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Scene 00[]

――――It's a landscape I've never seen before.
The fiery sky above.
An infinite number of swords at my feet.
Are they traces of war?
The world is inorganic, and there are no living things.

The ashen wind courses through the forest of swords.
The swords stand like trees in a forest.
It's not just ten or twenty.
Not a hundred or two hundred.
No matter how many there are, if it is impossible for them to be counted, they might as well be infinite.

The tools are rusting without anybody to use them.
A ruin of infinite swords.

―――He thinks that...
It is like a graveyard.

...My vision returns.
I don't know how long it's been, but I can feel the warm sunlight.
"――――――That dream..."
I open my eyes and recall the dream I was having.
...That hill of swords.
I'm sure I saw that dream because I saw Saber along with the fire in the cemetery...

"Oh, you're awake? If you're all right now, that's good."
"Huh......?"
Then...
Tohsaka Rin says this in her normal tone while looking down at me.

"!!!!!!!!!!!!"
I jump up.
I instantly jump back to the wall to get away from Tohsaka.

"T-T-T-T-T-Tohsaka!? W-W-What!? Why are you in my room...!!?"

My head spins and spins.
I should've been at that hill of swords―――no, at the burning cemetery, so why am I asleep in my room!?

"T-Tohsaka, why are you here, and what was I doing!?"
My head spins even more after I say that.
It's not because of this surprising event.
I'm surprised the most at seeing Tohsaka right when I wake up―――and it's causing my heart to beat at an abnormal rate.

"You should just be surprised about one thing. You're not skilled enough to handle two."
Tohsaka is just acting cool.

"Hm."
That snaps my groggy mind into focus.
That's right.
It's natural to be surprised at seeing Tohsaka immediately after waking up.
But that must mean――――

"...I see. I guess you carried me here after I fell unconscious."

"Wow. You're sharper than I thought. You're confused, but you're thinking as well. Yeah, this is certainly interesting."

...Hm.
I wish she wouldn't say things that I could take as either insult or praise.

"...Then it's been only half a day?
If you were able to get me home, that means we were able to get away?"

"Yup. I'm glad you're so smart."
She must be satisfied.
Saying goodbye, Tohsaka starts to leave.

"Huh――――hey, where are you going?"
"Are you still asleep? This is your house. It's not a place I can stay in."

She speaks clearly.
Her eyes say...
"We're enemies."[r]
...To me.

"――――――――"
That's true.
Last night...
In that church, I said I would fight.
So we can only fight each other.

"You're right. I'm sorry. And sorry for being late, but thank you."
"――――――"
Then...
Tohsaka stops and glares at me.

"Hold on. Why are you thanking me?"
"Well, you helped me, right? I'm even more thankful for that if you're my enemy."

"―――――Hey. Sit right there, Emiya-kun."
Tohsaka returns to the room.

"...?"
I don't know what she wants, but I'm sure it'll be bad if I don't obey.

"Come on."
She taps on the tatami.
"――――――"
...It seems she has a serious matter to talk about.
I sit down.

"Look. I'll tell you, since you don't seem to understand. You'll die if you think like that."
"What do you mean if I think like that?"

"I'm telling you not to thank your enemies. You'll die a hundred times if you're worried about such a thing.
Look, others are just obstacles. Don't think they're like you just because they have human form or they speak."

"――――――――"
Tohsaka speaks with a strong voice and sharp eyes.
...She's certainly right.
If it's wrong to feel compassion for an enemy, it is also wrong to consider them to be just like you.
Since I have decided to fight, they are only things I need to defeat.
―――Yes, I understand her point of view.
But...

"Are you listening to me!? The Holy Grail War is just a war to kill each other, so don't consider other Masters as human beings. Be ready to kill even your own family. Geez, this is the first rule of being a Master."

Tohsaka yells at me in annoyance.
Well, but...
"I understand that. Then why didn't you kill me?"
Isn't this a problem?

"Uh――――t-that's because..."
Where did her previous attitude go?
She grumbles angrily.

"H-Heh. I just didn't feel like it. I owed you and it's not fair to get you when you're sleeping. So I just wasn't in the mood."

"Tohsaka. Didn't you just say something like doing everything to win?"
"Yes. So this is a mistake on my part. It was a mistake I made because I know I'm stronger. Well, I guess it's flab on my mind."
Oh, I heard that phrase before.

"Flab on your mind? Does that mean you're fat?"
"Fufufu. You sure are funny, Emiya-kun."
Tohsaka smiles.

"But you shouldn't say unnecessary things from now on. Stupid comments will only bring you death."
"――――――――"
...That was scary.
I feel a chill and back up.

"...Well, that's all I had to say. Ask your Servant about the rest."
Tohsaka stands up and leaves for sure this time.

"Goodbye. We'll be enemies next time we meet, so be prepared."

And with that, she disappears.
It really must have been a whim of hers to carry me here and to treat me.
She left with no regret or sentiment, leaving only the line that we're enemies.

"――――Well."
I take a breath and analyze the situation.
I haven't had time to think since I saw that fight between Lancer and Archer last night.

"...Oh. I see. Then that figure there must've been Tohsaka."
I finally realize.

I was stabbed by Lancer after that, was saved for some reason, was attacked by Lancer again――――

"Saber saved me, and I became a Master."
What I heard at the church.
The killings called the Holy Grail War.
The Holy Grail which grants any wish, given to the winner.

...I can't absorb all the facts, but I have been attacked three times already.
So I can't be confused forever.
And most of all, I said I would fight since I could not ignore this battle.

A fight for a single chair, called the Holy Grail War.
No matter what your expectations are, once you enter it, you can't survive unless you defeat your enemies.
The problem is that defeating other Masters might result in harm to innocent people depending on your methods.

That's why...
―――Rejoice, Emiya Shirou.
My reason for fighting is not to win the Holy Grail War.
―――Your wish will finally come true.
It is to stop those that would try to win it by any means possible.

"――――――――"
...It shouldn't be a mistake.
Emiya Shirou has been training in magic to become a superhero, to protect innocent people.

"All right. I need to go talk to Saber."
I shake off the priest's words and exit into the hallway.

Scene 01[]

I look through the house.
I look everywhere someone could possibly be, including all the guest rooms, but I can't find Saber.

"Huh...? She's in that outfit, so you'd think it'd be easy to find her."
Even so, I can't find Saber anywhere.
I guess Servants can become spirits, but I can't turn her into one anyway.
No, first of all―――

"Even though they call me a Master, I don't know anything about her."
I don't understand who she is or how she exists.

The only thing I understand is...
That I'm confident I'll be able to win this strange war if I'm with her.

"She's not here either――――"
I've searched throughout the house.
It's a big house, but I didn't play hide-and-seek here with Fuji-Nee as a kid for nothing. I know the most efficient way to search this place.
If she's nowhere to be found after searching this much, then she should be in the dojo or in the shed.

"―――Huh?"
Saber is in the silent dojo.
But her appearance is different from yesterday's.
Sitting in a Japanese fashion on the wooden floor, she is not wearing her armor.
She has changed into refined clothes that suit her well, and is sitting silently.

"――――――――"
...I lose my voice at the sight.
Sitting Japanese-style with her back straight and eyes closed, Saber looks beautiful.
Her state, melting into the silence, reminds me of pure water.

"――――――――"
And that removes the final doubts within me.
Even if she is a Servant, I think she is holy.
So―――I won't be led astray if I'm with her.

"Saber."
I call out.
Saber slowly opens her eyes and returns my gaze.

"You are awake, Shirou."
A calm voice.
Her voice, echoing through the dojo as if permeating it, is surprisingly suited to this place.

"―――Yeah. I just got up. What were you doing here?"
"I was resting. I cannot treat you, so I thought I'd make sure I was in perfect condition."

"―――!"
Saber looks at me as she speaks.
...Well, um...
I feel tension, different from the kind I felt with Tohsaka.

"Shirou? What is it? Could it be that your body is still...?"
"...! ―――N-No, there's no problem...! I'm just perplexed for my own reasons, so don't worry...!"
I take a step back and shake my head.

"...?"
Looking away from Saber, who is tilting her head questioningly, I calm my pounding heart.

"...Calm down. What am I so tense about―――!?"
I take a deep breath.
...But it doesn't seem to die down quickly. In fact, I don't think it ever will.

"...Geez, why did she get changed...?"
I complain without meaning to.
Saber's clothes are so real that they make me conscious of her womanhood, whether I like it or not.

...She is terribly beautiful.
I thought I figured that out yesterday, but she really hits me with it now.
Perhaps her armor looked so surreal that I didn't notice yesterday.
But when she dresses like a girl, I'm flustered, as any healthy guy would be.

"Shirou."
I tense up the moment our eyes meet.
But I didn't look for her just to say nothing.
I'm troubled, but I can't stay quiet forever.

"―――"
I make up my mind and talk to her.
It's something I should have asked her the moment we got back last night.
That if she really is my Servant....
And if she really is going to be joining this battle...

Scene 02[]

I look through the house.
I look everywhere someone could possibly be, including all the guest rooms, but I can't find Saber.

"Huh...? She's in that outfit, so you'd think it'd be easy to find her."
Even so, I can't find Saber anywhere.
I guess Servants can become spirits, but I can't turn her into one anyway.
No, first of all―――

"Even though they call me a Master, I don't know anything about her."
I don't understand who she is or how she exists.

The only thing I understand is...
That I'm confident I'll be able to win this strange war if I'm with her.

"She's not here either――――"
I've searched throughout the house.
It's a big house, but I didn't play hide-and-seek here with Fuji-Nee as a kid for nothing. I know the most efficient way to search this place.
If I haven't found her after searching this much, then she should be either in the dojo or in the shed.

