Chapter 36: What Should We Do?

It was needless to say how surprised Damian Kaur was when the entrance to his office burst open all of a sudden, and the Sword Hero and his companions, together with a bunch of people he hadn't met before, stumbled into the room. All of them looked tattered as if they had just fought off a whole army.

"Sir Sword Hero?! Why are you…?!"

EMIYA raised his hand before the words could escape his mouth. "Please, don't say anything. We'll explain later. Is the Captain still in the city?"

The mayor of Zeltoble Harbor blinked. "Well, yes, he's still here, but…"

"Good," EMIYA nodded. "Can we talk to him now?"

"It's problematic, indeed…"

Captain Fargus listened to EMIYA's story with a frown on his face. When the Sword Hero finished, the pirate captain nodded.

"Then I guess ya'll have to stay here for the time being, eh? You're basically the most wanted criminals of Melromarc now."

"I guess we have no choice at the moment," EMIYA sighed. "Can I ask you to provide us with somewhere to stay, then? And please make it secret; I don't want to make a fuss about it when we're here."

"If that's the case, you're welcome to stay here in my mansion, Sir Sword Hero," Kaur raised his voice. "We have plenty of free rooms here, enough for all of you, and we're honored to have the Heroes with us."

EMIYA smiled. "Thanks a lot, Mayor. By the way, now that we're all here, I guess we need some introduction. Naofumi, Motoyasu, meet Captain Fargus, the Seven Star Axe Hero, and Mister Damian Kaur, the Mayor of Zeltoble Harbor. Capt', Mayor, Iwatani Naofumi and Kitamura Motoyasu. They are the Cardinal Shield Hero and Spear Hero."

The pirate captain eyed Naofumi and Motoyasu. "So these two are the other Heroes, eh? They don't…"

"…look as impressive as Shirou-san, we got it," Naofumi finished the sentence glumly. "Everyone has been saying that all the time."

The Axe Hero laughed heartily. He slapped the Shield Hero on the back, making him stumble forward. "Hey now, at least you have the spirit! Anyone who Brother Sword trusts must be a worthy one!"

Naofumi glanced at Motoyasu. "I'm not sure about that," he said snidely.

That gesture reminded EMIYA of something. "By the way, Motoyasu, what happened back then? Why were you also running? Where are your other companions?"

Motoyasu's face looked even more miserable upon hearing those words. He slumped into a chair nearby and buried his face in his hands. Elena answered for him.

"We were at the tavern when it happened. A group of soldiers suddenly barged in and ordered us to surrender, saying that we 'betrayed the Church' or something like that. The First Princess and Lesty were with them at that time. We didn't know what was going on, and we only managed to escape because an agent of the Queen came and rescued us from them. She led us to the gate, where we met up with you guys."

Naofumi snorted. "Ha! Serves you right! Understood the feeling of getting backstabbed by that bitch now, idiot?"

Motoyasu bolted up from his seat. He snarled at Naofumi; his face was full of tears now. "M-Myne didn't do that! I-I'm sure she has an explanation for that…"

EMIYA shook his head. "Seriously, Motoyasu, even now you still insist on believing in her? She has been lying to everyone since the beginning. Everyone could see that, except for you. Didn't you see what she did to Naofumi?"

"But Naofumi i-is a b-bastard…!" Motoyasu weakly defended, but he wasn't even sure of what he was saying anymore. Elena shook her head.

"I hate to break it to you, Motoyasu-sama, but she has been lying to you since the beginning. Mind you, she was the one behind Rino's disappearance. She and Lesty sold her off as a slave when they deemed Rino was drawing your attention from them."

Motoyasu stared at his companion in horror. "Y-you're lying! Myne would never…!"

Elena glared at the Spear Hero in annoyance. "I was there when that happened. I saw that with my own eyes. Do you really believe that someone like Rino would disappear so abruptly she didn't even bother to tell anyone a word because she couldn't stand it?"

"Th-then why didn't you tell me…?"

The short-haired girl snorted. "For that bitch to kill me or sell me off also? No thank you. Besides, you don't even believe me now; what makes you think that you would believe me if I told you back then?"

Motoyasu collapsed on his knees. "No… way…"

Everyone looked at Motoyasu in pity. Captain Fargus clicked his tongue. "Tch. So pathetic. Can't believe that there exists a Cardinal Hero like this."

