Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance:Volume1 Chapter1
Chapter 1 - You Are My Contracted Spirit
In a quiet forest where the sun's rays shine through the leaves-
The sound of water resounded through the trees.
Kamito opened his mouth wide in shock and stood stock still.
There was a girl. In front of his eyes was a naked girl.
On top of that, he thought, she was a cute girl.
She had large eyes with ruby pupils and lustrously moist cherry-red lips.
Her white skin was as smooth as milk and dazzling.
Her beautifully slender legs disappeared below the water's surface.
However, what caught his eye more than anything was her blazingly crimson red hair that clung to her gorgeous, porcelain-like body.
However, she was naked---Stark naked.
Kamito felt a cold sweat begin to form on his back.
Not good. Naked is not good.
......Speaking of which, he ought to run away.
The rational part of his brain was certainly telling him to run.
However, his body wouldn't move.
It was as if he was enchanted. The scene was just too surreal.
Her moist and beautiful eyes blinked as she looked at the intruder who had appeared quite suddenly.
Her expression was blank. It seemed like she had yet to fully grasp the situation.
She had not even covered her small, developing breasts yet.
A water droplet fell from the young girl's bangs.
With that sound, Kamito finally regained his senses.
"Ah—Err...," Kamito stumbled over his words.
He tore his gaze from the naked girl who was still standing motionlessly.
"I guess I should say...this is a huge accident, ok? It is definitely an unfortunate accident for the both of us..."
At this time, the boy made two fatal errors:
The first was that he started to stumble through making excuses. The best choice for him, of course, was to take advantage of the fact that the girl was dazed and run away immediately.
And the other error was—
"Even though this is an accident, I have seen you like this. I must apologize."
Up to this point, he was still fine, but then he continued...
"However, don't worry. I am a healthy boy, but I don't have that kind of interest."
Looking at the young girl's developing chest, he said—
"I have no interest in the naked body of a kid."
He stepped on a gigantic landmine.
An icy silence fell.
The girl slowly raised her arm, red hair coiling around its length.
Her shoulders shook slightly.
It wasn't because she was cold, however, Kamito was oblivious to that fact.
The girl's delicate lips mumbling something, and Kamito lifted his eyebrows.
"I-I-I am sixteen!!!"
The instant she yelled this, the young girl's red hair stood on end.
"Huuh!?" Kamito opened his eyes wide in surprise,
"Sixteen!? For real? A sixteen year-old with such a pitiful chest—"
He quickly covered his mouth. It was already too late.
"Unforgivable," the young girl said in a low, cold voice, "D-Definitely unforgivable......you-you-you peeping demon, pervert, lewd beast!"
"You're quite knowledgeable to know words like lewd beast," Kamito replied as he narrowed his eyes.
At this time, he noticed that the trees were making a low, whisper-like rustle.
Is that the wind? he mused, No, that's-
"Guardian of the crimson blaze, keeper of the undying hearth!"
"Now is the time to abide by our blood contract; come forth and do my bidding!"
From the young girl's lips sprang an incantation in spirit language.
At that instant, accompanied by the sound of air rushing into a vacuum, a whip of flames manifested in the hand of the girl.
An elementalist! Kamito realized as he stared at the girl.
An elementalist controls something that exists from a different dimension apart from this world; a place called "Astral Zero."
Elementalists were princess maidens, girls who have made contracts with the spirits living in that other place.
They can use different types of spirits and freely wield their powers.
It seemed that the girl in front of Kamito had contracted with a fire-type spirit.
That the young girl was an elementalist wasn't something to be that surprised about.
After all, this was the area where the country's excellent elementalists were gathered.
Nevertheless, it's surprising that she can use an elemental waffe, Kamito thought.
The way spirits are summoned and formed upon being summoned into this world can be broken down into two main groups:
The first is a form that appears as a lump of divine power; mass-less and of an indeterminate form. It is purely the summoning of a spirit's power and is used primarily as a battery for when spirit magic is used.
The other summoning form is the pure form that summons a part of the spirit's existence.
This summoning requires tremendous amounts of divine power and, on top of that, is very difficult to control. So, those capable of summoning a spirit's existence are said to be the elite amongst the ranks of elementalists.
Even further, the girl before his eyes was not just using a spirit, but was using that spirit's power in a highly-optimized elemental waffe.
What that means is that...would I now be in a potential life or death situation? As the thought suddenly hit him, Kamito was stunned.
Where the flame whip touched the water's surface a gush of white steam rose.
"You...you have guts." The girl murmured in a trembling voice.
Her face was red. Was it due to her anger or her embarrassment over the situation?
"Really, you have some nerve to p-peek while I, Claire Rouge, am taking my bath," She stammered.
"W-Wait, that is a misunderstanding! Let me explain it in full first!" Kamito shook his head in panic.
"I will not listen to your excuses. Turn into cinders, you pervert!" the girl yelled.
The flame whip ignited furiously in the girl's hand and moved as if it was licking the water surface.
"Oh no..." Kamito propelled his body into the dense bushes nearby.
Nearly at the same time, the Flametounge brushed its way over his head.
