Disclaimer: I don't own anything from Fate.
Warning: Contains spoilers for all of Arc 1 of Fate/Grand Order.
Fate/Grand Order: Ring of Promise
Chapter 1: The Time of Reunion has Come
"Well, I didn't expect you'd get this far. Beyond my plan's expectations and my own tolerances. Master Candidate number forty-eight, it was my mistake to naively overlook you as an improbable child."
From his place in the observation room in Chaldea, Doctor Romani Archaman couldn't believe what he was hearing. That voice, that mysterious voice that he recognized. Whispering broke out through the room as the other survivors of the staff started to mutter among themselves, having recognized the voice as well. It couldn't be…
"Professor Lev?" asked Mash, her voice crackling through the observation comms. Roman's heart sunk at this confirmation.
"Lev?!" he said, leaning on the comms console. "Professor Lev, you say? He's there?"
"Hm, is that Romani I hear? So, you survived as well." The voice was cruel, the tone different than Romani remembered, but still unmistakably the same man. Showing his true colors, like Roman had suspected all along. "I told you to come to the command room immediately, but it seems you didn't listen. Honestly… Trash who can't even follow orders. Just the mere sight of it makes me want to throw up. Why is it that humans always try to avoid their preordained destinies?"
Roman didn't have visuals currently, there was too much magical energy in their air where Mash, Olga and Ritsuka were currently, but he could tell just from the tone of the conversation that something bad was about to happen. He cursed his powerlessness as Mash's terrified voice came through.
"Senpai, fall back! Fall back, please!" The sounds of shuffling. "That person is dangerous…Th-that isn't the Professor lev that we know!"
The sound of walking, getting fainter from the observation point that was currently centered on Mash's magical signature. Roman's heart dropped as he realized that the footsteps were moving towards Lev.
"Lev…" The voice of Olga Marie. Desperate and searching for comfort. "Oh, Lev! Lev! You're alive! Thank goodness! Without you, I don't know how I could protect Chaldea!"
Mash's voice, equally desperate. "Director don't! That man is…"
"Hi Olga, you seem well." That false sense of comfort was once again in Lev's voice as he spoke. This time, Roman could clearly hear the mocking as well. The contempt. "Looks like you've had a rough time, too."
"Yes, yes, that's right, Lev!" Roman's heart sunk, and while he didn't have clairvoyance anymore in this form, he knew that this moment was one that was going to change everything. "The command room blew up, the city's in ruins, and I can't return to Chaldea! I'm going crazy from all of these unforeseen complications! But it's okay, as long as you're here we'll be fine, right? That's how it's always been, right? You'll help me this time too, won't you?"
"Yes, of course." The footsteps stopped. "Just take this seed and eat it. All of these messy complications will disappear when you do so."
A chill went down Roman's spine. Something was wrong. He didn't know what, or how he could tell, but this wasn't what was supposed to happen. He switched on the comms and yelled into them. "Director, don't do it!" No response. "Mash, stop her!"
"It's too late Doctor," said the snide voice of Lev. The wind started to howl, and cries of surprise came from Mash and Ritsuka. From Olga there was silence, and then, there was screaming. Lev's voice broke through, sounding excited. "Yes, Olga. Don't fight it, embrace it. Soon, you will have the power you always wanted, the ability to end all of the complications."
As the screaming continued, Roman snapped off the channel and turned on a different one, this one to the engineering department. "Da Vinci," he yelled. "Are you there?"
"Loud and clear," said the confident voice. "I've been listening in to the transmissions from Singularity F. I assume you also have a bad feeling?"
Roman allowed himself a half-smile. "That's a genius for you. Something is very wrong, and I don't think it's something Ritsuka and Mash are going to be able to deal with on their own."
"Sir," said a technician, getting his attention. There was fear in her voice. She pointed to a magical gauge. "I don't recognize this pattern, and the readings are pushing at the edges of the gauge. They may even be exceeding what we can measure."
He looked over at the readings. They confirmed his greatest fear. He spoke into the comm to Da Vinci. "Yes, it's exactly what I feared. These are readings that shouldn't exist in this era. An impossible existence." He didn't dare to say aloud what the readings actually meant. They weren't something anyone in this era was supposed to know.
Da Vinci luckily understood what he meant, even if he didn't say it. "While you've been guiding them through the situation, I managed to repair one of the Coffins. We can send someone in to assist them."
