Part 45: Lady of fresh blood / Everyone getting along / A Strategy MeetingMusic: Midnight Interval
Alright, let's be honest. Shinji dressed her in that, didn't he?
There's no change in Rider. Her hair flutters in the wind.
" Right. Sorry for asking a stupid question when we're enemies."
I raise my hand to thank her and exit.
"It was not a lie. It is true that a witch is up on the mountain."
"Be careful if you are to challenge her. That witch knows men inside out."
Rider talks without interest.
I notice myself getting drawn in by her voice and quickly shake my head.
"Uh, um thanks for the warning.
And please take care of Shinji. He's always like that, so please protect him."
I'm taken aback, but I manage a reply.
That must have sounded funny.
Music: Surrounded by Smiling Faces
" There's a Master at Ryudou Temple, huh?"
An hour's walk to the mountain.
Taking the mountainside road, one can reach the mountain gate that leads to the Ryudou Temple.
The Ryudou Temple is a large temple up on the mountain, as big as our school.
Its cemetery is large, but more than that, it's a small world made up of fifty practicing monks.
The people of the town are helped by the people of Ryudou Temple, but they also honor it as a sacred place that is not to be visited lightly.
" Come to think of it, I haven't been to Ryudou Temple recently."
Ever since I went there last summer to stay there as mental training.
The temple's life gets really hard during the winter, so I was thinking about returning there during the winter
Speaking of the devil, or whatever
I run into Ryudou Temple's successor, Ryudou Issei.
"Yo. Is school over already?"
"Of course it's over. I'm heading home since I don't have anything to do for the student council, but is something wrong? You seemed to be staring at the mountain."
"No, there wasn't anything wrong. I just felt like going home."
"Heh. The teachers would be out of business if people skipped class just because they feel like it. So, I'm asking why you were looking at the mountain."
" Well. Issei, it's a small thing, but has there been anything strange going on recently?"
"Well. Change is common, but nothing has drastically changed. The mountain is always peaceful, and peace makes up ordinary days."
"Sorry Issei, I'm being serious here."
"H-How rude! I'm serious too!"
"It looks like it. Then it's good, I guess it was just overanxiety."
"Fine, if you understand. I wouldn't joke with you."
With a cough, Issei calms down.
" But, hmm There has been a change, but I wonder "
"Huh ? A change? In the temple !?"
"Yeah. Not the mountain, but the air at our temple is restless. She's apparently an acquaintance of my father, but we've taken in a bothersome guest. It's a problem because she is beautiful.
Geez, why is everyone making so much commotion over one woman?"
"Womandoes Ryudou Temple have nuns?"
"No. This is a special circumstance, and we're letting her use a room until the wedding celebrationno, but this person is so beautiful that it even captivates me when she's getting water from the well."
"What do you mean 'a special circumstance' hey Issei? Hey, are you listening to me?"
Reject lust, be calm Issei."
The student council president starts to recite Buddhist scriptures.
Geez, he's so serious, so he's hard to deal with when he gets like this.
In another, more comical universe, poor Issei would be an H-game protagonist.
"Heeeey, are you all right Issei?"
"No problem. My training is insufficient, so I wish to purify myself more."
As good as it feels, it's not actually 'purifying'. We also don't tell our guy friends about it.
I guess he still didn't hear me as he disappears into the back of the town.
Music: Madder Red Town
" I'll talk to her about what I heard from Shinji after Sakura and Fuji-Nee go home "
There's no point in talking about it when those two are here.
That decided, I have to go and prepare dinner.
Tohsaka got me yesterday, and I have to try to put Fuji-Nee in a better mood.
Cooking takes time and effort before love.
If I am to go for a sure win, I will have to spend twice as much time.
Music: Gentle Everyday
"I'm talking about the taste of the food. Um, it's the best dinner so far according to Fujimura-Sensei, so I'm saying we should share it among everyone."
" Hmmm I think she's saying something else.
Tohsaka-san said she didn't want to eat the food Shirou cooked."
"That's only in the mornings. I eat dinner like normal and we take turns cooking dinner, so it is my right to eat.
If you don't like that, please take my place tomorrow."
"Ughthat personality that strikes precisely at my weak point. Man, I didn't think you were such a terrible student."
Fuji-Nee reluctantly returns the pot to the table.
