Disclaimer: I don't own Fate or anything related to the series.
Like always, thank you to Blind_Seer0 for editing this chapter. It was a lot.
Fate/Grand Order: Ring of Promise
Chapter 7: The Time of Revelation has Come Part 3
"It is as I suspected," said Mr. Andersen, looking over the group.
They were back at Jekyll's apartment, sitting in a circle in Jekyll's living room. Jekyll was at his desk, taking and looking over notes as they talked. Mr. Andersen and Mr. Shakespeare had both commandeered overstuff armchairs, sitting in luxury to Jekyll's left. Mash, Ritsuka and Makeda had borrowed wooden chairs from around the house, sitting to Jekyll's right. Sitting across from Jekyll were Mordred and Cywyllog, sharing the couch. Mash noted that this was the first time she had seen the knight share his selected domain with anyone else. When Cywyllog had gone to sit on the floor once more, Mordred had ushered her onto the couch instead.
"The ritual for summoning Heroic Spirits is older than anyone thought," completed Mr. Shakespeare, earning a scowl from his fellow writer.
"Exactly," said Mr. Andersen. "The records in the Archive indicate that what we consider the Holy Grail War summoning Ritual today was adapted from an ancient system under which the strongest seven Heroic Spirits would be summoned to fight a powerful enemy. Something capable of wiping out all of Humanity."
"And what's that have to do with anything in London?" asked Mordred, looking bored as he leaned back on the couch. "I know I could qualify, but what's that mean for the rest of you chumps?"
Mr. Andersen let out a beleaguered sigh. "It means that the system is working in microcosm, summoning lesser heroes to defend each era. For whatever reason it is underestimating the threats, but luckily we've had Chaldea to pick up the slack."
"The great heroes from the end of time coming to save humanity throughout history," said Mr. Shakespeare theatrically. He laughed as he finished. "Is it not a marvelous story?"
"Whatever," said Mordred. "But that still doesn't help us against this fog or the monsters. Did you just make us waste our time?"
"Of course not," said Mr. Andersen. "We learned three very important bits of information from this."
"Really?" asked Mash, curious. She thought for a moment. "The first would be about the summoning system, correct?"
A nod. "That's right."
She spent another moment thinking but couldn't quite figure out what else Mr. Andersen could be talking about. "What else is there?"
"Lots," replied Mr. Andersen. "Think about it, we spent less than half an hour in the Mage Association's deepest archive and found exactly what I was looking for. What does that tell you?"
Mr. Shakespeare laughed. "And no, it is not just our great genius. Research is difficult when you are unfamiliar with an archive."
"I guess when you put it like that it sounds like a miracle," said Mash.
"That it would be," said Mr. Shakespeare. "But do miracles simply exist in this world?"
Mr. Andersen leaned forward in his seat. "They do not. Which means that someone placed it there for us to find, in a place we would find it."
Mash considered that. "That would mean that we have an unknown ally in this time, correct?"
"Exactly," said Mr. Andersen with a nod.
"That's great news," said Mash. She frowned. "But we don't know how to contact them, do we?"
"We do not. I doubt that they would want to be contacted anyways, if this is how they are giving us information."
"So, that's the second bit we learned," said Ritsuka. "What is the third?"
"Think," said Mr. Andersen. "What does this second piece of information contextualize?"
"I'm not sure," admitted Mash.
Da Vinci's diagram appeared in the center of the circle. Everyone was aware Chaldea had already been listening, but now she was making it clear that she wanted to contribute. Now that Mr. Andersen had pointed it out to her, Mash was curious why it was Da Vinci appearing and not Dr. Roman.
"Let me guess,"' said Da Vinci. "It recontextualizes anything we've learned in this era that may be of questionable authorship or origin."
"Is there something like that?" asked Mash.
"There is," said Jekyll, finally speaking up from behind his desk. From behind the stack of books that wall in his desktop, he lifted the journal that Cywyllog had given them. "Victor's journal, and any entries in here."
"It's fake?" asked Mash.
Jekyll shook his head. "No, I don't believe so. But the interesting thing is that this journal makes very little passing reference to me. There's one entry as a potential ally, but nothing about contacting me or sending me the information that I obtained from him."
"Was he being careful?" asked Ritsuka.
"Maybe," said Jekyll. He looked to Makeda. "Could you recount to us the order that the mission to Victor's mansion happened in?"
A nod. "Gladly. You told us that you were waiting for a message from an ally. It was listed as non-urgent. We went to meet with him, but something was wrong. After rushing the rest of the way to the mansion, we saw a man, Doctor Victor, dead on the ground, the Caster Servant Mephistopheles standing over his body. After a quick discussion we dispatched Mephistopheles. I realized that bombs had been set to detonate all around the mansion. Mordred charged into the building, rescued Cywyllog, and safely escaped it's destruction."
"Thank you," said Jekyll. He looked to the couch. Mordred frowned back at him. "Mordred, since you were the only one to make it into the mansion, could you describe what you saw?"
"Not much," he replied. A shrug. "I was in a hurry, you know? The place was a mess, completely trashed. I just had a feeling and I crashed through a bookcase to find a secret passage. It led downstairs to a basement. Inside was Cywyllog. The end."
"She was in a coffin, correct?" asked Makeda.
A scowl. "Yeah, she was. Good memory."
She returned his look with a smile. "Thank you. You also found the journal down there, correct?"
"Yeah. Cywyllog found it on the table and grabbed it, stashing it in her pouch right before I smashed my way out."
Jekyll leaned forward. "It sounds like they were looking for something before you arrived. Think back, what was the state of the basement like?"
"Hadn't been touched in days," said Mordred dismissively. "Nothing important to find there."
"Hadn't been touched?" asked Jekyll. "Are you sure of that?"
"Of course. What of it?"
Jekyll leaned back in his seat, his face twisted in thought. "That means that while they were searching the house, they never found the basement. So, that means Cywyllog and the journal were never found by the enemy. They were also probably what Mephistopheles was looking for."
Mr. Andersen chose that moment to chime in. "And that means that unlike the messages you received, the authorship of the journal can be trusted."
Mash considered that, looking at Cywyllog. She looked self-conscious, fidgeting slightly in her spot on the couch. A nagging feeling that had been bugging Mash since Mordred had first introduced the young woman to them surfaced again. The name Cywyllog sounded so familiar, but she couldn't quite place why. She had come across the name before, but where…
"Glad we got that all settled out," said Mordred, sounding bored. He leaned back on the couch and yawned very loudly. When he was done, he leaned forward, his elbows on his knees and his expression serious. "But as interesting as that mystery crap is, did no one else notice the problem we've got?"
Jekyll frowned. "What problem would that be?"
"The short robot things," said Mordred.
"Ah," replied Jekyll. "Victor's journal actually has a reference and diagram of them. They're called Helter Skelters. There's not much more information to them besides that and passing reference to a 'controller'."
"The Helter Skelters are increasing in numbers," said Mordred. "Not sure anyone else noticed, but as we fought last time, there were progressively more of them, even as all the other things started to run out. Before delving into any other mysteries, we should stop those things, before there's too many to smash."
"How do we do that?" asked Jekyll.
Mordred shrugged. "No clue." He gestured around the room. "You're all the geniuses, I'm just the muscle. Figure out what to smash, and I'll smash it."
"You mentioned a 'controller'," said Da Vinci, glancing to Jekyll. "What was that about?"
Jekyll flipped through the journal. He held up a page that held a technical diagram of a Helter Skelter, tight handwriting filling the margins. "Right here. It's not much, just something about 'remote operation' and a 'controller'."
