KL ~Chapter 5~
Chapter 5: Preparations for War 2
Note: Suck it, Writer’s Block! I’m back!
Thank you Fate Revelation Online by daniel-gudman. Read it folks!
Shirou Emiya snapped awake with a grunt of discomfort as he found himself on his front porch, the sun shining down on him. He was alive. The very notion of such a thing, after encountering that smothering presence brought about by the oddly dressed woman, seemed almost alien to the Spellcaster.
Truthfully he was tempted to dismiss everything as a dream. It would have been so much easier to do so. But no, he couldn’t assume it was a dream…not when the sword of the Generous King rested next to him, sheathed in a scabbard he did not recognized but seemed fitting. Running his fingers over the scabbard and white hilt, he could feel the song of Dyrnwyn resounding in his ears after so long and feel the noble blaze of its fire dancing on his finger tips in delight.
But if it wasn’t a dream then Sakura really did get kidnapped by some Magus and he had no idea how he got back or what happened to her. He had failed in the end, and that frightened him more than the notion of being at the mercy of a Magus who could have done Root-knows-what to him while unconscious. He had failed to save his Kohai and best friend’s sister.
“Senpai?” said a soft voice from behind, gentle with a touch of concern that Shirou recognized all too well.
Shirou whipped his head around so fast that there was a cracking noise and he strained it, but he found the pain worth it as he stared into the violet eyes of Sakura Matou. She seemed unharmed and safe, which allowed him to breathe out a sigh of relief. “Sakura, are you okay?”
Sakura tilted her head in feigned confusion at the question. Her grandfather, through the worms that swam through her body, had instructed her to play along like nothing happened and claimed to have modified his memories to keep him from being involved. While Sakura had so many questions, like how he managed to reach her there, she followed his orders so that her beloved person did not become drawn into their family affairs. “What do you mean?”
“What happened yesterday,” he clarified, testing the boundaries of her recollection.
“We had dinner and watched the stars,” she stated.
Does she not remember? Shirou wondered. Then he entertained a thought when he recalled that Fuyuki was under the protection of another Magus, even though they were the same age. Reginald’s actions would warrant her intervention he supposed, depending on the circumstances. If it was the Second Owner of the land who rescued us then she would have wiped her memory. But if she knew about me…no sense in worrying about it until Tohsaka brings it up. For now I’ll just be grateful that Sakura is safe.
The ringing of the phone followed the train of thought. Excusing himself he went to retrieve the phone. “Emiya residen—”
“Emiya!” Shinji’s voice came over the phone, sounding more than a little annoyed. “You’d better have a decent excuse for keeping my sister over at your place all night without a single call!”
Shirou winced at the tone. “Shinji, it was an accident I swear. We had just stayed up for a bit watching the stars, nothing inappropriate happened. ”
Shinji scoffed over the line. “Fine, whatever. Listen, something’s come up so I need for her to stay at your place for the rest of the day.”
“That’s no trouble at all, she’s always welcomed,” Shirou stated before Shinji hung up the phone. It was obvious to him that Shinji was feeling less than pleased at the circumstances since he hadn’t called to tell him that Sakura was alright. The Matou siblings always did look after one another’s wellbeing with earnest interests.
But it wasn’t like he could tell him that she had been kidnapped. Still, he probably should apologize for keeping her all night and get stronger so that something like this never happened again, but for now there was a more pressing matter on his mind. He needed to go back to get his motorcycle and investigate the site of where the battle occurred.
Turning back to Sakura, he told her she could stay while he ran out for a chore. Eyeing the foreign steel resting on the veranda, he decided to bring it along as well. Just in case.
Getting back to the scene of the previous struggle was somewhat of an issue, due to the fact that his main means of transportation was at the location already, but he eventually made it there. While his motorcycle was undamaged, the building itself had been thoroughly burned down within the confines of a boundary field, leaving Shirou to assume that it was indeed the work of the Second Owner of this land.
Still, that presence that appeared before him and severed his consciousness haunted him. He couldn’t let it go. He needed to know what it was, so he looked to the blade for an answer. Kneeling in the grass at the site of the destruction and taking the blade into his hands, he uttered two words: “Trace. On.”
His consciousness sunk into the blade and through its history once more. The tale of the Generous King was too far in the past, but the present held answers as he traced from the moment the Mystic Code was lost to the moment it was retrieved, buried beneath the earth until found by that very presence that had smothered him before. Thus he listened and listened closely to the tale.
