Part 306: Older brother and younger sister; punch ShinjiMusic: Footsteps of Destruction
"Hold on ! Didn't you join forces with me because you couldn't save people by yourself..!?"
Her words splash cold water onto my heated brain.
"I'm sorry. But Sakura's in danger. I know it's suicidal to go alone, but this is all I can do."
" I thought so. But I can't readily help you as long as Shinji is holding Sakura hostage.
But Emiya-kun. If you can manage to get Sakura back from Shinji, I can do the rest."
"You'll take care of Shinji?"
"No, I'm talking about Rider. Servants are ones who fight other Servants, right?
I'll be hiding, so do anything you can to save Sakura. If you can manage that, I'll save you no matter what, even if you are about to die in the next second."
Tohsaka sounds like she's trying to convince herself.
This is just going to increase the burden on her.
I'm fully aware of that. I got Tohsaka to help me, and now Tohsaka's trying to fulfill our promise.
That convinces me.
I'll rely on Tohsaka.
In return, I'm going to get Sakura back.
"All right. I'll leave the follow-up to you."
"Yeah. But that's under the condition that you're still alive to protect Sakura.
Even Archer can't protect Sakura while fighting Rider. It's meaningless to save Sakura at the cost of your life."
Unless the cost comes a second later, because then he can be saved, right?
The school building is deserted.
Thanks to the series of comas, the school closed early.
It's not even six o'clock, but there are no students or teachers to be seen.
"Can you tell where Shinji is, Tohsaka?"
" Knowing him, he's probably inside. I'm sure he's waiting in familiar territory on an upper floor."
That could only be one place.
Shinji is in the classroom on the third floor.
"I'll go ahead. You come later, Tohsaka."
" Okay. I'll go through the gate after ten minutes.
I didn't tell you, but a boundary field's set up here. I'll be found even if I hide my presence, so keep their attention so they don't notice me."
On the third floor hallway are a black Servant and Shinji, holding a knife at Sakura.
Music: Footsteps of Destruction
My mind explodes.
My feet start to move again.
"Stop. My Master will harm her if you take another step."
I slide to an abrupt halt.
My mouth hurts.
I'm gritting my teeth so hard that they're screaming.
"Yo. Just like I thought, you came flying over here. I knew you would come alone if I told you to."
My cool brain boils up once again.
My head shakes so much that I almost forget about the Servant in front of me.
" What is that?"
Why is he doing such a thing?
Sakura is Shinji's sister.
An older brother should protect his younger sister.
Family members should help each other and laugh together.
So why doesn't he understand?
Something I couldn't protect.
Why can't he understand how Sakura must feel to have her own brother holding a knife to her!?
"Of course. I'm using the last trump card because I'm serious. Why are you stupid even at a time like this?"
Before I know it, I'm running.
I can't stop until I get Sakura away from him.
Rider is blocking my way, protecting Shinji.
" I do not understand. Why did you come here?
In coming here, you showed you were willing to obey my Master. If you planned to fight, you should not have come alone."
I have to calm down.
Since I obeyed Shinji, I have to think only about saving Sakura and not defeating Shinji.
I take a deep breath and pull myself together.
Shinji is enjoying my dismay with Sakura in his arms.
Sakura hasn't raised her head since I arrived.
She's not unconscious.
She's standing unassisted.
Her head is down because she doesn't want to raise it.
"Shinji. Did you tell her about us?"
I glare at him, unable to hide my anger.
"Oh. Oh, I see!
Yeah, don't worry, Emiya. Since you wouldn't tell her, I told her everything! I told her we're both Masters and tried to kill each other!"
"Did you want to hide that from her? Are you stupid? Of course she'll find out! She knew you were hiding something, but she couldn't ask you because she's just your underclassman!"
He presses the blade against Sakura's cheek.
Sakura looks away, but grits her teeth so that she won't raise her face.
"Come on, don't be reserved and ask. Emiya won't hide anything now. See, it's your wish come true!"
She doesn't reply.
With her head down
I told you to ask him. I'm telling you to ask him what he thinks of you and if he hates you after finding out that you're a dirty woman of Matou!"
Her figure looks like she's apologizing to me, and I can't contain myself anymore.
"It's fine now, right? I came here, just like I promised. Let Sakura go."
