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.
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.
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.
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?
“…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.
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.
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.
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.