Archer of black and his master had arrived in the town a little before noon. Fiore had gone over the notes regarding this area since the war had begun. They had many spies through this town and any other adjacent ones. They kept track of any individuals of interest that made their way through.
They knew that the Red faction had most likely set up a base in the abandoned church on the hill. None of their spies dared to get close, most of them were barely better than a spellcaster and couldn't be counted on to gather any information on magi that were hand picked to become masters. And that wasn't even taking into consideration the Servants running around.
A lot of the hands of the yggdemillenia family that extended away from their home base were barely better than mundanes in the eyes of the large family. Those that lacked the talent but came from prominent families or even mundanes that had somehow come into contact with them. It was through these 'hands' that the family was able to procure raw resources or anything they needed in the normal world. While not as far reaching as the Clock tower, it was impressive for a singular family to bring themselves up to such a level in the time they had.
This was how Fiore and Archer found themselves in their current situation. They were in a special morgue where the 'victims' of Assassin were found.
All the victims were either magi or those that had a high aptitude for magecraft, even if they never activated their circuits. The people they had in the law enforcement in this town had discreetly spirited the bodies away. They didn't want too many people asking questions, a few news articles about a jack the ripper copier was about the maximum they wanted to get out at this point.
While it wasn't likely for the counter force to even pay attention to their assassin running around and killing people in the dark, it wasn't good to draw too much unwanted attention like this.
Archer was busy inspecting the bodies. His knowledge of anatomy would make a modern specialist jealous. Fiore was less inclined towards the science and was sitting off in the distance.
"How bad is it Archer?" Fiore asked.
"About as bad as we thought." He said as he took off his filth covered gloves. "It seems Assassin is predominantly killing for the prana in the victim's bodies."
After inspecting the bodies, it became clear that certain organs or parts were missing. Organs that tend to retain a portion of prana after death and the residual prana in the body.
"So that leaves us with only two theories about Assassin's current situation." Fiore stated.
"Yes, either Assassin has an exceedingly high independent action rank, which is rare for assassins....or they managed to find a new master and they don't produce prana."
"I wouldn't put it past that homicidal idiot that even summoned her originally to hide such information. But I also find it somewhat unlikely that a mundane had made a contract with someone like Jack the Ripper."
"I do not believe someone with knowledge of the moonlit world would leave such evidence around so arbitrarily. We are most likely dealing with a novice in that regard."
Fiore sighed. "I do not like hunting down mundanes."
"It is a necessary evil at this point. It's clear that Assassin's master is most likely complacent in the servants actions." Archer replied.
"The red faction had been operating in this town. It's rather large and all, but why havn't they made a move on the assassin?"
"If they knew about the assassin, whats the point? Let our assassin be bound to someone without prana and have them just lurk in a dark corner somewhere, just trying to survive. On the other hand, its highly possible they have no idea. As you said this town is very large, several million people are present and the church is on the other side of the town. The servant's class is called Assassin for a reason. They don't have the inside information of the servant identity, even if they read the local paper they wouldn't have anything other than a mild suspicion towards the murders."
Fiore just nodded. Truthfully, she was a bit far out of her depth with this entire war. She didn't know why her uncle wanted her to participate. The cynical side of her believed that her Uncle thought she would be an easy target once the Red side was dealt with and they then had to fight one another.
She felt incredibly lucky to have summoned someone like Archer. The mentor of heroes as he was called, he was always patient with her and was more than happy to explain his reasoning or help her understand certain aspects of the war. She didn't need a mindless servant like Gordes tried to build through Saber, she needed a partner, a teacher. And she received one of the greatest.
"What should we do next?" Fiore asked, looking up to Archer.
"What do you believe we should do next, master?" Archer replied.
She took a minute to think it over. This wasn't exactly a new exercise that Archer just sprung on her. He wanted her to try and figure out things for herself before he gently guided her.
"We originally had Assassin come here to scout the Red side, she they probably have a better understanding of the city than we do. Since it's still day time, I believe the best course of action would be to find a high-point in the city to map the area."
"As you command, master." Archer hummed with a smile. Her reasoning wasn't wrong, but there was a bit more to it than that. Archers had increased sight and his base sight was already very strong. He was trained by two gods that focused on Archery; it may sound a little arrogant but he doubt the other Archer could match him in this regard.
The Sun began to set and most the people in the city were making their way indoors. The local authorities put out a curfew as the string of murders became rather rampant. Though a certain magus family may have had a hand in that.
Mordred was astralized a few streets over, her master walking down the road as he lightly flared his circuits.
While they were here, the Mage's Associated had asked him to investigate the murders. They tried to nip anything that could draw the world's attention in the bud early on. A servant going around impersonating a centuries old murderer was sure to attract unwanted attention.
"You've been pretty quiet, everything alright?" Kairi asked his partner through their mental link.
He knew the gist of what happened to Mordred. She didn't go into details but the way she was acting, he was able to gleam several things. The fact that her father, the source of many negative emotions she held onto, had wanted to make amends had surprised the magus.
