Part 312: Set position / RainFangz would like everybody to enjoy a super special bonus Memorial Day update, so here you go. Thank Fangz, everyone!
Tohsaka is already here, standing in the corner of the chapel.
She's not sitting down but standing there, and I can see her determination.
She has the cold face of a magus, saying Sakura will be her enemy if the crest worm isn't removed.
Tohsaka doesn't look at me, and I have nothing to say to her either.
The sound of rain echoes inside the chapel.
How long has it been?
"The operation is complete. There is nothing more I can do."
Breaking the deep silence, Kotomine Kirei appears.
"Ehhey, Kirei. What happened to your Magic Crest?"
"Hm, you can tell? As you can see, I used all of it on Matou Sakura's treatment."
"Y-You used it all?"
Tohsaka is astonished.
Uh oh. I feel a Nasu coming on.
I don't get it.
All I can tell is that something happened to Kotomine's Magic Crest, and Tohsaka is surprised about it.
"D-Do you understand? We're talking about a Magic Crest here!
Why does something you built up for generations go away in just a few hours !?"
"It could not be helped. The Crest I received from my father is not permanent, like the one you have. It is a consumption type that goes away the more I use it. We have never been a family of magi to begin with.
You can think of it as a lower-rank Command Spell."
"Then you really "
"Yes. I've used up all of it for the treatment. It was the extraction of an eleven-year old pus. It should not be surprising that it took all of my remaining Crest."
We both gasp.
The priest is saying he used all of his Magic Crest to treat Sakura.
Tohsaka's expression tells me how valuable the compensation was.
Kotomine threw away all of his fortune for Sakura.
"What? Do not tell me it's troubling for you. You two are the ones who told me to save her. I merely answered your wish."
So that they would suffer. I love this bastard.
"Oh no. It's not troubling at all. Um, thank you."
"Do not thank me. You will take it back later anyway."
"Take it back later ?"
Does that mean
"So, how's Sakura? You did that much, so"
"She escaped death, but it is just temporary.
I was able to remove most of the crest worm, but some parts were buried too deeply to be removed. Some of it has eaten into the nerves. I can extract it all if I remove her heart, but that will kill Sakura as well."
"All I could do was to remove the crest worm that did not metabolize with her nerves, decreasing her pain and the pressure from Zouken. Her life should have ended tonight, but I prolonged it on a whim. Well, it will all be vain effort if the worm in her nerves start moving again."
"Whathen Sakura is "
"It means nothing has changed.
She will have no problem living normally, but Zouken can easily drive her berserk.
That old man can force her to fight, whether she wants to or not. In short, she is a bomb with a lit fuse."
I'd be lying if I said I'm not agitated.
But I'm not surprised or puzzled.
I've made my decision already.
I chose to be on Sakura's side, no matter what happens, no matter what state she's in.
"I see. Then there's only one thing left to do. I'm sorry for making you use you Crest."
Tohsaka starts to walk.
I instantly understand what she's going to do.
"Hey, stop, Tohsaka !"
I grab Tohsaka's hand and stop her.
"What? Talk to me later."
"What are you saying? Are you planning to kill Sakura?"
"Hey, it's something that has to be done. Didn't you come here, prepared for that?"
If you're going to kill her, then I'll stop you."
"Then what are you going to do !?
Look, Sakura can't live unless she fights as a Master.
She has to absorb other people's magical energy to survive !
Don't you see how this will end!? Killing her here is for her own good !"
" No way! Why are you jumping to conclusions when she hasn't done anything yet!"
"How could I not? If this were just about Sakura, there'd be hope. But it's not, is it? That damn old man holds her life, and she's his puppet as long as he lives.
Do you think he's ever going to let her go?"
"See, you understand. Zouken will never give her a moment's peace. Then If she's going to go through endless torment with no hope of escape, all we can do is kill her here and minimize the number of victims. Sakura and all the people Sakura will kill would be saved."
"Unlike you, I can't endanger everyone while clinging to a forlorn hope. The weakness to delay your decision is going to hurt her even more."
Ten people will die if we don't do anything.
But if we can save nine by sacrificing one, then
The reality I have always tried to deny, but have known deep within my heart to be true.
"I won't let there be any victims.
You're the weak one, jumping to conclusions before even trying."
"D-Don't kid me ! Do you know what that means!? Save Sakura? What does that mean!? Are you going to save both her and the people she's going to kill!? Don't make me laugh! You can't do such a thing alone !"
"No, I can't. But I'm going to protect Sakura. I'll think about what the result may be starting now."
"! I see, then you're my enemy.
