Loop 11

Day 1

Ryuudou Temple・Day 1 Visit to the grave

I wander around the hills behind the Ryuudou temple.

The main temple building is splendid, but in the back is a thick forest.

I'm quite fond of it, so I end up coming here just for a walk once in a while.


“Oh, my.”

And I bump into Fuji-Nee.

“Shirou, you were going? To the mountain?”

“I was just visiting Issei...”

But Issei would probably stay on the main grounds, so there's not much point looking for him here. Maybe my excuse was a little weird?

“Hmm. But doesn't Ryuudou-kun become really serious when he's at the mountain?”

“There's his parents and also Kuzuki-sensei, I guess it can't be helped.”

There's also Caster and that brother of his, Reikan...

Now that I think about it, Ryuudou temple might actually have about as many, if not more weird inhabitants than our own house.

“Fuji-Nee, what brings... ah.”

I start off, but somehow hesitate to ask.

The bucket and dipper that she has just put down already made it clear.

“I just went to visit Kiritsugu-san.”

“I see.”

Kiritsugu was buried here, at the temple's graveyard.

Fujimura Sr., together with Issei's father, took upon planning the ceremony with much zeal, and ended up choosing this mountain to place his tombstone.

But my visits were rare... no, never.

“I'll take care of his grave. You don't really have to worry about it, Shirou.”

Fuji-Nee forgives me with her usual smile.

“You're still young―――But he'd probably be happy if you showed up from time to time.”


“But it is Kiritsugu-san, after all. "Don't you dare trouble me with stuff that happens after my death," I bet that's what he'd say.

Well, he was that sort of a guy.”


“By the way, have you told Illya-chan or Saber-chan about the grave?”

“No... I haven't.”

“I see... Well, I just think it'd be best if they heard it from you instead.”

Those two probably have a deeper connection with Kiritsugu than I do.

But even then, I don't think Illya or Saber ever―――visited his tombstone in this forest.

“Oh? Not feeling well?”

“Oh no, I'm fine.”

“Well, that's good―――I'm going to go return these. What about you, Shirou?”

If I keep going deeper like this, I'll end up at the graveyard that Fuji-Nee has just left through a different path.

But once I get there, there's still nothing I can say to dad.

So I'll just return to the temple with Fuji-Nee.

“I'll go back, too. Here, let me take these.”

“Ah... Okay, let's go.”

Carrying Fuji-Nee's bucket, I start walking.

...Looking back one more time, I gaze at the forest.

I can't see Kiritsugu's grave from here.

“Hey. Until next time, father.”

Town・Day 1 Caster's shopping (hobby edition)

“Hm, I guess that should be all.”

Once again, I check the note that has been given to me against the bags that I'm holding.

Since I have to go to Shinto for work on occasion, Sakura and Rider tasked me with some shopping along the way.

There is a bottle of spices with a purpose completely unknown to me and a hardcover book inside the bag.

“...Half of this looks more like Tohsaka's ingredients than Sakura's.”

Sure enough, it's all stuff that doesn't look particularly suitable for cooking (not sure if it's even edible to begin with) and bottles with nothing but kanji on them.

Well, Sakura has been learning from Tohsaka a lot lately, and this might be some kind of Chinese food cook-off.

If that's the case, my Japanese food advantage might be in danger. I might have to try asking Sella and friends for some German cuisine tips―――

Still walking with thoughts like these, I suddenly got a feeling that I just saw somebody familiar.

Turning around, I discover a girl walking out of the foreign clothing store.

Loaded with heavy bags, she is not entirely steady on her feet.

―――Now, I definitely met her somewhere before, but who is she?

“Oh my, it's Saber's boy.”

“...Huh? Caster!?”

“? What's with that face?”

“Oh, I mean...”

Caster is supposed to be, you know, someone with a hood and robe, with nothing but mouth and hands in plain sight. No, trivial details aside,

“...What a surprise. It turns out you are quite a beauty.”

“―――W-What's that all of a sudden?”

“Well, anyways.”