And so, the specially prepared rice returns to the table safely.
"Iron Chef disapproves of this lackluster mealtime description!"
" Hold on, Fuji-Nee, I cooked a lot so you don't need to hurry. I made enough for everyone."
"Yes. Two casks for four people is obviously too much."
"It's not a cask, it's a pot. And it's fine. The rice is today's main dish, so there can be lots of it. If there's any left over, I'll make some riceballs and it'll be lunch for tomorrow."
"Oh, can I have some too? I usually don't like fried rice, but this is exceptional. There are lots of things in it. What exactly did you use?"
"It's basically rice mixed with mushrooms, right? There are lots of details, like the way it's using citrus instead of fried things for its aroma."
I was afraid for a moment that I wasn't playing Fate/Stay Night anymore, but I can relax now.
Fuji-Nee must have given up taking the pot for herself, as she starts to eat really fast.
She empties her bowl quickly and asks for more in no time.
" Fine, but it won't run out even if you take it slow, Fuji-Nee."
"That's fine! I'm going to eat Shirou's food, so I won't give it to some stranger!"
That sounds so dirty.
She snatches away the bowl.
I don't get it.
Sakura is smiling awkwardly, Tohsaka is ignoring Fuji-Nee, and Saber is eating her food.
I put in a lot of effort to make this, but it might have had the opposite of the desired effect.
The dinner that was supposed to have Tohsaka admit defeat ends loudly because of Fuji-Nee's strange actions.
"Yeah. Fuji-Nee, please take Sakura home safely."
"Yeah, yeah, I know. Don't worry."
Stepping lightly, Fuji-Nee holds Sakura's hand.
"What? Shirou, you look like you're wondering about something."
"Of course I'm wondering. Usually, people can't move after eating that much."
"Really? It was tough, but it's fine once you swallow it."
There's nothing I could possibly add to that to make it sound any worse than it already does.
So you should realize the problem is that there's no limit to that, Tiger.
Correction: I could have added that.
Just as one would expect from a wild tiger. If possible, I don't want it accidentally trespassing into human society.
"Yes, good night Senpai."
"Yeah, night Shirou."
Music: Tender Scenery
"About the other Masters. There's something I want to tell you guys."
Saber raises her brows a bit.
As a Servant, she must prefer battles where she uses her sword to these peaceful days.
Haven't we been over this?
But her wounds shouldn't have healed yet.
The wound on her chest made by Lancer's "Noble Phantasm" isn't something even Saber can heal quickly.
Thinking about that makes me hesitate telling them about Shinji.
I feel the same way as Shinji.
I want to avoid starting fights, andI think the girl in front of me swinging a sword is a disparate image.
"Uhyeah. Right, this is something I should tell you guys. To put it simply, I went and met with Rider's Master today."
"Ridiculous! Meeting with another Master by yourself, what were you thinking!?"
"Whoa, hold on, calm down ! It's all right. I'm not hurt, so don't get mad."
Music: Tender Scenery
I am only stunned by your actions."
" Me too. Well, it's no use arguing over what's done.
So, what's going on Shirou?"
Tohsaka and Saber glare at me with obvious anger in their eyes.
I thought they would say something about me being thoughtless, but I didn't think they would get this mad.
" I met him this afternoon.
I only went because he wanted to talk to me, and it's not like we fought."
"I can tell by looking. So, what kind of a guy was Rider's Master?"
"What kind of guy well, it's Shinji.
He called out to me when I was searching for the boundary field. He said he wanted to talk to me and asked me to follow him, so I went to Matou's house."
"Yeah. Rider was obeying him, and he knew about the Holy Grail War. According to him, the Matou family is a lineage of magi with a history."
"Huhyeah, well, that's true, but it can't be true. The Matou family was exhausted in the last generation. No matter what they do, their children won't have a Magic Circuit. That's for certain."
Tohsaka declares so.
If so, Shinji and Sakura really should be normal people without Magic Circuits.
"Yeah, Shinji said that too. But he said they still had the knowledge. Something about it being taught only to Shinji, the eldest son, so Sakura didn't know about it.
In short, he's a Master rather like me. He said he doesn't have any magical energy, so he wouldn't be detected by your perceptions."
" I see. I messed up. There certainly could be such cases If they have grimoires remaining, he would be able to become a Master. Then geez, my actions were totally obvious to him! I'm an idiot."
