Definitely Not BL Wiki
Advertisement
Definitely Not BL Wiki

Scene 00[]

The massive form flies through the air.
In one bound, the thing called Berserker crosses the dozens of meters from the top of the hill――――!

"―――Shirou, stay back...!"
In the moonlight...
"Bullets" rain down on the descending giant like shooting stars...!

"[wacky len=15]"
They have extreme accuracy.
The silver lights that are shooting through the giant are indeed "arrows".

No, the word "arrow" is an understatement.
It's like a barrage from a machine gun, and each shot could pierce through rocks.
―――Eight shots of that.
It should be able to mow down houses, but...

"No way! It's not doing anything!?"
It has no effect on the giant.

The two swords clash.
The giant sword of Berserker, who came down through a rain of 'arrows'...
And the sword of Saber, who ran to his landing spot. The two blades spark on contact...!
"Fuh...!"
"[wacky len=6]"
The swords clash.
Even though she is overpowered by Berserker's attack, Saber does not yield.
Silver lights run through the darkness.
How much magical energy is in that small body of hers?
Even though Saber is obviously weaker, she is proving to be a match against Berserker.
She blocks, parries, and faces the assault of that giant sword head-on.

"――――――――"
I must not be the only one who's awed.
The Master of that giant and the one standing next to me, Tohsaka, are also fascinated by Saber's figure.

"...! Archer, back her up!"
Tohsaka screams out at once.
In response, a silver light comes flying out of nowhere.

The silver light strikes the giant right in his temple.
The arrow that came flying through the air is as powerful as a tank shell.
No matter what this giant may be, he has to take some damage from that.

"――――Got him...!"
Saber slashes with her invisible sword right after the shot connects.
But...
Her attack is countered by a huge blow, and Saber is flung away.

"Guh...!?"
Saber slides across the asphalt.

A black whirlwind runs in pursuit, and...
Silver lights come flashing down to intercept him!
But they have no effect.
The three arrows hit the giant square in his forehead, but simply disappear.

"[wacky len=9]――――!!!!"
The giant does not stop.
Saber blocks the giant blade with her own.

"Saber...!"
My scream is meaningless.
As Saber blocks Berserker's sword head-on, she is flung away like a ball―――and she falls to the ground.

"――――!"
Is she dizzy?
Saber has her knees on the ground and does not move.
"――――This is it. Smash her, Berserker."
The girl's voice echoes.
The black giant charges at Saber with brutal speed.

"Keep firing, Archer...!"
Tohsaka starts running as she screams.
―――She must intend to help Saber.
She runs up the hill while taking out something that looks like a rock.

"Gewicht, um zu Verdoppel ung――――!"
Tohsaka scatters obsidian jewels in the sky,
and numerous silver lights come flying from the heavens.
Even with that, Berserker's charge does not stop.
"What a――――"
...Monster.
...I finally understand how absurd he is.
That giant isn't just "strong".
He must be protected by some "law" of immortality created from abnormal amounts of magical energy.

"Good, ignore the annoying ones.
Archer and Rin shouldn't be able to get past your Noble Phantasm."
The girl's voice rings out.
The giant's sword is swung.

And...
Saber bravely blocks it with her sword and is flung away once again.
―――She flies dozens of meters.
Saber flies through the air like a pitcher's fastball and plows into the open terrain off the road.

"――――――――"
She must be dead.
Once is bad enough.
But she can't be okay after receiving such a blow twice.

The black whirlwind moves.
The match is already decided, but he's not done yet.
The giant called Berserker roars and charges onto the open land.

"――――――――"
She'll die.
Even if Saber's still alive, she'll surely die now.
...And.
As long as I'm here, I'm sure I'll die as well.

'If you can, try to run away.'
The one who said that isn't here.
Tohsaka went after Berserker.
She must intend to keep fighting against this monster that is unscathed by all those attacks.

"――――――――"
I―――

Scene 01[]

...I can't move from here.
I'm not obedient enough to follow her words and run away.
But I can't go after Berserker either.

I'm scared of going up against that monster.
But more than that―――what can I do even if I go?

"Damn――――it."
I stand by myself in the dark.
...It's vexing, but I have no way to fight.
I can neither help Saber nor fight Berserker.
If there's anything I can do, it's run to a safe place right now.

"!?"
I hear unfamiliar noises from the top of the hill―――from the open area that Saber was flung into.

If I remember correctly, that's the foreigners' cemetery.
Saber and Berserker.
Their fight must still be going on.

"......!"
This is my final decision.
I―――

Scene 02[]

Tohsaka is right.
Saber drew Berserker away from here.
Then I should get away from this dangerous place and await Saber's return――――

"Haa... Haa... Haa..."
I passed the bridge from Shinto and ran straight home.
I never looked back as I ran.
I don't know if I was scared of the unknown pursuer or if I felt guilty for leaving Saber behind.
...Anyway, I desperately ran here.

"――――――――"
...The living room is just as I left it.
The air has been motionless ever since Lancer attacked and Tohsaka came here.
I go near the restored window.
I find two small pieces of glass on the floor that Tohsaka must have overlooked.

"...There's no crack in the glass... I wonder how Tohsaka made up for these pieces."
I murmur to myself.
...I don't know why, but I don't feel like turning the lights on.
I hide in the darkness as if to hide my weakness.

"......"
What I should be thinking about.
What I should say.
I'm running away from these things.
...The people that were here until a few hours ago.
The people who were by my side until a few minutes ago.
I have to ask myself if it was right to leave them behind, but I can't bring myself to get out of the dark.

The wall clock points to three.
...It's been thirty minutes since then.
No matter who won, I'm sure the battle is over now.

"――――――――"
I should go back.
When I raise my head to turn the lights on and cheer myself up...
A sharp pain runs through my left hand.

"...The Command Spell...?"
The color has faded from my Command Spell.
Even though the shape is still there, the bright light that proves I am Saber's Master has disappeared.
I understand instinctively what that means.
"Saber...!"
I follow my instinct and run out from the darkness.

I run outside.
I won't make it now.
I know I can't make it, but I start to run back...
And I'm stabbed in the heart by some unknown thing.

" , "
...I can't hear too well.
I can tell there's someone in front of me, the one who stabbed my heart, but I can't see very clearly.

" ―――? , "
The one in front of me sneers and tells me I am stupid.
The one in front of me is laughing that I have no way of surviving without my Servant.

"Oh――――, ........"
...That's right.
Emiya Shirou will be killed the instant Saber is lost.
As I don't have a way to protect myself, I have no way to survive without Saber.

But I didn't realize that, and I secluded myself.
This is the result.
It doesn't matter if I'm in the house or if I run away somewhere.

"G―――uh――――"
...My mind starts to fade.
I don't care who it is or what I got stabbed by.
It doesn't matter if I die today or tomorrow.

Because...
The instant my Command Spell lost its brightness, my life was lost as well――――

Scene 03[]

"――――――――"
I know I won't be able to do anything even if I do go.
But still――――I still feel her hand in mine.
I told her we'll try our best.
She shook the hand I held out.
So――――

"Man, there's nothing else I can do...!!"
I'll be killed if I go up the hill after that giant.
My body is trembling from that fact, but I suppress it and run up the slope.

"Saber――――!"
I run into the open land.
...And then.
The scenery that awaits me there is totally unexpected.

Gravestones are flying around.
Every time the giant swings his sword, the heavy gravestones are split in two.
―――In the midst of it...
A knight bravely runs through the storm of gravestones.

The axe-sword rages around.
Gravestones are flung aside.
In the chaos, Saber is fighting Berserker with the same―――no, with more power than before.

"――――――――"
"[wacky len=9]"
Their positions are reversed here.
The advantage belongs to someone with a small body like Saber.
Berserker is hindered by obstacles,
and Saber acts as if there's nothing in her way.

I'm sure that a hindrance of this degree is only trivial for Berserker.
But it's more than nothing.
It's only a slight difference, but that slight difference is tipping the scale the other way now―――

"This way...! You'll get hit if you're there!"
"Huh!? Whoa...!?"
"What are you thinking!? I told you to run away, right!? Or did you not hear me!?"
She's really angry.

"Um―――I heard you. But I can't just run away, right?"

"What!? How could you reach that conclusion!? Can't you tell that you'll only be a bother to us since you can't fight!? It can't be helped if you die
trying to make a difference, but it'd be meaningless if you die doing nothing!"

"――――?"
...I don't know why, but Tohsaka is seriously angry.
Even though I'm getting yelled at, I don't feel bad for some reason.

"―――Hey, is that something you should get mad about? It shouldn't matter to you if I die meaninglessly or not."
"It does matter! I told you I'd let you go for all of today, so it'll trouble me if you don't get home safely!"

"......"
...I'm confused even more now.
Tohsaka sure had a different face on at school.

"―――Geez. Anyway, you're not hurt, so run away right now.
That Ilyasviel girl intends to kill us all."

"I know that. But I can't run away. Saber's fighting, so I can't run away by myself."

"...That's a line for someone who can make a difference. You'll just die a meaningless death, as you can't do anything to support her.
This is your last warning. Just run away."
"That can't be true. There should be something I can do as long as I'm alive. And besides, are you going to ask someone to do something that you can't do?"

"――――――――"
Tohsaka looks at me with a serious expression.
"...You're right. I'm the shameless one for asking you to do something I can't do."

She looks away.
"―――Well, I don't think there's a need to run away. I don't think Saber will lose now."
Tohsaka takes a peek from behind the tree.

Their battle is continuing without change.
Berserker's attacks smash through empty space and only destroy his surroundings.

Between the attacks...
Within the swirling whirlwind and flying clods...
Within the rain of broken gravestones...
Saber rushes in without even dirtying her armor and attacks Berserker.

"......"
It is a divine work of utmost excellence.
My fear has disappeared, seeing this battle that is totally impossible for mere humans.
Instead, I am fascinated.

I could not believe I was in this Holy Grail War thing, and I also had some uneasiness.
But all of it is blown away when I see her.

Dancing swords.
Within the whirlwind of fatal destruction, the knight challenges the enemy without hesitation.

...Maybe this scene made me accept everything.
No matter what may fall upon us in the future...
I'm convinced that I will be able to match even a fierce god if I have Saber with me.

"...I thought so. It was strange, but she blocked Berserker's sword on purpose."
Tohsaka murmurs without emotion.

"...Was that to lure Berserker here?"
"Yup. It's suicidal to fight Berserker in a place without cover. That's why Saber chose this place as the battleground.
She did it naturally, too. She got Berserker away from you, all the while she pretended to be cornered."

"――――――――"
...Then...
Saber must have determined that this place was a suitable battlefield when we were walking down the hill.

