Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance:Volume10 Chapter8

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Chapter 8 - Laevateinn[edit]

Part 1[edit]

In the spiral staircase that rose into the sky, the sound of hard footsteps could be heard.

Chasing after Scarlet as she leaped nimbly, Kamito and Fianna sprinted.

The third floor was already smashed to unrecognizable levels by Leonora and Lily's fight. Weaving nimbly through the corridors where collapsed stone columns piled over one another, Scarlet ran across.

"W-Wait up... Humans can't really pass through this kind of place!"

However, these restraining words came too late and could no longer reach Scarlet on the other side.

Left with no other recourse, Kamito tried to find a way around—

"...We should be able to climb over there... Hmm!?"

Suddenly, Kamito held his chest and bent over.

"W-Wait up, Kamito-kun!"

Fianna frantically supported Kamito's back.

"...Are you okay? Could it be that the battle just now—"

"No, it's nothing."

As sweat appeared on his forehead, Kamito shook his head.

"However..."

"Hurry. I have a bad feeling about what's coming."

Kamito stood up and continued to chase after Scarlet.

(...My endurance will reach a limit sooner or later.)

Even though a healing stone was taking effect on his body right now, the body's fatigue could not be recovered so simply.

Due to the effects of performing the Absolute Blade's secret technique, the Last Strike, his entire body's muscles were screaming in pain.

Although during his days at the Instructional School, Kamito had learnt combat skills for self-suggestion to alleviate the body's pain, he did not dare use these techniques.

Relieving pain was essentially dulling of the senses. In a blade dance against a comparable opponent, it would be fatal.

Passing through the corridor, they mounted the spiral staircase once more—

Finally, the door to a new floor appeared before them.

"Is this the fourth floor...?"

Opening the door, they discovered a floor roughly just as vast as the third floor.

The ceiling was held up by arched pillars. Carved on the ground, a massive magic circle glowed faintly, lighting up the entire space.

The instant they stepped on this floor—

Kamito could feel divine power coursing through his entire body.

"...What is this?"

"The power in the leylines has gathered together. Because this is the Lost Cathedral's core function."

"...In other words, we're close."

"Yes. Claire should be just up ahead."

Fianna nodded. Before them, Scarlet's flames could be seen flickering ahead.

Wagging its tail, she seemed to be urging them to hurry.

"Very well, let's go."

Resolving himself, Kamito was just about to take a step forward—

—Throb.

"...Ooh... Ah, guh...!"

Intense pain like being pricked by needles caused Kamito to groan in pain.

—Throb. Throb. Throb.

No ordinary pain. This was—

(...Damn, it... Came again, did it...)

—Kamito, going any further

An unknown voice, very similar to Restia's.

—Without awakening the Demon King's power, you definitely cannot defeat her.

(...Mind your... own business...!)

Against the murmurs resounding in his mind, Kamito desperately resisted.

"...Kamito-kun?"

"Fianna, stay away from me a little more...!"

Hearing Kamito's sharp voice, Fianna suddenly stared with her eyes wide open.

"You're hearing that voice again?"

Kamito crouched down silently and covered his ears with his hands.

However, as if mocking Kamito's efforts, the voice continued to whisper.

—Form a contract with me, Kamito.

—Then I can grant you the Demon King's power, allowing you to rule the world.

(...Stop it! I don't need that kind of thing!)

The shapeless darkness eroded his consciousness.

This was not the comforting darkness of night.

Not the mysterious darkness under Restia's rule.

Instead, this was an astoundingly otherworldly darkness.

Resembling the Wish that devoured her three years ago on that day.

The cruel and merciless darkness that devoured the warm heart Restia had given him, devoured his memories of the precious comrades he met at the Academy, and even devoured everything.

(Stop, it... Ah, ahhhhhhhhhhhh...!)

"Please be calm, Kamito."

Suddenly, Kamito found himself being hugged by a pair of slender arms.

