Part 197: Warm dinnertime / Is there a way?
I never thought I would make it back alive, so I relax once I get into the living room.
I feel a bit dizzy and lean against the wall.
"See. You can't even stand up, you idiot."
She's right, but I think her last comment was unnecessary.
How many times did she call me an idiot today? I bet she set a new record already.
Music: Tender Scenery
"Come over here. We have to replace those bandages at the very least."
I nod and move by Tohsaka.
"I can use this first aid kit, right? Oh, as expected from a house with a dojo.
It's rare to see a first aid kit with needles and threads along with scissors Hey, come on. Take off your shirt and show me your wound."
"EhI have to take my clothes off? Oh, no, I can do it myself. I treated myself this morning, so it shouldn't be a problem."
" Come on. I don't know why you're so reserved, but who do you think treated that wound in the first place?"
"Ugh. But that was, um "
I was unconscious and I was only causing trouble for Tohsaka at that time.
"Stop your whining and hurry up. Your wound is special, so we have to treat it right for it to heal up."
I can't complain if she tells me with a face like that.
" Okay, I'll leave it to you. To be honest, it's burning right now."
I give up and sit down.
Seeing that the shirt is stained with blood, Tohsaka gives up taking it off and starts cutting it right away. She then quickly but carefully takes off the bandages.
Is it that bad? Tohsaka gasps when she sees it.
But I'm troubled as well.
It's so embarrassing having her stare at my body so closely.
"You really did push yourself. It was healing up, but the wound opened up again.
Geez, I can't get mad at you if I see a wound like this."
She talks like that, but gently touches the wound.
Crap, I'm getting dizzy for a different reason.
I was able to stay calm even if she was near me, but my heart's beating fast now and I'm having trouble determining where to look.
I criticize myself mentally, but it does no good.
The temperature inside my head will keep increasing as long as we're like this.
Because the dizziness isn't caused by my wound.
" Tohsaka? It's fine now, right? Just use styptic and roll up the bandage."
"That's not called treating. I take it back. I'm angry. You went outside with a hackjob like this?"
W-What was that for !?
Tohsaka just slapped me on my wound!!
"Guh, you ! Do you have some grudge against me!?"
"Humph. You have no idea. You should thank me for going easy on you."
Saying so, Tohsaka takes out something that looks like ointment.
"That hurts, right? I healed the dead nerves, so it should hurt for a while. There's painkiller in this ointment, but it's mainly to replace your flesh.
It'll hurt until it familiarizes with your body, so don't do anything reckless until the pain goes away."
She takes the jelly-like substance and applies it to my wound.
It looks really suspicious, but I stay quiet since I know Tohsaka is seriously treating my wound.
"That's it. You should feel much better tomorrow if you wrap some bandages around it and get a good night's sleep."
She skillfully wraps the bandages around the wound.
I'm not praising her or anything, but she does a much better job than I do.
" Yeah. Um, thanks, Tohsaka. I feel much better."
I thank her while averting my gaze.
"Ehw-well, that's good. I'm glad I treated you if you say so."
"Yeah, it's even more helpful because I thought it wouldn't heal up.
Thanks for treating the wound."
"H-Heh. That's only natural. It'll heal as long as I treat it."
Finishing the treatment, Tohsaka gets up.
I don't know why, but she heads to the kitchen.
Am I seeing things?
She's checking what's inside the refrigerator and the rice cooker.
" Yeah, I can tell. But why cook dinner in this situation?"
"It's natural, right? People can't come up with good ideas on an empty stomach."
Tohsaka speaks while staring inside the refrigerator.
Music: Madder Red Town
The sound of our utensils echoes inside the room.
It's past ten o'clock.
I don't know how it ended up like this, but Tohsaka and I are eating a late dinner together.
By the way, the dinner was made by both of us.
Tohsaka wanted to eat Japanese food, but she didn't even know how to make miso soup.
It really makes me wonder what they're teaching in the cooking class at school.
She must be hungry, as her plate is almost empty.
But I don't have much of an appetite right now.
It's partly because this isn't the time to be eating, but more so because I haven't replied to Tohsaka.
'You can forfeit here, Shirou.'
I haven't told her my reply to those words.
"Tohsaka. I have something to talk about."
I put my chopsticks down and stare at Tohsaka.
"I've been thinking. About my reason for joining this battle.
And what I wanted to do."
She urges me to go on as she sips on the miso soup.
She's putting my spirit down, but I try to get myself together.
"At first, it was because I was dragged into this. And I wanted to do something about this war.
But it has nothing to do with how I became a Master or how I got dragged into this."
"I like superheroes. That's why I have to protect everyone. I don't care about this Master thing. It makes no difference that I'm not a Master or that I've lost Saber."
I say so, ready for Tohsaka's rebuttal.
"Oh, I see."
She makes an absentminded response and finishes her rice.
"Hey now, Tohsaka. I'm talking seriously, so"
"I am listening. You'll fight by yourself, right? The fact that people are dying bothers you more than the fact that you might die.
That's why you decided to fight no matter how weak you are."
She looks straight at me.
It's as if she sees through the part of me that I don't even know aboutand most of all, she approves that I am fighting.
"Ehoh, yeah. That's right."
"What's with that face? You look like a squirrel that has licked sugar."
I must now use this phrase every day.
"Well. I thought you would object."
"I am. But I can't complain to you when you've saved me like that.
And I understand that you're like that no matter how much I try to stop you."
