Part 50: Superhero and the usual breakfast / Life guard
Music: The End of Reminiscence
That was Kiritsugu's favorite phrase.
The man who was a superhero to me was saying that he thought he was a failure.
He didn't even need to explain it to me.
The world of the young me was so different from the world of the adult Kiritsugu that the passing grade to be a superhero was different.
For me as a child, the house was my only world.
So it was enough for me if I could keep protecting my father, Fuji-Nee, myself, and the shed that I loved.
I only tried to protect the ones I could see.
But maybe Kiritsugu wanted to do something about even the ones he couldn't see.
I was reckless when I was young.
I educated myself by cursing the heartlessness of the world.
The world was cruelso I made myself even more heartless and used that as a weapon, trying to follow through on my ideals.
There will always be some that cannot be saved.
It is impossible to save everyone.
If I have to lose five hundred to earn one thousand,
I will abandon one hundred and save the lives of nine hundred.
That is the most efficient method.
That is the idealKiritsugu once said that.
Of course, I got mad.
I really got mad.
Because I knew that without being told.
Because I myself was saved like that.
I don't even need to be told something as obvious as that.
But stillI believed that someone would be a superhero if they saved everyone even though they think like that.
It may be an idealistic thought or an impossible pipe dream, but a superhero is someone who tries to save everyone in spite of that.
You're right, Shirou.
The result is the most important thing. But with that aside, your heart trying to do so is
Oh yeah, Kiritsugu said something about the heart.
I can't remember too well.
After all, it's rare for me to remember something from such a long time ago.
I must be in a deep sleep.
That must be true, as it's rare for me to dream at all.
Shirou, please wake up. It is almost time for breakfast.
As proof, I am in the shameful situation of Saber having to wake me up
I raise myself from the futon.
It's six thirty. Bright sunlight shines in from outside.
"It is morning, Shirou. Are you not going to be preparing breakfast?"
In front of me is Saber's discontented face.
Blue Knight needs food badly!
"I slept in. I'll get up right away."
" I do not think there is any need to apologize to me, but it is true that you do not have time to take it easy. It seems Sakura and Rin were arguing earlier."
"Sakura and Tohsaka arguing ?"
What's that about?
Hold on, don't get me cornered into an incomprehensible situation right when I get up.
"Is that in Tohsaka's room?"
"No, it is in the living room. I only passed by, so I do not know the details."
"All right. I'll hurry."
I have something I need to do before that.
" ? What is it Shirou?"
"Good morning, Saber. Thanks for waking me up."
I greet her, then I really make my way to the hallway.
But arguing with Sakura, what's Tohsaka doing!?
Music: Tender Scenery
"Morning. You seem agitated, calling my name first thing in the morning."
Something doesn't sound quite right about that.
She turns around as if asking me what's going on.
That's weird. It doesn't seem like she's been arguing with Sakura
"Yeah, morning. Hey, Tohsaka. I heard you were arguing with Sakura, is that true?"
"I heard it from no person in particular, and definitely not from Saber. Not at all from Saber."
Yes, you could say that looking at it objectively, but it wasn't really anything. I just told her not to come here for a while."
Is that something you can say easily!?
She means she made Sakura stop coming here, right!?
"That's ridiculous. Sakura refused before already. There's no way Sakura would agree, even if you asked her again"
"It might not be possible, but she went home once I offered her terms. I said I'd go back home if she doesn't come here for a week. That established a negotiation between us. She reluctantly went home. Oh yeah, she gave her best regards to you."
"Best regards you"
She did something so selfish without telling me
No, I'm wrong.
Tohsaka was just doing something I should have done already.
"I see. I'm sorry that I made you do something so troubling this early in the morning. You must be feeling bad, Tohsaka."
" ? No, it wasn't hard nor unpleasant. Why do you say that?"
"I've been itching to tell that purple-haired hussy off for years "
"Well, you were friends with Sakura. So you probably didn't want to tell Sakura head on to get out of here.
That's why I'm apologizing. I should've been firm, but I caused you trouble again."
