I hear footsteps, and the heavy sound of an old door as light pools in through the cracks.
Say, wasn't I…
"Good morning, Se-Oh!"
It's Sakura's voice. I don't feel like getting up, but if she went out of her way to come here…
"...Morning, Sakura" I roll around and open my eyes, only to see Sakura staring at something.
"Is something the matter, Sakura?" I turn my head slightly to follow her gaze.
Sakura turned to me with a strained smile. “Nothing’s the matter, Senpai. Where’d you get that mirror from?”
I think about it for a moment, my brain desperately rewinding to figure out where it came from, until finally -
“Oh! I remember seeing it in a dream, so I just made it.” I get up.
“Well, I suppose I have to go make breakfast. I don’t want Fuji-Nee to burn the house down trying to cook.”
Sakura cocks her head to the side. “Senpai, it’s 6 in the morning and you haven’t changed out of your work clothes yet.”
I look down at myself. “Oh! Thanks for reminding me, Sakura. I guess I forgot. I probably passed out when I was making this mirror.”
“Mirror? What do you mean, Senpai? There’s no mirror here.” Sakura smiles at me. “Make sure to give me the jumpsuit you’re using to work so I can wash it later.” She walks out of the room, but not before saying, “Oh, and I think Fujimura-Sensei started making a salad…”
After I change into my uniform, I smell something burning in the house.
I wonder how far Fuji-Nee got with that salad? As I get closer, maddened screams echo through my ears, as I look in front of me to find smoke coming out of the house, with hints of fire licking at the windows.
I rush inside, leaving my jumpsuit in the shed. Sakura can deal with it later.
I make my way to the kitchen, where the disaster is happening. Right in front of me, I see Fuji-Nee, a pot full of water (and a bit of lettuce), attacking the flames like a tiger.
“HAHAHAHAHAHA! YOU UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF TAIGA FUJIMURA-SENSEI!” Fuji-Nee was rapidly pouring water all over the flames in the kitchen, attacking them like her prey. “I’LL DESTROY YOU AND USE YOUR CORPSE TO LIGHT CANDLES!” She brought up a huge pot full of water, and destroyed the fires, using the last embers to light 7 candles. The kitchen was still burned, though.
Fuji-Nee turns to me so swiftly, I almost mistake her for an owl. “Oh, good morning, Shirou! I think I made a little mistake with the salad, and now we can’t use the kitchen anymore.”
Fuji-Nee’s face slowly contorted with the realization of what had just happened.
“SHIROUUU! HOW ARE YOU GOING TO COOK FOR ME NOW? THIS IS SUCH A DISASTEER! WAAAH!” Fuji-Nee falls to her knees, crying and shaking her fists. “I DON’T KNOW WHAT HIGHER POWER IS OUT THERE, BUT I’LL NEVER MAKE A SALAD AGAIN! I PROMISE!”
Sakura runs into the kitchen with a fire extinguisher, seeming perfectly ready to use it, before suddenly stopping in her tracks, a surprised expression on her face. “Oh? The fires here are already out?” She slowly put the extinguisher down, revealing the singed hem of her skirt. “Well, the kitchen still seems damaged, so I suppose there’ll be no breakfast today…”
“NONSENSE!” Fuji-Nee yelled. “I’M HUNGRY! I WANNA TASTE SHIROU’S COOKING!”
We ended up having bread and butter, since we couldn’t really cook anything with all the cooking appliances burnt. Fuji-Nee was silent the entire time. It was definitely a very sad scene, all of us sitting outside eating bread...
Fuji-Nee ended up letting me stay to clean up the house, but…
“Senpai! Please let me clean the house for you!”
“Sakura, it’s okay. I didn’t even cook today, so think of it as me making up for not stopping Fuji-Nee before disaster.”
Sakura looked at me with determination in her eyes.
“Senpai! You’ve been overworking yourself! Let me do this for you! You passed out last night, Senpai! I want to do this.”
I sigh. I don’t want her to feel like she has to work in order to be valued, but she’s very passionate about this.
“Alright, Sakura. I’ll leave it to you.”
Sakura smiles happily at me.
“Thank you for understanding, Senpai.”
Sakura bows, and walks away.
I make my way to the entrance of the house and dial Issei’s number.
“Emiya?!” Issei’s surprise is clear. “What are you calling me this early for? Has there been a dire emergency?”
“I guess you could say that. Fuji-Nee burned the house trying to make a salad. Listen, c-”
“FUJIMURA-SENSEI DID WHAT?!”
“Yeah, Fuji-Nee burned the house. Listen, can I stay at your place for a while? You can walk through my house, yeah, but it’s a bit uninhabitable right now. Um, I’ll cook for you. Fuji-Nee let me skip school today, so I think you can stay behind too if you're letting me stay. I think she feels bad. Ah, you don't have to stay behind though, with your student council duties a-"
“Are you hurt anywhere? Do you need medical attention? I can go to your home right away to walk you to the temple. Emiya, your safety is of the utmost priority. It is true that I value my work, but not enough that I'd leave behind a friend in need.”
“It’s fine, Issei, I can handle myself. I won’t be a bother. Thank you.”
“...Take care of yourself, Emiya.”
