Part 31: Contract established / Saber (I)
Music: Gentle Everyday
"All right. I'll take that offer, Tohsaka. Honestly, it will really help me out if you do so."
"Then it's decided. Let's shake hands. For now, let's stay allies until we beat Berserker."
"Oh I see. That's how it'll be, huh? I guess it can't be helped, but that's easier to understand."
I shake her hand.
I'm a bit perplexed.
The instant I feel Tohsaka's soft hand, I realize she is a girl.
He wouldn't be an H-game protagonist if he didn't blow a load in his pants every time a girl so much as looked at him funny.
In comparison, my hand covered in scratches from messing around with stuff is ill-suited.
The instant I think so, I pull back, embarrassed.
"What? You don't want to cooperate with me after all?"
"No, it's not that. It's a real help to be able to ally with you. It's not that, so don't worry about it."
She makes a malicious expression.
"W-What? I'll take back the agreement if you say something stupid. I will. I really will!"
"Was that the first time you've held a girl's hand?
You seem to have lots of friends, but you're actually shy, Shirou."
"N-No! It's not that, but "
I'm just embarrassed because it was Tohsaka but I can never say such a thing, and certainly I have never touched a girl so strongly before.
Well, Fuji-Nee is an exception.
She's more like someone from a different planet than from a different sex.
"Hey, hold on."
Wasn't there something weird in what she just said ?
"Ahaha, you really do show you feelings on your face like I've heard. Well, I won't ask you about it for now. It'll be a problem if I poke fun at you and you get sulky."
"Then here's a deposit. I'll give you this, so think of it as proof of our alliance."
Tohsaka puts a book on the table.
It looks just like a diary.
There's no title and it is wine-red.
The color seems to suit Tohsaka.
"It's my father's, but I'll give it to you since I don't need it anymore. It's not something a full Master needs, but I thought you might need it."
Tohsaka's eyes tell me to take a look.
" Then excuse me."
I open it to a random page.
There's nothing written in the book, but a strange image pops into my head.
Music: Whirlpool of Fate 2
"It's the status of each of the Servants. You already know the Holy Grail War has its set of rules, right? It's the same for the Servants."
Those seven can be summoned only after they become one of the predetermined classes that the Holy Grail has prepared in advance. Instead of bringing the actual heroic spirit, it made a class similar to the spirit and called it into that."
"Spiritual spells which call forth spirits put the spirit in the caster's body, right? It's like that.
To call forth a spirit from a different timeframe, it's easier to prepare a case for them in advance."
"Class oh, that's why Saber is Saber!"
"That's right. I told you, heroic spirits need to hide their identity, right? That's why they will never say their real names. Naturally, their summoned class becomes their name."
"There is a change in one or two of the classes every Holy Grail War, but we have a basic lineup this time. The standard opinion is that Saber is the best Servant.
Each class has their own special characteristics, but the abilities of the Servants differ according to the rank of the heroic spirit summoned."
"Rank of the heroic spirits you mean how strong they were when they were alive?"
What they did and what weapons they had do not change, but their basic abilities change depending on how famous they are in this time.
Heroic spirits are like gods, so they grow stronger the more people worship them."
"I guess you can say it solidifies their presence. It's the same as divine spirits falling to the rank of spirits when they lose their faith. Heroes that are forgotten by the people do not have much power.
But then, even if they are forgotten or unknown, if he was originally a powerful hero, then I think he can keep his powers to some extent."
" Then if it's a hero everyone knows, and if their story was extraordinary"
"They would undoubtedly be a Rank A Servant.
Berserker might be the strongest in that regard too.
After all, he is the most famous hero in Greek mythology.
The heroes from the age of gods have special Noble Phantasms just because of that, and if the hero itself is strong to add to that, there's nothing much we can do."
" Tohsaka. Um, what is this 'Noble Phantasm'?"
"It's the symbol that the Servant used in their life. Heroes and their holy swords or demonic swords come as a set, right? So in other words, their weapons."
" ? Weapons you mean like Saber's invisible sword?"
"Yeah. I don't know what history it has, but it certainly is her Noble Phantasm.
I don't think I even need to say, but heroes cannot stay in a legend with just their names.
They each have a weapon that became their trademark.
That is the most powerful weapon, called a Noble Phantasm, the crystallization of people's desire for a miracle."
"Hmm so in short, a powerful magical item?"
"Right. To be blunt, heroes themselves cannot match powerful spells or divine mysteries.
But it's a different story when the Noble Phantasms come in.
Heroes wielding Noble Phantasms can even defeat spirits of several ranks higher.
It's because most holy and demonic swords appearing in legends are close to the level of sorcery."
