Part 23: Tohsaka Rin (II)
Music: Footsteps of Destruction
Saber doesn't stop.
She dashes to the person behind the man in red and easily cuts off the large spell the person launches.
"What the "
I knew she was strong, but this is overwhelming.
That spell right now was at a level of intervention magic that I cannot even compare with.
The enemy must be a magus, as the match is decided right there.
The magus's attacks are no use against Saber, and she mercilessly attacks the magus.
My mind freezes.
Probably because the moon lights up the scene for an instant.
I can tell that the figure Saber is pointing at is human.
I can't tell who it is, but the image of Saber killing someone and getting splattered with blood pops into my head.
She will pierce the enemy's throat with the "thing" in her hand.
" Don't. Please don't do it, Saber."
I address her, glaring.
Preparing myself to do my best to stop her.
"Why do you stop me, Shirou? She is Archer's Master. We have to kill her here."
No, Saber has no intention of stopping.
She only stopped because I said so, and she is ready to bring her sword down at any time !
"I-I'm telling you to wait! You're calling me Master or something, but I don't understand anything at all. If you're going to call me that, I think you should explain things to me first !"
Saber doesn't answer.
She only stares at me in silence.
"You're doing this in the wrong order, Saber. I still don't understand who you are. But I'll listen if you talk, so please don't do this."
Saber is silent.
Still pointing her sword at the fallen enemy, she looks at me discontentedly.
"What do you mean by that?
Are you demanding ideals like not hurting anyone unnecessarily?"
Not hurting anyone unnecessarily ?
Well, it is true that we should avoid fights as much as possible, but I'm not so good-natured as to release someone who came to attack me.
"So you are saying do not take life even if it is that of the enemy, correct? I will not obey such an order. An enemy is someone you must defeat. If you still want me to stop, make me obey with your Command Spell."
" ? I'm talking about you. A girl shouldn't be swinging swords around, all the more so if you're hurt.
Oh wait, I don't even know if it's a sword or not, huh? Anyway! You're a girl, so you can't do that!"
Saber looks dumbfounded, as if taken aback.
Even the other characters in the game are amazed at Shirou's utter stupidity.
How long were we standing like that?
" So? When will Saber-san lower her sword?"
The figure on the ground suddenly speaks.
Saber suddenly returns to concentrating her attention on her sword.
"Even if your Master says to lower it?
Wow, so even Saber would betray her Master, huh?"
Saber grits her teeth.
But Saber lowers her sword and relaxes.
Saber's hostility disappears, so she must have put away her sword as well.
"I see. Then I can stand up, right?"
The one on the ground stands up.
She looks shameless, brushing her rear.
Hey, wait a second.
That sulky person is definitely-WHAAAAAAT !?
"You, you're Tohsaka !?"
"Yes. Good evening, Emiya-kun."
Tohsaka Rin replies with a big smile.
That gets me.
If she greets me normally like that, everything that happened up to now seems like a dream and No, my head's about to explode, geez, how easy would things be if it did !?
For once, Shirou's in our position.
"Um, no, well, um so you were using magic right now, so that means "
"I'm a magus. Well, we're the same, so it's not something I need to hide."
When she replies clearly like that, it makes me seem stupid for asking.
"Let's talk inside. You don't know anything, right Emiya-kun?"
So saying, she walks toward the entrance.
"Wait, what are you thinking !?"
She turns, and the smile on her face isn't like the previous one.
Emiya-kun, it's good to be surprised by sudden turns of events, but it could sometimes cost you your life if you don't just accept it. Incidentally, do you understand that now is one of those times?"
She glares at me.
"It's fine if you understand. So let's go to your place."
Tohsaka goes through the gate.
" She's really pissed "
It's only natural.
She had a sword pointed at her until now, and she was almost killed.
"No, but still "
Is it just my imagination or is she totally unlike how she seems at school?
The hallway suddenly feels like a different dimension.
But I can't be a coward forever.
I'm a magus, even if I am just an amateur.
Tohsaka Rin, a magus just like me, is acting so fearlessly, so I have to act firmly too.
But I can only work out a few things.
First, about Saber, who's following me.
I am sure that she is some kind of a familiar, because she calls me Master and I've made a contract with her.
I hear that a familiar is some kind of an assistant for a magus.
Most magi transfer part of their body into something and summon it as another self.
For the other self, a magus usually uses a small animal.
That's simply because it's easy to take over the mind of something like a cat or a dog.
