Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance:Volume19 Chapter9
Chapter 9 - To the Altar of Dancing Blades
The ceremonial ship, Grand Titania, took off for the Elemental Lords' shrine.
Although the Divine Ritual Institute's elder council were reluctant to let four Queens go in person, Reicha and the Queens' strong resolve convinced them in the end.
The elder council probably could not come up with any effective response to the Holy Lord's oracle and the gate to the Otherworld that had appeared over the holy capital.
Grand Titania was a white ship with a graceful streamlined shape.
Three years ago, it had been first unveiled during the Blade Dance opening ceremony. It lacked weapons because it was not a military ship, but it was the fastest ship in Astral Zero.
Of course, this was also its first time to carry a man, apparently.
"The destination is not far. With this ship's speed, we ought to arrive in half an hour or so."
Staring intently at the holy capital afar, Reicha spoke.
She was holding a glowing transparent orb in her arms.
It looked like an artifact connected to the spirit crystal energy source and used to control the ship.
Grand Titania flew quickly across an endless plain.
On lookout duty was Simorgh, currently on deck to guard against spirit attacks.
Although the figures of large spirits could be seen in the sky, there were no signs of them coming to attack yet.
Looking at the sky over the holy capital, one could see the gate that resembled a vortex of festering darkness.
It was already as big as the gate that Kamito had seen in the Darkness Elemental Lord's memories.
If the gate were to be completely activated, how many angels would appear?
Just as he was lost in thought—
"Kamito, what are you spacing out for?"
Claire tugged at his sleeve and greeted him.
"Rinslet and Ellis said they made packed lunches. Let's fill our stomachs before we arrive at the holy capital."
"Yeah, I got it."
Indeed, no one could predict what was going to happen in the holy capital. Since it was not far away, he should take this opportunity and eat first.
Just then, noticing something a bit strange about Claire's attitude, Kamito frowned in surprise.
Tugging at his uniform sleeve, Claire was staring directly at his eyes.
As though observing seriously—
"...Looks like it's fine."
She murmured quietly.
"...What do you mean is fine?"
Concerned, Kamito asked.
Claire went red in the face and shook her head, returning to Rinslet and the others.
On the deck of Grand Titania, the young ladies set out their lunch boxes.
No simple snacks along the likes of sandwiches. Every compartment in the little wooden boxes was filled with a small portion of a cooked dish.
"The Captain and I took great pains to create these."
"Yes, and we even used carefully selected ingredients to help replenish divine power."
Rinslet and Ellis arranged the colorful wooden boxes on the floor.
"Wow, that is amazing!"
"M-May we have a try too!?"
Wind Queen Sylpha and Earth Queen Nia exclaimed.
"Most certainly. As it turns out, in our zeal we made too much."
"Wow, thank you very much!"
The four Queen bowed their heads politely in gratitude.
Even Queens, elite of the elite, had a side to them like ordinary girls... Thought Kamito to himself.
"Where is Rubia?"
"I invited her, but she said she needed to check some literature on rituals."
Fianna shook her head.
Sure enough, spending time with junior Queens would feel awkward.
"I will take my sister's portion to her later."
Saying that, Claire took a pink lunch box.
"That's your portion, Claire."
"...? They're not the same inside?"
"Indeed, open it up and have a look. You will be surprised."
Rinslet looked quite proud as she spoke.
"Oh well, it'll definitely taste good anyway since you cooked it."
Saying that, Claire took off the lid.
"H-Hwahhhhhhhhhhhh, a d-demon spirit!?"
Instantly, she screamed.
"...What is with you, that is so rude. It is Scarlet, okay!?"
Rinslet protested with a look of dissatisfaction.
"Huh? How does this thing resemble Scarlet in any way!?"
Claire displayed what was in the lunch box.
When they had a look, everyone except Rinslet ended up with frozen expressions.
On top of the rolled omelet was a monstrous design drawn using bright-red ketchup.
"It doesn't even look like a cat!"
Scarlet protested and gave Rinslet several kitty punches to the knee.
"See, even Scarlet's angry."
"Ehh, didn't I draw the ears and the tail!? Look, here—"
"Uh, I totally cannot make it out—"
Fianna shrugged too.
"Say, don't tell me that Rinslet's sense of aesthetics is this low?"
Kamito whispered in Ellis' ear.
"Hmm, it looks she really believes the drawing is cute."
Ellis scratched her own face while answering quietly.
...How unexpected, a perfectionist young noble lady's surprising weakness.
"Could it be that all the lunch boxes are like this too?"
Fianna opened a white lunch box this time.
"This nightmare... No, very avant-garde pattern, what is it?"
"Tha is Miss Sword Spirit. I made it using bean curd."
