Loop 7

Day 1

Emiya Residence・Day 1 (Iris' storehouse)

In our yard, we have a storehouse and a dojo.

Maybe it's been there even before Kiritsugu, or maybe he built it himself, after taking over the place.

Either way, you could say his hobbies were a little eccentric.

“...The dojo's a dojo, but the storage looks like... a brewery or a pawn shop or something.”

“Bre-we-ry? Pon-shop?”


As I turn my head towards the owner of the voice, I see Illya tilting her head, curiosity in her eyes.

“Ah, so a pawnshop is Pfandhaus.”

“Yeah. I have nothing to do with one though. But I hear there are some high-class ones in the shopping district back alleys.”

“I know. Like the one Miss Tohsaka frequents. Or so the lady at the fish market tells me.”


Tohsaka is going around to pawn shops?

Could it be that she actually has to pinch every penny and pawn off her precious heirlooms just to sustain her daily―――

“Oh no, it's not that, Shirou.

Rin's probably going after jewelry. They may be out of fashion, but old gems that have been "released" by their former owners may well have their own practical magical uses.”

“Mmm... Like a curse ritual at two in the morningUshi no Koku Mairi and stuff...?”

“I'll leave it up to your imagination. Though wouldn't something belonging to a lady that died an unnatural death would be best for that?”

...That's scary.

But I see.

I did wonder just where was she stocking up on all those gems from time to time, but I never thought she'd even use pawn shops... I have a fear that even I'll be pawned off before long...

“But, but, Shirou.

What's a "brewery?"”

“Huh? Aaah, a place that brews sake and the like. An alcohol manufacturer.”

“I see, a Weinkellerei or a Brennerei. They make rice alcohol in this country, right?”

I guess she's talking about Japanese sake.

"Rice alcohol"... makes me think of something like rice wine, grains of rice soaked in shochu or whatnot.

“It's not all distilled sake, there's stuff like shochu, too.”

“Hmmm... as I thought, that's what cellars and storehouses are used for.”

Unusually impressed, Illya keeps nodding her head.

...Well, she does own a castle, so maybe the Einzberns...

“Say... do you have one in your castle, too? A wine cellar or a brewery?”

“Eh? The castle here? Or the castle far away?”

This or that castle?―――Aah, really, she speaks like the heiress of a true aristocrat.

“This castle is a vacation house, so there's just a Weinkeller―――a wine cellar, that is. Although we never use it.”

“So there's one in your country?”

“The weather's not good for making wine over there... But we did have a distillery.”

“Oh? So you made things like your own whiskey?”

“Eau-de-vie? That's right―――I guess?

We have to make our own magic ingredients, and there's never enough alcohol.”

“I see. So it's actually for more of an academic purpose.”

I guess they use alcohol to preserve samples, or maybe to make chemicals or something.

“Your storehouse isn't really alcohol-related either, is it?”

“Yeah, I don't drink, although I can make some. It's just a storage room.”

“It's also your workshop, isn't it?―――Say, Onii-chan?”


The sudden change in the way of address surprises me.

And that smiling face... I know I'll be unable to say "no" no matter how naughty the request is.

“Can I go inside Onii-chan's storehouse?”

“......Sure. There's nothing interesting there, though.”

“Hehehe, it's okay, it's okay. I always wanted to have a peek at your workshop.”

“Go ahead. It's a bit dusty, but...”

“Yaay! Thanks, Shirou!”

Seeing her so full of joy makes me happy as well.

Although there isn't much, I'm glad my little workshop has pleased her.


She jumps inside.

Her gaze stops on the heaping pile of junk in front of her.

“Did you collect all these, Shirou?”

“Half by me, half by Fuji-Nee, I guess. All the useless stuff is entirely by Fuji-Nee though. Every time I look away, there's more of it.”

“Considering it's Taiga, I'm not surprised. Nope, not at all.”

She dives into the mountain of junk.

I'm worried about the dust getting on Illya's clothes.

“Illya, if you're going to go exploring, I have some work gloves.”

“It's okay... Oooh, what's this, Shirou?”

"Hiya," out comes a round object.

“That's a shichirin... Why would Fuji-Nee...?”

“Shi-chi-rin? Kind of a stove, right?”

“Yeah. You put some coal inside, cover it with a metal screen and use it for cooking... Not that I have any coal, though.”

She probably meant to grill some cuttlefish on it.

Well... it's not broken, so we could use it now. And it is fall, but I would rather have some mackerel instead of cuttlefish.

“Hmm... Wowow, there's a lot of stuff!”

She puts down the stove, and resumes her exploration.

...A hot-water bottle, kotatsu heater, vacuum cleaner nozzle... Even I am impressed by the variety.

“Are you going to repair and use all these?”

“Not really... but I do want to reuse them as much as I can.”

“Oh...? But even then.”

“So this is your workshop... Right?”

She spins and looks around.

Her face shows a complex expression of dissatisfaction, but at the same time, she also seems unusually impressed.

“...Just what is that, this feeling... Not at all similar, yet so close... Could this be...”

“Illya...? Is there something odd here?”

“...I'm not sure, but...

Say, did something happen here? Like some sort of grand magic in the past.”

“...? No, I did practice strengthening, but I haven't used anything big.

Although... Yeah, this is where Saber came out, isn't it?”

“Ah, so it's Saber's summoning spot.

......I see. It certainly looks suitable for Saber. I wonder if the summoning circle had been engraved before the storehouse was built, or if he just chose a spot away from public view... Well, only the previous caster would ever know.”


Illya almost sighs as she mutters all that in a low voice.

“Well, who cares about the past.

As for the grade... Hm, I'd give it about a 10.

It's fun in a way, but you must take care of your workroom. Or it will really become a place you just shove your stuff in.”

“Ugh, I'm ashamed to admit it, but... it's become a habit for me to think that storage and practice room are the same.”

“Oh, it's just like you, Shirou... Perhaps it's time I helped you out.”

“―――You mean, to renovate it?”

“Yeah. You'd have to move a lot of stuff, but you can make it into something like my room in no time at all.”

So she says, full of confidence.

But... like her room?

You mean... Illya's room?

“We'll get Sella and Leys to clean it up and change the interior. Right, about three days should do it...”

“Wait. If you'll really make it look like your castle, I'll never be able to concentrate here.”

To have a Western-style room just in the storehouse of this purely Japanese residence would be nothing more than a joke.

Opening the door to find the storehouse interior lined with carpet, er―――

“Of course, those things will be taken into consideration. Anyway!”


I instinctively lower my head as a reaction to Illya's sudden didactic tone.

“If you actually want to get anywhere, then you must first straighten out that attitude. The workshop is the basis of a magus.”

“I am truly ashamed of myself, ma'am―――”

“This and that. It's all Rin's fault――― Really, it's all Tohsaka's "laissez-faire" policy, she regards independence too highly.”

Illya is mad at Tohsaka's negligence. Indeed, Tohsaka is my current teacher...

“No, I think that's unrelated to...”

“No way. If the teacher doesn't keep an eye on the student's workshop, she'll never know what kind of trouble you could be getting into―――Hmmm.”

...I have a bad feeling about this.

“Right. I must take care of you, there's no other way.

I can't entrust Onii-chan to the likes of Rin.”

A complacent smile. Or maybe a smirk. Or maybe an eternal devil's grin.

A pair of crimson eyes slowly closing in.

...A strong musky scent permeating the dark storehouse―――

A mirage slowly takes over my brain.

...I feel like a moth fixated on a light.

I can move any part of my body, yet it feels as if I'd ruin something big if I move even a finger―――

“Hehehe... Hey, Shirou?

I will definitely make sure to raise you well.”

“Wa... Illya, calm down, that's...”

“Onii-chan, it's you who ought to calm down and think.


Her eyes and lips move closer to mine―――.

Her little body sitting on my lap feels light as a feather.

“Shirou... do you not like me, Onii-chan?”

“That's not it―――but...”

“If you like me, I will make you my most precious possession.

You'll think of no one else, not even Saber. I'll make you into my finest dessert―――”


―――Suddenly, the fog in my mind clears.

Fool me once... The miserable experience from the first time now lets me turn the tables on her.

“...Heh, you're too naive, Illya. Even I won't fall for the same trick twice.”

“Hey, Shirou―――wait, what?”

My free will that had been trapped in those red eyes returns.

“Back at you. Will you be mine if you like me?”

“Eh, eeeh...!?”

