Loop 18

Day 1

Emiya Residence・Day 1 The King's clothes are a swimsuit (waterfront king- prologue)

“We're home! ♪”

“We have returned, Shirou.”

“Oh, welcome back.”

Our two gluttons have come back in good spirits.

...Carrying an unfamiliar paper bag.

“We went all the way to Shinto.”

“Yep, me and Saber-chan went to all sorts of places, it was totally worth it! Everyone's been so nice to us, too.”

“You dragged Saber someplace weird again, didn't you?”

“What's with that tone?

Hey, it's as if everything good is because of Saber-chan, and everything bad is because of me.”

“Hmph! Let's go, Saber-chan.

Shirou, who doesn't understand a woman's heart, should just stay there, sweeping until the sun sets.”

“Um, Taiga... Shirou? We, um...”

“...It's fine. Whatever you were doing in Shinto.”

That bag has really piqued my interest, though.

Once I'm done cleaning up the entranceway, shall I try asking about it, indirectly...?

“When it comes to detective work... yeah, that's it.”

On the table in front of me, I have katsudonpork cutlet, unajubroiled eel, and ramen gifts.

But since lunch is already over, I decide to prepare tea with chocolate truffles instead.

The two of them ought to be in Saber's room.

For some reason, they were in a real hurry to get there.

“We're back.”

“Excuse me.”

Ah, Sakura and Rider came back.

There's not enough tea for two more... Oh well, I'll have them wait.

“Hey, you two, the tea is ready.”

The door slides open.

I come in and shut the door behind me, like always.


The fact that I managed to hold on to the tray is nothing short of a miracle.

“―――Oops. Sorry, Saber, my bad.”

My thoughts freeze for a moment, and I produce a mechanical response.


Doing my best not to drop the tray...

As calmly as I can, I promptly reach for the door handle.

“I should have knocked. I'll be gone in a flash.”

“Wait, um...

...The swimsuit, I thought I'd try it on...”

“We went to Shinto to buy a swimsuit, actually.

Taiga kindly helped me select a few, and even the store clerk said that it really suits me... But I still wasn't sure, and I thought I'd see it myself in the mirror.”

“O-Oh. Sorry about that. I'll make sure I knock from now.”

“...And thus...

Shirou, I'd like you to have a look and comment, as well.”

“Y―――Yeah, sure. Tell me when you're done changing...!”

Emiya Residence・Day 1 Sakura-san lately

The tray is down, and we go into cleanup mode.

“Yes... And thank you for the tea.

I am particularly grateful for the chocolate truffles.”

“Eh? Oh, that was Fuji-Nee's apology for misbehaving... wait...”

I hear footsteps approaching.

And they aren't just passing by, they've stopped right in front of the room.

“Saber-san, can we?”



Crap, this will be a little too interesting...!

“Saber. Some of your purchases got mixed up with mine...”

Furthermore, if Rider is around, then we're right in the "dreadful" territory...!



Our eyes meet for but a brief moment. There is no time for words. To avoid trouble, we only have a single choice...!

...I hide inside the closet.

Not much of a hiding spot, but there's no other place that could possibly conceal a grown man around here.

“We're coming, Saber-sa.........”

...It's only natural that she'd be at a loss for words.

Especially when being greeted in the nude.


...Looks like it's taking a while for panic to settle in...

Saber is like a museum exhibit that Sakura's observing from different angles.


She really ought to hurry up and put something on.

Rider seems to be having a hard time, too.

“Oh, to forget about La Fleur, of all things...

I appreciate it, Sakura.”

“Oh, no problem... but, um, before that!

How... are you so thin?”


“Despite the fact that, every single day, you have seconds, and you never fail to have a snack at 10 and 3!?

It's not fair!”


I've got a feeling she just asked something she shouldn't have.

“Are you not quite a glutton yourself, Sakura?”

“It's not that I'm envious because you can eat so much!

A-And besides, I do eat a fair amount when it tastes good, but then I have to worry about dieting every time, too.”

“Sakura, at the risk of sounding arrogant, I will offer you a piece of advice.”

“You do have a secret technique, don't you!?”

“A person that enjoys their food without worry ends up having a far more delicious meal.”

“I'm telling you, I can't!”

However, Sakura doesn't look like she's gained any weight.

Girls sure are complicated.

“Look, there's no flab on your upper arms, your stomach is nice and flat, even your ribs stick out a little...”

“Could it be that you have mastered some secret British dieting technique!?

Or are you secretly doing aerobic exercises everyday!?”

“You speak as if it would be considered foul play.”

“That is not it, Sakura. I simply cannot gain weight.”

A straight answer, like a powerful fast ball.

And, like a batter that struck out, Sakura's frozen stiff.

“My body stopped growing the moment I pulled the sword from the stone.

For that reason, no matter how extravagant the meal, I will never gain weight, yet I can go on without a single slice of bread and never lose any.”

“...Yes. During the times of war, while it left me unable to attain dignity and physique worthy of a king, I felt it was quite convenient on the battlefield.

However, now that I am also unable to ever reach the splendor of a woman in full bloom, I am starting to feel but a tinge of―――

―――Sakura? Are you listening?”

I see. So that's what it is.

I mean, really, even I thought it was rather strange.

“...Rider, what is wrong with Sakura?”

“You would do well to think more about the power of your own words, Saber.”

“...It is certainly unusual.

The fact that the beings known as Servants are not bound by the rules of this world ought to be well-known to the Masters.

There is nothing to be surpri―――”

“You will grow strong, Sakura.

Strong enough to not lose to this thick-skinned Servant.”


“I am no stranger to a body complex myself. I understand your sorrow like my own.”


“Starting tonight, let us go on a diet.

I will help, too. Every night, getting out of the bath, I'll mark my weight on a graph, calculate my calorie intake.”


“It's all right. I will always be by your side, Sakura.”

“Rider, your body never changes, either, does it.”


N-Nothing escapes a girl's eye, eh, Sakura!?

“Rider... it can't be...”

“Yes, I was silent until now, but...”

“Even you... You're lying, right?”

“Since I am a Servant, it does not matter how much I eat... I won't get any taller than this.”

Wait, were they talking about height?


“Now why would Sakura be petrified?

Your Mystic Eyes did not―――”

“Do not worry.

Lately, she's been going into a petrified state as a means of coping with shock.”

“...Oho. Her body aligns itself with the Servant?”

...I see.

I don't know how much of that was meant seriously, but from now on, I'll have to be careful lest I petrify people.

“I see. I did not have any ill intentions, though.”

Nope, just told her the cruel truth, that's all.

“We'll get going, then.”

“Take care of yourselves.”





“S-Sakura has become quite a burden!”

“Oh, no, that's fine, that's perfectly fine―――!”

...Have they left?

I can come out now―――


―――As if!

“It is absolutely charming to see how well those two get along.”

“Anyway, just put something on...

―――That's right, the armor.”

“I see, indeed.”

Finally, Saber's outfit settles down.

Rather, it's me who can now take a breath.

While my mind has relaxed somewhat, I voice a random thought that just occurred to me.


About the swimsuit from before.”


“There ought to be a more suitable place to show it off.

How about we go to the pool in Shinto sometime?”


Quite out of character.

Scratching my cheek, I force it out.

“Um, I mean... I heard a new pool opened in Shinto, so.”

A brief pause.

Taking a quick breath,

“Yes, I will gladly accompany you.”

Just like that, a pool date promise has been made.

Emiya Residence・Start of Night・Ritual window

Emiya Residence・Night Map Those that give and take

“...Well, it's not like there was anything we needed to talk about in a rush.”

