Part 328: Ilya's warning
The light is too strong for me to perceive what it is.
My body, exposed to the wind, is rusting with each passing second.
How long will I stay here?
An infinity that is not even a second, and an instant close to eternity.
With no sense of time, years change to seconds.
Therefore, my body is eternally exposed to the wind, polished and clouded like a mirror, and crumbling apart.
This place is painful.
A zero gravity without any handhold.
An airless vacuum.
The world of wind erosion is not a place one can stay in human form.
That's why I move forward.
My volume doubles with each step I take, and it gets harder to breathe.
The third step is impossible.
I can't go any farther. The wind gets stronger the more I advance, tearing at my body.
But I have to move forward if I want to escape.
The wind is coming from the other side of the light.
The light is the entrance and the exit.
This place hurts.
So I have to quickly get to the other side.
A stronger wind is there once I pass the entrance.
Once past the exit, this pain would become lighter.
I reach out my hand.
I reach out with all my might.
The light is in front of me.
But I can't reach it.
The polar light destroy my eyes.
I can't reach it no matter what.
I can't reach it even if I cough up blood and reach out.
It's only a meter away.
Why does it feel like I'm trying to head to the distant polar lights?
Music: In the Sunlight
I blankly stare at Ilya, standing before me.
"Ilya ? Why are you in my room?"
"Because my room is close to yours. I woke up early, so I came to look at you."
It seems she woke up before me and came here.
I don't care about that, but maybe Ilya did so because
" Hm. Was I having a nightmare?"
"Yup. You were moaning in pain, trying to pull that cloth off your arm.
Well, I came here because I expected you to do that. I suppressed the pain while you were asleep, so it feels better now, right?"
I now notice that my right hand is on the cloth covering my left arm.
If Ilya hadn't come, I might've taken it off in my sleep.
Her smile captivates me.
I know Ilya's just saying that out of kindness, but
"Fufu, and I wanted to see your sleeping face. You were in pain, but your were trying your best to endure it. You were so cute."
I slam the brakes on my panicking heart.
"Ilya. It's not good to go into someone else's room without permission.
Mornings and evenings are out of the question. I'm an ordinary guy, so it's troubling."
"Oh, really? How is it troubling? I want to know in detail."
"Ugheven that question is troubling.
First of all, you're a girl, so you can't go into a guy's room in the morning. It's dangerous. It's really dangerous. You're not just endangering yourself, you're putting the innocence of an adolescent boy at risk too."
"Really? But that makes even less sense. What's so bad, and what's so dangerous about it? I won't stop unless you tell me why."
"Y-Y-Y-Y-You idiot !!!!!"
I roll backward head-over-heels while keeping ahold of my futon.
That was close.
Guys experience a certain physiological phenomenon every morning.
I could be given a man's mark of shame if she comes close to me in such an outf
I hit the back of my head hard.
I make up an excuse.
"O-Okay. I'm sorry, Shirou.
Um, did it hurt ?"
I saw stars and my head is throbbing, but I can't be whining if I hear a voice like that.
"No, I'm fine. It was a good wake-up call, so don't worry about it."
I shake my head and get up.
My morning issue has calmed down thanks to that.
" All right. It's about time, so I'm going to go cook breakfast. What do you want, Ilya? If there's anything you don't like, say so now."
"Eh? No way, you can cook!?"
"Well, I can cook like everyone else. I don't know about Western snacks but I guess I can manage pancakes."
Ilya's face lights up.
It seems the fact that I can cook is a delightful thing for Ilya.
"Hmm Then do you want to make it together? I thought I'd go get you after breakfast's done, but it's better for you to be in the living room if you're awake."
"Really!? Yeah, I'll go! I want to see you wearing an apron!"
"I see. Then let's beat Tohsaka together with the three of us.
I promised Sakura we'd be cooking together this morning, so we'll have the strength of three with your help."
"No. I'm not going if Sakura's there. You go by yourself, Shirou."
"Eh Why? Because Sakura's there? Do you hate Sakura?"
"No, I actually rather like her. But I can't approve of her because she's not suited for you."
" ? What do you mean by not suited, Ilya?"
Ilya goes out into the hallway.
"And I don't know what kind of trance you were in, but don't keep charging ahead recklessly. You're watching Archer's magic, not Shirou's magic.
I know you'll eventually obtain the magic, but there's only the possibility right now. Your body will destroy itself from within if you try projection in such a state."
I repeat Ilya's word absentmindedly.
At that instant
The cocking hammer goes down.
The dream I saw while I was treated.
I vaguely understand what it is and what it means.
" That's right. Archer's Noble Phantasm is 'magic' that only he can use.
Archer is a blacksmith heroic spirit that can reproduce any weapon he sees. The power is something you can use too, now that you inherited his arm. You're probably not conscious of it now, but you'll remember the activation spell if you put your mind to it."
"But don't think about using it just because you can. That priest is right. If you remove the cloth and use projection even once, you will certainly die.
So don't take it off, no matter what. I won't forgive you if you die like Kiritsugu. I'll never forgive you if you leave me alone before I kill you."
Her warning contains both caring strictness and murderous hostility.