Da Vinci nodded. "That makes sense. Something is creating these Helter Skelters, but once they're in the world they're not advanced enough for independent operation. There's a controller system, likely so that the Mastermind behind them can direct their activities. That should be our next target. If we can find it, we could shut down the Helter Skelters and make operations in London easier."
"And how do you propose we find that?" asked Mr. Andersen. "Got any bright ideas?"
"I'll direct Chaldea's sensors to scan through the various possible frequencies. If we can get a lock on a frequency, we can find what is transmitting it to the Helter Skelters."
"Sounds good," said Mordred, glancing to Cywyllog and leaning back once again on the couch. He closed his eyes as he lounged. "I think that wraps up this conversation, right? Might as well take it easy until we get a clue of where to go."
The group nodded, no one quite sure how else to proceed. Mash thought Mordred's plan made sense. On the other hand, it struck her as slightly strange that he was willing to just wait and not run around London until they found the controller. Why was he acting so uncharacteristically? And why did Cywyllog look so uneasy? Who was she really? She looked at Makeda, wondering if she was wondering the same. She was surprised to see Makeda looking zoned out, her mind elsewhere. Mash realized that her mentor hadn't spoken a lot since their last battle. Should she say something to her?
Suddenly, Makeda's ears stood up and her eyes widened. As this reaction struck her, Mash noticed Mordred and Cywyllog sitting up as well, both tensing. She wasn't the only one to notice these reactions. Jekyll looked to Mordred. "What's up? Get tired of straining my couch?"
Mordred didn't answer. He jumped to his feet, his sword appearing in his hand. Mash summoned her shield, trusting his instincts. Makeda twisted around to face the window, hands out, magical energy glowing around them. "Mash, put a barrier up. Now!"
She didn't hesitate, bracing her shield on the floor of the flat. "Lord Chaldeas!" she yelled. A spherical barrier surrounded the group. As the barrier closed around them, the windows and walls around them shattered and splintered into thousands of tiny bits and pieces. Bullets and missiles struck the barrier, ricocheting and exploding off it. Mash closed her eyes, maintaining the barrier against the onslaught.
"Please hold it for another 36 seconds," said Makeda. "Saber, prepare to lead everyone away from here as soon as the barrier drops."
"Got it," replied Mordred. "You can do it Shieldy."
Mash didn't respond to either of them, instead focusing on holding the barrier. Time seemed to slow, the onslaught of bullets and missiles feeling like it was going to go on forever. Please, she thought to herself. Just a bit longer. I just need to holdout a little more…
"Drop the barrier!" yelled Makeda. Without hesitating or opening her eyes, Mash dropped the barrier. "Achat, Spirit of Wind, surge outwards!" She felt a powerful gust of wind moving outward and heard the sound of explosions ringing around them.
Someone took Mash's hand and pulled her forward. "Come Mash, let's get out of here," said the familiar voice of Ritsuka. Mash tightened her grip on their hand, forcing her eyes open. Makeda had done serious damage to the army of Helter Skelters that Mash now saw had been attacking them. Many had been pushed aside, thrown into walls or destroyed by their own reflected artillery. Mash and Ritsuka were near the rear, with Mr. Shakespeare and Mr. Andersen running right in front of them. Jekyll was just ahead of them, knife in hand once again. Taking the lead was Mordred, helmet up and sword in hand, cutting down any Helter Skelters in his way as he cleared a path. Also, in hand was Cywyllog, her hand clasped in his, her dress billowing behind her as she easily kept up with the knight's pace. Not seeing her in front, Mash glanced behind and saw that Makeda was holding the rear, clouds of incense floating around her.
"I thought the Helter Skelter's weren't supposed to be able to attack indoors?" asked Ritsuka as they ran through the fog covered London streets.
Mr. Andersen scowled. "That was supposed to be the setting for this story, at least as we understood it," he said, sounding annoyed. "It seems I misunderstood what that really meant."
"It is an understandable mistake, said Mr. Shakespeare. "As far as thine eyes have seen, that is to be understood as the case. None of the common rabble have entered or attacked a home, only Servants have shown that ability."
"But what's that mean now?" asked Ritsuka.
"It means we're dealing with a Servant," replied Jekyll. Mash saw him pocket his knife and pull out Victor's journal from underneath his arm. He flipped through the pages as he spoke. "We assumed that all of the enemies we fought were mindless, with simple, unchanging orders. But what this implies is that those orders can change, likely under direction of a Servant."
Mash thought about that. "You mean the 'controller' talked about in that journal, correct? Someone is using it to direct the Helter Skelters, not just keep them operational."
He nodded. "That would seem to be the implication."
"So," said Rituska. "We just need to find this 'controller' and destroy it?"
"The plot progression would back that up," said Mr. Andersen. "Of course, I have no clue how to find such a thing."
"Does the journal suggest a method?" asked Mr. Shakespeare.
Jekyll shook his head. "Maybe if I studied the entire book in detail, but there's nothing obvious."
"Can Chaldea do something?" asked Ritsuka. They lifted their free hand to their eye and taped the Magecraft earpiece they used to communicate. As the channel opened, Mash just heard static. Ritsuka closed the channel, sighing. "It looks like we've lost Chaldea for now. The fog is too thick outside as we're moving through it for them to lock on to us."
"We'd need to stop and reconnect," said Mash, thinking the problem through. She looked around, Helter Skelter's attempting to close around them. She blocked some bullets with her shield while projecting a snowflake barrier around Mr. Shakespeare and Mr. Andersen. The snowflakes shattered and broke on impact but protected the pair of Casters. Makeda launched several magical bolts at the Helter Skelters, destroying them.
Mordred continued slashing his way through the army of robots. He looked back at them over his shoulder. "Stopping to chat isn't going to happen. We'll need to find that controller while on the move. Any ideas?"
"This is out of my expertise," replied Mr. Shakespeare. Jekyll and Mr. Andersen nodded in agreement.
"What about you, Caster?" asked Mordred, yelling down the line to Makeda.
Makeda destroyed another Helter Skelter before turning her attention to him. She shook her head. "I do not know either. My eyes see a lot, but this is beyond their scope. If we happened to get near, I could likely identify it, but finding it in the first place is not something I am prepared for without taking time to cast Magecraft."
Mordred swore under his breath. "Damn it. All I'm hearing is this is up to me. Just great…"
"Unh," said Cywyllog, getting his attention. "Uh uh."
"Are you sure?" asked Mordred.
"Ughnnn," replied Cywyllog.
He nodded. "Understood." He cut a Helter Skelter to pieces before yelling down the line. "Follow me and don't get lost. I've got an idea!"
No one had time to respond as Mordred suddenly turned left around a corner. Mash and the other followed, finding themselves running down an alley. There were more Helter Skelters down this way as well. Electricity built up around Mordred and when he cut a Helter Skelter in half it discharged into lightning that speared two nearby robots. Mash was curious to note that as his red energy ran over him, it didn't harm Cywyllog, instead turning green as it met where they were holding hands.
"Uhn," said Cywyllog. In response, Mordred turned right down another alley. She turned just in time to see him turning a second time quickly, this time left. Then straight for a while and left once again. A dizzying array of instructions, all of which she realized were coming from Cywyllog. Mordred followed dutifully and it took all the stamina the rest of the group had to keep up with the pair, neither seeming to tire.
