Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance:Volume1 Chapter6

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Chapter 6 - The Blade Dance at Midnight[edit]

Part 1[edit]

—It was 2 am. The time when the academy students slept and forest spirits began stirring.

On the stone paved path illuminated by the moonlight, Kamito was walking alongside Claire.

"The academy at night has an atmosphere that is very different, "

"Of course, night is the time for spirits."

Claire kept facing front and bluntly replied. Solid sounds of walking resounded loudly.

Since some time ago, Claire had not said much. She might be tense about the duel with the Knights.

"Where are you planning to do it?"

Private battles should be prohibited within the academy according to academy regulations. Is there a place for a duel outside?

"Over there—"

Claire abruptly stopped.

In front of what she was pointing, there was a gigantic stone circle.

Its ground was dimly shining in bluish-white.

"That's the—Astral Gate!"

"Yea, the gate that connects this world with the Astral Zero. The reason why the academy was built in such a remote place."

"...I see."

He was surprised that there was a Gate within the academy premises. That stone circle was perhaps a prehistoric ruin, which was used with an unknown art. It probably had a function to stabilize the unstable Gate.

"Isn't it dangerous? There are spirits that cannot be controlled by humans roaming about in the Astral Zero."

"You see, that Gate connects to a safe area where there are only low-level spirits. If not, the academy wouldn't leave it alone, right?"

Claire murmured "stupid," and stepped into the middle of the stone circle.

She recited the words of opening the gate in the spirit language and the blue light on the ground further increased its brightness.

"Come on, you, faster! Get on too."

Led by Claire, Kamito hurriedly jumped on top of the formation of lights.

At that moment, his field of vision was filled with a white flash.

He had a feeling that his whole body was attacked with dizziness. And then—

...

—After opening his eyes, a scenery of another world spread out.

There was a deep dark forest with twisted trees standing tall.

Shining brilliantly in the night sky was a blood-like red moon.

There was a pale purple smoke-like fog shrouding nearby.

Astral Zero—another world, which spirits live in.

"If it's here, nobody can disturb us. Even if we were injured, it would not be serious, so this place is often used by the academy students for duels."

A situation in which such a thing occurred, the physical body of humans possessing divine powers would be treated the same as spirits, this meant that there's almost no physical damage received.

Naturally, this was not absolutely safe. Pain was felt normally; in exchange of the physical body not receiving damage, the mind would suffer an equal damage.

To fall into a lethargic state was still a good thing, but in the case of receiving a serious injury, one would receive severe memory impairment and the destruction of the mind, there was also the possibility of not regaining consciousness.

"—Flame, illuminate."

Claire recited the spirit magic and a small fire ball was born on her palm, dimly lighting up a narrow open path in the middle of the forest.

"Let's go, Kamito."

Claire gently brushed her twintails and calmly walked.

"Do we have a chance of winning?"

"That depends on your ability. ...Honestly, it might be a little hard."

"Is that so?"

Kamito was surprised. For an elementalist of Claire's level, it was unexpected of her to say such a thing.

"Putting aside the other two, Ellis is strong. She isn't the Knights leader just for show. Besides, Scarlet exhausted some strength from this morning's fight with the sealed spirit. Rinslet's ability is—well, at least I recognize it, but her teamwork is the worst."

"...That was a surprisingly calm battle strength analysis. I thought you were the more impulsive type."

"You, what do you see me as?"

"A dangerous fellow, who instantly swings a whip—Ouch!"

*Pashii*— A whip was promptly swung down onto Kamito's back.

...After walking a while, there was a historic ruin of a gigantic theater in the forest.

It was something from when Astral Zero and the human world were one—a long gone mythical era.

The crumbling looking stone gate greeted the two. It seemed that here was the stage for the duel.

"First of all, you, the sword elementalist, are the attacker. Rinslet and I will provide cover."

"I've got the most dangerous role! Isn't it your duel?"

"What! Do you have a complaint? Alright, if that's the case, I'll let you choose a position. Attacker or cinders, which do you like?"

"I get it. I'll be the attacker."

"A wise decision."

Claire nodded seemingly satisfied.

"By the way, you can properly handle that contracted sword spirit, right?"

"Hn, ahh...probably."

"...Probably? What do you mean?"

Claire's eyes lifted up with danger. Kamito backed off in a panic.

"Well, you see, isn't it bad if it was summoned poorly and went out of control? That's why, I have not summoned it even once since I contracted it this morning."

That was somewhat of an explanation—he thought. Actually, it was half of the explanation.

The truth was that, by contracting with another spirit, he felt guilty in regards to her.