“―――Alright, now's my chance!”

I hug Illya tightly.

“Y-Y-You idiot! What are you doing, Shirou!?”

“What do you mean "what"? This one little troublemaker lady, playing with people like a kitten with toys, I thought she could use a lesson or two.”

“I-I'm not a troublemaker! And I'm no kitten, either!

A-And don't carry a lady on your shoulder, you!”

She hits my back a few times, but I don't care.

Although the thought of surrendering to her truly did cross my mind once, I realize that Illya's still a child.

“Yeah, a decade too early.”

“That's too late! And in ten years, you'll be begging to become mine!”

“Haha, yeah. Things might get ugly if you try the same thing again.”

“Y-You just watch! Rin's too dumb, and Sakura's no match for me, I'll be plump and full!”

“...Hm. Sounds kind of sad.”

I wish you would become a well-mannered lady... What the hell am I saying...!?

“Let me go! Put me down! Shirou! Idiot!”

“Hahaha, your compliments are much appreciated. Alright. Let's go drink some tea. I have some dorayaki from Edomaeya, too.”

“Eh? Really? ―――Oh no, you won't get away with just that! Shirou, you idiot! Idiot, idiot, idiot!”

Emiya Residence・Day 1 Afternoon light

“Saber, are you there?”

I knock lightly on the door, but there's no response.

There's no way Saber wouldn't notice that. I guess she's not around.

I saw her in the the living room just before, and since I have some spare time, I was going to ask her to come practice with me―――


When did Rider get here?

“Yeah, I'm looking for her. Did you see her around?”

“No, not on the way here.”

“I see. Oh well.”

Alright, I wonder where she might be... But just as I'm about to head back to the main wing, Rider catches me by the sleeve.

“By the way... Do you have a moment?”

“Hm? What is it?”

“Right, well, the bicycle has really gotten out of shape recently... the handlebars just keep turning right, and it is becoming problematic. If you have time, it would be nice if you could take a look.”

Oh, I see.

Now that she mentions it, I've indeed been skimping on maintenance lately. And the amount that goes into her steed would be considered luxury for any other regular bike.

Rider's own city bike―――a so-called "mama-chari," has not been made to withstand things like drift turns.

“Alright, I'll check it out.”

―――before I take it out with the rest of the garbage, that is.

“Thank you.”

So, with a light parting nod, I go inside my own room, right next to Saber's.

Right, I guess I'll go have a look at the bicycle―――


And before I know it, it's all done.

This is "bicycle number two," all fixed and polished to a sparkle.

At first, I was just going to do the steering wheel bearings... and maybe adjust the brake cables, at most.

And yet―――

For every small part that bothers me, rather than overlook it, I keep thinking I'll be done soon anyway. I take it all apart, and end up going over every single thing. But once it's all in pieces, the plan keeps changing.

“―――Well, I guess this should keep Rider happy.”

I've even replaced the consumable parts with more durable ones. This is as good as this bike will get, so it should be fine... for another week or so.

Oil and sweat all over me, I go back inside to have a shower, only to be met by Fuji-Nee flying out of the living room.

“Fuji-Nee, "no running in the hallways" doesn't apply just to school...!”

“Ah, sorry, Shirou. Please forgive me again!”

Saying that, she runs away.

“Ah, Senpai.”

Breathing heavily, here comes Sakura. Fuji-Nee is understandable, but seeing Sakura race around the house is a bit unusual, not to mention difficult to deal with.

“What the heck is going on?”

“Uh, Illya-san was going to come by, so I thought we'd have some tea. But it turned out that Fujimura-sensei has already snatched all the tea snacks. Storage number one, number two, even the emergency kit crackers...!”

Sounds like a thorough job. So that's why she's being chased.

“But such an uproar over a hungry Taiga regressing to basic human instincts and wiping out the food reserves isn't really...”

Just make sure that she is properly scolded and the replenishments are paid for out of her own pocket before she has the chance to escape.

“But you see, she ate Saber's share, has been identified as the culprit by Illya, yet she's intent on hiding, running and taunting us till her heart stops beating...”

“Catch her immediately. I'll apologize to Illya personally.”

“But when I mentioned the how good the bits of candy in those snacks were, Illya-san just went nuts like never before.”

“Those are emergency rations...”

“Sakura, there she is! She's climbing up the roof.”

Illya's voice is coming from the yard... wait, the roof?

“Eh, uh, right, I'll be right there. So yeah, excuse me, Senpai――― Hold on, Rider, what is the rope for!?”

Throwing on her sandals, Sakura goes out into the yard.

Whatever Rider's up to, I don't think I want to know. Let's look the other way for now.


As usual, some aspects of big-game hunting came out.

I should help them out before this really gets out of hand―――

And thus, Fuji-Nee is finally captured.

Illya and Sakura are in the living room, teaching her a lesson.

As for me, I'm repairing the roof that she trampled on.

There might still be a typhoon this year or something.


I feel kind of sorry for Archer - could it be that he got cranky because we just left him perched on the rooftop all alone?

“Just kidding, no way he would be.”

With all the smoke and whatnot, I doubt that always staying here was one of his favorite jobs.

Anyways, there's still time until supper. Let's go get some rest someplace quiet.

Nothing unnecessary, only bare wooden floor.

After all, no matter how many residents we had, this place never saw much use.

From the beginning, I had forgotten it.

...I calm down my disarrayed mind.

This is where it all began. I'll indulge in this nostalgic feeling for a while.


...I guess I just wanted to stand there for as long as I could.

Just quietly stand still at the entrance.

“―――You're here, Shirou.”

I wonder how long did that last.

All too fast, Saber's voice releases my bound body.

“Yeah. What about you, how long have you been here for?”

“Let's see... that would be since after lunch.”

In other words, just about half a day.

“...Shirou, what is wrong? It seems like you had something to talk about, but...”

“Oh, nothing―――”

Indeed, I was going to ask Saber to help me train, but it's already starting to get dark.

So what can we do now―――

“I just thought I'd relax here for a bit.”

“I see. Indeed, here is a good place to calm down and meditate.

In that case, I will be leaving.”

“No, it's―――”

Now that the two of us are here, I want Saber to stay for a while... yeah, like I'm going to embarrass myself with that.

“What is it?”

“...Oh, nothing.”

Answering thus, I sit down and get comfortable.

I'll probably soon forget all the smalltalk exchanged today, anyway. Yet the evening sunlight dancing on the walls of the dojo, and Saber's gentle smile... those will surely stay in my mind forever―――

Emiya Residence・Start of Night・Ritual window

Emiya Residence・Start of Night Things to do

Night・Streets at night (battle)


I'll go patrol with Saber.

Although the situation around town isn't too urgent, this is the least we should do.

“Saber, is it okay? I'd like to go patrolling through the town for a bit.”

“Yes. I am prepared.

Whether to investigate or just wait for more development.

The rest is up to you, Shirou.”

Saber replies immediately, as if having read my thoughts.

I'm very thankful, but...

“Uh, even if you say it's up to me...

I was just going out on patrol, and so I called you. If you don't feel like it, I can wait.”

Saber's eager reply was a little weird.

I guess she noticed it herself, as well. Ah, now she looks surprised.

“...You are right. The one who wanted to accompany you on a patrol was me.

I did not want to test your resolve, but it looks like I just did.”

She bows her head in an apology.

I... don't think that's necessary.

I wasn't particularly motivated to go myself, but now that I got a push in the right direction, it's all good.

“Maybe your senses got a little dulled by the peace, too. There hasn't been much happening during the summer vacation, so maybe you've gotten used to it.”

“That is not possible. I am your sword. As long as you need me, no blunders will be tolerated.”

Saber's determination seems incorrigible.

That's very reliable of her, however...

“I'm glad to hear it, but that's just another way of saying that you can't rest as long as I remain a rookie.

...Well, I guess I'm still a troublesome pupil to you.”

“Ah, no, I do not mean to fault you, I just attempted to express my readiness to stand by your side until the end. Although I do not say it in words, I do think you are doing quite well―――”

Saber hastily corrects herself.

Although I do want to talk more, if we make noise in the corridor, we might attract an undesired third person.

“No, it is just that as each day passes, I feel even more satisfied by your―――Are you even listening, Shirou!?”

“Sorry, Saber, but let's talk more about that later.”


I cut the conversation short and grab Saber's hand.

Before we get discovered by other inhabitants, I hurriedly escape from the hallway.

