Part 65: Strategy meeting
Music: Whirlpool of Fate 2
My injured body wants to sleep deeply to get as much rest as it can.
But my mind is still buried in that scene, and I can't fall into a deep sleep.
My still-injured body is burning, and my mind that cannot mourn enough is still burning too.
I might be having a nightmare.
As I doze, I see a dream in my unclear mind.
I can't deceive myself with such reasoning.
It makes no difference to the fact that the disaster occurred while I was there, but I couldn't do anything.
I say I saved lives, but
At the same time, I couldn't save anybody.
If that was just a mistake, if it had never happenedI bet my mind and my body could go to sleep peacefully.
I'm pissed off.
It's ridiculous for my mind to grumble about such a thing.
There are no miracles like that.
It's a great insult to want to go back and redo things, just because I think they're inconvenient and disastrous.
It's impossible to take something that has already happened and make it so that it "didn't happen".
It's impossible, and more importantly, it shouldn't be done.
That's why I can't pretend the event didn't happen.
There's only one thing I can doif I hate the scene I still see even now. I should just act to prevent it from ever happening again.
Sleep ends here.
My body comes later.
If my body moves, get up and run.
If no one getting hurt is the ideal I aim for, I should do so until the point of my death
Music: In the Sunlight
I take a deep breath and draw air into my lungs.
The cold winter air takes away my drowsiness and uneasiness.
Habit is a great thing. It's only a bit past six o'clock.
Maybe my body has healed quite well already as I'm awake at my usual time.
Never before has "it's just a flesh wound" been so appropriate.
I get up and fold up the futon.
During that normal action
A sharp pain runs through my left arm as if there's a crack in my bone.
Music: In the Sunlight
" ! Well, of course. There's no way it would be healed already."
But all that's left is this pain.
It's much better than when I got my stomach slashed by Berserker a few days ago.
At that time, my body was so weak that the nausea was worse than the pain.
"Shirou, you have awakened ?"
"Yeah, I just woke up. You're up early today. You're usually asleep at this time."
Yeah, it's unusual for Saber to be awake before breakfast is ready.
" Shirou. I am not sleeping because I want to. I think I have told you already that I am sleeping until breakfast to save my magical energy.
Um, I wish you would not make it sound like I am always sleeping in."
" ? Why? I didn't intend to make it sound like that.
I was just wondering if it was okay for you to wake up this early."
" Oh, I see. So you are saying it is strange for me to wake up early?"
Saber sounds cranky.
Is it just me?
It seems Saber is stricter today, or should I say she's unreserved?
"No, not strange, but I'm wondering if it's all right.
It's my fault that you have to sleep a lot, right? I know that, so shouldn't you be sleeping until I call for you?"
"Of course. But that is only when I am on standby. I was sleeping in anticipation of an emergency. I do not think it is logical for me to sleep in this situation."
" ? Why isn't it logical? We're not fighting anyone, nor is anyone attacking us right now."
"Eh no, I mean, that is "
Saber is unclear as if there's something she doesn't want to say.
"Oh well. It's not an emergency right now, so you should sleep until we head out.
I'll come and get you when breakfast's ready, so save your powers until then. I'm going to need your powers all day."
I head towards the kitchen.
"Hold on, Shirou."
" ? What, is there something else"
What did you just say you are going to do?"
I gasp without realizing.
Even though she's asking me a question, Saber glares at me as if not letting me answer.
"Your body should rest first.
Rin will prepare breakfast. What you should be doing is resting in your room and healing your body. I will not let you claim you do not understand this fact."
Saber sounds strict because she's concerned about my body.
"Please return to your room, Shirou. You are the one who needs sleep."
She might be able to read my mind as she glares at me even harder.
But stillI can't let Shinji go.
"No, I won't go back to my room. I'm already well rested, and there's something we have to do. Let's go out into town when we're ready, Saber, we have to find Shinji before the day is over."
"Why is that? There is no reason to find Rider's Master before the day is over. If we are going to fight, we should wait until your wounds have healed. It will not be too late then."
"That's wrong, Saber. If you're talking about importance, my body comes later."
"We don't have any time. You should know what Shinji will do. I'm going to separate him from Rider before he puts up another boundary field like that. He won't be able to do anything without a Servant."
" So you are saying you do not want victims like yesterday. You are fighting for that reason, and not to defeat Rider's Master?"
"That's not true. I'll have Shinji take responsibility. It's just that we need to defeat Rider for that.
And anyway, it's only natural to act to prevent any victims. That's something that comes way before the reason to fight."
" I see.
If my Master says so, I will only obey."
Saber shuts her mouth.
Music: Tender Scenery
"Look for Shinji ? I don't mind, but you're saying this because you have some chance of winning, right?"
Tohsaka reacts as soon as I declare that I can't let Shinji go.
