Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance:Volume11 Chapter2
Chapter 2 - Dance of the Dual Swords
Kamito swung the dual swords he was wielding.
Giving off dazzling brilliance, the sword of steel—Terminus Est—deflected the incoming flames. Held in a reverse grip, the demon sword was swung towards the flames attacking from the opposite direction.
Before Kamito cried out, Claire had already summoned Flametongue.
Sweeping her surroundings in a circular manner, she produced an intensely burning wall of fire.
"What's going on? Why did your flames attack you?"
Kamito turned his gaze towards Rubia behind him.
Rubia showed an expression of enduring intense pain.
"Those are not my own flames..."
"That type of flame... was acquired... using this life as the price..."
"Kamito, it's coming!"
Claire yelled out.
The roaring flames penetrated her wall of fire and attacked the immobile Rubia.
Kamito clicked his tongue and blocked the flames by crossing his dual swords.
(...The flames have strengthened?)
Judging from the heat scorching his skin, Kamito sensed through instinct.
"...Take this, turn into charcoal!"
Gnawing at the dual swords persistently, the flames were incinerated by Claire's Flame-Burning Flames.
Where the flames vanished, a sharp noise resembling glass shattering could be heard.
Staring in shock at what had shattered—Kamito's eyes instantly widened.
It was a transparent crimson crystal—a fragment of the Godslaying Flames.
"...What!? Laevateinn should be smashed already—"
"What you smashed was my elemental waffe. The spirit itself was not... destroyed."
Rubia panted as she spoke.
The Cursed Armament Seals on her arms were glowing ominously while the color of blood seeped through her military uniform.
"Laevateinn is a spirit weapon that was defeated by the Five Great Elemental Lords during the past Spirit War and sealed away. Hence, it hates the Elemental Lords and lent its power to me due to our shared goals. However—"
Rubia coughed violently. The crimson and bloody froth began to spread on the ground.
"Originally, it was not a spirit that humans could form a contract with. As the price for a contract incommensurate with oneself, that spirit demanded—My life."
"...H-How could that be...!?"
Claire cried out sorrowfully—
"A contract whose price is one's life cannot be sustained for years—"
But in the middle of speaking, Claire suddenly realized something and held her breath.
"Those excessive Cursed Armament Seals. Are they for sustaining the impossible contract?"
Kamito asked calmly.
Rubia did not answer. Biting her lip, she was enduring the intense pain tormenting her entire body.
(...Through the Theocracy, she had contacted Murders.)
An organization formed by merchants of death, Murders was involved in the transplantation of illegal Cursed Armament Seals. Rubia had probably transplanted Cursed Armament Seals on her body through them.
Using countless fake contracts, piling multiple layers on top of the original contract, the strongest flame spirit was restrained.
However, this kind of method could not last indefinitely. Even for a Queen possessing a princess maiden's disposition of the highest rank, the burden on the body would eventually reach a limit.
"So you intended to die from the very start?"
"Had you awakened as the Demon King and accepted the will of the Darkness Elemental Lord Ren Ashdoll who is dominated by hatred, you would have gone to murder the Elemental Lords... In that event, my death would have been worthwhile."
While coughing blood, Rubia spoke indifferently.
Kamito stared at her.
"What a willful plan that was."
"...Idealism alone cannot save anything. That was what I truly experienced back when I was still a Queen. Even if great sacrifices must be made, this is the only way to save the world."
"No. That's not what I'm talking about."
Kamito shook his head.
"Did it ever cross your mind? If you died, there are people who would be heartbroken."
Crimson flames roared. The noise sounded as though it came from underground and caused Kamito's nerves to tense all over his body.
Hearing Claire's worried voice, Kamito nodded.
"That must be—the main body of the Godslaying Flames."
Cold sweat flowed down his forehead.
Over there was—
A hand hovering in midair.
Surrounded by roaring flames, a giant hand.
Madly, it roamed the air as though in search of something.
"It's not really the main body. That's just one part of the Godslaying Flames."
"...Just one part?"
Kamito groaned in disbelief.
An elemental waffe was simply a fraction of a powerful spirit's strength, merely drawn out through the contract.
In other words, the Laevateinn that Rubia had wielded was merely making use of a minor fraction of the strongest flame spirit's power.
