Part 55: Daughter of winter - Ilya (II) / Types of smiles / Choice
He has the best (lack of) excuses.
This writing dazzles me with its complexity.
Music: Tender Scenery
Ilya is standing there absent-mindedly, not doing anything.
It doesn't seem like she notices me.
I can leave right now if I want to.
Butif I was going to do such a thing, I wouldn't have come by this park in the first place.
I call out to her.
"Um, it's just Shirou."
"Eh really, Shirou ?"
She must have been really surprised, as Ilya is looking at me with wide open eyes.
"Why are you so surprised?
This place is near the shopping district, so I pass by it from time to time. How about you, why are you here? You were here yesterday too, so do you have a lot of free time?"
"Ahwell, that's "
I don't know how to answer that. She just said something that really troubles me
Shirou is a master of understatement.
" Hold on. You weren't really waiting for me, were you?"
I've been thinking for ages it would be nice if you came."
" Idiot. You don't like the cold, right? If you want to see me, come to my placeno, that's bad. If you met Saber, it'd just turn into a fight.
But still, there are plenty of other ways. You would've been able to find me if you were waiting in the shopping district like yesterday."
"No, I can't do that. I can't come and see you myself. Yesterday was a one-time only cheat.
So I just waited where you might come today, and it ended up working."
Saying so happily, Ilya takes a few steps as if dancing.
Her swaying silver hair makes her look like a real winter fairy.
" I understand, but why did you come to see me? Well, if a conversation like yesterday is enough, I'll keep you company."
She says it so innocently.
That unsuitability is unbearable.
It's not because I'm going to be killed. I just don't think being a Master suits her.
" Ilya. Is that really something you want to do?
Did you really enter this war by your own choice?"
"Yeah, that's right. It was what my grandfather told me to do.
I'm the most suited to be a Master out of all the Einzberns, and I'm the owner of the big Holy Grail."
" Doesn't that mean you're just doing what your grandfather told you to do? You didn't become a Master by your own will, did you?"
"That's wrong. If you're only fighting because people tell you to, stop.
First of all, such killing doesn't suit you, Ilya."
" Hmm. It doesn't look like you're pleading for your life.
It looks like Onii-chan's really worried about me."
" That's right. Putting others aside, I don't like someone like you fighting. If it's possible, I want you to quit being a Master and stay calm."
no no no no no
"Whaw-w-what are you saying!? Do you know what it means to tell me to be a Servant !?"
No, first of all, I can't substitute for Berserker!
"I'm saying you should stop fighting. I'm telling you to get rid of your Servant, so why do I have to become your familiar?"
"Not a familiar, I said a Servant.
Servants are people that are always with you, right? So all you have to do is stay by my side."
Could it be, Ilya
"Let me ask you something. What is a Servant, Ilya?"
"It's mine, right? My grandfather said it's someone that's always by my side and protects me."
As I thought.
Servants must be just that for Ilya.
None of the Command Spell or Master stuff concerns her.
For her, a being that protects her is a Servant.
Are you saying I'm not good enough for you ?"
"What does that sword-wielding hussy have that I don't, huh?!"
"About 10 more years."
"No, nothing like that but well, how can I put this"
I'm worried about her, but I can't be someone who'll be by her side all the time
"Ilya, I already have Saber.
And as a Master, I also have to stop the other Masters. Um, I'm sorry, but I can't be your Servant."
" ! What!? I made a compromise because it was you, but if you say that, I don't even know you !"
"Hey hold on, Ilya, I'm not done"
"Oh she's gone "
She doesn't listen to me and just runs out of the park.
Though I run after her, I can't find her anywhere.
"Geez. This is just like yesterday."
I sigh and return to my bike.
Yeah, it's like the exact same thing happened. It's almost uncanny.
I want to live in this magical world where the emotions "pissed off" and "jealous" roughly amount to "won't attack".
"Shirou, it seems there is a visitor."
"Yeah, I heard it. I'll go, so please stay here."
" No. There is a possibility that it is an unwanted visitor. I shall accompany you, just in case."
What Saber says is plausible.
It is, but if the visitor happens to be a neighbor, there is a chance they'll get suspicious of Saber.
Because it's supposedly just me living in this house.
"Well, what happens will be what happens."
Sakura and Fuji-Nee come here often, so I shouldn't start worrying about public image now.
"All right, come on, Saber. But please stay quiet if the visitor's a normal person."
"I know. I am to be your distant relative, is that right?"
"Yeah, that's good."
"Excuse me. I heard you were not feeling well, so I came to see how you were doing, Emiya."
The visitor is not some enemy or some neighbor, but a friend from school.
Music: Gentle Everyday
"Oh, it's just you, Issei."
"It's rude to say that. Is that an appropriate attitude to take towards a friend who has come to see you?"
Complaining, Issei hands me a paper bag.
"Hm? What's this? Apples?"
"It's a get-well gift. When the person who usually never gets sick is absent from school, I should at least bring something."
I'm grateful for his concern, but I'm not absent because I'm sick.
And also, it seems wrong for a young student to bring a bag of apples for a sick friend.
I'm beginning to wonder if Shirou's mind is even dirtier than mine.
