Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance:Volume18 Chapter11
Chapter 11 - Angel of the Otherworld
"...Ah, ooh, ahhhhh... Ahhhhhhhhh!"
The darkness dripping out from Millennia Sanctus' left eye was spreading out on the ground.
This dense darkness was able to corrupt Elemental Lords and render them insane—
Millennia writhed in pain, tearing at her left eye.
The spilled darkness stained her pure white vestments, gradually swallowing her.
"...! What the heck are you doing—"
Faced with the girl who was being devoured by the darkness that she herself was generating, Kamito had no idea what to do.
...Was she unable to control the Otherworldly Darkness?
No. No way in hell—
This cardinal had controlled the Otherworldly Darkness many times before.
"Kamito, be careful."
Gripped in his right hand, Est spoke.
"—There is something inside."
"Fufu, so you sensed it, my little sister—"
With half her body swallowed by Otherworldly Darkness, Millennia jeered.
"The Otherworldly Darkness within me is a catalyst for opening a gate—"
"Did you say gate?"
"To summon... The Otherworld..."
The restless Otherworldly Darkness completely swallowed Cardinal Millennia.
Turned into a hovering black sphere in the air, it started vibrating with an earsplitting sound.
"What is going on...?"
"Kamito, hurry, destroy it—"
"...! Got it!"
Hearing Est's urgent voice, Kamito instantly reacted.
"Absolute Blade Arts, Seventh Form—Biting Dragon!"
He unleashed all the divine power gathered in his feet in one go and flew to the air to execute an anti-air interception Absolute Blade Art.
The glow of divine power left a trail of light in the night, dashing through the air like a long dragon.
An invisible barrier appeared around the sphere, deflecting the silver-white blade.
Almost like bouncing away, Kamito was sent flying to crash into the ground.
(...What the heck was that just now!?)
Was it a wall generated by a barrier, or spirit magic—
"...! I can't believe it deflected the Demon Slayer...?"
Kamito looked up and stared into space.
Just then, a crack suddenly appeared in the center of the dark sphere that had swallowed Millennia—
In the next instant, the sphere was ripped apart from within.
Spurting out like blood, Otherworldly Darkness fell all at once, dyeing the ruins black.
Next, two glowing arms emerged from the center of the torn open sphere.
Kamito instantly felt his hairs stand on end with goosebumps.
He felt it instinctively.
This was something that did not belong in this world—
The dark sphere was shredded then it appeared in this world.
An effigy of a warrior, three times a human's height, with golden glowing wings.
The beautiful face formed from pure white stone looked both masculine and feminine.
Glowing with bright light, the jewel-like eyes looked down coldly at the earth.
Muttering in his thoughts, Kamito decided no and shook his head.
(...No. I've seen something similar to it before—)
At the Forest of Ice Blossoms in Laurenfrost, merged with the dominating ice spirit Zirnitra.
The thing possessing Rinslet's younger sister Judia Laurenfrost—
Inside the Otherworldly Darkness surging in the Elemental Lord's shrine, Kamito had seen it.
Cold sweat slowly dripped down the back of his hand.
The Demon Slayer in his hand likewise shook slightly.
Millennia Sanctus had said that she was the gate for summoning it.
To summon this visitor from the Otherworld, neither the human realm nor Astral Zero—
The angel slowly descended to the ground and manifested a single-edged sword in its hand.
The sword's length was twice that of the Demon Slayer.
Facing off against it, Kamito readied the Demnon Slayer and poured divine power into his sword.
Just then, the glowing silver-white sword spoke.
"Yes, I know. It's—"
"I was created for the purpose of destroying them."
Hearing what Est said, Kamito asked in return.
"Est, you know that thing?"
"Yes. The primordial memories sleeping inside me told me. I am—No, the original purpose of every spirit weapon created in this world was to destroy such angels."
Held in his hand, Est was exuding an astounding amount of hostility from her blade.
It was like a beast facing a natural enemy with an unforgivable grudge—
"Spirit weapons huh—"
That term had been uttered by Est herself a number of times before.
