Vanguard of Time
Nursery Rhyme: It's time for our customary tea party! Did you all bring a yummy treat?
Jeanne Alter Santa Lily: Of course! I've got a great assortment of cookies I made to practice for Christmas!
Jack: We've got leftover chocolate from when we practiced making it for Valentine's!
Mash: I brought a pound cake I made just for this occasion. I made several of them to get it just right, so I'm very proud of how it turned out.
Mash: I made sure to bring some for you too, Senpai, so you're more than welcome to have some if you like!
Fujimaru 1: Thanks, Mash!
Fujimaru 2: That sounds great!
Ibaraki-Douji: A tea party, huh... I don't like the smell of Western tea, but I do like the sweets you have with it.
Ibaraki-Douji: Heh. Hehe. Muehehehe! I've been waiting for this tea party all week! I can't stop smiling about it!
Jeanne Alter Santa Lily: No, Ibaraki-Douji. The rule is that we're all supposed to bring our own treats.
Nursery Rhyme: That's right. I know we made an exception for you last week when you showed up as an unexpected guest...
Nursery Rhyme: ...but you promised you would bring your own treat the next time you wanted to come, remember?
Ibaraki-Douji: Keep your undies on, you little brats. I remember just fine.
Ibaraki-Douji: As a rule, we oni never make anything on our own, but check this baby out! I stole it all by myself!
Jack: Ooh, a chocolate cake! And it's already beautifully cut!
Jeanne Alter Santa Lily: It looks like something you'd see in a bakery...
Mash: I'm glad you remembered the rule this time, Ibaraki, but are you sure it's okay for us to have this?
Mash: I mean, what if it was meant to be a present for somebody else?
Fujimaru 1: Well, what's done is done.
Fujimaru 2: Guess we'll just have to seek forgiveness instead of permission this time.
Nursery Rhyme: I don't see what we can do now that it's already been cut.
Nursery Rhyme: Besides, remember what Mr. Caesar always says? “Render unto Caesar the calories that are Caesar's.”
Ibaraki-Douji: Exactly! And he's the one who came up with the Brutus saying!
Nursery Rhyme: Now come on, everyone! Line up your cups here, please, before the tea gets cold.
Jeanne Alter Santa Lily: Ooh, it smells so good!
Jack: We can't wait!
Jeanne Alter Santa Lily: Huh? What's going on!?
Mash: Aah! He just knocked the whole cake onto the floor!
Jeanne Alter Santa Lily: How could you do that, you big meanie!?
Nursery Rhyme: I hate this spiky horsey! I hate him, I hate him, I hate him!
Jack: Let's dismember him hoof to mane!
Mash: O-oh no, this is terrible! What do we do now, Senpai?
Fujimaru 1: We've got to stop Xiang Yu.
Fujimaru 2: We've got to stop the kids.
Mash: Well, it looks like everyone's calmed down now...
Fujimaru 1: Honestly, they look more worn out than calmed down...
Xiang Yu: ...
Mash: He just left without saying anything. Again...
Jeanne Alter Santa Lily: How could he!? How could he do this to us!?
Jack: We just wanted to have a tea party!
Ibaraki-Douji: How dare that horse-man ruin my feast!?
Ibaraki-Douji: I could understand if he wanted to steal that cake! Then I could just steal it back!
Ibaraki-Douji: But...but all he did was stomp all over it! Not even an oni would do something so horrible!
Nursery Rhyme: I hate that spiky horsie! I hate him, I hate him, I hate him!
Da Vinci: Xiang Yu, huh? Did he make another mess for no discernible reason?
Mash: Yes. This time, he crashed Nursery Rhyme's tea party, in a very literal sense of the word...
Sion: Hey, at least he did not destroy any part of the facility this time. The other day, he left a gigantic gaping hole in the rec room wall.
Sion: I swear, I do not know what I am going to do. This is already the third time he has caused this kind of commotion.
Holmes: I believe he started that fire in the warehouse as well, if I'm not mistaken. Truthfully, I'm also at my wits' end.
Holmes: In my case, he continually destroys the clues I have gathered on my current case.
Goredolf: Hmm. I knew that Xiang Yu, the Hegemon-King of Western Chu, was one of China's most notorious tyrants...
Goredolf: ...but Berserker or not, that doesn't mean we can have him going around stirring up trouble like this.
Goredolf: Fujimaru, as his Master, the responsibility for keeping him in line lies solely with you.
Goredolf: So tell me, how do you plan to fulfill it? However you go about it, make sure it doesn't inconvenience me.
Mash: True, it can be difficult to reason with Berserkers at times...
Mash: ...but generally, once you're familiar with their, um, quirks, it isn't too hard to get the hang of it.