"I'm fine." She replied.
He noted the usual haughtiness wasn't present. He was a parent at one point, he knew what 'I'm fine' really meant.
Mordred could hear the sigh from him through the link. They got along well enough, she would even say she had a favorable impression of him. Though she was annoyed at the places he liked to hang out at, crypts in particular, he wasn't a stick-in-the-mud like most magi were.
She also liked that he didn't push things that she was obviously uncomfortable with. If she expressed distaste with a certain strategy, he would ask her opinion and try to find another course of action. She knew the reasons for his personality, they had shared the dream cycle for a bit now and were able to see the important pieces of each other's history.
As thing stood, she was a bit confused on she felt herself. Happiness was predominant, but she also felt like she lost something about herself. She was the Knight of Treachery. That defined her legend and to have that gone...it felt odd.
Neither of them focused on it anymore for now, they were currently working. Her master was using himself as bait to lure out the assassin. She had to be far enough away to not alert them before the trap was sprung.
Kairi wandered around for a bit as the night finally permeated the town and all was quiet.
He took a few precautions, several mystic codes on his person to defend him in an emergency. Though he wasn't clear if they would protect against an attack from a servant. He was betting that the servant in question wouldn't be taking him seriously and that any attack would only be haphazard at best.
After turn a corner, his vision began to darken even under the street lamps.
A mist began to engulf the area.
Kairi quickly covered his mouth. He was adept at things like poisons, he could tell right away that this wasn't merely mist but more akin to a poisonous smog. Though it was a little too late, he began to cough uncontrollably.
Mordred heard it and immediately rushed over, red lightning discharged in her wake as she saw a small figure hovering over her prone master.
"GET AWAY YOU BITCH" She roared as her fist connected with the target, only for it to dissipate into the surroundings like it was made of smoke.
She materialized her blade and took a stance. She couldn't even sense the assassin in the area and she felt a bit slower. No doubt this bounded field was some kind of ability the assassin possessed. Combined with it's already absurd presence concealment, Mordred couldn't detect the servant anywhere.
She was relying on her instinct, though even that was feeling a bit odd in this circumstance. It felt like she was surrounded. The mist was messing with her perception on multiple levels.
The figure was standing infront of her, it was rather short but covered in shadows with red eyes. She would have qualms about killing someone who looked like a child, but she could feel the sheer amount of bloodlust coming from it.
The assassin charged and Mordred swung her blade, only for it to burst into more smog and dissipate. Another one came from the side and another from another side as she continued to cut each one down.
As Mordred was dealing with the coming figures, another one poped up behind her master. She had white hair, a couple scars on her face and her clothes were rather revealing for someone of her stature and potential age.
She held a knife in her hand and a twisted smile as she was about to plunge it into his back.
Mordred turned around after a wide horizontal slash to finish off several more of the 'assassins' infront of her, she sensed the real one the moment she removed her concealment to attack Kairi.
The assassin plunged her knife forward, infront of it a magic circle appeared, letters not readable by normal humans. It held off the blade for not even half a second before it continued, the shield shattering like glass and a necklace around Kairi's neck cracking and breaking along with it.
A rather mundane mystic code all things considered, but it was strong and useful. It was common for Executors of the church and magi field-operatives to use.
It bought just enough time for Mordred to burst forward with her prana flaring and knock away the assassin. An actual feeling of connection this time as this target was real.
The assassin twist and turned as she landed on her feet a few meters back, staring at the pray that had escaped her grasp.
Mordred finally smiled for the first time tonight. Her toothy grin present as she finally felt her battle-lust flaring up. A real opponent this time, even if it was an assassin. After the emotional day she had, she just wanted to lose herself in a battle.
She flared her mana burst up again, while not as strong in increasing overall parameters as Arthur's, it also cost a lot less prana to use. It's main boon was the added lightning that came along with it as she could bend it to her will.
Her speed was reduced below what she was used to, but for a knight and more so a saber, her agility was a bit above average overall.
She charged and her blade met the assassin's. The blow was strong enough to knock the assassin back, but she was smart enough to not meet the knight in a battle of strength. She jumped with the blow, landing against the side of a building, she pushed herself off and bolted at the knight.
Assassin swung her knives in a flurry that blurred to the non-combatants.
Mordred moved Clarent to intercept, the audible clings and sparks were the only recognition that the blades met, with the speed they were swinging, as soon as a blow was blocked, another followed it up.
Assassin made use of her small size, getting under Mordred's guard so she couldn't swing her large broadsword. Though the assassin also had a hard time causing any damage to the armor.
Mordred knew her armor well enough to predict where the assassin might try to catch her. Certain joins that didn't fully cover her skin. She may be more berserker-like than most knights, but she trained her whole life to be the best knight that she could be.
The battle was basically at a stalemate, neither could do any substantial damage to the other as they were both fight against their own weakness.
But that was until Mordred felt something, an arrow flying through the air towards her master. She turned around and at that moment, a knife sunk into her side, right under her arm.
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