FSN Fate Day 13 (EN)

Scene 00

By the time the sun sets, the rain has stopped.

Based on our conversation during breakfast, we should be going out into town to search for other Masters after dinner, but――

"I have to find out before that."

Saber's intentions.

I need to know why she is fighting.

"...But I can't ask her straight on... I have to try to ask her as indirectly as possible."

I make my mind up and stand up.

Let's go to the living room.

I hope I'll be able to penetrate the fortress using the calm before-dinner air as a shield――

"Just hypothetically.

What should we do if we win the Holy Grail War?"


Since I couldn't come up with any good ideas, I ask her directly.




They all give the same response with different expressions.

"――I'm talking about after we win. I'm saying what should we do if we win the Holy Grail War."

"You don't need to explain the question... but what's wrong? Why are you asking?"

Even though they don't nod, it seems like Saber and Illya have the same question.

...I guess it was unnatural to abruptly ask.

But I have to play ignorant for now.

"Well, it just came to mind.

There are only three Servants left, so it's not that weird to start thinking about it, right? There's not much left now and the end is near."

"Hmm... Well, you're right.

Even you'll start thinking about it in this situation. Even though you didn't start this because you wanted to, I bet you're curious about the reward since you're risking your life."

"Y-Yeah. I'm curious."

...Thank God Tohsaka likes to reason things out.

I think one of Tohsaka's good aspects is to consider anything as a possibility if it sounds reasonable.

Well, just in this case, though.

"So, how about you, Tohsaka? What will you do if you get the Holy Grail?"

I ask as naturally as I can.

"...Let's see. I only really thought about winning, so there's nothing I wanted the Holy Grail to grant.

I'll get it, but I haven't thought about anything after that."


So she's fighting because she doesn't want to lose, huh?

...Well, I guessed so, but I never really thought I'd be right.

"I'm stunned. You seem to be the one thinking the most, but you're actually the one who thinks the least."

"Heh, you're one to talk. Then what about you, Illyasviel?"

"I don't know. I was just told that the Holy Grail is mine, so I shouldn't give it to anyone.

Since it's mine to begin with, of course I don't care about it."

"...Oh. So you're saying the Holy Grail War is more fun than the Holy Grail?"

"Of course. I only came to win. I don't care who uses the Holy Grail."

...Are they the same?

The two glare at each other silently and there seems to be a sympathy I can't understand.


Saber doesn't say anything.

She must not intend to join this conversation.

But――no matter how much Saber hates it, I must ask her this question now.

"I kind of understand you two's intentions."

I try to nod naturally and...

"Then how about you, Saber?"

I ask Saber.


Saber doesn't answer.

...They must have realized Saber's acting in a complicated manner as they both stare at her.

If I'm counting, there must be about a minute's silence.

"I do not need to say this, but it is my duty to obtain the Holy Grail.

I do not know how powerful the Holy Grail is.

But as long as it is the Holy Grail, I must obtain it.

...And of course, I would have my wish granted if it can grant it."

――She said it.

Without a doubt, Saber said she has her own wish――!

"I see. Then what's your wish?"

I restrain my pounding heart and ask calmly.


Saber doesn't answer.

...That's fine too.

If she cannot answer, chances are good that her wish is a selfish one.

Considering Saber's personality, she would hesitate to speak of a selfish wish.

So――I would prefer if she keep quiet and not tell me a ridiculous wish.

Such whining fills my head.

"Is it that hard?

Grandfather said the wish of the Servants is to be resurrected into this world. Those Servants seek the Holy Grail to live a second life. Isn't that the case for you, Saber?"

I raise my head at her words.

There's no problem if that's Saber's wish.


"――No, I have no interest in a second life.

My intentions are close to those of Rin and Illyasviel. My goal is only to obtain the Holy Grail.

I became a Servant as a price to obtain the Holy Grail."

――I knew that had to be it.

I knew the girl who took that oath pulling out the sword would not seek a second life.

"...Hold on. You became a Servant in exchange for obtaining the Holy Grail...? You mean the contract when you become a heroic spirit?"

"Yes. In exchange for becoming a Servant, I seek the Holy Grail."


Then you're not a Servant summoned to obtain the Holy Grail, but you became a Servant by your own will...!?"

She must be really surprised as she yells all this, then tilts her head not believing her own words.

"...So Saber wasn't summoned because she was a heroic spirit, but she joined this battle willingly?"

"But as long as you're a Servant, you're respected as a heroic spirit. So you can't interfere with this world deliberately... then you're well beyond the Servants' rule... no, that's not right.

Geez, hold on. I'll work this out."

"No, you do not need to do so. What you said is correct.

I am different from the other Servants.

I have yet to become a complete Servant."

"Not a complete Servant――?"

What does that mean?

No, more importantly――what does it mean to become a Servant?

Saber said...

She agreed to become a Servant as a price for obtaining the Holy Grail.

Then that means――

"...Hold on.

Could it be that the Servants are forced to fight as the price for obtaining something?"

"No, that is wrong. From the very beginning, Servants are special familiars that exist only for the Holy Grail War.

'Servant' is summoning magecraft that uses the special characteristics of the heroic spirits.

They were originally heroic spirits, so they do not have any rules like 'I was given bread, so I have to work.'"

"...Yeah. The Servant system uses heroic spirits, guardian spirits.

They're using something that already exists, so there's no price for the Masters or the Servants to pay."

"But I've heard that before they become a Servant――they need to pay a price to become a heroic spirit.

Heroic spirits are guardians of the people, right?

It's like they work for people even after they die to prevent the destruction of humanity and so on."

"So, to become this guardian, a living hero must make a contract with something.

This is the contract of the heroic spirits――a ritual to give their existence to the world after they die."

"The ones who obtain riches from the exchange become heroes, and after they do whatever they want to as heroes and die, they become Servants to pay for these riches.

So in other words, they go into debt to become a hero, and repay the debt when they die by becoming a heroic spirit.

We summon Servants by stealing the debt liability from the world."

"Hm――so humans become heroes by contracting with something, and they're summoned as heroic spirits after they die to pay for becoming a hero?

Then the conditions of the exchange that Saber made is――"

The Holy Grail.

As Saber obtained the Holy Grail in her life, she became a heroic spirit after she died as a price――?

"...That's not right. Saber says her objective is to obtain the Holy Grail. But she should have already obtained it, because she became a hero in exchange for the Holy Grail."

"――No, Shirou. I have not yet obtained the Holy Grail.

Arturia――King Arthur's wish was to obtain the Holy Grail while she lived.

I had to obtain the Holy Grail before I died.

So I agreed that I would become a heroic spirit after I died if I could obtain the Holy Grail."

"As Rin said, humans make a contract with the world to become a hero, receive powers beyond human, and pay for it with life after death.

...But I did not need the help of the world to become a hero. Fortunately, King Arthur needed no support to become a hero."

...She didn't need support to become a hero.

So Saber became a hero by her own powers.

"...Hmm. But you're here as a heroic spirit.

Does that mean King Arthur requested a different exchange from the world after he became a hero?"

"...Yes. I needed the Holy Grail in my final moments. I could not stand not having the Holy Grail. A wish appeared that I needed to have granted.

That is why I made the contract of the heroic spirits.

That if I could obtain the Holy Grail, I would wield my sword as a heroic spirit after my death."


In her last moment, she wished for the Holy Grail's miracle.

...I understand how she feels.

That bloody hill.

A grave of many swords and the many corpses of knights.

A lone king whose reign ended in betrayal.

...Her last moment was too unfair.

Even if she had no wish of her own before then, she must have thought that...

I can't die here.

I didn't want an end like this.

So――if she wishes to prolong her life, she shouldn't be embarrassed about it――

"...I see. So you became able to obtain the Holy Grail by selling yourself off after death.

But Saber, your condition was to obtain the Holy Grail while you were alive, right?


"Yes. I could not complete my search for the Holy Grail while I was alive. I――King Arthur could not obtain the Holy Grail even at the very end.

But the contract cannot be completed like that.

For the world to obtain me as a Servant, it must grant the Holy Grail while King Arthur is alive.


"――King Arthur will not die until she obtains the Holy Grail. No, King Arthur cannot die.

Then, you're..."

"...Yes. Time stopped for me, King Arthur, at the moment of death.

According to the timeline, I should be already dead, but it will not be able to fulfill the contract that way.

King Arthur is summoned as a Servant and must die after she obtains the Holy Grail."

"――So time itself isn't stopped, but you're stopped in time, huh?

...It doesn't matter how many times you repeat the fight as a Servant. Because the result of obtaining the Holy Grail and fulfilling your contract is determined, so...."

"That is correct. Eventually, I will obtain the Holy Grail and fulfill the contract. That is why I can be summoned into many ages before I become a heroic spirit, on the condition that my becoming a heroic spirit is already determined."

"Not only the Holy Grail in this town.

If there is a chance to obtain the Holy Grail, I will be summoned to any battlefield.

And when I eventually obtain the Holy Grail and grant my wish, my stopped time shall start moving again.

King Arthur will face death and become a heroic spirit as a price for obtaining the Holy Grail."

"...So it's like having a dream you can't wake up from right before your death, huh?

This Holy Grail War is just one of those dreams for Saber.

And you'll only be able to wake up when you obtain the Holy Grail."

"Rin, you said that Shirou could not turn me into spirit form because he is inexperienced. But that is wrong. I cannot become a spirit because I have not died yet.

I am handled differently, but I am still classified as a living being.

...It was the same in the last Holy Grail War."

...Saber says so as if she's apologizing.

I guess because she was lying about being stuck in physical form because I was inexperienced.


I don't really care about that.

There's something more important that I have to ask her.

"Saber. What do you mean by you're not dead yet? I understand that you won't die until you obtain the Holy Grail.

...From the conversation, I understand that you haven't been alive since the time of King Arthur.

But then, what are you right now?

You're not a copy of the real body, right?"

"No. 'Heroic spirits' that are summoned are all like copies of the 'true body', but I have not yet reached that rank.

Until I obtain the Holy Grail, I am called in the form of 'myself about to die'."

"As Rin said, King Arthur is stopped in the river of time.

I must jump forward or backward from that position, and return to that stopped point once I obtain the Holy Grail."

I draw a diagram in my head.

...I see, it's pretty simple once I visualize it.

King Arthur is stopped at the moment before death.

The flow of time doesn't care that she's stopped.

It keeps flowing and we're at the present.

She jumps to each time as needed and returns to her own time after completing her duty.

If she obtains the Holy Grail in one of the times she visits, her time will flow again and she will die, just like the history we know today.

...Then heroic spirits must exist like this.

When they die, they are transferred to a place like a 'warehouse', where time doesn't flow.

And they are summoned into various ages and disappear without returning.

So that must be what they mean by heroic spirits being a copy.

It's like a clone made from their DNA.

The 'heroic spirit' that has complete abilities and memories of when it was alive will appear in this world and learn many things. But it is useless.

They have no way to return to the main body, but merely disappear.

So no matter how many times they are summoned into the same age, there will be no inconsistencies in their memories.

I assume the ones that became heroic spirits will not change anymore.

Even if they obtain new knowledge, the self that learns it will just disappear once the duty is complete.

...In that regard, Saber isn't a complete Servant.

Because Saber returns to her own time even after she is summoned.

――To the self that is about to die on that bloody hill.

"Hold on.

Then, what? You're going to take it back to your time and use it if you obtain the Holy Grail!?

That's altering the past! Time travel and management of parallel universes is True magecraft. There's no way you'll be able to do that."

"But the Holy Grail allows me to do this.

I made a contract that I would become a Servant if I can use the Holy Grail.

The price being becoming a Servant, even if it means the elimination of the person called Arturia."

Saber talks without much interest.

But that's strange.

Making a wish come true using the Holy Grail, that's fine.

But why did she say Arturia would disappear as a result?

"...What are you talking about? Arturia will disappear when she uses the Holy Grail...? Don't mess around.

Saber. You're――"

That girl, about to die quietly, alone on that hill.

"――not going to use the Holy Grail to save yourself?"

"...? What do you mean, Shirou?

My only desire is to save my country from ruin...."


I can sense that my face is frozen.

I should already have realized this, but my mind is spacing out and I feel like throwing up.


But still.

I force my question out.

"It is obvious.

I could not protect my country. I became king to protect the country, but I could not fulfill that duty.

I thought at that time...

That perhaps the sword chose me by mistake."


That's stupid.


"...No, I always had such doubts.

That I might not be the right king.

That there was another hero who should have been chosen.

At that time――when I pulled the sword out, there must have been a suitable king who would have been able to save the country I could not.

...So if I could redo the selection of the king using the power of the Holy Grail, then――"

...Then, what?

Does she mean to say that her country would not have been destroyed if she returned to that time?


I feel faint.

I'm quickly surpassing mere anger that Saber would seriously wish for such a thing.

I guess I'm dumbfounded right now.

It's only natural.

Saber's wish is not for herself. And on top of that, it means her elimination.

The girl in front of me exists because that holy sword was there and because a king pulled it out.

――Preventing that would mean that the girl in front of me would not exist.

Let's say she grants her wish using the Holy Grail.

The girl Arturia, never becoming king, would live out her days as a knight.

But what about the Saber in front of me?

As she is a heroic spirit, she will continue to be summoned to fight after her wish is granted.

Since she paid a price to obtain the Holy Grail, Saber will continue to be, even if Arturia doesn't become king.

Taken away from the future and from the past.

She will forever be the lonely king dying on that hill.


I can't allow that.

There's no salvation there.

Even if she did redo everything and there really is a more appropriate king and her country lasts longer as a result, and even if she is saved...

――It's a lie.

Even if everyone around her becomes happy, the ten years she fought can't just disappear.

"No――you can't do that.

You can't redo things and it's useless even to try."


"――Don't use the Holy Grail for such a thing.

You're going to obtain the Holy Grail by fighting yourself, right? So you should use that miracle for your own sake."

"...As I have told you, I will be using it for myself.

I――Arturia must fulfill her duty as king."


So why don't you understand――!?

"Don't be ridiculous, you've already fulfilled more than your duty...! You've fought that much already. You didn't give up even when you were betrayed or feared. You didn't let go of your sword until the very end on that hill.

So why――why do you have to keep such promises even after you die...!?"


Saber is astonished.


