Fate/Zero:Epilogue: Five Years Later
Five Years Later
It was a night with a beautiful moon. Emiya Kiritsugu gazed out at the moon as he silently stood by the window.
Although it was already winter, the temperature wasn’t very low; it was just cold enough to let the skin feel the slight prickle of a chill. It was the ideal weather to view the moon.
A boy sat beside him. He was also quietly gazing out at the moon with Kiritsugu.
His name was Shirō.
He was the only existence that Kiritsugu managed to save from the fire that made him lose everything.
It had been five years since then. Shirō, who was a kid, was also gradually growing up.
Kiritsugu adopted Shirō, who had no one left to rely on due to the fire, and managed to barely live on after tidying up the ruined house with the storage room that Irisviel had bought.
As for why he did that – even he himself did not know. He had nowhere else to go. Did he also have no more reasons left to keep living?
All the goals and beliefs the man named Emiya Kiritsugu had once possessed were burnt to ashes with that fire. The thing that returned from that barren field was simply a corpse that had retained a beating heart.
In fact, had he not saved Shirō, then Kiritsugu would perhaps have truly died a long time ago.
However, he met Shirō. He met this child who had fortunately escaped from the raging fire that had claimed innumerable lives.
That was the miracle which resurrected him from the shell that was once named Emiya Kiritsugu.
Even if he were to look back on it now, this had been a very wondrous life.
The man who had lost his wife and daughter again became a father –
The child who had lost his parents again became a son –
Now that he thought about it, he had repeated this unchanging life day after day.
Shirō was now calling Kiritsugu ‘old man’ while the latter hadn’t even hit 40 years old. Maybe the kid felt it was more natural that way.
But the truth was that the stamina still lingering within Kiritsugu’s body was nothing more than a spluttering candle in the wind. In truth, he was not much different from an old man after all.
After that, he peacefully and calmly passed his days as if he was living within the dream of another man.
On that day five years ago, a line had been drawn across his life, which had already lost everything. No one else had disappeared before Kiritsugu after that.
Be it Shirō, Taiga, Raiga-san or the youngsters in the Fujimura Group; none of them had left him since they met, and they were still together even now.
The meetings he used to have with other people were simply the beginning of separation.
However, such a happiness was not without a reason.
Because the things that he had lost in the past would never come back.
Kiritsugu had repeatedly used the excuse of ‘traveling overseas’ to get Shirō to stay home while he traveled to the Einsberns. He wanted to save his daughter, who had been left all alone within the City of Winter.
However, no matter how obstinately Kiritsugu repeated his visits, Jubstacheit was still unwilling to open the forest’s bounded field. That was understandable. All the efforts the Einsberns put into the fourth Heaven’s Feel came to nothing because of Kiritsugu’s last-minute betrayal. A man such as Kiritsugu would have to remain silent even if he was punished, but Acht did not do that. Did he want to put the traitor to exile like a stray dog and let it struggle on its last legs, and carry that shameful title for the rest of its life? Or did he plan to let Kiritsugu never see his daughter again and use that as the most severe punishment that can be inflicted? No matter what, it was already a fact.
Had he been the Kiritsugu of the past, the infamous “Magus Killer”, then he might have been able to forcibly break through this icy bounded field and rush to his daughter’s side. However, the current Kiritsugu had been touched by “Angra Mainyu” and had already been corroded by this curse. His flesh was getting weaker and weaker. His limbs atrophied, his sight began to fade, and he had completely lost the ability to use magecraft. He was not much different from a terminally ill patient. He couldn’t even find the starting point of the bounded field, and could only wander in the blizzard, waiting till death.
He understood all his attempts had been in vain – recently Kiritsugu had already faintly felt that his time was probably up. In other words, he probably hadn’t had much time left since the moment he became cursed by the black mud.
Therefore he had recently been staying home all the time, drowning in memories as he passed the time in a daze.
What had his life been about –
As he thought of this, he silently gazed up at the moon with Shirō.
“… When I was a kid, I used to want to be a hero of justice very much.”
Suddenly, he muttered this unconsciously.
Like a shipwreck that had sunken beneath the surface a long long time ago, those untouched and forgotten words suddenly escaped from his lips – that was right. He seemed to have said something like that to someone else some time ago, although he didn’t manage to fulfill it at the end. But just when did that happen?
However, when he heard Kiritsugu, Shirō suddenly showed an expression of displeasure.
“What? You’re saying you used to want to, then have you given up now?”
Since the boy harbored a deep admiration for Kiritsugu, Shirō seemed to hate having Kiritsugu say such self-deprecating words. Kiritsugu had often felt extremely ashamed toward this sentiment.
The boy thought his foster father was an incomparably great man. He did not understand Emiya Kiritsugu’s past – including that disaster which made the man lose everything. He simply and merely made Kiritsugu a goal to be admired.