"Oh, I like them. Yeah, it's complicated, but I'll accept your good intentions."
I bow in appreciation.
" Emiya. This is a sudden question, but who is that woman behind you?"
That said, I turn around.
Of course, Saber followed me here.
I see. Issei must have seen Saber when I bowed.
" It is not someone I've seen before. Why is such a woman at your house?"
Issei stares rudely at Saber.
He's really bashful in front of strangers and he can be really coldhearted towards strangers or people he dislikes.
"Uh, well, she's called Saber and, um "
"I am a distant relative of Shirou. I was treated kindly by the master of this house, Kiritsugu, when he was in my country.
I came to sightsee here the other day, and I am staying here thanks to my relation to him."
Saber smoothly delivers a convincing story.
"So you're an acquaintance of Emiya's father? I hear he loved traveling. I am sure he would have had the chance to meet someone like you."
Ryudou Issei, who's supposedly bashful around strangers, easily accepts the fact.
Your sickness is just an excuse and you were showing her around, right?"
"Uhyeah. I guess you could say that."
Yeah, I guess I'm not lying, on the grand scale.
"Then you won't mind if I intrude. Get me some tea in appreciation for me bringing it back. Let's talk about what has happened at school these past two days."
Issei comes in, taking off his shoes.
" ? What do you mean by appreciation? I'm busy, you know?
Let's talk some other time."
"What are you saying? You left your bike outside our place, right?"
"Oh yeah, I left my bike at the Ryudou Temple."
"Yes. So I brought you your bike.
Even though I was busy, I went straight home without attending the student council and came here. Are you saying you cannot even give me some tea for that?"
and the meaning of the second bicycle is exposed! The plot's really starting to get interesting now.
That's certainly helpful.
Even though I have 3 bicycles, the one I left at the Ryudou Temple is the most expensive one and my favorite.
" Sorry, Saber. Can we take a little break?"
Saber nods silently.
"Sorry. Could you guys go to the living room? I'll go prepare some tea. Japanese tea for Issei and English tea for Saber, right?"
"Wha I-I am joining as well!? I-I do not know about that. I do not think you will be able to talk freely with your friend if I am there."
"That's not true. Right, Issei?"
"Right. Girls are loud, but Saber-san is fine. Humble women are a part of our cultural heritage."
"I only like women when they have the good sense to keep their mouths shut."
"See. So please go ahead."
"Uh yes. I understand, but Shirou "
"What? Is there something else?"
"Could I have Japanese tea as well? I do not dislike Japanese tea."
For some reason, Saber says so clearly.
It feels a bit weird, her saying that in her usual manner.
Music: Tender Scenery
"I'll see you. Will you be skipping tomorrow as well?"
"Yeah, I can't go to school this week. I have to be with Saber tomorrow again."
"I see. Well, there shouldn't be any problems if you are with that girl. There are suspicious aspects, but they don't even need to be considered."
Issei nods to himself.
Come to think of it, how was it possible for this guy, so bashful around strangers, not to hate Saber?
"Hey Issei. You were in a good mood even though it was your first time meeting Saber. What's up with that?"
"What are you saying? I grew up in a temple. What would I do if I couldn't tell good from evil? I do not know her origins, but her spirit is pure. She cannot be a bad person."
"Wow. So you can tell that sort of thing? I'm a bit impressed."
" Well, I can't normally. But even an amateur can tell if it's that great.
Even a monk in training will notice divinity if a Buddha stands next to him. In other words, Saber-san is that beautiful."
Anyone care to guess where Issei's hand is during this conversation?
This is rare indeed.
Issei is praising a woman.
"I see. So you like Saber too."
I was worried Issei wouldn't like her since all she did was sit there and listen silently.
If you guessed wrong, you really suck at this whole guessing thing.
"Yeah. I see she's a good girl, but she's a little antisocial, right? She's always like that, so it doesn't mean she dislikes you."
"Huh? Is she antisocial?"
"She is. She hasn't laughed yet. She's always had a troubled face, even when we were laughing and talking about Fuji-Nee."
"No, she was smiling quite a lot."
It's true that Saber looks peaceful sometimes.
But when I haven't yet seen her smile even once !?
"You're lying. I can't imagine Saber busting her sides with laughter."
" No, it's not like that.
She was smiling when she saw you smile. Didn't you notice?"
She was smiling when she saw me smile ?
" Um. Does that mean she was making fun of me ?"
"I see, you interpret some things rather oddly.
But you should torment yourself on that issue. Everything starts from questioning yourself. Kah!"
Music: Madder Red Town
and there's the set up for bath scene #2.
Fuji-Nee enters the living room energetically, heads straight for the cushion, and sits down.
Unlike Saber, who has to sleep through half of the day, she's like this twenty-four hours a day.
I bet she's like this even when she's asleep.
"Hey, Shirouuu. Can I eat these apples?" she asks me while looking at the apples on the table.
"Go ahead. As you can see, we have plenty. It's necessary for each person to eat three a day."
"Really? Then should we make something like apple pie. Well, I mean you, though."
Fuji-Nee bites into the apple while saying something loosely.
The ones on the table are the ones I've washed already, but I guess she's not the type to care about such things.