FSN HF Day 04 (EN)

Scene 00 Rin's treatment. Rin wants to cooperate....

This is a story from a winter five years ago.

It was a night with a beautiful moon.

I wasn't doing anything, just watching the moon with Kiritsugu.

Even though it was winter, the air wasn't cold.

The corridor was a little chilly, but it was a good night to enjoy the moon.

Back then, Kiritsugu didn't leave the house often.

Not going outside, he would just laze around the house carelessly.

...I regret it even now, thinking back to it.

Why didn't I notice that it was like the actions of an animal that knows its time of death?

"I wanted to be a superhero when I was a child."


That man, himself a superhero in my child's eyes, said that as if yearning for it.

"What? What do you mean by 'wanted'? Did you give up?"

I became angry and asked him.

Kiritsugu laughed apologetically and looked up at the sky.

"Yes, unfortunately. Being a hero is a time-limited thing, and it becomes hard to call yourself that when you grow up. I wish I'd found that out earlier."

I agreed with that.

I didn't know why, but I thought it couldn't be wrong if Kiritsugu said it.

"I see. Then I guess it couldn't be helped."

"Yeah. It really couldn't be helped."

Kiritsugu answers.

So of course, my response was determined.

"Yeah, it can't be helped, so I'll take your place.

It's impossible since you're an adult, but it should be all right for me. Let me take on your dream."

"―――I'll make it come true."

Before I could finish, my father laughed.

He made a face like he didn't even need to hear the rest.

After breathing in, Emiya Kiritsugu said...

"Yeah―――I'm relieved."

He quietly closed his eyes and ended his life.

I did not cry because he looked so calm, as if he would wake up the next morning.

It must also have to do with the fact that I'm used to seeing death.

I just silently looked up at the winter moon and my sleeping father.

There were no sounds of insects in the garden. All was silent.

In the bright night, I remember only my eyes burning.

I did not cry out, nor did I feel sad.

But I could not stop my tears until the moon sank.

That is the story from a winter five years ago.

Perhaps I cried ten years worth of tears, since after that, there was nothing.

Fuji-Nee's father planned the funeral, and I started living in this house by myself.

Even though Kiritsugu was gone, nothing changed.

Emiya Shirou would become a superhero like Emiya Kiritsugu, so there was no time to be playing around.


I never said it, but I clearly remember it.

The figure of the man who saved a lone boy from an inferno.

Emiya Kiritsugu held up the dying child and said "thank you".

Since then, he was the subject of my admiration.

No one saved me.

I couldn't save anyone.

In it all, I was saved, and a person was there to save me.

―――That's why I decided to become like him.

Become a superhero, so that I could save people and let no one be killed... just like him.

Kiritsugu died peacefully, leaving me his dream of becoming a superhero himself.

It's only natural for a child to succeed his father.

Emiya Shirou must become a superhero and save someone just like the old me.

I swore that oath as a child.

To fulfill the dream of the man I admired most.

...But honestly, I don't get it.

What this superhero thing is supposed to be, how to become one, how to make everyone happy like Kiritsugu always said... and I became this thing called a Master and things like the blond-haired girl following me around is confusing my head and really―――


When I open my eyes, I'm in a familiar room.

"What, I'm in my own room?"

As soon as I speak, I start to feel terribly sick.

"...Ugh... it tastes bad... in my mouth..."

I taste blood.

Maybe it was filling my mouth, but I breathe in thick air.


I'm not sure why I feel like this.

I feel really sick to my stomach, so I want to go to the bathroom and wash my face.

"――――All right."

I get up.

I feel dizzy.

I almost fall and support myself by putting a hand against the wall.


The nausea increases when I move.

...No, this is more like pain than nausea.

My body is heavy and it feels like my stomach is turning every time I move. Maybe someone would feel like this if they had burning lead poured into their stomach.

"...Ugh... Imagining that gives me a headache."

I wipe the sweat off my forehead and wobble out of my room.

"...All right. I feel better now."

I wash my face and wipe the sweat off my body.


There are bandages wrapped around my stomach for some reason.

I can't recall anything about them, so I leave them be for now.

"...I'm hungry. I wonder if there are any leftovers..."

Even though my stomach feels terrible, it seems my body wants energy.


Putting my mind into it, I start to walk along the wall.

I still feel dizzy, and my body feels dull.


I walk forward, crying out miserably.

...Really, what did I do before going to bed?

I don't remember any training that could have caused this pain.

I reach the living room.

Sakura and Fuji-Nee must be at school.

There's no breakfast prepared in the living room, and there's none of Fuji-Nee's loudness.

The living room is quiet, like an ordinary Sunday―――

"Good morning. I'm afraid I came in without asking you, Emiya-kun."

――No, it's not.


Tohsaka Rin is sitting on a cushion.

Her calmness makes me think I'm the guest in this house and not her.

Yeah, that's why I'm even more surprised.


I don't know how to answer her, so I sit down.

And then, I take a deep breath and ask,

"Tohsaka, why..."

"Hold on. Could you apologize first? I can't calm down until I hear an apology for last night."

I don't even have time to ask her why she's here.

Tohsaka is glaring at me like she's really mad.

It seems she's really angry about last night, but what happened―――?

"―――Hold on."

I recall it now.

That's right, why am I so relaxed?

I tried to save Saber and... Berserker blew away my stomach.


The nausea returns.

I feel a chill, remembering the feeling of having a hole in my body.

Something in my stomach moves.

It makes me feel sick.

It makes me feel sick, but that proves I'm still alive.

Wait, that's weird.

Shouldn't that have been instant death for me?

"―――That's strange. Why the hell am I alive?"

"Do you remember? The stupid thing you did last night? If you do, then please reflect upon your actions."

Tohsaka lets out a "hmph" as she scolds me.

...Huh, that's really annoying.

My head, which was frozen by the fact that Tohsaka is here, finally resumes activity again.

"What are you saying? There was nothing else to do at the time! Oh... well, it does look stupid if you just look at the results, but I was going to do it better.

So it wasn't a mistake."

I protest, glaring at her.



Why is she sighing?

"Didn't I tell you Servants disappear if their Master is killed? It's crazy to try to protect your Servant."

"Look, Saber will disappear if you're killed. If you want to save Saber, think of a way to do so from a safe place.

...Geez, don't you understand that protecting your Servant with your life is just meaningless?"

"It's not that I protected her with my life. I tried to save her, and it just happened to work out like that. I didn't think things would end up like that either."

I did think I would be killed if I went near that monster, but that's a different matter.

"...I see. You seem to be misunderstanding."

As if she's read my mind, she sulks even more.

"Look, Emiya-kun. I'll come out and say it. I didn't take you to the church to help you win.

I was trying to help you stay alive even if you were left on your own. It seems you didn't understand that part of it."

"Help me stay alive...?"

"That's right. You shouldn't take risks if you realize that a loss equals your death. You seem to be someone who would walk out at night by yourself even in a situation like this.

If I threatened you, I thought you wouldn't take risks and you might get through this."

"I see. I didn't notice that."

So that's why she's complaining to me about not realizing that and running at Berserker.

"...? So why are you mad, Tohsaka? It shouldn't bother you if I'm the one that made the mistake."

"Of course it bothers me! You made me worry for a whole night!"

Tohsaka loses her temper.

...But I see.

Honestly, I'm happy she's worrying about me.

Looking at the situation, it seems Tohsaka was the one who treated my injuries.

"I see. I guess you helped me out. Thank you."

I bow my head to show my thanks and apologize.


"Heh, if you undersand, then we'll let it slide. If you've learned from this, then think before acting next time."

Tohsaka looks away.

Her gesture is snappy, but it seems she's in a good mood again.

"Then we're done with what happened last night.

I'll move on to the main topic, but which do you want to talk about? Last night or something serious?"


Tohsaka starts a conversation as if it's natural to do so.

Her straight-forwardness surprises me, but thinking about it, she came here for a reason.

If she didn't have business with me, she would have gone home already.

What is it that Tohsaka, my enemy, wants to discuss in her enemy's territory?

I'm interested in that, and I also want to know what happened last night.

It's stupid not to ask, so I―――

"I want to know what happened yesterday first."

"That's right. Knowing the current situation comes first. Wow, you're pretty smart."

Smiling in satisfaction, Tohsaka describes yesterday's events.

It seems that Berserker left after I lost consciousness.

She tells me that my body started to heal itself, and that it looked fine after about ten minutes.

And she says she brought me here since I didn't regain consciousness even after my wound healed, and that's where we are right now.

"The important thing is you survived on your own. I did help, but it was your own power that healed you. Don't mistake that part."

"It seems that way from what you told me. So you didn't heal it?"

"Of course not. I can't do anything like revive a dying person any more. Emiya Shirou himself healed his own wounds."


What can I do, now that she said that?

My stomach is certainly healed, but I have doubts about Tohsaka's story.

I can't use healing magecraft, let alone revival magecraft.

"Then the cause must be the Servant.

Your Servant must be really powerful, or something went wrong during the summoning. ...Well, I think it's both, but I think some kind of line formed between you two."

"A line? You mean like the karmic line connecting a familiar and a magus?"

"Oh, so you have a working knowledge of familiars?

Then this should be easy to explain. In other words, Emiya-kun and Saber's relationship is not a normal relationship like the one between a normal master and their familiar.

"It looks like Saber has natural healing powers, so some of that may be flowing into you.

Normally, the magus's power flows into the familiar, but in your case, the familiar's power is flowing into you and helping you out."

"...Hmmm. So putting it simply, it's like a river flowing upstream?"

"That's a good way to put it. It is not naturally possible, but I bet Saber's magical energy is so great that it can even change the flow of a river. That's the only reason she is able to go against Berserker with her small size."

"Not naturally possible... then is the relationship between you and Archer that of a normal magus and familiar?"

"Yes. He doesn't listen to much of what I say, but we do still have such a relationship."

"The connection between a Servant and a Master is like that of gasoline and an engine. We provide the magical energy, and the Servant uses it.

......Well, I guess there have been some Masters who shared their physical bodies with their Servants to obtain false immortality. Not dying until their Servants are dead, something like that... hey, are you listening, Emiya-kun?"

"Huh...? Yeah, I'm listening.

Then, are you saying most wounds on my body will heal even if I don't do anything?"

"Using your Servant's magical energy. I don't know how, but I'm sure the cause is in Saber's materialization. I know you haven't learned the curse of self-healing."

"Of course not. My father never taught me anything that difficult."

"No, I mean that if that's the case, I've nothing to worry about. Don't worry about it, it has nothing to do with you."


What is it?

Tohsaka's words are indirect and hard to follow.

"Oh well. Just don't do anything too reckless.

It's good that you survived this time, but you won't survive if you get hurt like that again. You shouldn't get optimistic and think that you'll survive any major injury."

"I understand. I feel bad about getting hurt and having Saber helping me."

"Idiot, that's not the reason. I'm sure you're not just using Saber's magical energy to heal your wounds.

―――You're definitely using something.

I don't know what it is... your life span, your luck, or your savings account, but you're definitely using something up."

Tohsaka gives a "hmph" once again.

I feel the same way, but...

"Tohsaka, isn't my savings account completely unrelated?"

"Of course it's related! magecraft uses up your money, so it's something that drains your money the more you use it!

I won't allow myself to be wrong!"

Tohsaka Rin erupts with the fire of a personal grudge.

It's strange.

The more I talk with her, the more I understand this is the real Tohsaka Rin, and that the Tohsaka at school is just a mask she puts on.

...No, it's something I realized already yesterday.

"Well, putting the part about money aside.

Is it okay if I ask you a serious question, Emiya-kun?"

"That's why you stayed here, right? All right, I'll listen."

"Then I'll be direct about it. What are you planning to do from now on?"

She confronts me with the one question I don't want to be asked.

...No, that's not it.

It's not that I don't want her to ask me, but I haven't made my mind up yet.

I'm the one who wants to ask what I should do now.

"...Honestly, I don't know. You say I should fight for the Holy Grail, but I've never been in a fight between magi.

First of all, I―――"

I want to try to avoid killing people, and most of all―――

"I'm not interested in something mysterious like the Holy Grail.

I'm not too sure about risking my life for something I don't want."

"I knew you'd say that. You'll be killed by your Servant with an attitude like that."

"Wha... Why would I!?"

"Because the Servant's goal is also the Holy Grail.

They can be summoned by the Masters because obtaining the Holy Grail is a condition of their summoning."

"The most important thing for a Servant is to obtain the Holy Grail.

They obey their Master and risk their life for their Master, because they have a chance of obtaining it.

So just try saying that you don't want the Holy Grail. You can't complain even if they kill you and call you a traitor."

"...What? That's weird. Servants are summoned by the Masters, right?


"Do you think a Servant would obey a human without being rewarded?

The Holy Grail grants the wish of whoever obtains it. The Servant of the Master who obtains it is no exception.

Even Servants have their own wishes. That is why they respond to the otherwise impossible summoning."

"It's not that Masters summon Servants to obtain the Holy Grail.

