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In the Visual Novel of Fate Stay Night, both Fate and Unlimited Blade Works routes share the same start with Sakura making breakfast for Shirou and Shirou seeing her in the Archery Club.

If Unlimited Blade Works is completed, during these initial days, at one of the times where Sakura is preparing breakfast for Shirou, the player can select to notice a bruise Sakura has, netting the player some of the critical affection points with her to go into the Heaven's Feel Route. (We can assume it was Shinji who gave Sakura that bruise).

In Heaven's Feel, after Rider was defeated early Shinji's tome burned up, later when Blood Fort Andromeda is activated we find out that Sakura is Rider's true Master and Shinji got a second book from Sakura who gave him the books because didn't want to participate in the war (Shinji was begging for Sakura to make another book, and warned her that if she were to participate, she would have to fight Shirou). We also find out about Sakura's connection to the Greater Grail later on in the route.

We know Shinji is killed by Illya and Beserker in Fate, and in the Unlimited Blade Works, he was only defeated and went to Kotomine afterwards. However, I am wondering, what happens to Sakura in the Fate and Unlimited Blade Works routes?

I am looking for a canon explanation. I don't believe the events in the Studio DEEN's adaptation of the Fate Route are canon, as the showdown between Rin and Sakura is actually a throw back to Heaven's Feel. Not to mention the whole arc (Caster trying to summon the Grail) is an arc in the Unlimited Blade Works route (in the original Fate Route, Caster appears briefly near the end, but is killed by Gilgamesh's Gate of Babylon.

  • As I recall, she simply disappears from the story, leaving us to assume that things continue as before under Zouken. Possibly Nasu has said something in an interview, though. He's said lots of things in interviews. – zibadawa timmy Oct 24 '14 at 9:24
  • Please check my edit. I removed the part "when Blood Fort Andromeda" is activated, since I don't understand the order of events from your post, but feel free to add it back in. – nhahtdh Oct 24 '14 at 16:11
  • @nhahtdh Shinji's book burning up is a symbol used to show SHinji is no longer a Master however in Heaven's Feel when Rider is defeated the first time his book burns yet he appears with a second when Blood Fort Andromeda is activated (it's shown earlier however people who have played the route will get when i referring to) – Memor-X Oct 26 '14 at 21:49
  • I always assumed that the bruise was some sort of command mark, since the same sort of thing happens to Shiro later. (He has a bruise, which Sakura notices, and it turns into the three command spells.) – Maroon Aug 11 '15 at 21:23
  • Yeah, the bruise is from the command spells. It's foreshadowing that Sakura is in fact a master. After Sakura noticed that Shirou was also a master she forfeited her rights to Shinji. – Ocean Mar 29 '16 at 19:45
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Fate/hollow ataraxia is the official sequel to Fate/stay night. It has radically different feeling to it, bringing more comical relief and tongue-in-cheek references, but it's as close to "canon" as we can get. It doesn't follow any particular route from F/SN.

I didn't read F/HA, but here's how TYPE-MOON Wiki references Sakura's development:

In Fate/hollow ataraxia, Sakura lives a peaceful life in Fuyuki City, which Rin has left in Sakura's care while she is at the Mage's Association, and Rider comments that Sakura is now the popular new captain of the school archery club. Sakura's dark side still exists, but appears only for comic relief. Shinji reveals to Shirou that Sakura assumed control of the Matou household, and both he and Zouken are terrified of her.

In the eclipse story The backside of Kibisis Rider and Sakura seem to work together to seduce Shirou and engage in a threesome with him. Actually this is all Rider's doing, trying to get Shirou to pursue Sakura more aggressively. Yet in the middle, Shirou realizes the truth and reverses her spell on her, in the end revealing to viewers that Rider herself has deep feelings for Shirou. Sakura appearing in this episode is only a conjecture by Rider's spell, a representation of Rider's true intentions of her actions.

