Howl, Live, Grind, Perish
Narration: The line between man and beast is quite clear.
Narration: Beasts bare their fangs on instinct, with only the slightest fragment of rationality to guide them.
Narration: Humans, on the other hand, battle their enemies by chaining instinct with rationality.
Narration: But he...he was unable to pick a side.
Narration: He had one foot in the realm of beasts, and another in the realm of humans...
Narration: ...leaving him neither fully human, nor fully animal.
Narration: Lobo the Wolf King. The beast with the right to seek revenge.
Narration: Will you exercise that right?
Cú Chulainn: Sorry, no luck.
Fujimaru 1: Gotcha...
Cú Chulainn: I'm pretty sure I could tame him if he was just a wolf, or even a Demonic Beast...but he isn't.
Cú Chulainn: He just straight up detests humans. It's a core part of who he is.
Cú Chulainn: And if you hate humans, it doesn't really matter if they're heroes or Anti-Heroes, you know?
Mash: I see...
Mash: It's been some time since Hessian and Lobo were summoned here, so I thought that maybe...
Cú Chulainn: I don't really think time is the issue.
Cú Chulainn: He can't help but hate all humans.
Cú Chulainn: ...But if we look at it another way, that might mean those two have a real shot.
Mash: Which two...?
D：???: My, oh my. I see you're still hiding out in this dank, dark cave.
D：???: What do you think you are, some gloomy old witch!?
Nursery Rhyme: Hello, Mr. Big Bad Wolf. My name is Nursery Rhyme.
Nursery Rhyme: Thank you for noticing me.
Nursery Rhyme: I know I look human, but I'm actually not. I'm just a fragment of a dream.
Nursery Rhyme: There's nothing human about me for you to hate.
Nursery Rhyme: Well? Do I pass?
Hessian Lobo: ... ...
E：???: Good grief. Please don't run off on your own like that, Nursery Rhyme.
Enkidu: Master is trusting me to keep you safe, just in case.
Nursery Rhyme: Oh, don't be such a worrywart, Enkidu.
Nursery Rhyme: I might not be as strong as you, but I'm still a Servant.
Enkidu: I know. But this is what Master wants.
Enkidu: I'm made of clay, so I'll be fine no matter what, but you're a book, right? What if he bites you and rips your pages?
Nursery Rhyme: Oh my, that would be awful!
Nursery Rhyme: I can't bear even to think about my pages being ripped, torn, or soaked!
Nursery Rhyme: But it's okay. Mr. Wolf King won't hurt me. Right?
Hessian Lobo: ... ...
Nursery Rhyme: Aww, he ignored me. Now I'm sad! Glum! Crestfallen!
Enkidu: ...All right, let's get right to it.
Enkidu: Do you have some sort of problem with Master?
Hessian Lobo: !
Nursery Rhyme: It's all right. If you don't, that'll be that!
Nursery Rhyme: And if you do, that's okay too, just as long as you don't kill [♂ him /♀️ her}!
Enkidu: ...Basically, yes.
Enkidu: Master isn't avoiding you, and [♂ he /♀️ she} definitely doesn't hate you.
Enkidu: [♂ He /♀️ She} just doesn't understand why you answered [♂ his /♀️ her} summon.
Enkidu: Now, [♂ he's /♀️ she's} worried that [♂ he /♀️ she} may be asking too much of you.
Hessian Lobo: ... ...
Nursery Rhyme: Oh? Oh, oh, oh?
Nursery Rhyme: What is it, Mr. Dullahan?
Enkidu: I see.
Enkidu: Thinking back, the reports from Shinjuku did say that you had a consciousness of your own.
Enkidu: Very well then, let me ask you: What is it Lobo wants?
Narration: The wolf imagines it would be so much easier to be an ordinary beast.
Narration: Feasting on prey... Baring one's fangs at enemies...
Narration: Running from those stronger than you... Learning their scent, and never going near them again...
Narration: But once you begin to lead a pack, that simple life is no longer an option.
Narration: You need to think ahead. You need to worry about contingencies.
Narration: You need to make tough calls.
Narration: You need to howl so loud that everything for kilometers knows this land belongs to you.
Narration: The wolf had subordinates. A mate. Cubs.
Narration: And so, he had to fight.
Narration: But a beast is only possessed of so much wisdom, and the desires of humanity are without end.
Narration: ...Which is why this was inevitable. The beast had no reason to hold a grudge.
Narration: And so, the beast was summoned as a Phantom Spirit, and fused into a Servant.
Narration: Before, he could not hope to fight humans on equal footing, but now, he possesses strength far beyond human capability.
