Loop 21

Day 4

Demonic Nest Arriving at the Castle

Demonic Nest・Ghost Gossip

Let's go check out the lobby first.

At this time of day, Liz and Sella should both be there.

“Leysritt, have you not finished putting the wine cellar in order?!

Having lain unused for ten years, if something were to happen there now it would be too late to address the problem, would it not? You may leave mending the walls for another day, but begin your survey of the cellar at once!”

“...Work here is first. No one uses wine cellar, so Illya is not troubled even if collapses.”

“I-It couldn't be that Milady said as much herself?! That it is permissible to leave the basement in that state?!”

“...Not really. Before where nobody goes, I clean where everyone sees. Because, Illya would be sad if she finds a crack in the wall.”

“I should think that would go without saying. Finding cracks in the walls of the old castle where one is staying is a fairly clear omen of misfortune ahead.”

“Dear me, whatever possessed Milady to want to take up residence in such a remote forest is entirely beyond me―――but as remote as it is, I see that has not stopped you from showing up here all the same, Emiya Shirou!”

“Eh? Me?”

She suddenly called my name.

...Or, perhaps I should say, she finally realized that I was here.

“Shirou? Ah, it is him.

Hello, Shirou. Guten Tag.”

“Hello, Liz. Guten Tag.”

The two of us exchange these idiotic greetings.

This is a secret greeting between Liz and me.

One that Sella doesn't quite care for, it seems.

“Her name is Leysritt, Emiya-sama. Please do not abbreviate it in such a distasteful fashion.

Both Milady and we possess special names. It is unpleasant to have a commoner like yourself address us in such a familiar way―――”

“Shirou, don't mind. Sella just feels left out. And jealous because nobody gives her a nickname.”

“Be quiet, Leysritt... Emiya-sama, what Leysritt said just now was nothing but pure nonsense. Please do not mistake it for the truth.”

“Is that so? I guess I should call you Sella-san then. That way it sounds more like a nickname, too.”

“Please do be quiet, Emiya-sama.

Our relationship is not so friendly that I would permit you to address me with a name like S-Sella-san!”

I've made her angry.

Well, it is easier for me to just call her "Sella," it's true.

“...Ahem. Please excuse me, Emiya-sama. We have been much too busy with our tasks to come to receive you properly when you arrived.

―――Might I ask what business you have coming here?

I do not believe you have made any arrangements to meet with Milady today.”

“No, we haven't arranged anything. I just happened to find myself in the area and thought I'd drop by.”

“...That so. You a policeman, Shirou? Come to check up on Illya?”

“Mm... well, I guess you could say that, but Berserker's here too, right?

The town feels a lot safer recently. Rather than a patrol, it's more like I felt like coming over, just for fun.”

“Hmph. Look well, Leysritt. Such a creature is man. What reason could a being which cares only for its fellow humansobjects have for concerning itself with Milady?”

“......Nah, Shirou just feels shy, probably. Sella hates humans too much.”

“Such is my role. Are we not charged with Milady's protection? I exist to protect her pride and honor, and you to protect her body from harm.”

“So what, might I ask, is this? You have let your guard down in the presence of not just any human, but the son of Emiya Kiritsugu, with whom you exchange such overly familiar greetings. Did you not bear that petty criminal just as much hatred as I?”

“......Yeah. I hate Kiritsugu. No fair to Shirou, but Kiritsugu was a bad human.”

There is no hatred to be felt in those awkward words.

Liz' sole reason for hating Kiritsugu is that he made Illya cry.

...I can't really disagree with her there. I feel the same way about him, after all.

“That's okay, Liz. It's only natural that you guys can't forgive my old man for what he did, or that you'd condemn me as his son.”

“...Hmph. It seems you are not as thoughtless as your appearance would suggest. You are quite perceptive.”

“Yeah, well. I am my father's son, after all, and I intend to take care of the responsibilities he left me with.

So I'll accept that you hate me, Sella.

But to take that as far as hating all humans by association is―――”

“...And what if I do indeed hate all humans? Do you find such a thing unpardonable?”