Mash had long lost the path of where they were heading, but eventually they came to a straightaway that led to a large, official looking building. Standing in front of the building were eighteen Helter Skelters, all of which had their guns leveled at the approaching group. Mash prepared to put up a barrier, thinking about how to best get through the barricade. But more red electricity built up around Mordred and his helmet broke apart and traveled down his armor, nestling on his back. He held his sword tightly in one hand, preparing to attack. As Mash prepared to defend them, just in case, she saw something strange. Tiny sparks of green electricity built up around Cywyllog's hand and danced around and up Mordred's, turning red and joining the rest of his sparking.
"Clarent Blood Arthur!" yelled Mordred, swinging his sword one handed and sending a powerful beam of energy towards the Helter Skelters. They tried to return fire, but their artillery was destroyed by his Noble Phantasm. The blast tore through the robots, disintegrating them. The blast halted before hitting the building. Mordred looked over his shoulder at the others. "Right in here!"
"That's the House of Parliament," said Jekyll, knife in hand once again, Victor's journal stashed in his coat. "What are we doing here?"
Mash was unsure of the reason either, her mind buzzing with more and more questions that she wanted answers to. It had become clear to her that Mordred was hiding something from them. Something it seemed about Cywyllog. But what could it be? What was this nagging feelings she'd been having? What was she forgetting?
They ran into the large building, a wave of Helter Skelters following behind them. They were much slower than the group, but their ranks never seemed to thin. Inside the building Mash saw a strange mechanism the size of a person sitting on the lobby floor, steam puffing out of it at steady intervals. Nine more Helter Skelter guards turned to face them, weapons at the ready. Mordred finally let go of Cywyllog's hand, leaping the distance to the group. He cut two in half with one swipe and stomped a third to pieces. The remaining six retargeted to shoot him, but magical bolts from Mr. Andersen, Mr. Shakespeare and Makeda took out three more. Mash closed the distance and brought her shield down, smashing a seventh robot. A magical bolt from Ritsuka stunned the eighth, giving Jekyll time to stab the Helter Skelter in a weak point between its head and body, halting its functions.
The ninth took no notice of the loss of its allies, determined to finish off the intruder. Its gun aimed point blank at Mordred and clicked ready. But, a scream of fury interrupted it as a white blur leapt on top of it. Cywyllog's white gloved hands reached out, grabbing the gun and the body of the robot. She pulled at it, yelling as she did. Mash watched in amazement as she ripped the gun arm off the rest of the robot, disarming it as literally as possible. Her heterochromatic eyes were filled with fury as she whipped around and smashed the gun arm into the Helter Skelter. Again, and again, and again. In a matter of moments, the Helter Skelter was reduced to a pile of rubble, everything quieting as the last of Cywyllog's cries rang through the House of Parliament.
"Thanks for the save," said Mordred, flashing a bright smile at Cywyllog. She calmed down at his voice, the fury leaving her face. She nodded, back to the same Cywyllog they had become familiar with. Except she wasn't, and a moment later Mordred finally noticed everyone staring at them in surprise. He moved over to the device that the Helter Skelters had been guarding. "This looks like the controller thingy we were looking for. Who's got an idea for shutting it down?"
"No, you don't," said Jekyll, frowning and walking up to Mordred. "You can't distract from this. I noticed you doing it before, and you were right on where we should focus. But we need to take a moment to discuss what Cywyllog just did. You told us she was a regular person."
Mordred tried to look innocent, looking away from Jekyll. "I don't think I ever said she was 'normal', did I? Just not, you know, someone we need to be concerned about."
"We are not concerned about the lady," said Mr. Shakespeare, his eyes sparkling as he reevaluated Cywyllog. "But we are interested in her, and her real identity."
"It was pretty obvious that you supplied a fake name," said Mr. Andersen. "But since I didn't know where the name was from, or have a clue to her true identity, I let it pass."
Ritsuka looked around. "She's not a Servant, right? Just a human?"
"She's not a Servant," said Makeda, shaking her head. "But she's not a human either. She smells of oil and death."
Mordred looked guilty and annoyed at having been caught in a lie. Cywyllog looked terrified, her hands tightly clenching the folds of her dress, her gaze alternating between Mordred and the others. She looked like she wanted to run from the room and could do so at any moment. Mash felt bad for her. She realized something. Mordred knew who she was, somehow. He knew and had been covering for her. But none of them knew her identity, so she didn't know why it would need to be kept secret.
She closed her eyes and considered what she'd learned since meeting Cywyllog. They had found her in a hidden basement. She wasn't a Servant, but to call her a regular human seemed to be missing an important middle ground. She was clearly stronger, faster and with more endurance that a regular human. And of course, there was the sparks she had witnessed between her and Mordred.
Jekyll frowned at Mordred. "We don't have time for this Saber. Just tell us so that we can figure out how best to proceed."
"I won't," replied Mordred, shaking his head. He glanced to Cywyllog. "Until she tells me it's fine, I'm not saying a word."
At his words, Cywyllog calmed down a bit, her hands unclenching slightly around the folds of her dress. She didn't look like she would run at any moment, but she also made no move to say anything to clear up the situation. Jekyll and Mordred were both right, they didn't have time for this. But neither side seemed willing to budge.
Mash stepped between Mordred and Cywyllog and the others. "I think I know who she is," she said, trying to sound surer than she really felt. She thought of Sherlock Holmes, confidently declaring a deduction even when he might only have a hunch. That was who she would imitate in this moment. She glanced to the stubborn pair. "I know you don't want to tell us, but we need to know. So, how about this. You give me one guess. After that, we won't bother you again."
The pair glanced to each other, looking interested. Cywyllog nodded. "Fine," said Mordred. "You've got yourself a deal Shieldy. Just make sure everyone else keeps their end of that deal as well."
"We will," said Makeda. "I promise to enforce that everyone in our party keeps to the bargain made. You have my word as a mage and ruler." There were nods of agreement from the others, all of whom were watching with interested expressions. Mash could feel the pressure pushing down on her, but she fought back, preparing to move forward.
Mordred grinned. "Good enough. Ok Shieldy, give it your best shot."
"Not quite yet," said Mash. "I need to confirm a few things first."
"I'm not going to give you any hints."
"Just with the others. Just one question for each of them. May I?"
A sigh. "Fine."
She looked to Makeda. "Caster, you said that Cywyllog 'smelled like oil and death' but was human not a Servant, correct?"
Makeda nodded. "That is correct."
"Thank you. Jekyll," said Mash, looking at the man. "When you first sent us to the mansion that we found Cywyllog at you said it was owned by 'The Doctor' and later confirmed in the journal that he was Doctor Victor, but there was no last name?"
Jekyll looked surprised for a moment then frowned in thought. "That is correct. I had never heard a name before. When I found the journal, I assumed that Victor was his family name, but it might make more sense if it was his given name, with the family name excluded."
A nod. That's what she had been thinking as well. That opened several possibilities. "Caster," she said, glancing at Mr. Andersen. "Is it possible in this Singularity that figures we might think are only fictional could exist as living people?"
He smiled at that. "I never thought you would ask." He pointed to Jekyll. "Our friend here is a great example. There are no records of a living Dr. Henry Jekyll, but there is a novel in which he features as a character. Whether he existed or not in proper human history isn't important, he's here now. And it's possible others exist as well."
Jekyll nodded. "Yeah, I thought that might be the case as well." He flashed an uneasy smile at Mash. "Don't worry, I'm not offended by the accusation. I have memories of my life, but it makes sense that at least to others it might seem like a fiction."
