uld complete her words, the distinctive sound of Gilgamesh's laughter echoed from outside the temple.
Scathach scowled as she unsheathed her dual spears, blocking Shirou's path.
Gilgamesh strode into the temple, his ruby-red snake eyes locked onto the two of them, and sneered, “This king had a hunch you two would be hiding here.”
Shirou gazed at Gilgamesh, the smile on his face slowly fading into a cold, indifferent expression.
The flame in his eyes burned even brighter.
He stepped out from behind Scathach and greeted the king, “Hero king of Uruk.”
“Huh-?” Gilgamesh's eyes narrowed as he looked at Shirou.
He couldn't help exclaiming, “It's as I suspected! The flame within you has been awakened.
But instead of the blazing wrath that consumes everything, it's a pure and beautiful flame…
Unable to contain his excitement, Gilgamesh said, “This king has made his decision! Your flame, your eyes, are unparalleled treasures that I must possess!”
Gilgamesh fixed his piercing gaze on Shirou, who was unperturbed.
Shirou let out a faint smile and replied, “Even after all this time, King of Heroes, your self-righteous speeches still irritate me.
I can never bring myself to like you.”
Shirou smiled at Gilgamesh and then activated [Heroic Mortal].
[Golden Rule C-]
“Did you copy this from me, the king?” Gilgamesh narrowed his eyes, with a dangerous gleam in them, then laughed out loud.
“Good! You have a lot of guts, mongrel! No, calling you a mongrel is not enough to describe you now.
You should be called a mongrel among mongrels! I will take those eyes of yours, by order of the king!”
Behind Gilgamesh, the golden ripples rose higher and higher, and numerous Noble Phantasms slowly emerged.
Shirou asked, “You're going to attack even in the territory of the Buddha?”
Gilgamesh threw his head back in a fit of laughter.
He gestured toward the meditating Buddha and declared, “Can an outsider dictate the laws of the king? Besides, the Buddha seeks to attain enlightenment not just for himself, but also for all sentient beings.
Even if the king were to engage in violence here, the Buddha would remain steadfast in his meditation.
Asking for the Buddha's help? Hmph! It's as pointless as asking a stone for help!”
“That's right,” Shirou concurred.
“The Enlightened One has already attained enlightenment and transcended the cycle of birth and death.
The destruction of human reason is but a mere ripple to him.” With that, Shirou Projected a long sword and hurled it toward Gilgamesh.
The sword struck Gilgamesh's armor but failed to leave a mark and was effortlessly deflected.
Gilgamesh scowled, “You expect to defeat the king with that thing?”
Shirou replied with a smile, “It's all I have.”
“Not running away?” Gilgamesh asked skeptically.
“My path to freedom has been opened,” Shirou explained, “I just wonder why you persist in harassing me.
I'm just an ordinary person, even if my soul has descended into this body.
Why do you keep staring at me like this? Why do you force me to participate in this Holy Grail War, even at the cost of your own glory?”
Scathach tried to intervene, “Shirou, that is-“
But Gilgamesh quickly raised his hand and summoned a massive sword that headed straight for Scathach, forcing her to temporarily retreat.
He sneered, “The king is speaking to him.
How dare you, a mere scrap from the Shadow Land, interrupt?”
His face was filled with disdain.
Gilgamesh gazed at Shirou with a mischievous grin.
“The king shall grace you with an answer, as your ugliness amuses me.
Watching mongrels like you struggle and beg for mercy in hell is delightful, especially for one who's been reincarnated as a child,”
“So that's how it is,” Shirou replied, his eyes narrowing.
He summoned two swords through Projection and held them tightly in his grasp, fixing a fierce gaze on Gilgamesh.
“Do you truly wish to test me?” Gilgamesh sneered, “Boring.
Dealing with a weakling like you will soil my hands.
Mongrel belongs in the hell reserved for their kind, where they should meet their end.”
Shirou's eyes sharpened as he noticed the black mud seeping out of the cracks in the floor of the Ryuudou Temple.
“All the World's Evil!” Shirou exclaimed, shock evident in his voice.
He quickly turned to flee.
However, the black mud acted like a ravenous beast, lashing out and binding Shirou's body and limbs tightly like a thick cord.
“Shirou!” Scathach cried out, her hand tracing runes in front of her.
Before she could complete the runes, Gilgamesh summoned a giant sword and swung it, striking the runes down.
Scathach's mouth filled with fresh blood as the runes disappeared.
“Shisho!” Shirou yelled as he was consumed by the black mud.
Scathach wiped the blood from her lips and fixed Gilgamesh with a look of deadly intent.
But Gilgamesh had taken all his Noble Phantasms with him.
“Why did you deceive him on my behalf?” Scathach asked, her voice cold.
Gilgamesh merely sneered in response.
“Putting away your Noble Phantasms, do you truly believe I won't kill you?” Scathach asked again, her tone threatening.
“You can say what you want, but there's no need for this king to kill a person who is about to fade away,” Gilgamesh said with disdain.
Scathach remained silent, her phantom form rapidly approaching its limit.
She took advantage of the moment when All the World's Evil emerged from the Greater Grail to materialize, but now…
“What will happen to him?” she asked.
“If his human body touches that thing, he will naturally die,” Gilgamesh explained.
“He won't die, you just said you wanted to collect his eyes.
You're serious,” Scathach pointed out.
“Then you just wait.
Wait for the mud to swallow him.
Or perhaps you can plead with that being from beyond to lend him a hand and request its mercy? Hahahahaha!” Gilgamesh glanced at the Enlightened One and taunted him before walking away from the temple.
Scathach's gaze then shifted to the meditating Buddha.
The Enlightened One remained unperturbed, with his eyes closed and a face full of mercy, much like the statue of the Buddha behind him.
She looked back at the black mud that had engulfed Shirou.
She knew she couldn't go near it, for if she did, with her twisted and corrupt mind, her phantom form would be corroded and turn into an Alter.
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