“No. I'd be happy if you'd reconsider, though. It's not really like you, is what I thought.”

“How insincere. In what manner is holding such a belief not like me?”

“It just isn't. It'd be like saying that since you don't like apples, you hate all fruit. That's just way too prejudiced.”

“―――Prejudiced, you say?”

“Yep. Sella, prejudiced.”

The two of us nod in unison.

“―――I suppose. As you say, I should be more true to my own sense of aesthetics.

...I shall endeavor to be more exacting in my hatred, and to justify my reasons for hating that which I hate.”

“...Then please excuse me, Emiya-sama. The two of us have our tasks to attend to.”

“?? Today's work, all done. Sella, lying. We better get tea ready for Shirou properly.”

“Have you not heard a word of what I've said to you?!

I told you not five minutes before to finish seeing to the wine cellar, have you already forgotten?!”

“...Sella, emotions getting in the way of duties. If you want to organize so much, do it yourself.”

“I have done and will do as much as I can. Tasks requiring brute force fall under your jurisdiction. Slender arms like mine are ill-suited to reorganizing the wine barrels.”

“Lie #2. Sella, scared of basement, just doesn't wanna go in wine cellar.

Sella's really―――”

“W-Wait just a minute, Leysritt! You are in the presence of a guest! Cease your idiotic rambling this very inst-...”

“Guess what, Shirou. Sella, so proud, but really super scared of ghos―――”

“Gyaaaaaaaaa! I am not, absolutely not! Such a thing is a fabrication...!

Forget this, Emiya Shirou. Purge this nonsense you have just heard from your mind immediately!”

Throughout all this mayhem, Sella never laid a hand on either of us. Her professionalism is to be admired.

This is really something. Definitely the kind of thing that would earn you a few sharp raps on the head from Tohsaka, if she were here.

“Leysritt, I demand an explanation from you as well! Refute these baseless and delusional ramblings at once!

And then remove yourself to the wine cellar posthaste!”

“...Fine, I'll go with you. So not scared, right, Sella?”

“As I said in the first place, I am not scared...!

...Enough. I cannot depend on the likes of you any longer! I shall sort out the wine cellar by myself, see if I don't!

...It's all right. I'm not scared, I'm not, for how could one of the world's only completely natural homunculi ever be scared of ghosts?!”

Sella's face is showing more emotion than I've ever seen from her before.

The way she's trying to psych herself up for the task is almost enough to invite sympathy.

“...Ahh... Is that where the ghosts come out?”

“...That's so. In the forest recently, ghosts began appearing from time to time. After that, when Illya was playing at night, she saw a demon ghost or something in the basement.”

“No such thing could have happened! Even said in jest, this is Castle Einzbern. I cannot speak for the spirits of its masters now departed, but surely no lowly ghost would be able to gain entrance!

A-And I shall prove it to you that it is so!”

“Oooh. Sella, good job, good job.”

“Praise is completely unnecessary. I am simply going to check the condition of the wine cellar.”

I guess the wine cellar is in the basement.

The basement of a castle... It sure sounds like it'd be pretty scary.

It's pretty brave of Sella to say she'll go check it out by herself.

But still...

“...What is it, Emiya-sama? It seems you have something to say.”

“Well, if you say you're going there to prove that there aren't any ghosts, wouldn't doing it right now be pretty meaningless?

Illya saw it at night, didn't she? So wouldn't that mean that the ghost would only appear late at night?”

“Y-Y-Y-You demon! How could you even suggest that I do such a dreadful thing?! What would you have me do if I ran right into a ghost down there?!”

“Like I thought, afraid of ghosts?”


Sella stops in her tracks.

“Oooh, I have sorely misjudged you, Emiya Shirou...!

To incite Leysritt in this fashion, and to cast such implausible doubts on me...!”


The only one doing any inciting around here was Sella herself, and on top of that, what she's doing now is little more than a suicide mission.

“...So be it. If you insist on going that far, then wait and see. I shall go alone to the basement at midnight tonight and see for myself. Although that task is not my responsibility, it will serve to verify that I am right.