Buried, earth to all sides without a wielder after the Generous King met his end. Sleeping within the earth like a womb it awaited for centuries to be found. Then there was a tug of magic, older and far more ancient than the blade itself. This magic forced the blade to surface from the womb it was in and into the hands of a man who was also a Magus, Reginald Adeliz.
“So this is the blade of the Welsh King?” he said, gingerly fingering the blade.
The woman from before, the smothering presence in a human form, nodded her head from beneath her hood. “Yes, Master. It is indeed an interesting Mystic Code. Quite befitting of one of your stature and nobility.”
He made a noise that may as well have said ‘Of Course’, believing in her words as they fed into his ego. “Well done, Caster…”
The name broke him from his trance and pulled him out of the memory that was within the blade. Caster, one of the classes of Servants in his father’s tale of a war that had come and passed, only leaving destruction in its wake. The event itself was something Kiritsugu had often glossed over when it came to recalling, the acts in which he did many things that he regretted and ultimately had a single shining point—Shirou being saved.
When Shirou expressed his fears of another such thing coming to pass and all the lives that would be lost, Kiritsugu had stated that another war was fifty years off at least and that he had taken measures to interrupt it. But it seems like there was something wrong if a Servant had been summoned already. Another Holy Grail war was starting.
The question was: What could Shirou do?
Should he enter? He didn’t have a wish that the grail could grant. He only wanted to prevent that nightmare from before being repeated. He didn’t want another incident where bodies would be twisted by the heat into abstract shapes, the air dancing so that you couldn’t tell who was alive and waving for help or corpses that would never move again.
He just needed to save as many innocents as he could, keep them off the battlefield, and limit the collateral of the war. It may also mean that he would have to be ready to face and possibly kill those that came for the prize of the grail, just like the one who kidnapped Sakura for some reason. Kiritsugu had taught him that, but he prayed he never would have to.
First things first, he needed to know what he faced in the first place. That meant he would have to comb over his research as well as any major incidents that happened during the last war. With that decided Shirou hopped on his motorcycle and made for home once more.
Little did Shirou know, after the line was cut, that Shinji’s annoyance was due to the stresses of the events of last evening.
To start with, his sister had been kidnapped and Shirou presumed dead. That alone got his blood boiling and urged him to do something, to take up arms and fight like he had planned against Rin eventually.
Then he learned that this was the prelude to a war that shouldn’t take place for decades. The same one that had claimed his Uncle Kariya years ago and left him a broken man before his death. Sakura was almost turned into a puppet for some Magus and they were apparently dealing with a Caster Servant.
Then he learned that not only had the Old Worm known this was happening and he was manipulating events so that he could throw Shinji or Sakura to the dogs, but he had apparently been contacting his Aunt behind his back and searching for an artifact to summon a Heroic Spirit to fight for the Matou. He knew that his Aunt hated the man with a passion so pure it could be holy and, with any luck, purge him from the world considering that his Mother, her sister, was fed to the bastard’s worm.
“A little warning would have been nice!” Shinji snarled under his breath as he worked on restoring Zhuque back into a condition it could be used to its fullest again. If he had known about the war coming a year ago, or even a month ago, he could have made more shikigami or studied more or planned accordingly and add safe measures to ensure Sakura would be okay.
But it was too late for that now. All he could do was make as many preparations as he could for the time being while combing over his notes for the Holy Grail War that were transcribed onto his laptop. But notes, as thorough as they were, wouldn’t be his saving grace during the war. He needed experience that could only come through memory.
He needed to see the war from the perspective of someone who lived through it…aside from Zouken. The things that evil bastard had been up to would no doubt haunt Shinji’s nightmares, which were already cringe-worthy for all the Hell that Sakura got put through. No, anyone but him.
To that end he made contact with the only known survivor of the previous war within the Clock Tower, one Lord El-Melloi. Best of all he did it through e-mail. It made for a discreet method of sending the inventory list of everything taken from the Manor that had been considered trade-worthy and would be exchanged in order to attain something more valuable—memories from the last war.
The Magic Crest from Reginald was the main selling point. He had kidnapped a scion of the Matou clan and was slaughtered, so his Crest would be handed to Lord El-Melloi II, who would no doubt sell it back to the original family for a hefty profit under the table and in privacy so that they did not have to bare the shame of not only losing their Crest, but having to buy it back. Of course, he himself could use the extra money from the exchange towards a nest egg for his projects should the Archibald house decide to cut their funding.
