“Where am I?”

Shirou wondered as he gazed around the unfamiliar and unsettling surroundings.
The black soil beneath him rolled like waves on the sea, while hills comprised of withered bodies littered the landscape, slowly sinking into the black waters.

The sky was a blood-red hue, dominated by a black sun, while the wind carried with it a curse and lament.
This place was, without a doubt, hell itself.

He struggled to remember how he ended up here until it all came back to him.
He had been swallowed by the black mud.
Could it be that he was now inside it?

“What do you want your wish to be?” a voice asked, breaking the silence.

He turned to find the speaker, his eyes narrowing as he retorted, “Who are you? Are you the will of the Grail?

“What wish do you want to make?” the will persisted.

“I don't have a wish for you to grant.”

“You're lying,” the will accused.
“Just like you lie to everyone else.”

“I'm not lying,” He said with a smile.

“You can deceive others, you can deceive me, but you can never deceive yourself.
Look into your heart.
Your wish, your answer, is there.”

Suddenly, Shirou felt a pair of hands cover his eyes, plunging him into darkness.

In the dark city, people came and went.
This was a city of sin, where there was no order or rules, and where criminals and terrorist attacks were a constant presence.
With a population of 37,000, made up of criminals, residents, and Shirou, if a wicked person were to threaten his life for the 10,000 dollars he possessed, what would he do?

“I'd kill him, of course,” Shirou answered without hesitation.
“To save my own life.”

“Even if innocent people are involved, I won't hesitate,”

The will of the mud listened to Shirou's answer calmly, and then Shirou's hand was suddenly armed with a gun.
The weapon fired bullets like a machine gun, killing everyone in sight.

That's the Fujimura Shirou I know,”

Shirou stood calmly before the sea of corpses and blood, his eyes showing no emotion.

“Fujimura Shirou had become a notorious killer and criminal in the city, having slaughtered countless people in pursuit of a single villain.
The local gangs saw him as a threat and put a bounty on his head.” The will of the mud confronted him and asked what he would do.

Without hesitation, Shirou unleashed a blinding flash of light followed by a deafening explosion.
The bomb turned everything and everyone in its vicinity into a mass of mud in the sea.
In Shirou's eyes, this was a necessary measure to ensure his own survival.
Whether they were guilty or innocent, they were all silenced by his merciless act of violence.


The game continued, escalating from individuals to small gangs and eventually to larger gangs.
In the end, Shirou, who had killed everyone, survived and no longer faced any threats to his life.

Fujimaru Shirou had finally returned home, to a place filled with warmth, where his parents and friends from his past and present life awaited him.
However, he soon discovers that his own family had thrown him into the city of sin and plotted his death.
How would Shirou make his choice?

The answer was before him –

“Have you had enough?” Shirou turned around and faced Sakura.

Throughout the game, his expression remained stoic, and even now, it remained unchanged.
This was because the decisions he had made were not based on his own beliefs, but rather those of the mud.

“This isn't a game, it's your deepest desire,” Sakura spoke calmly.
“I'm merely providing the answers that lie within your heart.”



Referring to her as Sakura was no longer appropriate.
She was now merely a symbol of the will of the mud, devoid of any personal identity.

“This isn't my wish, let alone my answer,” Shirou said, shaking his head.
“You're just observing my behavior and self-questioning, self-answering.
Observing behavior is one thing, but a person's heart is not observable.
Can you truly understand it? I'll tell you my answer.”

With a quick motion of his wrist, the scene changed back to that of a murderer.

“I have a machine gun in my hand, but I won't kill him.
I'll threaten him to drop his weapon, and then I'll threaten the innocent people around him to tie him up,”

Involving the innocent, this is Fujimaru Shirou's answer,” the will of mud said.

“I'll set a set of unbreakable rules for him.
If he violates them once, I'll pull out his fingernails and pour salt on his wounds.
If he follows them once, I'll reward him with ten dollars and praise him,” He continued.

“What does this mean?” The Will of Mud asked, still confused.

Shirou didn't answer but continued to act on his own.
He established rules for the people, punishment for breaking them, and rewards for following them.
Slowly, the villains learned to act according to these rules.

“This isn't something that Fujimaru Shirou should be doing!” The Will of Mud protested.

