Together with House-Husband, Part 3, Chapter 6 – At the End of a Wish

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Together with House-Husband, Part 3, Chapter 6 – At the End of a Wish

“A wish on the Holy Grail.”

He narrowed his eyes and stared at Saber, lost and in agony.

The hopes that bound Saber were the entirety of a life she had continued to achieve herself. She was the only who knew the value, the preciousness of those feelings. And so, as long as she did not desire it, as long as she could not save herself, she could not grasp that hand.

Master and Servant had been the same. They valued a precious wish more than anything else. A way of life where their hands had always to be stained with blood. Because they wanted to save someone they crushed another’s hopes; they were on the same path.

…Father, Saber…

Archer understood the weight of those desires and the strength of those feelings so well it pained him. That was why he knew that just words and feelings would change nothing.

He recalled the distant days of happiness inside himself. The people he had loved had called his way of life abnormal. How much sadness had been mixed into those words?

That pain returned to him now, in front of precious people who could not change. The very existence of Archer here seemed to tell of the what they would experience after this, and it pained him.

You could not save everything. That was the one conclusion he had reached at the end of his long journey. Even acknowledging that, before the great wall he had confronted, he felt utterly powerless.

He scraped his teeth together and though. What should I do? What can I do- to change them? The path he had walked, and the darkness of the results he obtained clouded his vision. And then.

“Archer…”

“Archer-san…”

Perhaps worried looking at the motionless Archer, Sakura and Rin called out to him. Archer turned his head, and looked at his two masters. Young eyes stared at Archer. Those eyes, their existence, spoke.

There was something he could do- for sure.

…Honestly… I’m no match for you. You two always save me.

Pivoting around, Archer turned again to the swordswoman and her master. He scolded himself for trying to defeat the results he had obtained.

You’re… An idiot, Emiya. How could you give up? How could you throw it all away? Even if you were dropped to the bottom of hell… What would have saved you? The result? The Holy Grail? No.

He had been saved by his kind masters. He had been saved by their feelings for him. He had been saved… By the smiling faces he had protected, at the end of his path.

Were words really powerless? Were feelings nothing at all?

Could people reflect on those deeds only after the fact? Could an outstretched hand only seized something after it had fallen into Hell? Were people really such fools?

…That might be so.

No matter how clumsy it may be. Even if he was scorned an equivalent amount. If he didn’t do everything he could to help another, whose hand could he grasp?

Archer turned his head, and looked straight at the Master and Servant on the verge of despair.

“I… I have no intention of handing over this wish to anyone.”

“…Huh?”

“Yes, I have despaired. I suffered so much I could only move on by clinging to miracles.”

“……”

“…Heh. But, what was at the end of the miracle… Was not the fulfillment of my dream, but me continuing to betray it. Instead of saving people, it was my figure, killing and killing. …That’s why I prayed once. For a chance to erase myself.”

“—!” “……”

“But, that doesn’t matter anymore. I finally was able to realize it.”

As he spoke, the two sets of eyes, blue and gray, stared at him. People more precious to him than any others. People he had wanted to save more than anyone else.

“My wish can keep coming true. I can keep protecting my vow. As long as I don’t throw this dream away.”

“…What?”

Saber glared in irritation. The ground her teeth together, and spat out her words as if to abuse the knight in front of her.

“You, what do you…!”

“I don’t know.”

“What?”

“I don’t understand at all. I’m not you. The things you carried are yours alone. You’re the one who has to bear them. They can’t be borne by anyone else. They belong to you.”

“…Ah.”

Crimes, and punishment. No one could force that on her. To say nothing of miracles… They could never been forced on a person. She knew that. She should have know that.

But even so, it was painful. She detested it. Losing something beautiful was too painful. She had wanted it. She had desired it.

The path she walked down, oblivion, the precious wish in her heart, release.

What had she hoped for? The beautiful dream she had wanted? The beautiful conclusion she had desired? What had she gone to seek?

“…You believed that something was precious. There’s was something you wanted to protect. You lived for that reason, and you kept running down that road. The people you saved, the smiles you protected. The value of all the lives along the way.”

“Do you grieve because they were all a mistake?”

“—Ah-”

The azure eyes went wide. As if the wounded knight was entranced, she stared deep into Archer’s eyes as he made his speech.

“I won’t let it go anymore. It’s in there. All the smiling faces. At that end. The small hopes. Even if it’s a worthless thing that might be better of disappearing, another person’s smile can be protected. You can be needed by another person. You can be wanted, and cried over. If it’s a worthless dream, then find it at the end. You just need to discover the meaning of the tears that fell, and the smiles that were there.”

