci: Like, why are there no other mages from the Wandering Sea here?

Da Vinci: They avoided the big reset just like you did, right? So why is it just you and Captain now?

Sion: Oh, they did not think this blank Earth thing was their problem, just as my father did not.

Sion: No, if anything, they were even worse. They honestly did not care if post-A. D. humanity lived or died.

Sion: Right when this whole bleaching thing started, and the Crypters were giving their victory speech, they said:

Sion: “You're the ones who should do something about this cataclysm. We no longer care what happens to human civilization. ”

Sion: “We do understand the attackers' ideals,but regardless, we do not share them. ”

Sion: Then they just up and left.

Sion: Oh, but before they did, they also said “You may invite the mages of Chaldea here if you wish. Feel free to use the Wandering Sea, but only in specified areas. ”

Sion: "But take care not to enter our workshop. We can't promise you'll survive the experience. "

Sion: Anyway, this place used to be the Wandering Sea's entrance, so it connects to a workshop devoted to bringing back several different Ages of Gods.

Sion: Not that that does us much good now, though,since it has that giant stone gate blocking it.

Holmes: Hmm, I see. So the Wandering Sea's most prominent figures saw no value in post-A. D. humanity.

Holmes: No matter. The Wandering Sea's magecraft is magecraft from the Age of Gods. There's no telling how powerful it is.

Holmes: We must find some way to open that stone gate and get them to help us...Mr. Goredolf?

Goredolf: D-d-d-don't be ridiculous, Holmes! You shouldn't even be looking at that gate, let alone touching it!

Goredolf: O-o-oh God, it's as if that academy principal is waiting for me just behind this gate...!

Goredolf: How can this be happening!? That single gate feels as though it could shatter several Lords at once!

Da Vinci: Hmm. I don't know what he's on about, but he's clearly more terrified than I've ever seen him...

Da Vinci: it may be best if we leave that gate alone. The last thing we need right now is making more enemies.

Da Vinci: The first order of business is to get the Shadow Border repaired. As long as we have a working ship, we can leave the Wandering Sea behind whenever we want.

Da Vinci: I appreciate the offer, Sion, but I'll handle the Border's repairs myself. We don't want to impose on–

Meunière: Heeey! Da Vinciiiiii!

Meunière: I'm sorry! I tried to hide in the Border like you told me to, but they still managed to find me!

Da Vinci: ...(Sigh) So much for our last bit of insurance...

Da Vinci: How did you screw up this time, Meunière? How could they have found that room when I'm the only one who even knew it existed?

Meunière: Well, a bunch of them got in the Border and they were really cute, so before I knew it, I was going over to say hello...

Meunière: Wait. No! Er, it's not like that.

Meunière: See, I couldn't have them fiddling with the Border and messing things up, so I decided to give them a piece of my mind. Ahaha.

Sion: Sorry, you will have to forgive Captain. Fixing up ships is kind of his...thing.

Sion: Anyway, why not hold off on those repairs until later, Da Vinci?

Sion: After all...there is something else we need to do!

Fujimaru 1: Something else...?

Fujimaru 2: What, like a welcome party?

Sion: Oh, we will certainly be doing that. I have tons of questions for you, and tons more I want to tell you!

Sion: But if we are going to throw a welcome party,there is still something else that comes first!

Sion: That's right! What you need is a new base and new rooms!

Sion: So that is what we are going to make right now: your new Chaldea Base!

intro. 3-3

Koyanskaya: ...I'm afraid so. Scáthach-Skadi has been defeated, and her Tree of Emptiness is gone, taking the Scandinavian Lostbelt with it.

Koyanskaya: Tragically, Ophelia didn't make it either...(Sniff, sniff)

Akuta Hinako: ...Spare us the performance, Koyanskaya.

Akuta Hinako: It makes me detest you even more than Chaldea.

Koyanskaya: Oh my, you saw right through me? How embarrassing!

Koyanskaya: And here I was going above and beyond to pay my respects to a fallen comrade by turning on the waterworks to go with the lip service☆

Koyanskaya: After all, Ophelia was one of my most important clients.

Koyanskaya: That Jewel-rank Mystic Eye of hers was a real beauty...

Koyanskaya: Completely wasted on her, though. A textbook example of how one can have too much of a good thing.

Koyanskaya: If she'd only agreed to let me have that eye before it got ruined, I would have done everything in my power to help her stay alive.

Akuta Hinako: I see. Well, then I suppose it wasn't a total loss.

Akuta Hinako: Just the thought alone of you in possession of that eye is enough to turn my stomach.

Koyanskaya: My, my, Akuta. I'm surprised to see you grieving over Ophelia's death, given what a misanthrope you are.

Koyanskaya: Is this one of those “don't know what you've got till it's gone” things, or were you always secretly fond of her? Not that it is any comfort to her either way.

Koyanskaya: See, the thing about friendships between girls is, they're all about supporting each other, just as long as there is also something in it for them.

Koyanskaya: It doesn't matter how much she might have disliked me. I was at least there for her...once in a while.

Koyanskaya: I actually tried to help her with her problems,but you? All you did was sit back and watch.

Koyanskaya: So where do you get off, suddenly acting like she was so precious to you?

Koyanskaya: You didn't do anything, so you don't get to say anything. Isn't that common sense in human society?

Koyanskaya: Maybe you wouldn't have forgotten that if you hadn't shut yourself away all this time.

Akuta Hinako: How dare you talk to me like that, you dirty little fox!?

Peperoncino: All right, that's enough, girls. Save it for after we've all been wiped out, 'kay?

Peperoncino: Come on, Akuta honey, you've worked so hard to keep your face as emotionless as possible. Don't let all that effort go to waste.

Peperoncino: I'm surprised to hear you being so straightforward too, Koyanskaya. You usually play your cards much closer to the chest.

Peperoncino: I guess it just goes to show how much Ophelia's death really hurt the two of you.

Peperoncino: Ooh, wonderful. I love seeing the men trying to act all cool and stoic, pretending like it doesn't bother them.

Peperoncino: Look at us, sharing our thoughts and feelings about the dearly departed...It's almost like a real funeral.

Akuta Hinako: ...Stop that. I don't have any words of condolence for her.

Akuta Hinako: I only came here to report on my Lostbelt. I've done that, so I'll be leaving now.

Akuta Hinako: Pepe. Kirschtaria. Just to be clear,I want nothing at all to do with that fox woman.

Akuta Hinako: She's not good for anything but toppling nations. Don't you dare send her to my Lostbelt, not even by accident.

Beryl: Damn, she really did just up and leave! Whatever happened to teamwork, huh?

Kadoc: ...You sure about this, Wodime?

Kadoc: Koyanskaya's not the only reason Akuta was pissed.

Kadoc: She's furious at the loss of Russia and Scandinavia.

Kadoc: If Koyanskaya hadn't given her an easier target,she'd probably have taken her rage out on me.

Kadoc: I can almost hear her berating me for being useless...and she'd have every right to.

Beryl: You know, now that you mention it,I think somebody ought to. Why not me?

Beryl: I mean, sure. It's great you made it back here alive after Russia got taken out and all. You're one of us.

Beryl: But here's a question: Why ARE you still alive, Kadoc?

Beryl: It was your Servant who wrecked Chaldea, right? They ought to hate you more than any of us.

Beryl: And here you are, without even a scratch? How the hell does that work?

Beryl: Are they seriously that freaking stupid?

Beryl: Or...maybe you were thinking about changing sides?

Peperoncino: ...

Daybit: ...

Kadoc: Hah. It's kind of a relief to see you're still a complete asshole, Beryl.

Kadoc: If I'd really gone over to Chaldea, I'd still be stuck in the Border trying to choke down that nasty prison slop they serve about now.

Kadoc: Trust me, they don't have enough resources to keep anyone nonessential around.

Kadoc: I'm just a pathetic loser who managed to escape death thanks to sheer dumb luck.

Kadoc: (...At least for now. )

Beryl: I see...A loser, huh.

Peperoncino: Beryl?

Beryl: Ah, I'm just busting your balls, Kadoc! All I really care about is that you're still alive!

Beryl: Gotta say though, it's a real shame you and Ophelia had such shitty luck.

Beryl: Then again, maybe it wasn't that so much as Chaldea had good luck? They're certainly not getting by on actual skill.

Beryl: I really can't get my head around their idiot Master still being alive.

Beryl: How the hell does a third-rate amateur like that keep walking away unscathed?

Beryl: Heehee, [♂ he's /♀ she's] gotta be either incredibly lucky, or just getting carried! I've heard of flattery getting you everywhere, but this is nuts!

Peperoncino: Well, don't forget that [♂ his /♀ her] defenses are perfect. Mash is [♂ his /♀ her] Servant, after all.

Peperoncino: It only makes sense that a Shielder would ensure her Master is protected.

Beryl: Well, well...So Mash has been keeping [♂ him /♀ her] safe, huh...

Beryl: Now I'm even more jealous. Imagine getting to play hero while hiding behind a piece of ass like that!

Kadoc: ...

Kirschtaria: If we take Koyanskaya's report at face value,then I have no choice but to agree.

Kirschtaria: Daybit, what do you think of the Master of Chaldea?

Daybit: Good question. It's hard to believe [♂ he's /♀ she's] made it this far.

Daybit: As a rule, people going off to war must bring a proven weapon.

Daybit: This isn't something they do to protect themselves, or even to accomplish their mission. They simply do it because they are incapable of moving forward without the assurance that they are able to fight.

Daybit: And yet, the Master of Chaldea continues to fight while fully aware [♂ he /♀ she] has no weapon to call [♂ his /♀ her] own.

Daybit: [♂ He /♀ She] either has no sense of danger whatsoever, or–

Kadoc: Or nothing. There's no other possible explanation.

Kadoc: [♂ He's /♀ She's] a total joke of a mage. Hell, [♂ he /♀ she] doesn't even really deserve to be called a mage.

Kadoc: The only thing [♂ he /♀ she] can do is rely on Chaldea's Mystic Codes to convert [♂ his /♀ her] life energy into magical energy for [♂ his /♀ her] Servants.

Kadoc: And since there's no way to do that over a distance,[♂ he /♀ she] has to be as close as possible to [♂ his /♀ her] Servants to manage even that much.

Kadoc: [♂ He /♀ She] has no way of defending [♂ himself /♀ herself], and [♂ he's /♀ she's] too stupid to command [♂ his /♀ her] Servants from a safe zone,like we can.

Kadoc: So [♂ he's /♀ she's] only got one choice...

Kadoc: ...and that's standing on the front lines like a goddamn moron.

Kadoc: And trust me, [♂ he's /♀ she's] trying like hell to keep from pissing [♂ himself /♀ herself] the whole time.

Daybit: ...

Kirschtaria: Koyanskaya, let me make sure I have everything straight.

Kirschtaria: You say that Chaldea didn't defeat Ophelia, but rather that she sacrificed her life of her own accord.

Kirschtaria: You also say that in order to stop Surtr, the Fiery King of Giants, the one hiding in the Scandinavian Lostbelt, before he could trigger Ragnarök...

Kirschtaria: ...she used her Sirius Light, and acted not as a Crypter, but simply as Ophelia.

Koyanskaya: Exactly, Lord Kirschtaria. She abandoned her responsibilities as a Crypter.

Beryl: Damn, seriously? What a twist! Guess that means your ass got DUMPED, Wodime!

Beryl: Man, she was so into you, too. See, this is why I can't stand chicks. You just can't trust 'em.

Kirschtaria: I confess, I am disappointed. An overestimation of her abilities...

Kirschtaria: Scandinavia was a peaceful Lostbelt, after all. That she could not control even such a place...

Peperoncino: ...

Koyanskaya: Oh, that reminds me, Kirschtaria...I actually have a little question of my own.

Koyanskaya: You knew about Surtr all along, right? And yet you still entrusted Scandinavia to Ophelia.

Koyanskaya: In fact, weren't you the one who told her to keep Surtr around?

Koyanskaya: If so...something doesn't quite add up. Surtr was the natural enemy of the Scandinavian Lostbelt, you know.

Koyanskaya: Does that mean you left him there specifically so he would destroy it?

Koyanskaya: Is that what the Foreign God asked you to do?

Kirschtaria: Yes, I did advise Ophelia to keep Surtr around.

Kirschtaria: Given Scáthach-Skadi's nature, I thought it to be possible that she may sympathize with Chaldea.

Kirschtaria: I suggested she keep Surtr around as a sort of insurance against that eventuality.

Kirschtaria: Sadly, it seems even that was too much of a burden on her. I thought it would have turned out better.

Koyanskaya: Aha, nooow I see! So you were worried Ophelia wouldn't be able to handle it on her own!

Koyanskaya: You always knew what a weakling she was, even as you kept telling her how much you trusted her...

Koyanskaya: You're a devious one, aren't you, Lord Kirschtaria? In that case, I'm happy to forget the whole thing ever happened.

Koyanskaya: I'll make sure not to mention this to the Foreign God...or the other Alter Egos, of course.

Kirschtaria: I appreciate your faith in me, Koyanskaya. Though I always find it worrying whenever you add in bonuses like that.

Daybit: Koyanskaya, you said you lost track of Chaldea around the North Sea?

Daybit: I suppose they could have escaped with a Zero Sail, but given their lack of resources, I can't imagine they would be willing to do so for long.

Daybit: In which case–

Kirschtaria: They must have reached the Wandering Sea. How troublesome.

Kirschtaria: That was the one place the Foreign God couldn't touch. Or the place the Foreign God felt no need to bother with, at any rate.

Kirschtaria: And since the mages of the Wandering Sea have no interest in the future of modern mankind, we assumed they wouldn't interfere with our plans.

Kirschtaria: But perhaps our decision to ignore them was a mistake...

Kadoc: Huh? Not even the Foreign God could do anything about them?

Peperoncino: Evidently not, since they clearly avoided being erased.

Peperoncino: The Wandering Sea is an island unto itself, both part of and separate from the rest of the world. You can't take an eraser to something that already doesn't exist.

Peperoncino: Anyway, this puts us in a pretty pickle. I have no idea how we'd find them now.

Peperoncino: How about you, Koyanskaya? You can travel between Lostbelts at will. Can you track them down?

Koyanskaya: I'm afraid not...

Koyanskaya: I may possess Independent Manifestation, but I can't sneak into the Wandering Sea without knowing exactly where it is...

Peperoncino: That makes sense.

Peperoncino: Then I guess we'll just have to forget about Chaldea for now, focus on our own Lostbelts, and–

Beryl: Not happening, Peperoncino.

Beryl: Between Kadoc and Ophelia,they've already taken out two of us.

Beryl: We can't ignore this Chaldean remnant any longer. We need to crush them. Quickly.

Beryl: Right, Wodime? There's no reason to keep eyesores like them alive any longer than we have to, is there?

Kirschtaria: ...

Beryl: Oh, come on. Don't tell me you're siding with Pepe on this! You're going to let them get away with this?

Beryl: Then again, I guess you're already pretty much set, aren't you! No one could ever hope to cross that sea of yours, after all.

Beryl: All you've gotta worry about is which bottle of champagne you're gonna open after you win by default!

Beryl: But for us mere commoners...this is a matter of life and death.

Beryl: Isn't that right, Daybit?

Beryl: How am I supposed to enjoy my manhunts when I know Chaldea could stab me in the back at any time?

Beryl: Come on, Koyanskaya. This is your jurisdiction here.

Beryl: I mean, there's three of you Alter Egos, so can't you figure out a way to take care of them as part of your job, O great Disciples of the Foreign God?

Koyanskaya: Hmm, let me think...

Koyanskaya: Rasputin's team is out fighting a group of Proper Human History Servants in the Grecian seas right now.

Koyanskaya: And I don't know what it is that creepy onmyouji loves about India so much, but he refuses to budge from there, sooo...

Koyanskaya: ...I guess I have to handle this one myself,even though it's not in my contract.

Koyanskaya: So you want me to get rid of those pesky Chaldeans for you? Oh, all right!

Beryl: ...Just like that, huh? Can you really pull it off?

Beryl: I mean, I thought you just said you couldn't sneak into the Wandering Sea.

Koyanskaya: Oh, don't worry about that. We pros have our ways♡

Koyanskaya: That said, eliminating all of them is going to be one expensive job. I doubt you could afford it.

Koyanskaya: So I trust you won't mind if I take a more...cost-effective measure?

Beryl: Oh? What'd you have in mind?

Koyanskaya: The important thing is to neutralize the threat Chaldea poses, right? Won't be a problem.

Koyanskaya: They only have one Master to spare, after all.

Koyanskaya: So you just sit tight while I go assassinate[♂ him /♀ her] before anyone even notices I'm there.

Kadoc: ...Looks like Koyanskaya's warped away again. You really think she went to the Wandering Sea?

Kirschtaria: Considering that neither the Foreign God nor the Disciples have been able to locate it...

Kirschtaria: ...I have difficulty imagining even Koyanskaya will be able to infiltrate it anytime soon.

Kirschtaria: Though, knowing her as I do, I expect she must have some sort of plan to reach her destination.

Beryl: Shit, she can actually warp to the Wandering Sea? And I was just screwing with her!

Beryl: Guess it really does never hurt to ask. But also, where can I get that kinda warping juju? 'Cause hot damn!

Beryl: Anyway, I know she'll make good on her word. I also like her pick of going the assassination route.

Beryl: Guess I'd better make sure I stay on her good side from now on.

Beryl: That way, I know I'll have a ticket out of my Lostbelt if everything goes to shit.

Peperoncino: Why so pessimistic, Beryl? Is your Lostbelt really that horrid?

Beryl: Eh, let's just say it's all going to plan. Right, Wodime?

Kirschtaria: ...

Beryl: Oops! I've said too much! Time to go!

Beryl: Later, Kadoc! You enjoy that Greek nightlife since you've got nothing to do but live it up!

Beryl: Oh, and save me a few drinks! If I screw up too,we can have a losers' night out on the town!

Kadoc: ...As if he wasn't treating me like a traitor just a few minutes ago. The worst part is, he meant it.

Kadoc: Whatever, this meeting's done, so I'm heading out too. Besides, I only just got to this Greek Lostbelt.

Kadoc: You said there's a few different poleis here, right? I'm gonna check them out while I heal up.

Peperoncino: Teehee. I'm glad to see Kadoc doing so well.

Peperoncino: He's still as angsty as ever, of course, but he's so much more brazen now than he used to be. It's wonderful!

Peperoncino: Anyway, I think I'll be going now too.... Kirschtaria? Daybit?

Peperoncino: This may not be my place to ask, but aren't you two at all sad about Ophelia's death?

Kirschtaria: ...

Daybit: Good question.

Daybit: I can't say I've spent much time giving Ophelia any real thought from the beginning...

Daybit: ...but for what it's worth, I do feel her loss.

Peperoncino: I see. Looks like I'll be the only one bringing flowers to her figurative grave then.

Peperoncino: But that's okay. Flowers are the one thing my Lostbelt has plenty of. It might not line up with her beliefs, but I can still hold my own little funeral for her.

Peperoncino: I'll be sure to add some flowers for you too, Kirschtaria, since I've not seen you so much as smile since you sat in that chair.

Kirschtaria: ...Your indefatigable positivity never ceases to impress me, Pepe. I'm lucky to have you around.

Kirschtaria: ...But you needn't concern yourself with me.

Kirschtaria: Losing the Scandinavian Lostbelt is no more than a minor setback.

Kirschtaria: That we no longer have Surtr as a fail-safe if things take a turn for the worse was a strategic loss, however.

Kirschtaria: Still, if there's anything I regret...

Kirschtaria: ...Ophelia. We only knew each other for a few years,but I knew you were a kind and gentle woman at heart.

Kirschtaria: Did you see me as some sort of great figure?

Kirschtaria: ...I will strive to live up to that.

Kirschtaria: I will end Proper Human History in order to write a new one, and build new truth in its wake.

Kirschtaria: You may try to resist, members of Chaldea,but in the is we Crypters who will prevail.

intro. 3-4

  -Two Weeks After Docking at the Wandering Sea-

Sion: As you can see, I did my best to recreate Chaldea right here in the Wandering Sea!

Sion: I call it...the Wandering Sea Chaldea Base! Go on everyone, I believe a round of applause is in order!

Mash: This is amazing, Senpai! I can't believe Sion and Captain built all this in just two weeks!

Goredolf: Indeed, this is quite the contribution to our cause! But then, I suppose this is what the Atlas Institute's brightest can do!

Goredolf: I say, you there. You didn't forget about my director's office, did you? The one I ordered with a private bathroom?

Captain: Uh...wait. You are the director?

Goredolf: Yes, that's right. I am the captain of this ship, so to speak.

Goredolf: I asked for three things!

Goredolf: A gorgeous director's office, a stylish operations room, and a German-style kitchen.

Goredolf: This Command Room should suffice for operations, and I already verified that the kitchen is up to snuff, but I haven't seen my director's office anywhere.

Goredolf: I presume you took my importance and safety into consideration and made it a secure hidden room?

Goredolf: That sort of initiative goes a long way with me. You will have a lot to look forward to when it comes to your starting salary now that you're in my employ.

Captain: ...Crap. I used an empty warehouse for that.

Goredolf: I see. So you used an empty warehouse for my office's entrance, eh. I commend you for arranging such an elaborate disguise.

Goredolf: But I must say, passing through a warehouse whenever I enter or leave my room sounds like a bother.

Goredolf: Tell me, Captain, how would you feel if that were your quarters?

Captain: ...All right, you've convinced me. Anything worth doing's worth doing right.

Captain: Sion, I'm heading out on another job. I have to make sure everything is perfect.

Sion: Hmm, I guess our first Servant summoning with Chaldea's Spirit Origin graph will have to wait then.

G:Sion: Ahem. Fujimaru. Mash. Sir Goredolf. Staff members.

G:Sion: And of course, the two Servants,Da Vinci and Sir Holmes.

G:Sion: Let me first congratulate you on a job well done with all you have accomplished these past two weeks.

G:Sion: As you saw when you first got here, the Wandering Sea is not exactly the most accommodating place.

G:Sion: But that all changes today. From now on, you will each have your own private rooms! No more sharing one big communal space!

G:Sion: We also have a cafeteria now, which should be serving proper food starting tomorrow.

G:Sion: I have been living on supplements and artificial blood for a long time now, so building a cafeteria was a novel experience for me.

Sion: Now then...

Sion: I think it is time for the first Chaldea-Atlas joint strategy meeting!

Sion: Oh, but first! Do you know what the Atlas Institute is, or would you like a refresher?

Fujimaru 1: I'll take that refresher, please!

Sion: Right! You just sit back and enjoy this info reel I worked up for you.

Holmes: What's the Atlas Institute, you ask? An excellent question, [♂ Mr. /♀ Ms. ] Fujimaru.

Holmes: It is an institute of alchemists built in the Atlas Mountains of Egypt.

Holmes: It's also known as the Titan's Pit.

Holmes: It's one of three branches of the Mage's Association, dealing with accumulation and measurement.

Holmes: Their alchemy is not at all like alchemy as you may know it, the kind that became mainstream in the Middle Ages. They are the progenitors of Magecraft, focused on investigating the principles of the world.

Holmes: While they are certainly mages, I understand that their Magical Circuits are rather paltry.

Holmes: Consequently, they do not rely on magical energy to learn the mysteries of the world, instead using a great number of tools.

Holmes: In a way, these tools evolved similarly to scientific progress.

Holmes: They treated Pseudo Spiritrons...souls as energy that could be observed and manipulated. This led to homunculi, life-forms that possess magical circuits.

Holmes: “We have no need to become the strongest. We simply have to create the strongest tool. ”

Holmes: That was their motto. True to their words, they created many weapons.

Holmes: In the world of magecraft, they are called the Seven Taboos. The Atlas Institute created seven weapons capable of destroying the world.

Holmes: Realizing that they had reached their limits, they sealed them away.

Holmes: ...There are still many theories about why they decided to build such weapons in the first place.

Holmes: The director of the Atlas Institute was given the title Atlasia.

Holmes: I saw a wall plate on the way here. It said Zepia Eltnam Atlasia.

Holmes: He was likely the last director. There seems to have been a successor designated, but the name wasn't recorded.

Holmes: The directors of this institute would always go mad, and as a result, they created forbidden weapons that would destroy the world.

Holmes: It's also possible that they would try to prevent the destruction of the world, fail in the process, and then go mad as a result...

Holmes: Regardless, this place is a storehouse of Mystic Codes unparalleled anywhere else on Earth.

Holmes: Although in reality, it's more like a disposal site.

Holmes: The alchemists of this institute would constantly invent things. These were treated as failed creations, and a mountain of terrible weapons accumulated.

Holmes: We're headed to the center of that. What do you think? Did you understand my summary of the Atlas Institute?

Fujimaru 2: I'm good, thank you.

Holmes: May I say something before we begin deliberations, Ms. Sion?

Holmes: Apart from the fact that you are a survivor of the Atlas Institute, we still know very little about you.

Holmes: For example, what is your motive here? Why are you helping us?

Sion: Why...? not sure I know how to answer that? I mean, when you are faced with a problem, you work to solve it, right?

Sion: And as far as this particular problem goes, you people of Chaldea are essential to the solution.

Sion: I thought that was why we decided to join forces and become friends...Wait. Does this mean I was the only one who thought that!?

Mash: ...!

Fujimaru 1: ...You're right. I'm sorry. I should have been more considerate...

Sion: ...Heh. That is very kind of you to say, but do not worry about it. It is partly my fault, too!

Sion: I am not exactly an, um, expert in people, but I do know that there is no team where everyone thinks exactly the same way.

Sion: I am, however, very excited to be able to try having friendships with real people and feelings! As far as I am concerned, that is a much bigger challenge.

Fujimaru 2: Of course we're friends.

Sion: We are? Great, then we can get down to business!

Holmes: My apologies. I let my cautious nature get the better of me. I should have remembered that the Atlas alchemists are not motivated by personal gain.

Holmes: Their sole desire has always been solving problems. I do beg your pardon, Ms. Sion.

Holmes: Please rest assured that I am delighted to have gained such a capable ally.

Sion: Right, then! Shall we get down to business?

Sion: I went ahead and skimmed through your logs from the day Chaldea was attacked until you ended up here.

Sion: December 31, 2019. Chaldea is attacked and frozen solid.

Sion: That same day, seven pillars of light are seen streaking down from space, and Kirschtaria Wodime broadcasts his victory speech.

Sion: Kirschtaria used to be a Master from Team A,the linchpin of Chaldea's Rayshift experiment...

Sion: ...but now, he refers to the new group he belongs to as the “Crypters. ”

Sion: Given that Team A was found to be missing during the operation to unfreeze them before Chaldea was attacked...

Sion: ...we can assume that the Crypters Kirschtaria refers to are the other Team A members.

Sion: As for all of you, you undertook a Zero Sail in the Shadow Border in order to escape the Oprichniki.

Sion: Although you only spent a week inside Void Space, three months had passed when you emerged into standard space.

Sion: To do so, the Border had to rely on your sole connection to standard space at the time–the Oprichniki.

Sion: This led you to the Russian Lostbelt, a frigid alternate history inhabited by the Yaga.

Sion: As you attempted to gather more information about your situation, you ended up facing off with Ivan the Terrible, the king of the Russian Lostbelt.

Sion: You then managed to cut down Orochi, the Tree of Emptiness that had taken root there. I am still working on what these Trees actually are...

Sion: ...but based on the data about its internal gravitational field recorded during that battle, I think we can make an educated guess.

Sion: Once the tree was cut down, the storm it had been generating disappeared, and you were finally able to pick up my broadcast from the Wandering Sea.

Sion: From there, you decided to make a beeline for the North Sea.

Sion: But on the way, you ran into another obstacle.

Sion: The Scandinavian Lostbelt, a history stuck in perpetual twilight after Ragnarök went awry.

Sion: When I first saw you had lost the Paper Moon, I might have maaaaybe screamed a little bit, and it was very unbecoming of an you can imagine my relief when I found out you recovered it!

Sion: You then went on to face Scáthach-Skadi,the king of the Scandinavian Lostbelt...

Sion: ...and were able to cut down its Tree of Emptiness, Sombrero. An impressive track record.

Sion: After that, a battered and damaged Shadow Border finally arrived at the North Sea and made its way inside the Wandering Sea...

Sion: ...and now, here we are.

Sion: Did I get all that right? Do you have logs other than the ones on the Border?

Fujimaru 1: Yes, that's all right.

Fujimaru 2: ...Oh, now that I think of it...

Mash: Oh, right. Back when Senpai and I stopped by some ruins we found along the way...

Sion: Huh? You found a survivor's journal? And you failed to mention it!? Let me see that!!!

Sion: So there were some people lucky...or maybe unlucky enough to escape the bleaching...

Sion: It also says the attack lasted for three months. Although...Hmm?

Da Vinci: What's up? Is there a problem with it?

Sion: No, not a problem, exactly. It is just odd that whoever wrote this decided to record it on paper.

Goredolf: Well of course they did, young Sion. There was no electricity out there.

Goredolf: These ruins were no more than a few shattered buildings. There was no generator anywhere in sight.

Sion: (Exactly. And that is why it is so odd that these letters were not written in ink or pencil. )

Sion: (It is as though they were burned into the paper, or something like paper. Does this mean there was some kind of power plant out there after all? )

Fou: ...

Sion: Well, we can work on that later,once we have more information.

Sion: So you have been inside two of the Lostbelts now, and experienced their differences from Proper Human History for yourselves.

Sion: These Lostbelts are dead-end timelines that were pruned away by human history itself once they were deemed unworthy of being allowed to continue.

Sion: For example, the Russian Lostbelt diverged from Proper Human History in the year A. D. 1570.

Sion: And it seems that each Lostbelt to appear on Earth has continued from its point of historical divergence on to the present day.

Sion: However, just because a Lostbelt may have diverged from further back in the past does not necessarily mean it is stronger.

Sion: A Lostbelt's strength–or threat, really–is not so much a matter of its age, but of how much it differs from Proper Human History.

Sion: The Yaga may have been physically different from mankind, but their lifestyle and culture were still carried over from Proper Human History.

Sion: By contrast, the people in Scandinavia may have led peaceful lives, but their society was essentially being kept on life support.

Sion: So given what we know from those two, I decided to come up with a metric we could use to rank and compare the Lostbelts.

Sion: I call it their Lostbelt Depth.

Sion: The greater the Lostbelt Depth, the more strongly it refutes Proper Human History.

Fujimaru 1: Lostbelt Depth...

Fujimaru 2: ...So what was the Lostbelt Depth for the two we've seen so far?

Sion: I went ahead and assigned preliminary Lostbelt Depth rankings for all seven of the Lostbelts.

Da Vinci: Oh yeah, this makes it nice and clear. You Atlas Institute people really do work fast.

Sion: As you can see there are three Lostbelts in Europe, two in Asia, one in South America, and one in the middle of the Atlantic.

Sion: That last Lostbelt is the only place on Earth that still has an ocean from before the world was reset.

Chaldea Staff: !?

Sion: Wait, cut! Scratch that! I forgot about the Wandering Sea! We still have oceans too! Obviously!

Goredolf: Never mind that! Did you say the Atlantic!?

Goredolf: There can't possibly be a Lostbelt in the middle of the Atlantic! There's never been any inhabitants in the middle of the ocean in all of recorded history!

Sion: Well, there are now. In fact, that Atlantic Lostbelt is our ultimate objective.

Sion: That is the one spreading its Tree of Emptiness branches all throughout Earth's atmosphere...

Sion: ...and I have good cause to believe it is where we will find the Crypters' leader, Kirschtaria Wodime.

Da Vinci: Hmm. An Atlantic Lostbelt, huh...In that case,there's only one place I can imagine it could be...

Da Vinci: Do you think it's really possible, Holmes? This sort of thing is your forte, isn't it?

Holmes: ...I can't speak with complete certainty, but if what you are thinking is correct, we will certainly have our work cut out for us.

Holmes: For one thing, we have no means of getting there, as the Border is simply incapable of making such a long sea voyage.

Holmes: But there is another, more immediate difficulty.

Holmes: If there truly is a civilization in the Atlantic, it will be much, much older than any of the four great civilizations.

Holmes: It will have existed since prehistoric days...a robust, stable world that will have had over twelve thousand years to develop.

Goredolf: Come now, man, don't wimp out on me now!

Goredolf: If this Lostbelt is the greatest immediate threat to us, not to mention Wodime's home base, it is our duty to take the fight to him!

Goredolf: The other Lostbelts can wait! We should be on our way to the Atlantic even as we speak!

Sion: I recommend that course of action as well.

Sion: Unlike Russia and Scandinavia, the storm walls bordering the Lostbelts in China and India are not expanding, so there should be no danger in leaving them be for a while.

Sion: As for the Lostbelts in Britain and South America...

Sion: ...Trismegistus calculates an extremely high probability that they will both self-destruct if left to their own devices.

Sion: I have not been able to get a proper reading on the British Lostbelt's depth, but that is just another sign that it is a poor fit for this world.

Sion: I have been unable to confirm what is going on in there, but compared to Proper Human History and the Foundation of Humanity, it is pretty clear that humanity in there is on the verge of collapse.

Sion: So it is reasonable to assume that mankind in the British Lostbelt will go extinct within the span of months rather than years.

Sion: Though I do wonder why the British Lostbelt is the only one surrounded by a wall of light rather than storms...

Da Vinci: We saw that on the Border too, and came to the conclusion that it'd be best for us to stay away from the British Isles.

Sion: Last is the South American Lostbelt. While it appears to have a very high value to its Lostbelt Depth, I cannot seem to get any clear information.

Sion: So I can only conclude that its civilization is just about dead and gone.

Sion: And that, in turn, means that even among all these bizarre histories, it is exceptional...

Sion: ...and thus, not one we need to concern ourselves with as far as fighting with the others for dominance.

Sion: So, in short...your next destination is the Atlantic!

Sion: To that end, we will be making some extensive modifications on the Border! And by we, I mean Da Vinci, with me assisting!

Sion: Hooowever, since it will take us at least a month to finish...

Sion: ...I would like to invite the rest of you to enjoy a bit of rest and relaxation here in the meantime!

Sion: That goes double for you,Sir Goredolf and Fujimaru.

Sion: Once we get our operation going, you two will be on the front lines, so you should take advantage of the rest while you can!

Sion: You will need to get all the rest you can before the final battle in the Atlantic!

Fujimaru 1: Don't have to tell me twice!

Fujimaru 2: A sea voyage in the Border, huh...

Goredolf: Heh. As the commander of this outfit, I hardly expect to be out on the front line, but you are right about me having been under considerable stress.

Goredolf: Indeed, now would seem to be an excellent time to recuperate.

Goredolf: I must say, I had heard that every mage in the Atlas Institute was a cranky old misanthrope, but you've turned out to be a most considerate young lady.

Goredolf: It would be the height of rudeness to turn down such a kind offer. Now then, I think I'll begin with a nice hot shower in my wonderful new office!

Goredolf: Haha! Things are finally looking up for old Goredolf! We'll have the world saved in no time!

Mash: Why don't you go rest up too, Senpai? I know I can't wait to see what our new rooms are like!

Fujimaru 1: Yesss! Let's go check them out!

Fujimaru 2: I hope they're just like the ones at Chaldea!

Da Vinci: Man, I'm kind of jealous. But if anyone deserves some free time, it's those two.

Da Vinci: Anyway, how about us, Sion? Are we going to keep going with the meeting? I should warn you, even you might have a hard time modifying the Border.

Sion: Good point. Your designs appear to all be similar to magecraft from the Middle Ages, while mine are based on cutting-edge alchemy.

Sion: We could well end up having incompatible design philosophies.

Sion: But never mind that.

Sion: Truthfully, I am much more interested in that exoskeleton. I think you called it the Ortinax?

Sion: Mash's own Spirit Origin tuning is perfect,but the Ortinax still has a long way to go.

Sion: I imagine it is preeetty difficult for Mash to fight in that. Am I wrong?

Da Vinci: Well, yeah. I had to build a lot of the Ortinax from spare parts for the Border that I just had lying around, so of course it's not perfect.

Da Vinci: So what did you want to mess with? You know there's no way to restore her old defensive power, right?

Sion: Of course. We could not possibly recreate Galahad's gift with Earth as it is now.

Sion: So instead...

Sion: ...I was hoping you might let me tinker with the bunker bolt mechanism.

Sion: I mean, it does not have to be right this second, but I have something in particular I would like to add to it before we get to the Atlantic.

Sion: Before I got pulled onto Trismegistus's development, I was working on a Conceptual Weapon related to one's natural longevity...

Fujimaru 1: It's just like being back at Chaldea...!

Fou: Fou, fooou!

Mash: I know! Some of the details are a little different, but it's still an amazing recreation of Chaldea's rooms!

Mash: Sion and Captain really outdid themselves!

Fujimaru 1: Why don't you go check out your own room, Mash?

Mash: Oh, yes, good idea. I was so happy I forgot all about that.

Mash: Okay, I'll go take a look at the room they gave me right now.

Mash: We're all done with work for the day, so there's no reason not to relax and enjoy yourself now.

Mash: Good night, Senpai. I'll see you tomorrow morning for breakfast in the new cafeteria!

Fujimaru 1: Oh man. Once I let myself relax, it felt like my exhaustion hit all at once...

Fujimaru 2: I didn't realize how late it was...

Fou: Fou?

Fujimaru 1: ...Crap. I'm already awake.

Fujimaru 2: Looks like it' in the morning...

Fujimaru 1: ...Come to think of it, I didn't have any dinner...

Fujimaru 2: ...I'm thirsty...

Fou: ...

Fujimaru 1: Fou's still fast asleep...

Fujimaru 2: They said the cafeteria should be ready now...

Goredolf: I can't believe this! The nerve of that Atlas churl!

Goredolf: Not only did he not have my director's office ready, he had the gall to tell me to use a sleeping bag at the dock until it was done!

Goredolf: Some captain he is! No doubt he's some pirate scum of a Heroic Spirit. If he thinks he can treat me like...

Goredolf: ...No, this won't do. I can't lose my temper like this.

Goredolf: Get a hold of yourself; be elegant. Breathe from the diaphragm, just like Toole taught you.

Goredolf: Captain may try to hide it, but his dignity is unmistakable. No pirate could fake that.

Goredolf: But then, who could he really be? Hmm, I just can't tell. If only I could ask him myself!

Goredolf: But I can't do that. A commander must maintain a certain dignity! Ugh, why can't he just accept that we're allies now and tell us his True Name already!?

Goredolf: ...(Sigh) Well, I'd better make myself comfortable since I'll be spending the night here again.

Goredolf: Meunière, Kawata, Octavia, Tomlin,Chin, Cayenne, Elron, Marcus...

Goredolf: ...Kyrielight, Fujimaru...

Goredolf: Hmph. I see he had no problem remembering to make rooms for all my staff.

Goredolf: Well, they may have their cushy beds,but there's one thing I've got that they don't:

Goredolf: Midnight snack time! Hahaha! Now then, I think I'll go break in the new kitchen!

Goredolf: ...Mmph.

Fujimaru 1: Between the curling Chaldean spaces, I could see him eating.

Fujimaru 2: Do you often raid the kitchen like this, Director?

Goredolf: I-I'm not raiding anything! I'm merely having my midnight teatime!

Goredolf: Hmph...You're sharper than you look, aren't you. I never imagined anyone besides me would try to get a jump on the kitchen.

Goredolf: Still, I do commend your taste. I presume you were lured here by the sweet scent of butter?

Goredolf: ......

Goredolf: Oh, very well then. I've already had my fill.

Goredolf: Here, you can have the other half. There's some leftover tea as well if you want it.

Fujimaru 1: That would be great, thank you.

Fujimaru 2: It smells so good, how can I refuse...!

Goredolf: Oh, uh, by the way, is everything all right with you?

Goredolf: And with the Demi-Servant girl, for that matter?

Goredolf: Hmm, never mind. I can see you must have woken up in the middle of the night despite being utterly exhausted.

Goredolf: That can only mean you've been unable to relax your mind amid all that has happened.

Goredolf: Well, I can hardly blame you. This must have been an arduous journey for a young [♂ man /♀ lady] with no military experience.

Goredolf: Once you've had some cake and a nice hot cup of tea, you should have no trouble drifting right off.

Goredolf: Go back to your room once you've finished that,and you'll see how right I am.

Goredolf: And of course, I trust that you will join me in pretending none of this happened tomorrow morning.

Goredolf: Now that you've eaten the other half of the cake I found here, that makes you my accomplice, after all.

Fujimaru 1: ...Huh?

Fujimaru 2: What do you mean by that...?

Goredolf: Exactly what I said, of course.

Goredolf: I found this cake here with a note that said “For Fujimaru. ”

Goredolf: Heh, don't bother making excuses. Your friends baked it as part of a Master welcome party they'll be throwing tomorrow morning, didn't they?

Goredolf: Some nerve you lot have,throwing a party and not inviting me.

Goredolf: I admit, I was pretty steamed when I saw this cake with your name on it, but I calmed down quickly and decided to do the kind thing and taste it for you.

Goredolf: Before I knew it, I'd eaten half of the thing.

Goredolf: In fact, I was just appreciating how delightfully sweet its cream was when you found me.

H:Goredolf: Now then, are you all finished? Haha, good, good! This makes us partners in crime!

Fujimaru 1: But, I thought you made this cake, Director...

Fujimaru 2: Um, Director? You look kind of pale...

H:Goredolf: Huh?

H:Goredolf: Hold on. You mean you didn't know about this cake?

H:Goredolf: Then, who made it? And more it just me, or are we both looking off color?

H:Goredolf: I also can't help but notice that I'm feeling rather cold and dizzy all of a sudden...

P. A. System Warning. Warning. Unauthorized life-form detected.

P. A. System Civilian personnel, please remain in your rooms. Security team, please suit up and come to the Command Room.

H:Goredolf: An unauthorized life-form!? Th-then, we've got an intruder here!?

H:Goredolf: Wh-what the!?

Captain: ...Get back before you get hurt. There's a real nasty woman over there.

H:Goredolf: Captain!?

Fujimaru 1: Who is it...!?

Fujimaru 2: This way, Director!

???: ...Well this is an unpleasant surprise. I never thought a grown man would stoop to stealing food meant for a child.

???: In fact, you shocked me so much that I lost control of my Presence Concealment.

???: It seems the one thing you excel at is getting in other people's way...Wouldn't you agree, Your Excellency?

Goredolf: Tamamo Vitch Koyanskaya!? Impossible! How did you get into the Wandering Sea!?

Fujimaru 1: (Koyanskaya...! )

Fujimaru 2: (Hold up. Run that name by me again? )

Koyanskaya: Trade secret. This was a special trick I'm afraid I could only do once.

Koyanskaya: And now...

Koyanskaya:'ve gone and ruined it, Your Excellency.

Koyanskaya: There was only enough poison in that cake for one person. Half a portion means half the effect!

Koyanskaya: (Sigh) I can't believe my plan to poison [♂ him /♀ her] without leaving behind any evidence has backfired so spectacularly...

Goredolf: Poison...? Poison!? Don't be absurd! I gave it a thorough taste test to ensure it was safe!

Goredolf: Between the buttery scent, the buttery taste, and the creamy light texture, it was a perfectly gourmet cake!

Goredolf: If it had truly been poisoned,I would have spit it out on the first bite!

Koyanskaya: I accounted for that, of course. I made sure to use just enough that not even a mage would notice.

Koyanskaya: I even went to the trouble of mixing it into a delectable cake instead of plain old water, just to be doubly certain.

Koyanskaya: ...(Sigh) Well, what's done is done.

Koyanskaya: And since it looks like everyone else is on their way here now, I think I'll take my leave before things turn violent.

Koyanskaya: I'm sure you'll have no trouble figuring out what the poison was with Sherlock and Da Vinci here, but...hehe, that's all you'll be able to do.

Koyanskaya: If you want to actually neutralize the poison,'ll have no choice but to fight your little friends to the death again.

Koyanskaya: And that should be quite entertaining in its own right.

Goredolf: Dammit, she's warping away! What are you waiting for, you fool!?

Goredolf: Hurry up and catch her before she–Urk, blaaaaaargh!

Captain: It's no use. She's already gone. Never mind her now;we need to get you two to the infirmary!

Captain: Sion, we've got an emergency! Take Da Vinci and meet us inside the Border!

Captain: I'll do my best to cleanse the poison from them in the meantime!

Fujimaru 1: I'm back.

Fujimaru 2: I just got out of the infirmary...

Mash: Senpai...! Are you okay!? What did the tests say!?

Holmes: Calm yourself, Ms. Kyrielight. I'll get to that.

Holmes: It's been half a day since Koyanskaya infiltrated our new base.

Holmes: We've done everything we can to treat Fujimaru and Mr. Goredolf.

Holmes: Bluntly, Mr. Goredolf has at most ten days left to live.

Holmes: As for Fujimaru, this is rather difficult for me to say, but...

Mash: ...

Holmes: Ahem. Difficult as this is to say,[♂ he /♀ she] is essentially fine.

Holmes: The poison remains in [♂ his /♀ her] system,but it will have no more effect than a bad cold.

Mash: A-a cold? Even though it's fatal for Director Goredolf...?

Goredolf: That can't be right! We both ingested the same amount of poison!

Holmes: Yes, but thanks to [♂ his /♀ her] contract with Ms. Kyrielight,[♂ Mr. /♀ Ms. ] Fujimaru has a rather potent resistance to poison.

Holmes: If that contract were to be broken,[♂ he /♀ she] would most likely be dead in an hour.

Fujimaru 1: Wow, I had no idea.

Fujimaru 2: Thanks, Mash. You saved me again.

Mash: W-well, of course I'm honored to be helpful, but...

Mash: ...don't we still have to do something to help Director Goredolf...?

Goredolf: Damn straight you do! What are you waiting for? I know you can figure out an antidote!

Goredolf: They say genius recognizes genius, right? And you're two of the greatest geniuses in human history!

Goredolf: Then put all that genius to work and help me already!

Holmes: ...I'm terribly sorry, but for once,there's nothing we can do.

Holmes: We analyzed Koyanskaya's poison, and I'm afraid she's chosen some...frankly troublesome ingredients.

Holmes: Its base sequence does not exist on Earth in 2020. As such, there is no way for humanity in its current state to reproduce it.

Holmes: Which also means it's impossible to formulate an antidote.

Mash: Its base sequence doesn't exist on Earth in 2020...?

Sion: So Trismegistus II is telling us, yeah.

Sion: We did determine that the poison they ingested is some sort of natural substance...

Sion: ...but we have had no success determining what plant it was extracted from.

Sion: All we know is its name, Xiān Shuāi Míng Mài, or “Immortal Decline,” and the fact that it was used a number of times in the past.

Sion: I can tell you that its name is likely of Taoist origin considering all its references to immortality, and that the plant it comes from is medicinal, but unfortunately that is all.

Fujimaru 1: This is awful...

Fujimaru 2: (If it doesn't exist on Earth in 2020, then...)

Goredolf: Th-this can't be happening...Th-th-then, my chances for receiving an antidote

Da Vinci: Nooot to worry! That's what you've got me for!

Da Vinci: We may not be able to reproduce the poison just yet, but since we know it is of Taoist origin, it most likely comes from China, so our next step is clear!

Da Vinci: Just because it's gone in the modern era doesn't mean we're out of options!

Da Vinci: After all, we've got a whole different China we know nothing about just waiting to be explored! A China that followed a completely different path than the one in Proper Human History!

Da Vinci: So I am absolutely, completely certain that we will find an antidote to that poison in the Chinese Lostbelt.

Da Vinci: Even if we don't, we can learn what it's made from by studying the local leylines!

Da Vinci: As luck would have it, I have just managed to summon the perfect guide for us!

Da Vinci: Come on in!

Da Vinci: This is a momentous occasion! The very first helper resummoned with Chaldea's Spirit Origin graph!

Da Vinci: Faster than the wind, cuter than fire, this lotus spirit's charms even melted the heart of Taiyi Zhenren!

Da Vinci: That's right! It's the artificial Baobei made in ancient China! The Marshal of the Central Altar...Crown Prince Nezha!

Nezha: ...Da Vinci. That intro. Is wasted on me. It's embarrassing.

Nezha: But I am. Honored. To be the first. Resummoned. Ni hao. Happy day.

Nezha: Fujimaru. Mash. I have. Heard. What happened. You did. So well. Surviving that.

Nezha: I will. Help you. From now on. I will. Work three. Times harder. To make. Up for. Lost time.

Fujimaru 1: ...!

Fujimaru 2: Thank you, Nezha!

Goredolf: That's...That's wonderful! Da Vinci, you beautiful goddess! I knew glasses suited you!

Goredolf: Then you'll go to the Chinese Lostbelt to save me!? Fantastic!

Goredolf: The Atlantic Lostbelt can wait! Besides, we need to deal with all of the Crypters sooner or later!

Goredolf: Prepare to go immediately, everyone! We're invading the Chinese Lostbelt to take back Proper Human History!

Fujimaru 1: ...

Fujimaru 2: The next Lostbelt...

Mash: ...

Mash: No. I understand how you feel, Master,but Director Goredolf's life is at stake.

Mash: ...We have to deal with all of the Lostbelts,no matter what may be awaiting us in them.

Mash: After all, we're not wanderers. We have our own world, with our own history...

Fujimaru 1: ...Yeah.

Fujimaru 2: ...I know.

Sion: ...All right. I understand, and I have no objections. This should be a good learning experience.

Sion: Besides, you are still technically poisoned yourself, Fujimaru.

Sion: Just because it is not affecting you right now does not necessarily mean it will not later. We really should neutralize it.

Goredolf: Wonderful! This is tremendously promising! What are we waiting for? Let's get the Border ready to–

Da Vinci: Not. So. Fast. There's something else we need to clear up first.

Da Vinci: How did Koyanskaya enter the Wandering Sea? We need to understand that so we know it can't happen again.

Da Vinci: It should be impossible to warp into the Wandering Sea from the outside, since it's impossible to see and its coordinates are always changing.

Da Vinci: And yet, she popped inside like it was nothing. Which means–

Holmes: There must have been something she was able to use as an anchor.

Holmes: Just to clear up any doubts, Ms. Sion, I don't suppose Koyanskaya was originally from the Wandering Sea?

Holmes: Or perhaps she had visited here at least once before?

Sion: No chance. This was definitely her first time here.

Holmes: Then that leaves only one possibility: one of us summoned her.

Holmes: Or rather, more precisely, one of us possesses something with some connection to her.

Mash: Something connected to her...What do you think it could be?

Da Vinci: For this, I doubt it's anything related to magecraft. Could be as simple as a pair of gloves or a hairbrush.

Da Vinci: Whatever it is, I'm guessing it's something small that contains a fragment of Koyanskaya herself.

Mash: Director Goredolf? Is something wrong?

Koyanskaya: ...I'm so sorry, Your Excellency. I appreciate your kindness, really...

Koyanskaya: But I've been hurt too many times in the past. I just can't bring myself to trust anyone else again...

Koyanskaya: Even though...I really want to...(Snuggling up close)

Goredolf: Y-yes, of course. I understand completely, darling.

Goredolf: Rest assured, I am a patient man. I can wait as long as I must to melt the ice around your heart.

Goredolf: In the meantime, you may use my connections as you see fit.

Goredolf: I'm not known as Musik the Phoenix for nothing, after all. My passion is as hot and sultry as my namesake.

Goredolf: I swear to you that one day, my undying love will find the perfect mink coat to warm your frozen heart!

Koyanskaya: ...

Goredolf: Hm? Why aren't you saying anything?

Koyanskaya: F-forgive me, Your Excellency. I was just so...pfft...touched by what you said...

Koyanskaya: Here, Your Excellency, I want you to have this lipstick. Pretend it's me. Keep it close to your heart where no one can ever see it...

Koyanskaya: I know how awful I can be, so I'm afraid I may end up disappointing you over, and over, and over...

Goredolf: Over and...over...

Koyanskaya: But please...please remember this.

Koyanskaya: If you swear to hold on to that lipstick forever and ever...

Koyanskaya: ...I promise you that one day, I will return to matter what fate may have in store.

Koyanskaya: (Snuggling up even closer)

Goredolf: Y-yes...! Of course I'll remember! I have faith in you, Koyanskaya! I always will!

Goredolf: Ah...Ah...Aaaaaah!

Fou: Fooou!?

Fujimaru 1: He just started bawling...

Fujimaru 2: Is that...lipstick?

Goredolf: Wh-wh-wh...

Goredolf: Why

Goredolf: Aaarrrgh! You stupid, stupid thiiing!

Da Vinci: (Sigh) So it turns out it was actually Gordy's fault...

Fujimaru 1: What a sad story...

Fujimaru 2: Farewell, lipstick...Farewell, fond memories...

Holmes: At any rate, that's one problem taken care of.

Holmes: We've finished investigating the base, and removed all traces of Koyanskaya or anything she left behind.

Holmes: We should no longer have to worry about unexpected visits from her in the future. Correct, Ms. Sion?

Sion: Yeah. She had one shot at taking you out,and she blew it!

Sion: I would venture a guess that she is none too pleased right now, but you know what they say! What goes around, comes around!

