Part 21: One more time
Music: Midnight Interval
I can't remember because of the sharp headache.
My body is cold, probably from lying on the floor for a long time.
The only certain thing is my ripped uniform, and my own blood on the floor.
I get up with a hazy head.
The spot where I was lying looks like a murder scene.
" Damn, I really "
Had my chest pierced?
" Hah guh "
Bearing the pain, I enter the closest classroom.
Moving to the locker with unsteady steps, I take out a mop and a bucket.
" Huh what am I doing ?"
I'm still in a panic.
Why do I still think I have to clean up, when I've just met something totally outrageous and been killed instantly? Am I an idiot?
" Haa haa damn, it won't come off "
I wipe the floor with the mop.
With unsteady hands, I manage to get the blood wiped off, and pick up any trash lying around and put it into my pocket.
Maybe I'm destroying the evidence.
I'm still in a daze, so perhaps that's why I'm doing something so absurd.
" Ah haa, haa, haa."
I collapse to the floor.
I lie on the ground and finally calm down.
I take a deep breath.
When I inhale, my heart cries in pain as if cracking apart.
No, that's wrong.
It wasn't just cracked.
It had a hole in it, but it healed, and the wound tries to open up again when I inhale.
" So it's true that I was almost killed."
No, that's wrong too.
I wasn't almost killed I was actually killed.
But I'm still alive in spite of that, because someone saved me.
" I wonder who it was. I should at least thank them."
Since the person was there, that person might have something to do with them.
But that makes no difference to the fact that the person saved me. I have to thank them one of these days.
"Ah guh !"
The moment I let my guard down, the pain returns.
At the same time, I feel like vomiting.
Such an unpleasant feeling, a spearhead entering my body, isn't something I can forget easily.
" Damn, I'll have nightmares about this for a while."
If I close my eyes, it feels like the lance is still in me.
I shake off that illusion and try to calm down.
" All right, I'm starting to calm down."
The result of all that training every night.
Just taking a few deep breaths clears my mind, and the heat and nausea vanish from my body.
"So, about those guys "
A man in blue and a man in red.
They looked human, but I don't think they were.
Were they like ghosts or something?
But I've never heard of ghosts with form, able to associate directly with people.
And they were talking too. If they have their own will, it's hard for me to think of them as ghosts.
I've heard that the only ghosts with a body are spirits, but aren't they shaped differently from humans ?
" No, that's not the problem."
There's another fundamental problem.
All I can tell with such thoughts is that it's way out of my league.
" If Father was still alive "
Perhaps because the wound on my chest is so vivid, I complain about things I shouldn't.
" Idiot. I've already decided to do whatever I can, even when I don't understand."
Complaining comes later.
First, I have to decide whether or not it's my concern.
"A burglar, at a time like this ?"
As I speak, I realize my foolishness.
That can't be it.
With this timing, right after that strange incident, that can't be it.
There's an intruder.
Not a burglar, but an assassin who's here for my life.
Because I remember that guy saying
'You saw us, so die.'
The house is filled with silence.
In the silent darkness, the murderous intent I felt at school is slowly drawing closer.
My throat gulps.
I feel a sharp chill running down my spine.
I will be instantly pierced if I move from this room.
I frantically contain the scream about to escape my mouth.
The instant I release it, the assassin will happily jump in and take the opportunity to kill me.
If that happens, it will be just like before.
Unprepared, I will be pierced by that lance again.
" Ah haa, ah "
The moment I think about it, my breathing goes wild.
I'm ashamed that I'm about to give up my saved life so easily and that I'm afraid.
Gritting my teeth and holding my chest, I try to restrain myself.
Music: Footsteps of Destruction
" All right, let's do it."
Right now, I just have to counter the intruder.
" First of all, I need a weapon."
Even though I'm a magus, all I can do is "strengthen" something that could be a weapon.
To fight, I need a weapon.
The shed has lots of things that could become weapons, but it's too far away.
If I'm attacked when I leave the living room, it will just be a repeat of what happened earlier.
It'll be difficult, but I have to find a weapon here.
Something long and thin would be best. My opponent's weapon is a lance, so something like a knife won't do.
