Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 33 – Overwhelming Enemy.

Clash

Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 33 – Overwhelming Enemy.

*Whoosh…Shing! Bam!!*

The repelled blades exchanged blows, and sparks scattered. The first attack had been but a mere crossing.

Archer and Saber, both Servants possessing inhuman strength, but neither adept at battling in the air. Both “landed” on the sides of opposing buildings, and each kicking off the wall aiming for the ground, their own field. If they reached the earth at their current speed of flight, death on impact would be unavoidable. Their bodies, accelerated by gravity and the propulsion of their own kick, would be pieces of meat in a few more seconds. But-

*Bam… Crack!*

Kicking off the wall twenty-five meters up, both utilized the acceleration and clashed once again in the air. Their slashes used up the entirety of their kinetic energy, and along with a force of impact of some ten tons, magical energy released to preserve their bodies’ constitutions quickly became an electric charge and scorched the air.

“……”
“……”

A gaze as they traded attacks. Bodies crossed and separated.

Both returned to the surface of the walls, giving each other a pause of only several seconds. Even that did not go to waste, and each unleashed their next move.

The Swordswoman used the rebound of his landing and charged, projecting daggers and unleashing them upon his target.

*Swish, Swish… Shing, Crack!*

The pair of fired swords were struck down by Saber with lightning speed, and in a flash, they fell. However, Archer was no amateur either. The projection itself nothing more than a distraction to break away from the wall, he escaped to the ground.


*Thump… Sssh*

“……”

On the ground, Archer turned his consciousness towards his visual perception and scouted for his next course of action.

Asphalt, manholes, alleyways, a couple disappearing down the street, the main street, various people, cars, traffic lights, T-shaped street lights, fluttering cloth, an area with large buildings.

Behind all that was the main street continuing to the bridge. There was a large amount of foot traffic. It would be impossible to enter it and resume the battle. On top of being overly conspicuous, there would be victims.

His chances of victory fighting Saber here were slim. Then, should he prepare to retreat? Considering her nature, she would probably not choose to force him to continue the battle, but-…

He thought for a moment, but Servant Saber would not allow him even that short respite. Right through the blast from crashing into the opposite wall, a relaxed Saber kicked off the wall, and flew towards Archer in a straight line!

“-Damn!”

*Boom!*

Crushed by Saber’s attack, asphalt flew into the air. Archer avoided it with a leap to the side, nimbly jumping toward the T-shaped street light standing on the sidewalk, and with one revolution right around the iron bar, sprang high into the air. In his hand materialized a readied bow-

“Trace, on!”

Aiming lasted an instant. The multiple blurs of carbonized tungsten arrows fired, their aim true. They soared towards Saber, rigid from landing on the ground. However.

“Haaaaa!”

In the moment the arrows had tried to capture Saber, a blowing formation of wind seized the entirety of arrows, as though it possessed a mass of its own, leaving them to fall, scattered, on the ground. It was a barrier. A magical wind that possessed a will of it’s own.

“…What…!?”

The wind swirling in from the alley swallowed up passers-by on the main street, gathering attention as to what it was. But Saber’s form was already gone-


“-Gah-”


In one bound, she was right before Archer.

Collecting the magical energy inside her body in her legs, a propulsive force born out of an explosion shot Saber’s body forward with the force of a bullet. It was precisely because Saber’s entire body was a reactor of magical power that she was capable of this superhuman feat. It was not technique, but application of strength.

A sweeping, scythe-like blow from Saber’s height. A blow from her sword at the speed she was flying towards him would slice Archer’s body in two.

“—!”

He couldn’t afford to be concerned about appearances. In an instant, the projection he could place his utmost faith in, Bakuya, was assembled and set to a “length” to oppose a sword swing.

*Shing!*

A flash of silver light. Steel danced and scattered. The steel sword Bakuya returned to illusion from where it had been struck. However, the impact of the blow sent Archer flying towards the side, his body saved from being bisected in two.

*Bam, Thwack!*

He landed on the roof of a transport truck.


“—Gah…”

The process of arriving there had taken eight seconds. Archer had somehow managed to survive, but his right hand was almost void of sensation.

