Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance:Volume16 Chapter3
Chapter 3 - Reunion
A few days passed after the Greyworth attack incident that had shaken Dracunia from top to bottom.
The Knights of the Dragon Emperor had conducted a thorough search of the bottom of the canyon but to no avail. Not the slightest trace of Greyworth could be found.
However, Kamito was not surprised.
(That hag's not the type to die that easily...)
Perhaps I might be crossing blades with her again—No, I'm sure I will. Kamito felt a premonition bordering on certainty.
While waiting for the return of Rubia and her ship from picking up Muir and Lily in the Holy Kingdom, Kamito had been training his dual wielding skills day and night.
Now that Restia was back, it would be best to train up his balance in using dual swords, giving him more of an edge when fighting Greyworth. After all, the swordsmanship she had taught Kamito consisted only of orthodox knight skills, whose movements she could see through completely.
"Kamito, there is no need to use the darkness spirit's sword. Having me is enough."
While Kamito was practicing sword swings, Est spoke in a completely emotionless voice while in sword form.
"Is that so? I don't think it's possible for the Dusk Witch to be defeated by using Miss Sacred Sword alone, is it?"
"We will win. Even without the darkness spirit, Kamito and I will win."
"Hey, you two, could you please get along..."
Laying the swords down on the ground, Kamito sighed.
...Arguments in his mind like this would weaken his concentration.
"Est, weren't you such a great elder sister when Restia had her amnesia?"
Est was at a loss for words.
"Fufu, let's get along, Onee-chan."
"Shut up, darkness spirit—"
The steel blade flashed and blinked in apparent fury.
"...Good grief, if only those two could get along better."
After ending his training with his two contracted spirits and having a shower at the purification site to wash off his sweat, Kamito made his way to the Knights' medical facility where Leonora was hospitalized.
Wounded by Greyworth's cursed blade, Leonora was in need of convalescence. She finally regained consciousness this morning and Kamito heard that she had recovered to the point where visits were allowed.
Arriving at the treatment room, Kamito knocked on the door.
"It's me, Leonora. Can I come in?"
"Kamito? Y-Yes, no problem—"
Hearing the reply, Kamito pushed the door open gently.
At that instant...
"...What the heck!?"
Kamito could not help but raise his voice in surprise.
Before his eyes was a completely unexpected scene.
Sitting up on the bed, Leonora was tenderly caressing her massively bulging abdomen that was under the bedsheets.
"W-What, what what..."
"...? Is there a problem, Kamito?"
Seeing Kamito's mouth opening and closing—
"Ohh, you mean this child?"
Leonora smiled with a chuckle.
"It grew big, thanks to your seed—"
She said that extremely naturally.
The shocking words turned Kamito's mind blank for a moment.
"...H-Hold on a second! I didn't do anything!"
Kamito cried out in a panic.
...It had happened on the day when Kamito and company arrived in Dracunia. Taking Kamito on a tour of the dragon capital, Leonora had invited him to ride in a flying private room, a Dragondola, and even asked for his seed while they were there.
"W-What the hell is going on..."
Seeing Kamito still in a fluster...
"...My oh my, Kamito, couldn't you just play along?"
Leonora shrugged and smiled wryly before lifting the sheets over her abdomen lightly.
What was revealed underneath was—
Big enough for a person to wrap their arms around, a giant egg whose surface was the color of lapis lazuli.
Kamito had some recollection of this type of egg. It was a drake egg that he had seen in the dragon capital, at a shop that sold local specialties.
"This was given to me by a friend from the Knights of the Dragon Emperor, because an ancient legend says that drake eggs have the ability to heal wounds and relieve pain."
Muttering in exasperation, Kamito breathed a sigh of relief.
"...Well, you look like you're in better health than I imagined. I'm so glad."
Stepping into the treatment room, he sat down on a chair by the bed.
"Are your wounds okay now?"
"Yes, essentially. It had been dangerous for a while, but apparently that stage has passed."
Nothing less expected from someone contracted to a dragon spirit whose blessings included physical enhancement. Her recovery ability far surpassed that of ordinary people even though inferior to Kamito, who was protected by the power of Darkness Elemental Lord Ren Ashdoll.