Rinslet replied nonchalantly.
"I-Is that so..."
"Don't tell me there's one for me too?"
In human form, Restia asked with curiosity.
"Here it is."
What Rinslet handed over was a black lunch box, the incarnation of chaos.
"This wouldn't be Otherworldly Darkness, would it!?"
"What a wonderful sense of humor, Miss Darkness Spirit. I used powdered truffle."
Restia made a very subtle look.
"Oh, b-but it's extremely delicious!"
Having tried the food in trepidation, Reicha attempted to lift the mood.
"...Well, the taste is definitely not bad."
Claire murmured quietly with a complicated look on her face.
"O-Okay now, let's ignore appearances."
"Kamito-san, what do you mean by that!?"
"K-Kamito, if you do not mind, please try my food too."
He accepted the stewed yam that Ellis had extended to him and ate it.
Despite the simple taste, the ingredient's natural flavor was fully brought out.
"Really, I am so glad."
Hearing his comment, Ellis smiled demurely.
In such a manner, the group spent a moment's respite.
"Kamito-kun, look over there—"
Just then, Fianna pointed at the outside scenery.
There was a small town down below, in front of where the ceremonial ship was headed.
Speaking of towns on Ragna Ys, this was the only place.
The Town of Fantasy built for people to watch and enjoy the Blade Dance.
"So nostalgic, that place is still here."
Claire leaned out and looked at the town's scenery.
"Yes, it was originally slated for gradual dismantling within a few months."
After Team Scarlet's celebration party and sightseeing with Leonora, this place was also filled with memories for Kamito too. However, the Ren Ashbell Memorial Museum was the one building he wanted demolished as soon as possible.
On a hill, one could still see that castle where Team Scarlet had stayed.
(I remember the forest near there. Muir's militarized spirit even attacked it...)
How odd. Even though not much time had passed, it felt so nostalgic.
(—It shows how too many things have happened recently.)
Just as Kamito and company were reminiscing...
Simorgh on lookout gave a mighty cry resounding across the whole deck.
Kamito and company instantly stood up and deployed their elemental waffen. They surrounded the puzzled Queens for greater protection.
A large spirit flew from the holy capital's direction.
It looked like a winged snake, as long as the ceremonial ship.
"...! What is that, a berserk spirit?"
Ellis asked quietly.
"No, spirits of such a high rank should not occur around these parts."
Fianna shook her head.
Indeed, this was the location of the Blade Dance town.
They would not have built a town here if such dangerous spirits roamed the surroundings.
"It is the Holy Kingdom's assault militarized spirit—Kerykeion."
On the deck, Rubia carefully examined the large spirit and spoke.
"I have received reports about it when I previously sent Lily to infiltrate the Holy Kingdom. They are extremely mobile despite their massive size. These spirits are trained for attacking high-speed military ships."
"Did the Holy Kingdom notice us...?"
Just as Rubia said, the militarized spirit Kerykeion was approaching at high speed despite what its size and appearance would suggest. It looked like the Grand Titania would have difficulty shaking it off.
"Prepare to intercept. Protect the Queens. I leave the barrier to you, Fianna."
As the team leader, Claire swiftly gave orders.
"I shall not allow you to approach the ship."
Readying her elemental waffe bow, Rinslet nocked a magic ice arrow and drew.
"Wait, there is a rider—"
Just then, Ellis used Far Sight magic and called out.
Kamito focused his vision. Although he did not know how to use Far Sight magic, Instructional School assassins were able to enhance their vision for brief periods.
A petite figure was on top of the giant snake's head.
A blonde maiden dressed in pure white vestments.
"What did you say!?"
...No mistake. This was the cardinal from the Holy Kingdom.
With Otherworldly Darkness residing in her eye, a being neither human nor spirit—
The gigantic militarized spirit Kerykeion roared.
The atmosphere shook as a result. The intense shockwave struck the Grand Titania.
With an explosion sound, the deck shook violently.
Losing balance, Claire fell on her bottom.
Had Fianna not deployed Save the Queen, the ship might have disintegrated in that attack.
Kerykeion's massive body coiled up, wrapping itself around the prow.
"Fufu, hello, ladies."
A girl's cute voice was heard on the deck.
Standing on the militarized spirit's head, Millennia Sanctus looked down at Kamito's group.
"I am sorry to say to you all, please die here."
With an innocent expression, she grinned and declared.
"You shall not succeed! Freezing fangs of ice, go forth and pierce—Freezing Arrow!"
Rinslet shot the arrow from her elemental waffe.
Bringing cold air, arrows of ice rained down on Millennia and the militarized spirit from above.
However, the released ice arrows were neutralized before they could strike their target.
