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Endless Path : Infinite Cosmos Chapter 1159

Chapter 1159: Missing Ingredient

Update 2 weeks ago

With a stone-faced expression and eyes far colder than the stagnant air within the castle, Jubstacheit looked back at the four 'interlopers', casting his gaze over Heracles and Kenshin before squinting as he looked between Illyasviel and Irisviel. Though he had intended to say something to Illyasviel first, Jubstacheit's expression became dark as he looked upon Irisviel with an astute and piercing gaze. He could tell at a glance that she wasn't the same Justeaze-Type he had made thirty years ago, causing his old, almost skeletal, fingers to curl slowly into fists as he asked, "What are you...? You are not a Homunculus produced by my Einzbern family..."

The moment Jubstacheit mentioned the words 'my Einzbern family', Illya's gaze turned even icier than the aged Golems, stating, "The Einzbern family is not yours, eighth-generation Golem Terminal, Acht. I have come to reclaim my birthright in accordance with the laws established by the Einzbern family more than a thousand years ago. I order you to stand down and relinquish the title of Ninth Head back to me..." As she spoke, the momentum from Illya's body continued to rise as her Magic Circuits slowly began to glow with increasing intensity all over her body. She came here expecting a fight and, with how Jubstacheit had looked at her mother, Illya's patience was quickly wearing thin.

In response to Illya's words, Jubstacheit's expression hardly changed, remaining a cold visage as he looked back at her and plainly stated, "You lost your claim to the position after your death more than ten years ago. Even then, you were the product of a Homunculus and a traitor, not a true descendant of the Einzbern family. The title was only ever granted to you as a means to motivate you further but, even though you were meant to be the 'ultimate' vessel for the Holy Grail, you failed to fulfill your purpose, not once, but twice..." With each word that left his mouth, Jubstacheit's own momentum rose to match Illya's as, surprising everyone present, a Magic Crest slowly took form on his exposed forehead.

Though it was widely believed that the Einzbern's did not possess a Magic Crest that was passed down through their lineage, the truth of the matter was, when the despondent ancestors of the Einzbern created Jubstacheit nine-hundred years ago, they had bestowed him with the Magic Crest. They had been so devastated by their failure to recreate the Third Magic of their Master, as the Einzberns had originally been nothing more than the disciples and family members of the true wielder of the Third Magic, that many either abandoned the 'impossible' endeavor while the vast majority of 'Einzberns' killed themselves. Jubstacheit was their legacy, given an impossible task to complete after they had become disillusioned after hundreds of years of failure...

Seeing the complex Magic Crest on Jubstacheit's forehead, centered around the Alchemical Symbol for Earth, Illya's eyes widened in abject shock. Though even she knew her 'claim' was loose, Illya felt that Jubstacheit's denial was more so related to his hatred for her father than anything else. After all, even though the Homunculi produced by the Einzbern family had no rights, they were still formed using the genetic material of the Einzbern Ancestors, even if the basic structure had changed since the creation of the Justeaze Lizrich von Einzbern. As there had been several historical Homunculi that had held the title of 'Head', she knew Jubstacheit was denying her claim due to personal reasons, not wholly due to the 'logic' inherent within his words...

As tensions continued to build, Jubstacheit turned his cold eyes towards Irisviel once again, saying, "I will ask once again...what are you? If you do not answer my question, do not expect to leave here in one piece. I have no need for failures who have outgrown their use..." Though these words earned him a venomous glare from Illyasviel, Jubstacheit completed ignored her as he continued to stare at Irisviel who, despite the fact she was smiling, had a cold light in her eyes that could ice over a tundra with its intensity. It was very subtle but, her own Magic Circuits had started to glow, something that caused Jubstacheit expression to shift from a scowl into a glower.

Illyasviel had actually been an anomaly, not all that dissimilar to the original Justeaze, and, even now, Jubstacheit had no idea how her complex Magic Circuits had formed and stabilized. Though he had created several other Homunculi that were able to bear children, most of the infants died within the womb while the few that were formed rarely lasted more than a month as their own Magic Circuits ate away at their bodies. It was as if there was a key ingredient missing from the process and, even after thousands of attempts, Jubstacheit felt he was no closer to the truth. Seeing this 'mockery' of his own creation possessing similar Magic Circuits to Illyasviel was a grievous insult to his pride, one of the only emotions the Einzberns had programmed into him.

