Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 36 – Curse
Let us go back to a few days ago. A few days after the explosion at the Fuyuki Department Store.
Archer had gone to the church, keeping it a secret from the children. He went to search for confirmation of the beginning of the Holy Grail War and details of the situation.
The fortunate warden, Kotomine Risei, had been associated with the elder Tohsakas. His son, Kotomine Kirei, had in quick order acquired an amicable relationship. If you were prepared to receive some emotional damage, he was a man par excellence as both clergy and agent, and if all went well, Archer had a plan to possibly request his cooperation.
“So you finally noticed, Bowman.”
Kotomine Kirei’s first bit of speech sounded amazed. He lowered himself into a seat in front of the two-person altar and spoke, facing away from both the bowman and himself.
“What kind of warden are you, exactly? If that’s the case, who knows how many people the Servant of that established magician… Has consumed.”
Indiscriminate slaughter by a Servant. It was an unforgivable taboo by the rules they had established. Sorcery was to be hidden. Victims could arouse suspicion in others, and thus were unacceptable. The results of Archer’s investigation were focused on the vicinity of the Fuyuki Department Store, but there had been five missing people.
An unusually large deviation for the area for simple missing persons’ cases; the length of the incident seemed short, the people many. The information may have gone unreported, but the severe nature of the incident made investigation a matter of time. No, it had already begun. If it hadn’t, it wouldn’t have been so easy to check.
The words he directed at Kotomine could be very well be said to Archer himself. Who was he to call himself an ally of justice? He had to end this- immediately.
“…I’ll thank you for the information. Well, what business do you have for me today, Servant? Penitence for the victims of regret that lie in your heart? Or have you perhaps come to ask for the safeguard of the children you won’t be able to fully protect?”
Archer laughed. The priest sarcastically distorted gossip and spoke nonsense. Me, unable to protect children?
“What was that?”
“…Hm? You should know, Bowman. We may rarely meet, but this is a neighborhood. I’ve seen you walking through the area together with the Master’s daughter’s quite often. It’s quite amusing, in fact.”
“So. What business do you have with me, O Servant of the dead of war? If it concerns the latter incident, I will gladly take responsibility. This trial… Is far too cruel for them. Those girls are so young. They’ve come so far without staining their hands with blood.”
The young priest continued to speak while seeming to take pleasure in observing the changing expression of the Bowman. As if each word exposed some vague fear the Bowman harbored, he opened up his heart.
“…Shut up. I’m the one who came to ask questions. A house of God is a place to seek help for what troubles you. I’m not here to listen to your sermon.”
“…How impolite of me. Not answering anything after you have taken such pains to come here undetected would make me a failure as a priest. I will answer to the best of my ability.”
Archer began asking questions. Kotomine knew several things.
The battle had already begun, and seven Servants and seven Masters were gathering… The status of the substitute grail from the Einzbern family was unconfirmed… Traces of battles between Servants had already been discovered, and it was very likely there were already some losers. And so forth.
“…You answered more than I expected. This is an odd turn of events, isn’t it?”
Expecting no worthwhile information, Archer had reaped a harvest beyond his imagining. Especially the whereabouts of the Holy Grail. The Einzbern Master possessed it. There were strong signs to that effect. If he seized it first, it would be useful for attack and defense.
“…Well. Then it pains me to say I have one thing left. A gift of curse for you to take.”
Archer sensed danger in the rejoicing smile of the priest. He furrowed his brow and glared at him. The priest shrugged his shoulders at the menacing gaze and smiled bitterly.
“It would appear that you have lost your chance this time. I am a mere onlooker now. Well, it’s only proper to accept that.”
“…? …Hey, what?”
The information he had gained from the priest was undoubtedly of worth. Gazing in satisfaction at the discouraged, tall red figure, the priest smiled once and looked into his eyes.
“In this battle. You will hurt all that you try to protect. You will hurt them… Deeply.”
The priest’s calm smile held the answer for the Bowman.
“Bowman. You exist as an Heroic Spirit, and therefore you were called by the Grail. Why did you become a hero? What did you achieve to become so? I can not know. But. Of one thing I am certain.”
…Yes, what the priest had to say. In his regrets, absorbed in reminiscence, the Bowman now knew so well it pained him.
“Are beings that could never be born in peace. They kill and kill and kill. Devoted to their own dream, a domain where the only the faithful arrive.”
The dark eyes, sharper than any arrow, pierced the Bowman.
“Bowman. What you seek, the way to protect the peace and the hearts of those two-“
A way of choosing someone.
“For the way you have lived, it is impossible. The methodology a human whose hands are stained with blood can take is merely what he knows.”
And then, he smiled.
“So, what can you choose, Bowman? The time will come. Even if it destroys those children’s young hearts, you’ll choose to dirty your hands with blood, and fulfill your own dream.”
Kill and kill and kill, and the peace built atop the corpses was his accomplishment, his final result. What he could achieve was to protect by killing, a course of action soaked in blood.
This was the hypocrisy of the ally of justice he had sought. Faster and more efficiently than anyone else. A savior of the many bringing battle to a close, an enemy of the few.
Showing that way to the girls would be-.
To those immature smiles. Those kinds grins.
How much would it hurt them?
“It may be possible to hide “it” from them forever.”
It was impossible. As long as he continued this way. As long as he lived by defeating an enemy, killing someone and seizing victory.
The priest poured further derision on the frozen Bowman and left his seat.
“When you do choose that, I’ll pray. Pray that those angelic little faces aren’t covered in sadness. That they aren’t troubled by those lost lives. I’ll pray, and wait.”
Yes, priest. Your prediction had come to pass. The man who had lived as a murderer, developed himself into one firm blade, made the worst possible choice.
Hurt others, unable to kill. And now the precious people left behind were perishing.
“A great curse—”
Together With House Husband, Part 2, Chapter 36.
Despite his years, the priest adept at striking at the hearts of others identifies the irregularity of the Knight of the Bow.
A question that seemed as if those who had lost their chance blamed those who had gained it cut deeper into his heart even more than battle.
Always in his heart, a question directed at himself. Ever since that day.
Those festering words, akin to a curse that dwelled within the Knight of the Bow, pulled apart their three hearts and continued to torture him, even now.