Together with House-Husband, Chapter 47 – Enemy.

Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 47 – Enemy.

Archer rushed towards Emiya Kiritsugu like a bolt of lightning. The gray figure before him could not completely control the recoil, even with sorcery, and he gasped from the powerful kick of the weapon. It lasted a moment- but for a battle between magicians, it was all that was necessary.

Power was based on action and reaction. The greater the power employed, the greater the recoil. This was basic science.

Innate Time Control captured the first move with its absolute speed, and slew the enemy with overwhelming power. That power would smash any shield, and therefore there was no avoiding the skill of the operator. In short, it was an arrow of certain death impossible to defend against or predict completely- a form of sorcery that surpassed human ability and approached the realm of the divine.

But that was why. In a human body, releasing power not meant for the human body to channel meant creating… A large break.

For a user of small arms wherein firing a second arrow was impossible, it was a fatal weak point. For a human body, mustering the overwhelming energy to destroy something on the level of a Ghost Liner* was impossible.

Archer and Kiritsugu were essentially one and the same. Their battle had always been based on strategy and tactics, and to win they could not expose their own bodies to the enemy. Something that used an arrow fought at the range of an arrow; it was natural. As both had chosen the bow to battle, regardless of the what weapons or offensive ability they possessed, in a close-range battle certain victory was impossible.

The Knight in Red had understood his opponent’s abilities and wagered everything to meet and surpass them. He bet it all on his sword, all to kill the ashen man he had confronted. That way was-


*Shunk!*


The light and darkness between the two diverged.


“Ah, aaaaaggh!”


Blood gushed from both of Kiritsugu’s arms. The treasure sword Kanshou’s aim was true, and cut through both of the magician’s arms with a single stroke.


*Sss… THWAM!*


However, Archer himself having disable the enemy was all but dead as well. He had avoided a direct hit to his heart, but serious damaged tormented his spiritual body. The moment he hit the ground his stance collapsed, and his knees buckled and hit the ground.


“Ah, gah… Hah… Ah…”


The bullet fired with Innate Time Control had blown away a section of his lungs, and with every breath he took lumps of blood rose up his respiratory tract. The effect of the bullets, or the effect of the gun itself. The convergence of magical power was obstructed, and he was unable to heal the destroyed sections of his body. A direct hit would have meant the destruction of his very being, and just the bullets remaining inside him would have torn apart his body’s structure through spiritual damage. He had crossed a treacherous bridge.


“Ahh, haah…”


Archer turned his head and looked at Kiritsugu. Perhaps because of the intense pain, he was striking his knees and emitting a low groan. He appeared to be stopping the flow of blood by using some kind of magic, but it wasn’t as if his arms would grow back. For a Emiya Kiritsugu, a user of small arms, the loss of both arms was one and the same as losing his ability to fight. No matter what spiritual healing he possessed, he was out of the Holy Grail War until its end.

Governing his staggering gait, Archer turned to investigate the arms that had been lopped off. A feeble hand gripping the pistol. He removed the weapon from the hand, took off the glove, and examined the back of the hand.


“Haa… Ahh… Here it is.”


On the back of Kiritsugu’s right hand was a stigmata he recognized. Saber’s command seal. With this, Saber would be rendered powerless as well. Archer took Kiritsugu’s arm, and made for the deck.


“…Wait…”


At his back, a low voice was squeezed out. More than hatred or agony, the emotion his tone of voice contained was that of an incomprehensible doubt towards his opponent. But for Archer, covered in wounds, even that dear voice would not stop him.


“…Answer me… Why didn’t you kill me? Even if I lose my command seal, and my arms… I will… Challenge you again.”

“…I have no intention of… Giving up on the Holy Grail…”

“……”


At those words, Archer stopped and turned his head. He stared motionlessly into the face of the adoptive father he had loved.

Deeply carved wrinkles in his brow. Sunken eye sockets full of weariness. A thin face, perhaps due to excessive stress. And… ashen eyes. Ashen gray eyes that held no hope.

Simply gazing upon his ashen figure, his very existence… caused Archer’s heart to ache with grief.

Words were useless. His feelings would never reach the ashen man. It was an answer he had no choice but to recognize.

But, even so-


“…An enemy, huh?”
“…What?”


Archer gathered the threads of his words.


“…From the very beginning… There’ve been no enemies here.”


He pressed his hand to his chest and closed his eyes. In his heart, a light glowed gently.


“The only one who should fight is me. I won’t hand over this wish to anyone. …That is my answer, Emiya Kiritsugu.”


He stared into those gray eyes. The gray of ash and the red of tempered steel exchanged glances in silence.

Two souls who had pursued the same dream. At the end of a desire to protect the smiles of others, they had finally arrived at the answer: The Holy Grail War.

If the result of that dream meant having to kill “something” in battle, then-

Should the enemy be killed? Should lives be taken? Just what should they oppose?


…An enemy, huh. If that’s what it is… It’s a ruthless thing. The system you obtained, the system you tried to obtain a miracle with, is exactly what…


A ceremony to open a “hole” to Akasha with the spirits of heroes, the Holy Grail War. To gather the magicians that would anchor the Heroic Spirits, a battle was held with the chalice of desire, the Holy Grail, as bait. Captivated by the allure, magicians assembled. They met, they struggled, they fought… and they killed.


*Twing*


He finally realized that day. That day when he had discovered the history of the Holy Grail War in a room of the Tohsaka mansion. The system of the Holy Grail War was inscribed in tomes within that room. A system of competition that consumed wishes, and lives.

That was why he fought.

Yes, that was-


My enemy.

“……”


A silent curtain fell between the two. The questions between them had been meaningless. Words that struck a mirror would merely bounce back.

Archer turned on his heel and moved towards the deck. There were no more words that needed to be said between them now. And then, the moment he took his second step forward.


“……!”


A powerful chill ran up his back.

Fuyuki Bridge approached. Her back to the light leaking out the open door, the figure of the transcendent beauty stood.


“…Saber-”


It was the guardian of the ashen man, the King of Knights, Saber.



Together With House Husband, Part 2, Chapter 47.

Just who is the enemy?

Someone who blocks the path one has chosen… If you call that obstacle an enemy, for those who protect the smiles of others, just what is it they should confront?


*Small note after the jump.

Continue reading

Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 46 – Kanshou and Bakuya

Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 46 – Kanshou and Bakuya

*Thwoosh!*

He took the first step out of the hall in front of the bathroom, at the very back side of the bridge. He went straight ahead, with limitless strength and speed. He became a single bullet, and made for Kiritsugu.

Just as he suspected, Kiritsugu was at the front of the T-intersection. He was in front of the doors of the private hall, a weapon leveled. The thing in grasped in his hands emitted a blackly dull gleam; a jet-black gun barrel.


“——”


A barrel far longer than a standard pistol’s, an enormous cylinder, and an extraordinarily large muzzle. It was a gun Archer had never seen. A prototype, or perhaps custom made.

But no matter what it was, he was certain of one thing. It was a gun that fired fifty-caliber bullets. Bullets used by such a monstrously large revolver would carry the largest destructive power that existed in the world.

