FSN HF Day 13 (EN)

Scene 00 Sakura's absence-Finding

It all happened ten years ago.

I kept pursuing the responsibility for being the only survivor in the fire.

'――――Are you going to ?'

I never forgot about it.

I survived, so I...

'――――Are you going to betray?'

...I swore never to let such a thing happen again.

I made an oath with myself to become a superhero like Kiritsugu.

Emiya Shirou's days were turned to that sole purpose.

I let others use me so that I could hold my head up high before those who were not saved, and I made it this far because of that.

I know.

I know fully well.

But you...

'――――Are you going to betray your previous self?'

You know the cause.

You already know who you must defeat.

The black sun.

If the shadow in the sky is the cause, you must kill it before it happens again.


Remember. What have you lived for until now?

You have approved of yourself because you save innocent people, because you save people who ask for help.

But if you are going to deny it just for one girl...

'――――If you are going to betray it...'

Emiya Shirou will be judged by himself――――

"――――――It's morning."

I wake up.

It's bright outside, and it's past seven already.


My body feels heavy.

My limbs feel numb.

My dull head can't remember who I am.

"―――――Oh. What do you want for breakfast, Sakura?"

I pat Sakura, sleeping beside me.

For a strange reason, I remember why she's there next to me.

The fact that the girl I love is sleeping next to me is probably more important than my identity.

"It's morning, Sakura. We have to get up, or breakfast and Tohsaka――――"

I tap her shoulder.

...Sakura's cold.

Not her attitude, but her sensation is cold, and she's also hard.


I raise my body and look around the room.


She's not here.

We slept together and I held on to her hand, but Sakura is nowhere in the room.


She is nowhere to be seen.

The guest room is silent.

I feel no presence in the living room.

"Haa――――, ――――!"

My body doesn't move well. I hit my foot on the table.

I fall, pull myself up using the wall, and head to the hallway.

"――――. ――――, ――――"

I must be in a hurry.

There's nothing wrong with my body, but my mind isn't calm at all.

Why am I rushing, and why am I feeling so uneasy?

I'm trying to think, but whenever I do, it's like my thoughts are ten seconds in the future.

I can't think?

Or does my brain not recognize what I'm thinking?

Blood won't flow to my head, so I can't even tell.

"――――, ――――, ――――"

I can't remember what I want to do.

But I'm relieved when I see Sakura's shoes at the front door.

Tohsaka's shoes aren't there, but Illya's shoes are.

...Which means...

"......Um, her shoes are not there, so..."


"Yeah. Tohsaka's the only one outside, so it means Sakura's in the house."

―――Oh, so that's why I feel relieved.

Sakura hasn't gone anywhere.

All right, I'm getting sharper.

So yeah, Sakura just woke up before me, so she's probably doing something like washing her face, preparing breakfast, training in the dojo, or doing the laundry in the yard.

"Man, I got worked up over nothing."

I sigh and head back to the living room.

"Eh, Shirou――――!?"

Tohsaka comes running inside.

"What, Tohsaka? Are you taking a walk?"

"I'm not that easygoing――――no, we can talk later!

Sakura's collapsed outside, so carry her in! I'll prepare the treatment!"

Scene 01 Check on Sakura

The clock ticks.

It's past nine o'clock.

It's been two hours since I carried Sakura in from where she'd collapsed by the entrance.

Function is finally returning to my numbed mind.

"Have you calmed down, Shirou?"

"――――Yeah, I'm fine now. I'm sorry for worrying you, Illya. I don't remember what happened the last two hours, so I don't remember what kind of stupid things I may have done."

"Hmm, you didn't do anything. You carried Sakura inside, then held her hand while Rin treated her. She didn't have any external wounds, and you just sat down once you found out it was only a high fever."

"I see. Where's Tohsaka? I think she took Sakura to her room."

"Rin was checking out the closet earlier.

Oh, she must've been looking for Sakura's clothes. She was dirty and sweaty, so you have to change her clothes before you can put her to bed."


I see.

It makes sense, now that she says it.

...Then I must still be in the living room because...

"Hey. Why are you following us when I'm about to change her clothes?"

Tohsaka probably said something like that to me.


Sakura and I are in a relationship, so I should be able to change her clothes.

I can, but I think it's different to get naked out of your will and having someone take your clothes off when you're unconscious.

I'd be embarrassed if somebody changed my clothes while I was sleeping, so Tohsaka's completely right.

"――――So I've been waiting for two hours, huh? I might've been in a panic, but..."

I feel very stupid.

What's going on?

There are many things I have to think about.

Sakura's well-being.

The big meal the enemy had last night.

...No, that can come later.

I should be thinking about why Sakura was collapsed outside when we went to sleep together――――


I feel sick.

My mind refuses to think.

The blank two hours.

My body remembers that I've been pondering that problem for all that time.

"Shirou. Don't try to remember something you can't.

You didn't forget it, but it went away. There's only pain even if you try to find what's not there."


"...It's nothing. I was just talking to myself, so forget it."

Illya looks away and shuts her mouth.

A few minutes after that.

When the clock is about to strike ten...

"Thanks for waiting. Sakura's awake now."

Tohsaka enters, acting like nothing's happened.

"...Tohsaka. Is Sakura all right?"

"I don't know. You should go ask her yourself. There's nothing for me to say."

"...All right. I'm going."

I get up.

I leave Illya and Tohsaka in the living room and head to Sakura's room.

"Good. You're here, Senpai."

Sakura is breathing hard.

But she speaks the instant she sees me.

"Of course I'll come, you idiot. I'll go anywhere for you if you collapse. Tohsaka got the job this time, but it's me that should be treating you."

I get the chair and sit down.

I try to sit level with Sakura, who's lying on the bed.

"So, how are you doing? Tohsaka didn't tell me anything."

"Oh, I see. So Nee-san is keeping quiet."

"No. She said I should ask you. She's being considerate, huh?"

"Oh, you seem happy, Senpai. I thought so for a while, but you like the strict part of Nee-san, right?"

"――――Y-Y-Y-Y-You idiot, that's not true!

Tohsaka's a steady girl, but I don't want to deal with that all the time. First of all, we can't manage unless she's considerate at times like these."

Sakura nods, smiling.

Her satisfied expression dispels my uneasiness somewhat.

"...Good. I guess you're all right. What was Tohsaka saying, Sakura?"

"Um, I'm just exhausted and malnourished, with a light fever.

There's nothing to worry about if I'm resting, so she told me I have to stay in bed all day."


She's still breathing hard.

...Just lying there must be painful.

She's probably trying to breathe normally so she doesn't worry me.

"I see. Then keep resting. Um, you have enough magical energy, right?"

"Oh... y-yes! U-Um, you were amazing last night, so I have enough."


Even though I'm the one that asked, I still blush.

...But this is something I have to know.

"Then you'll get well right away if you eat something good and nutritious. I'll put in my best efforts for today's lunch."

I roll up my sleeve in a show of confidence.


"...I'm sorry. I should be cooking for you.

...If I could just stand up, I could help you. I hate that I can't even do that."

...It seems my words hurt her.


...That's right.

Sakura is concerned about her role.

She knows she can't do anything, so she just tries to be the normal Matou Sakura.

But she can't even manage something as simple as that.

"Well, just bear it for now. A sick person has to rest like one. After all, I'm going to leave you in charge of breakfast, lunch, and dinner once you get well. You'll regret not resting more then."

I jokingly say what I plan to do.


I can leave her in charge of cooking for about half a year if that'll please her.

"――――Really? You can't take it back later, okay?"

"I'm serious. I won't do anything for at least half a year.

Well, I'd like to at least keep watch on the food on the gas burner when you need help."

I've been standing in the kitchen for eight years.

I don't feel at ease unless I'm holding a pan or something.

"Okay, then it's a promise. Please eat my meals once I get well."

"Yeah. I'll promise you all you want."

I get up.

I can't keep talking to her and tire her.

We were able to talk, and I know Sakura's doing fine.

I should let her rest now.

"Then I'll see you later. I'll come here again during lunch, so sleep until then."

I step away from the bed.

Sakura nods silently.

"Oh yeah, Sakura."

I stop at the door and call out to her without turning around.

"Yes? What is it, Senpai?"

"Oh, I was wondering why you were collapsed in front of the house.

You were sleeping in my room, right?"

I try to ask as naturally as I can.

After a faint gasp...

