Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance:Volume3 Chapter3
Chapter 3 - Claire's Birthday
—And just like that, Kamito went towards the fundamental subject classroom to take the supplementary class.
Since Est disliked sitting down and listening to the lecture, she seemed to be playing with Scarlet outside.
When he opened the door of the classroom, he spotted an appearance he recognized from behind among the scattered students.
That blue pony-tail was... without a doubt, the captain of the Knights, Ellis.
"She's also in the supplementary class?"
It was a little surprising that that serious knight girl had failed the lecture.
Kamito approached from behind to try to call out to her.
For the time being, he had to explain about this morning's incident.
Ellis opened her thick book, which was written in spirit language, and was softly muttering it out.
In her engrossment in studying, she seemed to have completely not noticed that Kamito was drawing closer.
(By any chance, is she simply trying to memorize the contents of the book word for word?)
He thought that it couldn't be so, but the person herself was seriously trying to memorize it.
(...I see, she's the type that's overly serious and poor at studying.)
It was the same headlong type as her battle style. Types like this would make progress as long as they did not make a mistake in the way of putting in effort, however, they would stumble many times from time to time.
The moment Kamito called out, a cutting-flash occurred.
As Ellis turned around, she swung her sword downwards.
The sword stuck in the desk and it bent.
Kamito had dodged the slash with a paper-thin difference.
"A-Are... you trying to kill me?!"
"Ka-Kazehaya Kamito... don't suddenly stand behind me!"
Despite that he was almost killed, she ended up being angry. ...How absurd.
"That was a very cute scream, Captain."
"Do you want to be made into chicken pilaf?"
Ellis' eyes dangerously hung up.
...It was very good that the variation of her cooking seemed to be spreading out nicely.
"I'm sorry for surprising you. Ellis, are you also taking supplementary class?"
"Yeah, that's right. I had failed the fundamental subject."
"It's a painful thing for both of us. Since, we're in the same supplementary class after all, let us get along nicely."
"Don't group me together with you, I was busy with the Knights work and failed to earn the credit!"
As he made a bitter smile at an enraged Ellis, Kamito sat beside her.
As expected, she wasn't wearing the Knights armor when she took the supplementary class.
Ellis in a normal uniform was somewhat refreshing.
She always had that gallant impression, but now she felt somewhat lovely.
(...By the way, Ellis' breasts are surprisingly big.)
Kamito was tentatively also a boy in puberty. It couldn't be helped that his eyes unconsciously went over there.
(With that size, isn't it considerably tight in the Knights breastplate?)
He was thinking about such things, when—
"Err... Kazehaya Kamito."
Suddenly, Ellis coughed.
"It's regarding this morning, but I'm sorry."
"I heard the circumstances from Claire and the others after that. It appears that I had misunderstood. I'm sorry... I want you to forgive me."
Ellis shook her ponytail and bowed her head down.
"Ah, don't worry about it. Instead, if Ellis didn't come at that time, how should I put it, I feel that that would have turned into various terrible things."
Kamito made a bitter smile as he waved his hand, and Ellis breathed a sigh of relief.
"They were making chocolates for the Valentia Holy Festival, right?"
"...Ya, that seemed like it. Ellis, would you happen to be making it too?"
At that moment, Ellis turned bright red.
"I-I don't have an interest in that kind of insolent event!"
She suddenly flared up for some reason.
"To make merry in such an event is outrageous, it's like neglecting one's duty as an academy student."
Ellis coughed, and fixed her sights on her spirit subject textbook again.
To cool her flushed face, she began to mutter and memorize again.
Being unable to just watch, Kamito advised her.
"Ellis, even without memorizing everything, isn't it alright to memorize just the important parts?"
"B-But, in that case, I would not be studying it precisely."
"It's much more futile to blindly memorize without understanding the contents. Look."
"Fuaa, Wh-Wha-What are you doing?!"
"Since, you have seriously taken down your notes, I'll teach you just the important parts."
Kamito looked at the book from the side, and Ellis was flustered.
"Hn, what's the matter?"
"Y-Your arm is touching my breast... Err..."
She seemed to have said something, but her voice was too soft such that he couldn't hear it.
Kamito drew his face even closer, and Ellis' face turned bright red.
