Part 131: Wounded last night / Saber's compromiseMusic: Surrounded by Smiling Faces
"Huh ? She's in that outfit, so you'd think it'd be easy to find her."
Even so, I can't find Saber anywhere.
I guess Servants can become spirits, but I can't turn her into one anyway.
No, first of all
"Even though they call me a Master, I don't know anything about her."
I don't understand who she is or how she exists.
The only thing I understand is
That I'm confident I'll be able to win this strange war if I'm with her.
I lose my voice at the figure.
Sitting Japanese-style with her back straight and eyes closed, Saber looks beautiful.
Her state, melting into the silence, reminds me of pure water.
And that removes the final doubts within me.
Even if she is a Servant, I think she is holy.
SoI won't be led astray if I'm with her.
Music: In the Sunlight
I call out.
Saber slowly opens her eyes and returns my gaze.
"You are awake, Shirou."
A calm voice.
Her voice, echoing through the dojo as if permeating it, is surprisingly suited to this place.
"Yeah. I just got up. What were you doing here?"
"I was resting. I cannot treat you, so I thought I'd make sure I was in perfect condition."
Saber looks at me as she speaks.
I feel tension, different from the kind I felt with Tohsaka.
That's sexual tension. Rin's a lesbian, so she doesn't count.
" ! N-No, there's no problem ! I'm just perplexed for my own reasons, so don't worry !"
I take a step back and shake my head.
Looking away from Saber, who is tilting her head questioningly, I calm my pounding heart.
" Calm down. What am I so tense about!?"
I take a deep breath.
But it doesn't seem to die down quickly. In fact, I don't think it ever will.
" Geez, why did she get changed ?"
I complain without meaning to.
Saber's clothes are so real that they make me conscious of her womanhood, whether I like it or not.
She is terribly beautiful.
I thought I figured that out yesterday, but she really hits me with it now.
Perhaps her armor looked so surreal that I didn't notice yesterday.
But if she dresses like a girl, I'm flustered, as any healthy guy would be.
I tense up the moment our eyes meet.
But I didn't look for her just to say nothing.
I'm troubled, but I can't stay quiet forever.
May I, Saber? It'll be the first time we sit down and talk"
I make up my mind and talk to her.
"Shirou. Before that, there is something I would like to address regarding last night."
"? All right, what is it?"
"You became drunk and flirted shamelessly with Archer. I do not approve."
You are my Master. It is troubling if you take such actions. Battle is my duty, so you must concentrate on your role."
I think about what happened last night.
Is she talking about the time I tried to pull her to safety when Archer attacked?
" Hey. I can't help it. You were fighting, so that's the least I could do. It's only natural to help when your partner is in danger."
Oh, wow. Saber looks really surprised.
"Well, we did shake hands. And you've helped me so many times already. It'd be pretty strange not to trust you."
Saber looks up at me in surprise.
"Uh Did I have the wrong idea about our contract?"
I get nervous, so I ask.
Saber shakes her head.
"As a Servant, I appreciate your words.
And I would have been dealt a fatal wound had you not stopped me. The method was not a good one, but your instruction was."
" I see. That's good. I was desperate, but that was good, huh?"
"Yes. But please refrain from such actions next time. I can heal immediately even if I am wounded. But I have no way to heal you if you are wounded."
I don't know how I can do things better, but I should stop doing things so recklessly.
"Yes. That is a good reply, Master."
Was I acting that funny?
I think she smiled for a second.
Music: Whirlpool of Fate 2
"Yes. Since I have formed a contract with you as a Servant, I am your sword. I shall follow your orders, defeat your enemies, and protect you."
Saber says so without the slightest hesitation.
There's no room for me to question her about it.
"Become my sword, huh? Is that to win this Holy Grail War?"
" ? Is that not why you have summoned me?"
"No. I only summoned you by chance.
As you know, I'm only an amateur magus. I'm sorry, but I don't have the knowledge nor the power of a Master.
But I've decided to fight, so I'll fight. I'm an unskilled Master, but are you okay with that?"
"Of course. You are my Master, Shirou.
This fact will not change. A Servant does not have the freedom to choose its Master."
Then I should try to respond to her to the best of my ability.
" All right. So you're content that I'm your Master?"
If you have no chance of victory, I shall make one for you. I will use any means possible to have you obtain the Holy Grail.
