Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance:Volume20 Chapter1
Chapter 1 - Darkness Elemental Lord
Even forgetting to put up his guard, Kamito stood frozen in his spot in astonishment.
What was displayed on the surface of the dark orb was—
A gigantic vortex. A conglomerate of order and chaos that kept devouring and giving birth to countless stars.
"What is... this...?"
Kamito uttered in wide-eyed amazement.
"This is the origin of all creation. This is the source of all phenomena, the sea of chaos giving rise to innumerable worlds. It is what created this Astral Zero—"
"...It created Astral Zero?"
The Darkness Elemental Lord's avatar pointed at the center of the vortex.
"You have seen this before, haven't you? At the Elemental Lords' shrine—"
Kamito gulped as soon as he saw that thing.
The gigantic vortex of chaos, swallowing stars.
At its very center were countless tiny lights flashing.
"...Aren't those angels!?"
Kamito widened his eyes.
"—In other words, that giant vortex is the Otherworldly Darkness?"
"Half correct, my adorable child."
The avatar girl lightly shook her head.
"Not only Darkness. Light, Fire, Water, Wind, Earth, all elements were born from that vortex of chaos—"
"...Say that again?"
The image projected on the orb of darkness changed.
The bubble in the vortex's center split open, producing countless spheres.
"Every fragment of the ruptured bubble is the source of a world. Vast though this Astral Zero may be, it is merely one of such fragments."
This time, Kamito was speechless.
(—That bubble is the world?)
"For starters, only a very small proportion succeed in forming worlds. The vast majority disappear like bubbles before developing into an embryonic world. However, in any case—"
The avatar girl turned her gaze back to the image.
"—This Astral Zero was born from that vortex of chaos."
Part of the fragmented bubble turned into a perfect sphere. Inside that sphere—
Light, and darkness too, were born.
"First to be born were the spirits of Light and Darkness. After these two spirits' power covered the entire world, the spirits of Fire, Water, Wind and Earth were born as well."
"The six main elements... In other words, the current Elemental Lords?"
"More precisely, the entities that became the cores of the Elemental Lords. The primordial elemental spirits did not have any will yet. They simply brought the constituting elements of order to a world of chaos."
The image in the orb kept changing.
The sky and the earth separated, mountains rose up, rivers appeared, forests flourished.
The power of spirits resided all over the world, finally filling the world with large numbers of living spirits.
Giant beasts in the ocean, herds of animals, magic beasts, dragons, giants, as well as the elves who were the common ancestors of humans and the Elfim race—
"It was a paradise filled with order and peace, maintained by the power of spirits. This world was originally meant to persist forever—"
"—But one day, the primordial spirits, which only served as constituting elements of the world, changed. Will, or perhaps one might call it the soul, came into being."
"Spirits gained will—?"
The Darkness Elemental Lord's avatar nodded.
"It is still unclear why that sort of thing appeared. Perhaps such a change happened in response to the worship from the elves. But no matter what—"
She sounded self-effacing.
"—That was the beginning of all sins."
"...Sins? You mean the fact that the Elemental Lords gained their own will?"
"Indeed. Having gained their own will and personality, the Elemental Lords were driven by basic instinctive desires in their souls, and believed they ought to make themselves into even more perfect beings."
"Every element existing in Astral Zero is ultimately copied from the origin of worlds. Something like a shadow. Hence, the Elemental Lords wanted true elements."
"They wanted the elements of true darkness, true light, true fire, water, wind and earth—"
Hearing this, a flash of inspiration went through Kamito's mind.
—True Darkness. Cardinal Millennia Sanctus had used this to refer to the Otherworldly Darkness corrupting the Elemental Lords.
"...So that's what happened, huh?"
That Otherworldly Darkness was the darkness element existing in the origin world?
"The six self-aware Elemental Lords joined forces to open a Gate connecting to the origin and succeeded in stealing true elements. However, there was a severe miscalculation in the plan."
"After part of the World was stolen, the origin sent angels to Astral Zero."
The image on the darkness orb changed again.
And endless army of angels passed through the Gate and descended from the sky.
Kamito had seen this scene before.