The idle red residue that remained on the trees which had been cut was like the lingering punchline of a joke. The cut surface of the tree trunks were surprisingly smooth, without any trace of having been touched by fire. The attack had been so fast that the flames did not have the time to ignite the trees.
The hair on Kamito's forehead fluttered down around his mouth while cold sweat started to form on his forehead.
Um, this is a joke, right? I'm not going to die like this, am I? Kamito nervously thought.
*Zing*, *biyutsu* – There was an endless dance of crimson flashes cutting both horizontally and vertically in the forest. The surrounding bush was mowed down in the blink of an eye. Having lost his cover, Kamito hurriedly dashed away.
"Don't dodge, pervert, I can't hit you!" the girl called out.
"Don't ask for the impossible, and I'm not a pervert!" Kamito threw back.
Kamito screamed out; at the same time, the whip swung downwards towards his feet, causing a violent spark to slam onto the ground. Rising from the ground, the whip immediately sprang in the direction of the woods, causing more trees to be cut down.
Fortunately among all the unluckiness Kamito was experiencing, the girl—Claire's- aim was quite bad.
This stands to reason though, as one hand was hiding her chest from being seen. In order to conceal her most important part she had squatted in the pond. However, considering how well she was able to handle her whip in such a position, she should normally be quite skilled at using it.
"How conceited despite being a pervert, please obediently turn into cinders!" Claire shouted again at Kamito.
"I'm saying that I'm not a pervert! But by the way," Kamito stopped and turned around, there was something he had noticed for some time... "you need to cover yourself properly. The gaps between your fingers aren't able to hide them completely."
"...eh?" Instantly, Claire's facial expression froze. And— "Kyaaaaaaaaaah!"
Blushing deeply and screaming in a strangely cute voice—she quickly hid her chest with both of her hands.
"Ah, idiot!" Kamito involuntarily exclaimed.
Claire had let go, and lost control of the flame whip, and it cleanly severed the trees behind her.
The huge trees slowly crashed towards her. However, Claire did not notice them. Her eyes were closed in embarrassment while she kept embracing her naked chest.
Damn! Kamito exclaimed as he kicked off the ground.
Running with all his strength towards the pond, Kamito jumped towards Claire and grabbed her shoulders.
"Wha—!?" Claire's red pupils dilated widely.
Kamito ignored her outburst and aggressively pushed her down into the water.
The moment Claire's hand touched the water, a gush of steam rose, and the flame whip disappeared.
Immediately after, the nearby trees collided with the water's surface.
The sound of the trees falling was deafening and created large water columns.
Absorbing the heat of the flames, the now-warm pond water poured down like a heavy rain.
*A few seconds later*
"Ooh..." Making a seductive noise, Claire slowly opened her eyes.
Her expression was that of shock, her eyes blinked in wonder.
Kamito leaned on Claire and found himself staring into her eyes.
Their faces were so close that if someone were to push on his back lightly, their lips would likely touch.
Claire's crimson hair clung closely to her nape. Her moist lips were cherry red.
Her delicate doll-like face was in front of Kamito's eyes.
For a short moment it looked like he was subconsciously captivated by her. Kamito quickly shook his head.
"...Um, are you alright? Are you hurt?" he asked.
Claire nodded. It seemed as if she had not fully absorbed the situation yet.
Kamito sighed, then tried to stand up.
His hand had touched something soft underwater.
What is that? Mud? he thought.
"Hm, ya, hwaaa" From Claire's moist lips came a shallow, sweet voice. Her submerged naked body twitched for some reason.
"Um ..this is?" Having come this far, Kamito finally arrived at a certain conclusion. A certain......awfully frightening conclusion.
No, wait, calm down. This can't be...that, right?
It couldn't be. It could be no such thing. He desperately tried to deny such a possibility.
When I looked at hers earlier, they weren't so...
"Wh..Wha.. Wha..Whattt .... are..you...do..ing" Claire's lip trembled, shaking involuntarily. She was blushing with tears in her eyes.
Apparently, it wasn't a lump of mud that he had been touching.
Because he got kneed hard in the stomach, Kamito collapsed into the pond's water.
With a rising heat haze behind her, Claire slowly stood up. The flame whip, which was a manifestation of her flame spirit, was once again in her hand.
The water in the pond instantaneously started to boil, bubbles frothing to the surface all around.
"No..No, it's a misunderstanding! Wait, if you do that, I'm really gonna die....." Kamito pleaded.
"Sh..Shut up pervert, you will die here!"
With an almost ear-splitting, deafening sound, Kamito's body was cast high into the air.
A few minutes later...
Kamito slowly woke into consciousness, the forest unfolding before his eyes.
He tried to get up—suddenly, he realized that something was coiled around his neck.
It was a leather black whip commonly used for torturing. What is this thing, Kamito thought as he tried to take the whip off.
"You finally woke up, you peeping-tom pervert."
The whip around his neck tightened.
"Gweh!? Release me..." Kamito coughed. He then looked upward and saw—
The scarlet-haired young girl – Claire Rouge, stood above him with her hands on her waist. She gazed down at Kamito with a raised eyebrow.
