Part 321: Artificial Phantasm / Which one?Music: Wandering Shadow
I'm trapped in a sultry stone room.
The heat radiating from my shoulder is like a plague of microscopic bugs eating my cells.
My shoulder. The place where my arm used to be is covered with honey, and ants are swarming on it so it looks like a carpet.
My body is burning from within.
This isn't like a sultry stone room, but more like a sealed frying pan.
I hear the sound of something burning and realize that I've been scorched black.
The heat melts my mind, leaving my body untouched.
Slowly and fiercely.
It burns through my genes as if trying to overwrite them.
Is this nightmare finally coming to an end?
The hole is in my shoulder.
I don't know why, but my missing left arm became a gateway, allowing the ants to flood into my body.
And the entrancethe hole to let them out is sealed with flesh that's not mine!
This is his Noble Phantasm.
It's not the pair of swords.
Kanshou and Bakuya.
Favoring the treasured swords made by an ancient blacksmith, he himself was a blacksmith heroic spirit.
That's why he creates.
He duplicates everything he sees and understands.
It is not duplication, but projection.
A unique magic that reproduces the real thing using an image in the caster's mind.
Andthe heat burning my mind tells me to manage this skill.
Don't kid me. That's impossible. It won't fit.
I don't know about projection. I'm not at that level yet.
Cutting corners like this will destroy my body.
First of all, I have my hands full with myself. I can't memorize or use someone else's ability.
I don't have the needed power to begin with, and we're strangers with no connection, so there's no way it will become familiar with my body. No, I won't be able to bear it even if it becomes familiar with my body.
You can't put time out of order or destroy the regularity. Even if you help me, I don't have the skills to handle it
Ilya is beside the bed, staring at me with blank amazement.
"Oh, good! You're awake, Shirou!"
"Huhwait, Ilya !"
Ilya charges at me.
"I'm glad I'm so glad, Shirou !"
Hugging me, she buries her face in my chest and repeats herself over and over.
I don't get what's going on, but I can't do anything if she's crying like this.
"Does your wound hurt? I'll make him put on another one if you think it's slightly strange!"
" ? Oh, it doesn't hurt anywhere. More importantly, can you explain to me what happened after th"
As I speak
Unable to bear the pain, I tear at my chest with my right hand.
"Shirou !? Calm down! Don't try to bear it, but try to repress your left arm !"
"Ohleft arm ?"
I don't quite get it.
I don't, but I want to escape this pain as quickly as possible.
It seems like Ilya knows what's causing the pain.
I look at myself and notice that I'm wearing big hospital clothes.
No, these are more like restraints.
All I can move is my right arm. Everything else is firmly belted down, and I can't take them off myself.
"What are these? Why am I wearing something like this, Ilya?"
"U-Um that's "
Ilya looks away awkwardly.
"I shall explain the rest, Emiya Shirou."
A person I really don't want to see appears.
"She has recovered as well. All I need to do here is to explain the situation, so leave if you have no business."
" Hah, yeah right. I'm going to leave with Shirou. There isn't a problem even if I'm here if you're not going to do anything, right?"
"I see, there certainly is no problem. But I would like to keep the explanation short. If you will not interrupt, go sit in the corner quietly."
"All right, I guess I'll do so."
Ilya passes Kotomine and walks to the wall.
"Well. I shall answer your question before I explain the situation. Do not be too surprised, Emiya Shirou."
Kotomine reaches out.
He unbuckles the belts and removes the coverings.
The arm there is not Emiya Shirou's arm.
I can tell even through the wrapped cloth.
My left arm is not part of my body.
It is a foreign substance that should not be there, attached by opposing the natural Providence.
"Kotomine, this is "
"It is Archer's left arm. In accordance with Archer's wish, I have transplanted it from his corpse."
And now, the truly begins.
"Archer's wish ? Wait, did you say corpse?"
"He disappeared after the transplant was completed. He was almost dead when he was carried here, but surprisingly, he endured until the operation ended. It must be because of his capacity for independent action."
Archer has been eliminated.
Then the remaining Servants are Zouken's Assassin, Sakura's Rider, and
I don't think I can call her a Servant anymore.
" Hold on. Archer disappeared, right? Then isn't it weird that his arm's still here?"
"His left arm would have disappeared too if he disappeared before the transplant was completed. But that has been cut and planted to your body while Archer was still in this world. It is a part of a heroic spirit that has been connected to your Magic Circuit, and it stays in this world using your magical energy.
It has become a part of your body after the transplant was completed. The left arm will remain even if Archer disappears after that. That left arm is already yours now."
