Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance:Volume20 Chapter2
Chapter 2 - Counterattack
Carrying Kamito and Claire, Simorgh flew through the air.
Just as Simorgh spread out his wings majestically, suddenly, they were swallowed into an invisible space, vanishing without trace.
Holding on to one wing, Claire cried out in surprise.
Their view kept shifting like a mirage. In the next instant, the demon wind spirit landed lightly.
"Where are we...?"
Kamito looked around them.
Faintly glowing spirits were hovering around them.
There was a red carpet on the floor. Along the stone walls lining the sides of the corridor, there were sculptures of marine creatures.
It was like an aristocrat's mansion.
"This is the belly of the Dire Whale, the Water Elemental Lord's minion spirit."
Saying that, Ellis jumped down from the back of Simorgh.
"A whale spirit? But we never saw it."
"That is because water elemental magic is being used to produce invisibility, to avoid detection."
"This way. Be careful not to touch the wall paintings or else you will end up in another room."
With Ellis leading the way, the group walked along the corridor.
"Claire, you are safe!"
Soon, the trio arrived at a wide-open hall. Fianna and Rinslet greeted them.
"Sorry for making you worry..."
"Everyone is fine. That is so wonderful."
"Yes, I was truly worried there was an accident once we lost you two."
Rinslet wiped away tears with her little finger and hugged Claire tightly.
"W-Wait, Rinslet, sheesh..."
Claire squirmed, looking quite embarrassed, but showed no intention of pushing her away.
"Reicha and the others are currently resting in other rooms. Uh, as for Rubia-sama—"
Fianna looked at Claire, hesitating.
In response, Claire bit her lip hard and nodded slightly.
"...Yes, I have heard from Ellis about my sister."
While fighting the cardinal Millennia Sanctus, Rubia had succeeded in turning the elemental waffe Ragnarok back to the Fire Elemental Lord's form. But before they could even feel relieved, the terrifying beam of light had shattered the ground of Ragna Ys. Together with the Fire Elemental Lord, Rubia had gone missing.
Had she fallen into Astral Zero's forest like Claire, or—
Seeing Claire's shoulders trembling lightly, Rinslet gently placed her arm over them.
"She will be fine. After all, she is Rubia-sama."
"...I-I guess you're right. After all, she is Nee-sama."
Claire nodded vigorously as though to forcefully suppress her worries.
Fianna placed a hand on Claire's shoulder too.
"We must all be hungry, I am sure. Let me make something."
Saying that, Rinslet snapped her fingers and summoned Fenrir.
The table in the hall was packed with food that Rinslet had personally prepared.
Soup boiled with veal bones, bacon and turnip. A souffle made with large number of Laurenfrost local eggs. Stir-fried bean shoots. Marinated whitefish with herbs. Roasted quail with crispy skin and honey sauce on top. Several kinds of mushrooms sauteed with fragrant vegetables. Whole-grain bread. Bread with sweet fruit embedded. Raisin walnut bread. Fresh milk and butter. Desert was homemade bean curd ice cream.
The table was covered with steam rising from the dishes. Waves of aroma went straight into the nose.
Hungry for a while now, Kamito could not help but gulp saliva in anticipation.
"I'm amazed you made so much in such short time."
"Bean curd, bean curd..."
Est, who had been helping with the cooking, had already started eating the bean curd ice cream.
"Est, eating too fast will make your head hurt."
"Do not worry, Kamito."
Saying that, Est expressionless ate spoonful after spoonful of ice cream.
"Another bowl, snack person."
"You already finished!?"
"Your cooking is amazingly delicious after all, Rinslet."
The one who commented was the Water Elemental Lord, sitting quietly on a chair, holding bread in her hands as she spoke. Her mouth was stuffed with bread, causing her cheeks to puff out. Lord Iseria, that's not very good manners, you know?
"We have plenty of bread."
Meticulous in the ways of aristocracy, Rinslet instantly reassured her.
"See, you have crumbs everywhere now."
Saying that, Rinslet held out a handkerchief to wipe the corner of her mouth.
Seeing such a scene, it was hard to imagine that Iseria was the Water Elemental Lord, one of the rulers of Astral Zero.
If the Water Queen Feilei Sin Quina, who was currently resting in another room, witnessed this, she probably would have fainted right on the spot.
Not one to be shy, Kamito started his meal and moved a piece of quail to his bowl.
With its crispy skin, roasted with herbs, then topped with a honey sauce, this Laurenfrost specialty dish deserved no lack of praise.
"What the hell, this is crazy delicious."
"Fufu, I am pleased to know that!"
Hearing Kamito's mumbled praise, Rinslet smiled happily.
"M-Maybe I should learn to cook too..."
Seeing that, sitting on the side, Claire murmured to herself.
