Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance:Volume11 Chapter3
Chapter 3 - The Closure of the Blade Dance
Having awoken, Kamito followed Reicha to another room.
His broken arm was simply secured between two pieces of wood. His elemental waffen, the two swords, were hanging at his waist. Although Reicha suggested handing them over to her for safekeeping, Kamito declined.
Along the way with Reicha in the lead, Kamito saw a garden surrounded by colonnades. He had some recollection. In the past, he had cross-dressed and sneaked in here with Fianna.
(...The Divine Ritual Institute's True Sanctuary, I guess?)
He did not know why, but from the way it looked, he really had been transferred to Ragna Ys.
"Do Claire and the others know the situation already?"
Kamito asked the Queen in front of him.
"No. Everyone will be notified together later. Kamito-san, you were all transferred here at virtually the same time, but because your injuries were too severe, you were moved here to rest and undergo simple treatment."
...Indeed, his body's pain had subsided substantially. Oh well, it was just the pain that had disappeared. In actual fact, he was probably still covered in wounds.
"Uh, my body is supposed to be the type that deflects holy-attribute magic—"
"Yes, I have already heard that from Fianna-senpai—no, Fianna-sama. Hence, uh, that method was used."
For some reason, Reicha's face went red with embarrassment.
"Th-That method... What method is that!?"
"U-Uh, for me to say it, really would be... Fianna-senpai was very proactive..."
Kamito resolutely pretended he heard nothing and shut up.
When they reached the door at the end of the colonnade, Reicha stopped. Pushing the door open, Kamito saw a spacious room as large as the garden earlier.
Very likely, this was prepared for VIP guests. There was a wooden table in the center where all the young ladies were seated.
"Ah, Kamito, you finally woke up."
Claire spoke up as soon as she spotted Kamito. She had changed out of her Darkness Queen ritual attire and back into her usual uniform with her twintail hairstyle.
"Kamito-kun? Are you okay? Does your body still hurt?"
Kamito nodded. Sitting down beside Fianna, he asked quietly:
"Fianna, could it be... You actually did that in front of everyone?"
"Fufu♪, Reicha and the other's faces were all flushed bright red."
Fianna smiled mischievously.
"Relax. Claire and the rest did not see it."
"I-I can't believe you..."
"Hmm, what are you two whispering about?"
Sitting opposite to them, Ellis stared at them suspiciously.
"Oh, no, nothing."
Kamito frantically tried to brush the matter aside. Then with a serious face, he looked towards Reicha.
"..Uh, you can explain now, right? The reason why we were transferred here."
"Yes. It's quite hard to accept why we were suddenly transferred here."
"Since everyone has gathered, please do explain."
Faced with Claire and the other's queries, the princess maiden nodded lightly.
"Team Scarlet, representing the Ordesia Empire, you have obtained victory in the Blade Dance."
Smiling radiantly, she made the announcement.
The first to break the silence was Claire again.
"What happened?" "How did this transpire?"
Ellis and Rinslet voiced their queries in succession.
Kamito was equally puzzled.
The Blade Dance's final round, Cross Fire was scheduled for three days.
Only two days had elapsed since Kamito's group was transferred to the abandoned city. No matter how you counted it, there were at least ten-odd hours remaining.
However, Reicha spoke calmly.
"It is not surprising that you would find this puzzling. However, the Elemental Lords have issued this decree through us Queens: Team Scarlet's blade dancing has brought them great joy and satisfied them."
"The result was decided by the Elemental Lords?"
"Yes. The Blade Dance is the supreme ritual for making offerings to the elemental lords. Hence, ultimately, everything is decided by the Elemental Lords."
"Yeah, that's true, but..."
Kamito muttered, his face displaying his reluctance to accept.
"Furthermore, based on the battle results, Team Scarlet's victory is indisputable. Apart from all members surviving, even the number of magic stones obtained is overwhelming. Even with ten-odd hours remaining, one would not expect the result to change."
"...Magic stones, did we really get that many of them?"
Kamito took out from his breast pocket the magic stones he had obtained.
The crimson spirit crystals, carved with the crests of various countries, numbered five in total.