――It's too late to regret what I've said.

I shouldn't have admitted that I see Saber's past in my dreams.


...A heavy silence.

There are no words to give her nor any words to reply.

I can sense that anything I say will backfire in this situation.

But still――I can't just stay silent.

"...Saber. I don't like it when people aren't rewarded for their hard work."

It's meaningless that way, and it's just too unfair.

I know it's a childish ideal, but I want to believe that people will get happier the more they work for it.

"...I won't lose to other Masters.

I'll obtain the Holy Grail for sure.

...So please, grant your own wish.

If you do――I'll actually be able to find some meaning in this stupid war."


That's the conclusion I've reached.

I don't know what the Holy Grail is nor if it's right to obtain it.

But if Saber will be saved even a little, I'll be able to try with all my powers――


The loud bell rings out and the house falls into darkness.

The surrounding air changes immediately.

Even though the lights suddenly went off, nobody says a thing and tries to feel the surroundings.

The loud ring stops and the living room is silent.


The sound of light things rubbing against each other can be heard in the distance.

"...Was that alarm the boundary field on this house...?"

I nod silently.

This sound is the same as when Lancer intruded.

Then this must be――


The sounds are increasing and coming closer.

...A strange sound.

It reminds me of bugs crawling around a light trap.

This living room is the only place free of the sound.

It hasn't even been a minute yet since the lights went out, but the living room is surrounded by this unknown sound.

"――An enemy? But even for a Servant, this is..."

There's too many of them.

I'm a magus too, even if I'm a bad one.

I can sense that many sources of magical energy surround this place.

Skimming quickly, I can at least count twenty.

...But they are strangely light.

I don't feel any human will.

The things making the sounds are like empty puppets.

"Oh, so they did come.

They were running away all this time, but they come out as soon as Berserker is gone.[l]

Really, this Servant is a schemer."


Unlike the three of us who are tense, Illya is strangely calm.

"You can tell, Illya!?"

"Of course. I can sense any Servant. The one outside is Caster, and there are lots of other things out there too. ――Oh, they're just cheap golems bound by dragons' teeth."

Illya says simply.

And――the sound stops at the same time.


I take the wooden sword I keep in the living room.

...Tohsaka and Saber seem to be waiting for me to make a move.


Scene 01

――I'll let Saber take care of Caster.

There are no Servants left that can beat Saber. And most importantly, Saber has a huge advantage over Caster.

Saber has strong magecraft resistance, so she is the ultimate natural enemy of Caster, a magus.

"Saber, can you go?"

"Yes. I should go alone if it is Caster.

Your judgment is correct."

"――All right. We'll defend this place. You can concentrate on beating Caster."

――I hear a strange sound.

Is it the sound of Saber slashing away Caster's familiars in the hallway?

"...They're increasing. Twenty, thirty, forty――hey, even if they're weak, that's too many..."

"It's no problem at all. There's no way some fake dragon warrior will be able to beat the incarnation of the dragon. Even a hundred of them would be no match for Saber."

...The sound moves off into the distance.

Perhaps they were slashed away by Saber, but the presence around this place is lessening.


As Illya said, it seems Caster's familiars can't stop Saber.

They must not be entering the living room because they have their hands full with Saber.

"――Just like her. Saber found Caster.

Caster's quickly gathering all her familiars back to her, but I guess this is it."

If Illya's words are true, the battle will end soon.

Saber won't lose in a one-on-one fight.

As Saber has no need to protect us, she should slash Caster away easily.

"You look depressed. You seem unhappy even though this battle's almost at an end."

"You too, Tohsaka. You look like you don't like this."

"Yeah. ...Everything's going too well.

Even if Saber is much stronger than Caster expected, I wonder if Caster would come and attack us without a backup plan."


...That's right.

Caster came to this mansion willingly.

If Caster knew a Master was here, Caster should also know which Servant is here.

Saber, her natural enemy, is here.

...If Caster comes to attack here in spite of that, that would mean――

"The sound stopped... Illya, what happened to Caster's presence?"

"It disappeared. The familiars are still there, but the only Servant remaining is Saber."

"The familiars are still there...?

...!? Shirou, your hand...!"


I look at my left hand.

What does it mean?

The proof of the contract, the Command Spell, has disappeared.

"Shirou, did you use your Command Spell...!?"

"No. I didn't use it."


What's going on?

Saber should have defeated Caster with no problems.

So why did my Command Spell disappear?

...No, the disappearance of the Command Spell doesn't mean the end of the contract, so I shouldn't panic too much.

The Command Spell is there to control disobedient Servants.

I never needed it with Saber.

So even if it goes away, Saber and I will do just fine.

"...Saber's coming back. She'll be here soon."


...What are they doing?

Saber's coming back, so why do they have to be on guard like that?

...The door opens.

Saber enters, and...

"... Guh..."

...Steps in, holding her chest in pain.


I run to her.

"...! Hold on, Shirou...!"

I can't hear Tohsaka's warning.

My only concern is Saber in pain.

"Are you all right, Saber? Where――"

"Wha――no, run Shirou...!

Saber, stop――!"


――I'm slashed from my left shoulder to the waist in a single blow.

The brilliant slash numbs the pain, and that mysterious healing power doesn't work against Saber's sword.


My consciousness fades away.

...Before I die...

Eclipsing my fear of death is the question of why Saber killed me――

Scene 02

It's clear who the enemy is.

If the enemy Servant... if Caster is attacking with troops, there's only one thing to do.

"...It's no good just staying here. Saber, come with me. Tohsaka, protect Illya."

"What!? No, I don't want to look after Rin!"

"I don't like it either. But you said you'd listen to what Shirou says. So obey him politely."

"I don't care!

I'll be more helpful than Saber――"

Tohsaka binds Illya's arm behind her back and puts her hand over Illya's mouth.

"...! ...!!!! ...!!!!!"

Illya continues to throw out insults.

"I know, I'll protect Illya. You two go and get Caster while I do so."

"I'm depending on you. But don't work too hard. Think more about escaping than beating the enemy."

Tohsaka nods back, telling me I don't even need to say it.

Turning my back on Tohsaka, I hurry out to the hallway leading to the porch.


"I know. I will protect Shirou."

Nodding back to Tohsaka, Saber follows me.

In that moment.

I doubt my own eyes.

A sword is swung down on me.

An unavoidable strike attacks me, aiming for my open head.


I avoid it by twisting my body and parrying instantly with my wooden sword.

I can't believe it myself.

My body reacted as soon as my mind understood I was going to die.

It attacks me the second time without hesitation.

A smooth, mechanical movement.

A wasteless, accurate attack.

――But that's all.

It's just accurate and it's not refined nor scary.

The attack looks foolish compared to those of Saber, and it feels like the touch of a feather compared to Berserker's.


I repel the attack with my back to the wall.

And in the space I retreated through,

Saber's lightning strike smashes down.

"Shirou, are you all right?"

"As you can see. I was scared, but I made it."

"Do not say 'you made it'. You must follow me in a situation like this. Please be cautious from now on."

Saber scolds my carelessness.

She's right, but I just didn't want to be following after her.

"Shirou? Are you listening to me?"

"Yeah, I'm listening... But what was that――?"

There's nothing in the hallway.

The strange thing that was blown away by Saber's attack has vanished like an illusion.

"As Illyasviel said, they are warriors made by using a monster's body as a catalyst. It seems more like a golem than an automaton, but the quality is low. There should be no problem even if we are surrounded by such things――"


Where were they hiding... no, when did they get this far in?

Those things, like bad building blocks, are gathering with spider-like movements.

And on top of that, they aren't the only presence I feel.

Many more bones are surrounding this mansion――

"Shirou, to your side!"


I jump away from the wall instantly.

"Ku, damn――!"

I slash at the bones sidling up on me.

After that, Saber smashes away the bones to protect my back...!

The bones move in with loose movements and all attack in the same way.

It's not hard to repel them, but the house gets destroyed by every attack.

No, and I only have a wooden sword.

Even with the "strengthening" magecraft on it, it won't last too much longer.

...And I don't want to think about it, but the number of these bone creatures might be infinite.

We might continue this skirmish until we collapse――

"Damn, where the hell are they coming from...!?"

I complain with my back to Saber.

Not many bone creatures are coming for me.

They must be coming from inside the house as well, but most of them are coming in from the yard.

Saber is slashing away the ones coming in from there.

...Their goal is the living room.

As Illya and Tohsaka are in the living room, Saber is busy dealing with the ones heading there――


Saber readies her sword again..

Her sword isn't invisible now.

Maybe there's no need to hide it now, but the golden sword is glowing to show off its true powers.

"――H-Hold on, Saber! Don't use Excalibur! I don't care if my house gets blown awa... well, I do mind, but there're other houses around here. You should know what'll happen if you use it here...!"

I yell while parrying away bones in front of me.

"...I will obey if it is your order, but――it is too troublesome to face such a great number of enemies. We shall be put in danger if we do not sweep them all away."

"I know. They're like familiars, right? Then we'll get the whole army if we get the one controlling them. Saber, can you search for Caster's presence?"

"I do not even need to search. Caster is out in the yard.

...It seems Caster is luring us as the presence is not concealed."

"I don't care. Let's fall for the temptation. We'll tire out first if we continue like this."

"I do not mind. Then we shall go to attack Caster?"


The yard is right there.

If Caster's in the yard, it shouldn't be too hard to get there.

But that means losing the defense.

It's fine now since Saber's here, but the defenses holding the bone creatures off will go away once Saber goes out to the yard.

I should――

Scene 03

A red hill covered in corpses, and a gray sky.

The heavy clouds drifting away announce the end of the battle.

...I know this scene. This is a scene I've seen many times already.

This is one of the battles Saber experienced.

These are the remains of a battleground so familiar to her as she is always victorious.

After this, she will return to her castle, the people will celebrate her victory, and they will prepare for the next battle.

This is her everyday life.

This is but one of the twelve great battles she has gone through.

That is why she does not bear any memories of the victory, but merely accepts it calmly.

I think about such random things.

――That is not a dream

Just a cold truth that cannot be changed.

From the moment she drew the sword from the stone, she was not human.

After becoming a feudal lord like her father, she became a king with many knights.

She was called King Arthur or Arturia, and the girl who had tried to become a knight had her life turned around.


It is more correct to say that it ended.

At that instant, the girl with childlike features disappeared and the only existence permitted was that of the king of knights.

She acted as the son of the king.

That is because the one to govern many territories and control the knights had to be male.

The only ones who knew that the king was just a girl were her father and the magus.

She literally covered herself in steel and sealed that truth for all her life.

...Why didn't I realize what that meant?

Someone placed before everyone managed to keep her identity secret.

I don't know what suffering she went through as I'm only watching from a distance.

...Time passes.

These must be her memories of the ten years she spent as king.

There's only one thing common to all of them.

Even on the throne.

Even in a hallway.

Even on the battlefield.

No one talked to her.

Even the loud round table filled with the knights' tales of bravado falls silent when the king steps in.

So that's what it means.

She was only idolized.

Many knights looked down on Arturia who looked like a small kid, and they did not approve of swearing their sword to her.

But because she drew out the sword that they could not, they had to obey her at least in form.

They just accepted the disgrace, believing that it would pass.

Even if she drew the sword, she is just a child.

Even with Merlin's help, she will fail soon enough.

When that happens, they need to only take the holy sword away from her and reselect the king.

That's what most of the knights thought.

But the results were different.

The knight that just entered adulthood was a king without flaw.

She brought peace to the fighting lords and immediately fought off the invading enemies.

Of course, it wasn't because of the power of the holy sword.

The holy sword only protects the king.

It is the king's power that protects the country.

And in that way, she suppressed the knights with results.

The protection of the holy sword works only against enemy swords.

It does not help rule over people's hearts.

She worked hard to be an ideal king.

And so, the knights had to follow their king from their heart.

They suppressed their dissatisfaction with the young king, as they saw he was perfect.

She tried to be an ideal king.

Being an ideal king was the condition of their support.

――There was no room for the human, Arturia.

The girl determined to be king.

A great knight who pulled out the holy sword, who did not age from that moment on, and one who won twelve great battles.

The more perfect she was, the more people kept away from her.

The longer she stayed that way, the more isolated she became.

――That was her true identity.

But she still did well.

No, she did too well.

She defeated her enemies efficiently and minimized the victims in battle.

No matter what kind of a war it is, a battle will have victims.

So she believed she should make sacrifices before the war to prepare the army and to defeat the enemy efficiently.

She would exhaust one village to prepare the army, defeat the invaders before they could damage the land, and save ten villages.

That was the solution she came up with as the king, and in truth, it was the best policy.

But the knights must have been unhappy.

For them, only the invaders should die. It was only proper to win without allowing any victims.

There is no need to sacrifice one's own territory before a battle.

We will win, so there will not be any victims.

There will not be any victims, so the king's actions are fruitless. That's what they thought.

Of course, that was just a fantasy.

Once the battle began, the knights did not think about the small villages. It was only natural for them to trample over them as the small villages are not what they seek to protect.

The knights say it is only natural to be destroyed by the invaders, but it is a great sin to destroy them with our own hands.

Of course, she knew that.

But a king cannot allow her personal feelings to affect her decisions.

She kills her emotions to make a decision, and the knights suppress their personal feelings to obey.

And after many sacrifices and continuing victories, the country became stable.

The price of that was a revolt against the king.

"King Arthur does not understand human feelings."

One knight said so and left the castle.

...It's a ridiculous story.

Nobody wanted her to be human, but they revolted against her because she didn't have a human's feelings.

The age of chaos continues.

The knights, who had been dissatisfied with the king for some time, became more dissatisfied after that one knight left.

They pushed all problems onto her and cornered her.

Ruin was in sight.

Death if she could not solve all the problems.

Even if she did solve them, the result would be the same.

But such trivial things are of no concern to a king.

Her mind will not change even if she is abandoned, feared, or betrayed.

...Probably because she had her mind made up long before.

She abandoned her emotions from the moment she decided to pull out the sword.

――A scene from a few years before.

Knights from all over the country gathered to try to pull out the sword in the stone.

But nobody could pull it out, and the knights were desperate to choose the most superior king by competing jousting skills.

The knights went to the arena and forgot about the sword.

...It felt much like watching a festival from a distance.

In the distance are the brave sounds of the cavalry.