"―――Huh?"
Saber is in the silent dojo.
But her appearance is different from yesterday's.
Sitting in a Japanese fashion on the wooden floor, she is not wearing her armor.
She has changed into refined clothes that suit her well, and is sitting silently.

"――――――――"
...I lose my voice at the figure.
Sitting Japanese-style with her back straight and eyes closed, Saber looks beautiful.
Her state, melting into the silence, reminds me of pure water.

"――――――――"
And that removes the final doubts within me.
Even if she is a Servant, I think she is holy.
So―――I won't be led astray if I'm with her.

"Saber."
I call out.
Saber slowly opens her eyes and returns my gaze.

"You are awake, Shirou."
A calm voice.
Her voice, echoing through the dojo as if permeating it, is surprisingly suited to this place.

"―――Yeah. I just got up. What were you doing here?"
"I was resting. I cannot treat you, so I thought I'd make sure I was in perfect condition."

"―――!"
Saber looks at me as she speaks.
...Well, um...
I feel tension, different from the kind I felt with Tohsaka.

"Shirou? What is it? Could it be that your body is still...?"
"...! ―――N-No, there's no problem...! I'm just perplexed for my own reasons, so don't worry...!"
I take a step back and shake my head.

"...?"
Looking away from Saber, who is tilting her head questioningly, I calm my pounding heart.

"...Calm down. What am I so tense about―――!?"
I take a deep breath.
...But it doesn't seem to die down quickly. In fact, I don't think it ever will.

"...Geez, why did she get changed...?"
I complain without meaning to.
Saber's clothes are so real that they make me conscious of her womanhood, whether I like it or not.

...She is terribly beautiful.
I thought I figured that out yesterday, but she really hits me with it now.
Perhaps her armor looked so surreal that I didn't notice yesterday.
But if she dresses like a girl, I'm flustered, as any healthy guy would be.

"Shirou."
I tense up the moment our eyes meet.
But I didn't look for her just to say nothing.
I'm troubled, but I can't stay quiet forever.

"―――All right.
May I, Saber? It'll be the first time we sit down and talk―――"
I make up my mind and talk to her.

―――And then.
"Shirou. Before that, there is something I would like to address regarding last night."
"――? All right, what is it?"

"It is about last night.
You are my Master. It is troubling if you take such actions. Battle is my duty, so you must concentrate on your role."

"Last night?"
I think about what happened last night.
...Is she talking about the time I tried to pull her to safety when Archer attacked?

"...Hey. I can't help it. You were fighting, so that's the least I could do. It's only natural to help when your partner is in danger."

"―――Impossible. You do not understand what Servants are, yet you have so much faith in me already?"
Oh, wow. Saber looks really surprised.

"Well, we did shake hands. And you've helped me so many times already. It'd be pretty strange not to trust you."
"――――――――"
Saber looks up at me in surprise.

"Uh... Did I have the wrong idea about our contract?"
I get nervous, so I ask.
Saber shakes her head.

"As a Servant, I appreciate your words.
And I would have been dealt a fatal wound had you not stopped me. The method was not a good one, but your instruction was."

"...I see. That's good. I was desperate, but that was good, huh?"
"Yes. But please refrain from such actions next time. I can heal immediately even if I am wounded. But I have no way to heal you if you are wounded."

"Ugh... All right, I'll watch out. That was definitely reckless. I'll do better next time."
I don't know how I can do things better, but I should stop doing things so recklessly.
Then...

"Yes. That is a good reply, Master."
Was I acting that funny?
I think she smiled for a second.

"――――――――"
I shake off my blush.
There's something more important right now.
It's something I should have asked her the moment we got back last night.
That if she really is my Servant....
And if she really is going to be joining this battle...

Scene 03[]

We've skipped breakfast and it's noon already, so we decide to eat lunch.
Saber can't turn into a spirit like Archer, and I'm not sending her magical energy like all the other Masters are doing.
It doesn't need to be said that this is because I'm an unskilled Master.

It seems she can sleep to stop consuming magical energy, but doing so doesn't replenish it.
So food will be her only source of energy. I'm in charge of cooking, so I can't be lazy about it.

"Servants take physical form using magical energy, right?
Then――――since you can't restore magical energy, you'll get weaker every time you fight?"
I ask her after cleaning up our meal.

"It does not mean I cannot restore any magical energy.
Magical energy is constantly created within oneself. A Servant without any outside source can create magical energy using its own Magic Circuit."
"I see. Then there's no problem, right?"

"...Well, how shall I explain this? Hmm, let me use that faucet as an example.
Water is dripping out of the faucet right now, correct? Please consider that as my magical energy being created. And the cup receiving the drop is me.
In this state, I can accumulate magical energy slowly."

"Well, there will be more dripping water the more water the cup holds.
As long as the cup holds some water, the faucet will create more. But when the water runs out, when I use up my magical energy, the faucet shuts off."

"There will be no supply of magical energy, and the cup will be forever empty.
―――That means elimination for the Servant.
Either to receive a fatal wound or to lose enough magical energy... Well, the latter rarely occurs."

"...But all you need is at least a drop of water in the cup, right? If there's a bit of water left in the cup, the faucet will create more water and fill the cup up."

"Yes. But the water in the cup is constantly consumed.
It is lost without me doing anything, and it will be lost at a faster pace during battles.
...To put it simply, a more powerful action requires more water. If I am to use my Noble Phantasm, I could empty out the whole cup even if it may be full."

...This is getting complicated now.
To sum it up, as I, her faucet, am not giving her magical energy, she can only restore magical energy at a slow pace. The rate being just that of dripping water.
Therefore, she should end battles as quickly as she can and sleep right after that to stop consuming any unnecessary magical energy.

"―――Man. So the Noble Phantasm is a luxury we can't afford, huh?"
"Correct. But it does not mean I cannot use it.
I should be able to use it once if I reduce the power I put into it."

"What are you saying? I can't let you do that. You're not allowed to use your Noble Phantasm, okay? I don't know how I'll apologize to you if it causes you to die."
I place the tea in front of Saber.

"――――――――Hm."
She frowns and reaches for the tea.

――――Then.
The phone rings.

"...A phone call at this time on a Sunday..."
I have all too good an idea as to who it may be, but I'm scared by the consequences of ignoring the call.

"――――Hello, this is Emiya."
"Hi, this is Fujimura!"

"......"
I feel dizzy.
She is the strongest in one regard.
She simply discards all the chaotic events that happened since last night, and I feel like it's just a normal day.

"...What? Sorry, but I'm busy right now, Fuji-Nee."
"Hey, I'm busy too. I gave up my day off to teach my students."
It sure is strange.
I feel like Fuji-Nee's right in front of me, puffing with pride.

"I see. Then I guess this isn't the time to be chit-chatting. There are no robbers or fires here. You can rest assured and go back to your club."
I try to cut off our conversation.

"H-Hold on! I'm calling you, so it'll be terrible if you hang up without hearing me out!"
...I've been in trouble since last night, but it won't do any good to tell her that.
Well, I guess she's in a little trouble right now too.

"...Fine. So what do you want?"
"I want to eat lunch, Shirou. How about that sweet omelet you make?"
"............"
"That'll be it for my order. I want it delivered to the archery range right away. Bye."
...Geez. What's up with that teacher?

"...Man, I guess it can't be helped. I hear beasts go wild when they get hungry..."
I put on the apron I just took off.
...Well, we have leftovers from lunch, and the omelet will be easy to make.

"I'm done――――Saber, can you watch the house for a bit?
I'll only be gone for a while."
I carry Fuji-Nee's boxed lunch and go out into the hallway.
Saber follows me for some reason.

I put on my shoes.
When I look next to me...
Saber is there, putting her own shoes on.

"...Saber?"
I call out to her timidly.
...Well, I know what she's going to say, but I have to ask her.

"Um, well?"
"I shall accompany you if you are going outside. Servants protect their Masters. It is too dangerous to let you walk outside alone."

...I thought so.
Well, this is something I have to tell her eventually.
This is a good time, so I'll tell her now.

"Saber. Masters try to avoid getting attention, right? Then daytime should be a safe time. They won't attack me unless I go to an isolated place."

"I am aware of that fact. But there could be exceptions.
Since you are inexperienced, I should be by your side constantly."

"Wha――――――――"
Does she mean she'll be with me all the time――――!?

"Y-Y-Y-You idiot. I can't do that!
First of all, what will we do when I go to sleep!?"

"Are you testing me, Shirou? That is the time that requires the most attention. I shall be on standby, right next to you."
"Wha――――――!"

I hide my blushing face and take a huge breath to calm myself down.
"――――――"
...Damn, how stupid of me.
I finally realize this important fact.
This is what it means to fight alongside her!

"What is wrong, Shirou? I do not think it should surprise you. It is just that I shall be doing as Rin did last night."
......!
Don't kid me! I'll go crazy before I even fight if you do that!

"I-I can't allow that! I'll prepare you a room, so you can sleep there!"
"......"
...Ugh.
I won't give in even if you look at me like that.

"Please stop this nonsense, Shirou. I have tolerated most of your contradictions, but I cannot compromise on this. Your plan is full of mistakes for a Master. I cannot obey you unless you explain your reasoning."

Saber looks up at me.
She's putting pressure on me, but I stare back at her.

"I-I don't have a reason! I'm telling you to just do so. It's safe during the daytime, so go ahead and rest!"

"―――I refuse. I cannot obey unless you give me a clear reason."

"Y―――You don't get it, huh!? You're a girl, so there's no way I can sleep in the same room as you...!"
Saber freezes.

"A-Anyway, I'm going to prepare you a room when I come home, so rest until then...!"
I run out the door.
Man, this is pathetic, but I'm running away. And I'm doing it in front of my opponent, too!