Tohsaka is mumbling, reflecting on her actions.
Hm. Tohsaka is close to perfect, but I think there are a few things missing.
Unfortunately, they're the most crucial ones.
"That was a mistake on my part. I should have kept an eye on Shinji. If I'd known, I wouldn't have let him construct that boundary field."
"Oh, Shinji said the boundary field at school wasn't his. He said there's another Master at school."
"Yes, that's true. It's obvious that there's another Master at school who we don't know about.
Rin really needs to work at this whole "Grail War" thing. For those keeping track, we're at four out of seven now.
Prologue Day 3 posted:
"But Rin, there are always exceptions. What if there is a magus at your school that you don't know about?"
"Like I said, there aren't any. Magi are sensitive to other magi. If we were at the same school for a year, I should be able to sense other magi no matter how well they hide it.
I will state with confidence that there are only two magi at our school. One of them is me, and the other is only an apprentice who doesn't have enough power to become a Master.
Do you understand? Your caution is just needless worrying. It's completely impossible."
But Shirou don't tell me you're just trusting Shinji's word that he's not the one who constructed the boundary field?"
" No, I'm not that good-natured. As long as Shinji goes to our school, I think there's an even chance it's his doing. The alternative being the unknown Master."
He says that like there's only one...
Well, that's fine. That good nature is just the way you are, and that must be why Shinji told you his true identity."
"Oh well. So what did you talk with Shinji about?"
"He asked me if I wanted to cooperate with him. It seems Shinji has no intention of fighting, so he seemed to want to ally with someone he knew."
"No, isn't it natural to refuse? I've already joined up with you.
Even if I were to agree, I'd have to ask you first."
"Oh yeah. That is true. But didn't you say you refused?"
"Yeah. Like I said, I answered Shinji on my own. It wasn't something to debate. Oh, was I too hasty?"
" Not particularly. I think your decision was correct. Well, if you were the one asked, it's not something I can complain about."
The way she mumbles so isn't like Tohsaka at all.
"That was it from Shinji.
From what I saw, Rider isn't a strong Servant. Even putting Berserker outside of the picture, I don't think she had the same presence as Lancer. And Rider herself was more normal than I expected."
" If you think so, it must be true. But a Servant's true power is determined by their Noble Phantasm. Please do not underestimate her until we find out Rider's true identity."
" Yeah. I couldn't tell at all which heroine she was. See, Lancer and Berserker feel like heroes, right? But Rider didn't have that feeling. I felt like she was different from a normal Servant."
"Different from a normal Servant?
I do not understand. Rin, can you explain Shirou's strange feeling?"
Well, it's because the Master influences which heroic spirit is summoned as the Servant. The Master and Servant end up being similar people.
" and, well, Shinji's a worthless bag of shit, so Rider must suck, too!"
"So if the Master is a noble person, a heroic spirit similar to them will be summoned. And if a person with a huge scar in their mind summons a heroic spirit, a heroic spirit with a scar in their mind appears as well.
For those of you that know about Archer, I find it interesting what this says about Rin. I hope to bring it up again when it doesn't need to be spoken about in spoilers.
The strange feeling Shirou had towards Rider must be that.
A Master with a crooked mind sometimes summons vengeful ghosts almost like heroic spirits instead of a hero."
"Vengeful ghost almost like heroic spirits could that be what you were talking about before"
"Yes. A mass murderer that loves the sight of blood and thinks nothing of killing people.
Actually, there are heroes with only massacres to their legend, so it's not strange for something like that to become a Servant."
Is that so?
Certainly, I could only smell blood on Rider, but she didn't seem like a blood-thirsty killer
" Well, that's all there is to say about Rider.
There's one more thing, but it might be the most important.
According to Rider, there seems to be another Master at the Ryudou Temple. I guess this Master is collecting magical energy from everyone in this town. What do you two make of this?"
"Yeah. What, does it mean something to you, Tohsaka?"
"Of course not. It's just the opposite. I've never been to the Ryudou Temple.
I don't know what kind of a Master this person is, but normally, you wouldn't choose to position yourself in such a remote place."
"Right. I was also surprised when I heard that a Master's at the Ryudou Temple.