"I could teach you, you know?"
"Hwah, you heard that!?"
When Rinslet discreetly whispered in her ear, Claire instantly blushed red to her ears.
"Next time, I shall give this a go too."
"Your Highness, I believe you ought to start with the basics of cooking first—"
"Hold on a minute, Ellis, what do you mean by that?"
Seeing Ellis sigh, Fianna glared at her with dissatisfaction. Ever since Ellis started working as her secretary and bodyguard knight, the two of them had become especially close, probably because they had many more opportunities to interact.
"Darkness spirit, that is my bean curd. Do you wish to be erased?"
"Oh dear, it's all your fault for hogging all the ice cream, Miss Sword Spirit."
"Ah, give it back, darkness spirit—"
Meanwhile, the legendary sacred sword and the demon sword that had inherited Ren Ashdoll's power were bickering amicably too.
Looking like she was teasing a little sister, Restia seemed to be enjoying herself.
(...Everyone's acting the same as usual even though we're clearly on the brink of the final battle.)
While smiling wryly in his thoughts, Kamito dug right into the nourishing feast.
Thus, after filling his belly with food and warming up his body that had gotten cold from the rain...
Kamito told everyone about how the miasma of darkness had devoured him and what Ren Ashdoll's avatar had said.
This included the Otherworld on the opposite of the Gate, the origin of Astral Zero and the true nature of the Otherworldly Darkness, as well as the truth of the Spirit War that had broken out between the Five Great Elemental Lords and the Darkness Elemental Lord.
Then there was the whole story of how he had purified the Otherworldly Darkness corrupting the Darkness Elemental Lord and inherited that power—
"So in other words, the Darkness Elemental Lord has vanished from inside Kamito."
Putting down her teacup, Claire remarked.
"Yeah. She's gone. She left her power to me and Restia—"
Finished with his story, Kamito gazed at his left hand, from which he had removed the leather glove.
"W-Wait a second, hold it right there!"
Suddenly, Ellis stood up and shouted.
"What's with you, Ellis?"
Claire raised an eyebrow with surprise on her face in reaction.
"K-Kamito is the Ren Ashbell-sama!?"
"Eh, that is what got you worked up?"
"S-So you already knew, Your Highness? Claire, you too?"
Claire and Fianna nodded awkwardly.
"I sensed it vaguely too."
Rinslet tossed her hair.
"After all, there was no deliberate effort to hide it."
Hearing Claire's helpless comment, Kamito nodded.
"R-Really? So I am the only one who failed to notice, huh..."
"S-Sorry, uh... It's because I didn't want to ruin your dream."
It was precisely because Ellis was Ren Ashbell's loyal fan that she did not notice the true identity of Kamito, who was right by her side.
Ellis kept staring intently at Kamito's face.
Her cheeks gradually turned red.
"I see some resemblance..."
Her eyes went wide.
"Kamito, please dress up as a girl!"
"Give me a break."
Kamito hastily shook his head.
"Ren Ashbell-sama is Kamito... I-I see..."
After murmuring quietly to herself, Ellis nodded.
"...I understand. I can imagine how you felt. Sorry for my outburst."
"No, I'm the one who needs to apologize..."
Ellis smiled cheerfully, then—
"As for my esteemed sister, I hope to keep this a secret from her for the time being. After all, her feelings towards Ren Ashbell-sama must be quite complicated—"
"No, Velsaria actually realized it long ago."
Tears welled up in Ellis' eyes.
"Eh, putting aside the matter of Ren Ashbell—"
After Claire coughed, Ellis quietly sat down.
"In any case, we will have a huge calamity unless we stop the Holy Lord."
"Yeah, you're right."
The Holy Lord's goal was to steal the authority of angels to recreate this world.
Although they had no idea what the ideal world pictured by the Holy Lord was like, but if the plan came into fruition, the current human realm and Astral Zero would surely be destroyed.
"What's the situation with the Gates at the Holy Capital?"
"Very well, allow me to display."
Iseria pointed into the air. A transparent sphere of water instantly appeared, hovering over the table.
"This sphere is connected to the Dire Whale's eyes—"
The surface of the water sphere changed to project an image.
It was the sunny sky of Astral Zero.
Far in the distance, the Holy Capital floating on the clouds was visible.
"...The Holy Capital flew into the sky?"
"Yes. Kamito-kun, when you two went missing, the Capital separated itself from Ragna Ys."
"Avoiding interference, I'm guessing—"
"...I think so too."
Hearing Claire's whisper, Kamito nodded lightly.
Three beams of light rose up from the center of the Holy Capital hovering in the air.
The first to become a Gate was the Fire Elemental Lord.
Then the remaining two Gates were—
"The Wind Elemental Lord and the Earth Elemental Lord."
