Part 26: Decision / The Strongest EnemyMusic: Church on the Hill
"I'm not, but I should be, so if I pretend I am it'll all be ok."
That is why I must decide.
Even though I'm an amateur, Emiya Shirou is a magus.
If I have decided to become a superhero in the footsteps of Emiya Kiritsugu, whom I've admired all this time
"I will fight as a Master.
If the cause of the fire ten years ago was the Holy Grail War, I can't let it happen again."
As if he likes my answer, the priest smiles with satisfaction.
I take a deep breath.
I have cut away all hesitation.
As a man, I said I will fight.
So from now on, all I have to do is go forward with pride so that I will not go against my word.
"Then I shall approve you as Saber's Master.
In this instant, the Holy Grail War is accepted.
I approve the battle in this town, from now until only one Master remains. Everyone shall follow their pride and compete fully against each other."
The priest's voice echoes heavily through the church.
There is no meaning to that declaration.
Only Tohsaka and I heard the priest's words.
This man merely rang the starting bell as the priest of this church.
"I don't mind. This might be the last time, so I shall answer most questions."
"Then I shall ask. Kirei, you're the one in charge of looking after this, so you should have information on the other Masters. I've followed the Association's rules, so at least tell me what you know."
"That's troubling. I really want to tell you, but I do not know the details either.
Including Emiya Shirou, there are not many legitimate magi this time. There are only two Masters I know about. Three if you include Emiya Shirou."
"Oh, I see. Still, you should know the order they were summoned.
You are the supervisor after all."
" Hmm. Berserker was first. Caster was second. The rest are pretty much the same. Archer was yesterday, and Saber was summoned a few hours ago."
"I see. Then that means "
"The Holy Grail War has officially started.
Rin, you are not allowed to come to this church until the Holy Grail War is over. The only time it is permitted is "
"When I lose my Servant and wish for protection, right? So I pretty much get points deducted if I come here for any other reason."
"That is correct. You may become the victor, but the Church will not ignore the points deducted. They will take the Holy Grail away from you after a boring discussion. That would be the worst case scenario for me."
Whatever happened to, "We do not have the power to stop a Master who has been chosen by the Holy Grail"?
"You fake priest. A person on the side of the Church supporting the Magic Association?"
"I am serving God. That does not mean I am serving the Church."
"Whatever. That's why you're a fake."
"Hey, is that okay, Tohsaka? He was your fellow pupil, right? So"
Shouldn't there be a more proper farewell?
"I don't care. I rather feel relieved from breaking the ties to him. More importantly, you should leave too. You have no business here now."
Tohsaka walks across the floor without stopping and really leaves.
I sigh and follow her.
I feel a presence behind me and turn around.
The priest who was behind me before I knew it, is looking down on me.
"W-What? Do you have anything else to say?"
I back off as I say so.
Just as I thought, I don't like him.
Maybe we're just incompatible or something, but I can't get myself to like him.
"If you don't have anything to say, I'm going!"
I make my way to the door, trying to escape his stare.
"What are you saying, all of a sudden?"
"You should know. Your wish will not come true unless there is a clear evil. Even if it is not something you approve of, a superhero requires a villain to defeat."
I feel like everything has turned black.
The priest said it.
The greatest wish and the ugliest wish I have are the same.
Yes, the desire to protect something,
Is, at the same time, none other than the wish for something to violate it.
But there's no way I'd wish for something like that.
I don't remember a moment when I've wished for that.
Such an insecure wish
Just means the target ideals are inconsistent.
But the priest says as if to pierce my heart, "Good thing you have an enemy now."
"No, you do not have to gloss over it. Your worries are right for a human being."
I shake off the priest's words and walk to the door.
Certainly, you could say that getting away from that priest helped.
But Tohsaka standing out in her uniform
And the blond-haired girl in a raincoat standing near her make a strangely well-matched sight that somehow takes the pressure off me.
Saber is silent as always.
She's looking at me, so it seems she is interested in the decision I made.
"Let's go. We're going the same way until we get back to town."
Saying that, Tohsaka starts walking.
Following after her, we leave the church as well.
Music: Surrounded by Smiling Faces
"Actually, it's because you haven't bathed since before you were killed. Your chest is covered in blood and your pants are soaked in urine. Frankly, it smells."
I understand that.
I understand, but I don't like thinking about Tohsaka like that.
"Tohsaka. Is your Servant okay?"
"Oh yeah. Archer is okay. Though it doesn't seem like the damage caused by your Saber will heal fast, so I don't think I'll be able to materialize him for a while."
"Then he's not with you right now?"
"No, he's taking shelter at my house right now. He'll be at a disadvantage if he was attacked by other Servants right now, so I'm making him stay ready at a place of strength."
Unlike my house, I'll bet Tohsaka's house is well prepared against outside attacks.
