Together with House-Husband, Part 3, Chapter 1 – Where the wind doth blow
On the side of the road, in the trees, on top of the iron bridge. Everywhere, their repulsive bodies were squirming.
Midway along the Mion River, bugs hidden in thickets on the river side sensed a howl that rocked the earth and trembled. Devoid of eyes or ears, the insects relied solely on their mouths to perceive the figure.
In the middle of the river, an enormous swarm of shadow advanced, blanketing the water like an oil spill. One by one, the shadows, as large as two houses combined, formed a herd and proceeded down the Mion.
The shadow’s structure was beautiful in how it was ordered, depending on how one would see it. Though rather than a herd, it was better to call it a battalion, having organized itself into groups to subjugate this strange land, much like the ancient legions of old.
Yes, just as if the shadow was proceeding forthwith to wage war, it rallied itself and pushed on down the river.
With a light bump, an insect landed on the body. Several streaks of arrows flew from the flock of shadows, one piercing the insect deep within it’s body.
As if nothing had occurred, the shadow continued to advance. It’s target the lower reaches of the Mion, Fuyuki Bridge.
The shadow’s objective was obvious. It had challenged the king in battle, and would crush the foolish knight into pieces-
“I’ll get going, then.”
He gave Rin and Sakura’s heads a gentle brush. Standing in wait for him on the sun deck were Saber and Kiritsugu. He would defeat them, and withdraw from this place.
They tried their best in front of Archer, but Rin and Sakura could not hide their fear of the two enemies waiting in the wings.
This was a full-blown battle between sorcerers. An inhuman battle that employed the highest class of Ghost Liners. No matter how they struggled, it was murder, a battlefield of death. It was natural that they were frightened.
“Are you afraid?”
“…Yeah… A-, aren’t you… Scared?”
“Oooh… I-, it’s…”
“…It’s alright. It’s alright to be frightened.”
Their eyes went wide, and they stared at Archer’s face.
“Magicians and Servants alike are both frightening beings. There’s no difference there. They kill and are killed, their lives ruled by battle.”
“B… But, we still like you, Archer!”
“O-, okay, enough. I understand, to don’t say it over and over. Honestly…”
Archer made a slightly embarrassed smile. He narrowed his eyes and looked into the faces of his kind masters.
“But I want you two to understand. I want you to understand that that’s what the world of a mage is like. No matter how pure your motivation, it boils down to that. Yet, that resolve, the ability to trample over someone else’s wishes, someone else’s life, cannot be gained in a day.”
“You can’t become someone like that, able to consider such things so easily.”
“And that’s why. On the long road that starts from here, in case you find the path you have to take, or the course you should pursue, you have to develop the necessary feelings within your hearts.”
“For your future, for that which you wish to become, you should give nothing but your all. I’ll protect you for the sake of that future, so it’s alright if you’re frightened now.
After he spoke, the two frowned. Even if he told them it was alright, they did not want to worry him. Archer heaved a sigh and lightly poked their foreheads.
“But you know, being scared all the time isn’t good for you. That’s why I’m going to teach you a secret to conquering your fear right away.”
“I-, is there one?”
“It’s easy. Just think about really tasty food.”
“Let’s say for… tomorrow! I’ll make anything you two want.”
“Huh? R-, really!?”
“Yes, anything. Start thinking.”
The two flashed their smiles. Originally it had been a method of calming a pouting lion, but it seemed quite effective on children as well. Archer made a satisfied smile as he looked at the now recovered Rin and Sakura and then stood.
“I go forth now. Forth to protect these smiles.”
The knight in red once more took up his sword. Not for just himself, but for those important to him, and to keep on illuminating the path before him.
“I’ll be back, my Masters.”
“…Okay! See you later!”
“…Good luck, Archer-san!”
Cheers of unmatchable trust at his back, Archer strode forth to the battlefield.
Together With House Husband, Part 3, Chapter 1.
The knight sets forth.
The dream was always testing the bearer. A hand continued to reach out form the bottom of the darkness.
But he wavered no longer. No matter how strong the wind, he would protect others. He would stride forward, strength in his heart.
So go. Go to protect the tomorrow of those precious to you.