Part 255: Intruder / ChoiceMusic: Madder Red Town
As Kotomine said, I can't sense other Masters.
Saber is the only one who can sense our enemies, and even then, she's only able to sense nearby Servants.
So naturally, our plan is to walk around and find information.
It's like counting on luck, but it's "risky but certain" according to Saber.
Masters aren't going to be holed up in their hideouts all the time.
If the Holy Grail War is a race, you have to do something to get ahead of the competition.
That means the Servants search for the enemy's hideout while the Masters use magic to set up traps.
We can use that to our advantage.
Lots of magical energy will be needed if either one does something. Even though I can't sense other magi, I can detect the lingering traces of their power.
If we patrol the city looking for that, I'm sure we'll find some signs of other Masters.
This is information I'll be getting by using myself as bait.
I have no other method besides being bait, just like Kotomine said.
We'll start the patrols tonight.
Saber told me to stay at the house, but I refused, saying I would go with her.
After a long, unproductive talk
" All right. But please promise you will always be with me. Can you swear not to go outside by yourself at night?"
Saber finally accepted my point of view.
Music: Surrounded by Smiling Faces
"Shirou. I have explained to you before, but I cannot afford to use too much magical energy, especially if we plan to patrol tonight."
"Yeah. You're going to sleep as much as you can to preserve magical energy, right?
Since I can't provide you with magical energy, you have to maintain your body yourself.
So, say you can regenerate 8 units of magical energy per day and you need 6 units to sustain yourself daily. That excess 2 units is what we can save up.
And if you conserve well, you could use about 10 units during a battle, right?"
"That is true as long as I am not wounded or my armor does not become damaged. But against heroic spirits of such rank, that is not likely.
To put it in your terms, I used about 50 units against Lancer, and about 200 units against Berserker."
She was pierced by Lancer, and her stomach was slashed by Berserker.
It makes sense for her to have used a lot of magical energy to heal those wounds.
It makes sense, but
"I did not use that much magical energy to heal myself. I used it more to restore the armor that was destroyed. Most of my magical energy is fixed on protecting me."
That's how it is, according to her.
"So your armor is part of your body, right? So maintaining your body and your armor is the same thing. You have your armor off right now to preserve magical energy, right?"
"Yes. But things like this should not be necessary for other Servants. I can only disarm myself since I cannot turn into spirit form, but Servants such as Archer and Lancer can become spirits to reduce the burden on their Masters."
"I see, I see. Oh, I guess this is good enough."
"Huh? No, I don't think so."
"In your terms, I have about 1000 units."
So it's something ridiculous like that.
She said she spent about two hundred against Berserker, but she still has that much magical energy remaining.
And she says it's not full. It's scary to think how much magical energy she would've had with a proper Master.
Her capacity is way beyond human, and I stop stupidly thinking how many times more of my magical energy it would take to fill her up.
I finally understand why Tohsaka called Saber "the most superior Servant".
I told you earlier, but using a Noble Phantasm takes lots of magical energy. It is hard to use my Noble Phantasm in my current state. Therefore I must save up as much magical energy as I can."
I can't tell if she's mad at me for being a burden,
or because I'm keeping her here when she has to sleep.
"I understand your magical energy is important, but so is food, right? I used leftovers for lunch, so please eat a proper meal for dinner. You can sleep after you eat."
" All right. I do not intend to use my Noble Phantasm lightly. We shall talk about this later when you have a better understanding of what Servants are."
Saber says this in a dissatisfied manner and takes a seat.
She might complain, but she always listens to me.
So the problem of "conserving magical energy" is settled now.
In the first place, it's not something we can do anything about, and the only way to help ourselves is to get a better understanding of our current situation.
"Huh? Oh, it'll come soon. Please do as I said."
I cut some white radishes and put them into the saucepan.
"I'm home! Are you cooking, Shirou!?"
"Excuse me, Senpai."
I hear the usual voices from the entrance.
The silence is painful.
It's only natural. Fuji-Nee and Sakura are confused, and they're looking at me for an explanation.
"This is Saber. She's going to be staying at this house starting today. Please give her your best regards."
It's been ten minutes since that was my explanation to them.
This lack of protest feels awkward.
I want to take a sip of tea, but I feel like the sound of it would echo through the room, so the hot tea sits there untouched.
But sitting here won't solve anything.
I have to move forward with courage.
"We can't turn her away since she came here for my father. She won't stay long as she's only here for sightseeing. Also, she'll be staying in the separate building so it won't be a problem."
The silence continues.
By the way
I can understand why Sakura and Fuji-Nee are quiet, but why is Saber looking so surprised?
Music: Surrounded by Smiling Faces
"Phew. Well, if she's an acquaintance of Kiritsugu-san, it can't be helped. I heard he had some relatives overseas, so, was it Saber-san? She seems reliable, so I have no objections."
