Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance:Volume17 Chapter5
Chapter 5 - The Demon King's Capital
A city suddenly appeared from behind a sandstorm.
By the time Kamito and the girls reached the city gates on foot, dawn was almost about to break.
"Hey Kamito... Are we hallucinating? Or is this a mirage?"
"That's what I hope—"
Kamito muttered. The scenery in front of him was stunning him, rooting him to the ground.
...Even with it right before his eyes, it was still unbelievable.
Surrounded by sturdy city walls, this place was not some kind of ancient ruins—
Instead, it was a dizzyingly great metropolis, filled with the vibrancy and noise of crowds.
"...N-No way, how could such a city exist right in the middle of the desert?"
Claire kept blinking and she even pinched Kamito's cheek.
"...It hurts, cut it out."
Even though they all had countless questions in their minds—
Kamito and company still stepped into the gate.
The main road extending from the city gate had countless residences and shops lined along it. Loaded with cargo, horse-drawn carts were moving back and forth through a plaza filled with open-air stalls.
The people in the streets were dressed similar to the Theocracy's attire, but there were minute differences in the design of accessories and how they wore their turbans compared to the residents of Mordis.
"This isn't the result of spirit magic or a barrier—"
Wiping sweat from her forehead, Fianna spoke.
"The people here all look alive."
Claire and the girls exchanged looks. If this were a hallucination generated by spirit magic or a barrier, Fianna would have seen through it—That was what they had expected.
"I-Impossible! After all, this is a desert of death!"
"That's right. It's hard to believe even when I'm seeing it."
"I cannot believe it either. No matter what spirit, this sort of thing is—"
"Impossible—I wouldn't be so sure of that, Your Highness."
Jet-black feathers floated from the sky as a darkness spirit appeared in a dress in the color of night.
"If one were to pray to a powerful spirit, such as an Elemental Lord, for a miracle, wouldn't this sort of thing be possible?"
"What, are you saying you know something, darkness spirit?"
Hearing this, Claire frowned, but Restia shook her head.
"It doesn't count as knowing, but I cannot imagine anyone capable of this except for powerful spirits."
"Dracunia's Dragon King, for instance?"
"Indeed. It might be possible for spirits on that level."
"Anyway, this is the Demon King's Tomb, right?"
This time it was Kamito's turn to raise a qustion.
"Yes, though technically, this is the Demon King's Capital rather than the Tomb. This is undoubtedly Alkazard, the capital of Zoldia, Demon King Solomon's kingdom. Furthermore, it continues to look as it did a thousand years ago."
Restia nodded and spoke with a slightly perplexed expression.
No one doubted her. After all, she had witnessed the Demon King's Capital with her own eyes a thousand years ago—
"Uh, what happened exactly?"
Restia closed her eyes and shook her head.
It looked like the truth eluded her too.
This was the Demon King's Capital, supposedly destroyed by Sacred Maiden Areishia a thousand years earlier.
Why did it continue to exist unchanged to this very day?
"Look! The people who exit the gate disappear gradually—"
Hearing Claire's voice, Kamito and the others looked back towards the city gate.
They saw pedestrians and horse-drawn carriages outside the city gate disappearing gradually like a mirage.
"W-What on earth is going on...?"
"A-Are they hallucinations after all? But—"
Rinslet could not help but feel afraid. Ellis murmured with a look of incomprehension.
"...Well, staying here won't solve anything."
Claire shrugged and turned her gaze to the crowded plaza.
"Anyway, let's enter and check it out."
Kamito and company quickly passed through the street leading from the city gate to the plaza.
There was a canopy set up over the main street, extremely busy with crowds coming and going. The noisy and lively atmosphere was reminiscent of the market at Mordis.
Sure enough, a guy walking with five adorable girls in tow would attract a lot of attention. Along the way, the men at the open-air stalls kept booing Kamito.
Trained at the Instructional School, Kamito knew a bit of other languages apart from the continent's common tongue. However, he could not understand the merchants' speech at all.
All he could tell was that they sounded a bit similar to the Theocracy's language—
"Restia, can you understand what they're talking about?"
