Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance:Volume18 Chapter8
Chapter 8 - The Demon Realm Brought Forth
A gigantic pillar of fire erupted on the street. The atmosphere shook.
The blazing flame in the black night illuminated the bizarre scene.
"What is that!?"
Rushing nearby, Kamito could not help but gawk, rooted to the spot.
Countless cracks were produced in the air—
Terrifying xenomorphic beings were crawling out from these cracks.
Although the xenomorphs had different appearances, in terms of numbers there were at least a couple hundred.
"...! Demon spirits, where are so many coming from!?"
Demon spirits was an umbrella term for spirits whose peculiar mental structure made it impossible for them to form contracts with elementalists.
The majority of demon spirits were violent in nature and would even have a tendency to attack humans and other spirits.
However, there had been virtually no reports of demon spirits manifesting in the human realm.
Even though there were elementalists like Sjora Kahn, known as witches and capable of commanding demon spirits, they were exceptions, after all.
"Why are demon spirits in the Academy town?"
"Looks like it's got something to do with that bizarre gate..."
Kamito looked up at the giant hole in the air above the Academy's school building.
The demon spirits were apparently attacking the barricades erected by the students. Although the students had deployed barriers to resist, at this rate, their defenses were going to be breached.
"Rakka, you girls go protect the barricades. Let us take care of the demon spirits."
Ellis gave directions to her Sylphid Knight comrades.
"Worry not. Despite their numbers, I do not see any particularly strong foe."
"Yes, leave it to us."
Saying that, Ellis and Claire deployed their elemental waffen.
Rakka silently nodded and ran towards the barricades.
Noticing their movements, the demon spirits pounced on them.
"I shall not allow them to succeed! Freezing fangs of ice, go forth and pierce—Freezing Arrow!"
Magic arrows of ice poured down like rain, piercing dozens of demon spirits in one go.
Rinslet went "hmph" and tossed her hair with pride.
"I shall provide cover fire. Very well, make haste—"
"...! You have my utmost gratitude, daughter of Margrave Laurenfrost!"
The Sylphid Knight students were surrounded by countless arrows of ice. The demon spirits pouncing on them had all been pierced by Rinslet's accurate marksmanship.
"Lowly demon spirits, how dare you trample the Academy town under our protection—"
Tranquil rage could be seen in Velsaria's ice-blue eyes. She placed her hand on her chest.
Inside a spirit crystal glowing with ominous light, her fortress spirit was sealed.
The Juggernaut was a spirit of mass destruction, capable of slaughtering even archdemon-class spirits.
If she were to use this power, annihilating the demon spirits in one breath would be easy.
"My esteemed sister—"
Just as she was about to deploy her spirit, Ellis grabbed her arm.
"Your fortress spirit is too draining. Leave this to us—"
"Oh? You are commanding me now, Ellis?"
Velsaria looked at her adoptive sister and smiled fearlessly.
"...! My esteemed sister, I—"
"No, I am praising you."
Velsaria shook her head and put down her hand.
"That power of yours that had matured during the Blade Dance. Show it fully to me."
Ellis instantly straightened her back and picked up Ray Hawk.
"Muir's militarized spirits will make short work of these things, but let Muir have a look at these Onee-chans' abilities first."
Saying that, Muir nimbly jumped onto a rooftop.
"Wait, come on...!"
"No, that is perfect."
Kamito stopped Claire, who was glaring at Muir.
Muir's special power, the Jester's Vise, was akin to a curse and would drive militarized spirits to the point of collapsing.
Before they figured out why demon spirits were appearing in great numbers, it would be best to keep such a trump card unused.
"The three of us are doing it. Claire, what formation?"
"The anti-army Blitz Lightning—Wipe them out in one go."
Kamito, Claire and Ellis deployed their respective elemental waffen.
Team Scarlet had used code names for their tactical formations in order to win the Blade Dance tournament. There were a total of twenty-four combinations, capable of rapidly adjusting to enemy characteristics on the battlefield. Since their core defense, Fianna, was absent, while Rinslet was providing support fire at the barricades, the formation was undertaken by the three of them this time.
Kamito, the close combat specialist, was in the center, flanked by Claire and Ellis.
This was a super offensive formation abandoning all defense, seeking to blitz the enemy.
