The Let's Play Archive

Fate/stay night

by seorin

Part 4: Day 3 part 1

Music: In the Sunlight

"What? You're going to school?"
"Yes. Do you have a problem with that, Archer?"
"…No problems, it's just…"

Archer hesitates, but does not object.
He must have realized yesterday that I'm not the type to take back my decisions.
I can kind of tell without him saying so. Archer is sarcastic, but he has an honest side to him. So it seems he won't complain about something he's accepted.

Yes, in other words, he's faithful in an awkward way.
This is my conclusion… no, more of an intuition after watching Archer for all of yesterday.

"Rin. As you are a Master now, you must always be cautious of other Masters. School is a place where it's hard to remain prepared against sudden attacks."

"That's not true. Look, Archer, even though I am a Master now, I don't intend to change my lifestyle. Besides, a battle between Masters is something that should be done out of public view, right? So, if we are at school where there are lots of people, I don't think we'll see any kind of surprise attacks."

Fighting at school? In a Type-Moon game? It's more likely than you think!

"…I see. If that's what you've decided, I can only obey.
But I can guard you in spirit form, right? You don't intend for me to stay here while you go to school?"

"Of course not. Not just at school, but I will want you by my side whenever I go outside. It is the Servant's role to protect the Master, so I'll be counting on you."

"I'm relieved to hear that. It is the duty of a knight to answer trust placed on us. I shall do my best to meet your expectations."

"But Rin, just hypothetically, what would you do if there were an enemy in that safe place?"
"Hm? What, are you suggesting there might be a Master at school?"
"That's right. It's certainly hard for anyone who isn't a teacher or student to get in, but wouldn't it be a problem if someone already there is a Master?"

"I don't think that's possible. In this town, there's only one family of magi other than the Tohsaka. That other family has declined, and they don't even have a Master."

"How do you know there isn't a Master?"
"Hey, it's only natural to investigate another family of magi in the same town.
He isn't a Master and his successor doesn't have enough magical energy to become a Master, so we can just ignore them."

"I see. So, there is another magus at the school you go to. But you say that magus doesn't have sufficient magical energy to become a Master, is that correct?"

"Exactly. So most Masters will probably be coming from elsewhere. I don't think such people would come to the school."

"…Well, for now, at least.
But Rin, there are always exceptions. What if there is a magus at your school that you don't know about?"

"Like I said, there aren't any. Magi are sensitive to other magi. If we were at the same school for a year, I should be able to sense other magi no matter how well they hide it.
I will state with confidence that there are only two magi at our school. One of them is me, and the other is only an apprentice who doesn't have enough power to become a Master.
Do you understand? Your caution is just needless worrying. It's completely impossible."

Thus starts betting pool #1: how many masters are at school? Please only bet if you don't know.

"That's why this is only a hypothetical scenario. There's always another side to things.
It's only natural for unexpected things to occur.
I'm saying that when it does happen, do not blame me."

Archer smiles dryly.
…Just that action makes me want to take it out on him, but if I did, I would be late for school.

"That won't happen. A hypothetical is a hypothetical because it won't happen. If it does, it just means my analysis was too shallow."

"All right, I'll remember that. Let's go then, Rin.
It should take thirty minutes to get to the school, so we won't make it unless we leave soon."

Music: Stop

As soon as we pass the school's main gate, we joke around like that.
Around us are students heading to classrooms and it's almost time for homeroom.
In the crowd of people rushing into the school building, we stand dumbfounded.

"This isn't just the air stagnating. Isn't there a boundary field set up already?"
"It's not complete, but the preparation seems to have already started.
If he's doing this so openly, he must be a real big shot…"

"Or a complete amateur. A boundary field that lets others notice the abnormality is only third class. To be first class, it has to be hidden until it's activated."
"So. Which do you think it is, Rin?"

"Who knows? I don't care if he's third class or first class.
I'm just going to beat him mercilessly for setting up such an indecent thing in my territory."

I walk angrily through the schoolyard.
As a magus, I'm not about to mince words, but I can't be satisfied until I properly punish the creator of this boundary field.

"I'll help, Sakura."

