Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance:Volume2 Chapter7 Draft
Chapter 7: The Abandoned-Mine Battle
It was the dead of the night when, after riding their horses for a whole day, the party reached the entrance of the town.
Since all the members rode here practically without rest, they were totally exhausted.
But they won’t be able to relax just yet.
"This is our destination... It's like a ghost town."
Rinslet muttered calmly after dismounting from her horse.
"It's because several decades have passed since it was abandoned. There should be no humans living here."
Claire squinted, staring deep into the darkness.
Bluish-white will-o'-wisps were wavering around the ruins.
They were low-ranking spirits that could only float about aimlessly. There were other, nastier kinds of creatures in this place.
This town was similar to the «Spirit Forest» at night.
On the other side of it was a huge mine. It contained countless tunnels that spread all other the surrounding area.
Once, the mine produced a large quantity of spirit crystals and was the Empire's main supplier.
During the war, the country was in great need of its resources, quickly exhausting the deposits of crystals. It was almost twenty years since the place was abandoned.
Inside that mine, Jormungandrthe strategic-class militarized spirit, sealed by the Ordesia Knights of that time, was sleeping.
"—By the way, you better get away from him."
Claire glared at Fianna, who was clinging to Kamito's arm.
"I don't want to; after all, Kamito-kun will protect me."
"It is indeed dangerous here. But then where is your contracted spirit? You should summon it immediately because that elementalist might have set up an ambush."
Fianna's answer was unusually hesitant.
She pressed her lips tightly together and abruptly turned away.
"I-It still isn't the time. The contracted spirit of the Ordesia royal family must not be summoned so indiscreetly. It's clearly different from your cat."
"Wh-What was that...!"
Suddenly, the ground the four were standing on shook greatly.
"It seems like we had better hurry. I have a bad premonition."
Claire muttered softly before summoning magical fire in her hand.
Without even searching for it, they quickly reached the place of their final destination.
It was a grand shrine which stood before the entrance of the mine and at the end of the main street that went right through the abandoned town.
It was a splendid piece of architecture that was surrounded by several gigantic stone pillars.
There existed only one other shrine of that size and it was in the capital of the Ordesia Empire.
"How terrible, this..."
The sculptures, which once surrounded the colossal building, were now destroyed, the crystals, which, a long time, were inlaid into the stone pillars to entertain the spirits, were stolen and the shrine itself turned into a ruin that was painful to look at.
Fianna, who was trained to be Queen, was the first to notice the unusual phenomenon.
"This shrine, despite being in ruins, shows traces of someone taking the trouble to perform a ritual. Furthermore, it seems that happened many times over the period of these several months."
Giving Claire, who was frowning, with a serious face, a nod, Fianna kneeled onto the ground.
It seemed that she was looking for footprints, scrape marks and other traces on the stone paving.
"This dance— it’s probably the Ritual of Releasing. It seems that it was more or less arranged, though."
"..."<!—It was repeated two times. This way it should flow better.-->
Kamito groaned in a low tone.
It was because he remembered the other male elementalist who assaulted the academy and stole the secret information concerning the seal specification.
(Is that brat really planning to release the Jormungandr strategic-class militarized spirit?)
It was impossible for a lone elementalist to control it.
But, if that was the case, what was his goal?
At any rate, if the spirit was released, all the towns in the vicinity would be destroyed.
"Should we be worried yet?"
"No, the seal is still strong. This place isn't the «true shrine»."
"What do you mean?"
"This building is a deception and its only purpose was to draw attention from the real one, which is most likely in the mine itself. There are many shrines like this, giant, beautiful and easy to find, they are all fakes, but they help hide the original. It doesn't mean that they aren’t usable, though."
"So, the real one is somewhere here?"
"Yes, it was mostly likely hidden deep inside the mine."
Fianna raised her head, and at that moment.
"Be careful, there's something here!"
Rinslet, who was on a lookout suddenly shouted.
Kamito turned around—
The shrine was being slowly surrounded by a crowd of people.
