Part 179: Which one do you like? / Shirou's defectMusic: Tender Scenery
Those last three sentences read like beatnik poetry.
"Huh? You're going to eat some mandarins?"
"Yeah. There's still a boxful left, and they'll rot if we don't eat them.
Three boxes were unexpected, but you went and bought them. It'll be a waste unless we eat them all."
I sit on the cushion and pour some tea.
I take two and start peeling the skin off.
I don't know where Tohsaka went, but I'm sure she'll be back soon.
I want to relax until I finish eating these
"Hmm, yeah. Hold on, I'll go take her some after I finish eating one."
"Hold on. I'll do it, so you can rest here.
But don't you have to keep Tohsaka-san company? Even though you invited her with sheer determination, she'll hate you if you leave her alone."
"Uh, guh !"
I swallow the piece in my mouth.
F-Fuji-Nee, how did you arrive at that conclusion !?
Music: Gentle Everyday
"T-That's a misunderstanding, you idiot ! I wasn't the one who invited her today, and I don't care if she likes me or not !"
"That's just your imagination!!! I don't know what she's doing, but we're going to finish our business after she gets back, and I'm going to kick her out of the house after that!"
"Oh, I see. I guess it was a misunderstanding.
Then I'm going to go take some mandarins and tea to Saber-chan."
Fuji-Nee puts the food onto the tray and leaves.
Heh, go away. Now I can really relax.
I silently eat the mandarin after Fuji-Nee leaves.
Tohsaka isn't back and I have nothing else to do, so I keep on eating.
I finally finish the third mandarin, lay on the floor, and right when I let my guard down
"See, you let your guard down."
Fuji-Nee runs away in a flash.
I don't go after her.
" Well, I've known Tohsaka for a longer time, she's pushy, red, and "
I repeat strange excuses with a red face.
Music: Surrounded by Smiling Faces
"It's impossible to challenge the Ryudou Temple at the moment.
The only thing we can do is to set up some sort of trap to lure Caster out."
"Well. You're right, but "
"The problem is the trap.
Well, I have two or three possible ideas, so you can stand by for now. In the worst case, I'll have you and Saber be the bait."
After saying something dangerous, Tohsaka opens the sliding door.
The cold air comes in.
Maybe this porch is special, as it's only a bit chilly.
It's just like that night five years ago.
This porch is warm enough to be able to sit down and watch the moon even during wintertime.
"It's a good boundary field. I feel some human emotion, unlike the one at my place."
Tohsaka murmurs while sitting at the porch, staring into the yard.
"Do you want to sit here with me? I just want to talk."
I can't see the moon.
My breath is white, probably because it snowed earlier.
When I look to my side, Tohsaka is staring at the yard with white breath as well.
Music: Ever-present Feeling
I can touch her shoulder if I move a bit.
I'm not disturbed by that fact.
Is it because I'm getting used to it or because of the winter night?
Tohsaka is so close to me, but I feel so calm.
"So, what do you want to talk about, Tohsaka?"
I ask her, feeling that she's waiting for that question.
" Hm. Well, this place is a bit special. I just thought that you might be fine as you are right now."
"Whoa. Do you mean I'm good enough as an amateur?"
"Not exactly, but maybe so.
I don't know what kind of a magus Emiya Kiritsugu was, but this place is really natural. It's very open even though this is the workshop of a magus.
All the doors are open, free for anyone to come in and leave. It's probably not bounded by anything because there's no knowledge here to protect."
"What? You're not like that?"
"No, my place is different. My mansion is called a haunted house, and it really is. It rejects anybody that comes, yet it doesn't release anyone that comes in."
" I sometimes think it's wrong, but it's not something I can change.
It's not like it's cursed, but it's just that I like how it is. I was chosen as the successor probably because of my personality. But it was pretty shocking when I realized it."
"Hm. Is that when you realized that you're a bully?"
" You're not one to mince words, huh?"
"Really? I thought I was being indirect, just like you."
" Geez. I'm telling you that's direct."
She sighs and hangs her head.
Her sigh is white and slowly melts into the cold night.
Seeing her face makes me remember
The red school.
Tohsaka didn't say anything when she saw the unconscious students.
In spite of her shaking knees, she bit her lip and acted firm as usual.
I realized at that time.
That she might be killing her true self by acting like a perfect magus.
"Was it hard for you, Tohsaka?"
I get uneasy, so I ask.
She simply says so.
There's no bluff nor lie in her statement, and Tohsaka is smiling.
"I see. Then what about school? If you're going to live as a magus, isn't it meaningless to go to school?"
"It's not meaningless, but it is straying away from my path.