"Swords that kill dragons which are the most powerful fantasia race, shoes that run far and wide, and even god-killing demonic swords.
Anyways, the weapons heroes have are so extraordinary, it makes you wonder how they cannot be all-mighty.
I'm not overstating saying that the battle between Servants is concentrated in the battle between the Noble Phantasms."
" So, Servants that are heroic spirits have at least one Noble Phantasm?"
Usually something like a sword or a spear. There's this weapon called the mountain-destroying sword in China, right? You can only swing it once, but it's a magical sword so one swing will even destroy a mountain and such. I think it's kind of like that."
"However, Noble Phantasms are miracles that need to be activated by stating their true name, so it's not something they can use easily."
" ? It's activated just by saying the weapon's name, right? Why would that mean it can't be used easily?"
"Hey now, if you know the name of the weapon, you can also tell which hero the Servant is.
A hero and his weapon come as a set, so once you know the name of the weapon, you naturally know the name of the owner. If that happens, you know every strength and weakness of that Servant."
Saber did work out Lancer's identity after he used his Noble Phantasm.
Something like being Ireland's child of light
So, if I summarize this
Servants are separated into classes, each of them a heroic spirit suited to their class.
These heroic spirits hide their identity.
And their weapons are their greatest trump card, but they cannot readily use them since they reveal their identity.
You should learn the details if you read that book, so take a look at it when you have time. If you get used to it, you should be able to identify the Servant from intuition without the book."
Saying that, Tohsaka stands up.
"Huh? Yeah, thanks."
I look up at Tohsaka, who's about to leave.
"Don't take this the wrong way. Even though we're cooperating right now, in our position, we will eventually have to fight. Once all the other Masters are dead, or even if they are alive, this fact will not change.
Soit'll be easier if you don't think of me as human, Emiya-kun."
The clock ticks in the silent living room.
" A fight between Masters, huh?"
I still don't understand what it is.
The only thing I'm sure of is that it's beyond me.
It would feel more real if I had more interest in the Holy Grail
"Why, I wonder? All I feel toward the Holy Grail is disgust."
A grail said to make wishes come true.
I don't know what kind of a thing it is, but it's an artifact that can even summon these things called Servants.
It might not go as far as granting any wish, but it should have more than enough value for any magus to want it.
But stillI'm not interested in it.
It's true that I'm dubious about its reality, but accepting that easy way to reach a goal feels like cheating myself.
"And the worst aspect of this thing is that the selection method is a battle."
But this is a fight for a single chair.
It's musical chairs... TO THE DEATH!
No matter what your expectations are, as long as you enter it, you can't survive unless you defeat your enemies.
And depending on your methods, defeating other Masters might result in harm to innocent people.
Rejoice, Emiya Shirou.
My reason for fighting is not to win the Holy Grail War.
Your wish will finally come true.
It is to stop those that would try to win it by any means possible.
Because I was almost killed three times in a day.
If someone weak joins a battle, it's natural for him to get hurt.
As compensation for my lack of strength, I almost lost my body
And she was wounded protecting me.
Get used to seeing this picture. It could almost be a second betting pool. We're already at twice if we count the original, with at least half a dozen to go. It's kind of like the Fate path's "Chiiiiiiiiirp. Chirp Chirp."
I get up.
Music: Whirlpool of Fate 2
"Tohsaka didn't say the most important thing !"
I pull my resting body together and stand up.
Tohsaka didn't say anything about Saber.
She said she and Saber brought me here, but she said nothing more.
The fact I need to know most: if she, the one wounded by Berserker, is all right or not.
"That's weird she's in that outfit, so you'd think it'd be easy to find her."
There's no sign of the brave armor-clad Saber anywhere around the house.
Tohsaka said Servants can become spirits, but I can't do that.
No, first of all
"They say I'm a Master, but just how am I a Master?"
I don't understand who she is nor how she exists.
This is like a new soldier being given a tank.
"That's right. Even if you give a guy that has only used old guns a brand new weapon, he won't know how to use it."
Well, the lucky thing is, this tank has an auto-pilot function. Even if the driver is terrible, the tank will fight on its own.
Angry at my thoughts, I hit my head against the wall.
I bet he does that a lot.
" How rotten of me, idiot. That was such an impolite complaint."
I apologize to the blond-haired girl in my head.
Now, I feel like I have to find her and confirm her safety.
"The yard, the shed, or"
There are several possibilities, but I don't even consider the possibility that she's not here anymore.
She said she would protect me.
So I don't think she would leave this place.
"She must be there."
I head to the dojo, separated from the main building.
I'm a bit tense.