12.7mm, fifty caliber bullets. Among handheld weapons that could be fired upright, those bullets held the distinction of the greatest weight. For Emiya Kiritsugu’s Innate Time Control, which made guns an intermediary in firing high speed bullets, the weight of the bullet was what was important. Compared to the nine millimeter bullets from earlier, the kinetic energy this weight would unleash would be roughly 2.7 times greater. If a limb was hit, it would be blown off; if the torso, his entrails would be torn apart. A human would die simply from the shock of being hit.

It was terrifying. However. There was the technique the enemy used for the attack, and then aiming. Archer understood those two points now, and it amounted to one thing.


He would have to break through.


“Elementum tempero.”


Was his preliminary setup completely finished, Kiritsugu brought his chant to an end, indicating the success of his sorcery. And then… came the bullet.


“Ira manifestation.”


—K-


In that instant. His field of vision stopped, as if it had been frozen. A world of less than zero, of a thousandth of a second. Scenery that the naked eye could not perceive.

He pulled the trigger and the hammer fell, the firing pin striking the hammer. The primer exploded and the gunpowder ignited, raising the temperature of the gas inside the cartridge.

The pressure pushed the bullet forward. The moment the bullet gained kinetic energy, the sorcery began.


—A-


For Emiya Kiritsugu, a gun was an extension of his body, a tactile sensation. The magical equipment he had crafted solely for accomplishing this sorcery was essentially his own self.

Emiya Kiritsugu’s way of life was not one spent pursuing Akasha.

It was one thing only. He existed to fulfill one dream that he yearned for and embraced.

The absolute power to see justice through, faster and more efficiently than anyone else.

In essence, a perfect arrow.

And he had studied the magecraft for the sole reason of firing that arrow.


That magecraft was “Innate Time Control”.


There was only one answer Emiya Kiritsugu had arrived at that he was sure of. He would kill every single enemy, and then help.

That was his answer.


—B-


There was a man who pursued a broken dream, the same as him. The man was not blessed with any talent, an unskilled magus who could accomplish one thing only.

No… he was a magic user.

The once sorcery the man could accomplish- Projection. Sorcery to understand, discipline, and wield swords. Sorcery to turn his very self into a blade.


—O-


Yes, he became a sword. It was because he approved of that way of life that he took up the sword. However, in living as a weapon, he was struck by two simple pretenses.

They were Kanshou and Bakuya.

Their service had been free. The two blades had crossed countless battlefields with him, and were already a part of him.


—O-


And so. In this frozen, still moment, that was the only thing he could feel sure of. His treasured sword that protected his heart, Kanshou, shattering.

That response and nothing else.


—Kanshou.


Human bodies were externally, at least, constructed to be capable of expansive movement. Consequently, shooting theory taught that when aiming it was harder for the torso to evade than the head. If you aimed at the center of the body, it would be difficult for the target to move their body enough to avoid the attack.

Against a Servant who could perform high-speed evasive movement, there was but one choice. If he hoped to hit the target, he would aim at the torso.

With bullets fired at supersonic speed, Emiya Kiritsugu aimed at the torso he could not overlook. Evading the nearing bullets was impossible. Shooting down the attack was impossible.

And so….

Archer had entered this contest with losing as a preamble.


“I am the bone of my sword.”


Just like the words he spoke, Archer’s arms underwent an ominous transfiguration. It was perhaps an inner world, a manifestation of his Reality Marble.

The Reality Marble, running wild due to the overflow of his magic circuit, turned his body into swords, and at the same time healing and wrapping his body in armor to protect him.

It sacrificed his own flesh and blood in exchange for defense through a nameless armor. By turning his body into swords, he turned his own self into the edge of the blade- the final step.

His body, transfigured into blades, took in his beloved swords, and made Kanshou and Bakuya into his very arms. Archer protected his vital areas by turning his own body into a shield.

No matter how much energy it possessed, it was still nothing more than a revolver bullet. If the energy dampened due to material resistance, he would be unable to immediately correct his aim. Even if its power defied the laws of physics through strengthening magic, it would not go through a wall several centimeters thick.

His arms were the walls. If the bullet was to pass through the center, it would have to penetrate an iron wall nearly a meter thick. No matter how much energy it possessed, piercing that was impossible.

For Archer, Innate Time Control was no longer a certain kill. Yes, it lived up to its name as a sure-kill technique because the opponent died the moment they were spotted. As long as he knew what type of killing technique it was, he could work out a method to defeat it. They were inhuman beings, Servants.

Even so, his opponent was a user of magic that surpassed divine providence. He wielded magical ammunition possessing divine might. If his aim was off, it meant instant death. And as he anticipated, it would be deal massive damage even if the bullet didn’t stray. A second arrow would mean his death. His charge was not gambling. It was suicide.

But Archer still believed. With fostered judgment, he trusted in the souls of his accomplices above all else.

He trusted in Kanshou and Bakuya.

They were said to be swords forged by the rare blacksmith Kanshou with the life a wife who cared for her husband as their core. A blade of the soul, forged caring for another, and with the utmost treasured of emotions.

That journey, those souls. They would never lose to a mere lead bullet!


The dream where we raced down this road together was not a mistake. Show me that future! Show it to me, Kanshou, Bakuya!



—M-



The outrageous kinetic energy pulverized Kanshou. The bullet reached Archer’s hands, destroyed his fingers, and tore away at the outer surface of his magical arm.

This was bad.

Because he was turning it away from the center of his arm, the decrease in the strength of its movement was slow. Even having lost its initial velocity, the bullet’s power still remained. Failing to turn it away would mean instant death. The bullet passed his elbow, passed his two arms, and while its kinetic energy slowly disappeared, neared his torso.


“——”


And then-


*–BOOOM!*


A roaring explosion. Color returned to the frozen world.


“—-Ah!”


His legs went further. His heart was still beating. The bullet that had torn through his left arm and blown apart his shoulder in a moment passed through his body a few centimeters to the side of his heart.


“—Kanshou!”


Now was the sword of husband and wife lost, a  mere fragment.

The sword of treasure, Kanshou, always gleaming with a dark shine, had prevailed.


It had overcome the arrow of certain death.



Together With House Husband, Part 2, Chapter 46.

The greatest comrades whom he walked side by side with during the painful journey. The countless hells he passed through together with his faithful companions was the end of the dream they saw.

However.

In the expanding, unknown tomorrow that lay before his eyes, he believed in the existence of a future he could protect.

And so, the comrades journey together. Together to see what beauty lay ahead.

Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 45 – For Someone’s Sake.

Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 45 – For Someone’s Sake.

“Ah, gah…”

In Archer’s side… or to be accurate, from his inner abdominal area to his back, a giant hole had been bored.

He staggered from the extent of the injury. His conscious retreated due to the loss of blood from the impact. However, it would all be over if he fell to his knees here.

Opposite him, Kiritsugu’s leg was fixed to the with a sword, but he reached for something poking out of the his destroyed trunk.


Not good.


With Archer’s current balance, defense was out of the question. Archer exploited the space, and just before the moment of truth- he leapt into the lobby in front of the toilets.