In his efforts to defend against the earlier blow, it appeared his muscle fibers had been torn. Several of his fingers were broken, and without medical treatment he could barely even hold a sword squarely. Intense pain further tortured his body; wounds from the earlier battle with Assassin opened up.

Opened wounds and his injured right hand. If he fought with Saber head on, it would be a lethal injury.

“…I guess I can’t complain.”

Mobilizing his remaining magical strength, he projected Kanshou.

Physical preservation, activation of magical energy, defense reinforcement, and all other uses of magical power for battle- Even considering all of those, the last he could use in this battle was projection. A weapon that was his last lifeline- the only thing in which he placed all his faith.

*Thump*

From behind, on the roof of the truck he had retreated to. A slender figure stood in silver armor. Neither wounded nor exhausted, the beautiful eyes simply capture him. That gaze was so terrifying, somehow!

“Heh, heh heh heh-“

She had defended against the arrows without looking, by intuition. Bodily ability that towered above the rest. Overwhelming attack ability. A Noble Phantasm that excelled at both attack and defense. The players were different. This would mean his defeat.

*Clunk Clunk*

He raised his field of vision. Cars climbed the great bridge and appeared to ascend into the overhead structure. If he kept going, he would reach the Fuyuki bridge. The salty air told that the ocean was near.

“…Looks like I don’t have a choice.”

Accompanied by the Wind of Death itself, the King of Blades drew near from behind. Placing his faith in the feeling of his beloved sword in his hand, Archer rose to battle the advancing reaper.


Together With House Husband, Part 2, Chapter 33.

The Bowman vs. The Swordswoman.

Against one who wields the mightiest sword technique amongst the seven Servants, Archer, a bowman who nevertheless took up the sword, has no hope. A battle in which he shoulders his unhealable wounds and dwindled supply of magical energy is one he has no chance of finding victory in.

Archer, who took up the sword resolved to death, wagers on a single ray of hope, and aims towards Fuyuki’s great bridge.

Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 32 – The King of Blades.

Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 32 – The King of Blades.


Midnight. A solitary shadow dashed through the mountain of buildings. Archer.

Having left the Tohsaka residence, Archer had thoroughly searched the mountain range Servant Assassin had made his hideout.

But the many traps were already destroyed, and all Archer could accomplish was confirm that Master and Servant were no longer there. Perhaps they had gone on the defense with their secret weapon lost. If a Servant can’t fight at a sufficient level, even the Master couldn’t very well force them to do the impossible.

There were two reasons a magician had to retain their Servant for the duration of the Holy Grail War.

First was to procure the chalice that was one of the condition for final victory in the holy grail war. The Fuyuki Holy Grail was a ceremony that condensed the chalice, itself in spiritual form, into a “husk” called the Holy Grail. Only spiritual bodies could touch something in spiritual form. Servants were thus, consequently necessary.

Second was for the Master’s own self-defense. The seven mages each possessed a servant with power beyond the reckoning of man. To protect themselves from those others until the very end was exactly why they needed a Servant’s power.

This was why a Master had to be especially sure to protect their Servant as well. If the Master was burdened with a weakened Assassin with no particular ability to regenerate, he could not readily battle another Servant. Consequently, it was likely they had simply hidden themselves in a place they would not be found.

With no trail, continuing to pursue only them was far too unproductive. At the very least, there were four other people’s Servant to confront. Tabling his search for the moment, Archer turned to ensuring his own attack and reconnaissance points. Right ahead, in front of the large bridge, there stood a soaring white tower- Fuyuki’s Port Side Building.

Fuyuki’s big bridge. The giant arch suspended above the Mion River was a wire connecting two cities- the only method of migration. There was a ferry, but after the bridge was completed the demand for it decreased, and now it existed as a pleasure cruise for touring the river. And so, seizing this point would be a boon for capturing and attacking enemies in the Holy Grail War.

The bridge was the in the highest class of tall objects within Fuyuki. The highest point of the arch was over fifty meters from the water’s surface, and points in Fuyuki that could successfully target and strike the point were limited to a select few. There was one in Miyama, and two more in Shinto. Of those, Archer had selected Miyama, a corner of an expansive industrial area in front of the park- the Fuyuki Port Side Building.

