Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance:Volume2 Chapter2
Chapter 2 - The Young Ladies' Afternoon
Claire Rouge was stuffing a cream bun down her throat.
It was a sight unusual for her, who took it as a creed— that nobles are always elegant.
"Don't binge, you'll get fat you know."
Kamito glared with his eyes half-opened and Claire struck the table in frustration.
"But, but, urggggh!"
"Claire. That's my jam bun."
Est protested calmly.
They were at a salon café inside the academy.
From the opened terrace, soft daylight was shining in.
The three of them were sitting at a round table near a window and having a slightly late lunch.
Inside the bamboo basket, placed right in the middle of that table, was a pile of jam, melon, sausage and many other different kinds of buns.
Any student could use the café and on top of that the freshly baked buns were free. Coffee and black tea also had free refills.
There was also an eatery in the academy, but because it charged a fee equal to a high-class restaurant in the imperial capital, neither Kamito, who was not even a noble, nor Claire, who had her fortune and territory confiscated, could afford it.
"Our team ranking dropped again."
Claire laid, prostrated, on the table and groaned.
"It can't be helped. We were matched up with a superior team. "
"That may be true... but strength-wise, we are definitively better than them."
Claire gnawed her lip. Although they were at a disadvantage in numbers, she seemed to be unable to come to terms with losing to lower rank opponents.
It was certain that as elementalists they were superior.
The reason they lost was their inability to execute proper coordination with each other. Claire overestimated her strength and chased her enemies too far in, and Kamito too could not rely on her in a dire situation.
It was not possible to win with just the queen piece— in other words, their situation was something like that.
"Despite that it's not the time to be stumbling about now..."
There was a reason Claire was impatient to the point like she was binge eating the buns.
The regulations of the Blade Dance held in two months were different from the individual battles three years ago, if they didn’t put together a five-member team, they wouldn’t be able to take part in it. In addition, only the top three teams decided by the inter-school competition could participate from Areishia Spirit Academy.
Kamito, who started attending the school just a while ago, had no achievements that could raise his ranking.
To raise it, one had to win a formal practice match like the one from this morning or complete a task assigned by the academy; however, he had done neither.
Defeating the giant spirit the other day, dueling with Sylphid Knights captain Ellis Fahrengart or even battling the frenzied demon spirit, those were all informal battles and did not reflect on the rankings.
On the other hand, Claire, who should have towered above the rest and been superior as an elementalist—
Had shockingly the lowest results in the class.
There could be only one reason for that. It was because she was doing every mission alone.
She failed when she attempted the missions that should be originally completed by a team and she was defeated when she challenged upper classmen alone in a championship match. As long as she did such a thing, no matter how strong she was, there was no way her ranking could raise.
There was a reason Claire was isolated from the rest of the academy.
Four years ago, while she had the position of Queen serving the fire Elemental Lord, she betrayed him, disappeared, and brought about an unprecedented great disaster to the empire. Because of that others started calling her The Calamity Queen.
As her younger sister, Claire was looked at with contempt and fear by the majority of the academy students.
Claire's reason for participating in the Blade Dance was to restore the Elstein family name and —above all else— to find out the truth regarding her elder sister Rubia Elstein.
—It's not the time to be stumbling about now.
Blood-oozing emotions filled Claire's rough words.
"For now, we should also find comrades quickly. I understood it during this morning's match. If we stay as we are now, we not only won't be able to win the Blade Dance, but wouldn't even get into the top three ranks, which is required for the participation."
The boy, called the strongest blade dancer three years ago, accepted his greatest weakness honestly.
At first, he just came to the academy due to Greyworth's request, but now he clearly had a reason to regain his strength from three years ago.
Darkness spirit Restia—his former contracted spirit.
That reason was to take her back with his own hands.
The girl who, for the first time, brought light to Kamito's life, which was shrouded in darkness before.
And also the girl who gave a heartbroken Claire the frenzy spirit and tried to drive the giant spirit mad in the middle of the town.
He met her again, but she was vastly different from the one Kamito once knew.
