FSN HF Day 06 (EN)

Scene 00 Nurse Sakura

――――――――It's hot.

Why did it happen?

I went to bed, closed my eyes, and said good night... but in the next instant, my world turned red.

――――――――It's hot.

My mom woke me up before the loud noises did.

It was bright even though it was night-time.

My dad held me as he ran through the burning hallway.

――――――――It's painful.

I heard my mom's voice behind us.

My dad told me I should be fine by myself.

He patted my head and told me to wait here.

I nodded and did as I was told.

――――――――It hurts.

It wasn't much different outside.

My eyes were hurting because everything was red.

That's why I closed them and ran. I wanted to go to a place that wasn't hot.

When I looked back, my house was no longer there.

I probably got punished because I didn't do as I was told to.

――――――――My eyes hurt.

I cried as I walked.

I had to go back to my house and wait.

But I didn't know where my house was anymore.

I raised my head which I'd kept hidden with my hands until now.

And―――I finally confronted the scene.

The town was burning far away.

The fire that cannot be put out was an event that cannot be redone.

It happened ten years ago.

The fire was far away, not in the sense of distance, but in the sense of time.

"Ahh―――――, guh―――――――"

My skin was hurting.

My throat hurt when I breathed in.

My skin creaked by staying alive.

I moved my legs wanting to escape, but something heavy entangled around my legs like shackles.

I knew that it's the presence of death wanting to take me.


...But it sure was hot.

My nails tearing my throat were discolored.

The air I breathed in stung my burned esophagus.

My eyes abandoned their function, and my brain was being steamed inside my skull.


―――It's hot.

It's hot, it's hot, it's hot, it's hot, it's hot, it's hot, it's hot, it's hot, it's hot, it's hot it's hot it's hot it's hot it's hot it's hot it's hot it's hot......!!!!


I remember now.

This place was hot―――really hot.

But it was cold―――dreadfully cold.

It passed the boiling point to reach the freezing point.

The burning blood froze up, and everything in my view was inverted.

Everything was hot.

That's why it was cold.

And still, it was ridiculously hot.


What was the cause of it?


A black sun was in the sky.

I didn't find it strange that the sun was up during night or that the sun was black.

After all, everything was inverted.

So such things should have been normal.


But I ran away.

I got scared and ran away.

I wasn't afraid of the raging fires.

Compared to that black shadow, burning up and dying seemed like a human death.

That's why I ran away.

I knew I'd be taken someplace even worse if that thing caught me.

――――I blankly stared at the sky.

I found out that it was going to rain soon, and my outstretched hand slowly fell to the ground――――


I slowly open my eyes.

I look around my room, my mind still asleep.

"――――It was a dream."

I sigh with relief in my futon.

How many years has it been since I sighed with relief after seeing a nightmare?

"...But... that was a vivid dream."

My temples feel hot.

I used to have this nightmare all the time.

...It all happened ten years ago.

Back then, my memories of the event were still terribly vivid, and I would wander through the fire every time I fell asleep.

I thought I would never be able to forget about that day.

That sky, the smell of the burning air, the surrounding wall of fire... Everything was real again once I fell asleep.


That doesn't change even now.

But the vividness should change.

Wounds heal, and memories fade.

For the past few years, all I saw when I had that dream was a field of red.

Why did my dream contain as far as the smell of the burning air――――?


And what was that?

I don't remember such a thing, nor do I recognize it.

No, first of all, I did not see such a thing.


...I feel sick to my stomach.

I get dizzy when I try to think about it.

The breaker in my body trips, telling me not to think about it.

"――――I'll get up. I'll wash my face and clear my mind."

My body is sweaty, probably because of the dream.

My pajamas are damp with my sweat, and my head feels light.


...My arm feels heavy.

I realize that I don't even have the strength to get up.

"Hey――――what's going on?"

Damn, even talking takes effort.

When I place my hand on my forehead, I realize that it's hot.

"...Wow. Did I catch a cold...?"

I'm surprised.

This is the first time I've caught a cold.

I've had bruises pretty often, but I've never caught a cold.

"...That must be why I had such a dream. My body was hot, so the dream was hot as well."

Oh, that makes sense.

My head is blank, so it's natural for me to dream such a――――


W-W-W-W-Wait, what am I just lying around for!!!???

"Why!? How can this be!?"

I jump up.

I check inside my futon.

This isn't the time to worry about little things like being sick.

I have to check something far more important.

If "it" happened, I have to go take a bath, bleach and dry the evidence, or it'll hinder my future ability to have a say in anything.

To put it simply, the value of the Emiya Shirou stock in this house will plummet.

"―――Wait. It doesn't seem like it."


There's no one in my futon with me, and there's nothing wrong with my body.

"...It was a dream. Yeah, it had to be."

...I didn't go to school in my sleep, nor would Tohsaka ever want to... um... do it with me.

So it had to be a dream.

I have my pajamas on, and Saber was sleeping in the room next to mine!

"...Yeah. There's no way Saber would miss me leaving the house."

――――I sigh with relief.

The strength floods out of me, and I fall back to the futon.

"Shirou...? What was that sound?"

I hear Saber's voice from the other side of the door.


That's all it takes to alert Saber, so that had to be a dream. It's a dream. It's soooooo a dream. I'll never be able to look Tohsaka in the eye again if it's not.


Saber comes in.

"―――Y-Yo. Good morning, Saber."

I try to act calm.

"What is wrong, Shirou? It is not like you to greet me lying down."

"Well, something unexpected happened."

Saber tilts her head in wonder.


It's great that the whole event was just a dream, but the troubles keep coming.

My body feels heavy, and I can't stand up. How will I make breakfast――――?

"37.6 degrees. Wow, it's rare for you to catch a cold."

She gives me her diagnosis after looking at the medical thermometer.

...Well, that's about what I expected, but I didn't know a cold could make your body feel so heavy.

"So, does it hurt anywhere else? Does your throat or head hurt?"

"...? No, nothing like that. It's just that my body feels heavy and hot. Is that weird?"

"Hmm... I guess we should just be glad that nothing's hurting.

Then again, you might not have noticed the pain because you're the type who just deals with it. ...I'll have some other medicines ready, just in case."

Fuji-Nee takes out some cold medicine and cough drops from the first-aid kit.

She's good at treating wounds, but I guess she's not used to treating sick people.

"Thanks, Fuji-Nee. And I'm sorry. I don't think I can cook breakfast."

"Don't say such a stupid thing. Which do you think is more important, food or Shirou? It's good Saber-chan came and got me. I would've been really mad if you tried to make breakfast like that."

She really is mad.

...And she's right. That should have been obvious.

"And you don't have to worry about food. Sakura-chan made some rice porridge for you, so you can eat that when you get hungry."

"What...? Sakura made some rice porridge...?"

...That must mean she's feeling better.

"Are you all right, Sakura? You seemed to be doing worse than me."

"You don't need to worry since I've recovered.

I wasn't scared at all at night, and I got a good night's sleep. It's all thanks to your treatment."

...That's good to know.

I thought she would take longer to get over the cold, but I'm glad she recovered in one night.

"Ohhh, I forgot about that. Sakura-chan was the one with the cold yesterday, wasn't she?"

"Huh...? That's true... but what about it? Stop making that face."

"Ohhhh. So you did something that made you catch her cold?"

"Huh? What do you mean by that?"

"Oh, you don't get it? Sakura-chan's recovered, right? Then you must've done something. I hear that you recover from a cold if you give it to someone else."


I look at Sakura in confusion.


And I finally understand what Fuji-Nee is talking about.

"A-A-A-A-A-A-Are you stupid!? I just gave her some medicine yesterday...! Don't even joke about it, Fuji-Nee! That's rude to Sakura...!"

I can tell that my face is getting red.

My temperature shoots up another degree.

"I'm kidding. I know you're not man enough for that."

"...That's offending as well, but I'm glad the misunderstanding has been cleared up."

"Good, good. Then I'll report to the school about your absence, so you're to rest today. Please take care of Shirou, Saber-chan.

He'll keep trying to do something if you let him be, so you'd better just tie him to the futon."

"That is my intention. I am to look over him so that he does not escape, and feed him appropriately?"

"Wow, that's a scary way to put it, but you have the right idea. Please do."

Saber nods silently.

...Is it just me, or did I feel a chill run up my spine?

"Well, just listen to what Saber-chan tells you until we get home. I'll buy you something nutritious for dinner, so you're going to rest today and cure that cold of yours."

Fuji-Nee smiles at me while making unreasonable demands.


I notice Sakura behind her, looking like she wants to say something.

"We're leaving. Look forward to my souvenir!"

Fuji-Nee waves goodbye and leaves.


Once I've seen her off, I return to my futon.

I only walked out to the porch, but by the time I get back, I'm so tired that I practically collapse into bed.

...I don't have a bad cold, but my body is dead tired.

I should sleep and get my energy back, or else I won't be able to do anything.


Even though it's past 7:30, Sakura comes to my room.

"Sakura? It's 7:30 already. You won't make it unless you leave soon."


Sakura looks down awkwardly.

When I realize she has the same expression as before...

"Um, Senpai. Can I stay here?"

...She raises her head and asks me a question.


Staying here means she's not going to school, right?

"...Oh. Are you still a bit sick?"

"......No, the fever's gone. But, um..."

Sakura's words trail off.


She does look a bit pale, and it seems impossible that she could recover in only one night.

"I see, so you were sick after all. But is it all right?

Don't you have to call the school and let them know?"

"...No. Um, I'm thinking of skipping."


She's going to be skipping... school?

"Why? You're sick, so you're not skipping school. You have to stay home if you're not feeling well."

"...Uh. Um, I feel fine."

Sakura hangs her head even more.


I don't get it.

What does Sakura want to tell me?

"U-Um. I think you caught the cold because of me."

"What? You actually believe Fuji-Nee's ridiculous story? Don't worry, it's not true. I take walks during the night, so that must've been it."