"Huh ? You mean a chance of winning against Shinji ?"
"Yeah. I'll warn you, but if you tell me you were going to go after a Master without any hope of winning, I'll laugh at you."
Now that she says that, I've only thought about stopping Shinji and never about how to do so.
" Whoa. Are you serious, Emiya-kun?"
"Ughsorry, laugh at me if you want."
" Whoa. Sorry, but that joke isn't funny at all."
Ugh. If she reacts like that, she'll make me realize how stupid I am.
"Saber. Your Master's like this, but what about you? You don't have any objection to fighting Rider?"
"There should be no problem if I am only to fight against Rider. I have already gauged her ability.
I believe Shirou knows as well. He has actually faced Rider himself after all."
Tohsaka inquires with her eyes.
She must be asking about Rider's strength.
Music: Whirlpool of Fate 2
Certainly, I have a grasp of it.
I don't know if it's because I have a contract with a Servant or because of my Command Spell.
But even though she's not my Servant, if I see her fight, I can put numbers to her abilities.
Rider herself wasn't a superior Servant.
I want to see the conversation where Shirou responds with, "It'll be fine. Her combat ability is only a 6," and Rin's like, "what the fuck are you talking about?"
"Rider isn't as strong as Saber. I don't think she'll win, fighting one-on-one."
"I see. Then you do have a chance of winning.
Shinji isn't a magus, so Rider won't receive support from her Master. Inevitably, the fight will be an one-on-one with Saber and Rider."
Just like Tohsaka says.
As long as Shinji is her Master, Rider has to fight by herself.
There should be no disadvantage for Saber
"Why that grave face? Are there any other problems?"
" Yeah. Look, Tohsaka. Even though Rider was cornered by Saber, who was far superior, she was able to escape with Shinji.
I think it was Rider's Noble Phantasm "
The arrow of light that trampled through the hallway.
A wave of destruction, that would have surely disintegrated my body without trace if Saber didn't knock me aside.
If that was Rider's secret move, we can't be optimistic even if Rider herself is weak.
No, more than not being optimistic, I feel like we shouldn't even challenge her
" Hmm. So that means Rider is the type whose Noble Phantasm is superior to her own abilities."
"So, Saber. You should have been able to tell what Rider's Noble Phantasm was, right? You should have some idea since it was used right in front of you."
" I am sorry. I was too concentrated on protecting Shirou, I was not able to tell what it was.
If I had worried about such a thing, we would have been engulfed by it."
"It was something close to it. Its classification is close to the magic you use. It could not have been an anti-personnel Noble Phantasm, like my sword or Lancer's lance."
"It's even stranger if it's like my magic.
Your magic resistance is godly. No magic in the present day can hurt you. If there is a magic even you have to avoid, that would be "
"Yes. Divine mysteries are nullified by even stronger ones.
A divine mystery that can strike through my armor is what you people call 'sorcery' or a fantastic race with divinity."
"Sorceryare you saying Rider is a magus !?"
She is of class Rider. If there is a magus, it could only be Caster. I believe Rider's Noble Phantasm is something else."
Tohsaka gives a relieved sigh at Saber's answer.
But I don't quite get it.
"Saber. Is your armor that strong? If you say only sorcery can go through it, then that would make Lancer's Gae Bolg a sorcery as well."
"Eh ? Yes, Lancer's Gae Bolg is certainly a 'curse' close to sorcery, but Rin, could you please explain to Shirou?"
"I can't deal with his stupidity today. You take over."
"Me? Well, okay. So in short, you are misinterpreting that Saber can be only hurt using sorcery, right?"
Uh-huh. "in short," right. That'll be the day.
"Uh, no that's not exactly what I meant.
I just thought it was amazing if the armor is that strong."
"Of course it's amazing. Not just Saber, but all the Servants are heroic spirits. There's the fact that they're spirits, but they can't be hurt by normal means. That's because Servants themselves are divine mysteries.
"The only ones that can physically hurt the Servants are other Servants, heroic spirits like them. So in other words, if a Servant was using it, even a paper knife could hurt Saber."
" So that means Saber's armor isn't that strong against a Servant?"
"Yeah. But Saber herself is skilled in combat, so it is pretty much impossible to hurt her in a hand-to-hand combat.
The remaining means would be attacking using magic from a distance, but since Saber has unbelievable magic resistance for a knight, she'll repel most magic."
"Curses like bad luck won't touch her, and direct intervention like shooting an arrow of magical energy is useless.
So if one wishes to defeat Saber, one must fight her head on."
"Rin. I have only now realized your feelings for me."
Saber is listening quietly to Tohsaka's explanation.
She probably is not interrupting because it's all true.
"Hey, that's cheating.