There were some hitches, of course. It would only cover general events rather than personal ones, the Magus had been insistent on that, as he stated he needed the memories as reference point for future generations. That was fine, so long as he saw the battles in action and the tactics of those involved, but because Shinji knew how to bargain and Zouken had an invested interest in the outcome in this war in particular and knew of the previous Head of the Archibald family’s perversion of the system he had put into place, he managed to secure additional research by claiming that, as the family that came up with the Command Seal system, they needed to patch up any exploitable loopholes for the next war.
That perversion, Shared Mastership, was going to be a key feature. Even if Shinji hated to admit it, he would not be able to win this war on his own. Kariya held the capacity to use a Berserker, but Shinji was an artificial magus piggybacking off his father’s circuits that only bonded to him because of his mother’s sorcery trait. Sakura, however, could support a Servant.
While he would keep her off the battlefield and minimize the amount of strain put on her so those damn worms weren’t agitated into feeding off her more than usual, he needed her help so that he could save her. But the Matou family always entered the war and Rin Tohsaka would not be fooled into thinking that it wasn’t Sakura if she bore the command seals. So he would bare them, hide them somehow during school since Rin believed he didn’t possess circuits or skip school entirely, and then act in disguise as a Master to eliminate the competition.
Rin, of course, would be killed during the war. That was inevitable and he would see to that one way or another. The question was whether or not he would kill Rin first and how he would do it.
She had abandoned Sakura completely, choosing the Art over family. Not even at school did she treat her like a friend, nor even mere acquaintances. She was ignorant of Sakura’s pain and suffering, her longing for what she had lost in exchange for continuing a dying line of abominable Magecraft. The war, quite frankly, gave him an excuse to kill her off without incurring the wrath of the Mage’s Association for usurping one of their Second Owners and give Sakura everything that she lost as the last of the Tohsaka.
But at the same time she was a known quantity, her family arts were within the confines of the Matou Library, if not the secrets of how their mysteries worked. He had already been working on counter-measures for anything she might be able to throw at him, with the exception of whatever Servant that was summoned to her side.
At the same time Shinji had to admit, begrudgingly, that she was most likely a better Magus than he was a Spellcaster. She had her family crest, while he only had faulty circuits that would drive him to an early grave in exchange for the benefits they presented. She could be better used by letting her eliminate the unknown enemies…
Well, it’s not like he needed to kill her personally, right? There would be five other Masters besides him and her, so chances are someone else would bump her off. Then again, Shinji felt that her death would benefit his purpose greatly if he was the one to do it.
Then there was the Old Worm, who wanted the grail more than life itself. Sakura and his to be exact. Quite frankly, Shinji would be a damn fool if he said he trusted the worm that walked to release Sakura considering all the things flowing through her. No, he needed some way to deal with Zouken as well. If the Grail could grant any wish, then he could wish that the Old Worm was dead, that Sakura was normal without those things inside of her, and who knows what else.
Then there was Caster, whom Zouken helpfully informed him had not been taken into the grail upon the death of her Master. She was still around, somehow, probably leeching the life and soul out of someone else to sustain her existence. While from his notes he learned that Casters weren’t the most offensively inclined Servants, Medea was from the Ages of the Gods and knew things that would make most modern magi foam at the mouth for the chance of learning. Not to mention she could sustain herself off others far easier if she tapped into a leyline.
Again, it depended on what Servant Shinji would summon. If the Magic Resistance was high enough then he would move to kill her himself with his Servant. If not, whoever had the highest would do so eventually, with prodding if necessary. As for the rest…well, Shinji did have a few advantages providing that the Shared Mastership could be duplicated.
For starters, he wouldn’t need to support his Servant so prana moving through his circuits wouldn’t give him away. Sakura had a far greater capacity than him, so she could have anything short of a Berserker going at full strength. Also, if something should happen to him, the Servant wouldn’t fade with his death.
Next was the fact that he didn’t use the Matou mysteries. Using Eastern Magecraft, even though it was merely patchwork, rather than the craft that the Makiri brought with them to this land would leave anyone who witnessed it completely clueless that it was him as long as he kept his face hidden. While in his guise the conclusion they drew would most likely be that he was a third party hired to fight for the family that lacked a capable combatant.
In terms of armaments, the shenfu were about as good as single-action spells, and his fuwen could be inscribed on the moisture in the air to realize mysteries. The larger shikigami could serve as combat assistance and transportation. Fang Yin was coming with the catalyst and his new Mystic Code as well. But would it be enough?