“……”

“And then if there’s something you can protect, that’s enough of a reason to exist. I-”

He turned. Gently, with strength, towards his small masters-

“I’ll keep living with this dream. I’ll keep living for the things I can protect ahead. I don’t need the Holy Grail. I’ll always be able to grant this wish with my own hands.”

Together With House Husband, Part 3, Chapter 6.

At the end of a wish.

They set for to grant their feelings and desires. The journey was far too painful, and far too long. They were exhausted before they got there.

So many walls blocked their way, canyons stretching into infinity. No end in sight, no matter how much they climbed and climbed.

However, did the beautiful things they saw along the way have no value? Waiting at the end of the journey was an insurmountable cliff. Even if they stopped their, the road they had crossed, the mountain, their own feelings. The distance they had continued to trek- Were they all meaningless?

The man slowly descended the cliff. He believed there was a path to cross to the opposite shore, and so he moved forward. Even if all that lay ahead was Hell. Even if he had to cross through that Hell. He would encounter something. There would be something he could save.

The journey was so far, but his wish was close. It was always in his hands.

Together with House-Husband, Part 3, Chapter 5 – Wish

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Together with House-Husband, Part 3, Chapter 5 – Wish

*Thoom, thoom! …Shung…sss*

A flash. Archer’s attack blew away the lion’s body, sending it flying. Saber struck the deck and collapsed.

“……”

“What…?”

“Ah…”

“Ha wah wah…”

The mouths of everyone present opened in shock. The swordsman Saber and the bowman Archer. The strongest of Servants who had chosen the sword, and the one who essentially wielded the bow. The result of their contest should have been obvious. It should have been apparent who would be humbled in the dirt.

But, in the end, the one standing was the bowman. It was Archer.

“A… Archer!”

“Archer-san…!”

The silence broken, the first ones to move were his masters, Rin and Sakura. Their large eyes strained with worry, they looked at the person they loved. In their gaze, they saw Archer turn his face towards them, and make his usual cynical smile.

“…Ah.”

“…Oh…!”

The smile both loved calmed them.

He had finished the battle unwounded. He was within reach. And he had protected the promise. It all relieved them.

“Well then.”

Kanshou and Bakuya in hand, Archer turned towards Kiritsugu.

“Emiya Kiritsugu. This time I’ll have you discard those Command Spells.”

“……”

Kiritsugu silently extracted the Jericho from his pocket. But Archer’s eyes did not overlook the subtle tremble in his arms. Kiritsugu’s arms were not fully healed after all.

“…Give it up. From the previous battle and now, you should know you can’t win.”
“Shut up. If you want to stop me, kill me and be done with it. But… Don’t think you can do it so easily.”

Damn…

*Scrape*

He ground his teeth together. He had produced a result. Victory and defeat were clear. But, even so… He could not stop Kiritsugu. He could not stop the dream more precious than Kiritsugu’s own life.

Kiritsugu had often left young Shirou behind and journeyed. He had continued to pursue his dream almost to the verge of death, saving others while calling it an adventure. He had gone on until his own body was in ruin; even then, he had lived for the sake of others. He did not know just what had held him up for so long. But it was impossible for him to throw away the dream he had chased after for such a long time. He could not abandon his way.

Archer readied his swords. Kanshou and Bakuya shined dully. Their points thrusted out.

So, in the end, this was the only way method he could pick-

Scraping his teeth together, he glared at Kiritsugu. Raising his trembling arm, Kiritsugu leveled a gun pointed at Archer. At that moment, the approach of battle drew near once again, and fires raged.

“…a…Uhh… Stop… Archer…”

An agonized moan resounded from the deck. It had come from the collapsed Saber. The direct hit from the dual blades had not severed Saber’s thread of life.

She twisted her body and raised her upper half. Her breastplate was completely destroyed, gruesome wounds stretched across her abdomen, her condition serious enough that a normal human body would now be immobile. She possessed astonishing regenerative ability, but the wounds she had received were nearly fatal. Full recovery would take tens of minutes.

But even unable to move, a lion was a lion. Even with blood flowing from her mouth, the strength in her eyes had not been extinguished; they stared in front of her, at the back of the victory.

“Agh… Why…”

“……”

“Why did you not finish me… and demand Kiritsugu relinquish his Command Spells? I am the loser, Archer. If you kill me, it will end here. Or… Are you mocking me?”

