Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance:Volume18 Chapter9
Chapter 9 - Offense and Defense at the Academy
Ominous clouds were hanging low in the sky.
Kamito and company were running in the Academy town where thick miasma was swirling.
Going through the Sylph district, a dense residential area, they rushed straight to the main entrance to the Academy's school building—
This distance was quite short for a well-trained elementalist, but the worry was that more and more demon spirits would surge out from the dimensional gap as time went by.
(...We are in a race against time.)
Looking up at the giant gate in the sky, Kamito muttered to himself.
"The Academy's school building is in sight."
"Charge it in one breath!"
Claire swung Flametongue in her hand.
With a crimson slash sweeping through the air, demon spirits appearing out of nothing were instantly destroyed.
Noticing the unusual situation, the guards in front of the gate manifested elemental waffen in their hands.
There were five of them. They looked like elite spirit knights.
(...As expected of the Empire's knights. They are well-trained.)
"Charging at us with merely four people... Are they mad!?"
The apparent leader shouted, swinging a mighty hammer.
The shockwave was released radially, tearing up stone tiles on the street.
"O eternal magic ice, turn into a solid castle wall—Ice Wall!"
Rinslet instantly recited defensive spirit magic.
Rising from the ground, the wall of ice blocked the shockwave and debris completely.
Stepping hard on the ice wall in front of her, Ellis jumped into the air.
Raising Ray Hawk, she launched it at the main entrance.
"Fahrengart style of the spear, secret technique—Storm Strike!"
A whirlwind began to swirl, contracting at the spear tip.
The thrown Ray Hawk tore through the air as a flash of light, producing a spiral shockwave.
The Academy entrance was immediately contorted, then blown away in an instant.
The spear turned back into the shape of a demon bird spirit. Circling in the air, Simorgh returned to Ellis' arm.
Standing on the wall of ice, Ellis looked down at the Empire's knights with her blue hair fluttering in the wind.
Seeing her like that—
"...! Don't tell me it's Lady Ellis!?"
The apparent leader of these knights exclaimed in surprise.
"You are the Fahrengart's flagbearer, Inase-dono of the van Browa family, are you not?"
"Indeed. I am Inase van Browa, Captain of the Imperial Knights!"
Answering Ellis, the captain introduced herself openly. As the Fahrengart's flagbearer, she was supposed to be a knight swearing allegiance to Ellis.
However, Inase continued to keep her elemental waffe raised.
Presumably, she intended to remain loyal to her military position.
"Inase-dono, why would an honorable knight like you oppress students!?"
Ellis hated beating around the bush and true to her usual style, went straight to the point.
"I am a knight serving His Majesty the Emperor. I must complete the assigned mission."
The captain's answer left no room for mercy.
"So the Imperial Knights' methods include the use of demon spirits now?"
This time, it was Claire who shouted.
"...! It was the work of the Holy Kingdom. We have nothing to do with it."
"Did you say the Holy Kingdom!?"
(...As expected, the Holy Kingdom is involved, huh?)
Kamito commented in his thoughts. Naturally, he had thought that possibility highly likely to begin with. However, to summon demon spirits in great numbers was an act that would lead to disaster once the surrounding nations found out. Since such an act received military authorization, it meant that Ordesia's higher-ups currently had no power to resist the Holy Kingdom.
"You have admitted your guilt. If you stand by and allow it, you are complicit!"
Hearing Rinslet's harsh and valid criticism, the captain became speechless.
"Inase-dono, you will only bring shame to the van Browa family name if you continue to let the Holy Kingdom do as it wishes."
"Even so, I shall never turn back from my oath of loyalty!"
Inase van Browa replied with determination.
"...! Even though I am in no place to say this, I must call you out on your stubbornness!"
"Ellis, looks like you're actually quite flexible for a knight..."
"Captain, I have revised my opinion of you."
Ellis coughed and readied Ray Hawk.
"It is pointless to continue the discussion. Allow me to break through by force!"
"Break through by force? Do you intend to make enemies out of every spirit knight garrisoned here!?"
Alarms kept sounding all around. The militarized surveillance spirits flying in the sky aimed searchlights at Kamito's group.
