First Eclipse

Eclipse 1 Golden bathtub

“―――Now then.”

Finally, this day was at an end.

It's not as though anything particularly worth mentioning happened, but the events that took place still held enough weight.

A soak in the hot water should wash away any lingering fatigue from my body.

I washed my body and have been soaking in the tub for a few minutes.

Suddenly, I hear a noise coming from the changing room.


I see a figure on the other side of the glass.

Did she come to pick up the laundry? Or maybe to brush her teeth?

“Heeey, who―――”

"is it?" ...right before I could finish those words...

“Pardon me, Shirou.”


Saber walked in, completely naked.

“W-Wait a second...!

I'm already in here-”

“Yes, I know. So, may I join you?”

“Um, that would be...”

Saber is smiling gently.


If she's this calm, it would be rude of me to get embarrassed... right?

“......Sure, if you're alright with it.

Though, this bathtub is pretty small.”

It's probably because the bathroom is fogged up by steam,

but the stimulation from what I'm seeing is suppressed by as much as 70%, just barely stopping my brain from frying.

“Then, excuse me.”

Saber begins to wash herself at the shower.

From the corner of my eye, I could see her fingertips and the hot water glide over that smooth and tender skin.

This bathroom is a bit cramped for two people.

"If it had more room, we could warm up in the bath together"―――I vacantly thought.

“May I get in?”

“Eh... really?”

Shifting myself over in a panic, I make room for Saber.

From the tips of her toes all the way to her thighs, I stay fixated on her smooth legs as she steps into the tub.

The water level of the tub rises, and soon after that―――

“Haaa... the water temperature is nice.”

“Ah―――yeah, I made it hotter than usual.”

We're so close together that I can't think straight.

And just now, that absentminded response I blurted out increased my tension even more.

“No, I mean, this is how I like it, but is it too hot?”

“...? No, I've come to prefer around this much heat when bathing as well.”

“I, I see. Um, that's, that's good.”

Of course, "the hotter the water, the better," is just a misconception that many people have.

In truth, water that's only slightly warmer than your body temperature is better for health and fatigue recovery. But to be honest, rather than wanting Saber to enjoy a proper bath, I just want to pour in some cold water to keep my head from boiling over.



...The conversation comes to an end.

In the first place, I wonder why she suddenly choose today to come in?

I want to ask if she's feeling all right, but that would be a bit tactless... yeah, not a good move.

“Shirou? Shall I wash your body for you?”

“Uh... Well, sure, in a bit.”

Getting my body washed by Saber, what kind of heavenly torture would that be?

No doubt, it would feel indescribably good.

Two people covered in bubbles, washing and being washed, even I couldn't endure―――

“......, guh―――”

Our knees are already touching inside the tub.


A relaxed sigh from Saber.


Your body, should I,”

"wash it for you as well?" I couldn't finish and ended up mumbling.

It might cause a misunderstanding if I stop mid-sentence in such a strange place.

“Well, um, what I mean is, if you wash me, it would only be right to return the favor.”

“That would make me happy. However, I will decline this time.

...I'm always causing trouble for you. Today, I just want to be the one returning the favor.”


I-I see, so that's why she got in with me!

―――I'm an idiot. Could something like this really be so simple?

This isn't the first time bathing together or even touching her body, but something like this still makes me nervous.

“Uh―――Oh, so that's it.”

Aah, I can't stand this anymore!

With her seductive nude figure in this cramped bath, I can't come up with anything cool to say. If I don't get out of the bath for a bit and cool down my burning body...

“Shirou, would it be fine to move closer to you?”

“!? Ah, yeah, that's okay, I guess.”

...She beat me to it.

Almost halfway out of the water, I sit back down into the tub.

Saber raises her hips and turns her body―――

“Um, Saber?”


This way is much more calming.”

She snuggles up to me,

and settles down between my arms.


Saber releases a satisfied breath.

In front of me, the nape of her neck peeks through some loosely hanging and soft golden hair.

A slender neck. Small shoulders. It truly is a delicate girl's body.


I should already know these things.

We've laid against each other many times already, and yet when I see her body under this lighting, it looks especially vibrant.

“Is something the matter? You do not seem your usual self.”

Her questioning voice sounds pure and innocent.

Like this, she completely entrusts her body to me, and I fill with expectation.


When I call her name softly, she responds, “Yes―――?”

Her voice seemed faint enough to be nonexistent, and yet, it is heard clearly through the echoes in the bathroom.

My breathing becomes excited.

She gives off a soft and sweet fragrance. That face that looks back at me holds a fleeting, gentle smile.


I had already surrendered to that smile.


I touch her shoulders, and watch for her reaction.

She doesn't show any resistance to my touch. Gently, I bring my own body closer.

Caressing her shoulders, I'm startled at how her skin still entices me after all this time.

From there, my hands trace along her curves to the nape of her neck.

“Ah... nngh, mm...”

I caress as though slowly stroking.

With a few strokes, her enticing breaths of pleasure leak out.

My fingers slide down to her collarbone.

“Ah... hehe...”

I tickle under her chin and Saber lightly laughs.

Whether this spot is ticklish or feels good, her body jumps a little with each slight movement.

With my finger, I even try tickling the back of her ear.

“...There, ah... hehehe.

It's almost as though I've become some sort of animal being pampered.”

She throws out such an observation.

When tickling and stroking her neck like this, it really is like playing with a kitten.

“...That cub was also pleased when I did this.”

Perhaps because she recalled lion cub she took care of in those days, I feel a tender warmth in her voice.

...Maybe it's because we are embracing each other in the nude,

but my feelings as well are touched by that small sentiment.

“...I see.

Then, Saber, how do you like it?”


She only smiled in response.

That smile and those green eyes are so peaceful in every sense of the word.

My hands trace along her shoulders and into the water―――before embracing Saber around her upper arms.

“Ah... mm...”

Her fragrance from up close,

is sweet, with a subtle trace of soap and a hint of steamy flesh.


I focus on my arms to avoid squeezing her too tightly.

My trembling lips touch the back of her neck.


With a twitch, Saber's body jerks slightly.

The skin where my lips touch push back almost as though coming alive.

I press back while following along with her neck.

Hot blood begins circulating through my spine.

As I think, "I want to touch her more,"

my heart sends bloodThis Impulse up to my brain.

Unconsciously, I pull Saber's body to my chest.

And still, her response is calm with no resistance at all.

I bury my face into the back of her dampened neck.


Is she just allowing it or does she want it?―――I can't figure out her feelings, so I'm just holding her inside the tub.

“...Sorry. I can't resist anymore.”


A whisper.

She gently places her hand over my arm.

As though inviting me, that graceful hand moves my arm―――


My fingers touch her chest.

The tender and lovable softness of a woman.

Saber trembles.

“......Mm, ah...”

Her voice comes out when I lightly poke at the bumps on her breasts.

Her body's reaction is different from when I was stroking her neck.

A modest chest that fits in my palm perfectly when bending my fingers slightly.

“Ah, ah...”

I rub slowly. More carefully than when touching her shoulders.

Her breasts, as soft as jelly, conform their shape to my fingers.

“Ngh...... Haah.........”

Saber lets out a sigh.

The blue ribbon sways along with her golden hair.

I touch her nipples with my fingers, roll them around, and―――


She tilts her head back, just a little.

Only the tip of my index fingers feel this swollen stiffness.

Even though my other fingers feel like they're going to be sink into these soft and supple breasts, this place alone has become so stiff.

I want to touch her, more and more.

The backside of her body trembles lightly up against me.

“Haaa... Ah... nngh...”

I want to suck up the sounds leaking from her lips.

It's frustrating that I can't place my lips onto her breasts from behind.

“Aah, um, that...”

Realizing my body's involuntary reaction―――

Without backing away, my hardened groin presses firmly against Saber's rear.

As she giggles, I swallow the embarrassment and begin moving my hands again.

“Ah... mm, haah...”

I massage her undersized breasts with both hands.

As I place my lips onto her neck, I can feel the trembling of her skin.


I move my palms. Sliding down from her chest, I stroke her taut stomach.

When stroking around her navel, her body stirred lightly.

“Ah... hehe, mm...”

Saber's stomach, fresh like a young sweetfish, and the area around her slender waist were both captivating.

But what my fingers, no, my body is demanding, is inside of her.

The nape of her neck quivers slightly.


I move my hands. The feeling of Saber's skin in the hot water is smooth, a sensation unlike any fabric could produce, and yet my fingers continue down her abdomen, eventually arriving at a tuft of pubic hair.

“Ah...... Haa...”

Saber's body started to contract for a moment.

Her legs close together tightly, but that reflexive movement gradually relaxes.

―――My heart throbs.

Steam clouds around my head. I can't tell whether it's from the hot water or the stimulation.

“......Hah... hmm...”

Through the hot water, I see Saber's knees spreading apart.

My finger touched the top of her smooth crevice.

My fingers touch her softly,

exploring between where her legs connect, and stopping at the lips of her vagina.

“Ah... Haaah......”

Her breathing becomes a little faster.

With my fingers, I trace over her closed vagina.

Saber's back, that had been leaning on my chest, lifted away slightly.

My equipment is still pressing against her rear. While my fingers are near Saber's secret garden, I can't maintain my usual composure.

“Ah, aah... Haah, nn...”

The smooth feeling conveyed from my fingertips shot a strange sensation all the way to my elbow.

Nevertheless, I keep stroking, and slowly and gently―――slip inside of her.


Saber's back straightens out.

Inside the bathwater, my finger dives into her. The sensation I feel in her secret place is hot and slippery.

The walls of a woman wrap around my finger.

I stroke slowly, as if to ascertain the shape of those walls.

“Hah... augh, nn... nngh...”

In front of my eyes, the nape of her neck quivers and a soft sensation is transmitted up my arm.

I move to explore the soft flesh of her insides.

Inside Saber, the opening where her folds have gathered...

Moving into that trembling secret entrance, the tip of my index finger―――can no longer be seen.

“Mm... Fuu, ah......”

She squeezes my fingertip tightly, almost as if biting it.

That reaction of hers was so lovely, that I embraced her body tightly.

“Ah... Haah, Ah――――――”

Saber's hand is stroking my thigh under the water.

It's almost as though she's trying to distract herself from the stimulus of having her secret place touched.

“Ah... Hah, Aaah... Nngh, mm...”

Her breathing becomes gradually heavier.

Saber's hand that had been touching my thigh, now moves towards my shaft.

In that time, her body repeatedly bent backwards.

The sound of soft sighs and rippling water echo inside the bathroom.

“―――Were you... trying to hold back?”

Her voice that sounded pained at times, now becomes sweet.

The moment she touched my groin―――expectation shot through my hips.

“...Um, Saber... that's my...”

“So this... is what I was feeling.”

Gently, her fingers touch my swelling shaft.

The thought of being grasped in that small white hand of hers, becomes unbearable.

“Aaugh, nn――――――haah...”

In return, I rub her walls even more.

Saber's hand firmly takes hold of my penis from the base.

But not too strongly, as if only caressing the surface.

My entire back is almost trembling.

Saber's fingers slowly fondle my manhood.

When she comes to the base of my glans, her fingers clamp around me tightly―――

...For a short while, I continue to caress her in the hot water.

Will this end with just my fingers―――?

There's something I want to do even more than this. But still, I don't stop.

My finger in the entrance of her vagina dives once more, just a little deeper.

“......Fuah... nn...”

Saber trembles.

Buried to the second joint, my finger is squeezed inside her as though being trapped.

I want this, but―――rather than a finger, I want her to let me bury in the part of my body best able to feel this sensation.

She gently places her hand on top of mine.


My finger is pulled out from inside of her.

And so, as though having been lured there, my finger raises above the surface of the water.

And then, Saber draws my hand toward herself―――


―――and playfully bites it.

She passionately tastes me with her lips and tongue. It's even more seductive than it was at her hidden place―――


A man's desires, no, your desires, I understand them.

So please―――entrust your body to me.”

Saber turns around and faces me.

Before me is a smile that has both the loveliness of a girl and the maturity of a lady. Saber's smiling face that I had always longed for.

―――Without a word, I nodded.


Saber's extended breaths leak out.

Something soft and warm touches the tip of my penis that had been left to her fingers until now. It's her most sensitive place―――


My glans that had hardened stiff inside the hot water spreads apart her walls and enters.

My lungs can't help but contract from the gradually rising pleasure, spilling out my remaining air in a breath.

Slowly, Saber's hips sink down.

Face to face with Saber at last, our lips come together.

Without leaving the bathtub, Saber and I become one.

She is sitting down on top of me.

Perhaps her opening is too narrow. There was a resistance much like stretching a piece of cloth, but―――

“Ah..., nn...ngh!”

A sensation as though having torn through her.

Like spreading and entering a fresh fruit, I break through the thin barrier and am swallowed up inside of Saber.


Her hips sink further.

While penetrated by my hardened penis, she entrusts her body to me once more.

A whisper leaks out through her clenched lips.

“......How is it, Shirou...?”

I guess this can't be easy for her if she's this tight.

But, I'm in trouble here as well.

My sense of awareness is being blanked out by the sensation of being inside her.

Even if I try to say something, the words become muddled and incomprehensible.

―――Inside and outside, I feel the heat of her body.

A smooth texture like jelly.

A sweetness like sticking your tongue into a jar of honey.

The feeling of ecstasy is so chaotic, it's almost as if my testicles have started to go crazy.

If I lose my mind, even just a little, I won't be able to hold back from thrusting my hips like a beast―――


Before saying that name, just how long had I been wrapped inside her?

Each time we kiss, her walls contract and then relax again, like the undulation of waves.

While embracing, I can hear the soft beating of her heart. Her skin up against mine has become so hot.

“Shirou... how is it, like this...?”

Saber moves her lips away, and... smiled just a bit mischievously.

Her hips shudder and sway, and then―――

Her vagina tightly coiled around me.

A sharp stimulus, even a little painful.

My manhood, that had been satisfying itself leisurely, suddenly gets wrung and squeezed tightly.

“Uugh..., ...”

“Is it good, rough―――like this?”

My moans that leak out, are sucked away by Saber's lips.

My rod had only been wrapped in pressure, but now the wall of flesh moves to stimulate me.

My senses don't seem able to keep up with the sudden change, it's as though my groin is about to come apart and release everything, but...

“Then again―――”

With a breath of relief, that movement stops.

Saber relaxes, and her lips return to their light squeezing.

Her small body trembles.

Maybe she felt it as well when she tightened, but she looks dazed―――as though the very core of her body had been shaken slightly.

“...Right now, I want to feel you more...

Stay there, securely, like this... inside me.”


Wrapping my arms around her waist, I bring my lips to hers.

...Just close enough so that our tongues can touch.

“...Just like this... please make love to me.”

Little by little, I begin to move inside her.

Even while penetrating her, there is a sense of relief from being immersed in this deep contact.

My penis is buried inside her vagina.

Pulsing, it grows harder as my blood gathers.

“Ha, ah, ah...”

Our rocking motions gradually become larger.

As if to match the waves of the water, I lightly sway my hips back and forth.

I'm making shallow thrusts inside Saber.

With each thrust, she would sometimes loosen, and sometimes tighten.

Being buried up to the root, my range of motion isn't very far.

―――I push higher up to her very depths.

“Augh, ah... ngh...”

Saber's body weight is pressing down on the innermost part of her vagina.

I could feel the trembling through her lips as her body draws back.

“...That's... deep, hah, Angh!”

―――Our rhythm becomes off.

In reaction to being stabbed at the end of her depths, Saber's body springs up.

Instead of slipping out, I rubbed inside of her as she moved up―――


Moreover, with half of my penis still inside, her hips can no longer move.

My back stiffens from the pleasurable tightness.

As she writhes around a bit, I kiss her lips, her collarbone, and the nape of her neck.

“...Saber, here―――”

“Ah, that's―――gh.”

Holding onto her waist, I pulled down.

―――It almost feels as though I can hear the sound of myself rubbing upward in her vagina.

“...There, does it feel good?”

Even if I ask, Saber can only shake her head.

I make up for that by lifting her waist a little, and pulling down the same way again―――

“Ah... Haaaa, ah..., nh―――”

Her voice seems to linger just a bit.

Her body which accepts me deeply, is trembling in small fits.

“Haah, aah... nnngh, aah...”

I begin to knock at the back of her depths.

Her eyelashes tremble and her eyes become wet, as if asking why I would do such a thing―――

“Leave the moving, to me―――nngh!”

I seal those lips, and my hips move.

Gently stirring the hot water, my hips were thrusting toward Saber, slowly and deeply.

Our tongues touch and lick at our lips, desiring to connect with each other―――

“Haa, aah... nn, kuah... aah...”

Saber looks like she's on the verge of collapsing.

While taking shallow breaths, her body comes to rest on my chest.

And then―――


Still connected deeply, I pushed down on her hips even harder.

Almost like an illusion, I feel myself sinking into her stomach and, again―――her walls feel like they are coiling around me.

“―――――――――Hah, aa―――ah.”

Saber's body contracts violently.

As though to make her body smaller while on my lap, she bends forward towards my stomach as her moist golden hair flutters about.


“.........Did you come, Saber?”

I recall that slight reaction, so I try whispering that to her.

She doesn't answer. She was trembling with her head down, but―――as if all her strength had abruptly been drained, her body was completely left in my care.

“You were... so mean, and I...

You ended up seeing an embarrassing side of me...”

Saber pouts while pushing her forehead against me.

That voice is so lovely that I tenderly blocked her lips.

Saber has become so timid while in my arms.

And yet, her vagina that is still holding me is squeezing tightly. It seems like she still wants it.

I move my hands into the water.

Rather than just going deeper, this should make it easier to move.

“...Then this time, if I do it this way.”

“Eh...? "This way"?

You don't mean... Haaaaa!”

Grabbing her rear, I hoist her up.

Saber is light to begin with, but it's even easier because she floats in the water. From below her body like this, I thrust while still connected with her.

“Haah, aaah... uagh, haa―――”

I support her as she leans backwards.

It looked like she almost jumped out of the water.

“Aaah, haah... aaah.”

Her pulse responds to the stimulation as my manhood is swallowed as deep as it can go.

Different from when it was warmly wrapped around me and only for a moment, it wriggled as if trying to wring me out.

“I'm―――haa, aahn, nnnnngh!”

When I'm plunging all the way to the end, her folds move like lips that are squeezing around me and sucking.

My body is overheating, I don't know how long until I'll climax.

I pull back almost far enough to pull out many times, then thrust back in and grind.

Saber's body springs up and floats.

I embrace her fleeing slender waist and sit her all the way down on top of me again.

“Ah, haangh, aahn―――ngh!”

If I relax even a little, Saber's body is likely to jump up from the tub. No doubt, in this water, I can't love her the way I want.

“...Saber, let's... change things up a bit.”

“What do you...? Ah―――”

For now, I pull our bodies apart.

Slipping out, my penis is immersed into the hot bathwater.

I lifted Saber in my arms―――and carried her outside of the bathtub.

“Um, a position like this is―――”

Saber raises her voice as though subtly pouting.

Perhaps her feet are unsteady? She's tottering a little.

“...Like this, I can make you feel it more, Saber.”

“ah... ngh...!”

I press my penis against her bottom.

With her hands against the wall, her outstretched rear was tantalizing.

I feel like I could finish just from rubbing.

“...P-Please wait, Shirou...

There, it's so, hot, nh―――”

Rubbing on her rear, my penis is getting harder.

I was getting more turned on from seeing and touching her body like this than when I was inside of her.

“...Hah... um, haah... ah.”

