Part 152: Archer VS CasterMusic: Footsteps of Destruction
I want to fight back, but my body will not move.
My senses are taken away, and I'm sure she will eliminate my body in a matter of seconds.
"Goodbye, boy. If you are going to mourn, mourn that you became a Master with such small skills."
My body does not move and accepts the finger of death.
That sounds kind of dirty.
I resist the urge to close my eyes and keep glaring at Caster.
"Wow. You are a good boy. I like such good efforts."
Caster sneers at my resistance and puts her finger on my Command Spell.
Even my free will is numbing.
In my fading consciousness
I hear a sound like crashing swords from the other side of the mountain gate.
What kind of a miracle is it?
I hear tens of sounds cutting through air, and numerous arrows pierce the ground in front of me.
Caster instantly retreats, her robe fluttering behind her.
There are arrows pierced in the ground in front of Caster.
The 13 arrows were shot from above.
They were probably all shot at the same time, and I'm sure it would've gotten Caster if there had been one more arrow.
The owner of the arrows is standing on top of the mountain gate.
The knight in red jumps down to the ground empty-handed.
Archerkins came to save us!
"Heh. I thought you'd be dead by now, but I guess you're pretty tenacious."
The manArcher says so while standing in front of me as if to protect me from Caster.
"I just happened to drop by. Don't worry about it.
So how is your body? I should have cut Caster's string with that attack."
After he says so, I check my hand.
My frozen body has its freedom returned with just one attack by Archer.
"It moves. Caster's binding is gone, but"
"That's good. Do what you want now Or so I would like to say, butdo not move if you don't want to be killed by her. If you move recklessly "
"Kuh, Archer !? What is Assassin doing!?"
"See, she'll take out her anger on you.
A woman's fury is hard to control. Man, I think this will get rough."
I see neither of them are very fond of women
Music: Premonition of a Storm
"Well. Don't get too mad, Caster.
Assassin is fighting Saber right now. I do not know who that samurai is, but he is a strong swordsman to keep Saber at bay.
Should you not praise him instead?"
Even though he's facing his enemy, there's no tension in Archer.
Caster must have noticed that as well, as she regains her calm.
"Heh, stop with the ridiculous talk. You cannot call him a heroic spirit if he cannot stop you. He is not strong enough to be called a swordsman."
"Oh. You sound like Assassin is your allyso your Masters must be cooperating.
There is no other explanation to this situation of having two Servants in the same place."
Caster is staring at Archer silently.
I can't see her expression hidden behind the robe, but it seems Caster is bewildered.
"Is that true, Archer !? That Saber's here and fighting Servant Assassin, and that Assassin's Master and Caster's Master are cooperating !?"
"Yes. Assassin is guarding outside the gate and Caster is hiding behind the gate. It is obvious that they are cooperating.
It is not rare for Masters to team up. You and Rin are cooperating, to give an example."
He's right, now that he mentions it.
Then that means there are two Masters here !?
"Hm? Oh, was I wrong? Man, I was confident that you two are allies."
"Yes, you are terribly wrong.
Allies? I would cooperate with that dog? With the man that's under my control?"
Caster does not stop laughing.
Her laugh is so unsuitable that the tense atmosphere disperses.
I sense something that was not there before.
It is not Caster's enmity nor the magical energy surrounding this place.
For the first time since he came to this place
Archer is showing his enmity.
My Master is not cooperating with anybody, and the same goes for Assassin's Master.
No, first of all, Assassin does not have a Master !"
Assassin doesn't have a Master?
What does that mean?
Every Servant needs a Master to exist.
Weren't they supposed to disappear if they didn't have a supply of magical energy from their Master?
"Caster. You broke the rule."
"Of course not. I haven't broken the rule. Magi summon the Servants, right?
Then what is wrong with Caster, a magus, summoning a Servant!?"
Servant Assassin is a heroic spirit summoned by Caster!
"A Servant who controls a Servant, huh? I see. That is why he is a fictional hero.
As Assassin was summoned by a improper Master, someone other than the proper "assassin" was summoned. I don't mind that. It doesn't concern me who the heroic spirit is, as I only need to defeat them.
But I'm sure this is all under your judgment, is it not?"