He had heard that question before. It was the same Kiritsugu, defeated, had thrown at Archer at the end of their battle. Overhearing Saber’s query, Kiritsugu also looked at Archer.

“Mocking you?”

He turned his head and gazed into her beautiful azure eyes. In them was hatred and doubt.

If the wish Saber had once desired at not changed, then perhaps the Holy Grail was everything for her now. Battle to obtain it was all. Even after destroying countless lives and dreams at the ends of strange lands, it was to grant the final wish hidden in her breast.

Then- When I drew out the holy sword, it should have been a better king, one who could have saved their country, unlike me. …That’s why, if I can redo the selection of the king with the power of the Grail, I will return that time-

Those were the words she had spoken that distant day. A desire to change her fate, and erase the Camlann stained with blood. To erase herself, and create a new king- a wish to destroy herself.

Her existence was no different than Archer’s until a short while ago. In despair at their results, and finally wishing for their own annihilation; she was exactly the same as Archer.

“…Mocking you, huh. Sorry, but I didn’t become a Heroic Spirit to kill people.”

“…? Surely you must be aware of the system of the Holy Grail War. We kill each other, battling until only one is left standing at the end. That is the Fuyuki Servant System; you must know that.”

“Yeah, that’s right. Exactly.”

Yes, he had gone into battle knowing that. Originally, the Holy Grail War itself had been pointless to him. But now he no longer sought the Grail for a different reason.

Further irritated by Archer’s attitude, his motives opaque, Saber seethed hatred, and spoke as if spitting out each word.

“Then, why did you challenge me to this battle? You have a wish you want granted. You have one you must have granted…! That’s why you were summoned, right? Or do you not desire the Holy Grail…!?”

Together With House Husband, Part 3, Chapter 5.

The end of the battle. The bowman who took up his swords once again to fulfill his promise is assailed by the words of the king of blades.

Do you have no wish you desire?

Together with House-Husband, Part 3, Chapter 1 – Where the wind doth blow.

Together with House-Husband, Part 3, Chapter 1 – Where the wind doth blow


*Chirp Chirp*


Insects cried.

On the side of the road, in the trees, on top of the iron bridge. Everywhere, their repulsive bodies were squirming.


*Chirp*


Midway along the Mion River, bugs hidden in thickets on the river side sensed a howl that rocked the earth and trembled. Devoid of eyes or ears, the insects relied solely on their mouths to perceive the figure.

In the middle of the river, an enormous swarm of shadow advanced, blanketing the water like an oil spill. One by one, the shadows, as large as two houses combined, formed a herd and proceeded down the Mion.

*Chirp Chirp*

The shadow’s structure was beautiful in how it was ordered, depending on how one would see it. Though rather than a herd, it was better to call it a battalion, having organized itself into groups to subjugate this strange land, much like the ancient legions of old.

Yes, just as if the shadow was proceeding forthwith to wage war, it rallied itself and pushed on down the river.


Swish-

*Chir-*


With a light bump, an insect landed on the body. Several streaks of arrows flew from the flock of shadows, one piercing the insect deep within it’s body.

As if nothing had occurred, the shadow continued to advance. It’s target the lower reaches of the Mion, Fuyuki Bridge.

The shadow’s objective was obvious. It had challenged the king in battle, and would crush the foolish knight into pieces-


“I’ll get going, then.”


He gave Rin and Sakura’s heads a gentle brush. Standing in wait for him on the sun deck were Saber and Kiritsugu. He would defeat them, and withdraw from this place.


“Ooh…”

“……”


They tried their best in front of Archer, but Rin and Sakura could not hide their fear of the two enemies waiting in the wings.

This was a full-blown battle between sorcerers. An inhuman battle that employed the highest class of Ghost Liners. No matter how they struggled, it was murder, a battlefield of death. It was natural that they were frightened.


“Are you afraid?”

“…Yeah… A-, aren’t you… Scared?”

“Oooh… I-, it’s…”

“…It’s alright. It’s alright to be frightened.”

“Huh?”


Their eyes went wide, and they stared at Archer’s face.


“Magicians and Servants alike are both frightening beings. There’s no difference there. They kill and are killed, their lives ruled by battle.”

“B… But, we still like you, Archer!”

“It’s okay!”

“O-, okay, enough. I understand, to don’t say it over and over. Honestly…”


Archer made a slightly embarrassed smile. He narrowed his eyes and looked into the faces of his kind masters.


“But I want you two to understand. I want you to understand that that’s what the world of a mage is like. No matter how pure your motivation, it boils down to that. Yet, that resolve, the ability to trample over someone else’s wishes, someone else’s life, cannot be gained in a day.”

