Loop 47

Day 1

Caren Quo Vadis

Caren IV/(Angra Mainyu)

There's nothing to do at the church.

Emiya Shirou should have no more unfinished business over there.

“...Well, at this point one or two more detours couldn't hurt.”

I'll just waste some time.

Everything just piled on one after another so quickly, both my mind and body are fatigued.

It might be a poor motive, but I'll have that woman impart me with some of her vitality again.


The music abruptly stops.

Caren vacantly stares at me as if she had just seen a ghost.

“...Why're you stopping? You haven't stopped for anything even once until now.”

Returning her stare, I take my usual seat.

Having come all this way, even this pew was comfortable.

“Heeey, whats wrong, why don't you keep going~? Don't mind me and just play like you always do~. I'll wait until the end.”

I throw out a few jeers.


If you have something to discuss, I'll attend to it now.”

...That's rare. Did this inhospitable woman even have a considerate side?

Though, I would have liked her to have shown it on the first or second visit.

Being considerate all of a sudden bothers me.

Some day I'm going to teach her how to read the mood, if I ever get the opportunity.

“Nah, it's fine. I've been feeling tired so I want to get worked up. Just ignore me and do what you always do.”

“......I will continue playing, but what do you mean by that?”

Oops. It doesn't seem that she liked the expression, "get worked up."

“I'm saying that I get energized.

Your organ playing is great for recharging, listening to it sends a shock through my brain.”

Unsatisfied, Caren turns back to the organ.

Apparently, she can't understand how getting worked up and shocks are related.

In any case, the performance resumed.

Life once again is breathed into the inanimate organ.

Her thin fingers, covered in wounds, touch the keyboard.

For the fourth time, the jarring melody reverberates in the chapel―――

Surprisingly, it felt different than before.

Perhaps because the performer's fingers were filled with passion?

The waves of sound that were only vague and irritating now ring clear and vibrant.

Perfectly in place.

While grinding my teeth in irritation, the thick walls of my rationality are eventually dissolved.

《―――Is there nothing you find beautiful?》

That woman said something like that.

My feelings like that had long since gone away.

I feel at ease now.

It's good to simply see things for what they are.

Having personal sentiments is a burden in many ways.

...And yet, why?

―――Stop screwing around.


A glimpse of a strange landscape flashes before my eyes.

I don't understand it's significance.

Just a desolate wasteland. A summit far above the ground where the air is thin.

But―――why do I recall that now?

An irrelevant thought that would not fade even if cast away.

It's not just the feeling of hatred that remains,

but this scenery that has burned into my eyes as well.

...Stop screwing around.

Why am I remembering this kind of place?

There shouldn't be anything.

There shouldn't be anything over there, nothing...!

I can't let my heart waver.

It's too late now, I can't allow myself to embrace something like sentimental thoughts.

It's not like the past will change in the place I recall.

A mistaken sentiment, a mistaken fantasy, these mustn't be crafted into something beautiful.

I affirm things the way they are.

I mustn't think that things that aren't mine belong to me, just because of nostalgia.

Your pride is in having nothing.

Your meaning is in being nothing.

When you fabricate something that doesn't even exist, you become no different from a meaningless sacrifice.


Even so, it's still true―――

―――It's true that nothing existed here.

But hadn't I wished for there to be meaning in that?―――

Her performance was over before I knew it.

As far as my goal of regaining some vitality goes, I can't help but say it was a let-down.

And then, I realized Caren was standing in front of me.

...Hmm. It seems this girl has gathered some resolve, though maybe she wants something?

“I thought you would no longer be coming here.”

“Same. I wonder why? I must have not been thinking. Besides, I thought I'd be revitalized, but instead I've been exhausted.”

“...You were the one who said to continue. Did you not like my playing?”

“Hm? Well, I don't have a problem with your technique.

It's amazing how you keep it up with that bandage-covered body of yours. I'm impressed......hey, wait......could it be that you're actually really good at playing the organ?”

“I can boast that I'm second to none. Refining my strong points is my hobby.”

“You seem confident for once......I see, so you were good at it, huh?”

I've done something rude.

What would she do if I said I'd been appreciating it with the same mindset as watching a school play?

“I'm glad you understand.

Incidentally, I'd like to hear about which part of my performance you didn't like.”

“Well, the part where I get sleepy from listening to it.

I'm not saying to use electricity, but it's emotionless to the point that it can't reach a climax.

Also, a style that accepts anything and everything is boring. Let me hear an outburst of passion. As in, really get into it so that your almost kicking the keyboard.”

And it'd be perfect if you add some electric guitar distortions.

“...Isn't that a fault of the piece rather than myself?

Furthermore, the person listening has bad taste as well.”

“Geh. What, is this audience member being rude?”

“To the point of being beyond words. There is nothing in my vocabulary to express it.”


I turn away and try not to laugh.

I thought this was a hard woman to understand, but she reacts like this when you poke at something she is proud of?


“Nothing, just dealing with something that welled up a bit.

You're kind of stubborn, aren't you? Your music teacher must have had a hard time training you.”

“...Please, don't make assumptions about me by your standards.

Besides, I should have already related my personal history to you.

Because I have been isolated, wouldn't you think that I am self-taught?”

“Hm? Surely you at least have a music teacher.

There are proper rules in your sound. Something like the will of the player that has been passed along through the hands of many people.

Your organ isn't something played for yourself, right?

Your playing is woven for many people, a "universal" music.”

Only technique can be refined through self-study.

A genius can't construct a concept that transcends time.

If those who shine through their talent are the flowers of the tree,

then those who shine through their heritage become the trunk and nurture the tree.

“Well, leaving aside that sort of complicated talk, having someone teach you is the fastest way to improve. You prioritized practicality over appearances.

That's what I meant by stubborn.

