Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance:Volume17 Chapter9
Chapter 9 - Lurie Lizaldia
A crimson blazing fireball struck the pyramid directly from the front.
This wall, which ordinary spirit magic could not harm in the slightest, instantly had a hole melted by the fire.
Residents of the Demon King City scattered and fled screaming. Even these virtual life forms created from the Demon King's memories felt fear—
Sparks flying in the wind were reflected in the eyes of the girl standing in front of the Tomb.
The girl simply stared at the melted wall emotionlessly.
"—So this is the extent of my current power, I see."
The girl bowed her head, looking at her palm, murmuring calmly.
The Sacred Spirit Knights serving as bodyguards were watching her with terror on their faces.
To think she would dismiss her flames, capable of vaporizing militarized spirits in an instant, of being merely "this extent"—
"Blowing away the Tomb would be a piece of cake if full power were recovered, I suppose."
Millennia Sanctus said.
Even though her words were slightly disrespectful towards a lord, the girl did not care.
"I have no interest in a tomb. Rather—"
Saying that, she looked to the streets in the opposite direction.
"I would like to have another look at a human city."
"Elemental Lord, you are interested in a human city?"
Luminaris could not help but interject her doubt.
"Is there anything wrong with that?"
"N-Not at all. Forgive my insolence!"
Luminaris' voice trembled as she hastily knelt on the ground.
The girl cast a cold glaze upon her then...
"I have fulfilled the covenant. Here on, I shall do as I please."
Saying that, she walked towards the plaza.
"...W-Will there be a problem, Cardinal!?"
With a panicking expression, Luminaris asked.
"Uh... L-Letting that kind of monster run loose like this—"
"She isn't that easy to control."
The one to reply was Lurie Lizaldia.
"Just let her do as she wants, since our master's covenant continues to restrain her, after all. Well, I suppose bodyguards ought to be arranged—or should I say, surveillance?"
Luminaris bowed, took a few subordinates with her and ran after the girl.
Lurie turned around and stared at the hole melted in the Demon King's Tomb.
"The path is opened. Time to welcome the sleeping princess, Millennia."
Kamito asked Iris. Ordinary attacks should not be able to breach the walls of this Demon King's Tomb—
However, the Queen of the Demon King City stared at the ceiling gravely.
"A human elementalist. Also, the other one is... a spirit? No, incorrect... A being neither human nor spirit, is coming towards here."
"A being neither human nor spirit?"
"Yes, approaching a spirit in fundamental nature, but with an unfathomable side—"
Just then, Restia spoke up.
"A cardinal of the Holy Kingdom's. At Dracunia, she tried to assassinate the Dragon King—"
"That girl huh..."
Memories from the attack on the Academy flashed through Kamito's mind.
Covered by an eye patch, her left eye contained Otherworldly Darkness capable of rendering Elemental Lords insane.
That girl definitely felt somehow different from ordinary spirits—
"So the Holy Kingdom's knights have found this city?"
"...No way, that is impossible!"
The spirit Iris' voice trembled.
"In theory, unless judged worthy by the Sphinx, other people should have no way of reaching this place, let alone finding it—"
"But reality is that people have come. So that's that."
Kamito shrugged and said.
"Those people must have their eyes on the Demon King's coffin you are guarding."
The queen widened her crimson eyes.
According to Rubia, the Holy Kingdom's knights had started exploring Ghul-a-val even before Princess Saladia made her way to the desert. In that case, their target probably was neither the princess nor Kamito's group, instead, it would be something hidden inside this Demon King's Tomb.
(But it's hard to imagine they'd really believe in a legend about the Demon King's power lying dormant in the coffin—)
Looking at the ceiling, Kamito placed his hand on the hilt of the Demon Slayer.
Then staring into the queen's eyes, he said simply.
"That suggestion just now... Sorry, I have to refuse. Living here in peace might not be bad, but it looks like the situation won't allow me to do that."
In the end, he had to rely on himself to protect what he cared about and places he considered home.