However, the hand extending out from thin air—
(...Archdemon class, at the very least probably.)
Just an arm already produced such astounding heat. Once the main body manifested, surely the entire space itself would be destroyed.
At this moment, Rubia forced out a weak voice.
"You can still make it. Leave this place."
"...I-I don't want that! ...I must fight it."
"Useless. It's not a being that humans can defeat."
Rubia displayed a grim gaze and shook her head.
Watching the arm of flame slowly crawling out of the air—
"What it seeks is the contract's price. Once I offer my life, it will probably return to where it came from. I have lost—This is merely accepting my comeuppance."
She smiled as though giving up.
"O-Oh right! All we need to do is break Nee-sama's magic stone and she'll be forcibly transferred to Ragna Ys."
"This thing is summoned using the spirit seal carved in my heart that serves as the medium. It will surely cause destruction if brought over to Ragna Ys."
Claire bit her lip hard.
She could not save her precious elder sister. She did not have the power to rescue her.
At this moment—
"Don't give up."
A hand touched Claire on the shoulder.
It was Kamito. Smiling fearlessly, he stared at the arm of flame floating in midair.
"Rubia, the same goes for you. It's too early to despair."
Kamito looked back, causing Rubia to stare in surprise.
"Guarding my life... What meaning is there...?"
Kamito shrugged casually and readied his dual swords again.
(...Only that I don't want to see sorrow on your sister's face again.)
If anything, his reason was that simple. But Kamito had no obligation to tell her that.
Furthermore, it was too embarrassing to say out loud in front of Claire, the person in question.
"Also, I still have stuff to ask you."
"Then you'll have to survive this first. It's currently just an arm right now, but once the true body appears, it will not be satisfied with just me as the sacrifice."
"—Well then, I'll just have to defeat it."
"...Foolish. It would be okay if your power as the Demon King was awakened, but in your current state, all covered in wounds, you have no such ability—"
"It's not like there's no chance for victory at all. Its main body hasn't manifested yet, right?"
Turning his gaze away from Rubia behind him, Kamito took a step forward.
(...Yes, there's still a chance for victory.)
Telling himself that, he took another step forward.
The giant arm was surrounded with flames.
It was slowly entering from that tear in space.
However, it was just an arm.
For the true body to manifest, that tear was far too narrow.
The Cursed Armament Seals that had been transplanted onto Rubia's body were still restraining the contract.
(If it's before the true body manifests, there's a possibility that—)
Gazing at the arm of wild flames, Kamito infused divine power into his dual swords.
This Lost Cathedral was a large-scale magic device for absorbing divine power from the abandoned city's leylines. Simply standing in this space was enough to replenish divine power.
(—The problem lies in my body's condition.)
The burden of unleashing the dual sword secret technique had caused all his muscles to scream in pain.
...Sizzle... Sizzle sizzle... Sizzle sizzle sizzle sizzle... Sizzle...!
Accompanied by annoying noises, the arm of flame crawled out all at once.
(—No time to think, huh?)
Laevateinn—the spirit weapon sealed in the sanctuary—was also the strongest flame spirit.
Were it to manifest completely, things would be over.
Kamito must take this opportunity while it was still incomplete to stuff it back where it came from.
However, even after defeating it, so long as the spirit contract remained, this would amount to nothing but stalling for time. No matter how many more attempts it would take, it was probably still going to keep demanding Rubia's life.
However, Kamito had an idea.
Although he did not know if it would work—
No matter what, it would be meaningless unless the issue was resolved right now.
The flame spirit opened its palm.
"Kamito, it's coming!"
The warning came from Claire.
A heat wave shook the air in the next instant.
A giant fireball was being released from the hand's fingertips—!
An overwhelming mass of heat was attacking, dragging a crimson tail behind it.
This was Claire's prided specialty, Fireball magic, except the difference in power was as far apart as heaven and earth.
An explosion occurred. Before Kamito's eyes, the fireball exploded into roaring flames.
The sound of the explosion and the swirling center of the heatwave—
Stabbing her silver rapier into the ground, Fianna wiped sweat off her brow as she grumbled.
Kamito's group was surrounded by a radiant shield of light.
This was Save the Queen—the elemental waffe that erected a sturdy barrier around its user.
