Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance:Volume12 Chapter1
Chapter 1 - Amnesia
—The Blade Dance was held in Astral Zero.
Its closing ceremony had already taken place over a week ago.
After a deadly battle where they prevailed against Team Inferno that was led by the Strongest Blade Dancer, Team Scarlet's maidens had achieved a spectacular victory. Completing the parade of triumph at the imperial capital, they then returned to Areishia Spirit Academy.
Despite the sounds of repeated cheering, the girls remained grave in expression.
The world's fate had changed on that day.
Ever since the audience with the Elemental Lords at their True Sanctuary...
Kamito had lost consciousness. Even after returning to the human realm, he still did not open his eyes at all.
"—Very likely, it is amnesia caused by mental strain."
At the headmistress' office on the school building's third floor...
Looking at each of the seated girls' faces in turn, Greyworth spoke thus.
The room fell into absolute silence.
Given that everyone present could not digest the current situation—
Ellis spoke at this point.
"I am no expert, so I can't be sure."
Greyworth sighed and continued:
"When suffering shock that overloads capacity, the mind will automatically erase memories related to that incident in an attempt to prevent mental trauma—Humans apparently possess this kind of function. In past wars, I have seen many similar cases."
"No way...! Then Kamito—"
Ellis reached forward towards the desk.
Greyworth slowly shook her head.
"If his childhood memories regarding his encounter with the darkness spirit were all erased, then assuredly, the majority of memories related to her were lost—That's essentially the situation."
The cruel conclusion caused the girls' expressions to turn even more grim.
Claire spoke in a hoarse voice.
"Then it's equivalent to forgetting all of us completely?"
"...Not just you but the same also goes for the Academy and me."
Greyworth's gray eyes displayed a shred of gloom.
After Kamito regained consciousness, Claire had immediately reported the incident to Greyworth.
Greyworth had met with Kamito and talked for a while to confirm his current condition.
What she discovered was the shocking truth that Kamito had lost his memories for the past few years.
"Most likely, the lad's memories have regressed back to the time when he was still an assassin at the Instructional School. Back to the time when all humanizing emotions were erased, raised as a tool for slaughter—"
Listening to Greyworth, Claire bit her lip hard.
(...So that was Kamito before he met the darkness spirit?)
—Who are you?
Eyes gazing as sharp as knives, rejecting all emotions.
At least, Claire had never seen Kamito with such icy cold eyes before.
While feeling shocked, she also felt a bit of jealousy sprouting in her heart.
(...So Kamito cherishes that darkness spirit to this extent.)
Cherishing her to the point of being unable to accept the truth of Restia's death—
To the point of erasing all memories related to her.
"Then, may I ask—"
"Should we try mentioning the darkness spirit to Kamito again—"
Greyworth shook her head.
"The lad's amnesia is for protecting his mind after all. If confronted with the unbearable truth again, the lad's psyche could very well collapse completely. In the worst case scenario, he could lose the ability to use spirit seals."
"...You have a point. That possibility is not unlikely."
Fianna nodded and agreed.
She had personally experienced losing the ability to use spirit seals before. A contractor's psychological condition had a massive effect on their relationship with the contracted spirit.
"Th-That does sound plausible..."
Rinslet's shoulders sank.
Greyworth lifted her glasses then looked at the girls' faces again.
"Very regrettably, I am not in a position to be privy to what actually happened in the True Sanctuary of the Elemental Lords. But let me ask this, is the lad's amnesia related to the loss of that darkness spirit?"
What happened in the True Sanctuary of the Elemental Lords was absolutely forbidden from being disclosed to others.
This was not only because of the oath imposed on Blade Dance winners but also their promise with Water Elemental Lord, Iseria Seaward.
While in audience with the Elemental Lords to pray to them, something happened.
This resulted in Kamito losing the darkness spirit.
Apart from that, Greyworth did not know anything about it. The only ones who knew what happened there on that day were the members of Team Scarlet.
—The plan to release the Elemental Lords who were driven mad by the corruption of the Otherworldly Darkness.
Having obtained the assistance of Iseria Seaward, the Water Elemental Lord's avatar that was sealed at the Abandoned City, they almost succeeded in their plan.
However, the instant just before Kamito was about to release the Fire Elemental Lord, the Demon King's power had gone out of control. Overcome with pain and suffering, Kamito was engulfed by the Otherworldly Darkness gushing out from the throne.
Everyone despaired. No one had the heart to imagine what would happen when body of flesh came into contact with the otherworldly darkness that caused even the Elemental Lords to go mad because they could not endure.
But in the next instant, an incredible phenomenon took place right before their eyes.
The Otherworldly Darkness, which should have devoured Kamito completely, suddenly vanished.
Next, as the darkness was swept away, Claire and the girls witnessed an unbelievable sight.
Held in Kamito's hand, the Demon Slayer's blade—
Stabbed right through Restia's chest.
The meaning of her action was completely unclear.
But Claire could understand why she did it.
Darkness spirit Restia—
(...intends to save Kamito.)
As the scene from that day replayed in her mind, Claire murmured in her heart.
Pierced in the heart, Restia soon disappeared.
At the same time, the Otherworldly Darkness gushing from the elemental lords' throne also ceased activity.
...After that, Claire could not remember clearly. Everyone felt as though they were plunged in a dream.
Fenrir picked up the dazed Kamito and retreated from the spot while Claire and the girls fled the True Sanctuary as fast as they could as well. The Endless Corridor's door could be heard shutting behind them. As soon as they came to their senses—
They were back to the Divine Ritual Institute's shrine where the five Queens were waiting.
Back then, Kamito was unconscious, still holding Est in sword form.
Then the Demon Slayer also—
"...Excuse me, Headmistress, how is Est?"
Suddenly recalling, Claire asked.
"According to the reconnaissance team's report, there are no obvious changes. Currently still in deep slumber, most likely."
They had originally hoped that something might change once Kamito recovered consciousness.
Indeed. Having destroyed the darkness spirit, the Demon Slayer likewise departed from Kamito's hand.
The moment Kamito's body returned to the Divine Ritual Institute's shrine, the Demon Slayer disappeared.
—That said, Est did not vanish completely from the world.
The spirit seal was still present on Kamito's right hand and her location was also found out.
In the instant the Demon Slayer vanished...
Within the Spirit Forest in the Academy's territory, a phenomenon involving a massive release of divine power was observed.
This was the underground temple where Est was sealed in the past.
It was reportedly an old military installation that was currently sealed.
The Academy had assembled a reconnaissance team to analyze the divine power's type and discovered that it came from a powerful sword spirit possessing the steel attribute.
Why had Est teleported to that kind of place—The reason was not yet known. However, this was probably related to the fact that Est had been sealed in that temple in the past.
(...The headmistress seems to have some idea.)
The underground facility was originally a military secret and not disclosed to ordinary students. In actual fact, Claire previously did not know about its existence in the Academy's territory.
In any case, the underground facility could not be searched without the nation's authorization.
One would need to wait several days at least before an official search could start.
"Oh well, let's just observe quietly for now. The imperial capital will send experts shortly. Before that, don't make a fuss and refrain from provocation."
"Yes. The Empire's number one spirit doctor, no doubt about it. If it's her, she might be able to find a solution."
Saying that, Greyworth turned her gaze towards Ellis.
"Ellis, increase the number of knights on surveillance to four."
Ellis asked in response.
"Uh, I do not think it is necessary to keep him under such strict surveillance. Kamito is not a dangerous character."
Hearing her reply, Greyworth smiled in amusement.
Claire was shocked. This was also her first time to see Ellis raising objections to the headmistress.
"It's like you're a completely different person. Two months earlier, who was the one who opposed vehemently on grounds of a male elementalist being extremely dangerous—"
Ellis's face gradually turned bright red.
"I can understand how you feel, but it is decided already. Very likely, the lad's mental state has regressed back to his days as an assassin at the Instructional School. Regrettably, it would be best if you don't treat him as the Kamito you know so well."
At this moment, the bell rang to signal the beginning of afternoon classes.
"—This conversation is hereby concluded. Return to your duties as students."
In a commanding tone of voice, Greyworth dismissed Claire and the girls.
The office door opened and Claire's group exited the room.
"So, see you later."
Parting ways with Ellis who had Sylphid Knights duties and Fianna who had to head off to a supplementary lesson for a cooking practical, Claire and Rinslet walked in the opposite direction.
As Raven Class's most problematic duo, they also had top grades and were already taking upper division courses back when they were in the lower division.
This was also one reason why they were feared and ostracized by the upper division students.
"...He finally regained consciousness, but never did I expect him to lose his memory."
Walking in the corridor, Rinslet sighed.
"This cannot be helped. Better than his mind breaking."
Darkness spirit Restia—The contracted spirit of Strongest Blade Dancer Ren Ashbell three years ago.
She was the girl who had conferred human emotions upon Kamito whose heart had been denied by the Instructional School.
Whether coming to the Academy or participating in the Blade Dance again, Kamito had done everything in order to find her, the one whom he lost three years ago.
However, having finally found her, she was destroyed before Kamito's eyes.
—Rather, Kamito had killed her by his own hand.
"If the spirit seal remained, at least there'd be a glimmer of hope."
Last time when Est disappeared, the spirit seal branded upon Kamito's right hand did not vanish.
Hence, Kamito was not devoured by despair and was able to pull himself together.
But Restia's seal had vanished completely.
"She saved Kamito. And definitely, that includes the world—"
Murmuring, Claire turned her gaze towards the blue sky outside the window.
It was still unknown whether Kamito had successfully released the Fire Elemental Lord or not.
But according to Iseria Seaward who had remained behind in Astral Zero to monitor the Elemental Lords, their madness had currently subsided somewhat. This was similar to three years ago when the Strongest Blade Dancer had released the Water Elemental Lord.
"After that, we still haven't received any communications from Iseria-sama, right?"
"No, and there's no way to summon her from this side."
Rinslet's gaze fell upon the spirit seal branded upon her left hand while she spoke.
The seal of the ice rose—This was the gift that Iseria had bestowed directly upon Rinslet.
Although different from spirit seals that served as the proof of spirit contracts, through this seal, Rinslet was able to hear Iseria's voice from Astral Zero.
That said, her only message was the one time when they moved the unconscious Kamito back to the human realm. The Elemental Lords' current condition was quite worrying.
—The liberation plan was just an emergency measure after all.
Even if the plan succeeded, the Otherworldly Darkness was still eating away at the elemental lords.
Henceforth, which direction shall the world take—
This burden was too heavy for mere students.
"...Uh, your sister needs to recover soon."
"Yes. Once Iseria-sama recovers her powers completely, it should be an easy task..."
The Laurenfrost family's second daughter, Judia, had angered the insane Water Elemental Lord and was imprisoned in eternal, cursed ice.
Rinslet had entered the Blade Dance in order to save her, but ultimately, she did not get a chance to voice that wish in the True Sanctuary.
Judia Laurenfrost was still currently imprisoned in the cursed ice.
(Nee-sama is still missing as before...)
Sighing lightly, Claire turned her gaze back to the ground.
In the spring at the courtyard, girls from the lower division were setting up a shrine for making offerings to spirits. In the surroundings, there were even people frolicking in swimsuits or playing musical instruments, etc. The mood seemed quite harmonious and joyful.
"...Good grief. Look how peaceful this place is."
The Academy was busy preparing for the Great Festival of the Spirits to be held two days later.
The Bountiful Harvest Supplication Festival, Water Spirit Festival and other seasonal celebrations were common in Areishia Spirit Academy, but the Great Festival of the Spirits was probably still the largest in scale.
Lasting for two days, this school festival's purpose was to express gratitude to the spirits. It was a grand event that attracted visitors from all over the Ordesia Empire and even foreign tourists. This was one of the rare opportunities for the Academy's sheltered young ladies to have contact with the external world.
Furthermore, since the Academy also produced the Blade Dance's champion team this year, the festival was expected to get even more crowded than in previous years.
Having brought the Elemental Lords' blessings and protection to the Empire, Team Scarlet naturally had to attend the second day's ceremony as the festival's main attraction.
"Naturally, Kamito-san must attend, right?"
"...Yeah. After all, Kamito is the main star who defeated that Strongest Blade Dancer to obtain victory. The crowd won't accept it if he doesn't even show up."
Only a small number of people including Freya the homeroom teacher were privy to the fact that Kamito had been unconscious for the past week. Ordinary students were told that he was recuperating due to injuries from the blade dance against the Strongest Blade Dancer.
Thanks to that, the headquarters of the Sylphid Knights, of which Kamito was a member, received a huge number of bouquets, letters and handmade confectionery from girls worrying about Kamito.
"...Say, that guy seems to have risen in popularity ever since returning to the Academy."
"Y-Yes, that's true indeed..."
Cough cough, Rinslet coughed.
Indeed. Although many girls feared Kamito back when he first enrolled as a male elementalist, after witnessing his active performance in the Blade Dance, increasing numbers of girls were secretly becoming his fans.
Naturally, this was nothing surprising for Claire who knew Kamito's true identity. After all, Kamito had enamored all the young maidens across the entire continent three years ago as the Strongest Blade Dancer Ren Ashbell.
(It's true that when engaged in a blade dance, Kamito is very, very cool...)
Claire pouted, sulking a little.
...Somehow, she felt displeased. There was an indescribable feeling.
She still had not settled her feelings regarding Kamito's true identity.
Ren Ashbell was the one whom Claire idolized. It felt completely unreal to suddenly say that her true identity was Kamito.
(...Sigh. It seems all I can do is think about Kamito's matters.)
Her cheeks involuntarily went hot. Claire shook her head as though trying to cover it up.
At a fork in the corridor, Rinslet stopped walking.
Although both girls were taking upper division courses, they pursued different specialties and therefore had separate classrooms. Rinslet's class was high level ritual performance while Claire's was introduction to summoning spells.
"Then see you shortly after. I will make some nutritious soup for Kamito-san and visit him."
"Yeah, I should also make something that's easy to digest."
"...Uh Claire, charcoal is not easy to digest, you know?"
"S-Stop looking down on me! I-I can do it when I put my mind to it!"