Part 194: Betrayal
And more than anything, I don't have much power.
The strengthened wooden sword is my only weapon. It's foolish to confront Caster without a plan.
No, that's wrong.
I do have another weapon.
" No way. What am I thinking?"
I can't use projection.
Half my body became numb after I used it once.
Archer told me that it'll end up worse if I do it again.
Using magic beyond your capabilities can destroy you.
If I use projection magic in this state, it'll be natural for me to die on the spot.
"The chance will come. For now "
I'll bide my time and wait for my chance.
Music: Footsteps of Destruction
Tohsaka is glaring at the enemy with a coldness I've never seen before.
"Yes. He didn't seem like someone that would obediently hand me the Holy Grail. I also didn't want him to interrupt later on."
In contrast, Caster is calm and composed.
The magus in purple cheerfully admits the murder of the priest.
He was more like a devil than a saint to me, but that priest was a fellow apprentice to Tohsaka.
And he was killed.
Even though he was involved and might have been prepared for it, it's not something she can take in readily.
" I see. That's fine. Kirei should have been prepared for such a thing. But Caster. Did you check his corpse?"
Am I mistaken, or has she suppressed all her anger? Tohsaka seems like she's not angry at all.
Caster evades Tohsaka's question.
" What are you saying? Such a thing should not concern you."
"No, it doesn't. But it's not something totally unrelated to me. I just wanted to make sure, since I'll be relieved if he's really dead."
"What does that mean, little lady?"
"It means what it means, Caster.
He's not one to die so easily. I just thought he might be alive, since you didn't check the corpse."
Oh well. I have something to do now, so let's finish this quickly, Caster. We can fight freely, as there are no hostages this time."
A signal to start.
Tohsaka or Caster
If either one of them takes a step forward, this temple will be filled with magic
"It depends on how I do it. Fortunately, it seems Saber has yet to come under your control, so the conditions are the same.
And I also know about Kuzuki-Sensei. Saber was surprised, but he's no threat to Archer if he knows his attacks beforehand."
Tohsaka points to Archer while staring at Caster.
I'll fight Caster. She might break your contract if you get too close to her."
" Hm. So I will be fighting that man?
I do not mind, butdo you know that a magus cannot beat Caster, Rin?"
" Don't worry. I wouldn't say anything if I didn't have a chance of victory.
I'll surely defeat Caster here. If I do that, Saber will be freed and Shirou can make a contract with her again, right?"
Tohsaka tenses for action.
I feel pressure as if she's a tiger about to attack its prey.
And as if to stop her
"That is only in theory. It is difficult to defeat her here.
She is a master when it comes to running away. She is a woman that will kill her own brother to escape."
Archer steps in between Tohsaka and Caster.
"Archer ? What are you doing?"
He does not answer Tohsaka.
The knight in red silently confronts Caster.
You talk like you know about me. Do you know my true identity?"
"I hear human-shaped creatures made of dragon's teeth are magic used by the king of Colchis.
I hear that his daughter, Medea, was famed as an excellent witch."
The air freezes.
Caster's composure disappears and enmity like fire is directed at Archer.
Then you should know which one of us is at an advantage now, right?"
Archer does not answer.
His expression is like stone, as if accepting everything that is happening.
Oh, Caster. You're so cliche.
You won't be able to take back Saber no matter who you may be. She still has a will to resist me, but that should not last for another day.
AndI can make her into my puppet now if I use my Command Spell."
I barely stop myself from moving.
Even if that's true, now's not the time.
If I want to save Saber, I can't jump out now
But we should be able to beat you in that time."
"Yes, you are right. You look like you have some plan.
But Archer, do you really think so? Do you think you can defeat me here like that girl thinks?"
Caster and Tohsaka are glaring at each other.
Standing in between them
"That is impossible. Even if we attack you, all we would manage is to take half your powers at most.
What awaits us after that is a disadvantageous situation where we would be fighting both you and Saber."
Archer does not meet his Master's expectations.
"Archer, that's "
"You should know, Rin. We cannot win if that happens.
Saber's abilities were restricted because of her incomplete Master. As she does not have that restriction anymore, she is the strongest Servant now. Only Berserker should be able to match her."
He speaks plainly.
Tohsaka stares at Archer in astonishment,
and even Caster is bewildered by the sensible enemy.
But it's different for me.
I've experienced something like this before.
"Could he ?"
I get a bad feeling.
Back at the Ryudou Temple
When Caster proposed that he join her, what did he say back to her when he refused?
Archer steps forward.
He is empty-handed as usual.
He steps forward without enmity or intent to kill.
There's nothing else I can do in a situation like this, right?"
He looks and smiles at me as if he knew I was watching this whole time
Music: Whirlpool of Fate 2
"Well, Caster. Let me ask you. Do you have room for one more Servant?"
"Archer, you !"
Caster laughs out loud while Archer stands tall before her.
She does not look away.
She should break down at a time like this, but she keeps a straight face and endures it, gritting her teeth.
"Of course. I have enough capacity to accept all the Servants. You know where I get my magical energy, right?"
Magical energy that allows her to maintain seven Servants.
It is the lives of the people in this town.
"Then this should be easy. I shall accept that earlier offer you made, Caster."
He holds out his hand to Caster in spite of that.
For this hero, who embodies Emiya Shirou's ideals, to do such a thing
If Saber is on your side now, you are likely to win the Holy Grail War. It is natural to want to be on the winning side, right?"
Archer walks towards Caster defenselessly.
That means he's abandoning Tohsaka.
Tohsaka does not stop him and stares at her enemy.
That's her strength and weakness.
She tries to act firm in any situation, so everybody around her gets the wrong idea that she's a strong person
"Use your contract breaker. Rin still has her Command Spell. I might attack you if you don't hurry."
His tone doesn't change.
He betrayed Tohsaka in front of her, but he's still acting normally.
She must be on guard against such a guy.
Caster takes out the distorted dagger, but she does not pierce Archer with it.
Why do you need to hesitate?"
" Really? I do not trust betrayers. If your words are correct, then shouldn't Saber be enough for me?"
"You don't trust betrayers, huh?
I certainly might betray you. I am going to your side for my own benefit. I did not approve of you as my master. But"
"The Command Spell is there to punish the betrayer, right?
All right. I shall prove to the world that I am great enough to take you in. I am interested in your Noble Phantasm, so I will follow your plan."
Caster raises her arm.
The dagger to eliminate the contract pierces Archer's chest.
It must be the reaction of having her contract broken by force.
But this isn't the time to be hesitating.
This has become the worst possible situation.
Tohsaka watches Caster and slowly retreats.
She knows it'd do no good to fight them now.
If she wants to keep on fighting, she has to retreat for the moment.
But there are six meters between Tohsaka and the stairs.
Is it possible for her to run that distance safely?
It's apparent, watching the scene from above.
Kuzuki, who has been silent up to now, is on guard against Tohsaka.
If she turns and runs full-speed, would she be able to reach the stairs and get to the exit before Kuzuki catches up to her?
Seems to say so.
She'll be killed.
If I try to help her, I will also die.
The area below me is a land of death.
There is a Master called Kuzuki along with two enemy Servants.
There's no way I'd get out of there alive.
My throat is dry.
My fingers are tense from nervousness.
Zero or one?
Even before I can think
She starts for the stairs without any warning.
A tall lean figure catches up to her so quickly that Tohsaka appears to be standing still.