“You can’t become someone like that, able to consider such things so easily.”

“…Oh…”

“…Okay…”

“And that’s why. On the long road that starts from here, in case you find the path you have to take, or the course you should pursue, you have to develop the necessary feelings within your hearts.”

“For your future, for that which you wish to become, you should give nothing but your all. I’ll protect you for the sake of that future, so it’s alright if you’re frightened now.

“…Archer…”

“Archer-san…”


After he spoke, the two frowned. Even if he told them it was alright, they did not want to worry him. Archer heaved a sigh and lightly poked their foreheads.


“Wah!”

“Hwah!”

“But you know, being scared all the time isn’t good for you. That’s why I’m going to teach you a secret to conquering your fear right away.”

“Huh?”

“I-, is there one?”

“It’s easy. Just think about really tasty food.”

“Let’s say for… tomorrow! I’ll make anything you two want.”

“Huh? R-, really!?”

“Anything!?”

“Yes, anything. Start thinking.”


The two flashed their smiles. Originally it had been a method of calming a pouting lion, but it seemed quite effective on children as well. Archer made a satisfied smile as he looked at the now recovered Rin and Sakura and then stood.


I go forth now. Forth to protect these smiles.


The knight in red once more took up his sword. Not for just himself, but for those important to him, and to keep on illuminating the path before him.


“I’ll be back, my Masters.”

“…Okay! See you later!”

“…Good luck, Archer-san!”


Cheers of unmatchable trust at his back, Archer strode forth to the battlefield.


Together With House Husband, Part 3, Chapter 1.

The knight sets forth.

The dream was always testing the bearer. A hand continued to reach out form the bottom of the darkness.

But he wavered no longer. No matter how strong the wind, he would protect others. He would stride forward, strength in his heart.

So go. Go to protect the tomorrow of those precious to you.

Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 51 – Together with Archer the House-Husband: The End. [Part 2 END]

Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 51 – Together with Archer the House Husband: The End.

As if they might never part from the feeling of the warm, reliable, wide breast they now clung to, the two children grasped Archer tightly.

Pondering whether good fortune had room for such a blessing, Archer clapped the two gently on the back repeatedly. As if to relieve them, and promise to defend them.


“Rin, Sakura. I made you worry.”

Sniff, sniff… Stupid…!”

“Archer-san…”

“Ah… And now.”

Sniff…?” “……?”


“Thank you, you two. You have my eternal gratitude.”


“…Eh heh heh… Us too… Thank you very much!”

“S-, stupid… We have to do everything! I’ve never heard of a princess going to get her knight! The Master has it hard when their Servant is so clumsy!”


Rin and Sakura spoke happily while wiping their tears.


“…Heh heh. Then how about I show you just what that clumsy Servant can do?”


He stood, and glanced at the rear bow. There stood Saber with her troubled expression, and Kiritsugu with his listless look. Archer glared towards both.


“Archer. Is your wound okay?”


Tohsaka Tokiomi merely stood there and asked the question with quiet eyes. It seemed he had finished without engaging in battle. Perhaps the opportunity to challenge them had slipped away, as there appeared to be no signs of movement from the other two.


“Not exactly. But I never thought those two would stay quiet and let us go. You seem quite capable, Tohsaka Tokiomi, but I must warn you, Saber is strong.”

“…Yes. At the beginning I may have made light of her, but I can’t contend with that. Handling that man, the Magus Killer, is the limit of what I can do.

“…But can you challenge Saber in that condition, Archer?”


Archer was at a loss for words. It would be enough it was merely a matter of vitality, but it would be naive to be reckless. Archer’s situation right now rendered him far inferior to Saber, and even under perfect conditions besting Saber at hand-to-hand combat was a nigh impossible task.

Just what could he do?


“Archer.”

“Archer-san.”


Their conversation reaching their ears, the two grasped the hem of his coat with worried expressions.


“…Can you win? Can you beat that pretty Servant?”


Rin asked him, her large eyes open and staring directly at him. With that childishness, it would be a trial passing through battlegrounds of life or death. To divert that suffering, if only a little, Archer made a smile devoid of his usual cynicism.


“…Of course. It’s not “can I win”, it’s “I will win”. Don’t you believe in your own Servant?”

“N-, no, that’s not it!”

“…But, Archer-san…”


Sakura spoke, and shifted her gaze to Archer’s destroyed left arm. In the corner of her eyes tears once again appeared.