After several years,  the modernization of Fuyuki continued with station buildings that had been marked for reconstruction. There were several renovations of business buildings and the start of construction. The Fuyuki Bridge itself was also an aspect of the city’s redevelopment. Considering it would be a waste not to take advantage of the scenery in the area, the construction of multiple recreational facilities and corporate offices was undertaken. The Fuyuki Port Side Buildings were fifteen stories and fifty-two meters, boasting the greatest height of all the business facilities constructed in Miyama.

On top of gaining a sufficient angle to aim at the bridge’s footpath and main road, firing on the arch from a level, nearby height was possible. The distance from the bridge was eight hundred meters, a passable range. Gaining the attack opportunity was exactly why the tallest location had been chosen.


From the building, to the roof, to the sky engulfed in darkness as the sun fell, Archer leapt. He raced towards what would soon be his hunting grounds.

But, his feet, rushing towards his destination, abruptly stopped on the roof of the building before it. He opened his eyes in shock.

In the bloom of moonlight, the Port Side Building cast an enormous silhouette. Among the steel frames of the buildings under construction standing in rows like grave tablets, a single completed four corner shadow looked like a gravestone. There, Archer saw the figure of what he had lost.

It was nothing more than an apparition, a broken dream.

All Heroic Spirits ended their lives unnaturally, or in despair. There was not one that had no lingering regrets when at death’s door. Thus, after death, even after being transformed into pure might, people’s thoughts and intents remained in the form of humanity. That was a Heroic Spirit. A proxy spirit possessing thought.

“…What-”

They were Servants, spirits. To grant their own wishes and desires, they were captivated by the object know as the Holy Grail, and came to be.

….Ah, in that case. I suppose it was inevitable to meet her here.

On top of the steel tower of the Port Side Building, her hair swaying in the wind, was a beautiful silver knight.

The King of Knights

A figure far more transcendent and composed than anyone else.

Eyes that hid unwavering purpose stared at the Bowman, frozen in his tracks.


“…Well met, Servant.”


A cold voice greeted him. Nostalgia, longing, affection… many feelings sprang forth. Among the many things inside of him, something shook.

“Any further is death. Even so, for your desired wish, you would pierce that body with steel. Are you prepared to proceed?”

“…Ah.”

Unconsciously, he smiled. Always honest, always the same- that was who she was.

You’re a fool, Saber. This is a battlefield, and we are Servants. It’s obvious what we’re going to do.


“I’m truly sorry about this, Servant Saber. We’re swords. At the most, we’re faithful attendants. Stepping into death for the sake of my master is only natural, no?”

Upon hearing his answer, Saber smiled slightly. Then, with the shape of her mouth bending in a look of self derision, she spoke.

“Then words are unnecessary for us. Come, Servant. I will cut down those hopes and dreams, and advance.”

Invisible Air took flight. A blade of dual properties had been prepared.

Wagering on desires they could not surrender, their individual purposes separated by the chasm between the buildings-


*Shing!*


-alongside the ringing of steel, clashed in midair!


Together With House Husband, Part 2, Chapter 32.
The day of fate. You pierced this heart more vividly than anyone else, and then you were taken away.

I could never forget. Even if I were to fall to the very depths of Hell.

A star that shined with a brilliance greater than anything else.

That star was your figure, Saber.

Together with House Husband, Part 2, Chapter 31 – A Sword for a Sword.

Homecoming

Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 31 – A Sword for a Sword.


Raindrops as fine as mist slid down Archer’s wounded body.

He stood at the top of a tall tree on the outskirts of the Tohsaka residence. Archer had continued his defense of the mansion since returning that night without coming into contact with the two.

He had expected as much, but there had been no attacks by Servant or Master so far.

The wounds Assassin had suffered had all but killed him. Archer’s Noble Phantasm had completely destroyed his trump card, not to mention he had also lost a great amount of magical energy and had no easy means to replenish it.

But the opponent was a Servant. Unable to leave the two young children behind and go on the offensive, Archer was now also unable to leave this place.

*Rattle*

Lost in reverie, Archer’s ears seized a sound coming from the Tohsaka mansion. Out the window came a melancholy, immature face. Rin.

Rin had been like this ever since returning home that night. Outside of eating or possibly using the bathroom, she did that all day, absent-mindedly gazing out the window.

