Traum Summary Translation - 妖兰
Note: This summary translation is done by Fumei/Savepoints on Beast Lair/Reddit
Aboard the Storm Border, Da Vinci and Sion are having a discussion on what constitutes the "perfect human being". Da Vinci, thinking the topic too vague, first moves to define the concept more closely. Sion suggests then that "a perfect human is one who never errs".
Sion: Rather than overcoming hardships or making the impossible possible, what if we define perfection as...a "lack of error in a person's judgement"?
Da Vinci agrees on the terms that, no matter the issue at hand, or the oversight by the person, if they could solve the issue they would surely be a genius, but the fact that such a situation was allowed to arise in the first place proves it was not the "perfect choice". As such, perfection simply has to refer to "a state without error". In other words, someone who always makes the most optimal decisions, who never makes any oversights. As a consequence, as soon as an oversight were to be made, that person would stop being perfect. Sion counters this by positing that there exists a perfect problem such that even the perfect human would make an oversight.
Da Vinci: If a problem capable of fooling even an unerring, perfect human exists, that is. Oh, but then consider this case: The mistake is not necessarily a mistake at all. The person purposefully overlooked the problem. A "perfect human", precisely due to their perfection, wilfully ignored the problem. For that is a problem that ought not to be solved. Therefore, the very fact that they overlooked the problem is in and of itself proof of "a perfect decision, a perfect choice"... Something like that? That might be leaning too hard on the semantics, though.
The conversation is cut short by Nemo entering the bridge, reporting that the ship is about to depart from the Arctic Circle. He says that the two of them should go ahead and proceed with their routine update reports (even though they may only consist of recaps), and so they do.
Sion recounts how shortly after the destruction of the British Lostbelt, and the peace brokering with the Larval Beast, Koyanskaya, the Wandering Sea was lost due to the actions of the Alien God. They made their escape on the Storm Border with the rest of the staff, using the gravitational collapse of the Wandering Sea to create a distraction. Thankfully for any future adventures, Trismegistus II and SHEBA were both loaded onto the ship beforehand, so this is their new base now. They ended up hiding out in the Arctic Circle for some time, as it was considered the safest place by Trismegistus II, and they seem to have escaped the Alien God for now.
Da Vinci continues by reporting that the Holy Sword Essence acquired in Britain has almost finished being turned into a proper weapon, and they simply have to run test simulations on it now. Now, you're all headed to South America, where the Alien God, and your final confrontation, awaits. They also mention that you'll get there by crossing over North America first.
In addition, Nemo seems to have agreed to a certain name for the Holy Sword, though we're not made privy to what that may be.
Suddenly, an announcement blares across the bridge.
Announcement: An obstacle not accounted for in Novum Chaldea's anti-Alien God protocol has been detected. ———Detecting decline in the attestation values for Pan-Human History of the bleached Earth. Risk of transience upon the present due to interference with the past has been confirmed. Chaldea staff are requested to urgently initiate the Rayshift execution sequence. According to SHEBA's observations, this is one of the "largest direct attacks on Pan-Human History" ever made. It is a large-scale Singularity.
Section 1: The Coffinmaker is My Only Friend
In the darkness, we listen to a sorrowful monologue.
———A soliloquy. ■■■■■■ cannot comprehend ■■■■■. They cannot discern whether dead or alive, standing or sitting, whether thoughtful or thoughtless, begging alms or offering prayers. They know not a thing. They express no pain, nor any joy. No fear, yet no relief. Only an impending premonition and a chill informs them that the end has come. They merely die meaningless deaths in such a way, on such a stage. Yet something confined inside me helps them prolong their life just a little longer. It begs them to remain human until the very last moment. Do not pray, but sing. Right now, that's all ■■■■ can do.
A player choice, perhaps ours, perhaps not, appears: ■■■■ a ■■■■, ■■■———
That darkness fills with numerous red lights, and turns to a swirling mist, in which the monologues continue, this time seemingly by someone else.
———My soliloquy. Yes, precisely. I must be a traitor. A traitor to Pan-Human History, and to the principles of honesty. Most assuredly a circumstance of my own incompetence. Or perhaps it would better be called competence? My sins, my fate, my obligations. The day to put an end to them will arrive at last. Here, beneath the falls we named Reichenbach.
Back on the Storm Border, Sion is giving a briefing about the upcoming mission. It has an unstable date, although it is not later than 1700 AD, though there may be a deviation of at least 100 years. Based on vegetation, it is presumed to take place in what was the USA in your proper history. Additionally, while it lacks the magical energy density of the Age of Gods, it seems to be experiencing bursts of magical energy, as if someone is wildly throwing around anti-army Noble Phantasms. Furthermore, it has received the Human Order Foundation Value "ERROR". That is to say, not EX, which is usually given to that which is immeasurable, because this one isn't even that much. Neither is it something small such that it would be below E- rank. There are simply no clues as to what this means right now, so you'll have no choice but to forget about it for the time being.
As for the Servants to accompany you, you're limited to three Servants, though this limit is actually decreased to two, since one of the positions is saved in case Mashu needs to be sent in as emergency reinforcements. The reason she isn't coming along right from the start is that the Ortenaus is still undergoing maintenance, and so she wouldn't be able to fight as the events in Britain may have caused her Saint Graph to drift out of sync slightly. Instead, one of your Servants will be Holmes this time. He is both compatible with the Singularity, and should be able to provide a lot of insight as to what's going on. Your other Servant will be Vlad III (the Berserker version). Before this, by the way, Fou whines and scurries off.
However, there's one more special surprise. One more special companion on this adventure. If they were to send two Masters into the Singularity, a lot of options would open up, and so, they're sending none other than Kadoc! With his Lostbelt being gone, and his refuge in Olympus as well, he had no real choice but to surrender to you after he woke up again. He's now currently outfitted with a collar.
Sion: Right, right. What we have here is the Atlas Institute's hand-crafted magus-killer collar. If he takes any suspicious action while we're monitoring... The collar's function activates, completely destroying his magic circuits. The same applies if he tries to force its removal. It isn't necessarily meant to kill by design... But the intentional disruption of magic circuits caused by this collar would most definitely result in death. Oh, and be aware that unauthorized use of magecraft will also trigger the collar.
As you extend a hand to greet him, he scolds you for revealing your hand so casually. As a Master, your hands, especially the one carrying your Command Seals, reveals a lot of information about you. As it turns out, this scolding isn't just Kadoc being a little grumpy about the situation, but part of the reason why he's coming along this time. You might have had the aptitude to be a Master, but that didn't automatically turn you into a trained mage. That's where Kadoc comes in, as he'll be able to teach you some of the more fundamental things.
Sion also reveals to Holmes that she was not able to remove the Sirius Light from Kadoc, but that it shouldn't necessarily pose a problem. If the Alien God could remote activate it, they would've surely done so by now, and as it still constitutes magic, if Kadoc himself tried to use it, the collar would kill him.
Now, all that remains is to Rayshift into, and resolve, the largest Singularity ever observed, ere the course of the very world as you know it be twisted.
We're treated to another monologue in the dark.
Whatever the era, whatever the place, whatever the ideology... Nothing is more difficult to succeed in than war. There is nothing but artless death there. Neither race, gender, nor age factor into it. There are those who get by on their skill, effort, and luck. Even those meet an anticlimactic end in the face of death. In death, living things become a mere lump of flesh, that is the natural order. Be that as it may, with Servants, this fails to occur. When they die, they fade away. There's no sign of having been there. No record of their presence. Death so abrupt it confounds the mind. Whether they are heroes who saved their homeland, or anti-heroes that brought them to ruin... They nonetheless die as though it were only natural, for whatever the reason. War never changes. No matter how time passes, nor how civilization develops. Killing one another is simply the final step of any negotiations. These heroes have but one goal———to rebel. Not against a king, not against God, not even against the world. It is a rebellion against Pan-Human History.
The scene changes to that of a castle covered in red and black. Multiple men stand before a woman carrying a large blade.
The castle was unbearable, even for the veteran heroes summoned as Servants. In this castle stood crimson brilliance and darkest insanity. Any man less than a hero would fall to madness. The beauty before them was the embodiment of that insanity. Her name is Kriemhild. In the Nibelungenlied, she was a princess who vowed revenge for the murder of her husband, Siegfried.
The woman, Kriemhild, blames the men—these nondescript Servants—for various crimes on the battlefield. Desertation, letting the enemy slip past, over-extending in pursuit. Each Servant responds to their respective accusation with attempted justification. "My retreat was due to Rider's disruption. If I'd held my ground, death was likely", "That was no enemy. It was just a child", "I am to blame. I rightfully accept my punishment." Shivering, they await the Queen's decision. But even in the face of certain death, holding one's ground is not meaningless. As such, the Queen cuts down the Servant in cold blood. Neither do children exist on this battlefield, only Servants. As such, the Queen cuts down the next Servant in cold blood. Finally, the last of them is spared for but a moment. But thinking to act obedient in order to have one's life spared in such a shrewd and cunning way is wholly unnecessary. As such, the Queen cuts down the final Servant in cold blood.
The massacre concluded, another Servant enters the throne room, a Caster which Kriemhild refers to as Zhang Jiao. He sends puppets to take care of the Queen's mess, and proceeds to report that the war on the frontline remains in a stalemate. Despite all his puppets, and the knowledge from his Taiping Yaoshu, he simply cannot expediate the process any more. He mentions that more Servants have been summoned to the battlefield recently, and when prompted, replies that the "Via Regia Realm" has not yet made a move, other than sending their scouts out. Kriemhild suspects that they're waiting for the other two sides to be locked into battle, only to then take out the remainder.
Zhang Jiao: One last thing, your star of fate has just now taken a shine. The one coming who will bring important changes to this Singularity. I speak of———
Kriemhild seems ecstatic at the thought of being able to inflict pain upon a mage of Pan-Human History. She orders more scouts to keep an eye on Via Regia, as well as for Chaldea. Abruptly, another Servant enters the chamber, this time it's Salome, who has left what is apparently her torture chamber.