A sigh slips out. Her lips and eyebrows are enchanting.

The way she is now, I want her, I must have her.

Guiding with my fingers, I line up my penis with the dripping secret crevice between where her legs connect.

“ah... ahaah... Nnnngh!”

Pressing against her hips, my manhood slides into Saber.

Her walls wrap around me as I expand her insides, then tighten as though to nibble at me.

The stimulation of the point of contact where two bodies come clashing together.

My hips move faster,

as if hammering Saber into the wall like a nail.

“Uugh... aaAAH...!”

Saber pushes back with her own hips.

She's not just being penetrated by me, but also comes seeking to take me in deeper herself.

“Fu, gh―――!”

We begin to move.

While standing, the muscles of my lower body begin to throb.

My backside is hot. It felt like a red hot wire is passing through the back of my head all the way to my lower waist.

“Aaahn, ngh... Haa―――!”

Her vagina tightly gathered its walls around me, and sucked on my penis. When I pull her waist, overflowing love juice drips out.

...I didn't notice in the bath,

but she had been feeling it so much and even became this wet.

“Sa, ber...”

“Ah... yah, hau, ngh...!”

Our gasping voices resound throughout the bathroom.

The sounds of water dripping and of my hips striking flesh are mixed in as well. My wild breathing and the beating of my heart resound in the depths of my ears.

“Not like... ugh, aagh, ku―――uungh!”

I take hold of her in my arms to keep pounding into her.

I grab her waist and push up from below. My back curves like a bow from the pleasure.

“Aagh, haah, kuuu, nnngh!”

Her gasping voice carries a hint of a tortured scream.

However, the sounds from her throat are like sweet breaths laced with lust.

A burning radiance dwells within those green eyes that look back at me.

“Nn, nnnn―――ngh-”

I greedily take her lips.

Such an incredibly sweet fragrance.

The honey her supple body drips is far too hot.

“Haah, ah―――...!”

My muscles bulge and my bones tremble in this pleasant sensation.

As if letting loose all the springs in my body, I embraced Saber and impaled her. From time to time, her feet leave the ground and I almost drive her into the wall.

Her body responds to me as well.

Or rather, far from just responding, this pleasurable tightening from inside her body seemed to be urging me on.

“Haah, aaah, ah, nh...!”

I'm not sure whether it is Saber's gasps or my moans that I hear. In this bathroom, the reverberating echoes confuse my senses.

What was certain, was only what appeared to be the pleasurable screaming of the place we were connected as I thrust again and again.

“Haah... Haah, ha――――nnngh...”

Flesh hits flesh, a violent melody is being etched out.

My body moves recklessly, the heat that is born gradually gathers at my hips.

These surging waves of pleasure make it feel like the inside of my head is boiling.

Saber leans against the wall.

Even for me, if I had nothing to cling to while moving, I would likely collapse like a spinning top that had lost its balance.

“, nngh... Ah, mm, kuuh, ha―――”

I can feel her body's excitement.

I held tightly to her heaving body, and penetrated her.

Saber's hot vagina pulsates, wrenching out and spilling our bodily fluids.


Nurtured by being wrapped up warmly at first, my lust that had been heatedly stirred was now boiling, and seems like it could burst within my body.

“―――Hah...! Haaa, ah, nngh......!”

Her insides contract erratically.

When I think about it, it's almost as if this bite-like tightening is inviting me to the very end of her depths.

Then, it again moves as if to wring me out―――

My breathing becomes erratic.

Before reaching the climax, it's almost as though our bodies have become entangled.

Even though my testicles are boiling hot, my strength and consciousness might give out before my release.

But still, this burning sensation just feels so good―――


Suddenly, my name is called.

As though being commanded, order and vitality return to the body that was falling apart.

My consciousness becomes clear, my senses become sharper.

I can hear a throbbing heartbeat ring out like a fire alarm.

My rhythm overlaps with Saber's and our breathing and pulse become one.

Within all of that, the words that are whispered seem to carve this tempo into our minds.

“Shirou, Shirou―――I'm, haaagh... nn...”

My name that she calls out, reverberates sweetly.

Each time, in place of my spinal cord which was about to melt from the heat―――a new bone seems like it's passing through my back, bringing with it an intense melody.


I hug Saber tightly from behind.

Like a sword dance where you can't even make out the movements of the hands, the pleasure and excitement go higher and higher without limit.

I attack, Saber defends, and vise versa. We never slow our pace, it's so extreme and dazzling that our sex until now seems like mere child's play―――

“Saber... gh!”

My groin is so hot that I'm losing my senses.

It wouldn't be strange for me to climax at any moment.

But, I was intoxicated on this sexual union without regard for some sort of physiological phenomenon.

As a golden rain pours down from us, we dance while getting soaked in its fragrance.

Our united bodies are carrying this inexhaustible rhythm together―――

“I'm... mm, hua, aagh, Shir, ou...!”

Saber's body convulsed violently.

It's as though all the tension from her taut body releases all at once.

With a pumping sensation, my semen rushes up from deep within.

The feeling is so hot, it's painful. Releasing, shooting out so much, it's enough to bring back memories of the first time.

Like this, pumping into Saber, was pleasure that seemed to come from my sense of reason being smashed and torn to pieces―――


Did I moan, or was that from Saber?

Either way, an unbearable lethargy came over me―――I almost collapsed onto the bathroom floor.


When I rest my hand on the wall, Saber places her palm over it.

Like this, we lean against the wall on top of each other―――

“...Shirou. Let's wash our bodies and warm up again.”

Her whispering voice sounded so tender.

“Hmm... hm, hmmm.”

Saber hums a tune of some faraway foreign country.

After briefly washing each other's bodies, we get in the tub again.


Even though we had been embracing each other until just a moment ago, when I look at her body again... it feels like everything that just happened was a lie.

...Of course, it's neither a lie nor a dream, but still...

“Did something happen, Shirou?”


I can't think straight.

After soaking in that extra hot water all that time and having my head baked in such a pleasurable feeling, it can't be helped if I've become a bit sluggish.

I get nowhere even if I try to think.

Still, just bathing together with Saber like this is more calming than anything else―――


Quietly, I move my hand underneath the water.

If I touch her again... I wonder what would happen?


Underneath the water, my hand reaches out and misses.

Just like a fish escaping from my hands, Saber had risen from the bathtub.


“Then, it's about time we get out. If we stay in much longer―――”

“Uh... the hot water will get to us... right?”

“Therefore, let's get out...

There is no benefit if you go and collapse, Shirou.”

It's only natural that if I do something like that in this extra hot water for so long, I'd get hurt―――I guess.

Although Saber looks completely fine.

I guess I couldn't show off my good side at the very end.

“...Sorry, I didn't mean to worry you.”

“No, it was a very pleasant bath.

Let's go in together next time as well.”

That's, um...

...It's not good to think with a brain that's been boiled like an egg. Does she mean going in together without those extra... benefits?

Saber gives me an admonishing-like smile. Maybe she caught on to what I was thinking?

“Next time, please do not get too worked up from the hot water nor myself.”


I unintentionally swallow my breath due to that teasing smile.

“...Don't be unreasonable. I'd like to be praised just for not collapsing.”

Her giggling voice echoes in the bathroom.

...I give up.

It looks like today's Saber was the invincible heroine from beginning to end.

Eclipse 7 Himuro The Love Detective (Act One)

As the saying goes, "Love will consume you."

If you are going to fall in love regardless, fall in love so deeply that it hurts. Love is not realized through ordinary hardships―――romantic and melancholic. I might even feel admiration for it.

That, for me―――Himuro Kane, is a faraway tale.

I am a flesh-and-blood human, therefore I long for love.

However, I cannot help but to shake my head in frustration at the notion of binding myself to a love so strong that it is painful.

Although that is not to say that I have no interest in it.

Rather, I have an unusual level of interest in other people's romances.

Who is dating who, who has broken up... I carefully listen to those kinds of topics around me without outwardly displaying interest, and I jot them down into the notebook in my heart. I then go verify them alone in order to satisfy myself.

However, my name alone is never written amongst these incidents.

Why do I display so much interest in love?

Someday―――I'll tell you the reason.

Will I ever be capable of love? That is a tale of tomorrow that no one can foretell. As the saying goes, "There are no teachers in love."

However, I digress. Let us return to the topic at hand―――

“Um, Tohsaka-san. If you don't mind, would you like to eat lunch together?”

My friend, Saegusa Yukika, is laying siege to our classmate, Tohsaka Rin.

A lunchbox for two people is in her hands. No doubt it was made for this purpose.

“I'm sorry, Saegusa-san. I would like to join you, but unfortunately I have a previous engagement today.”

“I would be happy to join you if you ask some other time.”

“Y-Yes! I will! ......Umm, also. If it's all right with you, would you please accept this?”

She holds out the wrapped lunchbox.

Miss Tohsaka receives it with a smile.

“I appreciate the thought alone, but since you put so much effort into it, I'll accept it gratefully, Saegusa-san. I'll return the box later.”

“Yes... um, it might be a bit too plain for your tastes...”

My other friend Makidera wears a dubious expression beside her.

Perhaps she is amazed at Yukika's useless efforts as she suffers honorable defeat for the umpteenth time, or perhaps she is dissatisfied by Miss Tohsaka's slightly hypocritical attitude.

“No, not at all―――Since you've given it to me, I'll gladly eat it.”

“Phew... In that case, if you'd tell me what foods you like, I'll do my best to make them next time.”

“...Makinoji, do you know what her favorite food is?”

“I get the feeling she doesn't have any preferences.

Ah, but when we went to Tagliatelle in Shinto recently, she seemed to use a lot of Tabasco sauce.”

“So she prefers spicy food?”

We whisper amongst each other.

There is no need to feel guilty if Miss Tohsaka discovers us talking like this, but it is not a subject to speak about out loud either.

“...Tohsaka might have some unexpected tastes.”

“Whereas you can't handle spicy food at all. I cannot forget your outrageous actions the other day, as much as I would like to... Aah, she's back.”

Miss Tohsaka leaves the classroom, and Yukika returns to us.

She took two steps forward and one step back... I suppose that is the best description of what happened. However, her expression is soft and a smile hangs on her face.

“What a waste, Yukicchi. You should've pushed her just a little bit more. If you told her, "I made you this lunchbox, so eat it!!", then even Tohsaka would skip out on a previous engagement.”

“But, it would be wrong to bother Tohsaka-san like that.”

“...No, Yukika. It would not be a problem even if you acted a bit more heavy-handed.”

“Well, then again, it is Miss Tohsaka we are talking about. She is not an opponent you can beat in just a day. You should try talking to her again after she returns your lunchbox.”

Though she was a little depressed just now, Yukika still smiles.

Yukika is too kind. I always feel like I want to watch over her from behind.

“Hey, chief strategist, are you suggesting a war of attrition as well?”

“I am not your strategist, nor are you our commander, Maki.

Well then, looks like the three of us will unexpectedly be having lunch together.”

On the other hand, this is how Makidera is.

Usually someone like her gets on my nerves, but after knowing her for three years, I have already gotten used to her.

Rather, the way she acts courteously in a long-sleeve kimono at her traditional house makes me feel so uncomfortable that I cannot bear it. It is true that it suits her. But I still cannot help but think that Makidera has to be like this.

“Tch... If Tohsaka hadn't taken Yukicchi's lunchbox, we could've eaten some of it too.”

“―――Is that why you ate some of yours before lunchtime?”

Makidera's laid out lunchbox is only half full.

She must have eaten half before lunchtime. That is the only explanation.

...She may be part of the track and field club, but isn't this still a bit of a problem for a female high school student?

“Ah, I'll share some with you, Maki-chan.”

“Oh, thanks~... Yeah, I appreciate it. Sorry for always troubling you, Yukicchi. I'll treat you at the Tokyo-style restaurant later.”

This is the scene of a peaceful lunch.

I begin eating my own sandwich, lettuce and tomato. The flavor of the whole-grain mustard is strong.

While eating her lunch which was supplemented by some of Yukika's, Makidera whispers.

“But really, Tohsaka's socializing skills are getting worse, aren't they?”

A casual comment.

Yukika and I look up from our lunches.

“Is that so, Maki-chan?”

“Uh... ah, I guess. I used to go shopping with her sometimes, but lately it's like she's always got something to do and keeps saying "no thanks" like what happened to Yukicchi just now.”

“Ah... Now I see. So Tohsaka-san wasn't avoiding me in particular.”

"Thank goodness," says Yukika while nodding.

I feel like asking just what kind of rude and arrogant person could purposely keep their distance from such a kind-hearted girl like this.

“Umm... Do you think that she...”

Makidera and I turn towards Yukika.

Having deliberately become the focus of attention, Yukika's voice drops to a whisper.

“Could it... umm, could it be that... she's going out with someone?”

“―――Oh, you didn't know, Yukika?

Miss Tohsaka is already in a relationship. With Emiya Shirou from class 3C.”

I thought everyone knew about this already, or is it just me?

Obviously, Makidera knows this as well. Or rather, she cannot ignore this matter simply because she is Makidera.

“Eh... That Emiya-kun?”

“That's right, THAT* Emiya Shirou. Unbelievable, right!?”

“Emiya, the student council president's right-hand man. The fake school janitor, the guy in charge of repairs, the archery club's vacuum cleaner, the brownie of the gardeners. That's the Emiya we're talking about!”

“You've only listed off his bad nicknames, Makinoji. Incidentally Yukika, "Brownie" refers to a type of Irish fairy...”

“No one asked you to explain!”

She's snapping at me, but usually when people hear the term "brownie" what they think of is...

“Oh, so it's a fairy. Speaking of brownies, Emiya-kun is like a chocolate-chip cake, isn't he?”

“...It is said that these fairies stay at home and do the house chores when the owner is out.”

“I see. It does describe Emiya's character quite well. And I think Makinoji looks more like a chocolate cake than he does.”

“That's what I mean! That Emiya? Going out with Tohsaka!? Such bad taste. There are plenty of better guys around, right? I mean, he doesn't fit her image as an iron lady at all!”

Makidera starts acting quite strange as she flies into a fury.

...Ever since this matter become publicly known around April, she becomes beside herself with rage whenever this is mentioned.

She herself says that it is because her reputation has been adversely affected as one of the few friends of the school idol, the unattainable prize, Tohsaka Rin.

“Calm down. You cannot overturn this even if you use the Shaolin Wooden Men Fist.”

“No way, I can't take it anymore. Himuro, how can you be so calm!?”

“...Because it is already public. Besides, they have not done anything conspicuous.”

“Ah, so that was it... Tohsaka-san and Emiya-kun, huh?

I wonder if they're a good match?”

...No, no matter how you look at them, I think they are as similar as night and day.

Though I won't go as far as to say that it is like dipping a peony blossom in horse dung, since Emiya is going out with none other than Miss Tohsaka, it cannot be helped that people would make that kind evaluation.

Makidera rages about beside me for a while, but she'll get tired and quiet down before long.

In the meantime, Yukika and I nibble on our lunches. The people around us watch the usual case of Makidera's eccentricities in a lukewarm manner.

――――Exhausted, Makidera sinks down in her chair.

“Haah, geez, it's such a waste.

Tohsaka's got such bad taste. That reminds me, Mitsuzuri's been acting weird since then too.”

Mitsuzuri? As in Mitsuzuri Ayako, the former archery club president?

―――I'm curious about what Makinoji means by "weird."


“Ah, Yukicchi, you might not know about it... Himuro, what about you?”

“Sorry, but I do not.

There seemed to be some groundless rumors floating around for a while, but there is no way that Mitsuzuri Ayako, an honor student that rivals Tohsaka, would act so reckless and indecent.”

This occurred around February, when Mitsuzuri Ayako was sent into protective custody and hospitalized in Shinto.

At that time, many spiteful rumors circulated, saying that she regularly visited dodgy places or that she was involved in drug abuse. However, afterwards―――

“Yeah... the school was also in a mess after that incident back then.”

Yukika mutters bitterly.

At around the same time as that, the chemical incident happened at Homurabara Academy, and quite a few students lost consciousness and had to be hospitalized. The rumors about Mitsuzuri Ayako immediately vanished in the wake of that great incident.

...That incident was also very odd because some parts of the story did not match up, but that is a topic for another time.

“Ahh... Back then was really a pain, in lots of ways.

We visited the underclassmen at the hospital, and club activities were completely suspended.”

Looks like I brought up a bad memory.

Brushing away the breadcrumbs on my hands, I bow my head towards the two of them.

“Sorry. I seem to have brought up a topic unsuitable for our pleasant mealtime together.”

“No, it's not your fault. Anyway, about Mitsuzuri.”

Promptly pulling herself together, Makidera returns to eating her lunch.

“She's really acting strange. I think she's dating someone. Yeah, she must be. Well, it's just my intuition.”

―――I'm surprised.

My eyebrows lift unintentionally.

I remain exceedingly calm on the outside, but inside, my curiosity raises its ugly head.

Mitsuzuri Ayako is dating someone.

This is a rumor that cannot be ignored. After all...

“Yeah... that's right. It's our last year at school after all, maybe she just wanted to be in a relationship?”

“I don't think that's the reason. It's the same for first year and second year students.

Aah, Himuro, you know anything about Mitsuzuri?”

“...No, this is the first I have heard of it.”

In any case, there is no information on the likes of Mitsuzuri Ayako's male relations in my intelligence network.

It had been completely concealed from my eyes.

And the fact that Makidera noticed something I did not irritates me.

...Yet, without realizing it, the corners of my mouth twist into a smile.

“But Miss Mitsuzuri is dating someone, huh... Did it happen recently?”

“Nope, it was quite a while ago. Around April I think... Mitsuzuri definitely started acting weird back then. Don't you remember?”

It's harsh to ask me to recall what happened to Mitsuzuri Ayako so long ago, especially when I was not even particularly concerned with her back then.

So Makidera grasped something back then with her animal instincts and checked it out at some point―――Is that what happened?

No―――my observation and discipline were also insufficient.

“Yeah, Mitsuzuri-san was really frantic back then.”

“Oh, one floor cushion for Yukicchi. Very good. So Himuro-san, what will you do now that she's taken the lead from you!?”

“Nothing. So, do you know who the other person is?”

Naturally, I am curious about just who this other person could be.

But, contrary to my high expectations, Makidera merely showed me an idiotic expression.


“Not "Eh?", Makinoji, if Mitsuzuri Ayako started dating someone, isn't the next logical step to confirm who the person she's dating is? Are you that fishy?”

“Fishy...? Don't speak of people like tuna sandwiches.”

Should I call her "careless," then? A careless person. It's truly a phrase that exists for the purpose of describing Makidera.

No, right now, the commentary of Makidera Kaede, who possesses animal instincts despite her fishy and careless nature and excels at charging straight into things, is not needed. What's needed is―――

“Logic-smogic, there's no way I'd know. It's Mitsuzuri we're talking about. She seems popular, and her guard is as tough as Tohsaka's and Himuro's.”

“Are you saying that you see me and Miss Tohsaka on equal footing? But still...”

―――Who is Mitsuzuri Ayako's boyfriend?

I want to know who it is. My heart is racing so fast that I cannot relax at all. However, I am not the kind of person who acts rashly because of that kind of prodding.

“...Hmm, Mitsuzuri-san's boyfriend...”

“...You're really curious about who it is, huh, Himuro?”

This stupid black panther who only lives according to her instincts.

Closing my lunchbox, I nod reluctantly.

“――――Yeah, it is on my mind.”

“I see... So, you can't figure out who Mitsuzuri's boyfriend is?”