—What on earth happened to her?
So, for the sake of knowing that, he absolutely had to meet the participation requirements for the Blade Dance.
"Kamito, what's wrong? You're making such a serious face."
"Did you forget to put sugar into your coffee?"
Claire and Est peered at his face with a worried look.
"No, sorry, it's just..."
"By any chance, is it about your former contracted spirit?"
She was surprisingly sharp at times like this.
Kamito quickly averted his eyes from the ruby pupils that peered in his own.
"...Well… Fine. But tell me everything when you feel like it."
Claire did not try to pry deeper. Despite her arrogance, there were, occasionally, times when she showed consideration.
"...Ah, I understand."
Kamito nodded when-.
"Ah, everyone, having lunch?"
A cool but elegant voice was heard.
The boy turned around. And there—
A magnificent, platinum-blonde haired and beautiful girl was standing.
Her very appearance was of a noble high-class lady.
Her milky white skin was smooth like silk and her emerald eyes locked a faint glow in them.
The way she brushed her hair aside with one hand at her side looked strangely good.
She attended the Raven Class, just as Kamito and was Claire's self-proclaimed rival.
Due to her rivalry with Claire, she was trying to make Kamito her manservant. She was a troubling young lady.
Right beside her was—
"Fufu, what a delicious smell."
A girl dressed in a maid uniform. She had a gentle smile on her lips as she stood there.
She was wearing a long skirt with a lot of neat frills attached. Her hair was cut into short bobs and she had a lovely white brim on her head.
She was Rinslet's personal maid, Carol.
Kamito didn’t know why there was a maid in the academy, but she was the only one he saw here. So, it would certainly have been an exception made for the Laurenfrost family.
"...Why did you come here, Rinslet?"
Claire swallowed her bun and sternly glared at the blonde.
"I just happened to pass by. What a very simple lunch you have, just buns."
Rinslet swiped her hair over her shoulder and looked down on the three of them calmly.
"Milady is saying that she wants to eat together with everyone."
"Wh... Carol, what are you talking about!"
*Poka!* *Poka!* Rinslet's face turned bright red as she started hitting Carol's shoulders.
As expected of her exclusive maid, it was a magnificent interpretation.
"Sit down both of you. You came all the way here after all, so let's eat together."
Kamito suggested only to have Claire step on his foot hard.
"Ouch, what are you doing?!"
"Nothing? I just thought you lack loyalty...Idiot."
"I...it's n...not like I particularly want to eat together with you all!"
"Milady is saying it'll be nice to sit next to Kamito."
Carol soothed the embarrassed girl and got her to settle down.
Rinslet, sat next to Kamito and averted her eyes as she asked.
"...H...How are your injuries?"
"Ah, they’ve mostly healed. All thanks to the healing spirit."
It was about the injury he got from the time he fought the giant spirit. Probably because he overdid it, it'll take a little longer to heal than he thought, but as expected, the academy spirit's medical care was excellent.
"Fufu, Milady has been constantly worrying about Kamito-sama."
"Carol, d...don't say anything unnecessary!"
Rinslet snapped with a grinding noise.
"However, it is also natural that Milady would be worried. After all, Kamito-sama is under one roof with Milady Claire, so it wouldn't be odd if something were to happen.
"Wha...What are you saying, you stupid maid! There's no way such things would happen."
This time it was Claire who snapped.
"...What kind of worry is that?"
Est was munching on a melon bun and beside her Kamito just sighed wearily at their antics.
This was how Rinslet and Carol ended up having lunch together.
Even Claire, who appeared upset at the beginning, eventually started talking about this morning's match. Then about which stores cake was more delicious, how boring the introduction lection about the foundation of spirit learning was, and just like that, normal girl-like conversations were beginning to bloom.
Somehow these two were on pretty good terms. It was especially surprising for Claire, who was isolated from the rest of her peers at the academy. It could be said that Rinslet was her only friend.
"That reminds me; it seems that a newly admitted student is joining the Raven Class."
"Our class? Despite the fact that Kamito just came in recently?"