A supple sensation enveloped him. Beautiful silver-white hair brushed against his face.

"Es...t...?"

The sacred sword hanging by his waist had transformed back into a girl without him knowing.

"Kamito, don't worry. I am here."

Her slender arms wrapped around his neck as Est whispered softly.

The phosphorescence of her silver-white hair covered Kamito's entire body.

(...My headache... Is gone?)

At the same time, that voice which had been so clear earlier could no longer be heard.

Terminus Est was both a demon sword with an accumulated curse and also a sword that could dispel all magical effects. Similar to how she sealed away the Brand of Darkness Rubia had carved last time, she now sealed away the voice tempting Kamito towards the darkness.

Soon after, the phosphorescence enveloping Kamito vanished and his headache was gone.

As Est released her arms gently, Kamito slowly stood up.

"...I'm fine now. Thank you, Est."

As Kamito stroked Est's head, she half-closed her eyes in enjoyment.

"Kamito-kun... Are you seriously okay?"

"Yeah... Sorry for making you worry."

Kamito thanked Fianna for worrying about him.

"...Let's move on. Otherwise, the headaches might come again."

"Yeah, you're right..."

Fianna nodded, still showing a worried expression.

At this moment—

"Meow—!"

"...?"

Scarlet was waving her tail intensely in this dimly lit floor.

Kamito turned his gaze towards Scarlet and in that very instant—

Crimson pillars of fire erupted from the magic circle that covered the floor.

"...What!?"

As the intense, swirling flames drove away the darkness, the vast floor's entire appearance could be seen for the first time.

In the furthest depths of the floor, the door to the top level opened slowly with a low sound.

Then—

"Even now, do you still refuse to awaken as the Demon King, Kazehaya Kamito?"

She appeared there.

With flaming red hair and crystal-clear eyes of ruby.

The scarlet mask removed, showing her true face to all—the other Strongest Blade Dancer, Ren Ashbell.

"...Rubia Elstein."

Kamito's forehead sweated as he called out her name softly.

Indeed, her facial features resembled her younger sister greatly.

—Kamito could not help but find the word "pretty" surface in his mind.

Walking amidst the bursting crimson flames, the figure of the Calamity Queen exuded a tragic sense of beauty.

"I have already cast that name away four years ago."

Rubia answered without much feeling.

"Then your current name is the Strongest Blade Dancer, Ren Ashbell?"

"Whether I am worthy of that name or not, that shall be determined here."

She was unfazed by Kamito's sarcasm.

Walking to the center of the floor, she stopped.

She was ten and a half steps away—a distance that could be crossed within the blink of an eye.

"—Give Claire back."

"She has already fallen to darkness. All that is left is your awakening."

"...!"

Kamito stared with his eyes wide open—

(Am I too late again?)

Then he clenched his fist tightly.

(...No, it hasn't ended yet.)

Even if Claire had fallen and become the Darkness Queen, so long as Kamito did not awaken as the Demon King, there was still a chance to save her.

"Claire is your sister, you know."

"Indeed. Having inherited the same blood of fire—which is why she is qualified to become a Queen."

"If only you were as cute as Claire."

Kamito suppressed his anger as he spoke.

"Don't blame me if I show no mercy."

...By this point, there was no room for negotiations.

Kamito communicated with his eyes with Fianna behind him, gesturing for her to retreat to the wall.

As much as he would like to have Save the Queen's support, given Fianna's dual contract state with Scarlet, releasing her elemental waffe would be too much of a challenge.

Kamito gripped Est's hand as she stood beside him.

"Est, I'm relying on you."

"Yes, Kamito—I am your sword, your wish is my command."

Est's body dissipated into the air as particles of light—

Immediately, the Demon Slayer appeared in Kamito's hand.

"The strongest blade dancer, Ren Ashbell—return that title to me!"

"—Come with everything you've got, Demon King's successor."