"I-I still don't care. ...I'm feeling well, so I want to skip school and take care of you to show my appreciation for what you did for me yesterday...!"

She's so tense that she might shatter if I poke her.


I guess Sakura feels responsible for my cold.

To be honest, it's relieving to have Sakura here.

Saber has to sleep, so it'll be a big help if she can prepare my medicine and stuff.

"Um, Senpai...?"

"Okay, please do, Sakura."

"Y-You're right. Saber-san is here, so there's nothing I can do here――――

Huh, Senpai?"

"Yeah. Please take care of me, Sakura."

"Um――――――You're talking about me, right?"

"Yeah. Saber has jetlag, so she sleeps during the day. It'll be a huge help if you can cook lunch."


I-I'll do my best, Senpai!"

Her tension gone, Sakura replies with a smile.


A smile like this suits Sakura.

Scene 01 A simple question

It's 11AM now.

After eating the rice porridge Sakura made, I feel much better.

My body doesn't feel heavy anymore.

I have no trouble moving, so I should be able to go to school if I feel like it.


As soon as I try to get up, suspecting that my illness was simply caused by malnutrition...

"Oh, no, Senpai! You have to rest until your fever goes away."

...Sakura comes to check up on me.



I'm still resting because Sakura is dead set on looking after me, and to be honest, I'm still feeling a bit sluggish.

After bringing me the rice porridge, Sakura left the room, saying that she had something to do.

Saber is resting in the living room right now.

She was keeping watch in this room, but I had her move to the living room so that I could have a little peace of mind.

She objected, but then relented when I told her it'd only be for today.

"Excuse me, Senpai. How do you feel?"

"I'm getting better thanks to you. My body still feels heavy, but my fever's gone."

"That's good. Then you won't need to take any medicine. All you have to do now is to eat good food and rest."

Sakura goes into the next room and brings in a new futon.

"...? What are you doing, Sakura?"

"I'm getting a new futon. You've been sweating all day, so I thought you might want a clean one."

She lays the futon next to me in a skillful manner.

It doesn't stir up any dust, to my surprise.

"It's ready, Senpai. Please move over here. ...Oh, you need to change before that. I'll go dry this futon, so please get changed while I'm gone."

Sakura prepares new pajamas for me in a flash.


S-She's perfect!

It's not just that she's good at this or that she's attentive.

"I bet this skill is in her genes. It has to be."

"...? Did you say something, Senpai?"

"I did. I know I shouldn't be saying this, but I'm glad you skipped school today.

I really do have a better opinion of you now."

"That's natural. It's been almost a year and a half since I started coming here, so I know all about your house."

Sakura puffs with pride.

Her confident expression makes me smile.

"I see. Then I'll leave the futon to you. I'll act as a sick person and do as you say."

"Please do. I'm going to go cut some apples for you after I dry the futon, so look forward to it."

Carrying the futon I've been laying on, Sakura goes out into the hallway.

"――――Wow, she took all of it in one load."

Her enthusiasm surprises me, and I pick up the new pajamas.


I should towel myself off, change, and wait in the futon until Sakura comes back.

How much time passed?

Sakura brought me some apples as promised, I gladly ate them, and...

"Geez. You can't push yourself, Senpai."

...Sakura scolded me, and I have to keep lying here even though I'm recovered.

"So, did Saber help?"

"Yes. She said she was tired of doing nothing, so she helped me clean the guest rooms."

"I see. I kind of wanted to see Saber wring a floor cloth.

Did you two clean the hallway?"

"Yes. We both worked hard. Saber-san was saying something about how it was useful, though."

Sakura laughs, as if she's a bit troubled.

Even though she's used to Saber now, it seems she's still not entirely comfortable around her.

"...Well, thanks for your hard work. But don't push yourself too hard, okay? You just got over a cold. It's hard enough just to treat me, so you don't have to go around cleaning my house."

"That's not true. I spend my mornings here, and you always treat me to dinner. It's perfectly natural for me to clean this house, because..."

―――I'm part of this family.

Sakura murmurs, as if she wishes for it to come true.

"―――You're right. Fuji-Nee, Sakura, and I are like a family."

"Eh... Senpai?"

"I'm sorry I was so reserved. There's nothing wrong with a family member nursing me back to health.

I'd do the same for you if you got sick, no matter how much you complained.

So it was stupid of me to be reserved."

Reflecting on my actions, I can only apologize.


The conversation stops.

After gasping for a brief second...

"――――Yes. I'm glad you understand. I think you treasure others too much."

...Sakura smiles happily and adjusts my blanket.


That makes me realize.

Why this house is always clean...

Why even the unused rooms are maintained and feel lively...

Sakura. My friend's younger sister.

The girl I've come to know so well has protected my house even more than me.

Every day has been peaceful for the past year and a half.

...I probably didn't notice because it felt so natural.

But Sakura brought something that Fuji-Nee and I couldn't achieve by ourselves.


I look up at Sakura absent-mindedly.

...Is it because of my fever, or because Sakura's so happy to take care of me?

Looking at Sakura's smile warms my heart and makes me drowsy.


I really am sleepy.

...It feels good, so I should close my eyes and sleep until noon...

"―――But Senpai. I really like that part of you."


Whatever she just said, it made my heart jump.



W-Were you awake...!?"

Sakura quickly jumps back.

I can feel myself blushing at her surprised reaction.

"Uh, um, Sakura..."

"I-I didn't say anything! I didn't say anything! Um, I was looking at your face because... um... yes! I was trying to take your temperature!"

Sakura takes out the medical thermometer in a hurry.

"Senpai, here's the thermometer! I'm going to take your temperature, so please open your mouth!"

She must be in a panic, as she tries to pin me with one hand while holding the thermometer in the other.


I feel something soft.

...Um, I think it's Sakura's breasts rubbing against me.


My brain boils up.

The sensation of a woman almost blows away my sanity.


H-Hold on, Sakura!!!"


I roll out of the futon using all my might.

I have to get away from Sakura's brea――――no, from Sakura!

"S-Senpai...? Um, I want to take your temperature."

"I-It's fine! I can do that myself, so you stop right there!"

"...? If you say so.

Here's the thermometer, Senpai."


Don't give it to me now! Please let me calm down! I'll recall last night's dream and die if you come near me right now!"

I can feel my face burning as I protest.


"Yesterday's dream?"

I must have acted really strange, as Sakura looks at me dubiously.

"Uhh... um. I had a bad dream.

I don't want to recall it right now, so please leave me alone. It's not your fault, okay? It's just that I need more training."

"――――You need... more training...?"

Sakura gapes at me.

...It's only natural. Anyone would be stunned in this situation.

"Um, Senpai. What kind of a dream was it?"


I-I can't tell her about such a dream...!

"I-It wasn't a big deal. It was just a bit disturbing."


...Ugh. She's serious now, probably because she's worried about me.

...I can't lie to her, but I can't tell her the truth either.


Scene 02 Don't lie

...I guess it can't be helped.

I'll tell her the facts without giving away too much.

"Who was in your dream, Senpai?"

"...Well, um. It was only Tohsaka."

I confess.

"―――I see. Tohsaka-Senpai came here the other day too, right?"

"Oh... yeah. She treated my wound, but went home right away."

"...Okay. Then I'll be leaving the thermometer here."

Sakura sets the thermometer down and walks to the door with heavy steps.

"Excuse me, but I need to go cook lunch. I'll come get you when it's ready, so rest until then."

She slides the shouji closed behind her.

Her retreating footsteps sound colder than usual.

Scene 03 Evade the question.

There's a time and place for honesty.

It burns my face just thinking about the dream, so I'd probably collapse from fever if I actually talk about it.

"Who was in your dream, Senpai?"

"No one was in my dream! See, you forget about your dreams once you wake up, so I don't remember all of it."

"Really? Then I just want to know what you remember about it."

"You idiot...!"

I don't know when Sakura came close to me, but she draws near me.

"I-I'm telling you not to come near me right now!!!! I'm sorry! This subject is off limits, off limits, off limits―――――!"

I wave my hand and roll further down the tatami.

Damn, I really do need more training.

I can usually ignore them, but now every move Sakura makes is catching my attention because of the dream I had...!

"P-Please just leave me alone for a while. D-Don't you have to obey a sick person's requests!?"

Sitting in the corner of the room, I protest to Sakura.

"......Phew. All right, I won't force it out of you.

I do want to know about it, but your fever might get worse if I push you."

Sakura backs down.

"I'm sorry. I'm glad you understand how I feel."

I quickly climb back into my futon.

"Well, Senpai. I need to go cook lunch, so please excuse me.

I'll come get you when it's done, so please rest until then."

"Oh, okay. You do that."

"Sure. I'm sorry I asked you a weird question. I'll make some hot udon for lunch."

She closes the shouji.

Sakura leaves for the living room with a warm smile.

Scene 04 After lunch Choice

"Thanks for the meal."

"Thanks for the meal."

We bow together.

"You're welcome. Wow, you both ate everything in your bowls."

Sakura starts to clean up after our lunch.

There are three bowls and condiments on the table.

"Oh, I'll clean up. I'm feeling better, so please, at least let me do this."

"Really? Then please do, as a test to see if you've recovered. I'll do the dishes, so please take the dishes to the kitchen and clean the table."

Tying on an apron, Sakura heads to the kitchen.

Well, I should carry these bowls and the pot in there.

"Are you all right, Shirou? I heard that your fever has broken, but you still look pale."

"Huh? Do I look that bad?"

"...Hm. No, your face just looks pale.

You have a shortage of magical energy, the lifeline for a magus. I noticed no problems during the battle last night, but that temple might have been set up to drain magical energy."


...Now that she mentions it, something was indeed strange at the Ryuudou Temple.

Everyone in there was weakened. It's possible that Caster set up a boundary field to suck the lifeforce from anyone inside.

"Well, I'm feeling better, so there's no problem. My magical energy should return if I get some nourishment. My capacity isn't that large, so it should be back to normal once I eat dinner."

