Part 51: What to pour into the Grail / The daughter of winter - Ilya (I)Music: Tender Scenery
" Saber. Can I ask you a question?"
"Yes. What is it, Shirou?"
"Um, it's something I forgot to ask.
You're lending me your power because you also want the Holy Grail, right?
Sowhat do you want from the Holy Grail?"
"The reason I seek the Holy Grail? Can it not be because I desire it? The Holy Grail is an almighty vessel. There is no wish that cannot be granted if one possesses it. One needs no reason to seek such a thing."
"No. That's not what I'm asking.
Saber, you're trying not to answer my question, right?"
"OhShirou, that's "
"I don't want to know the reason you seek it. I want to know what the wish you want granted is.
But if you don't want to say, that's fine. My wishes aren't things I can talk about either."
Saber closes her mouth awkwardly.
I don't care what you all say, it still looks uncomfortable to me.
Well, it's only natural.
Saber didn't form the contract to help me personally.
Since the only ones who can obtain the Holy Grail are the Masters, she is only helping me to take share in the reward.
That is why she must be hesitating to tell her wish, and most of allI myself don't want to hear Saber describe a selfish wish.
So I shouldn't have asked.
After all, it's rude for a person without a clear wish to ask other people's wishes.
Music: Whirlpool of Fate 2
Saber asks the question with a serious expression.
"Eh no, it's not. I didn't intend that.
I was just curious about you. Sorry for asking you about it."
" No. As a Servant, I certainly must tell my Master my wish.
Shirou, I seek the Holy Grail to fulfill an obligation. I want the power of the Holy Grail to accomplish a duty I could not accomplish during my lifetime."
With honest eyes, she says so.
" Accomplish a duty ? During your lifetime you mean, before you became a Servant ?"
" Yes. But I do not know my true intentions myself.
Perhaps I only desire to redo things again."
Saber looks down quietly.
For a moment.
She looks like a repentant lost child.
Music: Tender Scenery
" Fufu. Rin would be mad if she heard that. She is not someone who would say such a thing. She would use the Holy Grail purely for her own benefit, but it would not be something that would bring chaos to the world."
"Really? I think we should never let her have the Holy Grail for a completely different reason."
I nod to myself.
Saber is watching me with a gentle expression.
That's the end of the conversation.
It was a subject I should have kept away from.
The atmosphere is softened by talk of Tohsaka, so let's end this conversation right here.
Music: Tender Scenery
"Saber, let's start. I've rested enough."
" Is that so? It looks as if you have cooled down, but your pain has not yet gone away, right?"
"I don't care. They're just bruises, so I'll bear a little pain. I can heal automatically now."
"Man, it was such a pain before when I had to really strain myself and focus on my bruises and sore muscles to try and heal them with my mind. It's so much better now that it's automatic."
"But there is no point in training if it worsens. I believe we should wait a bit longer and see."
"Don't worry. I want to finish this before Tohsaka gets home. We can't have her see me like this, right?"
" Sigh. I understand. It is certainly not good to have Rin, our eventual enemy, find out your powers.
I believe it is a bit excessive, but if that is the case, let us bring the pace up a little."
Saber picks up the shinai.
A strange sound echoes through the dojo.
Um, I think that was Saber's stomach.
"I believe I am hungry. I did not notice since I was so engrossed in training."
Music: Tender Scenery
"Ohyeah. Now that you mention it, it's lunchtime already."
No wonder her stomach has started growling.
I'm not that hungry yet, but if Saber's hungry, let's have lunch.
It'll be good if my body heals in that time as well.
"All right. It's a good time, so let's have lunch. I'll go buy some groceries, so you can rest in the living room."
"Shirou, I shall escort you if you are going outside."
"It's fine, I'm only going to the shopping district nearby. There's no one who would attack me in the daytime, and we'd rather stand out if you were with me."
" There is really no danger?"
"No. I'll come back right away, so please wait here."
This is kind of like Shirou's version of "there are no masters at school."
Clearly, we are being informed of a plot critical detail. The whereabouts of Shirou's many bicycles are paramount.
Music: Surrounded by Smiling Faces
On quiet days, Shirou fancies being a housewife. He even has a cute little apron all picked out.
" Damn, it's really expensive. Why do I have to pay a thousand yen for something so sweet?"
I complain as I put the groceries into the bicycle cart.
I feel something tugging at my clothes from behind.
I turn around, wondering what it could be.
Is a young girl with silver hair.