"Yeah, I hear it's a daughter of noble of high social standing."
"Hmm, but even if we're talking about social status in this academy, there's the Fahrengart family and the Laurenfrost family... Isn't it like a bargain sale of nobles?"
"Hey! Would you please not lump the militaristic Fahrengart family with the true pedigree Laurenfrost family?"
"I don't care about such things... What's wrong, Kamito?"
At any rate, Raven Class was famous for gathering the most troublesome students.
He just thought that if people like Claire and Rinslet were to increase in numbers, it would be... worrisome.
"In the practical skill entrance examination that took place in the morning, she seemed to be using a holy spirit."
The maid, Carol, pulled out a memo from her cleavage.
Carol's maid memo pad— aka "Carol's Notes," was stuffed with data on the academy students and teachers... Kamito did not understand clearly what on earth she used it for.
"Hmm, a holy spirit user?..."
The holy spirit was one of the five grand element spirits, but there were not that many elementalists who used it.
It was extremely prideful and chose its own user.
Among princess maidens, it was said that it only opens its heart to especially pure noble girls.
(Even in the competition three years ago, a holy spirit user gave me a tough fight...)
After all, a holy spirit had an extremely bad compatibility with the darkness spirit Kamito was contracted with.
But then again, at that time, Kamito's strength completely surpassed the opponent elementalist's, that was why he did not lose.
"Ah, by the way, it seems like it's a very lovely big-breasted girl."
"Carol, from where on earth did you procure such information?"
"Ah, Kamito-san, are you interested?"
Carol placed her hand near her mouth and smiled.
"Hmm, you are very concerned about the information of a big-breasted admitted student, huh?"
Kamito turned around and Claire raised her eyebrows glaring at him.
"Really, men are just idiots!"
"Kamito, do you have no distinction? Are you just a beast without reason?"
Somehow, even Rinslet and Est were glaring—
Kamito's cheeks were pinched by the three of them.
(This is unreasonable...)
After various things happened, the lunch of buns ended and it was time to rest.
"Ahh, that reminds me—"
Ahem! Rinslet cleared her throat and said,
"Have you gathered members for your team for the Blade Dance ?"
Claire shook her head in shame.
Rinslet smiled, it seemed she already knew that answer.
"Ah, you still have not? It seems I’ve touched a sore spot."
Fufun! She held up her tea cup in an elegant manner.
Claire sullenly responded.
"It's just that there isn't a person who matches up to our desired skill level. What about you? Have you decided on your members?"
"Tha...that's ... I just have not found a person who matches with my skill level!"
"Eh? Rinslet, you couldn't gather anyone either?"
Kamito tilted his head to the side.
As one who used the demon ice spirit Fenrir, Rinslet was about on par with Claire, ability-wise.
He thought that if it was her, she would be highly sought after but...
"Fo...for now, there isn't, for now!"
Rinslet's face reddened and she quickly turned away.
Carol tugged Kamito's sleeves as she came to his side, telling him the reasons in his ear.
"The truth is... *mumbling*..."
According to Carol's words—
It seemed that although she had tried gathering a team several times, so far, the ideals she demanded from her members were too high and her excessively big pride didn't help things go smoothly either. The teams she gathered repeatedly broke up and so, there were no students left to invite.
...How should he say it, it was indeed a Rinslet-like reason.
"Hmm, her pride is certainly high but... she is a good girl, regardless."
Carol earnestly nodded.
"Carol, what are you talking about with Kamito-san!?"
"It was about the order in which Milady washes her body in the bath."
Glancing at the playful young lady and her maid, Claire sighed deeply.
"Haa... I wonder if there's really no one... An excellent elementalist who will enter our team."
"...We...well, you seem to be in a dire situation."
Rinslet coughed and looked at Claire with one eye.
"That's right. I better try approaching the newly admitted student you just mentioned. Perhaps I’ll get lucky."
"That is right. However, there might be an even better member for the team and she might be unexpectedly close."
...Kamito finally realized.
(Ahh, I see. So that's the reason she brought up the subject of the team.)