Just wait until you see Itsuki, EMIYA snarked in his head.

He decided to defuse the situation. "So, shall we move?"

To EMIYA, cooking wasn't just a duty, or a job. It was also a way for him to relax his mind after a busy day. That was the reason why he was standing in the kitchen right now, flipping the burger patties he had made from ground horned rabbit meat, even though he had been exhausted from all the fighting and running he had done today.

He sighed. Now he understood why Gaelion said that single word when he asked the dragon what was going on with this land. If the Church of the Three Heroes weren't evil, he wouldn't know what might be anymore.

"Need some help?"

EMIYA looked at the front door of the kitchen. It was Naofumi who had just entered and said those words. He smiled at the Shield Hero.

"Ah, sure. Can you help me take the bread in the oven out?"

Naofumi grabbed a pair of mittens hung on a nail on the wall and opened the oven, pulling out a tray of something that looked like the round buns people usually used for hamburger. They looked like normal bread in Naofumi's world, albeit not made of flour, but instead the pericarp of a type of fruit pretty similar to what was known as the breadfruit usually seen in South East Asia. When baked, it looked just like normal bread, with a taste similar to rice instead of potato like the normal breadfruit.

"So, you finally managed to master that shield."

Naofumi understood immediately what the Sword Hero was talking about. He shook his head. "Not… master, I guess. It just… came to me when I needed it. I don't even know how I managed to access it, either. Everything… they just came too quickly I didn't even know what was happening anymore. It's like… instinct, I guess."

He raised the Legendary Shield, which took the form of the Shield of the Round Table in his hand. Even though the shield was the biggest one he had in his possession until now, it was surprisingly light.

"Who are they?"

EMIYA blinked at the strange question. "Who is who?"

"When this shield was unlocked, there were two people there," answered Naofumi. "A girl about Wyndia's age, and a man about my age. They both wore black armor; the man had white hair, same as yours, and the girl had lilac hair. I don't know who they are, but they should have been here with us now, shouldn't they? They were standing right in front of me when it happened, after all."

Anyone else would have been confused at what the Shield Hero had just said. But EMIYA understood immediately what he was talking about. He knew who the people Naofumi had just mentioned were, and he also knew why they were there. After all, the Shield of the Round Table was their weapon.

"They are the previous owners of the Shield of the Round Table."

Naofumi looked at EMIYA. "The previous owners?"

EMIYA nodded. "The Shield of the Round Table isn't a normal weapon. True to its name, it is made from the Round Table of King Arthur itself, and it is known as the gathering place of heroes. Wielding it as a weapon is one thing, but there are only two people that I know who were able to unleash its true power… and you are the third one, Naofumi."

Naofumi stared at the man. Then, he shook his head.

"You know, usually I would have asked where you found such a thing… but after everything you've pulled so far, I don't think there is anything you do that can surprise me anymore, Sir Lancelot."

EMIYA glared at him. "I already told you I'm not Lancelot."

"Sure you did, Sir Lancelot, sure you did."

The glare tripled in intensity.

"Hm? Where is Farrie?"

Tersia took a big bite on her burger while giving EMIYA the answer. "She's still sleeping in our room. She told me to just go ahead because she wanted to rest."

Then the swordsmaiden sighed. "Can't blame her, I guess. If things actually happened like what you told us, she must be totally exhausted by now."

"I don't understand why you didn't just cut that bastard Pope down when you're at it, Master," Fohl also asked as he chewed on his burger patty. Then he winced because of the taste of the lettuce and onion in his burger, which he didn't like much. "That bastard is evil. He murdered those two people as if they were just animals to slaughter!"

EMIYA shook his head. "And then what? We're talking about a religion here. Even if we kill that bastard there, they're just going to put someone else on the throne and nothing will change. Besides, what am I going to look like in the eyes of those soldiers? Don't forget that the Church has deep roots in the whole Melromarc and has been influencing the history of the country for centuries. What do you think would happen if a Cardinal Hero was caught murdering the Pope red-handed in the middle of the day, right inside the Church itself?"

"The whole country is going to be out for our blood," Eclair, sitting in a chair on the other side of the table, sighed. "And considering that we escaped to Zeltoble, they would have an excuse to raise a holy war against the country. Blood would be shed."