Just wait and see, Emiya Shirou! You shall know that as Illyasviel-sama's, no, as the Einzberns' homunculus, I am without flaw...!”

“...Off she goes. Is this all right, Liz? This is Sella we're dealing with; she really will go off alone, you know?”

And probably end up fainting down there in the cellar, too.

“It's okay. Sella, not as strong as Shirou thinks. Gonna come crying back here soon.”

She smiles almost in delight.


Wait. Just what is she smiling about?

“More importantly, Shirou, teatime. I'll call Illya, so go wait in the salon.”

“Ah, thanks, Liz. Then I'll go on ahead.”

“Okay. Shirou's so honest, very good.”

She starts up the central staircase.

Probably to call Illya.

I'll head for the salon then.

Coming all the way out here is pretty tiring, and I did hope I'd be able to have tea with Illya and Liz.

Sella will probably come back in the end too, and it should be quite a fun afternoon―――

Demonic Nest Twilight Castle

Demonic Nest・Ghost Gossip Glamorous

It's not like I really have anything to do, but I'll stay up a little while longer.

After a reception like that, it won't be so easy for me to calm down enough to sleep.

The time is past ten.

In defiance of the late hour, I glare at a stain on the wall, which, as I've realized, is shaped not unlike a human corpse.

I lie on my mattress for an hour.

Having held back indignation at my shabby treatment before, there's nothing to do but suck it up and go to sleep―――

“...It's cold. It hurts. Can't sleep.”

Not mentally, I am physically unable to fall asleep.

Hohohoho, is that supposed to be Sella's terrifying plan to crush the spirit of Emiya Shirou, one who sleeps in a storehouse as part of his daily routine?

“...But seriously, it's getting cold in here... I could use another blanket, at least...”

......Oh well.

An issue I've never given much thought to has become a matter of life or death.

I'll slip out for just a minute and look for something I can use as a blanket―――


My heavy footsteps ring out in the silence of the icy corridor.


My apprehension grows with every step I take.

I never gave much thought to what a castle at night would be like, but now that I'm here, and all alone at that, I'm starting to feel, unsurprisingly, a little anxious―――


......oh, it's just the wind. I am on the fourth floor of the castle, after all. No wonder the wind up here is stronger, hahaha......”

...This is bad. I can feel terror mounting by the second.

Forget going down to the lobby; at this rate, I'll end up fleeing back to the storeroom before I get to the third floor.

And the one to blame for all this is, of course―――

“...That Sella, she sure is thorough, isn't she. Just turning out the lights in the storeroom wasn't good enough for you, huh? I see you didn't rest until the entire hallway was pitch black―――”

That's right.

The Einzbern castle, which knows no sleep, has gone mysteriously dark tonight.

I'm guessing it's not because they suddenly decided to save on energy costs, either. More than likely, this was done with the sole purpose of harassing me.

“...Dammit, you think this is all it takes to beat me? The fear of a scary castle at night is just the thing to get you to learn magic, or so they say.”

Trembling at the sound of my own footfalls, I advance down the hall.

...I'm almost at the stairs.

If I can make it down to the first floor, everything will work out, one way or another.

Most of the doors down here should be locked, but the salon is usually left open.

Once in there, I should be able to pick as many makeshift blankets as I like―――

“―――Oh? All right, the lights are on...!”

I guess not even Sella would go so far as to turn out the lobby lights.

“Calm down, calm down. It may be kinda scary since it's so wide open, but after the hallway, this is nothing. Right, let's go.”

I feel my steps grow lighter as I head down the central staircase.

The salon should be that way. Seeing how bright the lobby is, there should be plenty of light spilling over into the salon too.


How naive of me.

Something about this place is just unsettling.

The Rococo interior blanketed in darkness is so eerie that I almost expect to see the elegant ghosts of some departed aristocrats waltzing around.

“......Enough of this. I don't care any more. A tablecloth, anything...”

As stealthily as I can, I enter the room.

The plush carpet conceals the sound of my footsteps so completely, the perfect silence that results is even more scary.

