Part 86: Sweets / Saber (IV) / Saber's contradictionMusic: In the Sunlight
"So what are you going to do, Shirou?
There are three Masters left. It's not like the Holy Grail War can go on forever, so you should start acting. And it's pretty pitiful to always give others the initiative."
Rin's just biased because she hates when someone else makes the first move.
Tohsaka is right.
My body is fine and Saber is healed.
Yesterday should be the last day of rest.
" You're right. But even if we are to act, it'll be in evening. We'll do the same things as always while the sun's up."
"Seriously? Well, I guess it doesn't do any good to walk around randomly when you don't know anything about your opponents. Then, you're going to get beaten up by Saber again?"
That's the usual task and it's natural for a Master to prepare for battle.
"Wellyeah. I'll get beaten up by Saber in the morning."
" Shirou. You put me in a difficult position if you say that as well."
"Huh? Sorry, Saber. I wasn't listening."
"I am speaking of how rudely Rin talks.
Honestly, what is going on, Shirou? You do not seem well today. Breakfast is a bit smaller than usual as well. Were you in the shed until late last night?"
"It's just not the same with Archer gone "
She asks, but Saber's words aren't criticizing.
I can feel that Saber believes in me.
That's why it's even harder to look at her now.
If I do, the image of that hill pops into my head.
" Huh. Fine, I shall drive some energy into you later. So we will train in the dojo today as well. Is that the plan, Shirou?"
"Yeah, please. How about you, Ilya?"
"Me? I'll do the same as yesterday. I don't like getting wet in the rain, so I don't wanna go outside."
"I see. That's a big help. I want you to stay in the house as much as possible. Going outside is too dangerous."
"Yeah. I'll consider staying with you if you cook boxed lunches like you did yesterday."
It seems Ilya liked the boxed lunch yesterday.
I'm a bit embarrassed that she's content with such a thing, but I'm happy if she's happy.
Joy. Another repeated day.
I have something to research, so I'll be in my room. Come by my room in the afternoon since I need to talk with you."
"Yup. I think you've realized, but Ryudou Temple has been strange since yesterday.
They've stopped the magical energy collection they've been working so hard on, so it's only natural to assume they're doing something.
Well, it seems the Master at the Ryudou Temple is the most troublesome one, so I'll make a familiar and try to find out what's going on inside."
"Then should you not concentrate on the search? I do not think there is a need to take time off to teach Shirou."
"Well, that's just how it is. Sorry, but bear with me. He seems unreliable, so I can't just leave him alone.
It's fine if he gets killed by the enemy, but if he dies because he messes up his magic, I'll be ashamed as his teacher."
"Yes, it is just as you say, Rin.
There was something wrong with me. I do not know why I would have thought your lessons were not useful for Shirou."
Then good luck with your morning training. He's pretty tough, so it's best to beat him to within an inch of his life."
Rin is obviously annoyed about losing Saber to Shirou.
Tohsaka leaves the living room with an absurd comment.
" Saber. Don't take her too seriously. She's only saying that because you've never beaten her up."
and Shirou has no idea how true that statement is.
I remind her, just in case.
I don't know why Saber's so happy, but
She replies like that.
I I don't think I like Saber anymore I'm scared, hold me.
Music: Madder Red Town
You have not eaten a third of what you ate yesterday."
"No, I just can't eat this. I can't eat spicy food."
" Hmm. I do not think it is that spicy. This spice is very good with this chicken."
"I don't like mustard. Just eat it for me! I'll eat your strawberries instead."
" ! W-What are you doing, Ilyasviel!?
Hey, return that! You cannot have that. You may have the apple pie if you want something sweet!"
Sitting next to each other, the two of them are fighting like close sisters.
It's past noon.
We three are eating lunch together like yesterday.
Oh yeah, the lunch isn't the only thing that's the same as yesterday.
The training before this was exactly like yesterday's.
No, it was more awkward today.
I don't know how to put it, but my heart starts beating hard when I see Saber and I can't attack her seriously now.
Saber is also acting strangely as she never used to overlook such openings, but now she waits for me to attack. And for a while, we just stared at each other.
"What's wrong? It's boring if you don't do anything."
I renewed my spirits with that and attacked Saber, but the results were the same.
After repelling my half-assed attack, she would not counter and let me go.
As I wasn't attacked, I would face Saber again and charge again, but she would overlook me again.
This strange time ended about ten minutes ago.
At Saber's request, we entered the lunch break, and we're eating lunch now.
The menu is the same as yesterday: sandwich.
But I couldn't just make the same thing as yesterday, so I elaborated on the ingredients and it seems they really like it.
Ilya is in high spirits and Saber caught her breath, faced with the multicolored sandwiches.
I'm just guessing, but I think Saber must have been getting ready.