He felt a sense of betrayal about using a new contracted spirit.

"You succeeded in contracting in just one try, therefore there should be little chance of losing control but—well, it is a sealed spirit with a history and it certainly won't be funny if anything happened."

However, Claire seemed to have agreed for once.

"For the time being, try releasing your elemental waffe. You are able to do that, right?"

"A...aahh... Yeah."

The releasing of an elemental waffe was not something anyone could do but—

(Can't seem to get into the mood, it can't be helped—)

Kamito closed his eyes and concentrated his consciousness to the spirit seal engraved on his right hand.

""Dispassionate Queen of Steel, the sacred sword that destroys evil—""

He recited the summoning in the spirit language and the crest of two swords crossing faintly shined.

The path with a contracted spirit would be normally connected—however,

(What?)

...It was strange. He could not feel the presence of such a powerful sealed spirit.

No—he could pick up its presence, but it was as if something wasn't right, like gears not fitting together.

""—Now form a sword of steel and be the power in my hand!""

At that moment, small particles of light gathered at Kamito's palm.

And then, what appeared was—

"..."

One short sword.

To be more precise, it was a small sword almost like a knife.

...*Shin*. An awkward silence arrived.

"...Is that the sword spirit's elemental waffe?"

Claire said with her face twitching.

For an incarnation of the powerful sealed spirit that cut down Scarlet in one blow—

...Honestly, it was too shabby.

"D...Don't judge it by its appearance, it might actually have an amazing ability."

"Y...eah, that certainly may be true!"

Claire nodded for a moment while having a stiff expression.

Kamito tried cutting a buckwheat tree as a test.

*Bekii*. The short sword very easily broke and vanished.

"..."

"...Ahh, how should I say it, it's probably that."

Kamito bore the frozen Claire's gaze and calmly opened his mouth.

"To tell you the truth, this is the first time I've used a contracted spirit in three years. I have yet to regain that feeling."

"...Huh?"

Claire blankly opened her mouth to that shocking confession.

"You're lying... after all, didn't you easily tame that sealed spirit!?"

"That time was because I was frantically trying to save you. To be honest, I don't really understand myself how I succeeded in contracting it."

No matter how powerful a spirit one contracted with, there was no point if one could not fully draw out that power. When an inexperienced elementalist contracted a spirit beyond his means, it was often the case that its power would be too much to handle.

(...However, for my case, it's a little different.)

Kamito stared at his left hand, inserted in a leather glove.

(Probably, within my sub-consciousness, I thought about her.)

—Therefore, he could not connect the path with the new spirit.

"Wh..Wha..What's with that..."

He heard a dead groan. After lifting her head, Claire was tightly grasping a leather whip, used for training animals, with her shoulders trembling.

"No, I mean, um, my battle strength is lacking..."

"What do you mean! I am counting on your battle strength!"

*Pishii!* *Pishii!* *Pishii!*

"Ouch! Wait..stop!"

A tempest of unforgiving whips descended onto the escaping Kamito.

Then, there—

"What in the world are you doing? Claire Rouge."

From the other side of the dark tree grove, that voice was heard.

Claire stopped her whipping and sullenly turned around.

The ones who appeared were Rinslet and the maid Carol.

"You're late, Rinslet."

"Aah, a lady getting dressed takes time."

Rinslet proudly brushed her extravagant platinum blonde hair.

"...? What, is Carol here too?"

"Of course, as milady's supporter."

After Kamito heard that, Carol brought out a flag, seemingly from nowhere and began swinging it.

"By the way, why were you whipping Kazehaya Kamito?"

Rinslet placed her index finger at her chin and frowned dubiously.

That was—before Claire answered, Carol interrupted.

"Milady, that's something unrefined to listen to."

"What do you mean?"

"That was a form of a slightly unusual love. In a unique way, that was a perverted play."

"Ehh! Is that right, you two!?"

"T...Th..T..That's not it! W...What are you saying, you stupid maid!"

Claire's face became bright red as she denied it.

...Indifferently, he wanted the fuse-blowing whipping to stop, as it hurt.

(...Why am I already worn out before the duel.)

Kamito began to seriously think about the absurdity of his life. At that moment.

"—Your side seems to be all present, Raven class."

A frigid voice descended from right above.

"...!?"

The four of them looked upwards together.

There, above the crumbling theater wall was—

A figure of a gallant female knight with her blue hair fluttering in the gentle breeze.

Beside her, two knights, also wearing the same silver armor, were standing.

He heard their names from Claire. The one with the short hair was Rakka. The one with the braiding was Reishia.

"—Ellis Fahrengart, for how long were you here!"

