Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance:Volume5 Chapter2
Chapter 2 - Triple Date
Chirp chirp, tweet tweet... With their calls, the birds signaled the dawn of morning.
A warm ray of sunshine shone through the bedside windows into the room, rousing Kamito.
After talking to Claire this morning, he had returned to sleeping soundly once again, but it seemed that not too much time had passed.
Kamito had a fever not too long ago, but now it has almost completely faded away.
He rubbed his bleary eyelids, moved around, and prepared to get out of bed.
At that moment –
His elbow suddenly touched something soft and gentle.
(Also, wasn't there some sort of lovely sound just now...)
Kamito blinked, puzzled by what it was, he turned his gaze toward the sound.
He saw a round mass of fluffy white fur, keeping him company beside him while he slept.
"... W-What is this?"
The unbelievable sight before his eyes startled Kamito.
However, he immediately thought of something...
Sneaking into my bed... the only one who would do such a thing is -
"Is it Est!?"
He hastily tossed aside the blanket.
"A-Ah! W-What in the world are you doing to me!?"
Kamito froze, speechless.
Hidden under the blanket was not the sword spirit who liked to dress in the nude with thigh-high socks.
What he saw was pure white fur, and a pair of long ears that hung downwards.
And dazzling pale gold hair –
The lovely... Miss Bunny.
"... Hey, Rinslet! What do you think you're doing?"
"N-No, that's not right! I-I am Miss Bunny right now!"
Rinslet flushed red, embarrassed. The rabbit ears on her head twitched up.
"I said, Rinslet –"
"It's 'Miss Bunny'."
"Well, Miss Bunny."
Following her request, Kamito repeated obediently.
"This outfit of yours, what kind of act are you putting on?"
In response, Rinslet could only rub both her kneecaps awkwardly while stuttering and unable to speak.
Seeing the usually stubborn and self-conscious Rinslet wearing such an expression gave Kamito an indescribable feeling of adoration.
(... Speaking of which, this outfit is too provoking, isn't it? It's practically blinding!)
A closer look would reveal that –
The Miss Bunny outfit Rinslet was wearing was at most being borderline immodest.
It was a set of very revealing erotic clothing, made of an undergarment-like material, with soft fluffy fur sewn on everywhere.
There was puffy fur on both her hands and feet, and a tail-like a ball of fur hanging from behind.
The greatest draw of the entire outfit however, had to be the leather collar tied around her neck.
The elegant, aristocratic, wealthy princess wearing that collar... the combination was enough to give people wrong thoughts.
"I-I was turned into Miss Bunny by witchcraft... chuu!"
The maiden said it stiffly, as if reciting lines from a script.
"It's the cry of a rabbit."
"I can't imagine the cry of a rabbit sounding like that..."
Moving his gaze away from the huge twin peaks and valley right before his eyes, Kamito shook his head and spoke.
Right at this time -
"– K-Kamito, I've made breakfast for you!"
The door to the room suddenly opened.
The one standing there was the Captain of the Knights—Ellis.
Kamito fell speechless once again.
Ellis, who stood before him, was dressed like Rinslet in clothing that skirted the edge of modesty.
The only difference was that she wore dog ears instead of rabbit ones, and the fur on her hands was not white, but brown.
The ears atop her head swung constantly as she moved.
"E-Ellis... how is it that you too..."
"N-No, say no more!"
Red-faced and biting her lips, the embarrassed Ellis looked as if she wanted to find a hole to hide in.
"Oooh, i-if my elder sisters were to see me dressed like this, I don't know what they would say..."
Tears glowed from the corners of her brown eyes, probably because of how ashamed she felt.
(... Now... what is the situation?)
... What on earth had happened? Why would the pure-hearted and rule-abiding Captain be dressed in such a dissolute manner?
"J-Just don't mind my outfit, alright."
"Uh... how do you expect anyone to not mind that?"
Ellis ignored Kamito's confusing reply.
She cleared her throat with a cough, and pushed a small silver dining cart in from the corridor.
The aroma of freshly baked toast immediately filled the room.
"... Well, come have breakfast, I made these for you."