They were powerful weapons used to annihilate spirits during the Spirit War. Like her, Ortlinde the Scarlet Valkyrie was also a spirit weapon.
If their original purpose was to fight angels from the Otherworld—
(...Then who was it that created them?)
As though to interrupt Kamito's thoughts—
The angel made a sound in a strange pitch.
"—Kamito, it is coming."
The angel acted.
It slid over like gliding on the ground. In the next instant, it suddenly disappeared from sight.
Immense mass, moving with subsonic momentum—
In response, Kamito used the Demon Slayer to block.
Mustering his entire body's divine power, he strained his hardest to resist the earth-shattering impact.
"Kamito, I need even more divine power—Or else we will be overwhelmed."
"...! I'm already doing my best!"
Even though he had drawn upon such a massive amount of divine power in one breath, Kamito was still pushed back.
With his feet scraping against the ground, Kamito was pushed against a building in the training ground.
His breathing stopped momentarily, Kamito spat out blood.
Without Est's Protection of Steel, he might have been crushed to death.
In front of his eyes was an eerie beautiful face carved from pure white stone.
Without any expression, it kept muttering strange notes the whole time.
(...! What is with this brute strength... Ah...!)
Compared to the graceful looking appearance, its strength far surpassed even that of large militarized spirits.
"Combat memory domain connection established. Analysis complete—Kamito, this is Dunamis."
"What? That's this thing's name?"
"No, a classification to distinguish type. The ones seen before were reconnaissance type, but this one is—"
Just then, the angel's shoulders split open to sprout multiple arms wielding swords of light.
"A pure combat type—"
Kamito shouted. Kicking against the wall in the training ground with one put, he allowed the gathered divine power to explode.
"Absolute Blade Arts, Seventh Form—Biting Dragon Revised!"
The power of this anti-air Absolute Blade Art was supposed to be directed vertically, but he unleashed it towards the front.
With a sound like a cannonball, the wall was instantly blown away. The surging divine power dug up a huge hole in the ground.
The contact point of the blade erupted with violent sparks. The angel's gigantic body was pushed back for an instant.
In that instant, Kamito deflected an incoming blade and swiftly turned around. Lowering his stance, he lunged at the enemy's chest.
"Absolute Blade Arts, First Form—"
Just then, the angel's two wings resonated together to produce strange noise.
Instantly, something resembling tiny glowing runes kept appearing, deploying around the angel.
(...Defense magic!? It's not gonna work!)
Unfazed, Kamito unleashed his sword move.
"—Purple Lightning, Flare!"
The sword traveling with godlike speed at pointblank range erupted with lightning as it struck the angel squarely in belly.
However, the sacred sword's tip, concentrated with divine power, was blocked by the barrier of glowing runes.
Those runes, swiftly rotating around the angel, seemed to resemble High Ancient a little.
(...! What, so it isn't spirit magic!?)
"Anti-field—this rejection barrier has nullified my steel attribute on a conceptual level."
"What the heck!?"
"Not spirit magic. A rewriting of rules. A phenomenon not of this world—"
A halo appeared on the angel's head.
Making a howl resembling supersonic waves, it blew Kamito away.
Kamito somersaulted while regaining balance then immediately readied his sword.
"...Did you say your steel attribute has been nullified? What do you mean?
"Reconnecting to combat memory domain—Begin analysis."
While Est said that, words of High Ancient appeared on her blade and flowed swiftly.
"Est? What the heck are you doing—"
"Due to contact with natural enemy, part of the spirit weapon's memory domain has been released. Kamito, I will analyze the barrier. Until that is done, please buy time for now."
He heard Est's calm voice in his mind.
"If I buy time, you'll have a way to deal with that cheating barrier?"
"Yes, Kamito. Upon the name of Terminus Est—"
The Demon Slayer held in his hands glowed with silver-white light.
In front of the enemy, Est's original combat mode seemed to be awakening.
"...I got it. I'm counting on you, Est."
While creating distance to face off, Kamito cautiously bided his time.
Although the subsonic movement was a threat, it was not impossible to evade as long as he discerned the activation time of the movement.
(—Ren Ashbell isn't gonna lose in contest of speed.)