The Sacred Spirit Knights' vice-captain, Alda Reed. The Knights of the Dragon Emperor's tyrant dragon spirit user, Reglisse Roa. Muir Alenstarl. Leonora Lancaster. Finally, there was Team Inferno's leader, the self-styled Strongest Blade Dancer, Rubia Elstein.
Multiple ace-class and commanding officer-level elementalists from various countries had been defeated.
In terms of results in the team battle, this was overwhelming indeed.
"I defeated one. The Sacred Spirit Knights' special operative."
Next, it was Claire's turn to take out a magic stone and placed it on the table.
"Special Operative Ayla Cedar. A shadow spirit user."
"That makes six... Right?"
"Hmm, what's the matter, Scarlet?"
Under the table, the hell cat spirit seemed to be mewing desperately, trying to say something.
Puzzled, Claire picked her up in her arms. Scarlet stuck her tongue out.
Another two magic stones rolled on the table.
Carved on each of their surfaces was the crest of the Sacred Spirit Knights.
"Scarlet, these, how did you get them!?"
Claire stared eye-wide in surprise. Apparently, she did not know what happened.
Reicha picked up the two magic stones and said:
"This one belongs to the Sacred Spirit Knights' Lansa Kairod-sama, while the other belongs to their captain, Luminaris Saint Leisched-sama."
"You defeated that Luminaris!?"
This time it was Kamito's turn to be shocked.
Luminaris the Paladin. Three years ago, she was Ren Ashbell's blade dance opponent in the finals. For the current festival, she was also one of the top candidates for victory along with Leonora.
Claire made a troubled expression and stammered.
"I've released Scarlet's true name. Kamito's darkness spirit knew this child's true name, then... I lost consciousness in the middle of it and can't remember much, but it seems like the power that had lain dormant for centuries was released all at once..."
(So she is the one who defeated Luminaris...)
Kamito stared intently at Scarlet in Claire's embrace.
The Scarlet Valkyrie—Ortlinde.
Despite looking like a cute hell cat, her true form was a high-level spirit who looked like an adorable young girl.
The hell cat tilted her head in puzzlement.
Recalling the cat-eared girl's nude body, Kamito could not help but blush.
"In other words—"
At this moment, Ellis gazed at the magic stones on the table and murmured.
"Team Scarlet has defeated the commanders of the three other teams participating in the finals."
"Indeed. Precisely. As a further note, the Knights of the Dragon Emperor's vice-captain, Yuri El Cid lost to the Strongest Blade Dancer while Team Inferno's Lily Flame was defeated by Leonora Lancaster."
"May I ask, what happened to the Theocracy's witch—Sjora Kahn?"
Her helpless expression gave Kamito an instant sense of dissonance—
"Team Inferno's Sjora Kahn destroyed her own magic stone and retired."
Everyone looked at one another.
(...Forfeited? That witch?)
Judging from her personality, it was difficult to imagine her admitting defeat.
Was there some hidden story, or perhaps—
(...That witch, what was she actually planning?)
According to Fianna, one part of Rubia's plan—regarding the Darkness Queen—was known to some extent, but—
"—Hence, currently, as already explained, the other countries' commanders and ace-class participants were essentially all retired from the stage. Team Scarlet is the only team that survived intact. At the point in time when you were all transferred, the Knights of the Dragon Emperor and the Sacred Spirit Knights respectively had two and one survivor. However, the elemental lords decided there was no need to continue the blade dance."
The Fire Queen explained calmly.
Kamito stopped thinking briefly—
Then he exhaled.
"Victory huh... Us."
"Yeah... Seems like it."
Claire answered in shock.
...Somehow it doesn't feel real at all.
Meeting Claire by the side of the lake. Establishing a contract with Est. A decisive match against the Sylphid Knights led by Ellis. Adding Fianna as a teammate and the battle against Jio Inzagi. Defeating Velsaria in the school ranking battle. The tough struggle during the Tempest. Also during the Cross Fire—Settling things with Rubia Elstein.
After entering Areishia Spirit Academy under Greyworth's guidance, all sorts of things had happened.
Everything was for the sake of victory at the Blade Dance.
"We finally reached this point..."
Tears appeared in Claire's clear eyes.
Kamito placed his hand on her head.
(...It's this girl who gathered us all together.)