A house is like a fortress for a magus. They will not lose as long as they stay there.
That must mean enemies will not attack you as long as you stay on your home ground.
The boundary field at my house is merely an alarm against intruders, but even having that makes a big difference.
"Oh yeah, Tohsaka. That guy said he was the supervisor of the Holy Grail War, but does he know your Servant?"
"He shouldn't. I haven't told him."
" Hey Emiya-kun. I'll warn you now. Don't tell anybody your Servant's identity. Keep it a secret even from people you trust or you'll end up exiting this battle early."
" ? What do you mean Saber's identity?"
"What I mean is, which hero the Servant is.
No matter how strong someone may be, if you reveal your potential, you'll surely be beaten someday. It's fine, so have Saber tell you her real name later on.
You should understand what I mean then. Though, hang on. You're like this, so it might be better if she didn't tell you."
"Because you can't keep secrets. You'll be able to keep a secret better if you don't know about it."
" Hey now, what do you think I am? I can take care of myself."
"Huh ? Anything I'm hiding from you, that's " I say, as my face fires up.
I don't have a guilty conscience, but well, would kind of admiring her count as something I'm hiding from her ?
"See. I don't know what you're hiding, but it's no good if it shows on your face.
You have other good aspects, so don't worry about it."
" Hmph. Then what about you? If you're hiding it from that priest, does that mean you don't trust him?"
"Kirei? Hardly. I'm not crazy enough to trust him. He's a cheat who transferred from the Church to the Magic Association without quitting the Church. He'd happily sell my information to the other Masters."
Tohsaka says with annoyance.
It seems she really doesn't trust that priest.
I'm a bit relieved, but still, her words do seem to hold a bit of affection.
Oddly, I didn't think about looking at Tohsaka, who's walking next to me.
Right now, it seems walking on a bridge at night together like this is more precious than seeing her face.
Me, Tohsaka, and the girl called Saber I know nothing about.
We three walk together without doing much.
"We'll part here. I've repaid my debt, and it would be troublesome if we stayed together any longer. We should part and become enemies from tomorrow on."
It must be to end the ambiguous position we are in right now.
Tohsaka starts talking and cuts off suddenly.
From that, I realize.
She did not explain the rules to me out of any sense of obligation.
She just supported me, understanding the situation I'm in, and acted fairly.
So things are back to normal once the explanations are over.
I will just be her target as a Master now.
But if so, what she just said was strange.
Tohsaka must have meant that it would be difficult to fight if she feels empathy for me.
For Tohsaka, everything that happened tonight must have been unnecessary.
'It would be troublesome if we stay together any longer.'
If she is going to say something like that, she should have left us alone from the beginning.
Yeah, maybe then Sakura could've found your corpse instead.
Tohsaka's smart, so she should know that all too well.
But still, she set aside all thought of loss or gain and helped me out.
Her milkshake brings all the boys to the yard.
Man, it feels almost like a fraud.
Tohsaka Rin is just how everyone thought she was.
"I see. Tohsaka, you really are a good person."
"Huh? What are you saying all of a sudden? I won't go easy on you even if you flatter me."
I know that.
She won't go easy on me, and that's why she said it'll be a bother if she feels empathy for me.
"I know. But I don't want to be enemies with you if I can help it. I like people like you."
"Not you, specifically. People like you... but that are not you. You kinda suck, actually."
I hear Tohsaka's house is in the western-style district in the opposite direction to my place.
Since she's taken care of me until now, I would like to walk her home, but
"A-Anyway, just run to the church if your Servant ever gets killed. If you do, at least your life will be safe."
"I won't like it, but still, I'll take that advice. It won't happen, though. However I look at it, I'll die before Saber does."
I calmly analyze the situation.
Tohsaka reacts strangely once again.
After letting out a sigh, she glances at Saber.
"All right. I won't give you any more warnings because that'd really be empathy.
Just be careful. Even though Saber is strong, it won't matter if you, her Master, gets killed."
She turns her back and starts walking.
As if she's seen a ghost, her feet stop dead in their tracks.
The instant I call out to her, my left hand throbs in pain.
Music: Footsteps of Destruction
A long shadow.
There's a strange shape that shouldn't be here in this pale town of shadow pictures.
Shirou, you're thinking in metaphor again.
Tohsaka mumbles a word I'm not accustomed to hearing.
I don't even need to ask.
That thing is definitely a Servant.
And at the same timean overwhelming sense of death, exceeding even the one in the fire ten years ago.
"Good evening, Onii-chan. It's the second time we've met like this."
The girl smiles as she says so.
That innocence sends a chill down my spine.
From where I'm standing, the albino loli does not look terribly innocent.
No, spine is an understatement.
Not just my body, but my mind is frozen as well.
That thing is a monster.
I'm not staring at it, but just its presence makes me unable to move.
