Loop 17

Day 1

School・Day 1 Caster's delivery

I cross paths with a rather noisy bunch as I head to my classroom.

“Hey, that was one heck of a beauty just now, don't cha think?”

“Yeah, but what's a foreigner doing here?”

“Nah, not so much a foreigner, just kind of weird? Not that there was anything wrong, I mean.”

“Who cares, as long as she's got the looks.”

“...Did I see that right? Her ears looked kind of... long...”

I come to a halt.

I'm pretty sure I have a good idea of how many good-looking foreigners there are around town. But, ones that could come here?

I wanted to ask about the details, but the bunch disappeared towards the other end of the hallway before I could get a chance.

Issei, who was walking alongside, has stopped as well.

“What is it, Issei?”

“Oh, nothing. I was a little bothered by what the group just now said.”

“It sure is surprising to see you bothered by such gossip.”

“No, it's just that... something about that caught my attention.

However, it is not a matter that shall require action on my part.”

With a nod, he just accepts whatever he accepts and walks away in a hurry.

I ought to follow his example and get going, but it still keeps bothering me.

“...I should go ask, after all.”

“Boss, the investigation has been completed.”


Someone suddenly starts talking to me.

Startled, I see Goto-kun, my classmate, appear with an opened student planner in his hand.

...Seems like he watched another detective TV drama yesterday.

“The target's features are as follows: foreigner and a beauty. When asked about their impression, the witnesses testified that she looks stylish and with a purple hue.”

There's nothing written down in the planner, but he recites it with no hesitation.


No way, could it be Rider?

“Goto-kun, where was the target spotted?”

“Let's see... the witnesses report that she has come in through the main entrance and was heading down the first floor hallway.”

So the target is moving. Looks like her assault isn't about to stop there, either.

“Thank you. Please continue with the investigation.”

I'll start looking for her in the first floor's hallway.

Even if Rider has already moved on, someone must have seen her.

“Ah, boss! If you don't return soon, you'll be late for the conference. If that happens, the head chief will be mad.”

“Please say something to Fujimura-sensei. I'll be there even if I'm late.”


Goto-kun responds with a salute. I throw a glance at him and go down the stairs.

It did not take long to reach the objective.

Frankly, I was originally going to turn right around and hurry back to the classroom, but I could not just abandon a person in trouble.

Issei's fleeting doubt was Caster.

But she sure does stand out. She's not doing anything outright suspicious, she's just conspicuous. And very much so.

Not sure of her destination, she checks the room numbers one by one as she walks down the hallway.

“Oh come on, Caster.”

“Oh my, it's the boy from Saber's place.”

Caster seems unfazed, but I'm feeling quite tense myself.

...Right about now, people are saying, "Who is that?", "It's Emiya from third year.", "It's him again!", "Why does the universe revolve around him?", "Let's get to killing him now." and so forth...

“...So, what are you doing? You're way too conspicuous. What happened to your regular clothes, like the ones you wear to Shinto?”

I whisper softly.

“It's okay, I'm fooling them with magic right now―――but before that, boy...”

“What is it?”

“Where is the staff room, I wonder?”


“Wha, what's with the blank look?”

“Um... wasn't there a sign near the entrance?”


...She must have missed it.

“...Yet you're really good at checking in all the weird places.

You've come here before, haven't you? Why would you need to go to the staff room anyway?”

“It can't be helped. It all looks the same everywhere, so I never really paid attention to the details. What a bother.”


She complains with a sigh.

Just now, I finally got a glimpse of her true character.

“―――What are you doing, Emiya?

The bell rang. Return to class.”


Whether he had a first-year class or just overheard the noise we were making, Kuzuki-sensei has silently appeared out of nowhere.

“I have come to bring your lunch, Souichirou-sama!”

“Is that so? Thanks.”

“It was a busy morning... I did not notice that you had left it behind, I'm sorry.”

“No, I was negligent, too.”

With both hands, Kuzuki-sensei receives the lunchbox wrapped in a fancy kerchief. For a moment, the two gaze at each other, lunchbox between them.

Caster's passionate eyes, aimed at Kuzuki-sensei. Kuzuki-sensei, looking at the lunchbox. Suddenly, Caster looks down, bringing her hands together in front of her.

“I understand you are busy, but since it has been prepared, wasting it... and also, I thought you may be troubled by having to purchase and have your lunch alone...”

“I see.”

Well, I saw him wolfing down a yakisoba bread a while back.

The image of Kuzuki-sensei with a lunchbox prepared with loving care by his wife just doesn't seem to fit.

“Today's side dish is fried lotus root.”


Oh? That was Toyoetsu's special yesterday.

“And cherry tomatoes, pickled in honey lemon.”


Yeah, that too.

“Last time, I bought a little too much, but you ate it all up and I thought you must have taken a liking to it―――”


No, which is it? Did he like it or not?

But you did well in buying that, Mrs. Magical Lady.

Right. The side dish shops at Toyoetsu are extremely popular with housewives, and always go out of stock by one in the afternoon. Did she camp out there?

“By the way, Souichirou-sama. Would you mind if I took a moment of your time?”

Kuzuki-sensei nods.

I see, he wasn't actually going to class, but just happened to be passing by.

“Um, actually...”

I finally notice that Caster is glaring at me.

“...What is it, boy? Why don't you go home if you're done here?”

“Oh, I have class.”

“Then why don't you get to it? Don't just stand there staring like a stray cow.”

“Okay, okay, I got it.”

Definitely my bad. It was me who stopped her in the first place!

“Now, shoo, shoo.”

I don't care about Caster, but let's get going before I get scolded by Kuzuki-sensei as well.


Now that I ended up visiting your workplace, perhaps I should go and introduce myself to your hard-working colleagues, if that is alright... Um, so the staff room...”

“I will lead you there.”

Kuzuki-sensei turns around abruptly.

“...Y-Yes. B-But I was so preoccupied with making the lunch that I have not prepared even a single gift―――

I, I really should do it next time!”

“It doesn't matter. There is no need to worry about that.”

“Y-Yes. I shall gladly take your kind offer.”

With a reddened face, as if trying to hide behind Kuzuki-sensei's back, Caster follows along.

Still apologizing, she's straightening her hair frantically while looking in a mirror. I'm deeply impressed by a woman's desire to not cause any embarrassment for her dear husband.

Caster making her appearance in the teachers' lounge... impressive indeed.

“As far as conversations go, just having a beautiful wife show up is a gift in itself.”

“Yeah. This will be a hot topic for the whole week... eh...?”

My head that was about to turn stiffens up.

The unforgiving, all-scathing Tiger Claw!

“Oooh, boy―――!

Neglecting a class that's more important than your own life, just because of a single rumor about a wandering beauty... Your teacher won't overlook this!”

The voice alone sends goosebumps crawling all over my skin.

“Uh, no, this is, is just, that grip, m-my head, have mercy, p-police”

“Mm~hmm~? Your brain huurts?”

“Q-Question, head chief!”

“What is it?”

“W-What happened to Goto-kun, my backup!?”

“Idiot. He's dead.”


“Fujimura Taiga is~ coming back to class~~♪”

...Squirming like a freshly pulled out tuna down the staircase, I'm being dragged towards the slaughterhouse known as the "classroom."

School・Day 1 Educational guidance

The last homeroom has ended, and I'm about to hit the road.

Students going home, students hurrying on their way to the club building, students just standing around talking, all fill the hallway with a ruckus second only to lunchtime in terms of noisiness.