This time, thankfully, she was not naked. She had changed into an adorable school uniform. It's pattern was of black lines on a pure white field. This was the Areishia Spirit Academy's uniform.
A ribbon decorated the front of her uniform. A talisman was sewn in the place where a button would normally rest. Between the gap of her knee-length stockings and her pleated skirt, her beautifully slender legs stuck out brilliantly. Tiny ribbons tied her crimson hair on both sides. This was the so-called twintail hairstyle. Judging from her still-wet hair, it seems that Kamito had not lost consciousness for that long.
Keeping Kamito's neck bound tightly, Claire puffed up her small chest.
"Well, be grateful. I went easy on you and didn't try to kill you outright," Claire huffed.
"That has to be a lie. You definitely intended to kill me," Kamito retorted.
"What are you talking about? If I had been serious, you would have been in cinders by now," Claire calmly stated.
She just said something quite frightening really calmly, Kamito nervously thought.
By the way, cinders are the soft ash residue that is left behind when firewood is incinerated.
"I beg for your forgiveness, spare me from becoming cinders. After all, I helped you!" Kamito pleaded.
"Well, yes, I am a fair woman of noble rank, so I'll give you credit for your help. Even so, you are a higher grade than an average pervert, so you are a high-grade pervert," she snapped.
"In the end the pervert designation doesn't change," Kamito dejectedly sighed, "By the way, isn't a high grade pervert even worse of a designation than an average pervert?!"
"I bet you were only pretending to help me! You...you touched my breast!"
Recalling what happened, Claire's face suddenly turned beet red.
Seeing such a reaction from her, Kamito had an idea.
...This girl, could it be that she is that kind of person?
"So it seems that milady is the type of pervert that has a hobby of whipping men." Kamito teased Claire nonchalantly.
"What!? That is not true! I'm not a pervert!" The response was immediate as Kamito expected. Claire shook her head and her cheeks instantly became bright red all the way to her ears.
"Then do you enjoy being whipped?" Kamito slyly continued.
"Wha...what..are...you..saying?" Claire's eyes spun as steam puffs rose from her head. She is unsurprisingly flustered.
Oh, as I expected, Kamito smiled bitterly, This girl is really, really innocent.
Most likely it wasn't only Claire that was this innocent. After all, Areishia Spirit Academy is a school where elementalist princess maidens are gathered. Only pure maidens are capable of exchanging feelings with the spirits from Astral Zero. Among those princess maidens, those who retain enough divine power to command a contracted spirit are girls from the lines of kings or lords of ancient and honorable families whose elementalist blood has been strengthened through the marriages of many generations.
To maintain the purity of their bodies and hearts, these girls are raised in environments that are completely separated from contact with males starting in childhood: the so-called elite education for elementalists has no place for men. Therefore, all the girls attending the academy are super innocent princesses who are unaccustomed to dealing with men.
Finding Claire's unexpectedly easy-to-spot weakness, Kamito had the thought to play a prank on her.
From a kneeling position, Kamito looked up at the embarrassed bright-red face of Claire.
"Th—then, there is something I have meant to say since I woke up." Kamito playfully stammered.
"Wh...what is it, you pervert?" Claire replied warily.
"I can see your panties from this angle."
"Fuwah!" Tears began to float in her crimson eyes. Claire hastily pressed down the fringe of her skirt with both hands.
"You...you saw it?" Claire sniffed.
"Only a glance and you are, quite unexpectedly, a very daring girl. Your panties are the same color as your hair." Kamito bluffed.
"You...you lie! They are not red! They are white, white!" Claire shouted.
"Ah, so they are white." Kamito nodded sagely.
"...Eh!?" Realizing that she had been tricked, Claire bit down on her front lip—
"U-Uuuuuuuuuh~" Claire started to cry.
At this sudden unexpected reaction, Kamito panicked. "No, you're the pervert, a dirty young lady, who reveals the color of her own panties", he had planned to say to tease her more but, as expected, he was starting to feel guilty and like a bad person.
Taking the chance while Claire was still crying, Kamito removed the whip from around his neck.
"My bad, I went a bit too far with my prank. Sorry." Kamito stood up and placed his hand on Claire's head. Claire stopped crying, and looked puzzled. "It is my fault that I saw you naked while you were bathing. I have also touched your breasts as well. However, those actions were not intentional. Please believe me."
Seeing the truth of his words in his eyes, Claire could not help but to avert her eyes.
"....What-what is this? If you are not a pervert, then why are you here?"
A question that is not the easiest to answer for Kamito. This forest is under the jurisdiction of Areishia Spirit Academy, known as the Spirit Forest. There would be no reason for a man to be in the grounds of the academy. Even if he was not a pervert, the fact that he was where he should not be could not be contested.
"I was summoned by Greyworth." Kamito told Claire.
"Greyworth...the academy's headmistress!?" Claire questioned suspiciously. Indeed, why would the headmistress summon a male to the academy?