Servants answer the Masters' call so they can obtain it."


Servants have their own desires...?

Then, does that mean Saber has a wish she wants the Holy Grail to grant?

"That's why the Servants try to eliminate other Servants even without orders from their Masters. Only one can obtain the Holy Grail. They cannot accept other Masters obtaining it.

Unlike their Masters, they don't have the power to take away the Command Spells. So the only way they can disarm other Masters is to kill them."

"So even if the Master has no intention of fighting, battle is inevitable.

A Master who is attacked by a Servant must fight it off with their own Servant. You heard enough from Kirei to know that this is the nature of the Holy Grail War, right?"

"―――Yeah, he told me that last night.


That means allowing your Servant to try to kill other Servants.

I thought it would be over if I reached a compromise with other Masters, but if Servants are summoned to obtain the Holy Grail and they will not give it up, then a battle between the Servants is inevitable.


The girl who fought to protect me is also ready to kill or be killed to obtain the Holy Grail?

"...That's awful. I don't know about this heroic spirit thing, but Saber is human. She was bleeding badly yesterday too."

"Oh, don't worry about that. There's no life or death for Servants. Even if Servants are eliminated, they just go back to where they belong. Heroic spirits are a phenomenon, they can't be killed. The only ones that can be killed during a fight are Masters."

"No, but still..."

Even if it's a temporary death...

There's still the fact that something human-like has disappeared from this world.

"What? Are you saying it's murder? Are you still carrying such a sense of justice even though you're a magus?"


Her comment is only natural.

As a magus, death is always right beside me.

I understand it and I'm already prepared for that.

But still―――I'm not strong enough to judge people's deaths as good or bad.

"―――Of course. I won't fight anyone to the death."

"Oh? So you're just going to wait for the others to kill you? You're ceding the victory to other Masters?"

"That's not it. The point is to survive to the end, right? I don't have any intention of killing others, but I'll have no mercy in a fight to protect myself.

...If the enemies are out to kill me, they can't complain if they are killed in return, right?"

"Oh, so you'll be staying on the defensive. Then you'll just be observing what other Masters are doing, right? So even if someone like yesterday goes around killing everyone, you're going to ignore it?"

Someone like yesterday...?

She must mean that inhuman monster.


Superhuman strength that allows the destruction of a house or two with a single blow...

...Certainly, if that thing wished it, this town could be in ruins in just one night.

And on top of that, the problem is that the Servants are normally in spirit form.

Humans can't see those in spirit form.

But since the Servants can affect the real world as spirits, you could call them the most powerful weapon.

With the technology we have now, there are no weapons that can affect spiritual beings.

Our attacks are useless against them, while theirs can still harm us.

It's more than just an unfair game.

Murder by a Servant is like natural death for normal people.

Death caused by an invisible killer will just be treated as an accident or suicide.

"What is that? Servants―――no, Masters and Servants don't just attack other Masters? Don't other people have nothing to do with them?"

"Yeah, I really wish that was the case. But if it were, you wouldn't need a supervisor like Kirei, would you?"

"I should have said earlier. Servants are spirits. They are already complete, so they don't grow.

But magical energy used as fuel is different.

The more they have available, the more they can use the powers they had in life.

In that respect, they're just like us magi... Do you understand?"

"I do. So they can use magecraft repeatedly, right?"

You could say magical energy is the gunpowder to fill a gun, and the magus is the gun itself.

The type of gun depends on the abilities of the magus: pistol, rifle, machine gun, shotgun...

Continuing with that metaphor, Servants are cannons.

Using a large amount of gunpowder, they fire a large bullet.

"That's right. Servants aren't given their magical energy by nature. They act with the magical energy inside them.

We Masters support them, so Servants can only use their powers using their own magical energy plus the magical energy of their Masters.

"But that means an amateur Master like you would be no match for other Masters, right?

So there's a loophole... well, I guess you could call it an obvious answer. Servants can supplement their magical energy from other sources.

Servants are spirits, so they can get nourishment from eating things that are like them."


Nourished by eating things that are like them...?

"Things like them? You mean other spirits? But what kind of spirits would they eat?"

"It's a simple answer. Nature spirits obtain power from nature itself.

So where do you think Servants, human spirits, get their power from?"


It is a simple answer.

Just as we humans eat meat, the human spirits―――

"Exactly. Usually, they replenish enough magical energy from their Masters.

But it's obvious that one gets more magical energy from many people than from just one person, right?

So, to put it bluntly, a weak Master makes his Servant eat humans."


"Servants transform human emotions and souls into magical energy.

That is the most efficient way to make your Servant more powerful. There are many Masters who kill humans as sacrifices for their Servants."

"As sacrifices... so you're saying that if a Master didn't care about his methods, he would kill humans to make his Servant stronger?"

"Yes. But I don't think a smart Master would do such a thing."

"You see, even if Servants are powerful, there is a limit to their magical energy capacity. They can't store magical energy beyond it, so there is a limit to how much they can kill to collect magical energy.

The Association wouldn't ignore you if you went around killing people, and most of all, other Masters might figure out your Servant's abilities and identify them from the cause of death. Not to mention the identity of the Master as well.

It is highly advantageous in the Holy Grail War to keep your identity a secret, so most Masters should use their Servants sparingly."

...I see.

Certainly, if nobody knows that you are a Master, there's no danger of other Masters attacking you.

Conversely, if you know who the other Masters are, you could definitely pull a surprise attack on them.

By that theory, there won't be many Masters that would have their Servants attack humans and reveal their identity―――

"...I'm glad. Then there's no problem. That means Servants won't indiscriminately attack humans without orders from their Master."

"Right. They are heroes, right? Someone who would go out and kill people wouldn't be called a hero in the first place―――well, no, I can't really say that for sure.

There are many examples of people becoming heroes just because they were mass murderers."


Tohsaka makes an ominous comment.

As it seems to be her true feelings rather than just sarcasm, a bit of strain in her personality might be showing.

"Let's get back to the point. What are you going to do?

Since you don't want to kill people, you're just going to watch, is that right?"

...I take back what I said.

She really has a bad personality. She's a real bully, putting me on the spot and asking me that with a smile.

"I'll just have to stop them. The Masters will calm down once they lose their Servants, right?"

"Unbelievable. You say you won't go out and kill other Masters, but you also say you'll kill them if they do anything bad.

Emiya-kun, do you realize you're contradicting yourself?"

"Yeah, I know it's selfish, but I can't think of any other choices. I won't change my decision no matter how much you argue against it."

"Hmm. But there's one problem with that. Would you like to know what it is?"

She's plotting something. With that face, she's definitely plotting something.

But as a man, I have to listen.

"O-Okay. What is it?"

"Do you remember the Master yesterday? The girl who was talking about killing you and me?"


How could I forget? They attacked us mercilessly.

"That girl will come to kill us. I think you know that too."


I... see.

That girl is a Master too.

Since she knows Tohsaka and I are Masters, she will come and attack us sooner or later.

I don't know if it'll be today or tomorrow, but I do know it's a death sentence.

At least, I know I can't stop such a monster.

"Her Servant, Berserker, is on a different level.

You can't match it, being an inexperienced Master. You say you won't do anything except defend yourself, but you won't even be able to do that."

"―――Sorry. But you wouldn't be able to beat it either, right?"

"I wouldn't be able to beat it head on. It's the most powerful Servant in hand-to-hand combat. I don't think any previous Servant could match it. Even I wouldn't be able to escape if Berserker attacked me."

"...I feel the same way. I don't think I'll get another chance if they attack me again."

Unconsciously, I place my hand on my stomach.

The wound on my stomach is healed now.

No, you couldn't call it a wound. It was pretty much instant death.

My nausea returns just at the thought of taking another blow like that.

"That's right. Do you get it? You can't choose to wait until the Holy Grail War is over without doing anything."

"...Yeah, I get it. But what are you trying to say? I don't quite understand.

Or are you enjoying watching me be condemned to death?"

"I don't have such bad taste.

Geez, don't you get it after I've said so much? In short, I'm asking you if you want to join up with me."


Hm? Hmmmm, hm?

Um, if I take that at face value, that's...

"―――Join up!? You mean, me and you!?"

"Yes. My Archer received a fatal wound and is healing right now. It will take a while for him to heal fully, but he should still be about half as useful.

And there are no problems with your Servant, but her Master is dragging her down, so she is half as useful as well. See, it adds up fine."

"Huh. I'm not that bad."

"Even though you've almost died three times from what I know of? I think you're the first person I've ever seen almost die three times in one day."

"Guh―――but that's..."

"I'll make the alliance worthwhile. I'll forgive you for beating Archer and I'll teach you about being a Master. Oh, and if we have time, I can look at your skills as a magus. How about it?"


That certainly is an attractive proposal.

As I don't know anything, Tohsaka would be a useful teacher.

And if I can help it, I don't want to fight against her.

Not because she's the girl I admired at school.

In fact, if I didn't know her like this, I wouldn't feel this much resistance.

...The Tohsaka Rin in front of me is so different from how people describe her as an honor student.

But talking to her, she is just Tohsaka and it seems she's just as she appears.

Well―――in other words, I'm saying I find her so much more attractive this way that I'm wondering why I even have to tell myself this―――

"Emiya-kun? I want to hear your answer."

She urges me to respond.


Scene 01 Rin leaves


I'm a novice, and Tohsaka is at her full potential as a Master and a magus.

Considering the events yesterday, it'd be smarter to join up with Tohsaka.


......I touch my stomach, the place I got cut.

It's wrapped in bandages, and touching it sends waves of pain and nausea through me.

...It's only natural.

I wasn't just cut, I was almost split in half.

Thanks to Tohsaka and Saber, I'm still alive. But as long as Berserker is after me, I'm a dead man.


But something still lingers in the back of my mind.

The black giant called Berserker.

The girl in white, accompanied by the strongest Servant.

The innocent, whimsical, and cruel girl, Illyasviel.

Illyasviel von Einzbern.

―――That's the name Shinji's grandfather said.

"Emiya-kun. I want to hear your response."

"Oh――――I'm sorry. I was thinking about that Illya girl.

Joining up with you means we'll be fighting her, right?"

"Yes. She's ready to fight, so we just need to retaliate.

We need to defeat all the Masters anyway. If she wants to kill us, we should do likewise."


Tohsaka's mind is made up.

In Tohsaka's mind, that girl is just an enemy that must be defeated.


I know there's something wrong with me for thinking this way, but I don't want to fight her.

"Emiya-kun? I hope this isn't the case, but don't tell me her looks are deceiving you."

She glares at me.


She's sharp.

I didn't realize it, but my hesitation seems proof that I was being deceived.

...She is Berserker's Master.

If she has such a strong Servant, she must be a powerful magus. I shouldn't focus too much on her outward appearance.

I shouldn't, but――――

"―――I'm sorry, Tohsaka.

I'm glad you're worried about me, but I can't give you the response you want. This is a serious matter, you know? I feel I shouldn't rush to a decision."

I look directly back at her and answer.

Tohsaka narrows her eyes a bit and nods emotionlessly.

"Then negotiations have failed. ...Well, you have a point too. If you really want to win, you can't trust anyone."

"That's not it. I trust you, Tohsaka. It's just that I can't decide on my own. If I'm Saber's Master, I can't make a promise without her consent."

"I see. That is true. You are a Master now."

Giving a nod of understanding, Tohsaka turns away.

She strides to the door, her hair fluttering behind her.

But just before leaving, the girl who could have been my ally gives me one last look, and...

"Goodbye. We will be enemies the next time we meet."

...Like the girl Illya, she leaves a cold warning.

Scene 02 Saber explains the rules


I take a breath and analyze the situation.

I haven't had time to think since I saw that fight between Lancer and Archer last night.

"...Oh. I see. Then that must've been Tohsaka."

I finally realize it.

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

"Saber saved me, and I became a Master."

What I heard at the church.

The killing called the Holy Grail War.

The Holy Grail which grants any wish, given to the winner.

...I can't absorb all the facts, but I have been attacked three times already.

So I can't sit here in confusion forever.

I said I would fight, since I could not sit by and do nothing.

I won't allow any innocent people to get hurt.

Since that day ten years ago, I have trained to become a superhero.

I never thought I would be tested like this, but I won't back out now.

I'll cast off all hesitation.

Come to think of it, this is an opportunity.

This is a chance to "help others" just like Emiya Kiritsugu.


But something lingers in the back of my mind...

―――Rejoice, Emiya Shirou.

The backwards desire that should not be wished for...

―――Your wish will finally come true.

...Might be a distorted wish for a superhero...

"――――That can't be. I didn't want the Holy Grail War."

...There's no need to hesitate.

There is nothing wrong with the wish I've had for ten years.

Emiya Shirou will become a superhero.

I have trained in magecraft to help others.

"All right. I need to talk with Saber."

I shake off the priest's words and exit into the hallway.

I look through the house.

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

"That's strange... She's in that outfit, so you'd think it'd be easy to find her."

And yet I can't find her anywhere.

I guess Servants can become spirits, but I can't turn her into one anyway.