Due to returning Scarlet's contract back to Claire, Fianna's circuits reconnected, allowing her to use her knight spirit again.
"Fianna, can I entrust Rubia's protection to you?"
"Yes. But it can't be sustained for long."
Fianna replied in an urgent voice.
Although her elemental waffe barely managed to defend against the current attack—
Once the original power of the Godslaying Flames manifested, even Save the Queen would probably be smashed easily.
"Yeah. Before it comes out—I will settle things!"
Kamito nodded and leapt from the ground, wielding both swords in his hands.
Concentrating his awareness in his hands, Kamito yelled out in his heart.
(Both of you, lend me your power!)
—Yes. I am your sword, your wish is my command.
—I am yours, Kamito. The sword spirit's power is not needed.
—I don't need the darkness spirit's power either.
Sparks flew between the two contracted spirits.
(Come on, stop arguing inside my mind—)
The giant arm swung through the air. Infusing his dual swords with divine power, Kamito charged forward all at once.
The flames of purgatory approached, incinerating a wide area. It was impossible to dodge at this range.
However, there was nothing to fear. If those were ordinary flames—
"Absolute Blade Arts, Fourth Form—Blaze Slash!"
This technique of the Absolute Blade absorbed flames and imbued elemental waffen with the flame attribute.
The flames were sliced apart. Shining with silver-white brilliance, Terminus Est's blade became incandescent.
Hot wind was roasting Kamito's face. Unconcerned, Kamito charged.
"You, O true darkness—Pierce!"
Sleek and pitch-black, the blade of darkness flashed with ominous red light.
With godlike speed, Kamito attacked the flame-spewing arm.
The blade's tip pierced the flame spirit. He could feel a definite hit from the sensation.
The demon sword of darkness was engulfed in flames.
Despite having vanquished numerous spirits in the past, a strike from the Vorpal Sword failed to inflict decisive damage to Laevateinn.
Be that as it may, Kamito's attack was not completely ineffective.
Due to the damage suffered, it finally recognized Kamito as an enemy rather than a target to be devoured.
Fingers of flame grabbed the Vorpal Sword's blade, dragging it into midair.
Urgently, Kamito swung his right hand's Demon Slayer.
The fingers of flame were severed and sent flying. Kamito instantly withdrew the demon sword of darkness and jumped back.
The arm of flame chased in pursuit. Although one could not tell since it was just an arm, the spirit was probably angered.
(...Oh well, that's only natural. After all, it suffered a counterattack from the contract's sacrifices.)
Kamito instantly shifted his gaze over towards Rubia's side.
Fianna had erected Save the Queen's barrier. Inside there, Rubia was crouching while looking towards him.
—With an expression of total incomprehension.
(I have no idea what you saw four years ago in the True Sanctuary—)
Crossing the two swords to deflect the descending fist, Kamito pulled back and distanced himself.
(But you despaired far too quickly, Rubia Elstein.)
Kamito's mutterings carried a hint of self-mockery.
He himself had plunged into deep despair in the past as well.
Three years ago, when he lost Restia.
(—After that, I lived as though I were a hollow shell.)
However, he finally freed himself from despair, all thanks to—
The severed fingers of the flame spirit regenerated. Kamito dodged the swinging fist by a hair's breadth.
—No good, Kamito!
His mind suddenly rang with Restia's warning.
Suddenly, the tear in space was forced apart—
—Sizzle... Sizzle sizzle sizzle sizzle sizzle...!
The flame spirit's arm extended as a result.
Surpassing Kamito's expectations, the giant arm drew near before his eyes.
As much as he tried to defend against the flames with his two swords, however—
(...I'm gonna be crushed to death!?)
He could not block the Godslaying Flames' overwhelming power.
Together with the two swords, Kamito was being crushed against the ground.
His entire body was sinking into the stone floor. The heat wave charred his hair and slowly stole oxygen from his lungs. Without the protection from his elemental waffen, his body probably would have been vaporized just now—
At this moment—
Slicing through wind, the flaming whip entangled the Godslaying Flames' arm.
The pressure disappeared for an instant. Kamito did not miss this opening. Using the Demon Slayer as a shield and sliding the Vorpal Sword that crossed it, he flipped to the side and escaped.
The giant arm crashed down. The wind of the explosion blew Kamito away.