We already finished preparing for tomorrow, so we can talk about it in the kitchen in the morning.

I get a towel and change of clothes ready and head to the bathroom.

Before I go to bed, I'll wash away the day's sweat.

I poke my head in the living room, but nobody's there.

The light's on, so I guess someone's still using it.

“Ah, Senpai... good evening.”

I run into Sakura in the hallway.

Exchanging greetings with someone I just saw a little while ago feels a bit weird.

“Evening. Oh, is there anyone in the bath right now?”

“No, I don't think so. Rider said there's a TV show she wants to watch at 10, and it seemed like Saber-san was in her room.”

The living room light was on for Rider, it seems. Saber's apparently in her room, so the bath's open...

...No, wait. The fact that Sakura's here in the first place means...

“Sakura, could it be that you were going to take a bath now?”

“Aha, have you figured it out?

Umm, Rider tends to stay in there for a while, so I thought I'd take one earlier.”

“I see... That's true, with that hair of hers it must take forever.

I got it. In that case, feel free.”

“B-But since you asked, don't you want to take a bath now?”

“I'm fine going in whenever. I can kill some time in the storehouse.”

“T-That won't do! I'll be fine, so you should go in first, Senpai, please!”

“I said it's okay. You were here first, and this is first come, first serve.”

“No, it's all right, I don't have a problem with going later in the order for the bath!”

“I don't have a problem with that, either. Besides, what are you going to do if Rider goes in after me? You might not get in until after 11 o'clock, right?”

“I-If it's Rider then it'll be all right. If Saber goes, it'll be only a short wait, so it's okay, too!”

“Well, but―――”

A strange situation where neither of us will yield on yielding.

“There's nothing strange about it.

You are the landlord, Senpai, so please use the bathroom however you want!”

“If you say that, that makes you a guest. At least use the bathroom without reservation.”

This battle has the both of us going at it like sumo wrestlers.

“Sakura, wai-”

I'm being forcefully pushed towards the bathroom.

Ooh, using force must mean Sakura's serious now.

“Ack―――Alas, if we had a men's side and women's side to the bath, this kind of dispute wouldn't happen.”

A wish totally inappropriate for a private residence just left my lips.

Sure, this house is needlessly spacious, but such a big expansion project is plain luxury.

“Ah... t-that's true, it'd be great if we had a divided bathroom, but...”

“Over there could be the women's side, and the current bath would be the men's... wait, if we do that the time it takes to clean the bath will double, and the women's side would be too narrow...”

The only one who would benefit from the men's bathroom would be me, so this really is just something I need to tolerate.

More than that, I can't guarantee this wouldn't open up a whole new set of disputes over the bathing order.

“Ah, screw it, in that case―――”

“U-Uh, Senpai!? What are you doing?”

I reverse the grip on Sakura's hand and pull her with some force.

“S-Senpai, you wouldn't...”


“Y-You're coming in with me!?”


...W-What crazy thing is that girl saying with such a bright red face...!?

“It might be a bit tight for the two of us in there, but bathing with you, Senpai, is... ah, shouldn't I put on a swimsuit!?”

Ah, certainly, with a swimsuit there, it'll be less objectionable than bathing together nude, but still.

“But you are... ah, it'd be best if you wear a swimsuit, too... then if Rider or Saber-san see us, we can say we're practicing swimming, see!”

You want me to call that a nice idea?

Still, why practice swimming in a bathroom...? Practicing on a tatami mat would probably be more helpful.

Although I'm sure it'd be entertaining to leave it to Sakura's imagination, I'd better explain this right.

“...Well, you've got it wrong.

We were in a give-and-take that was lasting forever there, so I was just going to get you in here and then get out.”

“Eh? Is that right? But...”

“The way it was going, neither of us was going to get in.

I turn down the heat last anyway, so you guys should just go first like usual.”

With that decided, I head out of the washroom.

If I stay here we really might end up bathing together in swimsuits, so this is fine.

“Um... then do excuse me, I'll be borrowing the bathroom.”

“Yeah, have a good bath.”

And with that, I return to the living room.

After finishing the dishes, I take up a spot alongside Rider in front of the TV.

As it turns out, all she wanted to watch was the news.

“Is Sakura in the bath right now?”

“Yeah, we had a bit of trouble with the bathing order.”

“Each trying to let the other go first? ...Hm. If Rin was here, she probably would have gone in first while you two were distracted.”

“You can say that again... Still, for all that trouble, it would have been better if you went in instead.”

“I don't mind going last. The last one has to go turn down the gas, right?”

So Rider's also the type to let others go first.

Leaving aside the famous modest virtue, this Master and Servant pair really do resemble each other.

“Phew. Excuse me for going first. It was a good bath, Senpai.”

“Ah, you're out. Thanks.”

Sakura comes into the living room, freshly bathed.


...I wasn't prepared.

Fresh out of the bath, Sakura looks softer and has a faintly sweet aroma about her.

“I'm sorry, Senpai, I washed my hair so it took a lot of time. Knowing that you are both waiting, I should have hurried up a little...”

“No, it is best to take your time and relax while bathing.

Sakura, your hair is still... shall we comb it?”

“Ah... yes, please. I'll brush yours later, too.”

I start to zone out as I'm watching the situation.

At times like these, they really do look like two close sisters.


“Eh...? Bah, I spaced out... Sakura, you must be thirsty after the bath, want something to drink?”

“Ah, I think the caffeine in tea will wake me up, so... do we have any tomato juice?”

“Yeah, yeah, we do, we use it for cooking so there's a lot of stock. Wait a bit.”

I head to the kitchen.

If I don't drink something cold, too, I won't calm down.

To calm my heart down, I mince a couple of celery sticks to have as a garnish with the juice.

...Sakura, freshly bathed, was a bit erotic, so I focus all my attention on the kitchen knife.

I still haven't calmed down, so now a cucumber stick.

........................Good grief.

Seeing where things are going, I'd better just go to bed right after.

“Thanks for waiting. I cut some stuff into it as garnish, too.”

“W-Why did you do that, Senpai!?”

“Shirou... is something wrong?”

“Well, I thought just tomato juice wouldn't be enough, ...ah!!!?”

I finally notice the abnormality on the tray.

A mountain of greenery. With all the vegetable sticks, they're less glasses and more bowls...

“Crap, I cut too much...”

“I thought you were taking too long for just tomato juice... D-Do you want to eat some, Rider?”

“I'll have some, but... shall I call Saber?

With her around, just this much will be taken care of in no time.”

“It's all right, we can use the leftovers for breakfast.

Want some too, Senpai?”

“...Oh, in a bit. Right now, I'm going to take a bath.”

“Okay, see you then, Senpai.”

What was that just now?

First I need to bathe to calm down, and after that, I'll have to take that huge pile of veggies...

Emiya Residence・Start of Night・Good Night

Day 2

Town・Special Waterfront king

I'm going to the pool with Saber.

She's really been looking forward to it, and the sooner I meet my promise, the better.


I stop in front of Saber's room.


N-Now that I think of it, isn't going to the pool with Saber a completely ridiculous idea?

“Ugh... okay, easy, easy, calm down, calm down...”

Take a deep breath, and cool down.

Act naturally, and keep it simple.

Saber would be even more upset if it seemed like I had a problem inviting her.

“Okay... Hey Saber, is now a good time?”

“Ah, yes, it is.

I-I've been waiting for that very question, and it would be my pleasure to go with you, Shirou.”


It would have taken me ten minutes just to crudely ask her to go out.

Before I even manage to get out the question, Saber had immediately replied.

“I-I see. Well, sorry to keep you waiting.

I'll be waiting in the living room, so come there when you're ready.”