The black panther bares its fangs and grins―――that might be saying too much.

But, mysteriously, I feel hopeful at Makidera's fearless smile.

If our present interests are in alignment, we can unite her mobility and my discernment. All that remains is...

“Eh, eeh, um, Maki-chan, y-you can't do that!”

“What do you mean I can't, Yukicchi? This is Mitsuzuri Ayako, the famous honor student of Homurabara Academy, that we're talkin' about. As if she could be forgiven for hiding the existence of her boyfriend!!”

“Under the Constitution of Japan~, we have the certified right to know~!”

“No, there is no such article in the Constitution. Furthermore, that is an intrusion on an individual's privacy.”

“...If Yukika wants to leave the matter alone, then I will not inquire into it any further.”

If Makidera and I are joined by Yukika's virtuous sensibilities, then we cannot interfere half-heartedly.

Yukika was fidgeting uneasily for a while like a prairie dog lost in its den, but then...

“...Umm, I also kinda want to see Mitsuzuri-san's boyfriend... I guess.”

“I see, then it's decided.”

“Wahaha! Just wait there and prepare for your demise, Mitsuzuri Ayako! We'll dig up and expose your secret! Heaven's vengeance is slow but sure~!”

“How rare. Makinoji actually used an idiom correctly.”

“Shut up!”

At that moment, the school bell rings.

For now, I suppose I will just have to be satisfied that the three of us have come to an agreement.

“Crap! I got too into talking and didn't finish eating!”

“That truly is just like you.”

“So, then. About what we were discussing during lunch.”

After sixth period ends, the three of us gather together again.

It's noisy around us as people come and go on their way home or to club activities or prep school. We keep down our voices as we talk in the midst of the after-school commotion.

“...About Miss Mitsuzuri?”

“Yep. Who do you think her boyfriend is?”

Naturally, we refrain from talking about this in loud voices.

I stand up and propose that we talk while walking to the track and field club. Makidera answers with a "Roger" and Yukika nods.

“...Yukicchi, you noticed signs of it first, right? Do you have any idea who it could be?”

With nothing to lose by trying, Makidera asks Yukika.

Yukika tilts her head in thought for a while,

but then becomes dejected. So nothing after all.

“No, I can't imagine who Mitsuzuri-san's boyfriend could be at all.”

“Yeah, that is hard... So, yeah, we're counting on your icy brain cells, Himuro-kun.”

...So you just ask me frankly when you don't know the answer yourself, huh?

And you say "icy brain cells" like I'm sharp, but doesn't it sound more like I'm asleep instead?

“...It is difficult to say. I can only deduce the identity of her boyfriend from among Miss Mitsuzuri's close associates based on probability.”

“Close associates? Probability? Hey Kane, phrase it more simply.”

“In other words, you mean you can make a rough guess as to whether there are any guys like that among Mitsuzuri-san's acquaintances, right, Kane-chan?”

I'm grateful for Yukika's quick understanding.

“I see, I see. So, who's the likeliest?”

“Let's see... Hmm.”

A male that is connected to Mitsuzuri Ayako and has a possibility of ending up in a romantic relationship with her―――

I can probably eliminate any underclassmen, and the seniors that graduated back in April can also be put aside.

In that case... there is someone.

Just one guy with the potential to end up in a relationship with her.

The third-year playboy at Homurabara that frequently shows up in my notebook.

“...............It's Matou.”

“―――Are you serious?”

Makidera's first words were those of shock.

Yukika was apparently so stunned she couldn't even speak. It should not have been such a strange answer to them, though.

“Why are you so surprised?”

“I mean, you're talking about Shinji, right? Not his younger sister Matou Sakura in the year below?”

“Ugh... Matou-kun... huh?”

It was quite impressive to see Yukika show such great disdain on her face.

I understand why she wore such an expression. After all, Matou Shinji was a very notorious person some time ago.

“No, isn't that completely impossible, Himuro?”

“Miss Mitsuzuri is the captain of the archery club, and Matou Shinji is the vice-captain. The two of them are deeply connected.”

“Besides, although Matou was certainly a intolerable guy back in our second year, I hear that he has become quite upright and decent these days.”

I had only heard about it though, and I didn't feel inclined to actually check if it is true.

I cannot forget the humiliation I suffered in the past when he told me, "Ahaha, you're stuffy and your father is an important official in this town, so it's impossible for you to play with me, Himuro-san."

“So you think Mitsuzuri and Shinji are together just because of that!? Weren't there rumors that they fought a lot in the archery club?”

“Additionally, the events back in February deserve attention. Matou was definitely hospitalized in the same hospital as Miss Mitsuzuri back then.”

“The two of them spent a considerable amount of time there before being discharged, so we can't deny the possibility that they had some kind of contact with each other at the hospital back then.”

I feel that I may be forcing the facts together a bit too much, but I've decided to continue with this hypothesis until the end.

“Misery makes strange bedfellows―――or maybe not, but they embraced a sense of fellowship as they stayed at the hospital together, and since they already had a connection through their club, it developed into love... It isn't an impossible scenario.”

“Also, doesn't it seem all the more convincing supposing that Miss Mitsuzuri is responsible for the change in Matou Shinji?”

Mitsuzuri Ayako would surely restrain Matou Shinji's behavior even more if she were with him.

Supposing that Matou Shinji's bad reputation as someone with a very rampant and irresponsible nature has lessened to a certain extent, it could be conjectured that it is due to a certain someone admonishing him.

“Oh, I see. If you think of it like that, then it isn't impossible.”

“Hmm... Mitsuzuri-san with Matou-kun... hmmmm.”

Yukika still doesn't seem convinced yet, but that is understandable.

Makidera seemed to believe it for a moment, but then she frowns.

“But y'know, I thought Matou Shinji was only obsessed with Tohsaka.”

“What are you saying? You should also understand how Miss Tohsaka is, Makidera. There is no way she would have anything to do with someone of Matou Shinji's level.”

“Besides, it was known around that time that Emiya started going out with Miss Tohsaka back then, so that might have acted as a catalyst for his change in mental state and made him change his target of affection.”


...Could Makidera suddenly have gotten facial neuralgia?

When the names of Emiya and Tohsaka are mentioned, the area around her cheeks stiffen.

As someone who likes to act aloof and superior with Miss Tohsaka, she probably considers Emiya her arch-enemy.

...Mitsuzuri Ayako and Matou Shinji, huh?

Indeed, these two―――

“―――This couple... does not make a nice picture.”

“Himuro's sense of aesthetics finally comes out. You always get annoying when you start saying things like that.”

“But, I really think that this kind of thing is important...”

Even if Makidera doesn't understand, it's fine as long as Yukika understands.

After clearing my throat, I continue the conversation.

“...Anyway, that is the outline of my Mitsuzuri-Matou couple theory.

The problem, however, is how to obtain proof to corroborate this possibility.”

“...We can capture Mitsuzuri and ask her directly.”

“Do you want to give it a try, Makinoji?”

I respond coldly to Makidera's overly direct idea.

Although I didn't say those words to try to pick a fight, Makidera lets out a grandiose "Geh!" to show how much she doesn't want to.

“Don't joke about that. If I try asking the martial artist Mitsuzuri about something like that, the punchline will be me getting pulverized.

I know! If Yukicchi does it, maybe even Mitsuzuri won't bite.”

“Eh? Eeeh? M-Me?”

Yukika would probably be a better choice to do this instead of Makidera.

However, it would be unfair to suddenly make her do such a thing.

“We won't find out anything by asking Mitsuzuri herself. What we want is proof that can act as corroborating evidence.”

“Also, in matters concerning love, you cannot trust the comments of the people involved most of all.”

“...Himuro-sama is saying such heartless things. Then, if both Mitsuzuri herself and Shinji are no good... Oh, there is one person we can ask.”

―――Makidera puffs up her chest with pride.

Yukika and I stop walking and listen to her suggestion.

After checking left and right, Makidera confidently says the name of the person she has in mind.

“―――It's Mitsuzuri Minori.”

“The first-year student, Mitsuzuri-san's little brother?”

“Oh, you've found a good candidate. Indeed, he is a member of the archery club, and above all he's Miss Mitsuzuri's real younger brother.”

Since he is a member of Mitsuzuri Ayako's family, his testimony is the best to use as a reference.

Should he be inclined, we might be able to find out from him who the boyfriend is once and for all. After all, his position as a family member who lives together with Miss Mitsuzuri is different from us fellow classmates at Homurabara.

"Right?" Makidera says triumphantly.

However, Yukika tilted her head in thought... then eventually shook her head.

“...I think it's useless.”

“Eh? Why, Yukicchi?”

Makidera is confused at the sign of doubt expressed by someone unexpected.

I also did not think Yukika would deny Mitsuzuri's little brother as a possible clue.

“Yukika. Why do you think that?”

“Ummm... you see, even a younger brother might not know who his big sister is dating. My younger brothers don't care about my affairs at all either.”

“Ah... that's true. No, I understand.”

Makidera pouted due to having poked a sore spot for Yukika.

Yukika certainly did have four younger brothers. Her words on the matter should therefore be placed in high regard.

“Now that you mention it... According to rumor, her younger brother is quite brusque with people.”

“If the relationship between an older sister and younger brother is like that, and if he has that kind of attitude as well, we can expect a rough time if we ask him... Hmm, how troublesome.”

We stopped walking.

Allowing the investigation to suddenly come to a halt here would also mean defeat. Someone else―――someone even closer to Matou Shinji than Mitsuzuri Ayako...

―――Actually, isn't there an unexpectedly ideal person for this?

“There certainly is someone―――Yeah. If it's that girl, she will know for sure.”

“What did you want to talk about, Makidera-senpai?”

Matou Sakura. Matou Shinji's younger sister.

It was quite simple. We couldn't ask Mitsuzuri Ayako's younger brother, so we merely changed our target to Matou Shinji's younger sister.

Certainly, a younger brother might not have any interest in his big sister's love life, but there is no way a younger sister wouldn't be interested in her big brother's activities in that regard.

“Ah... sorry. It's a pretty trivial matter.”

“Is it something about my club?”

She is the current captain of the archery club. Her predecessor was Mitsuzuri Ayako.

As someone involved, she is in an ideal position to give testimony.

The gentle-faced and beautiful Miss Matou looks uncomfortable for some reason.

...That's only natural. She, a second-year, has been called out by herself to the back woods by three third-years. There is no way she could stay calm and composed.

“―――I apologize for calling you out to a place like this. We took up your time in order to ask you a question, Matou-san.”


“...If it's something that is difficult to talk about, you do not have to force yourself to answer.”

Saying that just makes more and more question marks appear above Matou Sakura's head.

Makidera has the corners of her mouth turned down, and Yukika obviously can't settle down.

I push up the temple of my glasses with my finger, and take a deep breath―――

“There is something we would like to ask you concerning your older brother, Matou Shinji.”

―――In an instant.

The sound of leaves falling and piling up on the ground in the forest comes to a stop.

That was how much her mood completely changed at the mention of Matou Shinji's name.


A tense atmosphere that hesitates to even stir.

She, I, and even Yukika forget to breathe and sink into silence.

“―――Is there something the matter with Nii-san?”

Her demeanor had suddenly changed. She gave off a feeling of clear trepidation and suspicion.

I could tell that Makidera was starting to edge back. Yukika was merely shocked by this change in Miss Matou.

Unlike myself, I spoke frantically.

“It's about a trivial matter. No, rather, it would be more accurate to call it a crude and worthless matter.”

“And yet you're asking me for help without explaining much―――”

Miss Matou is really not letting her guard down.

Have I failed? ―――No, it was completely unexpected for her to harbor such deep suspicion over the matter of Matou Shinji.

Just what the heck is going on between this brother and sister? Therein must lay things that are difficult to understand―――Something must have happened.

An uncomfortable-looking Makidera tugs on my sleeve.

“...Isn't it fine to stop, Himuro?”

“We can't do that after coming this far. It may be fine to stop, but it will be uncomfortable if Matou Sakura remains suspicious and apprehensive like this. You and I may not mind it, but it will be pitiful for Yukika.”


It's an awkward conversation.

I shake my head slightly, and ask the stone-faced Miss Matou.

“Is your brother, Matou Shinji...”


“...In a romantic relationship with Mitsuzuri Ayako?”

Miss Matou―――

―――widened her eyes, and was literally at a loss for words.

“Eh?* Ah, um, could you repeat that one more time, Himuro-senpai?”

“Like I said, are Matou Shinji and Mitsuzuri Ayako, in other words, your big brother and your Senpai and former club captain, currently dating?”

“Why would that be the case!?”

―――When you say it like that, I agree.

Matou Shinji and Mitsuzuri Ayako are in a romantic relationship.

When I say it again like that, this pairing is too unreasonable. It was something I understood deep down, but...

“Um, Matou-san? That, uumm...”

“Miss Himuro-senpai* here guessed that the person going out with former-captain Mitsuzuri is your big brother, and she thought you'd know if it were true.”

“Aren't you making it seem like I'm responsible for everything, Miss Makidera-senpai?*”

“I'm not saying you have all the responsibility, but wasn't it you that originally had an interest in Miss Mitsuzuri's male relationships, Makinoji?”

“Umm, that is, I don't fully understand, but...”

Miss Matou is flustered. Since the usual conversation has started between me and Makidera, it is only natural that she would be confused when she was not aware of the previous details.

“Based on your expression, you find this question quite unexpected―――”

“Yes. I think it's impossible for Nii-san to be dating Mitsuzuri-senpai.”

“Ah, just like I thought, Matou-san. Thank goodness...”

Yukika is relieved. Finally throwing off her reserve, she makes a gentle face.

“...You were mistaken, Himuro. I'll be confiscating one floor cushion from you.”

“If you want to take something away, you can take cushions or whatever you want. Clearly refuting an idea is more useful than mere ambiguous possibilities in an investigation.”

Makidera seems more disappointed than I am and grumbles beside me.

I don't understand well how floor cushions act as a standard, but is the hierarchy decided by cushions at her home?

Perhaps there are such feudalistic customs at old dry-goods wholesale stores.

I swallow back a sigh.

―――Though she had acted firmly until now, a dark cloud now hangs over Miss Matou as she opens her mouth to speak.

“In the first place, Nii-san has found it hard to deal with Mitsuzuri-senpai for a long time. Though I don't know how Mitsuzuri-senpai thinks of Nii-san... Besides, in the club, Nii-san has been a little...”

“No, if it's something that's difficult to speak about with people outside the club, you don't have to talk about it.”

“We are merely interested in Miss Mitsuzuri's significant other.”

I emphasized that and tried to undo Matou Sakura's wariness against us.

At this rate, we will tread into the seemingly serious issues between the Matou siblings instead of the matter of Mitsuzuri Ayako.

Makidera calls out "Hey" to the still pensive Miss Matou.

“Ah, I don't mind talking about Shinji. If there's something wrong with him, we can also give you advice. He wouldn't be such a troublesome guy if he only chose his partners a bit better.”

“His problems do not sound normal when you say that, Maki.”

Makidera retorts with "Shut up," while Miss Matou watches with an apologetic smile.

I felt that we had asked something inexcusable in more ways than one, but I have to establish this clearly.

“Now then, I'm sorry for taking up your time, Matou-san.”

“No... Don't worry about it, Himuro-senpai.”

“One last thing. Matou-san, do you have any idea as to who Mitsuzuri Ayako's boyfriend is?”

Miss Matou's gaze swam above us.

―――Did she have an idea, or was she hiding something she knew?

Eventually, she nodded.

Although we were in the middle of the woods in autumn, she gave a smile like a blooming bud in spring.

“...Ryuudou-senpai is Mitsuzuri-senpai's wonderful partner.”

Eclipse 11 Himuro The Love Detective (Act two)

“...What should we do about it, Himuro...?”

“What indeed? You must mean that, Makinoji.”

It fell upon us to solve this new enigma.

...Perhaps "enigma" would be an overstatement. But when the Mitsuzuri-Matou theory was tragically disproven, it gave birth to an entirely new possibility.

Huddled together before homeroom, the three of us convened to discuss this new development.

Our topic was―――

“Ryuudou-kun and Mitsuzuri-san, huh? They seem like a good couple.”

“Mm, that fits. Picture perfect, I'd say.

In any case, there isn't anyone that would make a better subject for such a painting than Ryuudou Issei.”

Yukika sighed with what seemed to me like adoration.

Ryuudou Issei―――The student president who still holds the title of best-looking male student even into his senior year.

He is an honor student as well, and said to possess some degree of martial skill despite his appearance.

An honest-to-goodness Renaissance man, whose talents shine in sharp contrast to that of the spoiled Matou Shinji.

The relationship between him and Mitsuzuri Ayako―――

But Makidera didn't appear to accept this at all.

She made her disapproval clear to Yukika and me.

“"Picture perfect"!?―――So anyone's fine as long as they look like a cute couple to you?”

“Is that not important? Many things in this world are considered acceptable if they complement each other in a pleasing way.”

“But, Maki-chan, don't you think it'd be wonderful if those two were going out?”

Yukika seemed quite happy with the idea after she heard it from Matou Sakura.

An understandable reaction.

They really would be the kind of beautiful couple one might paint a portrait of.

A decorated hakama and white shiromuku would present a stunning contrast side-by-side, or even a sharp tuxedo alongside a snow-white wedding dress. My inner artist immediately begins composing idealized images of the two.

No criticism could be made of this match. If it were up to me, that is.

“Well, fine... I get that.

But do you think Ryuudou Issei could really be dating Mitsuzuri? 'Cause I don't.”

“Mmm? Maki-chan, why not?”

“Just sayin'. Hasn't the student president always favored the cultural clubs over the athletic clubs?”

“Indeed, I do remember them quarreling a lot last year over the club budgets.”

“We're talking about that Ryuudou Issei. Do you think it'd be possible for him to fall for Mitsuzuri, who heads the influential archery club?”

Yukika seemed disappointed as she realized this as well.

Makidera had a point. There was some logic to it, but she wasn't seeing the whole picture.

“It's not as if Ryuudou Issei is the student president before he's a human being, Maki. In the same way that track and field doesn't take precedence over your private life.”

“Nah, I'm telling you that's a real possibility for His Excellency the student president. People still talk about how straitlaced that guy is.”

“That is... true as well. But if so―――”

The three of us pull up our chairs, huddling even closer.

In that case, this entire hypothesis would be invalid.

“It's Romeo and Juliet.”

“...What the heck?”

“You mean... Ryuudou-kun and Mitsuzuri-san like each other even though they're enemies?”

Correct. Yes, she's quicker on the uptake than Makidera.

“In other words, Makinoji, Ryuudou Issei must oppose the athletic clubs on principle. But then Mitsuzuri-san, who is one of the few female captains, would come to his attention.”


“And it's precisely because they are enemies that they saw each other as man and woman, and love bloomed, or something.”

“Sparks flew between the two foes! And along the way, the romantic fires of a cursed love might have blazed into existence.”

"Heeh," mused Makidera, impressed.

I wanted to smirk and comment that she totally made it sound like an opera―――

“I see. So you think that both Mitsuzuri and Ryuudou burn for forbidden love?”

“Right. And if this supposition were true, it would also explain why no one knew of their affair. There's no way that the Son of the Temple would let anyone know.”

“Son of the Temple? Who's that, Kane-chan?”

“―――Excuse me. I meant Ryuudou Issei.”

In my excitement, I called Ryuudou Issei by a popular nickname.

I appear to have gotten through to the two of them, to a point.

But while Yukika was positively in love with the idea, Makidera seemed to have a hard time accepting it.