"I was taking a morning walk. I woke up early, so I went outside, but then I collapsed.

Nee-san's right. I shouldn't be going outside right now."

...She replies as naturally as I asked her.

Scene 02 Distant twilight(II)

Tohsaka and Illya aren't there when I return.

"...They must've gone to their rooms."

Oh, yeah.

They're busy trying to reproduce the gem sword.

I can only help after they make a replica similar to the original.

My job for now is to draw out as much of Archer's experience as I can.

"I am the bone of my sword, huh?"

...Archer's original spell, which flowed into me along with the pain.

If I use this strangely familiar incantation to look within myself, my rate of success greatly increases.

Projection now succeeds half the time.

I'm copying Archer to make a copy of something.

"――――But I can only create a fake."

...Projection is reproducing something identical to the original.

Emiya Shirou can only create an inferior imagination.

The only way to create a phantasm is with the arm's help.



It's not that poison will come into me once I use it.

A bomb will be switched on once I use it.

A sure end will come once I use it.

An image of a firing hammer.

There's a gun in my brain.

The muzzle is pointed outward, but the trigger is still there.

This image must be the time bomb Kotomine spoke of.

"But if I can take the gun out of my head, the switch won't go off even if I use it."

No, the switch itself will be outside my body.


That's the best solution.

But of course, I have no idea how to do that.

"――――Oh yeah, the news."

I turn the TV on.

I have to know what happened yesterday, so I watch the news.

It's easy to find the right channel.

They're all talking about that incident.

―――The unexplained disappearances.

―――There are over forty houses with missing residents.

―――None of the survivors noticed their neighbors' disappearance.

―――And almost sixty people will never return.


I memorize each missing person's name as it appears.


One by one.

I engrave the strangers' names in my mind.


And I replace the names with people I know.


Will you be able to forgive it?

Will you still be able to forgive it when the time comes?

Will you be able to forgive the thing that's causing it?

Will you be able to forgive yourself for overlooking it?


The crime.

If I cannot protect it from the crime...

It will be painless salvation to stop it before it commits any more crime――――

The TV switches off.

The news that has been informing me of the incident is...

"Don't be stupid.

We're not decent enough people to mourn over what's already done."

...Mercilessly cut off by Tohsaka.


"Here, I brewed some tea, so drink up. I have nothing to do because Illya wants to be alone."

Tohsaka places the teacup on the table.

Her reasoning doesn't sound right.

So I don't have to do what she tells me to, but...

"――――I'll drink the tea."

"Yeah. But it's so hot that it'll burn your tongue."

"I see. That's even better. Thanks, Tohsaka."

"...Heh. I just wanted to get myself together. You just happened to be here, okay?"

If this is how she wants to show her concern for me, I'll just have to accept it.

Time passes.

We just drink the tea silently.


I don't feel nervous for some reason.

I rather feel relaxed.

...This is purely speculation, but...

Could Tohsaka be one of those girls that soothes the atmosphere?


"W-Why are you smiling all of a sudden? Tell me if you want to say something."

"Oh, I was thinking to myself. We've never sat around doing nothing like this, right?

Whenever we're together, we talk about the Holy Grail War. So I thought we had a pretty savage relationship."

"I-I can't help it. That's how it all started! Or what? Do you want me to talk about what might come up on the finals or what stores I like to go to?"

"Huh? I guess it's fine as is. I think this dangerous relationship is suited for us."

But we were so relaxed that it felt weird and funny.

"Well, you're right. That's how it all started.

We started talking with each other after we became Masters, and I wouldn't have gotten to know you unless I became a Master."

Well, that's one good result I got from becoming a Master.

I can fight alongside the girl I've admired.

"That's not entirely true. I don't know about you, but I've known you for quite a while."


Tohsaka blushes, saying something I can't ignore.

"Y-You knew me?"

Tohsaka nods with embarrassment.

"N-No way...! Did we talk when we were in the first year!?"


I knew about you, but you didn't know about me.

You're one of my traumas."


I don't like that.

I know it can't be helped to hurt someone when you don't know about it.

But it's not good for my mental health to know that I've hurt Tohsaka, who likes to strike back three or four times as hard!

"I'm the one who wants to ask that.

...Fine, this is a good opportunity, so let me grumble a bit.

It happened around this time four years ago. I don't know why, but you were there after school, doing running high jumps until the sun set, right?"


I'm taken aback by the unexpected question.

It's not the question itself.

What surprised me is that Sakura was talking about the exact same thing.

"――――Yeah. So what?"

"I was watching that. I was right by the school entrance. I was an idiot watching another idiot who kept trying to jump a height he couldn't clear."


Hold on.

That can't be.

Sakura was the one watching me, and first of all...

"I-It was just a coincidence, okay? I went to your school because of a matter related to the Student Council. I was in a different school, let alone class."

"Yeah. I heard that you went to the same school as Issei."

"Yeah, we've known each other since then. I was the vice-president and he was the president. After four years spent fighting, we found out that we can't get along."

"...I see. So it was a long relationship."

I finally understand now.

I knew Issei's attitude towards Tohsaka was not normal.

Well, the mystery is unraveled... actually, it seems even more tangled now.

"Anyway, I just happened to see you keep trying to jump over a height you couldn't.

That's all. That's when I first saw you, and I found out later that Sakura came to this house. I didn't know your name until then, and I forgot about your face."

...Well, now I know how she knew me.

"Um, is that something traumatic?"

"Humph. It's revenge after four years.

Sakura joined the archery club a year ago, right? So I went and watched when I got the chance. And I happened to see someone who wasn't a club member shooting arrows.

I knew right away that you were the idiot from that time."


I want to say something about what she thought about me, but I stay quiet.

"...And I was shocked at that time. There was this stranger who went to a different school that I'd considered stupid all this time, but I remembered him even after three years.

And I finally realized that you've been giving me damage all this time.

I found out I was jealous of this guy that kept on running like an idiot."

"―――Why? He was stupid, right? That's not someone you should be jealous of."

"Yeah. I probably wasn't jealous of him, but I felt Iike I'd lost. ...It would've been fine if he'd had hope of clearing that bar. I would've just gone home if that were the case."

"...But even he knew it was impossible.

He knew nothing would change that, but he kept trying. It's as if he believed the effort was what mattered."

"...To be honest, I can't do such a thing.

I've always been like that. I determine whether or not something is possible. If I know it's impossible for me, I quickly give up. I don't try what I can't do, and I never regret it or think I'm powerless because of it.

I'm cold like that. I'm a terrible person. Kirei called it machine-like instead of cruel."

But Tohsaka isn't belittling herself.

She's proud of how she is.

"But I do sometimes think how pure it'd be to just keep trying without a thought for whether it's possible."

"...Well, as a child, it's shocking to see someone that's completely the opposite of you, right?

That's why it was traumatic. That guy who foolishly kept running was..."

Someone I was happy to know existed.

Tohsaka murmurs with a dreamy expression.

"―――Oh, that was boring talk. Maybe I'm being nervous because things aren't going well."

Tohsaka gets up, as if saying the break's over.

"I'm going back to my room. I'll be creating the framework with Illya in the afternoon, so you go watch Sakura."

She puts her cup in the sink and heads to the hallway.


"――――Hey. How was Sakura?"

She stops and asks, as if she's just remembered.

"She seemed well. She still has a fever, but it's better than the last time she collapsed.

Sakura is calm as well. She pushed herself to do things around the house, but she's being obedient and resting today.

That being the case, I'm sure she'll be better in no time."

"Of course she's staying still.

―――She can't get up by herself now."


She can't get up by herself now...?

"Why? She should have enough magical energy. Then shouldn't she have enough physical energy as well?"

"Yes, she has more than enough magical and physical energy. But it's terrible inside.

...I don't know what happened last night, but she definitely died once. That's the only sound explanation for why the muscles in her limbs are so badly damaged."

"...No way. She didn't have any external wounds."

"...It's just that it's cleanly connected on the outside.

I don't know if the crest worm ripped her apart, or if someone else tore her limbs. ...If something really did tear her body apart, the pain would have destroyed her sanity.

...Let me ask. Did she recognize you?"


I swallow my affirmation.

...Tohsaka's expression is agonized.

Then that means...

"...Sakura didn't recognize you?"

"She did. She knew me, and she called me Nee-san.

But she wasn't looking at me, but was looking at the Tohsaka Rin she imagined.