"But you can't expect backup in a battle like this.
Our enemy is a monster that even nullifies Archer's arrows.
Backup was meaningless from the start."
Tohsaka murmurs as
she watches the battle between Saber and Berserker.

"...Archer's arrows..."
But those words catch my attention.
Archer isn't here.
If he really is an archer, he should not fight hand-to-hand, but――――

"She got him――――!"
Tohsaka snaps her fingers.
Just as she said... Saber's sword must have hit Berserker, or he must have lost his footing.
Berserker's body, holding firm until now, loses its balance.

"[wacky len=9]―――――――"
The beast lashes out desperately.
Saber dodges it by jumping back, and holds her sword with both hands.

――――This is it.
As his desperate attack is dodged, Berserker loses his balance even more,
and Saber bends her knees to charge in with all her power.

Right then...
"――――Archer...? What do you mean, get away...?"
I notice Tohsaka's confused voice, and sense an intent to kill aimed from a faraway place.

"――――――――"
Behind me.
I see the knight in red standing on a rooftop hundreds of meters away, readying his bow.

"――――――――"
It's either nausea or a chill.
He's readying a bow.
A bow that's no different from before.
It cannot even scratch Berserker, even with a direct hit.
So there is no need to feel any threat from it――――

"――――――――"
―――I feel a chill.
What he is readying in his bow is not an "arrow", but something completely different.
And his intent to kill isn't just directed at Berserker.

"Sab――――"
I act instantly.
I―――

Scene 04[]

I can't be a burden on Saber.
I can't do anything even if I follow them, and Saber should be able to run away if she's by herself.
Saber got Berserker away from here.
If she was protecting me, I can't stay in this dangerous place forever――――

"Haa... Haa... Haa..."
I passed the bridge from Shinto and ran straight home.
I never looked back as I ran.
I don't know if I was scared of the unknown pursuer or if I felt guilty for leaving Saber behind.
...Anyway, I desperately ran here.

"――――――――"
...The living room is just as I left it.
The air has been motionless ever since Lancer attacked and Tohsaka came here.
I go near the restored window.
I find two small pieces of glass on the floor that Tohsaka must have overlooked.

"...There's no crack in the glass... I wonder how Tohsaka made up for these pieces."
I murmur to myself.
...I don't know why, but I don't feel like turning the lights on.
I hide in the darkness as if to hide my weakness.

"......"
What I should be thinking about.
What I should say.
I'm running away from these things.
...The people that were here until a few hours ago.
The people who were by my side until a few minutes ago.
I have to ask myself if it was right to leave them behind, but I can't bring myself to get out of the dark.

The wall clock points to three.
...It's been thirty minutes since then.
No matter who won, I'm sure the battle is over now.

"――――――――"
I should go back.
When I raise my head to turn the lights on and cheer myself up...
A sharp pain runs through my left hand.

"...The Command Spell...?"
The color has faded from my Command Spell.
Even though the shape is still there, the bright light that proves I am Saber's Master has disappeared.
I understand instinctively what that means.
"Saber...!"
I follow my instinct and run out from the darkness.

I run outside.
I won't make it now.
I know I can't make it, but I start to run back...
And I'm stabbed in the heart by some unknown thing.

" , "
...I can't hear too well.
I can tell there's someone in front of me, the one who stabbed my heart, but I can't see very clearly.

" ―――? , "
The one in front of me sneers and tells me I am stupid.
The one in front of me is laughing that I have no way of surviving without my Servant.

"Oh――――........"
...That's right.
Emiya Shirou will be killed the instant Saber is lost.
As I don't have a way to protect myself, I have no way to survive without Saber.

But I didn't realize that, and I secluded myself.
This is the result.
It doesn't matter if I'm in the house or if I run away somewhere.

"G―――uh――――"
...My mind starts to fade.
I don't care who it is or what I got stabbed by.
It doesn't matter if I die today or tomorrow.

Because...
The instant my Command Spell lost its brightness, my life was lost as well――――

Scene 05[]

...The battle continues.
Saber is fighting to protect me.
Then―――I should go even if there's nothing I can do.

The two Command Spells engraved on my hand...
I am standing here after swearing to fight as a Master and shaking hands with Saber.

"Geez――――What am I doing...!?"
I run, ignoring all hesitation and fear.
―――I'll be killed if I go after them.
I suppress my trembling body with force and obstinacy, and I run up the hill.
"Get back, Emiya-kun. You'll get in Saber's way if you go any farther."
I stop as she grabs my shoulder.

"Did you hear me? I told you that you should keep quiet and watch since Saber's going to win.
...Well, I think you can tell that yourself though."
She must have been hiding behind a tree, as she calls out to me with a calm voice.

"Huh? Saber will win...?"
Against that monster?
Saber will win against that giant she couldn't even match until now?

"Heh. You look like you don't believe me.
Why don't you take a look? I don't want to admit this, but your Servant is great in all aspects. Saber should be able to beat Berserker."
Tohsaka snorts and hides behind the tree.

――――Clashing swords.
Berserker's attacks smash through empty space and only destroy his surroundings.
Between the attacks...
Within the swinging whirlwind, flying clods, and the rain of broken gravestones, Saber rushes in without even dirtying her armor and attacks Berserker.

"......"
It is a divine work of utmost excellence.
My fear has disappeared, seeing this battle that is totally impossible for mere humans.
Instead, I am fascinated.

I could not believe I was in this Holy Grail War thing, and I also had some uneasiness.
But all that is blown away when I see her.

Dancing swords.
Within the whirlwind of fatal destruction, the knight challenges the enemy without hesitation.

...Maybe this scene made me accept everything.
No matter what may befall us in the future...
I'm convinced that I will be able to match even a fierce god if I have Saber with me.

"...I thought so. It was strange, but she blocked Berserker's sword on purpose."
Tohsaka murmurs without emotion.

"...Was that to lure Berserker here?"
"Yup. It's suicidal to fight Berserker in a place without cover. That's why Saber chose this place as the battleground. She did it naturally, too. She got Berserker away from you, all the while she pretended to be cornered."

"――――――――"
...Then...
Saber must have determined that this place was a suitable battlefield when we were walking down the hill.

"But you can't expect backup in a battle like this.
Our enemy is a monster that even nullifies Archer's arrows.
Backup was meaningless from the start."
Tohsaka murmurs as she watches the battle between Saber and Berserker.

"...Archer's arrows..."
But those words catch my attention.
Archer isn't here.
If he really is an archer, he should not fight hand-to-hand, but――――

"She got him――――!"
Tohsaka snaps her fingers.
Just as she said... Saber's sword must have hit Berserker, or Berserker must have lost his footing.
Berserker's body, holding firm until now, loses its balance.

"[wacky len=9]―――――――"
The beast lashes out desperately.
Saber dodges it by jumping back, and holds her sword with both hands.

――――This is it.
As his desperate attack was dodged, Berserker loses his balance even more,
and Saber bends her knees to charge in with all her power.

Right then...
"――――Archer...? What do you mean, get away...?"
I notice Tohsaka's confused voice and sense an intent to kill aimed from a faraway place.

"――――――――"
Behind me.
I see the knight in red standing on a rooftop hundreds of meters away, readying his bow.

"――――――――"
It's either nausea or a chill.
He's readying a bow.
A bow that's not any different from before.
It cannot even scratch Berserker, even with a direct hit.
So there is no need to feel any threat from it――――

"――――――――"
―――I feel a chill.
What he is readying in his bow is not an "arrow", but something completely different.
And his intent to kill isn't just directed at Berserker.

"Sab――――"
I act instantly.
I―――

Scene 06[]

"No! Come back, Saber――――!"
When I notice, I'm yelling at the top of my lungs.

"Master――――!?"
She looks dumbfounded.
Saber slows down as she hears my voice.
But that's not enough. She won't make it if she only slows down...!

"It is dangerous, so please stay back...!"
"No, you're in danger! Just come here...!"
I reach out to her with my hand.

"I am...? ――――!?"
She must have understood me, as she turns her back to Berserker and jumps away with all her might.

Right after her retreat...
He shoots the "arrow".

Saber jumps back like a spark, and Berserker tries to pursue Saber.
Archer's arrow is fired right between them.
Archer's arrows have not had any effect so far.
The black giant ignores it, as if saying it's not worth blocking.

But at that moment...

"[wacky len=15]"
The black giant turns his back to us and attacks the "arrow" coming at him with all his might――――

――――In that instant...
All sound is lost.

"――――――――!"
I throw myself on top of Saber and brace myself.
Maybe I've gone deaf, as I can't hear anything.
All I can feel is the heat burning my skin and the shaking of the ground.
Many things go flying through the air, and a piece of something pierces my back.

"......!"
I grit my teeth and endure it.
The blinding light must have only lasted for an instant.
I manage to survive the destruction.

"Wha――――"
Saber is staring in astonishment.
...I'm doing the same as well.
I don't know what happened.
Archer's "arrow" razed this cemetery in an instant.
There's a crater at the center of the explosion.
Archer has created this destruction.
But the giant still exists in spite of such abolition.

"Berserker... He is unwounded even after taking a direct hit from a Rank-A Noble Phantasm――――"
Saber's voice is weak.
Sparks are flying through the night air.
The black giant is standing still in the fire, and everybody here watches this terrible spectacle without words.

The crackling of the flames is the only sound present.
Right when I start to think that this might turn into a big fire...
"Huh...?"
Something rolls towards me with a noise.

"...A sword?"
No, it is an "arrow".
An arrow with a gorgeous hilt and a spiral blade.
...Even if it's a sword, it is an "arrow" if it's used as a projectile.

"――――――――"
I don't know why it catches my attention so much.
The arrow broken by Berserker disappears as if melting into the fire.
It fades away like candy melting under heat.

It――――
――――Makes me feel like vomiting for some reason.

"――――Shirou, that was..."
"It was Archer's arrow. I don't know anything else about it."
I raise my head to look at the distant Archer.

"――――――――!"
I shouldn't be able to see him.
I shouldn't be able to see him, but I do.
He's smiling.
He's smiling as if to tell me that he wasn't aiming just at Berserker.

"Damn him――――!"
I feel a headache.
The chill running down my back won't go away.
My spine is burning like it does when I fail to create a Magic Circuit――――

"...Hm. I have a better opinion of you, Rin. Your Archer's pretty good."
The girl's cheerful voice echoes through the air.

"All right, come back, Berserker. I wanted to get the boring stuff over with first, but I've changed my mind."
...The black shadow wavers.
The giant starts to retreat through the fire.

"―――What? You're running away after all this?"
"Yup, I've changed my mind. I don't want Saber, but I'm interested in Archer now. So I'll let you live for a bit longer."