"By the way, you wouldn't by any chance be waiting for a chance to appear at a cool moment, right?"

"Wha... T...There's no such thing! I just only got here!"

After Kamito pointed it out with his half-opened eyes, Ellis was frankly disturbed and ended up almost falling.

...Somehow, that was a rather deplorable look for a Knights' leader.

Ellis sharply glared at Kamito and the rest, and drew her sword from her waist.

"Let's go, Raven class. Let's finish this duel by day break—"

At that moment. The illumination of a large flame lit the stage of the theater.

The one shined on by that illumination—

"That's—!?"

A large eagle was spreading its enormous wings and making an appearance in the red night.

"Let me introduce to you, Kazehaya Kamito. This is my contracted spirit—demon wind spirit, Simorgh!"

With a howl like the wind—The large eagle, clad in wind, swooped down.

Part 2[edit]

At a point of an attack in-place of a greeting, —

The demon wind spirit glided closer and dived with its aim at the ground, where the four were.

An ear-splitting thunderous roar. Stone paving came unstuck and large amounts of earth and sand were whirled up.

A strong wind, brought forth from the force of the explosion, hit Kamito and his body was easily blown away.

"...Gahaa!"

He was thrown into a wall. With that bone shattering impact, he stopped breathing for a moment.

Even if one received an attack of a spirit of a purified form, the physical body cannot be hurt, however, the physical damage from a crashing impact and fragments of rubble were different. Small rocks fluttering up in the squall were cutting at Kamito's whole body. While covering his forehead with both his hands, Kamito clicked his tongue.

(...What destructive power! If I took a blow directly, I'll faint.)

That demon wind spirit... Simorgh.

Comparing just destructive power, it might surpass even Claire's Scarlet.

(That's right, where's Claire?)

He stood up and surveyed his surroundings, his two allies were at their respective positions.

Claire was providing direct cover from a mid-distance. Rinslet was providing rear support with a long distance attack.

Carol was...waving a flag at the outside of the theater where she had escaped to.

The thunderous wind that was blowing violently stopped. At that interval, Kamito began to run—

"Not yet, Kamito!"

"...!?"

At the same time Claire shouted, the roar of the demon wind spirit resounded.

From an empty large hole in the ground, a large demon bird flapped its wings—

"What are you doing, quickly release your elemental waffe!"

"Hn, even if you say that—"

At that moment, a cluster of wind that held an enormous mass gouged the earth while rushing over.

The stone paving came ripping off in a straight line. Kamito quickly jumped sideways.

While tumbling on the ground, he quickly recited the summoning of the spirit language in his mouth.

The spirit seal faintly glowed, but as before, the path with the contracted spirit was not connected.

(... It's no good, huh!?)

Just as he was about to give up, a glowing short sword was constructed in his palm.

It was the same unreliable elemental waffe, but it was better than nothing.

"Are you just escaping? Kazehaya Kamito, I have misjudged you!"

Ellis, with a pony-tail hair swaying, alighted onto the ground.

"Ahh! I just have to fight, right—"

Kamito prepared the short sword and charged towards Ellis. The first to strike wins. If he defeated the elementalist first, then the summoned contracted spirit would vanish—

"Kamito, behind you!"

Claire's voice came from behind him—Kamito jumped straight to the side.

The wing of the demon wind spirit mowed down at the place Kamito was at just now.

"... What speed!"

Among the five grand spirits, the ones boasting of being the fastest were the wind-attribute spirits. And Ellis was completely controlling one of them.

The demon wind spirit, dancing in the night sky, turned in an arc—and swooped down.

Kamito jumped again. The demon wind spirit that crashed into the ground blew up a large quantity of earth and sand—and then it immediately transformed into countless blades of the wind and cut into Kamito's arms.

"...Kuu!"

Tremendous pain was running in his right arm. Actually, it did not mean that his arm was cut off—but that pain was violently jolting his consciousness.

(—Well, I never thought it'd turn into the blades of wind with that timing.)

Kamito was astonished in his mind. Ellis's competency as an elementalist was something substantial.

"Kamito, I'll cover you!"

At the same time as her voice, a blazing flame illuminated the night sky red.

Claire wielded Scarlet's elemental waffe—Flametounge.

The flame slash mowed down all the attacking blades of the wind in an arc—

"I won't let you interfere with the leader!"

The braided hair knight, Reishia, attacked Claire.

The elemental waffe held in her hand was a transparent ice sword—it seemed she was also an ice elementalist like Rinslet.

Nonetheless, her spirit's rank was completely no match for Rinslet's Fenrir. It seemed she had the competency to release her contracted spirit into its elemental waffe, but she had not made it hers yet.

