Part 52: Shirou peeping incident / Lectures on magic / Differing person
So Shirou values his own life after all.
The Ilya I met at the park wasn't a Master.
I talked with Ilya about trifling matters and we parted in a trifling manner as well.
So I'm hesitant to tell others about what happened today.
I feel guilty since it's like I'm hiding something from them, but it's because I don't want to think of the Ilya I met today as my enemy.
Music: Gentle Everyday
I'm a bit moved.
It's nice having dinner ready without me doing anything when I come out of the bath.
"Emiya-kun, it's dinnertimewhat are you doing standing there like an idiot? Is it dementia?"
Why does she have to say something that totally destroys the moment?
"Nothing. Dinner, right? I'll eat it gratefully. Where's Saber?"
"Mn? I guess Saber-san went to Shirou's room. Didn't you see her? That's weird, she was here until a second ago."
"Maybe you two missed each other since this place is as complicated as a hotel. All right, I'll go get Saber, so you should go to the bathroom again. Your hair isn't completely dry yet."
"Oh, you're right. Sorry, then I'll leave Saber to you."
I wave my hand to Tohsaka and return to the hallway.
I hear a voice.
The figure in front of me is saying something.
"Your rape attempt is long overdue, but I'm afraid if you follow through with it you will be caught by Rin. Please try again after 9pm."
"It seems you are here to take a bath again, but I am using it at the moment. It would be helpful if you could reserve yourself for now."
She says so without hesitation.
"Uh, uh, auh, ah."
I have to explain.
I know I have to explain to her that this is an accident, but my head is totally blank.
After all, this had enough impact to make me forget everything that happened today.
"S, s-s, s-s-s-s-s-s-"
"Shirou, have you been in the bath too long? Even your ears are red. If you would like to cool down, you should go to the porch."
"Uh, yeah, I'll do so. But I have to apologize first."
"This was an accident. I wasn't trying to look at your naked body. No, I can't ask you to forgive me from the moment we met like this, so you can get angry at me."
I say so while trying to look down and calming myself the best I can.
Saber thinks for a while.
"Shirou, please raise your head."
She says in her usual manner.
I raise my head as she tells me to.
" !! Why are you still like that !?"
In front of me is Saber, still as she was before.
"It is nothing you should apologize for. I would like to say that there is nothing you should be worried about just from seeing something like my bare body."
"I have told you before. The Servant's gender is meaningless.
It seems you are in a panic because you saw my body as a woman, but I am a Servant before I am a woman. So I believe such consideration is unnecessary."
What is she saying?
No, even if Saber herself says that, it doesn't change the fact that she's really feminine.
Or could it be?
I have an idea, but is it true ?
" I'll ask, but don't tell me you're not embarrassed by people seeing your body."
" ? Why would I need to be embarrassed?"
I thought so.
But even if she doesn't care, I'll definitely go insane.
" I'm sorry. Anyways, I'm going to apologize. If anything like this happens again, you can do what you want with me."
I turn around 180 degrees and exit the dressing room awkwardly.
"I will take you up on that offer, Shirou."
Music: Tender Scenery
" It's cold."
I opened the window by the porch and I was cooling my head off, but I'm done with that.
I'll catch a cold if I keep doing this.
"S-Saber !? W-What? Is there some business?"
"I believe you have one and not me. I thought you were to learn magic from Rin at night."
I hit my head.
"I totally forgot. Thanks, I'll go right away!"
Music: Gentle Everyday
"Mmm, sweet sweet heroine makes the downs go away."
As soon as I enter the room, I see Tohsaka doing something weird.
Tohsaka has something like a jewel in her hand, a syringe in the other hand, and a handkerchief in her mouth.
"Can I ask, Tohsaka?"
"Folf on. I'll fe fone fife fofei's fife fith."
Saying that, Tohsaka puts the needle into her arm.
She draws blood out of herself.
And taking the blood, she drips it one drop at a time onto the jewel, and grasps the bloody jewel.
Something like dizziness passes by.