Kerykeion flapped its gigantic wings, blowing the rain of arrows away.
"...! H-How competent! Then take this instead—"
Rinslet closed her eyes and gathered a huge amount of divine power in her fingers.
It looked like she was about to release a finishing move.
"Fu, fufu, fu... Haha, ahahahahahahahahaha!"
Allowing her vestments to flutter, Millennia laughed conceitedly.
Tearing off the eye patch covering her left eye, she tossed it into the air.
From her clear violet eye, terrifying Otherworldly Darkness flowed out.
"I shall not allow you to interfere in my master's wish. Crash down right here right now!"
In that instant, the deck of the Grand Titania shook violently.
The ship's speed instantly dropped while the body became tilted.
"Wait, what's happening!?"
"...! I-Impossible to control, the spirit crystal acting as the power source has run amok!?"
Holding the orb used to control the ship, Reicha spoke in almost a wail.
"...! It's the Otherworldly Darkness causing interference!"
The Otherworldly Darkness, capable of driving even the Elemental Lords mad, had been used by Millennia in the attack against the Academy town. Corrupted by darkness, the spirits in the Academy all descended into chaos.
The spirit crystal serving as the ceremonial ship's power source was the first to be affected.
Out of control, the Grand Titania spewed the light of divine power while falling.
"W-We are falling!"
"Grab the railing, everyone! We're gonna crash!"
Amid Millennia Sanctus' laugher, Kamito shouted as hard as he could.
Directly beneath the ship was the town built for Blade Dance visitors.
"—O great wind, relentless guardian, protect thy servants!"
Wind Queen Sylpha deployed a wind barrier around the Grand Titania.
The ship's orientation was righted, but the momentum of its descent still could not be stopped.
The militarized spirit Kerykeion squirmed its massive body to strike its slow-moving prey. The gigantic tail smashed into the top of the cabin directly, blowing away panels of armor.
Claire released flame spirit magic against the snake's head.
The fireball caused a great explosion at extremely close range.
Kerykeion hissed angrily.
It flew up into the sky in one go, this time intending to flatten this ship from above.
Ellis cried out.
"Hmph, they shall not succeed!"
Rinslet readied her magic bow and closed one eye. Then—
"O piercing spear of ice that penetrates sturdy walls—Icicle Driver!"
She unleashed a finishing move with all her might.
A gigantic spinning ice spear flew straight, skewering the large assault spirit in the belly.
Kerykeion's giant body struggled then turned into particles of light and disappeared.
"...! U-Unbelievable, you defeated a militarized spirit in one strike!"
The Queens, Reicha especially, were astonished.
"Hmph, this is just a piece of cake whenever I bring out my true skills."
"The result of training at Dracunia."
The Raven Class pair of the hell cat and the ice demon hi-fived on the deck in celebration.
"You two, stay alert. That cardinal disappeared."
Hearing Ellis' warning, Claire stiffened her expression.
During this time, the Grand Titania slowly descended.
The town ruins below them kept drawing nearer.
"This ship is hopeless. Everyone brace for impact."
Rubia calmly said.
Reicha and the Queens gathered together, holding onto the ship's railing in desperation.
A shocking impact swept through the entire ship.
Squashing buildings in the town, the ship's massive body dug a trench in the stone-paved road surface.
Surface armor flaked off, exposing the frame inside.
While causing destruction in the streets, the Grand Titania continued on, finally stopping after knocking down a great clock tower at a plaza in a spectacular manner.
Were it not for Fianna's barrier and the Wind Queen's shield, the ship would have fallen apart early on, dismembered.
A great cloud of dust rose, blocking the entire view.
"...! Are you okay, everyone?"
With the Demon Slayer stabbed into the deck, Kamito looked back.
"Y-Yes, we are fine."
Behind the dust, he heard Reicha's reply.
At the same time, there was a splashing sound. It seemed like Water Queen Feirei Sin Quina had activated water protective magic.
"That was crazy..."
"My uniform is covered in dust!"
"H-Hold on... Kyah!"
"Are you alright, Your Highness—"
Claire and the girls jumped off the tilted deck one after another onto the ground.
Kamito remained alert as he landed in the wrecked town.
(Oh, it's this place...)
Looking at his surroundings with smoke and dust hanging in the air, he muttered to himself.
No wonder this place felt so nostalgic—
This was the plaza where he and Leonora had strolled along the streets before the final round.
'—Kamito, be careful.'
The silver-white sword's blade flashed while Est warned.
"Yeah, I know—"
The gigantic militarized spirit was at most a welcome party.
The cardinal would not be naive enough to think that something of that level could bury Kamito's group.
"Ahaha, how does it feel to have your wings broken?"
