Part 360: Emotion / EpilogueMusic: Ever-present Feeling
I take her hand.
"Let's go, Ilya. We'll go home before they find us."
I pull her small, light body and start to walk.
"Really. There's no way this will turn out well."
She happily closes her hand over mine.
Ilya pulls her hand from mine and stands on guard.
"Oh, wait, Ilya ! He's on our side. We're cooperating just this once. We made a quick team."
"What!? No way, you're working with this guy!? Shirou, you can't, he "
"We can talk later. Let's go outside before they catch up to us."
He moves in an instant.
Kotomine grabs Ilya's arm and jumps out the window without any hesitation.
I dash to the window.
"This isn't the time to be amazed. So he wants me to jump !?"
There's no time to hesitate.
I can manage this height if I land properly.
Video: Jump (mirror)
Music: Gentle Everyday
"That hurts I thought my brain would pop out."
Damn, my feet are so numb that I can't even stand.
But I'm lucky that it's grassy here.
If this were asphalt, I would've broken my legs, and then I'd never be able to escape.
"I'm surprised. You're tough, Shirou."
"Indeed. It is amazing that you jumped from that height without using any magic. Are you suicidal?"
The two stare at me.
Setting Ilya aside for the moment, Kotomine's comment makes me forget about the pain.
"Shut up! I had to do it because you jumped! I don't want to do this ever again! You'd normally break your leg, and I almost fainted right when I started the jump!"
"But you have no injuries. You have no right to complain But it is certainly a surprise. Why did you even consider jumping from that height?
Even a magus would not think about jumping from that height without using a spell."
Well, I was left behind, and since Kotomine jumped with Ilya, I thought I'd look bad if I didn't do it too
"It's not Shirou's fault. Archer's influencing his mind as well as his body.
That's why his body's so tough. He thought he could handle that drop the way Archer could."
" Eh? What does that mean, Ilya?"
"I see, that is reliable. Please demonstrate that strong attitude during battles. Here's your sword."
He throws me the sword I left here.
"You can run, right? Our lives depend on it now."
Kotomine turns to the castle gate, telling me there's no time to talk.
And in challenge to him
An odd sound shakes the winter castle.
" I thought so. You kept him in this world, eh, Sakura?"
That roar was definitely a signal fire for the hunt.
Telling us that the most fearsome hound has been unleashed.
It's like a death sentence placed upon a fleeing prisoner by an honorable, yet ruthless, lord.
I hear the name that embodies danger, and every last ounce of composure is squeezed from my body.
"We'll retreat. We can do nothing even if we fight him. We will be killed once he catches up to us."
Kotomine leads the way to the castle gate.
"Don't look back, Ilya ! Forget about him, Berserker isn't like before !"
I take Ilya's hand and start running.
We can't be holding back now.
If that mad warrior is after us, the only way for us to survive is to run with all our might for the whole three hours to the forest's edge !
I run through the forest.
I still don't see anything behind us.
All I hear is the sound of raging wind.
The pursuer is not a hound, but a huge monster.
As he cannot slip in between trees like us, he instead follows by knocking aside whatever blocks his path.
It feels like we're being chased by one of those heavy drills used for digging tunnels.
It's like there's a black wall bearing down to engulf us.
"Ah haa, ha no, I can't run that fast !"
I slow down to Ilya's pace.
This is bad.
The enemy's speed and ours are about the same.
He'll catch up to us in a minute if I try to run while carrying Ilya!
What should I do?
Should I carry Ilya and run, or
Or will I fight that monster?
And I can't even match Assassin.
Fight one-on-one against the strongest Servant with this borrowed sword?
I'll die if I stop.
He'll definitely kill me.
The moment I face him, my body will be sliced in half, my torso crushed by strength like a machine, all while I'm still conscious, and
Video: Kotomine (mirror)
"There is no need for that. I will carry Ilyasviel."
We both turn around.
I don't even have time to be surprised.
Kotomine walks over to us, picks Ilya up, and starts running.
He's fast !
Kotomine has a good build.
With his height, he should be able to easily carry Ilya and run.
Even now, Shirou has time to admire how manly Kotomine is.
But we're in a forest.
Even though the ground is uneven, trees are scattered everywhere, and his arms are full, he's not slowing down!
I run full-speed after him.
We're at equal speed now.
Kotomine is carrying Ilya while I'm running without any shackles.
In a forest where we might trip at any moment, we run at a pace of a hundred meters per seven seconds.
It's not possible for a human to run at almost fifty kilometers per hour through this terrain.
My left arm throbs.
It feels like my left arm expanded beneath the cloth.
This is probably what Ilya was talking about. Archer's battle experience isn't the only thing flowing into me. His physical abilities are flowing into me now.
An overdose of strength-enhancing drugs.
The poison seeps into my body, letting me demonstrate abilities beyond my limits.
Even if this may be contamination too great for a Geiger counter to measure, I appreciate it for now.
But Kotomine's different.
I don't sense any usage of magic or leak of magical energy.
It's unbelievable, but he's running with Ilya in his arms without any magical assistance !
"Hey, are you really human !"
"Not as much as you. But have you noticed? We can get away if we maintain this speed. It seems he cannot see through his eyes."
" !? He can't see?"
"That is the only reason I can think of.
He is faster. The trees in the forest are like pebbles beneath his feet. But he has yet to catch up to us, which must mean something is wrong with him."
Kotomine plainly talks.
I don't know why he's talking about this with such disinterest, but
" We can manage to get away. So it all depends on our cardio!?"
"No. It seems things will not be that easy."
A voice filled with hostility.
Before I'm able to tell what he means
My left arm writhes.
Assassin slips through the trees beside us, as if laughing at our attempts to escape !
By the time I realize how much trouble we're in, it's already too late.
On the other side of the trees is Assassin, raising his left arm over his head and
Someone parries before it can pierce my skull.
There's only one person that can do such a thing.
Kotomine, still carrying Ilya, parried the attack that was fired without any indication !
"How annoying. He never appears when your hands are free, but he shows up as soon as you're preoccupied."
Kotomine slows down.
The priest frowns and glares at the black assassin keeping pace with us.
Video: Hidden Keys (mirror)
"Whaare you serious!?"
I pull the bewildered girl towards me.
At the same timethree daggers are fired like bullets !
"It's sharp, but too direct. The course of the attacks is too easy to read for an assassin."
I doubt my eyes.
Assassin fired three sword flashes.
The priest easily knocked them all aside!
Damn, that was close! He'll catch up to us if we slow down here !
This is no time to be indecisive.
I have to go ahead with Ilya !
"It's fine, right !? I'm going, Kotomine !"
"That is what I am telling you. You do not need to worry about me."
I hold Ilya in my arms.
I can't run as fast as Kotomine, but this is still faster than having her run with me !
I turn my back to the priest.
The dark roar is coming from another part of the forest.
It's surely coming closer while destroying everything in its path.
"Emiya. Do not kill the person if the one you saved is a woman.
Having her die in front of you hits you pretty hard."
The priest says something strange, his voice heavy with self-derision.
"It's just a meaningless warning. Hurry. If your only pursuer is Berserker, you should be able to escape. The rest of the fight is up to you, Emiya Shirou."
I nod and start off.