The angel spread its wings of light and raised one hand to the sky.
Instantly, runes of light turned into countless rings, capturing several demon spirits floating in the air.
(...What the heck is going on this time?)
With the Demon Slayer readied, Kamito remained alert.
As though issuing an order, the angel swung a giant sword forcefully down.
In the next instant, a demon spirit roared and charged at Kamito.
The demon spirit opened their jaws to reveal terrifying teeth and flew at him like a cannonball.
(...Don't tell me it can take control of demon spirits!?)
It was different from how elementalists employed spirits.
It was almost like the spirit's existence itself was rewritten—
Kamito instantly reacted and swung his sword—
"Absolute Blade Arts, Third Form—"
Est's voice rang out. In the nick of time, Kamito chose evasion instead.
Next, the demon spirit exploded.
The violent explosion continued to ring in his ears. Kamito rolled on the ground, dodging the heat wave.
If he had struck the demon spirit directly instead of evading, he would have been blown to bits.
"Spirits can become suicide bombers?"
"Yes. It overwrote the demon spirit's nature to launch a suicide attack."
"It can even do that!?"
While dodging the demon spirits that kept flying over to attack, Kamito muttered to himself.
The angel raised its hand again, seizing control of the demon spirits that kept flowing through the crack in space.
Heat waves from the explosions were scorching Kamito's skin.
It was like using the massive divine power possessed by spirits, turning it into the energy for an explosion.
For example, this would be like nonstop creation of small auto-tracking spirit detonations.
Using an elemental waffe specialized for close quarters combat against them would be really poor compatibility.
(...It's not like I can summon Restia back, right?)
If he called Restia back now, Claire would have to fight alone.
Aiming at Kamito who had evaded the bombardment, the angel shot a new demon spirit projectile.
He looked up at the reddened sky and grumbled in his thoughts. Just then...
Suddenly, Kamito noticed a change in the surrounding scenery.
Hanging in the sky over the Academy was Astral Zero's moon.
"...W-What is going on!?"
In front of the collapsed ruins, Claire looked around in astonishment.
Like a mist of blood, the demon realm's miasma was hanging all around, greatly decreasing visibility.
...The familiar environment of the Academy was practically a different scene.
"—Astral Shift has happened."
Restia spoke softly and calmly.
Even an honors student like Claire had never heard of the term.
"It's a phenomenon when the human realm and Astral Zero temporarily overlap. Although it occasionally happens inside the Spirit Forest, I have never seen one on such a large scale."
"W-What is that..."
Claire spoke with an unsettled look.
"Isn't the point of creating the gate is to summon demon spirits?"
While Claire was in confusion, a great number of demon spirits were still pouring through. The crack slicing through the air became even larger. Large demon spirits started to show up.
"I clearly destroyed the ruins here—"
"Looks like the Astral Shift is limited to the Academy's premises. Had these ruins not been destroyed, perhaps the entire Academy town would have been superimposed with the demon realm."
"Then that means there must be a set of ruins yet to be destroyed."
Restia's sunset-colored eyes stared into the distance.
Claire noticed a measure of worry in those eyes.
(The darkness spirit is worried about Kamito.)
She must want to hurry over to Kamito's side.
Claire gripped Flametongue tightly.
"Go, darkness spirit—"
"Leave this place for Scarlet and me to handle. You go back to Kamito's side—"
Restia thought for a while—
"Unacceptable. I promised Kamito to protect you."
She soon shook her head.
"After Scarlet's true name release, your divine power must be depleted."
Claire bit her lip.
She was right, Claire had definitely consumed quite a lot of her energy.
But even so—
"I will protect myself. After all, I am Kamito's teammate."
Hearing such words from Claire—
Restia shrugged and sighed lightly.
"...Fine. Claire Rouge, I have revised my opinion of you a bit."
Saying that, she plucked a few feathers from her black wings and handed them to Claire.
"Talismans of Darkness. They will surely protect you."
The feathers of darkness spirit Restia were commonly known as Blessings of Darkness.
They were supreme talismans that could not be bought from any shop no matter how much one desired them. In the past, there was even one time when a major nation's royal family started a war because of them. Legendary artifacts indeed.