No. No, it wouldn’t. He needed several fallbacks.
Fuyuki was where he lived and breathed, he should make use of that. As long as he had time before the war began he could map the area thoroughly and set up bolt-holes with bounded fields to use appropriately. Storing some emergency supplies and aids within them could mean the difference between life and death.
Then there were those scrolls he appropriated from the temple, one of which held a Formalcraft from Onmyoudo that he could use since he had just finished reading up on it. But it required him in the center of the circle until it was ready to be used and he was still trying to figure out a way past that, like if he used a simulacrum or effigy and ran a pass through it. It would be ideal if he could place it over a leyline, but that probably would be the first place any Magus inspected and the pass could be used as a means to curse him or attack him directly.
Shinji’s thought process was cut off as he coughed violently into his hand. Pulling it away he observed the scarlet hue painting his hand and focused on downing the contents of a gourd to ease his pain. That fighting last night had potentially worsened his condition, either from the pounding he took or whatever it was that made his head feel as though a sledgehammer hit it.
He shook it off so he could move to the table with his laptop and pull up a map of Fuyuki, along with a similar one scanned from some old documents laying out the spiritual hotspots from the Matou library. He could scout the potential sites out personally after Archery Club…
Actually, he may need to withdraw from the club. He could practice in private and he needed as much time as possible while he could still get it. As long as Rin didn’t suspect him of being a capable of using Magecraft it wouldn’t look too suspicious, not when his frail health was already a known fact and was the reason he would miss school for several upcoming days after tomorrow.
Shirou found himself up earlier than normal the proceeding morning of his revelation that the Holy Grail War was potentially starting up again. And he was frustrated more than ever as he swung Dyrnwyn around at targets that weren’t there. He wasn’t ready for this and he knew it. If he didn’t move his body the frustration of knowing that there wasn’t much he could do at present would leave him distraught more than he could allow.
At present Shirou was a failure as a Magus in the limited scope of what he could do. It wouldn’t be anywhere near enough to deal with another. Kiritsugu just didn’t have enough time to teach him.
While he had left behind his exploits, many things that left a foul taste in Shirou’s mouth at the details of what he had done and for what reason, the bits of the information on the Holy Grail War Kiritsugu compiled before the war took place only contained limited information, such as on the class system and what was at stake—a wish that could be granted upon defeating all other Servants. The only other thing of importance, and perhaps most distressing, was the names of the three families involved in the creation of the war itself.
The Tohsaka lineage was down to Rin as far as he could tell. Most likely the representative of the Einzbern family would be the very person that Shirou had been asked to save. The last was the Matou, meaning that either Shinji or Sakura would become his enemy.
A part of Shirou couldn’t believe that one or both of them were part of a bloodline that practiced the Art. From what he knew it was common practice for only one in a bloodline to inherit their traditions, while the other would be locked out of the loop. While he had to confront them on this before the war began, he had known them for some time now and never once did he entertain the thought that they were a part of this world—for the sake of the Root, Sakura was still asleep in one of the guests rooms that morning.
While he didn’t think that either one of them were the type to catch innocents in a fight, magi wore masks with great ease and the people he thought he knew could be entirely different. Granted, it seemed far-fetched, but he could never be too careful. He could only hope for the best, but he needed to be ready to take action if they were being particularly unscrupulous and killing off innocents for the sake of power.
Even if they weren’t amoral, they both would probably need help in the long run. Shinji was frail in health and Sakura was timid, neither of which seemed like an act to him. Even if they had a Servant to protect them, the rigors of combat would put a strain on them and endanger them. But, while he was good enough to deal with those things that attacked him during his attempts at a rescue, it wouldn’t suffice for against a Servant.
In the end, the only way he would most likely be able to help them or stop them if necessary, shield the innocent, and prevent an incident similar to that Hell he walked through once before would be to participate in the war itself. To do that he needed to enter with a Servant of his own, but he didn’t have any clue as to where to begin since the general notes on the war didn’t contain the summoning ritual.
Pushing the string of thoughts out of his mind, Shirou took a deep breath and prepared to delve into the sword once more to draw from the experience that dwelled inside of it and allow it to guide his movements. More practice, followed by a shower and breakfast, then school.