No, first of all―――

"Even though they call me a Master, I don't know anything about her."

I don't know who she is or how she can exist.

The only thing I understand is...

No matter how superior they are, they can still get hurt in a fight and bleed if they are wounded.


Saber is in the silent dojo.

But her appearance is different from yesterday.

She sits Japanese-style on the wooden floor without her armor.

Her clothes are now refined and suit her well as she sits quietly.


...I lose my voice at the sight.

Sitting with her back straight and eyes closed, Saber looks beautiful.

Melting into the silence, she reminds me of pure water.


And that removes the last of the doubts within me.

Even if she is a Servant, there's something holy about her.

So―――I won't be led astray if I'm with her.


I call out.

Saber slowly opens her eyes and returns my gaze.

"You are awake, Shirou."

A calm voice.

Surprisingly suited to this place, her voice echoes through the dojo as if permeating it.

"―――Yeah. I just got up. What were you doing here?"

"I was resting. I cannot treat you, so I thought I'd make sure I was in perfect condition."


Saber looks at me as she speaks.

...Well, um...

I feel a tension, different from the kind I felt with Tohsaka.

"Shirou? What is it? Could it be that your body is still...?"

"...! ―――N-No, there's no problem...! I'm just perplexed for my own reasons, so don't worry...!"

I take a step back and shake my head.


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

"...Calm down. What am I so tense about―――!?"

I take a deep breath.

...But it doesn't seem to die down quickly. In fact, I don't think it ever will.

"...Man, why did she get changed...?"

I complain without meaning to.

Saber's clothes are so real that they make me conscious of her womanhood, whether I like it or not.

...She is terribly beautiful.

I thought I figured that out yesterday, but she really hits me with it now.

Perhaps her armor looked so surreal I didn't notice yesterday.

But when she dresses like a girl, I'm flustered, as any healthy guy would be.


I tense up the moment our eyes meet.

But I didn't look for her just to say nothing. I'm troubled, but I can't stay quiet forever.

"―――All right.

May I, Saber? It'll be the first time we sit down and talk―――"

I make up my mind and talk to her.

―――And then.

"Shirou. Before that, there is something I would like to address regarding last night."

Her previous gentleness goes away and she stops me in displeasure.

"――? All right, what is it?"

"It is about last night.

You are my Master. It is troubling if you take such actions. Battle is my duty, so you must concentrate on your role. If you go and die in vain, there is no way I can protect you."

She states it clearly.

―――That makes the tension I was feeling vanish.

"W-What do you mean!? You would have been slashed if I didn't do that!"

"In that case, I would have just died. It was not something you should have been hurt over.

I repeat myself. Please do not that again.

There is no need for my Master to protect me, and there is no reason for it either."

She says this rather simply.

It must be because she sounds so practical.

"Wha―――don't be stupid. You don't need a reason to save a girl...!"

I react without meaning to.

Maybe she was surprised at being yelled at, but she pauses for a moment as if I did something unexpected.

And then, she stares at me with indescribable dignity.


I back up a bit, being stared at.

Her look makes me realize what I've said, and I suddenly feel embarrassed.

"A-Anyway, I'm grateful you brought me home. Thank you."

I thank her while looking away.

...It's awkward to thank her in the first place, but it's even more awkward to thank her in this situation.

But still, before anything else, I have to thank her for helping me.

"You are welcome. It is natural for a Servant to protect her Master, but I am happy to be thanked. You are very polite."

"No. I'm not polite."

So there's something I need to clarify right now.

It's something I should have asked her the moment we got back last night.

If she really is my Servant....

And if she really is going to be joining this battle...

"Going back to our conversation, Saber.

...Oh, I'll ask formally. Can I call you Saber?"

"Yes. Since I have formed a contract with you as a Servant, I am your sword. I shall follow your orders, defeat your enemies, and protect you."

She says without the slightest hesitation.

There's no room for argument.

"Become my sword, huh? Is that to win this Holy Grail War?"

"...? Is that not why you have summoned me?"

"No. I only summoned you by chance.

As you know, I'm only an amateur magus. I'm sorry, but I have neither the knowledge nor the power of a Master.

But I've decided to fight, so I'll fight. I'm an unskilled Master, are you okay with that?"

"Of course. You are my Master, Shirou.

This fact will not change. A Servant does not have the freedom to choose her Master."


...I see.

Then I should try to respond to her to the best of my ability.

"...All right. So you're content with me as your Master?"

"Yes. But Shirou, I shall not allow defeat for my Master.

If you have no chance of victory, I shall make one for you. I will use any means possible to have you obtain the Holy Grail.

We Servants do not serve the Masters without compensation. We serve because we also desire the Holy Grail."

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

"Of course. After all, the only ones who can touch the Holy Grail in spirit form are we Servants, who are also spirits.

The Master that wins the Holy Grail War will obtain the Holy Grail through the medium of their Servant. After that, the Servant who served the winning Master will have its wish granted in compensation.

―――That is the relationship between Masters and Servants."


...I see.

Now that she says it, it's obvious something like a "heroic spirit" would never obey a mere human being.

Since they have their own objectives, they serve the Master in exchange.

...Then that means Saber has a wish she wants granted.

That is why she has no doubts.


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

For example―――"

Doing something like what that priest said.

Involving innocent people and creating a disaster like what happened ten years ago――――

"Shirou, that is not a possibility.

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

But I must obey your orders. You will have to use one of your Command Spells to compensate for trampling over me."

I am overwhelmed by her angered voice.


But still, I'm happy and relieved.

Her lack of doubt gave her the image of a cold fighting machine, but I know now that she is not a cold-blooded killer.

"―――Yeah, I won't let you do that.

Like you said, we have to do our best with what we can do. ...I'm really sorry. I insulted you without realizing it."

"Ah... no, I leapt to a conclusion without knowing your intentions. You are not at fault, so please raise your head..."

"Huh? Oh, sorry, I apologized without realizing it."

I raise my head.


I don't know what's so funny, but Saber has a small smile on her face.


Well, I'm glad she's smiling, so I won't ask her about it.

"...All right. Then can I ask you something else? A Master is a magus that summons Servants, right?

That's fine, but I don't quite understand you guys. Like, Saber and Lancer, I know those aren't your real names."

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

"We Servants are heroic spirits.

We each have won fame during our lives or have accomplished some great deed beyond human ability.

Whatever the means, we are beings that have reached the rank of gods with our own strength."

That doesn't even need to be said.

Heroic spirits are heroes that had supernatural abilities while they were alive, whose fame was such that they were promoted into the ranks of spirits after death instead of becoming mere ghosts.

"But that is also to our disadvantage. As we are heroes, our weaknesses have been recorded.

Revealing our names, revealing our identities, means revealing our weaknesses.

It is no problem if we fight lower spirits, but we are all capable of defeating each other. If our weaknesses are revealed, the enemy will take advantage of them to defeat us."

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

"Yes. However, I am not called Saber only for that reason.

There are seven Servants called forth by the Holy Grail, and every one of these is selected according to their class."

"Class...? You mean like Saber and Archer?"

"Yes. Summoning a true heroic spirit is already almost a miracle. To summon seven is too much even for the Holy Grail.

As a solution, the Holy Grail prepares seven vessels in advance and only calls forth heroic spirits compatible with these vessels.

Those are the seven classes.








"The Holy Grail calls forth from all times the heroic spirits, with abilities corresponding to each of these classes.

And those who receive these classes are called Servants."

"...I see. So you were a heroic spirit skilled with swords, so you were summoned as Saber?"

"Yes. There are heroic spirits that have multiple attributes, but I believe I am the best when it comes to swords."

"But that is also the weakness of the Saber class.

Since I am not a magus, I can only defeat your enemies as your sword."

"So you're not well-suited to trickery. No, I don't think that's a weakness. You're powerful, so that should be enough, right?"

"Shirou, you cannot win this war just by being strong in battle.

For instance, if your enemy is stronger than you in combat, what will you do?"

"Huh? Well... if I knew I couldn't beat them in combat, I'd have to do something without fighting―――"

Having said that much, I understand.

If the enemies are strong, you wouldn't fight a proper battle.

Beating opponents with your sword isn't the only way to fight.

If you can't beat an enemy head-on, you'll have to do it some other way.

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

"The Servant Assassin has low attributes, but has a special ability to hide its presence, and the Servant Caster is versed in magecraft that does not exist in this age.

You cannot be optimistic because of a mere difference in power. And on top of that, we have our 'Noble Phantasms'. No matter what kind of Servant we are, as heroic spirits, we have our guaranteed fatal attack."

"Noble Phantasm―――?"

That's not a term I've heard before.

I think I might know what it means from the sound of it, though...

"Noble Phantasms are special weapons carried by Servants.

Weapons like Lancer's lance, Archer's bow, and my sword are such.

Heroes are not called heroes by themselves. Heroes have weapons that symbolize them and make them heroes."

"The hero and his weapon are one. So those who became heroic spirits wield a powerful weapon.

That is the 'Noble Phantasm'―――the trump card for Servants, and the thing we must take the most care of."


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

I recall that blue knight.

The lance that absorbed magical energy from the air and pierced Saber's chest with incredible movements.

That was certainly not something fit for humans.

That lance itself carried a strong curse, but I also felt an overwhelming amount of magical energy in the word Lancer said back then.

Then could it be...?

"Saber. Are Noble Phantasms magecraft?

Lancer's lance certainly seemed like a lance with history, but the lance itself wasn't extraordinary.

But that lance went beyond the realm of weapons with his words. Isn't that some sort of magecraft?"

"Yes, Noble Phantasms are certainly similar to magecraft.

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

"A Noble Phantasm could be called a materialized divine mystery.

As spells are necessary to activate magecraft, recitation of the true name is necessary to awaken and to activate the Noble Phantasm.

But that is also dangerous. By saying the true name of their Noble Phantasm, the identity of the Servant is revealed."

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

Saber nods silently.

That is why the Noble Phantasm is a trump card.

In exchange for revealing the name, it launches an unavoidable fatal blow.

But when it does not prove fatal... the Servant will expose all its weaknesses.

"Then, Saber. Is your Noble Phantasm that invisible sword?"

"...Yes. But I have not revealed its identity yet. No Servants should know my true name at this point."

Having said that, Saber looks down awkwardly for a second.

"Shirou. I have a request about that matter."

"Huh? What kind of request?"

"About my real name. Usually, Servants give their true names to their Master only, to determine future plans.

But you are an inexperienced magus.

A superior magus would be able to read your mind, so―――"

"Oh, so you can't tell me your real name? ...Yeah, you're right. Like hypnotism, suggestion, or... well, I don't think there'd be any, but if any other Master had mystic eyes, I might just start babbling about it.

―――All right. Let's do that. I'll rely on you to decide when to use your Noble Phantasm."

"Uh―――um, can you really decide that so quickly?"

"It wasn't easy. I thought it through.

I agreed after thinking about it, so don't worry."



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

This is strange, now that I think about it.

Even though I've decided to fight, the only enemy I know is Tohsaka, and I don't intend to fight her.

Well, I shouldn't be thinking like that because Tohsaka is ready to fight me any day.

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

"No. Unfortunately, there is no clear way to distinguish them.

But if other Servants are near, Servants are able to sense them. All the more if they are materialized. Servants themselves are powerful magecraft.

I am sure you felt Berserker's presence."

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

"Then, how about searching for the Master's presence? Masters are magi. Since they use magecraft for a living, they will leak magical energy. If you search for that, you may be able to identify the Masters in this town."

"...Sorry. Unfortunately, I can't do that sort of thing."

After all, I didn't even realize Tohsaka's real identity, and she goes to the same school as I do.

We were in the same building for two years, and on top of that, I've seen her several times.

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

I sigh.

―――And then.

"Shirou. Could you close your eyes for a moment?"

Saber speaks with a serious expression on her face.

"...? Close my eyes? Why?"

"To prove that you are a Master. Just close your eyes and breathe normally."


...I close my eyes.

I feel a faint pressure on my forehead.

―――――Hey, it's prickling. Could this be the end of her sword―――!?

"―――Saber? Hold on, are you doing something weird?"

"...Master, please stay silent and concentrate on my fingertip. If you are a magus, you should be able to feel my magical energy."


I see, so it's Saber's finger that's touching me.

I pull myself together and calm down.


What is this?

"Saber, what was that?"

"You should not need to ask. You and I are connected by our contract, so it is only natural for you to be able to understand my status."

"―――Understand? You mean, what happened just now?"

"I do not know how you saw it. It is your standard that measures the Servant's ability. Some Masters classify according to color, and some classify according to animals."

"So in other words, you perceive it in a way most comprehensible for you.

This is a standard concept for a Master, so please check frequently. Like me, once you see someone, you shall understand their details."

...I see.

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

Scene 03 Holy Grail War, the beginning

"―――Master. I have simplified things, but that is all the explanation I can give you."

"Okay. It was quick, but I get it now. Sorry, Saber."

"...You should not be 'sorry'.

If you understand the situation, you should be deciding on a plan of action."

