Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance:Volume19 Chapter8
Chapter 8 - To Astral Zero
After packing their respective luggage, Kamito and the members of Team Scarlet gathered in front of the historical site where the Fianna had designated the portal.
Located at the imperial capital's main shrine, the historical site was shaped like a giant disc. Carved on the stones were writings in High Ancient, left behind by the Elfim race.
In front of the site, Fianna set up spirit crystals and calibrated the teleport destination coordinates.
Some of the nobles were against Fianna leaving the imperial capital even temporarily, seeing as she was the acting monarch, but Fianna was able to get her way thanks to Duke Fahrengart's support.
He announced that this reconnaissance mission was on invitation from the Divine Ritual Instiute. Furthermore, it was necessary for the princess to confirm personally whether the rumor of the holy capital teleported to Astral Zero was true or not. Thus, the imperial council was persuaded.
"Kamito, why does it seem like there's a burnt smell?"
"...Yeah, don't worry about it."
When Claire pointed it out, Kamito looked away.
'Kamito is the lecherous Demon King.'
'Indeed, there's nothing wrong with being the Demon King of the Night, but know some restraint.'
Carried at his waist on his left and right respectively, the sacred sword and the demon sword spoke with tacit coordination.
"Wait a sec, Kamito, what did you do!?"
"Hmm, please confess everything."
"I smell an incident!"
The three young ladies eyed him suspiciously.
"W-Wait, it's not like that...!"
Just as Kamito frantically shook his head...
"The teleportation circle is complete. Are you ready, everyone?"
Fianna stood up and asked them.
"Yes, no problem here."
"Lunch boxes all ready!"
Having swallowed everyone's luggage, Fenrir barked.
Next, slightly later—
"—Thank you for waiting."
Rubia appeared in her military uniform.
On her face was the flame mask she had been wearing during the Blade Dance.
Indeed, if the notorious Calamity Queen were to show up at the Divine Ritual Institute's main shrine in her true appearance, it would most likely cause a great commotion.
"Now then, everyone hold hands and step onto the magic circle—"
"Hwahh, h-hold hands!?"
"N-No way, I am not mentally ready yet...!"
Standing on Kamito's two sides were Claire and Ellis, who instantly blushed.
"So unfair, you two!"
"Seriously, what are you doing? Hurry up."
Fianna forcefully placed the two shy girl's hands into Kamito's, linking them.
The two noble young ladies reacted adorably.
"—Well then, we are leaping now."
In the center of the magic circle, Fianna chanted words from the lost language of High Ancient.
"Isra El Ruo Arak Nell O Ragna Ys—"
The spirit language carved on the historical site immediately glowed with mysterious blue light—
In the next instant, Kamito and company became shrouded in an incredible floating feeling.
The instant they were liberated from the floating feeling, there was a massive splash of water.
Falling headlong into water, Kamito was plunged into confusion, unable to get a grasp on his situation.
About to drown, he frantically tried to stand up. His mind was still in a daze.
Just by chance, the tip of his nose collided with something elastic.
Taking a closer look, he saw an attractive bottom, covered by panties of pure white.
Boing, boing, pinned under a very bouncy bottom, Kamito almost suffocated.
"..Hwahh, K-Kamito-san, what are you doing!?"
Accompanied by a scream, the panties separated from Kamito's face.
...It was apparently Rinslet's bottom.
Finally freed, Kamito poked his head out of the water.
"C-Cough, c-cough... W-What happened...?"
While choking, he looked around him.
The scene before his eyes stunned Kamito.
Wrapped in wet sheer fabric, almost half naked, princess maidens were staring at Kamito with shocked expressions.
One princess maiden's face looked familiar to him.
Black hair, dripping with water, innocent eyes blinking.
She was Reicha Alminas—the current Queen serving the Fire Elemental Lord.
(Uh, in that case, these girls are...)
A bad feeling made Kamito's back break out in cold sweat.
In the next instant...
The girls lost composure and shrieked.
"S-Suspicious person!" "Has the lewd beast invaded the Divine Ritual Institute's main shrine!?" "Be gone! Be gone—!"
Yes, this was a forbidden zone, where only selected princess maidens were eligible to step foot into.