Mash: But in Xiang Yu's case, well...it's impossible to predict what might cause him to act like this.
Da Vinci: Yeah... He's a powerful fighter, and he's usually much more on the intellectual(?) warrior side of things...
Da Vinci: ...but he's like a double-edged sword if left uncontrolled. As a Servant, we need to be careful about how we handle him.
Sion: Fujimaru, your sense of “normal” with these sorts of things may be rather skewed by now...
Sion: ...but in other circumstances, the ability to summon this many friendly Servants would be miraculous.
Da Vinci: If worse comes to worst, we may even need to consider sealing his Spirit Origin.
Da Vinci: Of course, that choice will ultimately be yours to make, but...
Fujimaru 1: I need some time to think about it.
Goredolf: Very well. But remember, you summoned this Servant, so you need to figure out a viable solution.
Yu Mei-ren: You want to know how to control Lord Xiang Yu?
Mash: That's right. And we thought if anyone might know a way, it would be you, Ak–Er, Yu Mei-ren.
Yu Mei-ren: Hmph, you people have some nerve. The very idea of humans controlling a man so great and heroic is laughable.
Fujimaru 1: If we don't do something, he could end up getting sealed away...
Yu Mei-ren: ...I see. Ugh, you humans never change, do you?
Mash: I'm sure we could figure something out if we just knew why he was acting this way...
Fujimaru 1: Please help us help him, Senpai.
Yu Mei-ren: ...Ugh. Why do you have to be so irritatingly good at those impudent strategies?
Yu Mei-ren: Fine then, I'll make an exception for you just this once.
Narration: “True Ancestor Fortune-Telling Divinations, Lost Items, General Knowledge”
Mash: Um, what's this sign for?
Yu Mei-ren: A fortune-telling street sign, naturally. Haven't you ever seen booths such as this on the street before?
Fujimaru 1: Uh, last I checked, this was a dock, not a street.
Fujimaru 2: ...On second thought, never mind.
Mash: Um, are you sure you want to be so open about being, well...a True Ancestor?
Yu Mei-ren: Oh sure. It's first one to open takes all with these kinds of things, and the brand recognition for True Ancestors is off the charts.
Mash: Well, um, I guess I just thought you would be more concerned about your reputation...
Yu Mei-ren: Nope. As long as I'm not actually being harmed, I couldn't care less about that intangible stuff.
Yu Mei-ren: And it's not like I have to worry about an onmyouji or exorcist busting down Novum Chaldea's doors to kill me, right?
Mash: I suppose that's true. Anyway, I'm very impressed that you know how to tell fortunes, Yu Mei-ren.
Yu Mei-ren: Huh? Are you kidding me? There's no way I'd ever bother with that kind of hassle.
Yu Mei-ren: Weren't you listening to me!? I told you, it's just a sign.
Yu Mei-ren: This way, we don't have to go looking for anyone with the information we need. All we have to do is wait for them to come to us.
Emiya: Excuse me. Is it true you can help me find something I lost?
Yu Mei-ren: Of course. Be it friend or foe, object or abstract, or even a fragment of happiness itself, my astounding True Ancestor powers can help you find anything just like that.
Fujimaru 1: Is it just me, or did that spiel sound unnaturally rehearsed?
Fujimaru 2: ...On second thought, never mind.
Emiya: See, someone stole something from the kitchen last night. Usually, I'd write it off as a pointless prank...
Emiya: ...but given what was stolen this time, the sooner it gets resolved, the better.
Yu Mei-ren: Well? What was it? Did they take a whole carton of Golden Fruit or something?
Fujimaru 1: Wait, is that where you keep them? In the kitchen?
Fujimaru 2: No! Not the Golden Fruit!
Mash: I know how you must feel, Master, but please try to stay calm.
Tamamo Cat: Hiya! I happened to overhear you guys talking while I was peeling carrots. I'll take it from here!
Tamamo Cat: This next part involves some very delicate feminine matters, after all.
Tamamo Cat: See, the thief that snuck into the kitchen took something one of my Tamamo Cat's Home Bakery Class students made.
Yu Mei-ren: Something one of your students made?
Emiya: Yeah. Hassan of the Serenity, of all people.
Mash: O-oh. That's, um...
Emiya: I was against it, personally. I didn't think it was safe to let her use the communal kitchen, for obvious reasons.
Tamamo Cat: You see? These red guys are all too coldhearted to get it. Well, that space demon I've been hearing rumors about lately also wears red, but that aside...
Tamamo Cat: Making sweets is an essential tool in any romantic's holy war!
Tamamo Cat: With the battle royale that takes place every February, you can't blame her for wanting to up her game.