The roars of the knights are far away and there is no one around the stone.

What did the girl think before that?

Before she realized it, an unknown magus was standing behind her.

"You should think this through before you grab that."

He says he is not trying to frighten her, but that she should stop.

"You will not be human once you take hold of the sword."

He also said that she would be resented by all humanity and die a miserable death.

She could not have been without fear.

Because the magus showed her.

The end she would face if she took the sword.


But that just made the girl more determined.

She nodded firmly, even when she was shown her future.

The magus asks her if she is really fine with that.

"――Many people were smiling.

I do not believe it will be a mistake."

She takes the sword.

The magus turns his back...

"A miracle has a price. In exchange, you will lose the thing most important to you."

And leaves those prophetic words.

That's right.

The girl only wanted to protect everyone.

But to do so, she had to throw away the emotion of 'wanting to protect people'.

...Because one cannot protect a country as king if one has human emotions.

She accepted it and pulled out the sword.

She accepted it and swore to live as the king.

So her heart would not change even if she was abandoned, feared, or betrayed.

She threw away her heart.

The young girl decided to protect in exchange for it.

Who would ever know of such a sublime oath?

――She chose to fight.

No matter what.

――She still chose to fight.

Even if there was inevitable solitary ruin waiting at the end.

And the end was this.

The battle of Camlann.

One knight usurped the throne while King Arthur was on a campaign, her country split into two, and a war began.

In the legend, it is said that knights and chivalry were utterly destroyed.

She slashed away the knights that once followed her and attacked the lands she once protected.

The knights who sided with her died and her body was crippled.

There was nobody around her.

That's normal. Nothing has changed.

The only thing in her heart is her pride as the king.

She knew of this end.

But she still ran through her life because she believed something came of it.

That's why she has no regrets.

If there is one regret, it is that the country is in ruin.

She raises her eyes.

She might be able to see the distant castle from this hill.

But all that's there is the remains of the battle, a deep forest, and a lake she must return to.


The hill she ran through is now a wall she cannot climb over.

Strength escapes her shoulders.

And for the first time, the girl lets go of the holy sword by her own will.

――And that is the end.

It's only natural for the dream to end there.

Because that is the end of her memories.

...So this is one end that cannot be changed.

She worked so hard, she was resented, and she was betrayed.

No one ever realized that she loved the people more than the country, and she was always the merciless king.

She was never rewarded or understood.

On the red hill of swords, the solitary girl who was always betrayed, is about to face death――

I wake up to the sound of the rain.

"...It's morning."

I hold my shaking head and get my body up.

It's not six yet.

The sound of rain from outside isn't that loud.

It's not a shower or a drizzle, but just normal rain.


I rattle my teeth at the sudden headache.

But it only lasts for a moment.

Neither the pain nor the image that pops into my head lasts long.

But that scene is more than enough to wake my brain up.

"...That dream――"

No, I don't even need to confirm it.

That was Saber's past.

It was the end of her life that happened a long time ago that cannot be changed.


Before I realize it, I'm gritting my teeth.

It's making a sound.

Somehow, I'm really angry.

I grit my teeth loudly and suppress the urge to have a fit.

"――Dammit! What was that?"

Just remembering it makes me mad.

Her past, her thinking nothing of it, and me thinking the dream was nothing.


I don't like it.

I don't know what I don't like about it, but I just don't.

... I hate it.

I don't want that.

That life was unfair, no matter how you look at it.

Such a life is wrong.

She only wished for others. She did not wish anything for herself in return.

She worked so hard, but nobody knew about it. That pisses me off.

That's just too unfair to her――


...That's right.

If she worked harder than anybody else, she should be rewarded the most.

She has to be rewarded for all the things she's done.



What can be done now?

Can I just tell her that she did a good job?

Praise her that she was great?

Of course not.

Such easy words won't fix anything.

"...I know. There's only one answer."

...That's right.

If she is to be rewarded, her life must be repaid.

The girl called Arturia has to become happy in proportion to how much she has fought.

"――But, what can I do?"

My train of thought stops there.

I don't know how to make people happy.

...That makes me realize my own distortions.

I've been living trying to be a superhero, but all I've been doing is lending people a hand.

I believed everybody around me would be happy if I helped others like that.


I couldn't move forward with pride unless I believed that.


...Helping someone and saving someone are essentially different.

I can't think of a way to reward Saber because I don't know the difference between the two――

Scene 04


The sound of glass breaking.

I hear sounds of fighting in the living room.

"Shirou, please give me an order. There is no time to be indecisive."

I know.

Either way, we're making the situation worse by delaying the decision.

"――We'll get Caster. I told Tohsaka to take care of Illya."

"Then let us go. Master, I will entrust you with my back."

Saber runs, smashing away the swarming bone creatures.

It looks like a snow-plow driving through snow.

The bone warriors vanish without even being able to approach Saber.

Are they like snowflakes?

There're so many scattering bones that I feel like I'm in a snowstorm.


She told me I'd have her back, but there's no need to protect her like this.

She more than makes me realize how great a swordsman she is.

Saber charges without doubt.

The foundation for all these bones.

To defeat the unseen sixth Servant that has invaded this mansion.

Saber stops.

The swarming warriors cannot be seen anymore.

This must be the end as someone is standing there.

A distorted figure.

The figure, wearing some kind of robe cannot be seen as if only that spot is smudged in black.

...A black shadow.

I'm assaulted by an unknown unease the instant I look at it.

"So you are Saber? ...I see. You are certainly capable of defeating Berserker. My troops would not even slow you down."

The figure snickers.

It seems the thing in black is the master of the bone creatures... Servant Caster.


"No Master...?"

I don't see any sign of a Master near the figure.

Is Caster the same as Lancer, the type to take action away from their Master...?

"――You. Is your contract gone?"

Saber asks unpleasantly.

"Yes. He was not a suitable Master for me, so I made him disappear."

I don't know what kind of expression the black robe is making.

But Caster answers in a cold voice.

"Master killer――then your Master is..."

"Already dead. But there is no problem with that, Saber.

We are soul-eaters, correct? There is an abundance of magical energy sources.

All that remains is, yes――if I obtain the Holy Grail, there will be no more worries for me."

"...So you wish for revival into this world as well? I do not know which heroic spirit you are, but you threw away your pride for that?"

"Oh. So you do not feel that working for humans is throwing away your pride?

I just could not stand that. I do not wish to be anyone's servant. So I just became the user. You have no grounds to criticize me."

"――I would assume so. I also have no interest in your ill acts."

Saber's body inclines a little.

――There's only about ten meters to Caster.

Saber should be able to close in on Caster in under one breath and slash Caster away.

"How dangerous. I tried to come and talk, but you act like there is nothing to talk about. I went easy on you, you know?"

"I have nothing to talk to you about. Die here in grace."

Saber intends to kill Caster.

...I won't oppose.

I can only smell blood on Caster.

I bet what Caster said about killing her Master is true.

This raid was also intended to kill everyone here.


So there's no reason to stop Saber.

First of all, Caster won't even be a match for Saber.

I can sense Caster's ability.

Caster is the weakest when it comes to one-on-one combat.

In this situation, Caster can do nothing but fall to Saber.

"...Don't do it, Saber."

But I can't shake off this strange unease.

This isn't like the hopeless premonition of death like with Berserker.

It must be physiological hatred or an alarm against something bad.

My left hand throbs as if to tell me that Saber shouldn't go near that thing――


I hesitated too long.

Saber jumps and sprints to the black shadow.

The distorted shadow smiles.

Caster doesn't seem to be panicking about the approaching Saber.


Caster says something in a language I can't hear and casts something that appeals to the brain more than words.

The world distorts in that instant.

No, the density of the air changes only around Saber.


A huge impact.

The ground sinks and it seems like something large came crashing down onto Saber.

"No way――casting magecraft without any actions――!?"

No, there was a murmur like a spell.

Spells can indeed be shortened. The easier the magecraft, the shorter one can reduce the spell to change the self.

But what's occurring before me is a great magecraft.

No magus can express that in one word.

Even if it is possible, they'd have to prepare a catalyst beforehand like Tohsaka does.

But still, Caster executed great magecraft with just one murmur.

...Caster isn't just on a different level.

If that was Caster's magecraft, that figure is no mere magus――


Saber is frozen on the spot.

Her leg froze as it kicked off the ground.

She is bound in space right now.

No, the air surrounding her has transformed into something like clear gelatin.


Even if I try to approach her, I'm pushed away by an invisible soft membrane.

It seems that this is only around Saber, but as long as her feet are not on the ground, Saber cannot move.

"I guess you took me too lightly, Saber. I do not know how good the magi in your age were, but I have lived in the age of gods.

My magecraft must look like True magecraft for magi in these times."

A laugh comes from the black robe.

Saber is still bound in space.

"――I see. So this is really all you are capable of, Caster?"

She spits those words out.

"magecraft resistance...!? It repels even my magecraft――!?"

The black robe retreats.

After cancelling Caster's magecraft in an instant, Saber dashes with lightning speed.


But I――

Scene 05

――I'm not happy about just relying on Saber, but we have no choice now.

Even though we came out together, I'm just a burden to her.

Saber should be able to get through the bone creatures and get to Caster by herself.

"――Saber, can you?"

"Yes. Then please return to where Rin is. You should be able to hold on for a few minutes with Rin and Illyasviel."

"All right. I'll be waiting in the living room, Saber."

"I will return quickly.

...Um, as I tried to use the Noble Phantasm just now, I have no right to say this, but this is your house, Shirou.

I will not allow them to destroy it any further."

She jumps out into the yard with light footsteps.

Saber slashes away the swarming bone creatures without difficulty.

"――All right."

Let's head back to the living room.

If I stay here, I might get surrounded by the bone creatures and trouble Saber.

"Shirou!? What's wrong? Did something happen to Saber...!?"

"Eh? No, that's not it. Caster's familiars... they're bone creatures, but there are so many of them.

It seemed like they might overwhelm us in number, so Saber went to defeat the source, Caster.

I'd just be holding her back, so we're going to lock ourselves in here until Saber's done."

"I see. ...Certainly, the number of familiars out there is ridiculous.

Illya says we shouldn't worry, but there's a limit even for Saber. So she went to get the source before she tires, huh?"

"It seems like it. The warriors around this place are moving toward the yard. It seems like Caster's desperate, cornered by Saber.

But this is it. Caster won't be able to defeat Saber no matter what."

"――You're right. The sounds are gone now."

I don't feel any hostile presence here.

As long as we don't go outside, there's no danger of getting attacked by those bone creatures.

...And if Illya's words are true, the battle will end soon.

Saber won't lose in a one-on-one fight.

As Saber doesn't need to protect us, she should slash Caster away easily.

"You look depressed. You seem unhappy even though this battle's almost at an end."

"You too, Tohsaka. You look like you don't like this."

"Yeah. ...Everything's going too well.

Even if Saber is much stronger than Caster expected, I wonder if Caster would come and attack us without a backup plan."


...That's right.

Caster came to this mansion willingly.

If Caster knew a Master was here, Caster should also know which Servant is here.

Saber, her natural enemy, is here.

...If Caster comes to attack here in spite of that, that would mean――

"The sound stopped... Illya, what happened to Caster's presence?"

"It disappeared. The familiars are still there, but the only Servant remaining is Saber."

"The familiars are still there...?

...!? Shirou, your hand...!"


I look at my left hand.

What does it mean?

The proof of the contract, the Command Spell, has disappeared.

"Shirou, did you use your Command Spell...!?"

"No. I didn't use it."


What's going on?

Saber should have defeated Caster with no problems.

So why did my Command Spell disappear?

...No, the disappearance of the Command Spell doesn't mean the end of the contract, so I shouldn't panic too much.

The Command Spell is there to control disobedient Servants.

I never needed it with Saber.

So even if it goes away, Saber and I will do just fine.

"...Saber's coming back. She'll be here soon."


...What are they doing?

Saber's coming back, so why do they have to be on guard like that?

...The door opens.

Saber enters, and...

"... Guh..."

...Steps in, holding her chest in pain.


I run to her.

"...! Hold on, Shirou...!"

I can't hear Tohsaka's warning.

My only concern is Saber in pain.

"Are you all right, Saber? Where――"

"Wha――no, run Shirou...!

Saber, stop――!"


――I'm slashed from my left shoulder to the waist in a single blow.

The brilliant slash numbs the pain, and that mysterious healing power doesn't work against Saber's sword.


My consciousness fades away.

...Before I die...

Eclipsing my fear of death is the question of why Saber killed me――

Scene 06

"What is wrong? Are you not going to eat, Illyasviel?

You have not eaten a third of what you ate yesterday."

"No, I just can't eat this. I can't eat spicy food."

"...Hmm. I do not think it is that spicy. This spice is very good with this chicken."

"I don't like mustard. Just eat it for me! I'll eat your strawberries instead."

"...! W-What are you doing, Illyasviel!?

Hey, return that! You cannot have that. You may have the apple pie if you want something sweet!"


Sitting next to each other, the two of them are fighting like close sisters.

It's past noon.

We three are eating lunch together like yesterday.

...Oh yeah, the lunch isn't the only thing that's the same as yesterday.

The training before this was exactly like yesterday's.

No, it was more awkward today.

...I don't know how to put it, but my heart starts beating hard when I see Saber and I can't attack her seriously now.

Saber is also acting strangely as she never used to overlook such openings, but now she waits for me to attack. And for a while, we just stared at each other.

"What's wrong? It's boring if you don't do anything."

I renewed my spirits with that and attacked Saber, but the results were the same.

After repelling my half-assed attack, she would not counter and let me go.

As I wasn't attacked, I would face Saber again and charge again, but she would overlook me again.

This strange time ended about ten minutes ago.

At Saber's request, we entered the lunch break, and we're eating lunch now.

The menu is the same as yesterday: sandwich.

But I couldn't just make the same thing as yesterday, so I elaborated on the ingredients and it seems they really like it.

Illya is in high spirits and Saber caught her breath, faced with the multicolored sandwiches.

...I'm just guessing, but I think Saber must have been getting ready.

Anyways, it's much louder today than yesterday.

It's raining outside and the floor is cold wood, but I think this feels like a picnic.

"Geez, that is enough, Illyasviel.