Mr. Shakespeare chose that moment to speak up as well. "I believe that holds true for other figures as well from mythology. My fellow writer and I surely existed, but the figures that made the Knights of the Round Table are enigmas on their true existence or not, yet clearly, we have one before us. The same with our wonderful fellow Caster. What we believe to be true may be a fiction for others, and vice versa. Isn't it a fascinating phenomenon?"
Mash nodded at that. "Thank you. That answers my next question. Uh, we'll count that as if I asked you. I don't want to cheat after all."
The Bard smiled at that. He gave a slight bow. "I am glad to help and would hate to nullify this fascinating wager. Please, continue with your deductions."
Mordred was starting to look impatient. "Come on, guess already. You're already out of questions."
"I still have one more," said Mash, pointing to Ritsuka. "But first. We know that Cywyllog, and Doctor Victor's, identities could be anyone. But there are not many people who are scientists, with a secret basement in which a person may be found. I think this man may be more famous and well known than we thought. I saw your lightning Mordred, and it didn't harm Cywyllog. She's strong, fast and has powers beyond a regular human. She's not a mage though, so what is she? I believe that Doctor Victor's family name is Frankenstein, the famous character from Romantic fiction."
"Like the book Saber was reading!" said Ritsuka, looking excited. Mordred glared at them and they glanced away, having been caught peeking when the knight hadn't been looking.
"Is it?" asked Mash, giving an internal sigh of relief. She had suspected something like that but Ritsuka had never told her after they had peeked at the book. It would be too much of a coincidence if her guess wasn't right after that info. "I guess that counts as my final question, and the final piece of the puzzle. Cwyllog's identity must be one that could put her in danger if we knew, that's the only reason you would be covering for her Saber. You were protecting her, because her real identity is that of the creature created by Victor Frankenstein!"
Mordred's annoyed expression made it clear that she had guessed right. Before he could say anything though, a white gloved hand gently grabbed his shoulder. 'Cywyllog' smiled gently at him before nodding to Mash. "My…name…," she said slowly, almost painfully. "Is…Ad-am."
Mash nodded, smiling. "That's what the creature created by Victor Frankenstein considered naming themselves in the novel."
"Ugn," said Adam, back to her regular pattern of speaking.
"Yeah," said Mordred. "She chose the name herself."
Jekyll nodded. "That explains everything. A created being, no wonder she's so strong and able to keep up with you. Even if she's not a Servant, she's probably beyond anything I'm capable of."
Mordred grinned. "That's not because you're human but because you're you. You should work out more instead of just reading books. You'll never get a girlfriend with wimpy arms like that."
A frown. "I don't need a meathead like you telling me something like that. And, I might add, I already have a fiancée."
"Oh? Where is she then?"
"She's currently on holiday in the country."
"Sure, she is…"
"I hate to interrupt," said Makeda. "But I believe that we've been surrounded."
Mash looked around and saw that she was right. An army of at least fifty Helter Skelters had made it in the building after them, weapons trained on the group. Mordred, Makeda moved to the front of the group without hesitation, weapons at the ready. Behind her she saw Ritsuka, Mr. Andersen and Mr. Shakespeare preparing offensive Magecraft. Jekyll once again had his knife in hand, but she hoped he wouldn't need to use it. And Adam…Mash heard a loud cry of rage and turned to see her driving her fist into the large machine they had come to the building for. Her arm went elbow deep into it. In the next instance, green lightning flashed outward from inside the machine. The controller exploded, most of the pieces being incinerated by the blast. Mash turned completely and projected a shield around the back of their group, protecting them from any shrapnel.
"The Helter Skelters!" said Ritsuka, causing Mash to look over her shoulder, expecting an attack she would be unable to protect from. Instead, she saw all the robots hunched over, the lights in their eyes extinguished.
"It seems this was indeed was what controlling and empowering them," said Makeda. "That could have been done in a more elegant manner though."
"Eh," said Mordred, unsummoning his sword. "Who cares about that? Threat dealt with. Good job Adam."
"Does that mean we don't need to worry about the Helter Skelters anymore?" asked Ritsuka, looking around.
"It may," said Mr. Shakespeare. "But alas, that might not be the most interesting tale. Be prepared for a few more twists and turns."
Mash looked around as well. Most of the controller had been destroyed, but there were a few bits and pieces lying around. She saw a particularly large piece nearby and walked over to it. Picking it up she saw it was a piece of the outer casing. Flipping it over she saw words written on it. "Charles Babbage, AD 1888…"
"What was that?" asked Makeda, looking over at her. "Find something?"
"I think so," said Mash, holding up the plate. "It's from the controller. It has something written on it. But, the words don't make any sense…"
Jekyll came over and examined the plate. "It looks like a manufacturer's signature. Or maybe something an inventor would put on their work. Does anyone know who Charles Babbage is? The name sounds familiar…"
"Why don't we ask Chaldea?" asked Ritsuka. They put their hand up to their ear. "Chaldea, this is Ritsuka. Do you read us?"
For a moment nothing happened, then Da Vinci's image appeared in the air in front of Ritsuka. It wavered in and out for a moment. "Finally," said Da Vinci, sounding relieved. "With all of this magically fog it's such a pain to track and contact you when you're on the move. It looks like everyone is safe after that attack. Anything to report?"
"Lots," said Ritsuka. They glanced at Adam, who nodded. "Uh, it's kind of hard to explain, but I guess Cywyllog is actually the creature created by Doctor Victor Frankenstein, or something like that. Her name's Adam."
"Wow," said Da Vinci. "That's a bombshell to drop on us suddenly."
"Yeah. Well, it turns out she was able to lead us to the Helter Skelter Controller. She destroyed it and they've stopped moving."
"Great. We'll check to see if that's halted all of them in the city or not. And maybe try to figure out who created them in the first place. They definitely don't belong in this era."
"About that," said Mash, moving forward and holding up the plate. "We found this. It says 'Charles Babbage, AD 1888'. The name sounds familiar, but I'm not sure why…"
Da Vinci's eyes glowed with excitement. "Charles Babbage is a famous inventor. Working with Ada Lovelace they're credited as the creators of what would become modern computers and programming. Well, it's a little more complicated than that, but that's the short version. I would love to meet and talk to either of them. But what's strange is that date. Babbage was dead by 1888, so there shouldn't be any of his work signed with this year. Of course, there are ways…"
"The most reasonable of which is that he's a Servant," said Mr. Andersen. He looked excited for a moment. "And wouldn't you know it, we have a 'B' in the list of masterminds we discovered." His expression became annoyed. "Ugh. Now that I've figured out the twist it's getting boring again."
"That would seem to be the most likely scenario," said Da Vinci. "There's no record of anything like the Helter Skelters being worked on by Babbage, or existing in our world, but as a Servant it would make sense that they could be created."
"Great," said Mordred, smiling and cracking his knuckles. "Now, how do we find him?"
Da Vinci shrugged. "There's a few methods we can try, but with the fog interfering with our instruments and still only having a name, it will be hard to find him."
"I believe that is going to be harder than anticipated," said Makeda, drawing the group's attention. She gestured to the Helter Skelters. "They are reactivating."
Mash looked and saw that she was right. A mechanical buzzing filled the air, one she hadn't noticed was there until it hadn't been. The lights on the Helter Skelters turned on, glowing red as the robots started to right themselves, lifting up their guns.
"New plan," said Mordred, moving to the front, sword out. "We blast our way through, and Adam leads us to the big boss."
Mash moved to his side, shield at the ready. "I'm not sure blasting our way out is going to work. There's a lot of them in our way."
"Got a better idea?"