Ignoring the will of the mud, Shirou instead chose to focus on the villains who had threatened his city.
He began to gather small gangs around him, slowly building a community with a sense of purpose.

In stages, he set achievable goals, establishing rules that rewarded good behavior and punished wrongdoing.
Every day, they read and discussed these rules, working together to build a better future for their city.

As the community grew stronger, they held monthly ceremonies to praise and honor those who had followed the rules and contributed to their cause.
Through these efforts, Shirou and his followers created a sense of belonging and purpose that transcended their individual desires, bringing hope and order to a city once plagued by chaos.

“Stop! This is not Shirou's answer!” The will of mud cried out in protest, attempting to halt Shirou's actions.
But he remained steadfast, following his own path and gradually building up his gang's strength.

Along the way, they faced fierce battles with rival gangs, experiencing both victories and defeats, as well as the losses and sorrows that come with the territory.
Despite the challenges they faced, he never lost sight of his goal.

Through perseverance and determination, he eventually established himself as the ruler of the city of sin, bringing a measure of stability to a place once known only for chaos and violence.

“Stop! Stop! This…
This is not your answer!” The will of the mud yelled as he erased everything to oblivion.

Shirou calmly looked at it and smiled, “This is Shirou's answer.”

“That's impossible!” The will of the mud screamed in disbelief.
“You're a man who would do anything to stay alive, even if it meant killing your own family!”

Shirou shook his head, his voice calm but firm.
“No, that's not who I am anymore.
I may have once held that belief, but my perspective has changed.
My heart has been enlightened to the true path of freedom.”

He took a deep breath, his eyes shining with a newfound clarity.
“My struggle is not just about survival.
It's about reclaiming my ability to smile and be with those who matter to me.
I won't allow myself to be deluded any longer.
My journey may be difficult, but I will continue to walk it with my head held high.”

“Then your answer should be to kill everyone!” The will of mud argued vehemently.

“Why must I resort to taking lives just to survive? Why should I be content with such a low standard of existence?”

“What do you mean?” The will of mud asked.

He replied, “Why can't I aspire to establish order and bring peace to everyone? I may be a mortal, I may be weak, and I may exist at the bottom, but because of that, I understand the suffering of the oppressed, the pain of the weak, and the anguish of being thrust into conflict.
That's why I want to establish order, to be benevolent, and to govern with compassion and justice, so that I, and many others, can bask in the warmth of this world.”

The will of mud declared, “You cannot do it because you are merely a mortal!”

Shirou smiled and responded, “If one worries about failing before even attempting, there is no hope of finding a solution.”

The will of mud was left speechless, staring blankly at Shirou.

Stepping closer, Shirou locked eyes with the creature with a fiery gaze and posed the question, “Are you Angra Mainyu, the embodiment of all evil in the world?”

The will of mud remained silent, offering no reply.

Shirou's smile remained warm as he spoke, “But I will not call you Angra Mainyu.”

The will of mud lifted its head, transforming into a small figure that resembled a cherry blossom, and stared intently at Shirou.

“That is not your true name.
It is merely a label imposed upon you by someone else,” Shirou continued.
“You, too, are weak and mortal, no different from me.
That is precisely why the order I seek to build must protect you from harm as well.”

He turned and walked towards the sea of mud.

The will of mud, unable to resist, asked, “What are you going to do?”

Shirou turned his head with a relaxed, melting smile and replied, “I am going to pave the way to freedom for us, for you, for the weak.”

The mud figure continued to stare at Shirou, lost for words.

Without hesitation, Shirou stepped into the sea of mud.

Rebellion, terror, destruction, abandonment…
denial, denial, denial…
kill, kill, kill, kill, kill–!!!

As Shirou stepped into the sea of mud, his body became stained with infinite malice and boundless evil, yet he still maintained his serene smile.
Despite this, the flame in his eyes burned brighter than ever before.

He said, “Yes.”

–Who is affirming?

–Who is affirming this endless denial?

He said, “It's me! Fujimaru Shirou!”

–Who are you?

Shirou said, “I'm a weakling.
I'm your ally.”

–Since you are an ally, why affirm us?

Shirou said, “Why can't I affirm you guys?”

–Because we are denials, we are evil.
Everyone denies us.

Shirou declared with conviction, “Even if the entire world denies you, I will affirm you.
If they deny you a thousand times or ten thousand times, I will affirm you a hundred thousand times or even a million times.”