Thus began the blade dance between the two Strongest Blade Dancers, both Ren Ashbell.

Part 2[edit]

The spewing pillars of fire signaled the opening.

"Let's go, Est!"

Letting divine power concentrated in his legs explode, Kamito kicked the ground intensely.

Carrying the dazzling Demon Slayer, he rushed like a flash of light.

Kamito pulled out all stops and went with full power from the very start. After all, his opponent was not someone whom one could afford to hold back against and still hope for victory.

Rubia Elstein was not wielding an elemental waffe.

Simply waving her finger to one side, she moved her lips slightly.

A tiny fireball appeared in midair—and expanded instantly.

(...Is this a fireball!?)

The fireball was the most popular move amongst all offensive magic with the flame attribute. Even for Kamito who was unskilled with all types of spirit magic, he understood a fair amount about it because the fireball was Claire's prided technique.

Kamito instantly discerned the fireball's attack range and slightly adjusted his route of advance. His aim was simply to avoid a direct hit and to ride upon the wake of the exploding wind to make his attack.

Rubia released the giant fireball from her hand.

The fireball struck the ground before Kamito directly, producing explosive wind as intense flames swirled.

The unexpected power knocked Kamito from the side, causing him to strike the floor.

(...It's so powerful!)

As his entire body hurt, Kamito lamented.

Despite being the same fireball magic that Claire used, the level of power was as different as heaven and earth.

(I guess I should say, as expected of the former Queen—)

Kamito instantly reformed his stance and readied his sword.

However, Rubia had already finished her next chant.

"—Come out from the gates of fiery hell, scorching hunting hounds."

Out from a magic circle that appeared in the air, three fiery Hellhounds were summoned, pouncing at Kamito from three different directions.

"—Too slow."

The sweeping claws of flame simply passed through empty space.

Taking a leap with his explosive leg power, Kamito jumped straight up.

Switching the Demon Slayer to a reverse grip in midair—

"Absolute Blade Arts, Third Form—Shadowmoon Waltz!"

With a flash of the sword—the three hounds were slashed in one stroke of the sword.

"The sleeping king of the volcano, release your breath—Flame Howl."

Without giving him a single moment of respite, flames in the form of a massive dragon attacked Kamito. Capturing Kamito's movements with god-like speed, the fire dragon chased closely after him.

(Auto-tracking magic huh?)

Clicking his tongue, Kamito halted his footsteps.

Turning around in a semicircle, he smashed the fire dragon's skull as he spun.

The fire dragon writhed painfully on the floor before disappearing into the air.

As sparks scattered all around, new pillars of fire spewed out.

But even the flames of purgatory were nothing but ragged cloth in the face of Terminus Est's excellent magical resistance.

(—This is working! As long as Est is at full power.)

Using the momentum from his spin, Kamito rushed forth instantly.

"Ohhhhhhhhhhhh!"

Closing the distance within the blink of an eye, he unleashed a powerful strike. However—

"...What!?"

The sliced figure of Rubia disappeared without a trace amidst flickering flames.

"...Tsk, a flame mirage!"

"—I see that you have apparently recovered your senses to a level comparable to the past, Strongest Blade Dancer."

Kamito felt a presence behind him.

"...!"

He immediately spun around to unleash a horizontal slash.

However, Rubia evaded his sword with minimal movement.

"Then I shall be a little more serious—"

Blue flames were generated in her hand.

"Not even time can escape a frozen fate, conflagrating flames of absolute zero -- Frost Blaze."

"Your flames do not work against my Est!"

Kamito advanced without hesitation and made a second slash from the front.

Absolute Blade Arts, Fourth Form—Blaze Slash.

The ritual sword technique for absorbing the flame attribute, this was meant to be the trump card against Rubia.

"Kamito-kun, don't do it!"

Fianna's voice suddenly called out.

(...Eh?)

Instantly, Kamito began to doubt the phenomenon before his eyes.