We Servants do not serve the Masters without compensation. We serve because we also desire the Holy Grail."
"Huh? Hold on. The Holy Grail, you mean you want it too !?"
"Of course. After all, the only ones who can touch the Holy Grail in spirit form are we Servants, who are also spirits.
The Master that wins the Holy Grail War will obtain the Holy Grail through the medium of their Servant. After that, the Servant who served the winning Master will have its wish granted in compensation.
That is the relationship between Masters and Servants."
Didn't they clarify last path that Saber is not a spirit?
Now that she says it, it's obvious something like a "heroic spirit" would never obey a mere human being.
Since they have their own objectives, they serve the Master in exchange.
Then that means Saber has a wish she wants granted.
That is why Saber has no doubts.
" Hold on, Saber. You said any means possible, right? Does that mean you don't care what measures you take to win the war?
Doing something like what that priest said.
Involving innocent people and creating a disaster like what happened ten years ago
I can only do things I allow myself to do. I cannot betray my beliefs. It is against the knight's oath to hurt those who are unarmed."
"But I must obey if you order so. In that case, you will have to use one of your Command Spells to compensate for treading inside me."
...but he didn't have to use a command spell the last time he tread inside her.
I am overwhelmed by her angered voice.
But still, I'm happy and relieved.
Her lack of doubt gave her the image of a cold fighting machine, but I know now that she is not a cold-blooded killer.
"Yeah, I won't let you do such a thing.
Like you said, we have to do our best with what we can do. I'm really sorry. I insulted you without realizing it."
"Ah no, I leapt to a hasty conclusion without knowing your intentions. You are not at fault, so please raise your head "
"Huh? Oh, sorry, I apologized without realizing it."
I raise my head.
"Oops, I didn't mean to say sorry. Sorry."
Music: Surrounded by Smiling Faces
I don't know what's so funny, but Saber has a small smile on her face.
Well, I'm glad she's smiling, so I won't ask her about it.
" All right. Then can I ask you something else? A Master is a magus that summons Servants, right?
That's fine, but I don't quite understand you guys. Like, Saber and Lancer, I know those aren't your real names."
"Yes, those are only the names of the classes given to us. All right, I shall describe it briefly since we have the chance."
Music: Whirlpool of Fate 2
"We Servants are heroic spirits.
We have each won fame during our lives or have accomplished some great deed beyond human ability. Whatever the means, we are beings that have reached the rank of gods with our own strength."
That doesn't even need to be said.
Heroic spirits are heroes that had supernatural abilities while they were alive, who are worshipped after their deaths, and are promoted into the ranks of spirits instead of becoming ghosts.
Revealing our names, revealing our identities, means revealing our weaknesses.
It will not be a problem if we are fighting a lower spirit, but each of us is a spirit capable of killing the other. If our weaknesses are revealed, the enemy will take advantage of them to defeat us."
" I see. Heroes usually do have opponents they're weak against. That's why you're hiding your real name and using the name Saber?"
"Yes. However, I am not called Saber only for that reason.
There are seven Servants called forth by the Holy Grail, and every one of these is selected according to class."
"Class ? You mean like Saber and Archer?"
"Yes. Summoning a true heroic spirit is already almost a miracle. To summon seven is too much even for the Holy Grail.
As a solution, the Holy Grail prepares seven vessels in advance and only calls forth heroic spirits compatible with these vessels.
Those are the seven classes.
"The Holy Grail calls forth from all times the heroic spirits, with abilities corresponding to each of these classes.
And those who receive these classes are called Servants."
" I see. You were a heroic spirit skilled with swords, so you were summoned as Saber?"
"Yes. There are heroic spirits that have multiple attributes, but I believe I am the best when it comes to swords."
How fortunate! Swords are something of a turn on for Shirou.
"But that is also the weakness of the Saber class.
Since I am not a magus, I can only defeat your enemies as your sword."
"So you're not well-suited to trickery. No, I don't think that's a weakness. You're that powerful, so that should be enough, right?"
For instance, if your enemy is stronger than you in combat, what will you do?"
"Huh? Well if I knew I couldn't beat them in combat, I'd have to do something without fighting"
Having said that much, I understand.
If the enemies are strong, you wouldn't fight a proper battle.
