Loop 33

Day 1

School・Day 1 How about a training camp

There's still time before class begins. I'll go visit the archery club.

I've worried for a while now about Sakura, wondering whether the awkwardness she had when she first became captain has diminished at all.

Right as I arrive at the entrance to the dojo, someone else walks out.

There is no mistaking the impressive uniformed figure and those pigtails.

“Oh? Emiya-kun? You're up pointlessly early, as usual.”

“I could say the same about you, Tohsaka. Here to submit a membership application?”

“You could say that. In the six months we have left before graduation, I thought, why not give rise to a spectacular new legend?”

Behind the jokes, it seems she's looking out for Sakura in her own Tohsaka-like way. You'd never see her out and about so early if that weren't the case.

“You came to watch too, didn't you?”

“Of course. ―――Excuse me!”

“Ah, Senpai... and Tohsaka-senpai, too.”

“Oh, Tohsaka and Emiya? Welcome, welcome! Come on in!”

The other club members already packed up and left, so only Sakura and Mitsuzuri are inside.

The two of them seem to be in the midst of a conversation.

“Good morning, Ayako, Matou-san. Pardon my intrusion.”

―――Saying that, Tohsaka wastes no time making her way inside.

It must have been quite a while since she last showed up at the archery range... should I let her take the lead today?

“Senpai, shall I go back?”

“What are you saying?

These two are like archery club VIPs, and they picked the perfect time to show up. All of you, stay a while!”

“What? What makes us so important, Ayako?”

We all sit down in the observers' area.

Sakura's shoulders look a little tense from the strain.

“Look, I talked to Emiya about this already, but don't you have any good ideas for us? No matter which of the club members I ask, it's impossible to get a straight answer out of them.”

“...Sorry to trouble you with this, Senpai.”

“That's no problem. If you need advice, I'm always happy to help you out, Matou-san.”

It may just be a part of the pose she always assumes while at school, but Tohsaka seems to be brimming with confidence. I knew it was a good idea to bring her along. Feeling relieved―――I'm suddenly drawn aside.

“Hey, Shirou, any idea what's going on here?”

“...What the heck? Are you saying you don't know, even with the way you're talking about it?”

I beckon her towards a corner.

It feels completely unnatural for me, but just this once...

“The thing is, Sakura lacks the confidence necessary to show leadership in the club.”

“That's just like her. But they said she's been doing very well these days.”

“Who did? Fuji-Nee?

The members that were there before the last big tournament can tell that the atmosphere is completely different. And although she doesn't let it show, Mitsuzuri's worried as well. Anyway you look at it, the club's unity and morale are just... lacking.”

Even I can't help but feel pain saying this. But we can't just leave it be.

After gazing at me bemusedly for a moment, Tohsaka...

“Do you suppose it's because she doesn't have the support of a certain ex-archer standing by her side?”

“...That's pretty harsh. But I'm in the same place as you are, Tohsaka. Besides, it's not like I can just lend them a hand directly. That much you should already know.”

“You have a point. She's the one who's president, after all... wait, that gives me a good idea. For the sake of aiding my helpless disciple and my younger sister, I shall pitch in.”

I nod vaguely, and we return to where the other two are―――

“In times like this, it is best to strengthen the mutual bonds by living and eating under the same roof.”

―――And so she says it.

“Eating from the same pot...... is it?”

“That's right. Going together on field trips, or out to eat yakiniku, or to a sleepover training camp. If they're all taking their meals at the same table, they can't help but begin to feel a stronger sense of unity as a team.”

“Oooh, good thinking, Tohsaka.”

It's a pretty sudden proposal, but she got the point across.

It's like the situation at my house. We've got quite a crowd living there, but if we didn't eat dinner all together, we wouldn't feel as close to each other as we do.

“So in that case, wouldn't a training camp be a good idea? The time for the really tough practice to start is almost here, you know.”

“Ah... yes, I see, a training camp...”

“If you're going to have one, I'll lend a hand too. And so will you, won't you, Tohsaka?”

Shouldn't the one to make the suggestion be the first to act on it? It was her idea, so shouldn't it be only natural for Tohsaka to join in?

―――Don't give me that weird look.

“Me? At a training camp?”

“Why not? Emiya said he'd come along, so why won't you? Just because you're not in the club doesn't mean you're not welcome to join.”

“Ah... I'd also be grateful if Tohsaka-senpai were to join us. Very much so...”

The vote is three against one in favor of Tohsaka's participation.

Unfortunately, the person we're dealing with isn't someone who tends to be influenced by something as petty as majority rule or the prevailing opinion...

“Hmph. If it had only been hiking followed by a yakiniku party, I'd gladly join in, but...”

“Who would go out of their way to invite club outsiders to a laid-back get-together like that?”

“For heaven's sake, what...? I'm offended that you'd think I'm only in it for the meat. Yes, I'll join your little training camp, so you'd better be prepared.”

Prepared for what?

Although she continues hurling harsh words at Mitsuzuri, Tohsaka doesn't seem reluctant to join. Now Sakura's beaming as well.

And with that, all those assembled confirm their participation. Mitsuzuri nods in approval.

“All right. So, shall we hold it at the usual place?”

“Ah, yes, at the temple―――”

“Eh? Training camp, at the Ryuudou temple?”

Whoops, looks like we're out of time for today. The last chime just rang.

The archery range is a long way off from the school building, where the chime sounded from. We need to hurry back.

It's too bad that there won't be a field trip or a yakiniku party, but a special training camp like this isn't a bad idea at all.

“H-Hold on, you didn't say anything about that!”

“Yeah, yeah, all right already. We've already acknowledged your intent to join, so I know you aren't gonna try anything as shameful and underhanded as running out on us now, Tohsaka.

Now that that's taken care of, all we have to do is run this past the student council. Guess I'll go see Ryuudou about it after Sunday's practice.”

“Come on, Sakura, Tohsaka. You're gonna be late unless you hurry up―――”

“Yes, Senpai!”

School・Day 1 Sisters' lunch

It's the afternoon break, which means time for lunch.

Empty-handed as usual, I, who did not bring a box lunch, am faced with infinite possibilities...

“I could just go to the cafeteria like usual...”

Or I could get fancy, and rather than go to a convenience store, run to the Mount Miyama shopping district to buy something, go to Shinto to eat, and come back sometime before fifth period.

According to Gotou-kun, it's a rash choice that leaves you unsure as to whether you're going to eat lunch or go on a time trial.

It is also said that there are those who completely forget about school and end up playing around Shinto.

“...That's how it would be. Even if I just go to Shinto, and come back to school...”

“? What would "that" be, Senpai?”

“Uh, going to Shinto for lunch and then coming back here.”

“That's unreasonable! You can't! Don't do it, Senpai!

Besides, you don't need to go so far, since I made enough for you too, Senpai!”

“Wha... oh, it's you, Sakura.

No, that was only a figure of speech...”

Here she is. As I turn around, I see Sakura, holding a cloth-wrapped container in her hands.


Could it be that she's planning to go flower-viewing...? And skip school in the process.

“Thank goodness, I was worried you'd push yourself too much.”

“If you're talking about me going too far, then I―――well, never mind.

Sakura, is that a lunchbox?”

As I point at it, Sakura nods happily.

Yeah, there is certainly more than enough in there... is this what she was working so hard on in the morning?

“Yes, I was thinking of having lunch together with you, Senpai.”

“Perfect timing. I didn't have anything for lunch either... wait, three boxes just for the two of us?”

“As a matter of fact, I thought we could share some with Tohsaka-senpai, too.”

I see, that's why there are three.

“Gotcha. I'll go call Tohsaka.”

“No, that's all right, Senpai. Tohsaka-senpai should already be waiting for us on the roof.”

“Always one step ahead, I see. Ah, but are you okay as far as archery goes?”

Since Sakura is the captain of the archery club now, it seems she usually has lunch at the range...

“I told everyone that I'd be going out for lunch today.

So you don't need to worry about me. Let's go to the roof!”

“Nee-san, have I kept you waiting?”

Away from the public eye, Sakura's way of addressing Tohsaka changes.

Tohsaka is waiting for us on the rooftop with the usual expression on her face.

The kind of face that would send her classmates running away in tears.

“No, not at all.

Moreover, I see you even managed to catch Emiya-kun.”

“I could hardly turn down one of Sakura's homemade lunches.

And I didn't bring anything to eat today, anyway.”

“Same here. After Sakura went through the trouble of making it, it's only a matter of course that I partake.”

“That's right, and so I did my best to prepare a little feast for Nee-san and Senpai!”

Sakura happily sets about opening the three stacked boxes and displaying the food inside.

―――Those boxes look like something you'd serve a New Year's feast in, but inside were an array of onigiririce balls, accompanied by a colorful assortment of sides. The festive red and white of the fish cakes is dazzling to the eyes.

After taking up our chopsticks and saucers, we surround the lunchbox.

“Ooh, not bad at all, Sakura. I can't believe you made all this in one morning.”

“I did do some of the preparations yesterday. Once you make up your mind to cook for three, it's actually a lot more fun than cooking just for one, you know?”

Hands clasped in front of us, we bow in thanks for the meal.

Being on the rooftop in fall with lunch spread out around us almost makes it look like we're on a picnic.

When I take a bite of the nori-wrapped onigiri, a lightly seasoned, savory taste spreads through my mouth. She used konbu... yes, a refined choice indeed.

“This is really well done... I doubt I'd be able to match you on this.”

“Is that so? But I'm sure that you could make an amazing lunch too, Nee-san!”

“...Well, it certainly would be a lunch that would amaze you, although probably not in the way you're thinking.

I'm used to cooking for myself... which means I only do enough to meet the minimum requirements. Although that doesn't mean I'm opposed to luxury in my meals.”

Sakura and I both nod in agreement at that.

...You could call it a masterful level of skill in saving money, or you could call it being sloppy only where yourself is concerned.

As fond as Tohsaka is of extravagance, she can't bring herself to spend the money on it.

“Well, it's not the kind of trait that can be changed anytime soon.

That's why I have to say, the way Sakura can be counted on to make enough for three people with such care and precision is really enviable.”

“Oh no, not at all. I'm not sensitive to fine details the way Nee-san is, so this is the most I can do.”

“What are you talking about? It's delicious, and to top it off, the vegetable shrimp fritters and stewed fish are so beautifully prepared.”

“If you cook fried foods this way, they'll keep for several days. I learned that from Senpai.”

She even managed to keep the sides served in a broth from leaking and prevented the flavors from mixing.

She did an outstanding job on this. I nod to myself as I raise a slice of omelet to my mouth. The way she balanced the flavors of the soup stock and sugar is even better than when I make it.

“...Mmm, hmm. Okay then, since Sakura treated us to such a feast today, I suppose that means it's my turn next time...”

“Ah, that's wonderful. I'm really looking forward to trying Nee-san's lunch!”

“Hmh... w-well, don't get your hopes up too much.

It's been a long time since I've made a lunch for someone else... Well, if I think of this an expression of thanks to Sakura and Emiya-kun, I suppose I can put my all into it.”

The lighthearted conversation between the two sisters continues.

This is what the atmosphere between the two of them should have been like since long ago.

Eating lunch together with Tohsaka, the elder sister, and Sakura, the younger.

Talking about trivial everyday things.

The bond between the two of them, torn apart eleven years ago, will never return to how it once was.

But even if this peace is only a temporary salve over the old wounds, and their bond frail and patchy, that doesn't change how wonderful this rare scene is―――

Day 2

Town・Special Medical Madison

I promised Tohsaka that we'd go on a date sometime.

The weather is good, so maybe today would be a good time.

“Hey, Tohsaka―――Eh, she's not here?”

"What's up with that?" I wonder as I absent-mindedly wander through the doorway.


“Senpai? Didn't Nee-san go back to her house?”

“Ah, right―――Thanks, Sakura.”

Looks like she went straight home after we ate―――Just my luck.

“Do you have some business with Nee-san?”

“―――No, it's nothing.

It's just... I was thinking of settling a debt with Tohsaka.”

“Huh. Could it be that Nee-san has borrowed money from you, Senpai?”

My mouth hangs open at Sakura's ridiculous suggestion. Wouldn't it make more sense for me to be borrowing money from one of them?

“...I wonder if she is all right... hmm...”

Sakura tilts her head in thought. I head for the living room.

I'll call Tohsaka's house and ask her out over the phone.


Naturally, I'm quite nervous.

《...Yes, this is Tohsaka.》

“Uh! D-Don't surprise me like that, Tohsaska!”

《......I should say the same to you, Emiya-kun, for such an abrupt greeting.》

Somehow, she sounds somewhat vague and evasive.

Fortunately, there's no one around to overhear me, but I cover the receiver and whisper into it anyway.

“Well, erm. Tohsaka, are you free today?”

《......Well, for now.》

“So, wanna head over to Shinto for some fun? You know, the debt thing we talked about.”


《......Okay, that's fine with me. What time?》

“Really? Then let's meet in front of Shinto station at eleven.”

《...Yeah... Okay... See you later, Emiya-kun...》

...Tohsaka accepted that invitation awfully quickly.

It's unlike her to accept it without complaint and that worries me, but a promise is a promise.

“I'm going out for a bit.”

“On a date with Rin?”


W-Why is Rider here all of a sudden...!?

“D-D-Did you hear that!?”

“Yes, though just barely. You sounded like you were enjoying yourself so I supposed it was Rin.”

“Ergh... W-Well it's actually true, but what am I going to do when Saber finds out?”

“If you are worried about Saber, she seems to have returned to her room.

Unusually, she appears to have taken to a book I lent her.”

...I see. I guess there's no need to go and talk to her then.

First, I need to worry about the date with Tohsaka.

“Well then, have a nice date, Shirou.

Do not concern yourself with the affairs here. I shall inform Sakura that you will be back in the evening.”

“...Okay, thanks. See ya.”

“...? Tohsaka must be running late.”

It's just about eleven o'clock.

It's difficult to contact each other once we've both gone out.

There's nothing I can do except wait for her to arrive, but it's times like these that I really wish I had a mobile phone.

“Well, it can't be helped if she's a little late.”

She seemed pretty half-hearted about it over the phone, so I guess I shouldn't be too surprised that she'd make me wait.