If she's not here, I will have to admit that she is gone.
That makes me realize.
The inconsistency even though I know nothing about her, I want her to stay.
She is sitting there naturally.
A space filled with tranquility.
The sunlight shining in is white, and it makes her and the dojo into one.
I can see nothing amiss in her dignified posture.
Just by sitting there, she stiffens the air in the dojo.
But there's nothing cold about it.
It's because her figure is so pure, it makes me forget even about the cold winter air.
Even the sound of my breath is a nuisance.
The girl, sitting Japanese-style in the corner of the dojo, is definitely the girl from last night.
The girl who appeared just before I was killed by Lancer, and the girl that mercilessly slashed him with her sword.
Her golden hair, that was reflecting the blue moonlight, is now one with the warm sunlight.
That really makes me remember.
This is exactly what I felt when I first saw her.
The girl clad in armor, slashing her sword to silently overwhelm her opponent,
I wasn't surprised by how out-of-world that scene was.
It doesn't matter what she's wearing. It probably wouldn't change even if she was covered in mud.
WOOOO! MUD WRESTLING TIME!
The girl that moved me deeply is still in front of me.
That is why I forget even to breathe and continue to stare at her.
Forgetting about Masters, the Holy Grail War and everything.
In this instantI have completely accepted Saber.
I walk towards her, still not knowing what to say.
Music: In the Sunlight
A calm voice.
Her voice, echoing through the dojo as if permeating it, is surprisingly suited to this place.
"YYeah. I just got up."
I answer with a dull head.
The golden-haired girl approaches me.
"Uh, n-no ! I'm feeling really good !"
I quickly step back to get away from Saber.
Looking away from Saber, who is tilting her head questioningly, I calm down my pounding heart.
" Calm down. What am I so tense about!?"
I take a deep breath.
But it doesn't seem to die down quickly. In fact, I don't think it ever will.
" Geez, why has she changed ?"
I complain without meaning to.
Saber's clothes have changed dramatically since yesterday.
She's wearing normal clothes, completely unlike her armor.
It's rather unexpected and I'm troubled by it.
She is terribly beautiful.
I thought I figured that out yesterday, but it really hits me now.
Perhaps her armor looked so surreal that I didn't notice yesterday.
But if she dresses like a girl, as a healthy guy, I'm troubled.
Where "healthy guy" means "H-game protagonist"
Music: Tender Scenery
But I didn't look for her so as to not talk to her.
I'm troubled, but I can't stay quiet forever.
"It's Saber, right? This will be the first time we sit down and talk, but"
I make up my mind and talk to her.
She interrupts my words with a sullenness that makes her earlier calmness seem like an illusion.
"? All right, what is it?"
"It is about last night.
You are my Master. It is troubling if you take such an action. Battle is my work, so you must concentrate on your role. If you go and die in vain yourself, there is no way I can protect you."
Saber says so clearly.
That makes the tension I was feeling vanish.
"W-What do you mean!? You would have been slashed if I didn't do that!"
"In that case, I would have just died. It was not something you should have been hurt for. I will repeat myself. Please do not take such an action again. There is no need for my Master to protect me, and there is no reason for it either."
She speaks plainly.
It must be because she is speaking so practically.
"Whadon't be stupid. You don't need a reason to save a girl !"
I reply unconsciously.
Maybe she was surprised at being yelled at, but she pauses for a moment as if I've done something unexpected. And then, she stares at me with indescribable dignity.
You can see her thoughts in her expressions. "Is he really that stupid?" "...yes. He is."
I back up a bit being stared at.
Her look makes me realize that I've said something really out-of-place, and it embarrasses me.
"A-Anyway, I'm grateful that you brought me home. I'll thank you for that."
"You are welcome. It is natural for a Servant to protect her Master, but I am happy to be thanked. You are very polite."
"No. I'm not polite."
More importantly, there's something I need to clarify right now.
It's something I should have asked right after I got home yesterday.
If she is really my Servant,
Andif she is really taking part in this war.
"Going back to our conversation, Saber. Oh, I'll ask formally, but can I call you Saber?"
"Yes. Since I have formed a contract with you as a Servant, I am your sword. I will follow your orders, defeat your enemies, and protect you."
Saber says so without the slightest hesitation.
There's no room for me to question her about it.
"Become my sword, huh? To win this Holy Grail War?"
" ? Is that not why you have summoned me?"
"No. I summoned you because"
The result is the situation we are in.
I became Saber's Master, and I was dragged into this thing called the Holy Grail War.
Not one bit of it was my intention.
I'm just an amateur magus that was dragged into this battle beyond my abilities
"! What of it?