There doesn't seem to be any canonical explanation beyond this. Personally, I think it's part of why people like Heaven's Feel so much: the thought of Sakura undergoing torments under Zouken until she dies just doesn't feel right.

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Zouken Matou never meant for Sakura to take a part in any Holy Grail War. His initial plan was to train Sakura into a tough mage. He would then let her give birth to (probably with Shinji) the next heir of the Matous, who would fight in the next war. As Kiritsugu did not make a wish in the fourth war, the energy was almost unconsumed. As a result, the Greater Grail only spent only 10 years restoring the energy for the fifth war instead of the expected 60 years, which neither Kiritsugu (who planned to destroy the Greater Grail in around 20 years) nor Zouken had foreseen.

Zouken thought it would be a waste to not summon a Servant if they had the chance. He thus made Sakura do her summoning, although he did not take it seriously: he still wanted to keep his original plan. Zouken did not care about the fifth war or about the actions of his grandchildren. As a result, eager to prove his own ability, Shinji participated in the war since Sakura herself didn't want to participate, by forcing Sakura to give him the Book of False Attendant and Rider.

  • In the Fate route, Sakura was depressed when her brother disappeared from the town, as he had been killed during the 5th Holy Grail War (something Sakura herself may have been aware of). (Although Shinji was a complete jerk, Sakura held some strange feelings for him; she actually pitied him not being a mage and thought she somehow had to "protect" her "poor" brother.). But since Illya was alive and stayed at Taiga's house, visiting Shirou very often in this route, they became good friends and Illya always cheered her up, making Sakura regain her energy quickly.

  • In the Unlimited Blade Works route, Shinji was still alive, and stayed in the hospital for a couple of days after Rin saved him. Sakura insisted on taking care of him during his hospitalisation, and they seemed to "get along better than before" from Shirou's view. It was stated that after this lesson, Shinji gave up on being a mage, so he would treat Sakura a little better than before, although his arrogance did not change and he had a happy life from then on. Since Sakura still didn't want to stop pitying on and looking after her poor big brother, she would likely live the rest of her life in Matou residence with Shinji.

Although Sakura loved Shirou more than anybody else in the world, she thought herself too "filthy" for someone as good as him (which is another reason she cares about Shinji, as she thought they were both kids "abandoned" in the dark). As a result, she always stayed away and wished a girl good enough for Shirou appear. She let Shirou love Saber for the rest of his life in the Fate route and Rin take Shirou away to London in Unlimited Blade Works, which is really cruel as she had always envied her for living a happy, perfect life.

Moreover, no one in the Matou household ever cared about Sakura, other than Shinji, when he still thought Sakura was forced to leave her family and unlike him, had no chance to learn magic. He occasionally looked after her out of pity until he found out that in fact Sakura was the one who was going to inherit the Matou line and who always took pity on him. But even Shinji only abused his sister later on, this was the only kind of attention Sakura could get from the whole Matou family. Thus, she did somehow cherish Shinji as her big brother. She thought him to be pitiable enough that even when he beat her she had to beg Shirou not to blame him, as Shirou was Shinji's only friend.

Aside from the Heaven's Feel route, where he activated another of his plans for Sakura and the Grail, Zouken would have had to accept that his wish for immortality could never come true. Rin and Waver dismantled the Greater Grail a decade later, and Zouken would be weak enough at the point in Fate/hollow ataraxia (though kind of a joke, that's still canon in the Type Moon universe) that Sakura viewed him as a old man who was nearly dead. (So yes, in F/HA, Sakura did take over the household and rule over Shinji and Zouken, who were frightened to death.)

Even in the original story, in the two routes, Fate and Unlimited Blade Works, Zouken would die soon and so Sakura would be free, and the only problem would be whether she would still follow Zouken's wish to have children with Shinji.

  • I made some edits for grammar and also cut down on some stuff that seemed unnecessary. If I've made any inappropriate edits, feel free to change things back. – Maroon Oct 18 '15 at 18:34

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