Chapter 1049: Sage Emperor

With the appearance of a sudden flash of golden light, the two Servants who had been enthralled in an intense collision immediately created a distance from each other to observe the interloper to their battle. Amongst the two, there was a man with pitch-black skin, garbed in shadowy cloth that loosely flowed around his waist. Affixed to his face, seemingly sewn into the skin, a bone-white mask that was obviously intended to emulate a skull obscured their true face. Even without the two black gladii wielded in each of his hands, it was easy to see at a glance that this was undoubtedly an Assassin-Class Servant. With the information on Assassins being ‘surprisingly detailed’, as there was one servant that simply suited the role unlike any other, Vahn was able to identify the black-skinned Servant as none other than one of the variations of Hassan.

A stark contrast to one of History’s greatest Assassins, his opponent had the appearance of a young woman dressed in a black tabard adorned with accents of red leather and gold embroidery. There was a small breastplate covering their chest while, affixed to their hips, sectioned plates formed ornate tassets that seemed to emphasize form over function. Instead of wearing more conventional leggings, they had forgone trousers and greaves in exchange for a short skirt, long black stockings, and a pair of ornate white boots adorned with gold. Completing the outfit, they had a mantle form of a pristine white fabric that was dual-layered with a passionate red on the inside. Around the collar of the mantle, thick fur framed a face that was the perfect blend between ‘cute’ and ‘handsome’. When Vahn saw this peculiar knight, pale pink hair braided into a long ponytail and lavender eyes that seemed to radiate ‘mischievousness’, he couldn’t help frowning slightly since, even with his understanding of the human body, he momentarily found it hard to place their gender…

Dear Readers. Scrapers have recently been devasting our views. At this rate, the site (creativenovels .com) might...let's just hope it doesn't come to that. If you are reading on a scraper site. Please don't.

Deciding to take advantage of his own intrusion, Vahn slowly descended from the sky as he introduced, “You stand in the presence of the Sage Emperor, Vahn Aldrnari Mason, Ruler-Class Servant…” Though he had been tempted to borrow the identity of another historical figure, Vahn knew there was a minuscule chance he might actually meet the actual person he was pretending to be. As this would be more than a little embarrassing, Vahn decided that he would sow discord by simply being himself as, regardless of how they might search, none of the enemy Masters would ever find any information pertaining to his ‘legend’.

Without sticking around to hear what Vahn was going to say, the Assassin-Class Servant immediately jumped into the shadows without a word. He seemed intent on running away, causing Vahn’s eyes to squint before he used his domain as a medium to send several of the granule-sized Elemental Stars he had painstakingly made as a part of his training. Their small size shouldn’t be underestimated, however, as an [Elemental Star] the size of a piece of rice was enough to cause an explosion that could level a small high-rise. The supposed Hassan was ill-equipped to deal with the fact that it was spontaneously surrounded by various different colored granules of pure-elemental energy. Though he threw a series of hidden daggers to try and break through the ‘weaker’ part of the offensive network, this only resulted in the blades being cut through like a piece of dark metal under the intense focus of a plasma cutter…

A rainbow-colored explosion spread through the area, producing several powerful shockwaves that caused the windows in the surrounding buildings to all shatter. Vahn felt a little guilty about the collateral damage but prevented his expression from revealing his inner turmoil as he turned his attention to the remaining Servant. He could tell that his attack hadn’t killed Hassan but, as his current purpose was more so to secure allies, Vahn allowed him to play dead as he ‘literally’ melted into the shadows. Though Vahn didn’t know how many Hassans had been summoned, he could tell by the almost indiscernable ‘tethers’ flowing out from Hassan’s body that they were only a single part of a much larger whole…

To their credit, the remaining Servant didn’t seem too affected by the display of power, even though they put on a mask of nervousness as they said, “Well, this doesn’t look good for me, ahahaha…hey, why is a Ruler interfering in the battles between other Servants? Aren’t you supposed to, you know, be impartial and stuff…?” As these words left their lips, the unnamed Servant tightened their grip on their sword, awaiting the moment Vahn might attack. Even though it seemed like they had dropped their guard, even a normal person would have been able to see through their act. Because of this, Vahn couldn’t help but compare this peculiar Servant to Tiona, even though she might punch him if she knew he compared her to someone that seemed to be the textbook definition of a ‘fool’…

Standing with his chin slightly raised, the pressure from Vahn’s aura continued to build as he asked, “Who are you to question this Emperor without even introducing yourself? Do not try my patience, boy…” Borrowing a page out of Nobunaga’s book, Vahn figured calling the Servant before him a boy could have a particularly devastating effect. He wasn’t sure if they identified as female but, based on their attire and the small black ribbons tied in their hair, he believed they at least wanted people to assume they were a girl.