"...Geez, am I a kid or something!?"
I run outside and slap my blushing face.

...Well, anyway.
Saber should understand since I told her so firmly.
I'll apologize for yelling at her after I come home.

I go down the hill.
It takes about thirty minutes to get to school on foot. I don't have to hurry, but I'm walking quickly right now.
The reason being...
"――――――――"
The girl walking silently behind me.

"......"
She'll follow me to school if I don't do anything.
I have to clearly tell her right here!

"Saber. I told you to wait at the house. You won't obey your Master?"
I stop and turn to her.
After glaring at me...

"―――Who knows. If a Servant is not following its Master's order, it must mean the Servant did not hear the Master."
She turns away from me.

I ignore Saber and go down the hill.
Behind me...
Saber is there, silently putting pressure on me.

"Go home now. Do I have to tell you that it's annoying to have you following me?"
I glare at the girl who is walking exactly five meters behind me.

"――――――――"
I don't know what her problem is, but I'm just met with silent defiance.
...Geez.
I have no idea what she's so mad about, but I'm sure she's just obstinate.

"―――Fine, do what you want."
I ignore Saber and walk on.

I go up the hill leading to the school.
This town has lots of hills, but this one is especially long.
The school on top of the hill is high enough to be able to see everything in this town.

It's a bit past one o'clock.
Fortunately, I don't see any students around.
It's Sunday, so I bet most people in the clubs are still resting after eating their lunch.
"...Well, that's good, but I still shouldn't go any further."
I sigh and give up.

"――――――――"
I turn around.
When I stop, Saber comes up to me and glares.
...She looks even more angry, as I've been ignoring her this whole time.

"Saber."
"What is it? I believe you told me to do as I wish."
"...Hm. So you only hear things that are convenient for you, huh?"

"Of course. I am a Servant, so I cannot allow my Master to be in danger."

"――――Geez. All right, you win. I give up, so let's go to school together. You should understand that the school is a safe place if you go there.
And I'm sorry for yelling at you earlier."

"Huh――――?"
"Well, let's make up a story for you. You're a relative of my father, and you came here to visit and sightsee. Is that all right?"
I walk up the hill with Saber.

"Oh―――Yes. I do not mind if that is convenient for you."
"All right, that's what we'll go with. Yeah... you would've met them sooner or later, so it doesn't matter if I introduce them to you now."

That's right.
Saber is bound to meet Sakura and Fuji-Nee if she's staying at my place.

"Oh yeah. I forgot to ask you, but where did you get those clothes?"
"Rin gave these to me. She said I will need normal clothes since I cannot turn into spirit form."

"――――"
That's unexpected.
I'm not surprised by Rin's kindness, but just that she'd have such feminine clothes.

"Then what about that armor? Is that back at the house?"
"No. That armor is formed from my magical energy. I can remove it at will. It will immediately protect me during battle."

"Hm. So you can take it out at will?"
"Yes. So you need not worry. I shall protect you even if an enemy attacks us here."

"Yeah, that's comforting."
Maybe because I've kept so quiet up until now, my honest opinion slips out.
Saber does not answer me and continues up the hill.

We reach the school gate.
Oh well. I guess I'll just pretend I'm showing a new student around school.

"Saber. If anybody stops you, just shake your head. It'll be great if you can make an expression like you don't understand Japanese."
I turn to Saber.

"――――――――"
"Saber? What's with that severe expression? Don't scare me like that."

"Huh...? Oh no, I was not looking at you, Shirou. I was just surprised at how strong the lingering magical energy is here."

"Lingering magical energy? Is that true?"
Saber says so, but I don't feel anything.
...Well, I can't feel any magical energy unless it's really strong.

"Yes. But it is not something to be surprised about. Rin is in the same grade as you, correct? This is a place where a great magus has gone for over a year. I am sure she has a workshop, so some magical energy will flow out no matter how well she may try to hide it."
It seems the magical energy Saber feels is from Tohsaka.

"Hmm. She's pretty stupid for getting her magical energy sensed even before you went inside. ...Wait, is she in there right now!?"

"No, it does not seem she is in there. I should be able to feel the energy more strongly if she is. Nobody resembling a magus is currently on this property.
...There is a strange feeling, but there is no danger."

"I told you there's no danger here. All right, let's go in."

"Oh, Emiya? What are you doing? Are you in charge of her meal?"
"――――――――"
A person that knows you well comes in handy at a time like this.
Mitsuzuri Ayako, the captain of the archery club, even figured out why I was here just by seeing me.

"I'm here to deliver her lunch as you guessed. Is Fuji-Nee here?"

"Yup. Man, you've saved us. We were worried because she was hungry and started getting edgy. The cafeteria's closed, so we were considering going somewhere to buy her food."

"Was it that serious? Wait, were you thinking of going to Toyoetsu by yourself?"
"Where else can I go? We're short on money already, so I can't be spending money on emergency food."

As expected from Mitsuzuri, the woman who hates to waste money.
By the way, Toyoetsu is the name of the supermarket in the shopping district.
In the archery club, anyone resting their arm and taking a break is sent on a grocery run as an exercise.
...It's a contradictory custom because even though it's an exercise to rest your arm, you have to carry back a lot of groceries.

"...That's some misfortune. Here's the lunch. It's a bit late, but go ahead and give it to Fuji-Nee."
I hold out the bag.

"Wow, a three-layered boxed lunch. It's been a while since I've seen this. You're good at doing small, intricate things."
I don't know what she's happy about, but she smiles.

...Oh yeah, she's good at mass-production.
Mitsuzuri is usually in charge of dinner during our training camp, and she surprises us every time.
The world of cooking is deep, considering how a curry with whole potatoes in it tasted good.

...Well, anyway.
Mitsuzuri only looks inside the bag and doesn't take it.

"Hey, just take the bag. Isn't it a problem in there with Fuji-Nee going wild?"

"Yeah. If you think so, you should go in there quickly and give the lunch to her.
First of all, you should know she'd get mad if I turned you away here. I don't want to be chewed out by Fujimura-Sensei, so go on in."
She points to the range using her chin.

"......"
She's right. It can get scary later on if I don't at least go see her.
I'm not here for archery practice, so I can go home as soon as I hand her the lunch.

I give up and head to the archery range.
"But Mitsuzuri, you should be checking if Fuji-Nee has her lunch or not since you've been here long enough. It's bad if the teacher starts looking at her students' lunches."

"Well, I was a bit tired this morning. I've been busy lately, so I don't have much time to spare. Well, it does no good to be complaining to you――――"

Then, she suddenly comes up to me and whispers into my ear.
"...So, who is she? She's really beautiful. Do you know her?"
Her voice is tense as she asks.

"――――――――"
Yeah... You'd usually be surprised to see Saber.
All the more if she's coming into the archery range after me.

"So? Is that an acquaintance of yours?"
"It's kind of complicated, but let's just say she is. ...And if you can go ahead and tell everyone not to make a fuss about her when we go in, I'll be indebted to you."

"......All right. I'm curious, but I like that condition. Don't take it back later, okay, Emiya?"
I open the door.
Saber silently follows after me and Mitsuzuri.

We enter the archery range.
...The range is as loud as a battlefield, since it's right after lunch.

"Fujimura-Sensei――! Misaki-san is saying she's going to die of stomach-ache! How old was that cracker!?"
"That's just her side hurting! I ate it and I'm doing fine, so just give her some kelp tea!"

"Taiga-Sensei! I'm going to practice, so can you move the stove? It's cold in the corner of the range!"
"All right. Since you have some guts, go run around the range three times in shorts. Go and beat that rotten character of yours into shape."

"Sensei! We have someone bleeding over here! Kitako-kun cut her cheek with the bow string!"
"Hmm, you don't have to go to the nurse's office for this small wound.
Just rub some of the aloe planted in the back on it."

"Ouch. Geez, why is this bow like this? I can't put the string on well if it's like this."
"Oh, there! Don't push on the top. You're still young, so get someone to help you if it's difficult. If you break it, your neck will be broken later on.
That is, I'm going to break your neck for breaking our precious bow."

"Sensei! We don't have any powder! My hand's slipping!"
"Oh, really? Can someone go to the storage room and get some of the stock?"

"Sensei, we're out of stock as well! I think it's because you forgot to order more the other day!"
"Oh, man. Then, the first years are to go to the baseball club and steal some rosin bags!"
"Man, she's nuts――!"
They scream in unison.

"......"
Man.
This place doesn't change at all.

"――――Well."
I can't be watching this hellish scene forever.

"Oh, great timing. Hey, Sakura―"
I call out to her.
"Senpai...!?"
Sakura puts down the bow in her hand and runs to me.

"Senpai! W-Why did you come here today? Um, could it be, um..."
"Yeah, I brought lunch for Fuji-Nee.
I'm sorry, but can you go get that crazy teacher over there?"

"Oh――――Oh yeah... She was calling someone..."
"?"
I don't know where her cheerfulness went, as she slumps her shoulders.

"That's it. Fuji-Nee's giving absurd orders because she's hungry, right? It might be too late, but let her eat this since I made it.
Oh, I'm sorry for coming home late last night. And thanks for making me dinner."

"...Yes. I'm glad that you say so, but..."
She looks behind me.
There stands a gold-haired girl unsuited to this range.

"...Um, Senpai?"
"Hm? Oh, was I too late? I made some for you as well, but was it unnecessary?"
"Oh, no, that's not true. I-I'm hungry as well! ...Um, I gave half of my lunch to Sensei."

"Yeah, I thought so. [wrap text=̢I"]I made your lunch so that you can eat it right away. It shouldn't take that long to eat it.
...Well, I don't think anyone's going to complain if that's the case."

"Y-You're right! I'll have some then. Um, will you be here all today?"