"Let's go—Est, Restia!"
"Yes, Kamito. Your wish is my command—"
"Fufu, let's go wild."
Pouring divine power into the twin swords of steel and darkness, Kamito rushed into the crowd of demon spirits.
"Absolute Blade Arts, Third Form—Shadowmoon Waltz, Black Thunder Dual Strike!"
The Demon Slayer in his right hand sliced through the black night with a trail of silver-white light.
The Vorpal Sword in his left hand devoured darkness, spreading jet-black lightning all around.
Wherever Kamito went, the torrent of white and black followed him like a shadow, mercilessly tearing apart each and every demon spirit.
"We're going too, Scarlet!"
Claire swung Flametongue.
With a whoosh, there was a sound slicing through the air—
"All of you, turn into charcoal—Flare Blaze!"
In the next instant, the demon spirits in front of her were all set aflame.
This was a move executed by imbuing Flametongue with the ultimate spirit magic of Hell Blaze. Following the slash that swept through darkness, scorching flames kept surging to devour demon spirits nonstop.
With her crimson twintails flying in the air, she danced spectacularly in the night, reminiscent of Rubia's ritual dance performance.
As for the barricades in the streets, the students were in disarray due to the sudden arrival of Kamito's team.
Under the holy light of an isolation barrier, noisy voices sounded.
"Isn't that Team Scarlet!?"
"That problem child from Raven Class, Claire Rouge the Hell Cat!"
"That boy... Uh, Kazehaya... The Lecherous King... That's right, the Lecherous King!"
"Demon King of the Night!"
...Despite the odd comment mixed in there, it looked like they had noticed the arrival of comrades at least.
"Ellis, counting on you over there!"
Running, Ellis spun Ray Hawk and flew.
"Fahrengart Style of the Spear—Wind of Death!"
With a terrifying technique name, she launched her spear towards the remaining demon spirits.
The magic spear flew like a bolt of lightning and kept piercing demon spirits.
It was an absolutely unavoidable spear strike, guaranteed to hit.
With her residual momentum, Ellis landed on the barricade.
"Heh, that's pretty good."
Seeing that, Muir whistled from the rooftop.
Under the combined attacks of Kamito's team, the demon spirits were virtually wiped out.
As Kamito and company made their way to the barricade, the students instantly cheered.
After all, they were the victorious team at the Blade Dance tournament. From the seniors down to the lower years, no one did not recognize Kamito's team.
"Th-The Demon King of the Night is coming, what shall I do..."
"I heard you'll get pregnant just by meeting his gaze—"
"But just now, he looked a bit cool, right?"
"Y-Yes, that's true..."
...However, Kamito's fame seemed to have a different source.
A familiar voice was heard from amid the students.
Out came Raven Class' homeroom teacher, Ms Freya Grandol.
Evidently, she had taken part in the student uprising movement.
"I have heard the gist from them. Welcome."
Saying that, Ms Freya motioned with her gaze towards Rakka and the others further in.
While Kamito and his friends were fighting the demon spirits, the Sylphid Knight girls had apparently told the teacher about them.
"We've heard about roughly what happened here too. Things are crazy."
"Indeed, who could have expected the glorious Imperial Knights to have summoned demon spirits?"
Ms Freya spoke quietly with a look of disdain.
"What exactly are those demon spirits...?"
Freya shook her head at Claire's question.
"I just saw a pillar of light appear over the Academy and then suddenly they were here."
"Who could have expected demon spirits to appear in the human realm..."
"That is completely unheard of."
Rinslet nodded with a strange expression.
Just as she had pointed out, demon spirits usually did not appear in the human realm.
Although Sjora Kahn had summoned a great horde of demon spirits during the Blade Dance tournament, it was only possible inside Astral Zero after all.
Right now, what on earth was happening?
"Regardless, it was all thanks to you that our defenses held up. Allow me to express my gratitude."
"Too soon to say that. There's no telling when those demon spirits might appear again."
Kamito looked towards the Academy's school building, staring at the pillar of light reaching to the sky.
Saying that, Freya turned around and invited Kamito's group inside.
"This is no place to stand and chat. Come over, let us discuss our next step."
"Where are we going?"
"There is a restaurant nearby called the Sablefish Pavilion. It is perfect as a conference room."