Kamito lost balance but Flametongue grabbed his leg and swiftly pulled him to the ground.
"...Thanks a lot, Claire."
"Seriously, stop going at it recklessly alone."
Kamito shrugged and smiled wryly.
Indeed, the reason that Kamito was able to break free from despair was all thanks to—
Claire and the teammates he met at the Academy.
Even for Kamito who was once known as the Strongest Blade Dancer, he could not have come this far by his own efforts alone.
(...You should rely on others more.)
However, in Rubia's despair, she sought capable pawns instead of comrades.
Team Inferno—a group of outstanding users of extraordinary powers.
"Kamito, you should retreat from the line of fire for now."
"Your divine power is about to deplete."
Kamito only noticed from the reminder.
Held in his respective hands, the two swords were flashing unsteadily.
Simultaneously releasing two elemental waffen of the highest rank was consuming more divine power than he imagined.
Even the divine power supplied by the Lost Cathedral could not keep up with the rate of consumption.
—Don't... worry... Kami.. to...!
—Still... can... do it...!
Est and Restia's voices sounded out in his mind simultaneously.
However, their voices were much less clear than before.
Soon after, the spirit seals on his hands stopped glowing and he could no longer hear their voices.
"...Tsk, this is bad..."
"I'll buy us time. Kamito, you focus on recovering."
The opponent was the highest ranking flame spirit. Claire alone—
Unnoticed by Kamito, she had sneaked up on him—
The voice came from behind.
Feeling a sudden tug on his collar, Kamito found himself pulled into the barrier of light.
"Fianna, let go—!"
Fianna scolded him.
"Leave things to Claire for now. In your current state of divine power depletion, you are unable to inflict critical damage on Laevateinn."
Sweeping her hand aside was not hard.
But Kamito did not do that because he had no choice but to admit that she was right.
Kamito put down his hands that were wielding the two swords.
"This tower is a device for gathering divine power. If you concentrate, you can recover divine power rapidly."
"...True, but it's not like it can be done in a matter of seconds."
Both of Kamito's elemental waffen consumed vast amounts of divine power.
Recovery would take a few minutes at least... It was hard to imagine Claire buying that much time.
"...I will protect Nee-sama!"
Her hair fluttered and floated like burning flames—
The giant arm extending in midair was severed by her crimson slash.
Kamito stared wide-eyed in surprise.
According to the rules of Astral Zero, flames cutting other flames was an impossible phenomenon.
Claire had applied the power of her Flame-Burning Flames to her elemental waffe.
Crimson flames were cleaved in all directions as Flametongue sliced Laevateinn apart.
Having awakened as the Darkness Queen, Claire now seemed able to control those flames.
Laevateinn's arm quickly regenerated and formed even stronger flames to attack Claire.
Signs of fatigue began to show on Claire's face.
(...I knew it. Ordinary attacks don't work.)
While suppressing his anxiety, Kamito groaned in his mind.
He closed his eyes and focused his mind to gather divine power in the two swords in his hands.
He could feel the divine power he obtained from the leylines, circulating in his body.
However, the amount was too little.
Having awakened as the Demon King at one point, Kamito's body even deflected Save the Queen's effects that granted every type of protection.
His current level of divine power could not activate elemental waffen of the highest class.
At this moment—
Kamito heard a weak voice.
"Why... haven't you all despaired?"
Rubia gazed intently at Kamito with a bloodless expression.
Just as Kamito was lost at how to answer—
"It's enough for me to be the only sacrifice. There is still a chance to escape—"
She took out a certain object from her bloodstained military uniform.
Displaying metallic luster, held in her hand was—
A small pendant on a chain.
...Kamito had some recollection.
Two months or so earlier.
On that day when Kamito transferred into the Academy, Claire had shown such an object.
Decorated with a lion emblem, it was the House of Elstein's pendant.
She handed that item to Kamito's hands.
"...What do you intend?"
"I wish—to give it to my sister."
Kamito shrugged and spoke:
"Spare me the last words. If you die, Claire will be sad. I don't want to see her making that kind of face ever again."
"—Listen, Rubia, I will protect you even if it means putting my life on the line."
Hearing Kamito's firm resolve, she—
Bit her cherry lips hard.
"—You're seriously... a fool."
Then she touched Kamito's arm lightly.
