Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance:Volume19 Chapter4
Chapter 4 - To the Imperial Capital
The flying dragon carrier Lancaster was not as spacious as the military ship Revenant.
Partly because the ship size itself belonged to a smaller class and partly because much of the interior space was used for keeping flying dragons and the large extended flight deck.
Although large spirit crystals were used as power sources like in conventional military ships, rather than propelling the vessel using the power of wind spirits, this flying dragon carrier used the power of fire spirits to drive a massive cylinder, thus obtaining thrust. In terms of design, more priority was given to horsepower for carrying flying dragons than towards speed.
Due to the fact that helmsmanship requirements were lower than for ships driven by wind spirit crystals, even Ellis could control this ship easily when she was only qualified to fly small ships.
Inside the slightly cramped ship—
Kamito told Ellis and Rinslet about the conversation in the headmistress' office.
This was about Holy Lord Alexandros and the Holy Kingdom, active behind the scenes throughout history.
Then there was the matter of the Holy Lord wishing to obtain the power of Otherworld angels, to rebuild the world—
"...Did you say rebuild the world?"
"T-Then what will happen to the current one?"
"It'll disappear, I guess. Both the human realm and Astral Zero, no exception."
Rinslet's hand, holding a cup of tea, was shaking.
"Also, even if the Holy Lord's plan fails, once the gate to the Otherworld opens, thousands of angels behind the gate will be arriving."
"An angel... The thing that possessed Judia, right?"
Kamito answered a little ambiguously.
According to Est, what had possessed Rinslet's younger sister Judia Laurenfrost was just a reconnaissance type.
In fact, the combat-type Dunamis he had fought in the Academy had way more powerful abilities than the angel at Laurenfrost. If Est had not awakened her spirit weapon side, perhaps it would have been one-sided slaughter.
No matter what, once the gate to the Otherworld opened, this world would probably get destroyed.
"We have to stop the Holy Lord from opening the gate to the Otherworld."
"...Yeah, that's right."
"But what exactly is the gate to the Otherworld?"
Since the Holy Lord had to spend so much time to make perfect preparations, it meant that the gate was not as easy to open as ones for connecting the human realm to Astral Zero—
The mood had grown somber by the time they realized.
"Kamito, I am hungry."
Leaning against the sofa, Est's blade glowed.
"...Anyway, let's eat first."
"You are right. Miss Sword Spirit must be hungry too."
Rinslet smiled wryly and stood up.
"I think Leonora said that there are leftover ingredients in the cold room."
"That is very helpful."
Saying that, Rinslet opened the door to the cold room from the kitchen.
Inside was a spirit that looked like a white lizard, blowing out cold air.
"...Hold on, what is with these ingredients!?"
"Hmm, all I can see is meat."
"This is a bit too heavy for lunch..."
Est murmured in disappointment.
After lunch, Kamito walked over to the windy deck.
"...Phew, I'm really stuffed."
He stroked his belly while climbing the gangway. Nevertheless, he was quite impressed by how much this ship lived up to its name as the possession of a noble lady of the dragon duchy. The cold room contained only steaks of the most expensive quality.
"Leonora would probably able to finish them off by herself."
Kamito recalled the time when the dragon princess maiden had took him on a tour of Dragons Street.
She had ordered three steaks from cows the size of dragons.
Prior to arriving at the capital, Kamito's campanions seem to be in their cabins, either reading or studying.
Especially Ellis, who had fallen far behind on the Academy's supplementary lectures, so the homeroom teacher of Weasel Class had assigned a mountain of homework to her.
Doing homework at a time like this was incomprehensible to Kamito, but the disciplined Ellis still worked hard on her studies, seeing her title of captain of the Sylphid Knights as a role model for other students.
(...She's a thoroughly serious noble young lady no matter where she goes.)
Still, that was one of Ellis' strengths, Kamito supposed.
Climbing the gangway, he arrived on the large deck where flying dragons took off and landed.
Across the barrier guarding against the wind was the endless sky. Down below was a vast plain.
Suddenly, there was pain in his left eye again.
...Did he imagine it?
He was not supposed to be using divine power right now—
(...Darkness Elemental Lord Ren Ashdoll.)
Kamito understood that the Demon King's power inside him was gradually taking over his body.
As though responding to the Sacred Maiden's revival—
(...Tsk, who asked you to devour me!)
He gripped the deck railing tightly.
Just then, he heard a voice behind him.
He looked back, only to see Claire and Scarlet ascending the gangway.
"Claire, aren't you tutoring Ellis?"
"It's break time now. Teaching everything all at once would be bad for her."
