Fate/Prototype: Fragments of Blue and Silver. Little Lady – Act 2

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“—Please enjoy the meal.” She said, the radiant morning light shining behind her.

Standing in front of the eastward window, she presented the dining table that was filled with various dishes, her voice more serene than that of the birds chirping outside, her mannerisms reserved if not diffident.

She was a lovely girl.

Sunlight seeped through the gaps of her soft hair.

Her eyes were pale and clear.

Her jade-green dress certainly brought out her charming features.

A single, radiant flower in full bloom—

He described the girl’s appearance as such in his mind.

If he were a refined knight well-practiced with ladies, then he would perhaps be able to offer impromptu praise for the girl’s beauty and whilst expressing his gratitude for the many dishes through prose or poetry.

However, he had to admit that he was anything but well-practiced.

Thus, he merely looked at the girl—

“Thank you.”

And shortly expressed his thanks, hoping his intentions would come across.

“Ermm, well…”

The girl’s behavior was bashful, but she replied with a smile.

“I was unsure about what you would have liked, so I decided to make everything that came to mind. Perhaps I made too much?”

“No, I am thankful for this.”

“Don’t force yourself okay? Please just eat what you like…” she reservedly said.

Her voice suddenly trailed off.

It had happened when her gaze shifted from him to the food arranged on the table.

“If you eat all this…”

Her expression was cheerful as a fairy prancing in the sunlight; like a broad-budded flower in full bloom wet with morning dew. However, that brilliance quickly faded. The fairies hid themselves and the flower retracted into its closed form.

Her gaze shifted. Her expression sank.

“Then…”

Most likely; before the mountain of dishes, he finally returned to his senses.

Surely, this quantity of food would be too much for the common person.

Eggs – bacon and eggs, scrambled eggs, poached eggs. Each amounted to approximately six portions. The poached eggs were also matched with a side of toast, which too, had six portions.

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Salads – a treat for the eyes with greenery as the base. Six portions.

Meats – sausages grilled with thick white mushrooms, also for six. On top of that, there was also a kidney pie made of cow offal, meats, and mushroom. It was most likely fresh out of the oven. The girl had told him that she would split the pie into six portions and for him to start with one.

The milk porridge too was six portions. A dish of fried cod and potatoes was also stacked in a pile before him.

For dessert, there was sliced peaches mixed with plums, with that in mind—

There was also a considerable array of scones and cream aligned on the cake stand for use after the meal.

Overall, these were unfamiliar dishes.

Each and every one were just names that he had been told by the girl that he attached to the visual before his eyes.

“I should have no trouble with this amount.”

“But—”

“Food serves as a knight’s vitality as they take to the battlefield. Having too much is of no concern.” He said with a smile.

Although the gesture was more to comfort the girl, in reality, this amount of food was not much of a problem at all; there was some truth to his words. A knight taking to the battlefield would require a great amount of energy. Meats, potatoes, alcohols – these foods would steel a knight’s nerves. It was a plausible train of thought.

However, all things had exceptions.

Not all of the members of the Knights of the Round Table would have agreed to such a saying.

Though at the very least, he had no hesitation in claiming as such.

“It’s not a lie.”

He swore on his pride and his sword.

To never let falsehood reside in his words.

“I shall have everything that you would treat me to, Manaka.”

 

Sajyou Manaka—

That was the girl’s name.

 

A while after breakfast began—

After around half the food had disappeared into his mouth did the girl’s cheerfulness restore. Her happiness would become all the more obvious when he told her that the food was delicious.

The fairylike and flowery presence returned.

A brisk smile floated on the lips.

Hers, as well as his.

“So you see—” The girl said, beaming with joy.

If flowers could speak, this was probably what it would’ve sounded like.

It was a sound worthy of this evaluation. Perhaps the girls of distant Avalon[1] would sing like this as well.

“In particular, I have confidence in the flavor of the fried-fish mixed with sour cream you know? If even Ayaka, who doesn’t like greasy foods, said that it was delicious, then it must be true right?”

“Indeed, that dish was particularly flavorful.”

“Fufu, I’m glad you fancy it.”

The girl’s eyes closed, as if she were relishing in happiness.

“This morning, I tried to make a modern… No, to be exact, I tried to make an English breakfast in the style of the 19th to the 20th century. I was thinking that it would be better to try for a more familiar taste.”

“Thank you, it was delicious.”

“Really?”

“Yes.”

“Really-, Really?”

“Yes, my lady. Your cooking was truly delightful.”

He repeated his words.

The girl’s smile broadened.

“That’s great—”

She tilted her head slightly, her hair swaying with her movements.

He, too, smiled in response.

In all honesty, he bore no intimacy with the concept of ‘England’.

However, the girl’s thoughts and feelings were conveyed through her efforts. It was already enough.

In truth, the meal had been delicious. Of the dishes he was now aware of, they were different from the ones that he were familiar with starting from the procedures. Perhaps it was evidence of the toll of time, if not the mingling and mixing of foreign cultures. He could feel the gap in eras from the food he placed into his mouth.