"We don't have anyone, that's why we sent them in in the first place," he said. He couldn't believe he needed to remind her of that.
"I can go in," replied Da Vinci, her voice calm.
"No, you can't!" he yelled into the comm.
"Yes, I can. As a Heroic Spirit, I can travel into a Singularity if I wish."
He shook his head; even though she couldn't see the motion. "That's not what I mean. You're an existence bound to Chaldea. We don't know what will happen if you leave. You may be able to manifest in a Singularity, but you may never be able to return. It's all a big unknown, and we can't risk losing you."
Screaming burst from the Singularity F monitoring unit. An inhuman cry, a yell of fear from Ritusuka, the sound of claw on metal, Mash yelling for Ritsuka to stay behind her. "Director…" muttered Mash. "Fight it…"
"Give in Olga!" yelled Lev. "Give up your weak human self. You're not the spirit of the deceased Chaldea Director Olga Marie Animusphere anymore, but the Demon God Amon. Accept it!"
"I'm going in," said Da Vinci, her voice determined.
"No!" said Roman. "That's an order!"
"Mash's vitals are at a dangerous level!" said the tech, her face white. "She can't handle much more of this!"
Roman tightened his fist in frustration. Underneath his glove, he felt the metal of his ring rubbing against his skin.
"There's no one else who can do this," said Da Vinci.
"Yes," said Roman, unclenching his fist. He let out the breath he'd been holding in. A heavy sigh. "There is."
"Sir?" asked the tech, looking confused. "What do you mean? All Master Candidates have been put in suspended animation. No one else on the staff scored high enough to complete a Rayshift into the Singularity."
"No one on file is listed as being able to do so," he said. "But I administered the tests for candidates, there's one person who's results never made it to the official records."
"Who?" asked the tech. Everyone in the room was exchanging confused glances. Who among them was it?
Da Vinci's voice crackled over the comm. "Roman…"
He gave a nervous laugh. "I assume you've figured it out already Da Vinci, since you're a genius after all. Please, prepare the Coffin for me, I'll be there immediately."
A pause. "Will do. Da Vinci, signing off."
"Doctor?" asked a different tech, walking up to him. "You're able to Rayshift?"
He flashed a comforting smile, although he could tell instantly it came off as awkward instead. He still wasn't good at stuff like this. "Yeah, but only the old Director and I were aware. And Da Vinci I guess. No surprise there."
"But, are you even a trained mage?" asked another tech.
He rubbed the back of his head. "A little bit. It's complicated." He frowned. "But you'll just need to trust me. Prepare the Rayshift process and get ready to confirm my exist in the singularity. Get me as close to Mash and Ritsuka as you can."
Roman left the room, the door sliding shut behind him. He took a heavy breath and then started to run down the ruined halls, heading towards the coffins. The door opened for him and he came into what looked like a graveyard. Rows upon rows of Master Candidates, all frozen inside the aptly named Coffins. Da Vinci stood by an open Coffin; her arms crossed as she waited for his arrival.
"Took you long enough."
"Sorry about that," he replied. "The staff was curious."
"Are you sure about this?"
"Do I have a choice?" Mash's cries echoed through a small comm panel that Da Vinci had near to the Coffin. Ritsuka was yelling for help, and it was all that the techs could do to urge them to stay calm. "See? This is all I can think off to do."
"Are you thinking, or are you feeling?" asked Da Vinci, her voice suspicious.
He shrugged. "I'm not sure I've ever been able to tell the difference. But unless the connection restored itself in this form, then this is just plain old Roman, lost for solutions without assistance. Honestly, I was hoping you'd have another idea on my way down here."
He started to climb into the Coffin. Da Vinci turned towards the panel, her back to him. "Nothing. What do you plan to do in there?"
"Feel it out," he said, flashing her a smile she couldn't see. The coffin lid closed on him, locking him in. He closed his eyes and steadied his breathing. Da Vinci's voice rang through the Coffin as she ran through the steps to Rayshift him. He didn't bother to listen though. There was nothing he could do; it was all in her capable hands now. His only job was to have faith that everything would work out. Something he hadn't been able to do for a long time.
There was a strange lurching motion, like the land slipping away underneath you after you've been on a boat for too long. Colors started to saturate in his vision, before eventually blending together in an impossible manner. Then, everything blue-shifted, and streaks of white appeared in his vision as he was suddenly thrust forward through space, and backwards through time.