Without caring, Kamito was placing marks one after another with the pencil onto the textbook.
"This is like this, right? And, this is—"
"U-Um, I see... Your teaching method is good."
"Is that so?"
Well, certainly if compared to Claire's teaching method, it might be better. There was the time he got Claire to explain the contents of the lecture before, but... honestly, he completely did not understand what she was saying.
A genius type like Claire often seemed bad at teaching others.
"T-The next time, teach me various things again. Your explanations are very easy to understand."
"Ahh, no problem."
Kamito friendlily assured her, and then, he set his sights towards the platform in a fluster.
Before he knew it, his lecturer-in-charge Freya was standing on the platform.
If he had turned to the front a few seconds later, it was certain that a chalk would come flying at the speed of sound.
Teacher Freya's supplementary class began.
Ellis nodded seriously as usual as she was listening attentively to the lecture.
"—In other words, depending on the situation, it appears that there are also cases that result in the annihilation of contracted spirits. Of course, I believe that there isn't a fool that would reach her hand out to Cursed Armament Seals."
What Freya was talking about was regarding the deciphering of the spirit seal and the Cursed Armament Seal.
Cursed Armament Seal, so to speak, was about the matter of being granted a spirit seal through artificial means.
It was still used during the Ranbal war, but its use has been currently prohibited by the cross-national treaty. Although, it was an open secret that some countries and organizations were still advancing its research.
(Because even the Instructional School I was at was also researching the Cursed Armament Seals...)
An orphan of the Instructional School, Jio Inzagi, they fought the other day.
The part where that boy had sealed seventy-two spirits was also a type of Cursed Armament Seal that was engraved on his body.
Besides sealing spirits, Cursed Armament Seals had various effects like forcefully drawing out a contracted spirit's power and granting new attributes. Just hearing this much, they seemed handy, but— for it to be prohibited by the cross-national treaty, of course, there was a proper reason.
Among the people implanted with the Cursed Armament Seal, there were endless cases of fatal side effects occurring.
"During the Ranbal war, many elementalists were rounded up, and among them there were also people forcefully implanted with the Cursed Armament Seal by the military. What became of most of them?— Ellis, try answering."
"Okay, the power of their contracted spirits was driven into a rampage, and there were even fatal cases, I've heard."
Ellis, who was pointed out from the platform, clearly answered.
"That's right. It is said that the number of people, whose body are compatible with the Cursed Armament Seal, is only less than ten percent even among the elementalists. However, in spite of the fact that that risk is evident, even now, the fact that illegal researches are continuing means that there are that many people who seek for easy power."
Ms. Freya informed in a strict voice, and swung her cane.
Suddenly, Kamito, who thought the teacher's attitude was suspicious, whispered to Ellis in a soft voice.
"She's sincerely emphasizing about the Cursed Armament Seal. This isn't the content of the fundamental subject, right?"
"...Yes. As a matter of fact, there was a notification for the Sylphid Knights this morning."
Ellis slightly nodded.
"Somehow, recently there seemed to be a group illegally selling Cursed Armament Seals in Academy Town. As it's the period just before the Blade Dance, she's probably accosting a warning even during the lecture."
The sale of Cursed Armament Seals was naturally prohibited within the Ordesia Empire.
The princess maidens attending the academy should also perfectly understand that riskiness.
However, even amongst them, there were those kinds of people, who would reach out for easy power.
Especially, for a team whose results were sluggish just before the Blade Dance, it wouldn't be strange for some people to take the plunge and have an implantation, aware of the danger.
The implantation of the Cursed Armament Seal cost a large sum of money, but the princess maidens attending the academy were mostly great nobles possessing territory.
As far as the illegal organization was concerned, it was business that also had far lower risks than poaching in the spirit forest and selling sealed spirits on the black market, and could also raise enormous profits.
"Having a hand in the Cursed Armament Seals is the weakness of the heart. However, the number one evil is, of course, the people illegally handling the Cursed Armament Seals. As a knight, I'll never forgive those people who ruin the academy."
Ellis tightly clenched her fist, and muttered with determination.
The weakness of the heart that sought dangerous power— He couldn't condemn that.
Anyone would also have the likelihood of falling into that temptation.