She leans forward expectantly.

...I see.

Saber is the same type as Tohsaka: attack first.

That's good in its own way, but I can't decide what to do when I don't know what we should be doing.

"Hmm... We should wait and see... but we can't afford to do that. I don't know anything about the other Masters and I'm curious about the Illya girl. ...We should be going out in search of other Masters, but――――"

I think it's dangerous to wander around aimlessly.


Maybe I should have cooperated with Tohsaka.

"Illya...? What about Berserker's Master, Shirou?"

"Huh...? Oh, no. I'm just wondering why she's after us.

And that wasn't the first time I met her. I've met her once before, and I've heard the name Einzbern before as well."



After hearing the name "Einzbern," Saber gives me a hard look.

"Saber? Do you also know the name Einzbern?"

"...Yes, I do. Let me ask you instead. Do you not know of that name?"

"Well, I've only heard of it. An unrelated guy asked me how the Einzbern girl was doing before I even met her."

"......I see. Then you have not heard anything."

Saber closes her eyes and ponders.

"...This must be fate. You should go to the church if you would like to know about the Einzbern family.

That priest should be able to answer your questions and guide you to the path you must take."

"The church...? You mean the church we went to yesterday? But he told us we shouldn't go back there unless I want to revoke my Command Spell."

"He must have said that for expediency's sake. That rule is only part of the face he puts up for his association. It has no power if you are not part of their association."


...That is certainly true.

Tohsaka belongs to the magecraft Association, but we don't.

We wouldn't gain anything from following their orders, so we can ignore them.

"Do you understand? That place may be a last resort for you, but are under no obligation to follow their orders."

"You're right. But I still want to avoid that place... And I don't think I should go see that priest too much."

Kotomine Kirei.

That priest feels strange.

It's not that I feel enmity or danger.

...I must not see that man.

I'm scared because I might crumble in front of him.

"I understand how you feel. I do not want to have business with him if I could help it."

She declares this with a straight face.


That's unexpected.

I never thought heroic spirits would have difficulty dealing with human beings, and most of all――――

"I know I don't like him, but why don't you?

You haven't even met him, right?"


Saber hesitates.

After frowning, she lifts up her face as if to shake off her hesitation.

"He took part in the last Holy Grail War.

I do not know which Servant he had, but Kiritsugu always took him seriously."


I know that.

I know that, but what did she just say?

"Saber... Why do you know my father's name?"

"I was Kiritsugu's Servant.

Emiya Kiritsugu was a Master in the last Holy Grail War. He cooperated all the way through to the final fight.

During the war, Emiya Kiritsugu saw the priest as his greatest enemy. He believed the priest was the only one who could defeat us."


Hold on.

Then what?

My father was a Master in the last Holy Grail War, fought along with Saber, and――――

He's part of the cause of that disaster?

"――――You're lying. That can't be true. Then why didn't Kotomine tell me? Why didn't my father tell me about it?"

"I do not know. I could never understand what Kiritsugu was thinking.

But I am sure the priest did not tell you because you did not ask him. He is a man who will answer you if you ask. He will tell you the truth if you inquire him about it."


Saber stares at me silently.

The meaning of being a Master.

Her green eyes tell me to go to the church of my own will if I want to know about Emiya Kiritsugu.


I head to the church.

Saber must plan to watch over me, since she's following me in that outfit.


I look up at the church.

...Even though Saber urged me to come here, I'm still not prepared.

I don't feel like going in there to ask the priest about what happened ten years ago.


I turn back to the girl behind me.

"I shall wait here. Please face the priest yourself."

"...I know. I came this far, so I won't back down now."

"Please do not tell the priest that I was summoned.

You should not tell him that the same heroic spirit was summoned twice."

"Okay. I'll ask him only about Kiritsugu. I'll be back quickly, so wait for me here."

"...Very well. Please be careful, Shirou. Call for me if danger approaches. That priest makes me uneasy. I do not know what will happen to you if you let your guard down."

"I feel the same way. Don't worry. I'll escape and call for you if anything happens."

I take a step onto the stairs.

I enter the church, leaving Saber under the winter sky.

I don't see the priest in the chapel.

In his place, I see a man sitting in a chair.

His hair is golden.

He must be a foreigner.

"Excuse me. Is Father Kotomine here?"

I ask him, not expecting a response.


The man slowly gets up.

At that instant...

All my muscles stiffen up.

He walks to me.

There's something odd about that simple action.

He is walking towards me in a casual manner.

That's all he's doing, so―――why am I getting ready to be killed by this man?


The man raises his arm.

It reaches out for my neck and――――

...Stops midair.

"――――Hm. You are entranced by something unpleasant."

He withdraws.

Yes, that is only natural.

I'm actually the strange one for thinking he was going to kill me just because he was coming closer.

"Wait right there. You have business with Kotomine, right?"

He disappears behind the altar.


Several minutes pass.

"I am surprised. Have you retired after only half a day, Emiya Shirou?"

Kotomine appears, greeting me with that annoying tone I remember from last night.

"―――That's not it. I came here because I have something I want to ask you. I wouldn't come here for any other reason."

"Very well. I am a busy man, so I do not want people to be attached to me."

Kotomine draws closer, his firm footsteps filling the air.

...Is this what you would call invisible pressure?

He has a severe air about him that makes people conscious of their weakness.

It must be a good characteristic for priests, but could it also be their greatest fault?

"What is it? Go ahead and ask if you have a question. There is no need for greetings between us."


...He's right.

There's no need to be friends with him.

I came here to confirm what Saber told me.

I should ask him and quickly leave.

"There's only one thing I need to ask you. Why didn't you tell me about it?"

"Hmm. What did I not tell you?"

"――――It's about my father. Why didn't you tell me that Emiya Kiritsugu was a Master in the previous Holy Grail War?"

He smiles.

He does not look guilty. ...This man is enjoying the fact that Kiritsugu's name came out of my mouth.

"Answer me. It's natural for you to know if you're the supervisor of the Holy Grail War. So why didn't you tell me about it?"

"Is it not obvious? What good would it do to you to know that your father was a Master? Emiya Kiritsugu's achievements have nothing to do with you."

His disinterested tone shows no opening for a rebuttal.

Kotomine's answer isn't wrong.

Even if my father was a great Master, it doesn't mean I get any benefit out of it.


"...No, there is a connection. Did I become a Master because I'm Kiritsugu's son?"

I was raised as his son, and I studied magecraft as his apprentice.

I became a Master just like him, and made a contract with the exact same heroic spirit. There has to be a meaning behind all this.

"You said I became a Master by chance.

I would've chosen to fight then and there if you'd told me that Kiritsugu was a Master. Why didn't you tell me about it?"

"That is none of my concern.

I have never heard of a Master's title being hereditary, and in any case, you are not Kiritsugu's son.

It is rare for an unprepared person to be chosen as a Master."

"The Command Spell is usually not given to someone who knows nothing of the Holy Grail. I do not know why you were chosen as an exception."

"...Then I really don't have a connection with my father?

I was chosen to be a Master by chance, and my father saved me because..."

...He saved me out of pure good will?

"As far as I know. But I cannot understand the intentions of the Holy Grail. I would like to say that you were chosen to be a Master by chance, but I suspect fate had a hand in this.

The Grail might want you to atone for Emiya Kiritsugu's sin of denying its power."

"What...? My father denied the Holy Grail?"

"That is right. Your father came to this town to obtain it.

His sole purpose was to obtain the Holy Grail. The Holy Grail answered his pure wish, and maybe the Holy Grail thought he would be a fit owner."

"But Emiya Kiritsugu betrayed the Holy Grail.

He destroyed the Holy Grail at the very end. To end the Holy Grail War, he betrayed the Holy Grail which placed expectations on him and its longstanding desire."

"He destroyed――――the Holy Grail...?"

If that's true, the Holy Grail certainly would not approve of Emiya Kiritsugu.

But he wasn't mistaken.

A Holy Grail that grants any wish.

Magi kill each other to obtain it.

...The Holy Grail is the cause of the conflict.

My father did not betray anyone when he destroyed the Holy Grail.

He ended the Holy Grail War as the superhero I always admired.

"...He didn't betray anyone. Kiritsugu destroyed the Holy Grail probably because he thought there was no need for it. Kiritsugu did not betray anything."

"Hm. It seems you do not know what Kiritsugu was like before.

―――All right. There is little point to it, but I shall tell you the true identity of Emiya Kiritsugu."

The priest smiles.

It is the ominous smile of someone intoxicated with delight.

"Emiya Kiritsugu.

He was a magus unrelated to the Holy Grail War. He lived for his desires and objectives, and sought the Holy Grail as a result.

A miracle he could not make come true himself.

An ideal he could not implement with mere human power.

He could not cast away his immature dream that should have been given up, and that is why he sought the Holy Grail to make his wish come true."

"―――I do not know where he heard about the Holy Grail War.

It might have been that someone else deemed him worthy. But I do not care how it happened."

"Either way, Emiya Kiritsugu was hired as a Master.

He was named the greatest Master by the Einzberns―――the family of magi that is the cause of this ritual."

"Having learned from the previous three wars, the Einzbern family sought a Master specialized in battle.

The magecraft of the Einzbern family is not suited for battle. Therefore, they put their trust in Kiritsugu, a strong magus who did not belong to the magecraft Association."

"They taught Kiritsugu about the Holy Grail, gave him power as a Master, and gave him a woman to produce a successor who would be more suited to combat.

He would be formally accepted into the Einzbern family if he obtained the Holy Grail. It was like accepting a commoner into a noble family.

The Einzberns treated Kiritsugu exceptionally, and it is easy to imagine how much trust they had in Kiritsugu."

"And Kiritsugu answered their trust.

Kiritsugu defeated many Masters in the previous Holy Grail War. I am the only one who survived after fighting him. Everyone else was killed for sure.

He was precise, careful, brutal, and cruel. He showed no pity for his enemies. Once the decision was made, he killed. He killed a Servant, let the Master beg for help while crawling on the floor, and ruthlessly shot him in the head. He showed no emotion even after killing. Neither the supremacy of his strength nor guilt in killing the weak."

"In short, he was a machine.

He did not have any emotions to begin with. There was no space for his human emotions to enter."

"What――――my father was a machine...?"

"Yes, he killed.

He did not think like you about not involving innocent people. He thoroughly attacked his enemy's weakness, allowing no chance to counterattack. He used the enemy's family as a shield and their friends as their shackles to win the war."

"Yes. If Kiritsugu were in this war, he would be the Master you would hate the most. If being heartless is evil, he would be the greatest evil of all."


"What? Are you not satisfied?

I understand. Emiya Kiritsugu is not a machine.

He threw away his personal feelings for his goals. It was both his strength and weakness to cast off his emotions through his own will without even using self-suggestion.

It would have been easy to prepare another 'cold-hearted' personality in him, but he must have believed such a person would not obtain the Holy Grail."

"He went so far, but――――that same weakness made him betray everything.

The Einzberns entrusted their longstanding desire to Kiritsugu.

The Holy Grail appeared after five Masters were defeated.

It was a wish that no human could make come true, a wish Emiya Kiritsugu desired."

"But he threw everything away at the last moment.

That is the end of the last Holy Grail War――――the true nature of the magus you call your father."

"The Holy Grail disappeared and the Holy Grail War ended.

The Einzberns retreated after being betrayed by Kiritsugu, and they spent ten years preparing the next Holy Grail."

"...Hm. Now that I think about it, they must have seen this Holy Grail War coming.

The previous war ended without any result.

Unused magical energy carries over to the next war. They must have known the next war would begin shortly."


I can't accept Kotomine's story.

That Kiritsugu was a cold-hearted Master...

And that a noble family of magi had a connection to my father...

There's no way I can accept it all when it all comes so suddenly.

...All I can tell from this is that Kotomine did not lie, and―――

"―――Kotomine. Did you hate Kiritsugu?"

The man before me, the one who is uninterested in everything, actually displays anger towards Kiritsugu.

"Of course. We were at the opposite ends of the spectrum. We are natural enemies. Makiri and Einzbern considered us as the same kind, but we treated each other as natural enemies."

"...Natural enemies? You were on guard against my father like he was on guard against you?"

"No. We simply could not ignore each other."

"He was a saint beyond help.

He could not forgive death, yet he killed to save other people. If one sacrifice were needed to save ten, he would kill the sacrifice himself without a second thought."

"He always prepared the minimum sacrifice to make his dream world where everyone could smile.

――――That contradiction.

A contradictory ideal is something I have as well, but we were not of the same kind."

"He lived for his ideal. He pursued his ideal until the moment he destroyed the Holy Grail.

That is why he had pride in himself, allowing him to become a machine without hesitation."

"That is our similarity and our difference.

He had an iron mind unplagued by inner conflict.

The reason he was never wounded―――was he was wounded from the start.

He was an artificial brute, just as I was an artificial priest."


'He was wounded from the start'.

So that means the premise he believed in was wrong from the start.

