Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 45 – For Someone’s Sake.
In Archer’s side… or to be accurate, from his inner abdominal area to his back, a giant hole had been bored.
He staggered from the extent of the injury. His conscious retreated due to the loss of blood from the impact. However, it would all be over if he fell to his knees here.
Opposite him, Kiritsugu’s leg was fixed to the with a sword, but he reached for something poking out of the his destroyed trunk.
With Archer’s current balance, defense was out of the question. Archer exploited the space, and just before the moment of truth- he leapt into the lobby in front of the toilets.
His back collapsed against the wall. He circulated his magical energy and began to close up the gaping hole in his flank.
*Scrape scrape scrape-*
He barely managed to close the hole in his stomach. This much power was not possible with a pistol bullet.
Innate Time Control. An act that achieved results through fantastic sorcery surpassing divine providence.
The bullet that had blown through Archer’s stomach. With the amount of normal energy the bullets fired from the Jericho carried, they could neither strike so quickly nor carry so much power. So, just what was the phenomenon that had given the bullet that pierced through his sword and bored through his stomach such enormous energy?
The energy that flying objects possessed depended on their weight and velocity. What had been altered here was not the weight, but the speed.
The speed an object possessed was acquired through measuring the time it took a moving body to move from one point to another. So did that mean the bullet that ravaged Archer’s side had its energy increased? Just what could alter the parameters of its speed?
Yes… the measurement time.
If an object moved, it would obtain a velocity, no matter how microscopic the range. The greater the speed of the moving object, the larger the energy it would have when it struck something.
…”Innate Time Control”… The basis behind this magecraft was that the integrity of moving objects were individually maintained, whereas the object’s innate sense of time (the parameters of its “innate time”) was decreased. Thus, the object in motion’s measured time is foreshortened.
It was sorcery that generated speed.
When applied to the speed of one’s legs, that very speed would surpass sight. If you applied it to a flying bullet, kinetic energy many times larger than before would be produced. That was the acquired technique known as “Innate Time Control”, said to be in the realm of magic.
Naturally, it was sorcery operating under the principles of fair exchange, and there were limits to the speeds it could generate, but speaking of anti-personnel weapons, there was likely no sorcery greater. For a human, evading and defending against that speed was impossible.
“Damn. What do I do?”
By widening their distance, Kiritsugu could always use it. If he leapt out carelessly, he would be shot. And there was the trunk Kiritsugu had been carrying-
“What if there’s something inside that can fire some kind of large rifle bullet?”
There would be no comparing its kinetic energy to the bullets from before. It would pierce through even Kanshou and Bakuya and destroy Archer’s body.
It would not end quietly.
“……Heh. Heh heh heh… What are you hesitating for, Archer? Just what did you regain after all?”
What had he regained? What had he decided to go through with?
A dream. In a world within his reach, he would protect the people he wanted to save. He would change tear-stained faces into smiles. That dream.
What would he pay for the sake of what he wanted to defend? What would he lose for the sake of the people he wanted to save? An enemy’s life, or perhaps an innocent life?
“I’ll pay. I’ll lose. After that, if I’m waiting for a future with no one crying, I’ll bet my life. And then I’ll win. I’ll smile… For others.”
He was prepared. In his hands were Kanshou and Bakuya, two mere imitations of actual swords. A pair of blades that had been along side him since the moment they had met. Comrades that continued to protect his life, no matter the occasion.
“Kanshou, Bakuya… To win this… To stop this… Fight with me.”
Of course, no answer came in return. But the simple blades seemed to say there was no need for such things. Simply calm and detached. They possessed an unchanging radiance.
“…Yeah. War buddies forever.”
Archer stood and carefully investigated the hallway. The straight corridor in front of the bridge continued on towards a fork at a T-intersection in front of the doors to the private hall. From there, it continued on towards a door on the side of the ship’s hull that was connected to the sun deck.
In addition, the hall in front of the bathroom where Archer was situated sat exactly midway from the straight hall leading from the bridge. Similar to the front of the bridge and the private hall, it was linked to both sides of the ship’s hull at the T-intersection. In other words, the passage in front of the bridge was structured in an upper-case “I” shape.
Escape would be difficult for Archer, trapped in the middle corridor, but if Kiritsugu wished to escape from the stern, he could do so at any time. So why did Kiritsugu not appear to be moving?
…Because he’s decided to finish it here.
“…Fine. Father, I’ll… Stop you.”
Bakuya for his head, Kanshou his heart. Archer prepared himself to protect his vital areas.
For a Servant acting with magical power, piercing the heart or smashing the brain, both crucial points for the circulation and use of magical energy, would spell certain annihilation.
But on the other hand, if he just protected those spots, he would not die.
He composed his body, and strengthened his legs.
He honed his sensations. He would show him his trump card, and make him regret not being able to kill him. Victory or defeat would come in an instant
He would do it quickly, incredibly quickly.
He would reach Kiritsugu.
That was victory for Archer.
Together With House Husband, Part 2, Chapter 45.
What do you fight for? What do you seek in battle?
There was a wish that could not be granted. There was a life that was shattered, over and over again. There was a dream that was seen through, even till the end, without coming true even once.
That was exactly why his own self that possessed a purpose would never make light of its value.
There was a will that could choose. There was a body that could hold out. He would bet it all for that. He would bet it all just to save someone.