Categories > Anime/Manga > Fate/stay night > Toy Soldiers

Perfect Balance

by Arhel 0 Reviews

The samurai and the smith.

Category: Fate/stay night - Rating: PG - Genres: Fantasy - Characters:  - Warnings: [!!!] [?] - Published: 2006/09/07 - Updated: 2006/09/07 - 502 words

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IV. Perfect Balance

"You don't think much of the Grail, do you?" asked Shirou.

"Only insofar as it allows me to be material." The swordsman shrugged, matter-of-factly.

"Wasn't . . . wasn't the chance of a second life, or a miracle, or something, wasn't that what all the Spirits want?"

"All things living must someday come to an end," replied the Servant. He paused, running long, elegant fingers over the cracked and pitted stones that had once paved the path into the shrine. "It's pointless to cling to these illusions, and you miss the opportunity to fully enjoy them if you do."

Rising from his examination of the temple grounds that had, once again, turned into a battlefield, the warrior paced slowly, deliberately towards the temple structure that had been converted into an impromptu dojo, gesturing for Shirou to follow. Immediate threat vanquished, the serenity of the shrine was returning, and Shirou was careful to step lightly in respect to the spirits that still slumbered.

Twisted and broken swords, carefully held within racks against the wall, adorned the dojo. Shirou remembered making every single one, and could point out every dent and broken edge and the circumstances that had caused it. Flaws in the form that had given way beneath the force of blocks and parries, or lack of mana that had caused the blades to deform and the edges to dull, they were a catalogue of trial and error. In some cases, the error had nearly cost them their lives.

Taking one of a pair of shortswords off its rack, Shirou ran his fingers along the blade and felt for the imperfections, the substance and form like invisible blueprints in his mind. This was far easier than fixing school radiators, because of his natural affinity for weapons. For a brief moment, the memory of the priest came back to him.

"Rejoice, for your wish will soon be granted."

He'd always wanted to be a defender of justice. He'd just never had anything to fight.

And now that that had changed, he still didn't quite want to think about the purpose of the swords he made sometimes, even though he loved the care and craft that went into their making, and the resultant victories that they brought. And so the illusory swordsman completed the link for him with the purpose and precision of a craftsman, neither delighting in slaughter nor cowering in fear.

Shirou examined the blade in his hands again, thinking about the improvements he might make next, and imagining a time when the entire dojo would be filled with blades: like the swordsman before him, the proof of a lifetime's dedication to one art.

The swordsman in question laid his long blade down upon the mats. The edge had dulled from warding off blows from a much sturdier sword, and part of the blade was twisted, not enough to be visible to an untrained eye, but enough to be fatal flaw in the battles of the supernatural.

"Show me again your craft, blademaker."

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