Hikaru let out a long sigh as she lowered herself in the warm hot spring. She could feel the aches in her muscles fading away as the warm water soaked her body.
"Another reason I love having rich friends." Rin settled into the hot spring on the other end of the stone pool.
Rani took up residence in between the two of them. "It was nice of Leo to let us have the hot spring to ourselves for the last night."
Hikaru nodded. The spring was always taken every night. Leo was able to get the hot spring reserved for them for the last night of their trip.
"Who would have expected we would get thrown into an assassination plot during our last day of our vacation?" grumbled Rin.
"I do not understand why you are still grumbling about it." Rani's purple eyes blinked slowly. "They were no problem at all to defeat. They were normal humans, no match at all for maguses like ourselves."
"You need to learn a bit more about humans," sighed Rin.
"They might have been just normal humans but they were still after Leo," explained Hikaru. "The fact that they wanted to kill him is what Rin is upset about. She's worried about Leo and she is showing it off in her own way."
"Damn it Hikaru! You're making me seem like a wimp!"
"Sorry!" She yelped as Rin splashed some of the warm water on her. "Hey now!"
"Leo's security force should be able to figure out who is behind it without trouble," said Rani. "They have a vast network and their information gathering methods should be able to discern who sent those men without fail."
"But still." Rin crossed her arms. "I know that the back of this island is supposed to be difficult to traverse but I can't wrap my head around how a bunch of normal guys were able to get up that cliff…"
Hikaru thought back to the feeling she had in the forest. Was it really her imagination?
"What's with that frown Hikaru?"
Hikaru looked over at Rin and shook her head. "It might be nothing but then…it might be something. I thought I felt someone staring in the forest when Leo, Archer and I were leaving but I thought it was nothing."
Rani and Rin exchanged glances.
"A magus maybe?" wondered Rin.
"How could the magus get past the spells though…"
Maybe she should have mentioned it before? Dang it! What if there was a magus out there waiting to strike!? She looked up at the tiled ceiling, grateful that it was not an open-aired bath. If it was, then the girls would be sitting targets for a sniper.
"Don't make that face Hikaru. It'll be fine. Leo's men have tightened security. No one will be able to wander around the island right now."
"But I still should have mentioned it…if Archer had known of the feeling he would have checked it out for sure." Why didn't she think to check if she could sense any prana in the area? That would have answered the question if anyone was there or not. Instead she was grateful that they were done for the day.
"Do not worry Hikaru." Rani put a hand on her shoulder. "Everything will be alright."
"Yeah," agree Rin. She slumped so only her neck and head were above the waterline. "So, how did it go with you and Leo being alone together? Apparently he saved you from a cliff fall?"
Ack! Hikaru knew Rin would get to this topic at some point. She tried to keep the panicked grin from sprouting in her face. "He saved me by using a spell. I wasn't really paying attention, I was a bit worried about dying at that moment."
"Uh-huh," said Rin slowly. "Is that all? Was that really all?"
"You seem to be fishing for a certain bit of information. Wouldn't it be easier for Hikaru if you told her what you wanted to know?"
"Come on Rani! You can't just ask without some tact!"
"The conversation will be more efficient if you ask directly though…Plus wouldn't it be better if she knew instead of us just alluding to it?"
Rin sighed. If her hair wasn't up in a bun right now, Hikaru was sure Rin would scratch her head. "Alright, alright." She turned to Hikaru. Her shoulders were set back ad she looked ready to deliver some bad news. "Hikaru. This might come as a shock to you but Leo likes you."
Hikaru blinked slowly and waited for Rin to continue. Nope. After a couple of seconds of silence, she realized that Rin was done. That was the big bad shocking news reveal. "Oh. I, uh, knew that Rin."
"No. He really likes you," insisted Rin. "Not like, as a friend way. Something more than a friend."
"Yeah…I knew that…"
"See? It was not a problem at all. I do not understand why you were so insistent for me to not tell her. She figured out on her own."
"How in the world…" Rin shook her head. "Damn it. Our little Hikaru is growing up. She is figuring out things on her own. I don't think I can handle this!"
"I'm not that clueless!" protested Hikaru. Really now! "You're so mean Rin…"
"Sorry, sorry. But anyway, since you know, did anything happen? Did he try to make a move?"
Hikaru thought to how he had held her when they had fallen off the cliff. Did that count? It was a necessity at that moment though.
"She hesitated!" Rin leaned in closer. "What happened?"
