Part 125: Will to participate
Music: Surrounded by Smiling Faces
"So, from what I hear from Emiya-kun, you must not be in full form, Saber. You were summoned by an apprentice magus who has no idea how to be a Master."
Since Shirou does not have the magical energy to give me form, it will be difficult for me to turn into a spirit or to replenish my magical energy."
" I'm surprised. I'm surprised that you're in that bad of a state, but I didn't think you would honestly tell me. I was wondering how I ought to find out your weakness."
"I do not wish to let others know of my weakness, but I do not think I can fool you. It would be meaningless to hide our situation from you. So it will be better for us to tell you of our situation, and to have Shirou better understand the situation he is in currently."
"Correct. And you have a good personality, too. Geez, I'm regretting it even more now. If I was your Master, I would have certainly won this war!"
Tohsaka clenches her fists in anger.
"Hmm. Tohsaka, do you mean I'm not fit to be her Master?"
"Of course not, idiot."
Wow. She just said something that any normal person would have trouble saying.
Statements like that come easily when talking to Shirou.
And she doesn't realize it.
Her honor student image from school crumbles inside of me.
Good going, Issei. Tohsaka certainly shows no openings, just like a devil.
"Well. We're done talking, so let's get going."
Tohsaka suddenly says something strange.
"Huh? Go where?"
"We're going to see the guy who knows all about the game you're involved in the 'Holy Grail War'. You want to know the reasons behind the Holy Grail War, right?"
"Of course. But where is it? It's already late, so "
"It'll be fine. It's in the neighboring town, so we should be back by dawn if we hurry. And besides, it's Sunday tomorrow, so it should be okay to stay up late."
"No, that's not the problem."
It's just that a lot of things happened today, so I want to have a rest and think about them.
"What, you're not going? Well, if you say so. But what about you, Saber?"
Tohsaka asks Saber.
"Hold on, this has nothing to do with Saber. Don't push her."
"T-That's not it! It's just that if what you said is true, then Saber is a heroine from the past, right? So she wouldn't know about this time since she was just summoned.
"Shirou, that is incorrect. Servants can adapt to any time. So I know a lot about this age as well."
"Yes. This is not the first time that I have been summoned in this age."
"No way, what are the chances of that !?"
Hey, Tohsaka is surprised too.
So that must mean Saber said something incredible.
"Shirou, I agree with her. You lack experience as a Master. As a Servant making a contract with you, I want you to become stronger."
...and here I thought it would be awhile before the "Shirou lacks experience and needs Rin to educate him" scene.
Saber stares at me silently.
It's a gentle stare that's worried not for herself, but for me.
" All right. I'll go.
So, where is this place, Tohsaka? It's a place we can come back from, right?"
"Of course. We are heading to Kotomine Church in the neighboring town. That's where the false priest, the one who oversees this battle, is living."
It looks like she's having fun dragging me around while I don't know anything.
It might be prejudice
But I'm beginning to feel like there's a problem with her personality
Music: Surrounded by Smiling Faces
"Hey Tohsaka, are you planning to walk to the neighboring town?"
"Yeah. The buses and trains have stopped running. A walk at night is good once in a while, right?"
"I see. Then, if you don't mind me asking, do you know how long it takes to get there?"
"Well, it should take about an hour on foot. If it gets late, we can always take a taxi."
"I won't waste that kind of money. And besides, what I mean is, it might be dangerous for girls to walk around at a time like this. You know it's dangerous, right? I won't be responsible if something happens."
"Don't worry, nobody's going to mess with us. You may be forgetting, but Saber is really strong."
Whoever it is, if someone attacks her, they'll be counterattacked viciously.
"Rin. What was Shirou saying? I did not quite understand."
"Huh? Well, he was just making a big misunderstanding or being plain stupid. He's saying he'll help us if some pervert appears."
"What? Shirou is my Master. I should be protecting him instead."
"I don't think he's thinking about that sort of thing. He seems unconcerned about magi and Servants and all. I kind of wonder what's going on in his head."
"Oh god, girls"
Tohsaka and Saber now know each other well enough to talk to each other.
Saber has been silent ever since I stopped her from going out dressed like she was.
She said she wouldn't take off her armor, so I made her wear a raincoat, and she's been quiet ever since.
Now, she follows me and only speaks to Tohsaka.
"Wait, where are you going, Emiya-kun? Isn't that the wrong way?"