"Yeah. Since I'm here, I'll stay here until the club is over. I skipped making dinner yesterday, so I'll cook dinner today. Come and eat with us."

"―――Yes, it'll be my pleasure. Then I'm going to go get Sensei. Senpai, please don't just drop off lunch and go away, okay?"

Sakura goes to get Fuji-Nee in a hurry.
When I look around, Mitsuzuri is explaining things to the students that are getting rowdy from seeing Saber.

―――Well.
I've accomplished my goal.

"I'm full now. The sugar's flowing to my brain, so I'm finally up to par now."

The break room.
Fuji-Nee is munching on some sweet bean jelly as she drinks some tea.
The only thing audible in the quiet dojo is the sound of arrows. It must be because Fuji-Nee is calm now.

"Um, Sensei. I'm going to the range now, so excuse me."
"All righty. Oh, can you tell Mitsuzuri-san to come here? I need to talk to her."

"Okay. Please stay at your leisure, Senpai. If you can, it'd help me out if you would coach me."
Sakura bows and leaves.
But when she does so...
She looks uneasily at Saber, who is watching us quietly by the wall.

"So, what are you gonna do now? The club's over at five, so will you just watch until then?"

"...Hmm..."
What should I do?
It seems Saber is looking at the archery range with interest. So I should―――

Scene 04[]

...Yeah.
I think I'll cause trouble if I walk around school with Saber.
I'll relax in this familiar club room.

"Yeah, I'll stay and watch if it's not going to be a bother, Fuji-Nee."
"All right. Well, I'm going to go teach, so you can relax here. Oh, you don't have to restrain yourself if you want to shoot. You're my student and you're better than most people."

"――――――――"
...Yeah, she's not wrong.
I'm better than anyone when it comes to shooting arrows.

Even though I was away for a while, I'm sure I could get the same result I had when I used to come here.
But that's not because of my skill in archery.
I can hit the target like I do in my mind because of my everyday training in magic.

"That's not true, Fuji-Nee. I'm missing the 'endurance' part of accuracy, piercing strength, and endurance."

"What? Do you mean how you have to shoot more than 200 arrows a day and how everything else is just releasing the bow? You know boring things, Shirou."

"Hey, you should know this if you do archery.
At any rate, I can't shoot if my mind isn't into it. I'm not prepared at all, so I don't know if I'll even hit the target."

"...Oh. But Shirou, shooting arrows every day isn't the only way to train.
The endurance is good enough if you're training yourself. It's good to make a distinction, but it's also good to try to respect archery. It'll all be good if you just nod, so be honest once in a while."

Fuji-Nee disappears into the range.
Mitsuzuri comes in as if to take her place.

"Excuse me... Oh, why the upset face, Emiya?
Oh, I bet Fujimura-Sensei scolded you, huh?"
"I guess so. She told me not to worry too much. Well, she's totally right."

"Oh, I see. I thought you quit because you didn't want to shoot anymore, but you still want to, huh? That's unexpected."

"It's unexpected? What? You thought I got bored with archery?"

"Yeah. You only missed the target once. You were freaking good ever since I joined the archery club. Your form was really beautiful and you looked like you didn't know how to miss.
I thought you weren't happy about hitting the target because you're so good. You can get into the mentality without the bow, so I was annoyed that the bow might just be hindering you."

"――――――――"
"Oh, did I guess right? I bet I did. Shooting is the mentality of shooting your mind, right? The arrow is not shot at the target, but shot at the mind of the shooter trying to hit the target.
So you won't understand the mentality if you can't face yourself."

In other words, archery is a way to kill yourself.
It's trying to make yourself transparent and to become one with nature.
The eight stages of shooting, ashibumi, dozukuri, yugamae, uchiokoshi, hikiwake, kai, hanare, and zanshin, exist for that purpose

Kai: the unity of the self and the target.
Hanare: releasing the arrow which has become yourself, and the moment time stops.
Zanshin: the self that is shot to the target already knows "it will hit", and the action and the result become one to make the past and the future into a point.

It is only a way to train yourself according to set stages.
Yes.
Archery is similar to meditation in magic.

"Well, it's like preaching to the Buddha. Hitting the target is like a bonus in archery. Archery is more like a path to obtain the mentality. It's a path and not a technique.
But to put it another way, you can't reach that mentality without bow and arrow."

"...I thought that was the boring part for you. We shoot arrows and feel it when we hit the target. We know hitting the target is only a technique, but we can't tell if we succeeded unless the arrow hits the mark."

"But you're the type that doesn't care where the arrow goes.
...Anyone can hit the target in archery. Disregarding bothersome things like the eight stages of shooting, anyone can hit the target if they pursue 'the technique to hit the target'.
But they are only making the arrow hit the target with technique. Real shooting hits no matter how bad the shooter may be."

"―――I don't know. I go to the range so that I can hit the target."

"That's what I'm talking about. Isn't there a faster way than getting a bow and going into the range? First of all, the bow and arrow are unnecessary for you.
You missed a target once before, right? I went to see how surprised you'd look, but you were acting normally."

"I asked you why, and you said 'I missed because I imagined for it to miss'.
It didn't miss as a result, but you made it miss with your own will.
That's when I thought that you're always imagining the arrow striking the target before you release it."

"Hm―――? What are you saying? That's just basics, right? Don't you imagine the arrow hitting the target and release it accordingly?"

"Of course. People try different things wishing for a good result. But it's only in our imagination. We can't 'see' it like you do, Emiya.
It means you're one with nature. You've reached nothingness, to put it in martial arts terms."

...Hm.
I don't know if I'm really "seeing", but I can nod back to the nothingness part.
It is the strength of a magus to erase oneself to make the self into a circuit.
Making the self transparent and ridding oneself of attachments and wishes to only obtain the result.
The training of archery and magic are similar in regards to making the self into "nothing".

"That's difficult. So, what did you want to tell me?"

"It's just that it's easy for you to turn transparent because you're unselfish. You should be more selfish and greedy. It's boring to become a master at such a young age, right? I won't tell you to be like Shinji, but why don't you have some fun once in a while?"

"――――――――"
I'm at a loss for words.
I think that's not true, but I can't think of anything that's fun for me.

"See. That's why you're troubling Sakura so much. You have to know how to have fun now, or you won't be able to when you get old.
People call those kinds of people good-for-nothings, you know?"

"―――Man. has it become so bad that a classmate is worrying about when I get old? Why are you so worried about me?"
"Because you don't laugh, Emiya."
"Huh――――?"

"I'm talking about the training camp we had before. We were all laughing, but you didn't laugh even at my best jokes."
"...Hm. So..."

"Yup. I'm still holding a grudge from that time."
She declares as if smiling to a rival.

Scene 05[]

...I'll sneak out for a bit.
Issei might be there if I go to the student council room, and it wouldn't be a bad idea to start thinking up strategies for the final exam coming up in a month.

"All right. I'm going to go to the student council room. Do you know if Issei's here, Fuji-Nee?"
"Ryudou-kun? Hmm... I don't know. At the very least, I haven't seen him."

"I see. Well, I'll come back if he's not there. Tell Sakura that I give her my best regards."
"All right. But you're picking a male friend over a female friend? You're still just a boy, huh?"

"――――Hm."
...I want to object, but Saber will notice me if I do.
I'll let Fuji-Nee win this time, and I'll sneak out of here.

"You are walking strangely. Where are you going, Shirou?"
"Gah."

I guess sneaking out was useless.
I tried to leave in a way she wouldn't notice, but Saber is waiting for me outside.

"S-Saber. Um, well, I remembered that I had to do something..."
"Do something, huh? I believe your business here was only to deliver the lunch."

"Uh, um... It's minor business. I didn't think I needed to tell you, so I didn't."
"I see. If it is minor business, there is certainly no need to tell me. You do have your own life after all."

I'm glad she's so understanding.
...I'm glad, but is it because of my guilty conscience that she looks mad?

"...Um. So, can you wait here?
I'll be back in an hour――――"

"But that was your lifestyle until yesterday.
You must act as a Master starting today. Thus, I must accompany you until I determine there is no danger, no matter how minor the business may be.
―――Well. Do you have any objections, Shirou?"

I do, but I can't think of any excuses that will convince Saber.

"...Man. All right, let's go, Saber. I'll show you around school."
I slump my shoulders, give up, and call to her.
"Yes, it would be helpful if you did so."
So, the golden-haired foreign girl follows me as if it's natural to do so.

"――――――――"
Well.
How will I explain this to Issei...?

"Gah."
...Man.
The student council's door is unlocked, today of all days.

"That is the second 'gah' I have heard. It seems you really want to hide something from me."
...And on top of that, she clearly sees my displeasure.
I don't know if it's her insight as a swordsman, but I don't think I can fool her.

"I just didn't want to cause a big commotion instead of just hiding things. ...Well, I guess it's fate that Issei's here. I'll introduce him to you."
The student council room won't have any other students, and we'll be able to kill time until the archery club ends.

"Issei...? Is he a friend of yours?"
"Yeah. He's this school's, let's see――――leader of the self-defense force, and he's a man of steel aiming for a smooth organizational structure."

"―――A leader of the self-defense force, huh? I might be able to hear some interesting stories from him."
"Maybe. He's a stubborn guy, so he might get along with you."

"Hey, I'm coming in, Issei――"
I open the door.
...Then.
There is an unexpected person in the student council room.

I gulp.
The one in the student council room is not Issei, but Kuzuki-Sensei, the teacher in charge of the student council.

"Excuse me. Is Issei here today, Kuzuki-Sensei?"
"No, I have not seen him today. Do you have some business here, Emiya?"
"No, it's more like business with Issei. I wanted to start preparing for the finals."