I'll use the time to plan out what we should do.

“What movies are out... "Fate/Zero" and "Tiger Dojo - The Movie." What the heck, are they really screening that?”

Let's see what else is there to do.

We'll watch a movie, have lunch...and maybe head over to the beachside park afterwards?

It would be nice if there were better picnic spots or amusement parks in the area, but I can't think of any others.

“...Wait, twenty minutes already?”

...Now she's just late.

I'll call the Emiya residence just to make sure. Maybe she left a message for me?

“Oh, they've gotten rid of some of the pay phones. Those are getting hard to find lately...”

I manage to locate a phone booth.

《Yes, this is the Emiya residence.》

“Ah. Sakura? It's me.”

《Eh... Is that you, Senpai? I thought you had gone out, what happened?》

“No, I'm just checking up on something.

You haven't heard anything from Tohsaka, by chance, have you?”

《...No, I haven't had any word from Nee-san. Shouldn't she still be at home?》

“I see... Okay, sorry for bothering you.”

I return the receiver to its cradle.

Nobody's heard from Tohsaka... At this point, I might as well call her house again.

If I can't get ahold of her, I suppose I can take it to mean she's already on her way. In that house, something as sensible as an answering machine would be... actually, I think she does have one.

I can leave her a message, so that way, even if we end up missing each other―――

《......Yes, this is Tohsaka.》


How could she be picking up the phone?

“Hello, this is Emiya... You're Tohsaka, right?”

《Of course. Who else do you think... would answer my phone?》

“Well, that's true... Look, Tohsaka, what time is it over there?”


“We were supposed to be meeting at 11 in Shinto.”

...I hear a faint intake of breath.

That's weird... her breathing sounds ragged...

《Oh... the clocks in my house aren't very... accurate...》

“Hey, are you all right, Tohsaka? You sound strange. Is something wrong?”

《Strange? No, it's nothing like that. I―――ah...》

Just then, I hear the sound of something collapsing.

A chill goes down my spine, and churns my stomach.

“Hey, Tohsaka!? Are you okay!?”

《I'm fine... I just fell, no big... nnn...》

Tohsaka's voice on the line grows fainter and fainter, until suddenly I hear a sharp thud.

Did Tohsaka drop the receiver?―――

“Tohsaka! Hey, say something! What happened!?”

There's nothing but silence on the line.

“Damn it!”

I don't know what's going on, but it sounds like Tohsaka's fainted at home. That much is certain.

I hate to think about it, but if she's been attacked by someone―――

I slam down the receiver and run to the bus stop.

Before I have time to think about it, my body moves on its own.

I impatiently drop the bus fare into the coin slot before jumping off and running at full tilt towards Tohsaka's house.


In the worst-case scenario, I'll probably have to call an ambulance.

No, since her house also serves as her workshop, she really wouldn't want outsiders in there.

If it's more than I can handle on my own, I'll have to call Sakura or Saber for backup.

I run up the hill.

I haven't trained enough. I'm already out of breath.

Tohsaka's voice sounded odd this morning. If only I had noticed it sooner...!


A terrible image crosses my mind.

“...What am I thinking...!?”

I don't need more things to worry about.

For now I should hurry to see whether she is safe.

I'm finally there.

“Tohsaka! I'm coming in!”

I force the door open.

With all the noise I'm making, she should come out and pummel me with angry words―――or not.

I made it inside without having to break the front door down. I practically fall through the open door ahead of me and make a beeline inside.

The phone's receiver is dangling on the floor.


The red furniture creates a momentary illusion that everything is covered in blood. I scan the room.

―――There she is. She's lying on her back on the sofa in the center of the room.


First, I check for obvious bleeding or injures.

There are no noticeable wounds, but just in case there are any internal traumas, I should be careful moving her.

No, is she even conscious to begin with?

“...Hey, Tohsaka.”

I timidly call out to her.

Emergency first aid dictates that I should call her loudly to check for a verbal response, maintain her airway, and quickly call for an ambulance―――

“...nn... ah, huh?”

As if my voice woke her, Tohsaka raises her head and tries to get up.

But all her strength leaves her again before she can, and she drops back onto the sofa.

“Emiya-kun, what are you doing... here?”

“Because you collapsed in the middle of a phone call, for heaven's sake! Don't you remember?”

“Ah... right.

I was getting ready to go out, you know, but I came back for a second to... I...”

...She's barely a shadow of her usual assertive self.

Her replies are faint and inarticulate, as if a severe bout of memory loss had overtaken her.

“Thanks for coming to pick... me up. We'd better get going, or we'll be late.”

Tohsaka makes another attempt to get up, but I can see her arm trembling as she tries to push herself up.

This isn't good. She can't even stand up.

I lean closer to Tohsaka and put one hand on her forehead.

“...I thought so. You're still not well, are you?”

As I expected, her forehead is hot.

With a fever this bad, it's no wonder she'd pass out once she pushed herself too far.

And since she fainted at school once before this, I'm sure she's feeling pretty bad. It must have happened again today since she was walking around in this chill.

...But it looks as though she's feeling better.

It's just a fever then, and although Tohsaka would probably get mad at me for saying that, I'm glad that it's not a really nasty illness or some kind of injury―――

“...Emiya-kun? What are you sighing for...?”

“No, just feeling relieved. All the way here, I was praying that you hadn't been attacked in your home.”

“I swear I was fine this morning... I should be able to just shake something like this off.”

For the third time, Tohsaka tries to get up.

A stubborn, sick patient insisting that she's in perfect health... that's what she is.

“If that were true, you wouldn't be in this state. Tohsaka, you have a cold.

Never mind the date for today.”

“But...... I couldn't possibly cancel it after you went out of your way to invite me, Emiya-kun...”

“Don't worry about that.

I'll play nurse for you today instead. How about it?”

Even if she's sick, I originally planned to spend the day with Tohsaka.

I don't know what her own stubbornness will lead her to do if I leave her alone, so I'd better keep close.

“All right. I'll rest for today, so Emiya-kun, you can...”

“Then we're agreed. Now, you can't walk, can you? I'll get you to bed.”

I slide my hands under Tohsaka's body.

Then, like I did at school last time, I lift her up in my arms.

“W-W-What are you doing, Shirou!?”

“Can't you see I'm carrying you? It's not like this is the first time I've done it.”

Last time, it was in front of what felt like half the school, too... that was pretty embarrassing.

Compared to that, doing this in Tohsaka's house, far from the public eye, is no big deal... until I consider that I'm taking her into her bedroom.



I feel like a newlywed carrying his bride over the threshold.

“What's with that look, Emiya-kun?”

“...Um, nothing.”

Holding Tohsaka in my arms, I carefully make my way through the house.

Still nervous, my hand ends up at her neck.

...The fevered blush on Tohsaka's face makes her look embarrassed, which only heightens my tension.

“There we are. You okay, Tohsaka?”


I set her on the bed.

While I'm at it, I take off her shoes and leave them by the side.

So she wears her shoes inside the house here... Talk about Western-style. But let's save the gawking for later.

“Do you think you can sleep? If you don't feel well, I think that'd be for the best.”

“...I just need to lie down a for a little, then I'll be... fine...”

“Is it your crest again?”

When she collapsed at school, she told me her magic crest was the cause, but this time seems to be different.

I don't think it's just the crest this time.

“This time I just feel under the weather... The crest would be easier to deal with than this, though.”

“The stress from all that traveling must have caught up with you... You've had a lot on your plate since you came home.”

“Argh, honestly... this the second time I've fainted in front of you, too. How pathetic.”

“But aren't you glad that it was me you fainted in front of? Think of it as a silver lining.”

“―――What do you mean?”

“If it were Sakura or Saber, they'd have worried themselves to death.”

Either of those two would have gotten so upset that they'd only make the situation worse.

"I guess," Tohsaka manages a weak smile in agreement.

“If it had been Ryuudou-kun who'd seen me faint, I'd be done for.”

“Come on, that's mean. Issei would take care of you just as well.”

“I suppose I could count on him to at least say a sutra for me. Well, it'd still be better than showing any weakness in front of Shinji. That'd be really awful.”

She's playing tough, but I can hear the fatigue in her voice.

Just idly chatting like this has tired her out.

“...I think you'd better go to sleep, Tohsaka.”

“I hardly need you to tell me that... Emiya-kun, um, I...”


The way she's looking at me with her face all red... and lying on the bed fully dressed on top of that... oh, now I see. If she's going to sleep, she'll need to get changed first.

“...Do you need me to help you... change, or anything?”

Helping a weakened Tohsaka change clothes.

Assuming she has indeed weakened that far, taking off her clothes would be overly stimulating, and her complete lack of resistance would make this so suggestive that it'd be very bad for me―――

“Wha... What are you thinking, Shirou?!”

“Y-You're right, we need another girl for this. I'd better go call Sakura or one of the others.”


A sudden silence descends on the room.

Sakura's her sister, after all. We can count on her at a time like this.

“...I'm fine, no need to call Sakura.

Not for something as simple as changing and wiping the sweat down.”

“Oh, good... wait, that's not good at all, but, arrghh, either way it's a bad idea for me to be in this room right now!”

I can't think of a good excuse for making that suggestion.

Flustered, I stand up from my chair, filling my head with a list of things I'll need to do to care for Tohsaka.

“I-I'll go get some water and a basin from downstairs.”

“...Okay. And there's an ice pack in that cabinet over there.”

I open the drawer she indicates to find a rubber-insulated ice pack inside.

I hope she'll be done by the time I fill it with ice.

Looking at the time, I see that it's past noon.

“...Oh, it's just about lunchtime.

Tohsaka, do you feel like eating anything?”

“Maybe just a little, though I don't think I could stomach anything greasy...”

“Then I'll borrow your kitchen for a bit. I'll make you something light.”

―――Well then.

I use Tohsaka's kitchen and make her lunch, then return to her room with the things I'll need to care for her in hand.

“I'm coming in, Tohsaka.”

“...Go ahead. I'm done changing.”


My breath catches ever so slightly in my throat.

The unusual sight of her pajama-clad figure before me is making my heart pound.

“...Umm... yeah, how're you feeling?”

“A little better than before.

You've got quite a load there.”

I have the ice pack jammed under my arm, since my hands are occupied by the tray with her lunch on it. I don't see any other way I could've carried it.

Tohsaka is sitting on the bed, and looking across the room at me.

...She doesn't look like she's feeling any better yet.

“Here's your ice pack―――oh, and I didn't bring any cold medicine. Should I run out and get some?”

“Ah, no need for that. I already made some of my family's traditional stuff.”

Geh. Tohsaka mentioning homemade medicine brings to mind...

...a rather gruesome scene.

“Taking that and then resting for the remainder of the day will cure me of pretty much any cold. Furthermore, I'm accustomed to the earth of this estate, so if worse comes to worst, I can always go down into the basement and―――”

“That means you'd better get proper nutrition. Will you have some?”

Hoping to cut off a potentially disturbing description of what she plans to do down there, I offer her the tray.

Tohsaka eyes me dubiously―――as if wondering what on earth I put on this tray.

“Emiya-kun, what's this stuff you made?”


Just as I feared, she immediately frowns in displeasure.

So the standard formula of "oatmeal prepared for the sick = tasteless" is one known even to Tohsaka.

“Ugh... you wouldn't mean haferflockensuppe, by chance, would you?”

“You mean oatmeal porridge with a milk base? I thought about it, figured you wouldn't like it, and made something a little different.

I tried adding turnip and green onions, making it something closer to a porridge consommé.”

I confidently present my dish to Tohsaka.

The gentle aroma of the consommé, subtly different from oatmeal, fills the air. It's clear from a glance that it's a grain porridge.

Taking the spoon in her hand, Tohsaka stares hard at the dish.

Is there some kind of oatmeal-related trauma in her past, or is she just wary of foods she's never tried before?

“Ah... om......”

Bringing the spoon to her mouth, Tohsaka sends intermittent looks my way as she swallows the porridge.

“Hmm... this is pretty good...”

“Sorry, it's just something I whipped up at random. It's not as nourishing as milk-based porridge would be, but... it is supposed to aid your digestion, though.”

Alone together and bickering over oatmeal.

Who'd have thought our lunch date would go like this?

Well, I suppose that eating homemade porridge served in your own bedroom is more soothing than a meal at a Shinto restaurant.

“...Fine. I'll acknowledge your cooking skills this time, Emiya-kun.

Just you wait. The next time you catch a cold, I'll be the one to surprise you with my ability.”

“...Your ability to make oatmeal?”

“Shut up about oatmeal already. When you get sick, I'll show you how the three thousand years of history behind Chinese food makes it the best for an ill person! That's where the saying "medicine and proper diet are the essentials for a healthy body" will come to Shirou's rescue, and―――haah...”

And just when I thought her great plan for revenge had her fired up.

Tohsaka's spoon clinks against the nearly empty dish as she sets it down. I might have made too much for her to finish it all.

“...Thanks for the meal, Emiya-kun.”

“I'm glad you enjoyed it. Sorry for using up the stuff in your kitchen.”

“That's okay. I'm the one who got to eat it, after all...”

After I tidy away her dish and utensils, I seat myself at the side of the bed.

...Well then, she'll probably be in the mood for a cup of tea after that.

“Guess I'll go make some tea now. I'll be borrowing your kitchen again, Tohsaka.”

“Ah, in that case, please make it chamomile tea, Emiya-kun.”

"Got it," I say as I stand and pick up her tableware.

Maybe some of this gallantry is rubbing off on me as I take care of Tohsaka here―――Well, not that this is much different from what I usually do.

Just hearing that she had a cold put me in a completely different mental state.

It could be my paternal instincts coming to the forefront, or it could be that Tohsaka's helplessness makes her seem so cute―――

“...If her cold continued on forever, she would... no, no way.”

Having Tohsaka stay sweet and modest would definitely not be good.

“...Asking for chamomile must mean she wants to rest.”

I recall the knowledge of herbs she'd taught me as I get out a light blue teacup.

Once Tohsaka's asleep, I'll have Sakura come take my place. Having a man around getting in the way when her various nightly affairs need tending to would be a bad idea.