From the dream of Ren Ashdoll's memories—
Weapon-wielding Elemental Lords, Est, Ortlinde, and the powerful spirits known as spirit weapons were fighting intensely against the army of angels.
"The war with the angels only ended when the Elemental Lords sealed the Gate. During the intense conflict, all Astral Zero obtained was true Darkness and a small amount of true Fire. True Darkness went to Ren Ashdoll, whereas true Fire was stolen by the elves, its whereabouts unknown—"
Although the war with the angels left gigantic scars on Astral Zero, the Elemental Lords also obtained what they had desired.
However, saying that, the Darkness Elemental Lord's avatar bit her lip lightly.
"—The true Darkness brought to this world began to corrupt the Elemental Lords."
"—The first to descend into madness was Ren Ashdoll."
The avatar girl spoke softly.
"To stop her from turning into a Gate that brought forth angels, the five Elemental Lords formed an alliance with Holy Lord Alexandros as the leader, with the intention of destroying her. Namely, that is—"
'—The Spirit War.'
The demon sword of darkness in Kamito's hand suddenly spoke.
'I heard everything you two said. Sorry for waking up too late.'
"It's okay, we went through such a deadly battle, after all—"
'Miss Sword Spirit seems to be quite spent.'
"Yeah, because she used her power to analyze the angel. Let her rest properly."
Kamito lightly tapped the demon sword's hilt.
"—May I continue, demon sword of darkness?"
'Yes, please do. I am very interested in this topic too.'
Restia replied to the Darkness Elemental Lord's avatar.
"—The Spirit War, that was when I was born, right?"
"Yes, and the result of the Spirit War is as you know."
The war between the Darkness Elemental Lord and the Five Great Elemental Lords.
Its records were kept in the Divine Ritual Institute's sealed library and rarely circulated.
Its purpose was to eliminate the Darkness Elemental Lord who had been corrupted by the Otherworldly Darkness, huh?
"The Spirit War was very intense. The aftershock broke Astral Zero into two, one of which became the human realm. To protect her last followers, the defeated Darkness Elemental Lord allowed herself to be sealed in the dimensional gap by the Holy Lord and reincarnated her power in the human race—"
The Darkness stolen from the origin was eliminated together with Ren Ashdoll.
—That was what was supposed to have happened.
"However, the victorious Elemental Lords were already corrupted by the Otherworldly Darkness. The Darkness Elemental Lord was simply the first to be discovered."
After several thousand years, the Elemental Lords gradually changed in nature.
By the time they realized, it was already too late.
The Blade Dance held by the humans were able to bring temporary peace to the corrupted Elemental Lords' souls, but at the same time, large scale warfare in the human realm also agitated their souls.
"And now, Holy Lord Alexandros is using the Elemental Lords as a Gate, intending to connect Astral Zero to the origin again."
The Darkness Elemental Lord's avatar waved her fingers, causing the orb of darkness to disappear.
After a moment's silence—
"...There's something I don't understand."
"Why is the Holy Lord the only one untainted by the Otherworldly Darkness?"
Indeed, the four Elemental Lords of fire, water, wind and earth had all descended into madness. But for some unknown reason, only the Holy Lord seemed completely free from the effects of corruption.
The avatar girl shook her head.
"This I do not know. Although I doubt that the Holy Lord's element of light could produce resistance against the Otherworldly Darkness, still—"
No matter what, at least he now knew what had happened in Astral Zero in the ancient past.
Kamito also wanted to ask about the true meaning of what she had said earlier.
"Then what exactly did you mean when you asked me to inherit the Darkness Elemental Lord's power?"
Kamito was already swallowed by the Darkness Elemental Lord's power.
Awakened as the Demon King, Kamito would surely destroy the world in a state of insanity.
Or perhaps, he could end up like the other Elemental Lords, turned into a Gate connected to the origin—
"You and the darkness spirit will liberate the insane Darkness Elemental Lord."
'What did you say?'
"Is that even possible!?"
Kamito and Restia exclaimed at the same time.
"Yes, it was precisely for this purpose that she created the darkness spirit Restia, even reincarnated her power in the human race, and waited for thousands of years—"
The Darkness Elemental Lord's avatar turned her gaze to the Vorpal Sword in Kamito's hand.
'She created me to liberate herself?
