Loop 29

True Beginning Heaven's Feel Backnight 5

―――"I want to help you," the girl said.

Sincerely. The frankness of her confession, unclouded by any trace of impure emotion, brought tears pouring from her eyes as she spoke the words, "I wish to free you from your suffering."

Which made me feel... nothing but pessimism.

I feel neither joy nor gratitude that you came to save me.

That kindness of yours is misdirected, and nothing but an annoyance to me.

If you're just going to say stuff like that, instead of embracing this imperfect hatred like me, it'd be better to run along home to your own world instead.

This isn't to say that I hated the girl.

But the very principles that guide her actions were wrong. She should have known as well as I do that she's not going to save anyone.

She should have known from the start. That it's impossible for her to save me.

“         ”

I responded in a voice you could hardly call a voice.

With your throat crushed it's pretty much impossible to speak. So I tried shaking my head - until I remembered that I couldn't do that, either.

Eventually, she gave up and went back above ground.

She kept up that contest of endurance for days, until gradually, she came to realize she was talking to herself. The one her words were addressed to was just a corpse.

―――It seems something like this happened, too.

These memories unremembered are now surfacing in my mind because someone else, with similar emotions, is now headed for us.

Doubt and mercy.

That fastidious woman holds some sort of ridiculous debt to me, even though she doesn't have a shred of concrete proof.

Bazett Fraga McRemitz.

That woman, who has now become Avenger's Master, now harbors the same misdirected emotions for me as that girl.

“Haah―――Haah, haah, ha―――!”

My heart thundering at a speed of 500% over its usual rate, I barely propel my exhausted body toward the ruins.

My throat is burning.

The way my right leg's aching after I pushed it to the limits of my endurance and beyond, it'd come as no surprise to hear that I'd busted it.

Having used up all but the dregs of the magical energy I received from Bazett, my own reserves of strength are starting to come up dry, too.

Basically, you could say I'm giving up. I can't move another step, and I'm tempted to just quit now, consequences be damned.

“What on earth are you doing!? Get in here now, Avenger...!”

Bazett, who reached the ruins one step ahead of me, comes back outside and shouts at me.

“Hah―――haah, haah, hah―――...ahh!”

Grasping for purchase with both hands, I fling myself into the building with all the dignity of a fleeing puppy.

The door slams closed behind me.

'Course, some little door isn't worth a fart as far as defense goes, considering the monster that's after us. Having that barrier at least gives us the illusion of security, though.

...I can hear a roar.

That must be the big fucker we've got on our tail, destroying everything in his path as he pursues us through the forest.

Running away to a ruin like this won't save us. Once he catches up, he'll crush the whole place to powder, and both of us along with it.

That thing is like a fierce gale. No matter what kind of weapon one is armed with, it's plain to see that no human could cross swords with that and live.

In a clearing in the forest, we ran into that monster.

No, it would be better to say that it was waiting there for us.

Though set there like a monolith carved out of stone, the second we set foot into its territory, it let out that roar as it came after us.

The battle was over in one second.

I never had any great desire to pick a fight with that thing in the first place, but after the first shot, even Bazett realized that we couldn't fight it, let alone win.

Bazett's not one to back down from a fight, but after even Fragarach failed to score a kill, she wisely and graciously gave the order to retreat.

Still, you've gotta hand it to her. To be able to fight even for a few seconds facing the source of that hellish roar took some serious guts.

She recovered in no time and fired off Fragarach while that huge monster's war cry still had me nearly pissing myself.

The Noble Phantasm it has seems to be the type that's always on, because Fragarach activated right away.

Her aim was true, and her shot struck right in its heart, bringing that fatass down once and for all... or at least that's what should have happened. Instead, it had completely revived ten seconds later and kept charging straight for us.

Back from the brink of death in perfect health.

In other words, a "body that knows no death" - that's the big fucker's Noble Phantasm.

After she wasted her Fragarach on it, Bazett's whole body went rigid.

And with her frozen there as that monstrous thing came bearing down on her, I personally think it was awfully nice of me to give her a little push out of harm's way via a flying kick to the side.

The pain. It felt like he barely grazed me, but that was enough to send me flying, too.

The big guy's sights are now set on me, standing right in its path, and I look up to see an axe the size of a Grecian pillar raised over my head.

To even think about eating a hit from that would be crazy, and my chances of slipping by unharmed were stupendously low. So then, when things were at their darkest, just as I was thinking that, ah, this must be what they call instant death,

who should come to my rescue but the very same Bazett I'd just kicked away from that huge thing. She leveled her second Fragarach at its face and fired, striking it right between the eyes.

“Now's our chance! Come on, we're making a run for it...!”

Seems like she fired her second Fragarach not to kill, but to try and blind it.

But even a huge hole in its face didn't stop that monster- or the axe it held. So that's when Bazett grabbed me by the hand and made a break for the forest.

Throwing off the gloves that Fragarach had burned as she ran, Bazett laid a rune into both legs to let her run faster.

Me being the compulsive thief and hoarder that I am, as long as she was throwin' 'em away, I thought I'd pick 'em up.

“This isn't the time to dawdle! Now's our chance to put some distance between us and it, so RUN!”

And, seizing me by the scruff of my neck, Bazett took off running.

Seeing as how she's in top physical shape to start with, the divine protection of the runes on top of that allowed her to leave that huge monster behind before you could blink.

But even that only gave us a few seconds' head start.

Before its eyes had even finished healing, it was hot on our trail, as surely as though it were tracking us by our scent.

“―――And that's how we wound up in here, more or less.

Which, being stuck in here, means we can expect our new friend to catch up in a couple minutes or so and kill us both.

I warned you already that this'd be dangerous and we'd better forget about it. Then again, the whole reason we're in this mess is 'cause you won't listen to a damn thing I say.

Got anything to say to that, Master?”

“I-I acknowledge that I may have underestimated this enemy. It's true I never accounted for the existence of a Servant like that.”

Bazett's response sounds a little weak, maybe like she's regretting it.

Compared to her near-total silence from the time we entered the forest 'til now, though, this is a veritable world of difference.

That's good; makes it easier on me, too. But first things first.

“Nope. That thing ain't no Servant. It's a monster that inhabits this forest. A vengeful spirit of something that tried to become a Servant and failed.”

“What on earth are you talking about? That was clearly a Servant. It's no spirit from a past era or anything of the sort. It had a Noble Phantasm. That was the Einzbern Servant, without a doubt.”

“Hmm...... well, going by where we came across him, probably so.

Right, that's right. Regardless of whether or not it's an enemy, a Servant is a Servant, after all.”

By all rights, trying to figure out what class of Servant that monster is would be a waste of time.

What we need to focus on right now, rather than trying to figure out what the hell that thing is, is to figure out what the hell we should do about it. Ain't a thing we can do about that big fucker, so for now let's figure out what we're gonna do with ourselves.

“So, what's the plan, Master?

Do we wait here like good little boys and girls until it kills us and we can start over?

Or are we gonna go find its Master?”

“We'll find its Master, naturally. I didn't feel any Master's presence near the Servant, so I believe whoever it is must be holed up in the Einzbern castle.”

“I agree as far as the "must be holed up in the castle" part. But to get there in the first place, we gotta do something about that big fucker, y'know?

So what's the plan? Do we run, or do we fight it?”

“......Avenger. Speaking plainly, it pains me to turn my back to an enemy. Face them once battle is joined and crush them with all my power - that is my way.”

“And don't I know it. How could I not, after all the time we've been together? You just manage to scrape by, dragging me along with you no matter how I may protest, and jumping right into losing battles without so much as breaking a sweat.”

“T-That was only because I had misjudged your ability as one which creates a "loop." If only you were a more normal Servant, I'd have no need to press you so hard!”

“I wonder 'bout that. So, is that what we're gonna do this time around, too? At any rate, we'll never make it to the castle unless we do something about that hulkin' bastard first.”

“...No. Even I am not that reckless.

In all my battles up to this point, I was able to prevail because a chance for my victory existed. But here, that chance is nonexistent. We are an extremely poor match for this opponent.”

I let out a whistle.

Just as Bazett said, we are a real bad match against that ginormous thing.

My Noble Phantasm's no good against that thing.

Up against him, I couldn't survive so much as a single blow. The first strike would be fatal. So if one hit = death, I can't turn the curse back on him.

On the other hand, we could have Bazett counterattack with Fragarach, but she can only use it three times.

It's crystal clear now that the monster's Noble Phantasm allows it to rise from the dead.

We don't know yet how many times it's good for, but it likely outnumbers the uses of Fragarach we've got.

“Which means fighting it is out of the question. Leaving us with...”

“Escaping as it pursues us and heading for the castle, I suppose. Our chances of success with that aren't much better, but at least they won't be zero.”

She's right about that much.

But there's still something pretty big that Bazett's overlooking.

That monster ain't something you can just ignore.

To make it to the castle, we've gotta take care of our new buddy somehow.

“This is it, then. I'll stay here and draw the big bastard's fire while you make for the castle.

Okay, our chances should be about fifty-fifty with that. As long as you make sure your pretty little feet don't stray off the path, you should be able to get to the castle no problem.

The Einzbern castle's about fifteen kilometers northwest of here.

You got any more of those handy rune-carving talons? I'll bet you do. And if so, there's no problem. I know I earn at best about a tenth of my keep, but you alone should be able to do ten times that.”

“―――Avenger. I shall never order you to do such a thing. I shall head to the castle together with you.”

“Don't be stupid. That'd be way harder on me.

To be honest, I can't keep up with you. I barely even made it here. If you run at the same pace as me, it'll catch us for sure.”

“Your weakness is but one of spirit.

Rouse yourself, and put some backbone into it. You should be able to run if you only put your mind to it. You're always so quick to give up.”


She really hit me where it hurts.

Bazett's quite a gutsy lady.

“Well, y'know, I suppose I might be able to do something if I really put my mind to it.

But it's a plain fact that I can't keep up with you at your usual speed.”

“...Good grief. In that case, never mind the discussion of battle strategy. Should worst come to worst, shift yourself into spirit form and stay beside me.”

Well, ain't that a clear-headed opinion. Doing that won't do a thing to help either one of us, though.

...So how are we gonna get out of this one?

Any other time, we'd both just go about playing the part that works best for us, simple as that.

The reason we can't do that now is because a certain someone over here's misunderstanding things in the most boring-ass way possible.

“...Sheesh. This ain't like you, Master. What good'd it do for me to change into spirit form just to save my own hide? You know that if you die, that means curtains for the both of us, right? Right, so then the only thing that makes sense is to leave me behind in here, me being a slow runner and a burden overall, while General Bazett leads the one-woman charge and completes her mission to infiltrate the castle.”

“...Pardon me, but I don't recall ever referring to you as a burden.”

“No, it's me saying this. 'Cause any way you slice it, I can't do a thing on my own, see.”

And thus spoken, I plant my left foot firmly in front of me to make my point.

That, and because my right leg'd been reduced to kibbles and bits by that giant ape when he charged us.

That a fourth-rate Heroic Spirit like me managed to make it all the way here on my own power after that is pretty damn impressive, if I do say so myself.

Yep. The gutsy way ain't nothin' to sneeze at.

“No. If you will remain here, then so will I. We shall construct a plan to defeat that Servant here.

I will not continue on by myself. I―――cannot simply leave you here.”

Determined, but still doubtful.

It's definitely not because of any deep feeling of affection.

It was that hand that reached out to me, in a gesture so severely mistaken.

“―――Out of pity, huh?”

“N-No, I feel no pity for you.

I only feel that I should take responsibility for the wound you have sustained. Thus, I choose to show it through refusing to leave you behind.”

“That's all wrong.

Listen up, Master. You're saying you wanna stay in here, not to achieve your goal, but to help me.

Which is, well, not what I'd call a bad thing, strictly from my own perspective. If you wanna help me, I'd just as soon let you.

But what is it really? As long as it's grounded in feelings of indebtedness like that, it's really quite a wicked thing to do. Worse than leaving me behind, in fact.”

“Indebtedness, you say...?”

“Yeah. That kinda pity, or compassion or whatever you choose to call it.

You still listening, my little human miss? If you're planning on rescuing someone from despair, allowing negative emotions to motivate that is a no-go.”

“Without a way to turn all those minuses into a plus, negating a despair that deep is hopeless. Even if you dig deep into the pits of sorrow and bring the sorrowful up into the light, there are those in this world who just can't be healed.

―――I guess it's like this. It's one thing if you were willing to play daycare teacher 24/7 for the one you saved until the day they're rehabilitated back into society. But humans with the time on their hands for a crusade like that are thin on the ground.

If you still just HAVE to save a guy like that even then, without a reason for doing so which will benefit at least one of you, the whole thing's just lose-lose.”

Wicked laughter.

In the distance, I hear the monster's howl.

Bazett stares fixedly at me, her face blank.

“Was I not clear? Then lemme give you an example.

Say that somewhere, there's this guy who's suffering the absolute worst fate in the world you could possibly think of. You get wind of this guy somehow, and hearing what he's going through really upsets you. That would be the meaningless sentimentality I'm talking about.

This is a far-off, distant world we're talking about, one you shouldn't concern yourself with. So even if someone in this far-off world leads such a sad existence, it won't keep you from living every day with a smile on your face.”

...That's right. For to try to save someone who doesn't exist in your own world would mean to deny that world of yours.

The providence of this world, something that doesn't even bear mentioning.

Unrelated humans, unobjecting humans, affirm every misfortune and sorrow by that alone.

That inequality cannot be overthrown. So you have no choice except to accept the fact that the existence of a human sacrifice is what allows everything to be maintained.

Even if it's a truly ugly and wretched life, if you're among the blessed, all you can do is smile and accept that that's how it is. Otherwise, it all becomes a lie.

Live out your whole life opposite that contradiction and that ugliness. That's what a proper human should do.

A human can't save anyone except himself.

Saving another person solely for that other person's sake is no better than an excuse worthy of death.

Such pretty words cannot save anyone.

But―――if even then, you still believe you can save another.

If you're still chirping stuff like "I want to save another."

“―――Yeah. If even then you feel like you've gotta do something, at least... go to save them with a smile on your face.

Thinking stuff like, "I can't abandon him, so I'll stay here" or, "I feel sorry for him, so I'll go back"? None of that's really any of your business. Don't cling to some stupid idea about wanting to share all the joy and sorrow that comes your way, not even for a moment. That's what I'm sayin'.”

All you need to share with me is the joy.

Trying to share the sorrow, or to full-on save me, would be nothing but a pain in my ass.

What you wish for is some kind of no-questions-asked fairytale ending.

Peace and love to exceed even the days we continue to lose.

...That's right.

For example, those dark and sunken eyes.

Even if you held out your hand as though to dazzle them with the bright future it contained.

“...Avenger, you...”

“Whoops. I really went off-topic there for a second.

If you'll forgive me being blunt, I'm telling you to get outta here. Even if we die, it's not like we won't see each other again soon, and it'd be pretty awkward if the thing that kills us is that compassion of yours.

Look, you need to have a chat with that Einzbern Master, doncha? So get out there and go get it over with. I'll go on back ahead of you.”

...The storm's coming closer.

We'd better end our little chat posthaste before he shows up.

“What? Something on your mind?”

“―――No, that will be enough.

Then, please. I will rely on you to contain the enemy for me, Avenger.”

“Gotcha. 'Kay then, give me a second to psyche myself up and then I'll go out and give him a nice warm welcome while you sneak out the back.”