Scorching flames swirled around Kamito's entire body.
So hot. His heart was burning like a furnace and his blood was boiling.
"...What did you... do to me...?"
"Eternal Blood of the Phoenix—Recovery magic. Only high-ranking princess maidens are qualified to chant it."
Kamito was astonished.
"It shouldn't work on me—"
"Kamito-kun, Eternal Blood is not holy-attribute spirit magic."
Fianna shook her head.
"This is the only existing fire magic under the healing system."
"Fire-attribute healing magic..."
Scorching flames were flowing over from Rubia's fingertips.
"This won't cause any problems... will it?"
Kamito recalled what happened when Rubia used seal magic earlier.
However, the intense pain from that time was absent—
"No it won't. This is legitimate Queen magic. However, unlike usual healing magic, it only imitates those properties."
"...You are the Demon King's successor. The only being who can destroy the Elemental Lords. You cannot die... here..."
Rubia's fingers left Kamito's arm.
"...I entrust my sister to you."
After murmuring softly in a feeble voice—
With that, her knees collapsed and she fell to the floor.
"...Yeah. Leave it to me."
Kamito nodded calmly.
The flames of purgatory were rampaging in his body. Almost out of control, the divine power was forcibly suppressed by Kamito.
As soon as he poured divine power into his hands, the dual swords shone with brilliance once more.
(So this is the divine power from the continent's strongest Queen...!)
Powerful light, strong enough to bring pain to his eyes, caused Kamito to hold his breath.
No ordinary elementalist could compare to this. The difference in the amount of divine power was as far apart as heaven and earth.
"Kamito-kun, the barrier won't last much longer!"
As Fianna screamed, the silver rapier embedded in the ground vanished.
Once Save the Queen's protection was released, a wave of heat instantly rushed over all at once.
Claire cried out. Kamito took a leap and—
"Absolute Blade Arts, First Form—Purple Lightning!"
He sliced apart the flames that were attacking Claire.
"Claire, it's okay now. Step back."
Instantly trading positions, Claire retreated to the back.
Sliced into two, the burning arm of flames regenerated immediately and attacked Kamito.
As expected, against the strongest flame spirit that possessed infinite reserves of divine power, anything less than a full-powered attack would be useless.
(There's no choice but to use overwhelming power to destroy the Gate in the air outright—)
Just at this moment...
—... Kamito, can you hear me...?
A voice was heard in his mind.
While deflecting the oncoming flames, Kamito asked.
—Under the current conditions, unleashing a bold move would be foolhardy.
Kamito understood her point. Even with the divine power Rubia entrusted to him, this body, covered in injuries, could hardly perform the strongest sword technique.
But in order to take out Laevateinn, there was no choice but to use the anti-spirit Absolute Blade Arts.
(...But I can only gamble on that—)
—Imagine. The form of the sword that matches you.
—There's no need to be bound by the form used three years ago, right?
Kamito realized only after it was pointed out to him.
Currently, both of Kamito's elemental waffen were two-handed greatswords.
Although they were highly destructive in single strikes, the strain on the body was equally intense.
In that case—
—You don't mind either, Miss Sacred Sword, do you?
—I am Kamito's sword, Kamito's wish is my command.
Faced with Restia's slightly taunting tone of voice, Est's blade responded with dazzling radiance.
(Dual swords huh...)
Kamito imagined in his mind the assassination swords that were familiar to him in the past.
As he poured divine power into the seals on his hands—
That weight, shape and balance awakened in his memory.
The instant the image became clear...
The two swords turned into particles of light and transformed.
From large-sized greatswords to small one-handed swords—
(—This will work!)
Holding the white and black swords in reverse grips, Kamito jumped up.
His body felt very light as though he could not feel the weight of the two swords in his hands.
While slicing apart the roaring flames, he swiftly crossed the great hall.
Laevateinn's palm released a rain of fireballs.
Scarlet flames instantly buried his view and were about to swallow Kamito.
However, Kamito moved even faster. Flying among the flames, he then—
"Dual sword technique—Orochi!"
An endless stream of black and white slashes struck down the fireballs one after another.
This was an assassination technique from the Instructional School—an unorthodox sword skill that Greyworth had banned him from using.
—You're going to get scolded by the witch again, Kamito.