Let go of me. Or you're going to be blown away."
"Go ahead. But Tohsaka, don't think everything will go your way."
Our hands tighten on each other.
Mine is from tension.
Tohsaka's iswell, I want to believe hers is because of tension too.
It's give-and-take, but we can't back down because we both have things we believe in and
Outside the chapel.
We hear the sound from the next room and exchange looks.
"Did you hear that, Emiya-kun ?"
"A window broke. And after that "
"Running footsteps. The only ways out of here are through this chapel or the back door. What is she doing, breaking the window to go outside?
He looks like he really loved that window.
Oh, I see. Most windows here have fixed fittings.
She had to break it to get out. For someone who's still recovering, she's pretty violent."
"Recoveringdo you mean Sakura!?"
"Who else? From the room she was in, you can somehow hear everything said in the chapel. I am sure she fled when she heard you discuss killing her."
"Forgive me. It is a structural defect."
"Don't lie, you fake priest ! I'm sure it's intentional!"
Tohsaka shakes off my hand and starts running.
She runs not to the room, but to the door leading outside.
She quickly opens the door and runs outside.
Tohsaka goes into the rain without an umbrella.
I don't have any time to lose either.
I don't know where Sakura went, but she can't be left by herself now!
"Wait. I do not mind if you plan to search for Matou Sakura, but there is something I forgot to tell you."
"What? I don't have time for one of your long speeches !"
"Do not say that. This is important. I will be troubled if I do not tell you. Rin ran off without listening to me, so I need to tell somebody. Do I not?"
" Is this about Sakura?"
Music: Church on the Hill
"Yes. She does not have long to live.
The crest worm continues to corrupt her body as we speak.
It is easy to extract it, but her body would never withstand the shock. It's like pulling out four-tenths of her nerves. She would die as a human being before the pain caused her to die of shock."
"But leaving her alone will lead to the same result.
The loss of magical energy is slowly eroding her sanity. Soon she will lose all sense of self. Once that happens, she will be nothing more than a rampaging Master.
She will sacrifice many people to maintain her Servant, and when the strain becomes too much to bear, she will self-destruct.
In short, you cannot save that woman, no matter what you do."
I feel dizzy, as though I'm looking into a strobe lamp.
"Broken things do not repair themselves, and lost things never return. If you wanted to save her, you should have done so eleven years ago.
Do you still intend to save her, Emiya Shirou?
She will die in the next few days no matter what we do. Is there a meaning in saving such a person?"
I can't breathe.
I can barely stand under the impact of his words.
" I don't know anything about that. But you saved Sakura. Isn't that reason enough?"
"Well. I only treated her out of duty. I cannot turn away someone who came seeking help."
"Don't lie. You wouldn't use up your Magic Crest just out of duty. I don't know why, but you wanted to save Sakura.
You didn't want to let her die. I feel the same way too."
I glare at the priest.
He must understand, because he nods slightly.
"Yes. Then hurry. Rin will surely kill Matou Sakura if she finds her first. Provide that lost child with shelter before that happens."
He doesn't need to tell me.
Turning my back to him, I follow Tohsaka into the rain.
There's no one on the road.
The street lamps light up the night in vain, and I run without aim.
I'm going to find Sakura.
It's not just the premonition that something terrible is going to happen if I don't find her quickly.
I just want to hold her hand right now and feel her warmth.
I run blindly.
I don't know where she went.
Sakura no longer has any place to go.
There's no place for her at my house nor at the Matou household. She has to be wandering in the night.
" She shouldn't have gone far. If you needed to find shelter where there weren't any people"
It's a wild guess.
But the only thing I can do right now is to check every one of the possibilities
Even though it's night, it's not so late that places will be deserted.
There weren't many, but I saw a few people walking about.
But if none of them saw Sakura, maybe she avoided Shinto and went back to Miyama City.
She's probably still in her school uniform, so she would stand out in this rain.
If she wanted to avoid attention, she would head to Miyama Cityand that's what I'm thinking as I run through the rain, when
I come to a stop.
Under the bridge.
Sakura is standing alone on the dark, desolate, brick road.
I call out to her as I approach.
"No, please don't come !"
Sakura refuses with desperateness I've never seen before.
Sakura is still looking down, tightly clutching her skirt in her hands.
She looks like a criminal mortified by her actions. It's heart-breaking.
I can't go any closer.
I feel that I shouldn't until she raises her head.
" Please go home.
If you come near me right nowI don't know what I'll do."
Her voice is shaking.
She's trembling because of the cold rain and her feelings of guilt.
I can't erase them from her.