Waving my hand to Bazett, I venture outside.

Once she's made up her mind about something, she won't waste a moment's effort on anything unnecessary. She's already forgotten all about me and is making a beeline for the castle by now.

The Einzbern Servant will be here any minute.

In my right hand, I clench the gloves of Bazett's that I picked up off the ground.

They're pretty much useless as gloves after Fragarach reduced them to cinders, but what the hell. They make a pretty decent good-luck charm.

“―――Now then, this time we'll both do our part.

Shit, this is why I told her I didn't wanna come out here...”

The weakest under attack by the strongest, this is.

There are way too many different kinds of weirdos with a hand in this Heaven's Feel thing, goddamit.

In the end, I left him behind.

I allowed him to remain there, in a place where he was certain to be killed, and raced into the forest alone.

I feel no debt towards him.

As he said, this was the natural choice.

A familiar should be played like a pawn, sacrificed to protect his king. Using one's Servant as a shield to prolong your own life is a matter of course.

If I'm going to feel indebted to him, it should be when I fail to reach the castle.

Should I fail to live up to the chance at victory he's given me through his Servant's devotion - then, and only then.


I've already grown accustomed to this, and I do understand.

Furthermore, even if Avenger were to die, he'll return to life again.

Even if I'm killed out here, I'll be returned to the first night again the moment before I die.

Nothing to lose.

And nothing to regret.

Just as before, I, as a magus of the Association, shall conduct myself in a manner befitting my reputation as a first-rate agent.

And yet I feel more pain than usual.

I don't know how long I've felt it for, but these feelings of sentimentality now seem to grate against my heart as I grit my teeth in discomfort.

In irritation, towards both him and myself, I find myself indiscriminately destroying everything in my path.

The darkness of the night, the multitude of trees, and even the castle now visible beyond the forest - it feels like I'd try to shoot them down if I relaxed my grasp of myself even for a moment.

However, it's not those voiceless objects that I want to destroy the most, but...

“Yes, now I, too―――”

―――have left him behind.

All of a sudden, I find myself wanting to apologize to all those unknown objects.

Even if he said that to me himself, as though the choice was so unmistakably clear.

Even though the way I treated him was worse than any hatred or betrayal―――

The castle gates stand wide open.

Without a moment's pause, I hurry inside.

I may have left that monster far behind me, but in all likelihood I still have no time to spare.

I must locate the Einzbern Master and force their surrender right away.

...Which is why I need to calm down and gather my wits.

My goal isn't to do away with the Master, but to have a few uncertain points clarified.

I must ask the Master of the Einzberns, the family acting as a cornerstone of the Heaven's Feel and said to know more about the Heroic Spirits than any other, about the mystery of these four days.

I storm the entrance to the castle foyer.

They should have known we were here the moment we engaged that monster in combat. No need for stealth now.

“―――Close now. Second floor, right there...!”

As I run towards the staircase, I pull on my spare pair of leather gloves.

I'm in the thick of enemy territory now. It wouldn't be strange to find a blade at my neck at any moment,


A strike could come from any direction...!

An anachronistic long-handled weapon comes swinging down towards me.

A halberd.

Dodging that deadly ancient weapon, of a style beginning to fall out of favor even among the Knights of the Holy Church, I jump back out of the way.

“―――Intruder. If you came to bully Illya, leave.”

A voice free of emotion.

Wielding a weapon that must weigh in excess of forty kilos as though it were lighter than a feather―――no, the awkwardness in her moves is as if she doesn't feel the weight at all.

There's no room for doubt. This must be one of the finely honed battle-usage synthetic humans of the Einzberns, a homunculus...!

“...Won't go? No choice, then.”

Perhaps picking up on my own readiness for battle, the homunculus raises her halberd into the air.

There's no time to try and gauge her ability.

I have to take her down with my first strike.

This is the second time I've faced off against an Einzbern-made homunculus, and a formidable opponent though she may be, I also know her limits―――!


A flurry of attacks and defensive counters leaves us still facing off against one another.

Her strikes with the halberd are like those of a child in a play swordfight. She has nothing to depend on but brute strength.

But in addition to that, her raw power is so otherworldly as to be superhuman, transforming her into a force of nature in battle.

Though not on the level of the monster out there, one blow from this homunculus would be more than enough to fatally wound me.

A direct hit would likely shatter every bone in my body.

Even while parrying the gale-level force of her attacks, I managed to land seven or so punches on her.

And though each one contained enough power to have blown her internal organs out through her back, not so much as a flicker of pain shows on the face of the homunculus.

I don't know whether it's some kind of superb Mystic Code in that maid's uniform of hers, or whether she simply doesn't feel pain at all.

Either way, bringing this homunculus to a standstill is going to take a lot out of me―――

“――――――, aah.”


The fire of battle in the homunculus dies down.

Her face, as expressionless as it was filled with a strong drive, suddenly drains of its former tension as...

“That's enough, Liz.

Didn't I tell you to give a proper welcome to our guest?”

A young girl appears on top of the staircase, her hair as white as snow.

“Good evening, dear guest. I believe we have not yet been introduced.

I am the mistress of this castle, Illyasviel von Einzbern. Pray tell me what brings you to our humble abode so late in the evening?”

The girl ushers me inside with a polite grace that perfectly complements her loveliness.


This girl is the Einzbern Master...?

There's definitely a strong magical aura surrounding her. The amount of magical energy her body holds is simply phenomenal.

A being beyond human, a natural-born magic circuit.

There's no mistake.

This girl, too, is a homunculus, crafted by the hands of the Einzberns―――

“Oh my. No return greeting, even though I came out to receive you in person?

So these are the manners of a magus of the Association. If you are unwilling to engage in a proper conversation, then please feel free to depart our castle at once.”

She giggles.

Even though she knows that I'm a Master, there's not a trace of caution in her.

...It's almost as if...

...she never saw me as an opponent from the start.

“...Please forgive my earlier rudeness. My name is Bazett. I am a Master dispatched by the Mage's Association, and it is in that capacity that I came here tonight.”

“I know that quite well. I believe you ran afoul of a Servant in the forest, did you not?

I thought that our visitor might be you.

No other Master would dare to set foot in this place, not even by mistake. I was delighted to finally have you as our guest.”


Her smile is so carefree.

...My first impression of her could have been off the mark.

There is no condescension in the girl's manner―――she simply doesn't view me as her enemy.

“Ahaha, that's right. I do not wish to fight you.

Or rather, I have no wish to fight any Master. I am no longer a Master myself, you see.

All of the other Masters, yourself excepted, already know this, and so none make the journey to this forest.”


She's not a Master...?

What does this mea―――

“Stand down, Liz. It seems Bazett wishes to speak with me. Go and close the gates so that no monsters from the forest can find their way in.”

“...Okay. But, this really all right, Illya...?”

“It's fine. I wish to speak to Bazett in private.

You've gotten awfully cheeky of late, Liz. Take care not to defy me like this again.”

“...Yeah. Liz will do what Illya says.”

The homunculus called Liz exits past me without so much as a watchful glance in my direction, as though our fierce battle a few moments ago never took place.

“Now, come this way, Bazett.

You came here to talk to me, didn't you? I'd be glad to tell you anything I know.”

The girl descends the stairs and disappears into the far end of the lobby.


Still reeling slightly from this completely unexpected turn of events, I take her up on the invitation.

“I know all the details of your circumstances.

You entered my forest, got attacked by a monster, used your own servant as a decoy and and made it all the way here.

Your purpose was twofold: to defeat the Einzbern master, and to have certain questions answered.

Am I mistaken? Otherwise, I do not believe you'd come all the way to this forgotten castle for the sole purpose of challenging me.”


The girl calmly lowers herself onto a chair, though I declined when offered a seat of my own.

Even if she proclaims disinterest in fighting me, this place is still enemy territory.

I can't know for certain that she won't make this whole room disappear with a snap of her fingers.

“You're quite wary, aren't you, Bazett? Is this the result of the teachings of the Association, or simply your character?

Could it be that you're the type who won't so much as drink a cup of tea offered in the enemy camp?”

“...That depends on the situation, but I won't be having any tea here.

Just as you said, I came here with questions that I want answered. I didn't come to engage in idle conversation.”

“Really? How disappointing. I suppose I'd better call off the preparations for tea, then. I see you'd rather get your business over with quickly.”


Is this girl really the Einzbern Master? I'm beginning to doubt her anew.

No, if what she said about no longer being a Master is true, then she's really not a Master at all.


You say that you are not a Master, but isn't the giant in the forest your Servant?”

“That monster is my Servant. But he's not the servant of the Einzberns. A bit of a mistake was made, and he was driven mad.

His involvement with the Heaven's Feel severed, he is now merely a monster who watches over me.”

“The monsters appearing in the city... they're not quite the same, but you may think of them as being similar.

He has no connection to the Heaven's Feel, but is simply a monster who kills any Master that enters the forest. He was a Servant, but failed in his duties and is now but a formless ghost.”

“Failed... in his duties?”

“Yes. There was no part available for him to play, and so I couldn't give him a decent role.

This would not have happened were he the Servant of the Einzberns.”

“...So you say that that monster is not the Einzbern Servant? Then where is the Servant who is?”


For my Servant was taken away from me by another Master.”

“That is why I say that I am no longer a Master.

On the fourth night after this Heaven's Feel began, my Servant was killed, and I defeated, and thus my all-too-short time as the Einzbern Master came to an end.

And the first to know that the Einzberns had been eliminated from the race should have been your Servant.”


My mind freezes.

Avenger knew that the Einzbern Master had been defeated.

...Not that that comes as a surprise.

The number of things he's keeping secret from me could fill volumes. I don't trust that suspicious guy at all, so this news is hardly enough to shock me.

What I find much more strange is...

“What's wrong? Is there something else troubling you?”

She giggles.

This girl, she knows everything.


This Servant of yours who was taken by another Master, was that...”

“Oh, don't you know?

His name is Avenger. The one called Angra Mainyu, oldest of the world's evils.”

With a grating sound, my consciousness distorts.

My fist unconsciously closes around the earring in my pocket.

After laboring to calm my suddenly ragged breathing, I say,

“That's... quite strange.

First, I've never heard of an Avenger class before.

Second, a Heroic Spirit such as Angra Mainyu shouldn't exist in the first place.”

I finally put into words the question that's haunted me ever since this all began.

“But of course, the one called Angra Mainyu does not exist. The one who answered the summons as Avenger is but a fraud bearing the Angra Mainyu name - a mere human.

An ordinary person with no relation to the great evil of the old legends, possessing neither magic nor mystery.

He was the one selected at random to become an effigy, and his life sacrificed for an endless existence of bearing malice. Nothing more than a scapegoat.”

A fairy tale from a far-off, distant world.

Once there existed a people who, distraught by all the strife that had come to be in the world, created for themselves a new world, isolated deep in the mountains.

But though they had gathered together in the hopes of living as an embodiment of man's innate goodness, they were unable to live free of the evil nature also inherent in man.

Doubt and deception, hatred and resentment...

No matter how gloriously they sang the praises of human good, still evil was born among them.

So it was that they decided that "someone" had to shoulder the blame for the ugliness of the world.

This evil was not something that could have been born from within any of them.

That they themselves had this evil in their nature couldn't be true.

The evil of mankind stems from the lurking venom of malice which comes to infect us. We must all lead lives of purity and righteousness.


They required a "root of all evil."

They required an effigy to bear the weight of all sin.

Someone of whom it could be said, "It is only YOU who is evil."

And so a scapegoat was created to become all the evil in the world, a lone sacrifice.

“Every so often, a Heroic Spirit of that sort appears, too.

Though he himself only meant to lead an ordinary life, in death he is deified by those around him and revered as a hero.

Dead men tell no tales, so even if you force them into a role that's convenient for you like that, you'll never hear them complain. And those virtuous ones who knew no doubt, surely they needed an idol with a concrete physical form to worship if they wanted to inspire belief.”

“...But in "his" case it was even more so.

Perhaps it was because of what the people were worshiping in him - anger and hatred.

"He" was treated as a real, genuine demon, and onto "him" they pressed all of their condemnation and blame.

Poverty, sickness, disaster, and finally, the fear that they all would die one day. They made "him" an outlet for their emotions, pelting "him" with accusations that all of these things existed only as a fault of "his" presence.”

“But through this, the people were saved.

Since a demon like that exists in this world, there's nothing we can do about it, they said. Every bad thing that exists is "his" fault, not ours, they said.

And thus, in death, he came to be viewed as a Heroic Spirit.

Not a single great deed did those hands commit, nor did any man venerate their effigy, but "he" saved a great many people even so.”

While he still lived, he became a god.

While he still lived, he had his human nature taken away.

The name he was given at birth was stripped from him, and he was spoken of as a great evil.

"Therefore, 'void' is my name."

He spoke of it as though it were a trifling matter.

"Even if you ordered me to remember it, it's clear that no record of that..."

...exists anywhere in this world, nor do I carry any resentment for it, "he" declared.

For that was―――

―――one who had become accustomed to the appellation of "hero."

That title, being what it is, is one that the people will venerate. And who wouldn't be pleased with that―――

I've got no reason to talk back.

“...So that is Avenger.

A human chosen as Angra Mainyu, the evil nature of the world... is that what you're saying?”

“That is correct. However, when it comes to ability, he's utterly useless.

Although "he" was called Angra Mainyu, that kind of religious faith being placed in "him" doesn't guarantee the manifestation of any special powers.”

“While "he" lived, he was seen as a Heroic Spirit, but after death, he was a mere human again.

...Hmmm. Well, the exclusion of the name of "Avesta" means that "he" is free from the laws of order as well. Nevertheless, it is far from earning a "Heroic Spirit" label.

As a Servant, he was garbage, good for absolutely nothing.”


“? Why, it seems that something has upset you all of a sudden. You should know there's nothing to be gained by killing me.

Could it be that you're more dangerous than you look?”

Now that she says that, I realize that I'm seething with anger.

...What the girl said wasn't that far off the mark.

It's true that, as a Heroic Spirit, he's incredibly weak, and at first, I did think he was useless.

But that was only due to my lack of understanding at the time, added to the fact that it's hard to grasp his good points.

“No, no. He really was useless when he was MY Servant, Bazett.

He did not become the Heroic Spirit the people wished for until much later on. Until the wishes he was saddled with were fulfilled, he remained powerless. Neither did he have a single Noble Phantasm at his disposal.”


No Noble Phantasm...?

No, does she mean that he couldn't use his Noble Phantasm while he was the Einzbern Servant...?

...This doesn't add up.

The Einzbern girl whose Servant was taken away.

If he was taken, that would make me the one who took him.

About this there can be no mistake.

I don't have the first idea how I was able to usurp the contract from her, but it seems that this girl's contract with Avenger was switched with mine.

So then, what does the death on the fourth day signify?

Being taken away is not the same as dying.

This girl is laying out several rather varied conclusions at once.

“But that's enough talk about my now-departed Servant for now, isn't it?

I want to hear about YOUR Servant, Bazett. You are a magus of the Association, after all, so am I wrong in thinking that you were able to summon a Heroic Spirit of great renown?”

“Ah―――no, my Servant... is...”

Avenger... I was going to say, but hesitated before my mouth could shape the words.

It's me that she said "took" him from her. So why can't I shake the feeling that she's lying to me about something?

“My Servant?”

“...I don't really have much to say to you, now that you are no longer a Master. And besides.”

...He's already long dead.

Right when I arrived at this castle, all response from Avenger ceased.