Anyways, it's much louder today than yesterday.
It's raining outside and the floor is cold wood, but I think this feels like a picnic.
Your clothes will get dirty like that. That happens because you try to eat in one bite like Shirou. Your mouth is small, so you should eat more slowly."
"Heh, you're the one who doesn't understand. It's even more impolite to worry about manners at a lunch like this.
This is a picnic, so acting like this is correct, right Shirou!?"
Ilya munches on the sandwich happily.
Saber wipes Ilya's mouth.
" I am surprised. You do not reject me, Ilyasviel?"
"Why? I like being treated kindly.
Yeah, if anyone else touches me, I'll kill them. But I'll forgive you since you're pretty.
And you're someone to eat lunch with. If you like me, I like you too."
Ilya says so simply.
Crazy fuckin' loli.
Ilya's smile was a surprise attack even for me, who is watching from the side.
"What? This isn't fun for you, Saber?"
"I'm having fun. It's raining outside, this place is too simple, and I have none of the things I wanted.
But being here is fun. It's much warmer than being alone, right? But you're not having fun?"
Saber lets out a deep sigh and stares at the white girl.
A clear voice.
She smiles in a way I have never seen before.
My heart feels warm for some reason.
That smile was good.
That smile was for herself.
Not a smile from watching over someone's safety.
But a smile because she is happy herself.
"Shirou? Why are you making that face? Did something good happen?"
"Huh? No, it's nothing wait, was I making a strange face?"
"Yeah, you were. It was like a fatherly face. Like you're watching over us from afar.
I don't like faces like that."
That face reminds her of 'daddy'
I don't understand what she's talking about, but does that mean I was smiling?
"I see well, something good happened, so maybe I was grinning."
"Um. Something good?"
"Yeah. I like the kind of smile you just made. I was just glad I got to see it."
" I do not understand. You like such a thing?"
"Yeah. It seems I like seeing that kind of expression on you."
Saber nods, still not understanding.
She must have realized something as she smiles and raises her head.
" ? What do you mean?"
"I am happier if you are smiling. It is enough for me if you can keep smiling."
I can't look directly at Saber.
I bet anyone would overheat if they were smiled at like that.
Somehow, I calm myself down and sneak a peek at Saber.
There's nothing to worry about, but something is nagging at the back of my head.
I am happier if you are smiling.
Shirou just can't get in the mood if the room doesn't have heaps of mechanical junk and a poster of Archer.
I don't care about that, but I don't want to just sit here doing nothing.
She told me not to move for a while to see the results, but I bet I can still talk.
"Tohsaka, may I?"
I call out to her, still meditating.
"Hm? Fine, what is it?"
"It's about Saber.
Um, I don't know how I should put this, but "
Saying that, I realize I haven't thought this through at all.
It's not even 'what can I do for Saber'.
I haven't even thought about what I want to do with Saber.
" Um, well, I'm just wondering what she wants to do.
Come to think of it, she never did anything because she wanted to, right? So"
"No, that's not it. I just don't understand why she's so unselfish.
Yeah, I don't know what to do about that."
"Hmm well, you're right. The only thing she's done voluntarily is protecting you. It's only natural for a Servant to do that, but it's hard to understand when it's so thorough.
But that doesn't mean she's totally unselfish.
Because Saber is protecting you for her own objectives."
That's right. I forgot about the reason she became a Servant.
" I see. Saber's goal is to obtain the Holy Grail. So it's not like she has no objectives."
And that Holy Grail will grant the wishes of its possessor.
So Saber at least has a 'wish' she wants granted.
I don't know what it is, but it's a wish she wants granted even if it means becoming a Servant.
Surely the "wish" must be to save herself.
She's here in this time, so she can stay here and live a second life with the power of the Holy Grail.
No, rather, she has to go that far to make up for her sad end
Music: Gentle Everyday
"Ohthen this is all so easy!"
" ? You're weird, suddenly getting all energetic. Was the conversation that exciting?"
"Yeah, it gave me energy. Yeah, she wouldn't fight so hard unless it was for that.
Because Saber has to fight for her own wishes!"
I nod to myself.
Tohsaka must have been shocked by my reaction.
"Emiya-kun. I'm sorry to interrupt while you're so happy, but you're wrong. Saber wouldn't fight for herself.
"You know that too, right? Saber isn't like that. She doesn't seek the Holy Grail for her own benefit."
"W-What are you basing "
That on I can't finish.
Her last moment was a lonely one because she had no wishes for herself.
So Saber cannot be seeking her own salvation.
I wanted to think that, so I distorted her personality for a moment.
The conversation stops.
As soon as I start to think that the heavy silence will continue
Music: The End of Reminiscence
"It's boring, but Archer said the same things as you."
" Huh? Archer you mean, that Archer?"
"Yeah. I asked him what his wish was too.