I am barely able to tell that it's the light of magical energy, but
Music: Tender Scenery
" Sigh. Only three tenths after this much. I guess I'll have to do with the nine I have."
Tohsaka slumps her shoulders and puts the stone back into some kind of a jewelry box.
"Tohsaka, I'm here for your lesson, as promised."
But first, I'm curious about what she was doing.
"Yeah, I was waiting. You were training your body with Saber during the day, right? Then you should train what's inside during the night."
This is exactly the job of a harem in an h-game.
Tohsaka seems happy as she's more than ready to teach.
Hmm. Saber said she wasn't any good at teaching, but I bet this one's the complete opposite.
No, putting that aside
"Well, what should we start with? I think you were saying you can only use the strengthening magic"
"Actually, could I ask you something before that? I'm curious.
What were you just doing? It's dangerous to use needles on yourself."
"Oh, that? I was just making magic bullets. The magics of my family are flow and conversion of power. So when I have enough to spare, I transfer my magical energy somewhere else."
Tohsaka concludes the conversation, leaving me way behind.
"Hold on. What do you mean by magic bullet and transferring magical energy?"
Haven't you ever heard that people's thoughts tend to go into jewels? In practice, jewels are easy targets to transfer magical energy into, but it seems my family is even more compatible with it than most."
"Transferring magical energy well, for example, you have excess strength left over if you do nothing for the whole day, right? I'm storing that excess power in the jewels.
You keep on doing this for days, months, and years, and that turns the jewels themselves into 'magic'."
"But then, the jewels have limited capacities and I cannot control magical energy outside me.
The magical energy inside the jewels is just an ignition to instantly activate a large-scale magic."
" ? Um, so you're putting your magical energy into the jewels as a backup?"
"Backup ? Hmm, close but not quite. I'm just filling up a single-use disposable backpack."
"So you mean you're temporarily expanding the hard disk that's amazing. So you should be able to use as much magic as you want."
"Hard disk ? I don't know what you're talking about, but it's not that useful. The magical energy I put into the jewel is dyed in that jewel's attribute, so its uses become limited."
" I see. But I'm surprised. I didn't know you could save up magical energy like that.
Why don't other magi do something so useful?"
Well, saying that, the only other magus I know is Kiritsugu.
"The ability to store magical energy in something outside yourself is unique.
Even your strengthening is putting magical energy into something, right? Normally, whatever you put magical energy into changes in some way and uses up that magical energy. The effect of magic is instantaneous and not permanent, right?"
"So my family does it in a way that isn't instantaneous, and we cleverly put magical energy into the jewel so that it's permanent, but other magi can do the same thing with their bodies.
That's the Magic Crestthe magic backup that all magi have."
"Magic Crest oh, you mean the secret that a parent hands down to their child. I don't understand too well since I don't have one."
"Huh ? Well, I said I don't have this Magic Crest thing. I think Father had one, but he never gave it to me."
Tohsaka gasps, and then nods to herself.
"No wonder you're an amateur. So you're really doing things from the very beginning yeah, then I guess it can't be helped," she murmurs to herself.
" Tohsaka. Haven't you realized that I don't have a Magic Crest?"
"No way. I wouldn't have let you go out by yourself if I'd known. Well, it's true that I thought you were unskilled, but if you don't have a Magic Crest, you're not even a magus."
She gives me a complaining look with a "hmph".
But what is it?
Her words have a warmness that sounds like relief, and it sounds as if she's envious that I'm not a magus.
"Oh well. In that case, I'll explain things to you from the very beginning. Understanding the Magic Crest means understanding magi.
All right, you sit there. It's an important lesson, so listen up."
Here Nasu goes again
"Here's fine? All right, go ahead."
I look into Tohsaka's eyes with determination.
She must appreciate my seriousness, as she nods in satisfaction.
Music: Whirlpool of Fate 2
"Then I'll start off with something simple.
You know that magical energy is what you need to use magic, right? You can actually refer to anything that can activate magic as 'magical energy'.
There's an infinite variety of magical energy.