Reinforcements were apparently arriving.
(...Fine, it's time to take a gamble.)
Kamito wiped away cold sweat while he reached into his chest pocket.
What he took out was a silver ring carved with High Ancient.
This was the Demon King's Ring for commanding the seventy-two spirits.
Although Kamito could only use this ring to control one spirit at a time—
If he eschewed control and simply used it to liberate sealed spirits, there was no limit.
Kamito raised the ring and poured divine power into it.
"As the Demon King's successor, I hereby command. Awaken from your thousand-year-long slumber and flaunt your power to your hearts' content!"
The Ring glowed with intense light.
That blinding brightness frightened the Empire's knights.
Rumble, rumble rumble, rumble rumble rumble rumble rumble rumble...!
In the next second, earthquake sounds kept appearing—
A great explosion happened in the Academy.
"W-What on earth is going on...!?"
The captain of the Imperial Knights sounded confused.
They turned their head to look back—
Only to see an unbelievable scene before their eyes.
A gigantic dragon spirit with as many as eight heads. A two-headed giant wielding a humongous wooden club. A great serpent shrouded in lightning. An enormous turtle with a weird mountain of rock on its back. A warrior clad in armor of steel—
Every spirit was powerful enough to rival archdemon-class.
"—Five, no, six of them. More than I expected."
Restia's voice sounded in Kamito's mind.
What Kamito had liberated were the Demon King's minion spirits that the army had taken from the Demon King's Burial Chamber to safekeep. Although earlier Restia was uncertain whether primordial powerful spirits would heed Kamito's voice, now it was evidently a winning gamble.
Confronted with the sudden appearance of multiple archdemon-class spirits, the Imperial Knights panicked.
"Go wild all you like, servants of the Demon King!"
Kamito continued to pour divine power into the ring and shouted. The Demon King's Ring instantly shattered into fragments.
"Kamito, that was pretty good Demon King style. I award you six Demon King points."
"What kind of stupid points are those..."
Hearing Restia sounding a bit happy, Kamito could not help but retort.
"Anyway, now is the time to charge!"
With dual swords of white and black in his hands, Kamito charged into the knights.
"...! What happened!?"
The current master of the headmistress' office stood up from her chair and shouted anxiously.
Taken over by the Imperial Knights, the headmistress' office of Areishia Spirit Academy had become the room of Alendora Eva Abyne, commander of the garrisoned force.
Among the aristocracy, the family of Duke Abyne was only second to House Fahrengart in prestige. In addition to her family background, Alendora's power as a spirit knight was also top-notch. Graduating from the Academy as the valedictorian, she currently held the position of Seventh of the Numbers. She was widely known as the user of a void spirit.
As someone of such stature, Alendora was stunned speechless after seeing the scene outside the window.
Large xenomorphic spirits had demolished the Academy's Sealed Library and came out of it.
They were on a rampage and currently attacking the Academy's school building.
No one had any grasp of the current situation.
Why would these spirits, supposed to have been sealed, suddenly awaken?
With a contorted expression, Alendora smashed the headmistress' office's window.
"Fufu, why are you so agitated? Seeing as your are Seventh of the Numbers."
She shouted angrily and turned her head back, only to see the Holy Kingdom's Cardinal standing in front of the door.
"I did not permit you to enter, Dame Millennia."
"I do not need your permission."
The young girl with an eye patch and dressed in holy vestments smiled nonchalantly.
"Do know that I was sent by his Majesty Emperor Arneus and granted full authority."
Alendora gritted her teeth. She had always viewed with disdain this cardinal who did whatever she wanted, taking full advantage of the Emperor's decree, despite being among the Imperial Knights.
"What is the matter with this utter mess? Don't tell me this is another of your experiments?"
"No, incorrect. The Demon King is the one responsible—"
"What did you say?"
"Kazehaya Kamito has apparently arrived with his companions to recapture the Academy."
There was probably no one in Ordesia who did not know this name by now.
He was the one and only male elementalist in the world.
He was also the ace of Team Scarlet who had obtained victory in the Blade Dance.