"I'm not lying. Look, here's the evidence." Kamito continued. He took out a letter from within his coat. The letter was signed by the renowned headmistress. It was also stamped with the emblem seal that symbolizes the five great Elemental Lords.
"Is that, the first-rank emblem seal of the Empire!?" Claire cried out, shocked. The first-rank emblem seal is produced by sealing spirits with a special technique into a seal. This seal is rated as the highest among the emblem seals issued by the Empire and is said to be completely impossible to counterfeit. Of course, it is something that is rarely seen but as an elementalist, Claire could certainly tell that it was the real thing.
"It seems to be authentic. But why would the headmistress call a man to the academy?" Claire asked.
"Well, for the answer to that question you'd have to ask Greyworth, that old hag. Being summoned was troublesome for me, too." Kamito sighed.
"'That...that old hag!?'" Claire's face stiffened.
The Dusk Witch, Greyworth, is a greatly respected individual by princess maidens who aim to become Spirit Knights. It is also said that she is as popular in the Ordesia Empire as the Strongest Blade Dancer, Ren Ashbell. Even after she retired a decade ago from the Twelve Knight Generals, the most elite force of Spirit Knights known as the "Numbers," her legendary status as a Witch is still one to be feared and revered to the highest degree.
Well, for me, she is nothing but a nightmare, Kamito thought as he tucked the letter back into it's pocket. "Greyworth is an old acquaintance of mine. I came all the way here but the academy ground is extremely large and so I have lost my way."
Areishia Spirit Academy's grounds is incredibly vast. After all, besides the academy-town at the foot of the hill it also includes the entire spirit forest that surrounds it.
"Could it be that you were misled by the spirits in the forest? That's so lame." Claire snickered.
".....Yeah, that's how it is," Kamito nodded, feeling a bit dejected.
Existing in various locations of the continent, spirit forests connect with Astral Zero through Gates. These forests are inhabited by the spirits that have wandered into this dimension. Most of the spirits have no interest in humankind and as such are harmless. There are also spirits who enjoy playing pranks; they deliberately mislead travelers who stray into the forest. Kamito was confused by the spirits' whispers and went deeper and deeper into the forest, therefore losing his way.
"Anyway, I'm really glad that I met someone. It would not be fun to become a victim of the forest. Which way should I go to get to the academy?" Kamito asked.
"Which direction...I shall tell you that it takes two hours to get to the academy from here by foot," Claire replied knowledgeably.
"What, that far!?" Kamito yelped.
If he was to walk for such a long distance by himself he would most likely once again be tricked by the spirits. Since there was a student of the academy present, he had thought that the academy was closer than that.
Hmm? Why was this girl taking a bath at this kind of place? Kamito wondered.
Today is indeed a bit hot, nonetheless, instead of coming all this way, there should be showering facilities inside of the academy. There are only girls in the school so there would be nothing to be embarrassed about.
Kamito asked this question of Claire. Claire dug her hands into her wet twintail hair and tried to comb it.
"I was here for the purification ritual for a spirit contract. Being a spring next to a shrine the water here has the highest of purification qualities. You do know that spirits like a woman who has a pure mind and body?"
"Spirit contract?" Kamito mused.
The moment he heard those words, a throbbing pain came from the back of his left hand, which was covered in a leather glove. Kamito grimaced from the sharp pain.
"A bit further into the forest from here there is an ancient holy sword in a shrine. Rumor has it that a powerful sealed spirit is locked away there. Since the founding of the academy not a single princess maiden has successfully formed a contract with it. It surely sounds like a very proud and noble spirit," Claire said.
Sealed spirits: they are not the normal spirits that reside in Astral Zero and move into this dimension. Among the ranks and types of spirits, there are some who are sealed into weapons or armor by powerful, ancient elementalists. Most of these sealed spirits have brought about terrible disasters to humankind and are dreadful beings called Djinn or Ifreet by ancient societies.
Of course, they are not meant to be employed by elementalists. Those strong elementalists of the past sealed these spirits in weapons or armor so that they could never be summoned ever again and deal more harm to the world around them.
"Don't tell me you plan to form a contract with a sealed spirit?" Kamito said, stunned.
"That's right! Do you have a problem with it?" Claire retorted.
"Stop, it is too dangerous!"
"Hmm, you seem to know a bit about sealed spirits even though you are not an elementalist. I am quite aware of the dangers, but I need a powerful spirit no matter what," Claire muttered, biting her tightly closed lips.
Seeing her determination in her expression, Kamito snapped back on the lecture he had on the tip of his tongue.
"Don't you already have a contract with that flame spirit? That is also a powerful spirit, isn't it? Won't it be fine if you just raise it instead?" Kamito wheedled.
A flame spirit is not very rare, but there are only a handful of elementalists who can control a fire spirit and be capable of using elemental waffen in the whole Empire. On another note, elementalists whom have formed a contract with multiple spirits are so rare that they are an extreme minority. Discord between the contracted spirits can cause deterioration of the balance of divine power. Without enough talent, one would not be able to control them.
"Scarlet is an important partner. But—" I need more power—. Claire calmly shook her head. "-I have a goal. To achieve it, I must have a strong spirit."