All I can do is
"Let's go home. You haven't recovered from your cold yet, right?"
Extend my hands.
Music: THIS ILLUSION (piano ver.)
Sakura's wet hair sways.
Sakura bites her lips.
"I can't go. Where can I go back to now?"
Her voice is heavy with self-loathing.
Her white breath tells me the end of her sentence.
"Don't say such a stupid thing. What I heard is unimportant. The only Sakura I know is the one I've been with.
So why does it have to end because of something like this?"
" Because it will end.
It's the Kohaku face.
I'm not a virgin, Senpai. I was raped at the place I was adopted as a kid, and my first time was a long time ago. Not only that, my body has been continuously violated by unknown things."
"That's not the only thing. I'm a magus of the Matou family, and I've been hiding that fact from you.
I didn't tell you when I became a Master, and I pretended not to know anything when you brought Saber-san over.
Don't you see? It would've been so much more convenient. And you wouldn't get mad at me that way, right?"
I thought it's fine even if my grandfather's worm is in me.
Please don't phrase it like that.
I thought I wouldn't lose if I held myself firm, but I easily lost.
The stuff that was splashed on me was just aphrodisiac. It's not poison or anything, but it makes my body more sensitive. That's all it took to make me go crazy and hurt you."
" Tohsaka-Senpai is right. I'm a coward, I'm a crybaby, I'm selfish I knew this was going to happen, but I couldn't disobey my grandfather or end it myself.
I didn't want to be hurt or scared, and I value myself more than others, so I couldn't find the courage to kill myself !"
Sakura is crying.
She's crying and doesn't know what to do, which just makes her cry even harder.
Feeling her pain, I regret what I've done.
I have never seen her cry before.
The reason behind those tears
Why didn't I realize sooner that she can only cry when condemning herself?
I'm just a puppet for my grandfather, and I could go crazy any minute now. Sooner or later I'll do something terrible. So where can such a person go, Senpai !?"
Sakura corners herself.
Nobody is condemning her.
That's why she has to do so herself.
She has to say she's the evil one. She has to condemn herself and punish herself.
"So, don't cry."
Sakura once said it.
That she's a coward who needs someone to lead her by force.
I finally understand what she meant.
Someone I want to protect.
Someone important to me.
Someone I never thought I would lose.
If I don't want her to cry anymore
I have to take her hand and lead her to a place in the sun, so I should now
I never really believed I deserved to be with you. Every day I thought about ending it all just acting like a stranger from that day on.
I'd just pass by you in the hallway, ignore you after school, go home alone at night, and forget everything that happened !"
If she'd done that, I would've gone crazy.
I'm sorry I didn't realize that.
"But I couldn't ! My body would tremble at the pure thought of it, and it was really frightening. It was scarier than the time I put a knife on my wrist, and I couldn't stop myself from going to your house. I was scared of deceiving you, scared to stop deceiving you, and everything around me was scary. I couldn't move at all, and I didn't know what to do !"
But I believe this is for the best.
Sakura says I should never have learned about this.
But if that were the case, she would just have kept on crying.
" I'm stupid, right? You would've eventually found out. But it's too late now, and I can never go back to your house. I thought every night that I should get away from you before it happened.
It's for your own good, and I knew I would stop crying at night, but"
I can't let her cry anymore.
If Sakura has to blame herself because nobody will blame her
That was the only meaningful thing for me, so why !"
Even if nobody would forgive her, I would keep forgiving her in her place.
I embrace her cold body.
My arms are terribly unreliable.
I can't hold her tightly, nor can I pull her close.
I can't save Sakura.
I want her to be with me, and I can only stay by her side.
Awkwardly, I wrap my arms around her.
Even if this is all I can do right now, my determination is definite and firm.
"Don't cry. I understand you're a bad person now."
"So I'll protect you. No matter what happens, even if you try to kill yourselfI'll protect you, Sakura."
"I promise. I'll be your superhero."
I hold her a bit tighter.
Even if it's just a touch,
I do so to tell her that my oath is more firm than anything.
How much effect did it have?
The stubbornness flows out of Sakura, and her shoulders relax.
No matter what she says, Sakura is still the same.
Her sensation and her warmth are the same.
Our breaths are white, and the pouring rain has turned to a drizzle.
In the freezing night
"No, SenpaiI'll probably end up hurting you."
Her words sound like a confession.
The rain is stopping.
The night is cold as midwinter, and Sakura doesn't try to free herself from my arms.
"I'm going to hurt you, Senpai, but"
I want to stay like this.
A tear trickles down her cheek as she says it.