Part 338: Blank memory / Ilya's breakfast / Determination
Music: In the Sunlight
Music: In the Sunlight
Music: In the Sunlight
It's past eight o'clock.
I'm late for school.
Well, that's not really true since I'm not going to school, but it makes no difference to the fact that I slept in.
"Whoa. I have to make breakfast."
I get up and get changed.
I can't avoid looking at the cloth wrapped around my left arm.
" All right."
I swing my arm as a warm-up exercise.
It rises up to my shoulders, as I intended.
It's getting better day by day.
There's still no sensation, but at this rate
Ilya is in front of me.
I should be in the living room, but I'm in the shed for some reason.
"Are you listening to me, Shirou? I'm asking what you're doing here."
"YYeah, I'm listening. Good morning, Ilya. What a strange place to meet up."
That was an odd reply on my part.
It seems I'm not awake yet.
"Shirou? You're not feeling well?"
"Huh? Oh, no. It's just that I'm only half awake, so give me a minute."
I shake my head.
My body is dead tired, but my sleepiness goes away.
"All right. So, answering your question, I don't have any business here. I just made a stupid mistake because I was half-asleep."
"I see. Then let's go to the living room! I'll prepare your breakfast."
Ilya happily runs across the yard.
"Hm? Did Ilya just say she'll make breakfast?"
That's the first thing I say after I'm fully awake.
Ilya's breakfast I'm looking forward to it, but I'm also worried at the same time.
I'm pretty sure that Ilya has never even held a knife before, let alone cooked.
"Oh I should go keep an eye on her."
I run across the prickling grass to the living room.
And I'm astonished once again.
I must've been really out of it.
What was I thinking, coming here in my bare feet?
I run into Sakura as she comes out of the living room.
"Good morning, Sakura. I'm sorry about this morning. I overslept, and it was past eight when I noticed."
Maybe she didn't hear me. She's just looking blankly at my face.
I reach out, afraid that she's sick again.
"G-Good morning, Senpai!"
Or maybe she isn't, because she greets me with lots of energy.
"Oh, you're full of energy. So I'm guessing you feel well?"
"Y-Yes, I'm doing great, thanks to you. You gave me energy!"
Sakura sounds awkward.
Being energetic is a good thing, but I get uneasy seeing her so restless.
"What's wrong, Sakura? You're acting weird. First of all, what do you mean by me giving you energy?"
"Umwell, um, last night "
"In your room "
Sakura trails off, blushing furiously.
And it was our second time.
We did it more furiously than the first time, and I lusted for Sakura's body.
"S-Sakura The thing last night "
That wasn't a dream, right?
Sakura is still blushing, but she shakes her head and looks at me critically.
I thought my face couldn't get any hotter, but I guess I was wrong.
Um, last night was amazing.
"Sakura. Um I'm sorry I was rough yesterday."
Ignoring the blazing heat I feel, I apologize.
"Okay. But I was happy, Senpai."
Sakura smiles and gives a lethal reply.
She got me.
Sakura's so cute that I want to push her down right here.
I'm guessing she'd like that.
"S-So I'm going to go eat breakfast! I-I'll talk to you later about this!"
I pivot like a robot and head to the living room.
Suspicions that Shirou is a creepy pedo continue.
My limbs move awkwardly as I force down my desires.
Music: In the Sunlight
Ilya hands me a plate as soon as I enter the living room.
On the plate are blackened toast, a runny sunny-side up egg, and cut tomatoes.
My head's still dizzy, but I sit down at my usual spot and start biting on the toast.
I decline to comment on the toast, but the egg is done pretty well. Maybe she copied someone, or perhaps Tohsaka taught her.
Anyway, I have to give her a perfect score if this is her first time cooking.
I crunch on the toast.
Ilya doesn't seem happy or proud, but simply watches me in satisfaction.
I'm not giving in to her happy mood, but I decide not to ask why the toast feels like coal.
Having your toast black or hard is a matter of personal preference.
"It is a problem. You'll get sick if you eat something burned like that."
"You idiot. The burned spots are the best, whether it's rice or toast."
oh fuck it, nevermind.
" Hey. Are you all right, Emiya-kun?"
"I'm saying it's good. And I guess doing it rough is all right."
