Fandom : Fate/Zero
Rating : K+
Pairing : None
Genre : Angst
Characters : Diarmuid-Zero Lancer, the Grail.
When physical pain vanished, the emptiness took in.
It was incorrect to say he did not have a slightest clue of where he was. As a matter of fact, he did possess a clear hint of the place where he woke up; he just did not give a damn about it. “It doesn’t matter.”, he thought, nothing else mattered now that he ended up here, alone and surrounded by nothing but endless darkness.
The place where his heart had been stabbed no longer pained. Logically, the suffering only rooted while the physical body existed. With the body crumpled to ether, the pain also died out. Yet, he found no relaxation upon such fact.
When the physical pain vanished, the emptiness took in.
It kept reverberating in his head, the restless voice that reflected the void which was gradually eating away his awareness. By the time the war ended and this fragment of him was delivered back to the immortal plane to be washed off his experiences of this war and settle for the next summon, he was afraid it would have already been an empty shell. And there was plenty of time before the end of this war came; it should be enough to do the deed.
Maybe, he mused, emptiness was the best. If his consciousness was already wiped out at this moment, he would no longer be plagued by the excruciating recollection of this fourth Heavens’ Feel. When experiences of this war revived in the back of his mind, they began to worry every bit of his sanity, reminding him of the reason he ended up here. So painful that his tears fell down, thick and burning as blood. It should not have turned out this way; again and again he screamed out to no one in particular, despite his voice quickly swallowed by the darkness around. Resurrected in this world a Servant, he was not prepared for the tragedy to repeat itself, together with the pain he had spent hundreds years trying to wipe it off his heart. There was certain hope spot amidst this darkness called Holy Grail War, the chance to encounter a warrior whose spirit was akin to his own. However, it was too small, too weak to withstand the harsh gales ravaging his destiny. So easily was it crushed and scattered away in the coming dawn. In the end, it could save neither him nor his soul; the heart-rending cry he roared as the Heroic Spirit’s body crumpling and his soul transforming into a vengeful ghost was chocked of bitterness. The misfortune he experienced in this second life was enough to sink any majesty of an immortal hero worshipped by humans, leaving him a pitiable self drown in the mud of hatred and agony.
Surely darkness was his company here but silence was not quite. There was a voice constantly resonating through the space around him. Sometimes it seemed a vague echo from an unknown distance; sometimes it was a whisper haunting the back of his mind. At first it seemed soothing to his tumultuous soul; however, it gradually became unsettling as the sweetness of its tone was strikingly akin to the sugary scent of rotten fruits; the smell appeared appetizing yet one single bite was enough to arouse nauseate. Its sugar-coated tone did not calm him, it disgusted him, it shamed what little left of his broken pride. He wished for it to stop persecuting him, shouting from the top of his lungs. The reply was only the mocking echo of his own voice, nothing else.
It was not long before he figured out it was actually the Grail itself speaking to him. Many a time had he asked for its purpose in trying to converse with a fallen Servant. The answer it gave him was one and the same each and every time his question was raised, yet he was never satisfied. Its patience in repeating such a simple matter again and again, he would admit, was astonishing; not once did it tone rise an octave higher, always the same steady rhythm. It had taken great interest in him, it said, in the Heroic Spirit’s heart filled with grief and desolation. The despair in his soul matched perfectly with its nature and the darkness which began to take root and fought away the light of his being it so adored. It wanted him to stop struggling, to give up and join in the mud that was the vivid proof of humanity’s ugly flaws. Though trampled and humiliated, his spirit was still that of a hero, a hero whose pride and dignity was the last bastion to prevent him from his dark side. Its assertion he would deny and its proposal he would refuse with a burning passion.
At his sincere effort, the Grail only laughed.
It was like acid, the sweet-coated tone that whispered seduction into his soul. Sinister as it might be, the temptation in its promise slowly, slowly found its way through his wounded soul, penetrating his already weakened defense. It was not long before the toxin seeped into him and his conscience as well as all he hold dear such as pride or honor were dissolving. It was excruciating to stay conscious and perfectly aware while each fiber that made up the Heroic Spirit Diarmuid was being devoured and he was completely helpless in making it stop. Worse came to worst, the void in him more or less gave way for the toxin to eat him away. At times, he could almost hear its derisive laughters in witnessing his failing battle; at times, he could hear its placatory consolation talking him into giving up his futility so that he would no longer suffer, so that his soul would be at ease.
… Forgetting all about his betrayal, forgetting all about the twisted and cruel end fate had offered him, forgetting all about humanity, about pride and honor, the moment he felt into the Grail’s sinful embrace, entirely engulfed by the Grail’s evils, he was no longer a heroic Spirit. No longer knew grief, pain nor joy, it was only an empty shell, a pitiful copy borrowing the figure of the hero Diarmuid that the Grail received.
Sunk in its tainted content, would the former hero ever find peace ?