"T-That's fine. I just drove out Sakura for my own safety. There's no reason for you to apologize to me."
" ? Your safety?"
"Shinji is a Master, right?
Knowing him, he would be angry at you if he found out Sakura was at your house. So it's best not to have Sakura here until we settle things with Shinji."
She's right now that she mentions it.
I don't think Shinji was lying when he said he wouldn't tell Sakura anything.
But having his sister Sakura here might give him the wrong idea.
" Right. It looks like we were holding Sakura hostage against Shinji."
We can't let her walk around at night, so it's best to have her stay calm for a while. It's for Sakura's sake and our sake."
" Yeah, you're right. I feel sorry for Sakura, but I'll apologize later and have her forgive me."
But I won't be able to tell her why even when that time comes.
"So I wanted to apologize for the other day. Some things were happening things I can't tell you about. But I assure you they're totally reasonable and unavoidable. So you'll forgive me, won't you? Of yourse you will."
It's really getting to me.
It's depressing that I've rejected Sakura, who comes to help me all the time, like this.
"Oh, you're so dispirited. What happened to the power that made you scream at me? Is Emiya-kun so lonely without Sakura?"
Tohsaka makes an evil face.
Crap. I knew she would make fun of me if I showed weakness, and now I've done it.
" Leave me alone. Anyways, Sakura was a symbol of peace at my house. She supplied something that was missing with just Fuji-Nee and me.
But I sent her away for my convenience, so yes, it's depressing."
"Oh, you do understand. You pass if you can say that. It seems you're getting more determined to win."
" ? W-What are you trying to say, Tohsaka?"
You say you don't need the Holy Grail, but you could fight to keep the peace you have now. See, it's good to have a clear goal."
Tohsaka says so with a big smile.
If she puts it like that, I can only agree.
Geez, how should I say this?
Once again, I realize that this person is both infinitely ill-natured and really great.
Music: In the Sunlight
"Whaaat? Then Sakura-chan won't be coming here for a while?"
"Yeah, so why don't you go back home and give your parents a treat? Your father was complaining that his daughter didn't care about him."
He wouldn't die even if you killed him.
And I have to be firm if Sakura-chan isn't here. You're a boy, so if something happens, you'll get a disciplinary dismissal. Can you take responsibility in that case?"
She's making sure that Shirou will clean the sheets if there's a "nocturnal emission".
Unfortunately, man's nature does not let me declare that it "won't happen".
You know I'm right.
" Emiya-kun? What was that pause?"
Tohsaka's stare is painful.
"I don't think that's going to happen. This isn't a normal stay.
I know that."
"I see. Good, Emiya-kun is indeed trustworthy, Sensei."
"Of course. Shirou is so calm that it makes me think I've gone too far with my tastes."
Tohsaka smiles while Fuji-Nee puffs with pride.
"They do not need to worry. Such things will not be allowed to happen on my watch."
This is only the second day, but I don't think I'll ever get used to this atmosphere.
"Oh yeah, Shirou. It's about the archery club, but did you know that Mitsuzuri-san got injured?"
"Mitsuzuri? What? Did she get in a fight with someone again? Geez, she's almost a third year, so she should calm down a little.
So, how's the injury? Is it bad?"
"It's fine. It was a light sprain. It seems she was attacked by a molester on her way home.
She's fast, right? She ran away quickly, but injured herself when she fell over at the end."
" I see. Thank God it was nothing serious. But a molester attacking her he must be reckless or have discerning tastes.
Either way, he was a stupid molester. I thought "
"You thought she knocked him out instead of running away, right?"
Indeed, she knows Mitsuzuri Ayako well.
"Yeah. It's rare for her to run away.
But I see, even Mitsuzuri is weak against molesters. I guess that's good. It's impossible to teach her femininity unless something like this happens."
Approving, I eat the well-cooked rice.
"Damn tomboys. They all oughtta just get raped. That'll teach 'em what it is to be a woman."
Tohsaka Rin pats my shoulder with a smile.