It would be great if there were a wooden sword or something, but of course, there's nothing.
If anything here could be weapon, it's
"Man only the poster Fuji-Nee left here "
But despite that, I'm determined even in this hopeless situation.
Things are already as bad as they can be, so they can't get any worse.
So all I have to do is run forward until I run out of energy.
I cut off all connection with the poster and shudder at the feeling of success.
The poster is now as hard as metal.
But it is as light as it was before, so I couldn't ask for a better sword.
Except for maybe a sharp one.
"I did it."
How many years has it been since I last succeeded the strengthening magic?
It's kind of ironic. The magic I've never been able to achieve since Kiritsugu died is finally working in this kind of a situation.
"Anyways, now "
I might be able to do something.
I have some knowledge of how to use a sword.
I hold the poster with both hands and stand up.
I'll die anyway if I stay here, and I don't think I would be able to flee even if I escaped this house.
So all I can do is to run straight to the shed and make a stronger weapon.
Come if you're going to come, it won't be like before. And the instant I think that
My whole spine shivers.
Silver light descends upon me.
The guy that seems to have come straight through the ceiling descends to pierce my head.
I frantically escape by rolling forward.
He lands softly while I keep rolling.
But I stop rolling and stand with my freshly-made sword in hand.
He turns to face me, looking bored.
" You're causing unnecessary troubles. I was being considerate by killing you before you noticed me."
He raises his lance again, seemingly uninterested.
I don't know why, but he lacks the spirit he had at the schoolground.
In that case, I might be able to outwit him !
" Geez. I never thought I'd kill the same person twice in one day. I guess it just means the human world is always filled with bloodshed."
The man is complaining as if he thinks nothing of me.
I slowly move backwards.
It's about three more meters to the window.
Once out the window, it's about twenty meters to the shed.
Then, I can run off this instant
Pain assails my right arm.
It happened in an instant.
The man's lance is thrust, without time for me to react.
I would have faced my second death with that blow.
But what prevented it was my newly-made sword.
He must have thought it was just paper.
The lance, thrust as if the poster wasn't there, was deflected by it and only skimmed my right arm.
" Wow. That's a strange technique you've got there."
The man's expression goes away.
His carelessness disappears, and he's now staring at me with beast-like eyes.
I screwed up. I was just being stupidly optimistic when I thought I could do something.
The thing before me is a monster beyond belief.
Painfully, I realize my foolishness for letting my guard down even slightly against him.
If I'd been really desperate, I should have ran frantically to the window as soon as I miraculously avoided his first attack !
"I thought you were just a kid, but I see I do feel some magical energy from you, even though it's weak. That must be why you're alive even after I stabbed you through the heart."
He points his lance at me.
I won't be able to block it.
I can't possibly block that lightning-fast blow.
If his weapon were a sword, I might have been able to at least prepare for it.
But that's a lance.
A sword follows a line, but a lance has a point.
How am I supposed to block a blow from a point that I can't even see coming?
I block the lance coming at my face with just my instincts.
"Good boy. Here comes the next one !"
There's a huge whirlwind.
I don't know how he's moving the lance in this small room, but it makes a beautiful arc and
Comes to attack my body from the other side !
My constructed sword, moved to stop it, bends.
Is he using a hammer!?
Damn, this numbness feels like I've broken the bones in my arm!
The arms that hit it go numb.
The sword bends even more, and the man's lance only moves slightly.
" You're useless. I gave you a chance, but you didn't do anything worthwhile. Well, I guess it's asking too much to expect a good armed fight from a magus "
The man was just playing with me.
He let me hit him once, since I blocked him twice.
But I used up my one and only chance for just a makeshift attack.
That's why he sees no point in fighting me anymore.
"You've let me down. I'll just kill you now, kid."
He readies his lance again.
During that small unnecessary movement
" What you want, you idiot!"
Without looking behind me, I jump out the window !
The man hesitates a moment, as I deflected his lance thrust.
As I expected.
If I jumped out the window, he would definitely come after me.
And he would kill me even before I could get up.
That's why I expected the fatal blow and swung at it.
