Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance:Volume10 Prologue
—That was the worst fated encounter.
Under the pale moonlight, a scarlet mask had fallen and made a solid sound.
Her glamorous black hair blazed up like flames, turning burning-rouge.
Fianna gulped and muttered her name.
That was the name of the 2-year-senior princess maiden, who she had most respected and admired before.
Fire Queen—Rubia Elstein.
Her real face beneath the mask appeared to be mostly unchanged from what she remembered in the past.
It was the same as that day when she parted with Fianna at the Divine Ritual Institute’s grand shrine that was blazing up in flames.
Her ruby eyes were not looking at Fianna.
Her line of sight was directly pointing at Claire, who was sitting down behind Fianna.
Fianna turned around in surprise at that delicate groan.
With her back leaning on the stone wall, Claire had opened her ruby-colored eyes.
Claire muttered with a dazed expression.
“—Now, let’s end everything.”
Rubia Elstein gently opened her mouth.
“—It's time for the awakening of the demon king.”
“T-This can’t be true, right…?”
Claire muttered with a quivering voice.
“…After all, Nee-sama... wouldn’t do such….”
“The last time we met was the Spirit Festival day held in the capital.”
“…N-No way… This can’t be it…. This can’t be it!”
As if Claire was denying the reality before her eyes, she violently shook her head.
“You’re not Nee-sama. You’re just mimicking her appearance and trying to confuse me—”
Her clear ruby pupils glared at Rubia before her eyes.
“Stop the worthless farce, just reveal your true self, Witch of Theocracy!”
In that instant, a crimson flame was produced on Claire’s right hand.
Placing her hand on the wall, she stood up and released her elemental waffe.
While she wasn’t left with sufficient divine power or stamina, just the strength of her will had moved her.
(She thinks that Rubia-sama is the appearance that Sjora Kahn has transformed into.)
Fianna muttered in her heart.
Before, Sjora Kahn had shown herself using the power of demon spirit Baldanders and freely changing her appearance. She came to bring unrest to Claire’s heart by taking Rubia’s appearance. –That was the impression Claire had, and it wasn’t unreasonable.
(Preferably, it’ll good if she continues this misunderstanding but…)
While she bit her thumbnail, she ended up unintentionally wanting to rely on such convenient thinking.
(…If Claire knew the truth, her heart will surely be unable to bear it.)
On the other side of her strong heart and unyielding spirit, she was a very delicate girl. It wasn’t like she had socialized with her for a long time like her childhood friend Rinslet, but she at least understood that.
The moment when the cruel truth was thrust before her and her heart was broken, she might end up losing the power of her spirit contract.
—Like herself, who was once called the Lost Queen.
(I won’t let you, never…!)
Fianna scolded her shaky legs.
She had to lead Claire and escape from here.
Fianna had no ways of stopping Rubia. Even her knight spirit Georgios had already been annihilated by her flames—
“Turn into cinders!”
Claire released her Flametongue, aiming at Rubia.
It was a crimson flash that cut opened the night darkness. However, Rubia didn’t even display any behavior of dodging. She directly held up her fingertip,
“Just confirm it with your eyes whether this is an imitation flame.”
Freezing even time, the absolute-zero conflagration—Frost Blaze.
Claire widened her eyes.
Immediately following her words, clear sound like glassing shattering was heard—
The blazing Flametongue was erased by the blue flames Rubia released.
—Correction, it wasn’t erased.
“…The flames froze!?”
Fianna shouted in a manner like she couldn’t believe it.
That was a phenomenon that was remote from the common knowledge she learned from the Divine Ritual Institute.
Spirit magic—which borrowed and used the power of a spirit—should be a physical phenomenon that followed the laws of nature to the upmost, no matter how bizarre that power was.
In other words, flames freezing flames—was a phenomenon that was impossible naturally.
(…That isn’t spirit magic? Then, what on earth is that pow…)
Upon turning behind, she saw Claire had fallen on her knees on the ground with a shocked expression.
“…Are you really… Nee-sama?”
Seeing Claire’s pale expression, Fianna understood.
That freezing flame was something that not even Sjora Kahn could imitate. Claire grasped that in an instant and was convinced.
—That she was her real sister.
Rubia Elstein didn’t not reply.
Passing by at Fianna’s side, she was approaching Claire.
Fianna couldn’t move. Her body instinctively recalled the fear from four years ago.
Her legs cramped. Her throat cramped, and she couldn’t even let out any sound.
Rubia continued walking in front of absent-minded Claire.
She called her sister’s name in a surprisingly peaceful voice.
“Come with me. To overthrow this world ruled by mad lords.”
“What…What are you saying, Nee-sama…!”
Claire looked up at her sister and shouted.