“Traitor! You are not our ally, but a traitor!” the black mud roared, rising up to engulf Shirou like a tidal wave.
Yet despite the overwhelming odds against him, Shirou's serene smile remained steadfast, barely wavering in the face of the onslaught.

Shirou spoke with a calm and steady voice, assuring the black mud, “I am not a traitor.
I am here as your ally.
I was once lost in darkness, just like you.
I too cried out for help and wept tears.
My heart was once shrouded in confusion, but I have come to realize the truth.
As long as we hold onto our warm hearts and have the courage to keep them genuine, we can overcome any obstacle.
We do not need to rely on heaven, earth, gods, or kings.
Our own hands hold the key to our happiness.
Therefore, even sadness and the mud of evil can bloom into something beautiful.”

“What do you want to do?”

He extended his hand, his eyes ablaze with warmth, “Come with me.
Even if your hearts are shrouded in darkness, allow me to guide you towards freedom.”

“Can you do it?”

“Why don't you find out?” He replied with a smile.

“What drives you to do this? Is it your obligation as the hero of justice?”

“I am not bound by obligation, nor do I consider myself a hero of justice.
I am simply a mortal, flawed and weak, moved by the beauty of the world.
I possess the capacity for love and hate, for emotions both positive and negative.
I do what I can, what I am capable of.
And above all, I am alive, capable of taking action.”

The black mud rose and boiled, before flowing into Shirou's body.

“You will be drowned.”

“No,” Shirou shook his head, “My hero has paved a path of freedom for me.
I will honor that proud figure by sharing the flame I received from him with everyone.
This flame will ignite in the hearts of all who open their eyes to see it.
And if you look within, you too will find the flame burning brightly in your heart.”

“Impossible…this is impossible…how could this…” The will of mud was stunned.

How could someone have accepted all the world's evil, carried it all upon themselves, and still strive to open a path of freedom for all that evil? It was a mystery, a wonder.
How could such a person exist? How could there be someone like that?

All the world's evil was degradation and denial, and no one ever accepted or affirmed it.
Even those who aimed to save it considered evil to be something to be purged.
Yet, there was one person who not only affirmed it but did so a hundred thousand, a million times over.

How could such a person exist?

The entire black sky was absorbed by Shirou…
No, not absorbed, but became Shirou himself.

As the long, dark night drew to a close, the sky cleared and the earth was blanketed in snow.
Shirou emerged from the sea of mud, leaving the black mud surging and roaring in his wake, and as he did, it bloomed into a beautiful and fragrant black flower.

who are you?” The will of the mud asked in wonder.

“I am a weakling, and I stand with the weak.
I will be your ally, and if your heart is clouded by doubt, I will clear a path toward freedom for you.”

The will of the mud stared at Shirou in amazement.

“Are you scared? Does it hurt? To be crowned as the evil of this world, to be crowned with the name of Angra Mainyu.
But…, fear not, for I am here.” Shirou smiled at the will of the mud.

“I may not understand your feelings or alter your experiences, nor ease your anger within.
But I will listen to your story seriously and give your experiences the attention they deserve.
Your pain, hatred, and grudge – I will listen to them all with sincerity.
Did you hear that sound? The sound of melting snow?”

The white snow on the ground began to melt, giving way to new growth from the earth.
The morning sun of early spring shone down upon the crying face of the will of mud.

“Thank you…
Thank you for hearing my grievances, my anger…
Thank you for acknowledging me…
Thank you for accepting me…
Thank you for letting me know, there is still someone…
There is still someone who cares about me.”

The will of mud, moved to tears, whispered, “Your eyes…
They are truly beautiful…” And with those words, it vanished like snow melting under the sun.

As the person disappeared and their voice faded away, only Shirou and the new shoots of early spring remained. 

The evil flowers surged behind him, fueled by the immense 240 years' worth of accumulated magical energy from the four Holy Grail Wars.

“Farewell, stranger.
May your path to freedom remain open.” Shirou said with a faint smile as he gazed at the gentle dawn.

“It's time to confront the king who has been consumed by anger.
But I am weak, will you help me?”

The mud rose up behind him, resembling two powerful arms stretching out on either side.

— Innate Skill: [Evil Flower A+]

— Noble Phantasm: [Evil Flower of Freedom EX]

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