“N-No, I have been ready for a long time, so we can go right now―――”

...Saber says, as she stiffens for some reason.

She looks as if she realized she forgot something important.


“No, I do have to ask for some time, after all.

I-It will be just a moment, please wait in the living room.”

“O-Okay. Then, I'll be there.”

Yielding to her odd enthusiasm, I leave the room.

...Saber, just what did you forget?

“You're going to the pool with Saber-chan? Good, looks like you finally grew yourself a backbone!”


“Ah, don't call Sakura, Rider-san. Can't you just overlook it for today?”

“..............................Very well.

Indeed, you have been waiting a long time for a chance to go to the pool. I suppose it would be more intimate if you went alone with her rather than with all three of us.”

...And so these two devils were also idling about in my living room.

Whatever the case, I spent twenty minutes making lunchboxes while ignoring these two who refused to leave the room.

“Sorry to keep you waiting, Shirou.”

The door smoothly slid open, revealing Saber.


As I turn towards her, my mind goes blank.

That is, we gawk at her completely different appearance...

“Kyaaaa~! Yaaaah~! Oooooh~!

Saber-chan, t-t-that outfit, could it be~~!?”

Fuji-Nee pretty much echoed my own thoughts.

“Yes, this is the one that you bought for me, Taiga.

I have been waiting for a chance to try it on, and today was as good a time as any.”

Saber mumbles bashfully.

Meanwhile, Fuji-Nee is skipping happily around the room.

Somewhat sulkily, Rider gazes at Saber with an expression not unlike envy.


...Damn it. I missed my chance to make an impression on her.

“H-How is it, Shirou? It does not seem like we will be fighting today, so I thought it would be okay to go looking like this.”

“N-No problem... I-I guess. I-I-It looks good on you as well. Really good.”

“I am glad to hear that. I, too, like these clothes very much.”


Seeing Saber's smiling face, I flush crimson.

...I can tell this is going to be a tough going.

If Saber's outfit alone is enough to make me blush, I might just die at the real event...

“All right, let's get going. Hold down the fort, you two.”

“No worries! Just leave it to your Big Sis.

Saber-chan has finally gotten a chance to change into her new form, so make sure to take your time today~

Or should I say, prepare yourselves, for I shall be cooking today in Shirou's place!”

Mmhmhm, Fuji-Nee chuckles heartily.

I really appreciate her concern for us.

“Okay, I'll leave it to you, Rider. Whatever happens, don't let Fuji-Nee into the kitchen.”

“I know, Shirou.”

“Guah!? Hold on, what the heck is that supposed to mean!?”

“Sorry for the wait, Saber.”

“Shirou, that is too much. You will definitely hurt Taiga's feelings.”

“Well... b-but unless I say that, something bad is going to happen. It's really for Fuji-Nee's own good.”

“Could you be more specific about what you mean by "bad"?”

“...You've experienced it yourself, Saber. It'll be another tragedy, like her okonomiyaki bowl last time.”

On top of that, last time we came home to find Sakura and others sprawled lifelessly about the living room.

“...How foolish of me. Of course, we must never allow such an atrocity to occur ever again...”

Mhm, that's right. I pray for our health.

“By the way, this is your first time going to a pool, isn't it?”

“Yes. What kind of place is a pool?”

“? Saber, you agreed to come along without even knowing what a pool is?”

“You invited me, Shirou. So it could not possibly be a bad place to go to.”

My pulse climbs when I meet her trusting eyes.

It's not like I can tell Saber I've been waiting to see her in a swimsuit all this time, so I keep my mouth shut.

“What is the matter, Shirou? Your face is turning red.”

“No, it's nothing.”

“It is not "nothing." What are we going to do if you get sick? Let your defenses down for but a moment, and that is all the disease needs to breach them.”

Ah, no, if you get that close, I won't be able to calm down again...!

“No, no no, I'm really okay!”


I take a deep breath and relax.

But really... if she doesn't even know what the pool is, can she really say that she was prepared for it?

At first, I thought she must have put her swimsuit and towel in that unusually large bag she's carrying under her arm.

“Saber, what's in that bag?”

“My preparations for the pool, of course.”

“Say what?”

Didn't she just ask me what a pool was earlier?

“Shirou, you seem to have made some kind of misunderstanding.

I know what a pool is. What I meant is that I'm not sure what kind of place you are taking me to.”

Ah, so that's it. Now I get it.

“Hmm... do you know what an indoor pool is?”

“By indoor, do you mean that the pool is located within a building?”

“Yeah. And it's a damn big one, too... That's right, you could probably fit the whole Einzbern castle inside of it.”

“D-Does such an establishment even exist? And purely for leisure, as well?”

“Yep. That's how extravagant the people of this country can be.”

“Wow... that is, now I must steel my resolve.”

The bus jolts to a stop in Shinto.

The last time we came here, Saber got upset, but that doesn't seem to be the case today.

“Oh, right. By the way, what kind of swimsuit did you buy, Saber?”

“A――well, I was told to keep it a secret until I wear it, Shirou.”

“Oh, is that so? I already have a hunch, but by who?”

“By Taiga. She told me to show it to you all of a sudden and enjoy your reaction.”


Heh, that's a futile plan Fuji-Nee.

It may be a sudden strike and a head-on approach, but I won't be able to bear the sight of Saber's swimsuit look, anyway.

And so, we are in front of the changing rooms.

I part with Saber, my heart bouncing in anticipation.

Needless to say, being a guy, I have finished changing first, and am now waiting inside like this―――

“...I wonder if Saber will be all right.”

She's usually the gallant one, but I'm worried about her being alone in a place like this.

The way things are, it might have been better if Tohsaka or Sakura or maybe Fuji-Nee came along. Though I'd regret it a bit.

“......No, she'd probably take it as a slight on her honor if I brought someone else along... it's definitely better if it's just the two of us.”

In front of me is the Waku Waku Splash guide.

There's a current pool, a wave pool, a big water slide, an unbelievably high diving board, a pool for racing, and on top of that there's all the nameless pools used for other attractions.

“They've really got it all.”

Saber won't get bored even after a whole day here.

“Come to think of it, she's taking a pretty long time...”

Since I don't come here often, I guess I wasn't prepared for how long it would take a girl to get ready.


I think I saw a familiar figure in the corner of my eye.

No, that person shouldn't be in a place like this. My mistake.

And looking around again, I saw Saber's figure in the shadows.

She's peeping at me with half her body hidden.

“What are you doing, Saber?”

“No, Shirou... that is...”

“There's nothing fun about just standing over there. Come on, get over here.”

If she keeps staring at me from inside the women's locker room, people might mistake me for some kind of weirdo.

Pausing timidly, Saber walks o...ver―――


...to me.

I thought she would surely wear a one-piece suit.

I figured it would be more like Saber to choose a modest swimsuit.

But instead, she is wearing the complete opposite... a revealing bikini.

Really, there's so much skin, my eyes don't know where to look.

“Um, Shirou. Does it really look weird on me after all?”


“That is, I've never worn anything like this, so you probably don't think it suits me.”

“...It doesn't look weird at all. I can't even find the words to say how good it looks on you.”

I do my best to say it.

I wish I could have put that in more eloquent terms, but it was all I could do to get my thoughts out.

“―――Thank goodness. Since you say so, I'm not worried about people staring at me anymore.”


“? What is the matter, Shirou?”

“What's the matter―――Nothing, but, look.”

How should I put it, it's like I'm about to collapse under the brilliant glare of the sun.

“Really? Well, as long as you are not too pale...”

“Aah... No, gotta do my best. I won't give up here.”