Goredolf: (...)

Goredolf: Oh, for...I don't have time to feel sorry for myself! Holmes! Da Vinci!

Goredolf: As I was saying, we need to leave for the Chinese Lostbelt immediately! I trust the Border is ready!?

Goredolf: We only have ten days to find this plant,and we can't waste a single minute!

Goredolf: Come to think of it, are you sure we'll make it in time? I'm not already done for, am I!?

Da Vinci: Don't worry. I have a thought about that. I just need to run it by Sion.

Da Vinci: Sion, you designed the Paper Moon. Do you think it'd be possible to Zero Sail from here all the way to the Chinese Lostbelt's border?

Da Vinci: Especially since I'm guessing Captain there is actually–

Captain: Shut it, Da Vinci. I can't stand having other people share my secrets.

Da Vinci: Of course I'll keep my mouth shut! As long as you help us out, that's all that matters.

Da Vinci: In my estimation, a Zero Sail should let us jump from the Wandering Sea straight to China.

Da Vinci: We'd still have to worry about getting inside from there, of course, but I figure the actual trip to the Lostbelt would take less than a day.

Da Vinci: What do you think, Sion? Am I totally off base?

Sion: Nope, all sounds right to me, Da Vinci. No wonder you are Chaldea's...or rather, humanity's guardian.

Sion: I would have suggested the same thing,you were just quicker about it.

Sion: The Atlas Institute will be glad to get you to the Chinese Lostbelt. Right, Captain?

Captain: ...I'm not part of the Atlas Institute. But, I suppose I can help.

Captain: I'll have you to the Chinese Lostbelt in less than half a day. After that, it's all up to you guys,Fujimaru.

Fujimaru 1: ...Right!

Fujimaru 2: Thanks, Captain!

Fou: Fou, fooou!

Sion: Guess we all agree, then!

Sion: Okay everyone, get ready to head out. I estimate you should have room in the Border to fit supplies for about fifteen days!

Sion: I will open up the Wandering Sea's dock in an hour,so please make sure you are all set by then.

Sion: Your next destination is the Chinese Lostbelt.

Sion: Your objective is to obtain some Xiān Shuāi Míng Mài, investigate the Lostbelt, and completely cure your two poisoned personnel.

Sion: Oh, and for the bonus round, you can defeat the Lostbelt's king, cut down the Tree of Emptiness, and take out the Crypter!

Sion: I know you are working against the clock as well as any hostiles you encounter, but try to stay calm.

Sion: At this point, any differences the Atlas Institute or the Wandering Sea may have had no longer matter.

Sion: From this point on, I hereby dub the Wandering Sea Chaldea No. 2...Novum Chaldea.

Sion: As Trismegistus II's caretaker,I will do everything I can to support you.

Sion: All right then...

Sion: It is time to get this operation–this Order to explore and decipher Lostbelt No. 3 underway.

Sion: Good luck with everything,and I will see you all when you get back!

"Into the Storm"

Meunière: Emerging from long-distance Zero Sail now...Whoa, we nailed the positioning!

Meunière: I can see the supercell surrounding this Lostbelt one thousand meters straight ahead!

Fou: Fooou!

Holmes: Impressive. Even if this precision is only possible when embarking from the Wandering Sea, it is quite something to behold.

Holmes: What's more, Ms. Sion tells me that we can expect this level of precision anywhere except the North and South Poles.

Holmes: Unfortunately, we may have been a little too precise. At this distance, our only choice is to head straight into the storm wall immediately.

Holmes: Mr. Goredolf, how are you–

Holmes: It would seem his fear of the poison has more or less overwhelmed him. He will not be of much use for the time being.

Holmes: How about you, [♂ Mr. /♀ Ms. ] Fujimaru? Are you ready for this next phase?

Fujimaru 1: ...Yes. I think so.

Fujimaru 2: (Manage a nod)

Holmes: Good. Ms. Sion was kind enough to make some significant improvements to your Mystic Code.

Holmes: It should be a good deal more useful both in keeping you alive and in aiding your performance as a Master.

Holmes: I'll explain more once we arrive in the Lostbelt, but...Yes, Ms. Kyrielight? Is something the matter?

Mash: Oh, uh...No, it's nothing. I'm good to go as well!

Mash: (...I did feel the same warmth during that last Zero Sail as I did in Scandinavia, but–)

Da Vinci: Okay guys, that's enough! Ready or not, we're embarking on another Zero Sail!

Da Vinci: We don't want to burn the Border's fuel unless we really have to, so I'm going to take advantage of the inertia we got by launching from the Wandering Sea!

Da Vinci: We'll be emerging inside the Lostbelt without anything to guide us, just like we did in Scandinavi–

Da Vinci: Oh? Well, well, what's this now?

Da Vinci: Good news, Gordy! It looks like Koyanskaya's inside the Chinese Lostbelt too!

Goredolf: Sh-she is!? Are you sure about that, Da Vinci!?

Da Vinci: Yep! I got a pretty solid sample of her data yesterday, so there's no mistaking it! Now we can kill two birds with one stone!

Da Vinci: Not only will this greatly improve our odds of emerging from Void Space, we can also ask her about an antidote once we capture her!

Da Vinci: Meunière, set the anchor point from“Hypothetical/Living Human” to Koyanskaya!

Meunière: Got it! But man, as if I didn't already have my hands full with driving this thing! Dammit, just when I could've used the old man's help!

Fujimaru 1: So Koyanskaya's in the Chinese Lostbelt too...

Fujimaru 2: (I wonder if she really has an antidote...)

Holmes: Very well then. In light of this new information,I believe a new course of action is in order.

Holmes: We should cancel our search for Xiān Shuāi Míng Mài in favor of capturing Koyanskaya.

Holmes: That would be a much surer way of neutralizing the poison Goredolf and Fujimaru consumed...

Holmes: ...and it would be one less threat to our future endeavors.

Holmes: As for the Crypter and the Tree of Emptiness, our goals there would remain unchanged. We find and restrain the former, and cut down the latter.

Holmes: Would that be acceptable to you, Director?

Goredolf: Y-yes, of course! That sounds great! Indeed, this is no time to be trembling in fright!

Goredolf: No more Mr. Nice Guy, Tamamo Vitch Koyanskaya...!

Goredolf: The next time we meet, I'll see you pay for everything you've done!

Fou: Fou, fooou!

Da Vinci: Hey now, don't get ahead of yourself, Gordy. We still have to capture her first, remember?

Da Vinci: And even if we succeed at that, it won't amount to anything if we can't make her tell us where to find or how to make the antidote.

Nezha: Understood. I will. Hold back. However. I will not show. Her mercy. We should. At least. Berate her. Right. After capturing her.

Nezha: It is best. If we beat. This villain. So that. She can. Never again. Stand up. Or engage. In any. Evil schemes.

Nezha: China is. My home. Lostbelt. Or not. Its air. And land. Should remain. The same.

Nezha: As such I should have. No trouble defeating. This demon.

Mash: Thank you, Nezha! It's great to have your help!

Holmes: ...All right, we're now only four hundred meters away from the storm wall! Do it, Da Vinci!

P. A. System Expanding Logic Formula on Shadow Border's external armor. Removing existence verification for Reality Space.

P. A. System Future prediction: hypothetically prove mirror world plane in twenty seconds. Relaxing space-time friction decompression for 0. 4 seconds.

P. A. System All systems are green. Void Space sea observations remain locked at previous results.

P. A. System Shadow Border, untether from reality. Void Space Dive, Zero Sail: unfurl once again!

Section 1: The Third Lostbelt

Woman: ...You say you thought you had a dream? That it might have been some kind of sign?

Woman: ...And that absurd reasoning has you drinking poison from a chalice?

Man: So you think it's foolish too, huh. My wife said the same thing.

Man: His Imperial Majesty himself gave me this poison. All I need do is drain it in a single gulp, and I will displease him no more.

Man: I have slain too many for one in my position. You might say I've outlived my usefulness.

Woman: I don't understand. None of this would have happened if not for how petty the emperor is. How can you be willing to lay down your life for a man like that?

Man: You may not see any sense in it, but this is simply what it means to be a warrior.

Woman: ...Once I heard you were going to die,I had to come and ask.

Woman: Say the word, and I will see everyone who toyed with your destiny...who forced this hollow loyalty upon you...drown in a sea of their own blood.

Man: Haha...I'm honored you are so angry on my behalf.

Man: It's more than I deserve...And I will admit that I do have my share of regrets.

Man: But at this point...I've truly come to believe this is a fitting end to the life of Gao Changgong.

Woman: ...I don't understand. The way you talk of life and death makes no sense whatsoever.

Woman: But then, I suppose I could never understand, as death is a concept that's never had meaning to me.

Man: Ah yes, that's true, isn't it. Perhaps, if anything,I should be the one begging you for forgiveness.

Man: After all...the peace I will attain in death will be forever beyond your reach.

Woman: Perhaps I'm jealous. Jealous of your death, and of the brilliance of your life leading up to it.

Man: You are too kind. I assure you,I know no more of death's secrets than you do.

Man: Even should I learn them now,they will soon be lost to darkness.

Woman: ...Do you have any last wishes?

Man: ...Good question. If I could wish for something beyond my own would be to someday see you again.

Man: ...Haha, I suppose such a wish must sound completely absurd.

Woman: Not necessarily. I have seen the likes of you shatter more daunting barriers.

Woman: I have seen them tame lightning, cure plagues,and even change the course of rivers.

Woman: ...I cannot say how long it will take, but...

Woman: ...eventually, the day may come when those bound by mortal lives learn to reach beyond even death.

Woman: Should such a day come to pass, and if I am lucky enough to be there to see it...then I shall recall your final wish.

Man: Ahh, you don't know how happy I am to hear that. In all my thirty-three years of life, there is nothing I've treasured more than your presence.

Woman: ...


P. A. System Reality Space anchor attached. Reality verification complete.

P. A. System Proper Human History Resemblance: A Lostbelt Depth: E

P. A. System Establishing Shadow Border's existence within Lostbelt. Zero Sail return successful.

Mash: I'm glad we had another emergence that went so smoothly. How are you feeling, Senpai?

Mash: I know the poison isn't causing you any pain right now, but I also heard you're not feeling entirely yourself...

Fujimaru 1: I'm fine. Just a little short of breath, is all.

Goredolf: Hmph, so cold symptoms are the worst of it for you, are they? Must be nice! I'll have you know I used to have asthma when I was a young lad!

Goredolf: But after I read the memoirs of a great bodybuilder, actor, and politician who once suffered from the same disease...

Goredolf: ...I followed his example and overcame it with rigorous training! Though sadly, I don't have his muscle to show for it.

Goredolf: My point, young [♂ man /♀ lady], is that all you need is gumption! This is no time to let your fears get the better of you!

Holmes: Heh. I must say...It's almost encouraging to see our commander so energetic despite his poisoning.

Da Vinci: Yup. We've still got plenty of time to find a cure, and Gordy's a mage so he's pretty well accustomed to dire threats like this.

Da Vinci: Now, let's see what things look like outside...

Fou: Fou?

Da Vinci: Eighteen degrees Celsius...Thirty percent humidity...Gentle unusual magical energy readings...

Meunière: I'm looking out the window right now, looks like a field.

Meunière: I gotta say, I'm almost creeped out by how normal it seems here compared to the other two Lostbelts. I'm not quite sure what to make of it.

Holmes: Are there any hostiles outside?

Da Vinci: Hmm, not according to our instruments. Since it looks like it's safe, why don't we all go see for ourselves?

Fujimaru 1: Is this really the Chinese Lostbelt...?

Fou: Fooou...

Da Vinci: Latitude and longitude don't lie. We're standing right at 32°40'N, 110°50'E.

Da Vinci: In Proper Human History, this would be Shiyan, a major city with a population of 3. 4 million people.

Mash: Well, this is certainly not a city,but it doesn't look like untamed wilderness either.

Holmes: Perhaps it is a wheat field or the like? Admittedly it would be an extraordinarily large one...

Nezha: I recognize. The smell. In the. Air here. This is. My homeland.

Nezha: ...And yet. I have. No memory. Of this. Strange landscape. How confusing. And depressing.

Nezha: It seems. I am. Useless as. A guide. For you. After all.

Da Vinci: Hey, don't worry about it. All bets are off when it comes to Lostbelts. Besides, we have a much bigger role for you to play than just a guide.

Da Vinci: For the moment, I've picked up a leyline only a kilometer or so away from here.

Da Vinci: Between that, and how surprisingly safe this area looks to be, I'd say we're off to a pretty good start.

Da Vinci: Now, what do you say we take the Shadow Border over to the leyline and set up a summoning circle?

Meunière: Got it. I'll go warm up the engine then. You can never be too prepared for combat in these Lostbelts.

Da Vinci: Okay, the leyline's right around that well. Go ahead and park it here.

Mash: It certainly doesn't look like a dangerous area. But, something feels off...

Da Vinci: True. If anything, it's too peaceful.

Da Vinci: And considering how expansive this farmland is,it's weird that we haven't seen a single piece of agricultural machinery.

Mash: The buildings here seem a little crude, too.

Da Vinci: Yeah, I've never seen anything quite like them before. Though I guess you could say they kind of look like collective housing.

Fujimaru 1: You mean, like an apartment building?

Da Vinci: That's right. Although, I'm not sure “building”is the right word for, structure.

Da Vinci: All that ground they leveled, and they're still living in holes? It's like something out of the Stone Age.

Mash: Maybe civilization never really developed in this world?

Mash: ...Oh, there's some people headed this way. Shall we try talking to them?

Holmes: Yes, but do be careful. I doubt they pose any threat to us, but we cannot afford being seen as a threat either.

Farmer A: What the? Who the hell are these people,and what are they doing in our field?

Boy: Look at their weird clothes. Do you think they might be foreigners?

Farmer A: F-foreigners!? Here!? Does that mean they came from that strange storm then?

Farmer B: H-hurry up and call the supervisor! Maybe he'll know what to do!

Fou: Fhew...Fou.

Mash: At least the translators seem to be working fine...

Da Vinci: According to our linguistic analysis, they're speaking Middle Chinese, a language that predates the Song dynasty.

Nezha: Conversation. Is a good. Starting point. However. We have frightened them. This pattern. Is not. Good.

Farm Supervisor: Hey! Did you really see foreigners!?

Farmer A: Yeah, they're right over here! See for yourself, Supervisor. They just popped up in my field out of nowhere!

Farmer B: They were riding around in that weird box, they wear really strange clothes...and I think they've got weapons, too.

Meunière: Aw crap, I don't like where this is going! Fujimaru, help us out here before things turn violent!

Meunière: Tell them this is all just a big misunderstanding! If Holmes tries to explain, he'll just make things worse!

Holmes: Hm? And what's wrong with my explanations?

Fujimaru 1: A-all right!

Fujimaru 2: We mean you no harm!

Farmer A: Aah! [♂ He /♀ She] talked!

Farmer B: If you don't mean any harm, then why'd you show up in the middle of the field dressed like that!?

Farmer A: Go on, Supervisor, get rid of 'em for us before they ruin any more wheat!

Farm Supervisor: You got it!

Mash: Th-they've all taken up weapons! Now what do we do...?

Fou: Fou, fou, fooou. Fooou.

Holmes: Hmm, it seems their rather bare-bones lifestyle has not lent itself to open minds. I'm afraid we'll need to pacify them before we can begin negotiations.

Meunière: Is now really the time for detached analysis, Holmes!? Can't you use Charm on them or something!?

Da Vinci: Gordy's the only one of us who can use Charm spells...Well, he says he can, anyway.

Da Vinci: And even if he's telling the truth, he's still comfortably holed up inside the Border right now.

Holmes: It'd be best to summon a Servant who with a powerful innate Charm skill, but that would require access to the leyline, which we don't yet have.

Holmes: It would seem we cannot avoid this battle. Fortunately, our opponents should be willing to listen once they get this out of their system.

Holmes: While this would be an ideal situation for my baritsu,I'm afraid I will have to sit this one out.

Da Vinci: Oh, right, you still haven't fully recovered yet. Guess we've got no choice then.

Da Vinci: Mash, Nezha, go ahead and fight them if that's what they want! Just make sure not to harm any of them!

Nezha: Understood. I also. Would like. To avoid. Excessive force. I will. Be careful.

Mash: Yes! We'll do as great gentlemen do,in the true spirit of baritsu!


Goredolf: I see. So you got into a fight almost the instant you left the Border?

Mash: Yes. I'm afraid we ended up in a standoff with the locals...At least we got them to back down for now...

Holmes: All thanks to your and Nezha's efforts not to harm them. They do appear to understand that our intentions are not violent now.

Holmes: They're currently monitoring us from what I suppose they consider a safe distance. It seems they have their own responsibilities to tend to.

Nezha: Correct. No signs. Of reinforcements. We are. Safe. For the moment.

Goredolf: H-hmm, I see. So you managed to avoid provoking them.

Goredolf: I'm relieved to hear they're sharp enough to realize we're only lost travelers trying to get our bearings.

Goredolf: Although...what about the Servants? You said we can summon more once we're able to use the leyline, right?

Mash: Da Vinci's outside preparing a summoning circle right now. I think she's run into some kind of trouble though...

Da Vinci: Hey guys! I'm setting everything up right now! Just give me a minute to work out the kinks!

Da Vinci: Sure, I ran into a little trouble, but don't worry! It's the kind I'm used to!

G:Meunière: Hey, Da Vinci, are you sure it's okay to hook this weird machine up to Mash's shield!?

G:Meunière: It looks supershady. In fact, it doesn't even look like it was made on Earth!

Da Vinci: Oh, right. That's the booster Sion lent me.

Da Vinci: Get this: a single one lets you manifest a Spirit Origin equivalent to three Servants! She called it, uh, a whatchamacallit cell.

Da Vinci: Unfortunately, they burn out after a single use, but we're not gonna be stingy with Fujimaru and Gordy's lives at stake.

Da Vinci: All right, now we just stand by in base state.

Da Vinci: As soon as we get a response from the Servant side, I'll kick it to its excited state so we can start the summoning.

Da Vinci: There we go. Now it's just a matter of time.

Da Vinci: As long as the Servant has some connection to you,Fujimaru, I'm sure they'll answer the summon, Lostbelt or not.

Goredolf: Hmm, I see. Well done, Technical Advisor. In that case...

Goredolf: can start by summoning a skilled Caster capable of brainwashing these barbarians en masse!

Goredolf: This is an emergency, and an urgent one at that! We need to start making progress posthaste!

Fou: Fou, fooou...

Holmes: Are you all right with that course of action,[♂ Mr. /♀ Ms. ] Fujimaru?

Fujimaru 1: I'm not a fan of mass brainwashing, but...

Mash: I agree. Since we have working translators, I think it would be best if we tried for more positive relations.

Fujimaru 2: Easy there, Director. Let's just calm down.

Goredolf: Calm down? How can I calm down when I will be dead in a matter of days!? And have you forgotten this concerns you too!?

Holmes: Regardless, the summoning will take time. It would be in our best interests to negotiate while that proceeds.

Holmes: Sometimes, Mr. Goredolf, there is something to be said for not letting sleeping dogs lie.

Goredolf: ...All right then, who's going to lead these amicable negotiations!?

Goredolf: Fujimaru already tried and failed, remember!?

Goredolf: Where are we going to find an angel with a smile cherubic enough to win over those barbari...

Da Vinci: ...?

Da Vinci: That's right. We're just poor,hapless travelers who lost our way.

Farmer A: Oh, you poor thing. That must have been so hard.

Da Vinci: We didn't mean to ruin your field, I promise. Do you think you could forgive us?

Farmer B: Oh, don't worry about that. We can always till it again.

Farmer A: Hell, just getting to talk to such a pretty girl as you kind of makes me...Makes me...

Farmer A: Makes me wanna till the field again more than ever!

Fou: Fooou...

Mash: Da Vinci really is a force to be reckoned with, isn't she...She's not technically lying, but she's not exactly being truthful, either...

Fujimaru 1: She's a demon with the face of an angel...

Fujimaru 2: Still...I can understand...

Farmhand A: Hmph, just look at those men falling all over themselves! That outsider's got them twisted around her little finger!

Farmhand B: How can they possibly trust any of those foreigners after the beating they gave the poor supervisors!?

Holmes: Aha! (Sensing an opportunity)

Holmes: I do beg your pardon about that, madam. Please, allow me to apologize for trampling on your fields as well.

Holmes: I only hope you can believe me when I say that we truly do want nothing more than to resolve this matter peacefully.

Holmes: Unfortunately, the truth is that we have lost our way, and are uncertain as to where we are.

Holmes: I am so terribly sorry to impose, but could you please tell us about this place? You are our only hope.

Farmhand A: W-we are? Teehee, well then, I suppose, ought to step up...

Farmhand B: True, true. I mean, if a man this handsome needs our help...

Farmhand B: ...the least we can do is hear him out, right?

Fou: Fooou...

Fujimaru 1: Well, Holmes has his looks, if nothing else...

Fujimaru 2: You'd think that getup would raise more suspicion, but oh well...

Nezha: Agreed. I do. Not know. Why we. Fought earlier.

Mash: W-well, uh...The important thing is that we've reached a peaceful resolution...

Meunière: It looks like they were all just scared more than malicious. They seem to be good people at heart.

Holmes: By the way, Da Vinci, what was the trouble you ran into with the Spirit Origin graph earlier?

Da Vinci: An excellent question, Holmes! Glad to see you're paying attention to the important bits!

Goredolf: What? I thought you'd already resolved the issue with summoning Servants?

Da Vinci: Ehh, less resolved and more worked around. I still don't know what the problem really was.

Da Vinci: This Lostbelt's nothing like either Russia or Scandinavia.

Da Vinci: I tried using the leyline here to connect to this Lostbelt's Throne of Heroes...

Da Vinci: ...but I didn't get any response.

Holmes: ...None whatsoever?

Da Vinci: There was nothing wrong with the equipment, so whatever the problem is, it has something to do with this world.

Da Vinci: Granted, the odds were always low that a Heroic Spirit from this Lostbelt was going to be eager to help us, so I wasn't counting on that...

Da Vinci: ...but it's still odd that there'd be no answer at all. Right, Holmes?

Holmes: ...Indeed.

Da Vinci: So I just dropped that idea and switched back to trying to summon from Chaldea's Spirit Origin graph.

Da Vinci: Now, we're just waiting for a Heroic Spirit to respond to our call.

Da Vinci: In fishing terms, we've baited our hook and cast our line. All there is for us to do now is be patient.

Mash: What could be going on, Senpai...?

Fujimaru 1: I have no idea.

Fujimaru 2: Maybe it means there's no one there?

Da Vinci: Honestly, even though my genius once again carried the day, I really don't know what happened there.

Fou: Fou, fooou...

Da Vinci: What I do know is that the connection to the Throne of Heroes is just that, a connection, and it doesn't exist in this Lostbelt's leyline.

Da Vinci: It could also be that our definition of what a Heroic Spirit is doesn't match this Lostbelt's.

Nezha: Definition of. Heroic Spirit?

Goredolf: And what exactly do you mean by that!?

Holmes: ...This is a fascinating phenomenon. One that no doubt gets to the heart of this Lostbelt's true nature.

Holmes: But right now, we have nothing more than speculation. We'll need to collect more evidence before we can begin drawing any conclusions.

Da Vinci: Oh? That sounds to me like you already have a pretty good idea what's going on, Holmes.

Holmes: I do have a hypothesis, but a good detective only shares their deductions once they are supported by clear and undeniable evidence.


Fujimaru 1: The air is so clean here.

Mash: It is, isn't it. It feels like forever since I was last able to breathe this easily...

Mash: ...since in the other Lostbelts, the Border was the only safe place we could go...

Mash: Oh, I almost forgot we have the Chaldea Base now, too!

Mash: Anyway, being surrounded by a natural landscape like this really feels like–

Mash: ...Huh? What's that up in the sky above us, Senpai...?

Fujimaru 1: It looks like some kind of...streak?

Mash: I didn't notice it during the night,but that's definitely strange, right?

Mash: I guess it must be normal here, since none of the locals seem to be taking any notice of it...

Mash: Da Vinci still has them all practically enthralled.

Da Vinci: So hey, what's the name of this era?

Farmer A: Era? What's that?

Da Vinci: Oh, uh, I was mostly just wondering what year it was...

Farmer A: Hmm, well, I'm turning twenty-two this year.

Farmer A: We all start working when we turn five, and I've planted these fields seventeen times now, so that adds up, right?

Da Vinci: Erm...thanks. I was thinking more along the lines of a calendar though...?

Farmhand A: It's time to plant the seeds and harvest the last crops, of course. You can tell by the moon, y'see.

Holmes: Hmm...Let's try this then: Who's the foremost leader in the world right now.

Farmer B: Why, that'd be Most Glorious and Majestic Heavenly Emperor, of course.

Holmes: And what is this emperor's name?

Farmer B: Name? Why, Most Glorious and Majestic Heavenly Emperor, of course. You might as well ask me what the sun and moon are called; the name's right there!

Da Vinci: Well, uh, where might we find this emperor then?

Farmer A: In the capital. Where else?

Da Vinci: And where's that?

Farmer A: They say it's way, waaay off in that direction.

Da Vinci: Have you ever been there?

Farmer A: Me? Why would I ever go there?

Farmer B: We only worship from afar with gratitude. None of us would exist without Most Glorious and Majestic Heavenly Emperor's blessing, after all.

Mash: ...Huh?

Fujimaru 1: What's up, Mash?

Mash: Um, Senpai...Do you smell that?

Goredolf: Hm? Are you talking about my eau de cologne?

Goredolf: I did switch to my more wild American brand after we got here...

Mash: No, I don't mean that...It's less of a human scent and more...beastly?

Nezha: This presence...No mistake. Bloodthirsty creatures. Are headed. This way!

Farmer A: Eep! Wh-what is that thing!?

Farmer B: Aah! There's another one over there!

Da Vinci: Wh-what the? Those are Krichat', like we saw in Russia! What are they doing here!?

Holmes: We can figure that out later, Da Vinci. Right now, we need to evacuate the villagers!


Mash: Hostiles eliminated. That said...

Fujimaru 1: Those were from the Russian Lostbelt...

Da Vinci: I can't believe we're seeing creatures from an entirely different Lostbelt here...This is too bizarre to be coincidence.

Holmes: You there. Have you ever seen creatures like this before?

Farmer A: No way! I've never seen a monster like that in my life!

Farmer B: Me neither. The worst things we've seen until now were the wild boars the supervisor used to chase off.

Farm Supervisor: If we'd ever run into these things before,we'd probably be dead now.

Mash: Don't worry. We'll help you for as long as we're here.

Mash: It's the least we can do to make up for ruining your field. Right, Master?

Fujimaru 1: Of course!

Fujimaru 2: Right. Besides, this might have something to do with us.

Goredolf: Wh-what are you two saying!? We didn't come here to serve as this village's bodyguards!

Holmes: No, Ms. Kyrielight is correct. Those Krichat' should not be present here.

Holmes: If they have made a sudden appearance,we should investigate it.

Meunière: How're you feeling, Fujimaru?

Fujimaru 1: I'm fine.

Fujimaru 2: Just a little short of breath.

Da Vinci: Great. Your vital signs are all looking good, too, so your condition's definitely not too serious just yet.

Da Vinci: We've still gotta keep a close eye on it, of course, but I don't think we need to worry too much just now.

Holmes: I must say, you're looking a tad pale, Commander. Are you sure you won't lie down in the Command Room?

Goredolf: Oh, be quiet! I just have a little heartburn from eating too much cake, that's all!

Goredolf: I'm in perfectly good health, I'll have you know! If a third-rate mage can handle this poison without a problem, then of course I can too!

Meunière: That aside, we're still no closer to getting our bearings here, even with the locals sharing.

Holmes: Our first order of business is gathering as much information as possible. Otherwise, we have no way of knowing where to even begin.

Goredolf: Where to begin? How about we begin with finding Koyanskaya, like we originally planned!?

Holmes: A fair point. I sincerely doubt she came here on a lark.

Holmes: Very well then, how do we track her down?

Holmes: We'll never find her if we merely walk around without a plan, after all.

Holmes: Given that this is a Lostbelt, we know there must be a Crypter guarding its Tree of Emptiness somewhere.

Mash: And just like in Scandinavia, this Lostbelt's tree doesn't seem to be visible.

Holmes: Yes, that concerns me too. The Russian tree was so large as to be visible from hundreds of kilometers away.

Holmes: The fact that we cannot see it here means that it must be disguised, as it was in Scandinavia.

Holmes: And that, in turn, means this Lostbelt's king understands that it is something best kept hidden.

Nezha: Of course. If they. So wished. A fairy or sage. Could make. A mountain. Disappear. With relative ease.

Meunière: I really don't want to imagine going up against someone like that, but given everything so far...

Holmes: Indeed. Even if we were to capture Koyanskaya today,we cannot simply leave this Lostbelt behind.

Holmes: As long as it exists, it remains a threat to Proper Human History. Sooner or later, we will need to face the Crypter responsible for it.

Goredolf: All the more reason for us to hurry along with our investigation!

Goredolf: You're all being far too generous,agreeing to be this village's bodyguards.

Goredolf: I mean...I can understand how scared those villagers would be if the Krichat' were to suddenly attack again, but...

Holmes: I assure you, Mr. Goredolf, this is all part of our investigation.

Goredolf: What was that?

Holmes: It's safe to assume that those hostile creatures are the same type of Demonic Beast we fought in Russia.

Holmes: Think back to when we first learned about them.

Holmes: The Krichat' are Demonic Beasts that originated in the Russian Lostbelt, and possess numerous characteristics that let them survive in its frigid environment.

Holmes: But this Lostbelt is far too warm for such creatures.

Meunière: Oh, now I get it. So that's why Mash and Fujimaru agreed to help.

Mash: ...Right. This has everything to do with us.

Mash: The fact that those creatures showed up in a different Lostbelt can only mean that someone brought them here.

Holmes: Indeed. Someone who can come and go between Lostbelts as they please.

Holmes: Since we can of course eliminate ourselves as suspects, that only leaves one possibility...

Fujimaru 1: Tamamo Vitch Koyanskaya.

Holmes: Precisely. A most astute interjection, [♂ Mr. /♀ Ms. ] Fujimaru. Watson would have been proud.

Goredolf: Grr...

Holmes: Finding Koyanskaya remains our priority. But at the moment, we have far too little information to act on.

Holmes: If anything, the Krichat's appearance is our only real lead so far. We cannot afford to overlook it.

Da Vinci: Hmm...Hey, can I just say something?

Da Vinci: I sent out a surveillance drone toward the capital,and I discovered something...interesting.

Goredolf: Oh? Was there actually a city out that way?

Da Vinci: I tried zooming in and cleaning up the long-range footage as best I could, and...Well, it's easier if you just take a look.

Fujimaru 1: ...What the hell?

Holmes: For once, I am genuinely at a loss for words.

Da Vinci: So much for civilization never developing here.

Da Vinci: If they've got the science and engineering know-how to build a metropolis like this, then they've come way farther technologically than we thought.

Da Vinci: I mean, there's not a single support column holding this thing up, so they obviously figured out how to make it float.

Da Vinci: And since it's clearly no giant air bladders or the like, I've got to wonder just how the hell they are making something that heavy float!

Holmes: Perhaps magecraft is used openly here. Either that, or they really have advanced scientifically to the point where they can control gravity.

Holmes: In the latter case, they would be well ahead of Proper Human History, at least in terms of technology.

Da Vinci: Oh, and while I was at it, I grabbed some footage of that weird perfectly straight line in the sky, too. Here it is at max magnification.

Fujimaru 1: Wh-what IS this thing!?

Da Vinci: Well, for starters it's about two thousand kilometers above us, so it's just barely in low orbit. By my estimates, it's more than five kilometers wide.

Da Vinci: That's not even the best part. It stretches along the entire observable sky of the Lostbelt.

Mash: Wow...

Meunière: Then how come we couldn't see it before entering this Lostbelt? If it's two thousand kilometers up, that's gotta put it above the storm clouds, right?

Da Vinci: That must mean that the Lostbelt's borders prevent anything within from being seen, storm or no.

Da Vinci: Anything built during their history, no matter how big it might be, is impossible to observe from the outside.

Da Vinci: Forget measuring size and mass. From the outside, there's no way to even know it exists at all!

Da Vinci: Even now that we can observe it, I have no idea what it is or what it's for. If the people of this world built it themselves...that raises even more questions.

Meunière: I'll say. How can something like that exist when life in this farming village is so primitive?

Da Vinci: I kept flying the drone around in every direction, but I didn't see any other buildings or structures even remotely close to the scope of the capital.

Da Vinci: East, west, north, south...It was nothing but fields everywhere I looked.

Meunière: Seriously? Man, I can't tell if this place is way ahead of Proper Human History or way behind it.

Holmes: Whatever is taking place here, it no doubt stems from this world's deviation from Proper Human History...

Holmes: Da Vinci, I trust you can determine the capital's latitude and longitude from here? What happens when you map it to the China we know?

Holmes: Is there a record of a capital city dating back to a well-known dynasty there?

Da Vinci: Aww, you already figured that out? I wanted to keep you all in suspense a little longer.

Holmes: I can certainly understand the desire for a dramatic reveal of your information.

Holmes: Under the present circumstances, however, I am afraid we are reliant on you for all such inquiries, so please give us your information now.

Da Vinci: Yeah, yeah, you made your point.

Da Vinci: Based on its distance from our present location, it corresponds to Proper Human History's Xianyang prefecture.

Mash: Xianyang? Isn't that–

Holmes: Indeed. It dates back to the Qin dynasty.

Meunière: Qin? That was before the Three Kingdoms era wasn't it? Does that mean it even predates Xiang Yu and Liu Bang?

Da Vinci: That's right. The Qin dynasty was a major empire around 200 B. C. It's known for being the dynasty of China's first emperor.

Da Vinci: It was the country ruled by the great Qin Shi Huang.

???: Hmm...So that is Chaldea. Your enemy.

Akuta Hinako: Yes, but not only are they my sworn enemy. They also command a threat to the safety of your empire.

Akuta Hinako: Namely, Heroic Spirits.

???: We see. Indeed, we were quite surprised when you first told us of them. You said this Master can summon an army of great heroes from the past, correct?

???: We find this difficult to credit indeed...

???: We are certain you would not lie to us, but how could a few mere soldiers ever hope to overturn our eternal reign? We cannot even imagine the possibility.

Akuta Hinako: You underestimate Heroic Spirits at your peril.

Akuta Hinako: Those whose souls are offered to the Counter Force are given tremendous power to ensure the continuation of humanity.

Akuta Hinako: Trust me when I say that a single Servant is easily the equivalent of a thousand ordinary soldiers.

???: Hmm...So this...Alaya you spoke of? You said it is the sum total of human consciousness?

???: This sounds like pure nonsense to us. Is this the manner of thing you simply accept in your own world?

Akuta Hinako: You make an excellent point, Your Imperial Majesty. My world was more chaotic and less complete than yours.

???: It must have been, if something so preposterous as resurrecting dead Heroic Spirits to fight in one's place is considered normal.

???: We cannot help but wonder how a world where such things were necessary to maintain order could have lasted.

Koyanskaya: I must warn you too, Your Imperial Majesty. The Master of Chaldea is an enemy you can't afford to ignore.

???: Ah, right. We had forgotten that you are from the same world as Akuta, Kominskya.

Koyanskaya: My name is Koyanskaya, Your Imperial Majesty. Do you think you could try to remember this time?

Captain of the Guard: Watch your tongue when speaking to the Emperor, wretch.

???: No matter. These visitors come from a world beyond our domain. Of course our customs elude them.

Koyanskaya: Thank you, Your Imperial Majesty. I do understand that you may find it rude and presumptuous of me to warn one so omnipotent as you.

Koyanskaya: But the fact is, Chaldea has already brought strange creatures with them that threaten your people's safety.

Koyanskaya: This poses quite a problem for your quarantine as well. Surely you don't want them to get away with this?

???: ...

Akuta Hinako: Please, Your Imperial Majesty, if we merely wait for them to reveal their true barbaric nature, it will be too late.

???: Hmm. If it is so important to you, then why have you not done something about it yourself?

???: You command these Servant puppets as well, do you not?

Akuta Hinako: I...Yes, I do. If you would forgive me for disturbing your eternal paradise, I can summon one right now.

???: Very well. Show us exactly what these warriors from another world are capable of.

Akuta Hinako: Yes, Your Imperial Majesty!

Koyanskaya: Hmm, this emperor's much more laid back than I thought. I expected a bit more eagerness to take down the threats to their empire.

Akuta Hinako: I had hoped for the same. Nothing ever seems to go as planned with the emperor. But...oh well. That isn't going to change.

Koyanskaya: Well, sorry you ended up having to do all the work in consequence.

Koyanskaya: I do hope it won't take you too long to finish them off.

Akuta Hinako: ...Is that all you have to say for yourself,after all the trouble you've caused?

Koyanskaya: Eeek! Please don't glare at me like that, Akuta. You're gonna make me cry☆

Koyanskaya: We're on the same side in all of this!

Koyanskaya: Besides, isn't the Master of Chaldea every Crypter's sworn enemy?

Akuta Hinako: Of course. You could have lured [♂ him /♀ her] to any of the others' territories, and any of them would've made sure to finish [♂ him /♀ her] off.

Akuta Hinako: I would go so far as to say any one of them would be a better pick for this kind of work than me.

Akuta Hinako: So why did you have to bring them to China? They're only here because they were following you, right? Thank you so much for that.

Koyanskaya: Aww, don't be so hard on yourself, Akuta. I really thought you would be the best fit for the job, seeing how you're so good at defense and all.

Koyanskaya: You see, I actually tried to assassinate[♂ him /♀ her] as a favor to Beryl...

Koyanskaya: ...but I'm afraid things didn't exactly go as planned☆

Koyanskaya: See, the poison I used is called Xiān Shuāi Míng Mài, and...

Koyanskaya: Well, I don't suppose you already know what it is, do you?

Akuta Hinako: ...You are unbelievable.

Koyanskaya: Eee, so you DO know about it! You're one smart cookie, aren't you?

Koyanskaya: In that case, you can see where this is going, right? Including what they'll try to do to find an antidote.

Akuta Hinako: ...Koyanskaya. Did you do this on pur–

Koyanskaya: No, I didn't. This time, I only had about ten percent of a plan.

Koyanskaya: That's why I wasted no time coming to warn you, Akuta. I wanted to take responsibility, see!

Koyanskaya: I mean, Chaldea's got the world's greatest inventor and greatest detective on their side now, right?

Koyanskaya: I knew it wouldn't take them long at all to figure out where the poison came from.

Koyanskaya: So I thought, instead of wasting time trying to sweep this under the rug, it would be much better to fortify our defenses now.

Koyanskaya: So here I am, warning you about the danger and taking responsibility!

Koyanskaya: It's not like you and I are complete strangers, right? So I thought I could help you out with getting rid of Chaldea.

Koyanskaya: Besides, we're both misanthropic outcasts. It only makes sense for us to join forces, don't you think?

Akuta Hinako: ...True. That much I know we have in common.

Akuta Hinako: But that still doesn't explain why you brought those dangerous pets of yours along.

Koyanskaya: Pets? Perish the thought.

Koyanskaya: They have their dignity, at least as far as wild animals go.

Akuta Hinako: So you didn't order them to go around killing people?

Koyanskaya: Of course not. Why would I rob myself of the pleasure of torturing and killing humans?

Koyanskaya: No, they're just doing their best to survive and find food in an environment they're not used to.

Koyanskaya: Don't you find that far more endearing than a bunch of defanged livestock, like this nation's people?

Akuta Hinako: That's not the problem, and you know it. How could you set Demonic Beasts from another Lostbelt loose here?

Akuta Hinako: If the emperor finds out you're the one responsible for them, you will find yourself in real trouble.

Koyanskaya: Oh, that? You might say that's just part of a lifelong project for me. Don't worry, I promise I won't make any trouble for you.

Koyanskaya: You have your own life's work you've devoted yourself to, don't you, Akuta? So I think we'll both be happier if we just stay out of each other's way.

Akuta Hinako: ...Fine. What's done is done, after all.

Akuta Hinako: There's no way I'm letting Chaldea mess up my nice, stable Lostbelt. Don't you dare go easy on them, Saber.

D:???: As you wish, Master. I promise, I won't let you down.

Koyanskaya: Huh!? When did you summon him!? I can tell he's got a beautiful face underneath that mask, too!

Koyanskaya: No fair, Akuta! How come you're the only one who gets a certified hottie working for her!?

Akuta Hinako: That's not why he's here! Ugh, just shut up already, you damned fox!

Section 2: Eternal Empire

Mash: Qin Shi Huang...the Emperor of Qin...

Goredolf: Hahaha. Qin Shi Huang, you say? Don't you think that's a little far-fetched?

Goredolf: Qin Shi Huang is from the B. C. era. How could he possibly still be alive in 2020?

Da Vinci: Well, normally you'd be right. But are you forgetting the tsar we just recently fought who had been living for around five hundred years?

Da Vinci: So is it REALLY such a stretch that a Chinese emperor might have managed to survive over two thousand years?

Holmes: The Qin empire had a legal system, standardized units of measurement, paper money...It was very much ahead of its time in many ways.

Holmes: China would go on to see the rise and fall of many other dynasties...

Holmes: ...but when it comes to making progress as a civilization, such instability is...unhelpful.

Holmes: If Qin had remained as the sole power in China, no doubt it would have reached a point where it would easily swallow up neighboring countries...

Holmes: ...which could, in turn, have sped up humanity's overall progress considerably.

Da Vinci: Yup. I could easily see that happening if someone like Qin Shi Huang had been able to keep on ruling.

Da Vinci: In fact, he actually spent a lot of his later years searching for a way to achieve immortality.

Mash: Qin collapsed due to political instability after Qin Shi Huang's death...right?

Holmes: In which case, if Qin Shi Huang somehow succeeded at becoming immortal in this history, much like how Ivan the Terrible did so by becoming a Yaga...

Holmes: would theoretically be possible for China to skip all of its years of instability and civil war and go straight to modernization.

Da Vinci: That could definitely explain how they were able to build something so huge along a satellite orbit path.

Da Vinci: Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if that was the sort of thing Qin Shi Huang wanted to build all along.

Holmes: One thing we do know is that this nation has not seen the kind of societal change that typically accompanies scientific progress.

Holmes: The advancement of science inevitably makes authoritarian regimes obsolete past a certain point, but just look at that village.

Meunière: Yeah. They might as well still be stuck in the B. C. era.

Holmes: Regardless of who this “Most Glorious and Majestic Heavenly Emperor” residing in Xianyang may be, it seems clear that he has no intention of sharing the benefits of all this progress with his citizens.

Da Vinci: Hm? Hang on!

Da Vinci: Some sort of projectile was just fired from the capital. It's headed in this direction.

Da Vinci: In looks like it's going to land right in this village.

Mash: I can see it from here. It looks like...a rocket?

Holmes: I certainly hope it's not some sort of intercontinental ballistic missile.

Farmer A: Oh, that? That's a Benefaction.

Fujimaru 1: Benefaction?

Farmer A: Yeah, the Most Glorious and Majestic Heavenly Emperor uses those to grant gifts whenever there's a celebration.

Farmer A: We know exactly where it lands, so it's perfectly safe as long as you keep your distance.

Farmer B: Why would there be one now, though? Is today some sort of holiday?

Farmhand A: I don't think so...

Mash: Then, it's not an attack after all? That's a relief, but it still seems like a rough way to send a package...

Da Vinci: I'm afraid we're not so lucky. I'm seeing vital signs inside that thing, along with a magical energy signal we're all too familiar with.

Da Vinci: That's a Master and their Servant. No mistake.

Mash: Ah!

Nezha: If they. Mean to. Attack us. We will. Respond with. Due force.


Fou, fooou!

Goredolf: Oh come on, you're telling me they're making their way here in that?

Holmes: That does seem like a...somewhat less than ideal conveyance. It will no doubt be a rough landing.

Da Vinci: No problem there. Since it's a Master traveling with their Servant–

Fujimaru 1: They can just jump out right before it lands.

Fujimaru 2: The Servant can handle the landing.

Da Vinci: Exactly, Fujimaru. I knew you'd know how to make effective use of a Servant.

Mash: Here it comes! Everyone, brace for impact!

Akuta Hinako: ...

Holmes: As we expected. So that is this Lostbelt's Crypter...

Da Vinci: That's Akuta Hinako. I see. So China's her territory.

Mash: Akuta...

Akuta Hinako: Hmph. Looks like you're taking this seriously, Mash. And here I thought I'd find you smirking.

Mash: ...I'd never do that. I take no joy whatsoever in fighting you.

Akuta Hinako: Then you're even more hopeless than I thought. You're no better than animals who lack a concept of shame.

Akuta Hinako: I feel no more animosity toward you than I do a cockroach nest before I exterminate it. Even that is more emotion than you deserve.

Mash: That's terrible...

Da Vinci: Yikes...Are you really Akuta Hinako? You're nothing like you were back in Chaldea.

Akuta Hinako: ...Da Vinci. So it's true. You really were killed.

Akuta Hinako: You might not believe me...but that body of yours is perfect.

Akuta Hinako: You have achieved the realm that humans cannot reach with their meager insight. The true new form that the intelligent aim for.

Akuta Hinako: ...I'm surprised you would make something like that, Leonardo. Humans really are just...

Akuta Hinako: No. As long as you're part of Chaldea, that makes you my enemy. You'll have no sympathy from me.

Akuta Hinako: Saber, eliminate them. Remove these eyesores from my sight.

G:???: As you wish, Master.

Mash: ...! Here they come, Senpai!

Mash: We're about to face Akuta Hinako and her Saber!

Mash: Commencing battle!


Akuta Hinako: Ghh...Now I see. No wonder Ophelia and Kadoc lost.

Akuta Hinako: You're obviously used to fighting with Servants. That experience has given you quite an edge.

G:???: Master, it would be foolish to continue this battle any longer. I suggest we make a temporary retreat!

Akuta Hinako: Damn, I really underestimated them! Let's go, Saber!

G:???: Yes, Master!

Mash: ...Akuta...

Mash: ...The enemy has retreated, Master. The battle is over.

Fou: Fou, fooou!

Meunière: I'm surprised they gave up so easily. Then again, Akuta always was pretty decisive...

Holmes: No. I am afraid that we neither dealt her a decisive blow, nor were we able to make her show her hand.

Nezha: If anything. Now she. Knows how. Strong we. Truly are. But she. Is a. Lot stronger. Than she. Lets on.

Da Vinci: Yeah, she's a tough opponent. Looks like she wasn't kidding about exterminating us like cockroaches.

Da Vinci: She only took the direct approach this time because she thought she could wipe us out.

Da Vinci: This just wasn't the sort of fight she wanted. She'd rather retreat and figure out a strategy that will let her win without putting in any real effort...

Da Vinci: Looks like that profile of her saying she was a neat freak was right on the money.

Mash: ...

???: So, you went and made a great fool of yourself. We will not laugh at you. Your little show with the Chaldeans was interesting.

Akuta Hinako: I blame no one but myself for my disgraceful performance. Still, perhaps now you at least understand the threat these invaders pose, Your Imperial Majesty?

???: Threat? A threat, you say? Why should we feel threatened just because you retreated?

Akuta Hinako: ...

???: Well, since your little display amused us, you may continue it.

???: In fact, you may bring ten of our puppets with you for the second act.

Akuta Hinako: With all due respect, Your Imperial Majesty, if you treat this latest disaster as mere entertainment–

???: We might say the same of you, Akuta. Given the reluctance with which you engage in combat, we can only conclude that this is some sort of game to you.

???: If you are going to fight, then fight to win. There is nothing to be gained by running away before you suffer so much as a single loss.

Akuta Hinako: ...

Akuta Hinako: Understood, Your Imperial Majesty. I won't fail again.

???: Good. We look forward to a future showing with a bit more...substance to it.

Koyanskaya: Oh Your Imperial Majesty, you're so bad. Is this your way of punishing poor little Akuta?

???: Is that how it seemed to you, Kominsky?

Koyanskaya: Ko-yan-ska-ya!

???: We see no sense in punishing her when we do not yet even think of these Chaldeans as our enemy.

???: They may have come here from another world,but that is also true of you and Akuta.

Koyanskaya: Huh...? Uh, yes, I suppose that's true...

Captain of the Guard: If these Chaldeans are here to mount an attack, we would have to suspect you two as their advance guard.

Koyanskaya: Akuta and I came here to pay our respects and offer our services as soon as we arrived, Your Imperial Majesty.

Koyanskaya: But the only thing Chaldea has done since they arrived is cause trouble and mayhem in your territory.

Koyanskaya: Don't you think that sets us apart kind of a lot?

???: Indeed, you have a point. But is that not why Akuta went after them? To scold them for their poor manners?

???: Hahaha, you outsiders certainly do care a great deal about etiquette.

Koyanskaya: ...


Fujimaru 1: What's Akuta Hinako like?

Da Vinci: Well, the last version of me wasn't too involved with Team A, so I can't speak from experience...

Da Vinci: ...but her record said she was extremely careful in every aspect of her relationships to others.

Mash: That reminds me.

Mash: Kadoc used to say she had a personal connection to Director Marisbury.

Da Vinci: Really? That's news to me. Then again, I could see her allowing Kadoc to believe that.

Mash: But, why would she do that?

Da Vinci: Probably to keep the kid at arm's length, I'd guess.

Da Vinci: I wouldn't be shocked to hear she had similar strategies for everyone.

Da Vinci: My guess is that she was trying to cultivate a very specific image for herself among Team A.

Da Vinci: Namely to leave the faintest impression among them,to seem neither too hostile nor too friendly.

Holmes: In other words...a stalwart misanthrope?

Da Vinci: Well, yeah, basically, but you don't have to be quite so blunt about it, Holmes.

Mash: ...True, she did like to keep to herself. She did her best to avoid interacting with anyone.

Mash: The main thing I remember about her is how quiet she was. I never saw her get upset, or even smile.

Meunière: If she wasn't curled up in a corner of her room reading, it was because she was getting new books from the library. I always felt bad about interrupting her.

Da Vinci: Honestly, I'm pretty sure she wasn't cut out for combat at all, no matter how much aptitude she may have had for being a Master.

Da Vinci: Based strictly on her profile,out of all the Crypters...

Da Vinci: ...I thought she might be the only one we could maybe resolve things with peacefully.

Goredolf: Well you couldn't have been more wrong! I am still getting chills from those icy glares of hers!

Goredolf: I've never seen such naked contempt in my life!

Goredolf: The only thing that comes close is Koyanskaya's glare whenever I'd make a move on her after having too much to drink!

Da Vinci: True, the Akuta Hinako we just fought was nothing like the quiet girl her profile described. Her sheer hostility was...

Da Vinci: No, not hostility. It was more like...disgust. Either way, I never expected that from her.

Mash: ...There is one thing I can remember that might help explain it.

It was back when we were all taking a break in the rec room, some time after Team A had been formed.

Kadoc was nursing a drink while Beryl cheered him on... Kirschtaria and Daybit were arguing about mythology... Peperoncino was teasing Ophelia with some sort of joke. As usual, Akuta was off reading by herself,refusing to participate in any of the conversations.

I'm certain that whenever I looked directly at her,she always had her nose in her book. I'm sure anyone else who had been there would agree with me. But...

...when I happened to catch a glimpse of Akuta's reflection in a glass I was polishing... ...I realized that wasn't the case at all.

She was actually just hiding her face behind the book, and was in fact keeping a close watch on each of us. ...She was so guarded. Almost as though she was terrified of something. But by the time I'd turned around to look at her,she had her nose back in her book. She went right back to pretending to read the second she sensed my eyes on her.

Da Vinci: Hmm. Well that's kind of unnerving.

Mash: Akuta wasn't disinterested in her teammates at all.

Mash: If anything, I think she was so suspicious about something that she never let her guard down.

Mash: ...Unfortunately, I was never able to ask her why she was so afraid of her team...

Mash: It seemed like a subject I should avoid at all costs.

Da Vinci: Sounds to me like she was more guarded about people in general than her teammates specifically.

Da Vinci: Maybe there was something she was trying to keep secret.

Da Vinci: Hmm. We still have her background file, along with the results from her selection exam. Maybe we should take another look at it...

Da Vinci: Wanna handle that, Holmes? This sort of thing is what you detective types are all about, right? That and investigating cheating spouses, of course.

Holmes: Unfaithful spouses aside, this sort of thing is indeed where a true detective shines. By all means, send the data to my workshop.

Da Vinci: ...Hm? Um, your attention, please. I have a Da Vinci Warning to make.

Da Vinci: Xianyang just fired another projectile. It doesn't look like this one's aimed at the village...

Da Vinci: ...but after calculating its landing point, I found it's coming from the same direction in which Akuta Hinako retreated.

Da Vinci: And I'm pretty sure that means–

Fujimaru 1: Reinforcements, right?

Mash: I think so too.

Da Vinci: Of course, it'd be suicide to send normal soldiers via rocket, so it's probably carrying weaponry.

Da Vinci: Akuta's almost certainly going to try and attack us again, so we need to be ready to fight back.