He's already returned to the first night, and there he waits for me to awaken, just like always―――

“...Yes. For that is his ability.”

To be reborn even from death.

No, to start over from the first day, when we were still alive.

Which means that the girl before my eyes must already know all about his ability to rewind.

“Illyasviel. You said that Avenger could not use a Noble Phantasm, did you not. To what were you referring? Avesta, or...”

“I don't quite know what you're talking about, but he couldn't use any at all, neither one nor the other. I've already said so, haven't I? As a tool, Avenger was completely useless.”


...So this must mean that the Einzbern Master knows nothing at all about Avenger's Noble Phantasm.

Never mind Avesta; his ability to resurrect from the dead far surpasses even other Noble Phantasms.

There's just no way anyone who's experienced that power firsthand could so summarily dismiss him as useless.

“......Come to think of it, there's really no use talking about Avenger like this.

Let us get to the heart of the matter, Illyasviel. What are your impressions of this Heaven's Feel?”

“What indeed? I was removed from the running quite a while ago. I have no further interest in this Heaven's Feel. It's already over for me, so I'm simply contemplating the view from here until the whole thing is finished.”

“―――So I take it you know nothing of the familiars appearing in town either?”

“Not a thing. Didn't I just say so? I'm out of the running.

But then again... yes, yes. This is the last night that those monsters will overrun the town. They can only exist from the start until today, the evening of the fourth day.”

It came up again. Another link to the period of four days.

It was to search for clues relating to that that originally brought me here tonight.

“...Illyasviel. About the abilities of my Servant...”

I tell her, with conviction, of all that has happened so far.

Rebirth from death. The endlessly restarting Heaven's Feel.

No, that's not it. About my Servant and I who, no matter how many times we repeat them, cannot move beyond these four days.

“...Repeating the Heaven's Feel... I see.

So that is how it seems to you... no, both of you, the only ones who have stopped.”

...We are the only ones who have stopped. She's right in saying that.

Viewed from the perspective of the girl who cannot rewind, the fourth day will be followed by a fifth.

But the two of us must return from there to the first day.

We're standing in the middle of the vast river called time, never moving downstream from where we stand, and going back upstream again and again besides.

“You came here to have that question resolved, I see. You wish to stop the Heaven's Feel and pass beyond the fourth day?”

“Eh―――N-No, I simply...”

I haven't the slightest desire to stop the Heaven's Feel.

I only want to know for certain why this boundary of four repeating days confines us as it does.

“Oh, no? Then just what is it that you want? If things continue as they are, you will remain in eternal

No. All I want is to win this abnormal Heaven's Feel and fulfill the duty I was sent here for.

“I see. Had you wished to sever the contract with your Servant, I'd be willing to lend a hand, but a problem of this nature isn't within my jurisdiction.

As I've told you several times, I'm out of the running.

I have no desire to go outside this castle. Why this Heaven's Feel of yours has become the way it has is something only you can investigate, Bazett.”

The girl rises from her seat.

Illyasviel moves toward the lobby, as though she's lost all interest in me.

“Good night, Bazett. If what you say is true, then tonight is the night that you return again, right? You're welcome to stay in the castle until that happens. If you go back out into the forest, you're likely to be killed by the ghost.

―――The stars are beautiful tonight. Now that you're alone, take this chance to think for a while.

About what you're trying to accomplish, and whether you're really fine with that sense of unease hanging over everything.”

...I leave the winter castle behind me.

I refused the girl's offer.

Even if in the forest I do encounter that monster and my defeat at its hands, I still can't simply stay here passing the time in tranquility all by myself.


As she said, the sky is remarkably clear.

While gazing up at the countless number of stars overhead, I think of him. The one who'd doubtlessly reply with something sarcastic like "how can they be countless? If you can see 'em, you can count 'em, too!" if he were here.

“...It's not why we reach the end every four days that I should be trying to figure out.

It's why things got this way in the first place.”

The rewinding ability isn't Avenger's Noble Phantasm.

I do remember him having said so himself before.

That this was a special bonus from having made a contract with me.

What did he mean by a special bonus?

If this isn't a Noble Phantasm, I ask myself, then just what kind of miraculous possibility...

I deny the answer that appears in my mind.

“―――I can't rely on Avenger.

I can only do what I can to the best of my abilities.”

...That's it. Next time, I'll go out into the town during the day, while he sleeps.

Avenger is incapable of action during daylight hours, but I myself have no such restrictions.

Although I've avoided going out during the day thus far, it's not as though I'm a vampire or anything of that sort.

“The magi of Fuyuki should be Tohsaka and Matou... and the one who survived from last time, Emiya Kiritsugu.”

If I'm going to take action, why not start from there?

Keeping it quiet from my Servant, I will go out into the town.

While once again bearing an excess of pain and longing in my chest.

...It would have been so much better if I hadn't started trusting him the way I do.

Therefore, because I want to believe in him, I will keep it a secret, and seek out the truth―――

Day 1

Town・Day 1 Towards the 'splash'

I wipe the sweat off of my forehead as I head towards the crowded streets in front of the Shinto station.

The shortening of days makes one feel the arrival of late autumn, but what's with today...?

“Sure is hot out...”

I should have worn a hat.

And then, as I am looking for shade, I meet someone familiar.

“Yo―――Tohsaka, what are you looking at?”

“Ah... Oh, if it isn't Emiya-kun?”

Did something catch her interest? I turn towards whatever she was facing earlier.

“Umm... "Waku Waku Splash"?”

“Yeah. I did not realize they've built a pool this big here.”

It just opened this summer. An all-season indoor water park.

Everything from water slides to artificial wave pools are housed under its domed roof. It always feels like summer―――or so the advertisement says.

“Ah, it just opened in July. I remember seeing the ad in the newspaper.”

“The mark of an experienced housewife. I wonder what it's like?”

“Who knows? None of my friends ever went there... Speaking of which, your house is Western-style, right? Could it be that you have your own swimming pool?”

“Eh? Yeah, I do, actually. I just never use it because it's a waste of money.”

She answers in a matter-of-course way.

...Ugh. A perfect answer for the mere mortals that imagine a huge mansion like hers as having one in the backyard.

“But don't compare it to that. Mine is small. It's 15 meters long, at most.”

“It's not about the size, Tohsaka.

What I mean is, a typical house wouldn't have something like a swimming pool, would it now?”

Damn those capitalists.

I wish they'd all slip and fall on the side of their own pools.

“What? You want to use my pool?”

“...Maybe once.

I'd just like to know what it's like to swim in a private pool.”

“Ah, what a surprise. And here I thought you weren't the type to like recreational activities, Emiya-kun.”

“Well, I do feel like it once in a while.

Not too long ago, Shinji dragged me to a movie.

It told the story of the daughter of a tycoon living in a mansion and a lonely, wandering drifter falling into the river of love.”

“Going to watch a movie all of a sudden is fine, I guess... There's just something wrong when two guys make it their choice of a pastime.”

“Right, right, but listen. The man lived a life of pain, and later somehow became one who inflicts pain on others.

His shuttered heart was gradually forced open by the unbelievably moving charm of the female character.”

“Oh... Uh huh......”

“Yeah, it was quite interesting.

Then, somehow having her maternal instincts tickled by this guy, the heroine is also charmed by, falls in love, and eventually decides to elope with him.

On the last night, they were playing in the mansion's swimming pool. The vivid scene had enough brilliant shots to make a whole photobook, and it left a deep impression in me.”

“........................So that's how it went. Not a bad movie, that.”

Of course.

The man's other affair was also exposed, and he is murdered by the main heroine. The climactic ending of the corpse floating in the pool also left a deep mark in my heart.

Hm, or was it the woman that died?

“...Well, why not.

Perhaps I'll reconsider using the pool, after all.”

“Eh? Really?”

“It's good to relieve yourself of your burdens once in a while... Okay, you have my permission.

You did promise to devote one whole day to just studying.

Let the pool be the reward for diligently enduring my strict training.”

What's with the sudden change of heart?

Tohsaka's mood improves dramatically.

“Umm... So that means, the prohibition on Tohsaka's pool has been lifted. Remember your words - don't try to charge me for half of the water fee after I come over.”

“Nah, didn't I already tell you that I'll let it go? I won't do something so underhanded.

...Hehe, next summer might be worth looking forward to.”

Tohsaka grins happily.

She's having fun mocking the poor, it seems.

“Oh, and mind if I bring Saber along?”

It's a rare opportunity.

It'd be a waste for me to keep it all to myself.

“...What do you mean by that?”

“Because swimming alone would be boring, you know?”


“So it'd be more fun if we call everyone. Not just Saber, we should invite Sakura and Rider, too.”

I count up all the people living at my house with my fingers.

“Illya's castle of eternal winter has a hot spring, but being so cold all the time, it probably doesn't have a swimming pool. She'll be happy if she gets invited.

Ah, speaking of which, Fuji-Nee will sure be mad if she's not invited.”

“Wait a moment, Emiya-kun.”

“Ah, right. I totally forgot.”

sigh There's a limit to how insensitive you can get.”

“Let's invite Mitsuzuri-san and Makidera-san, as well. The more the merrier.”

“That's not it at all, you idiot!”

“Eh, what? I'll make sure to clean up afterwards, so you can take your time and rest inside while we play in the pool.”


Tohsaka falls into total silence, as if greatly displeased by something.

“Ah... umm, yeah, I guess it might get noisy.

But it's a rare opportunity to use a private pool, right? We won't be bothering anyone else, and there's so much more we could do that can't be done in public, isn't that great?”

Things that can't be done in public, such as using inflatable toys while others are swimming, having barbecues, and so on.

Ah, just thinking about it makes me excited.

“So, doesn't it sound great?”

“LIKE HELL-----!



I am suddenly aware of the burning heat.

The scorching asphalt road burns my skin.

“So hot... and pain...ful...”

Unable to withstand it, I flip over and lie on my back.

“In my garden... Right in front of me... What the hell is that!? I can't believe it, you honorless reservist!

It's decided, henceforth, other than Shirou, no one else can even think of stepping into my house!”


Wait, how did we get there!? I don't remember doing anything that deserves special treatment!”

“Don't... remember... that... Aah, You're so retarded it drives me nuts!”

“What exactly is going on here? Let's calm down and reason it out, Tohsaka.”

“Eh? So now you suddenly get serious...”

“Yeah. Maybe I am a bit slow.”

“...a bit?”

“Sorry, "very" slow.

How can I say this... What I meant was, I won't understand if you don't say it clearly. I need you to explain.”

“Th... That's... In other words...”

“That's right, and to explain something, this is what we need.”

“Yes, thank you... Hold up!”

“Wh-Wh-What I'm saying is, I'm getting you to clean my pool, and that's why you're the only one invited!”

“...I don't recall promising anything of the sort.”

Well, I can't really say that. I actually was planning on cleaning everything by myself.

I remember the titanic struggle of cleaning Homurabara Academy's pool before it opened.

A fifteen-meter, eight lane swimming pool. I had to take out the water, scrape off all the moss, and disinfect the surface. It was a tough job.

It's supposed to be the swim club's duty, but thinking back, I've helped them every year. So for that reason alone, I am a veteran.

“D-Did I even give you a choice?

Don't you think that'd break the rule of equivalent exchange, getting to use the pool and doing nothing in return!?”

Guh. Nicely done. So she planned to trick me into doing manual labor for her from the start.

This is why you can't let your guard down around Tohsaka.

“So what? You could just have everyone help out with the cleaning.”

“...You really are dense, aren't you?

What I mean is, I have no intention of letting a whole crowd come into my house.”

“? Tohsaka, aren't you on good terms with everyone?”

“That's different!

You finally get a chance to use a private pool, and what do you do? You try to get the population density back up!”

“? So... to put it simply, you just don't like it when it's noisy.

That's fine, I'll make sure to take care of the house while you're away.

That'll be the price I pay to allow Saber and the others entry. It's okay if we just keep it down, right?”



Geh... uwah... I... I'm doomed... it feels like Tohsaka's anger just went up a level.

“Listen, there's nothing to think about!

My pool is for you and you only, and there is no way in hell I shall ever allow Saber or anyone else to use it!

Do you understand!? If you do, respond with "yes!"”

“Wha...? Oh, umm... The only one that's allowed to use the pool is me... right?”

“Too slow! I will be the only one using the pool, and no one but us will be enjoying themselves in the pool, now REPEAT!”

“Oh, I will be the only one using the pool, and no one but us will be enjoying themselves in the pool!”

“Too slow, again! Listen, I will be the only one using the pool, no one but us will be enjoying themselves in the pool, and I invite you and only you to the pool, now repeat!”

“Okay, okay, I will be the only one using the pool, no one but us will be enjoying themselves in the pool, and I invite you and only you to the pool, Tohsaka! Are you happy now!?”

...Errr, what?

It seems like... I said something that doesn't quite feel right at the end.

“Very good. See, you can do it if you put your mind to it, Shirou.”

Now, in front of me is one sulking Tohsaka.

“Wait. That was... no, did I just send out an invitation... for a date?”

“Of course. You just said it loud and clear, Emiya-kun.”

“Well,―――no, I'm happy, but... then, the pool at your place?”

“Nope, the pool at my house isn't good enough. Tomorrow or the day after, that's where I'll take you, Shirou.”

Her finger is pointing towards the giant glass dome in the distance.

“Huh!? W-Waku Waku Splash?”

“Uh huh. A fascinating place willed with the air of relaxation, bringing up memories of authentic European resorts.

The water, too, is kept close to body temperature at 33-34℃. An indoor water park that can be enjoyed all year round!”

She passionately reads the words from the billboard.

“......Ah, well, that's amazing.”

“Then wait till you hear this!

It says that the poolsides are just like beaches where you can feel the waves, and the mushroom slides are children's favorites!

Alright, we'll let our souls melt at the wonderland of eternal summer!”

“Sure, we'll let ourselves loose.

About what happened just now, though. Is that, like, actually happening...?”

“Yep, sure is! Emiya-kun will be on a date with me!!!”

“W-Wait. A d-d-date is great, but isn't it way too sudden? And there, of all places?”

“Hmph! If anything, it's long overdue.

I just got a brand new swimsuit, too. No one else has seen it yet, so you'll be treated to the honor of seeing its debut.”


The shock feels not unlike getting my heart pierced by Gae Bolg.

Tohsaka's swimsuit―――?

Just looking at her in her casual clothes already takes my breath away. If I see her like that I'll drop dead in an instant...!

“I'll probably still be growing next summer, and that swimsuit might just get too lewd to wear.

Ah, but maybe you'd prefer it that way, Shirou?”

Still... still growing―――!?

I'm sure she isn't talking about her height, so I can rest easy... not!

My heart is already pounding like crazy even with her figure obscured by clothes. On top of an instant death I'll be guaranteed a comeback as a ghost...!?

“They say pairs can actually use the waterslides together.

With the height of 18m, throughout the course of 180m the maximum speed is 40km/h. At that point, clinging to each other's bodies, you never know what you may be touching, hehe.”

Does she want my heart to explode―――!?

I get tingly just touching her hand. If it goes this far, no doubt, I'll die instantly, come back as a Heroic Spirit, and become Tohsaka's Servant...!

“...Hey. After all that talk, you still don't feel like going out with me?”

Tohsaka lowers her eyes meekly.

Realizing that I've been salivating, I swallow. I know I have to let Tohsaka know that I see through the act she's putting on, and I try to stare her down.

L-L-Like hell I am going to let myself be tricked so easily.