She thought for a moment. "Caster, please prepare to take us into the air."
"Understood," replied Makeda, starting a chant.
"Mordred, can you fire off you Noble Phantasm? Just to buy us some time."
A vicious smile. "Of course." Energy started to crackle around him. "Get out of our way you tin cans! Clarent Blood Arthur!"
A blast of red energy shot out once more into the crowd of Helter Skelters. Dozens were vaporized as the energy faded off into the fog covered London streets. A large gap was created, but Mash could see a crowd of Helter Skelters ready to close it. As soon as the path out of the building was clear Mash leapt into action, running outside. "Follow me!"
She didn't bother to check if anyone was following her, she had too much to focus on in front of her. She made it outside, stopping just a few feet in front of the lead Helter Skelter. She brought her shield down, unleashing her Noble Phantasm again. "Lord Chaldeas!"
A large domed shield surrounded the entrance to the House of Parliament, protecting the rest of her allies as they exited the building. She had just been in time as the Helter Skelters let loose a rain of bullets from all sides, the missiles striking her shield. She concentrated on keeping it up, trusting Makeda to do the next part.
"Prepare to drop the shield when I unleash my Noble Phantasm," said Makeda. Mash didn't nod, just focusing her senses on holding the shield and listening for the right moment. "Activate the First Enigma! Achat, Spirit of Swift Arrival!"
Mash dropped her barrier as a gust of wind spun around them. The group was flung into the air to safety. Below them, Mash saw several Helter Skelter destroyed by friendly fire as the barrier disappeared and nothing stood in their way. The ground bound Helter Skelters tried to readjust their aim upward, but Makeda was whipping her wind into action with no hesitation. She gestured and they shot off across the river. With another gesture they descended, landing gently on the other side. The Helter Skelters were looking around, trying to reorient and find them, but unable to do so.
"Thank you," said Mash. Makeda nodded, looking uncomfortable for some reason. She had been acting strangely since they had Rayshifted to London, but Mash had just thought it was her imagination. Now, she felt like she just hadn't been trusting her instincts enough.
"No time for chit chat," said Mordred, his helmet once again covering his face. He held out a hand to Adam, who took it. "Let's go find this Babbage guy."
Adam looked hesitant for a moment, but then nodded, breaking into a sprint and dragging Mordred with her. Mr. Andersen and Mr. Shakespeare glanced to each other, exhaled heavy sighs and ran after. Jekyll and Ritsuka followed, with Mash and Makeda taking the rear. Once again, they ran through the fog filled London streets. Ducking and dodging through the empty main streets and alleyways. Since they had left the Helter Skelters on the other side of the river, for now they were left alone, no enemies to fight, just someone to find.
Mash looked to Makeda next to her and thought about what to say. She knew she needed to say something. Wanted to say something, but she didn't know what. What was the problem anyways? What was this bad feeling she had, like time was running out soon but she couldn't see the clock or the danger itself?
"It's strange that we haven't heard from Dr. Roman recently," said Mash, getting Makeda's attention. The Caster looked at her in surprise. "I mean, usually he's constantly talking to us and monitoring things while we're in the Singularities. But this time he's only done so when we first rayshifted in. Otherwise we've only talked to Da Vinci. I know that we're moving a lot through territory that can't be monitored and communicated with easily, but it's still strange. It feels, kind of lonely."
Makeda gave Mash a gentle smile, although there seemed to be something sad about it. "I have never found physical distance to be a hard obstacle to overcome. No matter how large, it can eventually be crossed. Emotional distance on the other hand, that has been something I have never yet managed to defeat."
Mash considered that for a moment. "When I was a child, the only people I was able to communicate with were scientists in a very professional researcher and subject relationship." She thought she saw sharp movement in Makeda's ears and tail when she said those words, but in the next instant they were calm like always. "But I knew what I was. A subject. I was okay with it. I mean, I didn't know anything else, so I guess I had to be okay with it?"
She took a deep breath, trying to gather her thoughts. She let it out slowly before continuing. "But then Doctor Roman appeared. I was ten. He was a scientist, just like the others, at least I thought so. But he talked to me in a way none of the others did. I had shared physical space with others before, but that was the first time I shared a social space. Emotional space. And I guess I've been sharing that space with him since then. So, it's just weird to not hear from him."
"He is your parental figure after all."
Mash blushed, sputtering as she tried to respond. "Parent? Dr. Roman? No, no no no no. That's absurd. He's a very good for nothing adult, and…"
A laugh. "I am sorry for my misunderstanding then. I guess you are right. He is pretty good for nothing. Spending all of his time chatting with internet idols and ignoring his duties."
"He doesn't ignore his duties," replied Mash without hesitation. How could she say something like that? "Dr. Roman only spends time messaging Magi Mari when everything he needs to do for the day is complete. Just because he completes that work much faster than anyone else it looks like he's slacking off. But that's not how it is. And there are never any errors in his work either. He's the most competent person at Chaldea. Even if his attitude makes it seem different."
Another laugh. "I am sorry for my misunderstanding once again." A smile. "I am glad to hear such praise about the man I love. And to hear that he has a daughter who loves and respects him so much."
"Daughter?!" said Mash, almost missing a step on the cracked London streets. "'No, it's not like that. We're not related by blood. And regardless, I'm just his patient and coworker, nothing else."
Makeda's expression turned harsh for a moment. "If you truly believe that, then you may need to reevaluate what you thought you knew about him." Her expression softened. "This is not just hearsay on my part. Yes, he entered Singularity F to help protect humanity. But I can tell though the wishes and emotion put into my summoning that what he truly wished for, more than anything else, was to protect you. That pure wish is why I was summoned as completely as I was. As powerful. And I know, even now, when it may seem like he is nowhere to be found, that that wish still powers our contract. Have more faith in that bond. It and others like it will be what carry you through these Singularities."
Mash considered her words for a few moments. Neither said anything, just focusing on running in their still twisting path through the London streets. A few enemies had appeared, but Mordred and Adam had made quick work of them, hardly slowing as they ran hand in hand.
"Thank you," said Mash finally. A question occurred to her. "If that was Dr. Roman's wish on the Grail, then what was yours? You wouldn't be able to be summoned without a wish, right?"
"The summoning in these Singularities is different, as Servants without strong wishes can be summoned as heroes to defend the planet, instead of during a regular Grail War where a Heroic Spirit without a wish could never hope to be summoned."
"So, you don't have a wish?"
She thought she saw a slight blush on Makeda's cheeks. "I-I do not have a wish so much as a desire. At best a promise."
"To see my true love again."
"You mean, King Solomon?"
A nod. "Yes."
A frown. "But he's not in this era. Are you hoping that he will be summoned as a Servant to fight beside Chaldea?"
A laugh. "It might be possible to summon him with intent, but only with a powerful catalyst and the lack of a wish. That man like me has no wish he wants granted. Just a desire."
"What's his desire?"
Makeda put a finger to her lips. "I cannot tell you. The secrets of others belong to them. It is possible that he may be summoned by the planet to defend it, but that would only be if there were no other options. His power and abilities are far beyond what a regular Servant could contain."
Mash considered that. "Like the foundation for the Holy Grail War that Andersen was talking about? Seven Servants summoned to defeat a world ending threat?"
"But we're dealing with the incineration of humanity. Why hasn't he appeared yet? Why haven't any of them?"
"That is a good question," replied Makeda. "Let us think about it another way. If there was a threat capable of ending Humanity, then what might they do first?"
Mash thought about the question for a moment. "Remove anyone who could prevent Humanity's destruction?"
