Part 93: You're my only star
That was an hour ago.
It's past midnight. I'll be able to sneak out without Saber or Tohsaka finding out now.
Music: Midnight Interval
On the other hand, I feel a contradictory heat under the road as if there's a whirlpool of something black.
Has something happened to the town in the few days I was held at Ilya's place?
It feels like ill omens are everywhere.
" It's not just me."
I look up at the mountain in the distance.
The Ryudou Temple which is far away from the city just looks like a black lump from here.
It's just that
It seems like it's throbbing along with the night wind.
It's been at least twelve if you're keeping count.
" The Emiya household or the church. Come to think of it, it was a big turning point."
Ten years ago.
All the children in that hospital were orphans, and they were all temporarily entrusted to the church.
I was the only one of them adopted from the hospital.
That must be why.
I felt kind of guilty and unconsciously avoided the church.
That's why I told Tohsaka it was my first time visiting the church on the night eleven days ago.
Music: Church on the Hill
"Hey, is anyone here?"
There's no reply.
I can't go in any farther, so maybe I should give up and go home for tonight
I instantly turn toward the sound.
"So, it is Emiya Shirou. What are you doing here at this time?"
The sudden encounter leaves me speechless.
"Ohno, wait. Um, I had something I wanted to ask you."
"I know. I will not turn anyone away even if they come at odd hours."
So saying, Kotomine opens the door to the back of the chapel.
"Follow me. I'm sure it has to do with the Holy Grail War. I cannot have us talk about such bloody subjects here."
Kotomine disappears into the back without waiting for my reply.
I've come this far, so I can't go back empty-handed.
I renew my determination not to be intimidated by Kotomine and follow him.
"What are you doing? Come here if you have something to talk about."
The priest turns yet another corner.
" Damn, he really doesn't wait."
I follow him, complaining.
The church is like a small maze, so I have to follow him obediently.
"I am unfortunately out of alcohol. I have nothing to welcome you with, but forgive me."
Kotomine says so while sitting down.
Is this the faint smell of wine?
He must really like it if the smell is lingering in this room.
"What? Did you not have something to talk to me about? It is bothersome if you just stand there dumbfounded."
"I-I'm not dumbfounded! I was just surprised by this room, and I'll go home right away once I'm done with my business !"
"Good. I do not have enough leisure time to socialize with children either.
Keep your questions concise."
As expected, I hate this guy.
It feels like he can read my mind, and I feel intimidated when I talk to him.
"So, what is it that you want to talk about, Emiya Shirou? I believe I have already told you everything I can."
" Don't lie. You must have known about it.
My father was Saber's Master and he destroyed the Holy Grail. You're the supervisor that manages the Holy Grail, so you must !"
"Oh. Did Saber say that?"
"Um yeah, I heard that's how the previous Holy Grail War ended."
The priest sinks into silence as if pondering.
" Hm. It is unusual for a Servant to retain their previous memories. Maybe Saber is a failure or Saber herself is abnormal.
Either way, you cannot claim she is a normal Servant."
Music: Whirlpool of Fate 2
"Heroic spirits do not retain memories.
There would be contradictions if they did since they are summoned into many ages: the past, present, and future.
All they have are memories from when they were alive. Anything that happens to them after they become a heroic spirit should not remain in their memory"
The priest ponders as he must not assent to the fact.
He doesn't know that Saber isn't a complete heroic spirit yet, so he's having trouble understanding.
"No, that's wrong. It seems that Saber's circumstances are different from the other Servants'."
"Different circumstances? I see, so that must be why you came here. All right, go ahead."
I don't like his haughty attitude, but this is no time to oppose him.
I don't like it, but this priest might give me some answers.
"It seems Saber isn't dead yet.
She still hasn't completed the contract to become a heroic spirit. Something like, she wished for the Holy Grail on the verge of her death and she agreed to become a heroic spirit as a price for obtaining it.
So she isn't dead yet. She won't die until she obtains the Holy Grail, and she said she'll become a complete Servant once she does so."
"Not dead then that must mean Saber is still in the cycle of rebirth. So she is not removed from the concept of time like other heroic spirits?"
"Right, I think that's it. Tohsaka said Saber's frozen in time by herself."
"I see. So rather than disappearing after she accomplishes something, she continues to be summoned as a heroic spirit until she obtains the Holy Grail."
"But the Holy Grail has not yet been obtained, so she returns to her deathbed every time she fails. And she has been summoned into this time as well, bearing all her previous memories.
Ha. Obtaining the Holy Grail in order to die I do not understand heroes.
And even if she does obtain it, all that is left for her is to be summoned as a Servant."
" That's right. Even if she does obtain the Holy Grail and gets her wish grantedshe'll just become like the other Servants, right?
I don't like that. Anyways, what are Servants? They say it's making heroes your familiars, but can that even be possible for a contradictory hero like Saber?"
"I do not understand the system.
Eternal continuation of the soul. The Servant system is constructed by imitating that secret process. Only the deviser would know about this."
" ? Eternal continuation of the soul ?"
"No, that is just the past.
It has nothing to do with this matter, so forget about it.
"So, Emiya Shirou.