The giant disappears.
The girl giggles.
"Goodbye. Let's play again, Onii-chan."
Saying this, she goes away.

"......"
The unexpected disaster leaves.
Tohsaka must not intend to follow that girl in spite of what she said.
Even I can tell that the girl let us go.
So I don't think Tohsaka will go and seek out such a reckless fight.

"Thank you, Master. I would have been hit by Archer's Noble Phantasm if you had not called out to me."
"O――――Oh, I'm glad to hear that."

"Master...?"
...What's wrong with me?
Even though I'm not wounded, I feel sick, and my consciousness is...

"Emiya-kun? You look really pale."
"Master...? Shirou...!"
...My knees buckle.
My vision goes white.

"Please pull yourself together! What is going on...!?"
...I feel someone support me as I start to fall.
But the feeling fades as all my senses go away.

――――What's left is this throbbing within me.
What's irritating me?
And what am I so concerned about?
...I'm about to fall unconscious, but my head continues to throb.

Scene 07[]

"Saber――――!!!"
Before I realize it, I'm running out from my cover.

"Hey, hold on――――!"
I run at full speed towards Saber.
"Shirou――――?"
She looks dumbfounded.
Saber sees me and stops her attack on Berserker.

I can make it――――!
I can feel the danger coming up behind me.
"W-Why did you come out...!?"
I ignore her, run to her at full speed, and grab her arm――――!

"Are you insane, Master...!?"
"We'll talk later! Just come this way――――"
I grab Saber in my arms and jump away.

――――The "arrow" is released.
Archer's arrows have not had any effect so far.
The black giant ignores it, as if saying it is not worth blocking.
But at that moment...

"[wacky len=15]"
The black giant turns his back to us and attacks the "arrow" coming at him with all his might――――

――――In that instant...
All sound is lost.

"――――――――!"
I throw myself on top of Saber and brace myself.
Maybe I've gone deaf, as I can't hear anything.
All I can feel is the heat burning my skin and the shaking of the ground.
Many things go flying through the air, and a piece of something pierces my back.

"......!"
I grit my teeth and endure it.
The blinding light must have only lasted for an instant.
I manage to survive the destruction.

"Wha――――"
Saber is staring in astonishment.
...I'm doing the same as well.
I don't know what happened.
Archer's "arrow" razed this cemetery in an instant.
There is a crater at the center of the explosion.
Archer has created this destruction.
But the giant still exists in spite of such abolition.

"Berserker... He is unwounded even after taking a direct hit from a Rank-A Noble Phantasm――――"
Saber's voice is weak.
Sparks are flying through the night air.
The black giant is standing still in the fire, and everybody here watches this terrible spectacle without words.

The crackling of the flames is the only sound present.
Right when I start to think that this might turn into a big fire...
"Huh...?"
Something rolls towards me with a noise.

"...A sword?"
No, it is an "arrow".
An arrow with a gorgeous hilt and a spiral blade.
...Even if it's a sword, it is an "arrow" if it's used as a projectile.

"――――――――"
I don't know why it catches my attention so much.
The arrow broken by Berserker disappears as if melting into the fire.
It fades away like candy melting under heat.

It――――
――――Makes me feel like vomiting for some reason.

"――――Shirou, that was..."
"It was Archer's arrow. I don't know anything else about it."
I raise my head to look at the distant Archer.

"――――――――!"
I shouldn't be able to see him.
I shouldn't be able to see him, but I do.
He's smiling.
He's smiling as if to tell me that he wasn't aiming just at Berserker.

"Damn him――――!"
I feel a headache.
The chill running down my back won't go away.
My spine is burning like it does when I fail to create a Magic Circuit――――

"...Hm. I have a better opinion of you, Rin. Your Archer's pretty good."
The girl's cheerful voice echoes through the air.

"All right, come back, Berserker. I wanted to get the boring stuff over with first, but I've changed my mind."
...The black shadow wavers.
The giant starts to retreat through the fire.

"―――What? You're running away after all this?"
"Yup, I've changed my mind. I don't want Saber, but I'm interested in Archer now. So I'll let you live for a bit longer."

The giant disappears.
The girl giggles.
"Goodbye. Let's play again, Onii-chan."
Saying this, she goes away.

"......"
The unexpected disaster leaves.
Tohsaka must not intend to follow that girl in spite of what she said.
Even I can tell that the girl let us go.
So I don't think Tohsaka will go and seek out such a reckless fight.

"Master. I thank you for saving me.
But can you let go of me now?"
...I hear Saber's calm voice.

"Oh――――Yeah, sorry about that."
I manage to answer despite my throbbing head.
I let Saber go, and when I stand up...
I fall on my butt.

"Shirou? What is wrong? Do you not feel well――――Shirou, your back...!"
Saber sounds tense.
...I can't see Saber's face, probably because of my pounding headache.
Saber supports me and puts her hand behind my back.

"Ouch."
I feel a sharp pain.
...Even though it's not as strong as my headache, there's a sharp pain running through my back.

"...This is terrible. It is dangerous like this. Please hold still while I remove this piece."
"Huh? What do you mean by that...?"
......!
She doesn't hesitate.
Saber forcefully pulls something out of my back.

"Ou――――You're rough――――"
I try to control my breathing.
...I'm a magus, even though I may be an amateur.
I can manage this pain.

"Haa――――Haa, haa――――"
But this felt especially bad.
If I had a wing on my back and it was pulled out, I'm sure that's what it would feel like.

"Your wound is healing... I see, you had a way to heal yourself."
Sighing with relief, Saber says something strange.

"...?"
A way to heal myself?
I shouldn't be able to use such difficult magic.

"Are you all right, Emiya-kun?"
...Tohsaka comes to us.
I raise my hand to tell her I'm all right.

"I see. Then let's go. People might come here with all the commotion we've caused."
Tohsaka runs out of the cemetery, her long hair fluttering behind her.

"――――――――"
When I plant a foot to follow after her...
My vision suddenly goes white.

"Master...!?"
...I feel someone support me as I start to fall.
But the feeling fades as all my senses go away.

――――What's left is this throbbing within me.
What's irritating me?
And what am I so concerned about?
...I'm about to fall unconscious, but my head continues to throb.

Scene 09[]

"――――――――Eh?"
It all happens in an instant.
There's a man in red in front of Saber.
The man in red is in an unfavourable position after being attacked by Saber, and he's about to receive a fatal blow.

Behind them...
The person watching Saber from behind that man is someone I know.

"No――――"
I reach out with my left hand and call out.
I don't know who that man in red is.
But I'm sure Saber will attack the person behind the man after she defeats him.

I can't let that happen.
I can't let Saber attack her!
"STOP, SABER!!!!!!!"

"――――!?"
I feel a sharp pain.
One of the marks on my hand disappears.

In its place...
Saber halts her blow, which should not have been possible to stop.

"――――"
The silver armor hesitates for an instant.
Using that opening, the man in red quickly gets away.

"That guy――――he's..."
I'm sure of it.
That's the guy that was fighting Lancer.

"――――――――"
Then the girl behind him is...
Um, I don't want to believe so, but is it really...?

"Are you insane, Shirou? We should have been able to defeat Archer and his Master here. So why did you go so far as to use your Command Spell to stop me...!?"

"――――――――"
What could I have done?
I don't understand the situation at all.
I stopped Saber only because I didn't want to see her slash at the girl who saved me.

"Master, please retract your order. If you act like this, I cannot defeat enemies that could otherwise be beaten."
Saber readies the object in her hands again.
In front of her is the red man she could not slay.

"No, don't do it. To be honest, I have no idea what's going on.
But the one you're about to attack is someone I know. I can't let you attack someone I know."
"What are you saying? She is Archer's Master. She is our enemy, so we must defeat her here."

"――――――――"
Enemy...?
She and the man in red are enemies...?

"...I don't care about that.
First of all, I don't even understand this Master thing you're talking about. If you're going to call me Master, you should at least explain to me what this is all about."
"That is true, but..."
Saber hesitates.

Then...
"―――Hm. So that's how it is, amateur Master-san?"
She calls out to me with a polite yet harsh voice.

When I turn around, I see the man in red and the girl in her school uniform.
"――――――――"
I gasp.
...So I wasn't seeing things.
The person with the man in red is definitely "that" Tohsaka Rin.

"Tohsaka... Rin――――"
How should I put this?
Even I can tell that the man behind Tohsaka isn't human.
That thing is not of this world, just like Saber.
Then―――if Tohsaka is with him, she's also―――

"Huh? Oh, you know me? Then this should be easy.
First of all, good evening, Emiya-kun."
I don't know what her intentions are.
But Tohsaka greets me with a big smile.

"Uh――――huh?"
I'm troubled.
When she greets me normally like that, I can almost forget about all these strange events and just greet her too.

"A-Are you serious!? This isn't the time for greetings! You're...!"
"Yes, I'm a Master as well. In other words, I'm a magus like you. We're similar, so we don't have to hide it, right?"

"Magus? You're a magus, Tohsaka!?"
My eyes widen, and I point at Tohsaka.

"Oh――――"
...Crap.
I don't know why, but she's...
She's looking at me with real irritation...

"Uh, no, that's not what I meant to say."
"―――I see. I get it now. So that's how it is, huh?"
Taking a look at us, she turns to the man behind her.

"Archer. Can you turn into spirit form for a while? I'm pissed right now."
"I don't mind, but what do you mean by pissed?"

"It means what it means. I can't calm down unless I make him realize what kind of a situation he's in. You won't have anything to do until then, so go away. Saber won't be able to lower her sword as long as you're here."

"Man, how difficult. Well, I shall obey if it's an order. If I may warn you, however, what you are about to do is needless."
The man literally disappears.

"T-Tohsaka, that was...!"
"Let's talk inside. You don't know anything, right, Emiya-kun? You can rest assured that I'll tell you everything, even if you say you don't want to know."
Saying this, she walks toward the entrance.

"Wait, what are you thinking...!?"
I stop her.
And then...
She turns, and the smile on her face isn't like the previous one.

"Are you stupid? I'm thinking about a lot of things. That's why I want to talk to you.
Emiya-kun, it's okay to be surprised by sudden turns of events, but it might cost you your life if you don't just accept it.[l]
Incidentally, do you understand that now is one of those times?"

"Uh――――ugh."
"It's fine if you understand. So, let's go to your place. You're fine with that too, right, Saber?
I'll explain things to your Master in return for sparing my life."

"...Very well. I do not know what your intentions are, but I shall restrain myself as long as you are helping my Master."
Tohsaka goes through the gate.

"...She's really pissed..."
I don't know why, though.
I don't know, but...[r]
"But still..."
She's totally unlike the way she is at school...