There was a freshly prepared breakfast in the dining cart; the steam above it had not yet dispersed.
The dishes included – toast grilled to the perfection, thick French-style pumpkin soup, deliciously tender omelets, Caesar salad with added tuna, and last but not least for dessert, there was yogurt topped with strawberry jam.
At first glance, although these were not exactly high-class, one could tell that every dish had been prepared with meticulous care.
"... You're such an expert! Did you do all these yourself, Ellis?"
"Y-Yes, I prepared these in the tower's kitchen. Only because I did not want to forget my culinary skills, it wasn't specially made for you!"
Ellis looked away, a look of embarrassment suddenly crept across her face as she bent down beside Kamito.
"Captain, how can you do this!"
Disregarding Rinslet's protests, she addressed Kamito.
"I-I'll feed you... O-Open your mouth, come."
"T-There's no need! I can do it myself –"
"Absolutely not, you're the one who's hurt after all."
"My wound has already fully healed –"
– Into his mouth.
Taking advantage of the moment Kamito's mouth was open, Ellis stuffed the omelette into his mouth.
"H-How is it?"
"... S-Super delicious!"
The omelette was not only just sweet enough, but it was also so soft and fluffy that it melted in his mouth. This beyond-perfect masterpiece by Ellis confirmed the saying that the simpler the dish, the greater a test it was of the chef's skill.
"Is that really so! ... That's wonderful."
Ellis smiled shyly, the dog ears on her head moving up and down.
Seeing the usually serious and stern Captain wear such an expression, Kamito could not help but feel butterflies in his stomach.
"Hmph—Captain, you're too cunning to do this."
Rinslet puffed up her cheeks a little angrily and said.
"T-Then I shall give Kamito-san a massage."
Having said this, Rinslet immediately began kneading Kamito's shoulders with gentle strength.
"How does it feel?"
"You're so good at this... my fatigue is slowly disappearing, wow."
Kamito was not just saying empty kind words of praise; Rinslet's massage technique was really of professional standard.
The comfortable sensation made all the tense muscles in his body relax one by one.
"You know, I give Carol massages all the time, because that child keeps praising me, I have unknowingly become very good at massaging."
"So that's why..."
... That a maid could get her master to knead her shoulders for her was, in a certain sense, almost too much.
"Uh huh, you'd better thank me well. I am the heir to the Laurenfrost family. By right, I could never serve men in this way."
At this moment, Kamito suddenly felt two soft bumps against his back.
"But... only for today... everyone..."
Rinslet leant over and whispered into Kamito's ear.
"Everyone can become... Kamito-san's house pet."
"Uh... w-what did you just say – !"
In a panic, Kamito turned his head, then –
"M-Me too, just for today, I won't be your Captain!"
Then it was Ellis, who cried out, perking up her dog ears:
"I want to be K-Kamito's... little pet dog."
What was the matter with the both of them?
Their small animal tails swinging, the two of them stared at Kamito with fire in their eyes.
... Why is it that he felt dizzy with confusion? Could it be another fever?
(Hey, something's not right...)
The temperature in the room started rising steadily.
(Boom boom boom...)
"... Y-You guys... what mischief are you up to?"
Kamito turned and looked –
The door, which had not been closed, opened with a slam. Standing there was Claire with a burning-hot whip in her hand.
Her shoulders were trembling slightly in anger, and her bright red twintails pointed upright like flames.
However, what fixated Kamito's gaze was how she was dressed.
Atop her head was a pair of shaking red cat ears.
On her slim petite body was erotic clothing made of red fur.
Her bare white thighs were displayed so boldly that one could not look directly at them.
"H-How is it that you too are doing this? That outfit is...!"
Kamito muttered, dumbfounded, then –
"Waaaah! S-Stupid fool, what are you looking at!"
Claire blushed and crossed her knees shyly.
She then made a sound like a cat's low growl and glared at Kamito with tears in her eyes.
"Hmph, what... in any case you must feel that my chest is disappointingly small, isn't that right!?"
Truthfully speaking, that set of clothing did indeed make Claire's chest seem even tinier.