You are saying that you want her to stop being a Servant, correct?"
If a king other than King Arthur is chosen and King Arthur is no more
I think it's wrong for her to be summoned as the hero King Arthur after that.
Soif she can stop being a Servant and live as a normal human being
"That is impossible.
Dead people will not come back to life. Even if her time is stopped, Saber is already dead for us.
The power of the Holy Grail summons her into this time because she accepted the price of becoming a heroic spirit.
If she does not seek the Holy Grail, she will not be summoned as a Servant. And as long as she seeks the Holy Grail, she will become a complete Servant sooner or later."
" Even if she fails this time, she has infinite chances.
Since Saber is still in the loop of time, she cannot be in two chances to obtain the Holy Grail at once, and she cannot redo a chance she has already failed.
She will fail a chance she has already failed, no matter how many times she tries. Once she has experienced the result, she will not be able to change it."
"But still, it should only be a matter of time before she obtains the Holy Grail. This is not the only opportunity for her.
Trials to obtain the Holy Grail exist in all ages.
If she continues to challenge each one, she will obtain the Holy Grail."
" From the beginning, she is being summoned as a heroic spirit because she obtains the Holy Grail as a result.
From the moment she appeared in front of you, there was no way to stop her from becoming a Servant."
Even if this Holy Grail War ends and there's no need to fight any more.
She will go on to the next chance to obtain the Holy Grail if she cannot obtain it this time.
Once she obtains it, she'll become this heroic spirit thing and be sent out to many ages
" Then, she'll continue to be a Servant whether she obtains the Holy Grail or not?"
"No, that is not the case. If the Holy Grail is truly omnipotent, it will be able to save Saber."
But you just said that was impossible"
"Yes, it is impossible to stop Saber from becoming a Servant.
But your wish is for her to stay in this world, is it not?
Then it is not that difficult.
You are able to keep her here as a human even after the Holy Grail War ends. Although, she will return once she dies."
"How do I do that?"
"The heroic spirits and Servants are spurious.
Normally, what is summoned as a heroic spirit does not have a mind.
It is summoned as a tool to meet an objective and disappears."
"But Servants are different.
They are the true body summoned by the Holy Grail.
So they can live as humans just by keeping them in this world."
"You can do such a thing?
Saber said she disappeared when the Holy Grail was destroyed. Isn't it true that Servants can't stay if the Holy Grail is gone?"
"Of course. The Holy Grail merely summons these Servants, and it is the role of the Master to maintain them after that.
But that is possible only because the Holy Grail is aiding the Master. The magical energy of a magus is not enough to maintain a Servant. If one does not have a donor called the Holy Grail, their Servant will disappear."
" I thought so. Then "
"No. If you do not have enough, all you need do is compensate for that.
For Servants, furnishing magical energy is only an act of compensation. It is their true nature to consume souls. If their existence starts to fade, it can be replenished using other souls."
Does that mean attacking random people like Shinji did?
"Don't be ridiculous! I can't do such a thing !
First of all, Saber wouldn't want to stay if she had to go that far !"
"I see. Then you would have to use the contents of the Holy Grail. It is simple. If you want Saber to live as a human being, have her consume the Holy Grail."
He must have predicted my response.
The priest's expression tells me that he was waiting to reach this conclusion from the beginning.
"You mean, have the Holy Grail grant my wish?"
"No. It has nothing to do with your wish. It is the contents of the Holy Grail itself.
Did you not hear from Rin? Servants are able to start a second life by drinking the water of the Holy Grail?
That only means they have become a familiar summoned in this age. Their bodies will still be that of a Servant, but they will be able to stay in this world as long as their Master is alive."
"But that means "
That hasn't solved anything.
Even if she can stay in this world, it's meaningless if she's still a Servant.
She can't exist without magical energy from her Master, and even if she stays in this world like that, she returns to that hill after she dies.
And Saber wouldn't do it.
She isn't interested in a second life, and she's said she's going to use the Holy Grail for another purpose.
Oh, but first of allthe key to everything is the Holy Grail Does it mean it still exists in this world?
" I get it. That just means I have to obtain the Holy Grail, right? But does the Holy Grail still exist? If my father destroyed it, then "
" If there's no Holy Grail, there's no reason to fight. This ridiculous fight is pointless."
"You have no reason to fight, huh? Why do you say that now?
You had no reason to fight from the very beginning."
As he says so.
But what about now?
I have a reason to fight. If there is a Holy Grail, I want to end this fight and give it to Saber.
I have a reason to fight.
I have a reason to fight.
So why do his words make my body shake so much that I want to vomit?
Music: Church on the Hill
"There is a Holy Grail. The Holy Grail is only a vessel anyways.
If it goes away, the preparer will prepare another one."
" ? The preparer will prepare another one? Is the Holy Grail that easy to make?"
"Just making the vessel is.
Of course, one needs an appropriate skill, but the Holy Grail War could not come to be without such a skill."
" First of all, the Holy Grail is not a cup that received the blood of God. It was based on a magical pot passed down from ancient times.
You should know about it if you are a magus.
Utopia. It means 'an unreachable place' in Greek. It is said that an omnipotent vessel exists there.