“…You’re arm is so hurt… I-, I bet it was scary… I bet it hurt… Sniff…”

“Not at all. It’s not as bad as it looks, okay? It’s fine… Don’t worry.”

“…Archer-san…” “…Archer…”


The two looked sadly into the face of Archer as he exaggerated.


“…No. It hurts being alone, so don’t just bear it! You can’t, so…”

“Sniff… It’s so painful being alone… We’re here if it hurts, so… Please… Rely on us more… Oooh…”


Tears rising to their large eyes, he spun his words to the best of his ability to reach their disturbed hearts. Archer had upset them. He smiled bitterly at the corners of his mouth and organized his words.


“…Honestly. Yes, of course it hurts. But… It can’t be healed easily.”

“Can’t heal it…? We can’t do it?”

“…It’s unsuitable for humans. So there’s nothing to worry about.”

“Ahhh… Archer-san… I… I…!”

“Oh, no… Don’t cry. It’s hardest for me when you cry. So… smile for me. Send me off with a smile. I’m a simple person. That’s all I need.”

“Uuuu…” “Ahhh…”


Perhaps because they had put Archer on the spot, or because they were saddened that that was all they could do, Rin and Sakura’s eyes hung down sadly as they stared at Archer’s wound.


“We can do it.”

“We’re the only ones who can do it.”


They spoke, and stared at the back of their hands. They two exchanged glances.

“Got it.”

“We’ve got it…!”

“…Ready, Sakura?”

“Y-, yes! Let’s do it!”


As soon as they spoke, they took Archer’ s hand and closed their eyes. The symbol etched onto the back of their hands began to give off a dazzling, brilliant light.


“What? …It can’t be.”

“Anfang. Vertrag. Ein neuer nagel. Ein neues gesetz. Ein neues energie!”


*Flash!*

The glowing command seals performed the sorcerers’ decree. A crystallization of great magic,  a set of three command seals for controlling the Servant. That enormous power filled Archer’s body.

The enormous amount of magical energy pouring into him broke free of his capacity, the overflow covering his body. The parts he had lost were restored, and his wounded spiritual form was returned to normal.


“Command seals…!”


The power diffused through his entire body, and his senses, abilities, and the entirety of the power he had possessed returned completely. Now, he could challenge even Saber.


“Archer.”

“Archer-san.”

“…Hm?”


The two small children squeezed his hand a little tighter, and looked at him.


“We’re kids, so… We’re not strong enough to support you, Archer-san…”

“Even though we’re mages, we’re inexperienced… There might be nothing we can do…”


“……”


“But, even so, we know. You’re a bully, and you have a bad mouth, but… You’re really kind. We know you love housework more than fighting!”

“You’re good at singing, and at washing and cooking too! You made us both so happy… We know that!”


“……”


“So… We believe in you. We believe in Archer-san more than anyone, so…! Even if you’re scary, and even if you’re a Servant. Archer-san is Archer-san. You’re kind, and reliable, and we believe in you because you’re our Archer-san…”


“…I see.”


“So, as Masters… No, as a member of the Tohsaka family, as Tohsaka Rin… please. You have to win, Archer! Because…Because we’re all going to go home… Together!”


“……”


That. Just that. Such a warm, gentle command. If it was a wish like that, he would fulfill it, no matter what.

Archer wiped away their tears with his hand that had been warmed anew. Like they were ticklish, and happy, the two smiled bashfully.

That was what he had wanted. That was what he had wanted to protect. The dream he had believed he could protect with his hands, given form.


Yes… These hands, this power… was not to kill or hurt others. They were meant to protect- to protect the happiness of others.

As their servant… No… As the “House Husband” who protected their home and happiness, he would accept that power gladly.


“…Yes. I understand. We’ll go back home… With everyone!”



Together With House Husband, Part 2, Chapter 51.


Together with Archer the House Husband.


Now stand, for who you have to protect, for the place you must defend.

My rank is Archer, but my role is different.

It may be challenging, it may be difficult, but I am the firm, ever-present guardian of these two children and their future ever bright.

I am Archer, the House Husband.

The year I spent with you two was the answer I had so sought. I’ve returned to that place.

I’ll be your House Husband, ’till the very end!

Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 50 – Together with Archer the House-Husband: The Beginning.

Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 50: Together with Archer the House Husband: The Beginning.

“A… Archer…!”

“Archer…san!”


His two masters clung firmly to him. In the gale, his arm, splintered with swords, gently embraced their backs in order to not injure them.