"Humans? No, they're—"
Claire recited the incantation, and magical flames lightened the area.
As the spell started working, the group could finally see who was surrounding them.
It was a crowd of skeletons holding rusty swords and clubs in their hands.
From the gaps between their bones black fog was leaking out.
"What, are these... spirits!?"
"It seems that those who died and were left behind were possessed by low-rank spirits."
Kamito muttered before noticing something with a "hmm".
Claire was holding onto the sleeve of his uniform.
"...Could it be that you are afraid of these things?"
"Th-That's not it— Who do you think I am?!"
"You don't have to push yourself, look out, hold on."
"...I-It's not anything scary."
He had to admit, she looked a little cute with her face bowed down and biting nervously her lips.
"That aside, it's kind of strange—"
Normally, the so-called low-rank spirits don't possess a distinct self.
And even if they sometimes attack humans, they never gather in groups like this.
"Kamito-kun, you know, these guys are the ones doing the ritual here."
"What do you mean?"
Surprised, he turned around to look at Fianna.
"Their movements are pretty rough, but...they resemble the ones needed for the Ritual of Releasing."
"Don't tell me this low-rank spirits are able to perform it?"
Kamito stared at the approaching figures. Now that she mentioned it, he could see that their movement followed some pattern.
"No, such a thing is impossible... Someone has to be manipulating these spirits."
"Well, does it mean these guys won't attack us?"
Claire tightly griped Kamito's sleeve as she said that.
The group of skeletons started slowly climbing the stairs of the shrine.
"Ice fang, pierce «Freezing Arrow»!"
Rinslet’s attack mowed down the group of gathered possessed.
She used the high-rank demon ice spirit «Fenrir's» elemental waffe.
For her, an enemy of this level was only small fry.
Suddenly, black fog emerged from the broken skeletons and vanished without a trace.
"That's a darkness attribute spirit—"
Suddenly, a feeling of agony flashed through Kamito's body.
(Don't tell me—)
He cast his eyes to his left hand, covered by a black leather glove.
The piercing pain was coming from his spirit seal. Immediately after he noticed it—
The sound of a terrible explosion came from the direction of the mine.
"Don't tell me the battle has already begun!?"
"Let's go, Kamito!"
Claire swung her whip with a snap, and started running.
They finally reached the entrance of the mine when—
Sounds of weapons violently clashing reverberated from within the tunnel.
Claire pointed inside the darkness, which was immediately illuminated by an intense flash of light.
There, Ellis Fahrengart fought, wielding her elemental waffe.
Her ponytail was wavering in the violent wind.
Her armor appeared destroyed and from where he stood, he could see that her entire body was covered in wounds.
"Ha, as expected of Captain-sama, you've managed to entertain me considerably, haven't you?!"
A loud ear-splitting laughter resounded in the tunnel.
In front of Ellis stood a boy with shining red eyes.
Jio Inzagi, a male elementalist, who called himself the successor of the Demon King.
Rakka and Reishia lay at his feet, injured.
"You bastard, how dare you do that to my comrades —"
Ellis swung «Ray Hawk».
The tunnel wall was destroyed, the hard bedrock broken as if made of glass.
Jio laughed shrilly and jumped up. A movement like that could not be performed by humans, which meant that he was possessed by some spirit that was strengthening his body.
"Hey, hey, is that it? Is that all a Sylphid Knight can do? This is not a children’s game, you know?"
Ellis shouted, enraged that someone insulted her comrades.
"Evil wind, thou, become countless blades and cut up my enemies—"
She released the power of «Ray Hawk» — the elemental waffe of her demon wind spirit «Simorgh».
This spear was able to create blades of wind, something which gave Kamito a lot of trouble during their duel at the academy. Even if someone managed to avoid it by a paper-thin margin, the countless wind blades that were followed would cut the target to shreds—
"How reckless— reflect it, Mirror WallDemon Mirror Spirit!"
The moment Jio shouted, a bright red mirror appeared before Ellis.