Mocking laughter resounded across the plaza.
Claire glared at the sky.
Hovering in the air, vestments fluttering, Milleenia Sanctus looked down upon Kamito and his companions.
From her left eye where the eye patch had been removed, Otherworldly Darkness flowed out endlessly.
Small spirits, dancing in the sky, were flashing intensely.
Although high-tier spirits such as Scarlet, Fenrir and Simorgh were unaffected so long as they did not come into direct contact with the darkness, the low-tier spirits living in Astral Zero were evidently unable to withstand the miasma, all of them rendered chaotic.
"What a barbaric greeting, Millennia Sanctus."
Kamito readied the Demon Slayer and the Vorpal Sword.
In response, Millennia Sanctus grinned savagely.
"After all, none of you are needed in my master's world. Just like me."
The dripping Otherworldly Darkness—
As though utterly ravenous, it kept devouring the girl's body.
"Ah, ahhh, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!"
From Millennia Sanctus' throat exploded a hoarse scream.
"W-What is she intending to do—?"
"She is suddenly killing herself!"
Claire and company were puzzled by her behavior, but...
"—No wait. That's a gate."
"That spirit is creating a gate for summoning angels."
Having absorbed Millennia's body, a black sphere hovered in the air.
...No mistake. This was the same as when the Dunamis angel had been summoned in the Academy.
The Demon Slayer in Kamito's hand gave off a low hum.
As a spirit weapon, Est sensed the presence of a mortal enemy inside.
Whoosh—Suddenly, a crack appeared in the sphere.
Something was about to crawl out of the dense darkness.
"...! Something is coming out...!"
Probably sensing it through a princess maiden's instinct, Fianna held her breath.
"Don't think it'll be that easy! O scorching conflagration—Fireball!"
Seeing that, Claire released flame spirit magic, trying to destroy the entire gate.
However, the crimson flames entered the darkness and immediately disappeared.
"...! Take this—"
"It is futile. Do not waste your divine power."
Seeing Claire about to use spirit magic again, Rubia gripped her shoulder to stop her.
The sphere of darkness ruptured as though ripped apart from inside—
It came out.
"W-What is that!?"
Wielding Ray Hawk, Ellis exclaimed urgently.
Kamito was also speechless, gripping his two swords.
Appearing out from thin air was a gigantic rotating spiral column.
...That was what Kamito could describe using his own knowledge.
The spiral column gave off rainbow-colored light while slowly descending to the ground.
"Is that a so-called angel?"
"Yeah, but it's different from the one I saw last time..."
'—It is an Ophanim.'
Est's voice sounded in his mind.
"So a different type from the one we fought in the Academy, huh?"
'Indeed, but specific authority unknown. Require memory domain to conduct analysis—'
...Despite the weird appearance, this was an angel no doubt.
With both swords gripped tightly, Kamito spoke to Claire and the others behind him.
"Everyone, take the Queens and go. I'll take care of this."
"W-What are you talking about? We have to fight together too."
Ellis and Rinslet objected, but...
"Kamito, are you treating us as burdens?"
"No, that's not what I mean."
Kamito shook his head.
"The angels possess authorities that interfere in natural laws and nullify spirit attacks. Ordinary spirit attacks don't work on them."
"Why are you talking about?"
"They can only be defeated by spirit weapons, born to fight angels."
Saying that, Kamito poured divine power into the Demon Slayer.
"...! No way, even the power of spirits won't work?"
"...I understand, then let us do as Kamito-kun says for now."
"Kamito-kun, I shall leave this to you, okay?"
Hearing that, Kamito nodded lightly.
"Hold on. In that case, I'll fight with you."
Kamito frowned and looked back.
"Like Terminus Est, I am also a weapon created for fighting angels. Though my memories from the great war are gone, as the last survivor of the Valkyrie series, I see fighting them as my mission."
Claire's Flametongue spoke.
"Ortlinde, speaking of which, that's true—"
"Sword spirit, please provide analysis data—"
Glowing words hovered around the Demon Slayer and started to rotate at high speed.
Next, as though in resonance, Claire's Flametongue also had glowing words appear around it too.
"Kamito-kun, Claire, I leave this to you."
"Do not overdo it."
"Thank you for taking care of it."
"Yeah, don't worry—"
Kamito made a thumbs up behind him.
"—Go, Nee-sama. I'll take care of Kamito."
Hearing Rubia's voice, Claire nodded firmly towards her.
In front of Kamito's group, the spiral angel landed on the ground.
"Are you ready, Claire? I'm trusting you with my back."
"Hmph, leave it to me!"
Holding Flametongue, Claire smiled fearlessly.
Standing with their backs together, the two of them glared at the angel before them.