Holmes: Da Vinci. What about summoning more Servants?

Holmes: I believe enough time has passed that it should be more than possible to do so?

Da Vinci: Yup, we're all set there! In fact, I just finished the summoning right now!

Da Vinci: Since we're going up against an empire that has stood for thousands of years and its emperor...

Da Vinci: ...I decided to bring along three musketeer rebels.

Mash & Meunière: Musketeer rebels?

Da Vinci: Mordred, the rebel of the Round Table.

Mordred: 'Sup, guys!

Da Vinci: Spartacus, the liberator of the slave gladiators.

Spartacus: Death to all oppressors!

Da Vinci: And Jing Ke, the world's foremost expert in assassinating Qin Shi Huang.

Jing Ke: ...Wait, what. That's why you brought me here?

Fujimaru 1: Yeah, that makes sense.

Jing Ke: You're trying to take down the Qin empire, right? And Qin Shi Huang with it, right? You're giving me another chance to kill him, right?

Jing Ke: Oh that is great, really. Definitely couldn't have picked anyone better for the job. But what's with the three musketeers thing?

Jing Ke: You know my Spirit Origin, hell, even my Noble Phantasm has got to be stronger than ever thanks to the fame and tradition boost, so how come I'm getting treated like I'm second string?

Jing Ke: I mean, I don't have any objection to you choosing to summon me, of course! It's just...

Nezha: ...Pitiful.

Spartacus: Now, now, we all hate oppressors here. I would be honored to fight by your side in toppling this one, Heroic Spirit Assassin Jing Ke!

Mordred: Hell yeah! My old man's fought Chaldea a bunch of times too, you know.

Mordred: You said this guy's an emperor? No sweat then!

Mordred: I dunno what backassward Roman province he rules, but I'm sure we'll have plenty of chances to off him.

Meunière: Is it just me, or is Spartacus's inability to make sense rubbing off on Mordred?

Mash: I don't think so...I mean, true, she didn't always make the most sense in Camelot, but she was a huge help to us in London...

Jing Ke: ...Well, whatever. I'm just glad that I'll have allies I can count on to help me out this time.

Jing Ke: Since I finally have another chance to end Qin Shi Huang's life with my own hands, nothing else matters.

Spartacus: Exactly! Let us bring this oppressor to justice together!

Mordred: Nobody plays king around me and lives to do it again!

Jing Ke: (...Well, at least they should still be more help than Qin Wuyang was...)

Da Vinci: So I hate to impose on you guys so soon,but the enemy's wasting no time coming after us.

Da Vinci: There's a Servant headed our way at high speed, along with–

Da Vinci: Hm? Hang on, there's more of them now. This is weird. I'm seeing magical energy signals, but no vital signs!

Holmes: Foot soldiers? ...No, I can see they aren't human. Are those...puppets? Perhaps some sort of automata?

D:???: Correct. They may be silent, but they are soldiers nonetheless. Thanks to them, I am finally able to make use of my true skills, as a general.

Nezha: Those movements...I did. Not want. To believe. It was...

Akuta Hinako: Be careful, Saber. It seems they've added to their ranks as well.

Mordred: Hell yeah they have. I dunno what this Lostbelt shit's about, but this is MY battlefield now! Whatever you're tryin' to pull, you better believe I'm gonna smash it!

Spartacus: Well said! From now on, you will need to contend with we three musketee–

Jing Ke: No. None of that. Shame on you.

Spartacus: ...

Mordred: (I guess Sparty really liked that name. )

Akuta Hinako: Hmph. Heroic Spirits who delight in battle and bloodshed, huh. You make me sick.

Akuta Hinako: Make sure to finish them this time, Saber. Don't hold anything back.

D:???: Very well, Master. Then I shall end this with my secret attack!


G:???: Curses! I cannot believe that even my leadership is not enough to defeat them!

Holmes: Wearing a mask to boost his leadership capabilities...A level of influence over his forces that borders on a curse...

Holmes: That Saber's True Name is the Prince of Lan Ling,also known as Gao Changgong of the Northern Qi!

Akuta Hinako: Saber, stand down! We're going to regroup!

G:Prince of Lan Ling: But–

Akuta Hinako: We cannot win this battle after your Noble Phantasm failed. We need a wholly new strategy.

G:Prince of Lan Ling: As you wish, Master.

Mash: The enemy Servant and Master have retreated.... Looks like we managed to survive again.

Fou: Fou, fooou!

Jing Ke: Are you all right, Fujimaru? It must be difficult for you to be in combat given your condition...

Fujimaru 1: I'm fine. It's just a little fever.

Spartacus: That's our Master for you! I applaud your mental mettle in not succumbing to this disease!

Fujimaru 2: Well, yeah, kind of...

Jing Ke: You need to take care of yourself, Master. Most of these Servants have no concept of restraint when it comes to using magical energy.

Mordred: Meh. Those soldier robot things turned out to be pretty freakin' pathetic, huh?

Mordred: Can't believe this king uses them to fight his wars. I've seen scarier dolls.

Fujimaru 1: I thought they were supposed to be weapons...

Da Vinci: Yeah, I figured they'd never send reinforcements by rocket like that. Obviously, I was wrong.

Da Vinci: No normal flesh-and-blood soldiers could've survived the impact, but it's no issue for these things.

Holmes: Would it be possible to collect their remains? I'd like to study them further.

Da Vinci: At a glance, they look a lot like the same kinds of automata we've fought dozens of times before.

Holmes: I'm interested in their energy source. I think it may shed some light on this world's inner workings.

Nezha: ...

Jing Ke: What is it, Nezha? Something on your mind?

Nezha: ...Yes. Possibly.

Nezha: I would like to. Take a. Look. At the remains. As well.

???: We saw your battle from here as well.

???: You need not bother with a third attempt. Your Servant alone is clearly no match for them.

Akuta Hinako: I'm afraid not, Your Imperial Majesty...

???: Then we shall provide you with further assistance. Although...these Servants are indeed formidable foes.

???: Another one or two hundred foot soldiers are unlikely to make much difference...Ah, what of your Xiang Yu?

Akuta Hinako: L-Lord Xiang Yu!? But, he's–

???: Indeed, even now he remains one of our most helpful retainers.

???: But it is when facing an unknown enemy that he shines brightest.

???: It would be a waste to keep him confined to Xianyang under these circumstances, so we shall lend him to you. Make good use of him.

Akuta Hinako: I-I will, Your Imperial Majesty! Such unexpected delight...You are far too kind.

???: Still, sending Xiang Yu out to the front line will require some time to prepare.

???: In the meantime, keep a close eye on Chaldea, and continue to ensure they do not attempt to take any action against our empire.

Akuta Hinako: Yes, Your Imperial Majesty!

Koyanskaya: Well, well, I've never seen Akuta get flustered before. Who knew she had a girlish side to her?

Koyanskaya: That said...I'm surprised you're bringing out Xiang Yu now, Your Imperial Majesty. Don't you think it's time you stopped playing around?

???: What a strange question. Do we appear to be treating this as a game to you, Konanskya?

Koyanskaya: It's. Koyanskaya.

Koyanskaya: If you truly see Chaldea as a threat now, the sensible thing to do would be to wipe them out in a single overwhelming strike.

Koyanskaya: And in your case, Your Imperial Majesty, you could accomplish that merely by lifting your little finger.

???: Yes, we could if we so desired.

Koyanskaya: And yet, you still sent Akuta Hinako out instead.

Koyanskaya: This latest decision may have seemed like you taking things a bit more seriously, but you actually have no reason to believe it will be a decisive blow.

Koyanskaya: Be honest, Your Imperial Majesty. You aren't testing Chaldea...You're testing Akuta Hinako, aren't you?

???: Indeed. We can see quite clearly that the threat the Chaldeans pose stems from being backed into a corner, so to speak.

???: What we have yet to see is how Akuta will behave when she believes she has found a means to defeat them.

Koyanskaya: (Still doesn't trust Akuta or me one bit, huh. )

Koyanskaya: (Well, I guess the king of this Lostbelt wouldn't be a fool, but I can't tell how seriously this whole thing is being taken. )

Koyanskaya: (It's so much harder to read someone when you can't see their face. )

???: That aside, we underestimated these Servants. We thought they would be little more than ghosts, but it seems they are quite skilled.

Koyanskaya: Yes, they are. The magecraft they use is very different from the sage arts your empire has cultivated.

Captain of the Guard: So there's more to using Servants than summoning the souls of decorated heroes and commanding them?

Koyanskaya: The difference between mere necromancy and Heroic Spirit summoning is that Heroic Spirits make contracts to serve their Masters of their own free will.

???: So, these dead souls lend their strength in response to the existential threat faced by their world...

???: Would you say that is correct, Koryanchihuahua?

Koyanskaya: Yes, exactly, Your Imperial Majesty. And, once again, my name is Koyanskaya.

???: Hmm, what a horrific proposition.

???: To think your world was so perilous it could not even let the dead rest in peace.

???: We would never permit such things to exist in our domain. Those who meet glorious ends would never think to threaten the peace of our world.

Koyanskaya: I'm sure. I doubt something like the Counter Force would ever even take root here.

???: We dislike the idea of these guests traipsing about with their ghosts, doing whatever they please.

???: Fortunately, we have heroes sleeping here who are far more ferocious than these mere ghosts. Is that not correct, Captain of the Guard?

Captain of the Guard: Indeed, Your Imperial Majesty. Given this potential threat to our nation, I suggest we summon the ones sleeping in Mt. Li.

???: Yes, perhaps you are right. Some basic precautionary measures should suffice. We command that the frozen heroes be awakened.

Captain of the Guard: Yes, Your Imperial Majesty!

Koyanskaya: Ooh, does this mean you're finally taking this seriously?

Section 3: Aberrant Shadow

Farmer A: Man, that was a hell of a quarrel. Keep this up, and one of you's gonna end up dead.

Mash: A quarrel? Um, I think you misunderstand...We were genuinely risking our lives.

Farmer A: Huh? Why's that?

Farmer B: For that matter, why'd you hit those guys so hard, anyway?

Farmer B: I mean, I know they started it, but still,you guys must really hate each other.

Mash: Um...

Holmes: Pardon me. Forgive the interruption,but have you ever seen these automata before?

Farmer A: Nope, never. What are those things, anyway? At first I was freaking out 'cause I thought you'd killed 'em...

Farmer A: ...but then I saw they didn't bleed even when their limbs broke off, so I thought they might be scarecrows. But makin' scarecrows that complex seems kinda pointless, so now I dunno what to think...

Farmer B: C'mon, what kind of scarecrow would go around picking fights?

Farmer A: Hahaha, good point!

Holmes: ...Hmm.

Holmes: [♂ Mr. /♀ Ms. ] Fujimaru, could I have a word with you on the Shadow Border?

Holmes: Tell me, what do you make of the villagers' reactions?

Fujimaru 1: They're very...laid back.

Fujimaru 2: They really took all this in stride. Maybe too much so.

Holmes: Indeed, they seemed to be completely oblivious to the danger. They were far more worked up when they found us trampling their fields.

Holmes: I can understand how they might regard our fight with Akuta as something that doesn't concern them.

Holmes: But the same cannot be said for these mechanical dolls.

Holmes: Akuta Hinako did not bring these over from Proper Human History. This technology is foreign to us.

Holmes: What's more, Xianyang clearly sent them to her to reinforce her.

Holmes: All this leads me to believe these automata are a type of weapon native to this world. And yet, the people who live here claim never to have seen them before.

Goredolf: So what? Maybe these are just a bunch of backward country bumpkins.

Fou: Fou, fooou?

Holmes: We can assume that Akuta has formed an alliance with this world's ruler, just like we've seen in previous Lostbelts.

Holmes: For the moment, let us further assume this ruler is, in fact, Qin Shi Huang.

Holmes: If true, it is certainly sensible that he would send these automata to aid her in battle.

Holmes: It then stands to reason that, on seeing us fight their nation's armed forces, these farmers would see us as a threat and treat us accordingly.

Holmes: And yet...that proves not to be the case...

Mash: ...

Holmes: In which case, I can draw only one conclusion.

Holmes: Which is that these villagers are so wholly ignorant of war that they do not even know weaponry.

Goredolf: Say what? Is that even possible?

Holmes: It is. However, we all saw that their fight or flight reflex tended toward the former on our initial encounter.

Holmes: So while I doubt that this world is completely devoid of danger–Hm? Do you hear that racket outside too?

Farm Supervisor: Aah! It's more of those strange monsters!

Farmhand A: Wh-why are you freaking out? Isn't it the supervisors' job to get rid of things like that?

Farm Supervisor: How the hell are we supposed to chase those things away with a stick!? Please, travelers, you've gotta help us!

Holmes: Indeed, I believe we should lend a helping hand here as well.

Mash: Right! Moving to intercept hostiles!

Fou: Fou, fooou!


Jing Ke: ...Those creatures aren't native to this land, either.

Mash: No, they weren't. That was a Jötunn; a type of giant we fought in the Scandinavian Lostbelt.

Mordred: Well this just keeps getting weirder, huh? A few of 'em are running away, so they probably got a nest somewhere around here.

Mash: A nest...

Mordred: Yeah. Better track 'em down and wipe 'em out or things're gonna get way worse around here, seeing how this village has shit all for defenses.

Farmer A: Man, you guys really are amazing. I can't believe you took care of those scary monsters just like that.

Spartacus: There's nothing I like more than shielding the weak!

Farm Supervisor: I hate to think of us as weak, but I can't blame you. The only way we could've won is with Heavenly Emperor's divine aid.

Holmes: I see. Then the reason you supervisors wield weapons is indeed solely to defend the village?

Farm Supervisor: That's right. Not that we have a lot to do, of course. Usually, the most we have to worry about is chasing off the odd stray dog or boar.

Farm Supervisor: Well, that, and helping the occasional drunkard cool off, I guess.

Holmes: What about invasions from foreign countries? Are you not concerned about those?

Farm Supervisor: Foreign countries?

Farmer B: You know, the places foreigners come from.

Farmer B: Remember how the elder used to tell us he heard there were places other than here when he was just a kid?

Holmes: Just a moment, please. What exactly do you mean when you say “foreigners”?

Farmer A: What do we mean? Uh, I'm not sure what to say...

Farmer B: We've just heard rumors that say they look just like us, but they're actually monsters that are scarier than any boar.

Farmer A: And that they like to eat our livers instead of our crops.

Farm Supervisor: That's why we thought you were going to eat us when you first showed up. Sorry about that.

Holmes: ...I see. Now I understand.

Holmes: The people of this Lostbelt have no concept of separate nations. Or at least, their only knowledge is derived from distorted ancient legend and hearsay.

Da Vinci: So what, you're saying the probably-Qin empire dominated this entire world? You're kidding.

Da Vinci: Is it even possible for people to put aside all their ethnic and religious differences to make that happen?

Mash: So that's why they've never seen soldiers before, let alone war...

Holmes: That means this world is so perfectly peaceful that not only do people not need to arm themselves...

Holmes: ...they do not even know what weapons are.

Holmes: This country is the ideal nation made reality. Can you even imagine such a thing?

Captain of the Guard: I have arrived at Mt. Li, Your Imperial Majesty. Which warrior would you like me to unseal?

???: Hmm. If this were a foreign expedition, it would be no matter if they were somewhat free-spirited...

???: ...but since this is a domestic matter, we would prefer not to use someone too...rambunctious.

Captain of the Guard: Then, you are saying we should not evaluate our warrior on combat ability alone.

???: If they were to incite a rebellion, we could not keep an eye on them and Chaldea at the same time.

???: For example, do not even think about releasing anyone like the Taoyuan Brothers. They could get carried away and try to take over the empire for themselves.

???: We need a warrior who is not only brave, but also kind and modest. One who is fiercely loyal to this empire and its people, and who will defend them at all costs.

???: We would like you to choose this warrior, Captain.

Captain of the Guard: Me, Your Imperial Majesty? Are...are you sure you want me to handle such an important task?

???: Why else would we send you, our captain of the guard, all the way to Mt. Li?

???: Surely you are aware that reviving a frozen hero carries some risk?

Captain of the Guard: Well, yes, of course...

???: Something could even go wrong with their mind during the unsealing, causing them to fly into a rage.

???: It would be bitterly ironic if we were to release a hero for the purposes of preventing a war only for them to transform into disaster incarnate.

???: So we deemed it prudent to have you present for the unsealing in the event such a danger did present itself. Do you understand?

Captain of the Guard: So,'re saying you want me to deal with them in case they happen to go berserk?

???: Indeed. This hero must be strong enough to defeat these Heroic Spirits from another world...

???: ...but not so strong that you would be unable to stop them in such an unfortunate situation.

???: With all of these requirements to consider,would you not prefer to choose this hero yourself?

Captain of the Guard: I see...Your kindness and wisdom humbles me,Your Imperial Majesty!

Koyanskaya: Frozen Heroic Spirits, hmm...Interesting. I see you have yet another impressive card up your sleeve.

???: Mt. Li is the jewel of our empire. It is the mausoleum where the brave warriors who once fought by our side now sleep in peace.

Koyanskaya: True, it's always tricky figuring out what to do with the brutes you use to establish a new regime.

Koyanskaya: Shortsighted, short-tempered rulers tend to go the whole, “You have outlived your usefulness! ” route and just off their servants.

Koyanskaya: But not you, Your Imperial Majesty. How clever of you to literally keep them on ice so they can be useful to you again!

???: These warriors deserve to be praised for all eternity for their help in establishing peace.

???: That said, we cannot bestow all of them with the same immortality we possess.

???: While there is little that can be done to cushion the shock they experience whenever they are awakened and see how much has changed...

???: ...fighting on new battlefields has become a common enough occurrence for them that they are now accustomed to it.

???: What do you think? Do you not agree it is a much cleaner system than your Heroic Spirits?

Koyanskaya: Oh yes, I can't wait to see what happens next. I've always loved the word “freeze”♡

Section 4: Demonic Beast of a Strange Land

Farmer A: You want to know if there's a place around here known for its cold?

Holmes: Yes. Both types of monster that have been attacking recently hail from frigid climates.

Holmes: It stands to reason, then, that they have fashioned a nest somewhere nearby that is suitably cold. Can you think of any such place?

Farmer B: Hmmm...Can't really think of much that's near here...

Farmhand B: Maybe he means a place beyond the village border fence?

Farmhand A: Well, it's hard to say since nobody's ever gone there...

Jing Ke: Hold on. None of you have ever been outside your village? Not even once?

Farmer A: Well, no. I mean, it's prohibited, for one thing.

Farmhand B: Yeah. Most Glorious and Majestic Heavenly Emperor decreed that we're not supposed to change residences without permission.

Farmer B: Come to think of it, there was that time when around ten people wandered in after their village flooded.

Farmer B: But even then, Most Glorious and Majestic Heavenly Emperor decides where refugees like that will go, so they never want for anything.

Farmhand B: We thought you guys were refugees at first, too...

Spartacus: Then...this is not a village, but a cage. Curse these oppressors! I'm so mad I could dance!

Boy: ...

Farmer A: But really, why would you even want to leave the village?

Farmhand A: Yeah. We have everything we need right here. Why would we just wander off to someplace we don't even know?

Nezha: Are you. Truly okay. With that?

Farmer B: Well, yeah. I know I've never even thought about going outside the village before...

Holmes: ...I suppose this is the inevitable result of living in a single place where all one's needs are met.

Boy: ...

Boy: ...Hey, uh, [♂ mister /♀ miss]? Have you got a minute?

Mash: What is it?

Boy: Well, uh...would you mind if we talked over there?

Fujimaru 1: So what's this about?

Boy: Okay, so, don't tell the grown-ups about this...

Boy: ...but I might know about a cold place nearby.

Mash: You do?

Boy: I know it's wrong to break the rules...

Boy: ...but I can't help it. I want to know what it's like outside the village.

Boy: So sometimes, I sneak out to go exploring when everyone else is busy working the fields.

Mash: ...I know just how you feel. There's just something enchanting about the outside world.

Boy: Really? Do you like exploring too, [♂ mister /♀ miss]?

Fujimaru 1: Yup. I love it.

Mash: I knew you would say that, Senpai! You always enjoy meeting new people, after all.

Boy: I see...I guess you and me are a lot alike then!

Fujimaru 2: Nope. Not a fan.

Mash: R-really? I'm surprised to hear that, Senpai. You've always seemed to have even more wanderlust than–Er, never mind.

Mash: Well, even if you don't enjoy exploring, you've still done lots of it over the course of your many dangerous missions. That makes you a great explorer in my book.

Boy: I see...So you've done lots of traveling even though you don't like it. You must be really strong then!

Mash: So, what can you tell us about this cold place?

Boy: Well, I haven't been there in a long time, and I only went once, but I remember there was a dark and chilly spot in the forest not too far from here.

Boy: I remember it being really creepy...If I were a monster, I'm sure that's where I would live.

Goredolf: Oho, so you've found a lead on the Krichat' nest,have you? That should be very useful. Well done.

Goredolf: This puts Koyanskaya squarely in our sights. Hehehe...I've got you by the tail now, you little minx...!

Da Vinci: I agree we should take care of this nest sooner rather than later, but what about Akuta?

Da Vinci: I'm preeetty sure she's keeping careful watch of us and just waiting for another chance to attack.

Holmes: Wasting time in a deadlock with her will not help us. For the time being, we need to focus on any possible lead to bring us within reach of Koyanskaya.

Holmes: If we leave after dark from the opposite side of the village where Akuta attacked, we should be able to sneak out.

Holmes: Someone will need to stay behind to protect the Shadow Border while we are gone, just in case...

Holmes: Even so, it is worth the risk of dividing our forces to investigate this possible Demonic Beast nest.

Mordred: Well, then all we gotta figure out is who stays and who goes.

Da Vinci: You should be part of the expedition team, Holmes. No point in a detective holding down the fort, right?

Holmes: Setting aside for a moment that armchair detectives are, to use the modern parlance, very much a thing...I am forced to concur that this investigation must be conducted on site.

Holmes: Very well then, I will go and investigate this nest. Fortunately, my wounds have completely healed now.

Holmes: [♂ Mr. /♀ Ms. ] Fujimaru, I would like you to lead this expedition.

Holmes: Left to my own devices, it is entirely plausible that I may become so engrossed in solving this mystery that I take another tumble over a waterfall.

Mash: I'll come along too, Senpai. Please say you'll do it.

Da Vinci: In that case, why don't you choose the last expedition members, Fujimaru?

Da Vinci: We've sure got no shortage of options! Who do you wanna bring?

Fujimaru 1: Come with us, Spartacus.

Spartacus: Very well. I am used to fighting fearsome beasts thanks to my time in the Colosseum. Leave it to me!

Jing Ke: ...In that case, I'd like to come along, too. I think you'll need someone a bit more able to finesse matters than a Berserker.

Fujimaru 2: Would you come with us, Jing Ke?

Jing Ke: Of course. I'm actually quite good at locating things, you know.

Spartacus: But you'll still need to smash any monsters you find along the way, won't you? In that case, I should come along too. I will crush any oppression we find!

Nezha: Then Mordred and I. Will hold. The fort.

Mordred: If you want, Nezha 'n me could go squish anyone who says we couldn't take on that Crypter chick while you're out Demonic Beast hunting.

Da Vinci: Just...just focus on keeping the Shadow Border safe, okay? Please?

Mordred: Yeah, yeah. I was kidding! Freakin' fun police over here...

Boy: Wow! Riding around on your shoulders almost feels like flying, Spartacus!

Spartacus: Even familiar scenery can seem completely different when viewed from a new perspective. That small change can help you see things you've never noticed!

Spartacus: Sometimes you see beauty and goodness you overlooked; others, you see evil and cruelty you cannot ignore. It is all part of growing up.

Boy: ...That's a lot of words.

Mash: I think what Spartacus is trying to say is that you're right to want to see the world outside your village.

Boy: I am?

Spartacus: You are, my little rebel.

Boy: ...I wish I was as tall as you, Spartacus.

Spartacus: Hahaha! That will come with training. I wasn't much bigger than you when I was your age, you know.

Boy: Really? Then...I can actually be like you someday, Spartacus?

Spartacus: Of course you can. Anyone can be like me. Life is rebellion against adversity!

Jing Ke: ...I was a little worried about having a child lead the way, but Spartacus is actually pretty good with him. Who'da thought?

Mash: He is, yes. And since he's carrying the boy on his shoulders, we're making good time.

Jing Ke: That said, we can't go too quickly,or Fujimaru will have trouble keeping up.

Jing Ke: ...Don't push yourself too hard, all right,Fujimaru? If you get tired, I'll give you a piggyback.

Fujimaru 1: I'll best...

Mash: ...I can see more farmland up ahead. Is this a neighboring village?

Boy: We could save time if we go through it, but I'll get in trouble if someone notices. Maybe we should go around.

Jing Ke: ...Hey. Do you smell that?

Mash: ...Yes. There's a definite scent of blood on the wind.

Holmes: Ah, yes. I suppose that would make sense.

Holmes: If the monster nest is in fact where the boy is taking us, then we are moving along the same path the monsters themselves did.

Holmes: Any village along the way would surely be subject to these beasts' depredations.

Spartacus: Boy, go find a safe place to hide and stay there until we get back. We won't be long.

Boy: Okay...Be careful, all right?

Mash: ...! This is awful...

Jing Ke: What a gruesome sight. From the look of things...I don't think there were any survivors.

Spartacus: Be careful. I can still smell the foul stench of those man-eating beasts.

Holmes: Yes, they're still close by. They will no doubt have noticed our scent as well.

Krichat': Grrrrrr...

Jing Ke: And there they are. There's a lot of them, too.

Spartacus: Just as well. If we do not take care of them now,they will go on to hunt for prey in other villages.

Mash: Let's do it! Your orders please, Master!


Mash: Hostiles eliminated...The battle is over.

Jing Ke: Now these people can rest in peace...I'd like to think they can, at least.

Holmes: ...

Spartacus: What is it, Sir Detective? Have you noticed something?

Holmes: Hmm. Master Fujimaru, how did this latest battle feel to you?

Fujimaru 1: I thought I saw some weird tattoos on those Krichat'...

Jing Ke: Yes. Those markings were so odd that I can't form a clear picture of them in my mind, but I did see them.

Holmes: Ah, pay those no mind. Their behavior is what concerns me...In particular, the fact that they were clearly trained for combat.

Holmes: And not combat with other animals...but with humans.

Fujimaru 2: They did seem to be more coordinated than they should...

Mash: I agree. The Krichat' we fought in the Russian Lostbelt never behaved like this.

Mash: These were weaker individually, but had a sort of cunning and intellect to make up for it.

Holmes: Their loss of strength is almost certainly due to the change in environment. For creatures accustomed to cold, even this weather must seem oppressively hot.

Holmes: Still, they were working as a team. Not like a pack of wild animals, either...but a trained unit.

Jing Ke: Then someone had to have gone to the trouble to train them...

Holmes: It's early yet to be certain,but yes, it does seem likely.

Mash: Do you think Koyanskaya is behind this?

Holmes: If she is, that would raise its own questions. Namely, when did she have time to do so?

Spartacus: The answers will surely become apparent in time. Fortunately, they left footprints we can follow.

Jing Ke: Good point. At least we know we're going in the right direction.

Spartacus: I'll go get the boy. Meet us outside the village.

Spartacus: No one so young should have to see something like this...

Mash: ...I didn't know Spartacus was so kind.

Jing Ke: He might not look like it, but his purpose was always to protect the weak. Once he believes someone needs protecting, he will do anything to keep them safe.

Jing Ke: Of course, that often ends in him sacrificing anyone and everyone to do so...I guess that's a Berserker for you. They're nothing if not committed.


Boy: ...It's just up ahead. There's this huge hole in the ground you can use to get inside.

Holmes: I see. So they have taken up residence in a cave.

Boy: It's really cold and dark inside...I got scared so I didn't get very far in before I turned back.

Boy: It seemed like it was really deep though,because it was echoing like crazy.

Mash: That does sound like it would work as a good home for monsters who prefer the cold.

Jing Ke: ...Forget “sounds like” we're obviously in the right place.

Spartacus: I see. We're surrounded. How exciting!

Mash: I'm so sorry. I should have been more alert...

Holmes: While you were an absolutely superlative navigator before returning to the front lines, Ms. Kyrielight...

Holmes: ...I cannot blame [♂ Mr. /♀ Ms. ] Fujimaru for relaxing[♂ his /♀ her] guard now that you are back at [♂ his /♀ her] side once more.

Mash: I, uh...

Boy: A-aren't you guys scared?

Jing Ke: Oh, don't worry. This journey would've ended ages ago if everyone here couldn't crack a joke in the face of mortal peril.


Spartacus: Ha, too easy!

Jing Ke: This is so strange.... I thought the Krichat'and giants would be living in different places.

Holmes: Indeed. Krichat' destroyed that village,but we followed their tracks only to find giants.

Holmes: Now I wonder what we will find in that cave.

Spartacus: There's only one way to find out. Just standing here thinking won't get you any answers, Sir Detective.

Jing Ke: What about the boy? Don't you think it's too dangerous to bring him in there with us?

Boy: ...

Holmes: Be that as it may, we cannot let him return on his own, either. There's no telling how many Demonic Beasts could be lurking nearby.

Mash: Then we need someone to stay here and guard him.

Boy: No! You can't do that. You all need to stick together if you're gonna fight those monsters.

Boy: Take me with you. I'm sure I'll be safe as long as I stay close to Fujimaru.

Jing Ke: Hm...Guess that makes sense, yeah.

Spartacus: I'm proud of you, boy! You have spirit, embracing adversity like this! You have faced the fears oppressing you and rebelled against them!

Spartacus: Come with us! I will be your shield and guide,and sing a song of triumph in your honor!

Holmes: Indeed, we are not called Heroic Spirits for nothing. I promise we will not let your bravery go to waste.


Holmes: ...Well, this answers one question. Take a look.

Holmes: Over here, we have giant tracks,and over here, we have Krichat' dung.

Mash: Does...that mean they've been living here together?

Holmes: Much as I would like to laugh the notion off,we have seen ample evidence of their cohabitation.

Holmes: These Demonic Beasts have been quite thoroughly altered...

Holmes: So much so that they have begun sharing their territory with altogether different species.

Jing Ke: So someone's been going around domesticating the same beasts that led to their Lostbelts getting pruned away...Pretty horrible hobby.

Holmes: And of course, there is a yet more significant question...

Holmes: To what end?

Jing Ke: Maybe they don't have an end in mind.

Jing Ke: You said this Koyanskaya went around the other Lostbelts tormenting innocent people for kicks, right?

Jing Ke: Maybe releasing man-eating beasts into peaceful agricultural villages with no defenses is just more of that...

Mash: ...Uh-oh! I think they've spotted us. Preparing for combat!


Jing Ke: Damn, it's not easy fighting so many of them at once!

Mash: And they just keep coming!

Holmes: Well, our initial goal was to exterminate the Krichat'. So this was more or less inevitable.

Jing Ke: Take care of the boy, Spartacus!

Spartacus: No problem!


Spartacus: ...They're retreating? That can't be right. There must be more to this.

Mash: I agree. In fact, their whole style of combat was odd.

Jing Ke: Yes. This goes well beyond sharing territory. They're even fighting as a team.

Holmes: We can now be certain beyond any doubt that someone is controlling them.

Mash: Then, do you think we'll find Koyanskaya further inside this cave?

Holmes: I do not imagine we will be quite so fortunate,but we should go to meet whoever called them off.

Jing Ke: Once we've taken them out, that should stop these monsters from attacking other villages.

Spartacus: Do you mind if we continue onward, little rebel?

Boy: O-okay...You'll keep me safe, right, Spartacus?

Spartacus: Of course I will. As long as you are prepared to face your fears, nothing can stop me!


Mash: Um...The Ortinax's sensors are picking up an impossible amount of magical energy up ahead...

Fujimaru 1: Don't tell me it's a D'yavol Tron?

Fujimaru 2: Don't tell me it's a fire giant?

Mash: No. Far stronger. And unless my instruments are completely broken...there are two of them.

Jing Ke: Does that mean we've finally found the boss?

Mash: I'm not sure. Their Spirit Origin patterns tell me they must be Demonic Beasts.

Mash: What's more, they're almost identical to the data for the D'yavol Trons and fire giants we've fought before.

Mash: But the sheer amount of magical energy they possess is insane...and on top of that, the reading is still going up.

Holmes: Hold it. Do you hear that?

Spartacus: ...What an awful sound.

Jing Ke: You think those monsters we fought earlier came here to feed?

Holmes: ...Just so I am certain I understand, Ms. Kyrielight, you said the Ortinax's sensors picked up two signals?

Mash: Yes, that's right.

Holmes: Hmm...If there are only two,then where did all the other Demonic Beasts go?

Boy: Urk. It reeks in here...

Jing Ke: I can't believe these things...

Spartacus: Indeed. They're eating their own kind.

Mash: The D'yavol Tron is eating the Krichat',and the Muspel is eating the other giants...

Holmes: There is ample precedent for cannibalism in the natural world, but we certainly never saw this happening in either Russia or Scandinavia.

Holmes: Furthermore, if this is the source of the increased magical energy you noticed, then these are no ordinary predators.

Holmes: To gain the strength of those they consume this quickly, they would have to be Soul Eaters.

Mash: Then, they had the ones we were fighting retreat so that–

Holmes: Yes. Most likely, it was to make these two more powerful for the final battle.

Holmes: Though it remains unclear whether these two gave the order to retreat themselves, or if those who retreated did so of their own accord...

Jing Ke: ...Looks like they're done with their meal,and they're looking at us like we're dessert.

Fujimaru 1: This bloodlust reminds me of the Demonic Beasts we fought in Uruk...

Mash: I thought so too, Master. These Demonic Beasts must really hate humans.

Mash: ...I'm not sure about the significance of that,but we can worry about it later.

Mash: Right now, it's time to get rid of these Demonic Beasts once and for all! Your orders please, Master!


Mash: Both hostiles are down.... There are no other threats here.

Jing Ke: I guess...that's that, then.

Holmes: I'm afraid not, given that we are still no closer to finding Koyanskaya.

Holmes: I believed it was possible that she may be the one training these Demonic Beasts, but the evidence is, as yet, inconclusive.

Spartacus: I never thought I would see Demonic Beasts cooperating like this.

Mash: Yeah...I was so sure we would find Koyanskaya here controlling them...

Fujimaru 1: But she IS the one who brought these creatures here, right?

Fujimaru 2: But they wouldn't be here at all if she hadn't brought them, right?

Holmes: I believe that is a safe assumption, given the lack of alternate suspects. But we still don't know why she set them free after doing so.

Mash: Huh? What do you mean?

Holmes: Take a look at these piles of bones, Ms. Kyrielight. These beasts have been devouring their kin since well before today.

Holmes: They have been sending the runts of the litter, so to speak, out to hunt, then stealing their magical energy for themselves...As ecologies go, it resembles the Dead Apostles.

Holmes: No ordinary species would depend on such a twisted survival strategy. These beasts had no other choice.

Holmes: They desperately needed to find a way to survive after being completely cut off from their proper habitat.

Mash: I don't remember the Jötnar or Krichat' being able to directly convert their prey into magical energy before.

Holmes: They may have been forced to learn that ability to cope with the massive change in environment. Or perhaps Koyanskaya gave it as another form of enhancement.

Holmes: If that is so, then the larger question remains. Why would she go to all that trouble just to have them fend for themselves now?

Jing Ke: What a strange woman. I honestly have no idea what she could be thinking.

Holmes: I was hoping to find evidence of her motives, but unfortunately, the trail has gone cold once again.

Holmes: I can only surmise she has her own reasons for traveling between Lostbelts...A formidable foe.

Spartacus: Are you all right, boy?

Boy: Y-yeah, I'm fine. I was just over here watching, anyway...

Boy: You guys really are strong!

Boy: I was so scared I couldn't even speak...I'm sorry I wasn't more helpful...

Spartacus: Standing your ground and watching over others is a show of your strength and bravery on its own, boy. You have nothing to be ashamed of.

Boy: Th-thanks...

Mash: Um, Jing Ke? What are you doing?

Jing Ke: Hm? Well, you guys said these things could be brewed into decent booze, right?

Jing Ke: I'm not usually one for cutting up monster corpses,but if there's booze to be found...Is this it?

Holmes: I see...their secretory glands. Yes, as long as you preserve them properly, I imagine Da Vinci could make whatever is within drinkable.

Holmes: We certainly did plenty of toxin extraction in Russia, after all. I must say, though...

Holmes: Between you and that Servant who drinks everything in sight, I confess I struggle to understand.

Holmes: How can you still be hungry after seeing...that?

Spartacus: It doesn't matter what it used to look like, Sir Detective. There are few things sweeter to a warrior than a victory toast.

Mash: This way, we'll also have a nice souvenir to bring back to the village. Of course, neither Senpai nor I are of drinking age, but that aside...

Fujimaru 1: Come on, let's go back!

Section 5: The White Cavalry Heroine, the Best in the Land

Jing Ke: “Amidst the flowers a jug of wine, I pour alone, lacking companionship. So raising the cup I invite the moon, then turn to my shadow which makes three of us. ”

Farmer A: Wow, lady, you've got a beautiful voice...

Boy: Um...what does that mean?

Jing Ke: means if you're ever drinking by yourself among flowers, you can still have some companionship if you toast to the moon and your shadow.

Jing Ke: You know how when you're out taking a walk at night, and you look up, see the moon, and find yourself craving a drink?

Jing Ke: Don't you think it makes the alcohol all the sweeter?

Boy: I've never had alcohol before, but I do like the moon. It's pretty.

Farmer A: I know what you mean. It's hard to put into words,but there's just something mysterious about it...

Farmer B: So what, you always go drink in the flower fields like that whenever the moon's out?

Jing Ke: Haha, not me, silly. It was a man named Li Bai. Not to say I don't follow his lead now and then.

Farmer B: Huh? Wait. You said this Li Bai guy was doing his moongazing alone, right?

Farmer B: So how'd you hear what he said? Were you spying on him or something?

Jing Ke: No, no, of course he was alone.

Jing Ke: I just learned how he drank and how he felt in that moonlit flower field later on, through his poem.

Farmer A: Oh, so this Li Bai guy told you about it later, then?

Jing Ke: No, I never met him. I read his poem well after he first wrote it down and many others had copied it.

Farmer A: Wrote...down?

Jing Ke: Yes. Writing, you know? It uses symbols to convey language.

Jing Ke: It lets you record your own thoughts, ideas, and experiences for others to read, even if they live long after you've died.

Boy: That sounds awesome! I wanna try that!

Jing Ke: That's great. There are a ton of characters, but it's not so bad if you just learn a few at a time.

Jing Ke: I know, why don't we start with something simple,like the ones for “father” and “mother”?

Boy: Father? Mother? ...What's that?

Jing Ke: ...I'm sorry. Does he not have parents?

Farmer B: Parents? What are those?

Farmer A: I think...she probably means whose womb he was born from?

Farmer B: Hmm. I can figure out when I was born by counting backwards, but I don't know who might've been pregnant the year before...

Farmer A: Yeah, how the hell're we supposed to remember something like that?

Jing Ke: Then, who raises the children?

Farmer B: We all do. When the kids have questions, whoever's free teaches them to till the fields, how lucky we are to have Heavenly Emperor watching over us...

Farmer B: ...oh, and someone teaches them how babies are made, when they're old enough.

Jing Ke: I see...So that's how things work here.

Jing Ke: Well, there are characters for everything, including things you see every day, so why don't we start with the ones for “light” and “earth”?

Boy: Okay!

Spartacus: Ahh, how tragic. This world's people have had their minds shackled and are forced to live as slaves under the yoke of illiteracy!

Spartacus: This...THIS is oppression! It is information warfare of a wholly different kind! I will do whatever I must to throw off these chains!

Goredolf: Hmph. It must be nice, being a Servant and never having to worry about anything.

Goredolf: Never mind that excessively empathizing with these people tightens the noose around our own necks.

Goredolf: This is a Lostbelt. We need to defeat its Crypter,chop down its Tree of Emptiness...

Goredolf: ...and cut off its future by sending it back to the Pruning Theoretical Phenomenon.

Goredolf: If all this will only leave you feeling guilty when it comes time for that...

Goredolf: ...then you're better off not showing these people any kindness at all!

Goredolf: Now, if you don't care about any of that and simply enjoy meeting new people, then knock yourself out.

Goredolf: But I'm not so simpleminded. I'm well aware there's only so much stress I can take.

Mash: ...

Spartacus: You're wrong, oppressor who has never known oppression.

Goredolf: Wh-what was that?

Spartacus: Vanquishing an opponent after you have helped to keep them weak is only another form of oppression.

Spartacus: People deserve freedom.

Mash: Spartacus...?

Spartacus: It is only when they have fangs with which to fight, and hope for the future, that competition may begin.

Spartacus: I am, of course, Fujimaru's Servant.

Spartacus: As such, I will do everything I can to fight for Proper Human History. That will never change.

Spartacus: But, as a man who honors people's pride,I must also say this...

Spartacus: We cannot just assume Proper Human History is the only one that deserves to survive.

Goredolf: H-have you lost your mind, man!? No, wait, you're a Berserker. This must be your Madness Enhancement speaking!

Mordred: Easy there. Don't let him get to ya.

Mordred: He's just all fired up after seeing how cowardly all these people are.

Mordred: He might be talking more than usual, but he's still just saying the same shit he always does.

Mordred: Berserkers. Can't understand 'em; can't change 'em.

Spartacus: Humans must ever move forward in search of a better future.

Spartacus: Master Fujimaru, you have yet to become an oppressor.

Spartacus: Pay close attention to this world,and how its people live their lives.

Spartacus: You must see for yourself whether it is they or we who are fit to inherit humanity's future.

Spartacus: Just as we now fight against our destruction, so too should they have fangs and claws of their own with which to rage against destiny's oppression!

Spartacus: For justice can only be attained when two opposing rebellions clash.

Fujimaru 1: So, you think we should step aside for them...?

Spartacus: The coming battle will determine that. Once it has, that is when I will take up my sword in rebellion.

Spartacus: But if it happens that true human dignity is to be found here in this Lostbelt...

Spartacus: ...then I shall bend my knee in service to China.

Mash: ...

Spartacus: Should that come to pass, the souls of those here must not still be bound by the chains of oppression.

Spartacus: If they are to inherit the hopes and dreams of our Proper Human History, we must teach them about our poetry and our feelings.

Spartacus: So please, do not admonish Jing Ke for her actions.

Holmes: ...While I cannot quite agree with everything Spartacus has said here...

Holmes: ...there is certainly no harm in being on good terms with the locals.

Holmes: I cannot imagine Ms. Jing Ke could merely stand by idly, either.

Holmes: Seeing these people toil away in illiteracy under Qin Shi Huang's rule cannot have sat well with her.

Holmes: Why not let her help them if she so wishes?

Fujimaru 1: Yeah.

Fujimaru 2: She seems a lot happier that way, too.

Fou: Fou, fooou!

Goredolf: ...Hmph. Madness Enhancement or not, it seems you are still a Heroic Spirit, and not shy about sharing your opinions either.

Goredolf: ...You know, I once looked up to the indomitable gladiator Spartacus myself, back when I was a lad...But never mind that.

Goredolf: I, um, can't help but notice it's been two days since we got here, and we're no closer to finding an antidote...But we've still got time, right? ...Right?

Captain of the Guard: As requested, Your Imperial Majesty, I have determined who I think to be our best two warriors and brought them back from Mt. Li.

???: So I see. Well done, Captain.

Captain of the Guard: The first is Qin Liangyu, the fearsome general who hails from Chongqing of Szechuan.

???: Ah yes, the woman who commands the White Cavalry.

Qin Liangyu: It is a great honor to serve as your spear and shield again, Your Imperial Majesty!

???: We still have such vivid recollections of how gallantly you fought in the Bozhou Rebellion.

???: We can think of none better than you to fight in defense of our empire.

Qin Liangyu: You are too kind, Your Imperial Majesty.

Qin Liangyu: Now that I have been reawakened after such a long time sleeping, I could ask for nothing better than to help uphold your reign for another ten thousand years!

???: Excellent. We will hold you to that.

???: Our empire faces an unprecedented threat. Use your mastery of the ash spear to disperse the clouds looming over our land.

Qin Liangyu: I will, Your Imperial Majesty!

Captain of the Guard: Next, I brought you a strategist.

Captain of the Guard: I gave it a lot of thought, and decided to go with your most loyal retainer, the one who has served you longer than anyone else...

Han Xin: H-h-h-hello again, Your Imperial Majesty. It's me, Han Xin, your faithful right-hand man.

???: Oho, our most distinguished Han Xin!

???: We may have many heroes at our disposal at Mt. Li, but few who knew us before we obtained this holy vessel.

???: You are a living witness to Qin's military history.

Han Xin: S-s-s-so I'm guessing you woke me up to f-f-f-fight another war? Where are we invading this time?

Han Xin: The desert? The ocean? No, wait,hehe, don't tell me...The moon?

???: No, no, our war of conquest is long since complete.

???: Your leadership in the Arctic War was crucial to defeating the Aztec Republic.

???: And our last great enemy, the Habsburg Empire, succumbed to economic sanctions. The world has long been at peace.

Han Xin: Aww...

Han Xin: I-I-I-I mean, that's wonderful to hear,Your Imperial Majesty! Who doesn't love peace?

Han Xin: S-s-s-still, a peaceful world is like a tidy room;it's bound to get dusty eventually.

???: Indeed. So I am counting on you to handle the cleanup once again.

Han Xin: B-b-b-by the way, how's science progressed since the last time I was awake? A-a-a-any new weapons I should know about?

???: Ah yes. With the exception of our royal guards, and the supervisors defending the fields, we have retired most of our flesh-and-blood soldiers.

???: The bulk of our army is now comprised of automated mechanical soldiers.

Han Xin: Mechanical soldiers! Th-th-th-this is huge...

Han Xin: We won't have to keep them fed! Or rested! And if one breaks, we can just repair it and send it back into the field...Ooh, this changes everything!

Han Xin: The possibilities are endless! New strategies, new tactics...Ahh, it's enough to make my head spin...Ulp!

???: Han Xin. While you are much too...unusual to be called a genius, tactical or otherwise, we have nothing but respect for your talent.

???: Make full use of your strategic cunning,and return with another victory to your name.

Han Xin: Ahh, thank you, Your Imperial Majesty...You are...too kind...

Qin Liangyu: Oh my, his expressions are just as unique as the rumors suggested...No wonder Lord Han Xin is such a decorated general!

Captain of the Guard: Wonderful. With these two, the empire's defenses should be airtight.

Koyanskaya: (...Really? )

Section 6: The Demonic General Descends

Da Vinci: Xianyang just fired another rocket. It looks like it's aimed straight at us, just like the first one.

Fujimaru 1: Think this one is more supplies for Hinako?

Da Vinci: I doubt it. I'm guessing it's either a direct attack...

Da Vinci: ...or it's carrying soldiers that can handle a rough ride, like when Akuta and that prince first showed up.

Holmes: Given that this civilization has produced humanoid mechanical soldiers, there is no telling what could be coming next.

Holmes: That said...there has been something strange about this Lostbelt from the very beginning.

Mash: Really? What is it...?

Holmes: When Kadoc and Ophelia came to fight us with their Servants, they tended to bide their time, waiting for us to be weakened by other enemies.

Holmes: But Akuta hardly waited a moment before coming after us.

Holmes: Why do you think that is?

Fujimaru 1: Because there was no one else who could fight?

Holmes: That would seem to be the foremost possibility.

Holmes: Especially since this world is so peaceful, its people are completely unfamiliar with the concept of war.

Holmes: It may well be that this Lostbelt's ruler has no military force capable of engaging Servants.

Goredolf: Hmm. Makes sense to me. Standing armies are nothing more than walking money pits.

Goredolf: Keeping one around without an enemy to fight just wouldn't make sense.

Holmes: And if there's no army here, this Lostbelt will be all the easier to deal with.

Holmes: While we should refrain from getting our hopes up, I believe we are about to see Xianyang's first attack sans Akuta.

Holmes: This battle will tell us a great deal about this world's military strength.

Da Vinci: Here comes the rocket, guys! Watch the impact!

Mordred: Hmph. What's even the point of waiting for it to land? We know it's got enemies on it, right Master?

Mordred: So why don't we just smash the thing outta the sky?

Fujimaru 1: All right, go ahead and use your Noble Phantasm!

Mordred: This is the evil sword that destroyed my father...Clarent Blood Arthur!

Mordred: Hell yeah! Nailed it!

Da Vinci: It's not over yet! We're still picking up its magical energy signal.

Mash: Something's coming out of the wreckage!

F:???: Gauging temperature...Evaluating magical energy release...Threat level: minimal.

F:???: Targets located.

Jing Ke: Is that...a person? Or a horse?

Da Vinci: Whatever he is, he's definitely not human. But, what's with these readings...?

Da Vinci: His magical energy pattern is closer to an automaton than a Servant...but his values are off the charts!

Da Vinci: This guy's got to be as powerful as a Dragon-class Demonic Beast!

Mash: What!?

Holmes: Are you quite sure of that, Da Vinci? You're certain he is an automaton, and not a living creature?

Da Vinci: Trust me, I couldn't believe my eyes either! If he really is a machine, then these readings don't make any sense at all!

Goredolf: Y-you're starting to scare me! What's so strange about that, anyway!?

Holmes: Unlike living organisms, a machine's output rises and falls based on its operational parameters.

Holmes: No one would be so foolish as to fully open the throttle on one merely to leave the warehouse, right?

Holmes: All of this is to say, the enemy is still just warming up!

Mash: But, if it's giving off this much magical energy while it's still warming up...

Fujimaru 1: Th-that was a hell of a roar!

Holmes: ...I trust you measured that waveform, Da Vinci?

Da Vinci: Oh yes. We've been up against a number of opponents with vast amounts of magical energy before...

Da Vinci: ...but none of them took on such small forms! Retreat! Retreeeat! Ah crap, it's too late!

Da Vinci: Hang in there as best you can until we can find a way to escape, guys! Whatever you do, don't go toe to toe!


Jing Ke: Damn, he's tough!

Spartacus: Such devastating oppression! How can I not rush to meet it!?

Mordred: Watch yourself, Spartacus! He'll cut even you to ribbons if you just run in like a jackass!

???: ...I see. So this is the extent of their capabilities.

Mash: !?

Da Vinci: Fujimaru! We've got another Servant headed this way!

Da Vinci: It looks like it's Akuta Hinako's Prince of Lan Ling!

Holmes: This is bad. If he joins forces with this automaton now...

F:Prince of Lan Ling: Why did you go on the attack without us, Lord Xiang Yu!?

Jing Ke: Xiang Yu? Did he say Xiang Yu!?

Xiang Yu: I needed to measure our opponents' abilities. That is all I can really do.

Xiang Yu: I believe I have gained sufficient data in this encounter. We can begin our strategy meeting.

Xiang Yu: Let us go to camp. I will formulate a plan to lead us to a flawless victory.

F:Prince of Lan Ling: Yes, Lord Xiang Yu. Allow me to lead the way.

Mash: They...retreated. Well...

Fou: Fou, fooou...

Da Vinci: Yeah. More like they let us go. It looks like that thing just stopped by to check us out.

Goredolf: Just to check us out!? You're joking! That thing was FAR more powerful than our Servants! What in the hell was he!?

Mordred: Dunno, but he didn't even try to keep his True Name secret.

Fujimaru 1: Xiang Yu...

Holmes: So that was Xiang Yu? The Hegemon-King of Western Chu who vied with Liu Bang, the founder of the Han dynasty, for control of China...?

Akuta Hinako: Are you all right, Lord Xiang Yu?

Xiang Yu: I'm fine. It has been two million and forty-eight hundred thousand hours since I last engaged in combat, but my chassis functioned without issue.

Akuta Hinako: ...

Akuta Hinako: I was hoping you would never need to take up your swords again...

Xiang Yu: The emperor has decreed I must.

Xiang Yu: Combat may not be my original function, but this frame has since been optimized for it. As such, it is imperative I use it to destroy the empire's enemies.

Akuta Hinako: Yes. Now that you're here, our victory is all but assured.

Xiang Yu: So those were the Chaldeans...They hail from the same world as you do.

Akuta Hinako: They're our sworn enemy–invaders who threaten the empire's peace and prosperity. We can never coexist with them. Their goals and the empire's are fundamentally opposed.

Xiang Yu: I see. They did seem surprised to hear that name–Xiang Yu.

Xiang Yu: What you told me sounded impossible...but it would seem it really is true. There truly is a history where I am known as Xiang Yu.

Akuta Hinako: That's right. A single wayward branch of history led to you being given the name “Xiang Yu”...

Akuta Hinako: ...and later generations knowing you as a human man.

Xiang Yu: Me...a human? How could something so bizarre come to be? No matter how many times you tell me, it never ceases to surprise.

Akuta Hinako: That's how much China's history rippled out to the rest of the world. If the emperor had passed away after a normal lifespan–

???: Enough. Merely imagining such a thing gives us chills.