So, I'm in a strange situation.
In front of me is the school's number-one idol whom I admire, Tohsaka Rin.
And following silently behind me is Saber, who calls herself a Servant.

"......"
Oh.
The hallway suddenly feels like part of a different dimension.

But I can't be a coward forever.
I'm a magus, even if I'm just an amateur.
Tohsaka Rin, a magus just like me, is acting boldly, so I have to act firmly as well.

...But I can only work out a few things.
First, about Saber, who's following me.
I'm sure that she's some kind of a familiar, because she calls me Master and I've made a contract with her.

I've heard that a familiar is a kind of assistant.
Most magi transfer a part of their body into something and then summon it as another self.
It is something that assists the magus.
Consequently, it's commonly accepted that small animals are the most suitable as to reduce the burden on the magus.

...So I've been taught, but...
"Hm? What is it, Shirou?"
"...No, it's nothing."

...Saber looks human no matter how you look at her. And she is clearly superior to me, her master.
I don't have the magical energy to control someone like that, and, more than that, I don't have the Magic Circuit to summon a familiar.

"......"
So Saber must rather be something else than a familiar.
She said she's a Servant.
I don't know what that is, but I think the man called Lancer and the man in red with Tohsaka were the same thing.

Saber called Tohsaka a Master as well.
I guess magi with a Servant are called Masters.

...It seems Tohsaka is a magus as well, but I have no idea who she is.
The Emiya family are just outsiders who came to this town in my father's generation.
That's why I didn't know that Tohsaka was a magus, and I'm sure Tohsaka didn't know that I knew magic.

...There are several magi in this town that I don't know about.
If Lancer is the familiar of another magus in this town, does that mean I've stuck my head into a conflict between magi?

"Wow, it's pretty big. I am not used to this Japanese style. Oh, is that the living room, Emiya-kun?"
Saying so, Tohsaka goes into the living room.
"......"
I should stop thinking.
Let's just listen to Tohsaka's story.

I turn the lights on.
It's already past one in the morning.

"Oh, it's so cold! Hey, the windows are all broken."
"I couldn't help it. I was attacked by this Lancer guy. I was desperate."

"Oh, I see. Then were you fighting him alone until you summoned Saber?"
"I didn't fight him. He just beat me up."

"Oh, so you don't try to show off, huh? ...I see, I see. You're really just as you appear, Emiya-kun."
Tohsaka walks over to the broken window.

"...?"
Tohsaka takes a piece of the shattered glass, takes a look at it, and...
"―――Minuten vor Schwei[szlig]en"
She cuts the tip of her finger and puts a drop of her blood onto the glass.

"...!?"
What kind of magic is this?
The shattered glass recombines and restores itself in a matter of seconds.

"Tohsaka, that was..."
"It's just a small demonstration. It won't be enough to repay you for saving me, but I have to do at least this much.
...Well, I'm sure you would've fixed it even if I hadn't, but that'd just be a waste of magical energy, right? All you'd really have to do is replace the window, but we don't want to talk in this cold, do we?"

She says this as if it's completely natural.
But needless to say, her skills are beyond my comprehension.

"No, that's amazing, Tohsaka. I can't do that sort of thing, so I'm glad you fixed it."
"Huh? Of course you'd be able to fix it.
Handling glass is elementary. Restoring glass that broke a few minutes ago is like a simple admission test for school, right?"

"So that's how it is? I was only taught by my father, so I don't even know the basics or the elementary stuff."
"―――Huh?"
Tohsaka freezes.
...Damn. It seems I said something I shouldn't have.

"...Wait. Then you're saying you're just an amateur who can't even run his own workshop?"
"...? I don't have a workshop."
...Well, I do have that shed as my training area, but I think Tohsaka would get mad if I called that my workshop.

"...I'm going to ask, even though it's impossible. Could it be that you don't know how to handle the five main elements, nor how to make a Pass?"
I honestly admit that I don't know.

"......"
Wow, that's scary.
She's so beautiful usually, so this makes her look pretty frightening now.

"Then what are you, just an amateur?"
"That's not true. I can at least use strengthening magic."

"Strengthening... that's an awfully odd magic. So, you can't do anything other than that?"
"...Well, to be honest, probably not."
Her glare makes me answer vaguely.

"...Geez. Why did Saber get summoned to a guy like this?"
"Humph."
It makes me mad.
I haven't been playing around.
I know I'm an amateur, but I don't think it matters right now.

"Well, I guess it doesn't make any difference. There's no point in complaining about what's already happened. More importantly, I have to pay back my debt right now."
Tohsaka takes a breath.

"Well, I'll begin.
Emiya-kun, you don't know what kind of situation you're in right now, correct?"
"......"
I nod.

"I thought so. Well, it was obvious, but I had to make sure, right? It's only putting flab on my mind if I explain it to someone who already gets it."
"...?"
I think that was a weird phrase but I stay quiet, as I think she'll beat me up if I make fun of her now.

"To put it bluntly, you have been chosen as a Master.
You have a holy sign on one of your hands, right? On your hand or on your arm. There are personal differences, but there should be three Command Spells engraved. That is the sign of a Master."
"On my hand... oh, this."

"Yes. That is also a spell that controls the Servant, so take care of it. It's called a Command Spell and you can retain control over your Servant as long as you have it."
"...? What do you mean 'as long as I have it'?"

"The Command Spell enforces unconditional obedience. That mark overrules your Servant's will and makes them obey your command.
There's no spell needed to activate it, and it will be activated when you put your mind to using it.
You'll be killed if you lose all your Command Spells, so be careful."

"What... I'll be killed?"
"That's right. Masters killing other Masters is fundamental to the Holy Grail War. And the Master that kills the other six Masters is awarded the Holy Grail."

"What...?"
H-Hold on.
I don't understand what Tohsaka is talking about at all.
Like the part about Masters killing other Masters.
And the part where the winner gets a Holy Grail... wait, does she mean THAT Holy Grail...!?

"You still don't understand? To put it simply, you've been dragged into a game. A survival game between the seven Masters, a game called the Holy Grail War. A battle royale that won't end until you kill all other Masters."
Tohsaka Rin states this as if it's the most natural thing in the world.

"――――――――"
The phrases I heard swirl in my head.
I have been chosen as a Master.
Tohsaka says she is a Master.
Familiars called Servants.
―――And...
A battle to the death between magi, called the Holy Grail War.

"Wait. What's that? What are you talking about all of a sudden?"
"I understand how you feel, but I'm just telling you the truth.
...Besides, you should understand deep down. Having nearly been killed by that Servant twice, you should know you're in a situation you can't run away from."

"――――――――"
That's...
Certainly, I was almost killed by that Lancer guy, but...

"Oh, that's wrong. In fact, you weren't almost killed, you were actually killed. I'm surprised you're alive again."
"――――"
Not almost killed, but actually killed.

...That's right.
I was killed by that guy.
I should be more surprised about the fact that I'm alive than about this situation I'm in.

...The wound in my chest.
...The escaping blood.
...The escaping warmth.
And...
The pure voice I heard amidst all of that―――

"Do you get it now? That is your situation.
You can't run away just because you don't know anything. But you're prepared, since you're a magus, right? We are beings who kill and are killed."
Tohsaka is in a good mood, maybe because she enjoys watching me be troubled.

"――――――――"
...Yeah. I'm already prepared.
But...

"...You know I was killed by Lancer, Tohsaka?"
I wonder how she knows that fact.

"―――Damn. I got caught up in the moment."
She's acting suspiciously.

"That was just a guess. Forget about it, it's trivial."
"...It's not trivial.
Someone certainly――――"

"Forget about it! Your main concern should be grasping the situation you're in.
You're one of the seven Masters of the Holy Grail War."
Tohsaka turns her back to me and paces as if she's a teacher or something.

"Look. Every few decades, seven Masters are chosen in this town and are given a Servant.
A Master uses his or her Servant to kill other Masters.
―――This is the ritual called the Holy Grail War."

"I've also been chosen as a Master.
That's why I made a contract with a Servant, and you made a contract with Saber.
It doesn't seem like you summoned Saber yourself, but Servants are given to Masters by the Holy Grail. So it is possible for an ignorant magus like you to be chosen as a Master."

"......"
Tohsaka's explanation is too brief for me to understand.
But there is one thing I do wonder about.

"...Hold on. You say Saber is a familiar, but I'm not convinced.
Familiars are things like cats and birds, right? Well, I do hear that some use human ghosts, but Saber has a body. Besides, she doesn't look like a familiar."

I glance at Saber.
Saber is quietly listening to our conversation.
...She looks just like a human being.
I don't know her identity, but she's a girl about my age.

"Familiar, huh...? Well, Servants are in that category, but they are on a different level. That girl over there is a Ghost Liner, considered to be the strongest of all familiars."

"Ghost Liner......? Then do you mean she really is a ghost?"
"A ghost... huh? She's similar, but Saber would kill you if you compared her to one.
Servants are heroes of the past given bodies. Beings surpassing humans, more like spirits."

"Huh? Heroes of the past given bodies?"
"That's right. A legendary hero that was pulled from the past or the present or whenever and given a body.

"Well, it's the role of the Master to summon them, and the Holy Grail does the rest. It's impossible for a magus to give shape to a soul, so we're assisted by a strong Artifact."
"Hold on. So a 'hero of the past' means... what...!?"

I look over at Saber.
Then she's a heroine from the past too?
Well, it's true that nobody would dress like that now, but still...

"That's impossible. I've never heard of any such magic."
"Of course not. This isn't magic. Think of it as a phenomenon created by the Holy Grail. It's impossible to recreate a soul and give it a body without it."

"...Recreate a soul? Then a Servant isn't a ghost...?"

"No. Haven't you been taught that all humans, animals or machines that leave any great achievements behind get removed from the ring of reincarnation and sublimate into beings of higher rank?
Heroic spirits are like that. To put it simply, they have been worshipped and made into artificial gods."

"'Ghost Magic' such as supplicating ghosts uses heroic spirits to make miracles happen.
But the Servants are familiars made from the heroic spirits themselves.
So they accompany you in spirit form, but if need be, you can give them form to make them fight."

"...Hm. So you mean you can give them form or keep them in spirit form?
That guy that was with you disappeared by turning into spirit form?"

"Yup. He's keeping watch on the roof now.
I think you could tell from that battle, but the only ones who can beat these Servants are other Servants, spirits like them."

"Well, we can attack them too if they take form, so we might be able to beat them.
But Servants are all as strong as monsters, right? So we let monsters deal with monsters. The Master usually supports them from behind."

"...Hm."
Tohsaka's explanation irritates me for some reason.
She calls them monsters. I don't know about the other Servants, but I don't want her to talk about Saber like that.

