Chapter 2-6

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VOLUME 4

Chapter 2

Ch2-6

The three of them began walking down the main street. Although Sieg and Rider had randomly gotten involved with other people when they were walking through the streets earlier (and Sieg had desperately stopped the joyful Rider from going out of control each time), now everyone they passed seemed to avert their faces from them.

It appeared to be because of Saber of Red who walked at their head… Certainly, her brutal presence, which could be clearly felt even from behind her, was unbearable for normal people.

“So. Just what on earth are you guys doing here?”

Saber of Red looked over her shoulder and asked them. The sullen-looking Rider had his arms crossed and his face turned away.

“We have no obligation to ans—”

“Rider was insistent on going out, so I was chosen to keep an eye on him. Ruler seemed to judge that he wouldn’t do anything too absurd as long as I’m with him.”

Sieg replied as if to restrain Rider.

“What’s your reason for coming to Bucharest in the first place?”

“I don’t know, but apparently it’s necessary.”

“Hmm,” said Saber of Red with a shrug. She thought about reporting this to her Master, but since he was in the middle of working, she decided to tell him later.

“I heard that Assassin of Black died. Is that right?”

“…Yeah, she died.”

Rider was still ignoring Saber, so Sieg answered instead.

“I see,” Saber murmured disinterestedly.

“So, why are you here in Bucharest, Saber?”

“I have no obligation to answer… Well, we thought it wouldn’t be good for us to continue staying in Trifas. That’s all.”

Though they had temporarily decided to work together, Trifas was still enemy territory for her and her Master. This answer which Saber’s Master, Shishigou Kairi, had given her was extremely valid.

“So, what did you want to talk about?”

“That’s right, Sieg. What do you walk to talk about with someone like this?”

“…You’ve been far too grumpy since earlier.”

Saber of Red murmured in amazement, and Rider of Black vehemently protested.

“What are you saying!? As if I could forget that you killed him!”

“Well, I don’t really care about it myself.”

“Hey, you should care, you know!?”

Rider of Black retorted to Sieg’s calm words. To Sieg, it wasn’t a problem since he was alive now. Of course, it was only natural for a victim to have painful feelings—to feel hate towards the perpetrator.

But this wasn’t the time for that right now.

They weren’t enemies right now, so Sieg had thought he might be able to talk to her a bit. After all, Saber of Red was Mordred—the Knight of Rebellion who had ended King Arthur’s legend.

She might have her own personal view about human beings.

Sieg wanted to ask her that. He didn’t want an answer from her, but an opinion.

“No, well, if you’re okay with it, it’s fine, but… All right, I’ll forgive you for having survived my Noble Phantasm. There, now we’re even.”

…Does that really make us even? Sieg tilted his head in puzzlement, but Saber of Red seemed to be in a good mood, so he decided not to comment.

+++

“Here, huh?”

Seeming to imply without words ‘This is the perfect choice’, Saber of Red quickly opened the door of a coffee shop. Sieg and Rider followed behind her.

“Welcome.”

A grey-mustached shopkeeper greeted the three of them in a somewhat brusque manner. Fortunately, there were no other customers to be seen. Though, since this was the state of the shop at lunchtime, they might not be able to expect good taste from the food here…

“Sieg, what will you have?”

“…A ham sandwich and coffee.”

“Then I’ll have the same.”

Saber of Red took a while to think over the menu she had been given before she spoke.

“I’ll have a grilled chicken sandwich, a green apple sundae, a seafood buster and beef steak, and for dessert, umm, three of these muffins. Ah, and a coffee too.”

Sieg and Rider exchanged glances, and then looked at the shopkeeper.

“…Miss, can you eat all that?”

“I wouldn’t order it if I couldn’t eat it. Do you have it or not? If not, instead I’ll have—”

When Saber was about to take out the menu again, the shopkeeper frantically stopped her.

“It’s fine, I’ll bring out everything you ordered!”

The shopkeeper headed back to the kitchen in a panic. It appeared he was managing the shop by himself, based on the shop’s smallness and old interior design. Fortunately, however, the shop wasn’t unsanitary.

“So, what did you want to talk about?”

When the shopkeeper was gone, Saber of Red immediately leaned forward.

“Do you mind if I explain it from the beginning?”

When Sieg asked her that, Saber of Red made a bitter face, but agreed as long as he kept it short.

Sieg first explained a little about his own origins—and then spoke about what kind of Servant Assassin of Black had been.