Puffing out their cheeks in what Vahn saw as an obvious attempt to appear cute, the Servant glared back at him before shouting, “My name is Astolfo, one of the Twelve Paladins of Charlemagne. As for my class, can’t you see that I’m obviously the Saber-Class Servant!?” As they shouted, Astolfo flailed their thin sword around in a haphazard manner. Vahn, however, squinted his eyes with doubt clear for the world to see as he coldly stated, “You would attempt to fool this Emperor…?” Though Astolfo was undoubtedly skilled with a sword, even Vahn could see they were far from the point of mastery. Since they were even struggling against an Assassin-Class Servant, statistically one of the weakest classes.

In response to Vahn’s words, Astolfo crossed their arms with a huff before stating in their somewhat annoyingly high-pitched voice, “You’re one to talk! I don’t know what you are, but you sure as heck aren’t a Servant! Don’t go trying to fool others and expect them to just play along and give you all the information you want! Seriously, are you some kind of idiot~?” As the last words sounded more like playful teasing than an actual insult, Vahn was surprised by the fact he felt even more insulted. His first impression of Astolfo made them appear to be a little daft but, now that he was obviously trying to rile him up, Vahn was absolutely sure the boy either lacked fear or was completely unaware of the vast gulf between them…

Pulling out a sword from his Inventory, Vahn pointed it toward Astolfo, his eyes fixed in solemnity as he stated, “Come, ‘Saber’…you are supposed to be one of the more powerful Servant-Classes so I’m looking forward to our battle…” As the purpose of Vahn targetting the Servants instead of the Master was to release his rising tensions, he was eager to begin the fight. Though he had no intention of killing Astolfo, Vahn still wanted to test the limit of their capabilities against his own. Thus far, with the exception of his brief conflict with Scáthach, Vahn hadn’t been able to test his power within this world. Since Astolfo seemed a bit ‘weaker’ than normal Servants, Vahn felt he had a bit of leeway to familiarize himself with his current capabilities…

Having stopped waving around his sword, Astolfo released an exaggerated sigh as he complained, “Man, this just isn’t my night. Why is everyone bullying me…is it because Astolfo is so cute?” These words were never given an answer as, without stalling any longer, Vahn had already appeared before Astolfo with a blank expression as he swung his sword in a smooth arc. To his credit, Astolfo was able to receive the blow with ease as he jumped back in a surprising burst of speed. Vahn immediately pursued, trying to ensure that the distance between them was in his favor, but Astolfo quickly opened even more distance after lightly stepping on the ground. His footwork seemed to increase his base speed with each step, causing Vahn to eventually frown as he brought out a link of [Enkidu] in the path of Astolfo’s foot…

With his eyes focused on Vahn, Astolfo hadn’t even processed what had happened until they were already rolling backward. Though he managed to recover almost instantly, Vahn had already closed the gap between them before the flamboyant Paladin could utter a complaint. While Vahn’s Agility seemed lacking in comparison to Astolfo’s, the difference in their Strength heavily favored him. With his own sword being several times larger and heavier than Astolfo’s, Vahn sent the Paladin flying like a bullet as he skipped and bounded off the asphalt of the road like a stone skirting across the surface of the water.

Vahn was actually a little surprised with how far Astolfo went before crashing into a light post, effectively causing the tall metal structure to form a shape similar to a question mark. When he rose to his feet, Astolfo was holding his side as he muttered, “Atta…that really smarts. You really have no sense of delicacy…” To this, Vahn lightly shook his head before replying, “I may not be a propagator of true gender equality, but I’m usually more lenient against women. Even if you doll yourself up like that, however, you can’t hide the truth from these eyes. If you want to identify as a female, I can respect that, but don’t expect I’ll change my own views to conform with your apparent desire for recognition…”

Without needing to be told, Vahn knew that he gave females, especially cute and attractive women, preferential treatment. This was, however, well within his right as, much like everyone else, he was the one who determined how he wanted to act in any given circumstance. He saw no need to adhere to the expectations of others for how they wanted to be treated as, even as senseless as he could be at times, such a roundabout means of socializing would only lead to confusion and pointless debate. This didn’t stop him from respecting Astolfo’s intentions, as he actually pulled off the look better than some actual females, but that was beside the point…