Music: Tender Scenery


"Ah, Tohsaka…Senpai"
"What, handouts? World history… that'll be my homeroom teacher. That Kuzuki, what's he thinking making a girl do this? Here, give me half of it."

"Oh… Yes. Thank you, Senpai."
"It's fine. So, we're taking these to your classroom?"

"…No, we're taking them to Kuzuki-Sensei. He said he's recalling them because there was a misspelling."

"…I understand. Kuzuki's really stubborn. He's the guy who cancelled a whole test just because there was one misspelling in it."

"…Huh? You mean the school's exam?"

"Right. I think it was last year's midterm. He came in while everyone was filling in their names and said in his usual tone that the midterm has a misspelling in it. He said that the question was not correct, so the midterm was to be cancelled and retaken at a later date. We were surprised, but so were the teachers, and they still talk about it today."

"That's just like Kuzuki-Sensei. He doesn't think teachers should make any mistakes."
"He goes too far, though. You'll realize soon, too. Kuzuki is as stubborn as a rock or a mountain."

"Heehee. Tohsaka-Senpai, you must like Kuzuki-Sensei. It's rare for you to talk about someone like that."
"Really? …Well, I do think he should be more flexible, but…"
I think that, but I also think he's not bad this way.

At our school, there's a teacher liked by all students and a teacher feared by all students.
The balance between the two works so well that I think Kuzuki-Sensei is a good disciplinarian. He's the stick in the carrot and stick approach.

"Well, you'll get to see more of him once you reach second year. He teaches ethics too.
…More importantly, Sakura, is it all right if I ask you something?"

"Huh? What is it, Senpai?"
"It's about yesterday. Were you talking to a strange foreigner?"

"Oh… y-you were watching, Senpai?"

"Just by chance. So, what was it? Do you know him?"

"…No. Well, he was a strange person and he seemed to be lost. He asked me lots of things, but I couldn't make out what he was saying, so, um…"

Ah, so she ran away.

"I see. Sorry, I was just a bit curious."

"No, it's all right… Um, here is fine, Senpai. I only have to hand these to him now."
"Okay. See you later then."
I pass the handouts back to Sakura.
As I start to head back to my classroom, I pause.

"Sakura, how are things?"

"Ah… yes, it's okay. I'm doing fine."
"…I see. Well, if Shinji does something again, tell me. He doesn't know when to stop, so it will only get worse if you don't say anything."

"It's alright. He only hits me because he cares."

"It's fine. You don't need to worry, Senpai. Nii-san has been kind recently."
…If she says that with such a smile, I can't say anything else.
I bid her goodbye once more and turn my back on the familiar junior.

Music: Stop

"Let's begin, Archer. First, we need to check out the boundary field. Once we figure out what kind of boundary field it is, we'll decide whether to eliminate it or leave it."
I address my invisible partner.
Archer must understand as I sense him nodding.

Infinite different effects are possible within a boundary field.
There are all sorts of boundary field, from ones that conceal the area from people's eyes, to ones that limit the use of magic within them.
The most aggressive of all are those that oppress life forms within them.

The boundary field laid out over our school is of that kind.
It is not yet complete, but once it is, everyone in the school should fall unconscious.

But something like this won't affect me.
After all, a boundary field is something targeted not at me, but at the place I am in.
Such an indirect magical energy intervention has no effect on magi, who have magical energy throughout their bodies.
A weak current floating through the air will only be repelled by a strong current like myself.

So this boundary field has a different intention.
I don't know what kind of person set up this boundary field, but his intention is not to defeat a Master.
It's hard to believe, but his target is everyone in this school.
…There's only one reason to do something like that.
Unbelievably, this guy is

"So, this makes seven. Well, it looks like this is the origin."
A seven-stroke mark is openly drawn on the rooftop.
This purplish-red character only visible to magi is something I have never seen before, engraved with something unknown.

"…Dammit. This isn't something I can handle."
The person who set up this boundary field didn't think about anything.
He didn't think, but the boundary field is bound with amazing skill.
I can temporarily drain magical energy from this boundary field, but I cannot eliminate the boundary field itself.
The boundary field can be reactivated just by having the caster put more magical energy into it again.