Beating opponents with your sword isn't the only way to fight.
If you can't beat an enemy with your sword, all you have to do is beat them some other way.
"Exactly. If your enemy discovers you are skilled in combat, your enemy will most likely not challenge you in combat. And in that sense, Servants that lack ability will use any means possible."
"The Servant Assassin has low attributes, but has a special ability to hide its presence, and the Servant Caster is versed in magic that does not exist in this age.
You cannot be optimistic because of a mere difference in power. And on top of that, we have our 'Noble Phantasms'. No matter what kind of Servant we are, as heroic spirits, we have our guaranteed fatal attack."
That's not a term I've heard before.
I think I might know what it means from the sound of it, though
That makes one of us.
"Noble Phantasms are special weapons carried by Servants.
Weapons like Lancer's lance, Archer's bow, and my sword are such.
Heroes are not called heroes by themselves. Heroes have the weapons that symbolize them and make them a hero."
"The hero and his weapon are one. So those who became heroic spirits each wield a powerful weapon.
That is the 'Noble Phantasm'the trump card for Servants, and the thing we must take the most care of."
Saber says that Noble Phantasms are weapons that heroes wielded when they were alive.
I recall that blue knight.
The lance that absorbed magical energy from the air and pierced Saber's chest with incredible movements.
That was certainly not something fit for humans.
That lance itself carried a strong curse, but I also felt an overwhelming amount of magical energy in the word Lancer said back then.
Then could it be ?
"Saber. Are Noble Phantasms magic?
Lancer's lance certainly seemed like a lance with history, but the lance itself wasn't extraordinary.
But that lance went beyond the realm of weapons with his words. Isn't that some sort of magic?"
"Yes, Noble Phantasms are certainly similar to magic.
For example, Lancer's lance itself is a Noble Phantasm, but it demonstrates its full potential only when he puts magical energy into it and says its true name."
"A Noble Phantasm could be called a materialized divine mystery.
As spells are necessary to activate magic, recitation of the true name is necessary to awaken and to activate the Noble Phantasm.
But there is also a danger in that. By saying the true name of their Noble Phantasm, the identity of the Servant is revealed."
" Oh yeah. Heroes and their weapons are one. If you know the weapon's name, you naturally know the identity of the owner."
Saber nods silently.
"Then, Saber. Is your Noble Phantasm that invisible sword?"
" Yes. But I have not revealed its identity yet. No Servants should know my true name at this point."
Saying that, Saber looks down awkwardly for a second.
"Shirou. I have a request about that matter."
"Huh? What kind of a request?"
"About my real name. Usually, Servants give their true names to their Master only, to determine future plans.
But you are inexperienced as a magus.
A superior magus would be able to read your mind, so"
"Oh, so you can't tell me your real name? Yeah, you're right. Like hypnotism, suggestion, or well, I don't think there'd be any, but if any other Master had mystic eyes, I might just start babbling about it.
All right. Let's do that. I'll rely on you to decide when to use your Noble Phantasm."
"It wasn't easy. I thought it through.
I agreed after thinking about it, so don't worry."
It still amuses me how "long" it takes Shirou to think things over.
I get most of this stuff, but I still don't have a grasp of the situation.
This is strange, now that I think about it.
Even though I've decided to fight, the only enemy I know is Tohsaka, and I don't intend to fight her.
Well, I shouldn't be thinking like that because Tohsaka is ready to fight me any day.
Music: Surrounded by Smiling Faces
"Hey Saber, do Servants and Masters have some sort of a mark? I don't really know what I should be doing."
"No. Unfortunately, there is no clear way to distinguish them.
But if other Servants are near, Servants are able to sense them. All the more if they are materialized. Servants themselves are powerful magic.
I am sure you felt Berserker's presence."
"Ughthat is true. But it's bad to be able to tell only when you're attacked. I need to at least know before they approach, so I can take some sort of countermeasure."
"Then, how about searching for the Master's presence? Masters are magi. Since they use magic for a living, they will leak magical energy. If you search for that, you may be able to determine the Masters in this town."
" Sorry. Unfortunately, I can't do that sort of thing."
We were in the same building for two years, and on top of that, I've seen her several times.
"Geez. No wonder people call me an amateur. The only evidence I'm even a Master is this Command Spell. It seems there'll be lots of difficulties ahead."