It was a bold plan. I would have died if it was a second too late or a second too early. But considering the difference in our skill, I could never have been too early.
So all I had to do was get up as fast as possible and swing at what was coming behind me.
The result was perfect. I won my bet and deflected the man's lance !
I quickly regain my balance.
Now, I have to make it to the shed before he recovers!
The man who supposedly had his lance knocked away comes up to me empty-handed and
Spins and executes a roundhouse kick.
Music: Footsteps of Destruction
"Guha, ah !"
I can't breathe.
My vision is blurred.
I manage to stand, supporting myself against the wall of my destination, the shed.
I track the man with my blurry vision.
I must have been kicked twenty meters.
The man approaches, lance in hand.
I'll be killed.
I'll definitely be killed.
The man will be here in a second.
If I don't want to die now, I have to get up and face him
"Damn, if you're a man, keep yourself together !"
I got lucky as I couldn't hold myself up and my knees collapsed.
The lance goes over my head and hits the door of the shed, opening it.
So, this is my last chance.
If I go in the shed, there should be something that I could use as a weapon
And I block it.
I unroll the poster and make it into a one-time shield.
A huge impact.
The opened-up poster did block the lance, but it was not strong enough. It's pierced through and transforms back into its original paper.
I fall on my butt and recover myself.
When I raise my head to try to find a weapon
"Checkmate. That was a pretty surprising move, kid."
The man is pointing the lance at me.
This is it.
The man's lance is pointed directly at my heart.
I know this
This is the smell of death I felt just a few hours ago.
" But I don't understand. You're quick-witted, but you suck at magic. It seems like you have talent, but I guess you're just too young."
And thus was the first and the last time anyone ever called Shirou quick-witted.
My mind is focused only on the weapon in front of me.
It's only natural.
Because I'll die when that thing is thrust.
So everything else is gone from my mind. What else can I think about now that things have ended up like this?
"It's unlikely, but maybe you were the seventh one.
Well, this is it for you even if that's the case."
The man's arm moves.
The movement I couldn't even see before looks like it's in slow-motion now.
This is bullshit.
I can't accept this. I can't just die here meaninglessly.
I was saved. I was saved, so I can't die so easily.
I have to live and fulfill my obligations. If I die, I can't do that.
The spearhead will cut into my flesh and pierce my heart.
It pisses me off.
It's ridiculous to kill someone that easily.
It's ridiculous for me to die so easily.
Dying twice in one day, that's ridiculous as well.
Damn, everything is so screwed up that I can't contain it all and
In a blinding light, it appears from behind me.
My mind stops.
All I know is that the figure who appeared is a girl.
Sparks fly twice.
A strong swing.
The man hesitates, receiving a heavy blow from the girl.
He must have realized he is at a disadvantage, as he jumps out of the shed with bestial speed.
While keeping her guard up against the man, she quietly turns to me.
The wind is strong today.
The clouds drift and the moon appears for a brief moment.
The silver light that shines into the shed lights up the girl in knightly form.
Not because I'm confused by the sudden turn of events.
I'm at a loss for words because of this girl's overwhelming beauty.
The girl stares at me emotionlessly with her jewel-like eyes.
"I ask of you. Are you my Master?"
She says in a valiant voice.
"Huh Ma ster ?"
I only repeat back her words.
I don't know who she is or what she's talking about.
All I know is that this small girl is the same kind of being as the man outside.
The girl says nothing and just stares at me silently.
How can I put this?
The figure in front of me is so special that I forget the situation, that the man outside could come and attack at any second.
It feels like time has stopped just around me.
The fear of death has disappeared and only the girl fills my vision.
"I, Servant Saber, have come forth in response to your summons.
Please give me an order, Master."
She speaks again.
The instant I hear the words Master and Servant
A pain shoots through my left hand.
It's like a hot iron has been placed on my hand.
I grab my left hand instinctively.
That must have been the signal, as the girl quietly nods her lovely face.
"Contract? What are you talking about !?"
Even I have some knowledge of magic. I understand what that word means.
But the girl doesn't answer me and looks away with the same grace she had when she nodded.