Salome, seemingly having no real idea about anything, asks who Chaldea are, and more importantly if they have good heads. Kriemhild explains that they are enemies, no more, no less. Salome doesn't seem too bothered either way, and decides to go out to buy some cake. At the same time, Zhang Jiao leaves to tend to an experiment of his.
Kriemhild: Insufferable, insufferable... Chaldea, der Große, and the Emperor. I hate each and every one of them. It's that hero who's to blame for all this. If he isn't summoned soon, I'm going to break down. Hurry, hurry, hurry...
The scene changes once again, this time to a castle clad in white stone, draped in rejuvinating sunlight. Various soldiers are reporting to their leader, who is being accompanied by a girl—a pope. The girl tells the man not to mourn the loss of one of his soldiers. Though his sorrow may be appropriate, it is misplaced. All of them, including her, fight with the resolve to give their lives for his sake. However, he doesn't seem to think he's worthy of such a thing. The girl responds:
???: One's worth is determined not just by themselves, but by others. However much you may deny it, however much you scorn or blame yourself for this dream-like children's story. You have our love and respect, heavy though they must be.
The man, who the girl refers to as Emperor, responds by saying that he believes that to be too heavy a burden. Even so, they will stand firm in their belief of him. However, the Popess has a question for him.
???: All the barbaric atrocities and merciless cruelties performed in my name. Are they committed not because we are on the brink of death, but because it is what you want?
The Emperor seems to lack a definitive answer to this question, although apprehensive at the thought that the Popess would be against it. However, she merely states once more that she would even sacrifice herself for his sake. Perhaps this is all his interpretation of the Lord's voice. Their dialouge ends, her going to worship, and him staying to strategize with his troops before joining her. Soldiers report that a small force from the Revenge Realm invaded, but were repelled by thirty Archer-class Servants using their Noble Phantasms. However, some of the other Servants stationed there had broken formation, defying orders. One of them has been brought in front of the Emperor, and is being questioned for his motives. However, when the Servant clearly displays remorse, the Emperor grants him mercy. Likewise, two quarreling soldiers who had disrupted the troops are assigned to support the rest from the rearguard in the next battle. Finally, a Caster, whom the Emperor seem to imply had a connection to Alexander the Great, stands in line to be judged. Before his misdeeds can even be brought to light, the Emperor cuts him down.
???: ———No. That's the one thing in this realm that I forbid. We do not acknowledge Pan-Human History. We acknowledge nothing but rebellion. That goes for cooperation and mercy as well. I thought you realized as much when you came over to this side of things. We are beings who defied the flow of history, who were swallowed up, and some even erased. The bonds shackling us to defend the Human Order have long disappeared, and I——— I simply must make Pan-Human History pay. Though that grudge may be completely personal, I suppose.
In a nearby chapel, the popess' prayers are interspersed with narration.
"I am not in error. I am not mistaken," she prays.
At first, her prayers were not for herself, but only for others. Prayers for something. Prayers for someone. That was proper, since one can justify their position by way of devotion. Even so, this prayer is only for herself. Her sin is no sin. Her atonement is no atonement. And yet, that contradiction is only the result of devotion that comes to fruition here. A contradiction driving her into inescapable torment.
"Please deliver me salvation," she prays.
She simply murmured a wish for which she did not even know towards whom it should be directed.
As the Emperor joins her in prayer, she hopes that she can shoulder some of his burdens.
Once more, the scene changes to another castle. This time, it's a more timid throne room, where the throne itself is concealed by a large curtain. Behind it, we merely see two shadows. A soldier's report states that the other two sides engaged in bloody conflict, then each retreated. Astolfo and Roland are the ones receiving the report, although it is nothing they don't already know. They may have the smallest number of troops, but they are surely of the highest quality. The soldiers praise their king, Karl der Große, and spit on the names of Kriemhild and Constantine. The King agrees from behind his curtain.
The King commands that the scouts be doubled and maintain their training. Their realm might always move last, but it would not be fit for a king to move carelessly. Roland leaves along with the troops. Astolfo poses a question to the King once they are all alone, indicating that perhaps the King is really having to make an attempt to keep this up. The other shadow behind the curtain seems to think they're doing a poor job, but the first shadow disagrees. However...
???: The enemy scouts are penetrating deeper than ever. Sure enough, this charade won't hold up much longer... The venerated Karl der Große simply hasn't shown at all... He's suffered some kind of wound, or something more serious. It's natural to come to that conclusion. But if I bucked up and stepped into his shoes...
Astolfo tries to lighten the mood with a joke, but it falls flat. What they need is something to distract from the King. Astolfo proposes that maybe such a thing would be a fourth faction joining the fray. Suddenly, the King perks up. He will recall all scouts, and send all troops for this purpose. One of the shadows says that they sense a turning point for the King here, while the other shadow agrees.
???: Yeah, of course. I'll show everyone what Don—Karl der Große is made of!
Now all he has to do is wait for that fourth faction—that organization.
One final scene change brings us to the Chaldea party, who have just Rayshifted into the Singularity. Kadoc says that he experienced a burning feeling during it, and indeed, it seems like something was off about the process. However, you're all there, all alive, and nobody got shot out to some other location, so best not to worry too much. Communications with Chaldea are still working (for once), and you find out that there should be a small town nearby, which should be your first destination. You explain to Kadoc that your first course of action is always to gather information.
Kadoc asks if you've made use of Suggestion spells, then, but you obviously haven't. He thinks it's amazing how you've apparently just waltzed into places and outright asked people weird questions without any sort of hypnosis or anything. Da Vinci explains that your Mystic Code does remove most of the physical pain when using magic, so Kadoc might as well go ahead and teach you some of that later.
As you move out towards the village, Holmes trails behind, looking up at the sky.
The clear blue sky. A gentle breeze makes a pleasant sound on the grassy meadows. Every bit of it is tranquil. Peaceful. ———And for that reason, they couldn't help but have a frighteningly ominous premonition. The subject of that premonition was... Not Kadoc Zemlupus. Not Fujimaru. And not Vlad III. Not even Sherlock Holmes. It was, despite all odds, this girl alone who felt there was no choice but to send them into the Singularity.
As we cut to Da Vinci back on the Storm Border, the scene fades to black.
As you arrive in the town, you immediately notice that it's all in ruins. There are no signs of recent human activity whatsoever. Holmes asks Kadoc if he can use magic to perform an analysis of the ruins. Of course, Holmes can deduce a lot of things about this place by himself, but getting to the most minute details is difficult without magic, and so you're lucky you have a proper mage with you this time.
Furthermore, Holmes theorizes that the ruins aren't man-made, but magical in nature. Kadoc's analysis seems to support this. The whole town is woven together using magic, almost like a Caster's Territory Creation Skill. It would be difficult for any normal mage, but quite easy for a Servant. Holmes refers back to there being no recent human activity, but says it's more appropriate to say that there never was any.
Holmes: It is akin to a movie set, metaphorically speaking. There are faint traces of use, but not over an extended period of time. This place was constructed in an instant by a Servant or a magus. Or so I would like to believe...
But if this town was made by a Servant, or something equivalent, then who destroyed it? It was no disaster of nature, but clearly caused by clashes of war. This was a battleground of Servants. Coincidentally, Mashu reports that Servants are approaching your location, but...there's something wrong. There's an entire army of them. Da Vinci confirms as much, adding that there are about a hundred of them. Before you can take this in, Mashu reports another similarly sized army approaching from the other direction. You're currently being surrounded by close to two hundred Servants. It will be very difficult for you to slip out of here. You and Kadoc will have to conceal yourself within the town, with Vlad and Holmes will try their best to slip past or break through the troops. Worse comes to worst, you should use up all your Command Spells for a slim chance at survival. In the meantime, Holmes wants you to pay close attention, to get as much information about the approaching Servants as you can.
You and Kadoc dig out a hole, and get a big piece of debris to cover you up. He proceeds to cast a spell on you.
Kadoc: "Rat's body in hiding. Cat's byway escape. Let shallow cleverness prevail over gathered intellect."
It's some sort of concealment magic, though he says it's very basic. Who knows if it'll fool a Servant, but it's better than nothing. It does help with muffling sound too, but you shouldn't raise your voice needlessly anyway. You take this time before the Servants arrive at your position to ask about Kadoc's type of magic.
Kadoc: No, it's fine... It's on the verge of obsolescence now anyway. Actually, it probably already is. Telling you about it won't make a difference at this point. It's anti-beast magecraft, meant for fighting animals. Man has been his own worst enemy ever since ancient times, but predators were still up there in terms of threats. No human could win against a beast barehanded. So, the creation of magecraft to fight them was probably inevitable. You can probably guess why it's on its way out now. Both tracking and killing beasts... All of that can be done with mundane means in the present day. It's helpful for bringing down beasts of prey——— But those sort of beasts don't even exist in the modern age anymore. I guess that's the fate of magecraft in general... The art grows stronger and more stable with time, but eventually loses its purpose.
When you ask if he's ever thought of just giving up on it, he says that if you had asked that of any normal mage, they would've killed you on the spot. It's the equivalent of asking someone "have you ever thought about killing yourself, since your life has no value anymore?" He apologizes for his direct words, but it's cut short by the enemy approaching.
Many Servants appear close to you, seemingly laying out a strategy for a large-scale battle coming up. You can't believe they're actually all Servants, and while it's hard to tell anyone's True Name like this, it's clear that they're all from different ages and regions, yet they're all organized into a single army. There's a limit to how many Servants a Grail or even a Leyline could summon, so how is this even possible? Sure, there are Stray Servants that are summoned by the world or the land, that by definition have no Master, but even then there are never this many of them.