Naofumi shook his head. "Then we won't be able to stay here for long, either."

No one could say anything against this ominous statement.

EMIYA stood up from his chair.

"I'll go and see if Farrie needs something to eat. She hasn't eaten anything today yet, after all."

Farrie and Tersia's room was at the end of the corridor. Knocking on the wooden door, EMIYA called.

"Hey Farrie! Are you up? Do you want something to eat?"

No answer. Not even a sound was heard from inside the room.

A feeling of dread suddenly churned up in EMIYA's stomach. He grabbed the door handle, tried to open it, and found it locked.

Oh no… no no no no no…!

Not wasting a single second, he Reinforced his leg and delivered a brutal kick at the door. The wooden door was blasted open by the force of the kick, and he rushed into the room.

Farrie was lying unconscious on the bed. Her face was pale as a sheet of paper, and her right arm was hanging down the side of the bed. Blood was pouring out of the very deep cut on her wrist, and the bloody knife in her left hand was more than enough to tell EMIYA what had happened.


The first thing Farrie saw when her eyes fluttered open was a ceiling. And the soft and comfy feeling below her made her realize that she was lying on a bed, or something similar.

Where was she? Why was she here? She couldn't remember anything after…

Oh. The fact that she wasn't in heaven now meant that she wasn't dead. It meant that someone was there to stop her attempt to…

She felt that something heavy was holding her right arm down on the bed. She glanced to the right, and saw Tersia sitting on a chair right next to the bed. The brunette was sleeping soundly, her head lay on Farrie's forearm and her hands were gripping the priestess' right hand tightly, as if if she let go, Farrie would run away from her, from this world.

She tried to move her arm away, but thanks to the training she had done diligently for more than a whole month with EMIYA, there was nothing that could get past Tersia without waking her up. The brunette's eyes snapped open right as Farrie's arm made a slight twitch, and her bright green eyes met the priestess' ocean blue ones. Then all of a sudden, she burst into tears and jumped onto the bed, squeezing Farrie in a bone-crushing hug.

"Don't – hic – ever do that – hic – again – do you – hic – hear me?" she said between sobs while burying her face into the priestess' silky blonde hair; her arms squeezed the other girl even tighter than before.

"Tersia… -chan… air… breathe…!" Farrie gasped out, and Tersia released her, but her hands still squeezed Farrie's hands, not letting go.

"Did Farrie wake up?!"

The two girls nearly jumped when EMIYA's voice suddenly boomed at the entrance of the room. The Sword Hero was storming into the room; his face was pale with anger and worry. Never before had the two girls seen their teacher losing his composure this much.

EMIYA leapt to the side of the bed and grabbed Farrie's shoulders, a little bit more forcefully than necessary.

"You idiot," he snarled. "What the hell possessed you that made you do something like that?! What do you think committing suicide would even do?!"

Farrie glanced away, avoiding her teacher's gaze. "Why did you waste your time saving my life? I'm just a worthless idiot. It's my fault that we're…"

EMIYA didn't let Farrie finish her sentence. "There is no life in the world that isn't precious. No matter what you did, it's foolish to throw your life away like that. Did you even think of what everyone here felt like when we found you lying there in your own blood?"

"You have been unconscious for two days straight, Farrie-san," Welt, who had just entered the room right behind EMIYA, provided helpfully. "I've never seen sensei and Tersia-san freaking out like that before. None of us have eaten anything for two days, and Tersia-san hasn't left the side of your bed since then."

Farrie could only look down in shame and sadness.

The room fell into solemn silence for a while. Then, EMIYA stood up. He patted Farrie's shoulder; his voice was softer than before.

"You must be hungry. Do you want anything to eat?"

Tersia didn't leave her best friend's side even as she slowly put spoonfuls of the porridge EMIYA prepared for her into her mouth.

Even though she was starving, the usually delicious porridge that the Sword Hero made tasted stale and bitter in Farrie's tongue. Each bite reminded her of what happened, of what might be happening in Melromarc right now, of what she had done…

Not only Farrie; the other people in the room were also seemingly feeling the same emotion. They just ate their food in silence; for a while, there was no sound that could be heard in the room, except for the light sounds of chewing and the clanking of spoons and bowls.

Finally, after about an hour of silence, Eclair decided to be the one who broke it.