We do our best to sneak outside.

The Emiya residence surroundings are peaceful and quiet. Nothing is out of the ordinary.

“Well then―――let's go have a quick look around town. We don't know what is wrong, and we don't even know if there is anything out of the ordinary in the first place, so today's patrol might end up being pointless.”

That said, time to hit the road... Mm, one more thing.


“Yes, what is it, Shirou?”

Why is she so energetic and eager?

“...Hey, I don't really know if you should wear armor around town.

It's still before ten, and it'll be weird if we get seen by other people. Wouldn't it be fine just to armor yourself when we meet enemies?”

“No. Since we do not know our enemies, we can only concentrate on our defenses.

Shirou, please worry about how you appear to other people when you have learned to defend yourself.”


Ugh... I've made her angry for the first time in a while.

I can't really abide by what she says, but when it comes to battles, her intuition is irrefutable.

In other words, now that she is on high alert, this "evening stroll" will not end as simply that.

“...Okay. I'll leave it up to you. But the moment you see someone you know, make sure to disarm immediately.”

“Yes. It will depend on the situation, but I shall try to comply.”

Night・Temple guardian

There are no signs of life at the temple gate.

There aren't any noticeable changes here. After all, this mountain, almost an hour away from town, has always been wrapped in silence.


I had come to Ryuudou Temple with Saber before, but this is the first time we are visiting at this hour since the last Heaven's Feel.

I wonder. No way it would happen with just me alone, but with Saber around, I'm starting to zone out a little.

This has to be the spot where...

―――The end of something is sleeping.


“Sorry, I got lost in thought. Do you feel anything, Saber?”

“I do not feel anything disquieting. Even if there were new abnormalities to be found here, I find it hard to imagine Ryuudou Temple being assaulted.”

“This is Caster's territory, after all. The area's defenses against outside enemies are perfect.

Even after the end of the Heaven's Feel, she still remained cautious of the other Servants.”

“Yeah, sometimes I do talk with her at Ryuudou Temple, but it feels like she's keeping her distance. According to Kuzuki-sensei though, she just isn't used to dealing with the neighbors yet, so I ought to be a little more forgiving.”

Well, when you do think of her backstage plotting, it is a little hard to suddenly start being friendly with each other.

“So anyway. Saber, what do you think about Caster? Do you think she's involved this time?”

“I don't mean to defend her, however, this probably is not her doing. For example, the continuation of the Heaven's Feel would bring nothing to her, as she has no desires to be granted.”

“...That's true. More than all of us, she probably wants things to go on the way they are. This is the peace that she had never been able to get.”

..................Well, putting that aside.

“You were saying her defenses are perfect. Are there any tricks up her sleeve other than Assassin?”

“Yes, an almost neurotic defensive barrier. Ignoring Assassin, who was summoned only for the purpose of guarding the gate, even without a war, there has been a increase in the number of traps with each passing month.

It is enough to cause one to suspect that she was not doing it out of protection, but testing them out as a hobby.”


So that's what's making you distrust Caster.

Supposing that, by some accident, Caster did become friends with Saber, they'd have the sort of relationship where they'd quarrel with each other outside of public view all the time.

“I don't think we have to go all the way in, though. There's nothing unusual here. And I can't help but get the feeling that we'd be poking our heads into a beehive if we did.”

I want to avoid being mistaken for attackers.

The other onlooking Servants aren't going to just stand around if a fight broke out over something as insignificant as this.

“I agree. We best leave Assassin to his duties and return to town. He is somewhat of a difficult person to deal with, but he is not one that would allow wrongs to go on out of mischief.

There is the part of him that engages in a life to death battle as if it were entertainment, but he also enjoys tranquility just as much.”

Saber's right. As long as Assassin's protecting the temple gates, no suspicious characters will be entering.

Night・Return of the wise man

Day 2

Streets・Day 2 Cleaning alone

Residential district's topmost house, the Tohsaka mansion.

With the master gone, it is now Fuyuki's haunted house in both name and reality―――

“...And that's what I will be cleaning today.”

Standing in front of the gate, I look up and mutter.

Tohsaka's somewhere in Britain right now, and she asked me to come and clean the house from time to time. I don't have much choice.

...I did think if I could perhaps get away with just opening and closing the shutters and doors a few times, but for a request like this, I really ought to do a proper job.

“Can I finish this quickly...? Let's see...”

Taking out the keys, I remember the incantation to release the seal.

There are two layers of locks while she's absent, so anyone other than Tohsaka will find it rather difficult to enter.

“Abzug Bedienung Mittelstand―――”

...Did it deactivate?

The key turns, and I pull out a mountain of newspapers and letters that were blocking the mailbox.

“Wow, lots of courier and regular delivery notices, too... really should have just forwarded it all to my house.”

It'll be quite sad if I won't manage―――to come in.

Nah, if I tell Tohsaka I wasn't able to do any cleaning because I couldn't get the key to work, who knows what kind of scolding I'll get.

“Ah―――it did open. Coming in...”

...For a brief moment, I was stunned.

The room, lined with a soft carpet floor, is full of expensive, antique-looking furniture.

“Riiight... so where should I start?”

Being used to a purely Japanese-style environment, I'm at wit's end.

That really expensive-looking nouveau light stand over there, it looks fragile enough to break if you touch it wrong. There are tons more things like that everywhere.

Now, Sakura would be used to cleaning Western-style houses... I regret not bringing her along.

“And with Rider, it'll be even more efficient... clearly, I need help here.”

For now, let's just wipe off the dust.

I give the room a once-over, open the shutters and open the window.

Hm, it is indeed fairly dusty―――

“Now then... I guess the cleaning supplies are down below?”

Probably in the storage room under the stairs.

Which reminds me, Tohsaka did tell me something really mean... She said that if I become her live-in apprentice, I would have to sleep in that storage room... am I a maid, or maybe a young magus prodigy or something?

“Alright, let's give it a try―――”

Flapping the brush, I dust the room.

Rather than just cleaning, this is more like going sightseeing in Tohsaka's house for the year-end cleaning ceremony.

“Right, the basement―――”

I look through the bunch of keys for the one to the basement―――there it is.

Western-style houses are also grand for having basements.

Movies and novels tell me that a mansion's basement ought to have a wine cellar and whatnot.

...What should I do if it's more of a dungeon?


Even if it's pretty much the same as the storehouse at our place, the tension of knowing that many rituals have been held here makes me hold my breath.

Tohsaka was here, too... that stirs deep emotions.

However, that's not what caught my eye.

“Dumbbells? Here, of all places?”

What's with all the athletic equipment, I wonder.

I'm completely clueless at the abundance of training implements.

Actually, Tohsaka did say that she was doing pushups and situps before going to sleep. Sooner or later, apparatus like these get introduced, and now it just looks like a gym...

“...Indeed, did you get that far?”

The dumbbells don't suit her room, so she probably decided to put them here.

However... even more so than the contents of her dresser, I think I've seen something I wasn't supposed to.

“...Well, for now I'll leave it as it is.”

There are a lot of things not meant to be seen.

The house should have gotten plenty of air by now, so I guess I'll leave early.

“Anfang Mittelstand. ―――Right.”

...Did I lock it well? It's starting to bother me again.

I can at least tell that if I don't improve in magic, it's going to be tough.

Emiya Residence・Start of Night Things to do

Night・Streets at night (battle)

Night・Peace and quiet (III)

We are at the heart of Miyama.

Looking towards Shinto, I can see the lit up bridge and all the city lights.

“There is nothing unusual here. We can continue our patrol in Miyama, or extend further into Shinto. I shall leave it up to your judgment, Shirou.”

Eventually, dawn will come.

We'd better not be too late or Sakura and the others will worry. We shouldn't be wandering around aimlessly, either...

“Let's see... Now that we've more or less covered Miyama, I guess we should have a look through Shinto, too.”

Soon it will be dawn.

As much as I want to continue this one-on-one patrol with Saber, it's about time we start wrapping it up.

Night・Return of the wise man

Day 3

Emiya's・Day Selected for the King

“Saber, I made some snacks for tea, want to try them?”

I followed the instructions on TV and tried making an unusual kind of a donut. It's called "sata andagi" in Okinawa, apparently.

Considering it's my first attempt, the result turned out to be quite decent. I'll get Saber to sample some with the tea I brought along.

“Shirou? Umm... Please wait a moment.”

A rummaging noise can be heard from the inside. Finally, the sliding door opens.