"...Then are you saying you're different? You take wounds, and you're not already wounded. You're a normal human being that can be wounded if you get slashed at, right? Are you saying you're different from Kiritsugu because you're a priest...?"

"Hm. People would not consider us to be the same if that were the case.

People thought we were similar in another aspect.

...Let's see. If you talk about being similar, you are more similar to him than I."

"You both have child-like ideals.

Believing in simplicity and shouldering the role of a criminal for the sake of that ideal.

Turning yourselves into the greatest evil to eliminate all the small evils in this world.

You and Kiritsugu act like the saviors we call 'anti-heroes.'"

"......? What is this anti-hero thing?"

"It is what it sounds like. It is the opposite of a hero, an unforgivable murderer."

"Hey, that's just a villain. Are you making fun of me?"

"Oh my. It seems you are misunderstanding me. I am welcoming you. You are Kiritsugu's son. Think about having your enemy's son come to you for help. It is such a complex feeling that you cannot decide whether to be happy or sad."

The priest laughs silently.

...I don't know his true intentions, but he doesn't seem to be bored.

"Well, about the anti-hero.

They are beings whose existence itself is evil, but their actions are good deeds according to people. They are beings who people set up as saviors, even if they don't want to be."

"Those are the heroic spirits called the anti-heroes. An example of this would be a sacrifice."

"Even if the sacrificed one is evil, he would become a hero if everyone in the village is saved because of the sacrifice, right?

It would not matter to anyone whether the sacrifice was eaten or buried.

If the one whom this disgrace was forced upon saves people, he would become a hero instead of a sinner."

"...... Is this like getting a high promotion for dying in combat?"

"――――No, you are wrong.

The important part is the minds of the people who set up the hero.

A proper hero is created from respect, gratitude, and feelings of guilt. You cannot become an anti-hero from gratitude or guilt.

...Well, humans forget their ugliness and substitute farce with tragedy. Heroes who died as evil will be treated as victims as time goes on, and they will not stay as pure evil."

"...Will not stay as pure evil...?"

"Correct. Anti-heroes have to be both victim and assailant.

...They are created by the people, but are not a part of humanity. It is that contradiction which allows them to be 'the enemy of the world' exempt from all the restraining forces of the world."

"...But then, there aren't many pure anti-heroes.

They are something that does not exist. They are merely what people wish to exist."

"They are an ideal that humans have created, sacrifices to deny the original sin.

Just think of the anti-hero as one of the wishes that will never come true; a synonym for peace."


"...Hah. In short, it is a naive dream that will never come true.

You want to be a superhero like Kiritsugu, right?

Then you will be a great anti-hero. How about it? Why don't you wish to become a hero when you obtain the Holy Grail?"

"...Hey now.

A superhero isn't like a hero. I don't know what you're trying to say, but I won't fall for your cheap tricks."

"Oh? How is it different?"

"I-I don't know! It's just different, okay!? And a hero is not something you try to be, but something you are at the end. I bet the only thing the Holy Grail can give me is powers beyond my position."

"―――I see. So you truly are a son of his, even if not blood-related. You both are hard-headed."

He must be making fun of me, as his smile is friendly.


...This guy hates my father.

But he doesn't anger me because...


He has yet to say anything bad about my father.

"Hey. Wouldn't you have gotten along with my father?"

I ask him when I realize this.

"Oh. Why do you think so?"

"...For no reason. I just thought so."

"Then you are mistaken. I hate Emiya Kiritsugu. We never even spoke. The one time we met, we tried to kill each other.

I have already told you that we are exact opposites.

Our wishes, our questions, are different. A question by the one who does not have it shall not be answered by the one who does."

His eyes tell me that is why they would never have been able to get along.

"......? 'The one who does not have it'? Are you saying Kiritsugu had something that you didn't have?"

"Yes. I could not change my will itself for something I believed in. Well, we cannot be compared since our goals were different."


Changing your will for something you believe in...

Is that like saving ten by killing one, like he said earlier?

"You do not need to understand. Emiya Kiritsugu desired peace. Isn't it simple? But it was too simple for this complex world. He had to reject the extra parts that could not fit into that perfect shape."

"―――But he could not tolerate that.

He sought a perfect shape, but still wanted to save the extra parts.

...But that is a miracle exceeding human power.

There is no such thing as a world without conflict. He sought the Holy Grail to deny that fact."

"He sought his ideal, and after being faced with the fact that it was impossible, had no other choice but to rely on the Holy Grail.

That is the end of the man who was cornered by his own ideal.

His dream was an impossible True magecraft that could only be granted by 'something that does not exist' like the Holy Grail."


A world without conflict.

Did my father really believe in such a thing?

He worked hard to become strong, but the more he matured, the more he was cornered by reality. But still, he still kept believing in his ideal and in the end, attained the miracle-granting Holy Grail.

Emiya Kiritsugu must have experienced many failures by that time.

First of all, to seek the Holy Grail means knowing your wish is unattainable by normal means.

He wore out and strayed far away from his ideal.

But my father still sought the Holy Grail.

For his ideal, and for everything he sacrificed.

"...But my father destroyed the Holy Grail. His wish was never granted, right?"

"Correct. It was his own self that betrayed him in the end.

...In that instant, I began to feel anger towards him.

To be honest, I did not mind his wish. I was interested in the 'peace' that humans wish for."

"Isn't that the same for you as well? You're a priest after all, right?"

The priest nods,

saying that a world without conflict is what everyone desires.

"But that is not my wish. First of all, I do not have such ordinary wishes."

"You don't have ordinary wishes...?"

"That's right. An ideal world is one that is the most comfortable. For Emiya Kiritsugu, it was a world without conflict. From the very beginning, his standard was different from mine."


"It is a simple story. There is nothing that brings me happiness. It does not matter, let it be believing in people or having people believe in me. What other people called happiness did not bring me any joy."

He says this emotionlessly.

He is not talking to me. It's almost like a monologue.

"―――Well, that is all.

I answered your question if Emiya Kiritsugu was a Master well enough."

"Uh―――no, hold on. It's not just my father I want to know about. Um, well..."

About my preparation for the role of Master and about how I should go about fighting from now on...

...I bet he'll laugh and make fun of me if I asked something so stupid.

I want to avoid that.

In fact, I will avoid it.

"If you have any other questions, make it short. That took longer than I thought."


...No, there was something else I wanted to ask him about.

Didn't I come to this church because I wanted this question answered?

"Aren't you concerned about the Einzberns?

I would think they would want to kill you, since you are Kiritsugu's son."

"...! Yeah, it's about that...! First of all, who is this Einzbern? You said they are the cause of the Holy Grail War or something."

"Yes, they are the cause. I told you that the Holy Grail War is a ritual, yes? If there is a ritual, it is natural for there to be a ritualist."

"There were some magi 200 years ago who found out there is a distortion in the ley line on this land. They offered their secret techniques to each other to create the Holy Grail's activation circle.

That was the start of the Holy Grail War. The three families involved in its creation are the legitimate owners of the Holy Grail."

"The ones that created the Holy Grail. The ones that devised the Command Spell which abuses the heroic spirits. The ones that offered the land and the technique to bore a hole into the world."

"Einzbern, Makiri, and Tohsaka.

They are the three families that started it all, with lineage and history far surpassing ours. The Tohsaka are the only ones from this land, but their fatherly master is that Schweinorg. Well, if the master is the kind of person I hear he is, it is ridiculous to group them according to race."

"......Hm. So the Einzberns are the leading family of the Holy Grail War?"

"In the past, yes. But they are only participants now that the Holy Grail summoning has failed and its ownership became uncertain.

Now, their only role is to create the vessel of the Holy Grail.

The same goes for Tohsaka and Makiri. They are just families whose members have a higher likelihood of being chosen as Masters."

"...But the Holy Grail is what the Einzbern family proposed in the first place. Their history spans a thousand years. A family that lasted for a thousand years without spawning any branch families is rare."

"Do you understand, Emiya Shirou? The Einzbern family has only pursued the fulfillment of the Holy Grail for a thousand years.

A thousand years. They are crazy, continuing their deeds from the time when barbarism such as mass murder was allowed for the sake of recovering holy ground.

They are not fanatics, not obstinate, nor crazy. They just held the hopeless cross to enforce the meaninglessness."

"That is why the Einzbern magi are beyond the domain of magecraft. They are monsters, never straying from their path, always attempting to achieve a common goal. Normally such people die off after a few decades.

We cannot imagine their feeling of disgrace and frustration when they had to invite in a magus outside of their family."

"But their desire to complete the Holy Grail was stronger still.

They repeated their mistake for 500 years. It took them 300 years to accept the fact that they could not obtain the Holy Grail by themselves.

And―――it took them another 200 years to realize that they could not obtain it unless they use their own powers."

"The Einzberns literally killed their emotions to cooperate with Makiri and Tohsaka.

As a result, their ownership of the Holy Grail was taken away and they were reduced to mere participants in the war. They endured the disgrace, even going as far as contaminating their own bloodline by inviting in an outside magus. But unbelievably, Emiya Kiritsugu betrayed them with the Holy Grail in front of him."

"That is the connection between Kiritsugu and the Einzberns.

And that is your connection with them."


...I see.

Then it's natural for that girl to come after me.

It's natural for them not to let their betrayer's son go if he becomes a Master.

"Do you understand now? All the Masters have some sort of burden, but the obsession of the Makiri and Einzbern families cannot be expressed into words. If the Makiri family have carried their burden for five hundred years, the Einzbern family have carried theirs for a thousand.

――――If anyone has the right to own the Holy Grail, it would be one of them."


I'm at a loss for words.

No man can stand against an obsession that has lasted for centuries.

"Do not be depressed. Emiya Kiritsugu did betray them, but you do not need to condemn him for it.

To put it another way, he held to his belief, even if it meant opposing a 1000-year-old apparition.

He threw away everything for that purpose.

Isn't that something to be proud of?"


...People who accepted him...

Something he protected by opposing a thousand years of history...

I'm not buying everything the priest has told me, but if it really is true――――

―――If I am to call myself my father's son, I have to follow my beliefs like he did――――

"What is wrong? Are you scared now that you've heard a thousand years?"

"―――No. I chose to fight, no matter what the reason is. I don't care what the other Masters think. I won't let something like the disaster ten years ago happen again."

I raise my head in determination.

The priest nods, apparently satisfied.

"That is good enough. If that is your reason to fight, put your life on the line as you do so. There will be more victims the longer the war lasts. Risk your life like Kiritsugu and lure your enemies in."

"...You're saying what you want because it doesn't concern you. You're telling me to be bait?"

"You have nothing else to risk, so it cannot be helped.

Well, it is not entirely hopeless. You have no ability to detect other Masters, but Servants can sense other Servants. If you have an excellent Servant, you need only wait."


I turn my back to him.

There's nothing else I need to ask.

I've kept Saber waiting, so I should be going back now.

"Hold on. Let me ask you something. Do you know any healing magecraft?"

"―――No. What about it?"

"Well, then bring any wounded people here.

As part of The Church, I cannot overlook any victims. I can handle all the treatments unless they are beyond help."


I stop.

"...I'm surprised. You can use healing magecraft? That's banned in the Church, right?"

"It is outside of our jurisdiction, but I have acquired it.

I once had someone die in front of me. After that, I started to study it, and it seems I am more compatible with it than I thought."

"Oh, but I will ask for compensation if I am to heal you. I have to be fair as the supervisor."

"―――I refuse. I wouldn't come to you for help even if my life depended on it."

I turn away, and this time I really do leave.

Scene 04 Will to fight, fighting sword

I leave the church.

Saber must have been waiting under cover, as she appears as soon as I come through the door.

"Are you done with your inquiry, Shirou?"

"Yeah. I heard about my father and what kind of a relationship he had with the Einzbern family. He also warned me about what I should do. He's more talkative than he looks.

He recommended a lot of things to me."

"Huh...? T-That priest was cooperative?"

I don't know what's wrong, but Saber is bewildered.


"S-Shirou? What is wrong? Did he ask for something in compensation? Kuh, why did you not call for me!? You said you would call for me if there was any danger...!"

I must have had a strange expression because Saber draws near and peers at my face.


"So what did he do to you, Shirou...!? Your wound has not healed yet. You should know something like last night could happen again if you let your guard down...!"

Saber draws even closer.


"Please show me your wound, Shirou! I am partly responsible for it. I cannot let you die without returning my debt. I have not helped you as a Servant yet. I cannot allow our contract to end like this...!"

Saber reaches for my shirt as if to rip it off.

She doesn't look scary at all, but rather...


Oh, crap. I was trying to hold it in, but I my laughter spills out.


Her hand stops.

She realizes what I've been trying to suppress and glares at me.

"――――Shirou. It is not good to enjoy someone else's confusion."


Her protest is so entertaining that it brings a smile to my face.


"Kuh――――I'm sorry. I was just surprised because you were in such a panic. Um, it was a fortunate misunderstanding, or something like that."

"...A 'fortunate misunderstanding,' eh? I feel some hidden meaning in that. Are you going to explain to me what it means?"

I must have hit a nerve because she gets even more emotional.