"Who cares about her right now—"
Retorting to Restia's jest, Kamito charged.
Laevateinn produced fireballs again—
"I'm not going to let you succeed!"
Before that, Kamito had already swept the black demon blade—the Vorpal Sword—horizontally.
Jet-black lightning erupted from the dark and shiny blade.
—Vorpal Blast. This sword skill had defeated numerous elementalists at the Blade Dance three years ago.
The fireballs exploded inside Laevateinn's hand. The impact shook the great hall.
Flying past the scattering debris, Kamito instantly closed in. Kicking the ground, he leapt into the air.
(This will decide the victor—!)
Pouring the maximum amount of divine power to the two swords, he swung them both down at the same time—
Suddenly, the tear in space expanded.
Out crawled another arm.
(...Crap, I can't dodge this!)
Kamito instantly made his decision and overlapped his swords to make a cross.
(—Please hold out!)
Compared to the two-handed greatswords, the durability of one-handers were much lower. Even for the legendary demon sword and sacred sword, whether they could withstand the strongest flame spirit's power was still unknown—
(If they yield now, I'm gonna turn into charcoal—)
At this moment, the wall of flame covering the great hall suddenly split apart.
"—Fahrengart style of the spear, Flash Gale!"
Penetrating the wall of fire, enveloped in a gale, the magic spear charged in between the Kamito and the arm of flame.
The one who had thrown the spear was—
Ponytail flying in the wind, the maiden knight entered Kamito's view while he was in midair.
Stabbed into the ground, the magic spear produced a whirlwind, causing Kamito's body to rise.
His teammate had created an opening for him.
Despite its brevity, it was enough.
Readying his two swords in the air, Kamito infused the swords with the divine power that was rampaging in his body.
"Absolute Blade Arts, Destructive Form—Bursting Blossom Spiral Blade Dance - Thirty-six Consecutive Strikes!"
Countless shining slashes ripped Laevateinn apart together with the Gate in the air.
"Ha, hahaha! How amusing, you really are quite interesting, Kazehaya Kamito!"
On the Lost Cathedral's top level, the shrine where Claire had been imprisoned earlier—
The Theocracy's witch gazed into the distant scene displayed in the crystal ball and laughed on her own.
"However, Rubia Elstein turned out to be far too naive. This is the result of injecting half-baked emotions. Were I in her place, I would surely destroy Claire Rouge's mind completely, then proceed to create the Darkness Queen of my liking—"
Her lips twisted sardonically.
"Thanks to that, the plan failed... But no matter. Depending on circumstances, this might turn out to be even more interesting, kukuku..."
Serpentine eyes were staring at the demon sword of darkness shown in the crystal.
The will of the Darkness Elemental Lord, Ren Ashdoll, guided the Demon King's awakening.
However, the darkness spirit currently seemed to have changed in nature under some sort of influence.
That which wore the guise of Sjora Kahn grinned fearlessly.
"Victory shall be yielded to you here, Kazehaya Kamito. Since that little lady failed, I am not obliged to entertain this any further."
She took out the magic stone carrying Team Inferno's crest from her bosom.
Applying slight force with her fingers, the magic stone cracked and quickly shattered.
Accompanying the magic stone's destruction, Transfer magic immediately activated. Sjora Kahn's body turned into particles of light and gradually disappeared into the air—
"Kuku, let the war begin. A great war unprecedented in the human realm, surpassing the Demon Lord War and the Ranbal War in the past!"
The final sword strike slashed through the air.
The rampaging arm of flame vanished without trace along with the tear in space.
The sea of flame covering the floor disappeared at the same time. Instantly, silence dominated the scene.
Maintaining his dual wielding stance, Kamito landed on the ground.
Then following his momentum, he collapsed on his knees.
Claire and Fianna frantically hurried over.
Appearing over at the door, Ellis and Rinslet also rushed over.
"Kamito, are you okay!?" "Kamito-san!"
Groaning while he looked up, Kamito's view was dominated by the four faces that were watching him worriedly.
They seem to be crying out something but he could not hear very clearly. Perhaps his hearing was numbed.
"...Ellis... Rinslet... Thank goodness you're both safe and sound..."
Not even able to stand up, Kamito spoke softly.
Perhaps the nerves in his arms were damaged, he could not even lift a finger.