Claire's fluffy crimson twintails swung back and forth over her back as she led Kamito deeper into the forest. Although Claire's leather loafers looked quite difficult to walk in, Claire was a well trained elementalist; her steps were light and lively.
"Here it is," Claire muttered.
Her well-proportioned feet stopped walking. With her hands on her hips, Claire looked back at Kamito with a glare.
"Why are you following me, you pervert-peeping maniac?"
"Without your guidance I don't know the way to the academy. As I have said several times, I am not a pervert-peeping maniac. My name is Kamito, Kazehaya Kamito."
"Fufufu, what a weird name. Are you from Quina?" she replied.
Quina is an empire in the eastern region of the continent. It is said that Quina's language, culture, and the relationship between people and spirits largely differ from that of Ordesia.
"No, I am not from Quina. I was born on a far-away, remote island in a very small village."
Kamito intentionally obscured his own statement. Certainly, he was born in an island country in the east, but the larger half of his childhood was not spent there.
"Your name also has quite a unique taste, Claire Rouge." Kamito hinted.
"Do not call my name in a friendly manner," Claire snapped. "Anyway, my name is a strange name."
"Really? I think it is a nice name."
"Wha-what are you saying, st-stupid!"
Claire blushed, suddenly turned back around and briskly walked in the direction she had indicated earlier.
Claire Rouge—obviously the name is a pseudonym.
Most of the students attending the Areishia Spirit Academy were the young ladies of noble families who have been trained as potential elementalists since childhood. However well-versed he was in the noble families, Kamito had never heard of the Rouge family. Claire was hiding her noble family name. She must have some reason to do so, but Kamito had no intention to delve deeper.
Everyone has some secrets they want to hide, Kamito thought. Kamito glanced down at his left hand covered by the leather glove. Even I have mine, too...
Claire kept walking through the forest. Kamito quickly moved to follow her swaying crimson twintails. Losing sight of Claire inside the forest now would only bring trouble for him later. Kamito was well-aware of the dangers of spending a night inside the Spirit Forest.
"Is that dress the academy's uniform?" Kamito asked.
"Yeah." Claire nodded coldly as she kept moving.
Areishia Spirit Academy uniforms are pretty sturdy and can also serve as a protective garment. They have undergone spirit blessings and have the added effect of raising sacred attributes. The uniform could also function nicely as a ceremonial dress for contracting with or summoning spirits.
"What, are you saying that it doesn't suit me?"
Kamito shrugged his shoulders. "No, it suits you gorgeously," he answered. "Honestly speaking, I am charmed by it."
Fine feathers make fine birds; Kamito planned to mock her with caustic words such as those, but the uniform did fit her so perfectly that Kamito couldn't help but to compliment her.
"Wh-Wha-What are you saying!? Stop being an idiot!" Claire stammered cutely.
*Kaatsu* Claire blushed deep red, while *Pyun-Pyun* waving her whip around in agitation.
"Uwahh, Calm down!" Kamito pleaded.
"Wasn't it because you said some weird thing?"
"What I said was weird? I simply spoke the truth! I got it, I understand, so please stop pulling out your whip for every little thing."
Phew, if I didn't need her as a guide...but what a bothersome princess. Dodging the swinging whip, Kamito sighed in his mind.
The shrine that held the holy blade stood quietly in a clearing in the forest.
Claire easily removed the ward that forbade entry and stopped walking, then turned to Kamito.
"From here onwards it will be really dangerous, so, as a commoner, you should stay away."
"If you know that it's dangerous, why not stop?" Kamito asked.
"As I was saying, I need to contract with a strong spirit." Claire calmly shook her head and stepped into the shrine.
Disregarding her warnings, Kamito followed her. As for coming all the way, it was true that he needed a guide, but more importantly he was just worried about Claire.
After all, sealed spirits were the strongest of the strong and at the same time have a wild nature. They prefer destruction and chaos; given the chance, they would even murder the elementalist that employs their power.
They are not something that can be managed by humans—that is why they have been sealed away.
Being only sixteen years of age with such an innate talent for wielding a spirit, Claire might as well be called a prodigy. However, if by any chance, she was to release the sealed spirit and fail to control it, what would happen?
Although she was just a girl he met by chance, Kamito couldn't leave her alone.
"Why did you follow me? I cannot guarantee what will happen to you." Claire warned.
"Don't you have the absolute confidence to tame it?" Kamito snarkily answered.
"Of-Of course I do!"
"Then there's no problem if I come along." Kamito shrugged his shoulders, prompting Claire to turn away from him.
The inside of the shrine was misty and dark and had a heavy atmosphere. Claire frowned slightly at the smell of mold mingling in the air.
"Flames, let there be light."
A tiny fireball immediately formed from Claire's fingertips; a basic spirit spell that draws on the power of a flame spirit. The flickering light of the fireball dimly illuminated the walls of the shrine. The shrine looked like a cavern filled with stalactites.
The sword was at the innermost area of the shrine.
"That is the sword that the sealed spirit resides in?" Kamito muttered. Claire nodded quietly in confirmation.