Hence, he asked Restia, who was walking beside him.
"Let me see, lewd beast, King of Lust, hypnotist, etc..."
...He got an answer he totally did not want to know about.
"No way! Isn't King of Lust a nickname from the Academy!?"
"Fufu, Kamito's legend as the Demon King of the Night is enough to transcend space and time."
"No freaking way!"
Seeing Kamito retort angrily, Restia chuckled.
At this moment, Claire, who had been looking all around, murmured with a complicated look on her face.
"...From what I can tell, they do look just like normal people."
"Yes, and you can touch them too. It is hard to imagine this as a hallucination."
Supporting her chin with her hand, Fianna agreed.
"...Who on earth did this, and why?"
Passing through the canopied main street, they emerged to walk under the sunny blue sky.
Suddenly, Ellis noticed something and spoke out.
"...What is that?"
Where she was pointing—
A gigantic building in the shape of a tetrahedron was standing in the center of the city.
Practically gray, the walls had a metallic luster, reflecting sunlight.
Compared to the busy city scenery, this historical structure's style stood out too muh.
"Is it... a historical site? In the very center of this city?"
"I have never seen this kind of site anywhere else on the continent."
Hearing Claire's question, Fianna answered.
"It does not look like a castle."
"Restia, do you know what is that?"
When Kamito asked...
"No, that location was originally occupied by the Demon King's palace."
Restia shook her head.
"What is going on?"
Kamito originally thought this city was an authentic replica of the Demon King's Capital a thousand years ago.
However, the giant tetrahedron's existence overturned this guess.
Since this kind of structure had been placed intentionally in the center, it must represent some kind of purpose of the city's creator—
"Hey, perhaps that's the Demon King's Tomb?"
"...Seems quite likely."
Kamito agreed with Claire's suggestion.
A gigantic structure replacing the original palace.
It did not take a huge leap of logic to guess that this was the Demon King's tomb.
"First of all, I suppose we should first investigate the pyramid."
Just then, Kamito noticed.
Restia was resting her chin on her hand pensively, staring at the pyramid.
"What's wrong, Restia?"
"Somehow, that structure really bothers me—"
She replied ambiguously.
"Isn't that the Demon King's Tomb?"
"Yes, that may well be right, but—"
Spreading her jet-black wings, Restia floated up lightly in the air.
Sand on the ground danced as a result.
"I will check things out nearby—"
Before Kamito could stop her—
With a turn of her night-colored dress, the darkness spirit flew towards the pyramid.
Watching her back as she receded into the distance, Kamito sighed wryly.
"...She just does whatever she likes, as always."
"Seriously, staying together is the basics of teamwork!"
With sand blown into her hair, Claire was so offended that her twintails stood on end.
"In any case, we should first investigate this city."
"...Yeah, there are too many mysteries here."
Hearing that, Kamito agreed.
Also, he was quite concerned whether Princess Saladia was here or not. After all, finding this city was impossible unless one accepted the Sphinx's judgment.
"Before that, let's establish a base somewhere and rest up first."
"Yes, proper purification would be nice—"
Tormented by the desert heat, Rinslet voiced her support with exuberance.
With her jet-black wings outspread, the darkness spirit looked down at the giant pyramid from the sky.
The legendary Demon King's castle—The Zohar Palace—should have been wrecked thoroughly by the Salvation Army led by Sacred Maiden Areishia.
Come to think of it, that pyramid would be the tombstone for commemorating the Demon King, right?
(...No entrance. Are the walls made of orihalcon?)
Restia plucked a feather and tossed it at the giant structure beneath her.
Jet-black lightning immediately exploded on the surface of the pyramid.
It then disappeared without a trace.
(To think it deflected magic from me, a top-tier spirit...)
Making an expression as though her pride had been hurt, Restia murmured to herself.
A barrier had been erected, sufficient to nullify serious attacks from high-level spirits.
This was evidently no ordinary gigantic historical building.
"...Next, what shall I do?"
Restia crossed her arms and sighed.
"Since my magic is not working, then breaking the barrier would require Miss Sacred Sword infused with Kamito's serious divine power, or those flames of the hell cat girl's?"