This undoubtedly weighed on his mind, but more than anything, he was grateful for her concern.

The girl could not understand the truth – his thoughts, feelings, beliefs.

Regardless of that, he would not hesitate to accept such a pure and innocent being.

She did not at all feel the tensions of the battle to come, speaking to him with a smile befitting of her innocent age. He would reply with a smile.

Then—

“Hey, Saber.”

“What is it?”

She had called him by name.

Saber gazed up towards her.

“I’ve come to understand one concept this morning. Well actually, I’m certain that I’ve always understood this.”

The girl nodded to herself.

“In essence, it is the same as cooking.”

Before he could ask ‘What is?’ her cherry lips opened to speak anew.

Softly, without a single change in tone, as if it were a natural manner of course.

As if it were a cup whose contents were emptied after being turned over.

“—The method for the Holy Grail War

 

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The Holy Grail War is in essence a conflict.

 

To us, conflicts and the like was never to be a focal point of our lives.

Originally, the path of a magus was for us to devote our lives in endless academic pursuit so that we may surpass our ancestors.

In the process of protecting our research or bloodline, there may have been clashes on the individual or societal level, but aside from extreme circumstances, it would be impossible for conflict to become a focal point of our lives.

 

However, there were exceptions.

That is, the Holy Grail War.

 

The reason for this is simple.

The Holy Grail could only grant one wish.

On the other hand, the magi that participated in the Holy Grail War – ‘Masters’ – were seven in number.

Six must be eliminated.

 

So we must prepare ourselves, for conflict is an unavoidable conclusion.

 

(An Excerpt from an Olden Notebook)

 

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“Cooking, the Holy Grail War, it’s all the same.”

The girl continued.

Cheerfully—

Like a flower in full bloom, without a hint of gloom.

“If it takes too much time, then we just need to apply our minds so that it doesn’t. A stew may seem like it rattles on forever as it simmers, but is that not easily resolved by using a pressure cooker instead? Such is the case with electronic mixers and ovens too.”

She raised her index finger.

The gesture was as if she was imitating a child having a bout of inspiration.

No, it was no imitation. The young girl before his eyes, did appear to have come across a good idea.

In just a mere moment, he came to understand.

The girl’s purity.

The girl’s innocence.

In her eyes, this morning’s breakfast and the Holy Grail War were of equal value.

Was that the almightiness felt by the young whose experiences were shallow; an expression of innocence that failed to grasp the severity of the Holy Grail War? Or was that a statement charged by her overwhelming talent and abilities?

It was most likely the latter.

If she had been chosen as a master at such a young age, then that was all the more so.

“Also, preliminary work is necessary. Personally, I believe that preparing before the fact is more important than anything.” [2]

She continued.

Now matching his gaze—

“Every servant is bound to be quite strong, so perhaps it would be the most efficient to target the master. To take that one step further, rather than target the master, if there exists a weakness more vulnerable than the person, it would be more efficient to target that instead.”

She continued.

Weakness — For the average magus, that would be their lineage. Family. Children.

 

“That’s why we should abduct their children, or perhaps murder them outright?”

 

He had been determined to stay silent. That was, until she said that.

At this juncture, he felt that he had to assert his voice. However, it was not to provide tactical or strategic advice to the magus that was now his master.

It was just—

“Manaka.”

That he could not bear it any longer.

That the young girl could acclimate herself with no affectation at all.

To the Holy Grail War. To murder amongst one another.

He would do whatever it took to kill the other six pairs; that, he had already decided.

Such was a given for any magus who wanted to be the last one standing in the Holy Grail War. Regardless of perspective, it would not change the fact that they were participating in a conflict with their lives at stake. For each of their wishes, magi and servants alike would commit everything they had for the sake of victory.

Even so—

“It takes courage to rise up to the challenge of battle.”

He rose from the chair and walked to the window a fair distance away from the dining table.

He did not plan to preach his knightly ways.

It was unlikely that a girl from the present, far departed from his own time, would be able to understand.

“You’ve certainly already acquired this courage.”

His words were not forced.

For his master was none other than this girl.

“However, we mustn’t involve those who are unrelated.
Young ones, powerless ones, all the more so.”

He said to the pure figure reflected in his eyes.

It was as if he were instructing a young child.

At the very least, he would guide this lovely young girl away from such an inhumane, bloodstained path.

Yet—

“This is all for your sake, Saber”

Her smile did not waver.

Like a flower wet morning dew, swaying under a cool and gentle breeze, her unchanging smile remained, blocking his words of remonstrance and his will that he had hoped to deliver.

Her glowing eyes gazed directly upon him.

“For my…”

“Yes, this way, you will not be hurt. As the rank-one, there is no reason for you to lose in a clash between servants, but even so, if you were to be wounded in battle—

The girl brought her hands to her chest.

Atop of the collar of her dress.