A purification site reserved exclusively for the Queens, only five of them across the whole continent.
Kamito turned his head back, looking for the culprit behind this situation.
Fianna remained sitting in the water, sticking her tongue out innocently.
"Fufu, perhaps I messed up on the coordinates a little?"
"Sheesh, why did you have to teleport here of all places!?"
Her uniform completely drenched, Claire was so angry that her twintails were standing on end.
"K-Kamito-san t-t-touched m-m-my bottom...!"
Holding down her thoroughly wet skirt, Rinslet was shaking, her face bright red.
"W-Wait, you two, uh, your underwear... is showing through."
When Ellis pointed it out, Claire and Rinslet hastily brought their arms up to cover their chests.
Kamito shifted his gaze away, meanwhile his heart rate rising.
However, when he turned his head to look back—
He found the Queens holding soap and buckets, all glaring at him.
Just as he was thinking "my life is over"...
"...My goodness. You have fared poorly with teleportation ritual magic since long ago."
With her crimson hair dripping water nonstop, Rubia slowly stood up.
Reicha Alminas instantly covered her own mouth and looked shocked.
Taking another look—
The demon mask covering her face had evidently fallen off in the impact.
"...Sorry, wrong person."
"No way, this is Rubia-sama, right? Right?"
In response, Rubia turned her head away somewhat awkwardly.
(...Come on, no way in hell you can deny it now.)
Kamito muttered in his mind in exasperation.
"My goodness, are you sure you didn't do it on purpose?"
"That goes without saying. Even someone like me would not play a joke at a time like this."
"...Hmph, who can trust you?"
"K-Kamito-san, p-please forget my bottom."
"Be quiet. This is the main shrine of the Divine Ritual Institute, you know?"
Using Scarlet's flames to dry their clothes, Claire and the girls bickered while walking along a corridor in the Divine Ritual Institute's main shrine.
The four Queens, who had finished their ritual purification, were leading the way.
Wind Queen Sylpha Lastia, Earth Queen Nia Roshka, Water Queen Feilei Sin Quina, as well as Fire Queen Reicha Alminas—
The fifth Queen was not present.
Lumiela Leisched, the Queen serving the Holy Lord, had lost consciousness after the oracle was issued, remaining bedridden all this time.
The Holy Lord's oracle had been issued to every church across the continent. As the medium for the oracle, she had collapsed, unable to withstand such massive strain.
(...For the Holy Lord, even a Queen is just a tool, huh?)
Trailing a few steps behind Kamito and company, the masked Rubia remained silent.
It looked like she found it awkward speaking to her juniors, the current Queens.
"Just now, something has happened at the holy capital on Ragna Ys."
Leading the way, Reicha spoke in a nervous voice.
Her close friend Fianna asked.
"It is faster for you to see with your own eyes. Please do not jump to conclusions based on preconceptions."
—The Divine Ritual Institute's main shrine was located on a cliff where there was a great waterfall.
Towards the cliff, one overlooked a vast forest. This was the forest of Astral Zero, even bigger than the Spirit Forest that occupied one third of Ordesia's area.
The sky was mildly red. Even during the daytime, twinkling stars were visible.
At night, two moons, one red and one blue would rise.
"How nostalgic, this air."
Claire puffed out her chest and took a deep breath.
"Yes, the air is filled with pure divine power."
"Yes, it feels like my soul is being cleansed."
"The holy capital was transferred to the Elemental Lords' shrine, in that direction—"
Saying that, Reicha pointed across the vast forest.
Placing her hand over her forehead, Claire narrowed her eyes.
"Wait, I shall create a lens of wind using Far Sight."
Wind Queen Sylpha stepped forward and chanted spirit magic.
Kamito and company watched as the air before them became distorted, turning into a massive lens.
Their view was magnified. Scenery far away instantly looked as though it was right in front of them.
"W-What is that...!?"
Ellis exclaimed in shock.
Kamito and the others were stunned too.
"Not sure. It suddenly appeared in the sky over the holy capital."
As though superimposed on top, the holy capital had appeared on the Elemental Lords' shrine.
A gigantic black pillar had risen from the central part of the holy capital.
The black pillar pierced a hole in the sky of Astral Zero, producing a swirling void.
Kamito had seen this scene before.
