Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance:Volume15 Chapter9
Chapter 9 - Vorpal Sword
Last Strike—This was the Absolute Blade's final secret technique that Greyworth had risked her life to entrust to Kamito.
It was an ultimate countering skill that reversed the flow of divine power to strike the enemy directly.
With the Bursting Blossom Spiral Blade Dance's force returned to him, Kamito was blown into the air.
The only reason why his body had not been torn into two was thanks to him noticing the activation of Last Strike in the nick of time, thus allowing him to put up a twin sword defensive stance. Without having experienced her ultimate skill firsthand before, it would have been impossible to read this move.
Tracing out a parabolic trajectory in the air, Kamito's body smashed hard against the stone floor.
A diagonal slash was left on his torso from his waist up to his shoulder, bleeding profusely. His ribs were shattered beyond recognition, preventing him from even breathing.
The black miasma crawled all over Kamito's body as though licking him, causing regeneration at astounding speed. However, it still could not keep up.
Greyworth quietly lowered her bloodstained demon sword. Even the Dusk Witch could not help but pant. The drawback to the Last Strike was its extreme strain on the body. After executing the move, it was impossible to move for a short time.
—That being said, she probably still had enough strength remaining to deliver the final blow to Kamito in his battered state then fight the Knights of the Dragon Emperor in the castle.
(...Damn, it... Can't, I win...?)
Even though he wanted to grip his twin swords, his fingers could not move.
Holding the demon sword, Greyworth slowly approached.
"It was quite delightful, Demon King—"
—At that very moment...
His leather-gloved left hand felt a slight pain.
...Kami...to...Are you, there...?
It was not Est's voice.
Neither was it Ren Ashdoll's voice, enticing him towards darkness.
It was her voice.
(...Are you Restia?)
Kamito concentrated completely on the voice in his mind.
The spirit seal gave off scorching heat and the erupting black lightning instantly destroyed the leather glove.
Glowing intensely, the seal of the black moon, symbolizing darkness, was flashing.
...Kamito, I am here, waiting for you, the whole time...
Calling her name again in his heart, in that instant—
Kamito's consciousness plunged into darkness.
The strongest flames in the human realm—Laevateinn's conflagration was approaching Claire.
Isolated by the walls of flame surrounding her, there was no way to escape.
And dying in this world entailed the death of the soul in the real world.
It was impossible to resist using spirit magic or Scarlet's flames. Claire hastily extended her hands and chanted the incantation.
"O true flame carved upon the ancient bloodline, dwell in my hand to devour flames!"
The flames of termination, more intense than blazing crimson flames, clashed violently against Laevateinn's godslaying blaze.
...However, she could not block it.
The endless and overwhelming flames were slowly devouring Claire's own flames.
—Until the day you admit to your true feelings, the flames of Elstein will never acknowledge you.
Rubia's words replayed in her mind.
(...W-What, my true feelings...!)
Was she overlooking what she truly felt?
(Why am I pursuing power...?)
While scorched by the heat from the blazing flames, Claire engaged in introspection.
Her initial goal was to take part in the Blade Dance so that she could meet her sister again.
To this end, she had attempted to obtain power beyond her control and failed.
The one who persuaded her at the time and taught her to fight in a team was him.
(Purely pursuing power will only repeat the same mistakes...)
Claire realized in alarm and bit her lip.
(But what should I do—?)
The true feelings she was avoiding. Only by understanding them—
"Do you think flames of this level can stop my fury and my lamentation!?"
Rubia's flames surged and howled. There was no way for Claire to endure further—!
—At that very moment.
At her feet, Scarlet meowed and ran forward to protect Claire.
"Scarlet! No, even if you're a flame spirit, that Laevateinn's godslaying flames will—"
—Please liberate me, master.
Claire heard a girl's calm voice in her mind.
...A voice she had no recollection of. However, it felt extremely familiar for some reason—
Claire looked down at Scarlet at her feet.
"Scarlet... Is that you?"
Scarlet meowed again and expelled intense flames.
Rubia's howling flames were forced back slightly.
During the Blade Dance, Claire had seen Scarlet's true form. If she could liberate her, perhaps it might be possible to oppose these flames. However—
"...How do I liberate you!?"
—Please liberate your genuine feelings, master.
"...My genuine feelings?"
Claire was confused.
Even at another's urging, she still did not know what to do.
(Also, what the heck is with genuine feelings...!?)
The flames surged with greater intensity. Claire's power was not going to hold.
The True Flame of Elstein—End of Vermilion—was not only consuming her divine power mercilessly but also her stamina and mental strength...
Her body felt very heavy. Her forehead was sweating profusely while her consciousness gradually grew hazy. She might lose consciousness before the flames burned her. Perhaps that was a sliver of kindness afforded to her from her sister. That was what she thought.
However, at that moment, what surfaced in her mind was Kamito's face.
(...No way, how can I die in a place like this!?)
Scolding her weak self, she mustered the last of her strength.
Claire closed her eyes and focused on her own heart.
Hoping to stand by Kamito's side—This wish was real.
However, why would she wish for that...?
An inferiority complex due to her weakness—No.
Because she was worried about Kamito—That was not totally correct.
Throb. Her heart pulsated.
—Please be more honest, master.
...Right, even though it is clear in my heart.
However, these feelings, she had always kept them hidden using all sorts of ways.
Even though she had admitted them long ago, she was still afraid to voice them.
She was afraid of becoming honest.
(Like that, I am hiding my genuine feelings, deceiving my own heart...)
The contracted spirit was an existence tightly connected to the depths of an elementalist's heart. No matter how much experience as an elementalist was accumulated, no matter how powerful the divine power possessed—
With her heart under such conditions, how could the contracted spirit possibly respond to her?
(...I-I know, I'll just have to admit it!)
Amid blazing flames—
Claire took a breath forcefully.
"I, love, Kamitoooooooooooooo!"
Blushing to her ears, she yelled loudly.
Indeed, Claire Rouge loved Kazehaya Kamito.
Hence, that was why she wished to obtain power allowing her to stand by Kamito's side.
These were Claire's genuine feelings, not covered up, not an excuse.
—You finally became honest, master.
A violent surge of flames enveloped Scarlet's entire body—
Then what appeared was—
A young girl with long fluttering hair of flames.
Her burning eyes were redder than rubies. The flames wrapped around her limbs howled nonstop.
Claire whispered in shock.
"The Scarlet Valkyrie—Ortlinde—has descended upon the world in response to the call for my true name."
The girl with crimson hair extended her hand at the approaching flames.
The flames around the girl's entire body instantly surged violently.
"In response to my master's command, I hereby present my true power. Crimson flames of the lion—!"
The instant Ortlinde called out...
The crimson blaze surging from her entire body—
Engulfed Rubia and Laevateinn.
(...This is place is?)
After his consciousness was interrupted...
Kamito found himself in darkness.
It was that place which he had seen many times in his dreams.
The spirit seal on his left hand was glowing, slightly illuminating the dark.
...Now, Kamito was able to understand.
This was no dream. Instead, it was the world where Restia was located.
Through the bond of the spirit contract, she had summoned Kamito's consciousness to this place—
Kamito searched in the dark.
"Restia! Where are you, Restia!?"
The sticky and viscous darkness swallowed his body.
While brushing darkness away, Kamito moved forward.
Suddenly, the figure of the maiden with folded wings of jet-black appeared in the dark.
Inside the mud-like darkness, Kamito strove to move forward.
His entire body was attacked by pain as though scorched. However, he did not stop. How could he possibly stop? She was in this dark and lonely place, waiting for him the whole time.
Finally, he reached out and grabbed Restia's arm firmly.
"I've been waiting for you, Kamito—"
"...I'm sorry, took me long enough."
Surrounded by endless darkness, the two pressed their lips together as one.
It was their second spirit contract—
Restia's jet-black wings moved to surround Kamito.
Terrifying darkness was crawling over the pale complexion of the maiden's naked body.
Violated as a spirit, the feeling of being defiled was making the Dragon King struggle violently.
Able to endure the passage of thousands of years despite being trapped by the Earth Elemental Lord's curse, her resilient mind was now being painted with a coating of blackness.
"Fufu, your cries are surprisingly cute, Your Majesty—"
"Damn... you... Ah... Guh..."
Any other spirit would probably have gone mad already. However, as expected of a mythical-class spirit, she still barely clung onto her sanity.
"As expected of the strongest dragon spirit. However, how long can you last?"
After Millennia smiled sadistically—
She cast her gaze towards the sleeping Restia, cradled among branches and vines.
"To think that I would be able to take this darkness spirit too, my lord shall be pleased—"
"...Stop... She is—"
"Fufu, just enjoy the show from over there, Your Majesty—"
Millennia Sanctus reached out to Restia.
At that very instant...
Just as her finger made contact, black lightning exploded. Millennia's expression became twisted.
The released lightning of darkness attacked Millennia repeatedly.
Millennia instantly moved to evade, landing at the entrance of the hall.
"...You are too naughty, Millennia Sanctus."
Easily incinerating the vines to nothing, Restia slowly stood up.
Her entire body was enveloped in black lightning—
In the next instant, she was clad in a dress of darkness.
Her gorgeous jet-black wings were spread out.
Opening her dusk-colored eyes slightly, she stared coldly at Millennia.
"Restia Ashdoll, you..."
Millennia's eyes widened in surprise.
"You deserve to die ten thousand times for daring to touch me."
"...! Take this—"
Millennia launched holy spirit magic.
However, the glowing arrow of holy light was deflected by Restia's jet-black wing.
"...! Why!? Aren't you a darkness spirit's minion—"
"Fufu, don't you get it...?"
Restia smiled fearlessly and asked.
With Otherworldly Darkness flowing out of her eye socket, Millennia lunged at Restia.
"—That darkness is already mine."
Zo, zozozo, zozozozozozozozozo—
The Otherworldly Darkness produced by Millennia was absorbed into Restia's palm.
Even darkness capable of eating away at the Dragon King was erased inside her hand.
"...Don't tell me... Don't tell me that is actually happening?"
Millennia's face showed unprecedented shock.
"However, regarding this, my lord shall—"
Millennia bit her lip hard.
"Very well, I shall retreat for now. After all, there are things to confirm—"
As though devoured by darkness, she vanished into thin air.
Saying that, Restia slowly turned to face the Dragon King.
"...Your memories have recovered, Restia Ashdoll—"
The Dragon King groaned in pain.
"Dragon King Bahamut—I have not seen you since the Demon King War. Although I would like to catch up, I'm afraid I must go, he is calling for me—"
"Yes, be on your way—"
After bowing to the Dragon King, Restia vanished as particles of light.
...Leaving only jet-black feathers behind.
After the endless darkness dissipated, Kamito regained consciousness.
...It was not a dream. Through the seal on his left hand, he could sense her existence concretely.
(...She came back.)
Kamito's fingers gripped the two Demon King's Swords with precision.
(...Now is not the time to be lying down here!)
Thrusting the blades into the ground, Kamito slowly got up. Although his entire body was hurting intensely, it was not enough to make him lose consciousness. The black miasma covering his entire body gradually reconstituted Kamito's body—
"Oh? It wasn't deep enough huh—"
Greyworth halted in her steps and widened her eyes slightly.
"However, what can you do in that body?"
She was right. Although by using Ren Ashdoll's power, he was barely holding his body together, no matter how you looked at it, he was in no condition to swing swords.
However, even so—Kamito still stood up.
On his dangling left arm, the spirit seal on his hand was glowing with dazzling light.
...He could feel very palpably. She was there—
"A second spirit seal...?"
Greyworth frowned in surprise.
Kamito slowly raised his glowing left hand over his head.
Then he called her name—that of his past contracted spirit.
"Come, merciless queen of darkness, thy name is—the darkness spirit Restia Ashdoll!"
In that instant, the spirit seal on his left hand erupted with black lightning.
The lightning tore through the atmosphere, streaked across the night sky and disappeared.
In the next instant—
Beautiful jet-black wings opened up before Kamito's eyes.