Narration: So he exercised his right to vengeance and began wielding his fearsome jaws left and right.
Narration: I have no regrets. /This is bestial instinct.
Narration: Intelligence torments me. /That is what it means to sin.
Narration: My pack is gone. /I am no longer even a beast.
Narration: A lone, headless ghost appears.
Narration: He neither speaks nor moves.
Narration: No threat makes him flinch, and no glare seems to make him so much as budge.
Narration: But what else could one expect? He lacks a head.
Narration: He may look human, but he is something far removed from them.
Narration: The beast thinks that is why he can put up with having him around.
Narration: Those two are similarly lacking in the scent of humanity, which makes them bearable as well.
Narration: ...Yes. It's all right as long as they don't smell human.
Narration: But Servants still reek of humanity, and the beast just can't tolerate it.
Nursery Rhyme: Let's have some tea!
Enkidu: I'm fine with just hot water.
Nursery Rhyme: Not for my teatime, Enkidu.
Nursery Rhyme: You're getting tea with lots of sugar, and a little gingery zest. How about you, Master?
Fujimaru 1: Give me a cup with the works.
Nursery Rhyme: Teehee. You can be so greedy sometimes, Master!
Fujimaru 2: No sugar for me, please.
Nursery Rhyme: Teehee. Yes, you've got to watch those calories!
Enkidu: Shouldn't you try to stock up on nutrients while you can? You are our Master, after all.
Nursery Rhyme: Now don't be like that, Enkidu. It's rude.
Enkidu: Is it? I see. So it's rude to treat health management and food preferences in the same way. I'll have to remember that.
Enkidu: ...So that's about what we were able to learn from him.
Fujimaru 1: I see...
Enkidu: Honestly, I don't think anything needs to change. Lobo is useful as is, and he's not about to turn traitor.
Nursery Rhyme: Yes, that's very true.
Nursery Rhyme: Every Servant has different baggage we bring with us when we fight alongside Master.
Nursery Rhyme: The important thing is that we all share the same goal of restoring humanity.
Nursery Rhyme: So I can see the sense in not requiring that we all get to be great friends!
Nursery Rhyme: But, even so...
Nursery Rhyme: ...that would be so, so sad that I...I just couldn't stand it!
Enkidu: So...you mean you can understand those reasons, but not accept them?
Enkidu: True, we don't want our allies to be sad. I understand that now, at least a little.
Enkidu: Well, Master? What should we do?
Narration: ...A familiar scent stirs the beast to wakefulness.
Narration: He begins to growl, both as an alert and a threat.
Narration: But the footsteps continue straight toward him, undeterred.
Narration: And so, the beast comes face-to-face with the [♂ boy /♀️ girl}.
Fujimaru 1: I want you to come fight with me.
Narration: The beast consents.
Narration: ...He bears no ill will towards the [♂ boy /♀️ girl}.
Narration: It is merely that his power comes from the fires consuming him from within.
Narration: To accept the Master in front of him would be to deny his thirst for revenge.
Narration: So he barks. He growls. He bares his fangs and keeps his distance.
Narration: For there can never be true understanding between man and beast.
b>Enkidu** Well that was easy. Though I can't say I care for this city.
Enkidu: It feels as though evil and vice have soaked into every brick of every building.
Nursery Rhyme: I don't like it here, either. My lovely dress is going to get filthy.
Enkidu: Now then...
Enkidu: It looks like a Demonic Beast has settled here in Shinjuku and is causing all kinds of trouble.
Enkidu: How do we go about finding it?
Fujimaru 1: Lobo, would you track it down for us?
Narration: He barks affirmatively.
Narration: He will find this Demonic Beast hiding somewhere in Shinjuku, and finish it.
Narration: He will follow its scent and ensure it has nowhere left to run.
Narration: That is his mission.
Narration: Although...doing this for his Master almost makes him feel like...a dog.
Narration: So the beast thinks to himself as he sneers in the darkness.
Enkidu: Looks like he found it. Let's go.
Narration: The beast breaks into a run, as if to keep the clay creature running off in front of him under control.
Narration: And then, the beast sees the being tying him down to this world, almost daring him to escape.
Narration: His Master, Fujimaru. The one they call “human.”
Narration: The beast likes the air in this city. It makes him feel at ease.
Narration: There may not be much good food to go around, but maybe that's why he finds it so easy to take a bite out of whatever he encounters.
Narration: The bright lights are more vivid, and more garish, than that starry sky he once knew.
Narration: It's not as lonely here as it is under the stars.
Narration: Humans made this place. They permeate every corner of it. Normally, it would be anathema to him.
Narration: But now, the beast has no choice but to live within it.
Nursery Rhyme: What's wrong?
Narration: The girl with the faint scent of pulped wood looks at him quizzically, her face aglow with innocence.
Narration: The beast growls as if to say “nothing” and turns his gaze forward.
Narration: Behind him, Master continues to follow at a respectful distance.
Narration: [♂ He's /♀️ She's} close, but not too close.
Narration: ...The beast wonders what would happen if he suddenly tried to bite Master's head off.
Narration: The answer is simple.
Narration: The clay and paper people would kill him mercilessly, before he could so much as get near enough to try.
Narration: That's why this distance makes sense. It's the right decision, both logically and tactically.
Narration: His whole body shakes with excitement. He's found it.
Enkidu: There it is. Let's get it, Master!
Nursery Rhyme: This is no fun. It's so very, very sad.
Nursery Rhyme: A goat from the mountains, a lion from the plains, a snake from the grass... They could have all had happy lives if they had stayed where they belong.
Narration: The beast heartily agrees.
Narration: But seeing this abomination, he also can't help but feel proud that it has the same spark as him.
Narration: It is a grotesque man-made Demonic Beast.
Narration: A monster with the freedom to wander anywhere it pleases because it has no place to call home.
Narration: If there is one thing the Demonic Beast all but shouts, it is this: “We are strong.”
Enkidu: Hmm. It doesn't seem like we've caught up to it so much as it's been lying in wait for us.
Narration: An absurd number of Demonic Beasts stand before the wolf and his companions.
Nursery Rhyme: Uh-oh, that's not good. Please give us your orders, Master!
Narration: In an instant, any sympathy the wolf had for the creatures before him is gone, replaced with an uncompromising will to fight...
Narration: ...even though the monster is surrounded by his former brethren.
Fujimaru 1: Can you do this, Hessian Lobo?
Narration: ...Of course I can. Who do you think you're talking to, Master?
Fujimaru 2: Are you all okay to fight?
Enkidu: Of course. We'll crush them.
Nursery Rhyme: Ooh, I don't like violence at all.
Nursery Rhyme: But if I have to get my hands bloody today, I'll make sure this sunny day is Humpty-Dumpty's last!
Narration: ...Of course.
Narration: These fangs are meant for crushing my enemies' skulls. These claws are meant for tearing them to shreds.
Narration: And what's more...they are meant to help me survive, and to keep others alive.
Narration: A single roar, and half of the wolves gathered like familiars around the monster scattered in fear.
Narration: The beasts' instincts won out over their loyalty to their leader.
Narration: So I shall show no mercy to any of my brethren who still remain. They have chosen instead to be my prey!
Enkidu: That takes care of the monster's entourage, though they were stronger than I expected.
Enkidu: That chimera's Spirit Origin is as strong as the ones from my time. Maybe it's because of how much technology has progressed, or how human desires have built up over time...
Enkidu: Regardless, it would seem this is what it means for a city to grow. Maybe the emergence of some strange beast like this was just inevitable.
Enkidu: So, it's running away. And it's much faster than I thought...!
Enkidu: Let's go after it, Master!
Narration: What a pain!
Narration: The beast tells Hessian to help Master onto his back.
Nursery Rhyme: ...Oh my.
Narration: The wolf goes after the Demonic Beast with all his might.
Narration: He can hear his passenger screaming above him, but Hessian should take care of that.
Narration: He does not regret killing his brethren, but neither is he happy about it.
Narration: The wolf continues to run, not stopping to consider what that might mean.
Narration: These woods smell rotten. But I won't stop now.
Narration: I will kill that Demonic Beast. I won't rest until I find it.
Narration: ...Why do I hate it so much? Why...?
Narration: Because it reminds me of myself.
Narration: I'm sure it never asked to be born. I'm sure it never wanted to kill.
Narration: But at some point, that Demonic Beast lost sight of who it was.
Narration: At some point, it stopped being a Demonic Beast and instead became a monster.
Narration: No beast should ever cross that line.
Narration: ...I remember the fight to the death that took place here in Shinjuku.
Narration: I went from beast to Demonic Beast, and from Demonic Beast to monster.
Narration: I tried to stay a beast at heart, but I ended up consumed by the fires of vengeance burning within me.
Narration: ...That's right.
Narration: I was already a monster when I answered Moriarty's summons.
Narration: And ever since the Age of Myth, there has only been one possible ending to a monster's story.
Narration: It wreaks havoc on its surroundings, and dies afraid and regretful.
Narration: Well, not today. Today, I'm going to finish that Demonic Beast before it can complete its transformation into a monster.
Narration: ...There it is.