"I know it. A commoner's shop, isn't it?"
"Yes, that is the place—"
It was where Vivan Melosa of Murders had lurked as a waitress.
Kamito remembered Est ordering an extra large parfait there. It was a crazy situation that time.
"Did anyone get hurt during the attack just now?"
With a pained expression, Ellis looked to the sides of the passage.
Several students were receiving treatment from spirit magic.
"Yes. But thanks to you guys, there were no deaths."
"We wouldn't have made it if she hadn't told us about a shortcut."
"Now that I think about it, I'm surprised we made it in time..."
"We have arrived—"
Freya pushed open the door of the Sablefish Pavilion under lighting.
"W-Welcome! Would you like some food? Or rest a little—Kyah!"
Just then, a girl walked briskly down the stairs—
Then with a thud, she tripped over spectacularly.
"Ooooh~, it hurts..."
Rubbing her head while crawling up, this girl in a maid uniform was very familiar to them.
"Carol, are you alright!?"
The girl in the maid outfit swiftly stood up and threw herself into Rinslet's embrace.
"Milady, I have been so worried about you!"
"Yes, Carol, I have missed you so much."
The master and servant of the Laurenfrost family hugged each other tightly.
While Kamito's group were on the run from the Empire and exiled to Dracunia, Carol had stayed at the Academy instead of returning to the Laurenfrost home.
Her intention was to endure and wait for her master's return as Rinslet's maid, but precisely because of that, she unfortunately got roped into the Academy rebellion.
"Milady, have you been well in my absence?"
Pulling out a chair for her master, Carol wiped the corner of her own eye.
"Yes, please rest assured."
Hearing that, Carol seemed a bit depressed.
"Ah, uh, of course, I was sad without seeing you!"
Rinslet hastily covered for herself, prompting Carol to hug her tightly again.
"Carol, do you work at this shop?"
Just then, Claire asked.
"Yes, I work here part time."
"...You're quite resilient."
"Speaking of which, I also work at a crepe store."
It looked like she was quite serious about her work outside of being a maid.
"After the Academy came under occupation, what happened to our rooms?"
"The Knights took over Raven Class' dorm building, apparently to use as their own quarters."
Claire slumped her shoulders dejectedly.
"Did my precious books and treasures get thrown out?"
"Please rest assured, Miss Claire."
"All the personal belongings from your rooms are with me."
"Yes, I took everything and ran when we were evicted."
"Well done, Carol."
Carol smiled, took out a notebook and licked the end of her pen.
"Miss Rinslet's treasure box contains the Laurenfrost seal. Family heirloom, Dagger of Magic Ice. Also the doll given to her from Miss Claire when they seven, a toy ring from Miss Claire at age eight, also..."
Rinslet blushed heavily and covered Carol's mouth.
"...Y-You kept them all as treasure."
Claire murmured softly.
"Miss Claire's personal belongings include canned peaches, textbooks on spiritology, buried deep in the shelves were Noble Young Ladies Flourishing in the Night, Do you like wanton cats?, The Giant Bust Spirit Exists for Real—"
"H-Hold on a second! Why do you know about hidden books!?"
"Excuse me, do all noble daughters read such racy books?"
"Immoral books must be confiscated according to the rules."
Ellis spoke sternly.
"Miss Ellis' Ren Ashbell-sama Fan Club bulletin notes have been kept safely too."
"Th-Thank you so much! Those are precious materials impossible to gather again!"
Ellis held Carol's hands in gratitude.
(On the other hand, I'd rather burn it all immediately...)
Kamito groaned in his mind.
Carol smiled happily and said:
"Let me bring you something warm. I am sure all of you are hungry."
"Allow me to cook. Carol, are there any ingredients?"
"Yes. Though not a lot, we do have a bit of flour."
"Good enough. Claire, I am borrowing Scarlet."
Scarlet skipped along and followed Rinslet.
"Muir will help taste test."
Saying that, Muir ran into the kitchen too.
Watching the back of his adopted little sister, Kamito felt his heart warmed up.
While Rinslet was in the kitchen, Kamito explained to Freya everything that had happened so far.
"—And so, we came back to take back the Academy."
The intelligent homeroom teacher soon understood his words and nodded.