*Leap*

Holding the two, Archer leapt to the highest area of the bow, the end of the roof of the bridge.


“…You two… Why?”

“A-, Archer, I… Eek!?”


Rin saw Archer’s left arm, and her face trembled in surprise.


…Ah.


He nimbly lowered his frightened masters to the roof. In order to hide the atrocious wound from them, he would quickly leave. Then, on the overlooking side of the ship’s funnel. Saber and Kiritsugu had sensed that something was going on, and knew of his own condition. He couldn’t let them learn of his masters.


“We’re splitting up, you two.”

“……”


A moment’s silence. But the two showed no signs of moving, and what was returned was only the sensation of his cloak being pulled on.

*Squeeze…*

He sent a fleeting glimpse to his feet. Even as it made their eyes cloud with tears, the two stared at him with all their might. Their eyes looked as if they were calling for something… Mourning for something…


*Throb*

“…No. We’re… Separating, you two.”


He wanted to leave, and most of all he did not want to meet those eyes filled with pain. Archer put his feelings into his words and spoke. But the two did not loosen their grip on his coat.


“…Ah.”


Nothing had changed. Archer knew better than anyone else that the two wouldn’t move at times like this, even with a lever. He was gradually becoming resigned to holding both of them and making a play at a hopeless escape, when-


*Thump*


The presence of someone right beside Archer appeared. When he quickly drew his sword to protect the two and looked back, there was a gentlemanly, good-looking man, his coat flapping.


“…Eh? Who are…”

“I will restrain that mage and his servant. More importantly- Servant Archer. There’s something you must accomplish.”

“…What?”


In a flash, the man in the coat slipped right by Archer’s side and stood on the edge of the roof to confront Saber and her Master.

That man was none other than Tohsaka Tokiomi himself.


“—!”

He had entered Archer’s space and simply slipped through it, despite the fact Archer being vigilant. That was all he did… And that was why it was stunning. How much skill went into movement like that? It was no ordinary achievement. Tokiomi had not been exaggerating; he truly possessed the power to “restrain” Kiritsugu and Saber.

But even having caught a glimpse of Tokiomi’s strength, Archer could not move.

A dull pain assaulted his chest even more now. What would he have to face, and what must he do?

Two small hands grasped his own as those thoughts swam around in his mind.


“…Ah.”


He looked backwards over his shoulder timidly. Rin and Sakura had seized Archer’s hand. He could not escape. He was captured.


“……”


Resigned, he squatted down in front of them, watching their childish eyes cloud with tears, full of anxiety.


…I made them cry again…


There was so much he wanted to say. But… As long as he was the one who said it, it would only frighten them, no matter what he spoke.

The children seizing the grotesque hand frayed with swords just continued to stare at him without trying to speak, their eyes wet. Unaware of what he should do either, Archer simply stood at a loss.

His figure closely resembled his self when he had been summoned to this city.


“…Both of you…”


More than wielding a sword, or protecting others and being inured. He exhausted his courage and organized his words.


“I don’t approve of you walking around at night.”


He manufactured a smile with all of his ability. A smile so the two would not be afraid. However, the smile he created was closer to a frown, his mouth alone warping into an unusual shape, a clumsy expression that appeared angered or troubled.

Like the children on the battlefield frightened long ago by that smile, Rin and Sakura grew even more timid, and afraid.


“…What can I do…”


He was gradually running out of ideas. Trapped in a blind alley, the degree of Archer’s distress showed in his expression. Looking at Archer, making a face so troubled as to say he no longer knew what expression he had, Rin took one step forward and spoke.


“…Stupid.”


Her two small hands hit both sides of Archer’s cheeks.


“…?”
“Why would you smile when you scold someone? Of course that would be scary.”


She grasped his cheeks. Focusing, Rin pinched both of Archer’s cheeks with all her strength.


*Pinch!*

“—Wha!? S-, shtop it!”

“S- H- U- T- U- P!”


The sudden attack dealt more pointed damage to Archer than even a bullet, and his heart, hardened with fear and doubt, shattered and disappeared with that one move.


“…Hee hee.”


A smile spilled out from Sakura’s face. Rin stared at archer with a worried and angry face.


“…Archer.”

“Ouch… Hm?”

“I’m sorry.”

“…Why are you apologizing? The one who scared you was me.”

“…Ah…Oh… Yeah… It was scary…”


Of course. How could she not be scared? What Archer was doing was murder, plain and simple. What he had shown them was nothing more than that.