That is not something she really wanted to know about.
"You must really be half-asleep. This isn't time to be saying such carefree things, you know?"
Tohsaka looks at the TV.
The TV is on, showing the morning news.
Is this deja vu?
The news seems to be a story I've already seenand my mind sharpens up.
The captions on the screen.
An incidence of unexplained comas occurred in Shinto last night.
The residents lost consciousness overnight.
It's being treated just like the other mysterious comas, but it's different from before.
The area of the incident is 50 meters in diameter.
It used to only happen in one building at a time, but the damage is spread much further now.
And that's not the only problem.
At the end of the report
Beside the triple-digit number of victims is a new list called "missing people".
"Tohsaka, this is "
"Yes. Fourteen missing people. I'm sure there'll be more once they look into it. Well, it looks like about a tenth of the people were completely swallowed."
My mind freezes.
"Do you get it now? I don't know if this is Zouken or the shadow's doing, but it makes no difference to the fact that there are more victims now.
At this rate, a whole section of the town will be swallowed in a few days."
Squeeze my left arm.
"Tohsaka. Are the missing people dead?"
I ask to confirm.
Tohsaka looks away, which is answer enough.
" That's all. I understand how you feel, but feeling guilty can come later.
Look, they're starting to do as they please because they think we can't do anything about it. They can do ridiculous things because they're taking us lightly.
So I don't even need to say what we need to do, right?"
Music: Whirlpool of Fate 2
Tohsaka cuts right to the chase when I get to the dojo.
"Well, I can move it fine. But that's not what you're asking me, right?"
"Right. I'm asking you if you understand Archer's arm."
Ilya is watching us silently.
I swear Tohsaka doesn't know what this arm is.
She doesn't know about the fear I felt last night.
It'll be over for me if I take this cloth off.
She doesn't know my body will be destroyed if I let this arm free, let alone use it.
I recall the sensation.
It felt like being buried alive.
Utter obliteration, where the world is covered beneath something mysterious and ends in silence.
After just a glimpse of it, my mind repeated to itself in terror
That I cannot use this arm.
I'll die if I use it.
Without some sort of miracle, I will definitely die.
"How is it? It's been a day since I transplanted my crest, so it should be working now.
Answer me. Do you know what you can do with Archer's arm?"
Tohsaka's question is not exactly what I'd been expecting.
I thought she wanted to know if I could use the arm.
"Um so you're not asking me if I can suppress his arm, but if I know what his Noble Phantasm is?"
"O-Of course! It'll be terrible if you use Archer's arm, so there's no way I'm going to let you! Or what!? Were you thinking about using it!?"
Tohsaka's seriously angry.
"Uh No, but I thought that's where the conversation was going "
"What are you talking about!?"
" Geez. Let me tell you. I forbid you to use Archer's arm, no matter the situation.
And don't even consider using it without my permission.
Um, you're taking Archer's place, so it'll trouble me if you die."
I take back what I said earlier.
She's a much better magus than I am.
She knows more than me about what'll happen if I free this arm.
She repeats the question.
I don't know what kind of an answer Tohsaka is expecting, but
"Geez. Why don't you just tell her, Shirou? That you knew what it is since his arm has been transplanted."
"Wait, is that true, Shirou?"
"Ughwell, I think so. Archer's Noble Phantasm is his projection magic, and it's reproducing weapons, right?"
I have a vague idea, but I can't be sure, so I'm still half in doubt.
" I guess I didn't need to be so nervous. So, you're already connected to it.
That's helpful in its own way, but why didn't you say anything, Ilya? If Shirou knew about Archer's projection magic, I didn't even need to ask him."
"You didn't ask. You're the one who wants Shirou to do projection, so it's your role to ask. It's nothing I should butt in on."
"What's that? Are you going to say we're stopping after all that preparation?"
"That's for you two to decide.
You'll certainly win if you can reproduce the gem sword. That's why I gave you a hand. But I only helped you because it's my obligation. It's not because I agree with your plan."
Judging by their conversation, Tohsaka wants me to project something
"Can I say something? So in short, you have something you want reproduced?"
We can't match Saber or that shadow. So we have to create something in place of Servants, a Conceptual Weapon that exceeds the Servants."
