Part 324: Sweet & spicy / Have experienced Ilya
Before I know it, I'm stopping and leaning against a wall.
My left arm is burning.
Maybe my tension went away by being alone, but my left arm started to hurt ever since I got to this hill.
"Well, of course. Someone else's arm is attached to me, so no wonder it hurts."
I can't get my breathing together.
My arm gets hotter with every step.
When it gets hotter than my normal temperature, pain attacks my chest from my arm.
"Oh So that's where it hurts instead of the arm, huh?"
I lean on a fence and take a deep breath.
I think I understand where the pain is coming from.
Basically, it's trying to cool off.
I don't know how, but my left arm gets hotter every time it moves.
When it overheats, the arm sends the excess to the rest of my body.
That heat is enough to burn me, causing the pain.
The heat enters my body with a sharp pain, and it's more like a cut than a burn.
Every time I feel the red dizziness, I feel like I'm getting a long knife inserted from my shoulders and churned inside of me.
"Guhhaa, ha !"
It's not something I can bear many times.
I've had my stomach torn by Berserker and my ribs crushed by Rider.
Even with such experiences in mind, the prospect of getting stabbed by my own body sends a chill through me.
"It's fine, calm downit'll calm down if I don't let it get hotter"
I try to relax while looking up at the sky.
It's been twenty minutes since I parted with Tohsaka and Ilya.
I should've been home by now, but I can't let Sakura see me like this.
I have to keep the abnormality of my left arm to myself.
"Damn Kotomine. What did he mean, it wouldn't interfere with my ordinary life? This can't be handled easily"
I place my hand on my left shoulder and press against the arm covered in red cloth.
Hard and rigid as steel, it doesn't even budge.
Archer is just that buff.
I've stopped sweating, and my breathing is back to normal.
It's getting late, so I should quickly go home and see Sakura while I still look well
Music: Madder Red Town
After taking a deep breath, I holler out and enter my house.
" Oh Welcome home, Senpai."
Maybe Sakura's been waiting all this time, because she's already at the entrance.
" ? You don't look lively. I'm glad you're welcoming me home, but I can't be happy when you're making a face like that."
I take off my shoes and go up into my house.
I want to rest for today.
I'll fill her in on what's happened today after I drink a cup of tea in the living room.
" Wait, I can't do that. I have to tell her what's going on first."
Tohsaka will be coming soon.
I have to tell her about what's going on beforehand, or she'll be on guard against Tohsaka.
"Sakura, it's about what happened today."
" Senpai. Aren't you going to say anything about that?"
Sakura says something with difficulty.
She's looking at my left arm.
"Oh, you mean this? Yeah, I'm sure you're surprised if it looks like this."
It's covered with cloth that doesn't look anything like bandages.
Even if she doesn't know what went on, she would assume something happened to my arm.
"Yeah, I injured it a bit. But it moves fine, and it's all right now. This cloth is just a bother, but Kotomine told me not to take it off.
Well, he's the one who treated me, so I'm going to obey him."
I pat my left arm to show her it's all right.
But Sakura is even more silent now.
"Sakura ? It's really fine. It looks worse than it is. It's just a scratch. It'll heal right away, so you don't need to worry"
"I-It can't be just a scratch ! Your arm's gone now! So how can you tell me that !?
I won't fall for such an obvious lie! Or are you not telling me because it's meaningless !?"
My insensitivity leaves me speechless.
I haven't even considered how Sakura felt all day today, waiting for me here.
"Oh I'm sorry, Senpai. I-I didn't mean to blame you. You were so reckless and didn't care about yourself, so I "
"No. Well, you're right, but you're wrong.
I'm not mad because you yelled at me. Um, this is the first time I've seen you seriously mad, so I was surprised and was contemplating my actions."
Music: Madder Red Town
"Eh Contemplating ?"
"Yeah. It's certainly not good to bluff. All the more if it's to you. I probably didn't want to look bad in front of you. That's why I bluffed and tried to act normal.
But now that I think about it, that looks worse. It's natural for you to get mad."
"Oh No, you never look bad."