There are some that perform magic using their force of will, and there are some that that use magic by paying a price other than themselves.
You know this much, right?"
"Yeah. You mean the 'mana' (large source) and the 'odo' (small source), right? The large source is the magical energy in the world that fills nature. The small source is the magical energy that people can create themselves."
"That's right, well done. Then, let's start with magic that uses the large source.
"Okay. Magi that lack an accumulated lineage of magi like you, Shirou use something that already has form to make magical energy.
This is a method established as a process in ancient times, using offerings and rituals to make contact with the divine mystery.
"They prepare a price to pay since their powers are not sufficient. This is called the formal craft.
This way, magic can be activated even if the caster's magical energy is sparse. This is because the magical energy used comes not from the caster but from somewhere else, so the caster only needs to perform the ritual."
" But, well, you can't do it if you don't have the knowledge. It's impossible for you right now, and anyway, such a bloody method doesn't suit you."
" Right. I also don't want to sacrifice a chicken or spend the whole evening praying in a magic circle."
Then putting that aside, next is the small source. So in other words, magic that is cast using the magi's own power.
I don't think I need to explain, but this is the basic use of magic for someone like you and me.
Your 'strengthening' is a magic that relies on your own Magic Circuit, not on borrowing anyone else's power, right?"
It seems the conversation is going into the main point.
"Well, the function that creates magical energy for youthe 'Magic Circuit' is a hereditary constitution that is passed down the ancestral lineage of magi.
The Magic Circuit is trained over many generations, and passed on to the descendants, becoming more powerful.
The child of a magi lineage is already fit to use magic just because of that. It's not fair, but it means we're different from the start."
"I know that. I don't care, so you can continue on."
"I don't really care either, but
Oh well. Anyways, other than this Magic Circuit, there is also a secret magic that the family trains over the generations."
"It's kind of like that jewel earlier. Once one masters a magic, a magus can 'put their hands on' that magic.
Do you know the feeling of 'putting your hands on' a magic that is naturally just formulas and has no shape?"
"I don't know, but I assume it's like it's part of your body if you can put your hands on it."
When did they stop talking about magic and start talking about groping?
The magic that goes beyond the level of formulas and becomes part of yourself can be left in a form.
It is a great deed that establishes an unstable magic, and at the same time, it is proof that the magus existed."
"And the magus, on the verge of death, hands down this great accomplishment in a crest. Like saying 'I give you this to reach the realms I could not reach, perhaps this crest I will give you might offer some help'.
Well, the one handing it down and the one receiving both know the crest is of no help, though."
" ? What? It's such a great crest, and yet it's useless?"
"It is useful! If you're a normal magus, it's so useful that that one crest will provide you ease and comfort!
But, well, it's like inheriting a car. No matter how fast you can travel on the ground, you can never reach the moon."
I think you already know by now, but this crest is the Magic Crest."
"The head of the family puts the magic he devoted his life to into that crest and passes it on, and the descendant completes another magic increasing the crest, and passes it on again.
It grows more complex like that, and a deep history is engraved into it. That's the Magic Cresta chain that the magus cannot free themselves from."
" So everything about that family is recorded in the Magic Crest?"
"Oh, that's wrong. The record of the family is naturally left on paper. Only magic is in the Magic Crest.
It can cast spells automatically and allow you to use magics that you have not acquired yet.
To put it simply, it's like carving a magic circle onto your body."
" Hm. Then doesn't that mean you can carve the crest on anyone? You can draw a magic circle as many times as you want if you know the shape of it."
The Magic Crest is like a living thing. It's almost like transplanting organs.
There's usually only one of an organ, so you can't give it away to numerous people or make copies of it.
There's no point in dividing the heart into two, right? Even if you separate it, it just stops functioning."
"Oh hm. I see, you're right. Then you had that crest transplanted into you too?"
" I guess the term transplant was a bad example. Actually, it's no different from a tattoo.
In my case, it's on my left arm from my shoulder to my hand. But the Magic Crest won't show up unless I use it, so there's no need to hide it unlike the Command Spell."