I've already convinced myself that I have to fight. I can't complain now."
I shake my head lightly and stop whining.
A man has said he will fight.
So I cannot even talk about running away.
This will be the last time I will talk or think about whining.
Oh, how I wish that were true.
No matter how the decision came, I have decided to fight.
"Oh, it's nothing.
But Saber, there's only a small chance of winning if you stay with me. I don't have the powers or the brains of Tohsaka, so tomorrow might end up like today. Are you okay with that?"
"Does that mean that you lack the will to fight?"
"I have the will. I just don't have the chance of victory, so I'm asking you if you're all right serving such a Master.
This is a battle I have decided to take on.
I think it's wrong for someone to get hurt in my place.
Even though I'm weak, making Saber fight,
I can't stand letting a scene like that happen again.
"You are my Master, Shirou. This fact will not change. A Servant does not have the freedom to choose its Master."
That's why Saber is my Servant right now.
Then I should try my best not to burden her too much.
" All right. So you're content I'm your Master?"
"Yes. But Shirou, I will not allow defeat for my Master.
If you have no chance of victory, I will make one for you.
I will use every means possible to have you obtain the Holy Grail. That is why we follow the call of the summoning."
To obtain the Holy Grail, huh?
Tohsaka said Servants also have a wish they want granted.
So Saber must be no exception.
That is why she has no doubts.
But that means
" Hold on, Saber.
You said any means possible, right? Does that mean you do not care what measures you take to win the war? For example, attacking people to gain pow"
"Shirou, that is not a possibility.
I can only do those things I will allow myself to do. I cannot betray my beliefs. It is against the knight's oath to hurt those who are unarmed."
"But I must obey if you order so. In that case, you will have to use one of your Command Spells to compensate for treading inside me."
I am overwhelmed by her angered voice.
But still, I'm happy and relieved.
Her lack of doubt gave her the image of a cold fighting machine, but I know now that she is not a cold-blooded killer.
As you say, we have to do our best with what we can do. I'm really sorry. I insulted you without realizing it."
"Uh no, I jumped to a hasty conclusion without knowing your intentions. You are not at fault, so please raise your head "
"Huh? Oh sorry, I apologized without realizing it."
I raise my head.
"I'm sorry for saying sorry."
I don't know what's funny, but Saber has a small smile on her face.
Well, I'm glad she's smiling, so I won't ask her about it.
Maybe she's reading the comments.
" Oh, I forgot to tell you.
I said we'll do whatever we can, right? As one measure, I've decided to cooperate with Tohsaka for a while. Remember Archer's Master, who you were with for a while yesterday?"
"You mean Rin? I see, that is certainly an intelligent choice. There will be many things you can learn from her, until you become a suitable Master."
I'm about to inundate this post with all of the starting information on the status screens, so I'll post these choices again at the end.
Magical Energy Burst: A
This transfers magical energy into one's weapon and body, and by releasing the magical energy instantaneously, it increases one's ability. Simply said, it is like magical energy jet propulsion. Saber uses this magical energy for her sword techniques, guarding, and movement. Because of her great magic capacity, she can fight Berserker even though she is a girl of small size. A normal weapon without strong divine protection will not be able to endure her magical energy-fueled attack and will be destroyed with one blow.
It is not a vacuum, but the wind whirring around the blade is like a weapon and it seems to increase the damage of the slash. Only when the compressed wind is released is a vacuum state created. When the target has "resistance to visual impediments", the accuracy correction of Invisible Air is ineffective. Other than the advantage of making the blade invisible, it is possible to release the compressed wind, making it a single-use projectile weapon. The damage of such an attack is constant, and Saber's strength or magical energy does not affect it.
Cu Chulainn means "Hound of Culann".
The name comes from an oath Setanta made when he was a child, when he mistakenly killed a guard dog of a wealthy merchant named Culann. He promised, "if this dog has a child, I will raise it strong and as faithful as this guard dog. Until that time, I shall guard you myself." His nickname of Cu Chulainn praises not only Setanta's strength for killing the famous savage dog of Culann unarmed, but also the character of Setanta that thought of the owner of the lost dog, even as a child.
Cu Chulainn grew up to be a strong man and went into an evil land called the Country of Shadows to satisfy the requirements to marry a particular woman. Cu Chulainn overcame many difficulties and reached the Country of Shadows. He was well liked by the ruler of that country, the witch Scathach, and he trained under her and learned many sorceries and techniques. He obtained the cursed lance Gae Bolg that later became the symbol of Cu Chulainn, and he left the Country of Shadows.