As the other army approaches, a large-scale battle between Servants begins. They clash, and many of them release their Noble Phantasms. Most interestingly, they utilize Command Spells to do so, and have them recharged mid-battle. Terms such as "phantom-grade" and "Heroic Spirit-grade" are thrown about during the clash, as a powerful Caster apparently blocks off the flanks of the battlefield. The strategy previously laid out by the first army has been thrown into disarray, and they are being slaughtered. They seem to be part of Kriemhild's army, and even Kadoc says that he recognizes that name.
Elsewhere, Roland and his troops are watching over the clashes of Kriemhild's and Constantine's armies. Now's their chance to strike hard at the Restoration Realm, he says. Some of his men seem to think that they would be better off waiting until the the two whittle away at each other even more, but Roland charges in regardless. Constantine's army is practically annihilated, attacked by Kriemhild's at the front, and Roland's troops at the back. They are forced to retreat, using Caster's to prevent the enemy from following too easily. Roland's troops don't make it much further than into the town, around where you're hidden. He commends his men for giving the Restoration Realm a good beating, but when he proclaims that it's time to GET NAKED, you can't help but gasp, and you tense up as there's a risk of him noticing you. Luckily, he brushes it off, reiterates that they will spend the night NAKED, and then leaves.
Holmes and Vlad appear to let you know it's safe to come out. Most of the town is flattened at this point, but you retreat to one of the still-standing buildings to share what you've learned.
Section 2: The Young Napoleon
The building you've taken shelter in seems to be a bar, so while Holmes would die for a cup of tea right now, all that's available is liquor. As for what you've learned, you still can't believe your eyes. The largest recorded battle between Servants, according to your database, should have been seven versus seven. Sure, exceptions like the Final Singularity exist, but that was a miracle for the purpose of saving the Human Order. Here you have Servants from all around—France, Japan, America—all banded together.
As for more of the exposition facts, first of all you note that the seven classes seem to be roughly equally distributed. Next up are the terms "Phantom-grade" and "Heroic Spirit-grade". Holmes explains that it's simply a way to rank Saint Graphs. After all, when you have this many Servants here, it's a given that not all of them would have left a great mark on history.
Holmes: Consider a hypothetical knight who fought in some famous battle. A nameless person who would not be summoned normally, but was in fact summoned here. With that said, they are still undoubtedly Servants.
You ask Holmes to skip ahead to more of the new stuff.
Holmes: Ah, there's a substantial difference between something like a Servant-class Demonic Beast and a Servant itself. Although it's a rather loose term, it is most correct to describe a Servant as a "Heroic Spirit with a Master". Of course, even this has a very broad meaning. Following that definition, my supposition is that Stray Servants are Heroic Spirits that have a temporary Master in the form of the land they are summoned in. To return to our previous topic, no matter how weak or strong they may be, they cannot be a Servant if there is no Master.
In other words, they should all have a Master, but it seems there is none present. Truly a great mystery.
About the Realms—Revenge, Restoration, and Via Regia—Holmes states, quite self-explanatory, that the names probably refer to the main characteristic of each realm. The Kriemhild you heard about would undoubtedly be that of Siegfried's legend, and Holmes infers that her class be either Saber or Berserker, though Avenger is also possible. Based on her army logistics, she must be quite the intellectual, or have an excellent adjutant. As for Constantine, while there are multiple ones in history, Holmes guesses it would be Constantine XI. He ponders a bit about the name "Restoration", but decides to leave it for another time. Lastly, the Via Regia Realm has Karl der Große, quite a big name to appear here, and one that makes Holmes immediately think would tip the scales. If that man were really here, there would be no way anybody else would win. Since a Servant's strength depends not only on their individual abilities, but also their fame and Mystery, it is a given that one who is essentially a founding father of Europe would be a top-ranked Servant.
However, one strange thing is how their troops moved in the battle. While it's an appropriate strategy to wait out the battle, then move in to take out the remainder, Karl's troops moved in way too early, losing their chance to completely destroy the Restoration troops. But...
Holmes: What if it wasn't? Well...if their timing wasn't roughly handled, I can think of several other possibilities. However, it is not something that can be confirmed at the moment.
Kadoc seems to catch on quickly as to the meaning, but you yourself say that it's not the time to explain such things, and Holmes laughingly thanks you for doing his job for him. Moving on to the matter of their objectives instead, in previous Singularities and Lostbelts, stray Servants would have been summoned by the Grail (or the land) in service of the Human Order. Even those summoned in a proper Grail War would mostly be on the side of the Human Order, even if the nature of Servants varied to some degree. Bottom line is, a situation like this shouldn't be possible. No matter their nature, it should be seen as nigh impossible for such a large amount of them to discard country, ideology, faith, and lineage to mobilize armies. However, with the split into three realms, there is obviously something they disagree about, so your best bet is going to be to ally with one of the realms for now.
Another big issue is that Holmes and Vlad can't possibly stand against even mid-sized units on their own. Coincidentally, as they say this, Vlad reports that an enemy is near, and proceeds to block an attacking Assassin before anyone else even reacts. It seems he saw through their Presence Concealment just from the smell of blood. Since the Assassin is ever reluctant to divulge any information to you, you simply fight them.
As you cut down the Assassin, he names you their enemy, cursing your power and your Command Spells. Holmes requests an analysis of the combat data from Da Vinci, but it seems the communications have been scrambled. It soon clears up, but Mashu explains that there was a large interference on their side as soon as the battle begun, so their data is useless. It's not quite the same as in Britain, since technology didn't outright stop working. So, thinking back on the battle on your own, there was one thing you took note of: Command Spells.
The enemy Servant had Command Spells loaded, such that they could fire off their Noble Phantasm immediately, without charging. It wasn't a proper Command Spell, but more akin to the support-style ones that Chaldea uses. So the question is, who gave it to them, and where do they come from? You recall that you've now seen the Command Spells be used in both battles you've witnessed here, which doesn't feel like how someone would use a limited resource like that. Even the most skilled mage, like Kirschtaria, wouldn't be able to just recharge them like that. Instead, it seems that the new Command Spells fell from the sky, far beyond the horizon. You decide to put a pin in this topic for now.
As was obvious from the fight, the other realms are certainly hostile towards you, so it will prove difficult to find a local helper Servant. Likewise, it'll be difficult to find a normal local to act as informant here. The town you saw was obviously constructed specifically to be a battlefield. If someone once lived here, they would already be long gone.
Your conversation is cut short by Mashu reporting a "special warning". You immediately perk up, but Kadoc is left wondering, as he wasn't briefed on this. Da Vinci had simply forgotten because of the fact that Muramasa was with you for so long. A "special warning" occurs when the presence of a particular kind of Servant is noticed, based on previous combat data. In other words...
Holmes: Just as you've guessed, Kadoc. An Apostle of the Alien God. With Limbo eliminated and Mister Muramasa having given his life, there's only one left: Grigori Rasputin...or, Kotomine Kirei. But what reason could he have to show his face here———?
Kadoc: (What's going on...? Something inside me seems certain it's not him.) (But it's a fact that he's the only Apostle of the Alien God left.) (No, wait, unless———)
The Apostle makes himself known to you, but to your great surprise, it is not Rasputin.
???: Nice to meet you, my dear Holmes. No, I shouldn't act so familiar with an older gentleman. How about "Sir Sherlock," hm?
His introduction reeks of sarcasm. But you immediately recognize him.
???: Oh, you know of me? That makes things easier. My name is James Moriarty. Mathematician, consultant, and———as you've guessed, Apostle of the Alien World.
(TL note: "apostle of the alien world" in JP is 異星の使徒. It is a variation of 異星の神の使徒. The latter is of course "Apostle of the Alien God". This variation that Moriarty uses has effectively just stripped out the 神 kanji, meaning "god", obviously. You could render 異星の使徒 as something direct like "Alien Apostle" but you lose the nuance that the Apostle isn't the one who's alien. Basically, since 異星 very literally means "another planet" rather than the simple "alien" (though same meaning isn't it) that the fandom uses, "alien world" really is the best middle-ground here. Just putting this out there for term transparency's sake.)
Section 3: The Sin of Being from Pan-Human History
We see a flashback to a void—to a summoning.
An overwhelmingly large presence stands before me as I respond to the summoning. Hm...oh-ho...ah-hum. ———I see. I comprehend all that must be done. An influx of knowledge. An acquisition of power. With these in hand, I comprehend everything about myself. Very well. I will gladly accept these orders. I am the Napoleon of Crime, an Apostle of the Alien World. I am James Moriarty. And I shall do what I must.
Back in the Singularity, Holmes presses the Professor for their purpose here.
Moriarty: The honourable Sir Sherlock can't even think that far? Naturally, my goal is the elimination of all of you. Chaldea is nothing but a hindrance to me. I am an Apostle of the Alien World, after all.
Holmes notes that he said "Alien World", not "Alien God". Da Vinci briefly appears through the communications, but Moriarty declares he has no intention of speaking to a broken doll, and cuts off the transmission. He proceeds by revealing that he knows not only who Holmes is, but that the other Servant with you is Vlad III, and the names of both you and Kadoc. Holmes once again presses him for his objective here.
Moriarty: If I said I was here to purge a traitor, what would you think?
Kadoc half-jokingly says that he would be honored and relieved to finally be killed off, though he would laugh at how truly petty the Alien God is if it's come to this. However, he himself seems to know this isn't what Moriarty meant.
Moriarty: Oh, naturally. The Alien God has no interest in you in the slightest. And let me reassure you, you are not a traitor in any sense. The Alien God desired Kirschtaria Wodime alone. The rest of you were nothing more than the cheap toys that come with the cereal, wouldn't you agree? There is but one reason for me to appear before you all at this point.
Holmes starts, and immediately yells for all of you to get out of there. You need to avoid battle at all costs.
