Together with House-Husband, Part 3, Chapter 3 – A Mighty Opponent
Sharper than even the cold wind of Autumn, a presence that froze the very soul ruled this place. It was an inhuman pressure that would kill a living being. Inside dwelt two heroes, devoted wholly to destroying each other. Archer and Saber.
Death would be the sentence of the one who struck second. There was space for neither to expose their true selves. No matter how quickly, with this space and the degree of their strength, the “chance” would be simply be exposed and sensed, and before their Noble Phantasm was activated, they would be destroyed. All was wagered on a single stroke to pierce the enemy’s defenses. It all came down to one thing: a simple contest of strength.
Archer gazed at the lion in front of him. There were no gaps in Saber’s figure, her holy sword leveled at his eyes. In the sphere of sword technique, there existed no Servant who could match Saber. Incomparable physical ability, resistance to magic to cancel every form of sorcery, horrifying intuition. And the divine weapon, Excalibur. The mightiest of phantasms in her hand took Saber’s strength to an entirely different level.
No matter how superbly powerful the Servant may be, challenging Saber to a battle based on sword technique would mean defeat. It was an undeniable fact. Naturally, were he to face her as a swordsman, Archer would fall too.
The opponent he would have to fight was not Saber. Archer’s enemy was his own self. For him, the battle was about one thing only: how far he could hone that one ability.
The hero of iron, Emiya- was neither a fencer nor a bowman. He was an steel worker. A man who forged swords with illusions as their marrow. He did not have a gift for the sword, nor an any particular aptitude as a magus. Facing an existence who had mastered both in the realm of battle, defeat was inevitable.
Then who could he do? What was Emiya’s trump card?
He was a hero of wrought iron. All there was for him was to continue forging the blades inside of himself ever firmer, limitless steel.
Yes- Unlimited Blade Works.
He turned his senses towards his two readied swords. His beloved weapons, Kanshou and Bakuya. They could achieve Emiya’s unique finishing blow, exactly because they were his closest companions who had walked alongside him for so long. The one truth that only they could express.
Yes, his partners. Their impossible moment of unveiling had come.
Red and blue faced each other. The frozen air encroached their respective fields and chilled their flesh. Their five senses honed to the utmost felt for their opponent’s thoughts and waited for the moment of truth. And then-
Archer began the challenge. Transforming the entirety of his accumulated power into propulsion, he charged like a bullet.
The inhuman charge that filled the space between the two in less than a second was met casually by Saber. Kanshou met the holy sword dead on, a tiny crack forming in its blade, but just as he had intended, the entangling sword stroke had blocked Saber from starting.
The next hand. Immediately, the freed right hand with Bakuya slipped past the side of the holy sword, aiming for Saber’s neck.
But with a flick of holy sword that hand been restrained by and knocked back Kanshou, the attack was blocked. In return, the holy sword swung downwards.
T’was an tyrannical blade- one that would rend his body in two if it struck him. Anticipating her counterattack, Archer agilely moved in with his right hand, thrusting Bakuya as he dodged the attack.
The blade aimed for Saber’s face was dodged with a backwards step and cut through air. But Archer’s objective had not been to attack. Without killing the energy of his rush, he stepped in slightly like a boxer and nimbly circled around to Saber’s back. A secure attack position. A frontal assault would be no contest against Saber, so Archer’s victory lay in surprising Saber somehow. Kanshou flew out towards the side of Saber’s face.
But Saber repelled the left hand blow with the handle of her sword without even looking. Defense that could even sense a leeway- the attack had gone just as Saber predicted. Drawing back half a step at the same time she intercepted the attack, Saber looked back and swung her holy sword towards Archer’s side.
A diagonal slash, and then the backdraft! Two blurred golden paths coming simultaneously with her mighty instep. Receiving them straight on would shatter Archer’s blades. He backed away half his length and freed his body from the attack’s radius, the first stroke passing just in front of him, and the second now targeted at his legs evaded with a spring of his feet back towards Saber.
He had not completely avoided it, and pain raced through his side. Saber’s attacks were fast becoming something beyond his own expectations and defenses.
“Heh… Like I thought, stretching it out’s a dead end… In that case-”
Archer filled the space between them and thrusted at Saber’s face as he stepped inward.
Saber evaded the counter-like attack by lowering her body. Archer took a nimble step back and opened up the space again.
It was no contest. She appeared to have learned from the previous battle, and defended relying entirely on her dispatched attacks. The limit and extent of his own abilities and battle technique had likely been understood. The same methods would no longer apply in the second battle.
“…Heh. Well, that’s fine. If I’m going to lose, I’ll make a show out of it.”
At the very moment when he feels the earth against his feet, he leapt straight towards Saber.
Even meeting the stroke he had put all his strength into did not shake Saber. Instead, Archer’s weapons shrieked from the very pressure of the holy sword.
But, of course, that attack was fake. Everything went right down to the choice of techniques in the previous struggle- it was a lure.
In a similar fashion, interception of a powerful impact from the front made greater strength necessary. Saber’s body, after receiving his full out attack head on was now in its “true” state after a strong force had acted on it.
Without a moment elapsing, Archer entered his “false” state. All of the force that had been directed at Archer was directed forward, and Saber took a half step in like she was falling forward.
Swaying and maintaining the flow, Archer slipped around to Saber’s side. Immediately, he released and caught Saber’s body with a roundhouse kick!
Her lungs struck, Saber drew back. Not letting the opportunity escape, Archer leapt back and threw the treasured swords in his two hands- Kanshou and Bakuya.
Dual swords flying like boomerangs while they revolved. Due to the incredible weight both swords possessed, they would sever flesh and crush bone when thrown. The two firm blades flew and cut through the air, their aim true as they soared towards Saber’s head. An attack unleashed with the timing of a certain death- but.
One blow- just one blow. The two swords swooping down simultaneously from left and right were shook from their orbit and sent flying into the distance.
Together With House Husband, Part 3, Chapter 3.
A Mighty opponent.
The blue dragon that cut down all hopes and dreams and continued to protect its country. That will and degree of talent are outside the ken of man. To crush the ordinary man that challenged them- that was the principle of the strong. No matter the purpose they may hold or the power they might possess, it would not be overturned.
However, the man will not submit to that. If principle would deny his very self, then he would create something surpassing that logic. He would have to walk forward.