Narration: The wolf faces its prey, bares its fangs, and gathers its strength.
Narration: Its rider gently helps Master down to the ground. Now, there is nothing holding him back.
Narration: ...The hunt begins.
Narration: The wolf jumps off a nearby tree, using the springy branches to launch into a spiraling slash.
Narration: The wolf's dark claws and the lion's glistening fangs clash fiercely in midair...again and again.
Narration: On one side, the wolf who remained true to himself even as he became a Demonic Beast...
Narration: ...and on the other, a chimera, a grotesque Demonic Beast decried as an abomination from the day it was born.
Narration: The mountain goat's horns keep the wolf's fangs from finding their mark. The lion's fangs keep the rider at bay.
Narration: The snake tail harries the wolf with bites all over its body.
Narration: The fountains of blood only make the wolf more ferocious. His roiling hatred is on the brink of awakening a wholly new form.
Narration: ...What do you think? Can you do this?
Narration: The wolf is unsure if he just heard Hessian's voice, or Master's, but it doesn't matter.
Narration: His only answer is an affirmative howl.
Narration: I can.
Narration: He signals to Master, who nods back and activates one of [♂ his /♀️ her} Command Spells.
Narration: His body shivers as magical energy begins coursing through his body.
Narration: ...What do you think? Can you do this?
Narration: His answer is the same as before.
Narration: But now, he realizes that it is he who is asking the question.
Narration: I can do this. I can do this. I can do this. I can do this. I can do this. I can do this. I can do this...
Narration: I WILL do this.
Narration: The rider drops his scythe-shaped sword, and the wolf immediately catches it between his teeth.
Narration: At the same time, the rider's mantle itself transforms into a fan of blades.
Narration: The wolf explodes forward like a bullet, swinging his blade like the Grim Reaper himself.
Narration: This is a beheading from afar... Frieren Scharfrichter!
Narration: As the rider deflects every one of the goat and snake's strikes, the wolf's blade bites through the lion's neck before its fangs can pierce their prey.
Narration: In a flash, the battle is over. All that remains is an eerie silence, and the stench of blood.
Narration: The wolf makes not a sound as he glares at the Demonic Beast's carcass.
Narration: He feels neither happy nor sad. Only the slightest pang of sentimentality.
Fujimaru 1: Guys!
Narration: His Master runs over to him.
Narration: [♂ He /♀️ She} stumbles with every other step, yet [♂ he /♀️ she} still hurries as though [♂ his /♀️ her} life depends on it.
F：Hessian Lobo: !
Narration: The wolf sighs, as if to say, “You really should be more careful.”
Fujimaru 1: ...Thank you.
Narration: The wolf accepts this praise with a snort.
Fujimaru 2: I'm glad you're okay.
Narration: The wolf turns away, as if to say, “It was nothing, really.”
Narration: ...He then lazily turns his attention skyward.
Narration: Neither the moonlight nor the stars' twinkling suit him anymore.
Narration: The only thing that suits him now is the vivid neon lights of man-made cities from the forest's shadows.
Narration: The wolf smiles, content in that notion.
Narration: Even if he can never return to those plains, he cannot let their memory die.
Narration: This he can never permit.
Fujimaru 1: So why did he answer my summons?
Enkidu: ...For his descendants, apparently.
Enkidu: Lobo and Blanca had cubs, you see.
Enkidu: If they were lucky, they may have survived and grown into adults.
Enkidu: It's possible they went on to grow their numbers, leave America, and head for another country.
Enkidu: Though of course, it is only a possibility. Whether it is even probable, well...
Enkidu: Truth be told, it's more likely that his bloodline died out a long time ago.
Nursery Rhyme: Even if it is unlikely, it's still at least possible.
Nursery Rhyme: And who says wolves can't dream!
Narration: The wolf dreams of something that can never be.
Narration: He dreams of himself, Blanca, and his beloved cubs, all joyously running across the plains together.
Narration: It's a foolish dream. It may only serve to make him miserable.
Narration: But, even if that dream can never be...there is no reason he cannot wish for it anyway.
Narration: So he will believe in his dream, and die for it if he must.
Narration: That is why he answered the summons. He needed no other reason.
Narration: That is why he protects the weak, fragile human leaning against him.
Narration: The wolf howls at the moon, thinking back to his time in the plains.
Narration: The path ahead of him is long and winding, but the Wolf King continues to walk it without hesitation.
Narration: Then, a thought occurs to him.
Narration: The weight of his Master leaning against him now...reminds him of how his cubs used to snuggle so innocently against him.
Narration: So he will continue on. He will howl, he will live, he will crush, he will destroy...
Narration: ...and he will protect.