Moriarty: ...You really are slow, aren't you, Sir Sherlock? If you were really Holmes, you would have seen through me before I even showed my face.
Vlad uses his Noble Phantasm, which connects directly with Moriarty, however...he remains unharmed.
Moriarty: How very disappointing, Lord Impaler. I have been granted two powers as an Apostle of the Alien World, though some are less impressive than others. Even so, power is something to be used, after all.
Kadoc thinks to himself that based on previous cases, Moriarty should be fused with a Divine Spirit, just like Limbo and Muramasa.
Kadoc: (Think closely, Kadoc. Moriarty remains unharmed.) (The Noble Phantasm definitely connected with him. He just took zero damage...) (...so it's not that he recovered. It's like...he was never hit in the first place.) (I can't jump to any conclusions right now. But...I just can't stop myself from thinking about it.)
Once Moriarty has seemingly gotten over the queasy feeling of letting someone else's—another god's—powers overrun him, he turns back to you all.
Moriarty: You never did comprehend it, did you, Sir Sherlock? Everything about me was always incomprehensible to you. And yet for me, the opposite holds true. I know all that you think, and all that you plan to do. There is a stark asymmetry in odds. In this moment, you are nothing more than prey to be devoured.
Vlad moves to stop him, but in one swift motion, Moriarty is in his face, placing a single finger on the Lord Impaler's head.
Moriarty: It is not solely Sherlock Holmes' actions I can read. Yours, and, in fact, all of Chaldea's are like an open book to me.
Vlad is unable to move. It's not physical restraint, nor the work of Mystic Eyes. He is being coerced not from the outside, but from within. His very will to move is being suppressed. Moriarty makes an analogy to shogi, how you are able to utilize the pieces you capture for yourself. Truly, your best chance of survival would have been to ignore everything else and simply run away from him the moment he appeared. With his finger on Vlad's head, he utters a single line:
"Rise up, and rebel."
Feelings of treason, rebellion, and betrayal surge within the hero of Romania. Now, he finally understands why the Servants here act the way they do. From this moment on, his purpose has been reversed. He has become a traitor of the Human Order. Yet, if he does not accept this outcome, he won't be able to take any action. Except...what he chooses is neither death, nor capitulation. He merely uses his Noble Phantasm to pin himself on his stakes. In that very moment, the rest of you had escaped, mouthing to Vlad that you would be back for him.
As Moriarty monologues to himself about finding you, and about the state of rebellion within the Singularity, some soldiers from earlier confront him, and soon enough meet their death at his hands.
Section 4: Run, Flee, Scamper
We pick up with Chaldea having escaped Moriarty in the town. Unfortunately, they run right into a patrol of Servants, and it's unclear whether it was just really poor luck, or if Moriarty planned even for that. You're too exposed out here in the open, though, so you don't want to stop to fight them. A bit further ahead is a forest, and if you can reach that you will probably be safe.
However, as you approach the treeline, a weird symbol flashes, and a voice can be heard in the vicinity, as you're bound and become unable to move.
???: Though the Azure Sky is surely dead, there is yet to be prosperity upon us of the Revenge Realm.
You yell at Holmes to escape, and without second thought he takes Kadoc with him, dropping some sort of flashbang in their wake. The one whose voice you just heard appears, and a Servant refers to him as Zhang Jiao. He introduces himself as a Caster, and it seems he's well aware you are a Master of pan-human history. Another Servant says they should probably take you to their queen, Kriemhild, though, rather than outright kill you here and now. Zhang Jiao guesses he doesn't really have an option, but does present the option of some torture to you.
Elsewhere, Holmes and Kadoc have managed to elude the rest of the patrols. They first decide to contact Chaldea. As soon as Mashu learns of the situation, she scrambles for her gear, and demands to be Reishifted into the Singularity at once. However, the Ortenaus is still under maintenance, so she's not allowed to leave and engage in combat under no circumstances until then. If she did, she'd basically end up in a worse situation than you are right now. Da Vinci does manage to calm her by telling her to look at your vital signs, which show that you are clearly alive still. Likewise, your mental state is nothing too out of the ordinary. According to SHEBA, this will continue to be the case for at least another three days, as well, so there's no need to worry for now.
Holmes talks a bit about the Caster from earlier, Zhang Jiao (or Zhang Jue, if you prefer). He's a taoist spellcaster, and was the leader of a rebellion in life. The phrase you heard him say earlier was an ancient Chinese proclamation about the Han Dynasty. Basically, he's kinda strong, and as long as he's there, it'll be nigh impossible for them to just waltz in and get you out. Their best bet right now would be to gather information and local aid, and so the Restoration Realm will be their destination for now. Perhaps they can negotiate something with them. In addition, Holmes would really like to find out what the word "Restoration" is meant to refer to.
Back with Gudao, you've been put in a cart and is being transported to t he Revenge Realm by Zhang Jiao and the Servant unit from earlier. The Servants are talking amongst themselves fairly merrily, asking each other where they're from. There's one from the time of the Hundred Year War, a Rider from Sicily, a knight of Fianna, and some others. However, any time one of them thinks to state their True Name, the others just tell them to shut up, saying there's no point in saying it because nobody is going to remember them anyway. Instead, the only names worth remembering are those of the three great "survivors" of their realm, those being Zhang Jiao, Kriemhild as the queen, and... well, there's a third, but they say just forget about it. In addition, they mention some other named Servants that were around only recently, like Billy the Kid, Blackbeard, Kijyou, and Frankenstein. However, it seems most, if not all, of them met their end in battle already.
As you perk up at the recognition of some names, one of the Servants addresses you. He says that since you're obviously not a Servant, you have to be a Master. These guys don't actually seem that bad, and when one of them says they're taking you to be executed by Kriemhild, the others start questioning Zhang Jiao about it. However, he just says something vague like "who knows what will happen" and instead asks if he should tell your fortune.
Zhang Jiao: Interesting... Your fortune for encounters is terribly unlucky, yet excellently lucky. Your bagua is overall leaning towards bad luck. You have nowhere to run. Your only weapon here is the wit of your words, pretty much.
Mid-conversation some enemy Servants appear, and Zhang Jiao and his troops take care of them.
Unfortunately, they lost the Archer from earlier, but they just kinda get on with life. As you approach the Revenge Realm, you're told to watch the sky, and indeed, you see it change. As you enter this realm, the sky turns red, to indicate that it is the domain of Kriemhild. Once within the main city, your posse is checked for clearance, and then let through to the castle. You do notice that literally everyone in this place is a Servant. Servants who created a city like this for themselves. They got commerce, employment, even culture. It's nothing unlike a proper city. There are even children there (well, child Servants).
After entering the castle, you are presented to Kriemhild, who recognizes you as an enemy fairly quickly. There is actually a branching choice here, where saying anything at all (asking Kriemhild a question) causes her to become impatient with you, setting her mind on you being executed before long. You're taken to a jail cell, and will be executed as soon as possible. In this case, the thing you ask her is "why do you fight?" to which she replies that they are all furious with pan-human history, and that their rage is justified. If you just keep quiet instead, she finds you boring, and says she has other matters to attend to. You're simply put in a cell for now, and that's that.
In the dungeon, after the guards leave you in your cell, you hear the voice of another person in an adjacent cell. You can't see them, only make out their voice. They call themselves a "no-name Servant" who can't even use their abilities, basically being weaker than a Caster right now.
Gudao: Isn't that a huge problem!?
???: It is. It's the whole reason why I'm locked up here. Wahahahaha. Well, I got what was coming for me. I'm here to defend the Human Order.
???: Yeah, I forgot to mention. I'm not one of the Servants summoned to rebel against the Human Order. I'm one of the Servants protecting it. An unfortunate rarity in this Singularity...
Section 5: Countdown
Meanwhile, Kadoc and Holmes have entered the Restoration Realm's capital. Kadoc is forced to wear a cloak so as to not draw too much unwanted attention, as well. Holmes had imagined this place would be way more difficult to get into, like a great fortress, but it had instead proved very simple to get in.
Holmes: (What is wrong with me...? Get it together, Sherlock.) (Did being outwitted by the Professor throw me out of sorts? No, that's not it. Wake up. Open your eyes.)
Da Vinci compares the city to the Camelot of the Sixth Singularity, and also notes that they're currently "concealing" the communication, effectively meaning that no one else can hear them beside Holmes and Kadoc. Unfortunately, communications with Gudao are still being jammed, but their vitals remain stable. Holmes notes here as well that everyone in the city is a Servant, and that they're from widely different regions—France, Germany, Austria, etc—and seems to even be able to guess some of their True Names, though he drops that subject.
Holmes: There is one fundamental commonality between their summonings———an extremely strange one at that. They all serve one Master, most likely. When it comes to a Servant, the role of a Master can be reduced to two primary duties. The first is to serve as an anchor to bind their existence to the world. A keystone, if you would. Anybody with functioning magic circuits and sufficient aptitude is capable of this. That is Mister Fujimaru's primary role. Second is the provision of energy for the Servant. Magical energy is vital for Servants, so it falls to the Master to supply it.
Kadoc notes that for Chaldea's Servants, this supply has to be supplemented by some sort of magical furnace, rather than just from a Master. Holmes says that all of this holds true for the Servants here as well, and that he's sure that they all serve a single Master. When asked how he would even pick up on this, he merely says that he judged as much from how they acted and their conversations, and of course, using his intuition.
Regardless, this is an impossible scenario. Several thousand Servants are fighting under a single Master. While some of them are Phantom-grade, a lot are still proper Heroic Spirit-grade. Even if they were to use the same system Chaldea does, they would need an equivalent magical output device, like Chaldea's own magical furnace. The logical thing would be that the Grail is the energy source for the Singularity, but it would be strange, or perhaps impossible, to subdivide a Grail into three like that.