"Geez. I will not inquire any further if you say so. ...Sakura is right. It seems you tend to make light of yourself."

Saber starts stacking the bowls.

"I should hand these to Sakura, correct? I will take the pot as well, so please wipe the table, Shirou."

Saber goes to the kitchen without waiting for my reply.

"Should I put the bowls here, Sakura?"

"Saber-san? Oh, yes. Please put the dirty dishes there."

"I see. By the way, Sakura, lunch was very delicious. Please accept my thanks."

"Ahaha, I have a lot to learn. Senpai's still the best when it comes to rice porridge and udon."


I can hear friendly conversation from the kitchen.

"Oh. So Sakura is getting along with Saber."

Maybe it's because they helped each other clean this morning.

Either way, it's a good thing that they're getting along.

"Well, I should prepare some tea."

I place the tea leaves and the teapot on the table.

It's almost one o'clock.

It's a good time to take a break, so――――

Scene 05 Saber is merciless!

"Oh, right."

There should be some dorayaki, bean-jam pancakes, that I bought on a whim.

In my efforts to keep Fuji-Nee from finding them, I hid them so well that I forgot about them myself.

"Senpai? What are you doing, opening the refrigerator?"

"Well, I'm thinking of repaying you just a bit."

I look in the very back, behind all the vegetables.

Thanks to years of practice in hiding things from Fuji-Nee, I hide snacks where I can find them before they pass the expiration date.

"...Huh? Why is there an Edomaeya bag in the vegetable compartment?"

Sakura stares at the bag with surprise and expectation.

By the way, Edomaeya is a stand that sells dorayaki, taiyaki, and takoyaki.

The students at my school love this place because of its low prices and huge servings.

And to add, Sakura really loves the food there.

"T-There's a lot in there. I thought you had potatoes in there."

"That's how I camouflaged it. I figured I'd forget about it, so I put it where it'd be found when we ran out of carrots."

I take out the time-bomb guarding against Fuji-Nee.

"So let's eat these as refreshments. Oh, or should we make this a mid-afternoon snack?

We just ate, so you two must be full."

I put the paper bag onto the tray so I won't forget about it.

"Huh...? A-Are you full, Senpai?"

"I am. Lunch was really good, so I ate about two meals worth. I think I won't get hungry for a while."

"I-I thought so too!

T-Then let's save the fun for later and――――"

"Are you saving them for later? I am still hungry."

"Oh. Wow, you've got room for more? That's amazing, considering that you ate as much as Sakura."

"I am more interested in the food. Sugar is a source of energy, and I have never heard of 'dorayaki' before."

...I see.

A Japanese snack like this must be foreign to Saber, who is from a Western culture.

"Fair enough. Then here's some for dessert. There's more than enough for you, so we can keep the leftovers for a snack this afternoon."

"Oh―――Senpai. Pardon me for asking, but how many did you buy...?"

"Hm? I think I bought five. Each of us gets one, and the remaining two can be shared or given to anyone who wants them."

"I see. According to that calculation, I can eat a maximum of three?"

"Yeah. But you'll get heartburn if you eat so many sweets. ...Well, I guess you can handle three."

I return to the living room with the tray.

To thank the two girls for doing the dishes, I prepare the dorayaki along with some tea.

"We are done. So that is dorayaki, Shirou?"



Saber is sitting there and staring at the tray, apparently ready to eat.

Sakura quietly sits down beside her.

"Sakura? Is something wrong?"

"No, nothing's wrong. I'm full, just like you."


I don't understand, but I go ahead and pour some tea for the three of us.


She bows and reaches for the dorayaki.

―――The match is over in an instant.

After taking the tentative first bite, Saber quickly digs in with more enthusiasm.

Undeterred by its sweetness, she quickly finishes her first dorayaki.

"―――I see. It is a simple dessert, but it goes well with the tea."

She takes an elegant sip of tea and reaches for the second dorayaki.

Sakura watches nervously.


...Hold on.

Is Sakura uneasy because...?

"Hm. This is certainly more than just dessert."

Saber quickly finishes her second one and reaches out for the third.

"Hold on, Saber. Can you stop at two?"

"...? I do not mind, since I was only going to eat the excess share. Are you going to eat the rest, Shirou?"

"Sakura and I will eat them. I'll eat one, Sakura will eat one, and the last one..."

I take the third dorayaki and break it in half.

"...Sakura and I will share it. You can handle this, right?"

"Y-Yes, of course! I can eat it right now!"

As I thought.

Sakura was reserved for some reason.

Nobody would mind if she ate one or two dorayaki.

"Well, let's eat too. I got hungry watching Saber."

"I-I agree! I can eat this easily!"

Sakura reaches out for the dorayaki.

Although not as much as taiyaki, Sakura loves dorayaki.


I'm glad she likes the food I bought. But...

I hope she doesn't regret it in front of the scale later on...

My body is almost fully healed by the time we finish eating.

The fever probably came from fatigue, so half a day's rest did the trick.

"So, will you be using the afternoon to train?"

I nod back.

Even though I only just recovered, we can't waste any time.

Skill in magecraft doesn't improve after one day of training, but physical skill should be different.

It won't hurt to train until dinner.

Scene 06 A peaceful time

I should laze around after a meal.

Your body needs to use its energy for digestion, and besides, tea tastes good after a meal.

I know it's shameful to leave the two of them to do the dishes, but they have a good atmosphere going in the kitchen.

Since they have no common interests to talk about, they are doing the dishes together as a way of bonding.

"―――Wow, they're getting along well."

I leisurely watch what's going on in the kitchen.

There's some program for housewives on TV.

In this peaceful atmosphere, I fully enjoy a short rest after our meal.

My body is almost fully healed by the time I finish resting.

The fever was probably the result of fatigue, so even half a day's rest did the trick.

"So, will you be using the afternoon to train?"

I nod back.

Even though I just recovered, we can't waste any time.

Magical skill doesn't improve after only one day, but physical skill should be different.

It won't hurt to train until dinner.

Scene 07 The daughter of winter-Illya

...I don't feel sick, so I guess I'll go outside.

I'm sure we haven't bought stuff for dinner, so I'll go to the shopping district.

"Saber and Sakura are..."

They're doing the dishes together.

I don't want to interrupt them, so I'll leave a note and sneak out――――


I managed to sneak out.

I left them a note saying "Going to buy stuff for dinner. Be back in an hour," so there's no problem.

I bet they won't get mad at me if I buy them some snacks.


I leave the supermarket with bags full of food.

I didn't find any good deals, but I still bought a lot.

Sakura's going to be staying over for a while, so we need the extra groceries.

"We had udon for lunch, so maybe I'll make some meat for dinner."

I stop my feet.


Someone's tugging at my shirt from behind.

"What's going on...?"

I turn around in wonder.


...Stands a young girl with silver hair.


I quickly jump back.

I ready myself while the girl just stands there and smiles.


I don't feel any hostility from the girl.

"I'm glad you're alive, Onii-chan."

She looks at me with a big smile.


...I'm sure of it. This girl is Berserker's Master.

She's the master of the monster who wounded me.

The girl of the family of magi who started this war, the family which my father betrayed.

Why is she here in the shopping district in broad daylight?

...It must be because the priest's story was so vivid. This girl doesn't feel like a stranger to me.

That's why...



...I blurt out her name without knowing what it means.

"Oh―――sorry, that's wrong...!

Illya―――yeah, it's Illyasviel...!

I-I'm sorry for getting it wrong...!"

I quickly apologize.

It doesn't matter if she's Berserker's Master or that she's the daughter of the Einzbern family.

It's just that...

I can't ignore that sad look on her face.


The girl is glaring at me, maybe because I shortened her name.

"Oh―――I didn't mean to make you mad. I just blurted it out."

"......Tell me your name."


"Tell me your name, Onii-chan. It's unfair that I don't know your name."


Oh, she's right.

Illyasviel told me her name, but I haven't told her mine yet.

"I'm Shirou. Emiya Shirou."

"Emiyashiro? That's a strange name, Onii-chan."

"No. Emiya is my last name, and Shirou is my first name. If it's hard to say it, just call me Shirou."

I correct her pronunciation.


I point at the girl right at her nose, and she stands there in surprise.


It's too late to take it back, even if I wanted to.

The girl looks like she's about to cry, and...

"...Shirou, Shirou, huh? Yeah, I like the name.

It's simple, but it sounds pretty. It suits you, Shirou.

I'll forgive you for what you just did!"

...She embraces my arm.

"What――――!? H-H-Hold on, Illyasviel! What are you doing...!?"

"No, you can call me Illya, Shirou! I'm calling you Shirou, so this is fair!"

"Wha―――well, that's easier to say, but hold on!!!"

I try to shake her off, but Illya just squeals with delight.


This is bad. My neighbors might spread a bad rumor about me like this.

"Damn, what do you want...!? Do you want to fight me right now...!?"

I pull her off by force.



Illya looks unhappy.

"W-What? Don't think making faces will change anything! I don't know what your intention is, but I'm a Master. You can't defeat me that easily――――"

I glare at her, groceries in hand.

...But she only watches me in wonder.

"......Um, Illya?"

"Yeah!? What, Shirou!?"


She's different from before.

...Well, she was laughing then too, but it's not the same. Could it really be――――?

"...Illya. You didn't come here to fight...?"

I ask timidly.

"What? Do you want to be killed?"


Her glare sends a chill down my spine.

No matter how young this girl may be, she is the strongest Master.

She laughs innocently, but she can also become the ruthless Master.

"...Hmm. I don't get it, but I don't mind if you say so. I don't mind going ahead with my plans. Do you want to die along with Saber?"

"...Are you kidding me? Of course not! I don't want to die, and I don't want to fight you here."

"Right? Masters can't fight during daytime. You don't have Saber with you, and I don't have Berserker with me."

"...You're right. Then why did you come here? Did we just meet up by chance?"

"It's not chance. I snuck out under Sella's nose especially for you. You better be grateful."

Illya is inflated with pride.


I feel dizzy.