That may be, but...

“Hmm... mmm... Ryuudou... he's on bad terms with Tohsaka, right?”

“Indeed, they're on bad terms. Or perhaps I should call them bitter enemies. The conflict between Miss Tohsaka and President Ryuudou burns to this day.”

“―――I see. Nice.”

What's going on in that mind of hers?

Makidera's face suddenly brightens, as if her prior skepticism had been a lie.

“All right. Let's get them together.”

“...The meaning behind your statement is unclear, Makinoji. We are not trying to be their matchmakers. We are just figuring out whether they are dating or not.”

“It's A-OK, Himuro. That's not the important part. Mmm. Bahaha. I see, Mitsuzuri. If we put her with Ryuudou, that'll knock her down a peg around me... heheheh.”

Makidera was giggling with bizarre delight.

It made me want to wave my hand in front of her to check her sanity.

“What should we do, Kane-chan? Maki-chan's acting so weird...”

“It's okay, Yukika. After all, that's just how Makinoji is.”

“Imagine that! Awesome, Kane. Just what I'd expect from our Zhuge Liang!”

Her voice echoed throughout the room like a gong.

I couldn't tell if she was actually praising me or just getting carried away.

I rubbed my temples to stave off my headache.

It felt like we had gone completely off track―――

“If Kane-chan is Zhuge Liang, then who am I?”

“Hm, it'd be tough to compare Yukicchi to one of the generals from the Three Kingdoms... Maybe Lu Su...? No, wait, we should be looking for witnesses now, right?”

I nodded silently. No sense adding fuel to the fire.

Being who she was, there was no dissuading Makidera from trying to prove her own theory about the Son of the Temple and Miss Mitsuzuri. I wonder where her brimming enthusiasm comes from―――

“Well, who shall we ask? I believe Ryuudou has siblings.”

“Yeah, the young man at Ryuudou Temple. I remember seeing him doing monk chores.”

...To ask a holy man about his little brother's love life would be over the line. Even more so than Mitsuzuri's little brother.

“He's practically made of boring, right down to the blood in his veins.”

“Perhaps even on a cellular or genetic level... Then what will we do? At this rate Ryuudou's love life will be cursed.”

I frown, thinking.

Ryuudou Issei is known for his very limited circle of acquaintances.

They say that―――contrary to his social status, Ryuudou is quite shy.

And it looks like they are also starting to say the same thing about me, which is troubling, but I will ignore that for the time being.

“...That's true, you can count on one hand the number of close friends our student council president has... geh.”

“As expected, he is the only one we can turn to.”

―――There is indeed someone close to Ryuudou who we can ask, but...

“...Who is it, Kane-chan?”

“―――It's Emiya Shirou. This is troublesome, since he is Miss Tohsaka's partner in love.”

“Aah... I see...”

If you narrow it down to people familiar with both Mitsuzuri Ayako and Ryuudou Issei, the only one that remains is that oddball, Emiya.

Indeed, he is a former member of the archery club and is one of Ryuudou's few close friends.

But at the same time, he is Miss Tohsaka's lover―――Would it really be okay to rashly approach him?

Makidera groans with an expression as though she had just drunken muddy water disguised as coffee.

“...Geh, gegeh, that damn Emiya. Does he have something against me? He's always getting in my way...”

“I do not think he has any such intention. It cannot be helped. You should put aside your ulterior motive for now, Maki. Think of it as a small sacrifice for the greater cause.”

“Emiya-kun... right, that's right... Ah, but if he is dating Tohsaka-san, then he might know even more about Mitsuzuri-san.”

“That is how it is, Makinoji. Quiet down and give up.”

“Uuuuu... uuuuuuuuuuuuu......”

“Excuse me. Is Emiya here?”

“Hm, I was wondering who it was, but it's none other than Madame Himuro. I am very flattered and honored that you would visit this humble abode. Now then, what would you require of Emiya?”

“There is something I wish to discuss.”

―――A tone tinged with an era long past. Is this Goto?

“Oh? It appears not to be a normal discussion. Are you here to make an arrest, I wonder?”

“That Emiya Shirou feigns to be a thin ronin among us who would not even hurt a fly, but like I thought, he truly is not an ordinary man, is he?”

“No, I already knew from the moment he spun around his chair that he was not normal. Be that as it may, could Madame Himuro be in the midst of an undercover arson-and-robbery investigation?”

“No, nothing that serious. It is neither something that needs to be concealed or felt guilty over.”

“Tsk, is that so?

Then I shall tell thee henceforth that he is anon on the roof.”

“Mhm, thank you very much. So that's how it is. Let us head to the roof.”

The two behind me are dumbfounded.

...I admit there was a few problems with the flavor of our conversation, but there's no reason to be so astonished.

“What are you doing, Maki? Lunch is going to end soon if you stay stunned like that.”

“...The heck was that conversation just now?”

“That was amazing, Kane-chan. Like you were back in the Edo period or something.”

...Is that really supposed to be praised? Rather, I think that Goto's acting skills should be praised more.

“...Well, it doesn't matter. Anyway, let's corner Emiya quickly and get him to cough up some info.”

“I doubt you remember half the things we said this morning.”

“Eh? Aren't we making Mitsuzuri and Ryuudou hook up? So we need to convince Emiya―――”

...How does she get away with twisting her interpretation that far to suit her desires? Over the course of the four classes this morning, our conversation earlier has completely fermented and changed form inside of Makidera.

“No, Maki-chan. We're going to ask Emiya-kun whether Mitsuzuri-san and Ryuudou-kun are going out or not.”


Well, it's fine either way. In any case, we're going to beat Emiya-kun hollow. Completely hollow.”

We head toward the roof.

If we don't finish this quickly, all of our lunch time will be used up.

...But on the way, I whisper to Makidera.

“―――Why are you so obsessed with getting Mitsuzuri and Ryuudou together?”

“Eh? Aren't you the one more into this, Himuro?”

“I am simply curious, but you on the other hand... hmm.”

“Haah? I'm not really obsessed with it.”

Makidera always gets worked up over using Mitsuzuri, recognizing her as her greatest rival.

That's why she is using this as a chance to oust Mitsuzuri... Is that really all?

“...Someone's on the roof, Maki-chan.”

“That must be Emiya.................. ugh.”

Perhaps due to being deep in thought, I ended up falling behind the other two.

Makidera and Yukika stand in front of the door to the rooftop.

I feel an extraordinary tension emanating from their backs. And carried by the wind is―――

“..................isn't it?”

“Like I said...”

Emiya Shirou is not the only one speaking.

There is someone else―――with a very familiar voice.

“...Miss Tohsaka, is it?”

“I wonder what happened? Those two are acting strange...”

We watch covertly from our hiding place, but we cannot hear them very well.

Their voices are dispersed by the strong wind.

...Well, since the person we have business with is Emiya Shirou, we should just come out and call for him, but...

“Tohsaka, that's...... right? It's like...”

“Hmm...... is what you're saying?”

It did not look like a peaceful conversation.

Makidera gulps, and Yukika is obviously nervous.

The atmosphere between them was so dangerous that even I could do nothing but watch while concealed within the doorway's shadow.

Emiya Shirou is clearly bewildered, but is also biting back some kind of unpleasantness.

Meanwhile, Miss Tohsaka is displaying a level of emotion I had never seen from her before.

―――Even I am not brazen enough to step out into this kind of situation.

“W-What should we do, Himuro? There's something strange about them.”

“...You can tell by looking at them. They seem to be having a quarrel.”

“Eh? Emiya and Tohsaka are fighting? Wow.”

How could Makidera put on such a happy face after hearing that?

I feel that I'll have to reconsider her mental state one of these days.

“No, that's not it... L-Like I said, I...”

“I get it, Shirou. You already have Ayako, Saber and Sakura. Then why don't you just do as you please?”

We heard Miss Tohsaka's last words clearly.

Those provocative words were just as though she was striking him with divorce papers.

The recipient, Emiya, just stands there disheartened.

And then, Tohsaka turns around and heads this way―――

“I-Is our cover blown!?”

“No, it's because the only exit is here.”

“Then we're really going to be discovered!”

Miss Tohsaka walks this way with a long, swinging stride.

This is bad. If Miss Tohsaka sees us doing something so shameful―――

“We're getting out of here, Himuro!”


Makidera and I run away like scared rabbits.

I'm not saying this to boast, but I am confident in my short sprints. And Makidera is an ace at mid-distance sprints. Running away from Miss Tohsaka is easy for us―――however...

There is one person among us who we cannot demand that kind of speed from.

“W-Wait! I...”

A helpless scream cries out behind our back.

There's a chance of toppling down the stairs if we run too fast. But we do have the spare time to exchange a glance between the two of us―――

“I'll leave it to you, Maki.”


“WAHAHAHAHA!!* Isn't this just great, Himuro!”

“What is? Although I do laud your ability to run so fast while carrying Yukika.”

“No, not that. I mean the fight between Tohsaka and Emiya. Yay!”

―――She has become quite ecstatic.

Arriving in the classroom, I have to catch my breath more than expected.

“...Huh...? Everything is spinning.”

“Ah, I guess I shook you up a little. Sorry, Yukicchi.”

Makidera's breathing is perfectly calm even as she lets Yukika down.

However, contrary to the way she appears, her chest is pounding with excitement.

Even though there are fewer people than usual in the classroom at lunchtime, they are all staring at us.

I arrive at my desk and sit down, but―――

“...Damn. We forgot to ask Emiya about Ryuudou.”

“Eh? Ah, now that you mention it, you're right. Well, it's fine either way, isn't it?”

Sitting down opposite me, Makidera starts unpacking her lunchbox.

―――I am impressed that she did not eat it before lunchtime today, but...

“No, it is not fine either way. In the end we never found out anything about the relationship between Ryuudou Issei and Mitsuzuri Ayako.”

“That's no big deal. It's no problem whether they're together or not. What's important right now is the fight between Tohsaka and Emiya, right?”

Makidera lowers her voice as she whispers this breaking news.

It is true that we have witnessed an unimaginable scene. However, our original goal was Mitsuzuri Ayako―――

After remaining indecisive for a short while, Yukika sits down next to us with her lunch.

Contrary to Makidera's excitement, Yukika is quite depressed.

“Mmm... Tohsaka-san was really mad, wasn't she?”

“Well, Emiya is the quiet and unsociable type, after all. I knew that things wouldn't work out between him and Tohsaka. Fufufu, this is great, mm, mm.”

Makidera scarfs down her food.

Perhaps because the spectacle earlier pleased her that much, she smiles as if she had just won at life―――This is troublesome.

“...But, Maki-chan. I still think it's bad to fight like that...”

“But it would probably be difficult for us to offer the two of them any help or advice. Miss Tohsaka is―――”

Speak of the devil. Miss Tohsaka enters the classroom.

I hold my breath and watch, wondering whether or not she noticed us running away from the scene.

Makidera ducks her head down and tries to hide.

Yukika tries to call out to Miss Tohsaka, but cannot.

Miss Tohsaka goes to her seat and opens her lunchbox.

I guess she must not have finished her lunch―――Makes sense. She did leave the rooftop like that, after all.

She glances over, but does not seem interested in us.

The aura emanating from her naturally takes hold over the classroom.

It is difficult to speak loudly now. Even more so for us after witnessing that spectacle.

“......She's pissed. At that guy. Seriously.”

“Just what in the world did Emiya do? Well, for now, let's finish our lunch, too.”

“Mm... ah... I'm so worried... What should I do...”

There isn't much talking. It was an unfufilling lunch. Only Makidera was in high spirits, while Yukika was despondent and I did not know what to talk about.

Like that, lunchtime comes to an end.

The situation revolving around Mitsuzuri and Tohsaka had only become more convoluted―――

“Mitsuzuri-senpai? She hasn't come today. But if you have a message for her, I can pass it on.”

“Nee―――No, Nee-chan is probably still at school. I saw her in the school building a little while ago.”

“Ah, I see. Sorry to bother you.”

“Emiya? Isn't he at his part-time job? He left not long ago.”

“Ah, maybe he went to the student council room. Emiya still frequents that place. But it's hard to be sure. He always seems like he's everywhere yet nowhere.”

Both Mitsuzuri Ayako and Emiya Shirou are unavailable.

This time, I have come to investigate by myself without Makidera or Yukika.

Makidera has the enthusiasm, but her interests do not coincide with mine, so she is useless. Yukika feels bad about the fight between Miss Tohsaka and Emiya, so forcing her to accompany me would be cruel.


But this is turning out very strange.

Although I started to investigate Mitsuzuri Ayako out of mere curiosity, Miss Tohsaka and Emiya Shirou suddenly got involved and created a suffocating tension―――However...

Fundamentally, the degradation of the relationship between Tohsaka and Emiya is a separate matter from the issue of Mitsuzuri's boyfriend.


I mumble to myself as I head towards the student council room.

“I guess I have no other choice but to ask the student council president directly―――”

If Emiya is there with him, I can just separate them and ask him alone.

If Ryuudou is alone, I will have to ask him directly in order to clarify the truth about Mitsuzuri.

I'm puzzled as to why I am so riled up about this, but I cannot accept giving up and wasting it all for nothing now.

“―――It's Himuro, third-year. I'm coming in.”

The student council room is mostly empty.

People say that the members of the current student council are too business-like.

And as usual, the most enthusiastic man within the student council is the only one in the room.

Emiya Shirou is absent.

“...So, the Son of the Temple is working by himself?”

“Hmph. I still need to put together these documents before year-end. I would think that the Daughter of a Civil Servant would be accustomed to the sight of someone working towards December.”

The student council president, Ryuudou Issei, sternly closes his mouth.

It goes without saying that he is a handsome man, but his expression is clearly showing his misgivings about me.

“That is one nickname I do not often hear.”

“I also have the name of Ryuudou Issei. Did you not consider that you would be grating on my nerves when you call me the Son of the Temple to my face?”

His manner is quite overbearing, but it must be because he is not familiar with me.

I lightly bow my head to him. Continuing to argue over this will get me nowhere.

“Pardon me. Then, Ryuudou Issei-kun.”

“―――Very good. Himuro Kane-kun, do you have some business with the student council?”

“It is nothing concerning the track and field club nor my class. I came because I had some business with you personally.”

Ryuudou's eyebrows furrow.

That is understandable. He probably feels troubled to hear that I have personal business with him.

I sit down on the chair he offers. I'm grateful that the room has already been cleared of other people.

I straighten my back and face Ryuudou.

“You have business with me?”

“――――Ryuudou, are you going out with Mitsuzuri Ayako?”

I forgo any preamble and just cut to the chase.

“Wha... what?! Are we going out?!”

“Son of the Temple, even you are quite shaken up right now. I see... No, I'm sorry for bothering you.”

“Wait,* wait, Wait!* Himuro Kane, don't expect to just walk out after suddenly saying such a thing!”

He grabs onto my sleeve to stop me.

It is a display of panic unbecoming of the student council president who is known for being cool, calm and collected.

“My business is done, so my lingering about will just hinder your work. It's fine to just forget my question.”

“How could I!? Is there anyone in this world who could agree that I should just forget after suddenly being asked by a stranger whether I am dating Mitsuzuri Ayako?”

Ryuudou flares up at me.

―――I feel that it would be better for his happiness if he does not continue on this subject any further, but I suppose he cannot just let it go and forget about it.

“In the first place, why are you asking if I am dating her?”

“...That is because there were no other qualified candidates besides you. You are the only one who would go well together with Miss Mitsuzuri.”

Ryuudou nods his head in understanding.

I think he accepted that, but a frown quickly descends upon his face.

“I feel quite honored that you think I go well together with that brave woman, but that does not answer my question.”

“In the first place, I'm surprised you would be interested in such a thing.”

“...I am just going around and investigating the matter of who Miss Mitsuzuri is dating in order to satisfy my rather tasteless curiosity.”

Although I wonder whether that will suffice as an answer.

“You were quite taken aback just now. Perhaps you have someone in mind?”

“Oh? Judging from your expression, it seems I am not far off the mark.”

“W-What are you talking about!? Even you must have someone whom you respect!”

“There are a lot of people I respect. You are one of them too. I'm not saying this as flattery. Don't make such a rude face.”

“..................Mmm. I am honestly pleased to hear that from a person I also acknowledge――――Or rather, hmm, I'll just take it as flattery, after all.”

"Ahem," Ryuudou clears his throat.

I cannot tell whether this modest part of him is a virtue or a bad habit.

“However, this is also the first time I have heard that Mitsuzuri is dating someone.”

“...I had just been informed myself yesterday as well. The candidates were first Matou Shinji, and then you.”

“It is definitely not Shinji.”

Ryuudou frowns.

A small headache strikes me as I recall what happened in the back forest yesterday.

“When I told Matou Sakura-san the same thing, she was also very surprised.”

“Haha, that must have been be a disaster for her, too. Still, I think it is impossible for me to be placed on the same level as Matou Shinji, but... hmm, Mitsuzuri's boyfriend, huh...?”

I must have piqued his curiosity. Ryuudou falls into deep thought.

And eventually, lets out a long sigh.

“I would give my blessing if Emiya were dating her.”


Emiya Shirou and Mitsuzuri Ayako.

I never considered that possibility at all until now.

That is only natural. After all―――

“But Miss Himuro, isn't Emiya dating that Tohsaka Rin? We're talking about that Witch Tohsaka*. That wily fox. That monstress. To think that she would seduce Emiya!”

“Don't you think that is horrible? Moreover, Emiya also looks satisfied with his situation.”

―――The possibility that Emiya could be Mitsuzuri's boyfriend is completely excluded due to Miss Tohsaka.

Seeming to have gotten a bit impassioned, Ryuudou continues talking on and on towards me.

“That's why I told him to leave that wily fox alone.

Tohsaka's sweet devilishness will eat away at Emiya's good character like a cavity.”

“But no matter how many times I have told him to hurry up and understand that, he still remains hooked by that woman. This is bad. Completely outrageous.”


I wonder whether he is absorbed in deriding his long-time archenemy Tohsaka or is deeply lamenting the fall of his friend.

“It is troubling for me to have to listen to your verbal abuse.”

“Mmm, I see... In any case, that Emiya and Tohsaka are dating is regrettable.”

“Ah, but if Mitsuzuri Ayako or Saber-san were his partner, I would gladly bless and support them...”


He mentioned an unfamiliar name, but does it belong to someone from this country?

Although, for Ryuudou to add a polite honorific after her name, he must be well acquainted with her... How unusual for there to be a female that has become so familiar with Ryuudou.


I realize that I myself am speaking quite familiarly with him.

“If it were you that was Emiya's partner, Himuro-kun, that would also be a desirable outcome.”

“―――You shouldn't make such earth-shattering statements on the spur of the moment either.

I would like to tell what you said just now to the person in question. I'd like to see what kind of face he makes in response.”


This class president's weakness seems to be that Emiya Shirou.

Just what kind of obsession do these two have? Makidera with Miss Tohsaka and him with Emiya. Some people are just hard to understand.

“No, I would appreciate it if you did not do that.”

“Of course. I failed at grabbing Emiya Shirou myself, after all―――When I went to ask him about you, he was in the midst of an argument with Miss Tohsaka.”

It is bad taste to touch upon such matters.

However, Ryuudou's eyes narrow in delight as if he has just heard good news.

“Oh...? Is that true?”

“It would not benefit me to lie.

But most likely it is just an emotional spat common between lovers.”

...Despite that, there are those who prematurely rejoice over it. I scold both Makidera and Ryuudou Issei in my mind.

I can imagine Miss Tohsaka saying, "Why are you guys so happy about other people's business?"