I don't have work today, and I haven't made any plans.

I decide to go straight home, but―――

“Wait, Emiya-kun. I'd like to have a word with you in the classroom.”


Fuji-Nee stops me, a serious look on her face.

At times like this, she's "Fujimura-sensei." As one of her students, it would be wrong for me not to respond with the same.

“What is it, Fujimura-sensei?”

“It's not "what."

Emiya-kun, I bet you still haven't decided what college you're going to attend. I told you to submit that to me this week, have you forgotten?”


I forgot.

...Or rather, even though it's already October, I still haven't been able to narrow down my choices.

That Fuji-Nee would become Fujimura-sensei is only to be expected.

“I'm sorry. Um, I still need more time, would that be okay?”

“That's no good. I want it submitted by the end of the day. The only seniors who haven't done it yet are you and Makidera-san. Get yours in before her.

Well, even if it's kind of a makeshift one, I can overlook that.”

"Here you go," she takes out the "Higher Education Aspirations" report form.

“...By "makeshift," you mean just fill out the lines with something?”

“That's right. Being your teacher and your guardian gives me a headache. But if you don't write that report, it'll be off to the principal's office with you.”

Fujimura-sensei, I mean, Fuji-Nee, breathes a deep sigh of exasperation.

“Got it. Alright, I'll think it over.”

“Good. Since I have the time, I'm going to accompany you until sunset.”

About that...

Until last year, I thought I'd go to a local university, but a lot of things have happened since then.

She said it could just be a makeshift one, but isn't this supposed to be a pretty serious report...?

After getting lost a few times, I finally manage to fill out the whole "Higher Education Aspirations" form as sincerely as I can.

“Sorry for the wait. Here, Fujimura-sensei.”

“Great, good work. Hmm, let's see.

...Desire #1, "undecided."

Desire #2... "study abroad"?

Desire #3, "law," hm~?

So the objective you had in mind up until last year has slipped all the way to the third place? Is there a reason?”

“It's not that I lost interest, it's just that other priorities had become more important.

Like, they all have some percentage... I guess that's no good?”

“Certainly not the clear answer I'd like to hear. Is "undecided" also a percentage? Working after graduation?”

“If I find a good place, I'd like to work, but I may be spreading myself too thin trying to be useful everywhere.”

“Hmph... Okay, so what's with number two, "study abroad"? Shirou, your English grades are nothing to write home about. Listening, you may get around with. But pronunciation will be a lot of work, right?

I don't get it. Why would you study abroad? Is it Tohsaka-san's influence?”

“Uh, not so much "influence" as it is "resolution." If I really put an effort into studying, someday I won't have to rely on Tohsaka anymore. And so I thought I really ought to study the genuine stuff.”

“I see. By "really put an effort," you mean like Kiritsugu-san?”


For a moment, I was speechless.

Wandering from place to place somewhere abroad like dad, is that what she meant?

Fuji-Nee knows how much I admired Kiritsugu. Better than anyone else, in fact. So when I say "I'll go abroad" without mentioning Tohsaka, she can guess what it means.

“Who knows. I don't know much about it, but mine will be a different path, I think.”

“...Mmh. I see, so you've already decided.”

And so with "number two it is, then."

She puts a red checkmark next to number two on the report form.


The commotion of afterschool club activities in the yard resounds throughout the school.

And yet the classroom remains lifelessly silent.

Despite the fact there's me, sitting at the desk, and Fuji-Nee, standing at her platform and looking at the higher education form, the silence persists.

“Er, you know... as a teacher, I can't suppress the students' independence, but can I ask one thing?”



“Shirou, are you coming back?”

As if making plans for tomorrow, or maybe yesterday... gazing into the distance.

“...I'll be back for sure. Several times a year, even. Can't let our house fall into disrepair, you know?”

“Oh! Then I'd better be waiting!

I'll make sure to keep an eye on it while you're gone! So you're free to go wherever you like!”


Her sparkling smile.

If I really were to go to a far away land...

No matter where in the world I end up, that smile would always cheer me up.

“―――Thanks, Fuji-Nee.

The chances aren't high, but if it comes to that, I'm leaving it in your care.”

“That goes for you too, Shirou. If you're going away, make sure you come back once you've grown up.”

A reply with never-changing warmth.

Last fall, before the line of fate was about to be drawn.

In the empty classroom, the two of us made yet another eternal promise.

Emiya Residence・Start of Night・Ritual window

Emiya Residence・Start of Night Things to do

Night・Streets at night (patrol)

Night・The shore where he stayed

Nothing abnormal at the harbor.

This is Lancer's territory. I doubt that he'd let anything suspicious come anywhere near his lair.

“Lancer... isn't here, huh.

And I had this image of him setting up a tent and eating from a camping pot, too.”

“Indeed, he does seem to live as he pleases wherever he goes. From what Taiga says, I believe that he is camping on that cape.”

Oh, around there.

The locals wouldn't go over there when it's not summer break. Yeah, I guess it'd be just like Lancer's own hideout.

...At this rate, one of these days there's going to be an urban legend about a bushcraft sage hermit living in a forest on the outskirts of Fuyuki.

“Nothing wrong on the coast line.

Shall we leave the wilderness to Crocodile Dundee and return to civilization ourselves?”

“Shirou, you have the wrong impression of Lancer.

He does seem that way, but he understands the current era far better than I ever could. The word "virile" fits him both physically and mentally.”

...Well, I do agree with that. In that aspect, even I look up to him.


On that note, I love the fact that Saber did not object to "Crocodile Dundee," either.

Emiya Residence・Start of Night・Good Night

Day 2

Streets・Day 2 Rider's errand, no return

I figure I could drop by the Miyama shopping district.


It's Rider. But she doesn't have work today... Something's up.


...Is she buying something?

She furrows her brow as she alternates between looking at the shop's display and the note in her hand.


...and lets out a sigh.

The lady nearby seems to have already given up, as well.

I have a feeling Rider won't be done with her shopping before sunset, at this rate.

“Hey, Rider. What's wrong?”


Looks like the note has taken all of her attention away.

Considering that Rider always notices me no less than five meters away, being surprised this much is unusual.

“Ah... Are you here shopping, Shirou?”

“Something like that. What about you?”

"I've been found out"―――her dejected expression seems to say.

It's hard to imagine the always resolute Rider being this timid.

“Shirou, could I ask you a question?”


“How long have you been watching me?”

“From a bit earlier, when you were looking at your notes, troubled... Could it be that you just aren't very good at shopping?”

After seeing her there, certainly can't say it's one of her stronger points.

Glancing at me once, her shoulders drop again.

“No... Had it been just a lightbulb, things would be simple...”

That said, when the lights went out in the bathroom the other day, she did go out and got us one with lightning speed. At times of trouble, she can definitely be relied upon.

“So the weak point is... groceries, perhaps?”

“...You saw right through me.”

She nods dejectedly.

Seeing such a beauty hang her head, feelings of guilt overcome me.

“But you do have a list, right?”

“Yes, Sakura has kindly made one for me.”

If you have the list from Sakura, the household's Kitchen Authority herself, there should be no difficulties...

“Here it is...”

Rider shows me her notes.

In Sakura's meticulous handwriting, I see a list of "lettuce: 2 heads," "chicken legs," and other things.

“Oh. This should be pretty simple.”

“It may be for you, being able to cook by yourself.

