Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance:Volume16 Chapter10
Chapter 10 - The Demon King's Capital
Strong winds were howling. The flying dragons carrying Kamito and company were flying across the desert. Flying in the lead was Ellis' Simorgh, producing air currents to lead those following her.
"—Hold onto your reins tight, we will soon approach!"
Ellis cried out loudly.
A gigantic shadow appeared on the far end of their sandstorm-obstructed vision.
It was the city wall of the Theocracy's capital of Zohar, approaching gradually with rumbling noise.
"...! What the heck, that's—"
The weird phenomenon, extremely surreal, was making Kamito and company speechless in surprise.
Sprouted from gaps in the city walls of stone were countless serpentine tentacles, writhing and struggling in what looked like abject pain, slowly advancing along the desert. No, given the mass of such a gigantic entity, this speed was plenty fast already—
"...How terrifying... Is that really a spirit...?"
Flying in the lead, Ellis shuddered hard.
"I really want to burn it to charcoal..."
Riding the same mount, Rinslet and Claire expressed instinctual disgust.
...One could hardly blame them. After all, this the appearance of this "spirit" was so terrifying.
While slowly eating through the desert, polluting it, the city looked like a massive slime mold.
The scene was total desecration of the existence of spirits. In the eyes of proper elementalists, it was unwatchable.
'Kamito, it is no longer a spirit—'
Est's voice sounded in Kamito's mind.
Her voice was calm without any fluctuation in emotion. However, having spent so much time with this partner, Kamito could hear the feelings in her voice.
—Est was angry. It was directed at all the humans responsible for converting Leviathan, a noble top-tier spirit, into such a state—
'I agree. The great Sea King Leviathan is no longer. Even though we had fought on opposing sides during the Spirit War, I cannot tolerate the sight of such sacrilege.'
Sea King Leviathan was a trusted commander serving the Water Elemental Lord. During the Spirit War, Leviathan had engaged in many fierce battles against Restia and Dragon King Bahamut.
Seeing a mortal rival transformed into a militarized spirit, losing all faculty of reason, how did she feel?
'At least put this abomination to rest. For the sake of a past rival in war—'
"Yeah, I got it—"
As though absorbing Est's tranquil fury and Restia's thoughts and feelings—
Kamito gripped the hilts of his two swords tightly.
"Distance to target: 60, 50, 40, 30, 20—"
Leading as the vanguard, Ellis raised her voice.
To penetrate the Theocracy's anti-air defenses, they were going to charge just like that—
—At that moment, having survived countless life and death situations since childhood, Kamito instinctively felt an ominous presence.
"This is bad! Ellis, evade!"
"Kyah!" "What on earth!?"
The astounding shockwave of sound struck Kamito and company in the sky over Zohar.
Screeching shrilly as though screaming, the flying dragon spirits began to spin out of control.
(...! We're gonna crash!?)
Meanwhile, inside the Demon's Fist in the fortress city of Mordis, preparations for engaging Leviathan were rapidly in progress.
"O holy light that illuminates the world, form a sturdy shield to protect us—"
On top of the city's defensive wall, cult princess maidens were constructing a barrier under Fianna's direction.
This was a large-scale barrier covering Mordis and its surroundings. Following leylines to produce resonance between multiple barriers, this produced defensive power up to dozens of times greater than usual. With major leylines running through the mine's vicinity, this geographic advantage was also the reason why Mordis could become an impregnable fortress.
Shield of Alexandros—This was a strategic barrier used by military forces during the last Ranbal War.
"Phew, this is complete for now."
Having finished the final barrier, Fianna wiped the sweat on her forehead.
She was fast reaching her limit in exhaustion due to erecting multiple barriers within short time.
Since the Theocracy lacked national educational institutes like Areishia Spirit Academy, there were very few princess maidens who had undergone proper training except those in the military, thus adding to Fianna's burden.
Although Rubia, the former Queen, had handled the magic circle and other preparations, having implanted cursed armament seals and lost her contracted spirit, she could no longer use her princess maiden powers freely.
"You have grown more capable. In the past, constructing barriers was not your forte."
Wearing a crimson mask, Rubia stood on the city wall, speaking quietly.
"I am still far from matching you, Rubia-sama, as you were four years ago, or Reicha."
Fianna slowly shook her head.
"However, I do feel I have grown. After meeting Kamito-kun as well as your younger sister—"
Rubia stopped talking and fell silent.
Her gaze was focused on Leviathan, approaching while accompanied by a sandstorm. Currently, they were close enough that one could see Leviathan's terrifying form with the unaided eye without relying on Far Vision magic.