The classes passed fairly quickly for all those involved and Shirou, Sakura, and Shinji found themselves in the Archery Club later that day. Among the constant sound of bowstrings being stretched and released, with the thumps of arrows penetrating targets of cloth, was where Shinji broke the news to the Captain of the club, Ayako Mitsuzuri, alongside his oldest friend and sister.
He spun a tale of his condition worsening due to stress among other factors and he needed to rest in accordance to his doctor. Thus his grandfather had ordered him to leave the club out of concern for the wellbeing of his grandson, despite knowing how much he liked it. They had argued about it, but Sakura had also asked that he withdrew from the club as well out of her love for him.
“So, you’re withdrawing from the club for good?” she asked after he summed up his situation. Her tone stated she could tell there was something more to it. Maybe the fact that he told such a blatant lie about his grandfather being concerned for him, something that even he had trouble trying to fake despite his skill in spinning tales without Magecraft, was what made her skeptical. But since Sakura was there and her face was one of obvious concern, she believed in it enough. “Well, I suppose it can’t be helped.”
“It’s only temporary,” he assured her. “Just a month or two, so that my condition gets better, and it’s not like I can’t visit once in a while. I don’t like it any better than you do, but the Old Wo—Man, won’t budge on it and you’ve never had to deal with Sakura crying. Even I couldn’t disobey after that, even if it means the club loses my magnetic appeal that drew in so many recruits and made so many people take up the bow upon becoming the Vice-Captain.”
“Oh no, however will we cope,” Ayako said in a dry and plain tone. Taking a deep breath, her expression softened to that of a soft smile. “Well, your narcissism aside, it’s good that you’re taking care of yourself and we will miss you for the time being.”
Shinji returned the smile with a mischievous one aimed at Shirou. “As for my captaincy, Emiya will serve as a good enough substitute until I get back on my feet.”
Shirou looked skeptical at that. “Wait, me?”
Ayako put on a rather smug smile as she looked to the aforementioned substitute. “Yes, he’ll do nicely. Everyone knows he should probably have my captaincy, but he’s been avoiding it. ”
Shirou held his hands up and tried to deny the position. “Hold on, we all know I’m not suitable to teach others like you two and—”
Shinji placed a hand on his shoulder and cut him off. “Now Emiya, you wouldn’t dare turn down a request for help. Especially not that of a sick friend who only wants to ensure that his place is taken care of by the most suitable person, would you?”
“Ahh…” Well when put like that, suspicions of Shinji being a Magus or not, he couldn’t just refuse. Still, in one futile attempt, he looked to Sakura for support.
She merely brought her hands to her face and hid a gentle smile behind it as she said, “Congratulations, Senpai.”
Thus he was defeated and acknowledged it. “Fine, I’ll do it. It’s not like Fuji-nee can be mad at me if I’m late with dinner because I’m taking a role in the club she’s supervising.”
“Excellent,” Ayako stated. “Let’s commemorate this moment, shall we?”
A few minute later all four of them stood out on the shooting range that was cleared for the moment, standing with the sun overhead as they were poised to take a photo. Ayako stood to the right of Shinji, her shoulder pressed against his as he rested an arm around his sister to the left. Sakura was leaning into Shirou at Shinji’s insistence, blushing as the Emiya stood there relaxed with a bow in his left hand. All of them were smiling, unaware that this would be one of the few peaceful days in the upcoming month that they would look back on fondly.
After the photo was taken, with copies to be made for all four of them later that week, and the rest of the club period passed without incident, Shirou approached Shinji near the end and asked, “Shinji, can I talk to you in private after I finished cleaning up?”
“That’s fine since I wanted to discuss some things with you as well.” Shinji looked to the sky, a pleasant shade of fuchsia that marked the arrival of the evening twilight hour that lay between sunset and dusk. In a way it called to him, reminding him that he may very well be in the twilight of his life with the impending war. It would make the perfect backdrop for the discussion he wanted to have with him as well. “I’ll be waiting on the rooftop, so don’t take too long.”
Shirou diligently cleaned the club room in haste to meet up with Shinji on the rooftop. Since Ayako and Shinji became the Captain and Vice-Captain things were usually kept at a level where it didn’t take him as long as it did in their first year of the club, allowing him to help out around the other parts of the school and add to his title as the ‘Fake Janitor’ of Homurahara Gakuen. So, after thirty or so minutes, he found himself out of his club uniform and into his school one, climbing the stairs to the rooftop exit.