It was the Otherworld hole he had seen in Ren Ashdoll's dream.
"The gate to the Otherworld has opened?"
Kamito groaned in a trembling voice.
A gate to the Otherworld had appeared in the sky over the holy capital. Witnessing the shocking scene, Kamito and company returned to the main shrine for the time being.
Next, they explained the current situation to the confused Reicha and Queens.
The Otherworldly Darkness corrupting the Elemental Lords. Sacred Maiden Areishia who had revived in a desert far away. Also, the truth of the Holy Lord's wish to open a gate to the Otherworld and obtain the power of angels—
After listening to them, the four Queens were stunned, unable to speak.
"The Holy Lord wishes to open a gate to the Otherworld..."
"Although it is hard to believe, I can assure you this is absolutely true."
Fianna told them.
"No, we are not doubting your words. After all, there is that oracle earlier."
Reicha shook her head.
"However, the amount of information is staggering..."
"Yes, that is true. After all, we suddenly have mentions of a gate to the Otherworld and angels—"
Hearing what Fianna said...
The four Queens looked at each other with a look of doubt.
Wind Queen Sylpha spoke ambiguously.
"Actually, we know about the angels' existence."
"...What is this about?"
Claire and Fianna exclaimed.
"Although the Divine Ritual Institute's dogma does not mention such beings, which means we must not speak about them, we Queens have all seen angels."
"How exactly, where—"
Mid-sentence, Kamito realized it.
"I see, the Elemental Lords' dreams...!"
Reicha nodded calmly.
True, these Queens were contractors who received the Elemental Lords' oracles directly.
Assuming it was possible to share in the dreams of the Elemental Lords driven mad by the corrupting Otherworldly Darkness, it came as no surprise that they could see the army of angels, restless in the darkness.
"After listening to your story, I finally understand."
"The truth about the gate appearing in the sky over the holy capital."
Reicha looked around her in a circle.
"That black pillar is the principal body of an Elemental Lord."
"Using an Elemental Lord as a gate...?"
Kamito and company looked at one another.
"Earlier, my spirit seal showed an intense reaction. I fear that the Fire Elemental Lord is the sacrifice used to create that gate."
Rubia, who had been leaning against the wall, listening silently, finally spoke.
"Accursed Holy Lord, using the Elemental Lords who have been corrupted by the darkness, huh?"
"In that case, the reason why the holy capital was transported to the Elemental Lords' shrine—"
"Yes, it was for this."
Hearing Claire's murmurs, Rubia nodded.
(I see, I had seen the army of angels in that darkness...)
It was because the Elemental Lords served as gates to the Otherworld.
(...I should've realized. The significance of the scene I saw.)
Using herself as a sacrifice, Millennia Sanctus had summoned an angel at the Academy.
If an Elemental Lord was used instead, how much bigger of a gate would be opened?
"But if that's the case, why hasn't the Holy Lord opened any gates until now?"
Claire raised a question.
"—Most likely, he was waiting."
Rubia looked down at her spirit seal and said.
"Waiting for the darkness to corrupt further, waiting for the Elemental Lords to descend into instability. No, perhaps stirring up trouble in the continent was for that...?"
"Indeed, unrest in the human realm would greatly affect the condition of the Elemental Lords responsible for the world's stability."
"Holy Lord Alexandros—"
Rubia's crimson eyes burned with tranquil flames of fury.
Suppose the unrest in Ordesia and the Theocracy, the two Ranbal Wars, and that time when the Fire Elemental Lord went crazy, all this was part of the Holy Lord's plan—
Then the Holy Lord would be Rubia Elstein's enemy.
"...But even so, there might be hope."
Reicha looked up and swept her gaze over everyone's face one by one.
"...What do you mean?"
"Only one gate has been opened so far, right?"
"It means that the gate to the Otherworld is not complete yet!"
Earth Queen Nia Roshka stood up.
The Holy Lord had said the world would end three days later.
In other words, the current gate was not complete, unable to summon the army of angels.
"Then it means there's a chance of stopping the Holy Lord's plan—"
Chin resting on her hand, Claire murmured softly.
"But how do we stop it?"
"Hmm, if only there were a way to close the gate..."
"Yes, that's right..."