“…Lean forward that much and you’re going to get wet… Your temperature will drop, and you’ll catch a cold too. …Have you gotten a little thin? I wonder if you’re eating right…”

Those thoughts floating in his mind, Archer smiled in self derision. He knew the cause of the girl’s anxieties, and it was none other than himself. An inhuman monster was so close. To make matters worse, inhuman monsters possessing unimaginable power sought to take their lives.

They couldn’t help but be worried about that, be terrified of that. It was natural. They may have been born into a mage’s household, but they were still children, barely ten.

The resolution to walk down that road, the significance of that resolution… They were too young to understand, and they did not have enough time to gain the power to walk. That was exactly why they had to be protected. I may not be their parent, but as an adult I have the power to protect children.

“But still…”

He couldn’t take a single step from this place, let alone end this battle. It was pathetic.

“…What can I do…?”

He had decided to become a sword, for the sake of the children. To end this battle without delay, he would do what he had to- attack. And so, he needed… A guardian. Something with enough strength to protect the two here at this house.

But under present conditions, all Archer could think of was one person… Kotomine Kirei.

“…No way.”

The words of curse Archer had received from him that day swept over his mind, and he was forced to abandon that choice. He could trust his strength, but couldn’t trust him. For the same reason, he couldn’t force the two to abandon their Command Spells and entrust them to the church.

Archer meditated on a efficient method to protect the two and go on the offensive at the same time.

But in the hands that had raced to the battlefield alone and lived leaving behind who was important to him, he could not have both. Abandon something to protect something important. That was all.

He could not do that.

His dead-end thinking tormented him, always and always. Outside of continuing to protect them while they were plagued with sad feelings, was there no other path?


Suddenly-


“…Abzug Bedlenung Mittelstand.”


A command word to unlock the main entrance. The Bowman’s acute hearing picked up the murmuring all the way from the gate. His falcon eyes immediately seized their target. A brown coat draped over a stylish black suit a British model might wear.

He was hidden beneath a large black umbrella, but his finely honed un-Japanese features that were both somehow mysterious yet possessing a certain grace and refinement were most definitely visible. Most conspicuous were those blue eyes. That perfectly clear blue resembled someone.

“…Rin?”

Those handsome features showed a discrepancy between male and female, but the man gave the same impression as Tohsaka Rin. A moment’s hesitation, and then a disturbance. The man was-

“–!?”

Suddenly, a strong presence radiated from the man. He directed a sharp, blue gaze towards Archer, up in the tree. Had he perceived him in spirit form?

Whether he saw him or not, Archer could not escape the man’s eyes. For a while the two exchanged glares. They competed in the strength of their gazes, but the implication of why they could not move was different for each.

In response to the spiritual body possessing inhuman fighting strength right before his eyes, he could find no method of attack. That was what the man thought.

Wavering on whether to commence battle at this present time, or not. That was foremost in the Bowman’s mind.

Time was frozen. Both were at a loss. What broke the silent exchange of glares was not the men themselves but the girl standing at the window- Rin.

When the man noticed Rin, for just one moment, a look he would give an impossibly precious person floated to the surface. But from there the man’s expression transformed into a terrifyingly cool one. The face of a magician who would abandon all for the sake of his objective.

The distance in confrontation between Archer and the man, the girl at the center. The moment the man realized Archer was closer, he took a step forward and readied himself to battle.

To protect the girl, he would oppose a Servant. He would bet his own life to protect someone- It was clear.


“…Ah.”

Those eyes, that look. A straightforwardness… His hypocrisy was no match for it. It held the clear affection of a parent who would protect their child.

*Throb*

For just an instant, his eyes raced to the young girl at the window… to the weary expression she wore on her face. Archer knew that face could make a gentler, more brilliant smile.

Yes, that was why. The person who made her have such a sad expression can’t stay here any longer. He understood.

To confront Archer, the man was preparing for battle, the materials taking form inside his coat. The movements free of hesitation, the chanting of spells; the man was an old hand at this. At the very least, he was an accomplished magician, undoubtedly of master class.