" So, well, that's why a family of magi is succeeded by only one descendant.
If the family happens to produce brothers or sisters, it is common for the rest of them to live normally without learning about magic. Since you can't give them the Magic Crest, there's not much point even if they succeed as a magus."
"Yeah, Shinji was saying that too. I see, so that's why they didn't teach Sakura."
"Yes. But the inheritance of the crest itself stopped a few generations ago in the Matou family. So I assume Shinji was only taught knowledge of magic.
Really, that type are the most troubling. They can't feel magic, but they still try to use it."
Cursing in a disappointed manner, Tohsaka takes a deep breath.
"Well, I was supposed to teach you magic, but the plan's changed. I'll have to come up with a different plan if you don't have a Magic Crest.
Yeah, let's call it quits for tonight. I'll prepare some things for tomorrow, so please wait until then."
" ? I can only agree, but what do you mean by preparing some things?"
Music: Tender Scenery
"Just some things. If you don't have a crest, you can't switch, right? We're going to tamper inside your body, so we need drugs and medical tools and things."
"Oh, if it's something like that, just ask Fuji-Nee if you can borrow some."
Whoa. I really felt a chill there.
"What? I'll stop if you don't want to. But in that case, there'll be nothing I can teach you."
"Uh no, I don't want to, but please. You're probably correct."
Well, I don't know what she meant by the word switch, but I think the fact that I can't do so is related to the fact that I always fail when trying to turn myself into a Magic Circuit.
Oh yeah, are you going to be training with Saber again tomorrow?"
" ? Yeah. I'm also worried about the boundary field at school, but there's still time until it's activated. I want to be able to fight at least a bit by then."
"Well, that's fine. But it seems you aren't getting along with Saber too well in spite of that."
"Ugh that's, uh "
"You guys were talking normally before dinner, but you've been silent since dinnertime.
I'm asking to make sure, but everything's all right between you two, right? If you guys disagree during a battle, I'm going to suffer as well."
It's just that there was a small thing before dinner, and it's just a bit awkward.
That's all but are things really all right between me and Saber?
Well, I think I know a bit about Saber, having trained with her all today.
I can trust Saber as an ally.
But if you ask me how I think of her beyond that, I can't readily answer.
First of all, I
All my proper emotions were stolen away at that instant.
Music: Tender Scenery
" That's a difficult question. How about you, Tohsaka? Do you like Saber?"
She's strong, well-mannered, and beautiful. She's so different from my cynical guy."
"She looks amazingly sexy in that outfit, too, but the armor's not bad either though it is a little intimidating. What I wouldn't give for just one night"
"I see, so you like Saber."
"Shit. Was I that obvious?!"
"! What? I just said she's the kind of person I like. Y-You should stop saying things so directly. You'll make more enemies that way."
"I refuse. I hate being indirect like you, and I'm a poor talker by nature."
" I assumed so. You don't seem like the kind to be sarcastic or cynical. Yeah, I bet you think of me as a loud annoying person, right?"
" ? Why? I like the way you say things. It wouldn't seem like you if you weren't like that."
Tohsaka looks away from me unpleasantly. I might have angered her.
"That thought is going to get me through so many long nights "
Music: The End of Reminiscence
I stop walking and stare at the winter sky.
It's not that it's exceptionally beautiful.
It just calms me when I blankly feel the coldness of the winter.
I don't know how long I did so.
But I feel like I hear footsteps from within the darkness.
"Who is it?"
There's no reply.
But the footsteps come closer along with a sharp presence.
I lower my waist and prepare so that I can jump back anytime.
"Hey. I'm asking, who is it?"
There's no reply.
The cause of the footsteps appears in front of me without stopping.
He says nothing but glances at me.
He's the Servant that was fighting Lancer that night at school.
The red-armored knight that Saber beat after she jumped over the wall
"You're Tohsaka's Servant, Archer ?"
The man raises the sides of his mouth a bit.
He smiledso, can I take that as affirmation?