If it's this soundless, there's nothing to warn me if someone were to suddenly appear behind me―――


Did I hear something just now?

......That I did.

In the furthest corner of the room, near the glass-fronted cabinet, something white is moving.

“.................., gulp

It seems like all sorts of unwelcome visitors have been appearing in the castle lately.

The ghosts that wander through the forest.

The monster Illya says she saw in the cellar.

...And here, lurking in the parlor, where the outside light cannot reach―――

I drop into a crouch and slowly creep further into the room.

Using the table as a shield, I try to keep a vantage point that will let me escape at any moment and move closer―――

    “W-Who's back there?!”  

    “A-And who on Earth are you?!”  


Like meeting a blind date for the first time, we stare blankly at each other.

“...I see. So you were unable to bear the cold and ended up coming down to the first floor in search of a blanket, you say.

I must apologize. I forget too easily that those from outside the castle are accustomed to sleeping in warmer environs.”

“Y-Yeah, that's right. So it'd be great if you would lend me a blanket.”

“Understood. I shall bring one without delay.”

Sella acknowledges my request without a fight this time.

...It almost seems anticlimactic, but as long as I finally get a blanket, I have no complaints.

“...Forgive the sudden change of subject, but I must apologize once again. Even in the darkness of the parlor, late at night, mistaking you for a burglar was inexcusable, Emiya-sama.”

“Oh, no problem, I almost did the same. Before I realized you could be down here, I was convinced I'd met a gho―――”

“Forgive the sudden change of subject, but will you be taking breakfast tomorrow morning? Am I correct in assuming that you would prefer rice rather than bread?”

“Eh... oh no, I'd be fine with bread...”

“Then it is settled. If there is anything else, please kindly inform me now.”

Sella speaks very briskly.

She's certainly living up to her image as the refined, efficient maid, but...

“No, there's nothing else I need. As soon as I have that blanket, I'll go back to my room, so...”

I hold out my hand expectantly.

“Is there something you need, Emiya-sama?”

“Like I said, the blanket. You don't have to bring it all the way up to the fourth floor for me; I'll just take it here.”

“Forgive the further sudden change of subject, but at what time will you rise in the morning, Emiya-sama? If you require a wake-up call, I'll see to it that one is arranged for you.”


What worries me is this.

It really seems like Sella is obstinately refusing to give me the blanket.

“......Got it. I'll go back to my room. Bring that blanket up as soon as you can, okay?”

Bidding her goodnight with that, I turn to head for the staircase.

“...Are you free now?”

...only to find a maid blocking my way.


“I am asking you if you have time on your hands.”

“Did you hear a single word of what I just said?”

“Understood. In that case, I have a task for you. Over to the left of the stairs...

Do you see it? Right at the end of that hallway, you will find a staircase leading to the cellar.

At the bottom of the stairs, there is a wooden door. Please go through it, make one circuit of the room within, and return here.”

“...Hold on. Isn't that the wine cellar you were taking about this afternoon?”

“Indeed, that is its proper name. What of it?”

“So let me get this straight. You're telling me to go find out what's going on for you?”

“I truly regret that I have more pressing matters to attend to at this time, and cannot spare a moment to patrol the wine cellar.”

“...Just so I know, what happens if I refuse?”

“In that case, I believe I may not be able to deliver the blanket to your room, Emiya-sama.”

“T-That's low! You planned this from the very beginning, you dirty maid!”

“Why, not at all.

Needless to say, we shall keep this matter private to ourselves.

In any case, if one is to state the facts, we have secretly met at night. I do acknowledge that this may be inconvenient for you as well, Emiya-sama.”


W-W-What is this? Just what kind of maid are you? You coerce a guest into doing your job and then blackmail him into silence on top of that...!

“You want to keep Liz from finding out that badly, don't you?

...Silly. There's no need to act tough. Just come right out and ask. Even Liz probably wouldn't laugh at you for that.”

“That particular matter is none of your concern, Emiya-sama.

So which shall it be? Will you undertake this task or not?”

“I'll do it, I'll do it. But only on one condition. You have to come with me for part of the way. You have to anyway, unless you want to lose face with Liz.”