"We need to get to the bridge, right? Then this'll be a shortcut."
I don't want to walk alongside them, so I quickly make my way to the small side-road.
They follow me without objection.
"Wow, I didn't know about this road. I see since you can get to the bridge from the park, all you have to do is head for the park."
Tohsaka looks up at the bridge, talking happily.
Maybe it's just because it's nighttime.
Tohsaka's face, looking up at the bridge, seems even more beautiful than at school I'm troubled.
"Let's go. We didn't come here to play around."
I hurry Tohsaka, who is standing still in the park, and make my way up the stairs.
Once we reach the road alongside the bridge, Shinto will be straight ahead of us.
That's only natural as not many people use it even during daytime.
It's more normal to use the bus or the train to get to the neighboring town, so this bridge is rarely used.
It's because it's so long, and it carries a fear that it might collapse on you.
That must be why this place isn't used for dates, even though it's perfect location-wise.
Yeah, when I'm on a date, I'm always worrying about whether the bridge I'm on is going to collapse, or if a plane might suddenly crash land on me.
" That's stupid. What am I thinking?"
Saber is following me silently and Tohsaka is walking right beside me.
Trying to ignore them, I hurry across the bridge.
The suburbs are the oldest of all.
There's hilly roads and a lofty view overlooking the sea.
As you go farther up the hill, there are fewer buildings and the foreigners' cemetery built on the slope can be seen.
"The church is up here. You must have been there at least once, right?"
"No. I know it used to be an orphanage, though."
It still is. Sorta.
"I see. Then it'll be your first time today. You should prepare yourself. The priest there is a difficult man to deal with."
Tohsaka starts up the hill.
Looking up, I can see a building at the top of the hill.
A church atop the hill.
I never thought I'd visit God's house for the first time for a reason like this.
The church is magnificent.
The church's grounds must cover the whole top of the hill. A flat expanse welcomes me as soon as I reach the top.
The church isn't that big, but it is compelling, towering over its visitors.
"Shirou, I shall remain here."
"Huh? Why? I can't just leave you when we've come up here together."
"It is more convenient for the plot if I stay away. Things would be less surprising later if I recognized Kotomine this early. Enjoy it while you can. I shall follow you ruthlessly at the beginning of day 4."
"I did not come for the church. I followed to protect you. If your destination is the church, you should not go any farther, so I shall wait here for your return."
Saber says clearly.
It doesn't seem like she'll budge an inch, so I decide to respect her decision.
"All right. Then I'll be going."
"Yes. Please do not let your guard down regardless of whom you are facing, Master."
Music: Church on the Hill
"Tohsaka, what kind of person is the priest here?"
"It's kind of hard to explain. I've known him for ten years, but I still can't grasp his character."
"You've known him for ten years ? That's a pretty long relationship. Is he a relative of yours or something?"
"He's not my relative, but he is my guardian. On top of that, he is my senior as an apprentice, and my second teacher."
"Huh senior as an apprentice you mean apprentice as a magus!?"
"Because he's a priest! Aren't priests forbidden to use magic!?"
By their nature, a magus and the church cannot be in harmony.
The organization that magi belong to is called the Magic Association,
And the other side of religion, the side you wouldn't see while living a normal life, is called the Holy Church.
The two are barely similar. They cooperate on the surface, but they're always trying to kill each other when given the chance.
The church hates heretics.
They totally eliminate the inhuman, and they count magic-using humans among their targets.
For the church, miracles are only given to holy saints. Any miracles performed by other people are heresies.
There are no exceptions, even for those within the church.
The higher one rises in the church, the more one is prohibited from the impurity of magic.
And for a follower entrusted with a church like this and the more divine protection one receives, the more one should stay away from magic
" First of all, is the priest here on our side?"
"Yes. He is the one supervising the Holy Grail War, after all. He's a real Agent. Well, I don't know if he has divine protection, though."
Tohsaka's footsteps echo as she approaches the altar.
It's bad manners to do that when the priest isn't here, but it's so late at night.
He won't be in the chapel, so if he's anywhere, it'll be the private room in the back.
" Hmm. So who is this priest? You said a name like Kotomine before "
I ask Tohsaka while following her.
Tohsaka stops in front of the altar and turns to me with an uncomfortable expression.
"His name is Kotomine Kirei. He's a student of my father, and we've had an inseparable relationship for ten years now. Well, I wish I'd never met him, though."