“I’ll have you be the Darkness Queen that serves the demon king.”
“Serve the demon king…?”
“That’s right. It’s the reincarnated body of the Darkness Elemental Lord that was once sealed by the Five Great Elemental Lords. I need a princess maiden to control it.”
“…I don’t understand… I completely don’t understand what you are saying, Nee-sama!”
“That’s all right for now. The time when you’re able to understand will come eventually.”
Rubia gently reached out her hand before Claire, who was plugging her ears.
“Claire, take my hand.”
“Take my hand. ”
The moment she repeated herself once more time with a strong tone.
Claire had taken her sister’s hand as she was told.
She looked at her face with somewhat unfocused pupils, and staggeringly stood up.
Fianna shouted but Claire couldn’t hear her.
(…I see, she put Word of Power in her words.)
It was one type of mind manipulation that was the forte of the Elfim race and high-ranking princess maidens.
Loading and releasing magical powers into their words, they could control the thoughts of their target.
Elementalists of the academy should have received training to resist mind manipulation, but when the Word of Power of a Queen, a top-ranking princess maiden, was concerned, it wasn’t something one could resist for long.
All the more when one was in an unstable mental state.
(…So, this was what she was aiming for from the start.)
Fianna ground her teeth in her mind.
The reason she removed her mask and revealed her identity was to bring unrest to Claire’s heart.
Wavering under the violent shock, her heart was more fragile than delicate glassworks. No matter how strong willed the person was, it was possible to easily steal her will with Word of Power.
Light slowly parted from Claire’s ruby pupils.
(…I won’t let you!)
Encouraging her heart, she suppressed her fearful heart.
Fianna turned towards the direction of the two of them and stepped forward.
Whether her movements were not noticed or she was not significant enough to be concerned about, Rubia didn’t even turn around. —It was probably the latter.
(…I can’t call Georgios anymore.)
It barely avoided being completely annihilated, but it would take at least a day for it to recover.
She was hiding a distraction spirit crystal in her breasts, but with that Rubia as her opponent, she didn’t think that it would have much effect.
(Something I could use as a weapon…)
She quickly moved her eyes to the top of the rubble illuminated by the blazing flames.
—Then, that was there like it was melted into the darkness of the night.
Darkness shining in the darkness—A jet-black blade, reflecting no moonlight.
It was the darkness demon sword that Claire had been in possession of for some reason.
Vorpal Sword—The shape of its hilt and blade was certainly but subtly different, but that was without a doubt the elemental waffe that was even called the synonym of the Strongest Blade Dancer Ren Ashbell.
Fianna continued walking like she was drawn in, and grabbed the demon sword that was laid on the ground.
Contrary to its appearance, it was surprisingly light. On that subject, she recalled Ren Ashbell—Kamito—swinging this sword with one hand three years ago.
“You do plan on fighting me with that demon sword.”
Like Fianna thought, her movements had been noticed.
With her hand kept held onto blank-looking Claire’s, she turned towards her.
“I wouldn’t know if I don’t try it, right?”
She planned on acting tough with all her might, but her voice might have turned messed up.
While she prayed that her hand holding the sword at least didn’t quiver, she took a stance with both hands on the demon sword of darkness.
Due to the fact that she had her knight spirit give her training before, only her stance looked somewhat right. At least it wasn’t like the time she remembered when she cut her finger.
(At any rate, why is there such a difference…?)
While she gripped the sword with her shaky hands, she casually thought in doubt.
When Rubia was in the Divine Ritual Institute, she should have been an amateur like Fianna in relation to swords.
(Despite that, she had overwhelmed Kamito once with a sword…)
Was it possible to acquire such sword techniques in merely four years?
No, now wasn’t the time to be thinking about such things.
“Let go of Claire.”
Fianna discreetly opened her mouth.
“In exchange, I’ll be the Darkness Queen. Sjora Kahn had said that I also have the disposition of the Darkness Queen.”
“You certainly have the disposition of the Darkness Queen.”
Rubia coldly nodded.
“The disposition required for the Darkness Queen is having a strong bond with the Demon King. Although, with that meaning, it also means that there’s the possibility for the Fahrengart girl and the Laurenfrost girl and so on to be the Darkness Queen.”
“…What do you mean by that?”
Since, it concerned the bonds with the Demon King—Kamito— she had no intention of losing to any of her teammates.
And then, if the Darkness Queen existence held the same meaning as the Queens serving the Five Great Elemental Lords, there should be no reason to disqualify Fianna, who was a former Queen candidate.
…She didn’t understand the reason that Rubia was particular over her sister.
“It’s simple. Claire’s latent quick-wittedness as a Queen surpasses mine.”
