Loop 9

Day 1

School・Day 1 Great problem at the archery club

There's still a little time before class starts, so let's go see how the archery club is doing.

Sakura, having become the new team captain, left the house first thing in the morning.

Sometimes she still makes me lunch, even though she has her own to deal with. Even with all that, she has no trouble handling club activities―――

The title of Miss Perfect is totally appropriate for Sakura... or it should be... wait... what's with this gloomy atmosphere?

Maybe practice is over, or maybe there just weren't that many members to begin with, but I can only spot Sakura and Mitsuzuri inside.

I bow at the entrance way, and just as I am about to enter... From where I am, looks like a pretty serious conversation. My chance to escape is starting to slip away.

“―――That's what I think, Senpai.”

“But that's your own problem. It may seem like I'm being cold, but it's not something that will go away by itself, you know?”

“...Yes, you're right.”

Sakura's problem?

Sounds quite complicated. Even I don't have the nerve to cut in here.

I quietly go outside so they wouldn't notice.

“Emiya, you heard our conversation, didn't you?”

As I leave the dojo, I hear Mitsuzuri's voice from behind.

“What, you realized I was there?”

“Yeah, although from where Matou was she probably couldn't see you.”

“I see. Keep up the good work.”

“But it is a bit of a tricky situation.”

Saying that, Mitsuzuri folds her arms.

“...Regarding Sakura?”

“Huh? That's not it. Weren't we talking about how she'd feel a sense of oneness with the group?”

Mitsuzuri said a word I haven't heard before.


“Wow, your face says that's the first time you've heard that word.

Just so you know, it's got nothing to do with "onions."”

I can at least figure out that it's not food on my own.

“Maybe I shouldn't be saying this, but... She's not the type to push people around her forward, right?

She always seems to draw back and respect everyone else's opinions.”

“And that's bad?”

“No, not bad at all, but she doesn't want to stay like that herself.”

“Oh? Well, that means she's got some will as a leader now. Isn't that a good thing?”

“In that respect, it's a relief for me, too.

But if she wants to throw away that security and aim higher, it's her own matter to deal with.”

“So that's what you mean by oneness?”


“So―――For example, had Matou been a Makidera-type jerk, "Everyone support the captain!" would have been her slogan, but... lately, she wouldn't show even this kind of weakness, see?”

“So you're worried that if she's too perfect, the club members will lose interest?”

She nods with a difficult expression.

“I mean, well, the archery club events shouldn't all be so strict and uptight―――”

“Uptight, huh...?”

The choice of wording does give me an idea of how she feels about it.

...But what kind of a get-together (er, "club event") would make the club feel a sense of oneness...

As we start talking, we hear the first bell.

“We have to get to class soon. You're still in your uniform, will you make it?”

“Oh, I'm fine. I don't have a class in first period.”

“I see―――wait, I'm not fine at all, gotta run!”


But even after she's retired from active duty, coming out here in the morning just to help with morning practice and talk with Sakura... Mitsuzuri sure looks out for her.

“...A sense of oneness, huh...?”

...Yeah, gotta tell her if I come upon any ideas.

School・Day 1Rider and the sandwich

Lunch time.

Maybe I'll buy something from the cafeteria―――Then I could eat it in the student council room, or on the roof.

“...Hey, did you see that?”

“That was awesome. I didn't think people like that really existed.”

“All the girls in our school combined might still not be a match for this one.”

“Who knew that beauties like these exist out there... think she's a model? Or some kind of celebrity?”

“No, she's gotta be an alien. There are no people like her on Earth.”

“...Earth, Mars, or wherever - I wanna know what someone so gorgeous is doing here, at our school.”


That's what I'm starting to hear.

I wonder who it is? Model or celebrity―――But who, exactly?

“I wonder how long it takes to take care of all that hair.”

“Forget the hair, don't you think she's not even of the same race? Ah, look at that physique of hers.”

“Her legs and arms are so long. I feel embarrassed just passing by her.”

“And that head... She must be over 8:1 height-to-head ratio, too...”

Such was the girls' assessment.

As I head down the hall, the talks about this mysterious person get even louder.

From the information thus far, there's only one candidate I can think of.

...Why is she at Homurabara?

“...I have a bad feeling about this.”

“That is unfortunate, Shirou.

Would I happen to be the source of this bad feeling?”

A cool voice comes from ahead and above me.

A noisy bunch of students already have me surrounded.

“W-Who are you?!”

I blurt out the first thing that came to mind.

“I am rather troubled by your sudden decision to feign ignorance.”

No matter what, she keeps her calm.

A cloth-wrapped package in one hand, Rider stands there, blocking my path.

...I can't pass, and if I try to escape, her long legs would probably catch me in a few strides...

“......Sorry. It's what a normal student would do. I apologize, I really wanted to pretend I didn't know you.”

“You are unkind, Shirou. I had hoped you would give me a heartfelt greeting like you always do.”


"Ooooh!" The audience pipes up.

"What is this?! Emiya has so many pretty girls around him! That blonde lady, Tohsaka-san, and even Matou's younger sister. Oh, and Ryuudou is pretty good-looking, too!" I keep hearing all sorts of prickly remarks behind my back.