"I feel the same way. I did not want an apprentice who does not respect her teacher."
He must have noticed our entry as he slowly appears from the other side of the altar.
"You didn't answer my repeated calls, and now you bring a strange guest. Hmm, so he is the seventh one, Rin?"
"Right. He's a magus, but he's pretty much a beginner, so I just couldn't let him be.
I believe it was the rules to report here when one becomes a Master, right? It's a rule you invented, but I'll follow it this time."
"Very well. Then I must thank this young man."
The priest called Kotomine slowly turns to me.
Without realizing, I step back.
He's not scary at all.
I don't feel any hostility from him.
But this priest still has a presence that makes the air around him feel heavy.
"I am Kotomine Kirei, the one entrusted with this church.
What is your name, seventh Master?"
"Emiya Shirou. But I haven't agreed to this 'Master' thing yet."
I glare back at the priest, trying not to lose against his presence.
The weight on my back turns into a chill.
The priest slowly smiles as if he's met someone pleasant.
It makes me
"I thank you, Emiya. You have brought Rin here. If it were not for you, she would not have come."
The priest makes his way toward the altar.
Tohsaka moves away from the altar and stands beside me.
"Then let us start. Emiya Shirou, you are Saber's Master, correct?"
"That's wrong. Certainly, I made a contract with her, but I don't understand this whole Master and Holy Grail War thing.
If a Master should be a proper magus, then you should go and choose a better person."
" I see. This is serious. Does he really know nothing, Rin?"
"I told you he's a beginner. Train him from the very first steps, will you? You're really good at that, right?"
Tohsaka urges the priest.
Well. He does like 'em young.
"Oh, I see, I see. That's how it is, huh?
I understand. This is the first time you have ever depended on me.
Emiya Shirou, I can never thank you enough."
Father Kotomine laughs.
Their conversation makes me feel uneasy.
"First, let us correct your misunderstandings.
Listen, Emiya Shirou. Master is not a role you can give to someone else nor is it something you can stop being once you are chosen.
Those who have the Command Spells carved on them cannot resign from being a Master. You must accept that fact."
"Why can't I quit?"
"The Command Spell is a holy mark. Becoming a Master is a trial placed upon you. You cannot escape it just because it is inconvenient.
You cannot be released from that pain until you obtain the Holy Grail."
"If you wish to retire from being a Master, all you can do is obtain the Holy Grail and wish for it. If you do that, everything will be as you desire, Emiya Shirou.
Your wishes, even cleaning out all the mud inside of you, is possibleYes, it is even possible to start everything over again.
Therefore, you should desire it.
If the time comes, you will appreciate being chosen as a Master. If you wish to erase those burns that cannot be seen, all you have to do is to accept that holy mark."
I feel dizzy.
The priest's words don't make any sense.
They just confuse me more and more as I listen.
But still, his words soak into my brain and clot like blood.
"Kirei, don't go off topic. I asked you to tell him the rules. I didn't ask you to open up his old wounds."
A voice cuts in.
That clears up my dizzy head.
"I see. It is pointless to say anything to these kinds of people, so I was trying to take away his morality while he still misunderstood.
Heh, I guess it is true that compassion is not good for others. And I rather enjoyed it too."
"What? Does it do you good to help him?"
"Of course. Helping people means saving yourself in the end. Well, it won't do any good to preach to you now.
So, let us return to the main topic, Emiya Shirou.
The battle you have been dragged into is called the 'Holy Grail War'.
Have you learned from Rin that this is an all out war between seven Masters, using seven Servants?"
" I did. It's some ridiculous thing where seven Masters kill each other, right?"
"Indeed. But we are not committing these inhuman acts because we want to. Everything is a ritual to determine who is the most suitable to receive the Holy Grail. Because of its greatness, we require trials to determine its owner."
I'll bet this priest doesn't think of this Holy Grail War thing as a "trial".
"Hold on. You keep saying 'Holy Grail War', but what is it? You can't possibly mean the actual Holy Grail, right?"
"Nah, it's just this fancy cup that we put some gold paint on. It's an inside joke."
The most common legend about it is that the one who obtains the Holy Grail will obtain the world.
But that's just a myth. After all, the Holy Grail itself is pretty much something that "exists, but doesn't exist".
"A Holy Grail that makes wishes comes true" definitely appears in many folklores and legends around the world .