She did try to make me clean her pool just moments ago.

She will throw out some outrageous request the instant I agree, no doubt about it.

This is bad, I feel like a fish on the chopping board, like a prisoner of Alcatraz.

The price for going on a date with Tohsaka is too high, no way I'll be able to repay it in this lifetime...?

“N-No way...! Nothing could possibly be this perfect in reality!?”

“Hmph. That's right. I'm just that untrustworthy.

...So as fair payment, you must obey me totally on our date. I'll work you hard at the pool, make no mistake. Shouldn't this much be obvious?”



What? Is that all there is to it?

“Oh. If that's all, then there's no problem.”

“Ah, ―――W-Wait, Shirou. Are you fine with that?”

“Of course.

But I'll ask once again to make sure, is that all the compensation you want?”

“Ah...... That, that's not it at all... But if you put it like that, then I'm happy to go along.”

“Then it's decided. Getting to spend an entire day with Tohsaka with just those conditions feels like a great bargain.”

Being Tohsaka's slave is hardly different from the way things always are.

Adding words like "total" or "absolute" in front doesn't make a difference.

“...Right. So it's decided, forget everything except me and have fun following my orders.”

“It's not like I can back out now, but okay. I'll look forward to it.”

My mind is already on the day of our date.

What would Tohsaka look like in her new swimsuit?

As someone who has no interest in current fashion trends, I don't have the slightest clue.

“...So. Can Saber come along?”

“No. You have to completely submit to me.”

Tohsaka's mind is also on the day of our date.

But that was a bit too cold.

“...Hmph. You better be ready, got it?

I'll abuse the heck out of you to make sure nothing as stupid as that ever comes out of your mouth again.”

She whips away from me with a highly displeased expression on her face.

Just like that, with a stroke of good and bad luck, I get to go on a date with Tohsaka at the water park.

...And yet.

When I used to go out with Tohsaka before, she'd always be fine with bringing Saber along, so what's with the sudden change of heart...?

Town・Day 1 After coming back

Tohsaka's back.

I wonder what she's up to? Maybe I'll go take a peek.

“Pardon my intrusion... huh, she's not here?”

I haven't heard a response since I came in from the porch.

Maybe she left the doors unlocked in a rush... nah, that's one thing she definitely wouldn't do.

“Heeey, Tohsaka~”

I feel signs of human presence on the second floor.

I head up the stairs to see...

“Huh? Emiya-kun, you came over?”

Ah, she's here, after all.

Going up to the second floor, I finally find Tohsaka in her room.

“Sorry, I was yelling but didn't hear a response, so I came in by myself.”

“Indeed, I doubt you'd think I just left the house.

If you did, you wouldn't have come in, right?”

But of course.

...And so, I find myself dumbfounded by the scene in this room.

“...That's certainly something amazing happening here.”

“That's a week's worth of luggage that was packed in there.”

There's a wide open trunk.

No matter how I look at it, the contents spread out on the floor don't look like they should fit inside.

It looks like the trunk's was holding roughly twice its volume in luggage.

“...Is there some kind of spell on that trunk?”

“The thought did cross my mind. But the possibility of me messing up the capacity distortion spell and the whole trunk exploding at the airport or something was too embarrassing.”

It'd be embarrassing indeed. But more than avoiding shame, it's of utmost importance to prevent magic from being exposed to public eyes.

One careless mistake like that could be enough to get the Association going after you.

“There's a technique to packing, too. I'm sure this much could fit in there no problem.”

“...Now that I think of it, my old man was also good at that.”

Kiritsugu used to travel with a small bag, but he always managed to stuff a disproportionately huge amount of luggage in it.

The special skill of a wayfarer, I guess.

“Just imagine rolling this huge trunk from train to train, or on a stone path. Traveling abroad really is troublesome.”

Having suddenly come into this room, with things she probably doesn't want me to see, I inadvertently turn my eyes towards the window.

...Or I planned to, anyway. My indiscretion immediately discovered, Tohsaka starts poking my cheek, as if to say she doesn't really mind.

“Going there is one thing, but coming back... I got this much sent by mail―――just when I thought I finally made it...”

...That's true. After a fun trip, getting your luggage sorted out can be a real pain.

That's even more true after a trip you didn't enjoy. Especially for girls, who have to deal with an immeasurable amount of clothes, too.

And then, I can also see a few items wrapped up in nice paper...

“I wasn't going sightseeing, so I thought I'd have less luggage on the way back, but I was wrong.”

“Ah, so you actually got some souvenirs, Tohsaka.”

The best I've ever gotten from her as a souvenir was an assortment of some hot-spring manju.

Still... I fear this place is going to look like a disaster zone until someone works up the courage to sort out this ever-expanding mountain of luggage.

I'll be blunt. Tohsaka is no good at tidying things up. The state of her room at my house is enough proof of that.

“I'll help you, then.”

“Yeah, sorry.”

Tohsaka smiles bitterly.



This white and smooth cloth I feel must be―――

“That area's off limits!”*

“―――My bad.”

I get scolded by Tohsaka after getting knocked head over heels into the corner.

...Just what did she hit me with? Gandr? Or was that some forbidden technique from the martial arts she used to practice?

“How long do you plan to stay upside down, Shirou.”

“...You're the one who flipped me over, aren't you?

It's just underwe―――”

I feel like I might get shot again if I say it.

Okay, that area's off limits.

“...Why did you happen to grab that, of all things, and with all your strength?”

“I just randomly took it out, that's all.”

“Fine, fine, I'll just have to hide the stuff I don't want you to find from now on.

Ah, and there's also all this laundry... I guess it would have been better to send this over to your place, Shirou.”

The laundry situation at our house is already quite grave, and now she wants to add more to it.

Sakura and Rider might not be able to handle a week's worth of clothes on top of the regular workload.

“So why didn't you?”

“Why indeed. Between the beginning and end of a journey, it's the beginning that I desire, after all―――that's the kind of useless junk floating in my mind. A person's way of life really is an unending journey.”

As I thought, it's hard for Tohsaka to separate herself from this mansion.

For one reason or another she's basically settled at my place, but this is where her heart belongs―――knowing that, this formal mansion has a different atmosphere about it.

She exhales while looking at the mountain of luggage and says―――

“I'll sort out this luggage myself, after all. If I have to keep hitting you, I'll just wear myself out.”

“...Sorry. As an apology, I'll go make some tea.”

“Huh? It's fine, it'll get cold by the time I'm done, anyway, and that'd be a waste.”

That is true.

It'll be weird if I just sit there sipping tea while she's sorting that out.

“Is there anything I can do? Like cleaning or making lunch?”

“If I need you for something I'll call you―――Right now... this looks like it may take me a while.”

...In that case, there's no reason for me to stay here.

That's fine, I can come back to check on her another time.

“Alright, I'll head out. Are you sure there's nothing I can help with?”

“You sure don't seem to trust me much. Whose scheming is this, I wonder―――”

Despite her suspicions, the only one scheming anything is Tohsaka herself, I'm pretty sure. Good grief, I think with a shrug.


“Ah right, I forgot. It's a good thing you're here, Shirou.”

“...As I thought.

Indeed, I knew it'd end up like this.”

―――As I prepare myself for what's coming, Tohsaka dives back into the pile of luggage saying "is that it? no, not that, maybe here" as she searches.

“So, what is it?”

“Ah! Found it, found it. Yes, here you go.”


I'm worried by this light paper bag I've been handed.

It's in fancy department store wrapping. Just what kind of job awaits me?

“Don't make a face like that, it's just a souvenir.”

“...For me?

Uh, umm, o-okay. Thank you. Alright.”

I want to just escape with this in my arms. With a surprise attack like this, how am I supposed to show my thanks?

However, as I stand there contemplating, Tohsaka glares at me in displeasure.

“There aren't any purse snatchers here or anything, so open it and check it out.”

“That kind of thing only happens in movies or dramas... no, I get it. I'm ready.”

So, in an overly dramatic way that doesn't harm the wrapping, I break the seal and check out the contents.

...A plaid scarf. It's not at all heavy, yet looks quite warm.

“...Is this all right? It wasn't too expensive, was it?”

“Why do you want to know the price? It's fine, isn't it, after all, it'll be cold soon.”

“That's true, and this looks really warm―――hm, it's kind of long, isn't it?”

It seems big enough to wrap around an extra time.

However, you can certainly wrap it any way you like when it's this long...

“I'll let you decide how to use it... Ah, you can warm Saber up with it or something.”

“Wha―――No, I wasn't thinking that. This is a gift from Tohsaka!”

“Yes yes, that's why I left how to use it up to you. Use it well.”

Dumbfounded, I grab the scarf.

Fuyuki's autumn isn't cold enough to use this yet.

...Kuh, when the time comes, I'll show her a thing or two.

“―――I'm repeating myself, but thanks again.”

“You're very welcome, Shirou.”

Emiya Residence・Start of Night Things to do

Emiya Residence・Night Map-16 One last drink

“Ah, Emiya-kun. Good night―――”

“Good night, Tohsaka. Don't stay up too late.”

“―――Hey, wait. What the hell was that?”

I call out to Tohsaka, who is trying to slip by me.

...I wouldn't normally mind if she ignores me, but something here worries me.

“What is it, Emiya-kun? Is there something strange about me?”

“It's not you, but what you're holding that's strange, Tohsaka.

What are you hiding behind your back?”

“I don't really think this has anything to do with you, but―――here, see?”

She displays it openly.

There can be no mistake, there is a bottle of liquor and a glass in her hands.

“Are you... going to drink that?”

“What's it for, if not drinking? It's for a nightcap.”

“Oh, I see. Throwing back a glass or two would certainly help you sleep better.”

Well, goodnight then―――somehow doesn't seem like an appropriate way to dismiss this.

“Am I imagining it, or are you making a pretty awful face right now, Emiya-kun?”

“It's not your imagination. It's your fault.

What's this about throwing one back before bed? That sounds like something an alcoholic would say.”

“That's quite the exaggeration.

Are you saying you never drink, Emiya? Not even when you're having trouble falling asleep?”

“At times like that, I just pull the covers up over me and lie still. I rarely ever have any problems getting to sleep that way.”

“...Oh, that's right. It doesn't seem like you'd be too bothered being dry all year 'round.”

Thanks ever so much for the admiring words, Tohsaka.

I can tell she's pouting, does Tohsaka really think I'm that unusual――?

“I'm fine though. It's not like I need a drink to fall asleep every night.

When I need to fall asleep, I can trick myself into it.”

“I see... then, I guess it's okay. Just don't overdo it.”

Saying that reminds me of Fuji-Nee, the household's patron saint of overdoing it when it comes to drinking.

That tiger of ours can down enough booze to have an actual wild tiger staggering.

“I don't drink like Fujimura-sensei. My family has a saying, "don't get swallowed up by your drink."”


That sure is a tavern-like saying the Tohsakas have.

Most likely, it was added by the current generation.

“Don't worry. I'm always careful to maintain a certain elegance.

Even if it kills me, I will not permit myself to display such disgraceful acts like falling down drunk.”

Certainly, I can't even imagine Tohsaka drunk.

Tohsaka has to maintain her perfect honor student image. She probably drinks while being mindful of her own limits.

...Well, it's also likely that she'd mistake vodka for something else and topple over.

“...Sakura is the one who should be careful.

But that girl can't be compared to Fujimura-sensei and her drinking habits. Even Rider is like a bottomless pit, though she is a snake after all.”

“A tiger and a snake, is my house some sort of alcoholic zoo...?”

...I wonder about Saber?

She doesn't seem like she'd refuse alcohol, plus she wouldn't be able to play the part of king back in those days without drinking.

“...Could it be that it's not that you don't drink, but rather that you can't handle drinking?”

“That's not it――I think. After all, I'm fine with things like sake in dishes and beer pork hot pot.”

“There isn't anyone who would count that as alcohol.”

Obviously, it would be kind of weird if they did.

...Now that I think about it, I don't recall myself having ever "really" drank.

“...Even when Fuji-Nee was drinking at home, I didn't join her even when she forcibly tried to make me.”

“That's the right call in that situation.

Hmmm... That's right, you should train in this area as well.”

“Hm? Train what?”

“Sake, alcohol. You know, over there they drink wine and beer like water. Wouldn't it be bad if we don't prepare you for it now?”

Over there... Europe?

I've heard about that as well, but that doesn't mean we need to start practicing now.

“―――Tohsaka, um, I just don't think drinking is my thing―――”

“What are you talking about? If you ended up getting drunk then the only one who can look after you is me.

Do you want to embarrass yourself like that?”

...It seems that Tohsaka watching over me is more likely than the other way around.

After all, Tohsaka is holding a bottle of strong brandy and actually seems like she can handle it.

“...Yeah. I'll try to avoid that.”

“Getting drunk or not isn't a matter of effort. At least half of it is based on your constitution.”

“There aren't a lot of Japanese people who can really handle their liquor.

...Wait a second. Wouldn't that mean there's no meaning in training?”

“You build up a tolerance to this sort of thing.

Also, the most dangerous part is not knowing your own limits.”


She has a point. Someone who's not used to running would injure themselves if they tried to run a long distance at high speed.

So it's even the same with alcohol. If you get caught up in the moment, you could be over your limit in no time...

“That's just how it is.

So, stay with me for a bit, Shirou.”

“In that case... am I drinking too?”

“Yep. It's fine being my partner for a little drink, don't you think?”

...Should I take her up on this invitation?

This would be my first time drinking with Tohsaka.

Until now, I never thought something like this could happen.

“......What's with that distant look?”

“Well, in the past I always had an image of you as some flawless, high-class lady. So, seeing you drink at night, moreover, having a drink together is something that would have never crossed my mind.”

Thinking about it now, it doesn't seem that strange.

Suddenly, I find myself reminiscing about days long past. I don't really feel any strong attachment to them though.

“...You want to return to those innocent days?”

“No, nothing like that. Alright, I'll join you... Do you want any snacks?”

“Nothing good comes from taking in calories this late. And it's just one drink.”

I guess that's fine――eh?

I'm a bit concerned about the origin of that bottle in Tohsaka's hand.

“That brandy, isn't that one of ours?”

“Of course, isn't it more practical to drink these instead of saving them up?”

“...Listen. You're going to need to replace that.”

The Fujimura group gives us plenty of those kind of things and the Japanese ones are useful for cooking, but the brandies and whiskies are too strong.

Sakura said that flambéing with brandy creates a nice aroma, but she was scared by the size of the flames.

“Fine then. Next time you come to my house you can take one from our collection, then we're even.”

“Just bring it straight from there next time... Okay then, I'll go get another glass.”

“We only need one. This isn't beer, and it's not like we have to worry about how to split it.”

“If you say that, we'd end up using the same glass.”

We'd take turns drinking... One glass between Tohsaka and myself, that would be very―――

“...Geez. Why can't you read the atmosphere a little?”


Taken completely off-guard, her words cut through me.

...Dammit, was I being that dense?

“...Understood. However, next time I'm preparing two glasses.”

“Fine, fine. Then, shall we go to my room?”

Emiya Residence・Start of Night・Good Night

Day 2

Emiya's・Day 2 A guest from 5 years back

“Huh. Nobody's here?”

On the bulletin board is a note from Sakura, saying, "I'm going home for a while."

On the fridge is a note from Rider and Saber, saying, "We're going shopping in Shinto."

Seems like everyone else is out and I'm the only one left in the house.

“...Oh well. I don't have work, so maybe I'll just house-si―――Hmm?”