However, Claire had no idea the priceless value of the gift.
She obediently accepted them.
"—I entrust Kamito to you."
Restia nodded then spread her jet-black wings and flew into the night sky.
Two moons, red and white, were hanging in the sky over the Academy.
Looking at Astral Zero's moon, Kamito was rooted to the spot in astonishment.
"What's happening, Est?"
Even though he asked his partner, she did not reply.
She was evidently focusing her full attention to analyzing the Dunamis angel.
(—Millennia said it was to make the human realm and Astral Zero overlap.)
Astral Shift referred to such a phenomenon?
(What's the purpose of doing that...?)
But wait, the enemy in front of him was more important right now.
The Dumanis kept rewriting the demon spirits flowing out of the gate to become spirit detonations.
Perhaps due to the Astral Shift's effect, the surroundings were gradually corrupted by the demon realm—
The demon spirits serving as raw materials became much larger than before.
...Kamito dared not imagine their firepower.
The angel's wings glowed with blistering light.
—At the same time, it swung down its massive sword like an executioner.
Seven spirit detonations formed from large demon spirits instantly rushed at Kamito in a charging attack.
Since their firepower had increased, Kamito concluded that dodging them by paper-thin margins like earlier would not work.
He had no method of handling suicide bombs coming from seven different directions at the same time.
(What can I do? Should I use steel magic to create daggers out of divine power and pierce all seven at the same time?)
No good. The demon spirits were all mid-level or above.
Using spirit magic to create improvised weapons would not be enough to cause damage, probably.
(I have to take a gamble and use Purple Lightning's godlike speed to race against the explosions—)
Kamito concentrated a great amount of divine power at his feet.
Failure meant getting blown to bits.
"Absolute Blade Arts, First Form—"
"O black lightning, even capable of incinerating souls to oblivion—Hell Blast!"
—A second just before Kamito released his divine power...
Raging jet-black lightning pierced the seven large demon spirits.
Deafening explosions. A terrifying chain reaction took place. Heat from the scorching flames made Kamito's skin hurt.
While shielding his eyes from the flying sparks, Kamito looked up.
Only to see amid the blazing flames that seemed to incinerate the night sky—
Flapping her jet-black wings, the darkness spirit slowly descended.
"Fufu, looks like you are in quite a tough battle, Kamito—"
The spirit seal on his left hand glowed especially brightly.
Landing on the ground, Restia raised her hand lightly and extinguished the blazing flames.
"The ruins over there have been destroyed by Claire Rouge."
Restia replied to the surprised Kamito who was inquiring about what had happened.
"Claire is fine, right?"
"I have her some feathers to serve as talismans. She should be able to endure until she converges with her companions."
"You go back to Kamito's side—That was what she said. What an adorable child."
Claire's feelings warmed Kamito's heart.
"If you're worried about little miss hell cat, hurry up and defeat that thing."
"Yeah, you're right—"
Kamito nodded boldly and took Restia's hand immediately.
"Come, ruler of the night. O merciless goddess of darkness—
Thou art the sword of wisdom, the piercer of truth—!"
He chanted the words of release for an elemental waffe.
—The Demon Slayer and the Vorpal Sword.
Wielding the ultimate sacred and demon swords, Kamito faced the Dunamis angel again.
"—Sorry for making you wait. I am Ren Ashbell, the Strongest Blade Dancer."
The angel's wings of light flashed. That sculpture-like beautiful face still showed no expression—
But it looked confused, apparently.
"Kamito, analysis of concept barrier is complete—"
Words of High Ancient appeared on Est's blade.
"—There is nothing which the ultimate steel cannot cut."
"Well done, Est."
An image of Est puffing out her chest with pride appeared in his mind.
"Let's go, you two—"
"Yes." "I am your sword, your wish is my command—"
The two spirit swords replied at the same time.
Despite bickering frequently, the two of them were very in sync when taking action.
The Dunamis raised its great sword. Emitting strange noise, it created bombs out of demon spirits.
"—Stop thinking you'll win by repeating the same old move!"
Kamito took a deep breath and kicked the ground hard.
While shouting, he aimed at the demon spirits raining down on him.
"O darkness, go and pierce—Vorpal Blast!"
Using Ren Ashbell's signature move, he annihilated them in one strike.
Between the flames and heat waves, Kamito enveloped himself in divine power and charged in one go.
"Absolute Blade Arts, First Form—Purple Lightning Revised!"
Drawing the Demon Slayer, he released divine power.
Instantly, Kamito closed in on his target, stabbing the silver-white sword into armor that resembled a breastplate.
Runes of light appeared in front of the sword's tip to form a barrier, but—
At the same time, runes of light likewise appeared on the Demon Slayer and neutralized the generated barrier.
The silver-white blade pierced the breastplate, shattering that marble-like body.
(The attack worked!)
Kamito cheered in his thoughts. Immediately...
Aiming at the angel's massive stumbling body, he unleashed a series of sword moves in continuous succession—
"Absolute Blade Arts, Third Form—Shadowmoon Waltz!" "Absolute Blade Arts, Sixth Form—Crushing Fang!" "Absolute Blade Arts, Fourth Form—Blaze Slash!" "Absolute Blade Arts, Introductory Form—True Bursting Cherry Blossom Flurry!" "Absolute Blade Arts, Third Form, Alpha Variant—Shadowmoon Waltz, Major Double Turn!" "Absolute Blade Arts, Seventh Form—Biting Dragon Double Blossom!"
Every strike of the Absolute Blade Arts, each capable of a one-hit kill, connected—
The armor covering the angel began to flake off and crumble.
"Absolute Blade Arts, Second Form—Obverse Meteor, Peerless Zetsura!"
A dual-wielding technique using his entire body, he sent the Dunamis' massive body flying.
Smashing against the ruins, the angel lost an arm that snapped off tragically.
The angel seemed unable to comprehend the phenomenon before its eyes.
Expressionlessly, it looked down at its damaged part.
"...What now? First time getting hurt?"
Kamito grinned savagely.
He could feel a violent power that was sleeping inside him gradually awaken.
The divine power's glow covering his entire body had turned black in color.
After he had exhausted his own divine power, Ren Ashdoll's power was starting to surge.
Just then, the angel's massive body slowly stood up.
It swung its sword to point straight up at the sky, rewriting the demon spirits that were flying to and fro.
"...Ha, don't you remember anything at all—"
Kamito used the Vorpal Sword to summon jet-black demon lightning. However—
Instead of charging at Kamito, the demon spirits gathered around the injured angel.
As soon as the strangely shaped cluster of demon spirits touched the angel's armor—
They were absorbed like melted ice.
The angel's damaged body began to gradually regenerate—or rather, reconstruct itself.
"...What the heck, are you kidding me?"
"—It is rewriting the demon spirit's structure to meld with itself."
"Where does it get so many cheating skills from..."
Hearing Est's voice in his mind, Kamito could not help but exclaim in despair.
The angel's entire body was covered by armor resembling a hard shell.
(...Come to think of it, the angel at Laurenfrost also merged with spirits and ice dragons.)
Just then, Kamito recalled that incident.
It was like they had the authority to freely write this world's existence.
That was practically...
"...Damn it. Looks like it's a waste of effort I don't finish it off in one attack."
Kamito shrugged and laughed.
...Confronted with such an absurd being, his only choice was to laugh.
(—Bursting Blossom Spiral Blade Dance, I guess?)
Kamito regulated his breathing while readying his two swords in a stance.
The most destructive of the Absolute Blade Arts, meant to be used against large spirits.
If even this move failed to work—
"Then we're dead meat—"
Kamito muttered to himself sardonically. Just then—
"—Decisiveness is a virtue, but there is only a fine line dividing it from recklessness, lad."
A voice spoke to him from across the sea of fire.
Kamito looked back, only to see a petite girl in a gray overcoat appear before him.
Carrying an ominous demon sword with the color of blood, the girl was making her way towards him.
Under the hood, he could catch glimpses of gray eyes, glimmering faintly in the darkness.
Speechless, Kamito widened his eyes.