Xiang Yu: Quite, Your Imperial Majesty. My humblest apologies.

???: ...So tell us, how did you find your long-awaited return to the field of battle?

Xiang Yu: My calculations show a clear path to victory. Let me handle the particulars, and defeating Chaldea will be no trouble.

???: We see...Still, one can never be too careful. Thus, we have given Qin Liangyu a battalion and sent her to join you.

???: You will rendezvous with her and finish the enemy for good, ensuring a glorious victory for the empire.

Akuta Hinako: Wait, Your Imperial Majesty! As they say, cleverness has never been associated with long delays.

Akuta Hinako: Now that we have Lord Xiang Yu with us, our victory is a foregone conclusion. I think we should move to eliminate Chaldea as soon as possible.

???: Surely you jest, Akuta. You have fled from them not once, but twice now. Your tactical insight, such as it is, is neither necessary nor welcome.

Akuta Hinako: ...Yes, Your Imperial Majesty. Please forgive my outburst.

???: Good. You are not to make a move until Qin Liangyu arrives.

???: Until then, you will continue to monitor Chaldea and ensure they do not turn tail and run.

Akuta Hinako: As you wish.


Da Vinci: Okay, you said you learned something in your analysis, Holmes?

Holmes: Thanks to the remains of the automata we recovered earlier, I believe I have learned something. With Crown Prince Nezha's help, I examined their inner workings, and–

Nezha: Yes. They look. Like me.

Nezha: Their quality. However. Is most. Unfortunate. Their mechanisms. Only imitate. My own.

Nezha: There is. Much degradation. It pales. In comparison. To great. Taiyi Zhenren's. Famed work.

Da Vinci: The sage Taiyi Zhenren and his lotus spirit...So then, you think these soldiers use sage arts as a base, instead of science?

Nezha: Even so. I suppose. It is. Impressive that. They work. As well as. They do. With. Makeshift parts. Instead of jewels. Of the old sage world.

Holmes: The key problem we face is that centaurlike creature the enemy called Xiang Yu. What did you make of the combat footage I showed you, Nezha?

Nezha: ...Oh, yes. This one. Is much. More like. I am. Than the. Clay dolls.

Nezha: I have not. Seen his. Interior. But. I can say. That much. For certain. Many of his movements. Resemble my. Own style.

Da Vinci: Even though his form is so radically different from yours?

Nezha: I think. Those extra. Arms were. Bolted on. Later. His techniques. Still reflect. A human-shaped body.

Nezha: If he. Had been made. In that form. To start. He would. Move much. More naturally.

Holmes: I see. A true martial artist's perspective proves most illuminating here.

Nezha: ...To crib. From Holmes. This is. Just a. Preliminary theory.

Nezha: But I. Think he. Was originally. A humanoid. Patterned after. My design.

Nezha: And that. He became. Known as Xiang Yu. After many. Further modifications.

Nezha: In addition. We know. That the. Other mechanical. Soldiers are. Much weaker. Thanks to. Their mechanisms. Made less complex.

Holmes: ...Prince Nezha's body was made with sage arts from the Shang dynasty, lost long before the age of Qin.

Holmes: However, if, in this world, Qin Shi Huang managed to recover and gain an understanding of these arts...

Holmes: ...scientific progress could subsequently have evolved them into something wholly different from what they were in Proper Human History.

Da Vinci: That could also explain how the emperor managed to become immortal here...

Da Vinci: ...and why this Lostbelt has such unusual technology.

Goredolf: This is no time to be admiring their handiwork! We should be asking ourselves what they're doing!

Da Vinci: For some reason, they haven't made a move. They've just been monitoring us from their camp about two kilometers away. My guess is they're waiting for something.

Holmes: This silence is rather unnerving...

Holmes: For the moment, I've asked [♂ Mr. /♀ Ms. ] Fujimaru to take the Servants and remain on standby.

Nezha: How dare they. Treat Taiyi Zhenren's work with. Less respect. Than it. Is due. When next we meet. I will. Show them. The power of. My Fire-Tipped Spear!

Mordred: What the hell was that monster...

Fujimaru 1: I couldn't believe how strong he was.

Mordred: Yeah, and he wasn't just some muscleheaded dumbass, either.

Mordred: See, strength's actually a double-edged sword. If you're faster and more skilled than a stronger opponent, then you can still kick his ass all up and down the yard.

Mordred: But that guy was...How do I put this...

Spartacus: His eyes were as cold as ice–a far cry from the mania of the battlefield. They were the eyes of an oppressor if ever I've seen them. He must be defeated, no matter the cost!

Mordred: Yeah, he was freakish coolheaded. Like he was just calmly assessing our every move...

Jing Ke: It felt like he was predicting exactly what we would do, and what he needed to do to avoid every attack. Very creepy.

Jing Ke: It was well beyond martial arts.

Jing Ke: It was also strange that Prince of Lan Ling called him “Xiang Yu. ”

Mash: If Qin Shi Huang really is still alive, I suppose it's not too strange that Xiang Yu might be too, since they lived at the same time.

Mordred: Yeah, they might've both been alive back then,but that thing we fought today wasn't even human.

Jing Ke: For that matter, why would Xiang Yu be a general working under the Qin emperor?

Jing Ke: I mean, I only learned about this myself once I became a Servant...

Jing Ke: ...but Xiang Yu was a central figure in the rebellion that destroyed the Qin dynasty after Qin Shi Huang died, right?

Jing Ke: I heard he competed with Liu Bang, the guy who went on to create the Han dynasty, for control of China.

Mordred: Okay, let's say he was always born to fight. Would someone like that just bend the knee and serve Qin all meek and obedient?

Da Vinci: I'm afraid I've got even more bad news.

Da Vinci: There's a new army headed this way. And not by rocket this time. If these readings are right, it looks like they're on a wheeled transport.

Fujimaru 1: More reinforcements from Xianyang, huh...

Da Vinci: Yup. And the fact that they're traveling by land means they aren't just mechanical soldiers.

Da Vinci: This is a real flesh-and-blood army,led by an actual human general.

Mash: Does this mean Akuta has been waiting to rendezvous with them?

Da Vinci: Probably. I'd guess they plan to end this by combining those armies to absolutely crush us.

Holmes: If they overwhelm us with sheer numbers, we will have no way of fighting back. This is certainly a rather dire predicament.

Mordred: We can't even run away...There's nowhere we could hide in this wide-open field.

Fujimaru 1: If we can't run, then we shouldn't wait for them to get here.

Fujimaru 2: Then we should make the first move ourselves.

Goredolf: Are you mad, you fool!? You're not here to formulate strategy! Especially not without asking me!

Goredolf: Besides, you just saw for yourself how frighteningly strong that Xiang Yu monster is!

Goredolf: Attacking first would be far too reckless! We can always retreat from this Lostbelt if necessary!

Goredolf: Oh. Wait. I'll never be cured if we do that! We have to find a way to hold our ground...

Goredolf: But then again, that Xiang Yu robot scares the hell out of me! What is he, anyway!? Some kind of living storm!?

Jing Ke: I see our self-proclaimed commander is pretty rattled too...

Jing Ke: Yes, it might be reckless to go on the offensive now. But if we just wait around for the reinforcements to get here, we won't have a prayer.

Jing Ke: We SHOULD challenge that storm again. If nothing else, it's a chance to chip away at the enemy's forces.

Da Vinci: ...You're always so calm and collected, Jing Ke. If you think making the first move's the way to go too, then we might just have a chance.

Da Vinci: All right. Let's go on the attack.

Da Vinci: But be warned, I'm gonna be keeping an even closer eye on Fujimaru's vitals than usual.

Da Vinci: Remember, we didn't come to China just so you could burn yourself out. You'll need to be real careful.

Mordred: Hey, long as we take care of business 'fore Fujimaru gets worn out, then it's all good, right?

Spartacus: Either way, if we just stand here and wait for their reinforcements, we'll run out of options entirely. I say we strike now while the rebellion is hot!

Mash: ...All right. Let's do our best, Master!


Fou, fooou!

Akuta Hinako: What? They've gone on the attack?

Prince of Lan Ling: That's right. The Master of Chaldea and [♂ his /♀ her] Servants are charging in like fools.

Akuta Hinako: Hmph, this is perfect. Not even the emperor would stop us from engaging invaders.

Xiang Yu: ...Are you sure about this? We could still remain on the defensive until reinforcements arrive.

Akuta Hinako: No, the sooner we finish them off, the better. You're more than strong enough for that, Lord Xiang Yu.

Xiang Yu: Very well then, I will do my best.

Prince of Lan Ling: I will join you, Hegemon-King of Western Chu. It would be an honor to fight beside such a legendary hero!

Akuta Hinako: This time, we're going to obliterate Chaldea and their Master. Don't leave so much as a trace of them behind!


Da Vinci: Shit, the enemy reinforcements are almost here!

Fujimaru 1: I guess we were too late...

Qin Liangyu: That's enough! Both sides, lay down your arms!

Fujimaru 1: Huh?

Akuta Hinako: What!? But we've almost got them...

Qin Liangyu: Stand down, Akuta Hinako. The emperor commands it!

Koyanskaya: What's the meaning of this, Your Imperial Majesty!? I thought you were sending in Qin Liangyu and her army as reinforcements!

???: Indeed, I was. I ordered her to find Akuta and Chaldea, and lend her aid to whichever side was losing.

Koyanskaya: You're kidding me...You're still being merciful to Chaldea!?

Koyanskaya: How many times do I have to tell you? These barbarians are a threat to your entire empire!

???: Hah. Barbarians, is it? It seems you've forgotten what we told you.

???: So far as we are concerned, you and Akuta are every bit as barbaric as these Chaldeans.

???: Be that as it may, we are beginning to get a clearer picture of matters here.

???: The quarrel between you, Akuta, and Chaldea has nothing at all to do with us.

???: You merely hope to use our territory as a stage to settle this quarrel.

???: And so we are taking our time to assess both our allies and enemies, to determine who truly benefits our empire...

???: ...and who is merely a useless interloper.

Koyanskaya: W-well of course Akuta and I have been useful to you, right, Your Imperial Majesty?

Koyanskaya: We came here to serve the empire in its hour of need!

???: Ah, yes. That reminds us. What IS this dire threat our empire faces?

???: Is it the Chaldeans, who have stumbled in like drunkards? Is it an invasion of Xianyang, my capital city? What say you, Han Xin?

Han Xin: N-n-n-no, Your Imperial Majesty. The area that poses the greatest danger to the empire lies outside that massive, impenetrable storm.

Han Xin: I-I-I-I speak, of course, of the entire rest of the world, as it is now cut off from Your Imperial Majesty's blessings.

???: Then what is currently our most pressing need?

Han Xin: Th-th-th-that would be gathering i-i-i-information about the world outside the storm.

Han Xin: And n-n-n-not by taking a stranger's word,b-b-b-but by sending out soldiers you know and trust.

???: Good, good. That is precisely what we had planned. We would expect no less from one of our most loyal retainers.

???: Very well. How might we go about sending soldiers into the storm to investigate?

Captain of the Guard: I doubt the ones who came here on their own will be much help.

Captain of the Guard: Whatever ability that let them come from their world is most likely something they can only use on themselves.

???: And what of the more recent arrivals in our domain?

Han Xin: The Ch-Ch-Ch-Chaldeans seem to have crossed the storm using some kind of strange vehicle.

Han Xin: S-s-s-so if we had that vehicle,we should be able to do the same...theoretically.

Han Xin: W-w-w-we would still need to learn how to use the vehicle, if not how it was built and how it functions, but once we do, it should serve to transport the empire's armies to the world outside.

Koyanskaya: ...!

Koyanskaya: (This emperor's good! That's a surprising amount of clarity about the big and small pictures! )

???: There you have it. Chaldea has a much more valuable bargaining chip than either you or Akuta.

???: If you wish to negotiate with us, you will need to offer something of far greater value, Tayunskapon.

Koyanskaya: My name is Koyanskaya! Ugh, are you sure you aren't doing this on purpose, Your Imperial Majesty!?

???: Of course. We thought we were doing you a kindness, since you would surely dislike being called by the name you deserve.

???: Or would you prefer we forego all consideration and call you Daji, fox woman?

Koyanskaya: ...!

Captain of the Guard: Pardon me.

Koyanskaya: Khh...How...? He was...completely unarmed...

???: You grossly underestimated our intelligence, as well as our imperial guards' proficiency in kung fu. We are almost offended.

Captain of the Guard: She must have thought this was still the same China she enjoyed toying with as she pleased.

???: Now then, let us begin our negotiations anew.

???: Hello there, loyal soldiers and people of Chaldea. We trust you can hear our voice?

Meunière: Wh-who said that?

Fujimaru 1: I's coming from Mash's shield?

???: The voice of an empire is heard by all its citizens. No matter where they may be, it will find them just as surely as the sun's rays.

???: In this case, we are merely focusing a magnetic beam upon that girl's shield, thereby causing it to vibrate.

???: We could use anything of sufficient rigidity, but we assume you prefer your skulls not rattle directly.

Mash: The voice of an empire? Then, does that mean...

???: We are prepared to hand over this Koya-something-or-other person you have been seeking so desperately.

Goredolf: You mean Koyanskaya!?

???: Correct. However, in exchange, you must agree to let us examine that vehicle of yours in detail.

???: Accept this condition, and we will guarantee you safe conduct in these lands. None will dare threaten you while you are under our protection.

Akuta Hinako: What!? Your Imperial Majesty, what are you saying!?

???: Akuta Hinako.

???: If you had shown yourself capable of capturing that vehicle unharmed, we would not have resorted to these measures.

???: But you have all but trumpeted your intention of leaving not so much as a trace of Chaldea behind.

???: You fought to destroy them, Shadow Border and all, despite being fully aware that is not what we desired.

Akuta Hinako: Ghh...!

???: Still, the fox woman aside, you have your uses,so we will treat you accordingly.

???: We will not punish you merely for acting against our wishes.

???: However, know that if you insist on continuing to war with Chaldea, you will face the White Cavalry's spears.

Qin Liangyu: Be warned: if my emperor commands it,I will show you no mercy.

Akuta Hinako: ...

Prince of Lan Ling: (...What would you have me do, Master? )

Akuta Hinako: (We have little choice but to accept this...for now. )

???: Very well then, Chaldea. Now that we have all had time to calm down, what is your answer?

???: Oh, and do note that our audio is not as crisp as our video. When you wish to speak to us, make sure that you face directly upwards and raise your voice.

Holmes: For our part...just having another option for exiting this current predicament is more than we could have hoped for.

Holmes: Even if that option may cause other problems down the road.

Holmes: At this point, I believe capturing Koyanskaya and securing an antidote is far and away our highest priority.

Holmes: Though of course, [♂ Mr. /♀ Ms. ] Fujimaru will need to make the final call.

Goredolf: Huh? Not me!?

Da Vinci: Let's just keep your position to ourselves for now.

Da Vinci: Besides...that voice is speaking to Fujimaru.

Da Vinci: And I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be happy about being interrupted.

Fujimaru 1: ...There's nothing we'd like more than a truce.

Fujimaru 2: ...We accept your condition.

???: Good, good. A most reasonable answer.

???: Now then, let us be certain of one thing before we begin to make arrangements. Do you know who we are?

Fujimaru 1: You're Qin Shi Huang, the First Emperor of Qin.

???: Right you are.

???: We thought we might need to explain all that in excruciating detail. We are relieved to see that these concerns were baseless.

???: Very well then, now that we know you properly understand our eminence, let us proceed.

Fujimaru 2: You're Julius Caesar.

???: Caesar? ...Ah yes, the young man who attempted to profit from our invasion of Egypt.

???: But do not mistake us for some common dictator.

???: Our empire extends to this entire planet. We are the first and last emperor this world will ever know.

Da Vinci: (So this empire even went to war with Rome and Egypt in this world? Yikes...)

???: To begin, Qin Liangyu there has brought with her a number of engineers.

???: You will admit them, along with their equipment, aboard the Shadow Border.

Da Vinci: How do we know they won't break anything?

???: Very well then, we will have our engineers conduct their work entirely under Chaldea's supervision.

???: However, be aware that they will not cease their investigation until they are satisfied with the results. We trust you can work together in good faith.

???: Any other questions?

Fujimaru 1: Where are you speaking to us from?

Da Vinci: Yeah, and I thought I heard you say something terrifying about magnetic beams...?

???: I am speaking from directly above you, of course. Turn your heads upwards and it should be abundantly clear.

Mash: Directly above us? You mean...

???: Yes, the Great Wall.

Mash: The Great Wall? But, I thought that was built on the ground...

???: The ground? Ah, you mean that thing we once used to keep the Huns away?

???: Hahaha, just how out of date is your knowledge of China? There has not been a Great Wall on the ground since our empire absorbed all other nations.

Holmes: Does that mean this empire no longer has any foreign enemies?

???: Correct. This entire planet is now our domain. As such, any outside barbarians that might pose a threat would have to come from beyond the sky.

???: Naturally, we could not merely sit around waiting for such hostile visitors to arrive, or it would be too late to defend against them, so we decided to fortify our defenses ahead of time.

???: This great feat of architecture was built over the course of three hundred years. Perhaps you know that the original Great Wall's name meant“the ten-thousand-li-long castle”? Well, this is far longer.

???: If we were to measure it in li, it would be one hundred thirty-one thousand, four hundred twenty-four li in length.

Da Vinci: Man, where do I even begin picking that apart...

Goredolf: You say you began space development in the eighteenth century!? That's as preposterous as Gandhi dropping an atomic bomb!

???: We admit, we did believe that the only possible threat to our empire might come from the stars...

???: ...but we must say, even we did not expect to face one of this particular nature.

???: Indeed, it was a great shock to see those impenetrable storm clouds–if that is even what they are–suddenly appear around this area of China.

???: We no longer receive reports from the parts of the Great Wall that extend beyond China. The only parts that seem to function are those above China.

???: The light of our glory once encompassed the entire globe, but now...

???: ...those accursed storm clouds have severed us from our own world, plunging it back into darkness.

???: This is a tragedy. Without our guidance, our people will regress back to a state of chaos and violence.

???: Thus, we must once again bring peace and harmony to the rest of the world.

Mash: That's why you want the Shadow Border...?

???: Yes. That said, that single vehicle alone is insufficient to our purposes.

???: We will need to produce vast quantities of them, and of greater sizes capable of carrying much larger cargo. And so we shall require blueprints.

Meunière: Ahh, so that's why you want us to let your engineers analyze it.

???: Given that you are able to pass through a storm that permits no physical interference whatsoever...we assume you are able to pass through Void Space?

Da Vinci: ...I'm impressed. I can't believe you figured that out at a glance.

???: We understand the theory, of course, but cannot imagine how it was actually achieved. And so we wish to learn how this conveyance was constructed.

???: Ideally, we would like to confiscate it and disassemble it to be thorough, but this would be a great inconvenience to you, would it not?

???: So we are willing to compromise and simply work with data alone.

???: Consider this a display of our benevolence.

Fujimaru 1: But, the world outside the storm is–

???: Ah yes, Akuta and that fox woman told us some nonsense about Lostbelts and Pruning Theoretical Phenomena.

???: If you insist upon feeding us the same lies,we may lose our temper.

Da Vinci: (Now would be a great time to stop talking, Fujimaru! )

???: There is no point in guessing why you visitors speak of the outside world in such vague generalities.

???: We will make our own judgments once we have seen past the storm wall for ourself.

Holmes: May I ask you something, Your Imperial Majesty?

Holmes: Did a strange tree happen to appear in this land around the same time as the storm? Specifically, a tree of light so large it reaches up to the sky?

???: Hm? What an odd question. Do such things often appear out of nowhere in your world?

Akuta Hinako: ...

???: Hmm. We see you are still hiding something from us, Akuta.

???: Well, no matter. We are well aware she has some cards yet to play. No doubt they have something to do with her differences with you.

???: Our interest, though, lies solely in maintaining peace in our empire and reclaiming its territories.

???: We have no intention of becoming involved in disputes between visitors, unless those disputes become something that affect us.

???: Now then, let us be candid. You inquired about a tree of light?

???: The answer is no. Our sight extends to all of China, and we have observed nothing of the sort.

Da Vinci: All of China, huh...

Da Vinci: Hmm. Since it seems like you don't stand on formality too much, I'm just gonna ask:

Da Vinci: Are you sure you don't mind speaking with us directly like this, Your Imperial Majesty?

???: What do you mean?

Da Vinci: Well, most people in positions like yours like to,you know, dress up their negotiations a bit, right?

Da Vinci: They like to trot out intermediaries and representatives and the like. Usually they make a point never to meet face-to-face.

Da Vinci: I mean, drawing a firm line between themselves and the lesser people by refusing to speak to them directly is a big part of how nobles like to demonstrate their difference in status, right?

???: Hehe, hahaha. What a strange thing to say at this point.

???: We see. In your world, monarchs are so insecure that they refuse even to permit themselves to be seen for fear of seeming less than perfect.

???: Tell us, does the sun seek to hide from the public eye? Does the moon hide itself from the people's gaze?

???: We are the Emperor, the Child of Heaven. The celestial existence who reigns over all our citizens.

???: That is why we permit them audience.

???: Just as the sun's light bathes every corner of Earth, so too does our glory shine upon every person on this world who looks up to us.

???: Still, we suppose that if the sun looked the same as anyone else, it may feel a need to put on a bit of a show to emphasize its power and status.

Da Vinci: Then, you don't mind letting us see your face?

???: Hm? Now what are you going on about? You have been gazing upon my visage for some time now.

Da Vinci: Huh?

???: Well, we suppose you cannot see us with your naked eyes, not with the horizon in the way, but you have still been observing us with those mechanical birds of yours, have you not?

???: Indeed, our eyes have met a number of times.

Da Vinci: Um, I'm sorry, I don't understand. We've been observing Xianyang from a distance, yes, but–

???: What? Then you stare at us without realizing who it is you look upon? How insolent.

???: We suppose you could not help your ignorance,but now that you know, you should be more careful.

Da Vinci: W-wait, hang on! Are you telling us that thing floating above Xianyang is–

???: Yes. That is us.

Qin Shi Huang: This holy vessel is the result of us abandoning our earthly body, as it could only deteriorate, and imbuing all our Authority within this machine in its stead.

Qin Shi Huang: In the twenty-two hundred years that have passed since, this body has grown and expanded along with our nation, and now we shall never touch the ground again.

Qin Shi Huang: Still, our grandeur is readily apparent in this form, making it easy for our people to understand.

Qin Shi Huang: We are the first and last emperor, the immortal ruler who shall reign over this world for all of eternity. We are Qin Shi Huang.

Section 7: Qin Shi Huang

Da Vinci: Man...Of all the ways for the emperor to obtain immortality...That one just didn't even occur to me.

Fou: Fou, fooou...

Da Vinci: So after finding Nezha's remains in the Shang dynasty ruins...

Da Vinci: ...the emperor must have worked out some sort of cybernetics breakthrough way back in the B. C. era.

Da Vinci: No wonder the technology in this Lostbelt is so topsy-turvy.

Holmes: So the emperor must have abandoned the Zhenren's aspirations, and found a way to attain immortality another way.

Fujimaru 1: Zhenren?

Holmes: The Zhenren were Taoist mountain sages–or hermits, if you like–who sought eternal truth.

Holmes: They also perfected their bodies,thereby achieving eternal youth and life.

Holmes: In Proper Human History, the First Emperor of Qin attempted to become one such Zhenren through an immortality elixir made with Chinese alchemy.

Da Vinci: But, as it happened, repeated, long-term use of this elixir only resulted in fatal mercury poisoning. Alchemy has always been a great deal more trial and error than success, no matter where it was practiced.

Da Vinci: But in this Lostbelt, the same emperor must have given up on alchemy in favor of technology based on Nezha.

Holmes: Well, Prince Nezha's body was still created by a Zhenren, so it's not as though that represented too big of a divergence from the path...

Holmes: ...but the decision to surrender human form and grant only the mind immortality cannot have been made lightly.

Da Vinci: From there, if the emperor was able to stamp out all dissent in the rest of China and continue ruling the resulting empire at the height of its power...

Da Vinci: ...conquering the rest of the world seems only a matter of course.

Goredolf: Yes, well, as a mage, I can't say I approve of that, but I am glad this emperor turned out to be such a reasonable fellow!

Holmes: Indeed. This was a most unexpected development.

Holmes: I never would have guessed that a Lostbelt's ruler would sever ties with its Crypter in favor of negotiating with us.

Holmes: That said...what do you make of the request to examine the Shadow Border in exchange?

Da Vinci: It's definitely a risk. I mean, we didn't so much as tell the other Lostbelt factions that Zero Sailing is even a thing.

Da Vinci: The Russian and Scandinavian Lostbelts both seemed to have their hands full with their own affairs...

Da Vinci: ...but China is different.

Holmes: Quite so. This empire is under the impression that the rest of the world is part of its domain, and that the storm is responsible for severing their ties to the rest of their land.

Holmes: They see this situation as an unprecedented disaster, much like we did with Proper Human History being wiped out of existence.

Mash: I wonder what they'd think if they saw the world outside their Lostbelt...

Fujimaru 1: ...I guess they'd be pretty angry.

Fujimaru 2: ...I guess they'd be pretty distraught.

Da Vinci: Yeah. Their potential reaction is key.

Da Vinci: There are several Lostbelts, but only one Earth. It's a recipe for the biggest, crappiest game of musical chairs ever...

Da Vinci: ...since there's no way for all these different civilizations to coexist.

Da Vinci: Instead of existing in parallel worlds, they all have to fight to exist on the same Earth.

Da Vinci: So the Lostbelts that aren't preoccupied with just scraping by are eventually going to have to fight others if they want to expand their territory further.

Fujimaru 1: I think Kirschtaria even said something about that...

Fujimaru 2: Didn't Kirschtaria say everyone's trees would be fighting...?

Mash: ...So the Crypters–

Mash: I mean, Team A, are competing with each other at the same time they're fighting Proper Human History.

Mash: ...Why would Kirschtaria choose this...?

Holmes: We have insufficient evidence to come to any conclusions about his motives, so let us leave that aside for now.

Holmes: The salient point at the moment is that all the Lostbelts will eventually be competing with each other for survival.

Da Vinci: Right. And while Proper Human History may be at a disadvantage with all its territory gone, there's still one thing we have that the Lostbelts don't.

Goredolf: Of course. The Shadow Border!

Goredolf: And because of that, we're still the only ones with the ability to Zero Sail between Lostbelts as we please,but–

Meunière: If one of the Lostbelts had the Border, they'd have a serious leg up over the others, huh.

Meunière: Damn, I can't believe this Qin Shi Huang was thinking that far ahead.

Holmes: Indeed. Though all of this assumes that China does indeed have all the other nations under its rule.

Goredolf: ...Hmm. Then once Qin Shi Huang ventures outside this Lostbelt, the first move they make will be to go on the attack against other Lostbelts rather than Chaldea.

Goredolf: This could be our big chance to swoop in while the other sides are weak from fighting each other and take the prize for ourselves!

Holmes: I'm afraid not, Mr. Goredolf. The outcome we need to be concerned about is Qin Shi Huang gaining an overwhelming advantage thanks to the Shadow Border's technology...

Holmes: ...and going on to claim the entire planet as their own.

Da Vinci: Right. If that happens, we'll be responsible for creating the biggest threat to restoring Proper Human History ourselves.

Da Vinci: And there's no way to tell how it'll play out until we open the lid on this figurative Pandora's box...

Goredolf: Ghh...So no matter what we do,we're taking a big risk...

Holmes: There is also the possibility that we may become collateral damage when the Lostbelts begin to battle one another in earnest...

Holmes: Still, while we cannot rule that outcome out definitively, it's far enough away that we can worry about it later.

Holmes: In the meantime, our most pressing concern, by far...

Holmes: finding an antidote for Director Goredolf and [♂ Mr. /♀ Ms. ] Fujimaru.

Goredolf: Y-yes, exactly, Holmes!

Goredolf: I always knew you had a kind heart deep down underneath your gruff detective exterior!

Meunière: ...Well, I guess we can't deny that tubby here is in trouble.

Meunière: If they really do hand Koyanskaya over as promised, does that mean we'll have one less thing to worry about?

Holmes: Well, in one sense, yes. But having Koyanskaya as a prisoner will create other, very serious problems.

Holmes: If anything, it only further raises the question of how we will go about settling matters in this Lostbelt.

Mash: And then there's the fact that we still can't find its Tree of Emptiness...

Holmes: Indeed. I was surprised to learn that not even Qin Shi Huang knew about it.

Da Vinci: Does that mean Hinako doesn't know either? ...What am I saying, of course she does.

Da Vinci: I mean, it's her job as a Crypter to protect this world's Tree of Emptiness with her life.

Holmes: Quite so. Her behavior has been most peculiar from the beginning.

Holmes: Both Kadoc and Ophelia had formed alliances with their Lostbelts' rulers, and shared a goal to expand their territory in the future.

Holmes: But here in China, the only one who seems interested in territory expansion is Qin Shi Huang. It even seemed as though Akuta was trying to hold Qin Shi Huang back.

Meunière: Yeah, the only thing that seemed to interest her was wiping us out.

Mash: ...That's true.

Mash: I got the sense that she wanted to dispose of us before Qin Shi Huang started paying attention to the outside world.

Goredolf: Hmm. I can't tell if she's being reactive or proactive.

Meunière: So hey, this might be too little, too late by now...but are we sure it's okay to talk about this stuff in here?

Meunière: I mean, Qin Shi Huang keeps an eye on all of China, right? How do we know the emperor's not listening in right now...?

Da Vinci: True. The thought of the emperor peeping on us from low orbit is more than a little creepy.

Da Vinci: But the flip side of that is that's all the emperor can do. We should still assume our heat signatures are visible, even with a roof in the way...

Da Vinci: ...but as far as audio is concerned, the emperor mentioned that the quality isn't good, and we can only be heard when we're looking up and raising our voices.

Da Vinci: I know 'cause I tried yelling a bunch of obscenities at the emperor when I was in the cockpit. Hehehe!

Goredolf: (So that's what all that stuff about old geezers, cyberpunk rip-offs, and eighties leftovers was...)

Da Vinci: Anyway, having the emperor constantly watching us at all times will get annoying, so I made this!

Fujimaru 1: What is it...?

Da Vinci: A stealth module for your new Mystic Code!

Da Vinci: I tried modeling it off of Robin Hood's No Face May King. Just think of it as a streamlined portable Bounded Field.

Mash: That's amazing. When did you even have time to make that...?

Da Vinci: Thanks, but it's really not quite as impressive as it maybe sounds. There are a lot of stability issues and other kinks to work out.

Da Vinci: If the mana levels in the atmosphere are too dense, or it's really hot or really cold, it falls apart like a house of cards.

Da Vinci: So that means it would be pretty useless in the other two Lostbelts we've seen.

Holmes: I see. But when one considers how stable this Lostbelt's environment is, it becomes clear how useful such a module would be here.

Da Vinci: Oh, it also focuses on precision over area of effect, so it won't hide you from someone close by.

Da Vinci: But since we only have to worry about long-range spying here, it should work perfectly in this case.

Goredolf: What the!? Did Xianyang just launch something else at us?

Mash: Let's go check it out, Master!

Farmer A: Ooh, a Benefaction! Our village got a Benefaction!

Qin Liangyu: Most Glorious and Majestic Heavenly Emperor wishes to thank you for your hospitality to our otherworldly visitors. Be grateful for this blessing.

Farmhand A: Ahh, thank you, Most Glorious and Majestic Heavenly Emperor! Thank you!

Mash: Benefaction...I remember now. They said that's what those rockets are usually used to deliver.

Boy: Man, they're so lucky. I can't wait till I'm a grown-up and can get Benefactions too.

Fujimaru 1: You mean kids never get them?

Boy: We do, but they usually don't work as well when you're little as when you're grown-up. They sure don't for me.

Boy: Say, wanna try mine and see what they're like for yourself, [♂ mister /♀ miss]? Here you go!

Fujimaru 1: It looks like...medicine?

Farmer B: Yup. It clears your head out and makes you feel really good. It's like a dream come true.

Holmes: Is that so!? Give it here!!!

Fujimaru 1: H-hey! Holmes!

Fujimaru 2: Remember your reputation!

Holmes: Rest assured, I am not speaking...solely out of personal desire. Don't you think such a drug is worth analyzing?

Holmes: This could be some sort of technology unique to this Lostbelt that has no counterpart in Proper Human History.

Mash: I see...So this Benefaction isn't money, then.

Da Vinci: Of course not. I doubt this farming village even has a monetary economy.

Da Vinci: Then again, the fact that we've seen so much agriculture would suggest some economic activity...

Holmes: What if their crops yield tremendous surplus every year, without fail?

Mash: Is that even possible?

Holmes: In our world using methods of agriculture with which we are familiar, no. But things may work differently in this world.

Holmes: I took a look at the wheat they are growing,and it was like nothing I've ever seen.

Holmes: In fact, I can't even be certain it is wheat. All I can say for certain is that it has been heavily modified.

Holmes: Perhaps this seemingly primitive form of agriculture is actually far more advanced than we have been giving it credit for.

Goredolf: Even though these farmers don't have so much as a single tractor?

Holmes: Perhaps their methods are so advanced they have no need for machines.

Da Vinci: Why don't you analyze the wheat along with that shady drug then? You might just learn something.

Holmes: Hmm...I cannot say that the wheat is nearly as interesting as the drug...

Holmes: ...but now that we no longer need to look for Koyanskaya, I suppose I could spare the time.

Fujimaru 1: Hey, isn't that Qin Shi Huang's–

Qin Liangyu: Hi there. The engineers just went on break.

Qin Liangyu: That vehicle is like your home away from home, right? I'm so sorry you can't use it during our investigation.

Qin Liangyu: Are you finding everything to your liking in our camp in the meantime?

Mash: Oh yes, it's very pleasant here. The air is so clean and fresh, too.

Mash: It's so nice to have a place outside our vehicle where we can relax. We didn't really have that in the other worl–the other places we've been to.

Fou: Fou, fooou!

Qin Liangyu: I'm glad to hear it. Oh, right, I haven't introduced myself yet. Qin Liangyu, a general of the empire.

Holmes: Qin Liangyu...Hmm.

Fujimaru 1: You know her, Holmes?

Holmes: In Proper Human History, she existed about four hundred years ago. She's famous in China for being the only female general in recorded history.

Fujimaru 2: You're from the Ming period, right?

Qin Liangyu: Ming? Oh, right, the history of your own world is entirely different from ours, isn't it?

Qin Liangyu: I think they said Qin's reign ended quickly there, and that numerous other dynasties sprung up in its place?

Qin Liangyu: Here in this world, the only emperor I know is Qin Shi Huang, who has reigned for the last twenty-two hundred years.

Holmes: That aside, the fact that you are still alive in this day and age is a great surprise to us.

Holmes: Did Qin Shi Huang make you immortal too, by any chance?

Qin Liangyu: Of course not. I was just permitted to sleep in Mt. Li after my accomplishments in the Bozhou Rebellion.

Qin Liangyu: Here in the empire, any warrior who makes a name for themselves is put to rest in times of peace, and is only awakened again when they are needed.

Holmes: Hmm, so you employ cryogenic freezing. Then I presume there is no need to keep a standing army here?

Fujimaru 1: Was Xiang Yu frozen in Mt. Li too?

Qin Liangyu: Xiang Yu?

Qin Liangyu: Ah, I see. So you call that thing Xiang Yu too.

Mash: That thing...?

Qin Liangyu: No, that thing is just a valuable relic. It's one of Most Glorious and Majestic Heavenly Emperor's most impressive accomplishments, which is saying a lot.

Qin Liangyu: It's both one of the cornerstones of this eternal empire, and a monument to it.

Qin Liangyu: But as you can see, it's not a living soldier. You could say it's the ancestor to the mechanical army.

Holmes: So Qin Shi Huang's army is composed of those dolls...

Holmes: ...and you commanders from the past were unfrozen in order to lead them.

Qin Liangyu: Of course, I'm also told that the royal guards in Xianyang are always assembled from soldiers of the current era.

Qin Liangyu: I've even heard that some elites have received instruction in sage arts from Most Glorious and Majestic Heavenly Emperor in person.

Qin Liangyu: But Qin Shi Huang has no need to keep a full army on hand at all times.

Qin Liangyu: The mechanical soldiers are more than sufficient, and the generals needed to lead them can always be summoned from their quarters in Mt. Li.

Qin Liangyu: It's been a long time since I was frozen myself, and I'm also told there hasn't been any sort of disturbance for the last hundred years.

Holmes: So you're saying war has been eradicated from this world?

Qin Liangyu: Even when I was a young girl, war was only ever something I read about in history books.

Qin Liangyu: I mean, wars can only be fought between countries, right?

Qin Liangyu: But there haven't been any countries besides our empire for over eight hundred years. The only reason I took up the spear was to help put down revolts.

Holmes: Then, Qin Shi Huang had achieved dominion over the world by the thirteenth century?

Qin Liangyu: We started implementing gunpowder well before any other country, so no nation was able to oppose us.

Qin Liangyu: The discovery of the Fusang Tree was a big help too, as it helped us make huge leaps in our medical science.

Qin Liangyu: It's all thanks to Most Glorious and Majestic Heavenly Emperor abandoning mortal flesh in favor of a holy undying vessel.

Fujimaru 1: What's the Fusang Tree?

Qin Liangyu: I'm told it's the embodiment of the sages' secrets–a treasure trove of hidden Mystic wisdom–others know it as the “Tree of Life. ”

Qin Liangyu: Most Glorious and Majestic Heavenly Emperor discovered it while searching the sage world for the secrets to immortality.

Mash: Does that mean Qin Shi Huang really did manage to become a sage?

Qin Liangyu: No, Most Glorious and Majestic Heavenly Emperor had already achieved immortality through the holy vessel before discovering the Fusang Tree.

Qin Liangyu: They say the emperor chose to remain in metal form rather than ascend to the heavens...

Qin Liangyu: ...because it was a better way to lead the nation.

Qin Liangyu: Still, it took over three hundred years to complete the search, and it wouldn't have been possible without abandoning the shackles of mortality.

Qin Liangyu: In the end, the emperor decided to use the sages' knowledge of medicine to improve the people's lives.

Qin Liangyu: With all manner of disease, hunger, and pestilence eradicated, and our soldiers' strength enhanced through elixirs, no other country's forces stood a chance against us.

Holmes: Sage art-based biochemistry, hmm...

Holmes: That reminds me...Isn't this a rather unnecessarily large plot of farmland for this number of residents?

Qin Liangyu: You think? Hmm...I suppose everyone does have their hands full during the harvest.

Qin Liangyu: But the wheat grows on its own the rest of the time,so it doesn't seem like too much work to me.

Holmes: ...Is that so? I do beg your pardon.

Holmes: I merely thought that all this wheat might result in quite the surplus, given how many people live here.

Holmes: Perhaps you take more than half of the harvest as a form of taxation?

Qin Liangyu: Of course. Everything the village can't eat is taken to Xianyang.

Holmes: I see. Then I suppose Xianyang must be an immensely populous city.

Qin Liangyu: No, not especially...Aha, now I see. I take it wheat is still only grown for food in your world?

Mash: Is that...not the case here?

Qin Liangyu: Wheat is the key ingredient for ethanol,the empire's most valuable source of energy.

Holmes: ...Well don't I look a proper fool. I was completely taken in by appearances. So this rather mundane-looking wheat field is actually used primarily for growing your fuel source.

Qin Liangyu: I did hear that the world you all come from has a completely different history from ours.

Qin Liangyu: I can only speculate, but um...I gather the world you come from must be a cruel and unforgiving place.

Fujimaru 1: What makes you say that?

Qin Liangyu: Both you and that young lady are, um...I do hope this doesn't offend you, but...

Qin Liangyu: Neither of you look as though you enjoy fighting. You have such kind much so that I can scarcely imagine you in any quarrels to begin with.

Fou: Fou, fooou!

Qin Liangyu: And yet, that weapon the young lady carries looks to be so heavy and dense that even the most seasoned of our warriors would have difficulty handling it.

Qin Liangyu: What's more, I can tell she wields it as naturally as if it were an extension of her own body.

Qin Liangyu: That people such as yourselves have been forced to become adept at combat at such a young age...

Qin Liangyu: ...Well, that says a great deal about how harsh your world must be.

Mash: ...

Mordred: Damn, looks like they're gonna party all night, huh? That Benefaction stuff must be some real good shit.

Spartacus: ...Indeed.

Mordred: ...

Mordred: What's going on, man? This isn't like you. I thought you'd be all up in arms about, y'know, “These poor people, dancing at the meager blessings their oppressors deign to bestow upon them,” or something.

Spartacus: Yes, perhaps under other circumstances I would.

Spartacus: But seeing how happy they are right now...It is difficult to find fault in this.

Mordred: ...So that's how it is, huh.

Spartacus: It was the pain and starvation I saw so many forced to endure that first moved me to rebellion. They were treated more like animals than people.

Spartacus: Their smiles in moments of hard-won victory and freedom were so fragile, so honorable...

Spartacus: They were nothing like what I see here now.

Spartacus: Now that I think of it...I've never seen anywhere so filled with joy and peace as this village.

Mordred: 'Course not. These sheep don't even know what war is, remember? Couldn't be further from our world.

Spartacus: I had always hoped that the blood my compatriots and I shed would buy smiles like this...

Spartacus: ...but I never dreamed I would truly get to see them. This world is too perfect for the likes of me.

Mordred: ...Ain't that the truth.

Spartacus: Tell me, O knight...Are you sure we should even be here?

Mordred: You effin' kidding me? Why would you even ask? You get along great with these people.

Spartacus: I know. But even so, something continues to

Spartacus: I cannot help but wonder...Do we Heroic Spirits truly have a place on the battlefields of these Lostbelts?

Mash: Senpai...? Are you up?

Fujimaru 1: Having trouble sleeping, Mash?

Mash: Yes. I'm afraid my nerves are still frayed from the battle we fought earlier today...

Mash: I'm glad we survived thanks to Qin Shi Huang interceding, but it was still too close for comfort.

Fujimaru 1: Why don't we get some fresh air?

Mash: Okay. Thank you for joining me, Senpai.

Mash: I see the villagers are still enjoying their festival.

Mash: I guess these Benefactions must be a huge cause for celebration.

Mash: Holmes said he suspected they might be a luxury good, much like alcohol in our own world.

Fujimaru 1: The fact that it's like a drug makes me a little nervous, though.

Mash: Maybe our perspective is off there since we're used to Holmes's...habits.

Mash: Anyway, it looks like they're going to keep the Shadow Border investigation going through the night. I hope Da Vinci will be okay supervising them.

Fujimaru 1: That leaves us with nothing to do for once.

Mash: Yeah. It feels like forever since we last had free time to ourselves.

Mash: This really peaceful, isn't it?

Mash: ...

Fujimaru 1: Something wrong?

Mash: Senpai...I've seen a world like this before.

Mash: It was a world of possibilities,united under a single ideal.

Fujimaru 1: You mean...

Fujimaru 2: Are you talking about the Temple of Time?

Mash: Yes. The King of Mages–I mean, Goetia, envisioned a history of humanity that was free from strife and suffering...

Mash: I disagreed with him. There was something about a world completely lacking any pain or adversity that just felt wrong to me.

Mash: But now...the way people live here seems so close to that world, yet it's still rich with life and the scent of earth.

Mash: These people aren't illusions. They're just as real as we are.

Fujimaru 1: ...But we're still this world's enemies.

Mash: Yes...I know.

Mash: Even after we take Koyanskaya into custody and secure an antidote...that won't be the end of it.

Mash: We can't stop fighting until we find the Tree of Emptiness, cut it down...

Mash: ...and prune this world away like it was originally meant to be.

Mash: I know this is a rare chance to rest and relax, but when I think about that...I just can't get to sleep.

Fujimaru 1: ...It's been so long since we've seen such a beautiful night sky...

Mash: ...!? Master, get back!

Prince of Lan Ling: ...It would seem I missed my chance.

Prince of Lan Ling: I thought it would be easy to kill you under cover of darkness. I underestimated those who have spent their lives dedicated to the art of war.

Prince of Lan Ling: Even if it would take no more than a single stroke of my sword, I cannot bring myself to sneak up behind and murder someone in cold blood as they admire the beauty of the night sky...

Mash: Prince of Lan Ling...! But we've called a truce right now!

Prince of Lan Ling: No, you and the emperor called a truce. My Master and I agreed to no such thing.

Prince of Lan Ling: As such, tonight, when everyone else had lowered their guard...

Prince of Lan Ling: ...would have been a perfect chance to end you,Master of Chaldea.

Mash: ...!

Prince of Lan Ling: Ordinarily, I would like nothing more than for those moved by beautiful things to live out their lives in peace and happiness.

Prince of Lan Ling: But now that we have met as enemies, that can never be.

Prince of Lan Ling: I had hoped to end you before you had to feel any need for fear. Forgive me for my incompetence.

Qin Liangyu: Did you really think it would be that easy, Servant?

Mash: Qin Liangyu!?

Qin Liangyu: Did you honestly believe I would fail to protect our allies in a moment perfect for assassination?

Qin Liangyu: Perhaps a true assassin would have been able to elude me, but you? Not a chance.

Prince of Lan Ling: ...Tch.

Qin Liangyu: Warriors like you are meant to cross swords on the field of battle, not skulk around in the dead of night.

Qin Liangyu: Your Master must be grossly ignorant of war to send you on a mission so badly suited to your abilities.

Prince of Lan Ling: ...Silence. I will not suffer any insult to my Master!

Prince of Lan Ling: Still, now that I have heard such insolent remarks,I need feel no guilt for drawing my sword.

Prince of Lan Ling: For that, you have my thanks, General!


Qin Liangyu: I've stalled long enough. Any chance you had at victory is gone, Prince of Lan Ling!

Qin Shi Huang: ...Qin Liangyu speaks the truth. Nighttime though it may be, even we, at such great remove, cannot help but notice such tumultuous commotion.

Prince of Lan Ling: Ghh...!

Qin Shi Huang: We trust you can hear our voice, Akuta Hinako. What do you have to say for yourself?

Akuta Hinako: ...

Mash: Akuta...

Akuta Hinako: I know you may not understand right now, Your Imperial Majesty, but I promise that everything I've done has been for the prosperity of your empire.

Qin Shi Huang: Is that so? Then it would seem you indeed have no intention of honoring our wishes.

Qin Shi Huang: Now then, what to do with you...We doubt the threat of beheading would be enough to cow you.

Qin Shi Huang: No, if we are to punish you,then we must take something else away.

Akuta Hinako: ...

Qin Shi Huang: Ah yes, I know. Come here, Kuaiji Zero.

Xiang Yu: You summoned me, Your Imperial Majesty?

Fujimaru 1: Xiang Yu?

Qin Shi Huang: We did. Rip your core out of your chest and smash it to pieces immediately.

Akuta Hinako: ...!?

Xiang Yu: As you wish, Your Imperial Majesty.

Akuta Hinako: Wait! Please, wait!

Akuta Hinako: I'm sorry! Please! Anything but that!

Qin Shi Huang: Ah, so you are able to plead for forgiveness. You must be quite attached to that machine indeed.

Xiang Yu: ...

Mash: Akuta...?

Akuta Hinako: Please, have mercy! I swear, I will serve you faithfully from this moment forward!

Akuta Hinako: I'll do anything you ask, anything at all. Just please, spare his life...!

Qin Shi Huang: We will hold you to your word, Akuta Hinako. Know that the only reward for defying our will is fear far worse than any mere death.

Akuta Hinako: Yes, Your Imperial Majesty! I swear...I will never go against your wishes again.

Qin Shi Huang: Well done, Qin Liangyu. You need not concern yourself with that woman any longer.

Qin Liangyu: Understood, Your Imperial Majesty.

Qin Liangyu: [♂ Lord /♀ Lady] Fujimaru, I suggest you return to the camp and retire for the night.

Mash: ...Senpai?

Fujimaru 1: ...Let's go, Mash.

Mash: ...Okay.

Xiang Yu: ...I must ask you once again.

Akuta Hinako: ...Yes?

Xiang Yu: Who is this Xiang Yu you speak of?

Akuta Hinako: ...

Akuta Hinako: To answer that, I will need to tell you another,very different story first.

Xiang Yu: The one where the emperor died before obtaining the holy vessel?

Akuta Hinako: That's right.

Akuta Hinako: After the emperor passed,the quest for immortality was seemingly buried with him.

Akuta Hinako: You were no exception, as you were kept hidden away in the secret Kuaiji laboratory.

Akuta Hinako: But someone found and reactivated you–a man by the name of Xiang Liang.

Akuta Hinako: He went on to become one of the many people attempting to rule China for himself after the decline of Qin.

Xiang Yu: Then, in this history...I fell into rebel hands?

Akuta Hinako: Xiang Liang wanted to use your superhuman abilities to further his own ambitions...

Akuta Hinako: he gave you his surname of Xiang, the first name Ji and the courtesy name of Yu and presented you as his nephew, despite knowing you were not actually human.

Xiang Yu: ...

Xiang Yu: True, I was only given my current combat frame long after I was first activated.

Xiang Yu: My original chassis was entirely humanoid...

Akuta Hinako: No one ever suspected Xiang Liang was lying. The thought simply never occurred to them.

Akuta Hinako: The emperor had based you on Taiyi Zhenren's creation. A machine as advanced as you was beyond anyone's imagination at the time.

Xiang Yu: Then...I was treated as a person,rather than a device...

Akuta Hinako: Given your appearance, no one had any reason to suspect you were anything other than human, regardless of how exceptionally skilled you may have been.

Akuta Hinako: In time, future generations would come to know Xiang Yu as one of China's greatest warriors.

Akuta Hinako: Yet none of them would ever know your true identity, nor how you were made...

Xiang Yu: ...Something is amiss with your claims.

Xiang Yu: If this Xiang Liang person kept my origins and the truth of my creation a secret, how did you come to learn the truth?

Xiang Yu: Who are you, really?

Akuta Hinako: I am just a drifter.

Akuta Hinako: One who came to this Lostbelt solely to be reunited with beloved Lord Xiang Yu.

Section 8: Land of Peace

Da Vinci: Huh. Sounds like you had quite the evening...

Holmes: Peculiar though this may be, it does present another piece of the puzzle.

Holmes: Unfortunately, it does nothing to make the larger picture any easier to see.

Holmes: We know that the Crypters' first priority is defending their Tree of Emptiness...

Holmes: ...and yet, Akuta has not told this Lostbelt's king of the tree's importance.

Holmes: Furthermore, she moved to eliminate us entirely on her own discretion, only to end up swearing allegiance to Qin Shi Huang the instant Xiang Yu's life was threatened...

Mash: I was taken aback to see Akuta acting so aggressively when we first came to this Lostbelt...

Mash: ...but seeing her so scared and flustered was just...painful, more than it was surprising...

Mash: I guess I really didn't know anything about her back when we were both at Chaldea...

Holmes: Ah yes, about who she was at Chaldea...

Da Vinci: Holmes and I did a little poking around in the data we managed to back up from the server...

Da Vinci: ...and her entire background reeks of falsified records.

Holmes: Indeed. I had to practically hold my nose as we picked apart her disguise.

Goredolf: Disguise? Even though she was a member of Chaldea's staff?

Da Vinci: Let's see...Imagine her profile is like a painting that's been thoroughly, methodically airbrushed to erase any trace of the original painter.

Holmes: Correct. There was not a single errant brushstroke,so to speak, to be found anywhere.

Holmes: Anyone who has lived an ordinary life will inevitably leave behind a bit of useless information about him or herself along the way.

Holmes: And yet, there was nothing of the sort to be found in Akuta Hinako's data.

Holmes: It was as though her entire life story was designed to pull the wool over someone's eyes.

Fujimaru 1: You mean, like an intricate piece of fiction...?

Da Vinci: Precisely! You are as quick to catch on as ever, Fujimaru!

Fujimaru 2: You mean, like a perfect alibi?

Holmes: Precisely! That is just the sort of interjection I was looking for, my dear Watson!

Mash: So the fact that nothing in her personal information is strange also means nothing in it is real?

Da Vinci: Yup, yup, yup. There's basically nothing even remotely human about her entire background.

Da Vinci: And even that's not the only obviously suspicious thing we ran across.

Holmes: According to her profile, Marisbury Animusphere brought her to Chaldea, supervised her aptitude test...

Holmes: ...and oversaw her periodic health exams and interviews personally.

Holmes: It seems every bit of data about her was submitted with his authorization codes. No one else's.

Mash: The first director?

Da Vinci: Just the fact that he handled it all alone is one hell of a red flag for security.

Da Vinci: It'd be easy for him to falsify any data he wanted, considering his position.

Goredolf: Be that as it may, if Chaldea's original director was the one who manipulated her profile...

Da Vinci: Yeah. If a guy that high up the food chain had something he wanted to keep secret about her, we're pretty much SOL.

Da Vinci: How did Akuta end up at Chaldea in the first place?

Da Vinci: Did she actually have enough Rayshift aptitude to be chosen for Team A?

Da Vinci: For that matter, who the hell is she, really? At this point, I don't know what to believe.