"Hey, Claire, give me just a minute—"
"What? Faa, do..don't suddenly breathe into my ear."
"What are you turning red for? Lend me your ear for a while and listen."
Kamito whispered into Claire's ear in a quiet voice.
"For some reason, this young lady obviously wants to join us as a comrade but are you against it?"
"Absolutely against it."
Claire immediately replied.
"Why? Rinslet's is more than adequate with her battle strength."
"That's... even I recognize her strength. However, no. We suffered in the duel with Ellis a while ago, didn't we? Because she didn’t even think the slightest about teamwork."
It was certain that in the duel with Ellis' group the other day, despite being a sniper, she was standing in the most conspicuous place for some reason and was knocked down in the very beginning.
"Be...besides, Rinslet ... about you ..."
"Hn? Did you say something?"
"I..it's nothing, at any rate, it's a no! No Rinslet!"
"Err, this goes without saying, but isn't she somewhat pitiful?"
"Wh...what are you two sneakily talking about?!"
While twirling the front of her platinum blonde hair with her index finger, Rinslet was staring at them with a fidgety, nervous expression.
Claire groaned seemingly unhappy.
"...I got it. I'll try asking for the time being."
She sighed deeply and nodded. There were two months remaining till the opening of the Blade Dance. She might have reconsidered and accepted that it wasn't the time to be making a fuss about her desires anymore.
"Wh...what is it, Claire Rouge?"
Rinslet tensed and her voice sounded slightly excited.
"You wouldn't, by any chance, want to enter my team?"
"Id...idiot, you're asking too bluntly!"
Kamito shouted in a soft voice.
Asking Rinslet, who was a highly prideful girl, in such a way—
Rinslet's finger, which was twirling a lock of her hair stopped.
"Hm, if you think about what you suddenly said—"
She placed her hand at her waist and pointed at Claire in a thrust.
"Aren't you the ones who want to join my team?"
Claire's eyebrows sternly lifted up.
"What are you saying? Are you an idiot? You'll join my team!"
"Rejected, rejected, rejected. You two will join my team!"
The two high-class young ladies started quarreling about something trivial.
...They completely wouldn't see eye to eye.
"Either way is the same, right..."
"It's completely different!" "It is completely different!"
They shouted together. Only at a time like this were their breaths in sync.
"...Uhm, these two are hopeless, it would be absolutely impossible for them to be a team."
"Really, can't you guys keep quiet? This is a public place!"
A cold voice resounded in the salon café.
Everybody turned around—
At the entrance, a ponytailed beautiful girl, wearing light armor, was standing.
Claire sullenly groaned. ...Another hindrance came. She had an expression saying that.
The captain of the Sylphid Knights, who observed the academy's public morals.
She was charming in appearance which was completely opposite to her strict personality. Her relationship with Claire's group, which normally caused problems, seemed to be mutually bad.
Although, it did not mean that she was such a hard-to-deal-with person to Kamito.
At first, when he entered into the academy, just because he was a male elementalist, she was prejudiced against him, but she had already remorsefully apologized to him regarding that matter.
Even if there were times she was a little too serious she was a straightforward person, who held a strong belief for their own case. He could respect that part of her that held the pride of a knight.
Ellis walked, briskly, towards their table.
"Captain-sama, what business do you have with us?"
"If it's about the duel, I'll accept a rematch anytime."
Rinslet and Claire, both gained a dangerous glint in their eyes.
On that subject, the duel the other day remained unsettled because of the demon spirit's sudden intrusion.
He wondered if they were going to try to conclude that match again.
(......Spare me. A duel again, no thanks.)
Coming closer, Ellis looked down at Claire with sharp eyes.
"Hmm, I have no problem settling it here and now, Claire Rouge."
"Just what I want."
Ellis drew out her sword and Claire also pulled out her leather whip from under her skirt.
In the tense atmosphere, the girls, who occupied the surrounding tables, stood up rattling.
Kamito attempted to stop it—
"Ca-Captain, calm down!"
"Y...you can't draw out a sword here!"