Your clothes will get dirty like that. That happens because you try to eat in one bite like Shirou. Your mouth is small, so you should eat more slowly."

"Heh, you're the one who doesn't understand. It's even more impolite to worry about manners at a lunch like this.

This is a picnic, so acting like this is correct, right Shirou!?"

Illya munches on the sandwich happily.

Saber wipes Illya's mouth.

"Kya――aha, that tickles, Saber."


...It's a bit surprising.

It's not just Saber, as Illya trusts Saber more than she did yesterday.

"...I am surprised. You do not reject me, Illyasviel?"

"Why? I like being treated kindly.

Yeah, if anyone else touches me, I'll kill them. But I'll forgive you since you're pretty.

And you're someone to eat lunch with. If you like me, I like you too."

Illya says so simply.


Saber looks at Illya dumbfounded.

Illya's smile was a surprise attack even for me, who is watching from the side.

"What? This isn't fun for you, Saber?"


"I'm having fun. It's raining outside, this place is too simple, and I have none of the things I wanted.

But being here is fun. It's much warmer than being alone, right? But you're not having fun?"


She must have felt something in Illya's smile.

Saber lets out a deep sigh and stares at the white girl.

"――You are right. Being like this is fun for me as well."

A clear voice.

She smiles in a way I have never seen before.


My heart feels warm for some reason.

That smile was good.

That smile was for herself.

Not a smile from watching over someone's safety.

But a smile because she is happy herself.

"Shirou? Why are you making that face? Did something good happen?"

"Huh? No, it's nothing... wait, was I making a strange face?"

"Yeah, you were. It was like a fatherly face. Like you're watching over us from afar.

I don't like faces like that."


I don't understand what she's talking about, but does that mean I was smiling?

"I see... well, something good happened, so maybe I was grinning."

"Um. Something good?"

"Yeah. I like the kind of smile you just made. I was just glad I got to see it."

"...I do not understand. You like such a thing?"

"Yeah. It seems I like seeing that kind of expression on you."

Saber nods, still not understanding.


She must have realized something as she smiles and raises her head.

"I see. Then it is the other way around."

"...? What do you mean?"

"I am happier if you are smiling. It is enough for me if you can keep smiling."


I can't look directly at Saber.

I bet anyone would overheat if they were smiled at like that.


Somehow, I calm myself down and sneak a peek at Saber.

Saber has returned to eating with a calm face.

There's no unease in her expression.

There's nothing to worry about, but something is nagging at the back of my head.

――I am happier if you are smiling.

Yes, with that smile I saw for the first time,

She was saying something entirely contradictory.

Scene 07

I lay a futon down in the living room and place Illya on it.

Even though she's unconscious, Illya's face looks calm and there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with her.

"Hey, don't look away! The bandage will slide off."

She hits my back.

"Ow...! Tohsaka, that's no way to treat a wounded guy!"

"Shut up. I'm treating your wounds, so be quiet for a while.

Here, raise your right hand. I don't think it's necessary, but I'll put some medicine on it as well."

"Tch――it's cold."

"It's fine if you can feel. Here, we'll wrap this up next."

She skillfully wraps the bandage around my right shoulder.

It's past ten.

After returning to the living room, Tohsaka started to treat my wounds.

She started, but the wounds have mostly already healed, so all that's left is to treat them just for show.

"Done. But you sure do have a strange body. Only vampires have bodies with such healing powers.

Are you really human?"

...I think she asked me something similar a while ago.

"Hey, I'm a normal human being.

I don't even know how this is happening, so I can't give you an answer."

"Don't play with me. Would a normal human be up and running after they've had their spinal cord cut?

I never asked because it was useful, but it's getting too freaky now. Maybe you're from some place where people can only be killed by decapitation?"


The worst part is, Tohsaka is seriously considering that.

She might come after my neck one day with an axe in hand.

"Hey, don't you think so too, Saber?

I think you're the cause, but it's still too far beyond human."

"Huh...? Shirou's healing power is not his own?"

"Of course not. Do you think someone who only knows 'strengthening' magecraft could do such high class magecraft?

His absurdity must come from being connected with you. I can only guess that your healing power is flowing into him."

"...Is that so? I have never felt such a connection. If that were the case, my magical energy should be flowing to Shirou even now. More importantly, my healing power is not as strong as Shir――"

"Saber? Why the sudden pale face?"


Saber is staring into space as if she can't hear Tohsaka.

"...No, it cannot be..."

Shaking her head, Saber looks away.



Tohsaka and I look at each other.

Saber's acting strange.

...No, I know why.

Saber's spirit has been low since that golden knight appeared.

"...Well, let's put the matter of Shirou on hold.

More importantly, Saber, did you know that gold guy? He was saying you were his."


Saber doesn't answer.

It's obviously something she doesn't want to talk about.

But I still want to know.

Tohsaka's question is mine as well.

"――Saber. Tell me if you know. Who was that guy? You called him Archer."

"...Yes. I do not wish to admit it, but I do know him. But it is impossible. There are only seven Servants. He cannot be summoned."

"Servants――so, he is a Servant."

No, that's obvious.

But in that case, there's a big problem.

"He is of class Archer. Of course, he is not the Archer whom Rin made a contract with. His abilities and character are too different."

...I know that too.

It only lasted a short while, but I was able to feel how much of a monster he was.

"Hold on. That's not right.

If he's the Servant Archer, that makes eight.

Seven should be the limit of the summons in a single period. It's not like they restock when some of them disappear. After all, even the Holy Grail doesn't have the magical energy to summon more than seven."

"There are seven Servants because that's the basic limit, right? Then how can they summon an eighth――hold on.

Saber, you met him in the previous war?"

"...Yes, Rin. On the last day of the previous Holy Grail War, I fought against him in a sea of fire."


My body tenses up for an instant.

Saber fought him in a sea of fire...?

...It's nothing new.

Kotomine already told me that the fire was caused by the Holy Grail War.

So this shouldn't be a surprise.

It's just――I was unconsciously trying not to think about it until now.

"What happened? Did you beat him?"

"No, I did not... no, I could not beat him. Because I..."

"――You were beaten instead?

He's someone you couldn't beat even when you were properly summoned?"

Saber hangs her head and doesn't answer.

That pretty much answers her question.

"Saber――couldn't win?"

Not just the imperfect Saber as she is now, but Saber with her full power?

...Is that even possible?

If you look at her skill as a swordsman, Saber certainly is invincible.

Admittedly, Saber was the weaker against Berserker.

But Saber has that Noble Phantasm.

The Noble Phantasms of other Servants are powerful, but Saber's exceeds even them.

I don't think there's any hero she can't beat using her holy sword――

"Then there's only one possible explanation.

He's not a Servant summoned in this war, but a Servant that remains from the previous war.

It only makes sense when that's true."


My mind stops.

It's not that I agree with Tohsaka.

But what she said matches what I've been hoping for since yesterday.

"...But that is..."

"That's the only possible explanation. Only seven Servants can be summoned each Holy Grail War. If there are any other Servants, they must be the 'winner' of the previous Holy Grail War. Am I wrong?"

...A heavy silence.


Why is she in such a good mood?

"Tohsaka. What are you so happy about?"

"Of course I'm happy. There's a precedent.

I don't know who he is, but he's the guy who won the last Holy Grail War, right?

Then he must have obtained the Holy Grail. And he's staying in this world because of its blessing."


"In other words, he's proof that you can keep your Servant in this world if you obtain the Holy Grail. I want to capture him and question him about it."

――Yeah, you're right.

I don't know who he is, but he's a Servant and he's still here after the previous war.

That means there's a way for Saber to stay in this world like him.

"Well, we don't know who he is or what his motive is, but I'm sure he's an enemy we'll need to defeat.

So Saber, what's his true identity?"

"...I do not know. Even at the end, I could not tell who he was.

That hero did not have a Noble Phantasm symbolic of him."

"He doesn't have a symbolic Noble Phantasm...? That can't be true. A Servant without a Noble Phantasm can't be a Servant.

"And besides, he――"

"Yeah, he was using so many. It should be easy to work out his true identity with so many Noble Phantasms. You just need to identify the appropriate hero for them."

"Then let me ask you. Did you recognize any of those Noble Phantasms?"

"Of course. Let's see..."

Tohsaka ponders,

She thinks about it for a minute.

But then, she tilts her head in confusion.

"――No way. That's impossible..."

"...? What's wrong, Tohsaka? What's impossible?"

"――I can't believe it. The bloody one was probably Dainsleif, and the one like a sickle was Herpe.

There was one that looked Chinese and another that looked like a Buddha thing――"

Tohsaka looks crazy, talking to herself.

I guess this is what you call digging yourself a hole.

"Um, that one was similar to Saber's sword, but it should be different. It seems like it's from Northern Europe judging from its simple design, and most forms of demonic sword are from Northern Europe, but――"

She starts to grit her teeth.

"Hey, Tohsaka."

There's no point in leaving her like that.

I have to stop her now or there'll be some damage.

I don't need to add that I'll be the one damaged.

"Tohsaka, Tohsaka. Come back."

"Geez, be quiet Shirou! I'm getting confused because you're bothering me!"

"I'm not trying to disturb you. It's about his Noble Phantasm, right?

I saw Dainsleif, Herpe, Durandal, Vajra, and Caladbolg. Oh, and I saw Gae Bolg.

I couldn't identify the Chinese one, but those are the most famous ones, right?"

"Ugh... you're right."

She glares at me in irritation.

I'm hurt if she makes a face like that.

I'm not knowledgeable, but it just popped into my head.

"But what does that mean!?

No hero has that many Noble Phantasms. No, more importantly, the sources are all different. I don't understand it――"

"Yes. That is why I could not tell his true identity.

He has an abundance of Noble Phantasms, the proofs of a hero. I could not narrow down his true identity because he had so many."

The two ponder.

Well, there's certainly no way to tell if he has that many.

It's like hiding a tree in a forest, or something.

"Shirou. Do you have anything?"

She glares at me. Yeah, she's definitely taking it out on me.

"Have what?"

"Anything you noticed or guessed. Anything that popped into your head.

What we need are unexpected opinions. Only accidents solve a deadlock situation."

Hm, she might be right.

"Hahaha, I see. ――You're making fun of me, right?"

"Don't be rude. I just think you're useless. So, do you have anything?"


I give up honestly.

Tohsaka groans in regret.

"...Then there's only one answer. Saber, don't you think they're all fakes? Nothing else can explain it."

"I feel the same way. However――"

"...? No, they're not fakes."

How did they arrive at that answer?

First of all, he wouldn't have been able to pierce Caster with fake Noble Phantasms.

"Oh. What do you base that on, Emiya-kun?"

"I'm saying those are real. Rather, everything else seems fake."


"Well, it's just my intuition. ...Um, it's hard to explain, but those are all real.

Lancer's Gae Bolg is real, but I think the Gae Bolg he used is real as well."


Gah, it's harder to explain if she makes a face like that.

No, forgetting that, why did I think that?

It's just that all the things he used were Noble Phantasms.

I can feel that.

...Is it because I used 'projection' against Berserker?

I could tell they were real Noble Phantasms just by looking at them.

Conception dwells in superior weapons, and something is missing from weapons that merely imitate them in shape.

I realized that when I imitated Saber's sword.

By that argument, I think that all the Noble Phantasms he used were perfect――

"...Well. Putting what Shirou said aside....

As we don't know his true identity, his objective is next."

Tohsaka sneaks a glance at Saber.

"We already know he's after the Holy Grail, but there's one other point I'm curious about.

Can I ask you directly, Saber?"

Man. Why does she put on that really evil smile when it comes to this kind of subject?

"...What do you mean, Rin?

You do not need to hold back if you wish to ask me something."

"Really? Then I'll ask. What do you think of him? From the way he spoke, it seemed like he really has the hots for you."


...I'm not following Tohsaka's lead, but I sneak a glance at Saber.

Tohsaka is saying it wrong, but it's true he was attached to Saber.

No, it wasn't that nice.

He saw Saber as his and only his.

"I do not care what he thinks about. ...But, I remember that he did propose marriage to me in the previous war. Naturally, I deflected it with my sword."

Marriage, you mean――!?


What is that Servant thinking――!?

"Wow. I don't know if you should be happy in this case, but you don't feel too bad about it, right?

You must be happy as a woman to be proposed to even after you became a Servant."

"That is not true. I have no such freedom to begin with. My goal is to obtain the Holy Grail.

――Honestly, such nonsense irritates me."

"Really? Even if you feel that way, he was pretty into you. His type doesn't care how much they're rejected.

You're stubborn too, so he might be a good match for you."

I don't know what's so funny, but Tohsaka's words are irresponsible.

Tohsaka seems to be happy to be talking to Saber about this kind of thing. Saber seems to have no interest, but...

"I am telling you that I have no interest in such a thing. He is certainly a superior heroic spirit, but his way of thinking is too different from mine."

Saber answers honestly.

"Ohhhh. Did you hear that, Shirou? Saber has no interest in men. Are you relieved?"

"Rin, I believe that is of no concern to Shirou.

Your statement is a little strange."

"I would think so. That was a mistake on my part. But the strange part is the funny part."

Tohsaka laughs evilly.

Her eyes seem to be laughing not only at Saber, but at me as well.


It irritates me for some reason and I stand up.

"Huh? Where are you going, Shirou?"

"Tea. I'm thirsty. I'll get some for everyone while I'm at it."

I spit that out and go to the kitchen.

I don't know why, but I'm irritated. So I think I'll prepare extra bitter tea for Tohsaka.

"Then, I'll go back to my room. Let's have the complicated talk tomorrow after Illya wakes up."

After messing a lot with Saber, she drinks the bitter tea and stands up.

"Yeah, go to sleep. Don't come back."

"Yeah, yeah. I'll leave the rest to you, then."

I don't know what's so funny, but Tohsaka leaves in a good mood.

"――What are you going to do, Shirou?

You should not push yourself even if your wounds have healed, so I think you should rest for tonight."

"Yeah, that's my plan. But I'll watch over Illya for a bit longer.

I'll move her to a room if there doesn't seem to be any problem, and I'll go to bed after that."

"I see. Then, I shall accompany you."

Our conversation ends there.

It gets really awkward once it's quiet as Tohsaka was the loud one.

...No, awkward isn't the right word.

There are things I'm worried about and things I need to say, so my mind is impatient.