"—Indeed. Restia Ashdoll was created with the true Darkness element as the core, the only darkness spirit. Only you are capable of devouring the Darkness corrupting her."
Back when she recovered her memories at Dracunia, Restia had taken away Millennia's Darkness.
That power was born for the sake of taking away the Otherworldly Darkness corrupting the Darkness Elemental Lord—
The darkness spirit who was the Demon King's guide, Restia Ashdoll.
The human who had inherited the Darkness Elemental Lord's power, Ren Ashbell.
Corrupted by Otherworldly Darkness, knowing her mind was insane, she used the last remnants of her rational mind to prepare these two keys.
—Then she waited all this time.
Waiting for the Demon King who would have the power to liberate her several thousand years later—
'So basically, Kamito—'
"Yes, indeed. I am the fragment of her final will, left behind by her. I am the being created for this very moment, to offer advice and prepare opportunities for the one who is truly qualified to become the Demon King."
The Darkness Elemental Lord's avatar turned around.
In the distance, out in the endless darkness, a terrifying roar was heard.
It sounded like all grief and cursing in the world had coalesced into one mass.
Kamito looked around. The surroundings seemed to be shrouded by darkness that was even darker than before.
"The monster of darkness that had swallowed you, it has arrived—"
'—Good morning, Kamito.'
Est greeted him sleepily.
"I'm sorry, Est, I need to ask you to lend me your strength when you just woke up."
'Yes, Kamito. I am your sword, your wish is my command... Yawn...'
'...Say, will you really be alright?'
Restia asked with concern.
"There is little time left. Unless you liberate the Darkness Elemental Lord before your soul is completely consumed, you will never be able to turn back to human again."
"So basically, I just have to defeat that thing, right?"
—No sooner than Kamito finished speaking...
The surging mist of darkness condensed and the monster was revealed.
Raindrops were falling in a storm.
Claire removed her drenched uniform, leaving herself only in underwear. She was tightly hugging Kamito who was shrouded in wavering divine power of darkness.
"Kamito... Hurry and come back..."
Her adorable cherry lips pleaded sadly.
Pressed intimately together, her skin gave off mild warmth to warm up Kamito's body that was rapidly cooling down.
The divine power of fire residing within Claire was entering Kamito through their connected lips.
Divine power of fire and divine power of darkness mixed together then returned to Claire's body, circulating nonstop.
This was the ancient ritual kagura that her sister had told her about before they came to Ragna Ys.
"...Mm, I feel so hot..."
Claire exhaled sweet breath.
It practically felt like Kamito was entering her body.
Their skin, wet from the rain, was pressed tightly together. Claire had her lips against Kamito's lips as though greedily seeking the overflowing divine power of darkness.
While panting in anguish, she desperately poured divine power of fire into Kamito.
"...Please... Kamito, wake... up—!"
After the mist of darkness coalesced, a terrifying thing appeared.
It looked like countless human body parts had been randomly attached together—
The xenomorphic body had eight arms sprouting from it, writhing nonstop in mud of darkness that was melting and falling off.
In the center of the mud, a golden eye, as round as the full moon, was glaring straight at Kamito.
Sensing an intense aura of death—Kamito could not help but cringe.
(...This is the Darkness Elemental Lord—)
Only by covering his entire body in divine power could Kamito finally hold his ground against that aura.
The Vorpal Sword in his hand was trembling mildly.
"Are you okay? Restia—"
Although her reply sounded very calm, Kamito understood very well.
The Darkness Elemental Lord was her creator and master.
Her standing in this distorted and unrecognizable form right now, had shaken Restia's heart and mind.
"Keep your feelings in check. She has already become Otherworldly Darkness."
The Darkness Elemental Lord's avatar spoke mournfully.
The Vorpal Sword's blade erupted with jet-black lightning.
The monster of darkness narrowed its golden eye and emitted a noise that sound like burning.
'—My creator, Ren Ashdoll!'
Restia's anguished cry echoed in the darkness.
'If the slightest part of your soul remains, please listen to me!'
"It is futile, darkness spirit, she is beyond helping—"
The monster of darkness roared. Jet-black lightning shot out from its decayed mouth.
Hell Blast—the top-tier spell of the darkness element.
The ball of darkness lightning, enough to erase high-level spirits, descended straight upon Kamito.
Using the Demon Slayer's blade, Kamito deflected the ball of lightning as he raced through the mud.
The sound of lamentation was deafening. The monster's massive body shuddered violently before releasing miasma of darkness.
Readied in Kamito's hand in a reverse grip, the Vorpal Sword emitted exceptionally intense black light.
'—Kamito, let her rest in peace.'
Hearing Restia's voice, filled with determination, Kamito silently nodded.
Wielding the black and white swords in his hands, Kamito ran.
This dark space was inside Kamito's own soul.
However, his body basically felt as though he were in the real world.
(...So I can't do anything crazy, huh?)
There was a limit to how much divine power he could use.
Besides, there was a time limit running against him. He must destroy this monster before his soul was completely devoured.
Using divine power to clear away the mud on the ground, Kamito jumped.
"Absolute Blade Arts, Third Form—Shadowmoon Waltz!"
Tracing out a curve, the slash severed three of the monster's arms.
Dark miasma spurted out like blood.
The miasma, whose mere contact brought death, was absorbed by the Vorpal Sword's blade.
'Leave the Otherworldly Darkness to me, Kamito, and focus on the main body—'
"—Yeah, I know!"
Kamito swung around, chopping off another arm.
Where the monster's arm fell, a terrifying bubble appeared.
(...What is that?)
The four arms chopped off by Kamito were transforming inside their respective bubble, turning into four demon dragons.
Kamito charged straight into the group of demon dragons.
"Absolute Blade Arts, Third Form—Shadowmoon Waltz, Blade Shadow!"
Instantly slaying the four demon dragons, Kamito continued to charge.
He made his way towards that gigantic eyeball, shining with golden light, restless in the center of the darkness—
"Absolute Blade Arts, First Form—Purple Lightning!"
He unleashed the Absolute Blade Art of divine speed.
The monster screamed. The demon sword of darkness had pierced its golden eye.
"—O blade formed from true darkness, devour the Otherworldly Darkness and make it your power!"
With a glow of divine power of the Vorpal Sword's blade, the dark miasma was completely absorbed.
—But in the next instant, the golden eye suddenly squirmed.
Glowing divine power was sucked into the eye that was like a vortex—
Together with his two swords, Kamito was sucked into the Darkness Elemental Lord's body.
A bit of breath escaped from a gap between the two superimposed pair of lips.
Claire jumped in surprise and placed her fingers on Kamito's chest.
His heart was beating hard. The circulating divine power had activated his body.
After a brief relief, Claire's expression turned stiff again. ...Kamito did not regain consciousness.
The endless flow of the divine power of darkness did not stop.
At this rate, even if his life was not in danger—
Just then, Kamito's expression twisted in pain.
Claire gently touched his cheek.
(Kamito is fighting this darkness right now...)
...In that case, I must fight alongside him.
Because I am... your master.
Her long crimson hair, drenched in the rain, became enveloped in blazing flames.
(Let me use my flames to purify your darkness—!)
(...Was I careless?)
Kamito struggled in the mud-like darkness.
There was nothing around him. He could not even see the light of divine power released from his own body.
This was complete nothingness.
(...This is the darkness that drives Elemental Lords insane?)
Kamito gripped his two swords tightly. This was the only tangible sensation.
How could he escape from this darkness that could even rob divine power?
—Just then, inside the darkness, a red light appeared.
It was a flame glowing like a red lotus.
This was also the most noble and beautiful flame in Kamito's memory.
The flame turned its surroundings into a sea of fire, swallowing the darkness like a ferocious lion.
Swallowing darkness, the fire kept expanding and approached Kamito.
But incredibly, Kamito did not feel fear. The flames engulfed Kamito—
In the next instant, Kamito was standing in the center of a howling vortext of fire.
In front of him was the Darkness Elemental Lord that had turned into a monster—
It reached out to grab Kamito with its terrifying arm, but the howling flames burned intensely as though protecting Kamito, forbidding it from touching Kamito.
"...Could this be the lost Fire of the Origin!?"
The Darkness Elemental Lord's avatar widened her golden eye and exclaimed in surprise.