An unsheathed sword was standing hilt-up in a huge stone. It was an undoubtedly an antique which was most likely hundreds of years old but it had no rust on its length nor dents on its edge. Delicate ancient runes were engraved on the flat of the blade, radiating a dim blue light.
"A sword that has existed from even before the academy was founded, The Sacred Sword of Severian," Claire muttered reverently.
"The Sacred Sword of Severian? The one that slayed Demon King Solomon?" Kamito asked, shocked.
Demon King Solomon commanded seventy-two powerful spirits, brought chaos and destruction to the continent and was the only recorded male elementalist in history.
It was said that the one that slew the Demon King was the sword of Severian.
"Idiot, there's no way that's the real thing." Claire stated like she was amazed. "A Sacred Sword of Severian stabbed into a stone can be found everywhere in the Empire. Some remote villages even have one for the revitalization of the village. Anyhow, even if it is not the real deal, since it is a rune sword, there might be a powerful spirit sealed in it."
"...Indeed. Certainly, the real thing would not be in such a place..." Kamito finished.
Claire walked towards the sword determinedly.
"You stay back." Claire snapped as she gestured to Kamito who had been approaching. Claire clenched the hilt of the holy blade.
"Don't strain yourself."
Kamito decided to watch over Claire from the edge, where the light barely reached. The sealed spirit might be provoked by the presence of more than just one person. A heavy silence filled the surroundings.
"...Let's do this, Claire Rouge." Breathing deeply, Claire murmured to herself. Her voice trembled a bit; it seemed that she was nervous after all, Kamito noted.
"Oh Noble Spirit Sealed in Ancient Holy Sword!"
"Thou Shall Accept Me as Thy Master and I Shall Be Thy Sheath!"
From her cherry-red lips flew a fluent incantation for a contract ritual in spirit language. Her crimson hair stood on its ends. A crashing wind started to swirl inside the shrine.
Holding his breath, Kamito watched her intensely. Once the contract has been spoken and the spirit recognized Claire as its master, a spirit seal would be engraved somewhere on her body. The contract vows would then enter their conclusion. As he watched, a dreadful gust of wind swept through the shrine.
"...eh?" Kamito involuntarily stuttered.
Claire was unfazed, however, as she calmly recited her contract vow.
Dazzling light radiated from Severian's holy blade in her hand.
I can't....believe it, She was exchanging a contract with the sealed spirit!?
Preventing himself from being swept by the wind, an astonished Kamito was dumbstruck.
From the holy blade stabbed in the stone came an overwhelmingly tremendous amount of divine energy. If Claire was an average elementalist, she would have already passed out.
"Thrice I Command Thee, Exchange Vows With Me!"
Claire's vow reverberated inside the shrine in that instant.
"Pulled-Pulled out. I pulled it out," she said.
Brandishing the sword she pulled from the stone at her feet, Claire exclaimed her joy. However, in the next second—
The ancient runes engraved in Severian’s blade suddenly shone violently!
Claire involuntarily released the blade from her hand—
The holy blade thrust itself back into the ground. With a flash, it blasted itself into bits.
A short shriek flew, then Claire collapsed onto the ground.
"Hey, are you okay!"
Kamito quickly ran towards Claire.
"Wha-What? What exactly has...."
Claire held her temple and slowly got up, then looked around restlessly.
"My-My sealed spirit?"
"Wait, I...can sense something terrible," Kamito warned.
Sweat was flowing intensely down the back of Kamito's neck. His face was showing the terror he felt as he looked up at the shrine's ceiling. Near the rock ceiling was the sword, swinging while floating in the air.
It's not the shattered holy sword. However, it was a rough steel blade that looked very sharp.
"Is that the sealed spirit of the sword!?" Claire asked.
"So it was of the sword spirit class. Looks like it is rather irritated," Kamito replied.
"How do you know so much? You are not even an elementalist!"
"It is plain to see. No matter how you look at it, that doesn't seem to be someone who pledges allegiance to his master."
"...Umm, indeed so." Claire meekly nodded uncharacteristically.
The floating sword slanted, pointed its tip downwards and suddenly became motionless.
"Get down!" In that instant Kamito pushed Claire down to the ground. A buzzing sound of an insect grazed his ear and continued past.
"Wai-Waa-Wait, where are you touching me!? I'll turn you into cinders!"
With her face deeply red, Claire beat on Kamito's chest repeatedly.
"Idiot, stop rampaging!" Kamito quickly moved his body away and looked in the direction that the sword spirit had flown to.
Fragments of rocks fell down with clattering sounds. The shrine's stalagmites had been cleanly sliced off.
"It is remarkable to be able to release a spirit of such rank—" Kamito glared with half opened eyes towards Claire. "...but the spirit has completely gone berserk."
"Shu-Shut up. The-The taming of it starts now."
"You...." Kamito was stupefied by her silliness, but he was in no situation to quarrel with her.
The spirit sword released a chattering noise while flying back towards them. Inside the shrine they couldn't move freely and even their range of sight was restricted.