As soon as the tip of his sword touched the blue flames, the Demon Slayer's blade was frozen.

"What—these flames are!?"

Demonic flames capable of penetrating the Demon Slayer's magical resistance of the highest class.

For flames to freeze other objects—this phenomenon completely ran counter to Astral Zero's principles.

"This is the primordial flame inherited by the Elstein bloodline—"

Receiving the frozen blade with one hand, Rubia spoke.

"True fire that transcends the power of the Five Great Elemental Lords."

The erupting blue flames gradually froze Terminus Est's blade.

Crish—a dry sound of something breaking rocked Kamito's eardrums.

(...Est is shattering!?)

Kamito frantically withdrew his sword and leaped back.

However, Rubia did not miss her chance.

Carrying absolute-zero flames in her fist, she followed through and approached.

"I can feel it, the awakening of the Demon King within you."

"Why are you resurrecting the Demon King? What is your goal!?"

Kamito yelled as he used the Demon Slayer to block the freezing flames.

"A foolish question. The Demon King brings forth—nothing but the destruction of this world."

"—That's not right."

"Why would you think that?"

"Because your eyes are the same as Claire's."

"...What?"

Rubia displayed wavering for the first time.

Using this opening, Kamito swept away the blue flames and distanced himself.

Rubia remained rooted to the spot, glaring at Kamito with her burning eyes of ruby.

"...Back when I first met Claire, she had the same eyes."

Hoping for victory in the Blade Dance, in order to learn the truth—

Back when Claire declared her intentions, her eyes were extremely clear.

However, it was also true that Kamito felt a certain sense of danger from the purity in those eyes.

And currently, Kamito could feel the same sense of danger from Rubia's eyes.

What compelled her actions was definitely not ambition or desire.

—But an incomparably pure sense of mission.

"..."

Rubia slowly put down her hand.

Then—

"My goal is—to use the Demon King's power to exterminate the Elemental Lords."

Calmly, she declared.

"Exterminate the Elemental Lords... Come again?"

Kamito's eyes widened as he stammered in shock.

This was because of that certain Wish—

"—Indeed. Three years ago on that very day, you and the darkness spirit intended to realize that Wish."

Rubia continued, as if reading Kamito's mind.

"—Then you failed."

"..."

Hearing her cold words, Kamito held his breath.

—Indeed, they had failed.

Due to his memories being in a mess, Kamito could not recall what actually happened back then.

However, the fact that the Elemental Lords continued to exist was clear beyond a doubt.

"...Why?"

Kamito spoke as if groaning.

"Why do you want to kill the Elemental Lords?"

He might have asked this particular question already, three years ago.

In response to this question, how had the darkness spirit girl answered?

"In order to rebuild this world."

Rubia answered immediately.

"Rebuild the world?"

"Indeed. Destroying the Elemental Lords to create a world where spirits do not exist, that is my goal."

"...What did you say!?"

Pondering what that implied—Kamito could not help but tremble.

The continent—the world's order was founded upon the blessings provided by the spirits.

If the power of spirits disappeared from the continent, the world would surely fall into great chaos.

This was the reappearance of the Ranbal War as Greyworth feared—No, it would cause a great war that no other war in the past could compare to.

"...How many lives do you think you'll sacrifice if you do that?"

Kamito asked in a trembling voice.

"Sacrifice huh—"

Rubia's expression remained completely unchanged.

"The price that all humans of the continent are obligated to pay for the sake of everything."

Thus she asserted.

"...Stop screwing around."

Kamito gritted his teeth, his shoulders trembling.

"For the sake of your goal... Hundreds of thousands, millions of people are going to be sacrificed."

"Supposing that is the necessary sacrifice, I will not hesitate a single bit."

"Then let me repeat myself—Stop screwing around."

Immediately, Kamito's body vanished from sight. A flash of light appeared for but an instant. Infusing the divine power from his entire body, Kamito slashed at Rubia.