“Oh no, just talking to myself.

Anyway, Saber. Did you choose that swimsuit yourself?”

“Yes. Not being knowledgeable about this matter, I asked Taiga and Sakura to choose a few for me. I then picked my favorite from them.


She mumbles something I can't make out.

“Hm? What was that?”

“Um. At first, I chose the one that runs as a single piece, but... I ended with this one after being told that it would make you happier――”

Saber looks at me anxiously.

Seeing that face, I can't stay looking like a fool any longer.

“―――Yeah, it makes me really happy.”

“...Same for me. Seeing you smiling like this, Shirou, makes me want to jump for joy.”

Uu, I won't lose to you in happiness here!

"Then I'm so happy I wanna run around!" is what I want to reply with, but I balk at the thought of entering into such a futile contest.

“...Okay. So where would you like to go first, Saber?”

“Thank you for asking, but I have no idea where would be best. Please decide it for us.”

“Oh. Well...―――”

Well, let's rule out heading to the water slides or other thrilling attractions for now.

There are the wave pools as well, but let's start with a normal pool first.

“U-Umm, Shirou.”

“Erm, did you spot one you want to try?”

“No, not quite...”

? Saber looks uncomfortable.

It's not as if anyone is staring, but there are quite a few people looking at us by now.

“Oh no, you don't like being the center of attention, right, Saber?. For now, let's just go somewhere.”

“No, I'm actually trying to ignore them, but―――well, let's talk about something else.

Shirou, this may seem sudden, but do you know how to swim?”

“Yeah, about as well as the next guy.”

“Hm... T-That's good to hear.”

“Ah. Saber, could it be that you can't?”

“That is correct. I daresay it is quite embarrassing.”

“..."Daresay"? Are your memories of it fuzzy, like Archer's?”

“That's not it.

...To tell you the truth, Shirou, I have never had to swim before.

Since I was granted divine protection by the Lady of the Lake, I have been able to walk on water without sinking. Therefore, on the battlefield I would simply run over bodies of water.”


A shocking new truth.

Saber can actually walk on water, like a ninja...!?

“E-Even now?”

“Yes. I can walk on water without even being aware of it.”

...Damn. My inner image of King Arthur became even more profound.

At this rate, if I ask her whether she can fly, or maybe if she prefers bathing in lava instead―――no, let's leave that aside for now.

“The Protection of the Fairies, huh...? Wait, but that doesn't mean you can't go underwater, does it?”

“That is correct. Otherwise, I would not have been able to even use a bathtub.”

Now that she mentions it, that's exactly what it was.

Back then, Saber really seemed like she had the grace of a goddess when I walked in on her bathing―――

―――Whoa, hold on.

I accidentally had a vivid flashback of that spectacle.


“It's not what you―――”

Stay as calm as you can. Forget about that and focus on the conversation.

“So, you've never gone swimming in a river or lake or anything, huh?”

“I have partially submerged my body in water before, but I have never actually experienced swimming.

Besides, since I became a king I could not unclothe myself before other people.”

So that's where the "daresay" came from.

Since she's never swum before, she doesn't even know if she can swim.

“I apologize. I should have told you earlier.”

“Hey, it isn't your fault. Really, I'm the one that forcibly insisted that you come with me in the first place, right?”

“Of course not! I am not forcing myself to do anything.

It is entirely my own fault. I was so happy to be asked out by you, I completely forgot to tell you sooner!”

“Wait, you were that happy to come with me?”

“Huh...? Ah, no, that was just a figure of speech!

Rather than just having fun, I am excited to test my abilities against a new challenge! That is all I was saying!”

Her attitude is saying, "Let's jump in already!"

“Okey dokey. Anyway, let's get in the pool!”

“......Ah. Well, I am looking forward to it, but there is something before that, Shirou.”

“Hm? Do you want to eat something before we get in?”

“No, that is not the case. If it is fine with you, could you teach me how to swim?”

“How to swim?”

“Yes. As the opportunity has presented itself, learning it now would certainly prove beneficial in the future.”

“I see... right, that way, next time you can have fun too.”

“So, will you teach me?”

“Of course. You're always training me in swordsmanship, so you really don't have to be so reserved, right?”

“Okay. Then I will be counting on you, Shirou.”

“Leave it to me... Um. Have you actually planned to come here again?”

“It is not really decided, but when I went to buy a swimsuit, Taiga said something about everybody going together.”

“I see.”

“Yes. However, I am happy to have come with you before that. I appreciate Taiga's consideration.”

“That's right. It would be hard on you to tell everyone you haven't swum before, as well.”

“Mmph... That is not what I meant, Shirou.”


“...sigh I know I am not the most intelligent person, but you really are just hopeless.”


Hrm? I'm well aware I'm not the most empathetic of people, but when did this become a competition of insensitivity...?

“...No matter, it is nothing.

Let us begin.”

“Y-Yeah. Is the training pool over there alright?”

“A training pool... such a place actually exists?”

“It does. There are other people like you who come to practice swimming, as well.”

Though it's best not to mention that the ones using it are mainly children.

“Well, there are other pools, like those just for racing, so it doesn't seem like they're solely for playing around.”

“Ahh... I see, there are certainly a great variety of them.

There is probably not another place so dedicated to the art of swimming in the entire world. We must be grateful that such a precious facility was erected here in the town of Fuyuki.”

Saber nods with admiration.

...She is impressed by the oddest things... If she's that taken aback by a place of this size, I can't imagine what her reaction would be if I were to take her to the largest water park in Kanto.

We are now at the practice pool.

Luckily, there weren't any little kids there, and most of the people in it aren't really swimming. It feels almost like it was reserved just for us.

“Saber, you're not afraid of water, are you?”

“I do not fear it, but... why do you ask?”

“Well, there are quite a few people that think water is scary.

In those cases, it's usually better to start by having them put their faces in the water.”

“Then, there is no problem. I am not afraid of water. Why, if you wished, I could even run across the waters of the stormy Loughran.”

“Instant answer, huh? Well, I guess there's no way you'd be scared of anything, Saber. It was a stupid question.”

“Hmph. How rude, even I have things I'm scared of.”

“No way! Now I wanna know. Tell me, tell me, what are you afraid of, Saber?”

“...You seem quite excited, Shirou. Are you that interested in my weaknesses?”

“Of course I am. You're the one that's always protecting me. If there comes a time I need to protect you, then it would be helpful to know.”

Of course, I won't miss a chance to tease her about it either.


Yes, well, perhaps another time. Right now, we have swimming practice. Come, let us begin, Shirou!”

“...Tsk. I did promise to teach you, so I guess that's more important.”

With a splash, I step into the water.

First, let's have her take few steps, just to let her get used to the feeling and resistance.

“Okay, Saber, come with me.

As the first step, to give you a taste of how heavy the water feels, how much it pushes back on a human body―――”


What was that sudden gust of wind?

“Hoho. It certainly is more difficult to maintain my footing than on land.

But there's no problem. Once I get the hang of it, even the weight of the water is no hindrance.

Water truly is the stuff of life, it seems.”


No, this has nothing to do with it being "the stuff of life."

With a giggle, Saber smiles triumphantly.

Fearlessly and without a hint of difficulty, she walks on the water. Much faster than me. Pretty much running, in fact, as if she has no need to swim at all.

...And it's not like she has to worry about predicting the current or where it'll take her, so she isn't having any trouble at all.

“...I see. Even having superpowers is a disadvantage, sometimes.”

“Shirou...? W-Why are you staring at me? I was just feeling my way along.”

“You're doing it wrong. Saber, I'm used to you being full of surprises, but right now this is just too much.”