Kamito grabbed Claire's hand and stood up. Touching each others' soft skin made Kamito's heart flutter but he did not show any reaction on his face.
"Stop making such cute reactions at every little thing. Let's flee," Kamito said.
"Wha.. whaa. whatt.. Cute.. what, me? Kyaa!"
"Let's run outside!"
Kamito grasped Claire's hand while they both ran in the direction of the shrine's exit.
The spirit sword did not immediately chase after them. Maybe it has not yet completely awakened. With this opportunity they might be able to run away.
The moment they were out of the shrine, the flash of the sword grazed in front of their eyes. Kamito's cut forelocks fell and danced in the breeze. The spirit sword let out a tremendous roar, decisively knocking down the surrounding trees in succession.
"Crazy! What a wild spirit, just like a certain princess I know," Kamito sighed.
"Alwa-Always, you're noisy..." Feeling slightly awkward, Claire deliberately coughed, then stood up. "What a rebellious child.....I'll give you a proper spanking later."
Her pair of crimson eyes were burning with a fierce determination, yet somehow she said some lines of provocation. Rolling up the fringe of her skirt, she then took out the leather whip coiled around her thigh, hitting it hard on the ground. Kamito's heart skipped a beat at the brief sight of her white underwear, but he said—
"Are you insane!? Your opponent is a high rank sealed spirit!"
"It will be an easy victory. Amateurs like you please stay back!"
"Where are you getting all of your confidence? Whatever, let's run away!"
Claire shook off Kamito's hand that was grabbing her wrist. "No, you escape yourself. I will absolutely make this spirit mine."
"You, for what reason—do you need a strong spirit that badly?"
".....You will never understand." Claire averted her eyes.
"I need...power, I need a powerful spirit that will not lose to any other spirit!"
"Guardian of the crimson blaze, keeper of the undying hearth!"
"Now's the time to abide by the blood contract, come forth and do my bidding!"
Claire recited the summoning spell of her flame spirit. A crimson flame surged and she was engulfed by an intense heat.
"The hunting begins, Scarlet!"
Together with scorching flames a red Hell Cat appeared. Instead of fur, it was blazing with scarlet-colored flames that were wrapped around the beast's body.
Is that the real form of her flame spirit!? Kamito wondered.
Indeed, she was not all talk. She truly is a prodigy.
For a spirit to be manifested in beast form is proof that it is a high ranking spirit. Scarlet might just be an affectionate name, perhaps it was not the true name of the spirit. Without a doubt, it was a high ranking spirit that carries a true name.
Claire wielded her whip, the hell cat growled with a frightful roar and then rushed towards the sword spirit. Dancing sparks scattered and the atmosphere trembled at the roar of the beast. The floating spirit sword spun towards the Hell Cat, cutting the trees in its way.
"Scarlet, go get it!"
In response to Claire's shout, the Hell Cat leaped. High above the floating sword it jumped and its sharp blazing claws swung down at the sword. With a high pitched shrill sound, intense sparks scattered from the contact and the spirit sword dropped to the ground.
Claire ran at the same time. It was not a fatal hit. The spirit sword rose and flew back into the air in a split second, rolling over itself while drawing an arc in the air.
The flame spirit chased after it, trying not to let it escape. Roaring loudly, it made a great leap again.
Violent sparks scattered once again. Claire struck hard at the ground with her leather whip, slowly pressing forward against the sword spirit. It looked like the leather whip was not meant for battle, rather for signaling instructions to the spirit.
At the fierce attacks of Scarlet, the spirit sword's movement stopped—At that instant,
"Eat this—Searing Fireball!"
Claire released a huge fire ball from her palm.
Fireball is a high level fire spirit magic spell that uses ultra-hot flames and can terribly burn up the object of its ire, leaving it completely traceless and unrecognizable. The spell's power is determined by the elementalist's own divine energy and the contracted spirit's strength in combination.
The released fireball drew an arch in the air, then exploded in a blast that even Scarlet was caught in. The shockwave of the explosion knocked down the trees in the immediate surroundings and fallen tree trunks radiated from the explosion center.
What terrible power... Kamito thought. As he shielded himself from the flying stones that were blown into the air by the spell, Kamito marveled at the power exhibited by Claire.
Such power was not one that would normally be in the hands of one so young.
Inside the swirling fire, the Hell Cat's figure reared. Naturally, the Hell Cat cannot possibly be harmed by a blazing fire because of its base nature.
The spirit sword hovered motionlessly in the air. It seemed that it had not received any damage either. Naturally, Claire didn't think that she would bring down a high ranking spirit with just spirit magic, but she should be able to get its attention.
"Scarlet!" Claire exclaimed.
The flame spirit's claws attacked the spirit sword again. Its scourging hot claws could melt normal steel. If its opponent were an average spirit, it would be instantly eradicated. However, the spirit sword quickly moved to intercept the claws and the attack was stopped by the steel edge of the blade.
In an instant, the strange sound of metal-on-metal scratching reverberated in the trembling atmosphere.
"Wh...What?...." Kamito suppressed both his ears with his hands.