But it's not pointless. Being a student is fun. I'm up for anything fun. It's a duty to succeed my dad, but I wouldn't do it if it wasn't fun.
I became a Master because I wanted to test my powers, and I'm cooperating with you because you're funny."
She enjoys watching the stupid.
Ignoring the comment that I'm funny, my worries disappear.
A family of magi.
I thought Tohsaka was carrying a dark shadow because she's bound by a heavy history and bloodline.
But that was just my prejudice.
The "Tohsaka family" is not a burden on her, and she's done what she wanted up to now.
"I see. I'm glad you're having fun."
"Thanks. So, I'm sure you were having fun too if you're saying that, right? You wouldn't be able to continue training unless that's the case."
Tohsaka says so as if it's natural.
I can't nod back.
" Hey. why are you silent? Your dad didn't force you, right? But you continued training in spite of that, so that must mean it was fun."
I don't think I ever considered it fun.
For Emiya Shirou, magic has always been a life-threatening trial.
I know I don't have the aptitude.
But I clung on to it, wanting to be like Kiritsugu.
" Wait. Answer me, Emiya-kun.
I might have severely misunderstood you."
Tohsaka glares at me seriously.
I have to answer her if she makes a face like that.
"Yeah. I never thought training in magic was fun. I never considered magic or training to be fun. But I was glad to have people around me be happy. Um, I thought I could be of help to someone if I studied magic."
"I wanted to be a superhero like Kiritsugu. I learned magic for that reason. Well, that's my reason."
"Then what? You didn't learn magic for your own good?"
"Huh? Wait, isn't this for my sake? I'm glad to be of help to someone."
"Hey now. You may be glad, but you're not having fun!
Look, I'm talking about what's fun for you. I'm asking you if there's anything you consider fun!"
Tohsaka roars out.
Even if she says so, I can't answer what I don't know.
I can't think of anything that's fun for me, and most of all
I'm not qualified to have such a wish.
She suddenly stands up and points at me.
"Huh? Wait, Tohsaka, your finger !"
Your finger, no, your nail is touching my nose!
"Shut up! Don't talk back to me! Geez, I always thought you two were alike, but I didn't think you guys were this similar!"
Rejecting my protest, Tohsaka closes in on me even more.
"Hold on. Calm down, Tohsaka. Why are you so mad?"
"I'm angry because you can't tell! Geez, why did nobody tell you!?"
She shakes her fist.
I'll have to stay silent for now.
I'll stay quiet until Tohsaka's anger goes away.
Music: Surrounded by Smiling Faces
"Heh. Fine, I've decided.
I'll make you admit defeat tomorrow."
She says so as if smacking me with a glove.
" That's disturbing. Are we going to continue that fight?"
"That fight", of course, is when she chased me around the school.
I was cornered and had to surrender, but the match wasn't settled because of Rider's interruption.
Tohsaka psyches herself up before walking off into the living room.
I don't know what's going to happen.
So should I be ready for anything ?
"Huh? What did you say, Shirou?"
"I said I'm going to walk Tohsaka home. Where is she anyway? It's about time she left."
Fuji-Nee is watching me with blank amazement.
Fuji-Nee should approve right away, but she doesn't seem to be in a hurry.
"Hmm. I think Tohsaka-san is in the outbuilding.
She's a guest, so she has to have a proper guest room if she's staying over, right?"
"All right, the outbuildingwait, don't be ridiculous, Fuji-Nee. Did you just say something strange?"
"Geez, you're the one saying strange things, Shirou.
You're going to let Tohsaka-san stay over because it's so late, right? Tohsaka-san just came and told me so."
"WhaTohsaka is staying over !?"
I'll be sleeping in the Japanese-style room, so I'll go kill you in one blow if I hear a scream from the guest room."
Fuji-Nee munches on the rice cracker.
She seems normal, and it seems she thinks nothing of the emergency situation of having Tohsaka stay over.
It looks like Fuji-Nee has surrendered to Tohsaka.
Music: Gentle Everyday
"Oh, great timing. I'm going to borrow the guest room on the right."
The alien I bump into on my way to the outbuilding says so lightheartedly.
Her appearance makes my head spin.
She's not in her uniform.
This person is in my hallway, saying something ridiculous.
"Oh, this? I'm going to stay over, so I had Archer bring me things. I don't need to borrow any pajamas."
"Are you all right? Go to bed early if you're tired. I won't forgive you if you sleep in tomorrow."
Waving goodbye, she goes down the hallway leading to the outbuilding.
In a daze, I watch her go and look at myself in the mirror.
My face is as red as an apple.
What's she thinking, sleeping in the same house even if we're far away from each other?