Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance:Volume13 Chapter8
Chapter 8 - Queen of Ice Blossoms
"...Kazehaya, Kami, to... Why are you here?"
Held in Kamito's arms, Luminaris panted while speaking.
"Right back at you. What are the Holy Kingdom's knights doing in Laurenfrost?"
Luminaris bit her lip hard. Kamito shrugged and put her down.
"Well whatever. I'll ask about your purpose later. Let's find a way to take care of that monster first."
Kamito glared at Zirnitra which was gradually assimilating with the Forest of Ice Blossoms.
Perhaps due to absorbing the divine power from the spirits in the forest, the giant body made from cursed ice was giving off a strange light against the darkness of the night.
"—So, what is up with that monster?"
"If you ask me, who can I ask in turn? Spirits do not mutate like that at all—"
After applying Healing magic to herself, Luminaris suppressed a groan and stood up.
"Don't force yourself. You're all covered with wounds already."
"Shut up. Do not underestimate a Holy Kingdom's knight."
Luminaris replied sharply then gripped Murgleis properly again.
Seeing that, Kamito shrugged.
"I've still got lots to talk to you about. Like all the things you did to my friends, but oh well, let's put that aside for now. How about we join forces right now?"
"...What are you scheming?"
Luminaris's eyes of sapphire showed wariness as they glared at Kamito.
"I simply want a helping hand. It'd be tough if I had to handle that monster on my own. Also, I know your abilities very well, absolutely flawless in terms of combat."
"Stop acting familiar, male elementalist."
"But we are familiar. At least we have crossed blades for real before—"
"What did you say?"
Mid-sentence, Kamito realized he had misspoken and hastily stopped himself.
(...Come to think of it, this girl doesn't know my true identity.)
"I do not remember fighting you before. During the final round, the one I engaged in combat was the user of the hellcat spirit."
The suspicions in her eyes, glaring at Kamito, became deeper and deeper.
"W-Well, let's forget about the trivial stuff for now. Judging by the situation, this isn't the time for verbal arguments—"
Zirnitra's giant body squirmed and gave off powerful light.
Simultaneously, the two of them jumped apart.
Instantly, countless ice blades rushed out of the ground, tearing through the darkness.
The two had barely dodged it, but—
Luminaris cried out. The rushing flow of ice blades on the ground was going to attack her subordinates that were trapped in cursed ice.
Luminaris's sword made a slight noise. A torrent of sacred flames covered the ice blades, vaporizing them.
But the ice blades where overwhelming in quantity. Quite a few of them evaded destruction.
"Absolute Blade Arts, Third Form--Shadowmoon Waltz!"
Instantly with an explosive kick against the ground, Kamito performed the anti-army technique of the Absolute Blade Arts.
Slicing through darkness, the white blade's furious dance shattered the cursed ice blades completely.
Luminaris was rendered speechless.
She had also reacted to the ice, but she was definitely incapable of performing the same kind of move.
(...That movement just now, what was it?)
After witnessing Kamito's sword skills for the first time in person, Luminaris could not help but find herself at a loss for words.
These were superb sword skills on par with the Ren Ashbell, the Strongest Blade Dancer three years ago.
...She was forced to admit to an overwhelming difference in strength.
Slicing through all the ice blades within the blink of an eye, Kamito stabbed the Demon Slayer into the ground and turned to face Luminaris.
"You too have reasons why you can't retreat from here, right?"
He shrugged and looked at the girls of the Sacred Spirit Knights, imprisoned in cursed ice.
"In that case, now is the time for you to throw that knight's pride or whatever it's called to the dogs."
Luminaris bit her lip hard and glared squarely at Kamito.
"—Just once, I shall ally with you!"
"Yeah. That's good enough."
Kamito nodded and poured divine power into the Demon Slayer.
"Follow me, Luminaris. Let's take care of that thing in one go by overwhelming its regeneration speed."
"Hmph, when I said I was allying with you, I never allowed you to command me—Kazehaya Kamito!"
The two of them kicked the ground at the same time.
"—We're up, Est!" "O Murgleis, grant sacred protection to thy knight!"
The two sacred swords ripped through the darkness.
Zirnitra roared, shooting cursed ice blades from the ground in a radial pattern.
"That move's not gonna work!"
Kamito kicked the ground to speed up and instantly raced past Luminaris to serve as the vanguard.
"Absolute Blade Arts, Third Form—Shadowmoon Waltz!"
A triple flash with god-like speed, slicing the ice blades and blowing them away. Using that momentum, Kamito rushed into the howling blizzard to engage Zirnitra's bloated body in melee combat.
"O sacred sword that vanquisheth evil, thou shalt turn the enemy into ash—!"
Shouting, Luminaris rushed forward and stabbed her sword towards a mass of ice.
With the sound of shattering, a hole opened up in the ice.
But very soon, new ice rose up to fill up the pierced location.
"Ordinary attacks are useless. Coordinate your timing with me!"
"...Like I said, stop ordering me around!"
Countless pillars of ice were growing out of Zirnitra's entire body, then shot outwards.
Faced with suppressive fire from all directions shot at point blank range, it was totally impossible to evade.
(...Fine, I'll just have to retaliate an eye for an eye!)
Kamito went up decisively. Contracted to Est, Kamito possessed Steel's Protection which enhanced the body's durability. This allowed him some leeway to conduct self-sacrificing attacks.
"Absolute Blade Arts — First Form, Purple Lightning!"
Sharp pillars of ice shot at Kamito.
Blood splattered from all over his body, but Kamito continued advancing, unfazed.
Smashing ice with sword strikes of god-like speed, he pummeled the monster's body to produce a cobweb-like network of cracks.
"Not done yet—"
Maintaining a thrusting posture, Kamito infused the Demon Slayer with a large amount of divine power to cause an explosion. Suppose he destroyed the interior of the body directly rather than using slicing attacks, he should be able to slow down the regeneration speed. However—
'—No good, Kamito!'
He heard Est's voice in his mind. Suddenly, he was struck by a sense of powerlessness in his limbs.
The ice where the sword was stabbed suddenly gave off powerful light.
(...It's absorbing my divine power!?)
Kamito instantly tried to draw out the sword, but—
The cursed ice had frozen the sacred sword's blade, trying to pull it in.
'—Kamito, please let go of me!'
"Like hell anyone's gonna do that!"
Using willpower alone to suppress the sense of exhaustion, Kamito yelled loudly.
(...Restia, lend me the power you left behind!)
The seal of darkness branded on Kamito's right hand gave off ominous light.
The silver-white blade with dazzling radiance gradually took on a coating of darkness.
"Go forth and pierce, all-annihilating demon lightning of punishment—Vorpal Blast!"
The Demon King's Sword—Terminus Est Zwei.
Imbued with powers of darkness, the sacred sword released jet-black lightning.
The ensnaring cursed ice was instantly vaporized. Kamito took this opportunity to withdraw the blade and distance himself all at once.
Just at this moment...
At the lower abdomen of this giant mass of magical ice, countless ice dragon heads sprouted.
These were the remains of the ice dragons absorbed by Zirnitra.
The ice dragons all widened their jaws together and spewed out an astounding amount of blizzard breath.
Kamito hastily readied the Demon King's Sword to use as a shield. But having had his divine power sucked out just now, he was unable to bring out power sufficient to melt the blizzard.
Just before he was about to be attacked by the blizzard and frozen all over—
"—O Sacred Shield of protection!"
Luminaris chanted protective magic to neutralize the blizzard.
"...Sorry, thanks for saving me."
Kamito fell to his knees, panting.
Torn by ice blades, his uniform was gradually dyed the color of blood.
"Looks like melee weapon attacks are useless."
"But we don't have enough firepower to burn the thing up using ranged attacks—"
Right, without overwhelming power to destroy it in one go, Zirnitra would probably become capable of infinite regeneration after merging with the Forest of Ice Blossoms.
But they did not have an attack capable to annihilating the mass of something so gigantic—
(...If Rubia's Laevateinn could be used here, it'd be a piece of cake.)
'—Kamito, please listen to me.'
Hearing her, Kamito rested his gaze upon the Demon King's Sword in his hand.
'The core for maintaining that spirit weapon should be present somewhere.'
'Yes, this monster absorbs divine power endlessly from the surroundings. That kind of thing will rapidly collapse on its own. But it is able to stay materialized all this time because—'
"...I see. In other words, there's a core somewhere that's enough to sustain it?"
Hearing Kamito's mutterings, Luminaris reacted.
"—Core huh? I see now. I have some idea."
"...Some idea, really?"
"Yes. A human princess maiden at the Elfim settlement. I personally saw that girl merge with Zirnitra. Most likely, that girl is the—"
"A human princess maiden..."
Kamito was struck with surprise.
...Indeed, the Elfim girl had mentioned it too.
Something about the Queen of Ice Blossoms merging with Zirnitra.
At the time, he had been skeptical about the notion of a human merging with a spirit—
"As long as the core is targeted, there's a way to stop that monster huh—"
Kamito looked towards the monster, restless in the darkness.
Zu... Zuzuzu... Zuzuzu...!
The traces of damage inflicted by Kamito and Luminaris had already started to regenerate. With ice dragon heads sprouting all over, the massive body was currently still devouring the land slowly. At this rate, it could swallow the entire forest, turning into a monster that even an army would be unable to stop.
"...Wanna try a gamble?"
Readying the Demon King's Sword that was exuding miasma of darkness, Kamito said:
"Luminaris, when I give the signal, release your strongest move as much as you can."
"Like I said, stop ordering me—"
"—I'm begging you. Most likely, this move can only be used once."
Faced with Kamito's serious voice, Luminaris fell silent.
"...Understood. You shall decide the timing."
"Yeah, just leave it to me—"
Holding the Demon King's Sword, Kamito rushed towards the howling blizzard.
Kicking the ground hard, he instantly closed in, then—
"Absolute Blade Arts — First Form, Purple Lightning!"
A strike with god-like speed left a large crack on the ice.
"—Luminaris, here you go!"
Answering Kamito's cries, Luminaris raised the sacred sword high.
"Ancient guardian of the Holy Kingdom—Thou art Murgleis, the sacred sword defending the country!"
The surging sacred flames blasted the blizzard apart and pierced the crack made by Kamito.
Surpassing the cursed ice's regeneration speed, the burning sacred flames howled inside Zirnitra's body.
(...Not bad at all!)
While mentally offering praises to her, Kamito charged into the howling sacred flames without hesitation at all.
—This was a gamble. Suppose his predictions were wrong, Kamito would likely be burnt into ash. However—
(Luminaris's elemental waffe is purely of the holy attribute. In that case—)
It would be the same as for healing magic. Having inherited the Darkness Elemental Lord's power, his Demon King body was going to deflect it.
Covering the jet-black Demon King's Sword with lightning of darkness, Kamito charged into the flames.
He could feel overwhelming heat on his skin.
—However, the sacred flames did not touch Kamito.
Brushing away the flames in front of him—He saw it, right there.
The final wall of ice that even the howling sacred flames could not approach.
Inside the wall of ice was the core sustaining Zirnitra here.
Roaring, Kamito kicked the ground to accelerate further.
He released the final move from the Absolute Blade Arts.
"Absolute Blade Arts — Destructive Form, Bursting Blossom Spiral Blade Dance - Eighteen Consecutive Strikes・Lightning Flare!"
Slashing freely left and right with lightning everywhere, he instantly smashed the wall of ice standing in his way.
Twelve, thirteen, fourteen—With every slash, a layer of the ice wall was shaved off, destroying it.
Even time for regeneration was not given. Ahead of the consecutive slashes with god-like speed was—
Kamito saw the figure imprisoned securely inside the wall of cursed ice.
He saw the figure of a human girl, dressed as a princess maiden.
(...Could that be the Queen of Ice Blossoms!?)
After seeing the girl's appearance up close, Kamito could not help but shudder.
He had seen the girl's face before.
Yes, it was what Rinslet had shown him at the Water Elemental Shrine, inside a spirit crystal.
—Just at that moment...
The girl inside the cursed ice slowly opened her eyes.
She opened her emerald eyes that were identical to Rinslet's.
Za, zazaza, za—zazazaza, za, zaza, za—
Her adorable lips trembled slightly—
In the next instant, Kamito's body was engulfed in black cursed ice.
"...Why did this happen!? Then merging with Zirnitra is—"
After hearing Iseria's confession, Rinslet's face instantly went deathly pale.
What happened on that fateful day, four years ago.
The cruel truth shocked her deeply.
"No way, I can't believe it... Iseria-sama... Please tell me that isn't true...!"
'...Sorry, Rinslet. Everything is due to the sins of my past self.'
Sitting astride Fenrir's back, Rinslet was at a total loss.
(...Why? ...Why not me but her...)
Fenrir jumped over fallen trees and landed on a piece of barren land ravaged by a blizzard.
—Just at that moment, still in a dazed state, Rinslet opened her eyes wide.
She saw Kamito charging into the punctured crack in Zirnitra.
The punctured crack quickly regenerated, intending to imprison Kamito inside.
(...Now is not the time to be shocked!)
Supposing what lay inside was really the existence that Iseria mentioned—
Receiving Rinslet's command, Fenrir took a massive leap.
While roaring to blow the blizzard apart, he jumped into the gradually closing crack.
Inside the crack were intensely burning flames.
Seeing that, Rinslet immediately chanted spirit magic while riding Fenrir.