Although that very same attire could bring out the valley between the breasts of Ellis and Rinslet, the undeniable fact of the matter was the sight of Claire wearing it only gave a person the impression of looking at a washboard.
Having said that, however, it did not reduce the charm she exuded. Her despondency over her chest size in fact made her look pitiful and delicate, which only increased her loveliness.
"Not at all. How should I say it... I think you're awfully cute like this."
Kamito expressed his honest feelings.
"A-A-Ah! W-What nonsense are you spouting!"
Claire's cheeks grew redder and redder. She waved the whip in her hand, which made slapping noises.
At this, one of Ellis's dog ears and Rinslet's rabbit ears cocked in Kamito's direction, and they puffed their cheeks slightly resentfully.
"I-I don't care any more... you really are such a terrible fool!"
Claire muttered haltingly, then walked towards Kamito –
Then she abruptly jumped onto the bed Kamito was lying in.
"... Uhhh... hey... you guys...!"
The three pretty girls dressed as erotic cute animals pushed each other around the small bed, their bare shoulders pressed against Kamito's arm.
"Well then, you tell me... is there anything I can do for you, Kamito?"
Claire bit her lip lightly and looked at Kamito with upward-glancing eyes.
"Anything I... want you to do?"
"Such as... oh yes, sleeping on my lap ... or help you clean your ears... things of that sort?"
"Sleep on your lap?"
Such an action was a common dream among all men.
Kamito inadvertently glanced at Claire's soft-looking thighs – and then swiftly moved his gaze away.
"Oh, but only for today! You usually are my slave, but only for today... I-I am willing... to be your slave!"
Kamito questioned her and Claire nodded.
"Y-Yes! For today, I will agree to anything you ask of me! Y-You better prepare yourself!"
"Wait a moment, what do I have to prepare myself for?"
"K-Kamito... it's the same for me!"
Ellis and Rinslet also squeezed up to him, snuggling Kamito tightly with their bodies.
"But... n-no sexual orders though."
"Who would ever do that! What kind of person do you guys think I am!?"
"Huh, you didn't want to make any such orders? Oh, okay..."
For some reason, a disappointed look crept across her face as she muttered those words.
Letting out a sigh, Kamito said frustratedly:
"– Now can you tell me why the three of you are dressed like this?"
He bluntly asked the trio.
"This... that is because..."
The three ladies looked at each other in panic.
After a while, Claire finally surrendered and said: "B-Because after Est disappeared, you looked so down and depressed –"
"So we decided to dress like this to lift your spirits...!"
Blushing furiously, Claire awkwardly finished her explanation.
It was said that when an elementalist was in a poor mental state, they would have no way of summoning spirits. In more serious cases, they could sometimes even lose their princess maiden powers.
For example, Fianna had been dealt a severe emotional blow four years ago and had been unable to use her power for a long period of time afterwards. When Scarlet was defeated by a demon spirit, Claire had becom grief-stricken, and suddenly found herself unable to summon Scarlet.
If the blow from the loss of Est caused Kamito's heart to be dominated by negative feelings of hatred, the Gate between their hearts would truly close forever, never to open again. In truth, there were actually many princess maidens who had lost their status as elementalists because of such trauma to their souls.
(So simply put, they wanted to cheer me up – roughly this kind of intention?)
Evidently, he had made these ladies worry too much.
However, Kamito thanked them from the bottom of his heart for their thoughtfulness.
"... But why dress up as little animals and put on an act?"
"It was Fianna who told us this secret. Y-You rascal, you like this kind of thing, don't you?"
"That goddamn princess, huh..."
Kamito gritted his teeth and muttered.
... So that was it, these sexy animal costumes were all from Fianna's secret collection.
"That... can't be right, you don't like this look?"
"Hmm? Well... I didn't say I disliked it."
Despite the many objections he felt, Kamito reluctantly admitted it -
Truth be told, he really thought it was quite cute.
Moreover, that these snobby aristocratic daughters would be willing to embarrass themselves so thoroughly in order to cheer him up – whether or not their methods were right, their positive intentions were enough to make one want to frankly thank them.
"... All of you, thank you."
"I-I did not do it for you, Kamito, I just want Est back quickly, that's all."