“…It was scary… It was. You were like a stranger… A scary person. You were scary, Archer… That’s why! …That’s why I just felt that… Just that…”

“……?”


Rin spoke and hung her head. Her small hands gripped the middle of her blouse tightly. It was as if she was mustering her courage.


“I, I really… I really…!”

“…Hm.”

“I really, really… Like you, Archer…! I love you…! But still… Because I was scared, I buried it all… I-, I hurt you… I made you sad…! That’s, that’s why…”

“Archer, I’m sorry…!”

“……”

“It, it really was… Scary. I’ll never like people killing each other… I’ll always hate it…”
“…..”
“But…! Even if I just feel like I don’t like it… I don’t want… To hurt the person I love! I don’t want to leave you alone, Archer! So I’ll take it out and face it! I have something much more dear, so I’ll bear it!”


Right before his eyes….


“And then, then, I’ll move forward! I’ll hold onto the hand of the person I like, and go forward!”


The young girl in front of him… There was no doubt- Tohsaka Rin was a child no longer.

Even though in truth, she hated hurting others. The magician dressed in red stored it deep in her heart, and kept on running forward, just as clumsily as she always had been.

And because of that imbalance, she blundered at the last possible moment.


That way of life, that kindness; how many times had it saved her?

The young girl known as Rin Tohsaka… had already become a splendid sorcerer.


“That’s, that’s why… Archer… Let’s be… Together… Sniff… Uwaaaaaah!”


Overflowing with emotion, Rin burst into tears.


“Ahh… Sniff… There there, Nee-san…”

“Waaaaah!”

“…Haaah… Honestly… You really slack off towards the end. …That’s why I can’t leave you alone.”


Archer’s hand, now unrecognizable, gently caressed the two’s backs.

It was monstrous hand. One that should have only been able to hurt others. But the children knew otherwise. They knew it had continued to protect them with a warmth far greater than any other.

Even a sword had a heart. Even a tool had emotions.

Even if he was born as a sword. The feelings he felt for others could not be fake.


“Ahh, sniff… Archeeeer!!!! You idiot! Stupid stupid stupid! I was lonely! Stupid!”

“Ohh… Archer-san… I was, worried…!”


Be he a blade, or a monster, it made no difference to the people he loved.



Together With House Husband, Part 2, Chapter 50.
The answer lay inside. No matter what catastrophe may come, no matter what hardship may befall him, the days that passed could never be a lie.

A year of living… caring for others more than anyone else… That could not be a mistake.

Those feelings were stronger than any amount of fear or sadness. They were the feelings meant for the people they loved.

Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 49 – My Masters

Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 49 – My Masters


“—Haaaaah!”

Saber had shown Excalibur.

To confront Archer, the invisibility effect lent by the Barrier of the King of the Wind had been abandoned, the sword’s shroud judged meaningless. Freely exposing the strongest of weapons was proof that Saber was confronting Archer seriously.

By showing that sword, retreating and advancing were no longer permissible. Quite possibly the embodiment of her resolve, Saber’s consciousness focused on defeating Archer to that extent.

No hesitation, no sorrow; she would have to fairly and openly crush him straight on. The blade radiating golden light slowly leveled itself, aiming right for his eyes.

That stance possessed a firm, iron-clad resolve that seemed to convey the logic of those who preside over heaven and earth itself.

No faults, no gaps, no weaknesses. What a beautiful existence.

Archer trembled. He was driven into a corner, but towards the portent of death that loomed before his eyes, he felt strong longing and awe.

Such yearning that he could accept the being confronted with all her strength, enchanted as he was by her figure. That was an impossible wish, one dream. He would be satisfied even if he died.

However-


Heh heh… Sorry, Saber. I’ve regained all that i’ve lost… I’ve remembered it all… I understand the warmth of a smile… That’s why-


He recalled their two smiles. Just from that, the power he thought was already exhausted sprung forth. He had something to protect. Tears that he wanted to turn to smiles.

In that dream of his, there was someone he wanted to save. That’s why he couldn’t lose.


Rin and Sakura. For their sake, for the sake of his two masters, he would not lose.


He gripped Bakuya. He confronted his despair. The first step he took would have to possess the greatest power, and thus he lowered and lowered his stance. He was just like a pouncing tiger.


*Thwooosh!*


The energy that was gathering appeared to be reaching it’s zenith. The rising pressure shook the air. The two heroes had to defeat one another, and with a shattering roar they exchanged glances.

In that moment, it was as if two mighty rivals clashed, locking swords against-

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Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 48 – Desperation

Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 48 – Desperation


“——”

He planned. It was four… no, two… steps until Saber’s blade reached him.

