Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance:Volume2 Prologue
—Three years ago.
"Haa, haa, haa—"
A girl was running through a forest in Astral Zero, full of many twisted trees lined up in rows.
Her shoes had long since slipped off, and the soles of her bare feet were covered with injuries.
Since her long black hair had been done up at both sides of her long-sleeved, extravagant, yet courteous attire, she did not run smoothly.
From behind her, the violent sounds of many trees being mowed down were approaching.
Being caught up was just a matter of time.
(Why did such a thing—)
The girl was invited to view the Blade Dance as the guest of honor of the Ordesia Empire.
Although being called the guest of honor, she was invited as an extra for an excuse.
Falling out of the candidacy of Divine Ritual Institute— the Queens’ training organization, she was the imperial family's excess baggage.
She had nothing special other than the title of former second princess and the fact that she was just a mere thirteen year-old girl.
Her noble colleagues, who by right should have pledged allegiance to the imperial family, were sending her looks of contempt.
Even the retainer court ladies were ridiculing her behind her back.
A worthless lost queen—
It was painful for her to be at the match venue since she would be exposed to a lot of people's gazes.
That match with Ren Ashbell, which she wanted to see, was held later on in the afternoon and, even if she was gone, there was no one who would be particularly worried.
Therefore, she came to the middle of a forest like this, all alone.
Without knowing how dreadful this place; the forest of Astral Zero, could be.
Approaching her from behind, Dryada tree spirit let out a dreadful roar.
Naturally, the Dryad had the temperament of a docile spirit. Perhaps, it might be angry because she had stepped on and broken the twigs in the forest.
(It's no good, if this keeps up—)
She could not get away— realizing that, she prepared herself.
She stopped at that place, turned around and firmly glared at the Dryad.
"Y...You, if you are my knight, then simply go and beat it—"
Shouting with a shaky voice, she began to recite the summoning spell to summon her contracted spirit.
——Thou servant of the king of the child of man, knight and master swordsman!
——By the contract of the old blood, become the sword that protects me, come forth and do my bidding!
The spirit seal, engraved on the girl's chest, emitted a faint radiance—
However, that was all it did.
Suddenly, the path with her contracted spirit was severed and the seal's radiance vanished.
(...! I thought so, it's already hopeless, I—)
Despair surfaced on the girl's face.
The Dryad let out a roar and swung its log-like arm—
At that moment, a blinding light flashed.
The girl opened her eyes reflexively.
That Dryad's log-like arm had clearly vanished from her sight.
It was as if time had stopped.
From the cross-section of the severed tree, something like a black fog was emitting out.
And then *Don* there was a sound of someone landing on the ground.
Before the girl's eyes, a single boy was standing.
He had black hair and wore a black vest with a pair of navy blue trousers.
The boy was grasping a jet-black demon sword that emitted black fog.
"Stay still there, it's dangerous."
He told her bluntly and turned toward the spirit before him.
That Dryad, who had its arm cut off, roared in anger and attacked the boy.
As it swung down its other arm, the girl reflexively covered her eyes.
"It isn't going to work on me though, I'm sorry."
The boy was stopping the blow that came from that Dryad with all its might, single-handedly, with one sword.
And then— he exhaled and kicked off the ground at the same time.
With all his strength, he cut off its arm and hit its torso very hard with the center of the sword.
It was a single blow. With merely a single blow, the spirit, which prided itself on its strength, was brought down and became motionless.
"Maybe I overdid it a little. Although, it was my intention to not injure it as much as possible."
The girl was dumbfounded and the boy turned around.
If she were to describe him, she would call him slender and handsome.
His eyes were so clear that, he could be easily mistaken for a girl of about the same age.
At that very moment, he did not seem like a person who had brought a spirit in the blink of an eye.
Then, the girl suddenly realized.
(Eh? This person, it's like I have seen him somewhere—)
The girl tilted her head to the side.
"Err, are you alright? Do you have any injuries?"
The boy asked in a calm voice.
"Ye...Yeah, I'm fine. You have my gratitude for saving me."
"Is that so... that's good."
The boy took a breath in relief, put down the jet-black demon sword and came walking toward her.
At that moment—
The jet-black demon sword emitted black fog— the girl realized its significance and her face turned pale.
That was it. A sword that cuts up spirits could not be an ordinary sword.
(That's an elemental waffe!? But, why—)
Then, the girl finally realized.
She surely had a recollection of the boy's face.
She should have seen him before. After all, this boy—
Seeing the girl's expression stiffen, the boy paused in his steps, puzzled.
And then, as if he realized something, his eyes widened.
"Gua... Damn it! Ahhh!"
He covered his face with both hands and shouted.
Facing a boy like that, the girl pointed out her index finger.
"Why is Ren Ashbell-sama a boy?"
The girl stared at the boy, who was trying to catch his breath, with a stern look.