"Then this is really his arm?"
"Yes. You two would have died in your conditions. Archer lost the core that anchored him in this world, while you lost your arm in a mortal wound.
Fortunately, Archer did not have many physical wounds, so he saved your life by offering you his body."
Like he had so many times before.
I'm so sorry, I couldn't help myself
" But is it even possible to transplant a Servant's body onto a human's?"
"It's possible to just connect them. Spiritual doctors are said to heal the soul and not the body. I guess this priest here is the real thing, in contrast to his looks."
"I accept your compliment, but this is nothing to celebrate.
Joining two separate spiritual bodies is forbidden magic. It cannot succeed.
Spiritual bodies resurrection and restoration of souls are divine mysteries that cannot be handled with magic. That is why I thought I only succeeded in shape, and expected him to die of shock, but"
" Shirou and Archer are a special case. I found out earlier that he would pull through if the connection was made."
Ilya looks away and lets her eyes wander sadly.
"Oh. Well, I do not know why. All I know is that you two were suited for each other. I was surprised when I started the operation. Even twin brothers would not look this alike."
I flex my left arm to test his words.
I don't feel anything.
I don't even feel pain. It's like a lump of dead meat.
It doesn't move, no matter what I do.
It's like a hand numbed by loss of circulation.
The sensation of a part of my body not moving brings mental fear rather than physical pain.
The left arm is just a piece of metal.
One might feel constricted like this if one became a tin man.
" It doesn't move at all. Was the operation really successful?"
"Do not wish for such an excessive thing. That is all it can do right after connecting it. It shall familiarize with your body in a few days. I told you earlier, but you two are compatible. At this rate, it should heal well enough to give you no trouble in leading an ordinary life."
"But be warned. I am only saying that the Magic Circuits are compatible.
No matter how suited you may be to his arm, this arm is the arm of a heroic spirit, something a human cannot handle. No, it is more like a weapon than an arm. It is powerful, but it will swallow you if you use it."
"Does that mean I'll self-destruct?"
"Of course. If a human like you uses the arm of a heroic spirit, your body will be consumed by Archer's arm. No, the term blown away is more accurate."
"Your body is spiritually far inferior to Archer's arm. Archer's Magic Circuit will be activated if you use that arm even once.
At that timeyour body will be unable to withstand Archer's magic, and it will break down.
Look, it is not that your lifespan is shortened with each use.
The time bomb in you will be turned on once you use it."
"Yes, it is a seal. The Magic Circuit in your left arm will not be activated as long as you keep it on. Your arm is treated as a different object even if you use magic.
But do not let your guard down. Magical energy flows through your body even if you do not use any magic. Pain will assail your arm as it reacts and tries to activate.
Your left arm is covered with the Shroud of Martin to prevent that.
It should be able to suppress the infringement from your left arm to a certain extent as long as you keep it on."
"Hold on. To a certain extent? That means "
"It cannot completely suppress your arm. Yes, you will be consumed by Archer's arm whether you use it or not.
If you want to live to old age, become a great enough magus to match the arm. You should then be able to seal your arm without the shroud."
"I estimate it will be about ten years before the arm consumes you. You have that much time. You can become a master magus and control your arm, or you can fail and be consumed. It is not an imminent threat."
This is like I was remodeled without my knowing.
He could rebuild it
But it's no use complaining.
I would've died in that forest.
Transplanting Archer's arm was the only way to save my life, so complaining would mean I don't want to live.
"I understand. Let me thank you.
You did another favor for me. Could you please pray that it doesn't happen a fourth time?"
"I suppose I do not need to worry if you can talk like that. Then go outside. Rin is waiting for you in the chapel."
Kotomine heads to the door.
I get off from the bed and put on the prepared jacket.
I can't move my left hand, so I just drape it over my shoulder.
"I forgot to tell you, but you can easily take off that Shroud.
The choice is always yours. You are free to use Archer's power, but your survival will not be guaranteed.
Do your best with that in mind."
"You'll die, but hey, that's fine by me."
Music: Church on the Hill
"Well. Everyone is treated now. Emiya Shirou's arm has been transplanted, and Rin's poison is purified. Is there anything else you require of me?"
" Of course not. You might claim our lives as collateral if you do us any more favors."
"I see. Then we shall be parting here, but let me ask as the supervisor.
What are you going to do now, Rin?
The Holy Grail War is a failure now.
The outcome is practically decided already, as most of the remaining Masters do not have Servants."
Tohsaka shuts her mouth.
The match is pretty much decided, just like Kotomine said.
The only Masters with Servants are Zouken and Sakura.