The spirit of self-sacrifice and sense of justice that Shirō held in his heart were so great that it almost seemed twisted, and all this were displayed through the extreme respect and admiration that he showed to Kiritsugu. That was also the only regret in the days that the father and the son passed together. Shirō wished to become Kiritsugu. He wanted to follow the road that Kiritsugu had walked. Although Kiritsugu wanted to tell him how foolish such an idea was, he didn’t manage to say it even till the end.
If Shirō lived like Kiritsugu and walked toward destruction just like him, then these five peaceful years of life would become a curse at the end as well.
Is your aspiration still there? Shirō questioned back. This made Kiritsugu’s heart ache – that’s right, how wonderful would it be if it could gradually disappear with the passage of time.
Kiritsugu pretended to gaze out towards the distant moon, and hid the sorrowful memories with a bitter smile.
“Hmm, it is rather regrettable. Heroes have a time limit too, and it’s hard to fulfill once you become an adult. It would have been better if I realized that earlier.”
Had he realized it earlier – then he wouldn’t have been tricked by the sweet lie of miracles that flew the banner called dreams.
Kiritsugu had once released a demon powerful enough to destroy the world because of his aspirations. It was too late when he finally realized his mistake. Countless people had died because of it, including Shirō’s own father and mother.
And that harbinger of Hell was still lurking beneath Mount Enzō even now. After that battle, Kiritsugu had repeatedly visited that place with dynamite, and spent years to map out the situation of a few leylines. He had meticulously created a ‘bump’ at a location leading towards Mount Enzō. That might be the last time for him to use magecraft in his life.
The prana produced from the junction of numerous leylines will collect upon that ‘bump’ with time. When its limit is reached, a localized earthquake will be triggered deep within Mount Enzō. It would take a minimum of 30 years and a maximum of about 40 years for the ‘bump’ to break. If all his calculations were correct, then the cavern within Mount Enzō would collapse and seal away the “Greater Grail” forever. Though he would not be able to live to see that day, Kiritsugu had done the best he could to prevent the fifth Heaven’s Feel 60 years later.
Shirō seemed to have been guided into a deep contemplation from Kiritsugu’s casual words. However, he seemed to have accepted Kiritsugu’s viewpoint, and answered with a nod.
“Really? Then there’s really nothing you can do.”
“True. I’m really powerless.”
Kiritsugu also answered with a slight hint of heartfelt pain.
Nothing you can do –
There wasn’t much lament or sorrow in that phrase. Kiritsugu gazed up at the night sky.
“ – Ahh, what a beautiful moon – ”
It was as if this was the only night in his life that had such a beautiful moon, and Kiritsugu was overjoyed with sharing such a beautiful memory with Shirō.
“Hmm. If you can’t fulfill it anymore, then let me fulfill it for you.”
The youth promised casually in the elegant night. He said that he’ll achieve something, which Kiritsugu had longed for but could not fulfill, in Kiritsugu’s place.
In that moment, Kiritsugu remembered.
He had also made a promise like this. He had also said something like this before a person that was more important to him than anyone else.
Back then, he had firmly believed that the things within his heart will never be lost. But that confidence – had now been forgotten, forgotten until just a moment ago.
“Dad is an adult already, so maybe you can’t do anything anymore. But I’m alright. So entrust it to me, entrust Dad’s dream –”
Shirō kept saying those words that sounded like a promise. His words, together with tonight’s view, became an unforgettable memory that was carved into Kiritsugu’s heart.
That’s right. If it was under such a beautiful moon – then he would never forget.
Emiya Shirō’s very first thought and this precious and innocent prayer will definitely become the most beautiful memory, and be forever retained in his heart.
However, had the boy really inherited the dream of his foolish father, he would probably begin an endless lament and experience a bottomless despair.
But he would definitely be able to recall the self that existed at this moment as long as he remembered this night. He would remember this heart his young self had; this heart which was fearless, unknown to sorrow, and full of aspirations.
That would also be – the salvation that Kiritsugu, who had lost himself without knowing and had been ground down by time little by little, had hoped for.
“Yes. Ahh – then I’ll be at peace now.”
Even if Shirō walks the same path as him, he would never become the same man.
All the scars in his heart seemed to have healed when he understood this. Emiya Kiritsugu closed his eyes.
This man who accomplished nothing in his life and did not win a single victory stopped breathing. His last moments were full of relief, and he passed away as if he had merely fallen asleep.
– Kerry, what kind of a man would you like to become?
She asked under the dazzling sunlight.
He would never forget her smile and her gentleness.
This world is so beautiful. How he wished that time would forever be stopped in this beautiful moment.
As he thought this, he spoke his promise without knowing.
I’ll never forget what I felt today.
– I, want to be a hero of justice!
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