Part 326: Release it / Rider's inquiry
I'm alive but where is my sense
Death hurry I have to quickly get it back on
The arm below the cloth is
An arm that is not mine
Music: Midnight Interval
"This is bad. It's really "
I'll die if I release it.
The priest's words were true.
I don't know what'll happen, but what's under this cloth is not mine.
" Forget about it. It's just that my arm doesn't move. If I think about it any more, I'll "
I'll slow down because of fear.
That's not allowed.
Archer's arm wasn't transplanted onto me so that I could cower in fear.
" That's right. I have to think about Sakura instead of my arm."
Sakura wasn't that different from this morning, but I don't know when she might collapse.
I have to defeat Zouken and obtain the Holy Grail before that.
I have to think about how to do that.
A way to beat Zouken and Assassin with one arm.
No, they aren't the only enemies.
There are the mysterious enemies too.
I don't know their circumstances.
I don't know what that black shadow is, nor if Saber became Zouken's Servant.
All I know is that she's my enemy now.
She usually doesn't make a sound when she walks, but I'm sure she wanted me to hear her coming.
"What do you want, Rider?"
Rider looks down at me silently.
This is totally unrelated, but Rider is tall. There's something wrong with me too for noticing it now.
"What is so funny, Shirou? I have not said anything yet."
"Huh ? Oh, no. You're taller than me, right? Even though we've seen each other many times, I just noticed. I was laughing at myself for how slow I was."
"I see. You seemed like you were in pain earlier, but it appears I worried needlessly."
It might be just me, but Rider sounds angry.
"Anyway, Rider. Were you the one who saved me today? I don't remember, but I think it was you that carried me to the church from the forest."
" Yes. It was me. Sakura told me to protect you. I only obeyed her order as her Servant."
"I see. That was a big help, but that means Sakura used magical energy to use you, right?
"Yes. There is now even less of her scarcely remaining magical energy. I will consume Sakura if she uses me like she did today."
Rider plainly speaks.
There's no pity or hatred towards Sakura.
Rider is only stating the natural fact as a Servant.
"Can I ask you something, Rider?"
"Of course. If you have a question, please ask it."
" All right. Are you going to kill Sakura if she loses her Command Spell?"
A Master that uses up her Command Spells is first targeted by her Servant.
If they have not established a relationship of mutual trust, Rider will mercilessly kill her Master, using her life to stay in this world until she can form another contract.
Rider is protecting Sakura out of duty. I see no affection there.
That's why I want to know what Rider's feelings are.
"Tell me. Are you going to kill Sakura?"
"Yes. If Sakura wishes, I would consider killing her to end her agony. But Shirou, I wish for her to live."
" ! Then you won't attack her even if she loses her Command Spell?"
"The binding of the Command Spell does not matter. I will protect Sakura willingly for as long as she remains a Master. I do like her."
"Yes. Is it that unexpected for me to have such an emotion?"
"Oh I'm sorry, I misunderstood. You didn't look that way, so "
"You do not need to apologize. I do not engage in proper conversation with Sakura, nor does she talk to me.
But Shirou. Servants are summoned by beings similar to them. You summoned Saber not by chance, but because you two are alike."
"Sakura and I are the same in that regard.
We are not talkative, so it is natural for us to have no conversation. We understand each other without a need for such things."
I hear warm emotion in Rider's voice.
I imagined her to be cruel because of her appearance, but maybe Rider is actually quite gentle.
" I see. Yeah, that's great. I'm glad you're on Sakura's side."
Shirou. You do not know what kind of sufferings Sakura endured through. Do you know what she endured since she was adopted to the Makiri family?"
There's no way I'd know.
Well, Kotomine told me what kind of things she went through.
" I don't know. So I don't think I can say anything about it, nor should I mention it."
I'm a magus, and I know what kind of a person Zouken is.
It's easy to imagine what happened, and my imagination should be close to reality.
ButI should not easily mention that I "understand".
"I thought as much. Sakura did her utmost to hide it from you. I would have killed you if you had claimed to understand."
" Is that for Sakura's sake?"
You are inexperienced and clumsy, but what is at your core is something trustworthy. That must be why you are a salvation for Sakura."
" For a long time, Sakura knew only resignation. She did not feel pain or suffering, but accepted everything as it was.
But she changed after meeting you, Shirou. You made her regain the emotions she had lost.
The biggest emotions she regained were pain and suffering, but she only had resignation before, and you were the only salvation for her."
I don't really know what Rider is trying to say.
I cannot understand what Sakura has been through, so I don't know why she likes me.
But Rider's words are true because she shares her feelings with Sakura, her Master.
As if speaking for Sakura,
Rider quietly states
"Shirou. You said you will make Sakura happy.
But for her, these two years were happiness itself."
With quiet sorrow and appreciation.
"That is all I wanted to ask you.
Happiness for Sakura is to have you alive and for you to be by her side. There is nothing else she wishes for."
Rider presses the question on me through her blindfolds.
Asking me if I understand what that means.
For Matou Sakura, the fact that Emiya Shirou is fighting threatens her happiness.
So Rider is condemning me for what I'm planning to do with my body.
I tightly grasp my stiff left arm.
If I can fight with one arm, I should.
I swore to save Sakura.
I chose to fight for Sakura, and not to stop the war.
Soif I stop fighting now, I'll be nobody.
Rider is silent, and I have no reply.
How long has it been?
" Are you on Sakura's side, Shirou?
No matter what may happen in the future?"
I don't even need to think about Rider's question.
Emiya Shirou chose to be Matou Sakura's ally.
Then I should nod without hesitation.
I understand, but I can't express my feelings.
'No matter what may happen in the future'
Because I realize what those words mean.
The mysterious shadow.
The unstable left arm.
The ideal I sought for years, then threw away.
Everything is telling me.