I hear the doorbell ring from the entranceway.

I walk up to the door, wondering who could it possibly be,

and find a very unusual guest indeed.


For a few moments, we just look at each other in silence.

I'm so confused my greeting is delayed, and he doesn't seem to intend to greet me in the first place.

If this were martial arts, you could say we were waiting to see who would attack first, but he's probably not here to fight.

“Hey. It's rare to see you here, did you come to check up on Sakura?”

“Not really. I just happened to have something to do in the area, and decided to drop by on my way back.”

“I see. If you have time, want to come in?

Knowing you, I bet you're walking. There's some distance from here to the Matou house, so have some tea at least.”

“Tea? ...Well, I guess that's okay once in a while. I don't have much free time, but I'll keep you company for a bit.”

“By all means.

Sakura's out right now, but she'll probably show up soon. Let's wait in the living room until then.”

“I told you, this isn't about Sakura.

Anyway, where's the living room? Not only is your house a weird shape, it's ridiculously wide.”

“Huh? Come to think of it, is this the first time you've come in here?”

“Well, I've never been here before, so doesn't that make it the first time? I've never had any interest in your house.”

“No kidding. We only ever hung out at your place. I felt bad about it and invited you here, but you seemed against it for some reason.”

“Of course. Why should I have to come all the way to meet up in the middle of nowhere?

Isn't my place closer to the school?”

So, well, for various reasons, Shinji has never been to the Emiya residence before.

He came to pick Sakura up once, but he never came in past the entrance.

“Okay, here's the living room.

If you go right down that hallway we just saw, you'll reach the dojo, and if you go left you'll come out by the outbuilding. That's where Sakura's room is.”

“Hmm. That's pretty far off.”

“It's as close as Fuji-Nee would allow.

So, are you a bit relieved, as her big brother?”

“God, Emiya, you're being so annoying. How many times do I have to tell you I don't care about Sakura?”

As he's saying that, Shinji keeps glancing towards the outbuilding.

It seems he really was worried about how Sakura was doing and came to check on her.

“Hey. Which do you want, black tea or green tea?”

I call out to him from the kitchen.

“Eh?! What, have you started drinking black tea, Emiya?”

“What are you surprised about...? Well, the majority of the people here are black tea drinkers, so I don't have a choice.

So, which one do you want?”

“Mmm, I don't have much of a taste for either.

Anyway, where's your room? Let's go there first!”

Shinji sounds lively, for some reason.

...Geez. There's nothing particularly interesting about my room, though.

“It's right there. It's not as interesting as yours, you know?”

“That's for me to decide.

Come on, hurry up and show me. I came all the way here, so at least let me see my friend's room once.”

“Fine. But no complaining when I do, Shinji.”


Ohh, if it's all the way in the back of the house, it must be a good room.”

“Well. In terms of the floor plan, it's the best room.”

"Ohhhh," says Shinji, his face shining in anticipation.

He's smiling from ear to ear,

a smile that quickly reverses itself the moment I slide open the door.

“What is this? There's nothing in here.”

“It's not like there's nothing at all.

There's a desk and a cushion on the floor, and in the corner there's a bookcase, although a small one.”

I put particular emphasis on that bookcase.

I got it to store the paperback novels I've been borrowing from Rider lately. It's brand new, and I'm proud of it.

“The living room was better. Sheesh, you're just as boring as I thought you were, Emiya.”

Having cursed me out while surveying the room, he turns back towards the living room.

“So anyway, which do you want, Shinji?”

“Coffee. With milk and two sugars.”

“All we've got here is ordinary cow milk, you know.”

“What's wrong with cow milk? It's much better than cream.

Ah, and I don't want any sweets. Don't make any weird fuss over me.”

“Thanks for that. The teacake situation here is pretty dire.”

I put on coffee for two and return to the living room.

Shinji sits down in the living room, looking displeased.

“...Hmph. Not only do you have black tea, but coffee too?

You've changed, Emiya. Your tastes have really broadened, for one.”

“I've always drunk black tea and coffee.

I just liked Japanese tea more. I've always liked all of them.”

“Hmm. So you weren't like Ryuudou, after all.

Hmmm. Then, do you like alcohol, too?”

“I've still only tasted it.

I work at a liquor store, so they give me some once in a while. But Fujimura-sensei comes over here every day. I'm sure you can figure out the rest on your own.”

“Tch. That's right, you can't have booze if Fujimura's here.”

He sips his coffee in disappointment.

Seems Shinji thought I'd be a bit more entertaining if I drank.

“Leaving that aside.

Is it true that you haven't been going to the archery club lately? Sakura seemed disappointed.”

“Why should I? Don't confuse me with Mitsuzuri.

We're already in the autumn of our third year, you know? It's not like we can do club activities forever.”

“Why? You could just back Sakura up or something.

You don't have a problem with Sakura becoming captain, do you?”

“Well, I guess it's good for her to have some responsibility, for once.

Mitsuzuri can look after her on her own.

And I'm not the only one you should be telling to go back to the archery club. Wouldn't they be a lot happier to have you rather than me? The autumn tournament is coming up, after all.”

“I can't do that. I'm fine with just showing up, but it's too late for me to take up archery as a club activity again.

A guy who only shows up once in a while taking up a bow alongside the rest would be unfair to the members who did it for three years straight.”

“Huh? You're as dull as ever. If you're good at it, you don't have to worry about that.

You don't have many talents apart from archery, Emiya, so don't worry about making inferior people jealous.”

“Thanks for that. But in that case, what about you?

You're really good, Shinji, and I'm not flattering you.

It's still not too late. If you aim for the tournament and train seriously, you could definitely make a good showing.”

“I'll pass, I have no attachment to archery.

I've moved on. It was a nice way to kill some time, and no more.”

“What a waste. You were a natural.”

“Hah, that's a huge mistake.

I have no need to excel in just one thing. That's for dim-witted people.

It's unsightly, the way average people try to hone their own individual skill or whatever. A really worthy person is someone who doesn't need to do anything.”

“Hoho. If we go by that, then what about Tohsaka?

She can do anything, but she works hard at everything just the same, right?”

“That's an innate inclination towards poverty and suffering. There's no cure.

She'd have it easy if she didn't do anything, but she likes hardship.”

“...Right on target. You're pretty sharp, Shinji.”

“Of course. I've had my eye on Tohsaka for a long time. I'm in a good position to analyze.”

Shinji drains his coffee with a gulp.

After that somehow philosophical statement,

“Hey, give me some more.

This coffee is pretty good, isn't it?”

"Come on," he says, arrogantly holding out the coffee cup.

Our rambling conversation continues.

We're both on our third cup of coffee.

It seems Shinji has started working part-time, and he gives me a report on how it's going. His senior coworkers are useless, the system they use is old-fashioned, and so on and so forth.

If I didn't know the situation, it would sound like nothing more than one-sided complaints, but luckily, I've heard rumors about the restaurant where he works before.

According to Neko-san, to make up for the presence of their unmannerly new hire, Kitamura Teahouse has improved its flavor and lowered its prices, or so she says.

“But I'm surprised that you're working, Shinji.”

According to Tohsaka, the Matous are quite rich.

Old man Zouken may not look it, but he's got quite a lot of money on hand for a retiree.

“It's just a little diversion.

...Well, I'll need my own money after I graduate, too. My savings on their own wouldn't be that reliable, so I thought I'd start earning some now.”

“Eh...? After graduation... do you mean you're leaving home?”

“Not really. But I'd look stupid if I did, leaving with no money.

...But, well, I guess I'm leaning towards going to Tokyo. My mind's about 80% made up already.”


The surprises keep on coming.

Shinji leaving home... that has a different meaning than when an average person goes to live alone.

The Matou family are a lineage of magi.

Even if they've lost their magical aptitude, it's unthinkable for Shinji to up and leave home knowing that history.

If he left, that would be―――

“Shinji. Does this mean you're severing ties with the Matou family?”

“If I had to say it to grandfather, that's probably what would happen.

...My father had a younger brother. It seems he left home and moved away somewhere, and he was disinherited altogether. That's what it means to leave Fuyuki.”

“...I see. Have you told Sakura?”

“I'm going to. To make her think about her own plans, you know?

If I leave home, that's the end of the Matou family. There'll be nobody to carry on the name, so she'll have to leave, too.”


“What? It's only natural.

Ah, just so you know, the Matou family fortune is all mine.

When grandfather is dead, I'm coming back for it, so tell Sakura not to waste it all, alright?”

Whether he's bluffing or trying to show consideration to Sakura, even I can't tell, despite having known him for five years.

...But, in the same tone as always, he did mention Sakura's best option.

“Wow, I can hardly believe it. To think that this is the second time I'm talking about graduation with you, Emiya.

When we first met, I never thought it would last this long.”

“Yeah. Now that I think about it, we didn't have much in common. We spent more time talking like this than we did hanging out.”

“That's because hanging out with you is boring.

I only ever did it when I had no other plans.”

“You said that a lot. I must have backed you up in at least two dozen different fights.

It seemed like you had upperclassmen waiting for you after school to kick your ass every week.”

“That wasn't just me. Wasn't it your fault that they zeroed in on us?

I can't help but stand out wherever I go, but a guy like you who's been intrusive ever since he was a brat makes enemies all too easily.”

...Well, now that he mentions it, maybe so.

Looking back, it was five years ago.

It was right around this time of the year that Matou Shinji and I met.

After school, on the day before the cultural festival.

A single first-year student was surrounded by third-years.

He was being picked on for making a sign that didn't match their design.

...I knew that the first-year had worked for days making the sign on his own, and that the third-years hadn't done anything.

So I couldn't help but butt in and give them a piece of my mind.

"Damn, you're annoying. In that case, redo it yourself by tomorrow."

If I did, then they'd forgive the first-year for his mistake, they said.

Tit for tat, as they say. Those who go looking for a fight are sure to find it sooner or later.

I let their ridiculous provocation get to me, and got so carried away that I ended up staying awake all night to make a new sign.

One of my classmates saw the whole thing.

He watched me as he made fun of me for staying behind to work, but in the end, he never left.

Harshly, he said,

“You must be an idiot. You should have just kept your mouth shut.”


“You know you're just being used, right?

Those stupid third-years, and that first-year who was thanking you a while ago, have all long since gone home and forgotten about you.”

He kept bothering me like that the entire time.

And finally, in the early hours of the morning...

When he saw the sign I had finished according to the third-years' design, he spoke,

“Hmmm. You may be an idiot, but you're a good worker, aren't you?”

And he gave me a friendly smile, just as proud as if he'd made the sign himself.

...That was the beginning of my relationship with Matou Shinji.

From then on, though I hate to admit it, we became somehow inseparable. Our questionable relationship continued, and we remained friends after entering high school, but after I joined the archery club we gradually grew apart.

...The thorn at the root of our estrangement was pulled out half a year ago.

We can no longer return to the way we were five years ago, but we've been able to bury the hatchet to the point where we can talk like this.

The clock strikes three.

Shinji finishes his third cup of coffee and stands up.

“Is it that time already? I have to meet someone, so I'm leaving.

...And I only dropped by today because I had the opportunity. Don't get any funny ideas from it.”

“Got it. But are you sure? If you wait a little longer, Sakura will show up.”

“I'll pass. I'm not fond of the noisy type.

Just imagining everyone swarming on this place gives me the creeps.”

I see off the visitor I've known for five years.

“Oh, right. I won't go so far as to tell you to get a computer, but at least put a TV in your room.

You're far too behind the times, even for a magus.”

Shinji leaves me with one of his usual insults.


Though I'm grateful for his advice, I'm pretty sure I have a computer or two in the storehouse.


I wonder if I should have told Shinji about our relatively high-tech household to correct his misunderstanding...

Emiya Residence・Start of Night Things to do

Emiya Residence・Night Map Emiya Anmar


I've got spare time on my hands, so I'm using it to breeze through some preparations for breakfast tomorrow.

“Heeey, Emiya-kun, come here a minute.”

Oh, looks like Tohsaka's calling me.

“Rin has just gotten out, I'll be using the bath now if that is alright.”

“You should go ahead too, Rider. I still need to finish my homework, so I'll go later.”

“But Sakura, you should still―――”

They continue on like that as I head into the hallway.

...Since I'll be last, should I turn down the gas before my turn?

I'll get dizzy from the accumulated steam after the girls have gone if I don't. Well, putting that aside for now...

“What is it, Tohsaka―――huh?”

Has she already gone to her room?

Normally you'd stay put after calling someone out... Oh well.

“...Maybe I should bring her a drink since she just got out of the bath?”

But if I suddenly brought her a can of beer, she'd probably just hit me while going on about trying to make her fat or something.

She's the opposite to Fuji-Nee who always needs a drink after a bath.

“What would be good then? A snack, maybe?”

While mumbling these things to myself, I head towards Tohsaka's room.

“I'm coming in, Tohsaka.”

“Oh, there you are! Come on in!”

Tohsaka's voice sounds unusually cheerful.

And yet, perhaps there is some kind of law of equivalent exchange that makes me become anxious whenever Tohsaka seems to be in high-spirits―――?

“...Tohsaka, did you need something?”

“You don't have to be so on-guard. I won't bite.”

I wonder if I'm overthinking this?

But then again, Tohsaka smells so nice fresh out of the bath――and with just the two of us in this room at night, of course I'll be nervous.

“Well then, as for why I called you here, Emiya-kun―――”


“This is something I can only ask of you――”

Tohsaka's words were highly suggestive.

I'm a nervous wreck, having no idea of what she's thinking or intends to――

“Rub my shoulders.”

“.........Come again?”

“Like I said, my shoulders. A massage right out of the bath would be really effective.”

...And just like that, my sweet expectations were blown away with one swift strike.

As though Tohsaka had struck it like a ball at the batting cages, sending it flying beautifully into the net.

“...Come on, you're the only one I can really ask for something like this. It would be awkward with Saber or Sakura and Rider might crush my collarbone.”

“Okay, I get it. I probably am the only one you could ask.”

I completely understand, but it's still really depressing.

Tohsaka's shoulders seem to be bothering her after a bath and there wasn't anyone else suitable to ask.

...Well, it's not like there aren't some servants that might be good at something like this, but...

Taking a step back.

“Tohsaka, are your shoulders stiff?”

“Yeah, I guess I have bad circulation because of my low blood pressure, so they get stiff easily.”

“...So stiff shoulders aren't all about the size of those things, huh?”

―――I've heard people talk about that, but I wonder how true it is?

That is in a domain men could only imagine, but someone like Sakura might know the truth of the matter.

“Did you say something, Emiya-kun?”

“No, I mean, I definitely wasn't comparing your tendency to get sore shoulders to Sakura's, it never even crossed my mind.”

“I see, I'll just ignore the previous comment then.”

―――I narrowly avoided stepping in it, big time.

But, because of that I have no chance of getting out of this massage.

“You're good at things like this, right, Emiya-kun?”

“Not to brag, but I have some confidence from practicing on Fuji-Nee.”

“Haha, if Fujimura-sensei really lets you do that―――I'm a bit jealous.”

“Is that so?”

“Not like that, it's just nice to have someone you can so easily rely on for these sort of things―――”

“I wonder... I've never had a shoulder rub from Fuji-Nee... Well, it's not that she hasn't given me one, but...”

Fuji-Nee was like, "Come on Shirou, you're also really stiff aren't you?" and just started... aah.

“......That's right. It somehow became some sort of chiropractic experiment, ultimately ending with the development of a new submission hold...”