That was precisely the basic tenet that Greyworth had imparted to him.
The Queen of the Demon King City shook her head sorrowfully.
"How unfortunate. However, I cannot stop your decision. In fact, the peace of this city is being broken right before my eyes."
"Yes, the peace is broken."
"But don't worry. I will protect what you have devoted yourself to protecting."
After all, the Kamito had to settle his score with the Holy Kingdom sooner or later.
They had tried to target Restia during the Blade Dance, then attacked Areishia Spirit Academy.
One would expect them to know of Kamito's presence here by now.
"I am very grateful, successor. I only wish to guard the one who sleeps in peace."
The Queen of the Demon King City bowed deeply to Kamito.
"Yeah, just leave it to me. Although we're not blood-related, Demon King Solomon counts as an ancestor of sorts for me, I guess—"
Hearing Kamito's casual joke, the queen smiled happily.
"Indeed. Then I shall offer you, his descendant, a little gift."
Kamito asked in surprise—
Only to see the queen begin reciting unfamiliar verses in High Ancient.
In the next instant...
A vortex of darkness appeared over Kamito's head, then something fell into his arms.
"—Please take this, Ren Ashbell, Demon King's successor."
Looking down at the pitch-black fabric in his arms, Kamito asked with puzzlement.
"...! That's the Garb of the Lord, Kamito."
"...Garb of the Lord?"
Hearing the darkness spirit speak in excitement for once, Kamito asked.
"It is the legendary item worn by Demon King Solomon on the battlefield."
"...! N-No way!?"
Kamito almost let go of the pitch-black fabric.
"Yes, this black garment is undoubtedly what he had worn. The high-density curse woven into the fabric is capable of absorbing spirit magic of all affinities and deflecting enemy blades."
"A-A curse... Is that really okay? Uh, like, would I get cursed..."
"Please rest assured. It will have minimal effect on you, who possesses the power of darkness."
...Then without the power of darkness, what would happen to the wearer?
(I somehow feel scared to ask...)
"You definitely need to accept this, Kamito!"
Restia kept flapping her jet-black wings.
...For as long as he could remember, Restia would always get strangely excited about magic artifacts.
"...G-Got it. Then I'll accept this with thanks."
Kamito opened up the black garment and draped it over his Academy uniform.
...What material was this made of? It felt almost weightless.
Impervious to weapons, capable of absorbing spirit magic, were such claims really true?
"Now that you have put on the real thing... I feel that you exhibit some Demon King style at last."
"Fufu, it looks great on you, Kamito."
'Dark Kamito, very dashing.'
Restia aside, even Est was speaking like that now.
...What the heck is Dark Kamito?
"It really looks great."
Looking at Kamito in that outfit—
The queen seemed to reminisce, her eye lids partially lowering, her eyes showing a gentle look.
"No mistake, it's the Holy Kingdom's knights."
Looking down at the plaza, Claire said quietly.
"...! How on earth did they get here!?"
Hearing that, Ellis lowered her voice and murmured.
"Who knows? Did they defeat the Sphinx too?"
They were on a bell tower tall enough to get a view of the whole plaza.
After hearing the explosion while they were at Quseir Amra, Claire and the girls immediately put on their uniforms. Claire and Ellis, with her outstanding mobility, were the first to go scouting.
Looking down, they saw a scene of horrifying destruction.
From the city gate to the pyramid, all the buildings along this straight line had vanished completely.
(Why would they do that...?)
It was impossible to understand with common sense.
Was it merely to open a path to the pyramid?
"No matter what, their goal must be the Demon King's Coffin hidden there, right?"
While hiding behind a pillar on the bell tower, Ellis agreed quietly. Although she had used wind magic to insulate sound, preventing them from being heard in theory, there were no downsides to being careful and alert.
"Enemy numbers, roughly ten or so. A conservative estimate would include militarized spirits, I suppose."