"In other words, whether the Academy rebellion succeeds or not shall determine the shift in allegiances and the political landscape in the Empire."
"Yeah. Once news of the Academy's recapture spreads, the neutral nobles will throw their support behind Fianna."
"Indeed, calls for the second princess' return are not uncommon among the populace. News of your great achievement in the Theocracy in stopping Leviathan, have reached here too."
"The Empire's people all hope for Fianna's ascension to the throne."
"Indeed. Currently, Arneus' reign is poor no matter how you mince words. However, there are nobles who would rather accept an incompetent monarch than see the beautiful and wise princess in power."
"Have these people realized the shadow of the Holy Kingdom behind the current Emperor?"
"Of course they have. The Holy Kingdom's cardinal has been strutting about in Nefescal Palace. However, they still choose to obey and ingratiate themselves to those in power."
Ms Freya curled her gorgeous lips with mockery.
"By the way, I never expected the glorious Imperial Knights to resort to such tricks—"
Ellis spoke loudly with anger on her face.
Having admired the Knights, she probably could not accept such an atrocity.
"So they have abandoned all scruples—"
Having installed a curse armament seal on herself before, Velsaria murmured.
"However, it is incomprehensible. Once news of releasing demon spirits against students spread out, it will surely cause a huge outrage."
"...That is true indeed."
Freya agreed with Claire.
Except for the Alphas Theocracy, demon spirits were taboo in every country.
If Ordesia's knights were to use them, it would bring all the countries on the continent to condemn them. The nobles in the Empire would also resent Arneus for authorizing such an act.
Also, if they were to quell the rebellion by any means necessary, they could have deployed militarized spirits directly. Why go such lengths to summon demon spirits?
"The summoning of demon spirits is a side effect at most."
With a flutter of black feathers floating down, Restia appeared next to Kamito.
"Their true goal is probably something else."
"What do you mean?"
"What do you think that pillar of light is?"
Saying that, Restia looked out the window.
The pillar of light they had seen from the streets earlier, was currently penetrating the dense clouds in the sky.
Eerie red light was leaking from the gaps in the clouds.
Everyone shook their head silently. Evidently, even Freya was stumped.
"—That is a gate to the demon realm."
"Yes, contrasting with the holy sanctuary, there is a place in Astral Zero known as the demon realm. It is where the majority of demon spirits reside."
Restia looked back at Kamito and the others.
"That pillar of light is the gate for opening a connection to there."
"A gate connecting to Astral Zero? How do you open something like—"
Mid-sentence, Claire widened her eyes.
"Don't tell me, they used the ruins from the spirit forest...!?"
"Yes, that is correct."
Restia nodded slowly.
"Such an immense gate is possible to open so long as resonance is produced from the power of multiple ruins. Those demon spirits earlier came from the demon realm through the gate."
"Then why would they do this...?"
"Then I have no idea..."
Saying that, she shook her head.
"But if we let it continue, the gate will swallow this town sooner or later."
"What did you say!?"
"What is going on!?"
Claire and Ellis shouted at the same time. Velsaria frowned too.
"Please look. Isn't the red glow between the clouds increasing?"
Taking a closer look, she was right. The red light's brightness had increased from earlier.
That light came from Astral Zero, huh—
Suppose the gate continued to enlarge, then surely even bigger quantities of demon spirits than earlier would surge into the Academy town.
"...They must not succeed!"
Claire's ruby-like eyes burned with flames in them.
"Yes. As captain of the Sylphid Knights protecting the Academy, I shall not allow this to happen!"
Ellis stood up too.
"So what can we do?"
Just then, Ms Freya spoke.
"Since they are using the ruins' power to open the gate to the demon realm, all we need to do is destroy the ruins and the gate should vanish, right?"
"Indeed. Gates leading to Astral Zero are very unstable. Once the ruins are destroyed, it should vanish naturally."
Hearing Claire, Restia nodded.
"But the Academy has been turned into a fort by the Imperial Knights. Infiltrating will not be easy."
Velsaria pointed out.
"Can't we use your shadow magic to slip in, Ms Freya?"
"Unfortunately, that will not work. The army's alert line will be triggered."
Normally, it would not be a problem, but given the current situation, there were probably many sensing-type barriers set up. In that case, even Kamito and Muir would find it difficult to sneak in unnoticed.