And by the time he finished briefly explaining the illusion Assassin showed him, their order arrived at their table in large amounts.

“…Before grumbling about other things, let’s eat first, okay?”

“All right.”

“Good idea.”

It wasn’t that Saber of Red was fixated on eating. Rather, since she had a contract with a first-rate magus, she didn’t even need to eat.

But that was that, and this was this. She was capable of eating. Moreover, she was a Servant, a being that existed outside of the world’s logic.

80% of the reason she ate wasn’t to fill her stomach, but out of pure curiosity.

“…Muu. I want to make another order, but that wouldn’t be nice to the shopkeeper, and my stomach isn’t particularly empty. I don’t have any money, either.”

“Because I’m afraid of what would happen if I gave you money…” Sieg murmured seriously. Rider had been making a ruckus saying “Let’s buy that” and “Let’s buy this” ever since they left Trifas.

…There was no meaning in buying a clearly fake platinum ring. Moreover, when Sieg declared it was a fake, the owner of the street stall became angry—that was one of the few examples where Sieg made the disturbance worse.

Saber of Red greedily devoured her sandwich at a frightful pace and then moved on to attack her steak.

“By the way, where’s your Master? That rough-looking guy wearing sunglasses.”

Rider of Black raised a finger to his brow in curiosity.

“He’s in the middle of working in his workshop. My presence there was in the way, so I went out.”

“We’re going to be using airplanes, but what about you guys?”

“I don’t know either. But probably something similar? After all, it’s those Hanging Gardens we’re talking about.”

“True,” Rider agreed with a nod.

Since they were going to a flying fortress, their means of getting there were limited. It would have to be either an aircraft or flight enabled by magecraft. And whichever method they chose, it didn’t change the fact that the fortress would be firmly defended.

It didn’t matter how frail their transport was. Even if there was an enchanted flight device that could withstand top-class spells, it would be no different than paper and plywood in the face of EX rank spells.

“I think we can somehow make it through if my hippogriff seriously goes all out, though.”

“——”

“——”

Saber of Red became speechless, and Sieg covered his eyes. Seeing their reactions, Rider asked “What’s wrong?” while holding his sandwich.

“Hippogriff, hippogriff… Ah, could it be that you’re that hero? From Charlemagne’s something or other, Astolfo?”

“Yeah, that’s right. Wait, I didn’t tell you that, did I?”

“You didn’t. I know about the guy beside you being Siegfried, though.”

“I see,” said Rider of Black in a calm and accepting manner.

“…Well, learning it now doesn’t make any difference.”

Saber of Red didn’t show much surprise.

“Right? I was viciously beaten by you! But I’ve changed Masters now, so there’s no way to know how it will go next time, you know?”

Saber of Red sneered and shrugged.

“I’m not going to be defeated to the likes of you. Idiots should think before speaking, idiot.”

“Someone who calls someone else an idiot is an idiot!”

“Hah?”

…As the atmosphere was getting somewhat dangerous, Sieg quickly raised his hand.

“More coffee, please!”

Because he shouted it so loudly, the two Servants looked at Sieg in surprise.

“…Well, whatever. I’ll also have more coffee.”

“Me too!”

“That costs extra here.”

The shopkeeper said that curtly, but Sieg said they didn’t mind. He should still have at least that much money left.

“Now then. You want an answer your question, about whether humans are good or bad, right?”

When Sieg nodded, Saber of Red sighed as if astounded from the bottom of her heart.

“Are you an idiot? Humans are humans, beasts that can become either good or bad depending on the situation. In the end, they’re merely slightly intelligent animals that lose all manners and virtue when they lack food and clothing. I don’t care about others. As long as I myself can continue living as a superior being—got it?”

Saber of Red’s opinion was harsh and straightforward. She didn’t see humans as either good or bad.

They merely… fell down either path depending on the situation. And they were all foolish. That’s why she didn’t care about others and only placed importance on herself.

“Do you hate humans?”

Saber of Red answered in the affirmative without flinching at Sieg’s frank question.

“I hate them. Even though they don’t forget grudges, they forget the debts they owe to others. If something will disadvantage them, they’ll avoid it even if they have to sacrifice everything around them. Even though they do good deeds when it’s convenient, they don’t mind overlooking great evil when it’s troublesome for them. They act out of selfishness, and if they fail, they use the excuse of saying it’s the fault of something besides themselves. They’re not worth protecting for even a penny. That’s what humans are. How about it, are you disappointed?”