They overhear some commotion in an open square, and decide to head over to check it out. It seems some troops of the Restoration Realm had a skirmish with some troops from the Via Regia realm, wherein some units of their own also perished, even if they emerged victorious. Another Servant, the Emperor we saw earlier, commends the military troops for their efforts. It seems they've long now had issues with the Via Regia realm, who don't seem to move out of their own area that often, and likewise blocking all attempts at infiltrating or observing them. And yet, they couldn't even engage the Via Regia realm even if they wanted to, since that would mean fighting a war on two fronts at once.
Holmes deduces that this man must be Constantine XI, and in that moment it appears Constantine may have spotted the two in the middle of the crowd. However, before he can really take it any further, a hooded figure tells the two Chaldeans that they aren't safe there, and that they should follow. As Constantine seems ever closer to finding them out, they decide to take the opportunity to slip away. Meanwhile, another Servant reports to Constantine the information of their Assassins stationed in the Revenge Realm, stating that the latter have captured the Master of Chaldea. Constantine does not seem too glad at these news, but tells the Servant to assemble their own troops, since it seems they too have been infiltrated———by Chaldea.
Holmes and Kadoc follow the hooded figure to a chapel. As the person removes their disguise, Holmes figures they have some relation to the Church, and the person introduces themselves as Iohanna, or as most English speakers would likely know her, Pope Joan. Holmes immediately introduces both himself and Kadoc, using their full names, which Kadoc seems to think is quite unnecessary, but "it'll come out at some point anyway". Da Vinci thinks that's uncharacteristically kind of Holmes, and Gordolf wonders if he doesn't just have a soft spot for cute girls.
Either way, they ask Joan whether she's actually on their side, but she denies it outright. It's not something she likes, but she says it has to be that way. Regardless, what they need right now is information, and a lot of it. And so, they hope that Joan can provide as much of it as possible.
Holmes: First of all———please enlighten us as to the current state of events in this Singularity. Or, so I would like to ask, but having you start from the beginning would be too time-consuming. Allow me instead to elucidate a theory of mine. Please feel free to interrupt if you have anything to add, or if I am mistaken somehow. Now then... ———This Singularity is home to three rival powers. Each of them possess their own territories, which are called Realms. The Revenge Realm of Kriemhild, the Restoration Realm of Constantine... ...and the Via Regia Realm of Karl. But is this merely a struggle for power...or is there perhaps some secondary objective? The reason why this Singularity should not exist is that every single Heroic Spirit here stands against Pan-Human History. Most likely, the battle is over the Holy Grails. One Grail alone simply cannot account for all of this. There must be one for each Realm, and each in turn seeks the other two. A high enough prize for anyone to wage war over. In addition———the Master that originally bound you here simultaneously both does and does not exist. Their Command Spells are invoked in times of combat, but they themselves never appear in person. One definitely exists, and yet nobody has seen them in person. Your Master is an enigma———and because of that, the Servants have nothing to do besides rebel as they like. You have no specific orders from a Master. So instead, you simply began doing whatever you pleased. You band together based around shared thoughts, actions, and motivations. And you have no idea when or how this will all come to an end. You simply and single-mindedly continue your little war.
Joan remarks that Holmes' analysis was perfect (because of course it was), and that she has nothing to add. However, the thing she reiterates on is the order to rebel against pan-human history. It's something no Servant should really want to do, but for some reason they didn't really question it either. They just acted as if it were pretty normal, and accepted the orders. Some took to it more than others, but bottom line was that none disobeyed it, or that they were not able to disobey it. And despite this, she says that their Master doesn't seem to have that much power, which makes it all the stranger.
Holmes proceeds to ask about any peculiarities of the three realms.
Joan: The Revenge Realm—Kriemhild's—is our biggest opponent at the moment. Revenge. Anger. Despair. That's her moti...mochi...
Joan: Yes, that! Ahem... At least, that's what I've heard.
Kadoc: (She's so crude!)
The whole explanation more or less amounts to the Revenge Realm emphasizing quantity, while the Restoration Realm emphasizes quality of their Servants. And as for the Via Regia realm, they just don't really have any information. Both amount and quality of Servants is undetermined, and they can't even manage to infiltrate them. Holmes thanks her for the info, and says it must be hard for her being the only one who's conflicted about the rebellion and the loyalty to the human order, but she says that everyone thinks that, just on the inside. On one hand, there's her Master's orders to rebel against the Human Order, and on the other hand there's her inherent nature which asks her to save it. Her instincts drive her to the former, while logic arrives at the latter. And it was because of that logic that she decided to even speak with the two of them.
Da Vinci notifies them that there are others coming, and that it's time to leave. Kadoc wonders if it was Joan that lured them here, but Holmes doesn't think so. He thinks they were just seen on their way there. However, before they leave, Holmes has one more question:
Holmes: Are you perhaps the reason why this Realm is named “Restoration”?
However, before Joan can answer, an enemey Assassin appears, and the two are forced to flee the location. Joan stops the Assassin from pursuing them, though. She says that the conversation just now told her all she needed to know about Chaldea. Constantine enters the chapel, seemingly relieved that Joan had not betrayed them. Joan asks what the point of that would be.
Constantine: You're quite right... This is all you have. That is why we are the Restoration Realm.
Still, Joan thinks Chaldea are much less prepared than she anticipated, having only sent one Master and one Servant. Thankfully, that means they are able to put off dealing with them until later. Constantine notes that there's no point in putting too much thought into Sherlock Holmes, a detective spun out of fiction, and this seems to rub Joan the wrong way. Constantine immediately apologizes to her, then asks her to join him in the castle to rally the troops. The scene ends with narration (by Joan):
———I have lost my way, Constantine. Your wish and mine are doubtless one and the same. Even still...I am but myself. Pope Joan is, after all, but a fleeting dream, never to be dreamt a second time———
Kadoc and Holmes had to do some fighting to escape still, but they note that the pursuit was rather half-hearted, and that Joan probably helped them again. Kadoc thinks that would be a bit weird, but Holmes clarifies that she didn't exactly help them the first time out of pure kindness. She wanted to get as much information about them as she could. Sure, there's the possibility of Moriarty operating in the background, feeding the realms information, considering Joan already knew Holmes' name. However, this presents the weirdest thing for him.
Holmes: Even from that short conversation, I was able to recognise that, Her Holiness, Joan is an intelligent and dependable person. Would someone like her really think that she could extract information from me?
Ignoring how conceited that line was, the point is that if she knew who he was, there would be no way she'd meet him head-on and try to extract information out of him. If anything, she should've been scared of accidentally having her own information extracted instead. In other words, the logical reasoning is that while she may have "pretended" to get information out of them, she was also handing them new information as well. Perhaps she herself doesn't know that she is contradicting herself, but it is like she said, logic won out.
Anyway, for now, they should just continue their investigation. Since Holmes won't really be able to handle taking on the Revenge Realm head-on, that means their only possible next destination is the Via Regia realm. If they can secure a way to resolve the Singularity, it will also lead to a better chance of saving Gudao. As such, Via Regia, and Karl der Grosse is now their only option.
Section 6: Do I Want Your Head?
Back in the Revenge Realm jail cell, the mysterious man in the next cell is pondering whether to really reveal his name to you. He knows you think he might be able to get you out of there, but he was dead serious about being caught here. He has no magecraft, no Skills, and no Noble Phantasm that's gonna help in getting out of there. In fact, he says all of those things are "sealed" right now. If he were to unleash his NP right now, he says it wouldn't end well for him, so while there might come a time for that, it's definitely not now.
You ask him if he can't just say his name already, and he seems to have genuinely forgot already that he didn't give it to you. However, he quickly changes the topic to ask if you're feeling okay with no food, and most especially, no water. As he mentions it, you pass out from dehydration while he calls for guards to fetch something to drink.
You see a bleached landscape, though your vision seems distorted as another voice speaks. (This is Bluebook's LB1 intro, by the way)
Before me, I saw a vast wasteland of endless white. Any trace of humanity had been erased. We no longer had any hope for survival, let alone of turning the tide. Nothing we tried had even the slightest effect. In this wasteland, I searched through old records like a raccoon pawing through garbage. I managed to find an old motorcycle, with barely enough fuel for a one-way trip, and began riding across the blinding white wasteland. It's just...nothing about this makes sense. There are so many unanswered questions. If I'm going to die, I at least want to know why.
You eventually awake again. Was that someone else's dream? Was it a Servant's dream? Before you have time to think more closely on the matter, another person hands you some water. She introduces herself as Salome, daughter of Herodias. She's also brought some fruit for you to eat, and says she'll bring more proper food later on. She makes sure you're feeling alright, and proceeds to ask for a favor in return. She simply wants you to tell her about yourself. See, everyone else there are Servants and as a result, they inherently just led "greater" lives with legends and whatnot. Some of them might be like her Jokanaan, holy and pious, though maybe most of those reside in the Restoration Realm, but regardless, most are pure heroes. You, on the other hand, is nothing like that. You're not a hero, nor even a Servant, just plain and everyday.
You decide to tell her a story about the America and London Singularities, which she seems to quite enjoy. After your story, your mysterious neighbor reminds Salome that she said she was going to bring in more food, which she had completely forgotten. She leaves for a moment to go get it, and your neighbor takes the opportunity to ask if you're alright. Not in the sense of having eaten and drinked now, but just around Salome. She was someone who, in life, demanded the head of the holy man Jokaanan—a simple and crude Berserker. However, you're not especially worried. She seems nice, and (if you spoke against Kriemhild earlier) she's not even the one after your head for now.
Your neighbor once again commends you for being a really cool dude, and then Zhang Jiao arrives at your cell. He says it's finally time to torture you in order to extract some information before killing you. If he's thorough enough, he can find out information even you yourself have forgotten. The mysterious neighbor says he'll happily be tortured in your stead, but Zhang Jiao says that would take the fun out of it all. In addition, he has some theories about the Human Order that he would like confirmed.