“―――W-Why, that is utterly... true.

Will accompanying you as far as halfway down the stairs be satisfactory?”

“That's fine. All right then. Just make sure to bring me that blanket after I'm through, okay?”

“―――Yes. I shall arrange to have one of our highest-quality blankets conveyed to you.”

That takes care of that.

Then let's go check out the cellar and get this over with.

We make our way down the stairs.

The staircase is wider than I expected it to be. It must be at least two meters across.

“Emiya-sama. I would like to add a condition of my own.”

“Hm? Fine, what is it?”

“Whatever you may encounter down there, speak not a word of it to me afterwards.”

I turn instinctively.

...It's too dark for me to see Sella's face from here, but I can tell that she's sticking close behind me as we proceed.

The way she's clenching the hem of my shirt kind of gave her away.

“Oh... so no matter what happens or what I see down there, you don't want to hear about it?”

“Just as you say. Whether anything should happen or not, do not speak a word of what you have seen. A simple statement as to whether you encountered any danger or not will suffice.”


She's being so insistent about this that I've gone past being surprised by it to the point where I almost feel a kinship with her now.

“As you wish. That's far enough, Sella; you can wait for me here. I'll go down there now and check it out.”

“Thank you most graciously. Only remember, Emiya-sama, above all else, keep your lips sealed as to the state of the cellar, and most tightly at that. Silence is golden, as they say.”

Her desperation is starting to show through her speech.

I leave Sella behind and descend to the bottom of the stairs.

“...Now to find the door... this must be it.”

My hands fumble through the dark until they come up against the solid wood of the door.

All I have to do now is go through―――

“...Can't turn back now. Can't learn magic if you're afraid of ghosts, as they say―――”

Working up some courage as before, I push on the door.

...... ...... ...... ...... ...... ...... ...... ...... ...... ...... ...... ...... ...... ...... ...... ...... Nothing out of the ordinary so far.

There's not so much as a speck of dust anywhere.

They do quite a thorough job looking after this place.

The lights are out and I can't get a good look, but the room is packed full with what seem to be wine barrels.

“...Hmm. I expected it to smell a lot more strongly of alcohol than this...”

I take a few slow, careful steps forward.

Sharpening my senses, I probe around the darkness.

......Everything's in order.

While it's certainly the right atmosphere for a ghost or two to appear, I don't feel any curses, unresolved grudges or anything of the sort in the air, either.

This is nothing but a perfectly normal and healthy, albeit slightly eerie, wine cellar.

“...Ugh. I told her, it's just a regular wine cellaaa...”

Something's there.

Something dreadful is waiting for me in the dark.

An intimidating aura that sends goosebumps throughout my whole body.

This is no ordinary ghost. What I see is a very real pair of fangs just waiting to get me, a monster that can kill a man in one strike―――

“I-I-I-I-I-It's heeeeeeeeeere?!!!!!!”

“Sella, Sella, Sella! It's there, the thing, the one that Illya saw, it's really there...!”

“W-W-Wah, Emiya-sama, why would you be running this way...!? The promise, remember the promise, please refrain from telling the details! Uphold your word and die with honor...!”

“Stop talking nonsense! It's terrible, like an evil dragon's severed head on legs! Ain't going to face THAT in the dark!”

“Please do not jest...! There is no way, a creature with a mouth that is a third of its body could not possibly exist!”

“There's a ton! Fine, I'll bring you to a zoo, you can watch sharks and crocodiles there all day long!”

“Eeeeeek! No, don't come here! The ghost, the ghost is chasing after you, Emiya-sama...!”

We make it to the ground level alive.

Running on sheer willpower, I manage to keep the speed up, despite having Sella firmly attached to my left arm.

“Eeeek! It's coming after us...!

Sella, where do we run?!”

“Second floor... oh no, we must not! We cannot let danger befall Milady!

Emiya-sama, the outside! There shall be fewer victims if we run outside!”

“While I would like to know just who is it that you're planning to sacrifice here, let us not ask for now! Alright, this should be the way out!”