*Thump*


His back collapsed against the wall. He circulated his magical energy and began to close up the gaping hole in his flank.


*Scrape scrape scrape-*

“Hah, ahhhhh….!”


He barely managed to close the hole in his stomach. This much power was not possible with a pistol bullet.


Innate Time Control. An act that achieved results through fantastic sorcery surpassing divine providence.

The bullet that had blown through Archer’s stomach. With the amount of normal energy the bullets fired from the Jericho carried, they could neither strike so quickly nor carry so much power. So, just what was the phenomenon that had given the bullet that pierced through his sword and bored through his stomach such enormous energy?

The energy that flying objects possessed depended on their weight and velocity. What had been altered here was not the weight, but the speed.

The speed an object possessed was acquired through measuring the time it took a moving body to move from one point to another. So did that mean the bullet that ravaged Archer’s side had its energy increased? Just what could alter the parameters of its speed?


Yes… the measurement time.


If an object moved, it would obtain a velocity, no matter how microscopic the range. The greater the speed of the moving object, the larger the energy it would have when it struck something.


…”Innate Time Control”… The basis behind this magecraft was that the integrity of moving objects were individually maintained, whereas the object’s innate sense of time (the parameters of its “innate time”) was decreased. Thus, the object in motion’s measured time is foreshortened.


It was sorcery that generated speed.


When applied to the speed of one’s legs, that very speed would surpass sight. If you applied it to a flying bullet, kinetic energy many times larger than before would be produced. That was the acquired technique known as “Innate Time Control”, said to be in the realm of magic.

Naturally, it was sorcery operating under the principles of fair exchange, and there were limits to the speeds it could generate, but speaking of anti-personnel weapons, there was likely no sorcery greater. For a human, evading and defending against that speed was impossible.


Damn. What do I do?


By widening their distance, Kiritsugu could always use it. If he leapt out carelessly, he would be shot. And there was the trunk Kiritsugu had been carrying-


What if there’s something inside that can fire some kind of large rifle bullet?


There would be no comparing its kinetic energy to the bullets from before. It would pierce through even Kanshou and Bakuya and destroy Archer’s body.

It would not end quietly.


“……”

……Heh. Heh heh heh… What are you hesitating for, Archer? Just what did you regain after all?


What had he regained? What had he decided to go through with?

A dream. In a world within his reach, he would protect the people he wanted to save. He would change tear-stained faces into smiles. That dream.

What would he pay for the sake of what he wanted to defend? What would he lose for the sake of the people he wanted to save? An enemy’s life, or perhaps an innocent life?


No.


I’ll pay. I’ll lose. After that, if I’m waiting for a future with no one crying, I’ll bet my life. And then I’ll win. I’ll smile… For others.


He was prepared. In his hands were Kanshou and Bakuya, two mere imitations of actual swords. A pair of blades that had been along side him since the moment they had met. Comrades that continued to protect his life, no matter the occasion.


Kanshou, Bakuya… To win this… To stop this… Fight with me.


Of course, no answer came in return. But the simple blades seemed to say there was no need for such things. Simply calm and detached. They possessed an unchanging radiance.

Partners, always.


“…Yeah. War buddies forever.”


Archer stood and carefully investigated the hallway. The straight corridor in front of the bridge continued on towards a fork at a T-intersection in front of the doors to the private hall. From there, it continued on towards a door on the side of the ship’s hull that was connected to the sun deck.

In addition, the hall in front of the bathroom where Archer was situated sat exactly midway from the straight hall leading from the bridge. Similar to the front of the bridge and the private hall, it was linked to both sides of the ship’s hull at the T-intersection. In other words, the passage in front of the bridge was structured in an upper-case “I” shape.

Escape would be difficult for Archer, trapped in the middle corridor, but if Kiritsugu wished to escape from the stern, he could do so at any time. So why did Kiritsugu not appear to be moving?

…Because he’s decided to finish it here.


…Fine. Father, I’ll… Stop you.


Bakuya for his head, Kanshou his heart. Archer prepared himself to protect his vital areas.

For a Servant acting with magical power, piercing the heart or smashing the brain, both crucial points for the circulation and use of magical energy, would spell certain annihilation.

But on the other hand, if he just protected those spots, he would not die.


“Trace, on.”


He composed his body, and strengthened his legs.

He honed his sensations. He would show him his trump card, and make him regret not being able to kill him. Victory or defeat would come in an instant


He would do it quickly, incredibly quickly.

He would reach Kiritsugu.

That was victory for Archer.


“…Let’s go.”



Together With House Husband, Part 2, Chapter 45.

What do you fight for? What do you seek in battle?

There was a wish that could not be granted. There was a life that was shattered, over and over again. There was a dream that was seen through, even till the end, without coming true even once.

That was exactly why his own self that possessed a purpose would never make light of its value.

There was a will that could choose. There  was a body that could hold out. He would bet it all for that. He would bet it all just to save someone.

Together with House Husband, Part 2, Chapter 44 – A Fight To The Death.

Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 44 – A Fight to The Death.

A moment’s hesitation. In a battle among mages, that moment is an eternity.


*Click—Bam!*


From the muzzle of the Jericho came nine millimeter bullets flying towards Archer’s forehead, their aim true. But Archer was a Servant. The momentary preparation was enough for him to determine that the enemy’s aim was his head, and his arm moved up in defense.


“—Gah…!”


The bullets scattered flesh and scraped bone. Physical attacks had little effect on Servants. Under normal conditions, a lead bullet would be unable to deal damage to them. However…


…Consecrated bullets. Bullets filled with holy relics…!


It was absurd to us a word like “consecrated”. In truth, manufactured as bullets full of holy material and used in a gun the ammunition possessed a timeless curse. Holy relics were treasures that could affect a spirit just by existing.

Normal lead bullets made the equal of sorcery. It was a method of attack to make them into something even greater than that.


*Bam! Bam! Bam!*


The bullets continued to fire. Naturally, Archer had already moved. The moment the first bullet hit him, he had rushed diagonally left in front of Kiritsugu, dodging the shower of bullets with a difference of a mere moment, all the while nearing his quarry.

Due to the structure of a human body, reaction to exterior movement was slightly delayed. Kinetic vision and movement ability that seized a moment’s time lag, and saw the whole of the movement that occurred.

Daring combat maneuvers, yes. Daring for all but for a Servant, that is.


“—Tsk!”


He clicked his tongue once. Kiritsugu slung a duralumin trunk lying on top of the console over his shoulder and stepped to his left, drawing a circle around Archer to confront him.


“…Materia roboratio, pondus alleviation.”


A thread of magical energy running through Kiritsugu’s body. The propulsion of his kick off the ground was momentarily enlarged, and he pulled away from Archer as he pursued him.


Strengthening magic!?


Archer had tried to advance and stay close to Kiritsugu, but the man’s maneuver had pulled him two strides away. A straight line was a mistake.


*BamBamBam! Bam!*


Bullets flew. Anticipating them, Archer defended his heart and head with Kanshou and Bakuya as shields, but the width of the blades was such that they could guard against only three gunshots. The last bullet plunged into Archer’s calf.