—In other words, she wasn't the one providing this flame to cover me?
The flames rose up violently.
The blazing flames raced across the ground, incinerating the Otherworldly Darkness completely.
The Darkness Elemental Lord faltered as though in fear.
Filled with rage and lamentation, the roar echoed throughout this dark space.
'This is Miss Hell Cat's fire—'
Kamito was reassured.
(I see, this flame is—)
He had seen it a number of times before.
This was not the power of spirits. Instead, it was the Elstein Flame residing within Claire.
The End of Vermilion contrasting with Rubia's Absolute Zero.
(...Claire, could it be that you're by my side?)
Kamito could not help but look up and ask.
No answer. But at his feet, the flames burned with even greater intensity.
He could feel Claire's presence. This was the noble and brilliant flame he had felt the first time he saw her blade dance.
(So you're by my side, Claire—)
In the ring of fiercely burning fire—
Kamito poured divine power into his two swords and faced off against the Lord of Darkness.
"My master is waiting for me, so I can't lose here!"
The monster of darkness roared, its giant body approaching.
Kamito took a mighty leap with the release of divine power, jumping at the head of the monster of darkness in one g o.
The monster swung its arm, trying to grab Kamito as he moved through the air, but—
As though protecting Kamito, flames rose up and deflected the monster's gigantic arm like a whip.
"—We're doing this, Restia!"
The jet-black lightning on the Vorpal Sword surged—!
"Absolute Blade Arts, Destructive Form—Bursting Blossom Spiral Blade Dance, Eighteen Consecutive Strikes!"
In the darkness, flashes of sword and lightning dashed through the air.
The monster's arms were chopped and sent flying. Layer by layer, dark miasma was peeled off.
Kamito stabbed the demon sword into the monster's gigantic golden eye—
"Will it work, Restia!?"
'Yes, because this Darkness is mine—'
Kamito poured all of his divine power into the Vorpal Sword.
Lightning of darkness went on a rampage inside the monster's body.
The true darkness corrupting the Darkness Elemental Lord turned the demon sword's blade jet black in color.
After roaring on the verge of death, the berserk Darkness Elemental Lord finally perished.
—As the Darkness Elemental Lord vanished, Kamito's world collapsed at the same time.
The ground crumbled and Kamito fell into space.
'—You will inherit the Darkness Elemental Lord's will and power.'
Kamito heard the avatar's voice in his mind.
'My mission ends here. My adorable child—Ren Ashbell.'
"Mission... What happens to you next...?"
'The objective is achieved. I shall vanish and presumably turn into part of your divine power.'
A falling black feather touched Kamito's cheek.
'I entrust the rest to you, my adorable child—'
The voice was interrupted and Kamito's view became dominated by blinding light.
He opened his eyes—
A beautiful young maiden in underwear was on top of Kamito's body.
Her long crimson hair was wet and her ruby-like eyes were moist with tears.
Having absorbed water, her lacy underwear clung tightly to her skin, translucent.
As soon as Kamito spoke, Claire widened her eyes in surprise.
"...I'm so glad, you turned back to the original Kamito."
She embraced Kamito's head tightly all at once.
Although small, the sensation of her breasts made Kamito's heart race.
Claire's thumping heartbeat was transmitting to him through her thoroughly wet underwear.
Traces of tears remained on her face, she was probably worried the whole time for Kamito who had been devoured by the power of darkness.
The rain had stopped.
From gaps in the clouds, the blue sky was visible.
"...Sorry for making you worry."
Slowly sitting up, Kamito then stroked Claire's head.
"What happened? What on earth was that black miasma..."
"It was the divine power of the Darkness Elemental Lord sleeping inside me."
Kamito looked the back of his left hand.
The spirit seal of darkness, consisting of an intersecting moon and sword, was silently glowing.
"However, she's vanished. That power has been inherited by me and Restia—"
"I'll save the details for later."
"...You're right, we have to meet up with Rinslet and the others first."
Kamito stood up.
"B-By the way, Claire..."
Blushing, Kamito turned his gaze to the sky.
"Umm, anyway, I think it's better if you put some clothes on."
Claire frantically summoned Scarlet to cover up her wet chest.