She takes flight naturally, like a bird.

So, first I have to clip her wings.

“H-Huh...? Shirou...?

W-What's with those hand movements? It's like the killer robots we saw last night...!”

First, we'll take the red course.

I'll have to try my best as an ordinary human.

“W-Wait, I went too far, I'm sorry! Yes, it was childish of me to run on the water in an attempt to impress you, Shirou!

This time, I will seriously listen to you, so... Kyaa!?”

Now I've got her!


Shirou, my feet, my feet aren't touching the ground...!!!!?”

Saber frantically splashes around in the water.

Holding down her delicate body, I'll teach her the true horrors of water first.

Good, good.

And then, little by little, I shall teach this superwoman what "effort" means.

“Here, Saber. Lift your butt more, and relax your stomach.”

“B-But Shirou! Won't I sink if I do that!?”

Saber continues to panic.

Rather than just sinking, the HMS Saber-01 is having some flooding trouble with her ballast tanks.

Should she let go of this hand, she'll be crushed by pressure, amen.

“Ah, ah pff, please lift me higher, Shirou!

The human body cannot float on water!”

“No, that's up to your own dedication and effort.

The human body does float relatively well, actually. And the water won't kill you. It's the "stuff of life," after all.”

blub blub...! Unbelievable! Who taught you to spew such lies...!?”

...I wonder if she's just not made for the water, or if it's her fighting spirit that's giving her so much trouble.

It might be easier if Saber weren't fighting the current with all of her strength.

Desperately trying to stay above the surface, her finely toned legs are thrashing in the water.

Her feet disturb the peaceful surface, like a bulldozer tearing up the earth.

“Hm, aren't you lucky, Saber,

Illya isn't here today~”

After all, her theme song is a ballad about drowning.

That eerie song "Die Lorelei," that is.

“Shirou, let us stop, water is too dangerous...! We never should have come out to the sea...!”

“If this was the ocean, you'd actually have an easier time staying afloat. Okay, I'm going to slowly let go of your hands.”

glub blub...!!!!?”

She is sinking magnificently.

Mere swimming and staying afloat are two entirely different skills, after all.

No matter how good her reflexes are, they don't seem to manifest themselves for "just staying afloat."

“Ah. That's no good, Saber. You need to stop kicking and just relax.”

“I-I don't have any strength left! And if I stop moving my feet I know I'll sink!”

“That'll make it even harder to stay up. Hmm... That's it, why don't you play dead? That way you'll definitely float.”

Besides, it's better if she saves her energy.

“A d-dead man's float... that's a disgraceful thing for a knight to do, but is it the first step towards swimming?”

“For some people. Here, I'll hold your hands, if it makes you feel any better.”

“Hmph... f-fine, though it is no different than taking my own life. Shirou, if I drown then please revive me...!”


After that you can probably guess what happened.

“I see, Shirou, so this is how you float.”

The splashing sound of her kicking is less frantic than before.

Saber is still confused, but she's also getting used to being in the water alarmingly fast.

Her flutter kick is still awkward, but she seems to have grasped the idea of putting power into it perfectly.

“There, great job, Saber! You'll be swimming on your own soon enough.―――”

“P-Please wait, it is still too early for that, Shirou...!

Could we please slow down some more and stop every once in a while?”

Saber clings to be me desperately.

She can mostly swim on her own by now, but she refuses to let go of my arm.

“Hah... yah, mm―――I-I see that the most important things are balance and breathing. As you said Shirou, it is important to take a deep breath before trying to float, yes.”

Saber keeps paddling forward.

Matching her pace, I slowly move backwards.

...Her hair looks especially golden.

Somehow, I feel like I'm being relied upon by a newborn chick.

“Here I go―――!”

Saber's supple legs flex through the water.

What's been looking like a stick pounding water moments ago is now starting to look more like the tail of a fish.

“Kicking through the water is an entirely different sensation than the earth... I understand the concept now, but it seems I'm just not suited to this.”

Again, Saber is improving by the second, but she just won't let go of my hand.

Her honest personality can't help it. She's actually learned to swim by now, but she can't deal with the floaty feeling of being in the water.

“Saber, can I walk?”

“Y-Yes, Shirou. I would not mind it if you went just a little faster than before.”

Total earnestness.

In her desire to master swimming as quickly as possible, she challenges herself in spite of her fear.

How like an honor student. There's no greater joy for an instructor than this, without any ill thoughts.

...Well, that much is true, but...

Regardless of how seriously she challenges the pool...

...the sight of Saber's body is causing wicked thoughts to take root in my mind.

I hold my breath and gaze at Saber.

Looking at her straight on would start my face burning. I try to keep my vision faint as I steal sidelong glances at the perfect symmetry of her body.


The radiance of that white skin makes me feel dizzy.

How amazing it would feel if she were to hold that soft, supple body to mine in an embrace.

...Honestly, if we weren't at the pool right now, there's no question that she'd be in my arms.

“? Shirou, you have stopped walking.”

Saber flutters her legs.

From a desire to improve as fast as possible, or from a wish to try for herself now that she's growing more used to it?

In any case, her serious attitude in giving it her all forces me to erase these thoughts from my mind.

“Sorry, I was distracted. It seems like you're getting the hang of it, so I'm going to pull you a bit faster.”

Looks like she could swim around ten... maybe twenty-five meters on her own already. But I'll still do my best to lead her until she gains enough confidence herself.

We've only just gotten started. After this, there will be as many chances as I would like for the two of us to swim.

“Shirou, as I suspected, once I build up enough speed I appear to be fine. Rather than swimming, I seem to have greater difficulty floating.”

Whether she's embarrassed by this, I can't tell.

However... even after she's learned how to swim this far by herself, could it be that she's still having trouble staying afloat?

Saber seems to be cut out for diving... I muse for a moment.

I imagined Saber walking across the bottom of the sea, standing perfectly upright.

“Uu, it's too perfect.”

I have to fight back a smile in order not to give myself away.

“Shirou...? Is my form incorrect...?”

“Ah, no, Saber, your form is fine. I was just thinking about why it's hard for you to float.”

“...? A reason why it's hard for me to float...?”

“Yeah. According to one theory, muscle mass doesn't float well.

Saber, you don't have any excess fat, right? That's why, compared to normal people, it'd be more difficult for you to stay afloat.”

“I-Is that so...? ...I have caused you much trouble by not knowing this... Moreover, you must prefer a more feminine physique, after all...”

“But the difference shouldn't be that big at all. That's hardly enough to handicap you.

Saber, your body already looks as smooth and defined as a sculpture. I think it's pretty obvious. Rather, I think the flexible way your body moves makes you look really attractive.”


“Ah, hey, Saber! You're sinking! Don't go tense now!”


My warning is in vain, and Saber leaves a trail of bubbles behind her as she begins to sink.

What followed was a struggle of almost six minutes in length, where no matter how hard I pulled, I couldn't bring Saber up to the surface. She may have set a new world record for free diving down there.

Not even a whole hour has passed since the start of our practice.

Before the clock hit noon, Saber had already matured admirably as a swimmer.

I may not be particularly skilled myself, but to see her achieve nearly the same level already is nothing short of extraordinary.

“―――It's almost noon.

Want to rest for a bit, Saber?”

“Indeed, this would be a good time to pause. Let us have lunch a little early.”

“Okay. I'll go get the food, so go find us a place to eat in the meantime.”

“Understood. I will be waiting, Shirou.”

I pick up the lunchbox from the locker and return to the pool.

I had no trouble at all finding conspicuous-looking Saber from far away... thinking, at the same time, that I have made a big mistake.