“It-is-not! That is the courtyard, end of the way, no-return, in other words, that way is the dead eeeeend!”

But it is already too late.

The two of us run out into the courtyard,

while the wine cellar monster ends up getting stuck in the doorway.

“...It's over...”

“...Oh... How foolish of me to solicit the help of a human...”

We drop on the ground simultaneously.

...I can hear heavy iron grating against the floor.

Already resigned to our fate, we turn to face the monster behind our backs...

“What surprise. Shirou and Sella, friends?”

Three stares meet in one point.

“Leysritt...? Could it be that the one seen by Emiya-sama in the wine cellar was none other than you...?”

“...? I was just keeping watch over the cellar.

Someone came in and leave, I chase, here.”

“......I see. Emiya-sama, do you have anything you would like to add?”

“...Oh no, absolutely nothing. In fact, the truth of the matter is just as you can see.”

There's no need to explain.

The mysterious shadow down in the wine cellar had been Liz, and, mistaking us for thieves, she ended up chasing us up here.

“...? The one who entered the cellar, Shirou?”

“That's right. The story I heard earlier today had been bothering me, so I went to check it out... and so, as embarrassing as it sounds, I mistook you for a ghost and ran all the way here.”

“...I see. But Sella? Why together with Shirou?”

“Eh? O-Oh no, myself, you see...”

“As I was running away, I unexpectedly happened to meet Sella in the lobby.

Seeing me running around, she got mad and went after me, as always.”

“Right. Sella, always mad.”

Luckily, she bought my story without a trace of doubt.

Forgive me, Liz. Unfortunately, the "don't tell anyone" promise with Sella was first.

“...Ahem. Just as Emiya-sama says, I had been thinking about visiting the cellar myself. I had not considered the possibility of you being there already.

But besides that, Leysritt. Have you discovered anything unusual in the wine cellar?”

“There was nothing. Just Shirou enter, then leave.”

“...Is that so. From the words of Lady Illyasviel, who has seen something suspicious, I expected an abnormality to exist...”

“But, nothing there. Ghosts not leaving the forest, not entering the castle, it seems.”

“But of course. It is inconceivable for a low-class spirit to be capable of entering the Einzbern castle.

Shall such a phantom exist, it could only be an upper-class, well-known character with a reputation. An apparition that is not much more than a dark shadow is a century too young to even pass under our gate.”


What a mysterious personality.

She's clearly afraid of ghosts, yet does not attempt to deny their existence.

“What might it be, Emiya-sama? It seems that you would like to add something.”

“Oh no, just talking to myself.

That aside, Sella. The ghosts from the forest can't get into the castle, you say...?”

“They cannot. This castle's anti-spirit defenses are flawless. Had it been otherwise, there would be quite a gathering of forest souls here, would there not?”

“Uh-huh. So, back to that shadow that Illya saw in the basement. Oh, and by the way, Liz, how long have you been at it?”

“...Ummm... that is...”

“Once in three days. That is, the two of us take turns.

Nevertheless, we do not go down as low as we did tonight. In return for having superior mobility, Leysritt's weakness is a shortened period of activity. Working day after day without rest causes her to collapse, unfortunately.”

“........................Y-Yeah. That's how it is.”

“...Leysritt? Don't tell me...”

“...I'm sorry, Sella.

Here, other day, when Illya scared. Was going around everywhere.”

“Wha...! S-So the mysterious shadow that Lady Illyasviel has seen... was you all along!?”

“...Yeah. Because Shirou afraid and run away, probably.”

...I sure did.

Bumping into a huge wicked-looking halberd strolling around in the dead of the night would catch even Illya off-guard.

“Leysritt, you...!”

Sella's anger is understandable. Surely there are more peaceful ways of patrolling at night―――

“Why would you do something like this?

Do you not understand the limitations of your body?”

“...Yes. But, have to do my best for Illya. Castle warm, Illya happy.”

What a loyal servant.

Doing everything to protect Illya's peace of mind, she ends up patrolling the place like this every night.

“That's admirable. You really are fond of Illya, aren't you?”

