Part 221: Before the final battle
Music: The End of Reminiscence
"Huh? Oh, yeah, it's fine. I feel good, and I can still use my circuits."
" I see. That is good."
Apparently having run out of things to talk about, Saber awkwardly ends the conversation.
We've been like this for an hour since we came home.
We don't have the composure to be celebrating Tohsaka's safety, nor did we celebrate our reunion.
As long as he has the Holy Grail, we have to fight him.
We don't have any plans to beat him. The more we think about it, the more we realize it's hopeless.
It's only natural for us to grow quiet.
But I don't think that's the only reason we're quiet.
This is probably the end.
This will be the last time we will go into battle like this.
No matter what the results may be, what awaits us does not change.
The Holy Grail War will end.
After thatthe three of us won't be able to talk like this.
Looking back, it was only a course of about ten days.
I never had time to think back about what happened the day before, and I was too busy with all the events that came up one after another.
But they weren't just painful events.
Looking back at it, these past ten days are precious memories that can't be replaced.
That's why we're keeping our mouths shut.
We don't want to admit the obvious truth.
The decision should be clear to all of us already.
We can't say it because we don't want to end it like this.
I'm going to avenge Archer. He betrayed me and he was a twisted guy, but he's Shirou."
Tohsaka has made up her mind.
She says that she will fight Gilgamesh.
She clearly states that she will end this fight.
"How about you, Shirou? I'll have Saber come with me no matter what, but I can't force you to fight since you're not a Master.
It seems that goldie really hates you, so I think he'll go after you first if we fight him."
Maybe Tohsaka's trying to be considerate by offering me an escape.
But I'm already determined.
I can't let Gilgamesh be.
I intuitively know that the Holy Grail shouldn't exist.
But there's a bigger reason for me not to back out of this.
"I'm going to defeat him. I chose to fight. He'll complain to me unless I keep my word until the very end."
Archer's such a nag.
" I see. I won't stop you if that's what you decided."
"Yeah. And I can't just ignore the Holy Grail.
If the Holy Grail is what he says it is, we have to destroy it. We'll completely destroy it so something like this will never happen again."
Saber has fought with the objective of obtaining the Holy Grail.
Her hesitation and reluctance aren't easily overcome. But still
If the Holy Grail is what Gilgamesh says it is, it should not exist in this world."
She kills her wish and assents.
I get up and head to the kitchen.
I put on the apron.
I tie it behind my back and roll up my sleeves.
"W-What? Did you come up with a good idea?"
"Huh? No, I'm just going to make something. You two are hungry, right?"
You didn't think they'd end the path without another home-cooked meal, did you?
"It's all decided. Now, we just need to act like always.
We'll eat dinner together and go beat him after that."
I take out a bowl and a frying pan.
I'll use everything I have in the refrigerator.
I'll forget about everything tonight. I'll make a delicious feast.
"Yeah. Then I guess I'll help as well. Oh, Saber. Can you go prepare the bath?"
The serious atmosphere disappears like that.
The living room suddenly becomes more lively.
This will be the last night with the three of us.
We're doing our best to keep it like always and to have a good dinner.
Music: Wandering Shadow
"So you are saying the Holy Grail is at the Ryudou Temple?"
"Yup. I guessed that the Ryudou Temple would be the summoning spot this time. I was using a familiar to spy on that place, but it was eliminated just a bit earlier. I'm sure that the goldie is there."
We can only enter that mountain through the front gate. Gilgamesh should be waiting for us there."
"Yeah. But on the other hand, it's easier on us because we know where he is.
He's troublesome, but stopping the summoning of the Holy Grail takes priority.
It would be ideal if we can destroy the Holy Grail while Saber keeps him busy."
"Hold on. Isn't Saber the only one who can destroy the Holy Grail? We can't touch it, right?"
"Right. We can't destroy the summoned Holy Grail. But we can destroy the vessel before it's summoned.
To be more precise, we're stopping the Holy Grail before it's activated."
"Hm? What do you mean by stopping the Holy Grail?"
" I really don't want to think about it, but from what I heard, the Holy Grail is Ilyasviel's heart, right?
But I think the Holy Grail is a set with Ilyasviel's body, her Magic Circuit.
He didn't want Ilyasviel to be the Holy Grail, so he pulled out the core of it, her heart."
He has to implant the heart into a magus's body to activate it as the Holy Grail. There are only two remaining Masters: me, and one other.