But that's it.
A fictional power that doesn't exist and isn't possible. That's the Holy Grail.
"So answer me, Kotomine Kirei. Is the Holy Grail you're talking about really the Holy Grail?"
"Of course. The Holy Grail that appears in this town is real. As proof, the great miracle of the Servants has occurred.
Summoning and controlling past heroes. No, a miracle close to resurrecting the dead is almost sorcery.
A Holy Grail with this much power shall grant its owner unlimited power. The object's unreality is worthless in front of that truth."
He means that even if it is a fake, it doesn't matter if it has powers that would overwhelm even the true Holy Grail.
" All right. Let's assume there really is a Holy Grail. Then why is it required to do something like the Holy Grail War? We shouldn't be killing each other if the Holy Grail exists. If the Holy Grail is so great, we can all share its power."
"That is a fair argument, but we do not have such freedom.
Only one person can obtain the Holy Grail.
That is not something we chose, but what the Holy Grail has decided."
"The Holy Grail decides the seven Masters and summons the seven Servants.
As I have said, this is a ritual. The Holy Grail chooses the people suitable to obtain it, and selects its appropriate owner by making them fight for it.
That is the Holy Grail Warthe ritual where those chosen by the Holy Grail slay each other to obtain it."
The priest speaks plainly.
I have no rebuttal and look down at my left hand.
There is the mark they call the Command Spell.
I guess as long as I have this mark, I can't quit being a Master.
" I'm not convinced. Even though only one person can be chosen, I don't like the idea that all we can do is to kill the other Masters."
"Huh? Hold on. You're misunderstanding if you think that you have to kill them. There's no need to kill the Masters."
Tohsaka taps on my shoulder and says something unexpected.
"You will kill each other."
"You be quiet, Kirei. Now, the Holy Grail in this town is in spirit form. It's not something physical, so we have to call it forth with a special ritualwe have to materialize it.
We can call for it as magi, but since it's in spirit form, we cannot reach it. Do you understand what that means?"
"Yeah. Only spirits can touch spirits, right?
Oh, that's why you need the Servants !"
"Exactly. To put it simply, the goal of the Holy Grail War is to eliminate all the Servants except your own. So there's no rule that you have to kill the Masters."
Man, she could have told me that earlier!
Honestly, Tohsaka and this priest were being mean.
Now I'm relieved.
So even if we enter this Holy Grail War, Tohsaka's not going to die.
"I see. I guess that is one way to think.
Then let me ask you, Emiya Shirou. Do you think you can beat your own Servant?"
Magic is useless against her, and she's very skilled with her sword.
"Then let me ask you one more thing. It is a boring question, but do you think you are superior to your Servant?"
What's he saying?
I can't beat Saber, so there's no way I'm superior to her.
For this question, my answer will always be that I am weaker than my Servant, so
"That is right. Servants are hard to defeat even with a Servant. So what should you do?
See, it is such a simple solution. Servants can only exist with a Master. No matter how powerful the Servant is, the Servant will disappear if the Master dies. So "
That's right, it's a natural solution.
No one would choose to take the hard way.
If you want to win, the most effective way to kill the Servants would be to kill their Masters instead.
" Okay. I understand that killing the Master is an effective way to eliminate other Servants.
But then, if their Servant gets killed, does that make someone not a Master anymore? Only Servants can touch the Holy Grail, right? Then there's no point to a Master that doesn't have a Servant."
"No, the right to be a Master still remains as long as you have the Command Spell. A Master is a magus that can form a contract with Servants. As long as you have the Command Spell, you can form a contract with Servants.
The Servants whose Masters are killed do not disappear right away. They can stay in this world until their magical energy runs out. If such 'abandoned Servants' exist, a Master with no Servant can form a contract with them. That will allow them to rejoin the war.
That is why Masters kill other Masters. Because if you allow them to live, there is a risk that they will impede you in the future."
" So what if you use up your Command Spell? Then you won't be able to form a contract with other Servants, and the freed Servant will go off with someone else too."
"Yes, you're right. If you use up your Command Spell, you will be liberated from your duty as a Master.
However, I do not think a magus exists that would waste a Command Spell that allows them to use such powerful magic.
If there exists such a magus, he isn't even an amateur, but just a chicken."
The priest laughs, as if he knows what I'm thinking about.