And I would answer her thusly―――"It is a beautiful girl's fate. Accept it."


“...No, it's nothing. Anyway, it seems like this investigation concerning Mitsuzuri Ayako's boyfriend has reached a dead end.”

“Oh... I know of a person Mitsuzuri is bad at dealing with, Rider-san from Emiya's place. Although I have no clue who she gets along well with.”

Another unfamiliar name reaches my ears.

Is that a nickname or her real name?

A Saber is a sword or a weapon, and a Rider is a driver of some sort. They are strange even as surnames.

In any case Ryuudou seems to be out of ideas, too.

―――No, now that I have come to this point I can think of one other possibility.

How long has it been?

It seems to be noisy and boisterous outside, but in contrast, the inside of the student council room is filled with peace and tranquility.

“...If you don't mind low-grade tea, would you like a drink, Himuro-kun?”

“No. But it is surprising, talking to you so familiarly like this.”

“―――Indeed. I've never had much contact with you, so I had no ill feelings towards you from the start.”

“If I were blessed with people as talented as you among the executives of the student council, then by now...”

“Himuro! You there!?”*

The door suddenly bursts open.

No, it's more accurate to say that it is literally thrown open.

“I was wondering who it was, but it's only Makidera from third-year. Can't you at least knock first?”

“Makinoji, you need to treat school property more delicately.”

“What the hell are you two talking about so calmly!?”

For some reason, Makidera is in a ferociously excited state.

Ryuudou gazed frankly and coldly at the noisy Makidera who just barged into the room.

“I thought you were gone! Like I was saying, this is something big!”

“Something big? That's quite a bold abbreviation.

Maki, did you not consider contacting me by calling or sending a text with your cellphone?”

“That doesn't matter, let's go!”

She roughly grabs onto my sleeve.

Perhaps it is my sleeve's fate to be grabbed onto here in the student council room.

“She's quite loud, your companion.”

“It would be odd if she were quiet. Sorry about this. I'll accept your offer of tea another time.”

“Get up*, hurry up! Just leave that Monk Ryuudou!”

Behind us, I can hear Ryuudou say, "Muh, Makidera, I don't recall allowing you to call me the Son of the Temple either," but I have already been dragged away.

Recklessly running through the hallways doesn't really agree with me, but it cannot be helped with Makidera in this state.

“What has happened?”

“Yukicchi is at the scene right now! It's breaking news!”

As I try to keep up with her, I glance at Makidera's face―――

“Kuhehehehe... It's a big catch!”

―――Why does that expression of hers make me feel so uneasy?

“Ah, Kane-chan. Over here, over here.”

“Awesome, Yukicchi. They're still there, right?”

We stop and cut off our voices.

Is there something around the corner of this hallway?


Mitsuzuri Ayako and Emiya Shirou are near the staircase.

Strange. What is this pair that I was just thinking about in the student council room doing here―――?

“Right? It's breaking news, right?”

“They've been talking like that for a while. They seem happy.”

Just as Yukika says, the two of them are talking openly with each other.

It was a quite a contrast compared to the thorny atmosphere during the conversation between Miss Tohsaka and Emiya on the roof that was clear even from far away.

Emiya's face is an open book like usual, but how should I describe Mitsuzuri-san...

“Ah, she smiled.”

“Mitsuzuri-san, she's smiling.”

“...Don't they look quite friendly?”

I speak frankly.

Although not as much as Tohsaka, Mitsuzuri Ayako usually wears an angry expression more often than a smile.

But the way she talks with Emiya and even slaps his back is not her usual self.

“Uwah... So she gets along well with Emiya-kun.”

“I guess they were always like that... No, but still, I did not know they were that friendly. My, my.”


“...I wonder what those two are talking about?”

“We can't hear from here, but we can't just go out and listen...”


Yukika's expression is troubled.

That is only natural. Rather, it would be a problem if it didn't pain her heart eavesdropping on the private lives of Miss Tohsaka and Miss Mitsuzuri like this. For the deeply kind-natured Yukika, this must be torture.

And Makidera was just standing there with sparkling eyes and no sign of being troubled by this in the least. This one is a big problem.

“...Did you say something, Himuro?”

“No. I was just reflecting on myself and feeling ashamed.

But still, that pairing that seems likely yet unlikely.”

“What does that even mean?”

Makidera looks back with a puzzled face.

But before I could answer, the scene occurring down the hall changes.


“Their conversation seems to be over, but...”

Mitsuzuri walks down the stairs smiling.

Emiya heads this way.

Are we going to have to run away again? Panic sets among us.

But, we won't make it in time.


Emiya glances curiously at us and then continues to walk away.

Silently, without a word from him or us.


Yukika finally heaves a sigh of relief.

Even I suddenly feel such a strong sensation of both tension and relaxation that I want to loosen my collar now that Emiya and Mitsuzuri are gone.

Makidera's shoulders shake as she smiles suspiciously.

“I just saw... something great.”

“Chasing after Emiya was really worth it. I knew he'd pull something off.”

“Then it seems as though I was the one who wasted effort this time.”

I regret having fallen behind Makidera.

No, it was not entirely fruitless.

“By the way, what were you doing up until just now in the student council room with Ryuudou?”

“Huh? You were with Ryuudou-kun, Kane-chan?”

Makidera asks as if she has just remembered it.

It's not a topic I should bring up now, but it is also not a secret.

“I was asking Ryuudou directly whether he is dating Mitsuzuri or not.”

“Eh!? So, how'd he reply!?”

“He coolly denied it. It seems there is someone else on his mind―――”

“What, even our great student council president has an interesting secret?”

How troublesome.

Although the circumstances around Mitsuzuri have become complicated, both Ryuudou and Makidera have been creating chaos and confusion inside my head. I wish they would follow Yukika's example. She is truly quiet, kind and cooperative.

I try to imagine a quiet, kind and cooperative Makidera――――――――and immediately give up on doing so.

“I see... Even though they really would make a good couple.”

“I was hoping they would be together, too. Those two make a picture perfect couple.”

“Then what about this couple? Are they picture perfect?”

By "this couple," she could only mean one thing.

Mitsuzuri Ayako and Emiya Shirou.

“...Maki-chan. Could you mean...?”

“Right. It's Emiya and Mitsuzuri, right? I never thought those two would cling to each other like that.”

Makidera seemed to be sincerely happy.

But even so, it does not seem quite right. This whole thing smells like trouble.

“...I wonder about that. I heard that Miss Mitsuzuri always tried so hard to stop Emiya from leaving the archery club. Apparently she still tried to get him to come back even after he quit the club.”

“Yeah, apparently he's pretty good. I heard from Fujimura-sensei that he could've gone onto nationals.”

“But, there was even a legend about Fujimura-sensei back in her school days... what was it called? The Tiger of Fuyuki, right?”

The legend of the Tiger of Fuyuki told about in rumors is more like some kind of occult horror story, though.

...Getting back to the main topic.

“Anyway, the point is that Emiya had contact with Miss Mitsuzuri even after he quit the archery club.”

“The vice captain back then was Shinji. I probably would've done the same thing if I were Mitsuzuri. And even more so if Emiya is talented.”


Makidera nods in sympathy, while Yukika becomes depressed.

Emiya and Mitsuzuri's going out means that Miss Tohsaka is getting left behind in the dust. It's a somewhat harsh thing to imagine for Yukika, who admires her.

“But, this means that Mitsuzuri's actions were not to get him to come back to the club, but rather her way of approaching him as a woman.”

“That doesn't make sense, Maki-chan. If that's so, Mitsuzuri would have started going out with him even before Tohsaka-san...”

What Yukika says is quite right. If Miss Mitsuzuri and Emiya started dating around the time he quit the club, then it wouldn't be strange for it to have gotten out by now.

Furthermore, that would mean Miss Tohsaka cut in from the side and stole Emiya. If that happened, the relationship of the two, no, the three of them would have inevitably worsened.

But, the circumstantial evidence rejects that.

I have not heard anything about Miss Mitsuzuri and Miss Tohsaka becoming estranged from each other, and Mitsuzuri's change in behavior was first seen in the beginning of spring as well.

In other words, Miss Tohsaka was dating Emiya first. This is certain.

“Ah, I see... What exactly is going on then?”

“It is difficult, but not impossible to reason out. Let's see...”

I motion toward the two with my hands.

Precisely arranging the three of us into an equilateral triangle.

“What are you doing, Kane-chan?”

“For example, let's assume Yukika, Makinoji, and I are the same distance apart from each other. Do you follow?”


“No, I get that part, but what are we doing like this?”

The two tilt their heads in confusion, wondering what was about to happen.

“Then, if I do this―――”


I step sideways and stand right behind Yukika.

And then, gently embrace Yukika around the waist.

“W-What are you doing, Kane-chan!? K*yaa!”

“How's that, Makinoji? Speak what you are feeling right now without reserve.”

“...For some reason, I feel really frustrated.”

Within my arms, Yukika struggles but I can only apologize in my mind.

I want to continue the explanation while in this position, but I can't since the people around us are starting to stare.

I release my hands and free Yukika.

“And that's how it is. Sorry for doing something so strange, Yukika.”

“Y-You surprised me... Kane-chan, you just suddenly hugged me.”

“...I can sorta get and yet not get what you're trying to say, Himuro.”

“In other words, think of yourself as "Miss Mitsuzuri," Yukika as "Emiya" and me as "Miss Tohsaka" just now.”

“In the beginning, the three of them were in an equilateral triangle―――No, it would have been an isosceles with the distance between Emiya and Tohsaka being much greater. In this situation, no psychological discord occurs.”

I form a triangle with my fingers to demonstrate.

Both Makidera and Yukika nod as they follow along.

“In this state, they don't feel anything for each other. They are simply friends, after all.”

“But if what Kane-chan did happens...”

“However, the situation changes as Miss Tohsaka and Emiya Shirou stop being mere friends and start dating in front of Miss Mitsuzuri.”

“Then Miss Mitsuzuri, who is in Makidera's place, slowly becomes isolated. If this happens, she would naturally...”

After I explain it up to there, Makidera continues the train of logic.

“If Mitsuzuri were in that position, she'd also feel frustrated. Whether she liked Emiya or not up to that point, he's still been taken away, after all.”

“Rather than just frustrated, maybe she realized that Emiya was the first man that could have become an object of romantic interest for her.”

“Then Miss Mitsuzuri, whether she likes it or not, starts to become conscious of Emiya Shirou. The hue that tinged their contact with each other until then also changes. As a result―――”

I stop here to observe Makidera and Yukika's expressions.

And judging that the details of my story have soaked in, I continue.

“In fact, it is precisely because Emiya starts dating Miss Tohsaka that the possibility of Miss Mitsuzuri and Emiya dating occurs.”

“That's pretty great. It's the most convincing explanation, Himuro-kun! Your brain cells are commendable!

I hereby grant thee three cushions!”

The moment my explanation ends, a cheerful Makidera's shout of joy comes out.

Three cushions she says... In other words, she must be hinting that I have been overdoing it. It is vexing, but I cannot deny it.

With the hurdle now cleared, there is a great contrast between the delighted Makidera and Yukika.

It pains me to see Yukika without a smile.

“...But, if that's true, then Tohsaka-san...”

“It is difficult to say, but if I were to be blunt, it would mean that Miss Tohsaka is being cheated on by Emiya.”

“Or rather, should we call it an awkward love triangle between Miss Mitsuzuri, Miss Tohsaka, and Emiya? At any rate―――”

Although I had intended to find out Mitsuzuri's significant other, I ended up prying into someone else's love triangle before I knew it.

In addition to that, I am a third party just out to satisfy my own curiosity. Although it is a bit late, I start to hate myself.

...But, there is one person not here for their own curiosity that is reveling in having gained a personal advantage.

“Really now, that guy Emiya is sure some lady-killer. I mean, two-timing Tohsaka and Mitsuzuri? Yeah, even though he's an enemy, I'm impressed.”

“It's not very good to talk like that, Maki-chan.”

“...Augh. But still, if Tohsaka knows about this, how does she feel... right...? Hmmhm.”

It looks like even being rebuked by Yukika could not keep her loose lips in check.

As with the time discussing Ryuudou, Makidera's interests are centered around Tohsaka. She will say something about using Tohsaka since it has come to this, although it seems like she says this sort of thing every day.

“Uuugh, what is it, Himuro? You've been giving me a creepy look since a while ago. Could it be, have you fallen for me? Won't you get burnt if you fall for me~!?”

“And you will suffer frostbite if you fall for me. They say that names and natures often go together, do they not?

Setting that aside... this has become troublesome.”

“Huhuhu~. Well, Emiya and Tohsaka are having a fight. It'll be fine even if Emiya and Mitsuzuri are just good friends now, right? Sooner or later, Makidera-sama's day of victory will come~!”

“You might be fine with this, but there is no conclusive evidence to support this hypothesis yet. It would not be bad as things stand now to continue observing, although, as one would expect―――”

This time, I am avoiding hearing the story directly from those involved.

In what way could I intervene and expose this delicate love triangle between men and women to the surface―――?

Makidera's agitated gaze poured onto me.

“Cooome ooon, is there someone who can verify this crap, Himuro?”

“It is turning into a habit when I have already come this far, but I want to give up.”

“Still, is there really no one who interacts with all three of them? Regrettably, have we reached a stalemate...?”

With Ryuudou Issei now out of the question, no one else comes to mind.

But, from the most unexpected place―――standing alone, Yukika muttered.

“Mmm, there is, one person.”


“It's about Emiya-kun after all, I want to confirm it properly, too. If it isn't like that, Tohsaka-san will...”

“...You're right. Since we have already come this far, we should confirm it precisely. But, Yukika...”

Could there be anyone we know that meets such criteria...?

“NO WAaaaaaAY!!!!!!!!”

A roar that resounds all the way to the corners of Miyama.

As though having heard the roar of a fighter jet, it is a miracle―――

That I did not faint from my eardrums being torn.

“Eveeen jokes have a limit! Who do you think lives at* that house even now!? Isn't there Sakura-chan, Saber-chan, Tohsaka-san and Rider-san!?”*

“But if Mitusuzuri-san moves in, I won't lose to some love comedy hot springs boarding house*, no,* your teacher thinks in many ways* that it winning would be no good!”

Rather than a voice, it was a mass of air expelled to the limit of her lung capacity.

The lens of my glasses rattle.

“Saber-chan would say, "Welcome home, Shirou." by kneeling respectfully on the floor, and Sakura-chan with an apron on would go, "Senpai, dinner's ready."”

“Tohsaka would invite him with, "please hang out with me for a bit, Shirou." And then Rider-san would give a, "Why don't we take a bath together?" and on and on.”

“It's just absurd* that such flags from this love boarding house harem keep popping up and yet, but even then, even then,* Himuro-san...!”


“Huff, huff,* huffhuffhuff Huuuuuaaaaaaaaaa! Bleeugh haaugh!

“Please do not vomit ectoplasm, Sensei. It was just a question.

We are just seeking confirmation―――”

I calm Fujimura-sensei as she writhes around in a fit of hyperventilation.

...As I thought. Should we have passed on probing this person...?


To remember, I take a few steps back in the chronological order.

The name that left Yukika's lips was Fujimura-sensei. This was a blind spot, indeed.

Along with being the supervisor of the archery club, I hear she is like an older sister to Emiya Shirou. Moreover, it is said that she even has a relationship with Miss Tohsaka.

However, although she is easy to approach, we cannot inquire of such matters at school.

And so, we decided to wait for her to leave school in order to stop her off-campus and ask for her story.

At that time...

“Ah, Himuro-san, Makidera-san, and Saegusa-san, too. Hello~”

“It's rare to meet you all in a place like this~. You're heading this way, right? Going back home together, maybe?”

“Eh? To talk to me...? Ah, hm. Well, I'll listen. After all, I am everyone's dependable Fujimura-sensei.”

“Well, well? What is it? Something about studying? Friendship? Bullying is no good, yeah? Because there's nothing more shameful than responding to hatred with hatred.”

And so, it started out well enough, but...

“...Eh? About Shirou?”

“Uh... well, if you insist... I guess I do know Shirou pretty well after all~”

“Mitsuzuri-san...? Tohsaka-san, too?”

And so, the mood...


Changed into...

Something like this.

Did the conversation take a wrong turn at some point―――?

“The moment you let your guard down, girls like you will be eaten up by Shirou before you know it!”


“Geh... by Emiya? That guy is just...”

“I must politely decline.”

“Wha, don't accept it so fast~! Shirou isn't that perverted~!”

“Even though Kiritsugu-san entrusted me with his upbringing as a big sister, I'd have to apologize in the afterlife if his son became such a playboy!”

Fujimura-sensei is in a considerable state of confusion.

I give up, where do I go from here... no, maybe I should calm her down first?

“D-Do you think Fujimura-sensei will be okay?”

“Her mind is considerably not okay.”

“I-It's sane over here! The insanity is over there!* Although the food and stuff is really tasty!”

She points ahead and the gate of the Emiya residence comes into view.

He resides in such a samurai-like residence? An interesting discovery. I see, if the grounds are to this extent, it would not be unusual for there to be other cohabitants.

...No, that Miss Tohsaka and Miss Matou are residing there is definitely strange.

Putting that aside, this tale will not proceed if we do not calm Fujimura-sensei, who is at the peak of her excitement.

I soothe her by patting her shoulders with both hands while thinking, "This is the behavior of someone who is our elder and superior?"

“I sincerely apologize, Fujimura-sensei. However, I was inquiring not of Emiya's difficult circumstances, but whether he and Miss Mitsuzuri are dating.”

“Eh? Weren't we talking about them already dating?”

Was it this misunderstanding that caused her to make such an uproar until now?

Staring blankly, my pace falters for just a moment―――

“So, Emiya is going out with Mitsuzuri, right?”

“Do not cause confusion here by recklessly spouting your wishful thinking, Makinoji.”

“...W-Which is it, Fujimura-sensei?”

Yukika asked while I scolded Makidera.

Fujimura-sensei, who had been enraged until now, calmed down instantly and is now in deep thought as though puzzled.

“Hm... Well, certainly you could say that Shirou and Mitsuzuri-san are friends, but to be in a romantic relationship? Going that far would be a bit much...”

“Well, there is evidence, but...”

“Let me see? What kind of evidence? Share it with your teacher?”

Appearing keenly interested, Fujimura-sensei draws up next to Makidera.

...I have a feeling these two might get along well, but it will be troublesome if they advance this discussion at their own convenience.

I cut in, and towards the expectant Sensei―――

“I would not go so far as to call it evidence. After Emiya and Miss Tohsaka appeared to have a disagreement, we simply witnessed Emiya speaking in a very close manner with Miss Mitsuzuri.”

“Isn't that enough? The circumstantial evidence is all there!”

I suppress my bubbling dissatisfaction.

Having heard the only piece of evidence, Fujimura-sensei goes deep into thought.

“Hmm... but those two are involved with the archery club and besides, Mitsuzuri-san still seems like she wants to compete with Shirou. Also, it's not like they shouldn't get along.”

“That being the case, we do not have any conclusive evidence either. I thought that by chance you may know something...”

I glance, subtly examining Fujimura-sensei's expression.

She smiled as though a bit troubled from being relied upon, but her expression gradually becomes more unclear.

It is as though she is looking not at us, but beyond to somewhere distant.

With the graceful behavior since a moment ago and this current feeling of isolation, it was difficult to think of this as the same Fujimura-sensei.

“...It's kinda impossible for those two to be going out, I guess?”

“Eh...? Why's that now...?”