“—Ah, gaaah!”


Clever. The sound of the gunshots had been nearly continuous, but he had adjusted the aim on the very last shot. How much strength and experience did Kiritsugu possess? A shot like that should have been impossible if one were working with standard firearms tactics in mind.

But Archer was a Servant. Physical impacts did not inflict enough damage to stop him, and the giant red frame drew ever close towards the sorcerer.


“Fall, Magus!”


He swung Kanshou and Bakuya. His target, the right arm. By severing his primary arm, he could disable him-

But-


“—Elementum tempero.”


*Whoosh*


Two blades cut through emptiness. A wind blew. The body of the magician that Archer should have capture that had been right in front of him had suddenly disappeared with a shimmer of hot air.


“..!?”

“What-”


A moment of confusion. Archer moved Kanshou and Bakuya to cover his vital areas.


*BamBamBamBam! Bam!*


Bullets rained down like a storm. It was impossible to deflect every last one; two bored into his body.


“Aggh…!”


The impact drove into his flesh, but Archer did not stop. Tormented by intense pain, his legs continued to advance, chasing after the magus even further. Among spurts of blood, he perceived the figure of Kiritsugu trying to leave the room through the entrance.

Archer had been reading it all. The Jericho had a bullet capacity of sixteen rounds, and there was but one left. One handgun bullet was not an effective countermeasure against a servant.


Do you think I’d let you escape?


Bearing the pain that wracked his body, he kicked off the floor. In terms of mobility, there was no comparison between what a Servant and a human possessed. Archer left the room and closed in on Kiritsugu in a straight corridor in front of the bridge. Conserving his momentum, he tackled Kiritsugu with his shoulder.


*Thwam!*

“Gahaah!”


Kiritsugu was sent flying perpendicular to the floor. On firm ground, Archer gazed at the enemy he had at last cornered and threw his beloved swords.


“Go!”

*Swish!*


Two swords raced through the air. The steel flew towards its target, as if possessed a will of its own. Flat on the ground, Kiritsugu nevertheless defended against Bakuya, the trunk in his hand his shield, but-


*Shnk!*

“Ah—-!”


Its fellow blade Kanshou’s aim was true, and it pinned Kirtsugu’s shin to the floor. His movement was sealed now.


“You won’t escape.”


At the same time, Archer leapt off the ground towards Kiritsugu. The magician’s bullets were exhausted and his leg skewered. The curtains seemed to have been drawn on this play, but-


“—Di material roboratio.”


Kiritsugu readied Jericho once again in his hand, and aimed towards Archer.


“—?”


The last bullet. It was nothing. The power of a handgun could not pierce Kanshou or Bakuya. The mage in front of Archer was Emiya Kiritsugu, however. Would the man whose alias was the Mage Killer do nothing in what could be his final moments?


“Dolor tempero, elementum interpono.”


Their gazes collided. As if gathering the magical energy racing through the gun barrel, Kiritsugu wrapped his finger around the trigger. Archer once again projected Kanshou and Bakuya and moved towards Kiritsugu.


“Elementum tempero.”


That was when he noticed. Kiritsugu’s movements when he had suddenly vanished earlier. Just what was that?

It was not teleportation. If a human mage attempted to teleport under their own power, auxiliary equipment and a chant incorporating the long and short range coordinates would be necessary. Even if they had the ability to use it, it was not suitable for actual combat.

Then what was that back then? Teleportation, the wind… High speed movement that could not be seen…

Innate Time Control.


“—-Hah!”


The moment he realized it, Archer concentrated the fastest projection he was capable directly in front of him. A five-fold over wide broad sword appeared perpendicular to him. But.


“—Ira manifestation.”

*—-Click!*

*Bam!*


All that Archer saw was the a blade in pieces. A violent impact assaulted his body.


“—-Gaah…!”


Archer vomited blood, and his knees gave way. When he turned his eyes to look… He saw that his side was gone.

Sorcery that interferes with time on an innate level, Innate Time Control.

He had been completely defeated by the attack…



Together With House Husband, Part 2, Chapter 44.
A Fight to the death.

No matter the magus, when they employ magic, preparation is necessary. In their world, the ashen man who can take the offensive with modern weapons is the absolute fastest and ultimate oppressor.

Not bound by the restrictions of any laws known to Magi, he employed every method available, struck preemptively, and, without allowing his enemies to respond, silenced them.

That was why he was branded with the name of heretic.

That was why he held the name “Magus Killer”.

Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 43 – Ashen.

Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 43 – Ashen.

*….Clink….Clink…*

“……?”


Late in the evening, not quite midnight.

Detecting a faintly resounding metallic sound, Archer awoke.


“…What is that?”


Archer raised his upper body from the bed. As the thick dust danced about, he first checked his own physical condition. Just as had occurred at noon, his inner magical energy had recovered far beyond what he expected. It was not a negative thing, but with the cause completely unknown, it felt unpleasant.


It’s not that the mana in the air is dense. I couldn’t be a line from my own abilities, either.


The last possibility… He was reminded of his master’s faces.


It couldn’t be.


There was no use in being annoyed about what he didn’t know. Archer suspended his thoughts. With his recovery at noon and now, a fair amount of magical energy had returned to his body. His situation was still unpredictable, but he appeared to be restored enough to complete normal projection and other acts of sorcery with no deficiencies. At the worst, it would set back his physical condition a little more.

Archer circulated one portion of the magical power that had been restored to him and closed up his wounds. Placing faith in the boy concerning the areas that had been faithfully treated, he “repaired” his crippled shoulder muscle, the torn muscles in his arm, and his broken fingers.


*Scrape*


He felt the sensation of iron covering his skin. He sealed off the pain together with the wounds, and feeling returned to his arm. He rotated his newly-healed arm around once; it was stiff, but mostly free of pain. It would be enough to fight.

He once again dressed himself in the burial cloth that had function as a dressing for his wound, arose from the bed, and began investigating the situation.

The metallic sound he had heard was a very heavy, dim sound. First would have to come investigation as to the origin of the noise. His eyes accidentally wandered to a porthole. Archer was astonished at the scenery he viewed. The shore had become distant while he slept.


“…The ship’s moving?”


Right on the surface of the ocean far below, the bulbous bow cut through the water. The waves flowing behind evidence of its passage.


“Did the owner of the ship come back?”


If that was so, the long stay had been meaningless, but the ship was in the middle of the river. It was far too late to jump back to the wharf. Problems lay ahead as well. The ship was in no condition to leave Fuyuki Port and head out to sea today. Archer observed what lay ahead of the ship from the porthole.


“It’s… Fuyuki Bridge.”


Alight in the darkness, the red steel frame rose from the ground. The ship seemed to be slowly heading up the river.


“…Hmm.”


After seeing the bridge, Archer decided to wait.

First would come plans for an escape- Immediate escape from the ship by leaping into the river was an option, but having fallen into the Mion River in the previous battle and having been buffeted by its rapids, Archer understood just how dangerous plunging into the river was. The Mion had several origins upstream and variations in its depth, including depths were the current was rapid. There was no need to hurry and expose himself to unnecessary danger. He would simply wait for the ship to near the bridge and leap to it at that moment.