The magical specialty of the Tohsaka was converting power, the use of their tools first class. As far as Archer could guess of the stock of maintained equipment and treasured artifacts, the man would probably lose to no one if he fought defending this place. He was a man who could be trusted to protect those two. That was all. It was everything.

Then I’ll go. I am a blade that exists for the master’s sake. I exist to smite the enemy.

“Take care of yourselves, Rin and Sakura.”

Kicking off the tree trunk, Archer leapt into the air. Half substantiated, he wiped the thin rain that hit his skin and ran toward the battlefield underneath the clouds. He left behind him the warm home of the Tohsaka’s that he had spent a year in.

Tohsaka Tokiomi, dumbfounded at the sudden disappearance of the strong presence but relieved at the threat’s passing, brushed the raindrops from his coat and adjusted the collar of his suit, then entered the front door.

Now. To go see my daughter’s face.

Together With House Husband, Part 2, Chapter 31.
Holding his wounded body, the Bowman breaks into a run. He has found a protector.

His self is a blade, a blade that serves only to defeat all enemies.

Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 30 (Interlude 3-5) – Two Hands: Endings.

And Yet

Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 30 (Interlude 3-5) – Two Hands: Endings.


The eyes of my younger sister before me gazed at me strongly. She stared at me with eyes full of faith.

“Nee-san, I… I knew! It wouldn’t get through, it wouldn’t reach… I just cried, so my feelings wouldn’t reach someone else! There were things that would come back… when he held my hand…! That I was a hated, and worthless child… The wall I had been building… That was all it was, but… I couldn’t do that, so… I was all alone, and it hurt…”

…Ah.

“But, the reason I could think that was… because… because you always, always held my hand, Nee-san! I was always clutching my knees and crying by myself, but… You took my hand, and made me stand up…”

“You would tell me… ‘Don’t be scared, it’s fine!’… and… ‘Don’t let those things get you down, Sakura, you’re not alone!’… You told me all those things…!”

Oh.

I had believed. Father, and Sakura too. I had believed everyone could be happy. That was why I hadn’t let go of Sakura’s hand. We tried to walk forward. Because someday we’d be able to reconcile.

No one attempts to reach an ending filled with unhappiness. They want to smile. They want to see others smile. I had prayed for the world around me to be full of smiling faces. I had wished to be happy.

I could walk, I could go forward, I could go the distance.

“Sniff… So, Nee-san… W-, with Archer-san…”
“…Stop.”
“Ah… Sniff… What…?”
“Sakura… You’re amazing.”
“…Eh?”

Sakura’s small hand, the hand that had only been able to wipe away the overflowing tears in her room that day, had cleaned, cooked, and lived a life with everyone. But above all that, that hand had become able to save someone. She knew the terror of being alone better than anyone. That’s why being together with the person who was precious to you…. was something she kept wishing for.

That would be considered weak. But in truth, it was something strong. Believing and relying on someone was something she could do exactly be she felt it with all her heart. Sakura’s hands wouldn’t lose someone important to her.

Then, what could I, who could only go forward, do? If I stopped I couldn’t go anywhere; I could only keep going forward. What could I do?

What could these two hands do?

Yes… It’s obvious, isn’t it?

These two hands could fight. They would never run away. They would simply push on.

These two hands would shake off any sad feelings- That was their power.

If there was an obstacle, I just had to plough through it, right?

“…Yeah… Alright!”

*Slap!*

I clapped my face with both hands and brushed away my foolish hesitation. Not like me? Of course. I was always walking further and further ahead with what I learned. Doing nothing but going forward was how I fought. The answer may only lie in the future, then. My worries may lie ahead.

My happy end was to come!

Then I’ll break right through my problems. Aware of my worries and regrets, I just had to plunge forward!

“N-, Nee-san?”

Sakura’s tears ceased, surprised at my sudden odd behavior.

“I’ve never been worried. I don’t know what my dream is. That’s why I just move forwards. Dreams, hopes, the future… The person that I love… I’ll get them all back, and have a happy ending! That’s who I am… Sakura. That’s who Tohsaka Rin is!”

“Ah…!”

Her eyes clouded with tears, Sakura’s whole face transformed into a smile.

“Okay!”

I had one thing to do. Make up… with Archer!

Tohsaka Rin’s Holy Grail War starts from there on out!


Interlude Out.