...Oops. I really gotta fix this habit of thinking out loud.

“At any rate, that's quite a load you have. Do you really intend to carry it all the way back by yourself?”

“And what if I do?”

“Oh, I was just thinking it would be quite a challenge.”

In fact, a lot of those look pretty unwieldy.

Nah, Caster's a Servant, they must be featherlight to her... I guess?

She did lose to Tohsaka in close combat. Indeed, other than magecraft, I wonder if she isn't just a regular girl.

“...Huh. And if I said that it is, you wouldn't be kind enough to help me, would you?”

“I would? I was about to go home, anyways.”

I hold out a hand to take some of the bags, but Caster keeps eyeing me with suspicion.

“Hm? I bet it is pretty difficult to carry it all yourself, after all.”

“―――Indeed. Alright, if you will.”

She passes me one of a paper bag's handles.

This is a lot heavier than I expected. The string is digging deeply into my palm.

“Ack. Unbelievable.”

“Nevermind the trivial. Aren't you a man, boy?”


I can't argue with that.

...Come to think of it, it's unusual for Caster to be this familiar.

“Anyhow, you really should have asked somebody to come along if you were planning on buying this much.

Like Issei, or maybe Kuzuki-sensei.”

“Today was hobby shopping.

I wouldn't want to bother Souichirou-sama with it, and I doubt Issei would help.”


Sounds like Issei-Caster relations are as delicate as ever.

That is, they wouldn't start a fight, but they do regard each other in a pretty reserved manner.

...It's definitely a problem.

Even though, unlike at our place, they may not meet one-on-one very often, with all the monks living at the Ryuudou temple and whatnot.

“...Alright, I guess it's none of my business, after all.

That aside, you said you have a hobby?”

“Y-Yes? A Servant without entertainment would have to be somebody like Berserker, probably.”

“So that's how it is...”

Now that I look at it, Saber does have a preoccupation with consuming food, while Rider seems to have taken a liking to reading books.

The other guys must have something they enjoy, too. And had Berserker been summoned into a different class, even he would probably have some kind of hobby.

“So what's in there, anyways?”

“Tools for making a ship in a bottle, actually.”


Ship in a bottle, ship in a bottle...

Now where have I seen one recently―――

“Wait a second, that decoration at Issei's place, were you the one who made it?! I did think that it was a strange choice of decor for a temple's entrance.”

“H-How rude! The chief priest wanted to put it there, so―――”

“―――You mean Issei's father?”

“There's somebody else now.”

...I see. A stout man, his father's looks are nowhere near Issei's, almost to the point of a mystery.

If it was him, I wouldn't be surprised if a suspicious-looking Caster-made bottle-ship ended up as decoration, be it a temple or anywhere else... Oh, that's right.

“I just remembered something. Caster, please stop sending us strange stuff, it bothers Saber.”

I don't know exactly what it was, but for some reason, Tohsaka kept grinning when she got it.

That time...

“It was sent by Caster. I'll check it over, just in case.”

And so she took it away.

Tohsaka then called for Saber, and after that, all I know is that something had upset her.

“Ah, but it looked so great on her.”

Does that mean that the other parcels had stuff like those clothes in them, too?

“...But you wouldn't wear something that Saber asked you to, would you?”

“I'm offended. Getting someone to wear nice clothing, especially this well-fitting, is something I enjoy greatly.”

“I see... Unfortunately, Saber isn't willing to.”

I also think that the pretty clothes Caster bought for her suit Saber well, but she must hate them herself.

“What a pity.”

“So what about all of these? You bought this much, yet no one is going to wear them? What a waste.”

“Oh well, it's too bad there isn't a young kid I could dress up at the temple.”

“For starters, Issei could fill in as one of those.”

“Indeed, he could. He wouldn't be a bad choice, actually, although I would prefer a girl―――”

“If you asked him, I'm sure he would disagree.”

“Yes, but... even like that―――”

A distant look in Caster's eyes.

...Issei in a frilly dress?


“Give me a break...”

That much was said with all my might.