“Sorry to have kept you waiting, please come in.”

“Ah, excuse me.”

I place the tray with the sata andagi and tea on the table in the middle of the room.

“Shirou, this is...”

Filled with anticipation, Saber's eyes are fixed on the table.

If she had a tail, it'd probably be wagging non-stop by now.

“Oh, I tried making something I saw on TV. Kind of looks delicious, doesn't it?”

I pour some tea from the pot and offer it to Saber.

“This is just a prototype, though, so there's not that many.

Fried food needs to be eaten while it's still warm, so I brought it right away. I thought that if it gets a favorable rating here, I'd try making enough for everyone next time.”

“I see. If that is the case, I won't hold back.”

“I'm not sure if it will suit your taste, but please enjoy.”

“It is made by Shirou, after all.

And it smells so good, the taste must be so as well. It's my pleasure.”

Her palms close together in a gesture of thanks, and she proceeds to stuff a sata andagi in her mouth. Busy chewing, she doesn't make any comments. Her expression talks for itself, though.

Then that means it is a success. I let out a sigh and take a sip of tea.

......Well, then.

Though I'm content with just watching Saber chew away happily, I've just remembered something, so I asked,

“By the way, what were you doing just now?”

“Right, I was just changing.

Shirou, there is something I have always wondered about...”


Did I make a mistake somewhere? Judging from the sampling, I thought it was quite good.

“Yes, I have been advised by Rin and Sakura about this, but why is there so much variety in the undergarments covering the chest that one can get?”


I almost sprayed out the tea in my mouth.

Good thing Saber phrased it in such a roundabout way. The fact that it took me a moment to comprehend the question was what saved me.

“...Why are you asking me this...?”

A guy would be stumped by the availability of so many types of bra as well.

“I can certainly understand the idea that women must avoid exposing their body. That's why you need underwear, but why do you need to fuss over the appearance?”


“Yes. Taiga and others took me to one such store the other day. Underwear is not meant to be shown in the first place, and the sheer variety of styles on display is beyond my understanding.”

“Err, that's... basically...”

I feel kind of like a single father whose only daughter has finally hit puberty―――

But the way that this one daughter―――that is, Saber, has lobbed the question at me - directly and with no signs of hesitation - completely precludes the possibility of avoiding the subject by just trying to joke about it.

...As if bra is the enemy.

“Well, that's, you know...”

Thus buying a brief moment for thought, I managed to come up with my very own answer, somehow.

“I think it must be about a woman's pride.”

“About... pride?”


I've just realized that I've said something totally stupid.

Well, it might sound even more stupid if I just muddy the waters and not follow up with anything. So, putting on a dead-serious face, I explain.

“Compared to men's underwear, there's certainly an overwhelming variety of features, shapes and whatnot. But I don't think it's just about practicality.”

“So you are saying...?”

“Yep. In other words―――

Things that make you stand out, desire to wear things that suit you, those are all driven by self-esteem, aren't they? Therefore, pride.”


“Shirou―――your ears are burning red.”

“T-That's because you're asking about embarrassing stuff!”


“...I see.

I apologize. I did not think that my question would disturb you so much.”

“When I asked Rin, she told me that you'd be able to produce a more satisfying answer―――”

“Ha, hahaha... is that right?”

Great, I'll keep that in mind.

Next time I get a chance, I'll make sure her dinner is full of sugar.

“Thank you, Shirou. I finally understand.”

“Eh, really?”

My glance unconsciously falls on Saber's white chest that she's now feeling with her fingertips. I hurriedly raise my head, changing the line of sight to look her straight in the eyes.

“I am not trying to deceive you. Pride, that is, self-confidence, is something I can understand myself.”

“Sorry, it's not that I'm doubting you.

It is just that, how should I put it, I have no expertise in this field.”

"That's okay," she shakes her head.

“As you may know, I've been trying to hide my feminine side to begin with. Indeed, I know virtually nothing about women's clothing―――But even so, there were occasions when I had to pay particularly close attention to my dress.”

“Really...? I thought your armor was a lot like daily clothes.”

“Yes. That would be natural... for a warrior. However, being constantly armed is also unacceptable.

A commander might want to take off his armor as a sign of trust for an ally, and a king might look for majestic clothes as a show of dignity. Those are the kinds of events that occurred frequently.”

“For example...

Yes, such as the delight of a triumphal return―――

At that time, the proud king of the nation will need to carry himself with the utmost dignity, and dress more brilliantly than ever.”

“I see. If the king never removes his armor, the subjects cannot rest, either.”

Hearing a satisfactory answer, Saber nods.

“Wearing such majestic clothes had, in turn, also served to lift up my own spirit on more than a few occasions.

Your remark has suddenly reminded me of that feeling.”

“Pride... in the sense of the king's ceremonial outfit?”


Those are simple, by modern standards, articles. But when made for the king by skilled craftsmen and seamstresses, they have, in my opinion, an unmatched sheen to them.

A tunic with majestic crimson dragons embroidered on it.

A quilted mantle, hemmed with golden thread.

A dazzling crown.

At times, just putting them on made me forget fatigue and focus my mind.”

“Nowadays, women are already free from having to abide by men's rules.

―――Therefore, going about daily tasks with pride at your chest is understandable. That I can relate to my own experience.

Expressing yourself, your own femininity through choice in underwear is something that I think I begin to understand.”

Taking a breath, she adds, looking embarrassed,

“Thank you, Shirou.

My crude self never noticed something so obvious...”

“It's no big deal, really―――”

Letting out a sigh, she steals another quick glance at the plate with one last sata andagi remaining.

No need to say anything, I just push the plate towards her.

“...Oh well. Go for it.”

“Go for what?”

Satisfied expression on her face, Saber finishes the sata andagi and brings her palms together in a gesture of gratitude.

“―――Thank you for the food, Shirou.

It was great. Delicious.

I believe this "sata andagi" has plenty of potential to become one of the top ten afternoon snacks.”

“All right. That's great.”


“...Huh? What's wrong?”

There's no more left... but...

“Oh, nothing... it was just a moment ago that we were talking about pride and femininity, yet my mind has been distracted by food in an instant... how selfish of me...”

“Don't worry about it. I'd be more concerned if Saber suddenly lost her appetite, haha.”

L-Laugh. For now, I have no choice but to laugh.

“Shirou. I definitely have to refine my womanhood by observing Rin, Sakura, Taiga and others.”

“Uh, w-well, I'm not so sure about Fuji-Nee...”

No matter how you put it, this is one strange conversation.

I'm starting to feel uncomfortable.

Instinct tells me to start putting away the tableware.

“Oh? I feel Taiga is more feminine than you give her credit for. You two are just too close.”

“Y-You think so?”

“By the way...”


“If you don't mind, could you come with me to this "lingerie shop" sometime?”

“Huh? Linge-...... W-With me!?”


I must have mixed in some kind of fast-acting drug as one of the ingredients.

“I was saying some profound-sounding things just now, but in reality, I am completely unable to say whether the clothes I wear suit me or not myself...”

“But if I can get you to see it from your perspective, Shirou, I'll...um, be glad......”

“Wha... I-Is that another one of Tohsaka's suggestions? Don't be ridiculous!”

“....Is it really that outrageous?

I saw some customers accompanied by men in the store. As for being embarrassed in an unfamiliar place, it is the same for me.”

“No. That's completely different!”

“Hm, so what was that about doing our best together, then!?”

“So you're listening, after all!

A-Anyway, ask Tohsaka or Sakura for underwear selection advice!”

“No, I cannot resign myself to be on the receiving end of favors forever.”

“I heard that there's even underwear designed to be shown on the outside. If that is true, then by all means, I should get Shirou to choose it.”

“I refuse. There's absolutely no way. This is my final word.”

“Oh ho...”

“If you're going to be that stubborn, I have an idea too.”


“―――Under no conditions will I put on any underwear that has not been chosen by Shirou!!!”

“Why did it come to this!?”

“So, please accompany me in my quest.”

“Ugh... Alright, but only to the front of the store! I will not yield any more than that!”

“But that is pointless!”

“Stop right there, Shirou―――!”

“―――――Um ...what?”

“Ahh... Umm... That...”

“N-Never mind...”

“I w-wish you luck in your endeavor...”

“Thousand apologies, and my humble thanks! Right, then!”

Emiya's・Day 3 Autumn, sky, and a golden taste

As I casually look around the garden, I notice that there are quite a lot of tree leaves scattered around.