Saber's like the class president type.

She seriously gets mad when I do something stupid. And since she's serious, her real character appears.

"What are you smiling for...!? Is it that funny that I misunderstood your condition!?"

"I'm sorry. To be honest, I'm just happy. You're really energetic right now."

"...? There is nothing wrong with my condition, but what about it?"

"No, that's not what I'm talking about. It's just that this is the first time I've seen your real personality. I'm glad I can see that you're a girl."


Saber jumps back.

"W-What are you saying? The gender of the Servant does not matter. We are here only to fight, so please do not get happy over such a thing."

She glowers at me, probably because she's mad or astonished.


But I somehow don't feel bad, and I'm still smiling.

Even though she's a Servant, she's as human as she appears.

I don't know about the other Servants, but the girl I made a contract with is not just a familiar that only knows combat.

She said she has not helped me yet.

She saved me from Lancer and she tried to let me escape from Berserker.

She saved my life twice, but she still thinks she hasn't helped me yet.

"――――I wonder if she's good-natured, or just a perfectionist."

"W-What is that look? Even if you are my Master, there are some remarks I cannot ignore. I have appropriate plans if you say anything more."

"All right, all right. I understand, so don't get too mad. I'm just saying I'm glad you're the one I made a contract with."

"W-What are you saying? I was only summoned by you.

I did not make a contract with you out of choice. You were the one who chose me."

"It was only an accident, though. ...Yeah, that's what I regret. I wanted to make the conscious choice to choose you."

I hold out my right hand.

This is something I wasn't able to do at the very beginning.

I have to make the promise I should've made before.


"This is a bit late, but can I? This is the only way I know how."

Without a word, Saber walks over to me and shakes my hand.

Her slender fingers.

I feel her warmth through my hand.

"Will you fight with me from now on? I need your help, Saber."

"My oath will not change. I was summoned to be your sword."

"―――And we both need each other's help.

I will borrow your strength to obtain the Holy Grail. If you trust me, I will do my best to live up to that trust."

Her hand is warm.


The hesitation within me disappears without a trace.

It has been half a day since the night it all began.

I am finally able to realize that she is my ally who will fight alongside me.

Scene 05 Intruder

――――We will wait until nightfall to go out into the city.

After some discussion, that is what we decided.

As Kotomine said, I can't sense other Masters.

Saber is the only one who can sense our enemies, and even then, she's only able to sense nearby Servants.

So naturally, our plan is to walk around and find information.

It's like counting on luck, but it's "risky but certain" according to Saber.

Masters aren't going to be holed up in their hideouts all the time.

If the Holy Grail War is a race, you have to do something to get ahead of the competition.

That means the Servants search for the enemy's hideout while the Masters use magecraft to set up traps.

We can use that to our advantage.

Lots of magical energy will be needed if either one does something. Even though I can't sense other magi, I can detect the lingering traces of their power.

If we patrol the city looking for that, I'm sure we'll find some signs of other Masters.

...This is information I'll be getting by using myself as bait.

I have no other method besides being bait, just like Kotomine said.

We'll start the patrols tonight.

Saber told me to stay at the house, but I refused, saying I would go with her.

After a long, unproductive talk...

"...All right. But please promise you will always be with me. Can you swear not to go outside by yourself at night?"

...Saber finally accepted my point of view.


Our course of action is decided, but there are two more problems.

"Shirou. I have explained to you before, but I cannot afford to use too much magical energy, especially if we plan to patrol tonight."

"Yeah. You're going to sleep as much as you can to preserve magical energy, right?

Since I can't provide you with magical energy, you have to maintain your body yourself.

So, say you can regenerate 8 units of magical energy per day and you need 6 units to sustain yourself daily. That excess 2 units is what we can save up.

And if you conserve well, you could use about 10 units during a battle, right?"

"That is true as long as I am not wounded or my armor does not become damaged. But against heroic spirits of such rank, that is not likely.

To put it in your terms, I used about 50 units against Lancer, and about 200 units against Berserker."

She was pierced by Lancer, and her stomach was slashed by Berserker.

It makes sense for her to have used a lot of magical energy to heal those wounds.

It makes sense, but...

"I did not use that much magical energy to heal myself. I used it more to restore the armor that was destroyed. Most of my magical energy is fixed on protecting me."

...That's how it is, according to her.

"So your armor is part of your body, right? So maintaining your body and your armor is the same thing. You have your armor off right now to preserve magical energy, right?"

"Yes. But things like this should not be necessary for other Servants. I can only disarm myself since I cannot turn into spirit form, but Servants such as Archer and Lancer can become spirits to reduce the burden on their Masters."

"I see, I see. ...Oh, I guess this is good enough."

"Shirou. It is helpful that you are preparing our meal, but do you not think it is easing the tension?"

"Huh? No, I don't think so."

I don't, but it is true my sense of urgency disappeared.

I was surprised when Saber told me about her condition after our strategy meeting.

As I don't provide her with magical energy, she has her hands full with maintaining her body.

I tried to change our course of action, saying that it should be impossible for her to fight in that condition, but...

"Hey Saber. Let me ask you again, but how much magical energy do you have right now?"

"In your terms, I have about 1000 units."

―――So it's something ridiculous like that.

She said she spent about two hundred against Berserker, but she still has that much magical energy remaining.

And she says it's not full. It's scary to think how much magical energy she would've had with a proper Master.

Her capacity is way beyond human, and I stop stupidly thinking how many times more of my magical energy it would take to fill her up.

I finally understand why Tohsaka called Saber "the most superior Servant".

"...Of course I'm not nervous anymore. There's nothing to worry about if you have that much magical energy and we only have to face six enemies."

"――――That is only if I am to fight them.

I told you earlier, but using a Noble Phantasm takes lots of magical energy. It is hard to use my Noble Phantasm in my current state. Therefore I must save up as much magical energy as I can."

Saber's mad.

I can't tell if she's mad at me for being a burden,

or because I'm keeping her here when she has to sleep.

"I understand your magical energy is important, but so is food, right? I used leftovers for lunch, so please eat a proper meal for dinner. You can sleep after you eat."

"......All right. I do not intend to use my Noble Phantasm lightly. We shall talk about this later when you have a better understanding of what Servants are."

Saber says this in a dissatisfied manner and takes a seat.


She might complain, but she always listens to me.

So the problem of "conserving magical energy" is settled now.

In the first place, it's not something we can do anything about, and the only way to help ourselves is to get a better understanding of our current situation.


"But, Shirou. You said you have two problems. What is the other problem?"

"Huh? Oh, it'll come soon. Please do as I said."

I cut some white radishes and put them into the saucepan.


Saber tilts her head in confusion.


"I'm home! Are you cooking, Shirou!?"

"Excuse me, Senpai."

...I hear the usual voices from the entrance.




The silence is painful.

It's only natural. Fuji-Nee and Sakura are confused, and they're looking at me for an explanation.

"This is Saber. She's going to be staying at this house starting today. Please give her your best regards."

It's been ten minutes since that was my explanation to them.

This lack of protest feels awkward.

I want to take a sip of tea, but I feel like the sound of it would echo through the room, so the hot tea sits there untouched.

But sitting here won't solve anything.

I have to move forward with courage.

"We can't turn her away since she came here for my father. She won't stay long as she's only here for sightseeing. Also, she'll be staying in the separate building so it won't be a problem."




...The silence continues.

By the way...

I can understand why Sakura and Fuji-Nee are quiet, but why is Saber looking so surprised?

"――――Phew. Well, if she's an acquaintance of Kiritsugu-san, it can't be helped. I heard he had some relatives overseas, so, was it... Saber-san? She seems reliable, so I have no objections."

"...Um. Fujimura-Sensei, that's..."

"I'm sorry. I understand how you feel, but this is Kiritsugu-san's house. It would be shameful for us Japanese to throw out a foreigner who came here relying on us, right? It's been getting dangerous lately, so we can't just throw this cute girl out on the streets."

"......That's true, but... is this okay with you, Senpai?"

"Yeah, this is what I intended. I'm going to have Saber stay here for a while. Are you against it, Sakura?"

"...No, I do not mind if an acquaintance of yours stays here, but――――um, Saber is..."

"Hm? Oh, it's a strange name, right? She's blunt like her name suggests, but I guarantee she's a good person. She might sound strange since she's not used to Japan, but it'll really help me out if you can help her out, Sakura."

"......All right. If you're fine with it, then I am too."

Is she nervous because Saber's a foreigner?

Sakura nods while looking away from her.

So it's dinnertime.

I put extra effort into dinner to welcome Saber and to make up for lunch.

I made minced bonito salad, fried chicken with hot sauce, meat and potato stew, and lots of tempura including shrimp tempura.

The dinner I put so much effort into is...

Unpopular with the main guest and my pupil.

"Wow, what is this tempura!? 'Juicy' and 'tasty' don't begin to describe it! What did you do, Shirou!? I have a better opinion of shrimp now!"



It's all good since Fuji-Nee's enjoying it enough for the four of us.

Dinner ends without trouble thanks to her.

I don't know what happened, but Fuji-Nee gave some of her food to Saber.

I guess Fuji-Nee likes Saber because she is quiet.


Saber and Fuji-Nee left to prepare Saber's room.

And Sakura and I clean up after dinner.

Well, there's nothing wrong with that, because it's part of the usual chores.

"I'll wash the dishes, so can you clean the table?

Oh, you don't have to throw away the tempura oil. Can you put the lid on it and store it? It's heavy. Can you handle it?"

"Huh...? Oh, yes. I'm stronger than I look, you know?"

She picks up the pot of oil.

Good, so since she does archery, I didn't need to worry.

"Well, archery isn't all about strength either..."

I wash the dishes.


"Huh? There's less towels here, Senpai. The paper towel roll is empty and the plates are moved around."

"What? Let's see... Oh, you're right. Did someone break in?"

"Hmm. I don't think there are robbers that only steal towels."

"Right. That's no robber."

The plates have been moved around.

The paper towels are gone.

Some towels are missing.

According to these clues...

"――――Oh. That's right. Tohsaka was here."

I remember now.

Tohsaka was the one who treated me after that incident with Berserker.

I'm pretty sure that she used the paper towels during my treatment.

"Senpai. Do you mean Tohsaka-Senpai?"

"Yeah. I had her come in.

Um, I had a stupid accident and hurt myself. Tohsaka just happened to pass by and she kindly treated me. As expected from our school's honor student, right? She's so full of affection."

I don't mean the last half, of course.

My school's proud honor student died last night.

It's highly regrettable, but the image of "Tohsaka Rin as an honor student" died inside of me.



"Why did Tohsaka-Senpai come here? That's strange. She has nothing to do with this place. I'm here, and she has no connection with Senpai, so why?"

Sakura hangs her head and tries to control herself.


I'm at a loss for words at this sudden event.

She hugs herself tightly as if enduring some uneasiness.

Scene 06 Patrol Choice

The lights disappear.

It's eleven o'clock. We waited until the town fell asleep before we went outside.

"Well, Shirou. Are we going to the center of town?"


......Sakura's state didn't change after dinner's cleanup.

If anything, it got worse.

She lost all her energy and was absent-minded, as if she had a fever.

And on top of that, she didn't want me to walk her home, so Fuji-Nee had to take her.

"Or are you planning to go to the other town? It seems likely that other Masters are over there."


Come to think of it, Sakura was acting strange the day before yesterday as well.

She looked downcast and seemed afraid of something.

"Shirou? Are you listening, Shirou?"


"Shirou! I am asking you what we should do tonight!"


I raise my head in surprise.

Saber is right in front of me, looking angry.

"――――Sorry, I was spacing out. You're asking me what we should do, right?"

"In that case, I need not repeat myself.

―――There is a slight distortion of the ley-line in both towns. I am certain that the other Masters are doing something. We may be able to defeat one tonight, depending on where we go."

"So you're saying we might fight a Master all of a sudden?

...But what if it turns out to be that girl?

You can't beat Berserker, right?"

"――――Master. I am in perfect condition right now. Even though I do not receive any magical energy supply, I will not easily lose.

...Well, all we can do against Illyasviel is retreat. We do not know their Noble Phantasm, so we cannot use ours yet."


The only one Saber is cautious about of is Berserker.

She does not talk about other possibilities―――such as when we might encounter Tohsaka.

For Saber, Tohsaka is merely an enemy she must defeat.

But to me, Masters are people we have to stop, not kill.

"Saber, let me confirm. We will stop fighting when the Masters and Servants surrender. My plan is to make them use up their Command Spells so they won't be Masters anymore.

...Is that okay?"

"...Understood. But Shirou, if the enemy does not accept our proposition, then..."

"...Yeah, then we'll follow the rules of the Holy Grail War. They should be ready for it if they're fighting as Masters."

We start descending the hill.

―――We can patrol this town or Shinto.

Tonight, we will――――

Scene 07 Secure the Neighbourhood

"We'll search this town tonight. The town feels strange recently, so let's investigate here before something happens."

"I feel the same way. There are no obvious abnormalities, but I am sure we will find some clues if we search thoroughly."