As Claire turned her head away, the cat ears on her head moved as well.
Ellis and Rinslet, too, shyly shook their tails.
"– N-Now then, shall we take a walk outside?"
Claire, who cleared her throat, tugged at Kamito's pajamas and asked.
"Today is our last rest day before the start of the main competition, of course we should go outside and have a good time! Staying locked in a room depressed all day is hardly the solution, right?"
"... That is true."
All Kamito could do now was to believe in Est and await her return.
If Kamito, her contractor, did not get out of his depression, the Gate would become impossible to open.
Going outside to lift his spirits was perhaps a good idea.
"And on this floating island, there is even a Biblion managed by the Divine Ritual Institute."
"It has been said that a lot of antique-level information is archived within the sacred Biblion, information that cannot be found even in our library of seals. If Est is really the sealed spirit sealed within the ancient sacred sword, we might be able to find clues in those documents."
"... If that's so, it sounds like it would be worth a look."
Anecdotes of the Demon King Killing Sacred Sword could be found across the continent, and although truth and fiction were mixed in them, considering that Est was such a powerful spirit, it would not be surprising to find a mention of her in one of the ancient records.
"It's decided, now hurry up and get ready to go!"
"Mhmm, we can't be cheerful cooped up indoors all the time."
"And being so close to the port, there are many shops set up here too."
The three girls crowded together, all trying to take Kamito's arm.
"Wait, let me first change into my uniform... Also, you don't want to go out dressed like this either, right?"
"Aaah! O-Of course not!"
The girls blushed and quickly let go of Kamito.
Kamito and his friends, dressed in their uniforms, took a carriage ride to the port.
The sacred Biblion was apparently located not too far from here; plain and simple wooden structures were set up side-by-side in this area of the port, creating a lively atmosphere like that of a shopping street holding a celebration.
In addition, the various countries of the continent had also combined to raise funds for various food and entertainment facilities to welcome the spectators of the Blade Dance.
Because this was the original spirit world, which humans were forbidden to live in, this fantasy street would only appear for a few days.
It was a sight only visible during the Blade Dance.
"Wow – clear skies today."
"Mm, because we are on the clouds, of course."
Claire stretched like a cat as she walked, she and Kamito chatted while walking together.
Then, a cool refreshing breeze blew past, and Claire's tresses, tied into twintails, swayed in the wind.
Hanging distantly in the sky, the floating island — Ragna Ys — should have stood no chance against fierce winds, but because this sacred land had the additional protection of the Wind Elemental Lord, it was in no danger of being blown away.
Small flying crafts flew one by one between the gaps in the clouds and arrived at the port.
As the main event of the Blade Dance was about to begin, nobles from countries all over the continent had already begun to gather here.
"This really is spectacular."
"Only on the floating island can you see such a view."
Ellis and Rinslet expressed their amazement in muttered exclamations.
"... It would have been great if Fianna could have come with us."
While muttering, Kamito raised his head to the clear, vast blue sky.
At the moment, Fianna seemed to be searching for a way to destroy the Brand of Darkness imprinted on Kamito. She had been tirelessly visiting old acquaintances from her time at the Divine Ritual Institute.
"Later, let's buy some gifts to take back for Fianna, alright?"
The slate street was lined with a wide variety of shops.
As they were only temporary stalls, the materials they were made of were not particularly impressive. However, the craftsmen or chefs working inside were top talents who had been recruited from many countries. The Blade Dance was an excellent opportunity to showcase the nation's prestige so countries tended to generously spend huge sums of money on it.
The group walked to the heart of the shopping street and passed a group of tourists who had just alighted from a flying craft.
"I didn't want to say this, but this place really is terribly crowded."
"Men everywhere... I'm starting to feel dizzy."
Ellis and Rinslet looked around uneasily.
It seems that the ladies, having grown up in such a sheltered environment, were not used to such bustling places.
Furthermore, the city here was different from the academy town: men accounted for a greater proportion of the people here. Although they were among the best elementalists, here they immediately turned back into pure innocent girls. Whenever a man passing by quickly brushed shoulders with them, they would let out small squeals and press themselves tightly against Kamito.