Salome returns with the food, and immediately tells "grandpa" Zhang Jiao that he shouldn't torture you. Basically, if he does, she'll kick his ass. He says it's fine either way, since at least now he has an excuse for not having done it, and leaves you be. You eat the food, and Salome takes this opportunity to mention how your neighbor sounds like a pretty heroic person. He's surprised she can tell from his voice alone, but she's certain that he's some sort of great hero or adventurer. He says she's both completely correct and way off at the same time, but either way, he's just been lounging around here since getting caught. However, Salome seems to think that he could have actually escaped whenever he wanted. He, on the other hand, seems to be apprehensive, perhaps afraid that if he were to try, it'd all come to an end.
Either way, Salome turns her attention back to you, asking for another story while you eat. You talk about Uruk and, having heard you speak about its cuisine, she almost starts having a craving for food, despite being a Servant. She'll bring more food tomorrow for you, but not for your neighbor. You manage to convince her to get him some too, and then she leaves. The man thanks you for helping him out as well, then gives you a brief explanation of Salome.
???: Salome is the stepdaughter of a king named Herod Antipas. In short, she's for all intents and purposes a princess. And, well, she went crazy for this prophet guy called Jokanaan. If it were a matter of love, you could just write off the whole matter. Up to that point, whether her love was accepted or not, it comes off as a tragicomedy. But Salome wanted the head of the man she loved. It's one of those, you know, fetishes. Something like that, I guess? Or maybe her love was so strong that she wanted him to be hers forever? I don't know the details that well. I'm just a third party... But anyways, King Herod got pestered enough that he eventually agreed. And so, Jokanaan lost his head, and it was presented to Salome. Plus, later on, Salome herself was also put to death. ...and well, that's basically her deal.
However, she did help you earlier, so you don't think too much about it for now. Now that you've got food and drinks sorted, he says that there's just one more thing to do: sleep. However, you quickly remind him of another tiny little detail. He still hasn't told you his name!
???: Okay, then let me introduce myself. Um... Cha———Seton!
You recognize the name as that of the Animal Chronicler, though when prying further it's obvious that he doesn't really have his cover story fully figured out. Elsewhere in the realm, Kriemhild notes that Salome taking a liking to you means your certain end is all the more absolute. Whether it seems like it for the time being or not, she will definitely come to view you as Jokaanan and take your head. Additionally, she asks Zhang Jiao how "that" thing is doing. He presents it to her, and explains that it will be ready for their decisive battle. Before she leaves, she hands Zhang Jiao a written directive. As soon as she leaves, and he starts reading it, an unnamed Caster approaches him. The Caster suggests that Zhang Jiao should be the one to rule the realm, and that they should start another rebellion.
Zhang Jiao simply asks the Caster one question: "what do you think of Queen Kriemhild?" When the Caster says that they don't acknowledge either her rule or her power, Zhang Jiao immediately strikes them down.
Zhang Jiao: It matters not whether we serve. At heart, we heroes are selfish to a fault. However...you cannot say that you don't acknowledge the queen's power. That would imply that you were capable of appraising her power correctly in the first place. See here, you dying Caster. That thing of a woman is, to put it simply, a monster. Think about it. The man she loved was murdered——— With single-minded purpose, she seduced a great king, took control of his soldiers, and caused a great conflagration. In the end, her vengeance consumed even her own brother. Upon taking up that Demonic Sword—one she shouldn't have been able to wield—she took the head of her detested target. After which she herself was killed when told the act was a disgrace to a warrior, or something along those lines... I should think that she ceased to care once her vengeance had been completed. As long as she exacted her vengeance first, being killed did not matter. In that sense, she is undoubtedly a Berserker. Yet at the same time, she retains her wits. How can you be so unaware? How can you not understand? Your intent to rebel had already been noticed. That directive was an order to eliminate you. What made you think you could move unnoticed? I couldn't care less what you were planning inside your little head. You had already failed as soon as you began preparations.
He proceeds to list all the ways in which the Caster had already failed before they even begun, then turns to the other Servants in the room, asking if they all believe he would rebel so easily. They all say yes, and he just laughs it off, before leaving to continue with his experiments.
Elsewhere, Holmes has defeated an Archer, and is performing some sort of brainwashing to extract all possible information out of them, even the things they subconsciously forgot. With this, he's managed to pinpoint the location of the Revenge and Restoration realms. Consequently, he can extrapolate the location of the Via Regia realm, and he shows you a map of his workings.
Revenge is to the north, Restoration to the southeast, which places Via Regia in the southwest. It seems that it has numerous Bounded Fields stopping infiltration, not to mention quite a lot of natural defenses. He asks Kadoc whether he likes rock climbing, which Kadoc has a bad feeling about.
Goredolf: It's all right, Kadoc Zemlupus. You like rock, don't you?
Kadoc: That's a different kind of rock!! What's with the dad joke!?
Mashu joins the conversation, saying Goredolf was obviously upset by that implied comment on his age. Da Vinci says he should just shave off the mustache, but he refuses. Kadoc gets a knife from Holmes which he turns into a climbing axe, and Goredolf says Gudao has quite a lot he could learn in that field as well. And so, they set out for the mountains of the Via Regia realm, at which they should arrive in less than two days.
Chapter 7: No, I Don't Want Your Head
In a corridor inside the Revenge Realm, we're treated to a monologue by Salome. She explains that she's changed her lipstick to a paler shade, and put on more mature black clothes (that is, her ascension sprite changed) for the purpose of getting your attention. She also brought food this time. She never had any experience with cooking, what with being a princess and all, so she had simply waltzed into the kitchen and asked for something to do. The result was a crudely cut and peeled apple, but one which she is immensely proud of.
As she arrives at your jail cell, she notices many other Servants standing around you. Her blood boils. She almost drops the platter of food. What do they even think they're doing? You're hers. Her precious ■■■■■■■■.
You've told the other Servants a story about Bartholomew and some of the other pirates. They seem completely into your storytelling, and ask you to tell them some more. Salome interrupts, asking what they're doing here, and if they're bothering you. They say they're just talking, and there's a brief flashback to one of them being sent here to interrogate you, but apparently hadn't really felt like it, so you ended up just chatting. Eventually, others had just joined in, and you didn't want to stop when they were all so excited. Salome starts berating them, but you suggest all of you having a meal together. It's not what Salome wished for, but if it's what you want, then so be it. And so, you have some rice (which they explain was cultivated using magic to speed it up), and Salome feeds you some apples for dessert.
You say the apple is good, to which one of the Rider Servants says that there's no way you're right about that. The apple looks like shit, frankly, and even has some of the core in it. However, you're sure whoever cut it did their very best. Salome seems satisfied, and although you don't radiate the aura of a holy man, or the force of victory, she can't help but feel something vaguely familiar in you. Her beloved ■■■■■■an.
It seems that she said that name out loud, which made the other Servants uncomfortable. They decide it's time for them to leave, but unfortunately for her, Salome has to leave as well. She says she'll be back for more stories, and thanks Seton for not interrupting today. After she leaves, Seton thinks about the other seven Servants that were just there, and says that "it might just work". For the time being, he tells you to just keep in shape.
In the Via Regia realm, Kadoc and Holmes are climbing the rocky mountains. Several bird monsters attack them, and they have to fight them off on their way to take shelter. However, someone else also appears. It's another Servant, flying in on a hippogryph. The Servant mentions not letting the birds take his friends from "Paldella" when they've just arrived, and then brings out their Noble Phantasm: "The Magic Flute that Induces Panic—La Black Luna!"
An extremely loud roar scares off the bird monsters, but also catches Holmes and Kadoc in its range, causing them to become temporarily deaf and disoriented. As the Servant lands beside them, they can barely stand up straight, let alone hear whatever the Servant is saying. As a result, the Servant starts getting very close and touchy in order to get them to respond. Da Vinci appears on the comms, but then...
???: Whoa, a message from the future!
Da Vinci: Ah, um. Sure... Gordolf, take it away!
Gordolf is equally disoriented at the quick handover from Da Vinci, but proceeds to ask the Servant who they are, and if they serve Karl. The Servant yells out that their name is Astolfo, one of the legendary paladins of Charlemagne, who even went to the moon. Actually, he seems surprised that he's that famous, though he doesn't seem to know it's because of having no reason. Holmes, having his hearing back, proceeds to introduce them as well. Astolfo: Oh, but I already said hi just now... Huh? You couldn't hear anything? Why not? Was it my fault...!?
Astolfo: Aww, sorry about that. But well, it's better than becoming their snack, you know. You'd have only lasted three minutes on that foothold. So really, it may have been my fault, but it actually wasn't! ...Huh? So which is it, then?
Kadoc: Nah, don't worry about. It's not like there were any lasting side effects.
Astolfo: Yep! Probably not!
Kadoc: "Probably"? Did you just say "probably"...?
Astolfo welcomes you to their realm anyway, but asks you not to leak their stuff to the others. You wouldn't want to make a knight cry, after all (Roland, not him). He also mentions how Roland likes walking around naked a lot, which everyone seems to not enjoy having the mental image of, except for Da Vinci. Anyway, it's about time they leave for the actual city, and Astolfo simply blasts off into the sky. It seems he already completely forgot he was supposed to bring Holmes and Kadoc, who are forced to run after the Rider.
Astolfo arrives in the city, but can't help but think that he forgot something. Well, if he forgot about it, it couldn't have been that important.
Kadoc: It definitely was!
Kadoc is about to faint, so Astolfo goes to get some fruit water. Meanwhile, they look around the place, and find it strangely...picturesque. It's almost like a fairy tale mountain town, and they have shops and everything here as well. Additionally, Holmes thinks about what Astolfo just did, leaving them behind like that. He reasons that it's some sort of subconscious habit, where Astolfo always goes at max speed like that to avoid anyone finding out where the city is within the realm.