That priest is making fun of me. I think he's trying to provoke me.
"You must understand now. So we will finish the explanation of the rules.
Well then, let us return to the beginning, Emiya Shirou.
You said you have no intention of being a Master. Do you still feel that way?"
"If you want to abandon your responsibility as a Master, that is fine too.
As you have realized, you may use up your Command Spell to end your contract with Saber. In that case, I will guarantee your safety until the Holy Grail War ends."
"...or for fifteen minutes, whichever comes first."
" ? Hold on. Why do you have to guarantee my safety? I can protect myself."
"I do not have enough free time to care for you either, but this is one of the rules. I have been dispatched to supervise the repeating Holy Grail War. That is why I must minimize the victims of the war. Protection of magi who lost their claims to being a Master is one of my biggest responsibilities as the supervisor."
"Repeating Holy Grail War ?"
Repeating does he mean that this kind of battle has happened many times before ?
"What do you mean? The Holy Grail War didn't just start now?"
"Of course not. Do you think a supervisor would have been dispatched if it were so?
It is the duty of this church to recover the holy relics, as we are the lowest of the special agencies. Originally, it was our goal to research and recover the True Cross, but here, we have a duty to investigate the Holy Grail.
We have to investigate the 726th Holy Grail that has appeared in this far eastern land. We must recover it if it is real, and disprove it if it is not."
"726th that many Holy Grails?"
"Who knows? It just means that there have been at least that many things that seemed like one.
"Ugh, some lady in Missouri found a chicken nugget that looks like the holy grail again. How about we send Bill this time? Fuck, this is starting to get expensive."
And one of those is the Holy Grail from the Holy Grail War observed in this town.
According to records, it is said that the first battle occurred about 200 years ago.
Since then, the battles between Masters have been repeating in a cycle of about 60 years.
This is the fifth Holy Grail War. Since the last one was ten years ago, this will be the shortest cycle yet."
"Whaare you guys insane? You guys have repeated this thing four times already !?"
"I feel the same way. As you said, people have repeated this event many times.
In the past, the Holy Grail Wars were terrible. Masters were driven by their desires, forgot their teachings as magi, and just killed each other indiscriminately.
I think you already know, but it is the highest crime for a magus to use his magic in public. A magus cannot allow his identity to be revealed to society.
But Masters in the past have violated that.
The Magic Association dispatched a supervisor to caution them, but they only made it in time for the third Holy Grail War. The one dispatched then was my father. Do you understand now, boy?"
" Yeah, I understand we need a supervisor.
But from what you said, isn't this Holy Grail War fundamentally bad?"
"Oh? How is it bad?"
"People show up from all corners of the world to violently slaughter each other. I fail to see a downside. It's even better than pay-per-view." Kotomine likes to watch.
"Because the past magi were people who'd break the rules of the magi, right?
Then let's say this Holy Grail thing really exists. What will you do if the one who remains is someone who uses the Holy Grail selfishly? It's bad if such a thing is obtained by someone who has no problem killing others.
If it's the job of the Association to look after magi, then shouldn't you guys be punishing those kinds of people?"
I question, with a little hope.
But as I expected, Kotomine Kirei laughs.
"Of course not. There are no magi who will act outside their own interests. We only supervise the rules of the Holy Grail War. We do not care about what happens afterwards. The Association is not concerned about the kind of person that obtains the Holy Grail."
"That's ridiculous ! What if the Master that gets the Holy Grail is the worst guy possible!?"
"It would be problematic, but we can do nothing. It is the Holy Grail that chooses its owner. And we do not have the power to stop a Master who has been chosen by the Holy Grail.
It is a grail that makes wishes come true, after all. The one who obtains it will be able to do as he pleases.
But if you do not want that, then all you have to do is win it yourself. That is the most reliable way, isn't it?"
Kotomine is trying to hold back his laughter.
It's like he's enjoying my clumsy inability to accept the facts.
Some laugh, others want to punch you in the head. ...and others want to punch themselves in the head.
"What's wrong, boy? I think that was a good idea. Will you not accept it?"
" That's none of your business. Anyway, I don't have any reason to fight. I'm not interested in the Holy Grail, and I don't feel like a Master even if you say I am."
"Oh. So you are not concerned about what the winner of the Holy Grail would do, even if it leads to disaster?"
I can't answer that question.
Crap, his words are violent.
