Part 343: Chess / Mind's thirst
"My, it is troubling if it does not know moderation.
I let it alone for my good, but I may have to eliminate it soon."
The old man laughs.
The man and the white skull roam around the desolate town.
They are watching the girl and the boy.
The old man watches his enemies with pleasure.
There is no hostility in him.
How can he detest people who are not his enemies anymore?
For him, they are no different from rocks by the roadside.
But it's different for the white skull.
For him, an enemy is an enemy, no matter how weak they may be.
He will eliminate them if they stand opposed, and he will assassinate them if they are too strong to match.
That's his code, a rule he must obey.
"We can kill them here."
He tells his master.
The boy and the girl are full of openings.
In this land of death, they stand defenseless.
It only looks like sick people asking for death.
So he believes that he should be compassionate and kill them here.
"No, that is too wasteful. We let them live until now, so it will be uninteresting to kill them here."
The old man has no compassion.
This thing that wears human form is rotten to the core.
"Hm. How about this scenario, Assassin?
There is a sacrifice. A piece of meat that is ignored, cursed, and hated by the human world. This meat does not try to hate the world. It tries to not hate the world as long as it has at least one ally on its side."
"My, it seems love is precious and strong. The meat cannot hate the world no matter what happens to it. It's intently trying to suppress its mud, believing that hating equals denying its ally.
So anything you do to the meat is ineffective. It accepts everything because it believes in the one and the only hope. It does not hate the world because it contains hope, and it does not let out the curse within it."
"Butwhat would happen if it were rejected by its only ally?
From the start, it has been denied by the world. If it is betrayed by its only hope, there will be no morality to stop it."
" Then you would like the boy to give the final push?"
"Exactly. He should be the one to draw the curtains. It was an unexpected growth, but he made it last so long. Then I should give him the pleasure of killing it."
The old man laughs.
Sadism and joy are contained in the laughter.
The chattering of the teeth is like a white skull shaking in the wind.
My mind must be more tired than my body.
Every part of me craves sleep, and I want to pass out right here in the hallway.
Sakura should be sleeping in her room.
"Nothing happened. She's sleeping in her bed, and it doesn't seem like she woke up. I think she's doing well since she has spare magical energy from Rider not taking form."
"I see. But please be careful. It's over if she goes out of control again."
Tohsaka's tone is the same as ever.
Even after seeing those empty houses, she's acting normally.
"I'm going to sleep since I'm tired. What are you going to do, Ilya?"
"I'll rest as well. Tomorrow is iron making. We might fail if I don't get some good rest."
Ilya leaves with a "good night".
"Then I guess this is it for tonight. You should rest too, Shirou. I don't know if you can tell, but you're really pale."
I fall onto the futon.
Looking up at the ceiling gives me enough composure to make me think.
I think with my weary mind.
I think about my left arm.
The loosened Shroud.
I was in so much fear and pain last night, but today was like nothing.
I have no memory of anything being painful or scary, and the day ended in a flash.
The answer's right there if I seriously think about it.
I think about Ilya.
She said she can't live with me.
She said she wants to, but can't.
She said she can't live long.
She said it as if it were common knowledge.
About that black shadow
"I'm awake. Come in, Sakura."
I raise my body. I want to see Sakura even though my head's not working.
Sakura is like always.
She's reserved, considerate, doesn't say what she wants, is at a loss, and still smiles at me.
She became surprisingly beautiful in the past year, and she's so cute that I want to embrace her when we're alone. And she's someone I promised to keep protecting.
Sakura is like always.
But that's just a matter of course.
She can't be different.
There's no need to push myself and make love to Sakura tonight.
It's not as though Sakura's asking for it like that night.
" Senpai? Um, am I disturbing you ?
You look really tired and sleepy "
"Sakura. Were you sleeping like I told you?"
I just ask what's bothering me.
My tired head can't think at all.
"Yes, I was sound asleep.
I saw another scary dream, but I was able to bear it since you were there until I fell asleep."
A scary dream.
I have to ask her what kind of dream it was, but
I can't say anything, reaching out for her long hair instead.
"U-Um, Senpai ?"
"Come here, Sakura."
I lower my hand to her shoulder and pull her to me.
I murmur, still embracing Sakura.
Music: Pursuing Minds
We know what that means.
The haze of lust clears from my mind.