Part 49: Boy Meets Girl (I)Music: Footsteps of Destruction
"That'sSaber there, right?"
At the top of the steps, in front of the temple gates is an armored figure like Saber confronting a figure in a kimono.
The wind must be surrounding Saber as the trees on the mountain are creaking as if being pushed by her.
"Guh Damn, is it even possible to get near her like this !?"
I can't even open my eyes because of the strong wind.
I manage to get to the steps looking down, but the wind gets stronger.
"No, I can't"
Get near Saber.
I can see Saber fighting someone way up there, but I can't do anything.
No, first of all, even if I do make it up there in all this wind, I'll only be a burden to her
My left hand aches again.
The Command Spell on my hand is throbbing.
I don't know what it means.
But I can't help it because..
That image flashes in my head every time it throbs!
Maybe we should have bet on how many times in a row it would appear
" Damn, I'm getting desperate here !"
I reach out to the steps with my eyes closed.
I lie down, trying not to be blown by the wind, and start to move upwards.
My Command Spell throbs.
It is as if it is warning me about the wind, and about something that is going to happen above me.
" Wait. Could this be "
Saber's magical energy?
"Why is she doing something like this with that wounded body of hers!?"
No, should she even be doing this at all?
Saber cannot replenish her magical energy.
So she shouldn't be using her magical energy readily.
She has to leave the fighting to me and stay as my backup, or her magical energy will run out and
I get up and run up the stairs.
This is no time to be crawling.
I don't know what Saber is planning to do, but I have to stop her!
It must be luck that I avoided it.
Something like a dagger flies across right in front of me as I try to run up to the temple gate.
I look toward the trees in the mountain off to the side of the stairs.
There's no mistake about it.
I didn't notice because of the strong wind before, but someone else is hiding near here !
"Don't play arounddon't hide like a coward and come out !"
I raise my voice.
That voice that should have been drowned out by the wind
Echoes through the area, surprising even me.
"The wind stopped?"
I look up at the temple gate.
is a man in a kimono holding a longsword, and Saber's back.
"Stop right there, Saber. Someone is trying to steal a glance at your technique."
The man in the kimono says with a faint smile.
He is staring into the forest like I am.
"If we continue, this match will not be between just us.
I do not know if the shameless one hiding there is going to attack the winner or if it is only here to watch.
But either way, this is less interesting now."
"I will settle this match if you come through this gate. I will not allow anyone to step through this gate.
Butthat is unfortunately my only role.
I have no intention of stopping you if you are to retreat. Well, that idiot hiding in the trees is a different story. If it is someone I do not take a liking to, I would not let them through on my life nor would I let them retreat alive."
The man called Assassin goes up the stairs.
"You were manipulated, Saber. Well, the same goes for me as I did not notice the presence of this person. I could have shown you my full secret technique if we continued, but we were interrupted at a bad time. It must be fortuitous for you."
Saber is hanging her head in regret.
The killing intent fades away.
Not because of Assassin's words, but Saber herself must know it is disadvantageous to fight now.
"See, your pick-up is here as well. That boy must be your Master. Leave before the idiot sneaking a look at us changes its target to him."
And Assassin disappears.
He must have become a spirit, and it must be his demonstration that he will not attack us unless we advance.
Saber does not say anything.
She just has her back to me as she quietly stands there.
" Hey, Saber ?"
There's no answer even when I call out to her.
I think it's strange, so I start to go up the stairs
The armor Saber had on suddenly disappears.
The girl in her defenseless blue clothes sways without turning around.
I stop Saber with my arms as she falls back down the stairs.
Saber does not move at all. She is unconscious with her eyes closed in pain.
Music: Midnight Interval
" Haa haa ah."
I lay Saber down in the hallway.
Saber was really light. She only weighed about forty kilograms, so I wouldn't normally have been this tired.
But that's only if the weight isn't moving.
I didn't know that it was such a hard task to carry a sleeping humana girl too.
The fatigue is great not physically, but mentally.
It's because my attention was disrupted by things like her body's softness and by having her breathing softly right by me.
"oh man oh man, what do I do, it's a GIRL"
" Geez why did she have to suddenly lose consciousness?"
I look at the sleeping Saber.
She must not be completely unconscious.