Claire raised an index finger and shrugged.
Not only were her grades topnotch in the Academy, but Claire's ability to teach was equally high.
Perhaps she might turn out to be a surprisingly good school teacher, Kamito wondered.
Claire came over to Kamito and rested both arms on the railing.
Staring at the vast sky and the mountain range in the distance, she murmured softly to herself.
"...It feels like the days are going by so quickly."
Rescuing Fianna then going into exile in Dracunia, stopping the rampaging militarized spirit in the Theocracy, crossing the desert to witness the Sacred Maiden's revival in the Demon King's Capital.
...All this happened in a short matter of weeks.
An adventure would be an understatement to describe this densely packed period of time.
Mumbling a little, Claire glanced over at Kamito.
"Uh, u-umm, nothing!"
Claire waved her hands repeatedly, causing her twintails to shake as well.
However, there was an element of insecurity in her ruby-like eyes.
"...? What's wrong?"
When he stared at her eyes and asked, Claire's face went red immediately.
"I-I am your master!"
Hearing that, Kamito could not help but exclaim.
"W-What are you suddenly talking about...?"
"What, did you forget? You're still my contracted spirit!"
Claire extended her finger and pointed at Kamito's nose.
...Yeah, I definitely said that.
Facing her in her despair when Scarlet had turned into a berserk spirit—
Since you wish to obtain power—
Then let me be your contracted spirit. Something like that.
"Hmph, looks like you finally remember."
Seeing Kamito's reaction, Claire nodded with satisfaction.
"Don't forget you're my contracted spirit. In other words, I am the contractor, the elementalist and the master!"
"Yes! That's why—"
Still pointing her index finger at him, Claire stared straight at Kamito and said.
"You are not allowed to become someone else's. You belong to me, forever, okay?"
Ohhh, Kamito finally understood.
Although she was saying this in an overbearing manner just like the first time they met—
This time, after hearing about the Darkness Elemental Lord's power, she was worrying about Kamito.
(...What an awkward girl.)
Kamito smiled wryly and placed his hand on Claire's head.
"...! Hwah! W-What are you doing!?"
"Claire, I will always be your contracted spirit."
When he said that, Claire's face instantly went bright red.
"G-Glad you know it!"
She turned her face away forcefully.
Three hours had passed since they set off from Areishia Spirit Academy.
Carrying Kamito's team, the flying dragon carrier arrived at the imperial capital, Ostdakia.
Mooring the ship at the plains of Sadelka, which had turned into a battlefield, the group then walked on foot to the main gate.
News of their arrival had apparently been spread. The spirit guarding the city gate did not block them.
"Anyway, let's head to the knights quarters to meet up with Nee-sama."
"Yeah, good idea."
"Her Highness is probably very busy."
No one objected, so the group walked to the city center.
Banners of the Ordesia imperial family with knight crests were fluttering on the sides of the main road.
"What a peaceful liberation."
Seeing no signs of damage on the buildings, Claire commented.
"Yeah. Looks like the situation has settled with the battle on the plains of Sadelka."
Ellis nodded with an meek expression.
Her grandfather Duke Fahnrengart was the one who had decided to surrender the imperial capital. Between loyalty to the emperor and the lives of the people in the capital, he had chosen the option that avoided bloodshed of commoner lives.
As for how her grandfather was treated, Ellis must be very curious to know.
Although Fianna probably would not hand down a severe punishment, it was unknown whether the nobles in the rebel army would accept such a decision. Surely there would be nobles who wanted to take advantage of this situation to replace the Fahrengart family in taking control of Ordesia's military affairs.
This would depend on Fianna's authority—
"By the way, I don't get it."
Hearing Claire's murmurs, Kamito asked.
"The Holy Kingdom. Why did they disappear without sending reinforcements?"
"...I agree. It feels a little weird."
Rinslet expressed the same puzzlement.
The Holy Kingdom's Des Esseintes was aiming to control Ordesia from behind the scenes, using Emperor Arneus as a puppet—One would logically expect this to be the case.
(Those people even conspired to frame Fianna...)
However, even though the rebellion got started, according to reports, the Holy Kingdom withdrew all their cardinals from the palace and did not send any military force at all.
"They did all they can to stoke conflict in the Theocracy too, why?"
Rather than controlling the Empire, it was as though their purpose was to spread the seeds of war across the land.
Why exactly did they need to do that kind of thing?
(No, wait a sec...)
Kamito suddenly remembered something.
It was the truth of what happened a thousand years ago, which the spirit Iris had shown him at the Demon King's Capital—
By persuading the young man Solomon who had grown to hate mankind, the Holy Lord had brought about the Demon King's birth.
