Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance:Volume6 Chapter1
Chapter 1 - The First Dawn
The singing of birds could be heard from the forest. A cold early morning that chilled one to the bones.
A soft sensation could be felt near his cheek--
Kamito woke up with a start.
He was surrounded by darkness. The light streaming into the tent was also rather weak.
Half awake, he was just about to get up from the simple bed--
A pang of intense pain could be felt from his ribs.
"Speaking of which, I'm still wounded..."
Kamito groaned painfully.
It happened last night--during the first night of the Blade Dance festival, he received these injuries when battling Leonora Lancaster, the ace of the Knights of the Dragon Emperor who represented Dracunia.
Even though it was a brief battle lasting only a couple of minutes, Kamito was still cornered to the verge of death by Leonora who had become a berserker through the awakening of Dragon Blood. Using her elemental waffe of the strongest class, the Dragon Slayer, she penetrated his chest deeply.
Kamito was able to make a comeback and defeat Leonora only thanks to the revived sword spirit Est. To this date, the Demon Slayer had already saved him from many desperate crises. Even though she had closed off her heart due to past tragedy, in the end, she still responded to Kamito's summons and returned to the battlefield.
Suddenly, Kamito noticed a sense of dissonance.
Trying to get up from the simple bed, Kamito found his arm--
Being gripped tightly by a small and icy-cold hand.
Kamito was shocked.
Before his eyes was a beautiful girl with silver-white hair, sleeping soundly with light breathing noises.
Her curled up body was wrapped in a blanket. Her sleeping form almost resembled a tiny angel.
However, the problem was--
Her manner of attire, which was basically nude... That was the situation.
Other than the black kneesocks that covered her legs, her entire body was bare.
Lustrous silver-white hair. Skin as smooth and white as fresh milk.
From the gaps of the blanket, two mild protrusions were faintly visible.
Her adorable breath brushed against his arm, causing a strange ticklish feeling.
"What should I do now, given this..."
Kamito muttered in a quandary.
Est's hand was currently gripping Kamito's arm tightly. This prevented him from getting up directly.
Seeing her sleeping so soundly, it would be a pity to wake her up on purpose.
Besides... Gazing at Est's peaceful sleeping face, Kamito recalled.
The reason she was like this, was probably because she felt insecure.
Normally she would sleep in the form of a sword in order to reduce the consumption of power, but now she was maintaining the appearance of a young girl. This was the proof.
In order to save Kamito who was being devoured by the Brand of Darkness, Est had sacrificed herself and disappeared from this world. At the time, she recalled the past memories she had forgotten.
She recalled the life of her first contractor -- Sacred Queen Areishia Idriss. Her memories had been stolen by the curse.
Even though Est was currently incomplete, holding only one tenth of her original power, she still inherited the attributes of the demon sword which robbed its owner's life. If he continued to maintain his contract with Est, Kamito would soon meet the same fate as her past contractors.
Nevertheless, Kamito had made a promise with Est.
Whether your curse or your fate as a demon sword, I will accept all of it -- that was what he had said.
(I will win the Blade Dance together with Est --)
Watching Est's peaceful sleeping face, Kamito renewed his resolve.
The winner of the Blade Dance was to be bestowed a miracle by the Elemental Lords.
Through this miraculous power, capable of making any Wish come true, changing Est's fate as a demon sword was not impossible.
Kamito felt a pang of pain in his left hand, the one covered by the black leather glove.
Beneath the glove was the spirit seal from his past contracted spirit.
Three years ago, Kamito was known as the Strongest Blade Dancer. In order to realize her Wish, he had emerged as the victor of the Blade Dance.
(At the time -- What kind of wish did I make for her...)
Somehow, almost all of his memories of that day were gone.
What he could recall were merely scraps of images.
The figure of the darkness spirit devoured by a pitch-black Wish.
After that, three years had passed--
She appeared before Kamito once more.
As the subordinate of a different and mysterious Ren Ashbell.
Feeling a squirming presence, Kamito looked down at Est.
Only to find her still sleeping with cute breathing noises.
...Apparently she called out Kamito's name from her dreams.
"I am your sword... Your wish is my command..."
His fingertips felt the soft sensation of her lips.
Just as Kamito frantically tried to withdraw--
"Mmm... Kamito... I... love..."
Est held on to Kamito's arm tightly.
What should he do, just as Kamito agonized, at this moment--
Snap... Sounds of twigs breaking could be heard coming from outside the tent.
"...E-Excuse me, Kamito. W-What do you think y-you are d-do, d-doing?"
At the entrance to the tent, a girl was wielding Flametongue, her shoulders trembling.
Her long hair was tied into twintails on opposite sides of her head. Her eyes were like rubies infused with burning flames. Despite the slight paucity of her bosom, the proportions of her figure were as beautiful as a statue of a goddess.
Claire Rouge. Originally the high-born daughter hailing from the prestigious family of Duke Elstein.
A cute and beautiful girl who mesmerized people on sight.
"How do you intend to e-ex, e-explain?"
In her current state, she was almost akin to a berserk flame spirit.
"Hey, hey... The tent is catching on fire!"
Kamito called out frantically--
"And I-I was so w-worried about you!"
Her twintails standing upright on end, Claire walked directly over.
"N-No, this is a misunderstanding!"
"...~tsk, what is this, isn't that your explanation every single time!?"
Tears were beginning to well up in those ruby-like eyes.
At this moment--
Est finally woke up.
Yawning adorably, she rubbed her eyes with her hands.
...Apparently not completely awake.
Just as Claire stopped advancing, in that very instant.
" "What!?" "
Kamito and Claire screamed simultaneously.
Because Est kissed Kamito on his cheek.
"Y-You, y-you, what are you d-doing!?"
Claire shouted with her face all red.
"I am Kamito's contracted spirit. Offering a morning kiss to the contractor is a natural duty."
"L-Liar, I've never heard of anything like that!?"
Trembling, Claire's hair made noises as she shook... Indeed, it has never been heard of before.
"...~tsk, Kamito, you must have taught weird ideas to Est again..."
"I have no idea! Besides, what do you mean by 'again'!?"
The tent's wooden support column began to emit black smoke.
...Not good. If this continued, the entire tent will turn into charcoal.
Kamito hastily racked his brains for a way to escape the crisis--
"B-By the way, I am being ordered around by you as your contracted spirit, right?"
"...? That's right, after all, you are my slave spirit."
Claire nodded matter-of-factly... Truly deplorable, but whatever.
"Well then, I will also offer a morning kiss to my master."
Claire was instantly frozen with shock.
In this situation, the term master -- referred to Claire, naturally.
"W-Wha, w-what is this! Some kind of joke?"
"It can't possibly be a joke."
As Kamito slid his finger lightly across her chin, Claire made a cute scream.
"I-If you dare do such a thing, don't expect me to forgiiii... Uwah!"
"Hey, just relax--"
As soon as he blew lightly in her ear, Claire suddenly lost all strength and collapsed.
Before she fell over, Kamito frantically caught and supported her back.
"S-Seriously, what are you doing...!"
Claire instantly blushed bright red and began to anger. But unbelievably, she made no effort to resist meaningfully.
Probably having bathed in river water, her smooth skin gave off the scent of soap.
"Your ears are your weak points, you know."
Usually domineering in personality, Claire was unexpectedly meek when others took the initiative. Kamito knew that very well.
Even though she was the violent hell cat girl, her true nature was a pure and delicate young lady.
Kamito embraced Claire as she lay powerlessly in his arms.
"Well then, please accept this morning kiss... Master."
Whispering softly in her ear, he drew his lips lightly towards Claire's face--
Instantly, Claire's head began to emit steam.
"Waaaaah, Kamito you jerk!"
Her face all red, Claire noisily swayed her twintails as she ran away.
"...Seriously, she's still so cute."
Kamito shrugged and smiled wryly.
That said, perhaps he really went too far this time. Even though this method was very effective in dismissing her anger, it did create problems later.
...Perhaps he should prepare his grave while he still had time.
"--Kamito is the Demon King of the Night."
Est was expressionless -- However, her murmuring voice sounded subtly unhappy.
Caressing Est's head, Kamito said:
"Est, it's fine if you want to sleep a while longer. Have you recovered your power?"
"Yes, Kamito. In order to become your sword, I will focus on recovering my power."
Est nodded obediently and went back to sleep.
Covering her still naked body with a blanket, Kamito then changed his uniform.
Walking out of the tent, he took a deep breath of the refreshing early morning air.
--At this time, he noticed something had fallen before the tent.
It was a coil of unimpressive bandages. Also, there was a basket of fruit.
"...That girl, she even brought these things... Feels like I'm the bad guy now."
Scratching his face, he was just about to pick up the objects on the ground when--
"Fufu, Kamito-kun, you surely brought to life your beast-like self just now."
Rustle rustle... A girl appeared out from the thicket.
Gorgeous waist-length black hair. Light gray eyes, adorned by cute lashes.
Wearing a bold uniform that was styled like a low-cut dress, she was the Empire's former imperial princess.
"...Fianna!? You s-saw!?"
"--I will also offer a morning kiss to my master."
While maintaining a serious expression, the imperial princess imitated Kamito's voice.
Kamito instantly ducked, clutching his head in his arms.
"--Well then, please accept this morning kiss... Master."
"Aaaaaah... I-I beg you, please stop it... Please stop this."
"Fufu, Kamito-kun is so cute~"
Watching Kamito rolling around on the ground in embarrassment, Fianna smiled mischievously with a chuckle.
"How amazing. While I was sleeping, you've built a stronghold already?"
"No, it's only half complete. We need an even sturdier stronghold this time. A fortress-class stronghold that not even Dracunia's Knights of the Dragon Emperor could breach."
Kamito and Fianna walked side by side in the quiet forest.
Although ordinary people could only see a forest here, anyone with sufficient elementalist potential would notice an invisible barrier spread out between the trees.
To have constructed this level of a barrier within the span of merely one night, she truly lived up to her name as the princess maiden who was the original candidate for Queen. During this time, other teams were probably constructing their own strongholds, but surely none of them could have surpassed Fianna's in strength.
Faced with such a solid stronghold, there probably would not be any teams making an assault like Leonora's group last night.
Land protected by multiple barriers was equivalent to a sturdy castle to elementalists. The protection from the earth spirits bolstered divine power, and through the leylines flowing underground, one could even obtain blessings such as the recovery of fatigue.
"Of course, mechanisms for intercepting intruders are also perfect~"
"Yeah. Even this number of spirits have been tamed completely."
Surveying the little spirits flying across the forest, Kamito nodded with great feeling.
"Fufu, I'm looking forward to seeing elementalists from other teams fall into the traps."
"...Isn't that statement a little abnormal for a prestigious imperial princess to make?"
As Fianna smiled malevolently, Kamito cast a gaze of surprise--
Suddenly something passed them beneath their feet.
It was too late by the time they noticed. Just as Kamito was thinking there was something rising from the ground, numerous vines of plants appeared from underground and suspended Fianna in midair.
"...Ah! What are you doing... Insolent ones!"
Restrained and tied up by the vines, the imperial princess was struggling in panic. However, the more she moved the tighter the vines wrapped themselves around her soft bosom and buttocks.
Apparently, there were still some earth spirits who had yet to submit to her command.
"Yah, ahhh, this tickles...!"
The skirt of her uniform was swept up, offering a tantalizing view of her pure white panties.
"Ah, K-Kamito-kun... Please d-don't look!"
Fianna frantically tried to hold down her skirt. However, suspended in midair, she could not move freely and her skirt was lifted higher and higher.
With great awkwardness, Kamito found a very cute butt suddenly thrust before his nose.
A pair of extremely soft-looking white panties dominated Kamito's view entirely.
Pulled upwards by the vines, the panties were being embedded deeply into her bottom.
"Ah, owww... It hurts... Oooh... S-Save me...!"
Tear drops appearing from her eyes, Fianna moaned painfully.
"H-Hold on! I'm going to cut the vines now!"
Kamito took out a short sword from the chest of his uniform and prepared to sever the vines--
In that instant, one of Fianna's legs was pulled vertically up this time.
The short skirt was entirely curled up, exposing the white panties clearly in view.
"N-No, I don't want to look like this in front of Kamito-kun--!"
Fianna struggled frantically in an unsightly manner.
"Fianna, c-calm down! If you move randomly, my hand will -- Ah!"
Intending to sever the vines, Kamito's hand slipped.
With the sound of something tearing, a piece of white fabric fluttered to the ground.
Embroidered with a cute design, it was the fair imperial princess' panties.
"Seriously, Kamito-kun is such a pervert! The Demon King of the Daytime!"
"Like I said, I'm sorry..."
Faced with Fianna pouting angrily, Kamito apologized again and again.
"I-I really didn't mean to do that!"
"...Hmph -- How would I really know?"
The imperial princess cast a gaze of suspicion. Perhaps due to her unclothed nether region, she was unable to remain calm as she tightly held down the sides of her skirt, her legs moving awkwardly as she walked.
"I-If I knew it was going to be seen anyway, I should have worn more appropriate underwear..."
"The pair just now was very cute too... Ah, wait..."
Thud thud thud thud.
Blushing intensely, Fianna hammered her fists against Kamito's back.
Even though she was always teasing boldly, her true nature was a pure and innocent princess.
"S-Seriously, that's why Kamito-kun is such a jerk who doesn't know anything!"
Suddenly making a turn, she began to walk away.
"Where are you going?"
"Off to teach those earth spirits a good lesson. So that the incident just now does not happen a second time!"
Fianna left the path in the woods and entered the depths of the thicket.
...Apparently, Kamito had really made the princess displeased.
"...Well, as long as she stays in the barrier, there shouldn't be any danger."
Kamito sighed and continued along the path.
Leaving the forest -- Kamito arrived at the place where he had engaged Leonora in blade dance last night.
This was originally part of the dense forest but the majority of the trees had fallen over from the violent winds while the ground was scarred with craters.
This was the trail of destruction remaining from Leonora's going berserk.
(...An opponent I have no wish of facing again, but undoubtedly she will advance to the finals.)
Kamito muttered with a sigh.
The Blade Dance festival this time was far more deadly than the last -- that was what his battle with Leonora impressed upon him.
(However, Ren Ashbell's team definitely surpasses the Knights of the Dragon Emperor by far...)
Not only the other Ren Ashbell who had invited Kamito to dance at the ball -- but also the Instructional School's monster, Muir Alenstarl. Demon Caster Sjora Kahn.
As well as--
(That black knight...)
That particular person. Even amongst the gathering of monsters in Team Inferno, that person's ominous aura stood out.
An elementalist's instincts sensed it -- some kind of heretical beyond-human existence.
"Are we able to win? Against those kinds of people--"
During the two months since he had joined the Academy through Greyworth's machinations, Kamito had already recovered the majority of his combat sense.
Not only did he retrieve the power that earned him the title of the Strongest Blade Dancer three years ago, his new contract was with Est who belonged to the strongest class of sword spirit.
(However, it's still not enough...)
Unrelated to swordsmanship or the resilience of the body, a more fundamental issue of power--
Kamito suddenly stopped walking.
Dissimilar to the smell of branches burning, an intense aroma was reaching his nose.
(...This smells great.)
Rumble. His stomach began to growl as if awakened.
...Speaking of which, I haven't eaten anything since dinner last night.
Making his way towards the direction of the aroma, at a clearing on the riverside, he found the back view of a blonde high-class young lady.
Happily humming a song, she cooked soup in a pot.
Kamito tip-toed and approached--
"Rinslet, what are you doing?"
Surprised from behind, Rinslet screamed cutely and turned around.
Bathed beneath the morning rays, her long and platinum blonde hair displayed dazzling luster.
Her beautiful emerald green eyes opened wide.
Dressed in an apron around her uniform, she was holding a bowl and a spoon in her hands.
To be frank, this get up did not suit her identity as a high-class young lady at all, but the contrast proved to be rather adorable.
"Seriously, don't scare me with a sudden greeting!"
Rinslet pouted, slightly miffed.
"...Sorry. I was attracted by the aroma. Are you making breakfast now?"
"Yes. But it's still at the stage of preparations--"
Kamito glanced behind Rinslet as she nodded. It was a simple makeshift kitchen.
A counter top had been built using chopped down logs. Stones had been piled up to make a stove. Fish caught from the river were being kept fresh using massive ice blocks created by her prided ice magic.
"...This looks quite legit. How did a noble lady like you learn to cook?"
Though Kamito himself was capable of simple cooking, Rinslet's skills had already reached the level of top chefs.
He wanted to find the secret to her progress.
"By preparing food for Carol every day, I naturally became skilled."
"Why are you cooking for the maid when you are the mistress?"
"It is a noble's responsibility to provide personally prepared delicious food to the ones who serve us. Noblesse oblige or something like that, that was what Carol taught me."
"...Uh, are you sure you weren't tricked by Carol."
Kamito stated in shock.
...Come to think of it, Rinslet was equipped with various skills one would not expect to find in a sheltered high-class lady. In a certain sense, this was all thanks to a certain useless maid.
"By the way, Kamito-san, are your injuries okay?"
"Yeah, how should I say this..."
Faced with Rinslet's worried inquiry, Kamito nodded as he tried turning the joints in his arms.
Last night, Kamito's chest had been pierced by Leonora's Dragon Slayer. Ending up with only a few broken ribs was truly fortunate. As for the broken bones, they had already been set and healed by Fianna during his sleep.
Fianna had mentioned before that Kamito possessed exceptional self-recovery abilities. This was most likely due to entering a contract with a sword spirit possessing steel attributes, resulting in a reinforced body.
"That said, I'm still quite exhausted."
Smiling wryly, he replied.
"Right. That's what I was thinking, so I am preparing a special soup with nourishing effects."
Rinslet smiled tenderly.
This charming smile made Kamito's heart begin to race--
"R-Really? It'd be wonderful to drink some soup in this cold weather."
Trying to hide his loss of composure, Kamito glanced at the soup in the pot.
"In my homeland, this sort of weather counts as warm actually."
"Naturally, how could this compare to Laurenfrost, the land of ice and snow..."
The soup was amber in color and made with chicken, wild vegetables and various spices.
"Looks really tasty..."
"...Sneaking a taste is not allowed."
Rinslet warned with a raised finger.
"Where is your pride as an elementalist? That sort of behavior is disgraceful... O-Or perhaps, Kamito-san, this is the kind of attitude you take to steal a taste of girls?"
"How did the conversation come to this!?"
Seeing Rinslet glancing at him with a frown, Kamito retorted back--
...Rumble. His stomach was growling.
"Seriously, you're hopeless... Just to be clear, this is a special exception, okay?"
Rinslet took a large spoon to serve the soup, delivering it before Kamito.
"Your arm is still injured, right? H-Hurry and open your mouth..."
Rinslet blushed and said.
...Clearly, she intended to feed him with a "Say ah~ and open up" kind of scene.
"No, this level of injury..."
"You don't need me?"
Rinslet made a hurt expression.
Kamito frantically shook his head--
"Ah, no... Please feed me!"
His heart rate rising, he drank the soup in one gulp.
The chicken and the vegetables were well-stewed and melted in his mouth. The fragrant taste spread all over his tongue.
(Ah, this soup...)
Suddenly, Kamito recalled what happened on the first day when he entered Areishia Spirit Academy.
At the time, Rinslet had brought warm soup to Kamito when he was hungry and staying in that crude little hut that was no different from a stable.
(Definitely, at the time, she said it was because Carol had cooked too much...)
Thinking back now, since that useless maid could not possibly have cooked, Rinslet must have made up the excuse to hide her embarrassment.
Due to Rinslet's usual unapproachable airs, Kamito originally mistook her for an arrogant high-class lady. Her true nature was actually a kind-hearted and benevolent girl.
"...Rinslet, you're such a wonderful person."
Kamito could not stop himself from blurting out.
"W-What are you saying, so suddenly!"
"I-I am not some kind of wonderful person. Clearly I am a villain."
Sent into a panic, Rinslet began talking incomprehensibly.
Her lack of forthrightness also felt rather adorable.
"By the way, where's Ellis?"
"The Captain? She's performing a dedicatory blade dance beside the river."
"...I see. Well then, let me go greet her briefly."
Wrapping things up here, Kamito decided to stop hindering Rinslet while she cooked.
Waving to Rinslet, Kamito made his way towards the riverbank.
Walking along the riverbank, Kamito found a towering cliff.
This was where Claire and the others had battled the Knights of the Dragon Emperor. The cliff was still littered with the destruction caused by the fight against the dragon spirit.
"...To think an outdoor bath that could not have been easy to construct, would be virtually destroyed."
Muttering, he walked towards the edge of the cliff at the same time--
Accompanied by vigorous shouts, the sound of slicing wind could be heard.