What do you think he said?"
"Eh uh, it's no good asking me that."
I don't know anything about him.
As Archer said that we'd eventually be enemies, he made no effort to talk to me or Saber.
We all know about his nighttime visits. You don't need to pretend.
He was sarcastic a lot, but I know he wouldn't have a stupid objective.
'Hmm. How about world peace?'
I just burst out laughing.
Then he got timid and said, 'I knew you would laugh. Well, there is no meaning in salvation by the deeds of others. Let's just call this a funny story.'"
" I just thought, he became a heroic spirit and got summoned by someone like me because that's the way he is."
He didn't look like it, but he was a fine knight.
"But don't get me wrong. If the Holy Grail will truly grant any wish, permanent world peace is the worst wish ever.
It means there's nothing, right? A world without conflict is dead. If things aren't moving, all they do is rot."
" Hmm. Did you say that to Archer as well?"
"I did. And he said, 'That is how the wise think.
I feel the same way, but I am still chasing a foolish dream.'"
"Well, I asked him if he had any other wishes, and he said something like 'I do, but it is not a wish to use the Holy Grail on. I shall let you grant your wish in my place'
He was so snobbish, right? I bet he was a skirt chaser when he was alive."
Maybe if we brainstorm legendary skirt chasers
"Hm. I didn't get that impression of him. So, what about it?"
"Nothing. I just meant that there are all different kinds of Servants."
Oh, I see.
Well, I think it's a good reference, so it did help me out a bit.
I'm going to talk about Saber as well, though."
" ? Oh yeah, you were saying this morning that you wanted to talk to me about something."
Music: Surrounded by Smiling Faces
"Yeah. It's nothing big, but I'm just wondering about it.
Do you know the legend of King Arthur?"
The legend of King Arthur.
I've had it forced upon me more than enough in the past few days.
"I know what most people do. Well, I didn't know that King Arthur was actually a girl."
Even if King Arthur was a girl, it makes no difference to the legend. If King Arthur hid that fact from everyone around her, she would be treated as a man even if she wasn't one."
"Fortunately, King Arthur had a magus called Merlin. He was a crossbreed with an Incubus, so it must have been a piece of cake for him to disguise King Arthur's sex or to arrange for a child that should never have been born."
" I bet. So?"
"What concerns me is the discrepancy between the legend and Saber.
Emiya-kun. Do you know what Excalibur is?"
"Why ask now? Excalibur is the symbol of King Arthur. It's a great sword, a gift from the fairies, that can cut through anything."
"That's what I thought."
For some reason, Tohsaka acts like she's won.
" Hm. Did I say something strange?"
"You did. And that means you made the same mistake as King Arthur. If Merlin was here, he'd yell at you for being foolish."
Um, the sword in the stone wasn't Excalibur, right? That sword broke. He later received a sword from the lady of the lake and that was Excalibur, right?"
'Your highness. Which do you like better?
The sword or the sheath?'"
"King Arthur answers without hesitation that he likes the sword, but Merlin scolds him.
'Please make no mistake here. The sword slashes the enemy, but the sheath protects you. As long as you have the sheath on you, you will spill no blood and take no wounds. You should truly value the sheath, not the sword.'"
Video: Impressions (mirror)
"Hmm, you're pretty into this.
So, what are you trying to say?"
Music: Gentle Everyday
"Y-You don't understand when I've told you this much!? In other words, King Arthur is immortal! Excalibur is a perfect Noble Phantasm, both in offense and defense.
So really, Saber should heal right away even if she gets hurt!"
" Tohsaka. Saber's wounds have all been healing."
" That's true, but it seems like her healing comes from using a great amount of magical energy anyways, it doesn't seem to match the sheath of Excalibur in the legend."
"I see. Well, if you say so
Then, I have a question.
You say King Arthur is immortal. So then, how did he die? The legend ends with King Arthur's death, right?"
Tohsaka opens her mouth, dumbfounded.
After freezing for a few seconds, she grits her teeth and looks away.
" That's right the sheath of Excalibur was stolen "
Yeah, that's a simple mistake.
I forgot about it too, but the fall of King Arthur started when he lost the sheath he should never have lost.
"So. Are you convinced now, Tohsaka?"
" Yeah. You can laugh at me if you want."
I can tell she intends to axe kick me if I laugh.
I've seen the "I'm going to axe kick you" look before, and that's not it. She really just wants a hug.
"It's fine if you understand. But why were you worried about it? It should be no concern of yours whether Saber can get hurt or not."
"S-Shut up! I just lost myself thinking she'd be invincible if that was the case.
Even I make mistakes once in a while."
Would it be good for her if I correct her and point out that she makes mistakes often, not just once in a while?
Short answer: Yes. Long answer: Yes, it would be good for her, but bad for you.