I think you're the type that tries her best when it comes to something she really likes.”

“......I can't agree with your conjecture.

However, it is true that, as a special exception, I had an instructor and time set aside for me to learn music. Although I did run into a few problems along the way.”

“See. You don't get discouraged even when being scolded, as though you don't really take any damage. There's something in you that other people just can't change.

Who's the one who said that she has no self again?

Really, all you church folk are so thick-skinned.”

Wicked laughter.

...Huh? What could be putting me in such a good mood?

I don't know if it's because of the entertainment or if it's because I'm feeling a bit careless, but I'm getting a bit high.


On the other hand, she became stiff and stood still.

It seems that something had struck home for her too.

“...Um. Am I really that thick-skinned?”

“Yeah. Enough to rival your predecessor.”


She looks a bit stiff as she searches for words.

I observe this rare moment of clumsiness.

Perhaps I'm in an uplifting mood because my senses have relaxed.

The desires I've pretended to not see until now begin to pulse in unison with my heartbeat.


There is a subtle sound like the tearing of thin vinyl.

The scent of blood spills out from the bottom of her vestments.

“? What's wrong, your period?”

“......It's only a wound opening up. I apologize, but, um,”

“Yeah, I'll move back a row. Sorry, that was completely my fault.”

"There we go" I move to the seat behind me.

Now that I'm a bit farther away, the scent of blood is fainter.

“That must be tough on you. Still wandering the streets at night even with your wounds opening up.

...Hm, that's right. I recall you dutifully come searching for me at night on the fourth day.”

“...That's right. Until the recreation of the Heaven's Feel ends, every fourth night I must go out into the streets.

Of course, that is not the sole reason for my fatigue.

...Recently, I have started an imitation of a demon exorcism.”


I wasn't actually paying attention.

To be honest, just because the smell of the blood is fainter now doesn't mean that I'm completely in control.

For instance, my eyes are fixated on the wounds hidden by those white bandages.

And by those slender arms and shoulders that seem as if they'd break just by being held down.

Or even by her white belly, wet with blood, that surely is fresh and in season like those sweetfish skewers.

“Uhhh. Is the exorcism going well?”

“No, not in the least.

I've performed many exorcisms before now, but I have to say this kind of case is a first for me.”

“Hmmm. So that one is a toughie.”

Red blotches surface on her bandages.

Luscious. Raw. I'd thought that she was like a doll, but she was plenty fresh and rare.

“In terms of strength, it would be among the weak.

But there is one thing different about it, and that is throwing me off.

...I mean, this demon is harsh with me.”

“What? Doesn't it go without saying that demons are harsh?”

“No. As a rule demons are gentle.

Regardless of the result, they are the Imaginary Element that understands one's pain and attempts to remove it. Depending on perspective, one can view them as allies to humans.

No matter what happens, they do not rebuke a human.”


I feel like she's tempting me.

Her hands are folded in prayer. Fingers intertwined. I am reminded of her body,

covered in wounds.

And yet this is something dedicated to god, not intended to be offered to a demon.

Someone who does nothing but accept things as they are.

A convenient sacrifice that accepts sin without reason.

“―――――, Hah.”

This is bad. If I don't switch out of this mind...

This impulse will end up breaking down my shell.

“Is something wrong? You don't look well.”

“I'm fine, just feeling a little anemic.

Anyway, about what you were saying. You've never seen a case like this before. So in other words, it's interesting?”

“Not at all. The only thing unexpected is how irritating it is.

...Oh well. Honestly, perhaps I have had enough.

Even though I had intervened of my own accord, it doesn't seem like I can do much about it. I wonder if it would be fine to withdraw around here?”

“Whichever. Do what you want.”


“What? It's not like I said you're fickle or irresponsible.”

“That is true, but...

...See, you can be harsh.”


"Harsh" she says. This is the first time I've been told that.

I think I've been told before that I'm someone who is patient and someone who is impatient... But which one was called which...?

...I still can't switch.

This one is a formidable opponent.

I wonder whether she is looking at me with those golden eyes.

This isn't possible, to think that my cocoon is on the verge of collapse with just four encounters.

“By any chance, are you taking this seriously?”


I look up at her.

“...My apologies. I merely wanted to try teasing you a little.

Do not worry. I will not abandon you halfway through.

After all, to be your guide is the role I have assigned myself.”

“...Yeah. Come to think of it, our relationship was originally just to exchange information. The first time was helpful, but it's been fairly useless since then so I forgot.”

“That is because you talk about unrelated matters. If only you would talk about something important, I could give you my counsel.”

“That's right.


There's nothing left I should ask about.

The relationship between Emiya Shirou and Caren had already been settled by the third visit.

“―――Sorry, but it's already just about over.

Getting back to what you said earlier, actually, by now it should be okay for you to withdraw.

As for the exorcism... I guess, give up and look for your next catch.”

That's the end of it.

Soon, even this relation will come to an end.

“I understand this is a foolish question. Nevertheless, are you fine with that?”

“Of course I am. That's why I've gone through all this.”

“Is that by your own will? For what purpose do you seek to resolve this wish?”

“Isn't it obvious? Because I'm Emiya Shirou. At least just this once, I want to try to help someone.”

I have no doubts.

My answer from the second visit was what I truly, sincerely believe.

I take my leave.

I want to think that even being able to say those words just now made this time meaningful.


I can't hang around any longer.

Without pause I head for the door.

―――You are nothingness. As long as there is something unborn, something unknown, you will continue to exist.

There aren't many gaps left.

Might as well fill them in quickly.

―――But once everything has been born, you have nowhere to go. The closer these days come to ending, the less you shine.

Nothing will be lost. It's just that,

―――you lose interest in this world, and return to your original state of nothingness.

I'll revert to my original, proper form, that's all.