Come to think of it, what I want to tell her is all in a mess.

About the Holy Grail.

About her still being alive.

...Even if she does obtain the Holy Grail, there's no salvation for the girl called Arturia.

I don't even need to say why.

She has no wish for herself even now.

"...Saber, about what we were discussing before...."

Our eyes meet.

Her awkward eyes seem to know what I'm going to say.

"Yes, what is it, Shirou?"

She tries to block my question with a calm voice.

...But I have to tell her.

"About what we were saying earlier.

Tohsaka said it too that Servants can stay if they obtain the Holy Grail, right? Then――"

"No, I have no intention of staying here. I will return to my original time once I obtain the Holy Grail."

"And you're going to redo the selection of the king? You're going to start everything over and not save yourself on the verge of death?"

"Right. It is the duty of a king to protect the country. My powers were not enough, so I must at least select an appropriate king in my place."


Her words really make me angry.

"――You idiot! Wake up...!

The duty of the king doesn't matter! You're here, so you should do what you want to now――!"


"I won't allow you to have any other goals. You're strong, right? Then finish this battle quickly, obtain the Holy Grail, and quit being a Servant...!

If you have a wish, don't go to the past and redo everything. If you want to change yourself, don't change the past, but change who you are now――!"

...Saber doesn't answer.

She gives a small sigh.

"You are obstinate, Shirou. I want you to stop bringing this up."

She firmly rejects my opinion.

"And it is not as if one can stay if one obtains the Holy Grail.

Archer... that Servant does not remain in this time because of the Holy Grail. It was impossible for anyone to obtain the Holy Grail in the last war."

"...? Saber, what does that――"

"It is impossible to obtain what does not exist. On that day when the town was in flames, the Holy Grail was destroyed.

By the Master who betrayed me, Emiya Kiritsugu."


My vision closes in.

I hold my body steady with my hands as it's about to fall.

"Emiya... Kiritsugu...?"

"Yes. He was my Master ten years ago in the previous Holy Grail War. I won to the end, and the Holy Grail came into Kiritsugu's hands.

Archer and his Master still remained, so the Holy Grail War should have been ended by their defeat."

"But Kiritsugu threw the Holy Grail away.

As a result, the town went into flames.

...That man ordered me to destroy the Holy Grail because Servants are the only ones that can touch the Holy Grail.

Kiritsugu used his last Command Spell to force me to destroy the Holy Grail."

"Servants cannot stay in this world once the Holy Grail disappears.

Kiritsugu did not try to keep me here either.

My memory ends there. I could not ask him about the betrayal nor settle my match against Archer."


Well, it's not like I never thought about it.

Father was a magus. If he lived in this town all his life, he must have been involved in a Holy Grail War.

But still――

"Why didn't you tell me that my father was a Master, Saber?"

"...Usually, a Servant does not hold memories of previous summonings. The same hero will not be summoned as a Servant again.

I am an exception to this rule. So I believed I should not mention this fact to you, Shirou.

...And I did not wish to tell you what kind of Master Kiritsugu was."

"...? Why wouldn't you want to tell me?"

"Shirou. As you have seen my past in your dreams, I also saw your past.

...I was surprised by your past, but I could not believe how much Kiritsugu had changed.

[wrap text̽"Emiya"]Emiya Kiritsugu is a great person in your memories. But he is not like that in my memories."

"...To state it simply, he was a typical magus. He was only interested in his objectives and he eliminated everything in his way. I could not see any human emotion in him.

He only spoke to me three times during the whole war.

...I do not think I need to tell you when he spoke to me.


"He was not cruel nor a born killer.

But he did not have anything that you would call emotion.

Just as he treated me only as a tool, he treated himself only as an object."

"...Kiritsugu killed every emotion and killed every enemy.

I do not know what he believed in to make him do so, but he ordered me to destroy the Holy Grail when it was in front of him.

To be honest....

I have never cursed the Command Spell or a Master who has betrayed me, more than I did at that time.

――There's some truth in Saber's words.

No, they must all be true.

Come to think of it, I don't know what Kiritsugu was like before that time ten years ago.

I couldn't guess anything about him before that time, and I saw no need to learn about such things.

It doesn't change a thing even if Kiritsugu was cold-hearted.

The man that adopted me was really childlike.

So my memory is my only truth.

But what hurts my heart is....

If Kiritsugu was really a cold person, his last moments were just too empty――

"...I see. Maybe I was able to summon you because I'm his son."

"...I do not know. Kiritsugu summoned me in a legitimate way. As Kiritsugu's aptitude as a Master was high, he was hired by a magus family with a long history and entered the Holy Grail War.

I heard that everything he needed to become a Master was provided by that family."

"They had excavated King Arthur's artifact from Cornwall and gave it to Kiritsugu to use in the Holy Grail War. Kiritsugu used it as a catalyst to summon me.

So Kiritsugu himself does not have any factor to summon me nor is his attribute close to mine. You probably summoned me because of some other factor."

...I get it.

It's not too surprising that Father used to be a Master.

What's surprising is that his Servant was King Arthur... the one standing in front of me right now.

And one more thing.

Saber said that the Holy Grail was destroyed.

Then――isn't this war completely meaningless?

"...I don't get it. You already knew there's no Holy Grail anymore, right? So why did you decide to take part in this ridiculous battle?"

"...I certainly do not know if the Holy Grail actually exists. But it would be strange for there to be no Holy Grail if I am summoned.

Have you forgotten, Shirou? I became a Servant to obtain the Holy Grail. To put it another way, I will not be summoned unless the Holy Grail is present."

"Ah――well, then.

The Holy Grail can restore itself even if it's destroyed?"

"No. The Holy Grail is not something easily replaceable.

It would be impossible for a destroyed Holy Grail to be restored."


"But it should exist. Servants are summoned since they are drawn to the Holy Grail. Servants would not exist if there is no Holy Grail.

That priest said so as well."

"Priest――oh, him."

The supervisor of the Holy Grail War living at the church.

That man that manages the Holy Grail must be able to answer all my questions.

The end of the previous war.

What happened to the destroyed Holy Grail and to the Servant Archer?

And yes――what did Kiritsugu see at the end of the battle to make him destroy the Holy Grail?

Scene 08

――Don't be timid.

We're cornering Caster.

If we pull back, we might give Caster a chance to turn things around.

Saber's sword moves quickly.

She is already right in front of Caster, and Caster will be slashed in an instant.



Saber suddenly stops.

Not because of Caster's counter-attack, but by her own choice.


Saber instantly tries to dodge.

But she's too late.

Saber totters as if grabbed by something, and in that instant...

A warped dagger stabs Saber in the chest.

"Ca... ster――that... is...!"

"Yes. This is my Noble Phantasm, Saber.

It's the weakest weapon that cannot kill even one human nor create anything. But it is an indulgence from the age of gods that is forgiven anything for one purpose."

"Haa――Shi... rou――run..."

Saber falls to her knees, even though she has taken no wound.


Before I can ponder this mystery...

The last Command Spell disappears from my left hand.


"All is according to plan, boy. Now, if I collect the magus and the vessel inside, my victory will be assured."

Caster's arm rises.

A wave of air performed with no action hits me.


...I can't stand up.

My legs are twisted like a jellyfish from the blow and won't move.

"――I think it's about time.

Stand up, Saber. Even if the gods punish you, I will forgive you."

A snicker.

...Saber stands up.

She slowly walks to me with steps like those bone creatures, and...

...Swings her sword down with eyes like she's having a nightmare.

"Fufu, fu, ahahahahaha...!

Beautiful, Saber. Now you are the same as me, you bear the crime of killing your Master...! Yes, as the same criminals, let us condemn this world to its death...!"

...Caster's laughter tears my ears apart.

...My brain dies with questions still unanswered.

...A night like red jelly.

Only the figure of Saber looking down at me with tears in her eyes――

Scene 09

Saber raises her sword.

She is already within striking distance.

"――No. Don't do it, Saber."

But I run to Saber as if driven by the pulse of my heart.


Saber suddenly stops.

It's not that Caster did something.

Saber felt 'something' from Caster and stopped herself.


Saber instantly tries to dodge it.


Caster must have hidden something in the ground as hands of bone burst out of the ground and grasp Saber's feet――!

"――Hm. I was not expecting you to have instinctive foresight, but this is it, Saber!"

A blade emerges from Caster's black robe.

It's a weirdly shaped dagger.

It's thin and brittle. A blade not suitable for killing.

But Saber detests this blade, and Caster swings it as if this is her chance for victory.

Saber must be surprised, getting her feet grabbed from the ground.

She does not even repel the dagger and takes it in astonishment――



I can hear Caster's voice behind me.

I can't see what the robe's expression is like.

All I could do was stand in front of Saber and take the blade in her place.


...But it wasn't a good job.

I didn't have enough confidence to block Caster's dagger straight on.

So I figured out it would be more certain if I covered Saber, and I held her in my arms as if to hide her.

As a result, Caster's dagger wrenched open my back.

"Gu, ga...!!!!"

I stop myself from crying because of the pain and strengthen my grip on Saber.

"Shi... rou...?"

I can't tell what words are being said beside my ear.

"Get... away――Saber, go... back..."

Before I can tell her to jump away, Saber must have understood.

My body moves.

Saber jumps back as if to shake off the hands coming from the ground, and I'm carried with her.

"Shirou, your wound――――!"

Saber's voice is urgent.

Even though she laid me on the ground softly, the pain in my back just increases.

It's like having my back cut with scissors, then having lead driven into it.

From this pain, it feels like a cell phone is being pushed in the wound――

"Shirou, please hold on, Shirou――!"

...I guess she's not panicking.

But the loud voice rare for Saber makes me rather calm.

"――Hey, I can hear you even if you don't shout.

This just hurts, so it's nothing. Take care of Caster instead..."

Nodding my head, I point at where Caster should be.

"――Yes. I will finish things right away. Please hold on for a little while."

...Saber faces Caster once again.

"So that is your Noble Phantasm, Caster?"

Saber's voice sounds threatening.

The dark shadow clucks her tongue in irritation and raises the warped dagger in her hand.

"...Yes. It is blunt as you can see, and it cannot kill even one person. But as you have sensed, it is a magical mark said to be almighty in one aspect.

...If you do not wish to touch it, I suggest that you do not come near me, Saber."

Even though she says so, I can sense less composure in Caster than before.

Even as powerful as Caster is, as long as she uses magecraft, she won't be able to hurt Saber.

No matter what kind of a Noble Phantasm that dagger is, it won't do any good against Saber now.

"...Don't mind it, Saber. Her secret is revealed. You should be able to beat her without a... problem... now."

I order her, gritting my teeth.

"Oh, is that fine, Saber? You can certainly corner me, Saber. But who will protect that man while you do so?

I do not think I need to say this, but you are the only one that is immune to my magecraft. Can you not guess what I will do to that boy if I am cornered?"

"――You..." Saber says from the bottom of her lungs.

――The sound of the bones increases.

They surround us.


...I made a mistake.

Even if I could save Saber, it's pointless if I'm hurt like this.

I'll only be a burden like this.

If it was just Saber, Caster wouldn't even be a match for her.

"...So you said you came here to talk, Caster."

"Wha――Sa... ber..."

"Please do not say anything, Master. This is the right choice for now."

Saber lowers her sword.

I think I hear Caster laugh amidst the surrounding sounds of bones.

"I shall listen to you, Caster. I may let you go depending on your conditions."

"Are you sane? I hold your lives in my hands.

If you act so boldly, I might just crush you."

"Do not get me wrong. All you have is my Master's life, not mine.

――But if you assault that, I will not hold back. If you are to kill my Master, I will be sure to defeat you with everything I have before I disappear."

The air freezes.

Even the bones around Caster are cowed by Saber's words.

"...Fine. I will not do anything to that boy. My target was you to begin with. There is nothing wrong with releasing a Master or two."

"...? I was your target to begin with...?"

"Right. There is no reason to ignore a hero that can even defeat Berserker. The only remaining Servants are me, you, and Lancer. If you become my ally, Lancer is nothing."

"――Three are left? Then Assassin is already defeated?"

"Who knows? He is not here anymore, so I assume he was defeated. It is only natural for a Servant who cannot protect their Master to disappear."


Assassin was beaten...?

Then the Master at Ryuudou Temple is no more?

I didn't even know his identity, but that means another Master has disappeared.

The only remaining Servants are Saber, Caster, and Lancer, who has not shown himself since that first night――

"...Hm. This is the only useless talk I will engage in.

All I want is your Noble Phantasm. Give me your sword if you do not want your Master killed."

"――That is useless. I am the only one able to use this sword.

A heroic spirit must surely know that only the possessor of a Noble Phantasm may use it."

"Oh, you are right. Then in that case, I will just have to obtain you as well.

However superior the knight, I can persuade it to be on my side... and more than anything, I like you.[l]

It would be fun to control you."

Caster sounds really delighted.


My lacerated consciousness boils up.

I kick the pain in my back aside and get up.

"Don't be ridiculous――"

I can't let Saber fall under Caster's control just because of me.

I decided to protect Saber, so I can't stay down with this kind of a wound――!

I take the wooden sword in my hand and swing at the bone creatures surrounding me.

"No, Shirou...!"

Saber's voice sounds urgent.

"Oh? If you want to commit suicide, I won't stop you."

Caster sounds delighted.

The sound of many bones hitting against each other.

As if to nullify all of those sounds...

All the bone creatures are swept away instantly by a heavy rain of arrows.


I stand there dumbfounded.

The arrows that showered down like rain have disappeared as if they were an illusion.

But it cannot be an illusion.

The swarming bone creatures do not exist anymore.

"Kuh, who is it――!?"

Caster looks up.


Saber must have already noticed this guy.

Saber is looking up at the 'thing' on top of the wall with surprise.


There's something unexpected there.

The man with his back to the moon is golden.

The man clad in gold is looking down at the yard with a cruel smile――


She must have instinctively realized that he has destroyed her troops as Caster raises her voice.


The man doesn't answer. No, he hasn't even taken notice of Caster.

He is only looking at one person.

The silver knight beside me.

"Answer! I am asking you who you are...!"

Caster's voice sounds emotional.

And with that, the man finally looks at Caster.


Caster gasps, stared at by those red eyes.

The man's stare is so cold.