"Are you able to eat normally now?"
"Yes, no problem... But I now have a craving for steak."
"...No, I think steak'd be a bad idea."
While making an incisive remark, Kamito took out a few fruits from a bag. Known as dragonfruits, these were shaped like dragon scales and were said to contain high-quality divine power.
Just as Kamito used a fruit knife to cut open the hard skin—
"You kept your promise with me."
Thus spoke Leonora.
The promise she mentioned was probably referring to her request to Kamito just before she lost consciousness.
Protect the Dragon King, protect Dracunia—Those had been her words to Kamito.
"...The one who saved the Dragon King was Restia, not me."
Kamito shook his head in response. If anything, he considered himself the one at fault for leaving the Dragon King's side because he had failed to realize that Greyworth's attack was a diversion.
"No, you did protect Dracunia. I express our gratitude to you on behalf of the Knights of the Dragon Emperor. Thank you, Kamito."
Gazing at Kamito's face, Leonora smiled tenderly. To see such an innocent smile on her, in contrast to her usual ways that resembled a carnivorous dragon's, Kamito could not help but stare, mesmerized.
"Uh, how should I put this, that doesn't count..."
While taking care not to expose his internal loss of composure, Kamito tried his best to speak as calmly as possible.
"Uh, is there anything else I can do?"
In return for Leonora's assistance at Ordesia's capital, he had promised to perform one favor for her.
Something like protecting the Dragon King was something he would have done even without Leonora asking him. Taking that as fulfilling his promise was not something Kamito could personally accept.
"Then, a child—"
"Anything but that."
"...Hmm, choosing something other than a child, now that is quite a difficult choice."
Resting a finger on her lovely lips, Leonora began to deliberate seriously... What the heck.
After a while, she slowly lifted her face—
"Th-Then, c-could you help wipe down my body?"
"Uh, due to resting in bed for so long, I have gotten quite sweaty."
"Uh, isn't it better to ask ladies in the facility for that kind of thing?"
"Kamito, did you not say you would do anything?"
Leonora pouted with displeasure.
"I am simply asking for your help to wipe off the sweat that is causing me discomfort. Or are you admitting to harboring impure thoughts?"
Kamito shook his head in a panic when she glared at him.
(...Sigh, I made a promise after all.)
Kamito soaked a towel in a bucket of water that was on a bedside table, then wrung it dry.
Leonora turned her back to Kamito and slid her loose robe down her shoulders. The elegant curves of her back were evocative of smooth white porcelain.
Kamito nervously held his breath but quickly mustered his determination and pressed the towel against her back.
In that instant, Leonora's body shook slightly.
Kamito exhaled a little and began to wipe her pale back carefully.
While averting his gaze and trying not to look at her massive bust, Kamito meticulously wiped the sweat off her back. Despite the supple muscles on her body, her skin was very smooth and delicate in contrast to her image of wielding a massive sword. Presumably, this was due to the physical enhancement effects from dragon attribute magic, which eschewed the need for increasing unnecessary muscles.
When he touched her lower back, Leonora made a strange sound.
"W-What the heck!?"
"Th-The way you touched me felt a bit erotic..."
Leonora spoke with a troubled look.
"Y-You're getting the wrong idea!"
"Y-Yes, I know... But, there... Ah♪"
"That's way too sensitive of you!"
"S-Sorry, this actually, the first time, for my skin, t-to be touched by a man..."
Blushing, Leonora explained awkwardly.
Told something like that straight to his face, Kamito was starting to feel his heart start pounding too.
"Oh, uh, I can wipe the front on my own, do not worry."
"Yeah, please do that..."
Recalling the sight of her breasts in the Dragondola, Kamito could not help but blush.
While his heart continued to pound uncontrollably, Kamito finished the job of wiping her back, dipped the towel in the water and wrung it dry again.
Putting on her loose robe again, Leonora lowered her head shyly. Flushed slightly red, her necked looked especially sexy.
"Thank you very much, Kamito. It felt wonderful."