She was not good enough to be a worthy adversary for Claire—Kamito concluded so and adjusted his direction to Ellis, who was in front of him.

In that moment, simultaneous with a violent blasting sound, the ground in front of him was being completely gouged.

"...!?"

"Huh, try taking on my elemental waffe—Rock Breaker!"

The short-haired knight, Rakka, shouted in a spirited tone.

Her specialized weapon was a large hammer with a long handle, which was easily being swung about by the thin arm of a girl.

Kamito jumped and backed away, getting some distance between them. She seemed more hot-blooded than Reishia.

While keeping his distance, he was chasing Ellis, who was within his sight—

Ellis had linked with Rakka's attack and was already moving.

As expected of the Knights' leader, Ellis' commanding ability was high.

First, she was to use her demon wind spirit to launch a preemptive attack to cause chaos on the battlefield. Next was to strike Claire on mid-guard with Reishia and Kamito on advance-guard with Rakka. While the two were pinned down, Ellis with the most battle strength would attack Rinslet on rear-guard. That was the so-called strategy.

(... Before attacking Ellis, firstly, I have to do something about this fellow.)

Kamito nimbly stepped in and let loose a slash. The flash of the silver sword shallowly cut Rakka's arm.

As it was an attack from an elemental waffe, blood did not flow out—but pain should be felt in the same way.

"This guy...!"

Rakka's face was dyed in anger. She aimed at the top of Kamito's head and swung her Rock Breaker down.

There was a thunderous roar. The ground was gouged and rubbles were whirled up. It was probably a spirit of the earth attribute. As expected, its destructive power is great, but its movement was a large swing, making it easy to avoid.

"Chii, how restless!"

She too seemed to have yet to master her elemental waffe. Or perhaps, her contracted spirit's rank in contrast to her competency was too great—The spirit she was supposed to be using was manipulating her.

"Don't run, fight properly, male elementalist!"

"This doesn't mean that I'm just running away. In a group battle, you should pay more attention to your surroundings."

"What?"

"A capable hunter is taking aim."

At that moment, an ice arrow came flying and pierced the girl's chest.

Rakka was flashily blown away and bounced on the ground.

The elemental waffe, Rock Breaker, turned into particles of light and vanished.

"Fuu, nice shot!"

Kamito turned behind where the voice came from.

On the outer wall of the theater, there was the appearance of Rinslet brushing her hair.

"... Why are you, the support position, standing at such a conspicuous place?!"

"Ah, it's natural for me to be at a more conspicuous place than Claire!"

"Th...That stupid dog...! You were moving around and sniping, right!"

Claire shouted like she was gnawing.

"Fuu, as a worthy lady of the noble Laurenfrost family, I won't be satisfied if I'm not at the most conspicuous place at a dance party."

"That's milady!"

Carol was delightfully swinging a flag from above ground.

"Hmm, you're pretty composed, Raven Class!"

—At that moment, at the back a strong squall was winding up.

Spreading its wings, the demon wind spirit roared and flew with its aim at Rinslet.

"A good target! Freezing ice fang, pierce—Freezing Arrow!"

Rinslet quickly released the Freezing Arrow—

The demon wind spirit immediately transformed to the countless blades of wind and rushed at Rinslet.

"Kyaa!"

"Rinslet!?"

In front of Claire, who planned to rush over, the braided hair knight blocked her way.

She quickly entered into the range of the whip in the gap that Claire lost her focus and slashed with her ice sword. The moment she got into the range, a sword was overwhelmingly advantageous. Claire was gradually pressured.

"Why you! How dare you do this to Rakka!"

"Kuu—Kamito, chase Ellis!"

"Ahh!"

Claire was in a predicament, but Ellis ought to be stopped now.

Ellis was running on the stairs of the theater. Her intention was to completely take out Rinslet.

Kamito aimed at Ellis's legs and threw the short sword. He concluded that it was dangerous to ignore her—Ellis jumped to the side and got into the audience seating.

In the vicinity, a high-pitched sound reverberated. The elemental waffe short sword hit the wall and got smashed up.

"Hmm, that's a pretty fragile elemental waffe."

While Ellis said that, she called the demon wind spirit to her hand.

And then—

"—Evil winds, pierce through my sworn enemy's heart, become a demonic spear and lodge within my hand!"

The moment she recited the releasing in the spirit language—winds blew violently and in her hand a very long spear appeared.

It was a ceremonial long spear and delicate patterns were engraved on its handle.

Its tip, illuminated by the red moonlight, was clad in sharp winds and was faintly making wind sounds.