――That thing isn't treating Caster as human.

Even I can tell from here.

It's only natural for Caster, the target of that stare, to be terrified by that pressure.

"W-Why are you getting in my way――?"

She asks in a trembling voice.

She must know she'll be swallowed if she doesn't do so.


"I have no reason to name myself to a lowlife. Get out of my sight, you fool."

The man answers with a verdict of death.

A snap.

When I realize the sound is of his fingers snapping, the tragedy has already begun.

Many weapons suddenly appear in space and shoot at Caster like a machine gun.


Caster raises her arm.

Concept of a shield.

A film like glass is created right above Caster.

――It probably has strength equaling Berserker's body.

But was it useless because it was made of glass?

Built like a crystal, it cannot even block one of the showering weapons and shatters into pieces.


A dumbfounded voice.

Without showing any concern for Caster's question, they pierce the black robe.

There's no mercy at all.

The robe is pierced by lances. As the robe is blown away, more lances

pierce it.

The sword into her falling body, an arrow into the arm falling to the ground, and the axe into her pained head. Each becomes a deadly guillotine.

Survival is impossible.

Caster is completely cut apart and dismantled, and she now looks like a mountain of red meat.

...Wind blows.

The black robe who lost its master floats away.

Floating away.

The shredded robe still barely keeps its form.

...Now, it is all that remains of what used to be Caster.


I can't say anything.

My strained mind just watches the black robe floating miserably in the wind.

In that instant.

"――How insolent. I told you to get out of my sight. It should only be polite to kill yourself quickly!"

The golden man roars in a voice full of contempt.


It's not an illusion.

The black robe twists like a wave, grows black wings, and tries to fly away.

But it's too late.

I don't know what the man did.

It's just that a crack ran through the night sky.

The dislocation in the sky swallows the black robe.

It reminds me of someone getting run over by a steamroller.


The black robe falls.

Underneath it is Caster, unscathed.


The storm of swords showers onto her.

"Hi, ah, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!"

...The scream echoes through the night.

The swords multiply in response to the scream, and the scream gets louder in turn.

"Ah, ha, it hurts, take it out, it hurts, take it out, plea... se...!!!"

Caster must have regenerative powers like Saber.

She cannot die even when swords are stabbed into her, so her figure is just too miserable.

...The rain doesn't stop.

The weapons each differ in shape, and none of them are the same.

And I don't want to admit it, but――each one of those weapons equals the 'Noble Phantasms' of the Servants.

"No, this cannot... be――such a... ridiculous... number――"

The merciless rain of Noble Phantasms.

Caster struggling under it is just――

"Guh, ah, I am... dying...? I, am going to die?

Die... in such... ridiculous fashion... no, aha...

This is too funny... no... this is not... true... aha, aha...

Haha... Ahahahaha, ahahahahahahahahahahahaha




...And that ends it.

With a black mist hiding Caster, the Servant disappears.

The infinite cycle of torture that I thought would last forever lasted only about ten seconds in reality.

Through it all.

Saber stares at the golden knight standing on top of the wall.

"Huh. It is a great sin for a mere magus to even speak of capturing the king of knights.

It is rightly mine as I am the king. Such a skewering befits a fool pursuing the king's treasure."

"So, long time no see, Saber. Do you remember the decision I made?"

The man says in an intimate manner.


Saber doesn't answer.

But her glare is different from before.

"Why that face? Are you still not ready?

It has been ten years.

That should be enough time to decide――oh, well... that's only for me. It must be like yesterday for you.

...Geez, what a silly woman. Making a man wait."

The man laughs happily.

...My chest is hurting.

Partly from seeing that tragedy.

But more than that, I feel sick when that man looks down on Saber with such a ridiculous expression――

"――. So there are more lowlifes left."

Commenting unhappily, the man turns to the mansion.


There――on the porch in front of the living room are Illya and Tohsaka.

"...What is that..."

Illya is looking up at the man as if she's seen a ghost.

Straining her eyes, she shakes her head saying it's impossible.

"No――who are you?"

"Huh? Fool, you cannot tell? I am one of the heroic spirits you know so well."


Illya jumps off the porch and glares at the man.

"I don't know. I don't know you. A Servant I don't know about shouldn't exist...!"

"Wha――hold on, Illya......!"

My call to restrain her comes too late.

The cluster of magical energy Illya releases shoots straight for that man.

A clanging sound.

The man didn't do anything.

A mirror-like shield appeared in front of him and reflected Illya's magical energy shot.


As she fired the magical energy in anger, there's no way she can react to it.

Illya stands dumbfounded before the magical energy she fired――

"...! ――That hurts..."

She is barely saved by Tohsaka, who instantly blocked it.

"...Hm. I see. It is a strange hybrid this time.

I assume they have schemed a bit so as not to make the same mistakes as last time."

The man looks at Illya.

A cold stare like the one directed at Saber... a stare prizing a possession.

"...No. No, no, nononononononono...! I-I hate you...!"

Illya still glares at the man, pinned by Tohsaka.

"I do not care about your circumstances. Open it quickly. You are the fifth one."

The man speaks plainly.

What kind of effect does it have?


Illya shakes violently and faints.

That's it.

That's all that'll happen.

All Tohsaka and I can do is look up at that man.

...We both understand.

He isn't looking at us.

We would just share Caster's fate if we raised our voices.


But Saber is different.

She is staring at the gold knight in a different kind of silence.

"――Let me ask you one thing. Why are you still in this world, Archer?"

Saber tries to control her voice.

Tohsaka and I can only be shocked by her words.

"There need be no reason. The Holy Grail is mine. What is wrong with coming to collect what is mine?"

"How foolish. You are not a hero like that. No, first of all――"

"Stop. If you say any more, we will have to fight.

――Well, that was my original intention, but I lost interest. This place is too shabby to celebrate our reunion."

Saying so, the man turns away.

He turns his back as if saying he has no interest in us.

"We shall meet again sometime.

My decision has not changed since that time. Be prepared by the time of our next meeting."

The man disappears.

With that, the tension in the air vanishes and the yard returns to its usual silence.

But that's the only thing that returned.

My home is ruined, and Illya is unconscious.

Saber, keeping her back to us, still bears that heavy silence.

Scene 11

I wake up alone.

Even if she has recovered, Saber still has to sleep periodically.

Saber went to bed right away after that, and I went to bed too to relieve Saber.

That was an hour ago.

It's past midnight. ...I'll be able to sneak out without Saber or Tohsaka finding out now.

I go out without making a sound.

I thought about using the bicycle, but it'd be a problem if I wake them up by doing so.

I guess I'll walk there.

There's no one around.

Even if it's midnight, this silence is abnormal.

The air is frozen and I can't sense life from any of the buildings.

On the other hand, I feel a contradictory heat under the road as if there's a whirlpool of something black.

...Has something happened to the town in the few days I was held at Illya's place?

It feels like ill omens are everywhere.

"...It's not just me."

I look up at the mountain in the distance.

The Ryuudou Temple which is far away from the city just looks like a black lump from here.

It's just that...

It seems like it's throbbing along with the night wind.

I cross the dark river and walk to Shinto.

"――That's right. It's already been ten days since then."

That day.

That night I first met Saber and walked on this bridge with Tohsaka seems like so long ago.

――I see the church.

"I've never been to the church."

Even though I told Tohsaka that, I do have a connection to this church.

I was supposed to be entrusted to the church and adopted somewhere later.

"...The Emiya household or the church. Come to think of it, it was a big turning point."

Ten years ago.

All the children in that hospital were orphans, and they were all temporarily entrusted to the church.

I was the only one of them adopted from the hospital.

That must be why.

I felt kind of guilty and unconsciously avoided the church.

That's why I told Tohsaka it was my first time visiting the church on the night eleven days ago.

The lights in the church are still on.

...I don't like that priest, but there's something I need to ask him.

"――Well, let's go."

I take a deep breath and go through the heavy doors.

"Priest Kotomine, are you here?"

I keep on walking while I call out.

I can't sense anyone in the chapel.

Even though the lights are on, it's so big and quiet that I feel more afraid than I would in complete darkness.

"Hey, is anyone here?"

...There's no reply.

I can't go in any farther, so maybe I should give up and go home for tonight――


I instantly turn toward the sound.

"So, it is Emiya Shirou. What are you doing here at this time?"


The sudden encounter leaves me speechless.

"It is late. I was going to sleep――but your expression suggests that you seek confession here."

Kotomine says so and returns to the door he emerged from.

"Oh――no, wait. Um, I had something I wanted to ask you."

"I know. I will not turn anyone away even if they come at odd hours."

So saying, Kotomine opens the door to the back of the chapel.

"Follow me. I'm sure it has to do with the Holy Grail War. I cannot have us talk about such bloody subjects here."

Kotomine disappears into the back without waiting for my reply.


I've come this far, so I can't go back empty-handed.

I renew my determination not to be intimidated by Kotomine and follow him.

"Wow――the outside was brilliant, but the inside is exquisite as well..."

Is this a courtyard?

There's a park and passageway that seems too elegant for Kotomine to live in alone.

"What are you doing? Come here if you have something to talk about."

The priest turns yet another corner.

"...Damn, he really doesn't wait."

I follow him, complaining.

The church is like a small maze, so I have to follow him obediently.


It's a modest room made of stone.

This inelegant room seems to be Kotomine's.

"I am unfortunately out of alcohol. I have nothing to welcome you with, but forgive me."

Kotomine says so while sitting down.


...Is this the faint smell of wine?

He must really like it if the smell is lingering in this room.

"What? Did you not have something to talk to me about? It is bothersome if you just stand there dumbfounded."

"I-I'm not dumbfounded! I was just surprised by this room, and I'll go home right away once I'm done with my business...!"

"Good. I do not have enough leisure time to socialize with children either.

Keep your questions concise."


...As expected, I hate this guy.

It feels like he can read my mind, and I feel intimidated when I talk to him.

"So, what is it that you want to talk about, Emiya Shirou? I believe I have already told you everything I can."

"...Don't lie. You must have known about it.

My father was Saber's Master and he destroyed the Holy Grail. You're the supervisor that manages the Holy Grail, so you must...!"

"Oh. Did Saber say that?"

"Um... yeah, I heard that's how the previous Holy Grail War ended."


The priest sinks into silence as if pondering.

"...Hm. It is unusual for a Servant to retain their previous memories. Maybe Saber is a failure or Saber herself is abnormal.

Either way, you cannot claim she is a normal Servant."

"Heroic spirits do not retain memories.[l]

There would be contradictions if they did since they are summoned into many ages: the past, present, and future.

All they have are memories from when they were alive. Anything that happens to them after they become a heroic spirit should not remain in their memory――"

The priest ponders as he must not assent to the fact.

...I see.

He doesn't know that Saber isn't a complete heroic spirit yet, so he's having trouble understanding.

"No, that's wrong. It seems that Saber's circumstances are different from the other Servants'."

"Different circumstances? ...I see, so that must be why you came here. All right, go ahead."


I don't like his haughty attitude, but this is no time to oppose him.

I don't like it, but this priest might give me some answers.

"It seems Saber isn't dead yet.

She still hasn't completed the contract to become a heroic spirit. Something like, she wished for the Holy Grail on the verge of her death and she agreed to become a heroic spirit as a price for obtaining it.

So she isn't dead yet. She won't die until she obtains the Holy Grail, and she said she'll become a complete Servant once she does so."

"Not dead... then that must mean Saber is still in the cycle of rebirth. So she is not removed from the concept of time like other heroic spirits?"

"Right, I think that's it. Tohsaka said Saber's frozen in time by herself."

"――I see. So rather than disappearing after she accomplishes something, she continues to be summoned as a heroic spirit until she obtains the Holy Grail."

"But the Holy Grail has not yet been obtained, so she returns to her deathbed every time she fails. And she has been summoned into this time as well, bearing all her previous memories.

――Ha. Obtaining the Holy Grail in order to die... I do not understand heroes.

And even if she does obtain it, all that is left for her is to be summoned as a Servant."

"...That's right. Even if she does obtain the Holy Grail and gets her wish granted――she'll just become like the other Servants, right?

...I don't like that. Anyways, what are Servants? They say it's making heroes your familiars, but can that even be possible for a contradictory hero like Saber?"

"I do not understand the system.

...Eternal continuation of the soul. The Servant system is constructed by imitating that secret process. Only the deviser would know about this."

"...? ――Eternal continuation of the soul...?"

"No, that is just the past.

It has nothing to do with this matter, so forget about it.

"So, Emiya Shirou.

You are saying that you want her to stop being a Servant, correct?"


Did he guess right?

I certainly think Saber's situation is strange.

It's fine that she wants to obtain the Holy Grail.

But all that awaits is her elimination.

If a king other than King Arthur is chosen and King Arthur is no more...

I think it's wrong for her to be summoned as the hero King Arthur after that.

So――if she can stop being a Servant and live as a normal human being――

"That is impossible.

Dead people will not come back to life. Even if her time is stopped, Saber is already dead for us.

The power of the Holy Grail summons her into this time because she accepted the price of becoming a heroic spirit.

If she does not seek the Holy Grail, she will not be summoned as a Servant. And as long as she seeks the Holy Grail, she will become a complete Servant sooner or later."

"...Even if she fails this time, she has infinite chances.

Since Saber is still in the loop of time, she cannot be in two chances to obtain the Holy Grail at once, and she cannot redo a chance she has already failed.

She will fail a chance she has already failed, no matter how many times she tries. Once she has experienced the result, she will not be able to change it."

"But still, it should only be a matter of time before she obtains the Holy Grail. This is not the only opportunity for her.

Trials to obtain the Holy Grail exist in all ages.

If she continues to challenge each one, she will obtain the Holy Grail."

"...From the beginning, she is being summoned as a heroic spirit because she obtains the Holy Grail as a result.

From the moment she appeared in front of you, there was no way to stop her from becoming a Servant."


...I thought so.

As long as Saber seeks the Holy Grail, there's no way to stop her from being a Servant.

After all, she'll continue like this unless Saber herself decides to use the Holy Grail for her own sake.

Even if this Holy Grail War ends and there's no need to fight any more.

She will go on to the next chance to obtain the Holy Grail if she cannot obtain it this time.

Once she obtains it, she'll become this heroic spirit thing and be sent out to many ages――

"...Then, she'll continue to be a Servant whether she obtains the Holy Grail or not?"