Rubia's Frost Blaze blocked the sword's blade—

"What!?"

"Ohhhhhhhhhhh!"

But Kamito pushed the sword harder just like that.

The shining light reflected diffusedly off the frozen ice.

Sealing Rubia's movements, Kamito yelled loudly.

"Fianna, I'll leave Claire to you!"

"...Understood!"

She must have been biding her time carefully.

Fianna ran at full speed without hesitation.

"...Damn it!"

Rubia instantly released Fireball magic with one hand.

But before the massive fireball could devour Fianna—

A hell cat spirit jumped out from the shadows behind a pillar, inserting herself in front of Fianna—

Striking Scarlet, the fireball was absorbed before it could explode.

Passing through the burning flames, Fianna and Scarlet disappeared in the door's direction.

"That was careless of you. You forgot you are alone but we are a team."

"—It is all futile. Claire has already fallen to the darkness."

"I don't believe that willful little lady could fall so easily—!"

Yelling Kamito infused maximum divine power into the frozen Demon Slayer.

Crack—!

The magical ice covering the blade instantly shattered.

"...Sorry, Est. I have to be a little rough."

Panting, Kamito stabbed the sword into the floor.

Blown away by the impact, Rubia murmured as she displayed an expression of disbelief.

"How could this be possible, for you to shatter Frost Blaze..."

"..."

Kamito withdrew his sword from the floor and once again faced off, holding the sword with both hands.

"Rubia Elstein. You are free to hold whatever ideals you want. However, when it involves unrelated people, I cannot approve."

A straight, penetrating gaze.

Rubia accepted such a gaze from Kamito head on with her eyes of ruby.

...For an instant, Kamito wondered if he was seeing things when he thought he saw the flames in her eyes waver.

"You have no idea of the tragedies I have witnessed."

"...?"

—The mood changed.

The pillars of fire bursting all over the room extinguished.

Like an omen before a storm, an instant of silence arrived.

Then—

"Words without power to back them up are useless. I learned that the very day after I became Queen."

The scorching air slowly revolved and gathered around Rubia.

(...This amount of heat is astounding!)

A wave of scorching heat made Kamito stomp his foot.

The vortex of hot air caught fire all at once, turning into a howling tornado of flame that began to dance.

"Now let me show you—the strongest god-slaying flames."

"God-slaying flames..."

The strongest flame spirit, the one that the Calamity Queen reputedly stole from the Fire Elemental Lord.

The tornado of flames reached up to the ceiling and soon began to transform into some shape.

The thing that appeared before Kamito's eyes was—

Wrapped in crimson flames, an archdemon in the shape of a giant.

"..."

Kamito had seen It before.

Unforgettable. Four years ago—that very day when the Instructional School was destroyed.

"...! That was your doing, singlehandedly... Was it..."

STnBD V10 211.jpg

Kamito muttered hoarsely with shock.

The archdemon-class spirit that singlehandedly destroyed the Instructional School.

"—Yes. Thinking back, from that moment onwards, I fear that our fates became intertwined."

The archdemon of flame knelt down before Rubia. As Rubia brought her fingers together and chanted the words of releasing in spirit language, the archdemon condensed itself into a crimson demon sword held in Rubia's hands.

With a swing of the demon sword in her hands—

"This is it, the strongest elemental waffe of the flame attribute, Laevateinn."

Rubia Elstein announced the name.

Part 3[edit]

"Huff, huff... W-What is that spirit!?"

Wielding the magic bow of ice, Rinslet panted as she spoke.

Sjora Kahn had summoned the demon spirit—Bandersnatch.

Its appearance was a white sphere with two arms.

The middle of the sphere had a huge opening that opened and closed like a mouth.

Amongst spirits, demon spirits had particularly strange forms. This Bandersnatch was no exception. However, it was truly terrifying not because of its appearance—but because of its special ability.