"Conceptual Weapon? Is that the fixed magical item that executes a set phenomenon?"
"Yes. It's an Outbreaker that defeats its opponent using the weight of its concept rather than physical damage. I'm going to have you project a special Conceptual Weapon that has been passed down through the Tohsaka family."
"The goal is to make something that can match Saber's Noble Phantasm.
You saw Saber's Noble Phantasm that defeated Berserker, right?
In terms of raw power, Saber's weapon is the strongest.
I'm sure even the shadow would be destroyed by a blow from her Noble Phantasm, and we can't dodge or block it if it's used against us.
Conversely, we can manage a fight if we can make a sword that exceeds Saber's Noble Phantasm, even if it's an imitation that breaks easily."
It's a sound argument, and a natural conclusion.
If Saber's Noble Phantasm is their strongest weapon, we just need to prepare something that outperforms it.
Make a weapon that is stronger than your enemy's.
It's the simplest and surest way to win.
" I don't know. I can't project such a strong Noble Phantasm. No, first of all, I've never succeeded at projection magic"
But your projection isn't on that level. You were merely doing it wrong because you didn't know how.
But you now have Archer's knowledge, so you just need to trace it. With Archer as your example, you will succeed."
Tohsaka sounds confident.
But even so, I have no confidence in myself.
"Look. I've told you before, but you're a magus that uses projection, not strengthening.
You might not be able to make a replica with the same power as the original, but you should get close to it if you follow Archer's theory."
"Our role is to back you up.
We'll prepare the materials to be as close to the original as possible.
Ilya is analyzing the blueprint that you'll be using during projection, and I'm preparing the materials that were used to make the real weapon."
" It'll be a little longer, but it's up to you after that. If you can reproduce my master's pass, even if it's just the shape, we have a chance of victory against Zouken."
So they're going to prepare the blueprint and the materials, and I'm supposed to put it together?
I have no problem if we can defeat Zouken that way.
I'll happily go with her plan, but
If that's the case, we won't need any materials. If you show me the original, I can copy it.
We can try it right now instead of waiting for you to get ready."
"Are you stupid? If it were that simple, I would've had you try it two days ago.
Look, you'll be able to project once at most, and the projected weapon is certain to have flaws.
But that's meaningless. We can't have you make an imitation like the failures in the shed that look the same on the outside, but contain nothing on the inside."
" Hm. But I can only make such imitations."
"That's why we're backing you up.
We're preparing materials that are as close to the real thing as possible to compensate for the required knowledge and magical energy, and have you fix it in place with your image.
It's simple addition. We add your image and the materials we prepared to achieve a better result."
" Well, I'm sure we don't need the material or the blueprint if you use Archer's arm to project it, but that's not possible.
This is the only way to prepare a weapon without relying on that arm."
"So we're strengthening what's there using projection, huh?
Yeah, that does sound "
It sounds plausible, and we might be able to do it with practice.
"But I don't know if it'll succeed or not.
I wasn't able to consistently use strengthening magic until I became a Master. I don't think I can do something like that on the spot."
"Oh, that's all right.
I'm going to have you train your projection and practice retrieving Archer's knowledge."
" I see. That's good for me too, but you look happy, Tohsaka."
"No way. I've been playing with building blocks with Ilya for a while, so I'm just thinking how refreshing it is to talk with a bad student."
Ugh. I get the chills, recalling the weird sensation from yesterday.
Tohsaka got me naked, came close to me, and stuck her fingers in me.
I don't think that quite came out right.
Nothing happened then, but if we're going to do that again today
I might get a big scolding from Sakura, resting in her room.
I want to confirm everything one last time."
"I'm asking if you're okay with this plan.
We'll be relying on your projection.
I won't let you use Archer's arm, but his influence will still poison you as you imitate his magic. Knowing that, are you still okay with this plan?"
"Hey, I have no complaints if we can defeat Zouken. And it's promising if you're the one training me in magic."
" I'll be honest here. Using Archer's magic means releasing the seal on his arm.
In short, I'm telling you to take off that Shroud while we're training projection."
My mind freezes.
Take the Shroud off?
Release this arm that terrified me, made me cry, and made me shake in the corner, just by loosening the cloth?