"Correct. That is why Lev Lainur tried to destroy Chaldea after all, an act justified by what you have accomplished in the previous four Singularities. But what dictates that Chaldea was their first and only target? If there was a way to disrupt the natural defenses of the planet, then the summoning of the seven defenders could be prevented. And subsequently, any Servants qualified to be summoned in such a capacity would not appear when it may make the most sense for them to."
"So, does that mean your wish is to allow him to be summoned and protect humanity?"
A pause. Then, a quick laugh. "No, I do not think it is quite that. I fully do not expect him to be able to be summoned into any of these eras. It may even be better that way considering I am currently bound to another man." A wink. "It would be pretty troublesome to have two men fighting over me."
Mash giggled at that scandalous thought. The image of Dr. Roman fighting the King of Mages for Makeda's hand in marriage struck her as completely absurd. "You're right. It's probably better for that to not happen. I don't think Dr. Roman would stand a chance."
"He may surprise you," said Makeda. She frowned, holding out her hand and gesturing for Mash to stop. "What is happening here?"
Mash came to a halt, realizing that everyone else had already done so. She looked around and saw that everyone seemed as confused as she was. Except for Mordred and Adam.
"I don't know," said Jekyll. He looked to Mordred. "Why did you stop? Are we close to where Charles Babbage is?"
Mordred shook his head. "No, we're not. That's the problem. We're been running and running and we're no closer to finding him."
"Why not?" asked Ritsuka. "Is he running or hiding from Adam?"
"That's not it," said Mordred. He turned to face Adam, taking both of her gloved hands into his. His helmet broke off, sliding down and slotting into the back of his armor. He looked into her eyes, a gaze she sheepishly returned. "You're not leading us to him, are you?"
He shook his head. "I've patrolled the entire city several times over since I got here. I know the layout. You're leading us in circles and specifically avoiding something. Why?"
Adam shook her head, hands gripping Mordred's tighter. "Uhn uh uhgn!"
"I don't think you really believe that deep down," said Mordred sadly. Mash had never seen him with an expression like that before, one that combined sadness and empathy for another person. Whatever Adam was telling him, he really wanted to agree, but couldn't.
"The fact that you're trying to protect him by leading us away from him proves that you don't really believe what you're saying. If he was a truly good man, who could never create these things, then you would lead us to him, and we could see for ourselves. But you're hesitating, which means you also believe, deep down, that he's guilty for this." Mordred pulled Adam towards him. She stumbled on the cobblestones, falling into a tight embrace. He looked up into her eyes and his voice softened. "Please, just bring us to him. I promise we'll talk to him first before fighting."
Adam was tense for a moment before her body relaxed into his embrace. Her arms came up to wrap around the knight. Her head slumped down, her forehead leaning down to rest against his. Their eyes closed; the world shut out from their embrace. They stood like that for a moment, the others just watching. In a rough voice and soft tone came the reply. "I…will…"
"Thank you," replied Mordred. He opened his eyes as they broke the embrace. He smiled at Adam before a loud sniffle broke the moment.
Mash looked down the line to see Mr. Shakespeare, a smile on his face and a single tear running down his cheek. He brought a handkerchief to wipe it away. "Such a beautiful and tender moment. I will be sure to capture it in my rendition of our adventures together."
A scowl. "Don't you fucking dare," said Mordred, rounding on the writer. He looked around, as if finally realizing that the others had been watching as well. He pointed to them. "Don't any of you ever say a word!"
Ritsuka raised their hands up defensively. "We didn't see or hear anything. Honest!" They looked to either side. "Right?"
Mash nodded. "Of course. I was, uh too busy talking to Caster."
Makeda nodded. "Same. Completely engrossed."
Jekyll scratched his ear. "I think I need to go to the doctor when this is all over. I've been having hearing problems lately."
Mordred glared at Mr. Andersen and Mr. Shakespeare. "We saw nothing as well," replied Mr. Andersen, smirking. "I was too engrossed in my own thoughts to pay attention to any potential drama around me. Now, if we're done with this diversion, may we proceed onward?"
A heavy sigh. "Yeah, whatever." Mordred looked back to Adam, holding out his left hand. "Are you ready to go?"
There was a nod and Adam took his hand. She didn't hesitate as she pulled him through the London streets. A quick exchange of glances and smiles and the rest of the group followed as quickly as they could. There was no more time for talk as they now twisted through London with purpose. Mash could feel the change in the air and held her shield at the ready. She knew Mordred would keep his word and try to talk, but something told her that regardless, there was soon to be a fight.
As they exited an alley into a main street, Mordred and Adam came to a sudden halt. The group did the same, one after the other. Mash looked around but saw no one around, just fog as far as the eye could see. From inside the dark fog where obscured motes of light, the streetlamps of the city that had amazingly stayed lit all this time. Then, joining the motes were a single red light. It increased in intensity in size slowly, the heavy clank of metal against stone accompanying each increase. A puddle next to Mash shook. Something big was coming. Everyone but Mordred and Adam fell into fighting stances as the whirl of machinery and hiss of steam got louder and louder. The pair stood in front, hand in hand.
A large form broke out of the fog, a single glowing red eye standing above anyone in their group. A hulking mechanical form that barely resembled a man, steam hissing out from hidden vents. The giant robot, that Mash now realized resembled a Helter Skelter, stopped right before Adam and Mordred. Its head tilted down to look at them.
"Ah, is that the Daughter of Victor I see before me?" said the creature in a deep, mechanical voice. The air rumbled when he spoke. "Child, why have you sought me out?"
"Uhn," said Adam, sounding unsure to Mash.
The large form nodded. "I see." He looked over the group slowly. Mash realized that this was who they had sought out, Charles Babbage, famous inventor and creator of the Helter Skelters. "You wish to know of my involvement in the fog that surrounds London currently. Do you not?"
A nod. "Ugh."
Babbage stood up to his full height, towering over them. "Then I must confess that I am very much involved. I am Charles Babbage, Caster Class Servant who emerged from this Demonic Fog one day, does that confirms your theories my dear academics standing behind Victor's Daughter?"
"It does," said Makeda, the first to find her voice.
"But that raises one more question," said Jekyll, raising Victor's journal. "This journal lists three masterminds behind this fog. The first, 'P', we know to have been Paracelsus. There is also a 'B', is that you?"
There was a lengthy pause. The air was heavy as everyone waited for the answer. It came with a long release of steam. "Yes, it is as you guessed. I am the Mastermind B. A member of Project Demonic Fog and creator of the devices that are currently bringing an end to humanity in this era. That is the sin that you are correct in accusing me off."
At his words Adam started to gesture wildly, her voice frustrated. "Uh uh, uhgn! Uhn uhn."
"Why you ask?" replied Babbage. "That would be because of the dream. The dream of a realm of steam. Clean and free of all taint."
Mordred frowned. "That dream of yours is a sucky reality for the rest of us. What made you think that doing something like this is a good idea?"
"I am in the dream currently. My mind, floating far above this mechanical marvel of a body that I control. You stand right before me, yet your image is hazy. Your existence is hazy. All of existence is hazy in this dream, a dream I cannot wake from. A dream I do not want to wake from if I could. What harm is there in dreaming? What harm is there in creating in a dream?"
A long pause for an exhalation of steam. "You are right of course. A very rational argument Daughter of Victor. And under that logic I do regret my decision to further this dream with no regard given to others. I was overtaken by the dream and spared no thought for what the consequences might be. In life I had others to keep me grounded, but in this one I had only those cheering me on to keep going and to never stop and think. Geniuses in their own right, I fear that their unbridled genius and aspirations were too dangerous."