But for someone as inexperienced as I am, this is just too vague.”


You lost me.

“...Let's see. For example, tomatoes, over there.”

Looking in the direction Rider is pointing, I see a bunch of bright-red tomatoes, 3 for 312 or 6 for 530 yen.

...I guess I'd go for six. Any less than that and it won't be enough even for a salad... ah, wait.

“They come from different places and with different prices. As a result, it is difficult for me to pick the ones that would satisfy Sakura's expectations.”

“...Why not just get the ones with the cheapest unit price?”

Our household isn't that picky about tomatoes.

Tohsaka might have an opinion about it, but Sakura certainly wouldn't.

“Tomatoes and lettuce I can still manage. But when it comes to potatoes, there is Irish cobbler, May Queen, and I am greatly perplexed trying to pick the ones suitable for cooking.”

“And with meat, there is domestic or foreign-produced. But within domestic, there is Japanese beef and different brands. Finally, there is a whole range of prices per gram, on sale or not. The number of choices astounds me.”

“...I see. I understand the problem now.”

In other words, creating a shopping strategy is difficult without a vision of the meal.

Like, today we'll have a steak, or maybe a stew.

For kitchen commanders like me or Sakura, changing and following the new strategy on the spot is easy. But for the rank and file combatants like Rider, deciphering the commanding officers' intentions can cause a great deal of anxiety.

“I am sorry to trouble you, Shirou.”

“It is troublesome, indeed. Ah, but you know...”

I've just remembered about the other Servant in our household.

She goes shopping quite often, too, yet I don't recall hearing anything of the sort from her.

“Saber doesn't seem to have any problems with grocery shopping, does she?”

“...Pardon me, but there is one big difference between us.”

“What kind of a difference?”

“She has an excellent appetite. Therefore, she is able to make shopping decisions on an entirely different level.

―――That is, she is able to choose the foods that look most delicious.”


Simple is best.

That's right, Saber possesses a very straightforward kind of grace.

Of course, that includes the "nevermind the cost" type of grace, as well.

“...I guess I'll ask Sakura to make a more specific list next time.”

“I have received such a list once, but a different problem appeared...”

Most likely, Rider became worried that she might be buying something different from the list's specifications.

No, this problem needs a more drastic solution.

“You should also remember what the planned menu is. Then you'll be able to come up with your own decisions.”

“I am but a beginner, with no confidence in my sense of taste, unable to match up to you two. Despite the fact that Sakura tells me that I have to...”

That would be Sakura's sympathy for a fellow woman, definitely.

No matter how much I tell Rider to improve her cooking skills, my words simply don't have enough persuasive power to produce any result.


I have some time to spare, so let's forget about the menu for now, I'll just accompany you for a while.”

“...Is that really okay, Shirou?”

“Yeah. I get to use the stuff in the fridge, too, so it's better to get it all done together, rather than each on our own.”

And as we do so, I can try teaching her some of the finer shopping techniques.

Like choosing vegetables, meat, the right time to look for special sales - there are a lot of small tricks that would make her life easier.

“―――That is a great help. You have my gratitude, Shirou.”

Straightening up her back, she bows politely.

“Some day, I will have the privilege of repaying this favor to you.”

“There's no need to go overboard, it's just grocery shopping...”

...I'm feeling slightly embarrassed.

Having Rider suddenly become timid and rely on me is extremely rare, after all.

“...What is wrong? Your face is red?”

“I-It's nothing.”

“Could it be that it is the same kind of face that you have while shopping together with Sakura?”

“I'm telling you, it's nothing, really!”

“...That is good...

Then let us take care of this task, starting from the closest one. First, the vegetables...”

“Right―――step by step.”

Emiya's・Day 2 Sugar candy teatime

It's almost 3 o'clock, let's make some tea.

For now, I'll make enough for myself, then... I guess I'll invite Sakura or Saber or whoever's around.


Great, someone's in the living room.

There's no point in taking a break alone. Whoever that is, let's join them for a while.

“Huh? Illya?”

“Good afternoon. Sorry for a sudden intrusion, Shirou.”

“Make some noise when you come in, at least I could greet you... Well, whatever. Good timing, we'll have it together.”

“Mm? Have what, Shirou?”

“Oh, I'm just about to prepare some tea. Sorry for not having a proper welcome.”

What should I do... She doesn't care for bitter or spicy stuff, so black tea it is.

“It's okay, just sit down over here.”


For now, I just do as I'm told.

“Really, now. Shirou, as the head of the household, you ought to be calm and composed.”

“...Ugh. Well, that's...”

It's just my opinion, but I thought, as the head of the household, that not greeting a guest is rather impolite.

Honestly, I don't think I can sit here all the time, looking proud and important.

“Onii-chan. You said you were going to prepare some tea, right?”

“Y-Yeah. Can't relax without tea. Ah, would you like a senbei or something?”

―――Wait a minute.

I've noticed something just now.

There is someone in the kitchen.

“Tea it is―――Liz.”

“Yes, Illya.”


I-It came out! A ghost! I mean, Illya's housemaid! Why, here!

“Darjeeling for Shirou, and hot chocolate for me, okay?”

“Yes, understood.”

The white-clad maid disappears into the kitchen in an instant.

...I'm speechless.

It's no wonder. Having a maid suddenly spring forth from the kitchen would get anyone.

“...Shirou, what are you so surprised about?”

“T-T-That, of course! Why are Illya's maids in my house!?”

“See, isn't it improper for a lady to go out without her escort.”

Illya smiles radiantly.

...Not having them would not be proper manners... Just what century are we talking about?

“...Wait a second, didn't you say that you don't actually like having a maid escort with you?”

“When I come just for fun, yes.

But they're quite useful at times like these, don't you think?”

“Uh... Well, but this...”

Peeking inside the kitchen... they really are hustling around the kitchen noisily, taking care of various chores.

The surrealism of the sight makes me slightly dizzy. The high-class dignified maid clothes from the castle are far too showy for this house. Heck, they look like the household masters themselves.

“What is it? Hmmmm, Shirou, could it be that...”


“...The kitchen is your turf, and you don't like others intruding on it?”


...Now that she mentions it, that's not it at all.

With everyone's using the kitchen, there's no way I'd get possessive over it...

“Heheh. Sella and Liz are complete strangers to you, so they are liable to rise the intruder alert, aren't they?

Sakura is part of the family, so you don't mind her.”

“...I see. Indeed, that may be it. Had it been you, I probably wouldn't mind, either.”

Illya in the kitchen... Well, she may be a little short.

While I'm thinking, a white shadow materializes nearby.

“Milady, the tea is ready.”

“Here, Illya. Be careful. Hot.”

Liz, the maid that has difficulty with language, places the cup in front of Illya.

But... when did our household get such high-class saucers?

And now, to my side,


“Ah, right...”

Sella, the training chief, and by no exaggeration Einzbern Castle's greatest threat, is now attending to me.

“Emiya-sama. As a sign of friendship with this household, here is highest grade Autumnal Flush Darjeeling, received from the Thurbo plantation in fall of this year.”

“Autu... what?”

Guh... I might hold my own when it comes to Japanese tea, but this black tea attack, striking my weakest spot, was totally out of the blue...!

“Properly speaking, it is a special tea reserved for no one but the head of the household, or, possibly, family relatives and long-time friends.

Therefore, Emiya Shirou-sama.”

“Wha, what the heck. That's got to be one expensive tea.”

“How abject. The price is not an issue.