"I see. Then you should try waiting here. Knowing him, he might decide to escape the boredom at his house and come here."
"Can I stay in the student council room?"
"It should not be a problem. If it were a problem, something would have happened already."

"I will trust you to lock up this place. Put the key on my desk afterwards."
With that, Kuzuki-Sensei leaves the student council room.

...I guess he was being considerate.
According to Issei, Kuzuki-Sensei seems cold, but he actually has a delicate personality.
He must have thought it'd be awkward for me to wait in the student council room with a teacher.

"......Hm?"
"――――――――"
Then.
As Kuzuki-Sensei leaves the room, he bumps into Saber, who is waiting behind me.

"...! S-Sensei! She's my acquaintance, and she might come here next year, so she came to look at this school...!"

I quickly make up an excuse.
But this excuse won't be of any use.
Even if she might be a potential student, I cannot bring an outsider into the school.
Fuji-Nee is fine with that, but I don't think the one in charge of the student council will consent to an excuse like that――――

"...I see. This will be the first new student from a foreign country. It is unexpected, but I should be happy that there is a change."
"――――Huh?"

...Um.
I guess Kuzuki-Sensei is more understanding than I thought, as he's watching Saber with admiration.

"She should not go unnoticed if she enters this school.
If you are an acquaintance of hers, you should be considerate. You will be a senior next year. You should take care of the younger students."

"Oh―――yes. Thank you, Sensei."
"The curfew on weekends is five o'clock. Go home before the gates close."

He leaves for the teacher's office.
Saber watches him go.

"Saber? Is something wrong with Kuzuki-Sensei?"
"...No, nothing in particular. At first, it felt as if he were no ordinary man, but the more I look at him the more ordinary he feels. I can declare that he is not a Master."

"......"
I'm a bit surprised.
It seems Saber is checking if people are Masters or not every time we meet someone.

"That's good. I'd be surprised as well if Kuzuki-Sensei were a magus. But what do you mean, he's not ordinary? Did you feel something special in him?"

"No, there was nothing special about him. But his breathing is too natural and too controlled.
...To be honest, I was admiring it. There are no wasted movements in his steps. I do not think I have seen anyone as good as him."

Saber is really praising him.
But if he's that good, isn't he suspicious!?

"Hold on. Are you saying Kuzuki-Sensei is strong in a fight?"
"Huh? That person? Hmm, if it is him...
I believe he is about as strong as you, physically. In a true battle... I believe he will do as well as any ordinary man."

Saber looks at me with wonder.
But I'm the one wondering.
Kuzuki-Sensei got Saber to admire him, so what does she mean by him being an ordinary person?

"I admired his breathing.
That person's breathing was ideal for a human. I admired only that one point."

Then.
While we drink the tea we brewed here, Saber explains in a strange way.

"You mean 'breathing' breathing? What's so special about it if it's ideal?"
"It will affect your physical ability as well as your interaction with nature. Western magi do not hold this technique in high regard, but Eastern teachings treat breathing and walking as superior abilities that cannot be taught."

"The ibuki, taking in outside air, is a clear image of connecting the outside world and your inner body. I have heard that to breathe in is to take in God, and to breathe out is to release God.
This 'right way to breathe' is a secret technique in every school, and one can expect only about one student per generation to be able to acquire it."

"―――To put it another way, a person who casts spells to cast magic is only a magus.
But if one's breathing, walking, and their existence itself can perform divine deeds, that person is a pure Magic Circuit that surpasses magi."

"Oh... I think there was something like that in Shintoism.
Like exterminating evil with mere footsteps or clapping of the hands."

"Yes, one spends all one's life mastering those embodiments.
But there are rare cases where one is born with this correct way of breathing or walking. These are people who themselves are Magic Circuits."

"As they are abnormal, they will be famed as prodigies and end up being claimed by magi. But there are a few who will grow up without catching anyone's attention.
These people have within them divine mysteries surpassing magic, without even knowing magic. But――――"

"But? So Kuzuki-Sensei has a natural-born talent?"
"No. I do not feel such a thing in him.
...Um, this is contradictory, but I believe his breathing and walking techniques were acquired through training."

"I cannot believe it myself, but he is not a magus.
I believe his everyday training is affecting him in the perfect way."

"......???"
What does that mean?
Does it mean Kuzuki-Sensei is living a pure and honest life?

"Saber. Then Kuzuki-Sensei is..."
"It means that he is an ideal teacher. A person like him is not rare.
It just means that he is admirable for someone like me who cannot breathe perfectly even with training."

Saber sighs with regret.
...That's something more surprising for me, though.
So even Saber, who can do everything, can envy someone, huh?

As it turned out, Issei never showed up.
The school's almost closing, so we lock up the room and go back to the archery range.

Scene 06[]

...Well, we're at the school already.
I'll go and show Saber around.

"I'm going to go take a walk. I'll come back after I walk around a bit."

"Take a walk? That's fine, but you sure have strange tastes. Kiritsugu-san also had dull hobbies, so you're like him?"
"Myself aside, I don't think taking a walk is a dull hobby.
I don't want to compare the two, but going on a date is like taking a walk as well."

"Hey, dates are different. That's more like a tour to go eat lots of good food."

"I'm saying that aimless behavior is called taking a walk. Well, I'm going.
...Oh yeah, I'm taking the walk inside the school, so I'm not going to buy you any gifts. There aren't any street stalls here."

"Oh yeah. The cafeteria's closed, and the home economics room is closed too.
...I guess it can't be helped. You don't have to bring me back anything, so come back quickly, okay, Emiya-kun?"
At the end, she calls me by my last name like a teacher.
I wave my hand and call out to Saber.

"Tour of the school?"
"Yeah. We're here, so we might as well, right? It should be boring for you as well to just stay in the archery range."

"...You are right. I was not bored, but it is indeed worthwhile to look around the school. I shall check in person to see if your school is safe or not."

Oh, wow.
It was just a suggestion, but it seems Saber likes this idea.
...Well, it seems her expectation differs from mine, but I'll ignore that fact and show her around school.

"This is the back of the building. Here we have the woods behind the archery range. I'm guessing it's about 300 to 600 square meters. It might be as big as the front grounds. It's an example of bold property management that is only allowed because we have a mountain here."
I start out from a nearby place, the woods behind the archery range.

"Oh. 300 to 600? That is far too ambiguous."
"Thanks for your harsh comment. You look disappointed. What's wrong, Saber?"

"It must be your imagination. I was not hoping for anything when you said you would show me around school.
No, I do not mind at all that you brought me here first. I held no hope to begin with, so I cannot lose any hope."

Saber just looks away.
...She looks totally disappointed, but I guess you can take it that she's sulking.

"So what is here, Master? This is a desolate place, but I do not notice anything strange about it."
"Nope. I just told you we have a forest behind our school. Let's go to the next place."

"So, this is the school grounds. Don't go too close since the track team is running there right now. We sometimes play team matches here during PE."

"Team matches...? Such as?"
"Well, our athletics are strong. Baseball's the strongest, so we usually play baseball. We sometimes play dodgeball as well. It's a sport where we separate into two groups and try to beat the other team."

"...Oh. I heard the word team match, and I imagined something where the people follow the vanguard. I guess I was wrong."

"......"
I think whatever Saber imagined is very dangerous.
I don't think I should ask her about it.

"Well, it's a sport to compete for points. The people running right now are competing too. They're using how fast they can run 50 meters as points."
Saber looks around in interest.

"What is it? Are you looking for something?"
"Um, no. ...Um, I saw a sport before, and I was just wondering if such a sporting ground was here or not.
I do not understand other sports, but that sport looked fun to me."

"Oh, a sport you want to try?
Could it be tennis? We have some courts around back."

"N-No, it is not tennis. Come to think of it, it is not a sport that can fit on this site.
...I just felt nostalgic since I was scolded once before for playing a similar sport with a sword."

"A sword...?"
What could that be?
...More than that, I find it funny imagining this serious girl playing with a sword.

"P-Please forget what I said, Master! Well, we are done looking here, so let us go to the next place...!"

Saber pushes me to keep going with the tour.
I show her the hallway.
Then, we get to my classroom on the third floor.

"―――So this is Master's classroom. I was unsure when I was walking down the hallway, but this is within my tolerance level."
"Tolerance level? You mean if this place is safe or not?"

"Yes. I felt the same magical energy in the hallway as I did at the gate. But I do not feel any magical energy in this classroom. Only Rin's magical energy fills the hallways.
For now, I do not see any factor that will be a danger to you."

Saber's tension goes away.
I think it's going too far, but Saber's been looking through the school for the sake of my safety.

...To be honest, I'm happy.
It's only been a day since we made a contract, and we don't know anything about each other.
But I understand that Saber is thinking of my safety over everything.

Scene 07[]

The club ends when the sun starts setting.
The sun sets earlier in the wintertime, and they must also take into account the dangerous events happening recently.

"Oh, where's Shinji? I haven't seen him today."
"He's skipping the club. He might have a new girlfriend, as he's like this recently."
Mitsuzuri says this as if it's nothing, and walks to the school building.

"See ya. I have business in the teacher's office."
Holding the key in her hand, the archery club captain leaves.

―――We're at the front gate.
Fuji-Nee, Sakura, Saber, and I part with everyone else here.

"Goodbye, Sensei!"
"Don't tease Emiya, Tiger!"
We start going down the hill with those voices in the background.

We keep walking.
Sakura and Fuji-Nee are beside me, and Saber is following behind us.

"―――Hm? Why is that girl following us?"
...Then.
It seems she only realized it now.

"Hey, do you know her, Shirou?"
It's the second time today I've heard that question. Thanks to Mitsuzuri letting me practice, I'm able to answer without hesitation.
"Yeah. I brought her here, so it's natural for me to know her, right?"