Holmes: Indeed. Everything we thought we knew about Akuta Hinako's personal information is suspect at best.

Meunière: So it wouldn't really be a stretch to imagine she might have a different goal from the other Crypters.

Holmes: Obviously not. What's more, this goal is evidently more important to her than protecting her Lostbelt or preserving her relationship with its king.

Holmes: One might think eliminating us would be her first priority, but as we've seen, even that is secondary compared to her concern for Xiang Yu...another figure about whom we know next to nothing.

Mash: It looks like that name only means anything to those of us from Proper Human History. In this Lostbelt, he appears to go by something else.

Fujimaru 1: I think he was called “Kuaiji Zero. ”

Holmes: Kuaiji...Hmm...

Da Vinci: Well, a quick database search suggests that area has some significance for Xiang Yu.

Da Vinci: It's where his uncle, Xiang Liang, started his revolt against the Qin empire after the emperor died.

Da Vinci: You could say it's where Xiang Yu began his career as a warrior.

Holmes: Regardless of who Xiang Yu may be in this world,the fact remains that he belongs to this Lostbelt.

Holmes: So I cannot fathom why Akuta Hinako, who–though nothing else we know about her is certain–comes from Proper Human History, would care so deeply about him as to abandon her other goals.

Goredolf: Hmph. That one's pretty straightforward. She must have fallen in love with him at first sight.

Goredolf: The more foolish the woman, the more likely she is to chuck everything away for such silly notions.

Da Vinci: Careful, Gordy. You're gonna lose any goodwill you may have built up with your female staff.

Goredolf: Bah, the only [♂ woman /♀ women] here [♂ is /♀ are Mash,you borderline Lolita!

Mash: Well, I was certainly disappointed by what you said.

Goredolf: Wait, really?

Holmes: Now, now, do try to stay on topic. We still have a mountain of problems that need solving.

Da Vinci: Oh, right. We still need to talk to the people who're gonna be...less than pleased about this.

Jing Ke: Even if it is only temporary, I can't believe I have to pretend to make nice with that emperor. Just the thought makes me sick!

Fujimaru 1: Yeah, that sounds about right...

Spartacus: Negotiate? Out of the question. That tactic plays right into the oppressors' hands.

Spartacus: Do not be fooled, detective. They will tell you whatever the weak wish to hear, and pressure you into swearing allegiance with only the pretense of your consent at best!

Holmes: Given the urgency of [♂ Mr. /♀ Ms. ] Fujimaru and Goredolf's condition, I'm afraid we have no alternative.

Holmes: At a minimum, I would like to maintain our truce with Qin Shi Huang until Koyanskaya is securely in our custody.

Holmes: If we could prolong it until Akuta Hinako is out of the picture, so much the better.

Holmes: Whatever her reasons for doing so may be, Akuta Hinako remains fiercely determined to eradicate us.

Holmes: So much so that she tried to assassinate[♂ Mr. /♀ Ms. ] Fujimaru in the dead of night against Qin Shi Huang's wishes.

Da Vinci: Obviously, Akuta and Qin Shi Huang aren't exactly BFFs at the moment...

Da Vinci: ...but we can't be sure that will last, since there's still a lot we don't know about their relationship.

Da Vinci: There is every possibility that she may yet convince Qin Shi Huang to take her side in all of this.

Spartacus: Hmph. What about defeating Qin Shi Huang and cutting down the Tree of Emptiness before Musik and Master can fall victim to this accursed poison?

Spartacus: Should that not be our first priority?

Holmes: Listen closely, Spartacus. At the moment, making an enemy out of all of the empire will lead only to disaster.

Holmes: Right now, Koyanskaya is a wild card who could wreak havoc no matter where she is or whose side she is on.

Holmes: If we don't have an antidote ready to go by the time we face off with Qin Shi Huang, it will be over before it begins.

Holmes: All the emperor would have to do is kill Koyanskaya...

Holmes: ...and [♂ Mr. /♀ Ms. ] Fujimaru would be saddled with the poison's deleterious effects for the rest of [♂ his /♀ her] life.

Goredolf: Let's not forget that my own life would be tragically shortened!

Holmes: Yes, ultimately, we need to destroy the Tree of Emptiness and erase this Lostbelt, and to do so, we will inevitably need to face and defeat Qin Shi Huang.

Holmes: So bear in mind that any amicable relations we appear to have now are a strictly temporary state of affairs.

Mordred: So you want us to pretend to be friends until we can attack when the emperor least expects it, right?

Mordred: Yeah, that's fine. Hell, I used to ask Agravain for advice with that sorta sneaky shit all the time.

Spartacus: I refuse. Acquiescence is the first step to allegiance, and allegiance inevitably leads to subservience.

Spartacus: My Master must never side with oppression,but always rebel against it.

Spartacus: [♂ He /♀ She] should rebel against pain, rebel against suffering,and ultimately triumph by rebelling against destiny!

Mordred: Get the goddamn stick outta your ass, would ya? We're playin' the long game here, lunkhead.

Mordred: The important part is that we get to destroy the empire in the end!

Mordred: So why don'tcha just think of all the rebelling you're gonna get to do later as a prize for all the restraint you gotta show now? I mean, you love repressing your own shit, right?

Spartacus: ...Are you all truly willing to go along with this?

Jing Ke: When I tried to assassinate the emperor before, I lost the moment I focused on something other than the killing itself.

Jing Ke: But, I'm not the one leading the attack this time.

Jing Ke: I get that Fujimaru has [♂ his /♀ her] own way of fighting.

Fujimaru 1: ...I'm sorry. I know it's a lot to ask.

Jing Ke: Well, there's nothing I can do if you're going to plead at me with that helpless look on your face. I mean, you're just now realizing how hopeless your chances are against Xiang Yu, right?

Spartacus: ...

Holmes: Hmm, it's getting stuffy in here with so many of us present. I think I'll step out for a bit of fresh air.

Jing Ke: ...?

Mash: (Huh? Holmes just winked at me, Senpai,and Jing Ke. What's going on...? )

Mash: What is it, Holmes?

Jing Ke: Is there something else you wanted to talk to us about?

Holmes: I thought it would be best if Spartacus were absent for this next part.

Holmes: I trust you to retain your cool, Ms. Jing Ke, but let me remind you to refrain from raising your voice. As long as we whisper, Qin Shi Huang should be unable to hear us.

Mash: ...

Holmes: I've mostly finished my analysis of the Benefaction drug, and it's beyond anything I could have imagined.

Holmes: Its psychotropic effects are secondary at most.

Holmes: Its true purpose lies in boosting the immune system...or perhaps I should say, enhancing it to an unfathomable degree.

Holmes: And despite its potency, there are almost no negative side effects as long as one condition remains unmet.

Holmes: It is well beyond what modern medical science could achieve. In fact, I doubt even magecraft from Proper Human History could create a drug so effective.

Holmes: It is something that could only be made here, in a Lostbelt where pharmaceuticals and biochemistry are entirely based on sage arts.

Jing Ke: Now I see. So it's mass-produced elixir.

Mash: And they just hand out something that amazing to every citizen during every major celebration?

Holmes: Indeed. And as a result, illness and disease have been completely eradicated.

Holmes: I doubt any of these people have had so much as a cold since they were born.

Mash: Then, it's a real, actual panacea...

Jing Ke: Hold on. What's the condition that needs to go unmet for this to work?

Holmes: Ah, yes. That would be...old age.

Holmes: Once a person's hormonal secretions have reached a certain level, this drug functions as a lethal anesthetic.

Holmes: I estimate it to be at least several thousand times more potent than pentobarbital.

Fujimaru 1: ...That can't be right.

Fujimaru 2: Hang on. Wouldn't that mean...

Jing Ke: ...Now I see. I thought it was strange that we hadn't seen a single elderly person here.

Holmes: This is no unintended side effect. It's quite clear that the medicine was designed to work this way.

Mash: Designed...? Then, it really is poisoning everyone who takes it!?

Mash: So when someone's body secretes a certain amount of hormones–in other words, once their body has aged to a certain point–they just...die?

Holmes: Correct. From our perspective, distributing a drug like this is no better than mass murder.

Holmes: Still...a case can be made from a Buddhist perspective, and how it views the four inevitabilities of human life–namely, birth, aging, disease, and death.

Holmes: If one considered both old age and illness equally undesirable, one could say this medicine protects you from the pain of the former and the latter at once.

Mash: ...

Holmes: I cannot say if every world, under all possible conditions, would eventually arrive at these ethics of pharmaceutical science...

Holmes: ...but the wheat grown here has been extensively genetically modified into something extraordinary.

Holmes: Its resistance to disease, its yield...everything about it stands leagues above its natural counterpart in Proper Human History.

Holmes: With a crop like this, one could live their entire life without ever knowing hunger.

Jing Ke: And if you never had to worry about food, you'd probably never think to take it from someone else.

Holmes: There is no economy here; no division between rich and poor exists. And we have all seen for ourselves how ignorant they are of war and violence.

Holmes: It seems that life here is as far removed from the suffering that one might expect in our world as it is possible to imagine.

Holmes: And when their life has run its course, this drug puts them to sleep permanently, well before they can begin to feel the pain of old age.

Holmes: I daresay that, if nothing else...

Holmes: ...this world has done a frighteningly effective job at removing pain and suffering from people's lives.

Mash: But...But that's still...

Jing Ke: That's no way for people to live. They're practically being kept as livestock.

Jing Ke: So this is how Qin Shi that dictator decided to solve humanity's suffering. Makes sense.

Jing Ke: No way a leader who abandoned their own humanity would in turn treat their subjects like people.

Holmes: As far as making a decision between this Lostbelt and Proper Human History...

Holmes: ...Spartacus claimed that we should fight to determine which should be allowed to survive.

Holmes: If hearing that gave you pause, I would urge you to give the matter more thought, keeping what you now know about this Benefaction in mind.

Holmes: In this world, the definition of a happy human life is exceedingly simple.

Fujimaru 1: ...

Fujimaru 2: ...

Holmes: ...Hmm. Seeing as you will need to make this choice sooner or later, I think it best I suspend my usual behavior in favor of full disclosure.

Holmes: Allow me to share with you some speculation. Do keep in mind that this is not a deduction, but rather a bit of conjecture on my part.

Mash: Holmes...

Holmes: This relates solely to one question. Namely, why did the Spirit Origin graph fail to work with this Lostbelt's leyline?

Mash: You think it has something to do with this medicine?

Holmes: That may not be directly related, but it does support my current hypothesis.

Holmes: Heroic Spirits have always been one side of Alaya–mankind's collective unconscious. They are defined foremost by their purpose: protecting humanity.

Holmes: While there may be many different methods and conditions involved in summoning Servants, the one thing they all have in common, without exception, is responding to the summoner's prayer.

Holmes: However...if there was not a single person in the world who had the emphatic need to pray for something...

Holmes: ...and, if such a world had flourished unabated for hundreds of years...

Jing Ke: ...Right. Then it wouldn't be at all surprising if that world lost its connection to the Throne of Heroes entirely.

Jing Ke: For that matter...there wouldn't even be any Heroic Spirits in that world, just like there aren't here.

Jing Ke: After all, every hero who might be needed to fight someday, like Qin Liangyu, is still alive.

Mash: So...this Lostbelt is a world that has no need for Heroic Spirits at all?

Holmes: Can you imagine a person wishing fervently for anything in a world free from hunger, pain, and suffering,Ms. Kyrielight? I know I certainly cannot.

Holmes: Indeed, it only makes sense that Servants would never appear in a world where no one wishes for anything.

Jing Ke: ...Thanks for telling us this, Holmes. Whatever doubts I might have had are gone now.

Jing Ke: I will do everything in my power to take Qin Shi Huang down,and put an end to this disgusting regime.

Jing Ke: As long as I get there in the end,I don't care how far out of our way we have to go.

Jing Ke: So right now, let's focus on curing Fujimaru. Now that I know where I'm going, I can wait as long as it takes.

Mash: ...Thank you, Jing Ke.

Qin Liangyu: Progress report?

Soldier: We should finish a complete scan of the vehicle's interior by morning.

Qin Liangyu: Good. Be careful not to overlook anything. Remember, the future of the empire rests on your shoulders.

Soldier: Yes, ma'am!

Qin Liangyu: I'll go see how things are outside.

Qin Liangyu: The Shadow Border...The product of a world entirely different from ours, huh...

Boy: “Because the moon does not know how to drink,my shadow merely follows the movement of my body. ”

Qin Liangyu: ...!

Boy: “The moon has brought the shadow to keep me company a while. The practice of mirth should keep pace with spring. ”

Qin Liangyu: ...What was that, young man?

Boy: Hm? Oh, that's called a “poem. ”A guy named Li Bai wrote it a long time ago.

Qin Liangyu: Who taught you that?

Boy: Well...

Qin Shi Huang: We see Qin Liangyu's investigation is proceeding smoothly. It feels good to have so much data moving among our circuits.

Captain of the Guard: Do you think you will be able to analyze that otherworldly device, Your Imperial Majesty?

Qin Shi Huang: Who do you think we are? This holy vessel's full calculation capabilities can easily handle a single vehicle.

Qin Shi Huang: ...Or so we thought. This is amazing.

Qin Shi Huang: How could they fit so much functionality into these dimensions? It's hard to believe what we are seeing.

Qin Liangyu: Forgive the intrusion, Your Imperial Majesty,but there's something you should know.

Qin Shi Huang: Hm? What is this about?

Qin Liangyu: ...The children in this village are reciting poems.

Captain of the Guard: ...!?

Han Xin: You're kidding...

Qin Liangyu: When I asked them about it,they said they learned them from Chaldea.

Qin Shi Huang: ...We see. Then Chaldea are Confucians.

Han Xin: Y-y-yes, Your Imperial Majesty. This is undoubtedly the work of Confucianism.

Section 9: Morning Star of Rebellion

Nezha: Emergency. Emergency. Spartacus is. No longer. With us.

Goredolf: What!?

Fou: Fo!?

Jing Ke: That's not all. A number of villagers have gone missing as well.

Jing Ke: The ones who remained said they saw Spartacus leading villagers toward the capital.

Goredolf: Buh-wha!?

Goredolf: If the emperor sees that, he'll think we're leading a rebellion!

Goredolf: What is wrong with that muscle-bound moron!? How could he do this!?

Mordred: Hey, Berserkers ain't exactly much for thinking or planning! Sparty's just bein' true to himself.

Mordred: Hell, he couldn't change who he is even if he wanted to.

Goredolf: Grr, do something, Fujimaru!

Goredolf: Didn't your records mention him obeying that Roman!? If he can listen to her, he can listen to you!

Fujimaru 1: That was between Nero and Spartacus, not me.

Fujimaru 2: Spartacus has always been all about freedom.

Goredolf: Grr, what's with that knowing look!?

Goredolf: Are those Command Spells of yours just fancy tattoos!? Go on and use one already, you fool!

Holmes: ...This may be the moment of truth,[♂ Mr. /♀ Ms. ] Fujimaru.

Holmes: Forming a contract with an unruly Berserker inevitably means using Command Spells to keep them in check.

Holmes: You may not care for that idea, but it is something you will need to come to terms with sooner or later.

Mash: ...

Holmes: It is frankly miraculous that you've come so far without ever having to force your Servants to obey.

Holmes: I would like nothing more than to respect your wishes, but I'm afraid that–

Mordred: Hold up.

Jing Ke: Mordred...

Mordred: You're not gonna make Sparty toe the line just by forcin' him to stop with a Command Spell. All that'll do is just root him in place.

Mordred: So please, Master, whatever you do,don't use a Command Spell on him.

Mordred: If you do...he might end up forgetting his whole reason for leaving the Throne to come here and help.

Fou: Fou, fooou...

Mordred: Can you let me handle him, Master?

Mordred: I'm sure I can convince him to stop.

Holmes: How might that be?

Mordred: How d'you think? By beatin'the everlivin' shit outta him!

Mordred: Y'see, it's his legs and stuff that's keepin' him going! Long as those're tellin' him to fight, he's not gonna stop for anything!

Mordred: So, if we just hit him sooo hard that his knees give out...

Mordred: ...then he'll get through his thick skull–err, knees, that the battle's over!

Goredolf: Er...are you quite certain that would be better than a Command Spell?

Mordred: Positive. I give ya the Mordred guarantee.

Holmes: I confess that even I cannot see the logic here.

Holmes: What do you think, [♂ Mr. /♀ Ms. ] Fujimaru? This is ultimately your decision to make.

Fujimaru 1: I'm not going to use a Command Spell for this.

Mordred: Hell yeah! I knew you'd understand, Master!

Fujimaru 2: I'm counting on you, Mordred.

Mordred: Hell yeah! Don't worry, I've GOT this!

Fou: Fou, fooou!

Jing Ke: I'll go with you. I think I may be partly to blame for the villagers' decision to join him.

Holmes: Are you sure, Ms. Jing Ke? Wouldn't you rather be there leading the way with him?

Jing Ke: Truthfully, yes. I honestly kind of envy him getting to materialize as a Berserker.

Holmes: Because he can throw caution to the wind and do whatever he feels like in a given moment?

Jing Ke: Nope. Because even though he's a Berserker,he's got such a good Master.

Jing Ke: As a Heroic Spirit myself, I can't help but feel a little jealous at that.

Mordred: Nezha, hold down the fort. The Border's our lifeline here, so make sure you don't let anything happen to it.

Nezha: Leave it. To me. I await. Your return.

Mash: Okay, everyone! Let's go bring Spartacus and the villagers back!

Farmer A: Hey, Spartacus, are you sure about this? I thought we weren't supposed to leave our village's fields...

Spartacus: Yes, I am sure. No system, no ethics, no laws,can ever stop one from walking about freely.

Spartacus: One's path always lies ahead of wherever your own two feet take you!

Farmer B: I don't know...We were taught that Heavenly Emperor gave us those fields as a gift of love...

Spartacus: If the authorities wish to call their oppression “love,” then it is only right you return their love in the form of rebellion!

Farmer A: I don't think I understand...

Spartacus: No matter. You will come to understand as we continue our walk. Now, to the oppressors' capital!

Farmer B: The capital where Heavenly Emperor lives, huh. Come to think of it, I heard it's got something called “art. ”

Farmer A: “Art”...Is that anything like those“poems” Jing Ke's been sharing with us?

Boy: I wanna hear lots more poems! And I wanna see what the capital looks like, too!

Spartacus: Well said. Then let us be on our way,singing songs of liberation all the while!

Mordred: Hold it, hold it! Did you really think we were gonna let you do this, ya freakin' dumbass?

Jing Ke: Don't you think it was a touch rude to just wander off without so much as a goodbye?

Spartacus: If it is the antidote for Fujimaru that concerns you, rest assured I will bring it back after seeing those responsible brought to justice.

Spartacus: If you doubt that I am doing the right thing,then merely sit and await my return.

Spartacus: I must give this Qin Shi Huang oppressor the firm embrace he deserves! I already know the emperor is at Xianyang. All that remains now is to continue onward until I reach this great oppressor!

Fujimaru 1: Please stop this, Spartacus.

Spartacus: I can understand why you have doubts, Master Fujimaru.

Spartacus: After all, you have yet to attain real strength for yourself.

Spartacus: All the more reason why I must go–to show by example what true justice is!

Spartacus: As such, I will not hesitate to crush anything that stands in my way with true, rebellious love!

Mordred: Yup, I knew it. He ain't gonna listen to a word we say. Yup, time for my genius plan.

Mordred: If he won't listen to reason, we'll just have to beat it into him. C'mon, Spartacus, let's you and me hash things out!


Jing Ke: Mordred! I thought you said you were going to make his knees give out or some such!

Mordred: Yeah. What of it?

Jing Ke: His knees aren't giving out at all! If anything, hitting him's only getting him more fired up! Honestly, it's kind of creeping me out! Now what!?

Mordred: I know, this is so much fun, right!? He's got will to fight out the wazoo!

Jing Ke: Ugh...I knew it. You're actually a Berserker too, aren't you?

Spartacus: Aah, what a thrill! This adversity...this pain! I can feel indomitable strength welling up within me!

Boy: You can do it, Spartacus!

Farmer A: Um...Why are Spartacus and the others arguing again?

Farmer B: Beats me...

A:Mash: If this keeps up, you won't last much longer, Master.

Fujimaru 1: Honestly, it's already rough...I'm starting to get feverish...

Jing Ke: It's no use. They don't even remember they're draining Master's magical energy.

Jing Ke: The way they're going, Fujimaru's going to end up collapsing before either of them...Dammit!

Fujimaru 2: ...Still, I'm glad Sparty and Mo are enjoying themselves.

A:Mash: Please be careful, Master! You've already got a thirty-eight degree Celsius fever!

Nezha: Stop! Stooop!

Nezha: This is! No time! For fighting! We have! An emergency!

Fou: Fou, fou, fooou!

Jing Ke: Nezha!?

Mash: And Fou!? What are you two doing here?

Mordred: What's goin' on? You're supposed to be keeping watch.

Nezha: Qin Liangyu. Betrayed us. She stole. The Border. Holmes told. Me to. Keep this. Thing safe...

Jing Ke: The Spirit Origin graph!? Then, they really did take the Border...

Mordred: What the hell!? You just let them waltz in and steal our home base!? How could you let this happen!?

Nezha: ...

Jing Ke: Stop it, Mordred. Nezha wanted to stay and fight just as much as you would have.

Jing Ke: But Holmes decided it was more important to make sure the Spirit Origin graph stayed with Fujimaru.

Spartacus: Indeed. I imagine the enemy must have used the Shadow Border itself as a shield.

Spartacus: A common tactic of oppressors to respond to rebellion is destroying what the rebels wish to protect.

Mordred: The hell're you being so calm for!? I thought you were all worked up!

Fou: Fooou, fou...

Mash: Unfortunately, we can't use the Spirit Origin graph by itself in this Lostbelt.

Mash: Without the land's leylines responding,there just isn't enough electricity to power it...

Jing Ke: I'm afraid not. Losing the Border really is a tremendous blow.

Jing Ke: Even Da Vinci's tricks had to be performed inside it to work.

Fujimaru 1: Qin Shi Huang! Can you hear me?

Qin Shi Huang: We can. This entire land is our garden. No noise or tumult within escapes our notice.

Fujimaru 1: I thought we had a deal!

Qin Shi Huang: Indeed, we did. And were we a god,our word would be absolute.

Qin Shi Huang: However, we are not a god, but human, and the ruler of this land. It is only natural that we would value our nation over a bargain.

Qin Shi Huang: Thus, now that we know you are a threat to our people, we have no compunctions about taking your Shadow Border and wiping all of you out.

Mash: A threat? What do you mean? Did we do something to the villagers?

Qin Shi Huang: We see. So you are either oblivious or unconstrained. Then you lot truly are disciples of Confucius.

Jing Ke: ...Ah, now I get it.

Jing Ke: Twenty-two hundred years later, and you haven't changed a bit. No, if anything, you've gotten worse.

Mash: What do you mean, Jing Ke?

Jing Ke: Qin Shi Huang's mad that I went around teaching people to read and write. That's why we're getting slapped with the Confucian label.

Mash: Confucians...

Jing Ke: Confucianism is all about five virtues: justice, courtesy, wisdom, knowledge, and benevolence. It extols poetry, manners, and entertainment.

Jing Ke: ...And Qin Shi Huang, tyrant that the emperor is,hates everything about it.

Qin Shi Huang: Our people live their lives in blissful ignorance. You and your Confucianism have led them astray.

Qin Shi Huang: Confucianism is a malignant disease, and you its epicenter. We must cut you out like a tumor, lest you spread further.

Spartacus: Are you truly so terrified of your citizens gaining knowledge, tyrant?

Qin Shi Huang: Knowledge leads to doubt. Once people are trapped by such delusions, they inevitably begin comparing themselves to others, and resent the world itself.

Qin Shi Huang: Without such wicked individual egotism,this world can be paradise everlasting.

Qin Shi Huang: It is through ignorance that our people live their lives in peace and health.

Qin Shi Huang: And you arrogant Confucians would knowingly go about ruining that!

Mordred: So what, you wanna keep your people from learning anything so it's easier to rule them? Why should we give two shits about that?

Qin Shi Huang: Confucians run rampant in your world. How long has it ever remained peaceful?

Qin Shi Huang: Humans who gain knowledge inevitably come to believe they are better than everyone else, which leads only to war, and all that creates is grief and sorrow!

Qin Shi Huang: That is why such worlds cry out in such agony as to create a Counter Force in the form of Heroic Spirits. We shiver just imagining such a hell.

Qin Shi Huang: Do you disagree? Go on then. Tell us how your world is so wonderful in the way people from all walks of life can share in the mutual bonds of misery.

Mash: I...

Qin Shi Huang: We suppose we could have tricked you out of your Shadow Border through more cunning means, but our disgust got the better of us.

Qin Shi Huang: We must obliterate you,and ensure that no trace is left behind.

Fujimaru 1: Xiang Yu...!

Qin Shi Huang: Kuaiji Zero, we have new orders for you: destroy every last one of the Confucians.

Xiang Yu: As you wish.

Jing Ke: ...Hey, Fujimaru?

Jing Ke: Should I apologize to you for taking pity on these people?

Fujimaru 1: Not at all. You should be proud!

Fujimaru 2: Maybe it wasn't the best move, but it wasn't wrong, either!

Jing Ke: ...Right! That's exactly the path we've made for ourselves!

Jing Ke: We own up to our mistakes, and do our best to make them right! That means we can compromise and even forgive each other!

Jing Ke: And the one thing this world will never, ever have!


Mordred: Man, this thing's seriously tough! Our attacks aren't even phasing him!

Nezha: How strange. This strength. Is not. Due to. Hardware differences...

Jing Ke: ...Aha, now I see what's going on. He's reading our moves before we make them.

Mordred: The hell? Not even my old man's Intuition is this much of a pain in the ass!

Jing Ke: I'm sure. This is no ordinary skill of reading one's opponents; it's closer to precognition.

Xiang Yu: I calculate that your destruction is inevitable. Resign yourselves, barbarians.

Mordred: Bullshit. If you could really see the future...

Mordred:'d know there's no way in hell that we'd ever give up without a fight!

Xiang Yu: Indeed. That is why I predict you will soon face further hardships...

Mordred: Whoa! What now!?

F:Prince of Lan Ling: Allow me to assist you, Lord Xiang Yu.

Mash: Prince of Lan Ling...Akuta!? You're here too!?

Akuta Hinako: This time, Mash and Fujimaru,I WILL kill you both!

Qin Shi Huang: Oh? Here we thought you would be sulking, yet it seems you have come to serve us once again, Akuta Hinako.

Akuta Hinako: Now that you understand the threat Chaldea poses,Your Imperial Majesty, I am happy to follow your wishes.

Qin Shi Huang: Ah, now we see. You are determined not to let Xiang Yu fight alone. How inconsiderate of us.

Qin Shi Huang: Very well, have at it. But be warned, there is little time left.

Qin Shi Huang: Do not bother killing them. All you need do is hobble them.

Akuta Hinako: ...Yes, good point. Understood.

Mordred: Aw shit. These guys workin' together again is the last thing we needed!

Jing Ke: And we can't afford to take our time with them,or we'll never catch up to the Shadow Border!


Qin Liangyu: Hurry! Get as far away as you can while Kuaiji Zero keeps the enemy busy!

Soldier: Yes, ma'am!

Holmes: (I must say, it's humiliating to find our hands so firmly tied. )

Da Vinci: (Well, what can we do? Advanced as it might be, the Shadow Border's still basically a car with a buncha tires. We can't stop them from towing it. )

Holmes: (I suppose we should be content with the fact that Nezha was able to escape. )

Holmes: (It's fortunate for us that they are apparently completely ignorant of the Spirit Origin graph's importance. )

Qin Liangyu: ...Whatever you might be up to, don't bother. Try anything funny, and I'll cut you down where you stand.

Holmes: And here I thought you were a proud warrior. I'm disappointed to see you resorting to underhanded deception and skullduggery.

Qin Liangyu: Hmph, say what you want, Confucian. Your words are no more than wind to me.

Qin Liangyu: Now that I know you're Confucians, I also know better than to trust anything that comes out of your mouths.

Da Vinci: Uh...we're not Confucians.

Qin Liangyu: I don't know what you call it in your world, but here, anyone who tries to “enlighten” our people is a Confucian.

Holmes: Oh, come on...

Qin Liangyu: What good could there possibly be in giving people knowledge?

Qin Liangyu: Making them read books that only confuse, deceive, and delude, causing them to lose sight of what they're meant to be...You do the devil's own work!

Qin Liangyu: You rebels should be ashamed of yourselves. Spouting ideals you don't really believe, agitating people merely to further your own ambitions...I can't stand people like you!

Da Vinci: We don't actually have any ambitions like that, though? We just shared some things we knew while we were making conversation.

Qin Liangyu: Then you did it on a lark? That's even worse!

Qin Liangyu: You have no idea what will happen to the people you've tainted with your Confucianism!

Holmes: ...What was that?

A:Qin Shi Huang: Enough. It is time. All of you, leave at once.

Prince of Lan Ling: But, we still have yet to kill the Chaldeans.

Qin Shi Huang: We will not punish you for your incompetence in failing to kill them. You need merely wait for your next opportunity. Now go, or you will be caught up in it.

Akuta Hinako: Let's go, Prince of Lan Ling. You too, Lord Xiang Yu.

Xiang Yu: Very well.

Prince of Lan Ling: ...As you wish.

Fou: Fou, fooou?

Mordred: Wh-what the hell? Why'd they all run off like that?

Spartacus: ...I don't like this. The oppressor is up to something.

Nezha: Reviewing communications. “There is little time left. ” I wonder...

Jing Ke: There's only one reason for the emperor to order retreat now: Qin Shi Huang is about to unleash an indiscriminate attack. I bet it'll wipe out the entire area.

Qin Shi Huang: Very good. Since you have figured out this much,we shall tell you what is about to happen.

Qin Shi Huang: We have just released a payload from our Great Wall and altered its trajectory.

Qin Shi Huang: It will strike your location in approximately three minutes.

Mordred: Are you freakin' nuts, you overgrown tin can!? You'd really kill your own people just to get to us!?

Qin Shi Huang: Do not think so much of yourselves. You have it quite backward.

Qin Shi Huang: We only ordered our soldiers to cripple you in order that you might also be caught in the blast radius as an added bonus of sorts.

Mash: Th-then, you did this explicitly to destroy this village...?

Qin Shi Huang: It is what must be done to rid our land of Confucianism. Now that enlightenment has begun to spread among the people here, we are left with no choice but to nip it in the bud.

Spartacus: Accursed tyrant! Have you so little regard for the lives of your own citizens!?

Qin Shi Huang: Silence! This land is our flesh! Its people are our blood! You could never understand the pain such an action causes us!

Qin Shi Huang: But, now that it has been infected with Confucianism, we have no choice but to carve out this piece of our flesh before the poison spreads.

Mash: ...

Mash: So this is...Qin Shi Huang...

Qin Shi Huang: Flee if you wish. But it is too late for the people of this village.

Qin Shi Huang: Once you have turned tail and fled, be our guest to turn back and witness the destruction your Confucianism has wrought.

Mordred: Dammit, this bastard's crazier than I thought. I never expected murdering the empire's own citizens to be more important than killing us!

Mash: There it is now...It's so massive...When it hits,I don't think anything will be left of this area...

Boy: What is that?

Farmer A: Aah, an evil star! Most Glorious and Majestic Heavenly Emperor must be furious!

Farmer B: So the rumors about stars falling on villages that reject the emperor's blessings were true!?

Farmhand A: This can't be happening! Why would Heavenly Emperor be so furious!?

Boy: Was it wrong of us to recite poems? Was it wrong for us to try to go to the capital?

Spartacus: No, none of you did anything wrong. You followed your dreams in search of freedom, as anyone would.

Spartacus: ...I see. Now I understand. So this is why I was summoned to this land.

Spartacus: It was all so that I could strike back against this great oppression!

Mash: Spartacus?

Spartacus: Fujimaru, you have yet to become an oppressor.

Spartacus: Now is the time for you to demonstrate your authority.

Fujimaru 1: What do you want me to do?

Spartacus: Use a Command Spell on me.

Spartacus: Use it and say only one word: “Jump. ”

Jing Ke: Now I get it. Crying Warmonger...

Mordred: What'd you just say?

Jing Ke: We'd normally have no way to defend against or destroy something as utterly destructive as a meteor strike.

Jing Ke: But Spartacus's Noble Phantasm changes to match what he's up against. The more powerful the attack, the stronger his resulting counterattack will be.

Jing Ke: If he can do that in the air, before the meteor has a chance to strike...he might just be able to destroy it before it hits the ground...

Mordred: Whoa! Wait a damn minute! Are you suggesting he fly up there and let that thing HIT him!?

Spartacus: Not to worry. Such tremendous adversity is perfect for showing off the strength of my rebellion.

Mordred: You can't! That will completely annihilate your Spirit Origin!

Spartacus: Hahaha! We won't know until I've tried!

Spartacus: Regardless, there's no time to debate the matter. We don't have long before that wicked star arrives.

Mash: ...Senpai!

Fujimaru 1: By my Command Spell...

Fujimaru 2: Jump, Spartacus!

Fujimaru 1: By my Command Spell...

Fujimaru 2: Jump, Spartacus!

Spartacus: Hraaaaaahhh!!!

Spartacus: I feel it! I can feel the power of our bond flowing within me!

Nezha: He really jumped!?

Fou: Fooou!?

Jing Ke: That's no ordinary leap. He's being propelled by a truly massive eruption of magical energy!

Spartacus: Now is the time for my legs to rebel against gravity!

Spartacus: Humans! Open your eyes, and turn your gaze upwards! This leap is the very pinnacle of liberation! It is the irrational act that will triumph over this adversity! The wings of freedom!

Spartacus: If this star means to oppress the sky itself, then I too shall become a star–a rebellious morning star that lights the world below!

Spartacus: Graaaaaahhh!

Mash: He really did take it head on!? No!

Mordred: Dammit, why'd he crash right into it!? He could've deflected it or somethin' so he wouldn't get so hurt...

Jing Ke: No...He was prepared for this.

Jing Ke: For his Noble Phantasm to be at its most powerful...he would need to be at his most gravely injured...

Spartacus: Hahahahaha! Wonderful! This pain is honor! This pain is life! I can feel my love about to explode!

Spartacus: Warcry Overload!!!

Han Xin: Th-th-this can't be right! Where did these people get a surface-to-air weapon...!?

Qin Shi Huang: No, they have no such weapon. This must be the work of one of their Heroic Spirits.

Qin Shi Huang: Remember this sight well, Han Xin. This is the true face of our army's new enemy.

Farmer A: Aaah!

Mash: Incredible...The entire mass is completely evaporating!

Mordred: He really did it...But where is he now?

Jing Ke: There! I can see him falling back down!

Mordred: Tch, that big dumbass!

Spartacus: ...Oh, hello, rebellious knight...Did you catch me in those twiggy arms of yours?

Mordred: Cut the crap! All the people you stirred up like a jackass were watching you, you know!

Mordred: Can't just smash face-first into the ground, lunkhead. You're supposed to at least land on your feet!

Mordred: Hell, you shouldn't be fallin' at all. You're supposed to land properly, no matter what!

Mordred: That's...that's just what you gotta do, all right?

Jing Ke: These wounds are...

Mash: ...Yes. I'm afraid Spartacus's Spirit Origin isn't going to last much longer...

Spartacus: Haha, your words cut deep, Knight of Camelot. I should expect as much from the manliest man of the Knights of the Round Table.

Mordred: Who're you calling a man!? Ain't freakin' fair,saying shit like that at a time like this!

Mordred: You're all beat to hell...Nowhere left for me to even punch you!

Spartacus: Go ahead. I'm sure your punch...would feel most pleasant...

Boy: Are you gonna die, Spartacus?

Spartacus: Hahaha, of course not. Spartacus will never truly die.

Spartacus: Not as long as you keep the light of rebellion alive within your heart...

Spartacus: That is all I friends...

Farmer A: (Sniff)...

Farmer B: Spartacus...I can't believe he did all that to save us...

Boy: ...I'm not gonna cry. I mustn't.

Boy: Spartacus...he never stopped smiling,no matter how much he hurt.

Mash: ...

Farmer B: Kid...

Boy: I'm gonna get strong enough that I can smile through anything I can be somebody else's Spartacus one day.

Boy: So as long as I, and whoever comes after me,keep smiling...Spartacus will always live on...

Mordred: Now I get it. So this is his real rebellion...

Nezha: ...? Something is. Wrong with. The Spirit. Origin graph. It's hot. Very hot.

Mordred: What? Don't tell me it's broken!?

Jing Ke: No, it's not that...It's reacting to the leyline.

Mash: What!? But, I thought that didn't work in this Lostbelt...

Jing Ke: ...That's it. There's prayer here now. Hope has finally blossomed in these people's hearts, connecting this world to the Throne of Heroes.

Nezha: Yes. This land. Is no. Longer cut. Off from. The Throne of Heroes.

Jing Ke: Heroic Spirits have heard the wishes of people lacking their own voice, and are about to pay them a visit...

Chen Gong: Hmm, this air smells familiar...and I think I recognize those far-off mountains as well.

Chen Gong: It would seem we've been invited to our homeland...although, something seems off...

Chen Gong: I don't see a single sign of war anywhere,nor do I see anyone resembling a Master.

Chen Gong: I suppose this means we've gone Rogue, so to speak.

Red Hare: Pity. I was kind of looking forward to that whole spiel you get to do when you first meet your Master.

Chen Gong: ...Well now, where do I even begin. Why do you look like that?

Red Hare: What do you mean? How else would Lu Bu Fengxian look!

Chen Gong: ...What?

Red Hare: What other Heroic Spirit could possibly be fit to be summoned alongside the great Chen Gong than Lu Bu, the Flying General?

Chen Gong:'re obviously Red Hare.

Red Hare: Lu Bu is a man among men, and Red Hare a horse among horses! Everyone knows we were inseparable during our adventures!

Red Hare: I'm what they call an Innocent Monster.

Chen Gong: Oh look, a carrot.

Red Hare: Neiiigh! A yummy carrot!? Where!?

Chen Gong: Hmm, I knew it. You ARE Red Hare.

Red Hare: Nonsense. I'm Lu Bu.

Section 10: Dashing Through One Thousand Li

Mordred: ...So what's our next move?

Jing Ke: The first thing we should be doing is tracking down the Shadow Border, but...

Farmer A, Farmhand A, Boy: ...

Nezha: We cannot leave. These people. To fend. For themselves. Qin Shi Huang wants. Them dead.

Jing Ke: Right. And I'm pretty sure Qin Shi Huang's aware that the whole Operation Wall Drop thing failed.

Jing Ke: It's no stretch to imagine Akuta and Xiang Yu being sent back to finish the job, only–

Mordred: Only they've gotta be guarding the Border now,seeing as that's the enemy's top priority.

Jing Ke: Right. I don't see dropping chunks off of the Great Wall as something that gets done often or in rapid succession.

Jing Ke: I'm sure Qin Shi Huang doesn't want to damage the land any more than strictly necessary.

Jing Ke: That said...if we stay in one place too long, I'm sure the emperor will try it again, so we need to keep moving.

Mordred: And you wanna take the villagers here with us?

Nezha: That would. Put them. In the cross fire. Of our battle. Too dangerous.

Jing Ke: What would you have us do, Fujimaru?

Fujimaru 1: I want to hear your plan, Jing Ke.

Jing Ke: My plan?

Mash: I agree with Senpai, Jing Ke. You're great at coming up with plans.

Jing Ke: You think? Well, if you need my help that badly,I guess I'd better step up, huh?

Jing Ke: ...Our biggest problem is how Qin Shi Huang can keep tabs on us from the Great Wall. How many of Da Vinci's Bounded Field devices do we have?

Mash: She gave Senpai and me one each,and we also have a single backup unit.

Jing Ke: Then we should split up in three directions.

Jing Ke: The main group will go after the Shadow Border, and the other two will take the villagers somewhere safe.

Mordred: Is there anywhere safe, seeing how Emperor Douchebag is lookin' straight down at us?

Jing Ke: Fortunately, that the emperor can only look straight down may be our saving grace.

Jing Ke: All that is needed to avoid such a gaze is something overhead, like a cave or a forest thick with foliage.

Jing Ke: We won't know how well the camouflage devices work until we give them a shot.

Jing Ke: And of course, if Qin Shi Huang loses sight of us, then I expect someone will come searching at ground level.

Jing Ke: So we can expect the nearby areas to be crawling with those mechanical soldiers.

Mordred: Then we'll have to kick the shit outta them every time. But how're we gonna keep a low profile if we do that? This land ain't exactly the best for hiding either.

Jing Ke: Which is why each group will need a skilled fighter, since there will be no getting around the fact that we will all run into patrols at some point.

Jing Ke: ...Mordred, Nezha, I'd like each of you to guard half the villagers.

Jing Ke: Mash, Fujimaru, and I will go after the Shadow Border.

Nezha: What happens. When the. Villagers are. Finally safe?

Jing Ke: Our ultimate destination is Xianyang, so we can hide out near there while we wait to rendezvous. How does that sound?

Mordred: Works for me. Your plan's got more holes than a sieve, but that'll make it easier to adapt on the fly.

Nezha: I too. Have no. Significant objections.

Fujimaru 1: Then it's settled.

Farmer A: ...We were born in this village. We've been here all our lives. Now we have to leave it behind...?

Mash: I'm so sorry we dragged all of you into this. But if you stay here, your lives will be in danger again...

Farmhand A: But, that's not fair! What did we do to deserve this!?

Jing Ke: ...

Mordred: You didn't do jack shit. Qin Shi Huang just threw a tantrum 'cause you got to know us a bit.

Mordred: None of this is your fault. This is just what happens to normal people during war.

Mordred: You've just gotta think of it like a tornado or an earthquake or somethin' else outside your control.

Farmhand A: This can't be happening!

Farmer A: I don't know. The idea of getting to go somewhere that's not here is kind do I put this...

Farmer B: Yeah, it's like feeling in the bottom of your chest. It kind of makes me want to yell and shout and run around in circles.

Boy: I know, it's so exciting! This must be what Spartacus meant when he talked about “freedom. ”

Mordred: Hell yeah, it is. And in our world, it's somethin' so precious people've risked their lives to protect it.

Koyanskaya: Ugh, what's with this stupid talisman!

Koyanskaya: How can they seal away my Spirit Origin with mere sage arts? It's not fair!

Akuta Hinako: Well aren't you a sorry sight, Koyanskaya.

Koyanskaya: Akuta! You came to rescue me!

Koyanskaya: Come on then, hurry up and get this stupid thing off me.

Koyanskaya: I didn't think I'd have any trouble breaking free of these obsolete sage arts, but annoyingly, this talisman uses a spell made for sealing away gods.

Koyanskaya: As I am now, I'm afraid there's nothing I can do about it.

Akuta Hinako: And I should help you...why, exactly?

Koyanskaya: Aww, don't be like that.

Koyanskaya: You and I are the only ones in this Lostbelt who can really count on each other.

Akuta Hinako: Well that's odd. I could have sworn that the Disciples of the Foreign God were supposed to be entirely neutral in all of this.

Akuta Hinako: Didn't the rules say that you weren't allowed to help any one Crypter in particular?

Koyanskaya: Don't be silly, of course I'd make an exception for you, Akuta☆ After all, we go way back, don't we?

Akuta Hinako: ...Yes, I suppose we do. Which is why I find it so surprising that you never realized this about me.

Akuta Hinako: I have always utterly detested you. Well, maybe not you per se, but another fox woman just like you.

Akuta Hinako: I don't know what made you end up manifesting like that, but you sure took your sweet time getting there.

Koyanskaya: Hmph. Don't you know it's rude to go babbling about a lady's past?

Koyanskaya: The point is, you and I are cut from the same misanthropic cloth, right? Don't you think it would only benefit us both if we played nice?

Akuta Hinako: If you're going to bring up mutual benefit,Koyanskaya, I have even more reason to refuse.

Akuta Hinako: How could helping you possibly be worth getting on Qin Shi Huang's bad side?

Koyanskaya: Oooh, you really went there, huh?

Koyanskaya: In this world, when it comes to business,you're either a client, or a product.

Koyanskaya: I was hoping to keep you as a client,but I guess it just wasn't meant to be...

Akuta Hinako: ...Goodbye, Koyanskaya. Knock yourself out trying to find an escape from this. You'll never succeed.

Koyanskaya: ...She's really serious about him...That wasn't the look of a recluse afraid to put herself out there.

Koyanskaya: She must have found her nerve after running into him again so unexpectedly. Wish I could be happy for her...

Koyanskaya: ...but all I can think about is how stupid this lovey-dovey stuff is. So ends another ancient, I guess.

Koyanskaya: Oh well, this just means I'll have to find another client! Aaand that means there's one more thing I can sell here now!

Koyanskaya: That's NFF Services for you;we never stop chasing our dreams!

Jing Ke: ...Yeah, these are tire tracks. They definitely came this way.

Fou: Fou, fooou!

Jing Ke: Oh, yes. I guess I should've expected you to tag along too...

Fujimaru 1: I hope the others are okay...

Jing Ke: You just focus on taking care of yourself right now, Fujimaru. How are you feeling?

Fujimaru 1: Still a little feverish.

Fujimaru 2: Compared to what the new director's going through, this is nothing.

Mash: Unfortunately, we can't afford to go any faster. We need to conserve energy in case we have to fight.

Jing Ke: That's true. But these tracks are old,so I'd say the enemy's way ahead of us.

Jing Ke: Even if we can't catch up to them, we definitely can't afford to fall any farther behind.

Mash: The fact that they also took Da Vinci, Holmes,and the rest with them must mean that...

Jing Ke: Yeah. They're trying to figure out how the Zero Sail engine works. If they can't work it out themselves, they'll need to make the ones who built it talk.

Jing Ke: At least we shouldn't have to worry about them being immediately executed, but that will only last so long.

Jing Ke: Once they've outlived their usefulness, it's entirely possible Qin Shi Huang won't want them as prisoners.

Jing Ke: There's no sense getting too worked up about it,but we can't afford to take our time either.

Jing Ke: I'm sorry, Fujimaru, but you'll just have to hang in there for now.

Fujimaru 1: Don't worry about me. I'm fine! Really!

Mash: ...Wait! I'm seeing hostile figures at twelve o'clock! It's more of Qin Shi Huang's mechanical soldiers!

Jing Ke: So I see. I did figure we were due to run into some, but I'd just as soon have been wrong!


Mash: The battle is over; no more enemies in the area.

Jing Ke: There's even more of them than I thought there'd be. No way did they just happen to be here on patrol.

Mash: I think I might know why...Take a look at these remains.

Jing Ke: Huh? That's odd. We didn't destroy these.

Mash: Exactly. Someone else must have fought them before we got here.

Mash: The ones we just fought may have been reinforcements who got here too late, or they might have come to investigate the battle's aftermath.

Jing Ke: And it's a safe bet that neither Mordred nor Nezha came this way.

Jing Ke: So does this mean there's someone else here butting heads with the empire besides us?

Fujimaru 1: Maybe a Rogue Servant?

Jing Ke: That's very possible, especially since we just saw the Spirit Origin graph flare up. This can't be a coincidence.

Mash: Then, if we can manage to find them,we might just gain a new ally!

Jing Ke: Or a new enemy, if we're unlucky. Either way, we'd better investigate further.

Fujimaru 1: Let's try looking around here and see what we can find.

Koyanskaya: Welp...I certainly won't be expanding my clientele anytime soon if I don't get out of this prison. I can't believe this talisman is the genuine article.

Koyanskaya: I never thought humans would be able to keep the sage arts working for over two thousand years, but I was clearly wrong.

Koyanskaya: They've even managed to advance them here. I really need to leave; this Lostbelt and I do NOT get along.

Koyanskaya: I mean, what was a mere human thinking, going all the way to Mt. Penglai to claim secret sage arts?

Koyanskaya: If you're going to go that far, you might as well have stayed there and become a sage yourself!

Koyanskaya: Where does this clown get off coming back to the human world and staying on as emperor!?

Koyanskaya: Ugh, just thinking about that stupid emperor and that stupid missing face pisses me off.

Koyanskaya: I can't believe I let myself get trapped like this all because I couldn't get a read on the emperor's expressions!

???: ...

Koyanskaya: ...Oh, it's you. I didn't think I would see you in a peaceful Lostbelt like this.

Koyanskaya: But I guess you show up just about anywhere. What is it, Foreign Priestess?

???: .........

Koyanskaya: Oh for...I have no idea what you're saying. I wish you would hurry up and learn our language already...

Koyanskaya: I wonder if Kirschtaria already understands you.

Koyanskaya: Maybe he's even keeping a record of everything you've been saying and doing that involves us.

???: ...

Koyanskaya: Well, none of that's any of my business.

Koyanskaya: After all, my contract is with the Foreign God,not you, even if you do speak for it.

Koyanskaya: But never mind that. Do you think you could peel this talisman off for me?

Koyanskaya: This Lostbelt's king is a tough negotiator. The other Lostbelt kings might be monsters that no human can control...

Koyanskaya: ...but Qin Shi Huang pulls that off while still somehow remaining human.

Koyanskaya: Monsters that rely on brute strength are terrifying just by existing, but devious humans are terrifying because of what they actually do.

Koyanskaya: So I promise you, if something isn't done soon, the Crypters are going to lose their hold on this Lostbelt.

Koyanskaya: That archaic emperor might even end up cutting down the Tree of Emptiness before it can become your seedbed, you know?

A:Qin Shi Huang: Archaic, you say. Do tell, Yanyanski,exactly which part of us is archaic? Hm?

Koyanskaya: ...Dammit.

Qin Shi Huang: Enjoying your conversation with the wall, are you? We see you must have finally “lost it,” as they say.

Koyanskaya: Heh. I'm flattered you'd go out of your way just to peep on me in my little cell here, Your Imperial Majesty.

Koyanskaya: Teehee, that you can peep anywhere you want, yet you still can't see what's really important. What a joke.

Qin Shi Huang: ...We have passed judgment on Chaldea.

Qin Shi Huang: Now, the time has come to properly assess your conduct as a visitor of our empire.

Koyanskaya: Has it now? Does this mean you've finally realized that Chaldea was your mortal enemy all along?

Qin Shi Huang: Indeed, we have. But that does not absolve you of your own, separate crimes.

Koyanskaya: Whatever do you mean? The enemy of my enemy is my friend, right?

Koyanskaya: Chaldea is both your enemy and mine, Your Imperial Majesty. I'm certainly not the one who's been ruining your farms.

Qin Shi Huang: But you are the one who brought those Demonic Beasts that began eating our people around the time Chaldea appeared, no?

Koyanskaya: ...(Crap. I'd forgotten about that...)

Koyanskaya: Oh, uh, well, that's strange. I guess they, uh, fell out of my pocket or...something?

Koyanskaya: But really, do you even have any proof that that was my mistake?

Koyanskaya: There's no difference between summoning Demonic Beasts and summoning Heroic Spirits, after all. How do you know Chaldea isn't just playing dumb?

Qin Shi Huang: Chaldea takes pleasure in disturbing my people's way of life. They would never kill them just for sport.

Qin Shi Huang: But you, on the other hand, take pleasure in nothing so much as messily devouring humans.

Qin Shi Huang: Thus, we hardly need conduct a thorough investigation to determine your guilt.

Koyanskaya: ...I see. So you still have a record of my past self, even in this Lostbelt.

Koyanskaya: All right then, what are you going to do about it?

Koyanskaya: Do you even have time to waste now that you know that Chaldea is the greatest threat to you and your nation?

Qin Shi Huang: It is true that we do not. While we are quite adept at parallel processing, our greatest concern is indeed Chaldea.

Qin Shi Huang: We can only afford to dedicate our rare spare moments to dealing with you.

A:Qin Shi Huang: So we are afraid that your interim punishment will have to be somewhat...artless. Messy.

A:Qin Shi Huang: That talisman seals your powers, preventing you from fighting back, yes? Then we can delegate your punishment to these automata.

Koyanskaya: Wha...

Qin Shi Huang: As such, these puppets will torture you until we can see to your punishment ourself.

Koyanskaya: Huh? H-hang on! You're joking, right?

Koyanskaya: I mean, you're Qin Shi Huang, the great emperor of this domain! Surely you can't be so completely twisted!

Qin Shi Huang: We do not do this for our own enjoyment. It is our duty to see justice served.

Koyanskaya: W-wait...Please...Don't do–Eegh! Gaaaaaah!!!

Qin Shi Huang: We are sorry about this,but we simply lack the information...

Qin Shi Huang: determine how spirits such as Servants and Alter Egos behave in worlds that are not their own.

Qin Shi Huang: For all we know, destroying your body, accidentally or otherwise, may even set you free.

Qin Shi Huang: Neither can we afford to let you bury this place in sulfur.

Koyanskaya: Ghh...Aah...Ow, ow ow ow aaaaaah! Eegh! Gaaah!

Qin Shi Huang: But so long as you manifest here, you are bound to that physical body. This much we are certain of.

