Loop 23

Day 4

School・Day 4 Justice and the kitten

Blowing by like a sudden memory, a gust of wind kicks the dry dust up in the air.

Morning training has just finished, and there aren't a lot of people around.

Just as I am about to go back,

“Great! I found the handyman!”

...An impolite remark catches up to me.

“What's up, Makidera? Did you break another set of fixtures preparing for a new contest?”

“Baka-spanner! Ya can fix things when they break, but ya can't take back a life once lost!”

“...That name... well, whatever.

Fixing broken people is tough, that much is... hey, where are you dragging me?”

“Quit complaining. It's not like I want to rely on you, you insensitive clod!”

“Makidera. It's not just track and field equipment, you've even made me fix your own rice cooker. What sort of an excuse is that?”


As you waste time digging up the past, think of the life that may be slipping away!”


What's with this "life" talk, anyway?”

“He might die, you know!”

“Say what!?”

“I hate to admit it, but you're the only one that can help!”


Someone's life is in danger, I can't just stand back and watch.

Makidera Kaede, I underestimated you.

Relying on her instincts, she found the one man destined to become a hero of justice one day!

“Got it, lead the way!

But just as the little Tokyo candy chick got its head torn off again, English homework better be in by tomorrow, or it's someone else's head that will roll, Makidera!”

“No problem! I do that stuff all the time!

But it still has to wait!”

“Ah... uu... Ah... Ah, Maki-chan!”

“Wha―――Wait, is this for real!?

So it's actually Saegusa who's on her deathbed!?”

“Ah, Emiya-kun.”

“Your whole body's shaking... Where does it hurt?”


“Oh, it's not me. See, up there―――”

Looking up to see what she's pointing at...

A calico kitten is huddling on top of a tree branch.

“Yukika's the one who noticed it first―――Seems like the poor kitten just can't get down.”

“What... kind of a punchline is that?”

“Um, Emiya-kun, can you help?”

“Of course, I'll figure something out.”

“Please do. You may even be able to just reach up there.”

“Hm, so Himuro's here too?

Can't you just jump up and take it? Being a high jump ace and all.”

“Kane-chan doesn't like cats, you see.”

“Yeah! So let's have some fun and rub Kane-ppe with it once the kitten's down!”

“Makinoji... after getting the kitten down, I'll hang you on that tree myself.”

“Wahh, scary...! Hanging tree in the man-eating hills!”

Standing right under the kitten, I gauge the height I need to reach.

True, I'm the tallest one out of this whole group.

But even standing on my tiptoes, I can't quite get to the branch.

If I try to climb up a tree this thin, the branches may end up shaking too much and throwing the poor thing off.

So just shake the tree and wait for the kitten to drop?―――Even Makidera wouldn't be so cruel.

“Alright, I'll kick the tree as hard as I can, then Emiya and Yukicchi will catch it as it falls.”

“Eh? Ehh? Ehhh?”

“......I was too naive.

Himuro, mind restraining that idiot for a while?”


“Whoa, what are you guys doing, at this time of trouble!?

Release your leader at once!”

“If I jump―――”

Taking a few steps away from the tree... one, two, and three!

“Oh, so close.”

“kh, guuh!”

The branch is just out of my reach.

“Ehehe, not high enough, Emiya―――”

...I didn't need to be told that.

“Yeah... There, there, be a good kitten, I'll get you down soon.”

“Mm, I might have been able to reach it myself.”

“Dammit. Is there no way but to subvert Kane-bee's cat phobia here!?”

“Alright, I'm gonna hold Kane-pi like so and, Emiya and Yukicchi, you guys throw all the cat sweet-talk you can think of at her.”

“Eh, ehh!?”

“It's you who's being held down, though...”

“Heh, do not worry about me... This is no time for the trivial.

Come on, whether it is your favorite part of a cat, a cat's trick that you find super-cute, a cat manga you recommend, cat fortune-telling, or maybe the kind of cat you'll be in your next life, all together now, keep talking about cats!”

“Hm, just out of reach, is it.”