Tamamo Cat: Serenity has just as much right to polish her skills as anyone, even if she IS up to her ears in poison.
Tamamo Cat: In fact, if you ask me, poison is just another kind of spice! Used well, it might just be the key to turning that special someone's head your way, woof!
Mash: Th-that's right! I couldn't agree more, Cat! I fully support Serenity in all her romantic endeavors!
Emiya: Yeah, I figured that's how things would play out, which is why I kept an extra close eye out safetywise...
Emiya: ...including disinfecting every implement she touched to ensure she couldn't poison any other ingredients.
Tamamo Cat: And a fat lot of good your close eye did, considering the mess we're in now.
Tamamo Cat: You might as well have been watching through one of those fish cake chihuahuas they have in your country, for all the good it did you.
Emiya: You must be thinking of chikuwa. Uh, but that's not the point.
Emiya: ...I'm sorry. It was my responsibility to watch the kitchen, and I failed.
Tamamo Cat: Serenity was supposed to let her toxic chocolate cake sit overnight after baking to give the batter time to settle...
Tamamo Cat: ...but when we came to check on it in the morning, it was gone before she could so much as taste it.
Fujimaru 1: ...Huh?
Fujimaru 2: Did you say “chocolate cake”?
Tamamo Cat: If the thief had just sneaked a slice on the spot, we would've found them sprawled out on the floor.
Emiya: If they were human, they'd drop dead on the first bite. If it was a greedy Servant with a sweet tooth...
Emiya: ...their Spirit Origin would've either been weakened or disappeared outright, so I went to the Command Room asking for information, but they didn't see anything like that.
Emiya: So the most likely explanation is that nobody has had any of Serenity's stolen cake yet.
Tamamo Cat: Still, it's gonna keep me up all night if I don't know what happened to it, and fur as gorgeous as mine needs plenty of nap time to keep its luster.
Tamamo Cat: That's why we thought we'd try this mystical True Ancestor power of yours to... Hm? What is it, Master? Why do you look like you're about to yell “Eureka!” at any moment?
Yu Mei-ren: ...
Yu Mei-ren: You don't need to worry about this deadly cake. According to my readings, it was lost forever before it ever had a chance to harm anyone.
Emiya: Huh? But I didn't even see you do any fortune-telling.
Yu Mei-ren: That's True Ancestor Mystic power for you. I'm just sorry I couldn't help you track down the cake's whereabouts.
Yu Mei-ren: So to make up for that, I'll let you have this one on the house.
Elisabeth: Some stupid knuckle-dragging hater has got to be behind this! I just know it!
Elisabeth: How else do you explain there being a giant acoustic-ruining hole in the wall in every room where I'd planned to hold an impromptu concert!?
Elisabeth: I've been scoping out the concert sites all by myself in secret to make extra sure nobody can leak them ahead of time, but somehow, this damn hater still always manages to beat me to the punch!
Elisabeth: Some paparazzi has got to be spying on me in secret! You've got to do something, [♂ Puppy /♀️ Deerlet]!
Blackbeard: Lately, I've been hiding my treasure where nobody can ever find it, 'cause I didn't want to make trouble for anyone. I'm conscientious like that, you know?
Blackbeard: But then one day, out of nowhere, somebody attacked my top-secret hiding spot and burned it down to the ground!
Blackbeard: Whoever it was must've been jealous of my stash and decided if they couldn't have it, nobody could!
Blackbeard: I don't know who did it, but when I find out and track them down, I'm gonna keelhaul them from my mast, or my name isn't Blackbeard the Pirate!
Blackbeard: ...Huh? What was this treasure, exactly? Duhuhu...
Blackbeard: I might be your Servant, Master, but a guy's still entitled to his privacy. Like they say, good fences make good neighbors, right?
Martha: That's right. That day was finally going to be the day when I seized the evidence for all of that wicked Blackbeard–
Martha: I mean, Mr. Teach's depraved crimes, and see that he was properly punished once and for all.
Martha: I even asked Medea and Circe to use their Clairvoyance...
Martha: ...so I could pinpoint the exact location where he was hiding all of his sordid filth.
Martha: But when I got there, I found out that someone had already burned the entire stash to the ground!
Martha: It was obviously a cover-up, so it must mean that Blackbeard has a co-conspirator!
Martha: If we don't do something, chaos is sure to befall all of Chaldea! Or at least its sense of public decency!
Martha: And seeing how Raikou's very presence here contradicts any claims she may make to uphold public decency herself, then as a saint, that task clearly falls to me!
Fou: Fou. You're one to talk, fooou.
Fujimaru 1: All these stories are painting a pretty clear picture...
Mash: Right. The times and locations for all of these issues line up perfectly with Xiang Yu's mysterious destructive behavior.