The girl took off her hood, her gray hair instantly fluttering in the wind.
Kamito's shout echoed all around.
Yes, she was none other than—
The Greyworth who had gone missing after falling down the canyon in Dracunia.
Having regained her youth as well as her peak capabilities, she had become an assassin for the Holy Kingdom—
"Greyworth, I knew it, you're still alive!"
"Of course. How could the Witch be dead?"
Saying that, the youthful Greyworth grinned.
Seeing that especially nostalgic expression, Kamito understood.
"...You've regained your memory?"
"—Yes. I remember everything. Everything."
Greyworth nodded and looked towards the angel that kept absorbing demon spirits.
"Twenty-four years ago, I saw it too."
"Twenty-four years ago—"
It was the year when Greyworth Ciel Mais had won the Blade Dance.
"However, let us leave that story for later. We must end this before it finishes reconstructing itself."
"Yeah, you're right—"
The Dunamis angel's armor was bulging. Its weight was enough to crush the ground underfoot.
In addition to the demon spirits, it was even starting to absorb the ruins sustaining the gate.
Greyworth drew a blood-colored demon sword—the elemental waffe Vlad Dracul.
Likewise, Kamito readied his two swords and stood beside her.
Ren Ashbell, the Strongest Blade Dancer, and the Dusk Witch—
"—Can you keep up with me, lad?"
"I was gonna ask you the same thing. By the way, didn't I win that blade dance at Dracunia?"
"I had lost my memory then. Doesn't count."
"...You're going with that excuse? Whatever. I'd win no matter how many times we tried again."
"Oh? You've upgraded your mouth, the boy who used to work as a maid in my mansion."
"...Do me a favor and lose your memory again."
The two bickered while amplifying their divine power.
"—End the battle in one strike. It'll be bad if Ren Ashdoll's power continues to eat away at me."
"My intention all along—"
Both of them kicked the ground at the same time.
Like a flash of purple lightning, they instantly rushed to to the gigantic Dunamis angel to engage in close quarters combat.
The angel raised four arms and entered a defensive stance.
"—Can you break them, Greyworth?"
"Hmph, who do you think you're talking to?"
The angel roared. Against the slashing attacks that were like a storm—
With fluid motions to evade, Greyworth delivered heavy blows aimed at the joints.
"Absolute Blade Dance, Alternate Form—Ice Storm Rakshasa!"
A vine of ice shot out from the demon sword's blade to entangle the angel's entire body.
This was an Absolute Blade Art unique to the Witch, a combination of spirit magic and sword technique.
The angel's movements stopped.
—However, runes of light immediately appeared, taking only an instant to erase the magical ice that rivaled Rinslet's Ice Nein.
"Instant disintegration of constitutional elements. All magical effects will be neutralized."
Est explained in Kamito's mind.
"Suits me just fine. Let's see how many times you can neutralize!"
Enveloped in demon lightning, the Vorpal Sword smashed the angel's enlarged legs. Greyworth's demon sword deflected a great sword that was approaching Kamito, then spun around to amputate that arm.
Flash after flash of swords tore through the night—
These movements of swords were almost like a blade dance offered to spirits.
(So this is the Dusk Witch in her prime, huh—)
Kamito clicked his tongue mentally. He was lucky to have won the duel at Dracunia.
"Absolute Blade Dance, Flash Form—Death Butterfly Flash Dance!"
Dodging a storm of violent attacks, Greyworth launched a counterattack. Even though the angel tried to deploy a rune barrier, Est erased it.
Two arms were chopped off. An opening appeared in the enemy's secure defense. In that very instant...
There was no need to signal.
As though they had agreed beforehand...
The two of them unleashed the ultimate Absolute Blade Art at the same time.
" "Absolute Blade Arts, Destructive Form—Bursting Blossom Spiral Blade Dance, Hundred Combination Ashura!" "
Innumerable flashes of the sword criss-crossed and overlapped, turning into a rain of light, flooding the entire space.
It was an ultimate sword technique that originally existed in theory only.
With the Demon King and the Witch performing the strongest Double Absolute Blade Arts together—
—The Dunamis angel was pulverized.