"Shirou. Could you close your eyes for a moment?"
Saber speaks with a serious face.
" ? Close my eyes? Why?"
"To prove that you are a Master. Just close your eyes and breathe normally."
I feel something slightly touching my forehead.
Hey, it's prickling. Could this be the end of her sword!?
"Saber? Hold on, are you doing something weird?"
" Master, please stay silent and concentrate on my fingertip. If you are a magus, you should be able to feel my magical energy."
I see, so it's Saber's finger that's touching me.
I pull myself together and calm down.
What is this?
"Saber, what was that?"
"It is not something you should be asking me. You and I are connected by our contract, so it is only natural for you to be able to understand my status."
"Understand? You mean, what happened just now?"
"I do not know how you saw it. It is your standard that measures the Servant's ability. Some Masters classify according to color, and some classify according to animals."
...and some are gamer nerds.
This is a standard concept for a Master, so please check frequently. Like me, once you see someone, you shall understand their details."
I was a bit surprised since it was so sudden, but I might be able to act a bit like a Master now.
"Master. I have simplified things, but that is all the explanation I can give you."
"Okay. It was quick, but I get it now. Sorry, Saber."
She asks me, leaning forward.
Saber is the same type as Tohsaka: attack first.
"Well, we won't be doing anything different.
I don't have the will to go out and beat other Masters like Tohsaka."
Music: Whirlpool of Fate 2
Saber narrows her eyes.
They are the calm eyes of a swordsman who allows no disagreement.
I stare back, trying not to lose, and clearly tell her my intentions.
"But that doesn't mean I will not fight.
I'm a magus, even if I'm an amateur. I understand I can't back out of this now. I know I can't survive this without doing anything."
"Then you are saying you are fighting not to obtain the Holy Grail, but rather to prevent the conflict resulting from the Holy Grail?"
" ? Yeah, I guess you could put it like that. Yeah, I think that's what I mean. I can't put it into clear words, but such a fight is worth something, right?"
I don't feel anything toward the Holy Grail.
But for a reason like that, I think I can fight with all my power and with pride.
" I do not understand. You say that you are a magus. Then you should desire the almighty Holy Grail. Do magi not master magic because they have a wish they cannot make come true?"
"What are you saying? I have no unfulfillable wishes. I do have lots of things I have to do though."
So for now, I should try my hardest not to involve any unnecessary people.
"Then are you saying you do not want the Holy Grail? That you will not fight to obtain it?"
"I didn't say that. Since I'm fighting, I do intend to obtain the Holy Grail."
Winning means obtaining the Holy Grail, and most of all
Music: The End of Reminiscence
"Yeah, I don't know what kind of people the other Masters are.
Some of them may be really good people.
But I've decided to be your ally. So if you say you want the Holy Grail, it's only natural to help you with all my power, right?"
" Well, it's only an opinion that I received from my father, but he said I should be selfish to become a superhero.
It's pointless to support everybody, so he told me to only ally with people I like and trust."
"I never thought that way before, but I think that's how I should be now.
I can't do something like fight for myself.
But if I can fight for you, then that's good."
And to be honest.
If this girl seriously yearns for it, it's only natural to want to obtain it for her.
Well, I am a guy, you know.
That's a problem.
If Saber says that, all my premises will crumble.
" No, it would still be the same. I said I'll fight.
So I won't run. That is for sure, Saber."
I declare while looking at her in the eyes.
Saber does not answer immediately, but looks up at me after letting out a deep breath.
"I understand. If you say so as a Master, I will only obey. My goal is the Holy Grail, and even if your goal is to stop the conflict, our destinations are the same.
With eyes that seem to be gazing upon something far away,
"I cannot clearly put this into words, but you will regret it later on. You will surely regret it."
She says those words.
Time for round 2 of 'now you can view the status screens.' The info is often the same, but the status screens start from scratch each time you start a new game.
Magical Energy Burst: A
This transfers magical energy into one's weapon and body, and by releasing the magical energy instantaneously, it increases one's ability. Simply said, it is like magical jet energy propulsion. Saber uses this magical energy for her sword techniques, guarding, and movement. Because of her great magical energy capacity, she can fight Berserker even though she is a girl of a small size. A normal weapon without strong divine protection will not be able to endure her magical energy-fueled attack and will be destroyed with one blow.
Natural talent to command an army. It increases the ability of one's army during mass combat. Charisma is a rare talent, and a B rank is enough to lead a country.
It is not a vacuum, but the wind whirring around the blade is like a weapon and it seems to increase the damage of the slash. Only when the compressed wind is released is a vacuum state created. When the target has "resistance to visual impediments", the accuracy correction of Invisible Air is ineffective. Other than the advantage of making the blade invisible, it is possible to release the compressed wind, making it a single-use projectile weapon. The damage of such an attack is constant, and Saber's strength or magical energy does not affect it.
Cu Chulainn means "Hound of Culann".
The name comes from an oath Setanta made when he was a child, when he mistakenly killed a guard dog of a wealthy merchant named Culann. He promised, "if this dog has a child, I will raise it strong and as faithful as this guard dog. Until that time, I shall guard you myself." His nickname of Cu Chulainn praises not only Setanta's strength for killing the famous savage dog of Culann unarmed, but also the character of Setanta that thought of the owner of the lost dog, even as a child.
Cu Chulainn grew up to be a strong man and went into an evil land called the Country of Shadows to satisfy the requirements to marry a particular woman. Cu Chulainn overcame many difficulties and reached the Country of Shadows. He was well liked by the ruler of that country, the witch Scathach, and he trained under her and learned many sorceries and techniques. He obtained the cursed lance Gae Bolg that later became the symbol of Cu Chulainn, and he left the Country of Shadows.
In the legend, it is said that Cu Chulainn was brave, compassionate, and a likeable young man. Cu Chulainn mercilessly killed his enemies in the battlefield, but he respected faith, and was noble enough to never break a promise once made. Celtic warriors had the custom of making an oath called a "geas", and those warriors who broke this geas were cursed. Cu Chulainn, like his nickname, had a geas that said he must never eat a dog, and he faithfully tried not to break that promise. This geas later became the cause of his death.
During a battle with an opposing country, to protect his weaker country of Ulster, Cu Chulainn made several geasa accepting even his own ruin in exchange for forcing the opposing country to make geasa unfavorable to them. Some of the famous geasa Cu Chulainn made were "fighting just one warrior a day", promised with his rival Queen Maeve, and "one win, one loss" promised with his old friend Fergus.
But Queen Maeve perceived her release as the greatest insult, and began a personal revenge against Cu Chulainn. After numerous schemes, Cu Chulainn was forced to break his geasa one by one, and as a result lost all his powers, and was at last stabbed in the side with a lance. The proud Cu Chulainn would not allow himself to die lying down, and tied himself up to a post. On the verge of death, he saw an otter drinking the blood that had spilled into the river, and as he laughed at its greediness, he died standing.
A thrilling great man, Cu Chulainn had the protection of the goddess Morrigan who governed death and destruction. But the story isn't that simple. At first, Cu Chulainn declined the goddess's protection. So insulted, Morrigan transformed into many animals and went after his life. But Cu Chulainn was able to repel off every attack, and actually treated the wounded Morrigan. Morrigan admired that nobility from the bottom of her heart, and decided to support him without his knowledge. So as not to destroy Cu Chulainn's pride, she did not help him when he was in his greatest perils, but merely observed the way of a hero.
The ability to escape battle. It can also return an unfavorable battle to the beginning (turn 1), and restore the conditions of techniques to their initial states.
Strength of one's god-like nature. The more godlike blood possessed, the higher this stat becomes.
As the lance has pierced the heart even before it is thrust, it is impossible to dodge or block it once this result has been determined. To dodge Gae Bolg, one does not need high AGI (agility), but instead the ability to change this fate before Gae Bolg is executed, LCK (luck) is most important. It is the most efficient Noble Phantasm, as it requires little magical energy to activate, and each activation is a sure kill.
Mind's Eye (Fake): B
Avoidance of danger by sixth sense/instinct.
Ability to ignore any mental interference such as coercion, confusion, or illusions. It also has the effect of increasing damage when fighting unarmed, but since he has gone mad through his class ability, he cannot use this skill.
Strength of one's god-like nature. The more godlike blood possessed, the higher this stat becomes. As the son of Zeus, the leader of the gods, and having been accepted as one of the gods after his death, the divinity of Hercules can be said to be of the highest class.