With a demure expression, Leonora thanked him.
Kamito nodded ambiguously in response then coughed lightly and stood up from his seat.
"Th-Then it's time for me to go. I'll be a bother if I stay too long."
"R-Really? I do not consider you a bother..."
Leonora murmured with slight disappointment. Then she switched to a serious expression.
"You will be heading to the Theocracy next. Please be extra careful. During the Blade Dance, there was one time when I fought the witch named Sjora Kahn and sensed a dangerous aura from her."
"...Yeah, I know."
"I really would like to go assist you, but unfortunately, I still need to recuperate for a while before I can move around freely. Furthermore, if I were to help out, public opinion might start saying that Legitimate Ordesia relies on Dracunia's power, so—"
"It's the sentiment that counts. Thank you, Leonora."
Kamito extended his right hand and Leonora gripped it firmly.
"May you and your companions be blessed by Dragon's Protection. Let us have another blade dance together after I recover."
"Yeah, I look forward to it."
"Of course, I am not referring to a blade dance of the night."
Confronted with Leonora whose cheeks went red all at once, Kamito could not help but retort.
(...Hoo boy, the way she thinks is always like a dragon, that Leonora.)
Leaving the treatment room, Kamito shrugged in exasperation while walking along the corridor.
However, that side of Leonora was also part of her charm.
At that moment—
"Hey, hold it right there, Demon King of the Night!"
Hearing a sudden roar of fury, Kamito looked back.
At the far end of the corridor was Leonora's adjutant, Yuri El Cid. Glaring at Kamito with a scary gaze, she was approaching rapidly.
Idolizing Leonora, Yuri had treated Kamito with hostility ever since the Blade Dance due to his rumored reputation as the Demon King of the Night.
"...C-Can I help you?"
Intimidated by her forceful voice, Kamito asked.
"We just received word via flying dragon. Your friends are returning from Dragon's Peak."
At the flying dragon landing zone of the dragon capital's military port, Kamito welcomed Claire and the girls.
He was served the famous Dragon Tea while waiting on a terrace at the landing zone. After half an hour, two mid-sized flying dragons arrived from the direction of the Kelbreth Mountain Range.
"Oh, looks like they're here..."
Standing up, Kamito waved from the center of the landing zone.
Soon after, the flying dragons carrying Claire and the girls slowly landed after circling in the air once.
"Thank you for being patient, Kamito-kun. It's been a week." "You have waited long enough, Kamito."
The first to land was the dragon carrying Fianna and Ellis.
Unloading their heavy luggage to the ground, the two girls seemed quite upbeat judging from their expressions.
"How did your training go, you two?"
When Kamito asked, the two girls exchanged a glance.
"Extremely well, of course!" "Indeed, I feel like I have had growth that surprises even myself."
They both made thumbs-up gestures.
"I see. It's true that I feel a completely different vibe from you compared to before the training."
Kamito offered his honest opinion. Trained at the Instructional School, Kamito could sense student-like naivety and inexperience from them before, but this impression had vanished now.
(...I can't believe they went through such a great change in as short as a week's training. What kind of training did they go through?)
Just as Kamito was thinking that...
"Fufu, do we seem a little more mature to you now?"
Chuckling, Fianna wrapped her arm around Kamito.
Instantly blushing to his ears, Kamito cried out. At that moment...
"H-Hold on, what are you doing to Kamito, you pervert princess!"
"Your Highness, th-that is so unfair!"
With the sound of a whip cracking, Claire and Rinslet landed too.
Claire hurried over to Kamito's side and pulled Fianna's arm off from Kamito.
Fianna stuck out her tongue mischievously and released Kamito for now.
"Sheesh, that's enough..."
Claire murmured with exasperation.
Kamito gently patted Claire on the head.
"...Huahhh, what are you doing!?"
"I'm so glad that you're all fine. After all, I heard that Dragon's Peak is a dangerous place."
Fianna and Ellis nodded to agree with Kamito.
"Yes, it is a place as dangerous as rumored—"
"Indeed. I never expected it would turn into that kind of training..."
"...What exactly was the training like?"
When Kamito asked with curiosity, the four girls shared their experiences training on Dragon's Peak.
On a plateau all covered by thick mist, Scarlet had discovered an ancient temple, which was where the dark dragon Vritra was sealed a thousand years ago, ending his rule over the region. Next they had borrowed the historical site from the dark dragon to use for training—
"Wait, a dark dragon? Were you girls okay?"
Halfway through, Kamito could not help but interrupt to ask.
"According to the dark dragon, it lost its powers when Est apparently did quite a number on it a thousand years ago. What we encountered was a weird creature resembling a flattened lizard."
"...Any recollections, Est?"
When Kamito asked, the Demon Slayer hanging at his waist replied indifferently.
"...I see. Oh well, in any case, you girls were training at the ancient ruins, right?"
"Indeed. We entered the ruins and were teleported individually to our own alternate dimension."
According to Claire, the ancient site was apparently a place for staging one-on-one duels against an individual whom one had to surpass. Claire had taken on her elder sister Rubia while Fianna, Ellis and Rinslet each had to confront their own special opponents of destiny.
"Likewise for me, Rubia-sama appeared too. But instead of her current self, it was Rubia-sama from four years ago, the one whom I had failed to stop."
"The one I encountered was my own self who had despaired from failing to save Judia."
"I-I faced off against the Ren Ashbell-sama of my ideals."
Hearing what Ellis said at the end, Kamito looked away, somewhat embarrassed.
...In any case, the training that Claire and the girls had completed was utterly different from what the Academy offered.
"Everyone worked so hard—"
Just as Kamito muttered...
"Looks like a lot happened over here too."
Claire spoke with a serious expression.
"Have you already heard about the incident?"
"Yes, on our way back, we heard from the Knights of the Dragon Emperor. From what they said, Kamito, you fought a battle against the headmistress on the bridge when she invaded the Stronghold."
"Uh, about the headmistress—"
Seeing Ellis beginning to speak worried, Kamito shook his head.
"Greyworth fell into the canyon. Although the Dracunia knights have been searching for her, nothing has come up yet."
"Is that so—"
Ellis looked down and bit her lip.
"...She is still alive, right?"
"Yeah, that hag won't die even if you try to kill her."
"I-I suppose you are right..."
"Yes. Indeed that is so."
To students of the Academy like these girls, Greyworth was their most respected hero.
"We might need to fight Greyworth again. When the time comes, let's wake her up together."
Claire and the girls exchanged glances and nodded firmly.
"—But before that, we have to save that Theocracy princess first."
"...True. When will Rubia-sama and the others be back?"
Looking up at the sky where Dracunia's flying dragons were dancing, Fianna murmured softly to herself.
As it turned out, coincidentally in the evening of the same day, Kamito and company received a report that the Revenant had returned to Dracunia's military port after the trip to the Holy Kingdom.
"It's almost like she knew when our training would end."
This perfect timing surprised Claire.
Her speculation was probably right. There was no doubt that guiding Claire and the girls to the dark dragon's temple was precisely Rubia's intent. It would not be a stretch to imagine Rubia calculating how much time they would need to complete their training either.
Kamito and company hastily packed their belongings and met up at the military port.
Although Leonora wanted to see him off, she reluctantly relented when Kamito repeatedly advised her to prioritize recuperation above all else. Instead, the Knights of the Dragon Emperor came in her place and provided flying militarized spirits as aid for Ordesia.
"This is the Vouivre-type flying spirit officially equipped by the knights of Dracunia. Although it is unsuited for combat, its high mobility and agile turning ability ought to come in handy."
"Thanks a lot. After all, except for Ellis, mobility is our weakness."
Kamito gratefully accepted the seal tablet handed over by Vice-Captain Yuri.
"Try not to die, Team Scarlet. Although we lost to you during the Blade Dance, I hope for a future rematch against you."
"As you wish. We are ready any time."
Claire nodded fearlessly and agreed.
"May fortune be in your favor. May Legitimate Ordesia be blessed by Dragon's Protection."
Headed by Yuri, the Knights of the Dragon Emperor saluted collectively.