"Anyways, someone who becomes a Master must kill all the other Masters using his Servant. Do you understand so far?"
"...Technically, yes. But I'm not convinced.
To begin with, who started such a thing and why?"

"That's not something I know about, nor should I answer. You should pose that kind of question to the one overseeing the Holy Grail War.
The one thing I can tell you is that all you can do now is fight, and since Servants are powerful familiars, you should use yours wisely."

Scene 10[]

Tohsaka says this and turns to Saber.

"So, from what I hear from Emiya-kun, you must not be in full form, Saber. You were summoned by an apprentice magus who has no idea how to be a Master."

"...Yes, I am not in full form, as you say.
Since Shirou does not have the magical energy to give me form, it will be difficult for me to turn into a spirit or to replenish my magical energy."

"...I'm surprised. I'm surprised that you're in that bad of a state, but I didn't think you would honestly tell me. I was wondering how I ought to find out your weakness."

"I do not wish to let others know of my weakness, but I do not think I can fool you. It would be meaningless to hide our situation from you. So it will be better for us to tell you of our situation, and to have Shirou better understand the situation he is in currently."

"Correct. And you have a good personality, too. ...Geez, I'm regretting it even more now. If I was your Master, I would have certainly won this war!"
Tohsaka clenches her fists in anger.

"Hmm. Tohsaka, do you mean I'm not fit to be her Master?"
"Of course not, idiot."
Wow. She just said something that any normal person would have trouble saying.

"What? Do you have any more questions?"
And she doesn't realize it.
Her honor student image from school crumbles inside of me.
...Good going, Issei. Tohsaka certainly shows no openings, just like a devil.

"Well. We're done talking, so let's get going."
Tohsaka suddenly says something strange.

"Huh? Go where?"
"We're going to see the guy who knows all about the game you're involved in... the 'Holy Grail War'. You want to know the reasons behind the Holy Grail War, right?"

"―――Of course. But where is it? It's already late, so..."
"It'll be fine. It's in the neighboring town, so we should be back by dawn if we hurry. And besides, it's Sunday tomorrow, so it should be okay to stay up late."

"No, that's not the problem."
It's just that a lot of things happened today, so I want to have a rest and think about them.

"What, you're not going? ...Well, if you say so. But what about you, Saber?"
Tohsaka asks Saber.
"Hold on, this has nothing to do with Saber. Don't push her."

"Oh, you're already feeling like a Master? You don't want me talking to Saber?"
"T-That's not it! It's just that if what you said is true, then Saber is a heroine from the past, right? So she wouldn't know about this time since she was just summoned.
So..."

"Shirou, that is incorrect. Servants can adapt to any time. So I know a lot about this age as well."
"Really?"
"Yes. This is not the first time that I have been summoned in this age."

"Wha...?"
"No way, what are the chances of that...!?"
Hey, Tohsaka is surprised too.
...So that must mean Saber said something incredible.

"Shirou, I agree with her. You lack experience as a Master. As a Servant making a contract with you, I want you to become stronger."
Saber stares at me silently.
...It's a gentle stare that's worried not for herself, but for me.

"...All right. I'll go.
So, where is this place, Tohsaka? It's a place we can come back from, right?"
"Of course. We are heading to Kotomine Church in the neighboring town. That's where the false priest, the one who oversees this battle, is living."

Tohsaka makes an evil smile.
It looks like she's having fun dragging me around while I don't know anything.
"......"
It might be prejudice...
But I'm beginning to feel like there's a problem with her personality....

We walk through the nighttime town.
It's past one in the morning and there's no one out at this time.
The lights in the houses are out, and only the streetlamps illuminate the silent town.

"Hey Tohsaka, are you planning to walk to the neighboring town?"
"Yeah. The buses and trains have stopped running. A walk at night is good once in a while, right?"
"I see. Then, if you don't mind me asking, do you know how long it takes to get there?"
"Well, it should take about an hour on foot. If it gets late, we can always take a taxi."

"I won't waste that kind of money. And besides, what I mean is, it might be dangerous for girls to walk around at a time like this. You know it's dangerous, right? I won't be responsible if something happens."
"Don't worry, nobody's going to mess with us. You may be forgetting, but Saber is really strong."

"Oh."
She's right.
Whoever it is, if someone attacks her, they'll be counterattacked viciously.

"Rin. What was Shirou saying? I did not quite understand."
"Huh? Well, he was just making a big misunderstanding or being plain stupid. He's saying he'll help us if some pervert appears."

"What? Shirou is my Master. I should be protecting him instead."
"I don't think he's thinking about that sort of thing. He seems unconcerned about magi and Servants and all. I kind of wonder what's going on in his head."
"......"

Tohsaka and Saber now know each other well enough to talk to each other.
Saber has been silent ever since I stopped her from going out dressed like she was.

She said she wouldn't take off her armor, so I made her wear a raincoat, and she's been quiet ever since.
Now, she follows me and only speaks to Tohsaka.

"Wait, where are you going, Emiya-kun? Isn't that the wrong way?"
"We need to get to the bridge, right? Then this'll be a shortcut."
I don't want to walk alongside them, so I quickly make my way to the small side-road.
They follow me without objection.

We come out into a park.
We have to cross that bridge to go to the neighboring town of Shinto, but――

"Wow, I didn't know about this road. I see...since you can get to the bridge from the park, all you have to do is head for the park."
Tohsaka looks up at the bridge, talking happily.

Maybe it's just because it's nighttime.
Tohsaka's face, looking up at the bridge, seems even more beautiful than at school... I'm troubled.

"Let's go. We didn't come here to play around."
I hurry Tohsaka, who is standing still in the park, and make my way up the stairs.
Once we reach the road alongside the bridge, Shinto will be straight ahead of us.

There's no one on the bridge.
That's only natural as not many people use it even during daytime.
It's more normal to use the bus or the train to get to the neighboring town, so this bridge is rarely used.

It's because it's so long, and it carries a fear that it might collapse on you.
That must be why this place isn't used for dates, even though it's perfect location-wise.

"...That's stupid. What am I thinking?"
Saber is following me silently and Tohsaka is walking right beside me.
Trying to ignore them, I hurry across the bridge.

Beyond the bridge, Tohsaka leads us into the suburbs.
When I think about Shinto, only the office buildings in front of the station come to mind, but beyond those, the streets are very old.

The suburbs are the oldest of all.
There's hilly roads and a lofty view overlooking the sea.
As you go farther up the hill, there are fewer buildings and the foreigners' cemetery built on the slope can be seen.

"The church is up here. You must have been there at least once, right?"
"No. I know it used to be an orphanage, though."
"I see. Then it'll be your first time today. You should prepare yourself. The priest there is a difficult man to deal with."

Tohsaka starts up the hill.
...Looking up, I can see a building at the top of the hill.
A church atop the hill.
I never thought I'd visit God's house for the first time for a reason like this.

"Wow―――this is really awesome."
The church is magnificent.
The church's grounds must cover the whole top of the hill. A flat expanse welcomes me as soon as I reach the top.
The church isn't that big, but it is compelling, towering over its visitors.

"Shirou, I shall remain here."
"Huh? Why? I can't just leave you when we've come up here together."

"I did not come for the church. I followed to protect you. If your destination is the church, you should not go any farther, so I shall wait here for your return."
Saber says clearly.
It doesn't seem like she'll budge an inch, so I decide to respect her decision.

"All right. Then I'll be going."
"Yes. Please do not let your guard down regardless of whom you are facing, Master."

It is a large, impressive chapel.
Since it's so big, many people must come here during the day.
The priest here must be quite distinguished if he's entrusted with such a church.

"Tohsaka, what kind of person is the priest here?"
"It's kind of hard to explain. I've known him for ten years, but I still can't grasp his character."
"You've known him for ten years...? That's a pretty long relationship. Is he a relative of yours or something?"

"He's not my relative, but he is my guardian. On top of that, he is my senior as an apprentice, and my second teacher."
"Huh... senior as an apprentice...you mean apprentice as a magus!?"

"That's right, but why are you so surprised?"
"Because he's a priest! Aren't priests forbidden to use magic!?"
By their nature, a magus and the church cannot be in harmony.

The organization that magi belong to is called the Magic Association,
And the other side of religion, the side you wouldn't see while living a normal life, is called the Holy Church.
The two are barely similar. They cooperate on the surface, but they're always trying to kill each other when given the chance.

The church hates heretics.
They totally eliminate the inhuman, and they count magic-using humans among their targets.
For the church, miracles are only given to holy saints. Any miracles performed by other people are heresies.

There are no exceptions, even for those within the church.
The higher one rises in the church, the more one is prohibited from the impurity of magic.
And for a follower entrusted with a church like this and the more divine protection one receives, the more one should stay away from magic―――

"...First of all, is the priest here on our side?"
"Yes. He is the one supervising the Holy Grail War, after all. He's a real Agent. ...Well, I don't know if he has divine protection, though."

Tohsaka's footsteps echo as she approaches the altar.
It's bad manners to do that when the priest isn't here, but it's so late at night.
He won't be in the chapel, so if he's anywhere, it'll be the private room in the back.

"...Hmm. So who is this priest? You said a name like Kotomine before..."
I ask Tohsaka while following her.
Tohsaka stops in front of the altar and turns to me with an uncomfortable expression.

"His name is Kotomine Kirei. He's a student of my father, and we've had an inseparable relationship for ten years now. ...Well, I wish I'd never met him, though."
"―――I feel the same way. I did not want an apprentice who does not respect her teacher."

A footstep.
He must have noticed our entry as he slowly appears from the other side of the altar.

"You didn't answer my repeated calls, and now you bring a strange guest. ...Hmm, so he is the seventh one, Rin?"

"Right. He's a magus, but he's pretty much a beginner, so I just couldn't let him be.
...I believe it was the rules to report here when one becomes a Master, right? It's a rule you invented, but I'll follow it this time."

"Very well. Then I must thank this young man."
The priest called Kotomine slowly turns to me.

"――――"
...Without realizing, I step back.
...He's not scary at all.
...I don't feel any hostility from him.
But this priest still has a presence that makes the air around him feel heavy.

"I am Kotomine Kirei, the one entrusted with this church.
What is your name, seventh Master?"
"―――Emiya Shirou. But I haven't agreed to this 'Master' thing yet."
I glare back at the priest, trying not to lose against his presence.

"Emiya――――Shirou."
"Huh―――?"
The weight on my back turns into a chill.
The priest slowly smiles as if he's met someone pleasant.
――――That smile.
It makes me―――

"I thank you, Emiya. You have brought Rin here. If it were not for you, she would not have come."
The priest makes his way toward the altar.
Tohsaka moves away from the altar and stands beside me.