Archer says nothing.
…He's been quiet ever since we came out onto the rooftop, probably because he too recognizes the power of this boundary field.
This boundary field doesn't just drain one's strength.
Once activated, it will literally "dissolve" all the people within it.

There are boundary fields that drain physical and mental strength from people within them.
But the boundary field laid out over this school is on a completely different level.

That's two by my count.

This is a soul-eater. It is a Bloodfort that dissolves people within it and claims the souls that seep out.

Since ancient times, souls have been hard to handle.
Even though they're believed to exist and are necessary for magic, only one magus has ever understood the soul.

Souls are only "things to be investigated", or "things to be moved into containers".
It's incomprehensible not merely to suck them out but also to collect them in a single place.
It's because a magus has no use for them even if one were to collect this unconvertible energy.
So if there's a reason, it must be…

"Archer. Are you Servants… this kind of creature?"
I ask coldly.

"…It is as you suspect. I told you we are basically spirits. Therefore, our meals consist of souls and mental constituents.
As you subsist on meat, we subsist on souls and minds.
Our basic abilities do not change from such nourishment, but we do become tougher. In other words, our magical energy capacity increases."

To strengthen your Servant, you must attack people indiscriminately.

"So the magical energy the Master provides isn't enough?"
"It's not that, but it doesn't hurt to have more. In war, if you lack strength, you make up for it with supplies, right?
It's a basic tactic for a Master to steal energy from the people around them. In that regard, this boundary field is very efficient."

Archer is saying that if I want to win, I should kill people and steal their strength.
How simple.
I already knew that.
That's why I think I know which path I am going to choose.

"That annoys me. Don't ever mention it again, Archer."
I say so while staring at the mark on the ground.
For some reason, Archer sounds happy as he confidently answers,
"I feel the same way. I do not intend to do so either."

"…Well, let's erase this. It's meaningless, but it should hinder them a bit."
I approach the mark engraved on the ground and extend my left arm.
The Magic Crest on my left arm is the "book of magic" passed down the Tohsaka family.

I switch on my sense.
I push magical energy into my Magic Crest, read the part that explains the elimination of boundary fields, and now all I have to do is activate it.

Video: Lancer Appears (mirror)

Music: Premonition of a Storm

Deep ultramarine that melts into the night.
His grin is wild and a bestial smell carries on the wind.
…The stare of the beast is a cool one.
The man in blue looks at me like an old friend, even in this situation

"Is this your doing?"

"No. Petty tricks are the magi's job. We only fight as we are commanded to. Isn't that right, you over there?"

Casual, but his voice is filled with murderous intent.
This guy can see Archer…!

"As I thought, a Servant…!"
"That's right. Since you can tell, I can consider you as my enemy, right?"
My spine freezes.
A normal, light tone of voice.
And it's colder than anything I've ever heard, scary enough to make me vomit…

Music: Stop

"…Wow. That's pretty good. You seem like you don't know anything, but you grasp the important points.
Man, I messed up. I shouldn't have called out to you just for fun."
The man raises his arm.

Music: Nightmare

It happens in an instant.
The arm that held nothing until now…

Now holds a red weapon, two meters long.

Barely made it.
He rushed me in an eyeblink and mercilessly slashed at the space I just occupied.

"Hah, you've got some good legs, young lady…!"
The blue whirlwind pursues me.

There are no escapes.
The fence is behind me. To my sides… no, I won't make it…!

"I know, let me handle it…!"
I jump over the fence and fall from the rooftop.

The wind and pressure push against my body.
Fifteen meters to the ground, 1.7 seconds until landing…
No, that's too slow. He'll catch up…!

"Vox, gott es Atlas!
Archer, take care of the landing…!"

I let Archer take the impact of the landing and start to run as soon as my feet touch the ground.
First, I have to change the location.
We have to go somewhere we can move around freely, not a small place like a rooftop.
We have to move to a large field with no obstacles, to play to Archer's and my strengths…!

But that's…

Music: Stop

"Man, those are really good legs. It'll be a waste to kill you here."
…Meaningless against a Servant.