“Well, a sister's intuition, maybe? Though there's also some teacher's intuition in there.”

"Ahaha," she starts laughing as though trying to gloss it over.

I experienced neither distress nor relief when she said that we were wrong. I merely think, "Ah, is that so?"―――as though indifferently watching something get washed away before my very eyes.

“The way things are now, both Tohsaka-san and Sakura are close to Shirou, but it took a lot of effort to get there.”

“Shirou wasn't that great with girls from the start, though even now he's still a total mess, see?”

I can feel a nostalgia of something important in the way she speaks.

With her like this, none of us can find a moment to interrupt.

“Still, I didn't raise him to be skilled enough to make a pass at Mitsuzuri-san, you know? Wait, isn't this a bother for me to make you all listen to this?”

"No, it is a very interesting story," I reply under my breath.

She had on a warm and lonely smile, but as though she had remembered something―――she draws up to us again.

“And then, and then, geez, Tohsaka-san and Shirou also started associating which was a huuuge deal. I watched it all from a ringside seat~”

“Eh? Um, when you say, "huge deal"...?”

“Huhuhu, that Tohsaka-san, really. She approched Shirou so aggressively. Right out of nowhere. Then said something like, "I will be living here for a while!" I was absolutely astonished!”

“That Tohsaka? ...Something doesn't fit. That guy, Emiya, did he even get a hold of her weaknesses or something?”

I can hear Makidera grind her teeth as she says that.

...The beginning of Emiya and Miss Tohsaka's romance is a very interesting topic. In the first place, what kind of circumstances could have spurred those two, who had no apparent contact before, into a companionship?

Yukika's cheeks were blushing after listening to such a vivid story.

As for myself, I am troubled over which topic takes priority between Miss Mitsuzuri and Miss Tohsaka.

“Then, what about Emiya? Even if he doesn't look like it, he is a man. Does he creep into her room at night?”

“There's been no nightly room visits, though they seem to be going out on dates in the middle of the night.”

“Though Saber-chan also came around that time, ah, but I collapsed at Shirou's place and was taken to the hospital, and when I came back, they had already...”

“A-Already!? Already what, Fujimura-sensei!?”

"Kuhuhuhu," Fujimura-sensei laughs like an ill-mannered cat.

...I am struggling with whether I should return to our original discussion.

“Okay, see, because Shirou's so dense, he doesn't realize when he's having a move made on him. Even Sakura-chan is aggressive and though Saber-chan looks like that, even she can mount quite a fierce...”

“Did I do something to Shirou, Taiga?”


A clear and beautiful voice, similar to the reverberating sound from striking silver or steel.

A heavenly voice, but curiously, not one suited for singing.

However, it is one that resonates to my very bones―――


“Welcome back, Taiga. And nice to meet you―――Are you all doing well?”

When I turned around, a blonde girl was standing there.

She was lovely, enough so that I completely forgot to blink for a moment.

I just cannot comprehend, why would such a beauty be here?

I am not certain of how to respond to this brilliant countenance.

“G-Good afternoon. It's nice to meet you. My, my name is Saegusa Yukika.”


“Whoa. Saber-chan, why are you here?”

“I was heading out, but Taiga, were you not clamoring rather loudly? I could hear you from inside the house.”

“...I am aware that you give it your all each day, but I would be grateful if you would restrain yourself from becoming a nuisance to the neighbors.”

A tone that is filled with pride, and yet polite.

From Fujimura-sensei's words, this girl is Saber―――Could this be the name of the mysterious young lady I have heard of from Tohsaka and Ryuudou?

I see, if she is a foreigner, that name is not so strange, I suppose? Saber―――There might be some kind of origin behind this name.


As for me, someone who takes pride in having the baseless confidence to not be inferior to any person, I feel nervous in front of her.

“Ahahahaa. It's fine, it's fine. Besides, we're all neighbors.”

“...I suppose so. You probably have been this way since long ago... How terribly rude of me, are these people here guests of Shirou's, perhaps?”

Her attention is directed our way.

Although she is not openly cautious towards us, even I am being overpowered when inquired of by this figure. Moreover, it was not just by her beauty, but by her presence.

Makidera is avoiding Miss Saber. Is she instinctively wary of her?

Only Yukika seemed unphased as she spoke to Miss Saber gently.

“Um... we're, third-years at Homurabara.”

“I see, so you are all classmates of Shirou. I am... well, please call me Saber. As for the two in the back?”

“Himuro Kane-san and Makidera Kaede-san. Ah, maybe you've heard Makidera-san's name?”

We bow our heads after being introduced by Fujimura-sensei. With a "hmm," Miss Saber thought over her name and seemed to recall it.

“I have heard the name from Rin. Kaede, if I am not mistaken.”

“Eh... that's, aahaahaha. See? I'm also Tohsaka's friend after all, yeah, ahaa~”

Overwhelmed, Makidera's answer is stiff.

Usually she would be delighted that Miss Tohsaka had mentioned her.

“Nice to meet you, Kane. You seem like quite a capable person.

Yukika as well. We were introduced a moment ago, I am honored.”

“No... ah, it's, not that way at all...”

“........................Nice to meet you.”

Again, everything is all jumbled together in my head.

Miss Saber, I only knew of her name, but I never thought she would be this beautiful.

It is understandable that even Ryuudou praises her, but... how does her existence affect the problem I currently face?

There should be something, somewhere, that connects her.

Somehow, the awkward atmosphere at the end of the introductions settles in.

The ringing from a clap of hands shattered the slight tension.

“Oh yeah, Sakura-chan and Rider-san are inside, right? Should we go in and have some tea?”

“Aah, my apologies, Taiga, but I am on my way out now.”

“That so? Too bad... Aw, and I thought we could have a long-overdue girl's talk and indulge in Shirou's embarrassing memories.”

With her arms folded, Fujimura-sensei nods in a way filled with disappointment.

Miss Saber seems to be reluctant now as well, but shrugs off the temptation with a smile.

“I have been called by Ayako... Although Shirou appears to be with her as well.”

“Oho, it's great that she's invited you out again. Going now?

Call if you're going to be late for dinner, okay~?”

“Yes. Then, excuse me.”

Just now, Mitsuzuri Ayako's name came from her lips.

I am entranced as she bows her head and takes her leave. No, it cannot be―――Such a thing is impossible, but if it was possible, then indeed...

Her appearance is gorgeous even from behind, and the autumn winds seemed to sweep away and cleanse the ground she walked.

“Ah... she's gone...”

“Whew... I'm surprised. That kind of model-like girl really exists...”

“Uhuhuhu~. Although Saber-chan certainly is pretty like a doll, she is frighteningly skilled, you see?”

“I heard she's a relative of Kiritsugu-san, but I wonder what kind of teacher she learned from?”

Fujimura-sensei tells us cheerfully about Miss Saber. She is skilled―――Since it is Fuyuki's Tiger praising her, needless to say it must be related to swords or bows.

“No way! Even though she looks so small and slender?”

“Those thin shoulders are highly skilled, it's not unusual for a master in their art to be like that.”

“I still can't land even a single hit on Saber-chan... Maybe I'm just getting too old... Wait, no way, I sound like an old granny now.”

sigh... She must be amazing, Saber-chan...”

If she has that much skill, it's not unreasonable to fall for her.

Disregarding the false impression Shinji gives, I hear that Ryuudou and Emiya are both quite skilled.

That being the case, if her skill is that outstanding and her looks are just as good...

“What happened, Himuro? Did you fall for that Saber-san too?”

“Wrong. The one who fell in love is not me. It is Miss Mitsuzuri.”

Right, such a combination is also possible.

Actually, a more desirable and clean composition than the chaos of a love triangle is born.

Not that there is no problem. Rather, there is quite a critical issue.



“Well, I seemed to have been making a serious mistake until now. It is that I had assumed unconditionally that Miss Mitsuzuri would be dating a male.”

“This mistake lead our reasoning and investigation astray, the cause that made us delve deeply into the wrong problems.”

I attempt to explain it myself, but it is frustrating.

"In other words..." I compose my thoughts and begin speaking.

“The one Mitsuzuri Ayako fell in love with is not a male―――it's a female.”

“Eh... wait, Himuro, you're trying to say that Mitsuzuri is...?”

“Uwah, uwah, uwaaah.”

“Don't say something so stupid. Mitsuzuri is dating Emiya, right?”

“As I have said, isn't that just your wishful thinking?”

“Indeed, the relationship between those two was close, but judging by Fujimura-sensei's testimony, it is apparent that the possibility of such a development is slim.”

As I explain this much to Makidera, perhaps she is still too stunned to object?

In that brief opportunity, I add on my addendum to the explanation and press on.

“It was precisely because of the friendship between Miss Mitsuzuri and Emiya that the relationship between Miss Saber and Miss Mitsuzuri could be established. In a sense, Emiya was the matchmaker, but he himself was probably unaware of his role.”

“The timeline fits as well. Miss Saber probably came here around February. Mitsuzuri's change was in April. There may be some deviation, but that is only natural because she is not a student of Homurabara.”

As I say this out loud, the thought of whether she is even an exchange student crosses my mind.

“Wait a sec, Himuro. That can't be. Mitsuzuri and Saber-san are both girls.”

“It is not particularly the case that love blooms only between oneself and the opposite sex.”

“Miss Mitsuzuri holds the belief that it is proper for a handsome man or beautiful woman to have a good command of the martial arts. And even though she has beauty to boast of, Miss Saber is a master that amazes even Fuyuki's Tiger.”

“The idea that she would develop deep affections that turn into love is not a far-fetched tale.”

“That reminds me, Mitsuzuri-san challenged Saber-chan to a match, too.”

Fujimura-sensei quietly divulges important testimony.

“Is that true, Fujimura-sensei?”

“Yeah, I've seen it a few times. Of cooourse, Mitsuzuri-san was beaten mercilessly, but she was so happy about it I could even feel jealous, you know?”

"Ah~ this is youth~," Fujimura-sensei says, moved by deep emotion.

“Mm... I dunno about stuff like that. Maybe I just don't get it, or is this just normally how other women get along?”

“With that, it should be decided.”

“I had unjustly fallen to the suspicion of a love triangle entwining Miss Tohsaka and therefore a relationship between Emiya and Miss Mitsuzuri. However, the issues in regard to Emiya do not arise if Miss Mitsuzuri's partner is Miss Saber.”

“Mmmm... maybe, maybe not. Is this okay? It's somehow all mixed up. I can't accept it. That sort of love just doesn't feel right.”

"Mmmm," Makidera is troubled.

It is either a matter that she cannot accept personally, or she just cannot comprehend it.

“Makinoji, would you bear some disadvantage if Miss Mitsuzuri and Miss Saber were dating?”

“Hah? No, nothing like that. But, saying things like that, I don't really get it?”

―――I suppose she is fumbling for the right words?

Certainly, it would be difficult to say there will be no problems given the views of society on this type of couple, but―――

“Their future will be a path laden with thorns, indeed.

Nevertheless, it is by no means a sin even if we gently cheer on this yearning that extends beyond that of friendship.”

“No, normally that's a sin, right?”

“Mitsuzuri-san and Saber-san, huh...? Certainly, Mitsuzuri-san is good at taking care of others and Saber-chan is a bit slovenly, it's a well-matched couple, I guess.”

“It's official~. Even Fujimura-sensei okayed it~.”

"Ahaahaa~," Fujimura-sensei laughs joyously.

Far from fretting over the fact that students are engaged in impure same-sex relationships, this person was obstinately amused by it.

“And besides, Makinoji, there is one last exceedingly important factor.”

“――――――By that, you couldn't mean...”

“...Those two really are picture perfect.”

Curtly put.

―――Makidera's eyes become little dots.

A gender neutral type of beauty like Mitsuzuri Ayako with a beautiful and resolute young girl like Saber.

There is no mistaking it. As long as it could be modeled on them, those who wield a paintbrush from all over the world would rise in excitement. And though I have not wielded one myself for a long time, even my heart has been set aflutter.

However, I suddenly sense something out of place.

“That agaaaain!?*

Himurooo, all of your cushions are hereby confiscated!”

“Confiscate whatever you like, but you are sorely mistaken if you believe my taste in art will be swayed by one or two cushions―――Hm...?”

Something is lacking.

Or rather, Makidera and I are going on like this and yet, the presence that is always with us is lacking.

Although because Fujimura-sensei was there in it's place, I had not felt it until now.

“Makinoji, let me ask one thing...”

“What, you have something to ask before you die?”

“Where is Yukika?”

―――Looking around, I see no one else but Fujimura-sensei.

Yukika, the one that always is with us and sharing her warm smile, is not here.

“Hm? Saegusa-san? It looks like she went after Saber-chan.”

“Wh―――Wha, Yukicchi did?”

Yukika followed Miss Saber?

Perhaps, did she go to verify directly what I had spoke of just now―――?

“Hey, Himuro. Let's go after her!”

“Understood. But why...?”

I wonder if Yukika wanted to help in her own way?

She was the one most troubled when I suggested the love triangle involving Emiya. Therefore, perhaps she wanted to mediate between Miss Saber and her―――?

“Ah, she went toward the intersection.”

“Understood. Thank you very much, Fujimura-sensei!”

Makidera takes off running.

I do not know how much of a head start she got, but with our leg strength, catching up will not be difficult.

Makidera speaks as we run side by side.

“Kuh... Yukicchi, really, what the heck is she doing?”

“We were probably over-doing it ourselves. When we were not coming to a determination in good time, the burden weighing on Yukika must have been greater than usual.”

The scenery passes by.

We should be catching up to her soon. There, two people are walking side by side further down.

However, I am restrained by Makidera before I can rush over.

“Wait, Himuro. Let's keep our distance.”


Miss Saber and Yukika are talking together.

Even when viewed from behind, the profile of two gentle people peek through. Rather than intruding, it might be best for us to let Yukika carry on her conversation like this.

“I see, so you are a classmate of Rin's, Yukika? I remember. Certainly, I heard your name from Rin yesterday.”

“Eh... really? Um, what did she say...?”

Yukika smiles happily.

Miss Saber also had a faint smile, but it was pure and clear, like water trickling over stones.

Aah―――A smile coming from such a beautiful woman is simply out of this world.

“That she received a lunchbox from you. Rin told me that it was delicious.”

“Waaah... ah, is that so? I'm so glad she said that.”

“Rin is a gourmet, after all. You should have more self-confidence.”

“...Really? Tohsaka?”

“Even if she is a gourmet, it's not as though it doesn't suit her.”

We walk behind them, speaking in subdued voices.

Miss Saber glanced our way only once, but then promptly resumed her chat with Yukika.

“Even Shirou was impressed when he heard that. He even said that he would like to hear the whole story later.”

“Ah... Emiya-kun cooks too, right? That's what I've heard.”

“Correct. Sakura and Rin have also taken to the kitchen these days, but Shirou is still the master of the kitchen.”

“If it's Emiya-kun, the image of him and being in a kitchen might go together pretty well.”

That Emiya Shirou, in the kitchen with an apron.

Well, it's a little strange that an apron suits him so well. Though, both the image of working covered in oil and being in the kitchen fit him better than they would this self-proclaimed Black Panther here.

“Kane, why are you looking at me like that?”

“I was just thinking that you have no place in the kitchen. Don't worry, I cannot say I am able in that regard either.”

“Fufuu, aren't you misjudging me, Himuro? Even though I may not look it, I have confidence in my Japanese cooking.”

Oh, that's unexpected. Perhaps Maki's lunchboxes are handmade?

However, while we were distracted by our own small talk...

“Um, Saber-san... were you, invited by Mitsuzuri-san today?”

“...Yes. It seems she wants to go to Shinto for some matter. I do not know precisely why, but luckily I have some time to spare.”

“Does something like this, happen often?”

Yukika boldly follows up with another question for Miss Saber.

Probably due to her amicable disposition, she meets no resistance to her questioning.

“It does not happen often, but nor is this the first time, either.”

“Then, um... Saber-san, what do you think of Mitsuzuri-san?”

Suddenly, her question attacks a vital point and our breath stops.

The conversation pauses for a moment as it appears that Miss Saber is searching for the right words.

“―――I would say, a very sincere person. She is good friends with Shirou and Rin.”

“I also think Mitsuzuri-san is very admirable... It would be nice if I could get to know her a bit better, definitely.”

“Yes, I also think that being able to build a friendship with Ayako is a rare and fortunate opportunity.”

Those words are simply too pure.

It was like drinking distilled water, an answer that lacked of any flavor.

Her smile is too bright, to the point of being dazzling.

There is courtesy, but I feel nothing more than that―――


Makidera whispers while nudging me with her arm.

I wonder if she is getting the same feeling that I am?

“...Aren't we wrong about her and Mitsuzuri?”

“As I thought, you think so too... No, there is still a possibility that Mitsuzuri has an unrequited love, though I suppose that is unlikely as well.”

“The lifespan of your theories are getting shorter and shorter. It didn't last more than an hour this time.”

Even if it is Makidera saying it, I have no words with which to retort.

Now then, I am at a complete stalemate here―――Frankly, there cannot possibly be anything between Miss Mitsuzuri and Miss Tohsaka. Could a completely hidden dark horse exist?

Or rather, she could be with nobody―――

“What are you planning on doing after this, Yukika?”

“Ah... I'm sorry. You have something to do, but I held you up so we could talk...”

“No, it was enjoyable for me, too. Well, if possible, I would be grateful if you would allow me to partake in some of your cooking along with Rin and Shirou.”

“Yes, I'll do my best. If there is something you would like in particular, please let me know.”

Aah, Yukika's smile―――How nice.


What on earth just happened―――?

By the time I realized what was going on, I had been thrown into the alleyway.


“Shu-sh, shu-sh, be quiet! They're here! They're here!”

What in the world happened?

Makidera throws me back to the wall and clings against the corner.

“Oh, if it isn't Saber? And Saegusa-san, too.”

“Ah... hello. Good afternoon, Tohsaka-san.”

“Welcome back, Rin.”

Did Miss Tohsaka come over?

I can tell because of the different tone of voice. Miss Saber is calm, but is Yukika surprised?

And now, even Makidera is in a state of panic; a strange one at that.

“So, Saegusa is with you? This is a rare combination. Are you friends?”

“No, we just met earlier, but... are you heading back, Rin?”

“Are you going out, then, Saber?”

The way Miss Tohsaka speaks is quite a bit less formal.

Is this how the perfect honor student at school speaks normally?

“...Maki, is Miss Tohsaka there?”


No reply.

Since it cannot be helped, I move to her side and peek beyond the corner―――

Hmm, as I thought. I see the always elegant Miss Tohsaka with Yukika, who is in deep awe at the sight of her.

“Yes, to Shinto with Ayako. Yukika here has been accompanying me, but as for that...”

“...Ah, I, um, don't have any business with Mitsuzuri-san. I was just talking with Saber-san a little.”

“Hmm... Hey, Saber, mind accompanying me for a bit?”

A smile spreads across Miss Tohsaka's face, as though she was plotting something mischievous.

And then, she seems to glance this way―――Have we been noticed? Well, even if so, that would not be strange.

“No, um, I will be heading to Shinto after this, so...”

“It's fine, isn't it? I have some business to take care of there too, after all.”

“Ah, then, I'll stay here. Good-bye Saber-san and Tohsaka-san.”

Yukika bows her head and tries to leave. Perhaps she feels uncomfortable?

If Miss Tohsaka and Miss Saber were in such a friendly mood like this around me, I would find it difficult to stick around any longer as well.

But, suddenly―――did Yukika see Tohsaka smiling?