A beautiful woman, all alone at the pool, is bound to attract unwanted attention.

“I'm back, Saber... did anyone strange try to talk to you?”

“Someone did.

Most withdrew after I told them I had been accompanied here today, but there was one unreasonably persistent fellow among them. He even sat uninvited in your seat at the table.”

“Hm. So what happened to him?”

I don't see anyone fitting that description around here... please don't tell me he's at the bottom of the pool or something.

“Nothing at all. Another man who seemed to have business with the first came over and removed him quite forcibly... Come to think of it, I felt as though I knew him from somewhere.”

“...Oh? Maybe that's why helped you out.”

“That may be so. If I could figure out his identity, I would like to thank him properly.”

“Yeah. I should thank him, too.”

With that taken care of, I pull myself together and lay out our lunch.

The main course is hand rolls and inari sushi, along with several side dishes. A separate Tupperware container contains bite-size fried chicken and hash browns.

This East and West inconsistent mix lends the meal a certain kind of charm.

“Since we came all this way, I figured it'd be better to eat something they sell around here.

But I decided play it safe and try saving some money, too.”

“I do not understand why you are trying to keep expenses to a minimum, but I will support you in your endeavor.

While I would have liked to sample the food here, I think the food you make is definitely the most comforting, Shirou.”

“Ah... hearing that is a reward in itself.

But the food they have here is pretty good, you know. The freshness of the food is an important selling point.”

“True. Nevertheless, to me, your boxed lunches are still the best.”

“Ah―――No, well...”

Wait, calm down.

I'm getting distracted by Saber, which isn't good, since we both came here to swim.

Today was supposed to be just a relaxing day off for the both of us to enjoy.

“T-Then, eat as much as you like, Saber. B-But for dessert, we'll get shaved ice from over there!”

I point to the banner advertising green tea and red bean shaved ice that I saw on my way to the locker room.

“Agreed. Well then, let us eat.”

“Yeah, help yourself.”

Clasping my hands together, I discreetly take a deep breath, and split my disposable chopsticks with a snap.

...Just as I did, a hand reaches and grabs a piece of my omelet.

“Too much salt. You should have also taken more care when frying it. If you took into account that this would be a boxed lunch, you could have cooked it a bit longer to preserve the flavor.”

“What the―――!?”

I don't believe this. How could you do something as unforgivable as intruding on a happy couple spending a peaceful day at the Waku Waku Splash? Who the hell do you think you...


How dare you steal my omelet, knave!”

That's... not what you should be concerned about, Saber.

“I take it you're familiar with the custom of tasting for poison, right? Even though it's autumn, you should make sure these eggs are fresh, you know.

And uh, yeah. Go ahead and use the bathroom over there. I can't even look at you with a straight face.

You wouldn't like it if I burst out laughing at you, right?”

“Wha... are you implying Shirou's cooking is stale...!?

That is insulting, Archer. Food only two or three days old would never be enough to topple me!”


That's... not what you should be angry about, Saber...

“...Hey, what exactly are you doing here?”

“I don't see why I have to have a reason.

This is a public facility, right? There's nothing strange about me being here.”

No, it's strange. Very strange. It may be none of my business, but do notice how out of place you look already, you idiot.

“―――Well, fine. But you did pay the entrance fee like you were supposed to, right?”

“Stupid question. I'm not so lacking in class that I'd go swimming in my spirit form.”

“...Oh yeah? So what about your outfit? Is that supposed to be a swimsuit?”

Archer doesn't answer.

With his red overcoat gone, I hope Archer's not going to insist that what's underneath is his "diving suit"...

But he must have some reason to be here looking like that.

...Whatever. It has nothing to do with me.

“No way!? A new villain!?”

“Mmm, hey, this stuff's actually pretty tasty.

Yer as picky, or should I say extravagant, as ever, ya tanned freak.”

chomp chomp chomp

And then, as if it was completely natural, the man in the Hawaiian shirt takes another bite out of my lunch.

“Hey, Saber. Didn't some weirdos bother you earlier?”

“Lancer... so you were the one who helped me out earlier.

...Why have you come here?”

“Whuzzat? "Why?" 'Cause I saw you guys come in here, 'course. I ain't got THAT much free time, and I ain't such a loser that I'd come here all by myself, either.”

Lancer is busy stuffing his mouth with food.

Saber and I are both taken aback. Archer coolly looks on.

...It seems the happy atmosphere we had earlier is suddenly getting clouded.

“Oi oi, yer cooking ain't half bad, lad! What's wrong, you guys, not gonna eat? Ya hardly had a bite of anything.”

“...As I was saying, why are you eating my food as though it were yours?”

“Why, you say? It's my just reward, ain't it? After I helped Saber out and all... 'Sides, keeping such a treasure all for yourself'd be pretty rude, y'know?”

He swallows and resumes chewing.

Lancer is gobbling down the food he's declared to be his reward.

In the face of such tyranny, neither I nor Saber can think of anything to say.

“Ah―――but even then, there are manners to be observed, Lancer!

Also, if you lay so much as a finger on those futomaki rolls, I am going to plunge you into a world of pain.”

“Plunge me into what? Ya mean the pool?”

Lancer's cocky smirk looks like he just heard a funny joke.

“No, I refer to Excalibur.”

Saber smiles softly, as though assuring him that it will be very amusing indeed.

“―――Well, whatever. It's good to eat in moderation, so I'll leave it at that.”

Lancer quickly withdraws from our lunch. Good choice.

I don't know about Archer or Lancer, but I could tell Saber was completely serious.

“Well, enough joking around then.”

Lancer's gaze is fixed on Saber.

“W-What is it?”

He looks her over from head to toe, not in a vulgar way, but more as though to appraise an opponent before battle.

And then, nodding as if to affirm something,

“Ya into swimsuits like that, lad?”

“No, Saber picked this out and bought it herself.”


“Oh ho. But, to be honest with ya, it's really such a waste.

Listen, lemme tell ya something. This is the kind of swimsuit you'd save to wear once you've matured as a wom-”

Before Lancer could finish, he disappeared from my field of vision.

“...That was fast.”

Archer mumbles, as I am still absorbing what had just happened.

“Shirou, I shall excuse myself for a moment. I will be thankful if you could leave some of the food for me.”


I couldn't do anything but nod my head.

Saber heads off in the direction she'd sent Lancer flying to.

...That's scary, to think that the fury she unleashed on him just now still wasn't enough for her.

“Well, that's what they call angering a dragon. Come to think of it, one of the legends about that idiot included a tale of fighting against one.”

“...Don't go eating our lunch while you say that. If you have a problem with the taste of my food, go make it yourself.”

“Do I look like I have that much free time? Besides, isn't cooking your thing? Seeing as it's the only skill you're any good at, if I were to take over that there'd be no place for you anymore.”

Archer chuckles.

Ah, as I thought, I really hate this guy.

Looks like things are quite lively over there.

Following a huge splash, a geyser erupts from the pool.

As Lancer tries to say something to her, Saber sends him flying through the air with one hand.

“...Humans fly pretty well, don't they?”

That reminds me of when I got kicked by Lancer. I did fly pretty far.

“Saber must be serious. I feel no kindness in his trajecto... ergh.

Hey, this stew here is way too strong! If you're going to use star anise, you have to be careful about when in the process you add it.”

Again, who does he think he is, nitpicking at other people's cooking?

“Wait, this isn't the time for that. I have to stop Saber.”

“Ah, just leave them be. It'll be over before you know it, and besides, you'll just get dragged in if you get too close.”

“...Hey. Just what about this brawl makes you think it'll be over any time soon?”

“Saber just learned how to swim today, right?