(I hear the screams of spirits...)
Fianna closed her eyes with a pained expression, clasping her hands tightly together.
Many spirits in Zohar had been devoured by Leviathan to steal all of their divine power. Spirits deprived of divine power could not even return to Astral Zero, thus erased from the world.
Reciting a requiem prayer, Fianna stood on the defensive wall and gave orders to the Theocracy's princess maidens that were gathered.
"Next, we will activate the strategic barrier. Get ready, all of you—"
As though responding to Fianna's solemn voice—
Lined up neatly on the defensive wall, the princess maidens made a hand sign in unison—
In that instant, the numerous magic circles set up around the fortress city started to glow in a chain reaction.
Dots of light instantly linked together, thus the gigantic barrier covering all of Mordis was complete.
The earthquake caused by Leviathan had already reached here.
The cult princess maidens all looked at their adjacent companions in worry.
As though to inspire courage in them, Fianna stood on the defensive wall and glared squarely at the approaching Leviathan.
Although no one could tell how long this strategic barrier could last—
(...Kamito-kun, we trust that you will surely protect this place.)
Encouraged by her example, the princess maidens stopped showing outward fear and nodded at each other with fortitude.
"—How like a holy maiden."
"No, I am the Demon King's concubine, Rubia-sama—"
Fianna smiled fearlessly.
Devouring the desert, Leviathan roared, shaking the air.
Struck directly by the shockwave, Kamito's flying dragon spirit spun out of control while crashing down.
"W-Wait, don't fall down, Rinslet!"
"I know! But the flying dragon will not listen to my orders!"
The flying dragon carrying Claire and Rinslet also cried out and spun into an uncontrolled trajectory. Despite Rinslet's attempts to regain control, desperately pouring divine power into the flying dragon, she still could not stop it from going berserk.
'Kamito, this flying dragon is no good anymore. Its functionality as a militarized spirit has been completely destroyed—'
He heard Restia's voice in his mind.
(A roar that can destroy a militarized spirit's sanity, huh?)
This was Leviathan's anti-air defense system. If they had rushed over here on the Revenant, the spirit mechanism serving as the power source would most likely go out of control, resulting in tragedy.
'—I am dizzy.'
"Yeah, me too—"
Can sword spirits get dizzy? While that question crossed his mind, Kamito racked his brain.
At this rate, they were going to crash headlong into the ground.
Just then, he heard a voice from above.
He looked up forcefully, only to see Ellis reaching out to him with everything she had while hugging her demon wind spirit's neck. Apparently, as a high-tier spirit, Simorgh was not affected by the roar.
The opportunity only existed for a moment. Kamito reached out, caught her hand and took a leap.
The instant his entire body was in midair, he suddenly felt lighter. The wind from the spirit magic Ellis chanted had enveloped him.
Following that momentum, Ellis drew Kamito to her with a forceful tug.
"You saved me, Ellis—"
Ellis released his hand in a fluster, blushing intensely.
"Huaah, calm down, calm down!"
"Claire, I cannot do anything if you cling so tightly to me!"
Rinslet and Claire's flying dragon looked like it was going to crash any moment.
Ellis bent forward and yelled at the two girls.
"You two, look out for the right moment to jump! Kamito and I will catch you from below!"
"Ehhh!?" "No way, that is crazy!"
"Believe in us—"
Ellis directed Simorgh to make a tight turn.
"Only choice is to take a gamble..."
As expected of these two, who had been through so many hellish battlefields.
Preparing themselves, they nodded and looked down calmly.
In that instant, Claire and Rinslet jumped off the back of the berserk flying dragon.
Boom—With the rumbling, the wind produced from spirit magic caused the two girl to float lightly. With perfect timing, Simorgh positioned himself under them, allowing Ellis to catch Claire while Kamito caught Rinslet, pulling them safely over.
Rinslet instantly blushed to her ears when her face collided into Kamito's chest. Smelling a floral fragrance unique to girls, Kamito felt his heart racing too.
—At that moment, Simorgh severely lost balance while flying.
"Carrying four people is too much of a strain. We will land at that plaza."
"Yeah, got it—"
At Ellis' orders, Simorgh flapped his giant wings and landed at a wide open plaza.
"—You worked very hard, Simorgh."
Ellis stroked Simorgh's back to comfort him.
The demon wind spirit cawed several times then vanished into particles of light in the air. At the same time, the elemental waffe Ray Hawk appeared in Ellis' hand.
"...We are still some distance from Scorpia."
Claire turned her gaze to the towering palace, several buildings away.
"Yes, but not too far. We can rush there directly—"
"—But looks like it won't be that easy!"
Kamito shouted and severed the attacking tentacles.
Covered by countless tentacles, Zohar had taken the form of a demon city.
"...There is no human presence at all. What happened to all of the city's residents?"
Ellis spoke with a grave expression.
"Look at that—"
Claire pointed to the top of a building resembling a shrine.
Many objects resembling cocoons of various sizes were dangling from the roof, pulsating in a creepy manner.
"Don't tell me—"
"Yes, most likely Leviathan is using those cocoons to replenish itself with divine power from the residents..."
"All of those cocoons!?"
Ellis exclaimed in anger.
"Can we not save them?"
"Unfortunately, saving them one by one will take forever..."
There was tranquil fury in Claire's eyes. She readied her flaming whip.
"So destroying Leviathan's core is the only choice huh..."
Presumably reacting to the divine power of Kamito's team, the writhing tentacles began to move actively.
"Time to charge—"
Just as Kamito's team had managed to invade Zohar...
Inside the Demon's Circuit responsible for controlling Leviathan, deep underground beneath Scorpia, a hellish scene was taking place.
"...Ah, gagagaga... Sjora... -sa, ma... Ahhhhhh!"
A young princess maiden in the middle of chanting a prayer vomited blood and collapsed on the magic circle on the ground. Squeezed dry of divine power, the young girl died just like that.
...The sixth one already. Including the first sacrifice, Valmira, she would be the seventh.
"Fufu, used up already huh? I must hurry to prepare the next sacrifice..."
Hierarch Sjora Kahn—no, the monster that used to be Sjora Kahn—looked down at the dead bodies of the princess maidens lying in the temple and smiled with joy.
A gigantic heart suspended in midair was beating vigorously.
This heart was the core of the strategic-class militarized spirit Leviathan.
Sjora Kahn was now merged with that core.
Half of her bewitchingly beautiful body of flesh was buried in the heart.
In order to control a weapon that was supposed to be operated by dozens of elementalist, even Sjora Kahn had no choice but to resort to such a method.
However, there were upsides to merging with Leviathan's core.
Due to shared senses, she was now aware of everything happening inside Zohar as though feeling it through the touch of her skin.
Indeed, for example, there was the intrusion of Ren Ashbell, the Demon King's successor—
"K-Kuku, how amusing... Our score from Ragna Ys can be settled here—"
Sjora Kahn's lips curled while she began to chant an incantation.
It was in High Ancient—a forbidden spell passed down the Demon King cult, very similar to the Soul Recall incantation that Rubia had recited underground of Ragna Ys during the past Blade Dance.
"Awaken here and now. Dark fallen ones sleeping in Zohar—"
"—All of you, turn into charcoal!"
Claire swung the flaming whip, sweeping away the wriggling fleshy tentacles. In contrast to what she said, the flames were so strong that the tentacles were burnt away without even leaving charcoal behind, a far cry from her former power.
"W-What the heck did you do for training!?"
"It's not over. This isn't all I can do!"
Answering Kamito who was running beside her, Claire swung her whip hard again. The fiery slash at all directions destroyed countless incoming tentacles within the blink of an eye.
"Us too—" "We shan't fall behind!"
Ellis and Rinslet also readied their respective elemental waffen—
"Descend, the ice demon's frost-bound projectiles—Freezing Meteor!"
Automatically homing, countless ice projectiles rained down on the tentacles—
In the next instant, all the projectiles exploded, producing a spectacular bloom of ice flowers.
Kamito could not help but exclaim in admiration.
"Fufu, this is the result of my training at Dracunia!"
Rinslet tossed her hair proudly.
"I won't lose either—"
Saying that, Kamito was just about to pour divine power into his two swords.
"Kamito, you are the ultimate trump card. Conserve your divine power as much as possible."
However, Claire reminded him.
"Y-Yeah, got it—"
In fact, at the current rate, Kamito might not even have a chance to swing his swords.
Scorpia was visible at the end of the main road lined by countless cocoons.
It was a building in foreign architectural style with a massive dome at the top.
"Over there huh!?"
Kamito concentrated divine power in his legs, kicked the ground and accelerated. Claire, Ellis and Rinslet also followed him closely.
"There is no army guarding the palace—"
"Probably like the people of the city, they were swallowed by Leviathan."
Just as Kamito replied...
Suddenly, a building by the road collapsed, producing a rain of debris over their heads—
"O wind of universal protection, guard us—Wind Shield!"