Together With House Husband, Part 2, Chapter 30. Interlude 3-5.
Indecision and answers always lie within yourself. If you examine yourself, there they’ll be. You can feel that you love yourself.

Whether you notice later, or not.

Can the sisters, who pray for the future more than anyone else, rescue the knight who despairs for the past?

Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 29 (Interlude 3-4) – Two Hands: Beginnings.

Isshouni

Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 29 (Story 3-4) – Two Hands: Beginnings.

Just how much time passed after that? When I came to, the room was dark. It was already the middle of the night.

“N-, Nee-san?”

In that dark room, from the direction of the round table by the window side, I could hear Sakura’s voice. I replied in a small voice, lying face down.

“…What?”
“I think green peppers taste good now… Did you know that?
“…Huh?”

I raised the upper half of my body and turned to face her. There, with a somehow proud-looking face, Sakura… Was smiling.

“If you cut them up into pieces and stir-fry them really well, most of the bitterness goes away. I heard they go in all kinds of different types of stir-fry.”
“…Wow. Eh? Then… Why are peppers on my plate bitter?”
“Hee hee… Archer-san might have been simply being mean to you.”
“Wha… Wait, you’re in the kitchen too, aren’t you, Sakura?”
“But I asked Archer-san to let my do if myself.”
“Eh, huuuuuh!? D-, Do mine too!”
“He said ‘Leave Rin alone until she notices. When it comes to trying to change the status quo, the result should come swooping down on her’. Eh heh heh, he was praising you, you know?”

After she said that, I stuck my tongue out mischievously at Sakura. You’re nasty every now and then, Sakura. I wonder if you resent me a little.

“…You know, Nee-san.”
“What!? Boo, boo!”
“I wonder how much we don’t know about the other person… I wonder how many of the words in their heart we don’t understand…”
“…Huh?”
Sakura made a lonely looking face. Sakura…?

“Earlier… Father held my hand.”
“Ah… Yeah, he did, now that you mention it.”
“Nee-san, I…”

“It was the first time… He’s ever held my hand.”

“…What?”
“It was warm, and his hand was big. It was a little rugged… and it felt wonderful.

Sakura… Held her tiny left hand to her chest, as though she was clutching something precious.

“I always do nothing but cry, and I’m a bad kid… So I never thought…. Father would hold my hand, or pat my head, or even talk to me.”
“…Wha-…! That’s not true at…!”
“But… Father’s hand earlier, made me wonder where those feelings of mine had gone… It was so kind, and they held me so gently… So I was happy, and I tried to hold on to him strongly. I… I…!”

Sakura’s eyes brimmed with tears. Large drops fell, as if the feelings she had saved up and hadn’t communicated thus far were all appearing on her face.

“F-, Father… hugged me too. He… He… hugged me back. I was so happy, and I hugged him over, and over… and he held me too…”

She tightly pressed the palm of her hand against her chest, as if it might prevent the remaining warmth from disappearing.

“I, I… was so happy… I don’t care… about why he didn’t talk to me… and ignored… me…!”
“Sa-… Sakura…”
“There were so many things… I wanted to say…! S-, so many things… I want to ask…! I really wanted to talk with Father, so much… so, so… Nee-san, I…”

Ah… I… Forced Sakura… To come with me.

“S-, Sakura… I’m sorry… I…”
“N-, no, you’re wrong…! Th-, that’s not… it.”

Sakura hastily shook her head and raised her downcast eyes to set them on me.

Those tear filled eyes, which had always relied on others and did nothing but cry, shone… they shone with a firm, strong faith in something.


Together With House Husband, Part 2, Chapter 29. Interlude 3-4.
There are things that won’t come true no matter how much you want them, no matter how much you believe in them. But, did all of those feelings… really reach the other?

One’s feelings and desires. Did they reach the person you wanted them to reach?

Relief that will soon come. Whether its granted or not, salvation for the heart is something that will not come about as just a result. As long as there are lights of hope on the path people continue to walk downwards, they can walk anywhere.

Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 28 (Interlude 3-3) – Back.

Huff

Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 28 (Interlude 3-3) – Back.

Father stood up, took our hands, and started to walk.