"Then let us start. Emiya Shirou, you are Saber's Master, correct?"
"That's wrong. Certainly, I made a contract with her, but I don't understand this whole Master and Holy Grail War thing.
If a Master should be a proper magus, then you should go and choose a better person."

"...I see. This is serious. Does he really know nothing, Rin?"
"I told you he's a beginner. Train him from the very first steps, will you? You're really good at that, right?"
Tohsaka urges the priest.

"―――Oh, I see, I see. That's how it is, huh?
I understand. This is the first time you have ever depended on me.
Emiya Shirou, I can never thank you enough."
Father Kotomine laughs.
Their conversation makes me feel uneasy.

"First, let us correct your misunderstandings.
Listen, Emiya Shirou. Master is not a role you can give to someone else nor is it something you can stop being once you are chosen.
Those who have the Command Spells carved on them cannot resign from being a Master. You must accept that fact."

"――Why can't I quit?"
"The Command Spell is a holy mark. Becoming a Master is a trial placed upon you. You cannot escape it just because it is inconvenient.[l]
You cannot be released from that pain until you obtain the Holy Grail."

"If you wish to retire from being a Master, all you can do is obtain the Holy Grail and wish for it. If you do that, everything will be as you desire, Emiya Shirou.
Your wishes, even cleaning out all the mud inside of you, is possible―――Yes, it is even possible to start everything over again.

Therefore, you should desire it.
If the time comes, you will appreciate being chosen as a Master. If you wish to erase those burns that cannot be seen, all you have to do is to accept that holy mark."

"Wha―――"
I feel dizzy.
The priest's words don't make any sense.
They just confuse me more and more as I listen.
...But still, his words soak into my brain and clot like blood.

"Kirei, don't go off topic. I asked you to tell him the rules. I didn't ask you to open up his old wounds."
A voice cuts in.
"―――T-Tohsaka?"
That clears up my dizzy head.

"I see. It is pointless to say anything to these kinds of people, so I was trying to take away his morality while he still misunderstood.
...Heh, I guess it is true that compassion is not good for others. And I rather enjoyed it too."
"What? Does it do you good to help him?"

"Of course. Helping people means saving yourself in the end. ...Well, it won't do any good to preach to you now.
So, let us return to the main topic, Emiya Shirou.
The battle you have been dragged into is called the 'Holy Grail War'.
Have you learned from Rin that this is an all out war between seven Masters, using seven Servants?"

"...I did. It's some ridiculous thing where seven Masters kill each other, right?"
"Indeed. But we are not committing these inhuman acts because we want to. Everything is a ritual to determine who is the most suitable to receive the Holy Grail. Because of its greatness, we require trials to determine its owner."

...What trials?
I'll bet this priest doesn't think of this Holy Grail War thing as a "trial".

"Hold on. You keep saying 'Holy Grail War', but what is it? You can't possibly mean the actual Holy Grail, right?"

The Holy Grail.
A chalice said to have received the blood of Christ.
It's considered to be the greatest holy relic, and said to be capable of many miracles.

The most common legend about it is that the one who obtains the Holy Grail will obtain the world.
...But that's just a myth. After all, the Holy Grail itself is pretty much something that "exists, but doesn't exist".

"A Holy Grail that makes wishes comes true" definitely appears in many folklores and legends around the world .
But that's it.
A fictional power that doesn't exist and isn't possible. That's the Holy Grail.

"So answer me, Kotomine Kirei. Is the Holy Grail you're talking about really the Holy Grail?"
"Of course. The Holy Grail that appears in this town is real. As proof, the great miracle of the Servants has occurred.

Summoning and controlling past heroes. No, a miracle close to resurrecting the dead is almost sorcery.
A Holy Grail with this much power shall grant its owner unlimited power. The object's unreality is worthless in front of that truth."

"――――――――"
So.
He means that even if it is a fake, it doesn't matter if it has powers that would overwhelm even the true Holy Grail.

"...All right. Let's assume there really is a Holy Grail. Then why is it required to do something like the Holy Grail War? We shouldn't be killing each other if the Holy Grail exists. If the Holy Grail is so great, we can all share its power."
"That is a fair argument, but we do not have such freedom.
Only one person can obtain the Holy Grail.
That is not something we chose, but what the Holy Grail has decided."

"The Holy Grail decides the seven Masters and summons the seven Servants.
As I have said, this is a ritual. The Holy Grail chooses the people suitable to obtain it, and selects its appropriate owner by making them fight for it.
That is the Holy Grail War―――the ritual where those chosen by the Holy Grail slay each other to obtain it."

"――――――――"
The priest speaks plainly.
I have no rebuttal and look down at my left hand.
...There is the mark they call the Command Spell.
I guess as long as I have this mark, I can't quit being a Master.

"...I'm not convinced. Even though only one person can be chosen, I don't like the idea that all we can do is to kill the other Masters."
"Huh? Hold on. You're misunderstanding if you think that you have to kill them. There's no need to kill the Masters."
Tohsaka taps on my shoulder and says something unexpected.

"Huh? But you said we have to kill each other. Kotomine said so too."
"You will kill each other."
"You be quiet, Kirei. Now, the Holy Grail in this town is in spirit form. It's not something physical, so we have to call it forth with a special ritual―――we have to materialize it.

We can call for it as magi, but since it's in spirit form, we cannot reach it. Do you understand what that means?"
"Yeah. Only spirits can touch spirits, right?
―――Oh, that's why you need the Servants...!"

"Exactly. To put it simply, the goal of the Holy Grail War is to eliminate all the Servants except your own. So there's no rule that you have to kill the Masters."

"―――――"
Man, she could have told me that earlier!
Honestly, Tohsaka and this priest were being mean.
...Now I'm relieved.
So even if we enter this Holy Grail War, Tohsaka's not going to die.

"I see. I guess that is one way to think.
Then let me ask you, Emiya Shirou. Do you think you can beat your own Servant?"

"...?"
Beat Saber?
That's impossible.
Magic is useless against her, and she's very skilled with her sword.

"Then let me ask you one more thing. It is a boring question, but do you think you are superior to your Servant?"
"...?"
What's he saying?
I can't beat Saber, so there's no way I'm superior to her.
For this question, my answer will always be that I am weaker than my Servant, so...

"――――Oh"
"That is right. Servants are hard to defeat even with a Servant. So what should you do?
See, it is such a simple solution. Servants can only exist with a Master. No matter how powerful the Servant is, the Servant will disappear if the Master dies. So..."

That's right, it's a natural solution.
No one would choose to take the hard way.
If you want to win, the most effective way to kill the Servants would be to kill their Masters instead.

"...Okay. I understand that killing the Master is an effective way to eliminate other Servants.
But then, if their Servant gets killed, does that make someone not a Master anymore? Only Servants can touch the Holy Grail, right? Then there's no point to a Master that doesn't have a Servant."

"No, the right to be a Master still remains as long as you have the Command Spell. A Master is a magus that can form a contract with Servants. As long as you have the Command Spell, you can form a contract with Servants.

The Servants whose Masters are killed do not disappear right away. They can stay in this world until their magical energy runs out. If such 'abandoned Servants' exist, a Master with no Servant can form a contract with them. That will allow them to rejoin the war.
That is why Masters kill other Masters. Because if you allow them to live, there is a risk that they will impede you in the future."

"...So what if you use up your Command Spell? Then you won't be able to form a contract with other Servants, and the freed Servant will go off with someone else too."
"Wait, that's――――"
"Yes, you're right. If you use up your Command Spell, you will be liberated from your duty as a Master.

...However, I do not think a magus exists that would waste a Command Spell that allows them to use such powerful magic.
If there exists such a magus, he isn't even an amateur, but just a chicken."
The priest laughs, as if he knows what I'm thinking about.

"......!"
I'm annoyed.
That priest is making fun of me. I think he's trying to provoke me.

"You must understand now. So we will finish the explanation of the rules.
―――Well then, let us return to the beginning, Emiya Shirou.
You said you have no intention of being a Master. Do you still feel that way?"

"If you want to abandon your responsibility as a Master, that is fine too.
As you have realized, you may use up your Command Spell to end your contract with Saber. In that case, I will guarantee your safety until the Holy Grail War ends."

"...? Hold on. Why do you have to guarantee my safety? I can protect myself."
"I do not have enough free time to care for you either, but this is one of the rules. I have been dispatched to supervise the repeating Holy Grail War. That is why I must minimize the victims of the war. Protection of magi who lost their claims to being a Master is one of my biggest responsibilities as the supervisor."

"――――Repeating Holy Grail War...?"
Hold on.
Repeating... does he mean that this kind of battle has happened many times before...?

"What do you mean? The Holy Grail War didn't just start now?"

"Of course not. Do you think a supervisor would have been dispatched if it were so?
It is the duty of this church to recover the holy relics, as we are the lowest of the special agencies. Originally, it was our goal to research and recover the True Cross, but here, we have a duty to investigate the Holy Grail.
We have to investigate the 726th Holy Grail that has appeared in this far eastern land. We must recover it if it is real, and disprove it if it is not."

"726th... that many Holy Grails?"
"Who knows? It just means that there have been at least that many things that seemed like one.

And one of those is the Holy Grail from the Holy Grail War observed in this town.
According to records, it is said that the first battle occurred about 200 years ago.
Since then, the battles between Masters have been repeating in a cycle of about 60 years.
This is the fifth Holy Grail War. Since the last one was ten years ago, this will be the shortest cycle yet."

"Wha―――are you guys insane? You guys have repeated this thing four times already...!?"
"I feel the same way. As you said, people have repeated this event many times.
―――Yes.
In the past, the Holy Grail Wars were terrible. Masters were driven by their desires, forgot their teachings as magi, and just killed each other indiscriminately.

I think you already know, but it is the highest crime for a magus to use his magic in public. A magus cannot allow his identity to be revealed to society.
But Masters in the past have violated that.
The Magic Association dispatched a supervisor to caution them, but they only made it in time for the third Holy Grail War. The one dispatched then was my father. Do you understand now, boy?"

"...Yeah, I understand we need a supervisor.
But from what you said, isn't this Holy Grail War fundamentally bad?"
"Oh? How is it bad?"

"Because the past magi were people who'd break the rules of the magi, right?
Then let's say this Holy Grail thing really exists. What will you do if the one who remains is someone who uses the Holy Grail selfishly? It's bad if such a thing is obtained by someone who has no problem killing others.
If it's the job of the Association to look after magi, then shouldn't you guys be punishing those kinds of people?"

I question, with a little hope.
But as I expected, Kotomine Kirei laughs.