In a forever-instant he moved from the Coffin to a hellscape. The land around him, the ruins of a city that was smoldering for eternity. The land settled underneath his feet and his vision properly shifted back to a normal color palate. He recognized this from earlier viewing as Singularity F, the remains of Fuyuki City, Japan in 2004. Of course, he also knew his way around from two previous visits to the site, although with much less fire during both.
"Rayshift complete," said Da Vinci, her voice coming through next to him. "How do you feel Roman?"
"A little sick," he said, lying. He felt perfectly normal, but it would come off as weird for him to feel fine after all that, right? He needed to keep projecting that same persona, Doctor Roman, slightly clumsy and fun loving. The persona of the person he'd always wanted to be.
"That's pretty normal," replied Da Vinci. She was clearly playing along for the sake of the others. No use to make them suspect him at this point. "Take a moment to catch yourself. Due to the disturbance, we couldn't get you to the exact position of Mash and Ritsuka, but we were able to get you to the summoning circle Mash set-up previously on the leyline. You're a little over a mile out from their position. When you can, try to summon a Servant. Hopefully one who can get you there in time."
He took a breath, let it out, and started towards the center of the circle. He suspected he hadn't given enough time to believably recover, but that didn't matter. They didn't have the time to perfectly keep the deception. Not with a Demon God running around.
"How are they doing?"
"Mash has managed to form a barrier up around them, but I estimate six minutes and thirteen seconds before the creature we have now designated as 'Amon' breaks through it."
"Ma'am," said a tech, her voice faint as she addressed Da Vinci. "How is the Doctor supposed to summon a Servant without a catalyst? Ritsuka was using Mash's shield prior to stabilize things. But what does the Doctor have?"
"That's a good question," said Da Vinci. "Roman, have any ideas?"
"One," he said, holding his left hand out over the center of the circle. Underneath his glove, his ring grew hot, burning the flesh around it. The back of his hand tingled and underneath the glove came the red glow of a set of Command Seals forming. Two opposite facing, overlapping triangles formed a six-pointed star, with a three-pronged shin in the center.
The magical circle glowed around him, accepting the catalyst. The light built up, and it was only as the energy reached a crescendo that he realized who the most likely people would be to answer his call. But it was too late to abort as the magic swirled around him, waiting for him to activate it. Trying to cancel it now would not just mean he'd lost his only chance of saving his new charges, but also a possible physical danger to himself. So, instead of aborting, he moved forward, activating the energy with the first chant that came to mind.
"Ata gibor l'olam Adonai m'cha-yey mey-tim ata rav l'hoshia. M'chal-keyl cheyim b'chesed m'cha-yey meytim b'rachamim rabim so-meych noflim v'rofey cholim. U-matir asurim u-m'keyem emunato li-shey-ney afar mi chamocha ba-al g'vurot. U-mi domeh lach melech mey-mit u-m'cheyeh u-matz-miach y'shua. V'ne-eman ata l'ha-cheyot mey-tim Baruch ata Adonai m'cha-ye ha-mey-tim."
The words, both familiar and changed over the hundreds of years since he had first muttered them. The magic of the circle responded to his call, forming based on the words he chanted. The world outside of the circle darkened and all noise ceased to have any meaning to him. It was just him and the summoning. An instantaneous flash, that blinded him one moment and left him seeing clearly the next. In what was once an empty circle knelt a cloaked figure, having come to answer his command. Their head was down, hiding him from their view.
"Master, I have come in response to your summoning. I only ask one thing of you: There is a house. One enters it blind and comes out seeing. What is it?"
That cloak. That voice. That riddle. Everything about this Servant was familiar to Roman. He knew exactly who she was. Her ornate red cloak, patterns weaved in it in the finest golden thread, the inside of it lined in a brilliant sky blue cloth. A pair of furry ears, those of a dog peeking through the drawn hood. The scent of spices and warm sands, a familiar one that brought him back to a time long forgotten. It was without thinking that he answered the riddle without hesitation.
"That is correct, said the familiar voice. There was surprise, not at his answer, but in a type of recognition. Her head tilted up from peering at the ground, and on her face, he saw for the briefest moment an expectant look. But she schooled the expression immediately. She was all decorum, just like she always had be-
"My love!" came the happy words. In an instant Roman found himself bowled over and onto his back, his new Servant straddling him. She looked down at him, a bright smile on her face. Behind her, he could see a fluffy tail wagging excitedly.
