Fate/Zero:Epilogue: Half A Year Later
Half a Year Later
“– I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand up on the earth.”
A funeral procession progressed alone in the icy-cold rain.
A young girl was the person who managed the funeral.
No expressions of sorrow or anxiety were written on her, but she only numbly went on according to the procedure of the funeral. While this expression made those who came to mourn feel her strength, none of them held any feelings of pity towards her.
It was a funeral for a high-born clan. For elders, children who grew up under such a strict education should be able to bear anything. The mourners sitting here all held the same belief.
“And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see Him with my own eyes – I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me… Amen.”
Then the coffin was buried into the earth. With some words of prayer from the others, the mourners left one by one. In the rain that once again regained its silence, only the young girl who took charge of the funeral and the priest who led the ceremonies were left behind.
“Good work. It was already very splendid as the debut of the next Head of the family. I believe your father would feel proud too.”
Rin just nodded in silence hearing those words of praise for her. Her left wrist had already been carved with the Magic Crest of the Tōsaka family. Her body was still not used to the Crest that had only recently been grafted and kept on inflicting pain on her. But there was no sign of agony shown on the young girl’s face, and she endured the funeral until the very last minute. Indeed, this willpower of hers didn’t match her age.
The letter that Tokiomi wrote, which entrusted everything to the Association after his death, was almost perfect; it was truly a real portrait of the man himself. The transfer of the body and the extraction of the Crest were all entrusted to the Association’s headquarters in London by Kotomine Kirei, Rin’s guardian. The Crest was handed to Tokiomi’s friends to be guarded securely to ensure that it would be impeccably transplanted onto Rin’s body in the future.
Transplanting a Crest into someone will cause a great burden to the body, therefore it was best to transplant it to the family successor before his or her secondary sexual characteristics have developed completely. However, when the previous Head suddenly passes away, many unthought-of difficulties often would occur. But Tokiomi had overcome this and made impeccable preparations. He had passed the essence of magecraft that the Tōsaka house had complied over the generations all unto Rin without omitting a single thing.
However, due to the numerous procedures involved with the transport of the body and the removal of the Crest, over six months passed before Tokiomi’s body was returned home. As a result, people who attended the funeral procession today were only the few who knew the truth of his death, completely unrelated to the prestige and achievements the family had achieved in its homeland. A lonely funeral like this is probably a sin one must bear as a magus.
Kirei looked around the cemetery, which suddenly became desolate, and turned around to meet the taxi that had waited at the back.
“It’s about time to let Mother come out, right?”
“– Mm, it’s about time.”
Tōsaka Aoi, who was supposed to organize the funeral as the widow, was unable to appear in front of the guests due to her health condition that required her to stay in bed. Although reluctant to let her come into contact with outsiders, Rin still wanted her mother to meet her father one last time before the coffin was to be buried beneath the earth.
Rin had been waiting for her mother’s arrival since before the other mourners arrived. She walked towards the car, helped her mother onto the wheelchair, and pushed it towards Tokiomi’s grave. In the wheelchair, although the widow still looked very young and beautiful, there wasn’t any expression engraved on her face; only a hazy, dreamy stare that looked into the void.
“Mom, here, say a final goodbye to father.”
Hearing Rin’s urging sound, Aoi’s dreamy eyes finally slowly gathered on one spot on the ground.
Her eyes slowly swept around the gravestones surrounding her, and opened her eyes wide as if having finally realized something.
“Ah – What, Rin? Is it someone’s funeral today?”
“Yes. Because father passed away.”
“Oh my goodness! I’ll have to hurry and take out Tokiomi’s funeral clothes – Rin, go help Sakura get dressed. Ahhh what to do what to do. I haven’t prepared anything…”
Aoi, who was sitting on a wheelchair, sank into a brief panic. Then, she suddenly bent down like a marionette with its strings broken. Moreover, when she finally lifted her head up again, she showed a gentle smile towards the empty air before her, and stretched out her fingers in front of her.
“See, my dear, your tie is skewed again. And there’s a string sticking to your shoulder. Haha, try to cheer up a bit. After all, you’re the father that Rin and Sakura are proud of…”
Aoi prattled on and on to the husband that only she could see. Meanwhile, Rin simply stayed by her mother’s side and guarded her in silence.
Tōsaka Aoi, who had received brain damage as a result of oxygen deprivation, was unable to communicate properly with Kirei and Rin anymore. Undoubtedly for Rin, Aoi had been an innocent victim swept up into the Fourth Heaven’s Feel just like her father.
However, for Aoi who was no longer able to correctly comprehend reality, perhaps this was happier for her. Her heart had remained at that time when Sakura was still in the house and Tokiomi was still alive. She wandered in the spacious Tōsaka mansion, conversed and laughed with the husband and younger daughter in her memories, and lived on forever in the beautiful dream of a happy family.
Only Rin was left behind in the real world by herself. She took care of such a mother, but could only look at her silently and was unable to move a single step into that happy picture. She hid the sadness that no one else could feel, bore the heavy burden of being the head of a magecraft clan upon her young body, and endured the pain of the Crest. It was truly a far-too-cruel fate for a young girl who was only a primary school student.