"It's good you realize that," said Mordred, "but you've already fucked everything up! So, how do you plan to assist us in fixing this mess of yours?"
"Assist you?" another blast of steam. "Ah yes, I see that that was also a path forward, was it not? I have spent too long staring into the distance, I believe I missed what the next step should be. Of course, I will surrender and assist you in reversing this demonic fog and the damage I have do-,"
Babbage's words cut off suddenly as the light in his eye dimmed. His large body slumped, the sounds of hissing steam and whirling gears halting for several long moments. Then, the sounds started once more and his eye lit again, much brighter than before. He stood to his full height; arms spread out to his sides. Mash finally realized that he was carrying a large metal club larger than any of them.
"Cat got your tongue?" asked Mordred. "You were saying?"
"What I had to say means naught anymore," replied Babbage, his voice emotionless. "What matters is that the dream should keep proceeding as it was, and that nothing should be allowed to stop the gears furthering humanity's destruction."
Mash was leaping into action before the final word was said. The massive club swung towards the unsuspecting Mordred and Adam. She managed to interpose herself in front of them, bracing herself for the impact that came a second later. Metal struck metal, sending a shockwave of sound through the city streets. Unfortunately, that acted as a signal. All around the group red lights came to life accompanied by the hissing of steam and whirling of gears. Over a hundred Helter Skelters surrounded the group, hidden by the fog. Not that Mash was able to pay them any attention as Babbage's club ground against her shield, a battle of strength. Unfortunately, the stones beneath her were wet and she slipped, losing her footing and being sent flying backwards. She landed hard on the ground, trying to get back into the fight and taking note of the action going on around her.
Makeda leapt into the air and Achat, Shatyim and Shalosh appeared next to her. "Three Enigmas," said Makeda. "Surge outward and challenge our foes!" Achat became a powerful gust of wind, launching a dozen Helter Skelters high into the air. Shatyim turned into a flaming wheel, slicing through a dozen more robots in a single move. As Shalosh turned into a wave of water and short circuited another dozen the ones Achat had launched into the air hit the ground, shattering into pieces.
Their allies didn't hesitate to jump into battle either. Mr. Andersen started to chant long strings of very technical sounding Magecraft, magical bolts shaped like blue birds flew out in every direction, striking the Helter Skelters and disorienting them. Phantoms appeared next to every struck robot, taking a deep bow before striking out with spectral swords, decapitating them, and fading into shadows. Mr. Andersen scowled, but kept up the barrage of birds, never halting in his chants. Mr. Shakespeare took a bow of his own, coming up with a simple sword suddenly in hand. He stabbed and sliced at any robots who tried to get near with what was clearly magically enhanced prowess.
In a similar manner to the Servants, Ritsuka and Jekyll had teamed up, Ritsuka stunning and distracting robots while Jekyll rushed in and severed important wires, ceasing their functionality with extreme precision. When the Helter Skelters tried to surround him, he threw several vials of acid onto them, the liquid seeping though their outer casings and shutting them down from the inside.
Mordred hadn't hesitated either, taking Mash's spot in fighting Babbage. Sword and club struck each other with resounding effect. Despite their massive size difference, the knight seemed to be just as strong as the mechanical man, and much better at fighting. So, it was with surprise as Mash watched as they broke apart from a clash and she realized Mordred missed an opportunity to counter and strike his opponent. It seemed like the knight had resigned himself to being completely defensive and nothing else.
Mash wanted to rush back into the fight, but the ever-closing wave of Helter Skelters took priority. She rushed to Ritsuka's side, smashing her shield into one robot and kicking another away. She blocked several gunshots, earning an appreciative smile. Ritsuka fired off a magical bolt, allowing Jekyll to finish off another Helter Skelter and retreat to their side. The three stood together, dozens of robots still swarming around them.
Similarly, Mr. Shakespeare and Mr. Andersen were back to back, covering each other with their Magecraft. Only Makeda was alone, although even then, she had her three Enigmas forming a triangle around her, their furry forms finally manifest and elemental energy glowing around their paws. A Helter Skelter that got too close found itself punched into the air by Shatyim and blown back to the ground by a dropkick from Achat. Makeda had her incense burner out and clouds were surrounding them, spreading out through and wrapping up the enemy robots, helping to keep them contained.
At the edge of the Helter Skelter swarm were Mordred and Adam facing off against Babbage. Every swing of his massive club smashed pavement to bits. Whenever Mordred blocked with his sword, the ground would shatter beneath him, windows cracking and shattering from the shockwaves. He was never able to get close and retaliate, blasts of steam knocking him back and forcing him constantly on the defense. The strikes he got that did land did so in awkward ways, striking Babbage's metal body, but sliding off the plates without piercing it.
Between fighting Helter Skelters, Mash saw Babbage knocking Mordred to the ground with steam, then trying to strike him while he was down. Mordred managed to get to his feet, but his sword wasn't going to get up in time to block. A white blur flew through the air, tackling Mordred and knocking him to safety out of the way. Babbage's club struck the ground with such force that it dug deep, becoming lodged into it. He tugged at the weapon, but it refused to move. The Mordred and Adam pair rolled across the cobblestones, stopping in a heap.
"Thank you," said Mordred, trying to stand. Adam put a hand on his chest, keeping him down. The knight frowned "Why?"
Adam shook her head. "Uhn." She stood and then crouched, her position and features turning feral. Her entire disposition changed, and the air around her seemed to crackle and waver. Seeing her, Mash felt a chill down her spine. Here she realized for the first time she was seeing the Creature written about by Mary Shelley, who future writers had referred to as a monster. The dainty woman she had become familiar with had changed in a manner of moments, and now she knew how others could talk about Adam like they had.
An angry cry rang through the streets, drowning out the sounds of fighting and cracking nearby windows. Adam charged at Babbage with inhuman speed, the ground underneath her feet cracking. Babbage managed to pull his club out of the ground when Adam was just a few feet from him. He swung and she ducked under the attack. Another cry, and her clawed hand lashed out. Sparks of green lightning around them and striking Babbage in his chest with a sick cracking noise. As Mash parried a round from a Helter Skelter, she realized she was looking at a modern legend, one that could fight on the same footing as a Heroic Spirit.
A blast of steam hit Adam, knocking her away from Babbage. Mash gasped at the sight of her hand. It was mangled, her fingers bent at weird angles. Adam grabbed it with her other hand and screamed once more. Underneath the scream came multiple bone chilling pops. She swung her hands through the air, as if to facilitate circulation again. Mash's stomach did a flip as she realized that Adam's hand was fixed, the bones once again straightened out.
Adam hadn't been the only one hurt in the exchange though. Small bits of metal came off Babbage's chest armor as he walked slowly forward. Cracks were now visible, branching out from the places Adam's fingers had hit. The pair moved towards each other, any friendly feelings they had had before gone, replaced with anger and the intent to kill. Two monsters, feral and with no other goal than the destruction of the other. Inhuman. Except, Mash knew that to be false. They were human, with dreams, desires, and feelings. These two liked and respected each other, that much was clear. But as she had to turn her focus to the ever-encroaching hoard of Helter Skelters, Mash knew that a tragedy was about to unfold.
A red glow radiated out suddenly from Makeda. She leapt into the air, her three Enigmas flashing around her. They each turned into glowing balls of red, green and blue respectively. Her eyes glowed, magical energy surrounding her. "End the endless. Solve this, my Three Enigmas!"