...Yeah, I really wanted to kill her when she said things like 'nice to meet you' and 'I wanted to meet you sooner.'"

Tohsaka looks away as her words turn cold.

...Wanted to kill?

...Tohsaka felt murderous intent against Sakura?

"In short, I can't do it.

I can't protect Sakura until the very end like you, and I don't intend to either."


"I told you, right? I don't do impossible things.

As long as I'm Tohsaka Rin, I'll kill Sakura the moment I determine that it's not possible to let her go on. Well, I don't need to say it again because that was our deal all along, but I thought I'd remind you."

"You don't need to say anything. I know how you feel, and even if you say something, it won't accomplish anything.

We're allies while we fight against Zouken, but we're enemies when it comes to Sakura. If you don't like it, we have to defeat Zouken as quickly as possible.

......But Shirou. What will you do if Zouken and the shadow are two separate enemies?"


I shut my mouth.

Tohsaka's question is so sharp that it makes me dizzy.

"Shirou. I'll kill her when the time comes. That's the best choice for both of us.

―――You think about it too."

Tohsaka leaves.

She goes back to her room, leaving me alone in the living room.

Scene 03 Misery

...She hears voices.

Her body is broken and her head feels light, but she hears voices she doesn't want to hear.

"I don't know about you, but I've known you for quite a while."

She doesn't think about why she can hear the conversation.

But she doesn't want to hear them.

She wants to cover her ears if her arms would move, and she wants to go stop them if her legs would move.

"I was watching that. I was right by the school entrance. I was an idiot watching another idiot who kept trying to jump a height he couldn't clear."


She bites her lip.

She scratches the sheets with her fingers.

A past event, spoken of lightly.

The event that happened four years ago.

Her older sister speaks of it as if it's only her memory.

Like she's the only one who knows about it.

She's immersed in her beautiful memory, never even realizing that another girl was there.

"――――Stop. Stop. Please don't..."

"Don't take away my memory."

She strains her voice and makes a plea that none can hear.

The older sister's monologue continues.

It goes on without her, just as she feared.

The only thing.

The only thing she had an edge on over her older sister is brought down to mere recollections.

"No――――No, no, no...!"

Using magical energy to bridge the gaps in her ripped nerves, she covers her ears with her hands.

This is torture.

How can she know what's going on in the living room?

Has her shadow stretched that far?

No, she doesn't want to hear anything right now.

No more.

She will go crazy if she hears any more.

Knowing this instinctively, she covers her ears, but the voices do not get any quieter.

Her sister's voice resounds directly into her brain.

She cannot get away, even if she covers her ears or eyes.


"Shirou. I'll kill her when the time comes. That's the best choice for both of us.

―――You think about it too."

Her sister coldly says the words she does not want to hear

to the last person she wants to hear them.

And the voices stop.

She cannot tell what's going on in the living room anymore.

...It's only natural.

Her only world is this dark room.

There's no way for her to step into the world of light.


...Her eyes are hot.

She realizes that she's crying.

Heartbroken and frustrated.

Her older sister is a coward.

Why is she pushing that onto the girl's Senpai now?

It's her responsibility as Tohsaka's magus, but she's now trying to involve someone else.

Her sister is trying to turn her only ally against her.


...She hates her.

She knows it's selfish, but she still hates her.

She's making him abandon Matou Sakura.

She hates Tohsaka Rin for trying to induce him.


...But it's strange.

This is what she wants, so why does she hate her so much?

Her sister is saying she should disappear.

The girl also knows she should disappear.

...She doesn't know how it's come to this, but she does know that Emiya Shirou will be saved if she disappears.

"......No, I don't want that."

She can't.

She doesn't want to lose anything.

She doesn't want to be alone anymore.

She learned of warmth, so going back to the cold is frightening.

She learned of warmth, so warm people are detestable.

...She will not disappear.

She will not be killed.

Because, because...

"―――Because nothing is my fault."

Right, everyone else is at fault.

She did not wish for such a thing.

It turned out this way because nobody helped her.

Nobody helped her, so that must mean they affirm her.

They didn't object. That's the same as agreeing with her.


No one can punish her.

"――――I won't die. It won't end up as Nee-san plans."


In reality, she will not die.

Nobody can kill her.

Even if someone still wants to try, that's fine.

If she is to be killed, she will rather ▊▊▊▊.

Not only her older sister.

She will be merciless, even to her Senpai.


If he will turn away from her in disgust, then she would rather...

She would rather ▊▊▊▊ ▊▊▊▊▊▊ like she does in her nightmare―――

"Ah―――haa, ugh――――!"

She coughs violently.

The pain turns her wild imagination to blood, and she coughs it out.

"......No. I can't, Senpai."

They do not connect.

She cannot tell the difference between good and evil.

She cannot tell what's good.

She's about to lose her mind, not knowing who she is or how long she can stay sane.

"Hello. Are you still conscious of yourself, Sakura?"


Before she notices, the silver-haired girl is before her.

The same girl as her.

The white girl who is to become the container, who was not treated as a human being.

"Saber, Lancer, Caster, Berserker.

It would've been fine with just these four. Where did you consume such a soul, Sakura? I'm surprised it's already sufficient when Assassin and Rider are still left."

...She doesn't understand.

She has heard from her grandfather that the girl is just like her, a container that collects the souls of the defeated Servants.

But she has not heard about any Servants being defeated other than the ones just mentioned...

"It's fine. I won't ask, since it means I don't have to worry about the Archer in me being taken away.

But, Sakura. Do you know what's going to happen to you?"


...Her head cools down.

Her mind, delirious with fever, regains "Matou Sakura" with those words.

"――――I don't know. What will happen to me?"

The white girl shuts her mouth.

Einzbern's Master.

She was meant to be a vessel from the beginning, unlike the fake, Matou Sakura.

"――――You'll die. You can't be saved, no matter what."

And the girl tells her about the destiny that awaits them both.

Scene 04 Assassin intrusion. Choice


My body's still heavy.

I have to make lunch for Sakura, but I want to rest a bit and clear my head.


I fall onto my futon, letting my face sink into the pillow.

...I know.

There wasn't any postponement since that day.

I can't postpone the problem anymore.

About Sakura.

I have to decide everything right now――――

"――――Emiya Shirou."

"Who is it――――!?"

I jump up.

A voice. I heard a voice.

I heard it from within this room.


A chill runs up my spine.

...The scary thing is that I still can't tell where in the room it's coming from.

"Do not be alarmed. I did not come to take your life."

A whisper by my ear.

The voice.

This fluent, yet alien, tone is of the Servant with the white skull.


...How was it possible?

His specialty may be killing people, but he made it here without being noticed or setting off the boundary field around the house!?

"......You didn't come to kill me? Then you just want to talk?"

I search for the presence behind me while I measure the distance to the hallway.

It'll take two full steps, three full seconds to dash out to the hallway into the yard.

Assassin can kill me four times over in that time.

...Then my only way to live is to go along with him.

"Not I. It is the magus who wishes to speak with you."

"...? Magus? You mean Zouken?"

"Yes. He is waiting for you at the Matou household. He has no desire to fight. He will welcome you if you go there alone."


...Assassin's words can be trusted to some degree.

If he wanted to kill me, he could've done it the instant he snuck into the room.

He didn't kill me because Zouken wants to talk to me.

That's not to say it isn't actually a trap, but――――

Scene 05 Dead end Horror show

It's obviously a trap.

I'm curious about what Zouken wants to discuss, but I can't be away from Sakura right now.

"―――I refuse. I can't trust you. Tell him to come to me if he wants to talk."

"I see. Then I shall tell him so."

...I don't hear Assassin's voice after that.

He must already be out of my house, heading back to Zouken.

"...This is fine. This should be all right."

Even if I can face off against Zouken, I have no way to kill him.

First of all, he's a monster one can't talk with.

I have to have all the weapons ready if I am to confront him.

"―――Gem sword, huh?"

The secret weapon Tohsaka and Illya are trying to make.

Even Archer's arm, which remembers close to a thousand swords, has no information on such a weapon.

"...But we can win if we can reproduce it. I can believe in you, right, Tohsaka?"

I lie down on the tatami.

...I'm tired, so I'll sleep.

After I wake up, I'll go see Sakura, prepare dinner, and help Tohsaka――――


Dinner's presence wakes me up.

Does dinner have a presence? Of course it does. Like the sound of a knife on the cutting board, the sound of the TV, and the good smell of the food.