"O king ruling over cold winter, I beseech thee to grant unto me thy protection—Field of Cold!"
At the last minute, a shield of cold air deployed in Fenrir's surroundings protected her.
Originally, these were not flames that could be defended against using spirit magic but fortunately, they had lost over half their power inside Zirnitra's body.
"—Kamito-san, where are you!?"
Cursed ice stood upright before her, blocking the way. In response—
"O primordial ice, shatter mine enemy—Icicle Spear!"
Rinslet summoned a giant spear of ice from the air, destroying the obstacle in one hit.
Inside the shattered wall of ice—
She could see the figure of Kamito trapped inside the black cursed ice.
"...Guh, Rins... let...?"
His upper body already covered with cursed ice, Kamito moved his lips slightly.
Rinslet instantly jumped down from Fenrir's back and rushed over to his side.
"...Kamito-san, I shall save you right away!"
"...Rins... let... no... Hurry, escape..."
Kamito's voice sounded like he was out of breath, but Rinslet simply shook her head in response:
"I am a noble from the honorable House of Laurenfrost. I shall never abandon others!"
Rinslet took a step back and chanted spirit magic.
"O primordial ice, shatter mine enemy—Icicle Spear!"
The spear of ice summoned from the air pierced the black cursed ice that was afflicting Kamito.
Inside the magical chamber sealed in ice, a crisp sound was heard.
—But that was all.
Not even a single crack appeared on the cursed ice covering Kamito.
"...Why is this happening!?"
'The cursed ice is absorbing Kazehaya Kamito's burgeoning divine power. This level of spirit magic is unable to deal any damage to it—'
Iseria's voice sounded in her mind.
"Why is this happening..."
The black cursed ice even absorbed Rinslet's magic as well, advancing even faster.
"...Guh, ah, ahhhh...!"
Strangled with cursed ice tightening around his throat, Kamito made painful noises.
Rinslet reflexively hugged him, cradling her arms around his neck.
This was to protect Kamito's head from the spreading of the cursed ice.
But that kind of action proved fruitless as well.
The cursed ice mercilessly froze her arms gradually.
"...Guh, Rins... let... hurry... let go..."
"...No... Don't... wanna!"
Rinslet kept shaking her head like a child throwing a tantrum.
Throwing her usual elegance out the window, she screamed with a crying face:
"B-Because if you're gone, Claire will be heartbroken!"
"Also the Captain, Her Highness the Imperial Princess, Miss Sword Spirit... As well as m-me..."
Rinslet stared in the Kamito's face while cradling his head in both arms.
They were close enough to feel each other's breaths. Rather ill-timed, their cheeks went red.
"...That's why... I will never... ever give up!"
Hearing Rinslet's words—
"...Ahhh... Right, ah...!"
Despite his hazy consciousness, Kamito still nodded.
(...Th-There should be some solution...)
He felt an intense chill all over his body. Spreading to his feet, the cursed ice was absorbing divine power.
Kamito's eyelids slowly closed over his eyes.
Rinslet screamed loudly but Kamito did not wake up.
...He had apparently lost consciousness completely.
(...Ooh, shattering this cursed ice is the only way!)
Rinslet refined divine power, preparing to unleash spirit magic again.
—At this time, something glowed inside the cursed ice that was gradually imprisoning the two of them.
(...Miss Sword Spirit?)
What was glowing was the sacred sword in Kamito's hand.
Indeed, even with his entire body covered in cursed ice, Kamito still did not let go of the Demon Slayer. Even with his divine power sucked dry, in a state of unconsciousness, he still maintained its elemental waffe form without dispelling it.
That was Kamito's will, resisting to the very end.
He knew. That this Demon Slayer was his only hope for breaking the cursed ice—
(...So long as he has enough divine power, he can allow Miss Sword Spirit to bring out her power!)
And the only method was—
Making her decision, Rinslet nodded.
"Kamito-san... I, love you, Kamito-san—"
She touched Kamito's cheeks with both hands.
"E-Even as a noble, I have confessed my feelings. Before I hear your answer, I will not permit you to die...!"
She kissed the unconscious Kamito.
With every breath, she sent refined divine power into Kamito's body.
Kamito's throat moved as a result, despite the fact that he was supposed to have lost consciousness.
"...Guh... Ah, ku..."
"I offer you all of my divine power, Kamito-san—"
Hugging Kamito's neck tightly, Rinslet kissed even deeper.
The Demon Slayer's light strengthened, its rays producing diffused reflection inside the cursed ice.
The cursed ice cracked. From that crevice, the sacred sword, shining with silver-white luster, appeared.
