Part 73: Stuffed animal room murder case / A distant backMusic: Footsteps of Destruction
Ha, this is soft and perfect.
The person is standing in speechless shock at this perfect closed door trick, and
" What are you playing around for, Shirou?"
And says so in an utterly astonished tone.
Music: Today's Meal
I take my face out of the soft bed.
I do not want to think this, but do not tell me you intended to hide in there."
"Uhwell, um "
I climb out of the bed.
"Actually, I was hiding."
I ask her with my eyes whether I was being naive.
"Beyond belief. If I was the enemy, I would cut you in half without mercy."
"Uh, um "
I'm unable to answer back.
I think I just showed her something really embarrassing.
"Um, well Saber, why are you here ?"
"I should not even need to tell you why. There is no need for a reason for a Servant to protect her Master. It is only natural to come and save you if you are held captive."
Music: Tender Scenery
I told you so many times not to go off by yourself, yet you were so easily captured by Ilyasviel and taken to a place like this !"
"You're disqualified as a Master. I shall not be satisfied unless you apologize to me in some way."
"Ugh I was certainly careless. But why are you here?
You can't move properly, right? What are you thinking coming to Ilya's castle in that state!?"
"No, what are you thinking?
A Servant's role is to protect its Master. You have been captured, so it does not matter if this is Ilyasviel's castle."
Saber speaks clearly.
Her figure is just as it was before.
It's different from the figure sleeping, weak and in pain.
" Shirou? Why are you silent all of a sudden? Did you suffer any wounds while you were held captive !?"
"Oh no, that's not it. I'm fine. More than that, I'm glad you look well."
I'm surprised Saber's here, but I'm happy she's back to normal.
It's just selfish prejudice.
But I think Saber is meant to act like this.
" I'm sorry, Saber. I don't quite understand, but you came to save me, right?"
"Uh yes. It is only natural for a Servant to save her Master."
"Thank you. You're a godsend."
There's no problem now.
All that's left is to escape with Saber and
Why can I see Tohsaka ?
Is she really, seriously there?
Music: Surrounded by Smiling Faces
"You seem to be doing better than I expected. Maybe there was no need for us come, huh?"
"That is what I said, Rin. You should have left Emiya Shirou be.
This kind of a man causes trouble for the people around him and survives. This was a good opportunity. He would have died if you had abandoned him."
" That is inexcusable, Archer.
I am the one that asked for help, but you do not have the right to insult Shirou."
"Heh, so you act like that now that your Master is safe, huh? The Master's like this, and the Servant's the same. I guess you have no respect for your allies.
Well, we are to fight eventually. It will be easier to fight then if no feelings are held."
Saber falls silent as if he hit a sore spot.
This guy does he not get along with Saber either?
"That's it. You still remember the situation we're in, right?
We don't have time to stand around chatting. We have to retreat before Ilyasviel gets back."
" ? Hold on a second.
Did you guys come here knowing this place is Ilya's castle? No, first of all"
Ilya went out intending to kill them.
Then does that mean Ilya and Tohsaka missed each other?
"That's okay. I think Ilya's heading to my place now. If you guys didn't come here, I think you would have ended up fighting her."
"Yes, it seems so. I confirmed Ilya and Berserker leaving. Well, we wouldn't have come in like this if it wasn't for that."
I see. Tohsaka took such drastic measures because she knew Ilya went outside.
She's as direct as ever, but that turned out for the best this time.
"Anyways, we'll talk later. I came prepared when I realized this was Einzbern's base, but it'd be great if we don't have to meet them.
We can't match Berserker anyway with Saber in that state."
Tohsaka steps between me and Saber.
" Tohsaka. What do you mean by Saber's state?
She looks fine and she's just like normal."
"Hey now. Convenient things like that never happen.
Saber hasn't healed at all. Can't you tell just by looking that she's barely even standing?"
"Rin ! I thought you promised not to talk about that !"
"Sorry, I'm going back on that. It's bad to hide it, and it's not something we could keep from him anyway."
" That is true, but"
Saber hesitates painfully.
That makes me realize that her condition has not improved at all.
" Yes. What Rin says is true. It is embarrassing, but I cannot fight as Saber right now. All I will be able to do is to be your shield."
Also known as cannon fodder
"Huh, that's what I thought. You wouldn't listen and you wanted to come with us when you can't even arm yourself.
I bet she intended to protect her Master instead of fighting."
My breathing stops.
What is that?
She's so weak she can't arm herself?
What ridiculous things is she saying about being my shield?
" I am sorry, Shirou. I know I am a failure as a Servant with a body like this. But I am able to act as a shield. I am sure you are dissatisfied, but please accept that for now"
Why do you always think such stupid things!?
