From : Swaggered and Swayed
By : Mini Nephthys
That man had shown up guarding their doorstep a little after Kuzuki and his new wife’s wedding. He claimed to have been there all along, but only now had he been given permission to appear.
Issei thought that that made sense. It would have been suspicious for Medea to bring an armed guard along when everyone from the temple hardly knew her.
…The man having hidden outside the temple for weeks without his noticing made less sense, but far be it from him to question a guard’s skills.
The man’s name was Sasaki.
“Like the swordsman?” Issei asked.
Sasaki nodded, wearing a smile that said if only you knew.
“Don’t take this as an insult,” Issei said, “because it isn’t – but I don’t see how one could adequately guard against the weapons of this day and age with just a sword.”
“If one is sufficiently skilled in it,” Sasaki answered, “it matters not what your weapon is. And you may find that you need to be guarded against the weapons of this day and age less than you expected.”
Issei shrugged. “I suppose you’d know more about this sort of thing than I would. It’s a beautiful weapon,” he added. “I’d like to see you use it one day.”
Sasaki moved fluidly, slashing and cutting at the air and shifting into his next position without pausing. His sword glittered, light reflecting on it differently with every strike. The afternoon was nearly silent as he performed a dance of the oldest sort.
Finally, he turned to his still-enraptured audience and bowed low.
“That…” While Sasaki straightened, Issei took a moment to catch his breath. “That was amazing.”
“I am glad to hear it,” the swordsman replied. “Few people appreciate the majesty of these weapons now.”
“They have no idea what they were missing. That was… you were…” Issei trailed off, but Sasaki could just barely see his lips form the word ‘beautiful’.
“Oh? So forward, now?”
“B-Be quiet, I didn’t mean it like that!”
“Sasaki?” Issei called out, only to whirl around when he was tapped on the shoulder. “Gah! Must you really do that every time I want to speak to you!?”
“Perhaps your reaction has something to do with it,” Sasaki replied. “Now, then. What did you require of me?”
Issei looked away, fury forgotten in the face of embarrassment. “I… well… There’s a festival centered on the Shengoku period coming up, and I was wondering if you would want to go. It seemed like it would be nostalgic for you.”
Sasaki raised an eyebrow and asked, “Why would that be so?”
Looking up, Issei gave his friend a thin smile. “It’s not ‘like’ the swordsman, is it?”
“…No, I suppose it is not,” Sasaki Kojiro admitted, making a mental note to ask Caster about what to do about… this. He didn’t yet know about the Grail War, which was the important thing…
“So. The festival?” Issei repeated, looking entirely unfazed by the revelation that his temple guard was a four-hundred-year-old swordsman.
“I do not believe I can leave the temple at that time,” Sasaki said truthfully.
“…When you say that, do you mean you physically can’t leave?” Issei asked. At Sasaki’s surprised look, he added, “I didn’t give you a time or a date, so you shouldn’t know whether you could leave or not. Besides, if Sasaki Kojiro is on my doorstep, him not being able to leave doesn’t seem too farfetched, comparatively.”
Sasaki sighed. “That is correct. I cannot leave my post.”
Issei was silent as he descended a few steps. Then he turned back to Sasaki and extended a hand.
“Have you tried?”