And there were magi who tried to reproduce this omnipotent vessel."
"They were the three families: Einzbern, Makiri, and Tohsaka.
They spent many generations researching the ritual to reproduce the omnipotent vessel and completed it two hundred years ago.
That was the first Holy Grail Warthe ritual that summoned the omnipotent vessel to the artificial Holy Grail to open up the path."
"Einzbern ? You mean, Ilya's family?"
"Yes. The Einzberns specialized in 'the golden rule of the line'. They were the best suited to make an imitation of the Holy Grail.
But they cannot summon the Holy Grail with just that.
They need a suitable land and a strong curse.
The ones who provided these were the Tohsaka and the Makiri."
"At that time, the Church and the Magic Association were in the middle of a bloody war. A far eastern land was chosen as the place for the ritual.
Einzbern must have invited Tohsaka in because Tohsaka was in charge of the land around here and their master was a master of summoning.
For Einzbern, the summoning of the Holy Grail would be impossible without the help of Tohsaka."
"But betrayal could easily occur with two families involved.
They must have thought three should be involved as they also brought in the Makiri family."
The Makiris are a family with history as well.
They were the family most skilled with familiars. It was they that came up with the Command Spell to bind the Servants."
" And they worked together to summon the Holy Grail, but when they succeeded, what came after was bloody killing.
The first summoning of the Holy Grail ended while they were busy killing each other.
As generations passed, they made rules called the Holy Grail War and went back to cooperating, at least in form."
"Tohsaka provided this land and the system to model the Servants, and Makiri provided the Command Spell to bind these Servants.
And Einzbern supplies the vessel for the Holy Grail to dwell in.
That is the cooperation they decided on."
The priest continues happily as if something pleases him.
But, I see they say the Holy Grail War is a ritual, but Ilya's family was the original proposer.
"So, that is it. It was the Einzberns that prepared the Holy Grail.
As they were betrayed by Kiritsugu last time, they have thrown in their greatest trump card. The daughter of Einzbern probably holds the Holy Grail."
She has already explicitly admitted this in a prior update.
"Well, are you happy now? I do not know what troubles you.
But the only way to solve it is to use the Holy Grail. Now that you know that, go home.
The battle is not yet over. You are crazy to be walking about without having Saber by your side."
"That's none of your business. I know there's still Lancer's Master"
There's one more thing I need to ask him.
"Kotomine. Servants will disappear once the Holy Grail disappears.
That's what you said, right?"
"Yes. Do you have a problem with that?"
"I do. I don't know who it is, but there is an eighth Servant. According to Saber, he has remained in this world since the previous war."
It must have been a surprise.
Kotomine opens his eyes and mutters in disbelief.
"What's going on? I came here since I thought you would know."
" So, you are saying there is a Servant that did not disappear?
It is not that strange. The previous war ended with Saber destroying the Holy Grail.
So in other words, there was still another Servant left."
"Saber disappeared by her own will, but if a Servant wished to stay, then the answer is simple.
He must have acquired the magical energy he needed by feeding on souls and lived these past ten years."
"That's ridiculous. His presence was absurd.
You or my father certainly would've noticed if that thing had been around for ten years."
" I know. Someone was probably hiding him. The Servant's Master, or "
"A magus who knew about the Holy Grail War but did not become a Master.
I know one such person, but that is impossible as well. The old Makiri has already retired."
Kotomine must be satisfied, as he gets up from the sofa.
"This is it. I cannot let this be as a supervisor.
I shall investigate that Servant. You should concentrate on your remaining battle with Lancer."
Kotomine walks to the exit as if there's nothing more to talk about.
Well, there's certainly nothing more to be gained from being here.
I leave the dark room and follow Kotomine, who leads me to the exit silently.
The priest is looking down at me from the doorway.
Saber will die if she obtains the Holy Grail.
I already know that.
Saber's goal is to obtain the Holy Grail, and she doesn't want the Holy Grail's power.
Once she obtains the Holy Grail, nothing will bind her.
She will be freed from her situation, frozen on the verge of death, andshe will die an unrewarded death on that hill.
"What's wrong? You're not the type to give that kind of a warning, are you?"
"I was just happy that you are supporting Saber. I am warning you out of kindness.
Saber will disappear once she obtains the Holy Grail.
If you wish to be with her, you should give up the Holy Grail."
" That's even more of a contradiction. I won't be able to keep Saber here if I don't have the Holy Grail."
"You do not need to rely on the Holy Grail. It's just like that Servant we were talking about. If you want to keep Saber, all you need to do is feed her souls."
"Don't play with me. I can't do that."
I glare at the priest.
"I see. That is too bad."
He must not even care about my glare as the priest is laughing.
"Then your only hope is the contents of the Holy Grail.
Even if your Servant does not wish it, all you have to do is keep one Command Spell. Your wish will be granted that way."
The priest is saying
That it doesn't matter even if Saber doesn't want it.
That if I am a Master, I can just force Saber to drink using the power of the Command Spell.
"Oh, did I offend you? Don't glare at me so much. That was just a warning.
Well, you could also respect Saber's choice. It is her life. We have no right to say anything about it."