And then the girl’s attack touched its surface… only to be immediately redirected upon its owner.
The Knight managed to dance out of the harm’s way, but was still cut by the following wind blades and thrown into a wall.
With Terminus Est in his hand, Kamito hurried to the girl’s side.
Jio turned around and sneered after noticing their presence.
"Yo, more idiots are coming out."
The boy stopped after hearing Claire's warning.
At that moment, a spirit seal engraved on Jio's right arm glowed—
"—Manifest, RafflesiaRotting Poison Spirit! Play with them until the insides of their lungs are sore!"
With tremendous force, thick bluish smoke gushed out from his hand.
The skin-burning poison wrapped Kamito's whole body, and started invading his lungs—
His eyes started arching. His throat felt as if it was being roasted.
Kamito tried to protect himself by covering his mouth, but it was too late, blood started flowing through the gaps between his fingers and dripping onto the ground.
(This is a poison attribute spirit... could it be that the smog itself is an elemental waffe!?)
A groan echoed through the tunnel.
Bearing the burning pain, Kamito opened his eyes slightly.
Ellis and her companions were completely covered in smog and writhing in agony.
The muscles in his throat cramped, so he could barely talk. Kamito was still able to stand, but if he were to move, he would lose consciousness long before he could reach the girls.
(...Why wasn’t he poisoned?)
A wide range extermination type spirit like Rafflesia couldn't be handled normally.
It was very hard to control, so any mistake the user made would end endangering him too.
However, Jio Inzagi was calmly standing in the smog of deadly poison.
—Then, Kamito noticed it.
There was a slight wind flow in the boy's surroundings.
(...I see, he's using a wind attribute spirit at the same time!)
He heard that elementalists with more than one contract were able to combine the powers of their spirits, which allowed them to do this kind of thing.
"...Damn, isn't that cheating?!"
Kamito cursed silently.
(I wonder if Rinslet can shoot through the smog effectively?)
He turned around and searched for her, but when he found her—
The girl nocked an arrow and stood without moving, her aim was fixed on Jio.
(—She isn't shooting?)
Rinslet's judgment was correct.
Her opponent displayed the Mirror WallDemon Mirror Spirit, which was able to reflect Ellis's elemental waffe.
If she shot poorly, she might end up finishing off the Knight and the others, who were lying nearby.
Beside her, Claire, who was performing an aria with her fire attribute elemental waffe, stood in front of Fianna, protecting the princess.
The spell will take mere seconds to finish, but all this time their bodies will suffer further damage.<!This part didn’t make sense. I tried to correct it the way I understood it.>
Kamito felt as if he was being roasted alive.
—At that moment.
Something rumbled inside the tunnel.
"Oh...winds, decimate my enemies— «Wind Bombs»!"
Immediately gusts of violent wind blew away the poisonous fog until there was no trace of it left.
Using her lance as support Ellis stood up.
Her uniform was cut up, and her whole body was covered in wounds.
She could barely stand because of the cramps in her leg muscles and her stockings were torn to shreds.
Even so, standing there firmly and glaring icily at her enemy—
She was so beautiful that Kamito’s heart skipped a beat.
Ellis prepared her elemental waffe and declared in a hoarse voice.
"I fight with the pride of Sylphid Knights on the line, so even if I lose... I will take you down with me!"
"That hurt... you death escapee."
Jio, who received a direct hit from the attack, snarled.
"If that's the case, I'll relieve you of your suffering and kill you!"
The spirit seals engraved on Jio's whole body ominously glowed—
"—Like I'll let you!"
Just as Kamito moved away, two fireballs were sent flying towards Jio.
It was Claire covering him. The thief managed to repel the attack, but Kamito used this distraction to approach him.
The moment he was in striking distance the boy swung Terminus Est in a perfect horizontal arc.
*Gaa*— The sword sliced right through the bedrock in its way.
"Haa, don't make such a scary face, hey!"
Jio dodged the sword swing, jumped up and landed on a rocky area that was about to collapse.
Without pursuing, Kamito went straight towards Ellis and the others.
The Knight was out of breath, and it seemed like she could collapse at any moment.
"Ellis, are you alright? I'll help—"
"D-Don't do something... unnecessary."
He tried to support her when she wobbled, but she shook off his hand.
"I do not need your—"
"Don't be stubborn about trivial things, think about your friends."
Ellis stiffened. She looked at the fallen forms of Rakka and Reishia. The girls seemed to be alive, but if they were left like that, their lives would be in danger.
Ellis herself wasn’t in a much better condition. As it were, she could barely stand.
"Guu...Kazehaya Kamito, I owe you."
"I didn’t do it for that. I was just helping my comrades."
Ellis's cheeks reddened at Kamito's words.
Having helped the injured girl rest her back against a wall, Kamito fixed his sight on Jio.
"You, how dare you—"
Ellis Fahrengart— She was a girl with a strong sense of justice, serious and brave.
Just the sight of her injured form, made his anger rise until it seemed about to overflow.
"Don't get in my way, I’ve waited long enough and now I am going to beat that impertinent girl to death."
Jio smirked as he slowly got off the rocky area.
Kamito raised his sword and glared at Jio.
"If it's a nasty rascal like you, I don’t need to worry about beating you up."
"Haa, those are big words! Too bad that it's impossible for you to defeat me."
"We are also here!"
Claire and the others approached them. The girl readied Flame Tongue as she stood next to Kamito.
Rinslet nocked an arrow, and Fianna grasped spirit crystals in both hands.
"Fianna, can I count on you to treat Ellis and the others?"
"Yes, I have a few healing spirit crystals. However, the effect is limited to only giving a temporary peace of mind."
Fianna nodded with a tense expression.
"Kamito, you and I will corner that guy. Rinslet will be the support artillery battery."
"What did you call me!? I am a splendid archer!"
Rinslet snarled, but Claire ignored her.
"—Hey, is the discussion over?"
Jio calmly laughed as he neared the group.
The spirit crest engraved on his right arm glowed ominously and bluish-white lightning surged through it.
What appeared in that hand was— an elemental waffe similar to Est.
"Shall we find out which is stronger, GladiusSword Spirit or that thing?"
"Don't mess around. There is no comparison between my Est and that third-rate spirit."
Kamito roared, raising his sword.
After that, the blade dance began.
Sounds of clashing weapons filled the night and every time swords met, sparks flew around bathing the tunnels in their light.
"Jio Inzagi— what on earth is your goal?!"
"Huh, I don't have anything like a goal. Honestly, I don’t care about Jormungandrthe strategic-class militarized spirit. I'll defeat you and prove that I'm the successor of the Demon King— That's all."
"What successor of the Demon King? You megalomaniac rascal!"
Kamito, who came close enough to Jin for his sword to reach him, swung his weapon down with both hands.
The speed and strength of the attack was tremendous, but Jio managed to bring his elemental waffe up in time to defend himself, however—
With a high-pitched metallic sound— Jio's GladiusSword Spirit was smashed to pieces.
The thief’s face twisted in surprise.
"Hey, hey, what an elemental waffe— To do that to my sword spirit in one blow?"
"Sorry, my Est is the strongest."
Kamito stepped closer.
Jio recited a summoning, and called upon a new sword spirit.
"There's still more to come, it starts after this!"
Aiming at the elemental waffe that replaced the broken one, Kamito relentlessly swung down his sword.
There was a sound of steel shattering, and Jio's second weapon also tragically vanished.
In contrast, despite having just destroyed two sword spirits, Terminus Est’s edge wasn’t even chipped.
It was an elemental waffe that held two names, the «Demon King Killing Sacred Sword» and «Demon Slayer».
But more terrifying was the fact it still didn’t poses its complete power.
Despite everything that happened, Jio still kept his composed expression.
"Hmm, in that case, I will use this next!"
From the spirit seals on his whole body, flashes of lightning surged out and a third sword appeared in his hand.
(...What the heck, how many spirits does this guy have!?)
Kamito started showing impatience.
Despite all her strength, Est had a major weak point.
She consumed too much divine power.
At this point, Kamito was used to the drain, so he wouldn’t faint like he did the first time, but if the battle dragged on, the boy would quickly exhaust himself.
If he were to assume that Jio Inzagi really was contracted to seventy-two spirits—
(It's bad. If this keeps up—)
This was an opponent unlike that rampaging giant spirit at Academy Town that he could defeat with one blow.
If this became a prolonged battle, he'd be at a disadvantage.
(... But what if that guy's divine power is inexhaustible!?)
The use of so many spirits should tire him long time ago, but that wasn’t happening.
"Kamito, I'll cover you!"
At that moment, Claire swung Flame Tongue at their enemy.
The burning whip left a red afterglow in its wake before hitting Jio in the face.
"Tch, don't get in my way!"
He summoned a translucent ice ball and threw it at Claire.
"What, such a thing!"
Claire released a spirit magic fireball to intercept the attack—
However, that was a trap.
The ice ball exploded in front of her and transformed into countless needles that cut up Claire's whole body.
For a moment the girl’s scream distracted Kamito.
"Don't look away!"
Seizing that chance, Jio quickly drove in for a slash—
Kamito barely managed to intercept the blow with his sword.
However, Jio didn't slow down his attacks. He kept it up, pressing on and coming closer—
"What's wrong, Ren AshbellStrongest Blade Dancer— Is that all you’ve got?"
As he stopped the sword pushing him back, Kamito grit his teeth.
It seemed that his past wouldn’t let him go—
He made sure to not turn towards Claire and give Jio the chance to use his spirit.
These thee years of inaction were catching up to him.
He had a contracted spirit that couldn't draw out its original power.
(Ah, I certainly became weaker, but—)
Exhaling with a puff— Kamito suddenly jumped back.
"Freezing ice fang, pierce «Freezing Arrow»!"
He did it just in time, as moments later Rinslet released a barrage of ice arrows that rained down on the spot the two of them were at.
It was a direct hit— Jio's silhouette was swallowed by the raining death and disappeared.
"Hmm, it is troubling that you have forgotten me!"
Placing her hand at her waist, Rinslet quickly brushed aside her platinum-blonde hair.
It seemed that all the while Kamito fought Jio, the girl was waiting for a moment to attack.
From the crumbled rocky area a thick cloud of dust was rising up.
They didn't think he could be fine after being hit.
"Hn, did you do something just now?"
Jio— stood up from within the cloud of dust.
He smirked, and turned to Rinslet.
"No way...it should have been a direct hit!?"
"«Argos» — an earth spirit that protects its elementalist automatically."
The ground all around Jio was littered with cones of rocks.
Her Freezing Arrow was stopped by that.
"...What a thing..."
"And then, this fellow, uh— can also be used in such a way."
Jio turned his hand.
At that moment, cones of stone flew out from under the ground at Rinslet's feet, and stuck her to a wall.
Her academy uniform was torn to pieces, and her smooth white skin became exposed.
With both her arms spread apart and unable to move Rinslet bit her lips in shame.
"Guu...Th-This is unforgivable... to do this... to me..."
Glaring firmly at Jio, the girl’s body shook in anger.
Enraged, Kamito attacked his enemy.
The wide slash destroyed the cones standing in its way, as it approached Jio—
Terminus Est suddenly started shrinking until it became a short sword.
It happened because Est was unable to maintain her form as an elemental waffe after consuming a huge amount of Kamito’s divine power.
"Ren Ashbell— you're no longer the strongest blade dancer."
"That may be so. After all, I hadn’t trained for three years."
"No, that's not it. The reason you became weak is—"
At that moment, a spear of light appered in Jio's palm.
It wasn't a melee weapon, but a ranged elemental waffe.
Kamito instantly analyzed the situation and was about to dodge, when—
He realized where Jio aimed.
"Something like this!"