"No, that is not the case. If the Holy Grail is truly omnipotent, it will be able to save Saber."


But you just said that was impossible――"

"Yes, it is impossible to stop Saber from becoming a Servant.

But your wish is for her to stay in this world, is it not?

Then it is not that difficult.

You are able to keep her here as a human even after the Holy Grail War ends. Although, she will return once she dies."

"――How do I do that?"

"The heroic spirits and Servants are spurious.

Normally, what is summoned as a heroic spirit does not have a mind.

It is summoned as a tool to meet an objective and disappears."

"But Servants are different.

They are the true body summoned by the Holy Grail.

So they can live as humans just by keeping them in this world."

"You can do such a thing?

Saber said she disappeared when the Holy Grail was destroyed. Isn't it true that Servants can't stay if the Holy Grail is gone?"

"Of course. The Holy Grail merely summons these Servants, and it is the role of the Master to maintain them after that.

But that is possible only because the Holy Grail is aiding the Master. The magical energy of a magus is not enough to maintain a Servant. If one does not have a donor called the Holy Grail, their Servant will disappear."

"...I thought so. Then..."

"No. If you do not have enough, all you need do is compensate for that.

For Servants, furnishing magical energy is only an act of compensation. It is their true nature to consume souls. If their existence starts to fade, it can be replenished using other souls."


Does that mean attacking random people like Shinji did?

"Don't be ridiculous! I can't do such a thing...!

First of all, Saber wouldn't want to stay if she had to go that far...!"

"I see. Then you would have to use the contents of the Holy Grail. ――It is simple. If you want Saber to live as a human being, have her consume the Holy Grail."

He must have predicted my response.

The priest's expression tells me that he was waiting to reach this conclusion from the beginning.

"――You mean, have the Holy Grail grant my wish?"

"No. It has nothing to do with your wish. It is the contents of the Holy Grail itself.

Did you not hear from Rin? Servants are able to start a second life by drinking the water of the Holy Grail?

That only means they have become a familiar summoned in this age. Their bodies will still be that of a Servant, but they will be able to stay in this world as long as their Master is alive."

"――But that means..."

That hasn't solved anything.

Even if she can stay in this world, it's meaningless if she's still a Servant.

She can't exist without magical energy from her Master, and even if she stays in this world like that, she returns to that hill after she dies.

...And Saber wouldn't do it.

She isn't interested in a second life, and she's said she's going to use the Holy Grail for another purpose.

Oh, but first of all――the key to everything is the Holy Grail... Does it mean it still exists in this world?

"...I get it. That just means I have to obtain the Holy Grail, right? But does the Holy Grail still exist? If my father destroyed it, then...."

"Then what?"

"...If there's no Holy Grail, there's no reason to fight. This ridiculous fight is pointless."

"You have no reason to fight, huh? Why do you say that now?

――You had no reason to fight from the very beginning."

As he says so.

Time freezes.

――No reason to fight.

That's what this priest told me before.

At that time――I just became a Master and I didn't have much of a reason to fight.

That's why I ignored it, and I thought it was just sarcasm.

But what about now?

I have a reason to fight. If there is a Holy Grail, I want to end this fight and give it to Saber.

I have a reason to fight.

I have a reason to fight.

So why do his words make my body shake so much that I want to vomit――?

"――We'll forget about that for now. Now is not the time to open up your wounds."

...I hear a voice.

A voice I don't want to hear.

But it makes my mysterious nausea stop.

"There is a Holy Grail. The Holy Grail is only a vessel anyways.

If it goes away, the preparer will prepare another one."

"...? ...The preparer will prepare another one? ..... Is the Holy Grail that easy to make?"

"Just making the vessel is.

Of course, one needs an appropriate skill, but the Holy Grail War could not come to be without such a skill."

"...First of all, the Holy Grail is not a cup that received the blood of God. It was based on a magical pot passed down from ancient times.

You should know about it if you are a magus.

Utopia. It means 'an unreachable place' in Greek. It is said that an omnipotent vessel exists there.

And there were magi who tried to reproduce this omnipotent vessel."

"They were the three families: Einzbern, Makiri, and Tohsaka.

They spent many generations researching the ritual to reproduce the omnipotent vessel and completed it two hundred years ago.

That was the first Holy Grail War――the ritual that summoned the omnipotent vessel to the artificial Holy Grail to open up the path."

"Einzbern...? You mean, Illya's family?"

"Yes. The Einzberns specialized in 'the golden rule of the line'. They were the best suited to make an imitation of the Holy Grail.

But they cannot summon the Holy Grail with just that.

They need a suitable land and a strong curse.

The ones who provided these were the Tohsaka and the Makiri."

"At that time, the Church and the magecraft Association were in the middle of a bloody war. A far eastern land was chosen as the place for the ritual.

Einzbern must have invited Tohsaka in because Tohsaka was in charge of the land around here and their master was a master of summoning.

For Einzbern, the summoning of the Holy Grail would be impossible without the help of Tohsaka."

"But betrayal could easily occur with two families involved.

They must have thought three should be involved as they also brought in the Makiri family."

The Makiris are a family with history as well.

They were the family most skilled with familiars. It was they that came up with the Command Spell to bind the Servants."

"...And they worked together to summon the Holy Grail, but when they succeeded, what came after was bloody killing.

The first summoning of the Holy Grail ended while they were busy killing each other.

As generations passed, they made rules called the Holy Grail War and went back to cooperating, at least in form."

"Tohsaka provided this land and the system to model the Servants, and Makiri provided the Command Spell to bind these Servants.

And Einzbern supplies the vessel for the Holy Grail to dwell in.

That is the cooperation they decided on."

The priest continues happily as if something pleases him.

But, I see... they say the Holy Grail War is a ritual, but Illya's family was the original proposer.

"So, that is it. It was the Einzberns that prepared the Holy Grail.

As they were betrayed by Kiritsugu last time, they have thrown in their greatest trump card. The daughter of Einzbern probably holds the Holy Grail."


Illya has the Holy Grail...?

...That's weird. I don't think she had anything with her....

"Well, are you happy now? I do not know what troubles you.

But the only way to solve it is to use the Holy Grail. Now that you know that, go home.

The battle is not yet over. You are crazy to be walking about without having Saber by your side."

"That's none of your business. I know there's still Lancer's Master――"

Hold on.

There's one more thing I need to ask him.

"――Kotomine. Servants will disappear once the Holy Grail disappears.

That's what you said, right?"

"Yes. Do you have a problem with that?"

"I do. I don't know who it is, but there is an eighth Servant. According to Saber, he has remained in this world since the previous war."


It must have been a surprise.

Kotomine opens his eyes and mutters in disbelief.

"What's going on? I came here since I thought you would know."

"...So, you are saying there is a Servant that did not disappear?

It is not that strange. The previous war ended with Saber destroying the Holy Grail.

So in other words, there was still another Servant left."

"Saber disappeared by her own [wr͡p text="will,"]will, but if a Servant wished to stay, then the answer is simple.

He must have acquired the magical energy he needed by feeding on souls and lived these past ten years."

"――That's ridiculous. His presence was absurd.

You or my father certainly would've noticed if that thing had been around for ten years."

"...I know. Someone was probably hiding him. The Servant's Master, or...."

"Or what?"

"A magus who knew about the Holy Grail War but did not become a Master.

I know one such person, but that is impossible as well. The old Makiri has already retired."

Kotomine must be satisfied, as he gets up from the sofa.

"This is it. I cannot let this be as a supervisor.

I shall investigate that Servant. You should concentrate on your remaining battle with Lancer."

Kotomine walks to the exit as if there's nothing more to talk about.


...Well, there's certainly nothing more to be gained from being here.

I leave the dark room and follow Kotomine, who leads me to the exit silently.

I leave the church.

Behind me,

"Saber will die once she obtains the Holy Grail. You know what that means, don't you, Emiya Shirou?"

The priest asks as if confirming it.


The priest is looking down at me from the doorway.

...Saber will die if she obtains the Holy Grail.

I already know that.

Saber's goal is to obtain the Holy Grail, and she doesn't want the Holy Grail's power.

Once she obtains the Holy Grail, nothing will bind her.

She will be freed from her situation, frozen on the verge of death, and――she will die an unrewarded death on that hill.

"What's wrong? You're not the type to give that kind of a warning, are you?"

"I was just happy that you are supporting Saber. I am warning you out of kindness.

Saber will disappear once she obtains the Holy Grail.

If you wish to be with her, you should give up the Holy Grail."

"...That's even more of a contradiction. I won't be able to keep Saber here if I don't have the Holy Grail."

"You do not need to rely on the Holy Grail. It's just like that Servant we were talking about. If you want to keep Saber, all you need to do is feed her souls."

"――Don't play with me. I can't do that."

I glare at the priest.

"I see. That is too bad."

He must not even care about my glare as the priest is laughing.

"Then your only hope is the contents of the Holy Grail.

Even if your Servant does not wish it, all you have to do is keep one Command Spell. Your wish will be granted that way."

――The priest is saying...

That it doesn't matter even if Saber doesn't want it.

That if I am a Master, I can just force Saber to drink using the power of the Command Spell.


"Oh, did I offend you? Don't glare at me so much. That was just a warning.

Well, you could also respect Saber's choice. It is her life. We have no right to say anything about it."

"I shall investigate that Servant tomorrow.

Come here again if you feel like it."

The door to the church closes.

Looking up at the church, I grit my teeth telling myself that I will never come here again.

Scene 12

The breakfast table is the same as always.

Saber and Tohsaka must be adaptable as they already seem to be used to Illya's presence.

"So what are you going to do, Shirou?

There are three Masters left. It's not like the Holy Grail War can go on forever, so you should start acting. And it's pretty pitiful to always give others the initiative."

Tohsaka is right.

My body is fine and Saber is healed.

Yesterday should be the last day of rest.

"...You're right. But even if we are to act, it'll be in evening. We'll do the same things as always while the sun's up."

"Seriously? ...Well, I guess it doesn't do any good to walk around randomly when you don't know anything about your opponents. Then, you're going to get beaten up by Saber again?"

Training with Saber.

That's the usual task and it's natural for a Master to prepare for battle.

"Rin. We are training. That comment sounded unpleasant."

"Well――yeah. I'll get beaten up by Saber in the morning."

"...Shirou. You put me in a difficult position if you say that as well."

"Huh――? Sorry, Saber. I wasn't listening."

"I am speaking of how rudely Rin talks.

...Honestly, what is going on, Shirou? You do not seem well today. Breakfast is a bit smaller than usual as well. Were you in the shed until late last night?"

She asks, but Saber's words aren't criticizing.

I can feel that Saber believes in me.

That's why it's even harder to look at her now.

If I do, the image of that hill pops into my head.

"...Huh. Fine, I shall drive some energy into you later. So we will train in the dojo today as well. Is that the plan, Shirou?"

"Yeah, please. How about you, Illya?"

"Me? I'll do the same as yesterday. I don't like getting wet in the rain, so I don't wanna go outside."

"I see. That's a big help. I want you to stay in the house as much as possible. Going outside is too dangerous."

"Yeah. I'll consider staying with you if you cook boxed lunches like you did yesterday."


It seems Illya liked the boxed lunch yesterday.

I'm a bit embarrassed that she's content with such a thing, but I'm happy if she's happy.

"So I guess it'll be the same as yesterday.

I have something to research, so I'll be in my room. Come by my room in the afternoon since I need to talk with you."


"Yup. I think you've realized, but Ryuudou Temple has been strange since yesterday.

They've stopped the magical energy collection they've been working so hard on, so it's only natural to assume they're doing something.

Well, it seems the Master at the Ryuudou Temple is the most troublesome one, so I'll make a familiar and try to find out what's going on inside."

"Then should you not concentrate on the search? I do not think there is a need to take time off to teach Shirou."

"Well, that's just how it is. Sorry, but bear with me. He seems unreliable, so I can't just leave him alone.

It's fine if he gets killed by the enemy, but if he dies because he messes up his magecraft, I'll be ashamed as his teacher."

"――Yes, it is just as you say, Rin.

...There was something wrong with me. I do not know why I would have thought your lessons were not useful for Shirou."

"The reason's pretty simple, but it's best not to talk about it.

Then good luck with your morning training. He's pretty tough, so it's best to beat him to within an inch of his life."

Tohsaka leaves the living room with an absurd comment.

"...Saber. Don't take her too seriously. She's only saying that because you've never beaten her up."

I remind her, just in case.

I don't know why Saber's so happy, but

"Yes, I know. I know your body better than her."

She replies like that.

Scene 13

I listen to the rain in Tohsaka's room.

Today, we performed a fake physical examination like yesterday. I just took the medicine Tohsaka prepared for me and checked the Magic Circuit throughout my body.

I guess it really is impossible to do any more here, since it'll require a more appropriate environment.

...I don't care about that, but I don't want to just sit here doing nothing.

She told me not to move for a while to see the results, but I bet I can still talk.

"Tohsaka, may I?"

I call out to her, still meditating.

"Hm? Fine, what is it?"

"It's about Saber.

Um, I don't know how I should put this, but..."

Saying that, I realize I haven't thought this through at all.

It's not even 'what can I do for Saber'.

I haven't even thought about what I want to do with Saber.

"...Um, well, I'm just wondering what she wants to do.

Come to think of it, she never did anything because she wanted to, right? So――"

"You don't know what Saber's thinking about?"

"――No, that's not it. I just don't understand why she's so unselfish.

...Yeah, I don't know what to do about that."

"Hmm... well, you're right. The only thing she's done voluntarily is protecting you. It's only natural for a Servant to do that, but it's hard to understand when it's so thorough.

But that doesn't mean she's totally unselfish.

Because Saber is protecting you for her own objectives."


That's right. I forgot about the reason she became a Servant.

"...I see. Saber's goal is to obtain the Holy Grail. So it's not like she has no objectives."

And that Holy Grail will grant the wishes of its possessor.

So Saber at least has a 'wish' she wants granted.

I don't know what it is, but it's a wish she wants granted even if it means becoming a Servant.

Surely the "wish" must be to save herself.

Yeah, for example.

She's here in this time, so she can stay here and live a second life with the power of the Holy Grail.