Emiya Residence・Start of Night・Ritual window

Emiya Residence・Start of Night Things to do

Day 2

Emiya's・Day 2 The trap of high-class ingredients

As I was passing through the living room to start the usual lunch preparations, I noticed Saber, engrossed in reading, quite unusual for her.


Not having noticed my presence just yet, she's leaning forward, her cat-like eyes wide open, staring intently at something on top of the table.

While I sure am interested in the contents of that magazine now, I wouldn't want to interrupt. I'll just go straight to the kitch―――

“Shirou, great timing.”

“F-For what?”

As I turn around, Saber finally peels her eyes off the page.

The thing she presents in front of her chest is a large magazine with a colorful banner headline. That's a bit of a surprise. I imagined Saber would be interested in more serious magazines.

“Shirou, what kind of taste does this "foie gras" have?”

“...Foie gras?”

“Yes, that's right. Also, what about caviar, truffles, shark fin, bird's nest soup, Matsutake mushrooms, splendid alfonsino, spine lobster, Jinhua ham, Peking duck, guinea fowl, puffer fish, soft-shelled turtle, wasanbon sugar, Yubari melon, Matsuzaka beef―――――

“H-Hold on. What on Earth are you talking about?”

Saber's eyes were so serious, I unconsciously got scared and interrupted her.

“Why are you suddenly so interested in those things?”


And so, Saber turns the cover of the book she's holding towards me.

"High class food you have to try once"...?

“What is this book?”

I don't recall buying this book. Come to think of it, there's no reason for me to have it, either.

Sakura has a collection of recipe books that I'll never be able to match, but this is more like a guide book.

“Taiga left it here some time ago.”

Now I understand. I can see the underlying motive.

She probably thought that by leaving it here in the living room, Sakura or I would look it over and say "Okay, let's have Matsutake mushrooms for dinner tonight."

―――And judging by Saber's shining eyes, Fuji-Nee's plan is already about 50% successful.

“...So, you're saying you're interested in this.”

“Yes. These are all ingredients I would like to taste. I am certain they would be delicious.”

Saber visualizes the high class ingredients she's yet to try.

But with the normal person's access to high quality goods, I doubt I can rise to the culinary standard of a high-ranking person.

“Didn't you live in a castle as a king? That's very luxurious―――”

Crap. It wasn't like that, what a gaffe.

Certainly, Saber lived a courtly life. However, at that time, there were no pompous royal feasts or formal table manners, for that matter.

To begin with, the French brought high class food with them... what century are we talking about here?

“...Shirou, I believe I told you before. In my time, there were no plates, the meat was merely cooked and thrown on the table, and you shaved it off with a knife―――”

“Sorry, Saber. That was my bad―――While I do want to say that you can have whatever you like to eat as an apology―――”

Indeed, with our household's finances, saying "Alright, how about we go eat there?" with that menu is an impossible dream.

“―――It's a stretch, but if it's for you alone, I'll do it somehow.”

“Me alone, you say?”

“Yes, that's the limit.

Apart from that, if Rin lends me a hand with an investment of a jewel or something, maybe I can take everyone out to a fancy place in Shinto―――”

“...Knowing Rin, that kind of a fictional scene is hardly imaginable.”

I agree completely.

She is distinctively cheap, stingy, and a born miser. I don't want to hear her complaining―――besides, I simply can't imagine Tohsaka being this lavish.

“Yeah. I do want to take you to a rich celebrity-like place someday, but until then, you'll have to put up with the food that I make.”

“What are you saying, Shirou? I'm very satisfied with the food in this house. I've never considered myself to be patiently enduring it.”

She says such a wonderful thing with a straight face.

If you say it like that, my fighting spirit will be boosted even with just lunch preparations.

“Therefore... I believe that, some day, you will personally harvest high-class ingredients. You will make a splendid meal, which you will use to decorate this dining table.”


“Because I believe in you.”

W-What do you believe in?

Saber throws out a reckless word of belief.

She flips through the magazine in her hand, and finally opens the page she was after.