"Y-Yeah... So what kind of a relationship do you have with her...?"
"Yeah. I never heard of Shirou having a foreign friend."

"No, she's not my friend, but an acquaintance of my father. I guess she's the daughter of a friend of my father."
"Kiritsugu-san? Then this girl came to visit Kiritsugu-san?"

"Yeah. She'll be staying at my place for a while, so please give her your best regards."
""――――Huh?""

Sakura and Fuji-Nee give the same reaction at the same time.
Well, it's natural for them to be surprised.

"Wait――――Shirou, are you going to be living with her――――!?"

"No. Saber's only staying for a short while. I'm only letting her stay here, like in a hotel. It's nothing to be surprised about, right?"

"...Um. She's called Saber-san, Senpai?"

"Yeah, I know it's a strange name. I think she has some strange aspects, considering she's not used to Japan. ...Oh, she might seem a bit blunt, but she's actually really kind. It'll help me out if you can be friends with her, Sakura."

"............Okay. That's fine, but..."
Sakura looks away from me and looks at Fuji-Nee as if asking for help.

"Fujimura-Sensei. Will you permit Saber-san's stay?"

"Hmm. I can't approve of it as a teacher, but I can't just ignore someone who came depending on Kiritsugu-san. ...She looks dependable, so I don't think anything will happen. Right, Shirou?"
Fuji-Nee glances at me and asks me an impolite question.

"O-Of course. She's my guest if she's my father's guest. I can't do anything impolite to her. First of all, she's like my sister."
"Hmm. How old is she? She looks younger than Sakura-chan."

"Huh? Um, I guess so."
"[line12]"
She stares at my face.
Then, once we come to the bottom of the hill...

"Do you like her, Shirou?"

She suddenly gets me with a surprise attack.

"......!!! I-I don't know! I just met her too, so I can't answer a question like that!!"
...Ugh, my face is burning. I bet my face is all red right now.

"Hm. You're telling the truth, but it might be possible in the future, huh?"
...I don't know what she read off of me.
Fuji-Nee crosses her arms and grows quiet as if she's pondering something.

To sum things up, Saber's stay was approved.

"I guess it's fine. It'll be a good experience if we consider this as a homestay. This place has lots of empty rooms, you know?"

Fuji-Nee makes up her mind.
Sakura was silent the whole time, but...[r]
"Okay. It's not something I can protest about."
...It seems she understood in the end.

"......"
So, it's dinnertime now.
I put extra effort into it, as a welcome party for Saber and as thanks for last night.

I prepare minced bonito salad, fried chicken, meat stew, and tempura of every kind.
The dinner, consisting of various dishes...

"........."
...Ends without anyone saying anything.

"........."
I wash the dishes in the kitchen.
It's not like I was hoping for a cheerful dinner from the very first day, but couldn't there have been a bit more conversation?

I think today's tempura was really well made.
It was perfectly made, so they should've at least said something.

"...But they did finish all of it. What's up with 'more, please' (3 times) being the only thing that was said?"
......
Cleaning up after four people takes a bit of effort.
Actually... Could there be a meaning behind the fact that Sakura is not coming to help me tonight?

"Well. Dinner's over, so I guess it's time now."
Fuji-Nee looks at the clock while drinking her tea.
It's past nine o'clock.
They usually go home around this time.

"Fuji-Nee. Can you walk Sakura home if you're gonna go home?"
I call out to her while doing the dishes in the kitchen.
"――――――――"
There's no reply.
Fuji-Nee is watching TV like she didn't hear me.

"...Hello? Didn't you hear me, Fujimura-Sensei?"
I go to the living room and tap her head.
Then.
"I'm sorry, but I can't do that. I won't be able to take Sakura-chan home for a while."

"Why? Do you have to do something?"
"Um. No, it's because I'll be staying here starting tonight."
It's as if it's already decided.

"――――――――Excuse me?"
"How about you join us, Sakura-chan? I can contact your place if you want. It's more fun for all of us to be here, right?"

"Oh...... Y-Yes, please! You're really dependable, Fujimura-Sensei!"
Wait.
Why is Sakura so enthusiastic?

"All right. We can use the tatami room in the back! There's enough futons for all of us! That's fine with you, right, Saber-chan?"
Is it just me or does it sound more like an order?

"......"
Saber's looking at me as if asking for help.

"...This will be a problem, Shirou. I am to protect you. I cannot do so if I am in the same room as them. And I would not know how to interact with them."

"...Sorry. I can't stop Fuji-Nee.
And it sounds like Fuji-Nee's using this proposal as an exchange.
She'll probably take back letting you stay here if I refuse. We'll end up sleeping in the streets if that happens."

"...That is a problem as well. The boundary field here is excellent. This location is a good base. You are well prepared here for any surprise attack."

"...I see. Then please just hang in there for that reason. We should be able to meet up quickly as long as we're here.
...Um, it's hard work to keep Fuji-Nee company, but just say you don't understand Japanese if she troubles you."

"Hey, stop whispering over there.
Come this way, Saber-chan. Shirou's a boy, so he can be by himself, right?"
Fuji-Nee pulls Saber to her.

"――――――――"
It's all decided with that.
Saber's stay is approved, Fuji-Nee is staying, and Sakura is going to keep them company as well.
The population here has increased drastically in just one day.
Hmm... This place really is like a hotel now...

Scene 09[]

It's bedtime.
The lights finally go out in the noisy tatami-floored room, and silence returns.
They say it gets noisy wherever women gather, and I guess that holds true even for the quiet Saber and Sakura.

"...No, that's wrong. I mostly heard Fuji-Nee's laughter."
But still, it's true that it was loud in that room.
It's not good for my mental health to have girls my age being rowdy in the same house.

"――――Damn. My sleepiness went away thinking about them."
Things like Saber's troubled face,
if Saber and Sakura are getting along,
and whether Fuji-Nee is thinking at all or not.

I get a headache the more I think about them. If it's like this, it might've been better to have Saber sleep in the room next to mine.

"――――――――"
It's eleven o'clock.
The lights are out and the house is dead silent.
I quietly make my way to the door so I won't wake them up.

I go outside.
The moon is bright, and the wind is cold.
Under the winter sky, the world is silent as if frozen.

It's quiet inside the shed.
This is the place where Lancer cornered me last night.
This is also the place where Saber appeared.
The entrance is open, and it's dark inside, as if to drive away anybody that might enter.

I go inside.
I shut the door to keep the air out and turn on the stove.

"...Shoot at least 200 arrows a day, huh?"
The teaching of archery focuses on accuracy, piercing strength, and endurance.
Accuracy is how well one can hit the target.
Piercing strength is the power to pierce the target.
And endurance is to maintain the accuracy and piercing strength.

...I think there was something in an archery manual...
Something about continuing forever after one masters the true meaning of archery.
...And how one should shoot more than 200 arrows a day...

"...Yeah. I don't know what to do as a Master, so I should at least train my magic."
I sit down and take a deep breath.

"Haa――――Haa."
...I adjust my breathing and start my usual training.
My mind imagines the same thing.
An image of a sword that pops into my brain.

"――――――――"
I ignore it and clear my head even more.
After letting magical energy flow throughout my body, I start the "strengthening" magic like always.
The magic that I succeeded at for the first time in a few years last night.
I have to repeat it before I forget the sensation.

"――――Trace, on."
I narrow my eyes and breathe out.

――――That's all for now.
I'll forget about the Holy Grail War, Saber, and Tohsaka once I start this process.
I clear my head from all hesitations.

But during the process...
The thought that Tohsaka might be doing the same training never escapes my head.

Scene 10[]

"Going back to our conversation, Saber.
...Oh, I'll ask formally. Can I call you Saber?"

"Yes. Since I have formed a contract with you as a Servant, I am your sword. I shall follow your orders, defeat your enemies, and protect you."
Saber says so without the slightest hesitation.
There's no room for me to question her about it.

"Become my sword, huh? Is that to win this Holy Grail War?"
"...? Is that not why you have summoned me?"

"No. I only summoned you by chance.
As you know, I'm only an amateur magus. I'm sorry, but I don't have the knowledge nor the power of a Master.
But I've decided to fight, so I'll fight. I'm an unskilled Master, but are you okay with that?"

"Of course. You are my Master, Shirou.
This fact will not change. A Servant does not have the freedom to choose its Master."
"――――――――"
...I see.
Then I should try to respond to her to the best of my ability.

"...All right. So you're content that I'm your Master?"

"Yes. But Shirou, I shall not allow defeat for my Master.
If you have no chance of victory, I shall make one for you. I will use any means possible to have you obtain the Holy Grail.
We Servants do not serve the Masters without compensation. We serve because we also desire the Holy Grail."

"Huh―――? Hold on. The Holy Grail, you mean you want it too...!?"

"Of course. After all, the only ones who can touch the Holy Grail in spirit form are we Servants, who are also spirits.
The Master that wins the Holy Grail War will obtain the Holy Grail through the medium of their Servant. After that, the Servant who served the winning Master will have its wish granted in compensation.
―――That is the relationship between Masters and Servants."

"――――――――"
...I see.
Now that she says it, it's obvious something like a "heroic spirit" would never obey a mere human being.
Since they have their own objectives, they serve the Master in exchange.

...Then that means Saber has a wish she wants granted.
That is why Saber has no doubts.
But...

"...Hold on, Saber. You said any means possible, right? Does that mean you don't care what measures you take to win the war?
For example―――"

Doing something like what that priest said.
Involving innocent people and creating a disaster like what happened ten years ago――――

"Shirou, that is not a possibility.
I can only do things I allow myself to do. I cannot betray my beliefs. It is against the knight's oath to hurt those who are unarmed."