Astolfo seemed a bit surprised to hear Vahn’s words before they confusedly asked, “What are you talking about? I’m not trying to look like a girl. I just want to look cute. What’s wrong with that…?” As his face formed into a deep frown at the end of his question, Vahn was a bit taken aback as to how he should respond. Ultimately, he released a sigh before adopting a thrusting stance as he said, “If it is any consolation, I won’t deny that you look cute. If my words offended you, I’m not too proud that I can’t apologize. Sorry…” With that said, Vahn kicked off against the ground with enough force to fracture the road, affording Astolfo no time to really process his apology at all.

With an expression similar to a startled rabbit, Astolfo dodged to the side before tracing a zig-zag path to evade Vahn’s follow up strikes. This movement pattern allowed Vahn to keep pace, as he was using more direct charges while waiting for Astolfo to trigger whatever trap they were trying to bait him into. Unfortunately, things didn’t seem to be going as either of them planned as Vahn sensed the arrival of a new presence around the same time that Astolfo’s eyes widened in shock. Just as he had pulled out a strange lance, Astolfo vanished into thin air, leaving nothing but a few motes of magical energy in his wake.

Now feeling even more annoyed than before the fight had begun, as Vahn wasn’t fond of interruptions, he was even faster to react than Astolfo as, the moment the presence appeared within his domain, Vahn had used [Enkidu] in an attempt to bind them. In the next moment, shortly after Astolfo’s own appearance within a small room, Vahn tore through the void, now appearing even more like an Emperor with his subtle dragonic features. Upon arriving, Vahn saw Astolfo with his spear piercing the abdomen of a distinctly different Hassan as the latter failed to dodge with one of his arms bound by [Enkidu].

Only allowed on Creativenovels.com

Pulling his spear free, resulting in Hassan melting into a pool of black liquid, Astolfo’s expression had now become completely serious as he got into a low stance with his eyes focused on Vahn. The only thing that kept him from attacking was the fact that Vahn was standing tall behind Astolfo’s Master who, surprisingly, was a young woman in a wheelchair. Not only that but, based on her pale-grey eyes and milky white pupils, it was easy to see that she was blinded with cataracts. At the same time, she had a frail and thin appearance, complete with a pale complexion, a slightly gaut face, and long grey hair that formed slightly unkempt curls. Though she was undoubtedly a Magus, Vahn felt the more accurate description for her would be akin to a wilting flower in the last stages of it’s inevitable decay…

As if she could somehow ‘see’ what was taking place within the room, the woman gave an apologetic smile towards Astolfo as she weakly stated, “Forgive me, Astolfo…it seems that I will not be able to view the world you spoke so fervently about…” These words caused Astolfo to appear as if he was on the verge of tears as he passionately answered, “No, you can’t give up. Never, ever give up…!” At the same time, Astolfo looked like he was waiting for Vahn to create a single exploitable gap, appearing much like a spring that was compressed under an intense amount of pressure.

Seeing this, Vahn raised his brow before asking, “Do you seriously take me as the type to take advantage of someone so frail? If I had wanted to take out your Master, I wouldn’t have even bothered picking a fight with you. Try using that head of yours for a moment…” As he spoke to Astolfo, the latter didn’t seem to actually hear his words as his face formed an even deeper frown as Vahn placed his hand atop the woman’s head. Her sightless eyes flickered in response as a solemn aura seemed to radiate from her body as she anticipated her inevitable demise…

Vahn felt that this Master-Servant duo was truly helpless as he continued to stare down Astolfo while sending threads of energy into the woman’s head. Though direct contact would be easier, Vahn assumed Astolfo would freak out if he suddenly moved his hands towards the woman’s eyes. Since there was no ‘real’ danger with simply placing his hand atop her head, Astolfo’s tensions continued to rise without actually exploding. Vahn’s own anticipation was beginning to build as well since, based on his short interaction with Astolfo, he could imagine the latter’s reaction when he finally realized what was happening…

