Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance:Volume12 Chapter9

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Chapter 9 - Academy Attacked[edit]

Part 1[edit]

Dressed in ritual attire, the twelve princess maidens had lost consciousness and collapsed by the side of the stone circle.

Just when the ritual was under way, a sudden flash of light erupted, blowing everything away in the surroundings.

Intense sparks flew out from the magic circle used for summoning spirits. The audience speechlessly watched the latest developments.

"...Could it be... the Gate opening failed?"

Collapsed on the ground, Fianna opened her eyes wide, exclaiming in shock.

(...No, that's not right. The ritual did not have any problems.)

Using the Gate for summoning was not very difficult magic in itself. Even if a summoned spirit went berserk, it seldom caused the summoning to fail.

Then did the Gate at the historical site show abnormalities?

(...That's not very possible either.)

Before constructing the magic circle, experts in historic sites should have conducted a thorough examination already.

In that case, the only remaining possibility was—

(...The magic circle itself was rewritten?)

"Calm down! Please calm down and evacuate."

"Rakka, go help the collapsed princess maidens!"

"...Right away!"

Despite the utmost efforts of the Sylphid Knights to respond, the audience were still on the verge of panic. If the commotion spread beyond the Academy, it could end up causing a tragedy of the worst kind.

(...I must find a solution.)

The reason had to be found, so that the Gate could be closed as quickly as possible. Otherwise, evil spirits from Astral Zero might use it to enter the human realm.

"Repair the magic circle! Everyone come and help!"

Fianna tried her best to stand up and rally the princess maidens. However—

Her body was violently stunned.

Seeing that appear before her eyes, she began to rue her naive thinking.

From the magic circle where sparks were scattering out, something was about to crawl out.

Covered by darkness resembling mist, there were pitch-black claws.

—A spirit.

A spirit giving off astounding miasma was currently being summoned here.

Furthermore, this was not the type of spirit residing in Astral Zero.

This was—

(Tuned specially for use in war, a militarized spirit—)

In the next instant, a howl tore through the atmosphere.

Part 2[edit]

"...Militarized spirits!?"

Looking at the sky, Ellis cried out.

Above the Academy, giant flying spirits were circling in the air.

Wrapped in darkness, spirits in the shape of winged dragons.

There were a total of three—no the numbers were still increasing.

"No way, the princess's ritual failed?"

"No, even if the gate opening failed, it would not cause militarized spirits to—"

Ellis murmured in shock.

Militarized spirits were weapons specially tuned for war. They were mostly sealed in artifacts and under strict safekeeping by the military. At least, they were not things that could be summoned from Astral Zero.

"Did someone intentionally release militarized spirits? But more importantly, right now—"

The commotion in the plaza's direction was gradually expanding in scope.

The crowd was beginning to realize the abnormality of the situation.

Pitch-black winged dragons were circling in the air, causing destructive storms that smashed nearby buildings.

The earthquake-like sound and people's screams were all superimposed together.

Escaping from the plaza, the crowd instantly rushed into the alleys.

"—Kamito, above!"

Ellis chanted wind magic, bringing Kamito and Lurie together to a roof.

The militarized spirits spread their wings and shook the air with their roars.

Tiles of roofs were blown away, about to fall upon the dense crowds packed in the alleys.

"...Take this!"

Ellis mustered full strength and swung Ray Hawk.

The countless roof tiles were shattered by the howling gales.

"Are you okay!?"

"Y-Yeah..."

Kamito drew his sword from the waist and helped Lurie deflect small pieces of debris.

"...Thank you, Kamito-kun."

"Sorry, please protect yourself. I can't guarantee your safety with just this single sword here."

"Captain, over here!"

Footsteps from multiple people were heard on the roof.

The arrivals were the members of Team Froza in charge of security in the Academy town. They looked like they had not grasped the situation and everyone looked puzzled.

"Captain, what on earth is going on!?"

"...Someone released militarized spirits apparently."

"Anti-Empire terrorists?"

"...Who knows."

Ellis shook her head and stared at the berserk militarized spirit.