Nope. No danger at all. Not even psychotic, murderous little girls. Well okay, one.
I back off, knocking the bicycle over.
I stand ready at once while the girl just smiles at me.
I don't feel any murderous intent nor even enmity from that girl.
In addition, the girl says,
"I'm glad. You're alive, Onii-chan."
And she smiles happily.
Music: Tender Scenery
Who would expect to meet someone like this in a shopping district near their house, especially in daytime?
"Don't tell me you intend to fight me here?"
" ? You're saying strange things. We can't fight while the sun's up."
She frowns in displeasure.
That is definitely the behavior of a young girl, suitable for her age.
Little girls these days are always postponing duels until sunset.
I don't know her intentions.
I don't know her intentions, but even I can tell that the girl in front of me is harmless.
"Y-You'reif I remember correctly, uh "
"Ilyasviel von Einzbern. It's long, so you can call me Ilya. So what's Onii-chan's name?"
" It's the first time I've heard it pronounced like that too. No, if you have trouble remembering it, you can call me Shirou. That's my name."
"Shirou? Oh, so it's an easier name than I thought. I see, Shirou. Yeah, that sounds good. It's simple, but it sounds aloof."
That's Shirou alright!
Ilyasviel looks at me with suggestive eyes.
My body unintentionally moves and lowers its waist down so it can move more freely.
Because she is Berserker's Master.
If she felt like it, she probably could blow me away along with the flower shop next to me.
" Well, what do you mean equal?"
"Hey, let's talk. I have lots of things I want to talk to you about."
The girl clings to my arm as naturally as if she were holding her father's.
"Well, that's true, but we're different! We're both Masters and we've already fought! We're more like enemies!"
"That's not right. I don't have any enemies. Other Masters are just harmful bugs, but I can let you go if you behave yourself."
She's saying terrible things so casually too!
"Geez, just get off of me! You're being absurd!"
I swing my hand and throw Ilyasviel off.
As I tried to make her let go, the girl almost falls to the ground.
"Oh no, Ilya!"
Why the hell did I do something like that right then?
When I notice, I instantly reached out for Ilyasvielgeez, this is too longIlya's waist, and caught her as she fell.
I silently lower Ilya to the ground.
Ilya is silent.
I don't know what to say either, so I stand still looking down at Ilya.
This is awkward.
This is awkward, so the instant I try to leave to go home
She says this with the same glowing red eyes she had when Berserker was with her.
"Now let's wander over there and have a pleasant little chat
OR I'LL KILL YOU."
I'll die if I disobey her.
I can't show my face to Saber if I die in vain here, and most of all, I'll involve all the people here in the shopping district.
Yes, I can bet on it.
This girl would mercilessly use her power as a Master no matter where she is.
Music: Gentle Everyday
" All right. We'll talk. I'll keep calm, so is that okay, Ilya?"
"Yup! Then let's go to the park over there. I just went to look at it, but there wasn't anyone there."
Ilya starts to run with dancing steps.
Ilya runs through the shopping district, spinning in circles.
" She really went on ahead."
Beyond amazement, I'm a bit moved.
For this girl Ilya, any promise is an absolute truth.
That's why she ran off so happily.
She doesn't think I'll run away thinking it's a chance to do so when I'm alone.
I told her I'll talk to her, so she ran off trusting me to do so.
" What's with her?"
She's really unbalanced.
I'm not yet grown-up enough to betray such a pure trust.
In Japan, only adults are allowed to betray people.
Music: Tender Scenery
" Wait, so what are we going to talk about?
Do you want to know about Saber?"
"Huh? Why would we talk about Saber?"
"Because we're Masters. We'd want to gain information on enemy Servants, right?"
"I don't wanna talk about that. It's boring if we don't talk about something more fun."
" Hey, you brought me here to talk in spite of that? Didn't you get taught not to act on something until you think it through? I bet you didn't. So be a thoughtful adult from now on."
" Hm. It's fine. I'll let you do that sort of thing.
It's the man's responsibility to escort the lady, right?
So all I have to do is follow you."
I said it before and I'll say it many times again:
Looking closely at her, she does actually look cold.
"Ilya. Are you cold?"
"Huh? Yeah, I'm cold. I don't like the cold."
Sounds like a self-esteem issue.
She breathes out a white puff.
Even though she said she doesn't like it, she looks at her breath happily.
"I see. It's not always like this, but it's strangely cold today. It would be pretty bad if you don't like the cold um, where are you from, Ilya? Your name sounds kind of noble."