Having spoken her conclusion, Saber stabbed at her steak with her fork.

“Hmm… what a sad conclusion.”

Saber of Red didn’t waver even at Rider of Black’s words. Sieg went into deep thought for a while, and then asked another question.

“Then, Saber of Red, is that also the reason you rebelled when you were alive?”

In an instant, the atmosphere chilled.

“…No. How I feel about humans had nothing to do with my rebellion. Don’t speak of it again.”

Saber of Red’s gaze immediately became filled with killing intent. Most likely, if Sieg said anything further, she really would cut him down. Sieg wondered if she was a moody person. Certainly, just talking with her was a trial in and of itself.

“But hey, leaving aside the matter of the rebellion itself—there were also people you followed you, weren’t there?”

Just when Sieg thought to close this subject, Rider of Black thoughtlessly stepped into the conversation. Perhaps also having thought the subject would end there, Saber of Red widened her eyes at Rider.

“Weren’t there people who adored you and put their life on the line to make you king? Do you despise them too? If so, I think that’s sad.”

Sieg felt as if his heart were being strangled, and he restrained his hand upon which his Command Spells were engraved. If they picked a fight in the middle of this huge city, and at midday at that, it would create a huge panic. But he didn’t think that Rider of Black and Saber of Red were the type of people that could use that much self-control.

Even the completely unrelated shopkeeper seemed to notice the abnormal mood as he froze while carrying a coffeepot in hand.

But ignoring the two other people present who were stiff with fear, Saber of Red merely sighed and shrugged. It appeared there was no problem as long as it was a question about the people who followed her and not the facts of the rebellion itself.

“Not really. They had to bet on me for their own reasons. They needed to rebel against King Arthur. Just as I don’t despise those who rebelled against me, I have no intention of viewing those who served me as the same as me.”

“So you despise them all equally?”

“—I’m someone meant to become king. How can a king view the people the same as himself? Will the people be saved if the king cries and laughs with them? That’s not it. That’s not what a king should be.”

Saber of Red quietly said that without any anger or scorn in her voice.

“You want to become king?”

“Basically, yeah. Because during my life—I failed.”

Saber clicked her tongue in annoyance. In other words, that was her wish for the Holy Grail.

Her declaration that she was ‘someone meant to become king’ was quite far off from reality. But neither Rider nor Sieg raised any eyebrows at it. At the very least, Sieg didn’t think he had the right to disparage someone else’s wish when he didn’t have any wishes of his own.

“…What’s with you two? You suddenly became quiet.”

“No, nothing really. I can’t refute your words. I never became king and… though I did think about becoming one a little, I only had enough ambition to ‘accept it if it were offered to me’.”

“Like Rider, I can’t refute you either. The position of king is far too distant for me.”

The only ones who had the right to say that her words were mistaken were those who were once kings… and those who tried to become kings like her.

“All wishes are equally precious. Well, I would have to object to a wish like humanity’s annihilation, though. But your wish belongs to you alone. Finding fault with it would be wrong—at least, that’s my philosophy.”

Rider of Black replied with an unusually serious expression, causing Saber of Red to unpleasantly fall silent. Rider then asked her another question as if to take advantage of that opening.

“But—still, even so, there’s one thing I’d like to ask. Do you want to become a bad king, or a good king?”

Rider of Black asked that question not as a king himself, but as a retainer who had served a king.

It was a simple question, but one that couldn’t be avoided.

…Saber of Red’s expression distorted slightly. She tried to open her mouth, but hesitated slightly and turned her gaze to the side.

And then, she squeezed out a short sentence.

“—A good king, obviously.”

Rider of Black merely murmured “I see” in response. Afterwards, Saber of Red finished her coffee and stood up.

“You’re leaving?”

“Our business here is done… Or do you have something else to ask?”

Sieg shook his head. She had seriously told him her opinion from another point of view, different from that of Ruler, Rider and Archer of Black.

He didn’t completely agree with it. But he didn’t fully reject it either. Right now, he was still in the stage of thinking about it.

“No, there’s nothing else. Thank you, it was useful as a reference,” Sieg replied.

Saber of Red then gave a bold smile and ruffled Sieg’s hair roughly.

“Then the next time I’ll see you guys will be at the Hanging Gardens. Make sure to survive until then!”

With those final words, she gallantly left the shop. Watching her leave, Sieg murmured with a sigh.

“…She ate that much and yet left without paying her share.”

“She really is like a king in that regard,” Rider of Black said as he burst into laughter.

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