Roman found himself blurting out, "what happened to royal decorum?"
A light laugh. "I am a Servant now, not a queen. I can follow new rules." She studied him for a moment. "You look different. Have you not been working out as much?"
"Sorry for letting myself go," he said dryly. "Some of us are too busy working on the next joint magical-scientific discovery to hit the gym."
"I did not say you looked bad," she replied, lowering her head and nuzzling it into his shoulder. "Just that you were different. You smell slightly different as well. And your voice, the timbre has changed."
"It's been a long time," said Roman, his arms instinctively coming up and lightly wrapping around her. "I'm surprised you recognized me at all if I'm so different."
"I have always been able to know who you are at first glance before, why not now?"
"I hate to interrupt whatever this is," said Da Vinci, her voice coming from around them. "But I would like to remind you that you now only have one minute and eight seconds before Mash's barrier breaks. Any bright ideas how you're going to cover over a mile in that time and save them? Also, we don't have your Servant's Spirit Origin logged into our system yet, care to introduce us?"
"Of course, I can do so, Miss Inventor," she said, getting up off Roman as he released his light hold around her. He could imagine Da Vinci's surprise at being figured out so quickly, but she'd always been like that. His new Servant helped him off the ground, introducing herself as she did so. "I am a Caster Class Servant. My True name is Makeda, Queen of Sheba."
"The Ethiopic name for Bilkis," said Da Vinci. "That does confirm all of my theories. It should be no surprise that you answered Roman's summoning."
"I always have," Makeda said, a smile on her face as she glanced to him. He returned it awkwardly. What face was he supposed to have at a moment like this? It had all been so much easier when he had been a King. His place in society had been much more fixed and determined back then.
He snapped out of his thoughts though, time was fading quickly. "Caster," he said, getting her attention. "We need to save some charges of mine who are in some serious trouble. Any other explanations or talk will need to wait for later."
A nod. "I understand." She held up her hands, and Roman finally got a good look at her attire. Underneath her red and gold cloak were traveling clothes; puffy pants tucked into high boots and a loose sleeveless shirt that showed off her well-toned shoulders and arms. At the elbows, she gained a set of arm sleeves that went up to her hands, covering most of her palm and her middle finger. She was adorned by a variety of elaborate jewelry that clinked against itself when she moved. He suddenly felt self-conscious, she looked just like when he had first met her, and he clearly did not. But his focus didn't stay on her looks for long as she started to summon magical energy to herself. "First of the Three Enigmas, Achat, spirit of swift arrival, I summon thee."
A wind whipped up around the pair and Roman realized that space was warping around them. He braced himself for the sudden shift right as it took place. Instead of a method of carrying them quickly to their destination, this shifted them from the magical circle to the middle of a ferocious battlefield. The air was heavy, and the ground was torn up, furrows carved in it from a variety of powerful attacks. Several yards away he saw Mash and Ritsuka, a barrier in place around the pair. There were cracks in its magical structure, ready to burst at any moment. Assaulting the barrier was a large, bestial creature. A gigantic white-haired wolf with the tail of a serpent whipping back and forth behind it. On her head was a singular short side braid. Roman's worst fear was true.
"Caster," he said, not wasting a moment. "Please, assist Mash in defeating the Demon God Amon."
"Understood," said Makeda, leaping into action. She gathered mana into her hands and shaped it into thin disks. She threw the disks, hooking them in arcs towards the barrier. As she had been doing so, Amon had been preparing to leap at the barrier. As the disks moved in, so did she, right into their path. They struck her flank, not drawing blood, but managing to knock her away and abort her attack.
As Makeda ran towards Amon, she stopped running on the ground, instead the air underneath her feet hardening, bringing her up higher like she was ascending stairs. Amon recovered from the attack and started to look around for who had done it. She wasn't ready as the Caster brought a pillar of fire down on her from right above her. Amon let out a cry of pain as she was lit on fire, but her gaze also fell on Makeda. She leapt quickly up into the air through the pillar of fire and swiped at the Servant with her long claws. Her own agility not too high, Makeda only just managed to dodge away at the last moment, the claws ripping through the edges of her cloak. Amon fell back to the ground outside of the pillar and started circling, looking for another chance to attack her airborne enemy.