This does not need to be said, but being served this tea is a sign of the lady's kindness.

Very well, Emiya Shirou-sama.

In order for this trust to never be betrayed, I will carefully speak of Milady's feelings.”


Not given many options, am I?

To be lectured before being given tea, who'd have thought.

Illya is grinning broadly.

Is it that much fun seeing me being lectured... I guess it is.

“Oh... Well, I humbly accept your kind offer.”

Despite drinking tea in my own home, I still feel guilty.

...Even I can tell that this is high-grade tea.

The aroma is very delicate, straight yet perfectly smooth, and sweet.

“―――Oh, and Shirou?

I did have them bring it today, but it's really no big deal. It's not like we keep this grade of leaf in special reserve.”

“...That helps. And sorry for the low-grade stuff up to now.”

Having once proudly offered bargain-bin genmaicha to Illya, who is used to this kind of excellence, I am now quite embarrassed.

Moreover... I just can't relax while I'm surrounded by Sella and Liz.

“Shirou? You want dessert as well, don't you?”

“Uh... Y-Yeah... Don't tell me you've prepared that, too?”

“Yes, naturally. Sella, Liz.”

The maids, standing by until now, resume their work.

As soon as the two of them disappear back into the kitchen, I unconsciously let out a sigh of relief.

“Ahaha. Oh you, getting so nervous.”

“...Of course. First time I'm drinking tea while being attended by a maid and all... Ah.”

I kind of understand why Illya would want to go out alone now.

She is used to the ever-present maids by now, but from time to time, she still needs to have a taste of freedom without them around.

“Huh... You must have it tough, too.”

“Kind of. Although Sella's nagging is not as bad as it used to be, I'm still busy learning proper lady-like manners and whatnot.”

“...Sella is sure into it. She wants you to grow up as a fine lady, no doubt.”

“――――――I know.

Got to grow bigger and live up to Sella's expectation, for sure.”

“Illya, want more?”

“No, this is fine. Liz, make sure Onii-chan gets a big one.”

“Milady, those kinds of nicknames―――no. Emiya Shirou-sama, here is a triple berry pie from La Fleur.”


The pie, having appeared out of nowhere, is adorned with whipped cream and all sorts of berries.

This is what Tohsaka calls a "very-very-berry" one... Sure enough, there's plenty of red on it.

Illya wastes no time attacking it with her fork. I guess she doesn't mind the red part.

“Once again, this happens to be the lady's favorite.

Please make sure not to leave any of it behind, either, Emiya-sama.”

“Y-Yeah... So I've been wondering, Sella...”

“What would that be, Emiya Shirou-sama?”

“Um, I mean... We're not at the castle, so shouldn't it be alright to take it easy here?

You look all tense and stiff, always standing still by the side, you know?”


“Ah, it's true... Sella, cold?”


“Ahaha. Yeah, maybe you should go for onsen therapy.”

“Milady... I am grateful for your attention to my body, however, I am Milady's attendant. Please make sure you take good care of yourself, as well.”

Poking fun is not enough to perturb this mind of steel.

Truly, the perfect maid.


Emiya-sama, regarding your question. My shoulders are not particularly stiff, therefore, there is no need for this kind of concern.”

“O-Okay... Alright then, I will gladly dig in.”

I stick my fork into the mountain of berries... but having these two stare at me from the side is kind of unnerving, after all.

Here goes another one...

“Hey, aren't you guys going to eat, too?”

“No, we are not. Servants are not meant to eat at the same table as their master.”

“―――Nein, danke.”

“Is that so...”

Another failure.

...Illya seems to be enjoying it, though.

Watching me get embarrassed is quite entertaining, no doubt.


However, at this rate, my fork just isn't making progress...

“Hm? Is something troubling you, Shirou?”

“...Well, yes. I feel as if I'm held captive in my own home.”

“What a waste of good tea and cake. Sella, Liz, step outside. I will call for you when needed.”

“Yes, Illya.”

“We shall await your orders, Milady.”

The moment the white-clad maids were gone, the living room suddenly felt much larger.

I breathe a deep sigh of relief.

“Hehe. I see, I shall use those two to tease you just for fun, Shirou.

Yep, I guess I should bring them with me sometime again~♪”

“Give me a break... Even the evening meal will taste bland if they force it to be a formal dinner.”

“Oh...? Well, it's going to be tough from now on.

You won't be able to escort your significant other like that, Shirou.”

“E-Escort...!? That much I can do...

I mean, look, what I'm trying to say is that out-of-place luxuries like maids just don't belong here, and if I need to escort, on a small scale, like a trip to the shopping district...”

“I wonder?

This is only a prediction, but I assure you, Shirou, that you'll have an extraordinarily splendid, elegant date sometime in the future.

No matter how opposed you may be, think of it as an absolutely unavoidable event.”

“Event... you mean... a luxurious date with a significant other...?”

“That's right. Do you find it hard to believe?”

Ah... well, believing isn't the problem to begin with...

“...But even before that, what if I won't have a date to go out with...?”

“That's no problem.

Even if you won't get one, I'll always be there.

Waaait―――Your very first date just has to be with me. I'll absolutely make sure you get a royal treatment, you just wait.”


...Crap. My brain just experienced a sudden meltdown.

A first-rate smile so sweet, it overwhelms the berry pie in my mouth.

“Ah―――Uh, Illya.”

“Come on, how come your fork is sitting still, Onii-chan? And you got jam all over your mouth, just like a young brother with no manners.

...Hehe. Keep being sloppy, and I'll just eat it all myself.”


Mimicking an older sibling's voice, she keeps making fun of me.

I slowly chew on the pie, no longer noticing the taste.

It's just as she says, even her thoughts are innocent...

Tension, confusion, and a host of other unknown emotions mixed inside my head make me dizzy.

Sella and Liz are just the beginning... Even Illya by herself, no, especially all by herself, this sugar-candy lady is sweeter than any cake out there.

Emiya Residence・Start of Night Things to do

Night・Streets at night (battle)

Night・Peaceful Shinto

There aren't that many people in front of the station.

Evening rush hour is long since over.

From what I've seen, no more than one person exits the station every half hour.

But even though there aren't many of them, pedestrians do pass by. There's something wrong here, however.

“Shirou? Is something bothering you? You've had your hand pressed to your forehead for a while now.”

What worries me is this.

Luckily, there was hardly anyone out in Miyama, but in front of the station, an outfit like this stands out too much, after all.

“Never mind. There doesn't seem to be anything unusual here. Let's go somewhere else.”

“But we have only just arrived. During the war, we would have patrolled through the office districts, and even gone as far as the factories.

It isn't like you to be so lax in investigating, Shirou. What happened to your usual, almost neurotic thoroughness?”

“Mm... I mean, you're right, but...”

I know it's not like me.

But it's hard to feel motivated to go out and search when we don't have the first clue what we're searching for.

I wonder what Saber thinks of that.

“Say, Saber. What do you think of these patrols?”

“I do not think of them. I work to help you above all else. I do have my worries about the anomalies in the city, but I don't think it is one that bears the city itself ill will.

Rather, these anomalies are all―――”


She said no more, but lapsed into a meaningful silence.

“Saber? Oh come on, tell me. I'm not Tohsaka. Don't just stop there out of spite.”

“...No, that was not my intention... Say there is an enemy, and one bearing a tangible ill will―――I believe we must assume that it is directed entirely at you, Shirou.

