There is a moment.
…There is a moment when I want to call out to her, but my voice does not work.
Yggdra does not look back.
She reaches out to the energy pouring from the Grail, and I can feel it connect to her will.
It will answer her if it is able.
Before I can do anything.
There is a great light that takes my vision away, and the ground rumbles ceaselessly beneath me as if to steal my senses—
…I open my eyes and look upwards.
Well, I’m saying it at a time like this, but Fuyuki is certainly very different in the spring.
It is the middle of April.
Students head to school now that the new year of classes has begun, all the trees are in bloom, and cherry blossom petals waft through the air.
It’s a purely Japanese tradition to appreciate the spring thus and it’s been refreshing to experience such a thing in the country of origin.
…On top of which, there are still festival booths set up here and there throughout Fuyuki, giving it a bright and hopeful atmosphere.
There is a tug on my sleeve, and I suppress a smile.
…It seems my companion would rather gorge herself on sakuramochi and other sweets than contemplate the cherry blossoms themselves.
—It has been over a year since then, and I am still in Fuyuki.
…There was a time when I returned to France.
It was temporary, over the time that I couldn’t bear to be here, and it was mostly to let my family know that we had indeed won.
…I never needed the Holy Grail myself, and neither did they.
The honor was in knowing that I had secured victory for them.
My grandfather smiled at me.
…He’s very old now, and his presence has softened over the years.
His hands were knobbled with age as he stroked my hair and praised me.
It is the only time I can remember his doing such a thing.
…It was very shortly after the Grail War that I fell ill.
A lot of things were happening that time, and most of the burden fell to Ein and Rose as the contacts of the supervisor.
I did what I could, but in the end I couldn’t take the stress very well.
About a month after that ordeal, the Tohsaka family head came home from London.
She had graduated from her schooling at the Clock Tower and came home dragging Lord El-Melloi of the Magic Association.
The young lady Tohsaka complained a lot about us messing up her house, and Lord El-Melloi complained a lot about people messing up his handiwork.
Since they arrived, things got settled.
…And then they spent a great deal of time sitting together with all of us and complaining all at once over cups of barley tea and video games, of all things.
We would sit and have informal conferences about how to handle the aftereffects in the residence of Tohsaka Rin’s relatives, the Emiya family.
Ein and Rose were given permission to continue living in Fuyuki, as were the rest of us.
…Once the stress vanished, so did my ability to keep everything at bay.
My physical condition crumbled.
I developed ulcers and my strength disappeared.
…Apparently it was from the depression.
But there was no helping that.
…Without even anything but that single look of shining farewell, the girl I loved disappeared from this world.
At the same time, a number of wars across the world were settled with cease-fires and treaties, and looming world conflicts smoothed over.
Diplomacy has continued to reign in the year since Yggdra made her prayer to the Holy Grail, and I don’t think that her wish is something that should be regretted.
What weighs heavily on my heart is that the loss of her tore me in two.
My family cared for me when I couldn’t care for myself.
Messages of support came to me from Ein and Rose in Japan.
It’s not as though the grief lessened, it’s more as though I got used to it.
…It’s not as though we can’t meet again.
It will be extremely difficult and I’m not sure that she will remember me, since the “Yggdra” that appeared in this place was just a copy of her, a record that will be transmitted to herself within the Throne of Heroes.
……But it will be many, many years until that can happen.
…With that possibility faint in my mind, I want to focus on the things that I can do.
I doubt that this peace can be held together by the Holy Grail alone.
Humanity is too stubborn a creature to be influenced forever.
If we really wish for peace, then humans have to work to maintain it.
…So I want to join in for that effort.
It’s the dream of the girl I love, the dream I too want to believe in.
…I want a world where even she can be saved.
It took several months for that urge to awaken in me.
I’m not strong or sure like Yggdra.
…I’m no match for her, so it took a while for the waves of my selfishness to abate on the shore that’s my heart.
…I started to get in touch with my connections to see what I can do.
Apparently the Tohsaka head’s brother-in-law specializes in that type of thing as his second priority in life, so here I am again.
Vienya is with me now too.
She’s acting as my apprentice.
…What I want to do isn’t to become a hero or something grand.
There are other people, more heroic people like Yggdra, who will stand at the vanguard and protect peace.
…Those are people like Ein and Rose, and like Tohsaka and her family.
As for me.
I’ve always had a gift to heal.
…I’ve neglected it until now to train to my family’s specifications, but now that the Grail War is over I have more freedom.
I contacted the hospital outside of Fuyuki.
…I asked to help with Vienya’s treatment as we knew each other.
It all started from there.
I’ve been studying anatomy as well as musty old tomes by great sorcerers who were past my time, and even the works of a great magus who has gone underground after receiving a Sealing Designation.
…At first I was given a lot of basic tasks.
Some of them weren’t even connected with healing at all, like tracking down her lost familiar, which makes me sigh even now.
…Eventually I was able to become of use.
Vienya herself has regained most of the use of her right arm.
We were able to regenerate her nerves to some extent, and the rest of the use is simulated by creating a special Magic Circuit that can manipulate her body to nearly the same extent as her nerves would normally.
…And after that, since she’d heard the whole story, she volunteered herself as my assistant immediately.
We contacted and got the permission of her guardian, an incredibly old man with sharp eyes.
…Vienya’s body is still small, but surprisingly she doesn’t have that much longer until she is actually an adult in the eyes of society.
She is enrolled in the same high school as Ein and Rose right now, and apparently her rivalry with Rose is the main form of entertainment among the tiny group of young magi studying in that place.
It’s been over a year, and it’s April now.
Yggdra’s absence is like a physical pain in my chest.
…But because I love her.
Because I want to be able to hold my head up if we meet again—
I will continue in my own way down the path that she wished for me to walk.
The cherry trees are in bloom.
Vienya and I walk down the streets of Miyama side by side.
…For every three sakuramochi she eats, she offers one to me or to the ragged bird on her shoulder.
We’re going to meet up with the head of the Emiya household soon.
We’re going to talk to him, to decide our cooperation in the days from now on.
…With the pride of the Branthèse family behind me and my love for Yggdra still overpowering me, I will run through the days ahead of me.
I will run without looking back, and I will carry my regrets until I can accept their burden more easily.
…So as not to lose out to the girl beside me, who is still carrying a few more boxes of food to be polite.
There is a rose so purple as to almost be black pinned to my lapel.
…And in my hand…,
…a bouquet comprised of tiger lilies.
They’re not a gift for our hosts.
…They’re more of what you would call an offering.
Well, as participants in the previous war, I’m sure they will understand—
I look up towards the distant sky.
It is pale blue.
…This sky will eventually darken, and almost reach the color of her eyes.
—If it takes my entire life.
I will chase after that color.
I will show her my resolve, and present to her the “something” that the two of us made together, the future I will build from today onward—