“Hey! Don't just ignore me!”

“By the way, did you know, Maki?

This whole field used to be a graveyard. Even now, if you start digging, you'll find human...”

“Don't know! And don't care!”

“Now, now, you should take this chance to conquer your weakness as well.”

“Weakness? What are you talking about?”

“Well, it's not that rare for school grounds to be former graveyards.

Since the graveyard land is so cheap... Hm, maybe the gravel you've just stepped on actually used to be a grave stone?”

“I'm not s-s-stepping on anything!

Don't just divert the conversation! And besides, ghosts don't come out in broad daylight at noon!”

“By the way, the number of ghost sightings around midday has been increasing lately in this area.

And they're all about a beautiful girl with long hair, a large bundle the size of an urn in her hands, suddenly appearing and disappearing with the neighing of a horse...”

“Bollocks! That's probably just some student's mom or sister, kindly coming to bring a lunchbox for them! On a horse!

Stop ruining this heart-warming tale with that stone-cold heart of yours!”

...A totally wild guess, but it's probably right.

“Maki-chan, stop screaming, you'll scare the poor little kitten.”

“Indeed. Can't you do something about her?”

“That's why we had her tied up.

But then she escaped and brought you instead.”

“Damn, I guess I couldn't rely on Emiya, after all.”


Now that's one person I just can't stand being dismissed by.


“W-What's wrong, Emiya-kun?”

I get on all fours right under the branch.

“Makidera, get on top.”



“Mr. Emiya...”

“If you still can't reach, jump up on my back.”

“No way... is it really okay?”

“I've been training, I can endure at least this much.”


“Riding on my shoulders would definitely be high enough, but Makidera is still a girl.”

“Okay then... sorry for making you do this.”

“Don't worry about it.”

“Oh no, I said something awful as well, Emiya.”

“It's okay.”

“I owe you now.”

“Yeah... wait, the shoes, take them off!”

“Take off?”

“Why are you looking at me like that!?”

And then, in the corner of my vision, I see a pile of fallen leaves whirl up.


Heavy boots fall in front of me.

“Is this alright, ladies?”

The kitten that was sitting on the branch is now clinging to Archer's arm.


“What the...?”

“Oh ho...”

“...You, why are you here?”

“Why? I had no intention of intervening, but seeing how useless you were, I could not just stand and watch.”


In that case, you ought to have ignored it and moved on.

“Th... Thank you!”

The calico that was handed over to Saegusa seems to feel safe enough to curl up against her, as if in a mother cat-like embrace.

...I hate to admit it, but the credit for saving this kitten does go to Archer.

“Um, your name...?”

“Nobody important. Just a stroke of luck.”

“Ooh, so cool.

Just like a hero of justice.”


“Wait, what are you implying, Makidera.”

“Isn't he, though?

Appearing like a hurricane out of nowhere, helping the weak.”

“Indeed, yet humble enough to not boast about it.”

“Just like a hero out of a historical drama, so lovely.”

“...That is not a good thing.

The title of "hero of justice" should be used with restraint.

Creating a powerful hero, you see, at the same time gives birth to a powerful enemy.

What lies ahead is an endless bloody struggle. No compromise, no middle way... nothing but conflict.

Listen, ladies. It is okay to obsess over something, but getting carried away with it is not.”

“Huh... oh. So you shouldn't try to be a master at any one thing?”

“Oh no, skill isn't the problem, but ideology is.

Viewed from the other side, this so-called "hero of justice" is nothing but an enemy...”

“What are you saying? A hero of justice is awesome. The guy everyone loves!

And above all, nice and simple. It's great!”

“The name is the only simple thing about it.

What's inside is a clump of contradictions. The likes of a "hero of justice" are but an empty dream that misfits of human society yearn for.

Assuming that "justice" truly exists, society has no need for such a hero. In that case, the real "evil" is in the people's hearts, the longing for a "hero of justice" to oppose the world they could not cope with.

...Well, how shall I put it... The words "hero of justice" are just another name for human weakness.”


Archer's monologue goes on.

