Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 34 – In the Palm Of One’s Hand.
It was still seven hundred meters to Fuyuki’s large bridge. Two shadows raced atop cars, scattering sparks. Archer and Saber.
Filling expanses of ten meters or so at a time with leaps propelled by explosions of magical energy, Archer broke into combat with Saber without pause. Once, twice. Steel clashed. Kanshou, alone, continued to receive the blows made invisible by Invisible Air.
The backwind sliced through bamboo. Saber’s sword, wielded with incredible speed, made a howl like a tornado and struck deep into the area around the wounded Archer, but merely seized a piece of his flesh. The blows would not amount to a lethal wound.
Saber’s volley of attacks was essentially gunfire with blades. Every down swing brought with it an explosion of magical energy that gave the sword far more intense acceleration than the mere stroke; when it struck it’s target, it gave off enormous amounts of kinetic energy. A dagger receiving it head on would warp, and with a sword the wielder’s arm would be tormented with pain.
Quality over quantity. The attack was a shell of certain death. Having passed through battlefields while crushing the iron armor of each of her opponents was exactly how she had obtained that deadly technique. It was Saber’s strategy.
However, even bullets of such a caliber would not be enough to guarantee victory in a mutual battle between astute Servants. The speed made it simple, the destructive power made it easy to read; she had a literal “scabbard” to mask these weaknesses, the Noble Phantasm “Invisible Air”.
Her sword work was invisible. There was nothing more dreadful than this in close-quarters combat. Overwhelming power and speed, and invisible swordsmanship.
Invisible Air would not be a minus factor in the battle for Archer, however. Her sword, Excalibur, was the one sword he knew the most exhaustively about. Its length, shape, weight. The user’s range, and methods. He knew all perfectly. Consequently, under the battle conditions in stasis, it would be impossible for him to be defeated by Saber.
His skill at taking advantage of the battle’s circumstances, his mind’s eye- exceeded even their difference in physical abilities. If lodged into a stalemate where movement was unreliable, the arena was his. Even if one arm would not withstand an attack.
An attack on his left hand. Just like he knew the palm of his own hand, Archer’s defensive sword work widened the distance between him and Saber. There was doubt on her face- and impatience.
“Hmm? What’s she in a hurry for? …That’s not like her at all. But there’s nothing I can’t use.”
“What’s wrong, Saber? Heh… Bothered that your proud Noble Phantasm is useless?”
“…? Hm. What do you mean by that? This should be the first contest between you and I.”
“Well, I am the Servant of the bow. I specialize in reconnaissance and sniping over in-fighting. Just maybe… I saw one of your battles somewhere, Saber?”
Saber’s expression hardened at his words. Doubt and irritation. Just what did her opponent know about her? That suspicion would inevitably appear in her swordsmanship.
“Then I shall simply exceed what you have learned.”
Cleverly, he had gotten Saber fired up for the match. She’d gotten caught up in it, as usual!
Archer, while on the defensive and fully aware of his opponent’s abilities, could not endure blows possessing power greater than any cannon for much longer with his one arm and one sword. From the beginning, Archer had been wishing for this moment when victory would be decided rather than a battle of attrition.
Saber’s sword was a one-hit kill. When that power was at its fullest. At that very instant.
Ringing steel. He simply countered, waiting for the blow that would destroy Kanshou.
The beginning. Due to the loose footwork that had let him escape from the impact, the blade intercepted flowed to the left.
The countered sword’s force remained, slightly shifting Saber’s stance to the left, but by bracing her flowing body and right foot, she forcibly restored it, and she swung an attack as she turned around to destroy both Archer and Kanshou.
But Archer was not there. She perceived only the holy burial cloth. The discarded red wrap disappeared into the darkness. Archer’s form had disappeared. Obviously, he could not have vanished. He had gone around to Saber’s blind spot.
A flash! Spinning like a top around its center, a car’s luggage rack slammed into Saber’s body.
What had occurred was simply harnessing their crossing. With the assistance of the charging strength of the armored plate on her upper right arm, he had tripped her up into going onto her pivot leg. The strength of the charge of Saber, who wielded a sword with a velocity akin to a bullet- He utilized it, and lead it… The energy of Saber’s own charge was all in an instant turned into a blade to attack her own self. It was unavoidable.
A mixture of superb and perfected close quarters combat and incredible dynamic vision that made combat possible- a kind of hand-to-hand technique learned by soldiers. Archer’s many years on the battlefield had not been for show.
He would not let the chance escape. He would crush the back of the collapsed Saber’s head in no time.
Jolted by the impact, a crushed and warped rack. It moved to crush Saber’s body. But, it was avoided. Turning over immediately, her right arm guard protected her head. A terrifying defensive instinct.
But even then, this was a large gap. Now was his chance to escape!
Three hundred meters left. Without a moment of hesitation, Archer kicked off the bed of a truck and leapt to a nearby car. If he made it all the way to the bridge, he could dive into the water and escape. In its darkness, she would likely be unable to track him. But-
His gaze raced back, and discovered Saber, standing astride the roof rack. She appeared to have recovered already.
Archer was amazed. Her tenacity was like some creature from a horror movie. When he had been her Master, she had not nearly been such a monster. He unconsciously made a bitter smile at the indication that he had been a truly lackluster Master.
Two hundred meters left. Nothing distracted him now. Archer focused only on hurrying on. But he felt a chill creep up his back.
“…? What the-!”
Unable to neglect the feeling, Archer stopped and turned his head.
What lay behind was mayhem. The fury the calamity Saber had brought forth. Wind. A wind of death.
“Invisible Air- Full Release.”
Together With House Husband, Part 2, Chapter 34.
Basic ability, skill at close-quarters combat, offensive strength.
There is a large difference in all between the two. He may very well know the full scope of her power, but confronted with Saber, an short range combat expert who has deployed her Noble Phantasm, the disadvantage is clear.
Cleverness will not obtain the finishing blow. He is a bowman. The finishing blow lies entirely in tactics.
Therefore, Archer may have moved nimbly to escape, but…