The dress of darkness was fluttering magnificently in the wind.
Landing on tiptoe, she descended quietly.
"This appearance has been absent for so long, Kamito—"
Turning around, she smiled tenderly.
That mysteriously fearless smile was undoubtedly hers.
Kamito called out the name as though chewing his words.
In order to rescue Kamito at the Elemental Lords' altar when the Otherworldly Darkness was about to devour him, she had sacrificed herself and vanished. All her power had been entrusted to Est—
And now, she had finally returned to Kamito's side.
"Your memories recovered..."
"Yes, thanks to her. It was originally supposed to take longer, so I must thank the Dragon King properly—"
Restia nodded and faced Greyworth.
"Although I have many things to say, let me save that to the end for now—"
Kamito and Restia faced off against Greyworth and her demon sword.
"You have become quite adorable, Dusk Witch. What an excellent opportunity, you've always rubbed me the wrong way since long ago—"
Restia smiled provocatively and released lightning from her palm.
In response, Greyworth deflected it with her demon sword—
"What a coincidence. Although this is my first time meeting you, for some reason, you rub me the wrong way too."
"Fufu, whether myself or Kamito, we are different from the way we were three years ago."
Kamito felt troubled by the sparks flying between those two.
Restia stood up lightly on her toes.
"I am your sword, your wish is my command—"
In the next instant, Restia's body turned into particles of light and disappeared into thin air—
A demon sword with a blade of darkness immediately appeared upright in front of Kamito.
'—Please do not imitate me, darkness spirit.'
Est's voice sounded in Kamito's mind.
'Oh my, you are here too—'
Restia chuckled in response.
'Let's get along, Onee-chan.'
'Please do not sound so familiar, darkness spirit—'
...Kamito could not help but picture the two of them bickering.
'I am taking back the power entrusted to you, okay?'
Suddenly, of the twin swords, the black one disappeared from Kamito's left hand—
The Vorpal Sword standing before him began to exude an ominous aura of darkness.
The power of darkness inherited by Est had returned to Restia.
However, a question came to Kamito's mind. Just now, Restia had clearly released darkness spirit magic against Greyworth. Where on earth had that power come from—?
Kamito drew out the Vorpal Sword from the ground.
The hilt's grip felt extremely familiar and comfortable.
"Let's go, Restia and Est—"
Kamito poured his entire body's divine power into the two swords he was wielding with two hands.
Ren Ashdoll's endless flow of power was gradually absorbed into the Vorpal Sword—
(...What is going on?)
'—Let me explain later, okay?'
The demon sword of darkness began to give off jet-black lightning.
It was far stronger than what Restia had before.
Isn't this power enough to rival Est's—?
"Oh? So you were hiding that kind of power?"
Greyworth readied the demon sword Vlad Dracul in both hands.
A stance of the Absolute Blade Arts. She intended to decide the match right here instead of enjoying a back and forth contest.
"Greyworth, I will return you to normal. I swear I will—"
Kamito crossed his two swords in a stance.
For Kamito, this was a final strike in the truest sense.
Merely milliseconds. After the passage of the brief instant that felt like eternity—
The two of them moved at the same time.
"Absolute Blade Arts, First Form—Purple Lightning!"
Greyworth was the one with a sword flash of crimson light.
This was the most basic of the Absolute Blade Arts, the fastest sword technique.
When pitting the same move against each other, this was the one technique that best demonstrated the gap between both sides' skill level. At the same time, it was the only move in the Absolute Blade Arts for which there was no effective counter.
Pouring all of his remaining divine power into the soles of his feet, Kamito accelerated in one go.
The Vorpal Sword in his left hand released powerful lightning.
As though competing, the Demon Slayer in his right hand glowed with dazzling light at the same time.
Finally, that instant arrived.
The swords of the Dusk Witch and Ren Ashbell, the Strongest Blade Dancer, flew past each other. In that very instant...
Kamito released his two crossed swords.
"Absolute Blade Arts, Dual Wielding Form—Purple Lightning Revised!"
The flash of the two swords clashed violently against Greyworth's demon sword—
And shattered the crimson blade.