Just as Archer shot at you, I believe the other Servants may target you, as well.”

“Geh. I mean, that'd be frightening, but you do know I already talked to the others, right? They have pretty much said they don't want to fight, so I think I should be safe.

The only exception was Archer, but it seemed like he was hostile to me alone.”

“...I see. So Archer viewed only you as an enemy.”

Saber is briefly lost in thought.

“Shirou, we must proceed with our investigation. We found no anomaly in Miyama, but there must be somewhere in Shinto where the seams have frayed.”

And with that said, Saber marches off toward the plaza, her steps suddenly a lot more determined.

An assertive Saber is a scary sight, but having her walk around looking like that is just as frightening.

To stop her when she's in that state would take a Herculean effort.

Oh well. I might as well get down to business myself, I think as we head off towards the office district.

Night・Return of the wise man

Day 3

Streets・Day 3 Two detectives

I finally arrive at the outskirts of Shinto, where a secluded Western-style mansion has been built on top of a prominent hill.

I know there's nothing here, yet I have a feeling I should try looking around one more time.

“...I left right away last time. Today, there is no rush.”

I'm well aware that this is trespassing, but I really want to have a look inside.

Tohsaka and Matou mansions are both fine examples of Western-style architecture, but I don't feel particularly fascinated by the buildings themselves.

This house, however, I find strangely attractive.

Modest in its splendor, the structure just feels aesthetically pleasing. I wouldn't mind even a maintenance job in this building.

The mansion is full of sunlight inside.

After all, there are quite a lot of windows.

There's even a hill-top neighborhood. On a fair day like this, my vision grows hazy with the blinding white light.

And so, immersed in this heaven-like world, I do notice something that wasn't here last time.

“―――Someone's there―――”

I feel signs of human presence on the second floor.

But what's coming from there isn't just signs of a living being.

There is a clear sense of hostility, aimed at the intruder―――no, aimed directly at me.

I come up to the second floor.


...The footsteps are coming closer.

A figure slowly appears out of the white haze―――

“...Well, if it isn't that stupid face again.

Good grief, you sure like pointless adventures, Emiya Shirou.”

―――Hold on, that's my line.

“I'm somewhat relieved. Why the heck are you here, Archer? Tohsaka's grace ran out and you got kicked out of the house?”

“Impressive. Your perception isn't bad, and not entirely wrong.

I need to finish up a job I've been entrusted with. And so I will not be coming back until my Master is satisfied...”

“But I bet your guess actually had a basis in reality.

I see. Torn apart by an internal conflict, unable to find your place and running away... that's not just somebody else's problem, you know.

Anxiety over your future causes you to unconsciously bring it up. Man up and focus on your goals, while you still can.”

“―――Ugh, that's none of your business. Keep your nose out of our private matters.”

Well, sometimes even I think it is uncertain.

...But enough of that. Archer is, indeed, left in charge of the Tohsaka residence in her absence.

What he was probably entrusted with, as an overseer of Fuyuki―――is "maintaining public order."

“...Hm? So were you hoping to find something here? Otherwise, I doubt you'd come near a place like this.”

“Oh no. I have no interest in this mansion, in fact, I did not even know it existed. I am just about done, and I saw nothing particularly unusual. I do not intend to waste any more time here.”

“??? So why did you come, then? You must have thought it looked suspicious, at least?”

“You, yourself, are the reason. You came in here a while back. That, by itself, is plenty of cause for investigation.”

“What's with that? You mean, just because I came to have a look, with no ill intentions?”

"What kind of a reason is that?" I glare at him.

Archer looks down upon me with a doubtful gaze.

“And you, what brought YOU here?

I know nothing about this mansion, didn't I tell you?”

―――So Archer did not know about this mansion.

I suddenly get a feeling that this fact carries a significant meaning to it.


I am blinded by the strong sunlight.

“Fine, there is no need to answer. You came expecting to find some clues. However, by the looks of it, you were not successful.

―――Not all of the evidence must have been lining up.”

He's heading for the hallway.

“Oh, right. The owner of this mansion passed away 60 years ago.

The name's Edelfelt. Coming from a distant land, seems they had a well-known magus lineage.”


...That name, I'm sure I've heard it somewhere―――

“I do not care what you are looking for, but if you find something new, do tell.

Come to think of it, if you come across a corpse or two, you might even get a detective mystery going.”

He disappears, leaving nothing but bad taste behind.

“What's up with that guy? Like hell am I going to tell him, even if I do find something.”

Thus making sure to have the last word, I resume the search.


If Archer couldn't find anything, the chances of discovering new clues by myself are pretty slim.

Emiya's・Day 3 Mitsuzuri visits


Huh? The doorbell? We aren't expecting any guests... could it be mail delivery or perhaps the newspaper solicitor?

I get up and head toward the door.


...I can hear a conversation.

I guess someone was nearby and went to greet the visitor before me.

“Welcome. Have you come to see Sakura or Shirou?”

I can hear Rider's voice from around the corner.

Her polite greeting puts me at ease.

But the visitor's voice seems somehow unsettled.

“Uh... R-Rider-san?”

“Yes. Have you been well? It's been a while since we have met outside the archery club, Ayako.”

So the visitor is Mitsuzuri.

Sakura is here. She probably has some archery club business to take care of, so I suppose it's not unusual for her to come here.

“Oh no, Rider-san, you're, um... as beautiful as always.

Aha. Hahaha, ha...”

“Thank you. But you are beautiful yourself, too. Awe-inspiring, I ought to say.

Not just your lovely features, but your figure, and even your androgynous looks. I can't help but watch in fascination.”

“Eh? Ah, h-how embarrassing...”

...Something is definitely off here.

No, the only one off is Rider. Her usual stern look has been replaced with a smile so sickeningly sweet it sends shivers down my spine.

“...She's like a snake looking at a mouse.”

Being a skilled martial artist, Mitsuzuri probably feels the danger in the air by sheer instinct.

I've been told she doesn't like Rider very much, so this must be a pretty desperate situation for her...

“So, what brings you here today?”

“Ah... Um, I have some business with Sakura, so...”

“Ah, about the archery club?

...You really care a lot for your juniors. I must express my thanks in Sakura's stead, or my conscience would not forgive me.”

"Hehehe," she laughs weirdly as she forces Mitsuzuri against the wall.


She just enjoys teasing Mitsuzuri... is what I want to think, but Rider's real motive is still lost on me.

Being an advocate of the Sakura Supremacy doctrine, Rider may indeed be simply thanking her.

“N-No, you needn't... I mean, I'm doing it because I like it, so you don't need to concern yourself...”

“That is magnificent. I am also doing it because I like it, so please don't hesitate to accept.”

“Incidentally, Ayako, do you have a balanced diet nowadays?

It seems you aren't having much meat, but you still need to get some fat into your blood. Taste aside, it won't do if your food doesn't have much substance.”


...Wait a moment.

Rider has just blurted out something very wrong.

“B-B-B-Blood!? What are you talking about, Rider-san! W-Why do you bring that up all of a sudden...!?”

“It was just an example.

It shouldn't matter much which example―――right, I shall explain this in greater detail in my room.”

“Ah... No, that's...

No, Emiya, Matou, I know you guys are watching! HELP!”


N-No, she must be just guessing.

Because I know Sakura is definitely not here.

“Really, as expected of you, Senpai. I've been discovered.”


W-When did Sakura get here!?

I was so focused on Mitsuzuri's misfortune, I hadn't realized it myself.