"I wonder what was going on in Melromarc right now."

Naofumi snorted. "What's there to wonder about? At this time that bastard Pope must have killed half of the population of Castle Town already. That crazy son of a bitch."

"It's actually not that bad, but you have some point, Iwatani Naofumi-sama."

Everyone's heads snapped toward the direction the new voice had just rose from. The person who had just said those words was Akari, who had just appeared in the middle of the room just like she usually did.

"Akari," EMIYA looked at the Shadow. "How did you manage to find us?"

"I am the Shadow assigned to follow you since the beginning of your journey, Emiya Shirou-sama," the Shadow girl answered simply. "It's not that hard to deduce where you might be going to."

EMIYA cursed in his mind. If Akari could find out where he was that easily, there's a very high chance that the Church had also known about it already.

Motoyasu stood up from his seat. A bewildered expression could be seen on his face. He walked toward Akari as if hypnotized, and raised his hand toward her. "You…"

In a deft movement, the Shadow girl grabbed his wrist and pushed it away from her face. "Kitamura Motoyasu-sama, please respect yourself," she glared at the playboy.

Motoyasu stammered. "But… you saved my life… and Elena-chan…"

The glare intensified. "It might be one of my colleagues, but definitely not me. I've never made any contact with you before."

Hearing that, Motoyasu didn't ask further. He retracted his hand and sat back down, burying his face in his hands again. EMIYA understood what happened; he must have been rescued by one of the Shadows, and now he was thinking Akari was the one who saved him.

"How are things over there?" EMIYA decided to defuse the situation before it could escalate. The Shadow girl nodded.

"The Church took over Castle Town two days ago. The King and Princess Melty were captured and imprisoned in the palace dungeon. Princess Malty was the one who was behind the arrests; she betrayed the royal family and sided with the Pope as soon as Emiya Shirou-sama and Miss Farrie Gainsborough left the Church. They are starting to hunt down the people who have connections with the Heroes."

She pulled out some sheets of brown paper from her pouch and placed them on the table. They were wanted posters showing the faces of the Heroes and their companions. Everyone noticed that even Itsuki and his companions were among them.

"They are trying to paint the Heroes as insurgents and imposters who stole the power of the Legendary Weapons. By declaring you all outlaws and imposters, they're trying to turn the country against you, making you easier targets for them to eliminate. Anyone who say differently are all branded heretics and gets executed publicly. Right now, at least half of the country already fell under the control of the Church."

Farrie burst into tears. "It's all my fault…! Everything that's happening to everyone is because of me…!"

Akari shook her head. "Actually, Melromarc and the royal family have to thank you for that, Miss Farrie Gainsborough. The coup the Church has been planning is inevitable; it will happen sooner or later. However, it wasn't supposed to begin until the end of next year. Your action forced the Pope to begin the coup sooner than he expected; they haven't managed to sway everyone in the country to their side yet. Right now, there are still some nobles who are still loyal to Her Majesty, and they're revolting against the inquisition of the Church. Lord Haven is among those nobles who have stood up against them, Miss Elena Haven; you can rest assured that he, as well as your family, are safe now," she looked at Elena, who sighed in relief.

"So a civil war is breaking out in Melromarc right now, huh," Naofumi pondered.

"Yes," Akari nodded in confirmation.

The room fell back into silence again.

"What about Itsuki?" asked Naofumi.

"The Bow Hero is also on the run," answered Akari. "The other Shadows rescued him from Castle Town when the coup began, and now he and his companions are traveling around Melromarc under our supervision."

"Did Her Majesty know about this?" finally, Eclair asked. Akari nodded.

"She did. She has already contacted the nobles who are still on our side to mobilize their military forces, and the Shadows around the country have already been doing anything we can to slow down the inquisition of the Church. And… that's also the reason why I'm here today, Sirs Heroes."

She suddenly kneeled on the ground. "Sirs Heroes, I'm here by the order of Her Majesty the Queen. Right now she's on the road so she cannot contact you directly, but she entrusted me with a royal letter to deliver to you."

She pulled out a letter with the royal seal, and EMIYA knew what it was going to say even before opening the envelope.

"Yes, Emiya Shirou-sama," Akari nodded as if knowing what he was thinking. She raised the envelope toward EMIYA. "Her Majesty wouldn't be able to take back the country without your help. She wishes to ask for the Heroes' assistance in fighting back the tyranny of the Church of the Three Heroes. The lives of millions of Melromarc's citizens depend on your help, Sirs Heroes."