Before encountering Kamito—
She had always fought alone.
Wiping her tears with the sleeve of her uniform, Claire stared at Kamito with her reddened eyes.
"I-I wasn't crying, okay!"
"Don't force yourself. Cry if you want to cry."
"I-I already said I wasn't, so annoying..."
She puffed her cheeks in a sulking manner and hammered her fists against Kamito's chest.
The young ladies in the team all gazed at Claire's behavior with gentle eyes.
"Claire, thank you. You're the one who brought us here."
"Thanks to this, that'll show those people in the imperialist faction."
"Y-Yes... Everyone, thank you..."
Habitually lacking in forthrightness, Claire uttered words of thanks for once as she wiped her eyes.
Reicha offered warm words of blessing.
"Ragna Ys has released news of Team Scarlet's victory. In particular, Kamito-san's defeat of the Strongest Blade Dancer, Ren Ashbell, has become the topic of interest."
Just at this moment—
Kamito realized something important.
(...This is bad.)
In theory, the proceedings of the Blade Dance were observed by the spirits sent out by the Divine Ritual Institute and should have been projected to various places on Ragna Ys. In that case, inevitably, her battle with Kamito would be seen by large numbers of people.
In other words, the true identity of the unmasked Strongest Blade Dancer would also—
Probably having predicted that kind of reaction from Kamito, Reicha resumed a serious expression and spoke:
"...Kamito-sama, you are worrying about Rubia-sama, right?"
Claire and the girls also reacted and turned towards Reicha.
"Please rest assured. The Divine Ritual Institute's spirits were unable to approach the blade dance that took place amidst the intensely burning flames. The images recorded from afar were also, uh... According to the supreme council's judgment, publicizing her true identity will cause a massive uproar, hence they have issued orders for corrections. Regarding the true identity of the Strongest Blade Dancer being the Calamity Queen who had brought disaster to the continent in the past, only a small number of people including us Queens are privy to that fact."
Kamito secretly breathed a sigh of relief.
Since the spirits were unable to get close, then even if Rubia's true face was seen, her dialogue with Kamito probably was not overheard. Also what she said about the Elemental Lords going mad, the Demon King's power residing in Kamito's body, and other things—
At this moment, Claire spoke up.
"Where is Nee-sama now?"
—Right. Rubia Elstein had abandoned her magic stone and was transferred.
Then she should have returned to Ragna Ys as well.
The Queen bowed her head.
"Including Rubia-sama, none of Team Inferno's members were transferred to the designated location—the return point that was set in the magic stones."
"Very likely, the magic in the magic stones was overwritten. Those magic stones all received magic that was injected by us Queens. Although ordinary elementalists probably cannot manage it, if it were Rubia-sama who was once renowned as the continent's premier princess maiden, it is possible—"
"In other words, they set a new transfer location..."
Kamito was suddenly struck by the thought of Muir who had disappeared without saying a word.
Living in darkness, did she have a place to return to?
"What is the Divine Ritual Institute's decision on Rubia-sama?"
"I believe the Divine Ritual Institute will not send out pursuers directly. However, the Ordesia Empire's cadre might have received news already."
"...How did that..."
Claire bit her lip.
The Calamity Queen was the great sinner who had brought immeasurable loss to the Empire. Once her location was found, the Empire was sure to hunt her down.
Once the elite Numbers were sent to execute the arrest mission, would Rubia have any way of escaping, having lost the Sacred Maiden's power?
Faced with Claire's worried murmurs, Kamito whispered softly.
"Don't worry. This Ragna Ys has countless secret subterranean passages. Surely she must have prepared her escape beforehand."
Suddenly, she collapsed towards Kamito as though suddenly struck with dizziness.
"Claire, are you okay!?"
"...Y-Yeah, it's okay. I'm just... a bit tired."
"...After all, so much happened."
Not much time had passed since Rubia had imprisoned her to become the Darkness Queen. Mentally, she must have accumulated a lot of fatigue.
Once her tense state of mind relaxed, the fatigue surged all at once.
"Sleeping quarters have been prepared at the shrine. Please have a good rest."
"I am very grateful for your kind offer. But before that, I would like to undergo a ritual purification. If possible, a bath would be good."
"Very well. A hot water bath, right?"
Reicha answered Fianna in a relaxed tone of voice.
"I'll go rest too."
Kamito suddenly felt sleepy. Despite the princess maidens' treatment, those were merely superficial measures to close up his wounds. His physical fatigue was reaching a limit.
"So, let's all go together, Kamito-kun. I'll help you scrub your back."
"...Okay. No wait! I-I'm going to sleep!"
"Fufu, just joking♪"
"Hmm, is that so... I-I would not mind too much, actually..."
Ellis awkwardly twiddled her fingers.
"Claire, you come for a bath too."
"Uwah, s-stop it, pervert princess!"
Accompanied by a noisy racket, the young ladies left the room together.
Kamito shrugged and prepared to leave as well.
"A-Ah, uh, Ren Ashbell-sama—"
Reicha stopped him.
Hearing her say that name, Kamito held his breath.
Her gaze rested on Kamito's left hand.
During the blade dance with Rubia, Kamito had used the Vorpal Sword and the seal of darkness had appeared on that hand. Anyone who saw it would quickly deduce his identity.
While Kamito was speechless...
"Oh, p-please rest assured. Those images, together with Rubia-sama's true face were all edited on this side. Because in a certain sense, your true identity will cause an even greater commotion than Rubia-sama's."
Kamito mentally breathed a sigh of relief.
"But the princess maidens at the Divine Ritual Institute should have found out already."
"No, editing the seal was my sole and arbitrary decision. Hence, most likely, I am the only one among the Queens who knows of this."
"Although the demon sword of darkness was too difficult to hide, Kamito-sama, you were using dual swords. And that demon sword with the darkness attribute was also used by that Nepenthes Lore monster. Besides, no one could possibly connect your current appearance with Ren Ashbell... Oh, excuse me, I had no intention of insinuating—"
"Oh, no... That doesn't matter."
Kamito scratched the back of his head as he shifted his gaze away.
Suddenly, a question popped up in his mind.
"Your 'arbitrary decision'?"
"Yes. Last time when you two visited the shrine, Fianna-senpai made a request, hoping I could hide the fact if the seal on Kamito-sama's left hand ever appeared."
(Was that when I was unconscious...?)
"That princess really misses nothing."
Kamito smiled wryly.
As much as she would deny it, Fianna really did seem to possess the wisdom of royalty.
"...That's a great help. If possible, I hope you can keep my true identity a secret."
The Fire Queen nodded politely then—
"At the time, what did Rubia-sama say?"
Should he tell this young girl? Kamito agonized over it for a while—
"What's your opinion on the Elemental Lords?"
Finally, that was what he said.
"Regarding the fact of the Elemental Lords ruling over the world."
"Everything goes according to the divine wishes of the elemental lords. That is what we were taught."
Reicha stared Kamito straight in the eye and answered thus.
That was the consensus shared by the Divine Ritual Institute's princess maidens.
Kamito recalled the words that Rubia left behind.
—You can confirm the truth with your own eyes.
"For the continent's future—That was what she said."
"For the continent's future..."
Reicha displayed a puzzled expression as she murmured.
After entering the prepared sleeping quarters, Kamito fell on the bed.
Feeling as though his entire body would sink into the bed, it was a very comfortable sensation.
Having slept on hard ground throughout the final round, Kamito found the current sense of comfort quite touching.
Looking up at the marble ceiling, Kamito spaced out as he muttered to himself.
The Blade Dance had drawn to a close with the best possible result—His team's victory.
Despite his concerns about Sjora Kahn's whereabouts, what Rubia had said regarding the Elemental Lords, etc, Kamito's greatest personal goal was already accomplished.
Kamito placed the two swords in his hands lightly onto the bed.
Yes, the purpose of entering this Blade Dance was to take her back personally.
His hand stroked the Restia's blade that reflected no light at all.
As though she would disappear off to somewhere again if he did not do so—
Enticed by a sense of sleepiness, Kamito's consciousness gradually drifted off to deep slumber.
—As promised, Kamito.
At this moment, he seemed to be hearing a tiny voice from the distance.
Like soft feathers, a comfortable voice was tickling his ears.
—Let me tell you about the truth three years ago.