"Of course not. There are no magi who will act outside their own interests. We only supervise the rules of the Holy Grail War. We do not care about what happens afterwards. The Association is not concerned about the kind of person that obtains the Holy Grail."
"That's ridiculous...! What if the Master that gets the Holy Grail is the worst guy possible!?"

"It would be problematic, but we can do nothing. It is the Holy Grail that chooses its owner. And we do not have the power to stop a Master who has been chosen by the Holy Grail.
It is a grail that makes wishes come true, after all. The one who obtains it will be able to do as he pleases.
―――But if you do not want that, then all you have to do is win it yourself. That is the most reliable way, isn't it?"

Kotomine is trying to hold back his laughter.
It's like he's enjoying my clumsy inability to accept the facts.

"What's wrong, boy? I think that was a good idea. Will you not accept it?"
"...That's none of your business. Anyway, I don't have any reason to fight. I'm not interested in the Holy Grail, and I don't feel like a Master even if you say I am."

"Oh. So you are not concerned about what the winner of the Holy Grail would do, even if it leads to disaster?"

"That's―――"
...I can't answer that question.
Crap, his words are violent.
They force the truth onto me, whether I want it or not―――

"That is fine if you have no reason to fight. So you are not troubled by what happened ten years ago?"
"――――Ten years... ago...?"

"That's right. At the end of the last Holy Grail War, an unsuitable Master touched the Holy Grail. I do not know what that Master wished for. All I know are the results of the disaster that came afterwards."
"――――――――"

For an instant,
That image of hell flashes in my head.

"――Hold on. That can't be..."
"It is. It is an event that everybody in this town knows about, Emiya Shirou.
Five hundred killed or wounded. One hundred and thirty-four buildings incinerated. That inferno, still unexplained, is the remains of the Holy Grail War."

"――――――――"
―――I feel sick.
My vision blurs.
I lose concentration and I can't focus my eyes.
My body stumbles.

But I hold myself firm.
I hold onto consciousness by clenching my teeth.
I hold back my nausea with the anger boiling up in me.

"Emiya-kun? What's wrong? You're pale white. ...I know it's not a comfortable story, but... if you want, we can take a rest for a while."

I must have looked terrible.
I think it's very rare for Tohsaka to be worried like that.

"Don't worry. I feel better after seeing your weird face."
"...Hey, just what is that supposed to mean?"
"Oh, I wasn't implying anything. I meant it literally, so don't worry about it."

"Well, fine... hey, that's worse, you big oaf!"
The school's number-one honor student, Tohsaka Rin, smacks me in the head.
That does it.
With that, the nausea and anger go away.

"...Thanks. You really did help, so don't bully me around too much. I've got a few more things to ask about."
She looks like she hasn't hit me enough, but she still lets me continue.

"Oh, you still have questions? All right, let out everything you want to say."
He should know what I want to ask, yet he asks me to go on.
Fine.
Emiya Shirou won't lose to you.

"Then I'll ask. You said this is the fifth Holy Grail War. Then, has anyone ever obtained the Holy Grail?"
"Of course. A terrible event like that annihilation doesn't happen every time."
"Then―――"

"Do not be hasty. It is easy just to obtain it. After all, the Holy Grail is tended to in this church. If you speak of just touching it, I touch it every day."
"Huh――――?"
T-The Holy Grail is at this church...?

"Of course, it is only the vessel. It is empty. Rin mentioned earlier that the Holy Grail is in spirit form.
What we maintain is a well-made replica of the Holy Grail. We use this as the catalyst to draw down the real Holy Grail and transform it into a Holy Grail that grants wishes. It's like the relationship between Servants and Masters. ...Yes, there was indeed a man who obtained the real Holy Grail, temporarily, using that method."

"Then, was that Holy Grail real? No, what happened to the guy who obtained it?"
"Nothing. The Holy Grail was imperfectly completed. It was the work of a foolish man, affected by sentiment."

...?
With the previous pressure gone, the priest narrows his eyes as if in regret.

"...What do you mean? Didn't the Holy Grail appear?"
"It is easy to just make the Holy Grail appear. Once the seven Servants are present, the Holy Grail will appear in time. As Rin said, there is no need to kill other Masters.
But that does not complete the Holy Grail. That thing decides its own appropriate master. And thus, it refused to be obtained by a man who avoided battles."

"Heh, so that just means it's useless to obtain the Holy Grail without settling matches with the other Masters.
The Master who first obtained the Holy Grail in the last war was just a chicken. He just ran away from the Holy Grail, saying that he didn't want to fight other Masters."

So saying, Tohsaka looks away from Kotomine.
"―――No way."
Does that mean Kotomine was one of the Masters in the last war, and that he retired because he refused to fight in spite of obtaining the Holy Grail...!?

"...Kotomine. You didn't fight?"
"I did until halfway. But I made a bad decision. As a result, I only obtained an empty Holy Grail. Well, I guess that was my limit anyway. All the other Masters were monstrous. I lost my Servant first and was taken under my father's protection.

...Come to think of it, it was inappropriate for a son of the supervisor to be chosen as a Master.
Father died at that time. Since then, I have succeeded the role of the supervisor, and I protect the Holy Grail at this church."

Saying that, the priest called Kotomine Kirei turns around.
Before him stands the symbol of worship.

"That is the end of our conversation.
The only ones qualified to obtain the Holy Grail are those who have Servants. When there is only one of you left, the Holy Grail should naturally appear in front of you.
Tell me your decision regarding whether you want to join this battle, the Holy Grail War, now."
The priest requests my final decision.

"――――――――"
I'm at a loss for words.
I had no reason to fight until just now.
Now I have a reason to fight and the will to fight.
But can I really accept this?

"Are you still undecided?
Look, a Master is not something you can be just because you want to. Rin has been training long as a magus, but it was not determined that she would be a Master.
All that could be decided beforehand was whether to prepare for it or not.

Only magi are to be chosen as Masters. If you are a magus, you should have been ready already.
I guess it cannot be helped if you say you are not.
You and your teacher were failures in that case. It is merely annoying for such a magus to be fighting, so get rid of your Command Spell now."

"―――――!"
He doesn't need to ask.
I won't run away.
Honestly, this Holy Grail War and Master stuff doesn't seem real to me.
But still, if I must choose between fighting or running away, I will never run away.

The priest said it as well.
If I am a magus, I should be ready.

That is why I must decide.
Even though I'm an amateur, Emiya Shirou is a magus.
If I have decided to become a superhero in the footsteps of Emiya Kiritsugu whom I've admired all this time―――

"―――I will fight as a Master. If the cause of the fire ten years ago was the Holy Grail War, I can't let it happen again."
As if he likes my answer, the priest smiles with satisfaction.

"―――"
I take a deep breath.
I have cut away all hesitation.
As a man, I said I will fight.
So from now on, all I have to do is go forward with pride and refuse to go against my word.

"Then I shall approve you as Saber's Master.
In this instant, the Holy Grail War is accepted.
―――I approve the battle in this town, from now until only one Master remains. Everyone shall follow their pride and compete fully against each other."

The priest's voice echoes heavily through the church.
There is no meaning to that declaration.
Only Tohsaka and I heard the priest's words.
This man merely rang the starting bell as the priest of this church.

"So it's decided. In that case, I'm going home, but may I ask you a question too?"
"I don't mind. This might be your last chance, so I shall answer most questions."

"Then I shall ask. Kirei, you're the one in charge of overseeing this, so you should have information on the other Masters. I've followed the Association's rules, so at least tell me what you know."

"That's troubling. I really want to tell you, but I do not know the details either.
Including Emiya Shirou, there are not many legitimate magi this time. There are only two Masters I know about. Three if you include Emiya Shirou."

"Oh, I see. Still, you should know the order in which they were summoned.
You are the supervisor, after all."
"...Hmm. Berserker was first. Caster was second. The rest are pretty much the same. Archer was yesterday, and Saber was summoned a few hours ago."

"――I see. Then that means..."
"The Holy Grail War has officially started.[vr]
Rin, you are not allowed to come to this church until the Holy Grail War is over.[l]
The only time it is permitted is..."
"When I lose my Servant and wish for protection, right? So I pretty much get points deducted if I come here for any other reason."

"That is correct. You may become the victor, but the Church will not ignore the points deducted. They will take the Holy Grail away from you after a boring discussion. That would be the worst case scenario for me."
"You fake priest. A person on the side of the Church supporting the Magic Association?"

"I am serving God. That does not mean I am serving the Church."
"Whatever. That's why you're a fake."

And Tohsaka turns her back to the priest.
After that, she just makes her way to the exit without saying goodbye.

"Hey, is that okay, Tohsaka? He was your fellow pupil, right? So―――"
Shouldn't there be a more proper farewell?

"I don't care. I feel rather relieved from breaking my ties with him. More importantly, you should leave too. You have no business here now."
Tohsaka walks across the floor without stopping and leaves for good.

I sigh and follow her.
And then...
"―――!"
I feel a presence behind me and turn around.
The priest, who's behind me before I know it, is looking down at me.

"W-What? Do you have anything else to say?"
I back off as I say so.
...Just as I thought, I don't like him.
Maybe we're just incompatible or something, but I can't get myself to like him.

"If you don't have anything to say, I'm going!"
I make my way to the door, trying to escape his stare.[r]
As I go...
"―――Rejoice, boy. Your wish will finally come true."
The priest says, as if declaring an oracle.

Those words are...
Aren't those the true feelings I haven't yet realized?

"―――What are you saying all of a sudden?"
"You should know. Your wish will not come true unless there is a clear evil. Even if it is not something you approve of, a superhero requires a villain to defeat."

"―――――!"
I feel like everything has turned black.
The priest said it.
The greatest wish and the ugliest wish I have are the same.
...Yes, the desire to protect something...
...Is, at the same time, none other than the wish for something to violate it――――

"―――Y-You..."
But there's no way I'd wish for something like that.
I don't remember a moment when I've wished for that.
Such an insecure wish...
...Just means the target ideals are inconsistent.
But the priest says as if to pierce my heart, "Good thing you have an enemy now."

"No, you do not have to gloss over it. Your worries are normal for a human being."
The priest smiles.
"――――!"
I shake off the priest's words and walk to the door.

"Farewell, Emiya Shirou.
This will be my last warning, but take care on your way home.
Your world will change completely from now on. You are now at the point of kill or be killed. You are now a Master."
He says so as I quickly make my way out.

Scene 11[]

...It's a bit windy now.
It must be partly because this place is on top of a hill.
The wind is a bit stronger than normal and carries a sharp chill.