“Say, would you like to join us as well, Saegusa-san?”


The one who gasped was not Yukika, but Makidera.

Did Miss Tohsaka casually invite Yukika as a friend, I wonder? I cannot read her intentions.

Moreover, the manner in which she is overruling Miss Saber's intentions concerns me as well.

“Eh, *um, D-*did you say I could join you?”

“That's right. You treated me to lunch, so please let me return the favor.”

“I suppose while returning your lunchbox, I should take the opportunity to treat you to one of my own.”

“You really mean it!?”

Truly, a quite tactful invitation by Miss Tohsaka.

Miss Saber is surprised. There is no mistaking she felt it as well―――to be so overbearing in her invitation of Yukika and herself, Miss Tohsaka's behavior was somehow odd.

“Rin... is that all right? But, my appointment with Ayako...”

“You want to chat with Saegusa-san as well, right, Saber? I'd like to as well, along with Ayako and Shirou, just for a bit...”

“Well, lets go together, It'll be my treat. There are some things I'd like to hear. Let's see, Saint-Brieuc should be fine.”

“Yes, ah, but I...”

Her smile is somehow, awkward.

Miss Tohsaka, partly by force, drags Miss Saber away.

Yukika followed them as well, as if being pulled by a magnetic force. They head toward the Shinto-bound bus―――

“Hey, Yukika is being taken away.”

“This is troublesome, but what to do―――That behavior from Miss Tohsaka is rather peculiar.”

However, I hesitate to just barge in from the side.

Be that as it may, even if Yukika was reluctant, it seems she was also happy to be invited. It would be rude to interfere.

Whether this situation is favorable or not, the bus...

“Tch, the hell is that Tohsaka saying?”

Makidera starts running.

She runs up to the bus as the door is closing, and forcefully wedges herself inside―――

“That Makinoji, acting without thinking.”

An act like that could disrupt traffic.

Moreover, what must Miss Tohsaka and Yukika be thinking after seeing her board like some kind of bus-jacker?

―――While I watch on, amazed, the bus begins to drive away.


And only I was left behind.

Should I have followed Makidera? Although, boarding in the same manner would be very unsightly indeed.

Makidera should be carefreely screaming, "Cushion confiscation!" or some such by now.

“Well now.”

Eclipse 12 Himuro The Love Detective (Final)

The situation has become complicated once again. I need to sort things out.

First is Makidera's attachment to Tohsaka.

It does not merit much concern. My personal opinions aside, Makidera's behavior is easy to understand.

Next is the matter of Miss Tohsaka and Emiya.

Miss Tohsaka's aims may be ambiguous, but―――her propensity for chaos is clear and she drags everyone from Miss Mitsuzuri to Miss Saber into her messes.

However, how far we have to go in solving this problem will depend on those two's intentions.

Though I am indeed only a curious spectator―――it is interesting nevertheless.

“That's just a side issue, though.”

At any rate, the question of Mitsuzuri Ayako's relationship―――that is the real challenge. So far, our efforts have been fruitless.

Given the situation, wouldn't it be more appropriate to think that Miss Mitsuzuri does not have a partner? Let's assume that is so. In that case, just what could her suspicious behavior in April mean?

It can't be helped. I cannot divine every detail and mystery simply by kicking back and watching.

In any case, as all of the relevant parties are in Shinto, there is no choice but to head there.

Was it Saint-Brieuc?

The shop Miss Tohsaka went to was―――



Sensing someone next to me at the bus stop, I look up.

It's a tall male student wearing the Homurabara uniform.

“...Pardon me, Senpai.”

“How do you do? If I'm not mistaken, you are Mitsuzuri's younger brother, Minori-kun, right?”

Our first meeting―――was it at the archery club? I think I remember seeing him there. Still, this is the first time we have spoken. We are two years apart, after all, and in completely different clubs.

“Hello. Um―――it's nice out today, isn't it?”

We make idle small talk.

Makidera said he was gruff, but on the contrary, he seems even easier to deal with than Emiya.

Since Mitsuzuri's younger brother is from a martial artist lineage, perhaps he tempers his personality in a similar way. A peculiar conversation partner to have right now.

―――Should I try asking him?

Assuming the brother is ignorant, I may have to rule out obtaining the subject's identity straight away. But, if Miss Mitsuzuri's partner happens to be someone outside of school, her brother might be the only one who knows anything.

“...Minori-kun, do you mind if I ask you a question?”


“I am Himuro Kane, a third-year. You can just call me Himuro.”

“I couldn't do that. Well, I have no problem answering a question though.”

He seems to be as polite to his upperclassmen as I thought. Relieved, I press on.

“Is your sister, Miss Mitsuzuri Ayako―――dating anyone?”

“Eh...? You mean Nee-chan?”

“Gender is unimportant, but please tell me what you know.”

“Wait, what do you mean gender isn't important?”

Mitsuzuri's younger brother is stunned into silence. Of course, anyone would react similarly if asked that out of the blue. Perhaps I had better say something to soften the blow.

“I do not blame you for not knowing... Actually, it's natural you wouldn't know.”

“Oh... well, that's...”

He certainly looks terribly troubled.

However, I have a feeling he isn't terribly sorry for "not knowing."

“Right, it must be rude of me to bring this up during our first meeting. I apologize.”

sigh... Nee-chan's boyfriend, that's... nonsense...”

He mumbles. Just what exactly does he know?

As I fix him with a stare, he retreats back. Quite suspicious.

“Do you know anything about it?”

“As if I could tell you.”

“So you do know something?”

“Ugh... W-Well, I don't want to embarrass Nee-chan any more! I mean, I've got my own problems to worry about.”

He turns away quickly, as if to indicate the conversation is over.

Perhaps he thought acting angry would deter me, but nice people are not good at being mean. Kid, you might as well be confessing to being a material witness.

No doubt about it. He knows something.

He has his own "problems"... Is Mitsuzuri's younger brother also having love troubles?

Naturally, people like me that are always pursuing rumors of another's love affair are wicked.

―――However, there is a reason for the wicked to be wicked.

“Himuro-senpai, are you going to Shinto as well?”

“That's right. My friends are there. By some twist of fate we have all gotten mixed up in Emiya and Miss Tohsaka's shenanigans.”

“...Oh. Him.”

...Oh? Mitsuzuri's younger brother is being uncharacteristically brusque towards an upperclassman.

Might Emiya and this boy be―――in a quarrel?

I would think their only interaction would be through the archery club. No, think... There has to be something else.

Mitsuzuri's younger brother holds an important clue, but I also cannot neglect the problem of Miss Tohsaka and Emiya.

This could end up as, "He who runs after two hares will catch neither."

―――Let's see, what now?

Tohsaka and Makidera's group have already reached their destination, and this bus is sufficiently delayed.

I am quite uneasy about the state things will be in when we arrive.

But I cannot help but wonder about Mitsuzuri's younger brother. There is no telling what he might know―――

“It's finally here... I hope I am not too late.”

“Seems like you have your own share of trouble, Himuro-senpai.”

Now to board the bus.

I hear hurried footsteps closing in. I calmly turn round, and―――

“We can still make it in time, Sakura!”

“Rider, s-slow down a little!”

“C-Captain Matou―――”

Mitsuzuri's younger brother's tone completely changes.

A beautiful, wide-eyed, long-haired woman runs inside. She is on par with Miss Saber―――no, as a woman, she is clearly more developed.

Despite her glasses and somewhat unfashionable clothing, she is more than beautiful enough to compensate. Almost frighteningly so.

A brief glance from her sends chills running down my spine. What a mysterious sensation.

Rider? Could that be the name of the woman I had heard about from Ryuudou and Fujimura-sensei?

Being pulled by the hand is Matou Sakura, a second-year.

Miss Matou immediately recognizes me, or rather, Mitsuzuri's younger brother, and smiles broadly.

“Ah, Minori-kun!”

“It'll be fine. There's still time, Captain.”

“Thank you very much, Minori.”

Miss Rider and Mitsuzuri's younger brother hold the door open, while Miss Matou boards.

And now, Mitsuzuri's younger brother is going out of his way to behave gallantly.

That's―――I remember now. Mitsuzuri's younger brother was interested in Matou-san, wasn't he?

That would explain his attitude towards Emiya.

―――How very interesting.

This, too, is juicy material indeed.


My lips unconsciously break into a smile.

But, if I keep grinning like an idiot, I will miss the bus. I follow Mitsuzuri's younger brother on board.

Unintentionally, I let a stifled laugh slip out while right behind him.

“Wha... What is it, Himuro-senpai?”

“Nothing... nothing... hehehe...”

As the bus rolls along, my suspicions harden into conviction.

While Miss Matou courteously greets her underclassman, he can't take his eyes off her. The boy might be trying to hide it, but his interest is as clear as day.

Really, the problem is that Miss Matou is oblivious to it all.

As the club captain thanks and compliments him with innocent warmth, Mitsuzuri's younger brother is virtually paralyzed with joy and anxiety.

It is budding love. As the saying goes, "sandalwood is fragrant even as a sprout" -- the best ones start young.

“...This is why it is interesting.”

While speaking to myself, that beautiful Miss Rider stands across from me.

For some reason, as we both observe Miss Matou and Mitsuzuri's brother, the sense of caution between us seems to have vanished... Is it because we have similar style? That can't be it.

Though... it seems more like watching this is resulting in anxiety for her.

I wonder about the relationship between Miss Rider and Miss Matou. Is she something like―――a tutor? Or a maidservant? Perhaps some kind of personal secretary? Whatever the case, it smacks of some kind of supervisory role.

“You find it interesting, Kane?”

“You are familiar with my name...?

But of course. I cannot help but be amused by the expressions on Mitsuzuri's younger brother's face.”

“I am worried about Sakura. Though I don't feel that Minori is a bad person.”

Physically, she is utterly gorgeous, but now that we have spoken, it seems she lacks some confidence.

Or rather, just from our attitudes, one would not immediately assume I was the younger one... though I don't know her age. I would say... older than twenty, but under thirty.

“I find the two of them quite charming.”

“Is that... so?”

Mitsuzuri's younger brother and Miss Matou are walking, several steps ahead of us.

Perking up my ears, I try to make out their conversation―――

“Aren't you going to be our new rookie in the fall tournament, Minori-kun?”

“That's right, Captain. I'll do my best for the club and my seniors.”

“Minori-kun, you've improved more quickly than anyone else. You're definitely Mitsuzuri-senpai's brother!”

“Ah, uh, that's very kind of you, Captain! But I'm still not as skilled as you or my sister. So where are you headed, Captain?”

“Rider and I are going shopping. Are you going out for something as well, Minori-kun?”

“No, I... I'm just hanging out, um...”

The kid sure is trying hard. It makes me want to run over and jump in.

...Now hold on, Himuro Kane. It's all fun and games, but aren't you forgetting about the matter of Tohsaka and Emiya?

It would be regrettable to let them get away... But let's prioritize this first.

“...Ah, Mitsuzuri's younger brother. Yeah, you.”

“? What do you want, Himuro-senpai?”

His mood is slightly sour, as if I had interrupted by calling his name just when it was getting good.

"If I had not said anything you would have been stuck there forever," I want to tell him, but I withhold such frank advice.


“...There's some ulterior motive, right? So, what do you want with such an evil-bearing grin?”

“How rude. I was merely smiling with satisfaction at the seeds I had planted. Why, you shouldn't work yourself so hard, boy.”

It's a bit rude to talk down to him when there are only two years between us, but there isn't a more fitting tone for this conversation.

Mitsuzuri's younger brother is openly startled by my calling him a boy.

“I'm not pushing myself or anything. I'm just being normal.”

“That blissful ignorance is perhaps the happiest period of human life. Ah, beautiful youth. Truly, it is a thing to be envied.”

“Himuro-senpai. To be honest, you're starting to irritate me.”

His gaze matches his biting words.

He is truly a Mitsuzuri, as sharp as a sword. But you are not experienced enough that I cannot see right through your bluff.

Clearing my throat, I lower my voice so Miss Matou and Miss Rider wouldn't hear.

“My apologies. You see, I'm just concerned. Feel free to come to me with your love troubles. After all, you want to get closer to Captain Matou, right?”

“ghh...! What are you suddenly―――!?”

As Mitsuzuri's younger brother is about to start shouting without regard for his surroundings, I quickly place a finger on his mouth to silence him.

Look, if you do something like that―――



The clueless Miss Matou and the ever distressed Miss Rider were a stark contrast against each other.

Well, if Miss Matou were behaving in such a fashion intentionally―――she would be quite the wicked woman. Frighteningly so, in fact.

So, on the count of ten when finally Mitsuzuri's younger brother calmed down, I removed my finger.

“Don't raise your voice. If they hear you, it'll be your loss.”

“...I misunderstood. Why are you interested in my love problems?”

“So, the person in question has yet to notice? That must be nice, to taste the bittersweet honey of youthful love.”

“...That's not a nice hobby, Himuro-senpai. Taking pleasure in people's private affairs is something that foul-mouthed grannies do.”

―――Mitsuzuri's younger brother is not taking what I've said lightly.

“...Can't you at least call me an old maid or an elderly spinster?”

“Ha. Nee-chan will totally kill me if I talk. Using her bare gauntlet against my naked face.”

“I won't sympathize with Miss Mitsuzuri just this once. At any rate, even I wanted to try meddling in various things as your Senpai, Mitsuzuri's little brother.”

It may be unwelcome assistance, but unwelcome assistance is the spice of life.

I would even become a nun if I got to spend time giving simple and sharp unwelcome assistance. Actually, there may never be a time when a nun's assistance is unwelcome.

“Well then, I have heard your love troubles. Thankfully, you get to reciprocate by cooperating with my own love troubles.”

“I'm trying to say, I don't really have any troubles... wait, Senpai, you wouldn't...”

“If you don't help me I will expose you―――Do you think I would threaten you like that?”

It cannot be helped if he thinks that. For me to do such a thing, I would have become a cruel woman.

I thought Mitsuzuri's younger brother would be furious, but instead he is gritting his teeth and groaning.

“Have peace of mind, I won't engage in such cowardly behavior. It is just that wanted to hear more about my junior's sister.”

“I've already told you that I don't know... that kind of stuff. It's better if you asked Nee-chan directly. She is, the kind of person who would answer any question.”

“Even so you have not told me a thing, not even a clue to begin with.”

While we were walking, talking, and so on, those ahead of us were glancing back in our direction.

“Hey... Himuro-senpai. What are you talking about with Minori-kun?”

“It is better if you do not hear, Sakura.”

“...Those two get on well together. Hmm, I had no idea.”

And so on as I feigned ignorance to the other party's conversation as it enters my ears.

Our relationship is not necessarily good, I just toy with him one-sidedly.

However good it may be, I don't intend to play with him forever.

Makidera and Yukika, in addition to the goal of Miss Tohsaka, remain. I could get cold blooded frigidity if two people remain, I feel mad enough to scream.

Nearly drenching him in spittle, at the right moment―――I change course.

“Mitsuzuri's younger brother. Just think of it as being caught by the bad witch and give up.”

“...Geez, what's with that? Both you and Nee-chan aren't cute at all. Why can't you be as graceful as Captain Matou?”

“Oh? She is that good, huh? She is. I see now.”

“Ah, Emiya-senpai!”

Everyone turns around at Miss Matou's voice.

Emiya is here? "With this I will save the trouble of searching for him," I thought, but―――

“Aah, Sakura. And Rider as well?”

“Hello, Sakura. Are the two of you going out?”

“Sakura and Rider, what a coincidence.”


...It's not just Emiya, Miss Tohsaka and Miss Saber are with him too.

Those three being here, what kind of magic is this?

What had happened to Yukika, Miss Mitsuzuri who should have been with her, and the meddlesome Makidera?

What happened in this short period―――is beyond the realm of comprehension.

Moreover, Emiya and Tohsaka, who were supposed to be in the middle of a dispute, seem completely friendly with each other.

“Saber-san, were you together with Senpai too?”

“Taiga was making an uproar outside, a lot of things happened...”

“Ahaha. But it'd be a bit weird if Fujimura-sensei wasn't like that, you know?”

“Don't tell me that Fuji-Nee disturbed the neighbors again?”

Everyone from the Emiya residence are engaged in a thoroughly calm conversation with each other.

...Mitsuzuri's young brother, Miss Rider, and I are not able to join in their circle.

I took a quick side glance, and noticed Mitsuzuri's younger brother's cheeks stiffen.

...That's right. He must be self-aware that Emiya called her without any honorific.

“Ah, well it's the same as always, Senpai.”

“To quiet down Fujimura-sensei, Shirou will have to stop her with his own body, right?”

“That is misleading, Rin.”

“But, ah... Both Senpai and Nee-san, geez.”


...Did I hear wrong? Why did Miss Matou call Miss Tohsaka "Nee-san"?

But more importantly, I am concerned about the words Miss Matou was about to say.

That's right, Miss Matou and Miss Saber should know more than me about the circumstances of the discord between Emiya and Miss Tohsaka. It was resolved so clearly―――

“That is correct, Rin. Yesterday even I had poor judgment.”

“Sorry, Saber and Sakura.”

“Ahaha... The same thing as always. But this time it was really troublesome―――Look, even Himuro-san is really interested in it.”

I cringe when she mentions my name.

Ah―――The incident at the roof, and also on the road. Does this mean she knew?

“Ah... Himuro-san, you were with Sakura?”

“A lot happened, Mitsuzuri's younger brother is also accompanying us. I thought Yukika and Maki were together but, do you happen to know where they are?”

I wanted to hear a lot more, but those two are my priority.

Moreover, I hope that Miss Mitsuzuri is also―――

“If you mean those two, we parted from them at the cafe, but...”

“Really, if only Shirou could have just explained it a little bit that incident wouldn't have happened. Please reflect on that a little.”

“I know it was my bad but, it was also yours Tohsaka. Didn't we decide that this time we were both at fault?”

“Nee-san and I sometimes also have a quarrel, so please, Senpai, don't get so worked up about it.”

Miss Matou seemed to be trying to mediate, with an amiable speech. However―――that girl is addressing Emiya again, I'm sure he is at his limit.

To my side, an ominous feeling is swelling up.

“Well, looks like you're doing just great. What was going through your mind?”

“? Mitsuzuri's younger brother―――Minori, isn't it?”

“I don't care how you call me. I just want to hear, what was that issue about?”

Mitsuzuri's younger brother seems to be extremely enraged.

Naturally. There is the circumstance of three women that follow Emiya around. If I were a man, I would want to say something to ridicule him even without malice.

If Makidera were here, I guess Emiya would be hugging the dirt with just one kick of hers.

I will never understand Emiya's thickheaded nature, it's maddening.

“W-What do you want to hear? It's troublesome if you don't speak clearly.”

“I'm in awe. I won't understand until you explain it. There's a limit to how stupid you can be.”

“Mi... Minori-kun?”

The mood was turning gloomy because of Emiya and Mitsuzuri's younger brother.

Miss Matou was shocked, somehow that anxiety also reached Miss Rider.

Miss Tohsaka and Miss Saber don't grasp the situation we are in. That means......

“...Dear me.”

Somehow or other, I am the only one that can do "something" about this here... is that it?

Although I dislike being reckless, if I am going to be then I should go all out with somewhat extreme measures.

“Let's go, Mitsuzuri's younger brother.”

I suddenly hug his arm into my chest.

Though I did not intend to press against him, it happens anyway.

Judging from my figure, it cannot be helped. Physically.

As expected, Mitsuzuri's younger brother, with an earth shattering force―――


“I said, let's go. You are acting quite shameful today―――I will also listen to your worries, for now have more self-control.”