“I stand corrected. I suppose there's not much to be jealous about.”

I have a feeling I've just exposed the true idiotic relationship between me and Fuji-Nee to Tohsaka again.

―――I think to myself, "How? How could Fuji-Nee, despite being a bit older than me, seriously turn that into wrestling practice?"

“...You don't have to try any wrestling or chiropractic moves, just give me a normal massage.”

“Just relax and leave it to me, I won't even ask for a tip... Okay then, Tohsaka...”

I stand behind Tohsaka and reach out for her shoulders.

...But as I get closer, the scent of her hair―――

“Shirou? Is there something wrong?”

“......It's nothing, just a little nervous. This being the first time, and all.”

That isn't the real reason I'm nervous.

The thought of Tohsaka, with her slender neck and shoulders, unconsciously making girlish moans...

......Calm down.

This is just a shoulder rub, a massage, there is no further meaning to it.

“If you touch any weird places, I'll kill you.”

“...Even if that place is really stiff?”


Saying that actually calmed me down.

Gripping her shoulders, I use my fingertips to search for stiffness in her muscles... huh?

“Ahh, madam is quite stiff.”

“I know, it's probably because I'm, you know, a hard working girl.”

“You probably have your share of troubles.”

“I have things like an incapable student to worry about after all.”

So, basically it's my fault.

...Meaning, giving this massage is like a way to make up for my incompetence?

“I'm kidding. If you were all it took to make my shoulders stiff, my blood pressure would have killed me by now.”

“That's harsh. Well then, if I were a bit more capable would your shoulders not get as stiff?”

She moans as my hands move.

As I massage below her collarbone, Tohsaka lets out a light sound of pleasure.

“Well, who knows?

Aah... but it's nice to get your shoulders rubbed. Especially since I don't get massages that often.”


Tohsaka's been living alone for a long time and there's not really anyone at school she could ask. Probably not even Mitsuzuri.

“It's not easy to leave your back open to another person and be at peace.

Being constantly suspicious is the standard attitude in our trade, don't you think? Even getting a shoulder rub is a risk.”

“On top of that, you even have your image to keep up at school.

It's no wonder you can't ask other people for a quick shoulder rub.”

“...Hmmm. It seems you've been watching me, Emiya-kun.”

“Leaving me aside, your juniors would become disillusioned if they saw you like this, so you probably shouldn't let down your guard.”

I apply more pressure upwards from the nape of her neck.

Hm... It really is stiff. Enough to make me consider buying bathing products to help deal with stiff shoulders from now on.

“Uuuh... Ummm, haaah, well done, well done.

Even just this makes me kind of happy you're here, you know?”

“Alright! If that's the case, I will thoroughly defeat you with a massage!”

“Huh? If you do it like that――ah......”

Saying that, I immersed myself into Tohsaka's massage.

Tohsaka's voice was――faintly sensual. I guess this isn't so bad.

“mm... ah, right there... mmm, amazing.”

“Heh, this much isnt' even a warm-up. The real thing starts now, Tohsaka...!”

“Wha, you're still going!? Hnnnnnng~!”

Her shrieks filled with pleasurerelaxation reverberate throughout the room.

Like this, the shoulder massage goes on late into the night.

...However, my hands, have become sore...

Day 3

Streets・Day 3 Smuggling, fishing boat, round-the-world trip

“Eh, Tohsaka?”

Out for a walk by the harbor, I see Tohsaka.

Tohsaka on a wharf, that's an unusual sight.

“Hey Tohsaka,―――waiting for someone?”

“...Provided your luck is excellent, the person you're waiting for must come, sooner or later.”


“Ah, nothing, never mind. Good afternoon, Emiya-kun. What made you think I was waiting for someone?”

Tohsaka muttered something that sounded like a fortuneomikuji-reading for a second there.

“Well, it's you, and at the harbor, right? So I thought you must be waiting on some luggage or some visitor or something.”

“This isn't a regional port. You won't see regular tourists here.”

That's true... but still.

“This is where Kiritsugu used to leave from for his trips abroad.”

“...No way, what was your father thinking... Ah, I see.”

“Your father... Yeah, going to an international airport would be just asking to get caught, so he basically smuggled himself to get around.”

“...This conversation suddenly took a dangerous turn. I always thought he just liked boats.”

“No, a magus never does things without a reason. Even if it looks meaningless, there's a reason... yeah, now that I think of it, I could use this port too.”

Tohsaka nods as if she's just discovered something very interesting.

I'm going to end up seeing someone off from this port again, aren't I?

“Right... airfare is too expensive nowadays.”


“AIRFARE, understand?

A roundtrip to London is really expensive, and even reserving a discount flight isn't enough. If I could, I'd get a low season touring package, then just disappear from the group at the right time.”

Hearing Tohsaka's disturbing travel plans leaves me speechless.

I can totally see her trying it, too. Her penny pinching obsession is frightening.

“You shouldn't be causing trouble for people like that.”

The tour guide would surely cry.

“Yeah, yeah, I know. I get mileage points for flying that far, anyway, I was just seeing how far I could take that idea... Still!”

Troubled, she stops just short of calling it an really awesome idea.

“I wonder if it'd be cheaper to go on a boat from here, for instance.”

“...Tohsaka. Using a passenger boat is usually much more expensive than an airplane.”

Seeing as it does take way more time.

Furthermore, traveling by a passenger boat is a luxury nowadays.

“Ahh... Is that right...”

“Besides, the old man used fishing boats or freighters.”

“...That's a great idea, if you worked on a fishing boat to London, Shirou, that'd kill two birds with one stone...”

“Wait a minute. That won't work.”

I'd like you to stop talking about volunteering me for long term employment on a fishing boat as if you're doing me a service.

And I'd also like you to stop looking so serious about it.

“No way!? And here I was thinking what a great idea it was!”

“...I'm the one who should be shocked.

And anyways, if we do that, it'll take no less than half a year to get to the destination, would it not?”

“...My mistake. Then, we can try stowing away aboard a freighter...”

“I'm begging you, stop with the smuggling. If we go somewhere together I want to go normally. I can save up cash from my part time job for my own plane ticket at least.”


I withdraw my previous comments, I'll pay for all the travel expenses.

I'm the one taking you along with me after all, I'd be a pathetic teacher if I couldn't do at least this much.”


Where did that come from?

...Huh. It looks like I tugged at her heartstrings.

“...I was thoughtless.

Let's leave inquiries into extreme measures like that for emergencies. Even though it'll be more expensive.”

“Yes, please. Rather than stowing aboard a fishing boat or a freighter, I'd like a normal, and, if possible, an extravagant trip.”

...Albeit if we go to London, we'll probably have no choice but to be crammed into economy class.

First class is straight out, and business class is also just a dream at this point...

“...Yeah, if only we could just, say, win a lottery and splurge a bit.”

Saying that, Tohsaka makes some excited gestures―――

“It wouldn't be bad for just the two of us to go cruising, would it?”

“That's a luxury. Might be setting the sights a bit high, huh?”

“Maybe. Until then, we'll just have to tighten our belts and live frugally.

"On a seat with my leg falling asleep, some day we'll play under the Caribbean sun!" Thinking like that all the time.”

It's a dream.

An extravagant cruise, with sailing on a yacht and a resort... honestly, it's so luxurious I have trouble imagining it.

“We have to work hard towards that goal, starting from today, Emiya-kun.”

“Understood. I'll work hard so I can go with you on a holiday vacation.”

“Well, it looks like I'll be the one taking you, though.”

It'll be a difficult challenge, but with effort comes results―――huh?

While we talked about our dream, the seabreeze started blowing at our backs.

“The wind is picking up.

...I just wandered here, but what about you? Did you come to fish?”

“Nah, I didn't come here for a reason, either. Want to head back to Shinto?”

“Is that so... Ah! I almost forgot, I have some shopping to do. Come with me for a bit, Emiya-kun.”

Come with her, meaning carry her bags all the way from Shinto, huh?

Just that much is easy.

“Got it, I'll follow you till the ends of the earth―――”

Streets・Day 3 Rin's sorcery lesson

I'm heading to Tohsaka's house.

After coming back from abroad, she said "come over to my house if you have some free time." It'd be a good idea to make an appearance.

So, I walk into her house and―――

“...What are you doing?”

“Ah, Shirou... You can't tell by looking?”

...It kinda looks like she's cooking.

A very antique looking cauldron is on the desk.

Though, because of the eerie form and how old it looks, it seems odd to use it for cooking.

There's also a mountain of ingredients piled up.

An unusual bunch of wild grasses, stuff you normally would never use.

“...Tohsaka, you're... going to eat that?”

“What an odd thing to ask. These are all medicinal herbs.”

...Medicinal herbs? Then, I guess they're edible?

Ah, they could be applied directly to a wound.

I've been treated by one of her secret ointments before, but is this how she makes it?

“Ah... that's right, I never told you how to make this, did I? I'm boiling this down to its essence.”

“Hmm? Is it for something like a nutritional supplement or beauty cream?”

“If I could make those I might be able to start a side business. Actually, many in this trade are pharmacists as a cover occupation.”


When it wasn't possible back in the old days to distinguish between a magus, doctor, or faith healer, did they all just operate under the same kind of drugstore label?

...Still, for Tohsaka to talk about a side business, she must be in quite a tight spot.

“Emiya-kun. What's with that smile?”

“It's nothing. So, what does this do?”

“...It won't be something relevant to you, but I shall teach my unworthy pupil.”

With a nod, I listen to Tohsaka.

“It's medicine to suppress my Magic Crest.”

“...I see, that wouldn't be relevant to me.”

Magic Crest.

I don't have one, but Tohsaka's is the type that's passed down from one generation to the next.

An immobilized mystery that contains the magus' achievements as well as their tenacity.

That is the complex engraving placed on her left arm.

“A Magic Crest becomes accustomed to its users as it matures, but in the end it's still in an unfamiliar body, right? As I thought, it's difficult to deal with unless I drink the medicine.”

“Something like an immunosuppressant...?”

“It's not so bad when a family of magi have successfully managed their bloodline for 500 or 600 years, but my Far East clan has the blood of outsiders and at best our lineage is just under 200 years, so it's no use relying on something like that.”

―――At best 200 years.

Just thinking about it makes me dizzy.

The length of time from when I told Kiritsugu that I admired and wanted to be a magus until now seems like nothing more than a brief sigh in comparison.

“Isn't just being able to use that thing proof that you're an excellent magus?”

“...Maybe. Well then, Shirou, please take this.”

Tohsaka forces an old book into my hands while laughing.

It looks about as ancient as that pot...

―――Who's this? Tohsaka Toki...naga...

“That tag marks where the instructions are written, so I'll leave the rest to you.”

“Wait, Tohsaka. What is this?”

“Huh? It's my ancestral formula book. You're my pupil after all, so I'll let you see my house's greatest treasure...”

“...Is it really alright for me to make this?”

I ask Tohsaka, unable to conceal my anxiety.

I mean, is this a good idea? It's like administering an amateur-made immunosuppressant to a heart transplant patient. There's a limit to how reckless you can be.

Moreover, it's Tohsaka who will be taking it.

“If you follow the instructions to the letter it'll be fine. After all, I was taught this with tears in my eyes while still an elementary school student.”

“...So it'll be fine, you say?”

“This is part of your training as well, Emiya-kun.

Stop complaining and do it. I'll look at the results.”


It can't be helped if she puts it like that.

She said she learned this while still in elementary school, I can't afford to lose now.

“Fine, I'll give it a try... Whoa, this is handwritten. And in cursive...”

I unintentionally groan just looking at the book which had yellowed with age.

Was this ancestor of Tohsaka's from that kind of era? I guess this old style of writing can't be helped if her family used this like a research journal for generations.

“Yeah, I need to recompile it at least once some time in my generation, since it's becoming a bit too unwieldy.”

“...That's for sure, is this even the right page, Tohsaka?”

I show her the page with the tag on it.

What are we going to do if Tohsaka's famous carelessness struck again and this is completely the wrong page?

Tohsaka hastily looks to where I'm pointing―――

“...Yeah, that's it.

I didn't think I would've made another mistake.”


I might face her wrath if I say more.

Alright! Before Tohsaka's good mood sours, let's get cooking... I mean, mixing.

―――Is she really going to drink this?

I peer into the boiling witch's kettle before me.

No, I can't even look. Just the smell is making my lunch come up.


Cautiously, I stretch out one arm and stir with the wooden spoon.

I was wrong to think a normal pot would be better. Furthermore, boiling this in the kitchen would have been even worse.

No way in hell would I want to cook with a pot or in a kitchen that had been used to make this stuff even once.

“Can you really drink something like this...?”

I'd better sample it just to be safe.

Tohsaka is going to drink it after all.

...It must be a dreadful task for the magus that has to take this.

“This reminds me of when Fuji-Nee made me drink that awful vegetable juice. But, compared to this...”

I gamble on fooling my senses by pinching my nose.

Gathering my resolve, I have a taste.

See, compared to a full glass of vegetable juice or a large serving of Taizan's mapo tofu, this isn't so―――


“So noisy, what are you doing?”

My tongue, or rather, my whole mouth has been polluted.

Is "polluted" an exaggeration? No. I can only think of this as an assault against my sense of taste. No, not only my senses, but against those of all mankind!

“Gu, uaah, dis-dishgushting!”

“Ah, that. It's guaranteed to be bad. After all, if medicine tasted good it probably wouldn't work.

Don't you think sugar coated pills are heresy, Emiya-kun?”

“Being able to drink something tasty is justice! But Tohsaka, isn't that taste just harassment...!?”

“Eh? That's odd, it can't be that bad... Could you have made a mistake?”

Nonchalantly, Tohsaka looks at the toxic stew in the pot.

“Let's see... Yep, well done.”

“...Well done, you say...? Hey. You're really going to drink that?”

My hope that she would deny that as a lie lasted only a mere moment.

“Hm? Isn't that obvious? I'll gulp down a full glass.

What's wrong? Geez, you're trembling so much, Emiya-kun. You look like a researcher who was attacked by an alien.”


That's because I became the first pitiful victim. For someone who cooks, having a whole glass of that palate destroying liquid is the same as death.

Still... for a magus whose path is intertwined with death, having a glass or two of that unpalatable medicine might not be such a big deal.

...With that, I realized the difference in growth between Tohsaka and myself.

“No... you're right. It was my mistake.”

As long as there is no risk of death or disability, I'll gladly drink even this for the sake of my magus training.

“Hm? Well, whatever. You're weird, Emiya-kun.

Now then, after that just simmer it over low heat... Good, come with me for a bit.”

“Hm, there's something else?”

“This still needs some time. I think I'll have you show me the progress you've made as a magus until then.”

Tohsaka is the teacher after all, so of course she's thinking about her student.

But, I only recently recalled my mag...ic... eh?

“What's wrong? You look lost... Don't tell me...”

Tohsaka looks at my face quizzically.

I hurriedly hide the anxiety that washed over me.

“Don't tell me, while I've been gone you've been slacking off and skipping practice―――?”

“No, nothing like that. I've been putting in effort my own way.”

“Oh? Since you say so, why don't you show me?

Now, prepare yourself and head up to my room.”


It can't be helped if it's come to this... Time to get serious. There's no choice but to show her some improvement in my magecraft.

The challenge is quite simple.

I was handed a plastic knife used for opening letters and now I have to reinforce it.

Tohsaka's words were, "since it's the ideal teaching material for you."

