Together with House-Husband, Part 3, Chapter 5 – Wish
*Thoom, thoom! …Shung…sss*
A flash. Archer’s attack blew away the lion’s body, sending it flying. Saber struck the deck and collapsed.
“Ha wah wah…”
The mouths of everyone present opened in shock. The swordsman Saber and the bowman Archer. The strongest of Servants who had chosen the sword, and the one who essentially wielded the bow. The result of their contest should have been obvious. It should have been apparent who would be humbled in the dirt.
But, in the end, the one standing was the bowman. It was Archer.
The silence broken, the first ones to move were his masters, Rin and Sakura. Their large eyes strained with worry, they looked at the person they loved. In their gaze, they saw Archer turn his face towards them, and make his usual cynical smile.
The smile both loved calmed them.
He had finished the battle unwounded. He was within reach. And he had protected the promise. It all relieved them.
Kanshou and Bakuya in hand, Archer turned towards Kiritsugu.
“Emiya Kiritsugu. This time I’ll have you discard those Command Spells.”
Kiritsugu silently extracted the Jericho from his pocket. But Archer’s eyes did not overlook the subtle tremble in his arms. Kiritsugu’s arms were not fully healed after all.
“…Give it up. From the previous battle and now, you should know you can’t win.”
“Shut up. If you want to stop me, kill me and be done with it. But… Don’t think you can do it so easily.”
He ground his teeth together. He had produced a result. Victory and defeat were clear. But, even so… He could not stop Kiritsugu. He could not stop the dream more precious than Kiritsugu’s own life.
Kiritsugu had often left young Shirou behind and journeyed. He had continued to pursue his dream almost to the verge of death, saving others while calling it an adventure. He had gone on until his own body was in ruin; even then, he had lived for the sake of others. He did not know just what had held him up for so long. But it was impossible for him to throw away the dream he had chased after for such a long time. He could not abandon his way.
Archer readied his swords. Kanshou and Bakuya shined dully. Their points thrusted out.
So, in the end, this was the only way method he could pick-
Scraping his teeth together, he glared at Kiritsugu. Raising his trembling arm, Kiritsugu leveled a gun pointed at Archer. At that moment, the approach of battle drew near once again, and fires raged.
“…a…Uhh… Stop… Archer…”
An agonized moan resounded from the deck. It had come from the collapsed Saber. The direct hit from the dual blades had not severed Saber’s thread of life.
She twisted her body and raised her upper half. Her breastplate was completely destroyed, gruesome wounds stretched across her abdomen, her condition serious enough that a normal human body would now be immobile. She possessed astonishing regenerative ability, but the wounds she had received were nearly fatal. Full recovery would take tens of minutes.
But even unable to move, a lion was a lion. Even with blood flowing from her mouth, the strength in her eyes had not been extinguished; they stared in front of her, at the back of the victory.
“Why did you not finish me… and demand Kiritsugu relinquish his Command Spells? I am the loser, Archer. If you kill me, it will end here. Or… Are you mocking me?”
He had heard that question before. It was the same Kiritsugu, defeated, had thrown at Archer at the end of their battle. Overhearing Saber’s query, Kiritsugu also looked at Archer.
He turned his head and gazed into her beautiful azure eyes. In them was hatred and doubt.
If the wish Saber had once desired at not changed, then perhaps the Holy Grail was everything for her now. Battle to obtain it was all. Even after destroying countless lives and dreams at the ends of strange lands, it was to grant the final wish hidden in her breast.
“Then- When I drew out the holy sword, it should have been a better king, one who could have saved their country, unlike me. …That’s why, if I can redo the selection of the king with the power of the Grail, I will return that time-”
Those were the words she had spoken that distant day. A desire to change her fate, and erase the Camlann stained with blood. To erase herself, and create a new king- a wish to destroy herself.
Her existence was no different than Archer’s until a short while ago. In despair at their results, and finally wishing for their own annihilation; she was exactly the same as Archer.
“…Mocking you, huh. Sorry, but I didn’t become a Heroic Spirit to kill people.”
“…? Surely you must be aware of the system of the Holy Grail War. We kill each other, battling until only one is left standing at the end. That is the Fuyuki Servant System; you must know that.”
“Yeah, that’s right. Exactly.”
Yes, he had gone into battle knowing that. Originally, the Holy Grail War itself had been pointless to him. But now he no longer sought the Grail for a different reason.
Further irritated by Archer’s attitude, his motives opaque, Saber seethed hatred, and spoke as if spitting out each word.
“Then, why did you challenge me to this battle? You have a wish you want granted. You have one you must have granted…! That’s why you were summoned, right? Or do you not desire the Holy Grail…!?”
Together With House Husband, Part 3, Chapter 5.
The end of the battle. The bowman who took up his swords once again to fulfill his promise is assailed by the words of the king of blades.
Do you have no wish you desire?