"Shirou. Is your business here complete?"
"Yeah. I learnt more than enough about the situation I'm in.
About the Holy Grail War, about the Masters, everything."
"Then―――"

She comes closer and looks up at me.
...It's only natural for her to do so.
Her fate is determined by my choice.

"...I don't know if I'm good enough for you, but I've decided to fight as a Master.
I'm sorry that I'm only an amateur. Are you still content that I'm your Master?"

"It matters not. You are already my Master. I have already sworn to be your sword."

That scene flashes through my mind.
"―――You're right. ...Yeah, I'm relieved that you say so."
I take a deep breath and look at Saber again.

"Then let's shake hands. Let's do our best together, Saber."
I extend my right hand.
I don't care what relationship a Master and his servant should have, nor do I know what I should be doing now.
If this is the way things are going to be, I at least want our first greeting to be in style.

"――――――――"
"Saber? Um, are we not supposed to shake hands?"
"―――That is not the case. I was merely surprised by this sudden action."

Saber takes my hand as she says so.
"I shall swear to you once more here. As long as you possess your Command Spell, I shall be your sword."

"I don't get the situation too well, but yes, please."
Saber is really serious, so I nod.

"――――――――Hm."
...Come to think of it, this is weird.
We're under the winter night sky.
I'm shaking hands with a girl I just met, and we're talking like we're making a contract.

"―――Ohhh. I guess I can leave you two, huh?"
"――――!!"
I quickly let go of her hand.
When I turn around, I see Tohsaka―――and that knight in red.

"You two are getting along well. You weren't even talking before, but things have certainly changed. What, you trust Saber now?"

"Um... No, that's not it... Well, I guess you're right.
I don't know anything about Saber yet, but I'll be with her from now on."

"I see. Then you should be on guard. Since you two are in this war, I won't go easy on you either."
"?"
I tilt my head in wonder.
For a brief moment, I don't get what she said.

"...Hey now. Do you understand that we're enemies?
I brought you here because you weren't my enemy yet.
But you're one of the Masters now, right? Then I think there's only one thing to do now."

"Um――――hm?"
Well, she's right. But...
"Why? I don't intend to fight you."

"...Man, just as I thought. Geez, it was meaningless to bring you here."
Tohsaka slumps her shoulders.
"Rin."

"What? I thought we promised that you wouldn't talk until I tell you it's okay."
"I know, but we will make no progress like this.
We do not need to find out if our enemy is ready or not. If there are enemies we can defeat easily, we should attack them without holding back."
"Hey, I know that without you having to tell me."

"If you know that, act on it. Or what? Are you going to show him mercy again?
...Hm. I don't imagine so, but don't tell me there's a 'special' reason for this."

"T-That's not it!
...I just owe him one. I can't fight him fairly until I repay him for that."
"...Heh, you sure are difficult. Then I shall be disappearing. Call on me again after you repay him."

The knight in red―――Archer, disappears.
No, rather, I just can't see him anymore.
According to Tohsaka, Servants are spirits.

Saber says she cannot turn into spirit form, but I'm sure Tohsaka's Servant can since Tohsaka is a complete Master.
...Well, that aside...

"Hey, Tohsaka. The thing about you 'owing' me... do you mean what happened back then?"
"Yeah. No matter what the reason may be, you used your Command Spell to stop Saber. So I have to hold back a bit to balance things out."

"...Balance? You worry about weird things, Tohsaka."
"I know. I understand this is just flab on my mind. But I can't help it. I hate owing people."
She turns away.

"But this service is limited. I won't hold back tomorrow, so go and make plans with Saber."
"...Hm. So the service is only for today?"

"Yup. ...Well, I brought you here.
Um, so I'll at least go back to town with you."
Tohsaka starts to walk without looking at us.

"Let us go, Shirou. As she says, it is not good to stay here."
"......"
I nod to Saber and follow Tohsaka.

The three of us descend the hill together.
It might be because Tohsaka is walking ahead, but we go down the hill with few words.

There is a forked road ahead of us.
One path leads to the main street going towards the Shinto station, and the other leads to the big bridge leading to Miyama City.
"――――――――"
Tohsaka stops at the intersection.

"Tohsaka? Why are you stopping? We should head to the bridge if we're going home, right?"
"No. I'm sorry, but go home by yourself.
I forgot since I've been concerned with you, but I'm busy. I'm already in Shinto, so I'll go look while I'm here."

"――――Go look... you mean for other Masters?"

"Yeah. I don't know about you, but I've been waiting for this time. This night, the start of the battles between seven Masters, the Holy Grail War.
So I can't go home now. Since I couldn't beat Saber, I need to take it out on some other Servant."

"――――――――"
...Tohsaka's eyes show her determination.
That makes me realize...
Tohsaka Rin is a magus.
Her mentality and her knowledge as a magus are complete.

"――――――――"
So why...?

"So we'll part here. I've repaid my debt, and it would be troublesome if we stay together any longer. We should part here and become enemies from tomorrow on."
Why does she have this part of her that's unlike a magus?

She did not explain the rules to me out of any sense of obligation.
She just supported me, understanding the situation I'm in, and acted fairly.

So things are back to normal now that the explanations are over.
As a Master, I will just be a target to her now.
"......"
But still, Tohsaka said those words to me.

For Tohsaka, everything that happened tonight is unnecessary.
'It would be troublesome if we stay together any longer.'[r]
If she's going to say something like that, she should have left us alone from the beginning.
Tohsaka's smart, so she should know that all too well.
But still, she set aside all thoughts of loss or gain and helped me out.

The Tohsaka in front of me is so different from the one at school.
Even when I put it nicely, she's sour, cranky, unapproachable, and so different that I want to scream.
Man, it feels almost like a fraud.

...Yet, still...
Tohsaka Rin is just how everyone thought she was.

"I see. Tohsaka, you really are a good person."
"Huh? What are you saying all of a sudden? I won't go easy on you, even if you flatter me."

I know that.
She won't go easy on me, and that's why she said it'll be a bother if she feels empathy for me.

"I know. But I don't want to be enemies with you if I can help it. I like people like you."
"Wha―――"

Tohsaka falls silent for some reason.
The silent suburbs...
The church at the top of the hill and the silence of the foreigners' cemetery feel surprisingly warm.

"A-Anyway, just run to the church if your Servant ever gets killed. If you do, at least your life will be safe."

"I don't like it, but still, I'll take that advice. It won't happen, though. No matter how I look at it, I'll die before Saber does."
"――――Phew."
Tohsaka reacts strangely once again.
After letting out a sigh, she glances at Saber.

"All right. I won't give you any more warnings because that'd really be soft.
Just be careful. Even though Saber is strong, it won't matter if her Master gets killed."
She turns her back and starts walking.

But...
As if she's seen a ghost, her feet stop dead in their tracks.

"―――Hey, have you finished talking?"

A youthful voice echoes through the night.
The melodic tone is unmistakably that of a young girl.
My vision is drawn to the top of the hill.
There――――

I don't know when the clouds parted, but a brilliant moon is now shining in the sky.
The shadow is long and grotesque, like a devil in a picture book.
In this gloomy town of shadow-pictures stands a figure that should not be there.

"―――Berserker."
Tohsaka mumbles a word I'm not accustomed to hearing.
Even though I don't know what she means, I can feel the giant's dreadfulness all too well.

That thing is not human.
Then―――it is one of the beings called "Servants", just like Saber.
"Good evening, Onii-chan. It's the second time we've met like this."
The girl smiles as she says this.
That innocence sends a chill down my spine.
The girl looks so out of place next to the thing behind her, it feels like I am dreaming.
"――――――――"
No, chill is an understatement.
Not just my body, but my mind is frozen as well.
That thing is a monster.
I'm not even staring at it, but its mere presence roots me to the spot.

"―――I'm surprised. He surpasses Saber in raw power!"
Tohsaka glares at the monster above her, clicking her tongue.
In her, I see despair―――and the spirit to not lose to it.

"Archer, this isn't an enemy that can be beaten head on. You should fight it in your unique style."
She murmurs this quietly.
The knight without form replies to her.

"Understood. But what about your defense? You cannot defend against his charge."
"There are three of us. We can manage if all we need to do is defend."
He must have nodded to her words.
The presence behind Tohsaka vanishes instantly.

"―――Emiya-kun. You can choose whether to run or fight.
...But if you can, try to run away."

"Are you done? Can I start now?"
The girl laughs playfully.
She lifts the sides of her skirt and curtsies in a manner quite out of place in such a situation.

"Nice to meet you, Rin. I am Ilya.
You should figure it out if I make that Ilyasviel von Einzbern."
"Einzbern―――"
Tohsaka's body stiffens, apparently recognizing that name.

Perhaps she liked Tohsaka's reaction, as the girl smiles happily. And then...
"Then I'll kill you now. Go ahead, Berserker."
...She orders the strange shape behind her, as if she's singing.

Scene 12[]

Hi, this is the Tiger Dojo!
Since this is part II, everything has been changed...
...Huh?
It's not different at all!!!
Well, the game is in its second arc.
The shocking route of Tohsaka-san has started. Do you have anything to say, Ilya-chan?
Ouuu... I'm sorry I lied to you...
Yes. Repent of your misdeeds.
It does look like the title changed, but it's the same on the inside. Rather――――
...Everyone's jumping about in part II. Is someone trying to steal our roles?
Probably. Unlike me, you aren't that fascinating as a character.
We should put the focus on me and make Taiga a guest―――
Well, about this dead end!
Why did this happen, you rebel!?
It's because Shirou was a coward.
Oh, the killer is still unknown.
He was killed instantly once he left his house.
You should go on and fight Berserker since Archer is in fighting condition this time. You should get them back for defeating you before.
Oh, are you sure it'd go so well?
No matter which hero Archer may be, I don't think he's a big enough threat for me.
Hm. W-Well, we won't know unless we try.
We're not in Saber-chan's route this time.
Really? Then let's see what happens.
Let's see how a hastily-formed alliance fares against me.
Ugh... You're starting to show your true form, you devilish child.
By the way, I've been wondering for a long time. Can I ask you something, Ilya-chan?
How strong are you as a magus?
Are you as strong as Tohsaka-san?
Me? Hmm... Strictly speaking, I'm not a magus.
I'm more like Caster. I didn't study magic from the time I was born. But rather, I already knew magic at birth. Do you get the difference?
Hmm? I don't, and I don't want to know.
So in short, you're really a devil?
Fufufu. You sure say cute things once in a while.
I'll kill you if you say something so close to the truth.
Gyaaa! Her face is scary! Help me, God of Babylon!
...Geez, asking me such a boring question.
You'll eventually find out who I am whether you want to or not.
Well, let's continue on for Shirou.
The new fight is just starting. Don't go stumbling here! Quickly go back to Saber!

Advertisement