Just as Kamito's mighty yell echoed within Zirnitra's body, in that very instant...
The prison of cursed ice locking them away was shattered.
The cursed ice's remains scattered like glittering stars.
In the center was Kamito standing there, holding Rinslet in his arms.
Rinslet's lips, as lovely as a flower bud, parted slightly.
Kamito placed her onto the back of Fenrir who was waiting on the side.
"—Thank you, Rinslet."
Rinslet had exhausted her power. Kamito gently placed his hand on her head.
Currently, massive divine power was flowing in a fierce torrent inside Kamito's body.
This was the divine power that Rinslet had used all her strength to deliver to him. Light from the Demon Slayer in his hand illuminated every nook and cranny inside Zirnitra's body.
The light illuminated the figure in the deepest part of the cursed ice where darkness resided.
The Queen of Ice Blossoms—Judia Laurenfrost.
Za, zazaza, za, zazazazazazaza, zazaza, zaza—
Her lips kept producing strange noises, creating cursed ice in Kamito's surroundings.
But it was useless. So long as the Demon Slayer in Kamito's hand still had divine power, the cursed ice was unable to approach him.
With a pained expression, Rinslet stared at her sister inside the cursed ice.
But Judia's empty gaze did not reflect her figure.
"...What is going on? What is actually up with her—"
While staring at the girl in the cursed ice, Kamito asked Rinslet behind him.
Rinslet bit her lip and hesitated for a moment before...
"—Like the corrosion of the Elemental Lords, the Otherworldly Darkness is responsible."
Finally, she explained with an expression of suffering.
"...The Otherworldly Darkness is in her body?"
"Yes. Iseria-sama told me—The truth of that particular day."
Rinslet nodded and lowering her gaze slightly, she began to recount.
—Four years ago, on the day of the Water Elemental Festival.
Corroded by the Otherworldly Darkness, the Water Elemental Lord was on the verge of losing control. If further corruption continued at the same rate, it was easily conceivable that she would eventually end up along the same path as the Fire Elemental Lord who had destroyed the town of Dylus.
But her actual condition was actually more severe than that of the Fire Elemental Lord's back then.
The Otherworldly Darkness corroding the Water Elemental Lord not only intended to invade Astral Zero but also the human realm which was supposed to be isolated on a material level.
"...Coming into contact with that darkness by chance was Judia."
Looking at the girl in the cursed ice, Rinslet bit her lip.
"If only I had conducted the ritual on that day as customary—"
Sensing that a princess maiden in the human realm intended to contact the Water Elemental Lord, the Otherworldly Darkness caused part of the darkness to sneak into her body through the ritual.
Judia was an excellent princess maiden. This was perhaps one of the factors causing the tragedy. Infected by the insanity of the Otherworldly Darkness, she intended to summon the main body of the darkness to the human realm—
Listening to this point, Kamito suddenly reacted.
"In order to stop that, Iseria—"
Rinslet nodded and continued.
"On that day, the Water Elemental Lord was on the last vestiges of sanity. In order to prevent the worst outcome, she sealed her—Judia—in cursed ice, together with the Otherworldly Darkness."
—Those were the memories of the truth that Iseria had found from within the Water Elemental Lord.
"But it has awakened once more—"
Most likely in the instant when Kamito and his team were liberating the elemental lord in Astral Zero, the Otherworldly Darkness had activated.
The darkness sealed in the cursed ice resonated and recovered its power.
Then breaking the cursed ice, the darkness controlled Judia and started moving autonomously.
First it used mind control on the Elfim inhabiting the forest and started preparing the revival of the powerful spirit, Zirnitra. Then merging with the powerful entity, it intended to summon the true body of the darkness into the human realm to replace itself.
"...Is there a way to save her?"
Looking at Judia who was still making noises, Kamito asked.
Rinslet readied her bow elemental waffe and stood next to Kamito.
"—Definitely possible. Assuming it's you, Kamito-san, the one who freed the Fire Elemental Lord."
Kamito silently nodded and readied the Demon Slayer.
Concentrating the turbulent divine power into one point, he poured it into the blade.
"Freezing fangs of ice, go forth and pierce -- Freezing Arrow!"
Rinslet used the last of her divine power to fire the final shot.
Anxious to save her sister, the arrow she had fired with full concentration pierced the wall of cursed ice, creating a tiny crack.
Kamito made a thrust with the sword's tip towards that crack—
"—Come back. Your sister is waiting."
Shining silver-white, the sacred sword pierced the chest of the Queen of Ice Blossoms.