His course clear, Archer took the projected short sword from under his pillow and held it close, and quickly began to prepare.


*—–Creak…*


He could tell a door to one of the ship’s rooms had been opened outside. But he felt no indication of any presence within.


“…?”


It was slightly unusual. The third floor deck, where Archer was, was basically the main area for guest rooms. The structure was designed similar to a hotel to have no hint of the employees who worked there, but even then… Too little had changed from before the ship had moved and after.

The decrepit ship he was aboard was a seventy-meter, mid-sized passenger boat. The larger a ship was, the more staff it required. Even more so with an old ship.


…It’s strange.


Yes, it was strange. There was no way the ship could function as a passenger boat. The exterior was damaged and worn out. The interior was ancient, and left unrepaired. In its deteriorated condition it would not have been unusual for it to docked.


So why is the ship heading upstream… Where there aren’t any docks?


Something was off. Archer proceeded to the second floor, the work deck where the employee rooms were located, and searched for any presences.

He found no trace of people, the same as before.


“……”


His anxiety was changing into conviction. Quickly, Archer headed towards the upper floors while moving in a way to kill his own presence. His target was the fifth floor, the bridge. Along the way he searched the fourth floor as well, but sensed nothing at all once again.

Archer’s expression grew serious.

The old ship’s existence was riddled with contradictions. First off, it was moving with an astonishingly small number of people, perhaps one or two. Something was making it possible to operate a medium-sized ship of this size with so few people. That in itself would require some kind of advanced technology. In addition, if it was such an advanced ship, why had it been left to rot without even bothering to dock it?

The old ship’s actions had many inconsistencies. It could not be heading to dock or moving to some other area. Instead, it was going upstream. A pier large enough to moor a ship this size in that direction did not exist. Moreover, why set sail this late at night? Just where was the ship headed?

His first impression when he saw the ship was that it had come here in order to sink. He wasn’t mistaken, but he wasn’t exactly right either.

The ship had come to Fuyuki City for battle.

Archer stood in front of the door to the bridge. On the way here, he had not detected a single living soul. Numerous conjectures came to his mind, but beyond had to be the truth.

Yes, this town was a battlefield now. The more elements that distinguished the irrational, the more the answers moved towards the unordinary. On the front, what was conjectured from the ordinary, no matter how unreasonable, could occur.

The ship that had been long abandoned… it’s very existence was the answer.


*Grip*


Reaching the bridge, Archer gripped the projected Kanshou and Bakuya. He killed his presence and honed his nerves. Inside was likely… a mage. Archer would disable him.


…Here we go.


*Bam!*


He threw the door open with a breath and shot onto the bridge like a bullet. He looked around. The visual information he collected from the inside of the bridge was immediately analyzed.

The door he had rushed through was on the right interior portion of the bridge. The steering console was placed in the center of the bridge. In front of the console, taken by surprise but already reaching into the holster at his side, was a man in a coat.


“—What-”


The limbs that should have been rushing towards the mage froze.

Continue reading

Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 42 – A World Where People Smile.

Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 42 – A World Where People Smile.

“And then like this… there! Finished!”

With the treatment completed, the boy’s face shined and he flashed a victory sign. The care was flawless. Preventive measures for the deep scars, medical care for the broken fingers, and treatment for the slashes Archer had received from Saber. He taken all of it into account.

It was nothing more than emergency first-aid, but as firm care as a preamble to movement it provided a sense of relief. With this his magical power would circulate, and there might be enough to heal some parts completely.


“Thanks for the help, boy. I’ll pay you back someday.”

“Then buy me a meat bun. I was playing soccer earlier, and it’s late now, so I’m starving!”


Aware of his hunger now that his task was finished, the boy held his stomach while his eyebrows made an upside down v-shape. It was not unreasonable of him, considering night had fallen already.


“…Hmm. Now’s a bad time.”


The boy’s proposal was dangerous not only for Archer, but for himself as well. When twilight fell, it was time for battle. If Archer acted along with the boy, he might get him caught up in unnecessary danger.


“…Oh, okay… You’re on secret business right now, huh, Mister…”

“….I’m sorry.”

“No, it’s okay! Just make sure to treat me next time!”

“Okay, I promise.”

“Heh heh, it’s a promise! Ah, I have to go home! If I don’t, my mom’ll worry!”


The boy began to hastily pack up his first aid kit. Rejecting Archer’s offer to accompany him as far as the street, he told Archer the details of caring for his wounds and the ship’s layout while moving busily.

“It’ll be useful if something happens”, he said.

Perhaps you should call him a bother… But when Archer looked at the boy sick with worry while still a child, he couldn’t help but smile. He was going to have a rough time with a personality like that.


“Okay! Are your… Wounds okay? They don’t hurt?”

“Yes, no need to worry. My arm’s doing okay.”

“Okay! Heh heh… Okay, Mister… Good luck!”


The boy waved his hand, and raced back to the pier. Archer watched him go. He kept watching, until the boy’s running figure, so vibrant and full of life, disappeared from sight and into the wind.

And then, a guest room on the third floor deck. In a cabin where the evening sun shined through, he laid down on a bed and thought of the boy… of Shirou.

They had parted, and he had done nothing. That was all.

Just doing that was so… Grand.


…A dream, huh.


The Days back when he had recklessly pursued a dream… He reminisced on the days of walking through strong winds, under arid skies.

He was double crossed, deceived, used, attacked, banished and abandoned. But it wasn’t as if everything had betrayed him. There were people he had saved as well. There was the land he had come to love. More than anything, he had believed in the dream.

Why? Why had he turned his eyes away from that?


Heh heh… I’m helpless. I really am beyond help… I’m such an idiot.


If he understood the value of what he had lost,the things he had protected, and the worth of what he had accomplished that was tied to the future- he had to keep them in his heart.

He had simply lost, and in return, taken. The sadness and regret weighed on his heart so much that he forgot.

He forgot to believe in the preciousness of it all.


“Rin, Sakura…”


He murmured to himself… He had protected, and was protected. He had received many times over what he had given.

…He was blessed with an irreplaceable year. He was blessed with his two precious masters.


“…I…”


What could he give in return? How could he protect their hearts?

He had decided to become a sword for them. But if he did that and recklessly hurt others, and destroyed, would that save them? Could that dry their tears? To win the Holy Grail War, to protect their future, he would destroy everything else. Was that alright?

In the mountains. The battle with Assassin. His figure that the two had seen was no doubt terrifying. What the children had felt was… the same as the helpless guardian who gazed away from his hell-bound, purposeless self. Ever tormented by his own actions.

A human who would kill someone without hesitation to save another. A way of life that blindly accepted that that was the right way, the right method. It was wrong. What he had to protect and treasure was not the way.

He had a purpose inside himself. He had hope. And most of all, he had a dream he had to prize over all else. And so, what actions could Archer take now?


“……”


Think. “Just one correct answer” was impossible. If the paths diverged, there should be limitless answers.