" Um. Fujimura-Sensei, that's "
"I'm sorry. I understand how you feel, but this is Kiritsugu-san's house. It would be shameful for us Japanese to throw out a foreigner who came here relying on us, right? It's been getting dangerous lately, so we can't just throw this cute girl out on the streets."
" That's true, but is this okay with you, Senpai?"
"Yeah, this is what I intended. I'm going to have Saber stay here for a while. Are you against it, Sakura?"
" No, I do not mind if an acquaintance of yours stays here, butum, Saber is "
"Hm? Oh, it's a strange name, right? She's blunt like her name suggests, but I guarantee she's a good person. She might sound strange since she's not used to Japan, but it'll really help me out if you can help her out, Sakura."
Get it? Because a saber is a blunt weapon.
Is she nervous because Saber's a foreigner?
Sakura nods while looking away from her.
I made minced bonito salad, fried chicken with hot sauce, meat and potato stew, and lots of tempura including shrimp tempura.
"Wow, what is this tempura!? 'Juicy' and 'tasty' don't begin to describe it! What did you do, Shirou!? I have a better opinion of shrimp now!"
It's all good since Fuji-Nee's enjoying it enough for the four of us.
Music: Tender Scenery
Dinner ends without trouble thanks to her.
I don't know what happened, but Fuji-Nee gave some of her food to Saber.
I guess Fuji-Nee likes Saber because she is quiet.
Saber and Fuji-Nee left to prepare Saber's room.
And Sakura and I clean up after dinner.
Well, there's nothing wrong with that, because it's part of the usual chores.
"I'll wash the dishes, so can you clean the table?
Oh, you don't have to throw away the tempura oil. Can you put the lid on it and store it? It's heavy. Can you handle it?"
"Huh ? Oh, yes. I'm stronger than I look, you know?"
She picks up the pot of oil.
Good, so since she does archery, I didn't need to worry.
"Well, archery isn't all about strength either "
I wash the dishes.
"Huh? There's less towels here, Senpai. The paper towel roll is empty and the plates are moved around."
"What? Let's see Oh, you're right. Did someone break in?"
"Right. That's no robber."
The plates have been moved around.
The paper towels are gone.
Some towels are missing.
According to these clues
"Oh. That's right. Tohsaka was here."
I remember now.
Tohsaka was the one who treated me after that incident with Berserker.
I'm pretty sure that she used the paper towels during my treatment.
"Yeah. I had her come in.
Um, I had a stupid accident and hurt myself. Tohsaka just happened to pass by and she kindly treated me. As expected from our school's honor student, right? She's so full of affection."
I don't mean the last half, of course.
My school's proud honor student died last night.
It's highly regrettable, but the image of "Tohsaka Rin as an honor student" died inside of me.
"Why did Tohsaka-Senpai come here? That's strange. She has nothing to do with this place. I'm here, and she has no connection with Senpai, so why?"
Music: Midnight Interval
"Well, Shirou. Are we going to the center of town?"
Sakura's state didn't change after dinner's cleanup.
If anything, it got worse.
She lost all her energy and was absent-minded, as if she had a fever.
And on top of that, she didn't want me to walk her home, so Fuji-Nee had to take her.
"Or are you planning to go to the other town? It seems likely that other Masters are over there."
Come to think of it, Sakura was acting strange the day before yesterday as well.
She looked downcast and seemed afraid of something.
"Shirou? Are you listening, Shirou?"
"Shirou! I am asking you what we should do tonight!"
I raise my head in surprise.
Saber is right in front of me, looking angry.
"Sorry, I was spacing out. You're asking me what we should do, right?"
"In that case, I need not repeat myself.
There is a slight distortion of the ley-line in both towns. I am certain that the other Masters are doing something. We may be able to defeat one tonight, depending on where we go."
"So you're saying we might fight a Master all of a sudden?
But what if it turns out to be that girl?
You can't beat Berserker, right?"
"Master. I am in perfect condition right now. Even though I do not receive any magical energy supply, I will not easily lose.
Well, all we can do against Ilyasviel is retreat. We do not know their Noble Phantasm, so we cannot use ours yet."
They couldn't make up their mind if it translated to 'cautious about' or 'cautious of' so they just put in both.
She does not talk about other possibilitiessuch as when we might encounter Tohsaka.
For Saber, Tohsaka is merely an enemy she must defeat.
But to me, Masters are people we have to stop, not kill.
"Saber, let me confirm. We will stop fighting when the Masters and Servants surrender. My plan is to make them use up their Command Spells so they won't be Masters anymore.
Is that okay?"
" Understood. But Shirou, if the enemy does not accept our proposition, then "
" Yeah, then we'll follow the rules of the Holy Grail War. They should be ready for it if they're fighting as Masters."