Though it would take a more intensive treatment to completely repair the woman’s vision, Vahn was more than capable of restoring it to the extent that it wouldn’t interfere with everyday life. At the same time, he was revitalizing some of the damaged muscles and organs within her body, even if this was only a stop-gap measure. If he wanted to heal her completely, Vahn would have to combine his [Hands of Nirvana] with a treatment using his blood as, even with a cursory inspection, Vahn could tell there were several malignant foreign bodies within her. They had spread into most of her major organs, causing severe deterioration and atrophy, while the highest concentration of cells could be found in her lung. Vahn estimated that, without intervention, she probably wouldn’t have lasted more than a month…

Suddenly feeling an unbearably itchy feeling in her lungs and throat, the woman began a coughing fit as she lurched her body forward and began spewing blackened blood into her dainty hands. This resulted in Astolfo shouting, “You monster…!” before attempting to leap forward with his lance. Vahn, having already anticipated this reaction, immediately barred Astolfo’s advanced with five links of [Enkidu] as he plainly stated, “How about you try asking her how she feels instead of jumping to conclusions…?” As he had been the one to ‘force’ the dead cells up the woman’s throat, Vahn knew that she would be feeling a lot more energetic once the foreign substance was expelled from her body.

Though he had a fretful and teary-eyed expression, Astolfo still looked towards his Master as he sobbingly uttered, “Catherine…?” This inquiry was met with silence, however, not because Catherine was unable to reply, but because she was in a state of absolute shock as she stared at the blackened blood on her hands. Though it might have been a scary sight for others, the fact that she could see at all made Catherine fall into a dazed state where she was unable to hear Astolfo’s words. Even without her response, however, Astolfo could tell that she seemed to be in a much better state than before as a smidgeon of color had returned to her deathly pale face. He also noticed that the milky-gray coloration in her eyes had lessened greatly, even if it hadn’t been removed…

Seeing that Astolfo had calmed down, Vahn allowed his [Enkidu] to disperse, nearly laughing as a result since Astolfo fell to the ground like a ragdoll after losing the chain’s support. Rubbing his reddened nose with a look of blame on his face, Astolfo shakily rose to his feet, asking, “Why did you treat my Master? Aren’t we enemies…?” After asking these questions, however, Astolfo seemed to ‘realize’ something as, instead of awaiting an answer, he gave a proper bow, surprising Vahn as he sincerely stated, “Thank you.”

Vahn couldn’t help rolling his eyes after seeing how quickly Astolfo changed tones, followed by him simply answering, “Whether or not we are enemies will ultimately depend on you and your Master. As for your gratitude…I will accept it, even though it was my own prerogative that led to me treating your Master. Though my highest title remains ‘Sage Emperor’, I have also been known by two other names…” This seemed to catch Astolfo’s attention as a curious and attentive glimmer reflected across his lavender eyes. Vahn smiled upon seeing this, adding, “To those I am closest to, I am known as the Godhand…for others, I am known as the Great Sage, Aldrnari, the Hand of Miracles…” Though the last title was only something that Vahn had been called during the events following his actions in the Elven Kingdom, there was a good chance it would have taken off if not for the fact he later became an Emperor…

Astolfo seemed to have taken the words a bit more seriously than Vahn had expected as his lavender eyes seemed awash with stars as he brought his hands together and exclaimed, “So cool…!” This was a bit unexpected for Vahn, causing him to feel a little embarrassed as he scratched the side of his nose in response. Fortunately, Astolfo’s attention was immediately diverted elsewhere as, with a confused intonation, Catherine asked, “Ano…what is going on…?” This caused Aastolfo to literally ‘explode’ into tears as he kneeled down and hugged Catherine’s waist, sobbing like a baby as he exclaimed, “Catherine, I’m so happy you’re okay. I was so scared…!” In response to this, Catherine’s expression turned gentle as she began stroking the top of Astolfo’s head, softly muttering, “There, there, my dear Astolfo, do not cry for me…” Following this, she turned her pale-gray eyes towards Vahn, her momentary confusion quickly turning to realization as she smiled in a way that only someone that had been given a second chance at life could manage. Even without saying it directly, Vahn knew the amount of gratitude she had wasn’t something that could be properly conveyed, no matter how eloquent a person might be…

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Breh, you ain’t even a Servant (UwU)~!’,’Vahn’s mighty sword versus Astolfo’s nimble saber…’,’Inb4 Astolfo asks why the people closest to Vahn call him the Godhand…’)

https://bit.ly/2XBzAYu <-(p.atreon link)

paypal.me/Einlion

Discord Invite: https://discord.gg/mn5xMbE

You may also like: