Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance:Volume11 Chapter6
Chapter 6 - Back to the Abandoned City
Kamito immediately summoned his teammates to the castle lobby.
Everyone was about to sleep at this point in time, hence the girls all displayed displeased expressions.
Only Scarlet was still very energetic.
(...Perhaps it's because cats are nocturnal.)
"...Jeez, what happened? The Blade Dance already ended."
"I will have you know that I sleep regularly on the dot at nine."
Claire and Ellis had their arms akimbo as they remarked angrily.
However, since they were both wearing cute pajamas, they were totally not intimidating.
...Rather, they were quite adorable.
"Sorry, there's an emergency. Things are very bad."
"The Alphas Theocracy's flying vessel seems to be heading towards the abandoned city."
Claire frowned in surprise.
"What would she do in that kind of place at this time?"
"Most likely, her target is Iseria."
All the team members were shocked. That was the girl with hair the color of shimmering water who had assisted them during Claire's rescue.
"Why... Why target that child!?"
Rinslet demanded from Kamito.
"Iseria is a top-ranked spirit. Sjora perhaps intends to capture her as a contracted spirit."
"How could that...!"
Probably recalling the demon spirit's theft of Fenrir, Rinslet cried out sorrowfully.
(Or perhaps, for some other purpose...)
Three years ago on that day, Kamito had liberated one of the elemental lords.
Did the witch act because she found out about that—?
"But how did those people find out about Iseria?"
Ellis voiced her puzzlement.
"Most likely by tracing Fenrir's memories."
Greyworth descended slowly down the stairs.
"Through the spirit seal, a contractor can see fragments of the contracted spirit's memories. That spirit probably appeared in Fenrir's memories."
"Greyworth, seeing as you employ demon spirits, do you know any method for retrieving Fenrir?"
"My condolences. I am a knight and not an authority on spirit research."
Greyworth shook her head.
"Besides, the category of demon spirits is simply something that the Spirit Investigation Association defined on their own. An umbrella term for spirits whose mental structure cannot be analyzed. Hence, there is basically no information on individual demon spirits unless they have been researched specifically."
"However, speaking of saving that demon ice spirit, that's not totally impossible."
"Although the demon spirit Bandersnatch possesses the power to overwrite existing contracts, that effect can be considered a type of spirit contract. Being a spirit contract, it must be accompanied by a certain something—"
"...A spirit seal?"
"Smart lad. On Fenrir that was taken away, there should be a spirit seal carved by demon spirit. Aiming there—"
"Destroy it with Terminus Est, right?"
Kamito gripped the Demon Slayer's hilt firmly.
"However, that's only a possibility. I don't know that much about that demon spirit's characteristics."
"...Yeah, got it. But it's worth a try."
Kamito nodded at Rinslet.
"Anyway, I think we should hurry over to the abandoned city. We can't passively let her get taken away."
"Eh, yeah, that's right! I promised that child that I'll definitely bring her out of that place."
"...However, we still don't know how to lift the seal."
"I have some ideas on that."
As Fianna showed hesitancy, Kamito responded.
If the girl he saw in his dream really was the liberated Elemental Lord—
Then the seal could be lifted using her true name as the medium.
(...Also, there's something that I must ask her no matter what.)
"But how do we get to the abandoned city?"
Ellis raised a question.
"Can't we use the Divine Ritual Institute's transfer magic?"
If they explained the situation to the Divine Ritual Institute, they probably would lend out the Gate for transfer.
"That requires a ritual. Also, the magic stones can only transfer to fixed locations."
Fianna shook her head.
"Then what should we do—"
Just as Kamito gritted his teeth in frustration...
"Good grief, looks like my power is needed."
"Didn't you lose your power completely...?"
"The word power is not limited to an elementalist's power, you know?"
"Head over and wait at the tip of Ragna Ys. I will prepare equipment for you."
"...Telling us to wait here, what exactly is she planning?"
"The headmistress will have arrangements."
An hour later, Kamito's group had gathered at the northwestern tip of Ragna Ys.
The night air was very cold. Despite the barrier covering Ragna Ys entirely to stop the wind, the air itself was enough to make the skin chilly.
"...So cold. My hands are almost freezing."
Under thick winter clothes, Kamito shivered.
"It reminds me of the training camp at the Laurenfrost snow mountains when we first entered the Academy."
"Hmm, that was hell."
Hearing Claire remark as she hugged her hell cat tightly, Ellis expressed full agreement.
"This level doesn't really count as cold."
Only Rinslet, who was born and raised in a land of snow, remained unfazed.
"...Say, that looks very warm. Let me hug Scarlet too."
"I don't really mind, but Scarlet doesn't let anyone close apart from me."
Claire took Scarlet from under her arm and handed her to Kamito.
Scarlet shrank into a ball then stayed obediently in Kamito's arms.
"...Wow, so warm."
He felt a sense of warmth rise from within his body.
The hell cat spirit seemed to be meowing very happily.
"...Tsk, w-why is Scarlet acting so intimate!?"
"K-Kamito, that's so unfair! I want a hug too!"
As soon as Ellis reached over, Scarlet began to struggle as though greatly repulsed.
"Kamito-kun, this kind of skin to skin contact would be even warmer."
Boing boing boing.
"W-What, w-what are you doing, pervert princess!?"
At this moment, there was sudden gust of wind, causing the girls' hair to fly at the same time.
From under the precipice, a massive object rose up.
Bathed under the moonlight, the object appearing out of the darkness was—
"The latest model of the Winged Raptor-class combat craft!"
Claire cried out with surprise.
The streamlined craft was shaped like a flying dragon. The ship's body was plated with mithril. The wings on both sides gave off faint light.
Kamito recalled that this was one of the twelve small-sized flying ships owned by the Empire.
At this moment, the control room's door opened and Greyworth appeared on the deck.
"Just use this. However, absolutely do not break it."
"To think you were able to get authorization to use a flying ship in such short time!?"
Beneath the roaring wind, Kamito yelled.
Apart from those reserved for the imperial family, all flying ships were under the Fahrengart family's administration. Without the Knights' authorization, mobilizing a flying ship should be impossible.
"Who do you think I am? I've got plenty of blackmail material to threaten the military with."
"That explains why your life is always being targeted."
"When the time comes, lad, you'll protect me, right?"
Kamito turned his gaze away.
"Hurry and come up, there's not much time left."
Urged by Greyworth, Claire and the others jumped off the precipice and onto the deck.
"Okay, let's hurry—"
"W-Wait a sec... Kyah!"
As Fianna hesitated, Kamito picked her up in his arms and jumped over together.
"K-Kamito-kun, you're really..."
Landing on the deck, Fianna muttered with her face red.
"Given this ship, it should be able to catch up to the Theocracy's older style flying ship."
"Yes. After all, it is the latest and most advanced flying ship that my grandfather purchased."
Ellis expressed agreement with Greyworth. The Alphas Theocracy did not have the latest model of flying ships. At most, it would be an old-style craft from the Ranbal War era, supplied by Murders.
Greyworth got off the flying ship and looked back at Kamito's group.
"This is all I can do. You guys will control it from here on."
"You can't find a pilot?"
"It's already the middle of the night, of course it can't be arranged. It is able to hover like this in the surroundings of Ragna Ys where the ether density is high, but if you want to accelerate, you need to activate the spirit mechanism that uses a wind spirit crystal as its core. Ellis, can you manage it?"
Ellis immediately straightened her posture and nodded.
"Who will pilot it?"
Even though he was trained in the Instructional School, Kamito had never learned the skills for controlling a flying ship.
(On the other hand, specialized in espionage, Lily does have that type of skill—)
"At least, I've driven the imperial family's mini-craft before."
Fianna looked towards the control room and said quietly.
The control room's center was outfitted with a black slab of stone that had spirit language carved on it.
It looked like a stone panel that responded to touch and was controlled by thoughts.
"The basic controls are similar. As an outstanding princess maiden, you should not find it hard to control."
Greyworth's voice was heard from outside.
"I will stay on deck with Scarlet to guard against spirits. Rinslet, please prepare some midnight snacks. There should be a simple kitchen on a mini-craft."
"What should I do?"
"Uh, Kamito should..."
Claire pondered for a while—
"Anyway, getting some sleep before we arrive would be nice, right?"
...Nothing he could contribute.
Oh well, it was true that there was nothing else he could do.
"Who knows the abandoned city's location?"
"The darkness spirit over there should know, right?"
"...Still the same, you don't know your manners, Dusk Witch."
The demon sword of darkness transformed into a girl in a dress the color of night.
Her beautiful black wings spread open and fluttered in the night sky.
"...Fine. I shall lead the way until we reach the abandoned city. Be grateful to me."
"Darkness spirit, I don't trust you. Don't tell me you've forgotten everything you did back at the Academy."
Claire glared at Restia overhead.
"It matters not to me, if you know a safe route as humans. Once you enter the territory of archdemon-class spirits, this ship will be turned into sawdust."
"Claire, it's okay. Believe in my partner."
"...Sigh, I know."
Then lighting a small flame, she handed it over to Restia.
Restia inclined her head in puzzlement.
"You can't use light-attribute magic, right? It's hard to see you in the dark, so use this as a signal lamp."
"Ah yes, I see. How inconvenient it is to be human."
Understanding, Restia caught the fireball.
"Very well, let's go. To protect Iseria."
"...As expected of the latest combat craft model. It's like a wind spirit."
The sound of the wind rumbled. Looking outside the window in the cabin, Kamito muttered.
A wind barrier was erected around the ship's body and kept slicing through the clouds. Down in the engine room, Ellis must be working quite hard.
"...But to think I would be asked to go sleep."
Kamito muttered to himself.
Although there was some remaining fatigue accumulated from the final round, Kamito did not feel at ease leaving everything to the girls and going to sleep by himself.
"Oh well, if I try to help, I'll just end up getting in the way..."
Kamito lay down on his side on the bed.
At this moment, he felt a hard object in his pocket.
"...Speaking of which, I should pass it along."
It was the pendant from Claire's older sister.
The pendant carved with the House of Elstein's crest, the flame lion.
Even after plunging into her hellish path, Rubia still held on to this object.
Kamito got up from bed.
Walking in the corridor, he was about to take the stairs up to the deck—
...Unable to resist, he halted in his steps.
A wonderful aroma was drifting through the kitchen door's gap.
(...Rinslet's making midnight snacks, right?)
His stomach began to growl. Thinking back, he had not eaten since morning.
Following the aroma, he pushed the kitchen door open.
"...Kamito, what's the matter?"
Dressed in an apron, Rinslet turned around with a spoon in hand.
Kamito could see a pot bubbling on top of a fire spirit crystal. Looks like the aroma came from this pot of soup.
"I'm hungry. Smelling this aroma, I couldn't help but come here."
"...I see. Please be patient for a while."
Rinslet served the steaming soup into a bowl.
"This soup is made from bacon and potatoes. Those are all the ingredients I could find in storage."
"No, that's enough. It looks very tasty."
Kamito took a sip of soup.
The delicious taste felt as though steam was rising from the bottom of his heart.
"The saltiness is just right."
"I-If you don't mind this type of crude cooking, I can make as much as you want."
Blushing, Rinslet kept twirling her hair in her finger.
Kamito finished the soup in one breath.
"Thanks for the meal... Thank you."
"You're going back to the room?"
"No, I still want to check out the deck."
Just as he was about to exit the kitchen—
Kamito's uniform sleeve was grabbed from behind.
...No, rather than grabbed, it felt more like it was held between fingers.
Rinslet's head was bowed, looking very indecisive.
"C-Could you hold... my hand?"
Finally, she spoke quietly.
Gazing up at Kamito, her emerald eyes seemed to be wavering.
Her right hand had lost the spirit seal. Her fingers were trembling.
One could hardly blame her. Despite acting full of vigor in front of everyone—
She was actually still very ill at ease.
...Kamito silently held her hand. He held her frail, delicate and feminine fingers.
"Fenrir will be taken back for sure. Don't worry."
With Kamito holding her hand, Rinslet nodded.
As soon as he walked outside the cabin, it felt cold as expected.
While shivering, Kamito looked for signs of Claire.
She was sitting on the deck, hugging Scarlet.
Walking up the stairs, he called out.
Startled, she turned her head back.
"Go back down and sleep. You must be tired."
"I can't fall asleep. Here, I've brought you some of Rinslet's soup."
Kamito placed the steaming soup on the floor.
"Can I sit beside you?"
"...Eh? Ah, y-yeah..."
Kamito bent over and sat down by Claire's side.
...An awkward silence descended.
After all, too many things had happened during the final round.
Both of them were searching for a suitable topic of conversation—
"It's great that you were able to get back your darkness spirit."
Claire ended up the first to speak.
While gazing at the bright light in the distant clouds ahead, she murmured.
Despite being out of view, mixed into the darkness, Restia was there, acting as the flying ship's guide.
"...Yeah. That's why I've journeyed nonstop for the past three years."
Claire began to pout and sulk a bit.
"Umm, what a shame... You finally saw her again."
"...Yes. It's wonderful to see Nee-sama again, but hearing that kind of thing—"
"You mean the Elemental Lords' madness?"
"Yeah. It's hard to believe, but..."
Worrying, Claire embraced Scarlet tighter.
"The reason why Nee-sama rebelled was because the elemental lord wanted me as a sacrifice..."
"...Indeed, that's very disturbing."
The Fire Elemental Lord had demanded the user of Elstein's flame, Claire, as a sacrifice.
The Flame-Burning Flames that transcended the rules and logic of this world.
Why did the Elemental Lord demand that sort of thing—
"Next, what should we do? Continue searching for Rubia?"
Claire murmured with a pained expression.
She still had not organized her thoughts.
The Blade Dance's winners' blood relatives would receive a special pardon. This was customary since antiquity. However, even if Claire begged, it was unlikely that the Empire would let Rubia Elstein off.
Betraying the Elemental Lord was an unforgivable crime.
(—Besides, Rubia's grievances cannot be disclosed to the public.)
Although few would believe it, if news spread of the Elemental Lords being corrupted by something unidentified and even going mad, surely a great commotion would result.
"Oh yeah, this thing—"
Kamito took out the pendant from his pocket.
"...The lion's crest! Kamito, why do you—"
"Rubia entrusted it to me. To give to you."
He handed the pendant over. Claire held it tightly.
"...So warm. This chain is infused with the power of flames."
She stared at the pendant with gentle eyes.
The side view of her face was causing Kamito's heart to race.
"...However, why did Nee-sama give this to me?"
"At the time, she probably intended for you to inherit it upon her death."
"...Don't worry. Your sister is very tenacious. Just like you."
Kamito placed his hand on her head.
"Y-Yes... Nee-sama has great mental strength."
Claire nodded lightly.
"That thing, just return it the next time you see her."
After putting the pendant away safely...
Claire looked up—
"B-By the way..."
Coughing once, she leaned closer to Kamito.
"—Kamito, you're the real Ren Ashbell, right?"
...He was totally caught off guard.
"Save it. You're wasting your breath if you want to keep hiding it. You've already admitted it yourself."
"I-I wasn't trying to hide it... okay..."
Kamito turned his gaze away and scratched his head.
"...So, what do you have to say for yourself?"
Claire glared at him.
"...Uh, sorry for deceiving you."
Kamito apologized honestly.
"Hmph, you've been deceiving me all this time?"
"—Before, I had always admired her."
Putting his hands to the ground, Kamito bowed his head and apologized.
"...Sigh, fine. Okay, look up now."
Claire sighed and then—
Hearing unexpected words from Claire, Kamito frowned.
Claire relaxed the corners of her mouth slightly and said:
"Uh, I already mentioned it before... Three years ago, what saved me after I had given up on everything was her blade dance I saw back then. If it weren't for Ren Ashbell, I surely would not have made the Blade Dance my goal... So, thank you."
"I-It feels a bit embarrassing, like this..."
Blushing, both of them averted their gaze.
"...B-By the way, are you going to tell Ellis and the others?"
"...No, let's wait first..."
Claire chuckled and smiled, pressing her index finger lightly to her cherry lips.
"Very well, I will keep your secret. —A secret between two people."
Her smiling face was so charming that Kamito could not help but stare, mesmerized.