Kotomine Kirei, however, thought that it was an incomparably good strike of luck that he was made the guardian of such a tragic girl.
He could only feel joy through the other’s pain and suffering. To Kirei, who had known his twisted true colors a long time ago, Rin’s current predicaments were undoubtedly the best environment to make her grow into a sentimental girl. Since Kirei would be able to appraise everything from the closest distance, it was undoubtedly an enjoyment comparable to tasting the most outstanding wine.
However – what angered him was the fact that he had never received such rewards.
Though she was burdened with this tragic fate, the young girl didn’t shed a single tear. Not even a weak word was ever said by her.
Even now, before her pitiful mother who could not comprehend her father’s passing, Rin still kept a calm look. She forcibly suppressed her sorrow and grief inside her heart, and waited for her mother to calm down. This would have been a situation where other children of her age, who were spoiled to death by their parents, would never have been able to endure.
Rin had already acknowledged and accepted her fate, and was courageous enough to boldly face it. Such rare pride and self-control were the greatest virtues possessed by the young girl named Tōsaka Rin, but it was the thing that angered Kirei the most.
After having had her full of bitterness and pain, this jewel named Rin began to take on shape from the unshaped raw ore. He had originally thought that seeing the shameful behavior of her beloved mother would wound her soul, but he did not expect her to accept her mother’s weakness of becoming enthralled in dreams with a merciful and accommodating heart.
This young girl was advancing step by step towards the heretic road named magecraft. Perhaps one day she would become just like her father, and discard all the twisted evil of a magus and form a most righteous and balanced personality. Of course, that would be the most boring development for Kirei. He had originally expected very much to see just what kind of a twisted flower would bloom out of Tokiomi’s daughter.
Keeping all of the secrets in his heart, Kirei placed his hand on Rin’s shoulders as if encouraging her.
“I will stay in Japan for some time… Is there anything else you’re worried about for the future?”
“… Nothing much. I’ve been too much of a trouble for you, but now it’s fine.”
The young girl answered with a tough tone, not even looking at Kirei.
Rin obeyed her father’s last words, and did not object to having Kotomine Kirei become her guardian. However, she found it difficult to cover up her spite toward him. He was Tokiomi’s assistant and headed toward the same battlefield, but in the end still failed to protect Tokiomi. Rin’s heart was still full of anger and suspicion toward the a man named Kirei till this day.
Kirei only felt Rin’s inexperienced hatred to be laughable. What would the expression on this girl’s face be when she one day came to know the truth? He would be quite looking forward to see it.
“We will meet again after six months. Then the second Crest transplantation process can be performed. Please take care of yourself.”
“…You don’t have to say a thing. I already know about.”
“I think that I will be mainly working overseas in the future. I’m terribly sorry to say this, but I think I cannot live in Japan. I am truly unsuitable to be a guardian…”
“If you’re busy then it cannot be helped. I will obviously take good care of mother and the Tōsaka family while you’re gone. You can go crusade against heretics or do whatever you like as long as you don’t bring us trouble.”
Hah, even Rin can bluff like this? Her tone today was sharper than usual. Perhaps today really was more painful than ever for this girl.
A rather sickening idea suddenly flashed through Kirei’s mind.
“– Rin, you will be the true Head of the Tōsaka house from today onwards. In order to celebrate this special occasion, I am giving you a gift.”
As he said that, Kirei pulled out a dagger from within his coat together with its sheath.
This was the same Azoth Sword that was given to him by Tokiomi as a symbol of friendship. Today’s funeral also made Kirei remember the man who had passed away, so he brought this dagger along. It was also a little compensation for the man who had died by his hand.
“This is what I received from Tokiomi-sensei in the past when he recognized the achievements of my magecraft studies – I think it’s better that you take care of it from now on.”
Rin took the dagger, pulled the dagger from its sheath, and studied it carefully. She caressed the leather of the hilt and the magecraft runes on the blade almost reverently, as if she could feel the warmth of her father’s fingers within.
“… Father …”
A small ripple suddenly appeared on the dagger that the girl held in her hands – a single drop of tear suddenly tumbled down the immaculate blade.
This was the first time that Rin had shed tears in front of Kirei.
As if having tasted the wine he had been waiting for too long, Kirei’s heart shook with joy.
Rin didn’t know anything. The dagger that she held in her hand and received her tears was once fully stained with the fresh blood that poured out of Tokiomi’s heart. Perhaps she would even consider this dagger as a memento of her memorable father and deferentially treasure it in the future. Of course, the pre-requisite was that she did not know this was the murder weapon that killed her father.
This extreme irony and the pleasure of violating a pure heart made Kotomine Kirei receive an insurmountable satisfaction.
Rin, who was crying with her head lowered, was completely ignorant to the priest beside her who was blossoming with a silent smile. She only held on tightly to the dagger of fate in her hands.
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