"...Hmm, I cannot believe my wind is being devoured..."

Holding Ray Hawk, Ellis murmured in shock.

Indeed, the demon spirit behaved as its name implied—the one who devoured everything.

"—It's coming!"

Rinslet warned.

Bandersnatch opened wide its huge jaws, producing a rain of freezing fangs.

These were the Freezing Arrows Rinslet had released earlier.

"—Evil winds, go forth and rampage!"

Ellis hastily swung Ray Hawk, shattering the incoming fangs of ice.

However, engaging purely in defense was useless for it meant consuming divine power without achieving anything.

The shattered ice turned into sharp blades of ice that scratched Ellis' face.

"Captain! Damn it..."

Unable to bear it, Rinslet prepared to release an arrow of ice—

"No! It will get devoured again!"

"...!"

But Ellis called out to stop her.

...Right, attacking that thing was a waste of effort.

Or rather, it offered new power to it instead.

Whether Rinslet's magical ice or Ellis' wind blades, the monster had swallowed them all.

"However, if this continues, the situation will only worsen!"

"...Ooh, if only one could approach that thing—"

If the elemental waffe were used at close range for a direct attack, it should not be absorbed.

...However, it was impossible to approach. Having devoured the magical powers of both ice and wind, Bandersnatch was currently akin to an iron fortress.

"Fufu, then I'm coming♪"

Behind the howling winds of ice, Sjora Kahn's noisy jeering could be heard.

Then Bandersnatch's spheral body suddenly shuddered.

The winds of ice stopped, bringing an instant of silence, then—

The white sphere split through the middle, like gaping jaws—jeering.

"...W-What is going on?"

Just as Rinslet whispered—

Bandersnatch vanished—

"...What!?"

—Or rather, it jumped, using its arms to strike the ground.

This unexpected movement caused Rinslet and Ellis to react too late.

Rumble—as the ground shook, Bandersnatch landed in front of Rinslet.

"...Yah!"

Rinslet screamed as she fired Freezing Arrows randomly.

But the arrows of ice were all absorbed by the gaping jaws, disappearing all together.

"How... could..."

Rinslet stood there in shock.

"Take this—!"

Ellis thrust Ray Hawk towards the monster's arm.

"...!?"

But it was virtually useless.

The monster grinned and extended a massive tongue towards Rinslet.

"—Rinslet!"

The astounding tongue was just about to swallow Rinslet.

The magic bow of ice disappeared—transforming into a beautiful white wolf that pounced at the tongue.

"Fenrir!"

ROOOOOOOAAAAAAR!

The demon ice spirit's sharp claws slashed across the massive tongue.

But even its claws of ice were unable to slice open the extremely thick tongue.

"Ara, what a brave child."

Sjora narrowed her snake-like eyes.

"—That child, I want it."

As the witch brought her hands together slightly, Fenrir's movements suddenly stopped after it jumped onto the ground. From Sjora's hands came black threads which were firmly restraining Fenrir's four limbs.

Bandersnatch wrapped its massive tongue around the white wolf's body—

And just like that, Fenrir was swallowed whole.

"...!?"

"The Laurenfrosts' demon ice spirit, thanks for the meal."

"...NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"

Rinslet's despair laden cries filled the air.

Part 4[edit]

The strongest elemental waffe with the flame attribute—Laevateinn.

Rubia casually swung the sword and the erupting flames instantly consumed the surrounding space.

(...What heat.)

Evading the flames through instinct, Kamito could not dodge the heat.

Ordinary flames could not compare to this astounding heat.

The floor became red and broken like lava.

Considering this Lost Cathedral was built using spirit crystals that resisted the five great attributes, it was even easier to comprehend the overwhelming power of these flames.

These flames seemed as though they embodied the Fire Elemental Lord's wrath.

Wherever the flames burned, the floor was turned into lava that dripped down into the floor below.