At the same time, he was also the wanted criminal who had infiltrated the imperial capital to assist Second Princess Fianna's escape from prison.
"What a joke! How could a handful of people hope to take this military stronghold—"
"He did stop the strategic-class militarized spirit Leviathan in the Theocracy."
The cardinal girl laughed, somewhat amused.
Indeed, he was not an opponent to be trifled with.
Currently, the Imperial Knights were in huge disarray—
"I shall personally take to the front line. I suppose even higher-ranking knights might not be able to handle a Blade Dance victor."
With a flutter of her pure white cape, Alendora gallantly turned around and exited the office.
After taking a few glances at her as she left—
Millennia Sanctus murmured softly.
"Unfortunately, you are no match for him either."
She spun around and looked up at the reddened sky outside the cracked window.
"Time to begin. Astral Shift."
In the next instant, countless cracks appeared in the air.
Six spirits, minions of the Demon King, liberated from their thousand-year-long slumber, were running amok, looking as though they were showing off their strength. It looked like a battle between giant monsters.
Everything was unfolding as Kamito had hoped. The Imperial Knights were in utter confusion.
"On the other hand, I'm worrying whether the Academy might turn into rubble!"
While defeating the Imperial Knights standing in his way, Kamito commented.
"Since they have so many knights, I'm sure they'll find a way."
Running beside him, Claire replied.
A total of six spirits, rivaling or even surpassing archdemon-class...
However, if they mobilized spirit knight battalions equipped with militarized spirits, they should manage to vanquish them.
"Send out the anti-spirit Kerberos! Deploy every Glasya-Labolas too!"
Kamito could hear what sounded like the voice of a commander knight. Although the knights deployed militarized spirits in a scattered manner, they soon lost against the Demon King's spirits because they could not muster an organized formation.
"The latest militarized spirits are getting taken out one after another!"
Saying that, Ellis turned pale.
"W-Will they demand compensation later on?"
"Sheesh, there's no use worrying about so much!"
"The princess will think of something!"
Kamito swung the Demon Slayer, chopping a large Glasya-Labolas in two.
In the center of the vast training ground, the pillar of light extended all the way to sky, forming a giant gate in midair. Three smaller pillars of light were sustaining that gate.
Under them were probably the ruins transported from the Spirit Forest.
The Imperial Knights did not seem aware that Kamito's team was targeting the ruins.
To destroy the ruins at three locations in one go, before they could bolster their defenses—That was the plan concocted by Claire.
"We're gonna split up three ways here."
Kamito was in charge of the ruins deepest in the Academy, located in the direction of the large training ground. Ellis and Rinslet were responsible for the ruins towards the old cathedral in the northwest. As for the dormitory buildings in the northeast side—
At this moment, Kamito released the Vorpal Sword.
The jet-black demon sword transformed into endless darkness that turned into the black-winged darkness spirit.
"—I look forward to working with you, Claire Rouge."
Restia landed next to Claire.
Indeed, Claire and Restia were the ones heading to the third set of ruins.
So long as he had Est in hand, Kamito was enough to fight by himself.
This was the conclusion reached after considering the balance between the three teams.
Just as they were about to break into a run...
Crk, crk crk—
Suddenly, cracks appeared in the space around them.
Claire jumped in surprise and looked around in a circle.
OUt from the cracks in the air, demon spirits with strange appearances appeared one after another.
"...! Why are there demon spirits here!?"
Summoning great numbers of uncontrollable demon spirits within the Academy's premises.
Doing this would clearly add to the chaos.
Also, the quantity of demon spirits far surpassed what they had fought at the street barricade.
Even the spirits' ranks would be classified as mid-level or above.
Countless cracks swept by, occupying the entire Academy in one go.
"Could they be trying to release demon spirits all over the entire Academy town!?"
Ellis cried out in shock.
"...! We must hurry. Stop the ruins!"
Crk, crk crk crk—!
With the sound of spatial distortion, many cracks appeared in the air.
"It is coming. Upperclassmen, ready your elemental waffen!"
Standing on the erected barricade, Freya shouted.
The Sylphid Knights' best students and the highest-achieving upperclassmen all deployed their respective elemental waffen. Rakka and Reishia also held their weapons, preparing to intercept the enemy.