She looks like she'll open her eyes if I call out her name, even though she's sleeping like a corpse.
There were so many things I wanted to say when I left the house, but I can't say anything when she makes a sleeping face like that.
" Oh well. I'll bring it up when you wake up, Saber."
And the instant I reach out to carry Saber again-
" Well, I don't care. It doesn't concern me what your taste is or what you're doing."
For some reason.
Tohsaka is in the hallway even though it is past two in the morning.
Music: Gentle Everyday
"Why are you looking at me if you've seen a ghost? I don't have any complaints, so you can continue. I only got up to take a drink."
"She's not human, so it's not like it's rape."
"Ehuh, you're wrong! Wrong, completely wrong!
Um, it's a long story, but I'm only trying to take Saber to her room do you understand !?"
"Yes, so it seems."
"D-Don't lie to me! It sounds like you don't understand!"
"I'm saying I do. Saber went to fight by herself and you went and stopped her, right?
And there was some sort of trouble, so Saber came back unconscious. How about that?"
"Uh y-yeah. Amazing, you're perfectly right. But how do you know?"
"Of course I can tell. There was a likelihood that Saber would go off to battle by herself, and the Master will be informed of that once the battle starts. That's why this development is within the scope of my deduction."
"I see. That's fine, but "
Um, so Tohsaka predicted that Saber would go out to fight by herself?
"So what are you going to do? Aren't you going to take Saber to her room? If you let her sleep here, I'm sure even a Servant will catch a cold."
"So I was about to take her to her room"
I was going to carry her, but
It's hard to do so when she's watching.
" Tohsaka. Sorry, but can you carry Saber?"
"Me? Well, that's fine. Then can you prepare some tea? I'm curious to hear what happened."
Tohsaka picks up Saber.
I'm uneasy about her being so understanding, but as long as I've asked her to do so, I have to go prepare some tea.
"By tea, she must not mean Japanese tea. This place only has English tea in teabags though."
Well, it can't be helped if we don't have it.
I decide she can complain if she wants and I make the tea with a teabag.
"Yeah, hold on a moment. I'll be there right away."
I put the two teacups on a tray and head to the living room.
Next to Tohsaka is Saber, changed into her normal clothes.
"S-Saber !? Why? Weren't you asleep !?"
"I was lying in wait to see if you would rape me. I am sorely disappointed."
"She was. But it's not a long-lasting sleep, and she just woke up.
It seems she tried to use a large amount of magical energy at once and her body shut off. It's like an electrical breaker. The kind that forces the power to be turned off before it shorts out, you know?"
Saber is quiet as Tohsaka explains.
Seeing her usual attitude, my complaints return.
"Saber, you ! Do you know what you did!?"
"There is no reason I would not know.
I proceeded to Ryudou Temple and battled the Servant Assassin. We noticed the presence of a third Servant during our battle, so we suspended it."
" ! No, I'm not talking about that!
What I'm asking is why you fought!"
"That again? It is only natural for a Servant to fight. How about you, Shirou? Why are you, a Master, telling me not to fight?"
I unconsciously hesitate to reply.
Well, battles are inevitable as long as I've decided to fight as a Master.
I know I'm contradicting myself by telling Saber not to fight.
I can't let something like that happen again.
or we could have bet on the max number of times it shows up in one update.
"Then I would like to ask you instead. It seems that you dislike battles, but do you really expect to survive the Holy Grail War like that?
It seems that we will only be defeated by other Masters if we follow your policy."
Of course not.
I will repel dangers that come at me, and I don't intend to get killed helplessly.
But completely aside from that, I don't want Saber fighting.
I don't hate the fighting. I just, um"
It must be much simpler than that.
In short, I
"Um, girls can't get hurt. As a guy, I can't let that happen. So if I'm going to let you fight, I'm going to fight myself."
"Whayou are saying you will not let me fight because I am a woman !?
"Are you insane!? Servants are beings that protect their Master. It is natural for us to get hurt as we are beings summoned only to fulfill that task !
The sex of the Servant is of no concern, and beyond that, you are treating me, a warrior, as a woman!?
Please take those words back, Shirou !"
But I won't be pushed back by her pressure.
What is she sayingthat she is a knight before she is a woman?
Saying such unreasonable things with that small body of hers that even I can carry !
