Part 335: Signs of disaster / Tohsaka Rin (III)
Music: Gentle Everyday
They all look so damn happy to be eating. It makes me want to eat. Then I'd be happy, too.
Everyone must've liked having dinner ready when they came here, since they all seem to be in a good mood.
I'm worried that Rider isn't here, but I'm sure she has her reasons.
Her top priority is guarding Sakura. So maybe she has no intention of spending time around Tohsaka, who may end up being her enemy.
" Will Rider come eat later on?"
I'll pack it up and take her some if she doesn't come.
Rider seems to like desolate places, so I bet she's either in the dojo or the shed.
"Oh, so you're good at this? Sakura's good at Western food and you're good at Japanese food?"
Tohsaka picks up the fried swordfish and looks at me in surprise.
It's golden fried with a scent of ginger, with an elegant soy sauce taste. She seems to really like it.
Ilya eats the potatoes in satisfaction.
It's unfortunate that she's only eating the "potato" part of the "simmered meat and potato", but I'm glad she likes it.
Sakura is tilting her head in confusion, chopsticks in hand.
"Sakura? What's wrong? You don't have any appetite?"
" Oh Um, I do, but Senpai?
The simmered meat and potato doesn't have any sugar in it. It tastes strange."
I-I made such a stupid mistake on something I'm so used to cooking !?
"Damn, hold on !"
I serve myself out of the big dish in the center and try some.
This tastes normal.
"Sakura. Does this taste weird?"
"Weird? Didn't you use salt instead of sugar?
I don't taste anything sweet "
"Really? Isn't it supposed to taste this way? Well, it does taste different because there's something in it to bring out the flavor. But this is something you can't readily copy and make."
"I don't know since this is the first time I've had this dish, but it's good. It's sweet and easy to eat."
One bite, two bites, three bites.
"Huh? Oh, it seems I ate a piece that wasn't simmered. I'm sorry I said something weird. Your food is good like always."
Sakura smiles and keeps eating.
Sakura keeps eating like nothing happened.
I was worried by Sakura's odd behavior, but she seemed well enough after that.
In fact, she asked for seconds three times.
Sakura kept eating and finished off the food while Tohsaka stared at her in surprise.
Music: Surrounded by Smiling Faces
"It's about time. Let's get going, Shirou."
Tohsaka finishes preparing and appears.
"I know. Please watch the house while we're gone, Sakura."
Tohsaka and I head out to patrol the town as planned.
It's stupid that this is our only measure against Zouken, but it's all we can do for now.
We need to defeat Zouken, Assassin, Saber, and the black shadow.
They aren't ones we can defeat head on.
We have to sit tight until the countermeasure Tohsaka is preparing is completed.
But we can't just stay at my house.
According to the news this morning, Matou Zouken has started to attack ordinary people.
We can't match them right now, but we should at least patrol the town so that there won't be more victims.
" Hey. What are you doing?"
We don't have anything to spare, but Tohsaka glares at me and
"You don't need to see us off. Go back to your room, Sakura."
No, she's not glaring at me.
She's glaring at Sakura, who is standing in the hallway.
Music: Surrounded by Smiling Faces
"N-Nee-san. I'll go too. It's dangerous for you two to go out alone, so "
That must be why she's here.
I appreciate her concern. but our plan is already determined.
"No. You should know you're Zouken's target. Please stay here with Ilya and protect yourself."
"I know. But you can only use one arm, Senpai. And Nee-san doesn't have a Servant, so "
"Don't be ridiculous, Sakura. It doesn't change the fact that you're our enemy. I can't trust you with my back when I don't know when you'll turn into Zouken's puppet."
"You just concentrate on protecting yourself. If you feel sorry for us, please don't trouble us about this. Just let Rider protect you and Ilya."
"Tohsaka, youwhoa, hey !"
"Hey, don't just stand there. Let's get going. While we stand around, he could be out there attacking somebody else."
Tohsaka grabs my hand and drags me outside.
"Ohjust be careful and watch the house, Sakura ! I'll leave Ilya to you !"
I leave with Tohsaka pulling at me.
Sakura doesn't say anything and stands at the entrance, lonely.
"Humph. It's your fault for being slow."
Tohsaka lets go and comes to a halt.
" What's with that face? If you have something to say, then spit it out."
And it's like this all of a sudden.
Tohsaka is acting defiantly.
If it bothers her that much, she shouldn't have said it in the first place.
" Man. Then I'm saying it, Tohsaka. It's about what happened now, but don't say such things to Sakura. Sakura isn't like that because she wants to be."
"I know. But that's why I have to be firm with her. If we aren't, Zouken will be sure to take advantage."
" This is a good opportunity, so let me straighten this out. I don't feel any sympathy towards Sakura.
It doesn't concern me if she's Zouken's puppet, and I have nothing to do with what happened to her after she was adopted to the Matou family. It does no good for me to say anything about her problem."
"Look. I'm at your house not because Sakura is there, but because you're there.
My goal is not to save Sakura, but to obtain the Holy Grail.
I'll keep watch on Sakura for that goal, and I don't care even if she hates me for it. That's why I'll say things like that, and I'm going to keep treating her as my enemy."
" So it won't bother you at all if she hates you? Her feelings don't matter because she's a complete stranger?"
"That's right. Do you have any complaints?"
"You idiot. Of course I do."
She should be able to say it like it's nothing. Instead, she's clenching her fists like she's trying to convince herself.