I do look bad.
Man, don't tell Sakura about it so she doesn't get worried?
No, I was just putting on a show to look tough.
"Yeah, I'm sorry, Sakura. I lost.
My arm turned out fine, but I couldn't be of use to you."
"Ugh No, I really was pathetic, so it hurts me if you say that. I couldn't save Ilya like I'd planned, and all I could do was come running home."
" No. But you still came home. I'm really happy because you kept your promise."
"Ohyeah. That's good."
I scratch my head.
I'm embarrassed, but happy at the same time.
" You're right. I guess being alive is good enough."
"Yes. You're good-looking. I fell in love with you all over again."
Sakura must have cheered up if she can say something like that with a big smile.
I don't know how to reply to something like that, so
"Um, what should I say, Tohsaka?"
"Who knows? If you want my opinion, I just don't want you two flirting too much at the door."
I ask Tohsaka, who is standing behind me.
I think it works better as pictured, with Shirou facing the door and Rin behind Sakura.
Music: Gentle Everyday
Our voices overlap.
Sakura and I both jump back at the same time.
"S-Since when were you there, Tohsaka!?"
"Why are you here, Tohsaka-Senpai?"
And we give the same reaction again.
"'Since when?' I thought you'd be done filling her in already, but instead I find the two of you having a lovers' quarrel. Geez, do you even understand our situation, Shirou?"
Tohsaka sets down a large bag next to the door.
Behind her is
Ilya, silently radiating a strange pressure.
"I-I don't mind if you want to continue where we left off yesterday, Tohsaka-Senpai.
I'll fight you as Matou's magus as long as Senpai's protecting me."
Sakura clenches her fists and glares at Tohsaka.
Well, it's more like a frog desperately opposing a glaring snake.
" Geez. So you haven't heard anything about it?
Look, Sakura. I'm going to put on hold what to do with you. My first priority is to defeat Zouken. We can settle our match after that. Well, we won't need to fight after Zouken's defeated, so everything should be fine as long as we can defeat him."
"Ehthen you're "
"I'm going to ally with youno, with Shirou to defeat Zouken. So it'd be a waste to live separately, right? So I'm going to stay over here and train Shirou. It'll be hard work if I want him to become strong in a short time."
"So I'm going to borrow Shirou for a while. It's going to be rough, but you two don't mind, right?"
Tohsaka Rin sets a schedule even I haven't heard about.
"H-Hold on, Tohsaka. That's too sudden"
Nee no, Tohsaka-Senpai. What right do you have to say that!?"
" I have to be mentally prepared first, you know?"
I stutter off.
Of course, my opinion is dismissed by Sakura's voice and Tohsaka's glance.
"Oh, so it's fine as long as I have the right? Then it's even less of a problem. It's because of me that he's alive.
Shirou has to do what I say until he repays the favor. You'll give me a place to live if I ask, and you'll make meals for me if I ask, right?"
Tohsaka. Those lines could bring on a big misunderstanding.
"Yeah. I want to object, but what she's saying is true."
"And it's better to have more allies, right? We know Zouken is after you. With Tohsaka's help, we can definitely protect you."
And Tohsaka is Sakura's older sister.
If possible, I want them to be together, not fighting.
Music: Gentle Everyday
"Then it's decided. I'm coming in.
Come on, Shirou, show me the guest room. I had my eyes on the guest room in the outbuilding last time I was here. Oh, where do you want, Ilya?"
"Ilya? Why are you spaced out? You were so happy we were going to stay at Shirou's house."
" That's not true. I was never happy."
A weak voice.
Ilya hangs her head and stares at the floor.
As if saying the small step up is a towering wall.
What happened to her depressed attitude? Ilya's now glaring at Sakura.
" ? Um, Sakura's sleeping in the guest room in the outbuilding."
"I see. Then you can go to the outbuilding by yourself, Rin. I don't care where I am, as long as it's not in the outbuilding."
"Is that so? Then I guess you can have the Japanese-style room."
They're carrying on a relaxed conversation, and it sounds like they're close enough now to call each other by name.