"Hmm, that Luminaris Saint Leisched is here too—"
Looking down at the plaza, Claire calmly analyzed the enemy's combat potential.
The enemy consisted of spirit knights under the military. More than likely, they were an elite unit.
Although the two of them could hold their own against spirit knights after their training at Dracunia, fighting against so many at the same time would be unwise.
Claire kept her eyes on a girl standing in the center of the plaza.
It was an adorable young girl with long crimson hair and dressed in a scarlet dress.
(Who is that child...?)
She could feel pressure that made one break out in cold sweat even when looking from afar.
"She is a high-level spirit. Probably on Ortlinde's level, maybe even higher—"
"...Not an enemy we can handle."
Ellis agreed. Her forehead showed perspiration too.
"You still haven't reached Kamito yet?"
"No. I sent out wind familiars over a large area just now, but—"
"...Tsk, damn him. Where did he go at such a critical time!?"
"Hmm, I think he probably has not noticed the situation..."
Ellis murmured with worry.
"Let's go back to meet up with Fianna and the others."
"I agree. It would be best to relocate Her Highness to somewhere safe."
Just as they were about to stop scouting and retreat...
Feeling like someone had grabbed her heart, Claire's entire body froze.
"What is the matter, Claire?"
"...Ugh, El...lis... Run now—"
Ellis looked back towards the plaza, only to see—
The crimson-haired girl staring straight in their direction.
"Are we found!?"
At this distance, with a wind barrier to boot. Impossible!
A small fireball appeared in the girl's palm.
The fireball flew over with a whoosh.
"...! Vicious wind, rampage!"
It was a split-second decision.
The fireball flying head on was about to hit the bell tower.
The magic spear generated countless vacuum blades to intercept.
An explosion. The spreading flames instantly engulfed the surroundings.
Blown away by the blast, the two girls were tossed into the air.
In the air, Ellis released her elemental waffe. Appearing out of thin air, the demon wind spirit caught the two falling girls and repelled the howling wave of scorching flames with a Wind Wall.
"Ellis, we're saved...!"
"...! What is going on!?"
With a dust cloud blocking their view, the two landed on a mountain of collapsed debris.
Standing with blazing flames all around, Claire wiped sweat from her forehead.
They were surrounded by intense flames. They had not seen anyone near the bell tower, so there were apparently no casualties—
"W-What on earth was with that firepower... Isn't it spirit magic?"
The instant just before the explosion, they had seen a small fireball on the fingertips of the girl.
Could such a small fireball cause such great destruction in an instant?
"It does look quite similar to Fireball magic—"
"You are saying this was Fireball!?"
Hearing Claire's murmurs, Ellis groaned.
Fireball was a beginner's spell in fire magic with mediocre firepower.
For example, a Fireball cast by Claire, even with a full incantation, would blow away a house at best.
"Insolent ones. That was no Fireball just now—"
Hearing a girl's voice, Claire and Ellis turned their heads back.
Only to see—
Standing there was the girl from plaza just now.
She had long crimson hair. On the sides of her head were what seemed to be curved horns.
Wearing a scarlet dress, the girl was standing on the collapsed bell tower, haughtily looking down at them.
"—It was Flare Burst."
"Flare Burst, you say?"
Flare Burst was a type of diversion spell that used flashing light to distract the enemy's vision by firing off countless balls of light from one's palm. Its damage potential was virtually zero.
But that attack just now—
(...No way, it was even more powerful than my Hell Breath!)
Hell Breath was the strongest fire spell in Claire's arsenal of spirit magic.
Although Claire's rational mind rejected the idea that the attack was just meant to scare—
The girl exuded overwhelming pressure.
As a princess maiden, Claire's natural talent rivaled that of Fianna's. Her sharp intuition made her even more able than Ellis to sense the powerful aura in front of them.
However, Claire used her extraordinary willpower to glare at this unfathomable spirit.
"Y-You, who exactly are you? You're the one who destroyed the city, right!?"
"—Are you asking for my true name? Little girl."