“Yes. Illya happy, me happy too.”

...Ugh, a truly model maid. I suddenly get an urge to go and pat her on the head.

“―――I believe the matter to be clear now. In light of your devotion to Milady, the events of tonight shall be overlooked.”

“...Sella, mad?”

“But of course. Should you prefer my anger to not develop any further, you shall retreat to your room and have some rest immediately.

Your body is not yours alone. Do you understand what I am saying, Leysritt?”

“..................I'm sorry, Sella. I go back.”

Liz walks out of the courtyard, unsteady on her feet.

From the back, she looks not too unlike a puppy that's just been thrown out.

“...Sella, wasn't that a little overboard?

She was working so hard for Illya's sake all this time.”

“Therein lies the problem.

Unlike you and me, Liz is unable to change her waking hours whenever she sees fit.

Staying up twelve hours per day is no issue for her. As a consequence of exceeding this time, however, her remaining lifespan will be severely affected.

Knowing this fact, would you still ask me to forgive her actions tonight?”

“――――I... see.

...My bad. I spoke too soon, not knowing the matter fully.”

“Hmph. It appears you have indeed recognized your position as an outsider. Please keep this in mind as a lesson, and kindly refrain from unnecessary remarks in the future.”

There's nothing I can reply with.

It's true that I've been butting in without much thought to their relationship lately.

“...Well, perhaps it could not be helped.

That is, you were not entirely aware of our abilities, Emiya-sama.

While there is nothing to be done about your lack of talent, with great effort, your ignorance can still be overcome. Should you apologize and direct those feelings towards learning, I would be most delighted.”

I can't feel the usual sarcasm in her bitter tone.

If you set the norm to be 100, the one just now was only 10 thorns.

You could even say that instead of outright hatred, I'm being subjected to a mere scolding.

“...I'll do my best.

So, what about you, Sella? Will you be alright? You told Liz to have some rest, but I bet you've been up just as long. Although you did say something about being different...”

“...I did request that you learn from it, yet still, all of a sudden...

Well, no matter. Being as close to Milady as you are, there are some things you ought to be aware of.”

“Leysritt and myself are much like sisters... no, despite being a pair of Homunculi created from the same specimen, we each have a different purpose.

While my own body has been made simply as an artificial human, Leysritt is also a Mystic Code made for Illya's use.

Whereas I am but a servant maid, Leysritt is literally a part of Milady.”

“Part of Illya...? By "Mystic Code," you wouldn't mean...”

The Dress of Heaven.

The external circuit built up over a span of a thousand years by the Einzbern family to obtain the Third Sorcery.

Illya, who was created as the Lesser Grail, functions as "the original and complete" Illyasviel when she wears the dress.

“Leysritt is a homunculus that exists for the purpose of letting Milady wear the Dress of Heaven. Therefore, as a homunculus, she lacks some of the basic abilities.

You could, perhaps, say that she is an Einzbern-made pseudo-Servant.

In return for her excellent combat ability as a familiar, Leysritt has not been endowed with the entirety of the five senses. Her awareness of her own self is rather weak, as well.”


...So, the difficulty Liz has with spoken language isn't due to being unfamiliar with Japanese, but rather―――

“Emiya-sama. Let us not fall victim to misunderstanding.

Leysritt is by no means behind any one of us. Just the same as Milady, they are crystals of Einzbern knowledge, a "showcase of success," if you will.

....If there is anything to regret, it is Master's superiority in the matter.

That is, a clump of ether, meant to be but an aid in materialization of the original Dress of Heaven, has been given a soul, imperfect as it may be.”

“It's been around two years since myself and Leysritt have been cast.

Going by the years, Leysritt would still be a child. There is no concept of age to homunculi, however.

All the necessary knowledge and the purpose of our existence have been given to us since the moment we were born. Unlike humans such as yourself, we do not require many years to be pointlessly spent growing to adulthood.”


There is no growth mechanism, is what Sella is saying.

That is, they will not mature any more after this point.