At the moment I step back, Archer steps in front, taking form.
A cloudy night.
In Archer's hand is a shortsword that reflects the weak moonlight.

The man crooks his mouth.
"…That's good. That's the way to go. I don't mind people who are quick on the uptake."
A large whirlwind.
…That's the weapon swung at me on the rooftop… the blood red crimson lance that tried to mercilessly slaughter me

"Servant… Lancer"

"That's right. And your Servant is Saber

…Or maybe not. Who the hell are you?"
There's no sign of his previous casual demeanor.
In response to Lancer, full of murderous intent, Archer remains silent.

…The distance between the two is about five meters.
The weapon in Lancer's hand is about two meters.
For that man with the bestial smell, I feel like the remaining three meters are meaningless.

"…Heh. You're not the type to engage in one-on-one combat. So you must be Archer."
Archer doesn't respond to the sneering voice either.
Confronting each other, strangely, are red and blue.
The two counterfeit colored knights are already watching for the other's clinching blow.

"…All right. I don't like it, but now we've met, we'll just have to fight. Come on, take out your bow, Archer.
I have some manners, so I'll at least wait for that."

Archer does not respond.
There's nothing to say to an enemy he must defeat.
That steel back of his seems to declare so.

That makes me realize.
…I'm being stupid. Archer is just waiting for my word, my command.

I talk to his back without approaching him.
"I won't help you. Show me your powers here."
Was that a laugh?
He grins as if to answer my words, and the red knight dashes forward.

Music: Clashing Souls

Shortsword in hand, the red bullet launches.

"You fool!"
What meets him is a blue spear-thrust.
If the dashing Archer is a raging wind, the responding spearhead is a divine wind.

The sword is swung, a swing to deflect the thrust.
Archer parries the thrust of the high speed lance with his shortsword.

The one in red stops.
The enemy did not permit Archer's rush.
The enemy doesn't even let him get within two meters, the range of the spear.
For a long weapon, distance is always preferred.
As Lancer has a weapon almost two meters long, he only needs to attack when the enemy comes into his range.
Thrusting at an approaching enemy is easier than moving out yourself.

But even so.
Lancer closes the distance himself and doesn't even allow Archer to move forward.

"Idiot, a mere bowman challenging a close-range fight!"

His temper is like a burning fire.
Lancer closes in with each blow, with no thought of stopping.

With a long weapon, it's suicidal to close in to an enemy.
The spearman's tactic is to use their long range to defeat the enemy and win the battle.
So, as Lancer is just advancing unchecked, he doesn't have a chance of winning.

"No way."
But that's just by the book.
Lancer's lance shows no vulnerabilities as it strikes for the throat, shoulders, forehead, and heart.

Thrusts so fast even the afterimages are blurred.
As each strike of his lance repels, rebuffs, and pushes back Archer, any one of his thrusts could be called a final blow.
But even as a bowman, Archer is a Servant.
No ordinary attack can be a final blow…!

Having repelled the lance aimed at his forehead, Archer closes in with speed superior to Lancer's lance.

A partial retreat does not allow escape, and an attempt to counterattack will only result in a slashed stomach.
But simply going forward will end up in a smashed rib from the long shaft of the lance.
Archer and Lancer are similarly built.
On top of that, it's hard for Archer with no heavy armor to step into range of a lance swung like a whirlwind.

But, thrusts are a different story.
A blazing fast thrust certain to strike you is certainly scary.
But as long as the attack targets a point, there are many ways to avoid it once you see it.
As Archer did just then, hitting the shaft of the approaching lance to redirect it slightly creates an opening.


The one in red stops.
A nightmare like time is reversing.
The thrust is faster than the previous ones…!

We were the ones that underestimated him.
For that Servantfor Lancer's weapon, there are no general rules about lances.

Who could ever parry continuous attacks without even space to breathe between them?
Archer manages to retreat a bit and parries. And as a result, the distance between them opens a little.
That distance.
Lancer uses that distance as a runway to launch an even more powerful attack.

…It's not fast, but it's just skill.
It thrusts like a waterfall, with no change in speed.
What can Archer do as he's now on the defensive?
With such a short sword, he can only parry the lance.
He has no way to close on Lancer, and he continues to retreat.