I've got some time, I guess I'll clean it up a bit.

There's no wind or anything to scatter the piles, so it should go quickly.

“Shirou, what are you doing?”

I look over my shoulder towards the voice, and see Saber, who must have come around from the entranceway.

“Saber? As you can see, I'm just cleaning the yard.”

I lift the broom to reinforce my point.

She looks at the leaves piling up in the yard and breathes out a sigh.

“This ought to be a lot of work for one person. Why could you not ask someone for help?”

“Eh...? Uh, well. I thought I'd just clean it up by myself.”

“Shirou. When there are two people, the job gets done faster, and the amount of effort needed from each person decreases. We all live under the same roof, all you need to do is ask.”

While I'm still standing there in a daze, Saber snatches the broom out of my hands.

“Well, that's true, but.”

“Listen, Shirou, it is not a bad thing to ask for help. If you have a pair of hands available, is it not natural to use them?”

She thrusts the broom's handle right at my face.

“Uh, okay. I'll keep that in mind.”

“―――Mmph... Very well, let us be positive and get right to it.”

Saying that, she helped me as if it was the natural thing to do.

...Saber sure is a hard worker.

The plan was to just quickly go through the yard, drag out the bike trailer, then pile up all the leaves and dead wood on top of it.

As we went around the yard, the trailer soon filled up.

“Shirou, what shall we do with all these leaves?”

“Usually, we'd take them out with the burnable waste.”

But since there's so many of them this time, there's something I want to try instead.

“What do you mean, usually?”

“Oh, we still have time, so let's make a bonfire or something.”

“Bonfire, you say?”

“Yeah. Seeing how much effort went into collecting them, we might as well put them to good use.

And I have an idea how to do just that.”

I show her the bag I brought from the kitchen.

“? What would that be...?”

“Sweet potatoes. Baking and eating them on a bonfire is a national tradition.”


Well, that's probably an exaggeration, but you could say it's part of the culture, at least.

Wrapping the potatoes in aluminum foil, I bury them under the leaves and ignite the whole pile.

It hasn't rained recently, the wood is dry, and the fire grows nicely.

“You seem to be quite adept at this. Is this something you do often?”

“Nah. I make a bonfire maybe once or twice a year.”

Listening to the fire pop and crack, I look to my side and see Saber, her face far more gentle than usual.

“...This sure brings back memories.”

“The bonfire?”

“Yes. Whether one needed to warm up, cook, or just have some light, the fire was always there.

I do not see it that often here, and thus the nostalgic feeling.”

...That's right. Gas and electricity have only been around for about a hundred years and out of all Servants, there's only one that would be used to it that I can think of.

“Watching a fire like this is greatly relaxing.”

What does Saber see on the other side of the flame?

Flames are not something that brings pleasant memories to my mind. The image that she sees will be different.

The leaves are almost all burned off, and the fire finally subsides.

Being careful not to disturb the dancing black ash, I dig out the baked potatoes with a stick.

“Alright. Should be done by now.”

Work gloves on, I brush the soot off and wrap one in a newspaper.

It's not been torn open yet, but the smell already floats up in the air.

“Here, Saber, pass. It's hot, be careful.”

I toss the first potato to Saber, then dig out the remainder out of the ashes.

“What about you, Shirou?”

“I need to take the rest out first, then I'll have some. Go ahead, they're best when still hot.”

“Right, then.”

She takes one bite, and a look of surprise appears on her face. As she stuffs the rest into her mouth, she nods with satisfaction.

“Is it good?”

“Yes, very.”

She looks extremely pleased with it.

Great. She was a great help, so let this be a little reward for all the work.

“―――By the way, Shirou. How did you prepare these potatoes before you baked them?”

“Prepare? I just baked them as they were.”

I dig the the second and third one out before wrapping them in leaflets.

When I look up, Saber looks even more mystified than before.

“...What's wrong?”

“Nothing, just that this "sweet potato" is so naturally delicious when you simply bake it―――”

“Well, they do say that a simple recipe brings out the true taste of the ingredients.”

The really delicious ones are made with just fire and salt, nothing else.

“But then... these baked potatoes and that crude cookery... just what is it that makes them different?”

By "crude cookery," I guess she means the dishes of her time.

“If baking them was all you did, which should be just the same, then the difference ought to be in the ingredients?”

“...There's just no logic here.

If we could only taste it back then, we could have still fought―――”

What is it that you see on the other side of the potato? Greater than the emotions that the flames have stirred, could it be regret―――?

Well, continuing to eat that sweet potato in the meantime is very much like Saber.

“Food grudges sure are scary.”

“Did you say something, Shirou?”

“Nope, not a thing.”

And so, we stayed there until sunset.

...A thin column of smoke, rising steadily into the autumn sky.

Nothing to disturb the two of us, just a plain campfire snack.

This scene, gentle in its simplicity, brighter than the strongest summer sunlight, will remain shining in my heart.

Emiya Residence・Start of Night Things to do

Emiya Residence・Night Map Cruel teacher

While everyone else is having a bath,

to help digest dinner, I have some light practice with Saber.

Not too competitive, pretty much just for exercise. Thus, rather than using Archer's dual-wielding style, I have just one shinai.

Instead of coming at me with the usual flurry of blows, Saber starts pointing out, in a relatively gentle manner, the areas that need improvement.

“―――Your overhead cut still leaves a huge opening.

Try to restrain yourself until the right moment.”

Of course, "gentle" is a purely relative term. My wide-open chest got smacked, and down on the floor I go.

“Ow, I'll take note――”

Trying to ignore the pain, I stand up and ready my shinai once again.

“Good. You are getting sharper every day. Let us continue the same way.”

Saber seems awfully happy.

“You're enjoying this, aren't you?”

“Yes. You are definitely improving, albeit slowly. For a teacher of swordsmanship, there is no greater joy.”

...I see.

In front of a coach like this, any student would get motivated.

“Then let's keep going for a bit.

...This time, I have a secret technique. Well, it's not really something I can show off yet...”

As a token of student's sincere appreciation of his teacher, I also want to show her something good.

“...? Very well. Back to our positions, Shirou.”

Saber resumes her stance.

She's just watching me, motionless, as usual. Not giving her a chance to relax, I come charging forward―――!

“hu, Ha―――!”

But instead of parrying it from the front, she steps to the side, as if weaving through―――and as we pass each other, easily avoids the blow aimed at her head.

“...Aw. That was the best one so far, yet you still dodged it so easily...”

I hang my head in shame.

“......Shirou, what was that just now?”

“Oh, the new shinai technique?

Well, I thought I'd surprise you for once, so Ri...”


Wait, why did I just get the feeling that she is really pissed off?


“...Indeed, there is no need to ask where you learned it.

That footwork and attack style is definitely Rider's. Just when did you―――”

“Well, you weren't here, and so I asked her to come practice with me...”

But then, I'm nowhere near Rider's skill or speed, and my pathetic attempt is no more than a poor imitation of her technique.

“I see. In other words, you have no qualms about learning from anyone, no matter who the teacher is. Is that it?

Indeed, now that I think about it, you copied Archer's technique, too, didn't you?”


“From Rin, magecraft. You could say that swordsmanship is from myself, but in reality, it is quite fickle.

You know, I could even ignore Archer's influence, but Rider's, out of all people...”

“Wait a second. You got it all wrong, didn't you...?”


Listen to me!

Her movements full of vigor, Saber raises her shinai back into position.

“...Very well. Come on, Shirou, feel free to use two blades, chains, or whatever you like.

Tonight is a great opportunity. Let us show whose fighting style is superior, once and for all.”

“No, that's... I mean, I do realize that yours is the best―――Are you upset because I trained with Rider?”

“Such a trivial thing doesn't bother me.

I just want to see the results of your studies under all the other people.”

"Fufufu, no wonder I suspected Lancer's and Assassin's tendencies," I hear her murmur.

“Liar, you're all riled up!”

“Naturally, we're in the middle of a training session.

―――Now please prepare yourself, Shirou!”

...What I learned today:

First, Saber is still extremely strong, so let's try not to anger her, as much as possible.


above all, when it comes to swordsmanship, Saber is as old-fashioned as ever and her straightforward manners shall not be overlooked.

And so on.

Only now, as my consciousness is fading, do I finally realize Saber's true dreadful potential.

Day 4

Streets・Day 4 Blue Panther vs. Black Panther

“...Lad, why're you sitting next to me?”