They're attacking with magic because they can't beat her in combat, but if that magic is useless against her, what are they supposed to do?
That's really unfair."
Berserker surpasses Saber in strength, and Lancer has his fatal lance in combat.
As we were just saying, Rider too has a Noble Phantasm that can even kill Saber, so it doesn't mean Saber is perfect.
"There are ways for even us to defeat Saber.
We just need to use magic that exceeds Saber's magic resistance, or use the weapon she uses and cut her neck while she's asleep. Servants' weapons are in spirit form like them, so they should be able to hurt them."
It's a scary example, but I understand.
Hold on, Tohsaka.
You can't talk like that in front of Saber herself.
Then, it must be that Rider's Noble Phantasm is not especially strong, but that Saber went into defense because it was an attack from a Servant?"
"Of course not. If Saber concentrated on defense, Rider herself couldn't do anything to finish Saber. If Rider herself isn't a superior heroic spirit, the Noble Phantasm she uses won't be strong either.
"Isn't that right, Saber? Rider's Noble Phantasm is unrelated to her ability, right?"
"Probably. I believe it is an automatic weapon that does not rely on Rider's skill or magical energy, or something that has an effect on the Noble Phantasm itself.
Magic or a fantastic race.
Either way, the thing released from that magic circle was overwhelming. I do not think any Servant would be able to survive if it received a direct blow."
"Really? How is it, level-wise?"
"Putting it your way, I would say about an A+. It is just a speculation, so I cannot be certain."
Whoa, I'm surprised the school didn't get blown away if something like that was used."
This is like D&D characters having an earnest discussion about the consequences of a failed fortitude save.
"I believe it is not a Noble Phantasm that simply destroys. Perhaps it is a Noble Phantasm that has some other use."
" I see. But that's a problem. According to Saber, it's beyond an A rank, and her immediate attack power might be the strongest of all the Servants."
" Hmm. Well, it did seem like a Noble Phantasm superior in both attack and defense."
Saber comments to Tohsaka, who goes into pondering.
What is it?
Saber doesn't seem to be enjoying this conversation.
" Saber? Is something Tohsaka said worrying you?"
"Eh ? Um, no, that is not correct yes, I believe it is inappropriate for a knight to inquire into who is the strongest "
She's acting suspiciously.
Saber mumbles on as if ashamed of what she's saying.
" Oh well. But weren't you saying something weird earlier? Something about your and Lancer's weapons being anti-personnel Noble Phantasms?"
"Anti-personnel Noble Phantasm ? It means what it says. My 'Invisible Air' and Lancer's Gae Bolg are only weapons to defeat people.
No matter how strong the magical energy or curse it wields, it does not go beyond the level of defeating other beings."
But that is only in the case of man versus man.
There would be no difference in speed, even if you used an invisible sword to chop wood.
Lancer's Gae Bolg is the same.
Even with a cursed lance that will strike the heart, if the opponent is a rock or a house, it is no more than a strong lance.
" I see, so that's why it's an anti-personnel Noble Phantasm.
Then Rider's Noble Phantasm is"
"I would say that it's an anti-army Noble Phantasm. Come to think of it, I heard from my father that there are Noble Phantasms specialized against others, and Noble Phantasms specialized against armies."
"To put it simply, the anti-personnel Noble Phantasms are guns with unlimited ammo, and the anti-army Noble Phantasms are one-time missiles.
Rider's Noble Phantasm is powerful, but it's not a continuous Noble Phantasm like Saber's sword, which is always invisible."
A gun would be no match for a missile.
It's true that Saber's invisible sword is an awesome sword, but it'll be blown away before she could swing it against such a ridiculous Noble Phantasm
" So in short, if we're going to fight her, you're saying we should defeat Rider before she uses her Noble Phantasm?"
"I would think so. You'll have no chance of winning if it comes down to the Noble Phantasm.
Remember if you're going to go look for Shinji and Rider,
the biggest requirement is to defeat Rider before she has a chance to use her Noble Phantasm.
It'll be to your disadvantage if you let the fight last longer."
"Or you can just defeat Rider's Master while I am fighting. He has no means of fighting, so that might be more certain."
That's the conclusion.
We don't know what Rider's Noble Phantasm is, and additionally, it is too powerful.
As we have no countermeasure, we can only beat her before she has a chance to use it.
So whatever the Noble Phantasms of the other Servants are, we cannot compete in Noble Phantasms against Rider.
Music: Tender Scenery
" Your advice was helpful, Tohsaka.
We'll be going to go look for Shinji, but what about you? Will you stay here?"
" Yeah, if you say so, we can go look for Shinji as wellbut I guess we won't.
Rider isn't our only enemy. And we originally cooperated to fight against Berserker.
I have something I need to do as well while you guys are looking for Shinji."
"See you. I'll be expecting good results."