A vacuum of steel unfolds.
Support… I have to back Archer up, but my throat won't respond.
My magic has poor aim.
Unless Archer gets far away from Lancer, I will hit him with my magic as well.
Such an opening would only increase Lancer's advantage.

…And besides.
Frankly, I'm captivated.
This is a battle between Servants.
This is the Holy Grail War itself, where we use heroic spirits
The highest rank of familiar, whom we would never otherwise obtain.

So, it's misleading to call them familiars.
Originally, familiars were just beings that ran errands for the magus.
Imagine, perhaps, a cat in boots.

There's a battle to the death raging on at blinding speeds not ten feet from her, and she's thinking about a cat in boots.

Or a cute white bird.
Or a black dog that doesn't obey its master, or something like that.

Familiars that a mere magus can summon are of that level.
Familiars are just familiars.
They are only mascots that run errands for their masters, so they cannot be beings stronger than their masters.
But Servants are different.
They are the most powerful beings.
Even for sorcerers, of which there are only five in this world, it would probably be impossible to form a contract with them.

A hero that becomes eternal in people's minds is no longer human after their death, and is promoted to another form of existence.
Humans who bring about miracles, save people, and achieve great deeds, are called heroes even after their death.
After being so called, they are promoted to heroic spirits after their death and become guardians of humanity.

It doesn't matter whether these people existed in reality or only in stories.
It is people's minds that create a hero.
People's wishes that "this is how things should be" give them form and set them up as real.
Authenticity does not matter.
They can have form as long as they have fame as a legend and people have faith.

The ultimate ideal humans have created, the greatest human people have created.
These are the heroes, the heroic spirits.
And of course, since they are beyond human, they cannot be controlled by humans.
A magus usually borrows their power only to mimic them.
They can't summon the heroic spirits themselves.

But the Holy Grail made that impossibility into reality.
It summons the heroic spirit, beyond human control, and turns it into a familiar obedient to the Master.
That nonsense is proof that the Holy Grail is almighty.

And with the passing of years ignored, the heroic spirits are summoned. The most recent from a hundred years ago, the oldest from the ancient days.
The seven heroic spirits obey each of the seven Masters, protect them, and eliminate the Masters of the enemy.
Heroes from every age and country are revived into the present day, to kill one another for supremacy.
That is why this ritual is called the Holy Grail War.

That form is their temporary name, and the way the exist in this world.
The Holy Grail has furnished "classes" so that the heroic spirits may take form more easily, and it only summons the heroic spirits that match these classes.
It's like a passport to the present as it sets up a role as a familiar in advance. By allowing the summoned heroic spirit to take on that role, it helps the spirit to take form.

If there are seven Masters chosen by the Holy Grail, there are also seven Servants obeying those Masters.

There are seven furnished classes.

Knight of the sword, Saber.

Knight of the lance, Lancer.

Knight of the bow, Archer.

Mounted soldier, Rider.

Magus, Caster.

Silent killer, Assassin.

Mad warrior, Berserker.

Only the heroic spirits with attributes of these classes are summoned to the present to obey the Masterand become a Servant.

That is the Servant System
A summoning and contract with a heroic spirit beyond human control, to win the "miracle" beyond human grasp.
The ultimate competition, held only on this ground, the one and the only Holy Grail War!

Video: Clash of Blue and Red (mirror)

There is no effective way of parrying a lance with a sword.
A strong rebuff only results in a stronger counterattack, and a weak rebuff does not create any openings.
The important aspect of the battle between a sword and a lance lies in defeating the enemy when he is at the wrong range

There's no hesitation in Lancer.
His movement to push Archer back stops.
He must intend to end the match in a single instant.
The stares of the firmly placed Lancer and the swordless Archer clash.


The flash too fast to see is repelled by a shining blade…!

In Archer's hand is the shortsword again.
A sword like before, a Chinese sword like a hatchet.
But the biggest difference is

"Crap, two swords…!"
A pair of swords.
In his hands are matched swords, mirror images of each other.

"See? I don't have a sword. I have two!"