“Awawa, S-Senpai? Mitsuzuri-kun, you were in that kind of relationship with Himuro-senpai!?”

Miss Matou! His feelings for you are leaving a trauma in the heart of this boy that cannot be healed.

Off to the side, Rider bows her head to me modestly. She seems to understand my intent.

Moreover, though I made Emiya's opponent disappear to somewhere else, is he grateful―――?

“...Himuro. By any chance, did you convey your feelings?”

“Not really. Catching him is for my own practical needs. Aside from that... it seems you have reconciled with Miss Tohsaka.”

“That doesn't mean everything is worked out. Anyway, with so many bothersome people around, I'm doing well enough despite some rough parts.”

Is he scolding Miss Mitsuzuri, Miss Saber, or myself? I am not even a volunteer, just an observer with bad tastes.

“Now then. So, could I be a slightly bothersome person?”

“Which means?”

“Himuro-san, you seem to want to know about Ayako even more than me.”

...Did she see through me? No, there was never a time when it could have found its way to her ears even once. Was Miss Tohsaka also monitoring our behavior?

“Don't make such a face. It's because I was surprised to hear about Ayako's dating from Sakura. And so after being asked repeatedly by Sakura, I was asked about that by you all.”

I see, so that's it―――I did not predict that the story would be transmitted through the relationship of Miss Tohsaka and Miss Matou.

If that is the case, she would have known since yesterday.

Miss Tohsaka tells me with a smiling face and a fearless laugh.

“Ask Ayako about the wager in April. That should clear up any doubts.”

“Wai, T-Tohsaka-senpai! You promised to keep that a secret!”

...This is an important testimony.

A bet in April, connected with Tohsaka, Emiya, the Mitsuzuri siblings...

This is a big leap.

I am getting closer to the truth of the Mitsuzuri case all in one stroke―――

“Is that all right? For you to just leak out such a thing?”

“But, Ayako is innocent so there shouldn't be anything to hide, don't you think? Ah, Minori-kun? Do you think it will be interesting this time as well?”

After seeing Miss Tohsaka now, I am dubious about the supposed flawless honor student.

Oh my, Miss Matou is smiling while Emiya makes a troubled sigh.

...Those around Emiya are also exceedingly suspicious. If I have just completed the first stage, should I continue and investigate?

Still, should I focus on the issue of Mitsuzuri instead, which has finally entered its last stage?

“Aaah... that was a disaster for Minori too, wasn't it?”

“Geh, like you can talk. I definitely don't want to hear that from you.”

“Mitsuzuri's younger brother, calm down. Shall this Himuro Kane listen to your troubles? Slowly and carefully.”

For now the priority is to pull away Mitsuzuri's brother.

By dragging him―――even as far as the seaside park?

“That's enough, right? Himuro-senpai, please let me go already.”

“No, I won't hear it. Just go with it, give up and accept that you got caught by the wicked witch. For now I will respect your dignity and not violate you.”

“Geh... I object, that's unreasonable! Really, you're just like Nee-chan.”

Miss Mitsuzuri, what on earth have you done to your little brother?

An older sister like Yukika being adored by her younger brothers is rare, how sad.

Well then, first I have to silence Mitsuzuri's brother's panic before taking him.

“Ghhhh! What are you thinking, stupid Himuro-senpai...!”

“You should obediently listen up. Treat it like a rehearsal for the future.”

The autumn sun falls early and the park is already dyed with the night's colors.

Even to walk arm in arm with Mitsuzuri's younger brother on a night like this... might be something.

Well, I should calm down and talk to him around here―――

“Aaah! Kane-chan!”

I was held back at the sound of my dear given name. At that soft voice, strength leaves my shoulders.

Ah, Yukika. I was about to say "Sorry for keeping you waiting," but―――

“Eeeeeh!? M-Minori-kun and Kane-chan are linking arms!”

“Aah, this is to expedite his abduction. It doesn't mean anything.”

“If that's the case, please release me, Himuro-senpai. I'm being calm, I've been subjected to this treatment long enough.”

I release his arm and Mitsuzuri's brother steps back, completely red in the face.

...Is the comfort of my chest that bad? It's somehow regrettable.

“Good evening, Saegusa-senpai.”

“Good evening, Minori-kun. It's the first time I've seen you with Kane-chan, isn't it?”

Mitsuzuri's brother is greeted by Yukika. The eldest as usual, with some exceptions, is polite. The education of her parents shines through.

...Then, I apologize to Yukika again.

“Sorry for not coming with you, Yukika.”

“No, that's alright. I was treated to tea by Tohsaka-san. I'm even going to have lunch with them tomorrow... Plus, it was good that Tohsaka-san and Emiya-kun were able to make up.”

Yukika smiles softly. Aah, it was worth coming here for this smile.

Well then, this would mean that Makidera should be around here too.

“How is Maki?”

“Well, you see... Come here a little, Kane-chan. Being together with Mitsuzuri-san has been difficult.”

“...So our talk is over? I'm going home then.”

I had already foreseen that.

I firmly caught Mitsuzuri's younger brother's arm as he was getting away.

And then I hold it in the original position. Like this, he cannot escape quickly.


“Now now, Mitsuzuri's younger brother. The fact is that there is an older sister even back at your house. Even if you meet here the details probably won't change.”

“Wow... Kane-chan is bold.”

“...sigh I get it. Enough already...

...But Himuro-senpai... Actually, Captain Matou and...”

“...? What, is there a good match?”

Yukika curiously tilts her head.

...Well, some things are better left unsaid.


“We are not here for your convenience!”

At the park bridge, there are two women bellowing towards the sea.

One is the usual Makidera, the other is Miss Mitsuzuri.

Their relationship was bound to be bad and yet, howling at the sea, they seem to be getting along―――the beach's setting sun seems to suit them.

“Emiya, you are a complete jeeeeeerk!”

“Don't make other people worry while you reconcile with others as you pleeease!”

“I'm the only one who can use Tohsakaaa!”

“I regret feeling worrieeed! This is why I hate stupid coupleees!”

It's hard to call out to them when they are... like this.

I pull Yukika's sleeve, searching subtly for an explanation.

“Were they like this the entire way?”

“Umm... Both of them kept silent for a while at the cafe, but this came unexpectedly when we got here.”

Judging from their state, I can imagine the scene displayed by Emiya and Miss Tohsaka.

Fighting as they please, dragging in those around them as they please, reconciling as they please.

If a person attempts to mediate in that situation, it would be enough to exasperate them. Then, I guess Makidera regrets not being able to kill two birds with one stone.

I give my condolences. Makidera will also have her long-awaited fortune return someday.

“...Nee-chan, what are you doing?”

“Minori!? What are you doing here!?”

“You've been like that for quite a while Nee-chan... Father and mother would give you a sermon if they see this, acting disgraceful like that.”

“Hmmm, you're able to speak up like an adult now. Big sister is proud.”

“Guggh... What I'm trying to say, Nee-chan...”

The brother-sister relationship between these two is quite amusing.

It's not that I was absorbed in observing or anything, just that the Mitsuzuri siblings are gathered, and the opportunity of a lifetime is in front of my eyes.

Did even Makidera become aware of the existence of this? I turn around with an exhausted expression.

“Yo, Himuro. Aren't you a bit late getting here? Everything's already over. It was fun.”

“I do somewhat regret it. Though one major issue still remains―――Miss Mitsuzuri.”

At the mention of her name, I turn around to face both siblings.

“Himuro-senpai has an interest in who Nee-chan is dating.”

“Haa? Why that? Don't tell me even Makidera wants to know?”

“I'm also a little interested... Sorry.”

Yukika attempts an apology. There is no need to apologize.

If she apologizes anyway, I will commit seppuku and Makidera will handle my decapitation.

But Makidera pays no attention to the mood and begins to speak.

“Somehow the candidates keep changing. Um, the first is probably Shinji?”

“Ahaha. Even from you that's a harsh joke. ―――Are you trying to make me laugh to death?”

Miss Mitsuzuri. Stop putting a murderous intent into such a smile, seriously.

“Then, next is Ryuudou-kun, after that is... Um, Emiya-kun.”

“Haa!? Nee-chan, stop it! If I have to call that guy something like brother-in-law, I'll run away from home!”

Mitsuzuri's brother is seriously displeased with candidate Emiya.

Moreover, at the mention of the lineup of Shinji, Ryuudou, and Emiya her expression became uneasy. If these were my choices for a significant other as well, I would be, in all honesty, annoyed.

“Hahaha, you should do it if you can, Minori. But Emiya is nowhere near the line, yeah.”

“Then next was Miss Saber. It turned out to be an odd selection.”

“Haaa... Ah, Saber-san, well that might be pretty good.”

Mitsuzuri laughed. I wonder if she is taking this seriously.

...I am not sure about going as far as dating each other, but if it was just sharing an apartment together, I think Saber would gladly agree to it.

And, my thoughts strayed. Back to the main topic―――

“There has been a flood of candidates so far, but not enough conclusive evidence for any of them.”

“But, by how suspiciously you were acting in April, I thought you were deep in a relationship―――Well, that was the reasoning, at least.”

With my arms folded, I contemplate from where to launch my offensive against Miss Mitsuzuri and the younger brother.

These two possess the information to solve everything. Their numerous actions and behaviors should reveal it. And then there is Miss Tohsaska's information.

A bet in April―――? What did Mitsuzuri bet on?

It was probably won by Miss Tohsaka. Those present there were Miss Tohsaka, Miss Mitsuzuri, Mitsuzuri's brother, and then Emiya.

Furthermore, Miss Tohsaka and Emiya have that relationship. If it is directly connected with the bet, or maybe―――

However, it is said that words that remain unsaid bring about disaster and shame.

“...In April, that can't be.”

“Even if you say you've forgotten, I won't forgive you if you say anything, Nee-chan.”

“Hm? What was that, Mitsuzuri's brother? No, then Mitsuzuri, you were saying something?”

Makidera's instinct and intuition are on full alert.

That's right. Miss Mitsuzuri referred to something that must give her younger brother great shame―――

“What was that, Makidera? You trying to pick a fight too?”

“Hehee~n. You can't just dodge the issue. Himuro, doesn't it seem like Mitsuzuri did something interesting?”

“What is interesting is that bet―――between Miss Tohsaka and Miss Mitsuzuri. That seems to be at the heart of the matter.”

A bit more and the missing piece will be connected. The result arrived at from losing the wager―――

Becoming irritated, Mitsuzuri's brother grumbles while kicking at the pebbles under his feet.

“I mean, why did I have to be Nee-chan's boyfriend...”

“I-...Idiot! You're an idiot, Minori!”

“Eeeh, Mitsuzuri was in such an abnormal relationship!?”

Makidera is stunned, that cannot be it. Impossible.

If it really is the younger brother in this case, it's not a shame, it's a scandal.

“Like hell I am!”

“Thank goodness, I was worried a little just now.”

“I said a boyfriend... Ah――――”

It connected.

Mitsuzuri introduced her real younger brother to Tohsaka and lied that he was her boyfriend.

As a result, she felt very embarrassed―――in that case, the contents of the bet is obvious. It also naturally clears up the matter of Mitsuzuri's boyfriend.

Oh, Oooh.

“Miss Mitsuzuri―――It was a bet with Miss Tohsaka, over who could find a significant other.”

“It can't... be... Have you heard the whole story from Tohsaka?”

“No, just that a wager was made. But it was simple to deduce from your brother's behavior.”

“So as not to lose, you took your brother.

―――Perhaps, rather than dressed as usual, he may have pretended to be someone else with a disguise.”

In that case, all of his actions make sense.

However, to say nothing of being humiliated, such an imitation is like digging a huge grave large enough to bury the pyramids. Also convinced of this, Mitsuzuri's brother fumbles for the right words.

This is not like Miss Mitsuzuri, it was a foolish move brought forth by her panic.

“Miss Tohsaka looked as well and had not found anyone to date, then April came and Emiya turned into a candidate. Therefore, from the bet that she thought was on even footing, panic in the face of certain defeat was born.”

“―――We seem to have misunderstood her behavior.”

“Then, Mitsuzuri-san was not starting a relationship at that time―――”

“You frantically sought someone to go out with at the last moment, no, for something to deceive your opponent with? So, your arrow breaks and your sword is of no use.”

“...That's pretty much it, you got it, Senpais.”


Earlier, Mitsuzuri's brother was the first to fall.

He met his sister's blaming gaze with a resentful look of his own.

“It's not only Tohsaka-senpai, but even being laughed at by that guy is too much to take.”

“Ahahaha, you're wrong Minori. That was some good experience, wasn't it?”

“What a terrible big sister you are... Even if he's my arch-enemy, he's still not the kind of guy that would go so far as to choose to use such means.”

“Uwaa... Mitsuzuri-san, you didn't want to lose that badly?”

Makidera is at her wit's end. Is she that shocked by Mitsuzuri?

The guts to not give up even when pressed to the edge is something to be admired, but the collateral damage is intense.

"Ahaha!" I laugh and smile to deceive Mitsuzuri at the final stage.

“So then, Miss Mitsuzuri Ayako―――are you with anyone else now?”

“D...Damn it! I'm not dating anyone! Just where and why on earth did such a talk about me dating a guy start... Isn't it plain obvious that I'm not?”

Mitsuzuri Ayako falls.

Every riddle has been solved―――Ah, the pleasures of a detective putting pieces together with reasoning, it's pleasant enough to make me tremble.

Shivering from and immersed with the joy running down my spine, Miss Mitsuzuri's sulking voice seems far away.

“Himuro, why did you even want to know something like that?”

“I don't know... How do I respond? This is difficult.”

“Besides! If you wanted to know that, wouldn't it have been better to ask me directly...?”

“But, it would have been difficult to ask you directly and I wonder if you wouldn't have hidden it from a normal acquaintance, among other things.”

“Since I've dug up some interesting material like the bet in April, weeell Mitsuzuri, you were doing something stupid to Tohsaka, awful, terrible, what a disgrace!”

Makidera howls out a laugh so loud that it is difficult to think of her as a girl.

Even though she is my friend, she is still the worst.

“No, well done Himuro, spectacular victory! An exceptional set of 5 floor cushions for you!”

Such lavish rewards.

Her abusiveness is also in top condition.

Makidera has in her grasp an astonishing weakness of a rival standing between her and Miss Tohsaka.

By simply hinting at it, there is no doubt Makidera can have the advantage for the time being.

“Heey! Heey! No boyfrieeend, old maaaid, the clothes make the maaan, just as even coarse tea tastes good when fresh even homely girls look beautiful at the peak of their yoooouth!”

“She still has not given us the full story, Makinoji.”

“You're one to speak, Makidera. Don't you not have a boyfriend either!?”

“But that's just it, Tohsaka didn't even win that bet! Emiya, it's Emiya. Geez, following after Tohsaka...”

Miss Mitsuzuri barks back bitterly. Certainly, because the relationship of Emiya and Miss Tohsaka doesn't make a pretty picture.

...However, looking at the current Emiya as well, it is not clear just who exactly he is dating.

For Miss Mitsuzuri to protest that the bet had no victor has some truth―――

“But, that Nee-chan doesn't have a boyfriend still hasn't changed.”

“Minori~? Since you're talking to me so impudently, should I go tell Matou various things about you?”

“Th, that's dirty. It's because you're like this that you haven't found a man, Nee-chan.”

The boy who is troubled by love is still here as well.

Including Emiya, there are still many people left on stage for my activities―――

“Hey... um, Kane-chan?”

“What is it, Yukika?”

“Kane-chan... I guess, you've never thought about wanting that kind of relationship with someone?”

Timidly, Yukika asks me.

...I see, so that's what is on her mind? After all, for the last few days it has been the only topic.

“Ah, I'm only slightly interested in that kind of thing, s-so I don't care at all even if I don't have a boyfriend either!?”

“Hmmm, that's right, Himuro is more of a mystery than Mitsuzuri or Tohsaka. What about that?”

That's right, that's―――

“Well, I suppose I managed to get a fiance.”

In an instant, all sound vanished from the park this night.

For everyone except me, breathing and heartbeats came to a halt as they stared at me.

Huh, was that so unexpected?

Then, a scream tore through the silence―――

“Eeeeeeh, f-fiance!”

“W-W-W-What are you saying, Kane-chan!?”

“I don't even know my fiance's face. It was a selfish arrangement made by my parents apparently before I was born.”

“―――Nevertheless, a cousin or second cousin or man or woman I barely know, I can't believe my parents would even think of making such an old fashioned agreement as they please.”

“Uh... t-that's amazing, Himuro. I never knew.”

Of course, since I have not spoken to him even once until now.

Mitsuzuri's little brother stood stock still with eyes narrowed to the size of dots, while Makidera, Yukika and even Miss Mitsuzuri talked amongst each other with their foreheads gathered together.

“What? Having something secret isn't all that big of a deal, isn't it?”

“Well then, maybe Kane-chan is interested in love?”

“Being forbidden from freely associating by her parents, Himuro yearns to love―――? Uwaaah.”

“A-Amazing, Kane-chan, that's really great... Like a manga...”

“As expected from the daughter of a big-shot, a marriage of convenience hmm? Uwah, even Tohsaka wouldn't do something like that.”

“Haa? Wait a minute, didn't someone say something awful in the midst of all the confusion just now?”

I hear you, I hear you. If you want to whisper, talk more quietly.

Makidera slowly slips away from them, then starts speaking to me.

“What's the deal, Himuro? You kept that secret until just now? That's so cold, really now.”

“But also, Kane-chan seems like she couldn't tell us since there are complicated family issues.”

“But Yukicchi, couldn't she open up to a close friend about this kind of thing? Even in Himuro's place, the truth is we would say something about it.”

“――――Did you take that seriously just now?”

Again, the air freezes over.

Again, the four people in front of my eyes become stiff, as if frozen over and about to crumble in defeat.

“N-No waaayyy!”

“W-W-What did you saaaay!? Wait a minute, Himuro! Which is iiit!?”

“Come on, isn't there a proverb that says, "The world is made of lies, greed, and love"? That's why this fleeting world is interesting. They say love is like an unexpected joke, after all.”

“Confiscatiooon! I'm taking back all of the cushiooons!”

Before falling into panic, Makidera lets out an empty laugh.

I show interest in the love affairs of people because there is this kind of joy. A person's love is born and concealed and the entire story is interesting simply because I get to see the unexpected actions of human nature.

And furthermore, particularly because of the pleasure from solving the mystery, nothing can stop me―――.

“Kuh... I don't understand Himuro anymore.”

“This girl, she's even tougher to crack than Tohsaka.”

“So, Kane-chan is still Miss Mysterious just as she was in the past.”

“Umm, can I go home already, Himuro-senpai?”

Mitsuzuri's brother muttered sheepishly.

Sweet. He is far too sweet to be the younger brother of that Mitsuzuri. The sister cannot even compare.

I pull his arm to my chest harder to keep him from escaping.


“Oh no you don't. Your problem has not been resolved yet.

Well, I came here in the first place to hear it.”

“Ooh... If that's the case, I'll rely on you, please take care of Minori's issue. As a sister, I worry about this inexperienced guy in a number of ways as well. The boy's habits are old-fashioned.”

“Hohoho, is that Mitsuzuri's younger brother? Let's see, maybe I could help too!”

“Ah... I'll be counting on you from now on, Mitsuzuri-kun.”

“T-Thank you, Saegusa-senpai... eh? Nee-chan, don't abandon meeee!”

...Well well, what will be the next stage?

Again, there will be another opportunity sooner or later―――