No, rather, she has to go that far to make up for her sad end――

"Oh――then this is all so easy!"

"...? You're weird, suddenly getting all energetic. Was the conversation that exciting?"

"Yeah, it gave me energy. Yeah, she wouldn't fight so hard unless it was for that.

Because Saber has to fight for her own wishes!"

I nod to myself.

Tohsaka must have been shocked by my reaction.

"――Emiya-kun. I'm sorry to interrupt while you're so happy, but you're wrong. Saber wouldn't fight for herself.

"You know that too, right? Saber isn't like that. She doesn't seek the Holy Grail for her own benefit."

"W-What are you basing..."

...That on... I can't finish.

...That's right.

Her last moment was a lonely one because she had no wishes for herself.

So Saber cannot be seeking her own salvation.


But still.

I wanted to think that, so I distorted her personality for a moment.



The conversation stops.

...As soon as I start to think that the heavy silence will continue...

"It's boring, but Archer said the same things as you."

"...Huh? Archer... you mean, that Archer?"

"Yeah. I asked him what his wish was too.

What do you think he said?"

"Eh... uh, it's no good asking me that."

I don't know anything about him.

As Archer said that we'd eventually be enemies, he made no effort to talk to me or Saber.

...But still.

He was sarcastic a lot, but I know he wouldn't have a stupid objective.

"You'll laugh when you hear this. When I asked him what his wish was, he said this.

'Hmm. How about world peace?'

I just burst out laughing.

Then he got timid and said, 'I knew you would laugh. Well, there is no meaning in salvation by the deeds of others. Let's just call this a funny story.'"

"...I just thought, he became a heroic spirit and got summoned by someone like me because that's the way he is."


...I see.

He didn't look like it, but he was a fine knight.

"But don't get me wrong. If the Holy Grail will truly grant any wish, permanent world peace is the worst wish ever.

It means there's nothing, right? A world without conflict is dead. If things aren't moving, all they do is rot."

"...Hmm. Did you say that to Archer as well?"

"I did. And he said, 'That is how the wise think.

I feel the same way, but I am still chasing a foolish dream.'"

"Well, I asked him if he had any other wishes, and he said something like 'I do, but it is not a wish to use the Holy Grail on. I shall let you grant your wish in my place'

He was so snobbish, right? I bet he was a skirt chaser when he was alive."

"Hm. I didn't get that impression of him. So, what about it?"

"Nothing. I just meant that there are all different kinds of Servants."

Oh, I see.

...Well, I think it's a good reference, so it did help me out a bit.

"Well then, now it's my turn.

I'm going to talk about Saber as well, though."

"...? Oh yeah, you were saying this morning that you wanted to talk to me about something."

"Yeah. It's nothing big, but I'm just wondering about it.

Do you know the legend of King Arthur?"

――The legend of King Arthur.

I've had it forced upon me more than enough in the past few days.

"I know what most people do. ...Well, I didn't know that King Arthur was actually a girl."

"Yeah, but sex doesn't matter here.

Even if King Arthur was a girl, it makes no difference to the legend. If King Arthur hid that fact from everyone around her, she would be treated as a man even if she wasn't one."

"Fortunately, King Arthur had a magus called Merlin. He was a crossbreed with an Incubus, so it must have been a piece of cake for him to disguise King Arthur's sex or to arrange for a child that should never have been born."

"...I bet. So?"

"What concerns me is the discrepancy between the legend and Saber.

Emiya-kun. Do you know what Excalibur is?"

"Why ask now? Excalibur is the symbol of King Arthur. It's a great sword, a gift from the fairies, that can cut through anything."

"That's what I thought."

For some reason, Tohsaka acts like she's won.

"...Hm. Did I say something strange?"

"You did. And that means you made the same mistake as King Arthur. If Merlin was here, he'd yell at you for being foolish."


...Um, the sword in the stone wasn't Excalibur, right? That sword broke. He later received a sword from the lady of the lake and that was Excalibur, right?"

"Yup. When King Arthur received Excalibur, Merlin asked this question.

'Your highness. Which do you like better?

The sword or the sheath?'"

"King Arthur answers without hesitation that he likes the sword, but Merlin scolds him.

'Please make no mistake here. The sword slashes the enemy, but the sheath protects you. As long as you have the sheath on you, you will spill no blood and take no wounds. You should truly value the sheath, not the sword.'"


Tohsaka imitates King Arthur and Merlin skillfully.

"Hmm, you're pretty into this.

――So, what are you trying to say?"

"Y-You don't understand when I've told you this much!? In other words, King Arthur is immortal! Excalibur is a perfect Noble Phantasm, both in offense and defense.

So really, Saber should heal right away even if she gets hurt!"

"...Tohsaka. Saber's wounds have all been healing."

"...That's true, but... it seems like her healing comes from using a great amount of magical energy... anyways, it doesn't seem to match the sheath of Excalibur in the legend."

"――I see. Well, if you say so....

Then, I have a question.

You say King Arthur is immortal. So then, how did he die? The legend ends with King Arthur's death, right?"


Tohsaka opens her mouth, dumbfounded.

After freezing for a few seconds, she grits her teeth and looks away.

"...That's right... the sheath of Excalibur was stolen...."

Yeah, that's a simple mistake.

I forgot about it too, but the fall of King Arthur started when he lost the sheath he should never have lost.

"So. Are you convinced now, Tohsaka?"

"...Yeah. You can laugh at me if you want."

She's lying.

I can tell she intends to axe kick me if I laugh.

"It's fine if you understand. But why were you worried about it? It should be no concern of yours whether Saber can get hurt or not."

"S-Shut up! I just lost myself thinking she'd be invincible if that was the case.

Even I make mistakes once in a while."


...This is hard.

Would it be good for her if I correct her and point out that she makes mistakes often, not just once in a while?

Scene 14

I cross the moonlit bridge.

This is the place where I walked with Saber.

At that time, I was just looking at the scenery, not thinking about anything.

'Saber will die if she obtains the Holy Grail.

You know what that means, Emiya Shirou――'


I know.

I know without him telling me.

...But why is everything so complicated?

Saber must not obtain the Holy Grail.

But it is the only thing that can save her.

'If you wish to be with her, you should give up the Holy Grail.

If you want to keep Saber, all you need to do is feed her souls――'

...I can't do that.

Even if I accepted that, Saber wouldn't.

She would rather disappear than do such things.

She would disappear and repeat this kind of war?

'Then, keep one Command Spell.

――That way, your wish shall be granted.'

"...! Damn, shut up, you shitty priest...!"

I stop and punch at the rails as if shaking off the Command Spell.

A hard steel sound echoes through the night.

...That's the only sound around here.

There're no people nor cars around.

"Damn... why am I even thinking about it?"

I lean on the rail and spit it out.

I know I should just ignore Kotomine's opinion.

But his words had a charm that make me unable to ignore them.

...What did I want to do and what was I trying to fight for?

At first, it was to end the Holy Grail War.

When did that purpose fade away and become secondary?

Was it when I was obstinate about fighting by myself?

Was it when I decided to cooperate with Saber, after I painfully realized how powerless I was?


Is it from that time I made a sword for her, after that night in the ruins?

――I'm just trying to deceive myself with all that.

I don't even need to think about it.

Back then.

When I met her in the moonlight in that shed, my mind was already made up――


But that would have been fine.

If I hadn't found out because of the dreams, this probably would've ended before I knew it.

But I found out.

I couldn't leave her alone and decided I didn't want to lose her.

I want to stay like this.

I want to keep watching her smile――


The girl, watching the sunset alone on that hill of swords.

My chest hurts thinking back to it.

She never had time that was her own.

...I just don't like that.

Kiritsugu said we shouldn't let girls cry.

I think a smiling face is much better than a crying one.

That's why I was irritated when Saber wasn't smiling.

But when I told her to smile.

She said that it was better if she saw me smiling.


It's like seeing stars through a telescope that you can never reach.


I look up at the night sky.

Looking up at the star I can never reach,


An unnoticed tear falls down my cheek.

"――I like her."

I say so to no one.

However dull I am, I have to admit it.

There's nothing I can do about it.

I like her so much that I can cry for no reason.

"Welcome back. You were pretty late."

――And then.

Tohsaka is standing in the doorway.

"T-Tohsaka...? Why are you――"

"Let's talk inside. Come in, you seem tired."

She takes my arm without asking me and starts to walk...

And takes me to her room.

"Here's some tea. It must've been cold outside."

She says so rather bluntly, but she's thoughtful.

"...Yeah, thanks."

Honestly, I appreciate the hot tea.

It's about an hour to the neighboring town.

Since I walked slowly, my body is freezing cold.

"So, did you go to Kirei's place?"

She asks me directly.

...I see. So Tohsaka knew all along.

But she didn't even stop me, just waited for me to come home, and prepared me some tea.

...I've made up my mind, and I appreciate Tohsaka's thoughtfulness.

That must be why.

"Yeah, I did. I had something I wanted to ask him."

I reply honestly, not hiding anything.

"I see. I won't ask what you went to do. That's fine with you, right?"

"Yeah. It wasn't anything too useful either.

I just confirmed the situation."

"I see. But I'm surprised that Saber isn't a complete Servant yet. It's like a bad joke that the strongest Servant is the least complete."

"Yeah. Saber shouldn't have become a Servant."

I nod.

"That's a surprise. Maybe you and Archer could've gotten along. He said the same thing you did."

"...Eh? Archer, you mean...?"

"Yeah. Archer said he regrets it, so he doesn't want Saber to experience the same thing."

"...? Why would he worry about Saber?

Didn't he hate her?"

"That's true. But I think he might have been a knight with some connection to Saber.

He was obviously going easy when he first fought Saber, right? I suspected it after that."

"Really? But it didn't seem like Saber recognized him."

"Is that so? But Saber was the king, right?

So she can't have known all her people, and there's also the possibility that she's forgotten him."

"...Hey now. We'll never get anywhere if you start saying things like that. If she sees him and doesn't recognize him, I think that means she doesn't know him."

"That might not be true. According to the legend, there were many knights that got chased out of Camelot. He might have been one of them.

If he was hiding his identity because of Saber, that would make sense."

Tohsaka's actively talking to me.


Is she trying to care for me?

I don't think it's having much effect, but she's a nice girl.

She's usually merciless, but she tries to help people when they're weakened.

...And so, we drink tea together for a while.

She must have run out of patience as she looks at me seriously.

"So. What do you want to do, Shirou?"

"Hm. I'll go on a date tomorrow."

I can't think of anything else, and I already decided so on my way home.

...And then.

Where did that solemn atmosphere go? After making a really rude face, Tohsaka...

"Ha――Haha, ahahahahahahahaha!"

...Bursts into laughter.

"Heehee, hold on, I-I wasn't ready for that, aha, ahahaha! That's great, that's so amazingly selfish, Shirou!"

...Damn! Now that I think about it calmly, I should have known this was going to happen. I'm such an idiot...!

"S-Shut up! What's wrong with being selfish? I know this isn't the right time, but I won't let you interfere!"

"N-No, no. Shirou, Shirou, you're too funny, hahahaha."

Tohsaka hits my back, holding her stomach.


Could this be the worst treatment I've taken so far?

"Ha, haha, ha――oh, I'm laughing my heart out."

She tries to catch her breath.

"...That's good for you. It's not funny at all for me."

I complain.


"Do your best on the date. I like you guys."

Tohsaka says so, her attitude completely changed.

"Ah... uh. Yeah, I will."

I manage to reply.

...That was a real surprise attack.

If she says that kind of a thing with that kind of an expression, all I can do is nod――

I return to my room.

Saber is still asleep, and the mansion is quiet like nothing has happened.

It was raining today, but what will the weather be like tomorrow?

Looking up at the moving clouds, I step out of character and wish for it to be sunny tomorrow.

Scene 15



G-Good evening, everyone!

This is the Q&A session to help Shirou when he dies easily from a simple mistake, the Tiger Dojo!

Well, the cause of death this time is――

Um, I guess the lesson is that you shouldn't let your guard down no matter how dominant your position is.

You're a Master, so you should control Saber's recklessness!

Huh? That's wrong. Saber's the one at fault this time, right?

Falling for Caster's trap proves that she's not concentrating.

I bet she was self-conscious around Shirou and tried to show off. But she ended up killing Shirou herself. Geez, her class has fallen.

Oh. Awawa, awawawawawa.

They say she's the most powerful, but she hasn't had that many wins. She's also small and lacking in charm as a lady.

Doesn't she seem like a gluttonous power character?

Uh, Illya-chan, stop, stop.

Saber-chan regrets this. As a samurai, it's not good to be rubbing salt into a wound.

Hm. I see, Bushido is all about sympathy and no love.

...I guess it can't be helped. I'll overlook her clumsiness this time.

But you do have to keep a leash on Saber. Because if you don't do that, in the other dead ends...

Beg your pardon!

Ouch... Master, why the corporal punishment?

That kind of talk isn't permitted! Spoilers aren't good, and you mustn't anger Saber-chan too much!

She can get scary if she gets really pissed off. Somebody almost died after making fun of her.

Oh, you mean in day 13, right?

That was fun...

Hey Taiga, did you just hear a growling noise?

...? I don't hear anything――


A r-r-r-r-r-rival appears!


What is that!? Something weird is riding on something weird!

Scene 16

...All right. It seems the enemy is gone now.

...Waah. I have a bite mark on my head now......

...Well, let's pull ourselves together.

Let's start the rescue corner

that saves Shirou, who has fallen into a pit just by getting sidetracked, the Tiger Dojo!

All right. But Taiga, this dead end isn't much different from the last one.

Saber goes berserk and kills Shirou in this end too, right?

Yup. But this one is a bit different as you could've prevented this with a little more work on Shirou's side. I don't think it's all Saber-chan's fault.

Oh, Saber isn't here.

Nope. It seems she doesn't get depressed if the fault isn't all hers.

So we're able to hold the Tiger Dojo with no worries this time.

Yeah. But there's nothing much to say this time.

There won't be any more tricky choices like this. The story is nearing its climax, so you have to get it together or you won't be able to get to the real ending.

There will only be one more enemy after defeating Caster.

Get your act together and win. There'll be a chance after a crisis. You should fight without letting your guard down. Osu!

Well done.

We'll be waiting in the next Tiger Dojo!

All right. See you, Shirou!