142 Chapter 141: The Holy Grail

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Emiya Kiritsugu is a legend in the mercenary world and the assassin world. He started his career as a youth under the guidance of his mentor and surrogate mother, Natalia. Until nine years before the start of the Fourth Holy Grail War in 1985, he disappeared after completing countless high-difficulty missions without a single failure.

As an assassin, Kiritsugu's creed is to use any means necessary to eliminate his targets. He avoids confrontations whenever possible, showcasing his exceptional infiltration abilities.

However, tonight, on the final night of the Holy Grail War, he found that his exceptional infiltration skills were completely useless.

It wasn't due to the enemy's tight defenses, where he couldn't find a single opening. It was because the enemy had no defenses in place at all.

Yes, there were no defenses.

Before entering Mt. Enzou, Kiritsugu made thorough preparations. He not only carried high-tech equipment for night operations but also set up magecraft traps and bounded fields in anticipation of various unexpected situations.

In his expectations, even if Saber attracted the enemy's attention with a frontal attack, his success rate of infiltration would still be low. He didn't know who his enemies were or what preparations they had made, and this unknown factor put immense pressure on him.

He considered various possibilities, even the worst outcome of himself, Irisviel, and Maiya dying together. However, he never anticipated that he would smoothly enter Ryuudou Temple without encountering anyone or experiencing any incidents along the way.

Kiritsugu's current thoughts can be summarized with a popular internet phrase: "I might have infiltrated a fake Ryuudou Temple."

However, Kiritsugu was certain that he had indeed infiltrated the real Ryuudou Temple.

The overflowing magical energy flowing within the earth was real.

The unconscious monks he found in the chamber were real.

The feeling of living together with Irisviel for nine years and the rapport developed through countless battles with Maiya assured Kiritsugu that he hadn't chosen the wrong place or fallen under an illusion.

At this point, he could only take one step at a time and see how things unfolded.

Kiritsugu adjusted his entire state of being while telling himself that.

He relaxed his muscles to an appropriate degree, not exerting any unnecessary tension.

His mind became like a frozen lake, transforming into a clear mirror reflecting the panoramic view of his surroundings. He turned himself into a sensitive probe that surpassed hearing, with a vision clearer than sight, leaving no blind spots. He could immediately detect the slightest disturbance in the dark as he moved steadily forward towards the only source of light in Ryuudou Temple—the square in front of the main hall.

The path from the side room to the front square was still smooth, without any traps or barriers, just like an ordinary temple.

The next corner would lead to the main hall.

With these thoughts in mind, Kiritsugu lightly gripped the handle of his Thompson Contender. The familiar sensation of the walnut wood gave him a sense of reassurance.

His footsteps fell silently, his breath long and slow. Kiritsugu walked around the corner and arrived at the well-lit front square.

At first glance, Kiritsugu saw his wife.

She was the culmination of the alchemy of the Einzbern family, meticulously sculpted, with almost no flaws in her artificial beauty.

However, this breathtakingly beautiful woman had lost the vitality she once possessed. Like an exquisite doll, her eyes were empty, devoid of life, lying in the center of an improvised altar.

Inside the doll's body, immeasurable magical energy was being generated from her heart, flowing through her veins, and finally overflowing from every pore.

The immense concentration of magical energy created a scorching temperature in the surroundings.

The corpse of the beautiful artificial life instantly ignited, turning into ashes and revealing a golden cup-shaped container.

His wife, Irisviel, was dead.

Kiritsugu instantly confirmed this fact.

With each Servant soul absorbed by Irisviel, she would lose a part of her human functions.

One soul, and her hands became powerless.

Two souls, and she couldn't walk.

Three souls, and she could only lie dormant in the alchemical ritual.

Four souls, and she lost all signs of life, returning to her true form as the Holy Grail, the lesser Grail, which now appeared before Kiritsugu as a golden cup.

He was too late, unable to see her one last time.

Kiritsugu wanted to cry, but he couldn't.

At that moment, he suddenly heard someone calling his name.

"Kiritsugu."

It was a gentle, joyful call, filled with all the emotions that could melt even his frozen heart.

It was his wife calling him.

"Kiritsugu."

Another call, clear and tangible, not an illusion.

Mechanically, Kiritsugu turned his head and saw a pure white figure standing in a corner of the square.

Silver long hair, red pupils, and a pure smile without a trace of shadow.

"Iri—" Kiritsugu instinctively called out his wife's name, staring blankly as she ran towards him, only to be stopped by another voice.

"Madam, you cannot leave the magic circle."

Kiritsugu was familiar with this voice as well, even more so than Irisviel's voice. This woman had been with him for a longer time and had become a part of his life.

"Maiya."

Maiya sat on the steps, about five meters away from Irisviel. It seemed that some kind of magecraft was applied to the surroundings, preventing her from moving.

Once again, this scene caught Kiritsugu off guard, and he had no idea what was happening.

"Maiya... What is happening... And Iri, you're not—"

Before Kiritsugu could finish speaking, a new change occurred within the altar.

The golden Holy Grail seemed to be lifted by an invisible hand, floating in the air.

At the bottom of the Holy Grail, a hairline crack appeared. Through the tiny gap, something invisible quietly seeped into the Holy Grail.

That "something" resembled "corruption" and had a black color, a boundless darkness.

After seeping in, it dripped down, and as one drop fell, a trail of black mud followed. Then, like a breached dam, the flowing black mud overflowed from the container, drenching the altar.

"This is the pollution you spoke of?"

"Yes."

Shadows and pure white spiritual particles converged, materializing into the forms of the Queen of Shadows and the Maiden of Winter.

Scathach glanced briefly at Kiritsugu and walked towards the altar. She reached out and touched the overflowing black mud.

As if triggering a mechanism, the black mud suddenly began to boil, and mud pillars resembling tentacles sprouted one after another, entwining Scathach's arms and body.

Just as a large amount of black mud was about to engulf Scathach, she let out a heavy snort and an invisible force burst forth from her body, instantly dissipating the black mud.

"So, it's a degraded replica of the 'Primordial Sea.' It's a pity that no matter how much of this thing there is, it can't kill me."

Scathach shook her hand as if shaking off something dirty, then swiftly left the altar, heading towards the mountain gate.

"I leave the rest to you. I will go for the final showdown with Saber."

At the same time, Justeaze also stepped forward, facing the uncontrollable black mud.

"May fortune favor you."

"And may everything go smoothly for you."

The Queen of Shadows and the Winter Maiden passed by each other, each heading towards their respective battlefields.

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