"...Without adjusting its power, even the user could be turned into charcoal."

On the other side of the swaying smoke, Rubia spoke.

Her red hair waved in the air as if assimilated with the surrounding flames.

Kamito's entire body broke out in cold sweat.

(...Truly monsters. Whether that spirit there or Rubia commanding it.)

The archdemon of flame that singlehandedly destroyed the Instructional School.

Even if Kamito had the legendary Demon Slayer, it was doubtful whether it could match up at only one-tenth of its original state.

As if sensing his worries—

—Don't worry, Kamito.

"...!"

He heard Est's voice in his mind.

—So long as you believe in me, Kamito, I shall never break.

"Est..."

Kamito muttered to himself, then—

"That's right..."

He gripped the sword in his hand tightly.

"Est, you are the best partner."

—Yes, Kamito.

Terminus Est's blade gave off silver-white brilliance.

Amidst the swirling flames, Rubia's figure appeared, wielding the crimson sword.

The scorching blade heated the surrounding air, causing the entire floor's temperature to rise gradually.

"Careful you don't turn the Lost Cathedral into a block of charcoal too, okay?"

"This is already restrained to some degree. Because I cannot fully control this."

As Rubia swung the crimson demon sword, roaring flames instantly flew towards Kamito.

Kamito stepped on the wall and jumped up. The flames he dodged instantly destroyed the wall, creating a massive hole.

Even without a direct hit, the released heat was probably enough to instantly vaporize a human body.

"Aren't you planning on making me the Demon King?"

"If you're going to die to something of this level, you won't be able to kill the Elemental Lords anyway."

"...Tsk, stop deciding things on your own!"

Kamito stepped on the ceiling and turned around, charging at Rubia from above.

Rubia held Laevateinn with a reverse grip and blocked his full powered attack.

Using the reverse grip, Rubia swung the crimson sword. As sword struck sword, intense sparks were scattered.

Perhaps because activation of the flames at such close range would affect her as well, the flames remained silent.

The crimson and white blades clashed.

Terminus Est barely managed to resist Laevateinn.

However—

(...If this continues, I'm gonna lose.)

Compared to Rubia the former Queen, Kamito's total divine power was simply not on the same level.

Sooner or later, his divine power would be depleted first.

"How ironic, for your weapon to be that Demon Slayer."

During the intense clash, Rubia murmured.

"Oh well, assuming I really am the reincarnation of that Demon King guy—"

"Wrong. I am referring to the sacred sword that once fought alongside the Sacred Maiden, that now battles against me."

"—What?"

Taking advantage of Kamito's momentary lapse in focus, Rubia suddenly applied greater strength.

A sharp attack strong enough to numb the arms caused Kamito to enter a defensive situation.

"Hasn't the question ever crossed your mind? For a princess maiden like myself who was only responsible for rituals, how could I engage you, the Strongest Blade Dancer, in blade dance as equals?"

"...!?"

A crimson slash flashed across Kamito's neck.

Feeling the heat wave scorch his skin, Kamito lamented.

(...Yeah right, it'd be strange if that question never crossed my mind.)

—After fighting her seriously, that sense of doubt deepened.

Talent, training—or the use of Cursed Armament Seals to strengthen the body.

None of these were sufficiently convincing.

"A thousand years ago, there was a girl who tended sheep on the edge of the continent. She obtained a sacred sword that was embedded in a rock."

"...?"

Rubia's sudden recounting of the past caused Kamito to stare at her in surprise.

(...What the heck? What is she talking about?)

"How could a mere girl who tended sheep prevail against the Demon King who ruled over powerful spirits?"

Continuing the clash of blades—Kamito finally realized.

"This is the story of Areishia Idriss?"

The Sacred Queen who destroyed the Demon King a thousand years ago.

The past contractor of the sword spirit Terminus Est.