They force the truth onto me, whether I want it or not
"That is fine if you have no reason to fight. So you are not troubled by what happened ten years ago?"
"Ten years ago ?"
"That's right. At the end of the last Holy Grail War, an unsuitable Master touched the Holy Grail. I do not know what that Master wished for. All I know are the results of the disaster that came afterwards."
"Hold on. That can't be "
"It is. It is an event that everybody in this town knows about, Emiya Shirou.
Five hundred killed or wounded. One hundred and thirty-four buildings incinerated. That inferno, still unexplained, is the remains of the Holy Grail War."
I lose concentration and I can't focus my eyes.
My body stumbles.
Music: Church on the Hill
I hold onto consciousness by clenching my teeth.
I hold back my nausea with the anger boiling up in me.
That's not anger. You're thinking about Archer again.
"Emiya-kun? What's wrong? You're pale white. I know it's not a comfortable story, but if you want, we can take a rest for a while."
I must have looked terrible.
I think it's very rare for Tohsaka to be worried like that.
"Don't worry. I feel better after seeing your weird face."
" Hey, just what is that supposed to mean?"
"Oh, I wasn't implying anything. I meant it literally, so don't worry about it."
The school's number-one honor student, Tohsaka Rin, smacks me in the head.
That does it.
With that, the nausea and anger go away.
" Thanks. You really did help, so don't bully me around too much. I've got a few more things to ask about."
She looks like she hasn't hit me enough, but she still lets me continue.
"Oh, you still have questions? All right, let out everything you want to say."
He should know what I want to ask, yet he asks me to go on.
Emiya Shirou won't lose to you.
"Then I'll ask. You said this is the fifth Holy Grail War. Then, has anyone ever obtained the Holy Grail?"
"Of course. A terrible event like that annihilation doesn't happen every time."
"Do not be hasty. It is easy just to obtain it. After all, the Holy Grail is tended to in this church. If you speak of just touching it, I touch it every day."
"I like to pet it and sing to it."
T-The Holy Grail is at this church ?
"Of course, it is only the vessel. It is empty. Rin mentioned earlier that the Holy Grail is in spirit form.
What we maintain is a well-made replica of the Holy Grail. We use this as the catalyst to draw down the real Holy Grail and transform it into a Holy Grail that grants wishes. It's like the relationship between Servants and Masters. Yes, there was indeed a man who obtained the real Holy Grail, temporarily, using that method."
"Then, was that Holy Grail real? No, what happened to the guy who obtained it?"
"Nothing. The Holy Grail was imperfectly completed. It was the work of a foolish man, affected by sentiment."
With the previous pressure gone, the priest narrows his eyes as if in regret.
" What do you mean? Didn't the Holy Grail appear?"
"It is easy to just make the Holy Grail appear. Once the seven Servants are present, the Holy Grail will appear in time. As Rin said, there is no need to kill other Masters.
But that does not complete the Holy Grail. That thing decides its own appropriate master. And thus, it refused to be obtained by a man who avoided battles."
It demands blood.
"Heh, so that just means it's useless to obtain the Holy Grail without settling matches with the other Masters.
The Master who first obtained the Holy Grail in the last war was just a chicken. He just ran away from the Holy Grail, saying that he didn't want to fight other Masters."
So saying, Tohsaka looks away from Kotomine.
Does that mean Kotomine was one of the Masters in the last war, and that he retired because he refused to fight in spite of obtaining the Holy Grail !?
" Kotomine. You didn't fight?"
"I did until halfway. But I made a bad decision. As a result, I only obtained an empty Holy Grail. Well, I guess that was my limit anyway. All the other Masters were monstrous. I lost my Servant first and was taken under my father's protection.
Come to think of it, it was inappropriate for a son of the supervisor to be chosen as a Master.
Father died at that time. Since then, I have succeeded the role of the supervisor, and I protect the Holy Grail at this church."
Saying that, the priest called Kotomine Kirei turns around.
Before him stands the symbol of worship.
"That is the end of our conversation.
The only ones qualified to obtain the Holy Grail are those who have Servants. When there is only one of you left, the Holy Grail should naturally appear in front of you.
Tell me your decision regarding whether you want to join this battle, the Holy Grail War, now."
The priest requests my final decision.
I had no reason to fight until just now.
Now I have a reason to fight and the will to fight.
But can I really accept this?
"Are you still undecided?
