Part 274: Winter castle - Ilya (II)
"Saber and Sakura are "
They're doing the dishes together.
If I tell them I'm going out, they'll either stop me or insist on coming along.
If I'm going to go see Ilya, I should do it alone.
I feel bad, but I'll just leave a note and sneak out
Music: Surrounded by Smiling Faces
" Well, I don't know what I'd talk about even if she were here."
I sit on the bench.
Setting the grocery bag down, I look up at the dark sky.
It seems the gift I bought at the shopping district went to waste.
I can see my breath.
The cold, dry air is freezing, and I wouldn't be surprised even if it started snowing.
My legs freeze.
They won't move.
They don't even budge, no matter how hard I try
Music: Footsteps of Destruction
My vision blurs.
No, that's an understatement.
My vision is broken.
My eyes have bulged into my skull, and I have no sense of distance.
I realize that I'm in the worst situation possible.
It feels like my body has been turned into stone.
My nerves are disconnected, leaving me detached from the world.
It's like I'm watching the world through a camera, controlling myself in a video game.
I'll be killed.
It was a mistake to go outside alone.
I can't even see my attacker's face, let alone move, and
"Did I surprise you?
You were completely defenseless, so I had to tease you."
Um, I'm being teased by this mischievous girl?
Music: Madder Red Town
She appears from behind me.
She's smiling, probably because she was already here and was watching me from behind.
"But you're no good if you can't dispel magic using your own powers. Your future looks gloomy if outside factors are the only things that can dispel you."
She lectures me.
But her words aren't coming into my brain.
"Ilya! What are you doing!? Surprise attacks are unfair, even if we're both Masters!"
"Hey, that wasn't a surprise attack. I was sitting next to you for a while. But you didn't notice me, and then you made it worse by getting ready to leave. That was your own fault, Shirou."
" !? Y-You were sitting next to me this whole time?"
"Yeah, I was hiding a bit. But you're too careless. You didn't notice my presence, and you were captivated by a spell that merely uses direct magical energy contact. You're a Master, so you should keep a better watch on your surroundings."
Ilya warns me, utterly amazed.
"Ohyeah. You're right."
She seems so much like a teacher that I find myself nodding.
So, what's going on today? You're empty inside right now, but you don't have Saber with you. If you're trying to rest, wouldn't it be safer to do it at home?"
"Right? I couldn't leave you alone because you seemed so odd. I wasn't supposed to talk to you after yesterday, but I'll make an exception for today."
Ilya's saying something strange.
After all, I came to this park because
"So, why were you just sitting here?
You would've been dead if I came here as a Master."
"Well, I just came here to see you.
You told me yesterday that we could meet again."
"Why ? You came to see me, even though I told you I'll be trying to kill you?"
"That's your choice. It's not mine. I just want to talk to you, not fight. And in any case"
Ilya said she'd kill me, but she just let a chance go by.
She could've really done it if she'd kept her spell on me.
As she didn't do so, I don't want to fight her.
"Masters don't fight during daytime, right?
Then let's forget about it for now. I just came here to see you. Do you want to kill me more than you want to talk with me?"
Ilya hangs her head and mumbles.
She looks serious, like she's actually suffering rather than just being troubled.
" I see. Then I don't care. I won't ask you to choose one."
"Oh B-But I "
"I know. But since we're both here, let's talk.
I brought a gift for you today, so we'll fight some other time."
I take out a bag of taiyaki.
They cooled off while I was waiting for Ilya, but they're still a bit warm.
Ilya hesitates, but then takes them and nods.
Ilya looks happy just to be talking.
She is sitting on the bench, eating the taiyaki, and swinging her legs.
She looks like a child waiting for her father's return.
"I see. So you didn't come to this town by yourself?"
"No, I came with Sella and Leysritt. I don't need people to keep an eye on me, but I do need people to take care of my place, right?"
So Ilya came to Japan with two maids.
Are they staying at a hotel or something?
"Eh yeah, I'm curious. You keep popping up at unexpected times, but what would I do if an emergency happens and I don't know where you live?"
Even if she gets injured and asks me for help, I won't be able to if I don't know that.
I'll rest a little easier if I know where she lives
"All right. You're special. If you want to know that badly, I'll tell you."
Ilya stands up and places her hand on my forehead.
Under that kind of pressure, I can only nod obediently.
