Crouched behind a crumbling wall in the ruins of the Orthopedics Department, Shirou scanned his surroundings warily.
His status as a Demi-Servant, and the fact that he was believed by the other Masters to have retired from the Holy Grail War, offered him a crucial edge in his current predicament.


Shirou frowned, he knew that Gilgamesh, Kirei, and possibly even Tokiomi were aware of his true identity.
If Tokiomi knew, then why had he ventured out of the safety of the Tohsaka mansion and ventured into the warzone? Surely, his best chance of victory would be to remain hidden and wait for Gilgamesh to eliminate the other Masters.

His mind was awash with questions, only adding to his confusion.
Why had Kiritsugu also come to the ruins? Was it a difference in information, or did they know that Caster and his Master were still alive and come here with the determination to deliver the final blow and prevent the possibility of the Mystery being revealed again?

As he pondered this new possibility, a glimmer of understanding began to dawn on Shirou.
If Kiritsugu and Tokiomi were aware of his true identity, it would mean that he could only deceive Waver and Kayneth.

His mind then flashed back to his battle with Iskandar the day before.
If Iskandar had also known his true identity, then it would mean that Kayneth was the only one who had been fooled.
Disappointment washed over him at the realization that his plan had failed.
Nevertheless, he couldn't help but feel a sense of satisfaction in having captured a big fish like Tokiomi.

Being a Demi-Servant and a Master of 'Matou' family, no one could detect his true identity before he fused with a Saint Graph.
If he had disguised himself as a magus and confronted Tohsaka and Kiritsugu, and at a critical moment, fused with a Saint Graph, he could have killed them in an instant without them even having a chance to release a command seal.
It was a risky move, but the potential reward was worth it.

With this thought in mind, Shirou crept forward cautiously.
Even though the potential reward was great, for now, he knew it would be best to proceed with caution.
After all, there were only three of them in this abandoned police hospital, and he couldn't let his guard down for a moment.

As Tokiomi walked through the police hospital, the only area that remained relatively untouched was the morgue.
The gloomy atmosphere did not affect him in the least as he patrolled the area.

The young boy who was the Master of Caster had already been killed, and Kirei had informed him that the body was being kept in this police hospital.
Therefore, the valuable vessel that could be used to fuse with a Servant must be stored in one of the morgue's cabinets.

Tokiomi had already conducted several patrols of the morgue, opening around ten cabinets in search of the Master of Caster.

He found several pale corpses, some of which were missing vital organs, and some that were relatively intact.
The fate of these corpses was unknown to him, but they did not elicit any reaction from Tokiomi, not even a flicker in his eyes.

While Tokiomi searched through the cabinets, he contacted Kirei and inquired, “Has Assassin arrived at their position yet?”

“Who are you planning to take out first, teacher?”

“A magus without dignity is not worth mentioning, but a respected lord is worthy of the utmost respect.
Let us first dispose of that undignified and dishonorable magus, and then I will respectfully entertain this well-known lord.”

“Yes, teacher.
My Assassin is always ready to follow your orders.”

Tokiomi ended the call and pushed the open mortuary cabinet closed.
There were several corpses in the mortuary cabinet and over a hundred cabinets in the room.
Opening them one by one, he did not know how long it would take to find the right one.

He mumbled to himself, “First, I should go entertain these two guests, then come back and slowly search for the child's corpse.
Speaking of which, Sakura seems to have called him brother, it's a pity.
If he wasn't involved in this war, Sakura might have had one more good friend.
But it doesn't matter now.
When the war is over, I will send Sakura to Finland.
There, it is a good place for her to grow up.”

He took out a short sword from his pocket.
This sword, known as the Azoth sword, is a type of Mystic Code frequently used in the Mage's Association.
It is common for teachers or parents to give it as a gift during coming-of-age ceremonies.
Tokiomi had planned to give this sword to Kirei as a graduation gift.
With this thought in mind, he put the Azoth sword back in his pocket and left the morgue.

“Dong, Dong, Dong.”

Kirei sat in his seat, tapping the armrest with his index finger as he attentively listened to the intelligence report being delivered by the assassin besides him.

“We've received reports of a gunfight and explosion occurring inside the hospital.
The method of the explosion matches Caster's known attack patterns.”

“So, it's not Lord El-Melloi who's responsible for this, but that child?” Kirei turned to look at Ryuunosuke, who lay beside him with a blank expression on his face.
“It appears he's using this as a trap to lure Kiritsugu into an ambush and kill him.”

“Can a child really come up with such a plan, or is it the Servant's ruthless nature that's controlling the child?” Kirei stroked his chin thoughtfully before saying, “Given the current situation, let's try to get as many Assassins inside as possible amidst the chaos.”

“Is this in preparation for drawing the net, Master?” The Assassin asked.

“No,” replied Kirei as he stood up and walked to the window, his hands clasped behind his back.
He gazed out at the thick black smoke rising from the police hospital.
“Just go in and kill that child.
Once you've taken care of him, stay on the outskirts and keep watch.”

“I understand.
But why?”

“Gilgamesh wants to protect the child, but I'll kill him just to see the look on Gilgamesh's face.
It's sure to be priceless,” said Kirei with a smile.
“I'm also quite curious about the flame he mentioned.”

“Master,” the Assassin added, “there's one more thing.
The fire truck and police cars are already on their way here.”

“Stop them.
Don't let them come here until I get the answers I want.”

“Yes, Master!” The Assassin disappeared without further ado.

Shirou stumbled forward, his vision clouded by thick black smoke.
The overpowering smell of charcoal dominated all other scents, surrounding him in its noxious embrace.



An explosion erupted in the distance, followed by a staccato burst of gunfire.

“Could that be Tokiomi and Kiritsugu?” Shirou projected two swords in his hands as he rushed toward the source of the flashing fire,


As the sound of something breaking through the air reached his ears, Shirou felt a wave of impending death wash over him.
Without hesitation, he quickly rolled out of the way, his instincts taking over.

Just in time, Shirou's quick roll saved him as three black knives flew overhead, narrowly missing him.
If he had hesitated, the knives would have found their mark, resulting in his death.

His body tensed as he crouched low, scanning the area from where the knives had been thrown.
Beads of sweat formed on his forehead as he caught sight of the attackers.


His eyes were filled with the sight of Assassins!

Not just in front of him.

Shirou's eyes darted around, taking in his surroundings, and he soon realized that he was surrounded by Assassins.
He had no time to count their numbers, but judging by the scale of the attack, there were likely more than 30 of them closing in on him!

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