I feel like I'm going to get crucified.

The gears are creaking as they turn in my mind.

“No, since this is a school, there are certain rules a student must follow... Anyway, Rider, what is it?”

“Right, I am here to deliver something you happened to forget.”

"Oooooh, an older wife!? Is he following in Kuzuki-sensei's footsteps?!"

―――No, I realize that would be quite a sensation, but that's really not the way it is. It's more like an older sister and younger brother, if anything.

“For me? I'm pretty sure I didn't leave anything behind.”

“To be precise, it is something that Sakura forgot... to bring―――”

Rider glances briefly at her surroundings.

Feeling the sheer pressure of her beauty, the audience takes a step back, like a receding tide.

One can hear the wind whooshing through the quiet lunchtime hallway.

“It appears you are uncomfortable talking here.

Is there a place where we could go to?”

“...Let's go to the rooftop.”

There aren't that many students that eat lunch there during this season, and it can't be any worse than being the center of attention here.

We wade through the crowd―――

“This should be okay.

You sure did well getting inside, Rider.”

“I experienced no difficulty infiltrating the school building.”

...I have a feeling she's missing the point, but whatever.

Rider is still holding on to that package.

“Something that Sakura left behind... so what does that have to do with me?”

“Here. It is your lunch, Shirou.”

The cloth-wrapped package that Rider just gave me is, indeed, a lunchbox.

Ah... I see, that's why she was looking for me.

“Sakura made my portion, but forgot to give it to me?”

“No, she forgot both yours and her own. Therefore, I had to bring it over. I was able to locate her quickly, however...”

She probably found her by the archery club. Having just recently assumed the title of the club's captain, Sakura's busier than ever, and ended up forgetting―――quite unlike her.

“Sakura said she could not leave her job, and requested that I deliver it in her stead.”

“I see. Thanks.”

Being treated to a lunch made by Sakura is no small deal.

Very grateful, I open the lid.

A tri-colored serving of meat over rice. A sausage shaped into an octopus, and an apple made into a rabbit.

“Please direct your thanks to Sakura instead.”

“Well, you were kind enough to bring it here, Rider.”

All of a sudden, she sits in front of me.

...I thought she was going to jet back home right away, but that doesn't seem to be the case.


“Ah, I thought I would wait until you were done eating.”


I unintentionally gulp down the whole apple at once.

“I thought I would get yours and Sakura's empty lunchboxes after you were done. That is similar to what I have conveyed to Sakura, as well.”

“That would mean we'd have less to carry home, but―――”

Rider is right in front of me.

The sight of her sitting in front of me as I hold my chopsticks creates a very oppressive air around me.

It's like being watched by a teacher, making sure you don't leave behind the foods you don't like.

“...Rider, um...”

“Yes? What is it?”

“Would you like this sausage?”

I offer her the octopus-shaped sausage held between my chopsticks.

“No, that's your lunch, Shirou.”

“Well, yeah, but what about yours, Rider?”

“...Please do not worry about my lunch.”

No matter what she says, I don't really like eating by myself.

I want to share some with her, but unfortunately, there is only one pair of chopsticks.

“Okay, then. Wait just a second.”

I close the lunchbox and run off.


“Watch my lunch there for a moment, alright―――!”

“Hah... hah... hah... here. Ham sandwich and strawberry milk.”

“―――What is this?”

“Your lunch.”

I hand her a bag of stuff I got from the student cafeteria.

“No, as I have said before, I have no need for lu...”

“If you don't eat, then I can't, either.

So, if you intend on going home with the lunchbox, give up and have some.”

I don't want to be blankly stared at, or have my food eyed greedily.

She takes the triangular sandwich from the bag with some bewilderment.

“...You are speaking strangely, Shirou.”

“Think of it as a payment for having brought the lunch here.”

“...Understood. Then I shall gratefully accept.”

Looks like we have reached an agreement.

Now I can enjoy Sakura's handmade lunch in peace.

Rider is wolfing down her sandwich.

...Well, maybe that's not quite the right word.

Should I say "eating firmly"? Or maybe "gallantly"?

She finishes the sandwich in five bites, but I can only say that it looked more attractive than exciting as she did it.

But I also think that she should get into a habit of chewing her food thoroughly before swallowing.

“Shirou, your chopsticks are not moving.”

“Ah, yeah.”

It was a really distracting meal.

When Rider started drinking the strawberry milk, my sights could only go to the straw that she was sucking on.

“Shirou, you seem to be nervous.”

I quickly shift my attention back to my lunch.

It's strangely embarrassing... Maybe I should have eaten alone.

“―――Thank you for the meal.”

Maybe she's timed it accordingly, but she finished right as I swallowed my last bite.

“Yeah... it was a good meal.

Say "thank you" to Sakura for me, please.”

“Understood. Then I shall be off to collect Sakura's lunchbox, as well.”

Rider strides elegantly across the rooftop.

―――While my gaze remains fixed on her long hair and ribbons swaying in the wind, she opens the door and looks back.

“Thank you for your consideration for me today, Shirou.”

“Ah, this is nothing. Anytime.”