Claire was no exception. From the very start, she had repeatedly been sticking close to Kamito then immediately pulling away.
Whenever she leaned against Kamito, she would move away blushing; when she next bumped into a strange passer-by, she would go back to Kamito.
(This foolish girl, what is she doing?)
When Claire leaned into him again, Kamito quickly took her hand.
"Aaaah! W-What are you doing!"
The fiery cat maiden cried angrily, her face red.
"Who taught you how to walk so unsteadily? That's awfully dangerous."
"Well... o-okay, I'll let you hold my hand, but in here only."
As the two of them held hands, Claire turned her gaze aside shyly.
"You're too cunning..."
Rinslet puffed her cheeks unhappily, then grabbed Kamito's empty other hand.
"I-I'm afraid of you getting lost, so hold on to me tight."
Then Ellis, too, joined in; seeing that both Kamito's hands were full, she had no choice but to latch onto his arm.
"Hey... Captain! You're blocking the way here!"
"I-It's you, not me! Let go of Kamito's hand now!"
"Ah... all of you, I can't walk like this!"
The girls, all clinging to Kamito, began to quarrel.
They made such a scene that nearby passers-by started to whisper among themselves.
"Quick, look over there, three noble girls are serving that young man, wow." "That's because he's the rumored male elementalist, you know..."
"That's too wicked of him, to sink his fangs into those poor delicate girls." "But, take a look at those girls' expressions; they don't seem to hate him at all." "They must be under some kind of strange magic spell, of course."
(Well... this situation seems to have gotten a little worse...)
Kamito had long been used to hostility from strangers.
However, he did not wish to tarnish the reputations of the ladies he partnered with.
"I say... there are far too many people here, so why don't we find someplace cooler to rest?"
"Mm, that sounds good..."
Claire and the others nodded to show their agreement. It seems they were also thinking the same thing.
They looked around in search of a shop they could have a cup of tea at. And then –
"Kamito-san, look... there's a La Parfait shop over there!"
Rinslet pointed towards a chic-looking café across the road.
"Say, is that the famous La Parfait!? I've always wanted to try their cakes."
"If I remember correctly, this café is very popular throughout the empire... I-I'm kind of interested as well."
Even Claire and Ellis knew of it. Evidently, the business that had set up that temporary stall was very famous.
"... In that case, shall we go there?"
"Agreed!" "Yes!" "Mmhm...!"
The trio nodded in agreement and dragged Kamito towards it.
The La Parfait stall was almost fully packed, so much so that the group had to wait a little before being served.
While sitting at the entrance waiting to be served, Kamito examined the stall's decor. The horizontal beams of the ceiling were naturally bent like tree branches, Kamito was very appreciative of the warm atmosphere this unique wood imparted.
"I'm surprised this is such a relaxing place. When I heard you say it was one of the empire's most popular shops, I expected it to be much more posh and luxurious."
"This is only a temporary stall put up for the Blade Dance, so of course it won't be so well-decorated. Their regular shops are so good aristocratic ladies would be willing to hide their identities just to patronize the shop incognito."
"Oh, so that's it... Hey, speaking of which, I'm not that loaded with cash..."
Kamito's face suddenly turned pale.
A shop even noble daughters would patronize incognito – this must certainly be a very high-class shop.
"If it were a regular shop, no matter how loaded you were, you'd still not be able to afford it."
"The stalls are free for the participants of the Blade Dance."
At Rinslet's words, Kamito let out a reassured sigh.
After a while, the four were led to their seats.
"I want a peach pie, a peach sorbet... and a peach mousse."
Claire flipped open the menu and gestured with her finger at the dessert options.
"Why are you getting so many peach options... haven't you already had some in the morning?
"N-None of your business... so what if I like them?"
"This raspberry-flavored cream puff also looks delicious."
"Y-Yes, that seems tasty."
"Oh... This dish puts some ice cream on a fresh hot apple pie to be eaten together..."
"Let's order one and divide it, everyone can have some. Kamito, what would you like?"
"Oooh... Well then, I'll have a scone, I guess..."