Maintaining her 'smiling' expression, Iris squinted her eyes almost imperceptibly, answering, "I am Irisviel von Einzbern, mother to Illyasviel von Einzbern, Widow to Kiritsugu Emiya, and former vessel for the Holy Grail. A splendid man was able to grant my soul a new vessel, one that, despite your best efforts, you would never be able to re-create. That man has so many ways to reach the Root that it makes everything you've been trying to accomplish over the last nine-hundred years seem like child's play~." Though she was hardly the vindictive type, Irisviel hadn't been happy to learn how her daughter had been treated after her death. As a result of his petty vengeance, Jubstacheit had not only separated Kiritsugu and Illya, but he even put the latter through intense physical strain and torture, all while trying to redirect her hatred toward the father who had 'abandoned' her and his adopted son, Shirou...

The moment he heard Irisviel's words, Jubstacheit's momentum exploded outward, snuffing out the thousands of lit candles as he rose to his feet. He did not shout or curse but, judging by the hateful expression on his face, it was very apparent Jubstacheit had taken exception to Irisviel's words. At the same time, the doors behind them burst open as the waiting Artificial Humans tried to pour into the room that, after Jubstacheit's rise began to glow with a blue haze. This was a special Bounded Field that was supposed to make it impossible for enemies to shape their Magical Energy into any kind of structured spell. The moment he activated the Bound Field, however, a large volume of blue blood sputtered from Jubstacheit's mouth as, from his chest, a red and gold spear now protruded.

Rather unceremoniously, Scáthach pulled the spears free, tearing away large pieces of Jubstacheit's artificial frame, forcefully deactivating the Bounded Field before it could come into effect. Then, to prevent his Magic Crest from shattering, Scáthach cut off his head in one swift motion before placing it into an isolated spatial pocket. With this series of actions complete, taking a mere three seconds, she looked towards the gobsmacked Illya, reprimanding, "There is no sense in talking with an enemy you have already decided to kill. If I hadn't been here, your inaction would have endangered the lives of everyone here..." As she spoke, Scáthach manifested several red spears around her body, sending them flying at hypersonic speeds as they pierced into the group trying to enter through the massive double doors.

Though she felt like her revenge had been 'stolen' from her, causing Illya to feel more than a little frustrated, she knew Scáthach's words rang true. The moment the Bounded Field began to activate, she had tried to muster up her Magical Energy, only to find it was like trying to force an ocean's worth of water through a pinhole. If not for the ridiculousness that was Scáthach's existence, there was a good chance Alaya would have had to intervene, costing Vahn a phenomenal amount of stored Magical Energy. Realizing she had let down Vahn's expectations and trust, Illya's frustration was quickly replaced by guilt as she looked toward Scáthach and said, "I will take care of the rest." in a determined voice.

Hearing Illya's words, Scáthach gave a curt nod as she ceased her attack, brandishing her spears in the process. Other than Jubstacheit, she hadn't killed any of the other Artificial Humans as, other than ensuring the lives of Illya and her entourage, this event was entirely unrelated to her. If not for Vahn persisting in their last training session for a full seventeen hours, refusing to go down as he pushed himself far beyond her expectations, Scáthach would not even be here. Now, however, she knew what he was capable of if given the 'proper' drive so, in the future, their training sessions would be even more intense. Vahn himself had been aware of this but, rather than use a Command Spell to force Scáthach to obey, he had committed to earning her cooperation through hard effort...

---

With the death of Jubstacheit, combined with the fact that Illya had indeed been the previous Head, the Homunculi within the expansive castle were unable to take action against her. Thus, with her mother close at her side, Illya used her Familiars to deal with any of the Artificial Humans that did not surrender outright. This included the young boy who, being one of the closest at hand during the start of combat, ended up being pierced through the gut by Scáthach's spear before Illya later decapitated him. She knew that, while the Homunculi were 'innocent', most of the Artificial Humans present within the castle were cancerous elements that needed to be removed. They were remnants of the 'old ways', Magi that were firmly cemented in their ways and, over the years, had mistreated thousands of Homunculi, effectively Illya's kin, in the pursuit of their research.

While making their way through the cold and dimly lit hallways, it wasn't long before Illy and Iris found themselves at a place that represented a deep trauma for both of them, the Homunculi Disposal Yard. This was a vast chamber with a stone platform that extended outward into a lake-sized pool of glowing blue liquid. Even now, this pool was filled with hundreds of failed experiments, slowly being dissolved so their biomass and Magical Energy could be used in the next generation of Homunculi. There were even some near the top, their bodies run through with arrows, swords, and other forms of weaponry, still breathing as they slowly bled to death. They did not even possess the free will to try and escape the pool, forced to simply float in the glowing blue liquid as the life slowly drained from their bodies...