For a while, no one knew what to say. Then Tersia raised her voice.

"Then we must go back now!"

Fohl looked at Tersia as if she was crazy. "They have just chased us out of the country. Why should we even think about going back there?"

"Our friends are having trouble there!" the swordsmaiden of Team EMIYA shot back hotly. "We can't leave them there without doing anything to help them!"

"And what can we even do?! We only have a few people here, and we're going to fight a whole country! You already saw what they could do back there! We would have all died there had it not been for Lord Shield Hero!"

Tersia bit her lip. "Well… but, even so! We can't leave our friends back there to suffer! Uncle Erhard, Ecclesia-san, Doctor Alfred… even Princess Melty, too!"

"I don't know…" Welt voiced his concern in a worried tone. "We're going against a whole religion, aren't we? The Church of the Three Heroes has been there since the founding of Melromarc, and now they're considering us their enemies, you know. They're going to do their best to kill us."

"I want to go back there, too."

Everyone looked at Wyndia, who had just raised her voice.

"I thought you of all people would have more than enough reason not to return to that country," asked Naofumi dubiously. The dog girl's face darkened, and she snarled.

"I know. But that moment they cast that beam of light magic on us, I realized. I've forgotten almost everything about my childhood, before I and my parents were enslaved and imprisoned in that dungeon… but that is something I can never forget. It was them. They were the one who destroyed my hometown, enslaved me and my parents and tortured me all my childhood. They were the one who ruined my life. I. WANT. REVENGE," she pressed the last three words with venom laced in her voice.

Everyone shivered at the declaration full of hatred of the dog girl.

"I… I also want to go back," Motoyasu suddenly raised his voice. "I-I don't believe Myne can do something so evil. I want to know the truth. I want to hear it from her mouth."

Naofumi glared at Motoyasu in anger and annoyance. "Even now you're still defending that bitch? Open your fucking eyes for once, will you? That bitch is a fucking devil in disguise! Only you are blind enough not to see that!"

"You don't know that!" retorted Motoyasu. "Before you all told me that I wasn't with Raphtalia-chan long enough to know about her and Naofumi's relationship, then sure, I admit I might be wrong! But did any of you stay with Myne as long as I did? If I don't have any right to judge Naofumi, then you don't have any right to judge Myne, either!"

Naofumi stared at Motoyasu, as if he couldn't even believe what he had just heard anymore. "Fucking h— You know what? Fine. Whatever you say. Go back and see, but don't come to me and cry when you finally realize how evil that bitch is!"

Then he looked at EMIYA. "Shirou-san, what do you think?"

Not only Naofumi, but everyone in the room was also looking at the Sword Hero in anticipation. Most of them had people that they cherished back in Melromarc, and it was obvious that they wanted to return, to be next to them, or at least, to be sure that they were still safe…

EMIYA closed his eyes and pondered for a while. Then, he said.

"We're not going back there for now."

None of the people standing in the room expected that answer from the Sword Hero. Tersia stared at her teacher in disbelief. "Sensei-!"

"Think about it," the Sword Hero answered curtly. "Just like Welt has just said, if we count Motoyasu and Elena in, we're fifteen people against an entire country. You of all people should know how deep that Church has reached its tentacles into the political aspects of the country, Farrie. We cannot win against them as we are right now."

"But you are Heroes!" the swordsmaiden protested. "You have the Legendary Weapons! There's no enemy who can stand against you-!"

EMIYA glared at her. "Are we really? I've told you many times, Heroes or not, we're not invincible. We're basically just normal people who happened to be summoned to this world to act as Heroes. No matter how strong we could be, if we throw ourselves headlong into the army of a whole country, the only thing we will receive is a brutal, meaningless death!"

Then he closed his eyes. A hint of bitterness could be seen faintly on his face. "Besides, there are things that no matter how powerful you are, you have no hope to fight against. No matter how much brute strength you have, no matter how many skills or magic spells you have, if they want you to fall, you will fall."

He threw a meaningful glance at Eclair, and the female knight understood immediately what he was talking about. She looked down and bit her lips.