"—Right. The Sacred Maiden is the opposing existence that awakens in response to the Demon King's awakening. A seed created by the Five Great Elemental Lords who feared the Darkness Elemental Lord, Ren Ashdoll's resurrection."

"Could it be—You are...!"

With an acute sound, the crimson demon blade and the silver-white sacred sword crossed.

"Indeed, I am the existence that opposes the Demon King—the reincarnation of the Sacred Maiden."

"...!"

(To think she is the Sacred Maiden's reincarnation?)

Completely ridiculous hogwash—dismissing her claim was all too easy.

However, Rubia Elstein's power was the undeniable truth.

"Speaking of irony, my existence itself is the most ironic. With the Demon King's resurrection as my goal, intending to destroy the Elemental Lords, for me to carry the power left behind by the Elemental Lords. Or perhaps—"

—It was already decided by fate long ago perhaps.

Rubia murmured the last sentence to herself in self-mockery.

Blocking Laevateinn's blade, Terminus Est's brightness rapidly flashed.

Was it because Kamito's divine power was about to run out, or—

(...Est, are you okay!?)

Infusing as much divine power into the sword as he could, Kamito yelled inside his mind.

Rubia Elstein was the one who inherited the Sacred Maiden's power. The legitimate successor of Areishia Idriss, Est's past contractor. It was not surprising for Est to waver.

However—

—It does not matter, Kamito.

A voice sounded in his mind to refute the idea.

—I am a separate existence from the past Terminus Est. Even if she is the successor of the past master, it does not matter.

—Because I am your sword.

Instantly, the Demon Slayer gave off dazzling brightness.

"Est...!"

(...Right. I have the best partner.)

Even if the opponent was the legendary Sacred Maiden—

"I cannot lose!"

Using his entire strength, Kamito pushed Laevateinn and blew Rubia away.

"I see. That sacred sword is one of the reasons why the Demon King's awakening process has been delayed."

Icy flames lit up in Rubia's eyes.

"Well then, I shall shatter that sacred sword—to impart upon you true despair!"

God-slaying flames—Laevateinn spewed forth a crimson blaze.

(—Now is the moment!)

Kamito had been waiting for this opportunity.

Waiting for Rubia to release her strongest attack.

This opportunity only presented itself for this one instant. Failure was absolutely not allowed.

"Experience for yourself the flames of purgatory, Strongest Blade Dancer, Ren Ashbell!"

As Laevateinn's slash traveled, in that instant—

Kamito used his explosive leg power to leap forward.

Discerning the root of divine power, he aimed the secret technique at that very point.

"Absolute Blade Arts, Final Form—Last Strike!"

The super high speed slash passed through Laevateinn's blade—

In the next instant, the Demon Slayer shattered.

"Est—!"

"Very well, now awaken—Demon King."

Then the scorching hot demon blade pierced Kamito's chest.

Part 5[edit]

"Huff, huff, huff..."

At the top level of the Lost Cathedral, before the shut door, Fianna was catching her breath.

...Indeed, this was the True Sanctuary of this tower.

"Meow..."

Scarlet at her feet was impatiently knocking at the door.

"...Wait a minute, it'll be ready soon."

Fianna spread her arms before the door to decipher the magic.

An average seal of magic had been applied.

Rubia probably never expected the True Sanctuary to be invaded. For a former Queen, this seal was quite crude and Fianna was able to dispel it without much trouble.

As the patterns carved on the door gave off blue-white light, the door opened slowly.

A gust of wind blew through the opened door, causing all the flames on the candlesticks to flicker all at once.

Within the vast hall, the girl's figure could be found.

Claire dressed in ritual attire.

"...Claire!"

Fianna hastily rushed over.

At this moment, standing at the altar, Claire swiftly raised her hand—

In the next instant, flames erupted to block Fianna from advancing.

"...Claire?"

As Fianna halted her steps in shock, Claire faced her:

"...Who are you?"

Claire asked with empty-looking eyes.