In the legend, it is said that Cu Chulainn was brave, compassionate, and a likeable young man. Cu Chulainn mercilessly killed his enemies in the battlefield, but he respected faith, and was noble enough to never break a promise once made. Celtic warriors had the custom of making an oath called a "geas", and those warriors who broke this geas were cursed. Cu Chulainn, like his nickname, had a geas that said he must never eat a dog, and he faithfully tried not to break that promise. This geas later became the cause of his death.
During a battle with an opposing country, to protect his weaker country of Ulster, Cu Chulainn made several geasa accepting even his own ruin in exchange for forcing the opposing country to make geasa unfavorable to them. Some of the famous geasa Cu Chulainn made were "fighting just one warrior a day", promised with his rival Queen Maeve, and "one win, one loss" promised with his old friend Fergus.
But Queen Maeve perceived her release as the greatest insult, and began a personal revenge against Cu Chulainn. After numerous schemes, Cu Chulainn was forced to break his geasa one by one, and as a result lost all his powers, and was at last stabbed in the side with a lance. The proud Cu Chulainn would not allow himself to die lying down, and tied himself up to a post. On the verge of death, he saw an otter drinking the blood that had spilled into the river, and as he laughed at its greediness, he died standing.
A thrilling great man, Cu Chulainn had the protection of the goddess Morrigan who governed death and destruction. But the story isn't that simple. At first, Cu Chulainn declined the goddess's protection. So insulted, Morrigan transformed into many animals and went after his life. But Cu Chulainn was able to repel off every attack, and actually treated the wounded Morrigan. Morrigan admired that nobility from the bottom of her heart, and decided to support him without his knowledge. So as not to destroy Cu Chulainn's pride, she did not help him when he was in his greatest perils, but merely observed the way of a hero.
The ability to escape battle. It can also return an unfavorable battle to the beginning (turn 1), and restore the conditions of techniques to their initial states.
Strength of one's god-like nature. The more godlike blood possessed, the higher this stat becomes.
As the lance has pierced the heart even before it is thrust, it is impossible to dodge or block it once this result has been determined. To dodge Gae Bolg, one does not need high AGI (agility), but instead the ability to change this fate before Gae Bolg is executed, LCK (luck) is most important. It is the most efficient Noble Phantasm, as it requires little magical energy to activate, and each activation is a sure kill.
Hercules was young and strong, and already no human was a match for him. The future seemed bright for him as he married the king's daughter and had two children. But Zeus's wife Hera detested the child born of Zeus and a human, and meddled with his fate at every opportunity.
First, Hera sent madness to Hercules and drove him insane, making him kill Megara and his two children. Hercules, troubled by the sins he had committed, received a sign that he should atone for his sin by becoming the slave of Eurystheus, the man who took away his promised position as king. Eurystheus was jealous of the strong hero Hercules and gave him many difficult tasks and claimed that he would keep him a slave ultil he completed these tasks. These were many difficult labors that were impossible to complete with normal human skills. They were the famous twelve labors of Hercules.
The number of labors chosen by the gods was ten, but since Eurystheus did not accept the fulfilment of two of those, he added two more labors. But Hercules safely completed even those tasks and not only was he freed from slavery, but he also received an immortal body as proof of his great accomplishments. The greatest hero in Greece. This was the beginning of the great hero Hercules, who single-handedly achieved great deeds equaling those of the Trojan War and the Argo Expedition. But the rest of Hercules's life was again full of madness.
Hera's hatred was endless, and Hercules, who should have been immortal, was killed by the poison of one of his wives. The great hero, equally matched with the sun god even as a human, was in the end slowly killed by the persistent jealousy of a Goddess. At the point of his death, Hercules burned his body still contaminated with poison, and entrusted himself to Zeus's judgment. It is said that the gods, in a conference, approved of Hercules's great deeds and prepared a seat in Olympus after his death and worshipped him as a god.
Hercules went insane many times in the myth, but he really was an excellent warrior who could handle any weapon. He has the attributes to become any of the seven classes except Caster, and the greatest Noble Phantasm in his possession is a bow and arrow he obtained in the twelve labors called "Shooting hundred beasts (Nine Lives)".
Mind's Eye (Fake): B
Avoidance of danger by sixth sense/instinct.
Ability to ignore any mental interference such as coercion, confusion, or illusions. It also has the effect of increasing damage when fighting unarmed, but since he has gone mad through his class ability, he cannot use this skill.
Strength of one's god-like nature. The more godlike blood possessed, the higher this stat becomes. As the son of Zeus, the leader of the gods, and having been accepted as one of the gods after his death, the divinity of Hercules can be said to be of the highest class.
...and one weapon.
Once more in case you forgot, here are the choices for next update: