Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance:Volume5 Chapter3
Chapter 3 - Dragon Princess's Allurement
After leaving the cafe, Kamito and the others took a stroll near the port.
Surrounded by the three lovely ladies, Kamito still received quite a few stares from passers-by that made him feel uncomfortable, but since they were some distance away from the center of the shopping street, the situation was much better.
"Can we take a look in that store?"
Rinslet's outstretched hand was pointing at a stall that specialized in selling aristocratic dresses.
"No problem." "Yeah, I don't mind."
Claire and Ellis nodded in agreement.
"Rinslet, are you buying clothes now?"
Kamito asked, puzzled. As the Blade Dance would begin tomorrow, she would not have many opportunities to wear anything else other than her uniform.
"I'm not buying them for myself; I'm getting them for Carol and my little sister."
"Yes, my sister specially came to watch me show off my talents."
Rinslet fluffed her long hair happily.
At that moment, the maid Carol had arrived at the port ready to greet the girl Rinslet was talking about.
"Oh, turns out Rinslet has a little sister too... I imagine she must look just like her older sister; she must be a beautiful, pleasant child."
"K-Kamito-san, w-what nonsense are you spouting..."
At Kamito's casual thoughtless chatter, Rinslet blushed, embarrassed.
"M-My sisters are very good-looking as well!"
"My sister Velsaria is a beauty too!"
"Uh... why are you guys suddenly saying all these..."
Claire and Ellis felt an inexplicable sense of competitiveness.
"Well, I'll wait patiently outside. Call me when you're done."
As Kamito turned to leave, Claire tugged on his sleeve to stop him.
"You have to come in with me."
"... Why? This shop only sells girls' clothing, doesn't it?"
"I-It doesn't matter... we have to stay together."
Kamito was forcibly pulled into the shop by his sleeve.
The shop was unexpectedly spacious. In addition to fashionable clothing, it also sold items like underwear.
"Well then, let me first pick out something for my sister."
Rinslet happily disappeared into the shop.
"Kamito, wait here for me... I'll go try something on."
"Try something on?"
"... U-Uh, I mean, so you can help me make a decision."
Claire's cheeks flushed.
(... Oh, I get it.)
Kamito was struck by a sudden understanding and could not hold back a smile.
Having grown up in a sheltered aristocratic family, Claire was probably not used to choosing her own clothing.
(... Nonetheless, it's hardly a good idea to ask me for advice.)
"I'd be glad to help... but I take no responsibility!"
"It doesn't matter, I just want your thoughts."
Claire lifted her twintails proudly, smiled sweetly and said:
"I want you to admire me after my gorgeous makeover."
"I look forward to it... But, with so amazing a model, I'm sure any clothes you pick would look good."
"... S-Stupid! You're talking nonsense again!"
Claire flushed at Kamito's teasing and left with her face red.
At the instant Claire left Kamito's side –
(... Good opportunity!)
At a corner of the shop, Ellis was silently shouting to herself.
Now all the hindering people were out of the way.
Of course, as a Knight, Ellis prided herself on her honesty and nobility.
Normally, she would never take such actions behind the backs of the other two.
However, some things were too important to concede.
(Now is the perfect time!)
Ellis firmly pursed her lovely lips.
Upon further reflection, ever since arriving on this floating island, she had always been half a beat slower than the other two.
The outfit she wore to purify herself in the lake was the plain competition swimwear, the evening gown she so painstakingly prepared was no match for Claire's superior beauty, and even just now, she had been slower than Claire and Rinslet to hold Kamito's hand, and had to settle for his arm.
(I-I absolutely must find some way to improve my position right now...)
Ellis secretly shot a look towards Kamito's side profile.
It was a face she was very used to seeing; nevertheless, it set butterflies aflutter in her stomach.
To think that at first she held prejudices against him just because he was a male elementalist.
She had thought he would destroy the strict discipline of the Academy, and that he was an enemy of hers.
However, things had changed.
(Kamito... I –)
A new emotion budded in the heart of this young girl, who had previously known only of a strict education.
She still could not figure out what this unknown feeling was.
(Kamito, I would love to find out more about you...)
Ellis stroked the ribbon her sister—Velsaria—had given her.
She felt doing that would help her muster her courage.
Suppressing her rapidly throbbing heart, Ellis took a step forward.
Feeling a pull on his sleeve, Kamito turned his head and saw –
Ellis, who was red-faced, had her hand on the sleeve of Kamito's uniform.
"Ellis... what is it?"
"That... c-come with me!"
Tugging at Kamito's cuffs, Ellis pulled him into a small room partitioned off by curtains.
It turned out to be a dressing room with a huge mirror.
"W-What are you doing!?"
"K-Keep it down! Do you want to be blasted into crabmeat butter croquettes?!"
Ellis unsheathed her sword with a hiss, leaving Kamito with no choice but to raise both his hands and nod in submission.
"... But, why are you bringing me into a dressing room?"
"Uh, uh, actually... i-it's because I want you to comment on the clothing I try on."
"Comment on clothing?"
"Right. It's a rare opportunity, so I'd also like to buy some clothes. It's just that... I'm ashamed to say I don't exactly know much about girls' dresses."
... Oh, so she wants me to give her some advice?
(Something isn't right. Claire and Rinslet are both here, so why pick me?)
"If it's girls' outfits you need help with, I think it's better you ask the shopkeepers."
"... Oooh, I-I just want to know what you like!"
"Oh... so that's what it is..."
At Ellis's ferocious glare, Kamito could not help but take a few steps back in fear.
"...Well, all right, what clothing would you like to try on, Ellis?"
"Ah... uh, right now I'm torn between these two pieces –"
Ellis coughed loudly –
Then took out two different articles of clothing and presented them to Kamito.
"Oh, so it's a choice between black and white..."
The cloth before him was dotted with intricate lace flowers.
The fabric was smooth and gave off a sense of quality. It should probably be silk? The upper edge was also lined with lovely lotus leaf decorations –
"... Hey, isn't this underwear!"
Kamito spat, repelled.
No mistake about it, what Ellis was holding was indeed a set of high-class underwear.
"Well, answer quickly... w-which one do you like!"
Ellis herself seemed embarrassed; as she asked her question, her face flushed bright red.
"Y-You want me to choose..."
Ellis's face bore an extremely serious expression. She did not look like she was joking in the slightest, but was genuinely wanting Kamito's advice.
On the one hand was pure and lovely white.
On the other was mature, sophisticated black.
(Ellis is a high-spirited, brave and heroic Knight Captain... common wisdom would say to pick white, I guess.)
... No, precisely because of this, the reverse thinking might be better.
For an honest and pure girl like Ellis, if she wore mature and womanly black underwear... the contradiction would certainly be arousing.
"Kamito, h-hurry up and decide, please! This is really embarrassing."
"Oooh, I know..."
Kamito nodded hastily and made his decision:
"... I would choose the black, I think the mature black underwear suits you well."
"Y-Yes, really... On days where the difference between winning and losing is critical, I'll often wear black underwear."
Ellis nodded, apparently satisfied.
Say, that time he had accidentally peeked in on the girls changing clothes at the Sylphid Knights' general meeting , Ellis had also been wearing black underwear... which means to say there had been some important game that day?
"T-Then I'll get this, next I just need to make sure it's the right size."
"Mmm, then... I'll leave first –"
Kamito sighed in relief and started to move out of the dressing room. Then –
"Oh no... that rascal Kamito, where on earth has he gone now? I clearly told him to wait here!"
Kamito suddenly heard Claire huff.
Surprised, Kamito quickly shut the dressing room curtain he had just half-opened.
(... This is terrible!)
If Claire found him and Ellis nestled in the dressing room together, he would certainly be burned to a crisp.
Kamito quickly turned to tell Ellis about Claire being right outside –
"E-Ellis... what are you doing!?"
Kamito could not help but stare, wide-eyed and tongue-tied.
In the blink of an eye, Ellis had already taken off her uniform and put on the set of underwear.
Seeing Ellis on the verge of shrieking, Kamito quickly covered her mouth with his hand.
He used his momentum to push Ellis's whole body against the wall, then whispered in her ear:
"Don't make a sound... Claire's nearby."
Ellis's eyes widened in surprise.
"... Kamito? Where on earth has he run off to?"
Claire was searching everywhere; by the sound of her voice, she was very close.
Even the slightest movement would give them away.
The duo huddled against the wall, barely daring to even breathe.
A little sigh of relief escaped from between Kamito's fingers over Ellis's mouth.
Through her underwear, he could feel the softness of her huge bosom. Kamito felt as if his furiously beating heart was loud enough to be heard.
(E-Ellis's chest was really something...)
Her tender breasts wobbled and changed shape as his arm pressed against them.
For some unknown reason, moist ripples were swimming in Ellis's pair of brown eyes as well.
... Like this, they passed tens of seconds, that felt like forever.
Claire had probably gone somewhere else, since her voice could finally no longer be heard.
It appears the crisis had been averted. A weight lifted from Kamito's shoulders, and he caught his breath.
Ellis quickly moved away from Kamito, and sharply glared at him.
"W-Why did you suddenly do that!"
"... I'm sorry, it was an urgent situation, I'm so sorry."
While apologizing profusely, Kamito turned away from the underwear-clad Ellis.
"Uhm... Never mind, in any case it was I who asked you to help me pick underwear in the first place."
Ellis softly cleared her throat, shyly lifted her eyes in Kamito's direction and said:
"Oh – Oh yes..."
"What is it now?"
"Do you think t-this underwear really... looks good on me?"
Ellis rubbed her attractive and alluring thighs against each other while shyly asking.
"Ah, I think it looks good. How should I say it... I feel excited when I look at it."
At Kamito's candid answer, Ellis's lips curved upwards in a happy smile.
"Excellent... Then at the critical moment, I will be sure to wear it."
"... Critical moment? Oh, you mean the competition that starts tomorrow."
"I hate you... That's not at all what I meant!"
As if she wanted to be purposely difficult, Ellis pinched Kamito's arm.
(... That Ellis could actually say something like "I hate you" was adorable.)
After departing the dressing room, Kamito, feigning as if nothing much had happened, tapped Claire's shoulder and said,
"– Claire, sorry to have kept you waiting."
"Y-You rascal, where did you go! I was looking for you everywhere!"
"Sorry, I went outside the shop for a second... Oh, the dress you're wearing is very cute."
"Huh... R-Really? You really think it's very cute?"
A puff of hot air emerged from the top of Claire's head, and her twintails bobbed up and down.
She was wearing a white dress of a more mature style, that was also cut very low in the front.
Truthfully speaking, the chest area of the dress looked a bit collapsed, but Kamito intentionally neglected to mention this point. Additionally, leaving aside the issue of whether or not the dress was suitable, Claire was as lovely as ever.
"Hmph... Well, never mind. From now on, I forbid you to come and go anytime you wish. You're to stay by your master's side, got it?"
"All right, I get it."
It seemed like he had successfully managed to appease the hell cat maiden.
Fortunate to have avoided being burnt to a crisp, Kamito let out a sigh of relief.
"Ho ho, looks like you bought something revealing by accident."
"W-What's the matter with me, why would I go so far as to buy such provocative underwear..."
As the other two waited at the front of the stall, Rinslet finished shopping for her sister and Ellis bought her underwear. The task completed, they headed towards the Biblion, a short walk away from the port.
Situated on a slightly raised plot of land, it looked like a huge citadel from the outside.
Like the tower where Kamito and the others were settled at, this building had also been repaired through ancient relic restoration.
In terms of sheer size, the Biblion could not compare to the library of seals, the pride of the Areishia Spirit Academy, but it was home to many ancient rare collections and even legendary forbidden books.
Such a place was one where they were likely to find a way to destroy the Brand of Darkness eroding Kamito, or even a clue as to how to bring back the disappeared Est.
As Kamito and the others entered the building, the sight that greeted them was that of innumerable bookshelves, each as high as the ceiling.
"This library sure is huge..."
"We'll take charge of researching the Brand of Darkness. Kamito, go look for clues on Est – there should be quite a bit of information here about legends of the Demon Slaying Sacred Sword."
Kamito nodded to show his agreement, then walked to the bookshelf that held records of legends from all across the continent.
On his way there, low murmurs of the Divine Ritual Institute's princess maidens whispering to each other floated into his ear.
"Quick, look, it's the male elementalist." "He's the pervert we've heard rumors about?" "Careful, don't look at his eyes, you'll be defiled!"
(W-Why do even the princess maidens in the Sanctuary know of those rumors about me?)
Kamito sighed heavily and began searching for documents about the Sacred Sword.
Meanwhile, Claire and the others, led by the librarian, had entered the sealed archives located underground.
After all, the curse Kamito bore was one even Fianna—once the second-best princess maiden of the Divine Ritual Institute—could not destroy.
As such, it would be a waste of time to simply browse literature on general spirit magic. Therefore, after some thought, the girls decided to instead focus their research on the forbidden books in the sealed archives.
The forbidden books covered quite a diverse range of content; for example, some held confidential information on the curse-bearing seal—a technique many countries had now banned the research of.
"Given the nature of that curse, it might be something similar to the curse-bearing seal."
"That is a possibility... Furthermore, there are also signs that Ren Ashbell's Alphas Theocracy is secretly conducting research on the curse-bearing seal –"
"While we're at it, it might be better if we investigated the Alphas Theocracy as well."
One by one, Claire and the others began flipping through the forbidden books displayed on the shelves.
Although they were all aristocratic daughters from distinguished families, just their princess maiden status alone would not get them access to these forbidden books.
All of them could have access to these books only because of their particular situation—they were participants in the Blade Dance.
"Records of the punitive expedition of S-rank spirits in a deep sleep in the spirit forest... nope."
"Data on the curse-bearing seal collected during the time of the Blue Baltic War... Oh, this one might contain a clue."
"... Ancient Taboo Magic... This book should be useful—Ahhh!?"
While looking through the collections, Ellis let out a shriek of shock.
"Ellis, did you find a clue!?"
"What's happened to you? Why is your face so red?"
"N-Nothing! It's nothing at all –"
Claire stole a glance at the book was Ellis holding open.
"Ah ah ah! W-What is this!"
Claire blushed hotly as well.
The picture on the book was a portrait of a princess maiden in a very indecent position.
The taboo ritual magic—this book's content was so explicitly realistic that even Claire, who had a soft spot for provocative romance novels, could not help but take three steps backwards.
"N-Nasty... this is simply too obscene!"
"Captain, you pervert!"
"N-No! I was looking for books about rituals and accidentally took this one, that's all!"
From the way Ellis was hurriedly shaking her head in denial, one could tell this noble Knight girl had been quite shocked.
"..." "..." "..."
They were silent for a while.
Looking at the taboo book before them, the girls swallowed nervously.
"I say... w-why don't we flip through it briefly and take a look?"
Claire proposed a suggestion, a note of slight hesitation in her voice.
"... T-That could be good, there might be something useful in there, you never know."
"Y-Yes... one can't deny there is such a possibility –"
Rinslet and Ellis both nodded, but averted their glances, not comfortable with looking at each other.
Claire nodded and psychologically prepared herself, then began flipping through the book with trembling fingers.
"... Wow!? W-What is this thing! I-I don't understand..."
"What's going on... b-blindfold him, and then do something like that... aaaah!"
"Is t-this... a man's... thing?"
"Put it i-in one's mouth... and... a-also lick it?"
"T-To go as far as to put that in between one's breasts... ewwww... h-how could one be willing to do such a thing!"
"..." "..." "..."
These girls were relatively innocent and would be shy to merely hold hands with a boy of their own age.
The impact of peeping into the unknown world left them suddenly speechless.
The only sound to be heard was the flipping of pages, echoing in the silent sealed archives.
In all honesty, all three of them thoroughly enjoyed what they saw.
While Claire and the others were getting excited in the underground archives –
"... Whew... when I finish reading these, I will have died of exhaustion."
Kamito moved the heap of documents onto the table and began his investigation on the legends of the Sacred Sword.
The Demon Slayer Sacred Sword—also known as the Sacred Sword of Severian, was a highly prized sword of legend.
The source of this name came from the Sacred Queen—Areishia Idriss's legend.
She was the wielder of the Sacred Sword, as well as the one who vanquished the Demon King.
There was no one on this continent who did not know her name.
Surprisingly, however, most people knew only the name of Areishia Idriss, and not the truth of her exploits. Furthermore, future generations had embellished many of her legends, such that the truth was virtually impossible to know.
(... All right, never mind, the great Sacred Queen isn't important.)
His immediate priority right now was the Sacred Sword she wielded.
Only paying attention to phrases related to the Sacred Sword, Kamito flipped through the document quickly.
The Sacred Sword able to vanquish the Demon King was definitely no ordinary weapon.
The most likely argument was—the Sacred Sword had in truth been created from high-level spirits.
After eliminating the Demon King, the Queen Areishia had apparently sealed the contracted spirit that had fought alongside her all the way in one of the swords inside the castle of the devil king.
The sword used to seal the spirit, the sword that she had relied on to do all this, was the Sacred Sword of Severian.
As for the reason why Areishia would want to seal her own contracted spirit inside the sword—no one knew. Similarly, there was much speculation as to her whereabouts after she eliminated the Demon King, but no conclusive answer.
Kamito closed the book, speechless..
(The conclusion is... we still cannot say anything for certain; what is unknown is still unknown.)
Although they had accessed a wide range of documents, virtually all of them contained only hearsay with no basis in fact.
As for the spirit forest that Est had originally been sealed in, he could not find anything more detailed than what was already in the library of seals.
– Having said that, however, Kamito had not had high hopes in the first place.
(However many similar documents I look at, there is no way to bring Est back.)
Moreover, whether or not Est was the real Demon Slaying Sacred Sword did not matter. To Kamito, she was his important partner, a point that would not change regardless of anything.
Kamito gently stroked the spirit seal on his right hand.
Est, with dazzlingly beautiful silver-white hair, virgin milky white skin, and a face that usually held no expression, until Kamito stroked her head; she would then narrow her eyes in a smile to show her pleasure.
(... Est will surely come back to me.)
To believe in her wholeheartedly and await her return – that was all Kamito could do for her now.
Kamito got back to his feet, picked up the pile of documents with both his hands and prepared to return them to the shelves..
Just as he finished putting all the books back to their original display positions –
"– You are Kazehaya Kamito?"
Kamito turned in the direction of the sudden call.
"Oh my god!"
The young lady before him was one he had met before.
The reason for Kamito's inadvertent shocked scream was because he really did not want to bump into such a person.
"What the – is that a greeting you thought up yourself? Kazehaya Kamito?"
The girl frowned unhappily.
With thick bright shoulder-length black hair, she had an icy kind of beauty.
The girl was wearing a beret inlaid with the crest of a flying dragon, as well as a black military uniform that gave her a majestic aura and suited her very well.
She was also staring coldly at Kamito through her glasses with a strong and forceful gaze.
She was a contestant from Dracunia, Leader of the Knights of the Dragon Emperor – Leonora Lancaster.
In this Blade Dance, she was among the more promising elementalists and favorites to win the tournament.
However, she was also a dangerous girl who was seeking to physically deal with Kamito's lower half.
"Y-You fool, what are you doing here?"
"What a stupid question. Obviously, I'm gathering intelligence on other countries' teams."
Leonora pushed at her spectacles with her middle finger, gave Kamito an exasperated look and replied.
So that was it... Indeed, there were some documents in her hands. Despite possessing power few other players could rival, she still put in the effort to find out about her competitors – she truly was a formidable opponent.
Kamito then raised a question about another thing he had realized:
"You didn't wear glasses before, did you?"
"... You really are a worse pervert than the rumors say, if even such subtle changes cannot escape your notice."
"Uh... is this a subtle change?"
... If it were a change of hairstyle, he might not notice, but glasses were rather difficult to overlook.
"I only wear them to read. My eyesight is actually quite poor. I use spirit magic during the blade dance to strengthen my vision."
The Dragon Knight maiden stared coldly at Kamito and continued:
"Say it directly if you wish... say I don't look good in glasses."
"Ah...? Not at all, I think the look suits you, I think it's very cute."
"W-What nonsense are you saying! You pervert with a glasses fetish!"
The sudden and inexplicable scolding left Kamito squinting and mumbling in confusion.
Leonora cleared her throat and replied with a question of her own.
"And you, why are you coming to a place like this?"
"... Ah, uh, because I wanted to investigate some things."
It would be a disaster if his competitors learned about him losing Est.
Kamito gave a vague answer hoping to evade the topic, but –
Leonora suddenly turned her gaze towards the shelf Kamito had returned his books to.
"So, the thing you're investigating has to do with your contracted spirit?"
Surprised, Kamito instinctively fell into a combat pose to fend off an enemy.
"... Even you guys know about it?"
"Are you referring to – your sword spirit's disappearance?"
Leonora's frosty gaze seemed to pierce right through Kamito.
"Sorry, I took the liberty to spectate the battle between you and the militarized spirit."
"... So that's how."
Apparently, she had seen the full course of the battle between their group and Muir Alenstarl.
At that time, in order to prevent anyone from becoming aware of the battle outside, Ren Ashbell had laid down a large-scale Isolation Barrier around the tower, but it had not deceived an elementalist as powerful as Leonora.
"So you just silently watched Claire and the others get hurt?"
"Did I have an obligation to enter combat to rescue them?"
Kamito forcibly swallowed nasty words of accusation.
She did indeed have a point. By no means was she obliged to extend a helping hand to a rival team's elementalists.
"You are too naive. The Blade Dance is no friendly contest, it is a symbolic war with matters of national prestige and prosperity at stake."
Her line of reasoning was quite correct.
The victorious country of the Blade Dance would receive all manner of blessings from the Elemental Lords – the influence of this was huge, and it could even affect the fortunes of the entire country.
Furthermore, the Dracunia Knights were surely not the only ones who had watched the skirmish on the side.
"In any case, I'm sure you guys loved watching us beat each other bloody."
She was not to blame – although Kamito understood this in his heart, he could not keep the harsh words from escaping his mouth.
"No... in fact, regarding the disappearance of your sword spirit, I'm also very sorry."
Shaking her head, Leonora spoke up unexpectedly.
"I could feel that spirit had strength to equal my Dragon Slayer Sacred Sword – as a knight, I had very much hoped to do battle with you at your peak condition."
Looking at her sincere expression, Kamito's response was –
"Leonora, you're mistaken."
"Est has not really disappeared. Also... her real strength is far more than you know."
"... Oh, if that's so, I'm sorry."
Leonora smiled and nodded in understanding.
It was perhaps an illusion, but in that moment, her pupils seemed to change color.
"I don't intend to go easy on you, though. As the saying goes in our country— 'The dragons of Dracunia will go all out to take down even hunting lions' —I will do everything in my power to defeat you."
"That's fine... show me what you got."
Kamito replied indifferently, but sighed bitterly to himself.
(This girl really is a rival...)
Leonora Lancaster possessed solid power and could stand up to the strongest elementalist in the Academy – Velsaria.
The Nidhogg she summoned was a dragon spirit that had been able to, in a single blow, instantly vaporize the militarized spirit that attacked the flying ship. The extent of its power was hard to comprehend.
However, that was not where the true power of this dragon girl lay.
Although she also had overwhelming strength, it did not make her arrogant. She was not complacent or careless even against weaker opponents – this impeccable temperament was her most threatening weapon.
With things in their current state, with Est lost, they really could not fight her.
"Well, if you insist –"
All of a sudden, Leonora abruptly pushed Kamito against the bookshelf.
Kamito just barely stopped himself from shouting.
A pair of upwardly curving eyes regarded Kamito from beneath glasses.
The faintly sweet smell of shampoo tickled Kamito's nose.
"... W-What do you want!?"
"Wasn't it you who just said 'show me what you've got'? Kazehaya Kamito."
Leonora held her index finger to Kamito's lips, and stepped even closer to him.
Her perfectly bouncy breasts pressed tightly against Kamito's arm.
(... This... this one's chest really is unexpectedly big!)
She probably dressed to cover her figure, like Ellis.
(... I'm so stupid, this isn't the time to have such nonsense thoughts!)
Although the two of them were hidden by bookshelves, there were several princess maidens nearby. If they were caught, they would surely be sent to the Divine Ritual Institute's council for this delinquency.
"Your heart's beating faster, is my body getting you excited?"
"D-Doesn't that go without saying? To be held so tightly by s-such a cute girl as you –"
"... C-Cute? Me?"
The dragon girl stared with wide eyes in surprise.
"That's the first time... any man's said something like that to me..."
"A-Anyway, let me go!"
"How will that do."
"... What do you mean?"
"As I just said, 'The dragons of Dracunia will go all out to take down even hunting lions.' After seeing your battle against Muir Alenstarl last night, our country's military personnel made an emergency decision to change our strategy against you.
"Strategy against me?"
"Which is to chop off your thing before you sink your evil clutches into any of your princess maiden Knight teammates."
"That's your state policy!?"
Kamito could not help but roar.
Dracunia... that country was more terrible than he had even imagined.
"But our military also came to another conclusion – as you are the only male elementalist in the world, it would be a terrible pity to have such an outstanding bloodline end just like that."
"... Oh, I think I understand what you mean."
Kamito said under his breath, rolling his eyes.
In simple terms, they were currently in a situation commonly known as the Beauty Trap.
"Obediently grovel at my feet – Kazehaya Kamito."
Leonora was whispering sweet words that turned one's head numb.
(T-This girl, she really has completely changed from last time...!)
Previously, Kamito only had to accidentally brush against her chest for this Dragon Knight maiden to faint; she had originally been more innocent than even the Academy girls.
Even if it was because she had been ordered to do so, how did she manage to tempt Kamito like this?
The girl before him – seemed to be an entirely different person.
"Hey, are you even..."
At that moment, Kamito suddenly realized –
Leonora's originally black pupils now had a smoky red coat, as if burnt by a flame.
(... What's going on?)
Just when Kamito was frowning in thought –
"You really are a stubborn man who refuses to obediently submit, contrary to what the rumors say..."
Leonora picked the skirt of her uniform up by both sides, and slowly lifted it upwards.
At this, Kamito's heart involuntarily started to throb.
Accompanied by the sound of cloth friction, her skirt approached even closer to the edge of modesty.
For some unknown reason, although it had already long passed the warning line – her panties were nowhere to be seen.
"Hey... y-you're going to expose your panties!"
"You needn't worry, as servants of the dragon, we Dracunia princess maidens... don't have the habit of wearing panties."
"How is that nothing to worry about!"
Indeed, he had heard of elementalist princess maidens choosing not to wear underwear to enhance their connection with their spirits.
"Abandon resistance, then proclaim your eternal loyalty to my country."
In pace with the rubbing sounds of fabric, in only a second, her skirt would be completely lifted. Then –
"Y-You two! Wh-Wh-Wh-What unspeakable things are you doing!"
It was none other than –
Claire, her shoulders quivering and her red twintails bristling in anger.
"D-Disgusting... that you would think to do something so immoral and depraved in the sacred Biblion..."
"We left you alone for just a moment, and you take the opportunity to do such a thing!"
Ellis and Rinslet were also glaring at Kamito furiously.
"N-No, it's not what you think! It's..."
"Disturbed by hindering nuisances..."
With a sigh, Leonora swiftly separated herself from Kamito.
Kamito looked at her, puzzled, and realized something –
Sometime ago, the burnt smoky red glaze on her pupils had disappeared, to be replaced by the original black.
Additionally, the look on Leonora's face suggested that the something possessing her had just disappeared.
"I'm very sorry, just now the Dragon Blood in my body seemed to have awaken carelessly."
This strange word left Kamito puzzled.
However, Claire's alert ears twitched.
"– Then... We'll continue some other time. The next time we meet will probably be on the battlefield."
Leonora turned and quickly marched, military-style, from the scene.
Kamito watched her image move increasingly further away.
"... Go on, speak... You rascal, what were you doing with that woman?"
Claire questioned Kamito coldly.
"I bumped into her accidentally, and we just shared some idle chat about the main event tomorrow... I swear."
"... Ooh, is that so? Forget it."
"Have you found out anything about Est?"
"No, there was nothing useful... what about you, any findings?"
Kamito returned the question, then –
The three ladies blushed tomato-red.
"W-We found nothing!"
"Right! A-And also, we definitely didn't peek at any taboo magic books, oh!"
At their distraught reactions, Kamito frowned in confusion.
It was sunset by the time the group left the Biblion.
On the return carriage, Kamito asked Claire:
"Hey, remember the Dragon Blood Leonora talked about just now? What is that?"
"... About that, I've only ever heard rumors."
Resting her cheeks on her hands, Claire mused:
"That's a specific kind of constitution... It's said that people with Dragon Blood will very rarely be born as princess maidens in service of the dragon. Legend has it that when the Dragon Blood awakens in the princess maiden's body, she will become one with the dragon."
"Become one with the dragon?"
What on earth did those words mean? It was difficult to understand.
However, what he could say for sure was that – Leonora had obviously become a completely different person just now.
(To think that such a noble Dragon Knight would actually become like that...)
Recalling the touch of her soft breasts set Kamito's stomach aflutter.
"Hey... Kamito, you aren't thinking nonsense, are you?"
"N-No, I'm not... just thinking that Leonora is quite the formidable opponent, that's all –"
"R-Really, yeah, if it were that girl's chest... she should be able to put it in between!"
"Between? Between what?"
"O-Or, you could say... unless you mean, your measurements are so large that even that girl would not be able to fit it...?"
Confused, Kamito looked towards Ellis and Rinslet, sitting opposite, and for some unknown reason, they were both red-faced with embarrassment.
(Oh well, never mind...)
Kamito lowered his body slowly onto the carriage seat.
Gazing out the window at the scenery, he noted the sun setting gradually into the hills.
The main competition of the Blade Dance, the war, would commence tomorrow.
It would be a long day, full of arduous Blade Dance presentation.
Today was the last day he would have so much leisure time to enjoy with his teammates.
At this thought, Kamito inadvertently reached out a hand to touch her – his partner sword, usually always hanging at his waist.
However, his hand met only emptiness.
He could feel not even the slightest pain from the spirit seal on his right hand.
The sword, luster all lost, fell for what felt like eternity through an endless darkness.
She was not dormant, yet not conscious, only silent and still.
Whether to call this feeling peace or torture varied from person to person, but truth be told, these additional definitions were meaningless – stillness was stillness.
The sword sank in the pitch-blackness; it was a world with nothing bar darkness.
Her power almost all lost, all the sword spirit could do was to call his name.
Kamito... I am your sword, so –
The spirit whispered, and at that moment –
Out of the darkness suddenly shot a dazzling light.
The figure that appeared in the light was – a naked, pale-skinned, silvery-white-haired maiden.
She looked just like Est in human form.
– Who are you?
The sword asked the girl before her.
I am the consciousness of the one... previously known as the Demon Slayer Sacred Sword.
The silvery-white-haired girl answered, her expression blank.
You... are me?
Yes. You are me – whereas I, am you complete.
At her answer, Est finally understood the true identity of the girl.
You are my 'body'... right?
Yes, I am your higher physical presence.
The girl nodded, expressionless.
She was the highest-level sword spirit with overwhelming power – the real Demon Slayer Sacred Sword.
When Est had made an incomplete spirit contract with Kamito, she had split into two individuals.
Perhaps it was because Est had lost her power and was on the verge of disappearing that the loop joining the two of them could once again reconnect.
I cannot stay for much longer.
The girl who looked exactly like Est gently stretched out her right hand to her –
And commanded in a cold expressionless voice:
I command you to immediately destroy the contract with Kazehaya Kamito and come back to me.
For her, this was a request there was no denying.
After all, Est's contract with Kamito was an informal, happenstance event in the first place.
Because the Demon Slayer Sacred Sword had not originally intended to make any contracts with elementalists.
Even she herself did not know why she had let herself become the contracted spirit of that boy.
These conflicting emotions split to form Terminus Est – this was the origin of the other Est.
However, now that the contract Gate between Est and Kazehaya Kamito was closed, she could take advantage of this time to fuse back the missing piece Terminus Est.
... I-I refuse.
The sword—Est—turned down the outstretched hand of the Sacred Sword maiden.
The sword cut through the surrounding darkness, and pointed its tip towards the girl's throat.
– You refuse?
I do not... I do not want to break my contract with Kamito...
You are merely a part of me, yet you want to defy my wishes?
I am the sword of Kamito, not something of yours.
Est expressed her desire to refuse clearly to the maiden.
– I understand, it seems... that elementalist has germinated in you the seed of self-awareness.
Again expressionless, the girl said quietly.
Her silvery white hair, which exuded a faint light in the dark, whipped up violently.
But I do have to tell you, Est... you—or I should say, I—do not have the right to become the sword of any person.
... I don't understand what you mean?
Because my existence itself is a kind of sin.
The sword could not understand the meaning in the girl's words because, in the moment that she contracted with Kamito, she lost most of the memories she had in common with her original body.
The present Est was left with a handful of incomplete past memory fragments.
As well as the memory of the short period of time spent with Kamito and the others.
Recall it, the sins that you – and I – must bear.
The silvery-white-haired girl gently touched the tip of the sword.
In an instant, memories flowed like a fierce torrent into Est's mind –
Recall it, the events with the very first person to contract with me... Areishia Idriss.