“...I'm coming in, Tohsaka―――”


Tohsaka doesn't answer. Maybe she dozed off.

I slowly push the door open, only to be met with Tohsaka's flushed face―――Has she taken a turn for the worse?

“Ah... thanks, Emiya-kun.”

“Here you go... after you've drank it, how about getting some sleep? I'll stay here with you until then.”

"I'll watch over you until you fall asleep"―――saying that to the normal Tohsaka would only earn me a reply of, "What the heck?", right before she'd burst out laughing.

She gulps down her herbal tea.

...The cold may be sapping her strength today, but I'm sure by this time tomorrow she'll be back to her usual fearless, confident, energetic self.

“...Maaan, it's really too bad.”

“Emiya-kun, you prefer ladylike girls, don't you?”

...Tohsaka's uncannily sharp remark completely takes me by surprise.

But of course. She may look weak, but Tohsaka is still Tohsaka.

“You have a weakness for girly girls, like Sakura and Illya. Could it be because of your paternal instincts?”

“...You might be right about that, normally. But I prefer you when you're well to how you are now, Tohsaka.”

I speak honestly from the heart.

Ladylike, she says... Anyway, forget that. What kind of jerk would take pleasure in seeing someone else sick?

Even once she's back to normal and working me so hard that today seems like a day off by comparison, seeing Tohsaka in sound health will make me a lot happier.

“Hmm? So you're satisfied with just that, Emiya-kun?”

Tohsaka's slightly reddened face is turned this way, her eyes watching me attentively.

The room fills with both silence and the aroma of the herbal tea we've been drinking.

“...Well, I suppose I'll have to get better right away so we can go out tomorrow.”

“Sure, if you'd spend the time with me.

...But it'd be nice if you didn't give me reason to panic like today ever again. My heart's not going to last.”

“You're right about that. I'm in your debt again, too―――This isn't good. Borrowing has to be done systematically...”

Time passes slowly as we sit quietly, intermittently raising the cups to our lips. This stuff really works... Looks like the herbs Tohsaka has at her house really work to make you... yawn sleepy.

yawn... Emiya-kun, thank you so much... for today.”

“It was nothing. You don't need to worry about returning the favor or anything like that, either.

...You going to sleep now?”


I get up to my feet and pull the blanket over her.

Her head is turned sideways, looking in my direction.

I know Tohsaka is stealing glances this way―――although her eyes are downcast, I can feel them on me.

“...What's wrong, Tohsaka?”

“Well... you've already done so much to help me out today, Emiya-kun, so... this will be my last request.”

Those words make my heart throb.

That murmur of "last request" falls from her lips, shining wetly in the reddened face cradled by her pillow.

“...Well, I don't suppose I can turn it down if it's your last one.”

“Then... can you give me――――――a goodnight kiss?”

Wait, that's all?

A goodnight kiss is just a momentary peck on the forehead or cheek. That's hardly even worth making a request for―――Wait, did Tohsaka just ask me to kiss her...?

“Um, well... are you sure?”

“But... even though I've given you one before... you've never kissed me, Emiya-kun.”

“―――Yeah, but...”

The times when Tohsaka's kissed me were almost all surprise, if not to say rather violent attacks. I've never kissed her myself... my heart is throbbing so hard now it's nearly painful.

It's not as if this is as stressful as magecraft.

Unlike that particular art, there's no chance I'll die a horrible death if I get this one wrong... although I wouldn't make a mistake in the first place.

But if I kiss Tohsaka, I somehow feel like I might have a different sort of near-death experience.

“...Got it... here goes.”

I've somehow gone stiff as a board.

A strange tension suddenly overtakes me, making my movements jerky.

Now that it's come to this, it'd be best to just close my eyes―――and just let my lips kiss Tohsaka anywhere.

Even if it were on her lips, that would be fine.


I open my eyes just a crack, letting a ray of light penetrate the darkness.

Into my field of vision leaps Tohsaka's face, and even as the tension threatens to suffocate me, I bring my lips ever closer.


They softly brush her skin, ever so slightly tinged with sweat.

I break away immediately. Letting that kiss linger wouldn't be good.

“......All done, Tohsaka.”

“―――I give it a 6.5.”


Tohsaka raises her face to sternly inform me of my score.

“Don't close your eyes when you do it. I had no idea where you were trying to kiss me at first.

And it feels really weird if you bring your face close to someone else's with your teeth chattering that way.”

“Easy for you to say. Weren't you trembling yourself?”

“...I probably was. This was my first, after all.”

...First kiss with me as the initiator, she means.

I fight the urge to rub my lips with my fingers. I feel like her taste must still be lingering there.

“...Geez, if you're this energetic you must be nearly back to normal already. I feel like a fool for getting so worried about you.”

“I suppose having you here to make fun of helped bring my vitality back―――Good night, Emiya-kun.

Try for a higher score the next time you do it.”

She smiles up at me from the bed.

......Oh well.

I already knew that I'm no match for Tohsaka in matters like this.

“Then I'll come check on you one more time after I'm done washing the dishes―――”

“I'll try and sleep until nightfall... so you can go home now. Don't worry about it.”

“No. Tonight, if I need help, I'll call for Saber or Sakura.”

"No, I'll be fine," Tohsaka replies.

Judging by how she looks now, a little rest should be enough to have her back in perfect health.

As she's dozing off, I add one last remark.

“...Consider your debt settled with that last kiss.”

“That's all right. What you did for me this time all falls under the heading of special privileges for the sick―――so we'll settle it some other time.”

With a sigh, Tohsaka's breaths fall slow and silent.

Already asleep... or pretending to be in order to reassure me. It's fine either way. With one last backward glance at Tohsaka, I rise and head back to the kitchen.

I stayed in Tohsaka's living room until dusk.

I'm leaving behind a note telling her to contact me if anything should happen.

“Goodnight, Tohsaka. I'll see you tomorrow―――or tonight, if you'd prefer.”

With that parting remark, I leave the house.

It'd be nice if we could go on a real date next time, without any accidents like this.

Day 3

Emiya's・Day 3 What kind of wedding

We're all sitting in the living room as lunchtime draws near.

Suddenly, while watching television,

“It sure would be nice to get married.”

Those are the words I hear.

I sense a sudden and awkward tension in the air.

...I bet everyone felt the same way.

“What's this? Taiga, you planning to get married?”

Setting her cup of milk tea down on its saucer with a clink, Illya says what the rest of us are thinking.

Sakura then speaks up, as well.

“―――I suppose it's true what they say, about how there's total silence just before a bomb goes off.”*

“If you need a place for the ceremony, I don't mind lending out Einzbern castle―――although you'd need someone to stand at the altar with first, of course.”

Tohsaka is the next to speak.

“―――That's the moment of the explosion.”*

“I haven't got anyone like that!

Shirou has gotten so reliable these days, so I was thinking I'd never have to, but that was before we got our first freeloader, and that turned into two and then three, and now Kiritsugu-san's place is some kind of dreamy hot spring hotel, or no, a girls' school is the trend these days, yeah, a trend, oh geez, and now that it's become practically a brothel I can't afford to take my watchful eye off any of you for one second!”

“Taiga, please calm down!”

“W-W-What does that make me...?!

At this rate, I thought that it'd forever be up to me to support Shirou as both a teacher and an older sister, guiding him down the path of life with one hand on his back to keep him from straying, although that was getting to be such a pain I'd considered just going with a nice castration instead, or else going with our great country's time-honored traditional Infanticide☆System and consigning one or two of these capturable subjects to an infinite darkness, you see...”

“―――Saber, do it. I won't mind.”

“Hmm? Things are getting interesting now! Alright, let's do it! Yeah, that's the right way! Let's do this first, and think about everything else later! Easy!”

It did not look like a strong blow to me, but it sent Fuji-Nee staggering before she gently collapsed onto the floor.

...I feel sorry for Fuji-Nee, but this was the most appropriate and fastest way of dealing with the issue.

“Taiga is now sleeping. I apologize, Shirou. It was too sudden, and I ended up taking rather drastic measures.”

After carrying Fuji-Nee to her room, Saber apologizes.

“Don't worry about it. Who knows what tragedy might have unfolded if we let her go on.”

To begin with, it was Tohsaka who gave the order.

“What? Are you going to tell me that we should have let Fujimura-sensei's true instincts run wild?”

“...No, I have no complaints.

Had Saber not done so, I would have been putting my own life on the line to stop it, probably.”

Thinking it over, I'd say we got away with minimal damage this time.

“It sure is a problem for her, though. If she wants to get married, she does need to think about herself more.

She really is a teacher through and through, forever thinking about the good of others.”

"My oh my," remarks Illya as she puts on another pot of tea.

“Emiya-kun, how about you take Fujimura-sensei?”

“Absolutely not!”

Lightning-speed response.

The words were out of Sakura's mouth before Tohsaka could finish saying "Sensei" and almost seemed to leave a sonic boom in their wake.

“I'm kidding, I'm kidding. Look, Emiya-kun's freezing up in surprise.”

“Um, Senpai. Uh, that's not really what it means, okay?”

"Then what the heck DOES it mean?" is what I want to ask, but decide against delving in further.

“Hahaha... Well, you know, if you tell her that, Fuji-Nee may take a while to get it, too.”

“Yeah, that's the way it usually is. It's the kind of topic we're all particularly distant from.”

She's right about that. None of the usual crowd that gathers here has what you'd call a normal life in regards to marriage or family living.

―――Suddenly, Sakura's eyes meet mine.

Tohsaka noticed. At an angle, I could see an unpleasant smile directed at me.

“What are you talking about, Rin? Didn't you have a priest for a guardian and all?”

“But I wasn't living at the church, and it's not like we were close to begin with.”

...I suppose so.

Although I've never seen one myself, the church is where weddings are supposed to take place in Fuyuki.

“...Come to think of it, have there ever been any couples who got married by that guy?”

...That sounds... how should I put this...? Less like being wed and more like being judged before God, some weird occasion like that...

“Sure there were.

...Well, we know what kind of guy he really was, but that doesn't mean he wasn't devoted to his duties as a priest. I'm sure the couples who married in his church were quite satisfied.”

――― Right.

The scary thing is, aside from his personality, as a priest THAT man was perfect.

...Well, Kuzuki-sensei and Caster's story is the closest it gets to a marriage... does that count?

“Would you mind if I interrupted for a moment?

I have had some experience with the concept of a "wedding" myself. The ceremony, such as it was, was held at the castle.”


Sakura, Tohsaka, and I freeze in shock.

“What are you all acting surprised for? It's only natural for Saber to have already been married.”

“―――Come to think of it, it really is.”

...I see.

Saber's legend includes a lot of facts that may or may not be true, but marriage is one that is often mentioned.

It's just that knowing the way it ends, it can't possibly be a good topic to bring up out of mere curiosity.

Tohsaka and Sakura seem to have the same thought as we exchange glances.

“So, how did the two of you end up living together?”

“I do not think I will be very helpful as reference, Illyasviel. Would that still be acceptable?”

“Yeah, I'm not planning a thorough study or anything.”

“Is that so?”

This is the part where not having Fuji-Nee around really helps.

“The ceremony was magnificent and grand. As the entire country was involved, it lasted for nearly seven days.

When she―――Guinevere and I were wed, our marriage was celebrated by all throughout the land. I swore to love her as a man, falsehood though it all was.

...However, I was a king before I was her husband.

To put it in a more cruel manner, you could say that I married her as a king.”

“...Then you two were married even though you didn't love her?”

“...That is right. Though I did bear her good will in my own way, I am certain it was insufficient for a husband.

As a result, we betrayed each other. She led a life of misfortune, and I bear part of the blame for allowing her honor to be soiled.”

“Still―――I, as a man, tried to love her as much as I possibly could.

While it was a political marriage, the wedding ceremony itself was the time when I could earnestly wish her happiness. To me, as a human, that was a very blissful moment.”

...The way she told the story was much too calm. Just what kind of different emotions were mixed in there, I could not possibly understand.

Saber's ever so slightly lonely smile brought her story to an end.

Emiya's・Day 3 Gorgon's cellar

Perhaps I should pop into the storehouse for a moment and see how things look.

All I've been doing in here lately is organizing the place, so I thought I'd try fixing some of the broken things I'd set aside in here for a change.

“Shirou, do you have a moment?”

“Hmm? What is... Gah!”

“Shirou? Its condition is poor, so I wanted to ask you to take a look.

Something is loose somewhere; even when I just press on it with my hand it feels like it is about to fall off. With just a slight touch, the tension here becomes weak, maybe because I have been treating it as roughly as I like up until now.”

W-W-What the, could Rider mean this huge barrier of breasts is... no, can't be!

“F-F-Fix what...!?

Impossible, fixing something like that is definitely impossible, and asking me to try is hopeless...!”


“Look, for this kind of issues, Saber... wouldn't have a clue, so Tohsaka... is definitely a no-go.”


“Right, Sakura! Sakura will understand, I'm sure!

Right now, Sakura is the one I can count on...! Aah, only Sakura will do, go find Sakura!”

“......It is about the bicycle.

Shirou, are you busy right now?”

“...... ...... ...... ...... ...... ...... ...... ...... ...... ...... ...... ...... ...... ...... ...... ......No, not as busy as Sakura is.”

“You seem to have calmed down, Shirou.”

...The difference in height is excruciating.

If I were another head taller, I wouldn't have lost face in that misunderstanding.

Even walking beside her is just...

“Shirou, is it not the time to start wearing something warm that will cover your neck? The bloodsucking teeth marks are... no, it certainly is starting to get cold outside.”

Hearing those words coming from so far above makes me feel so much like a kindergartener being spoken to by the teacher, the height difference is weighing on my mind whether I pretend to ignore it or not.

“Rider, you sure are tall.”


“Hey, I really envy you. I wish I were a bit taller.”

“You have a dignified attitude, like a model's. And the kind of charm that attracts everyone's attention as soon as you appear.”



“But... it is simply not cute.”



“A petite body is the very premise of being cute. In this regard, I am hopeless.”

...True, "cute" tends to be used to praise something small and delicate, and Rider has just the opposite qualities.

“...So you want to be thought of as cute.”

What would a cute Rider look like?

Clutching a plush toy that she always talks to―――

Playing video games, she'd get so absorbed in them that she'd move along with the characters. She'd hit her head on the coffee table and knock herself out―――

She'd be secretly peeking at my stash of teacakes that Issei shared with me, saying, "Fufu, what shall we do with these, Shirou?" and grinning ear-to-ear―――

...Okay, that's taking it a bit too far.

People yearn for what they do not have, and what I see as the faultless beauty, Rider, is no exception.

“Yeah, that much can't be helped...

Oh, right. Looking at it from the other side, what are the benefits of being tall?”

“There are none.”

“Mm... for example, being able to reach even the highest shelf at a store, or being easy to find when meeting someone in a crowd.”

“If you subtract the disadvantages, it will definitely end up negative.”



What are the disadvantages?

She always has this pensive, melancholic look, as if she is deep in thought. If you look up at her, you'll get the impression that she's really distressed on the inside.

There's lots of filth I end up not seeing due to my height, but Rider probably has everything in plain view.

Even so, I'm still envious of tall people.

Forget the minor stuff, and let your feelings become grand.


...Yeah, that's right. Climbing up to a high place makes you feel so grand that you want to yell out at the top of your lungs.

Isn't that nice, being in up high... by virtue of being so tall...

“...Wait, "yoo-hoo~"...?”

Who would go around yelling "yoo-hoo~" at my age? Nobody in their right mind, that's for sure.

“No, this "yoo-hoo" is...”




Coming from high up, watch out...!


Flying → falling.

That is an inevitable law of physics, and not even Illya is above it.


“! ...gh.”


Why would a living thing, naturally unable to fly, be flying in the sky?

The real reason might be that falling is more fun than flying.


“I, made it...!”

She dives, keeping herself in a basic arched stance, and I execute a perfect catch!



I couldn't cancel out the kinetic energy.

In my rush to protect Illya, I end up tumbling magnificently to the ground―――!

“Ah, are you alright, Shirou?”

“Ouch, that prank was too much...”

Illya seems to be alright.

Although my now-battered body is another story.

“Honestly, this place is such a junk heap that it's downright dangerous. If it were to collapse on you, no way you'd get out uninjured.”

That's why I want to be taller.

I could have caught her easily just now.

“Ahaha, you worry too much, Shirou.

Eh, eek...!?”


She stiffens as if caught by something.

I look back―――

The bicycle Rider was pushing fell down.


Rider has frozen stiff, her arms held out in the air as if still holding the handlebars.


She hasn't even noticed that the bicycle is down.

I look over at her to see what might be wrong, and realize that the pupils of her Mystic Eyes aren't focusing.

“Rider, is something wrong?”

“Yes, Nee-sama!”



........................Was I the elder sister?

Come to think of it, every time Rider's with me, she is always considerate, stepping aside and acting with particular respect.

Honestly, her reserved demeanor doesn't seem bad, but I had been confused struggling to find common words to describe such distance between us―――So I'm the elder sister, huh?

Like hell I am.*

“N... no, it is... nothing, Shirou.

Please act as if it did not happen.”

Rider looks around awkwardly.

She's behaving really suspiciously.

“O-Oh right, I wanted to ask you to have a look at the bike. It is not functioning properly.

Maybe a screw is loose somewhere. Even when just pushing it around, it still rattles and feels unsteady.

I understand this may well be the result of rather violent treatment for the sake of enjoyment. Nevertheless, I would like to request your help in repairing it, if possible.”

“Oh, I did hear about that just before.

And that is actually not a bike, but a Cat Thrill Tower that every feline loves.

A multi-purpose jungle gym in which cats can climb, sharpen their claws and take care of their business. Fuji-Nee picked it up from somewhere and it eventually ended up in this storeroom.”


The bike is still down there.



As if to break the unpleasant silence, the white figure dives again.

Yeah, look at this little berserker. The moment I take my eyes off her--!!

This time the comet comes crashing down on Rider!

“Rider, please!”*

“Eeh, aah, yes! ..............eiigh!?”

She'll be fine―――

With her tall stature and supernatural strength, she can catch Illya easily!

How nice it is to be tall.

Look, she doesn't even flinch after catching Illya.

She doesn't flinch, but...


Dumbstruck, Rider has turned into a statue.

“―――ya, hii...!”


“Wow! Rider is actually scared, ahahaha---!”

“Kya, kyaaaa!”*

Rider, of all people, is shrieking in terror.

All the while attempting to shake off Illya, who is clinging onto her. There are some serious psychological issues at play here, no doubt.

“Ah, ah... ahhh! No! Shirou, please hurry up and take her away from me!”

“You're so rude. Treating a Fräulein like a caterpillar. Because you said that, I will do this to you!”

Hugging her neck, Illya rubs her cheek against Rider's face.



What a strange reaction.

Don't tell me there are secrets to Rider which we are not yet aware of...?

It happened because it happened.

Now, let us tell the tale of a distant, foreign country.

It is a dark tale, tainted with fresh blood.

The story of a female monster the mere mention of which makes one tremble in fear, the legend of Medusa.

It takes place in a foreign land known as the Shapeless Isle.

A faraway island that lies beyond the Oceanus, known to no one but the three gray witches, the Graeae.

It is said that a fallen goddess transformed into the terrible Gorgon lived there.

Many warriors reached this temple, shrouded in mystery.

Some went to confirm the legend of the Gorgons...

Others went to claim the glory of slaying the Gorgons...

Some were dispatched to the island with an oracle's dazzling prophecy...

Yet others equipped themselves with swords, spears, arrows and bows and traveled there with nary a word spoken to anyone else.

None of those are breathing.

Not a single one escaped the island alive.

They did not die and return to the earth, either.

Turned into stone alive, their lives simply ended there.

The owner of Cybele, the Mystic Eyes of Petrification, walks through the temple.

Her hair is like silk of the Far East, and her skin is white like freshly fallen snow.

And yet, she is drier than the desert of Nubia, and more vicious than a sandstorm.

She gazes at the stone statues of the petrified heroes, taking a special notice of one of them.

The statue of a huge man carrying a spear.

His bulging sinews remind her of the great physical strength he had while he was still alive.

As the temple's queen looks over the stone figure, her lips curve slightly―――

She raises her strange-looking dagger overhead in front of the pitiful man.

Pulling the chain, attached to the double-edged dagger now sticking out from the statue, she wraps it around another statue.

Standing in front of the chain now stretched between the two figures, she bends down to the basket at her feet―――

And picks up a heap of laundry.

“Ah... How cute... This is so nice.”

In the basket are a multitude of clothes made from expensive silk and linen, decorated with laces and ribbons.

She washes them all diligently, rinsing in the river and then hanging them up on the chains, one by one.

Stoically, she labors on.

The moment it falls into her hands, a spear turns into a clothesline, a sword into a hanger, and a helmet into a shoe-drying rack.

Thus having finished hanging up the laundry, she notices a single statue casting a shadow on the clothes, and proceeds to kick it down.

Her work is finally completed.

The owner of the Mystic Eyes looks at the statues scattered throughout the temple,

“―――Phew. It sure would be nice if no one came today.”

She sighs, as if bored.

“Now then. Time to rest.”

She sits down on the statue of a man trying to crawl away to escape.

Under the pleasantly warm sunlight, a dry wind breezes through her hair and the laundry.

“That was quite a load that got piled up. It is good that the weather has finally gotten nice.”

Bathed by the rays of sunlight, she gazes at the sun absentmindedly.

Right now, she is neither a goddess worshiped by many, nor a monster which shook the earth, but a young woman enjoying the tranquility.

“Found you, Medusa...!”


Suddenly, a voice filled with anger echoes in the temple.

―――Not that this is a rare occurrence on this island.

Seeking the glory of exterminating the snake-witch, many people came day and night to kill her.

As a result, it seems that there will be one more clothes hanger to join this cemetery of bizarre stone statues...

“Ah, ah, ah, ah―――”


The owner of the Mystic Eyes, who was supposed to smack her lips at her new sacrifice, cowers as if meeting the end of the world.

“I can't believe it... Why...? Why!?”

Appearing on the top of the stairs overlooking the forest of stone statues,

―――is only a single girl in a dazzling outfit.

“You... What did you...!?”


“Didn't I tell you not to use that rusty, smelly chain to dry the laundry!?”

“P... Please forgive me, Nee-sama. Um, since it was convenient, I-”

“Be quiet. Ahhh! My nice clothes will be ruined with uneven chain marks on them!

You scrub them with those gorilla arms of yours, and end up removing not only the dirt but also all of their divinity... Look here, the garments adorning my body are in no way similar to the crude rags you wear! You're built like a behemoth, and mess up everywhere you possibly can!”

“Yes... I am deeply sorry.”

“And my shoes! Why on Earth would you put them on some creep's face? This was my favorite pair, and now they're going to be too gross to even put on.

I understand a huge body being a bit slow on the uptake, but it looks like you have no grace nor any sense of beauty, either.”

“Yes... You are absolutely right.”

“Kyaa! Those clothes cannot be dried under direct sunlight!

Ahhh, the colors will fade... Arrgh, you can't wash the clothes properly, and now you're trying to spoil all my clothes!?

I can't believe it, are you the worst jinx ever!? Or are you just the most useless being around!?

So!? Answer me, you worthless Medusa!”

“T-That, um... Nee-sama, I will be careful next time―――”

“You still do-n't ge-t i-t, do you...!?*

There won't be a next time for you! Aarghh, for gods' sake! What am I supposed to wear tomorrow!? Are you telling me to dress as nakedly and shamelessly as you!?”

“...But, these are your clothes...”

“What, you got a problem? Our leftovers should be plenty for you.”

This beautiful woman was told off completely by a girl with a height lower than her chest.

It might have looked pleasant at the beginning, but there's nothing but wordless stares of the stone statues there now.

“Geez, it's sheer ugliness everywhere I turn. I can't stand these lecherous, vulgar faces anymore.

Once a man starts looking like this, that's the end for him.”


“From now on, use only handsome men for petrification. And statues with no aesthetic value need to be all smashed by tonight!”

“E-Eh!? B-But, there are so many of them...”

“I'm the older one. If I tell you to do it, then do it. You're a younger sister, ranking lower than a slave on this island.

And don't you dare cut corners by using Bellerophon to take down them all at once. You'll leave marks on the temple itself!”

“Ah... No...”

“Geez, thinking that anything's fine as long you don't get caught... who did you take after, I wonder?”

“――――――If that is true, then Nee-sama, but...”*

“I heard that, Medusa.”*


“...Unbelievable. I just said that you're lower than a slave.

Have you already forgotten that? Do you dare rebel against your elder sister?”

“N... No, I don't...”

“Since you have such a bad memory, shall I impart the attitude of absolute servitude ON YOUR BODY itself?”



I won't let you escape, Medusa!”

Shaking off the restraining voice of her pursuer, the owner of Mystic Eyes dashes off at full speed.

She's heading for the stable.

There resides her Pegasus, a gift from the God of Sea, Poseidon.

She needs to get on the winged fantastic creature and escape to the skies for a while, far away from the reach of her sister's hands.

Then she just has to pray that her sister's mood would change before she returns―――

“If I escape, then the cleaning and cooking... But if I stay behind, I shall be punished and will be unable to do it anyway... ahh...”

She laments while fleeing away.

Thanks to her long legs, her sister couldn't catch up to her on foot.

She felt gloomy at the thought that this was the only time that she was thankful for her tall stature.

“I only wish I could be cute, like Nee-sama...”

She opens the door of the stable.


The owner of the Mystic Eyes stands still in shock.

“Nee-sama... why are you here?”

The girl holding the reins to Pegasus laughs lightly.

“Oh my, I'm sorry, Medusa.

I just came back from a long ride with the Pegasus, so he must be very tired. Well, myself aside, someone of a stature and weight as big as yours is a no-go anymore.”

“Eh... No way, You even said you would let him rest this morning...”

“Do you want to leave the island? You could simply swim. I am certain that with all the fat, your body should be able to float easily.

Do you understand? As the owner, I forbid you to ride on him today.”

“Eh... but I was the one who received him...”

“Fufu, you're a bit slow, Medusa.

"The younger sister's things are the older sister's things, the older sister's things are the older sister's things," how many times do I have to say it before you understand?

...Really. Give it up, don't even try to ride out on my Pegasus today. I feel sad. This indolence is so similar to someone I know...”


“I heard that, Medusa.*

...Looks like I have no choice. I wasn't serious, but looks like the older sister has to teach the younger one about the consequences of disobedience WITH HER BODY.”

“E-Eeek!? I did not say anything this time!”

“S-S-S, Sorryyy...!”

The owner couldn't help but dart out of the stable. However...


“Ah, you came back to me. That's pretty admirable for someone as sly as you.”

“...Younger Nee-sama!”

“My, did you catch Medusa for me?”

“...Elder Nee-sama!”

―――Explanation necessary.

The two girls giving Medusa a hard time.

Each one the spitting image of the other, these two are, in fact, Medusa's sisters.

The eldest one is "Stheno, the Strong."

The younger one is "Euryale, the Far-Flier."

Finally, the youngest and tallest, alike yet different, is "Medusa, the Woman that Dominates."

These three lovely ladies were the infamous Gorgon sisters.

Exiled to the Shapeless Isle, turning one brave man after another into stone, they were prominent monsters even in the world of Greece...!


As a side note to avoid any misunderstanding, it was actually the youngest sister, Medusa, who struck fear into the hearts of heroes.

That's not to say that her elder sisters boasted any fighting prowess at all.

...No, while the name "Medusa" had been acquiring an entirely different reputation, her sisters were revered as goddesses by the nearby men.

They were, after all, the ancient, indigenous gods of Greece.

Nevertheless, jealous of their beauty, the goddess Athena took away their "faith from each and every person" and exiled them to the "Shapeless Isle."

Although only Medusa alone received Athena's curse, caring for their younger sister, the siblings accompanied her to the isle as well. Since then, rumors about them being monsters started circulating amongst people.

However, a rumor is still only a rumor.

They did not become monsters, and merely continued to spend their days like before.

The legendary, infamous Medusa aside, the first and second daughters were literally "perfected" goddesses.