Look, a Master is not something you can be just because you want to. Rin has been training long as a magus, but it was not determined that she would be a Master.
All that could be decided beforehand was whether to prepare for it or not.
Only magi are to be chosen as Masters. If you are a magus, you should have been ready already.
I guess it cannot be helped if you say you are not.
You and your teacher were failures in that case. It is merely annoying for such a magus to be fighting, so get rid of your Command Spell now."
He doesn't need to ask.
I won't run away.
Honestly, this Holy Grail War and Master stuff doesn't seem real to me.
But still, if I must choose between fighting or running away, I will never run away.
The priest said it as well.
If I am a magus, I should be ready.
That is why I must decide.
Even though I'm an amateur, Emiya Shirou is a magus.
If I have decided to become a superhero in the footsteps of Emiya Kiritsugu whom I've admired all this time
"I will fight as a Master. If the cause of the fire ten years ago was the Holy Grail War, I can't let it happen again."
As if he likes my answer, the priest smiles with satisfaction.
I take a deep breath.
I have cut away all hesitation.
As a man, I said I will fight.
So from now on, all I have to do is go forward with pride and refuse to go against my word.
"Then I shall approve you as Saber's Master.
In this instant, the Holy Grail War is accepted.
I approve the battle in this town, from now until only one Master remains. Everyone shall follow their pride and compete fully against each other."
The priest's voice echoes heavily through the church.
There is no meaning to that declaration.
Only Tohsaka and I heard the priest's words.
This man merely rang the starting bell as the priest of this church.
"I don't mind. This might be your last chance, so I shall answer most questions."
It's particularly fitting that he doesn't even hide the fact that he's hiding things.
"Then I shall ask. Kirei, you're the one in charge of overseeing this, so you should have information on the other Masters. I've followed the Association's rules, so at least tell me what you know."
"That's troubling. I really want to tell you, but I do not know the details either.
Including Emiya Shirou, there are not many legitimate magi this time. There are only two Masters I know about. Three if you include Emiya Shirou."
...and they're all in this room!
"Oh, I see. Still, you should know the order in which they were summoned.
You are the supervisor, after all."
" Hmm. Berserker was first. Caster was second. The rest are pretty much the same. Archer was yesterday, and Saber was summoned a few hours ago."
"I see. Then that means "
"The Holy Grail War has officially started.
Rin, you are not allowed to come to this church until the Holy Grail War is over.
The only time it is permitted is "
"When I lose my Servant and wish for protection, right? So I pretty much get points deducted if I come here for any other reason."
"That is correct. You may become the victor, but the Church will not ignore the points deducted. They will take the Holy Grail away from you after a boring discussion. That would be the worst case scenario for me."
"You fake priest. A person on the side of the Church supporting the Magic Association?"
"I am serving God. That does not mean I am serving the Church."
"Whatever. That's why you're a fake."
And Tohsaka turns her back to the priest.
After that, she just makes her way to the exit without saying goodbye.
"Hey, is that okay, Tohsaka? He was your fellow pupil, right? So"
Shouldn't there be a more proper farewell?
"I don't care. I feel rather relieved from breaking my ties with him. More importantly, you should leave too. You have no business here now."
Tohsaka walks across the floor without stopping and leaves for good.
The priest, who's behind me before I know it, is looking down at me.
"W-What? Do you have anything else to say?"
I back off as I say so.
Just as I thought, I don't like him.
Maybe we're just incompatible or something, but I can't get myself to like him.
"If you don't have anything to say, I'm going!"
I make my way to the door, trying to escape his stare.
As I go
"Rejoice, boy. Your wish will finally come true."
The priest says, as if declaring an oracle.
Music: Whirlpool of Fate 2
"What are you saying all of a sudden?"
"You should know. Your wish will not come true unless there is a clear evil. Even if it is not something you approve of, a superhero requires a villain to defeat."
I feel like everything has turned black.
The priest said it.
The greatest wish and the ugliest wish I have are the same.
Yes, the desire to protect something
Is, at the same time, none other than the wish for something to violate it
But there's no way I'd wish for something like that.
I don't remember a moment when I've wished for that.
Such an insecure wish
Just means the target ideals are inconsistent.
But the priest says as if to pierce my heart, "Good thing you have an enemy now."
"No, you do not have to gloss over it. Your worries are normal for a human being."
The priest smiles.
I shake off the priest's words and walk to the door.