Fianna widened her dim-colored eyes.
(…A disposition greater that Rubia-sama, who’s famed as a once in hundreds of years outstanding talent?)
It wasn’t a story she could believe all of a sudden. However, Rubia calmly continued.
“The truth is that Elstein’s contracted spirit didn’t choose me but my sister. If her original talent had matured, the one chosen to be the Fire Queen would be her.”
Certainly, the fact that Elstein’s contracted spirit Scarlet chose Claire and not her sister Rubia did not agree with the theory. It wasn’t like there weren’t also personality affinity problems, but spirits normally contracted princess maidens with great ability as an elementalist.
“There isn’t anyone more suitable as the Darkness Queen.”
Rubia pulled blank-looking Claire to her chest.
Claire practically didn’t put up any resistance and had given her body to her.
Fianna frantically shouted.
“Claire had always lived for the sake of meeting with you. Even participating in this Blade Dance was just to meet you—”
“I know that.”
Succumbing to her fury, Fianna stepped forth with the demon sword in her hands.
Immediately following a sword slash cutting air, her light feet were swept from under her and she fell to the ground.
“You'll have to work on your basics before even picking up a sword.”
Rubia coldly looked down at Fianna, who had fallen.
Then, that gaze of hers turned towards the demon sword of darkness she was holding.
“—Darkness spirit Restia Ashdoll.”
She muttered, and produced that absolute-zero flame on her palm.
“…What are you planning to do?”
Fianna was in chaos.
This darkness spirit should have had an alliance relation with Rubia. Whether they had a relation like comrades do was questionable, but at least the fact that they had joined forces with the goal of awaking Kamito as the Demon King was certain.
“Now that the awakening of the Demon King is drawing near, this darkness spirit is a hindrance to my plans. Therefore, I shall annihilate it here and now—”
Cutting off with a dispassionate tone, she pointed her right hand with the blue flame dwelling on it straight down.
In its current state, the darkness spirit wasn’t the elemental waffe Vorpal Sword, it was no more than an embodiment bearing the shape of a sword.
The absolute-zero flame she released would annihilate the darkness spirit’s existence without leaving a trace.
—Permanently from this world.
Claire weakly opened her mouth.
Fianna raised her head in surprise.
Claire had clung onto Rubia’s arm in her state of clouded consciousness.
“She broke my mind control—?”
Rubia showed a surprised expression for the first time.
“That sword is…Kamito’s…precious person… therefore—!”
Claire’s spirit seal emitted a flash, and violent flames were produced in her hand.
The flames coiled into an eddy, blazed up, and transformed into a hell cat before attacking Rubia. Rubia let go of Claire’s hand, and jumped back.
Releasing a growl, Scarlet pursued Rubia. It should have been kitten-sized when it guided Fianna here, but it had now returned to its original size.
(…Why? Claire should have run out of divine power.)
Normally, the power of a contracted spirit should not have been able to recover this quickly but—
Then, Fianna noticed it. The flames that were blazing in the surroundings till a while ago—Rubia’s flames that annihilated Georgios had disappeared before she knew it.
(…I see, it absorbed Rubia-sama’s flames.)
With its blazing red-hot claws, Scarlet began its fierce attack.
It seemed like it was in a condition where it lost control and was rampaging about.
“This power…You released the true name of the Scarlet Valkyrie.”
While dodging the attacks of the rampaging hell cat, Rubia opened her mouth.
“Damn you darkness spirit, doing such unnecessary—”
Seemingly having sensed the presence of a blade dance, light-ball-like spirits had gathered in the surroundings. It was a spirit that Divine Ritual Institute released into the field to broadcast the state of the Blade Dance.
Rubia clicked her tongue and then she picked up the crimson mask and put it on once more.
An agonizing voice leaked out and could be heard above Fianna’s head.
Looking up, she saw Claire raising her breathing with a pale expression. The spirit seal on her right hand took on a bizarre glow, and her scarlet hair had bristled up like blazing flames.
…She was in a dangerous condition. If she continued using her contracted spirit in its rampaging condition, her divine power would be thoroughly taken and exhausted, in the worst case, it was possible that it would bring about death.
Fianna stood up in a fluster and held up Claire’s body which seemed like it was going to fall at any time.
Claire tilted her head to the side in her clouded state.
…She was in a so-called half-awakened state. However, as Rubia was away from her, it seemed like the light of sense was beginning to return to her eyes again.
“Claire, get yourself together!”
Fianna strongly struck Claire’s cheek. It was a violent method but it was most effective at undoing the mind control by the Word of Power.
The effect was immediate. Claire widened her eyes in a snap,
“Leave the talk for later. Our first priority is to escape from here now.”