Tohsaka averts her gaze a bit.
I don't know why, but
"Then we're still cooperating !?"
"Yeah. I can't help it, so I'll go along with you. First of all, I'll be so worried that I won't be able to sleep soundly if I let you be by yourself. And "
She takes a huge breath.
After getting ready for some reason
So it's fine if we stay together, right?"
She hands me the bowl with a red face.
How long did it take me to realize that she's asking for seconds?
"Ohof course ! I don't care how much of a tyrant you are!"
I take the bowl, fill it from the rice cooker, and hand it back to her.
" Fine. I'm hungry and the food's good."
Tohsaka starts eating the heap of rice.
Music: Surrounded by Smiling Faces
Now we're drinking tea after dinner.
"So, projection has its limitations.
Its power seems unlimited since it makes your imagination real, but projection has its own set of rules.
The simplest is about the projected object's durability. The strength of its existence."
Tohsaka puts up a finger as she drinks her tea.
"Strength of its existence ? What? You mean its flimsiness in being unable to bear the existence of the illusion?"
I sip the tea and tilt my head in wonder.
" You seem like you don't know anything, but you know some interesting terms. Well, you're not right, but not wrong.
Projection uses your mental image to completely reproduce the genuine object. There is no exception to this.
You can't project it if it's not perfect inside of you. As it is a shadow of the true object, the projection magic requires that there be no mistake."
"Sobasically, the projected object has the strength as you imagine it. An illusion is perfect in this regard.
The closer the knowledge and the image are to the true object, the more perfect the projected object is in real life."
" Hm? Wait, that's strange.
I projected Archer's swords. But Kuzuki destroyed them.
I know Caster strengthened Kuzuki's fists, but they aren't strong enough to destroy a Noble Phantasm.
Doesn't that mean the Kanshou and Bakuya I projected are inferior to the originals?"
That's the limit of projection, the strength of the object's existence.
Projection is just a projection. It's not creation. What makes the projection is the image in the caster's mind. So when a flaw is created in the image, the projected object vanishes even if it has the same ability as the original."
" ? When a flaw is created in the image ? Isn't that also strange? You can't project it if the image is incorrect, right?"
"Right. So the flaw would be created after it is projected.
Let's see. Let's say you project a 'sword that will not break'."
Tohsaka nods in satisfaction.
"But a sword that will not break doesn't exist.
It's just that the sword is famed or called 'unbreakable', so it can break if it comes across an illusion greater than itself."
" ? Doesn't it mean my image was wrong once it breaks? I made a sword that won't break, right?"
It's perfect the moment you project it. First of all, a 'sword that will not break' is just a name. There isn't an actual sword that won't break.
But what you imagined is a 'sword that won't break', right? If this sword breaks in real life, what is projected becomes a lie."
What you imagined is a 'sword that will not break'.
So when it breaks, the 'sword that broke' and the 'sword that will not break' in your imagination become two separate things.
It's because the scales between you and reality tip."
I'm not even gonna try.
So, if I sum it up
So, I imagined a sword that would not break and projected it. But the projected sword broke during battle.
When that happened, I denied the sword, saying 'Hey, this sword broke.' As a result, the projected sword disappeared.
And that's because there was an inconsistency between reality and the image, right?"
"You're pretty bright. Yes, you're right.
You projected Archer's swords.
I don't know how you ranked Archer's swords, but you did not imagine swords that would break from Kuzuki's attacks."
"But the swords were destroyed.
At that time, you thought, 'these aren't Archer's swords'.
The projected swords were denied by the maker, so they lost their strength of existence and became a fantasy once again."
Even projected weapons can break.
But it's not the enemy, but you, who make them disappear from this world.
When the difference between the reality and the image becomes too large to be reconciled, the projected weapon disappears.
It is because the one who projected the weapon stops believing in the image.
"Do you get it now? So projection starts from the blueprint. You should consider material, properties, and even its history. If you have those down, I don't think the projected object will disappear right away even if it's a bit different."
"Huh? Wouldn't you start from how it was considered to be made?
Materials and techniques aren't enough.
Let's take today's dinner as example. It started when you said you wanted to eat Japanese food, right? So you have to start from the very beginning of the creation."
Tohsaka stares at me.
I drink tea and tilt my head in wonder.
"Hey, how did we start talking about this in the first place?"
" You're right. I thought we were talking about what our future course of action should be "
We were talking about what our course of action should be
"Shirou. Do you want to seriously practice projection magic?"
When Tohsaka derailed the conversation.
" I remember now. We were so stumped that we started placing hope on uncertain factors."
First of all, all I can manage to project are swords. That hasn't helped me too much, so it's probably not much use."
Oh, she's looking at me with those eyes again.
I wonder why. She always makes that face when we talk about projection magic.
" Oh well. Let's confirm our current situation.
For now, our enemy is Caster. She isn't too bad by herself, but we can't do anything as long as she's protected by Kuzuki and Archer.
Plus, it's only a matter of time before Saber is controlled. The situation is getting worse by the second"
" Yeah. But Saber isn't under Caster's complete control.
That gives us a chance of victory.
There's no chance of victory once Saber gives in."
I can't let that happen.
She told me to run.
She told me as she cried. So for Saber's sake, I can't let Caster do as she wishes.
So, raise your hand if you have an idea. Shirou, do you have any good ideas?"
We should all know the answer to that question.
This will be a graded assignment.