“You guys led on Rider-san and watched on! What nerve! And you aren't even Tohsaka, either!”

“Eh, it wasn't planned.”

“It was a coincidence, Mitsuzuri-senpai.”

“Ah. Time's already up.”

And with a swish, Rider takes the back seat, just as Sakura arrives on the scene.

What brilliant skill.

“Don't feel down, Rider. You can always meet Mitsuzuri at the archery club.”

“Right, you can be good friends with Mitsuzuri-senpai in no time, so do your best, Rider.”

“Indeed... unfortunately, it seems I am still unable to let go of my bitter memories. It's best not to rush things, however, so I shall bid farewell.

Please take care of Sakura, Ayako.”

And so Rider steps out of the entranceway.

“...Phew, to think that Rider-san would be here... that was close.”

“Oh, a little late, but welcome, Senpai.”

“Hey, Mitsuzuri. Come on in. We should go sit down, at least.”

“All right, then.”

“Ah, I'll go make some tea.”

“Eh...? Alright, please do, Sakura.”



“Matou... she's like your dear wife, living elsewhere but visiting often.”

―――I'm having trouble coming up with a reply to that comment.

Ugh... is this revenge for Rider?

“Stop it. Sakura isn't the only one staying here. There's Rider and Saber too...”

“And also Tohsaka and Fujimura-sensei, right? What a ruckus. But Matou seems happy, so it's alright, being your wife or whatever.”


There's logic... yet there isn't.

“Love strengthens one... Oh well... I guess I should find a significant other, too.”

“Yeah... you still don't have one, do you... after that incident.”

“That's not it, of course. It's going to be that time of the year, and I can't distance myself from guys because of it. Everyone will soon be busy thinking about their future, you know.”

That incident... must be the one around April.

...Perhaps I miss those days, or maybe they're just hard to forget... like a nightmare. Who could have thought they were doing it all behind my back―――

“I'm telling you over and over, that was a no-game. And most importantly, how can you just accept Tohsaka's claim in a situation like that?”

“That said, I think your methods were quite harsh, too.”

“Even you did it without realizing Tohsaka's plan.

Really... I can't tell whether you're cold as a robot or just stiff as a tree stump. I never thought the idea of true friendship was lost so completely on you.”

“Ah, what could you be talking about, Senpai?”

“Ahaha, oh no... it's a story about a past defeat. Sorry, Matou, but just look the other way on this one, please.”

“Yeah, a game where Tohsaka took all the winnings.”

“Oh...? Was it Mahjong or something like that?”

I'll be thankful if she thinks it was only that.

It was pathetic and embarrassing in so many ways that it's not an easy story to tell others.

“Anyways! Thank you for the tea, Matou!”

“Here, please take you time.”

“Umm, at times like these... Would you like some bubuzuke...?”

“You are totally out of it, Emiya. That's not a phrase of welcome, but a complaint to get one kicked out, geez.”

“But salmon soaked in apricot tea is just right for the atmosphere.”

“Mmm... maybe not in tea, but tuna broth, like so.”

Sakura unintentionally sidetracks into the topic of cooking, so I take advantage of it.

And all Mitsuzuri has to say, looking at us with a sigh,

“Oh my. You really are such a charming sweetheart couple. Well done, guys.”

“W-What are you saying, Senpai!? Who, who a-am I a couple with!?”

“Don't be shy, don't be shy. You're so cute, Matou.”

“And Emiya-senpai, stop laughing!”

“What do you mean? I'm not laughing, see? I'm just as flustered here!”

It's nothing to brag about, but my hand holding the teacup is shaking.

“See? This is why it's a no-game. Really... if it's Matou that Emiya is destined to have a happy-ever-after with, then it must be a golden yaksha for Tohsaka.”

“Direct your whining toward Tohsaka herself... and didn't you have something to talk about with Sakura, Mitsuzuri?”

“Right, right. I got so caught up teasing you, I almost forgot. Matou, about this upcoming tournament...”

“Yes, Mitsuzuri-senpai.”

―――The nonchalant atmosphere disappears, and a serious conversation ensues.

Alright then, I'll try to listen without being a bother.

Emiya Residence・Start of Night Things to do

Day 4

Demonic Nest Ranraiken

“Hello! Nice to meet you!”*


I fall over from the shock.

“Wh-Wh-Wh-Who is it, who are you...!?”

“"Who"? Well, it's not like I have a name. It's not a question I could answer even if I wanted to, actually.

Right, I know that I am myself, yet I do not know who this "myself" might be. That's my dilemma.

Uh, an unidentified being, I guess?”



A figure that warped out of some kind of messed up dimension.

“But enough of the troubling talk!

I am Sergeant, a mercenary that's been called forth to capture the evil castle of Illya nestled deep within this forest!”

“And you are, um... let's see, Number 46, Emiya-kun of Fuyuki, ○○ prefecture, together with Number 99, Saber-san, coming all the way from Britannia!”

“Right. Today is the day the devil's castle will see its fall.”

“S-Saber!? When did you get here!?”

“You are being unfair, Shirou. From Illyasviel...”

"Good evening! How is everyone doing? Are you getting along with Shirou while I'm not around? Oh, you are? Okay, great.―――I'll kill you.

Anyways, the new castle is now complete, make sure you come by for a visit. Hehehe, go ahead and break it. If you can."

“Thus came a polite letter of invitation, did it not?

Seeing you head out for the forest on the outskirts, I realized the time has come and hastened to join you.”

“I-Invitation? I know nothing about that...!

But anyways, don't you think this guy here looks really strange... Hah!”

“......Now that you mention it...... Some colors look almost candy-like. But Shirou, I do not think it is right to judge people by their appearance.”

“Uh, that's not it. coloring aside, doesn't the acting style seem off?”

“Shaddup! Cut the chit-chat, recruits!

It's 100 years too early for you to comment on Master Supporting Character, you miserable little pile of protagonist!”

“See, Shirou. Won't you get yelled at if you start talking idly during a mission?

On the battlefield, a superior officer's command is absolute. God-like. The absolute truth. Keep the grumbling to yourself and be part of the armed force, that's the soldier's duty.

It seems you do not understand that, Shirou.”

“Well said, Saber-san! Spot on! With the aid of Saber-san, the unstoppable war machine, it won't be long before Illya's castle falls like the house of cards that it is!

Isn't that right, Saber-san!?”

“Hehehe. I smell the scent of blood tonight.”

“Excellent! This week will mark the victory of our troops!

Right, and with that, are we all prepared?

Shirou-kun, Saber-san, are you ready to start pounding on your mouse?”

“...Not only am I not ready, I still have no clue what the objective is. Can we get an explanation?”

“Yes, welcome, our loyal elite!

What awaits you is a challenge of many a barrier, a long road that you must take to the evil magical Castle of Illya!

Defeat the Loli-Buruma lord, and make the castle ours! And that's when I might just become a princess and rule over this land!”

The crack of thunder.

.....She's totally ignoring all I said, but at least I got an idea of what she wants me to do.

“In other words, you can't reach the Einzbern Castle if you don't clear the minigame?”

“That's right. Up ahead is an evil land governed by impossible rules. Gather your courage and fight to the bitter end☆”

“Yes, the way it should be! Have no mercy, drive thy holy sword into the back of thy rivals that dare advance ahead of thou!

Isn't that right, Shirou?”

Saber is brimming with blood-lust.