―――The eldest daughter, Stheno.

A lady with elegant demeanor, overflowing grace, and wisdom in her actions and words.

A goddess said to be the ideal woman.

It is said that merely hearing one's name escape from her lips is enough to make a man lose his senses over the rapturous feeling, and swear eternal loyalty to her.

―――The second daughter, Euryale.

A lady with carefree demeanor, overflowing smile, and the essence of purity in her actions and words.

A goddess said to be the ideal girl.

It is said that merely hearing one's name escape from her lips is enough to make a man tremble all over with honor, and swear to protect her even at the cost of his life.

Unlike Medusa, these two goddesses had neither Mystic Eyes nor supernatural strength.

With merely the power of immortality and eternal youth, they were just weak girls.

Athena lied to them.

That because they were monsters, they would never grow old.

That was false.

Different from other Olympus gods who needed to consume the golden apples to stop aging, the sisters, especially Stheno and Euryale, were born into this world as "idols," completely immortal.

They were the embodiment of the yearning hearts of men.

Although they would never age, they were the weakest beings in this world.

With no fighting abilities, these immortal girls would starve if left alone. Thus, they needed help from others.

That is the "divine essence" of these Gorgon sisters.

From the moment they were created and up until the moment they are destroyed, they will remain the same.

Except the youngest, who was a failure from birth.

The youngest daughter, Medusa.

Different from her older sisters, she did not have the skills of a "perfect" goddess.

The two older sisters were "forever young," but Medusa was not.

As a result, in spite of being the sister, Medusa grew older, and was revered as a monster different from her sisters.

...As a side note, one ought to mention that she was a great goddess nevertheless.

The Gorgon sisters were the results of the deification of the same natural phenomena.

One could call them copies or, better yet, clones.

It could have been a mistake during her birth, or there might have been a deeper significance to it, but the youngest sister Medusa was not copied completely.

The elder sisters embodied the concept of "forever young and immortal," yet Medusa received nothing of the sort.

Nevertheless, as a compensation, Medusa was endowed with various abilities which her sisters were not.

The Mystic Eyes of Petrification, a supernatural ability to interfere with nature, and excellent physical abilities.

All of those can be said to be divine powers indispensable in protecting her sisters who couldn't live in this world by themselves.

...However, it was those physical differences that caused the sisters, once united, to become three different individuals.

It is not a surprising development for Medusa, different from the start. But in the process of interacting with one such sibling, even the two others, who were meant to be the same, eventually showed slight irregularities.

The youngest sister, expert in fighting, and her elder sisters who perfected themselves as idols.

Unlike Medusa, they liked humans very much.

They welcomed the men who visited their island, comforted them, and sent them on a new adventure.

Eternal idols.

The incarnations of the image of a pure maiden.

Idealized, never-aging young girls.

Twin deities in a class entirely different from that of the haughty goddesses with full curves.

That's right.

As goddesses whose purpose was "just to be loved and spoiled," being "cute" was their specialty.

The ultimate sisters whose beauty would never be matched even by Medusa's best efforts, they were the snow-white Gothic Lolita duo.

For Stheno and Euryale, that was the meaning of their very existence...!


That's what the men, observing from afar and oblivious of their true character, said of them.

―――The eldest daughter, Stheno.

A lady with elegant demeanor, overflowing grace, and wisdom in her actions and words.

A goddess said to be the ideal woman.

It is said that merely hearing one's name escape from her lips is enough to make a man lose his senses over the rapturous feeling, and swear eternal loyalty to her.


If someone were to ask the youngest sister her opinion on the condition of anonymity, she would say that Stheno was the perfect example of laziness.

She had not the slightest interest in things she didn't like. Worse still, this demon-like sister's cruelty would make the watchdogs of hell tremble in fear.

―――The second daughter, Euryale.

A lady with carefree demeanor, overflowing smile, and the essence of purity in her actions and words.

A goddess said to be the ideal girl.

It is said that merely hearing one's name escape from her lips is enough to make a man tremble all over with honor, and swear to protect her even at the cost of his life.


Once again, if one were to ask the opinion of the youngest sister, on the condition of anonymity of course, she would say that Euryale was the ultimate display of mood swings.

On top of that, she was sly as well, "If you keep quiet, no one will be mad, and if they don't find out, then there was nothing wrong, hohoho." and yet, she would feel just a little guilty later. That's the impish, cowardly second sister.

Unlike Medusa, they liked humans very much.

They welcomed the men who visited their island, comforted them, and sent them on a new adventure.

―――But even that was a gigantic trap.

They loved everything pretty and cute, freely and unconditionally.

Indeed, these two devils did love humans.

However, what they loved was not humans as the living beings, but rather toying with the people they liked, embarrassing and driving them to their ruin―――in short, watching them struggle. They loved it more than a three-course meal...!

“Ummm, Nee-sama. I thought this is the very unsightliness that provokes your unconditional hatred...”

“I'm shocked. Your tastes are terrible to the point of being incurable, Medusa.

Now listen here. Pretty things dancing in most uncouth manner... Now that is real beauty.”

...Hence, many brave men became the sisters' sacrifice.

The heroes who came seeking to court them were met with impossible demands, and went back to their countries weeping.

...Alas, the terrifying, devilish three sisters.

One went to challenge the she-monster Medusa to gain fame, and was petrified.

Another went to seek the hand of the goddess in marriage, and ended up ridiculed beyond all reason until he met his death.

Oh brave warriors, if there are men amongst you, they shall do well to leave this place!

This is the the island at the utmost end of the world; an evil paradise inhabited by women of peerless beauty.

"That's right, I won't say anything bad, just don't ever get involved with the goddesses." This is the kind of island that exists to teach you this lesson, you know...?

And that is the rough summary of the story behind the Temple of Darkness.

“Ah, uh...”

A peaceful afternoon without any challengers, which was quite rare.

Part of the daily ritual, Medusa is being picked on by the two elder sisters again.

“Well, were you trying to run away from meStheno?”

“Hmph, what did you do to meEuryale? I want to hear your answer.”


Medusa is caught in between the two sisters, one a spitting image of the other.

Unlike Medusa, who matured slowly but surely, her elder sisters remained forever the same.

Since the basics of their personalities are the same, they sense the same things as well.

Far surpassing telepathy, they are more like two parts of the same body, each one of them feeling everything the other does.

“That's right―――You defied me, didn't you?”

“Which means you defied me twice.”

“Your contempt for myselfEuryale equates to your contempt for meStheno.”

“Well then, me and myself have no choice but to punish you.”

“Naturally, disciplining a younger sister is the duty, privilege and―――a source of amusement for the older sister.”

Solemnly, Euryale turns to a statue standing beside Medusa.

A slim and tall warrior raising a huge sword overhead.

“The face isn't bad... I wonder if this will work.”

Holding onto the man's armor, she pulls herself up with all her strength, as if trying to tear the pieces off.

“Y-Younger Nee-sama!?”

Flexing her short limbs, Euryale steadily climbs up the man's body.

“Younger Nee-sama! That is dangerous, please stop...”

“Medusa, this is your punishment. Don't move.”


Like a slithering serpent...

With slow and steady movements, she flows towards the top of the statue.

Not able to take her eyes of Euryale, Medusa felt as if all of her own limbs were entangled by the snake, unable to even twitch.

“Hmm, what a superb view. Who could have thought it feels so good to look down at other people?”

“Yes, perhaps it can't be helped that our silly Medusa has grown this impudent.”

“T-Then... would you please forgive me?”

“Medusa, just because you're so forgetful, I'll repeat my order one more time for you.

―――Are you listening? Running away is forbidden. Absolutely forbidden.”


Her small body dances in the air.

Which is hardly surprising, given that she is Euryale the Far-Flier.

The flying goddess leaps towards Medusa's snow-white neck, grins wide, opens her mouth and bares her fangs.

And then―――delivers an evil kiss.

“..., ah...!”

A battle-cry that punches through the skin and pierces the blood vessels below.

“kh... Ah, yahh...!!”

The sweet music of smacking lips, dancing tongue and slurping sounds follows.

“Hah―――ah, aah, ah......!”

And then, a bloodcurdling scream from Medusa.

...One wonders what would her acquaintances in the afterworld think if they saw her like this.

Preying not on individuals but on an entire city, the demon Medusa sucked the blood of hundreds of people in one night; to think that she was being treated the same by this cute little girl...!

“U-Ugh~~~~ younger Nee-sama! It hurts, it hurts, and it tickles...!”

“Ahahahaha, how pathetic! It always bothered me how the younger sister ends up looking down on the elder ones!”

The tall woman trembling in fear, and the cute little girl clinging tightly onto her.

“―――Perhaps it's unfair for me to have all the fun.”

Riding the Pegasus, Stheno licks her lips.


“...Don't move, Medusa. It'll hurt only if you resist.”

“Ah! Ahhhhh! Elder Nee-sama!?”

“Ah... hyaa, AAaAAAAH~~~...!”

Her blood plundered from both sides of her nape, Medusa is entranced, standing stock still.

Like an endless bout of anemia.

It is no longer screams that she lets out. The noises now resemble the creaking of some broken mechanism.

“Haa... Our youngest sister, she...”

“Fuah... So dull and lazy, and yet...”

“Ahhh... So indiscreet, such a blockhead, and yet...”

“...And yet.”

“And yet...”

“Is it only her blood which is so sweet―――!”

“Ah...! Haa, haa, p-please forgive me, Onee-sama, ahhhh~~~~......!”

The two sucking sounds weave with each other in melodious harmony, echoing within the temple.

Part of the daily ritual, the youngest sister is being disciplined by the mean sisters today.

...It shall be said again...

That is not a rare occurrence on this island.


As I come to, I find myself at the storehouse.

The sunlight is now considerably lower, has it been a whole hour already...?

“...? How strange. What have I been doing?”

I tilt my head.

“Erm... When you and Rider entered the storeroom, I followed behind quietly and... huh?”

Illya also tilts her head.


Rider frowns deeply.

“What's wrong, Rider? You got a headache?

And what have we been doing all this while?”

“...Eh? N-No, nothing much.

...You were just saying that you wished you were a little taller, Shirou.”


I clap my hands together.

Yeah, we did talk about something like that, didn't we?


If that's the case, then what is bike Number Two doing at Rider's feet...?

“Rider, about the Number Two that's just laying on the ground...”

“I do not know about it. Number Two somehow ended up being left here, and it is absolutely none of my concern as to how.

―――Isn't that right, Shirou?”

“―――ah―――t-that's right, Rider just dropped by here. Number Two was, erm...”

...Despite my mind still being a bit foggy up to that point, faced with Rider's glare, I finally conclude there's nothing else to it.

“Yes. I believe you might have brought it here for repairs.

...I have no major requests, but as far as maintenance goes, I would ask to have the frame and crank reinforced. The tires are perfectly fine.”

“Well then, please excuse me.

And Illyasviel, I am happy to see you this lively, but high places are not somewhere young girls like you should play in.

...Therefore, you should never dive down from the second floor of this storehouse.”

“? You're so strange. It's not like I'd ever do that, anyway.”

“That is fine. I am glad to have your understanding, Illya.

Then I shall see you again at dinner time.”

Flashing an adult-like smile, Rider leaves the storehouse.

Fascinated by the back of the cool, adult-like figure, I see her off in a daze―――

“...ghh! ...!”

The stylish woman hits her head and crouches down in pain.


“Please do not worry... And Shirou, being tall has hardly any benefits at all.”

Tottering, Rider disappears towards the courtyard.

...I see.

Being tall is unexpectedly troublesome, huh...

Emiya Residence・Start of Night Things to do

Emiya Residence・Night Map The things that suit Rider


As I passed by Rider's room, I heard voices from inside.

“......maybe so, then how about this one?”


Inside it's Rider and... Sakura?

It's not strange to see them in one another's rooms, given how friendly their Master and Servant relationship is, but something is different about the enthusiasm in this conversation.

“......perhaps, but I...”

“Really now, Rider, how can you still be saying that when you're...”

From what I've seen, Rider is usually the more assertive of the two, while Sakura is more passive.

But now, Sakura's more eager, while Rider sounds hesitant.

“...Oh. Is that Shirou out there?”

As expected of Rider, this thin sliding door may as well not even be here.

Her voice was unusually stiff and formal, maybe she's feeling a bit self-conscious with Sakura there?

“Yeah. my bad, I heard the two of you talking as I passed by, but didn't mean to eavesdrop. Sorry, I'll be on my way now.”

“Ah, perfect timing! Please come in too, Senpai!”


Sakura calls me into the room.

...Strangely, Rider seems to be very troubled.

“? Is it really okay for me to come in?”

“Sakura, um, this is...”

“I'm sure Senpai will agree with me, so it's fine, right, Rider?”

In response, I hear a sigh that is strangely filled with resignation.

...I feel like it would be bad to intrude, but turning down the invitation would be even worse.

“...Hm. Then should I make us some tea?”

“No, that will not be necessary. The sentiment alone is enough.”

“Then I'll go make the tea, Senpai.”

The door slides open and Sakura steps out.

She's smiling brightly, in sharp contrast to Rider who is wearing a grim expression inside the room.

“Black tea will be fine, right?”

“In that case, there should be some tea cakes in the usual place. Please bring those too.”

After nodding, Sakura disappears down the hall.

...Now then, sure enough I'm still worried about whether or not waiting in Rider's room is a good idea.

“...Is it alright if I come in, Rider?”

Rider nods.

A gloomy welcome... Something seems off, it's strange to see Rider look so troubled after speaking with Sakura.

The reason for that soon becomes apparent as I enter the room.

There are fashion magazines spread open around the cushions that Rider and Sakura were sitting on.

Rider is seated in the center of them. Like a toad surrounded by mirrors, she looks like she hasn't slept a wink all night... That was a terrible analogy.

“Is something wrong with these?”

I pick one up. The model was a beauty, but frankly speaking, the Rider in front of me was better in terms of raw material.

However, the purpose of this kind of magazine is probably to look at the clothes instead of the models themselves.

“It's troubling, Shirou.”

“......It's rare for you to be troubled by Sakura, Rider.”

“Sakura was just trying to get me to... no... I would not say it is a big deal, but...”

