Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance:Volume20 Chapter8
Chapter 8 - The Prayer of Princess Maidens
Under the Gate to the Otherworld, piercing the sky...
Two flashes of light, one white and one black, kept chasing each other and clashing, so fast that it was confusing to track with the naked eye.
Sword strikes clashed with god-like speed, instantly creating showers of sparks and metallic clanging of blades.
(...! What is going on!?)
While engaged in the intense fight, Kamito wondered in puzzlement.
(Compared to earlier, the movements are completely different!?)
Every attack launched by Kamito was read through completely.
Something was weird. He had a kind of premonition.
"Do you find this intriguing, Ren Ashbell?"
Behind the crossed blades, the Holy Lord spoke.
"I have granted a portion of this vessel's right of control to her."
"What are you talking about?"
"After all, I have yet to grow accustomed to this body."
Hearing that, Kamito understood. The mentioned "her" was referring to—
"...Sacred Maiden Areishia!"
"Areishia Idriss was the best princess maiden in all of human history. This was also one of the reasons why I chose her as a vessel."
"...I see, so that's why my sword moves are being read, so it's the princess maiden's—"
A princess maiden's intuition.
It was an ability possessed by top princess maidens such as Rubia and Fianna, as well as Claire though in an unreliable fashion.
This natural talent allowed them to sense phenomena in the world in the form of premonitions.
Sacred Maiden Areishia's intuition was said to dwarf even Rubia who was known as the most elite princess maiden.
That sharp intuition was practically akin to predicting the future.
(...Swinging the sword by instinct rather than relying on swordsmanship, huh?)
The Demon Slayer and Terminus Est produced sparks between them.
The Holy Lord stepped forward, flowing into the next attack in one breath.
The slashes were coming even faster. These movements were almost as though they were performed by a completely different person.
Kamito released gathered divine power and jumped back, creating distance.
"Go forth and pierce—Vorpal Blast!"
He swung the demon sword of darkness. Jet-black lightning attacked the Holy Lord all at once.
However, the divine power of light emanating from all over the sacred maiden's body neutralized the lightning of darkness.
To think the attack was canceled simply by divine power—
Crushing floor tiles underfoot, the Holy Lord closed in on Kamito.
Kamito instantly thought of dodging, but quickly abandoned the idea. After all, his movements would be predicted by the princess maiden's intuition even if he tried to dodge. In that case—
Kamito readied his two swords and chose to fight head on.
He would use overwhelming destructive power and quantity of attacks to overwhelm the enemy!
"Absolute Blade Arts—Bursting Blossom Spiral Blade Dance, Sixteen Consecutive Hits!"
"Terminus Est, O queen of steel ruling all swords—"
Instantly, countless swords of light appeared around the Holy Lord.
The unleashed swords of light blocked each and every one of Kamito's strikes.
(...! Every strike from the Bursting Blossom Spiral Blade Dance ended up blocked!?)
No, not just blocked.
Two swords of light got through and left a cut each, one on Kamito's leg and another on his arm.
Groaning, Kamito could not help but collapse on one knee.
"This is the end, Ren Ashbell!"
The Holy Lord raised the sacred sword.
A massive amount of divine power surged and overflowed.
Glowing with silver-white light, the blade of Terminus Est turned the entire Holy Lord Palace pure white.
This was the light that had shattered the ground of Ragna Ys.
No, this surpassed that light.
"O darkness, return to nothingness—Deus Ira!"
The sword of light, stretching all the way to the top of the sky, swung down.
In that instant, Kamito released divine power, pouring it into the Demon Slayer.
"Absolute Blade Ultimate—Last Strike, Dual!"
This was the strongest move that Greyworth had put her life on the line in order to teach him, the move he had used to defeat Rubia during the final round of the Blade Dance.
Reishia suddenly halted while walking over debris in the street.
"Reishia, what's the matter?"
Walking beside her, Rakka asked.
Due to the Academy town getting damaged during the attack from demon spirits a few days earlier, the students, led by the Sylphid Knights, were occupied with reconstruction.
"...Did you hear a voice just now?"
Rakka raised an eyebrow with a puzzled look.
"A spirit's voice?"
"N-No. It sounded like someone calling—"
<—Please... offer... your prayers—>
"...! I-I hear it too!"
Surprised, Rakka dropped her hammer elemental waffe on the ground.
The students helping out with reconstruction work in the plaza were looking around, trying to figure out what was happening.
<I am Fire Queen Reicha Alminas. I need all of you to help right now—>
For elementalists, the Queens were of paramount importance.
After all, oracles were not directly transmitted to individuals.