“...Hold on. But Illya's definitely―――”

“Milady is a child born from Emiya Kiritsugu's sperm and Lady Irisviel's egg.

Indeed, she started off the same as a human baby. However, her growth has stopped at the present stage.”

“Staying human yet being a homunculus, she is a higher-order being one step above both.

From our point of view as homunculi, her existence is no less than a miracle. The Lady that may not be touched by the primitive, impure beings known as the original humans.”

There is a hint of intoxication in Sella's voice.

...So that's where all the attacks come from. It's not that she's being protective of Illya as the Einzbern young lady. Instead, it's genuine pride and the resulting prejudice against me.

“―――Wait, two years?

That means you and Liz are my juniors... doesn't it?”

“As I have already mentioned, the concept of age does not apply to us.

We are forever older yet younger than you are.

A perfect homunculus is a touch of nature manifested with a human hand. For as long as this planet remains green, as long as there is mana to be found in the air, there is nothing to threaten our lifespan.”

“Wow. Forever young and immortal...?”

“Should the body be destroyed, we will vanish, I'm afraid. In exchange for this greatly extended lifespan, however, our lives are vastly inferior, as well.

...Leysritt is the one who has overcome this issue, but... She is far too strongly attuned to Milady's self. Should Milady cease living as she does, Leysritt will most likely follow suit.”

“...You mean, if Illya dies, so does Liz?”

“That is right. Leysritt is a part of Milady, a tool for her own use. Thus, like an arm that no longer lives when the body ceases function, she is bound to be affected.”

“Nevertheless, there is a positive side, too.

For Leysritt, whose sense of self-awareness was weak, the link with Milady allowed her to gain reason.”

“She said it herself not too long ago, did she not? When Milady is happy, she is happy, too.

That is completely true.

Her own sense of self being weak, by projecting Milady's self onto her own, she takes form of a pseudo-human.”

“...The treasured Milady that she must protect is also her own self. And moreover, she does tend to forget about her own body in the process.”

"It is akin to putting the cart before the horse!" exclaims Sella with amazement.


So that is why Liz works so hard for Illya's sake.

...Unable to grasp her own self.

Protecting the hope that is Illya, the one that grants what she lacked within herself from the start.

“...Say. You said that Liz will share Illya's fate should she fall in danger, right?

So what about you, Sella? Being a homunculus all the same―――”

“My connection with Milady does not extend that far.

Whereas the casting of Leysritt is a mystery known only to the Einzbern, I am a product of a hundred kinds of alchemy myself.

While I am perfectly able as a homunculus, I could not possibly approach the miracles that Milady and Leysritt are. Once they head for their place in heaven, remaining to rot here is my assigned role.”


“Now what would that expression of yours be? Sympathy from the likes of mere humans is not something I recall ever seeing.

While I do not intend to boast, despite lacking in physical ability, my magic circuits are a one-of-a-kind creation. Receiving pity from a human, let alone the one known as Emiya Shirou, with but half the human circuits, is simply unthinkable.”

...Sella is Illya's teacher as well as magecraft instructor, it would seem.

A maid specializing in teaching magic to someone like Illya...

I can certainly see myself being a pretty pathetic specimen of the human race in her eyes―――

“...Half a human, is it. And even that is nothing but hard training. I guess I'm still like a featherless chick in your eyes.”

“Please. A chick that has barely learned to move is what you still are, Emiya-sama. I could not possibly entrust Milady to your care yet.”

"Hmph," she turns away.

I guess even talking me down, she's still in good mood, but then, it's not like anything good happened.

Somehow, I think I saw a hint of a smile on her profile.

“Oh, that reminds me. As I have promised, a blanket has been arranged for. I trust it will be delivered to your room by the time you return.”

“Ah... I see, thanks. With Liz here, I totally forgot.”

“In that case, please excuse me as I take my leave here.

You have my gratitude for the wine cellar and the courtyard... Shall there be anything you require, I will respond in kind.”

Her back straight as a broom handle, Sella briskly walks away.

“......Alright then.”

I guess I should go back to my room, too.

After all that happened, body and mind tired, I ought to fall asleep in no time―――