"All right. If you want to act that way, then go ahead.
Sakura knows how you feel, no matter what kind of attitude you take towards her."
"Huhwhat do you mean by that!?"
"I'm talking about how important Sakura is to you. I'm an outsider and I notice it, so it should be obvious to her."
"That's a misunderstanding. I just "
"There's nothing to misunderstand. People can't get seriously mad about things they don't care about. You're strict to Sakura for a reason. You don't say it, but she's still your precious sister."
"WWhat are you saying, you idiot!!? Stop saying such snobby things!!!!"
Tohsaka's face turns red with anger.
But I don't feel the usual intensity, and I know why.
"Oh? Was it a bother?"
"It is a bother. Isn't it obvious?"
"I see. Then while I'm at it, I have something else to say. I want you and Sakura to get along. She likes you, and you like her. So I don't like it when it's this awkward between you two."
" Hey now. She has to be my enemy. Making friends with her now won't do any good. I wouldn't even know where to start."
"Isn't it fine as is? Have confidence in yourself, Tohsaka. Even I can tell that you're being a good big sister."
"E-Enough with the chatting! We're going to the place they showed in the news this morning!"
She looks so pouty.
Tohsaka looks away and starts to walk.
I reply to her absent-mindedly and follow.
Tohsaka grumbles, embarrassed.
Music: Midnight Interval
" A murder, huh? It seems people are treating it as an accident rather than a murder case. Well, I guess you really can't call it murder when you can't tell who died and what the missing body parts are."
I still see traces of blood on the grass.
It looks like a bucketful was spilled in four separate areas.
The darkened patches have some distance between them, probably because the victims frantically tried to escape.
"Tohsaka. You said this might be Zouken's doing, but what do you think now? Do you still think so after coming here?"
" Let's see. I thought it might be the black shadow's doing, but it doesn't seem that way.
All the mana in the area would be swallowed if that thing had appeared. But the magical energy here isn't exhausted. Well, I still think the incident here was an unexpected meal."
That's all the information we can get out of this place.
Tohsaka and I leave the site of the tragedy behind us.
The date's about to change.
A riverside breeze blows as we trudge home.
"Tohsaka. Sakura is the successor of Matou, right?"
I suddenly feel like asking the question that was on my mind for a while.
"Why are you asking that now? I have nothing to hide."
"No, that's not what I meant. If she's the successor, that means she's a magus, right? So I'm wondering what kind of magic she uses."
"Oh, I see now."
" Yeah, I hear Matou's magic is in bindings and coercions. I also hear that the Command Spell wouldn't have been possible without Matou."
"Oh. So Sakura's magic is restriction? But then "
On that day
The magic Sakura used when the crest worm tortured her must have been Rider's power.
" I don't think it's restriction. That's the Makiri's forbidden magic, and it's not their strong point.
But it's meaningless to think about it. Sakura doesn't have the magical energy to use magic. The crest worm will feed on such excess energy first, so she shouldn't be able to use magic."
" I see, that's good. So, how good is Sakura in your eyes? Is she about as good as you, considering she's the Matou successor?"
"We have about the same number of Magic Circuits.
Did you forget that we're sisters?"
That's why they wanted to adopt her in the first place.
"Oh, so she's about as good as you?"
"I don't think so. My attribute is 'five elements', and hers is 'imaginary element'. But the Matou family has a water attribute, so they changed her by force. What do you think would happen to a bird that has a potential to fly if it's put in water?"
"It'll die, or "
"Yes. Adapting to the water would be all it could do.
She would've had great success as a magus of Tohsaka, but she's no different from you because she was forced to change into a magus of Matou.
No, you're much stronger than her because you train your body."
"Then let's say you and Sakura fought using magic "
"I'd win ten times out of ten. With her magical energy capacity, Sakura would never get past my barrier."
I couldn't figure out what kind of magus Sakura is, but I got to know their power balance.
Tohsaka isn't one to bluff, so she must be speaking the truth.
" But I'm embarrassed. I never knew Sakura was a magus, and I don't know how good she is. I'm a dumbass for pretending to be her guardian all this times."
"Hey now. The crest worm eats the magical energy in her, so you'd never know she's a magus even if you're by her all the time."
" And she did her best not to let you know. So don't say such a thing in front of her, okay?"
She doesn't even need to tell me.
Sakura is Sakura, even if she is a magus.
First of all, I'm not that skillful.
No matter who Sakura may really be, I can only treat her like I always have.
"You're right. If you say so, I'll just treat her the same as always.
I won't even think about asking for her help as a magus. That's fine with you, right?"
"Of course. If you were going to rely on Sakura, I would've taken her to my house."
Tohsaka's kindness makes my heart jump.
Tohsaka really is a good sister.
"But I don't think that's possible. Sakura smiles when she's at your house. If you talk about surprising, that's what surprised me the most."
A look of happiness on her face, she says something odd.
"Smile? But Sakura, is, um "
She's always like that.
"Yeah, it was needless worry on my part.
I can't talk to her that much, so I watched her. I went to the archery club every day after she started coming to our school."
"Yeah, I know that, but "
" Yeah. And I realized after a while that she never smiled."
Something I'm hearing for the first time, but I can't deny what she's saying.
Come to think of it, Sakura always looked gloomy at school.
"Well, the only exception was when you were there.
She smiled whenever you came to the archery club.
In short, Sakura's only cheerful when you're in front of her."