Receiving the full impact of the sound, Claire's face distorted from pain and she crouched down.
The spirit sword had released a weird sound and then transformed. Its shape changed from an average long sword to that of a huge bastard sword in a flash.
Claire's flame spirit took an unexpected strike, it couldn't avoid the big swing of the large sword. The Hell Cat's body was severed into two and it vanished into the void together with its flames.
With only one hit, Scarlett had lost the strength to manifest in this world.
...Damn! Isn't this thing in a completely different league? It seems that it has finally completely awakened. Kamito cursed, then glanced at Claire—
Claire had collapsed on the ground, and her stunned blank eyes were fixed upward at the void where the flame spirit had disappeared.
Having finished off the flame spirit in one swing, the spirit sword aimed its next attack at Claire.
The huge bastard sword flew at the crouching girl—
"Claire!" Kamito shouted, and started to run. Without reason, his own body just moved before he knew it.
Diving in front of Claire, he thrust his palm toward the bastard sword. Not his left hand enclosed by the leather glove – it was his right hand.
...No choice but to do this!
"Oh Noble Spirit Sealed in Thy Ancient Holy Sword!"
"Thou Shall Accept Me as Thy Master and I Shall Be Thy Sheath!"
Sweat rushed down from his forehead as he started to recite the incantation for spirit contracts, one which he had sworn to never utter again. The spinning tip of the sword pierced the skin of his palm. Red blood gushed intensely from it.
Crushing amounts of divine energy swirled around him, the gravel and dirt surrounding them whirled up from the strength of the wind. He almost lost consciousness from the sharp pain, but he knew that if he fainted, Claire, who was behind him, would surely be cut in half.
"Thrice I Command Thee!"
"...No way, a spirit contract!?" A surprised sound came from Claire's throat.
Kamito's heels sank into the ground. The sound of his breaking bones resounded underneath his scalp.
"Exchange Vows With Me!"
Withstanding the terrible sharp pain, Kamito finished the last words of the contract ritual.
Instantly, the body of the spirit sword radiated with a pale blue light.
Intense flashes of light and thunderous sounds crashed into his brain.
He slowly opened his eyes and found Claire Rouge's face in his vision. Draped onto his face was her twintailed hair.
It seemed that she was shouting something but he couldn't hear it clearly. Probably the sound blasts from the spirit had messed up his ears.
...Looks like I'm still alive.
Wearily lying on the ground, Kamito let out a breath of relief. The chance of success against a spirit of such rank was very low, but it looked like his gamble had paid off.
Raising his eyebrow, he grimaced from the pain that crashed throughout his whole body and raised his right hand slowly.
In his right hand which had been stabbed by the spirit sword-instead of a wound, an emblem of two swords crossing each other had been engraved upon it.
It was the proof of the spirit contract—the spirit seal.
Aah, I did it... Kamito murmured as he stared at the carved seal on the back of his hand.
A sharp sense of guilt bit at his heart. He had broken the promise with her...
However, in order to save Claire, it had been the only method with any degree of success.
Claire noticed that Kamito had woken up; her hands were at the nape of his neck and her face moved closer to his, so close that he could feel her breath. With her clear crimson eyes, she stared at Kamito. Her cherry-colored lips trembled weakly.
"...Why? You're a male. How can you contract a spirit!?"
Kamito did not answer and slowly stood up. Not used to being ignored, the annoyed Claire raised her eyebrows.
"My-My sword spirit!?"
"My bad. Just a moment ago, I contracted with it." Kamito sighed and showed her the back of his right hand where the spirit seal had been engraved.
"Wha-Whaa-Wha-Whaaaat!" Claire wore a stunned expression with her mouth wide open.
Well, a natural reaction to the situation, I guess...
Kamito felt a faint ache in his heart. Of course, he could clearly understand such a response from Claire. Originally, contracting with a spirit was a privilege that was granted to none other than pure maidens.
The history of males whom could contract spirits belonged solely to one person historically. This male brought chaos and destruction to the world and so he was called the Demon King Elementalist.
It would be natural for Claire to fear him, since he was a male who could tap the same power of spirit contracts as the Demon King.
Kamito stood up and quietly turned around.
He did not regret the contract. This was the only way he could think of that would have allowed him to save Claire.
Kamito was about to leave, but a voice called him from behind.
"Wait, wait I say!"
Turning around, he saw that Claire, with her hands on her hips, was glaring intensely at him.
"You stole...my spirit...take responsibility for it!"
"Huh?" Kamito frowned...It didn't make any sense to him.
At such a reaction from Kamito, Claire impatiently brushed her twintail.
"I should have been the one to have obtained that spirit, so I am saying that you have to take responsibility for denying me the spirit."
Responsibility is a very heavy word. Because of that unexpected word, Kamito had become even more confused.
...What was the girl saying?
Claire snapped her whip and then she pointed her index finger toward Kamito.
"You have to become my contracted spirit!"
References and Translation Notes
- These are sounds of touching and squeezing
- Normally while using the Japanese language, when a girl tells a guy to take responsibility it carries the implication of marriage. Hence Kamito's confusion.