“Yes. Goose. Foie "quack." How about we start from the matter of feeding and caring for the goose itself?”

“"Quack?" Hold on a minute, Saber.”

“If a goose is too much trouble, a pig is another choice. As far as feeding livestock goes, pigs are ideal.

Moreover, did you know, Shirou? According to this book, only sows can find truffles underground.

Of course, there's different varieties of ham, so we will have to choose the breed.”

“Give me that. I'll make sure to smack its rightful owneridiot with it!”

In one smooth motion, she stands up and quickly evades my hand.

Nimbly walking through the corridor, she puts on the slippers and goes out to the yard.


“Saber, it's dangerous to walk with your head up―――”

“You finally noticed, Shirou.

Compared to my faraway castleCamelot,the Emiya residence is missing something―――that is, a vegetable garden and livestock hut! Fortunately, there's plenty of space here in the yard...”

“Oh... Could it be that Kiritsugu have anticipated this, and thus secured an appropriate site!?”

“Nope. Dad wouldn't have had such a particular foresight.

Well, if you really want to try, you can have a 100-bu330 Sq. M. kitchen garden.

But we won't be raising a sow, goose or a turtle. Just that tigress alone is enough!”

“Tiger, hmm...

Highly valued since ancient times, tiger meat is said to be to horse meat what "sakura" is to "bamboo." I wonder what it tastes like... hmmm... butter...?”

The entranced Saber, standing in the middle of the yard, seems to have a convenient filter on her ears for my voice.

“Earth to the Kiiing~, come baaack~, Your Majesty~”

“Even if a garden is impossible, I won't just give up yet. After all, Fuyuki city is a natural treasure trove.

Mountain vegetables, forests, abundance of seafood. A fertile land truly blessed by God. Ah... the dream continues.”

“Before that, wipe the drool off your face, Saber.”

With the demonic book clutched tightly to her chest, Saber looks up to the clear autumn sky and sees the faraway Food Kingdom.

School・Day 2 Suspicious pair

Having finished inspecting the heaters that seem particularly out of shape, before winter hits, I come back to the student council room.

Normally, Issei would accompany me, but today, it seems he has some student council matters to attend to, so I've been managing on my own.

“Hey, Issei, I'm pretty much...”

I open the door somewhat abruptly, and suddenly see Issei with Mitsuzuri inside.

“..................done, but...”

...Hmm. Not only is this pairing quite rare, the way that their shoulders are getting closer, almost to the point of touching, is quite unusual too.

A glimmer of hope briefly appears in my frozen mind. He sees the red clothes as a sign of evil, but this time, it's alright. I'm desperately grasping at straws.

“Listen, Shirou. You know how they say that those who disturb others' romance would get kicked by a horse and die? You wouldn't, would you? The pain aside, of course.”

That was mean. It depends on the situation, but after receiving a critical injury, I'd usually prefer just to be left alone to die quietly.

“Sorry, pardon me for interrupting.”

Obeying this divine revelation, I close the door.

“...Ugh, that was close. Ah, who'd have thought that Issei and Mitsuzuri are in a relationship?”

Well, no mistake, with those two.

The weight of a brick in my chest, I decide to go home.

“Emiya, wait. Where are you going?!”

“Oh. I did what you asked, so I'm going home.”

“Ahaha, Emiya. It's alright, come back in.”

“Eh? Didn't I interrupt you two?”

“Shut up, don't complain.”

“Eh... Eh?”

I get dragged back inside the student council room, just like that.

“...So it was all a misunderstanding, huh?

Should have just told me from the start.”

“You left before I could correct it. Now go and reflect on your actions.”

“...Um. So is that my fault now?”

She seems to be laughing, yet she isn't smiling at all.

Despite the fact that they're just friends, she reminds me of Tohsaka.

...Lately, I've started noticing Sakura laughing the exact same way.

But, she's probably just taking after her sister.

“...No way, am I getting surrounded by Tohsakas?”

“What kind of ominous nonsense are you muttering with that serious face of yours?”

“Yeah, it's not the future I would wish for.

...So. What were you two up to, anyways?”