Such as battle. If there was only destruction at the end of fighting, people would have gone extinct long ago. If there was also a path of reconciliation ahead, there might be reward at the end of compromise. Even a method to eliminate war itself existed.


“……? …Eliminate war itself?”


Something about the idea struck him. The Holy Grail War was a battle to claim the Holy Grail. That was the beginning of the struggle.


“…What is it? What’s bothering me?”


Too much had happened these last few days, and he hadn’t been able to put all the information in order. This blessed moment was time to compose himself. He would rest his body, restore his condition, and perhaps discover a path he had yet to see.

So decided, he decided to strike while the iron was hot. He secured a retreat route to be safe, and projected some emergency weapons. The ship may be nearly scrapped, but that did not mean there was no master. In case he was found, he concealed weapons by his bedside, and, restraining the activity of his inner magical power to the best of his ability, he entered a hollow state.

On top of his own awareness, while focusing on a position that would allow him to immediately respond if something happened, Archer spread a dusty blanket over himself and closed his eyes.


Come to think of it… Saber slept a lot like this too.. So she wouldn’t exhaust her magical power…


When he recalled the beautiful girl who was constantly eating and sleeping, he smiled in spite of himself.

Saber waiting excitedly for the meal at the dining table where everyone was gathered. Saber, training in the dojo, stern but full of life. Saber, wielding her sword in battle, paying no heed to her wounds.


“…Saber…”


Saber’s face when he had met her at the Port Side Building… Was still covered in doubt. You can’t save everything. You can’t have everything.

But even so, I want to save her, he thought.

“At the very least, be satisfied with the real world with a smile on her face. I’ll make her remember the value of that desire with my own self now that I have a purpose. I know there will be a chance where I can reach my hand out to her.”

In the face of impossible odds, he had arrived at this world. In the face of impossible odds, he had achieved this answer.


That’s why… That’s why.

Don’t give up, Emiya.


If he closed his eyes, it would be there. He would see the light in his heart.

With that, Archer drifted off to sleep.


Together With House Husband, Part 2, Chapter 42.

What he regained puts the Bowman through several trials once again.

To protect his dream, to protect their two smiles. What can he do?

Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 41 – The Answer (End)

Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 41 – The Answer (End)


…What did he say?


The boy’s words were too shocking. Archer couldn’t understand what they meant.


“…It’s not that I understand everything. No, I think you’re the only one who knows, Mister. About your pain. But, even so, Mister… You saved people, right?”

“I…”

“After I split up with you in the department store, I carried that girl, and went down the stairs. And then there was lots of people who had been cared for. Her dad was there too. I guess he had been looking for her the whole time… He was happy he found her. He was so glad she was safe… He cried.”


The boy spoke. He spoke with all of his heart.


“There were lots of people there. Kids, and older people too. Moms and dads, and grandpas and grandmas. …Did you know this? You saved my dad and mom too, Mister.”


That ideal, that dream. What had it been born form? Where had it sprung form?


“Everyone was grateful. They were so happy they were safe. They said they “We’re so glad you’re safe, Shirou!”. It was happy, you know…? I, I was so happy that my mom and dad were safe!”


It was to convey… This feeling.


“Everyone thanked the person who had saved them. They said thanks to you, Mister, and I wanted to tell you that.”


“……Ah.”

“…I thought it was really cool. I wanted to be someone like that. I want to be a person who can protect the people I care about, and other people’s happiness. Because it’s cool! You don’t tell anyone you’re name, and you don’t get anything in return. You just think about helping others. That’s… What an ally of justice is, right?”

“—-!”


Wasn’t that hypocrisy? Wasn’t it an act devoid of salvation? Was it not something that wouldn’t reach his own self? The foolish uncertainty of help that asked for no return? What was it?

…What was the warm feeling inside his chest?


That’s why. Even if it hurts… It’s would be great if I could live like that.”

“…That’s…”

“Do you not like pain, Mister?”

“……”



That had been fine. If he could save someone, it was fine. He was happy, no matter how painful it was.



“Do you leave people alone when they’re crying, Mister? Do you leave them alone because it hurts?”


….No. No. Not that for sure. It was the last remaining piece of dignity within his heart.


“I don’t like that. I’m… Like you, Mister. I want to help people who are crying. I want to protect people’s smiles. If everyone can be full of happiness… Then I would definitely be happy.”

“…Ah.”



That’s right.



I noticed because of Rin and Sakura’s smiles. I was able to remember what I should have gained by helping people, what a smile desires. That’s why…

That’s why I could never kill the boy in front of me. I could never forget their smiles. I could never throw away this dream. I never could have.



“…It’s my loss.”



“…Huh? Were we playing some kind of game?”

“It was a once in a lifetime kind of contest… For me.”

“Is there a prize?”

“Idiot.”


Archer gave a wry smile and rubbed the boy’s head. Such a  gentle smile… How many days had it been?

He didn’t think anything of that. That smile… was a smile… completely free from doubt.


Together With House Husband, Part 2, Chapter 41 – Answer: End.

…However, that doesn’t mean he had lost it. No matter what Hell he fell into, no matter what thorn he touched. It didn’t disappear. He didn’t let go.

Among the forest of thorns, the man was called, and he heeded.

A miraculous year of kindness appeared. He gave, and was blessed in turn.

He walked towards the year filled with kindness and blessings. The small smiling faces gave him the light of hope. A clear light to lead him away from the dark, thorny path.

What was there after the light was extinguished? What was thereafter the warmth was lost? There was nothing.

That’s why he would carry just the light and continue walking on. Without despair, he would walk on, believing solely in the light. As long as he never abandoned that emotion of hope, he could go anywhere.

The dream had not been a mistake.

Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 40 – The Answer (Beginning)

Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 40 – The Answer (Beginning)

“What’s wrong, Mister?”


Noticing the look of tormented anguish on Archer’s face, the boy stopped his work and spoke. Tortured by an irritation he couldn’t understand, Archer glared at the boy. But the young face before his eyes did not even begin to change its worried expression.


“…Save someone. Help another. Boy. Those feelings of yours, that urge… Will hurt you one day.”

“…Huh? Why?”

“There’s no end. If you endlessly seek smiling faces, it won’t stop at just that. When people are suffering, the cause amounts to an obstacle. Removing that obstacle means helping someone, or saving them. If one person is making another suffer, you have to punish them. If that person is hurt, someone else cries for them. It’s that, over and over again.

“…Why’s that? Why can’t they be friends? Why do they have to fight?”

“…Two people will have different views. Even if two people could take each others hands, what about ten? A hundred? So many opinions, so many feelings, so much happiness that should be protected… Those feelings won’t be resolved just by holding hands with each other.”


Perhaps it was little difficult to understand. The boy looked downward like he was brooding for a moment and let out a tiny groan. Maybe he was thinking of something.


“If you lend your strength to one person, you incur another’s wrath. And then the accumulated resentment, the bitterness, the grudges of those who couldn’t be saved… Everything you do will come back to you. The weight of your sins will always, always continue to tear at you. Are you fine with a life of suffering like that?”