Several years ago, as she was being prepared for the Fifth Holy Grail War, Illya had saved two of the Homunculi that had been left to die in this chamber, granting them names and treating them as her family. As for her mother, Iris had also been tossed into this chamber in the past, forced to survive after Kiritsugu had offended Jubstacheit by requesting a more 'compact' and animalistic Homunculi for the sake of efficiency. Fortunately, though she was originally tasked to survive within the pool for an entire month, Kiritsugu had defied Jubstacheit, breaking into the chamber and pulling her free from the corrosive liquid without worrying about his own safety. It was this moment, having yet to form an ego of her own, that Iris began to awaken to true emotions for the first time. She decided that, since Kiritsugu had ignored his own safety in order to save her, a discarded tool, she would give up everything if it meant making his dream come true...

Using her authority as the current Head of the Einzbern family, Illya commanded that the still-living Homunculi within the pool be saved. Sella and Lysritt, the two Homunculi she had saved, had started to develop true egos after she had them assigned as her caretakers and bodyguards. As her mother had also awakened her own ego after being saved by her father, Illya believed the only thing needed for the Einzbern Homunculi to break free from their programming was a 'purpose' they had assigned themselves. They lived their entire lives surrounded by other emotionless entities, denied even the most basic rights as they followed their programming without unnecessary thoughts. After being saved, or shown kindness, this would quickly change to a 'fierce devotion' towards the person that had saved them, awakening their self-preservation instincts and allowing them to develop a 'true ego' to replace their previously machine-like thought process...

With this in mind, Illya showed a genuinely pained expression as she promised each and every one of the Homunculi pulled from the pool, "It's okay now...I will not let you suffer anymore..." Though the only thing she got in response was either a blank expression or a polite, "Thank you for your concern...", Illya continued in her efforts, knowing each of the five Homunculi she had saved would imprint on her. The thing Jubstacheit had never realized, as he was simply incapable of rationalizing such complicated emotions, was that the 'missing ingredient' he had been searching for was the emotional bonds between two people. In other words, it was 'love' that allowed for the creation of a 'Perfect Homunculus' as, so long as they believed they were nothing more than tools, how could they ever become something 'more' than what they were designed to be?

Though Illya had no intention of allowing each of the hundreds, or even thousands, of Homunculi present within the castle to fall in love with Vahn, she knew they would be very loyal to him when he managed to save them. She fully expected each and every Homunculus that had their life extended by Vahn would continue to willingly serve within the castle, never considering for a moment leaving the person who had given them 'purpose', especially with his gentle and empathetic nature. Though it was somewhat unfair to them that she would not let them infringe upon her own happiness, Illya believed the Empire would also serve as a Utopia that allowed the Homunculi to experience the kindness of others. As there was little chance Vahn would allow cruel and malicious people to reside there, Illay believed it was only a matter of time until the Homunculi began to imprint upon others...

---

After several hours of 'cleaning' out the castle, using her Familiars to check each and every one of the hundreds of rooms and workshops, Illya, Iris, Kenshin, and Heracles found themselves in a large antechamber. The walls were lined with massive statues that, even at a glance, were obviously ornate Golems that were meant to protect the secret treasure of the Einzbern family. Each took on the form of a different figure within the Astrological Zodiac, possessing the qualities of both humans and animals as they towered six meters over intruders. Illya didn't know if there was a meaning behind their order but, from left to right, there were statues representing Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, and Virgo. On the opposite side of the room, the statues representing Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces stood parallel to their kin. Among them, the only female figures were those of Virgo and the two twin figures representing Gemini. They were admittedly masterful works of art and, if not for the fact they released an oppressive atmosphere from the moment the group entered the room, Illya would have taken a few minutes to appreciate their beauty.

With the hope of avoiding a fight, Illya flared up her Magical Power as she shouted, "My name is Ilya von Einzbern, Ninth Head of the Einzbern family! Jubstacheit von Einzbern has been removed from his post as the Eighth Head! By my authority as the Head of the Einzbern family, I order you to stand down and open the vault...!" As the vault doors looked like they weighed several thousands of tons, as they were made almost entirely of magically enchanted gold, Illya knew it would take days, if not weeks, just to breach the chamber that contained Das Rheingold. She wanted to see with her own eyes the legendary treasure, hoping it would prove useful to Vahn and his Empire in the future. If not for the existence of Das Rheingold, combined with her feelings of wanting to repay Vahn's kindness, Illya would not have cared about returning to reclaim her birthright so soon.