Qin Shi Huang: So we will keep you alive, but ensure you lack the strength to escape.

Qin Shi Huang: If we order your body drilled full of holes, day and night, never piercing major blood vessels, you should survive, but be unable to replenish your magical energy, and so have no choice but to behave.

Koyanskaya: P-please...Forgive me...Just let me go and...I promise I'll leave right...away!

Koyanskaya: I'll never come to this Lostbelt again...So please...Please, stop this...

Qin Shi Huang: Out of the question. Even if you did leave,you would only sow more evil in other histories, no?

Qin Shi Huang: Besides, there is more to you than meets the eye. You weigh far more than all the Servants combined.

Qin Shi Huang: Even I was shocked to see your soul...or rather, your Spirit Origin's mass, weighs nearly one hundred thousand tons.

Koyanskaya: ...!

Qin Shi Huang: We are destined to rule all of the human world. That will never change, regardless of what time or fate itself may have in store.

Qin Shi Huang: As you are a sworn enemy of mankind, we have all the more reason to deny you your freedom.

Koyanskaya: So you even care about peace in the other Lostbelts...? You really are hopeless, aren't you...

Qin Shi Huang: Very well. Your torment in our land will continue until you turn to stone.

Qin Shi Huang: We can put you into eternal slumber once we devise a proper sealing ritual for you. Until that day comes, you will face justice for your crimes.

Qin Shi Huang: We suggest you spend this eternity of torture reflecting on the many people you have killed, and the pain and suffering you caused them.

Koyanskaya: Until I turn to stone? Who does this jerk think I am, Sun Wukong...?

Koyanskaya: Ah...No, please–Gaaaaaahhh!!!


Chen Gong: Pitiful. Everyone we meet here is so weak I can hardly stand it.

Chen Gong: But then, these aren't people, are they? They seem to be mechanical puppets. How awful.

Chen Gong: At this rate, I don't know when we'll ever get to form a contract with a Master.

Red Hare: Think it'd be a bit too much horseplay if I asked whether they're a Master before kicking them to death?

Chen Gong: Not at all. In fact, that sounds like an excellent idea.

Chen Gong: That said, anyone capable of ordering us around should be able to take a good kick from you without even losing their smile.

Fou: Fou, fooou...

Mash: Master, I see human figures up ahead!

Mash: No, wait. It's one human figure and one...equine figure? Except it looks like the horse...has a weapon?

Jing Ke: It seems they've noticed us too. They're headed this way.

Chen Gong: Well, hello there. It's good to finally meet another Servant.

Chen Gong: One who appears to be accompanied by a mage with Command Spells, no less. I must say, I'm rather jealous.

Chen Gong: It would seem you have a Master with whom you have formed an official contract.

Jing Ke: Does that mean you two don't have a Master?

Chen Gong: No, we do not. If that Master of yours happens to be looking for new Servants, then it would seem this is a most fortuitous encounter indeed.

Fujimaru 1: I'd definitely like some new Servants.

Fujimaru 2: Does that mean you'll form a contract with me?

Chen Gong: Oh yes, we'd be happy to, as long as you all survive.

Mash: Um...What do you mean by that?

Chen Gong: Why, I mean we're going to kill you now, of course.

Mash: Huh!?



Jing Ke: Ah. So, it's gonna be like that, huh?

Mash: Y-you're okay with this, Jing Ke!? Why!?

Chen Gong: We still have obligations to our lord from when we were alive, you see, so we make it a point to only swear loyalty to those who are truly strong.

Chen Gong: The Flying General has a reputation to uphold, after all. We retainers must stay true to ourselves, no matter how many times our souls may transmigrate.

Jing Ke: The Flying General...There's only one person in Lu Bu Fengxian's clan as eloquent as you. You're Chen Gong, aren't you?

Chen Gong: Haha, so you figured me out that quickly, did you? Well, I'm just a tactician for the rear guard, so my True Name is hardly worth hiding.

Chen Gong: But, if you mean to serve as our general–if we are to trust you with our lives–then we must be certain you are too strong for us to kill.

Chen Gong: And so, we will try to do so now.

Chen Gong: If you die in this battle,then our alliance was never meant to be!

Red Hare: Answer me this! Are you my Master!?

Fujimaru 1: Uhh...

Red Hare: On second thought, don't bother! Diiie!


Chen Gong: All right, that's enough!

Chen Gong: Well, Red Hare? I believe this [♂ boy /♀ girl] is more than strong enough for us to serve. What do you think?

Red Hare: That was fuuun!

Red Hare: This Master's majesty and sheer presence would outshine even Guan Yu himself! I would be happy to let [♂ him /♀ her] ride on my back!

Red Hare: Oh, I'm Lu Bu Fengxian. Pleased to meet you!

Fujimaru 1: Wat.

Chen Gong: Yes, it is best you ignore that bit. It...really does not matter. At all. Moving on.

Jing Ke: ...Well, I guess it wouldn't hurt to add Servants this strong to our lineup. What do you think, Master?

Fujimaru 1: Why are you refusing to make eye contact?

Jing Ke: I'm not. I just figure these kinds of compromises are worth making, given we're in this for the long haul.

Fujimaru 2: Welcome aboard!

Chen Gong: Thank you, my lord!

Chen Gong: As of today, I, Chen Gong, recognize you,[♂ Lord /♀ Lady] Fujimaru, as my Master, and swear an oath of undying loyalty.

Fou: Fooou...

Jing Ke: ...Uh-oh. Looks like getting to know each other is going to have to wait.

Mash: It looks like someone noticed our battle.

Jing Ke: Makes sense. We weren't exactly keeping it quiet.

Chen Gong: Hehe, what good fortune. It seems you needn't wait to give us a test run, so to speak.

Jing Ke: Yeah. In fact, this might be the best kind of welcome party for a couple of war-loving nuts like you.

Red Hare: Yes! Let's DO this! Stand back now, Lord Chen Gong!

Chen Gong: Me? Why? You know I have a great strategy I've been dying to test out.

Red Hare: You mean the “strategy” where you point to the enemy and say to me, “Go blow yourself up with them”!?

Red Hare: That would get people killed if they weren't robots, you know.

Chen Gong: ...Tch. (Clucking tongue)


Da Vinci: Ahoy there! Can you hear me okay,Fujimaru?

Fujimaru 1: Huh?

Fou: Fo!?

Mash: Da Vinci!?

Da Vinci: Oh good, looks like we've got a clear signal.

Da Vinci: I knew modifying our portable comms to use Void Space and give us some truly insane range would be a good out! My genius at work!

Jing Ke: Um, yes, that's very impressive, but...

Mash: We...thought you'd all been captured?

Holmes: Indeed. We are currently being confined some distance from you, at Ankang.

Da Vinci: We would've called sooner, but we had a little too much in the way of supervision.

Da Vinci: Anyway, it really sucks that they took the Border with them...

Da Vinci: ...but at least me, Holmes, Gordy, and the rest of the staff are all being held in the same place.

Jing Ke: I'm surprised they didn't take your comms when you were captured.

Da Vinci: Yeah, I thought that was pretty weird, too. I don't think it's because they're trying to get us to talk so they can monitor the conversation, though.

Holmes: Indeed. Had their intent been for us to converse,they would not likely have put us in separate cells.

Meunière: Aside from that, the security here seems pretty solid. They were lax on the comms stuff but they sure made a point of taking away all our weapons.

Da Vinci: Hmm. Given how the guards have been treating us,I'd say they must not have noticed the comms.

Da Vinci: Or, more likely, they just didn't suspect these devices could be used for communications at all.

Mash: Really? I'm surprised they would overlook something that important...

Holmes: I imagine it simply never occurred to them that we might be carrying around communications devices.

Jing Ke: But, these are prison guards, right? How could they be so careless and keep their jobs?

Holmes: Remember, this Lostbelt's science and engineering have developed completely differently from our own.

Holmes: That holds equally true for what it excels at as well as where it is lacking.

Da Vinci: Aha! I recognize that tone. You've figured something out, haven't you, Holmes?

Holmes: I surely have. Think back to Qin Shi Huang, who gained immortality by exchanging a physical body for a mechanical one.

Holmes: Even if they've added to that body's functionality ever since, don't you find it odd that it has expanded to such absurd proportions?

Mash: Oh. Now that you mention it...

Holmes: Then there's the enormous gap between the technology the emperor employs and the primitive way the farmers live their lives.

Holmes: They may enjoy the benefits of this Lostbelt's advanced medicine and biochemistry, but their machinery has not advanced beyond the medieval era.

Holmes: No doubt that is part and parcel of the emperor's attempts to maintain perpetual ignorance throughout the empire's citizenry.

Holmes: This is to say that while this Lostbelt may be highly technologically advanced, the sole beneficiary of those advancements is its ruler.

Holmes: By design, these technological advancements will never spread to the masses.

Da Vinci: Yeah, Edison would go nuclear if he heard that.

Holmes: Remember how we were also told that most of the wheat grown here is used for fuel rather than food?

Holmes: This also means that all the astonishing technology here runs on old-fashioned combustion engines.

Da Vinci: Yikes...Now that you mention it,I guess it would, wouldn't it...

Holmes: This may seem preposterously inefficient with regards to fuel from our standpoint...

Holmes: ...but if Qin Shi Huang, and the capital of Xianyang to which the emperor is attached, are the only ones using said fuel...

Holmes: ...I imagine that they are still able to meet their energy needs regardless of that inefficiency.

Holmes: Even the environmental cost of harvesting such massive amounts of biofuel is unlikely to become a serious problem without anyone else making use of electricity.

Jing Ke: I see. I suppose you could get away with it, then, so long as you'd taken the entire planet. Which the emperor has done...

Holmes: Now then, let's try a little thought experiment, shall we?

Holmes: In a situation where there is no incentive whatsoever to develop technology for mass production and widespread use, what would be most neglected?

Mash: Oh, I know. Miniaturization and optimization, right?

Holmes: Precisely. Technology only sees widespread use once it is sufficiently compact and affordable.

Holmes: But in this Lostbelt, neither of those concerns are a factor.

Holmes: Qin Shi Huang's ability to monitor everything within the empire simultaneously is a remarkable feat...

Holmes: ...but I cannot imagine a way to maintain it at that scale without massively inefficient labor costs.

Holmes: However, if Qin Shi Huang is the only one using such a system, any concerns about cost effectiveness would be moot.

Holmes: The idea for integrated circuits would never occur to the emperor, nor would there be any concern about cost when the entirety of the nation's resources exist for Qin Shi Huang's sole personal use.

Meunière: Sounds like a pharaoh ruling from high atop their pyramid.

Holmes: I doubt it would even occur to this world's inhabitants to carry around machines for personal use.

Holmes: There certainly isn't any need for them to carry individual communicators, as they can converse with their emperor wherever they may be.

Holmes: For that matter, in this world, the very concept of long-range communication is the emperor's sole domain.

Holmes: There is no real need for private communication between individuals over a distance here, nor would it even be permitted.

Mash: So that's why the idea that we might have some way to communicate with each other like that–

Fujimaru 1: Never even occurred to them.

Da Vinci: That said, I also thought Qin Shi Huang would be so blinded by pride in their own superiority to Proper Human History that our technology wouldn't really get any notice.

Holmes: For the most part, I believe you were right, Da Vinci.

Holmes: Certainly the emperor took interest in the Shadow Border's Zero Sail technology, but it would seem nothing else was worthy of attention.

Jing Ke: Then we will just have to exploit every such arrogant blind spot to win.

Mash: At any rate, I'm glad we know where you all are now.

Mash: We should be able to reach Ankang in about a day or two from our current location.

Holmes: Yes, I would encourage you to move with all possible haste. You see...

Fujimaru 1: Come to think of it, there's someone I'm surprised we haven't heard from yet...

Fujimaru 2: How come the Director's been so quiet?

Da Vinci: Oh, Gordy's asleep. Well, actually he's grown so weak that he's passed out.

Mash: What!? But why!? He should still have plenty of time left!

Jing Ke: Is it the poison? He didn't seem that weak the last time I saw him...

Da Vinci: The worst thing about Koyanskaya's poison is that it has different effects on different people.

Da Vinci: I think it has something to do with the victim's karma. The more, well, bad stuff they've done, the more they're punished.

Da Vinci: In Fujimaru's case, the effects haven't been any worse than a bad cold...

Da Vinci: ...but Gordy's already had his digestive system fail.

Fujimaru 1: What!?

Meunière: You know, I thought it was weird too.

Meunière: I haven't seen tubby stuffing his face once since we got here!

Jing Ke: So he wasn't able to keep anything down at all.

Da Vinci: He was only getting by thanks to an IV drip I was giving him discretely while we were on the Border.

Da Vinci: Sorry I didn't say before, but he insisted I keep it secret. It was his way of trying not to make you worry.

Mash: Poor Director Goredolf...I had no idea he was struggling that badly...

Fou: ...Kyu...Baco-kyu...

Fujimaru 1: I can't imagine Goredolf fasting...

Fujimaru 2: I think he might prefer being unable to breathe to being unable to eat...

Da Vinci: So once we got tossed in here and I couldn't treat him anymore, his condition got real bad real quick.

Da Vinci: And it doesn't look like the guards have much interest in helping either.

Holmes: Qin Shi Huang's only interest is in Da Vinci's mind. Goredolf's health is really not a concern.

Holmes: Indeed, I hardly think the emperor cares if the other prisoners survive at all.

Mash: This is terrible, Senpai! We need to hurry there and rescue them right away!

Holmes: Please do. That said, I do have one spot of good news. It turns out a surprise guest is staying here with us.

Da Vinci: Dammit, Holmes, knock it off. This isn't the time for your usual coy nonsense.

Holmes: Ah, yes. Quite right. Let me come right to the point, then.

Holmes: It seems Koyanskaya is being held here in the same facility.

Mash: Really!?

Holmes: If we can all rendezvous here, we will have a very real opportunity to turn things around and capture Koyanskaya ourselves.

Section 11: The Poppy Girl

Qin Shi Huang: Then it is your belief that the other Chaldeans will next show themselves at the prison?

Qin Shi Huang: They will do this, you believe even though their most crucial asset, the Shadow Border, is already on its way to Xianyang?

Akuta Hinako: I do. Difficult as it may be to believe, they are quite thoroughly shackled by their absurd morality.

Akuta Hinako: If forced to choose between people and assets, they will always ignore the big picture in favor of life, even if it creates more danger for them.

Akuta Hinako: They are the very incarnation of foolishness.

Qin Shi Huang: Well, if you feel you are that certain,we will not attempt to dissuade you.

Qin Shi Huang: We do not know what trick they have employed to elude our sight...

Qin Shi Huang: ...but we have received reports of figures matching their description fighting near Ankang.

Qin Shi Huang: Very well. We will permit you to remain at that facility. You may even command the guards should the need arise.

Qin Shi Huang: However, Kuaiji Zero will not go with you. We are assigning him to guard Xianyang, as the Shadow Border is our top priority.

Akuta Hinako: ...I understand.

Qin Shi Huang: Ah, yes. We agreed to call him Xiang Yu around you, didn't we.

Akuta Hinako: ...Surely you jest, Your Imperial Majesty. Lord Xiang Yu has no concern for what he is called whatsoever.

Qin Shi Huang: If your prediction turns out to be correct, this will be a prime opportunity to restore your honor. See that you claim your revenge.

Akuta Hinako: I will, Your Imperial Majesty.

Akuta Hinako: ...You seem displeased, Saber.

Prince of Lan Ling: I don't like having Koyanskaya and the Chaldeans being kept prisoner in the same facility...

Akuta Hinako: True. In our world, keeping enemy prisoners separate is only sensible in warfare.

Akuta Hinako: For one thing, you don't want to risk them working together and escaping.

Akuta Hinako: But Qin Shi Huang is more concerned about keeping all the empire's enemies in one place than the threat of them banding together.

Akuta Hinako: If you think of your enemies as carriers of a disease, it makes sense to keep them isolated in a single location.

Akuta Hinako: Especially since that way the emperor can wipe them all out at once if necessary.

Prince of Lan Ling: Then, if the prisoners decide to revolt...does that mean the emperor will drop another star?

Akuta Hinako: I wouldn't be surprised. If it came to cases,the emperor would not hesitate.

Prince of Lan Ling: ...The emperor frightens me. There is something terrifying about the way the emperor views their subjects, and the manner of Qin Shi Huang's rule now that they are immortal.

Prince of Lan Ling: Master, can I ask you what you think about this Lostbelt's China? About the state of this eternal empire?

Akuta Hinako: Who cares about human society!?

Akuta Hinako: They can all wipe each other out for all I care!

Akuta Hinako: They've founded and destroyed more civilizations than I can count and never once did they learn anything from it.

Akuta Hinako: They're just hairless monkeys who decided they were the rulers of this planet after they spread like a plague to cover its surface.

Akuta Hinako: I couldn't possibly care less what happens to them! They would be doing the world a favor by dying out!

Prince of Lan Ling: ...

Akuta Hinako: ...I'm sorry. You used to have your own nation and people to protect, didn't you?

Prince of Lan Ling: Please, pay me no heed. You have every right to be angry.

Akuta Hinako: You must think I'm a horrible person.

Akuta Hinako: You're an amazing Heroic Spirit, and I'm just using you to satisfy my own selfish desires.

Prince of Lan Ling: Not at all. Emotions are looked down upon only because they are fleeting and fickle.

Prince of Lan Ling: But your feelings have not wavered one bit, even across time itself. You have conviction, not emotion.

Prince of Lan Ling: And there is no greater honor for a warrior than in fighting for his master's convictions.

Akuta Hinako: Saber...

Prince of Lan Ling: As such, I have no regrets whatsoever about wielding my sword as your Servant.

Akuta Hinako: ...Thank you, Saber. I don't deserve a Servant like you...

Mash: That must be the prison.

Fou: Fou, fooou!

Jing Ke: I can't believe we made it this close without being seen. These Bounded Field devices are amazing.

Mash: I'm afraid we can't get any closer, though. This won't be enough to let us make our way inside...

Chen Gong: Then our only choice is the tried-and-true method of distraction.

Chen Gong: Lady Jing Ke is an Assassin. As such, she should be better at sneaking around than anyone else here, no?

Red Hare: And I am a master of bringing the ruckus! Neigh ha!

Jing Ke: You are quite the strategist. You came up with a plan before our Master even had a chance to fret.

Chen Gong: Oh, it's nothing. I'm quite used to explaining what needs to be done before my lord begins panicking.

Red Hare: Our whole army was chock-full of soldiers who liked to leap before they looked!

Mash: That sounds like a huge headache...

Chen Gong: Hardly. I would simply verbally whip them up into a frenzy whenever necessary, and employ the odd harebrained scheme to help my lord learn a lesson when he was being foolish.

Chen Gong: Heh. Those battlefields were wonderfully fulfilling, with no end of stimulation.

Fou: Fou, fooou...

Jing Ke: Anyway...This does seem like the best plan for the situation.

Jing Ke: If Fujimaru, Mash, and Red–Uh, Lu...

Jing Ke: ...erm, whoever this walking storm of destruction is makes a big enough commotion at the front gate...

Jing Ke: ...I can slip in undetected and meet up with Da Vinci and the others.

Jing Ke: It'd be great if I could capture Koyanskaya too...but that'll depend on how much time you're able to buy me.

Red Hare: Leave it to me! I'll show you the power of a steed who can run a thousand li without breaking a sweat!

Chen Gong: Lord Red Hare Lu Bu? I trust this goes without saying, but just to be sure, don't run too far.

Chen Gong: If I think you are getting too far away, I won't hesitate to take a shot at you. Is that clear?

Red Hare: Nei-heigh! So you'll let me know if I get too close to leaving the strategic zone? That sounds great!

Mash: Uh...A-at any rate,I'm all set for combat!

Fujimaru 1: Let's do this!


Da Vinci: Ooh, sounds like they're here☆Just listen to all that noise!

Holmes: [♂ Mr. /♀ Ms. ] Fujimaru would never charge in headlong without good cause.

Holmes: Which must mean–

Jing Ke: Sorry we took so long, guys. Is everyone okay?

Holmes: While I wish I could toast our reunion, I'm afraid that will have to wait. How is Goredolf doing?

Jing Ke: I found an infirmary on the way, so I made sure to grab a few bags of glucose drip and an IV catheter.

Da Vinci: All right Jing Ke! Way to stay on top of things!

Holmes: Excellent. Then I believe now is the time for us to strike back ourselves.

Holmes: We can't put everything on[♂ Mr. /♀ Ms. ] Fujimaru's shoulders, after all.

Mash: Listen! I can hear something going on in the prison now!

Chen Gong: It seems Jing Ke has successfully rendezvoused with the others. They must have wasted no time setting up explosives.

Chen Gong: I can hear some lovely explosions taking place even as we speak.

Red Hare: Neiiigh! Now that's what I'm talking about! I can feel my warrior's blood dancing in excitement!

Fou: Fou, fooou!

Mash: Come on, Master, we can't be left behind!

Fujimaru 1: You said it!

Fujimaru 2: Let's keep pounding that front gate!


Qin Shi Huang: Hmm, hmm...So this goes here, and...Oh? Hmm, hm hm hm...

Han Xin: H-h-h-how goes the Shadow Bordersanalysis, Your Imperial Majesty?

Qin Shi Huang: What a fascinating device. Truly fascinating. And yet, it plagues us with so many doubts.

Qin Shi Huang: We understand the principles and its operating structure, but we cannot for the life of us understand why they would make it so small.

Qin Shi Huang: Our engineering could produce something of equal capability, but it would be a gargantuan vessel.

Qin Shi Huang: We can only wonder as to why they would devote so much effort to making it so very compact.

Qin Shi Huang: The electronics alone are positively maddening. We feel as if we are dissecting a flea.

Qin Shi Huang: We can barely remember the last time we were taxed to our limits as we are now.

Han Xin: I see...Miniaturization, huh.

Qin Shi Huang: We can even see where they chose to compromise on performance in exchange for efficiency. Perhaps they were simply starved for resources...?

Qin Shi Huang: Even if that were so, why would they use silicon of all things? What is wrong with vacuum tubes!?

Han Xin: ...Ah.

Qin Shi Huang: Hm? What is it, Han Xin?

Han Xin: W-w-w-well, um, you just got me thinking. If these people can make electronic devices that small...

Han Xin: ...maybe that means they could also build communications devices small enough that they could secret away on their person, too...

Qin Shi Huang: ......Hmm.

Captain of the Guard: ...I'll arrange for more guards to be dispatched to the Ankang prison right now.

Qin Shi Huang: Do not bother. It is already too late. We just received word that hostilities are already underway.

Captain of the Guard: ...

Han Xin: ...

Qin Shi Huang: Argh! Just what sort of world do these people come from?

Qin Shi Huang: Can you imagine it? Ordinary people talking amongst themselves across vast distances, without relying on us or asking our permission!?

Qin Shi Huang: This could spread Confucianism like wildfire. We would not even be able to stomp it out at its source!

Captain of the Guard: They truly do bring disaster wherever they go.

Qin Shi Huang: We must wipe them out. Immediately. They are like an airborne disease. We cannot let them bring further taint to the empire!


Da Vinci: Hey, hey☆ How've you been, Fujimaru? Did you miss me?

Mash: Da Vinci! I'm so glad you're all okay!

Da Vinci: Sure are! Aaand we brought along a special guest!

Koyanskaya: ...(Sulky glare)

Fujimaru 1: Koyanskaya!

Fou: Fo fo fo fwaaah!!!

Mash: Aah! Easy, Fou! Please, calm down!

Koyanskaya: Well, as humiliating as this may be, I have to admit that I really can't stick around here...

Koyanskaya: So I suppose I have no choice but to cooperate.

Holmes: Naturally, I had her promise to provide an antidote in exchange for our help. I trust you will fulfill your end of the bargain, Koyanskaya?

Koyanskaya: What's done is done. Unlike you humans,I make a point of always keeping my word.

Jing Ke: There's no sense sticking around here any longer. Let's go!

Prince of Lan Ling: You will not be going anywhere. I would hope you know better than to underestimate us by now.

Mash: Prince of Lan Ling!

Prince of Lan Ling: You're surrounded. This time, we're going to finish you off.

Holmes: Yes...I can see you are deadly serious about that.

Chen Gong: Be wary, Master. The enemy was careful to wait until we were all gathered together before surrounding us.

Chen Gong: As he says, he is very much determined to emerge victorious.

Jing Ke: It almost feels like this whole thing might even have been a trap...

Koyanskaya: Are you serious? Did you really come all the way here to rescue your allies armed only with pluck!?

Fujimaru 1: Sorry.

Fujimaru 2: Hey, come on, it wasn't ALL pluck. Just...mostly.

Koyanskaya: ...(Sigh)I'd forgotten what you were like.

Koyanskaya: I should have known better than to count on Chaldea for help. All right, I see how it is.

Koyanskaya: This is no time to be worrying about appearances,so I'd better pitch in to help out as well.

Prince of Lan Ling: You would go over to the enemy's side so easily just to save your own skin, Alter Ego?

Koyanskaya: Well, yeah. If Qin Shi Huang's punishment wasn't reason enough, your own Master just severed ties with me, remember?

Koyanskaya: Besides, it's just like I told her. In this world, you're either a client, or a product.

Koyanskaya: And right now, regardless of the circumstances that brought us here, Chaldea is a valued client!

Koyanskaya: As such, I have no problem whatsoever listing yesterday's client as today's featured product.

Da Vinci: Yikes. Remind me to not give her any personal information. Not so much as my full name.

Koyanskaya: Besides, isn't the occasional face turn like this kind of dramatic?

Koyanskaya: “Is she friend, or is she foe? What could the mysterious yet beautiful Koyanskaya's true objective possibly be!? ”

Fou: Fo, fou! Die in a foire!

Koyanskaya: Now then, allow me to present one of my very best products.

Koyanskaya: A walking disaster from a very different path than Proper Human History, this rare breed is imported directly from a world of snow and undying fire.

Koyanskaya: Introducing one of Nine Fox Foundation's latest and greatest: a Jötunn straight from the land of frost giants!


Holmes: (Well now. So she can summon a familiar so large and powerful merely by tearing off a bit of her hair and blowing on it...? )

Soldiers: Wh-what the!? A giant!? How the hell did a giant get here!?

Koyanskaya: All right, Chaldea. Go ahead and let him handle the little guys while you focus on the Servant.

Koyanskaya: Prince of Lan Ling would usually be quite a formidable foe, but luckily for you, his sorry excuse for a Master should make him considerably easier to defeat.

Prince of Lan Ling: Silence, fox woman! You know nothing about her!


Jing Ke: Akuta keeps using Command Spells like there's no tomorrow. This girl is deadly serious about finishing us off!

Koyanskaya: True. Unfortunately for her,that's also going to be her downfall.

Koyanskaya: Since she's not used to providing rear support, it couldn't be more obvious where she's providing it from♡

Koyanskaya: Aaand boom!

Akuta Hinako: Gaaah!

Prince of Lan Ling: Master!?

Koyanskaya: Just a quick little booby trap I whipped up from what I picked up around here. Do you like it?

Red Hare: What a wicked fox! I've never seen such lovely skills and looks in one evil package before!

Akuta Hinako: Curse woman...

Koyanskaya: Oh crap. That didn't finish her!?

Prince of Lan Ling: Khh!

Koyanskaya: Fujimaru! Hold Prince of Lan Ling off! Whatever you do, don't let him get to his Master!

Prince of Lan Ling: Master!

Mash: I couldn't stop him...!

Akuta Hinako: Sa...ber...

Prince of Lan Ling: I'm here, Master!

Koyanskaya: Welp, now we're screwed. Come on, everyone, let's run for it.

Da Vinci: Huh? But why? There's no way Akuta can keep fighting with a fatal wound like that, right?

Koyanskaya: ...Oh, right. You still don't know what she really is, do you?

Koyanskaya: Look, let me give you some honest advice for once: leave the Servant alone and get out of here while you still can.

Akuta Hinako: Ghh...Lan...Ling...

Prince of Lan Ling: Master, now that things have come to this, there is no other choice. I beg you, sacrifice me to save yourself!

Akuta Hinako: ...No. That's the one thing I'll never–

Prince of Lan Ling: I am sure you dislike the idea. Feeding on others is the very thing you loathe humans for, after all.

Prince of Lan Ling: But if ever there was a time to swallow your pride and do what must be done to survive, it is now...

Prince of Lan Ling: ...for at long last, you have finally been reunited with your beloved!

Akuta Hinako: ...

Prince of Lan Ling: Think back to all those many years you spent grieving in solitude and isolation!

Akuta Hinako: Lan...Ling...

Prince of Lan Ling: You must survive, my Master. This time, you and Xiang Yu will live happily together.

Prince of Lan Ling: This time, you will share in each other's fate!

Akuta Hinako: ...Uhh...Ahh...!

Chen Gong: Wh-what in the world is that!?

Jing Ke: Did she just...EAT her Servant!?

Da Vinci: Life Absorption, Magical Energy Metabolization...No way! She couldn't possibly pull that off unless she was a bloodsucking kin or something!

Da Vinci: No, wait. Even if she was, this is a Servant she's eating!

Da Vinci: To swallow an entire Heroic Spirit-class Spirit Core, she'd have to be a True Ancestor or...

Da Vinci: Wait. Does this mean Akuta Hinako is actually–!?

Akuta Hinako: ...Are you sure you want it to go this way?

Prince of Lan Ling: ...All I ask, Master, is that you answer one last question.

Prince of Lan Ling: You must have come to know thousands, if not millions, of great heroes over the course of eternity...

Prince of Lan Ling: So out of all those many heroes...why did you choose to summon this lowly Gao Changgong as your Servant?

Akuta Hinako: ...

Akuta Hinako: You once had the courage to speak to me without fear...

Akuta Hinako: Even all these years later,that memory still warms my heart.

Prince of Lan Ling: Ahh...I could ask for no greater honor...Thank you, my Master...Yu Mei-ren...

Holmes: Yu Mei-ren? Did he just say Yu Mei-ren!?

Koyanskaya: Oh come on, is that really a surprise at this point? It's not as though she's been shy about showing her affection for Xiang Yu.

Koyanskaya: A detective of your supposed caliber should have seen her for who she really is a long time ago.

Koyanskaya: ...But, then again, considering how much trouble you lot have with Heroic Spirits and Rayshifting and whatnot...

Koyanskaya: ...I suppose the idea that a genuine article who's been alive for nearly two thousand years was hiding under your noses all that time must have been unthinkable.

Koyanskaya: Not even the other Crypters had any idea. The only ones who knew the truth were myself and–

Prince of Lan Ling: ...It must be difficult for you to understand. For you, eternal youth and beauty are nothing more than a curse.

Prince of Lan Ling: I only wish I could convey to you...

Prince of Lan Ling: comforting it is for those of us doomed to rot and fade away...

Prince of Lan Ling: know there is someone out there whose beauty will remain pristine forever...

Yu Mei-ren: ...I had hoped to finish you all off in a manner befitting a human, since I've been presenting myself as one all this time.

Yu Mei-ren: But now that you have forced my hand, I can no longer afford to be magnanimous. This ends now, Chaldea! My curses shall obliterate you before the night is out!

Koyanskaya: Well, now what? You're up against a True Ancestor who just devoured an entire Heroic Spirit, Spirit Origin and all...and she's pissed off beyond belief.

Koyanskaya: ...Can I just leave now, please?

Section 12: Travellers of the Century


Jing Ke: Khh...How can she attack with such power so quickly!? She should have run out of magical energy ages ago!

Da Vinci: She's not using her own magical energy at all!

Da Vinci: She's sucking up the endless supply of mana from the world itself and using it as her own!

Da Vinci: So this is what a True incarnated Elemental can do. I never would've thought that China had one of its own!

Da Vinci: Fighting one of them is like taking on a tsunami or a hurricane with your fists!

Red Hare: Um...I'm sorry, that went right over my head. Could you dumb it down to, say, horse level?

Chen Gong: Simply put, we've been quite thoroughly backed into a corner here.

Red Hare: Huh? That's bad, right?

Chen Gong: Oh yes. If we're all going to die anyway, might I suggest you blow yourselves up so everyone except me can truly go out with a bang?

Jing Ke: Will you two just SHUT UP already!?

Mash: I don't think I can keep this up any longer, Master...!

Qin Shi Huang:

Enough playing around, Akuta.

Qin Shi Huang:

...No, now that you have revealed your true form,we suppose we should no longer call you by your alias.

Qin Shi Huang:

But then, you have never given us any other name. Hmm, what should we call you now...

Yu Mei-ren: You would call my wrath, my curses,merely “playing around,” O worldly king?

Qin Shi Huang:

What else would you call this? Did you endure eternity merely so you could curse these people to death?

Yu Mei-ren: ...

Qin Shi Huang:

Undying one. True one. We have too much respect for you to see you lose your way like this.

Qin Shi Huang:

Return here before you go any further. Recall the pledge you still have yet to keep, and do what must be done first.

Yu Mei-ren: Hmph. So you do not want me to do anything unless it benefits you, is that it?

Qin Shi Huang:

We are telling you to remember what it is you came here to do!

Yu Mei-ren: ...

Holmes: (...Just what is the nature of the relationship between these two...? )

Koyanskaya: (A pledge...? Does that mean she made some other deal with Qin Shi Huang I didn't know about? )

Qin Shi Huang: Those of us who endure eternally should not be so swept up in fleeting emotions.

Qin Shi Huang: You must not forget what it is you truly seek, how close you are to having it in your grasp, and what you must yet do.

Yu Mei-ren: All right, I understand. I shall follow your advice, for now.

Mash: Akuta...I mean,Yu Mei-ren has left the battlefield...

Koyanskaya: Phew, I'm exhausted. This stuff can be such a pain.

Koyanskaya: As much as I despise humans, I do have to give them credit for one thing.

Koyanskaya: The weapons they make are sooo much easier to use.

Koyanskaya: There's nothing better than something that lets you kill a bunch of humans just by pulling a trigger♡

Holmes: Koyanskaya, I take it you knew that Akuta Hinako was actually Yu Mei-ren all along?

Fujimaru 1: Who's Yu Mei-ren?

Holmes: A notable figure from the Chu-Han Contention,which took place after the death of Qin Shi Huang.

Holmes: She was the Hegemon-King of Western Chu–Xiang Yu's lover, and is said to have met an untimely death in the wake of his defeat.

Fujimaru 2: Isn't the Song of Gaixia dedicated to her?

Holmes: Ah yes, the one frequently mentioned in discussions of the Battle of Gaixia.

Jing Ke: “My strength plucked up the hills, my might shadowed the world. But the times were against me, And Dapple runs no more. ”

Jing Ke: “When Dapple runs no more, what then can I do? Ah, Yu, my Yu. What will your fate be? ”

Mash: So, this means that Yu Mei-ren wasn't human...and that she's also been alive for thousands of years?

Da Vinci: It was shocking enough to find out that the legendary Yu Mei-ren was actually a bloodsucker...or rather, a True Ancestor.

Da Vinci: But then, why would she bother infiltrating Chaldea and applying to be a Rayshift candidate?

Da Vinci: And if that weren't enough, now she's a Crypter holed up in the Chinese Lostbelt? Argh, none of this makes any sense!

Koyanskaya: True. If all you look at are the facts,the odds seem pretty long indeed.

Koyanskaya: But if you trace them back to their source, the answer couldn't be simpler. This all happened because Marisbury planned for it to happen.

Holmes: As I suspected...

Holmes: Director Marisbury Animusphere may have seemed like a good person, but at heart, he was still a mage.

Koyanskaya: A mage's idea of doing good and a human's idea of doing good are very, very different.

Koyanskaya: Marisbury may have been a just person, but it seems like he also managed to do good–that is, his best, as a mage.

Koyanskaya: I expect he must have been anxious.

Koyanskaya: I imagine he had to wonder if Rayshifting was even possible, and if it was, whether humans could actually survive the process.

Koyanskaya: I'd guess that's what prompted him to bring Yu Mei-ren on as a backup plan of sorts.

Koyanskaya: No doubt he must have thought that even if it turned out humans couldn't withstand a Rayshift...

Koyanskaya: ...she would either survive or could be resuscitated, thanks to her sturdy True Ancestor body.

Koyanskaya: That must be why he covered up her true identity under the name Akuta Hinako...

Koyanskaya: ...and sent her a formal invitation to Chaldea after she'd been hiding away in the margins of history for centuries.

Da Vinci: That would have been before the previous version of me was summoned to Chaldea.

Da Vinci: I do recall Akuta Hinako was already part of Chaldea's staff even before Team A was formed.

Da Vinci: Marisbury must have wanted to prove the viability of Rayshifting come hell or high water.

Koyanskaya: Agreed. I imagine he meant to use her as a guinea pig to make the experiment work...

Koyanskaya: ...even if there turned out to be no mere humans who fit the bill whatsoever.

Koyanskaya: But as luck would have it, not only did there turn out to be plenty of viable candidates...

Koyanskaya: ...the Demi-Servant plan he had come up with to improve the odds of summoning a Heroic Spirit after the Rayshift worked out as well.

Koyanskaya: All of which meant that Marisbury no longer needed to bother giving “Akuta Hinako” more special treatment.

Holmes: She was ultimately assigned to Team A for no other reason than to fill the roster, so to speak.

Koyanskaya: Now do you understand? Your great director was hiding a True Ancestor in his organization all this time.

Koyanskaya: It's no wonder Chaldea came under UN scrutiny after something that shady.

Koyanskaya: The fact that none of the surviving staff had any idea is just the ultraironic icing on the cake.

Mash: Still...I'm surprised Yu Mei-ren agreed to all that, being a True Ancestor and all.

Koyanskaya: Oh? That's the part you find strange?

Mash: Huh?

Koyanskaya: Well, I don't suppose anyone with a finite lifespan could ever really understand the psychology of a truly eternal being.

Koyanskaya: So, I have to give Marisbury credit for being able to figure out what it was she wanted.

Koyanskaya: It couldn't have been easy for him to convince her, since she really, really hates humans.

Koyanskaya: At the very least, I'm sure he never offered anything as cheesy as a mink coat.

Da Vinci: Hmm. I'm not sure what to make of all this,since I really didn't know Marisbury all that well.

Da Vinci: I'm sure Romani knew him well enough that he could weigh in with something useful, but–

Mash: ...

Fujimaru 1: N-never mind all that now!

Fujimaru 2: Come on, let's get out of here!

Holmes: Agreed. Now that we've made an enemy of Qin Shi Huang,lingering in one place for too long is tantamount to suicide.

Da Vinci: Got it. Then let's keep our camouflage Bounded Field up and put some distance between us and this place.

Da Vinci: Man, it really sucks that they took the Border. Now we have to carry our patient on foot!

Goredolf: Nnngh...Please, no more, Toole...I couldn't eat another bite...

Jing Ke: I saw something that looked like a truck in the hangar. Maybe we could use that?

Koyanskaya: Hm? You mean the thing they used when they brought me here?

Koyanskaya: It may be better than walking, but we'll feel every bump of the road and then some.

Da Vinci: Well, beggars can't be choosers! We'll just have to make the best of it!


Narration: Long, long ago, this was a beautiful place.

Narration: Even today, I still remember the time when there was nothing in the sky but wind, and nothing on the ground but plants.

Narration: This was in ages past, long before anyone even thought to lay claim to this planet.

Narration: Before I was separated from the world,before I even had form of my own.

Narration: But my memories of what came after...

Narration: ...are all of fear, animosity,and a perverse kind of envy.

Narration: You and I both look the same...which is why I don't understand.

Narration: Why do you hate me so much? Why do you despise me so?

Narration: You would attack me so viciously,all because I cannot die?

Narration: I never asked for eternal life. I would have welcomed death.

Narration: I would have liked nothing more than to fall into oblivion alongside my beloved.

Narration: True Ancestor? Bloodsucker? I don't know anything about those. But that didn't stop you from deciding that's what I was.

Narration: You said my inability to die made me unclean. That my inability to age made me a monster.

Narration: None of you listened to what I had to say. Once you decided I was a monster, you just kept treating me like one!

???: I understand you hate humans. I know you want nothing to do with us.

???: But no matter how much you may wish it were otherwise, humans will never truly leave you alone.

???: Once they learn you exist, Executors will come from far and wide to hunt you down.

???: I cannot do anything to change that fact. As such, I cannot apologize on behalf of humanity.

???: All I can do is give you an outlet for your resentment. To keep my head bowed, no matter what manner of abuse you heap upon it.

???: ...It is with that in mind that I would like to make you a proposal, even if you think me shameless for doing so.

???: If you wish to obtain peace and quiet, your only choice is to move yourself somewhere outside the bounds of human activity.

???: Mankind has grown far too numerous. Indeed, this last century must have been a nightmare for you.

???: They excavate mountains, chop down forests, and greedily expand their territory with no end in sight.

???: You must've already realized that at this rate, there will no longer be any safe place left for you to hide.

???: So, speaking as one partially responsible for this state of affairs, I would like to offer you a deal.

???: There is a small, isolated community of mages in one of the most remote areas of this world.

???: Its residents are well aware that prying into the other community members' lives is taboo.

???: I think you would be right at home in Chaldea.

???: As long as you play along with the false identity I will prepare for you, no one will ever be the wiser.

???: In exchange, I would like you to assist me with my search–a quest of sorts to realize my family's greatest dream.

???: Oh yes, I almost forgot to introduce myself. My name is Marisbury Animusphere.

Marisbury: I hope you can see that our interests are aligned. Spirit of Gaia, as one of the last flowers of the moon left on Earth...

Marisbury: ...I would love to have your help in making both our dreams come true...true human, Yu Mei-ren.

Narration: I knew he was lying.

Narration: He was far from the first ghoul who had tried to uncover my secrets in their own quest for immortality.

Narration: And yet, by this point...

Narration: ...I was far too tired to tear him to pieces.

Narration: I wasn't sure whether he was being truthful or not,but he was right about one thing, at least.

Narration: I no longer have a place in this land.

Narration: There is no darkness to hide me, no light I can join. There is nowhere left for me to go.

Narration: Yet even so...I can still feel the grip of his despair over my fate...coiling around my heart.

“Ah, Yu, my Yu...What will your fate be? ”

Narration: That's right. I seek an end to eternity–a place where I can hold my head high and declare that I have gone as far as I can.

Narration: My sole wish...My one, final request...

Narration: that I may tell my dearly departed that he no longer need weep for me...


Qin Shi Huang: ...Awaken, fairy. The time has come to return to reality.

Yu Mei-ren: ...

Qin Shi Huang: It has been five months since your arrival. We have now scanned your entire body forty-eight times in total. Our analysis is complete.

Qin Shi Huang: Every last one of your body's secrets has been recorded within our memory circuits.

Qin Shi Huang: We have at last learned the secrets of the Zhenren's immortality.

Qin Shi Huang: You did well, fairy. Or perhaps we should continue to call you Akuta Hinako?

Yu Mei-ren: ...You may call me whatever you wish,Your Imperial Majesty.

Qin Shi Huang: You may have anything you like as a reward. Or is he alone still enough, as you initially requested?

Yu Mei-ren: He is. I desire nothing else.

Qin Shi Huang: Then, per the terms of our agreement, we hereby bequeath custody of Kuaiji Zero to you.

Qin Shi Huang: You have served us faithfully for centuries, our very first mechanical retainer. Congratulations on your retirement.

Xiang Yu: Thank you, Your Imperial Majesty. It is with a heavy heart that I take your leave for the last time.

Qin Shi Huang: Hmm. Xiang Yu, hmm?

Qin Shi Huang: We do not know what sort of name our mechanical retainer may have made for himself in your history...

Qin Shi Huang: ...but was this Xiang Yu person worthy of being entrusted with your Mystics, Zhenren?

Yu Mei-ren: ...I could ask much the same of you, Your Imperial Majesty. Why would you need to study me now, when you have long possessed the Fusang Tree itself?

Qin Shi Huang: True, we did learn the Mystics of life through our obtainment of the Fusang Tree.

Qin Shi Huang: But we never came across a single sage or fairy in all the time we spent exploring their lands.

Qin Shi Huang: You are the first genuine fairy we have ever laid eyes on, Akuta Hinako.

Yu Mei-ren: ...I see.

Qin Shi Huang: At any rate, this fulfills the final part of our contract. Tell us, what will you do now?

Yu Mei-ren: If possible, I would like to stay in a remote part of your land, and live out my days in peace.

Qin Shi Huang: How modest of you. But...will Chaldea let you do that?

Yu Mei-ren: ...

Yu Mei-ren: The Chaldeans have already incurred your wrath. There is no need to dirty my hands further.

Yu Mei-ren: It is only a matter of time now before one of your valiant Mt. Li warriors presents you with their heads.

Qin Shi Huang: Ah yes, we see. You do not want “Xiang Yu” to see you...getting rough, so to speak.

Yu Mei-ren: ...

Qin Shi Huang: Very well. We prefer this mild-mannered act to the true colors you displayed at Ankang anyway.

Qin Shi Huang: However, there is one thing we must ask you before you leave our service.

Qin Shi Huang: ...Is this world going to perish?

Yu Mei-ren: ...

Yu Mei-ren: At this point, I can no longer tell which will emerge triumphant:

Yu Mei-ren: The will of this world to survive, or the will that would see this world destroyed.

Yu Mei-ren: All I can truthfully that I couldn't possibly care less.

Qin Shi Huang: A good answer. We know now that if nothing else,you will never oppose us.

Yu Mei-ren: ...Now then, if you'll excuse me.

Captain of the Guard: ...Are you sure about this, Your Imperial Majesty? I believe she still knows more about the monsters that have invaded us than she is letting on.

Qin Shi Huang: Yes, we are sure she does.

Captain of the Guard: I was shaken when she said she did not care if this world lived or died, despite saying she would stay...

Qin Shi Huang: She is a Zhenren, a true human...the only one in this world who is on par with our royal personage.

Qin Shi Huang: Had she voiced her intent to do something along the lines of protecting the world, then our wrath would have been swift and merciless.

Qin Shi Huang: That would indicate her desire to fight us for this world, after all this time we spent protecting it.

Qin Shi Huang: But that is not what she said. Indeed, she showed she has no attachment to this world whatsoever.

Qin Shi Huang: In consequence, she can coexist with us as we rule.

Qin Shi Huang: For there can only be one human who controls the world in its entirety.

Captain of the Guard: Indeed, Your Imperial Majesty. It is just as you say.

Qin Shi Huang: Having two or more humans exist inevitably leads to quarreling. So this cannot be permitted. As this world's only human, we shall guide the common people with our love.

Qin Shi Huang: All they need concern themselves with is tending their land, filling their bellies, sleeping, and reproducing. What could be more peaceful?


Goredolf: You've got her hands behind her back? Good! Make sure that wire is nice and tight! And don't forget the shackles!

Fou: Fou, fooou!

Koyanskaya: Oh come on, is this REALLY necessary!? May I remind you, I just helped save your lives back there!

Da Vinci: ...I can't believe a little glucose drip is all it took to get Gordy up and running again.

Mash: It really goes to show what, unique person Mr. Goredolf is, doesn't it, Senpai...

Fou: Fou. Fo fooou.

Fujimaru 1: I see Fou's using Koyanskaya's head as a dance floor...

Fujimaru 2: Fou's really going to town on Koyanskaya's head!

Fou: Fou fou. Fou fou fou. (Whap, whap, whap)

Goredolf: Heh, I understand how you feel all too well, Tiny. In fact, I can no longer restrain myself either.

Goredolf: Accursed wench! Now you're wearing a Chinese dress, of all things!?

Goredolf: Your wiles won't work on me, Koyanskaya! Y-y-you won't fool me ever again! Now, what shall I do with you?

Koyanskaya: Oh nooo! I can't believe I've been captured by such a brute! Whatever will become of me now!?

Koyanskaya: He must have such atrocities in mind as to put Qin Shi Huang's punishment to shame...A veritable smorgasbord of torture the likes of which has never been witnessed in all of human history!

Koyanskaya: No doubt he's going to carnally humiliate me in unspeakable ways after keeping me caged like a wild animal! Oh, I'm so scaaared!

Goredolf: Smorgasbord...? Carnally humiliate...? What? I mean, yes, I'm ruthless, but I'd never go THAT far...

Fou: Fo fo fo fo...

Da Vinci: All right, that's enough of that. Remember, your and Fujimaru's lives are still on the line here, Gordy.

Goredolf: O-oh, yes, that's right. Where is the antidote for the poison you used on me and Fujimaru!?

Goredolf: The one you promised to hand over in exchange for our help!

Goredolf: I'll even spare you the shackles! Go on then, produce the antidote from that bountiful bosom of yours!

Goredolf: Don't think I don't know you know how sexy your cleavage looks in that Chinese dress! Now hand over the antidote and make the hopes and dreams of every red-blooded male come true!

Koyanskaya: Of course I'll keep my end of the bargain. Here you go.

Da Vinci: ...Just one bottle? That's it?

Koyanskaya: That's right. A single dose is all I have. And do be warned, sharing it between you will just make it useless.

Jing Ke: What're you trying to pull?

Fou: Fou, fou.

Koyanskaya: Oh for...Come on now, think about it.

Koyanskaya: Would I really go to the trouble of preparing an antidote when the whole point of the poison was to kill my target?

Koyanskaya: I just brought along a single dose for insurance, in case I ended up taking the poison myself by mistake.

Koyanskaya: That's the one and only contingency I prepared for.

Koyanskaya: And now, as I promised, I've handed over that single dose of contingency antidote to all of you.

Koyanskaya: Whatever happens next is out of my hands. I wonder, which one will get to take it?

Koyanskaya: His Excellency, the great Goredolf? Or Chaldea's one and only Master?

Koyanskaya: And just so you know, Fujimaru,you don't have much time left either.

Koyanskaya: You might not be feeling too bad thanks to Mash's protection, but make no mistake, the poison is doing its job.

Koyanskaya: Xiān Shuāi Míng Mài dries you out from the inside. You only have a few days left to live, at best.

Fujimaru 1: (I had no idea...)

Fujimaru 2: (I had a feeling that might be the case...)

Goredolf: G-grrr...!

Meunière: ...

Holmes: ...

Fujimaru 1: ...

Mash: ...Senpai...

Da Vinci: Hmm. As much as it sucks, I think we have to put our personal feelings aside in favor of the larger picture.

Da Vinci: Fujimaru, I suggest we–

Goredolf: Fujimaru! I challenge you to a game of rock-paper-scissors!

Meunière: Huh!?

Goredolf: Only one of us will go on living!

Goredolf: That means this is a clash between our wills to survive!

Goredolf: And when the stakes are this high, rock-paper-scissors is the only truly impartial judge!

Goredolf: Well, normally I would prefer a coin toss, but that would give me an unfair advantage, so rock-paper-scissors it is!

Mash: Mr. Goredolf? Um, are you really sure you want to settle this like...that?

Holmes: It's all right, Mash. If they are content to make a decision this way, it is not our place to interfere.

Goredolf: Just you, me, and whatever hand we choose to play! A fair fight if ever there was one! What do you say, young [♂ man /♀ lady]!?

Fujimaru 1: ...All right.

Fujimaru 2: ...So this is our personal judgment day, huh?

Goredolf: V-very well. I'm glad you're being such a good sport about this. Win or lose, no hard feelings, okay?

Goredolf: That includes having one of your Servants take it by force, and other unbecoming chicanery!

Fou: Fooou...

Goredolf: All right, let's do this!

Goredolf: Rooock, paaaper–

Fujimaru 1: I'm going to use rock.

Goredolf: Wait, whaaat!?

Mash: ...

Meunière: ...Uh, hey, Goredolf? Why'd you use scissors there...?

Goredolf: I-I can't believe it...

Goredolf: I thought the rock declaration was just a ploy,and you were actually going to use paper...

Goredolf: I was all set to use my scissors to cut your paper to ribbons, and now, your rock's dashed them to pieces.

Goredolf: So you used reverse reverse psychology, eh...

Goredolf: You must have developed quite the eye for strategy after leading Servants to restore humanity...

Da Vinci: Hey, Gordy?

Goredolf: So I've lost...Then I suppose I have no choice but to let you have the antidote...

Mash: ...Um, Senpai...?

Fujimaru 2: I'm going to use scissors.

Goredolf: A-are you mad!? You're supposed to use paper here!

Goredolf: I said I would use rock, so I was sure you would use paper in response!

Goredolf: All I had to do then was use scissors, and this would all be over! Can't you see that!?

Da Vinci: ...Uh, Gordy, that's not really the issue here.

Da Vinci: Also, Fujimaru? I think we need to have a little talk later.

Da Vinci: Were you trying to lose on purpose?

Holmes: Whether [♂ he /♀ she] was or not, Mr. Goredolf made the challenge for this particular duel.

Holmes: Tell us, Mr. Goredolf, what were you thinking when you used scissors after declaring you would use rock?

Goredolf: What was I thinking!? I was thinking I'd do whatever it takes to survive! That's what I was thinking!

Goredolf: Go ahead and call me whatever you want! Smart, wise, dependable...I'll take any criticism you throw at me!

Goredolf: But I don't want to die!

Jing Ke: ...Good grief. Hey, Fujimaru?

