Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance:Volume19 Chapter3
Chapter 3 - Holy Lord
"Alright, one after another please. No butting in line!"
"Please line up~"
In the school courtyard, in front of a simmering soup cauldron set up over a fire spirit crystal, Rinslet and Carol were busy at work.
Inside the cauldron was a Laurenfrost-style hot pot made using leftover vegetables and seasonings.
Chopped yams and spinach. A small amount of salted meat.
In addition, a lot of spices and chili peppers had been added, causing bodies to heat up after consumption.
In front of the two girls, passing out portions, the Academy's spirits had formed a long line.
Coming into contact with the demon realm miasma summoned by astral shift and losing their divine power, the spirits naturally gathered together.
The school courtyard was filled with glowing spirits.
"If I serve them all, there wouldn't be any left for the students and the Imperial Knights."
Rinslet crossed her arms, somewhat in a dilemma.
"We do not mind waiting. After all, the spirits might vanish at this rate."
Responding to her was Ellis who had arrived at the courtyard to pick up aid supplies.
The Sylphid Knights were currently bandaging wounded students.
"Speaking of which—"
Saying that, Ellis looked at her feet and asked a question.
"Why are demon spirits staying here?"
Mixed among the the line of spirits were scattered demon spirits with terrifying appearances.
Presumably, with the gate to the demon realm suddenly gone, they had nowhere to go.
Running over to Carol's feet in front of the soup cauldron, the demon spirits gnashed their teeth noisily.
"Be good. Do not threaten Carol!"
When Rinslet yelled at them, holding a ladle, the demon spirits settled down.
"Rinslet, you can communicate with demon spirits? I remember textbooks in the Academy said they were impossible to command..."
"I do not discriminate spirits when they are hungry spirits."
With a wave of her hand, Rinslet instantly sent the demon spirits forming a line neatly.
"This is definitely a case to report to the Spirit Research Society—"
"Haha, taming even demon spirits, nothing less expected of milady!"
Carol clapped her hands and laughed heartily.
"Hey, still not ready yet? I'm hungry."
The girl with ash-gray hair in twintails ran over.
She was Kamito's adopted sister, Muir Alenstarl.
"It will be ready soon. You must wait your turn even if you are Kamito-san's sister."
Muir nodded obediently and joined the back of the line.
Demon spirits kept drifting over, hanging around her.
For some reason, Muir seemed particularly popular with demon spirits.
"They're pretty cute in spite of their horrifying faces."
Ellis frowned at the comment with a questioning countenance.
...This girl's sense of aesthetics was definitely impossible to understand.
"So you're all here—"
Kamito and Claire arrived together.
Muir instantly ran over and buried her face in Kamito's chest.
Her twintails swaying, she rubbed her face repeatedly against him.
"Muir, I heard you worked hard."
Kamito stroked Muir's ash-gray hair.
"Yes, I put in a lot of effort for you."
Still hugging Kamito's waist, Muir nodded.
Together with Velsaria, she had defended the students' street barricade.
"Hold on, Kamito, you're spoiling your adopted sister."
Claire was pouting unhappily.
"Hmph, it's only natural for a brother to dote on his sister."
Muir stuck her tongue out and taunted.
The two twintailed girls glared at each other, sparks flying.
"Kamito, are your injuries healed?"
Ignoring the two girls, Ellis asked with concern.
"Yeah, the bone fractures are set at least."
"That does not count as healed, my goodness."
"Kamito-san is too reckless."
Rinslet made a look of exasperation and shrugged.
"This is a specially prepared hot pot, everyone. It will warm you up."
Carol served soup in wooden bowls.
There were large chunks of yams. One glimpse was enough to make you hungry.
"Thanks. I shall take a portion to my esteemed sister later."
"Is Velsaria okay? I heard she really strained herself."
When Kamito asked...
"Yes, she consumed too much divine power. She is currently being treated at a facility in the Academy town."
"...I see. Looks like she pushed herself too much."
"But if that lady wasn't there, the barricade would have fallen long ago."
In a rare moment, Muir acknowledged someone other than Kamito.
"By the way, did you come here for a reason?"
"Oh, yeah, that's right..."
Now Kamito remembered.
"The imperial capital, Ostdakia, has fallen—"
Next, Claire spoke.
"It capitulated much sooner than expected."
"Yes, we were surprised too—"
Hearing Rinslet murmur with a questioning look, Kamito agreed.
No one would have expected the battle for the imperial capital to have concluded in such short time.
"Duke Fahrengart apparently surrendered. He wanted to avoid turning the capital into a sea of flame, I guess."
Ellis murmured with a complicated expression.
"Right now, Fianna and the nobles of the Emperor faction are having a peace negotiation."
"Who knows what will happen in the imperial capital? If Greyworth has to manage things here, I guess the few of us could head over to protect Fianna—"
The imperial capital was currently in turmoil. The nobles in the Emperor faction might still be targetting Fianna's life. The Holy Kingdom's lackeys might still be lurking in the palace too. Considering the precedents set by Lurie and Leschkir, the Numbers could not be trusted either.
In the middle of the enemy camp, Fianna's only true companion around her was Rubia.