"It wasn't anything big!" protested Hikaru. "He just held onto me when we falling down the cliff, that's all. He was also very insistent that I don't use my powers but you guys are like that too though!" She knew if they had been there, they would have been like Leo and continued to command her to not use her powers unless the situation was desperate. Heck, even then she was not sure they would let her use her powers!
"It might be something but yet not at the same time." Rin let out another long sigh. "Dang it, why couldn't Leo be the type to be pushy? Just think of how interesting it would be if he actually actively fought Archer to win you over."
"It would be like one of those shoujo mangas you lent me," said Rani. She tilted her head. "Why would you want that happening? The main girl is usually miserable at some point as a result. I do not understand why you want HIkaru to be in her room crying…"
"Oh come on Rani, that's what we are for! We will make Hikaru feel better. Come on, can't we have normal high school drama happening for once instead of magus related ones?"
Hikaru just stared at Rin. How could she think of something like this!?
"Come on Hikaru, don't look at me like that, I don't really think like that. It would be interesting for it to happen but it would mess up a lot of things if it did."
"Seriously Rin, I wonder about you sometimes," sighed Hikaru.
"Alright, I can tell I ruined the mood. I'm getting out."
The water was really warm. Hikaru could feel herself getting really drowsy as a result. "I'm getting out too. I think I'm going to fall asleep if I stay in here."
"I forgot that a warm environment such as this one can affect a human body so much." Rani stood as well. "I will join you two in leaving. It would be boring for me to sit in here by myself."
The girls left the bath and after getting dressed, they headed for the game room. Leo and Archer were already there. They were engaged in a very serious, intense game of ping-pong. The ball was almost invisible as it traveled around the table. Both men looked like they were in the middle of a grueling war.
"Should we just leave them to it?" wondered Hikaru.
"Yeah, let's stay as far away as possible," laughed Rin. She pointed to the other ping-pong table. "Shall we go a round as well?"
Archer's eyes snapped open. He heard the dripping of the faucet. Guess he forgot to close it tight before going to bed. His room was dark; it was probably around three in the morning. A quick look at the clock told him his guess was correct.
He smiled at the thought. In the past he would always wake up at odd hours to the point that he gotten good at guessing what the time was based on the amount of light.
The question was what had woken him up in the first place? He tried to grasp the dream he knew he had a few moments before but nothing came to mind. It had already disappeared into the abyss.
Ah well. He turned over in his bed. There were still a couple of hours until morning. He was drifting back to sleep when he a scream ripped through the house.
Archer was on his feet and out of his room. He silently cursed the fact that he was in a separate hallway. Why did Leo place the girls in a different hallway!? He reached her open door and saw Leo was outside. Leo glanced over at Archer and stepped to the side to let him through.
"Rani and Rin are inside. I did not think it would be wise for me to intrude."
Archer nodded and entered the room. Hikaru sitting up in bed, head buried in her hands. Rani and Rin were by her sides, talking softly to her in an attempt to calm her down.
Rin looked up to see Archer standing there. She moved over so he could crouch next to her.
She looked up with eyes brimming with tears. "A…Archer!" she wailed. She threw herself against him, her face buried into his shoulder.
She was shaking so badly. Another dream of hers? He put his arms around her in an attempt to help comfort her.
"We'll leave you too it," whispered Rin.
He nodded before focusing on Hikaru's shaking form. Behind him, he heard the click of the door being closed. With the light of the hallway gone, the only light in the room came from the moon.
"It's alright. It was just a memory. You're fine. You're here now."
She pulled back and looked up at him. She opened her mouth and a croaking sound came out. She rubbed her neck a few times. "It was horrible…" Her voice was incredibly hoarse. He did not know if it was from her screaming or from the dream itself.
"It was a horrible dream…you were there in this one too…"
He tightened his grip on her. Based on how it sounded, it could not be good.
"You were Rin's Servant. I…the Grail was corrupt. I got corrupted by the Grail…" If he had worn a shirt, he knew she would have clutched tightly to it. Instead he could feel her nails digging into the skin of his back. "You chose to become a corrupted Servant to be by my side."
The tears were freely pouring down her face now. "You…we…we fought everyone together. We fought Rin, we fought everyone because they were trying to kill us because we were corrupted and whatnot." She clutched her throat. "There was a Servant wearing a blue dress. Saber-class. She…" She closed her eyes but it did not stop the sob from escaping her lips. "I can still feel the sword going through my throat…"
He wished he could take these dreams away from her. How many times has it been that she had woken up crying like this? How could there be no information about this ability out there!? If only there was some way to lock away the dreaming part of her powers. It gave her nothing but grief.
"You're fine in this world though," he soothed. "Nothing like that will ever happen to you here. I will not allow it."