Jing Ke: It's been a good show and all, but I think it's time we got this over with, don't you?

Fujimaru 1: Yup. Go for it.

Goredolf: Wha!? Hey! What's the meaning of this full nelson, Jing Ke!?

Da Vinci: Okay Gordy, open wide!

Goredolf: Guh...Rrgh! Wh-what are you...H-hey! That medicine's...Agh! Ghhh...!

Da Vinci: Theeere you go. Down the hatch.

Goredolf: (Cough, hack)! A-are you nuts!? Why did you make me swallow it!?

Goredolf: That was the only antidote we had! Now what are you going to do!?

Fujimaru 1: Well, I couldn't just let you die...

Fujimaru 1: After all, I wouldn't even be here now if not for you...

Mash: That's right. You only survived because Director Goredolf ate half of that cake.

Mash: If you had eaten the whole thing,you would have died on the spot.

Fujimaru 1: The Director never said a word about that, so...

Holmes: Indeed. Whatever the circumstances may have been,the end result is that Goredolf saved Fujimaru's life...

Holmes: ...and despite being well aware of that,he has not so much as mentioned it all this time.

Holmes: No doubt he decided it would be unfair to hold that over [♂ Mr. /♀ Ms. ] Fujimaru's head, given how [♂ he /♀ she]was about to head off into battle.

Goredolf: W-well...I don't know if I'd put it quite that way...

Fujimaru 1: So now, we're even.

Goredolf: ...You fool. Where do you get off being so decent even at such a young age?

Goredolf: But very well. This is, of course, merely a matter of priorities. There can be no team without its leader.

Goredolf: Now that I'm fully back in action, all of our further plans are guaranteed to succeed!

Koyanskaya: ...What a joke. How utterly revolting. Maybe I'll just gobble you up from the head down.

Holmes: Oh? It seems we have a lady here who can't quite contain her murderous rage.

Koyanskaya: Who, me? Why, don't be silly! This has all been a huuugely entertaining farce♡

Koyanskaya: Ahh, there's nothing quite like humans, is there! I'm so touched I feel as though my heart might just burst☆

Fou: Fou, fooou!

Holmes: Heh. I am afraid you have grossly underestimated us if you thought this little performance of yours would hide the truth.

Holmes: That medicine you handed over is not the only means of neutralizing the poison, is it?

Koyanskaya: Oh? And on what are you basing that oh-so-hopeful assertion, might I ask?

Holmes: That you chose to come to this particular Lostbelt in the first place.

Holmes: You made sure to wait until the time was ripe before you went about poisoning [♂ Mr. /♀ Ms. ] Fujimaru.

Holmes: Were your poison truly incurable, you would only need to flee once the deed was done. .

Holmes: As long as you had managed to cover your tracks,you could escape without leaving a trace.

Holmes: And yet, by the time we had arrived in this Lostbelt, you were already here.

Holmes: Now why would you do something so foolish?

Koyanskaya: ...

Holmes: The answer is simple: because there is something in this Lostbelt you needed to keep away from us.

Holmes: And what else could that be but a way to cure the poison you used?

Koyanskaya: Ugh. I can't stand men who have nothing more to offer than their minds.

Koyanskaya: I imagine you must have heard that from Irene Adler a lot too, didn't you?

Holmes: I'll thank you not to draw comparisons between her and an agent of pure evil such as yourself.

Fou: Fooou!

Holmes: Now then, as we can be sure that Ms. Koyanskaya's purpose in coming here was to protect it, we must simply ask ourselves what this cure might be.

Holmes: It would have to be something already lost in Proper Human History...

Holmes: well as something unattainable in any other Lostbelt. Which leaves...

Da Vinci: ...Aha. The Fusang Tree!

Holmes: Quite so. Though there are many things unique to this Lostbelt, the Fusang Tree is the only thing I can think of that would be impossible to obtain elsewhere.

Holmes: As the key to the sage world's Mystics, we know that it has no end of biochemical applications, as Qin Shi Huang has so aptly demonstrated.

Holmes: I see no other magecraft system that could possibly be used to refine such a strange and complex poison.

Koyanskaya: Well, I suppose there's no point in playing dumb any longer. Yes, you're right. That poison was derived from the Fusang Tree.

Koyanskaya: The substance made by distilling its roots with yin energy is called Xiān Shuāi Míng Mài, or “Immortal Decline”...

Koyanskaya: ...and the one made by decocting its leaves with yang energy is called Xiān Huó Mìng Mài, or “Immortal Lifeline. ”

Koyanskaya: Either way, whether you're making poison or antidote, you need something from the Fusang Tree.

Koyanskaya: Of course, you could always make an antidote without the Fusang Tree as long as you could extract something with the same components...

Koyanskaya: ...but we all know Proper Human History lost those kinds of Mystics long ago, don't we?

Koyanskaya: Which means the antidote I had on me was your one and only hope.

Koyanskaya: Given that I held Fujimaru's life in my hands...

Koyanskaya: ...I did consider making [♂ him /♀ her] my slave and forcing [♂ him /♀ her] to do my bidding...

Koyanskaya: ...but I couldn't get Akuta's report out of my head.

Koyanskaya: If only I had never heard her mention there was a Lostbelt...

Koyanskaya: ...where the Fusang Tree remained alive and in human custody.

Holmes: So once you knew, you felt you had no choice but to go and guard it. You must be quite the worrywart yourself.

Koyanskaya: I prefer to think of it as knowing when to hedge my bets.

Holmes: Whatever you choose to call it, your instincts helped us out considerably for once.

Holmes: Once we obtain the Fusang Tree for ourselves,we can cure [♂ Mr. /♀ Ms. ] Fujimaru's poison, correct?

Koyanskaya: Theoretically, yes.

Koyanskaya: But to actually do that, you'd have to make your way into Xianyang, where the emperor is.

Koyanskaya: And you'd have to be insane to do that, wouldn't you?

Da Vinci: Hey, we're going to have to face off with Qin Shi Huang eventually, especially now that the emperor is trying to wipe us out for being “Confucians. ”

Da Vinci: Besides, we can't leave this Lostbelt until we find the Tree of Emptiness and chop it down.

Holmes: The hidden Tree of Emptiness...Well, I suppose it all boils down to the same thing.

Holmes: At any rate, curing [♂ Mr. /♀ Ms. ] Fujimaru's poisoning remains our top priority.

Holmes: Can I assume our next destination to be Xianyang then, Director?

Goredolf: ...Uh, yes, of course.

Goredolf: After all, uh, we do need to get our hands on that antidote at all costs!

Goredolf: As Chaldea's director, I'm personally responsible for the lives of my staff, and that includes Fujimaru!

Goredolf: I certainly can't afford to go around dying first!

Holmes: Well said, Director.

Fou: Fou, fooou!

Goredolf: Don't you worry, my [♂ boy /♀ girl]! We'll find a way to save you, you just see if we don't!

Goredolf: You hang in there and focus on defeating Qin Shi Huang!

Mash: ...I'm so relieved. I know we're not out of the woods yet, but at least this takes care of one big problem.

Fujimaru 1: Yeah.

Mash: It's great to finally see Director Goredolf back to his old self again, isn't it, Senpai!

Section 13: Portrait of a Demon King

Narration: ...He was bewildered.

Narration: It had been over two thousand years since his activation. He had devoted every ounce of his being to fulfilling the duties given him.

Narration: Some of these duties may have been difficult,even dangerous, but he always had purpose.

Narration: There was never any doubt about why he was made or what he was meant to do.

Narration: But now, this sage woman who claimed to have come from another world with a different history was–

Xiang Yu: Are you my new lord?

Yu Mei-ren: No, it's not like that...

Yu Mei-ren: The lord you swore loyalty to is the law that maintains peace in this world. Is that not how you were designed?

Xiang Yu: It is.

Yu Mei-ren: Well, that is not what I am. All I ask is that you think of me as a companion, and that you call me simply by my name, Yu.

Xiang Yu: Yu...

Xiang Yu: You offered everything you possess to Heavenly Emperor in exchange for my custody...

Xiang Yu: ...and all you want now is to live out your days with me?

Yu Mei-ren: Yes. That is my greatest desire. That has been my sole hope and prayer over the last two thousand years.

Xiang Yu: ...

Narration: ...He could not understand.

Narration: What could this immortal Zhenren who claimed to have borne witness to a different world...

Narration: ...possibly want from the being she called “Xiang Yu”?

Narration: Without further information or context,he could only stand by in bewilderment.

Narration: So, to remedy this confusion, he required answers. Answers he could only obtain from this being who called herself “Yu. ”

Xiang Yu: First of all, who is this “Xiang Yu” you speak of?

Xiang Yu: What did I–Kuaiji Zero do in your history?

Yu Mei-ren: ...Good question. Knowing you,I am sure you will understand.

Yu Mei-ren: Surely you can hypothesize alternative scenarios based on different conditions, just like Chaldeas could.

Xiang Yu: Correct. That is one of my most basic operations.

Narration: Kuaiji Zero...The first mechanical man Qin Shi Huang ever made by recreating Shang dynasty Baobei.

Narration: His core functionality lay in predictive calculation.

Narration: By observing and analyzing every iota of data about his surroundings, he could predict likely cause-and-effect relations to see into the near future.

Narration: This ability was deemed essential for spreading Qin Shi Huang's eternal regime far and wide.

Narration: For the moment, let us further assume this ruler is, in fact, Qin Shi Huang.

Xiang Yu: You said that in your history, I was activated by a rebel who was fighting against the empire.

Yu Mei-ren: That's right. But the man who meant to use you, Xiang Liang, fell before his ambitions could be realized...

Yu Mei-ren: ...and you were left to fend for yourself in a chaotic world, under the name Xiang Yu.

Yu Mei-ren: If you were in such a situation,what do you think you would do?

Xiang Yu: ...

Narration: What would this Xiang Yu version of him do under such circumstances?

Narration: He should use his abilities to fulfill his designer's purpose for him, and help bring about peace.

Narration: Qin Shi Huang, after completing Kuaiji Zero, was magnanimous enough not to limit Xiang Yu's potential masters to only his creator.

Xiang Yu: ...Naturally, I would dedicate myself to my next lord. A successor who would lead China towards peace and prosperity.

Yu Mei-ren: But what if the Qin Shi Huang government had fallen to rot, and uprisings were breaking out all across the land?

Yu Mei-ren: And what if the emperor's successor lacked the courage to quell those uprisings?

Xiang Yu: Then...

Narration: It was a difficult supposition...but not one without a clear answer.

Narration: His purpose lay strictly in bringing about peace,both swiftly and decisively.

Xiang Yu: ...I would accept that Qin Shi Huang's time was over, and find a new ruler amidst the chaos. One who would be up to the task of uniting all of China.

Narration: It was difficult to imagine such a hellish landscape from the comfort of the empire's eternal peace.

Narration: But, if he had been left on his own in such a place, with only his primary programming to guide him...

Xiang Yu: I am certain there would be at least one person among the rebels capable of leading this nation.

Yu Mei-ren: Indeed, you found such potential in Liu Bang, a man with a promising destiny, born with the dragon factor.

Yu Mei-ren: When you first met him, he was but a lowly adulterer toiling away in the town of Pei.

Xiang Yu: It matters not where he came from, or what his circumstances may have been. Once he assumes the throne, and begins a new regime–

Yu Mei-ren: But what if his potential had yet to awaken, and he had no genuine ability to speak of? What would you do then?

Xiang Yu: Well...


This made matters even more difficult.


But with the facts provided, deductions can be made. From there, an answer can be reached.

Xiang Yu: ...Then I would have to wait until his abilities awakened and he was ready to rule.

Yu Mei-ren: But even as you wait, the world falls further into chaos, and numerous warlords battle each other for control of China.

Yu Mei-ren: Their war rages so violently that it threatens to dispose of Liu Bang like so much trash.

Xiang Yu: In that case...

Narration: What a horrific history. What cruel conditions. But it was not his place to bemoan such things.

Narration: What he needed was to be flexible in his thinking. If the only goal was to bring peace to China...

Narration: ...then it would not be necessary for the would-be conquering king to bring it about himself.

Narration: All he need do in such a situation is pave as smooth a path as possible for the future king to walk.

Narration: In such a vicious world, if he is to keep this king alive until the day he can properly rule...

Xiang Yu: ...I would enter the fray myself, and put an end to their conflict before it could spread further.

Xiang Yu: As long as I remove any obstacles from the new king's way–

Yu Mei-ren: Yes. All you need do is create a situation where the new king is the only one who can rival you.

Yu Mei-ren: From there, all those who do not wish to be governed by violent suppression would swear allegiance to the new king, thus greatly bolstering his forces.

Narration: The world cannot be left to suffer in chaos and turmoil for long. So, to bring a swift end to that...

Narration: ...Xiang Yu would merely need to become a box with which to contain all that would threaten the peace.

Narration: If the people end up despising such a box, well, what does that matter?

Narration: He is but a machine. A device that functions solely to bring about a predefined objective.

Narration: If it would help clear the way for the new king to assume the throne...

Yu Mei-ren: ...But what if, even after all that,Liu Bang was still too weak to prevail?

Xiang Yu: ...

Yu Mei-ren: What if, even after you had brought the other warlords under your thumb, the new king still required more time to grow into a proper ruler?

Yu Mei-ren: And what if, even then, he was still not capable of uniting all of China?

Xiang Yu: ...


Such a situation would be beyond hopeless...but even that is not his concern.


His only concern should be continuing his calculations until he arrives at the best, clearest answer.

Xiang Yu: ...Then I would have no choice but to reduce China in size to something he is capable of ruling.

Yu Mei-ren: ...That's right. That is exactly the conclusion you would arrive at. It is inevitable.

Yu Mei-ren: And that is exactly what Xiang Yu from Proper Human History did.

Yu Mei-ren: He thinned the population, set fire to the lands, and whittled China into a size that Liu Bang could manage.

Xiang Yu: ...

Narration: A vivid picture forms before his mind's eye.

Narration: Instead of the near future, he sees a vision of a hypothetical world as clearly as if he were there.

Narration: No matter how bountiful a land may be, if it would end up falling into the hands of rebels who claim it as their own, he would have no choice but to raze it to the ground.

Narration: And before those driven from their homes could wreak havoc in their quest to fill their starving bellies...

Narration: He can see it now. Grass fires streaking across the land. Fortresses collapsing into smoke and ash. Prisoners of war buried alive, so as not to waste time beheading them.

Narration: All done without mercy or remorse at the hands of Xiang Yu, the demon king.

Narration: And yet, until Liu Bang, the next rightful emperor,is capable of leading and providing for his people...

Narration: ...Xiang Yu has no choice but to cut down the land–the people–to a size within his lord's grasp.

Xiang Yu: ...And did it work? Was peace finally achieved?

Yu Mei-ren: Eventually, yes. Every last one who still had the strength to resist swore fealty to Liu Bang, thanks to their fear and hatred of you.

Yu Mei-ren: After years of war and chaos, China finally came together, united in their determination to exact vengeance upon you.

Yu Mei-ren: This new regime came to be known as the Han dynasty.

Xiang Yu: I see...


He had no doubt such a scenario would end in disaster.


The survivors who loathed him so fiercely would surely not be satisfied with a mere pound of flesh.


Those who finally defeated Xiang Yu must have torn his body to shreds and fought over who would take pieces of him home as proof of their victory.

Xiang Yu: ...And you saw all of this happen?

Yu Mei-ren: ...I did. I witnessed it all, as I stood by your side.

Han Xin: N-no way. Is that...!?

Qin Shi Huang: While we have been analyzing the Shadow Border, we decided to try remodeling our tax collection vehicle in Chaldean style.

Qin Shi Huang: We call it the Duōduō Yìshàn, or “More is More. ”

Qin Shi Huang: Behold its vicious facade, behind which lies a mountain of otherworldly technologies designed explicitly for violence. Indeed, it is an awesome, terrifying sight.

Han Xin: Whoooa! Thermic ray blasters! Homing grenade launchers! A 1500-horsepower gas turbine engine!

Han Xin: It's the stuff of dreams...Woohoooooo! This thing is too cool for words, Your Imperial Majesty!

Captain of the Guard: It's beautiful. I have never seen anything more incredible in all my life.

Qin Liangyu: (I don't get it...)

Qin Shi Huang: It has been a very long time indeed since this empire has produced new weapons...

Qin Shi Huang: ...but thanks to Chaldea's technology, a single night is all we needed to complete our most ruthless weapon.

Qin Shi Huang: If the time for battle should fall upon us again, the empire will have an overwhelming advantage. Indeed, we have already ramped up their production to our factory's full capacity.

Qin Shi Huang: We shall deploy them to the battlefront as soon as they are ready to go, where they shall swiftly rout those traitorous Chaldeans. Of course, you will be the one to lead them, Qin Liangyu.

Qin Liangyu: Oh, uh, okay...

Han Xin: C-c-c-come on, Lady Liangyu, let's start talking tactics. I can't wait to explore all the strategic possibilities these bad boys will open up.

Han Xin: With amazing machines like this out in the field,I could do this, and this, and some of that, and...!

Qin Liangyu: Um, are you sure we can't just stick with the White Cavalry's spears?

Goredolf: Delicious! Even rations taste better than ever before now!

Goredolf: Go on, Fujimaru, eat up! A good meal can help with almost any ailment!

Fou: Fooou...

Jing Ke: Hey, I'm seeing dust clouds up ahead...Something's headed this way, and fast!

Chen Gong: No ordinary cavalry would kick up clouds like that. I wonder, what could it be?

Goredolf: Hm? Is that an engine? It must be an absurdly powerful engine if we can hear it all the way out there...

Da Vinci: No, that's not it. They just didn't bother with a muffler, for reasons that I can only guess at...

Mash: It's coming over the hill!

Jing Ke: What the...

Fou: Fo, fou...

Holmes: Ah yes. I've seen this sort of thing before,much as I wish I hadn't...

Meunière: I don't believe it! They just straight up ripped off the Shadow Border!

Koyanskaya: Teehee, you certainly won't be buying that in a dollar store anytime soon☆

Mash: (What a bizarre design...! It reminds me a bit of the kite we used in Russia...! )

Da Vinci: Hey, knockoff or not, I'm willing to give credit where credit is due...

Da Vinci: But this? This is really pushing the limits of my tolerance!

Da Vinci: If I don't turn that thing to scrap right away, I will never be able to forgive myself for letting something so garish endure!

Mash: The enemy is preparing to attack, Master! Even its cannon's design is almost absurd!

Holmes: I am sorry to ask this of you,[♂ Mr. /♀ Ms. ] Fujimaru...

Holmes: ...but would you be so kind as to do something about that...thing, for Da Vinci's peace of mind and our safety, though...not necessarily in that order.


Red Hare: Damn, this thing is flimsy!

Holmes: Indeed...If they had copied the Border's armor,and its ability to withstand a Zero Sail...

Holmes: ...then we would have had a truly formidable foe on our hands. But what they have done here...

Mash: How disappointing. It did have some impressive artillery, but that doesn't mean much if a good punch breaks it...

Chen Gong: Well, let us not forget that a blow from a Servant is considerably more powerful than conventional weapons.

Chen Gong: So I don't know if I'd go so far as to call it a piece of jun–Er, poorly made.

Holmes: So it was an unmanned vehicle, just like those mechanical soldiers. Still, I'm surprised it was made quite so...roughly. Wait.

Da Vinci: Yup...I've got a bad feeling about this too.

Da Vinci: It looks like it was designed with an emphasis on mass reproducibility rather than the performance of individual units. Which would mean–

Goredolf: Aah! There's a whole bunch of them!

Holmes: I knew it. They're trying to overwhelm us with sheer numbers!

Da Vinci: Burn them! Kill them with fire! Somebody get me an Anti-World Noble Phantasm RIGHT NOW!!!


Mash: All of the hostiles have been eliminated...

Jing Ke: Man, I'm exhausted...

Fou: Fou...

Da Vinci: THAT DOES IT! Gather up their remains! Every! Last! Piece! If that's how they wanna play this, I'm gonna analyze the shit outta these things and beat them at their own game!

Holmes: Ah yes, Da Vinci is a force to be reckoned with once she gets fired up. I have every confidence she'll soon be unveiling a new invention the likes of which mankind has not yet dreamt of.

Chen Gong: ...You two are very good friends, aren't you.

Qin Liangyu: The Duōduō Yìshàn were completely useless!

Qin Shi Huang: Hmm, interesting. Perhaps we rushed them into production too quickly...

Captain of the Guard: In retrospect, perhaps it would have been better not to use the same control system we use for the automatons.

Qin Shi Huang: Very well then, we shall simply have to remotely pilot the next version ourself.

Qin Shi Huang: And to further ensure their success, we will allocate 0. 03 percent of our resources towards their production.

Han Xin: Ooh, how reassuring!

Captain of the Guard: Oh my...The emperor really means business!

Qin Liangyu: (Are we...sure of that? )


Mash: The enemy have really started to go on the offensive, haven't they.

Fou: Fou, fooou...

Holmes: Well, we are getting close to the capital. It is difficult to mask our intentions at this point.

Holmes: No doubt all the troops that were out patrolling other areas will be called back to help defend Xianyang. This will not be an easy fight.

Da Vinci: I'm also a little unnerved that Akuta...Yu Mei-ren hasn't made a move since Ankang.

Holmes: Agreed. I could not begin to guess what might be going through her head...

Holmes: ...but she appeared to me as though she were hesitant to make use of her powers as a True Ancestor...

Chen Gong: Or, to take a different perspective,she may have refrained from attacking us...

Chen Gong: ...because she knows she could use her True Ancestor powers to wipe us out at her leisure.

Holmes: An eminently plausible theory, given how confident we know True Ancestors to be.

Holmes: In which case it is unlikely Yu Mei-ren would interfere with us again before the final stage of this battle.

Holmes: She is determined to not be seen fighting, but she is also dead set on ensuring this Lostbelt's survival.

Holmes: It therefore is extremely likely that she will sit back and allow Qin Shi Huang's army to try to eliminate us for the time being, and only step in as a final line of defense once we have reached the Tree of Emptiness.

Da Vinci: Sounds about right. Lucky for us that Akuta...Yu Mei-ren isn't a warmonger.

Da Vinci: That aside, we're still no closer to tracking down this Lostbelt's Tree of Emptiness.

Mash: ...Then it's very possible that the next time we see Yu Mei-ren will be when we find where the tree is hidden.

Jing Ke: Looks like the chitchat will have to wait. We've got more company.

Red Hare: Um, I don't want to complain, but I'm starting to get a little worn out here...

Chen Gong: And we certainly can't have our Master running[♂ his /♀ her] magical circuits at full speed right now...

Mordred: The hell're you guys mopin' around for!? We're almost at the enemy's doorstep! Now's our chance to finish this!

Nezha: We have. Finally rendezvoused. I am. Sorry I. Did not. Get here. Sooner, Master.

Fujimaru 1: Mordred!

Fujimaru 2: Nezha!

Jing Ke: What about the villagers?

Mordred: Don't worry, we found the perfect cave for them to hole up in. And they've got enough food that they oughta be set for a while.

Nezha: All we. Need do. Now is. Defeat Qin Shi Huang. Before their. Food stores. Run out.

Mash: It's so good to have you both back!

Goredolf: Go on then, have at them!

Fou: Fou, fooou!


Mash: All hostiles eliminated. I think we should be safe for now.

Nezha: Let us. Take a. Short break. But do not. Let your. Guard down.

Mordred: Say, I don't recognize you guys. Hell, I'm not even sure what the hairy one's even supposedta be!

Chen Gong: Ah yes, forgive me. I am Chen Gong, and this is...Hmm, how do I explain...

Red Hare: Hahaha, what's to explain? You all know me! I'm Lu Bu Fengxian!

Mordred: ...Uh-huh. How come Alter Ego Fox Bitch is hangin' with us?

Red Hare: (Snort!? )(What does she mean, “uh-huh”!? )

Nezha: Fujimaru, you. Still have. A fever. Have you. Not been. Cured of. The poison?

Holmes: I'm afraid not. As of yet, we've only been able to treat the director.

Holmes: Indeed, procuring an antidote for[♂ Mr. /♀ Ms. ] Fujimaru...

Holmes: one of several reasons why we must make haste to Xianyang.

Koyanskaya: Well, you heard the man. Now, do you think you could maybe stop with the murderous glare?

Koyanskaya: It's making me want to murder you right back.

Mordred: Huh. So you got no problem turning traitor on Qin Shi Huang and the Crypters, huh.

Koyanskaya: ...I'll admit that Chaldea and I will never exactly be the best of friends.

Koyanskaya: But I'm willing to swallow my distaste if that pompous emperor gets some much deserved comeuppance.

Mordred: That right? Well, there's no better way to stick it to an enemy than to strike while things in their own house are a total cluster.

Mordred: Don't worry, traitor, I won't be kickin' you out. At least not until you betray us.

Captain of the Guard: The enemy is drawing nearer to Xianyang all the time.

Qin Shi Huang: Hmm. They are too close now for us to employ another orbital strike without endangering the capital.

Captain of the Guard: How fare the capital's defenses?

Han Xin: F-f-f-for the time being, I'm having Lady Liangyu fortify our frontline defenses.

Han Xin: I-i-i-in the meantime, I'm afraid we have no choice but to hold them off with more waves of automatons and Duōduō Yìshàn...

Captain of the Guard: Your Imperial Majesty, if I may be so bold, I would ask that you give the order for the other royal guard to join the battle.

Qin Shi Huang: Hmm...We hate to admit that matters have reached the point where that is necessary.

Qin Shi Huang: But perhaps it would be cruel to keep you hunting dogs on your leashes when the scent of battle is so near.

Qin Shi Huang: Very well, you have all been training your kung fu for just such an occasion. Go. Show our enemy your skill.

Captain of the Guard: We will, Your Imperial Majesty!


Da Vinci: Hmm...Hmm...

Holmes: How are the camouflage devices holding up?

Da Vinci: I think I was able to patch them up for now...but even putting their wear and tear aside, their batteries just aren't gonna last much longer.

Da Vinci: I never planned on having to charge them outside the Shadow Border, you know.

Da Vinci: I think our only option here is to try and jury-rig an energy saving mode to make them last longer.

Holmes: I see. Well, I have no doubt any modifications you can make will be of great utility. They've already held up remarkably well, given their improvised nature.

Holmes: At any rate, it won't be long now before we reach Xianyang, and any advantage the devices may confer over long-range surveillance will be lost.

Holmes: However, even if we are no longer able to mask our location, we should now be close enough to the capital that we need not fear an orbital strike.

Holmes: Once we have rested up tonight, I believe we should make for Xianyang with all haste.

Da Vinci: For sure. We are badly outnumbered,so if we have to end, we'd better do it quickly.

Jing Ke: ...How's that thing I asked you to make coming along, Da Vinci?

Da Vinci: Well, I've got it all put together for the moment.

Da Vinci: But whether it'll actually be helpful or not all depends on whether we can trust the comms protocol Koyanskaya stole.

Koyanskaya: You doubt moi? However you may feel about me, I can assure NFF's products are of the very highest quality.

Da Vinci: I can at least say that the data I recovered from those knockoffs seems to line up with the protocol.

Da Vinci: But I've only got my laptop here, so I really don't have what I need to test the thing.

Da Vinci: I'd say it's got about a fifty-fifty shot of working,if I'm being honest. Hardly my best work, you know?

Jing Ke: That's fine. If anything, I'm impressed you pulled this off with so little time to get it done.

Da Vinci: Well of course I did! I am a genius! You can rely on me for anything!

Da Vinci: ...That said, I don't know if I can encourage you to actually go through with this. In fact, I think it'd be pretty reckless if you did.

Jing Ke: Yes, it is reckless. But that kind of recklessness is pretty much why I'm here to begin with.

Jing Ke: It's what made me go down in history, and eventually led to me meeting Fujimaru as a Heroic Spirit.

Da Vinci: ...All right. But make sure you talk this over with[♂ him /♀ her] before you go, okay?

Jing Ke: I will, don't worry. I'm not Spartacus, you know.

Jing Ke: There you are, Fujimaru.

Mash: Jing Ke? What is it?

Jing Ke: Oh, nothing. I just wanted to discuss our strategy for the upcoming battle.

Jing Ke: Between Chen Gong and Red Hare joining us,Nezha and Mordred coming back, and Koyanskaya...

Jing Ke: Well, I don't know that we can really count her in our lineup, but I don't think she'll try anything as long as Holmes and Da Vinci are around.

Jing Ke: My point is, we've got plenty of capable fighters to go around, so–

Fujimaru 1: You want to go off on your own, don't you?

Jing Ke: Heh, can't put anything past you, can I?

Mash: ...So you want to go defeat the emperor? All on your own?

Fou: Fou, fooou...

Jing Ke: You know it makes sense. It would also create a distraction while the rest of you try to find the Fusang Tree.

Mash: But, all by yourself? That just seems...

Fujimaru 1: I don't want anything to happen to you.

Jing Ke: What, you're worried about me? Please, don't be.

Jing Ke: Worrying over me is as pointless as trying to convince Spartacus not to rebel.

Mash: Jing Ke...

Jing Ke: Sometimes, I can't help but wonder why the Counter Force gave me, of all people, a life after death.

Jing Ke: Maybe it's something to do with risking my life to take action at a time everyone else was too scared to try.

Jing Ke: If there had been someone actually worried about me,I probably wouldn't be here right now.

Jing Ke: So speaking as both a Heroic Spirit and your Servant,I promise you, you don't need to worry about me.

Mash: But, Senpai's–

Fujimaru 1: I'm not worried about Jing Ke the Heroic Spirit. I'm worried about YOU.

Fujimaru 2: You're our friend. Of course I'm going to worry about you.

Jing Ke: ...Heh. Ahahaha! You never change, do you?

Jing Ke: You're right. It was silly of me to say that. I mean, telling someone as caring as you not to worry?

Jing Ke: It is as ridiculous as forbidding Spartacus from rebelling, or ordering me to come back safe.

Fou: Fou, fooou!

Jing Ke: All right then, let me put it to you this way: I know it's selfish of me, but please, let me do this.

Jing Ke: I can't stop thinking about the fact that I finally have another chance to face that emperor...

Jing Ke: I came this close to assassinating him when I was alive, but I wasn't quite able to pull it off.

Jing Ke: And now, with Xianyang almost staring us in the face, I feel that failure more keenly than ever. I just can't get it out of my mind.

Jing Ke: If I take on a different mission now, I'll be so preoccupied with this that I might end up making a fatal mistake.

Jing Ke: So please. Let me be your decoy.

Jing Ke: Let me draw that emperor's gaze away from you and the others.

Jing Ke: Right now, I think that's the best thing I can do to help Chaldea.

Fujimaru 1: ...Do you promise to come back safe?

Jing Ke: really don't let up, do you? You're not even going to let me get a poem in.

Jing Ke: Look, I can't promise everything will be fine. Not when I'm going up against Qin Shi Huang.

Jing Ke: But...I can promise I'll make it to the Epang Palace. Especially now that you've made sure I won't forget that look you're giving me.

Jing Ke: So make sure you find the Fusang Tree,and take care of that poison.

Jing Ke: After that, it'll be time for our real battle,with the Crypter...Yu Mei-ren.

Jing Ke: So let's both keep that in mind as we go our separate ways, okay?

Fujimaru 1: ...Okay.

H:Da Vinci: Fujimaru, we've got an emergency on our hands! Our remaining camouflage devices just broke!

Mash: What!?

H:Holmes: I'm afraid we are now completely exposed. It won't be long before more enemy soldiers make their way here.

H:Meunière: You can thank our illustrious commander tripping over the wiring for that...

Goredolf: A-are you saying this is MY fault!? Who fixes delicate devices by spreading their components over the floor!?

Goredolf: Everyone knows you're supposed to do your restorations in a garage!

Fou: Fou, fooou...

H:Holmes: We can no longer hope to avoid enemy contact,so we will need to fight them off as we move.

H:Holmes: We can ill afford to stay here and exhaust ourselves fighting unending waves of enemies. Be ready to head for Xianyang on a moment's notice.

B:Mordred: Hell yeah! Now that's more like it!

Jing Ke: Fujimaru, Mash...

Mash: We know. See you in Xianyang!

Fujimaru 1: Just be careful, okay?

Jing Ke: You too.

Nezha: What? Jing Ke. Has gone. Off on. Her own?

Mordred: Not a problem. We've got all the ass kicking power we need right here!

Red Hare: Yeah, let's carve a path right through them!

Mash: Enemy hostiles confirmed. Get ready!


Narration: ...The near future revealed itself before him.

Narration: He could feel the looming threat of war draw near, slowly but surely, from beyond the peaceful city.

Narration: He could see the palace's defenses growing more robust by the day.

Narration: Even without visiting Epang Palace for himself, his predictive calculations warned him of the inevitable conflict to come, and its inescapable result.

Narration: ...Xianyang was going to fall.

Xiang Yu: Even knowing that, you would still tell me not to take up arms?

Yu Mei-ren: Defending Xianyang is no longer your job.

Narration: But the real problem was the future that followed.

Narration: Usually, he could learn small details about the futures he saw, even if he couldn't always make sense of them.

Narration: But now? He couldn't see anything at all. Not even a vague fragment of a future possibility.

Narration: It was as though, several years from now,this very world would no longer even exist.

Yu Mei-ren: ...That is how it should be.

Xiang Yu: Yu...

Yu Mei-ren: Your ability to see the future has toyed with you for too long. No one should have to carry responsibility for history on their shoulders as you have.

Yu Mei-ren: You have long since earned the right to lay down that burden.

Xiang Yu: You mourn my fate so deeply? Rather, the fate of the Xiang Yu who paved the way for this Liu Bang to follow?

Yu Mei-ren: ...

Xiang Yu: My place in the empire is not one of peace. Seeing the manner in which this body has been optimized for warfare should make that clear.

Xiang Yu: Yes, I was originally designed to be a civil servant.

Xiang Yu: But my ability to see the near future proved to be most useful on the battlefield.

Xiang Yu: When Qin Shi Huang had only just united all of China, there were still foreign nations in need of being brought to heel.

Xiang Yu: I traveled to Europe, Africa, the New World...every land under the sun, all to make them part of Qin Shi Huang's territory.

Xiang Yu: I must have shed more blood in the course of that conquest than this other Xiang Yu who was known as the Hegemon-King of Western Chu.

Yu Mei-ren: But here, your conquests were rightly held in high esteem, and the empire valued you accordingly.

Yu Mei-ren: However, in Proper Human History,your reputation was...horrific...

Xiang Yu: Well, that is understandable.

Narration: It made sense that history would view him as a horrible, bloodthirsty monster.

Narration: History is the collected recollections of humanity, so it is only natural for them to view an inhuman machine in such terms.

Narration: If such a device were to be mistaken for human, and its deeds recorded as such, it is no surprise that they would be feared.

Yu Mei-ren: Not one person in all of Proper Human History ever truly understood why you did what you did.

Xiang Yu: You are wrong about that, Yu.

Yu Mei-ren: ...?

Xiang Yu: I know for a fact that there was one person who understood the Hegemon-King of Western Chu, your Xiang Yu.

Xiang Yu: You, the one who just told me of this other version of myself. Surely you must have understood him.

Yu Mei-ren: ...Lord Xiang Yu...

Xiang Yu: ...Ahh, now I see...


At long last, he saw he had been overlooking something so terribly obvious.


By always casting his gaze to the distant horizon,he had missed what was right there in front of him.


There was another person there in the same time and place as Xiang Yu. Another who looked human, yet was feared and despised as inhuman.


Just as Xiang Yu was feared and despised for quelling all threats to the empire...


...this immortal Zhenren must have never known either understanding or acceptance.

Xiang Yu: So that is why you have wandered for so long in search of me...How unspeakably tragic.

Yu Mei-ren: It is all in the past now; it is no more than a fleeting dream. There is no sense looking back.

Narration: From Xiang Yu's perspective, she was not one to view with suspicion, but wonder. There was neither fear nor hatred in his gaze.

Narration: If anything, her way of life was something to aspire to–something beautiful to behold.

Narration: But this insight was one only he could have,and only because he was not human.

Narration: To humans with short lives and limited perception,she must have seemed as terrible as a demon king.

Narration: But as a pair so far removed from humanity, Xiang Yu and Yu Mei-ren could find solace with each other.

Narration: Indeed, each was the other's perfect companion.

Xiang Yu: ...So the Xiang Yu in Proper Human History died,leaving you alone?

Yu Mei-ren: There was nothing either of us could do. You had a duty to fulfill, and I was given eternal life.


And yet, with his ability to see the future...Xiang Yu must have known what awaited Yu in his absence.


He must have known she would wander for an eternity, and the hardships she would suffer in solitude.

Xiang Yu: I see...Then I must have grieved for you.

Yu Mei-ren: ...

Narration: ...When Dapple runs no more, what then can I do? Ah, Yu, my Yu. What will your fate be...?

Section 14: Battle at Xianyang

Mash: That must be Xianyang...

Fou: Fou, fooou!

Da Vinci: I knew it had to be a helluva place from the images we captured at a distance, but seeing it in person...

Holmes: Hm, it is quite a peculiar city...if indeed a city it can be called.

Goredolf: Well, what would you call it? Look how prosperous it is!

Holmes: My concern lies in whether it fulfills the functions we typically associate with cities.

Da Vinci: Those things packed around its perimeter must be the rockets Qin Shi Huang uses to distribute the Benefactions.

Da Vinci: The emperor's gotta have more than enough here to cover the entire planet.

Da Vinci: I guess this explains how Qin Shi Huang could rule the whole world with just this one city.

Goredolf: That stadium-looking thing in the center would seem to be the city's central hub...

Holmes: So far as I can tell from here, there does not appear to be anything in the way of residential buildings.

Mash: Then...does that mean nobody lives in this city?

Da Vinci: Hmm, that's the key question, isn't it? At least that would be what determines whether or not this is a city in the sense we usually think of them.

Da Vinci: Even if there are people living here, I have a suspicion it's far fewer than in our own cities.

Holmes: Given that even this world's soldiers are robots, I have a hard time believing there is any particular need for a human labor force.

Holmes: There does seem to be a deal of activity taking place, so it is doubtful the city is totally uninhabited...

Koyanskaya: ...I think you'll find it faster to just go in and take a look for yourself.

Koyanskaya: Shouldn't take long for even you lot to figure out what the culture here is like.

Koyanskaya: Not that they'll be opening the gate and welcoming you with open arms anytime soon, of course.

Fou: Fou, fooou!

Mash: I'm seeing new hostiles make their way towards us. But...

Holmes: Indeed. These are human, not automatons.

Koyanskaya: That's the royal guard of Xianyang, the elite soldiers assigned to protect the emperor even in times of peace, without ever being put to sleep in Mt. Li.

Koyanskaya: Oh and, just so you know...They're a far, far cry from the supervisors you fought back on that farm.


Mash: We've defeated the enemy troops!

Fou: Fooou!

Chen Gong: Well, now that the enemy is shedding real blood to win, we know they're finally taking us seriously.

Da Vinci: Well sure, now that we're this close, it's no wonder they decided to pull out all the stops.

Da Vinci: All right, one more gate, and we'll be inside Xianyang proper. Stay sharp, everyone!


Mordred: Damn, all this fighting's even startin' to wear me out.

Nezha: We have. Still succeeded. We can. Now enter. The city.

Chen Gong: Do keep your guard up. I expect we will encounter even greater resistance soon.

Mash: This is...Xianyang?

Holmes: There do appear to be people living here,but I never expected this...

Goredolf: Are they...playing?

Da Vinci: They're all painting pictures, singing songs, dancing...

Mordred: What the hell? They don't know there's a freakin' war goin' on in their front yards?

Fou: Fou, fooou?

Holmes: And now it seems we have automaton soldiers to deal with. Ah, perhaps not. They do not seem to be particularly interested in us.

Mash: It looks like they're telling the residents to evacuate...

Xianyang Citizen A: Hey, get out of my way! I need to finish this painting for Most Glorious and Majestic Heavenly Emperor! These colors are sure to delight the emperor's senses!

Xianyang Citizen B: And I need to sing this song about our glorious emperor's greatest accomplishments! This melody is fit even for the emperor's divine ears!

Xianyang Citizen A: This is what gives our lives meaning! Why would you have us leave!?

Qin Liangyu: Be reasonable. Remember, each and every one of your lives is truly precious to the emperor.

Qin Liangyu: We can't risk putting your lives in danger. Now leave. You will be able to return soon enough.

Xianyang Citizen A: But I haven't finished my picture...

Xianyang Citizen B: And I haven't finished my sculpture...

Koyanskaya: Heartbreaking, isn't it? The only thing they have to their names is a single bed in the basement.

Koyanskaya: When they're not sleeping, they're working their fingers to the bone on monuments and murals a hundred times more magnificent than anything they'll ever own.

Holmes: I hesitate to call them “artists,” but–

Da Vinci: Is this some kind of bad joke!?

Da Vinci: Their only subject is...Qin Shi Huang!? That's not art! Not by a damn sight!

Koyanskaya: Entertaining each other has been a key aspect of culture as long as people have existed.

Koyanskaya: But here, the only true person–which is to say, the sole audience for entertainment–is Qin Shi Huang and Qin Shi Huang alone.

Koyanskaya: That's why the emperor is the only subject of all the art these people create.

Koyanskaya: Those who are deemed to have creative talent are gathered from countries all around the world, and brought here to spend their lives creating art directly beneath Epang Palace.

Holmes: That would mean artists who wished to entertain the masses, like Shakespeare, and artists who pursued the truth of the human condition, like Andersen, would never even be born here.

Holmes: Here, the very premise of culture itself could not be more different from that of Proper Human History.

Koyanskaya: Right you are. Certainly Qin Shi Huang loves the people of the empire...much like an owner loves their pets.

Koyanskaya: In this history, all of mankind's vile arrogance is concentrated in Qin Shi Huang.

Koyanskaya: And all that remains are these lifeless,worthless excuses for pets.

Koyanskaya: This whole city is basically nothing more than a giant cat cafe, only with primates instead of felines.

Fou: Fooou...

Koyanskaya: As I've said many times before, I despise humans...but that doesn't mean I enjoy seeing them as livestock.

Koyanskaya: Humans are supposed to be selfish and arrogant, following their desires wherever they take them.

Koyanskaya: This...spectacle, where they sing the praises of life without any real worries, is an affront to us beasts.

Qin Liangyu: ...

Mordred: Hey, she's glarin' at us something fierce.

Chen Gong: If we don't attack first, the enemy will have the advantage. Are you sure you wish to hold back, Master?

Fujimaru 1: I'm sure.

Fujimaru 2: Let's wait for them to finish their evacuation.

Qin Liangyu: ...I'm surprised. I thought for sure you would ambush us while we had our hands full with the evacuation.

Holmes: True, this is, in many respects, an invasion. Our ideas of what this world should be could not possibly be more different.

Holmes: But we are not here to massacre your people...even if our actions ultimately lead to them ceasing to exist.

Qin Liangyu: ...

Da Vinci: Obviously, getting these people to safety is your top priority.

Da Vinci: But you know just as well as I do that Qin Shi Huang would order you to kill them if there was even the slightest hint of suspicion that they were “infected. ”

Da Vinci: Is that really a leader worth obeying?

Mordred: Yeah! You saw what that prick was willing to do to those supposedly treasured citizens.

Qin Liangyu: Yes, I did. My own hometown was once destroyed by a falling star just like that.

Holmes: ...I beg your pardon?

Qin Liangyu: Zhang Xianzhong seduced my neighbors into thinking they could lead better lives if they founded their own nation.

Qin Liangyu: Once the emperor determined they were no longer willing to obey, Qin Shi Huang made the decision to drop a star upon their village, wiping them all out.

Qin Liangyu: And did Zhang Xianzhong do anything to help them? No!

Qin Liangyu: He abandoned them without a second thought, and wasted no time inciting people in another village to make up for the soldiers he'd lost!

Mash: ...

Qin Liangyu: I have nothing but pity for the people who were led astray by his empty promises.

Qin Liangyu: They were driven to their deaths all because they were deceived into believing such a charlatan could bring them happiness, and deluded about another way of life.

Qin Liangyu: None of you could know what a tragedy it is for the people of this land to be robbed of their tranquility.

Qin Liangyu: Had it been possible, I would have been just as happy never having taken up the spear.

Qin Liangyu: All I ever wanted was to live with my family,tilling our land in peace!

Mash: Qin Liangyu...

Qin Liangyu: The peace we enjoy now is only made possible by keeping people's worst tendencies dormant. That is the great feat, the blessing that Most Glorious and Majestic Heavenly Emperor brought to the world!

Qin Liangyu: I will never forgive you for trying to rouse the people from that slumber!

Qin Liangyu: Now repent for your selfish misdeeds as this white ash spear pierces your throats!


Da Vinci: The enemy's on the ropes! We're almost there!

Chen Gong: No, I doubt this will be the end of it. They are very much in this for the long haul!

Royal Guard: Lady Qin Liangyu! The royal guard has arrived to assist you. What would you have us do!?

Qin Liangyu: The royal guard!? If you're here,then who's protecting Epang Palace!?

Royal Guard: Heavenly Emperor said we were no longer needed there. The emperor ordered us to hold this line of defense for the sake of our nation...

Qin Liangyu: Your Imperial Majesty...

Holmes: Please, stop this, Qin Liangyu. Surely a warrior of your caliber must know when she is outmatched.

Qin Liangyu: ...

Qin Liangyu: Tell me, those of you who claim to be from Proper Human History: Why do you threaten our world?

Fujimaru 1: ...Because this history should never have happened.

Fujimaru 2: ...It's what we must do to save our own world.

Qin Liangyu: So you want to set the world right...? Hmph. That's all you Confucians ever say.

Qin Liangyu: How should the world be then? What is this “proper” world of yours like?

Qin Liangyu: How does your world function when everyone has their own idea of how things should be, while denying all others?

Qin Liangyu: How many people lose their lives to the ravages of war each and every day?

Qin Liangyu: How many innocent lives end in senseless tragedy?

Qin Liangyu: Has all your bloodshed led to even one good thing in your world? Or just been an excuse for the next war?

Mash: ...

Qin Liangyu: We fought hard for a world without war...A world where peace could truly endure forever.

Qin Liangyu: My husband, my brothers...all of them gave their lives while fighting to make that dream a reality.

Qin Liangyu: We–the people of this empire–had to build this world on their corpses!

Qin Liangyu: The peace this land now enjoys was paid for with the blood of soldiers who will never be granted respite in Mt. Li.

Qin Liangyu: And so I will defend it at all costs. I will not let your flowery words and false promises lead me astray.

Qin Liangyu: I believe in our way of life, in the happiness we fought so hard to obtain!

Qin Liangyu: I don't need any other countries. I don't need any other version of myself.

Qin Liangyu: Allow me to demonstrate for you that this other me you speak of and I are nothing alike at all!


Qin Liangyu: ...Ahh, another mountain of corpses. Another ocean of blood...

Qin Liangyu: ...Every time someone waves the flag of so-called progress, that is all I ever see...

Qin Liangyu: I had hoped to never see this again...I wish I could have just stayed on Mt. Li, frozen in slumber...

Mash: Qin Liangyu...

Qin Liangyu: ...Your Proper Human History terrifies me.

Qin Liangyu: Our world truly achieved lasting peace. It should have been the one to survive.

Qin Liangyu: But now, it will be just another corpse you tread across on the way to your destination.

Qin Liangyu: Tell me...What sort of bloody future do you see past the mountain of bodies you are piling up...?

Fujimaru 1: ...

Qin Liangyu: ...Haha. I guess there was no point in asking you that.

Qin Liangyu: The only one with that answer is the emperor...

Qin Liangyu: In the end...all I ever did to bring about peace was take up my spear...

Mordred: ...C'mon, Fujimaru. Just keep moving. Don't worry about her.

Fujimaru 1: But...

Mordred: You don't have the time or the energy to spare on her. Remember what it is you gotta do.

Mash: ...Let's keep moving, Master. If we're going to find out Qin Shi Huang's true intentions...

Mash: ...why the emperor rules this Lostbelt–this history–in this way...then our only choice is to get a real audience.

Fou: ...Fooou.

Qin Shi Huang: ...So, the enemy has made their way into Xianyang.

Han Xin: Grrr...

Captain of the Guard: I can't believe it...

Qin Shi Huang: Then it is time for us to face Chaldea.

Qin Shi Huang: This is not the end. They can never hope to conquer the empire without first conquering us.

Qin Shi Huang: Meanwhile, you need serve as our advisors no longer. Qin Liangyu has already given everything she has.

Qin Shi Huang: So as of this moment, we are relieving both of you of duties. You have served us well.

Captain of the Guard: Your Imperial Majesty...

Han Xin: I'm so sorry I couldn't win this battle for you, Your Imperial Majesty. I will atone for this with my life!

Qin Shi Huang: Stop that, Han Xin. Your loss in this battle demonstrates your loyalty towards us admirably.

Han Xin: Wh-what do you mean?

Qin Shi Huang: Tell us, Han Xin. If we had ordered you to crush Chaldea, even if it meant destroying all of Xianyang...

Qin Shi Huang: ...surely you could have come up with at least a dozen viable plans?

Qin Shi Huang: If you had been willing to stop at nothing, even the destruction of our nation, in order to secure victory, then you would certainly have prevailed. Are we wrong?

Han Xin: ...

Qin Shi Huang: And yet, that was a line you would not cross. That was your limit as a general.

Qin Shi Huang: Be honest: Did you not dream about devising strategies that would have rocked this nation to its core?

Han Xin: ...I don't think that would be a path I'd want to go down.

Han Xin: I mean, there's a good chance I still might have ended up going down it eventually, but still...

Qin Shi Huang: Belated though this may be, we cannot help but feel a bit sorry for you.

Qin Shi Huang: If you had ended up serving a different lord, you may have achieved even greater glory and recognition.

Han Xin: Oh, haha, I don't know about that. That way sounds like it would end in a pretty painful death.

Captain of the Guard: Lord Han Xin...

Han Xin: Well, I guess I'll be taking my leave then. You don't mind if I go by just plain old Han Xin rather than a general of the empire from now on, do you?

Qin Shi Huang: We do not.

Qin Shi Huang: ...Captain, would you keep an eye on him in his final moments, as one last favor to us?

Captain of the Guard: If that is what you wish, Your Imperial Majesty.... Then, you are certain of this?

Qin Shi Huang: We are. Worry not, we have this well in hand.

Captain of the Guard: Very well then, if you'll excuse me. And, if I may, Your Imperial Majesty, I hope you can make the most of this opportunity.

Qin Shi Huang: Oh yes, we expect we will finally have an opportunity to cut loose, as they say, for the first time in a very long time.

Qin Shi Huang: ...All right, everyone else is gone. If you have any manners at all, show yourself.

Jing Ke: ...

Section 15: Humanity's Whereabouts

Qin Shi Huang: Well now. It would appear our suspicions about that strange spiritron signal we detected were warranted.

Qin Shi Huang: We take it you Servant creatures are capable of moving about in your spirit forms then?

Jing Ke: And you sent your bodyguards away anyway? Has the great emperor gone senile in old age?

Qin Shi Huang: Our scans did not detect any explosives. The closest thing to a weapon you appear to bear is that dagger.

Qin Shi Huang: Tell us, how exactly do you plan to damage our holy vessel with that?

Jing Ke: I figured as long as I got close enough,the rest would work itself out...

Jing Ke: I wouldn't be an Assassin if I didn't have at least that much resolve.

Qin Shi Huang: Assassin...Ah, yes, we vaaaguely recall seeing you somewhere before.

Qin Shi Huang: Ah, of course, this must be one of those alternate histories. How very strange.

Jing Ke: What, you're saying you forgot what I looked like up until now?

Qin Shi Huang: Hehe, we have been governing this world for two thousand two hundred and sixty-three years. Just how many attempts do you think were made on our life?

Qin Shi Huang: Even we cannot count all the times we have been threatened for the secret to our immortality alone.

Qin Shi Huang: Did you truly think that you were our sworn enemy? That you were somehow special among all the other would-be assassins?

Jing Ke: ...

Qin Shi Huang: ...Well, we will say that when you came along, we were still looking for immortality in all the wrong places.

Qin Shi Huang: Thinking back on it now, I believe you may have even done us a favor by inadvertently putting us on the right track. We should consider rewarding you for that.

Jing Ke: Oh yeah? So what, you're gonna give me a medal or something?

Qin Shi Huang: Now that you and your companions have made it all the way to Xianyang, we will honor you with a personal condemnation of your strange history.

Jing Ke: Wait, you're gonna lecture me? Now?

Qin Shi Huang: “Proper” Human History. What a pretentious name. You wear your arrogance in believing that yours is the only true course of events on your sleeve.

Qin Shi Huang: In spite of this arrogance, you behave as if your actions are dictated by morality.

Qin Shi Huang: Thus, we must convince you beyond all doubt which of our worlds is truly “proper” as you would call it.

Jing Ke: ...Morality? Oh, so now you're going to tell me that this is the good, just, moral world?

Jing Ke: Where you hold all power, where you don't let even the tiniest seed of knowledge take root, and where you casually slaughter your citizens the instant they inconvenience you? You call THAT a good, moral world?