"Should I tell you something interesting too?"
" ? What? There isn't much that's more interesting than what I just heard."
"Yeah. I haven't mentioned it, but Ayako and I are good friends. Did you know we're friends who hang out together on weekends?"
Why are she and Ayako good friends?
They came out to each other in seventh grade, experimented for awhile, and they've been friends ever since.
Music: Gentle Everyday
"Don't worry, I will tell her the exact words of this conversation. If I tell her you're happy, I bet she'll be so happy that she'll break about ten roof tiles."
"I would like to correct myself. I just used the wrong words. It's not something to tell other people about, so it would really help me out if you kept quiet about it."
"Is that so? I can keep it a secret, but it might be hard unless there are some conditions on that. You see, it could just slip out, you know?"
" Hey now. It's not good to smile when you're saying something modest."
"Oh, I'm sorry. It's not like I'm having fun, so don't misunderstand."
Oh no, I understand.
You really are having fun.
" I get it. I'll make the breakfasts Western-style from now on.
I now feel like accepting your request that breakfast should be toast."
"Good. I'll be happy if you remember to use strawberry jam and not just marmalade."
" Sigh. What do you think a Japanese morning is? You're a tyrant, changing breakfast to suit your own selfish tastes."
"No, that is incorrect. I too am happy for breakfast to be bread. It would be perfect if soft-boiled eggs are prepared as well."
And Saber adds her opinion.
"Fine. All right, I'll make Western-style breakfast, okay? You guys are on a roll just because Sakura makes Western-style food.
I'll start making Western-style breakfasts starting tomorrow, so you guys will have no complaints, right? And that conversation's a secret. Don't tell Mitsuzuri about it."
" What? What do you mean pointless, Fuji-Nee?"
"Cause I'll tell Mitsuzuri-san even if Tohsaka-san doesn't. I can't keep quiet about something like that."
Fuji-Nee eats after nodding that it's a problem.
I have to come up with some countermeasure real soon or I'll really lose my position
Breakfast ends and it's now seven-thirty.
It's rare, but Fuji-Nee is still at the house and suggests with a smile that we should go to school together.
But I can't do that.
The decision last night.
As long as I said I would fight without relying on Saber, I can't be so easygoing.
If I have to put any extra time into fighting, I don't have time for school.
Music: Tender Scenery
"No, that's fine. I'm going to skip school today."
I raise my hand in goodbye and see Tohsaka and Fuji-Nee off.
Fuji-Nee freezes for a few seconds and
"Hey, what do you mean you're skipping school!?"
It seems Tohsaka said something Fuji-Nee wanted to say.
"Yeah, well, that conversation we had earlier about certain things happening without Sakura around. Let's say it was timely."
"T-That's right, Shirou. There's nothing wrong with you to make you skip school, right?"
"No, my wound hurts. Old wounds hurt when the temperature goes down, right? It's kind of like that."
"It's a lie, but let me go with it. It's not that I don't want to go to school. I have something I have to do, and it's just that it's more important right now. So please let me go."
"It's times like this I really wish I had a spare futon."
" Geez. I lose if you have to put it like that. You're always like this when you can't tell me about things. You were like that as a child."
It seems Fuji-Nee understands, even though she's complaining.
"So that's that. I'll leave the school to you. Is that okay, Tohsaka?"
" I see. Well, it doesn't matter for me if Emiya-kun comes or not. This isn't a bad choice."
"Yeah, leave the house to me. I'll skip work for a while too, so I won't leave the house much."
" All right, Then I'll be off, Shirou. You're absent from school because of an injury, so don't leave the house much."
"See you. It's fine this time, but ask me about things like this beforehand next time."
" But man. I wonder what she'll make me do."
I've fought Kiritsugu a few times with shinais, but neither of us considered form and it was more like amateurs beating each other up.
I never intended to take kendo seriously, and I was only taught what to do if an opponent had a long weapon.
" Anyways, I wasn't good at using things to fight. I'm only interested in making and fixing."
In that regard, this is the first time I will be seriously studying swordsmanship.