Her pony-tail hair, which reached her waist, was agitatedly swaying and flowing in the wind.

Ellis completely spun the spear in one hand and stared at Kamito with a cold expression.

"This is my elemental waffe—Ray Hawk."

Kamito—

"...Beautiful."

Without a thought, let out such a voice.

"Hah, you too understand—the beauty of this Ray Hawk."

Displaying her truly prided spear, Ellis loosened her cheeks, slightly delighted.

"Idiot, I mean you! Don't make me say that, it's embarrassing."

"Wha..? Me..!?"

Ellis turned bright red and became flustered.

"Hey, y...you're mocking me, right? Kazehaya Kamito!"

"No, I'm just normally entranced."

"E...Entranced... Ah....."

Ellis's face increasingly redden... as if purging evil thoughts, she shook her head.

"Ehh...Such a practical joke... As I thought, you are mocking me!"

"No, you really are beautiful—Owaa!"

Being enraged, Ellis thrust her spear with her face bright red.

As a result of losing her composure, it was easy to dodge.

However, when the demonic spear tip grazed the side of his abdomen, at that moment—

The blades of winds were released and cut his whole body.

(Guu...!?)

In response to the sharp pain, Kamito clicked his tongue in his mind.

(—That elemental waffe can create the blades of wind, huh!)

While bearing the pain attacking his whole body, Kamito jumped away to the back in one go.

That demonic spear could create the blades of wind, so there also was no point in evading with a paper-thin difference.

However, Ellis jumped again and released a stream of attacks like a tempest.

"Are you trying to escape... you insolent guy! I'll turn you into tiramisu[1]!"

"What? Is candy-making also your forte? You cute sullen young lady."

"I...I am currently practicing making candies. For the sake of the gentleman that I'll marry in the future—Eh... What did you make me say! And who's the sullen young lady!"

Ellis pierced the theater wall with all her might in one blow and fragments of rubble flew around.

(...This person, she's seriously strong!)

As expected of someone who served as the Knights leader in this academy that gathered elementalists.

It was a beautiful blade dance like modeling after kagura, which spirits enjoyed themselves in.

The wound in his left hand ached.

He understood that his senses were gradually getting sharper.

The serious blade dance was causing his blood to boil.

His body was recalling the sensations from three years ago.

(However, it wasn't something like this.)

It was irritating that his legs did not move as he wanted. His instinctive ability to read his opponent's movements was also falling.

(I—)

"You, don't run!"

Releasing a sharp thirst for blood and being clad in gales, Ellis came attacking.

It was not a clever thrust. It was a blow with all her might to decide the match.

However, there was a fatal chance born—

"Freezing Ice Fang, pierce—Freezing Arrow!"

Rinslet, who had recovered and was awaiting for a chance to snipe, released her Freezing Arrow without delay.

Simultaneously—

"Dance, crimson flame that invites ruins—Hell Blaze!"

After Claire settled Reishia, she released her flame attribute elemental waffe.

"...!?"

Ellis opened both her eyes in surprise.

The timing was perfect. The released ice fang and infernal flame went straight at their target—

*Pariiiin!*

They collided with each other in the air.

"...Wha!?"

Kamito's face twitched.

Ellis, in front of him, was also standing still, dumbfounded.

"Hey, Rinslet! Why did you get in my way!"

"W...What? You're the one who should not get in my way."

At that moment, the two of them began to quarrel.

"T...Those two..."

Kamito forgot that he was in the midst of the duel and deeply sighed.

(...They have the ability, yet their teamwork is really all over the place.)

"—How foolish, to fall out among yourselves!"

Ellis Fahrengart raised her elemental waffe spear once again.

Thunderously, a strong wind, unseen before, was winding up.

"T..To make a mockery of me by saying that I'm beautiful, I'll make you regret—"

There was already nowhere to run to. Kamito resigned his fate, at that time—

"Wait, Ellis! Something is strange..."

"What? Now then you're begging for your life."

Stopping mid-way—Ellis shut her mouth.

It seemed she noticed it too.

"What, this presence is ...?"

The atmosphere of the vicinity was heavy. That sensation, like one's back turning chilly, was—

"What?"

"What is this?"

Claire and the others seemed to have noticed it too. They looked up at the hazy night sky and tilted their heads in confusion.

Suddenly, a thunder-like sound roared.

And then—from a tear in the sky, that appeared.

Part 3[edit]

That was—a giant jaw, floating in the sky.

It had neither head nor body nor a tail. It was an eerie jaw with just rows of teeth lined up making a chattering sound.

"That's, ...don't tell me, ... a demon spirit!?"