...And then...

Looking closer, I see a large amount of documents spread out onto the desk.

Was this some kind of business meeting...?

“Right, a cultural festival meeting.”

“Ah, I see.

But why is Mitsuzuri with you? Was there some kind of issue with the archery club?”

“That's 'cause I'm the festival committee chief.”

“Eh, since when?”

All I get is a collective sigh.

“Speaking of which, it may not seem that way, but Emiya is also one of its members.”

“...My bad. Totally forgot about it.”

“Well, none of the activities have started yet, so it doesn't matter.”


Cultural festival, is it...? Outsiders are welcome to participate, too, so both Saber and Rider should get a chance to have some fun...

Illya hasn't been to one, either. There could be trouble if I bring her along―――

“Anyhow, that's how it is at the moment.

Since we had some preparations to sort out, I couldn't accompany you while you were out fixing equipment. I'm sorry.”

“It's alright, everyone has their own job to do.

And now, as for that heater I came to look at―――”

As I'm inspecting the heater, Mitsuzuri keeps staring at me.

“What is it?”

“Oh, nothing. Just that you've been zoning out even more than usual lately. I sure hope you won't forget it once preparations start, too.”


The stuff about the festival and the committee that we just talked about. Can't argue with that.

“Hm, tell you what. Mitsuzuri's concern is very real, indeed. Emiya, come with me when you're done. We will discuss the cultural festival matters in detail.”


“Yeah, that'd be good. Please make sure he doesn't forget it again.”

“Right. Leave it to me.”

“Um, are you telling me―――to go home with Issei tonight?”

“Yes, we are. You don't have work today, do you?”

“Nope. Wouldn't have come to help if I did.”

"Excellent," Mitsuzuri nods in satisfaction.

Well, I bet it'd be more of a lecture than a discussion. But I haven't walked home with Issei lately, either, so I don't mind...

“―――But why are you so happy, Ryuudou?”

Yeah, I noticed it, too.

“Ack. I am not.

I mean, not in that sense, I'm just glad that I can do something in return for Emiya―――”

“Yeah, yeah, I got it.

Well then, would you mind a bit more repair work? There's a long-neglected broken air conditioner at the gym storehouse. And Ryuudou and I will keep going with the athletics program.

The archery club still doesn't have a set one, though...”

And so I'm shooed out of the student council room.

...Oh well.

Can't back out now. Until Issei's finished, equipment repair it is.

School・Day 2 Towards the cultural festival

“Sorry to keep you waiting, Emiya.”

“Nah, I finished up just a moment ago, too. No worries.”

“...Sorry. That Mitsuzuri just kept extending the agenda. Good grief, am I really expected to approve a cake shop for an archery club?”

“Haha. Did you have a quarrel over that?

What is the archery club doing, anyway?”

“Hm? Anything alumi... No, as far as the idea goes, it seems to be a family restaurant parody.

Focusing on cakes sounds fairly interesting, but unfortunately, our food and drink group is already filled up. I'm afraid the archery club will have to resubmit their proposal before the 11th.”

...So that's how it is...

It's tough for both the archery club and the student council chairman.

“Good work today. Working on a day off to keep things running behind the scenes, that's our chairman, Issei.”

“Come now, it is always overtime work on the mountain. This is but a trifle in comparison.”

Not just the temple, this is the exactly the way he manages whatever undertaking he's responsible for.

“What are your plans, Emiya? Are you going straight home?”


Come to think about it, it's been awhile since we went home together.

Back in the first year, it's always been either Shinji or Issei.

Shinji came along just for fun, and Issei went home on the same path as me.

“Hey, let's go to Shinto or something, for once.

Unless you really need to help with something at home, of course.”

“Don't you have a lot of mouths to feed yourself, Emiya? Is that alright?”

Thus worrying about each other's matters, the question remains unsettled. Issei looks at me with his usual disappointed expression.

“It can't be helped, this discussion is nothing but a waste of time. Let us go to Shinto.”

“Roger that... so what should we do.”