Blazing flames surged from all over the girl's body.
A dust cloud billowed. Claire and Ellis could not help but back away.
"I am displeased by your rude stares. What gives you the gall to look down at me? If your answer fails to satisfy me—"
The girl's figure suddenly vanished like a mirage.
In the next instant, she appeared right before Claire and Ellis all of a sudden.
"Death is the punishment."
Claire's entire body was frozen, like a mouse under a cat's stare.
The terrifying pressure had paralyzed her legs.
From a vortex of flame appearing in the air, a crimson hell cat jumped out to block the girl.
With intensely burning flames released from her entire body, she threatened the spirit in front of them.
Staring at the hell cat at her feet, the girl seemed surprised.
"An amazing spirit. I can see that it is a named spirit."
She instantly discerned Scarlet's rank, but remained unfazed.
(...This implies how powerful this spirit is—)
With sweat emerging from her forehead, Claire desperately racked her brain.
Was there any way to create an opening to escape while this spirit was not attacking with full strength?
Ellis, with the protection of wind, might be able to escape on her own. But with her sense of chivalry, she would never agree to such a suggestion.
Did she recall something?
The spirit with a girl's appearance kept looking back and forth between the hell cat at her feet and Claire.
Extending her index finger, she lightly pointed at Claire's nose.
Bracing herself for a fireball to be shot out from the fingertip, Claire closed her eyes.
"—I have changed my mind."
Claire opened her eyes and made a stupid sound.
"I like you. Hence, I shall overlook your crime of looking down at me."
"What now? Are you dissatisfied?"
Seeing the girl frown, Claire hastily shook her head.
"N-No! B-But why so suddenly..."
"A feeling... You greatly resemble..."
"Greatly resemble? Who?"
"...Who? I do not know either."
A questioning look appeared on Claire's face.
"But in my memory, there is a princess maiden with a face quite similar to yours."
The girl's clear eyes, like rubies, stared at Claire's face.
(...W-What is up with this girl?)
The girl was undoubtedly a high-level spirit, absurdly powerful.
But for such a powerful spirit—
Why would she show such an unsettled expression?
(...Also, a princess maiden who resembles me a lot?)
At this moment, the girl slowly reached out and caught the sleeve of Claire's uniform.
"Hell cat girl, I can pardon your crime, but you must follow my orders."
Claire could not help but react.
...What was she going to demand?
(Will she take Ellis as a sacrifice in exchange for sparing my life?)
Claire would never agree to such a demand—
Looking straight at Claire, the girl spoke.
"Show me around this city—"
Wearing the Garb of the Lord over his clothes, Kamito quickly passed through the corridor leading to the Great Temple of the Celestial Demon.
The place where the Demon King and the Sacred Maiden's final duel had taken place.
He would be able to wield his dual swords freely in that place.
The intruder was Cardinal Millennia Sanctus.
In that case, his opponent would not be someone from a lower tier like Luminaris. If his hunch was correct, the other intruder would be none other than the former Numbers knight who had accompanied Millennia in the attack on the Academy.
(Lurie Lizaldia, huh?)
He had fought her just once.
It was underground beneath the Academy town, in the place called the Demon King's Burial Chamber—
At the time, Kamito had amnesia.
(An elementalist extremely skilled in martial arts. She is stronger than any Numbers knight I have fought.)
However, she was inferior to Greyworth. This was Kamito's impression of her.
Still, she apparently had not gone all out back then—
"Restia, about what the queen said—"
Suddenly remembering something, Kamito spoke to the demon sword of darkness in his hand.
'What is it?'
"Is it true? She said the Holy Lord offered a contract to Demon King Solomon."
'This is my first time hearing of it. I never thought the Demon King's birth would involve the leader of the Elemental Lords—'
"Figures. You didn't know either."
'Yes, I mentioned it before. To the Demon King, I was nothing more than an excellent weapon. I was normally sealed in the ring, forbidden from speaking to him like this. Now that I think about it, he might have known that I was the guide created by the Darkness Elemental Lord—'
"Legends describe him as using seventy-two spirits. But for the Demon King, only that lady Iris was his true contracted spirit..."