Nodding, Kamito placed his hands on the two swords at his waist.
(...So I've got to storm the holy capital and assassinate the Sacred Maiden, huh?)
"—I have got an idea."
Just then, Fianna spoke.
"What do we do?"
"Assuming the gate to the Otherworld is formed from the Elemental Lords, then wouldn't a kagura dance offering be able to pacify their soul?"
"...That could very well work."
Water Queen Feilei Sin Quina murmured, nodding.
"But Senpai, that would be no easy task."
Reicha shook her head.
"We here have offered kagura to the Elemental Lords many times but that still could not suppress their madness—"
Even Rubia, famed as the most accomplished Queen in history, had not succeeded in placating the Fire Elemental Lord's mad rage.
"True, but Kamito-ku—Ren Ashbell-sama's blade dancing offered at the Blade Dance tournament did succeed in quelling the Elemental Lords' anger, even if only for a short time, right?"
"So you want us to offer a blade dance to the Elemental Lords?"
Hearing Claire, Fianna nodded.
"Yes, a blade dance from Team Scarlet, victors of the Blade Dance tournament, could very well enable the Elemental Lords to recover stability somewhat."
"Indeed, we Queens were very moved by your blade dance."
"It might be worth trying."
"It does not hurt even if it fails."
Ellis and Rinslet agreed.
"Yes, in that case, we shall assist too."
Water Queen Feilei Sin Quina spoke.
"Someone is needed to preside over the kagura blade dance, right?"
"Rubia, what do you think?"
Just then, Kamito looked back at Rubia standing by the wall and asked.
With a strict gaze, Rubia had her arms crossed.
"...It is worth a try, I suppose. At least it could buy some time."
"Then it's decided."
Claire practically bounced up.
"...By the way, where should we offer the blade dance?"
"Hmm, it is not like they will let us approach and perform right in front of the gate, right?"
Ellis pointed out.
Indeed, it was hard to imagine the enemy would allow them to offer a blade dance right in front of the enemy camp.
"At the center of Ragna Ys, there is still the arena used for the Blade Dance three years ago."
Wind Queen Sylpha spoke.
"That's the stage where Ren Ashbell won three years ago!"
"Yes. Perhaps it might be possible to reach the Elemental Lords with a blade dance from there."
"Got it. Then let's make that place our goal."
Hearing Claire's words, Team Scarlet's young ladies all nodded.
"I shall command the Divine Ritual Institute to prepare a ship. Please be patient."
"The gate to paradise has finally been opened, Holy Lord—"
The pillar of darkness in the sky of Astral Zero was piercing the gigantic gate.
Millennia Sanctus was looking up at the scene from a balcony in the Holy Lord Palace.
The grand Holy Lord Palace was now a temple that had lost its master. Des Esseintes and the Sacred Spirit Knights and others, having served the Holy Lord's wishes for centuries, were no longer present.
Then there was Lurie Lizaldia, her former friend and ally—
All were short-lived bubbles in the past, unnecessary in the new world created by the Holy Lord.
She was not dissatisfied at all.
After all, the spirit Millennia Sanctus had been born for this purpose.
(What I need to do is finish the final mission...)
The spirit with a girl's appearance gripped tightly the crimson longsword granted by the master.
Ragnarok—The elemental waffe of Fire Elemental Lord Volcanicus.
The ultimate elemental waffe of Astral Zero, even surpassing Laevateinn.
But even the strongest flame was not worthy of the master's possession.
The sword that belonged in the Sacred Maiden's hand no longer existed in this world.
It was what the Holy Lord wished to obtain—
Just then, a wavering shadow appeared behind Millennia.
"Ren Ashbell and others have apparently traveled to the Divine Ritual Institute."
"Yes, I know—"
She looked back—
To answer another Millennia Sanctus who had appeared out of thin air.
A hybrid being, created by merging an angel with the fragments of the sacred sword Terminus Est.
Distributed across space and time, all of them were one being.
One of them was destroyed by Dragon King Bahamut. Another became the gate for summoning angels at Areishia Spirit Academy.
Of four fragments, two remained—
"Well then, complete the final mission, Millennia."
Like mirror reflections, the two instances of Millennia Sanctus nodded simultaneously.