Either way, you'll be given an audience with Karl. If Chaldea comms go down, Holmes will be in charge of negotiations, as long as they don't explicitly ask to speak with a Master, in which case Kadoc will act as proxy for Gudao. Kadoc is alright with it, since it's not like there's any point in him trying to get his own assertions through at this point. Gordolf did have one other thing to mention, but right then the comms were cut off.
After some other audiences in the throne room, you're up. Karl orders everyone else to leave the room. Or, actually, Karl murmurs, and someone standing behind him gives the order to everyone else. Pretty much all communication with Karl proceeds in this manner, with him murmuring something, and the person beside him giving a more elaborate explanation.
They begin by asking about our reason for coming to their realm, although after revealing they're aware of Holmes' true name, they direct the question to Kadoc, who they presume to be his Master. Kadoc explains his situation as proxy, then proceeds with explaining their request for the rescue of Gudao. They would naturally pay any price for this to happen, and Karl's suggestion is thus total submission. However, since they don't really have much choice at this point, they agree for now. Although, Kadoc says it's weird that Karl would ask such a thing of them. The person next to Karl asks Kadoc if Holmes told him to say as much, and Holmes says that they'll have to excuse as much. After all, it was pretty easy for him to guess what they were going to say.
Regardless, in deference to you who culled more than five Lostbelts, they will see to Gudao's rescue. They send out Minerva, the same mechanical owl from Olympus, to begin the operation.
Kadoc: (Was that...Minerva from Olympus? Its shape was pretty different...but there's no mistaking it.) (How did a Lostbelt's technology get to this Singularity...?) (Never mind, let's leave that aside for now. There's more important matters at hand.)
They explain that there are multiple of their Servants stationed in the Revenge Realm in secret. Basically, it's very easy to infiltrate the Revenge Realm, and as a result it's also easier to get information about the Restoration Realm via the Revenge Realm, rather than directly. However, as for getting someone out...there will inevitably be sacrifices required. Kadoc once again thinks that Via Regia are putting up way too many sacrifices on the table, even compared to total submission. However, it's all for Gudao's rescue, and that's all that matters for now.
For the time being, the two of them will be provided accomodations to rest. However, Holmes has one last question for the person next to Karl, which is their identity. They say that they are simply acting as secretary.
???: Merely a secretary who performed some middling heroic deeds around Spain.
Holmes seems satisfied with the answer, and leaves with Kadoc. In the throne room, the secretary speaks to Karl, saying she doesn't like that detective at all. Their secret was almost blown. She doesn't think their true names are at risk yet, but he would've narrowed it down considerably. Perhaps it was a mistake for them to bring out Minerva like that. Karl says that they have a debt to Chaldea which they need to repay no matter what, although the secretary doesn't seem to agree fully. Even so, she makes it clear that whatever is asked of her, she'll see to it.
Back in the Revenge Realm, we have another of Salome's monologues. She's happy that she'll be bringing you food again today, since that means she gets to meet you more. Her dear, beloved Jokaanan. Of course, she knows you aren't really Jokaanan, but...
Headaches. Whisperings in my ear. Jokanaan, Jokanaan, Jokanaan! Convince yourself. Convince yourself. He is surely, definitely the one you fell in love with——— He's not... I'm sure of it. He is neither a hero nor a saint. There used to be lots of people all around me. Ordinary beings from all walks of life. He just falls into the same category as all the other normal people. ———My headache subsides. I can go and see him now.
With that, she arrives at your cell, and hands you riceballs. Or well, there was no rice left, so she had to make them out of wheat. You take a bite and say they're fine. Seton also gets one, but says they definitely taste strange. When Salome herself tastes one, she wonders if you were just trying to be nice to her, because it doesn't taste that good, and the texture is all weird. Now that she said it, Seton makes it clear he thought it was really bad, and that's even with his adventurous palate. She's said that she can't enjoy the same foods you like, but Seton suggests that she makes Kykeon, or basically barley porridge, since it's something she should be familiar with, and it's pretty easy.
She grabs you, and heads out of the cell towards the kitchen. She says it's fine for you to leave, because she said so, and the guard doesn't really seem to care "as long as you only go to the kitchen". However, after you've left with Salome, the guard notes that there might be an issue if you stand out too much, to which Seton asks which Realm the guard really belongs to, and the guard merely snickers.
In the kitchen, you get a recipe (and a Berserker helping out) and Salome cooks together the meal. The Berserker takes a plate to bring to Kriemhild, while the two of you take yours back to the jail cell. However, before you can even dig in, the Servants from yesterday appear, apologizing to Salome. They have come at the behest of your allies in the Via Regia realm to get you out of here. They say that they outnumber Salome, and that they'll easily take her down, but their shaking hands seem to tell a different story. Salome lets them take you without much argument, as she thinks you're not one worth torturing or executing. However, before you leave, you quickly gulp down the food, which seems to both surprise Salome and make her quite happy.
Outside the cell, you're given a cloak to conceal yourself with. Your cover story is that you're going out scouting, and they'll say you're a Berserker in order to justify you not talking. The Berserker from earlier will have created a distraction elsewhere, so now's your only chance to escape. However, before you can move out, Salome appears behind you, saying you have to take her with you. If you don't agree, she'll just go insane right here and now and kill you all. Naturally, you just take her along, since there's no time to argue.
Elsewhere, Kriemhild notices the Berserker who's gone out of control, and cuts him down in mere seconds. She immediately recognizes that it's not a Servant of her own realm, and with Zhang Jiao realize that they have come to rescue the Master of Chaldea. She orders several units to pursue you, while ordering both Hundred Face Hassan and "the usual sniper" to work directly under her supervision. As they move out, Zhang Jiao thinks about how bad a distraction this really was, since it bought you no time at all.
You know you've been exposed already, so your only option is to run. An announcement resounds across the realm, stating that whoever kills your rescuers and yourself, will receive a Mystic Code as reward. In other words, letting you die is more preferable than another realm getting their hands on you. You run into Revenge Servants, and are forced to fight them using some summoning.
The battle takes a heavy toll on you, and while Salome seems to mimic you, there doesn't actually seem to be anything wrong with her. The gates to the realm are still open, so you have to make a run for it, now or never. The Rider takes you in their chariot as the Lancer with you gets snared by a magical trap. He and the Archer will stay behind to buy you some time. Kriemhild cuts these two down as quickly as the rest, declaring that they do not deserve to be named knights if a mere queen can overpower them.
You've made it out of the gates, but you're not in the clear yet. You apologize to everyone, but Salome almost berates you for doing so. It's not your place to apologize. You basically had no choice but to go with them, and they've done nothing but mess up this whole time. The Caster with you decides to stay behind and turn the entire plain into a swamp to slow down your pursuers. However, when he begins doing so, he is immediately killed by Zhang Jiao who quickly appers.
Zhang Jiao: Firstly, this kind of technique can only be broken through the practitioner's death. Therefore, concealing oneself must come first. Secondly, if the enemy has a Caster, it's a given that the effective winner will be whoever waits to see the other's move. Thirdly, my being here meant there was never a way this technique would work. ———Regardless, you did pull me out of the formation to chase after you. In that at least, you nameless Caster, you have my compliments.
An Assassin reports to Zhang Jiao that another Servant has broken out of the jail, that is, your mysterious neighbor. It seems he prepared a Mystic Code beforehand and made his escape in the chaos. Zhang Jiao leaves the others for the time being to see to this matter, while Hundred Face reports to Kriemhild. They've picked up your scent, and know that you're heading towards the Via Regia Realm.
You've lost everyone but the Rider and the Assassin. Salome wonders if your stay in that cell was really so awful that this was all worth it, but you cheer her up by saying that you enjoyed spending time with her. Then, suddenly, you're attacked again. Hundred Face Hassan managed to poison the Rider with their attack. You're in a dire situation, but when the Assassin tells Salome to stop what she's doing, she loses it. Nobody but her Jokaanan may order her around. And so, even though it should have been her very last resort, she asserts enough self-control to tell herself that you are not Jokaanan, and that she'll just have to endure the insanity a while longer.
Salome: Fujimaru. No...Master. Please, command me. Command me to strike down our enemy!
And with the flash of a Command Spell, a provisory contract is formed, and Salome is ready to tear the Assassin to pieces. She felt the Assassin was going easy on her, but there's no time to think about it, as you have to run. You try helping the Rider, but Salome carries him instead, as you're too weak.
You run, run, run. There's no way Kriemhild will stop pursuing you. Salome watches you as you keep pushing forward. The very image of a saint, which she can't stop yearning for. She can't control herself. It's not her choice to desire Jokaanan, but it's rather her entire being as a Berserker. She knows she shouldn't have gone with you. She should've just stayed behind and hoped you made it out alright. Having that last meal with you was the final straw, which cemented her insane love for you. And yet you won't even turn around to look at her while you're running.
I love you, so may I have your head? What do you say, Jokanaan? Jokanaan, Jokanaan, Jokanaan! Oh, I can't hold myself any longer. I even went into a Master contract, which was meant to be my last resort. Is it not working because the contract is provisory? Would I be fine if it were more long-term? Would I be able to tell that you're not my prophet if I just stuck around you for a little longer? I don't know. This doesn't feel real. I can't perceive it. I can withstand any pain, but not love. That's just the way I am. My urges are unbearable and taxing. Because of them, I am evil. Even recognizing all that, I can't do a thing to stop them.
The Rider says he can't go any further, and it's all up to the Assassin now, but right then, the Assasin is killed in an ambush. You are also injured, and start bleeding profusely. Seeing this, Salome's insanity rises, and she tears the assailants apart.
When she finishes, you're on the brink of consciousness. Rider says that she has to get you out of here. He'll fire his NP into the sky as a signal for the Via Regia Realm, in the hopes of them getting to you. Finally, he turns to Salome and tells her that you are not Jokaanan. He makes her confirm that she knows as much, which she does. And so, the Rider shatters his own Spirit Core, for the sake of the Human Order.