“A movie or something... that would take far too much time.”

“Hm, it's either "NECOARC" or "Tiger Dojo: The Movie." Have you heard anything about those, Emiya?”

“Both of them nonsensical, from what I've heard.”

“Comedy, I see.”

“They say it's more of a tragedy, though.”

What's up with that, anyway.

A game center is a no-go for either for us, and, well... something like a pool is definitely out of the question.

While I'm thinking, Issei comes up with an idea.

“Emiya, you know, after a long while of ascetic temple life, I want to have a small bite of something sweet. How about we go to Verde?”

“Yeah, the main branch. Let's do it.”

And thus our destination has been decided.

In the past, we used to just wander around aimlessly, and that's fine. But living in a temple, constantly deprived of sweets and meat, gotta be tough.

“Weren't you going to buy a study or exam book?”

“...Ah, I did have something like that in mind.”

We chat while looking at the bookstore display.

An honor student like Issei has got to know a lot about this stuff.

“Speaking of which, any recommendations?”

“I have a few, in a way... Although I thought I gave you an overview of the study material already.”

That's right, it's always either Fuji-Nee or Issei who keeps bugging me. Tohsaka sort of pays attention to my studies, but she mostly just keeps drilling me on the magic front.

“Good grief, the rest of your classmates are busy with prep school and mock exams. Your exceptionally carefree attitude in this regard worries me greatly.”

“If at least you could... Oh, wait. You will be going into training, won't you?”

Yeah, that's what I've heard.

Like entirely devoting himself to ascetic practice at the Ryuudou temple after graduation. It's no wonder he remained at the chairman's post for the whole three years.

“Right, secluding myself from the joys of the mortal world, resisting the temptations, concealing my body in black, the intention is to bind myself to Somaya.”

“What's with that? Somaya? The temple's large, too...”

“What? First and foremost, I will be praying for the fulfillment of Emiya's aspirations. One ought to establish a solid foundation first, I believe.”

Issei cackles.

My future is still unclear, but I feel safe knowing my friend is praying for my success.

“I... hm, I guess I won't be buying any. What about you?”

“Sadly, neither am I. Then let us go on downstairs.”

“Yeah... They had obanyaki and soft icecream and the like.”

In the corner of the underground food court, there's some space to have a light meal.

Issei sure seems to have taken a liking to it... I guess he likes the hidden-away from the public eye feel of it?

“Emiya, what's your preference for obanyaki?”

“Red bean, whole.tsubu-an

“Hm, not a perfect score, but a pass you have managed. Had you stated "cheese and custard," I'd have no choice but to call for divine punishment and reeducation there and then.”

Well, sounds like he has plenty of preferences even for sweets.

Offering a crepe from La Fleur sounds like a sure way to get Issei mad.

Tohsaka would probably like something astringent like jam obanyaki.

“Very well, for the occasion, I shall treat you to strained bean paste one.”

“Oh, much obliged.”

Should Issei really go into seclusion, I doubt he'll be getting another chance for a sweet wafer cake...

We ended up packing the obanyaki into a bag and eating on the way back.

Even buying some extra as presents did not hurt the wallet much. Truly wonderful sweets for the masses.

“That's right, Emiya, there are a few things I'll need you to do next week, as well.”

“Like taiyaki and stuff?”

“Hm, while that would not be bad, this time, the cultural festival takes priority. I also ought to explain the fine details of the executive committee's role to you.

...Well, we can leave that for tomorrow. In view of the obanyaki, it shall be deferred for today.”

...Crap, I forgot about it again.

It's because Mitsuzuri got mad at me that we're going home like this in the first place.

“......Forgetful, you sure are......”

Especially with cultural festival-related matters.

How should I put it...

It's as if I avoid thinking about it on purpose.

“...But now that I've remembered...

Starting tomorrow, I'll prepare myself and be as helpful as I can.”

“Right, please do. Once the festival starts, there's a mountain-load of matters that we'll need your help with, Emiya.”

Saying that, Issei puts three more obanyaki into my bag.

“Please think of this as a prepayment for tomorrow's effort.”