Iseria's voice seemed quite sad.
"How can you tell?"
"The blowing wind is unstable and clamoring. Furthermore, the earth is crying. As the Elemental Lords governing the elements lose their power, Astral Zero's balance is beginning to be broken. Next, if my principal body of the Water Elemental Lord were to become a Gate too, the tunnel leading to that Otherworld would likely open completely."
The three pillars of light piercing the sky had generated a gigantic void crevasse.
—A Gate filled with darkness and chaos.
The world origin that had created Astral Zero was already showing a corner of itself.
"Looks like time is running out. We'd best hurry over as quickly as possible—"
"But it isn't that easy, is it?"
Hearing Claire's murmur, Fianna shrugged.
"Indeed. There are militarized spirits guarding the Holy Capital. The Sacred Spirit Knights are also present."
The Holy Kingdom of Lugia's Sacred Spirit Knights. They were the Holy Kingdom's elite military troops under Des Esseintes' direct command.
Even though some of them might have deserted after knowing of the Holy Lord's goal, the vast majority were willing to sacrifice themselves for the Holy Lord.
(...That's quite similar to the fighters at the Instructional School.)
How ironic, Kamito thought.
"Then there is the barrier protecting the city. Also—"
Saying that, Fianna had trouble continuing.
"That sword of light—"
"You mean the Holy Lord's Terminus Est?"
Saying that, Kamito looked down at the Demon Slayer.
The sword of light had shattered the ground of Ragna Ys. One misstep and this Dire Whale could be struck down in one hit.
Kamito gripped his own sacred sword's hilt tightly then...
"I will be the one to take on that sword of light, Terminus Est."
He said slowly.
"Kamito, that's why too reckless. That light was able to—"
Shatter the ground of Ragna Ys into pieces—Before Claire could finish...
Kamito declared firmly and looked at Est.
"Est, can you do it?"
'Yes, Kamito. I am your sword, your wish is my command.'
Est's silver-white blade glowed brightly.
Indeed, it was irrelevant whether the enemy was Est's original body, the strongest spirit weapon, etc.
For Kamito, this Est was the ultimate sacred sword.
"So that's settled. Leave the sacred sword's light to me."
Saying that, Kamito looked around the table.
Claire and Ellis, Rinslet and Fianna, these pairs of girls exchanged a glance.
"...Got it. We leave that light to you."
Hearing that, Kamito nodded forcefully.
"Then it's settled. The codename is 'Operation Turn the Holy Capital in Charcoal'!"
"I will not accept such a codename."
"Hmm, can you not think of something cooler?"
Storming the Holy Capital head on without playing useless tricks.
Just as the team decided on this classic Team Scarlet approach...
"—Wait, all of you."
Restia turned back into spirit form and stopped them.
"What is it, darkness spirit?"
"Indeed, you have become stronger. Compared to the Blade Dance, you have left your former selves in the dust. Nevertheless, the enemy is still powerful. The few of you is not going to be enough."
"...I-I know that, but—"
"—I have an idea."
Restia waved her hand to interrupt Claire's rebuttal.
"Kamito will do this, sharing the Darkness Elemental Lord's power with all of you."
"Miss Darkness Spirit, what do you mean?"
Rinslet raised an eyebrow.
Restia raised an index finger and explained.
"Having inherited the Darkness Elemental Lord's power, Kamito possesses virtually infinite divine power. And there happens to be a ritual for exchanging that divine power with your own. A thousand years ago, Demon King Solomon's concubines increased their power by using that ritual."
"The Darkness Elemental Lord's divine power? Can that really be done?"
Restia paused for a moment then continued.
"The condition for performing that ritual—Darkness Kagura—is that a strong bond must be built between the Demon King and the princess maidens. Otherwise, in the event of failure, they will be devoured by the divine power of darkness."
Claire and the girls exchanged looks.
"...I-It will be fine!"
"No problem at all!"
"A redundant question."
Everyone agreed to it instantly.
"Fufu, you girls are quite confident in your relationship with Kamito, aren't you?"
"O-Of course. Got a problem with that?"
Claire puffed out her flat chest.
"However, you will need to do this, you know?"
Restia chuckled and drew herself next to Claire's ear, whispering.
"...~! Hwaah! Y-You must be lying, we need to go that far!?"
Instantly, Claire's face became bright red.
"Sure enough, this is too much for the little miss hell cat, right?"
Hearing Restia's taunt, Claire gritted her teeth.
"...W-Watch me do it, that Darkness Kagura!"
Pointing at Restia, she declared.
"Fufu, very well."
In response, Restia smiled contentedly and turned her head to the Water Elemental Lord.
"Iseria-sama, could you please prepare a room where we can conduct the ritual?"