Every time I think she turns into a cruel Master, she returns to being the innocent girl.

I can't tell which is the real Illya.

"...All right. So you came to see me.

But you have no intention of fighting me. Am I correct?"

"Yup. I came to talk to you. I've waited all this time, so I can, right?"


I don't know what she means by "all this time," but it seems Illya really did come just to talk to me.

"Or do you not want to? ...I'll go home if you don't. I really don't want to go home, but you'll hate me if I make you do something you don't want."

Illya looks straight into my eyes.


...From a Master's point of view, it's dangerous to associate with Illya. If Saber were here, she'd make her objections clear.


...But I can't just walk away from her when she's making a face like that.

I know it's reckless, thoughtless, and rash, but...

"I don't mind talking with you. Actually, I wanted to."

"All right! Then let's go over that way! I found a small park over there earlier――――!"

Illya starts running.

"Come on, come on! I'll leave you behind if you don't hurry!"

She twirls about as she runs.

"――――Well, I guess it can't be helped."

I accept this event and follow after Illya.

She called me Shirou.

Then I should treat her like a normal girl, not like a Master.

The park is empty.

Nobody is playing in the sand pit or on the swings.

It feels desolate, but I sit down on a bench with Illya.

...I think this must look weird to other people.

Illya's a foreigner, so we don't look like siblings, and our ages are too far apart to be friends.

"...So. What do you want to talk about, Illya? You came to me, so do you have something you want to ask me?"

"Why? I have nothing I want to ask you."



How do I respond to that?

"...Illya. You're the one who wanted to talk.

So why do you say you have no business with me? You wouldn't come if that were true, right?"

"O-Oh, really? We can't talk if we don't have business?"

"Uhh... that's not what I meant. Sorry, I put it in the wrong way. We can talk even if we have no business. I guess it's better to talk without purpose.

But... honestly, I don't know you really well, so I don't know what I should talk about. I don't know what you like, or anything like that. You don't want me asking you about something you'd rather not talk about, right?"

"Y-You're right... but what should I ask? Will you promise me you won't get mad even if I ask you anything?"

"I'll try. I'm your Onii-chan, so I'll try to act mature."

"I see. Then Shirou, do you like me?"


W-W-W-W-W-What the hell is she asking!?

"Oh, you're a liar! You said you won't get mad, but you're mad!"

"Hey, anyone would be shocked by that question! Y-You shouldn't be asking that question when you've already attacked me!"

"Hey, that was different! You jumped in the way, even though you were weak! It's not my fault!"

"It is your fault! You were ready to kill from the beginning! So why are you talking about me liking you and whatnot!?"

Illya quivers up and shuts up.



Look what I did, right after I said I'd forget about us being Masters.

"...Um, Illya?"

"......I asked because it's important to me. You're an idiot, Shirou. You still want to talk big, even though you would've died if it weren't for me."

Illya looks down, her shoulders shaking.


I guess it can't be helped.

I'm the one who started this whole Master conversation, I'm the older one here, and Illya is a girl.

"――――Ahem. Um, Illya..."

I prepare myself for what I have to say.

"―――I don't mind it anymore. My wound healed up, and you let me go.

...But if it still bothers you, then I won't bring it up again. Is that all right?"

"Oh... yeah. Um, so you're not mad, Shirou...?"

"I don't know why, but I'm not mad.

I want to talk to you more now."

Illya was about to cry, but now she smiles.


Seeing her smile makes me happy as well.

She doesn't feel dangerous to me.

Then I should stop thinking like a Master.

I guess I'll have to talk with her, just like she wants――――

My conversation with Illya lasts for an hour.

Illya listens to my ordinary stories and meaningless talks.

...Since when did it start feeling painful?

Illya is an innocent girl.

The fact that she's a Master and that she has no doubt in that fact...

I think it's sad that she goes into battle with no fear.


A family of magi called Einzbern.

This young girl that is sent out as the greatest Master as a result of their thousand-year-old history.

If that is Illya's goal, then...

"――――Illya. Can I ask you something?"


"Do you recognize the name Emiya Kiritsugu?"

...I have to ask her this.


The air freezes.

It is an emotionless silence.

"No. I don't know of such a guy."

...Her silver hair flutters.

Illya gets up from the bench and twirls about like a fairy.

"It's getting late. Berserker wakes up at night, so I have to get going now."


Illya waves goodbye.

"Yeah, I should go home too."

I get up.

This is all the rest I'm getting.

We'll have to fight as enemies again once the sun sets.


"Can I talk with you again, Illya?"

...I naturally ask this question.

"―――U-Um, I don't know. Do you want to see me again, Shirou?"

"Of course. I wouldn't ask you if I didn't want to."

"......! Okay, then I'll come again tomorrow if I feel like it. Don't expect too much and keep waiting, okay?"

She runs out of the park.


She suddenly stops and...

"I was lying. I do know of him."


"...I was given birth to this world to win the Holy Grail War. My goal is to kill you and Kiritsugu."

She sprints off.

Illya leaves without turning around.

I watch her go until I can't see her anymore.

Scene 08 Winter castle-Illya

"――――Oh yeah――――"

I forgot about it because of all the things that happened this morning, but I did make a promise with Illya.

...Well, it wasn't really a promise, but I'd be really dishonest if I don't go, as I'm the one who asked her if we could see each other again.

"Saber and Sakura are..."

They're doing the dishes together.

If I tell them I'm going out, they'll either stop me or insist on coming along.

If I'm going to go see Illya, I should do it alone.

I feel bad, but I'll just leave a note and sneak out――――


I managed to sneak out.

I left them a note saying, "Going to buy stuff for dinner. Be back in an hour," so they shouldn't be too worried.

"Hm... So she's not here, as I thought."

There's no one in the park.

Even with the apartments looming overhead, this place is so cold that it feels like it'll start snowing at any moment.

"...Well, I don't know what I'd talk about even if she were here."

I sit on the bench.

Setting the grocery bag down, I look up at the dark sky.

...It seems the gift I bought at the shopping district went to waste.


I stare at the sky absent-mindedly.

It must be because this place is surrounded by buildings.

Only a tiny square of sky is visible, and it seems farther away than usual.

"―――――――It's cold."

I can see my breath.

The cold, dry air is freezing, and I wouldn't be surprised even if it started snowing.

"――――Well, I should go home."

I grab the grocery bag and get up.

It's past two o'clock.

I have to leave now if I'm going to be home in time.


My legs freeze.

They won't move.

They don't even budge, no matter how hard I try――――


My vision blurs.

No, that's an understatement.

My vision is broken.

My eyes have bulged into my skull, and I have no sense of distance.


I realize that I'm in the worst situation possible.

It feels like my body has been turned into stone.

My nerves are disconnected, leaving me detached from the world.

It's like I'm watching the world through a camera, controlling myself in a video game.

"Sa... ber――――"

I'll be killed.

It was a mistake to go outside alone.

I can't even see my attacker's face, let alone move, and――――

"Did I surprise you?

You were completely defenseless, so I had to tease you."

―――Um, I'm being teased by this mischievous girl?

"Oh, you're back to normal. I guess contacting you through vision isn't that strong."


She appears from behind me.

She's smiling, probably because she was already here and was watching me from behind.

"But you're no good if you can't dispel magecraft using your own powers. Your future looks gloomy if outside factors are the only things that can dispel you."

She lectures me.

But her words aren't coming into my brain.

"Illya――――! What are you doing!? Surprise attacks are unfair, even if we're both Masters!"

"Hey, that wasn't a surprise attack. I was sitting next to you for a while. But you didn't notice me, and then you made it worse by getting ready to leave. That was your own fault, Shirou."

"...!? Y-You were sitting next to me this whole time?"

"Yeah, I was hiding a bit. But you're too careless. You didn't notice my presence, and you were captivated by a spell that merely uses direct magical energy contact. You're a Master, so you should keep a better watch on your surroundings."

Illya warns me, utterly amazed.

"Oh――――yeah. You're right."

She seems so much like a teacher that I find myself nodding.

"It's good if you understand.

―――So, what's going on today? You're empty inside right now, but you don't have Saber with you. If you're trying to rest, wouldn't it be safer to do it at home?"

"Huh? Well, I didn't come here to rest.

Well, you're right that not bringing Saber was careless of me."

"Right? I couldn't leave you alone because you seemed so odd. I wasn't supposed to talk to you after yesterday, but I'll make an exception for today."


Illya's saying something strange.

After all, I came to this park because...

"So, why were you just sitting here?

You would've been dead if I came here as a Master."

"Well, I just came here to see you.

You told me yesterday that we could meet again."


Oh, she's surprised.

...Well, it's not like it was an official promise.

"Why...? You came to see me, even though I told you I'll be trying to kill you?"

"That's your choice. It's not mine. I just want to talk to you, not fight. And in any case――――"

Illya said she'd kill me, but she just let a chance go by.

She could've really done it if she'd kept her spell on me.

As she didn't do so, I don't want to fight her.

"――――Masters don't fight during daytime, right?

Then let's forget about it for now. I just came here to see you. Do you want to kill me more than you want to talk with me?"

"Eh――――? T-That's an unfair question. I have to do both. It's fun to talk with you, but I can't forgive you. So I can't choose just one."

Illya hangs her head and mumbles.

She looks serious, like she's actually suffering rather than just being troubled.

"...I see. Then I don't care. I won't ask you to choose one."

"Oh... B-But I..."

"I know. But since we're both here, let's talk.

I brought a gift for you today, so we'll fight some other time."

I take out a bag of taiyaki.

They cooled off while I was waiting for Illya, but they're still a bit warm.

"Here's the offering. I'll give you these, so please let me go this time."

I hold out the taiyaki.


Illya hesitates, but then takes them and nods.

I'm not too sure what we talked about after that.

We talked about meaningless things:

What she likes to eat, what she doesn't like to eat, how she likes birds and hates cats, how she likes snow and hates the cold, how she wants to play but can't, and how she doesn't like her maids but wants to like them.

Illya looks happy just to be talking.