When it comes to competitions, anything but first place is absolutely unacceptable to her. That's her greatest weakness.

“Yes, everyone but your team are now your enemies.

This time, the course will run up to stage 3.

Shirou-kun, Saber-san, become a team and defeat the many obstacles that come your way!”

“Alright, then, let's go!

A crusade to capture the evil castle nested deep in the middle of the forest, a love-love game of you and me!

We call it―――!”

Demonic Nest Arriving at the Castle

―――I finally get to the castle.

It kind of feels like a lot has happened, but I'm letting the details go for now.

It's already past noon.

Now that I'm finally here, in the afternoon―――

Demonic Nest Quiz ogre

Right, let's go to the forest ruins!

I have something like a premonition of despair, but I feel like a wonderful meeting is waiting for me...!

cough cough... G-Geez, that self-destruct... what a terrible buruma, that guywoman.

―――Ah, a tiger with her dreams worn out.”

There she is.

The destroyer of everything she touches has remained here, in this crosspoint between worlds.

“―――Well then.

Anyway, to change the subject, I welcome you, young man.

You, too? Did you come to meet someone stronger than me?”

“Sounds bloody. I think I'll pass.

...Are you that sergeant from before?”

“No! Absolutely not!

My name is Quiz Ogre! The legendary Quiz Ogre of the Nine Way Pass!”


This is becoming troubling in more ways than one.

Is this because of the Jewel Sword explosion that Tohsaka caused?

Something worse than radioactivity has been leaking into the Einzbern Forest, it seems.

“You there, don't make such an obviously displeased face!

When in Rome, do as the Romans do! I wouldn't like it if you came here and didn't play with me!

Of course, I'm not suggesting you do this for free. Those who answer every question correctly will receive a wonderful prize to bring ease to their daily life!

Like a washing machine that cooks delicious rice by just pouring it in, or a washing machine that makes your dishes sparkly clean if you just put them in, or a washing machine that can play the latest games, or something like that☆”

“No way.”

Don't even want one.

“Hoho, what wonderful spinal reflexes. It's really just as I had anticipated.

Ooookay! Since it's come to this, let our battle to the death begin!

Will you survive, or will I eat myself to bankruptcy? Let us get ready to decide our fortunes!”

She ain't listening.

“Right, then let us raise the curtain on the Quiz Dojo.

There are two genres. Rest assured, you get the same prize no matter which you choose.

Go ahead, choose whichever you like~”


“You fool! I have no daily life accessories to spare for a blockhead the likes of you!

It's quite a shame, but this is as far as you go for today!

Come and challenge me again once you've gotten your nerve back!”

“――――――She's gone.”

The Quiz Ogre has vanished without a trace.

It would seem that her powers are quite terrifying.

Well, that or she could just have hidden in the ruins over there, but I have absolutely no desire to investigate that any further.

When I look up, my eyes meet with a reddening sky.

Regretting the time I wasted on this, I begin the trudge back to the castle.

Demonic Nest Forest alcohol, more

“Splendidly done!

Just what I expected from a Fate PhD like you...!

Now, as recognition of your vast store of useless knowledge, allow me to bestow upon you this reward.”

『The Emiya residence has been supplied with sake!』

“Yes indeed, using this, you can get all the girls in your house drunk and fully enjoy everything that happens next, you ero-kappa you.

Then farewell for now, my challenger. When next we meet, at the hour of the ox when even the grasses slumber, a quiz of even further difficulty awaits you!”


The Quiz Ogre vanishes, leaving some kind of weird item behind.

The sky has already begun dying to a deep red by now.

Not even ten minutes have actually elapsed, but what I experienced here was kind of like a half-hour's battle to the death, condensed into a minute.

“...And yet, somehow I doubt that's the last we'll see of that Quiz Ogre...”

The battle continues.

Savoring my momentary victory, I head back toward the castle.

...That reminds me.

Just how much longer are we going to have to put up with her?

Demonic Nest Twilight Castle

It's almost sunset.

It'll be dangerous to go through the forest after the sun goes down, so if I'm going back to the city tonight I'd better take my leave of the castle pretty soon―――

“Oh, Shirou, are you going home? It's already so late, why don't you just stay here for the night?”

―――Illya called out to me and stopped me before I could depart.

“Milady. I am sure that Emiya-sama has matters of his own to attend to. You must not make unreasonable demands of him.

Emiya-sama is a gentleman. Having already come uninvited to the castle, he would surely not be so shameless as to spend the night here as well.

Is that not so, Emiya-sama?”

“No way. You wouldn't leave so soon, right, Shirou?

You'll spend the night here, right?”


Two pairs of eyes, one sweetly pleading and one ice-cold, are trained on me like the barrels of a gun.

Today is the fourth day.

Saber is waiting for me at home, but...

Demonic Nest Hotel Einzbern

Staying over just for one night should be fine.

Saber won't worry too much. I'll call her and let her know I'm spending the night at the Einzbern castle.

“Shirou? So are you going to stay here?”

“Thanks, Illya. Let me take you up on your kind offer. I'd be happy to spend the night here.”

“All right~! Together with Shirou~! Now that that's decided, we need to get everything ready! Sella, prepare a room for Shirou!”

While Illya bounces around happily, Sella silently thinks: "You have no dignity, Emiya Shirou. I misjudged you. Well, I always saw you as a zero in the first place. It's okay, though, it's okay, enjoy this brief taste of happiness."

I can feel a definite pressure coming from Sella.

“Liz, get dinner ready. Bring the best wine and meat, and prepare us a feast like no other!”

“...Yeah. Leave it to me, Illya. I'll do my best. I will go hunt the master of the forest today.”

With that, the ever-expressionless Liz leaves the lobby.

“Hey Shirou, let's go to the salon! Sella's going to prepare a room for you, so let's relax while we wait for dinner to be ready.”

“Ah, okay―――I'll be in your debt for today, Sella.”

“Please take no notice of me.

Emiya-sama should work to meet Milady's expectations. Please devote every last bit of your energy to play the part of a charming gentleman properly.”

She rapidly looks away and starts up towards the second floor in a huff.

“Heehee, no need for that!

My Onii-chan is already plenty charming without even trying, isn't he~?”

“Um... Hmm, I wonder. There might be some truth to what Sella said.”

Illya's clinging tightly to me.

When she says something like that while looking up at me this way, I can't help but feel awkward.

“It's okay, just act like you always do.

Hmm, since it's such a special occasion, shouldn't we all eat together tonight? It'll be just like dinner at your house, with you, me, Liz, Sella, and Berserker, all five of us eating together.”

Is she happier having dinner at my place than here, the castle she lives in?

Illya seems truly happy as she proposes dinner with the entire family.

“Well, this is a castle, after all, so why don't we? But will Berserker be able to fit in the dining room?”

“Ah... You're right, that might be kind of hard. Maybe I should have him stand outside the window?”


That's scary in its own way.

Imagining Berserker sitting outside the window, sadly holding his knees, makes me think of Saber waiting for me.

“In that case, let's eat outside. It's a bit cold out, but if we build a fire it'll be warm enough. If everyone's outside having fun together, it could make for a pretty fun barbecue.”

“Yeah, I want to do that, too! And I'm sure Berserker will love it!”

“Okay, good. A barbecue is something I can help out with, so I'll be able to repay you for letting me stay here.

Um, Liz is preparing the meat, so I'll be in charge of vegetables. Illya, can I use the kitchen...? I'll be borrowing the vegetables in there―――”

Uh, wait a second...!?