<Right now, Team Scarlet is fighting.>
"The Captain and the others—"
The two knights looked up with a jerk.
There were members of the Sylphid Knights at the plaza along with students of Raven Class.
They looked like they were hearing the Queen's oracle too.
They learned about the truth, that in order to prevent the world's destruction, Kamito along with Team Scarlet and headmistress Greyworth were currently fighting in Astral Zero—
Naturally, the students in the plaza all knelt down and bega to pray for the Elemental Lords to regain stability.
In Laurenfrost territory, inside the stone-built hall of Winter Gulf castle, the acting lord Judia Laurenfrost raised her blind eyes into the air.
"Mireille, do you hear it?"
"Yes, so you hear it too, Judia-oneesama?"
Hugging a weasel spirit, Mireille answered.
"I heard it too. An oracle from a Queen, I see?"
Standing by on the side, the maid Milla Bassett nodded too.
"Ehhh, what's going on? I'm excluded?"
Carol frantically spoke.
The voice was a product of spirit magic.
Naturally, only princess maidens could hear the Queen's voice.
"Onee-sama and Kamito-sama are fighting right now."
Hence, Milla told Carol about the Queen's oracle.
Carol looked up into the sky.
"Perhaps our prayers might help the Elemental Lords wake up."
Saying that, Judia brought her hands together.
"Let us all pray."
"Yes, I will offer my efforts too and cheer you on, miladies!"
Carol took out Team Scarlet's flag which had a hell cat pattern on it. By her side, Milla Bassett was also holding a flag in both hands.
"Where did you two get those from?"
"—Wow, Reicha, it has been so long since I last heard her voice."
This was the great palace of Karan, the Quina Empire's capital.
In the grand garden that was filled with numerous lotus flowers, a petite girl in magnificent ritual attire spoke with joy.
She was the Quina Empire's third princess, Linfa Sin Quina. As the leader of the Four Gods, she had previously fought Kamito's team at the Blade Dance.
"The voice just now belongs to your acquaintance, Linfa-sama?"
Standing on guard on the side was one of the Four Gods, "Vermilion Bird" Rion asked.
"Yes, Reicha was my friend during my days at the Divine Ritual Institute."
Linfa nodded. Blessed with top princess maiden talents, she had been recommended as the Water Elemental Lord's Queen back when she was at the Divine Ritual Institute.
Though the position of Queen was ultimately given to the first princess, Feilei Sin Quina, the more junior Reicha had also been Linfa's comrade during the trials and tribulations of the selection process.
And right now, Reicha's calls for help had reached Linfa's ears.
"Kazehaya Kamito's team is currently fighting the dogs of the Holy Kingdom..."
The strongest elementalist of the Four Gods, "White Tiger" Shao Fu, looked up at the sky, muttering to herself.
"Sigh, how I wish I could go too. I really want to fight the Elemental Lords."
Tapping her fist against her elemental waffe gauntlet, she was restless with excitement.
"What nonsense are you talking about?"
Hakua and Rao murmured in exasperation.
"Shao, you are still shouldering the mission of guarding me."
"Yes yes, I know. Well, since the Queen is asking for help, it means Kamito and the others are in a tough fight."
"Yes, well said. Let us prepare for prayer right away. We still owe the Lust King and Team Scarlet a favor. Now is the time to repay our debt!"
Similarly, the Queen's voice reached the ends of the desert, into the palace of the Alphas Theocracy.
"Gather all princess maidens immediately, to offer prayers to the Elemental Lords."
Princess Saladia Kahn issued orders to her retainers in the throne room.
Although people in the Theocracy seldom prayed to the Elemental Lords, due to their deep-rooted worship of the Demon King, there still existed small shrines to pray for things like bountiful harvests.
The ones fighting in Astral Zero right now were their benefactors.
She hoped to do everything they could for their benefactors.
Saladia spoke to the dark-skinned young man standing on guard beside her.
"Jio, you are an elementalist too, yes? Hurry up and pray."
"Hah, I am the Demon King. I don't pray to anyone."
However, the young man appointed by Saladia as her body guard grinned and replied sardonically.
"...~! Jio, my goodness!"
Just as she wanted to complain...
"However, that Holy Lord really pisses me off. Watch me defeat him."
The young man smiled fearlessly and made for the palace exit.
"Where do you think you are going!?"
"Huh? Send me a ship. This should be easy for a queen, right?"
"I shall not do that! You have to serve as my bodyguard properly!"
Despite all the retainers present, Saladia Kahn could not help but roar angrily.
The roars from the countless dragons residing at Dragon's Peak caused the atmosphere to shake.