Our father was a refined, faultless gentleman. He was awkward with children, but his normal behavior was already incredibly impressive. His profile as he pulled us along didn’t have a single trace of the weakness from earlier- It was an amazing face.

Yes, we had always been protected. He had protected us. He was by no means a tender father, but the feelings he felt for us were the real thing. Those feelings were gentle and kind, so, even when he had left on his trip, we were able to keep going.

The Holy Grail War. Victory in the war, that which the Tohsaka family desired over all else, was what I thought Father’s dream was. Living for nothing else than that purpose was natural for a magician. Throwing away everything for your dream… that was the way a magus lived.

Despite that, he was truly a good father, and he had honestly tried to live for our sakes. That’s why he went on his journey. To make sure he was prepared for a battle he might die in.

Finally, he was here. If we had to fight, he would try and shoulder this responsibility instead.

Things were hopeless like this. That was how I felt.


“Umm… Father?”
“What is it, Rin?”
…Is Archer… Outside? Archer is…”
“…Archer. The Servant of the Bow you two summoned. So the leftover presence when I reached that house was that…”

Ah… He was here! He was here just a little bit ago!

“Hmm. Rin, how many commands seals do you have left?”
“Huh? …Umm… Two.”
“No extras, huh. You can’t waste them. Rin, use those carefully. Losing all of them means losing your qualification as a Master… It may even mean the Servant turning their fangs on the Master.”
“…Huh?”

Archer, turn on us?

“Servants are beings drawn into reality to make a wish on the Holy Grail. It’s tyranny when that strength becomes power. Because their wish can come true, they have a purpose in choosing a master in order to win the war. So in order to abandon a powerless master, they’ll try and force them to use their command spells. That’s their lifeline. You two don’t have enough experience to survive this war. When you use up your command spells, the Servant Archer may kill you.”


My father spoke to us without turning around. I was stood shocked at the words that struck my ears.

Archer would kill us?

A deep red back, covered in blood. Something that would and could kill someone. That presence, that being, was so, so frightening… The Archer we had found that night was like a different person from the one we had been together with.

But, even so…


“No. Archer wouldn’t do something like that.”
“……”
“He would never do that.”
“……”


Suspicious of my obstinacy, Father stopped walking.

That was one thing I could not surrender.


“He wouldn’t. He wouldn’t do that. He just wouldn’t.”
“……”
“He… Always protected us!”
“…Are you sure that wasn’t just a trick?”
“—!”


At that one word, I flew into a rage.

At my father, who had said it. And at myself.

Those feelings of believing in Archer. As I long as I was me, I had to protect them.

“He would never do that!!!”

I shook off the hand that held me and shouted in a loud voice. Taking advantage of my dumbfounded Father, I took Sakura’s hand from the other side.

“Ahh….”

For a moment, Sakura looked between Father and I. But then she closed her eyes and bit her lip, and came with me. We ran up the stairs.

“……”

Leaving my Father, his eyes wide, we dived into our room, Sakura, a frown on her face, jumping straight into the bed.

“……”

I stared at the command seal on the back of my right hand. Archer was alive. He was still doing the best he could.

He definitely… Couldn’t feel that. He thought… Just being here scared us.

He was sarcastic, and rude. He was always scolding us, and he was a bully, but… Archer was kind. He was so, so kind. I knew that. I knew all of that. And still.


“…Uuuu…”


It was my fault. I had been a child. I had been a coward.

I had lost sight of my own strength, of the feelings of saying I would walk down this path of the mage.

I… had hurt the person who saved us from loneliness so much.


I had lived my own way, as who I was. I had no doubts about doing that. I had faced things with all the strength I had, and enjoyed myself. That was fun, it was clean, it was happiness. It was a beautiful treasure.

But still… With my own hands… I had hurt the most important treasure of all…


Together With House Husband Part 2, Chapter 28, Interlude 3-3.
Happiness and joy; a life true to one’s self that she could be proud was what Tohsaka Rin had chosen. That was why at her first taste of frustration, she did not know what to do.

She lost sight of the dreams of a mage and that resolution. She felt frightened of that path… and she had hurt the person she cherished so.

Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 27 (Interlude 3-2) – Tohsaka.

Uwah

Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 27 (Interlude 3-2) – Tohsaka.