She is sitting on the bench, eating the taiyaki, and swinging her legs.

...She looks like a child waiting for her father's return.

"―――I see. So you didn't come to this town by yourself?"

"No, I came with Sella and Leysritt. I don't need people to keep an eye on me, but I do need people to take care of my place, right?"

...So Illya came to Japan with two maids.

Are they staying at a hotel or something?

"What? Are you curious? Do you want to know where I live?"

"Eh... yeah, I'm curious. You keep popping up at unexpected times, but what would I do if an emergency happens and I don't know where you live?"

Even if she gets injured and asks me for help, I won't be able to if I don't know that.

I'll rest a little easier if I know where she lives――――

"――――All right. You're special. If you want to know that badly, I'll tell you."


Illya stands up and places her hand on my forehead.

"Whoa――――hey, Illya..."

"Just be quiet. You'll enter some other place if you resist me too hard. It's troublesome to return things to normal if that happens."

She glares at me.


Under that kind of pressure, I can only nod obediently.

"That's a good boy. Then close your eyes. And don't look around too much, okay? Even though I'm transferring you, you'll get motion sickness because the view is someone else's."


Illya places her forehead onto mine.

I'm surprised, but I close my eyes.

――――At that moment...

My vision accelerates and expands.

No, was it my consciousness that expanded?

The next thing I know, I'm looking down at an unfamiliar scene.

"Can you see it? I transferred your vision to my forest."

Illya's voice echoes in my head.

I can't reply, nor nod back.

This "vision" is the only thing allowed for me.

I'm one of the trees in the forest.

It's natural that my body doesn't move.

My body has been turned into a tree in an instant.

"Did you memorize the route? Then I'll transfer you to the castle wall now."

The scene changes.

My vision is the only sense I have.

―――I still exist, but I can't feel myself.

I'm a wall now.

I can sense my limbs, but there are no limbs for me to move. I have a body that can move at will, yet I can't move it.

"Leysritt. I cannot find Illyasviel-sama. Do you know where she may be?"

"......No. Illya should be somewhere."

"Leysritt. Please do not refer to our lady so crudely. Illyasviel-sama is not like us. Have you forgotten our mission?"

"Sella is Illya's teacher. I'm to dress Illya with Heavens Feel, the third dress."

"Correct. It seems even your poor memory can retain that."

"......I didn't forget. ...But Illya hates wearing that. So I don't like it."

"...I understand that as well. But we need her to wear it when the time comes. We were made for that purpose.

She must be prepared as well."


"What is it, Leysritt?"

"......Don't you get tired?"

"Not at all!"

...I hear two identical maids talking.

When I realize those two are the maids Illya was talking about...

...I finally return to my body.

"How was it? That was some great transformation magecraft, right?"


...I hold my mouth and bear my nausea.

I feel sick, suddenly feeling the realism of my body.

"Illya... What was that?"

"It's transfer of consciousness. I moved your vision into some other object."

"There's a nerve going from your eyes to your brain, right? I connected that nerve to something other than your eyes.

You were getting information from the trees in my forest instead of your eyes."

"......Hm. So it's not that I became the tree, but I received their vision and mistakenly thought I was one?"

"Oh, I thought you were dense, but you're actually pretty bright.

Yes, that's right. That was magecraft to change the input while leaving the equipment called human alone.

It's a big deal to change someone into a tree, but it's still in the realms of magecraft to connect one's consciousness to a tree. Far-sight and possession are an application of this magecraft."

"......I see. But that's pretty impressive stuff. I couldn't do anything when you transferred me to the tree. Couldn't you also use it to nullify your opponent?"

"Yes. Our specialty is in flow and transfer of power.

For example, Tohsaka magi can transfer their magical energy into jewels without diluting its purity. Using that same technique, they can also transfer someone's consciousness.

If there's an enemy they want to seal, they can nullify him by transferring his consciousness into a jewel or an immobile doll."

"But the success rate of transferring someone's consciousness is so low that even we, the ones specialized in transfer, won't use it as an attack."

"The one I did to you was an exception. You didn't resist, and that forest is mine. It's normally much harder to connect things."

"And your consciousness will be forced to return if the original body is stimulated in any way.

The body will call its consciousness back when it senses danger, even if the consciousness is unaware."

"That's what happened to you just now.

You couldn't do anything when your mind was in the tree, but your body called you back when I shook it."

"...Hm. So this is something like a dream?"

You can never wake up from a dream, no matter how hard you try.

Dreams usually end when morning comes―――when the body wakes up out of habit.

"Hmm, it's a bit different. You can wake up from a dream using your will.

But that's why transferral is not fit for offense. It's more for self-protection."

"If you transfer your consciousness to your familiar or a doll that can move, you can safely pursue magecraft."

"......So your consciousness just returns to your original body even if an enemy destroys your familiar?"

"Yes. Magi who transfer their minds usually hide their original bodies in a safe place.

In cases like this, you need to watch out when you transfer into a familiar with its own soul."

"When you transfer your consciousness into something with a proper chain of command, the initiative is completely held by them."

"So even if you transfer into humans or animals, you can only occupy a corner of their brain and observe what they see. They will serve as a camera, not a remote-controlled robot."

"Moving your consciousness into a living thing with its own will is more like reincarnation than transfer.

That alone is a great magecraft, so no ordinary magus would be able to do it."


magecraft to create an offspring with your soul in it after you die.

Some magi have achieved that goal, but I hear that reproducing a soul is difficult.

Even if you start over from the moment of birth, if you cannot inherit all the power of your previous self, you are a copy, not a reincarnation.

A copy is degraded by its very nature.

Therefore, a copied magus is inferior to his previous self.

"If you want to transfer yourself into a living thing, you can make a familiar without a soul.

But the soulless familiars used today are weak. It's just like controlling a doll filled with cotton.

They're only useful as messengers."

"And even if you transfer your consciousness into a familiar or doll, you will disappear if your original body grows old and dies.

It's not immortality."

"The only eternal things in this physical world are souls.

But nobody can keep souls by themselves. A soul cannot stay in this world without a body, and it will be destined with 'eventual death' once it obtains a body.

Well, it just means that's the limit of magecraft by Einzbern and Tohsaka."


A bell rings the time.

The clock in the park points at three.

I guess it's already been an hour.

"Oh... I have to get going. Are you going home too?"

"Hm? Yeah, I should be heading home."

Illya nods and walks to the middle of the park.

"...Okay. I shouldn't say this, but..."

The white girl asks me...

"Will you come see me again tomorrow, Shirou?"

...As if she knows I'm going to refuse.


You idiot.

I don't even need to answer.

"―――Of course I'll come tomorrow. You showed me your house, so it's my turn next."

"Okay! Then I'll be sure to call out to you first tomorrow!"

Illya runs off.

Under the cloudy sky...

The white-haired girl looks like a fairy.

Scene 09 A big pinch

"I'm home."

"Where were you, Shirou!?"

"Where did you go, Senpai!?"


I jump back, bumping against the front door.

"No, not 'whoa'! I have told you many times not to go outside by yourself! Worse still, you snuck out while you were sick...!"

"Saber-san's right!

You wrote that you'd be back at two! Do you know what time it is!? Where were you for the extra two hours!?"

"Uh――――no, hold on. I understand. I understand why you two are mad, so..."

If you guys will just calm down, I should be able to come up with an excuse...

"No, you do not understand...! I agreed with your decision to go to school yesterday, but I cannot forgive you this time. It seems you are healthy enough. I shall train you until dinner!"

Saber pushes Sakura aside and steps closer.

"Yes, the dojo is cleaned, so please have some matches with Saber-san! I heard how good she is from Fujimura-Sensei, so I'm sure you'll enjoy it!"

Sakura pushes Saber aside and roars at me.


...I can't do this. I'll only add fuel to the fire if I say the wrong thing. Saber might even go as far as breaking our contract.

"Where is your reply, Shirou!?"

"Where's your reply, Senpai!?"

"――――――Uh... I'm sorry."

Rattle, rattle.

I hate my front door for blocking my retreat.

"Then let us go at once. Please prepare the first-aid kit, Sakura."

"Please do. Punish him all you want."

The two retreat together in unison.

".........Man. I wonder if I'll be able to eat dinner tonight."

But I don't know what they'll do if I don't go with them.

...I guess I have to atone for my actions in the dojo...

Scene 10 Matou Shinji

―――It's been a few hours since we started training.

Saber's training is not what one can call kendo.

Saber doesn't practice kendo to begin with, and it seems she has no intention to teach me swordsmanship.

All she wants me to learn is the actual feeling of a battle.

She's helping me gain experience in battle so that I can stay composed when I fight other Masters, when our lives will be at stake.

I'm grateful for that.

There's no way she can teach me swordsmanship in a day or two.

All I can rely on is my body, which I have trained until now.

Then the best training I can get is practical experience, so that I'll be able react normally in critical situations――――




As soon as my focus wavers, Saber's shinai strikes my chest.

"Shirou. Do not let your guard down just because you are out of range. Range does not matter with the skills you have.

The only place you can afford to let your guard down is in this house."

"――――Sorry, I did let my guard down."

I climb to my feet, clutching my chest and coughing weakly.

"...Geez. You are surprisingly sharp at times, but defenseless at others. If you are able to control this――――"

Saber looks outside.

"What's wrong, Saber?"

"Well, Sakura is waving her hand at us from the porch. ...It seems she is calling for you, Shirou."


...I wonder what it could be.

Sakura couldn't bear to watch me get beaten up, so she begged us to stop training.

She went back to the living room when I refused, but...

"...I'm going to the living room for a bit. Is that all right?"

"Yes. We have been training for two hours, so a rest is appropriate."

"Thanks. Then I'll get some tea while I'm at it."

"Oh, Senpai."

Sakura is standing by the phone when I arrive.

"...Um, you have a phone call. She's been waiting for you."

Sakura gets away from the phone.

"A phone call...? At this time?"