Achat, Shatyim and Shalosh flew towards the ground and when they hit energy surged outward. Lances of energy struck each and every Helter Skelter that had surrounded them. As some of the energy looked about to hit Shakespeare, it broke apart into two separate streams, going to either side of him and impaling a Helter Skelter each. The same happened each time the Enigmas got close to any ally, removing all enemies from around them. In a matter of moments, the battlefield was littered with destroyed Helter Skelter corpses. Makeda landed back on the ground, breathing heavily as her Enigmas came back to her side, looking exhausted.
There was still one enemy that had been untouched by Makeda's Noble Phantasm. As the Caster landed oo the ground, Babbage and Adam ran at each other. Mash, free from fighting but still too far away and encumbered by a field of robot bodies, could only watch. Each radiated an aura of killing intent. Steam hissed from Babbage, propelling him forward. Meanwhile, green sparks of electricity ran across Adam, covering and empowering her. This, this was going to be the end, one way or another.
Once within a few feet of each other, that was when they struck. Babbage's club came down and Adam's clawed hand jabbed outward. Mash saw their speed and trajectory and realized they would strike at the same time. She wanted to shout out a warning, but it was too late, there was nothing she could do.
A red blur knocked Adam to the side, sending her end over end. Now, standing where she had been, a sword struck upward. Faster than Babbage's club, the sword struck his chest where Adam had weakened. The tip pierced the armor, entering the body and going up to the hilt. Babbage's club struck to Mordred's side, cracking the ground next to him. The knight didn't flinch, his focus solely on the enemy in from of him. Gripping his sword tightly in both hands, he pulled it out in one quick movement. Chunks of armor came loose from Babbage's chest as he did. A black liquid, steaming oil leaked out, some of it spraying over Mordred's face and armor. The light in Babbage's eye went dark.
From where she had been knocked to the ground, Adam stood. The anger on her face was gone, replaced with surprise. She looked like Mash remembered her, the monster from before gone. Adam and Mordred locked eyes. Mordred's expression was stony and harsh, a scowl on his face. The oil looked like blood splashed over him, running down his face and armor. To Mash, he now looked like the monster.
"What are you looking at?" said Mordred, his voice harsh. Adam flinched at his words. "The fucker is dead. That's what he gets for trying to destroy my father's Londinium. Everything in this world belongs to King Arthur, and I won't allow anyone to touch it. Especially not a pathetic man like him. He made me sick to look at." A vicious smile spread across his face. It didn't reach his eyes. "I've wanted to kill him since I met him. I'm glad that I got the joy of doing s-"
Mordred's words were cut off, surprise on his face as Adam ran over and pulled him into a tight hug. His body tensed at the contact. Adam's chin rested on his shoulder; her eyes closed tightly. "Th-ank, y-ou," she said slowly, her voice coming out in shallow sobs.
Mordred's sword fell to the ground as his grip on it loosened. His body posture loosed as well, and his arms came up slowly to wrap around Adam. His expression had lost its affected harshness, instead becoming sad. "Don't say that…I don't deserve it… You…" He took a deep breath. "I'm sorry."
"Do not be sad," said a deep voice. Everyone on the field was startled by the sound, the faint whirling of gears and hissing of steam starting once more. Mordred went to grab his sword from the ground, but Adam stopped him by grabbing his arm. She shook her head, then looked to Babbage. The giant man dropped his club.
"Daughter of Victor," his voice was weak as he continued. "I am sorry for my actions."
He shook his head. "No, those final actions might not have been under my control, but every action before was. Those were my mistakes, made willingly. And because of those, I forced the young and innocent to make a difficult choice. Young knight, please accept my forgiveness, and my thanks."
"I don't know what you're talking about," said Mordred with a scowl. To Mash, he sounded in pain. "I murder people, it's what I do. Apologize to Adam, she's the one you hurt."
"Of course, but please humor a dying old man's foolishness. Adam, do not mourn for me, as I was already dead. I'm just returning to where I should have stayed. The spirits of the dead do not belong in this world."
"Your spirit, your soul is yours and new, even if your body once belonged to others. Cherish it, and the mind and heart that it binds together." His voice became wheezy, his breathing harsh. "Before I pass, let me tell you where you need to go next. Our creation, head deep underground, where you will find the source of this Demonic Fog: my Massive Steam Engine. It is powered by the Holy Grail. We called it… Angrboda."
"The one who brings sorrow," said Makeda, moving to Mash's side. "A fitting name for it."
"I guess it is," said Babbage. "Too blinded by my own genius, I did not think about the engine of death I had created, or the army made to protect it." His body started to break apart into golden motes of light. "I can only hope that you can fix this mistake I made. Sorry for this burden."
With those words, his body broke apart completely. Around them, the Helter Skelters broke apart as well. The dark, fog filled London night was suddenly lit with golden light, like thousands of fireflies had descended upon it. The light went into the night sky and faded away, leaving the world dark and grey once more. Mordred bent down, picked up his sword and looked to the group.
"We know where we need to go now. So, let's end it." There were sounds and nods of agreement all around. The knight looked between Adam and Jekyll. "I think it's time you two head back home."
"Ugh?" asked Adam, looking confused. "Uhn uhn."
Mordred shook his head. "I know you're strong. But you're still human. This is where your fight ends." He flashed a bright smile. "Leave it to us from here on out, ok?"
Adam looked unsure, but Jekyll moved to Adam's side, holding out a hand to her. "He's right. We don't have the same reserves, and we've been running and fighting all night. Being out this long in the demonic fog is already causing me pain."
Mash realized he was telling the truth, his breathing heavy. Adam as well now that the heat of battle had worn off. She might be nearly as strong as a Heroic Spirit, but that didn't mean she could last as long. She looked between the pair and finally nodded, taking Jekyll's hand. "Ugh."
Mordred smirked. "Yeah, he'll need an escort. Wouldn't want the bookworm getting hurt on his way home. Thanks for volunteering."
Jekyll gave an exasperated sigh. "I'm not going to miss your constant barrage of insults." He smiled at Mordred, throwing the knight off guard. "But I am going to miss you. Go down there, beat up the last mastermind and fix this mess, understood?"
And to everyone's surprise, Jekyll held out his fist. Mordred looked at a moment before smiling and fist bumping it. "Same. Take care of yourselves."
Adam held out her fist as well, and Mordred bumped it, exchanging smiles. Then the pair turned and ran away into the fog, back towards Jekyll's apartment. Once they were gone, Mordred released a heavy sigh, his body posture slouching for a moment before perking back up. He looked to the group. "Ok, let's go smash that machine!"
Mash wanted to agree, but she had an important question. "But where is it?"
"Underground, like the old man said."
"But, where underground? And how do we get there?"
Mordred frowned. "Uh…"
"I believe I can help with that," said Makeda. "Now that I have a name and vague location, I should be able to find us a path to where we seek." Without waiting for any answer, she closed her eyes. When she opened them a moment later, they glowed with magical energy, completely obscuring the irises underneath. The light faded from her eyes after a moment. "I know where to go, follow me."
Author's Note: The longest chapter so far (I swear they get shorter from here). Cywyllog has been revealed…as Adam, the creature created by Victor Frankenstein! Did this twist surprise anyone? The running chase was fun to write. Mash being a literary fan girl is a great trait and I love whenever FGO brings it up. Kind of wish I was writing in a style where Mash could refer to them as Andersen-Sensei and Shakespeare-Sensei, but I think that would look weird, so "Mr. X" we get.