A Different Path

By HallowedWizard

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What I'll Never Know

...Save them.

The oath he made. The promise to protect them all, to not let anyone else die.

He had failed them.

He had failed them, but he had a chance to set everything right.

Geez, you're really hopeless, aren't you, Shirou?

Shirou got to his feet. "Yeah... I guess I am, aren't I, Rin?"

Angra Mainyu's face was twisted in madness and cruelty. The blade he held was a tool that could eradicate everything.

If Shirou wanted them to be safe, that guy was the first one to go. But to do that...

Yep, definitely an idiot. But... that's what I love about you, Shirou.

He held out his hand, willing his blade to appear from his world. "...I was always too dense to realize your feelings, all of you."

"THIS IS THE END, EMIYA SHIROU!"

Angra Mainyu's booming voice. The blade behind him was lifted, and everything began to dim, drawn towards the void.

Just... promise me that you'll come back if it gets too dangerous.

Shirou stepped forward. "I'm sorry, Sakura. But I can't keep your promise."

He took the blade.

The representation of All Evil hesitated for a brief moment as he took in the sword Shirou held. "That blade..."

-A mirrored image. Angra Mainyu had taken everything from Shirou. Since the time of the Fourth Holy Grail War, that guy was the root of all Shirou's problems.

Losing his previous life. His memories. His family. Even his identity.

Now, all Shirou had cared for was gone, erased by the incarnation of evil standing before him.

It would end today. The darkness would be purged from this world, no matter the cost, so that their brilliant future may start.

Angra Mainyu shook his head. "It matters not! IT CANNOT SAVE YOU, EMIYA SHIROU!"

Again, that booming voice, laced with demonic undercurrents.

But Shirou could no longer hear him.

"Trace... on."

A rushing wind... no. A torrent, the infinite cries of life from across reality. The whispers that spoke of all time, all space. A burden that only the omniscient may bear.

It wiped away everything except for what he must do, the last act of Emiya Shirou.

Angra Mainyu swung his blade, a sword that could expel all of creation to the void-

"...All processes complete."

The final trump card. Entrusting everything he was to his blade, Emiya Shirou began to fade.

His SWORD stepped forward and swung the blade in his hand, shattering the void with ease.

"Wh-"

Angra Mainyu didn't even have the time to be surprised.

A flash of blinding white, where the world- no, where reality itself came to a halt.

And then, like a mirage, he faded away. The incarnation of All Evil, the one who had caused so much heartache and destruction...

Time rewound, skipped, and jerked as all of Evil was purged from this reality, forever.

...He was alone.

The antechamber around him faded, returning to what it truly was. Before him was Ryuudou temple, and behind him were the steps descending the mountain.

It was not yet over.

The one who had grasped the sword was departing from this plane. It was his fate, bound the moment he took up the blade. Though the body remained, what was left could no longer be called Emiya Shirou. Yet, in the infinite moment before he vanished forever, there was time to input one last command to the SWORD that he left, and instill one final desire.

The hollow fragment of Emiya Shirou raised the blade. It was above the Holy Grail, so the power source was no issue. It possessed the ability to sever and bind reality to that which was wished, and the image of the ideal future was bound to the blade.

Raising the Sword of Origin, that hollow fragment lashed out, severing the false reality that those he cared for had perished.

Death burned for having the order subverted, but could not stand against His blade. Time bled for having those events lost to eternity. The World cried out for the souls being pulled back from the abyss.

Rin stood in a dazed confusion, looking around with wide eyes. Sakura let out a laugh, choked with tears as she realized she lived. Ayako frowned, then let out a wide smile.

The three turned towards the remnant, faces shining with delight at being granted a miracle.

"Shirou!"

Rin was the first to recover and moved to meet the remnant. She was also the first to realize the difference.

"...Shirou? No, that sword..."

The remnant allowed His blade to fade away. It was not something meant for him, and so he would not hold it longer than he must.

Rin took a step back, and the girls stood by her side.

"What's wrong, Rin?" Sakura asked.

"Yeah, what's the deal, Tohsaka?"

Tears.

Though the remnant no longer carried the capacity to feel emotions, the sight of those watery blue eyes felt wrong, even to him.

"That's... not Shirou."

The remnant closed his eyes and gave a small nod. "You are correct," he said. "Emiya Shirou no longer exists on this plane of existence. I... I am the Sword of Akasha. I will protect you, as he wished. For now and for always."

Rin slumped to her knees. "...Idiot. That idiot."

"No!" Sakura stepped back, hands covering her mouth. "Senpai... Senpai is...?"

Again, the remnant nodded.

And then Sakura knelt by her sister, tears streaming from her eyes as well. They were united at last, but at what cost?

Ayako's eyes teared as well, but she remained standing. She looked straight into the remnant's eyes. "He saved us, didn't he? Shirou did that, right?"

"Correct. With his last, he created this miracle and left the rest to me. 'Bring them back and make them happy.' Those were his last desires, Mitsuduri-san."

She flinched at the formal way the remnant addressed her. "I... see. Damn it Shirou...! Why'd you have to do something like this? Why didn't you choose to live?"

The remnant had no answer. How could he? His first memory was of standing before Angra Mainyu and after that, performing the miracle. The method was apparent, but he could not understand the concept of its creation. Why Emiya Shirou chose to act in that manner was a mystery he could never solve.

But, there was one thing he knew for certain.

"...I cannot speak for Emiya Shirou's motivation, but I do have his last words."

At that, the girls froze, attention focused on the remnant.

"Before the last of his presence faded, and when my memory starts, Emiya Shirou managed to speak." The remnant closed his eyes. They were solemn words, feelings made from the one who had given everything for those he loved.

He didn't deserve to see their reactions.

"I love you. Good bye."

Aishiteru. Sayonara.

Mournful wails, a sound that tore at something the remnant no longer had.

That was the price of a miracle.


His body is made out of swords
His blood is of iron and his heart of glass
He survived through countless battles
Not even once retreating
Not even once regretting
He stands there alone
Protecting them all from his world of swords
Because of that, his life needed no meaning
...That was the Fantasy of the Sword Saint


End 1: Normal

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