She understood that she was saying something unthinkable.
After all, the boy in front of her had short hair and his chest was completely flat.
No matter how anyone looked at him, he was a boy.
(But I am not mistaken—)
The boy's face was similar to the Blade Dancer's, who was currently winning throughout the tournament because of her overwhelming strength.
Without a doubt, it was the face of that person— Ren Ashbell!
(Besides, that sword—)
The jet-black demon sword that was grasped in the boy's hand. That darkness-attribute elemental waffe— Vorpal Swordthe sword that pierces truth and her companion, which, in the past, had brought down many of her opponents.
And then, above all else, there was that sword skill, which was displayed when he, with merely one blow, brought down the raging spirit.
"Ah, this is, err, how do I put it ..."
The boy was attempting to deceive her frantically and hastily.
"Wh...What to do, Restia!"
"I don't care. Even if you're not in the middle of a match, I had always been warning you to be in female clothing."
"But I didn't think that there would be people in the middle of such a forest!"
"Nevertheless, since it was a cute girl, you went to save her without thinking."
"I...It's not like that!"
The boy was, for some reason, sneakily talking with the jet-black demon sword that was held in his hand.
The girl's head was in a complete chaos. She was also surprised that the true identity of Ren Ashbell was a boy because, to begin with, it was hard for her to believe in the existence of a male elementalist.
Those who could contract a spirit were only pure maidens— that was the common sense taught to her from the Divine Ritual Institute from when she was young. Speaking of a male elementalist, there was nothing that came to mind, but that legendary Demon King, Solomon.
(This tournament's favorite, the famous Ren Ashbell-sama, is actually a boy—)
If that became known, the scandal would be so big, that it would affect the Blade Dance greatly.
Scratching his hair as if giving up, the boy gazed at the girl in resignation.
"Er...err, erm, there are circumstances to this. So, I am a boy but, without asking anything, could you keep this a secret from everyone?"
Receiving his troubled and pleading look, the girl felt her chest throbbing spontaneously.
(Eerr, what do I do...)
Honestly, the girl was bewildered. The blade dancer, whom she admired, was a boy— even if she suddenly said such a thing, there was no way that anyone could comprehend it immediately.
Besides, though her throne inheritance rights had been erased, she was still the second princess of the Ordesia Empire and a pure princess maiden of the Divine Ritual Institute. Was it alright for her to overlook this fact which would desecrate the Blade Dance?
However, when she saw that boy's troubled face—
Unintentionally, she nodded.
"I won't tell anyone, I won't ask anything. You are the one who saved my life."
Even if her true identity was a boy, Ren Ashbell was still her admired blade dancer.
Her blade dance gave the girl, who was always depressed since that day, the courage. That understanding would not change. Besides, there was also the fact, that he had saved her life.
To give a reward to a Knight's meritorious service was the imperial family's precept.
"T...Thank you! You saved me some trouble!"
The boy took a breath of relief.
"You're quite a simple person. It's just a verbal promise."
"Yeah, but you don't look like a girl who would break a promise."
Facing such straightforward words, the girl's cheeks were dyed slightly red.
(Wh...Why is my chest beating so fast...)
"I'll escort you to the forest's exit, since Astral Zero's forests are dangerous."
"Your shoes... they seemed to have slipped off. Come on, hold on to my back."
The boy noticed that the girl's feet were covered in injuries and helped her climb up his back.
"Er...Erm, my breasts are touching your back."
Embarrassed, the girl whispered at the side of his ear.
With her cheeks dyed red, the girl quickly turned her face away.
In the middle of a dim forest, while listening to the sounds of them stepping on the fallen leaves, the girl inquired.
"Hey, why did you go so far as to fake being a girl and participate in the Blade Dance?"
After a moment of silence—
"Because, I have a Wish I want to be granted."
The boy answered that with a serious expression.
A Wish— A miracle of the Elemental Lords that was bestowed upon the victor of the Blade Dance.
At that moment, those words that the boy spoke of brought about an insight in the girl's mind.
(I see, if it's for the Blade Dance Wish, even my power...)
After coming to a place near the match area, the girl was gently let off from his back.
"After this, you'll have to return by yourself. Because I will be having my next match."
"Yeah, Thank you. Err..."
"Tell me your name."
"Ren Ashbell is an alias, right? That's not it, your real name."
After he hesitated for a while—
"It's Kamito. Kazehaya Kamito."
It had a strange and mysterious sound. The girl muttered that name as her tongue rolled.
"Well, err... could we meet again? Kamito."
"Eh? Ye...Yeah, once the Blade Dance finishes—"
"—Is that so. It's a promise, Kamito."
—After that, in seven days, Ren Ashbell held the title of the Strongest Blade Dancer.
However, the girl never met him again.
Because he, who should have been granted his Wish, suddenly disappeared.
- Furigana 101: ReadingMeaning