It seems Saber's style is different from kendo, but it should have some similarities and it shouldn't be so confusing that I can't follow it.
I hear the door.
Saber must have arrived on time.
That's good, as I just finished cleaning too.
"Sorry to keep you waiting. I'll be learning here starting today"
" ? What is it, Shirou? You look like you're surprised at something."
"Ohwell, I'm surprised because you're still in those clothes. I thought you'd be in the other outfit."
We're training with swords and my image of Saber fighting is in that armor, so I selfishly imagined that.
Even though it is only a match, it is impolite to Shirou not to wear my armor. I am sorry, I will change right away."
It seems Saber has come up with a solution on her own too.
"Ohno, that's not it. It's fine, it was just a misunderstanding. If you ask me, I prefer this outfit to the armor."
"It would be better if you were a guy, but I can swing either way."
"Satisfy well, it certainly doesn't look like we're going to be having a match now, but it shouldn't be a problem if that's easy to move in. You'd get tired too if you wear that armor."
"Why? It looks good on you, so there's nothing strange about it.
I think you look better in that than the armor."
" ? I fail to understand. These clothes are certainly light, but they would not be able to withstand a fight. I believe this outfit is unsuitable for a Saber."
"Don't fight in that outfit, stupid. You're a girl. And those clothes suit girls, so it's fine."
I put the rag I was using into the bucket and take two shinais down from the wall.
"Well. So what kind of training should we be doing? I'll let you decide, so you can give me anything."
I toss a shinai to Saber.
" ? What? We can't use shinai?
D-Don't tell me to use solid wood swordsno, real swords!"
What a Spartan! That's well beyond what I expected.
"Ahno, there's no need for that. Since these are excellent imitation swords for matches, let us use them."
Saber takes a deep breath quietly.
And she's back to her usual self.
"Thank God. It's too dangerous to fight with solid wood swords.
So, what should I do? Will we start with strength building exercises like swinging the sword five hundred times or running?"
"I do not think there is any need for that. Even from what I've seen, your strength is up to standards. If you wish to train your body even more, that would not be possible in a day or two.
"You are unskilled as a magus, but I do not think you are that bad as a warrior. You must have trained hard from a young age."
"Uhwell, it was the only thing I was good at. You can train your body even if you don't have talent as a magus."
"That must be good fortune. The result of your effort was not dying when Lancer attacked you."
Humans have limits. Your body is a long way from those limits and it would be difficult to overcome them anyway.
So the only thing I will be teaching you is fighting."
" ? What do you mean 'just fighting'? From the way you said it, it doesn't sound like you'll be teaching me how to fight."
"Of course not. Battle techniques cannot be acquired overnight. The only thing I can do is have my Master experience as many battles as possible.
In the first place, I am not good at teaching, so it would only be troubling if you asked for my guidance."
When she says that so proudly, as a student, I don't know how to reply.
No stopping our hits, and let us fight as if trying to kill each other.
Let me see I believe you will understand what it is like in about an hour."
Still not understanding, I follow Saber's example and grab the shinai.
As soon as I do so.
The world turns upside down.
Music: Gentle Everyday
"AHaa, haa, haa owouch, ouch, this is broken, I'm sure !"
"It would be more swollen if it were broken. It is a bad bruise, but it should heal quickly for you."
" Uh, I see. All right, then let's continue a bit more."
It is indeed only a bruise, but it is not something you can move immediately."
"What are you saying when you're the one beating my arm mercilessly?
All right, if you're not up to it, I'll take this"
It doesn't work, of course.
Music: Gentle Everyday
"But it's shameful to be beaten so badly when you're going easy on me.
I have to at least make you raise a brow or something, or I'll be too vexed to collapse."
"If you ask for surprise, I am already more than surprised. I thought you were stubborn, but I did not believe that it was to this extent."
"Sorry. I just hate losing."
"Yes, I understand well enough now. Anyways, we will take a break, so please put down your shinai.
The floor is slippery with sweat. We are not imitating a fight in an extreme situation. And it is meaningless to fight in such a fatigued condition."