In my room are Sakura's pajamas, an empty bowl, and a wet towel.


I search through my memory.

Looking at what's here, it seems I went and treated Sakura.

I try to remember, but I stop myself.

These are trivial things.

I must've forgotten about them somehow, so I don't even need to think about it.

Tohsaka is the one preparing dinner.

Sakura and Illya aren't here.

They must be in the guest rooms.

"Oh, you're back? You just went out, saying you were tired and wanted to rest."


My face stiffens for a second.

"No, I'll help. You must be tired as well, so I can't let you do all the work."

I try to respond naturally so I won't sound suspicious.

"Are you stupid? I appreciate the offer, but you can't use the knife with that arm of yours. Just let me handle it tonight."

She starts cutting.

She must be stir-frying vegetables, as she's cutting lots of green peppers.

"...I see. Then I'll go prepare the bath. Oh, I guess I'll do the laundry while I'm at it. Can I go get your laundry?"

"W-Why are you saying such a stupid thing!? I'm going to do that myself, of course...!"

She slams the knife down on the cutting board.

She's dicing up some beef. I guess we're having meat tonight.

"What's she making?"

I head to the bath.

I don't know what she's going to make, but I'm looking forward to―――


The lights go off.

"Is it a blackout...?"

"...I guess so. The switches aren't responding."

"...Yeah. The boundary field hasn't been activated, so it's not an intruder."

"Yeah, even if Zouken attacks us, the boundary field will――――"

Not necessarily be activated.

Remember what happened this morning.

Assassin was able to pass through the boundary field without any difficulty――――!

"Stay here, Tohsaka. I'm going to go check, just in case."

"Hey, hold on. I'll go too. It's dangerous to go by yourself."

"Oh, yeah. ...No, then please go check on Sakura. I'll head there right after I go get Illya."

"―――Okay. You can leave Sakura to me."

I hurry to Illya's room.

It's dead quiet, but the house feels normal.

"Maybe I'm thinking too much. This is just an ordinary power outage."

Well, I guess I'll go wake up Illya while I'm at it.

Even though the power failure interrupted the preparations, it's almost dinnertime.

"Are you awake, Illya?"

I open the door.


Only scattered red comes into my view.


Illya isn't here.

All that's left are traces of blood.

In the corner of the room, admist the splattered blood, are minced flesh and a bundle of silver hair, but that's not Illya.

Illya is not human anymore.

I jump out of the room.

I cool down my head that's about to ▊▊▊▊▊▊▊▊ and head to the guest room.

―――Sakura's in danger.

I grasp the situation in a second, but I haven't actually grasped the situation at all, and I jump out into the yard.


...Stands something that should not exist.


It's like a ghost under a willow.

Why the boundary field did not go off.

Why such a thing is here.

Before I can answer these questions...

There was no time to run, and there was nowhere to run.

The house is already engulfed by the shadow.

If that is the shadow itself, there is no way to escape the dark night.

I've known it since last night.

I will be killed the instant I meet it.

The tentacle pierces my chest like a crowbar.

It mercilessly rips me open.

Blood gushes while my ribs bloom out like a flower.

Illya must have suffered the same fate.

The flower petals flutter about.

Kocher. ――――Here.

Scalpel. ――――Here.

Unable to fight back, Emiya Shirou's body is prepared for cooking with no anesthetic――――

Scene 06 Tiger Dojo 34

I told you to stop with the scary stories!

Oh, you don't like scary stories, master?

No, I hate them. They might take my belly button, so I'm gonna go home.

Hey, you can't do that, Taiga. You're the master, so you have to teach.

What will you do if a challenger comes to this dojo?

They won't come. I've been in this dojo for ten years, but such a person never came.

So I'm gonna go home. I have a bad feeling.

Why speak with a Kansai dialect...?

Huh? Master, there's a challenger.

All right, send him home.

Why!? You'd usually say something like...

'All right! I never thought I'd see a challenger while I was alive!'

And jump around with joy like a junkie!

I'm saying I have a bad feeling.

First of all, I have a bad feeling from the

name of this dead end...

...Sac... rifice......

IT'S HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!


Oh, I know this. This is called mixed martial arts, right?

All right, do your best, Tiger!

I can't!

Here, your opponent is that buruma girl. Her moe power is ten times stronger than mine. You should be fully satisfied.

...Eat... the hakama...

Whoa, go away, evil spirit!

Someone go get sec*m!

Starting now is the match, Taiga VS the black shadow!

It seems the black shadow is dominating, but Taiga is turning defiant.

Oh she bit it! Taiga is being swallowed, but is trying to swallow it back!

She's fighting it...!

Master can match it...!

Guaaa! God of Babylonia, give me your powers!

Well, I don't really care.

You'll just end up losing even if you fight that thing, so don't even think about it, okay, Shirou?

What you have to do is to figure out what the shadow is.

No pain, no gain.

Go back to the previous choice and go with Assassin's invitation.

Noooo, I can't! I'm tapping! Hey, referee, I'm tapping out!


I'll be the master in the next Tiger Dojo if everything goes well!

Scene 07 the shadows true identity

It's a trap.

It's obviously a trap.

But it's true that I might never have another chance to talk with Zouken one-on-one.

...And I don't really have a choice.

Even if it's a trap, I have to go see him and have him remove Sakura's crest worm.

"...All right. Zouken wants to talk to me, huh?"

"―――A wise decision. Let us make haste. Even I cannot deceive Rider's eyes for too long. The magus will change his mind if someone else realizes we're having this conversation."

"......Hah. So it's a secret meeting for my ears only, huh?"

...There's no reply.

His work must be done now that I've agreed.

Before I know it, Assassin has vanished.

―――I sneak out of my house to head to the Matou household.

The sky is filled with clouds.

Maybe it's because of the dark sky, but the house is filled with an ominous air.

I go inside without ringing the doorbell.

...It's been a year since I last came here.

I go through the hallway following my faint memory and head to the living room.

"Oh. You came earlier than I thought, Emiya's successor."


Zouken is the only one here.

I don't see Assassin or black Saber.

...It seems he really does want to talk with me.

"Hm? Oh, you don't even want to exchange greetings with me? My, you must hate me."

I feel no hostility from Zouken.

...In short, he's taking me lightly.

His composure is self-evident, confident in his ability to kill me at any time.

"Well. You must have something to talk about as well, since you've accepted my invitation. Sit down. It must not be something to discuss standing up."

"――――No way. Standing up is just fine for what we have to say."

...I suppress the urge to jump at him and punch him, and glare at him as if it could kill him.

Unlike Zouken, I can't hide my anger.

I won't let my guard down against the guy who changed Sakura's body.

"Zouken. If this is a discussion, I only have one thing to say. Release Sakura right now."

That's the only business I have here.

I'll just fight if Zouken refuses.

I'll kill this monster before anything can happen, even if he calls for Assassin and Saber.

"Release Sakura, eh? ...Hm, I would like to, but I'm afraid I cannot do anything."


The old magus before me speaks in disappointed tones.


"She cannot be saved no matter what I do, as it has grown too much. Sakura is already functioning as a Holy Grail. She will die even if I remove the crest worm right now."

Hold on.

Holy Grail? Sakura is functioning as a Holy Grail?

Why is he talking about the Holy Grail...?

"Wait. What do you mean by Sakura being the Holy Grail? What did you do to her...!?"

"I tampered with her to obtain the Holy Grail and make my wish come true.

It is all for Makiri's dearest wish, to put shape to the soul, the true immortality. That is why I embedded the Holy Grail into Sakura after the war ten years ago."

"What――――you embedded the Holy Grail...?"

"Right. You should have heard how the Holy Grail War ended ten years ago.

Your father, Emiya Kiritsugu, destroyed the Holy Grail that was completed through the ritual we know as the Holy Grail War.

The war ended, the summoning ritual a failure once again.

But―――it was not a total loss. The Holy Grail was completed, if only temporarily.

Then it would be a waste to leave the broken fragments as they were."


My head quickly cools down.

In short, he took his granddaughter Sakura and...

"Yes. I embedded the Holy Grail within her. But I am no monster. I made sure she can function as a human. I knew it would be painful to have an inorganic substance in her, so I turned the shard of the Holy Grail into a living thing."

"――――Living thing... Then the crest worm in Sakura is..."

"It is something I created using the Holy Grail as catalyst.

With that, her body became a container to receive the souls. It became a tool to become the gate when the ritual is completed.