“Weren't you the one that came to me, Lancer?”

Me and Lancer, one sad pair, sit on a bench at the park.

...I was here first. He's the one who sat down next to me, complaining about stuff...

“Is that so? Hanging out with a dude ain't been the plan.”

“I'm sorry I'm a guy. Would it be better if I were a girl?”

“Would be a very welcome change, that! Hell, I'd let you sit on top of me, too.”


“What, ain't no reason to redden up.

Yer stuff is still there, ain't it?”

“Id-, I-I-Idio-...!”

I'm not blushing, and I DO still have have my stuff!

...I'd like to shout that out, but this is a public park.

“It is? But ain't enough to say, "I'd let her too" or, "I'd sit her myself" or something smooth like that?”

“That's not "smooth"... that's harassment!”

“―――What's that? Weapon? Food?”


I am now explaining the concept of sexual harassment to a hero of mythological times.

This is too much. It's almost as impossible as explaining what Internet is to Tohsaka.

And if I do try, I'd probably be taken for a clown.

Lancer comes from a world where "nightcrawling" to plunder the "goods" was still commonplace.


What's sad is that I'm stuck here alone with a little kid, right?”

“Can't you just go catch a few, like you always do?”

“Sure could, but I ain't seeing any good ones swimmin' by... ah.”

Target in sight. He deploys from the bench in one smooth, fast motion.

“Hey, hey, ladies. Got a minute?”

...And so it begins.

I do wonder what sorts of girls he's picking up this time.

"Ladies," sounds like a big catch...

“Eh? Huh? Y-You mean us?”

“"Ladies" does appear to indicate all of us.”

“...Who are you?”

Wait, that's the track and field club...!

“Me? Ain't no suspicious guy.”

“Sir, your name?”

“Well, just call me Lancer. Or "Fuyuki's Blue Panther," how 'bout that?”

“Hoho~, the one you see is Fuyuki's Black Panther herself, did you know?”

Makidera, the self-styled Black Panther, responds to Lancer's outburst.

By all rights, the two of them should have started a fight by now, but strangely enough, they actually seem to be getting closer instead.

...In fact, they may even get along quite well.

“Ah, so you are the Black Panther. Always thought I'd meet you someday.”

“Eh―――Ah, no, um, everyone says that, but I'm not really...”

“Maki-chan, you're famous.”

“...I thought it was only Makidera calling herself that, but I guess the world is big.”

No, I bet Lancer's heard it for the first time, too.

“So, this pretty girl and lovely lady here, are those Black Panther's...?”

“Ah, yes. We're Maki-chan's friends.”

“Yep, Himuro and Yukika. We're in the same club, and―――”

“Wait, no need to tell me.

Hmm... Black Panther must be a fast runner.”

“Eh? Y-You can tell by looking? Oh, haahaaha~”

“You have a nice physique.

That's amazing. If you're that trained, you deserve the name of Black Panther twice over.”

Guh... what a smooth talker. There's gallantry behind that wildness.

Next, Lancer quickly glances over Himuro...

“The lady over there, you're not into speed, but rather height... vertical over horizontal, so to speak.”

“―――Oh? That is quite right. You have good eyes.”

“And the young Miss here... Ah...”

Saegusa is the team's manager, so athletics isn't her strong point.

Lancer looks to be at a loss for a good positive analogy as well.

“Ah, I'm the manager. Kane-chan is expert at high jumping, and Maki-chan is an ace at middle-distance running.”

“Seems you're no stranger to this stuff, but what's your field?”

Makidera either sincerely believes that Lancer is somehow involved with track-and-field, or... maybe she just likes being hit on by men?

Whatever the case, Lancer sure is a fine man, much as I hate to admit it.

“Me? Oh, my specialty is javelin throw.”


―――"Specialty," yeah right!

“Eh? So you are into athletics. That makes me happy.”

“Javelin throw... so that's like what Kubota-kun does on our team.”

“Oh? You look like you'd be pretty good at that. What is your record?”

Speed of about Mach 2, and distance of around 40 km...

...No, not only that, it can probably hit the target even if it were on the other side of the Earth.

It scares me that Lancer would actually say something so careless to the three girls who don't know anything―――

“Right, well... don't think there are many who can beat me. Two in the whole world, conditionally maybe three?”

Those lightly spoken words carry much truth behind them.

Even Makidera and the others who have no idea who they're talking to feel that it's not Lancer's arrogance speaking.

“Woow, that's amazing. I'm so envious. sigh

“I see, you may just have the skills to be called Fuyuki's Panther. Just like me. Kekeke.”

That was Makidera, who couldn't wait to say that she was also great.

Aside from that, Lancer seems to be connecting unusually well with the trio.

Could this hunting session actually end up a success...!?

“Well, why don't we go somewhere and discuss that in detail?”

“Are you―――inviting us, sir?”

“Eh, w-what do we do, Maki-chan!?”

“Hmmm... so why not? We are free, after all.”

Makidera must be in seventh heaven after a compliment like this.

...Himuro is still cautious, Saegusa's just overwhelmed by the rapid development, and things are going Lancer's way.

Oh, am I going to witness a successful hunt of his for the first time!?

But to see my fellow comrades, right before my eyes... even if one of them is a little odd... I can't let them fall prey to his poisonous bite...!

“Look, Himuro. He looks like a strong and interesting guy, right? I wouldn't mind hearing a story or two. I wanna have some fun.”

“Indeed―――No, if I don't go, who knows what you'll do. Let us all go together.”

“C-Could I also tag along?”

“Happily, young lady―――You're so cute. Do you have a significant other?”

Lancer's getting excited.

Saegusa's burning red too―――poor girl.

“Ah, n-no...”

“Mister, Yukicchi is innocent, so you can't bother her.”

“Ah, I'm sorry.

Then, shall we get going?”

Congratulations, Lancer.

Clapping softly, I get up from the bench.

And I'm sorry, Lancer.

This hunting session... Heavens may forgive you, but I will not...!

“Hm―――Huh, Emiya?

What, what's with that sour face?”

“Huh? Emiya-kun?”


“...Damn. Another acquaintance of yours?”

“That's right. Then you know what I'm here to do, don't you?”

“Stop. It's all fine before I cast, but I ain't letting you ruin the catch as I pull it in. And 'tis rude to the ladies, too.”


He has a point.

As a master hunter, Lancer is determined to follow through on his catch.

“...So, when would you stop?”

“Well, that would probably be when you or the ladies defeat me.”

“―――All right. Then don't forget that.”

So there is a way. I may be hopeless in battle, but I do have a trump card for this very occasion...!

“Hey, Himuro...”

“...What is it? You seem to know this person, Emiya. Is he dangerous?”

“...I'm not sure yet. He's a good guy, and I doubt he'll try anything funny... but you never know.

Frankly, if that happens, there are only six people in Fuyuki that can stop him.”

“...That could be a problem.

Then would it be wise to part here?”

“―――No, there is a way to bring him down. Just in case things go wrong...”

I whisper a few words to her.

“? Will that really do it?”

“Yes. And after you're done, make sure to say the name.”

“Understood. Sounds like we can handle it.”

“Hey there, are you guys done talking?”

“Yeah. Do as you like.”

“Alright, shall we head out, ladies?

It's almost noon, so let's go have a bite first. My treat, of course.”

“Awesome! I want a Mac! A mouthful of Mac for me, please!”

“Th... thank you!”

“Oh... Perfect timing for a good thought.”

Closer than ever, all four of them leave the park.

As they're leaving, Himuro gives me a quick thumbs-up.


No more than ten minutes later, I'm still sitting on the bench, basking in the sun.


W-W-W-What did you feed meeeeee!?”

A refreshing scream resounds throughout the clear sky.

Kicking up a dustcloud behind him, Lancer runs toward the port with a speed matching and beating that of a raging bull.

“Heh. Heheheh, heheheheh...!”

What I told Himuro was very simple.

If he starts acting funny, find an excuse to feed him some hotdogs―――

“Hmm... I've confirmed that it's highly effective... but it's only ten minutes in.

He's one fearsome guy, that Lancer.”

Well then...

Lifting myself up from the bench, I head toward the nearby fast food place.

Let's go have lunch at the site of the Hound of Culann's defeat.

Lancer・Harbor Lancer

Lancer・Harbor That past is already

...Maybe I'll ask him about his past.

I'm curious what he thinks about the current state of affairs, but another part of me also wants to know about how he feels about his life.