Some magi use a human as their familiar, but they need enough magical energy to restrain a human at all times if they do such a thing.
But if one constantly uses enough magical energy to control someone, it would take most of the magus' magical energy to sustain the familiar.
But that'd be putting the cart before the horse.
A familiar is something that assists the magus.
To reduce the burden on the magus, it is commonly accepted that small animals are most suitable.
So I've been taught, but
" No, it's nothing."
Saber looks human no matter how you look at her. And she is clearly superior to me, her master.
I don't have the magical energy to control such a person, and more than that, I don't have the Magic Circuit to summon a familiar.
So Saber must be something rather unlike a familiar.
She said she is a Servant.
I don't know what that is, but I think the man called Lancer and the man in red with Tohsaka were the same thing.
Then it must be that Tohsaka is also called a Master.
I just saw her magic skills.
If I am worth half a magus, she is worth about three magi though of course, there's no point in comparing me to other magi when I can only use the strengthening magic.
Anyway, Tohsaka is an amazing magus.
In any spiritually superior land is a family of magi that looks after that land.
The Emiya family only came to this land in Kiritsugu's generation, so we're just strangers.
That's why I didn't know that Tohsaka was a magus, and I'm sure Tohsaka didn't know that I knew magic.
There are several magi in this town that I don't know about.
If Lancer is the familiar of another magus in this town, then does it mean that I stuck my head into a conflict between magi?
"Wow, it's pretty big. Japanese-style is unusual for me.
Oh, is that the living room, Emiya-kun?"
Saying so, Tohsaka goes into the living room.
Let's stop thinking for now.
"It's starting to hurt."
Let's just listen to Tohsaka's story.
"Oh, it's so cold! What's this, the windows are broken?"
"I couldn't help it. I was attacked by this Lancer guy. I was just desperate."
"Oh, I see. Then were you fighting him alone until you summoned Saber?"
"I didn't fight him. He just beat me up."
"Oh, so you don't try to show off, huh? I see, I see, you're really just as you appear, Emiya-kun."
Tohsaka walks over to the broken window.
Tohsaka takes a piece of the shattered glass, takes a look at it, and
"Minuten vor Schweißen"
She cuts the tip of her finger and puts a drop of her blood onto the glass.
What kind of magic is this?
The shattered glass combines on its own and restores itself in a matter of seconds.
"Tohsaka, that was "
"It's just a small demonstration. It won't be enough to repay you for saving me, but I have to at least do this much.
Well, I'm sure you would've fixed it even if I hadn't, but that's just a waste of magical energy, right? All you really have to do is replace the window, but we don't want to talk in this cold, do we?"
She says so as if it's something natural.
But needless to say, her skills are beyond my understanding.
"No, that's amazing, Tohsaka. I can't do that sort of thing, so I'm glad you fixed it."
"Huh? There's no way you can't fix it.
Handling glass is so elementary. Restoring glass that broke a few minutes ago is only like an admission test for any school, right?"
"So that's how it is? I was only taught by my father, so I don't even know the basics or the elementary stuff."
Dammit. It seems I said something I shouldn't have.
" Wait. Then you're saying you're just an amateur who can't even run your own workshop?"
" ? I don't have a workshop."
Well, I do have that shed as my training area, but I think Tohsaka would get mad if I called that my workshop.
" I think it's impossible, but I'll ask anyway. Could it be that you don't know how to handle the five main elements, or how to make a Pass?"
I honestly admit that I don't know.
Wow, that's scary.
She's so beautiful usually, so she looks pretty scary now.
"That's not true. I can at least use strengthening magic."
"Strengthening that's an awfully odd magic. So, you can't do anything other than that?"
I get the impression that this is like asking someone if they can cook and having them say they only make cheese dip.
Tohsaka glares at me.
" Well, to be honest, probably not."
Her glare makes my answer vague.
" Geez. Why did Saber get summoned to a guy like this?"
It makes me mad.
I haven't been playing around. I know I'm an amateur, but I don't think it matters right now.
"Well, I don't care. There's no point in complaining about what's already happened. More importantly, I have to pay back my debt right now."
Tohsaka takes a breath.
Emiya-kun, you don't know what kind of situation you're in right now, correct?"
"I thought so. Well, I could tell easily, but I have to confirm, right? It's only putting flab on my mind if I tell someone that already knows about it."
I think that was a weird phrase, but I stay quiet as I think she'll beat me up if I make fun of her now.
The guy who trains in his private dojo every morning is afraid of getting beat up by a schoolgirl.