The sudden appearance of that spirit made Kamito groan and terrified him.

A demon spirit—that was something with a spirit make-up that greatly differed from humans, and thus, that was a grotesque spirit that can never be tamed by elementalists.

"A demon spirit, why is it at such a place...?"

At that moment.

"Vo...Ruoooooooon—"

The demon spirit's rising ear-splitting roar caused the girls to cower.

There was a tremendous sense of intimidation. That divine power felt on his skin was comparable to a rank Aarchdemon-class spirit.

Moreover—

(It's... going berserk?)

Kamito dropped his voice and carefully observed the demon spirit in sky.

A demon spirit was certainly a grotesque being, but it's unlikely that it would be going berserk without a reason.

(...What's going on?)

Groaning within his mind—Kamito recalled.

That reminded him, before the duel—the water spirit of the spirit device in Claire's room had went out of control.

It was a phenomenon that was normally unimaginable, but if the water spirit was in a frenzy at that time, it was natural that Claire also could not control it. ...Was that phenomenon something related?

Besides—

(Claire said that powerful spirits don't appear frequently in this area.)

For the appearance of that demon spirit to be by chance, it was too unnatural.

(What the heck—?)

The jaw floating in the sky mowed down many trees of the forest, and bit and crushed the ancient historic ruins to tiny pieces. The smashed-up rock fragments rained down from high in the sky.

"Claire Rouge, for now, we'll stop the duel. Is that alright?"

"...I understand."

Claire obediently nodded at Ellis's words.

Everyone in this place understood the danger from that demon spirit.

It did not mean that that was summoned in a purified form like contracted spirits.

If bitten by those teeth, the human body and so forth will be like mere scraps of paper.

"We're taking refuge. I'll take the rear, you all carry the fainted two."

Ellis prepared the Ray Hawk and gallantly got down to the center of the historic ruins.

"No, I'll take the rear. That is not something an ordinary elementalist can do one way or another."

The way of fighting spirits and fighting human elementalists were completely different. Of course, this didn't mean that the girls didn't learn how to fight spirits but—it was an opponent too dangerous for Ellis to fight alone.

"Stop the jokes. What can you, who can't even fully use his contracted spirit, do?"

"That's..."

Kamito firmly groaned. Certainly, it was not an opponent he could fight with that unreliable elemental waffe.

"There's no time to talk. Leave this to Ellis, let's hurry!"

Rinslet whistled and Fenrir, in a white wolf appearance, came giving both fainted Reishia and Rakka a lift. Carol also came running.

"Claire, what are you doing daydreaming!"

Rinslet pulled Claire's sleeves.

—Claire was looking downwards like she was thinking about something and she suddenly raised her head.

"Ellis, I'll take the rear."

"What?"

Ellis opened her eyes. Claire whipped her leather whip and called out her contracted spirit, the hell cat.

"..."

Claire's red pupils became nailed onto the figure of the demon spirit, raging like a storm.

...It was like she was completely entranced.

In response to Claire's appearance—Kamito realized and was taken aback.

(This fellow, don't tell me—)

Claire was obsessed with obtaining a powerful spirit.

For the sake of knowing the truth concerning her sister, Rubia Elstein, she needed power.

Therefore, she still reached out to the dangerous sealed spirit.

"You, don't tell me—You plan to make that your contracted spirit!?"

"..."

Claire did not answer. She just motionlessly gazed at the demon spirit in the sky—

"That's crazy! That's a demon spirit, furthermore it's in a frenzy!"

Kamito shouted, Claire swung her twintails and finally turned around.

"...It's a once in a lifetime chance."

She bit her lips and muttered with an expression like she had thought hard over it.

"Firstly, there's no such thing as encountering a spirit of that level in the Spirit Forest. Besides, it's not like there weren't any elementalists who contracted demon spirits."

"You mean Greyworth? She's a witch."

"I too may have the qualities of a witch."

"Stop doing something stupid, you'll die."

Kamito grabbed Claire's arm, who was planning to dash anytime.

Claire sternly glared at Kamito.

"Don't get in my way. My reasons to want a strong spirit, I've told them to you, right?"

"Ahh, I understand. But that's no good. Your skills can't manage it."

"...Shut up, let go! You weakling, be silent!"

Claire shook Kamito's arm and shouted.

Within her ruby pupils, glaring at Kamito, genuine hatred surfaced.

"Despite snatching my sealed spirit! You can only use a weak elemental waffe, what qualifications do you have to say something?"

"That's—"

Kamito looked downwards. It was natural for Claire to be irritated. While he had indeed contracted with such a powerful spirit, he couldn't pull out its power completely.

"What? ... I was expecting a little something."

Claire awkwardly averted her eyes.

"I'll handle that alone. You all please escape."

"Claire Rouge, you—"

"Ellis, try to protect everyone. I don't want to think about it, but if I—"

Claire did not speak after that.

And then—

"—Scarlet!"

She called her partner, flame spirit's name and ran towards the demon spirit, devouring the forest.

"Claire!"

Kamito held out his hand in a fluster.

At that moment, the demon spirit roared.

A lump of shock struck. The trees in its vicinity were thoroughly blown off.

"Winds, grant us the hand of divine protection—Wind Wall!"

Right away, Ellis recited the spirit magic and protected everyone at the back.

(Damn, Claire—)

While defending against the pebbles that were blown off, Kamito followed Claire with his eyes.

Claire was—dancing in the air.

She got on the winds like sparks dancing in the air.

In her hand was her flame spirit released into its elemental waffe—Flametounge, which she was grasping.

The blazing crimson killing flash cut off the evening darkness.

Claire landed onto the ground and while running through the gaps of the tree grove, she drew closer to the demon spirit.

The demon spirit opened its giant jaws and made chattering sounds with its lined-up rows of teeth.

(...It's no good, this is too reckless!)

The girl, Claire Rouge, that Kamito knew was an excellent elementalist, possessing calm judgment and an insight for tactics at least in a battle.

However, she had lost sight of herself now.

Her feelings for her sister, Rubia Elstein, caused her to lose her calm judgment.

Her anger towards her sister, who betrayed her. Yet, her overwhelming love—caused a great number of conflicts to be mixed and that changed into a craving for great power.

"How tenacious! Become mine!"

STnBD V01 183.jpg

The flame whip dance splendidly. Her red twintails danced in the dark night.

That was—elementalist, Claire Rouge's blade dance.

"..."

Beautiful—he thought.

Despite being at such a time, Kamito, for a moment, was fascinated by that appearance and forgot everything.

...It was the same as that time.

That time when she was fighting that rampaging sword spirit alone.

Kamito calmly clenched his fist and turned behind. And then—

"Ellis, Rinslet, I'll entrust the rest to you."

"Wha... are you an idiot!?" "Are you an idiot!?"

Both of them shouted at the same time. His ears shrilled.

"...Ah, I'm an idiot. Truly an idiot."

If Greyworth was here, she would have had relentlessly poured abusive words.

To take back the precious thing he lost, he had lived with lifeless eyes for these past three years.

Yet, he was recklessly giving his life away for such a thing.

However—

"I am her contracted spirit."

Therefore—

"That's, hm, I have to help her, that tomboy hell cat girl."

"Wait, Kazehaya Kamito!"

Kamito shook off Ellis's hand that planned to stop him and began running.

The crimson flame was dancing with the demon spirit in a blade dance.

It was no good for that noble flame to be extinguished. —He did not want her to die.

After all, she was—a normal girl.

Full of conceit, hot-tempered.

Putting on a strong front, easily lonely.... truly kind.

Liking canned foods and romance stories—

Merely a princess found anywhere.

"Oooooo...oon—"

The demon spirit roared.

It released a shock wave blowing away the forest and Claire was thrown onto the ground.

"—Claire!"

Part 4[edit]

"...Ah...Aah, Ah..."

Claire was thrown onto the ground and cowered.

The grotesque demon spirit made a creaky sound with its giant jaw.

It seemed—like it was laughing.

She planned to escape, but her legs were shivering and did not move.

It was frightening. While she was fighting, her senses became paralyzed. However, presently—

"Y...You are not scary, therefore, become my manservant!"

The demon spirit, floating in the air, had no reason to even respond to that jeer but—it loudly laughed.

Claire's body trembled and spontaneously, she closed her eyes. The roots of the teeth did not bite at the same time. Towards an unfamiliar thing, instinctive fear bound her body.

—At that moment. The Flametounge in Claire's hand suddenly vanished.

It was not that she canceled the release of her elemental waffe. Scarlet opposed Claire's will and voluntary returned to the form of a hell cat.

"Scarlet!? Why...?"

Claire muttered in a blurry voice.

Was she finally being abandoned by even her contracted spirit—

However, the hell cat, clad in flames softly growled and kicked the ground and flew up.

"...!"

At that moment, Claire finally understood. Scarlet—

"Noo—Scarlet!"

Claire's scream resounded.

Scarlet did not stop. It bared its ferocious fangs and rushed at the demon spirit.

It was a red hot flame that even melted steel. However, it was not effective against the demon spirit.