"But Her Majesty is on our side," Farrie said hopefully. "If she helps us…"

"Yes, if she helps us," EMIYA didn't let the girl finish. "The biggest problem is, she literally isn't in the country right now. In order to fight against the Church, we need at least an army. We need her to actually come back if we want to have a chance. We need to be sure that she has returned with enough power to back us up before risking our lives. We're summoned here to combat the Waves, not to stick our nose into any country's political scuffles."

Then he shook his head. "Not to mention, it is literally impossible for us to return there by now."

Naofumi blinked. "What do you mean?"

Instead of answering him, EMIYA looked at Motoyasu. "Check your portal skill. Try to teleport back to Melromarc. You have that already, don't you?"

The Spear Hero didn't understand why the Sword Hero wanted him to do that, but he still complied. He switched his Spear to the Dragon Hourglass Spear, and tried using his Portal Spear skill. And…

"What the hell?!"

He could not select any beacons he had placed in Melromarc before. An "ERROR" notice popped up in front of him whenever he tried selecting a beacon.

"See?" EMIYA shook his head again. "They have somehow locked us out of all teleportation beacons we placed in the country. The only way we can go back there now is on foot, and it's going to take us days before we can get there. Not to mention, there's no way they're going to let us cross the border."

"Then… what should we do…?"

EMIYA snorted. "What should we do? Go to sleep, use that time to recover our strength and wait. There's nothing we can do now."

He picked up everyone's plates and bowls on the table and brought them to the sink, signaling the end of the conversation.


Everyone looked at Himawari, who had just started crying. Seeing the innocent little girl's tears rolling down her cheeks, it felt just like someone was stabbing their hearts with a blunt knife and wrenching them up.

Torashinai lashed out and struck Welt at his cheek. The young man staggered backward, his right hand held his cheek in pain.

EMIYA lowered the wooden sword and eyed his student. "What happened to you today, Welt? Usually you would be able to react to that pretty well, wouldn't you?"

The young archer looked down in shame. Then, he dropped his sword and slumped down.

"What are we even training for?" he exclaimed bitterly. "What are we even doing here, when our friends and families in Melromarc are suffering from the Church's tyranny? Aren't we supposed to get stronger to protect everyone?!"

EMIYA grimaced. He had dreaded this question from his disciples for a while, because it was impossible to avoid giving them the cruel answer.

It was impossible to save everyone. No matter how strong you are, how much you try, there would always be people who you won't be able to save. Either because you won't be able to be there in time when they need you, or you don't have what it takes to protect them. Or even worse, you might be the very person who has to take the people you want to save down. EMIYA was the person who understood this better than anyone else.

"And what good would it be if you lose your life because of this? What if your comrades do because of you? You won't be able to save anyone if you die! Not to mention, this is a war we're talking about. And I already told you before, there is no time to think about others when you're on the battlefield. It's kill or be killed. Do you think you're ready to kill another person, your enemy or not, in cold blood?"

Those words were so true Welt couldn't find anything to counter them. After all, it wasn't like the young man didn't understand that.

He wasn't afraid of dying. However, his sensei was right; if he died because of his own foolishness, everything he had done so far would become meaningless. And even worse, if his friends had to die because of their foolish decision, he would never be able to forgive himself.

Not to mention, his relatives and acquaintances were all followers of the Church of the Three Heroes. If they returned to Melromarc now, there was a chance that he might have to face them in a fight. Would he have the guts to take them down? Even though he had killed a lot of monsters and animals, he had never taken the life of a single person before. And now, just imagine the chance that he might have to hurt, or even kill his own parents, his own family…

Not only him, but it seemed that Farrie and Tersia also understood that. They could only look down with a mixture of different expressions on their faces. Pain. Regret. Fury. Hopelessness. Everything that they were feeling right now.

Torashinai in EMIYA's hand twisted and turned back into the normal shape of the Legendary Sword. The Sword Hero put it back into the sheath on his back and turned away.

"Think about what you want to do very carefully before doing it. If you don't, there's nothing good that will come from it."

Welt strapped his sword firmly on his waist, slung his bow, and quivers over his head onto his back.

He took a quick glance at Fohl, who was sleeping soundly on the bed next to his. Then, he stood up from his own bed and tiptoed across the room, opened the window and leaped out of it.

Farrie and Tersia were waiting for him below. The two girls nodded when the young man landed next to them in the yard.