Even that proud Claire Rouge was like that.
Despairing in her own weakness, she accepted the frenzy spirit Restia presented.
To want to obtain strong power no matter what one had to do— That was something hard to understand for Kamito, who had once held the title of strongest.
Being able to exchange feelings with spirits in spite of being a boy! —There was also a time that he thought of even cursing that power, which was the same as that person, who was called the history's worst Demon King.
(—However, I can imagine it.)
Kamito cast his eyes onto his left hand covered by a leather glove.
If he couldn't take Restiaher back with his current power—
It might be possible that he would end up reaching out for that prohibited power.
"How many such people has the Sylphid Knights arrested?"
"Err, of course, to expose this type of illegal organization, the Knights are also concentrating all their strengths, but— since that assault the other day, our present condition is that we are being afflicted by a serious short-handedness."
"Is that so?..."
The incident the other day— That was about the incident that Jio Inzagi battled the Sylphid Knights, and stole highly classified materials of the strategic-class militarized spirit from the sealed library in the Academy.
There were five knights, who were injured that time. Furthermore, Rakka and Reishia, who were also Ellis' teammates, were injured during the quest in Mine Town.
The total number of people in the Sylphid Knights was twenty at best.
So, that meant that a third of the organization was not functioning in their present condition.
"Are your two teammates already alright?"
"Ahh, they seemed to have recovered to the point of being able to somehow move their body. They have not yet recovered to the point where they can come back to the academy. If you had not come to help at that time, the girls and I would surely have been unable to return to the academy. ...I have to express my gratitude to you again."
"We were at that place because of our quest. It's natural to protect comrades of the academy, so Ellis, it isn't something you have to feel indebted for. We also received a reward and a thank-you-letter from the Knights."
Kamito reflexively made a bitter smile at the ever-serious Ellis.
"That's something awarded to Team Scarlet. What I am saying is, err, that I have to express a more personal gratitude to you, or perhaps I should say that I want to do so..."
Ellis bashfully mumbled. It was unusual for her, who was always frigid.
"What? Say it in a louder voice."
Ellis came closer to his body.
Smelling the faint yet nice smell of soap, Kamito was spontaneously startled.
"Err, do you have some plans after the supplementary class?"
"Plans? Ahh, we're having a victory celebration party with Claire and the others, but... Ellis, are you also coming?"
When Kamito answered, Ellis placed her hand at her chin like she was a little perplexed—
"No, I'll have to decline. I seem to be disliked by Claire Rouge."
She calmly shook her head.
"Then, are you free in the evening?"
"Yes, as long as it's not too late..."
Kamito tilted his head—
"Uh, ah... I mean, err, I-I want you to help me with my studies!"
"That's right! D-Didn't you promise that you'll teach me just now?!"
Ellis' face turned bright red.
"Err, I certainly said that, but... it's rather sudden."
"...W-Will you teach me or will you not, which is it?!"
"I-I got it... Let's see, well then, five o'clock in front of the middle auditorium, is that alright?"
"U-Um, I got it. After all, I also have to prepare various things."
"I-It's nothing... J-Just look forward to it!"
After telling it one-sidedly, Ellis quickly hid her face beneath her textbook.
(...What on earth was that?)
After the supplementary class ended and bidding farewell to Ellis, Kamito hurriedly ran to the front of the main gate of the academy.
"You're late, Kamito!"
*Pishi!* *Pishi!* Claire was making sounds with her whip. ...She seemed pretty angry.
"Good grief, a man keeping a lady waiting is the worst."
"If I was the queen, I'd behead you."
Rinslet and Fianna were also angry.
"Sorry..." Kamito docilely apologized.
"Kamito, I want to eat parfait soon."
Est was motionlessly and expressionlessly staring at Kamito.
"Yeah, I keep on relying on Est every time. So, ask for anything today."
"I'm happy, Kamito."
Saying that, Est grasped tightly onto Kamito's hand.
Claire and the others, the three of them, became stiff like they were frozen.
"Hn, what's the matter?"
As Kamito's hands were kept joined with Est's, he turned around—
The three of them kept glaring at Kamito, as they groaned "Gununu...".
"Fufu, everyone, his other hand is still free, you know?"
Carol placed her hand near her mouth, and gently smiled.