"But I must obey if you order so. In that case, you will have to use one of your Command Spells to compensate for treading inside me."
I am overwhelmed by her angered voice.

"――――――――"
But still, I'm happy and relieved.
Her lack of doubt gave her the image of a cold fighting machine, but I know now that she is not a cold-blooded killer.

"―――Yeah, I won't let you do such a thing.
Like you said, we have to do our best with what we can do. ...I'm really sorry. I insulted you without realizing it."

"Ah... no, I leapt to a hasty conclusion without knowing your intentions. You are not at fault, so please raise your head..."
"Huh? Oh, sorry, I apologized without realizing it."
I raise my head.

"――――――――"
I don't know what's so funny, but Saber has a small smile on her face.
"...?"
Well, I'm glad she's smiling, so I won't ask her about it.

"...All right. Then can I ask you something else? A Master is a magus that summons Servants, right?
That's fine, but I don't quite understand you guys. Like, Saber and Lancer, I know those aren't your real names."

"Yes, those are only the names of the classes given to us. ...All right, I shall describe it briefly since we have the chance."

"We Servants are heroic spirits.
We have each won fame during our lives or have accomplished some great deed beyond human ability. Whatever the means, we are beings that have reached the rank of gods with our own strength."

That doesn't even need to be said.
Heroic spirits are heroes that had supernatural abilities while they were alive, who are worshipped after their deaths, and are promoted into the ranks of spirits instead of becoming ghosts.

"But that is also to our disadvantage. As we are heroes, our weaknesses have been recorded.
Revealing our names, revealing our identities, means revealing our weaknesses.
It will not be a problem if we are fighting a lower spirit, but each of us is a spirit capable of killing the other. If our weaknesses are revealed, the enemy will take advantage of them to defeat us."

"...I see. Heroes usually do have opponents they're weak against. That's why you're hiding your real name and using the name Saber?"

"Yes. However, I am not called Saber only for that reason.
There are seven Servants called forth by the Holy Grail, and every one of these is selected according to class."

"Class...? You mean like Saber and Archer?"
"Yes. Summoning a true heroic spirit is already almost a miracle. To summon seven is too much even for the Holy Grail.
As a solution, the Holy Grail prepares seven vessels in advance and only calls forth heroic spirits compatible with these vessels.
Those are the seven classes.

Saber.
Lancer.
Archer.
Rider.
Caster.
Assassin.
Berserker.

"The Holy Grail calls forth from all times the heroic spirits, with abilities corresponding to each of these classes.
And those who receive these classes are called Servants."

"...I see. You were a heroic spirit skilled with swords, so you were summoned as Saber?"
"Yes. There are heroic spirits that have multiple attributes, but I believe I am the best when it comes to swords."

"But that is also the weakness of the Saber class.
Since I am not a magus, I can only defeat your enemies as your sword."
"So you're not well-suited to trickery. No, I don't think that's a weakness. You're that powerful, so that should be enough, right?"

"Shirou, you cannot win this war just by being strong in battle.
For instance, if your enemy is stronger than you in combat, what will you do?"

"Huh? Well... if I knew I couldn't beat them in combat, I'd have to do something without fighting―――"
Having said that much, I understand.
If the enemies are strong, you wouldn't fight a proper battle.
Beating opponents with your sword isn't the only way to fight.
If you can't beat an enemy with your sword, all you have to do is beat them some other way.

"Exactly. If your enemy discovers you are skilled in combat, your enemy will most likely not challenge you in combat. ...And in that sense, Servants that lack ability will use any means possible."

"The Servant Assassin has low attributes, but has a special ability to hide its presence, and the Servant Caster is versed in magic that does not exist in this age.
You cannot be optimistic because of a mere difference in power. And on top of that, we have our 'Noble Phantasms'. No matter what kind of Servant we are, as heroic spirits, we have our guaranteed fatal attack."

"Noble Phantasm―――?"
That's not a term I've heard before.
I think I might know what it means from the sound of it, though...

"Noble Phantasms are special weapons carried by Servants.
Weapons like Lancer's lance, Archer's bow, and my sword are such.
Heroes are not called heroes by themselves. Heroes have the weapons that symbolize them and make them a hero."

"The hero and his weapon are one. So those who became heroic spirits each wield a powerful weapon.
That is the 'Noble Phantasm'―――the trump card for Servants, and the thing we must take the most care of."

"――――――――"
...Saber says that Noble Phantasms are weapons that heroes wielded when they were alive.

I recall that blue knight.
The lance that absorbed magical energy from the air and pierced Saber's chest with incredible movements.
That was certainly not something fit for humans.
That lance itself carried a strong curse, but I also felt an overwhelming amount of magical energy in the word Lancer said back then.
Then could it be...?

"Saber. Are Noble Phantasms magic?
Lancer's lance certainly seemed like a lance with history, but the lance itself wasn't extraordinary.
But that lance went beyond the realm of weapons with his words. Isn't that some sort of magic?"

"Yes, Noble Phantasms are certainly similar to magic.
For example, Lancer's lance itself is a Noble Phantasm, but it demonstrates its full potential only when he puts magical energy into it and says its true name."

"A Noble Phantasm could be called a materialized divine mystery.
As spells are necessary to activate magic, recitation of the true name is necessary to awaken and to activate the Noble Phantasm.
But there is also a danger in that. By saying the true name of their Noble Phantasm, the identity of the Servant is revealed."

"...Oh yeah. Heroes and their weapons are one. If you know the weapon's name, you naturally know the identity of the owner."
Saber nods silently.

That is why the Noble Phantasm is a trump card.
In exchange for revealing the name, it launches an unavoidable fatal blow.
But when it does not prove fatal... the Servant will expose all its weaknesses.

"Then, Saber. Is your Noble Phantasm that invisible sword?"
"...Yes. But I have not revealed its identity yet. No Servants should know my true name at this point."
Saying that, Saber looks down awkwardly for a second.

"Shirou. I have a request about that matter."
"Huh? What kind of a request?"

"About my real name. Usually, Servants give their true names to their Master only, to determine future plans.
But you are inexperienced as a magus.
A superior magus would be able to read your mind, so―――"

"Oh, so you can't tell me your real name? ...Yeah, you're right. Like hypnotism, suggestion, or... well, I don't think there'd be any, but if any other Master had mystic eyes, I might just start babbling about it.
―――All right. Let's do that. I'll rely on you to decide when to use your Noble Phantasm."

"Uh―――um, can you really decide that so quickly?"
"It wasn't easy. I thought it through.
I agreed after thinking about it, so don't worry."
"――――――――"

...Well.
I get most of this stuff, but I still don't have a grasp of the situation.

This is strange, now that I think about it.
Even though I've decided to fight, the only enemy I know is Tohsaka, and I don't intend to fight her.
Well, I shouldn't be thinking like that because Tohsaka is ready to fight me any day.

"Hey Saber, do Servants and Masters have some sort of a mark? I don't really know what I should be doing."

"No. Unfortunately, there is no clear way to distinguish them.
But if other Servants are near, Servants are able to sense them. All the more if they are materialized. Servants themselves are powerful magic.
I am sure you felt Berserker's presence."

"Ugh―――that is true. But it's bad to be able to tell only when you're attacked. I need to at least know before they approach, so I can take some sort of countermeasure."

"Then, how about searching for the Master's presence? Masters are magi. Since they use magic for a living, they will leak magical energy. If you search for that, you may be able to determine the Masters in this town."
"...Sorry. Unfortunately, I can't do that sort of thing."

After all, I didn't even realize the real identity of Tohsaka, who goes to the same school as I do.
We were in the same building for two years, and on top of that, I've seen her several times.

"―――Geez. No wonder people call me an amateur. The only evidence I'm even a Master is this Command Spell. It seems there'll be lots of difficulties ahead."
I sigh.
―――And then.

"Shirou. Could you close your eyes for a moment?"
Saber speaks with a serious face.
"...? Close my eyes? Why?"
"To prove that you are a Master. Just close your eyes and breathe normally."

"......"
...I close my eyes.
I feel something slightly touching my forehead.
―――Hey, it's prickling. Could this be the end of her sword―――!?

"―――Saber? Hold on, are you doing something weird?"
"...Master, please stay silent and concentrate on my fingertip. If you are a magus, you should be able to feel my magical energy."

"―――Hm."
I see, so it's Saber's finger that's touching me.
I pull myself together and calm down.

―――Then.
What is this?

"Saber, what was that?"
"It is not something you should be asking me. You and I are connected by our contract, so it is only natural for you to be able to understand my status."

"―――Understand? You mean, what happened just now?"
"I do not know how you saw it. It is your standard that measures the Servant's ability. Some Masters classify according to color, and some classify according to animals."

"So in other words, you perceive it in a way most comprehensible for you.
This is a standard concept for a Master, so please check frequently. Like me, once you see someone, you shall understand their details."

...I see.
I was a bit surprised since it was so sudden, but I might be able to act a bit like a Master now.

"―――Master. I have simplified things, but that is all the explanation I can give you."
"Okay. It was quick, but I get it now. Sorry, Saber."

"...You should not be 'sorry.'
If you understand the situation, you should be deciding what to do from now on."

She asks me, leaning forward.
...I see.
Saber is the same type as Tohsaka: attack first.

"Well, we won't be doing anything different.
I don't have the will to go out and beat other Masters like Tohsaka."

"―――Shirou, that does not make sense. Do you not have the will to obtain the Holy Grail as a Master?"
...Saber narrows her eyes.
They are the calm eyes of a swordsman who allows no disagreement.
"――――――――"
I stare back, trying not to lose, and clearly tell her my intentions.

"I do. But that's only because I don't want anyone evil obtaining it. I have no reason to want the Holy Grail for myself."
"―――!"