"Surround each one with a squad of three or more! The injured should retreat to the back, don't overdo it!"
Roughly half of Areishia Spirit Academy's students were contracted with spirits above mid-level, but only about 30% were capable of deploying elemental waffen.
And only a handful had actually seen demon spirits before in actual combat.
Facing a large group of demon spirits, baring their teeth as they approached, the students' legs began to shake.
In front of these students, a knight dressed in a white overcoat stood in the front.
"—Fear not. I am the fortress that shall protect you all."
Velsaria Eva Fahrengart.
The Sylphid Knights' original captain, the one bearing the title of the strongest.
Facing the great number of demon spirits, standing there gallantly in the front line, her figure brought courage to the students.
"Deploy elemental waffe—Juggernaut!"
With a flash of light, countless hovering cannons and castle wall shields appeared around her.
Looking back at the students exclaiming in surprise, Velsaria spoke.
"Take a few steps back. My elemental waffe might be a bit destructive—"
Boom! Boom boom boom boom boom!
Countless cannons fired all at once.
The air shook. The astounding supreme firepower swept the demon spirits away.
The round of suppressive fire brought fervent cheering from the students.
"Hmph, pretty good eh—"
Just then, looking down from a building rooftop, Muir smiled with amusement.
She jumped down nimbly from the roof and walked over to a barricade in the opposite direction.
"Muir will show off too."
Taking off a bracelet artifact, she recited the incantation to release the seal.
The cursed armament seal on the back of her hand glowed with ominous light.
Instantly, space was distorted and a gigantic beetle-like militarized spirit appeared.
This was Gargantua, a spirit specializing in building battlefield entrenchment.
Although not a combat-type spirit, its power far surpassed ordinary militarized spirits.
With the Jester's Vise removing its limiter, Gargantua swung its two massive arms to crush the demon spirits that were flitting about.
"Ahaha, crush them—Gargantua."
The horrific scene was making the Academy's teachers gasp.
"Muir will earn Onii-sama's praise."
"Demon spirits? Accursed Holy Kingdom, what on earth are they thinking!?"
Seeing the atrocity before her eyes, Alendora Eva cried out with irritation.
Many demon spirits had appeared out from a dimensional gap to attack the Empire's knights indiscriminately.
The command system was in complete disarray. Even with her arriving the front line as the supreme commander, reorganizing the chaotic troops would be no easy task.
(At the very least, I need to get a grasp on what is happening—)
In addition to the demon spirits, the spirits liberated from the Sealed Library were also on a rampage.
With her elemental waffe—Nether Void—in her hand, she stepped towards the training ground.
Even though the berserk spirits were quite powerful, as one of the Empire's prided Numbers, she was capable of defeating archdemon-class spirits singlehandedly.
—Ahead of her direction of advance...
Suddenly, a petite figure silently appeared.
The new arrival was dressed in a gray overcoat with a hood.
On her face was a silver mask.
(A warrior priestess of the Holy Kingdom? No, not right...)
Alendora stopped and carefully examined the opponent before her eyes.
"Is it you? Are you the one who liberated the spirits in the Sealed Library—"
The masked figure did not answer. She silently drew her sword from her chest.
It was a long sword with the color of blood, completely lacking in ornament.
"I see. You prefer military torture and interrogation. You get your wish."
Alendora whispered icily and poured divine power into the Nether Void.
"This is your unlucky day. To challenge the Empire's strongest, one of the Numbers—"
The surrounding air shook. A chunk of earth by her foot was carved away.
"—Empire's strongest, huh?"
Heh, the opponent seemed to laugh beneath her mask.
She sounded like a young girl. Presumably a student of the Academy—
Suddenly, in the next instant, the opponent disappeared from Alendora's sight.
She did not even get a chance to cry out.
The sword moved like purple lightning. Alendora Eva collapsed on the ground.
In defense of her honor, it is necessary to note—
Without the ability on the Numbers' level, she probably would not have even seen the flash of the sword.
Looking up into the reddened night sky, the masked girl whispered.
"Do they intend to bring about an Astral Shift here?"