Ordinarily the last two standing would fight, but Sakura cannot oppose Zouken. Looking at it that way, it's already over.
"Matou Zouken will either recapture Matou Sakura or kill her. It will be difficult to stop him, and you are under no obligation to do so. There is no benefit to kill Zouken."
"Oh, is that because Masters without their Servants can't obtain the Holy Grail?"
"Right. That is why there is no reason to fight. Any more battle is meaningless. You would be wise to stay in your mansion and wait until the war is over."
"Thanks for the warning. But I'm not going to forfeit."
"I'm surprised. So you cannot give up the Holy Grail?"
"Of course not. I'm still a Master, even if I lost my Servant. Don't assume that I'm going to forfeit just because I'm alone now."
"Oh. I see, you are certainly right. There is one other who shamelessly stayed on the battlefield after losing his Servant. So you cannot give up easily."
"Heh, Shirou has nothing to do with this.
This is my decision. I haven't given up yet, and I don't intend to let Zouken win. Neither of those will save her."
I open my eyes wide and look at Tohsaka.
"W-Why do you look so happy? I-I didn't copy you, okay? I'm not giving up because I think I still have a chance of winning. I'm not like you, staying in it even when I don't have any chance."
"Yeah, I thought so. That's what I expected from you, Tohsaka."
" That's annoying in a way too, but it's fine if you understand."
She looks away.
Tohsaka doesn't want to give the Holy Grail to Zouken not because of her sense of justice.
Sakura cannot be saved if Zouken wins.
If we want to save Sakura, Sakura has to obtain the Holy Grailor else someone who wants to save her has to claim it.
That's why Tohsaka said she or Sakura has to win.
That's the only reason she's fighting against Matou Zouken.
Tohsaka cannot obtain the Holy Grail anymore, but is still wanting to save Sakura, her younger sister.
"Hm. So what about you, Emiya Shirou? Will you not give up the Holy Grail, just like Rin?"
"No, I won't stop fighting. I have my goals too. I won't let Zouken do as he wishes."
" I see. I shall not stop you if you want to fight. There is a hopeless difference in your powers, but Matou Zouken is a weak person. I am sure you can devise some plan."
Kotomine's like, "Shit yea, Heaven's Feel is WAY more interesting for me."
Some plan, huh?
I can't come up with one by myself, but with Tohsaka, we just might figure out how to beat the old man
Our conversation ends.
The treatment is over, so Kotomine requests that we leave, as we are not asking for protection here.
"I'm leaving even if you don't tell me to. Hey, do you have a place to go, Ilya?"
Music: Tender Scenery
" ? I still have my castle, and Sella and Leysritt will come if I call to them, so I still have a place to go back to. Why are you asking such a thing?"
"Well, it's dangerous to be by yourself, right? I want you to stay at my place if you don't mind. I think that's more convenient too."
"I don't mind, but I have to refuse. That woman is at your place."
Ilya answers me in a weird way.
I stare at Tohsaka because I don't understand what she means by "I don't mind, but I won't go".
Oh, she looks like she doesn't want to interfere.
"Oh. So you chose Matou Sakura, Emiya Shirou."
"I do not mind taking care of Ilyasviel. Even if she goes back to her castle, Matou Zouken will only kidnap her."
"I refuse. I'm taking Ilya."
"No way. I'm borrowing Ilya."
"I'm sorry, but I can choose where I want to go."
That is unfortunate. So Ilyasviel is to stay at the Tohsaka household?"
"D-Don't say such a stupid thing ! The Master of Einzbern will not go to Tohsaka's house!"
"Okay. Then where are you going to go? You'll have to go back to your castle if you don't want to stay at the church, my house, or Shirou's place."
"I know. That place is my workshop, so I won't go into the care of another Master. I'm going to do things myself even without Berserker."
"Oh, I thought so. You almost killed Shirou once, but he came and saved you in spite of that. But you don't feel any appreciation and you're going back to your castle, huh?
Did you hear that, Emiya-kun? After all you've done for her, she still hates you. She says she doesn't want to stay in that tiny house of yours."
"W-What are you saying, Rin!?
I never said anything like that"
"You are saying it. You're not going to Emiya-kun's place because he's unreliable, right? You're saying you're going back to your castle where you can feel safe."
" That's true But I'm going back to my castle because I have to get away from Shirou"
"Huh? Oh, I see. So him being reliable doesn't matter because you hate him, huh? Well, why didn't you say that in the first place?"
Tohsaka calmly criticizes Ilya.
This is bad.
Just as I'm worrying that this will turn bloody
"T-That's not true! I never said I don't want Shirou! It's something else that I don't like !"