Upon seeing her attacker switching attention, Mash's energy finally gave out. Her barrier dropped and her grip on her shield went slack. Ritsuka went to her side, administering to her with a minor healing magecraft and comforting words, but there wasn't much they could do to help the Demi-Servant. Unfortunately, as soon as the barrier was down, Amon shifted her attention back to the tired pair. Amon dashed at them, closing the distance in an instant. Ritsuka was only able to fire a singular magical bolt, the attack striking harmlessly at the Demon God's side. Amon leapt into the air, claws trying to meet flesh, but instead found Mash's shield, raised at the last moment. The move managed to stop the attack, but the force of the blow knocked the Demi-Servant to the ground, unable to fight back.
Luckily, Makeda hadn't been idle during the exchange, instead opting to let the wind magecraft under her feet drop, sending her falling towards the ground. As she fell, she crafted a different spell, this one drawing in the moisture in the air. It formed a whip of water that she directed towards Amon. As Amon tried to finish off the downed Mash, the whip wrapped around her neck, stopping her short. Makeda landed on the ground in front of Amon and gestured with her hands, the whip tossing the monster through the air, away from them.
Of course, while that fight was going on, Roman had his own trouble to deal with. "Doctor Romani Archaman," said Lev. "You are an astoundingly lucky man."
He flashed Lev a light smile, one given to a long-standing joke. "Yes, you've said that before. I don't see it myself, but who am I to judge?" As he was talking, he kept one eye on Lev, and the other on Makeda. She was an experienced and powerful Caster, but he couldn't help but worry, for both the charges they were protecting and her. There was too much unpredictability going on for his liking. They could lose at any moment. He didn't like fighting battles he thought he might lose.
Lev frowned. "You are standing before the man who betrayed you, killed more than half of the personnel under your watch, attempted to kill you, and turned your former boss into a demon, and yet you still won't show any emotion? I had always wondered if that front you put up was an act or who you really were."
"You're a strange one to say that," said Roman, turning his full attention to Lev as Makeda engaged Amon once more. There wasn't much he could do to help her right now except to keep Lev distracted and out of the fight. She would understand that. "Kind and polite Professor Lev, the one everyone looked to in Chaldea to keep things running. To think that you were plotting our ruin the entire time." He gave a tired sigh, one only slightly theatric. "You were the wort possible traitor."
"I was never on the side of Chaldea or humanity," said Lev, taking a step towards Roman. "I'm not a traitor, because none of you were ever more than pests to me. Especially you and Olga Marie."
The urge to kill rising off Lev was almost visible to Roman, with how strong it was. It was only a matter of moments until it exploded out towards him. Was there a way to stop it? No, it had always been there, bottled up. Since they had studied together at the Clock Tower, it had been there. Could he send it somewhere else? No as well, that could lead to more trouble than good. The most he could do was prepare himself to fight. To keep Lev focused on him, instead of somewhere worse, like Ritusuka and Mash.
Roman held up his hands in a gesture of defeat. "I don't intend to fight you Lev. I'll never be able to beat a Mage of the Clock Tower. Can't we just talk?"
"Talk?" asked Lev, anger visible on his face. "No, I don't think we can. At this stage, I would much rather torture you for any information I want than have a casual chat. For instance, how is it that you were able to summon a Servant of that caliber and why that wasn't in any records, even the top-secret ones?"
A shrug. "I just didn't feel like Rayshifting to fight with Servants," replied Roman. He started to run the magical calculations in his head for three pieces of magecraft. First, calculate a three-point barrier magecraft, designating the starting point as the small of his back, to keep it out of view. "I'm just a simple Doctor, so the previous Director honored my request when I was hired to keep my test results between us."
"You never did like doing anything you could lose in. A coward to the end," said Lev, moving closer to him. He was about twenty feet away from Roman, so Roman extended a bounded field, centered on him as focal point, to fifteen feet away. He tethered the information gathering quality of the field to his three-point barrier and set the barrier to automatic response. That done, he started to run through calculations for the third piece of magecraft he had planned. Lev raised a hand. "Fortunately for you, you will not need to live as a coward much longer."
Roman activated his magecraft constructs as a bolt of magical energy shot from Lev's hand towards him. The bolt entered his bounded field and the sensor registered the attack's presence, activating his pinpoint barrier. The bolt struck his chest right as one of his barriers crossed underneath his right armpit and got in the way of the bolt at the last second. The barrier absorbed most of the blast, but some force still came through, knocking him over. He didn't try to fight it, instead collapsing to the ground in a heap.