It is just a copy of the Holy Grail the Einzbern family makes.

Well, I do not have as much skill as them, so I did about an eighth my own way."

He laughs.

...Copying Einzbern?

All he did was pick up a piece of a finished product and implant it within Sakura...!

"...You bastard! You can't make a Holy Grail, so you used a human being to make an imitation of the Holy Grail...!?"

"Experiment. It's just an experiment, heir to Emiya.

This experiment is merely a stepping stone to the next. My plan was to slowly change her to something like a Holy Grail over several decades.

It was supposed to be an experiment of Makiri's Holy Grail which lives as a human but still has the function to collect souls."

"Sakura――――is an experiment...?"

"Of course. Sakura was given to the Matou family for that reason.

To give a daughter to the Matou family means giving us a foundation to achieve our goal. Tohsaka is well aware of that. We both have the same goals. We will both turn ourselves into monsters to achieve immortality."


You and Tohsaka's father used Sakura for something ridiculous like that...!?"

"Of course. The Holy Grail War has always been a ritual dedicated to that end. That is the only reason we cooperated, and I am the only one who still lives.

To use the Matou successor to achieve our goal in the far future."

"But fate can be quite ironic.

Sakura was prepared to be an unadaptable Holy Grail, but she has shown surprising growth.

My, I have gotten old. I never expected Sakura to have that much talent. Not only does she still live in spite of taking in so many Servants, but she still retains her sense of being Matou Sakura.

―――She is a true Holy Grail, just like that of the Einzbern, which I thought was impossible to make myself."


I can't hold it anymore.

I'm not patient enough to keep listening to the monster's nonsense.

Forgetting the possibility of Assassin's intervention...

"Enough of this bullshit...! You can't call something that only sacrifices human lives a Holy Grail―――!"

I let my anger take over and dash at Zouken with a raised fist.


"It is a Holy Grail.

First of all, even the Einzbern, who create the Holy Grail, used a human as their Holy Grail for this war."


Zouken's smile stops me in my tracks.

"...Using a human?"

...My body wobbles back.

I hate myself for knowing who he's talking about, even though I don't want to understand.

"Right. Illyasviel is also a Holy Grail.

But do not consider us as the same. The Einzberns are far worse. You can ask her yourself what kind of a Holy Grail they prepared."


My upraised arm falls.

...Not only Sakura.

Even Illya is the same, and regret takes over my body in place of anger.

"Well, I assume that was all you wanted.

Then it is my turn now. The reason I called for you.

I want to discuss the shadow with you."


Discuss the shadow...?

He must be talking about the black shadow that's attacking the people in this town.


"...What are you saying? That thing is on your side.

So what do you need to talk about? Do you want us to beat it?"

I glower at Zouken, my voice thick with sarcasm.

"Kakaka, this simplifies matters!

Yes, I want you to do something about that shadow. That is why I need your powers, Emiya Shirou."

"What―――are you serious...!? You guys are on the same side, right...!?"

"On the same side...? Well, I have helped it, but it has never helped me.

I cannot even communicate with it.

I merely arranged its path so it would not run wild. I calmed it down every night to minimize the damage it dealt, but as of last night, I can no longer continue.

Did I not tell you? I cannot manage it anymore."


My heart thumps loudly.

'I cannot manage it anymore.'

Who is that directed to?


"Ah, yes. I must tell you what that shadow is before anything else.

In short, that is the content of the Holy Grail.

People say the Holy Grail is an omnipotent pot, but the Holy Grail we aim for is not a pot. The Holy Grail is only a means.

Einzbern, Makiri, and Tohsaka.

What the three families aim for is to open a gate using the complete Holy Grail.

You can think of the complete Holy Grail as a gate to connect this world to a world where every wish comes true."

"...Hold on. Then the Holy Grail is..."

"Yes. The goal of every magus is to reach the origin.

But I am not interested in such a thing. The Einzberns only thought for the completion of the Holy Grail. Tohsaka is the only family of magi that is still aiming for the origin."


The Holy Grail is a gate that connects to the wish machine. The shadow is something that has leaked from the other side.

The real Holy Grail―――Illyasviel would not have done such a thing. That shadow is a mistake made by the imitated Holy Grail."

"Well, I do not like to talk about the shame of my family, but it seems I did not discipline her well enough.

She matured as a Holy Grail, but it would appear she cannot shut the gate properly. I do not mind if she dies from her own carelessness, but I cannot have her involve other people.

What a bother... the Holy Grail I made might kill everyone in this town."

Matou Zouken shakes his head,

as if it's someone else's problem.


I should punch him for saying that.

But his words turn my emotions to ice.

"――――Then that black shadow is..."


"You should already know. That thing is Sakura's shadow. You should recognize the similarities between them."

...Matou Sakura herself?


...I fight off the dizziness.

...The truth...

I accept the connection I've already known but denied.

No matter what that black shadow may be...

I have to accept that the crime is Sakura's as well―――

"Does Sakura――――"

"No, she should not know about it.

That thing is the Holy Grail's shadow that appears through Sakura. It originally should not have form, but when it passed through the gate called Sakura, it took Sakura's form and obtained a body.

The Holy Grail borrowed Sakura's sealed id to come into this world."

"It was beyond my expectations to be honest. I denied it since it was impossible, but I have to accept it now that it is getting stronger by the day.

That thing is a Holy Grail with a will. That is why it keeps consuming human souls to complete itself.

There is only one way to stop it. If the Holy Grail is born from Sakura's unconsciousness, you merely need to stop Sakura."

"I tried to persuade Sakura, but the shadow does not want me going near her.

It does not have a will of its own, but that shadow is Sakura herself. It hates whoever she hates.

I cannot even go near Sakura anymore."

"......What? Then you can't get close to Sakura?"

"No. You people think Sakura is under my control, but that is all in the past. She is already yours. I cannot control her, as I have been cut off from her."


It's something I can be happy about.

At the very least, Zouken can't do anything to Sakura.

Then if we can do something about the crest worm――――

"―――Wait. You haven't done anything to Sakura?"

"No, nothing at all."

"Then, Sakura's still in pain, because..."

"That's her own problem. I have never used the crest worm. She is breaking down because she is a Holy Grail and the powers of the Holy Grail are flowing into her.

Think about it. There is a great swirl of magical energy that can grant any wish. Her human body must receive what flows from that source. There is no way Sakura's weak mind can endure the strong onflow."

"Wha――――then Sakura will..."

"Unable to bear the strain of being a Holy Grail, she will explode.

No, if Sakura's consciousness empties, the Holy Grail should appear. She might be swallowed by her own shadow."

"Do you understand? It is meaningless to kill me here.

The Holy Grail War ends once you defeat me. At that point, all that remains is for the Holy Grail to activate. Sakura's mind will be obliterated once that happens.

If you want to save her, endure for the duration of the Holy Grail War. The timing to open the gate, the completion of the Great Holy Grail, does not last long.

It has already been ten days since the war began. Judging from the past wars, this war should end in about four more days."

"―――Four days. Are you saying Sakura will survive if four days pass?"

"Who knows? That is for you to determine. How was she this morning? Do you think she will last four more days?"

"――――! She will. Of course she'll make it."

"I see, I see.

But the same cannot be said for the other people. How many disappeared last night? How many will disappear tonight?

No―――how many days do you think it will take for the whole town to be consumed?"

I can't really hear his question.

Does this man sound happy or sad?

My head is shaking so much that I can't tell.

Defeating Zouken won't solve the problem.

Sakura won't last until the Holy Grail War ends.

We can't beat that black shadow.

The people in town will continue to die as long as the Holy Grail War continues.

"...Then how..."

Can I save Sakura?


"――――It's simple. You just need to kill Sakura."

Zouken states the obvious.


"I am correct, am I not? She cannot survive even if you let her live, and the black shadow will attack people again tonight. Kill her right now to prevent that."

I feel dizzy.


"That is what I wish to discuss. I wanted to inform you of the current situation. I wanted to tell you that you are protecting the greatest disaster."

I feel like vomiting.


"Sakura will notice Tohsaka's daughter or me. But she will gladly give her life if it's for you."

I can't breathe.


"―――Ending one evil life to save thousands.

You should know. If you are to carry out Emiya Kiritsugu's will, Matou Sakura is your enemy."

My mind isn't working at all.

I walk down the distorted hallway, unable to give a reply.