Her slender fingers slowly undid a button—

“I would be able to bear it. Also—”

She exposed what lay beneath her dress.

Her snow white skin, and a black pattern that had been etched atop it.

The seraph, a command spell consisting of seven plumes.

 

“I don’t want to use this, ever.”

 

She said, shortly, simply.

He could roughly grasp the meaning behind her words.

In a confrontation between servants, there may come a time where there was no choice but to unleash the great magical energy sealed within these command seals. There was no denying that such a situation may arise.

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This girl wants to avoid that?

Why — his gaze seemed to ask. Only then, did the girl’s expression finally changed.

 

—Her cheeks flushed red, with a hint of yearning.

—Like a lady confessing her love.

 

“Because this is my connection to you.”

 

—I don’t want to lose even a single stroke.

—Right now, this is my only definite connection to you.

 

As such, murmured the young girl—

 

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Command Spells.

The ranks of angels.

These were the keys to manage the penultimate of power that could eradicate any hindrance in its path.

In the Holy Grail War, each of seven magi are granted a weapon of unmatched power.

Seven types of heroic spirits.

The magi who had each received the rank corresponding to an angel are granted one belonging to one type.

We call these by the name of ‘servants’.

 

Beings that exceed the mysteries of magic.

The strongest of mankind’s fantasies.

Might that did not fade in the slightest even when compared to modern weapons that could flatten cities in a blink of an eye.

Figures that, originally, could not be employed by wielders of mystery of the likes of mere magi. Incarnations of grand heroes who had left their marks throughout history and became legends. Unrivaled existences that, for the first time, could be brought to the present realm through the unfathomable power of the Holy Grail.

 

Heroic spirits, although strong, were foreign elements.

Although much of the time they manifest as humans, that did not mean they were truly human.

 

Thus, command seals are etched onto the bodies of magi.

Fragments of the Holy Grail’s power that allowed magi to bring existences far beyond themselves, heroic spirits, under their submission.

Each magi bore three in total.

Thus, three times could a heroic spirit be coerced, or perhaps empowered.

Without these, a Holy Grail War cannot be established.

 

(An Excerpt from an Olden Notebook)

 

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“You said ‘efficient’, right?”

He spoke once again.

His memories were correct. Information regarding the expected identities of the opposing masters at the current time, which he had heard from girl and the magus that was her father yesterday, were carved into his mind.

He recalled that the current head of the prestigious magic household Reiroukan, who was expected to be a master, has a daughter about the same age as the young girl in front of him.

‘I’ve met her before’. ‘Although I’m not sure what she thinks of me, she’s something like a friend I suppose’, he remembered the girl saying.

After organizing the information in his mind, he carefully picked his words.

As a human, he should take the correct path.

As a human, he should guide others towards the ideal.

“You said that you would target the children of the other masters.
I don’t want you to perform acts that will bring harm to your friends.”

“You’re kind, Saber.”

“Manaka.”

“It will all be fine. You needn’t worry.”

“Human beings will always make mistakes, but you are wise.
Even if you don’t make the mistake of choosing such a path, I’m sure you will obtain the Holy Grail and realize your wish nonetheless.”

“Yes.”

She nodded with ambiguity—

She once against smiled towards him.

“If it’s for your sake, I’m willing to do anything.”

It did not reach her.

It could not reach her.

I’m sure that those were words of counsel, but conversation was not established. Why?

He could feel the restlessness welling in his chest.

Thus, he quickly came to a conclusion. He had to decisively express his intentions.

That is then—

“It’s not good to kill others, Manaka.”

 

 

 

“Why?”

 

 

 

That voice, those words.

The two gouged at his chest together with a great impact.

Neither a giant hammer swung on the battlefield, nor a dragon’s fangs that sliced the heavens or pierced the earth could match the sharpness of those words and feelings.

Moreover—

The fact that the girl herself did not realize its sharpness at all pierced through his heart.

But he did not give up.

Moments earlier, she had been talking happily. About the meal. About her sister.

Then there is still hope.

“For example.”

He pieced his words together.

It’s still too soon. It’s still too soon to give up.

“The time you had this morning, with your family, your father and sister.
It’s the same as that. I’m sure that, for the Reiroukan’s master, it—”

 

“What makes you say that?”

 

—A smile.

 

“I’ve already decided to offer the Holy Grail to you.”

 

—A pair of glowing eyes.

 

“I will grant your wish, just like how you wish to save Britain.”

 

—Accompanied by beauty.

 

“If it’s for that purpose—”

 

—Was a single shining flower in full bloom.

 

“I can do anything. I will do anything.”

 

—The girl.

—Merely looked at him, with a bright, gentle, smile.

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Notes

[1] Written as ‘The Land of Fairies’, read as ‘Avalon’

[2] The word for ‘preliminary work’ is often related to cooking. The closest French equivalent is Miss-en-place, a French culinary phrase which means “putting in place” or “everything in its place.” It refers to the set up required before cooking

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