This was the backlash from using spirit-vanquishing Absolute Blade Arts.
"...Has Sjora Kahn... been defeated?"
Kamito tried to move his lips and asked the two girls.
Hearing him, Ellis shook her head in chagrin.
"The Theocracy's witch escaped... Or rather, she let us go. If Leonora-dono had not hurried over to offer her assistance, we would have lost to that demon spirit."
"...Leonora made it in time huh."
During the fight in the lower levels, Kamito had not taken away Leonora's magic stone. Instead, he asked her to assist Ellis and Rinslet who were fighting Sjora Kahn.
She had fulfilled her promise with Kamito, her opponent.
Collapsed on the ground, Kamito looked around him.
There were no signs of the demon dragon user.
"...She forfeited the final round."
"Yes. Leonora-dono left a message for you."
Ellis nodded and took out a magic stone from her bosom.
"I have already blade danced with Kamito with my full power and lost. Obsessing over victory and refusing to admit defeat would be a taint to that supreme blade dance—That was what she said."
Exiting the stage like that really suited her style.
Having blade danced with her with everything he had, Kamito felt pride from the bottom of his heart.
"...Claire is fine too."
"...Yeah. Umm... Thank you, everyone."
"H-Helping a teammate is only natural."
"It somehow feels weird to hear honest thanks from you."
"Does untying your hair change your personality?"
"...S-So annoying. What the heck."
Claire pouted with displeasure.
At her feet, Scarlet wagged her tail happily.
"...Anyway, it's great that everyone is safe and sound—Cough, ah..."
Suddenly, Kamito's entire body was filled with intense pain.
His heart raced madly and his muscles were convulsing. He felt pain as though his body was burning inside.
"Kamito... W-What's the matter!?"
Claire frantically picked up Kamito's body in her arms.
"—It's the Eternal Blood's side effects."
A calm voice was heard from behind.
Everyone turned to look back.
"Nee-sama, what's going on!?"
"The flames driving Kazehaya Kamito's body have burnt out. Since he used a technique that strained his body this much, the backlash must logically be quite astounding—"
"How could this...!?"
"Relax. This boy will not die from this. Once the Demon King's power is completely withdrawn, it will be fine for Fianna over there to heal him."
"...By the way, you... And there I was, thinking this healing was so fast..."
Enduring the intense pain, Kamito poked fun at her.
"Healing was never my specialty in the first place."
However, the former Queen shook her head nonchalantly.
In response, Ellis readied her spear and glared at her warily.
"What is your goal?"
"...The Fahrengart family's daughter, huh."
Leaning against a stone pillar, Rubia looked at Ellis indifferently.
"...Stop it, Ellis."
"Kamito? But she—"
"...She no longer has the power to fight. Swinging your weapon at a person who cannot resist will taint a knight's honor..."
"No power remaining?"
"...That is true too. Indeed, it appears that my remaining power.. has vanished."
In a slightly sardonic tone of voice, Rubia spoke.
Blood had stopped flowing from the Cursed Armament Seals on her arms.
"...To think a spirit contract could be severed—Is it that sacred sword's power?"
"I already tried it once before."
Supported upright by Claire, Kamito nodded.
Temporarily driving Laevateinn away did not solve the problem at its root. So long as the contract's connection remained, the spirit was surely going to continue making attempts to claim Rubia's life relentlessly.
However, defeating the strongest flame spirit's main body was absolutely impossible. It was not an opponent that a human elementalist could oppose.
Hence, Kamito had severed the contract connecting Laevateinn to Rubia.
He relied on the power of the Demon Slayer—Terminus Est.
Possessing the strongest anti-magic properties, this "cursed sword," capable of absorbing all curses, was simultaneously a sacred sword that could lift all spells. The contract exchanged between a spirit and an elementalist was also a type of spell.
In the past, Kamito had used Terminus Est to destroy the Cursed Armament Seal transplanted on Velsaria Eva's heart. However, back then, he had only destroyed the Cursed Armament Seal that was driving her spirit mad, rather than the spirit's contract.
(...But it looks like my gamble paid off.)
Kamito called upon the sacred sword in his hand.
(...Est, good job.)
—Yes. Because I am Kamito's beloved sword.
—Oh dear, what is Miss Sacred Sword muttering on her own about over there?