Even though it won't draw people's attention, there are many monks living there. If they act strangely, I think there'd be an quick uproar."
Even if it was the case, the Ryudou Temple is on the outskirts of the suburbs, right?
To reach out to Miyama City and Shinto is more like a waste of magical energy than a great magic. Such large scale magic is impossible even with the magical energy collected from it."
Then, Tohsaka starts to think with a troubled face.
I'm relying on Tohsaka's opinion, so there's nothing I can do until she talks again.
"No, that story is very plausible.
If one takes that temple, such magic would be naturally possible."
" ? Saber by 'that temple'you know of Ryudou Temple? I haven't taken you there yet."
"Did you forget, Shirou? I have participated in the Holy Grail War previously as well. I am well-informed about the city, and I know that the temple is a fallen ley line."
"Fallen ley line!? Hold on, that's what my house is! Why are there two foci of ley lines in one area!?"
"I do not know, but that temple is a place magi can call sacred.
I hear it is where the life of the region flows to, so it would be a perfect base to collect souls from. A magus need only to intervene in the natural flow to collect life forces from the whole city."
" I've never heard of that.
But if that's the case, then it would certainly be possible for someone to steal life forces from all the people in the city "
"In other words, it's just an area that's spiritually superior, right? That's only natural. You don't build a temple anywhere else."
*pat* *pat* It's okay, Rin, we can't all win the Grail War.
"I thought so. Temples and shrines have been built in sacred places to protect the town since ancient times. It's not that the monks pray to grant happiness. They remove evil by sealing the ill-omened. On that basis, it's only natural that the mountain Ryudou Temple is on would be a sacred place."
"HeyI don't want to consider this, but did you think that Ryudou Temple was just for show?"
"Yeah, I did, is there something wrong with that!? Until now, I thought that temple was just for show because it didn't have any practicing healers!"
"Practicing healers ? What is that?"
"People who let ghosts go to heaven without using chants, faith, or prayers.
Enlightened people try to do so with just Buddhist powers, but monks without enough training haven't reached that level yet, so they add their own power to create spells like ours.
There's some kind of organization of those kinds of people in this country. But they're incompatible with the Magic Association, so I don't know too much about them.
If that temple is a ley line, Masters should try to take it immediately. That's strange why are others ignoring that place?"
"Because the Ryudou Temple is there, right? They keep watch so it doesn't get misused."
"The monks at the Ryudou Temple are all pure monks in training.
They aren't like us, so it'd be easy for a Master to control them."
"No, Rin, that is wrong. It would certainly be easy for a Master to gain control of that temple. But that mountain has a boundary field that is inconvenient for Masters."
" ? A boundary field that's inconvenient for us?"
Oh god no! Nasu's putting pen to paper! RUN! We'll be swallowed who
"Yes. There is a spell on that mountain that tries to eliminate anything other than natural spirits. It has no effect on normal humans, but it is a dreadful place for us Servants."
"Eliminates anything other than natural spiritsthen that means Servants can't enter the mountain!"
It is much like receiving a Command Spell telling us not to go near that place."
"Then how is the Master at the Ryudou Temple maintaining its Servant?"
"There is no boundary field once you enter the temple.
I hear that the boundary field was originally a border to protect the temple. The boundary field is only something that rejects people from outside, so it has no other powers."
" Then if we make it inside, there's nothing that affects the Servant?
" But that's strange. If you close the temple off like that, the ley line itself would stop. You would have to at least keep one way open or it couldn't be the center of the ley line, right?"
"Yes. If you think in terms of the temple, it cannot refuse those visiting through the proper entrance. It may be following on this idea, but I heard that the road leading to the temple does not have the boundary field.
At that temple, only the main gate does not have the power to command us Servants."
" I see. That must be it. If you close off all the gates, the air inside will stagnate. Hmm, only the main gate, huh ?"
"That is all that I can tell you.
So, please come up with a plan. We have proven that there is a Master, so I believe there is only one action to take."
I know what Saber wants to say.
Her eyes tell me that since the location of the enemy is known, all that's left is to attack.
"I'm going to pass on this.
It seems like a trap, and honestly, I can't take any action with this little information. If you're going to go to their homeground, you should at least wait until you find out what kind of Servant they have."
"Go ahead and insult me. Archer isn't fully healed yet, so I'll remain a spectator for a while."