I invoke reinforcement while Tohsaka looks on.

The same words as always, invoke the illusion, integrate―――

―――Trace, on.

A magic circuit is forced awake by the flowing magical energy.

I study the structure and analyze the material of the plastic knife in my hand. Pushing magical energy through its form and existence, I reinforce it.

A process I've repeated many, no... dozens, even hundreds of times.

I erase all idle thoughts.

With a single purpose, I pour my willblood into the magic circuit.

“...I did it.”


Having avoided embarrassment in front of Tohsaka, I wipe the sweat streaming down my forehead.


I throw it at the dart board in the corner of the room.

Even if it's thrown and flies like a real one, there's no way a plastic knife would stick.

But now, it's as hard as steel. So it should easily sink into the―――



It looks like Tohsaka can't stand to watch anymore.

The knife bounced off the dart board and fell.

...No, that should have worked. Could the reinforcement have been too weak?

Tohsaka picks up the knife, examines it, then puts it away.

“Aren't you worse than before, Emiya-kun?”

“Tohsaka, if I failed before I would have broken the knife. Compared to that, this is a great improvement...”

“I don't care about how you've improved at failing.

But still, something's... off...”

She looks me over suspiciously from top to bottom.

Maybe she noticed something? Though, all I got from her was a sigh.

“Fine, as I thought, you need a day or two of drilling to fix this.”

“I'm ashamed...”

“Please try to become a full-fledged magus that can stand with dignity and honor quickly. Even in the future, you could shame not only yourself, but me as well.”

A day of studying magic under Tohsaka, huh?

My weekends are open, but for her to take the time to do this for me is something I really owe her for.

Feeling indebted, I bow my head to Tohsaka.

“Aah... sigh. Geez, where should we start? Ah, with that medicine you like so much...”

“...Don't tell me there are even worse tasting concoctions than that?”

“Oh? You can try them if you'd like, though I have a rather large collection.”

―――Please tell me that was a joke.

...Well, if this will speed up my progress, then the pain is a small price to pay.

“...You're making that face again, Shirou.”

“Okay. So, I should come back to your house?”

“Yep. Prepare yourself for some strict training.”

Now then, it's a promise.

Though, I can't say for sure whether this is good luck or bad.

Emiya Residence・Start of Night Things to do

Emiya Residence・Night Map Choice sake - proof of the wild


After we had all gathered in the living room, a high-spirited Illya is the last to appear.

What could this be about? It looks like she's been taking a few pages out of Fuji-Nee's book.

“What is it, Illya?”

“Fufufu... Well, Shirou, since you let me eat dinner over here so often, today I've come to return the favor!”


Saber, our main freeloader, averts her eyes as though suddenly uncomfortable.

No, there's no problem, you know? If I concerned myself with who was hanging around here all the time, then I'd be the one feeling awkward.

“Returning the favor... Illya, did you come to cook for us?”

“I may not look it, but things like omelets are my specialty.”

“Aah, that's true. The bread you brought us was awfully crunchy, though.”

The last time I said that to her, she explained it away saying, "That's just because I didn't understand how to use your toaster, Shirou!"

But it's true that everything she's tried making over here so far has come out kind of crispy. Maybe she and our toaster just don't get along?

“So what is it you've come to repay Shirou with?”


With a flourish, Ilya brings out a cut-glass bottle.

Whoa, just from looking at it I'd guess that it's pretty expensive. An aura of high quality surrounds it, like that of an XO or even a VSOP.

If I remember correctly, XO is... what again? A kind of Chinese seasoning?

“It... looks like alcohol to me.”

“Yeah, most likely whiskey or brandy... the color is kind of pale, though.”

“These are special Einzbern-distilled deluxe spirits.”

"Spirits" definitely means they're alcoholic.

She looks coyly at me, as though waiting to hear my impression of her gift. The container it's in alone is so elegant-looking that I'd feel awkward just holding it in my hands.

“Special deluxe... so that means the Einzberns make it themselves?”

“Heeheee, it's definitely not something that could be made at the Tohsaka residence.

I told you before, Shirou, that we have a distillery in the castle.”

I do remember hearing about that.

At the mention of the castle's distillery, Saber vigorously nods her head.

“Indeed, it is true that any castle worth the name contains a distillery or brewery within its walls. My castle itself had one down in the cellar. Though it is true that it was no match for the wineries said to be kept by the Gauls.”

“Oh...? so this is alcohol crafted at Castle Einzbern, huh?”

As I continue hesitating, Tohsaka takes the bottle in her own hands with nary a care and examines it.

The way she handles what looks like a priceless antique as though it were any ordinary object... wow.

“That's right. I originally meant it to be for Onii-chan, but since I'm feeling generous today, I'll let you have some too, Rin.”

“Might I be allowed to have a taste as well, Illyasviel?”

Saber makes her request in a reserved tone.

Even Saber, who would normally at least inquire as to the reason for such a display of charity from Illya, seems to be greatly interested.

...Perhaps she is intrigued by the prospect of tasting an unknown drink?

“Something about this doesn't sit right with me, but how about we graciously accept her offer, Shirou?”

“I'll bring some glasses... Saber, will you be joining us?”

“Yes, thank you.”

It's a shame that we don't have a set refined enough to complement that bottle.

“I didn't know what kind would be best, so I brought a bunch of different ones.”

Tohsaka nods as I set the tray down on the table.

Everyone's getting really fired up to drink this stuff, aren't they.

“How thoughtful of you. I'll have it straight, then.”

“Impressive, Rin. Illyasviel, what degree proof would this happen to be?”

“Degrees? I do wonder... Hmmm, I'd just say it's pretty strong.”

As they discuss it, Tohsaka uncorks the bottle with a pop. The moment she does, a strong alcohol smell fills the air――

“Uuh... whoa, is this really okay?”

In only a few seconds, that sweet aroma has already blanketed the room, making me groan involuntarily.

With a smell this strong, the contents must be pretty potent stuff. Bring a lighter close to the bottle, and it'll catch fire in an instant.

“Wow, this will sure have a kick to it.”

“Oho... this is one strong drink, not unlike a medicinal tonic. Could I have it diluted a bit?”

“All right... hmmn... here we go!”

“Here you go, Onii-chan!”

I timidly accept the bottle she hands me, and pour it into the proffered glass of ice.

Maybe it's just my imagination, but this feels less like pouring a drink than it does mixing experimental chemicals into a beaker.

...Just pouring it in was enough to make me feel dizzy.

“Eheheheh, Emiya-kun, are you getting drunk off just the smell?”

“I believe this may be a bit more than you are used to, Shirou. It is essential that you take care.”

“Straight on the rocks for Rin, and a double with water for Saber, heheheheeee.”

I wonder why Illya looks so used to doing this, as she stirs Saber's drink with a practiced hand before passing it to her. Still, it definitely looks like she's agitating the contents of a beaker to my eyes.

...I wonder if it's because of the smell, but I'm getting a bad feeling about this.

“Would you like some, Shirou?”

“I'm not such a strong drinker... but since you took the trouble to bring it for us, I'll have just a sip.”

“That's the spirit. Here you are, Onii-chan.”

I pour just a little bit into the glass she holds out.

Illya is holding a glass of her own, but hers only has water in it. Well, letting children drink isn't something I can condone.

“Well then, cheers!”*

We clink our glasses together before lifting them to our mouths――

...This stuff sure does pack a punch. The kick as I swallow it down makes me remember the first time Fuji-Nee got me to drink vodka as a prank.

Or I should say, in the time I spent pondering all this, the rest of it has almost evaporated.

All right! If Tohsaka and Saber can both manage it, then it should be no problem for me――

“Gweh! This stuff is awfully strong, Illya.”

Illya inclines her head a little, as though to say, "Is that so?" But as for our two drinking companions...

“Hmmmmm... the taste is unusual, but it's pretty good.”

“Indeed. It is true that it is quite different from any spirits I've ever tasted... it must be due to some special technique used in its making.”

“It makes me wonder what's in it. Hmmmmm...”

The two of them are both playing wine critics while they drink it.

Regular drinkers are really in a different class, I think, and I'm finding myself unable to match the pace of their refills.

Uweeeh, my tongue still stings.

I wonder if I could get away with taking some of the water on the table and using it to rinse out my mouth with...



A highly unusual utterance suddenly escapes either Saber's or Tohsaka's mouth.

As I look up, wondering what it was, I'm met with two pairs of eyes staring heatedly at me from across their empty glasses.

“Shiroooou... It's nyat good to let glassesh stay empty, you nyow?”


Whoa, is Tohsaka drunk?

And on top of that, Saber's gone completely silent and her face is bright red.

Even I'd underestimated the true power of this alcohol.

“...Did you just say "nyaa"? Are you supposed to be a cat, Rin?”

“Nyaa? Nyat the heck nya're you saying, Ilnyasviel? I nyadn't say nyanything like that, nyaa.”

She said "nyaa." She most definitely did say "nyaa." Her "a"s are changing into "nyaa"s. Besides, "Ilnyasviel" sounds pretty original, too.

Though in contrast to my praise, Illya, whose hatred of cats is notorious, is looking at Tohsaka rather dubiously right now.

“Afuu, this is nyamazing! Feels really nyaice! But Shirou, you nyaren't drinking nyanithing nyow nyaa.”

This is weird. This Tohsaka before us is definitely getting weird.

Could it be that she's trying her best to act sober, but the influence of the alcohol on her is like a strange filter on everything she says and her behavior now is the result?

And then there's Saber, who hasn't said a thing throughout this whole conversation.

“Hey, Illya, is this stuff really safe to drink?”

“Eh? That's strange... could it be...”

Looking perplexed, she removes the cork from the bottle and takes a sniff――

“Ah...ah, ahaa...”

“Hey, what's going on, Illya?!”

“Shame on you, Liz! If you keep your experiments in bottles like these, even I'm going to get them mixed up!”

"Teehee," Illya giggles as she lightly raps herself on the head.

So the target of any complaints should be the currently absent Liz, but...

“It's true I sneaked it out of the castle behind Sella's back, but I never thought something like this would happen...”

“...Did you just say "experiments"?”

“Oh, they can cause some pretty strange side effects, but they're basically harmless. If that's what she drank, then no wonder Rin reacted that way.”

“Nya'tre nyou saying, Ilnyasviel? I nyemand you nyaxplain nyourself, nyaa.”

...So this is the effect of that particular experiment, huh?

That's right, it could definitely be some drug that can alter people's senses and speech patterns, couldn't it?

“It's a kind of hallucinogen. It alters perception and makes the drinker more susceptible to altered states like drunkenness or hypnotism... Rin loves cats, so it makes sense that this part of her awakened.”

“Nyaa... Nyat did you say just nyow?!”

“I told you not to say "nyaa," Rin! You know how much I hate that!”

Tohsaka drunkenly plasters herself all over a thoroughly disgusted Illya.

...Am I ever glad I followed my intuition and didn't have any. No doubt about it, gulp down something as strong-smelling as that, and something's bound to react.


“Nyafuuu... N-Nyeow that it's come to this, Ilnyasviel, nyou're gonnya get it nya nya nya nyaaa!”

“Eeek! Save me, Shirou!”

“...Did you not check the contents of the bottle first?”

I try asking Illya as I push her behind my back for protection.

The Tohsaka before me with her fangs bared, hissing... resembled nothing so much as a cat defending its territory.

“I did check! Just to be sure, I gave some to Taiga before I brought it to you!”

“Aah, so then she became a tiger.”

“She didn't act any different than she usually does, so I thought it was safe.”

Well, even regular beer is enough to turn Fuji-Nee into a tiger.

It's about what you'd expect from her for her not to be affected by Illya's drug... or for it to have been so effective that she didn't show any change in her usual behavior...

―――Hold on a second. Didn't Saber drink it too?

“Saber... are you all right?”


Saber has kept her head down and not said anything this whole time.

I do hope she didn't have a bad reaction to it.

“I... I'm okay, ga... gaoo......”




“Pff, teehee, what the heck, Saber? You sound so funny!”

“Gaa, gaa, GAOOOO!”

I see, I see, Saber would be a lion.

I figured she might be a dog or something, but when you remember how much she likes that stuffed lion...

“Gabu, gabuu! Shirou, you drink some too, gao!”

“Nyat's right, nyat's right! Just nyanjoying nyourself watching us and nyot being part of it is definitely nyot fair, nyaaa!”

“If that's so, then Illya should drink it first! I'm sure she'd turn into, um, a fox or something!”

As the two beasts close in on me, I take aim at Illya.

But the little white demon just sticks her tongue out and laughs.

“No way! Don't you know that drinking and smoking are prohibited for minors, Onii-chan?”

“Don't you play dumb! But more importantly, Tohsaka! Saber! Calm down! Even if I start going "woof, woof," it wouldn't be that interesti―――


Day 4

Emiya's・Day 4 Level up


Why are Saber and Tohsaka in the hallway?

I thought they'd be talking, but they're just standing there quietly.

Or, rather, they're directing rather sharp stares over this way―――


Let's pretend I never saw this and go somewhere else.

Just as that thought enters my head―――

sigh... So your weight hasn't gone up at all?”

“R-, R-Ri-, Rider! Of course it hasn't!”

These voices sound like Sakura and Rider.

A woman's weight is a subject of great importance, but also a very delicate one. Thus, for men, it is also an exceedingly dangerous one, should they be foolish enough to bring it up.

Even engaging in the act of thoughtlessly eavesdropping on a formation of women discussing it is just asking to be taken down by a sweeping hip throw.

So, despite this, why are Saber and Tohsaka just standing there?

“But Sakura, to get bigger while losing weight, that kind of thing isn't normal, not in this dimension.”

“I-I wonder if that's right? The waist isn't any tighter, is it?”

“Is that so... excuse me.”

“Eh? R-Rider!?”

Just what are they doing over there... hm. There's no way to know without taking a peek.

“Ah... excuse me.”

Raising my hand, I walk past. It's not like this is an undercover investigation or anything.

As I turn around the corner―――


“Good afternoon, Shirou.”

Rider had Sakura easily lifted up by her waist.

Sakura realizes she's been seen, and jumps back in panic.

“Well, neither your weight nor your waist have changed.”

“...Ah, so that was you doing measurements before.”

Rider's showing an admirable amount of chutzpah doing that.

“S-Senpai? How long have you been listening!?”

“How long... uh, since something about body weight.”

I don't know if saying that was a good idea, but I don't think I can claim I heard nothing.

“Well, I think you look the same as always, so wouldn't it be better not to worry so much about it?

...I'll tell you right now I didn't hear an actual number though.”

“I am 57 kilograms.”

Ooh, hearing something like that will definitely bring bad luck...

...Still, only that for her height... she's really slender. And her sizes are... ah, yeah.

So when they were talking about Sakura getting bigger, they meant her―――

“Senpai, why is your face red?”

“He has probably noticed that your chest has gotten bigger.

He may not look like it, but he is, in fact, carefully observing it right now.”


Ah, Sakura and I yelled in unison there.

But while I was just shocked, Sakura is pissed.

“Rider! You don't need to tell Senpai things like that!”

“There is no point in hiding it.

Sakura, you should use all the weapons available to you. Would not now also be a good chance to reveal the confession you have been keeping secret?”

“It'd trouble me if she confessed!”

“That's right, it'd trouble Senpai!”

“Oh... I think this is something to be happy about rather than sad. That said, I am certain there are no shortage of those who will resent you for it―――”

Rider shoots off a quick glance at the other side of the wall.