Music: Whirlpool of Fate 2
"To put it bluntly, you have been chosen as a Master.
You have a holy sign on one of your hands, right? On your hand or on your arm. There are personal differences, but there should be three Command Spells engraved. That is the sign of a Master."
"On my hand oh, this."
"Yes. That is also a spell that rules the Servant, so take care of it. It's called a Command Spell and you can retain control over your Servant as long as you have it."
" ? What do you mean 'as long as I have it'?"
"The Command Spell is an item of unconditional obedience. I think you've already realized that Servants have their own will, but that mark overrules their will and makes them obey your command."
"There's no spell needed to activate it, and it will be activated when you put your mind to using it.
But you'll lose one for every time you use it, so make sure you only use it twice.
If you lose all your Command Spells, you'll be killed, so be careful."
"What I'll be killed?"
"That's right. It's fundamental in the Holy Grail War for Masters to kill other Masters. And the Master that kills the other six Masters is awarded with the Holy Grail."
I don't understand what Tohsaka is talking about at all.
Like the part about Masters killing other Masters.
And the part where the winner gets a Holy Grail wait, does she mean that Holy Grail !?
"You still don't understand? To put it simply, you've been dragged into a game.
A survival game between the seven Masters, a game called the Holy Grail War. A battle royale between the Masters that won't end until you kill all other Masters."
Tohsaka Rin states so as if it is the most natural thing in the world.
That phrase swirls in my head.
I have been chosen as a Master.
Tohsaka says she is a Master.
Familiars called the Servants.
A battle to the death between other magi called the Holy Grail War.
"I understand how you feel, but I'm just telling you the truth.
Besides, you should understand deep down. You should know you're in a situation you can't run away from, having been almost killed by that Servant twice now."
Certainly, I was almost killed by that Lancer guy, but
"Oh no, that's wrong. In fact, you weren't almost killed, you were actually killed. I'm surprised you're alive again."
Tohsaka's comment finishes me off.
That guy killed me, and I certainly died.
No excuse nor negotiation was possible. I was just someone who had to be killed.
Even if I do deny this battle to the death that I cannot understand, the others in it will not withdraw.
"Do you get it now? Then I'll go on.
I don't exactly know what the Holy Grail War is.
But I know that every few decades, seven Masters are chosen and given Servants."
"I'm also chosen as a Master. That's why I made a contract with a Servant, and you made a contract with Saber.
Think of the Servant as a familiar, given to you by the Holy Grail to win the Holy Grail War.
And as Masters, we are to work together with our Servant to kill other Masters."
Tohsaka's description is too brief for me to understand.
But there is one thing I do wonder about.
" Hold on. You say Saber is a familiar, but I'm not convinced.
Familiars are things like cats and birds, right? Well, I do hear that some use human ghosts, but Saber has a body. Besides, she doesn't look like a familiar."
She looks just like a human being.
I don't know her identity, but she's a girl about my age.
Just having a girl like that near me is more than enough, so I don't get it when she tells me that Saber is a familiar and besides, my heart is pounding right now.
"Familiar, huh ? Well, Servants are in that category, but they are on a different level.
It's missing a word, but I say it still counts.
Because that girl over there is a Ghost Liner, considered to be the strongest of all familiars."
"Ghost Liner ? Then do you mean she really is a ghost?"
A human ghost that stopped living a long time ago.
The remaining minds of those with strong abilities, who remain in this world even after they die.
But that doesn't make sense.
A ghost doesn't have a body. A ghost can be only hurt by ghosts.
So, as I have a body, a ghost shouldn't be able to kill me.
"A ghost huh? She's similar, but Saber would kill you if you compared her to one.
Servants are heroes of the past given bodies. Beings surpassing humans, more like spirits."
"Huh? Heroes of the past given bodies?"
"That's right. A legendary hero was pulled from the past or the present or whenever and given a body.
"Well, it's the role of the Master to summon them, and the Holy Grail does the rest.
It's impossible for a magus to give shape to a soul, so we're assisted by a strong Artifact."
"Hold on. So a 'hero of the past' means what !?"
I look over at Saber.
Then she's a heroine from the past too?
Well, it's true that nobody would dress like that now, but still
"That's impossible. I've never heard of any such magic."
"Of course not. This isn't magic. Think of it as a phenomenon created by the Holy Grail. It's impossible to recreate a soul and give it a body without it."
" Recreation of the soul? Then a Servant isn't a ghost ?"
