Part 69: The king's memories
Music: Ever-present Feeling
It was a time of chaos and war.
It began with the demise of an empire.
An empire believed to be indestructible was only awaiting its destruction at the hands of invading barbarians.
To prepare for the war against these barbarians, the empire deprived this island country of any military forces.
That was the beginning.
Once her country lost the empire's protection, it could not escape becoming independent and it broke into smaller countries in no time.
The barbarian invasions.
Self-destructive strife between clans.
A long period of war, that would later be called "the Dark Ages".
She was born into this period as the heir to the throne.
It was a long period of chaos.
The king believed the magus's prophecy and yearned for the birth of his appointed successor.
But the child that was born was not the one the king desired.
The child was not a boy.
Even if the child was fated to become a king, he could not make a child that was not a boy his successor.
The girl was entrusted to the king's vassals and was raised as a child of a mere knight.
The king fell into despair, but the magus was delighted.
The sex of the one who would become king had never mattered.
He was confident that the fact of the girl being separated from the castle until the day of the prophecy was proof that she would become king.
But the knight did not even have to wish for such a thing, as the girl trained day after day to become stronger than anyone.
If only a king can save a ruined country headed for death
The girl swore to bear a sword for that reason alone, without ever being told so.
So, the day of the prophecy arrived.
Knights and lords from around the country gathered to be selected as the king.
Every one of them expected the selection to be through jousting if the most superior one was to become a king.
But the only thing prepared at the place of selection was a naked sword stuck in a stone.
On the hilt of the sword was a golden inscription.
"Whosoe'er pulleth out this sword of this stone is rightwise King born of England"
Many knights grabbed the sword, following that command.
But no one was able to pull the sword out, and the knights began the expected method of selection by jousting.
As the girl was only an apprentice, she was not qualified to joust.
The girl neared the deserted stone of selection and reached out for the sword without hesitation.
"No, no. You should think things through before you take that."
When she turned around, before her was the most feared magus in the country.
The magus said
That she would no longer be human once she took ahold of the sword.
The girl only responded with a nod.
Becoming a king means no longer being human.
She was prepared for that ever since she was born.
In short, a king is someone who kills everyone to protect everyone.
The young girl thought about it every night and shuddered until morning came.
No day passed that she did not fear that fact.
But the girl said that it would end this day.
Even if anybody noticed that the king was female, there would be no problem if she was a good king.
Perhaps because of the sword's magic, the girl's growth stopped at that time as well.
Many knights feared it as ominous, but most of them praised their master's immortality as divine.
The time of the king who would become a legend started.
The battles of the new king were indeed the acts of a god of war.
The king always led from the front.
No enemies could stand in her way.
Arturia, the god of war.
There was no defeat for a body admired as a dragon in human form.
For ten years and twelve battles, she knew only victory.
Those were the days she ran through as the king.
She never turned back and was never disgraced.
She was raised as the king and fulfilled her obligations as the king.
Is that why I saw such a figure?
Her soul must still be on the battlefield.
Resting her body in the wind under the indigo blue sky, she just gazes into the distance.
The sky is high, and the clouds are flowing fast.
Under the clear air, she is looking at the great army she must face with her sword in hand.
That figure is burned in and will not go away.
She and her sword are one.
The sword from the stone that chose the king.
I think the brilliance of the sword that selected her fate is also her brilliance.
But I wonder in the dream.
That sword is different from the one she had.
It is similar, but different.
The one she used last night is different from this sword.
How did she lose such a fine sword ?
Music: The End of Reminiscence
" That dream "
It was a strange dream.
Events I shouldn't know about, things I don't know about Saber.
Is it possible for me to dream about them?
" But that sword was certainly different from the one Saber had "
I vaguely think.
Saber's true identity that was hidden.
To be honest, I still can't accept who she is.
Saber is just Saber.
I can't change my attitude just because I know who she was before, and I don't think Saber would want that either.
" But it suited her."
The sword from yesterday suited her, but the sword in my dream also suited her.
No, you could say I was fascinated.
