Part 369: Tactics / Goodbye, thank you
The words I couldn't say to her back then.
I can tell her now with confidence.
"Rider. I understand how much you care for Sakura.
You're stopping me now because Sakura will suffer if you let me go, right?"
"I'm not going to kill her. I'm going to save her.
Rider. I'm going to protect Sakura until the very end. I'm going to choose Sakura no matter what."
"Soplease lend me your power. Tohsaka and I can't do this alone. If you care for Sakura, please help us."
Your answer to my question from the other day?"
" Very well.
But I will not fight unless there is a chance to win. What do you expect of me, Shirou?"
What I expect from Rider?
There's only one thing.
Rider's the only one out of all the Servants that can oppose Saber's Noble Phantasm, Sakura's strongest card.
"Yes. Sakura still supplies me with magical energy."
"Right, next question. Are Servants still spirits even if they take physical form? So you can't hurt them with normal weapons?"
" Let's see. A normal Servant will be able to nullify them, but those consumed by Sakura are another matter.
Having received bodies from Sakura, they cannot return to spiritual form.
Strong magical weapons should be able to penetrate through their shadows."
"I see, then it's decided. There's a chance of victory, and the roles are clear.
Rider. I want you to beat Saber one-on-one. To be specific"
I whisper in her ear.
I know nobody's listening, but I'm just making sure.
He must not want the reader to overhear.
It is a pure contest of power. Nothing is left to chance."
"Right? Well, if there is a problem "
Rider puts a finger to her mouth, thinking
"Fair enough. I shall trust you and accept you as my temporary master."
And agrees with a smile that takes me by surprise.
I wrap the Azoth sword with cloth and tuck it under my arm.
This is my only weapon. The only other thing I'm taking is the pendant.
Music: Ever-present Feeling
Ilya's going to stay here.
It's partly because Zouken's after her, but I'm also having her stay here because she's my hope.
"I see. So she's out there, huh?"
"Yeah. She looked like she wanted you to come quickly, so she'll probably scold you again if you don't hurry."
I nod and get up.
There's no pain in my left arm now.
It's just that my human functionality is eroding.
"Then I'm going. Be careful, Ilya."
"See you, Shirou. Please come home with Sakura and Rin before the day breaks."
I wave goodbye to her and leave.
Many things happened here, and I have a lot of memories.
This just happened recently.
A morning scene that was part of my life for a year and a half.
It's my small workshop that I frequented like my room.
Here I trained hard every night, hoping to be like Kiritsugu.
She'd wake me up from time to time when I slept in.
It feels like it happened long ago, but I even remember how the air smelled.
A room that was only used for the past couple days.
I don't have many memories here.
Only Sakura comes to mind.
I sigh and lean against the wall.
I can't remember.
I can't remember what happened in this house or all the things I did.
Sakura's face comes to my mind just by walking to these places.
"Wow. I "
She really means a lot to me.
My consciousness is fading, and my memory is a mess.
The ten years in this house are ambiguous in my head.
ButI can still remember.
I can clearly remember Sakura, no matter what part of me goes away.
I take a deep breath.
What must be done has been determined from the start.
"All rightlet's go, Sakura."
Taking a firm grip on my consciousness, I leave Sakura's room.