...Yeah, we'll look around the residential district over here first.

We'll go down to the intersection after that and patrol the other side of town.

If we can't find anything wrong, we can go to Shinto to go look for some clues――――

We patrol the residential district and make our way to the intersection.

There wasn't anything wrong with our side of town.

We can now go to the hill with the Western-style houses, and maybe even go as far as the Ryuudou Temple――――


A sudden chill runs up my spine.

"Saber, this is...!"

Saber must have felt it more clearly, as she looks over towards Shinto.

...The presence I felt starts to fade.

But I'm sure I heard a scream and felt a strong wave of magical energy.


I knew it.

This is what I hoped would happen.

So why is my mind paralyzed?


I was prepared to fight.

After I almost died, my hesitation vanished.

But now my body would not move, and my head would not give any orders.

――――It's probably too sudden.

I didn't expect to find it on the first day.

That's why I can't move. I'm used to getting attacked, but I'm not used to doing the attacking.

How stupid of me.

I'm fine with getting killed, but I never thought that I might have to do it myself――――

"The scream has stopped. The presence is fading away. I do not know what happened, but the victim will not live long."


That erases everything.

The numbness throughout my body disappears.

The fear that I might kill,

is overridden by the fear that I might let someone die.

"I'm sorry, Saber...!"

I apologize for my cowardice and start to run full-speed.

We run to the origin of the scream, where we will fight someone to the death.

I'm not prepared at all.

My limbs are shaking.

――――It's a normal reaction.

This fear will always be there as long as I don't desire the Holy Grail and lack the will to fight.

"―――I'm a big damn idiot...!"

That's right.

If I have a reason to fight, I must believe in it.

If my enemies are arming their minds with "the desire for the Holy Grail"...

I must defeat this fear with "the desire to stop all conflicts"――――!

Scene 08 Go to Shinto

―――We should go patrol Shinto where there are more people.

The priest said I must fight if I do not want any victims out of this war.

As I am inexperienced as a Master, Saber and I can only hope to lure out the other Masters.

...It's not like I want to go with his plan, but using myself as bait is the only viable plan I can come up with.

"Let's go to Shinto. If a Master is planning something evil, it should be easier to do it in Shinto than over here."

"Understood. Then let us go."

...Going to Shinto means putting myself in danger.

...I must accept the possibility that I'll be killed.

I decided to fight, so I cannot make the same mistake as I did against Lancer.


...You can say I'm a total rookie, but I've trained my mind as a magus every night.

I steel up my mind just like when I insert the Magic Circuit into my back and start out for Shinto.

We patrol Shinto for about an hour.

We found nothing amiss, and Saber detected no signs of other Servants.

"―――So there's nothing wrong with Shinto, huh? I thought there would be some kind of a reaction if we walked around so defenselessly."

I scold myself for being too optimistic.

I bet Tohsaka could've done a much better job of searching the place.

"No, your decisions are correct. If there is a flaw in your plan, it is simply that your skills are not up to par.

This was not wasted time. Although we did not find anything tonight, I am sure there will be results if we continue this every night."

"Ugh... well, I hope so."

But it really hurts to know we're failing due to my lack of skill.

"―――Let's go back to Miyama City. We'll search my neighborhood if there's nothing in Shinto."

"Yes. Your enthusiasm is laudable, but we must first confirm the safety in our area."

We return to Miyama City.

There's nobody on the bridge, there's no trace of cars.

We cross the bridge within the silent night.


At that instant.

I hear a scream as I feel a chill run up my back.

"It's close by...! Saber, what is this...!?"

"It is the presence of a Servant. It seems to be coming from the park below."


My heart starts to beat faster.

I knew it.

This is what I hoped would happen.

So why is my mind paralyzed?

I was prepared to fight.

After I almost died, my hesitation vanished.

But my body would not move, and my head would not give any orders.

...My naivety makes me want to puke.

I was not prepared at all.

There's no way I could have been. My mind only pretended to understand everything and my body is not used to fighting.


To go to battle means...

To kill your enemy before your enemy kills you.


I can't move.

I'm used to getting attacked, but I'm not used to doing the attacking.

How stupid of me.

I'm fine with getting killed, but I never thought that I might be doing the killing――――

"Please give me an order, Master. I do not know what has happened, but our enemy is close by. We may be able to save the person who screamed if we move quickly."


That erases everything.

The numbness throughout my body disappears.

The fear that I might kill,

is overridden by the fear that I might let someone die.

"I'm sorry, Saber...!"

I apologize for my cowardice and start to run full speed.

We run to the origin of the scream, where we will fight someone to the death.

I'm not prepared at all.

My limbs are shaking as I run.

――――It's the right reaction.

This fear will always be there as long as I don't desire the Holy Grail and lack the will to fight.

"―――I'm a big damn idiot...!"

That's right.

If I have a reason to fight, I must believe in it.

If my enemies are arming their minds with "the desire for the Holy Grail"

I must defeat this fear with "the desire to stop all conflicts"――――!

Scene 09 Makiri's end-VS Rider

"Ha, ah――――!"

I run into the park.

The magical energy emitted is strong and ominous.

It's like oil polluting a clean stream.

Even I can feel energy this thick.

Saber stops.

She has analyzed the situation before me.


My body trembles.

My head loses its cool and fills with disgust and hatred.

...It's like seeing vampires in stories.

A woman in black has her mouth on an unconscious woman's neck.

The dripping blood is excessively fresh.

...That thing is eating a human being.

I don't mean that it's eating the human flesh.

That woman in black is sucking out what's inside the woman――――things like her mind and her memory.

The unconscious woman does not move at all.

Her skin is like grave wax. She looks like she's been turned into a doll.


My throat can't move.

It's not that I'm surprised the vampiric woman is a Servant.

My eyes focus behind her―――on the clear figure that is watching over the woman in black.

"――――Oh wow, it's Emiya. This is amazing. It's almost one of your strong points for your luck to be this bad."

"Shinji, you――――"

My mind is numb.

I can't grasp the situation.

I can't make the correct decision.

Why is he here?

What is that book in his hand?

How can he laugh when there's a woman that's about to die?

Why... Why is such a ridiculous thing taking place before my eyes――――!?

"Hey, why are you frozen up like that? You came here because you sensed a Servant here, right? Then do what you came to do. I staged this scenario so that even an idiot like you would understand."


He doesn't sound like the Shinji I know.

His voice is high-pitched.

Just hearing it makes me uncomfortable.

"――――Did you kill her?"

I clench my fists.

I don't even take notice of the Servant standing right there before me.

I must be crazy.

I should be fleeing in terror from this inhumanly powerful being, but I feel no fear.

My mind is about to explode.

"What? Are you stupid!? Humans are what Servants feed on! This is my only option."


"Well, I can't help it. She says she can only feed on live people. We have to keep feeding them magical energy to maintain them. I bet you were also looking for handy prey, right?"

I don't know what's funny, but Shinji laughs.

The Servant in black does not move.

Her pose is like that of a trained war dog.

She will not move on her own.

Like a puppet, she will not move without orders from her Master.

But she will turn into a murderous devil once the order is given.

"――――Get out of my way."

I say this with the hound in front of me.

There's no time to waste.

That woman might survive if I hurry.

"Huh? What do you mean by that? Are you talking to me!?

Hah, I refuse. Come on if you want some leftovers.

That's your familiar, right?"


"Come on, let's make them fight. I did this so that I could see a fight between Servants. You're a Master, right? But all you're doing is trembling in fear. You're just like that woman there!"

"――――So you have no intention of withdrawing?"

"Man, you're persistent. Come and make me.


It won't matter even if you just stand there and cower. I'm going to hurt you either way."

Shinji's eyes light up with hatred.

That must have been the order, as the Servant in black jumps forward and――――

"――――Stay back, Shirou!"

Saber moves to meet the attack of the Servant in black.

The two shadows collide.

Having armed herself immediately, Saber uses her invisible sword against her opponent.

The sound of clashing steel rings out.

Saber readies herself firmly on the ground, in contrast to the Servant in black who runs through the park.

Saber cannot keep up with the speed and goes into defense.

Her long hair fluttering behind her, the enemy closes in as if to corner a slow prey.

"Hah, she's just like a stone statue! So a Servant of a third-class magus is third-class as well!"

Standing away from the fight like me, Shinji laughs.

...I don't know how he became a Master, but it seems he's not a very talented magus.

Shinji does not provide his Servant with any support.

Then he must have become a Master by chance, like me――――


Saber blocks another attack and stops.

She looks troubled.

She glares in irritation at her lightning fast enemy.

"Go ahead and finish her, Rider!

We followed grandfather's orders! It doesn't matter even if we kill Emiya's Servant!"

――――The black shadow speeds up.

The Servant in black follows her master's orders, speeds up to cut Saber's neck, and...

...Is sliced in half.

―――The match is decided in an instant.

Saber's sword cuts Rider's body, and the Servant in black is blown away.

It was like hitting a sandbag with a bat.

Saber is the batter and the blown sandbag is Rider, of course.


The mood changes.

Shinji blankly stares at Rider, who is wounded...

"――――No way."

...And I blankly stare at Saber, who puts away her sword disinterestedly.

"W―――What are you doing...!?"

He scorns his Servant.

Shinji yells without running over to his Servant, who has her belly sliced open.

"Who allowed you to get beat!? I can't believe this! You're going against my orders! I became your Master, so you can't get beat by Emiya's Servant...!"

"――――! Ah――――"

Rider strenuously raises her body in a pool of her own blood.

...But she cannot get up.

Her wound is fatal. Even though she is a Servant, she will die if she is not treated soon.

"Get up and fight, you corpse! You're not alive, so wounds shouldn't matter! Hey, why are you so slow, you piece of shit...! Man, you're embarrassing me! You're making me look like I'm the weaker one!"

Shinji curses Rider.

But Saber is unable to bear it.

"Blame yourself before you blame Rider. No matter how great a heroic spirit may be, it cannot fight to its full potential if it does not have an appropriate Master."

"......! Y-Y-You idiot! I'm telling you to get up! Your role is to protect your Master! If you can't win, use your life to stop them!"

"......That is meaningless as well. You cannot heal Rider even if you use your Command Spell. Even if you move Rider using your Command Spell, she will not even serve as a shield against me.

It is over, Rider's Master.

I do not wish to ask, but I shall follow my Master's orders and ask for you to surrender. Will you revoke your Command Spell and admit your defeat?"

"S-Shut up! Don't you dare order me, you monster...! Get up, Rider! I'm your Master! You're my dog, so listen to your master...!"

"――――! ――――, ――――!"

Sparks are flying around.

It must be because she cannot follow Shinji's orders, as pallid electric charges are tormenting her.

What a vicious cycle.

Rider cannot fight anymore.

But Shinji is condemning her for not being able to get up, despite the fact that her injuries are getting worse and her life is draining away.


Saber reaches out for Shinji.

"Hee――――! Get up and move, Rider...! If you're going to die, at least take her with you...!"

Rider reacts to Shinji's orders.

――――Rider's body moves to follow the order that has her death as its premise.

But then...

"Enough. It seems I was tossing pearls before swine, Shinji."

...The voice of an old man interrupts.


The sound of crackling flames.

"W-What...!? My book is burning...!"

Shinji's book is burning.

"Why...!? Damn, go out! Why is my book burning!?"

He frantically beats at the fire, but it does no good.

The book turns to ashes, and at the same time...

...Rider disappears.

"...Hmph. I did not expect much of you, but this is worse than I thought. I gave you a chance since you are my grandson, but I cannot help but forsake you."

Where was he hiding?

An old man―――Matou Zouken appears out of the darkness of the night.

"G-Grandfather? Was that you...?"

"Who else could it be but me? You almost killed your Servant. And you call yourself my successor?"

"......! T-Then why did you get in my way!? I just have to win, right!? I'm the successor of the Matou family! I knew I couldn't get beat by a guy like this...!"

Shinji runs to the old man as if to cling onto him.

As he has lost Rider, his grandfather must be the only person he can rely on.


"...Fool. I did not expect victory from a failure like you. What I expected was enough pride to challenge others in spite of your powerlessness.

But you failed miserably. You disgraced the name of Makiri. Hmph, you and your father are both disgraces to our family."

"What――――? I'm the same as my father――――?"

"You fool. You are far worse. Your good-for-nothing father left an even more worthless son.

...I did not mind since I had some hopes for you, but you spoiled not only the family blood, but your spirit as well.

The Matou bloodline ends with your generation."

The old man turns away from Shinji in disgust and walks toward us.

...Saber retreats. She must have felt something ominous in the old man.

"...Hm. I see, no wonder Rider was defeated. I presume you are a famed heroic spirit. I do not think a heroic spirit as great as you was ever summoned."


"Well, it seems my life will end here. No matter how pitiful he may be, he is still my grandson. I have to save him, even if it means my death. Heh, compassion towards family members can be a dangerous thing."

...I'm surprised.

It seems the old man stepped forward to give Shinji a chance to escape.