"I would never take my words back! It may be true that you're strong, but you're still a girl! Don't get worked up over such an insignificant thing, you idiot!"
" ! Are you not the one getting worked up over insignificant things !? Are you saying you do not want to be protected by a woman!? My body is that of a heroic spirit. Forget about such trivial aspects!"
"It's not trivial at all! Geez, it's not okay for me even if it's okay for you! It was a mistake from the beginning to have someone fight in my place. I can't"
" Damn. Listen, just don't fight, Saber.
It's the guy's role to fight, so I'll be doing the fighting. You shouldn't have any complaints about that, because I'm saying we'll fight as you wish."
"Whatyou are absurd ! Do you think a human can match a Servant!? You should already know you are no match for the Servants!
Please recall what happened when you were attacked by Lancer.
You would have certainly been killed if I had not appeared. It will be the same against any Servant!"
"Y-You won't know unless we try! I was just unprepared that time. Now, we can prepare as much as possible, so I might at least be able to sneak an attack on them!"
"Whoa, that's a horrible thing to say, Saber!"
"You are the one insulting the Servants. You are conceited, thinking that you can defeat a heroic spirit as a mere human."
Saber and I glare at each other.
It's no use. It looks this conversation is going nowhere with no compromise in sight.
"You're wrong, Saber. Shirou isn't insulting the Servants. I'm interrupting because the conversation won't go anywhere if you misunderstand that."
"Rin ? What do you mean by that ?"
Music: Tender Scenery
"Well, in short, he just doesn't want to get you hurt. I don't know why, but Shirou is full of devotion to others.
Right? Saber is more important to you than you are, right?"
Tohsaka looks at me.
" T-That's not true ! I didn't say Saber was important to me."
"That's a lie. You couldn't say you'd fight yourself unless you thought so.
Because you already know you can't beat a Servant yourself, right? But saying you'll fight in spite of that means that Saber is more important than you."
Well, it's like that if she says so, but
"That's why you fight even though it's absurd to do so. You try to win even when you realize you have no chance of winning. You don't care if you die in the process.
Because for you, though I don't know why, other people are more important than yourself."
I didn't mean that at all
"That's why. You should understand, Saber. He's an idiot who will protect you against that Berserker. That's why he's saying seriously that he'll fight."
I don't know how much of Tohsaka's explanation Saber understood.
But Saber takes a deep breath and looks at me.
Her look rapidly goes from "Is he really that dumb?" to "Yes. He is."
"I will approve of you fighting. But if that is the case, I have something else in mind as well."
"Sword training. I will teach you as much swordsmanship as is possible in the time allowed. If you will accept that, I will accept your opinion as well."
Does that mean she will train me in swordsmanship ?
Um, because she allows me to fight from now on ?
Teaching Shirou swordsmanship? Cut it out. There's no way you can match a Servant with something like that."
"That is true. But it would be better than not knowing.
It should at least reduce hesitation in battle.
I can only gamble on Shirou's determination after that, but that is how real battles are anyway. There is nothing one can obtain if they are not fit for it."
" Hmm well, you're right when you put it like that.
Readiness to fight won't come unless you do so at least once."
"Yes, so once no, not once, but as many times as time allows, I would like for Shirou to experience 'death in battle' and become familiar with fighting."
The two talk dangerously.
"Hold on. I didn't say I would"
If Saber's going to train his body, I'll train his knowledge. Well, that was the initial promise anyway, so I guess I'll start proper training for him tomorrow."
She's going to "train his body" alright.
"Please. If you do that, I can concentrate on the sword myself."
She's going to "concentrate on the sword" alright.
"It's fine. Then since we're decided, let's break up for tonight. It looks like we're going to be busy tomorrow."
Tohsaka waves goodbye and disappears into the outbuilding.
"I will be resting as well. You should rest also, Shirou. I will have you train in the dojo tomorrow."
She gives a small bow and goes back to her room.
She "goes back to her room" alright. wait, that didn't make any sense.
In the living room are the untouched teas and myself standing there dumbfounded.
"So I never said I would "
The words I murmur are ignored.
The already confusing situation looks like it will get even stranger.
I can't even guess what will happen tomorrow.
He's going to "overcome" his "hardships" alright. I'll stop.