Fianna shook her head, and grabbed Claire’s hand. Scarlet’s fierce attacks probably also wouldn’t last that long. While they had the chance, they should get as far as possible—
However, when Fianna pulled her hand, Claire ended up collapsing to the ground just like that.
“…My legs… can’t move anymore—!”
Claire looked up at Fianna with a bitter expression.
…When she thought about it, it was natural.
When Fianna came here, Claire had already run out of stamina. Not to mention, in the condition where she was using the rampaging Scarlet, it was honestly impossible that she could move.
If only she could at least summon Georgios, she would be able to carry Claire.
Transforming giant-sized, Scarlet gulped down the absolute-zero flames Rubia released.
The hell cat spirit's do-or-die spirited restraining probably also wouldn’t last for another ten seconds.
(There’s nothing more that can be done, huh…)
Fianna closed her eyes in despair, and at the moment.
“…Fianna, I have a request for you.”
Claire gazed at Fianna’s eyes, and let out a voice.
“Hold on to that demon sword, and go to Kamito.”
Fianna was lost for words, and widened her eyes.
“T-There’s definitely no way I can do that, you know!”
…There’s no way she could do that. If she forsook Claire here, she would have failed as a teammate.
“—Listen to me.”
However, Claire interrupted those negation words of hers with a strong tone.
“In any case, I can’t escape anymore. Honestly, I’m barely holding onto my consciousness. However, if it’s just you, you can still escape—”
“I won’t escape!”
“Escape. —Together with this kid.”
Claire reached out her right hand that held her glowing spirit seal before Fianna. She held out Scarlet’s seal that was engraved with blazing flames.
“I’ll entrust Scarlet to you. Your Highness.”
“…? Entrust Scarlet?”
For a moment, she failed to catch the meaning, and titled her head to the side but—
“… You don’t mean a contract transfer?”
Your Highness. She intuitively knew it with that way of addressing that she normally didn’t use.
“Yes. It should be possible between me from the Elsteins and you from the legitimate Ordesia royal family.”
“That’s just in theory…”
Spirit transfer—That was a unique pledge that came into existence in relation of lord to retainer between the royal family and the nobles.
The six great nobles of the empire including the Elsteins had pledged allegiance to the Ordesia Empire for a long time of several hundred years. To prove their loyalty, they practiced something more anciently traditional, and that was the spirit transfer pledge.
For example, if there was a demand from the Ordesia royal family, the empire’s six great nobles had to immediately give up the contracted spirit that served their family. This meant that the ownership of the six great nobles’ spirits originally belonged to the royal family.
However, there were almost no records of this system being used in the history of the empire. In other words, it was a system that became a mere shell for the sake of symbolizing the lord-retainer relations of the royalty and the nobility.
However, even that system that became a mere shell had at least left behind a framework.
Therefore, this meant that although Fianna was the Lost Queen who lost the rights to the inheritance of the throne, it was possible for her, who had inherited the bloodline of the royal family, to transfer the spirit of the Elsteins.
“If we continue to do nothing, Scarlet will be annihilated by Nee-sama.”
While Claire took a breath painfully, she said that.
She didn’t mean that it’d lose the power to manifest in this world.
She meant that it’ll be completely annihilated from this world.
“So, please. Escape together with Scarlet.”
Fianna gulped at Claire’s ghastly face.
She had merely several seconds of hesitation. However, those several seconds were extremely precious currently.
—There was no time to hesitate. Fianna made her resolution and nodded.
“I got it. Elsteins loyalist—”
Grasping the right hand that Claire reached out, she recited from memory the words of the pledge.
“By my name Fianna Ray Ordesia, second princess of the Ordesia Empire, I humbly order you. Thou, by the pledge exchanged by our great ancestors, offer up thy sword to me—”
The spirit language words were strung out like a song. In response, Claire also made her lips quiver.
“Our sword is our lord’s sword, we shall offer up the undying, eternal flame to thou—”
The fire spirit seal emitted a flash that even dazzled one’s eyes, and Claire’s blood dripped down onto the ground.
In that instant, a sharp pain like that of a burn ran through Fianna’s right hand.
Fianna frowned like she was bearing with the pain, and grasped her hand.
Moving her hand timidly, a fire seal, glowing scarlet-red, had been engraved on the back of her right hand.
—The transfer of the contracted spirit succeeded.
“…Thank you. Now, quickly get away.”
Claire smiled and collapsed once more like she had used up all her strength.
Rubia noticed the unusualness of Scarlet’s sudden disappearance, and turned around towards them.
“After I meet up with Kamito-kun and the others, I’ll definitely come to help!”
After somehow leaving just those words to her, Fianna ran off with the demon sword of darkness in her hand.