...She must be feeling ill at ease.
"Yeah, that's right. Let's leave this to the Sylphid Knights and we head to the imperial capital."
"Well said. Carol, I leave the food to you."
"Please rest assured, milady. I won't get sugar and salt mixed up anymore!"
"Ah, that worries me..."
Rinslet pressed on her own temple.
"How do we get to the imperial capital? Should we use the Lightning Feather?"
The Lightning Feather was the Academy's only research ship, belonging to the Sylphid Knights.
Although its name seemed to imply it was very fast, but in actual fact, the Lightning Feather was just a retired military ship from the Ranbal War, and quite slow.
From what Kamito had heard, the spirit crystals serving as the power source already had cracks.
"...Well, that is the only ship."
"That rundown ship really makes me worry whether it might crash in the middle of the journey..."
"I-It will be okay... I think, probably."
Ellis did not seem too confident either.
After all, that ship had never been used ever since Ellis became captain of the Sylphid Knights.
"How about borrowing my ship, if it is alright for you?"
Kamito looked towards where the voice came—
"It has been a while, Kazehaya Kamito."
"You're here, Leonora!?"
Leonora Lancaster, dressed in the dragon country's military uniform, was standing before his eyes.
"Leonora-dono and the Knights of the Dragon Emperor have come to aid us."
Seeing Kamito did not know the whole story, Ellis explained to him.
According to her, the Dracunian army had sent Leonora and the Knights of the Dragon Emperor as a detached force to the Academy while their main force went to reclaim the imperial capital. Thus, Leonora had helped the barricades hold.
Leonora was Dracunia's strongest knight.
Her assistance was tantamount to obtaining the most reliable reinforcements.
"Leonora, are your injuries all healed?"
Wounds caused by Greyworth's demon sword should have been critical.
"Yes, a resilient body is an advantage of being a dragon spirit user."
Saying that, Leonora smiled fearlessly.
"Dragon knights become stronger every time they awaken from the abyss of death. As I am now, perhaps I might be able to match you, you know?"
She placed her hand on the great sword at her waist.
In that instant, she exuded astonishing divine power, causing surrounding spirits to clamor.
"H-Hold on, I'm still injured, okay!?"
Kamito hastily waved his hands.
"Fufu, I was just joking. I have yet to recover to peak condition."
Leonora replied but Kamito was unsure if it was a joke or not. She shrugged and put her sword away.
It was hard to imagine her being far from peak condition given that she had fought a large number of demon spirits intensely mere hours earlier.
How much stronger did this dragon girl become...?
"I'll take you on once everything is settled, okay?"
"Fufu, now I have your word. Be it a blade dance of the night, I shall take you on to the very end."
Pressing her chest against him, Leonora smiled mischievously.
"...! W-What is with you!?"
"H-Hold on, Kamito!"
"Onii-sama, what is a blade dance of the night?"
Muir asked with an innocent expression on her face.
...Give me a break, explaining this to my adopted sister would make me a bad influence.
Cough cough, Ellis coughed lightly just then and spoke.
"B-By the way, about borrowing Leonora-dono's ship that was brought up just now..."
"Yes, that is right."
Leonora withdrew her chest from tightly pressing against Kamito.
"I traveled here on a dragon carrier. Although it is the small type, its flight speed is extremely fast."
The military ship was reportedly moored in the outskirts of the Academy town. Although Dracunia was not well-known for its military ships, the dragon carriers used for transporting flying dragons to the battlefield were a whole different matter.
The ship that brought Leonora here could apparently carry six flying dragons.
"We are allowed to borrow a Dracunian military ship?"
Ellis asked a very natural question.
"No problem at all. It belongs exclusively to the Lancaster family."
"A-A private military ship?"
"Nothing less expected from a Dragon Duchess..."
Claire and Rinslet stared wide-eyed.
"Thank you very much, Leonora-dono—"
"Yes, you are a great help."
"I shall be traveling to the imperial capital later too. Before that, I have orders from His Majesty the Dragon King for me to guard this Academy—"
Saying that, Leonora reached into her own cleavage and took out a dragon-shaped key.
"This is the admin key for the ship."
"W-Where the heck are you keeping stuff..."
Kamito accepted the key from her that still held residual body warmth.
"By the way, please do not use my personal cabin for indecent acts."
"Like hell anyone's gonna do that!"
"Hey Onii-sama, I wanna come too."
Just then, Muir hugged Kamito's waist.
However, Kamito shook his head.
"No, you have to stay back."
"You haven't recovered yet. You've got to rest well."
Kamito placed his hand on Muir's head and stroked her ash-gray hair gently.
Muir's special ability, the Jester's Vise, placed a huge strain on her health. It easily caused her to collapse with fever, and back in the Instructional School, she could not use it continuously either.
"Wait until you recover your stamina, then come to the imperial capital with Leonora."
Muir pouted and nodded reluctantly.
The Holy Capital of Alexandria.
As the Holy Kingdom's capital, it was also the homeland where Sacred Maiden Areishia was born.
Although its functions as an economic and political center had already shifted to the secondary capital city of Meriazel long ago, numerous princess maidens lived in this city that still stood as the Holy Kingdom's center of scholarship and religious affairs.