" Why? Battle practice usually assumes the worst situation, right? Then "
Listen, Shirou. If you say you are going to fight a Servant, it will be meaningless unless you have full power, the best ground, and an escape route prepared.
You cannot even be a match to a Servant unless everything is perfect. You have already made a mistake when you decide to fight a Servant in a poor condition."
" Ugh. So you mean never fight in this kind of a situation no matter what?"
"That is correct. If that happens, no miracle will be able to save you, Shirou.
Your battle starts with perfecting your condition and finding the perfect situation."
" I understand. Then I'm sorry, but let me take a rest."
I lean against the wall and slide down.
Music: Tender Scenery
While my body is burning with pain, I glance at the clock.
It's past eleven.
We started around nine, so that means we've been doing this for about two hours.
The first hour was just me getting beat up.
Saber's blows would suddenly strike me and I'd faint slightly.
I'd wake up, and just when I thought I'd be careful next time, I'd be knocked out again.
Anyways, I was beaten up repeatedly. It may be because my body got used to it or my power came out from anger, but I can now manage to block the first blow.
And the problem was after that.
Well, after being shown such a skill difference, can a human readily attack back?
" You demon."
The answer is, I get knocked out the instant I shrink back.
After that it is like a mouse cornered by a cat.
If I am to be knocked out no matter how I block a blow, all I can do is get desperate and attack.
But of course, it's easily deflected and I'm knocked out. But when I get used to that as well
I start to gain the composure to think something like that, and the instincts that let me understand I'll be dead the next second become keener.
People usually call this being in the zone.
So then, I frantically went into defense.
The instincts that tell me "I'll be knocked out if that blow hits" come at me in numbers. So as a living being, it's only natural for me to avoid it.
I would manage to elude Saber's barrage of attacks, but I would take a fatal blow while I'm waiting for an opening to counter.
And I'd stand up and think that I can manage longer this time. From time to time, I would attack thinking it'd be best to attack if I'm doomed anyway.
So that I won't panic or get too relaxed in front of my enemy.
I'm just teaching my body that it is always one mistake away from death.
But stillif you ask me if this is meaningless, it is not.
As I have no weapons, I believe this tension is the thing I have to value the most.
Before I realize it, Saber is right beside me.
I'm so sweaty that I'm dripping onto the floor, but Saber is not even sweating.
"It's harder to find a part that's not hurting.
You were really merciless, Saber. If things are this one-sided, it's actually more refreshing."
I'll be honest here. 100 percent of this is me being a poor loser.
"Yes. I adjusted to your level, but tried to show you no mercy. It would not be a battle if I allowed myself the luxury of consideration."
She had to adjust because she's on a completely different level.
"Right. Thanks to that, I can now calmly deal with an unchained Doberman.
That was a subtle burn.
Though, it's not good enough if it's just a Doberman. I guess I still need more training."
I review my actions.
I thought I trained my body to be above average, but it's pitiful for me to give up after only two hours of fighting with Saber.
"No, that is not true. Your attacks were made with all your heart and they were powerful. Sometimes, I forgot to deal with them because you were so enthusiastic."
She's admiring needless things with gentle eyes.
My embarrassment suddenly returns.
Until now, we were just people fighting without any notion of boy or girl, butisn't this kind of a surprise attack?
"Hold on. I'm going to go get some water."
"Water? Then I will go get some for you, so please rest here."
Saber goes to get me some water.
"Phew, I'm saved."
Just what am I saved from ?
Having to clean the futon again.
I drink the water Saber has brought me.
It must still be rest time as Saber is sitting in a polite Japanese-style.
I think Saber is really beautiful like that.
I'm not thinking she's beautiful from a man's perspective, but I feel she is beautiful in everyone's eyes.
She has melted into the dignified atmosphere of the dojo, and has a quietness free of any conflicts.
There is an incongruity when such a girl is a Servant and showing such willingness to fight.
I'm not sure I even need to throw this up for voting, but I've been surprised before.