"But you were in that world too and I…again I saw you die in front of me…"
Damn it. Damn it and this power of her. "Well it won't happen in this one. And don't you dare argue that point either!"
He could feel her smiling against his chest. "Thanks Archer," she whispered.
He kissed the top of her head before he pulled back the covers. "Come on. Let's get you into bed. There's still a couple more hours until daylight."
She complied and snuggled against him under the warm blankets. "Sorry," she mumbled.
"It's alright. Just go to sleep."
"I don't know if I can. That sword…"
He gently massaged her back as there was nothing he could do for the memories within her mind. All he could do was comfort and be there for her.
Despite her being in his arms, her breathing did not slow. It was too dark for him to see her face so he could not guess what she was thinking at the moment.
"You need to sleep Hikaru," he whispered. "You'll feel better."
She was still shaking in his arms. "I'm afraid I'll have another dream like that if I sleep."
Damn it. "Hikaru…"
"Please Archer. Not now. I don't want to talk about it…"
Of course she didn't. "Well I'm here so everything will be okay. You never had one of the bad dreams when I'm next to you right?"
The room was silent. The clock on the wall behind him was an analog one and the ticking of it was a reminder of how much time was passing. He did not know how long it took for her breath to even out. He was worried that if he moved she would wake up.
He did not sleep well for the rest of the night.
He was dozing off when he heard a soft knock on the door. Opening his eyes he realized he could see sunlight streaming into the room. Eight perhaps? He carefully climbed out of the bed. For a few seconds he thought he had awoken her but she turned over and stayed asleep.
Sighing, he tip-toed his way to the door. "Rin?"
"How is she?"
Archer stepped out and closed the door behind him. "Better now. It took a long time to coax her to sleep. This time she was beheaded. She could feel it."
Rin winced. "Why can't she ever dream something nice?"
He would have hit the wall in frustration but she was too close and might wake up from the sudden noise. "Why is there nothing we can do to put an block on this dream thing!? It's been getting worse lately too."
"Been getting worse?" Rin frowned. "She was fine for about a year before this before? Before she got worse?"
"Do you think it means something?"
Rin shook her head. "I have no idea Archer, I really wish I could tell you. Maybe it is a sign of danger? She probably does have a version that has the ability of premonition. Maybe she is telling herself that her power is needed?"
Could that really be it? "This has been going on for a while though Rin. Nothing really major has happened." Except for yesterday's attack.
As if she heard his thoughts she said, "Maybe yesterday's attack was the start of something bigger." She threw her hair over her shoulder. "Well worrying about it isn't going to do anything. All we can do is wait and see right?" She smiled. "Don't make that face. Hikaru will be alright."
He looked to the closed door. Would she really be okay? Would these horrible dreams finally leave her alone? "Rin…"
"I know, I know. I'll keep looking."
"Thanks again Rin." Archer was about to return to Hikaru's room when he heard Rin snicker. He looked back but she shook her head and walked back to her own room.
Well that was odd.
Hikaru was sitting up in bed when he returned. "Oh sorry, did I wake you?"
She shook her head. "No. I woke up on my own." Her eyes dropped to the mattress. "I was a bit confused when I woke up and you weren't here…"
He pointed to the door. "Sorry. Rin knocked. She wanted to make sure you were okay."
"I'm far from okay…" she murmured.
"Don't say that now. You're going to be fine." He settled on the bed and pulled her towards him. "Everything will be fine."
"You should have that made onto a shirt."
"Hey now. Don't tempt me to flick your forehead!"
"Ack!" She clamped her hand over her forehead. "Don't do that!"
He chuckled. "Good. You're back to normal now." He stood. "You want to get breakfast?"
She nodded. "Yes. A nice breakfast crêpe would do nicely."
"Of course you would say that. I'm going to go back to my room to get ready alright?"
She nodded. "Okay. Oh…uh Archer?" She pointed to him. "Uhhhhh you have claw marks on your back."
Claw marks? He walked over to the vanity and checked his back in the mirror. She was right. It looked like a cat had attacked it. Suddenly Rin's snickering made so much sense. "Don't worry about them Hikaru." Stupid Rin and that dirty mind of hers.
He jumped as he felt her cool fingers against his back. He could feel her prana surging from her fingertips into his back.
She stepped back and smiled. "Don't worry about it. I know it was my fault anyway." She looked down at her bare feet and wiggled her toes. "Sorry."
He wrapped her up in a hug. "Don't worry about it. Now get ready for breakfast, we have a couple of hours until the plane is going to take us home."