Peering out from the side of the cliff, he found a girl swinging a sword, her hair in a ponytail.
Her body was clad in light armor. Her dark-brown eyes were stern.
This was the Captain of the Sylphid Knights -- Ellis Fahrengart.
She swung her sword with forceful motions, producing sounds of sharp slicing wind.
Rather than sword training, this was a ritual blade dance performed as an offering to spirits inhabiting the river.
Her graceful and spectacular blade dance caused Kamito to watch in awe.
The profile of her stern face seemed especially beautiful.
Soon after, Ellis re-sheathed her sword by her waist and took a deep bow towards the river.
From the water surface appeared faint light as water spirits gathered to dance.
Apparently the spirits were pleased with Ellis' blade dance.
As Ellis wiped her sweat in relief, Kamito greeted her.
"K-Kamito... You saw it!?"
Ellis turned around, her dark-brown eyes opening wide.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to peep..."
Kamito scratched his head and walked towards Ellis.
"Ellis, your blade dance was really beautiful."
"...!? I-I... Beautiful!?"
"No, I'm talking about your blade dance, Ellis... But anyway, you're quite beautiful too."
Ellis instantly blushed.
"Y-You, what insolence! Prepare to die, I'll make you into onion gratin!"
Swiftly drawing her sword, she stabbed the point of the blade towards Kamito's neck.
"What the heck, getting angry so suddenly!"
"C-Calling me beautiful, surely that cannot be what you seriously think...!"
"No, I simply blurted out what's on my mind..."
Blushing more intensely, the Captain stuttered as if she was at a loss.
"Y-You, why did you come here?! ...Could it be, to peep!?"
"Idiot, why would anyone do that!?"
Kamito frantically denied--
"Hmph, that I know... After all, there is nothing worth seeing even if I were taking a bath in the water!"
Ellis suddenly turned her gaze away as if she was sulking.
As a normal healthy male, of course the thought had crossed his mind before... But if he were to say this out loud, she would surely slice him in earnest, so it would be best to keep quiet for now.
"I was just about to start the morning purification rite and training. What perfect timing for you to be here, Ellis, would you like to perform morning practice with me? We haven't trained together for quite a while."
"Hmm... Morning practice? Sure."
Sheathing her sword, Ellis coughed lightly.
Back at the Academy, Kamito would occasionally spar with Ellis for morning practice. Although she also had Sylphid Knights meetings early in the morning, it was a perfect way to release the tension in her body before class.
"But are your injuries okay?"
"Yeah, so I'd like to get some exercise... But please have mercy."
The two distanced themselves and drew their swords.
Ellis used a long sword while Kamito used the short sword he kept for defense. Though they were both using weapons that were different from their actual elemental waffen, this was fine for the purposes of physical training.
Readying her sword stance, Ellis watched Kamito silently.
Just as Kamito spoke, in that instant--
With a vigorous shout, Ellis charged.
Despite treading over uneven riverside terrain, she still made a series of aggressive slashes. The name of the Sylphid Knights' Captain truly was not just for show.
Kamito blocked the sharp sword with his short sword. The blades clashed violently many times.
Sparks flew. High pitched metallic noises resounded.
This was a spectacular blade dance performed with perfect synchronicity.
However, a displeased expression appeared on Ellis' face--
"Kamito, stop trying to accommodate me. If you are just playing around, I will not be pleased."
"You have a point... But Ellis, different from my swordsmanship that was trained at the Instructional School, yours is the orthodox style of the knightly sword, right? If you try to accommodate me, you might pick up bad habits."
"No matter. My sword style is too rigid. After last night's blade dance, that was what I realized greatly. Hence, I hope you can teach me your sword skills. In order to obtain victory in this Blade Dance festival!"
Ellis swung her sword in a heavy downward strike. Kamito blocked as his eyes widened in surprise.
This was an attack which manifested the power of Ellis' resolve to get stronger.
"...If that's the case, I understand."
Her well-practiced sword style was indeed rather easy to predict.
It was probably okay to teach her some of those so-called unorthodox sword skills.
Kicking the ground to leap backwards for some distance, Kamito switched his short sword to a reverse grip. Ellis held her sword horizontally and made a courageous charge -- this was based on her highly accomplished spear skills.
In that instant, Kamito suddenly lowered his stance and made a light sweeping kick.