Kamito answered perfunctorily, but then –
"What's this attitude, you seem so reluctant."
"I really pity the dessert you order like that to eat."
"If you're a true man, you should pick decisively... Well, I'm talking about choosing cake."
For some unknown reason, Kamito found himself being severely berated by the ladies.
The three of them had always bickered when in training, but in these situations, they were always in full understanding.
Rinslet summoned a waitress, and one-by-one ordered those cakes and desserts with names that would make one accidentally bite their tongue.
"– And lastly, I'd like four cups of black tea from the Laurenfrost area."
"Ah... e-excuse me, wait a minute!"
Ellis called aloud to halt the waitress, who was preparing to leave.
"Please add a little whipped cream and honey to my tea, and if you could, add some floating marshmallows as well."
"Uh... I'm sorry, esteemed guest, but our shop does not serve that kind of drink."
"I-Is that so? Can you not make an excepti – oooh!"
Halfway through her sentence, Ellis stopped.
It was because Rinslet was pinching the back of her neck.
"Hey, what are you doing!"
"Oh my god, have you no shame! I don't like saying such things, but the Fahrengart family must really have no class!"
Rinslet was very particular about tea brewing and so forbade Ellis from randomly adding ingredients as she wished.
"So what if you're from the Laurenfrost family, it's just a countryside noble family with more land, that's all!"
"Y-You wouldn't dare...!"
An intense mini-blizzard blew up beside Rinslet.
"N-No matter what, I don't care, if it's not sweet I won't drink it!"
"If that's so, why didn't you simply order cocoa just now?"
"Don't you think cocoa's a little too childish?"
"Only childish people would call cocoa childish!"
"Okay, okay, stop arguing, the cakes are here."
Claire lightly poked Rinslet's shoulder and said.
"Hmph... no matter, next time I'll teach our Captain how to drink tea."
"Sweet things are just nicer..."
Ellis said in a half-challenging manner through pursed lips.
Not long after, the dazzling array of desserts were delivered to their table.
Placed in silver containers, each of the cakes and pastries looked like an exquisite art piece.
At the sight of them, the anger of the two aristocratic girls vanished and was replaced by expressions of joy.
"I can't help but feel that... to eat something so beautiful would almost be a waste."
"These snacks are made by the very best chefs representing our empire."
As Claire spoke, she opened her mouth wide and took a bite out of the peach pie.
"Waaah... it really is delicious!"
"This raspberry cream puff also tastes extraordinarily refined and delicious."
"Mmmm, there's probably some sweet wine added to this sponge cake... I must try that next time."
Kamito listened to the girls' comments, then put his own cake into his mouth.
"Oh, it's delicious."
Although he was no food connoisseur, the sweet taste in his mouth did give him a rich and noble feeling.
But, compared to this –
Looking at the joyous expressions on the girls' faces made Kamito feel inexplicably happier himself.
"Kamito, what is it?"
Kamito was jolted out of his daze, only to find Claire suspiciously staring at him. He quickly averted his gaze and feigned ignorance.
"To think that this stall will be dismantled immediately after the Blade Dance, what a pity!"
"That's just how it is. But... there's a shop in the empire, so we will definitely have a chance to visit again."
"Mmm, next time we go, we must be sure to take Fianna... and Est."
Kamito looked down at the spirit seal on his right hand and murmured.
At this, Ellis and Rinslet raised their heads.
"—Est will return, I promise."
Claire spoke in a calm but confident tone of voice.
"So... just trust in her and wait for her to return. The only person who can help her out in this way is her elementalist – you."
"... Mmmm, you're right."
Kamito nodded – and then mused:
(... Partners will make one stronger – that probably refers to this feeling I'm having now.)
Three years ago, the strongest blade dancers were indeed very swift and strong.
Solely in terms of skill as an elementalist, he was unrivaled.
But these physical powers were fragile and would easily be crushed by a strong blow; they were strengths developed through loneliness.
The Kamito in the past had no one to rely on.
After losing Restia, he was left only with eternal despair.
(Now, however, I have friends willing to support me.)
So my heart will no longer shatter.
I will not sink into despair again.
(... Thus far, Est has saved me many times.)