They knew that this would be a betrayal. And they also knew that nothing good would come out of this. But they couldn't stand it anymore. Even if they have to sacrifice their lives, they know they need to do something, or they won't be able to live with the guilt and pain they're bearing in their hearts.

They took a last glance at the mansion, where their comrades, their second family, were sleeping peacefully in without knowing anything, and started walking away…

"And where do you think you're going?"

The three youngsters' heads snapped back so abruptly it felt just like their necks were going to snap. Their teacher was leaning on a tree nearby, glaring at them with his impassive gray eyes.

"S-Sensei?! How did you—"

"—know that you're leaving?" EMIYA finished the question for Tersia. "I am your sensei, brats. You're decades too early to think that you can sneak away from me without me noticing."

The three disciples could only hang their heads in embarrassment. Then, Welt blurted out.

"Sensei! Please let us return to Melromarc!"

EMIYA raised an eyebrow. "And didn't I tell you to think about it carefully before you try to do something?"

"We did think about it carefully!" the young man received the glare of his teacher with his own eyes full of determination. "And this is our decision! We know that it might be just a foolish thought, but we cannot sit here and worry about anything else before we are sure that the people that we cherish are safe! Not only our families, but our friends, too!"

The two girls didn't say anything. They just looked at their teacher with the same determined eyes, not even budging a bit. There's no changing their mind, no matter what anyone would say. EMIYA sighed.

"And that's what you call 'thinking about it carefully'? You're planning to charge headfirst back into a country who is considering you all most wanted criminals, without any plan, any preparation, just like that? Did I ever teach you to do something so recklessly?"

The three youngsters' eyes widened upon hearing the Sword Hero's voice. "You mean…!"

But before the sentence could completely come out of Welt's mouth, the entrance to the mansion burst open. From inside, Fohl rushed out, followed by the other members of Team EMIYA, Naofumi's and Motoyasu's group. The boy's face, as well as the others', shared a panicked expression.

"Master! Welt-san has disappeared! And Tersia-san and… oh…"

"You see?" EMIYA looked at the three youngsters. "You're not the only ones who worry about the people you cherish. Everyone here has that concern, too. To them, you all are the ones they cherish. If we have to return to Melromarc, we're ALL going to return together. But before that, we need time to plan, to prepare ourselves so that we don't throw our lives away meaninglessly."

Then he looked at Naofumi. "I guess you don't have any problem with that, do you, Naofumi?"

The Shield Hero shrugged. "No problem. You're the leader here, aren't you? If that's your call, we'll follow."

EMIYA's eyes swept across the whole group. They all gave him nods of approval. Then, he looked at a tree nearby.

"I know you've been there, Akari. Have you heard it? That's our decision."

From behind the tree, the Shadow girl walked out. She kneeled in front of the group.

"I've heard it, Emiya-Shirou-sama. Thank you all for your decision to help. Melromarc will always remember this favor you do for our country."

EMIYA looked up. The night sky was clear and full of stars. A particular one, in the center of his vision, was shining brightly. Just like a beacon of hope.

We're coming, Church of the Three Heroes…

In the last chapter, a lot of people criticized me for not having EMIYA killed Balamus right there when he had the chance. And here in this chapter, I have provided you the answer for that question. Politics. Anyone familiar with Fate lore should have known why and how the hero named Emiya Shirou died in the first place. He, of all people, knows too well how politics can put down even the mightiest heroes. Killing the Pope of a major religion in the world right inside its cathedral, in front of a bunch of people, no matter for what reason, is surely going to turn him into the biggest enemy of the world, no matter what good things he did to people before that. And just like someone in the review section has said, it is going to cause even more trouble than it already did.

Also, some people mentioned that it's stupid of the Church to try to kill the Heroes that they worshipped. And yes, that is EXACTLY what they did in the Shield Hero canon. They sent Shadows to assassinate the Sword and Bow Heroes off-screen, and when that failed, the Pope had the gall to blatantly declare the four Heroes imposters who stole the power of the Weapons during their fight. And EVERY SINGLE MEMBER OF THE CHURCH WHO WAS ON THE BATTLEFIELD AT THAT MOMENT BELIEVED HIM WITHOUT QUESTION. Therefore, I don't think there is any reason they couldn't do that in this story.

Until next time.