From the café's entrance, two girls run in with flustered looks.
They were wearing the same Knights armor as Ellis.
One was a short haired and boyish and the other a somehow serious looking girl with braided hair.
Kamito immediately recognized them both. They were the Knights he fought in the duel the other day.
If he remembered right, their names were— Rakka, for the one with the short hair, and Reishia, for the one with the braids.
Stopped by her comrades, Ellis sheathed her sword embarrassed.
"...S...Sorry, my Knights followers."
Feeling ashamed, she cleared her throat and apologized to the two girls—
Then she turned towards Kamito.
Kamito tilted his head to the side, seemingly puzzled. Claire aside, he certainly did not recall doing anything to be kept an eye on by the Knights.
"It seems you lost completely to the Wolverine Class in this morning's match."
"What?! As I thought, you're trying to pick a fight."
Claire stood up with a clank sound.
"That's not it. Th...the truth is Kazehaya Kamito, you—"
Ellis shook her head, and rapidly blushed and bashfully looked down.
"Hn, what's the matter?"
"Come on, Captain, it is embarrassing so you better say it quickly."
"You're always so resolute but at times like this you are too slow."
Reishia and Rakka were whispering behind Ellis.
"However, such a timid captain is also cute."
"Ahh, it's like that, it's almost like a girl who has fallen in love—"
"D...don't make fun of me! I...I am really not thinking about such an insolent person!"
Ellis shouted with her face turned bright red.
After that she coughed to cover their whispers up.
"It is certain that I've gotten a better opinion of you because of that day's case, but ... that's all. The one I admire is a pure strong female like the Ren AshbellStrongest Blade Dancer. It's most certainly not a boy!"
With half-opened eyes, Kamito gazed at Ellis, who informed him about that in a cold voice.
(...I'm sorry, your admired female is an illusion.)
"Unh, wh..what's with that look!"
Ellis thrust her sword at the back of Kamito's neck.
"Is it that strange for me to be admiring Ren Ashbell?"
"...N...no, that's not it!"
Kamito panicked and shook his head.
At the event three years ago— the dance of the participant, left a strong impression on the girls of the same generation. Henceforth, many princess maidens, who aimed to become elementalists aspired to be like her.
It seemed that Ellis was not an exception either.
"That's enough, quickly state your business."
"Shut up, I know that!"
After turning and retorting to Claire, Ellis stared at Kamito again.
"Err, what I'm saying is, ..."
Ellis seemed nervous as her hand was lightly trembling.
By the way, she didn’t move the sword from his neck, so he couldn’t help but feel his life in danger.
"What I'm saying is... I...I want you!"
—Silence fell upon the cafe.
Claire and the others, even Rakka and Reishia, were dumbfounded.
For a while, time froze.
Claire was the first one who opened her mouth.
Her face was bright red and her mouth opened and closed repeatedly.
Ellis widened her eyes, seemingly taken aback and shook her head.
"Th...that's not it… my words… just now… I didn’t mean it!"
"Wh-wh-what other possible meaning could those words have!?"
"I wanted to say, th...that—"
After Ellis took a deep breath,
"Kazehaya Kamito, would you join my team?"
Kamito did not believe his ears when those unexpected words came out.
(...Ellis and me, a team?)
"What did you say?"
Claire and Rinslet were also staring in wonder.
Rakka and Reishia saw Ellis turn bright red, and were grinning.
"...Wait! Wh-what do you mean?"
"I...I meant just that. Kazehaya Kamito, I welcome you to my team. Because you defeated that militarized spirit, there's nothing to object about with regards to your ability."
Ellis replied fast and quickly averted her eyes, trying not to look at him.
It seemed her true intention was to scout Kamito.
But with a sword held at the back of his neck, rather than being scouted, it looked like he was being threatened.
Ellis' results were straight at the top of class. If Kamito joined this team, in all likelihood his chances to obtain the entry qualifications for the Blade Dance would greatly increase.
"No way, this is my contracted spirit after all!"
The one who interrupted Kamito's reply with a shout was Claire.