Saber had blamed herself strongly.

Someone that lives as freely as he does might still have some regrets about the past.

“Regrets, you say? Disappointment, maybe, but regrets? Not one bit.”


That would be the reply of the ill-fated hero of Ireland, made while looking at a fishing rod that's totally missing its target.

“...I thought so. You've really got nothing on you, huh. Other Servants, you know, all seem to have some longing for the past.”

“Ya don't say? They sure didn't look like the kinda lot that'd go back home as heroes now, of all times.

...Yeah, Caster oughtta be full of regrets.

She was supposed to have originally been a sheltered princess. She'd be happier had she been kept in that castle. The world and you would be safer that way.”

"Fuwaaa," yawns Lancer loudly.

I wonder if it's the lack of any hits that's irritating him or if he just doesn't like talking about the past.

Lancer just reached an all-time record in lack of enthusiasm.

“So, what if you did get a hold of the Holy Grail? Isn't there something you want from it, like getting another chance at life as a human being, or maybe going back in the past and whatnot?”

“Beats me. Can't think of any random wish 'til I actually get it.”

This is it.

Basically, he spends what he has the day he earns it.

What he wants has already been mostly gained when he was alive. As a result, he wouldn't leave behind any regrets like "I should have done this" once the party is over.

“Must have been one full life... oh yeah.

Hey Lancer, if you don't mind, could you tell me your story? I just realized that I really don't know much about your life.”

“Huh? A bit too late to gain anything from it, ya know. Or are you guys looking for a fight?”

“No, Saber and I aren't interested in that.

Didn't I tell you how grateful I am that you were going to be neutral?”

“Yeah... maybe you did. Okay, if you said you did, then you probably did.

So what is it? You only want to hear other people's stories, nothing other than that?”

“Yeah, just pure curiosity, no secret motivations involved.”

“..................Guess there ain't no harm, then.

I'm not catching anything, so I'll entertain you just to waste time. There was also one thing I wanted to beat into your head.”

Lancer's lethargic expression changes slightly.

His relaxed shoulders are now even more relaxed, and his eyes, previously attending the ocean surface, move lazily towards the sky.

Yes, that's right. He became even less energetic.


Cu Chulainn was a hero of ancient Ireland.

His land was split into five countries, and of them, Cu Chulainn served as a warrior under the Northern kingdom of Ulster, under King Conor.

Being part of Celtic mythology, he isn't that well known in this part of the world, but over there, he was a great hero that outmatched even King Arthur.

There were many factors at work in his birth.

Cu Chulainn's mother, Deichtire, was a princess born between a gifted druid, father of the king of Conor, and Maga, the widow of Ross the Red.

Princess Deichtire disappeared in the Land of the Young without marrying anyone. Over there, she would bear a child of the sun god Lugh.

That child was Setanta―――later to be called Cu Chulainn.

Setanta was sent to Conor's army as one that would "one day become the shield of Ulster." He would have a life that followed that destiny.

Setanta became Cu Chulainn when he was still a child. The name was given to him after he killed the guard dog of the swordsmith Culann with his bare hands.

One day, King Conor was invited to the house of the famed swordsmith Culann.

The king was going to bring the boy Setanta with him, but Setanta was in the middle of a hurling match with his friends.

Had he withdrawn right then, he would have lost the match. So he said to the king, "I'll catch up after I win, so go right ahead―――"

The king, humored by this reply, allowed him to come late and went to the house of Culann first.

The tragedy began when one of the servants of Culann thoughtlessly closed the gate.

Setanta, who had come late, was attacked by the guard dog. He then strangled it to death.

The people inside heard the commotion and gathered at the gate. Once they knew that Setanta managed to defeat the guard dog, they were full of shock and admiration.

But there was some sadness in Culann's eyes at losing his prized guard dog. Setanta, ashamed of his actions, then told him:

《Does this dog have children? If he does, could you allow me to take care of them? I will raise them to be guard dogs just as strong as their father. Until then, I will be your guard dog.》

The swordsmith Culann was impressed by the boy's offer and responded to him with assurance.

《I have no need of that. I will be the one to raise the dogs that will protect my manor. You, on the other hand, must train yourself. After all, one day you will be the guard dog of all of Ulster.》

All the warriors on the scene nodded in agreement.

From then on, the boy was called the "Hound of Culann," Cu Chulainn.

It was the boy's first battle.

And to honor that noble declaration, he would...

“Yeah, I already know that much... but just how old were you back then?”

“I think I was younger than you. Not become a warrior yet. See, in our land, there's a separate group for the kiddoes before they become full-fledged knights of the Red Branch. It was a group of warrior apprentices that weren't adults yet. I was one of them.”

“Geh. You're telling me that you strangled the nation's top hound when you were around 12-13 years old?”

“It was just the adrenalin rush. That was the first time I would take a life. Since then, I got a geas on me - could eat anything except dogs.”

"It'd be a dog eat dog," he adds lightly.

“So anyway, some time passed after my name changed. The kiddy group gathered around this druid. They were all in a stupid uproar, asking him when would they become famed warriors.

That druid, yeah, I'll admit that he actually was a pretty tough old man. His divinations were strong enough to not "see the future" but to "determine the future." The old man didn't know what to do, so he decided to just tell it for those that'd take up arms on that day.”

“Wow. So what happened?”

“Wasn't much of a divination. Ugly enough that nobody tried to go through the rites of warriorhood.”

“...Uh huh. What were you doing then?”

“I wasn't interested. I was just fishing, leaning against a hazel tree.”

“......Sorry. What was the point of this story?”

“Don't get it, huh?

In other words, I went through the rites of warriorhood on the same day.

The king got mad. "What good can come from a child like you becoming a warrior? Rear yourself in properly until you grow up." Stuff like that.

So that ticked me off. I wound up smashing the spears of the castle, wrecking a chariot. "Now try telling me one more time that I'm not strong enough to be a warrior."”


Threatening a king, oh boy. This guy actually has settled down in comparison to the old times?

According to Saber, he would also fit in the Berserker class, but I didn't believe it.

“So then you became a warrior?

...Of the Red Branch Knights, was it?”

“Yeah, but if you ask Saber, there wasn't any knightliness to it.

After all, that time as long as you didn't do anything disloyal, you could do whatever you want.

If I felt like it, I could pick a fight with another land, then have a party that same night and forget all about it.

There were a lot of loonies among the knights, so I had to keep an eye on my own country more than the others.”

He laughs with some amusement.

...I see. This free-spiritedness was the difference of the world he survived in.

That pride wasn't the complicated pride of a human. It was simple, like that of an animal.

“So, once I became a warrior, I got busy fighting.

Then one day, I fell head over heels for this princess. Love at first sight. Went as far as her castle to kidnap her, but this princess... she was my kind of woman...

Except she bitched about not wanting to go to the hearth of some fameless kid.”

“Wait a minute. Kid? Just how old were you then?”

“Aah. I should have been around sixteen? Anyway, I went on a journey in search of fame.

There was this warrior woman named Scathach in this place called the Land of Shadows. Strong like a monster, apparently. I heard rumors that many warriors went over to be her apprentices.”

I know what came next.

Cu Chulainn would finally reach the Land of Shadows, a land of the supernatural, and would be granted the secrets of leaping and the demonic spear Gae Bolg from the lady Scathach.

“Oh man, don't try to make things that simple. That woman's warlust would be enough to make that Tohsaka girl run away on her bare feet, y'know?

Anyway, she was dangerous. By the time I got there, she quit being human... Land of Shadows is close to the world of spirits, ya see. She basically turned into a guard that warded off the dead.”

“There were even some near-gods among the dead.

She could handle shutting them in with her human body. You can understand how crazy that'd be, right?”

“Yeah. Just the idea of a powered-up Tohsaka is enough to scare me.”

“Yeah, that's it. Anyhow, there were other pupils under that scary master.

Those were all warriors that came to be taught by Scathach. One of them happened to be my equal.

He went by the name of Ferdiad, warrior of the neighboring country of Connacht. As we were competing for Gae Bolg, we somehow managed to pass the vow of brotherhood.”

“...Yeah well.

I've got three priceless friends, but out of all them, this guy had a special place in my heart as an older brother.”

And with that done, Cu Chulainn would learn many techniques, many spells.

...Still, to think that the deeds of Cu Chulainn had been accomplished when he was 16...