"But that doesn't mean I will not fight.
I'm a magus, even if I'm an amateur. I understand I can't back out of this now. I know I can't survive this without doing anything."

"Then you are saying you are fighting not to obtain the Holy Grail, but rather to prevent the conflict resulting from the Holy Grail?"

"...? ...Yeah, I guess you could put it like that. Yeah, I think that's what I mean. I can't put it into clear words, but such a fight is worth something, right?"

That's right.
I don't feel anything toward the Holy Grail.
But for a reason like that, I think I can fight with all my power and with pride.

"...I do not understand. You say that you are a magus. Then you should desire the almighty Holy Grail. Do magi not master magic because they have a wish they cannot make come true?"

"What are you saying? I have no unfulfillable wishes. I do have lots of things I have to do though."
That's right.
So for now, I should try my hardest not to involve any unnecessary people.

"―――Then are you saying you do not want the Holy Grail? That you will not fight to obtain it?"
"I didn't say that. Since I'm fighting, I do intend to obtain the Holy Grail."

"That is a contradiction. Why do you desire something that you have no need for, going so far as fighting?"
"...?"
Well, because...
Winning means obtaining the Holy Grail, and most of all...

"You need it, right? So we have to obtain it."
"――――――――"

"Yeah, I don't know what kind of people the other Masters are.
Some of them may be really good people.
But I've decided to be your ally. So if you say you want the Holy Grail, it's only natural to help you with all my power, right?"
"――――――――"

"...Well, it's only an opinion that I received from my father, but he said I should be selfish to become a superhero.
It's pointless to support everybody, so he told me to only ally with people I like and trust."

"I never thought that way before, but I think that's how I should be now.
I can't do something like fight for myself.
But if I can fight for you, then that's good."

And to be honest.
If this girl seriously yearns for it, it's only natural to want to obtain it for her.
...Well, I am a guy, you know.

"Then are you saying you will not fight if I give up the Holy Grail?"
"―――Hm."
That's a problem.
If Saber says that, all my premises will crumble.

"...No, it would still be the same. I said I'll fight.
So I won't run. That is for sure, Saber."
I declare while looking at her in the eyes.
Saber does not answer immediately, but looks up at me after letting out a deep breath.

"I understand. If you say so as a Master, I will only obey. My goal is the Holy Grail, and even if your goal is to stop the conflict, our destinations are the same.
―――But, Shirou."

Saber stops.
With eyes that seem to be gazing upon something far away,
"I cannot clearly put this into words, but you will regret it later on. ...You will surely regret it."
She says those words.

Scene 11[]

――――She goes through the darkness.
A desolate night.
She enters the room from the dark hallway.

"――――――――"
This is a room in a building somewhere.
There are about fifty workers here.
Most are male, and all of them are scattered about like puppets with their strings cut off.
"――――――――"
She grits her teeth.
The darkness is helping her as she cannot see well.
The air in this room is filled with the rotten smell of a plant.
"―――What is this smell? Can you tell, Archer?"
Opening the door and the windows, she asks someone behind her.
There is no one there.
But there is a presence thicker than air behind her.
"It must be a witch's potion. The one that destroys love."
"...Hemlock? What? The culprit not only took their magical energy, but made the men impotent as well?"
"Then it must be a woman. I don't know what kind of a grudge she has, but it must be a big one to keep taking it out on people even after she became a Servant."
"Stop talking and open the windows. ...They are still breathing. I guess it makes no difference if they are found now or tomorrow.
Let's get away from here after we're done, Archer."
She opens the windows and treats those who are in especially bad condition. After that, she leaves the room.
"...Damn. I have to get my clothes to the dry cleaner's."
She sniffs her coat.
She didn't touch it in particular, but her coat smells like rusted iron.
The room was sealed.
And the floor of that room was covered in blood that the people threw up.
The presence behind her takes form.
What appears behind her――――Tohsaka Rin, is a knight in red.
It is Archer, who was protecting her in spirit form.

"So? Are they all flowing towards the Ryudou Temple?"
"...Yeah. All the life energy is flowing towards the mountain. The coma incidents in Shinto are all that Master's doing. I don't know what kind of a Master it is, but such a thing is beyond human powers. If there's anyone capable of doing it, it'd be the Servant Caster."
"A witch at the Ryudou Temple, huh? Then I guess we made a mistake last night."

"Mistake...? You're talking about how we got away from Berserker? I think that was the best possible outcome."
"Really? If Caster has such a large network, I am sure she saw our fight last night.
But we could not defeat Berserker, we let Saber go, and we gave away the scope of our power. What part of this is good for us?"
He speaks sarcastically.
But Rin does not answer him.

It's not a mistake that she made Berserker retreat and helped Saber.
And most of all――――Archer has not shown the full scope of his power yet.
Last night.
It's true that the "arrow" Archer fired stopped Berserker.
But Rin has yet to figure out its true identity――――the identity of that powerful "Noble Phantasm".

"――――Rin."
...No, she knows the principle behind it.
That was just a bomb.
He just exploded the bomb called the "Noble Phantasm" in front of his enemy.
It does not need to be said how extraordinary that was.
That was a one-time explosion of magical energy, using the strongest phantasm possible.
――――Broken Phantasm.
That is the name of the Noble Phantasm this knight in red possesses.

"――――Rin."
...But it is too strange.
A Servant only wields one Noble Phantasm, and it is a part of them that they had for their whole life. What hero can possibly destroy such a thing freely?

"――――Rin."
It's not easy to fix a destroyed Noble Phantasm.
It's like committing suicide for a Servant to destroy his Noble Phantasm.

"――――Rin."
In other words, Archer abandoned his strongest weapon when he still had six more enemies he needed to defeat.
No, first of all, he destroyed the proof of his heroism under his own will. It's so crazy that other Servants would faint from shock if they would find out about this―――

"Rin―――!"
"Oh, what? Sorry, I wasn't listening."
"...... I asked you what we were going to do now. You must be tired from the previous battle, so we should go back and rest."
"――――――――"
Rin clenches her fist at Archer's words.

The previous battle...
Bone Golems that were swarming in the hallway.
She defeated them all by herself.

She did not need Archer's help, nor did she want it.
Most of all――――she felt anger towards the enemy who was breaking the magi's rule of not involving innocent people.
That's why she destroyed them.
She mercilessly eliminated every one of them.
...She did not show any sympathy, even if those bones could have been a living person just hours ago.

"――――――――"
She did not suffer any wounds from the battle.
Except one.
Since she fought while suppressing her nausea, she cut her lip from biting down on it.

"―――We're going after Caster. You can still feel her presence, right? We'll finish this off before she can run to the Ryudou Temple."
"What? I'm surprised. I thought it was your principle not to do anything impossible."
"...Yeah. I don't do anything that I see as impossible.
But this is different, right? I'm sure we'll find some clue if we hurry, and most of all――――"

"――――You have to start the fight, huh?
Man. You're letting the easy enemies run loose while going after the most difficult enemy?"
"...Hey now. We can let Saber be. We can finish them off any time, so we don't have to worry about them.
We don't have to go out of our way if they're not going to do anything. I'm going to let them go as long as they hide away in their house."

"...Hm. So will it be a different story if that Master is in front of you? For example, if Emiya Shirou shows up in front of you without a care that he's a Master..."
His words are meant to test her.
Looking down at the night town...
"―――I'll kill him.
I have no kindness to give to someone who wouldn't understand such a simple fact."
Tohsaka Rin answers as if convincing herself.

Scene 12[]

It's bedtime.
The lights finally go out in the noisy tatami-floored room, and silence returns.
They say it gets noisy wherever women gather, and I guess that holds true even for the quiet Saber and Sakura.

"...No, that's wrong. I mostly heard Fuji-Nee's laughter."
But still, it's true that it was loud in that room.
It's not good for my mental health to have girls my age being rowdy in the same house.

"――――Damn. My sleepiness went away thinking about them."
Things like Saber's troubled face,
if Saber and Sakura are getting along,
and whether Fuji-Nee is thinking at all or not.

I get a headache the more I think about them. If it's like this, it might've been better to have Saber sleep in the room next to mine.

"――――――――"
It's eleven o'clock.
The lights are out and the house is dead silent.
I quietly make my way to the door so I won't wake them up.

I go outside.
The moon is bright, and the wind is cold.
Under the winter sky, the world is silent as if frozen.

It's quiet inside the shed.
This is the place where Lancer cornered me last night.
This is also the place where Saber appeared.
The entrance is open, and it's dark inside, as if to drive away anybody that might enter.

I go inside.
I shut the door to keep the air out and turn on the stove.

"...Shoot at least 200 arrows a day, huh?"
The teaching of archery focuses on accuracy, piercing strength, and endurance.
Accuracy is how well one can hit the target.
Piercing strength is the power to pierce the target.
And endurance is to maintain the accuracy and piercing strength.

...I think there was something in an archery manual...
Something about continuing forever after one masters the true meaning of archery.
...And how one should shoot more than 200 arrows a day...

"...Yeah. I don't know what to do as a Master, so I should at least train my magic."
I sit down and take a deep breath.

"Haa――――Haa."
...I adjust my breathing and start my usual training.
My mind imagines the same thing.
An image of a sword that pops into my brain.

"――――――――"
I ignore it and clear my head even more.
After letting magical energy flow throughout my body, I start the "strengthening" magic like always.
The magic that I succeeded at for the first time in a few years last night.
I have to repeat it before I forget the sensation.

"――――Trace, on."
I narrow my eyes and breathe out.

――――That's all for now.
I'll forget about the Holy Grail War, Saber, and Tohsaka once I start this process.
I clear my head from all hesitations, and I engross myself in the familiar training.

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