"Am I dreaming? Oh, how I've waited for you to come to me like this! Only in my dreams do our paths cross so under the moonlight!"
Something annoys me.
I feel irritated for no reason, or I should say, I can't get myself to like this guy.
I've never talked with him nor has he attacked me.
But still, I understand the moment I see him face on.
I cannot approve of him.
There's no reason for it, but I just can't like him.
It's just not me. It should be the same for Archer.
There can't be three people in this world who match me so badly.
He's someone like that to me, so it'll be no surprise if he considers me irritating as well.
" What? Weren't you going to confine yourself to keeping watch until your injury healed?"
"Of course, I intend to do so. I will end this ridiculous cooperation once my wound heals. That is why I have remained as a spectator, believing that I have nothing to tell you."
"Oh, don't hold back and stay as a spectator. I don't have anything to talk to you about either."
"As much as I'd like to do so, there's something I cannot overlook.
It seems you are not letting Saber fight."
"What's wrong with that?"
I automatically answer him back.
With clear enmity, Archer glares at me.
" As I thought. It is indeed something a kid like you would think.
There's no need for help from others. I can do everything myself.
And on top of that, there can't be any victims, huh? I'm disgusted with that attitude of yours."
"What !? You have no reason to tell me that!
I'm just going to do what I believe is right. You have no reason to complain !"
"I have a reason. As a Servant just like her, I can understand Saber's troubles. Saber must bear a large burden with a Master like you."
Partly because what he said is true.
But even more than that, I cannot stand having this guy say it.
"Don't kid me ! I'm not a burden to Saber! I'm going to fight in her place, so that should be fine!"
"Heh, are you saying she won't get hurt if she doesn't fight? Servants are beings that only exist to fight. It is an insult to deny fighting to such a beingbut telling you that won't do any good."
After saying what he wants, Archer closes his mouth.
For a few minutes, Archer and I confront each other silently.
His cold stare seems to be looking inside me.
"What do you mean?"
"Do you really intend to finish this war without fighting? Not fighting anyone, not killing anyone, and not letting anyone be killed?"
" I didn't say I won't fight. I'll fight when the time comes."
"I see. So you won't kill anyone even if you fight?"
"That's right. You have a problem with that?"
"I won't interfere with your overly optimistic thinking. I don't have the time, and I am not that crazy."
Archer turns his back.
"But do not misunderstand. The superhero you are being is no more than a cleaner. Know that the only people you can save like that are the ones that survive."
I wonder why.
Those words make me feel like I've been beaten all over.
" Hold on. What do you mean by a superhero being just a cleaner?"
" You should have realized it already too.
Look, your methods will not allow you to reverse a sad event or a miserable death.
Those are the limits.
A superhero is only someone that tidies up events that have already taken place. You will definitely not be able to save the people you want to save the most."
The hand reaching out to save someone must be able to save that person
"An ideal is only an ideal after all. As long as you embrace that ideal, the friction with reality will continue to increase. The path that you are about to take is of that sort.
So you will someday face reality and will have to pay the price for your compromises. That choice of yours might end up taking the lives of many people."
"Be at least prepared. When you realize how small you are, decide what you will make right and whom you will punish.
If you cannot do so, then throw away those dreams and magics of yours right now."
His back disappears into the night.
"Understand? No matter what anyone does, people that cannot be saved will always exist. All you can save with your ideal is the ideal itself. That is all humans can do.
"Hey wait! What are you trying to say !?"
My question vanishes into the darkness.
Archer's presence is already gone, and my voice only reaches empty air.
" What's with him? He disappears after mouthing off like that."
To summarize, he was telling me my way of thinking is too optimistic and that I'll soon have a painful experience.
How can anyone conclude that I'm wrong before I even try?
"I'm ready. If I'm wrong, I'll just pay with my life."
That must be the readiness as a magus.
I know that without having Archer tell me.
"Heh. I really can't get along with him."
But still, I have one concern.
No matter what anyone does, there will always be people that cannot be saved.
Humans can only do so little.