"It's not 'kind of noble', I am a noble.
I was born in the old Einzbern castle.
It was always cold and snowing. So I'm fine with this cold."
" ? You were born in a cold country, right? Then shouldn't you be used to the cold?"
"Yeah! So I stay warm in my room when it's cold. But I like the snow. It's so white and my dad said it's just like my hair."
I clap my hands together.
She's right now that she's mentioned it.
I was trying to work out what I associated with Ilya. If there was such a thing as a snow fairy, wouldn't it look like her?
"Your father says clever things. Your hair is certainly like snow. It's white and it looks soft."
"Ehehe, right? This hair is something I can brag about. It comes from my mom, and it's the only girlish thing about me."
Ilya laughs happily.
Seeing such gestures really numbs me.
I couldn't have believed she was really Berserker's Master if I hadn't seen it.
"Huh, me? Hmmm I guess my house in the end.
Before that, I got my last name. And the thing I got first was "
My life when I was about to die.
Because I was the only one saved by Kiritsugu in that fire ten years ago.
" Let's see, I don't have any physical features like you that I got from my parents. But I think I got a lot of things as good as that."
Ilya is delighted as if it concerned her.
I bet no one could stay unhappy if they were smiled at like this.
"But from what you said, you didn't get the Magic Crest, right? That's strange. Then you're not a Master?"
" ? No, I'm an amateur magus with no Magic Crest, but I'm still a Master.
How about you, Ilya? Umyou're a Master, so you're a magus, right?"
"Huh !? Then you didn't get a Magic Crest from your parents? Um, your family is a noble family that even has a castle, right?"
"That's right but isn't a Magic Crest what you need to become a Master? That's why I'm a Master."
Ilya tilts her head in confusion.
I too tilt my head in confusion.
It seems like Ilya's words are slightly off, and we're not having a real conversation.
" Hey Ilya. I'll ask you something, but where are you living right now? It seems you came here just for the Holy Grail War, so are you living in a hotel or something?"
No, first of all, it'll be terrible if she doesn't have a guardian.
It's unheard of to let a child like this come to Japan by herself.
That's what the harem was lacking - a token loli.
"Then I have one! See, there's a forest over there, right? Deep in it is a Western-style mansion my grandfather's grandfather built. They say the Master of Einzbern lives there during the Holy Grail War."
Ilya is pointing to the west.
Certainly, there's a deep undeveloped mountain forest in that direction
"It takes about an hour to get there even with a car, right? Are you coming here from there alone?"
"Yeah, I snuck out today. Sella and Leysritt are my maids, but they're annoying.
I came to Japan, so I think I can go outside just while I'm here. I always got what I wanted, but I was always shut away in my room, so this is a reward."
" ? You mean you were locked up in your room?"
"Yeah. When it snowed, they didn't let me outside because it was bad for my body. So I was playing inside most of the time.
Oh, but I'm fine. It's not as cold here as the castle, so I'm fine by myself."
Without knowing why, I put my hand into the grocery bag.
I take out the dora-yaki I was supposed to eat with Saber and again, without knowing why, hand it to Ilya.
"Do you want this? It's cheap, though."
"Huh? What is that? Food?"
"That's right. I don't like sweets, but this is an exception. This is the snack my father and I always have with tea."
" Um. So, I can have it?"
Ilya looks up at me timidly.
"Yeah. It's no good if I eat by myself, so let's eat together."
I hand her the dora-yaki.
Ilya hesitates, and then takes the Japanese snack that I'm sure she's never seen before.
I eat my dora-yaki as well and endure the shock that attacked the back of my head.
Why was I thinking it might be nice to have a smaller sister like this?
It's the power of loli. No protagonist can resist.
" But, really "
I think Ilya is too innocent.
This girl might really be a child who doesn't yet know the difference between good and evil.
I can barely imagine how a child born in a family of magi is raised.
But stillI can tell that the environment Ilya was raised in wasn't normal.
Tohsaka is like that, but she's a magus by nature from the core. She has accepted the Holy Grail War and the killings between Masters as "murder".
But maybe this girl became a Master without knowing what it means to kill someone.
I've only talked a bit with her, but I don't think Ilya is a girl that would want to kill others.
"Ilya. This is a serious subject, but "
Ilya suddenly raises her head as if called by someone.
" Ilya? What's wrong?"
"Yeah. I have to go home. Berserker woke up."