Ellis' eyes widened in surprise. Though she did not fall over, Kamito took advantage of her momentary loss of balance to grab her arm and shove her back against the ground.
Then swiftly he immobilized her legs. Though Ellis struggled desperately, it was impossible for her to escape due to the restraining of her joints.
"Guh... H-How underhanded, Kamito!"
"Even if the enemy is wielding a sword, it doesn't mean they will always fight with a sword. I suppose it's fine if you're facing a noble-minded knight, but there exist elementalists who fight this way."
"Y-You may have a point..."
Ellis grumbled with a reluctant expression--
Then suddenly her face went red.
"K-Kamito, this posture..."
Only when pointed out did he notice.
The fact that he was pushing a girl down against the ground, their legs intertwined together.
Plus the fact of Ellis' slightly lifted skirt, clearly exposing her black panties.
Kamito frantically tried to stand up, but--
Ellis gripped his wrist tightly.
"L-Let this continue a little while longer, I do not mind..."
Maintaining this posture of pushing Ellis down on the ground, Kamito widened his eyes at the sight.
The uniform drenched with sweat. The heaving bosom that quivered with every breath she took.
Diverting the gaze of her slightly moistened dark-brown eyes, Ellis expelled warm breath as she spoke:
"Y-You have to take responsibility..."
Ellis pouted her lips as if sulking.
"The one who changed me from a knight, i-into a woman, is you..."
"Wha, what d-do you mean by that!?"
Just as Kamito stared dumbfounded--
"Incinerate until nothing remains, O scorching conflagration -- Fireball!"
An incantation of spirit magic could be heard -- then immediately, the nearby ground exploded.
Sent flying by the shock of the explosion, Kamito fell into the river.
"W-What the heck!? ...Holy, this is really scalding!"
The river water was boiling as bubbles rose up.
"...Hey, Kamito? Just now, what was happening there?"
Turning his gaze, he found Claire wielding Flametongue, approaching slowly from the shallows.
"All I could see was the sight of you pushing Ellis down on the ground, eh?"
...She was smiling. So terrifying.
Feeling his life was endangered, Kamito frantically tried to escape--
The crisp sound of water changing state could be heard.
Suddenly, he found a massive wall of ice erected before him.
This was Rinslet's specialty, the spirit magic of Ice Wall--
"Oh my, Kamito-san, where do you think you're going?"
Appearing in the opposite direction from Claire was Rinslet.
Smiling calmly, she wielded her elemental waffe, the magic bow.
"Enemies of womankind must be frozen in cold storage -- this is one of the Laurenfrost family's precepts."
Losing his escape route, Kamito rapidly changed directions and ran towards the forest on the opposite shore.
"Hey, stay right there!"
Hearing the sound of freezing arrows fired from behind, Kamito found them whizzing past his back.
At the last second, Kamito jumped into the thicket in the forest--
In that instant, he found his legs entangled by the vines of numerous plants, making him fall flat on his face.
"...These are dryads!?"
"Fufu, Kamito-kun, the spirits earlier have now been trained properly~"
Appearing from the depths of the forest was the great imperial princess smiling impishly.
"Just to deter you from acting naughty towards other girls, Kamito-kun, you need to be taught a lesson too."
While Kamito was immobilized, Claire and Rinslet also gathered around.
Kamito laughed convulsively.
The sound of numerous footsteps and the intense clashing of swords could be heard from the forest.
Running through the gaps between the trees were girls wielding all sorts of elemental waffen -- dressed uniformly in knightly attire colored red against a white background, this was the uniform of the Rupture Division, the team representing the Principality of Rossvale.
Moving with well-trained coordination, the five girls were chasing after prey.
"--Esil and Yustra, take a detour to the right. Swiftly flank the target, encircle and exterminate."
The one leading the party was a girl with dark-brown hair and a child-like face.
Milla Bassett -- the leader of the Rupture Division, and the youngest elementalist taking part in this year's event.
Bearing an azure right eye and an amber-colored left eye.
The girl's heterochromic eyes coldly focused on the prey.
The target of their hunt was a beautiful black-haired girl dressed in a dark-colored dress.
Team Inferno's darkness spirit.
"Let all shadows be incinerated to ashes -- Evil Flame!"
The girl fluttered her dress as if she were dancing, chanting high level magic carrying the darkness attribute.