"Looks like the dragons are reacting to the Queen's oracle too."
Vice-commander of the Knights of the Dragon Emperor, Yuri El Cid, looked up at the sky and murmured.
Princess maiden abilities would occasionally awaken in high-level dragons. Despite language barriers, they would still be able to receive the Queen's thoughts.
Many bonfires had been lit at Dragon Rock Fortress with dragon priestesses praying.
They were praying for the berserk Elemental Lords to calm down, as well as the safety of Leonora Lancaster, the dragon princess currently fighting in Astral Zero.
"Vice-commander Yuri, bad news!"
Just then, a subordinate ran over, panting.
"What is it?"
Seeing that, Yuri looked surprised.
"H-His Majesty the Dragon King—"
"Calm down. What about His Majesty?"
The subordinate dragon knight spoke with a pale face.
"...has disappeared from Dragon Rock Fortress!"
"What did you say!?"
Blades clashed, the blinding light of divine power swept across all surroundings.
Facing the Holy Lord's Deus Ira, Kamito unleashed Last Strike, the ultimate technique of the Absolute Blade Arts.
This was the ultimate countering sword skill that reflected the force of an attack by reading the enemy's flow of divine power.
A crack appeared on the blade of the Demon Slayer while it was blocking Terminus Est.
—Activation of Last Strike had not failed.
However, it could not prevail against Terminus Est's overwhelming destructive power.
A shower of sparks. If the blades continued to clash, Est was going to shatter—!
That hint of hesitation disrupted Kamito's divine power.
The light of Terminus Est expanded all at once.
The surging torrent of light engulfed Kamito, sending his entire body flying.
Kamito was sent smashing hard into the Holy Lord Palace's barrier. After coughing a great mouthful of blood, he lay collapsed, unable to get up.
Kamito instantly looked at the elemental waffen in both hands.
—The Demon Slayer was not shattered. Only a crack had appeared on the blade.
He breathed a sigh of relief. However, his fingers gripping the hilt could no longer exert any strength.
His view was shaking. He guessed that he had broken many bones.
"Not shattering is impressive already, for an impostor."
Looking down at Kamito who was collapsed on the floor, the Holy Lord spoke.
"...Like I said, she's not an impostor...!"
Spitting out the blood in his mouth, Kamito glared back at the Holy Lord.
Divine power of darkness surged to cover him entirely and began to repair his injured body.
...But it was not fast enough. The Holy Lord was slowly walking over.
Suddenly, for some reason, the Sacred Maiden halted in the middle of the great hall.
"Look, the Water Elemental Lord is about to turn into the last Gate."
She spread her arms, looked up into the sky, as though offering a blessing.
With slow movements, Kamito summoned all his strength to lift his head.
Only to see that the Water Elemental Lord's throne, covered by Otherworldly Darkness, was gradually turning into a pillar of light.
If that pillar of light were to cause the crack int he sky to expand—
The Holy Lord would presumably be able to connect with the being on the other side of the crack.
(...Don't think... you can... succeed...!)
Gripping the hilts of his two swords, Kamito stood up.
"Regrettably, it is over, Ren Ashbell."
With a calm smile, the Holy Lord reached out to the final Gate.
The Holy Lord's movements suddenly paused.
"—The Elemental Lords have recovered stability?"
Kamito frowned too—
Soon, he figured out what those words meant.
The pillars of light piercing the crack in the sky weakened in brightness.
(...What is going on?)
Is it actually possible for the Elemental Lords, corrupted by Otherworldly Darkness, to calm down?
"...I see. So it is the work of the Queens—"
The Holy Lord muttered. There was an element of anxiety in the Sacred Maiden's voice.
Kamito did not understand what her words meant.
Neither did he know that numerous princess maidens in the human realm had prayed, causing the Elemental Lords to regain a shred of sanity. But—
"...Looks like there's still hope, Alexandros."
Kamito grinned fearlessly.
"No, this is merely stalling for time. The Otherworldly Darkness will soon corrupt the Gate."
The Holy Lord declared coldly.
"...Stalling for time... Is good enough—"
The divine power of darkness covering Kamito's entire body surged violently.
"So you have yet to give up? It is futile, humans cannot win against the Elemental Lords."
Saying that, the Holy Lord readied Terminus Est in a stance.
(...The Absolute Blade's ultimate move, Last Strike, didn't work—)
The ultimate spirit weapon could not be defeated using Kamito's Absolute Blade Arts alone.
(What should I do—?)
Just as Kamito gritted his teeth...
'—O adorable child, would you like to listen to me and take a gamble?'
A voice that was neither Est's nor Restia's sounded in his mind.