"Y-You got the wrong idea! I-I was using the ritual Nee-sama taught me—"
Claire's twintails jumped.
"She said when the power of darkness devours you, this ritual can suppress it."
Hugging Scarlet, Claire spoke quietly in embarrassment.
(...I see, so that flame really was Claire's fire.)
Kamito figured it out in his thoughts. Her flame element had manifested in Kamito's consciousness after mixing his divine power of darkness together with her own divine power of fire.
All covered in fire, Scarlet instantly dried their uniforms.
Claire stood up and rapidly fastened her skirt.
Kamito turned his gaze away from Claire while she was getting dressed. At the same time, he said:
"...By the way, where are we?"
"Somewhere in the vast forest below Ragna Ys."
Claire looked up at the clear sky.
In the distant sky, fragments of Ragna Ys were floating.
"What on earth happened?"
"I don't know. The Holy Capital suddenly released a beam of light, then that light sliced apart the land of Ragna Ys. We fell into the forest and got separated from the others."
"The Holy Lord's power, huh?"
Previously, the revived Holy Lord had used that power to slice the Demon King City into two.
However, to think that the sturdy ground of Ragna Ys, which even archdemon-class spirits were unable to damage, could be destroyed so thoroughly—
"That is my power, Kamito."
Lying on the ground, the Demon Slayer suddenly spoke.
"Est, what do you mean?"
Kamito frowned. Just then...
Claire pointed at the sky and shouted.
Her gaze was directed at a large demon bird flying in the air.
"Isn't that Simorgh!?"
"Ellis has found us."
Pointing at the sky, Claire quickly recited an incantation.
Numerous small fireballs flew from her fingertips and exploded like fireworks.
Looking quite spectacular but lacking firepower, it was spirit magic for causing diversions.
Ellis apparently noticed it.
Simorgh circled quickly in the air then landed in the forest.
The Holy Capital of Alexandros.
It had manifested where it was almost superimposed with the Elemental Lords' shrine. At its center—
Gates to the Origin had been opened.
Fire Elemental Lord Volcanicus and Earth Elemental Lord Lode Gear.
Shooting up into the sky, the pillars of light had gouged holes in Astral Zero's sky.
Although they were large enough for lower-level angels to descend, they were not enough.
Only when all the Gates had been opened would her wish come true.
Looking down at the wide streets of the Holy Capital, Areishia, i.e. Alexandros, spoke.
"He appears to have been devoured by the Darkness Elemental Lord."
The Holy Lord with the Sacred Maiden's appearance silently turned around.
There was a girl with long silver hair, standing there expressionlessly with her head tilted.
The Sacred Sword—Terminus Est.
After the battle against Demon King Solomon, she had sealed herself in Astral Zero.
However, after obtaining Areishia's physical body, the Holy Lord had reactivated the contract and summoned her.
"She has come to destroy me, I suppose, to destroy me and all of the Elemental Lords—"
"Yes, I sense it too."
"What he holds, is another sacred sword?"
Est shook her head expressionlessly.
"That is another entity, already separated from me."
"—I see, so that is why she did not respond to my contract."
Sacred Maiden Areishia shrugged. Although that Est had apparently gone so far as to betray the original contract and become the Demon King's sword, her power was far inferior to this Terminus Est.
Areishia stared up at the void piercing the sky.
Everything was going according to plan. The Wind Elemental Lord and the Water Elemental Lord were about to open as Gates too.
The Demon King War a thousand years ago, the two Ranbal Wars, the civil war in the Theocracy, the tumult in the Ordesia Empire, in order to destabilize the Elemental Lords who were corrupted by Darkness, she had used the Holy Kingdom to spread chaos in the human realm.
Cardinal Millennia Sanctus, Des Esseintes, Lurie Lizaldia, the Dusk Witch—even the Holuy Kingdom itself—all of them were nothing but instruments for achieving the goal.
In addition, the Holy Lord had obtained the Sacred Maiden's body of flesh, a vessel capable of manifesting him.
"All this was for the purpose of returning there—"
Sacred Maiden Areishia raised her arms towards the sky.
Rumble rumble rumble rumble...!
The ground shook with the sound of an earthquake.
Separating from the ground of Ragna Ys, the Holy Capital slowly began to rise.