" ! Let me ask you. How did you arrive at that conclusion, Archer?"
"Oh, it's just a hunch. Masters are magi.
When a magus summons a familiar that is superior to him, I'm sure the relationship isn't that of a servant and a master.
It is natural for the Master to be on his guard against a familiar of greater power.
If I were your Master, I would not give any freedom to a witch. There is no way he would allow you to summon a Servant that would only obey your orders."
" Heh. It seems you have some intelligence.
All right. I shall dismiss your insult in deference to your cleverness."
Caster stares at Archer as she laughs.
There's only enmity between the two now.
They're about seven meters apart.
With the charge that Archer showed at school, he should be able to slash Caster even before she can finish casting a spell
"I understand now. Saber, Lancer, and Rider have strong magic resistance. It is on a different level from this guy behind me.
It is hard to affect them with magic. Therefore, you cannot match them since you are a magus."
"Then it is only natural for you to resort to tactics.
You broke the rules to summon Servant Assassin.
You created your territory here and collect souls from the people in this town.
You don't fight yourself, and merely observe the progress of the war.
You go so far, so I assume you must have your Master restrained. I'm sure he's a puppet like this stupid Master here."
She's not only collecting magical energy from the people in town.
She's even treating her Master as an "object" like she treated me
She's not a pure threat like Berserker. But she must be the most troublesome enemy as she worsens the situation without showing herself.
It is easy for me to win the Holy Grail War.
I am working hard because I am thinking about what comes after. I am not working out a strategy in fear of you people."
"Oh. So you say it's easy to defeat us Servants? Well said for a witch that only runs away."
"I did say so. I'm stronger than anyone here. Saber and Berserker aside, you shouldn't even be able to scratch me."
"You should be the one thinking about running away.
I did forgive you the first time, but there won't be a second time.
I will give an appropriate punishment to those who call me a 'witch'."
With it in front of him
"This shall be interesting. So you say I can't even put a scratch on you?"
Archer murmurs in delight.
"Yes. You will not even be able to touch me."
The black shadow answers.
The knight in red laughs.
The red shadow runs.
I don't know when he got them, but in Archer's hands are those weaponsthose twin swords.
It must be because it was so easy.
She talked so big, yet she lost without even attacking him once.
Anybody would lose their spirit.
Those twin swords
They must be great swords with history, but I feel no malice from them.
Noble Phantasms are excellent weapons, so it's natural that they are beautiful.
If I could see Saber's sword, I bet it would be magnificent.
Once you see the innuendo, you cannot unsee it.
But they are not like that.
Fighting spirit that intends to beat others
Desire to be famous
Competitive spirit that tries to beat another weapon
Faith to accomplish some great deed
The sense of purpose found in famous swords and demonic swords is not in these.
They were made because somebody wanted to make them.
Unrefined twin swords made without a will, as if to question the meaning of the swordsmith.
I think those are swords like that.
Mirrored swords without vanity.
Black and white, strange swords that represent yin and yang.
Caster's slashed body disappears.
As Archer starts to put his weapons away after seeing it
Caster's voice echoes through the empty temple.
This is exactly like what happened here a while ago.
The light bullets appear from the sky to pierce Archer,
and Archer knocks them down with his swords.
This isn't like before.
Video: Great Magic (mirror)
I look up.
There's no moon, and seas of clouds are drifting through the night sky.
The black magus floats in the middle, as if reigning over the heavens.
"It must be transportation or control of matter. Either way, it seems you can do something close to sorcery in this territory.
I have a better opinion of you now, Caster. Wow, no wonder you can talk big."
Archer readies his swords while looking up at Caster.
"Really? But you've let me down, Archer.
I tested you since I thought you might come in handy, but you're below Assassin if that's the result."
"Wow, that hurts. I can try to do better if there is a next time."
"Of course not. Fools do not get a second chance.
You will die here, Archer."
Archer starts off.
He sprints to get away from Caster, to get out of this place.
Caster moves her wand.
After the wand targets Archer
Something ridiculous happens before me.
Nobody can hear me say "no way".
Caster's attack is a rain without pause.
The shooting lights are no different from a bombing raid.
Each magic is a deadly attack, and Caster is shooting them off like rain.
I may be an amateur, but even I can understand how ridiculous this 'magic' is.
That's more like great magic.
To activate it, one needs a simple magic circle and a "ten count", a spellcasting of more than ten verses.
Because great magic is strong, casting it takes time.
A normal magus would take about a minute to cast such a big magic.
Even a magus that could use high-speed casting would take thirty seconds or so.
But she did it in an instant.
She didn't even cast the spell, but just pointed her wand. And she's shooting them off in rapid succession. I can't even think of someone who could compare with her!
He must not be able to avoid them anymore, as he runs while deflecting them with his swords.
Archer tries to run out of the temple, but he changes his course midway.
"You idiot !
How long are you going to just stand there !?"
Archer charges at me with a scary expression.
That makes me realize.
The place I'm standing isn't safe at all now.
I'm already in the range of the shooting lights!
"Damn, why do I have to do such a thing!?"
Archer comes at me.
The instant I try to avoid him by jumping back
I try to shake him off in reflex.
I can't believe it.
Archer's running while carrying me!?
Instructions for Unlimited Blade Works path: dial 'gay' to 10. Press 'go'.
"Idiot!? You know you're an idiot, and you still call me an idiot!? You idiot!"
" ! Are you a kid or something!? You can't be helped if you're a kid and stupid! At least pick one, you idiot!"
"Youjust let go of me! I can take care of this myself! I don't need your help!"
Aww, Shirou cares.
Archer should've been able to escape by now if he were by himself.
But the exit is farther now that he came to save me.
He must be an easy target for Caster, as she is above us.
"Archer! Are you listening to me !?"
"I see. Then I guess I don't need to hold back."
Archer suddenly calms down and kicks me off of him.
The shooting lights have stopped as well.
The only thing here is the freezing air.
I finally notice.
Archer's surroundings have stopped, as if everything is frozen.
"How do you feel, Archer? Even a knight cannot move if space itself is frozen, right?"
Caster sounds as if she's already won.
Archer does not move at all, and maybe he can't even talk.
"I guess this is it. Saber is outside, so I don't have time to waste on you.
I don't know which hero you were, but this is goodbye for you."
Her hand shoots the bullet of light.
But right before that.
Archer murmurs something.
Video: The Bone of my Sword (mirror)
"? What is it? If you are begging for your life, I might just list"
"I said , Caster."
He sounds irritated.
When I try hard to catch his voice
Music: Whirlpool of Fate
"Idiot, I said dodge it, Caster!"
Archer jumps as he yells.
Caster is perplexed by Archer's scream.
And to the right and left of her
A white and a black light are aiming for Caster.
Caster's robe is cut off.
It must be because Caster reacted to Archer's yell, as she manages to narrowly avoid the attacks.
At that instant.
Archer threw his swords right before he kicked me and fell into Caster's spell.
The cast swords made an arc and attacked Caster in the sky
He has his knee on the ground, and he is readying a bow towards the sky.
His target is Caster.
And the "arrow" on it is the demonic sword that shot Berserker!
Archer shoots his arrow.
Is that his Noble Phantasm?
The arrow distorts space itself, showing off the whirlwind in its path.
Caster's moaning fills the air.
The storm-like arrow has easily penetrated Caster's defense.
Guessing from that distortion in spaceI bet Caster would have been twisted along with space itself even if Caster had transported herself.
Archer's arrow did not hit her.
The arrow was shot into space far from Caster, and she had her protection destroyed by the after-effect.
The arrow missed.
No, that's wrong.
It did not miss. It missed on purpose.
I don't know what his intentions are.
It was a big chance, but Archer missed Caster on purpose.
Silence returns to the temple.
In front of me are Archer and Caster, who's glaring at Archer.
It must have been a lot for him, as I only feel weak magical energy from Archer now.
That goes for Caster as well.
Even though it did not hit her, Archer's shot has taken away most of Caster's body and her magical energy.
Even if there is a big pool of magical energy here, it's meaningless if what collects the energy, Caster, is damaged.
She managed to form her body, but there's nothing inside.
It should be impossible for her to continue fighting.
Caster watches us while breathing heavily.
I don't know why, but she's looking at both the Servant that brought her down and at me.
She asks in a weak voice.
Archer shrugs as if saying that question is a wonder itself.
My first attack was avoided. Everything else was unnecessary. Or what? Did you want me to break my promise and hit you?"
He says such a ridiculous thing.
He is such a fucking bastard.
". Then you had no intention of killing me?"
"I only responded to your provocation. My objective is that man over there. I didn't intend to fight another Servant."
Shirou is Archer's "objective"
He certainly didn't have any will to fight from the beginning
"I see. It does not look like you came here to fight me, Archer."
"Nope. It's just like that chicken over there. I try to avoid meaningless battles.
I only use my sword at perfect opportunities, and only when I can swear a sure kill. I don't like killing meaninglessly."
Caster laughs from the bottom of her heart.
Even Caster sees it. She's gonna go back into the temple now and start writing slashfic.
We reply in unison.
Alike Me and Archer?
What makes her say that?
"Am I wrong? You both do not like meaningless killings, right? That boy over there cannot stand a Servant like me who feeds on innocent people.
You don't like meaningless killings.
See, it's exactly the same. Is that not why you two are cooperating?"
"You idiot ! How can you reach that conclusion!? Who would ally with such a guy!"
"I feel the same way. We are both pacifists, but our principles are different. It is my principle to take care of problems early on.
I do not ponder forever like this man."
"What do you mean by pacifist!? I still remember. You shot at Saber along with Berserker.
Even though you were hiding in a safe place while Saber was fighting !"
"It couldn't be helped. We were not cooperating back then.
It's just that defeating Berserker came before Saber's safety.
Or what? Don't tell me to save everyone I see. If that is the case, Berserker would have to be saved as well and I would not be able to fight him."
We glare at one another.
Man, I just can't get along with him!
Why does everything he says get on my nerves !?
Caster laughs even more seeing us like this.
Never before has Caster been so inspired to start writing.
It would be disappointing to make you two my enemies."
I tilt my head in wonder.
Archer looks away from me and glares at Caster.
" Hold on. What do you want to say?"
"Can you not tell? I'm telling you to ally with me.
I can provide you two with better partners.
I can give you, boy, a Servant superior to Saber.
I can give you, Archer, a contract with a magus superior to your Master."
My mind freezes.
I question her sanity for asking such a question.
How about it? Should you not cooperate with me if you want to survive?"
I don't even need to think about it.
I decided to fight since I want to stop people like her who would involve innocent people.
So I can never accept her offer.
"I refuse. I won't ally with a witch like you."
I declare so.
This is a natural response.
I can't cooperate with this Servant, and more than anything, we won't betray our partners.
I'll be fighting with Saber, and Archer will not do anything to betray Tohsaka.
" Hey. Archer!"
"I refuse. There is no reason for me to need your power.
Before anything, your territory is too weak. No matter how strong it may be, it is still not stronger than Berserker. It is not a good enough condition to accept your offer."
I sigh with relief.
I had a bad feeling, but he's not like that.
I hate him, but he's still firm on his beliefs.
"I see. So there is no negotiation?"
"No. But I have no intention of fighting you here. It's by my own choice that I'm here. It's not my Master's order, so there's no reason for me to defeat you. How about we call this a draw?"
I doubt my own ears.
Did he just say he'd let Caster go ?
" That's unexpected. Your Master was after me, right? But you're saying you will let me go?"
"Yes. I don't care how many people you kill here. It's something I'll ignore."
"Oh. How terrible of you. You think poison has its uses?"
"My Master isn't that enthusiastic about killing other Masters.
So it'll help me if you kill other Masters. We can settle our match after that."
Caster must have accepted it as she turns around.
"Hold on, Caster !"
I run to Caster, who's about to disappear.
But Archer stops me.
"Are you stupid? You'll surely die if you follow her."
He sounds calm.
It's so true that I want to vomit from anger.
It's a bit sudden, but that's where I'll cut things off for now. Here's Caster's spell from earlier:
...and a new weapon entry.
It might just be Archer's taste, but words thought to be a charm against evil spirits are carved on the blades.
Divine skill, flawless and firm
Strength moves mountains
Blade cuts water
Life approaches the Imperial Villa
We embrace heaven together
---Two great men, shared life.