Kamito clenched his fist on the table.
(– So, it's my turn now. No doubt about it: I will save you.)
The most important Sanctuary in the entirety of the floating island Ragna Ys—the Grand Hall of the Wind Elemental Lord—was located atop a hilly area. It was some distance away from the building where the blade dance participants were.
This white building was made from a combination of the best-quality materials and cutting-edge technology. The huge construction covered the whole of the hill; one could appreciate its majesty even from outside of the floating island.
It was not only the place where the wind spirits listened to the Elemental Lord's decrees to the sacred land, but also where princess maidens from the Divine Ritual Institute chosen by the various nations would practice their devotions. Therefore, even the nobility of the country would absolutely not be allowed to enter.
However, at that very moment time, there was a lady outside the gate shouting anxiously.
"Please do me a favor! Grant me an audience with Reicha-sama–!"
She was individually separated from the team of five in order to work separately from Kamito – Fianna.
Wearing a rare serious look, she pleaded with the guard standing at the gate.
"You really don't give up do you."
The middle-aged guard regarded Fianna with unfriendly eyes.
Her face clearly expressed her stubbornness.
"Please withdraw. Our Divine Ritual Institute's gate will never open simply for any one, let alone getting an audience with Reicha-sama. Your requests will absolutely never be granted."
The guard uttered a statement she had probably repeated many times before.
(... This is so infuriating! These people are as stubborn as ever!)
Fianna cursed impatiently to herself.
Having said that, she had in fact expected such a reaction from the start, because the person she wanted to see was not someone who would meet with just anybody.
(If I could borrow her strength, it would certainly be enough to break the curse on Kamito. But...)
The guard looked down at Fianna, not bothering to conceal her expression of contempt.
Evidently, she had not the slightest inclination to open the door.
(... Well, I did know the reason ages ago.)
Refusing to give up, Fianna bit down on her lip.
The one she was thinking of was the Calamity Queen that had betrayed the Fire Elemental Lord – Rubia Elstein.
There had been high hopes placed on Fianna to be the successor, but the incident with Rubia had left indelible horrors in her heart, causing her to lose the power of summoning contracted spirits, and with that, her status as princess maiden.
And so Fianna Ray Ordesia became a lost princess maiden, thoroughly disappointing the people who had had great expectations of her and discrediting the Divine Ritual Institute.
(... You narrow-minded people who only know how to put in superficial effort really disgust me.)
Even her own parents—The Areishia emperor and empress—and the various nobility were all no different.
When Fianna was still the princess maiden successor, these people had flattered her in every possible way. Once she had lost her contracted spirit powers, however, they immediately scorned and disdained her, changing their attitudes faster than one could turn the page of a book.
Of course, not all of them were like that. It was just that the Divine Ritual Institute organization had decayed under the weight of its long history, and so indeed had a darker side.
Seeing Fianna's stubborn refusal to leave, the guard shook her head and said:
"I do not wish to continue wasting my time on you."
Having said this, she turned and went back into the temple.
"Wait a minute—"
Fianna quickly moved to catch up with her, but—
Suddenly, a fierce wind rose and blew Fianna off her feet.
Fianna and Claire were different in that they had not received special combat training for elementalists. Too late to protect herself, she fell heavily to the ground.
She saw something stand at the doors – a magical wind spirit that looked like a winged lion.
It was a guardian spirit; it made contracts with not elementalists, but buildings. This very building, was in fact—the true sanctuary.
"It appears impossible to break through the front gate..."
Fianna glared at the Guardian while nursing a scrape on her lip.
A sword fell in mysterious darkness.
This shining, beautiful sword, swallowed by a sludge-like nothingness, was gradually losing its light.
(– How strange. What on earth is happening to me?)
Nonetheless, this sword apparently still retained its self-awareness.
Although the disappearance of her physical body had affected her, damaging her memory –
Her memory of that last event was crystal-clear.
She remembered his warmth as she embraced him with both hands on his back.
And, for just the briefest instant, the touch of their lips against each other.
Then – a harsh voice calling out her own name.
Her radiance all lost, the sword slowly sank in the bottomless darkness –