As far as I've heard, this man caused havoc everyday at maximum velocity.

Like an already fast horse in a hurry.

“You're getting it wrong. I stayed in the Land of Shadows for a long time.

I felt at home over there. Had a great teacher and good rival with me.

So, there was this retard that was going to attack that homely land. There was this lord Aife of a neighboring country that started a war with us.

Scathach didn't let me go out on the battlefield, for some reason, so we often argued about that.”

“Anyhow, in the end I did get to cause hell together with Scathach and Ferdiad. After a one on one duel, I captured Aife alive.

But guess what? We started off as hated enemies, but once I caught her, I realized that she was my kind of woman.

So I started getting seriously into her, but then Scathach found out. That earned me a stoning. Gae Bolg style.”

"Haahaahaa," he laughs like a mad man.

Ah, so the lord of the enemy was female. Hey, wait―――

“Hold it. When you meant got serious, you meant that!?”

“Hell yes. If you like her, of course you'd make love with her, right?”


―――Ah, yeah. With great power comes great womanizing, meaning there were no chaste warriors back in old Ireland!

“Still, one of these days we had to part ways.

I split up with Aife. If she bore my child, I asked her to name him Connla and send him to Ulster. When he did come, he had to follow three vows.

To not answer his name when asked.

To not change course.

To not back down from a fight.

Yeah, the worst possible rules for my son.”

“Me and Ferdiad left the Land of Shadows on the same day.

Once we got out of the castle, we both asked each other the same thing at the same time. "How about coming to my country?" We laughed, realizing that neither us was going to budge.

Scathach―――no, I didn't see her when we left. She already passed down everything to me, so she didn't have anything more to tell me.”

That was the tale of the Land of the Shadows.

From here on, Lancer became a lot less talkative.

Returning to Ulster, Cu Chulainn had started up dramatic battles and became known throughout Ireland in an instant.

With exploits that no one else could ever repeat, he came, as promised, for the princess. Opposed by King Forgall and his troops, he literally annihilated them, thus also achieving victory among the knights that waged their honor as Ulster's finest warriors.

This illustrious record was at the same time the youth of the hero Cu Chulainn.

Which is why afterwards,

the battles of Cu Chulainn would bear a heavy shadow.

“The neighboring country of Connacht was controlled by generations of queens. Queen Medb was one of those warmongering ladies, the type that really hated giving up. Yeah, a lot happened to her, so she had her forces march into Ulster.”

“First off, one of the reasons for Connacht attacking was that good old Uncle Fergus defected.

Our king, not to be outdone in all this comedy, killed Fergus' sons out of lust for young women; that'd be the reason why he left.”

“...Say, wasn't Fergus the knight that took you from Deichtire?”

“Yeah. So my uncle, the pride of the Red Branch Knights, served Connacht out of hatred for the Ulster King.

So my uncle influenced Queen Medb's aggressiveness.

Plus, there was this curse affecting the people of Ulster. Whenever we got invaded, men all over the country were rendered too feeble to fight.”

“Say what!?”

What the hell.

And how does a country affected by that manage to prosper!

“W-What happened! That's the same as an all-you-can plunder bargain!”

“Adding insult to injury. Thing is, I wasn't really born of Ulster. Nah, I was born in a fairy mound. That's how I was totally up on my feet.”

“You ought to know the rest, right?

I went around killing Medb's forces every day. As they started to lose, we came to an agreement to change the war to a one on one fight.”

“At the fords in the Ulster gorge, I dueled.

The Connacht army was only allowed to advance during the duel.

It was a matter of losing 5000 men in one day or advancing only slightly at the cost of one man.

Medb agreed to it reluctantly, and then that was the start of the duels.”

“I see...”

That's what's more widely known as Cu Chulainn's rune of vows.

Ath nGabla, an arena formed from four branches, guaranteeing one on one combat with honor at stake.

“Good idea.

The hound of Culann would never lose in single combat. So that's how you stopped Connacht.”

“No, Medb broke the conditions of the treaty and advanced.

But even still, it was a public vow.

They might have advanced, but it was just one unit, not something that would be noticed. Yeah, in the end, it was the best way of holding them back.”

“Now, the problem was what I had to deal with.

Started off with some fine warriors, then some weirdass goddess of war butted in, and then I had to deal with the Clan Calatin monster and then... yeah, was deep in it. I'm ashamed to say it, but there was a time when I slept for the whole day out of fatigue.

So then the kiddo group, right, the one that hadn't been exposed to real combat, all agreed to save Cu Chulainn. Them getting slaughtered by Medb instead... yeah, you could say it's my fault.”


I shouldn't have said that.

The battle at the fords, even with the hero Cu Chulainn, was a land of death.

The conclusion to that war, perhaps the greatest of living hells in his life.

“Connacht had the strongest of warriors with them.

He was the one man I never wanted to fight.”

The warrior that he had trained with in the Land of Shadows.

This was the battle with Ferdiad, the man who Cu Chulainn loved as a brother.

This battle was the scheme of Queen Medb, not out of Ferdiad's own will.

How much emotional conflict both struggled with wasn't told by Lancer.

Both had to serve their lord.

To defend that honor, far more worthless than their friendship, that life had to be discarded.

Both were equal to each other. Cornered, Cu Chulainn had to use Gae Bolg to pierce Ferdiad's heart.

The demonic spear that had not seen a single battle since leaving the Land of Shadows was released on his most precious friend.

"―――Gae Bolg is a glory given to only the most gifted of warriors."

Cu Chulainn holding his fallen brother in his arms,

"In that brilliant hall of learning, you were our pride―――"

Thus Ferdiad said his final farewell to Cu Chulainn.

...The battle ended with the defeat of Connacht.

The recuperated warriors of Ulster pursued the Connacht army, adding a great blow to this defeat.

At the end, Cu Chulainn captured Queen Medb. He returned her to Connacht, treating her as a king, not killing her nor shaming her.

“Yeah, but you still let the leader of the enemy escape.

...You never killed a woman before, have you.”

“Yeah, that's right.

I didn't really have a fixation on it, so it just happened that way―――but that's right. I don't like killing women in a fight.”

I'd say that's a problem that comes before the matter of like or dislike.

Whether you love them or hate them didn't make a difference.

As a Servant, things are different now, but to the hero called Cu Chulainn, killing women on the battlefield isn't something he liked doing.

“What happened next?”

“There weren't any major battles after that.

Oh right... now that you mention it, there was a strange kid that came down to the coast and stirred up trouble.

He was a real brat, you see. Beat the living daylights out of the warriors that would try to talk to him. So the king also wanted to butt in and said "Only Cu Chulainn can defeat this boy."”

“...I think this would be the only time, other than just before my death, that my princess stopped me.

So she cried at me, saying "you mustn't go." But it was a royal order after all, couldn't do anything about that.”

“From there, I fought that kid at the coast. He was strong, and I had no choice but to use Gae Bolg.

After I did it, he said "She didn't teach me that" before dying. Must have been a student of Scathach's.

By the way, that kid's name was Connla.”


This was the end of the golden years of Cu Chulainn.

The rest doesn't need to be told.

Queen Medb, who vowed vengeance, assembled warriors from lands with grudges on Cu Chulainn, and cornered him by the use of many plots.

To protect Ulster, which was once again beset by sickness, he challenged the army of Medb single-handedly. After falling into scores of traps, he was brutally killed.

The great hero that was responsible for countless deeds of valor, the shield of Ulster.

In comparison to that glory, his life was unexpectedly short.

The hound of Culann, one that became a warrior while still a boy, closed the curtains on his life as if it was a race.

That was the tale of Cu Chulainn.

The sun is about to set.

I was only being half-serious when I asked him, but looks like it used up a lot of time.

“I should be going soon. Thanks for the story.”

Lancer snorts, turning his face away.

I bet he's having second thoughts about behaving out of character like this.

“Oh yeah, almost forgot.

You mentioned you wanted to pound something into my head right all the way back. What was it?”

“Didn't get it, huh? Not once have I killed a woman or a master.”

“Ah, I see.”

In his many battles, Cu Chulainn had not once refused to follow the order of his king, no matter how impossible.

His tale also told that truth.

“I'll keep that in mind. I'll pay you back one of these days.”

“Yeah, sure. Get miss Taiga to pass me some sake or whatnot.”

I leave the docks behind.

...Well, that sure caught me off guard.

To think he'd shoot me down so early in the game―――

Emiya Residence・Start of Night Things to do