Then using Sacred Maiden Areisha, who had been granted part of the Holy Lord's soul, the Holy Lord vanquished the Demon King whom he had personally created.
The Demon King War had brought unprecedented destruction and chaos to the continent.
And fanning flames behind the scenes, why was the Holy Lord doing this?
"No matter what, even if the Holy Kingdom's lackeys have vanished, we can't lower our guard."
"Yes, they will definitely be back!"
When Claire declared with a serious look on her face, Rinslet nodded vigorously.
Kamito's group went through the main road and entered the inner city gate.
Last time they infiltrated to rescue Fianna, they had used a Murders merchant channel arranged by Rubia, but were betrayed by the merchant in an underground passage.
If Virrey Branford of the Numbers had not provided assistance, they would have had to wander endlessly in the vast underground passages under the imperial capital.
(...I hope Virrey is fine.)
Just as Kamito worried about the missing knight...
"Ah, Onee-sama~ ...And Kamito-sama too~"
A young girl's adorable voice was coming from beside the gate.
Seeing the figure of the girl running towards them, Rinslet stared wide-eyed.
Dressed in a child's dress, the young girl was precisely Rinslet's youngest sister Mireille.
"Why are you here, Mireille?"
"I came with the others in the Wolf Ritters to join Princess Fianna's army. After all, I am a daughter of Laurenfrost too!"
Mireille puffed out her tiny chest.
Laurenfrost was the first ally to respond to Fianna's call. Due to being responsible for border defense, the knights serving under them were also very strong in combat. Mireille must have joined the army as the flagbearer leading the Wolf Ritters.
"Mireille, you are still a child. The battlefield is too dangerous for you."
"Don't worry, Onee-sama. The Wolf Ritters will protect me, and I have Milla too. Besides, Judia-oneesama cannot leave the castle while her eyes have not healed."
A girl dressed in a maid outfit emerged from the shadows of a neighboring building.
"M-Milla, when did you get here!?"
"It has been a long time, Kamito-sama—"
Faced with the surprised Kamito, the maid girl bowed respectfully.
She was originally a knight belonging to the Rupture Division from the Principality of Rossvale, but after the Blade Dance, the Laurenfrost family had hired her to serve as Mireille's maid.
Her two eyes were of different colors because the left eye used to be a Demon Sealing Eye that held a powerful legion spirit.
"Rooms have been prepared for all of you at the Laurenfrost secondary residence. Please have a short break to alleviate the fatigue from your travels."
"Thank you so much. I am so looking forward to a bath."
Claire was so happy that her twintails jumped.
"So I have a room too?"
"Of course, Kamito-sama."
Milla spoke in an emotionless voice. What a calm girl.
"Really? That's such a great help, thanks a lot, Milla."
Unlike his companions who were sheltered daughters of nobility, Kamito had been raised at the Instructional School to be able to sleep anywhere. He originally planned to find a cheap motel somewhere in the imperial capital.
"No, I merely fulfilled my duties as the maid—"
Milla shook her head.
"Milla even spent extra time making your bed, Kamito-sama."
"What are you talking about, milady?"
Upon hearing that, Milla, who had stayed calm until now, blushed and patted Mireille's back repeatedly.
"I am glad to have a bath, but should we not head over to meet up with Rubia-dono first?"
"...Yes, you have a point."
"Is Rubia-sama at Nefescal Palace?"
"I don't really know..."
Claire mumbled ambiguously.
The Calamity Queen, who had brought disaster to the imperial capital before, probably would not make a public appearance. Perhaps she was waiting somewhere less conspicuous?
In that case, finding her in this vast capital city would be no easy task.
"In that case, let us proceed like this. Tell the princess that we will be at the Laurenfrost secondary residence. No matter what, we need to get in touch with the princess."
"...That works too. Ellis, please send word to the palace."
Ellis created a transparent flower in her hand.
This was the spirit magic of Wind Ear for sending sounds to a destination.
The flower floated in the wind and flew away just like that.
"Onee-sama, I want to eat your crab omelet rice."
"Very well, I shall make it."
"Wow~, Nee-sama is such a fine woman talented at cooking!"
"W-What are you talking about, Mireille!?"
Taking Rinslet's arm, Mireille turned her head back and glanced a few times at Kamito.
"These sisters are so close."
"Hmm, if I were to do that to my esteemed sister, I would receive the iron fist punishment."
Hearing Kamito's muttering, Ellis nodded several times.
Seeing the sisters walking holding hands tenderly, Claire looked upon them wistfully with a tinge of jealousy.