I'd like to make an objection or two, but, having been unable to save the kitten, I have no choice but to shut up and listen.

“And that's why all of you ought to be informed...”

“Ahaha, no need to be shy when you're this old.”

“Indeed. So desiring justice to be served is evil, is it. Wonderful.”

“Come on, kitty should give thanks to Mr. Hero of Justice too.”

“W-Wait a moment. What was it that I've just said?

...It can't be helped. It might get a little long, but that is what I get for saving a kitten on a whim. Let me correct that.

Take, for instance, this kitten. It sure is great to be saved by a hero of justice, isn't it? However, inside the rescued creature's mind, a belief is now forming that, should it fall in trouble, a miraculous being will once again come to save it. And don't you think that would impede this creature's growth to adulthood, its evolution? The very idea of a "hero of justice" being a self-satisfying hypocritical complacency that ignores all but the result, being a concept that actually hinders someone, is something you haven't even considered until...”

“Kitty doesn't understand difficult stuff like that. Kitty likes Mr. Hero of Justice now, see?”

“A guardian's pride, isn't it? Extending a helping hand isn't something you do just once, it is something you ought to be prepared to offer for the remainder of one's lifetime, in other words.”

“So, it's fine whichever way you take it, right?

For a hero of justice, you sure do lecture a lot.”

“As I've been saying, calling me a "hero of justice" isn't...”

“But you wouldn't tell your name, what else are we supposed to use?”

“Being so critical and self-depreciating, it's only making you more and more interesting.”

“Cuteness is justice, here, look.”

“Kuh! Stop staring at me with such round eyes, kitten...!

I only helped you because you were a cat, humans don't get the same treatment...!”

“But the kitty reaaally likes you now~”

“Oh, it's true. He's even rubbing your arm with his paw, isn't he?”

“Muh... Hey, kid.

Tell me, where did your typical rudeness go to?

Looks like you really like the cat, you've hardly said a thing this time.”

“...No, not really.

Since I was powerless to do anything, I don't really have the right to be talking back to its savior.

Also, it looks like it's taken quite a liking to you.”

"Fell in love," you could say.

“Guh...Well, I have nothing more to say.

I'm pretty busy, so I'll just take my leave.

Ladies, let this kitten go. If it cannot learn its lesson this time, it will always remain but a kitten.”

And on that sad note, Archer walks away, leaving the rest of us to indulge in this deep emotion.

“Ah, he's gone... What's up with him, anyway?”

“What, the red Justice guy totally has no manners.”

“He must be very shy. I'm sure he was not actually offended... he seems to be hiding a happy smile of his own.”


Archer has left.

There are more than a few things I'd like to say, but in the end, I can't do it in front of the guy that just saved a kitten.

“...Damn, I need more training.”

I fall on my knees in despair.

The sense of defeat weighs heavily on my back.

“Heh... Learn kung-fu, you dolt.”

“Wait, why are you sitting down on me?”

“Nyaa, since you won't ever get up, maybe you want to be laid uponyaa.”


Go ahead, rub it in.

"Cheer up!" say the round pupils, looking at me.

Wahh, to be pitied even by the kittens... Dammit, if only I was strongertaller...!

Emiya's・Day 4 Pool and the Mystic Eyes seal

“Thank you, Shirou. Sorry for taking up your time.”

“Oh no, it's me who should be apologizing for the intrusion. Bringing tea is the least I can do.”

Taking her cup from the tray, Rider quietly nods her thanks.

Everyone has their favorite cup. The one with the cat pattern is Tohsaka's, the girly one is Sakura's, Saber's is blue and white Seto porcelain, and Rider's a large Bizenware cup.

It goes without saying that Fuji-Nee has a magnificent tiger-striped piece.

“...Alright then.”

I shall devote myself to some relaxed reading this afternoon.

...But then, just barging in, taking a book and leaving is kind of rude.

Rider, our very own bibliophile, does not seem to mind. However, she doesn't seem to have any other leisure activities―――a silly scene pops up in my head.

“...For some reason, you seem to be troubled.”