Since I'm here, the one he will choose to be the foundation of the Holy Grail is"
"Shinji !? But Shinji, um "
"Doesn't have a Magic Circuit, right? I bet he doesn't care.
He wants to make an incomplete Holy Grail, so I'm sure he'll implant it into an incomplete Master."
" Even if its bloodline is extinct, the Matou family has hereditary traces of Magic Circuits.
Even a closed circuit will be forced to open if something like a nuclear fusion reactor is implanted into him."
Then that would mean we'll have to detach the Holy Grail from Shinji, huh?
Nah, just break 'em both.
I don't know what it means to be the Holy Grail's foundation, but, if possible, we'll have to stop it.
Does it not mean that stopping the Holy Grail is to defeat Gilgamesh?"
" Yeah. It's obvious that he's protecting the Holy Grail, so we have to do something about him first."
"Yeah. I think he's waiting for us at the mountain gate. The only route we have is the mountain gate because our greatest force, Saber, can only enter through there.
" I see.
I will rush the mountain gate by myself.
Rin and Shirou will sneak into the Ryudou Temple from the back while I do so.
The boundary field on the Ryudou Temple is meaningless for you two."
"Exactly. You will need to give your absolute best, but just keep him busy. We'll come help you as soon as we stop the Holy Grail."
"Hold on. That's reckless. Saber won't be a match for him.
She can't keep him busy."
"True. He is a strong enemy, but I will not lose easily if I go into defense.
Please tell me what that opinion is based on."
"Oh, that's not what I meant. From what I see, Saber's stronger than him.
I'm sure of it. I'll bet on it too."
"You can't beat him as long as you're a heroic spirit.
Yeah, Saber won't lose if he only had the same Noble Phantasm as Saber. We don't even need to compare the two's skills as swordsmen."
"But his power isn't power as an 'individual'. A soldier can't beat war itself no matter how strong he is, right?
He's a heroic spirit of that kind. You'll be defeated unless you're a 'war' just like him."
"Yeah. Tohsaka, we can't let Saber fight him without a plan. There's no way she can win unless we have some sort of a countermeasure."
"Hey I know that already.
That's why we're going to think about it now."
"Hm. Then you have a plan, Rin?"
"Hey now. I won't conveniently come up with an idea in a flash.
His Noble Phantasm is a war, like Shirou said.
The outcome of a war is decided by how much force you have, right? It's not how well you can handle the weapon. It's how much force you can prepare"
" ? What's wrong, Tohsaka? Why did you shut up all of a sudden?"
" I see. That's why he treated you like an enemy. Since the heroic spirit doesn't have his own Noble Phantasm, there is no original. Oh wait. That means "
" Rin? What is wrong? Why are you behind me?"
"I-It's nothing ! I'm going to think, so just talk it over with just the two of you !"
Oh god, here we go.
Saber and I look at each other.
Well, I'll leave her alone if she has an idea.
But I have backup from Rin.
I can use my Noble Phantasm with her support. I believe there is a chance of beating him before he can use his Noble Phantasm."
"No. Invisible Air is only a sheath.
I can use my holy sword if Rin allows it.
This is the sword that previously destroyed the Holy Grail.
"Yes. There will be a big burden on me as well as Rin if I use it. I will probably use up most of her magical energy."
"Did you hear that, Tohsaka? How much magical energy can you spare?"
She should be able to use it twice with our magical energy.
We're going to use it once against the Holy Grail, so you can only use it once against Gilgamesh."
" I see. Um, Saber. That's what Tohsaka's saying, so what do you think?"
" I do not know. If Archer has every existing Noble Phantasm, he should have one that can equal mine. After that, it depends on whose is stronger."
" I see. So it's going to end up being a fight between the Noble Phantasms, huh?"
Then Gilgamesh is likely to win.
I can't let Saber fight such a hopeless battle
"Hey, Tohsaka. Come out with it if you want to say something. You have an idea, right?"
"I-I don't have an idea! I can't say such a thing here, you idiot!"
"No, it's nothing. She's acting weird, so let's ignore her and keep planning."
We continue with the strategy meeting with just the two of us.
But as our "brain", Tohsaka, won't talk, we can't come up with anything.
"We can go with the previous plan if you guys can't come up with anything.
We'll head out before dawn. Everybody is to rest until then."
Our course of action is decided by Tohsaka.
Tohsaka told me I should take a nap, but I can't sleep in a situation like this.
We're going to settle our score with that Servant in a few hours.
Since we are heading out before dawn, everything should be over by the time the sun rises.