Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 17 – Menace
In the darkness of night, a red shadow raced from treetop to treetop. Archer.
Earlier, after he had put Rin and Sakura, who had fallen asleep from exhaustion, to bed, he had gone out on reconnaissance, the same as always.
“Archer… Don’t go. Don’t go anywhere anymore.”
Those words Rin had spoken gouged at Archer’s heart, even now. But even so, he could not stop.
“It doesn’t matter who I am anymore… As long as I can protect those two, everything’s alright.”
Thinking about pointless things made him hesitate. Doubt was tied to a bow’s accuracy. What made him sufficient as an invincible mercenary, more than small arms or tanks shells, was his great, unparalleled marksmanship and the level-headed discernment he read the battlefield with.
All were directly connected to lack of hesitation. If he lost that, he would be only slightly more able than a normal person, the strength of his magical power the only varying factor.
Perhaps because that metaphor struck too closely, a bitter laugh escaped Archer’s mouth. There truly would be nothing. There was nothing he could excel at. With the exception of seeing slightly more than the layperson would.
The paths in the field… Archer ceased his movement and dropped to the ground. In a moment, some kind of… Insect-like cry came to his ears.
He surveyed his surroundings. A rural expanse on one side. Mountains in the distance. Insects- there were a multitude of them. Crickets, katydids… A great chorus of living things. Among that chorus… For some reason, that “voice” along made him feel this sense of unease.
“…Is it… My imagination?”
Looking around himself, he tried performing a simple magical detection spell, but in the end he was a fool for not carrying a seal. He was aware of the extent of the accuracy of the techniques he could perform. It was precisely because the operation of “Structural Analysis” had a concrete target to be read that it was sorcery he was capable of; he was by nature skilled at detecting the seams in the world. This kind of investigation called for divination techniques such as runes and signs, but unfortunately, he had none with him on hand.
Archer somehow suppressed the insistent sensation, and once again prepared to kick off the ground. At that moment…
Seventy meters behind Archer, two tiny shadows stepped down. Archer’s eyes flickered repeatedly; perhaps there was something wrong with them. Of course, the scene reflected in them did not change. Powerful sight that would see unobstructed, no matter how dark or far, was Archer’s skill. He could not be mistaken.
Rin and Sakura. Beyond a doubt, the figures of his masters were there.
Why. The question was perched on his lips when he realized it was meaningless. Ah, yes. It’s my fault.
“…We found him…!”
They had probably pursued him this far using gravity manipulation and body-lightening magic. Rin had come holding Sakura, and now along with her she unsteadily and very slowly stepped forward.
Agghhh… I’ll protect you two. I won’t let you be touched by this bloody fight. I’ll keep it a secret to the end, and when I’ve finished this battle… What goddamn arrogance!
His indecision lasted a moment. Not even a second. Archer ran. He raced to close the seventy-meter distance.
What Archer was approaching for the purposes of scouting were the traces from the battle the previous night. In order to fight a “certain servant”, a camp had been formed in the mountains. This place was already within their striking distance. The field of the magicians.
“Make it in time…!”
Archer ran with such speed that the sound of his footsteps trailed far behind him. After seven steps. The two staggering closer to him reacted in slight astonishment as delight appeared on their faces.
“Make it in time!”
Rin caught her foot and fell.
A black hand passed through where her body had been. It only seized Sakura, who had been at Rin’s right side.
With one click of his tongue, the enemy leapt back, carrying Sakura. The sword Archer had project in an instant, Bakuya, plunged into the ground where it had been. Archer passed the fallen Rin and blocked the way of the enemy before his eyes in order to protect his master. The enemy landed ten meters in front of Archer.
The fallen Rin looked back, overcome with surprise.
Floating in the darkness of the night was a white face.
It was, with the exception of Archer, the first inhuman menace they had encountered. The figure of the Servant, Assassin.
Together With House Husband, Part 2, Chapter 17.
An Inhuman menace, lurking in the moonless night, waiting to take their lives.
The Servant Assassin.