With yesterday's sword and the sword in my dream it seems I fall for swords easily.
We already knew that.
I also thought Lancer's lance was beautiful when I saw it, but my interest in swords is exceptional.
It seems Emiya Shirou is easily attracted to swords.
At least they're open about his bisexuality in this game.
"Well it's not like that only just started."
I take a deep breath and reach up to my sweaty face.
" But it sure is hot."
I wipe the sweat off my forehead.
Even though it's winter, my body is burning.
It feels like my blood is getting hotter, and I feel restless.
" I wonder why ever since I saw Saber's sword "
My body has been strangely hot.
They're making this way too easy.
The hand that bears the Command Spell is hot as if it's holding a pocket heater.
" It's like that time Tohsaka made me swallow that jewel like it's itchy, or it makes me want to run around."
I take a deep breath to try to calm myself.
" I guess Saber's still asleep "
Saber has not woken up even once since last night.
But it still seems she's getting better.
Her breathing is calm now and there's no sign she is gasping in pain.
Saber is sleeping peacefully.
This is an everyday morning scene.
"Maybe if "
If I let her sleep like this, she might get back to normal.
Then there'll be no need to have her kill people.
Then, just like now, Saber will be with me and
"How selfish of me!"
Music: The End of Reminiscence
I hit the wall.
I'm so weak it makes me sick.
"It's my fault Saber's in this state.
Who am I to say"
I get up, trying not to make a sound.
I don't know when Saber will wake up.
But I have to make a decision before she does.
I hear something cut through the air.
"Again it's from the yard, but that
I remember that sound.
I don't feel like cooking breakfast right now, so I'll take a walk and check it out.
" It's from the shed area."
The sound is coming periodically.
I cross the yard, breathing out white puffs.
He must have been shooting arrows until now.
He lowers his bow in displeasure as soon as he sees me.
"That's dangerous. Don't shoot bows in someone else's house. What are you going to do if you hit someone?"
"I would not have to do anything as I am not using any arrows. One cannot be hit by something that is not fired."
He doesn't need to tell me that.
The sound was Archer's bow string cutting through the air.
I don't know why, but Archer isn't using any arrows, but only pulling his bow.
"Well. I'm not an archer like the ones you know, so I would not be able to answer you even if you asked me about archery.
Your arrows are shot to target yourself, while my arrows are shot to hit an enemy. The archer you have in mind must be the kind that respects manners and politeness."
He curls his lips offensively.
As I thought, I can't get along with him.
"I don't intend to ask you about archery.
I was just wondering what you were doing."
"As you can see, I am merely checking my condition.
The wound Saber gave me has healed. I cannot stay on watch forever."
He's healed now. Then that means Tohsaka should return to the war.
I turn away.
Since Tohsaka and Archer are rejoining the battle, I must make a decision.
I have to think seriously somewhere I can be alone.
"There is a concept called 'follow-through'."
"The time you have after you take your shot.
I believe that is the only thing common to your archery and mine."
" What? You don't have to tell me about the eight stages of shooting."
All this talk about shooting seems somehow dirty.
"Just listen. They say the body stays there naturally after you shoot a bow. I heard that you call it follow-through."
Certainly, there are eight movements in archery called the eight stages of shooting.
The last one, the follow through, is the state that comes after shooting an arrow, but
" Yeah. So what about it?"
"I am talking about your mental preparation. Follow through is not intended to ascertain if the arrow has hit the target.
An arrow has hit the target even before it is released. The archer lets the arrow go according to that image.
So there is no need to check if the arrow has hit or not.
Because if you think the arrow will hit, it will hit the target, and if you do not, the arrow will not hit."
"That's not true. There are shots that won't hit no matter how much you think they will. Everyone would hit the target every time if all you have to do is to think about hitting it."
"Is that so? Well, you hit the target every time."
He looks like he finds that very sexy.
His statement makes my heart jump.
"Well, I do not care about that. There is only one thing I want to tell you. Follow through is not intended to ascertain if you have hit the target or not. What happens to the released arrow is obvious.
