Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 8 – The Wind of Battle
Archer crossed paths with the firefighters and personnel initiating rescue efforts inside the hotel as he went outside.
The site of the incident, yellow lines reading “keep out” were stretched across the surroundings of the Fuyuki Department Store, and their were countless patrol cars and ambulances stopped in the area. Around the circumference of the site were customers who had escaped the store and curious onlookers, while the area itself was awash with cars trapped due to the congestion; the difficulty the police and fire department must have had in coming this far was apparent.
Archer searched for his masters away from the marked area. They were smart girls. There was no way they were in the middle of the congestion. Things that would stand out and act as a sign- in the street, a water fountain, a statue, a patrol car… There they were.
Two small girls with uneasy expressions stood still next a policeman and his car.
Archer called out in a loud voice. At his voice, the two’s faces began to shine like baby birds sensing their parent, and they both looked towards Archer.
The nearby policeman, startled at Archer’s lack of clear nationality and dirty appearance, put himself on guard.
“Ah, excuse me, who might you be!?”
He stood between the confused Archer and the children, but they ran around him and embraced Archer’s leg. They grinned at the petrified man with mischievous smiles, and both, in a loud voice, said…
“He’s our housekeeper, and our guardian!”
In front of the police officer, his eyes widening, the three exchanged glances and laughed.
Beyond the barrier was a vacant storeroom in the department store that had been remodeled and made into a magus’s base. To hide a tree, one must put it in a forest.
Fuyuki Department Store, a gathering place of many people and an aged structure, was an ideal quick substitute for a stronghold. Even if he decided to forgo it, there existed a supply of humans to act as a sacrifice.
But being found out was a different matter. A fight between magi occurring openly in public would be an incident they would avoid, well aware of the wrath of the Mages Association. When it began, he had no choice but to flee here. Consequently, in order for the master here to hide his own presence, he positioned a barrier to let people pass in front of the base, unaware of its existence. But that barrier had been destroyed as a result of the battle of whomever had enacted it here. Archer turning one-hundred-and-eighty degrees, back the way he came, was the greatest proof of all. It was completely excessive for camouflage.
And neither of the two mages who had battled there had been found. It was apparent after rescue efforts had gone on for over an hour.
The destroyed barrier and camp, the large incident… These all pointed towards one fact: these were ruins, already abandoned. The magi, for the sake of the next battle, had switched to the riverside.
“Archer, are you okay?”
“Are you hurt?”
With worried faces, the two stared at him together. Archer lifted them into his arms and held them close.
“Wah!? Wh-, what’s wrong?”
“Ahh…? Uh, umm…”
They were confused at the suddenness, but upon seeing Archer, his brow furrowed and a look of pain on his face, their expressions stiffened.
“Ah… Wh-, where does it hurt!? Hey, are you okay, Archer!?”
“Uh, umm…did something painful happen!?”
Their worries missed the mark, but… To Archer, it was enough.
“…Thank you, you two.”
Unaware of why they were even being thanked, they both made troubled faces, but when they understood that Archer was apparently uninjured, they leaned on his shoulders, relieved.
…Thank you…for everything.
Choking back the words he could not say, Archer gazed up at the sky. It appeared that strong winds had brought dark clouds to cover the sky that had once been so very clear in noon.
The hints at the fierce battle that would soon begin right here, in the streets of Fuyuki left Archer feeling rather unsettled.
Yes… of course I understand.
I will protect you two… till the very end.
Yes, it was indeed beginning. The symphony of seven servants, a battle of pariahs.
The Holy Grail War.
Together With House Husband, Part 2, Chapter 8.
Traces of the battle between mages in Fuyuki.
They signified the opening of the mad conflict to begin in this land. The deluded struggle that had gone on for two hundred long years. The Holy Grail War.
The countdown to their parting has begun. Archer resolves to protect the small masters he had restored time and warmth to as a human.
End of Together With House Husband, Part Two, Prologue.