In a way, the rooftop made for an ideal place to confirm if it was Shinji who was the Magus in his family. The appearance of a Servant and the sudden decision to leave his responsibility as a club vice-captain indicated that the Holy Grail War was indeed looming. Thus he couldn’t put it off if he was to be proactive.
He thought about bringing some kind of weapon, a bokken or shinai for example, that he could reinforce in case Shinji proved to be put off by his discovering that he had kept such a thing from him for years and attacked. Magi did not like to be deceived, even though they often relished doing the deceiving, hiding in plain sight amongst the rest of the unsuspecting populace. But it was Shinji, a friend of his who he had known for years.
It may have been a foolish hope and something that Kiritsugu would have definitely loathed, meeting with a potential hostile unarmed, but…Shirou wanted to believe that all these years meant something and they could talk it out. He wanted to believe his somewhat selfish and narcissistic friend was still a good person. Resting a hand on the door handle, knowing that Shinji was on the other side, Shirou took a deep breath before he opened the door.
The hinges groaned as the metal swung and light poured into his view from the sun that was almost completely beyond the horizon, blinding Shirou for a moment. He shielded his eyes with his hands until the sudden effects from the natural flare faded. It was then he saw Shinji.
The eldest Matou child stood at the fence at the edge of the building with his hands in his pockets. His bag was leaning against it as he looked through to see the skyline while dusk approached, showing his back to his oldest friend. There was a gentle breeze that swayed his blue hair with a spattering of white strands and rustled his clothes.
“I really like it up here,” Shinji said without looking, knowing that it was him. “I figured I should burn this sight into my eyes since I won’t be in school and see it from this viewpoint until I get back.”
“So, you’re taking a few days out of school as well?” Shirou asked as he stepped onto the hard tiles of the roof and shut the door behind him.
“Yeah, things to do and people to see,” Shinji mused in an otherwise distant tone. “I should be back after a week or two, not that it’ll be a problem. It’s what’s happening in the long run that’s concerning me…and that’s why I wanted to talk to you like this, just in case. If it’s you then things will be fine, I believe…”
Shirou’s eyes narrowed. “Shinji…what’s wrong? If you wanted something you never once hesitated to ask. For you to do so now…”
Shinji pulled his hands out of his pockets and placed them against the fence. “Emiya…there’s a very real chance I’ll be dead before Spring rolls around. There’s no avoiding that, so if something happens to me…”
His fingers tightened around the fencing, the metal letting out a small rattle as it bent. “If something happens to me…promise to look after Sakura for me.”
A selfish final wish for his sister, whom he wanted to be looked after even beyond death…It was at that instant that Shirou began to curse himself for thinking, even once before, that Shinji could be anyone other than himself. “Shinji…”
“You’re a good person,” Shinji continued. “A stupidly honest person, but a good person nonetheless. You…you’re the only one who will stay by her side once I’m gone. She won’t have anyone else once that happens.”
“Shinji, I can help you,” Shirou told him. “I don’t know how much help I will be, not yet, but I can help you both. You and Sakura…”
“No,” Shinji stated firmly. He was readying himself to be involved in a battle between Masters and Servants, which wasn’t a place he would drag his friend. Not after he thought he nearly got him killed before with Caster. Not when he thought he was just a good, but normal person.
The eldest Matou sibling shook his head and turned to face him. “No, you can’t. There’s nothing you can do to help me besides a vow to look after my sister. That’s everything to me.”
And Shirou Emiya could see it clearly in his eyes that Shinji had given him his sincerest wish, what he wanted to protect. She was his happiness and losing her would leave him with nothing else. “I’ll look after her, Shinji. I promise.”
The tension in Shinji’s hands faded at that, his grip on the fence coming loose as his hands fell to his side. He turned to look at his friend and, even though he would never admit it otherwise, it could be heard in his tone that he was truly grateful having a friend like Shirou. “Emiya…thank you…”
“I’ll look after Sakura and protect her happiness, so…” Shirou continued as he pulled back the imaginary hammer of a gun in his soul. Shinji was being selfish whether he knew it or not. He was Sakura’s happiness as she was his, and if Shinji died so would Sakura’s happiness. Thus he made up his mind that this was the real Shinji bearing his heart to him, and he would give it his all to protect them both. “I’ll protect you both.”
He pulled the trigger and his Magic Circuits flared to life, the meshing of steel against steel resonating in Shinji’s head as his sense of sound registered the prana coming from his best friend. “I know what your wish is, so I’ll help you in the Holy Grail War, Shinji.”