"Hear that? You're really popular, Emiya-kun."
Tohsaka smiles gently,
and Ilya glares at her with vexation.
Our conversation is over.
It's our problem now, so there's nothing to talk about with Kotomine.
I follow after them and leave the chapel.
"Do not forget, Emiya Shirou. That body of yours will no longer permit you to fight."
The priest gives his usual warning.
"That's not true. It's just that I can't use my left arm. I can still fight."
"I see. By the way, how is Matou Sakura's condition?"
"Sakura's condition ?"
That's a bit unexpected.
I thought he was going to make more sarcastic remarks, so why is he suddenly concerned about how Sakura's doing?
He did make a sarcastic remark, you just haven't realized it yet.
"What's going on? What good would it do for you to care about Sakura?"
"It seems you do not understand. I am talking about your body.
Look, Emiya Shirou. Your body is in critical condition, but Matou Sakura is carrying a more dangerous bomb. You will be safe if you do not fight, but she is breaking down with each passing second. That is why you cannot stop fighting, even though you know fighting will only bring you closer to death."
"Emiya Shirou has to fight if you are to save Matou Sakura. But now, fighting is like committing suicide for you.
Thereforeyou must understand that saving Matou Sakura means killing yourself."
" So what? That doesn't concern you at all."
I chose to save Sakura.
I won't back out on my oath, no matter what happens to my body.
"I see. A devotion to offer your life is beautiful.
But is that woman truly so valuable to you?"
"This is your last warning, Emiya Shirou.
To save a life is to satisfy one's desire.
If you would like to keep Matou Sakura alivedo not forget this until the very end."
Music: Surrounded by Smiling Faces
"You're late! What were you talking with Kotomine about, Shirou?"
"Well, it was just his usual criticism"
More importantly, there's something that's on my mind, but I don't know if I should bring it up.
Are you calling me by my first name now ?
Even if you were unconscious, all bets are off once she's seen you naked.
" Hmph, fine. We're short on time, so I'll get right to the point. This is a serious matter, and we don't have much chance of winning if we go our separate ways. I'll forgive you for what you did yesterday, so you'd better be grateful."
Her manner is pompous, but her words are even more so.
Um, it's hard to understand, but what Tohsaka wants to say is
"Tohsaka. Does that mean "
"Yeah, I'm saying we can cooperate!
First of all, you're unreliable. We're both out to defeat Zouken, so I can cooperate with you!"
Tohsaka continues angrily.
It feels like I'm hit in the head with a hammer.
The sudden request is a great fortune.
"OOh, thank you! I owe you, Tohsaka!
There's no greater help than having you on my side !"
I take Tohsaka's hand and shake it up and down.
This is troubling.
I know I'm being too happy, but I can't stop myself.
Tohsaka retreats quickly.
I don't know why, but she looks at my left arm.
It's like an unsightly birth defect. She can't help but stare.
" Let me ask you beforehand. You do know whose arm that is, right?"
I nod, since it's a matter of course.
Tohsaka then takes a deep breath.
"Then you're my Servant from now on, Shirou.
You were saved thanks to my Servant, so that's natural, right?"
And makes a ridiculous demand.
I'm really lost.
I try to figure out what Tohsaka means.
Music: Surrounded by Smiling Faces
"W-What are you saying !? It's stupid to claim his ownership just because of something like that!"
Yes. Ilya can be reasonable, after all.
"First of all, you're completely missing the point. Shirou is mine, so there's no
way he can be yours!"
So she's missing the point too.
"Hey, you're the one talking big. Do you think Shirou is yours because you spared him once? Then that goes for me as well. I was so angry when I met him at school that I almost went berserk myself."
"That's just because you're immature. I spared him every day, so Shirou's life is obviously mine. I can choose to keep him alive or not, and you have nothing to do with this, so stay out of this."
Music: Time Together
"I have nothing to do with this ? Don't take me so lightly! I can't concern myself this much if I have nothing to do with this !
Archer entrusted me with him, so I'm going to take responsibility and make sure he stays alive!"
I can almost hear their teeth grinding as they glower at each other.
I wait for it to end.
It's going to be troublesome, no matter who wins.
""So, which one is it!?""
It seems they've realized that fighting solves nothing, so they've chosen me to make the final decision.
"What do you mean 'which'?"
"So whose Servant are you? I haven't heard your answer yet, so it's best to clarify it now."
"Yeah. Rin doesn't seem to realize you don't want her, so you have to be clear.
Come on, say it. You're mine, right?"
vs. round 2 FIGHT!