Could it be Fuji-Nee...? Maybe she wants me to bring something she forgot, or maybe she wants to tell me a joke she just came up with.

"All right. Hello.

This is Emiya――――"

"It's not 'this is Emiya'!!

Why are you absent without my permission!!!!!?"

The receiver roars.

What kind of magecraft is she using to make her voice rattle the walls through this small speaker?


I shake my head to clear the ringing in my ears.

"Are you listening to me!? Are you okay!?"

The stranger, Tohsaka Rin, forges ahead without waiting for a response.

"...I'm listening. I'm listening, so lower your voice. My eardrums will burst if you keep talking like that."

"......Humph. Like always, you're missing the point. Well, it seems like nothing happened with the way you are.

Geez, guess I was worried about nothing."


Her words are harsh and cold.

You're the one who never changes, Tohsaka.

"Well, what do you want?

Did something happen to make you come calling me like that?"

"Yes, something did happen! You went to the Ryuudou Temple yesterday, even after I warned you not to."

"―――Ugh. How do you know that?"

"I had a lookout there. ...Well, I guess nothing happened, seeing that you're okay. I imagined something slightly bad since you weren't at school today."

"Oh, so you thought I was killed?"

"Yeah. I thought you were torn apart and buried on that mountain."



I don't think that's a "slightly bad imagination".

"―――Sorry to disappoint you, but I'm doing great... Well, I'm dying, but I'm hanging in there.

So, what's your business?"

"Huh...? Well..."

"You can stop sounding me out.

Oh, you want to ask about the Master at the Ryuudou Temple, right? We beat him―――well, actually, he was already gone.

He was betrayed by his Servant, Caster.


...Wait, I can't talk any more about this subject.

Even though I'm whispering, Sakura is behind me.

I can't let her hear anything about people dying.

"Anyway, there's no Servant or Master at the Ryuudou Temple anymore. That's what you wanted to know, right?"

"...Y-Yeah, you're pretty thoughtful."

"Then I'm hanging up. I'm training right now, so my whole body's in pain."

I end the conversation.

"H-Hold on!"

"...? What, you don't have any more business, right?"

"I-I do...! Come to school tomorrow. I have something important to talk to you about."


She slams the receiver down. Well, that's just like her.

"...Man, how selfish of her. She got mad at me for going to school yesterday, and now she wants me to go tomorrow."

I put the receiver down.

I turn to go prepare the tea I promised.


I see Sakura, hanging her head for some reason.

"Sakura? Are you feeling all right?"

"Yes, but... I'm just wondering what happened to make you seem so happy."


I seem happy?

Did I look happy when I was on the phone with Tohsaka?

"No way. I'm actually mad."

"...That's... why. You don't even notice it yourself."

Sakura looks away awkwardly.


I wonder about her behavior as I make tea for the three of us.

By the time we finish our training, the sky is tinted red.

"I'm done preparing the yellowtail. We also need pumpkin and tomatoes, right?"

"Oh, I've taken care of that. I'm putting the sauce on before I cook it... Oh, can you take out the bowls since I'll be making savory egg custard? Fuji-Nee went out and bought some crabs yesterday."

"Oh, the crab-flavored fish paste? I like that because they're tasty and nice-looking."

Sakura takes out the bowls and places them on the kitchen counter.

I'm making dinner to thank her for everything she did today.

I want Sakura to relax in the living room with Saber, but she stubbornly insists on helping me.



We're interrupted by the doorbell.

Sakura's already here, so that means there's a visitor at my place.

"Oh, I'll go get it. If it's a newspaper salesman, I'll send him away."


Sakura goes to the front door before I can stop her.


...I have a bad feeling about this.

I put the radish down and go to the front door.

The doorbell hasn't stopped ringing.

Whoever it is, they must be hysterical.

Sakura unlocks the door to greet the visitor.

――――At that instant...

"Why aren't you coming home!?"

I hear a heavy sound and some angry words.

It happened in an instant.

The doorbell doesn't stop.

"Who is it?"

Sakura opens the door while calling out to the visitor.


Shinji throws the door open and storms in.


"Hey―――why aren't you coming home!?"

As soon as Shinji sees Sakura, he raises his arm, and...

He smacks her, but what slams into her cheek isn't the palm of his hand, but a fist.


I run.

Sakura hits the wall and crumples to the floor.

Shinji runs to Sakura, with his arm ready to punch her again――――

"What are you doing, Shinji...!?"

"―――Humph. I'll do whatever I want. If she spends the night at someone's house without my permission, it's only natural that she gets punished."

"―――It's... natural...?"

"Are you deaf? I'm saying a piece of shit who won't do as she's told deserves to get hit.

You're the one who's seducing her in the first place. How are you any different from me? We're both using Sakura as we please."


I'm speechless.

I seriously...

"Oh, what's that? You got to do her once last night, and now you don't want to let her go because you want more? I can't blame you, Sakura is――――"


...Want to kill Shinji.

"―――Huh? What's with that face? Are you stupid?"


"Ooh, I like that tone. All right, let's pick up where we left off, Emiya."

I clench my fist.

I can't stop myself.


Scene 11 Enraged

―――I can't restrain myself, and I shouldn't even try to.

I clench my fist tighter.

Shinji just stands there, smiling as he awaits my attack, and―――

Scene 12 Prudence

―――I suppress my anger with all my might.

What good will it do?

My fight with Shinji has already ended.

It's meaningless to attack Shinji now, and I can't fight Shinji in front of Sakura――――

Scene 13 Sakura sick-Tonight's plan

"Please stop, Nii-san...!

Please, don't do it here―――!"

I get myself together with her voice.


"What a surprise. Isn't this the first time you've talked to me like that?"

Shinji's voice sounds more delighted than I've ever heard from him.

Sakura is hanging her head, her body trembling.

"So? Say it again. I couldn't hear you really well."

"......Yes. I'll do anything you say, so please don't do it in front of Senpai. I'll go home if you tell me to."

"Ohh. So you're going to do anything I say?"


Sakura nods.

"I see. If you're so determined, then I won't take you home. A big brother has to respect his sister's wishes, after all. Isn't that right, Emiya?"


"Haha. Don't make such a scary face. That was just a joke. People will form a bad opinion of you if you won't let go of your grudges."

Shinji walks back to the front door.

"Bye. Take care of Sakura, Emiya.

―――But don't forget what you just said, Sakura."

Shinji waves goodbye and leaves.

He leaves alone, without taking Sakura with him.

We resume cooking.


Unsure of what to say, I cut up the tomatoes and pumpkins in silence.

The unbroken sound of chopping gives the kitchen an awkward atmosphere.

"The rice is done, Senpai. Fujimura-Sensei isn't here yet, but we can start dinner without her, right?"

"Oh―――yeah. It's a bit early, but let's do that."

"Okay. I'll prepare right away."

Sakura moves briskly, as if nothing happened.

...She's obviously pushing herself.

Sakura pretends to be okay so that I won't be worried.


I should act that way too if that's how Sakura's going to act.

Sakura's the one who got hurt.

If she's going to smile, I have to smile as... well...?


The sound of a bowl breaking causes me to turn around.


Pieces of the shattered bowl are by Sakura's feet.



Sakura suddenly collapses.

She sinks to a sitting position, then keels over backward――――


I quickly raise her off the floor.


Sakura's body is burning hot, even through her uniform.

"Sakura... Hey, Sakura...!"

"Eh――――Sen... pai...? What's... going on...?"

There's no strength in her voice.

But she tries her best to say something.

"It's not 'what's going on'...!? You're still sick...!"

"Oh... no... I'm fine."

"You idiot...! You wouldn't collapse like that if you're fine!"

―――Damn, I'm an idiot.

I knew Sakura had a cold, but I overworked her without thinking.

And to finish it off, there's what happened just now. After everything she's been through physically and mentally, it's natural that she'd collapse――――!

"I'm sorry for breaking the bowl, Senpai.

I'll clean it up right awa―――kya!?"

I hold up Sakura in my arms.


"Dinner can come later. I'm going to take you to bed and have you rest. Complain to me after you get better."

I head to the outbuilding with Sakura in my arms.

She's trying to say something, but I ignore her.

I'm so mad that I can't talk.


Sakura must have given up, as she is silent by the time we get to the guest room.

She hangs her head, but follows my directions.

Although her face is flushed with fever, it doesn't seem all that bad.

I leave her room.

I'm changing the menu for tonight.

I have to hurry and go make some rice porridge so that I can return her favor.

It's almost ten o'clock.

We ate dinner, and it's time to start patrolling the area.


Sakura is sleeping in the guest room.

I ate dinner with Saber.

Fuji-Nee never showed up, so she must be busy tonight.

"Shirou. It is almost time."


Saber urges me.

For tonight――――

Scene 14 Patrol Shinto

―――We'll patrol Shinto.

We can't let our guards down, even if Caster's been defeated.

We have to find Lancer's Master and determine whether he's good or evil.

"We'll go to Shinto. Please follow me like that."

"Understood. So the plan is the same as yesterday?"

"Yeah. We'll pretend we're normal citizens until we sense the enemy."

I turn off the light in the living room.

We exit the house silently so that we won't wake Sakura.

We patrolled the town for an hour, but we didn't find anything.

According to Saber, Caster's magical energy, which once permeated Shinto, is now fading away. However, I cannot sense the change.

I don't feel any magical energy that stands out, so there must be no Masters in Shinto...

"What is wrong, Shirou? You look gloomy."

"Huh...? Oh, it's nothing. I'm just wondering if the station was always this desolate. This place feels like a..."

I stop myself before I finish with the term "ghost town".

...I bet it just happened to be like this tonight.

There's nothing wrong. It's just that there isn't anybody walking about tonight.

"Let's go home, Saber. I don't think we'll find anything even if we walk around aimlessly."

"...You are right. You do not seem to be feeling well, so we should go home for tonight."

We leave Shinto.

Our footsteps echo through the empty station.

Scene 15 Patrol Miyama City

―――We'll patrol Miyama City.