"That's a good boy. Then close your eyes. And don't look around too much, okay? Even though I'm transferring you, you'll get motion sickness because the view is someone else's."
Music: Midnight Interval
I'm a wall now.
I can sense my limbs, but there are no limbs for me to move. I have a body that can move at will, yet I can't move it.
"Leysritt. I cannot find Ilyasviel-sama. Do you know where she may be?"
" No. Ilya should be somewhere."
Gah. Even the portraits don't really help to keep them straight.
"Leysritt. Please do not refer to our lady so crudely. Ilyasviel-sama is not like us. Have you forgotten our mission?"
"Sella is Ilya's teacher. I'm to dress Ilya with Heavens Feel, the third dress."
"Correct. It seems even your poor memory can retain that."
" I didn't forget. But Ilya hates wearing that. So I don't like it."
" I understand that as well. But we need her to wear it when the time comes. We were made for that purpose.
She must be prepared as well."
"What is it, Leysritt?"
" Don't you get tired?"
"Not at all!"
I hear two identical maids talking.
When I realize those two are the maids Ilya was talking about
Music: Surrounded by Smiling Faces
I hold my mouth and bear my nausea.
I feel sick, suddenly feeling the realism of my body.
"There's a nerve going from your eyes to your brain, right? I connected that nerve to something other than your eyes.
You were getting information from the trees in my forest instead of your eyes."
" Hm. So it's not that I became the tree, but I received their vision and mistakenly thought I was one?"
"Oh, I thought you were dense, but you're actually pretty bright.
Yes, that's right. That was magic to change the input while leaving the equipment called human alone.
It's a big deal to change someone into a tree, but it's still in the realms of magic to connect one's consciousness to a tree. Far-sight and possession are an application of this magic."
" I see. But that's pretty impressive stuff. I couldn't do anything when you transferred me to the tree. Couldn't you also use it to nullify your opponent?"
"Yes. Our specialty is in flow and transfer of power.
For example, Tohsaka magi can transfer their magical energy into jewels without diluting its purity. Using that same technique, they can also transfer someone's consciousness.
If there's an enemy they want to seal, they can nullify him by transferring his consciousness into a jewel or an immobile doll."
"But the success rate of transferring someone's consciousness is so low that even we, the ones specialized in transfer, won't use it as an attack."
"And your consciousness will be forced to return if the original body is stimulated in any way.
The body will call its consciousness back when it senses danger, even if the consciousness is unaware."
"That's what happened to you just now.
You couldn't do anything when your mind was in the tree, but your body called you back when I shook it."
" Hm. So this is something like a dream?"
You can never wake up from a dream, no matter how hard you try.
Dreams usually end when morning comeswhen the body wakes up out of habit.
"Hmm, it's a bit different. You can wake up from a dream using your will.
But that's why transferral is not fit for offense. It's more for self-protection."
"If you transfer your consciousness to your familiar or a doll that can move, you can safely pursue magic."
" So your consciousness just returns to your original body even if an enemy destroys your familiar?"
In cases like this, you need to watch out when you transfer into a familiar with its own soul."
"When you transfer your consciousness into something with a proper chain of command, the initiative is completely held by them."
"So even if you transfer into humans or animals, you can only occupy a corner of their brain and observe what they see. They will serve as a camera, not a remote-controlled robot."
"Moving your consciousness into a living thing with its own will is more like reincarnation than transfer.
That alone is a great magic, so no ordinary magus would be able to do it."
Magic to create an offspring with your soul in it after you die.
Some magi have achieved that goal, but I hear that reproducing a soul is difficult.
Even if you start over from the moment of birth, if you cannot inherit all the power of your previous self, you are a copy, not a reincarnation.
A copy is degraded by its very nature.
Therefore, a copied magus is inferior to his previous self.
"If you want to transfer yourself into a living thing, you can make a familiar without a soul.
But the soulless familiars used today are weak. It's just like controlling a doll filled with cotton.
They're only useful as messengers."
"The only eternal things in this physical world are souls.
But nobody can keep souls by themselves. A soul cannot stay in this world without a body, and it will be destined with 'eventual death' once it obtains a body.
Well, it just means that's the limit of magic by Einzbern and Tohsaka."
Ilya nods and walks to the middle of the park.
As if she knows I'm going to refuse.
I don't even need to answer.
"Of course I'll come tomorrow. You showed me your house, so it's my turn next."
"Okay! Then I'll be sure to call out to you first tomorrow!"