I understand naturally that I will die in the instant I move even a muscle.
It feels like a knife is pushed right against my naked chest.
Still, I feel nothing.
Probably because there's too little hope of me getting out of this alive.
All fears and impatience are drowned by hopelessness, so I don't feel a thing.
"That's why I cut myself."
"Crap. He's totally on a completely different level."
That's totally the fifth time now. Totally.
Unlike me who's paralyzed, Tohsaka has the composure to stand ready.
But it'll come to nothing.
Even though I can only see her back, I can sense the despair she's feeling.
The girl says unhappily, as she looks down at us from the top of the hill.
We're in an even worse situation now.
That girl knows Tohsaka's Servant is not here.
"Nice to meet you, Rin. I am Ilya.
You should work it out if I make that 'Ilyasviel von Einzbern'."
Tohsaka's body moves slightly as she seems to recognize that name.
Video: The Mad Giant (mirror)
She orders the strange shape behind her, as if she's singing.
Music: Clashing Souls
Saber runs. Her raincoat comes off and my vision is blocked for a second.
A great thunderous roar.
The crash of steel that almost tears the air results in defeat for Saber.
Saber doesn't have the time to dodge it and blocks it with her sword.
It does not matter if Saber's sword is invisible or not.
Each of Berserker's attacks is a fatal one that must be blocked with all her might.
Therefore, Saber has to stay on the defense.
For her, the only chance of victory is to find a means of attack in between Berserker's attacks.
That's only if Berserker leaves an opening.
The black rock sword is just like a storm.
With such a large body.
And with such a large sword, and yet Berserker is moving faster than Saber.
The attacks he sends out are just smashing swings with no technique to them.
If there is overwhelming power and speed, there is no room for technique.
Techniques are something humans invented to compensate for their weaknesses.
Weaknesses are things that giant doesn't have.
I murmur with my frozen body.
That thing cannot be defeated.
Saber will be killed if we go on like this.
So she should run away.
It would be easy for her to get away if it were just her here.
She should know that already !
"This is what happens, Larry! This is what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass!"
"No! My baby! I just bought that fucking car last week, man!"
Saber's body rises.
She manages to defend against Berserker's giant sword, even in a bad posture.
But that's only to avoid a fatal wound.
She couldn't brace herself to totally block the giant sword, and the impact blows her away.
She falls, her body drawing a big arc.
Before she falls on her back, Saber turns in mid-air and lands on her feet.
" Ugh !"
She manages to recover.
But red blood is running down her chest.
How stupid of me.
I was forgetting something important.
I don't know how much a Servant can fight in one day, but this is already her third battle.
And on top of that, Saber has the wound in her chest inflicted by Lancer.
Saber moves as if to protect her chest.
Berserker moves and slashes like a raging wind at the wounded Saber and
Receives many attacks on its back.
"Vier Stil Erschießung !"
I don't know what kind of magic it is, but Berserker's body explodes from Tohsaka's spell.
Judging from the magical energy given out, the magic directly hitting Berserker must be an impact close to that of a high-caliber pistol.
But even that is meaningless.
It doesn't even scratch Berserker's body.
He isn't nullifying magic like Saber.
It's just that the magic is not doing any damage.
But Tohsaka does not stop casting,
But Berserker ignores Tohsaka's spells and charges at Saber.
But your grammar is terrible.
Saber raises her head in pain.
She holds her sword up to still fight.
That gets my body to move again.
"No, run, Saber !"
I yell with all my might.
Saber's body sinks every time she blocks a blow, and she slowly approaches her final moment.
But still, where in that small frame does she have all that power?
Saber doesn't retreat.
She blocks the surging waves of the giant sword and tries to drive back Berserker with her willpower.
There is no chance of victory.
The way she's holding her ground looks bizarre, as she should know she will be defeated if she keeps fighting.
Maybe it sensed something in her posture.
But I didn't say anything about your mother.
The figure, silent up to now, roars.
In that pool of blood, with a body that should not be able to get back up
She stands up unconsciously.
It's as if
She is saying I would be killed if she didn't do so
Makes me realize how foolish my choice was.
"I definitely should've had the chicken."
"Hah, there's no way you would be able to beat him. My Berserker is the greatest hero of Greece."
" !? Greatest hero of Greece, you must mean"
"Actually, he's neither a devil nor a god. He's a half-god."
"I could've killed you at least five times over by now."
"He is the worst monster there is, on a different level from the heroes you guys can summon."
The girl who called herself Ilya narrows her eyes cheerfully.
Those are eyes of joy, about to finish off her enemies.
I don't even need to say who the ones getting killed are.
Saber will be killed right here.
Then what am I going to do?
Am I going to fight that monster in her place?
I can't do that.
Just approaching that thing without being prepared would stop my heart.