Salome runs as the NP explodes in a bright flash in the sky. Surely, your pursuers will have noticed it too, but she can't stop now. You're bleeding heavily, but she can't do anything to stop it. Even with the knowledge granted to her by being a Servant, that's not something she knows how to do, and even if she did, she couldn't stop to do it right now. But you're still alive. And you can't die here, because...you're her Jokaanan. I must hurry. Before it's too late. I can't let myself keep seeing him struggle. I can't let myself keep feeling his nobility. I must control myself before I turn into a loving monster——— Ah. Our eyes, they met. His positive, earnest, and sincere eyes pierced mine when I wasn't prepared.
Salome: ———Jokanaan. Jokanaan, please. I have a favor to ask.
She's slipping into a nightmarish delirium.
Salome: Please listen to me, my love. May I... ———May I...have your...head?
Salome awaits your reply in ecstasy. Whether you say yes or no, she'll take your head regardless. This is the culmination of her seeing you as Jokaanan. In this moment, she is a Servant, she is power incarnate, and she would have you face her head on. Whether you reject her outright, or offer a prayer to your God does not matter, as long as you're her Jokaanan. However...
Gudao: I still...want to live. Don't kill me. I don't wanna die. My friends are waiting for me...!
Salome is stunned by the response. Jokaanan, a holy man, would never beg for his life. He would ask that his death be noble, or convince her that he should live through some incorrigible logic, but would never beg for his life. Saints don't fear death. Yet, right now, you had said that. You had begged for your life with pleading eyes. This alone is what makes her finally realize that you were never her Jokaanan. In her mind, all cares and motivation to help you disappears all at once, and yet...she helps you to your legs, and keeps on moving. She supports you in order to ease your pain.
Kriemhild's personal soldiers have now caught up to you, and Salome explains that those who serve directly under Kriemhild get strong permanent buffs shared by the queen. Salome herself used to have this, but obviously lost it earlier. Salome apologizes, and sets you down.
Salome: All right. This is where we part ways. You weren't Jokanaan, but I really enjoyed our little escapade. Thank you, and goodbye. I wish you the best of luck. I'm leaving.
She knows her magical energy won't last her very long. However, the Command Spell given to her remains active. Not the one from her current Master earlier, but from her previous Master. The one that always fell from the sky in battle. She thinks about this for a short while, but declares that such thinking is not fit for a Berserker. All she has to do right now is fight for you. To die for you.
Salome: Come to me, Kriemhild. If you oppose my dear——no... If you oppose my Master...I'll kill you. I won't leave a single scrap of your body intact.
Salome is not doing too well in the battle, but to her surprise, another Command Spell invigorates her. You never ran away, but stayed right by her side. Unfortunately, you're still greatly overexerting yourself, and so you faint once again. Or rather, Salome notes that you have fallen asleep. In your dream, you see some sort of café or bar, and you are met by Moriarty. He explains that even the Alien God cannot peer into dreams, but he who has the power of a god, can even create a space like this, so he set up this backdoor meeting with you. For a second, you think he might be here to help you out, but he quickly corrects you, saying he's still an Apostle of the Alien World.
Moriarty: True, this Singularity has nothing to do with me. But, what lies at its core is vengeance. Its originator has every right to exact it.
Changing the topic, he demands that you give up your position. If you do so right now, he'll spare your life. Of course, the lives of the others will become inevitable sacrifices. You obviously refuse immediately.
Moriarty: Huh, no matter, I shouldn't expect you to answer right away. Give it some thought, boy. As you'd expect, it would be the betrayal of a lifetime. No, this would be the second time, wouldn't it?
He ends the conversation by saying that you have someone waiting for you. In that moment, you wake up to Salome standing over you, berating you for falling asleep in a situation like that. She says that the bleeding subsided slightly, not thanks to her, but seemingly thanks to your Mystic Code. Your pulse is getting a little stronger, but you're still in grave need of help. And despite her not wanting your head, she's determined to protect you.
Suddenly, a gunshot is heard from afar, and you run away. You cross some hills, and walk for what seems like a really long time. Salome's mind is once again slipping at this point, perhaps because of her lack of energy. The faint image of a Servant can be seen up ahead, and it seems it's someone who's come to meet you. They rush over and grab a hold of you. As they do, Salome turns around and announces her departure. She's not coming with you. She wouldn't fit in with the rest at Via Regia. Instead, next time you meet, it'll be on the battlefield as enemies.
Yes, truly. He wanted to live. Just as we feel fear as death approaches, we feel longing as life approaches. In order to go on living, he gets to his feet. Someone who shouldn't even be near me, a person who takes heads for a thrill. And so, this is goodbye. With this, it is really goodbye. He turns away from me, despite his regret. Likewise, I turn away from him. Our backs face each other. ———And slowly, he walks away. As his footsteps get further and further away, I begin to do the same. In fact, running would be difficult. All that's left is for my legs to give out. A gunshot. A shattered Spiritual Core. It's agony to live on even another second. But, I don't want Master to see that. I'm Salome, fearsome, beautiful, and reliable. That's who I'll be, to my very last breath. So I put on a farce with all my being. I put on an act better than any actor in the world, one that could even fool myself. ———After that first hit, the next shot will surely be the one to end me. Though, wouldn't it be an act of mercy? Now that staying alive is such a struggle, it would definitely bring relief.
Another gunshout resounds across the hills. The pain is gone. And salvation is now certainly in sight. I am insane. I am broken. There's no doubting that. And yet, still——— I want to believe this tiny feeling I have has nothing to do with either. I feel fulfilled. I had such a wonderful time. It was only a few days. But they were such, such lovely days. Looking up at the sky, at the evening sun shining through the trees... The orange light, warm like him———
The Archer who delivered the killing shot, someone who seems to be some sort of sniper monk, gives a short prayer for Salome. They ask Kriemhild if they should pursue into Via Regia, but Kriemhild says that knowing the direction you went is more than enough. They'll head back for now.
Kriemhild: Pitiful woman. The feeling you held was not love, much less the romantic kind. It was nothing more than the strong pitying the weak. You mistook it for something truly precious. ———Truly pitiful. To think an emotion so commonplace to everyone else had been as precious as a jewel for you.
Your consciousness feels disconnected. Your back is burning. You hear a call, but can't answer it. You can't go on any further. You just hope that Servant made it.
Suddenly Mashu's voice on the comms wakes you up. She immediately contacts Holmes and Kadoc to let them know you're up again, and says you have some time to talk before they get here. She's been watching over you the whole time you were out, though she obviously couldn't do anything more than watch. Apparently, some unnamed Caster treated your wounds when you got here, and then they just had to wait.
Kadoc and Holmes enter the room and greet you. Holmes would like to hear your story first, and will share theirs later. You explain everything that happened to him, and he commends you for your bravery. Kadoc then briefly explains the situation here in the Via Regia realm and where you stand with Karl. Holmes does say that there's some key facts he'd like to share, but he thinks you should go meet Karl first, since you're technically the leader inside the Singularity. Kadoc notes to himself that Holmes is withholding information again, but drops it for now.
Kadoc teaches you some basic etiquette when addressing a ruler. Before long, Astolfo enters the room as well. He introduces himself and tells you to hurry along to meet Karl. He pulls a stupid pun, and Roland comes in and scolds him for being an idiot. Roland then introduces himself, there's a conversation about him being naked, and then you go to meet Karl. There's a point in here where Kadoc also feels a mysterious chill run down his back here as well.
In the throne room, after the other audiences, Roland and Astolfo clear out the rest of the people, at which point Holmes says that it's enough of the charades. Roland agrees with Holmes, and the secretary seems to realize that their ruse is over. Now that they've encountered Holmes, there's no point in keeping up the pretense. And so, they raise the curtain, and you see the two. One is a tall girl with donkey ears, and one is an old man basically shaped like a basketball. The girl is Sancho, and the man is Don Quixote de la Mancha. Although, Sancho explains that she's actually a mix of many characters from their story. Holmes guesses those would be Rocinante, Don Quixote's steed; Dulcinea, his exalted but imaginary princess; and Altisidora, the Duchess' maidservant.
When Quixote starts getting up in arms, Sancho mentions windmills, and he immediately cowers. Mashu mentions that she (of course) read their story, and there's a flashback to Quixote in the story fighting against the windmills. Changing the subject entirely, Holmes asks why they would pretend to be Karl der Grosse, or why the two paladins would go along with it. This, by the way, is where he says that you are now on the same page as the rest of them.
Sancho recounts their experience coming to the Singularity. They quickly learned that most if not all Servants here advocated for rebellion on a general level, and even the ones called here by the Counter Force to resolve the Singularity ended up dead or converted to the rebel side. Basically, they had no chance at correcting the Singularity at that point, so they decided to lay low and gather allies. They managed to get Astolfo and Roland on their side, and established a third realm in order to keep the power balance between the other two realms. Using the name of Karl and the two paladins was merely a ruse to keep everything afloat within the realm. However, once Holmes showed up, it was only a matter of time until that would fall apart. Of course, Sancho had begun to think it wouldn't last much longer either way. She also explains that some Servants, like the one that broke Gudao out of jail, were actually on the side of the Human Order, but most of them aren't, and think Sancho and "Karl" aren't either.
Additionally, Holmes states that there can obviously be cases of Servants having their summoning tampered with or being corrupted after their summoning, but the cases in this Singularity seem to fit neither. They were summoned properly, and weren't corrupted like Ushi in Babylonia was for example. Sancho says that none of the Servants really seem to accept this at face value, but that they also can't really go against it. It's like a constant hunger, and so they just follow it.
Of course, it's possible for Servants to have their personality affected by that of their Master (if only a bit), so it's possible that their Master is an entirely evil entity... such as Moriarty. Upon hearing his name, Holmes seems to completely zone out.