In an instant, the demon spirit's teeth mercilessly bit and crushed Scarlet's body.

It screamed with agony. The flame spirit, which was bitten and crushed, vanished in the sky like a whirlpool winding.

"...Ah...Scar...let..."

Claire, as if all her body strength left her, sank down to the floor there.

Following reason, she knew that she should be escaping.

It was a last chance Scarlet made for her.

Despite that, her legs were trembling bit by bit. She could not even stand.

The extreme deep despair paralyzed Claire's whole body.

(Because of me, Scarlet—)

In the blank eyes, where the flame vanished, tears overflowed.

(...I'm an idiot. Kamito stopped me and yet—)

(—despite being unable to win, I plunged in alone.)

She was unsightly defeated.

Her contracted spirit, which was precious to her like family, was also lost.

While the demon spirit was making the chattering sound, it slowly descended.

Those sinister teeth that just ate and tore up Scarlet—

"No..."

Tears flowed along her cheeks. A stiff voice came out from deep in her throat.

"Save me... Save me—Nee-sama[2]!"

She closed her eyes in despair and at that time.

"Claire!"

She heard his voice.

Part 5[edit]

"Oooooooooooo!"

While making his war cry, Kamito rushed towards the demon spirit.

The spirit seal, engraved on his right hand, emitted a bluish-white glow.

"—Dispassionate Queen of Steel, the sacred sword that destroys evil!"

"—Now form a sword of steel and be the power in my hand!"

While running with mud splashing, he recited the summoning.

At his palm, particles of light were born and transformed into the form of a sword—

However, it was not good like this. Against the demon spirit that brought down Scarlet's level of spirit in one blow, that short sword cannot be effective.

(—I beg you, lend me your power, you stubborn spirit!)

(—Come on, I know you've got more power than that!)

The wound on his left hand sharply ached.

Again, the opened path with the contracted spirit was closed—

However, without minding it, Kamito continued to pour divine power into the spirit seal on his right hand.

It was an intense overload. Pain like burning was running throughout his arm's nerves.

(—Sorry, Restia. What I need now isn't you.)

Yes—what he needed was not the past.

It was the power to protect her here and now.

From the spirit seal on his left hand, violent flashes of lightning surged.

That sensation from three years ago was resurrected.

Everytime he kicked the ground to speed up, his whole body's sensation sharpened.

Just that demon spirit's movement was seen as slow motion.

(Recall it, that feeling—)

The sensation of the blade dance—where he danced together with his partner, the darkness spirit.

(I am—)

Kamito kicked the ground and jumped high up.

(I am the Strongest Blade Dancer—Ren Ashbell!)

At that moment, a conspicuous dazzling flash was born in his palm.

From the spirit seal on his right hand, a huge amount of divine power came surging out.

The path to that sealed sword spirit was connected!

At the next moment, in Kamito's hand; he was grasping a large broadsword.

It was too gigantic for normal people to wield—the Demon Slayer.

And then—

"—Begone, you overgrown jaw."

The swing of the lump of the steel cut the demon spirit jaw cleanly in half.

Part 6[edit]

The rain that began falling soaked Claire's back.

Her red twintails withered and closely clung onto her bare skin.

"Claire..."

Kamito called out to her back, which was cowering on the ground.

"Hmm... it's good that you're safe."

"It's...not good..."

Claire muttered in a shivering voice.

"My... My Scarlet..."

She turned around and from her red pupils, a drop of tear came out.

"You—"

"You're late... Idiot! Despite being my contracted spirit."

"Ahh. My bad..."

Kamito awkwardly looked away.

"Why?"

"Eh?"

"You have such great power and yet, at the beginning, why—?"

Claire firmly grabbed Kamito's uniform collar—

"..."

She weakly removed her hand.

"...No. It's because I'm weak."

She let out such a defeated voice.

"It's because I'm weak, that I couldn't protect Scarlet. It's because I'm weak—"

—She could not stop her sister.

"If I had more, more power, such..."

While being struck by rain, Claire repeated that with a blank expression.

"Oi, get yourself together!"

Kamito grabbed Claire's shoulder—

(...Eh?)

His body slanted.

His field of vision was growing dark. ...His consciousness suddenly went far away.

It seemed that the strike of the previous elemental waffe had thoroughly exhausted his divine power.

(Damn, what a greedy... spirit...)

While cursing in his mind, Kamito lost consciousness.


Translator's notes and references[edit]

  1. Tiramisu is an italian cake and desert
  2. Nee-sama is an honorable way of referring to an elder sister in the japanese language. The term is difficult to properly translate to English and so has been left as is