Surprisingly, the statue of Virgo, which looked extremely similar to the Justeaze-type Homunculi, answered, "Only those who possess the Einzbern Magic Crest have the authority to trespass this sacred vault. We recognize your claim as the Ninth Heath of the family but, if you are unable to present the crest, we are not able to allow you free passage. Only the one who has been entrusted with the task left behind by the Einzbern Ancestors has the authority to order us to stand down..." As the statuesque golem spoke, it raised a large staff that was adorned with a gemstone larger than Illya's head. It was very clear that, if she could not provide the Einzbern Magic Crest, the thirteen golems present would bar their passage...

Though the transfer of a Magic Crest often took years, as the knowledge contained within could overburden the mind and body of the recipient, there were several means to expedite the process. The most common method was transferral through sex, usually resulting in Magic Crest losing quite a bit of its power since it needed to be partially sealed beforehand. Other methods included the willing transfer of a Magic Crest, usually requiring the lifeblood of the previous wielder and direct blood ties with the recipient, and the 'foreceful' transfer of a Magic Crest by consuming the heart of the former wielder. The only other methods were to preserve the crest, much like what Scáthach had done, slowly deciphering its structure over tens, or even hundreds, of years...

Without much hesitation, as there was only one 'viable' method available to her, Illya called out, "Scáthach..." in a somber voice. This caused a small burst of magical energy next to her, followed by the appearance of the purple-clad warrior who, understanding Illya's intentions, pulled out the head of Jubstacheit, a wrathful yet lifeless expression permanently affixed on his visage. Unlike a normal Magus, requiring the consumption of the heart, Jubstacheit's 'core' had been implanted in his head as, from the very beginning, he was meant to be more of a repository of information that had been given a function. He was an Artificial Intelligence that had been implanted into a humanoid golem, making his brain both the source of his sentience and the organ which stored the Einzbern's Magic Crest.

Asking for Cath Palug's assistance, which she had been keeping at bay previously, Illya's body slowly morphed into a partial transformation. Then, even though the thought alone made her nauseous, Illya extended her jaw far more than a normal person before tearing apart Jubstacheit's head and taking a huge chunk out of his bluish-grey brain. Deciding it was better to get it over with quickly, Illya quickly gorged herself on the gooey organ, doing her best to ignore its taste and the slug-like consistency that she would never have been able to keep down on her own. Her ears and tail began to gradually enlarge but, after only a few seconds and several large bites, Illya covered her mouth with both hands, tears in the corners of her eyes as she practically begged Cath Palug to behave...

Slowly but surely, Illya's beast-like features began to recede as, from deep within her stomach, a powerful heat began to spread through her body. It felt like her brain was on fire but, with the natural regeneration of Cath Palug and her own enhanced body, she was able to tolerate the pain as nearly a thousand years of information and memories were embedded into her mind. This actually wasn't the first time she had gone through a similar process as, after becoming the Ninth Head of the Einzbern family, she had been given what was obviously a partial inheritance. Jubstacheit had kept all the secrets related to the production of the Justeaze-type Homunculi to himself, along with many other secrets that could not be entrusted to others.

After twenty minutes of excruciating pain, during which time her mother tightly embraced her, Illya's forehead began to form the shape of the Einzbern Magic Crest. Though parts of it were fragmented, as was often the case when a crest was forcefully acquired, it was still irrefutably the Einzbern Magic Crest. Thus, after rising to her feet with the assistance of her mother, Illya, with a sickly complexion, ordered, "Open the vault..." with the crest still glowing on her forehead. Fortunately, the golems were not programmed to care about the methods used to obtain the crest. The only thing that mattered was that Illya was the one who possessed it, granting her the authority to access the vault they had guarded for centuries. Find authorized novels in Webnovel,faster updates, better experience,Please click www.webnovel.com www.webnovel.com for visiting.

As the vault slowly opened, there was a brilliant blue and gold light that refracted on the natural stone surfaces that had been carved out of the mountain's core. There were hundreds of golden pipes jutting out of the walls and ceiling while, at the bottom of a long flight of stairs, a massive underground lake was present. Instead of water, the lake was filled with the same mana-rich blue liquid that slowly dissolved the bodies of failed Homunculi. From this, it became obvious that the Magical Energy contained within the bodies of the Homunculi was recycled to feed into the large golden crystal that stood like a miniature mountain several meters beneath the liquid's surface. As the crystal would turn into purified gold after being split off from the main body, the sheer volume of the massive Das Rheingold, if accounting for the current price of gold, would be enough to match the entire global economy, equating to more than 70 trillion pound sterlings...and growing...

(A/N: Alternate Titles: 'Scáthach does not fuck around (o___o)...','All you need is love...Love is all you need (o 3 o)...','Would you eat a biomechanical brain for 85 trillion USD? I wouldn't even flinch xD...')

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