The House of Tohsaka was a noted family of heretics whose bloodline could be traced as far back as the ancestor Kishua Zelretch Schweinorg, the Gem Master.

With nearly two hundreds years of history as a line of sorcerers, they continued to protect their lifeblood even as the blood of outsiders mingled with theirs.

The Tohsaka were kin who attempted to reach the Root by continuing to train themselves. For the Tohsaka family, that was success, with no exceptions.

Creating a vessel to hold the magical power of a false Holy Grail, aiming towards the Root as an end result. Two hundred years in the distant past, along with specters from the north that had been possessed by the quest for the Grail, they simply lent aid to magicians of strange lands who had failed to bring their own dreams to fruition. Triumph was the essence of the Tohsaka, no matter the struggle. Winning was natural, when it challenged to invincible Tohsaka will. They started no quarrels themselves, but returned challenges from others many times over. Then they would take everything worthwhile for themselves.

Consequently, victory in the Holy Grail War was an obligation of the Tohsaka family. It was simple logic. The fifth head of the Tohsaka Family, Tohsaka Tokiomi, naturally abided by this as well, and left on a journey for the purpose of victory. He went to prepare for battle.

Well… No matter how well prepared you are, if you are not in time for the signal gun, there is no meaning in it.


They had not forgotten what appeared from the other side of the opened door. It was a face they knew well. A sculpted, dandyish face, one that looked completely “Un-Japanese” in appearance. An countenance that always bore a look of severity. It was this face that they had never once seen smile.

Even so, he was in truth gentle. His look, thinking of us, helplessly clumsy but kind, was the same as when he had begun his journey. He stared at us now as well.

“…Father?”

The magical ammunition in my hand fell to the floor. The strength left my stiffened body and it crumpled to the floor.

“…Yes.”

When he released my back from his embrace with a gentleness somehow befitting the situation, my father showed a slightly apologetic look in his eyes, and said…

“I’m home. Rin… Sakura.”


Sitting face-to-face on the living room sofa, our father heard the current situation from us. I say us, but since Father had returned Sakura hadn’t said a single word, so I was the only one to speak.

“…I see.”

When he had finished listening to the story, Father gazed at us after his face had twisted in his usual sour look.

“As the head of the Tohsaka family, I have something to tell you two.”

A heavy, leaden voice. Even Sakura, her head down, adjusted her posture.

“You two are Masters. You were chosen as magicians for the purpose of winning the Holy Grail War. This is an undeniable fact. …Rin, Sakura. As members of the Tohsaka household, defeat is unacceptable. Retreat is unacceptable. We have aspired to heresy, and strode forth into this battle. A quest to one day reach the Root… The Holy Grail War is a means to that. Turning your eyes away from that would be the same as renouncing your own lives. Thus, you two must fight.”

I trembled. My back shook. My father had declared that we were part of the battle now beyond the point of return.

Stained in blood in battle. The red back, his entire body covered in wounds, but still protecting others.

My hands quivered. My shoulders trembled. My stomach grew heavy. I wanted to cry. But I endured it. I had to.


“…But.”

My father knitted his eyebrows, seemingly in pain. As though he was bearing something hopeless, he furrowed his brow. That was… A side of my father I had never seen before. My father, who never showed any signs of weakness, made, for the first time, a vulnerable expression.

He then rose off the couch, and came right in front of us. With both his arms, he strongly embraced Sakura and I.

“Ahh…”
“…What…”

It was too much for Sakura and I; no words came. It was the first time our father… Had ever held us like this. He held us so strongly it was painful. But his trembling shoulders… Somehow looked so weak. I couldn’t say anything.

“…I’ll protect you. I’ll protect you two of you. That’s why you don’t have to worry about anything. Just stay inside.”

My father spoke and then separated from us, vigorously rubbing our heads. It was painful, but that strength was somehow… Very gentle.


Together With House Husband, Part 2, Chapter 27. Interlude 3-2.
The father returns. The fifth head of the Tohsaka family, Tohsaka Tokiomi.

An accomplished jewel user, he was acknowledged as a great magus by the Magic Association as the disciple of a magic user.

Despite being acknowledged as thus, he possessed a hereditary curse, and scorn was heaped upon him.