Under the military port's illumination, the Revenant's massive hull landed on the ground.
The flying ship's hatch immediately opened and the gangway ladder descended.
At that very moment, the petite figure of a young girl shot out from the hatch.
Rushing at Kamito at the bottom of the gangway ladder, she threw herself into his bosom.
Kamito hastily spread his arms and caught the petite girl.
"Ahah, Onii-sama, I missed you so much!"
"Muir, I can't breathe..."
Hugging Kamito by the neck, Muir was very excited.
Her twintails were rubbing against his cheeks, tickling him.
Just as this was happening to Kamito, he felt cold stares stabbing into his back.
"U-Unbelievable, making such a young girl call him 'Onii-sama'..." "It wasn't easy to revise my opinion of him, but ultimately, his true nature remains that of a fiendish Demon King." "I must implore for Leonora-sama to slice that off...!"
He turned his head, only to see the Knights of the Dragon Emperor whispering dangerous words among themselves. The trust he had built up by protecting Leonora was apparently dropping down to abysmal levels.
Meanwhile, the members of Team Scarlet...
"Sigh, Kamito-kun hasn't changed the slightest." "Mm-hmm." "Same as always." "...~!"
...In a way, their trust in Kamito had not changed at all.
That filled Kamito with mixed feelings too—
"W-Wait, that is enough. Hands off now!"
At that moment, Claire's crimson hair stood up and she roared angrily.
"What's the matter? Do you wanna start a fight with me, Onee-chan? Even when you're so weak."
Muir smiled with condescension and retorted.
"Th-Things have changed since our defeat last time! We've been growing stronger the whole time!"
"Hmph, really? Then let's play next time, but I'm not in the mood right now. Onii-sama has to play with me next."
Still hugging Kamito and refusing to let go, Muir stuck out her tongue.
"...~I-I-I'll turn you into charcoal!"
Just as Claire raised the flaming whip in her hand...
"Muir, what are you doing? Stop causing conflict in a place like this."
Muir's partner, Lily hastily descended the gangway ladder.
"Not a conflict, just saying hello. Hello."
Seeing Muir completely nonchalant, Lily sighed with mental exhaustion.
"Hello, it's been a while, Lily."
When Kamito greeted her...
"Hmph, I never thought I would ever team up with you again—"
Her crimson eyes, unique to the Elfim race, stared at Kamito.
Ranked sixth in the Instructional School—Lily Flame was the expert in espionage and infiltration. Back during their days at the Instructional School, she had often partnered with Kamito on missions. Even though they had been enemies in the Blade Dance, Kamito considered her an extremely reliable helper as soon as they were on the same side.
"I only take orders from the Cardinal. I do not plan on getting familiar with you at all."
"Yeah, I know."
"You guys. A reunion is fine and all, but do hurry up and board—"
Hearing the sudden voice coming from within the ship, Kamito and company looked up in surprise.
Ellis called out loudly.
With an overcoat of pure white draped over her, Velsaria Eva appeared at the gangway ladder.
"Esteemed sister, is your health alright now?"
"Yes, there is no problem."
Confronted with Ellis' concerned inquiry, Velsaria nodded simply. Then she said:
"More importantly, the Revenant will be heading to the city of Mordis in the Theocracy."
"The stronghold where the Theocracy's rebel forces have gathered. The Cardinal is currently there."
In absolute darkness with vision and hearing sealed off...
The chained girl could not help but moan in pain.
Her hair was beautiful and golden. Possessing the same bewitching eyes that glowed crimson like her elder sister's, this girl was precisely none other than Saladia Kahn, the second princess of the Alphas Theocracy.
On the day of the coup d'etat at Scorpia, she had resisted her elder sister's attempt to kill their father the king, Rajihal Kahn, and ended up imprisoned here, the most notorious prison in Zohar.
...After that, it was anyone's guess as to how much time had gone by.
In this darkness insulated from all light, her sense of time had grown hazy. At this rate, she could very well forget even her own identity one day.
She was still able to cling to her sense of identity, thanks to her training at the Divine Ritual Institute, but any normal person would have gone insane long ago.