"I-It's not like that!" "Holding hands and such..." "I-I'm not a kid, you know!"
The three young ladies blushed, and quickly turned away.
"Ah, is that so? Well then, by the order of arrival, I'll do it."
Carol was tightly grasping onto Kamito's hand.
"This is a little embarrassing. ...Hn, what's the matter, everyone?"
"I-It's nothing, Let's quickly get going, idiot!"
Suddenly, Claire walked off like she was angry.
"A man who toys with a girl's feelings deserves death."
"Haa, Kamito-kun is really the Demon King of the Night..."
Rinslet and Fianna also started walking.
"...What was that?"
With his hands kept joined with the two of theirs, Est's and Carol's, Kamito tilted his head.
If Areishia Spirit Academy was a castle, then Academy Town at the bottom would be its castle town.
Its outer edge was encircled by the spirit forest and ramparts, and the town was divided into five areas associated with the five grand spirits.
The part that academy students used for a breather after examinations was primarily the "Water" area. Rivaling the imperial capital, entertainment facilities, such as jewelry shops, restaurants and large public baths, were gathered here.
On the other hand, the "Wind" area, which Kamito and the others were heading to, was an area that ordinary townspeople lived in.
A vivid embroidered horizontal banner was hung out on the road, and small wooden frames that were for deifying the spirits of the land were being made everywhere. It seemed to be preparations for tomorrow's Valentia Holy Festival.
"It's awfully busy. It still has a different ambiance compared to the austere Imperial Empire's grand spirit festival."
Being brought up in the imperial capital, Fianna voiced her thoughts.
"That's because the Valentia Holy Festival is a festival by ordinary townspeople. Its nuance is a little different from the ritual that princess maidens dedicate to spirits in."
"Either way, it's close to the opening day of the Blade Dance."
As Kamito gazed at the townscape full of liveliness, he muttered.
"... Ahh, that might be the case."
Claire nodded as she walked.
Although it's called the Blade Dance, it didn't mean dedicating blade dances all day and night.
After all, it's a grand festival that gathered nobles of many kingdoms. Participants would be invited to the sponsoring nation's reception hall, and a dance party would be held throughout the dance, and countless numbers of fireworks would be launched at night. Near the grounds of Astral Zero, a famous town furnished with entertainment facilities was made.
Rather than calling it a solemn ritual, it was closer to call it a large-scale revelry that spanned over several days.
By the way, three years ago— Kamito, who was in female clothing, was invited to a dance, and nobles came proposing to him one after another. ...Even as he recalled that now, it gave him goose bumps.
"Ah, Kamito-san, have you seen the Blade Dance?"
"N-No, I just heard stories like that!"
Kamito shook his head in a fluster at Rinslet, who tilted her head.
"Fufu, there's no way Kamito-kun knows it, right?"
Being the only one among them who knew Kamito's true identity, Fianna giggled.
Kamito raised his voice in a fluster.
He was probably not suspected by Claire, and when he turned around.
Standing still at the roadside, and staring motionlessly at a display window of a shop.
It seemed to be a store that was selling jewels and accessories.
"...What's the matter, Claire?"
When Kamito approached, Claire jumped up.
Feeling suspicious, Kamito peered into the display window—
A small cat shaped pendant was placed on the shelf.
(...Hmm, as I thought, she's also a girl.)
He ended up thinking that the face profile of Claire, whose face had turned bright red, was unusually cute.
"Do you want this?"
"I-I said it's nothing, right! I'm completely not interested in this sort of things!"
"I see. I thought it especially suits you."
"... A-Ar-Aren't you being an idiot! Le-Let's get going, I'm hungry!"
Claire turned bright red like a lobster, and started briskly walking off.
"...What, she isn't being honest as usual."
Kamito shrugged his shoulders in disappointment.
"The day of the Valentia Holy Festival is also that girl's birthday."
Rinslet, who was behind him before he noticed, calmly informed him.
"Tomorrow's her birthday?"
"Yes, although, she is brushing it off like it is nothing."
(...Ahh, I see.)
Kamito gazed at Claire's back, who was briskly walking off.
Four years ago, because the Calamity Queen — Rubia Elstein, had rebelled against the fire Elemental Lord, the married couple of the Elstein duke family had their noble status divested.