Just as they were about to be buried in debris, the spirit magic chanted by Ellis activated. Centered around Ellis' raised spear, a howling storm blew the debris away entirely.
"W-What!?" "What is going on!?"
Next, from behind the collapsed building, a gigantic arm slowly appeared.
The roar shook the atmosphere in the surroundings.
Boom—Shaking the ground as it walked was a giant humanoid spirit.
This was the Glasya-Labolas type tactical-class militarized spirit that Kamito had fought when he first arrived at the Academy. Compared to other militarized spirits, it was relatively easy to control and offered astounding strength, which is why Glasya-Labolas was used in many countries apart from Ordesia.
"...Tsk, this is troublesome."
Looking up at the giant towering over the dust cloud, Kamito groaned in the back of his throat.
A single one would not be too much a threat even if it was a tactical-class militarized spirit. Even though such a spirit would be very formidable for Academy students who had never experienced real combat, at least it was no match for Kamito, or the girls after they had improved from their training. However—
"...A-A large group is approaching!"
Claire cried out.
An army with as many as ten-odd giant spirits were stomping the ground, approaching.
Kamito poured power into the swords in his hands. Against so many militarized spirits, even Claire or the others would have trouble—
(...Tsk, no time to engage them slowly—)
However, Kamito's sword-gripping hand was stopped gently by Ellis.
"Leave this to me. You two go on ahead."
"Do not worry. Whether myself or Simorgh, we have improved greatly after the training—"
Ellis smiled and set her spear elemental waffe on the ground.
"Although it severely consumes divine power, as long as the battle is settled quickly, this should be fine—"
Ellis closed her eyes. Immediately, her entire body glowed with divine power.
"O demon wind spirit, exhibit thy true power! Elemental waffe, second form—Ray Hawk Ragna!"
Ellis shouted the words of releasing.
In that moment, the spear elemental waffe released blinding light, instantly transforming—
The spear's shaft was engraved with a spiral pattern resembling a whirlwind. Decoration resembling a holy bird's head appeared on the pommel. The sharp tip of the spear was split into three prongs like spreading wings, giving off sacred light.
"An elemental waffe's second form!?"
"Yes, this is the new power that Simorgh and I have mastered in our training!"
Ellis drew out the spear and twirled it once over her head. This ordinary motion summoned a fierce howling gale, sweeping away all surrounding debris.
"Compared to the previous elemental waffe, it is on a completely different level..."
Next to the amazed Claire and Rinslet, Kamito was also very impressed in his heart.
Indeed, Ellis had made dramatic progress in both the quality and quantity of her divine power compared to before.
She had finally grown enough to draw out a top-tier demon wind spirit's true power.
With her ponytail fluttering in the wind, Ellis stood before the tactical-class militarized spirit.
Perhaps reacting to the intense divine power given off by Ellis—
The giant's eyes glowed red as it swung its massive arm down at Ellis.
Kamito rushed in front of Ellis, intending to protect her. However—
Ellis jumped up high and swung her spear elemental waffe.
"Pierce mine enemy, divine spear of punishment—Ray Hawk Ragna!"
The thrown spear traced out a straight line in the air, puncturing the giant spirit's chest!
The giant spirit's chest was ripped open, leaving a huge hole. However, as expected of a tactical-class militarized spirit, its durability far surpassed ordinary spirits. Hence, it was not completely destroyed yet.
"—O vicious wind, rampage!"
The spear embedded in the giant spirit's chest produced a whirlwind at its tip and started to spin at super high speed.
The howling wind instantly shaved away the giant spirit's armor, piercing its abdomen with residual momentum.
The giant spirit collapsed on the ground, producing a cloud of dust.
"—No way, it pierced a militarized spirit's armor in one shot!?"
Kamito was speechless with surprise.
The power from that attack just now was enough to rival Leonora's dragon sword skills.
Having destroyed the giant spirit, Ray Hawk Ragna spun magnificently in the air before returning to the hand of Ellis on the ground.
"See that? Rinslet and I will manage against enemies of this level."
Spinning the spear in her hand deftly, Ellis said.
"We will handle this."
Saying that, Rinslet readied her magic bow of ice and tossed her hair.
Indeed, let alone student level, Ellis' power had far surpassed that of spirit knights.
Working together with Rinslet, who had similarly improved, they should be able to handle the situation here.
Thud, thud—The other giants were approaching.
"...Got it. We'll leave this to you two."
"Yes, rest assured." "I shall defeat all of them."
The two girls nodded with confident expressions.
"Let's go, Kamito—"
Under the cover of a rain of ice arrows, Kamito and Claire began to sprint.