Matou Zouken must be confronting Saber so that he can protect Shinji, the one crawling in fear behind him.

"Leave quickly. Your book of contract has burned up, and you are no longer a Master. They should not attack you again if you make it out of here alive. Live the rest of your life as meaninglessly as your father did."


Shinji glares at the old man as he retreats.


Saber does not go after him.

She must not see the point of going after Shinji, who is not a Master anymore.

Shinji crawls away.

And when he gets to the edge of the park...

He turns around once and runs off like crazy.

My stomach turns sour.

I smell rotten meat from somewhere.

"Oh, so you let him go? ......I see, I see. Killing such an insignificant weakling would only dirty your sword."


Saber stands like a statue, her eyes locked with his.

...It seems like she is protecting me from his gaze.

"―――Can you back away, Saber? I know this old man. I want to talk to him."

"No. This man is not human. You should not have anything to tell him, nor should you have anything to hear from him."

"...I know. But I still have something I need to ask him. Please, this will be quick. You can decide whether to fight him or not after we talk."


Saber pulls herself back a bit.

She does not back up, but she is giving me the chance to talk to the old man.

"――――I'm sorry.

...So, how are you going to explain this?"

"What? You're quite the rude one, demanding explanations of me.

I do not mind questions, but I will not be able to answer if I do not understand what you are asking me about."

"...It's about Shinji. Why is he a Master? It seemed like you made him into one. What's going on?"

"Oh, is that what you want to ask me? I do not even need to answer a question like that. As you say, I am the one who chose him as a Master. It has been long since I retired, as you can see.

As I cannot fight, I gave the stage to my grandson."

"You made him a Master――――that means..."

"Yes. It is like you, successor of Emiya.

I found out that the Holy Grail would appear, and I let my grandson make a contract with a Servant. You are of the lowest seat in a family of magi.

You should understand me wanting to entrust my dream to my apprentice."


...Then what?

Magi become Masters.

So that means Shinji knows magecraft, and his family is a family of magi?

"Magi――――are you saying the Matou family is a family of magi?"

"You didn't know? The families of Matou and Tohsaka live in this land.

But... our bloodline has died out.

The Tohsaka family has the right to this land. The Matou family is living, clinging onto its former right."

"Tohsaka...? Then Tohsaka also knows that the Matou family is a family of magi!?"

"Of course. We were once allies. We have been enemies ever since the ritual became violent, but we are still colleagues with a shared ambition. We are friends outside of the Holy Grail War.

Oh, that girl has succeeded him, huh?

I have been away for about ten years, so I do not know how talented his apprentice is."

He laughs.

I don't know what kind of feelings he has for the Tohsaka family, but Matou Zouken laughs happily.

"...You said the Tohsaka family are your allies, right? Then has the Matou family been here since the very first Holy Grail War?"

"Yes. We were formerly called Makiri.

We came to this country with the name Matou, but it seems that was a mistake. The land here does not suit us. Our bloodline has grown thin in the past two hundred years, and you have seen the failure we now have for a successor."


They are actually called Makiri.

If Shinji is from a family of magi, then Sakura is...

"Hm? Oh, it's just a play on words. It is to hide our identity, but we cannot use just anything. Even our false name has to tie in to our real name."


I don't care about that.

There's only one question that matters now.

"――――Then is Sakura―――is Sakura a Master like Shinji?"

"That is a strange question. Sakura a Master? Such a thing is not possible. It seems your father has not taught you anything."

"It's not possible...? Does that mean Sakura has no talent?"

"The problem goes far deeper than that.

First of all, magi families have only one inheritor. You only pass magecraft to the inheritor unless you are a distinguished family.

And a sister of all that. You do not need two inheritors. We would have sent her out for adoption if our family had not died out, but nobody would take her since she lacks magecraft-Circuits."

"――――Then Sakura is..."

"It should be obvious, since Shinji is a Master. As she is not our successor, she does not even know that we are a family of magi.

...Well, I considered using her if her brother proved useless, but we have already lost. I won't involve someone who knows nothing of the Holy Grail War."


I sigh with relief.

...That's good.

I'm surprised the Matou family is a family of magi, and it's problematic that Shinji was a Master.

But I'm relieved to know that Sakura doesn't need to concern herself with such a murderous war.

"―――You said you guys already lost. That means Shinji won't fight anymore? You've retired, and Sakura has nothing to do with the Holy Grail War, right?"

"Correct. But I cannot promise that Shinji will not try anything.

He is stubbornly determined to be a magus.

The Matou blood has grown weak since we came to this country, and he is our last heir. Children of the Matou family no longer have magecraft-Circuits."

"Hmph... I do not know how he found out about our family secret. He has pride in being the chosen one, but he grew up knowing that he is inferior.

It is likely my fault for not being more strict with him, but his character is not something that can be easily corrected. He is beyond help if he cannot give up after such a crushing defeat."

The old man starts shrinking.

No, it's just an illusion. He was backing up silently.

"Anyway, Shinji lost. We have been eliminated from this war―――but will you still kill this old man, Servant Saber?"

"If what you say is true, there is no reason for me to fight.

But there will not be a next time if it is a lie. That goes the same for your successor. If he comes after my master again, I shall kill him without mercy."


The old man disappears.

...What is this?

Matou Zouken melts into the night, just like when he appeared.


All that's left is this rotten smell.

I force down the feelings of nausea and pick up the unconscious woman.

"Let's go to the church, Saber. We'll still make it. He should be able to do something."

"――――I know. I shall take the woman."

"...? Oh, thanks, Saber."

I let Saber carry the woman.

There's no time to waste. Even though Saber is smaller than me, she is more powerful. I should let her handle this instead of trying to show off.

"I shall lead the way. Please stay behind me."

Saber starts running.

I run full speed after her so I won't get left behind.

Scene 10 The answer lies at the very end

The church is lit, even though it's midnight.

I took the woman from Saber and entered the church alone.

When I yelled for Kotomine, he came out and quickly retreated to the back with the unconscious woman.

He said that his room was the only place he would be able to treat her.


I sit down.

...I've done all I could.

Now, it's up to Kotomine.

I'll believe in him and wait.


...I keep waiting.

I'm worried about Saber, who is waiting outside, but I can't leave.

And――――I want to think by myself for a while.

The Matou family was a family of magi.

Shinji became a Master and obtained a Servant.

Matou Zouken had his successor participate in the Holy Grail War, even though he lost his powers as a magus.


The Einzbern family aren't the only ones obsessed with the Holy Grail.

Makiri and Tohsaka.

No, in the first place, the only ones who become Masters are those who cling to the Holy Grail.

...Saber is no exception.

The Einzbern family has sought the Holy Grail for a thousand years.

Their persistence is not something I can do anything about.

They can only be saved by the Holy Grail.

My father went against them and destroyed it.

But would I be able to pursue my wish to such lengths?

Like the Einzbern and Makiri families...

Do I have the right to compete against those who have sought the Holy Grail for centuries?

"How surprising. I did say you could bring wounded people here, but I did not think you would bring one on the same exact day."


I raise my head.

He doesn't look gloomy.

Then that must mean the treatment was successful.

"Kotomine. How is the woman doing?"

"She survived, but the rest is up to her. If you were an hour later, I would've had to see her as a priest."

"―――I see. I'm sorry I troubled you.

...Um, I'm glad you were awake."

"You're thanking me? Are you sick? I will listen if something is worrying you."

"...I am worried about many things, and you are the cause of most of them. I'll pass on another long talk with you."

"Oh, so our conversation earlier was just a bother? ...Hm, I meant to give you a boost, but it only gave you more worries, huh? I should reflect on my actions as well."

The priest shuts his mouth, looking regretful.


It's not that I'm letting him get to me, but...


A guy I know turned out to be a Master."

...Not being able to bear it by myself, I just have to say it.

The priest says nothing.

He just nods.

"So of course you defeated the Master, right?"

I nod in response to his short question.

"Then do not regret it. People cannot change the past.

All we can do is to accept our own actions.

If you still wish to be burdened with your sins, let it show in your future actions. It is your choice how to perceive something that has already happened."


His words are plausible.

...The problem isn't that Shinji was a Master, that the Matou family is a family of magi, or that the Einzbern family tenaciously pursues the Holy Grail.

The important thing is what I'm going to do from now on.

"――――I'm going home. Please take care of that woman."

I get up to leave the church.

Saber is waiting for me outside.

There's no more reason for me to stay here if the woman is all right.

"Hold on, Emiya Shirou. I shall give you one piece of advice."

"...What? I told you I'm not listening to your endless rambling again."

"I will be brief, but I deserve some compensation for being asked to treat a woman so late at night."


I can't object if he puts it like that.

I reluctantly turn around to see that the priest is right behind me.

"It is something I forgot to tell you.

The Einzbern family has endured for a thousand years in pursuit of their one wish. Yes, it is a serious matter now that I say it. It is natural for you to be overwhelmed."


...This is why I don't like this guy.

He accurately points out my doubts even when I haven't said anything.

"...Shut up. Are you going to bring that up again?"

"No. I am telling you that it is nothing to be concerned about.

There is no need to view this as anything special. This war is just a common thing.

The Holy Grail War is the materialization of our everyday life and people's happiness. There is no crime in participating."

"Everyone desires something and people fight for what they want. That is what defines life. It is something shared by all, even if the scale of those desires is different.

There isn't a person in this world who does not try to make his wish come true.

The outcome, of course, is another matter. People may live to make their dreams come true, but some of them die before they reach their goals."

"There is an order to things. An appropriate accumulation of effort is needed to make dreams come true. This is what people call life.

―――The Holy Grail simply removes the need for that effort.

It is merely a simplification of life."

"So there is nothing special about it.

The seven Masters are just trying to reduce the journey undertaken during their lifetimes via the shortcut called the Holy Grail.

Everything else is the same. It is human nature to paint over others' wishes with your own.

The Holy Grail War is no different from your life.

Do as you please throughout this war and win."


He says cheerfully...

There is no difference between a vulgar wish and a noble one.

The quality of the wish is irrelevant.

I just need to trample over the wishes of others――――

...I don't know if it's sarcasm or not.

But he is seriously saying even an incomplete Master like me is worthy to fight.

"...That's not like you. Why are you suddenly worrying about others?"

"Well, it is because our talk earlier was not helpful. I cannot call myself a priest if people coming to me because they are worried leave with even more doubts."


I bet Tohsaka would say he makes a lousy priest to start with.

"Don't worry about that. Bye, you fake priest."

"Yes. Come again if you have not had enough."

I snort and walk to the exit.

I leave the church for sure this time.

Saber is waiting outside.

...I think it was like this earlier too.

Saber waits for me in the cold winter night without complaining.

A Master and a Servant might have this kind of a relationship, but Saber is by my side because she is concerned for my safety.

I believe I have to answer her with the best honesty I have.

"―――That woman's all right thanks to you, Saber."

"You do not need to thank me. It was you who tried to save her. I only abided by your decision."


Her expression is very gentle.

"Oh... no, that's not true. You're the one who saved her. I wouldn't have made it in time by myself. And most of all――――"

I think Saber let Matou Zouken go to save that woman.

We would've ended up fighting if we stopped that old man there. She definitely would've died.

Saber took that into consideration and let him go.

"W-What is it, Shirou? Um, it seems you are smiling for no reason at all."

"Huh? Oh, I have a reason. I'm glad you're the person I thought you were. Thank you, Saber, for going along with my unreasonable plan."

"W-What are you saying? I do not think your plan is an unreasonable one――――"

"Really? You said I was too lenient and too optimistic.

You looked like you might not go along with the plan when the time came."

"I-I never looked that way! I only told you that my own judgment would take priority if you were in danger! How can you doubt me, Shirou?"

Saber frowns.


I smile, since her expression is totally different now.

"Shirou. It seems I will need to teach you some manners one of these days."

"Yeah, please do if there's a chance. But Saber... Let's end this war for now."


"I didn't need the Holy Grail like you.

Before, I just wanted to stop the fighting, and then give you the Holy Grail if we survived until the very end. I wondered if an amateur like me was appropriate for you."

"―――I see. Then what about now? Tonight, you experienced a battle you chose to start yourself. Have your thoughts changed?"

"No, not at all. I'm still against the Holy Grail War.

―――But I'll fight until the end for sure.

I have no wish that I need the Holy Grail to grant.

...But I want to protect others, like a superhero.

I don't think my wish is inferior. So I have to fight against the wishes of others, even if they are five hundred or a thousand years old."

"―――I see. That is understandable."

"Then I shall swear again.

I will be your sword for as long as you are a worthy master. As long as you remain yourself, Shirou,―――I will never betray your trust."

"Oh―――yeah, I'll do my best, Saber."

Her direct smile is embarrassing, so I look up.

The winter's chill makes the starry sky more beautiful.

'―――I will never betray you.'

I look up at the night sky, a world apart from tonight's events.

The girl that waited for me in this cold weather said that.

Then I'll believe in myself...

...So that I can always be worthy of her trust.

...So that I will be able to look back on my actions without regret.