On top of a developed hill, pure white spires stood in neat rows like soldiers in formation. And lording over these spires was the massive Holy Lord Palace.
Built four hundred years ago, this magnificent sacred palace towered over all other buildings, overlooking the entire holy capital.
Inside the deepest part of the Holy Lord Palace, inside the Most Sacred Hall—
"The localized Astral Shift in the Areshia Spirit Academy region has been confirmed. The experiment could be described as a success."
A girl dressed in holy vestments spoke calmly.
This young and adorable girl had waist-length blonde hair and an eye patch over her left eye.
This was the spirit carrying Otherworldly Darkness within her—Millennia Sanctus.
"Although two of me have been lost, the plan proceeds without impediment."
"—Well done, Est."
Sitting on the throne, the Sacred Maiden—Areishia Idriss—spoke in a voice filled with tender affection.
"With this, Lurie Lizaldia's sacrifice would not be in vain."
"Yes, she must feel elated for being the rock which the Holy Lord's plan is built upon."
"I would hope so. After all, she risked her life to release this vessel."
Sacred Maiden Areishia stood up and stared at the ceiling of the Holy Lord Palace's great hall.
Carved there were sculptures based on the Five Great Elemental Lords.
"This world is filled with sadness. Because of the original sin committed seven thousand years ago—"
Next, she turned her gaze towards outside the balcony and waved her hand lightly.
A pillar of light rose up from six churches in the holy capital.
These phenomena were very similar to the warning signs before the Astral Shift at the Academy.
"—What are your intentions, Holy Lord Alexandros!?"
In this place where entry was supposed to be forbidden, a figure appeared.
A beautiful young girl dressed in a scarlet dress enveloped in crimson flames.
"—Lord of Fire, why are you here!?"
Millennia Sanctus exclaimed in surprise.
However, the newly arrived Fire Elemental Lord ignored her and interrogated the Sacred Maiden.
"I am asking you, what are your intentions?"
Confronted with the Fire Elemental Lord's blazing eyes of wrath—
The Sacred Maiden slowly turned and coaxed.
"—To take this world that has gone down the wrong path, and rebuild it anew."
"To this ened—I shall open the gate to the Otherworld."
"...! Did you just say gate!?"
Volcanicus spoke in agitation.
"Have you forgotten the beings existing outside the gate? We defeated and repelled them only by making numerous sacrifices and going as far as to borrow the power of spirit weapons—!"
"I certainly have not forgotten."
The Sacred Maiden nodded.
"It is precisely to obtain that power, that I am going to open the gate."
In that instant, Volcanicus spewed intense flames.
The strongest fire of Astral Zero, capable of melting even the Demon King's Tomb.
Millennia Sanctus cried out.
"—It is useless, Volcanicus."
The Sacred Maiden shrugged and brushed the flames away with one hand.
"You are merely an avatar right now, separated from your principal body."
Volcanicus bit her lip and angrily glared at the Sacred Maiden.
"O Holy Lord, you have been devoured by the Otherworldly Darkness."
"No, Volcanicus. I have not been tainted by the Otherworldly Darkness."
"...What are you talking about?"
"Inside me is something else."
The Sacred Maiden smiled emptily, pressing her hand against her heart.
"Even I sometimes have trouble distinguishing whether my thoughts belong to myself or what is inside me. However, no matter which of us, we both covet the power of the Primordial Spirit."
"Is this why you wish to open the gate to the Otherworld!?"
"Indeed. That power, capable of interfering in the natural laws governing this world, are essential to my plan."
"...! You shall not succeed, Holy Lord. This world is very much to my liking!"
Scorching flames were exuded from all over Volcanicus.
The Holy Lord Palace shook violently and surrounding stone pillars melted as though they were candy.
"What a surprise. You, a mere avatar—"
"In this world is a friend whose name I cannot recall."
Volcanicus spoke softly.
Surfacing in her mind was the image of the girl with crimson hair whom she had encountered in the Demon King's Capital.
—A girl with a strong resemblance to someone she knew.
That girl's existence was lying dormant deep in her memories.
"I cannot allow you to change the world without permission!"
The crimson flames surged even further, turning the Holy Lord Palace into a sea of fire.
—However, the Sacred Maiden shook her head.
"O proud Lord of Fire. Regrettably, you cannot destroy me."
The flame spirit seal branded on her right hand glowed red.
"...! Damn you, Alexandros!"
Volcanicus released flames.
However, the flames were absorbed by the Sacred Maiden's spirit seal.
Then the Sacred Maiden slowly chanted.
"O Lord of Fire, sleep. Let soul turn into blade—"
"...! Ah, ahhhhh, ahhhhhhhh!"
Volcanicus turned into particles of light and disappeared into thin air.
In the next instant, a crimson great sword, surging with scorching flames, was held in the Sacred Maiden's hand.
The most powerful elemental waffe of Astral Zero—the flame sword Ragnarok.
Tossing the sword away with disinterest—
The Sacred Maiden looked at the blindingly bright holy capital.
"—Very well, begin. Astral Shift of the Holy Capital."