It seems she's noticed the two eavesdroppers.

“No... Nee-san wouldn't get angry over something like this.”

“Rin is a human girl as well.

It would likely very much irritate her that you, Sakura, are blessed with a constitution which lets your breasts grow larger, yet leave your weight unchanged. Since the two of you are related, all the more so.

No doubt, to Rin, your body is a defense firmer than the strongest of castles.”

...Rider calmly invites a bloodbath with those words.

“Ugh... b-but Saber doesn't care, I'm sure of it.”

Sorry, Tohsaka.

I can't defend you in this situation.

“T-That's right! Saber's a Servant after all, so she doesn't care about her figure, she said as much before...”

“I seems she has a complex about it, so she is saying the opposite of what she feels. I do not understand it, either.”

Hahaha... enough, my stomach hurts.

If this wall were to suddenly collapse, there would be one ridiculous battle―――I'm not even sure if risking my life could possibly prevent it.

I can't keep breaking out in cold sweat though.

...For some reason, it feels like Sakura's got a second bombshell to announce.

“...S-So, you do know, after all? Senpai?”

“N-No, I don't know your size, but compared with how you were before, you did become quite, uh―――”

Two years ago, I thought she looked so thin and frail.

Is it the soil or water in my house? I've seen her grow up right before my eyes.

Just like a tree in a garden, nutrition must be the important factor, right.

“T-That's because your cooking is so delicious, Senpai, I always end up eating too much.”

“Ah, that makes me happy―――”

“That is why you need to watch your weight, Sakura.”

Rider shoots another glance at the other side of the wall.

―――Her Mystic Eyes may be blocked by those glasses, but they still seem to pierce right through the wall, casually playing with those on the other side.

“I'm getting too big for them again... at this range, though, it's getting hard to find cute ones.”

Ah, is that right... wait, Sakura's underwear?

I better guard myself against my mind's eye.

If I think about those big plump breasts wrapped in a brassiere, the main CPU will definitely overheat.

“Nee-san's so lucky. There's plenty of really cute and pretty domestic styles that fit someone her size.

And Saber-san can wear things from the juniors section, which are also really cute...”

“―――Is that so? But Rin said herself that it's the opposite when it comes to imports, didn't she?”

...I'd like her to avoid bringing in nationalistic issues in this topic.

This place may have turned into a veritable women's dorm, but I'm still a healthy young man.

“Ah geez...! Fine, ignore me. Rather than just stand here, I'll go make some tea.”

“Ah... Sorry, Senpai, making you listen to this. You're a guy, so listening to this...”

“Because he is a guy, he should enjoy this, right?”

“R-Rider, geez, you've been so bad all this time!”

That's because she's making fun of us, Sakura.

You, me, and those two behind the corner.

I shall retreat, for the time being...

I walk towards the kitchen on unsteady feet―――



Those two are waiting for me with that look in their eyes.

I didn't do anything wrong.

If there was a wrongdoer, it would be Sakura's physics-defying chest.

“Emiya-kun? Would you mind coming with me for a little chat?”

“I also have something to talk to Shirou about.”

“Ah, it seems to be about the same subject. Then shall we go together?”

“Ah, I was about to make tea for Sakura and Rider and myself...”

“Oh, then I'll make it for you. Saber?”

“Understood, Rin. I shall secure Shirou in a room.”

She firmly grasps my arm―――Ah, it seems my right to veto, to remain silent, and even my basic human rights are all gone. Danger, Will Robinson.

By having me sacrificed here, a face-to-face confrontation will be averted elsewhere, and peace will be preserved in our residence... or not.

“...It can't be helped. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

Thus, one peaceful morning is sacrificed for stress relief.

Being the only guy here sure is hard...

Streets・Day 4 Adventures around the maid

“―――Alright, it's my time to shine again.”

I've been muttering the same thing the whole time I was brewing tea in the kitchen. I hate to admit it, but I've yet to make tea that satisfied her.

“It seems she's full of vigor today...”

I heard it's something about clothing.

Since she was on her trip, she didn't get a chance to replace her plain clothes, and we're now in the midst of an uproar that left her closet looking like a tornado had been through it.

Nothing at all like a man such as myself, who's perfectly content to just exchange the top and bottom drawers in the wardrobe and call it a day.

“...Well, this is one time I shouldn't get involved...”

If I insist on helping, I will only be greeted by an overcast of Gandr Shots.

And so I was staying downstairs, attempting to stare down one of her textbooks, awaiting further instructions... Now that she has just called me up, I've brewed some tea to bring with me.

“Tohsaka, I'm coming in.”

“Okay... Ugh, I'm exhausted.”

“Here, take a break. Nothing like a cup of tea after work, I bet.”

Tohsaka accepts the cup, and presses her lips to the rim.

Looks like she simply couldn't wait for her red tea any longer.

Before I'm awarded a score on the tea, I noticed the clothes on Tohsaka's bed.


It's rather unfamiliar and foreign-looking.

A black dress with a matching white apron.

Just like...

“Looks like a maid dress.”

“Not "looks like," it is, in fact, a servant's uniform.

I have no idea how it got here though.”

Tohsaka looks over at the maid dress as she sips her tea.

Servants... That's right, she does live alone here now, but―――

“Were there any before? Maids in your house, I mean.”

“...There was one when father was here. She left when I entered middle school.”

“I thought her outfit was disposed of at that point. Never expected it to show up here.

Now that it did though, I wonder what I should do?”

“Uh... How about trying it on?”

What else is there to do with clothes?

“...Hmmm, so you're into that sort of thing~”

“Why do you have to put it like that?

Clothes are made to be worn. What else are you going to use them for, decorations?”

“Hehehe, I wonder. The reason you aren't comfortable around Illyasviel's maids, it's not because they're homunculi, it's actually because you weren't entirely happy with their maid outfits, right?”


That's a pretty evil grin she has.

I-I'm only impressed by how complete it is, down to perfectly white clothing and a maid's headpiece.

“T-Then, why don't you try it on too, Tohsaka?”

“You're kidding, right? As the head of the Tohsaka family, why should I wear a servant's dress!?”

I've made her angry.

Seems like her stubborn pride is what's stopping her.


My personal opinion is that as long as it fits, nothing else matters.

“...But you're right. Clothes can only look nice when they're worn.

If we're going that far, might as well see how Saber would look wearing it. Yeah, I think I'd like to see that.”

“Eh...? Make Saber wear it? That feels a bit...”

Can't really say whether it would match her or not.

No, she'll get pissed way more than Tohsaka.

"What are Shirou and Rin making me wear!?" she'd yell.

However, that's―――

“Would that make her a Maid Servant?”

“Yep. I felt it was a bit too cliché, but now that you've gone ahead and said it... just as expected, I'm a bit relieved.”

―――Just as she expected?

She's sitting there clutching her knees, but I forge ahead and boldly voice my opinion on the other suitable candidate for the maid uniform.

“So if you won't wear it, how about Sakura?”


What's with the exasperated look?

Just as I expect her to give me the, "You dare make my sister wear that? What in the world are you thinking, you moron of a Senpai with no sense of integrity!" spiel...

“I'm sure she'd happily put it on... then pretend Shirou's her husband... No, it's too dangerous, I have to make sure Sakura never sees this...”

...The good-for-nothing big sister mumbles to herself in a low voice.

“What's with this "husband" stuff? No way Sakura would do that.”

“Eh? Ah, so you heard that...? Ahahahaha.”

“...Okay. If Sakura's a no-go, let's try Rider.

She has just the right looks and attitude. I have a feeling it'd fit her really well.”

“―――Perfect to the point of scary, once again.”

The steady and selfless Rider is an ideal match as her master Sakura's personal servant.

Seeing as Rider isn't into fashion, she wouldn't think of anything when she sees the maid dress, she'll very likely just put it on.

“But even Rider... knowing how much she likes playing with people's hearts, a situation like this... hmmmm...”

“You keep muttering to yourself, I have no idea what you're saying over there.

But never mind that, there's still one more candidate...”


Tohsaka suddenly bursts with laughter.

Looks like we both have the same person in mind, but her reaction is the complete opposite of mine.

“That's a good one, Fujimura-sensei might be very happy!

She'd be sure to wear it to school. Then you'd have to frantically come up with a reason as to why the teacher is wearing a maid outfit!”

She seems to be looking forward to it.

...Even so, I was just thinking the same thing.

“...I'm an absolute idiot for considering it for even a split second.

Fuji-Nee is absolutely off-limits.”

“Yes, it'll be extremely agonizing if I ran into that kind of Fujimura-sensei. I'll get a stomach ache from laughing.

It's true that she'd probably enjoy it a lot though.”

Tohsaka picks up the maid outfit on her bed.

She'll probably just put it away for now.

But I can't really get it off my mind, now that I've seen it...


“W-What is it, Tohsaka?”

“So do you want to see how I'd look like wearing it?”


It's not that I don't want to see it.

It's just that I don't want to demand it too loudly.

...On top of that, even if my wish comes true, there's no telling how much I'd have to pay back.

“Well, uh... I guess I would like to see it, yeah.”

“Splendid, splendid! Emiya-kun's honesty may just be rewarded later―――there we go.”

The closet shuts with a clank and the maid dress disappears into the darkness, just like that.

Ah... goodbye, another miracle yet to be realized.

“And with that, I'm all done.”

“Tch, good job.

...Right, there are a few things in that book downstairs that I don't get.”

“Is that so? There's still time, I'll teach you.

Bring it here.”

“Thanks. Looking forward to it, as usual―――”

Emiya Residence・Start of Night Things to do

Emiya Residence・Night Map Quartet Overture

“Do you need anything, Illya?”

“Mm... since there's still tea, I'm good.”

The two of us are watching TV.

Everyone else took quick baths tonight and went off to their respective rooms.

As night fell, the only ones in the living room were myself and Illya, who's now watching a boring-looking news program.

“Illya, are you enjoying yourself?”

“Not really, but I should learn more about the state of society where I can.”

“Celebrity gossip now, huh...? Who really follows this stuff about the latest marriage and divorce and so on? It seems so pointless.”

“Shirou? I am done with the bath now.”

Saber comes in, fresh from the bath.

Oh yeah, Saber went last before, so that means I'm last today?

“Did you have a nice bath, Saber?”


As we look on, Saber skillfully ties back her loose hair into her everyday hairstyle.

I was thinking that she looks almost childlike with her hair down, when...

“Hm. Then... how about getting in together, Shirou?”

“Okay... eh?”

“Pardon me?”

I was just about to stand up when she said that, but now I'm frozen in place.

Did Illya... just say we should get in together?

“...What is the meaning of this, Illyasviel?”

“Like I said, together with Shirou in the bath.

Oh, I see. Because I spoke without using a direct object, maybe you heard me wrong?”

“H-Hold on. What's all this about?”

What the hell kind of joke is this? Illya needs to explain herself.

Because getting into the bath with her sounds like it would be incredibly dangerous...



What are you thinking, Illyasviel!?”

Saber flew into a rage even before me.

“Ohohooh, why Saber, why so anxious?”

“What do you mean by that?”

“Are you worried that Onii-chan might do something weird to me? I have complete faith in Onii-chan, so it'll be just fine, don't worry!”

Illya's smile looks completely devoid of malice.

...But she's probably mocking Saber.

“...No, Shirou is not that kind of person.

He would never allow himself to be lead astray by such illicit desires.”

“That's right. After all, nothing like that happened when Saber and Shirou bathed together.”


H-How does Illya know about something like that!?

“T-That was just an accident! Wasn't it, Shirou!?”

“Yeah, an accident. An isolated incident like that should definitely be classified as an accident.”

“Oh my, so was it an accident when you got into the water together, too? Saber is more adult than me and if nothing happened with her, then there should be no problem getting in with me, right, Onii-chan?”

She then smiles at me, ignoring the embarrassed Saber.

There's no response I can give to that.

“...Y-You just can't, Illyasviel!”

“Why? Just how badly does Saber want to be the only one who can bathe with Onii-chan? Aaw, Saber is being unfair!”

“That is not the case at all! T-Things like mixed bathing are an affront to public morals, it is no good!”

This situation would certainly become outrageous if mixed bathing were allowed. Even though the bathing order mayhem would be resolved, any form of sanity would soon go out the window.

“Even if Illyasviel and myself are okay, what the hell would happen with Rin and Sakura?”

“What would happen? Shirou?”


No, even if she asks me that... In situations like this, a man should drink his tea in silence and not comment any further, although to be honest, what I'd really like to do is escape to my room and not deal with this mess.

“Observe. Shirou himself has no desire to engage in mixed bathing.”

“Oh, really? Though he can't say that for sure until he's had a peep at the contents, can he?”

Illya smiles as those terrifying words leave her mouth.

Does she really mean "peep" like that...? Ah, of course she does. This might not be a big deal to Illya, but if it's even possible, I'd like her to stop as soon as possible.

Illya fixed a dissatisfied glare on me as I shake my head.

“Boooo! Boooo! It's not fair that only Saber gets to go in with Shirooou! I wanna go in together toooo!”

“You may not! In any case, mixed bathing is prohibited.”

“Hmph, then would it be fine if I wear a swimsuit? Right?”

...This is turning into one of those hot springs travel TV shows.

Moreover, wearing a towel, let alone swimsuit, is generally not allowed in hot springs.

You're taught from an early age not to get into the bathtub with a towel on and―――Wait, Illya's swimsuit?

“Even going to the pool is just like mixed bathing but with swimsuits on, right? So what's the problem, Saber?”

“Trying a new tactic...? Certainly, that is true... but still...”

“You went to the pool with Shirou, didn't you, Saber? Didn't you? How come you always get to be the one who does that stuff?”

It seems that Illya is quite displeased by that.

...I see, so Illya had a swimsuit of her own, huh?

“In that case, Illya, why don't we just go to the pool instead?”


“Seeing your swimsuit for the first time in our bathroom would be such a shame... I want to see it by the pool, where it should be.”

Yeah, it'd be a waste for her to wear it in that cramped bathroom. It would much better to see it in the the summery atmosphere of the pool.

Even if we were going into a bath together, I'd much rather it be in a natural hot spring like this rocky open-air type of bath...

Why is Fuji-Nee there?

“Then, can we really go to the pool together, Shirou?”

“To Waku Waku Splash in Shinto, was it?”

“―――I think it's called something like that... but that doesn't matter as long as I can go! Great idea, Shirou!”

“...Yeah, for sure. But as long as we're going, why don't we invite the others along as well? The more the merrier.”

“Hmmmm... in that case, shall I have Liz and Sella come along as well?”

“Those maids? Whoa...”

Those two maids would be in swimsuits?

I can't even imagine what that would be like... Actually, it's hard to picture them dressed as anything other than maids.

“Ah, that sounds like a good idea.

If that is the case, then I shall come along as well.”

“Fufufuuu, you really do worry about Shirou a lot.”

“...Such is my duty.”

“Okay then, I'm taking a bath now...”

The topic of my bath sure turned into a big deal.

...Although taking Illya to the pool sounds like it'll be fun...

“Okay. Then, let's go in together, Shirou?”

“Wha... Illyasviel! Do you mean to tell me you did not hear a word of what anyone has said?”

“Fufuuu, just because we promised to go to the pool together doesn't mean I've given up on getting in the bath with Shirou, riiight?”


Illya getting in with me would be dangerous, in more ways than one.

While Saber is keeping her occupied, I hurry up and get my bath over with.

Emiya Residence・Start of Night・Good Night