The truth of this darkness was an isolation barrier crafted by a cult sorcerer. No spirit, no matter how strong, could break the barrier from inside.
(...Why hasn't my sister killed me?)
She had asked herself this question many times.
Having killed their father and taken control of the Theocracy's government, there should be no need for her to keep Second Princess Saladia alive. Factions opposed to Sjora would probably band together under Saladia's name. Or perhaps, that was precisely the intent. Was Sjora planning to use Saladia as a hostage so as to wipe out the rebel army in one fell swoop when they came to save her?
...Impossible to read Sjora's thinking. Ever since the Blade Dance, she had changed. Although she was a crafty schemer to begin with, Sjora was not supposed to be someone to take bold action like this.
(Indeed, it's almost as though she has been possessed by something—)
Just as she was lost in her thoughts...
"—Hey, are you there? The second princess, inheriting the Kahn dynasty's bloodline?"
Saladia jumped in surprise to hear the sudden voice.
It was not the usual princess maiden who brought food and water.
Instead, it was a young man's voice, resembling a savage beast's.
"...Who are you?"
Staying wary, Saladia asked quietly.
"I am the one asking questions here. Are you the Theocracy's Second Princess Saladia Kahn?"
"...Yes, indeed. That is I."
—While feeling offended by this rude man, she still answered.
Despite the visitor's unknown identity, at least he did not seem to work for her sister.
"...I see. Ha, looks like I'm in luck for once."
The man laughed heartily from across the darkness. In the next instant, the darkness sealing Saladia's vision and hearing was broken by light from a spirit crystal, lighting up the surroundings immediately.
The sudden light entering her eyes caused Saladia to groan.
She could not get a clear look at the man's face because he was wearing a hood that reached his eyes.
"I'll get straight to the point. Do you know the Pyramid's location?"
"Yeah, it's rumored to be where Demon King Solomon's remains were buried after he was vanquished a thousand years ago. It's said that the secret location was passed down the generations, known only to those inheriting the royal bloodline—"
Saladia fell silent. Of course, she knew about the Pyramid. Her father, King Rajihal Kahn had told her the day she completed her contract ritual with her contracted spirit.
However, why did this man know about this secret, never mentioned to anyone outside the royal family?
"This is the deal. I'll help you escape this place and in exchange, you'll take me there."
"...What are your intentions?"
Saladia demanded an answer from him solemnly. How could the Demon King cult's greatest secret be told to him in this place where they could be overheard? Leading the way for him would be even more out of the question.
"None of your business. Forget that, hurry up and make your decision. Although I've knocked out the guards, it'll be hard to escape once reinforcements arrive. You don't want to spend the rest of your life here, do you?"
Saladia bit her lip and fell into deep thought. This man was very dangerous. Her instincts as a princess maiden informed her. However, this could very well be her one and only chance to escape from her sister's grasp.
"Will you be able to take me out of this city safely?"
"Yeah, I guarantee you that. Even if I found out the tomb's location, the door won't open without someone of royal blood there, right?"
"...You are quite informed."
Saladia sighed with resignation and made her decision.
...This man's motives were unknown. However, taking his offer would still be better than keeping the royal family's secret while waiting here for her own execution.
"Fine. Suppose we were to escape from Zohar safely, then I shall take you to the Pyramid."
The man scoffed.
"Swear on it, by your spirit's name."
"You do not trust me?"
"My creed is to trust no one."
Hearing the young man's answer, Saladia shook her head in exasperation.
"I hereby swear upon my contracted spirit Scheherazade—"
After chanting the words of the oath, Saladia's body gave off a faint glow of divine power.
Swearing upon a spirit was the most solemn oath for an elementalist. In the event of breaking the oath, one could lose the power of the spirit contract.
"Are you satisfied now?"
"Yeah, not bad—"
Nodding contentedly, the man took off his hood.
Revealed as the tanned face of a young man with malicious eyes.
"And your name?"
When Saladia asked, the man laughed savagely, showing his fangs.
"I am Jio Inzagi—The Demon King's successor."