Story: The Sword and the Staff (chapter 7)

Authors: bleeding.blade

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Chapter 7

Title: Chapter 6


The unabashed joy with which Sakura had thrown herself at Rin had been enough to make Shirou smile. Although the Mage had arrived in less than ideal circumstances, he had to admit that her presence alleviated a burden he hadn't realized he'd been carrying. Even Saber seemed more serene that morning.

"Are you staying long?"

The wistfulness in Sakura's voice caught Shirou's attention. The Mage shook her head regretfully.

"I don't have much time, I'm afraid. I gather Shirou hasn't told you?"

"I didn't want to spoil the news of your arrival," Shirou said, glancing apologetically at Sakura. "At least not right away."

"What happened?"

The Mage hesitated briefly. "There was an attack here last night. I only came to avert it."

"Why don't we discuss this in the living room?" Taiga interrupted. "Saber and Ilya are there already."

"Alright then," Rin nodded. "This isn't something I'd like to explain more than once."


"What do you mean you'll need to take Saber???"

Rin looked with compassion at Shirou. "Only the Council can protect her, Shirou. She'll be vulnerable if she's left hereand so will the rest of you. This is the only way to keep everyone safe."

"Then take me with you," the red-haired boy demanded.

"I wish I could," Rin answered gently. "But there's barely enough magic for myself and for Saber."

"You have an entire Council of Mages behind you! How much magic can you need?"

"A formidable amount given where we have to go."

Shirou paused. Then he narrowed his eyes. "Where exactly are you taking her?"

Rin hesitated briefly. "To where the Sword is, Shirou. To England. To the past."


She'd been incredulous herself, when the Council Master had first explained it. She'd believed that even magic had its boundaries, that some constants remained inviolable.

"There are limits," the Council Master had told her, chuckling at her shock. "They're simply farther than you imagined."

"But if we've had this power all the time, why haven't we used it..."

" change history?" the Council Master raised an eyebrow. "The essence of magic is balance, Rin. The more you displace the past, the more you threaten the future. The best intentions can wreak the worst havoc."

"But aren't we risking precisely that?"

"We will not be changing anything. The Sword has been lost for centuries. Bringing it to this age will simply cement an historical fact. In any case," the Council Master added, "the amount of damage we can do will be limited by the amount of magic we have available."


"Meaning," the Council Master said, and a look of sadness quickly passed across his face, "the Age of True Magic has come and gone, my child. That is why we need relics like the Grail to transform reality. If you truly wanted to alter history, you would need a power which no longer exists on this earth. Given the resources we have remaining to us, we can only send you and Arturia to a point in the past where you are precisely least likely to effect any change."

Rin nodded slowly. "In other words, the greater our chances of changing the past, the greater the amount of magic required to send us there."

"Exactly," the Council Master said. "All we have at the moment, and all you need, in any case, is this."

Rin looked carefully at the pendant suspended on a delicate chain.

"These are two Time Stones fused into one. One will take you to the past; the other will return you to the future. No one else can activate their power but you. Needless to say, you will need to use them wisely."

Rin nodded gravely.

"If you have no other questions," the Council Master smiled, "you may go."

Rin bowed briefly and turned to leave.

"Novice Rin," the Council Master called after her.

"Yes, my Lord?"

"Although your mission does not require it, I do ask that you return to us safe and sound."

For the first time since she entered the room, Rin smiled. "As you wish, my Lord."


"You're excited to go, aren't you?"

Shirou's face was deliberately blank, but Saber could hear the bitterness in the red-haired boy's voice.

 "I am," she admitted softly. "But it doesn't mean it grieves me any less to leave you."

Shirou was silent for a long moment. There was shame in his voice when he finally spoke. "I'm sorry, Saber. It was petty of me to resent your happiness. It's just that I hate the thought of you fighting again. And I hate it that I can't be with you."

"Rin will be with me," Saber reminded him gently. "And it would hurt me more if I were to be the source of harm to you and the others."

Shirou sighed. Then grasping her shoulders, he asked, "Promise me you'll stay out of danger as much as you can."

Saber's eyes darkened. "You know I can't promise that, Shirou. It goes against everything I believe in as a knight—"

"You're no longer a knight, Saber! The War is over and the Grail is gone!"

Saber looked away, her eyes welling with tears of anger and frustration. She knew Shirou was right: knew that everything that had demanded her allegiance no longer existed; knew that the only duty that remained to her now was to stay safely by his side. But there was a part of her that felt he was wrong, and she couldn't explain why or how.


"Alright," she said, turning toward him, though her eyes remained downcast. "Alright. I promise to keep myself as safe as I can."

"Thank you," Shirou replied softly. Then tilting her chin upwards with his hand, he kissed her tenderly. "I love you, Saber."

"I love you too, Shirou," she replied, though the dull, wooden ache in her chest didn't feel very much like it.


"Are you ready?"

Even as she said the words, Rin could see the answer in the blonde woman's face. For the first time since she'd returned to Japan, Saber looked intensely alive.

"I'm ready."

Rin nodded and smiled. Then planting her staff in the middle of the circle she had chalked around her and Saber, she summoned the power of the stone around her neck—and surrendered herself to one of the last remaining fragments of True Magic in the world.

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