Rider replies evasively, but somehow I'm able to piece together what happened.

It was Sakura, not Rider, who brought these magazines. So, it's only natural to assume things would turn out like this.

“Sakura was...”


I understand what she's trying to say.

Sakura brought those magazines and catalogs and probably started asking which outfits suited Rider.

Of course, she was also looking for which suited herself just as much.

But, before long, Sakura's main objective shifted to Rider.

“That's right. Rider would look nice if she dressed a bit more lady-like.”

...Sakura returned at that moment.

She hands out the teacups, but Rider sinks into silence like usual.

“Don't you think so too, Senpai?”

“...Well, it's not that I haven't thought about it.”

Sakura is concerned about how Rider dresses.

I can certainly see why.

She may look nice dressed in jeans, but certainly I can't help but think what a waste it is when she has such a nice figure.

The feeling I get from her is a little different than from Sakura, whose charms are enough to even overwhelm me at times. Rider's style is also different from those like the tidy Saber and grand Tohsaka.

“That's why, I think wearing cuter clothes like this would suit her.”

Saying that, Sakura holds out a magazine in front of me.

...The page shows a skirt wearing figure that makes me think, "Yeah, this model is cute."

I visualize Rider wearing this...


The person in front of me that's being dressed inside my head clearly looks troubled.

I imagine Rider in this kind of outfit, but at the same time an image of a bewildered Rider being forced into wearing something that didn't belong on her floats into my mind.

“But, Rider doesn't seem one bit interested. Senpai, what do you think?”

I think I understand their conversation from earlier now.

If Rider is this unmotivated, then that talk was probably going nowhere fast.

“...I see.”

I also understand why Sakura invited me in to help support her.

I understand, but...

“Even if you ask me what I think...”

“But it looks so fun when Nee-san dresses up Saber-san in all those outfits.”

“That's because she is so cute, unlike me.”

Rider replies sullenly.

..."So cute, unlike me." Sakura and I exchange glances just at hearing the tone of those words.

“Sure, Saber is cute, but aren't you beautiful as well?”

“I think Saber-san would look good in this kind of outfit... but something that like doesn't really suit Rider, I suppose.”

Sakura shows us a page with a one-piece dress adorned with many frills and ribbons.

It would look good on Saber, but... it really doesn't suit someone like Rider.

“......That's true. But wouldn't this look good on her?”

“Ah, you're right. That's so nice, it's kinda cool...”

Sakura gazes blissfully at a formal black suit displayed on the same page.

Because Rider is tall and has such well defined limbs, a smart outfit like this really stands out.

“If I were to wear this, I would surely look like I was attending a job interview.”

“If Rider wore it, she'd look like the skillful secretary of a company director, yeah.”

Rider is obviously embarrassed.

As if nearing her limit, she speaks softly while sipping her tea.

“I am not cute, I cannot do anything about being this tall...”

......Looks like Rider is really sensitive about that.

It's true she really is taller than the average woman, but I don't think that's enough to declare herself ugly.

“That's not true, right, Senpai? Rider's cute, isn't she?”

“...Beautiful, cute, you could say either. In any case, there's no way you can't say she's cute.”

“A huge woman? Like me? Since ancient times tall and strong women have never been called cute.”

Rider keeps stubbornly denying her cuteness.

...But, I also think that stubborn way she acts just makes her all the more cuter.

I'm starting to understand why Sakura had been encouraging Rider to try new types of clothes.

“......Is that so? I think it would really look good on you though...”

“In the first place, I'm fine as long as the size of my clothes fits me. You don't have to fuss over this so much, Sakura.”

With this, the conversation is concluded, or so it seemed that Rider was trying to communicate.

However, both Sakura and I feel like bullying her a little longer, or at least somehow I feel that way.

―――Eye contact successful.

“Hey, Senpai? How about coming along with us the next time we go out shopping for Rider's western-style clothes?”

“Yeah. If you're fine with me, I'd be delighted.”


Rider gazes in shock as the two of us smoothly reach an agreement.

While Rider is stunned into silence, Sakura and I keep talking.

“Where should we go though? I'm not really familiar with this sort of thing.”

“Ah, there's many choices at the Verde in Shinto, so let's go there. Because autumn and winter are already coming up, I want to pick up some other things as well.”

“No, that's, um, I...”

“Naturally, since Rider's the main star here, we'll find a cute outfit that Senpai approves of.

Rider would like that too, right?”

"Right?" Rider winces at Sakura's emphasis on that last word, looking as though being cornered in a match.

And then, she looks at me pleadingly――

“Isn't that fine every now and then? Let's go shopping, the three of us.”



If it's just Rider and I, she would refuse immediately. But since Sakura's involved as well, she can't refuse.

“...If both of you say that, then it can't be helped. Though I am inexperienced, please allow me to accompany you.”

“Yay! Senpai, let's all go together next time!”

Sakura is overjoyed, while Rider seems to have resigned herself to her fate.

In any case, it looks like I've made a promise to go out with Sakura and Rider.

...Sorry, Rider.

But, I want to do this because Sakura is in such high spirits, so it doesn't really feel like I'm forcing Rider to do something unpleasant.

“Wow, but I have a heavy responsibility... I have to choose something cute that will suit Rider.”

“It's all right. Rider will look good in anything. I'm even envious of her.”

“...You may say that, Sakura, but aren't you far more attractive? I guarantee that.

I have no doubt Shirou thinks that way as well.”


Sakura is thrown off by Rider's words.

――Isn't changing the topic like that foul play? It seems like Sakura is angry with me.

“I-It's not anything like that, right, Senpai!?”

“N-No that's not it, I mean, Sakura is... um...”


Rider was toyed with till the last minute, but it seems she's recovered a bit of her mood now.

Picking out clothes for Rider, huh...?

I'm not really suited for that kind of thing, but I am interested in the results.

“Well then, let's drink the tea Sakura put so much effort into before it cools down.”

“G-Geez, the two of you...”

Day 4

Streets・Day 4 Border

As I cross the pedestrian bridge, I see something that grabs my attention.

“Hey, isn't that Saegusa, from Tohsaka's class...?”

From the way she's walking in tiny steps that are almost hops, she has to be Saegusa.

We haven't made eye contact, and ordinarily it wouldn't be strange for us to pass each other by like this, but...

“I'm surprised. Yukika, you go to Homurabara? I thought you were younger.”

“Yeah, that's true. I'm sorry, Gil-kun. I'm really much older.”

“Ah... no, I'm the one who should apologize. That was quite rude of me. A guy who would do something so rude as asking a woman her age has no right to call himself a man.”

“Ah, but I'm also a little glad. Rather than viewing you as just a friend, I can now call you "Onee-san."”

“Hehe, thanks. I wish my little brothers were as sweet and polite as you, Gil-kun. They're all so naughty.”

“Haha, you're certainly right about Kouta and the others being too energetic.

Running around wildly day in and day out, never heeding the trouble they might get into. It must be tough for you, Yukika.”

“It is! Gil-kun, if you see my brothers doing anything they shouldn't, please try to stop them for me.

They don't listen to anything I tell them, but I think they would if it were Gil-kun saying it. They really look up to you, you know.”

“That's not true! They do listen to you, Yukika.

You don't need to worry about them. Your brothers would never do anything to make you sad, Yukika, even if I'm not there to watch them.”

“...Well, it would indeed be a problem if they were trying to upset you on purpose. In that case, I would be sure to scold them for you.”

“...Well, this seems perfectly peaceful... but what is that guy doing with Saegusa...?”

I hide behind a bench and continue observing them.

That blond boy is unmistakably Gilgamesh.

Better known as Gil, the charismatic kid who's lately become a Godfather to the brat mafia of Miyama kids.

“By the way, Yukika, don't you have track and field practice today? Does that mean you're free this afternoon?”

“Yes, completely free. I finished all the laundry this morning, so I can relax until dinnertime.”

“Oh, so you came here for a walk in the park.

I'm so glad. Sometimes I come to the park to get away from trouble at home, and wait for things to blow over. But it looks like my luck has changed today.”

“? Um... Gil-kun, you don't get along with your mother, or...?”

“Oh, didn't Kouta tell you? ...It's not my mom, I live with my guardian. She's really moody, and gets mad at me over the slightest thing. Like the polar opposite of you, Yukika.

No, even comparing you to her is inexcusable. Really, she's just the person who's in charge of my house. I like you best, Yukika.

Seriously, if I've got to have a guardian no matter what, I'd much rather you were my Master, Yukika.”

“Eh... master...? No, umm, that's, eh...”

“Yeah, a person I like. Didn't I tell you? I like to see you as an older sister much more than just a friend.

How about it, Yukika? Have you ever been with a younger boy before?”

“Eh, um, Gil-kun, eh...!?”

“You bastard...! So this is where your true colors come out...!”

That "I'm a good little boy" routine was all an act, just as I thought!

At this rate, the rabbit-like Saegusa will be gobbled up...!

“Stop right theeeeere! What are you doing? This park is a public place, you sex fiend!”


“Ah, Onii-san.”

Saegusa separated from the blond kid with a cry of surprise.

On the other hand, child-Gil shoots a disgruntled look in my direction.

“G-Goodbye, Emiya-kun! I, umm, I, umm... I-I-I just remember'd I've gotta go do something, so, see you...!”

Whoosh! She runs away with the speed of a wild rabbit.

She was so startled that I begin to feel bad about what I did.

“...Good grief. Me, a sex fiend? You're the last person I want to hear that from, Onii-san.”

“Am I wrong? I saw you putting the moves on Saegusa.

I don't know what game you think this is, but she's not the kind of person you're allowed to play around with so casually.”

“How rude. I truly like Yukika.”

“Liar! ...No, wait, doubting your sincerity there would be pretty rude.

So... are you, like, serious about her?”

“I spoke the truth. A woman like Yukika would be an ideal life partner.”


He says such an embarrassing thing so boldly that I begin to feel embarrassed for doubting him.

“W-Well, then I'm sorry for thinking you were playing around with her feelings.

...Still, this sure is a strange turn of events.

What happened to you being into Saber?”

“Saber-san is the sun. I have no interest in that.

Perhaps she might make a useful vassal, but she is unsuitable to be a lifelong partner.”

“...You're saying something truly ominous.

So, in short, you like Saegusa for her home-oriented qualities, or her broad-mindedness?”

“Ahaha, that's not it, Onii-san. Rather than being broadminded, Yukika is the sort of person who requires the protection of others.

A wildflower is more precious to me than the most vibrant rose. A simple flower, by its very simplicity, makes me wish to protect it to the full extent of my power. This is what broad-mindedness is to a man.”


I'm speechless.

In short, he just said that Saegusa's lack of other redeeming features is what makes her special. What kind of talk is that coming from a brat like him?

...What should I do about this? He's the kind of guy you might really find yourself coming to like―――

“So basically, instead of ruling over the person you like, you express your love by nurturing and looking after them?”

“The only type of person one can rule over is one who wishes to be ruled over. Unfortunately, it seems that I forget this once I grow older. If I had a choice, I would've liked to become a good leader.

...Why is it that other rulers attempt to rule through fear instead when the right path is so simply trod?”


For the good of the all the people in the world, this king should stay as a child. Definitely. No doubt about it.

“Ah. Wait, then what happens if the person you've cared for doesn't turn out the way you'd like?

Looking after someone means that you won't force anything on them, right?

What if that person ends up turning into somebody like, uh, that Master you're so eager to avoid?”

“If that should happen, I would simply discard them. It would mean that we were not fated to be together in that way.”


I take back the previous statement. This guy hasn't changed one bit.

That callousness is a part of his very nature that nobody can ever hope to change.

“...Huh. So, if Saegusa were to become more like Tohsaka, you'd grow to love her less?”

“My love will not lessen. It is simply that it will grow no more. It would become something eternal and unchanging. It will not flourish, but neither will it die.

Love, once it has appeared, can never be erased. It's not true what they say about excessive love becoming hatred.

It's simply that a newly born hatred has surpassed the love cultivated up until that point.”


So, for example...

A boy who currently believes in both the good and evil of humanity,

one day is overcome by such hatred so as to render that love worthless to him.

“Well, there are cases like that.

No matter how far the man strays from human morality, problematically he still has love. And this appears humanfamiliar to people, so in the end he is hated as a human.

If only he had just been entirely inhuman to begin with, he would've been designated a god instead.”

Bidding me farewell, the blond child turns on his heels.

He isn't heading in the direction that Saegusa ran off to, but rather towards the bridge into Shinto.

“Hey. You're not going to go after Saegusa?”

“There is no need. My business with her is finished. Yukika cares strongly for her brothers, so she could be staying out until late at night trying to find them and bring them home.

That's very dangerous, isn't it? After all, tonight is the fourth night, and this bridge at night is a very dangerous place to be, so... just in case.”

“But thanks to you, Onii-san, Yukika's already gone home, and will not return here until tomorrow.

A bit of a shame, but still a tolerable resolution of the situation.”

And with a perfectly unperturbed smile on his face, the King of Heroes departs.


...Suddenly, I feel unnecessarily sentimental.

Although he seems to be as capricious as ever in the face of this irregularity...

Maybe he's finding just as much to treasure in these carefree days as the rest of us.

Streets・Day 4 Anachro-analog Rin

“Let's take a look around here.”

I stop at the electronics store.

On a whim, I find myself wanting to check out the latest appliances.

“Hmmm... they're getting bigger and thinner all the time.”

A television with a particularly large screen catches my attention.

One of these in our house... would feel awfully out of place, wouldn't it.

It's true that we have a lot of people, but none of them are big TV watchers.

“There's an even bigger problem than it being out of place, though... I won't be able to get inside one of these.”

TVs being high-voltage appliances, picking a broken one up to fix myself is just too dangerous.

This is the one time I can't get away with buying used...

“Ah, and speaking of new stuff, we could use one of these as well.”

The VCR we have right now is so outdated it's practically a historic artifact.

It's not as though we've ever had need of one so far, but I'd like to get a DVD recorder to poke around inside too.

“Oh, if it isn't Emiya-kun. What are you doing around here?”

“―――Hey Tohsaka. What the heck brings you here?”