“It's not like I work just for the obanyaki, you know.”

“Well, refusing an offer of alms will not do, either. I am always in your debt for all the trouble.”

"That's right," he nods in consent.

Going through the trouble to help Issei has become pretty much natural for me. It's already a habit...

Well, it is indeed rather impolite of me to just refuse it.

“...I see. Alright, I will take it as a donation, then.”

“Hahaha, Emiya the Great Deity of Miracles... that's right, speaking of donations, deities and avatars, are you aware of those matters?”

Issei diverts the conversation. I guess he wants to show another piece of his knowledge?

Of course, I know nothing of the sort, so I just nod―――

“Long ago, a dragon god lived in this river, and various rituals to appease him would take place.”

“Oh? Never heard about it before... So is the autumn festival now somehow related to that god?”

I knew that an autumn festival and a Bird Day take place at the Ryuudou temple, but I never heard about their origins. Growing up in the temple, Issei seems to be well-versed in this subject.

Expecting more explanation, I nod once again.

“Oh no, there is no relation to the modern festivals. A monk from the Ryuudou temple, using his powers of Buddha, would spend 3 days and 3 nights in prayer to placate the raging dragon god. As the high priest passed away, the people of Miyama would once again yearn for a virtuous monk that could calm the unruly god...”

...Oh, I have a feeling I've already heard the story about people with such powers disappearing from the temple.

Another one of the complicated ancient legends passed down through generations. I don't understand the old folklore very well, either.

“What's wrong? Was that a boring story?”

“Oh no, it was quite interesting. But... is there really a dragon god in this river?”

Gazing at the river, I feel no presence there.

And besides, I suspect the modern river pollution has taken its toll on the living conditions of the great dragon god as well.

“Alright, we are almost there... Hmmm, as I thought, strained bean paste is quite agreeable...”

“Are you going to give the rest to Reikan-san and Kuzuki-sensei?”

I peek at the obanyaki still in Issei's bag.

Now, I have some, too, but once you divide by the number of people I have to split them amongst... Compared to that, Issei's share...

“Blast. I am sure to get confined by father if he finds out about this purchase. It can't be helped, I shall request your assistance.”

“Wait, are you planning to eat it all here...? Alright, oh, how I wish for some tea...”

“Hm, the thought of manju and tea on the mountain is indeed frightening.”

“...I'm telling you, I'll come by to resupply you later, Issei.”

Emiya Residence・Start of Night Things to do

Day 3

Ryuudou Temple・Day 3 Rider investigates

Turning my back towards the temple, I head for the forest in the back.

The back road leading to the temple is one of my favorite walking routes.

Avoiding the path that goes through the vast cemetery, I stroll around the periphery.


“―――Is that really you, Shirou?”

A familiar voice stops me.

“Eh, Rider? Why are you here?”

“......Something was bothering me, and I came to investigate.”

Rider comes out of the bushes.

...Seeing the old black clothes, my body stiffens before I realize it.

Old experience, I guess. Made me a bit nervous by reflex.

“......Shirou. Why are you in this place?”

“Huh? Oh, just taking a walk... You know Issei, at the Ryuudou Temple? We use it all the time.

But nevermind that, what was it that's bothering you...?”


Rider does not answer.

...Did a thought cross her mind? Her pointed gaze from beyond the mask is still aimed at me.

Not quite murderous, but the coldness in her eyes is almost hostile.

...It might as well be a snake staring at me. Though I'm sure she's not using her Mystic Eyes, I'm already starting to feel paralyzed.

“..................No, I must have been wrong. Since you've walked around here a lot, traces of your presence are probably lingering around.”


“I'm sorry, Shirou.

―――I would be grateful if you could forget what I have just said.”

The tension starts to fade.

To amend her hostility from a moment ago, Rider smiles gently.

“...If you say so, I won't ask.

Should I perhaps not ask why you were here, either?”

“No, that one is not a problem.

...The reason for my visit is that I've felt a disturbance in the ley line. Being Caster's domain, a variety of sorcery traces are here, but this new twist is not one of her doing.