So follow through is a preparation to accept that result, is it not?"
"I know. So you're saying I should be able to see through this thing until the end, right?"
"Exactly. I heard about Saber's situation. You should have known from the beginning that she would end up like this. She will disappear in time if she fights without a magical energy supply.
That fact was already determined. So"
All that's left is to accept the result.
Is he saying that no matter what happens to Saber because of my decisions, all I can do is see through what happens?
I turn my back to Archer.
I will leave this guy once and for all.
"I can't quit you."
" Oh, and one more thing. I will tell you since you don't seem to know."
I hear a voice behind me.
"Saber should have known she would disappear if she used her Noble Phantasm. She probably did not intend to use her Noble Phantasm until the very end."
The usual offensive tone isn't present in his voice.
The identity of the real great leader, King Arthur, has many variations, and there is even an opinion that there were two people that correspond to the king. One was a pure Briton, Arthur. The other was a Roman, Arturius. This opinion states that the legend of King Arthur that is known today is one story, merged from the accomplishment of these two.
The legend of King Arthur is all too famous. The exceptional magus Merlin prepared a sword and said, "Whoso pulleth out this sword of this stone is rightwise the king of all England." When Arthur pulled out the sword he was recognized as the king of England, and with the Knights of the Round Table gathered around him, he went through many adventures.
Arthur was the child of the King of Britain, Uther Pendragon, and the wife of his servant Duke Cornwall, the blue-eyed Igraine. As a price for Merlin's assistance in ensuring the success of his love for Igraine, he had to leave their child in Merlin's care. "I will properly guide this child, one bearing a great destiny, and protect him from the crisis of the royal family."
Arthur's all too famous sword, the holy sword Excalibur, was not the chosen sword. Rather, it was the treasured sword of fairy-land given to him by the lady of the lake under Merlin's guidance after he lost the chosen sword. After giving King Arthur the holy sword Excalibur, the fairy princess of the lake, Vivian, became his guardian. King Arthur's lifelong enemy, princess Morgana, was an existence opposed to Arthur's guardian Vivian, but Morgana herself was also a fairly of the lake that protects the king.
King Arthur ordered the Knights of the Round Table to search for the "Holy Grail". In the King Arthur legend, the search for the Holy Grail comprised the core episodes in the story of the Knights of the Round Table, but only three knights were commanded to search and King Arthur himself did not go on the journey. Of the three knights, the perfect knight Lancelot did not make it to the Holy Grail due to his unfaithful flirting, and his Galahad did obtain the Holy Grail, but abandoned it due to his lack of greed.
The end of the legend was marked by King Arthur's death. Arthur's life had been sought many times by the princess Morgana, his older sister by a different father. At the end of the battle between him and the knight Mordred, born from princess Morgana's scheme, his legend closes its curtain. King Arthur's fall started when his most trusted knight Lancelot disappeared, after becoming ashamed about his affair with Arthur's wife Guinevere. Losing his trusted knight, losing the sheath of the holy sword, and even losing his own country while on a long expedition, King Arthur faced his last battle in the land of Camlann.
The holy sword Excalibur was entrusted to Sir Bedivere on King Arthur's deathbed, and he returned it to the lady of the lake. King Arthur's corpse was carried by the ladies of the lake to Avalon, the land where heroes sleep. A legend is handed down that King Arthur will awaken from his sleep in Avalon when England is in peril, so that he can save his homeland.
Arthur bears the red dragon that symbolizes the British people, and he himself has the attributes of the dragon. Since he has the karma of the dragon, the embodiment of divine mystery and the transcendent, he has strong magical qualities. On the other hand, he is weak against heroes who have defeated dragons in the past.
Since a sword is a symbol of power, a sword carried by a king usually ends up being degraded to the status of an ornament covered by decorations. This is the biggest difference between Excalibur and Caliburn. In exchange for being a beautiful sword, its effectiveness as a weapon does not match that of Excalibur. In the legend, it is said that it broke when King Arthur fought in a battle going against the principles of chivalry.