There's no way she'll be a match for Lancer with the survival skills he has. It'll be over once he manages to get away.”

“...You were watching us?”

“I happened to see you out of the corner of my eye. My eyes are pretty sharp, as you know... Wait, the hell!?”

Archer's face stiffens.


Looking over, I see Lancer dive into the water and disappear right in front of Saber.

But here comes Saber―――

Running across the water like a jet ski after him!

“Ohhhhhhhh shiii...!!!”

As one would expect, things aren't looking good for him.

I'm starting to hear screams from the poolside.

“...This is turning into quite a mess. Is Saber planning to kill him here?”

“If she does, we'd be in serious trouble! Crap, it looks like she's not calming down. We've got to stop her!”

I run towards the pool.

A-At this rate, the ones who take Saber away from here are going to be the police...!

“I am very sorry, Shirou...”

Luckily, the place where that huge splash went up was right under the diving board, making it easy to find and stop the two of them―――actually, just Saber, before things got out of control.

“...Think well on what you've done. I know Lancer started it, but it doesn't excuse you losing your composure.”

Saber shrinks away in shame.

It's clear that she really does regret it.

After all, she did start an outrageous battle at a public water park, in front of lots of ordinary people who came here for the day.

“Still, I have to say you did good giving Lancer that beating. It would be nice if that's all it took to teach him a lesson.”

“That is a relief...!

I myself felt quite refreshed after slamming him into the bottom of the pool from atop the diving board!”


...I take that back.

She's not repentant at all. More like just a tinge of regret.

“So what happened to Lancer in the end?”

“Archer took him into custody. Perhaps he will bury him somewhere in the church's flowerbed. Fufufu.”


Allow me to clarify.

Dumping him back at the church may have been Archer's idea, but the rest had to have been Saber's demand.

I'll discuss this with Archer later.

Rather than a demand, it was more like a threat.

If I can't get her to listen, then this will probably end in Saber razing Fuyuki City to the ground.

“Well then, let's continue practicing.”

“Yes. However, Shirou, are you truly fine with this?”

“With what?”

“It is just that I caused a scene earlier. Is that not going to be a problem?”

I see, she's worried about the negative attention. There were probably lots of crying children during the commotion who might point out "that violent lady from earlier!"

“Hmmm... well, it's not a big deal, is it?

Everyone came here to play after all, if it was entertaining they'll be okay with it. Don't worry about it.”

“...sigh I hope that is the case.”

“That's right. Ah, and when we finish practicing, do you want to have some fun? As you are now, we could go to any pool you like. I think the wave pool is pretty fun.”

“Oh no, the previous pool was more than exciting enough!

...Also, all the other ones are too crowded. I wouldn't be able to hold on to Shirou there.”

Saber whispers, embarrassed.


...Well, I'd also prefer if it were just the two of us as well.

“Got it. So, let's keep going.”

“Yes. This afternoon I'll get even better, Shirou.”

Saber walks happily to the practice pool.

Once I see her progress during the afternoon, I'm sure we'll be able to move to the racing pool after this.

Saber is making tremendous progress so quickly.

She swam 25 meters without even stopping to catch her breath, in perfect form for the crawl no less, and executed beautiful turns in the water that any pro swimmer would envy.

“How is that, Shirou?

Compared to this morning, I think my flaws have decreased.”

“Forget about flaws. I barely have anything left to teach you.”

“So I have finally conquered swimming, then? That is a relief. I can finally swim together with you now, Shirou.”

Actually, you were already more than good enough to do that this morning... wait, was that actually your purpose to begin with?

“I see. In that case, how about a race, Saber?

If you've improved this much, just swimming normally must be boring right?”

“I agree. I think it would be fun to compete with you, Shirou.”

It's rare to see Saber in such high spirits.

Her happiness is infectious. I can't help but become elated as we head towards the largest pool for competitions.

...That's right.

And then, unknown to me, the curtain rose on the second tragedy of the day.

“Shirou, are you okay?”

“Ah... aah... more or less... fine...”

I answer her question as I convulse at the poolside.

It's been one hour.

My muscles are screaming in agony, my endurance sapped to rock bottom. I'm sure a vital part of me died on the inside that I'll never be able to get back.

This disastrous scene was due to my own negligence.

In my first race against Saber, I beat her without thinking.

I forgot about her characteristic trait of being extremely competitive.

“...One more time. I request a rematch Shirou!”


I noticed the air of unrest far too late.

“As I just said, let us race one more time.

In sports, I heard a winner or loser cannot be decided by just a single match. Fair matches are 3 rounds, first to reach 2 points being the winner.”

...With that, Saber challenged me to a duel.

Thus, with each subsequent match Saber's speed rose. The world's worst swimming competition had begun.

Before Saber finally beat me, we had already raced 15 times.

That's 3,000 meters.

Then, to calm Saber down, we raced 15 more times, and she wouldn't have me just let her win.

huff huff... I'll... never forget... what a sore... loser you are... ever―――”

“W-What are you saying? You make it sound like this is all my fault.”

“Well, I guess... heh, I guess it's my fault for forgetting...”

...Ugh, there's so much lactic acid in all of my muscles right now that I can't even make a step.

There's still time before sunset, yet we won't be able to play in any other pools at this rate.

It's regrettable, but playing with Saber in the wave pool and having a race down the water slides will have to wait for another day, it seems...

The pool now closed, the crowds steadily dissipate, and we slowly make our way back home.

Though it had seemed like a bright summer day, the sky took on an autumn haze as we headed back.

“Shirou, I have no excuse for what happened today.

We finally had a whole day off, and I had to make a mess of it...”

“Eh? What, you're still worried about that?

I said it's okay, and it was fun in it's own way. Rather than me, I was worried that you weren't enjoying yourself.”

“Don't worry about it. The pool is open every day of the year, we can come again any time.”

“T-That is true, I suppose. There is still another chance.

Please be at ease. I will not behave disgracefully like that ever again.

I regret that only after today's experience, I have become painfully aware of my own weaknesses!”

She hangs her head, reflecting on her actions.

“It's fine, your aversion to losing is one of your strengths, Saber.

...Ah... well, yeah. I'd appreciate it if you would remember this the next time it happens.”

“Indeed. It is going to take time, but I believe I will learn from today!”

Hahaha. Okay, I know I shouldn't laugh, but she's well on her way to recovering from the trauma of today's events.

...On the other hand, at least she wants to value her memories of today.

The memories of wearing her best clothes and coming to a pool for the first time, that is.

It looks like Saber is just as nervous as I am.

“...I see.

But, it sure was a lot of fun, Saber.”


You taught me how to swim, and I very much enjoyed racing with you, Shirou.”

“So, no complaints about today.

It was well worth it. I'd be hard pressed to think of another time where I had this much fun.”

And with that, the day ended as it always had.

Just like any other day, we get on the bus, and return to Miyama.

Our artificial summer ends.

As the sky dims from twilight to evening, we cross the bridge and head home.

Day 3

Streets・Day 3 Himuro Kane's inquiry

Looks like I'll have to bear an extra load of tissue and toilet paper.

While not that heavy, it still means only one free hand.

And I have the spoils of war from the last grocery and meat store raids on top of that, too.

“...I sure wish somebody would have come along to help carry all this.”

For large-scale shopping, Rider is the best bet.

...The problem is all the glances she gets when carrying a mountain-load of goods sometimes.

“Well, guess I only have the tofu and rice shops left.”

Those will be pretty heavy, and I wouldn't mind having a backpack.

As I contemplate about the touch of the post-war reconstruction period in this process―――


Oh? An odd person in an odd place.