"No. Haven't you been taught that any humans, animals, or machines that leave any great achievements behind get removed from the ring of reincarnation and sublimate into beings of higher rank?
Heroes are that sort of beings.
To put it simply, they have been worshipped and made into artificial gods."
"'Ghost Magic' such as supplicating ghosts uses heroic spirits to make miracles happen.
But the Servants are familiars of the heroes themselves.
So they accompany you in spirit form, but if need be, you can give them form to make them fight."
" Hm. So you mean you can give them form or keep them in spirit form?
I don't see your Servant, so he's in spirit form right now?"
"No, he's healing his wounds in the summoning circle at my house right now.
Saber wounded him just now, right? If I hadn't withdrawn him by force, he would have had his head chopped off.
"Look, the only ones who can beat these Servants are other Servants, spirits like them. Well, we can hit them too if they take form, so we might be able to beat them.
But Servants are all strong as monsters, right? So we let monsters deal with monsters. The Master usually supports them from behind."
Tohsaka's explanation irritates me for some reason.
She calls them monsters. I don't know about the other Servants, but I don't want her to talk about Saber like that.
"Anyway, someone who becomes a Master must kill all the other Masters using his Servant.
Do you understand it so far?"
" In words, yes. But I'm not convinced.
To begin with, who started such a thing and why?"
"That's not something I know about, nor should I answer. You should put that kind of question to the one overseeing the Holy Grail War.
The one thing I can tell you is that all you can do now is to fight, and Servants are powerful familiars, so you should use them wisely."
Tohsaka says so, and now turns to Saber.
"So from what I hear from Emiya-kun, you must not be in full form, Saber. You were summoned by an apprentice magus who has no idea how to be a Master."
Since Shirou does not have the magical energy to give me form, it will be difficult for me to turn into a spirit or to replenish my magical energy."
" I'm surprised. I'm surprised that you were in that bad of a state, but I didn't think you'd tell me honestly. I was wondering how I ought to find out your weakness."
"I do not wish to let others know of my weakness, but I do not think I can fool you. It would be meaningless to hide our situation from you.
So it will be better for us to tell you of our situation, and to have Shirou better understand the situation he is in right now."
"Correct. And you have a good personality too. Geez, I'm regretting it even more now. If I was your Master, I would have certainly won this war!"
Tohsaka clenches her fists with anger.
"Hmm. Tohsaka, do you mean I'm not fit to be her Master?"
"Of course not, idiot."
Wow. She just said something that any normal person would have trouble saying.
Everyone always teaches you to never pick on retarded kids. She just wasn't paying attention.
"What? Do you have any more questions?"
And she doesn't realize it.
Her honor student image from school crumbles inside of me.
Good going, Issei. Tohsaka certainly shows no openings, just like a devil.
"Well. We're done talking, so let's get going."
Tohsaka suddenly says something strange.
"Huh? Go where?"
"We're going to see the guy who knows all about the game you're involved in the 'Holy Grail War'. You want to know the reasons behind the Holy Grail War, right?"
"Of course. But where is it? It's already late, so "
"It'll be fine. It's in the neighboring town, so we should be back by dawn if we hurry. And besides, it's Sunday tomorrow, so it should be fine to stay up late."
"No, that's not the problem."
It's just that a lot of things happened today, so I want to have a rest and think about them.
Tohsaka asks Saber.
"Hold on, this has nothing to do with Saber. Don't push her."
"Oh, you're already feeling like a Master? You don't want me talking to Saber?"
"T-That's not it! It's just that if what you said is true, then Saber is a heroine from the past, right? So she wouldn't know about this time since she was just summoned.
"Shirou, that is wrong. Servants can adapt to any time. So I know a lot about this age as well."
"Yes. This is not the first time that I have been summoned in this age."
"No way, what are the chances of that !?"
Hey, Tohsaka is surprised too.
So that must mean Saber said something incredible.
"Shirou, I agree with her. You lack experience as a Master. As a Servant making a contract with you, I want you to be stronger."
Saber stares at me silently.
It's a gentle stare that's worried not for herself, but for me.
" All right. I'll go.
So, where is this place, Tohsaka? It's a place we can come back from, right?"
"Of course. We are heading to Kotomine Church in the neighboring town. That's where the false priest, the one who oversees this battle, is living."
Tohsaka makes an evil smile.
It looks like she's having fun dragging me around while I don't know anything.
It might be prejudice
But I'm beginning to feel like there's a problem with her personality