An electronics store is the last place where I'd expect to run into this girl.

...If it were an antique furniture store or something, that would be more understandable, somehow.

“Huh, so you're thinking of upgrading too, Tohsaka?”

“? What are you talking about? I happened to see you over here, so I called out to you, that's all.”

“Really? Yeah, I guess so...”

...Of the products for sale here, anything more complicated than a vacuum cleaner seems like it would be way out of Tohsaka's range.

I seem to recall that I know someone who's unable to use any device with more than ten buttons on it. By the way, that someone is Tohsaka.

“...Emiya-kun, you're not thinking any rude comments just now, are you?”

“Maybe, just a bit. C'mon, Tohsaka, everyone knows that you're...”

“..."Hopeless with machines"... is that what you were about to say?”

“Not hopeless, exactly, but more like you just don't use them much in the first place.

In fact, you go so far out of your way to avoid them that it's almost like you're allergic. When it comes to machines, Sakura―――”

Ah... she's mad.

That's just how humans are. You don't know if speaking the truth to someone will result in joy or anger.

“Fufufu―――so that's how you see me, Shirou?”

“What does it matter? You're able to handle pretty much anything else with ease. A single flaw like that is nothing to sneeze at.”

...Actually, speaking of fatal flaws, she's got another glaring one that comes to mind, but I don't dare speak it out loud.

“...I suppose I should thank you for that.

But having not a single weakness is my family's ideal... I can't just go "oh, I'm no good with these things" and avoid them forever.”

“I see. So having resolved that, you came here today in pursuit of knowledge, is that it?”

“Uh... W-We can talk about that later.

I came here for a look after speaking with Ayako. I figured I'd better start by getting familiar with the cutting-edge models.”

“Ahhh, Mitsuzuri would definitely know a lot more about home electronics than me.”

She used to be the captain of the archery team, and she certainly has the air of a martial artist about her, but contrary to that old-fashioned image, Mitsuzuri does keep up to date with the latest in game centers and such.

That the subject of the conversation fails to turn to "Emiya doesn't do that though" is somewhat annoying.

According to archery club members, she can spend all night long playing simple repetitive games.

“So you came here to study up before your lesson with Mitsuzuri, huh?”

“W-Well, something like that. I wouldn't like it if people started seeing me as an anachronistic or antique type of woman, after all.

Umm... it's not as though I'm living in the nineteenth century, and I'm no Luddite, you know? Hey, that thing over there, that's an LCD screen, right?”

What Tohsaka is pointing to is the very same big-screen liquid crystal TV I was looking at before.

Good going, Tohsaka! You sure got that one right. I wonder if she figured that out based on how thin it is.

..."So, do you know the difference between plasma and LCD then?" ...A question like that would likely stop her in her tracks, so I opt to keep my mouth shut.

“I saw you looking at it before, Emiya. Are you thinking of getting it?”

“I was thinking it would be nice to have one, but a purchase like that would have my wallet hurting for months. Besides, it doesn't really match the atmosphere of the house.”

“Same with mine... wait, these things cost HOW much!?

You could buy a twenty-carat ruby for less than that!”

One look at the price tag makes Tohsaka go pale.

Having gemstones as her basis of comparison―――seems awfully luxurious. In my case, I'd wonder how many months' worth of our food budget it would take.

“Yeah, that's a little too rich for our blood, huh?”

“I'm not especially dissatisfied with the small screen of the TV at home, either.”

“And that over there is a VCR, right?”

Tohsaka is now pointing to―――

“Bzzzzzt. Too bad.”

“No way, aren't all video thingies shaped like that?”

“Not the one you're pointing at.

That's an ordinary DVD player. It doesn't have a record function.”

I lead Tohsaka over to the recording equipment section, and taking a look around... ah, I don't blame her for being confused by all this.

“...What are you talking about?”

“This one's a standard player, over here is an HDD+DVD-RW model, this one is HDD+DVD-RAM, next to it is an HDD-only recording unit, and over there is a CS digital...”


In the midst of my explanation, I gradually realize that Tohsaka is glaring at me with enmity.

The gulf between Tohsaka and I when it comes to the subject of magical knowledge, on one hand, and modern technical knowledge, on the other, is particularly apparent right now―――and the longer Tohsaka stands here in this electronics store, the further away she somehow seems to be moving from the world.

“Umm, what kind of spells are those?”

“Confusing, isn't it? It almost sounds like a spell to me, too. And that's before you consider these Blu-ray and HD-DVD things everyone is talking about.”

“Ray of blue what? So where are the video thingies―――?”

“Back there. There's still a demand for those even now.”

You should be able to tell one by a single glance, I think, which may be a bit harsh.

It's like you take your eyes off them for a moment and suddenly they multiply... makes me nostalgic for the golden age of VHS from my childhood.

“...So this thing, it's for recording TV programs?”

“That isn't all it does, but yes.

Tohsaka, I bet you still believe that you could have your soul stolen if someone took your picture with a camera―――”

“Of course.”


“With certain modifications to the lens and the photographic paper, it's entirely possible to do that. ...Although it really only freezes it temporarily rather than stealing it.”

“Even if it was a digicam?”

―――"A what-clam?" Tosaka murmurs.

Realizing that she doesn't even know what "digicam" stands for leaves me incapable of delivering a witty comeback.

“...Also, what is a... dee-vee-dee?”

“Digital Versatile Disc, or DVD for short.”

“...What's the difference between RAM and RW?”

...Uh, uhhh, uhhhhhhh...

Even though I was speaking so knowledgeably to her about this stuff, that one might be beyond me... I doubt I could clearly explain the difference between the two.

It seems that some people can get worked up into a nearly religious fervor over the finer points of these things, but having never really used either, it's outside the realm of my understanding.

“...I'm sorry, but I don't really know.”

“There you have it.

If it's this confusing for you, Shirou, then how can I possibly hope to understand it? From my perspective, modern things like these really aren't far removed from magic.”

Come to think of it, I know there was some guy who once said that sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from sorcery.

“...Come on, Tohsaka, it's nothing to get so disappointed about. Humans have managed to survive this long without DVDs, haven't they?”

“You could just as easily say the same of phones or TVs, though, so that doesn't really solve anything, does it? Honestly. I'm sure that you and Ayako must be constantly snickering behind my back at how hopelessly behind the times I am―――”

I can definitely imagine Mitsuzuri laughingly saying something like "you're completely analog!" to her.

...And it's not as though you could just shoot back with "that's because I'm a magus, after all," no matter how much you might want to.

“So, are you buying one of these too, Shirou?”

“I suppose I'd better, before the war over the TV channel at our house gets any worse... still, they aren't exactly cheap.”

“You've got quite a large family to provide for over there these days, don't you...? Though I guess that includes me as well.”

Tohsaka gives a little laugh, as though she's only just realized that she, too, is among those people.

“Eh, it's not like we're running out of room. We could even take in two or three more, frankly.”

“...You sure seem like you'd do well running a boarding house or a bed and breakfast at this rate, Emiya-kun.”

She said "would," but that's pretty much what I'm doing already.

At any rate, when the time comes that I'm able to strike out alone as a magus... how will my life change from the way it is now?

“A life like that doesn't sound so bad to me.”

“I'm not about to give you time to seclude yourself from the world or anything, so rest easy.

―――Well then. There's no reason for us to hang around here, so let's go somewhere else.”

Tohsaka seems to have unilaterally decided that I'll accompany her for today.

Fine with me, although I can tell I'm in for a hard time later.

She didn't get even halfway through with her so-called study of electronics, did she...?

Emiya Residence・Start of Night Things to do

Emiya Residence・Night Map monster

Emiya Residence・Night Map not

Violet snakes lap up the blood.

3 am.

Tonight, another one-sided slaughter has begun.

As always, the stage is empty. Miyama's residents are fast asleep in their homes.

The means change from one moment to the next.

Skewered by enormous, nail-like daggers.

Hanged from the streetlights. Crushed by coiling chains.

Occassionally, she goes too far and makes a mess.

On a whim, she catches one in her hand and crushes its head.

A great variety of methods.

Emulating a comic she recently read, she lifts a large vehicle and flattens them beneath it. By chance, there just happened to be one at a nearby construction site.


While stopping to catch her breath, she considers whether to head back or keep going.

Of course, her objective is to investigate this anomaly.

The restarted Heaven's Feel.

In order to seek out the cause behind it, she'd been leaping about the rooftops at night.

Her efforts yield some limited success.

...Though, she never managed to learn anything about the Servant observing from Shinto.

What struck her, however, was a single aberration far beyond just the other Servant.

The monsters prowling the city at night.

No one should have noticed them until the final day, but she had perceived them right from the start.

To root out whatever was behind them, she would sneak out of the house by herself and continue her investigation one corpse at a time.

There's no particular emotion driving her.

When doing something out of no special interest, her body moves on its own.

She becomes a machine without feeling, carrying out a pre-determined task.

Thus, she finds these moonlit hunts neither intriguing nor tedious. Instead, classifying it as an ordinary chore.

A fruitless, unending endeavor.

A task neither boring nor exciting, she will attempt it again and again until it yields results.


"Since when did the hunt itself become the anomaly?" she wondered.


She stops to catch her breath.

Her self-appointed duty was completed after about half an hour.

No, she can't really call it complete.

No matter where she looks, there was no real evidence to be found.

A red sea of carnage.

She could not find anything to distinguish from that. There was nothing worth analyzing. She had examined each one of her prey diligently, down to their eye sockets.


She stops to catch her breath.

Though indeed monsters, they were little more than trash when up against her.

A mere one or two hundred wouldn't even serve as a warm-up.


And yet, she stops to catch her breath.

Letting out what seem like struggling gasps, she decides to continue the investigation.

...One more. I'll just check out one more.

Persuading herself to move, she jumps to the next hunting ground.

A horde of roughly one hundred monsters.

After examining tens of thousands of them, she knew that answers would not be found here. And yet, she continues with this massacre in the name of research.

Without feeling, she mechanically bathes in blood.


Her breathing begins to quicken.

...One more. I just want to examine one more.

There is nothing wrong with that.

After all, they are the ones dying, there are countless more to kill, and this is something she had decided to do.

So, she has no doubt in the meaning, meaning, mean..., ing..., me...an...ing of what she is doing.

Clearly, they are the bad ones.

If they didn't want to be killed, then they shouldn't have appeared.

And yet they gush out in huge numbers like insects, forcing her to take them on.

She would rather leave them be, but she has no choice other than to oppose them.

...That's right. In the first place, she didn't really want to do this.

But there were more important issues at play. That's why she keeps to her role.

Still, because it was just too unpleasant―――she decided to become something unlike a living creature, a simple "trap" that kills people.

《Medusa? Where are you? Shouldn't you be back by now?》

She hears that after countless runs.

《Come, hurry home! IStheno received a wonderful gift. I'll make a special exception today and share some with you!》

As always, she became a trap for the humans that try to take away her sisters by force...

《...? What an awful smell... Medusa, are you over there?》

They were not petrified.

Those bodies were, those bodies were, those bodies were―――*


What are you doing over there?》

The hunched figure, slurping ×××××, trembled in fear.

........................I don't... want to remember.

Back then...

Her sister's eyes, which always radiated with joy, turned stark white with fear―――

...The feast in the name of her investigation continues.

Each time she played this part, her body would grow more accustomed to its role.

Her ferocity grew without end.

These monsters, while stronger than humans, could never touch her. They are fodder, worthy only to be crushed underfoot.

She feels her transmission shift, gear by gear.

From low to middle, middle to high.

The only issue, if any, is that there is no limit to her gearbox.

Meaning, the question is whether her chassisbody can withstand the ever-increasing RPM.

Why has she become so immersed in her role?

It must be because the enemy is so weak and the setting so ideal that she'd given such priority to this task, she thought.

After all, the town is empty.

The people vanished at the stroke of midnight.

Perhaps they were all killed by the monsters. Or perhaps, they never existed to begin with.

It must be the latter.

Monsters are things that hunt down humans, but not once has she seen them kill anyone.

...They moved for the same reason as she.

These monsters must only feel hatredinterest towards others like themselves.*


Hence, she is taken by surprise.

With all these monsters, one would think there wouldn't be any people around.

However―――a young woman appears, wandering aimlessly into the park...

(Though she knew it was human with a single glance)*

She slices through the woman without any hesitation.


Her regret and confusion faded immediately.

This was always a ghost town.

So what if a human wandered in by mistake?

Even if she didn't kill her, the monsters surely would have.

So there wasn't a problem.

"That was a trivial, inconsequential mistake that won't happen again," she thought with a sigh.

“―――That's not good.

No matter who you are, no matter what the circumstances, you have killed a human being.”

The dead woman's mouth proclaimed her sin with a bell-like voice.


She stands up.

Blood pours out from the open wound.

《Ah―――aah, ah―――》

She clutches her throat.

Her ragged breaths beg for oxygen.

The sight makes her dizzy with vertigo.

Aah, what a sweet smell! The delicious red, red essence of life which she couldn't find no matter where she looked or how many monsters she killed―――!

“...You can't stand it anymore, can you? If you can't endure it any longer, then do as you please.

After all―――you attacked me because you wanted to kill a human, right?”

That voice pierces her heart.

...That's right. There is still a flood of monsters.

And yet, she ignored those which are her objects of investigation and hurled her dagger at the woman.


She shakes her head in denial.

Her dirty hair sways like the snakes of myth.


She objects, claiming it was an accident. Completely outside of her duty.

“Your duty... you mean that you want to know the cause of this anomaly?

What a lie. You don't even care about what's going on in this city.

Her heart is sliced through, its contents exposed.

...That's right. She doesn't give a damn about the peace of this city.

This investigation is carried out only for the sake of her Master―――

“Well, what a splendid Servant.

But is this really for her sake?”


Poison fills the air. The woman approaches her step by step.

Not with her legs, but her words.

Approaching not her body, but her heart.

She's trying to knock down the last pillar remaining in her broken self.

“...After repeating the days for so long, you must be tired of it all.

I'll make this easy for you. Honestly, I'm sick of watching it as well.”

She throws her dagger towards the flapping lips.

Her aim was perfect. It skewered the woman's tongue and splattered even more of her blood.

