Part 290: Sakura complains / Challenging the shadow
I sit up and stretch.
I feel great.
My limbs move fine, and I don't have a headache.
My body is in perfect condition, as if the fever yesterday never happened.
" Then that must mean it was just heartburn."
I sigh and think it over.
I need more training if I'm losing consciousness just by recalling the events ten years ago.
My memory is vague, but I do remember Saber helping me walk home and putting me to sleep.
"I see. I have to go thank her."
I get out of my futon and change into my uniform.
Music: In the Sunlight
Breakfast is ready as well.
The table is wiped clean, ready for us to eat at any time.
"Huh? Breakfast's already prepared?"
"Oh, yes. I made some for you and Saber-san, since I had the time."
" ? For me and Saber? What about you?"
"Oh um, I'm fine. I'm going to school, so please have breakfast with just the two of you."
What's wrong, Sakura? It's weird for you not to eat when you've made some for us. Did something happen yesterday?"
It seems like I guessed right.
But nothing happened yesterday.
Sakura went to her room after dinner, and that's all.
I think something happened after that, but I don't remember too well because of my nausea.
You mean heartburn. It was so bad, you forgot everything that happened while you had it.
" Oh. I think you and Saber were talking here. I didn't hear it too well, but did something happen then?"
" I said something awful. I got angry because of the terrible condition you were in."
"You said something awful to Saber ?"
I can't face her today, so "
That's why she made breakfast and wants to leave before Saber wakes up?
" I'm sorry, Senpai. I realized my foolishness right away and apologized to her. But Saber-san apologized to me instead. Even though I'm at fault, she said it's because of her carelessness."
She hangs her head.
She must feel more self-hatred because Saber apologized to her when she should be the one apologizing.
" Man, you two are stupid. It's my fault since I'm the one who got hurt. You two shouldn't have fought over such a thing."
"But, Senpai, I "
"It's fine. Look, she doesn't give in if the other person is at fault. She'll yell back at you if you're being unreasonable. If she's apologizing, it means she sees your point.
I'm sure Saber won't say it, but she likes you. She cares for anyone that tries hard."
"Yes. But I should reserve myself all the more.
Since Saber-san didn't scold me, I have to scold myself or I'll get carried away."
Sakura bows to hide her embarrassment.
It seems she's going to school early no matter what.
" Man. I won't stop you if you say so, but what are you going to do at school so early? Morning practice is suspended right now."
Sakura leaves with a goodbye.
"Cleaning the dojo? But that's pretty hard on you to scrub the floor during wintertime."
Well, I suppose that's the point.
What did she say to Saber to make her go so far?
"Huh? Didn't you two argue? Sakura was apologizing."
" Now that you mention it, it may have seemed that way. But Sakura was correct, and she merely pointed out my lack of consideration "
Saber is deep in thought.
Not only that, she's pondering so much that she's eating at incredible speed.
Or she's just really focused on eating.
"Oh, I'm sorry if I said something weird. Sakura seemed so worried about it that I ended up worried too. If it's not a big deal, just forget about it."
" Geez. You and Sakura are saying the same thing. Do not tell me you two are playing a prank on me."
"Hey, we wouldn't play such an elaborate prank on you! What good would that be for us?"
I don't even want to think of what'd happen if I did play a joke on her and she found out about it.
Nodding to herself, Saber digs into another omelet.
It's good to be able to eat a lot in the morning.
"But what did Sakura say? It takes a lot to get her that depressed. Is it all right if I ask?"
"U-Um. She merely pointed out my inadequacy as a Servant. In short, she told me I could not protect you because I did not have the skill."
" You're doing more than I can ask.
What happened last night was my own fault. You can't blame yourself for it."
"That is true, but Sakura's criticism is correct. The problem is me, because I cannot assent.
I will continue taking you into battle, no matter what she tells me."
She looks away awkwardly.
Something is strange.
Why is Saber so preoccupied with something that they've agreed on?
The news is on.
I turned on the TV and found it broadcasting about an incident last night.
" They found over thirty unconscious people, who were immediately taken to the hospital.
This is the seventh such incident this month, and the medical examination still believes the cause to be similar to food poisoning"
Maybe it's food poisoning that gives you terrible heartburn.
I finish breakfast and get ready for school.
I'm going to go see Tohsaka.
I have to talk to her about what happened last nightabout Matou Zouken and that black shadow.
" As the incident has spread to South Miyama 4th Avenue, the police believe the cause may be a spreading chemical spill"
South Miyama 4th Avenue.
That's the direction Tohsaka was staring at yesterday.
Archer said the shadow is the cause of the incidents.
I've experienced what they're going through firsthand.
That shadow is sucking magical energy from the people in this town, just like Caster.
No, it's worse than that.
Caster was gentle and considerate compared to that thing.
Caster took care not to harm her victims, so that she could continue to drain them.
It's like collecting blood with a syringe.
But that thing is different.
That thing was not collecting blood like Caster. That thing was "eating".
The black shadow was mercilessly feeding on magical energy along with people's minds.
"Saber. I want to talk to you before I go to school."
"What is it, Shirou?"
Saber is watching the news as well.
Saber quietly questions me like always, even though she should know what I want to talk about.
Music: Midnight Interval
"It's about our future plan of action. You saw that thing too, right?"
"Yes. I have never seen its like, not resembling any of the fantasy race."
" Right. I don't know what that thing is.
But it's our enemy. It didn't look like a Master or a Servant, but it attacked me and Tohsaka, and now it's sucking magical energy out of the people in town.
" So our current priority is searching for that shadow?
We are to fight something that is neither a Master nor a Servant?"
Saber's stare is painful.
Her goal is to obtain the Holy Grail.
But I'm asking her to get involved in something completely unrelated.
It's natural for her to protest.
"Yes. I can't ignore that shadow. I think this is more important than the Holy Grail War."
Saber silently stares at me.
And when I start to think I can't bear it any longer
"Eh, Saber ? Um, is it all right ?"
"My opinion does not matter, because you will try to do something by yourself even if I refuse.
I will be putting the cart before the horse. I cannot stay in this world if you die.
I can only obey, even if I am against your proposal."
"Uh, you're right, but "
"And I do not know how many more times you will be reckless if I leave you by yourself. It was the second time last night, so the third will certainly happen. I will have to apologize to Sakura again if that happens."
"I am very reluctant, but Servants obey their Masters. I will lend you my sword if that is your decision."
"But Shirou, that shadow is no ordinary opponent. It would be easier to fight Berserker than it."
Just stock up on rolaids and it'll be fine.
"Ugh Yeah, I felt that too.
It's not a matter of it being strong or not. That thing is just ominous. I don't think we can beat it merely by striking it."
"If you understand, then there is nothing else to say.
But Shirou. To oppose that thing is to go down the most difficult path. Please keep that in mind."
" ? Well, of course I'll be careful. But why are you saying such a thing? Do you know what that shadow is, like Archer does?"
Saber looks away.
And Saber says