Since the day that incident occurred, Claire's life had completely changed.
He was sure that she currently did not have the leeway or something to look forward to her birthday.
Kamito returned his sights to the store's display window.
There was the cat pendant with a ruby-like spirit crystal inlaid in its pupils.
It seemed to be something pretty expensive.
Kamito sighed, and gently moved away from the display window.
"Rinslet, thank you for telling me. You're a good person."
"Wh-What are you saying, I do not understand what you mean!"
Rinslet's face turned bright red, and she turned her face away.
(...Twenty gold coins, huh? Well, what do I do?)
The diner, called Sablefish Pavilion and recommended by Carol, was a very stylish building of red bricks.
He sat on an inner table that sits six people and promptly opened the menu.
There was a soup that completely used one chicken, a meat dish full of spices, a fried bean curd bread covered in honey, and a freshwater fish pie. The dishes drawn in the menu were all full of things that stimulated his appetite.
However, what he was a little troubled by was— the reaction of the waitress girls.
They were pointing at Kamito and whispering.
"Hey, by any chance, isn't he the male elementalist in the rumors?" "You mean the one that defeated the rampaging militarized spirit in that town?" "He's making five girls wait upon him. It's as if he has a king's pretension." "Even such a small girl, his poison fangs..." "A licentious beast... No, perhaps I should call him the licentious king." "The licentious king..."
...What was licentious king? He wished that they stopped making so many new terms.
"A commoner's restaurant is also not bad once in a while."
"This is the first time I came to a place like this. Is there some sort of special etiquette?"
Rinslet and Fianna were looking around the store's interior, un-composed.
Claire and Est had been looking together at the dessert menu.
"I'm lost. The European pear tart also looks delicious, also the peach mousse."
"Kamito, is it alright if I request for all these?"
"No, all is definitely not possible, you know?"
Kamito waved his hand in a fluster—
"Kamito promised. I could request anything I like today."
Est's innocent pupils were staring at Kamito.
She had that never-changing empty expression as usual... However, there was a somewhat strange impact.
Finally, Kamito ran out of patience, and hung his head down.
"...I got it. I promised after all."
"Kamito, I'm happy to be contracted to Kamito."
Est tightly embraced Kamito's arm.
"Haha, Est, you're exaggerating."
Kamito, who made a bitter smile, was—
Being glared at by Claire and the others.
After Kamito consolidated the order, the dishes were carried out immediately. The dishes, which were fully lined up on the table, were all delicious, and the three high-class young ladies, who had refined palates, also seemed completely satisfied.
"Claire, don't casually move the mushroom onto my plate."
"What, despite that I went through the trouble to give it."
"You're no good with mushrooms, right? I have pretty much gotten used to your likes and dislikes."
"...Um, why do you know that I'm no good with mushrooms?"
"I've generally grasped your taste."
Claire's face turned red.
"Kamito-san, here's my fish."
"Kamito-kun, I'll also give you my shellfish."
Having had ingredients thrown in without reservation from these fussy young ladies, Kamito's pasta had somewhat become something that he didn't really know.
It was dessert after the meal. There were the multifarious parfait, the tart placed with a plentiful amount of seasonal fruits, the fluffy freshly-baked sponge cake, the mousse entwined with a bittersweet sauce and so on. They were lined up on the table, almost like a jewel box.
"It's very cute!" "How pretty." "...Wh-What should I have?"
Gazing at the desserts lined up before them, the three of them placed their hands on their cheeks, seemingly in bliss.
Even noble young ladies seemed to turn into normal girls in front of sweet desserts.
"You girls, are you really going to eat all of these?"
"Of course. When girls eat sweet things, their stomachs are connected to Astral Zero."
Claire said something he didn't really understand with a tense expression.
Yup! Yup! Fianna and Rinslet nodded.
"Fianna, I'll take a mouthful of cake."
"It can't be helped, I'll exchange it with your pudding."
"Claire, I will give you my peach. Be grateful."
"Eh? Is that fine, Rinslet?"
"Yes, I'm no good with peaches... I'll exchange it for your slave."
"...Um, that's a tough choice."
"Don't arbitrarily trade a person... Eh, I'm equal to a peach?"