She stood up from the chair and tightly grabbed the sleeves of Kamito's uniform.
Kamito turned around and looked down only for his eyes to met her clear ruby pupils.
Claire's had an anxious look in her eyes.
It was likely that she was not aware of it, but she was staring at him pleadingly.
(I see, she's...)
It seemed that being betrayed by her sister, Rubia, caused a deep wound to her heart.
After being abandoned by someone, it could not be helped that things like that frightened her.
That was why she kept to herself. She could not depend on anyone.
Because she was afraid of being betrayed again—
Kamito took a sharp breath and scratched his head.
(...Being shown such a face...)
With a wry smile, he gently placed his hand on top of Claire's head.
His reply was obvious from the beginning. She did not have to be worried.
"Ellis, sorry, but I am her contracted spirit. I don't intend to change teams."
Claire, taken aback, raised her face and widened her eyes.
Ellis tightly bit her lips.
However, the next moment, she had already returned to her cold expression.
"...I understand. I'm sorry for asking something unreasonable so suddenly."
"No, me too ... thank you for inviting me."
Kamito apologized and Ellis was a little bashful.
"I...it's alright. It's solely because you're that sort of person, I—"
Ellis seemed to have said something, but her voice was so soft he didn't catch it.
"Ahh, you've been rejected."
"It's alright, the captain has us."
"Y...you guys... I...it's not like that!"
Ellis turned bright red and shouted at her two comrades, who were grinning teasingly at her.
"H...hey, Kamito..." Claire said
While still holding Kamito's uniform sleeve, she tried to shyly say something else.
"What's the matter?"
She told him something, but her voice was too soft, so he could not hear her well.
It was unusual for Claire to be so hesitant.
And at that moment. Bam! The door opened—
"Is the licentious… no— Kazehaya Kamito here?!"
An academy student came running into the salon café.
She seemed to have come here in a great hurry so she was out of breath.
(Wait, it seems like she was about to say licentious beast just now...)
Kamito raised his hand and the girl stroked her chest in relief.
"The headmistress is calling for you. So, go over there immediately."
At a corner of the Academy Town that was part of Areishia Spirit Academy…
At a table of a coffee lounge, which greatly stuck out on the outside, a strange set of customers was sitting.
One of them was a black haired girl dressed in a jet-black dress.
Darkness spirit Restia. The perpetrator who caused the militarized spirit from the imperial capital to go mad and brought great damage to Academy Town a week ago.
And the other one was a thin boy with darkish skin and steel-like hard black hair.
He had good looks, but there was something strange about him. It was the pair of red eyes glowing slightly.
The two of them should have drawn a lot of attention, but not only did no one around them pay them any note, it seemed that nobody could even perceive their presence.
"—So, I just have to steal that specific sealed material from the academy's library?"
"Yeah, because of the incident the other day, I am unable to get close to the academy."
"Tch, how troublesome, what do we need such a thing for again?"
The boy spat onto the ground. However, no one found fault in that.
"That thing sleeping in Mine Town is a fairly hard problem. The seal of the highest level Ordesia army spans several layers. With only the releasing ritual, how many months would it take to wake it up—"
"Hmm, the disposed militarized spirit— how are you going to collect that thing?"
"You do not have the qualifications to know her prediction, Jio."
The girl in black clothing gently shook her head. The boy clicked his tongue.
"Because you toyed with the militarized spirit of the imperial capital as you pleased, it became more difficult. Is it an order to steal it?"
"Isn't it fine, I could observe his current strength."
"I guess. Honestly though, I am disappointed. Is that all he can do? I expected more from Ren Ashbell, the strongest blade dancer."
"He has not yet woken up."
"I hope so. Even if I beat that now-cowardly guy, there would be no point in that."
"Ah, you have the confidence you can defeat him?"
"I'll beat him. And then I'll prove it. That this Jio Inzagi is the true successor of the Demon King."
The boy's red lips curved into a smirk. On his whole body, countless numbers of spirit seals started shining.
Just like the demon king Solomon he had— the seals that carried seventy-two spirits.