"What about negotiations? Ellis knows many people in the Knights, right?"
"...Negotiations will probably be difficult. I have no right to criticize anyone, but the Imperial Knights are very stubborn."
"If even you say that, then their stubbornness is definitely no ordinary stubbornness."
Claire shrugged slightly.
"So that leaves storming in from the front huh—"
"...That is the only way to go."
"Are you all serious?"
Asked Ms Freya.
"I know it's very reckless but I can't just stand back and watch the Academy get trampled by demon spirits."
Kamito nodded slowly.
"To me, the Academy is a very precious place."
Claire showed surprise as she looked at Kamito.
Equally surprised, Restia also looked at Kamito.
These were Kamito's true feelings that had slipped out naturally.
Even though he had only lived at the Academy for two months—
Kamito had experienced so many new things for the first time during that period.
Encountering his comrades. Training night and day to participate in the team battles. Working part time in the Academy town, the Valentine Festival, training camp, mystery hot pot, and even hunting the legendary giant bust spirit.
Every incident was a precious memory for Kamito—
And those memories were all born inside the place called Areishia Spirit Academy.
"Yes, me too."
Next, Ellis added.
"Me too, Kamito."
"It is the same for me!"
Just then, Rinslet came out of the kitchen, bringing sandwiches.
"These are Laurenfrost lucky charms."
Muir had her cheeks stuffed full... So cute, like a squirrel.
"But I disagree with storming in without a plan. Let us discuss our plan of action first."
"...I guess you're right."
Kamito steepled his hands on the table and fell into deep thought.
Indeed, breaking into the Academy from the front would probably be very hard.
Was there some way to cause a great diversion first—
Suddenly, Kamito thought of something.
"What is it?"
"Back when I lost my memory, wasn't there a treasure vault of the Demon King that appeared underground of the Academy town?"
So he asked Ellis.
"Yes, that Burial Chamber, right?"
Ellis nodded. She had entered that Burial Chamber together with Kamito.
Indeed, that incident was the reason why the Imperial Knights started garrisoning the Academy in the first place.
Instigated by Millennia, the spirits in the Academy went on a rampage, causing a great calamity.
At the time, Kamito had amnesia due to the blow of losing Restia, but the after coming into contact with Est in the Burial Chamber under the Academy, he recovered his memory.
Summoned as result of Kamito's awakening, the Burial Chamber was where many artifacts and sealed spirits used by the legendary Demon King Solomon in the past were sealed.
"You're going to retrieve the Demon King's weapons, lying dormant in the Burial Chamber, right?"
Claire instantly reacted.
But Ms Freya shook her head.
"Unfortunately, you are too late."
"Reportedly, the Imperial Knights have taken away all the treasure in the underground historical site. Ancient artifacts and powerful sealed spirits, I expect they are all being kept in the Academy's Sealed Library now."
This made sense too. It was only natural that the army would intervene when ancient and valuable artifacts had been dug up.
"Looks like your plan is foiled."
"No, not entirely. This is an opportunity, actually."
Saying that, Kamito reached into his chest pocket.
"Ah. Kamito, I know what you're thinking."
Seeing that, Restia whispered quietly.
As expected of his longtime partner.
"Yeah, we're gonna use everything at our disposal."
Carrying Second Princess Fianna, Legitimate Ordesia's flagship, the Revenant, had met up with Dracunia's Flying Dragon Knights in Laurenfrost airspace.
Composed entirely of dragon riders, the Flying Dragon Knights were renowned as the continent's strongest.
There were even rumors that Dracunia had stubbornly refused to build a fleet of massive flying ships because they felt that military ships slower than dragon riders had no strategic value.
Under the moonlight, dozens of lying dragons were arranged in a neat and orderly formation.
On the ground, a great bonfire was lit at Winter Gulf Castle. The soldiers serving the family of Margrave Laurenfrost were preparing for battle in an orderly fashion.
Fianna and Rubia were standing on the deck to stoke up morale.
"The neutral nobles still have yet to declare their position."
While staring at the Kyria Mountain Range towering ahead, Fianna spoke.
Although there were a few nobles who had secret correspondence with her and had agreed to march, in the end, the only ones who responded to her call to take action were the anti-Arneus nobles.
