Part 280: Interval / Tohsaka Rin (II)Music: Time Together
"We still have time. It's been a while since we had a morning where we could take it easy."
Sakura is walking happily besides me.
I don't know why, but she's in a good mood.
"This is normal for me, but I guess it has been a while since I went to school with you."
"Yes. The archery club practices every morning."
"But participation isn't required, right? Most people only go once every two days, so you should skip once in a while."
"What? U-Um, would you walk to school with me if I skipped practice?"
" ? Of course. We're going to the same place, so we'll be walking together either way."
No, I can't do that. I'm not that good, so I can't afford to skip a day of practice."
Sakura sticks her tongue out at herself.
" ? Are you sure about that? Not to speak ill of anyone, but you're the best in your grade. You have great form, so I don't think there'll be any trouble, even if you skip a day or two."
"No, I'm still inexperienced. My thoughts trail off if I let my guard down, and I often don't see the target.
I'm lazy at heart, so I tend to slack off unless I push myself to train a little every day."
If that's how she feels, who am I to disagree?
"I'll see you later, Senpai."
"Yeah. Don't fall asleep during class. People tend to get sleepy when they're full."
"Ahaha, you don't need to worry. I'm not full anymore."
Sakura goes up the stairs.
I wave goodbye to her and head to my classroom.
But the number of absentees shouldn't get any higher, at least.
The Servant that was sucking the life force out of people in this town has been eliminated.
There should be no more unexplained comas.
"Yeah. The people Caster harmed will get well and come back soon."
I pull myself together.
There are four Masters remaining.
Two, if you don't count Tohsaka and Ilya. I can't let my guard down until I know what kind of people they are.
He's thinking of Assassin's and Lancer's masters here, not knowing both servants are dead.
We speak out in unison.
I bump into Tohsaka the instant I go out into the hallway.
"Hey, what do you mean, 'oh'? Isn't that a rude thing to say? Or do you have a guilty conscience?"
"Hey, the same goes for you, you were surprised too.
And what was up with the phone call last night? You were being selfish, telling me not to come and to come."
"Well Yesterday was an exception. You skipped school the day after the Master at Ryudou Temple disappeared. Of course I thought something happened to you.
Um, I told you about the Ryudou Temple, so it'd trouble me if something happened to you."
Did Tohsaka feel responsible because she told me about it?
"I see. Thanks, Tohsaka. You were worried about me, right?"
"T-That's not true! I just want to know the details of what happened, since I gave you the information!"
"Huh? But I told you over the phone yesterday, right? Both Caster and her Master are defeated. There's nothing at the Ryudou Temple anymore."
Tohsaka looks serious all of a sudden.
"What's wrong, Tohsaka? Did I say something weird?"
"Yes, you did. It's not that I don't trust you, but let me confirm. You're absolutely certain that you defeated Caster?"
" Humph. Even I could tell that.
Saber completely eliminated Caster. Caster's Master is"
He was already dead when we got there.
" All right. There's something I want to talk about regarding that. Can you come to the rooftop?"
Music: Surrounded by Smiling Faces
But the coma incidents happened again yesterday.
The people who had their magical energy sucked out yesterday are in a worse coma than before."
"No way. We definitely "
"I know. You wouldn't lie, and I don't think you made a misunderstanding. But Archer and I saw a shadow that looked like Caster when we went to the scene of the crime yesterday."
" I see. Then Caster's still alive and collecting magical energy from all over town?"
" I'm not certain, but it seems so. But I can tell that the atmosphere at the Ryudou Temple has changed.
You two defeated Caster. But she still exists. That's all I'm sure of right now."
Tohsaka looks unhappy.
This explains why she feels different from yesterday.
Tohsaka is probably getting doubts about this war.
A Servant disappears if its Master is defeated.
A Servant cannot avoid death in this world if it is completely defeated.
But Caster still exists, in spite of taking both these penalties.
She is a "violation" that completely overthrows the fundamentals of the Holy Grail War.
"I see. So, what do you think?"
"Yeah. You think it's strange, right?
I don't think you'll forfeit from the Holy Grail War. But don't you want to clear up this thing about Caster before you start fighting for the Holy Grail? You want to put off fighting other Masters until after that, right?"
This Holy Grail War is suspicious. It seems different from the one I heard about from my dad. I think there's something different going on where we can't see it."
I don't have the liberty to think about such a thing because the Holy Grail War itself is beyond my comprehension.
But if a legitimate Master like Tohsaka feels that way, it must be true.
"Then Tohsaka "
"Yes. I won't follow the rules of the Holy Grail War until I'm convinced. It can't be helped if I'm being used, but I don't like not knowing the harm I may be imposing on others.
You don't like such a thing, right? So I'm not going to be fighting other Masters until I get this cleared up."
She declares her stance.
Tohsaka's eyes show her determination, and it seems to be asking for my stance.
"I see. Can I take that as a truce offer?"
"If you would accept it. If you won't fight me until this case is settled, I won't hurt you either."
Tohsaka asks me silently with her eyes.
She doesn't even need to ask.
"That's my line. I won't fight you as long as you don't come attacking me.
And even if there comes a time when we do fight, it'll be fair and square. Until then"
I want to cooperate with Tohsaka.
"Then it's decided. I expected you to agree, but I'm glad to hear it all the same."
Tohsaka holds out her right hand.
I realize that she's wanting to shake hands, and
"Y-Yeah. P-Please give me your best regards."
I try to suppress my face from turning red as I shake her hand.
Tohsaka firmly shakes my hand.
Her hand is soft, much more delicate than mine.
Just when you thought you could forget.
I-I'M AN IDIOT!!! WHAT THE HELL AM I THINKING AT A TIME LIKE THIS!!!!?
Music: Time Together
" !? N-No, it's nothing, I just have a cold. I'll get well if I eat! I'll get better if I eat, so let's eat lunch!"
I quickly let go of Tohsaka's hand.
Tohsaka's expression turns wicked.
"Ohhhh. I suspected it when we last met, but it looks like my hunch was correct. You seemed like you had some experience, but you actually don't, huh?
It's surprising, or should I say it's just as I expected?
I see, I see. I seeeeee."
Tohsaka Rin stares at me from head to toe.
"W-What? Come out and say it if you want to say something. I-It's not good to stay quiet!"
"Noooothing. Don't worry. It's just that I just figured out a bit more about you. Oh, I won't say it, so you don't have to be frightened."
" ! I-I'm not frightened! Go ahead and say it if you want to!"
"Oh, can I?"
Manhow can such an evil smile exist in this world?
" I'm sorry. Please don't mention it. I think it'll be shocking if I hear it. I think I'll suffer more damage if I hear it from you."
"Really? Then I guess I won't say it"
Tohsaka withdraws with an expression of victory.
And the instant I regain my peace of mind
"You're the type that masturbates to the girl you like, right?"
"Hey, you said it, you devil!!!"