Perhaps swimming would be a better analogy for what he was doing than walking. In any case, Shirou Kotomine determinedly advanced while feeling as if his skin was being peeled off and his flesh was meting away.
This place wasn’t within the Hanging Gardens. The interior of the Greater Grail was a space separate from the real world. Physical laws, the laws of magecraft and even himself were mixed and churned together to form something else entirely.
However, his arms hurt to the point of grating—that alone allowed him to maintain his awareness of himself as Amakusa Shirou Tokisada. Shirou felt relieved that he’d been right to connect to the Greater Grail beforehand for the sake of obtaining the Grail’s prana supply. If he had plunged into this abnormal space with no countermeasures, he would have dissolved away in an instant.
His arms continued to cry out in pain. But that pain was what connected his sense of self to reality.
The world was still filled with pain and anguish.
To indulge in pleasure all by himself was truly the act of a fool.
Shirou Kotomine desperately focused on maintaining his self-awareness. He remained conscious of the fact that he was within the Greater Grail, which had no sense of place or direction, and kept walking towards the other side of this space.
By establishing a landmark, a path was created. Shirou believed that that path would lead to his destination.
The path was long and far, with no end in sight.
He felt like he could hear whispers that kept saying “Give up and break”—but he withstood the temptation. In the end, it didn’t matter whether you were a Servant or human in this place.
Even if he had all the power possible for a human to possess, it made no difference. Even if he could cut through dimensions and jump across space, there was no way to progress down this path except by walking.
And merely walking—wasn’t enough either.
He was the one who determined the destination, and he was also the one who determined where the goal was.
He believed he would definitely reach it, and he had a wish that he would definitely accomplish, so he walked.
It was an extraordinary distance. A distance that might even be infinite. And there was even the fear that he might be walking in the opposite direction without realizing it.
But he threw all those feelings away like garbage.
“I’ll walk, no matter where the destination may be, and no matter how long it takes.”
He took one step. He took a second step. He took a third step without hesitation. He didn’t care if he had to walk a hundred thousand leagues, walk up a ninety degree slope, or walk a path of thorns.
He had already resolved himself for all that long ago.
His father, mother, older sister and his massacred thirty-seven thousand followers tried to stop him.
“Listen to us,” they said. Their voices called out to Shirou from behind.
—You’ll feel a bit better if you stop. So stop. And please listen to us.
He rejected those words of sympathy. He denied the invitation to halt and come to a standstill. He blocked his hears so as not to hear them.
He had assumed that such voices temptation would bombard him. If I waver here, your deaths will be for nothing. With that thought, he shook them off.
There was no way that it wasn’t painful and sorrowful for him.
Next, in place of the massacred behind him, their killers appeared before him. The strong who devoured the weak countless times throughout history. Using the shaky reason that we and they are different, they continued to kill other people.
They whispered to him with faint smiles.
“What’s wrong? We killed them, you know? Your father, mother, comrades; we killed, killed and killed them all. Don’t you hate us?”
The people behind him shouted out in sorrow and anger.
“They killed us. So please, kill them in retribution! Avenge us so that our souls can rest!”
Shirou remained silent. He didn’t open his clenched fists. If he did—he felt like he would spit out something at the same time.
Of course he hated them. Of course he felt anger. He wanted to rip those smiles off their faces, stop their breathing and crush their hearts.
But—he had thrown away his sorrow and rage. He had decided that he wouldn’t fight to give peace to the souls of his comrades, but to save everything instead.
He had thrown away forgiveness, compassion and love!
“You’re in my way!”
His heart hurt as if it was being torn out. From the bottom of his heart, he wanted to hate himself for lending a hand to evil despite not being dyed in evil himself.
Even so. He wouldn’t change his decision. The dice couldn’t be taken back after being thrown.
There exists a method to save everything in this world. So I want you all to believe in me. It doesn’t matter whether you’re enemy or ally. Let’s all head to that paradise which should lay beyond the horizon.
…However, he needed its power in order to save everything.
As long as humans remained the way they currently were, saving them was impossible. If ten people constructed a world, at least two people would be expelled from that world. A world made by ten people couldn’t support all ten people.
By sacrificing two, eight received happiness. And that was the minimum limit; in reality, there were even times when nine people went through a path of hardship for the sake of one person’s happiness.
This was the system of the human world, which should continue unchanged for eternity.
He was going to destroy that system. He would save the two sacrifices and the eight happy people alike. He would save both the one happy person and the nine people who struggled through hardship. In order to embark towards the heavens, a special power, a miracle was needed. And that is—
“That is the Cup of Heaven—Heaven’s Feel. The final and ultimate Mystery for universally saving all of humanity. In other words, the Third Sorcery.”
Shirou Kotomine at last laid hands upon humanity’s salvation.
CHAPTER 4 END