"Don't kid me, of course I'm not satisfied !
Tohsaka, why did you bring Saber!?
Don't you know Saber's more important than me !?"
"W-What? I objected too! But Saber didn't listen, and only Saber knew where you were anyway. I knew it was dangerous, but I still needed Saber!"
I start to yell that she shouldn't have brought her, but I stop myself.
I'm in no position to criticize Tohsaka.
The root of all this was me getting captured.
Tohsaka and Saber just did what they thought was right.
" Disputes are good, but you should stop for now, Rin.
A Master will be sensitive to changes in her dwelling. We do not have time to explain things in a leisurely fashion."
" You're right. Ilyasviel should be hurrying back by now.
All right. We'll leave the conversation until later. We have to get out of this castle first. That's okay, right Shirou?"
Music: Tender Scenery
"Shirou, we should "
"Well, but "
If Saber is like she was last night, isn't it difficult for her to even walk?
I can't let Saber push herself if she's in that state.
"Huh, Saber ?"
"Even though my magical energy is depleted, I can fight better than you, Shirou. To me, you seem to be the one about to disappear.
I do not think Rin has noticed, but your magical energy is disrupted, correct?"
"Oh no, this isn't anything serious. It's fine if I bear with it.
I'm, uhfine, really."
"Then I am the same as well. It is painful, but it is not unbearable.
I believe things are going too fast for you to grasp the situation, but let us follow Rin for now. If we are to talk, we can do so once we get home."
Saber urges me forward.
"I know you're too slow to understand right away, so just be patient and it'll come."
I can't even worry if she says so with such an expression.
" You're right. I have a lot to talk about, but I'll leave it until we get home safely."
Yes, about Saber's body, and thanking her for coming to save me.
That dream is not something I should ask her about right now.
"All right. Let's go, Saber."
Nodding, I move my body earnestly.
I sweat with each step, but I can't complain.
Saber came all the way here with her weakened body.
So as a man, I can't show weakness now
Music: Midnight Interval
"Hey, this is no time to be fascinated. Even if we leave the castle, there's a big forest outside. If we don't hurry, it'll be morning."
"A big forest? Then is this place really on a mountain? That forest a few hours drive away from Fukuyama?"
"Yeah, this is Einzbern's secret castle.
Even if we get out of this castle, we'll have to spend a few hours getting out of the forest. It's night now, so we'll make our way out by the morning."
Tohsaka runs down the hallway without hesitation.
I guess she's heading to the back entrance she snuck in through.
" I knew it was night already, but how long was I captured for?"
I thought it was only half a day, but it might have been longer.
"You were captured by Ilyasviel this morning. It has been half a day since then.
The date has changed, so that means you have been captured for a day now."
Is it half a day or a day? Make up your mind!
"Ugh I see. I'm ashamed."
"No, please do not be. You were safe even though you have been captured by Ilyasviel for so long. That must be proof that your mind did not give in, even though your body was held captive."
"That might be true."
"Yes. Ilyasviel looks like a young girl, but she is a magus of Einzbern. If you were to yield to her, you would not have been yourself.
We'd never do such a thing! Never! okay, maybe once.
" It is not like I did not consider that possibility. I came to this castle prepared to find you dead in the worst case."
"So I am glad I am able to see you again.
Since my Master is safe, I cannot lose either."
Saber says so with a faint smile.
I feel the same way.
I was so worried, wondering whether Saber was all right.
Tohsaka yells at us from the corner ahead.
"Gah, this is no time to be talking. Let's hurry, Saber."
I run, urging Saber on as well.
Every step brings unpleasantness and pain as if boiling water is pouring into my veins.
But I can run if I grit my teeth.
"Saber, if you're in pain"
I stop myself from asking her if she needs a hand.
If I said that, Saber would stubbornly try to run on her own.
I should just watch for now.
If Saber looks tired enough that she can't make excuses, I can carry her then.
Saber is really troublesome.
This stubborn girl won't rest unless I do something that forceful.
Saber wants to be forced.
Well, I'm in no position to complain.
Saber and I descend the stairs into the hall.
I guess this is the lobby.
So that must mean we'll be outside if we go through that large door at the end.
"All right, we're doing well to have gotten this far. The problems come after we get into the forest, but it's night and all, so maybe we'll be able to get out to the main road under cover of darkness.
It'll be too late when Ilyasviel comes back and finds out you're not here anymore.
It'll be morning by the time she gets back Hey, why that unsatisfied look on your face?"
" ? You realize the weirdest things in the weirdest places."
It's so true. "Wooow, that shirt is RED!"
Like, entering the enemy's base from the main entrance and the way she's acting so confidently.
"Oh well. Let's go outside. I remember the way back, so we won't get lost."