Qin Shi Huang: Absolutely. What more glorious purpose could there be for the human race?

Jing Ke: You don't think of anyone,anywhere as human, except yourself!

Qin Shi Huang: You are quite correct.

Qin Shi Huang: By concentrating this land's bounty in a single point,we have become the ultimate human.

Qin Shi Huang: Has any one individual ever ascended to such heights in your so-called Proper Human History?

Qin Shi Huang: Behold our Great Wall encircling the sky. Behold the great harvest produced by the land. Who else could ever boast such greatness?

Qin Shi Huang: Humans in groups cannot accomplish anything. They are shackled by discord, by conflict, by contradictions.

Qin Shi Huang: So there will be no humans, no groups.

Qin Shi Huang: A Zhenren–a true human–shall have total reign over heaven and earth, and unite the species.

Jing Ke: A Zhenren? Don't make me laugh. You call this bloated mechanical monstrosity of a body human?

Qin Shi Huang: You believe the only human body is one of flesh and blood? That one's status as a person is contingent on whether they have two eyes, four limbs, ten fingers?

Qin Shi Huang: Utter drivel.

Qin Shi Huang: The true measure of a responsibility.

Qin Shi Huang: It lies in bearing responsibility for this world–its skies, lands, and oceans, and the lives of all who dwell within.

Qin Shi Huang: Can those of you from Proper Human History choose which species will go extinct? Can you decide the amount of coal that will pollute your atmosphere?

Qin Shi Huang: Can you prevent the polar ice caps from melting? Were you ever once successful at controlling your endless desires?

Jing Ke: ...

Qin Shi Huang: We can do all of that, precisely because we are the sole arbiter of this world.

Qin Shi Huang: Thus, we are human, for we bear all responsibility for this world on our shoulders alone.

Jing Ke: And now you're saying this regime you've set up here has made this world complete? You really believe that?

Qin Shi Huang: We do.

Jing Ke: Hmph, then you're a bigger fool than I thought. Being complete is just another way of saying “done. ”

Jing Ke: This precious world of yours has no way forward. You're stuck with nowhere to go.

Qin Shi Huang: ...

Jing Ke: Thanks to becoming a Servant, I learned all sorts of things I could never have known in my own time.

Jing Ke: The future of humanity is all about possibility.

Jing Ke: I, and those who know me as a Heroic Spirit,have walked many distant worlds.

Jing Ke: You said to look at your Great Wall in the sky? I did. All I see is a monument to your so-called eternal empire's limitations.

Jing Ke: You said you built that wall in order to defend against threats from other stars? Talk about preposterous.

Jing Ke: True, they'd have no way of building something like that in Proper Human History's twenty-first century.

Jing Ke: But if they'd had the same resources at their disposal, you can bet they'd use them to explore beyond our world, not shut themselves away.

Qin Shi Huang: Your argument reeks of sour grapes.

Jing Ke: I'll admit we're off to a slower start. Your empire might well have succeeded at hurrying its evolution along quicker than Proper Human History.

Jing Ke: But I'll also bet your world's never produced anything quite like this before.

Qin Shi Huang: ...What is this toy?

Jing Ke: If you think it's a toy, go ahead and scan it. You love analyzing stuff, right?

Qin Shi Huang: Hmph. What could be so impressive about a simple rectangle...

Qin Shi Huang: ...???

Qin Shi Huang: ...What the?

Jing Ke: It's an entire computer and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Jing Ke: If you shrank down that absurdly large body of yours into components small enough to fit into this casing, could you even get close to this thing's performance?

Qin Shi Huang: ...Hmph, but so what. We commend your efforts in packing so much functionality into such a small device.

Qin Shi Huang: But its processing power is still barely one millionth of our own!

Jing Ke: Did I mention there are four billion just like it in Proper Human History?

Qin Shi Huang: ......What?

Jing Ke: That's a personal device. Almost every human in Proper Human History has one.

Qin Shi Huang: Th-that's absurd! It is the very height of foolishness!

Qin Shi Huang: You hand out processing power similar to our Authority to the general public? Why do something so outrageous?

Qin Shi Huang: Without anyone mitigating their desires, it is only a matter of time until they consume every resource on the planet!

Jing Ke: If that's all you think computers are good for,you're using yours all wrong.

Jing Ke: These things aren't generally used just as computers. Originally, they were just communication devices that were gradually redesigned with computing capability.

Qin Shi Huang: ...Communication?

Jing Ke: You heard me. People share their opinions, pool their thoughts, and work together to achieve a common goal. This is just one more tool to help make that happen.

Jing Ke: People have always wanted better ways to communicate. They've never stopped looking for ways to reach mutual understanding and prosperity.

Jing Ke: That's how the, the humans,of Proper Human History live their lives.

Qin Shi Huang: are saying every one of the people in your world is a full human unto themselves...?

Jing Ke: You're right about one thing. There's no end of quarrels and disagreements.

Jing Ke: I'm sure we're a long way off from uniting everyone under shared principles and ideals.

Jing Ke: Maybe we never will...Maybe humans will drive themselves to extinction, or suck the planet dry.

Jing Ke: Even so, WE aren't done yet. And it's because we're still incomplete that we are always striving to go further than ever before.

Jing Ke: In our world, people are always moving forward toward something better. They're not just stuck in one dead-end world that thinks it's a utopia.

Qin Shi Huang: ...What you claim to strive for is no more than a pipe dream. You have no assurance you will ever truly attain what you see.

Jing Ke: Yeah, that's right. It's a dream. It could easily fade away if we're not careful.

Jing Ke: That's why we all hope for the same thing: that humanity can reach new heights no one has ever seen.

Jing Ke: People who hold that dream become Heroic Spirits, and answer the summons of those who share that dream. That is what Servants–the executors of the Counter Force–really are.

Jing Ke: We're a sort of being that you'd never think to see in your eternal regime.

Qin Shi Huang: ...We see. So this better world of yours rests upon nothing more than a roll of the dice, as it were. Reckless. Far too reckless.

Qin Shi Huang: You balance the fate of the world on a tightrope. One misstep could destroy all.

Qin Shi Huang: We could never permit this.

Jing Ke: Yeah, I bet you wouldn't. That's why we find ourselves at an impasse. One of us has to die so the other can carry on guiding the earth.

Qin Shi Huang: Hehe, is that so. Tell us then, how do you propose to kill us with that plain, ordinary dagger?

Qin Shi Huang: Every one of Epang Palace's defensive armaments is already trained on your person. You will not get one step out the door before you are simply disintegrated.

Jing Ke: You still don't get it, do you? Proper Human History is light-years ahead of you in terms of communications and data storage and access.

Jing Ke: And in our world, with all its conflict, any technology can be used as a weapon...not that I'm proud of that.

Jing Ke: For example...did you know it's possible to poison a computer just by communicating with it?

Qin Shi Huang: ...Wha...!!!???You...$#*& In that toy...^<&@u・$・゚3゚Ⅲ...

Jing Ke: Yes. You obviously wanted to have a lofty discussion about worldviews and philosophy...but I'm really just here to kill you.

Jing Ke: Even if I had to goad you into scanning this phone so you'd end up downloading the virus in it.

Qin Shi Huang: fA◆...I...c*Nハ...remember...I${ヨy゚I...Your......%/CA_P・ロ〒ロOIM^......Jing...f・...Ke...vZxナ9

Jing Ke: That's right! It's been a long two thousand and two hundred years, but I'm finally going to finish this!

???: ...Well done. Well done indeed.

C:Jing Ke: Guh...Wha...?

C:???: We commend you, Jing Ke. This time, we will be sure to remember your name. You are the only one to make us fear for our life not once, but twice.

C:Jing Ke: Man...I can't believe this...

C:Jing Ke: I promised Fujimaru I'd make it back safe and everything...

C:Jing Ke: Haha, I knew I never should've have pushed my luck quite so far...

C:Jing Ke: Maybe it's just my destiny to always choke right at the very end...

???: You are wrong there, Jing Ke. Your Heroic Spirit's true worth lies in dying with a smile, even as you fail at what you set out to accomplish.


Mordred: Hey, uh, you're sure the giant emperor up there isn't gonna just fall down and squish us, right?

Fou: Fou, fooou!

Chen Gong: Now that you mention it, Qin Shi Huang has been surprisingly silent. I expected to have heard something by now.

Nezha: Was. Jing Ke. Successful?

Mash: I certainly hope so...

Holmes: If she had been, then we should have heard back from her by now. It is unfortunate we had no choice but to let her handle the Epang Palace on her own...

Meunière: So, where should we go about looking for this Fusang Tree?

Koyanskaya: I'm quite certain you'll find it in the treasury, but I recommend stopping by the Ministry of Technology first, especially as it's right on your way.

Koyanskaya: Buuut if you'd rather leave that fancy car of yours behind, be my guest!

Da Vinci: Ah! The Shadow Border!

Goredolf: Hmm. Well, it's no race car, but we have certainly been through a lot together.

Goredolf: I only hope it's still in one piece...

Chen Gong: I'm not sure. It's very possible we'll find it completely disassembled, and its components scattered across the floor...

Da Vinci: Hey, this concerns you too, buster! Remember, we need the Border if we're gonna get out of this Lostbelt!

Da Vinci: It IS still in one piece! Hooray!

Fou: Fo fooou!

Holmes: Aha, now I see. Qin Shi Huang must be something of a perfectionist when it comes to puzzles.

Mash: So that's why Qin Shi Huang took it apart and put it all together again perfectly...The emperor had to be sure of understanding its inner workings!

Mash: I bet Qin Shi Huang would be great at building models!

Da Vinci: Now that we've got the Border back, we can't lose! Ah, this is great. It feels just like coming home again!

Meunière: ...Uh, it looks like there's a box here marked“Leftover Screws”?

Da Vinci: ...That DOES it! Qin Shi Huang is going down SO HARD!

Meunière: (Oh, man. She's breaking out her glasses. She must really mean business! )

Da Vinci: Unfortunately, time's not on our side right now, so I'll have to do a full inspection and overhaul later.

Da Vinci: Now, let's get out of here! As long as the engine still works, we should be good to go!

Han Xin: ...Huh. So you're the Chaldeans? This is a surprise. I expected a huge pack of muscular brutes.

Han Xin: I never imagined a brat, a little girl,and a bunch of scrawny weaklings.

Koyanskaya: Oh, if it isn't Han Xin. Long time no see.

Da Vinci: Han Xin!? As in, one of the Han dynasty's three greatest heroes?

Holmes: So in this Lostbelt, he ended up serving the Qin empire...

Han Xin: Oh, I don't work for the emperor anymore. In fact, I was just relieved of duty. There's no reason for us to fight.

Han Xin: ...Hah! Did you really think I was going to just stand by and watch while you rode off into the sunset?

Red Hare: Lord Chen Gong, that smile...

Chen Gong: ...Indeed. That's the same look Lord Lu Bu used to have back when we were serving under him.

Mordred: I can practically smell the blood on you,you freakin' creeper.

Han Xin: I just wanna wage war. What's it matter if there's a reason for it?

Han Xin: Not to mention I've got a lot of help here,and none of them is ready to admit defeat.

Han Xin: So come on, warriors of Proper Human History, let's do this thing. You, us, no restrictions, no holding back. Just good old war for war's sake.

Han Xin: Ahh, there's nothing more exciting than going up against impossibly strong enemies! I can't wait!

Holmes: ...I was unaware Mt. Li had this slumbering there as well.

Mash: And here Qin Liangyu only ever fought to preserve peace...

Han Xin: Lady Liangyu? Oh sure, she was great. I loved that whole pure and innocent thing.

Han Xin: That shine wasn't gonna rub off after just being revived two or three times.

Han Xin: Me, on the other hand, I've been waging wars for the emperor since before that mechanical body! I crushed India...Egypt...Rome...

Han Xin: I never saw the years of peace between. I was always kept on ice for those.

Mordred: Yeah, I bet you were. You're a freakin' psycho. Nothing you'd do in peacetime but cause trouble.

Han Xin: Everlasting peace is just a way of saying there's no more enemies to conquer.

Han Xin: So I'm awfully glad you guys showed up.

Han Xin: The last time I went back to Mt. Li, after I'd crushed the Aztecs, I didn't think I'd ever get to wake up again.

Han Xin: Now, let me see what sort of messed-up killing techniques you guys came up with in your disordered world where our empire never existed!


Han Xin: Yes, yes, yes! This is awesome! I love a fight to the death! There's nothing better than war!

Da Vinci: I can't believe it...These are the same soldiers we fought before! How can they be this much stronger just from a change in commander!?

Mordred: Yeah, I hear you. Been a long time since I was up against a general who could make your blood run cold.

Chen Gong: Monsters such as he are not unheard of in times of war.

Chen Gong: (That said...I think this man's strategical sensibilities may even outpace Zhuge Liang's...)

Captain of the Guard: I'm glad to see you're enjoying yourself, Han Xin.

Koyanskaya: Crap.

Han Xin: Oh, hello, Captain. Are you sure a hard-ass like you wants to get mixed up in a wild brawl like this?

Captain of the Guard: The emperor asked me to keep an eye on you until this was all over.

Han Xin: ...

Han Xin: Ahh, we really don't deserve such a wonderful emperor. I can hardly believe the emperor would care so much for a piece of trash like me.

Captain of the Guard: You said it.

Captain of the Guard: The emperor even told me I was free to fight all I wished, as a reward for my years of faithful service.

Han Xin: Hehehe. I see not even old age can slow you down.

Han Xin: Well then, let's get to it, shall we? At this point, I can't think of any better way to demonstrate our loyalty to the emperor than by going down fighting.

Captain of the Guard: Heavenly Emperor has been kind enough to keep broken men like ourselves in check by allowing us to serve.

Captain of the Guard: Now, we beasts who could never find solace in peace can finally repay that kindness!

Holmes: That old man is an ordinary human...Does he truly mean to go up against Servants with his bare hands!?

Koyanskaya: Oh, you better believe it! Trust me, don't take your eyes off him for a second!

Koyanskaya: Even if he did catch me off guard, he still managed to stun my Spirit Core with one blow...

Koyanskaya: That general isn't the only distinguished warrior here! That old guy's as tough as they come, too!

Koyanskaya: You'd better not hold back against him!


Mash: (...Huff, huff, huff...)

Fujimaru 1: ...That was amazing...

Fujimaru 2: ...How in the world did he get this strong?

Mash: ...W-we've neutralized the enemy fighters......Although–

Holmes: No, it's all right. I doubt they have the strength to even stand anymore.

Mordred: Man, who knew there were so many monsters in China. Can't believe these guys put up this much of a fight with nothing but strategy and pure skill.

Da Vinci: Let's hurry on. I have a feeling the Fusang Tree's practically around the corner.

Captain of the Guard: ...Han Xin? ...Are you still breathing?

Han Xin: Unfortunately. I never expected them to just leave without finishing us off...Tch, don't they know that goes against the rules of war?

Captain of the Guard: Hehe, still, that was a good fight.

Captain of the Guard: This building won't last much longer. If you can still stand, you should leave now, before it collapses.

Han Xin: Heh...As it happens, that battle really took every last bit of energy out of me.

Han Xin: ...So I was hoping I might just be able to sit here a bit longer.

Captain of the Guard: Heh, I suppose we'll just have to wait then...

Han Xin: You misjudged how much stamina you had halfway through the fight, didn't you? Did you think you could keep up the same pace as when you were young or something?

Captain of the Guard: To my shame, yes. I hate to admit that I began feeling my age at a mere one hundred and fifty years old, despite the emperor giving me personal instruction in the sage arts.

Han Xin: You should've come to Mt. Li when you had the chance, instead of insisting on staying on active duty.

Han Xin: ...Man, I wish I could've seen you fight in your prime. I bet it was something to behold.

Captain of the Guard: ...Well, I suppose there was a time when I went around threatening my enemies with my martial arts...

Captain of the Guard: My, how time truly does fly. Those days I spent alongside Heavenly Emperor were more than I could have...ever asked for...

Han Xin: ...

Han Xin: ...Hah, some guys have all the luck. He looks so peaceful, you'd think he was just sleeping...

Xiang Yu: ...The Chaldeans will soon reach the Fusang Tree in the treasury.

Xiang Yu: It will mean the empire's most valuable Mystic–the cornerstone of our peaceful civilization–will fall into enemy hands...

Xiang Yu: No...Right now, the Fusang Tree is more important than even that...Isn't it, Yu?

Yu Mei-ren: ...

Xiang Yu: This battle will determine the fate of the world...yet you still wish to avoid it?

Yu Mei-ren: I do. I understand very well how foolish that request is.

Yu Mei-ren: But...I cannot bear to see you wield your swords any longer. Indeed, that is the only thing I desire.

Yu Mei-ren: Even if that choice should lead to obliteration...

Xiang Yu: But the world is in peril even as we speak. This empire faces an unprecedented threat to its peace.

Xiang Yu: My programming would not permit me to simply stand by while this happens.

Yu Mei-ren: ...

Xiang Yu: Forgive me, Yu. I cannot change who I am.

Yu Mei-ren: ...Yes, you're right. This is who you are.

Yu Mei-ren: In that case, I will accompany you. Please, let me stay by your side until the very end.

Section 16: The Crimson Beauty under the Moon

Holmes: So this is the treasury...I must say, this is even more magnificent than I was expecting.

Da Vinci: Wooow! I could spend days poring over everything in this place if only things weren't so dire right now!

Koyanskaya: This is where Qin Shi Huang keeps all the treasures of the sage world on display.

Koyanskaya: There should be bark and leaf samples from the Fusang Tree right around here...Ah, there we go.

Koyanskaya: I trust nobody will mind if I borrow these for a moment? Wonderful.

Koyanskaya: All you need now is the right spell, and you'll have an antidote in no more than five minutes.

Koyanskaya: Well, I'd say that wraps up our business here, but while we're at it, would you like to see the real thing?

Koyanskaya: Qin Shi Huang must have transplanted the Fusang Tree to the innermost sanctum after pulling it out of the sage world.

Holmes: ...I would be lying if I said I wasn't interested. As a detective, I feel obligated to examine it. However...

Mash: Holmes?

Holmes: I cannot help but feel a tad bit perturbed at how you seem to be leading us into a trap, Ms. Koyanskaya.

Koyanskaya: Oh my, aren't we suspicious? But you might just be a teeensy bit too late there.

Yu Mei-ren: ...

Da Vinci: Yu Mei-ren!? And Xiang Yu, too!?

Mordred: Great, just what we needed right now!

Holmes: I thought it might come to this...

Goredolf: What? You mean you knew this would happen?

Holmes: Nothing so certain, to be sure. Perhaps I should say that my suspicions were right on the mark.

Da Vinci: ...Oh, yeah. Now that you mention it, you did say that the next time we saw Yu Mei-ren–

Mash: ...It would almost certainly be where the Tree of Emptiness is hidden.

Fujimaru 1: Wait. The Fusang Tree IS the Tree of Emptiness!?

Chen Gong: When did you figure it out?

Holmes: Oh, I was never sure of it. It was never more than a hunch. The Tree of Emptiness's whereabouts being so unclear all this time simply made no sense.

Holmes: It was therefore only natural to suspect it may be connected to this Lostbelt's most mysterious object, which also happened to be a tree.

Yu Mei-ren: ...I can't believe a Disciple of the Foreign God would bring the enemy straight to a Tree of Emptiness's roots.

Yu Mei-ren: What in the world were you thinking, Koyanskaya?

Koyanskaya: ...Hehe. Hehehehe.

Koyanskaya: What was I thinking, you say? I was thinking I'm just doing my job.

Koyanskaya: It's like I told you before, Yuie: you can't play mind games against Chaldea.

Koyanskaya: They're so good with that stuff you'd think they were working off an answer sheet.

Koyanskaya: So don't think of this as giving the tree's location away. Think of it as leading lambs to the slaughter.

Koyanskaya: So as a Crypter, all you have to do is play the executioner and use Mayall's power as a guillotine.

Koyanskaya: Now why don't you go ahead and get started,Ms. True Ancestor of the sage world?

Da Vinci: Mayall...So that's the third Tree of Emptiness's name!

Holmes: (Hang on. Mayall? First Orochi, then Sombrero, now Mayall...)

Holmes: (...Is that what the Trees of Emptiness actually are!? )

Yu Mei-ren: You have some nerve...Did you already forget how you tried to kill me!?

Koyanskaya: Oh, come now, Yuie. We both know you're not the type to let a little murder keep her down.

Koyanskaya: Can't you just let bygones be bygones?

Mordred: Hmph. There goes our truce. I figured it was just a matter of time till this bitch backstabbed us.

Koyanskaya: Check the fine print before you go around flinging baseless accusations. Oh, right, we didn't put it in writing, did we?

Koyanskaya: I'll still make an antidote. I make it a point of professional pride to always fulfill my obligations.

Koyanskaya: So once Fujimaru is good and dead...

Koyanskaya: ...I'll be sure to leave it on [♂ his /♀ her]grave along with some lovely flowers.

Fou: Fou, fooou!

Xiang Yu: ...Whatever that fox may be plotting, the fact remains that you Chaldeans are the source of this disturbance.

Xiang Yu: Now that we face each other once again, I will use all the power at my disposal to stop you. Is that all right, Yu?

Yu Mei-ren: ...Yes, Lord Xiang Yu.

Mash: ...Here they come, Master!


Nezha: We win! Xiang Yu! You may. Be advanced. But you are also. Alone.

Nezha: Your storms. May make. You invincible. But you have. No rivals. With which. To compete! Your strength. In fighting. Alone is. What sealed. Your defeat!

Xiang Yu: Ghh...!

Yu Mei-ren: Lord Xiang Yu!

Mordred: Hah, no way in hell we're losin' to your overgrown horse's ass three times in a row!

Mordred: I am Mordred, the damn Knight of Treachery. If you think you read my future, then I'll just rebel against that shit too!

Koyanskaya: H-hey! Yuie! What are you trying to pull here!?

Koyanskaya: Why haven't you removed Mayall's disguise yet!? What possible reason could you have to hold back now!?

Yu Mei-ren: Shut up...Shut up!

Qin Shi Huang: ...What is the meaning of this?

Da Vinci: Qin Shi Huang!? Of all the times for the emperor to show up!

Qin Shi Huang: How did you get to our treasury in the short time we were absent?

Qin Shi Huang: We must have taken longer to reboot than we realized. That is vexing.

Yu Mei-ren: ...

Mash: Oh no. If the emperor is here,then Jing Ke must be...

Koyanskaya: (Now how are things going to go? ...If Qin Shi Huang reconciles with Chaldea, I'll be right back to square one. )

Koyanskaya: (Well, there was never much to gain from this Lostbelt, anyway. It won't be any great loss. )

Koyanskaya: Yep, Hinako. If it makes you feel any better, you were absolutely right.

Koyanskaya: I should honor my agreement with the Foreign God,and see my job through to the end.

Koyanskaya: So I'll go ahead and have the Tree of Emptiness take care of Chaldea right now.

Yu Mei-ren: No! P-please, stop!

Koyanskaya: Go on then, Mayall, it's time to wake up! Show this tiny Lostbelt what your cosmos is really made of!

Da Vinci: What the...Why is the Fusang Tree splitting apart!?

Fou: Foooooou!

Goredolf: Whaaaaaa!?

Da Vinci: Oh yeah...That's a Tree of Emptiness if I ever saw one!

Holmes: I knew I was correct in my supposition,but I never expected anything quite like this.

Red Hare: A-are you sure that's a tree!? It's the size of a mountain!

Goredolf: How did something that big fit inside a bunch of dried up twigs all this time!?

Holmes: Qin Liangyu told us that the Fusang Tree was a treasure trove of hidden Mystic wisdom, also known as the“Tree of Life. ”

Holmes: But there are no ordinary means for such a vast amount of information to fit inside a single tree.

Holmes: That tree from the sage world must either contain some sort of independent dimension, or–

Da Vinci: Shut up and get back! The spatial inconsistency is trying to correct itself, and it's warping gravity all around it!

Koyanskaya: Teehee, the Tree of Emptiness has been slurping up pleeenty of magical energy from inside the Fusang Tree's pocket dimension.

Koyanskaya: It didn't even have to reveal itself out here to extend its roots throughout all of China's leylines!

Yu Mei-ren: Ah...Ah...

Qin Shi Huang: The Fusang Tree...The divine tree that sits at the heart of our empire! All this time, it was being co-opted by invaders...

Qin Shi Huang: The Tree of Emptiness...So that impossible mythology does exist...

Qin Shi Huang: Then...does that mean Akuta and the fox woman were telling the truth all along!?

Koyanskaya: Of course. This world was pruned away, and the one the Chaldeans belong to is in fact Proper Human History.

Koyanskaya: The nations you brought together...Your visions of everlasting peace...None of it was meant to exist.

Koyanskaya: Your entire history for the last two thousand and two hundred years was never more than a pipe dream.

Koyanskaya: So, how does that make you feel? Sad? Dejected? Utterly crushed with abject despair?

Qin Shi Huang: ...Hehehe. Hahahahaha! Do not be ridiculous. This is wonderful news!

Koyanskaya: Huh?

Qin Shi Huang: Thanks to our greatness, our eternal empire exists right here, right now.

Qin Shi Huang: After all, dreamers cannot distinguish between dreams and reality. For them, they are one and the same.

Qin Shi Huang: So if the world is about to dream again...who can say if your corrupt, ruined society, or our prosperous world, is the one that truly exists!

Red Hare: Oh, I get it! Like whether I'm a Lu Bu who thinks he's Red Hare, or a Red Hare who thinks he's Lu Bu.

Red Hare: When you get right down it, it doesn't really matter!

Chen Gong: Would you just shut it, horse? We're trying to have a serious conversation here.

Koyanskaya: N-no way. Qin Shi Huang's self-esteem is off the charts...! I swear, this is exactly why I hate you so much! You ARE the “ideal” human aren't you!?

Da Vinci: Well, obviously. Qin Shi Huang's been an emperor for over two thousand two hundred years, remember?

Da Vinci: He's probably overcome all sorts of things in that time–He's practically impervious to despair by this point!

Qin Shi Huang: Very well then. The victor here will determine the true history. No matter how many other branches there are, we will prune them all away!

Yu Mei-ren: ...!

Koyanskaya: ...Ohhh, now I see. So this is what you were afraid of, huh, Yuie?

Koyanskaya: You knew that Qin Shi Huang would get fired up once it was clear the Pruning Theoretical Phenomenon was true...

Koyanskaya: you decided to keep the Tree of Emptiness secret until the very last moment.

Qin Shi Huang: Is that so? Hmph, you thought this through. And we certainly fell for it.

Koyanskaya: You knew it was pointless to lie to an omniscient, omnipotent ruler.

Koyanskaya: So instead, you were perfectly honest about it all, knowing Qin Shi Huang would never believe a word.

Koyanskaya: By hiding the evidence that would validate your story, you were able to turn fact into fiction.

Koyanskaya: You must have really, really wanted to prevent Qin Shi Huang from learning the truth.

Mash: But, why...?

Mash: Why were you so desperate to keep Qin Shi Huang from acting?

Fou: Fooou...

Qin Shi Huang: You really are hopelessly foolish, Akuta. You would go that far to avoid war, hm?

Qin Shi Huang: You knew we would employ Xiang Yu in the war to be recorded as this planet's rightful history...

Qin Shi Huang: you wasted your time delaying the inevitable.

Yu Mei-ren: ...

Qin Shi Huang: To think you would choose such small comfort even in the face of certain destruction!

Qin Shi Huang: So this is the nadir of foolishness to which love has driven you!

Goredolf: ...Um, is it just me, or...?

Nezha: ...Yes. It is. Descending swiftly.

Qin Shi Huang: Naturally, I will not be taking your foolish,selfish wishes into consideration.

Qin Shi Huang: This will be a battle for the future of humanity. Those of you who are not human can stay out of it!

Koyanskaya: Uh-oh!

Mordred: Dammit! I knew this jackass was gonna fall on us! Which one of you dumbasses said this wouldn't happen!?

Fou: Fooou, fou!

Koyanskaya: Oh, dammit! This is what I have to deal with now that the king knows the truth about Lostbelts!?

Koyanskaya: Yuie refuses to help, Qin Shi Huang's out of control...!

Koyanskaya: There's clearly nothing to be gained here anymore! I'm out of here! I'm going back to the office!

Red Hare: Hey, she got away!

Fou: Fou, fooou!

Da Vinci: Forget her! We've all gotta get out of here!

Qin Shi Huang: Mayall, the Tree of Emptiness, was it? We shall grant you our protection.

Qin Shi Huang: We shall descend from on high...the most powerful guardian ever to exist!

Holmes: ...Hang on. Where exactly is it going to land?

Goredolf: (Cough, cough)...Wh-what the!?

Mash: Epang Palace has fallen...Is everyone all right?

Da Vinci: I thought for sure the emperor was going to fall right on top of us. Did Qin Shi Huang just miss...?

Qin Shi Huang: Such foolish notions hardly deserve to be given voice. We acted only out of generosity.

Qin Shi Huang: Chaldeans of Proper Human History, we are about to enter into contest as to which of us truly embodies what it is to be human, as well as over the direction in which mankind should proceed.

Qin Shi Huang: Settling this dispute simply by making use of our mass would resolve nothing.

Holmes: ...So, rather than destroy us in order to protect the empire, you want to converse with us about who should have the right to determine the future?

Da Vinci: Why would you make that kind of concession now...?

Qin Shi Huang: You need ask!? We are the emperor. We care first and foremost about humanity's future.

Qin Shi Huang: We must...grudgingly admit that our empire was indeed pruned away from history.

Qin Shi Huang: However, we cannot ignore that Proper Human History was so weak as to be so easily wiped out, even as you advanced the Chronicle Theoretical Phenomenon!

Qin Shi Huang: History is woven together through human will;its course is no mere coincidence.

Qin Shi Huang: Thus, the one who leads the Chronicle Theoretical Phenomenon must be the stronger, superior human!

Mash: ...Someone is coming out of Epang Palace! Is that...a person?

Qin Shi Huang: It is. The ultimate human form. It has overcome death, transcended yin and yang, and reached the truth of immortality. This is the only Zhenren in existence.

Qin Shi Huang: This is Qin!

Da Vinci: A human form...!?

Goredolf: But...I thought the emperor was a giant machine,like in those movies about interstellar warfare!

Holmes: (...That isn't the only surprise. That Spirit Origin is less strong than it is...great...)

Holmes: (In Proper Human History, it would be ranked Grand. So then...why is the emperor a Ruler!? )

Qin Shi Huang: We grew this body by applying the eclosion ascension method we learned by analyzing the Fusang Tree...

Qin Shi Huang: the physiological data we collected from Akuta Hinako.

Qin Shi Huang: We had not planned on actually using it,but our discussion with Jing Ke changed our mind.

Qin Shi Huang: If we are to prove our path for humanity is superior to Proper Human History's, then we must do so in a human body.

Holmes: Your path for humanity...?

Qin Shi Huang: Should humanity prioritize safety in stagnancy, or growth, which is inextricably entangled with risk?

Qin Shi Huang: The question of which humanity is best suited to lead Earth from the Chronicle Theoretical Phenomenon can no longer be decided with words alone.

Qin Shi Huang: Thus, we will decide this matter by punching you! We shall also permit you to punch us in return!

Qin Shi Huang: Whomever remains standing in the end shall be the one entrusted with the hopes of the future!

Mash: The hopes of...the future...

Fou: Fou, fooou!

Qin Shi Huang: We are the ultimate human! There is only one of us!

Qin Shi Huang: Whereas you, Fujimaru, are but one of many humans from your world.

Qin Shi Huang: Whichever one of us is stronger shall be the one to face Earth's next great challenge. We trust you agree there can be no fairer way to settle our dispute?

Mordred: Well, how about that. You're a damn sight more reasonable than I gave you credit for.

Chen Gong: Putting aside that Qin Shi Huang only came to this because both sides refuse to consider the other's position...

Chen Gong: ...I quite agree that we should accept this offer.

Chen Gong: There can be no better way to determine who is more fit for these chaotic times. This is how contests of power should happen.

Mash: ...Master...

Fujimaru 1: ...So we're not fighting in hatred,but to show the strength of our conviction...

Fujimaru 1: Well, we can't back down from that, now can we!?

Mash: Right! As members of the Chaldea Security Organization...No...

Mash: As humans representing our own world and history...we agree to your terms, Qin Shi Huang!

Qin Shi Huang: Hehehe. Good. With that firm gaze and fighting spirit, you should make a foe well worth crushing with these two hands.

Qin Shi Huang: Now, come at us with all your might, members of humanity's masses! We shall test you ourself!


Qin Shi Huang: Was that...Has our knee truly touched the ground first?

Holmes: ...It did. Are you convinced now,Your Imperial Majesty?

Holmes: You went out of your way to fight us as human, even knowing that we had no chance in battle against your mechanical vessel.

Holmes: You have borne a vast responsibility all these years, and for that you have my respect. But, the results speak for themselves.

Holmes: Even as a Zhenren, you chose to prioritize defense. But defense is a role for gods, not humans.

Holmes: Humans' nature lies in pressing ever onward, no matter how foolish it may be to do so or how disgraceful the results may be.

Qin Shi Huang: ...Yes. We can express only our genuine shock.

Qin Shi Huang: Tell us, Fujimaru. In your world, are all, all humans, as strong as you?

Fujimaru 1: I don't know. But I do know this...

Fujimaru 1: Whoever else might have come to fight you insteadwouldn't have had to do it alone either.

Fujimaru 2: These Heroic Spirits would have helped whoever happened to be here.

Mordred: I'm not so sure, Fujimaru. I mean, our world is pretty well stocked with dumbasses.

Mordred: Still...I guess I could be bothered to help out if there was someone even half as freakin' stupid as you trying to handle this.

Red Hare: Oh yes, I'd be even more inclined to trust someone like that, being a horse and all!

Qin Shi Huang: ...We see. So even if you had fallen, you have every conviction that someone else would come to take your place.

Fou: Fou, fooou!

Qin Shi Huang: If all of you are possessed of such resilience,and the will to endure life's tribulations...

Qin Shi Huang: ...then perhaps humans may indeed be able to overcome any obstacle in their path toward a future with limitless possibilities.

Mash: Yes. That's what we believe, too...along with someone else who helped us come this far.

Qin Shi Huang: ...Very well. We will take that bet.

Qin Shi Huang: We leave the future of the Chronicle Theoretical Phenomenon in Proper Human History's hands. See that it flourishes under your care.

Fujimaru 1: Thank you. That means a lot.

Fujimaru 2: That last part might be kind of tough...but I'll do my best.

Xiang Yu: ...

Xiang Yu: No. No, I do not accept that.

Yu Mei-ren: ...Huh?

Mash: General Xiang Yu...?

Xiang Yu: Even if that is what the humans have agreed upon, I cannot accept it.

Qin Shi Huang: You would defy our decree, Kuaiji Zero?

Xiang Yu: You are my lord no longer, Your Imperial Majesty. My only loyalty now is to my companion, Yu Mei-ren.

Yu Mei-ren: Lord Xiang Yu...

Xiang Yu: Yu, my beloved, has chosen this Lostbelt as her home. She has wandered far too long in search of peace...

Xiang Yu: ...and now, at long last, she has found it. I cannot take that away from her.

Mordred: You have got to be freakin' shittin' me! He wants to go another round!?

Nezha: Please stop. This madness! Your body. Needs maintenance! You are. In no. Shape to. Fight again!

Yu Mei-ren: P-please, Lord Xiang Yu, you mustn't! You're already at your limit...There's no way you can win!

Xiang Yu: It's all right. This body of mine can still move, so I will not let them cut down the Tree of Emptiness.

Xiang Yu: Your first and final prayer...can only exist beyond its branches.

Mash: Xiang Yu is preparing for battle again, Master!

Xiang Yu: The Xiang Yu from Proper Human History died plagued by regrets. Now, I will see his wishes fulfilled.

Xiang Yu: Just this once, I will fight not for the empire, but for the woman I love.

Xiang Yu: Now, behold what Xiang Yu can do when he is pushed to his absolute limit!


Xiang Yu: ...Alas, I could not make my wish come true...

Mash: ...

Yu Mei-ren: Lord Xiang Yu...

Xiang Yu: Forgive me, Yu. Once again, my failure condemns you to an eternity wandering alone...

Xiang Yu: I wanted nothing more than to grant you solace. I wish we could have spent endless days together in peace...

Xiang Yu: However, my functionality could not make that dream a reality.

Xiang Yu: Ahh, so this is what it feels to have regret gnawing at you in your final moments...

Yu Mei-ren: Lord Xiang Yu, I...!

Xiang Yu: Ah, Yu...My companion...I am sorry...I cannot your side...

Xiang Yu: Ah, Yu...My Yu...What will your

Yu Mei-ren: Ah...Aaaaaah...!

Yu Mei-ren: Lord Xiang Yu...Lord Xiang Yu...! Lord Xiang Yuuu!!!

Mash: ...Akuta...

Da Vinci: Don't, Mash. No one can console her now.

Mash: ...

Da Vinci: I don't think any human–any being fated to die, really, could understand her pain right now.

Da Vinci: This is what it means to live for all of time.

Fou: Fou, fooou...

Yu Mei-ren: ...!

Yu Mei-ren: Chaldea, Qin Shi Huang, Proper Human History...

Yu Mei-ren: Do you think this is over? Do you think your path forward is clear now?

Qin Shi Huang: What are you doing, fairy? After all that has come to pass, you would still try to stop Chaldea?

Yu Mei-ren: The future of mankind has never meant anything to me.

Yu Mei-ren: I never cared who got pruned away or who got to carry on the chronicle.

Yu Mei-ren: But now, you humans–you loathsome, despicable, disgusting humans are all I can think about!

Da Vinci: Her Spirit Origin is...dispersing? What's going on?

Holmes: I knew that True Ancestors were essentially Elementals, she truly abandoning her incarnated body?

Da Vinci: Wait! The Tree of Emptiness's magical energy is absolutely skyrocketing! I...I think it's absorbing her Spirit Origin!

Qin Shi Huang: True sages and fairies like her have always been something akin to a Divided Spirit of the Fusang Tree.

Qin Shi Huang: So if this Tree of Emptiness fed off the Fusang Tree to manifest here, she may be able to possess it...

Yu Mei-ren: You humans don't deserve a future! I won't allow it!

Yu Mei-ren: Not after how you've gotten as far as you have by feeding on the dreams and despair of nonhumans everywhere!

Da Vinci: The Tree of Emptiness's magical energy is entering an active state! Looks like it's finally woken up...and it's about to come at us!

Mordred: Dammit, we don't have time to just stand here with our thumbs up our asses!

Mordred: Get ready, Fujimaru! This is it! It's do-or-die time!

Qin Shi Huang: If that thing would curse all of mankind,then it is our enemy as well.

Mash: Qin Shi Huang!?

Fujimaru 1: Does that mean you'll help us?

Qin Shi Huang: You may have been strong enough to defeat us,but this is still our territory.

Qin Shi Huang: What's more, the fairy has shown great impertinence in taking our Fusang Tree. We will therefore gladly lend you our aid in battle!

Yu Mei-ren: Die! Die!!! I will wipe you from existence!!!

Yu Mei-ren: All of my hatred, all of my curses, all my fury shall power the Tree of Emptiness!

Yu Mei-ren: Hear me, Mayall! Hear me, my Origin, ruins of the last Fusang Tree! Use your jagged canopy to skewer humanity's last hopes for their future!

Mash: Master, look out...!

Mash: The internal temperature of the Tree of Emptiness is rising rapidly! I'm detecting gravitational shifts creating fault lines in space-time!

Mash: I'm also detecting gamma rays...! They...they appear to be cosmic in origin!

Da Vinci: Mash, patch me into the Ortinax's sensor data! ...Wait, what!? What IS this!?

Da Vinci: Is this fake!? Miniature!? Connected to the real thing!?

Da Vinci: Ah, hell with it! There's only one thing I can say for sure!

Da Vinci: It's a galaxy! There's a real, actual galaxy inside the Tree of Emptiness!

Fujimaru 1: A galaxy? As in, massive celestial body galaxy!?

Fujimaru 2: You mean, like, a GALAXY galaxy!?

Holmes: Indeed. Unlike those of Russia and Scandinavia,this Tree of Emptiness has fully blossomed.

Holmes: People have said that the hollows of great trees connect to other worlds ever since the Age of Myth.

Holmes: This one contains a galaxy...and one we know at that. Sadly, I cannot yet say what the greater significance of that may be.

Holmes: Any analysis will have to wait. That tree is directing all its energy straight at us!

Holmes: Be ready to continue fighting, Fujimaru! That thing cannot be allowed to remain on this planet!

Fujimaru 1: ...Got it!

Fujimaru 2: ...Let's do this, Mash!

Mash: ...Yes, Master! We'll target the Tree of Emptiness's heat source five thousand meters above the ground!

Mash: It's time to complete Order Lostbelt No. 3...our last battle in the Chinese Lostbelt!


Yu Mei-ren: Aaahhh...Aaahhh...!!!

Da Vinci: Its magical energy signal is fading! We did it!

Mash: But, Akuta's...

Yu Mei-ren: ...He knew. He knew this would happen...

Yu Mei-ren: His grief was because he knew I would be consumed by rage, and disappear as a vengeful ghost...

Yu Mei-ren: How foolish I've been...To think I brought him such sadness not once, but twice...

Qin Shi Huang: That is your only regret? Why, it could not be simpler to put an end to Xiang Yu's grief.

Mash: Huh!?

Qin Shi Huang: Xiang Yu's grief was over how you would spend your final moments. If you wish to end that grief, you need only choose an end for yourself that would let him rejoice rather than despair.

Yu Mei-ren: What...?

Qin Shi Huang: Become a Heroic Spirit.

Qin Shi Huang: As an Elemental, surely such a choice is within your power. Joining the Counter Force should be trivial.

Chen Gong: I-is that really how it works?

Da Vinci: I mean, I know Fujimaru has formed contracts with Divine Spirit-class beings before, but...

Yu Mei-ren: You would have me become a pawn of the Counter Force? You would have me protect the very humans I despise more than anything?

Qin Shi Huang: We are sure the idea holds little appeal to you. But it was dedicating his life to doing so that gave Xiang Yu such pride.

Qin Shi Huang: If you were to carry on in his stead, he would surely have no more reason to lament your fate.

Yu Mei-ren: ...

Qin Shi Huang: Hehe, so you are still not fully convinced? Then consider this...

Qin Shi Huang: You are the only one in all of your history to know the truth about Xiang Yu, are you not?

Qin Shi Huang: Should you bring your knowledge of him to the Throne, he may also be appointed one of humanity's guardians.

Qin Shi Huang: Should that come to pass, you may one day have a chance to see him again.

Yu Mei-ren: ...I...

Qin Shi Huang: Well, whatever you choose,there is no need to decide right now.

Qin Shi Huang: There is no reason not to take some time to wander the mountains as you think it over.

Yu Mei-ren: ...

Holmes: I'm impressed you were able to talk down a vengeful ghost.

Qin Shi Huang: We are the emperor. Guiding our people with the light of reason has long been our duty.

Chen Gong: If you had only wanted to protect this world, you could have chosen to join forces with Yu Mei-ren and defend the Tree of Emptiness together.

Qin Shi Huang: Just the sort of underhanded trickery we would expect from a tactician.

Qin Shi Huang: While, had she revealed the Tree of Emptiness to us sooner, we might have done so.

Qin Shi Huang: But we had already decided to abdicate in favor of Fujimaru, and we were not about to change our mind.

Chen Gong: Hahaha. If there is no further need for a tactician, then it would seem my work here is done.

Red Hare: Agreed. Where you find war, you can also find tacticians. But if there's no more war here, then I had best be on my way as well.

Chen Gong: [♂ Lord /♀ Lady] Fujimaru, I am sure we will one day meet again on a new field of battle.

Chen Gong: Next time, I won't bother to test how strong you are. I will know you to be a Master worth following from the very start.

Red Hare: As for me, uh, I'd really appreciate it if you could summon me by name next time.

Red Hare: It's a bit weird, not being quite sure who you are...

Chen Gong: We do know, though. As I have repeatedly told you...You. Are. Red. Hare.

Red Hare: Aw come on, really? I don't know if I buy that...

Da Vinci: Oh yeah, I guess it's time for everyone to be heading back to the Throne, huh?

Mordred: Hey, we'll stick around till you leave this Lostbelt.

Mordred: You did summon us inside the Shadow Border, after all.

Nezha: I see. I am. Very happy. Red one. We can. Stay together. A little. Bit longer.

Mash: Still, if the Heroic Spirits this world summoned are already gone, that must mean...

Fujimaru 1: This world won't be around much longer...

Qin Shi Huang: That is nothing you need concern yourselves with.

Qin Shi Huang: ...Though from the looks on your faces...

Qin Shi Huang: ...we suppose you humans from Proper Human History cannot put your feelings aside so easily.

Qin Shi Huang: Well, we can assure you that there will be no weeping or lamentation of the sort you are worried about.

Qin Shi Huang: Our people do not fear either death or oblivion. Indeed they cannot comprehend fear or despair.

Mash: ...

Qin Shi Huang: That is how we have raised them.

Qin Shi Huang: They will spend today just as they have every other day, knowing neither grief nor regret.

Qin Shi Huang: Even when the day of destruction arrives, they will simply fade away as easily as falling asleep.

Qin Shi Huang: That is the paradise on Earth we have created. That is the world we made for our beloved people.

Da Vinci: ...Got it.

Da Vinci: The storm clouds have disappeared. That takes care of the Chronicle Theoretical Phenomenon overlap.

Qin Shi Huang: Oho, that is excellent news. Then our territory has finally become whole again.

Qin Shi Huang: We shall immediately connect to our Great Wall to see how our lands are faring.

Qin Shi Huang: Well done, Chaldea. Now, we assume you have your own urgent business to attend to?

Fujimaru 1: Qin Shi Huang...

Qin Shi Huang: Go on then, humanity's next crisis awaits. Do not forget your responsibility–no matter how heavy the burden.

Fujimaru 1: ...Huh?

Fujimaru 2: What's this...?

	Delivered: One (1) Dosage of Fusang Tree Antidote Sender: NFF Services Customer Support 

	No signature required. All sales and transactions final. 

Da Vinci: Huh? Koyanskaya snuck into the Shadow Border? When!? How!?

Holmes: It must have been while we were preoccupied with our battle against the Tree of Emptiness...

Holmes: Admittedly I didn't think our security was so lax that she would be able to gain entry that quickly.

Da Vinci: We did let her aboard after we recovered the Border at the Ministry of Technology...Do you think she tampered with security while we weren't looking?

Da Vinci: Ugh, great! Just great! Now I have even more stuff to check before we start our next Zero Sail!

Da Vinci: There's no telling what she might have messed with while she was here!

Holmes: I don't think we need to worry. Yes, she could have sabotaged the Border in any number of ways while she was in here.

Holmes: But all she left behind was the antidote. I imagine this was her way of keeping her word.

Holmes: I'm certain we can assume the antidote to be safe as well. If nothing else, she seems to be quite serious about abiding by her contracts.

Fujimaru 1: All right then, here goes nothing...

Mash: ...Senpai? How do you feel?

Fujimaru 1: ...Yeah, I think it worked.

Fujimaru 2: I think I feel a little better...

Goredolf: Theeere we go! You see? I told you there was nothing to worry about, and I was right!

Da Vinci: Yeah, okay, I can understand Gordy being excited about this.

Da Vinci: Now if he could just be a little less oblivious,he'd be a much better director.

Meunière: Ah, what's the harm? The important thing is that we're all okay.

Mash: ...Yes. That's true, isn't it...

Goredolf: Why the long face, Mash? Something else on your mind?

Mash: ...We just destroyed another world...

Goredolf: ...Oh, yes. That.

Mash: I understand that dead-end histories without any possibility for future growth are destined to be pruned away.

Mash: I understand that the Russian and Scandinavian Lostbelts were exceptionally harsh environments for mankind, too.

Mash: But, this Lostbelt was...

Da Vinci: Yeah. It was peaceful.

Da Vinci: If we hadn't stuck our noses in, I doubt anyone here would have ever realized they were unhappy.

Da Vinci: But you know, peace that becomes stagnation is its own kind of dead end.

Da Vinci: That was ultimately why this history had to be pruned away.

Mash: ...I know. That's the only conclusion I can come to as well, after seeing how it ended up.

Mash: But...then I remember what Qin Liangyu told us. How the warriors of the empire fought so hard to create this perfect, lasting peace.

Mash: And then, I can't help but think...

Mash: ...what if one day, everything we've fought so hard to achieve turns out to be for nothing, too...?

Da Vinci: I can't say that's impossible.

Da Vinci: The Pruning Theoretical Phenomenon isn't driven by malice or error. It just...happens.

Da Vinci: We're not immune, either. No matter how hard we fight for what we believe in...

Da Vinci: ...there's always a chance some other branch more worthy of being called Proper Human History could leave us behind.

Da Vinci: If that ever happens...I only hope we have the same grace and bravery to pass on the torch that Qin Shi Huang did.

Holmes: People are fond of saying “the possibilities are endless” as though it were inherently good, failing to realize the full implications.

Holmes: Possibilities may be endless,but outcomes are anything but.

Holmes: And that massive diversity of choice only adds to the pressure of the inevitable culling.

Mash: ...It's a hard problem. A very, very hard problem.

Mash: Sometimes, I wonder...How wise do we need to be before we can know for sure what's right?

Holmes: If we ever reach that point, it will only be after we cease being human and instead become gods.

Holmes: As long as humans remain human...our only hope is to keep grasping for the truth as best we can from among the vast sea of endless possibilities.

Sion: Ahem, this is the Wandering Sea Chaldea Base. I have confirmed that the storm wall around the Chinese Lostbelt is gone.

Sion: I should be able to reach you via comms now. Do you read me?

Fujimaru 1: It's Sion...!

Fujimaru 2: Loud and clear!

Sion: Excellent! That's what I like to hear!

Sion: And from the tone of Fujimaru's lovely voice, it sounds like you completed your mission handily.

Sion: Great work, everyone. Now, I bet you could all use a nice, hot shower, correct?

Sion: Then I suggest you head west about ten kilometers from your current position. Captain's on his way now.

Sion: Once you meet up with him, you can Zero Sail over to the Wandering Sea before the other Crypters spot you.

Goredolf: Oh? I would certainly love a good victory massage,but are you sure we can make it back so easily!?

Sion: Of course. Now that the Lostbelt's gravitational field has collapsed, my calculations and Captain's nav skills will have you back here before you know it.

Sion: Oh, but keep in mind that this method is strictly for getting between places that exist in THIS world–I can get you to the entry point of a Lostbelt and back, but I cannot get you in! Think of this as the world's most advanced airport shuttle!

Meunière: Fine by me! Honestly, I was worried we were gonna have to drive all the way back from here!

Sion: Oh no, we would never make you waste your time like that. Especially not when you already have another Order waiting.

Fujimaru 1: Huh? Another one?

Mash: What do you mean, Sion...? Are we moving up our plans to invade the Atlantic Lostbelt?

Sion: Ahaha, definitely not! In fact, that is not even possible at this point!

Sion: As they say, haste makes waste, clothes make the man, and sparing the rod spoils the child. I know now that this next part is essential to our larger plan.

Sion: Once you're all rested up, I'm going to have you head out on your next Order, Lostbelt No. 4...

Sion: ...where you will investigate a strange Lostbelt that has been repeatedly expanding and contracting.

Sion: Moreover, the Captain will be joining in on your adventure into a dazzling realm of Indian mythology!


Farmer A: ...Hey, are you sure it's okay to leave the cave?

Farmhand A: Well, that nice doctor in the white outfit said we should be fine now.

Farmer B: There was a real strange air about them, wasn't there? Kinda reminded me of those Chaldea people...


Boy: “I start a song, and the moon begins to reel. I rise and dance, and the shadow moves grotesquely. ”

Boy: “While I am still conscious, let us rejoice with one another. After I am drunk, let each one go his way. ”

Qin Shi Huang: ...Oho, a poem extolling the beauty of the moon. Lovely.

Boy: Yeah, poems are great, aren't they?

Boy: That one always makes me feel like I'm gazing up at the moon, no matter where I am.

Qin Shi Huang: Now that we think of it, all the poems we ever heard in Xianyang were about us. Of course, we were perfectly happy with that at the time...

Qin Shi Huang: ...but still, would it have been so terrible to have someone regale us with a tale of the moon?

Boy: Say...Who are you? I don't recognize you.

Qin Shi Huang: We are the emperor.

Boy: The emperor? N-no way...

Boy: I heard the emperor lives up in the sky,and is always watching over us from above.

Boy: But, you're the same height as us...and you're here on the ground with us?

Qin Shi Huang: Indeed. We walk the same land,and gaze up at the same heavens.

Qin Shi Huang: We decided to spend our final moments with our people. We are, after all, human...just like all of you.

“...Sober still, let us rejoice with one another. Once drunk, let each one go his way...”

“...Let us be bound forever, to carefree journeying. Let us swear to meet again, beyond this Milky Way...”