I shall investigate a little more first—Just as she was about to land...
'Are you the darkness spirit Restia Ashdoll...?'
Suddenly, she heard a voice in her mind.
She heightened her awareness of her surroundings, but could not see where the voice came from.
'I have waited for you so long—'
The voice spoke again.
At the same time, a change came to the part of the wall that she had just attacked.
The pyramid's surface became twisted like a marshmallow.
It suddenly cracked open to reveal a large hole.
The hole seemed to be beckoning for her to enter.
"Are you calling me?"
'Yes. You, as well as the successor you chose—'
At this time, Restia finally realized.
The identity of the ruler of this mysterious Demon King's Capital.
"I see now—"
Narrowing her dusk-colored eyes, she murmured quietly—
Next, the darkness spirit flapped her pitch-black wings and landed in the hole that had opened up.
"Huh!? What the hell is up with this city!?"
Somewhere in the city, a young man was cursing irritably.
"Every one of them, acting alive when they're actually dead! This is pissing me off!"
"Calm down, Jio Inzagi."
A veiled young maiden tried to soothe the young man who was losing his temper.
"This is the Demon King's Capital, unchanged from a thousand years ago. The fact that this city has been preserved to this day is evidence that the Demon King's power lies hidden here."
"...I don't need you to tell me that, princess."
Jio Inzagi revealed a savage countenance.
"However, that whatever coffin is inside that crazy big tomb. No entrance, and I can't break in either. What the hell do I do, argh! We've been here two whole days, yeah?"
Indeed, they had first step foot into this strange city two days ago.
After walking endlessly through Ghul-a-val, they had encountered the Sphinx.
Against the spirit that called itself the Tomb's guardian, Jio Inzagi was no match at all.
It was not an enemy who could be beaten by petty tricks and cursed armament seals.
Hence, he was not recognized as worthy of entering the tomb.
However, things were different for Saladia Kahn.
She did not overcome the powerful spirit with strength.
When she summoned her grimoire elemental waffe—Alf Laylah Wa-Laylah—and chanted something, possibly a code, the Sphinx vanished without doing anything.
Then, this city suddenly appeared far out in the desert.
The second princess, inheriting the Kahn dynasty's bloodline, evidently held a key capable of entering the Tomb.
Jio found it unbelievable that the Sphinx had not recognized him, the Demon King's successor—
But whatever, in any case, they managed to enter this Demon King's capital.
However, their problems were far from over. According to the princess, the Demon King's coffin was hidden underground in the Demon King's Tomb in the city's center.
However, they could not find an entrance to the pyramid anywhere.
Also, there was a secure barrier covering the exterior walls.
"Damn it, the Demon King's power lies within reach, yet I—"
Looking up at the gigantic pyramid, Jio Inzagi clenched his fist tightly.
"Perhaps the Kahn dynasty's bloodline alone is not enough to activate the Tomb."
"Huh!? Then why the hell did I need to bring you here?"
"I-It is not like I begged you to save me!"
Saladia Kahn retorted unhappily.
"Huh, what is this, some kind of sick joke? You're useless!"
"Watch your words! Insolent one, do know that I, of the Kahn dynasty, am—"
Jio Inzagi covered Saladia's mouth.
"...! Mmph, mmmph, mmph!"
"Quiet. Hey, what is that?"
Jio Inzagi looked up.
Saladia frowned and followed his gaze, only to see—
A strange figure in the air over the pyramid.
A beautiful maiden, with jet-black wings outspread‐
"Is that a spirit...?"
Pulling Jio's hand off her face, Saladia whispered.
Jio Inzagi's eyes widened, glaring at the maiden.
"...Urgh... I know, ah... I, know... that spirit—"
"What is the matter with you?"
"...She is the spirit, that erased, my memories..."
From his throat came a groaning voice.
That darkness spirit from the Instructional School whom he had partnered with before.
Why was she in this kind of place?
"...Darkness, spirit... Resti... a... Restia Ashdoll!"
Filled with rage, Jio Inzagi's roar echoed through the entire street.