The boy frowned. After making a troubled expression like he was pondering something, he glanced at Archer. The radiance in his eyes gradually brightened, and then he gave one confident nod and answered…



“…Yes.”



………



“…Why? You just don’t understand. The people you love, and those who care about you, even people who might have been your friends, will become your enemies. People you wanted to protect will cast stones at you, and people you trusted will stab you in the back. Even then, you’ll keep believing in others like a fool, and keep going for the sake of others…!”


…I don’t know.


“…You idiot…! Saving by killing, helping by hurting others! Who could find happiness in that kind of hypocrisy!? Who would be glad about that!? It’s an empty dream where you can’t seek your own happiness. A borrowed ideal. You can’t… You can’t… You can’t save someone with something like that!”


My voice is trembling-


“Turning a blind eye to your own suffering, and pressing on in ignorance… you’ll end up in hell in the end! What you reach at the end of it all is just eliminating everyone who can’t be saved…! No matter where you go, you can’t save anyone, and even after you die, you’ll be hurt, and hurt others… you’ll curse your own existence! How… how could a life like that… Be worth living…!?”


I’m crying…


The boy’s eyes opened in surprise at his shout.

Who was it addressed to? Which fool was he speaking to?

The boy had not gone through the incident. He had not met Emiya Kiritsugu. He was different. The words had no meaning for him. They just passed by him.

Then, who were they for? Who were these words questioning?


“…Mister…”


The boy gently placed his small hand on Archer’s wounded right arm. A pale white hand, still free of injuries. But, it was warm.


“…Yeah. I can’t complain at all… Because you’re here, Mister. Because… I want to be like you, Mister.”


….What?


Together With House Husband, Part 2, Chapter 40. Answer: Beginning.

The dream that he pledged always to carry in his heart. Never lapsing for a moment, the dream was always there. That wish, those feelings. They always endured.

He left something important behind.

The man could no longer understand. Why did he run? What was the meaning of it all?

…However…

Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 39 – The Dream

Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 39 – The Dream.

Those who become heroes through the Counter Force of humanity, Alaya, become “Counter Guardians” after death.

I wanted to save others. I arrived at that ideal at the very end. However…


“———-”


Beneath the black void, swirling with heat and chaos….

The naked blade severed numerous soldier’s spines in a single stroke. Foreseeing the presence of unleashed magic, the red…something rode for the front. One’s heart, another’s spine, and another’s eyes were run through, and they were left on the ground to die.

His movement was so efficient it was as if he had hardly taken a step. He was the fastest, the greatest. When dancing within the jaws of death on the battlefield, what matters is how fast you can grasp an enemy’s weakness and turn them into an unspeaking corpse. Just that.

How to efficiently destroy a human body, how to effectively take a life. He gained all those abilities… For the sake of protecting others. All techniques learned so that wouldn’t have to happen.


“——ah….!”


And then, he came to the town. It was an oven for sacrifice. Deep within the mountains of Syria, within a deep, deep sea of trees where countless mysteries continue to lurk, a ruler twisted by madness and versed in sorcery touched “that”. He coveted the lives of his people.

For the sake of humanity’s continued existence, the Counter Force perceives the elements of destruction and takes action. What then manifests is a Counter Guardian.

He would destroy. He would likely destroy humans along with the dangerous elements. A fire was a fire, fuel, fuel. All would be destroyed. Nothing would be left. Every last trace of sorcery, all of it, gone.

Thus, he destroyed the town.


“——top…!”


A family that had wanted to live on, taking happiness in tomorrow. Young lives. Lives that studied and enjoyed themselves, walking towards the future they wished for. Old lives. Lives that had kept going and saved others.

All were cleanly eliminated, trampled like ants.


—–Stop…!


After the last life was extinguished, all traces of magic were completely destroyed. He then proceeded to the lord’s home. Humans came to attack him, one by one. But it was impossible to stop him with such methods. A Counter Guardian is manifested to exceed the level of destruction. It was how they were chosen. Therefore, it was only natural to be able to kill them all. It was utterly impossible to be killed en route to the objective. Their lives were crushed, like insects.


“—–Stop it…! Stop iiiiit!”


Finally, he took the life of the lord, and destroyed the manor. At that moment, the image was interrupted, and the next appeared.


“——Ahh… Hah… Gaaaah…aah!”


Perhaps next time would be the past. Young men in the form of stern warriors. The opponent may change, but nothing did change. Next, he would change his tactics, taking the best armed enemies into regard, and then kill, posthaste.

The opponents this time appeared to have been told by God to touch “that”. Based on their culture and customs, it might be Persia. Innocent people were once again oppressed.

They wept. They sought rescue. Perhaps they saw the man in red who defeated the soldiers as a the hand of salvation. Young mothers tried to express their gratefulness and extended their hands…


*BOOM*

“—————–“


He entered the town. What happened was the same.


“—–Stop. …Stop it, stop it, stop it stop it, stop iiiiiiittt!”


The rest of it was similar. When it was over, it was onto the next image. When it was over, it was onto the next image. When it was over, it was onto the next image.

He was shown it, over and over again. Over and over again, he killed those seeking relief. Always, no matter the time period, no matter the location. The ones who wept were those who were kind. The ones who lived with all their heart. The ones who wished for help. Hadn’t he become a hero because he wanted to help those people?

Perhaps he had repeated those things a thousand times. After a few hundred, he no longer understood the meaning of his actions, but what he perceived was around that area. If you kept casting a die, it would approach that result on average. It was the same theory. That was everything to him.


I can’t save others.


When the next was over, and then the next. He only hoped for “that”, and he fought desperately to keep from going mad. One day, he would be able to take the hand held out to him. Believing that sustained him. But there was no end to the repeating strife, people wishing for happiness downtrodden, oppressed. In the end, they were enveloped in destruction, and death came for all.

What was he that did such a thing? What was his dream, now that it had been reduced to this?

Foolish humans summoning destruction. Foolish dreams. His foolish self which destroyed them. His foolish dream.

He hated them. He detested all of it.. So he wished, to kill, to kill, and disappear.

After that, he continued to wait, indifferently. He simply bided his time for the recursion of what he knew was the beginning. The Holy Grail War.

And now. Before his eyes was an innocent boy. The outstretched hand was almost around his neck. He could break a thin neck just by putting a little strength into it.


…I can kill him.


That was the wish hidden inside himself in the midst of eternity. A farce, a method to end his own existence. He would be free, free from the grief that scorched his body and all the hatred. He would be free. That was why Archer had participated in the Holy Grail War, but…


…Why… Why?


Archer’s left hand would not touch the boy’s neck. His hand was devoid of the urge to kill.


Ridiculous… Why? Why can’t I kill him? It’s simple, so simple. Break his neck. That’s all it is. Easier than grabbing a cat. That’s all it is, so why… Can’t I do it?

*Throb*


A vision of the children came to him. Holding hands, their happy looking, shy smiles. The boy’s smiling face, speaking of an pure dream.


So I’m going to do what I can do, to make other people smile. I’ve decided!


The boy was different from Emiya Shirou, but he had still said those words, he spoke of such an immature dream.