I don't feel anything even when I walk or lean against the wall.

It's ugly.

It feels like I'm in a twisted nightmare without an exit.

I go outside, still forgetting to breathe.

"You will not make the wrong choice. It is a pity for Sakura, but this is fate."

...I walk.

"―――But I will thank you in my granddaughter's place.

She has never done anything for herself. She never cursed herself for being thrown away by her father. She did not wish to be almighty like her older sister. She was a mere puppet."

...I walk.

...I walk.

"The puppet was able to sleep with the man it loved. Surely, it must be satisfied.

Do not condemn yourself too much. You gave my pitiful granddaughter a gift in the end."

...I walk.

...I walk.

...I walk.

I stumble towards my house, where Sakura is waiting.

――――I walk down the hill.

I'll reach the Emiya household once I go up the usual hill.

I can't leave my room empty forever.

No matter what the reason may be, I secretly met with Zouken.

It's not good to let Tohsaka or Sakura know about it.

So I have to go home before they notice.

Go home and...

I have to make a decision.


The contents of my stomach come up to my throat.

I chose to ally with Sakura.

I swore to protect her no matter what.

I chose to be with Sakura instead of becoming a superhero.

But that means...

Allowing another disaster to occur, taking hundreds of lives.


I can't do that.

I can't do that.

Emiya Shirou cannot break that oath.

It is like denying myself.

If you, the only one to survive that tragedy, are to allow the tragedy...

You will be rejected by everything that has supported you until now.

No matter the end.

Your crime will never be forgiven.


To not do anything means silently approving of the action.

There are innocent people who will be killed tonight.

If you know that, but still will not kill the cause...

You are no different than the cause of the fire that day.

'―――If you deny what you have been until now to protect one person...'

'――――Will you be on my side no matter what?'

This is a choice between protecting one person or protecting everyone besides that person.

Who will I side with in the end?

I have to decide by tonight.

Scene 08 Entrance Gift

I go to the living room.

"Huh? Did you come in from the entrance-side hallway?"

Illya is sitting alone in the living room.

"Yeah. I was outside for a bit. Did anything happen while I was gone?"

"Nothing happened. But you have to stay in your room and rest, Shirou.

Your body is as bad as Sakura's."

"Thanks. But I'm fine as long as the cloth is on."

"Geez, you'll easily faint if you're talking like―――

―――Shirou. Did something happen outside?"

"―――――No, not really."

"No way! I don't know what you went to do, but don't talk to me with such empty eyes!"


She scolded me.

...I see. I must've looked ridiculous.

It can't be helped if that's the case.

"―――I'm sorry. I know it does no good to worry, but I had to think."

I shake my head.

Like Illya says, I can't empty my head.

I can't go see Sakura with a miserable face, so I have to show some spirit――――!

"Yeah, good. It seems you've cheered up.

So, what do you want to ask about? I'll help you, if that's all right with you."



Illya sometimes gets really kind.

This is the second time she's helped me when I'm feeling down.

I can't tell which of us is the older one.

"Okay. Can I ask you something, Illya?"

"All right, I'll tell you anything. What do you want to know?"

"...The Holy Grail. Tell me about the Einzbern's Holy Grail."

"...I see, so you found out, huh? There were two things I didn't want you to find out, and that was one of them."

"――――Illya. Then..."

"Yeah, I'm the Holy Grail. I'm not human. I'm a homunculus made that way."


An alchemical formula to create life without a womb, using sperm and other elements.

They are not born from a proper reproductive system, and therefore have physical defects.

Small bodies. Short lives. Lack of intelligence. Lack of reproductive functions.

They have human shapes and human lives, but they are not human, and therefore are completed with a powerful Magic Circuit.

They are weak as a life form.

But they far exceed human powers when they are made as magi―――no, as magecraft-Circuits―――

"――――Well, so that's it.

The Einzbern family raised me to function as both a Holy Grail and a Master.

The function of the Holy Grail is to collect the souls of defeated heroic spirits. Humans, coffins, stew pot, it doesn't matter what it's made of as long as it has that special function. It just has to be a sufficiently large container of souls."

Illya sounds like she's not interested.

But―――this is the first time I've heard that the Holy Grail collects Servants.

"Well, it's more like retrieving them than collecting them.

Servants are summoned by the Holy Grail. Then it's natural that they return through the Holy Grail after they're defeated. I'm the only Holy Grail of Einzbern, so I should have collected all of them."

"...But it seems there's someone else that's functioning as a Holy Grail.

It took Caster and Lancer when I noticed, and its drawing power was greater.

So it took most of the Servants.

......I was able to collect Archer because he disappeared right in front of me."

...It doesn't even need to be said.

The other Holy Grail is Sakura.

According to Illya, Sakura has already taken in Caster and Lancer... as well as Saber and Berserker.

"Four Servants' worth of souls. But can you hold such a thing? Isn't it a general rule that the human body can only contain one soul?"

"Yes, all the more so if it's the soul of a heroic spirit.

The magical energy of a Servant that lost its 'shell' called class is enormous. Having one in your body is like creating a typhoon in your body.

But it's the function of the Holy Grail to collect seven in the end.

There's no space for the soul of the container itself."

"That's why all the Holy Grails until now were inorganic substances without souls. The function of the Holy Grail is to collect the souls of all seven Servants, then to unify and manage them.

―――You don't need extra programs in there. The personality of the Holy Grail will only be erased by the function of the Holy Grail."

"In short, Shirou. The Holy Grail loses its human functions the more complete it gets.

The same goes for me. Once I collect many Servants, I have to cut off my functions as a human being to control the souls."

"I can manage them if I cut off the energy that moves my limbs.

I won't let the souls out if I stop breathing.

I can stabilize the integration of the souls if I use all the power I've used to construct my human form."

"That's the same for Sakura. You can't function as a human once you become a Holy Grail. You don't have the power to spare."

"......But, yes.

If there is a difference between us, it's that I can switch at will, but Sakura is forced to. Sakura is an incomplete black Holy Grail, so she has no right to refuse."

Illya shows no emotion as she continues.

...She knew it.

She probably knew it since the time she was born, no, even before she was born.

She knew that her life was made for such a stupid reason.


But there's something I can be glad about.

I place my hand on my tense chest and look up at the heavens, as if in thanks.

"What's wrong, Shirou? I said Sakura can't be saved."

I know.

I know that, but...

"You two are sharing them between you two, right? Then you're still..."

"Hm, yeah. Sakura took most of it, so there's no problem in me staying as myself. Rider and Assassin. Even if I collect their souls, I don't need to cut off my functions as a human being."

...Yes, that's fortunate.

If I lose Illya as well, it will mean I can't protect anybody――――

"Eh, eh, Shirou...!?"

Before I know it, I'm embracing Illya.

I can't promise her anything, and it's not like I want something.



Her body is small, so I can't hold her too tightly.

I just touch her, holding her in my arms.

I let my fingers feel the weight of what I must protect.

Scene 09 Once it's spring

It's almost two o'clock.

It's late, but I decide to make lunch and take it to Sakura's room.


I take off my apron and put the rice porridge on a tray.

I take a deep breath.

And I fill my heart with ice.

I don't know what I'll say if I go see Sakura in this condition.

I can't do that.

If Sakura figures out that I'm troubled, she'll just be even more troubled herself.

I have to freeze my emotions so that I don't reveal anything.

...This will the last time.

This will be the last time we will be together to just casually see each other's faces.

I want our precious time together to end in laughter.

"Are you awake, Sakura? It's late, but let's eat lunch."

I knock and enter her room.

It seems Sakura was sleeping, but her face brightens up as soon as I enter.

"―――Yes. I'm glad you came, Senpai."

She happily smiles.

Time passes.

Sakura is getting better.

She can sit up on her own, and she even ate the rice porridge without assistance.

Lunch ends and we talk about meaningless things.

Apparently sleepy after eating, Sakura continues to talk while lying in bed.

That's it.

That's all we can do right now.

Sakura seems well.

She's breathing normally, and her cheeks are red and healthy-looking.

I can believe that she won't last even a few more days.

"But I've rarely caught colds.

I have a healthy body, and I've never had to stay in bed with a fever."

We started with how she dislikes cold medicine, and she's now telling me how healthy she was.

It seems she's never been seriously ill, and I hear she cured any cold symptoms with her spirit.

"Spirit? You mean you warmed yourself up and rested?

...No, that's not what spirit means. How can you have spirit during a cold?"