It's that I want to secure my grounds, but also, Miyama City isn't as populated as Shinto.

I fear that Servants have more freedom to kill innocent people without having anyone notice.

"We'll look around the residential zone for tonight. ...I know this area is Tohsaka's territory and other Masters won't be able to do anything so easily, but we'll make sure of it."

"Understood. I have already verified that there are no enemies around here, but let us patrol the hill on the opposite side."

She must mean the Western-styled neighborhood.

It seems Saber patrolled the town while I was at school yesterday.

"Shirou? Are we not going?"

"O-Oh, we're going. Then please follow me, Saber."

I turn off the light in the living room.

We exit the house silently so that we won't wake Sakura.

...We don't see anything wrong with Miyama City.

We went by the Matou household, but it was silent, and we didn't feel any magical energy, nor the presence of a Servant.

"...I do not see anything abnormal. It has been a day since Caster was eliminated. I believe other Masters are keeping watch."

"...Yeah. I hope so."

According to Saber, Caster's energy, which once covered Shinto, is now fading away.

There aren't any Masters that will suck up magical energy from innocent people now.

But―――what is this vague uneasiness?

The town is quiet.

This place is deserted.

It was quiet yesterday as well, but it feels positively desolate tonight, almost as though we're trapped inside a still image.

"Let us go home, Shirou. There is nothing wrong with this area.

You do not seem to be feeling well, so we should go home and rest for tonight."

"Y-Yeah, you're right. It's almost midnight, so we should go home."

Urged by Saber, we go up the hill.

...The town is quiet.

The moon hangs in the black sky as if frozen.

Scene 16 Day's End

...I return to my room.

It's two o'clock. It's late, but there's still time to do my daily training.

"―――! ...Damn, I thought I got better."

I must have let my guard down, because the moment I return to my room, I'm overcome by drowsiness.

...Saber told me I should rest, so maybe I should skip my training and sleep for tonight.

"...Yeah. I should get a good night's sleep instead of pushing myself."

...I lay out the futon with languid motions, then fall onto it.

The futon smells like the sun.

It's because Sakura aired it out today.

"...I... wonder if Sakura's feeling better..."

I mutter absent-mindedly.

...It feels so good.

I feel myself relax as soon as I settle into the futon. I must've been more tired than I thought.

"...Hm... I have to thank her tomorrow..."

I drop my eyelids.

In this atmosphere, gentle as a sunny day, I soon fall into a deep sleep.

Scene 17 Bedtime Matou Sakura(III)

――――I can't leave Sakura alone tonight.

It's not like I can do anything, but I want to stay here so that I can go help her if she needs help.

"I'm sorry, Saber. We're not patrolling tonight. I'm worried about Sakura."

"――――Understood. I will follow your order."


I-I'm surprised.

I thought Saber would object, but she readily accepted my proposal.

"Please do not misunderstand. Sakura is not the only one who is sick. You are exhausted as well, so please rest for tonight.

The extra time will help you replenish your magical energy. You are not to push yourself."

"―――Thanks, Saber."

"Y-You do not need to thank me. I am your Servant. It is natural for me to place my master's welfare first."

Saber reaches out for her tea.

"So, Shirou. Have you a reward for your considerate servant?"

Saber makes a cute request with eyes full of expectation.

"Oh――――I see. Hold on, Saber."

I realize she wants something to eat with the tea, so I grab the cookies that Fuji-Nee bought for her.


I shut off my Magic Circuit.

I sigh with relief after the stick of fire exits my spine.

I've skipped my daily routine for the past few days, but it went pretty smoothly tonight.

Even though it used to be a challenge, activating my Magic Circuit is easy now. Maybe it's because of my contract with Saber.

"―――But it's no good if it takes me a minute to do it."

The only weapon I can use has to be prepared beforehand using my "strengthening" magecraft.

If I'm attacked by surprise, I'll have no way of fighting back.

If I can shorten the time to around thirty seconds, maybe I'll be able to do something―――

"Maybe I'll ask Tohsaka about it. She might know how to quickly make a Magic Circuit."

Well, I can't ask her just like that. Who knows what she'll demand in return?


I hear footsteps.

The person is walking slowly.

...It's midnight.

The person coming here under the moonlight is...

"Senpai...? Are you still awake?"

Sakura, who looks much better than earlier tonight.


My mind blanks out.

...Sakura's wearing something I don't recognize.

It takes me completely by surprise.

It must be the change of clothes Fuji-Nee prepared for her, but seeing her in something other than her uniform makes my head spin.

"...Um, Senpai?"

"Oh―――Yeah, I'm awake. Are you okay, Sakura? It's cold outside."

"Yes, my fever's almost gone. I came outside to refresh myself and heard a sound, so I thought it might be you."

"I see. Then all that's left is to warm yourself up and go back to sleep. That's good."

I turn on the stove I just fixed.

Good, it works.

This should warm up this place.

"Here. It's still pretty chilly in here, but it's better than outside.

...Um, if you're not sleepy anymore, I can keep you company."

"――――Okay. Then please excuse me, Senpai."

Sakura comes in, her steps steady and sure.

...Good, it looks like she's really better. That's a relief.

"It's warm. So this was fixable."

"Somehow. I almost didn't bother trying since it was so old."

"You're right. You got mad and said you'd rather fix the VCR Fujimura-Sensei cut in half.

But you couldn't throw it away, right?"

"...Well, I guess this stove wasn't the only obstinate one."

It was broken, but it looked fixable, so I just couldn't leave it alone.

"You don't listen to others once you set your mind on something, Senpai. You seem sensible, but you're actually very stubborn. Did you know that?"

"...Hm. Am I stubborn?"

"You are. And you're really forceful.

You didn't listen to me earlier, either."


Even though Sakura's criticizing me, she's in a good mood.

...Well, I'm too happy to see her doing well to care about that.

"...I'm sorry. I was too angry to think straight."

"You're right. You were just as mad at me as at yourself. ...Yes. I'm causing you lots of trouble. But I really was sorry because I thought I did something awful."


Sakura is perfectly composed.

It's probably partly because she just got over a cold, but she's not merely putting on a strong face. This seems like the "real" Sakura to me.

"I remember when I was a child.

I always stayed in the house and couldn't say what I wanted. I thought everything would work out if I didn't say anything."

"...But it didn't do any good. I didn't want to worry anyone, but never speaking worried Nii-san and my dad even more."

"...I see. But it's true that you cared for your father and Shinji, so I bet they knew how you felt. There are things that can be communicated without words."

"Yes. I hope that's true.

...So what about you, Senpai? I don't hear much about when you were a child."

"Uh, me...? Hmm, I don't think I was too different. I was always running throughout the town during the daytime, making meals for my father, and messing around with stuff here at night."

I get embarrassed, so I scratch my cheek.

...Does it mean I'm a failure as a man if I haven't changed from when I was a kid?

"Wow. You were running throughout the town?"

"Yeah... I thought I was patrolling the town. I admired helping the weak and crushing the strong."

My battlefield was mainly in the park.

I think it was an everyday thing to fight with children my age against people older than me.

...Hmm, now that I think about it, a smart and devil-like person was in my age group too...

"I see, so you were protecting the town from bullies? You were like that even when you were little?"

"Sakura. Smiling like that reminds me of all the stupid things I did, so please stop. It's pretty embarrassing."

"It's not embarrassing at all. I would've been your sidekick if I met you as a child.

A shy person like me needs someone to drag her outside."

"...A sidekick?"

...Oh. Well, I might have trained Sakura every day if she'd been with me as a child.

I would've run by the river or sat in the dojo with her.

That's pretty much what a sidekick would do.

Under my watchful eye, Sakura would become strong, and then she would turn into a devil like...


or her.


A chill runs down my spine.

Good. I'm really glad that Sakura is modest.

"Um, Senpai?"

"Huh? Oh, I was out of it. I was just talking to myself, so please don't worry about it."

"...Okay. That's fine, but, um... Can I ask you an awkward question?"

"...? Okay, what?"

"...I heard this from Fujimura-Sensei. Is it true that you were adopted into the Emiya family?"

"―――Huh? Didn't I tell you? I'm adopted, just like Fuji-Nee told you."

"U-Um, Senpai? That means..."

"Well, it's true, and it's nothing I should hide. Why are you asking such a thing?"

"Eh... um, don't you care about it? You were adopted into a stranger's family, so, um... weren't there a lot of things you didn't like?"

"Oh, did Fuji-Nee give you the wrong idea?

...Well, it might've looked that way when I first came here, but it wasn't hard on me, and there was nothing I didn't like."

"Then was it fun for you, Senpai?"


This is the first time I've been asked this question.

After that fire...

...My first year here was spent healing my wounds.

...And after that...

My time until now has been spent in constant motion.

I studied magecraft to be more like Kiritsugu,

and I ran around the town, looking for the reason why only I survived that night.

I never had time to wonder if I was enjoying myself.

"Hmm, I don't know. I don't know if it was fun for me or not. I just wanted to be like my father."

"You mean to be a superhero, like Fujimura-Sensei said?"

Sakura asks timidly.

To that...

"――――Yeah. Is that weird?"

I answer while scratching my cheek.

"No, I don't think so. It's amazing that you're so sure of yourself."


Her words are calm.

I usually get embarrassed from such words, but her words hit me so much that I'm tempted to thank her.

"Here's another question. Would you be able to forgive me if I become a bad person?"


My head blanks out from the sudden question.

...But to answer seriously...

"No. I'd get mad if you do something bad. I'd get more mad than anybody else."

I'd probably be first in line to scold her.

"――――I'm glad. I'd want you to do that."

Sakura nods in relief.


Seeing her smile makes me think that something like this happened before.

"I'm going back to my room. Good night, Senpai."

Sakura leaves.

As I see her off, I try to remember where I've seen that smile before, but my memory fails me.

I return to my room.

I lie on my futon, trying not to wake Saber, and right when I'm about to close my eyes...

"――――I remember now."

In a sudden flash of insight, it comes back to me.