"Oh, you're going home already? That's too bad, after you came so far."
The voice of the girl who shouldn't be here echoes through the room with a faint laugh.
Tohsaka's voice is shaking.
Across the hall.
On the stairs we came down is something that should not be there.
Ilya is standing above us with Berserker standing behind her.
Berserker's presence is overwhelming.
As I can feel the Servant's strength now, I can understand how much of a monster he is.
He's not at a level Saber could match even in her normal condition.
It probably wouldn't even be a fight.
That thing is not something that can be beaten in battle.
Defeating Berserker means eliminating it without fighting it.
In other words.
We should have avoided him if we didn't want to die.
Music: Footsteps of Destruction
That smile is the same as it was eight days ago. Innocent and merciless emotion that will kill any insects she catches.
and she's got the biggest magnifying glass on the block.
I understand now.
We won't be able to get away.
I can't stop Ilya no matter what I do.
Even if I can get Ilya's attention, that doesn't mean everyone else can get away.
"What's wrong? It's boring if you don't talk. I'm giving you some time, so I think it would be best if you at least leave behind a will."
But we don't have such composure.
We will run for the entrance if there is an opening.
Even though we know there will be no such chance, we can only wait for it.
" I see. Then let me ask you one thing."
Tohsaka takes a step toward Ilya.
"Ilyasviel. I didn't feel you coming back, so were you actually hiding all this time?"
"Yes. I knew you people were coming, after all.
I'm the master here, so I have to welcome the guests, right?"
We're done for now.
If we retreat, we'll be slashed in half the instant we turn our backs.
But we'll be killed as well if we stay like this.
The only path left is to challenge that mass of death, knowing it'll be pointless.
"Are you done talking now? Then let's begin, Berserker."
The girl raises her hand as if performing some kind of a ritual, looks down at us, and
"I swear. I will not let anyone go today."
She declares so with delight and murderous intent.
Light shines in Berserker's eyes.
The Servant that has obeyed Ilya up to now has his mind released and identifies us as his enemies.
A gritting sound.
" Tohsaka ?"
Tohsaka grits her teeth hard as if regretting something.
" Archer, can you hear me?"
She murmurs in a quiet voice without turning around.
"A little while is enough. Keep him busy by yourself."
She orders her Servant to die.
but but our sweet little Archerkins
"Ridiculous ! Are you insane, Rin? Archer is no match for Berserker by himself !"
"We'll run while you do that. Archer, buy us time until we escape."
Ignoring Saber, Tohsaka continues her instructions.
Her voice is cold, killing her emotions.
Archer, who has been silent as if pondering something, quietly nods and
"That is a smart move. I will be able to escape if you escape first.
Independent action is a specialty of Archers after all."
Takes a step forward as if to protect Tohsaka.
Berserker does not move.
Only Ilya's laughter can be heard from above.
"Wow, I'm surprised. You're saying such an unknown Servant is going to stop my Hercules?
Wow, you have a cute side to you, Rin."
Neither Tohsaka nor Archer has the composure for a rebuttal.
Tohsaka and Archer know that fact better than anyone.
He is empty-handed as usual.
It doesn't exactly look that way from where I'm standing.
She must not have anything to say to him.
Tohsaka should know her command is unreasonable.
Because she told her Servant to die so that we can escape.
Tohsaka starts to say something.
"By the way, Rin. May I confirm one thing?"
Archer interrupts her words in a cool voice unsuited to the situation.
" Fine. What?"
Tohsaka looks at Archer with a downcast look.
Still looking at Berserker
"Yeah. Buying you some time is fine, but
You won't mind if I beat that thing, right?"
Archer says something unexpected.
"Yeah, you don't need to hold back.
Give him a beating, Archer!"
"I see. Then I shall meet your expectations."
Music: Clashing Souls
Archer moves forward.
There are only ten meters between him and Berserker.
That thing should be able to close that distance in an instant.
" !! You're underestimating me ! Fine, go on Berserker! You can slash that stuck up guy into pieces !"
Ilya speaks in a hysterical voice.
Tohsaka turns her back, not paying attention.
"We'll be going. Getting outside means victory for us."
Tohsaka starts to run, taking both Saber and my hands.
I turn around, letting go of Tohsaka's hand.
In the lobby, now far away, is the back of the man facing Berserker.
"Understand. You are a maker, not a fighter."
Archer stares at his enemy without backing off, still empty-handed.
"Do not think about other things. There is only one thing you can do. So master that one thing."
Archer raises his hand.
I don't know when he got it, but in his hand is that shortsword.
"Do not forget. What you must imagine is always that you yourself are the strongest. You do not need outside enemies. For you, the one you have to fight is none other than your own image."
The red back sinks.
Berserker's attack rages.