“Same to you, Issei.”
I hang up the phone.
I make my way to the steps of the Ryuudou temple.
Issei greets me with a worried face. It looks like he was waiting for me.
“I told Fujimura-Sensei you’d be staying here. Are you alright? No burns?” He pulls down my sleeves and takes a thorough look at my arms.
“Hmm...Everything seems to be in order.” He nods. “Well, considering our friendship, we can share a room. I have set up a futon next to my bed, so you may sleep there.”
Issei eyes my back. “Where are your things?”
I’m a bit surprised by the question. “Oh, I didn’t have anything too important to bring. If there’s anything I need, it’s probably in the shed, and that hasn’t burned down.”
“PREPOSTEROUS!” He points at me dramatically. “Emiya, have you even eaten breakfast?”
I think for a moment. “I had a bit of bread and butter.”
Issei looks down for a moment, then looks me in the eye.
“Emiya. You should eat properly.”
“Hm? Oh, Issei, are you hungry? Well, since we’re not going to school, I suppose we can cook something with what you have, right? How about we try making omurice?”
Issei’s stomach growled in response, and he looked away, his face a bit red.
“Well, I suppose we have the ingredients for that.” His voice trailed off a bit.
I spent most of my time walking Issei through the process - we had quite a fun time. Eventually, we ended up catching the attention of the other residents of the temple, and spent hours making a whole lot of omurice. It was tiring, but fun, in a way.
I check the time, and...
“Eh?! 3:30 already? Issei, I have to go to work now. I’ll be back soon, okay?”
I set off to work.
Well, it’s not like I have to show up if I don’t want to, but the boss is really nice, and I’d hate to think of him having to split all the work between him and his daughter.
As usual, none of the other employees showed up, so we spend a few hours restocking inventory. It’s a kind of calming experience, and we have small talk for a while.
I get paid much more than usual, which I found difficult to accept, but it’d be rude not to. Although, it feels like I’m forgetting something…
Ah! My jumpsuit! It should probably be in the shed.
I walk the usual route to my house, and -
“Oh! Tohsaka! Um, good evening.”
The black-haired girl’s blue eyes fixate on me.
“Evening, Emiya-kun. Ah, I heard from Fujimura-Sensei about the house. Are you going to be alright?”
“Yes, I’m going back to my shed to pick something up. Thanks for asking.”
“Alright. Oh, and I won’t be at school for a while. Don’t worry about me, I have things to do.” Tohsaka flips her hair, and continues on her way.
...Well, being an honor student, I suppose she’s right, but that was definitely a strange conversation.
Actually, A bit too strange. Is Tohsaka okay? I feel like I should check on her. She might be in danger. Considering the type of reputation she has, I doubt she’d turn to delinquency.
I tail her from behind.
She enters her house, and it looks like she’s safe. I was about to walk back, until -
I grab a branch from a nearby tree and begin to enhance it.
It takes a bit of focus, but I get the job done without incident.
I break the lock and enter. It looks like it’s coming from somewhere really far down, perhaps the basement. I rush downstairs, leap to where the light is coming from, and -
“H-uh? Emiya-kun-?” I feel my body being brushed by Tohsaka’s arms.
I see a flash of blue before hitting my head and passing out.
When I come to, I’m outside the gates of my house.
“Huh? How’d I get here…?”
Well, I suppose this was my destination.
I get up, dust myself off, and continue towards the shed. The door opens with a loud creak, the jumpsuit missing from where I left it on the floor. I turn to a moonlit section of the room to keep looking.
In a corner of the shed, is the jumpsuit. It looks like Sakura cleaned it and left it there, draped over something. I take it off, and underneath it is the mirror I made earlier with my magic.
Come to think of it, I haven’t practiced magic at all today, have I? I sit down in front of the mirror, wondering where the idea came from. I turn it around. Most of what I’ve made so far is hollow and simplistic, but this mirror is surprisingly detailed. The back in particular. It almost looks like a shield.
I hold it to take a closer look, but then -
Something - no, someone - in a flash of white light, begins to appear in front of me.
She’s - mesmerizing. With her beautiful flowing purple hair, her wonderful legs, arms that flowed down almost like majestic rivers, and a face beautiful enough to be full of soul even when her eyes were covered - I couldn’t even think to wonder why or how she had even arrived.
“You summoned me, master?”
I don’t know who she is, but I must have done something with my magic to summon her. In that case, I suppose I’m responsible for whatever happens.
“Ah - I guess I did, although I wasn’t really trying to.”
She turns her head up for a moment to think, hair shining in the moonlight, glittering like the scales of a snake.
“Then, you have no interest in the Holy Grail? The artifact which can grant any wish?”
It’s an interesting prospect.
But, I made my decision a long time ago.
“What I would wish for is something I can bring about on my own, so I don’t think I need one. Since I did summon you, I can get whatever that is if you want it.”
The woman pauses, and shakes her head.
“No. You seem to have a good heart, however. By summoning me, you’ve brought yourself into a dangerous situation. Are you ready to accept that, even if there’s no reward?”
I don’t even hesitate. It’s my responsibility for summoning her, after all. “Yes.”
“Then, let us work together. I am called Rider. Who might you be?”