Himuro Kane - third year, class A. Madame Himuro, as they call her.

Running high jump ace of the track-and-field club, and one heck of a eccentric student.

That's the girl that has her eyes fixed on me right now.

“Yo. Fancy meeting you here, Himuro.”

“How do you do, Emiya? This is your sphere of activity, isn't it?”

She nods to herself.

"Himuro-san... not a single ordinary thing about her, yet still somehow normal," is the odd description I got from Tohsaka.

“I see, looks like the rumors were true.”

“Hm? Rumors?”

“It is widely believed that you are the househusband of the Emiya household. Don't worry, it started all the way back in second year.”

Himuro's revelation does come a little too late.

...Not that it's incorrect, but I have a feeling that a rumor like this has more than a little effect on a guy's reputation.

“It's not exactly false... At this rate, I may end up raising children, too.”

“―――I do think it suits you well.”

“For example, Yukika is kind enough to look after her younger brother.

And I'm sure that you, Emiya, are kind enough to handle child care.”

“...Saegusa, huh...”

Himuro, Saegusa, and Makidera together make up the track-and-field gang.

The ringleader I may have a problem with, but her friend Saegusa is a genuinely good girl.

“So, are you out shopping? You sure have a lot of energy.”

“Food costs a lot, no matter how you look at it. Buying in bulk is the only way to make ends meet.”

The three of us are always there, increasing to as many as six at times.

Unlike the good old days, a systematic approach to shopping is now necessary.

“Are there really that many mouths to feed at your household, Emiya?”

“There sure are. And besides, three of them really like to eat.”

To protect the innocent, the culprits' names shall not be mentioned.

“...I'll ask, just in case. How many cups of rice do you cook every time?”

“Let's see... seven cups.”

We also need some for the lunchboxes, so seven is about right.

You know, with six people you'll need at least that much―――Wait, what's with the pitiful look?

“Is Emiya residence a boarding house now?”

“Something like that. Before I knew it, a lot of people settled down with us.”

“And yet you are feeding all of them. It must be tough.”

“It definitely beats cooking just for myself, though.”

In the past, without Fuji-Nee or Kiritsugu around, I used to eat and cook all alone.

I'll take the hustle and bustle over those plain, weary times any day.

“So, are you shopping, too, Himuro? Do you cook?”

“...Hm. Which one should I reply to first?”

“Well, how about the cooking part?”

“...I would not say that I can't, but I'm not exactly good at it, either. As sad as it is, I'm afraid I would lose even to Makidera.”

“Huh, I'm surprised... Or rather, I'm even more surprised that Makidera would actually cook.”

“Kaede is a very delicate girl in that regard. She is the kind that would do almost anything for the rare person that manages to befriend her.”

What's this?

Turns out that Homurabara's wild beast, well on her way to becoming Fuji-Nee Number Two, has been hiding that side of her all along.

Well, it's not like it affects me in any way.

“And then the second part. The question about whether I'm shopping or not... is a miss. Seeing how nice the weather is, I am simply out for a stroll.”

“I see. That's pretty unusual.”

“The fact that I am talking a walk? Or the fact that you encountered me here?”

She retorts, not missing a beat.

Having a zero seek time to her thoughts is very much Himuro-like.

“Both of those. Coming across you here and seeing you out because the weather is nice, neither of those fits the image I had.”

“Indeed. I find it odd to be outside of my apartment without a specific objective in mind myself. I suppose I get in the mood for having "no objective" as my goal once in a while.”

She starts walking nonchalantly.

I'm still not done with my shopping, but I end up following her, anyway.

“...Is that alright, Emiya?”

“What is?”

“"What" you ask? You must still be in the midst of shopping. Carrying all these heavy bags, is it alright for you to be following me, who is just aimlessly wandering around?”

Is she really concerned, or is it just her way of coldly telling me off?

The same kind of coldness, verging on hypocritical courtesy that Tohsaka used to have. Or not. Himuro's curt mannerism may well be her natural personality.

“I'm almost done, actually. This is a part of road I take on the way back.”

“Then that is fine. But unfortunately, this is where we must part.”

She glances at a swing just ahead of us.

No one's using it, just an empty seat swaying in the wind.

“Perhaps we should go over there, sit down, and have a sweet little talk.”


“...Stop that. I haven't said anything to justify such an exaggerated reaction, have I?”

She says to me in a displeased tone, lowering her voice.

Could that have been a Himuro-style joke just now...?

“Sorry. That didn't come out right.

Yeah, sweet talk aside, we could at least sit down on a bench.”

“Hm... I guess a swing is too romantic, indeed.

My apologies, I'll take note.”

She promptly walks away from the swing.

...Wait a moment.

Could it be that what she said just now wasn't actually a joke...?

“Let's change the subject.

...It's a rather boring topic, and I feel bad for asking, but would you mind hearing me out?”

“Eh... Sure, if I can be of any help.”

I straighten up my back.

Having unknowingly made fun of her once already, it's the least I can do.

“My deepest gratitude for your attention.

That said, it's not that big of a deal. The issue is but a whim I got for no particular reason.

How shall I put it... I wonder if I really was myself until yesterday, like that.”


...She says something very interesting.

There were people who doubted this situation, but feeling uncertain about their yesterday's self is something new.

“...Oh? A strange feeling that just can't be seen or put in words, right?”

“A feeling of discomfort... Yes, that's what it is.

I do have all my memories until yesterday, but there are subtle differences. However, the foundation being the same, I do not expect it to be a problem.

Therefore, it may well be that the one who changed is myself. That's what I thought when I woke up this morning.”

“.....................Wake up to find yourself turning into a bug, is it?”

“Nothing as sensitive as that.

...Besides, while it's not something that can be seen, it can still be put into words. I am well aware of the specific cause of this discomfort.”


Now that's a surprise.

An "uneasy feeling" tends to be uneasy exactly because it is unknown.

Yet, according to her, she can actually tell exactly what is wrong.

“So, what is it?”

“It's... Well, it's rather difficult to talk about it.

Say, Emiya. Have we ever had a friendly chat like this before? T-That's, because we're, how to put this...”

"Rather like a pair of lovers."

Madame Himuro murmurs quietly.

“――――――, huh?”

In a blink of an eye, all my mental tension has collapsed.

It's a little impolite to the girl in front of me, but her girl-like strength is beyond just surprising, it's downright admirable.

“W-What, why are you suddenly covering your mouth like that?

I was dead serious, I'm not trying to joke around.”

“Ha, uh, haha. Um, it's just funny, I mean.”

Himuro, you are awesome, I'd like you to have a round of applause.

“...Whatever, it was foolish of me to speak with you.

Emiya, forget what I said. You should get going with the shopping, you have many mouths to feed at home.

I shall stop with this out-of-character business and go back to Semina.”


I've no intention of stopping her.

Her vigor rivaling Makidera's, she runs towards the park entrance. I mean, walks.

“Then, fare thee well.

I can appreciate how Kaede feels this time. From now on, you should consider your enemies to have increased by two.”

“Geh. Sorry, I'm sorry, I'm telling you! Hey, wait up, Himuro!”

“What's done is done. Farewell, Emiya.”

Whoosh, there she goes, Himuro Kane, power-walking away faster than a wheeled vehicle.

...That was my bad.

That's unfortunate. It sounded quite intriguing, I wouldn't mind hearing the rest.

Emiya Residence・Start of Night Things to do

Day 4

Demonic Nest Arriving at the Castle

Demonic Nest Quiz ogre

Demonic Nest Forest alcohol, more

Demonic Nest Twilight Castle

Demonic Nest Hotel Einzbern

Demonic Nest Good night - winter