“Oh, I'm relatively calm...”

“―――Do you want to invite me someplace?”

I'm having trouble with a reply.

To say that I don't would be a lie.

“Mmph. Please don't tease me like that.”

“I have no such intention. Speaking of that, Shirou.”


“Do you happen to know about the pool in Shinto?”

“Ah... Waku Waku Splash, is it?”

It's an indoor, all-weather dome-type water resort―――one dazzling title. Like an okonomiyaki made with top-grade wheat flour and eggs, put in a box, then decorated with ribbons and golden leaves. That's the kind of recreational facility it aims to be. In short, it's a pool.

Out of nowhere, it has popped up in Shinto, taking me completely by surprise.

“Looks like it's up and running already.”

“Indeed, it is. I was quite surprised when I found out, as well. It is rather convenient. The fact that whether it's winter or rain, it's open all seasons, that is.”

She keeps nodding. It truly is an impressive concept.

However, seeing Rider bring up a topic like this is a bit unusual.

“Have you gone there already?”

“Yes, twice so far.”

Oho, the plot thickens.

Moreover, seeing Rider, the adult representative of the Emiya household, in a swimsuit is nothing short of a luxury.

“Oh...? So you did have a swimsuit.”

“I have picked mine while shopping together with Sakura. Would you like to see―――Shirou?”

...D-Don't ask that with a sidelong glance, you're not leaving much room for misunderstanding.

Rider putting on a swimsuit is like an ogre taking a metal club, so to speak, or Saber wielding the Excalibur, quickly approaching the "invincible" territory.

“...I would, but...

Rider, when you went to the Splash, has there been much trouble?”

Had I been there, I would have caused some, no doubt.

“Yes... There's been a lot of males calling out.”

“That's because of you, Rider... But to think that you went to the pool, alone...”

“Well... Sometimes, I long for a swim, like in the past.”

I nod to those words.

Chalk white of the palace walls against the deep blue of the Aegean sea. That's how her home must have looked like.

“Still, it is an interesting establishment. You could invite one of the females to go along, too.”

That's right, that's what she's suggesting, with a smile.

A pool date with a girl. So much potential, divine punishment is inevitable.



That aside, what bothers me is that the person in front of me is talking almost as if she isn't one. Pushing my luck,

“So, how about we go together?”

“With me?

Let's see... No, I shall pass. I have a feeling it won't end well, in more ways than one.”

...I tried. Sadly, that's not the answer I hoped for. Well, it's only natural.

“Um, then what if Sakura was there, too?”

“Should you go with Sakura, I think you'll enjoy it more without myself around.”

“I see... Then my hopes of seeing Rider's swimsuit-clad figure have been dashed, for the time being.”

How unfortunate.

I doubt she'll agree even if I keep on persuading.

As I sit there, plunged into the depths of depression, Rider sips her tea with a wry smile.

“Do not feel down, Shirou.

With luck, perhaps a chance meeting at the pool could happen.”

“Alright, I will hope for it...”

Should my wish be granted, someday, somewhere, a chance to lay my eyes on swimsuit-clad Rider may manifest itself.

Rider in a swimsuit... I bet she looks great.

...Wait a moment.

Having imagined it for a moment, I notice one serious problem.

“Hold on, Rider.”

“What is it, Shirou?”

“When putting on the swimsuit, the glasses―――what did you do with them?”

I don't think she could keep swimming with glasses on. On the other hand, she still has her Mystic Eyes.

The kind that even the owner herself may have trouble controlling once the seal is taken off―――

Could it be... a blindfold to go with the swimsuit?

She's already incredibly hot even with her Servant outfit's body-conscious blindfold. Including one with the swimsuit is just going off the scale...!

But then Rider says, laughing―――

“Well, who knows?”

“What do you mean, "who knows"...? Rider! This is no laughing matter!”

“Rin has once said, having many a secret is key to a woman's beauty. Let us follow this thought.”

“Wah, what's up with that!? B-But it does bother me a lot!”

Emiya Residence・Start of Night Things to do