"Claire, that's my cherry."
"Carol, look, it's your favorite European pear."
"Ah, well then, I'll return Milady's beloved peach back."
"Eh, Rinslet, you—"
"Carol, wh-wha-what are you saying?!"
Rinslet hit Carol.
As he glanced towards Claire beside him— Kamito muttered within his heart.
He felt like Claire had changed a little.
The time he just met her, how should he put it, she had a more brooding impression, and she had that atmosphere, like a wild cat not letting anyone near her.
...Something probably changed within her with the assembling of the team and comrades.
"...? Kamito, what are you looking at?"
"Hn? You have cream on your cheek. Come on, I'll get it off."
"Id-Idiot, I'll get it off myself!"
Claire's face turned bright red, and she turned away, at that moment.
"Thank you for waiting. Here's this store's famous dish, Special Big Parfait♪"
Together with the cheerful voice—
The waitress with her glamorous tall figure came to Kamito's table.
She was a bewitchingly beautiful girl, and her wavy jade green hair was grown long.
When he looked carefully, the tips of her ears were sharply pointed.
(...The Elfim race?)
They were demihumans that were reported to have crossed over from Astral Zero during the distant mythic age.
It seemed that the pure Elfim race did not exist anymore now, but— their physical trait of having long ears was famous. They were often seen in the urban areas of the empire, there were also Elfim race students in the academy, but one working as a waitress in a diner was rare.
What she had carried over was— a gigantic chocolate parfait.
That was enshrined right in the middle of the table and had a size almost like a nightmare.
"...Eh, who ordered this?!"
"It wasn't me."
Claire shook her head. Fianna and Rinslet also shook theirs.
The line of sight from everyone naturally gathered on one girl.
"Kamito promised that I could request for anything."
Est gazed at Kamito with her innocent pupils.
"By the way, if you leave stuff behind, there'll be a fine♪"
The beautiful waitress pleasantly smiled.
"Wh-What do we do?"
"It appears that there's no choice but for everyone to cooperate and eat it."
"...It can't be helped."
Kamito sighed in disappointment—
Suddenly, he discovered the figure of a girl he recognized on the other side of the window.
She had a stunning blue haired pony-tail, and was in her Knights armor.
She was Ellis, who he just bid farewell to at the academy a while ago.
"What's the matter, Kamito?"
"I just saw Ellis pass by over there. Does she have a quest for the Knights?"
Claire glared at Kamito, seemingly displeased.
"...You're really concerned about Ellis."
"Hn, what do you mean... Mogu, mogugugu!?"
Suddenly, a spoon full of parfait was pushed into Kamito's mouth.
"Wh-What, despite being Kamito, to begin with, Ellis is of a rival team!"
"Besides, you're a slave spirit only for me!"
As she forcefully stuffed the spoon into Kamito's mouth, Claire flared up.
(...Fufu, what interesting-looking girls♪)
The tall beautiful girl, who returned to the kitchen, stuck out her tongue and licked her wet red lips.
She was the one, who carried over the gigantic parfait to Kamito's table, the Elfim race waitress.
From the kitchen, she viewed a hole as if she was evaluating or something—
Finally, she made a short sigh.
(Well, should I stop here today? Though they're the long-awaited prey.)
The risk of those girls as someone to trade with was a little high.
Those, who reached out for her goods— were always princess maidens who lost their confidence and were obsessed with strong delusions and a sense of duty.
(...Although, that red haired girl seemed to be of a little hope.)
Vivian Melosa— She was a merchant of MurdersCorpse Federations, who specially handled Cursed Armament Seals.
She once taught in the Imperial Capital's Academy, and was the leading person in Cursed Armament Seal research. However, because the research of Cursed Armament Seals was prohibited after the Ranbal war, she was banished from the academy. After that, she moved around from organization to organization, doing nothing but research on Cursed Armament Seals.
The academy, which assembled superior princess maidens from all around the country, was a suitable experiment site to her.
So far, she had infiltrated the academy several times, and performed the implantation of Cursed Armament Seals into girls desiring power.
(...Although, there was only one that succeeded.)
Brushing her wavy jade green hair, she giggled.
"—Well, shall I patiently search? For my favorite kitten-chan?"