Mash: There's no telling how much tragedy and bloodshed he may have prevented...
Yu Mei-ren: So you get it now? Does that mean I can finally close up shop?
Yu Mei-ren: Like you said, once you lay all these stories out in one place, things that seemed incomprehensible at first start to paint a clear picture.
Mash: I just wish he'd told us about these ahead of time. Then we could have helped him.
Yu Mei-ren: Don't hold your breath on him ever doing that. Remember, he doesn't perceive future events rationally or logically.
Yu Mei-ren: As far as he's concerned, “foresight” and “conviction” are synonymous. What's more, the obligation he feels to nip these problems in the bud before they can become disasters is practically a reflex.
Fujimaru 1: How can we get along with him better?
Yu Mei-ren: Hmm. Well, you could always try becoming immortal.
Mash: Hehe. That's just the kind of joke I'd expect you to make, Yu Mei-re–
Yu Mei-ren: It's no joke.
Yu Mei-ren: The whole reason you finite beings are trapped in your conception of the present is because of how you view death.
Yu Mei-ren: You in particular should know what I mean, Mash.
Yu Mei-ren: Remember how wonderfully vivid everything seemed back when you could feel the days counting down to oblivion almost in an instant?
Mash: So what does the present feel like to you then, Yu Mei-ren?
Yu Mei-ren: Man, that's a really hard question to answer.
Mash: It is?
Yu Mei-ren: I'm not even sure I can explain this in a way you would understand.
Yu Mei-ren: For example, take this moment right now, where I'm here talking to you like this.
Yu Mei-ren: Is this the present, or did you two actually die long ago and I'm just reminiscing about you? And how can you tell?
Yu Mei-ren: The reason you two can keenly tell the difference is because you can feel your lives ticking away with each second.
Yu Mei-ren: But for me, there is no real difference. The only thing I can tell for sure is that, eventually, you two will die, and I'll be left behind again.
Fujimaru 1: ...I think I get it intellectually, but I can't really understand...
Fujimaru 2: I kind of get it, but I don't really get it...
Yu Mei-ren: This is just what life feels like when death no longer means anything. The past and the future become indistinguishable from one another.
Yu Mei-ren: The endless mass of time compresses your memories, and you have no apprehension towards or interest in the unknown.
Yu Mei-ren: Things that happened before and those that will happen someday are both about equally vague...
Yu Mei-ren: ...and you can't bring yourself to care about which is which.
Yu Mei-ren: That's why I don't even bat an eye when Lord Xiang Yu sees the future and does something seemingly inexplicable.
Yu Mei-ren: Just like that's how it might have been before, that's also how it might be again someday.
Yu Mei-ren: So as long as you keep finding meaning in your finite lives, you'll never be able to understand Lord Xiang Yu.
Yu Mei-ren: But if he does something you really can't make heads or tails of, just come ask me about it. I'm still better than he is at taking you humans' doubts into consideration.
Xiang Yu: I see... I'm sorry you had to go to all that trouble on my behalf, my Yu.
Yu Mei-ren: Not at all, Lord Xiang Yu. It barely even served to pass the time. Still, I have to ask: Are you sure about this?
Yu Mei-ren: Surely you could have foreseen that your actions were only going to make the Chaldeans fear you.
Xiang Yu: I did, but I also foresaw that no harm would come of it, even if I could not foresee how.
Xiang Yu: I see. So it was thanks to your intervention that my actions became clear and I was able to avoid a disastrous fate. I am in your debt once again.
Yu Mei-ren: Not at all, Lord Xiang Yu. Anyone would have done the same for their beloved.
Yu Mei-ren: ...
Xiang Yu: Hm? Why are you sighing with such dejection, my Yu?
Yu Mei-ren: If I had only been able to clear up misunderstandings between you and your subjects back when you were the Hegemon-King of Western Chu...
Yu Mei-ren: ...maybe you would have met with a different fate...
Xiang Yu: Impossible.
Xiang Yu: Back then, you feared humans just as they feared you, so you would never have been able to negotiate with them.
Yu Mei-ren: ...That's true, isn't it. You're right. I don't know what I was thinking.
Xiang Yu: What you did today is only possible because of your new circumstances, my Yu.
Xiang Yu: It is due to your choice to become a Heroic Spirit, come to Chaldea, and take Fujimaru as your Master...
Xiang Yu: ...that you are now able to act as an intermediary between humans and myself.
Yu Mei-ren: Lord Xiang Yu...
Xiang Yu: I could not function as well as I do if I did not have you to help me, my Yu. I am glad you are here to fight for humanity's future by my side.
Yu Mei-ren: As am I!