"And there goes the brave cavalry," said Lev, walking towards him once more. "I don't know what I expected, but after all that you survived, it almost feels anti-climactic that you die here, like this. It seems your luck has finally run out."
A few more steps and Lev crossed through Roman's bounded field. The entry was a bright flare in his mind, and that was when he flipped over onto his back. Hand out, he fired a magical bolt of his own at Lev. The bolt struck the man in the head, a small explosion obscuring his view for a moment. Roman didn't hesitate to look at the results though as he scrambled to his feet and started to run away from his foe.
"A clever attempt," said Lev, sounding anything but amused. "But a mere human will never be able to defeat me."
Roman glanced over his shoulder and saw that Lev was completely uninjured, like he'd expected. Well, he'd hoped that it would work, but his luck wasn't that good. He twisted around and fired another magical bolt. This time, Lev just reached into the air and knocked it into the ground next to him. Something no human should be able to do.
"I was really hoping that would work," said Roman lightly, letting some of the actual fear he felt seep into his voice. It was clear he wasn't going to win this fight like he might a regular magical duel. This was something else entirely. "Could we maybe try to continue talking this through? We are old friends and colleagues after all."
Lev sneered. "I never considered you a colleague, a friend, or even an equal. Right now, you have power in your hands, a Servant at your beck and call, and you're still not worthy of it. This is why humans need to be eradicated."
Off to the side, Roman caught a glimpse of Makeda fending off Amon. The demon god had gotten up close and was refusing to let her prey escape. The Heroic Spirit wasn't panicking though, instead dodging nimbly back and forth. Her physical parameters weren't impressive, but her movements were just what was needed to prevent danger every time. As if she could see the future. Roman figured that appraisal wasn't entirely accurate, but it wasn't inaccurate either. She wasn't seeing the future, but her ability Faerie Eye did give her a more advanced version of the bounded field he had erected. She was able to appraise the value and attributes of material things. In addition, she could also appraise the suspicious conduct of enemies during battle. Little escaped her keen eye.
Makeda ducked under a claw and used a tendril of water that she crafted from behind Amon to tug on her back leg, throwing the creature off balance. She followed up with a blast of wind to Amon's face, knocking her over. Foe toppled, Makeda started to chant. "Second of the Three Enigmas, Shatyim, spirit of purifying flames, I summon thee."
In response to her call came a howling wind and from the sky descended a flaming wolf. The wolf zeroed in on Amon, engulfing the demon in fire. A howl of pain, and Amon started to flail around, fighting to her feet. Makeda waved her hands and a small burst of wind shot down from above Amon. The wind pushed her back into the ground while stoking the flames to greater intensity.
Amon howled once more, but this time, there was something else to it. Magical energy surrounded her, and then, she breathed in. The spell took hold of Shatyim and pulled the fire spirit into Amon. Makeda tried to recall her spirit, but it was too late. Shatyim was consumed, and as Amon stood, her eyes burned with a new light. She slashed out at Makeda with a claw, fire erupting at the tips. Makeda dodged backward, once again finding herself on the defensive.
"It was a good attempt," said Lev, a vicious smile spread across his face, "but a Servant, no matter how powerful can never stand up on their own a Demon God. This whole fight is a futile exercise."
"Don't dare underestimate her," said Roman angrily. He hadn't meant to be as heated in his words; they had come out without his intending. Lev looked surprised by his response. Roman smiled and laughed, trying to pass the whole thing off. This was bad. "Well, that would be what a proper Master would say, but I'm pretty washed up here. I was hoping to catch you by surprise."
Lev studied him for a moment, a gaze more intense than any Roman had seen the professor give him before. "Maybe I underestimated you. I assumed that you were just the surface level fool you presented yourself as, no one would purposely act such a fool, now would they. Of course, no self-respecting Mage would do so, but that might have been a mistake. Romani Archaman, who are you really?"
Roman raised his gloved hands up in a gesture of playful defense. "No one really. Just a Doctor with a minor background in magical theory who caught the eye of the right person. Nothing more. But," said Roman, lowering his hands slowly. "I don't plan to lose here."