Pitch black flames of conflagration were emitted from her finger tips, assaulting the girls in pursuit--
All it took was one lick of these tongues of magical flames for the trees in the forest to vanish instantly.
However, Milla Bassett swung her sword using spirit magic, defeating the black flames.
"How foolish. Our spirits possess resistance against the attribute of darkness."
"Right. How annoying it is to face you people who employ spirits with the holy attribute."
The darkness spirit girl landed lightly on the ground.
"--Hence, you shall be defeated here."
In that instant, the girls in pursuit all halted.
Beneath their feet on the ground, a glowing magic circle appeared.
"--This is an Isolation Barrier!?"
The girls of the Rupture Division instantly fell to their knees like puppets whose strings have been severed.
This was a barrier for cutting off access to leylines, thereby severely weakening the divine power of elementalists.
This was no ordinary defensive barrier -- rather, it was a trap set by a top princess maiden, specifically for killing elementalists.
"How could this happen, did you plan on luring us here from the start?"
Milla Bassett looked up in shock.
The darkness spirit girl chuckled and smiled adorably.
"Rejoice -- for you have become live sacrifices for Nepenthes Lore."
An ominous roar could be heard rumbling in the depths of the forest.
This was neither a beast's howl nor a human's yell.
Simply hearing the sound was enough to feel a horrific chill along the spine as if frozen -- It was that repulsive and otherworldly of a sound.
Suddenly, numerous black chains extended from afar to entangle the limbs of the girls collapsed on the ground.
Before they even had the chance to scream, the girls instantly lost consciousness.
"...What are you doing?"
Milla Bassett gazed at the darkness spirit girl.
Only Milla had been able to detect the ominous presence and evaded the chains with the slimmest of margins.
"Oh my, you do have a most interesting eye."
Milla reflexively covered her left eye with her hair.
By her feet were her teammates who had collapsed to the ground unconscious.
In this despairing situation, she must rack her brains to seek survival.
With only one member remaining, chances of victory were unlikely in a confrontation against a high level darkness spirit. Should she unleash the power of her eye -- No, with the Rupture Division currently in disarray, unleashing it was not possible.
The earth shook -- from the depths of the forest, that particular ominous presence was approaching.
The darkness spirit's contractor -- Nepenthes Lore.
"I -- the Rupture Division, shall not fall here."
Without time to hesitate, Milla decided to retreat.
Manifesting her sword of spirit magic, she swiftly sliced apart the magic circle of the Isolation Barrier.
"--You won't be able to escape."
The darkness spirit girl smiled lightly and released black flames--
However, Milla effortlessly dodged the incoming flames and disappeared into the depths of the forest.
"A mere rabbit, letting her escape isn't really a problem, but--"
The darkness spirit girl, Restia, narrowed her dusk-colored eyes slightly, murmuring to herself.
"--That eye, truly cannot be left alone."
To Restia personally, the annihilation of the Rupture Division was simply incidental.
Her original purpose was to provide divine power to the elementalist, Nepenthes Lore, for recovering energy.
However, their division leader, the girl's eye was a separate matter. Left to roam free, it could prove to be a hindrance during an inopportune time.
"For the sake of the plan, there is a need to clear all obstacles -- Have you eaten your fill?"
As if responding to the girl's question--
The black chains, formed from magic, slid smoothly and withdrew from the girls' bodies.
At some point in time, a black knight, clad in ominous armor, had started standing behind Restia.
The armor of darkness creaked noisily, as if about to burst from the expanding interior--
Absorbing divine power from the elementalists, assimilating their energy.
"--You won't have to wait long, Kamito."
Smiling, Restia casually retrieving the Rupture Division's magic stones.
The Instructional School's assassin Jio Inzagi, the Academy's strongest elementalist Velsaria Eva Fahrengart, Monster Muir Alenstarl, as well as the Dragon Knight Leonora Lancaster... Within a mere month, Kamito had already fought several formidable foes.
The experiences of these battles should probably awaken the dormant existence hidden in his body.
"Kamito, this is my reward for you. Let me prepare your final enemy--"
Nepenthes Lore -- the manifestation of the Demon King's will.
Born through forbidden secret arts, a monster of darkness.
--Yet another illegitimate child left behind by the Demon King.