It was that. It was those very feelings. Those very feelings coming from a boy who was not yet Emiya Shirou. That very dream.

It shook his heart so fiercely.


That’s why I can’t kill him?


“…I…”


I can’t save anyone, so I should just disappear. I lived so long just to erase myself. A harmless boy, harmless words. Anyone would embrace… Such a beautiful dream. An purpose that would be shaken by something like that. Is that what I’ve survived for?

To kill someone, and myself. To destroy that dream… Is that what I’ve been living for?


Together With House Husband, Part 2, Chapter 39.

Unable to save a soul, even hands held out in relief are severed. Reduced to such, he was full of hatred.

He hated the dream that had come to pass. So much so that he continued to wish for his own destruction. And yet… His hand cannot kill the boy. It can’t kill the dream he embraced. Why is that? Why?

Why did he live, why did he keep going? The answer is before Archer now.

Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 38 – The Red Boy.

Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 38 – The Red Boy.

The evening sun striking the window illuminated the room. Knitting his eyebrows as his shoulder throbbed periodically, Archer ran his eyes over the room’s interior.

You might say it was Western style- the varieties of gaudy furniture and upholstery were pleasing to the eye, but the guest room appeared to have been left unattended to. Scattered piles of accumulated dust simply ruined the effect. It seemed to have long been abandoned as a passenger boat. The decaying state of the room made a deep frown cross Archer’s face.


“The old ship, huh…”


With a little “You can’t let them find you, right?”, the young boy had guided Archer to his “secret base”. Waiting beyond after passing through a rotten fence with a “Private Property” sign adhered to it was the pier along the riverside. “The base” was anchored to the quite harbor, lined with old construction cranes and warehouses. It was the old ship Archer had noticed from the bus on the bridge the day of the explosion at the Fuyuki Department Store.


“Neat, huh? This is my secret base!”

“…Just how are we going to get in there?”

“Okay, look close at the crane that’s stopped over there. The tip is touch the side of the boat, right?”

“Hm? …I see. Yes it is.”

“We can get in from there!”


The cargo loading crane had contact with a portion of the boat’s side, and there was a gap large enough to enter part of the a corridor on the first floor deck.


“What a rough mooring… Is it because it’s wearing out? But I guess kids wouldn’t know it was scary…”

“Don’t come here anymore. You would get hurt if you fell.”

“…Oooh. B- but, you’re here this time Mister, so it’s fine, isn’t it?”

“Honestly… In any case, it’s practically in pieces. I can’t be scrapped, could it?”

“I dunno. But after I found the boat, no one else found it, and I didn’t see anyone ever.”

“…I see.”


Unable to waste magical power, Archer did not attempt his Structural Analysis magic, but in so far as he relied on a sixth sense regarding matters related to sorcery, he could not feel the uncomfortable sensation peculiar to a magician’s encampment. After confirming there were no signs of people in the nearby area, Archer entered the old ship, carrying the boy.


“Thanks for waiting!”


The red haired boy opened the door and stepped inside carrying a large emergency box in his arms. He appeared to have hidden food, snacks, toy weapons, and other items out of some survival kit inside the ship, and calling it a secret base did not necessarily seem like an inaccurate representation.


“Okay, I’ll put them on, I guess.”

Ascertaining the condition of Archer’s wounds, the boy began his first aid, and spoke without taking his eyes off of his work.

“…What is it?”

“You’re a liar, even though you’re an adult.”

“…There’s things you’re better off not knowing in your life. You’ll understand when you grow up.”

“When you talk about fancy stuff, aren’t you just going in circles? When adults starts saying stuff that’s convenient for them at times like that, they’re usually covering up something bad. That’s what my mom says.”

“…She’s quite a mother.”


Archer spontaneously made a wry smile. The boy smiled happily as if he had scored a point. But the boy took his eyes off of the wounds for only a moment, and then he returned to the treatment.


“It’s important.”


He was probably the same age as Rin and Sakura. He was in the Boy Scouts, wasn’t he? But the boy’s enthusiasm for “fixing” and his concentration was not that of a child, and his zeal no doubt strengthened his skills. It was care far more thorough than the one-armed Archer had done.


“…Ah.”


When he reached his shoulders, the busily moving boy stopped his hand.



“…Hm? What’s wrong?”

“…Ah. No. I won’t ask.”

“…? What do you mean?”

“Umm… Last year, my dad got into a car wreck, and he was really hurt. We got a phone call in the middle of the knight, and mom got really upset and started crying, and I didn’t know who to do. I kept saying it would be okay, and we went to the hospital together.”

“…Okay.”

“Dad was really badly injured. Mom just cried, and I didn’t know what to do either. I couldn’t do anything… So, I just cried too.”

“…I see.”

“We couldn’t do anything for Dad. But… When the surgery was done, Dad survived. I was so happy.”

“…I-, I see… I’m glad.”



Unconsciously lured by the boy’s happy face, a smile of relief appeared on Archer’s lips. Losing family members. It was good… He hadn’t had to experience something so sad. Seeing Archer’s expression, the boy also grinned.

“Heh heh… Thanks! Then, I said thank you while I was crying to the doctor who came out of the operating room. And then…”

“…And then?”

“He said he was glad, and it was fine… now… And with a really gentle face… He cried. And smiled at me.”


The boy wiped the tip of his nose, and then started directly at Archer and spoke.


“…Mister, your smile just now was the same.”

“……”

“When I met you for the first time, Mister, you made that girl calm down, right? The doctor made me smile too… When I was just crying. I wanted to make someone smile like that, and I wanted to be a strong man who could get my mom calm down.”

“……”

“I treated a friend of mine who was hurt. It was the first time, and I was really clumsy, but he said ‘Thanks!’ and smiled at me. …I was really happy! So I’m going to do what I can do, to make other people smile. I’ve decided!”

“……”


A smile across his whole face. But the smile dimmed a little, and the boy turned his eyes to the wound on Archer’s shoulder.


“…All of this stuff that happened to someone like you, Mister. You definitely got hurt protecting someone, right?”

“……”

“Heh heh, so… I won’t ask. It’s kind of embarrassing to say all of that stuff out loud… Plus, you’re super cool, Mister! It’s cooler when you don’t know the hero’s identity, right?”


Rubbing his nose shyly, the boy smiled.


“Ah, I said it… I-, it’s not cool, huh? Keep what I just said a secret, okay!?”


Lit by the evening light, cheeks died red like an apple. An embarrassed smile, radiant.

That. That gesture. Those feelings.

The boy shining bright red and illuminated by the fading sun.
And the target that must be destroyed that slept inside Archer. For the first time, they joined.


“……Ah.”


One day…

He had thought about their meeting. He would have searched for him if they had not met.

He would… Kill him.

The boy’s name was Emiya Shirou. The name of his old self.

A fool of a man who had fallen chasing his mad dream.


Together With House Husband, Part 2, Chapter 38.
If the two should meet.

The beginning and the encounter should be different. The childish dreams the boy spoke of resembled what he himself had once embraced far too much. That was why he noticed. That was why he noticed just who the boy was.