Yes, it was――――

――――It was in the shed, just like tonight.

It was two years ago... no, one and a half years to be exact.

It happened during the summer two years ago.

I continued to refuse every time Sakura offered to come help me at my house.

But Sakura did not give up and kept visiting my house with obstinacy you would never expect from her.

I gave up―――well, Sakura's effort beat me to be exact, but I called Sakura to the shed and admitted my defeat.

"You beat me. I lost, so I'll give you this."

It was an old key.

I gave Sakura the key to my house that I kept in the shed which Kiritsugu used to use.

Surprised, Sakura tried to refuse.

She said something ridiculous about how a stranger couldn't possibly accept such a gift.

"Hey now. You're coming to help me every day, so you're no stranger.

Please feel free to use this. ...Um, it would help me out if you did."

I forced the key into her hands.

And that's when I saw it.

"...Okay. Thank you, Senpai. This is the second gift I've received from someone dear to me."

Sakura smiled happily as she nodded.

"Oh――――I see."

That's what's been bugging me.

Sakura works hard and always has a warm smile.

But that was the last time her smile looked satisfied――――

Scene 18 Intermission Hero's death

The Ryuudou Temple.

The land is desolate after Caster has disappeared.

The monks, who have collapsed from an unknown cause, have left the mountain to leave the temple empty.

The gate is shut firmly, so neither worshippers nor monks can enter the place.

"―――Damn, what a stench. This is a real stinker."

A voice echoes through the place that should be desolate.

A lean blue figure glows in the moonlight.

The sturdily-built man with the crimson spear is a Servant called Lancer.

"Oh, wow. The boundary field is still here, even though Caster's dead?

...No, this is too crude. Her work was much more polished than this."

Lancer looks around the temple.

The red lance is in his hand.

His objectives are to gain information and to keep watch.

He is unwilling, but he cannot disobey his Master's command.

It is his policy to follow any command given to him, and to accomplish the mission.

That is why he has fought several Servants and ended up in a draw with each.

As long as he serves this Master, Lancer will never start a fight.

This is no exception, and he is to investigate the Ryuudou Temple.

If that is the case, why is his lance in his hand?

His weapon, his Noble Phantasm, can be summoned whenever needed.

There is no need for him to hold his lance when there is no enemy before him.

"Damn, what a racket. I thought Caster was the master of wind, but maybe she used water instead. This place is crawling with leeches and spiders――――"

He walks through the temple.

He seems too vulnerable and defenseless to be a Servant.

He is so defenseless that if―――this is an if―――there is another Servant here, he would be attacked and killed in an instant.

"――――But who knows? Maybe the head has been replaced.

There's nothing here but rotten insects. It's your habitual practice to nest on deserted houses."

Lancer doesn't stop cursing.

The blue spearman gives a speech as if to persuade a person who is not here.

"But there's one big one.

I don't know where it was born, but it looks like it was raised by beasts deep within a mountain. And what is this, a smell of sand?

Hah, I thought you were a big spider, but you turned out to be a dirty sandworm.

Why the hell should I have to come and investigate a wretch like you――――whoa!"

――――The silver lights are deflected.

Three rays of light streak forth from the darkness, only to be struck down by Lancer's lance.

The deflected lights are daggers called "Dark".

They are not a weapon to be held onto and to slash with, but a weapon to be thrown.

These daggers were thrown with great speed at Lancer's eyes and throat.

"――――You're pretty good. But don't do that again, sandworm.

I don't like getting killed without a greeting first, and more importantly, it will be fatal for you."

The blue figure stands firm before the darkness.

In the darkness in front of Lancer is...

...A laughing skull, white as the moon.

――――The battle starts without a signal.

Lacking human words, the white skull attacks Lancer with an inhuman shriek,

and Lancer meets his assault without twitching a brow.

The skull tosses daggers with a precision rivaling that of Archer.

Thirty are thrown from close range as he runs through the darkness.

But Lancer easily repels every one.


The skull comes to an abrupt stop.

It is abnormal.

No matter how great a spearman Lancer may be, he could not possibly block all the daggers.

Furthermore, he is using a long lance.

How are the daggers, fired accurately in between his swings, all deflected?

"Hey. Don't tell me that's all you can do."

Lancer's presence changes.

He stops, and his hostility changes to a clear intent to kill.

"Then this is it.

I don't know who you are... well, I guess I'll at least take off that mask of yours."

―――Daggers flash though the darkness.

A rapid barrage is unleashed as a counter to Lancer's charge―――!

But he blocks even that.

Although the daggers cannot be perceived, he turns them aside with a slight swing of his spear.


The skull is the one shivering.

Unable to speak human language, he can only swallow his scream and watch as the enemy comes to take his life――――

"――――, Kii――――!"

He throws a dagger at the small opening in between Lancer's strikes...!


The skull's mask trembles.

Lancer blocks the dagger, turns the spear in a full circle, and smacks his opponent's chin from below.

Defense and counter.

He performs both actions in one motion.

Already committed to his attack, the skull cannot respond to such a maneuver.

――――The white mask falls from his face.

Lancer does not keep attacking.

His order is merely to observe his foes.

Even if this is a sure chance to kill, he has no authority to attack.

"―――You idiot. I told you projectile weapons are useless against me. You're the one who didn't listen to my warning."

Lancer readies his lance again and regards his enemy, who is now hiding his face.

A black body.

A right hand covered in bandages.

A face still hidden by the darkness.


His face is flat and utterly featureless.

"Gi――――yoU SAw My FaCe, Lan, cer."

"I'm about to. I'm sure you're a Servant, so let me check out which hero you are."

"―――Kuh. I sEE, YOu HavE A bINd. No WONdeR YoU, DiD, Not KilL, me."

The Servant retreats further into the shadows.

He still has the Dark in his hand, and his hostility is still emitting.

"Don't even try. It's my nature, but projectile attacks from a visible opponent aren't effective against me. You can't hurt me using a projectile unless it's some great Noble Phantasm."

"...! ―――I sEE, PRoteCtIon AgaiNst ArrOws. ...Kuku, as EXpecTed frOm a HeRo WIth A nAMe. YoU Are nOT LIKe mE."

The shadow wavers.

The black Servant sinks down to the ground,

then springs up in an instant as he throws another dagger.

If his leap is that of a deer, his movements are those of a spider, snake, or scorpion.

Even while keeping his face hidden, this Servant is as fast as Lancer when it comes to retreat.

But Lancer's charge is still the fastest.

It is a disgrace to take even a minute to corner his enemy.

"Damn―――I know I destroyed his throat, but he's persistent. It doesn't seem like it's healed, so he must be drugged――――"

The enemy glides across the water like a spider, and Lancer pursues him.

In contrast, water sprays from his footsteps, but his speed is far greater.

"...Hmph. If I'd known the pain wouldn't stop him, I would've cut his joints. I put that off since it doesn't work on other opponents, but――――"

It is fatal for a human body to be cut at the joint, where the main arteries lie.

If the arteries are severed, death from severe bleeding will quickly follow.

But that is only in normal combat.

You cannot expect a Servant, a heroic spirit, to die from excessive bleeding.

As their lifeforce is magical energy, cutting their arteries does not have much effect.

The loss of a limb is another story, but cutting off a Servant's limb is a difficult task.

Doing so will likely cost you your own head in the process.

"...Hashish, huh? I bet a heroic spirit who relies on drugs doesn't have healing powers. I'll end this fight with my next attack――――"

Water splashes with lightning speed.

His next attack will strike in two more seconds.

He tenses, then thrusts at his fleeing enemy's left leg―――


With a start, Lancer jumps back from the water's surface.

――――Water explodes upward.

No, something beneath the water is snarling.

Black tendrils snake out of the water, reaching for the spearman.

Is it because this creature dwells underwater?

It seems to resemble a deep-sea monster from ancient times.

"―――――――What... the...?"

Lancer has nowhere to run.

He instantly carves all his runes on the bottom of the lake to create a boundary field, but it is easily penetrated.

The dark tentacles are closing in on all sides, and his territory is shrinking by the second.

The protection using all his Runes, which can even block a great Noble Phantasm, does not even slow down the penetration.

Watching Lancer――――

"WHaT iS WrOng, LAncEr? It wILl SwaLLow yOu if yOU Do nOT MoVe."

Assassin sneers.

But even the sneering spider is no exception.

It seems these tendrils must engulf anything they can reach, as the spider does not approach the dark water.

He knows that if he draws near, they will take interest in new prey.

"BuT I wILL nOt aLLow THat. I MuST KiLL You. I nEEd mOrE EXperIenCE. I sHaLL KiLL YoU To aDD tO mY iNtELLigeNCe."

The spider's dagger glimmers.

The weapon about to be released is just a projectile.

But is it not meaningless?

Even though Lancer is surrounded by ghastly limbs, projectiles are meaningless against Lancer.

"―――You don't give up, do you? Well, I can understand why you feel that way."

Lancer observes the ghastly limbs around him.

He was lured quite far in, but it's only about thirty meters to the opposite shore.

He should be able to easily jump across such a distance...!

"You lost because you wouldn't move from there. I'm done with my investigation, so I'm out of here."

Lancer crouches low and braces his lance against the ground.

Using his lance as support, Lancer vaults into the air.



He is struck by the simplest of attacks.

A fake heart is taken out of Lancer's chest.

Assassin has directly gouged out Lancer's heart from the distant shore, an impossible range.

It is the purest magecraft, the simplest curse.

It is the "cursed hand", a magecraft of the Middle East, specialized in cursing people.

――――It is Assassin's Noble Phantasm, Zabaniya.

It surely destroys Lancer's heart, and the powerless body of the spearman falls into the black water.

The surface boils.

It is hectic, ferocious, and vulgar.

You would not see such a gruesome meal even if meat were thrown into a cage of starving beasts.

―――Numerous black limbs eliminate the human-shaped heroic spirit.

Watching it in delight as he stands on the black water...

The faceless Servant swallows the heart of his prey with satisfaction.