"Oh, um... it's an embarrassing story, so it's a secret."

Sakura laughs in embarrassment.

...Hm. It seems Sakura was an energetic child in her own way.

"So it's not that I dislike cold medicine, but it's that I can't trust it. Don't you get nervous because you can't tell the effect of the medicine?"

"Oh, I guess it was like that when I was a kid. I didn't get well even after I drank this bitter medicine, so I blamed the pain and the fever on it."

Sakura happily agrees.

...Seeing her smile makes me imagine that she's getting better and that she'll be up and well tomorrow.


...I silence my all too convenient wish.

Sakura won't get well.

I can't postpone my decision, believing that everything will turn out fine once she gets better.

"――――Hey, Sakura."

Maybe it's because I've accepted the cold reality.

"What do you want to do once you get better?"

I ask her about a what-if.

I ask her about a convenient future.

"Eh...? What I want to do...?"

"Yeah. Something that's fun for you. Anything's fine. I'm just asking, so don't worry about if it's possible or not."

"Eh――――hmm, hold on."

Sakura looks around, troubled.

After some pondering...

"I guess I don't have anything.

I'm fine how things are right now, and just being with you is good enough."

Sakura blushes.


My vision narrows.

I have to keep my feelings frozen.

'She has never done anything for herself.'

Damn old bastard! It's not that she hasn't done anything...!

She just doesn't know how.

Fun things.

She doesn't know what she wants because she's never known a normal life.

She's never known normal happiness, so she values such trivial things――――

"...Senpai? Um, is something wrong...?"

"Huh? Oh, I was just thinking to myself."

She hasn't done anything yet.

Sakura doesn't know what she should have, what she should obtain.

Sakura doesn't smile outside.

Sakura doesn't make friends.

A closed world, consisting of my house and the Matou's.

But if I can change it, I'll pay any price――――

"S-Senpai...? Um, you're acting strange.

...Does your left hand hurt?"

"No, it's not that.

Sakura. Let's go somewhere far away once this is all over.

We've never gone anywhere for fun, right? It's good to go off and enjoy ourselves once in a while."


Sakura blankly stares at me.

It looks like she's surprised, like she thinks it's all a dream.

"It's decided. Where do you want to go, Sakura?"

"Eh――――um, where? Um――――"

She thinks in confusion.

She doesn't answer for a while.

But she must have found a wish she wants with all her heart.

"...Um. It can be anything, right?"

Sakura timidly looks up at me.

"Yeah. There's nowhere you can't go if you put your mind to it."

I'm serious, but it seems she took it as a joke.

Sakura smiles with relief.

"Then I want to go cherry blossom viewing."

And she makes a trivial wish.

"Cherry blossom viewing? You mean that cherry blossom viewing?"

"Yes. We can do it here, but there are only plum trees here. I want to go cherry blossom viewing in a big field on a sunny day."

"――――I see. That certainly..."

...Sounds really fun.

It'll be great to watch cherry blossoms under a clear blue sky at the park by the bridge.

There are many fun things.

Starting out with cherry blossom viewing suits Sakura.

"―――All right. Then it's a promise. Let's go there together once you get well and once this whole mess is over."

Sakura shows a satisfied smile.

I make the promise and stand up.


How great will it be if we can really do that?

I imagine my own happiness that I've never imagined since the fire ten years ago.

I leave her room.

All that's left is a trivial promise.

It's not just Sakura's wish.

This promise, which can be fulfilled come April, is my wish as well.


I dream of a warm fantasy with a frozen mind.

Once winter is over.

Once spring arrives, we'll go view the cherry blossoms together――――

Scene 10 Decision time

―――And it's the night I have to make my decision.

We won't be patrolling the town anymore.

Tohsaka spent the whole day making the gem sword and is now resting, completely exhausted.

The same goes for Illya.

The three of us ate dinner silently and went back to our own rooms.

It's ten o'clock.

...The shadow should go into action soon.


I get up soundlessly.

I grab the knife I got from the kitchen and leave my room.

The door isn't locked.

I open the door without a sound and walk to the bed.


Sakura's sleeping.

That's all I can tell.

I can't tell if she's getting better or worse.

―――There's something wrong with my vision.

I can't even see Sakura's face even when she's sleeping right before me.

"―――――, ―――"

I suppress my dizziness and trembling.

Prepare yourself.

That shadow might be attacking people while I hesitate.

If there's no way to directly kill it, I have to ▊▊▊▊ Sakura here.

Even if it's not Sakura's fault, people are harmed.

There will be victims.

There will be people who could not prevent the harm.

...And Sakura will commit crimes she does not want to commit.


I raise the knife.

My mouth is dry.

It feels like my tongue's turned into a piece of cardboard.

The inorganic knife sends a chill up my spine.

My eyes become numb as I think about sticking this thin scrap of metal, whose only reason of existence is its sharpness, into a living human's throat, Sakura's soft flesh.

It's like stumbling and falling eye-first onto a flathead screwdriver.

The blinding pain of numbness peels the cerebral membrane like an orange peel.


There's something wrong with my senses.

The fingers holding the knife look as if they're all bending in the wrong way.

It looks like psychic powers in movies.

I ignore it and tighten my grip.


Scene 11 Dead end Happy end

I bring the knife down.

...Sakura doesn't move.

Her eyelids are shaking in fear, but she doesn't try to move away.


I drop the knife onto her white neck.

It slices it right open.

Is there a fire?

The red blood sharply splatters against the wall like a fire hose.


I drop to my knees.

...I hear wheezing sounds.

The splashing noise is coming not from Sakura's throat, but from my own.

...I see.

Even if Sakura has accepted her death, she won't allow it.

I tried to use the knife against the defenseless Sakura,

and she attacked with her dagger, because I was even more defenseless.


I don't feel any pain.

Rather, I feel relieved.

...But regret remains like the bloodstain.

After I exit the stage...

Who will atone for Sakura's sin?

Scene 12 Tiger Dojo 35

"H-He's dead...!"

The impossible has occurred.

The door was locked from the inside when Fujimura-san went into the room.

The only ones in the room are me, Fujimura-san, and Lady Illya.

"But how...!? There's no one in this room other than us!"

"There are two ways.

One is an accident with lack of affection points.

The victim had a low Sakura-chan affection score, so he mistook the ornamental guillotine for the bed, and he went to sleep."

"I see. It seems very unlikely, but it's certainly possible.

That kind of taste is expected from Sakura."

I see.

Sakura's taste sure is troublesome.

So the bed turned into a guillotine the instant someone got on it!

"Yes. So the solution would be to start over from day 9 and increase Sakura-chan's affection points.

The other method is a direct offense brought on by an external factor.

The victim was also the assailant.

He tried to kill Sakura-chan here. But he was killed instead because the knife-throwing security system was set off―――"

"Mississippi system, huh? Setting such a scary trap... Sakura is a scary girl...!"

Their speculation heats up.

But I think of another method that doesn't fall under either scenario.

It goes like this.

Going back to yesterday morning.

What if my death was determined the instant I said "no" to Tohsaka-san's question...?

"Anyway, the case is solved.

Let's go, Lady Illyasviel. We can leave the rest to the police and get away from this haunted mansion."

"......Okay. But this case left a bad aftertaste."

The actors leave.

The only one left on the stage is me, the corpse.

―――The conclusion is...

I wish they'd never again do a one-time ridiculous Tiger Dojo that has no logical solution.

Scene 13 Beautiful aria


My heart hurts.

Blood drips down my fingers where they grasp the knife.


I grit my teeth.

I frantically swallow against the sob rising in my throat.

"―――――, ―――!"

My eyes are hot.

I can't manage it looking down, so I tilt my face up and restrain my anger.

...Pushing the knife down.

I can't do something so simple.

I'm pissed.

There's something really wrong with me.

I had to come this far before I realized my own feelings.

"――――Am I stupid?"


I had the answer already.

My path was set the moment I embraced Sakura under the rain.

'Are you going to betray?'

Someone tells me to remember.

Wasn't I going to become a superhero?

My body is wracked by contradictory thoughts.

―――A superhero that will let many people die tonight for Sakura's sake.

A selfish superhero.

―――Kiritsugu threw away his own wishes to pursue what he believed in.

A powerless human that helps others just because of self-interest.

The fire ten years ago.

Because I was the only one who survived, I lived on, swearing never to let such a disaster occur again.