The spirit had gone completely out of control.

Normally, militarized spirits were supposed to be controlled by multiple elementalists. Releasing them like this meant deliberately letting them run amok.

Ultimately, how were the militarized spirits brought to the Academy?

This was a place where top-rate elementalists were gathered. Trying to smuggle artifacts containing sealed spirits should have been quickly discovered.

"The Gate was used huh—"

"Captain, orders please—"

Froza urged.

"I will lead a team to destroy them. Froza, you will be in charge of evacuating the audience. The rest of you, follow me."

"Y-Yes!" "Understood!" "Leave it to us!"

Three girls stepped up and released their respective elemental waffen.

Even among elementalists, those capable of releasing elemental waffen were not many. The members of the Sylphid Knights must be the Academy's elite, presumably.

However—

(Even so, mere students cannot handle militarized spirits—)

Kamito calmly reached a conclusion. Joining forces to handle one spirit might be possible, but defeating all seven militarized spirits was totally impossible.

As though reading Kamito's mind, Ellis looked back.

"Of course, this is only for buying time. Until the Imperial Knights arrive."

"...I see."

Naturally, the Academy town also had knights stationed.

After all, this Academy was also a strategic location for the military. The army, which stayed out of sight in respect for the student's autonomy under normal conditions, could not possibly stay their hand in times like these.

"What should I do?"

"Kamito, you stay here and protect Dame Lurie. Dame Lurie, may I trouble you to heal the wounded?"

"Sure, I got it."

Lurie nodded slightly.

"..."

Kamito subconsciously gripped his sword's hilt tightly.

(If I'm able to use an elemental waffe—)

The town was filled with panicking and fleeing crowds. Among them were many small children.

As a member of the Sylphid Knights, he felt frustrated that he could not help them.

However, pouring divine power into his spirit seal would probably cause another runaway reaction.

A shadow shaped like a giant winged dragon seemed to notice them.

Screeching with high pitch, it tore through the air and glided over.

"—It is coming, spread out!"

Under Ellis's orders, the girls wielding elemental waffen dispersed in three different directions.

"—Go forth and pierce, evil-vanquishing whirlwind!"

Right in front of the militarized spirit...

Ellis released a howling wind blade, forming a penetrating whirlwind.

The wind blade pierced the militarized spirit's mouth, skewering it.

"Yes—" "Do it now, attack!" "Take this!"

The girls of Team Froza assaulted the militarized spirit that was rolling in the air. Their coordination was excellent, as expected of a well-trained organization of knights.

Dealt with—Ellis murmured softly. But in that instant...

"Wait, the situation is a bit weird—"

"Eh?"

Hearing Kamito's warning, Ellis frowned.

Suddenly, the militarized spirit's body expanded all at once.

Then—

Its body, filled with black miasma, exploded in midair.

Part 3[edit]

"...No way... How could this happen..."

Looking up at the militarized spirits circling midair, Fianna exclaimed in despair.

Before her eyes were the ruins with the broken gate. The remains of the shrine that was blown away were scattered randomly all around.

Having lost her place in the palace, she had found somewhere she belonged for the first time.

But now, she could do nothing but watch as this precious place was being trampled.

The Academy had entered a state of emergency and was evacuating students and visitors.

Combat teachers, the Sylphid Knights and some of the students were heading to engage the enemies in battle but could not handle the militarized spirits.

(...One could hardly blame them.)

This was not a blade dance to make offerings to spirits.

Those in the Academy with real combat experience were extremely rare.

"It's my fault... It's my fault for the ritual's failure—"

Lips trembling nonstop, Fianna knelt down on the spot.

At this moment, one of the militarized spirits landed in front of Fianna.

"...!"

The black, winged dragon opened its jaws, preparing to swallow Fianna.

Apart from demon spirits afflicted with strange mental structures, spirits had no concept of eating humans. However, a portion of evil spirits would devour princess maidens' physical bodies to absorb divine power.

Fianna, with her divine power far surpassing average princess maidens, was top-quality prey.

"No... Don't come here...!"

Collapsed and sitting on the ground, Fianna kept backing away.

The winged dragon's great jaws opened, revealing a row of small but sharp teeth.

"...Kamito-kun!"

Fianna could not help but cry out his name—Just at that moment.

Whoosh—the sound of wind being sliced was heard.

"...Eh?"

In the next instant, the winged dragon's head was covered by crimson flames.

The militarized spirit made a frightening howl and jumped up.

"Fianna, are you okay!?"

Hurrying over was Claire, wielding the intensely burning Flametongue.

Her crimson hair fluttered in the wind. Her maid uniform was already full of holes.

"What on earth happened? Where did the militarized spirits come from?"

"No idea. But—"

Still sitting on the ground, Fianna shook her head.

"I believe that the magic circle controlling the Gate was rewritten."

"...Who did it—"

"..."

For an instant, the image of a certain person, wanted by the Empire, flashed across Fianna's mind, but...

"This is not Rubia-sama's style."

"Nee-sama won't do this kind of thing, okay!?"

"I know."

She absolutely would not permit a terrorist attack that caught ordinary people in it.

(...But I can't figure out the purpose.)

Some kind of organization, objecting to the Empire's rule, targeted the Great Festival of the Spirits as an attempt to undermine the Empire's authority—This was plausible, but the plan would be far too crude if that were the purpose.

Perhaps this would plunge the Academy in turmoil for the short term, but the Empire's knights stationed at the Academy town would quickly arrive and suppress the attack.

(If only as a show of force, they used seven militarized spirits as disposable pawns?)

...Considering the large number of militarized spirits being consumed, this plan would be far too absurd.

(There's most likely another goal—)

"Fianna, it's coming!"

Claire screamed acutely at this time.

After the fire went out, the militarized spirit slowly crawled back up and roared threateningly.

"As expected of a militarized spirit, that's quite sturdy of it!"

Claire began to chant spirit magic. A triple release of extra large Fireballs in succession.

—Direct hits on target. The flaming explosive shockwaves swept over the entire area.

"Wait, Claire, are you trying to blow up the entire school yard!?"

"I'm not done yet. This kind of half-baked attack won't destroy a militarized spirit—"

As though to prove Claire's point—

Amidst dancing flames, a pitch-black winged dragon flew out.

Ascending up into the sky all at once, it glided down, accompanied by furious howls.

"—I knew you'd do that!"

Claire swung Flametongue.

The crimson slashing whip traced out a complicated trajectory, wrapping around the dragon's wing.

The militarized spirit lost its balance in the air. However—

Urgh... Gah... Ohhhhhhhh—!

The militarized spirit gnawed and shredded its own single wing.

"What—"

Miasma of darkness flowed out from the wound, instantly growing a new jet-black wing.

"I can't believe it has regeneration powers!?"

Recovering its ability to fly, the militarized spirit tore through the air and rushed over again.

"T-Take this, I'll strike you down!"

In response, Claire frantically invoked fireball magic repeatedly, but her offensive power was clearly weaker when used without chanting. The flames were easily deflected by the miasma enveloping the winged dragon's body.

"...!"

The winged dragon's sharp claws swung down. In that instant...

"Freezing fangs of ice, go forth and pierce—Freezing Arrow!"

The militarized spirit's giant body was pierced by countless arrows of ice.

Struck by the sudden attack, the winged dragon fell to the ground, turned into a giant block of ice.

A great dust cloud was produced, accompanied by intense earthquakes and rumbling.

"Hmph, right at a critical crisis—"

Wielding the magical bow of ice, Rinslet rushed over from a hill.

"Rinslet... Uh, thanks a lot."

"Oh my, that's quite honest of you."

"S-Shut up! ...Are the other princess maidens okay?"

"They've been evacuated by the Sylphid Knights already."

"Okay. Then before the Empire's proper knights arrive, let's stall for time. Fianna, can you stand?"

"...Yes, I'm okay."

Pressing on her painful legs, Fianna stood up.

She really was saved by Claire's forcefulness in attitude.

(...I just need to do what is within my ability right now.)

Fianna chanted the words of summoning, calling forth the knight spirit Georgios.

With Fianna in charge of support in the center, the trio swiftly formed a triangular defensive formation.

At this moment—

"Don't go to the frontlines. Stay back and focus on supporting us."

"—Eh?"

Looking back, they saw the teachers of combat courses standing behind them.

"We have no right to be teachers if we let students shield us."

One of them, Freya, chuckled lightly.

"Hmph, it's been a while since I got some exercise. This reminds me of my days in the knights!"

"We shall protect the students of the Academy."

Wielding their respective elemental waffen, they glared at the militarized spirit.

Combat teachers were either former soldiers or participants of the Blade Dance. Even with some diminishing of divine power, their skills still rivaled those of spirit knights in active service.

"But Sensei—"

"Don't worry. We just need to stall for time until the Imperial Knights arrive."

Freya gently put her hand on Claire's head.

—Suddenly.

"Giggle giggle... Gathered together, gathered together. Foolish insects."

"...!?"

A cute voice, one that did not belong to the tragic battlefield, caused everyone to look around.

It was not a real person's voice. This was a magical voice sounding directly in one's mind.

"...That is?"

Freya looked upwards and murmured.

Looking up, a girl could be seen riding on the back of a militarized spirit circling in the sky above.

Her golden hair was fluttering in the wind. Dressed in a military uniform of pure white, she was looking down at the ground.

On her left eye was an eye patch that did not match her look as a beautiful young girl.

"W-Who are you!?"

Claire yelled at the girl.

"Millennia Sanctus."

The girl smiled and reached for the eye patch over her left eye.

"Sent to this world—The Evangelist bringing prophesies of the end times."

The girl took off the eye patch, revealing the eye.

—Instantly, Fianna felt an intense chill down her spine.

(That's...!)

Even at this distance, it was clear from a single glance. Residing in that girl's eye was—

"...That child's eye, no way—"

Possessing outstanding potential like Fianna as a princess maiden, Claire also seemed to have noticed.

They noticed that what the entity residing in the girl's eye was.

"...Yes. It's the same as what we saw in the sanctuary of the Elemental Lords."

Fianna gasped and whispered.

Eating away at the Elemental Lords' minds, causing them to go insane, the Otherworldly Darkness.

Why was something like that inhabiting the girl's eye?

A scream suddenly came from behind.

Freya's and the other teacher's elemental waffen had released their waffen state at the same time and started attacking their own contractors.

"The spirits are going crazy!"

"I won't let them... Go forth and pierce, Ice Prison that freezes everything!"

Rinslet hastily released a hail of magical ice arrows.

Spirits that were struck were instantly locked away in prisons of magical ice.

"Heh, splendid. Seeing this eye without going berserk, your spirits."

Millennia Sanctus smiled tenderly.

"—As expected, you must have seen that inside the sanctuary of the Elemental Lords."

Part 4[edit]

The expanding body of the militarized spirit exploded.

High-density miasma of darkness was spreading, slowly covering the roof tops in the streets.

"Self-destructed!?" "W-What, what's going on!?"

"Iriga, Tissier, do not recklessly get close to it!"

Ellis hastily shouted.

—However, she was a step too late. Contaminated by the dark miasma, their elemental waffen turned into spirits and attacked the knights, their own contractors.

"Uwahhhhh!" "No way, why—"

"...I will not allow this!"

Ellis swung Ray Hawk, flooring the berserk spirits.

The spirits turned into particles of light and dissipated in the air.

"Captain—"

"Relax. I did not kill your spirits."

"...Y-Yes. Thank goodness."

Pressing on their wounds from being bitten by their own spirits, the knights sat down where they stood.

"Are you okay? Allow me to have a look—"

Chanting healing incantations, Lurie healed all the wounds.

"Ellis, what's that?"

Seeing that, Kamito asked.

"..."

With solemn eyes, Ellis glared at the spreading darkness—

"...Could that be the darkness that is corrupting the Elemental Lords? But why—"

She murmured softly to herself.

—Just at this moment...

"Captain, it's the Imperial Knights!"

One knight pointed to the other end of the sky.

A squad of spirit knights in silver armor was hurrying towards the Academy city, driving a giant spirit.

Glasya-Labolas—A heavily-armed giant spirit tuned for use against large spirits.

They were planning to use a militarized spirit to get rid of the attackers all at once.

However—

"...Oh no!"

Ellis's scream resounded through the air in vain.

The giant spirit swung its fist at one of the militarized spirits.

Instantly the militarized spirit exploded again.

The released miasma of darkness swallowed the giant spirit and the squad of spirit knights.

"...How could this happen...!?"

Sounds of despair escaped from Ellis.

Swallowed by darkness, the giant spirit howled violently and started destroying surrounding buildings.

"Guh, damn it—"

"Hold on, Ellis!"

Seeing Ellis holding Ray Hawk, intending to rush over all on her own, Kamito frantically stopped her.

"Kamito, do not stop me. I will—"

"You won't succeed on your own."

Kamito said.

Indeed, Ellis's power far surpassed the level of students.

However, defeating a militarized spirit single-handedly was absurd.

"B-But at this rate, the town as well as our school will—"

"—I'll do it."

Kamito drew the sword from his waist.

"Since this sword is a normal weapon, even if it touches the darkness, it won't go berserk, right?"

"I-Idiot!"

Ellis roared loudly.

"Even for you, how could you do anything to a militarized spirit with nothing more than an ordinary sword!? Besides, you are currently far from peak condition—"

"—But, I must protect."

—This was a feeling that even Kamito found strange himself.

Whether this town, this Academy or people's lives, for Kamito in his amnesiac state, he should not care about what happened to them. The Kamito back in the Instructional School would surely think that.

Back then, Kamito cared little even for his own life.

Wanting to protect something, wanting to protect someone, these feelings had never been felt.

Never been felt—That was supposed to be the case.

...But no, he could understand.

His current self was not the one from the time at the Instructional School.

The feelings of the pre-amnesiac Kamito were definitely lingering somewhere in the depths of his mind, resulting in this notion of wanting to protect this town, this Academy and the young ladies who were his companions.

(...Yes, to protect. I absolutely will—)

Because I promised, I promised to protect them well.

"...Kamito?"

Ellis watched Kamito with a surprised look on her face.

"Eh... Huh...?"

Tears fell to his feet.

"...Me... Why am I... crying...?"

Kamito muttered in shock.

He was not feeling sad. Nevertheless, tears were inexplicably spilling out, unstoppable.

...Incomprehensible. Why exactly was he crying? For whom was he crying?

However, inexplicably, he was able to imagine his reason for crying.

(...Yes. I must—)

I must have said that before.

—Towards a certain precious person, I promised to protect you.

But I failed.

I lost a certain precious someone.

Yes, probably—

—Kamito, I am waiting here.

—Waiting for you, Kamito, to return after fulfilling her promise.

That silver-white-haired girl had said that in the dream.

The promise with her—

"I—"

Kamito gripped his sword's hilt harder.

"Kamito-kun—"

Seeing Kamito like that, Lurie spoke up.

"So long as you have the will, there is nothing precious that you can't protect."

"...Yeah. I know."

"But you should possess enough power to protect."

"Dame Lurie, could it be that—"

Ellis suddenly came to a realization.

"—Your Demon Slayer possesses the strongest magic resistance. By my guess, even sufficient to resist that rampaging darkness."

"...Yeah."

Kamito concurred, staring at the seal on his right hand.

"B-But, if you lose control, Kamito, you will—"

"Yes, the risk does exist. But is there any other method to break through the current situation?"

"Well—"

As soon as she started speaking, Ellis found herself searching for words. But she had a point.

"What are you going to do, Kamito-kun?"

"—Go get my sword back."

There was no time to hesitate. Kamito acted decisively.

The girl with silver-white-hair had appeared in his dreams.

He felt certain that once she was retrieved, he would be able to protect this town.

"Time considerations?"

"The path leading to the underground facility should be connected to the Imperial Knights' third garrison point. Walking there on foot will take some time, but flying there should be quick."

Lurie turned her gaze to Ellis.

"...Understood. I will escort you two there. Team Froza will guide the crowd to evacuate."

"You can count on us!"

The girls answered, thumping their chests.

Ellis chanted a wind spell, resulting in swirling whirlwind.

"—Kamito, we are gambling everything on you."

Part 5[edit]

"—Right. The Gate on the forest's side should be opened too. Transfer people to Astral Zero."

At the meeting room on the school building's third floor—

Greyworth was using a communication spirit crystal to issue orders to teachers.

Outside the window, the Sylphid Knights could be seen guiding the evacuating crowds. Using the Gate located at the forest, students and visitors should be able to take refuge in a safe place for now.

"...How troublesome. To think it's the type that causes contracted spirits to go mad."

Standing by the window, Virrey Branford grumbled while firing her handgun.

The targeted crow-shaped spirit was blown away and destroyed.

The winged dragon militarized spirits were not the only threats.

Infected with madness, numerous spirits were attacking the school building.

Students and teachers had already left the school building to evacuate, hence Virrey was the only one protecting Greyworth. Also, because bullets with sealed spirits could not be used, she had to use a type of gun that shot out her divine power directly. Although there was no worry of spirits going mad, the consumption of stamina was quite pronounced.

"—I've seen that type of militarized spirit before."

Greyworth murmured at this time.

"The Nazgul series—an old type of spirit used for base assaults. Still in use until during the Second Ranbal War, two units were destroyed in battle. The remaining seven were sealed and abandoned, falling into the hands of Murders during the chaotic aftermath of the war, according to rumors."

"My, that's quite some detailed knowledge."

"Because I've infiltrated Murders before."

"Does this type have the ability to make spirits go mad?"

"No, even as militarized spirits, their power level can only be said to be mediocre. It's absolutely unheard of for militarized spirits to possess this kind of ability."

Virrey shook her head. Greyworth stared out the window and shrugged.

"If I had my elemental waffe, this level of militarized spirit could be instantly obliterated."

The Dusk Witch's personal sword, the Stormbringer, was a high-level demon spirit minion.

Also, a demon spirit, mad to begin with, could not go berserk.

"If your power was still intact, then this kind of terrorist attack wouldn't have happened in the first place."

"—Hmph, that's true too."

Greyworth nodded with a wry smile.

Indeed. Only a small number of people in the Empire knew that she had lost the power of spirit contracts. —Nevertheless, the mastermind behind the terrorist attack clearly knew that Greyworth had lost her power. Also, the terrorist attack made use of the ritual in the Great Festival of the Spirits, thus implying that there was undoubtedly a traitor in the Academy.

"Dame Greyworth, are you suspecting there's a traitor?"

"Of course. Given this kind of situation."

Greyworth pushed her glasses frame up slightly.

"Dame Virrey, do you know something about it?"

"The imperial family has also learned of a traitor among the Empire's top echelons. Now that things have come to this, I'll be blunt. The imperial family did suspect you of being a traitor at one point."

Virrey stared out the window while answering.

"Dame Lurie's protection and Kazehaya Kamito's surveillance are just the superficial mission. My true mission is to spy on you."

"Oh, and so?"

Greyworth asked, looking quite amused. Virrey shrugged.

"At least in this particular matter, you are innocent. Without my protection, you'd have died already. Although there are unidentified funds flowing into the Academy, well, that's not under my jurisdiction anyway."

"You're excellent, you know? You really make me feel like recruiting you as my subordinate."

Greyworth smiled wryly.

"For you who are so excellent, I have a favor to ask."

"No need for favors. I will protect you well. After all, it's part of the mission."

"No, not me. Could you protect the lad?"

"Kazehaya Kamito?"

Part 6[edit]

"...Open up, a paaaaaaaath!"

Releasing a tornado, Ellis blew away the rampaging spirits.

"Found it, over there—"

The Imperial Knights' third garrison point was a facility neighboring the Academy town's outer wall. Ellis stopped in midair and took Kamito and Lurie to land at the center of the garrison point.

The parade ground, opened for people to take refuge, was already packed completely.

There were three spirit knights stationed here with roughly fifty ordinary soldiers. Apparently, the spirit knights had already mobilized to engage the militarized spirits in battle and were therefore not present.

"Y-You, what are you doing so suddenly?"

A sword-wielding male soldier ran over frantically.

...Well, this was a sudden landing from the air after all. Being treated as someone suspicious was only natural.

"I am the captain of Areishia Spirit Academy's Sylphid Knights, Ellis Fahrengart. I request the Imperial Knights' assistance."

"...Assistance huh?"

Realizing he was facing the Fahrengart family's daughter, the soldier's attitude changed.

"Yes. I hope to enter the old military installation underground."

"...The old military installation? Why on earth at this time—"

"This is necessary precisely to change the current situation."

"B-But even for Duke Fahrengart's granddaughter, without authorization—"

"Okay, that's enough. Excuse me—"

Lurie stepped forward and lightly touched the soldier's forehead—

"Could you lead us to the entrance to the underground facility?"

"...Roger that. Come this way please."

The soldier nodded expressionlessly and immediately started walking silently.

"The authority of Numbers has taken effect eh?"

"...No, what took effect was probably your magic—"

Commenting snidely with his eyes half-narrowed, Kamito followed Lurie and Ellis behind the soldier.

The entrance to the underground facility was located inside a massive weapon storage.

However, the entrance was sealed securely by a massive stone tablet with spirit language carved on it.

"Dame Lurie, this is a seal of the highest level—"

"Don't worry. Leave it to me."

Lurie lightly touched the stone tablet's surface.

Next, the spirit language carvings glowed faintly and the stone tablet opened up immediately.

A metal staircase, covered with rust stains, extended forward into bottomless darkness.

"Amazing..."

"This is nothing. The Numbers are bestowed with the authority to lift seals up to Level 3."

Lurie chuckled then lit a magical light on her fingertip and started down the stairs.

"I-It is dangerous! Allow me to go first—"

Wielding Ray Hawk, Ellis hastily rushed to the front.

Part 7[edit]

Drip, drip, drip—

Kamito's group walked along the passage to the underground facility amidst sounds of water dripping.

Unattended for decades, the underground facility was very decrepit already. The ceiling had collapsed in many places, forming piles of debris.

"The air is very musty, almost as though it was left behind from the darkness of the Ranbal War."

Walking in front, Ellis gave her comment.

"To me, this actually feels nostalgic instead."

Kamito was long used to this kind of suffocating atmosphere.

The presence of death, impossible to dispel—Just like at the Instructional School.

"Research on Cursed Armament Seals was apparently conducted here."

"No way, Cursed Armament Seal research took place even underground below the sacred Academy?"

"Students from over there were apparently used for experiments. Of course, they were volunteers."

Hearing Lurie's words, Ellis bit her lip with a complicated expression on her face.

"Why didn't the Empire scrap that kind of place?"

"Probably impossible to scrap due to its sheer size. This was a facility originally rebuilt from ancient ruins. Most likely, even in the army itself, no one knows fully how large it actually is—"

At this moment, walking in front, Ellis stopped in the center of a spacious hall.

"—Over here. The coordinates for the temple above ground."

"Here?"

Kamito looked around the temple's hall, all surrounded by walls of rock.

"I don't see anything?"

There was nothing except abandoned experimental apparatus and piles of debris.

There was not a single sign of the Demon Slayer.

"Does your spirit seal have any reaction?"

"..."

Kamito closed his eyes and focused his attention to the spirit seal on his right hand.

"It feels like I can sense a presence..."

"Don't worry. The Burial Chamber is a magical and special dimension and does not exist at physical coordinates—So, it will appear so long as you have a need for it."

"So long as I have a need for it...?"

Hearing Lurie's calm explanation, Kamito felt a strange sense of dissonance and turned his head to look back.

"Yes, for example—"

Lurie smiled tenderly.

"When it senses that your life is in danger, yes?"

"—Eh?"

In the next instant, a blade stabbed into Kamito's chest.