As his hands came down, he suddenly thrust one out, sending a bolt towards Lev. Lev swatted it aside once more, disgust on his face. Roman broke into a run, sending small bursts of magical energy through his body to increase its physical parameters. It wasn't enough as Lev tracked him with easy precision and fired bolt after bolt at him. As each entered his bounded field, his barriers reacted to the danger and blocked each shot, negating the damage and most of the force. He still felt every bolt, and it was only through the physical enhancements that he was able to keep standing and moving. He found himself breathless and hoping for a reprieve at some point, but he needed to keep up the pressure.
"Stop running and just die already," yelled Lev, all façade gone, just hatred on his face. The bolts came faster and harder, and it was all Roman and his barriers could do to stay in motion and functioning. He felt his magical circuits straining against what he was having them do. He just needed to keep going for a little while longer…
"Is this all that a mage of the Clock Tower can manage?" asked Roman, his breath coming out ragged. "You can't beat a simple medical doctor like this?"
"Don't have such a high opinion of yourself you insect," yelled Lev. Around him opened seventy-two magical portals, spreading out. The portals tracked his movements for a moment before opening fire. The blasts tore through the space between them, and it was all Roman could do to reverse his momentum, running in the opposite direction and away from the blasts. The area of attack was so wide that he had no hope of escaping. Several bolts hit him in staggered waves, but luckily his barriers caught them. Unfortunately, the strain was too much, and they gave out, one by one until he was defenseless.
No other bolts struck him, but they did strike around him, causing an explosion in the surrounding area. He was pelted by debris, one hitting him in the forehead and causing blood to trickle down his head. The dust settled and Lev stood above him, hand out ready to end his life. Before he could pull the trigger though, there was a sudden explosion on the other side of the battlefield. Lev turned to look, shock on his face as he saw what had happened. Roman didn't bother paying attention, instead sending a final burst of mana into his body to command it to move. In an instant he was up, left hand on Lev's chest. He didn't hesitate as he released the third piece of magecraft that he had set-up at the beginning of the battle. "Lesalake!"
Powerful magecraft left his hand, reinforced by the latent magical energy of his ring. The energy surged around Lev, engulfing him. His former colleague let out a scream of pain as he was forcibly removed from the Singularity, his body breaking apart into darkened spiritron particles. In a moment, Roman found himself alone, his enemy gone.
The magical drain of casting such a powerful spell caught up to him in an instant, and he found himself falling back to the ground. Before he fell too far though, powerful arms caught him from behind, holding him up. "That was impressive. Just the type of magecraft I would expect of you."
Roman laughed. "You give me too much credit," he said. "I just removed him, you managed to destroy a Demon God."
"I was just lucky that Amon and their host had not accepted each other fully," replied Makeda. She helped prop up Roman, sending a quick burst of healing magecraft through his body to bolster him. Finding himself able to stand, Makeda slowly released her grip. "I was able to unravel her form from the inside. It was a risk, but one that seemed worth taking."
Roman turned and looked at her, injured, but still looking as beautiful as ever. He probably looked a mess. Stupid Heroic Spirits. Before he could respond, a yell caught his attention. "Doctor." He looked and saw an out of breath Ritsuka and Mash running to their side. The pair didn't stop before him, instead running and embracing him. Hard. "Are you okay?"
"Uh, yeah," he said, unsure how to deal with the pair embracing him. He caught an amused look from Makeda. "More importantly, how are you two doing?"
"We're okay," said Ritsuka, releasing him. Mash followed suit a moment later. "Director Olga, she just transformed…and we weren't ready. If you and your Servant hadn't appeared, we would've been…"
"You two did well to survive," said Makeda. "You should be proud of that, considering what it was you were fighting, and with such little experience of your own."
Mash hung her head. "I wasn't able to do anything to save the Director or protect Senpai…"
"What happened to Olga isn't your fault," said Roman. "It was unfortunate and becoming the Demon God was in the end her choice."
"And you did protect me," said Ritusuka, reaching out and putting their hand on Mash's shoulder. The pair stared into each other's eyes for a moment. "We got here after all, didn't we?"
Mash nodded slowly. "Yeah, we did."
"Like Caster said, you were both new to this," said Roman. "But you beat several Servants and a Blackened Servant of immense power. You succeeded with the First Order. Congratulations."
At his words, Ritsuka and Mash both broke into tears, the stress of recent events finally catching up to them. As they did so, a spot in nearby space warped. In the space formed a golden cup, floating in midair; the Holy Grail. Makeda gestured to the Grail. "Look, Master of Chaldea," she said, getting Ritsuka's attention. "I believe this is yours to claim."