—Kamito is talking to me. The darkness spirit should shut up.
(I beg you, please don't argue in someone else's mind...)
Kamito pressed his temples and groaned.
"The contract was severed..."
Claire reacted and spoke up.
"In other words, the contract's price won't be exacted from Nee-sama, right?"
"...Yes. That should be the case—"
Kamito turned his gaze towards Rubia.
"I still have things to ask you. How could I let you die so easily here?"
Staring her straight in the eyes, Kamito asked.
"—Also, tell us already. Four years ago, in the shrine of the Elemental Lords, what exactly did you see?"
Rubia's eyes wandered in space for an instant.
Kamito did not fail to catch the emotions appearing on her face for an instant.
It was irrepressible fear.
This girl, the former Queen, had destroyed the Instructional School in the past and was capable of dealings with Murders and the Theocracy's military. What could possibly inspire such fear in her—
After several seconds of silence—
She finally spoke.
"—Something beyond this world."
"Something beyond this world?"
"Yes. Very likely, it is the existence causing the current Elemental Lords to go mad. Furthermore, it is the true form of what you people call the Elemental Lords' miracle."
"...Nee-sama... What... What are you saying?"
Claire's voice was doubtful.
"Bear this in mind. The miracle transcending this world's rules and logic, granted to the victor of the Blade Dance, does not actually grant the Wish you hope for."
"...What does that mean?"
While raising this question—
Kamito recalled what he heard in the past.
—The elemental lords' blessing is not as omnipotent as rumored.
(...I remember Greyworth saying something like that.)
Similarly, she was also someone who had had an audience with the elemental lords.
(...The Elemental Lords' miracle huh.)
Had these words come from an ordinary person, they could be dismissed as utter nonsense.
But she—Rubia Elstein—was formerly a Queen serving the elemental lord.
This was her reason for choosing betrayal at all costs, going as far as to abandon her position and duties, even sacrificing her own life.
The insanity of the Elemental Lords. If it were real—
"But since the Demon King's awakening failed. Everything is too late now."
Rubia took out something from the sleeve of her military uniform and tossed it over to Kamito.
Kamito caught it reflexively.
She had thrown a magic stone, shining with red light.
"You can confirm the truth with your own eyes."
"W-Wait up, Rubia!" "Nee-sama!"
Kamito and Claire noticed her intentions at the same time—But it was too late.
Due to forsaking the magic stone, the transfer magic activated.
Rubia's body turned into particles of light and vanished from the scene.
"Nee-sama, wait, Nee-sama...!"
Claire's voice echoed in the great hall.
The scene fell silent.
"...With that, it means that Team Inferno's leader has exited the stage."
Casting his gaze on the magic stone in his hand, Kamito muttered.
Muir Alenstarl had disappeared. Lily Flame had lost to Leonora.
And Leonora had also retired by her own volition.
"The only ace-class enemy left is the Theocracy's witch. Also, Luminaris of the Sacred Spirit Knights, right—"
There were still ten-odd hours left until the Blade Dance's final round ended.
Outside the crumbling walls, the sun had set.
Just at this moment...
"What is going on?"
Ellis and Rinslet screamed.
Beneath their feet, shining magic circles suddenly appeared.
"This is Transfer magic... Kyah!"
The same magic circles appeared around Kamito and the rest.
His view was overwhelmed by the dazzling light.
The entire field of vision was pure white.
An intense dizziness caused all the sensations of the body to disappear instantly.
When Kamito opened his eyes—
In his view was a white ceiling.
"...This place is?"
Surprised, just as he was about to get up from the hard floor—
"N-No! You should not be impatient to get up..."
He heard the cute voice of a girl.
It was not Claire or the others. However, it was not completely unfamiliar either.
(This voice, I remember it's...)
Frowning, Kamito surveyed his surroundings by sight.
"...Are you alright...?"
Looking straight into Kamito's face was a princess maiden in a crimson ritual outfit.
Gorgeous black hair draped over her face. Eyes like a timid pet's.
As the Calamity Queen's successor, the princess maiden chosen as the Fire Queen.
"...Reicha, why are you here? ...No wait, where is this?"
Still in confusion, Kamito asked.
Hearing him, the young Queen produced a gentle smile.
"Please calm down. All of you have returned to Ragna Ys."