"What? I didn't promise you anything. I gave you a command.
I just said I wouldn't do anything to Sakura if you came alone."
"Don't glare so much, Emiya. I'm not a devil. I'm glad that you want to save my sister. I'll meet your sincerity if you act accordingly. I can send Sakura home once we're done.
"I seeis that a promise, Shinji?"
"Yeah. I'll let Sakura go if you do as I say.
This is a promise. I swear."
"All right. So, what do you want me to do? Do you want me to get on my knees and beg?"
"Nope. What's the fun in making a guy beg? I brought you here to fight. I told you we're settling our match."
There's no enmity or intent to kill.
Rider steps forward to obey her Master.
"But it's boring to just fight, right? It's not fair since I'm not a magus, and it's obvious that I'll win in a fight.
So to be fair, I'll have her fight you."
Fight Rider empty-handed, huh?
That's like telling me to die.
"I won't take your life. I've told Rider to go easy on you.
Well, I'm sure you'll be a nuisance if you keep running around after today, so I'll have her break your limbs."
Rider is not holding her dagger.
It seems she really is going to go easy on me.
Oh, but don't go down too soon, okay? If you faint before I'm satisfied, I'll have Sakura take the rest."
Rider comes closer.
Three more steps.
Then I'll be within her reach.
" Heh. Don't resist, but don't go down easily?
You're contradicting yourself. What do you want, Shinji?"
Rider springs forward.
I raise both my arms in preparation for her attack.
At that instant
An impact that almost blows the bones away with it pierces my right arm.
She aimed at my arm that was guarding my face.
My arm is still attached.
But it's numb and I don't feel anything.
She beats me relentlessly, just as Shinji ordered.
Her movements remind me of a machine.
What is Rider thinking?
Even though my arms are an easy target, she ignores them.
She only hits my exposed chest and stomach.
They are agonizing blows, but aren't as strong as the attacks that numbed my arms.
With the strength Rider showed at the Ryudou Temple, a single blow should be enough to tear me in half.
Is she going easy like Shinji said?
Well, she is going easy on me by not aiming at my face, but even with that in mind, something's not right.
In short, her power is way too different.
A Servant's power is in direct proportion to the magical energy you can feel from them.
Rider was a strong Servant back at the Ryudou Temple.
But the Rider before me now is the Rider that was defeated at the park.
I don't know what happened, but if that's the case, I still have a chance to outwit Shinji!
I fall forward.
Rider steps back and watches.
I grab Rider's arm and force myself up.
Ahaha, you're hilarious!"
Damn, that hurts. My head is spinning, even though she didn't hit me there
"But, well This is a third-rate show. Even if we continue, it'll just be more of the same. I'm getting bored, so let's finish it off with an exciting knockout scene."
Are you stupid? What's the same about this?
We're standing in a different position now.
Hasn't he noticed that I switched positions with Rider when I pulled myself up using her arm?
Video: Punch Shinji (mirror)
"There are about five more meters. Your patience has won out."
I raise my head.
What did Rider just say?
"Enough resting. Start the second round, Emiya."
Rider shakes off my hand.
The black Servant resumes her attacks with the artificiality of a machine.
My body is numb.
I'm bruised everywhere I got hit, and I don't feel pain anymore.
It's because the pain from within is worse than her attacks.
Rider has attacked me to destroy my body.
The black Servant closes the distance with an emotionless voice.
And in that moment, I am certain.
This isn't part of Shinji's plan.
Rider's decision not to go for my head,
and that I can still move my body
It's not because Shinji ordered her to go easy on me, but
I hear a scream and a delighted laugh as I fly through the air.
Sakura's voice is close.
Under normal circumstances, I would've hit the floor and died.
The impact of the fall doesn't matter.
It's an attack strong enough to blow a human away.
It wouldn't be surprising if the strike blew a hole in my chest.
But I'm alive.
Anyone can jump back if the timing is set so perfectly.
That attack wasn't meant to kill me.
She's kept me conscious and mobile, not because of Shinji's order, butof her own free will.
The range is perfect.
I turn my body right before I hit the ground, straighten myself instantly,
and grab the knife in front of me with my left hand.
I catch it by the blade.
I don't care about it digging into my hand because it's numb.