...Accept his duty.
There was no avoiding it anymore. The reason it had come to this... it was all because he was selfish.
Angra Mainyu would have posed a threat no matter what. Shirou was not so naive to believe that could be attributed to him. But the fact that he was capable of affecting reality to such a level... that occurred solely because Shirou had wanted to save Ayako.
He was selfish, grasping at a miracle without paying any heed to its consequences. And because of that, they had paid the price.
Not only them, but the countless innocents in the town that had died because of the monsters appearing, the countless deaths caused by the purging of the Executors and Enforcers...
He was responsible for it.
Shirou let out a breath and turned towards the one he had to defeat.
Angra Mainyu was pouring all of his energy into that towering blade of his, preparing to return everything into the void.
...He had been selfish, so he had to accept the consequences of that. The burden of his 'Sword' and 'Magic'.
You will be changed. Moreso than you are now.
He had already known. Emiya Shirou was distorted from the very beginning. He was always someone that could not live in harmony with the world, more of an observer of Humanity than a part of it.
Despite that, he had denied it. He had wanted something else, wanted to fit in.
He was a sword that wished to become human, and look where that got him.
If you pursue this route...
No turning back. No doubts. No more lies.
He had chosen this path. Even if it meant never being able to be a part of their lives, as long as they were safe, he was fine with it.
The price for the brilliant future had not been his death, but rather...
You will no longer be human.
"I am the bone of my sword."
Shirou stepped forward, consciously drawing on his Magic for the first time.
"IT IS TOO LATE, EMIYA SHIROU!"
Angra Mainyu must have sensed it. In response, even more energy was pumped into the sword, and the area around the incarnation of evil began fading.
"BEGONE, ALONG WITH ALL CREATION!"
The blade of the void was swung, and the world was returned to nihil.
...But he was still there.
Shirou stood there in the void, head bowed and holding a sword that was shining with the purest light.
-A chaotic torrent, crashing against his mind. Shirou could feel the voices of millions, trillions- the infinite cries of life from throughout time and space. He could see the events that had unfolded in the distant past, the present, and events that had yet to occur. All of eternity, all of existence pulled at him, a burden that only a God could stand.
It met unyielding steel.
...No. It was not unyielding. Instead, the steel had been tempered, forged by the pressure into another form, one that could withstand it, one that could use it.
Shirou raised his head, looking at Angra Mainyu with eyes that saw not him, but all of existence.
-Changed. The one standing there was no longer human, and yet at the same time was more human than any God. Eyes and hair of the purest silver, shining with barely restrained energy. A body that would not yield, no matter what strains were placed upon it.
Angra Mainyu looked around with wide eyes before settling his gaze on Shirou. "You...?"
In his surprise, the demonic undercurrent in his voice had vanished. "How? HOW?!"
He was confused. Then again, that was to be expected.
With his powers, Angra Mainyu should have been able to erase everything, and he did. The World, time, and space had been destroyed by that blade Angra Mainyu created from the void.
Nothingness. That was where they were. A place outside of creation, like how Angra Mainyu was initially expelled from the Avesta.
Only he should have been able to exist here. Everything else should have been voided, returned to nothing, and yet-
Shirou spoke, his voice flat and emotionless. "I will end you."
A snarl. "You, end me? Fool!"
Angra Mainyu raised his blade, the towering weapon shrinking back into a sword like the one he originally wielded.
"This is MY domain!"
Shadows that could erase even an Aristotle surged, threatening to envelop Shirou.
They were met by a flash of white light, and vanished.
Shirou stepped forward.
"No... NO!" Angra Mainyu snarled and gathered more shadows to attack Shirou. Surely it was just a fluke. Even if he possessed that Magic, Angra Mainyu's Authority should be more than enough to-
Another flash of light illuminated the darkness. And this time, it was more than just the shadows that were dispelled.
A faint outline. Around them, the void that Angra Mainyu had created was being filled, like an artist sketching on a blank canvas. Bit by bit, what he had destroyed was being returned.
Shirou took another step forward and raised his sword. "You, who have been expelled from all of inscribed creation..."
For once, fear. Angra Mainyu could tell that if he didn't stop Shirou, he would vanish forever. More than just being expelled from creation, it would be as if he never existed.
The incarnation of evil appeared before Shirou in an instant, sword cutting towards the silver-haired man's neck.
It stopped just before it struck, and Angra Mainyu was rendered immobile, forced to stare into Shirou's piercing gaze.
"I shall free you of your burden."
The sword was swung, the blade of light cutting across Angra Mainyu's body.
There was no pain.
There was no death.
Angra Mainyu vanished from existence, nothing more than a name and memory.
And Shirou was alone.
For an instant or an eternity, he stood there in the void. Time had no meaning there, and there even if it did it would have made no difference.
Everything was gone now, and he had accepted his role. His duty.
In exchange for a miracle, he obtained Magic beyond human reckoning, beyond the World itself. Trespassing upon the records of reality, he obtained the ability to change it as he saw fit. And now he had that chance.
He could start over. Send himself back to the start of this war, only change it. Prevent innocent deaths, save Ayako, Rin, Sakura.
He could return things to as they should have been, with Angra Mainyu defeated at Ryuudou Temple and bring those who died back to life.
...But that was selfish. He didn't deserve the happiness that would bring.
And even if he wanted to, someone like him could no longer stand by their sides.
Shirou closed his eyes.
...A reality without him. A reality where there had never been a Holy Grail War, where Angra Mainyu was never unleashed upon the world.
No, one where magic itself did not exist. Where Rin, Sakura, and Ayako could live out normal lives, unaffected by the Grail War and Thaumaturgy.
That was the only way they could be safe, that they could be happy.
A reality where there were no monsters hiding in the depths of the earth, where vampires remained as myths, and where secret organizations operating the world were nothing more than conspiracies made up by paranoid individuals...
Shirou opened his eyes and raised his sword-
Those hands will never hold anything...
-And created existence anew.
I am the bone of my sword
Withstanding pain for turning against the past
The endless blades obtained upon this road
Are aware of loss, and never of gain
Denying reality to ensure their survival,
These hands unfit to hold anything reach out
Creating the Fantasy of the Sword Saint
End 2: True