Ritsukua looked to the Grail, and then to Roman. He nodded to them, and they wiped away their tears. Ritsuka walked up to the Grail, reached out, and took it. Reality started to break apart around them as the Singularity fell apart. Roman let the sensation wash over him as Da Vinci recalled them back. He gave a glance to Makeda, knowing that this would likely be the last time he saw her. So much to say, but so little time, he guessed he would need to leave things unsaid once again. She glanced back at him, giving him a bright smile. He returned it as the world finally gave out and went to white.
Roman woke once more in the Coffin and waited for his sense of self to be fully restored. It felt more cramped than before. As he waited, the coffin top was opened and a face peered in. Da Vinci looked down at him, a scowl on her face. "Comfortable?" she asked, sounding irritated.
"What?" asked Roman. His sense of feeling restored itself, and he realized someone was breathing on his neck. Next, his muscle control returned, and he turned his head to the side. He saw Makeda next to him, fast asleep.
He looked back at Da Vinci, and she scowled at him. "Happy couples die," she said, slamming the Coffin lid on him again.
Author's Note: I've taken Roman/Solomon and cranked up the Jewish imagery and allusions to a larger degree than the source material, since I'm Jewish. Some of that explained for those unsure/curious:
The Hebrew letter Shin (ש) has a lot of significance. Explained pretty nicely by Wikipedia, "Shin also stands for the word Shaddai, a name for God. Because of this, a kohen (priest) forms the letter Shin with his hands as he recites the Priestly Blessing. In the mid-1960s, actor Leonard Nimoy used a single-handed version of this gesture to create the Vulcan hand salute for his character, Mr. Spock, on Star Trek. The letter Shin is often inscribed on the case containing a mezuzah, a scroll of parchment with Biblical text written on it. The text contained in the mezuzah is the Shema Yisrael prayer, which calls the Israelites to love their God with all their heart, soul and strength. The mezuzah is situated upon all the doorframes in a home or establishment. Sometimes the whole word Shaddai will be written." The V'ahavta prayer commands to write God's commandments "as a sign upon your hand" and "inscribe them on the doorposts of your house" (hence why the mezuzah is put on the door frame, and the shin on Roman's hand). I've also seen versions of the eternal flame designed after the shin in the pattern of the flames. In one case, predominantly on the front of a Synagogue.
The prayer Roman says during the summoning is the transliterated Hebrew version of the Amidah prayer. It felt fitting to use to summon a Heroic Spirit with. The Amidah Prayer Translated (one version) – You sustain the living with loving-kindness. You revive the dead with great compassion. You support the fallen and heal the ill. And You release those bound. And You fulfill Your faithfulness to those who sleep in the ground. Who is like You, Master of [all] powers, King, Who causes death and gives life and causes salvation to sprout. And you are trustworthy to revive the dead. Blessed are You Lord, who revives the dead.
Lesalake – To Banish (roughly, had to do the transliteration myself, any fluent Hebrew speakers feel free to give me corrections on this. My Hebrew is pretty bad.)
On Makeda – As far as I can tell, translations of FGO for her just call her "The Queen of Sheba" or "Sheba/Shiba" for short. Two names tend to crop up researching her, Bilqis and Makeda. The stories that use Bilkis/Bilqis tend to be on the less flattering side, where like Da Vinci said Makeda is the name used in the Ethiopian tale, the most elaborate and flattering version. That's the one I (and presumably Fate) am working off of. It'll be interesting to see if the NA release chooses to go with one of the proper names.
The Three Enigmas – Named "Achat", "Shtayim" and "Shalosh". I couldn't stop laughing when I read that, it's just "One", "Two", "Three". Interestingly, they each have a Hebrew letter on their heads, which makes sense because every letter in the Hebrew Alphabet is tied to a numerical value. Alef (א) is 1 (Achat), Bet (ב) is 2 (Shtayim), and that leaves Shalosh (3) as Vet (ב)…which is also valued at 2…Because Bet and Vet share a value as functionally the same letter. Shalosh should instead be Gimel (ג) which is valued at 3. Of course, if you Google Hebrew letters some charts will show Vet third and others as Gimel, so it's not surprising, just not technically correct. I tied each to an element instead of the vague "jinn that present enemies with difficult [physical] questions". Achat to Wind, Shtayim to Fire and Shalosh to Water.