"Until the situation clears up, I doubt they will take any action. However, once we recapture the Academy, the situation will tilt in our favor."
Rubia replied. There was no emotional fluctuation in her voice at all.
Fianna withdrew her hand from the railing on the ship's side.
"Are you worried about Claire?"
This time, Rubia did not answer.
However, Fianna did not miss the subtle tensing in her fingers.
"She will be fine. After all, Kamito-kun is there."
The incoming wind caused the two girls' long hair to flutter.
At the latest, their war against the Empire was going to begin in the morning.
(...We must prevail against time.)
Fianna bit hard on her lip that had lost color in the cold wind.
Just then, the crystal in Rubia's hand glowed.
At the same time, a large image was projected in the air.
It was a pitch-black shadow with the appearance of a giant dragon.
"...! Lord Dragon King!"
Surprised, Fianna looked up.
"Princess of Ordesia, you have done very well in the mission to quell the Theocracy's civil war."
The giant dragon silhouette's solemn voice resounded across the entire deck.
"I hereby recognize Legitimate Ordesia as Dracunia's ally and pledge to fight the Holy Kingdom together."
"Thank you for your reinforcements, Lord Dragon King."
Fianna bowed deeply towards the image in the air.
"So, how is the battle situation?"
"More than half the nobles are taking the Emperor's side. The remainder will depend on the situation at the Academy."
"—Hmm, not unusual. The Academy is tantamount to the Empire's heart."
Dracunia's Dragon King spoke gravely.
"But rest assured. I have made arrangements on that front too."
"...What do you mean?"
Fianna blinked her dusk-colored eyes.
"I have sent the strongest dragon to that heart."
"My esteemed sister, I leave this in your hands."
"Rest assured. I shall not let even an ant pass."
Facing Ellis, who was in front of the barricade looking back, Velsaria nodded briefly.
According to Claire's attack plan, Velsaria and Muir would stay behind to guard the barricade.
The attacking demon spirits were sure to be back. Since the gate connected to Astral Zero kept expanding, it was highly likely that the next wave would be bigger than the one before. Moreover, openings were about to appear in the barrier set up by the princess maidens.
Hence, it was necessary for Velsaria, capable of deploying the ultimate fortress spirit, and Muir, able to employ militarized spirits, to stay behind as guardians.
"Leave this to us, Captain."
Carrying her hammer elemental waffe on her shoulder, Rakka said.
"As Vice-Captain of the Sylphid Knights, I will protect the students well."
Saying that, Reishia nodded too.
"Yes, I wish you the best of luck."
Ellis shook hands firmly with her best friends.
"...Ah~ ah~, Muir wants to go raise hell with Onii-sama too."
Muir was pouting unhappily.
"Why must Muir protect small fry?"
"Because you're the best suited to it. Hunt down and clean up those demon spirits."
Claire crossed her arms and said.
"Stop ordering others and acting all high and might, you flat-chested charcoal girl."
"W-What are you talking about!? Y-You're the flat-chested one!"
With twintails standing up on end, Claire roared angrily.
"Yeah~ right~, Muir is still growing. Right, Onii-sama?"
Saying that, Muir hugged Kamito's waist.
"Uh, yeah, right..."
Kamito placed his hand on Muir's head.
"Muir, I'm counting on you. Protect everyone."
He gently stroked her ash-gray hair.
"...O-Okay, got it, Onii-sama."
Muir partially closed her eyes in bliss and nodded obediently.
"Kamito, pet me too."
Seeing Est hug him too, Kamito began to pet her on the head at the same time.
"Sheesh, all you do is indulge that adopted sister and Est!"
Seeing that, Claire was so angry that she cracked her whip loudly.
Behind Kamito and the others—
"Th-There is more, kyah—"
"Uwawa, milady, are you alright!?"
Passing out snacks to those in the front lines, Rinslet was surrounded by spirits.
"Rinslet, stop playing around. We have to go."
"I-I am not playing around!"
Kamito smiled wryly and looked out at Academy in the distance.
The pillar of light, rising into the clouds, it reminded him of the light from the sacred maiden he had seen at the Demon King City.
"Kamito, we are counting on you."
Hearing Ms Freya's words, Kamito nodded briefly.