While running, Kamito muttered with a strange expression.
"But if what she said was true, why would Holy Lord Alexandros form such a contract with the Demon King?"
Logic dictated that the Five Great Elemental Lords should be responsible for maintaining peace and order in the world.
Hence, that was why they fought the Darkness Elemental Lord who disrupted the world's balance.
(A thousand years ago, was the Holy Lord already insane, corrupted by the Otherworldly Darkness?)
If that were true, it made some sense, but—
(Three years ago, the day I won the Blade Dance, the Holy Lord's throne was empty—)
...Starting when had it been empty? Fifteen years ago, at the previous tournament, or twenty-four years ago when Greyworth won?
Why was the Holy Lord's throne the only one empty?
The mystery was impossible to ravel.
—Was the Holy Lord really corrupted by the Otherworldly Darkness?
(...No matter what, the only way to find out is to ask those Holy Kingdom people, right?)
The Holy Kingdom of Lugia was a religious country that worshiped Holy Lord Alexandros.
They took action according to the will of the missing Holy Lord. This should probably be the case.
Putting his hands on the hilts of his two swords, Kamito quickened his pace.
Lurie Lizaldia advanced straight through the dark space of the Demon King's Tomb.
Demon King Solomon's headquarters in the past, this place was spatially warped, turned into a chaotic labyrinth.
This must be the work of the Tomb's caretaker.
"Petty trick to prevent easy intrusion."
Lurie revealed a faint smile and used spirit magic to dispel the space in front of her.
Once the space was severed, yet another disorganized passage appeared.
"Where is your patience, Yggdra? How unlike you."
"Yes, I am definitely impatient. After all, my wish will soon come true—"
Lurie unleashed harsh holy light at the floor.
The hall's floor instantly collapsed, cracking open to reveal a great dark hole.
Millennia created a spherical force field and the two of them descended gradually.
Yggdra Saint Asoritess.
This was the name of the girl who once harbored dreams of saving mankind.
Born in a border village, she was gifted with talent for healing since birth.
Called the sacred maiden reborn, this girl went all over the world to help villagers suffering in war and the injured on battlefields.
She firmly believed that her mission in the world was to save the weak.
However, at some point, the girl noticed... She realized.
The Ranbal War. During this most cruel war, sparked by conflict between nations—
The people she saved would soon end up sent to the next battlefield. Some of them died while others took many enemy lives.
In the end, her act of saving people only served to generate even more deaths.
For the sake of changing this mad world—
—Fifteen years ago, Yggdra participated in the Blade Dance.
Her intention was to use the Elemental Lords' power of miracles to eliminate hatred from the world.
(—If I put an end to everything, then my deep sins can be forgiven, right?)
Vestments of pure white, without the slightest speck of dirt, fluttered. She looked down into depths of the dark hole.
When holy light illuminated the darkness, the world shall be reborn with everything good and right, yes?
(A world with neither hatred nor war—)
The light from the holy staff held up by Millennia Sanctus illuminated the dark hole.
The two of them descended slowly into what appeared to be a great hall.
The Great Temple of the Celestial Demon, this was where the Sacred Maiden had fought the Demon King in the past.
"Perfect location for a blade dance. Is he here?"
"—Yes. I can sense the other me."
Millennia's violet eye glowed eerily in the darkness.
Countless spirit crystals in the Great Temple of the Celestial Demon lit up.
"Hey there, I've been waiting. Lurie Lizaldia—"
At the same time, a figure appeared out of the darkness.
A young man dressed in black, wielding a demon sword of darkness and a sacred sword of steel—
"We meet again, Ren Ashbell."
Lurie Lizaldia chuckled and slowly reached out into the air.
The winner of the Blade Dance fifteen years ago and the winner from three years ago.
—The Two Blade Dancers met.