"Heh, a bowman trying to be a swordsman!"

Lancer's lance flies.

As if to finish Archer off, the lance moves faster and faster.

Archer defends with a burning spirit.
His hawk-like eyes say that he will not retreat anymoreno, that he will only advance from now on.

The clashing sounds are like a well orchestrated music.

Two steels clanging against each other.
The sparking clashes increase in rhythm without pause.

The battle of the two is like a vacuum.
It sucks in the air around them, and it seems like anything approaching them would be cut to pieces.
In reality, it only lasts an instant.
But for me looking on, it seems to take an infinitely long time.

Lancer tries not to let Archer near him, while Archer advances using his swords as a shield.
Over a hundred blows have been thrown, and Archer loses a sword every time.

But it's only for a moment as Archer has a sword in his hand in the next instant, forcing Lancer back a little each time.
Lancer finally admits his carelessness.
That even though he doesn't know who is before him, he will be the loser if he dismisses him as a mere bowman.

Music: Stop

The distance widens.
Probably to recover, Lancer puts a large distance between them.
…His speed is extraordinary.
Archer's charge was out of this world, but it was still slow compared to Lancer.
The movement of his retreat had panther-like speed and agility.

Music: Premonition of a Storm

"…Twenty-seven. I've disarmed you that many times, yet you still have more."
Lancer mutters in irritation.
No, it's more like confusion.

"Two, twenty-seven, one thousand and thirty three... it's so easy to lose count."

…I feel the same way.
According to Father, a Servant carries only one weapon.
Their weapon is filled with magical energy, so it's not something that can be created one after another, like Archer was just doing.

A Noble Phantasm is a weapon or armor the Servant used when they were a hero, and it's treated as a last resort.
The Noble Phantasm is the one and only weapon for a Servant.
This is because the Noble Phantasm is an ultimate weapon without equal.

…The lance that Lancer is using will show its power as a Noble Phantasm when Lancer deems it necessary.
A Noble Phantasm is an impressive weapon by itself, but its true ability is to release all its power using its "true name".

Heroes' weapons which rule over all others, and which have killed dragons and gods.
Servants activate their Noble Phantasms using their magical energy.
It's much like magic.
Servants recreate the destructions in legend using their weapon as a catalyst.

Those weapons are never disposable.
The swords that Archer brought out must be excellent, but they cannot be his Noble Phantasm.
He is the Servant Archer.
So the Noble Phantasm he conceals must be a bow.

"What's wrong, Lancer? It's not like you to just stand there and watch. Where's the energy you had just now?"

"…You're talking crap, you cheater."

Lancer's irritation is understandable.
Even though Lancer fought as a spearman, Archer fended him off as a swordsman.
Which means, Archer hasn't shown any of his abilities yet.
So it's natural for Lancer to feel ghastly.

"…All right then, I'll ask you. What hero are you?
I've never heard of a bowman using two swords."

"On the other hand, it's easy to tell who you are. It's said that only the fastest heroes are chosen as the lancer, but you surpass even that.
There aren't three lancers in this world at your level. And on top of that, there's only one with such beast-like agility."

"Oh. Well said, Archer."
At that instant.
His vast murderous intent makes me forget to breathe.

Music: Stop

This is different from before. A stance free from contempt.
The spearhead is lowered as if to strike the ground, and only his stare pierces Archer
"In that case, you shall face my finishing blow."

"I won't stop you. You're an enemy I will have to defeat sooner or later."

Lancer's body sinks down.
At the same time.
A chill like thorns fills the schoolyard.

He'll be beaten.
I don't know what kind of Noble Phantasm that is, but Archer will be beaten.
It's implausible since this is the first time I've felt such an intuition, but there's no doubt about it.

Archer will die when that lance is thrust.
It is determined.
Literally, Lancer's lance is the embodiment of inescapable death

I don't need a Servant around the house, there are no Masters at school, Archer will die when that lance is thrust... you'd think she would learn.

Archer will be defeated.
Archer will die when Lancer pierces his heart.

And yet.
Even though I know what's going to happen, I can't even help him.
Because if I move even a finger, that will trigger the attack.