I suspect influence of another Master or Servant at first, but that appears to not be the case, either.”

“Another Servant... You didn't just have a fight with Assassin at the gate, did you?”

“No, I have passed through the gate with nothing but a normal greeting.”

“You mean a―――"Hello" kind of greeting?”

Rider nods.

...Some gatekeeper he is.

Assassin's self-confidence is only matched by his ability to detect malicious intent.

“...Pardon me. It seems this outfit is putting an undue pressure on you, Shirou. It does let me concentrate, but since it bothers you, should I perhaps revert back to my ordinary clothing?”

“Ah, no, it's fine... That aside, when you mentioned a disturbance in the ley line... What kind of disturbance?”

“...Can you not feel it?”

Now that she asks, I concentrate on my senses.

...While I cannot perceive the flow of magical energy, I can tell other abnormalities or torn seams in the world around me.

Using not technique, but intuition, not theory, but instinct, I probe around the entire structure of the mountain.

“...First of all, I feel a deep aura around the mountain. Being Fuyuki's life line, it's natural... Overlapping each other, all sorts of arteries run on top of that. It's cleverly disguised, but I guess that's Caster's barrier.

Other than that... Can't really feel anything unusual.”

I raise my head.

...Covering her face as if in deep thought, Rider seems to be irritated.

“...Is that so?

If you can't feel it, then something is wrong not with this mountain, but with my own self.

...Assuming the odd one is me, it is probably coming here, unlike what I thought.”

Coming here.

...Those words can be nothing but an ill omen.

But clenching her teeth, Rider shakes her head in denial and turns to me again.

“Do not worry about it, it has nothing to do with you, Shirou.

I am a divine creature with a strong connection to the Earth to start with, it is no wonder I'd be sensitive to the disturbances in the ley line. It was a bit much this time, and the uncomfortable feeling made me overreact, that's all.

...Yes, thinking it over, it is just a feeling of discomfort that I could not really place. Like a mosquito descending on your bare shoulder, minor and vaguely uncomfortable... You can blow it off in one breath, but it still annoys you for some time after.”

...Rider is unusually talkative.

As if she's persuading herself, trying to brush off whatever's worrying her.

“...But no matter how trivial it is, it still bothers you? Isn't that... how this Heaven's Feel got restarted?”

“Rest assured, this issue is mine alone. Neither you nor Sakura would be harmed by it.

...No. If it does come to that, as before, I have to, this time for sure―――”

"Protect the two of you."

Murmurs Rider, failures of the past still in mind.

“...Rider? What the heck is wrong with you, you're acting strange.

Whatever's bothering you... Well, to each his own, I won't ask you about it. But if there's anything at all you want to talk about, I'd like to do my best to help.”

“Eh―――Ah, no, that was, just thinking out loud, it's not like it has anything to do with you or Sakura, I'm just projecting myself on you two.”

In a haste, she starts mingling words.

...I feel bad for her, but Rider is kind of charming this way.

She always feels so much older than me, yet somehow, she looks like a girl around my age right now.

“A-Anyway, please leave Sakura's safety to me, Shirou.”

“―――Yeah. Thanks, Rider.”

Probably sensing my absolute faith, she finally managed a smile.

If anything were to happen, Sakura should be safe with Rider around.

“Thank you.

...Also, while I should not be saying this, Sakura is not the only person I guard. Even you, Shirou, are under my protection.”

“Oh? Why is that?”

Even though Rider is Sakura's Servant?


Well, it does not matter. Protecting Sakura includes protecting you, that is how it is.”

Rider turns away pouting.

Funny... Did I say something wrong...?

“Well then. With that, I am done here. What about you, Shirou?”

“I'll walk around the temple for a little longer. Ah, will you go for a prayer?”

“......Would the spirits here be offended if I prayed for Sakura's safety?”

“Why would they? Might as well teach you the proper etiquette for a temple visit, too.”

“That would be helpful―――Then, I am gratefully looking forward to the formal tour of the temple.”