All the time until now.

The idea I believed in for ten years is piercing my heart.

Asking if I am betraying it.

Will I betray myself, who cried and tried to live on, ignoring the voices of the people who died helplessly?

―――The atonement.

Am I going to betray my previous self, who had to cling to that atonement to continue living?


No apologies will ever bring me forgiveness.

I can't make amends for this crime.

I'm throwing myself away.

Even if my life turns out to be a fake after losing what I've believed in until now...

"――――――I will betray them."

I'll choose what I want to protect.

In the future.

If Sakura's smile is there, I won't even care if I have to live by deceiving myself.

...There's nothing wrong with it.

I need Sakura.

Sakura needs me.

――――For the first time...

I wish to protect one life instead of many.


I take a deep breath and loosen my fingers on the knife.

I won't lose my way anymore.

I'll pull the knife back and leave before Sakura wakes up.

―――And right when I'm about to...

"Senpai. Why won't you kill me?"

Sakura talks in the dark.


She's awake.

Sakura is lying there trembling, watching the upraised knife.

...Her eyes are clouded painfully.

It's not sadness about having me kill her.

She's apologizing for making me resort to this.

"It's fine, please do as you wish. I'm too scared to do it myself, but I don't mind if you do it."

Is she serious?

I hear fear in Sakura's voice.

Her body is trembling, her eyes fixed on the knife above her as if watching inevitable death.


...It's a determination that's doing all it can to keep her from running away.


...How can it be?

I was so preoccupied that I didn't even notice it?

Sakura's trembling.

Why didn't I realize Sakura's determination――――!?

"Sakura, I..."

"I know. What you decided is probably right.

Because I'm at fault here.

...I'll say it now, since this is the end. I don't know how long I can remain myself.

I don't know how long the day is, what I talked to you about at noon, when that noon was, what happened yesterday, and what tomorrow is."

"That's not all. I see strange dreams. It's a scary dream. I'm always covered in blood, but a part of me finds it pleasant, and everything about it is scary."

"I'm the bad guy in that dream. I'm laughing as I'm stealing a lot of things from everybody.

...I was scared, asked for help, but nobody helped me."

"So I told myself it can't be helped that everyone's getting killed.

They won't help others, so it's natural that others won't help them, and I ignored everything, thinking it's just a dream."

"...But I was wrong. I wanted that dream.

I'm actually cowardly, filthy, cunning...

I hated everyone, and all I could do was curse them. It's my fault for thinking that dream was pleasant, even for a second.

It's not the dream that's bad. It's me, the one who watches it, that should never have existed."

"Senpai. I'm slowly breaking down.

At this rate, I'll see nothing but those dreams and forget about you. I'll be a villain for real, going around and killing people."


...If you can finish it here before I become the bad guy, then――――"

Sakura tries to say she'll be saved.



I silence her with an embrace.


I hold her to me tightly.

...The embrace I could not accomplish before.

I pull her to me with the arms that only touched her back then.

I hold Sakura's body with all my strength.


...Sakura doesn't resist.

She's scared of dying, yet she asked to be killed. But, at last, she relaxes and...

"......No, you'll regret it..."

She says the same exact words as that night, as if thanking me.

"...It's too late.

It's not about the future. I regret not being able to protect you all this time."

...A quiet sobbing.

Sakura puts her arm on my shoulder.

Her cold fingers run across my cheek.

"――――I'll protect you. I'll protect you, Sakura."

I promise Sakura as she cries.

...That's all I can do.

That's the only thing I can repeat to forgive each other.

I swore to be Sakura's superhero on that night.

I have no regrets.

I won't complain about this choice.

If anyone deserves an apology, it's only one person.

――――Will you forgive me, Sakura?

I don't say it out loud.

――――For betraying myself?

And I confess my crime.

Scene 14 Matou Sakura(IV)

――――The door closes.

The boy, who said he'd protect the girl as if trying to convince himself, left after making sure she fell asleep.


The girl, Matou Sakura, painfully moans in the darkness.

She is not asleep.

She only pretended to be asleep so that the boy, who was more tired than her, can rest.

And―――she cannot afford to sleep anymore.

She'll see that dream if she sleeps.

She'll see something similar to her kill people.

It's frightening.

She doesn't remember what kind of dream she had last night.

She doesn't remember why she was unconscious outside.

So―――it feels like she will never wake up again if she falls asleep tonight.

She will end up betraying the boy who held her close.

The boy threw away his self and believed in the weak and sly Matou Sakura.

His decision is still hurting her heart, so she will not be able to see him again if she turns out to be like the dream.


She has destroyed his mind to the point that it cannot be fixed.

So she has to bear it.

She has to stay conscious, not sleep, and never see that dream again.

A person exists that will protect her.

Even if she may be dirty and cowardly, she has to maintain control with all her might while she still remains.

"――――I'm fine with that. But..."

...There's something that cannot be returned.

She has committed a crime that she cannot atone for with the life that remains to her.

'――――I'll protect you.'

He repeated it, knowing there's no hope or future.

Recalling it makes her cry.

...Half an hour ago.

She was determined when he came to her room.

She knows that he came to kill her.

She's sensitive to the hostility of others. Even if someone comes to kill her in her sleep, she will notice.

...But the hostility was empty.

It's not that he's not feeling anything.

It was a painful emptiness, as if there was a big hole in his chest with cold wind blazing through it.

That made her accept death.

She thought the best possible outcome would be if the boy were the one to stop her.


But she was a coward, as she had known.

She was ready for death, but she could not stop trembling.


She cornered him by saying something selfishly convenient.


He embraced her.

The boy still embraced her.

They both knew there was no future.

But he still put his arms around her, knowing fully well what awaited them in the end.

The boy still had determination.

His embracing arms told her that he will accept the crime she committed and will commit.

"...――――――rry, Senpai――――"

That's why it's sad.

He can do it.

She knew that from the start.

...The school in the sunset.

The person that kept on running.

The boy that changed her voice from "give up" to "keep going".

She has wished from that time.

―――To be with him.

―――To be protected by him.

Admiring him for no reason, she went to his house like her grandfather told her and made her wish come true.

'―――I'll protect you. I swore to be your superhero.'


This is the result.

As his life goes on, he will only continue to break down.

"Sorry... I'm sorry, Senpai――――"

What she admired...

She finally understands why.

The boy was beautiful in her eyes.

He's different from her, who is a coward.

She wished for him to keep his upstanding character.

"But I――――"

...Yes, she remembers.

She wanted to protect him.

She wanted to protect the boy.

She wanted to protect the clumsy, but upright boy that she found in the setting sun.

"――――I broke it."

That's all she wished for.

So why...

Why did it turn out like this――――?

...And then.

The girl makes her final resolution.

"You're there, right, Rider?"

She calls out into the darkness.


The girl should be the only one here, but a woman appears like a ghost.

It is Matou Sakura's Servant, Rider.

"...I thought so. Were you guarding me?"

"Yes. Had he tried to take your life, I would have killed him."


...She sighs, thinking it was close.

Rider puts priority on her master.

Her decision is based solely on whether that person will kill her Master, Matou Sakura.

In that regard, Emiya Shirou was Rider's enemy back then.

"...Don't do anything to him, Rider. I won't forgive you if you hurt him."

"My role is to protect you. If he is to be your enemy, I must fulfill my mission. I will protect you, no matter what you may become."

"...Do you mean that, even if I turn into something other than myself?"

There's no reply.

It's something she shouldn't say, the worst possible scenario.


Even if Emiya Shirou sides with Matou Sakura.

If Matou Sakura recognizes Emiya Shirou as her enemy, he will become a foreign foe that must be defeated.


The girl raises her body and clenches her fists.

...Rider's statement hasn't angered her.

She's just scared that the assumption might become a reality.


What are you doing? You cannot use magecraft with that body of yours――――!"

Ignoring Rider, the girl raises her hand in the darkness.

The magical energy runs through it for only an instant.

When the light fades, the only thing different is her left hand.


"...This is my last Command Spell. Please, Rider. Please protect Senpai until the end, no matter what happens in the future."

The girl gives her final order.

The Command Spell is gone from Matou Sakura's hand.

"...I'll stop Grandfather.

This is a problem between me and the Matou family. ...I know it's too late, but I can't cause any more trouble."

The girl holds her chest as she coughs.

...Her eyes light up in the darkness.

They are weak, but they are eyes of determination that belong to a magus.