But even then...

“Admit it, Medusa.

...The truth is, you hold a grudge.”

(a grudge against humans)*

“In truth, you are enjoying this.”

(enjoying killing people)*

“You simply...”

(don't need a reason at all)*

“Instead of her, this is what is more important to you.

The woman is still standing.

The purple snakes are gradually blackened by her gushing blood.

“You chose to function as a machine, but the weight of the lives you took still remain.

When you cast your eyes down, you will see the lost lives that still linger.

Keep living with that bottled up and someday―――you will lose sight of even yourself.”


The woman was an eyesore.

It no longer mattered whether human or not, the woman was just an eyesore.

So, she killed her until she shut up.

The girl's warm stomach is cut open, the entrails torn out.

She almost shouted out in joy.

More than any human she had laid hands on before, this outburst of anger on this young woman―――feels so good...!

She continued to mutilate the girl's body from the stomach outwards, until only the head was left.

Surely, the chatter would stop now.

Relief gushes though her body, and just when she feels a slight tinge of regret that she can't kill anymore...

“...Now you understand.

Monstersyou should return to where theyyou belong!”


At last...

She realized her true feelings. She has an unendurable desire to kill humans.

This is a tale of ages past.

There once was a princess loved by human beings. But one day, that love turned into hate, and she was banished to an island far away by the very people that had adored her.

Compared to the glorious life of days past, the island had nothing to offer.

Frightened by those humans who resented her without reason, the princess prayed that no one would come to the island.

Still, she wept in loneliness. She wondered what sin she had committed to be exiled so.

《You'll cry if you're left alone, right?

Such disgrace is not allowed within our family.》

After some time, her elder sisters arrived at the island.

《I don't care about you... but, I suppose we could use a servant.》

How wonderfully thoughtful.

Although they were still loved by the people, the princess's sisters moved there for her sake.

The princess was not lonely anymore.

Although the island still had nothing, she was happy because her sisters were there with her.

The only things left to fear were humans.

"Kill! Kill! Kill the monster!"*

With great courage, they chased the princess away.

"Snatch! Snatch! Snatch the goddesses away!"*

She could have borne it if that had been all. But then, the people began to point their swords at her two sisters.

To protect her sisters, the princess decided to take revenge.

How wonderfully thoughtful of her.

Yes. This time, she could just do to the humans as they had done to her...!

ShE KilLeD mANy huMANs.

After all, even if she tried to escape, the only place the princess can go to is the island.

"I don't want anybody to come."

She had always wanted... to be left alone... in peace... with her sisters, but,*

《―――Stop, Medusa.

It was the foolish humans who sought us out. The blame for their deaths falls on their own heads.

But, you must not take pleasure in killing them.》

Yet still they came, one after another.

Since there were no end to them, she started experimenting with new ways to eliminate them more quickly.

Likening herself to a highly effective trap, she found it a tad curious.*

《―――The purpose of your Mystic Eyes is to warn people.

They should never be used to sow terror.》

Nevertheless, they who had done nothing but scold the princess thus far,

in time, came to fear her as well.*

《―――...Stop drinking ×××××that.

You're starting to scare meEuryale.》

No matter how infamous and fearsome she became, the humans kept approaching with boundless ferocity.

The sisters continued to scold the princess,

the princess felt too ashamed to show her disfigured self to them,

and she left the sisters she once dearly loved.*

In the end, she was alone again.

Sad and lonely, she hungered for new sacrifices.

Come to think of it...

She and her sisters were actually the first sacrifices. Bathed in red, she laughs out.**

“Ha―――, ah―――, ah―――!”*

She swings her daggers with delight.

Cackling with scorn, she tramples them beneath her.

Without rest or respite, she continues running as if fleeing something.

“Hah――― haha――― hahaha―――!”*

She feels giddy with each one she crushes.

Giddy with disgust.

Giddy with excitement.

Before long, her captivation intensifies into wild passion. Before she realizes it, she was butchering the monsters in a frenzy.

But, she hates to think about her actions, so she can't help but let her primal instincts take over and enjoy the hunt.

The night continues. The slaughter continues.

There is no one alive in this city at night. Only the monsters roam about.

And then, she was broken.

The more she kills, the heavier her body grows.

The more she crushes, the more she forgets her own words.

In a word, she was broken.


Unintentionally, she lowers her eyes.

Her body is disfigured, just like that time.


She holds back her shrieks.

Her boiling head cools at an impossible speed.

Aah, this happened after all―――

There is no time for lamentations or ridicule.

In that brief opening, she was stabbed without mercy.

Monsters surround the wounded beast.

The remains of her humanity are on the verge of death.

Impaled by multiple claws, nothing was left of her body below her chest.

Cut into fine pieces.

What remains of the blackened monsterwoman could only last a few minutes more.

“Ha―――Haa, ha―――”*

Through her ragged breath, she looks at her bloodied palms.

Deep crimson red.

She turns her claws, barely resembling human hands, to the monsters converging upon her.

...This corpse can still fight back.

Silently, the creatures observe their newly deceased brethren.

“Ha...ha, ah...”*

Even breathing is difficult.

Though she was already dying, her body continues to transform.

Surely it wouldn't stop even if she died.

After what was left of the woman stopped breathing, she would disappear and be reborn as an anti-heromonster, with no trace of her original form.

“....................................What, the...”*

She murmurs. Finding herself still able to utter human words, she feels a sense of rueful irritation.

“....................................I understand it, now.”*

Dimly, she looks at her deforming hands.

...She had known all along.

She had already confessed it to him.

That she was not what she appeared to be. That her true nature was that of a hideous monster.

―――She was destined for ruin.

From the moment she consumed human ×××××, her end had been determined.

Day by day, she grew.

First, her body crumpled. Then, her heart. And finally, her very being decayed.

And all she ever wanted was to become stronger in order to protect her sisters.

But in the end, even her sisters were nuisances intruding upon her lair.

《Ah―――, ah―――》*

The end of that chapter was unknown to her.

At the time, she had neither eyes nor nose nor mouth. She became a world that only crushed its prey.

No. From the beginning all of this had been violence committed by the monster. It had nothing to do with her before she changed.

So it shouldn't be painful, but...

《Ah―――, ah―――!》*

Yeah, that must be it.

At that thought, she feels a sudden urge to gouge out her eyes.

《What a foolish sister I was―――》

New sacrifices appear before her of their own accord.

Joining hands, the sisters still their trembling legs, and look up at the completely disfigured monster.

《...No. What foolish sisters we were.

I did not ask you to protect us. You looked like you were having so much fun, I just thought you should enjoy it while it lasted,》

said the eldest sister, Stheno, in a gentle voice.

Lovingly like always, she smiles at the monster.

《Hmph, speak for yourselfmyself.

SthenoI got desperate and gave up too early, but I intend to protect my chastity forever,》

grumbled the second sister, Euryale.

They curse and insult their monstrous sibling, but at times they look at the she-beast with true sadness.

《That's wonderful. Well, you're happy now, right, Euryale?

We managed to remain pure until the end.》

Stheno grasps her sister'sown hands tightly.

Seeking comfort from theirher fear.

Never abandoning that which theyshe hold dear.

《...Yeah. I was against it at first, but this girl would have looked so silly if we didn't. I guess I have to take away some meaning from that.》

―――The sacrifices think this to themselves.

They who hated humans and their youngest sister who had never bore men any ill will, were now in such a state.

The two sisters were loved by men and were destined to be violated by them, day after day.

The elder accepted it as fate, while the younger despised it. But both of them had given up.

Yet the youngest sister―――protected them until the end.

《...You protected us.

But, the Medusa who protected us is no longer here.

So―――we, whom she protected, shall disappear as well.》

That which was lost shall never return.

SthenoShe dreamed of the three of them living forever on the island far away. Closing her eyes, she looks to the skies.

《...Wow, it's already in front of me...

Well then. Goodbye, my darling Medusa.

Since this is the end, I can't help myself―――but you know, we were the ones who were loved.》

The days that have gone by shall never return.

Believing that one day the three of them would escape the ruined temple and return home, Euryaleshe smiles like she used to and raises her head.


Countless snakes consume both sacrifices.

Without joy. Without sadness.

As though crushing ants, the monster grinds the sisters to a pulp.

In this way, the immortal girls...

〈the sisters, who were beautiful to the very end〉

while still alive, are absorbed into the monster.

Consumed without a trace left behind, they became the monster's flesh and blood, and it continued to thrive.

Thus became of the three Gorgon sisters.

Banished to the Shapeless Isle, thus is how the three goddesses came to be monsters of nightmares and legend―――

“a――――――Aaaah, ah―――”*

What did she love?

What did she want?

She had so little that was precious to her that she swore to protect them no matter what, and yet...

Now that she is heading to her death/While she is being transformed,

she can't even recall it.


She can't stop the transformation.

At this rate, she will turn into a monster and disappear.

Everything will end with that.

From now on, she will be summoned as a monster, not to protect humans, but to annihilate them.


She can't stop the transformation.

...There is nothing to be done, nothing to care about.

The swarm of creatures is like the crowd during a festival.

They revelleddespised in the birth of a new monster.


"Her" consciousness wanes.

...She has a feeling that there is still something left to do, yet she can't quite seem to place it.

As her life comes to a close, she quietly shuts her eyes―――

“......Who's there?”*

She noticed an unfamiliar presence peering at her.

“Huh, you can see me?

―――I see. You've turned into a monster as well.”

Though it feels like she has never heard its voice before, the laughter sounds all too familiar.

A smirking grin and sneering eyes.

...It irritates her considerably. Her sadistic heart starts to pound again.

If her body was strong, she would have leaped forward and plucked its head right off.

“Aah... No, I see, not quite.

You're not something so clear-cut. Are you aware of what you are?”


She isn't prepared for it, but she accepts it as truth.

The Heroic Spirit's seat would be corrupted from herMedusa's own into that of a monstrosity'sGorgon's.

“I see. Quite astute of you.

But, it seems that you still don't know what it means to be a monster.

Do you understand me? A monster does not attack humans to live, it lives to attack humans. It's a slaughter mechanism that is starkly antithetical to human society. Its mere presence is a malignant toxin.

That's what a monster is―――Now, can you still call yourself one?”

She already knows that. From now on, she will embody that concept over and over again.

“―――Why... now? Since the beginning, I've...”*

Since the beginning, she has been a monster.

A monster camouflaged in human intellect and appearance.

...If she would someday become such monster, then her true nature must be the same.

That's why it doesn't matter anymore.

Roaming the city at night in search of blood, she indulges in slaughter without realizing it.

...Such a monster would shed its skin to reveal its true colors someday, just like this.


And yet, it laughs.

Heartfelt mirth.

Heartfelt contempt.

As if to scorn the woman who, by the minute, was turning into a hideous monster.

“As I said, that's not the same.

Listen. A monster is not something which possesses the latent ability to kill. It would still have the vaunted intellect to do so consciously.

Fully exploiting its overwhelming superiority over humans, slaughtering without doubt or regret and instead writhing in the utmost ecstasy during the act... now that, is a monster. Someone who just happens to start killing people is altogether different.

―――You're some half-baked killer that's neither the former nor latter. Meanwhile, you still have time to choose which one to become.”


She wanted to just fall into the abyss already, but her handintellect stubbornly clung to the cliff's edge.

With shame, she clutches at the earth, still wishing for solid ground.

“...What, do... you mean?”*

“Don't you get it?

One half of you craves blood, and the other half cares for other people.

Both sides are who you are. You can't deny either of them.

Lust and merit. Which is greater? Which is more valuable? That changes depending on the occasion.

The real question is―――Do you still have it?”

“...Have... what?”*

The slightest bit of strength returns to her arm.

She summoned all her reserves in desperation.

It is not enough to pull her out of the abyss.

No matter how much she struggles, she will only disappear at this rate.

Laughing, it looks down upon her.

“―――Then I ask of you, Servant Rider.

In your heart,

is there any fragment of your desires left?”

―――She has no desires.

But she has something she truly wishes for.

“Monsters should return to where they belong―――”

That's right. Even if she was still Medusa now, she couldn't help herself if she were to become a Gorgon soon.

From the start, there was never a way to save herself.

So she has no desires.

No matter how happy days past were, if they would all be devoured eventually, there would be nothing left in her hands.


Even one such as she can still save someone.

...A Servant is summoned to a Master to whom its nature is similar.

This is all the more so if the summoning catalyst is weak.

Because her Master had the same fate as her, she was summoned to that girl.

A girl, fated to turn into a monster.

The victims turned aggressors formed a contract in this world as fellow monsters―――

《Ah―――, ah―――》*

That's why...

She doesn't want her to end up the same.

Although she can't change what she is, she can protect the girl who holds the same fate as herself.

Her unfulfilled happiness.

Her irredeemable sin.

―――How deeply she loves that petty, foolish girl who always struggled to put up a strong face―――


She stares at her hands, dumbfounded.

Her transformation halted, and she is fading away as her human self.


“'Cuz you're not a monster.

―――How embarrassing. Because you have the desire to help someone, you just barely managed to become a Heroic Spirit.Human Being”*

She could hear a voice from elsewhere.

The speaker was near, but unseen.

“Oh well, that's settled then.

Your anguish will follow you for eternity, but as long as you have such a wish, you won't turn into a monster.

―――Just like the anguish, you won't be able to come to this side, forever.”*

The presence fades.

The all-too-familiar shadow waves its hand and disappears.

“―――Wait. You, are...”

Coughing blood, she calls out to the figure.

“Haha, what a persistent snake-lady. You've got some impressive vitality, but die quietly tonightthis time.

And when you wake up, be sure to apologize to your Master.

See, get what I'm saying? Master and Servant have to get along.”*

Snickering, it finally disappears.

...In the end, she...

She thought she saw a young man she knows very well.

“―――Ah, that's right.”

She heaves a deep sigh.

She lowers her arms as if to lean on something.

“...Really, I'm always such an idiot.”

And this time, her eyes finally close.

Relieved that, rather than merely dying, she had recovered her wish, she murmured,

“I'll be home soon, so... wait for me, Sakura.”

Swearing a promise she could never keep, the beautiful figure vanished from the earth.