Then... I guess I'll go back to my class, too.

School・Day 1 The light on the way home

“...Ah, I really am tired.”

The lights are all on. As you'd expect, everyone should already be home at this hour.

I decided to walk back home, but it got pretty chilly as the sun went down.

For now I'll have dinner, take a bath, then decide what to do after a good rest―――

“Welcome back, Shirou.”

“I'm home. Were you just leaving, Saber?”

“No, I was waiting for you.”


Ah, thus the "welcome home," I guess.

I was a little unprepared. Taken by surprise, I lost my train of thought.

“You are the head of this household, and you just came back from work.

Is it so peculiar for me to want to thank you?”

“No, that's not it.

Thanks. I'm home, Saber.”

“Yes, welcome home, Shirou.

Dinner is ready. Please come in.”

I pass through the gate with Saber.

...When things like this happen so naturally, you always realize their importance after the fact.

Maybe, someday, being greeted like this will be something I can look back on as a precious memory.

Emiya Residence・Start of Night Things to do

Night・Streets at night (battle)

Night・2 Dead Bridge (II)

Crossing the bridge, we head over to Shinto.

There's nobody on the pedestrian walkway at this hour.

Tonight, with no cars on the roadway, even the sound of the breeze from the sea echoed around us.

“―――This brings back memories. Back then, we went to the church together just like this, didn't we?”

“Yes. Shirou, who still had not understood what it meant to be a Master; I, who had not become your Servant yet; and Rin, who had still been our enemy.

Looking back on it again, we truly were an odd trio, weren't we?”

Saber chuckles.

Both of us are laughing from the memories of that night a half year ago.

Even now... no, I'll remember it for the rest of my life.

That night was special.

The time I was with Saber during the Heaven's Feel had always been special, but that night was the beginning of it all.

“But Saber, you were in a pretty sour mood.

Granted, having just met, we couldn't talk that much, but you were totally silent all the way to the church, you know.”

“Of course I would be. Now that it is over, I can tell you - the way I had been treated was infuriating.

If you were going to disguise me, there ought to have been a better way of doing so.”

I see. M'lady Saber was displeased by the yellow raincoat, hmm?

Then again, she's using it quite often, which would make it a type of silent protest against me?

“Hmph, it appears that you have something to say. Very well, as an apology for that incident, let us settle this no―――Shirou...!”


Sword bounces against light.

The aftershock causes the air and the bridge supports to vibrate.

“Stay back...! A hostile Servant is attacking...!”

The second shot...!

I can't grasp what's happening.

Saber stands in front of me, repelling the incoming bolts of light with her sword. Where they are coming from, I could not tell.

“A hostile Servant...!?

Shit, who the hell―――”

The third shot.

Saber once again deflects the light bolt.

...This is not good. That one was definitely more powerful than before.

She managed to defend against the last shot, but if the rest keep increasing in force, how long will Saber be able to hold out?

If Saber were alone, she would move forward while deflecting the bolts, and could probably take the sniper down before she is defeated.

But the one being targeted is me.

The moment Saber moves away, I will be pierced right through.

As long as Saber is protecting me, she can't move forward.


We may not be able to retreat to Miyama. Because of me, one of the shots will―――

“Shirou, I will block these attacks...! For now, do not move...!”

The fourth shot.

There is urgency in her voice.

The enemy knows that I am her weakness. The bolts of light, raining down on a wide open Emiya Shirou, are being deflected by Saber, as desperate as her stance is.


―――At this rate, Saber is going to lose.

I know what needs to be done.

In short, defending myself is my own responsibility.

Focus on my nerves.

I could see the incoming shots. And if they can be seen, they can be stopped.

The old me may not be capable of it.

But the Emiya Shirou that survived through the Heaven's Feel must have the experience and ability to make that possible.

And finally, the fifth shot.


Saber is knocked off her feet.

―――No doubt about it.

These bolts of light are long-range shots using Noble Phantasms.

No matter how powerful she may be, Saber cannot defend against long-range sharpshooting where each bullet is a "Noble Phantasm."

If Saber were alone, she could have avoided any of them, without having to deflect them with her sword...!

“...! Saber, watch out...!”

“Kuh, Shirou, wait! I can take one hit―――!”

No, you can't.

Saber will be defeated by the sixth shot. That is the conclusion taken from this method of defense.

“Don't underestimate me―――!”

I can watch my own back.

I glare at our attacker.

I see the light being fired, aimed at my forehead.

I see it. Now that I see it, next I―――


I totally forgot.

What was I supposed to do next?

“...! ......, ......!!!!”*

...I screwed up.

What was it, what did I do wrong?

Was I forgetting something, or have I not learned something yet?

Where had I missed the fundamental part of the skills possessed by the man named Emiya Shirou?

My brain comes oozing out from the hole in my forehead.

“           ”*

I can't really hear what she is saying.

What should have been done, what was it that I forgot?

My mind is becoming distant.

Never reaching the 4th day, I drop out of the race.

This still wasn't enough.

Perhaps I couldn't use it because I hadn't tested it, even when I knew it naturally.

Now―――where do I go to fully grasp the fundamental abilities of Emiya Shirou...?