It wasn't Kamito who was targeted.
The spear of light—
Was pointed and thrown at Fianna and the injured female Knights who were behind the boy.
Kamito immediately jumped in its way and shielded them with his body.
Startled, Fianna raised her face from the girls she was treating.
At that moment, there was a dazzling flash of light produced by a deafening explosion.
She reflexively closed her eyes, but was struck by the fragments of rubble that the blast created.
...Before long, the thunderous sound disappeared.
She moaned in pain and slowly opened her eyes—
In front of her the injured Kamito was slowly falling down.
"...Fia...na... are you alright?"
Kamito stabbed Terminus Est into the ground and tried to stand up from his knees.
His academy uniform, which was an excellent defense, didn’t survive the point-blank explosion and was shredded.
He seemed to be suffering great pain and cold sweat was flowing down his forehead.
Fianna quickly surveyed her surroundings.
Ellis and her two female comrades were still on the ground and were in no condition to stand up.
Claire was injured and had lost consciousness and Rinslet was still stuck to the wall.
Then she saw Jio Inzagi slowly moving to their group.
—Almost like a death god.
"That's your weakness. I don't care whether it was subconscious or not, but, while we were fighting, you have been continuously taking care not to get the fellows behind you in danger."
He commanded the girl, who was about to approach.
There was no way he could fight with those injuries.
He also couldn't efficiently use his elemental waffe, and it was a hopeless situation even at best, yet, despite everething—
"I do not want to lose important things— never again."
Kamito looked straight at Jio and stood up.
There was no hope in his eyes. What was dwelling inside his pupils was dark despair.
And yet, he slowly rose to his feet.
This was the boy, who was once called the Ren AshbellStrongest Blade Dancer.
Jio shrugged, as if he lost interest in the fight.
And then, told him in a cruel voice.
"—I see. Well then, die."
The spirit seal all over his body glowed, and black fog coiled around his right hand.
"ThanatosDeath Spirit— it is one of the strongest I have. I received it from your contracted spirit."
"My... contracted spirit...?"
Kamito muttered. His throat was getting incredibly dry.
"...Don't tell me...it was Restia—!?"
Jio moved his fingers, which ware clad in the deathly fog, closer to Kamito, who couldn't move sufficiently to evade, but just before the thief managed to touch the boy—
Fianna brushed back her long black hair, and quickly stood up.
"Hey, could you please not touch my things so thoughtlessly?"
Jio opened his mouth in shock.
Kamito gazed at her face with a dumbfounded expression as well.
"Move aside, Kamito-kun."
Fianna calmly stood before Jio and blocked his way.
"Hey, is something wrong with your head, ojou-sama?"
"Watch your mouth, who do you think I am?"
Fianna glared sharply at Jio, who sneered in response.
It was like that time four years ago when she stood before the Calamity Queen, blocking her way.
"Fianna, you idiot, run away!"
Claire, who crawled out from the mountain of rubble, shouted.
Fianna slowly shook her head—
(You protected me— That's why this time, I'll protect you!)
"—I'll tell you my name, Fianna Ray Ordesia, the Ordesia Empire's second royal princess!"
"—I am a punisher, an impartial enforcer and one who hands down holy judgment in the king's name!"
At that moment, dazzling light flashed from Fianna's bosom.
Yes, the oath she shouted just now was indeed— the spirit's releasing keywords.
She quickly untied the string at her bosom, and a shiny red stone tumbled down into her palm.
It was a blood red spirit crystal that was processed like a comma-shaped jewel.
"No way, that's... don't tell me, the Blood Stone!?"
Claire eyes widened when she saw it.
He might have felt some sort of instinctive threat, as Jio released Thanatos at the girl before him—
"Come out, thou, the sword of judgment that buries the darkness— Sacred King of Destruction «Magna Carta»!"
The red spirit crystal exploded.
There was a dazzling flash of and an enormous pillar of light went through Jio Inzagi.
And then, with a thunderous sound, the tunnel's ceiling collapsed.
- See Magatama.