W-Why are you clinging to me...!?

“Wait, Illya...!? Hold on, at least tell me why you're doing that!”

I keep struggling, but she refuses to release my arm from her grasp.

“This is so great! I'm so happy...!

Thank you, Onii-chan!”

Her strength increases as she squeezes me, so finally I just resign myself to it.

Illya looks so happy she could cry.

I don't know what's gotten into her, but she's happily holding on as hard as she can.

“――――――Well, it's okay.”

When I see her face like that, the embarrassment I feel becomes trivial.

An unexpected decision to have dinner in the castle.

If such a small thing can bring Illya this much joy, I'd make the same choice every time.

“This is your room, Emiya-sama. Please proceed.”



After the heart-warming uproar of the barbecue, the reception I'm getting now is colder than ice.

“Then I shall excuse myself.

If you require anything, please call me.”

“Wait a minute!!!”

“What is it?”

“You... how can you say that!? How am I supposed to sleep in here!? Even at the best of times, this castle is middle-of-winter cold! No sane human would possibly sleep here!”

“Ah, that. In that case, do not worry. In the corner of the room is a sleeping bag. It is an inferior quality article Leysritt purchased at Mount Miyama, but it shouldn't be too much for you to handle, Emiya-sama.”


Just as she said, I can see a sleeping bag and a mattress laid out in the corner of the room.

But that's not the problem here.

“Sella. Even with a sleeping bag, it's impossible to spend the whole night in here. To ask bluntly, I'd like you to show me to another room.

In spite of what you may have heard, I'm just a regular guy. It's not every day that I spend the night in a castle, so I'd like to try sleeping in a luxurious bedroom.”

“...I acknowledge your request, but this is the only guest room available at the moment. My apologies, Emiya-sama, but you have no choice but to agree to stay in this storeroom...”

“You said it. You definitely just said this is a storeroom.”

“Oh my. Forgive me, I spoke in error.

More properly, this guest room was a storeroom an hour ago. It seems the wine from dinner is affecting me.”

"Hehe," Sella giggles, a gentle smile on her face.

I wonder if I've ever seen such an unhappy smile before.

“Ah, my head is swimming. Please excuse me, Emiya-sama, but I shall now retire for the night.”

“For your own protection, I should tell you that all of the other rooms will be locked, so please do not go walking around the halls unnecessarily.

We have just implemented a special burglar extermination spell tonight. To carelessly open the wrong door while looking for the bathroom... would be inviting your own death.”

“――――This is revenge. This is revenge for everything up until now, isn't it?”

“You are quite the joker, hohoho. What reason could I possibly have for seeking revenge on Emiya-sama, whom I hold in such high esteem?”

She seems to be enjoying herself.

It's like she's gloating over the spoils of a victory.

“Then allow me to excuse myself. I wish you a memorable night, Emiya-sama.”


The devil has fled.

She turned off the lights as she went, too, just to be thorough.


Well then.

Placed under house semi-arrest like this, should I just quietly go to sleep?

Demonic Nest Quiz tiger's counterattack

This is a bit sudden, but let's go to the forest ruins!

I'm sure this won't end well, but I get the feeling a wonderful meeting awaits me...!

“Good evening! Nice to meet you!

Geez, you're a night owl, aren't you?”*


So you were here, after all.

And you, who does not quite know who this character is yet, now stand little chance of getting to the ruins before sunset.

“Um, then it is time!

The seventh element that evolves the human race, everyone's favorite, Quiz Dojo the Advanced Edition!”

“The prize this time is one heck of a hot spring!

You must be sick and tired of that unit bath already! A nice wide bath that you can fully stretch in is such a heartfelt present!

By the way, it also improves your health, household well-being, and, like a fairy in a tactical bombing maneuver, increases your economic fortune! Take your pick!”

“Yeah, right.”


Hot springs, riiight. A renovated bathroom is the most you could possibly expect from this quiz ogre.

Nevertheless, the very sound of the words "hot springs" feels wonderful.

Lured in by that feeling, I end up responding with applause as well.

“Hm. With utmost sincerity, I wish you the best of luck. Should you be able to answer all questions from this quiz correctly, a happy and not at all embarrassing event awaits your enjoyment.

The bath is the essence of Japan.

The bath is erotic when naked.

And bad things happen if you go into one with girls already in it, uh-oh!”

“But I will not permit this utopia to take place!

Here I come, the final battle, uwahhhh!

Come on, you ero-kappa! If you want to say good-bye to your bleary life, you shall have to deal with me first!”

Demonic Nest Kikokugaii


I sail through the air like a leaf.

“Kuh... y-you greenhorn!

Ooooh, did you really think that your little lies could possibly fool one such as I...?!

H-How dare you take me so lightly? Ooh... did you really think that such base f-flattery could win me over...!?

...But still, ahhh, oh my, what a terrible question!”

Unleashing a cry like that of some great beast, The Quiz Ogre howls.

The roar itself was just sobbing.

“...Well, it's a shame, but I still can't let you have the treasure card.

Don't get me wrong, if it were up to me, I'd give you a whole stack of them, but I can't be mixing business with pleasure, you see~”

The Quiz Ogre sniffles as tears roll down her face.

This is the tragedy of middle management, huh?

“...Anyway, I win this time, though I can't say I'm too happy about it.

If you're still after the treasure here, then let's meet again. It's kind of painful for me no matter which of us loses, but in any case, I'll be waiting until the next time you decide to challenge me. sigh

The Quiz Ogre staggers dejectedly away.

“...Why do I feel like I've just done something bad?”

I probably shouldn't feel such half-assed sympathy towards her.

I won't hold back next time. When I come here again, I have no choice but to answer mercilessly until I take her down.

Demonic Nest Forest bath


The impossible head-scratching questions that I spent a year and a half thinking of! You annihilated them all in a matter of minutes!”

There is a cracking sound as, from the feet up, the Quiz Ogre slowly starts turning into stone.

Since time immemorial, it has been my sworn duty to act as the weirdo-repelling system that guards this place.

I should have looked up and seen the path lying before me, that even I, the invincible and inexhaustible, would someday meet with a weirdo that even I could not overcome, who would trip me up and send me to my collapse and defeat...!

“HOWWW - DAAAAARE - YOUUUU -- But see that you remember, ero-kappa! I will be reborn many times over! As long as there are heroines, and as long as thankless supporting characters exist in this world, I will take the V-route back up from the underworld and appear before you again!

...Oooh, oh unstoppable forces of karma...! Sinfulness, thy name is maaaaaaannnnnnnn......”

『The prohibition of entry to the Emiya residence's bath has been lifted!』

“So I guess it was, like... some kind of fairy, or something.”

For the time being, seems like she's going to learn from experience and not show up here for a while.

I got my hands on something pretty priceless thanks to her, so I guess I'll perform some off-the-cuff last rites first before I return to the castle.

Demonic Nest Good night - winter

The night wears on.

It's just a bit too cold to fall asleep, but I'll probably manage to, somehow.

“―――All right, let's get to sleep. There's nothing else to do here, after all.”

Wrapping myself into nearly nonexistent bedding, I close my eyes.

Putting all the transient matters to rest.

I leave my worries behind and just relax.

In this castle far removed from town, the fourth night grows old.

Like the dying hour of an old dog.

Even knowing this moment is perched on the edge of death's maw, I fall asleep the same as always.