The moment he realized that, Archer kicked off the ground. The strengthening magic he had performed earlier was still in effect. With superhuman jumping strength, Archer would leap to the opposite side of Saber in one bound and retreat to the half-open door.

However-

Two steps. That was certainly correct. Though that was with the exception of Saber charging up to the door on his side.


“—-!”


Bakuya was unusable, his right arm busy with transporting Kiritsugu’s arm at the moment. Then the command-


*Whoosh!*


He felt the pressure as Saber neared. As Archer was constantly standing in front of a wall and fighting, thoughts of using the command seal to stop the enemy were not allowed for even a few seconds.


“—Ah-!”


Invisible Air was brought to bear. Saber’s aim was what was held in Archer’s right hand- Kiritsugu’s arm… and the command seals.


*Swoosh! Shnnk!*


“-Agh!”


Sparks flew, and the second joint of Archer’s hand now held a shallow cut. If he continued to rush forward like this, his body would be bisected


Damn-


Throwing Kiritsugu’s arm in front of Saber, Archer leapt back. Seizing the arm in an instant, Saber lost the timing of her charge and stopped. Escaping through the still half opened door, Archer retreated to the fifth floor deck.


“Kiritsugu-! This means… You need to hurry… Your arm…! And… Just what is this ship…?”

“…I know… It’s off… -ber, What happened?”

“It’s done. A king will eventually… But, there’s no time… Kiritsugu… Treat… Wound. I’ll defeat… Archer.”


Archer could hear faint conversation from inside the ship. It appeared that Saber had decided to pursue him.


Damn. What do I do now…?


Nimbly hiding himself in the shadow of the ship’s funnel, Archer observed the ship’s bow. His magical ability and physical condition were even worse than the time at Fuyuki Bridge.


*Tmp*


The King of Knights entered the scene. Leaping in from the prow of the ship, clad in silver, she appeared slightly exhausted. Nonetheless, gallantry and powerful magical energy radiated from her attire.


Exhausted, huh? Maybe she got mixed up in a battle somewhere.


Archer meditated. With his left hand destroyed, he couldn’t even shoot a bow. But challenging Saber to hand-to-hand combat in his current danger was also reckless. If it came to that, escape was his only alternative, but he wondered if he could retreat so easily. He had slipped through her fingers once. Saber took competition seriously, and she would not let him escape so simply. Based on experience, he couldn’t believe it would end safely if he showed his back to Saber.


Break through the front. That’s all I can do.


He would go through the front and open a means of escape. If it was inevitable, then there was doubt it being resolved.

His fortune had been severely made sport of in the previous battle. His sense were not split, but in this battle against the clever woman, he would just have to move effectively.


“…This is it, Saber.”


Prepared, Archer stepped out from the shadow of the funnel. He gazed up towards the enormous bridge that was nearing, and confronted Saber.


“……”


Gazing at the wounded and ragged Archer, Saber frowned slightly.


“…Servant Archer. I am unable to understand… What you intended with your actions the other day.”


Even while slight confusion appeared in her expression, the strength of the glint in her eyes glaring at Archer did not change. Was this trouble?


“…Heh. Well, it was just a whim. Let me ask you, O King of Blades, surely you don’t enjoy being struck by your allies?”

“…Nonsense. For some reason I can not understand, you appear to know my true nature. Then-“


*–thwoooooooooooosh!*


A strong wind blew. A gale that resembling the portent of a hurricane. Archer braced his legs, and focused his eyes.


“—-wha-!?”


*WHOOOOOSSH—!*


Of course, it was not a wind born of nature. Ghostly magic received from the Lady of the Lake: The Barrier of the Lord of the Wind.

It concealed the “sword” within, and the torrent of enormous magic it had been concealing up till now poured out into the physical world. The storm with Saber at its center soon settled, and in her hand appeared a golden sword.


“I have no intention to show mercy. Disappear along with the rust of my sword, Archer.”


A divine weapon forged in the heavens. Desired and sought by all, it stood as the mightiest illusion that tore all before it asunder.


“Excalibur, the Sword of Promised Victory.”


The phantasm of utmost beauty and radiance was now drawn before Archer’s eyes.

Exaclibur, the Sword of Promised Victory. The symbol of the King of Knights.


Together With House Husband, Part 2, Chapter 48.

And thus was the Last Phantasm revealed.

The mightiest illusion is thrust at Archer. Can his dream surpass the phantasm that spares none?

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.

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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.